Chapter 101 – The Black Ox Departs
Li Qingshan did not even have the strength to answer anymore. The path ahead of him was filled with wind and snow. It seemed endless. He could only cling onto a single thought and continue climbing upwards.
Xuanyue suddenly whispered in his ear, “Sorry, meowster has dragged you down.” Her arms let go powerlessly, falling towards the snowy, windy abyss. Her eyes were firmly shut, and she was at peace. She even smiled slightly.
Li Qingshan extended his right hand instinctively, grabbing her icy hand.
He could not let go. However, having lost his right hand, he was unable to advance any further up the icy face. The coldness invaded his body now that he had stopped, and his blood flow gradually slowed down.
He was several thousand meters from the ground. Even for him, falling down would shatter every bone in his body.
In the violent snowstorm, he finally let out a mad, hysteric howl, like a beast trapped in a hopeless situation.
Within the snowstorm, two specks of light drew closer. A figure climbed up quickly.
Xiao An leapt up and grabbed Xuanyue, clinging onto Li Qingshan’s back.
There was no need for them to talk. Li Qingshan’s lips had already become frozen. With his right arm freed, he continued to climb up.
The top suddenly appeared to the seemingly endless ice face. As it turned out, he was only a few dozen meters away from the top now.
A large hand grabbed the edge of the cliff firmly. Li Qingshan pulled himself up with everything he had. His body had already run out of strength. He forcefully propped himself up and touched Xuanyue’s face with trembling hands. They were ice-cold.
There was no heartbeat in her chest.
She was already dead.
Li Qingshan suddenly burst out into tears. A streak of light pierced through the snowstorm, and the Soaring Dragon Elder appeared on the top of the cliff. His face was pale, and his clothes were in tatters. When he saw Xuanyue on the ground, it only confirmed his suspicions. His Starfall was not something an ordinary Daemon General could withstand.
But just in case, he still rushed over regardless of the consequences. The items stored in Xuanyue’s bell could make up for his losses, and the daemon core of a Daemon General was very precious as well.
Li Qingshan wanted to throw his life at him, but he did not even have the strength to accomplish that. He asked, “Why? What did she do wrong?”
“Because she’s a daemon. You’re no different. That’s all that’s wrong.” The Soaring Dragon Elder lifted his Soaring Dragon sword. He did not even look at Xiao An who blocked for Li Qingshan, swinging down.
“I’m killing you not because you’re a human.” A man stood in front of Li Qingshan. No one knew when he had appeared, including the Soaring Dragon Elder. He seemed like he had been standing there for a very, very long time already. He was like a great master, spanning from time immemorial to the future, never changing.
His stature could only be regarded as large and tall. He did not give off a terrifying aura, but in Li Qingshan’s eyes, his back was even more imposing than the Ice Sword cliff below his feet.
His skin was enveloped in a deep, dark blue that was almost black. His defined, sturdy body did not seem to possess any unnecessary part. Instead, he was like a peak that stood among the mountains, having been exposed to the elements for countless years such that every part of him reached harmony with nature, condensed from endless power.
Afterwards, Li Qingshan saw the pair of ox horns on his head. One of them was broken. He could not help but call out, “Brother ox!”
The Soaring Dragon Elder’s pupils contracted. Every inch of his soul screamed out with warning. He had fought in countless battles and had experienced countless dangers in his life, but even if all of them were combined, they still could not match the danger he currently faced.
He wanted to roar out. He wanted to swing his sword. He wanted to use all of the abilities and techniques he had learnt throughout his life, unleashing all of his strength and trump cards. However, he just could not even move a single finger. All he could do was gaze at the man with widened eyes and ask with a warped voice, W- who are you?” How could such a terrifying figure be behind two measly daemons? The Divining Elder had never mentioned it, nor did the divination give any indication either. No, I won’t die here.
The black ox did not answer his question. Instead, he continued, “I’m killing you because I want to kill you!” He raised his right hand. The Soaring Dragon Elder disappeared from this world.
Yes, he disappeared. There were no prior signs, nor were there any powerful moves, no terror or daemon qi. An elder of the Sword Collection palace renowned throughout the Green province, a Golden Core cultivator, had been slain in such a straightforward manner.
“Brother ox…” Li Qingshan opened his mouth, but he had no idea what to say. He had considered the black ox to be very powerful, but he never expected him to be so terrifying.
The black ox looked back, extending his hand before Li Qingshan. A ring lay in it quietly. It was the Soaring Dragon Elder’s sumeru ring. “I’ve turned you into this without your permission, so take this as an apology! I’ve left something in there for you.”
It was the wealth that a Golden Core cultivator had accumulated over his entire life. Its value was enough for many desireless cultivators to become blinded by greed. Even if an ordinary person offered everything they owned, they would not be able to exchange for a single item from it.
“I know you have a lot of doubts but believe me, the answers you find yourself will be much greater than anything I can give you. You can even call them priceless. It’s just like how I could give you the power to wander this world unopposed, but I didn’t, because the power you can find yourself is far beyond what I can provide, countless times greater. Now, it is time for us to part.”
