Chapter 464 – The Chaos of War
Regardless of the angle, the black shadow was shaped like a huge egg, except with four limbs poking out, draping down from its colossal body. The surface of the egg was smooth and tough, as if it had been carefully polished. It seemed more like metal or rock than flesh and blood.
Only the connectors of the four limbs seemed slightly more organic, but they still resembled huge pipes woven together. Under the sunlight, it was even possible to make out the flow of fluids through them, except who knew whether it was blood or not.
It did not possess a distinct head. Two tiny specks of light shone coldly like its eyes. Overall, it seemed huge, but not clumsy. It was like a moving fortress, an extremely imposing sight to behold.
The rumbles came from its heavy footsteps. Stepping over the corpse of the panther, it continued towards the end of the wilderness. A lonely city stood there.
On the ground, a strange, uneven rock suddenly trembled. The surface of the rock split open, revealing a crystalline structure inside that turned into a huge eyeball the size of a cartwheel. It swiveled around and locked onto the huge egg monster that strode over.
The huge egg monster crossed over it without sensing anything at all.
A large crack appeared in the ground. It was a huge, gaping mouth filled with teeth. A colossal body erupted from the earth. It was a single-horned lizard over thirty meters long, which lunged towards the huge egg monster while spitting out with venomous fluid.
The huge egg monster raised its right arm and targeted the lizard with great accuracy with its palm, releasing a beam of light as thick as a water bucket. However, as it was close to its body, the egg monster was unable to adjust its arm to the most optimal angle.
The one-horned lizard twisted with great dexterity and brushed past the stream of light. Its toothy mouth bit down viciously on the huge egg monster’s arm. It shook its head forcefully and ripped off the entire arm.
Dark red fluid sprayed far and wide. As if it could not feel pain, the huge egg monster punched the lizard’s head with its left arm.
The two monsters engaged in a violent battle in the wilderness. There was no concept of good or evil. It was just a clash of primitive power.
The huge egg monster’s eyes constantly flickered, but it did not produce a single roar or growl. It was like a tireless machine of war, but the disadvantage that came from losing an arm constantly grew. It gradually began to show signs of weakness.
The venomous fluid covered its entire body, eating away the surface and exposing the interior. There were no organs, but rapidly revolving gears and mechanisms.
The bulging chest was something akin to a compartment. Hao Pingyang sat in there with his eyes completely bloodshot. He bellowed out mindlessly, “Die!”
He was piloting this huge egg monster in battle. This was a newly-invented puppet of the school of Mohism. Combined with the methods of corpse refinement, it possessed power at Foundation Establishment, but it could operate independently like regular puppets.
Among the traditional puppet techniques of mohism, there were Foundation Establishment puppets, or even Golden Core and legendary Soul Nascence puppets. However, the corresponding strength was required to control these puppets. At the very least, they were beyond what Qi Practitioners could control.
However, these new models could be controlled by Qi Practitioners. Hao Pingyang basically played the role of the puppet’s brain. He had come here for a mission, to slaughter daemons, but he never thought he would run into trouble right from the beginning and be ambushed by a daemon.
The lizard Daemon General pressed the puppet against the ground and sensed Hao Pingyang’s existence. Its sharp claws constantly dug into the compartment, sending sparks and wooden shrapnel flying. Among the painful screeching, there was a hiss.
The lizard Daemon General ripped open the compartment, about to feast to its heart’s content. The taste of human cultivators was just something else.
Hao Pingyang hugged the Yellow Dragon’s Cannon of Devouring Light. With a furious roar, he launched a streak of light right into the lizard Daemon General’s open mouth.
The lizard Daemon General’s fragile mouth was injured, but it was not a particularly large wound. It only made it even more furious and vicious, biting towards Hao Pingyang.
A rancid smell rushed into his face. Hao Pingyang knew it was probably over for him here.
Suddenly, the lizard Daemon General seemed to sense something. It abandoned Hao Pingyang, and its two bulging eyes swiveled around, locking onto a region of space. A sword as black as ink suddenly flew over.
The lizard Daemon General sensed the danger the ink sword posed. A terrifying sword intent locked onto it and drew closer with lightning speed. At such a short range, it was unable to dodge.
It rapidly shrank and began to move faster, avoiding the ink sword with lightning speed and lunging towards the space. The person who launched the sneak attack was right there!
The Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility swept through the air in a semi-circular fashion, almost completely invisible. As if it had grasped the lizard Daemon General’s movements, it slashed into its back with great precision. A sharp sword qi as terrifying as the ink sword then emerged.
The lizard Daemon General produced a horrific howl, and it was reduced to two pieces. However, it was not along its waist, but near its tail, as if the attack had not landed on its back at all.
This was its innate ability. No matter where it was injured, it could transfer it all to its tail, and as a lizard, it could regrow its tail. Sensing danger, it turned around and dove underground without the slightest hesitation. From the side, a strand of sword qi pierced its bulging eye and right through its head.
The ink sword that had flown over earlier had changed directions unknowingly.
Li Qingshan appeared. This Daemon General was truly crafty. If he had not refined the entire Cursive Sword Calligraphy and could not control the sword qi as he wished, it basically would have escaped.
If he did not possess these two strands of sword qi, it would be anything but easy for him to kill Daemon Generals with his cultivation at early Foundation Establishment if he could not transform either.
