Chapter 211 – Unifying the Territory
The blackwater salamander had been curious about what kind of daemon Li Qingshan was supposed to be a long time ago.
Li Qingshan said, “You’re a thing!” He punched down with his fist. Although the blackwater salamander was exhausted, it was not stupid. It dodged quickly.
Li Qingshan shot a glare at him. “How dare you dodge when the leader is hitting you? Do you still want to live or not?”
Xiao An’s two skulls pressed over threateningly. With no other choice, the blackwater salamander made his way back over and let Li Qingshan hit him.
Li Qingshan let out a sigh of relief and sat down on the spot. He looked at the first daemon soldier under his command in satisfaction. He had never thought he would end up becoming a leader among daemons before he even managed to become a Black Wolf commander. Moreover, he was one that led some of the strongest daemons out there.
According to the standard of human Qi Practitioners, the blackwater salamander was around the ninth or tenth layer. It was quite close to Daemon General now.
If Li Qingshan’s strength as a daemon was measured using the standard of Qi Practitioners, it would be rather impressive if he managed to reach the seventh or eighth layer. He was still very far away from Daemon General. There was nothing he could do about it. Cultivating as a daemon took up tremendous amounts of time in the first place. Those pills had already been of great help to him to be able to reach his current strength so quickly.
His three powerful abilities were the only reason for his victory.
Now that there was no danger, the blackwater salamander settled down to rest as well. It glanced at Xiao An carefully before asking, “Leader, Milliped…”
Li Qingshan corrected, “Call him great king.”
The blackwater salamander continued, “Why has great king Milliped sent you to beat me up?”
Li Qingshan said, “It’s not just you. I’ll be beating up all the daemons underground. I’ll spare them if they yield, but if they don’t, I’ll beat them all to death.”
Although the blackwater salamander was not the strongest daemon in this region, it was the daemon that was the most difficult to handle. Even Milliped was reluctant to venture into its waters. Even if he did, subduing him would still be very difficult. That was why Li Qingshan decided on him as his first target.
The blackwater salamander looked at Xiao An. “Leader, who’s this?”
Li Qingshan said, “That’s the vice leader!”
The flames in Xiao An’s eye sockets surged. She had actually become the vice leader.
Li Qingshan asked, “Do you know where great king Milliped’s dwelling is?”
“I do, I do!” Probably all the daemons in this region that had some intelligence knew where it was.
Li Qingshan said, “Alright. In three months’ time, I’m going to be holding a meeting there. If you don’t show up, there’s no point for you to remain in this lake of black water anymore.”
He was not satisfied with just beating up these daemons and making them submit to him. His primary objective was still to turn them into a combat force that he could control. As a result, he came up with a daemon’s gathering with Milliped, where he would summon all the daemons who had condensed daemon cores.
The blackwater salamander could only agree helplessly.
Li Qingshan thought of something. He took out an uneaten roasted chicken from his hundred treasures pouch and tossed it to the blackwater salamander.
The blackwater salamander ate it in a single gulp. The various spices, and the taste of salt in particular, permeated its mouth. It swam around Li Qingshan excitedly and stared right at him. “Leader, is there anymore?”
Li Qingshan thought, Just as I had expected. Although the underground was like a great treasure trove, possessing spiritual veins and various spiritual herbs, it could never match the abundance of food available on the surface. Even a Daemon General like Milliped could not eat whatever he wanted, let alone regular daemons.
He only needed to absorb the spiritual qi of the world within the black water, and he would not starve to death even if he went a decade without food. However, the instincts of creatures would never vanish. The carrot and the stick had been proven to be highly effective throughout history. Now that Li Qingshan had used it properly, it resulted in exactly what he had expected.
“Hmph, if you go when the time comes, there’ll be as much as you want!”
“I’ll definitely go! I’ll definitely go!” The blackwater salamander immediately became extremely eager. If he could eat such good food every single day, there would be nothing wrong with being a daemon soldier.
Li Qingshan left the region with Xiao An. He ate a Hundred Grasses pill and recovered most of his daemon qi before asking Xiao An curiously, “Why did you turn back?”
Xiao An explained. As it turned out, she did it to hide her identity. There would be a time when they would return to the surface. If she remained in human form, she would be remembered by far too many creatures. It might even lead to the exposure of Li Qingshan’s identity in the future. And, in this subterranean world, a non-humanoid form was instead more convenient than a humanoid form when it came to moving about.
Li Qingshan admired Xiao An’s cautiousness. He could not be certain that the world of humans and the world of daemons never intersected. There would never be anything wrong with being a little more careful. They could communicate using their auras anyway. Xiao An’s aura consisted of the flames that surged from her body.
“Let’s go to the next place.”
Outside Salt Mountain city, in the quiet garden, within the hole.
Li Qingshan looked at the daylight pouring in from above and felt dazzled. He turned around and said to Milliped, “I’ll go prepare some food and drinks for them. You can go back first!”
Milliped returned reluctantly. Li Qingshan returned to the surface with Xiao An, but they found the surroundings to be bare.
Snow covered the ground and mountains in the distance. Clearly, there had been quite a lot of snowfall during the time that they were gone.
Li Qingshan was happy. He smiled at Xiao An, who smiled back.
