Chapter 892 – Provocation
The four hundred kilometers of Fire Melt mountain were no longer lively like before. It had become much more deathly. The rivers of lava no longer had fire devourers playing around in them. Fire devourers would appear from time to time, but they were all in a hurry as if a disaster was looming over them.
The strange disease spread at a rate that far exceeded what the fire devourers expected, and it erupted extremely viciously. Whether it was the old or young, male or female, their hearts all turned to stone. Even when all the powerful cultivators of the fire devourers tended to them, they could only stabilise the situation of a handful of fire devourers, such that they did not pass away from the disease too quickly.
Time passed day by day, and more and more fire devourers died. It had already exceeded half of the total population on Fire Melt mountain. That was an amount that had taken them who knew how much time to build up. Every single surviving fire devourer was overcome with pain and fury. There had been quite a handful of fire devourers whose inner demons lost control as they cultivated, exploding into a ball of flames.
The shade of despair enveloped the mountains.
“Who did this!?” Zhu Yan questioned the sky furiously. His high spirits from obtaining the Divine Fire tablets recently no longer existed. Without a large number of clansmen as a foundation, strengthening the Fire Devouring Folk and rebuilding the divine kingdom was a hopeless quest. It was impossible no matter how powerful the Divine Fire tablets were.
He had already asked that question countless times, and he had suspected many people, like the Myriad Poison Ancestor who was skilled with poison, the King of Southern Yue who wanted to turn them into his bruisers, and so on. However, he never had any opportunity to investigate. A large number of clansmen died every single day.
He did not count on the heavens giving him an answer this time either. It was purely venting. However, a voice actually replied from the sky, an extremely familiar voice.
A white cloud drifted over Fire Melt mountain before he had realised and turned into the shape of the Merfolk Queen, Gong Yuan. It spoke and said, “Zhu Yan, did you ever imagine a day like this when you launched a sneak attack on Giant Ship island?”
The vast voice rang across the entire mountain range. The fire devourers emerged from their stone huts and gazed at the sky.
“It’s you! It really was you! Gong Yuan!” Zhu Yan gazed at the cloud and ground his teeth in hatred. He had suspected many people, but his suspicions towards the Merfolk were not very big. After so many years of war, the Merfolk would have used something like this a long time ago if they could. On top of that, infiltrating the magma beneath Fire Melt mountain to plant the disease was not something Merfolk could achieve.
“So what if it’s me? I’ve freed you from some of your burdens and shackles so that you can cast aside your misgivings and wholeheartedly devote yourself to being dogs of the King of Yue’s estate. Who knows, you might even get some bones tossed to you.”
Thousands of kilometers away, on the shore of the South sea, Gong Yuan sat on a reef and said to a crystal ball. Nearby, Li Qingshan laid on the surface of the ocean leisurely, gazing at the azure sky. Originally, he had been worried that Gong Yuan’s mocking ability would be a little lacklustre, but he found out very quickly that men really stood no chance once the tongue of women became vicious. She just spoke away indifferently, yet every single word she said was like an icy-cold blade, stabbing them right in the heart.
After realising who the enemy was, the fire devourers on Fire Melt mountain all roared hysterically, hurling balls of flames at the sky. They threw them towards the cloud with Gong Yuan’s figure without any regard.
Very soon, the cloud dispersed, but Gong Yuan’s cold and delightful laughter echoed through Fire Melt mountain, lingering around for quite some time.
“Gong Yuan, I will never stop until I get my revenge!”
Zhu Yan’s roar rang out from the crystal ball. Li Qingshan laughed aloud and said to Gong Yuan, “How is it? Was it satisfying?”
“The effects of Stoneheart are even better than I anticipated. It even makes me shiver! The legend says that the Flower of Water and Fire will bring great disaster to the Fire Devouring Folk and the Merfolk! It really is true!” Gong Yuan sighed.
“Didn’t the legend say it’ll bring peace?”
“The peace is only peace between two people, but the disaster is the disaster of two races!” Gong Yuan’s eyes shone with cold light. If she had developed a virus similar to Stoneheart and used it against the Merfolk, what would happen?
“As long as you don’t get any wicked ideas, the legend won’t come true. Otherwise, you’ll definitely be in trouble!” Li Qingshan stood up and faced Gong Yuan. His voice was filled with a sense of warning.
“What, you like her?” Perhaps because she had just vented to her heart’s content, Gong Yuan was in an extremely good mood. She was not angered by Li Qingshan’s warning. Instead, she became curious.
“I wouldn’t exactly say like, but I won’t allow anyone to touch a hair on her!”
Li Qingshan thought about it. Although he and Ru Xin had basically gone at it, perhaps there was not a lot of love involved. Instead, it was more friendship than anything else, and when it came to the path of cultivation, that often lasted much longer than the feelings between a man and a woman. Though he did have a desire to keep her all to himself. Even if she forbid him from touching her, he did not mind it, but he definitely would not allow someone else to touch her.
“That’s her good fortune.” Gong Yuan said in thought, “Let’s go. The fire devourers might be rushing over!”
Li Qingshan had specially accompanied Gong Yuan exactly because he was afraid the fire devourers would use this opportunity to hunt her down. If a single incident of provocation would cost them one of their central figures, now that would be called a bad deal. Originally, it should have been Ji Changfeng, but he had already ventured off to the south to observe the forming storm, and it was much easier for Li Qingshan to work with Gong Yuan.
