Chapter 476 – The Fourth Layer of the Ox Demon, to Never Admit Defeat
Li Qingshan’s mental state was not particularly affected, but with the battle on the horizon, he temporarily cast his lust aside to focus on a period of proper cultivation. He left Ye Liubo grumbling.
However, Li Qingshan still made some preparations. He ordered the night roamers to speed up their herb gathering process and offer them all up.
The war had continued for many years now. Many of the territories underground had been emptied out. The zones originally forbidden to the night roamers were now available. Daemons were even more ignorant about the usage of spiritual herbs than night roamers. All they knew was protecting spiritual herbs that could be directly consumed, so they should have left behind even more spiritual herbs in comparison to the night roamers.
In order to speed up the process, Li Qingshan handed all the random spiritual artifacts and talismans in his hundred treasures pouch to Ye Liubo. As long as they offered up spiritual herbs of relatively good quality, she was free to award these items to others.
The Spider Queen was not easy to appease. Just in case she turned against him some time, he would take all the benefits he had collected from her and take off. The world was vast. Whether human or daemon, where couldn’t he go? Why did he have to put up with her?
Li Qingshan had only consumed a small portion of the pills Ru Xin had refined so far. Most of it still remained in his hundred treasures pouch, as he never got the opportunity to convert them into his cultivation.
In Qing Xiao’s Home, Li Qingshan took out all the pills in his hundred treasures pouch. All of them were of decent quality.
The spiritual herbs that the night roamers had offered up were of relatively higher quality. They might not have been millennia old, but they were centuries old. As a result, most of the pills refined were of very good quality, enough for him to use. However, there was also a small fraction that had already become rather useless to him. It was a pity to discard them, but there was no point for him to consume them either.
As his cultivation progressed, he could circulate the spiritual qi of the world faster and faster. Even his own body gradually developed a spiritual nature. Just the spiritual qi in a drop of his blood was probably more abundant than most pills. It had obviously become useless to consume any more of these pills.
Once he reached a certain point, probably even pills refined from millennium-old spiritual herbs would become useless. As a result, his territory underground was no longer as important as when he first obtained it. Once he squeezed out a little more value from it, there was no need for him to be bound by it and be ordered around by the Spider Queen.
Li Qingshan smiled towards Xiao An, took in a deep breath, and abruptly grew in size. He towered over thirty meters in the blink of an eye. Three meters was roughly the height of a storey, so in other words, Li Qingshan was over a dozen storeys tall right now. Although he was still a bit smaller than godzilla, it was enough for him to impersonate a small monster.
His pitch-black body made him seem like a demon god as his scarlet hair poured down like a waterfall. His eyes shone brightly, like they were burning with fire. They radiated with a primitive, beatial, and demonic nature
When he carved out Qing Xiao’s dwelling, he did not go after anything else. The only thing he had in mind was size, and it was precisely to deal with the current situation. The mountain they had chosen stood several hundred meters tall. Together, Li Qingshan and Xiao An had basically hollowed out the entire centre.
From the ground to the ceiling, there was roughly six hundred meters. If Li Qingshan had not crushed the walls to the point where they were as tough as steel with his abilities, the mountain would have caved in on itself from its weight a long time ago.
As a result, even when standing straight, Li Qingshan did not feel cramped. He studied his body and opened his great, toothy mouth, letting out a chuckle. The tiger’s tail swayed freely behind him, leaving behind a series of blurs.
From a certain perspective, he was even more satisfied with his original form than his humanoid form. His humanoid form was very handsome, but compared to his original form, it was clearly nowhere near as imposing or bold.
He could not help but admit that the black ox had an eye for things, choosing Li Qingshan. If it were not for his strange tastes as a transigrator, probably this form alone would be beyond what regular people could accept, let alone feeling good about it.
Li Qingshan extended his hand and made a scooping gesture, making all the pills on the ground fly into his hand. He shoved them into his great mouth and gulped it all down without even chewing.
If other cultivators witnessed this, their jaws definitely would have dropped from pure astonishment. They would think he was sick of living and was trying to commit suicide.
These pills were not all the same. Just the conflicting medicinal effects were enough to claim his life, and their intense efficacy could directly blow up a person.
Sure enough, after swallowing these pills, Li Qingshan’s belly immediately began to swell, growing larger and larger like a balloon. He seemed like he was ten months pregnant. The ear-piercing sound of stretching metal filled the dwelling.
A hint of caution appeared on Li Qingshan’s face. He bellowed out, “The Spirit Turtle Suppresses the Seas!”
The spirit turtle’s daemon core shone resplendently, forcefully suppressing the chaotic effects from the pills.
However, even with that, it seemed to struggle to keep it suppressed. His daemon qi erupted from his body, lifting up his scarlet hair. If it were not for the Eight Gates Formation of Golden Locks that kept the rolling daemon qi locked it, daemon qi could probably even be spotted from very far away.
The daemon core could only suppress, not absorb. The effects of the pills merged with Li Qingshan’s limbs, bones, and organs strand by strand. They ached slightly as countless capillaries ruptured, only to repair themselves immediately.
In the blink of an eye, who knew how many times this destruction and reconstruction had occurred already.
Li Qingshan only had a single objective with this, which was to break through to the fourth layer of the ox demon.
Finally, Li Qingshan’s belly stopped swelling. Supporting his stomach, he sat down and rubbed his great belly.
“To think I had said I wanted to make a child with someone else. I seem like I bear a child right now! Xiao An, don’t I look like the laughing buddha?”
Xiao An leapt up gracefully and landed on his belly. Looking at how ominous he seemed, she covered her mouth as she laughed. “Not one bit.”
