Chapter 520 – Obtaining the Phoenix Feather
With the phoenix feather promised to him, Li Qingshan was in an extremely good mood. He smiled at Lolth. “Lolth, whether you admit it or not, I possess the strength to rival you. I’ll spare you once again for the sake of fellow Golden Cicada. I welcome you to challenge me again.”
Lolth was unable to hear Li Qingshan and Golden Cicada’s conversation. When she heard Li Qingshan mention “fellow Golden Cicada”, she could not help but become surprised. “What did you call sir Golden Cicada?”
“Even if you don’t challenge me, I’ll be challenging you!” Li Qingshan studied Lolth’s enticing body again and laughed aloud.
“The phoenix feather is right here. You and that… friend beside you, come and take it!”
Golden Cicada sank into silent thought. Through his observations of the battle, he clearly knew Li Qingshan had received powerful reinforcements, but he was unable to see Xiao An, and he was unable to detect her aura either with his senses. Even he found this to be extremely strange, developing a hint of curiosity.
If Li Qingshan used the Spirit Turtle Suppresses the Seas to hide his aura, then Xiao An’s would be the “nothingness” between life and death. She had no aura to hide in the first place.
“Why?” Li Qingshan asked vigilantly.
“She’s very special. Don’t worry, I have no ill intentions towards you. Perhaps I might even be able to assist her.”
With benefits up for grabs, Li Qingshan agreed very happily. This did not necessarily mean he had dropped his guard. Golden Cicada’s behaviour had always been relatively gentle, and he still needed him to retrieve the Chant of Deva-Nāga, so there was no reason to turn against him.
If there really was life-threatening danger, the spirit turtle’s daemon core would definitely warn him. So far, he had not developed the ability to divine and predict various random things, but it was enough as long as it was effective in this aspect.
Under Lolth’s surprised and doubtful gaze, Li Qingshan unfurled his wings of wind and flew downwards into the earth with Xiao An. Wherever he passed by, the rock and soil would automatically part and create a tunnel. Even though he would run into large pieces of ores that he could not shift so easily, he only needed to produce a breath and sparks would fly, forming a tunnel in the blink of an eye.
This continued until he arrived at the depths underground, before the lake of magma.
Just when Li Qingshan had caught his footing, a golden-red feather floating on the lake of fire immediately drew his attention away. He was unable to shift his gaze after that.
The slender feather was around a foot long, extending into a gradual curve. The patterning on the end was like a huge eye, constantly producing a bright and gentle glow.
The boundless essence of earthen fire gathered in it. Whenever it swayed, it would cause the lake of fire to surge.
Li Qingshan needed no explanation. He knew this was definitely a feather of the legendary phoenix. Nothing about it could be wrong.
Like how it was possible to learn about a leopard from a single spot, he seemed to be able to imagine the pure and noble bearing of a phoenix unfurling its wings from seeing this one feather.
Li Qingshan immediately strode across the lake of fire and extended his hand towards the phoenix feather. Right when he was about to touch it, he could not help but shy back, like a mortal reaching towards glowing charcoal with their bare hands, afraid of getting burnt.
However, when the tip of his finger touched the phoenix feather, it did not feel scorching at all. Instead, there was an indescribable warmth. The wonderful, graceful sensation was unable to be described through language.
After that, he sensed a powerful aura of life.
The heart of a phoenix was pure and noble, but not arrogant. The fire of a phoenix was scorching hot, but not wounding.
Li Qingshan held the phoenix feather between his fingers, admiring it in complete amazement. He imagined how beautiful a real phoenix would be.
At the same time, Golden Cicada was also observing Li Qingshan. They had carried out their conversation last time from a great distance apart after all, and no one could ignore the interference from the underground magnetic field.
As a result, while they did have a conversation, his impression of Li Qingshan was still the same as last time when Li Qingshan ventured deep underground and demonstrated a hint of the phoenix’s aura.
However, now that Golden Cicada saw him again, he could not help but be taken aback.
That was because the aura of the phoenix on Li Qingshan was extremely feeble, almost non-existent. However, there were three other tremendous auras.
One was as heavy as a mountain, one was as fierce as the wind, and one was as tranquil as the sea.
Each aura represented a bloodline legacy from a powerful lifeform, yet it happened to be that none of them paled in comparison to the phoenix.
Lolth well and truly deserved her defeat. She did not even know what she was up against!
This was utterly unheard of for Golden Cicada. It was impossible for him to be born like this. Merely obtaining one of these powerful bloodlines would have required extremely great luck.
He definitely carried a huge secret on him. He was a mere daemon who did not even know what the Nine Heavens were, yet he earnestly said he wanted to venture beyond the Nine Heavens. As it seemed, it definitely did not arise from conceit.
Golden Cicada did not know about the existence of the black ox, but he could vaguely sense a lofty figure standing behind Li Qingshan.
Afterwards, Golden Cicada directed his focus to Xiao An and immediately became stunned. The feeling of shock was much more intense than when Li Qingshan saw the phoenix feather. He murmured to himself, “Neither living or dead, formless and non-self.”
Golden Cicada had an extremely deep connection with buddhism, which was why he had requested Li Qingshan to retrieve the Chant of Deva-Nāga for him. Now that he saw the successor of the White Bone Bodhisattva, how could he not be surprised and shocked?