The Arts of the Boundless Ocean was an impressive cultivation method, but it lacked the power to kill in a single stroke. Even if he gained the upper hand and forced the Daemon General into dire straits, it only needed to blow up its daemon core, and all his efforts would still end up being in vain.
Li Qingshan stowed away the entire lizard into his hundred treasures pouch and went out of his way to inspect the daemon core. He was overjoyed. The daemon core had a poisonous affinity. He had finally found a daemon core that Milliped could use.
“Qingshan!” Hao Pingyang crawled out from the puppet in surprise and joy. He was in a rather horrible shape having just escaped death.
“Long time no see.” Li Qingshan looked back and smiled.
The two of them talked for a while in the remains of the puppet. Only then did Hao Pingyang learn that Li Qingshan had not appeared here out of coincidence. Instead, he had been sent to assist him.
These new puppet models had only been introduced to battle recently, so no one was particularly confident in them. Their performance in actual battle was indeed worse than regular Foundation Establishment puppets.
This was not the first time Li Qingshan had done something like this either.
The setting sun gradually sank below the horizon. The stars above the wilderness seemed particularly resplendent.
“Let’s go. I’ll accompany you back to the academy…” Before Li Qingshan had even finished, the jade tablet on his waist flashed. Unlike the Scarlet Wolf tablet, it was an item for communication allocated to every single cultivator.
Han Anjun’s cold voice rang out from there. “Li Qingshan, what’s the situation?”
“I killed a Daemon General. The puppet has been damaged, but Hao Pingyang’s fine.”
“Go to the banks of Fangting river a hundred and fifty kilometers south-west to provide assistance.” Han Anjun did not praise him at all, directly issuing an order.
“Alright, I’ll go soon.”
“Not soon, immediately!”
Li Qingshan shrugged helplessly. Hao Pingyang said, “You better go! I need to fix this up!”
“I’ll take you drinking once I get back!”
Hao Pingyang watched as Li Qingshan vanished. The various pieces of news regarding him filled his head. Apart from gratitude, he felt deep admiration too.
“That’s the fifth Daemon General he’s killed, right?”
Over half a month had already passed since the battle began. After the initial probing, the flames of war blazed, reaching everywhere.
Even Li Qingshan was surprised by the number of daemons hiding underground. They raided the various cities and towns, leaving everything in ruins wherever they passed by. The Spider Queen’s order to massacre a hundred cities had already been completed, as even if Foundation Establishment cultivators came to stop them, the consequences of battle were still enough to destroy entire cities.
No one could afford to watch out for regular people during an intense battle of life and death. However, the battle did not end with that. It only became even more intense. In just a dozen or so days, the number of dead Foundation Establishment cultivators had already reached double digits.
Even Li Qingshan was endangered many times. There was even once when he faced life-threatening danger. The Daemon General was not as powerful as the rock demon or the blood demon, but that was only because it lacked a special bloodline. It still possessed startling strength, not an opponent that an early Foundation Establishment cultivator could stop. If it were not for his greatest trump card of actually possessing the body of a daemon, he would have been heavily injured even if he survived somehow.
However, as he rushed around, he had benefited quite a lot too. He killed a total of three Daemon Generals. Combined with the two other Daemon Generals he had killed earlier, his kill count had reached a startling five.
Apart from the water element daemon core he had used up, he now possessed four daemon cores, as well as countless more from regular daemons he had killed.
His contribution in the Hawkwolf Guard had reached an extremely tremendous sum too. At the same time, the academy and the Daemon Suppression alliance had offered up a great number of resources to raise morale, earning him an extra share of rewards.
Apart from that, he had earned a few names for himself, with some along the lines of “Invisible Sword Li Qingshan” or “Sea Tiger Li Qingshan”.
Li Qingshan rushed to the banks of Fangting river and heard the sound of music instruments from afar, crossing through the reeds that stretched as far as the eye could see and rippling through the warm, night breeze of midsummer.
There was an estate on the banks of the river. The sound came from there.
The eyes of daemonic beasts twinkled like stars outside, constantly drawing closer and constantly forcing back the invisible music.
A few disciples of the school of Music sat in a circle within a pavilion at the back of the estate and wielded various musical instruments, like they were performing and not fighting. They were indeed not skilled at battle. Although they could force back the daemonic beasts, they were unable to deal any life-threatening blows, yet their true qi continued to gradually diminish. Fear filled their faces.
They suddenly heard a squeal, which frightened a disciple into snapping the string on her zither. Among her fear and confusion, she discovered that the daemonic beasts had begun to scatter, collapsing on the ground bloodily.
Li Qingshan killed the leading daemon in a single stroke before finishing off the remaining daemonic beasts one by one without much effort. He arrived before the pavilion.
“Are you fine?”
“You’re Li Qingshan!”
Most of the disciples of the school of Music were female, and the ones here were not exceptions to that. They did not possess supreme beauty, but their appearances were still delicate with exceptional bearings. They all thanked Li Qingshan as they looked at him favourably. One of them even boldly expressed she was willing to fill in for the space Han Qiongzhi had left behind and comfort Li Qingshan’s lonely soul.
Li Qingshan understood that this was not just gratitude and admiration from being saved. Otherwise, these proud beauties of the school of Music would have never been so liberal. Instead, they wanted to find someone powerful they could rely on considering how precarious the war was right now.
He only smiled, without making a reply. He sat down in the pavilion to recover his exhausted spiritual qi and energy.
Before long, the jade tablet on his waist lit up once again.