Chapter 243 – The Mountain is There
The Golden Pheasant Elder said, “Eleven for the Pheasant’s Grace mountain.”
The Lone Grave Elder said, “Seven!” However, they all knew that this was not because disciples of the Burial Mound mountain were stronger, but because they could use corpses as shields.
Almost thirty disciples had died in under four hours. Although it was not a lot compared to the total number of disciples that they possessed, it was enough to shake up the foundations of the three mountains.
Hua Chengzan frowned. He never thought something like this would happen during the Herb Gathering ceremony. Were the daemons already prepared for this, waiting to ambush the Qi Practitioners as they ventured underground?
Perhaps the Daemon General in this region finally became fed up with humans running through his territory freely and began to respond to it. If that was the case, the deaths would only just be the beginning. It was very likely for all the cultivators in the ceremony to be annihilated this time.
He could no longer imagine just how great of a ripple it would cause if almost a thousand human cultivators died. He could not help but sigh. Looking at the dark clouds in the sky, the situation of the world really was going to change!
The three elders were bleeding inside over the loss. Their faces were cold and sunken as killing intent surged through their eyes. That person was right! All daemons deserved to die!
“Brother, are you saying that Zijian will…” Hua Chenglu rushed over from afar and grabbed Hua Chengzan’s sleeve anxiously.
As she said that, a few more specks of light vanished. Although Yu Zijian was not a disciple of the Green Vine mountain, she also carried a sensory spiritual artifact, so she was one of the specks of light there. Who knows when hers would be extinguished.
“We can only pray that the heavens protects good people.” Hua Chengzan pressed down on Hua Chenglu’s shoulder. Right now, he was powerless too. If there really was a Daemon General active, the underground would be a forbidden zone to Qi Practitioners. While he was known as the greatest below Foundation Establishment, he was still a Qi Practitioner.
If the person underground right now was Hua Chenglu, he would rush in there without hesitation, but it was impossible for him to take such a great risk for a girl he was unfamiliar with.
Hua Chenglu bit her lip. She understood what Hua Chengzan was considering. She could not be obstinate and make excessive demands here.
A black daemon sat alone in a large cavern. It raised its right arm and extended its forefinger. On the tip of the finger was a huge talon, as sharp as a blade, which it placed on a young man’s forehead gently.
The young man was alone too. He seemed to be fifteen or sixteen, such that soft facial hair had only just begun sprouting near his lips, but he was already a third layer Qi Practitioner. He could be considered a small genius. The clothes he wore indicated that he did not come from the three mountains. Instead, he should be an independent cultivator from a certain clan who had come to try his luck.
A black shadow reflected in his fear-stricken pupils, and the violent murderousness and daemon qi completely obliterated his will to fight back. However, the daemon did not strike immediately, so he seemed to see a sliver of hope. He begged, “Don’t, I beg you. I…”
However, the heavy smell of blood seeped out from behind the black daemon. The young man clearly saw that it was a pile of corpses of Qi Practitioners, which made his lips tremble in fear. Translucent tears streaked across his face.
A while earlier…
A group of disciples from the Pheasant’s Grace mountain arrived here. Using the experiences of their seniors, it would often be much easier for them to find blessed lands with spiritual herbs and inhabited by daemonic beasts than independent cultivators.
But this time, the thing lurking here was an actual daemon, and the leader of the daemons.
The familiar uniform made Li Qingshan recall many negative memories, and he seemed to have met the leading seventh layer Qi Practitioner in the Quiet Spring valley as well.
“Ah!” The first disciple to spot Li Qingshan cried out before coming to a halt.
Li Qingshan’s index finger had already stabbed through his chest like a spear.
Only then did the other disciples react. They all bellowed out and attacked together. They took out talismans, drew spiritual artifacts, and used techniques.
The one who responded the fastest was the inner disciple, a seventh layer Qi Practitioner. However, before his golden pheasant feather had even managed to take off, a huge hand had already appeared before him. The index finger pushed against the thumb gently before flicking out leisurely. His head was smashed into pieces as bits of brain and fragments of his skull scattered across the ground.
At this moment, those who went for their talismans had only extended their hands into their talisman pouches, those who drew spiritual artifacts had only lit up their spiritual artifact, and those who used techniques had only gathered their true qi. Their minds even struggled to take in everything happening before them, preventing them from reacting properly.
Li Qingshan waved his hand conveniently and blood spurted out. Not a single person was alive anymore.
The battle began in an instant and ended in an instant.
It was so simple that even Li Qingshan himself was slightly surprised. He had sure spent a lot of effort in order to deal with Zhuo Zhibo who was a sixth layer Qi Practitioner back then.
Although he had yet to undergo the heavenly tribulation and take that legendary first step, his great strength had been converted into terrifying battle prowess after he reached the second layer of the tiger demon. He could now suppress even the strongest daemons, so how could any Qi Practitioner be his opponent?
Li Qingshan was not interested in torturous deaths, so they all died extremely swiftly, without any pain. The more direct reason for this was because he did not know these disciples of the Pheasant’s Grace mountain. Even the leader of this group would only bark meaninglessly in his face before he died.
