Chapter 927 – Purging Demons (Five)
“Why have you come here?” Ye Duanhai hesitated, but he was simply unable to hold in his question.
“To help her with cultivation!”
Li Qingshan pointed his hand above the shattered, barren mountain. Xiao An bathed in the moonlight, currently cultivating with her eyes closed. She was “digesting” the Thousand Tendrils King and the demonfolk. Under her appearance of unhuman beauty, a vicious skeleton would appear from time to time, but only for an instant. Even with Ye Duanhai’s cultivation, he found this to be surreal, but he was absolutely certain that this was a powerful demonic art. The white bone sword did not seem to be for guarding the buddhist dharma either.
“I see, and I had thought you had a strong sense of justice and wanted to purge demons for the greater good.”
Ye Duanhai said in a self-deprecating manner, hoping that these two existences that had departed from the range that could be regarded as human could have a thought like that at the very least. He really had been a little over-sentimental. However, the reason why he had asked that was out of worry, and even a hint of fear.
The Soaring Locust King had already shown in the Green province what kind of damage a great daemon could wreak once it had decided to create trouble. Once the two of them completely matured, they would probably be even more terrifying than ten Soaring Locust Kings. By then, they could influence the entire world on a whim.
“I did feel a bit that way in the past, but as for now, there’s not a lot remaining.” Li Qingshan shook his head with a smile. Who didn’t have the dream of being a swordsman, overseeing the justice of the world through their sword in hand? However, as he grew stronger, as he climbed higher, he discovered that all he could grasp and control was himself.
“Let me invite you to a cup!”
Li Qingshan was rather surprised. Originally, he thought Ye Duanhai would take his leave silently, so Li Qingshan smiled. “Sure. Now that you’ve mentioned it, it’s been over a decade since I’ve gotten any alcohol.”
The two of them sat down on the lush canopy of a large tree, taking out two jars of alcohol to drink together. They had a small conversation.
An hour later, Xiao An wrapped up her cultivation and returned to Li Qingshan’s side. Ye Duanhai had already bade farewell, leaving as a streak of light.
The hot, humid wind of the south blew through the canopy, making the trees shake and rustle.
“What did he say?” Xiao An asked.
“Nothing much. He basically gave me a few words of advice, probably worried that I’d fall into a path of evil.”
“Was it useful?”
“You already know. I’ve never really liked thinking hard. I don’t like thinking about such a complicated topic like good or evil. I just know that I’ll screw with whoever that screws with me, and I’ll fight whoever I find displeasing. Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with getting stronger. How’s that? Simple enough?”
Li Qingshan had once felt conflicted over his dual identity as a human and daemon, but in the end, he thought it through. He could not go wrong by taking his own side, so he just blurred the line between these identities and did what he wanted to do.
“Yeah.” Xiao An smiled. Her clear eyes rippled with the moonlight, revealing trust from the bottom of her heart. As a result, there was no need for her to be troubled over good and evil, buddhism and the demonic. All she had to do was accompany him on this very simple path.
“C’mon, let’s go to the next demon cavern!”
“Qingshan, at this rate, I might be a step faster than you!” Xiao An said confidently. She had already comprehended enough. All she lacked right now were resources. As long as she constantly devoured and absorbed the corpses, she could cross the gulf very soon and undergo the third heavenly tribulation.
“That would be for the best, but I can’t fall behind too much either.” Li Qingshan knew he had advanced valiantly for over a decade, so he was currently in a stage of exhaustion. Killing some demonfolk could be regarded as a form of relaxation. On the other hand, Xiao An had already done enough and was ready. She had a very good chance at breaking through.
However, no matter who broke through first, it would still increase their strength qualitatively. The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty was probably no less wondrous than the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine. Let alone the others, just the Skull Prayer Beads could be refined again and strengthened after she reached the third heavenly tribulation, where each Skeleton Demon would possess the strength of a Demon King. Even though they would only be equivalent to extremely weak Demon Kings, and they would be nowhere near as flexible, just who in the world still stood a chance if several dozen of them swarmed up together and worked together?
“Who is it?” Li Qingshan suddenly frowned, raising his head and bellowing out. An invisible zone of pressure appeared, pushing down a region of the forest as it spread in all directions. A huge cloud in the sky dispersed, revealing a familiar figure.
“Divine Nun of the South Sea!” “Master.”
The Divine Nun of the South Sea had her palms together. She was dressed in the same shabby robes, with a hint of fury and sorrow on her plain and stern face. She stared straight at Xiao An.
“Why have you come, divine nun? Why didn’t you help us out when you saw us purging demons?” Li Qingshan found this situation rather troubling, so he chose to speak first.
“One Will, just what is the cultivation method that you practise? Who are you exactly?” However, the Divine Nun of the South Sea refused to answer him, asking sternly.