“My existence has already been detected by someone in the heavens. In the future, you must walk your path by yourself. The time we spent together was short, but very pleasant. Remember, don’t lower your head to anyone, to anything. You have once ridden on my back.”
As he said that, the black ox’s figure gradually faded. His voice was like a great booming bell, thundering through the mountains and shaking up Li Qingshan’s mind.
“Wait…” Li Qingshan extended his hand, but all he grabbed was the ring.
The black ox vanished like he had never existed before, as if all those years, all those days were just a dream. However, his last message constantly resounded through Li Qingshan’s heart.
I await for you beyond the Nine Heavens, for the time when you stand beside me.
The top of the Ice Sword cliff was empty. There was no vegetation at all, only ice and snow. The layer of clouds pressed down above his head, with huge flakes of snow falling down before they could form beautiful crystals. The wind whistled, like it was sobbing.
On the boundary between the Dragon province and the Green province, people sometimes felt like they had nothing apart from a distant, unreachable dream. There would only be an icy-cold body in their arms, tears frozen and the heart numb from the severe cold. The loneliness of the entire world would surge into their hearts.
Something touched him gently. He looked back and saw Xiao An. The two balls of blood-red flames burned even in the endless wind and snow, wanting to give him some warmth, telling him that he was not alone.
Gu Yanying emerged from the snowstorm and said in surprise, “What happened?” She also used a violet talisman, breaking out of the Soaring Dragon Elder’s World Cage and rushing to the icy cliff. However, right before she arrived, the Soaring Dragon Elder’s aura completely vanished. It was wiped from the world cleanly.
Li Qingshan held Xuanyue’s cold corpse. He did not answer. He did not know how to answer.
Gu Yanying even felt tinges of fear. A Golden Core elder had just vanished without reason. This probably could shake up the entire Green province.
Did that person from the Umbral Yin sect interfere? No, it couldn’t be. Even if Soul Nascence cultivators had the ability to kill Golden Core masters, it was impossible for them to do it so silently. Even an ant knew how to put up a struggle, let alone a Golden Core cultivator.
Was it related to him? Gu Yanying glanced at Li Qingshan before shaking her head, as Li Qingshan was just too weak. If he had a terrifying background, why was his cultivation still like this, still a daemonic beast who had yet to condense a daemon core? Among Qi Practitioners, he would only be at the fourth or fifth layer.
Even with her extraordinary intellect, her brain was in a mess. Everything that happened tonight was just too strange.
“You should give her to me!”
Li Qingshan said, “I promised that I would take her to the Dragon province.”
Gu Yanying said, “That’s no good place to take her. It’s better if she returns to her master’s side.”
Li Qingshan said, “It’s her final wish.”
“Final wish? But she’s still alive?” The corner of Gu Yanying’s lips twitched.
“What!” Li Qingshan was shocked. He checked Xuanyue’s pulse in a hurry, but there really was no pulse. He looked at Gu Yanying in doubt.
Gu Yanying swung the fan in her hand at the sky, and a tornado rushed into the sky. The tornado pierced a great big hole in the thick layer of low-hanging clouds. The silvery-blue moonlight, just like a waterfall, seemed like a beacon that fell from the sky.
It landed on the Ice Sword cliff, on Xuanyue’s body. The surroundings continued to roar with wind and snow, but that small region became tranquil and serene.
Her body shone with a silvery-blue light. Gradually, it became brighter and brighter. Her eyelashes seemed to tremble.
Under Li Qingshan’s shocked gaze, Xuanyue slowly opened her eyes. “Where’s this?” Blinking them, she looked around. “This is… the Ice Sword cliff!”
Li Qingshan could feel her body gradually regain some warmth in his arms. He was taken aback. “What’s this all about?”
Gu Yanying said, “The nine-lives cat daemon’s rubbish innate ability.”
Xuanyue said, “Gu, you’re the rubbish!”
Gu Yanying said, “In a state of death, it’s impossible to put up any resistance at all. Even ordinary people will butcher you and extract your daemon core. If it’s not rubbish, what is it? This time, it was all thanks to… this person.” She was uncertain whether to refer to him as Li Qingshan. He had transformed like this, so he might not want other people to know about his human name!
Xuanyue said, “Big Blacko, did you really bring me up here?”
Big Blacko? The corner of Gu Yanying’s lips curled up.
Li Qingshan fell silent for a moment before roaring out, “You bastard, why didn’t you tell me earlier!?” You made me heart-broken for nothing for so long!
Xuanyue said, “Meowhahahaha. Didn’t I tell you? I won’t die.”
Li Qingshan exhaled deeply. He did not want to pay anymore attention to her, but he felt indescribable joy inside.
At this moment, Xuanyue noticed the two crystalline, frozen tear streaks on Li Qingshan’s face. Her heart was tugged as she extended her hand and touched his face. “Big Blacko, you cried?”
Li Qingshan said, “Don’t flatter yourself. It’s just snow.”
Xuanyue moved closer to Li Qingshan’s face. “Hehe, don’t be so embarrassed. It’s very normal for a pet to cry for his meowster. Oh right, you’ve agreed to call me meowster, so call me that! Call me that!”
“Pet?” Gu Yanying smiled strangely. Was being taken in as a pet by another pet a good fate or a bad fate?