Chapter 253 – A Thousand Years in an Instant
At this moment, Milliped opened his mouth, and a pink daemon core shot into the sky, cutting through the empty, dark world like a pink bolt of lightning.
Most of Fu Qingjin’s body had already condensed together as he looked at the pink daemon core near his chest. This was originally his main target. The round daemon core began to twist and change shape, and his expression finally changed. There was some disbelief as well.
“Run!” Milliped glanced at Li Qingshan again. His gaze had never been so clear before. He had thought of the idea that Li Qingshan had failed to come up with.
Dazzling light shot into the air as the crystallization of centuries or even millenniums of effort was unleashed in a single instant. Even the sun seemed to dim.
The green ruins were torn apart, revealing the original pit. However, it had been forcefully expanded to ten times its original size from the violent explosion.
Only now did the sound of the explosion arrive. The circular shockwave flattened and destroyed all the vegetation within a hundred kilometers.
Li Qingshan roared out at the sky, but his voice was drowned out by the explosion.
Hua Chengzan pushed off the paper crane and rushed into the air with Yu Zijian and Hua Chenglu. The paper crane was immediately destroyed by the waves of heat.
The three elders unleashed their defensive techniques and spiritual artifacts in fright, but they were instantly swallowed by the light.
The light had already subsided, but the dark splotches in everyone’s vision lingered, only vanishing after a very long time.
The ground had been completely flattened, while everyone had vanished.
Hua Chengzan remained stunned even after a very long while. The strength of the Sword Collection palace was not the only thing he had underestimated. He had also underestimated the resolve of this Daemon General.
Blowing up their daemon core was equivalent to suicide. To all daemons, survival was their most primary instinct. No matter how dangerous the situation was, there would always be a tiny sliver of a chance for them to emerge victorious or escape. Blowing up their daemon core was truly severing all hope.
The three elders emerged from the dust and soil. Their clothes had been reduced to rags as they each spat out a mouthful of blood. They collapsed on the ground, still in shock.
The Green Vine Elder called out, “Fellow Fu! Fellow Fu!”
A green streak of light descended from above. Fu Qingjin was covered in dust. The hair near his temples was slightly messy, and his face was pale. He had suffered internal injuries too.
Fu Qingjin looked at the basin produced by the explosion. He felt some admiration, as well as some surprise. For a carapaced daemon that completely acted on instincts to have such resolve was truly beyond his expectations.
“The daemon is already dead. It had emerged on the surface without any regard for the treaty, so it brought about its own doom. I hope the three fellows can serve as witnesses.”
The three elders agreed in a hurry, and Fu Qingjin glanced at Hua Chengzan in the sky again.
Hua Chengzan asked, “Are those daemons really dead?”
Fu Qingjin said, “The two weaker daemons managed to escape, but it’s no big deal.”
Hua Chengzan said, “They didn’t seem like regular daemons to me.”
Fu Qingjin said, “They were quite capable. If they’re willing to remain underground obediently and cultivate, then so be it. But if they’re bold enough to come to the surface to make trouble again, then they must be eliminated. They must be killed.”
Hua Chengzan sank into his thoughts. He knew Fu Qingjin had the confidence to back up what he said. The two daemons were powerful, but if they did not take that step, then they would not be able to threaten them at all. And, with how slowly daemons cultivated, taking that step might take centuries. By then, who knew how much Fu Qingjin’s strength would have grown by. Why would he be worried about revenge?
“Fu Qingjin, I will definitely kill you with my own hands, as well as you three old coots. Live on well. Wait for me.”
At this moment, a voice boomed out from deep underground, passing through the thick layer of soil and clearly reaching their ears.
The voice was calm, but they could clearly hear how the owner of the voice had forcefully repressed his rage. It was bone-chilling.
The three elders all changed in expression. Even the Green Vine Elder, who was normally always so mild-mannered, yelled abruptly, “Reckless daemon!”
Only Fu Qingjin remained unfazed. He stabbed down with his sword, and a streak of light pierced the soil.
The three elders looked at Fu Qingjin together. He shook his head. “It has already left.”
The three elders all became disappointed. Fu Qingjin frowned. “Don’t tell me that you’re afraid?”
The Golden Pheasant Elder cried out, “How’s that possible?” The three of them looked at one another. None of them were willing to admit the fact that they felt a tinge of fear inside.
In the endless, gloomy depths, Li Qingshan ran as quickly as he could, without saying a single word. His eyes were wide open as he gritted his teeth firmly, enough for him to taste blood. He held Milliped in his hands, who had already shrunken to around a foot long, his original size. His body was in a horrible shape as he laid still.
Xiao An followed along quietly. She had no idea how she was supposed to console him. When the daemon core exploded, Milliped fell from the air and rapidly shrank, becoming like this.
Li Qingshan felt like his heart was on fire, scorching his body and making it burn and ache. He tried to force himself to calm down, but he was unable to achieve it no matter what. He was clearly hurrying along, but the cave before him constantly twisted and turned like an endless maze.
The sea of flowers sprawled out in the expansive cavern. The Blue Butterfly flowers bloomed gloriously, like balls of blue fire.
Li Qingshan crossed through the sea of flowers and placed Milliped onto the stone platform. This was his favourite bed. Perhaps the spiritual qi on there could help him. Then he took out all of the recovery pills in his hundred treasures pouch, feeding them to him or applying it on him externally. He used it all on Milliped without thinking.
