Chapter 238 – Second Layer of the Tiger Demon
The Golden Pheasant Elder produced a great roar. The golden pheasant flapped its wings furiously, kicking up violent gusts of wind and uprooting many towering trees.
At this moment, the disciples of the Pheasant’s Grace mountain all arrived too. They cried out, “Master! Where is first senior brother?”
“You bunch of trash!” The Golden Pheasant Elder raised his hand, and a violent gust of wind blew them away. They slammed against the trees viciously and slid down, but they dared not complain.
“Please forgive us, master!” “Please spare us!”
The Golden Pheasant Elder’s heaving chest gradually settled down. He barked, “Where’s Song Ming?”
Song Ming walked over obsequiously and knelt on the ground, “Master!” He suddenly felt a tremendous pressure push him to the ground.
The Golden Pheasant Elder said, “All of this happened because of you. If it weren’t for a piece of trash like you, your senior brother wouldn’t have- he wouldn’t have-”
“Fellow Golden Pheasant, no one could have imagined this, so why must you direct your anger at a junior?”
A relaxed, carefree voice rang out in the sky. The Green Vine Elder and the Lone Grave Elder had already arrived at a certain time, hovering in the air. The speaker was obviously the Green Vine Elder. The Green Vine Elder and the Lone Grave Elder looked at one another; they seemed to be smiling inside.
The three mountains were both in an alliance and each other’s competitors. If one was stronger, then the others were weaker. The Pheasant’s Grace mountain’s loss of a genius disciple was fantastic news to them. It made them even happier than obtaining a daemon core.
The Golden Pheasant Elder’s anger returned. His chest heaved again. “This is my Golden Pheasant mountain’s business. It has nothing to do with you two old coots!”
“Fellow Golden Pheasant, you can’t say that. Our three mountains stand together in an alliance, so your enemies are obviously our enemies. Once we return, we’ll immediately put out an order for capture among the three mountains and bring the murderer to justice,” said the Green Vine Elder. Who knew whether his mouth hidden under his beard was smiling or not.
“Yep!” The Lone Grave Elder nodded.
The Golden Pheasant Elder did not decline either. Avenging his dear disciple superseded his desire to protect his dignity, but it had been quite a long time since he had suffered such humiliation. He gritted his teeth. “If you find that kid, don’t kill him in a hurry. Just let me know. I want him alive. I want to skin him alive and carve up his bones out of pure hatred.”
Song Ming was still on the ground. His face was ashen. Although he had managed to get out of this alive, his future on the Pheasant’s Grace mountain would be gloomy now that his master hated him.
Damn it! How did it end up like this!?
He would have never imagined that his ninth layer Qi Practitioner first senior brother would end up dying at the hands of someone minor. He had heard how his master had given him two supreme grade talismans. Even if he ran into a Foundation Establishment cultivator, he should still be able to stay alive, so how did he end up dying to someone so insignificant?
While the other disciples of the Pheasant’s Grace mountain all had their heads layered in sorrow, what they thought inside was the exact opposite. Many of them rejoiced or even celebrated the death of their first senior brother.
This applied to the two eighth layer Qi Practitioners in particular. The first senior brother had always kept them firmly suppressed, such that it was suffocating. Now that the first senior brother was gone, they could obtain even more resources. There was even a chance for them to inherit the position of sect master. Wasn’t this fantastic, unexpected news? When they thought of that, they looked at one another before immediately shifting their gazes.
As for that Niu Juxia or whatever he was called, the three mountains were out to get him. He was already a dead man. How would it be possible for a Qi Practitioner to live when they were hated by a Foundation Establishment cultivator?
None of them knew that Li Qingshan was quietly listening to all of this.
In the mountain, deep below the soil, Li Qingshan concealed all of his aura. Like a toad in hibernation, he was buried in the soil.
Actually, he did not even need to try to conceal his aura. His aura was already extremely weak, difficult for other people to sense.
His back had basically been reduced to ash, unable to sense anything anymore, while the tiny hole on his chest gradually expanded. The violent spiritual energy rampaged through his body. His daemon core struggled to keep it suppressed.
In just a single clash with a Foundation Establishment cultivator, who knew how many times he had visited the brink of death. He had only barely managed to escape using the talisman and the environment. He was still heavily injured, such that he was a mess internally and externally. His entire body was immobilised by the pressure of the soil. If he were a regular Qi Practitioner, he would have died already.
However, he ignored the precarious situation and the wounds on his body, gathering all of his focus on his ears. He used his extraordinary hearing to eavesdrop on the conversation above ground. He concentrated on it carefully with a stern expression.
When the voices vanished, he suddenly smiled. His smile gradually grew, revealing his pearly teeth. Although he remained there silently, without producing any sounds, the viciousness and insolence within him only intensified.
Sharp claws extended from his hands and feet, while his hair turned scarlet, expanding to other parts of his body simultaneously. His black, iron-like skin became covered with a pattern akin to the stripes of a tiger. Even his irises turned into slits, just like a brutal beast’s.
He actually broke through to the second layer of the Tiger Demon’s Fist of Bone Forging at a time like this.
The path of the tiger demon had to be comprehended through battle. Today, Li Qingshan had basically gone through five battles without rest. Against the masked man first, against the Truth-seeking society second, against the Hawkwolf guards third, against the first senior brother fourth, and against the Golden Pheasant Elder fifth.