“Then what do I look like?”
“You look like Li Qingshan.”
“That’s right, I look like Li Qingshan. What am I impersonating others for?”
Li Qingshan let out a great roar of laughter. In this world, she was probably the only one unaffected by his appearance, bloodline, cultivation, and other external features. No matter what he became, he was still only Li Qingshan in her eyes.
As for Xiao An, whether she was a ghost, a white skeleton, or a great beauty with the Aspect of Heavenly Fragrance and Beauty, she did not change either in his heart.
Xiao An settled down on one side and took out Bloodshadow’s daemon core that reeked of blood. She sniffed it gently, and the heavy, sanguine smell left her extremely satisfied. It was the perfect material for refining the Blood Sea Banner.
After a moment of consideration, she stowed the blood daemon core away again and took out the Skull Prayer Beads. The level after eighteen prayer beads was twenty-one. She was only off by three.
Time passed quickly. In the blink of an eye, almost a month had gone by.
Li Qingshan’s belly had completely turned back to normal. His iron hooves were planted deeply into the ground as he grabbed the ground firmly with his claws. His spine arched like a mountain as he butted his horns upwards forcefully.
Standing upright between heaven and earth with an indomitable spirit!
Although his vigour was still nowhere close, his bearing was extremely similar to what he had seen in the past from the ox demon’s figure in his sea of consciousness.
There were no unnecessary movements. He no longer swung his arms and feet around. He even stopped using the Ox Demon Stamps its Hooves, the Ox Demon Forges its Hide, and the Ox Demon Butts its Horns. He simply stood there without moving, just like a statue.
However, a sense of power filled the absolute stillness, like a great bow that had been fully drawn. His muscles were stretched and expanded to the limit, even tougher than rock or steel.
But under the cold, hard skin, his blood surged and his soul burned, without resting for even the slightest moment.
His scarlet pupils flickered with red light. Although the upper half of his body still remained mostly humanoid, no one standing there would connect him with the word “human”.
The effect of the pills he had swallowed in one gulp had completely kicked in, but this time, the Ox Demon Transformation that had always been the easiest to practise became especially difficult.
“It’s still not enough. Something is still missing! Pills? No! What is it?”
Li Qingshan was dripping with sweat as two white clouds of scorching steam sprayed out from his nostrils. The medicinal effects began to wear off.
The Ox Demon, with its Great Strength, Sinks in the Mud!
The ominous mantra appeared in Li Qingshan’s heart again. He deeply comprehended a sense of sombreness like a hero at the end of their path, a form of helplessness like great strength that could not be used.
However, there seemed to be something else among all this. The ox demon’s figure appeared in his sea of consciousness once more.
He stared at the figure for a long time and suddenly developed a sense of doubt.
Why? It clearly knew it was stuck deep within the mud, so why did it still struggle? Wouldn’t it sink even deeper the more it struggled? It had already tried everything it could, and since it did not work, why not stop and take a break? Why did it continue to torture itself painfully?
In the past, the Hegemon King of Chu lost the Battle of Gaixia. As he listened to the lamenting songs of Chu all around, he said, “My strength plucked up the hills, My might shadowed the world; But the times were against me, And Zhui runs no more; When Zhui runs no more, What then can I do? Ah, Yu, my Yu, What will your fate be?” Afterwards, although he managed to break out of the encirclement of the Han army, fleeing to the banks of Wu river, he sighed to himself. “I have no face to return and see the elders of Jiangdong.” before slitting his own throat. He became the classic example of a hero at the end of his path, leaving behind a heroic lament passed down and sung throughout the ages.
TL: This basically refers to the downfall of the Hegemon King of Chu, Xiang Yu, right before the founding of the Han dynasty. You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiang_Yu#Defeat_and_downfall
Li Qingshan had learnt this poem from the textbooks of his past life, but there had been a similar example. Thousands of years later, there was another marshal who had been surrounded by the enemy army who also left behind a seven-word poem, printed in his textbook. It remained as a clear memory to Li Qingshan.
So what if I lose my head today? Pioneering has never been easy, riddled with battles. Off I go to the underworld to call upon my fallen comrade in arms, ten thousand we stand to slay the king of hell!
TL: This is a poem by a Chinese communist army commander, Chen Yi, when he was surrounded by the enemy and thought he was done for in 1936.
The heroic bearing of facing death unflinchingly even surpassed the Hegemon King of Chu who blamed everything but himself and refused to return to Jiangdong.
As these thoughts flashed through his head, only an instant had passed in reality.
The red light in Li Qingshan’s eyes suddenly flashed, like firelight. Afterwards, when he looked at the ox demon’s figure, he saw something different.
He saw the ox demon enduring and persisting with its extraordinary endurance. Even if it was all to no avail, even if fate had predestined it and destiny could not be changed, it would never give up, fighting to the end.
It could be destroyed, but it would never be defeated!
The flickering light in Li Qingshan’s eyes gradually settled down, and the streams of air from his nostrils eased up as if he could remain like that for a century, for a millennium.
Suddenly, the same forceful and vigorous bearing as the ox demon’s figure began to radiate from his body!
He had reached the fourth layer of the Ox Demon Transformation!
Li Qingshan’s body gradually turned back to normal. Unlike the past, he did not ravish with joy, nor was he in a hurry to test how much his strength had increased by.
During the cultivation process, the black ox’s will seemed to merge with his body through this Ox Demon Transformation. It was a form of inheritance. No matter how many profound transformations the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine had, the Ox Demon Transformation would always be the greatest.