Chapter 453 – White Bone Breakthrough
In the Chain mountains, within the Qing Xiao dwelling.
She forged the last Skull Prayer Bead. The eighteen prayer beads circled above Xiao An’s head, forming a mystical formation. Suddenly, they all turned into skulls and spat flames at Xiao An.
The flames stripped Xiao An’s flesh away from her, revealing the translucent, white bones underneath. Under the flames, they became even shinier, like they were sculpted from white jade. However, they were also imbued with a buddhist light that jade lacked.
Xiao An brought her palms together, like a disciple of buddhism being inducted into nunhood. However, she did not kneel, staring at the sky instead. The roaring firelight in her eye sockets seemed to be able to pierce the thick rock, gazing towards the Western Paradise or Sukhāvatī, the hall of buddhas.
Regular skeletons roused a feeling of horror within people, but with the posture she held right now, she seemed solemn and sacred, radiating with righteousness.
Xiao An slowly lowered her head, and the flames cloaked her body, like a multicoloured kāṣāya. She murmured softly.
“Right now, right here, I vow that all my actions, my intentions, are for ending the many buddhas, for slaughtering the boundless creatures, just so I can assist him in reaching beyond the Nine Heavens, right by his side.”
With that vow, the flames vanished, and the eighteen skulls turned into eighteen Skull Prayer Beads, returning to her slender, pale wrist.
Breakthrough to the first layer of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty!
The door to Qing Xiao’s Home opened loudly. With a flash, Xiao An took off into the air, flying towards Li Qingshan’s location.
Faced with Strongboulder’s frenzied attack, Li Qinghan did not dodge at all. In the moment he was struck by the punch, he dispersed as a splash of water. Strongboulder’s vicious smile stiffened slightly. He knew he had been played yet again.
This was a water technique. Although it could never compare to his innate ability, the Watermirror’s Image, it was enough for drawing away some attacks.
Li Qingshan used the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility again to hide himself, retreating to a safe distance.
Fu Qingjin glanced at where he was. The Green Ruins sword let out a long thrum, and the Green Ruins Illusion rose up, enveloping Strongboulder.
Strongboulder roared angrily, “Fu Qingjin, don’t you know anything else? This trick alone can’t hurt me!” He radiated with malice, so condensed that it was black. The Green Ruins Illusion immediately began to twist.
At this moment, Li Qingshan suddenly received a message from Xiao An and learned that she had already forged the eighteen prayer beads, reaching the first layer of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. He beamed inside, and his eyes immediately became filled with confidence.
It was time. His strongest helper had finally arrived.
Li Qingshan told Xiao An to hide first and wait for an opportunity. Xiao An nodded and turned away towards the earth. She swung her white bone sword around and directly burrowed through the ground.
Looking at the Green Ruins Illusion again, Fu Qingjin and Strongboulder were actually rather helpless against one another.
Strongboulder was clad in armour, so the sword qi from the Green Ruins sword could no longer do anything to him. Even if Fu Qingjin managed to get through the rock armour, he was unable to harm his actual body. The only thing Strongboulder was afraid of was the Green Ruins sword, but even if he were struck by it, it would leave behind a mark at most. As long as it was not a fatal wound, he could recover in the blink of an eye with a surge of daemon qi. Even Fu Qingjin was rather helpless against him despite his extraordinary sword techniques.
As for Fu Qingjin, he was basically undefeatable as he stood within the Green Ruins Illusion. No matter how many attacks landed on him, he would just scatter as green light before reassembling. He was indifferent. Clearly, the power of the Rock of Slaughter was unable to shake the will of the Green Ruins sword.
Having cut off Strongboulder from the spiritual qi of the world, he might have been able to win if he dragged this out blindly, but under the surges of Strongboulder’s malicious aura, the Green Ruins Illusion gradually began to twist and shatter, with holes appearing from time to time. If Strongboulder wanted to flee, no one could stop him.
Fu Qingjin brought his fingers together like a sword and slid them across the Green Ruins sword. He chanted softly, “Myriad Sword technique!”
Thousands of Green Ruins swords tore through the air, their blades thrumming and their sword qi surging.
Strongboulder’s beady eyes shone brightly. He was unable to absorb the spiritual qi of the world here, so he would probably lose the upper hand if they kept fighting. He let out a wild laugh. “I’ll play with you next time!”
The black aura of malice gathered on his fist, and he pushed to the right. The halls and structures began to twist like a transitioning scene of a movie, caving into a huge hole that revealed the scenery outside the illusion.
The first person Strongboulder saw was none other than Li Qingshan.
“You want to stop me with just this much?” Strongboulder leapt out and threw a punch at Li Qingshan.
With just his cultivation at early Foundation Establishment, Li Qingshan did indeed possess no right to stop Strongboulder. Neither the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility nor the Arts of the Boundless Ocean could harm Strongboulder properly, let alone kill him.
With a shake of his hand, the Cursive Sword Calligraphy unfurled in the wind. Hundreds and thousands of ink strokes merged together as a sword as black as ink burst out of the paper.
Strongboulder and the ink sword collided, but there was no noise. The ink sword dispersed silently.
However, Strongboulder’s unstoppable bearing that could tear through anything had been forcefully severed by the sword intent. At the same time, he felt an extremely sharp strand of sword qi pierce his indestructible stone skin, right through his body. It plunged through the daemon qi and directly headed towards his daemon core. It made his heart leap in fright.
Li Qingshan slowly raised his hands.
The Rising Tide Form—his sea of qi seemed to swell like the tide, endlessly and continuously.
