Chapter 978 – All of Li Qingshan’s Friends Must Die!
“If there’s anything I can help you with, just mention it!” Li Qingshan patted his chest before adding, “This isn’t for you. I have grievances with the Soaring Locust King. I’ve returned to the Green province because I’d like to finish him off if the opportunity ever arises.”
“Just stay away from me,” said Ru Xin.
“Stop joking,” said Li Qingshan.
“I’m not joking. Don’t you have grievances with the Soaring Locust King? If he sees this…” Ru Xin lifted up Li Qingshan’s hand to show him. “… who knows what might happen.”
“Fine then!” Li Qingshan let go of Ru Xin’s hand. With her cultivation method and cultivation, she basically would not be in any danger unless the Soaring Locust King’s main body came for her. He passed a jade tablet to her. “If you encounter any dangers, just let me know, and I’ll be there. May your insecticide be completed soon.”
Li Qingshan clasped his hands in farewell, but he felt rather reluctant to leave inside. Gazing at her face, he suddenly thought of her bare figure in the dark jungle of the Mist province. He shook his head and dismissed this thought, giving her a gentle hug, except she felt as tough as jade when he touched her. “You sure are disrespectful. Alright, take your time with your research. I’m going.”
Li Qingshan took off into the sky and returned to Xiao An and the little phoenix’s side, who were waiting in the distance. Ru Xin eased up slightly before pursing her lips. “Insecticide? That’s not a bad name!”
Li Qingshan and Xiao An arrived in the Chain mountains. Gazing over, the barren mountains rose and fell. Only the relatively colder peaks preserved specks of verdant green. When they thought about everything they saw on their way here, the locust plague seemed to be even more terrifying than the demon plague of the Mist province.
“Father, it’s all barren here. Is there anything fun?”
The little phoenix’s desire to fly had basically been satisfied after travelling over ten thousand kilometers. He was in a hurry to find something interesting to do.
“There is nothing fun here, but this is your father’s home.”
Li Qingshan and Xiao An exchanged glances, both with tender feelings in their eyes. This was the first place they had settled down in after leaving Crouching Ox village.
“This mountain range? It’s far too ordinary.”
The little phoenix had witnessed the grand sight of Fire Melt mountain and the glorious scenery of Towering city, so he had already become very difficult to impress. Even if the locust plague had not touched Chain mountains, it was no better than any regular mountain range.
“Not this mountain range. The mountain there!”
Li Qingshan flew over and landed on the side of a lone mountain, on a cliff that jutted out. He brushed his hand against the wall gently, and the dust dispersed, revealing the three words “Qing Xiao’s Home”.
Opening the entrance, the little phoenix rushed into the dwelling and quickly flew around, illuminating the dark cavern with the light that he gave off. He called out, “Father, your home is so small!”
“Small? The place where I used to live isn’t even one-thousandth of this size! I only got a dwelling like this after who knows how many hardships. You’ve spent so much time outside, but I still haven’t really taught you anything yet, so you might as well properly enjoy this place first, just in case you end up as an ingrate!” Li Qingshan said with some exasperation.
The little phoenix was far too lucky. Not only did he possess the powerful bloodline of the phoenix, but he was even born with the strength of a Daemon Commander. When he was on Fire Melt mountain, he was under the care of the divine wutong tree, and when he came out, he had Li Qingshan to watch his back. His life so far had been so smooth that there had not been even the slightest setback. It was not a good thing if he continued like this. He would rather not change his name to Tianyi some day.
TL: I think Li Qingshan is referring to Li Tianyi, which you can read more about here.
“Please don’t, father! Wouldn’t that be even worse than Fire Melt mountain?” The little phoenix rushed over and begged for mercy.
“As long as you defeat this prayer bead, I’ll release you. Otherwise…” Xiao An held a Skull Prayer Bead between her fingers.
The little phoenix nodded firmly. Along the way here, she had plucked plenty of feathers from him, which made him understand something. No matter how gentle and friendly this woman had become, she was still as terrifying inside.
“Do you know why I’ve come to the Green province?” Li Qingshan asked seriously.
“To go dragon-slaying!” the little phoenix said immediately.
“You haven’t seen the Dragon King of Ink Sea before, but you have seen the Great Banyan Tree King. They both stand as members of the Ten Daemon Kings. Remember, you said you wanted to help me,” Li Qingshan said seriously.
“Y- yes!” The little phoenix hesitated. He had personally witnessed the strength of the Great Banyan Tree King. If Li Qingshan was up against an opponent like that, he would be of no help at all.
“Or are you saying you just said that as a joke?”
“No, I will definitely work hard on becoming stronger!”
“Then show me!” Li Qingshan nodded in satisfaction. Children would always be children!
“It’s just a prayer bead! Bring it on!” the little phoenix said to Xiao An with a blazing battle spirit.
Xiao An flicked her finger, and the Skull Prayer Bead turned into a Skeleton Demon in the air, immediately head-butting towards the little phoenix.
The Skull Prayer Beads had been severely damaged during the third heavenly tribulation, where most of them had been directly destroyed, but the remaining prayer beads had all increased in strength and quality. If she had sufficient resources to repair them, every single one of them would possess the strength of a Daemon King.
The prayer bead that Xiao An had sent out was the one in the most complete condition, which overwhelmed the little phoenix and gave him a firm beating, plucking a few more feathers in the process. However, that only set off the little phoenix’s viciousness even more. Li Qingshan’s will had truly influenced him after all.
