Chapter 454 – Swooping in for the Kill
Fu Qingjin nodded. Now was indeed an unprecedented opportunity for him to kill Strongboulder. A mere early Foundation Establishment cultivator had managed to repel Strongboulder twice, which was truly shocking. The arcane artifact seemed to be anything but ordinary too.
Before Strongboulder could even force out the sword qi, Fu Qingjin merged with his sword and charged over, pulling Strongboulder into a battle.
Li Qingshan let out a sigh of relief. He rolled up the Cursive Sword Calligraphy and sat down on one side, meditating to recover. The Cursive Sword Calligraphy was powerful, but the amount of spiritual qi it depleted was startling.
If it were not for the extremely abundant spiritual qi and extremely fast recovery rate granted by the Arts of the Boundless Ocean, regular cultivation methods really might not have been able to power the arcane artifact.
Even now, he could not use it consecutively. He had to recover with each use.
However, he still had a trump card that he had yet to use!
A sword as black as ink hovered above the sea of qi in his body.
After receiving the Cursive Sword Calligraphy from Chu Shidao, he had refined it once again. This time, he could also store the sword qi of the Cursive Sword Calligraphy in his dantian, which he could use at whim.
However, it was no longer over a hundred strands of messy sword qi. Instead, it had condensed into an ink sword.
Li Qingshan had yet to try out its power, but if he combined it with the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility, it definitely would be able to give his opponents a surprise.
At this moment, Strongboulder suddenly let out a furious roar. He pierced through the Green Ruins Illusion and rushed into the air.
A while later, the earth began to shake. Looking down from above, several large mounds swelled up in Jiaping city. The earth shattered, and the buildings collapsed, radiating with daemon qi.
Where Li Qingshan meditated swelled up too. With a rumble, a hole appeared in the ground, and a blood-red tongue extended out, sweeping towards Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan shivered inside. Strongboulder had finally run out of options and summoned his subordinates. The seven or eight clusters of daemon qi all corresponded to powerful daemons among Daemon Generals. He used the Wave Treading Form and avoided the long tongue before turning himself invisible with the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility and concealing his aura.
Colossal figures all standing over thirty meters tall burst out of the ground in their true forms. Some seemed like toads, some seemed like wolves, and there were even a few that were strangely shaped, making it impossible to tell what kind of wild beast they were originally. They all opened their gaping mouths and roared at Strongboulder in the Green Ruins Illusion.
As if he were responding to these roars, Strongboulder began to expand too, swelling to over thirty meters tall in the blink of an eye. He turned into a huge stone giant as he gazed at Fu Qingjin above with his shiny, beady eyes.
Fu Qingjin was unfazed. The Green Ruins Illusion expanded with Strongboulder, but the waves of daemon qi and malice that slammed against it grew thinner.
“Fu Qingjin, I hadn’t come today to kill you, but since you insist on it, you better leave your life behind!” Strongboulder’s voice was extremely resonant, like it originated from within a huge boulder. As he said that, he slammed his hand towards Fu Qingjin.
Strongboulder also ordered, “Little ones, kill the human on the side!”
Li Qingshan let out a sigh. Plans truly were not foolproof. As it seemed, it would not be so easy for him to watch on from the side anymore.
The senses of daemons were extremely powerful, let alone those that had undergone the first heavenly tribulation. He might have been able to hide himself away from their senses if they were not actively looking for him, but if they were, he would struggle to avoid detection.
Waves of daemon qi swept over, locking onto Li Qingshan’s position very soon. The huge, earthen-yellow wolf bit viciously at him.
Li Qingshan dodged the bite and arrived on the side of the wolf’s head. He materialised and swung the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility towards the wolf daemon’s neck.
The sword was still transparent, but it shone with a streak of bright blue as it ripped through the wolf daemon’s fur before running out of power.
Only then was his real attack revealed. A strand of sword qi black like ink directly pierced the wolf daemon’s tough flesh.
It was the trump card Li Qingshan had been holding onto the entire time, the strand of black sword qi within his dantian. He had completely merged the sword intent and sword techniques he had comprehended from the Cursive Sword Calligraphy into the strike as well. He did not strike often, but when he did, he would strike with full force.
The wolf daemon let out a painful howl, and the black sword qi erupted as a wave within the centre of his neck, just like ink. Afterwards, its huge head fell from its shoulders loudly. It had actually been beheaded in a single stroke. Daemons had strong regenerative powers, but when they suffered a fatal wound like that, they would still die on the spot. Blood flowed out like a river.
Li Qingshan shoved the entire wolf daemon, corpse and daemon core, into his hundred treasures pouch efficiently. He looked around and saw the daemons gathered around him, glaring at him furiously. In a single instant, claws, fangs, and innate abilities all flew his way.
Li Qingshan moved about swiftly on his sword. The surging daemon qi was locked onto his location the entire time, so all he could do was constantly unleash the Wave Treading Form, waving between the attacks of the daemons. As soon as he emerged from poisonous mist that was right in his face, the toad’s tongue swept over once again. Waves surged below his feet, and he changed directions, avoiding the attack by a hair’s breadth.
Every time he used the Wave Treading Form, he would flash before vanishing. He seemed like he was teleporting around.
The Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility was not completely useless. It could not achieve absolute invisibility, but as long as it could mislead the opponent’s eyes, dazing them for even a moment, it would be enough for him.
