Chapter 489 – The Fourth Layer of the Tiger Demon
Since the very beginning, the Spider Queen’s objective with Li Qingshan had been to capture him alive before tying him up and slowly enjoying him. The pain and despair of the prey had always been the most important component of this dish.
Once she lost that component, all that remained for her to do was “eat”. However, before she ate, she still wanted to have some fun. She wanted to cut off his limbs and treat him as a toy in bed. After all, prey that could satisfy her desires were simply too rare.
As a result, she had never really planned on killing him, which was why Li Qingshan had managed to last until now. If she tried to kill him right from the beginning, perhaps it would have been completely impossible for Li Qingshan to burrow into the ground alive.
The close combat earlier seemed extremely intense, but she had plenty of opportunities and methods to kill Li Qingshan. But that way, it would be very difficult for her to control her power. It was possible for her to kill him directly, and if she forced him into dire straits, it was possible for him to directly blow up his daemon core.
It was exactly because of these various considerations that she had chosen the unwise plan of wasting away Li Qingshan’s daemon qi and physical strength. By then, it would already be too late if he wanted to blow up his daemon core.
However, the situation did not unfold as she had expected. Not only did Li Qingshan avoid being worn out, but he even riled up in vigour instead and used his daemon qi extremely conservatively.
The situation was becoming complicated, which was rather disadvantageous to her.
Of course, that was all, just disadvantageous.
She recovered from her exhaustion in a single breath. Although she had depleted a lot of daemon qi, it recovered quickly too.
Most importantly, she had decided to “kill” at this moment.
The moment she made up her mind, the spirit turtle’s daemon core in Li Qingshan’s body gave off a stern warning. It was almost an omen of death.
The strands of spider silk all flew over. Li Qingshan could not make any response in time. No matter what action he took, he could not avoid the fate of becoming riddled with holes.
“Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell!”
Li Qingshan bellowed out and hexagonal pieces of the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell layered in front of him.
Time seemed to slow down. A ripple seemed to be produced as each strand of silk came in contact with the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell, but it was impossible to discern because hundreds of strands struck the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell at the same time.
Instead of being penetrated, it was probably better to describe the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell as being annihilated.
Li Qingshan’s daemon qi depleted rapidly. There were no longer any tricks he could use anymore. The air filled with spider silk was like the direct advance of a million-strong army. If he did not block it, only death would await him, but even if he blocked it, it would only delay his death.
The silk was not as light as the spider web, which could have been blown away with fierce gales.
The other side of the thousands of strands of silk were still attached to the Spider Queen’s mouth as she constantly channeled in daemon qi. Let alone fierce gales, even axe-swings could not make a single strand budge.
The Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell was destroyed layer after layer. Li Qingshan’s daemon qi plummeted as the strands arrived right in front of him.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
With a pair of blood-red eyes, Li Qingshan punched out again and again, using the Tremors of the Ox Demon to snap all the silk.
However, the silk strands were endless. At a time like this, even if he wanted to turn around and flee, it would be too late.
Innate abilities consumed daemon qi extremely rapidly. In the blink of an eye, the daemon qi that Li Qingshan had conserved arduously the entire time so that he could use it at a critical juncture had almost run out.
Yet, all the Spider Queen did was stand there, constantly spitting out silk. With this move alone, she had pushed Li Qingshan into unprecedented danger.
This move, the Myriad Threads, also took quite the toll on her. However, as a Daemon Commander, both the quality and quantity of her daemon qi and her recovery rate was well beyond what a Daemon General could match.
In a battle that purely depended on daemon qi consumption, the outcome went completely without saying.
Seeing how Li Qingshan’s daemon qi had almost run out, but he continued to hold on without any intentions of blowing up his daemon core, the Spider Queen’s bright, red lips curled into a victorious smile. His desire to survive was much greater than what she had imagined. If she had known this earlier, she would have never held back in the beginning.
If this continued, she would achieve her original objective. Subduing a Daemon General who had run out of daemon qi was extremely simple.
Li Qingshan threw another punch, but there were no shockwaves anymore. His daemon qi had finally run out.
In that instant, thousands of threads pierced and swallowed him, pushing him until he slammed into the wall behind. He could not move anymore.
The Spider Queen breathed in gently. Her skin went from silvery-grey back to the smooth, snowy-white. As her plump hips swayed from side to side, she arrived before the humanoid figure that had been completely covered in webs.
With a wave of her hand, Li Qingshan’s face appeared without the slightest injury.
In the final moment, she had shifted the threads that shot towards his head, just in case she killed him. Of course, she avoided a certain part down below too.
Apart from those two parts, his body had been completely penetrated by threads, whether it was his limbs or organs. He was like an insect that had been nailed down by thousands of thin needles, completely immobilised. Even blowing up his daemon core had been reduced to a wild wish.
At this moment, even if he broke through to the fourth layer of the tiger demon, it would be too late.
The Spider Queen gently caressed Li Qingshan’s handsome face before suddenly landing a slap on his cheek, leaving behind a clear palm print. Then she lifted him by the chin and said, “Now, who’s fucking who?”
