Chapter 360 – As a Daemon General
Qiu Haitang took out two True Spirit pills and placed them in Qian Rongzhi’s hand. This was the remuneration they had agreed on at the beginning. She glanced at Li Qingshan. All she could do was hold back the urge to silence him for good.
Li Qingshan gave everything useless to him in the hundred treasures pouch that had to do with the Sect of Clouds and Rain to Qian Rongzhi. He had never expected Qiu Haitang to be part of the plan.
However, Qian Rongzhi knew that including her was for the best. They were facing a Foundation Establishment cultivator after all. No one could guarantee that her hell snake could be effective. If they failed with the first strike, the consequences they faced would be extremely terrifying. She would never risk her life unless there was at least an eighty percent of success.
Moreover, Qiu Haitang would never divulge the secret that they had killed Wei Zhongyuan, or she would not be able to remain as the sect master for any longer. Killing a disciple from the same sect had always been forbidden regardless of the time or age. She might have been the sect master, but the sect still had the existence of a first elder.
Qian Rongzhi accepted everything from Qiu Haitang and Li Qingshan. Seeing how they both stared at her, she said, “You don’t have to look at me like that. Wei Zhongyuan is your mortal enemy, not mine. It’s not like he knows I killed his son. I’ve risked my life to help both of you, so I deserve these benefits.”
Li Qingshan said, “You were worried that one of us might give in to Wei Zhongyuan’s pressure and expose your secret!”
Qian Rongzhi said, “Fortunately, a future like that can’t happen anymore. I hope this remains as our secret together.” Suddenly, she frowned and grabbed her wrist. “It’s about time. Let’s just part here!” She smiled towards Xiao An before taking her leave first.
Li Qingshan was just about to leave too when Qiu Haitang said, “Hold on.”
Li Qingshan said without even turning back, “I remember you once said you never wanted to see me again.”
“Give me Wei Zhongyuan’s corpse.”
Li Qingshan said, “Don’t worry, it’s not going to appear in this world again.”
Qiu Haitang’s sunken gaze swept over from Li Qingshan to Xiao An before returning to Li Qingshan. An eighth layer Qi Practitioner and a tenth layer Qi Practitioner. Their futures were limitless, and their once opposition Wei Zhongyuan was now dead. Xiao An had already been accepted as a disciple of the Annihilum Light Chan Master, the head monk of the Bodhi courtyard of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. Basically no one within the Ruyi commandery was still bold enough to think about her as a disciple.
All of their disputes no longer existed. Qiu Haitang’s face morphed into a smile. “Come often. You might even have to call me sister-in-law in the future.”
Li Qingshan broke into laughter. “You sure are confident.”
Qiu Haitang smiled. She was filled with confidence. She possessed an enchanting appearance, a perfect figure, and an impressive cultivation. Just what man wouldn’t be interested in her?
“I hope that does indeed happen one day!” Li Qingshan said. In his opinion, Hua Chengzan’s behaviour definitely did not arise from giving up on Gu Yanying, but from being deeply triggered by her instead. This sect master Qiu’s wishes would probably end up falling through.
Watching Li Qingshan sail off on a cloud, Qiu Haitang’s hips swayed from side to side as she made her way down the building. She told the disciples that she had managed to persuade vice sect master Wei into travelling and cultivating outside. Without any evidence, no one could deny it. No one dared to deny it.
Many of the customers had just been cleared out. Turning around, they saw the doors of the parlour open again. They sighed inside. Vice sect master Wei sure had come and gone quickly.
Where to cultivate? Where to prepare for the tribulation?
Li Qingshan thought about this question long and hard. In the end, he chose to revisit an old place.
A jade dragon gushed down from a cliff that stood over a hundred meters tall, plummeting into a deep pool. It was a period of winter drought, but the water continued to roar thunderously, splashing everywhere.
That’s right. This was the place the black ox had initially brought Li Qingshan to cultivate. It was where Xiao An began with the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, as well as the place where they encountered Xuanyue by chance.
The various memories drifted through his head like clouds. Li Qingshan laughed aloud, diving head-first into the frosty pool.
This place belonged to the Boundless mountains, so there were no humans here. It was also close to human establishments, so no daemonic beasts wandered the area. It was extremely secluded too, which made it a perfect spot of cultivation.
He arrived within the cavern behind the waterfall with Xiao An. Seeing how everything remained the same as before, he experienced a sense of nostalgia.
“Looks like we’ll have to stay here for a while!” Li Qingshan said. Before he had left this time, he had accepted many random missions, just in case he raised any suspicion for not returning for a long time.
Xiao An nodded. “Alright!” She had made up her mind. She had to work hard to keep up with his footsteps.
Li Qingshan sat down and took out all the pills Ru Xin had given him. Just as he had requested, they were all high level pills. There were even three Virtue Accumulation pills among them.
Li Qingshan directly took a Virtue Accumulation pill and ingested it before closing his eyes to digest and absorb it.
Xiao An sat down near the entrance of the cavern, watching over him.
Days passed one after another. The flow of the waterfall increased; this was the sign of the winter snow melting.
