Chapter 422 – Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine, Phoenix’s Nirvāṇa
“Oi, don’t you even think about slipping away just because you’re acting all profound!” Li Qingshan was taken aback. He extended his hand over, but it passed straight through the black ox’s body.
The black ox extended a finger backwards to his forehead before vanishing like a dream with resonant laughter.
Li Qimgshan immediately felt like something had appeared in his sea of consciousness, but he was unable to think too much about it. The moment the black ox turned around, he saw many wounds crisscrossing viciously across the black ox’s chest.
Suddenly, Li Qingshan understood why he did not turn around. He could not help but become dazed. Even right now, the black ox’s power was unfathomable to him, yet who was able to cause him such severe wounds? And, just who was responsible for his broken horn?
Why don’t you tell me anything? That’s because even if you tell me, it’s useless!
Xiao An held Li Qingshan’s hand and asked about what had happened in concern.
Li Qingshan raised his head. His gaze seemed to pierce the rock and soil, the mist and haze, the wispy clouds and the sky, reaching beyond the Nine Heavens. Only after a very long time did he lower his head again. He smiled. “Looks like we need to hurry up. I just saw brother ox again. It seems like he needs us.”
Beyond the Nine Heavens suddenly ceased to be an empty promise, as the person who gave him everything and believed the regular him was not just an insignificant figure was currently awaiting his assistance.
“I’ll accompany you.” Xiao An said seriously.
“Of course.” Li Qingshan withdrew his soul sense, returning to his sea of consciousness. He discovered that a few, dark figures had appeared in the boundless darkness.
Was this what brother ox had left to him?
The soul sense that condensed into a spirit turtle dispersed and reverted into Li Qingshan’s original appearance, completely naked. He moved through the sea of consciousness and arrived between the dark figures. Counting carefully, there were a total of eight dark figures. They seemed like the silhouettes of various animals.
Li Qingshan was most familiar with one of them. Was that not an ox?
Li Qingshan extended his hand. As soon as he touched the silhouette, the silhouette immediately lit up. An ox demon stood with an indomitable spirit, its back arched like a lofty mountain. It stood with vigorous spirit, as if it radiated with great might endlessly.
Li Qingshan was even more familiar with the information that emerged from it. Was this not the Ox Demon’s Fist of Great Strength?
Li Qingshan was overjoyed. That also meant that the eight silhouettes were eight supernatural abilities and cultivation methods. He found the tiger and turtle before long, but he felt like something was missing. No, it was not eight. It should have been nine. This feeling was completely groundless, yet it was also so strong.
The ox suddenly spoke, “That’s right. The name of this supernatural ability is the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine. It’s the work of my entire life. Kid, how much you can comprehend and how many transformations you can achieve will be up to you.”
“Brother ox, you still haven’t left!” Li Qingshan beamed, but the ox fell silent, like it was dead. He understood now. This was the final message the black ox had left behind when he sealed the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine into his sea of consciousness.
However, he never explained why it was called the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine, or why there were only eight transformations here? However, Li Qingshan no longer cared about that. He scanned past the eight silhouettes around him, filled with shock inside.
He finally understood why he always felt like the supernatural ability the black ox had taught him was nowhere near as wondrous as the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. As it turned out, he had not even properly cultivated the first transformation of the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine, the Ox Demon Transformation. If he succeeded in cultivating all nine transformations, then what would Fu Qingjin be? What would the Sword Collection palace be? He would definitely be heading to beyond the Nine Heavens, while the nine provinces in this world would not be able to contain his existence.
Brother ox had truly left behind something impressive to him.
Li Qingshan calmed down and devoted his focus to the Ox Demon Transformation. The profound truths it contained were much more complex and far-reaching than what the black ox had originally explained to him. Back then, he had only given him a rough explanation of it all because he was limited in his ability to understand, barely enough for him to make progress and cultivate.
Only when he comprehended it carefully right now did he feel enlightened. In particular, the aura that the ox demon figure radiated with was his best teacher. As he comprehended the cultivation method, he subconsciously replicated the ox demon’s movements.
From Xiao An’s perspective, Li Qingshan’s flesh seemed to fluctuate like waves, trembling strangely and giving off a startling aura.
Suddenly, Li Qingshan felt slightly perplexed. As his comprehension of the ox demon gradually deepened, he did not sense endless strength or great freedom to do whatever he wished, but deep sombreness and helplessness.
A mantra suddenly appeared in his mind. “The Ox Demon, with its Great Strength, Sinks in the Mud.”
Li Qingshan looked at the ox demon figure again, and it no longer seemed the same. It was the same ox demon, standing with an indomitable spirit and endless strength, stuck and sinking in the mud. Its strength was boundless, but it was unable to use it; it was all for nothing, like a hero at his end in front of a lamenting hegemon.
TL: The lamenting hegemon is a reference to Xiang Yu, the hegemon-king of Western Chu in Chinese history, over how Xiang Yu laments over the death of his lover, consort Yu. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiang_Yu#Song_of_Gaixia)
Li Qingshan shook his head before touching the tiger-like silhouette that flapped its wings to his right. A roaring tiger seemed to leap out from the darkness, radiating with surging malice and murderousness. It took Li Qingshan by surprise before he beamed with delight.
This was the second transformation of the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine, the Tiger Demon Transformation. It was battle hungry and murderous, wanting to destroy the world. Even the battle intent and killing intent that belonged to Strongboulder, known as a Rock of Slaughter, seemed like child’s play before the tiger demon.
Li Qingshan immediately realised that the Tiger Demon Transformation brother ox had taught him was even less complete. Certain important components had basically been purposefully omitted. The tiger demon was a demon of slaughter, so its power should have been greater.
