Chapter 180 – The Zombie Daoist’s Death
Bang! Thump! Bang! Bang!
The mighty sixth layer Qi Practitioner, the Zombie Daoist, seemed like a sandbag. He was thrown around by the Iron Plate corpse as the world spun around him. The only reason why he did not perish immediately was because of his protective true qi. However, he was unable to break free from the Iron Plate corpse’s grasp. Even if he remained alive, he would just serve as a toy to Xiao An for a little longer.
At the beginning, Hao Pingyang and the other two still cheered them on, but now, they were completely stunned. A layer of cold sweat covered their backs. As it turned out, the Zombie Daoist had not been using the full power of the Iron Plate corpse. If the Iron Plate corpse had been so vicious right from the beginning, the five of them would not have been its opponent even if they worked together.
Li Qingshan went up to help up Hao Pingyang. He took out a recovery pill and Qi Gathering pill, feeding it to him. “Are you fine, brother Hao?” Then he glanced at Jin Yuan and Jin Bao’s corpses. “I’ve come too late!”
Hao Pingyang thanked him with difficulty. Afterwards, his lips seemed to be glued together. He was unable to say anything more. The threat of death had receded, so pain and exhaustion immediately overwhelmed him. He did not go without fear either.
“Just rest!” Li Qingshan patted his shoulder. He settled down and leaned against the wall, meditating.
Then, Li Qingshan went to free He Yishi and Zhang Lanqing from the rope. Their situation was basically the same as Hao Pingyang. Zhang Lanqing still managed to force out some words of gratitude, while He Yishi was completely stunned. His eyes were wide open as his mouth hung slightly agape. This was something that was originally worth celebrating over, but he was unable to cheer up at all. He just wanted to burrow into a crack in the wall and hide forever.
Li Qingshan said to Xiao An, “Just enough will do!”
The Iron Plate corpse grabbed the Zombie Daoist by the head and smashed him into the ground.
In the beginning, the Zombie Daoist still tried to put up a desperate struggle, letting out some howls and roars, but he did not even have the strength to resist now. Blood oozed from his head. The situation was no longer a battle, but a child’s mean game.
Xiao An lacked Li Qingshan’s abhorrence towards evil. To her, the Zombie Daoist’s life was no different from the life of those red and black ants. Of course, the Zombie Daoist was a little better. He was both fun and tasty.
With a jingle, the Iron Plate corpse stopped. Xiao An looked at Li Qingshan, asking him whether he had anything he wanted to ask.
Li Qingshan drew his finger across his neck. The Zombie Daoist was actually still conscious. He raised his bloody head and looked at Xiao An. “It’s you, it’s you…” Perhaps it was a moment of inspiration right before death, but he was now extremely certain that she was the one who had taken away all the corpses in the pit. She was not an ordinary child, but a monster even more terrifying than the Iron Plate corpse.
His voice came to a halt. The long, metal claw on the Iron Plate corpse’s right index finger swept past the Zombie Daoist’s neck and blood sprayed out. However, the Zombie Daoist was still alive. He stared straight at Xiao An. All these years of practising qi had granted him tremendous vitality.
The Iron Plate corpse bit down on his neck and sucked to its heart’s content, draining his blood dry. The Zombie Daoist’s blood flowed through its body, transforming into new strength, while the Zombie Daoist withered like an empty juice carton.
Hao Pingyang’s eyes widened. He basically struggled to believe that the crafty, powerful Zombie Daoist who had almost taken their lives here would actually meet his end like this. Although they were enemies, he still believed it would be a little more difficult to kill the Zombie Daoist, that he would not just die in such a hilarious fashion.
But in reality, the weak were so worthless in the eyes of the powerful that they were like toys. Before an absolute difference in strength, there might not even be time for blood to warm up. There would only be endless despair, such that even death would come in an almost hilariously easy fashion.
Li Qingshan had experienced this sensation once before, and he had sworn to never experience it a second time. This willpower constantly pushed him forward to becoming stronger.
As Hao Pingyang and the other two meditated and rested, Li Qingshan looked through the Zombie Daoist’s dwelling. The dwelling had been roughly chiseled out from the natural cave system, forming several rooms.
The room for the stone coffin was only one of them. There was a bedroom as well, which possessed all the furniture and decoration of a home, not just a stone seat and a stone table. There was even a kitchen that possessed a stove and all the kitchenware as well. As it seemed, even the Zombie Daoist liked to eat cooked food. He sure knew how to live in the gloomy depths of the earth.
The remaining rooms were all for refining corpses. They were filled with corpses that were either waiting to be refined or had been refined to a certain degree. The several hundred corpses were all left to Xiao An, who reduced them to flames. The Pale Flames of Bone Smelting turned the bones into fluid, which returned to her hand and merged with the other bone fluid before being smelted further by the pale flames.
Li Qingshan knew that she was forging a second Skull Prayer Bead. She had benefited quite a lot from this mission as well. Just the number of zombies she had devoured reached into the hundreds, while Zhuo Zhibo and the Black Wolf guards were equivalent to several hundred ordinary people as well. She had refined them all, which benefited her cultivation of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty tremendously.
With her experience from before and her greater strength, she refined it extremely swiftly this time. In just a single moment, the bone fluid condensed together, forming a round prayer bead. It danced and revolved in the centre of her hand with the other Skull Prayer Bead. She had gained another artifact that she could control and wield.