“I’m not going to show mercy. If you lose, you can just die!”
“Who told you to show mercy?”
As a result, after flying over ten thousand kilometers, the little phoenix began an even harsher life in prison. The dark centre of the mountain became an arena.
“Come back soon,” Xiao An said to Li Qingshan before crossing her legs and sitting down. She continued to meditate on the scriptures. After undergoing the third heavenly tribulation and balancing the buddhist and the demonic, she gained a completely new understanding of the buddhist scriptures and truths. She was comprehending the scriptures of the schools of chan and vinaya again right now.
Li Qingshan turned around and left the dwelling, returning to the Clear River prefecture. He planned on visiting a few acquaintances before travelling onwards to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga with Xiao An. However, when he was still fifty kilometers from the prefectural city of Clear River, he saw daemon qi surging into the air in the distance.
“Hmm? What dense daemon qi up ahead!”
As soon as he said that, he heard a bellow ring out from within the daemon qi, “All of Li Qingshan’s friends must die!”
“Ay what the fuck? Fuck you!” Li Qingshan fell into a rage and lost the mood to fly along leisurely on a cloud. A wave of air suddenly erupted behind him, and he whistled through the sky.
The swarm of insects filled the air and surged over, which made Hua Chenglu furrow her brows. She formed a seal with her fingers and uttered a chant. The fragrance of flowers surged out, and the coiling fragrance became tangible, wrapping around all the people on the deck. They suddenly left the dragon boat, flying over the surface of the water in the direction of Clear River city.
The huge dragon boat glided across the water for a moment longer before the blanket of insects swallowed it. With the ear-splitting sound of grinding, the countless locusts actually ripped apart and devoured the tough body of the boat. Even the toughest part, the keel, was not spared.
Even in their worst nightmares, the mortals entwined in the fragrance had not witnessed something so terrifying, and they were hovering above the surface of the water on top of that. Apart from Yu Shukuang, Huang Binghu, and Liu Hong who could still remain composed, the others all screamed hysterically.
Hua Chenglu knew that this was not something regular locusts were capable of, and locust daemons would never eat something like that either. The Soaring Locust King was still the one behind this.
The swarm of insects was not just a gathering of a large number of locusts. All of the Soaring Locust King’s clones radiated with daemon qi, which merged with every single corner of the swarm. Under the influence of the daemon qi, even the regular locusts began to change, swelling up in size as their mandibles became razor-sharp. They had gone from herbivorous insects to carnivorous wild beasts.
Just one locust was nothing. It might not even be stronger than a stray dog. But what if there were millions of them?
These daemonified locusts had an extremely transient lifespan, less than an hour, but this was the most vicious side of the locust plague. Wherever they went, it would all be reduced to a wasteland.
The Soaring Locust King hasn’t just come for these people. He wants to massacre the city!
Huang Chenglu came to an understanding. From the corners of her eyes, she saw over a dozen locust daemons that had reached Daemon General converge from all directions. Including the helmsmen and boaters, she was carrying several dozen people with her. That was quite a burden to her, which slowed her down very much.
Just like how the Great Banyan Tree King and the Great Whale King were known to be “great”, the Soaring Locust King was referred to as “soaring” because of his renowned speed. That was why the numerous attempts from the cultivation community of the Green province to encircle and corner him had ended in failure. All of his clones inherited this special characteristic, also alarmingly fast. Even if Hua Chenglu was not weighed down by these people, escaping would not be easy.
“Commander, this won’t work!” Yu Shukuang said.
“I know.” Hua Chenglu became stern, and the entwining fragrance suddenly broke apart, tossing behind all the mortals. She was no longer the little girl from the past anymore. In particular, after undergoing the Great Banyan Tree King’s wisdom imbuement, she had developed a sense of decisiveness.
The cries of the mortals halted as they flew forwards for a little longer. Before they had even realised what had happened, they all fell into the river with several plops.
“No!” Liu Hong and Huang Binghu cried out sorrowfully. Among them were disciples that had followed them for many years and clansmen that they placed all their hopes on.
“Apologies, fellows!” Yu Shukuang sighed, and Liu Hong and Huang Binghu both fell silent. With their experiences, they could understand this choice perfectly, but reality was not that easy for them to accept. They had faced so many dangers and hardships along the way, only to face such a miserable fate in the end.
Hua Chenglu immediately sped up, but she had not escaped danger. The encirclement of locust Daemon Generals gradually drew in as the sounds of buzzing wings constantly pressed closer. She tossed out another scarlet talisman, which suddenly turned into a gale of fierce wind, pushing her along. She rushed out of the range of the encirclement in a single stroke, but before she could even celebrate, there was a flash of yellow, and a man blocked her path.
The man had a pair of feelers on his head and layered, transparent locust wings on his back. He stared at Hua Chenglu with his emotionless compound eyes and asked, “Are you also Li Qingshan’s friend?”
“That’s right!” Hua Chenglu’s heart sank as she secretly took out an Escape talisman. However, the locust daemon before her had already reached the realm of Daemon Commanders. His strength far exceeded hers. Even with the Escape talisman, she had no confidence in being able to escape.
“How bold of you! You’d count as a beauty even among humans, so you must taste very nice. You want to use an Escape talisman? Quit dreaming. You can’t escape. If you hadn’t admitted that, I might have still been able to spare you, but now…”
The locust Daemon Generals gathered over. All of the Soaring Locust King’s clones bellowed together, “All of Li Qingshan’s friends must die!”