The Cloud Parting Form—the rising tide turned into a tsunami, reaching towards the sky and parting the clouds in an unstoppable manner.
A hand pressed against Strongboulder’s chest. Wave-like blue light rippled outwards with a dazzling array of colours.
Strongboulder had been forcefully slammed back into the Green Ruins Illusion. Fu Qingjin glanced at Li Qingshan in appreciation and did not let this opportunity slip by. The hole that Strongboulder had created immediately closed up.
Strongboulder was furious. He opened his mouth and coughed, forcing out the strand of sword qi with some rock fragments, but he still sustained some internal injuries. By the time he turned around to look, he could not find Li Qingshan anymore. Only countless Green Ruins swords filled Strongboulder’s surroundings in formation, trapping him firmly.
“Go!” Fu Qingjin ordered, and the swords took off like rain. The swords spun like sawtoothed blades, chipping and grinding away Strongboulder’s armour.
After sending Strongboulder back in there with the palm strike, Li Qingshan immediately ingested a recovery pill, sitting down to recover his spiritual qi. The palm strike was powerful, but it consumed a tremendous amount of spiritual qi. Combined with using the Cursive Sword Calligraphy, which was now an arcane artifact, he had directly consumed thirty percent of his spiritual qi. If they actually began fighting, he definitely would not be Strongboulder’s opponent.
It was completely impossible for him to defeat Strongboulder as an early Foundation Establishment cultivator. However, if it were just doing an odd job or two, lending a helping hand every now and then, it was not too difficult. If he wanted to swoop in while they were both heavily injured, then he had to make Strongboulder stay behind and wear down Fu Qingjin.
However, through this, he became very satisfied with the power of the Cursive Sword Calligraphy. It could injure Strongboulder even with his defences. If a regular Foundation Establishment cultivator had received this attack instead, they probably would be dead already.
Strongboulder’s vicious smile disappeared. His armour had been chipped away from him, and his body had become covered in many sword wounds. Unable to replenish his energy with the spiritual qi of the world, his daemon qi was nowhere near as vigorous as before either. The rate at which his wounds healed had obviously become much slower.
Strongboulder let out a mad roar, and his arms expanded in size by ten times. He swung them around madly like two huge pillars of stone, smashing apart the Green Ruins swords around him. Riling up his malicious aura, he punched down.
As long as he made contact with the ground, he would be able to flee through the earth. The reason why he could slaughter countless cities, make a name for himself as the rock demon, and go through countless battles without having a single person keep him behind was exactly because of this innate ability.
When the strength of one’s opponent was similar, preventing them from escaping was very difficult to achieve. Even Fu Qingjin was helpless in this respect.
The Green Ruins Illusion gave way once again, but what Strongboulder saw was not the ground he was looking for, but flowing water.
Fu Qingjin had unleashed the Green Ruins Illusion near the Clear river. In order to prevent Strongboulder from escaping through the ground, Li Qingshan had dug out a huge pit under the Green Ruins Illusion before filling it with water.
Li Qingshan just floated on the water, holding the unfurled Cursive Sword Calligraphy in his hand and launching the ink sword.
Strongboulder wanted to dodge, but the ink sword moved with lightning speed, and he had been caught off-guard by Li Qingshan. At such a close distance, in such a narrow space, how could he dodge?
Strongboulder had almost gone crazy from anger and resentment. He ignored the ink sword that shot towards his chest and began to swell up, crushing down towards Li Qingshan like a mountain. At the same time, two stony arms reached towards Li Qingshan’s shoulders. As long as he killed Li Qingshan or forced him back and returned to the ground, he would obviously be able to force out the sword qi and recover his wounds.
The Vortex Form!
Li Qingshan pushed out with both arms. The water surged and revolved rapidly, turning into two huge vortices and wrapping around Strongboulder’s arms. He nullified Strongboulder’s terrifying power by conquering the unyielding with the yielding.
Strongboulder’s arms swelled once again, and the terrifying power directly ripped apart the vortices. Before absolute power, all tricks seemed so futile. Seeing how he was just millimeters away from Li Qingshan’s shoulders, Strongboulder sneered. By then, all he had to do was use some force and rip him apart…
Of course, Li Qingshan would not just die on the spot with his body as a daemon, but it would give him away to Fu Qingjin.
At this very moment, the Divine Talisman of Great Creation lit up. A third arm extended from Li Qingshan’s chest, rapidly growing and reaching out like a vine.
The arm happened to resemble Chu Tian’s Palm of the Five Elements slightly, but it was much smaller, even smaller than Li Qingshan’s arm. There were not just five colours either, but a dazzling array of colours.
Just like that, a tiny arm pressed against Strongboulder’s chest, and his indestructible, grey, stony skin actually collapsed slightly.
Afterwards, under Strongboulder’s absolute refusal, he was struck back into the Green Ruins Illusion. His way out sealed up once more.
That’s the power of belief. Fu Qingjin returned to his senses after a moment of surprise. Only then did he remember Li Qingshan’s identity as a disciple of the school of Novels, which made him smile. Everything made sense now. With his assistance, perhaps there really was a chance to kill Strongboulder here and now.
This was the most primitive use of the power of belief, to use it to directly attack or defend instead of conjuring anything, and it could only be used after refining the Divine Talisman of Great Creation again. It was much more effective than Li Qingshan had been anticipating, but it had depleted quite a lot of power of belief too, which pained him. There was nothing he could do. He would always feel like that whenever he used this consumable power.
Li Qingshan said, “Fellow Fu, this is all I can do to assist you. It’ll be entirely up to you now.”