Xiao An opened her mouth, but she faltered. An apologetic and pained expression appeared on her face, but when she met the Divine Nun of the South Sea’s eyes, the expression melted away like snow. She recovered the same expressionless demeanour as before. She knew it was useless no matter what explanation she offered up.
At most, Ye Duanhai sensed it to be an evil art, a demonic art, but as one of the few great cultivators of buddhism in the world, the Divine Nun of the South Sea definitely sensed the perversion and blasphemy of the buddhist dharma. It was probably even more despicable than the demonfolk who inverted good and bad and confused wrong for right. Demonfolk were merely enemies, but she was a traitor of buddhism, just like the White Bone Bodhisattva.
“Very well! You sure have hidden it well! Despite all the years we spent together, I actually failed to see your true colours. I even wanted to accept you as my successor!”
The Divine Nun of the South Sea laughed out of anger, feeling even more heartbroken. She had not appeared here out of coincidence. Instead, she had been specially searching for Xiao An. She had been busy with suppressing the demon plague during the past two years, but she still showed great care and concern towards this disciple. She had gone to Savage mountain to find her as soon as she had the time. Although she had been one step too late, she still managed to find her through the preceptual decree she had bestowed to Xiao An.
This was something akin to the prayer beads that the Unraging monk had given to Li Qingshan. Not only could it be used to call for help, but it could also save her life. It could unleash an attack equivalent to her “Dharmagupta-vinaya, Law of Vinaya” at full strength. Even against opponents of the third heavenly tribulation, it could stop them momentarily so that she could rush over in time to save her.
As Xiao An wanted to study the buddhist dharma with the Divine Nun of the South Sea, she was obviously forced to accept it, or let her remove it whenever she wanted to. However, she never expected her to appear right now. After all, no matter how meticulous her thoughts were, it was impossible for her to include everything in her calculations, let alone the fact that the Divine Nun of the South Sea was a great cultivator too.
“Please calm down, master. Xiao An never intended it either…”
Li Qingshan shrugged. There were no secrets that could remain hidden forever, especially when it was their powers. Just several years ago, his identity as a daemon was still a closely-guarded secret, but now, it had already been leaked everywhere. A whole bunch of people knew. The form of white bones beneath Xiao An’s great beauty was no different.
However, he did not find this to be a particularly large matter either. Xiao An had not been using innocent mortals for cultivation after all, and they had truly been purging demons for the greater good earlier. However, he discovered very soon that he had still ended up underestimating figures of religion.
“Shut your mouth! Li Qingshan, it’s been so many years, so do you still think I know nothing? The Green province isn’t the Mist province. It’s even more unlikely for the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga to accept a daemon as a disciple. Even the Golden Cicada Spirit King had been expelled in the past, let alone you!”
“Thank you for keeping my secret, divine nun!” Li Qingshan clasped his hands.
“If it weren’t for the sake of… of… sigh!”
The Divine Nun of the South Sea lamented. Originally, she wanted to say it was for the sake of Xiao An, but it touched her sore spot again. She had wandered the South sea for all these years. If it were not for Xiao An, if she had not been considering how she could accept her as her disciple, she would have never paid any attention to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga thousands of kilometers away either.
Although she had noticed something was amiss with Li Qingshan’s identity, she did not find the bloodline of daemons to be so unacceptable, as she was born and raised in the Mist province. After all, even the bodhisattvas of the Western Paradise had daemons as mounts. Converting to buddhism was something good.
“You can keep a secret for a daemon like me, master, whereas Xiao An counts as a proper disciple of buddhism. Even if she has practised a demonic art slightly, she’s still good at heart. You saw us kill a Demon King just now!”
Li Qingshan defended Xiao An to the best of his ability. It was not because he was afraid of the Divine Nun of the South Sea, but because he felt very embarrassed. After all, the Divine Nun of the South Sea had always treated Xiao An quite well. Treating Xiao An well was treating him well. As someone who kept clear tabs on his debts, he did not want to fall out with someone that he owed a debt of gratitude to you.
“Shut your mouth! Do not mention the words ‘disciple of buddhism’ again! Buddhism may be vast, but it does not have a disciple like her!” The Divine Nun of the South Sea pointed straight at Xiao An, becoming even more stern. The pressure she gave off even made Li Qingshan’s breathing halt. It was not just power, but also the spirit as a successor of laws and decrees.
“Can you be reasonable or not? It’s our fault for lying to you, but we also have our difficulties. Isn’t killing a dozen or so Demon Kings and saving a few million lives enough to make up for it?”
“Qingshan, there’s no need to say anything more,” Xiao An said calmly, but what she implied made Li Qingshan frown heavily.