“Me fucking you obviously!” Before Li Qingshan could finish, there was a smack, and he was slapped across the face again. His face turned and his scarlet hair flew into the air.
Li Qingshan continued to smile viciously despite facing absolute despair.
He had already used all of his tricks. He had already tried everything he could and did everything he could. When he had completely refined Strongboulder’s daemon core, when he had the greatest hope of breaking through to the fourth layer of the tiger demon, all of it had ended in failure before he could even launch a single attack back.
If he had succeeded, all of this would have been different!
However, there were no ifs in life.
The killing intent from Strongboulder’s daemon core receded like the tide, only leaving behind the bitterness of failure. Sure enough, fate never went along with plans!
Hah, it’s not like I’m the Hegemon King of Chu. If my strength is insufficient, then my strength is insufficient. Why should I blame fate?
Do I feel despair? Perhaps!
However, as long he was still alive, even for a second, he would continue struggling until the end. He gazed at the Spider Queen with shining eyes. He did not spit a mouthful of bloody saliva towards her like those revolutionaries. Instead, he calmly tried to put up a struggle, but it was still futile.
Although the Strength of the Earth continued to replenish his physical strength endlessly, every inch of his muscle had already been pierced by the threads. They no longer listened to him. He could not even move his little finger.
The Spider Queen admired this sight in satisfaction. She had finally subdued this stubborn beast. There had never been a prey that made her so excited before.
A hand landed on him below, fiddling around it gently. She licked his face with the tip of her bright-red tongue and whispered into his ear, “Serve me well and I’ll let you live a little longer. If you can satisfy me, I might even spare your life, so you can continue leading the night roamers and serve me diligently.”
To those in despair, nothing was more tempting than hope, just like how drowning people would even desperately clutch at a straw.
Giving him a shred of hope, taming him bit by bit before killing him in the most brutal fashion possible. This was the fate she had set up for him. Only like that could her anger be pacified.
“I still have something on me that your silk can’t pierce.” Li Qingshan smiled.
The bones throughout Li Qingshan’s body could truly be described as the toughest part of him. Even the unstoppable spider silk could only pierce his skin and flesh, forced to bypass the bones.
At this moment, inspiration suddenly flashed through his head.
Even in death, the tiger’s bones stand!
“Then I’ll break them personally,” the Spider Queen said viciously. Abruptly, she saw Li Qingshan shudder and move, leaving her slightly surprised.
“Even if all my limbs and organs have been pierced, my bones can still move.”
As a result, Li Qingshan’s bones began to move. Indescribable agony filled every inch of him. All of his flesh that the spider silk had nailed down was being tugged at, but it did not budge. It was as if he was trying to forcefully separate his bones from his flesh.
Blood flowed along the strands, drenching the ground in the blink of an eye.
Even the torture of death through slow slicing felt enjoyable compared to this.
The Spider Queen smiled again. She enjoyed this kind of death struggle in the face of despair the most, but Li Qingshan’s expression left her rather dissatisfied.
His face did not become twisted from the pain. Instead, it smiled. He thought of a person.
Probably only that mad woman Qian Rongzhi can endure something like this. I won’t lose to her. No, I won’t lose to myself!
Suddenly, Li Qingshan felt like he had been filled with wisdom. All became clear.
The figure of the tiger demon appeared in his sea of consciousness again, continuing to howl at the sky. There were clearly no enemies around it, yet it waved its claws and brandished its teeth as if it was fighting something invisible, as if killing intent had filled its mind, sinking into a frenzy.
The Tiger Demon Forges its Bones, with a Frenzied Heart!
But this time, Li Qingshan saw something completely different. The tiger demon did not fight in a frenzy without knowing who its opponent was.
Even if the world was destroyed, even if it killed all life, it would only have one eternal enemy—itself.
If it could not defeat itself, no matter how many opponents it defeated, it was still weak.
Those who dominate others are strong, but those who overcome themselves have strength.
TL: This is a phrase taken from Dao De Jing. It appeared earlier in the novel, in chapter 10.
In order to defeat this enemy forever, all it could do was fight constantly, again and again, to defeat fear, to defeat pain, to defeat setbacks, and to defeat challenges.
Even if it forgot about everything and sank into madness, it could not stop.
I thought the fourth layer of the tiger demon was the same as the three previous layers, only requiring the external pressure of survival and death to stimulate my killing intent and potential for a breakthrough. But that’s not true. This is the tiger demon’s true reason for fighting endlessly.
In the instant Li Qingshan came to this realisation, an intense aura of malice rushed out of his body. It was so wild and so violent that he seemed like he wanted to challenge the world.
The Spider Queen was slightly shocked, taking a step back, but she felt no humiliation. She could clearly feel that Li Qingshan had made another breakthrough, like a demonic blade released from its seal. She actually felt danger.
However, she soon relaxed again and smiled in a self-deprecating manner. He was heavily injured and without a shred of daemon qi. Even if he broke through, how was he supposed to escape from her hands?
As if Li Qingshan was responding to her thoughts, daemon qi flowed into him from nowhere.
The spirit turtle’s daemon core suddenly lit up!