Sure, Li Qingshan and Xiao An were still very weak, but they were like tiny seeds. Some seeds could only grow into grass, while others had the potential to become towering trees.
Golden Cicada originally wanted to investigate the origins of their legacies out of curiosity, but now, he had instead given up on that.
The person who could plant these two seeds was definitely well beyond what his current level of cultivation could fathom. If it were not for the fact that he had already arrived on the edge of the well and could catch a glimpse of the world outside, he would not even be able to understand what they represented.
In particular, Xiao An possessed a strange and erroneous buddhist truth about her, completely divergent from all of his understanding of buddhism and even defying it. However, it also conformed to it perfectly, making it impossible to pick out anything wrong.
He absolutely refused to think too much about it. It would bring absolutely no benefit to his cultivation, but be detrimental instead.
To the other side, Li Qingshan held the phoenix feather, but he was unable to draw out the power inside. He tried using the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa. In his sea of consciousness, the figure of the phoenix spread its wings and produced a long cry.
In that instant, the phoenix feather exploded with light, enveloping Li Qingshan.
A powerful life force poured into Li Qingshan’s body endlessly. His flesh and blood rapidly grew and merged together at a visible rate.
In the blink of an eye, Li Qingshan had made a full recovery. His scarlet hair draped down as he clenched his fists. Never had he felt so at ease before.
Whether it were the hidden wounds from Lolth or the residue from consuming pills, all of it had been wiped clean.
The phoenix feather in his hand had only dimmed slightly. Let alone the other uses, even if he only treated it as life-saving medicine, he would basically gain a few extra lives.
“You really have gained the phoenix feather’s recognition.” Golden Cicada sighed. In other words, that was four bloodlines, four different powers. All of them were the most powerful legacies.
Earning the “recognition” seemed extremely easy to Li Qingshan, but if regular people rashly used the power in the phoenix feather, they would face the risk of being incinerated to death.
Perhaps because it was for healing, or perhaps because the power in the phoenix feather was relatively mild, the spirit turtle had not reacted intensely, which made Li Qingshan overjoyed. He felt like he had found a door right when he had been driven into a corner. As long as he pushed through the door, he would arrive in a brand new world.
Li Qingshan was greedy. “There’s… just this one?”
“Hopefully you uphold your word soon! This is for your little friend.”
With that, Golden Cicada fell silent. A śarīra glistening with golden light flew out of the magma lake, landing in Xiao An’s hand.
Li Qingshan breathed out deeply. “Don’t worry, I hate owing people favours!”
Li Qingshan and Xiao An returned to the flooded Cobweb city. Lolth had already vanished, but she had been heavily injured and the web, poison suit, and poisonous whip she had gone to such great lengths to weave had all been destroyed.
It was probably impossible for her to make any trouble for now, and by the time she recovered, Li Qingshan would have climbed to somewhere higher already.
Xiao An took out a snail shell.
“This is Dragonsnail’s shell!”
Li Qingshan was surprised inside. In his eyes, Dragonsnail had already been relatively mysterious. Naturally, he seemed relatively powerful too, so Li Qingshan never expected Xiao An to kill him so easily.
Dragonsnail was powerful among Daemon Generals, but Xiao An’s strength approached Li Qingshan’s. Actually, if Li Qingshan wanted to kill Dragonsnail, it would not take him much effort either.
Moreover, Xiao An’s Samādhi Flames of White Bone had a crushing advantage in terms of destructive power over weaker opponents. Once the flames contaminated them, they would be done for unless they were Daemon Commanders like Lolth who could use their powerful and pure daemon qi to forcefully purge it.
Dragonsnail obviously did not have the necessary strength, so the Samādhi Flames of White Bone had frozen his soul, and his flesh and blood had been set alight. He did not last very long before dying.
In the end, he only left behind this snail shell and a daemon core.
Just like that, all three powerful Daemon Generals under Lolth’s command had died at Xiao An’s hands.
Xiao An placed the snail shell in Li Qingshan’s palm. Li Qingshan shoved it into his hundred treasures pouch casually, but he discovered he was unable to shove it in. Only after a close inspection did he discover the snail shell possessed its own space. It was like a large hundred treasures pouch with many items stored inside.
After Bloodshadow and Strongboulder had died, Dragonsnail took over, especially ambushing and killing powerful human cultivators. The spoils of the battles had been rather abundant, with many precious spiritual herbs obtained. Clearly, it was all because of Dragonsnail’s relatively greater intelligence, allowing him to plan and scheme very far into the future, but now, Li Qingshan benefited from it instead.
Dragonsnail might have been a wiser one among the daemons, but he could neither disobey Lolth’s orders, nor was he Xiao An’s opponent. Before absolute strength, resourcefulness often seemed useless.
“The snail shell should be a good material for forging artifacts.”
Having dealt with a great problem bothering him and obtaining the phoenix feather he had been yearning the entire time, Li Qingshan was completely satisfied. Now, he needed to find a way to completely refine the phoenix feather and merge with it so that he could reach the first layer of the Phoenix Transformation.
He also had to continue expanding his water territory. If it were not for the Water God Seal today, he would have never been able to deal with Lolth even if he worked with Xiao An. As a matter of fact, he would have faced the danger of running out of daemon qi and being killed instead.
Li Qingshan and Xiao An followed the underground river and travelled upstream, arriving in Moon Court lake, only to discover his dwelling was currently under attack.