Li Qingshan constantly ingested pills. He had already eaten the three Virtue Accumulation pills, but he was still some distance away from that final step. Although it was a step, sometimes it felt worlds away, beyond his reach.
However, he was in no hurry. He settled down and allowed time to pass by rapidly. The snow melted, and the plants sprouted.
One day at a certain moment, he suddenly opened his eyes. His pupils were hiding the light of joy. The ray of light he had been looking forward to all this time finally descended from the sky. He felt like he had crossed over some sort of boundary, stepping into a different world.
At the same time, he felt the arrival of tremendous danger. All he managed to tell Xiao An was, “Go away!” He was subsequently swallowed by scorching white lightning.
A spark as thick as a snake knocked Xiao An away. The cavern turned into a sea of lightning. Bolts of lightning wove together, crawling around like they were alive as they produced a fearsome roar like a tiger or dragon’s cry.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
The tribulation of lightning did not descend from above as expected. Instead, it surged over from everything, passing through the thick rock and underground, enveloping Li Qingshan completely in a single instant. It arrived so quickly that he had absolutely no time to react.
In that instant, Li Qingshan even gained the impression that he had released the lightning, and the source of the lightning was the spirit turtle’s daemon core in his body. The lightning penetrated the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell, it penetrated his Ox Demon Forges its Hide, and it penetrated his bones and flesh. It even pierced his very soul.
Li Qingshan had made a huge mistake. Regular daemons all spat out their daemon cores when they confronted the tribulation, moving far away from it.
It was exactly because the cultivation of the daemon core had crossed this invisible boundary of the world that lightning was summoned to kill them, so why would they keep the daemon core within them as they went through the tribulation?
Unfortunately, Li Qingshan was ignorant about this. There were no human books that detailed just how daemons went through their tribulations, nor had any Daemon General ever told him about this. He did have a Daemon General beside him, but Milliped had always been a dunce, so why would he tell him this?
The rocks in the cavern all crystallised from the scorching energy before shattering and melting together once more from the intense heat. They constantly shattered and melted together.
Intense pain! The agony of being ripped apart! He felt pain like he was being torn away inch by inch!
“The Spirit Turtle Suppresses the Seas!” Li Qingshan roared out. The daemon core emitted rings of blue light, suppressing his mind, soul, and body.
Li Qingshan roused himself. His body swelled rapidly. When he rushed out of the cavern, he had already reached a height of seventy or eighty feet. He had completely transformed into a daemon, and he was rapidly growing larger. His roar drowned out the lightning as he waved his arms and legs, like he was fighting against an invisible enemy.
The water in the pool and the waterfall had been reduced to mist in a split second, surging violently and landing on the ground like thick clouds. All that was left was a lofty figure and constantly flickering lightning.
It seemed to last for eons, but it was just a short moment in reality. The lightning vanished as swiftly and mysteriously as when it had arrived, without any prior signs at all.
“Qingshan!” Xiao An took a step forward and called out his name in worry.
He heard the call on the edge of unconsciousness and jerked awake.
The white mist that enveloped the entire place was like a wet towel that had been viciously rung out. Torrential rain poured down, dousing his long, scarlet hair. At the same time, the water level in the dry pool rapidly rose.
He glanced down. The surging surface of the water still managed to reflect a blurry figure.
When he saw himself in the water, he became surprised. Is that me?
Xiao An rushed into the white mist and spotted him too. She stopped and was taken aback.
“So noisy!” He casually reached towards the sky, and the mist turned into water immediately, returning to the pool.
He was not submerged by the water. Instead, he rose with it, standing on the surface of the water. Waving his hand, the surface flattened out completely, turning into a mirror. It clearly reflected the blue sky and white clouds, as well as his appearance.
Long, fiery hair ran down his back. His naked body was like a work of art that a master sculptor had poured his heart out over. Every single curve of his seemed to be carefully planned and chiseled, conforming to the golden ratio of utmost perfection. It was a balance between strength and beauty.
If even this was unable to surprise Li Qingshan, then he would become utterly stunned when he saw his own face in the reflection.
He had seen many handsome men before, like Hua Chengzan and Han Tieyi, but this face of his was no less handsome than theirs, or even more so. If he could ignore the two curved horns that protruded from his head, he was enough to become the dream lover of every single woman.
Li Qingshan suddenly realised that this would be his appearance after transforming. He touched his face and smiled. “So heavenly tribulations even come with a facelift.” After all, those birds and beasts would gain a proper appearance after undergoing a heavenly tribulation. He already seemed like a human in the first place, so he had been directly struck into a handsome man by the lightning.
Xiao An smiled too. She asked, “How do you feel?”
“I obviously feel… fantastic!” Li Qingshan roared out, alarming a great flock of birds in the forest. He laughed aloud, revealing his sharp canines. He actually seemed rather fiendishly charming.
Power surged through his body endlessly, which tempted him to find a powerful enemy for a great battle. The elders of the three mountains and Fu Qingjin, these opponents originally out of his reach, had suddenly been pulled up close to him. He had bided his time for so long. Finally, the moment for him to resolve some past matters had arrived.