Chapter 209 – The Blackwater Salamander
Li Qingshan took out the underground mental map he had obtained from the Zombie Daoist. Unfurling it and taking a look, he discovered that they were completely beyond the range of the map.
When he poured his true qi into the mental map, a speck of light lit up, but there was no image. It was just a blurry path of light. Who knows what was interfering with it.
Xiao An said softly, “It should be due to the underground magnetic field!”
Li Qingshan asked, “How do you know that?”
Xiao An hesitated. “I think I read it somewhere, but I don’t remember where.”
Li Qingshan smiled. “It must be your past memories!” Otherwise, with how good her memory was, how could she have forgotten about some book?
Xiao An immediately sank into her thoughts. For once, she appeared to be worried. Perhaps it was due to Milliped’s great bed of spiritual stone or the fragrance from the blue butterfly flowers, but the memories in the depths of her mind had returned bit by bit, giving her illusionary dreams.
Li Qingshan sank into his thoughts too. He thought of the same thing as her. The unknown hometown in the distant south might suddenly leap into her head at a certain time and take her away.
He lifted her from his neck and held her like a baby. He gently stroked her soft, smooth hair and kissed the red mole on her forehead. The smell of sandalwood lingered on his lips.
“Having your memories return is never bad! Tell me more about the underground magnetic field! I’ve never heard Milliped mention it!”
Xiao An nodded obediently. She wrapped her arms around his neck. “The underground magnetic field can interfere with the usage of techniques and spiritual artifacts. The further underground you venture, the greater the interference.”
Li Qingshan casually used a simple technique. As expected, it was slightly more difficult to use compared to above ground.
This truly was the turf of daemons. Although daemons also used abilities similar to techniques, they basically relied on their powerful daemon qi to deliver it forcefully. They did not have any delicate or detailed processes that they needed to go through. As a result, they were basically unaffected.
Xiao An smiled slightly. “There’s also atmospheric winds in the sky, which become stronger the higher up you go. It can disperse true qi and spiritual qi. It can also blow away the souls of people.”
“Really? That’s so impressive!”
“And, there’s cloud-incinerating skyfires…”
Li Qingshan advanced as he listened closely with a smile. She rarely spoke so much. They forgot about the worries hidden in their hearts and did their best to enjoy the time right now, when they were together. Afterwards, they hoped that a never-ending banquet actually existed in the world and would be prepared for them.
In the murky depths below the earth, the various things that humans were capable of were useless. All that remained were their instincts as creatures, which were their sense of smell, sense of hearing, sense of direction, and memory.
In these underground caverns thousands of times more complicated than any maze, no one was certain where the tunnel ahead of them led to. When you single-mindedly wanted to travel up, to return to the surface, the cavern might just suddenly turn downward or end, destroying all of your plans and forcing you to find a new path.
Coupled with the ever present threat of daemons hidden in the darkness, even powerful ninth or tenth layer Qi Practitioners could grow anxious and exhausted, maybe even becoming lost in the depths underground. The dangers and terrors of this place were no longer a matter of strength alone.
However, Li Qingshan strolled through this place like it was his own garden. His sharp senses allowed him to find the way easily. As long as he released his powerful daemon qi, the other daemons would maintain their distance, and they would not attack blindly. As for the greatest, most terrifying daemon around here, the great king Milliped, he was his powerful backer.
However, he did not bring Milliped with him this time to restrain the other powerful daemons.
The path of daemons respected the strong. They did not have a rigid order like humans. The principle of strutting around with borrowed plumes was not as useful in the world of daemons as in the world of humans. If he was unable to demonstrate sufficient strength, how was he supposed to make these unruly daemons submit to him, the leader of the daemon soldiers?
Aside from that, he had a further objective in mind.
Li Qingshan followed an underground river that possessed the faint presence of spiritual qi. As the river gradually led deeper underground, he entered the water and went with the flow, swimming away.
An hour later, the cavern suddenly opened up. He entered an extremely spacious region of water. Casting out his gaze, he actually failed to see the boundary. The water surface no longer existed. There were only ripples in the tranquil, dark water, like black jade hidden underground.
Regular people would obviously think of endless earth when the underground was mentioned, but no one would have imagined that the underground actually hid such an abundant source of water.
Li Qingshan thought, The one that Milliped spoke of should be here.
The spiritual qi in the black water was extremely dense. Although it was not as great as the place where resided Milliped, it was still quite a rare holy land for cultivation.
According to Li Qingshan’s observations from the past few days, there was a spiritual vein underground that stretched off in this direction. It was very likely for crystalline spiritual stones to exist below the mud and sand in the depths of the black water.
If he wanted to look for hidden daemons, he obviously would not charge off blindly. Instead, he followed what Milliped had told him and the direction of the spiritual vein. All the powerful daemons would claim a place that was rich in spiritual qi.