Each battle was more intense than the last, more dangerous than the last. He had only managed to forge a chance of survival after being heavily injured and utterly exhausting himself. He had been forced to his limits. If he had survived, then he would erupt!
Li Qingshan began to struggle. He let out soundless roars as his long canines resembled sharp daggers. His body grew larger bit by bit, forcing apart the earth around him as he turned into his daemon form.
The surging daemon qi crushed and tore apart the foreign spiritual energy in his body, while the hole in his chest closed up. The wounds on his back rapidly healed, returning his back to its state a very short while ago; no, it had become even tougher and more tenacious than before.
After suffering tremendous damage, the Ox Demon Forges its Hide had actually strengthened, like black iron that had gone through another round of smelting. His defences had doubled at the very least. Even if he were directly struck by a mid grade spiritual artifact now, he would be unscathed.
Li Qingshan smiled in a self-deprecating manner. It seemed like he needed to be injured more often in the future.
With the powerful vitality and recovery of his daemon body, he made a complete recovery very quickly.
Exhaling gently, Li Qingshan used the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression to return to human form, or more accurately, half-beast and half-human.
He had returned to his original size, but he retained his fiery hair, slit pupils, and sharp teeth. Even the striped pattern remained on his face. He did not seem human at all.
Li Qingshan could not be bothered by this. After confirming the direction, he swung his sharp claws and dug downwards furiously.
An indescribable flame filled his heart and supported his movements. The pitch-black soil seemed to morph into the faces of his enemies. He would grab at them and rip them apart as hard as he could, and only then would the restlessness in his heart ease.
The tiger demon focused on killing, which had a tremendous influence over his mind.
However, he no longer tried to control this influence, this killing intent, anymore. Instead, he allowed them to roar like a scorching fire in his heart.
The space before him suddenly opened up. He had finally reached a section of the cave that had not collapsed. Leaping down, he easily adjusted his position mid-air before rushing into the depths of the cave.
Within the mountains in a huge, open pit, a child waited quietly. This was the entrance to another cave, as well as where she had agreed to rendezvous with him if they separated.
She showed no expression, nor did she move. If it were not for her clothes that moved in the wind, she would seem like a marble statue that had been standing in the snowfield since forever.
However, her heart had already become something akin to the lava under the snow, filled with burning anxiety.
A black bear three or four times the size of a regular bear took heavy steps, foraging for food in the forest. Suddenly, its nose twitched. The heavy smell of sandalwood arrived with the cold wind.
It passed through the dense forest and arrived by the edge of the pit. Looking down, it saw the still child, and it began to drool naturally, but it hesitated. The child seemed to give off an invisible splendor, making her seem noble and sacred like an inviolable existence.
When buddha spoke the dharma, all demons bowed their heads in submission. When eminent monks carried out their virtuous deeds, vicious beasts would keep their distance.
But in the end, its appetite and viciousness overpowered its intelligence and perception. It lunged towards the child. Despite its huge size, it actually moved extremely gracefully.
Xiao An turned around expressionlessly. Her pupils that were like glaze made contact with its vicious gaze. It shuddered.
The perfect purity was like deep coldness, just like how the purest water was uninhabitable to aquatic life. She was not like a child. She was not even like a human.
However, she suddenly turned around again, ignoring the black bear that was only inches away. Joy from the bottom of her heart ripped through her eyes. At that moment, she suddenly gained an aura befitting of the living, like a delicate puppet that had turned into a human child.
However, the black bear’s eyes were filled with terror. It could not be bothered with the prey that was only inches away anymore as it turned around and fled. A terrifying aura rapidly drew closer.
Before the black bear could get very far, a black shadow burst out from the snow. The shining, scarlet pupils produced two streaks of light in the dark night. It appeared above the black bear and swung its claws casually. The black bear’s brains immediately splattered out, and with a whimper, it collapsed on the ground.
As if the shadow was still not satisfied, it extended its arms, wrenching out a warm heart.
If regular people saw this, they would have peed their pants in their fright towards this vicious beast. Even Qi Practitioners would shiver inside.
However, the child was filled with joy. She exclaimed, “Qingshan!”
The shadow suddenly turned around, staring straight at the child. The red light in its pupils gradually vanished, while its heavy, murderous aura seemed to fade slightly. It revealed a rather fierce smile. “That’s the first time you’ve called me by my name.”
Faced with Xiao An’s worried gaze, Li Qingshn smiled. “I’ve broken through to the second layer. What do you think? It’s pretty good, isn’t it?” He casually swung his hand and left behind four deep claw marks on the rock wall ten meters away.
Xiao An nodded seriously, expressing great appreciation towards his current form.
“Looks like my Xiao An has good tastes!” Li Qingshan laughed aloud and scooped her up, placing her on his neck and making his way into the cave.
“Where are we doing?” Xiao An asked.
“To hold the underground gathering, of course.”
“Aren’t there still quite a few days until that?”
“We need to prepare beforehand to welcome the friends from above ground. We need to fulfill our role as the host.”
“Can I kill them all?”
Life was like a battlefield. We fight tooth and nail for our entire lives, and only when we die can we rest.