Chapter 433 – The Phoenix’s Embryo
Fu Qingjin concealed his aura and made his way through the mountains slowly. The chilly, snowy wind ruffled his green clothes. The snow had turned the mountain into a vast world of silver. He let out a white, misty breath, and the corner of his mouth curled slightly. He was missing some of his laid backness and gloominess, replaced by peace and calmness.
If he could toss aside everything, with just a single friend beside him to travel through the mountains, wouldn’t that be better than all the conflict in the secular world? Everything would be reduced to ruins anyway, so he might as well have nothing in the first place.
Suddenly, he felt daemon qi draw close. A rat emerged from a snowy den and spotted Fu Qingjin, but it did not attack him. Instead, it yelled out as loudly as it could, “The great rat king has arrived! Oof!”
Subsequently, sixteen rats standing on two feet burst out of the snow with a throne-like carriage on their shoulders, trampling over the messenger rat.
A fatty with a thievish, shrewd appearance and a crown on his head sat on the throne. He pointed at Fu Qingjin and yelled, “You human, who are you? Where are you from? Where are you headed? You better cough up the truth.”
Even with Fu Qingjin’s vast knowledge and experience, he was still taken aback by this sight. He laughed. “I’m Fu Qingjin. I’ve come to ask the great king about something.”
“Please tell me the truth, great king. I may be able to spare your life then.”
When he said the second sentence, a while had already passed. In the Green Ruins Illusion, his crown fell to the ground, and the great rat king knelt on the step below. He pleaded for mercy, “Please spare me, great immortal. I’ll definitely tell you everything I know.”
Fu Qingjin stood on the step with the xiezhi’s horn in his hand. “A few years ago, did a cat daemon pass through your territory?”
The great rat king’s eyes swiveled around. “I- I think there was, but I also don’t think there was.”
The xiezhi’s horn was unable to distinguish the truth behind something so vague. Fu Qingjin then drew the Green Ruins sword.
After being taught a lesson, the great rat king told him everything that had happened that day. He no longer dared to hide anything.
Fu Qingjin continued to ask, “Did the daemon really possess a pair of horns, scarlet hair, scarlet pupils, the hooves of an ox, and the tail of a tiger?”
“Yes, yes, yes.”
Fu Qingjin glanced at the xiezhi’s horn, which had not reacted. He let out a long sigh. “I see now. Northmoon, so you’ve always been involved.”
“Great king, great king!”
After who knew how long, the great rat king slowly raised his head under the calls of the carriage-bearing rats. He discovered the surroundings had turned back into the snowbound world, while Fu Qingjin had already vanished. He let out a sigh of relief and collapsed on his bottom. Glancing at his crown, he pounced over and wiped it clean.
A streak of green light descended from above, brushing past right before the great rat king. When he checked his hand again, the crown had already been cut into two. He cried out and fled into the hole. The sixteen carriage-bearing rats followed closely behind. The carriage was simply abandoned there.
A while later, the messenger rat pushed the carriage off itself and scurried into the hole too.
Li Qingshan’s face had been dyed red by the magma. He currently stood within a lake of magma, where the surroundings were completely fire-red. Tough rock no longer existed here. All of it seemed like balls of fire, slowly melting in the lake of magma.
If he ventured any deeper, he would probably reach the mantle. Li Qingshan wiped away the sweat oozing out from his forehead. Let alone regular spiritual artifacts, even hundred treasures pouches that differed from regular spiritual artifacts could not be used here. Only the sumeru ring remained unaffected.
Li Qingshan smiled. Suddenly, he felt like he was a hobbit that had arrived at Mount Doom with the One Ring from the movies. Before he knew it, the word “movies” had already become an extremely foreign term. His past life gradually drifted away. However, everything that happened to him right now was even more magnificent than the movies.
Li Qingshan put on the sumeru ring slowly. Just when he was about to open it, his eyes suddenly narrowed, and he removed the ring, hiding it away. He turned his head and listened and sensed closely.
He sensed the aura of life in the distance. Don’t tell me there’s actually something living here. However, this aura of life was not from higher up, but from somewhere on the same level as him, or even deeper, deep within the mantle and slowly surging and breathing with the mantle. It was in an extremely serene state.
Li Qingshan was alarmed. Even he could not last very long if he ventured any deeper unless he succeeded with cultivating the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa. However, that did not mean he could swim about freely in the mantle.
At that depth, the interference from the underground magnetic field would be even more severe, like destroying order and returning to chaos. He would not even be able to use innate abilities. Moreover, the mantle contained terrifying fire poisons and legendary earth bubbles that were completely unpredictable. The power of an exploding earth bubble was not something a Daemon General could endure.
In short, something that could venture so deep into the mantle would definitely be a tough nut to crack. Li Qingshan sucked in a deep breath and slowly backed away.
“Why have you come here?”
Suddenly, a voice rang out from behind him. Li Qingshan turned around quickly and saw Spider Queen Lolth with her bright-red dress that dragged along the ground standing nearby, casting a questioning gaze towards him.
After confirming that the sumeru ring was hidden away, Li Qingshan bowed. “I’ve come here to cultivate.”