However, when Li Qingshan focused and comprehended it, the frenzied killing intent immediately dominated his mind. He actually felt the urge to kill everything in the world. A mantra also appeared all of a sudden. “The Tiger Demon Forges its Bones, with a Frenzied Heart.”
Li Qingshan used the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression in a hurry to suppress this sudden murderousness. He had abruptly become drenched in cold sweat. He knew if brother ox had taught him the original version right from the beginning, he would have already become a bloodthirsty madman.
Looking at the tiger demon figure, it was a whole different sight again. Its tiger eyes were filled with blood-red killing intent, frenzied and insane.
Li Qingshan frowned slightly. Since it was called the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine, and these two belonged to the demonic path, the spirit turtle should have been divine. He casually pressed his hand against the spirit turtle’s silhouette.
The spirit turtle appeared and multicoloured light unfolded resplendently. The rising and falling back was layered with criss-crossing inscriptions, constantly manifesting the good and the ill. Its aura was completely different from the tiger demon and ox demon’s, sacred and noble, sagacious and peaceful. Even though it was also a beast, it could not be labelled as a daemon, much less a demon. Instead, it was a god that had transcended mortality.
Li Qingshan comprehended its will and immediately felt like his heart had emptied out, purged of all desires. Instead of devoting all his strength to constantly fighting others, he would be better off sitting and observing the aura of the world, the fluctuations in fate.
When Li Qingshan comprehended the Ox Demon Transformation and became sombre, Xiao An was not worried. When Li Qingshan comprehended the Tiger Demon Transformation and radiated with murderousness, Xiao An only became slightly concerned. But when Li Qingshan’s expression became serene and tranquil, peaceful yet distant, Xiao An’s expression changed drastically. She went up to shake his shoulders, calling him by his name.
Li Qingshan opened his eyes. His pupils were as calm as stillwater, having lost some emotions and desire. It was a chilling sight. Only when he saw Xiao An clearly did some of his intense feelings return, like a few buckets of dye had been thrown into a clear pool of water.
Li Qingshan scratched his head. He shook his head with a bitter smile. Originally, he had thought the Spirit Turtle Transformation was a little safer, so he lowered his guard, but never did he expect that gods were even better at harming people than demons.
He suddenly understood. Over all these years, even though the spirit turtle suppressed the ox demon and tiger demon, there was still an endless demonic nature that could not be washed away. If he only practised the Spirit Turtle Transformation, his character would definitely change drastically. He would become a proper cultivator who purged his minds of desires.
Exactly because of the conflict between the demonic and the divine, he could maintain the human nature within him, such that he was still that Li Qingshan.
The third mantra appeared in his mind too. It was an auspicious one for once. “The Spirit Turtle Suppresses the Seas, Foreboding Fate.”
Li Qingshan felt like he had benefited tremendously from the complete cultivation methods of the three transformations. If he could spend some time and comprehend them carefully, his strength would definitely climb even higher.
The Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine was not like regular cultivation methods. He could focus on a single one, or alternate between them. Each transformation was independent to one another, yet also closely linked.
A thought crossed Li Qingshan’s head. In other words, should I learn a fourth transformation? Since brother ox’s chosen to give me the cultivation method at a time like this, it should be fine.
Li Qingshan raised his hand before lowering it again. The fourth transformation had to be a divine transformation. If he accidentally chose a demonic transformation, the Spirit Turtle Transformation would not be able to keep his daemon qi suppressed, and his mind might suffer from irreversible effects.
He contemplated the five remaining figures for a while. Li Qingshan’s gaze landed on the figure above the spirit turtle. According to the order, that should have come after the Spirit Turtle Transformation.
The dark figure was a huge bird that flew in the air, flapping its wings with a long tail dragging behind. Its posture was graceful, such that even though it was just a dark silhouette, the feeling it gave off was magnificent and glorious.
Li Qingshan no longer hesitated. His hand landed on it, and a clear cry rang through his sea of consciousness, resounding and grandiose, graceful and mild.
Li Qingshan had heard countless musical instruments and countless songs before, but none of it could compare with the cry. It was like a magnificent symphony, condensing into the most beautiful musical notes.
Li Qingshan stared at the soaring phoenix for a very long time. It was so magnificent and noble that it seemed like a flowing ball of fire.
The phoenix was the chief of birds, the king of avians. Even regular people were very familiar with this divine bird. It was rumored to possess the five virtues, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and trustworthiness, and it was of noble and pure character. It did not perch unless it was a wutong tree, and it did not drink unless it was morning dew.
TL: Wutong trees (Chinese parasol trees) are known as the favoured resting places of phoenixes in Chinese mythology.
And, whenever it died, it would blaze with fire before undergoing a rebirth in flames, obtaining an even more beautiful body and greater life force. It was known as a “phoenix’s nirvāṇa”, cycling again and again and obtaining eternal life.
Spirit turtles possessed longevity, but there would still be a time when they met their end. However, phoenixes were truly undying birds.
The phoenix circled around slowly and landed on Li Qingshan’s shoulder. Only then did Li Qingshan discover that its darkness had already vanished. Perhaps it was because he had already made a decision!
The phoenix used its vermillion beak to peck him gently and tremendous amounts of information flowed into his head. Li Qingshan obtained the cultivation method of the fourth supernatural ability, the Phoenix Transformation. It was known as the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa.
PS: The planning’s basically done, enough for a hundred thousand or so characters. Any holes are guaranteed to be filled. It’ll be fascinating enough. However, I’m going to put in some painstaking effort this time and come up with a plan of a million or so characters, just in case you say I don’t have any moral integrity.
Finally, congratulations to Alliance Head “A Soft Yes”, heh, albeit a late thank you.