However, since they were disciples of the Pheasant’s Grace mountain, they were his enemy. There was nothing much more to it. If he killed them, then he killed them.
But right now, he was completely unfamiliar with the young man standing before him.
Clang! Like the thrum of a blade, there was a cold flash, and the young man’s corpse with a half-destroyed head collapsed on the ground.
The pause earlier was not due to any hesitation in his heart. Instead, he was just reminiscing, reminiscing about what he was about to cut in half and toss aside.
He was like a mountain climber who wanted to conquer a treacherous mountain, who needed to empty his heavy backpack and toss everything inside into the abyss one by one. However, these items might have been very important in the beginning, so he could not help but sigh a little inside.
Everyone wanted to reach the very top of the mountain without throwing anything away, just like how everyone wanted to achieve success without sacrificing anything. However, this was impossible. The price was more than just hard work.
If Li Qingshan was willing to live a peaceful life, reluctant to leave Qingyang and strive towards somewhere as distant as beyond the Nine Heavens, then he could have it very easy. However, he would not, because the mountain was there.
Li Qingshan speared the corpses with his finger and tossed them aside, which fell into a small pile. He said, “Don’t eat them.” These were for Xiao An. There was also a cowering daemonic beast in the cavern. Even though it was enticed by the flesh and blood, it did not dare to move.
Li Qingshan had never studied any military tactics or strategies before, but in his former life, during the age of the information explosion, he was not unfamiliar with knowledge regarding the military. He knew how to unite his forces to crush the enemies.
He stationed his two strongest daemon soldiers in a few places that were most likely to attract Qi Practitioners and got them to wait. As for Xiao An and the boulder viper who were better at moving around, he had them constantly patrol a few main tunnels underground to kill weaker Qi Practitioners.
The other daemons would gather together in fives or threes at the very least, led by the strongest as they guarded against stronger Qi Practitioners. All they needed was a simple adjustment, and the daemons were basically unstoppable. As a matter of fact, it was no more complicated than a game.
Li Qingshan did not take a step back as the leader of the daemon soldiers. Instead, he chose a place teeming with spiritual herbs near a spiritual vein, beginning his wait and slaughter.
Li Qingshan exhaled deeply and stowed the hundred treasures pouches into his bosom. He leaned against his arm as he continued to wait. He did not find much joy in killing people he was unfamiliar with, but he was quite happy about obtaining hundred treasures pouches.
Once the battle ended, the pills he obtained would provide great assistance towards breaking through to the second layer of the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression.
Suddenly, he raised his head and sniffed the air. Through the heavy smell of blood, a familiar scent made him recall a few past memories. He could not help but frown. Why was she here?
Although they had separated less than a month ago, it felt like a very long time had passed as he hid and waited in the gloomy underground.
I’ll go and take a stroll. Li Qingshan stood up and made his way out of the cavern. After taking a few steps, he suddenly turned around and said to the daemonic beast, “Don’t eat them!”
If the daemonic beast could cry, it would have already burst into tears out of fear already.
The jade-green and blood-red pupils danced around in the darkness. Several large daemons surrounded a group of Qi Practitioners. Foul air exuded from their huge mouths filled with long, protruding teeth.
“Senior brother, what do we do?” Cheng Jiali turned pale.
Mu Zhicong’s forehead was covered in perspiration. He controlled a flying sword that flew around in the surroundings. However, it was already very tough for him to confront just a single daemon with his strength, so he had no chance at all if he had to face several of them at the same time. Even his chances of survival were pitifully slim.
Why was it like this? Why? He had clearly only entered the den of a daemonic beast, so why were there so many daemons gathered together? And, they were of different species too!
Mu Zhicong was furious and filled with doubt inside. This place had been cleaned out in the previous Herb Gathering ceremony, and it was disciples of the Green Vine mountain who did that. Even if a daemonic beast had reclaimed this place, they should not have been much more powerful than regular, wild beasts.
He had brought his squad here to try his luck. If he ran into a daemonic beast, he would use it and show his power to Yu Zijian, as well as have his junior brothers and sisters use it to warm up so that they could venture deeper underground. However, he never thought he would barge into the nest of several daemons and throw himself into danger.
The daemons all used their daemonic qi to communicate in a way that the humans were unable to hear.
“These humans are too weak! Let’s eat them!”
“If it weren’t for the leader’s idea, you’d be eaten already if you were just by yourself.”
“I want to eat the one at the very front!”
“Move, the one at the very front is mine!”
“Be careful, this human is a little tough to deal with. Don’t get injured by him, but don’t let him escape either. Humans have a lot of tricks,” the strongest daemon issued orders.
The other daemons immediately obeyed. Under the caution that had been planted in them while they were still wild beasts, they did not charge up together, just like how a group of lions would circle a wildebeest. They would not attack recklessly, just in case they would be injured by the horns.
However, the daemons also possessed intelligence that wild beasts lacked. They constantly growled and roared, tearing down the mental lines of defence in the Qi Practitioners. Their huge bodies formed a perfect encirclement to prevent the strongest prey, Mu Zhicong, from escaping during the chaos.
“Ahh!” There was a shriek, and a daemon that seemed like a huge lizard chomped down on a disciple, dragging him away.