“To cultivate? Aren’t you of the water element, yet you’ve come here to cultivate?” The Spider Queen’s questioning voice became shrill. As a matter of fact, a strand of killing intent surged silently, wrapping around Li Qingshan like spider silk.
A droplet of sweat dropped from Li Qingshan’s forehead. He thought rapidly. Just how had he set off the Spider Queen? Was it just because of his unexplained appearance here? No, it definitely had something to do with the aura in the mantle. This was directly below the Spider Queen’s territory. Since he could sense the existence of the aura, why couldn’t the Spider Queen?
This was probably a great secret of the Spider Queen. By accidentally running into her, he might have already attracted even more suspicion from her, which tempted her to silence him with death.
The spirit turtle’s daemon core let out a warning like a siren, telling Li Qingshan just how much danger he was in right now. The Spirit Turtle Suppresses the Seas, Foreboding Fate my ass. Couldn’t you give me a warning sooner? However, he understood that this was the mantle and the magnetic field interfering with the spirit turtle’s daemon core.
Elsewhere, Li Qingshan possessed some confidence even if he directly fell out with her, but here, he was in a state of absolute disadvantage.
Li Qingshan smiled. “I want to practise both water and fire, which is why I’ve come here. I hope ma’am Spider Queen doesn’t mind.”
“Oh?” The Spider Queen made her way over slowly and grabbed Li Qingshan by the wrist before reaching around his waist. “You’ve made me rather curious.” The elemental affinity of daemons were fixed at birth. Normally, they only possessed one element. Li Qingshan’s explanation only made her even more doubtful.
The Spider Queen’s magnificent face was inches away, and her beautiful body was pressed against his. From Li Qingshan’s perspective, he could even see the deep gully between her snow-white peaks.
If he were standing under the shade of a tree by a lake, accompanied by a murmuring beauty, just how pleasant would that be? However, the reality was he was surrounded by black and red rock, standing before a lake of fire, and the vicious Spider Queen seemed to be cursing him.
Li Qingshan was pushed to one side by her and right below was the churning magma. If he did not give her a satisfying answer, she would push him into the lake of magma mercilessly. He would be reduced to nothing.
“If the Spider Queen wishes to see it, I’ll demonstrate it.” Li Qingshan broke away from the Spider Queen and leapt into the centre of the lake.
“Please satisfy my curiosity, Northmoon.” Spider Queen Lolth smiled with crossed arms.
Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow. “No problem.”
However, he murmured inside, Phoenix, oh phoenix. Please don’t disappoint me.
Ever since he had obtained the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa, Li Qingshan had never given up on comprehending it, but it would end in failure every single time. The main reason for this was the existence of the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression.
Even though they both represented peace and tranquility, how could an absolute existence of water allow for a pure existence of fire?
However, as Li Qingshan looked around, his heart skipped a beat. Perhaps he could actually practise the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa here.
Sparks rose up and vanished from the lake of fire, like tiny, dancing fire fairies. This place did not allow for any existences of water. The power of the spirit turtle’s daemon core had been almost completely suppressed. However, this instead presented an opportunity.
His daemon qi swelled, kicking up waves of fire. Li Qingshan’s body rapidly grew, transforming into his original form. He turned into a colossal creature that stood over a hundred feet tall, standing within the lake of magma like a black pillar that upheld the cavern.
Although he would lose some of his agility and flexibility in his original form, this was a daemon’s most powerful state.
“This would be the first time I’ve seen your original form. You really are a descendant. That would be no wonder,” the Spider Queen said softly.
Only offspring of daemons above Daemon General were called descendants. They differed from regular beasts the moment they were born. Instead, they possessed great power akin to exotic beasts. However, very few powerful daemons were willing to do that, as they would lose power. In particular, the mother of the offspring would even go through a long period of weakness.
However, this did make the Spider Queen a little less suspicious. At least there was an explanation for his cultivation speed, or he definitely would have been receiving support from elsewhere. The Spider Queen nodded at Li Qingshan’s ox horns and tiger tail too. If he were a blend between two species, a blend between two bloodlines, it would make sense that he could practise two elements.
“However, I do recall that you can control a second power aside from water, which is wind!”
“You’ll know if you keep watching, ma’am Spider Queen,” Li Qingshan said and stopped paying attention to her. He allowed the magma to swallow him. The scalding pain engulfed him as the vicious fire poison invaded his body.
He did not circulate his daemon qi to fend it off. Instead, he withdrew all of his daemon qi into the spirit turtle’s daemon core, drawing the fire element into his body. He began to practise the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa
Immediately, Li Qingshan’s eyes seemed to light up like fire, blazing brightly. At the same time, a sense of nobility and purity rose up from his body. That was the phoenix’s dignity, standing aloof from others.
The Spider Queen furrowed her brows slightly and watched on silently. He really did seem to be able to control the fire element.
Although Li Qingshan’s body suffered from burning agony, both inside and out, the joy within him had drowned out all of the pain, as sure enough, practising the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa was much smoother here. The rampaging fire element gathered together under his control, turning into a blazing ball of fire that constantly revolved.
The ball of fire was not completely spherical. Instead, it was larger on one end and smaller on the other, shaped like a chicken embryo. This was the phoenix’s embryo.