However, Milliped continued to lay on the stone platform without moving at all. Li Qingshan’s hopeful eyes gradually dimmed. He raised his head and let out a roar, but all he saw was the pitch-black ceiling. His voice resonated through the cavern for no one to hear.
He felt like he had returned to the Ice Sword cliff. He truly was naive to think that he could break out of this cycle. As it turned out, nothing had changed at all!
He stood before the stone platform with his head raised. His scarlet hair drooped down, covering his face. He was like a stone statue that had stood there for centuries.
After who knows how long, Xiao An’s ice-cold bone hand touched Li Qingshan’s face. His heart warmed up slightly as he said gloomily, “Xiao An, why am I so weak?”
“You’re not. Your opponent was too powerful. You’ve only just begun cultivating. You will definitely be more powerful than everyone in the future.”
At this moment, there was a flash from the stone platform, followed by a gentle hiss.
Under Li Qingshan’s gaze of disbelief, Milliped rolled over and moved his legs, climbing up and raising the upper half of his body, waving his feelers at him like he was greeting him.
Li Qingshan scooped him up in a hurry and brought him to his face. “Y- you’re still alive!”
Milliped nodded and used his remaining, feeble daemon qi to express, “Playing dead.”
Li Qingshan’s lips curled into a grin before drooping once again. He had no idea how to react, but his heart seemed to loosen. He fell back onto his bottom. “Oh you!”
Milliped then said, “I’m hungry.”
Li Qingshan took out a pile of grain in a hurry and placed it before Milliped. Milliped immediately buried his head in it and began eating.
Heavy, noisy footsteps rang out in the surroundings. Before he knew it, the daemon soldiers had all gathered. They whispered among themselves.
“What’s wrong with the great king?”
“He charged out mindlessly and fell into the human’s trap.”
“He won’t do anymore. It looks like a new king will take over this place now.”
Li Qingshan suddenly turned around, and the daemons immediately shut up.
Li Qingshan recovered his calm. After a moment of thought, he sat down on the stone platform and issued orders.
“The great king has only suffered some temporary, minor injuries. Now, present everything you collected. It’s time to calculate your individual contribution.”
The daemons handed over the hundred treasures pouches and the various spiritual artifacts and talismans.
Even after setting the various assortment of spiritual artifacts aside, the hundred treasures pouches still amounted to over a thousand. They formed a small hill. Even Li Qingshan had not been expecting this, so he asked them about it.
Only then did he find out that many human cultivators had ventured underground and died to these daemons even before the Herb Gathering ceremony this time. Their spiritual artifacts and hundred treasures pouches all glowed, so the daemons all took a liking to them. They had no idea what their effects were, but they still collected them, which grew to quite a sizable amount after all these years.
It was impossible for the other regions to have so many hundred treasures pouches either. The other Daemon Generals all managed their own territories properly, so rarely did any Qi Practitioners venture in there to seek death. It was exactly because of Milliped’s negligence that this region had remained as a battlefield between humans and daemons, and there would be a lot of spoils of battle.
However, these spoils did not serve any practical use to the daemons, so they all brought them to exchange for delicious food. Even though most of them were the hundred treasures pouches of weaker Qi Practitioners, it was still a tremendous piece of wealth. It was exhilarating to Li Qingshan.
Thinking about things calmly, Milliped would have been lured to the surface, and he would probably die anyway even if he blew up his daemon core if Li Qingshan had not been there. At least, he had escaped with his life intact, which left behind limitless potential. He could make up for his lost cultivation, and he could have his revenge too.
While it would be very tough, not everything remained the same. He was inching closer and closer to his opponent, and he had saved his friend’s life too. Moreover, he had only begun cultivating a little over a year ago. If he wanted to sulk and sigh any further, then would he still be a man?
Elder of the three mountains, Fu Qingjin, hmph. He suddenly clenched his fist. If I don’t get revenge, I swear that I am not human, no, a daemon. These hundred treasures pouches would serve as the source of his energy!
At this moment, Milliped said, “I have some too.”
Li Qingshan was stunned. He had never expected Milliped to possess hundred treasures pouches too. But thinking about it, how was it possible that no one had intruded upon this place across all these years? These Blue Butterfly flowers were a crucial component to refining True Spirit pills. They were worth a startling amount, enough for people to risk their lives.
Combined with Milliped’s habit of hibernating, it only provided people with more opportunities to take the risk. As a matter of fact, many powerful Qi Practitioners had aimed for these Blue Butterfly flowers in the Herb Gathering ceremony this time.
Milliped stood up and used his body to point in a direction like a compass needle. Li Qingshan dug down in a corner of the cavern, and just as he had expected, he excavated a pile of hundred treasures pouches and a few shining spiritual artifacts. None of them were below mid grade.
If they wanted to snatch from the tiger’s jaws, they needed strength. Without strength, it was impossible to navigate through the dark caves and reach so deep underground. However, no matter how strong they were, they would still be Qi Practitioners.
Those who were unlucky would run into Milliped when he was half-awake. Seeing an intruder barge around in his own home and stealing his food, Milliped would just catch them and fill his belly with them. The items owned by these people obviously could not be eaten, so he would just dig a hole and bury it before going back to sleep.
As promised, Li Qingshan took out all the food and allocated it among the daemons according to their respective contributions before making them disperse.
Li Qingshan took out the items in the hundred treasures pouches. It was so plentiful that it had truly exceeded his imaginations. Apart from commonplace talismans and spiritual stones, there was a myriad selection of strange spiritual artifacts, pills, puppets, and cultivation methods. It broadened his horizons.