His punitive expedition against the daemons had been much more successful than Li Qingshan had imagined before setting out. Apart from the troublesome blackwater salamander, there were a few other powerful daemons.
One of them was a boulder viper over thirty meters in length. It was even stronger than the blackwater salamander. Its body was basically made out of rock, impermeable to regular weapons, and it hid in the soil without giving off any aura at all. Li Qingshan was almost injured by its sudden sneak attack.
However, when Li Qingshan stated his intentions, the boulder viper immediately expressed its willingness to follow Milliped’s command. It would be taking part in the gathering of daemons.
The blackwater salamander looked down on Milliped due to the geographic advantage it possessed. However, even the boulder viper was not bold enough to openly confront a Daemon General.
As a result, Li Qingshan managed to recruit his second powerful daemon soldier without even whipping out the carrot and the stick. As long as the king possessed absolute strength, expeditions would always become much easier for the general.
There were a few other battles, but basically all of them were more threatening than dangerous. Of course, that was because Li Qingshan possessed sufficient strength, or who knows how many times he would have died already.
Although the strongest daemons featured Milliped’s strength, they had to probe out Li Qingshan’s strength if he was to be their leader. The boulder python had yielded so quickly because its ambush attack on Li Qingshan had failed, and a punch from Li Qingshan had cracked the rocks on its body.
Even though Li Qingshan was not confident he could achieve victory half of the time if they really did become embroiled in a battle to the death, no daemon was willing to battle other daemons of the same strength to death without a proper reason.
The world believed humans were intelligent and rational, while daemons were bloodthirsty and crazy.
That was not true. Even when wild beasts in the wilderness fought for a mate or territory, they would not battle their opponents to the death. The loser might not even suffer particularly severe injuries. Most of the time, victory would be determined through roars and demonstrations of strength.
However, humans would often gamble their lives without any regard for the sake of women and power. Even when they knew there was no chance, they would still want to try it. They would end up defeated and dead, never able to learn from their mistakes. Perhaps it would just be a small scuffle, going from a small insult to fighting. Finally, they would end up with a battle to the death over the vague concept of pride.
The only thing that existed within wild beasts was an instinct for survival. They did not have complicated emotions like humans; this aspect would not change even after becoming a daemon.
As a result, Li Qingshan had faced a group of surprisingly rational opponents.
If even powerful daemons would yield, it went without saying for the weaker ones. They basically bowed their heads the moment Li Qingshan unleashed his daemon qi; it was so simple that even Li Qingshan was left in disbelief. It only took him a single month to do all of this, far quicker than he had anticipated.
Milliped was just too slow-witted, so he could be easily ignored. He had no awareness of recruiting subordinates either, which was why he was in his current situation. Li Qingshan made up for Milliped’s lack of intelligence, immediately taking over control of his territory for him.
Now, Li Qingshan had basically gained a few dozen daemon soldiers under his command, and his identity as the leader of the daemon soldiers had come true. All he had to do was wait for the gathering of daemons, where he would establish his control completely. He would be able to command these daemon soldiers around, and he would have a Daemon General as a friend.
If the Sect of Clouds and Rain still wanted to touch him, they would be seeking their own doom. As long as there were no masters who had undergone tribulations, he could deal with them no matter how many people they sent. Even if the sect master came, bold enough to venture underground, he would show the sect master the power of a carapaced Daemon General.
Thinking about the perfect future awaiting him, Li Qingshan put on the large bamboo hat and the bamboo basket again, letting Xiao An hide in there.
Although he could return to normal, he purposefully maintained his huge figure so that it would be convenient for him to move around within human society. For the sake of the gathering’s success, he needed a banquet. He would have to rely on Yu Shukuang for this.
In the Proud Sword manor, Yu Shukuang grabbed Li Qingshan’s hands excitedly. “You’ve finally returned?”
Li Qingshan saw how panicked Yu Shukuang had become. He asked in a hurry, “What happened?”
Yu Shukuang told him the whole story. Li Qingshan replied furiously, “He has gone too far. Have you contacted Hua Chenglu?”
Yu Shukuang said bitterly, “I’ve already sent the letter, but there has been no reply.”
Li Qingshan understood that even if Hua Chenglu did something, she would not go as far as to reply to the letter and explain everything. However, this was probably much more complicated than it seemed. Even if Hua Chenglu wanted to act, the Hua family might not necessarily be willing to develop bad blood with the Green Vine mountain over a friendship between children.
He had already witnessed the unruliness and arrogance of cultivation sects from the Sect of Clouds and Rain in the past. They were even bold enough to kill Hawkwolf guards, so why would they be afraid to forcefully recruit a disciple?
Yu Shukuang asked, “What am I supposed to do? Sigh, it’s all because I’m useless!”
Li Qingshan tried to persuade him. “Don’t worry too much. At most, she’ll suffer some hardships as the disciple of someone else. She won’t be in danger. Getting her to experience the vile side of human society isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” The Green Vine mountain was an orthodox sect after all. They were not thugs.
Yu Shukuang sighed heavily. That was true, but how could he stop worrying?
Li Qingshan was rather worried as well. He liked Yu Zijian’s straightforwardness and kindness very much. He did not wish for her to endure any abuse.
“I’ll go to the Green Vine mountain to check on her. You stay here and prepare some things for me.”