Originally, they did consider setting up an ambush, but the three Fire Devouring Kings with Divine Fire tablets could not be dealt with through any schemes or traps. They could only be triumphed with actual strength.
Suddenly, his heart skipped a beat. “They’re here!”
He flew over to the roof and brought his arm around Gong Yuan’s waist before unfurling his phoenix wings and flapping them gently. The fierce wind swept over, and he rushed off into the sky, going straight for the layer with atmospheric winds. With the wings of wind condensed from atmospheric winds, he became slightly faster yet again, sailing off in the direction of the Crystal palace.
Gong Yuan did not want to be held like this, but when he unleashed his speed, she gave up on putting up a struggle. She looked at Li Qingshan in surprise. This is enough to rival the Wind Gale King, and these wings seem to belong to the legendary phoenix. Just what else is he hiding?
After breaking through to the fifth layer of the tiger demon, Li Qingshan’s body was as tough as a Daemon King’s, while his strength and speed even exceeded that of regular Daemon Kings. Coupled with his various divine and demonic bloodlines and his startling amount of innate abilities, regular Daemon Kings definitely were not his opponent.
Gong Yuan could not help but think of something that many people had wondered in the past. If he undergoes the third heavenly tribulation, just how much stronger will he become? Making an enemy out of someone like him really would be a disaster!
Soon after they had left, before the surface of the ocean could even settle from the wind, a triangular gate of flames opened mid-air, and the three of them emerged, looking around.
“They’ve run away. They’ve only just left. They seem to be with Ji Changfeng!” Zhu Yan’s voice was filled with irrepressible rage. The flames on him surged constantly. He would never find solace until he killed all the Merfolk.
This was the horrors of hatred. Not only would it continue to linger through time, but it would even grow deeper and deeper with each battle. No matter how broad-minded they were, they could not be any smarter than mortals when it came to a bitter feud that ran for generations like this. Instead, they would only remember this hatred with greater clarity due to their lengthy lifespans.
Zhu Yan said only two words, “After them!”
“No, intercept them!” The violent-tempered Zhu Fen was instead the most rational. Although Fire Melt mountain had suffered severe losses this time, he had already grown accustomed to this brutality from the countless wars he had faced.
The three of them swung the Divine Fire tablets again and opened the Gate of Divine Fire together, crossing several thousand kilometers in the blink of an eye and arriving right in between where they were earlier and the Crystal palace. They gazed into the distance and unleashed their soul sense, searching for Gong Yuan, but they found nothing.
Li Qingshan divined a little and went on a great detour with Gong Yuan before diving into the ocean, unleashing the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell, and hiding both of their auras. He smiled at Gong Yuan. “Let’s see how they find us!”
Gong Yuan gently touched the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell. The sense of intimacy sprang up spontaneously again. She asked, “Just what cultivation method do you practise? Why is it so compatible with the power of Ruin’s End?”
Actually, she had also been extremely tempted by “granny’s” second request. If she could obtain a cultivation method like that and combine it with the All Water to Ruin’s End, then not only would it bring great benefit to her, but it would even greatly benefit the entire race too. However, she was not foolish enough to use coercion to achieve her goals. Instead, she considered other methods.
“You should forget about it. Even if I give you the cultivation method, you can’t use it. The negative influence from practising it might even be greater than the All Water to Ruin’s End!”
Li Qingshan directly shut down her thoughts. He would never teach the cultivation methods of the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine to anyone, and the cultivation methods of the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine were dependent on one another. If he only practised the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression, even if it were possible, he would just end up becoming a spirit turtle that was indifferent to everything and end up losing himself.
“Move your dirty paws!” Gong Yuan’s face turned cold.
“Heh, do you have to make it so obvious? Are you supposed to use the cultivation method for something else if I taught it to you?”
Li Qingshan sniggered. Last time, when he faced life-threatening danger and devoted himself to defeating the fire devourers, he felt nothing. However, they were extremely safe this time, and they were in the pitch-black depths of the ocean, without another person around. As a result, he felt Gong Yuan’s supple waist beneath the soft mermaid silk, which also happened to be smooth and delicate. Moreover, from his current angle, her chest was revealed slightly with a deep gully in between. She was quite charming.
When he first saw her, he never imagined that the cold, noble Merfolk Queen would actually lay beside him in such a posture one day.
Gong Yuan’s eyes immediately became as deep as the abyss, and she immediately radiated with bone-chilling coldness. Li Qingshan’s right hand instantly turned numb. Even his body was frozen.
Li Qingshan shivered. “Alright, alright. Let’s stop joking around. As cultivators, we shouldn’t focus on these small details. You’re a mighty queen, so shouldn’t you be a little more tolerant and broad-minded?” He caught another glance as he said that and thought, Yep, her chest sure is broad.
The coldness from Gong Yuan became even more intense. She turned around and stared straight at Li Qingshan, bringing her hand towards his neck. Li Qingshan caught her hand and said, “Your majesty, please focus on the bigger picture. If the three fire devourers can’t find us, they’ll probably attack the Crystal palace out of pure anger. If we return and pincer them from behind, perhaps we can achieve victory even without the great storm!”