He seemed to be under constant danger, but there actually was not much danger at all. With just some effort, Li Qingshan broke out of the daemons’ encirclement and arrived in the sky. He had obtained a daemon core, which was quite nice.
When Strongboulder saw how easily Li Qingshan had broken out of the encirclement he had arranged, he ground his teeth in utter hatred. He knew no benefit would arise if he continued fighting this battle, so he suddenly shrank.
“Xiao An, Strongboulder is about to run. Get ready.”
Li Qingshan’s eyes lit up. Xiao An had already arrived beneath Jiaping city. Fu Qingjin was not an easy target to deal with, which he understood the most. However, Strongboulder had used up most of his daemon qi, and he was peppered with wounds, so now was definitely the perfect opportunity to kill him.
However, Fu Qingjin was no better. His clothes were extremely tattered, and the Green Ruins sword had dimmed visibly. Li Qingshan silently wondered to himself just how great of a chance he had to kill him if he worked with Xiao An.
“I’ll kill you here no matter what today.” The exhaustion on Fu Qingjin’s face suddenly vanished. Cold light flashed through his eyes, and he radiated with bleakness as he said that.
He raised his hand, and in between his fingers was a scarlet talisman. He called out, “Wind!”
Before he had even finished speaking, a tornado sprung up from beneath Strongboulder, sweeping him into the sky. It connected with the sky like a black dragon.
Li Qingshan curled his lip. Didn’t you say you wouldn’t use talismans?
The wind from the tornado was thousands of times sharper than any sword or blade. It was like a huge meat grinder, scraping away rock fragments from Strongboulder.
Fu Qingjin sheathed his sword, and the Green Ruins Illusion dispersed with it. He stared at Strongboulder in the air. All of his attention had been focused on a single point.
In that instant, the sword erupted from its sheath with a flash, and he vanished. A perfectly-straight streak of green light pierced through the air, crossing through the tornado.
The tornado seemed to be cut in half. It twisted a few times, refusing to disperse, before turning into a gale of fierce wind. Strongboulder fell from the air. His eyes were wide open, as if he refused to believe he would actually die here. A tiny hole had been pierced through his chest. He landed heavily on the ground.
Fu Qingjin separated from the Green Ruins sword and glanced back. He frowned slightly and murmured, “Did I still fail?”
Strongboulder leapt up to his feet. Despite his heavy injuries, he roared at the sky, “Fu Qingjin, I’ll never die! I’ll slaughter another hundred cities with each attempt at my life!”
Fu Qingjin contemplated his choices. If it were not for the other daemons present, he could give him a chase. However, even he was reluctant to enter underground without good reason under the current circumstances. Killing someone at the same level of cultivation really was not easy. All he could do was watch as the daemons sank into the ground.
However, he failed to notice how Li Qingshan stared at Strongboulder like he was staring at a corpse. Xiao An and her eighteen Skeleton Demons were already waiting down there.
Li Qingshan pulled his gaze away and flew towards Fu Qingjin slowly. Piercing cold light was hidden in the depths of his eyes, and he was already holding a few scarlet talismans between his fingers, hidden in his sleeve. They could not match Fu Qingjin’s talismans in grade, but he would definitely be able to give him a surprise once he used them.
He was able to mobilise his accumulated power of belief instantly too and turn it into a powerful, lethal force. Most importantly, he still had his daemon form and the innate abilities.
He had a seventy percent chance at success.
He had a seventy percent chance to kill Fu Qingjin, to eliminate a great source of trouble here and now, but there was also a thirty percent chance that Fu Qingjin would escape and thus prevent him from using the identity of Li Qingshan to walk among the world of humans ever again.
Everything flashed through his mind, and he made his decision. He would gamble on it. If he was afraid to gamble when he had a seventy percent chance at success, could he still be called a man?
Fu Qingjin said, “You’re Li Qingshan, right? Your sword style is very impressive and very special.”
“You must be Fu Qingjin. Your sword style is very impressive too.” Li Qingshan let out a gentle sigh and answered him calmly. He silently stowed the talismans away and looked back.
A few streaks of light shot over in the sky in the south-western direction as well as the north-western direction. The reinforcements from the Daemon Suppression alliance and the Academy of the Hundred Schools had arrived.
Do I really have to fight him again just like what I promised? Li Qingshan found this slightly unfortunate, but with some further thought, it was fine if he did not gamble too. As his cultivation grew, his chances at victory would only increase, not decrease. Killing Fu Qingjin here would be “checkmate”, and the game of chess that was the Clear River prefecture would come to a complete end.
There were two possible outcomes in the future. One was that both sides had understood the brutality of war and decided to uphold the Treaty of Kings, maintaining peace, but this possibility was almost negligible. It was much more likely for war to swallow the entire Green province.
They had eaten the appetizers already, so everyone could roll up their sleeves and prepare for a hearty meal. A shrimp like him probably would not even count as a single dish, so it was best if he waited a little longer.
Fu Qingjin was not angered by Li Qingshan’s arrogance. Instead, he said with sincerity, “Thank you for your assistance, sir.”
He appreciated Li Qingshan’s performance during the battle very much. Not only was he extraordinary with the sword, but he maintained a clear mind in battle and did not actively avoid danger. The rarest part about it was he had broken through to Foundation Establishment already despite being so young. Even in the Sword Collection palace, he would be regarded as a talent.
Through these various coincidences, Li Qingshan was unable to make an attempt at Fu Qingjin’s life, earning quite a lot of good will from him instead.