Chapter 245 – Another First Senior Brother
Li Qingshan suddenly stopped. He sensed the auras of many human cultivators up ahead. In human form, his senses had decreased drastically, so he only managed to discover them here.
They were very close to the surface now, but they still needed to cross through a long, winding cave. This was almost the only way out. If he turned around now, he would have to take a very long detour.
Yu Zijian said, “What’s wrong?”
Li Qingshan smiled, “Nothing. There are a few Qi Practitioners up ahead. Let’s go take a look.” He took off and the “gut” of the huge beast began to writhe again. A while later, they came across another “stomach”, a large cavern of over a hundred meters across.
Several dozen Qi Practitioners either sat or stood. They wore various uniforms. Not only were there disciples of the three mountains, but there were even a few independent cultivators as well. Everyone was shaken, and many of them were injured. Clearly, they had only managed to escape from the claws and teeth of Li Qingshan’s daemon soldiers after tremendous effort, gathering here.
They were all extremely frightened now. When they heard the sound, they all stood up and gazed into the tunnel. When they saw two people, many of them immediately relaxed and lost interest.
Li Qingshan continued onwards without stopping, holding Yu Zijian as he leapt high into the air. He did not just want to send Yu Zijian out. He was prepared to turn around and transform after sending Yu Zijian out of the caves and unleash a massacre.
He scanned past everyone and took note of everyone’s state. There was actually a ninth layer Qi Practitioner among them, and from his uniform, he seemed like a disciple of the Burial Mound mountain. His face was pale as he gave off a deathly aura. While he seemed like he was in his thirties, he seemed like a thirty year old who had been dead for thirty years. Perhaps he was some first senior brother.
There were three or four eighth layer Qi Practitioners as well, while Qi Practitioners below the sixth layer made up less than half of them. To be able to escape from the encirclement of his daemon army, they truly needed to be powerful.
Mid-air, Li Qingshan heard a cold yell, “Get down here.”
His leap had agitated the ninth layer Qi Practitioner. Li Qingshan had guessed correctly. He was the first senior brother of the Burial Mound mountain, someone who possessed absolute power in the sect, so how could he let a fourth layer Qi Practitioner leap over his head? He had suffered a huge loss today, so he just happened to be angry.
Without further thought, he parted his hands, and an inky-green Corpse Poison ball shot out. The target was Li Qingshan in the air. The Corpse Poison ball was one of the special techniques unique to the Burial Mound mountain. It did not seem particularly impressive, but it was condensed from the corpse qi gathered from old corpses over a century old. Not only was it extremely potent, but it could infiltrate protective true qi as well. Death awaited both animals and humans if they came in contact with it.
Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow. He had already grown accustomed to the habit of these Qi Practitioners, where they would try to kill each other over the slightest of dispute. He did not feel particularly angry. If this world really was a huge pit for battle, then he had already grown accustomed to his role as a gladiator or a vicious beast.
The Corpse Poison ball exploded into a cloud of inky-green corpse qi in the air, enveloping Li Qingshan and Yu Zijian.
“Reckless!” The first senior brother swung his hand and snorted coldly. The pent-up emotions in him eased up slightly.
The disciples of the other sects and the independent cultivators all shuffled even further away from him. They had already heard how the disciples of the Burial Mound mountain were cruel and merciless and would kill without thinking. His actions had only proved that today.
“First senior brother, that person has a tall and robust body. He seems quite suited to be refined as a corpse,” said a disciple of the Burial Mound mountain. They were not like the disciples of the Pheasant’s Grace mountain, who constantly spouted flattery to fulfill their first senior brother’s vanity. Instead, all of them were expressionless with dead faces. Only when it came to refining corpses would their eyes shine. This was their desire for power.
On the Burial Mound mountain, the stronger the zombies that they could control, the stronger they themselves would be. They could even challenge Qi Practitioners at higher cultivations than themselves.
“Oh, really?” Before the first senior brother had even finished talking, there were a series of sharp swishes, and hundreds of icicles shot out from the poisonous mist swiftly and densely.
The first senior brother was not fazed at all. He touched his wrist. He wore an old, bronze bangle on his wrist, which was mottled with bloody marks. After being touched by him, it immediately lit up and summoned a Steel Plate corpse before him. The Steel Plate corpse’s body shone brilliantly as corpse qi revolved around it. Who knows how many times more powerful than the Zombie Daoist’s Iron Plate corpse it was.
The icicles landed on the steel plates. When the unstoppable icicles struck the Steel Plate corpse’s body, it only produced a series of clings and clangs, leaving behind many white marks and a layer of frost.
Li Qingshan landed on the ground gently and placed down Yu Zijian. The layer of thin ice around them immediately shattered, reabsorbed into the Whale’s Ingestion of Water. Since the battles last time, he had returned to the spring and replenished the Ice Condensate water in the weapon. He could now handle the Whale’s Ingestion of Water with even greater skill.
His gaze was calm and cold. He did not say anything, nor was there anything to say. They would fight to death sooner or later anyway, but what he had to consider right now was the issue of sooner or later.
Yu Zijian became furious instead. “Why did you attack us?” Underground, she had already witnessed the viciousness and terrors of daemons, but she struggled to understand why humans would still attack each other in a situation like this.
The first senior brother said emotionlessly, “Because I want to.”
“You…” Yu Zijian was speechless from anger.
“Let’s go!” Li Qingshan patted her shoulder and casually pulled her in by her waist, walking away with his hand around her. They were not very far from the surface now. He could come back and deal with them after he transformed.