The agility and might of the Skull Prayer Beads exceeded regular mid grade spiritual artifacts. Regular Qi Practitioners only controlled a single flying sword or blade. If they had anymore than that, they would become distracted, and their power would decrease. As a result, they just focused on a single one instead, unless the spiritual artifact came in a set. However, spiritual artifacts that did come in a set were extremely rare, and they would not necessarily be as agile when used.
Every prayer bead was linked to Xiao An’s mind. They were basically her clones, extremely nimble and clever. Only when she assembled the minimum number of prayer beads, fourteen, could she be considered to have forged the Skull Prayer Beads of the lowest tier. However, they would be powerful enough to destroy any and all Qi Practitioners.
With a higher ability from beyond the Nine Heavens like the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, Xiao An’s rate of growth in terms of strength would increase with her cultivation. She could easily crush cultivators of the same level now. Once she reached higher cultivation levels, she would even be able to suppress or kill opponents above her cultivation.
Li Qingshan rubbed Xiao An’s hair. “I really can’t help but feel proud when I see you.”
The Ox Demon’s Fist of Great Strength, the Tiger Demon’s Fist of Bone Forging, and the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression were all extremely powerful abilities. As Li Qingshan practised them simultaneously, his strength also grew rapidly, but he was still slightly worse compared to the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty.
Xiao An pressed her cheek against the back of his hand to comfort him.
Li Qingshan pinched her smooth, young cheek and smiled. “I need to keep working hard as well. I can’t let you exceed me. Let’s go!”
With the bountiful spoils this time, his strength would definitely leap forward. He wanted to open the sumeru ring sooner, to see what the black ox had left for him, even though he already had some idea about what it was.
The two of them returned along the same path. Hao Pingyang and the other two had already retrieved their hundred treasures pouch, having recovered using the spiritual stones and pills inside.
Hao Pingyang said, “It’s impossible to describe my gratitude with words. In the future, if you ever need me, just let me know, brother. No matter how dangerous or difficult it is, I won’t even question it.”
Li Qingshan said, “You’re too kind, brother Hao. We had all agreed on this in the first place. It’s just a pity that I couldn’t arrive sooner, or…”
Hao Pingyang became gloomy. He sighed heavily. As the leader of this mission, he felt very ashamed over Jin Yuan and Jin Bao’s death. However, if they had not deserted them, they would have lasted until Li Qingshan arrived even if the Zombie Daoist had caught them.
Li Qingshan said, “Please restrain your grief, brother Hao. After all, there’s no such thing as being absolutely safe when you come out for missions. You’ve already done everything that you could.”
Hao Pingyang handed a hundred treasures pouch towards Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan said, “This is the Zombie Daoist’s hundred treasures pouch!” Ever since he saw what was inside Zhuo Zhibo’s hundred treasures pouch, he became extremely eager towards the Zombie Daoist’s hundred treasures pouch. He had also been a sixth layer Qi Practitioner for many years, so it must contain quite an impressive sum!
“Please split it, brother Hao!”
Hao Pingyang only took out a few books from the hundred treasures pouch before handing it back to Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan was surprised. “Huh?” Surely the Zombie Daoist was not this poor!
Hao Pingyang explained, “Everything in the hundred treasures pouch should have gone to you, but our mission was to retrieve this method for refining and nurturing corpses so that our masters and senior brothers in the school can study it. That’s why I took the books. If you’d like them, I can make a copy for you once we get out. There’s still quite a lot of things in there. I haven’t looked through it properly.” As he said that, he handed the hundred treasures pouch to Li Qingshan again.
Li Qingshan declined and said, “I have no need for these techniques for refining corpses. As for everything else, I’ll just take thirty percent like what we agreed on.”
Hao Pingyang said, “Don’t say anything more. If you don’t take it, that means you’re looking down on me.” Li Qingshan was basically responsible for defeating the Zombie Daoist all by himself, such that he was fortunate to still have his life intact. He would never be able to bring himself to take a share from Li Qingshan.
Zhang Lanqing chimed in as well, “Qingshan, just accept it. You deserve it all.”
He Yishi wanted to say something, but he lowered his head instead. He did not dare to speak. After making such a great fool of himself, he felt utterly embarrassed. Now, Hao Pingyang and Zhang Lanqing basically treated him like he was not there at all. They did not ask for his opinion. He felt both wronged and resentful inside.
Li Qingshan said, “Alright. If that’s the case, I’m not going to hold back.”
Hao Pingyang eased up slightly. “Let’s get out of here!” He stowed the corpses of the Jin brothers into his hundred treasures pouch so that he could take them back and have them buried.
Li Qingshan took the Zombie Daoist’s corpse. That was worth several thousand Qi Gathering pills. However, the Iron Plate corpse could not be stored in his hundred treasures pouch, and its appearance was far too horrifying as well. As a result, he found a bamboo hat and a straw cape to cover it up, making it follow behind him.
They boarded the boat, travelling along the same way as they had come here, this time against the flow.
Although it was not as tense and scary as when they first came here, the atmosphere was much heavier. The three of them were all troubled inside. They were in no mood to talk.
Only the flowing water splashed and gurgled constantly in the darkness.
Li Qingshan leaned against the side of the boat and admired the cave, but he struggled to settle down. His bosom warmed up as Xiao An leaned against him quietly.
Li Qingshan smiled towards her, gently caressing her soft, wavy hair and smelling the faint fragrance of sandalwood. His heart gradually calmed down.
At this moment, a ray of light suddenly appeared in the endless darkness.