Li Qingshan made Xiao An wait to one side before letting out a deep growl and completely transforming. He developed the claws and tail of a tiger and the hooves and horns of an ox. The scarlet hair on his head floated up like a ball of scorching fire, and his height had already reached thirty-three feet.
For the past few days, he had stopped practising qi, directing his focus to the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression instead. He continued to chow down on his various pills, and he also borrowed Milliped’s bed to get some good sleep. His daemon qi increased extremely swiftly. Gradually, he would be able to suppress the ox demon completely. By then, returning to his original form would not be a problem anymore.
Afterwards, he immediately busied himself with the cultivation of the second layer of the tiger demon.
He could not achieve success with cultivating the tiger demon by blindly eating pills and meditating away. He required intense battles to unlock his potential and overcome bottlenecks.
As a result, he released his daemon qi fearlessly and let out a provoking roar.
A pair of eyes, the size of lanterns, suddenly lit up deep within the mud at the bottom. They shone viciously. With a swing of a huge tail, it shook away the black mud, and the colossal figure darted to several dozen meters away with great agility. It directly swam in Li Qingshan’s direction.
Li Qingshan could sense a daemon qi that was even stronger than his own in the distance. Just as Milliped had told him, this guy was very powerful, so powerful that even Milliped himself was reluctant to enter the water and make trouble for it.
However, that was because Milliped skewed toward fire of the five elements, while Li Qingshan skewed towards water. The deep water was also his home turf.
With his spirit turtle’s daemon core, he could move in water as well as he could move on land. He dove down to the bottom. His hooves sank into the mud and landed on the rock beneath as he stared ahead calmly.
The daemon qi drew closer and closer. He could already make out a colossal, ferocious figure and a pair of eye-catching pupils. The other daemon must be seeing the same sight.
Before the daemon had drawn near, water had already flooded over mightily. Of course, this was not just due to the flow it had kicked up with its body. There was also the factor of daemon qi.
Li Qingshan remained unfazed. He did not even use the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell to protect himself.
The water surged and rumbled over like the charge of an army, smashing against Li Qingshan viciously. It produced thunderous booms underwater.
His fire-like scarlet hair suddenly swept backwards, but Li Qingshan stood strong in the face of the flow, without moving at all. Even if there was another dozen tonnes of pressure on him, it would not even be able to make him bat an eye.
The surging water produced countless, tiny white streams near various parts of his body. A small, coloured fish could not help but be taken away by the flow. It came into contact with a torrent and was immediately ripped to pieces.
Even something as gentle as water could become a terrifying weapon once it possessed sufficient speed and strength.
However, all of this was just to probe the opponent and demonstrate its might!
Although it saw that its probe was useless, the daemon in the black water did not rush over in a hurry. Instead, it watched on from afar.
“My turn!” Scarlet light flashed through Li Qingshan’s eyes, and he spread his arms, reaching through the water like he was grabbing onto something extremely heavy.
His daemon core revolved as daemon qi seeped out as quickly as possible. Suddenly, he pushed forward forcefully, and all the water within a range of several dozen meters from Li Qingshan suddenly emptied out. Li Qingshan seemed to have lifted up a great ball of water, which he tossed at the daemon.
The daemon swung its tail and shattered the ball. As if several hundred tonnes of dynamite had exploded in the bottom of the lake, the entire lake churned.
However, using water to attack an aquatic daemon would obviously be ineffective. This was akin to the roars beasts would emit when they encountered each other in the wilderness; it was just to demonstrate their power.
As if it had accepted Li Qingshan as an equal opponent, the daemon in the black water swam over. This time, it did not make a single ripple in the water. The black water would automatically part for it no matter where it swam to. It glided through the water quietly like it was in outer space.
Li Qingshan finally saw the daemon’s true appearance. It was a salamander, but it had reached a terrifying fifty or sixty feet in length. Its slick, slippery skin was pitch-black, and it quietly moved through the water like a ghost in the dark. It possessed an indescribable grace. It was the ruler of this lake.
This was the first subordinate that Li Qingshan wanted to recruit, the blackwater salamander.
Two colossal daemon qi collided constantly in the water. The blackwater salamander used the contact between the daemon qi to convey its thoughts.
“Who are you? Why have you intruded on my territory?”
Of course, not all daemons could speak the human tongue. However, every single daemon would grasp a method of communication through the many years it spent inhaling and exhaling spiritual qi.
It used the pulses of daemon qi to replace its vigorous roars. Although it was nowhere near as refined or ingenious as the human tongue, it was much simpler and more straightforward.
Li Qingshan was a daemon, so after learning from Milliped a little, he grasped the method of communication that belonged to daemons. He could obviously understand what the blackwater salamander was saying. Li Qingshan’s heart eased up slightly. As expected, stronger daemons possessed a corresponding amount of intelligence. This blackwater salamander seemed to be even slighter smarter than Milliped.
He replied through the same method, using daemon qi, “I’ve come under the orders of great king Milliped to recruit you. I am the leader of the daemon soldiers. From today onwards, you will listen to my command!”