He had decided to kill this first senior brother a little slower this time to show him what “because I want to” meant.
“Don’t you even think about leaving.” The disciples of the Burial Mound mountain summoned several dozen zombies, which surrounded Li Qingshan. The movements of every single one was as swift as the wind, and the number of Iron Plate corpses there amounted to thirteen. The arts of refining corpses that had been passed down through the sect were not something the Zombie Daoist could rival.
Li Qingshan asked, “What do you want?”
The first senior brother said, “Everyone must stay here to fight the daemons.” He had brought the Burial Mound mountain’s strongest group of disciples underground with him. Right from the very beginning, their target had not been those weak daemonic beasts near the surface, or the spiritual herbs that had been gathered many times before. Instead, they chose a shortcut to directly venture into the depths.
This shortcut was an underground river, but they encountered the attack of an extremely terrifying daemon in the river water. The daemon was pitch-black and moved like a shadow in the water. It directly kicked up a huge flood and constantly bombarded them with water arrows ten times more terrifying than the icicles from earlier.
When their attacks landed on the daemon, it was completely useless. Only when they lost a few junior brothers and a large number of zombies did they manage to escape, and then they encountered the attacks of various daemons that only appeared deeper down. They fought as they retreated, taking the long way back and returning to this cavern. By then, quite a few Qi Practitioners had already fled here, and only then did they learn that the Herb Gathering ceremony was drastically different from the past. However, the first senior brother refused to back out of here and instead gathered the defeated Qi Practitioners, wanting to take the daemons on in a decisive battle.
Li Qingshan asked out of curiosity, “Do you really plan on staying here and fighting with the daemons?” However, he could sense furious resentment flash through the eyes of the Qi Practitioners not from the Burial Mound mountain when they heard that, but they dared not speak up about it.
“Of course. You must stay behind too!” said the first senior brother. Although the daemons were terrifying, they did not pose any life-threatening danger to him, a ninth layer Qi Practitioner protected by a Steel Plated corpse. Even if he came across some of the strongest daemons, he could retreat easily.
And, from earlier, he had already collected sufficient corpses. The Burial Mound mountain was different from the two sects. What they focused most of their attention on were not spiritual herbs, but corpses, the corpses of daemons and the corpses of humans.
All the sects had sustained heavy losses in the Herb Gathering ceremony this time, but from another perspective, it was a fantastic time for the Burial Mound mountain to rise up and completely overwhelm the Green Vine mountain and the Pheasant’s Grace mountain. As long as they turned all of these Qi Practitioners into zombies and refined a few powerful corpse beasts, the strength of the Burial Mound mountain would instead increase, while his status in the sect would become unshakeable.
Due to controlling multiple zombies for battles most of the time, the disciples of the Burial Mound mountain had a better eye for battle than the disciples of the other two mountains, while the first senior brother was the best of the best among them. As they spent most of their time with dead corpses, their emotions and sense of morality as humans had faded away as well. They truly believed in and carried out the saying of “Success at the deaths of many”.
For a moment, Li Qingshan was unable to see through the first senior brother’s complicated, dark thoughts. He just felt like he was up to nothing good. He waved the Whale’s Ingestion of Water and called out, “Do you really think that you lot can stop me?”
The first senior brother was just about to give orders to make an example out of him.
Song Ming cried out, “You’re Niu Juxia!” Only a moment had passed when Li Qingshan leapt into the cavern, became surrounded by corpse poison, before landing on the ground. After looking at him clearly, he finally confirmed that the person before him was Niu Juxia, the one who had forced him into his current state.
Song Ming was pushed aside by the entire sect. No one wanted to travel with him, and none of the spiritual lands on record were allocated to him either. He only advanced carefully through the caves with Ma Chaoqun, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise, saving him from running headfirst into Li Qingshan’s traps. Sensing that something was amiss, he immediately fled back here with a similar speed and decisiveness as when he had fled after being tossed out of the Proud Sword manor by Li Qingshan back then.
That led to a series of exclamations in the cavern. Recently, the name “Niu Juxia” had grown into one of infamy. There were not a lot of people that all three mountains would order for their arrest, and according to the rumors, he had killed the first senior brother of the Pheasant’s Grace mountain.
Li Qingshan listened to the whispers in the surroundings and glanced past Song Ming and Ma Chaoqun. He smiled. “So you’ve already put out an order for my capture. I didn’t even know. There sure are a lot of familiar people here today. Whatever. I’ve killed a first senior brother already, so killing another one won’t make a difference.”
The first senior brother said, “Since you’re an enemy of the three mountains, that’s even more reason for why I can’t let you go. Disciples of the Green Vine mountain and Pheasant’s Grace mountain, why don’t you stand? Work with me to kill this thug and his accomplice.”
Ma Chaoqun said, “She’s not his accomplice. She was forced into this by the Niu person. Zijian, come over here.”
The first senior brother said, “Since when did you have a right to speak in this matter?”
Yu Zijian called out, “You’re the bad people! I’m never going over!”
Just when they were on the verge of breaking out into a battle, a Qi Practitioner rushed into the cavern. He waved his hands and shrieked, “A monster, a monster is coming! Run!”
“What monster?” Song Ming grabbed him.
“Skeleton…” As soon as the Qi Practitioner had said that word, blood-red flames surged from his eye sockets. He was reduced to a white skeleton in an instant, which scattered on the ground.