Chapter 540 – A Great General Among Corpses
The appearance of the Corpse General meant the crack in the Gate of Hungry Ghosts had grown larger.
The Corpse General waved his hand, and a black cloud of corpse qi rose up from his body, carrying almost ten thousand Corpse Soldiers towards the Soaring Dragon ship.
The Corpse General from the Hungry Ghost realm could actually use techniques, reducing the cultivators’ advantage of flight to nothing.
Liu Zhangqing let out a long howl, and the sword in his hand rose up, turning into a streak of white light and shooting towards the Corpse General!
The Corpse Soldiers layered upon each other to block, assuming a standard defensive posture. The sword pierced through several dozen Corpse Soldiers before running out of force.
Only then did the Corpse General take action. A smile appeared on his stiff face as he swung down viciously towards the flying sword with his pitch-black blade.
The flying sword produced a miserable thrum, wanting to fly back. The squadron around the Corpse General were powerful Corpse Soldiers that resembled personal guards, restraining the sword with everything they had.
Liu Zhangqing’s face changed as he urged the flying sword desperately. At this moment, the dark cloud arrived over his head, and his connection with the flying sword weakened drastically.
The Corpse General gripped the hilt of the sword, and with a surge of corpse qi, the light on the sword rapidly dimmed before becoming enveloped by black qi. It had actually been refined on the spot.
Hanging the sword on his waist casually, the Corpse General grinned with his toothy mouth and let out a soundless sneer, gazing at the cultivators on the Soaring Dragon ship scornfully.
Only then did everyone notice that the Corpse General seemed to be sending the corpse cloud towards them recklessly, but he had carefully controlled it within the range of the dark clouds.
With his intelligence, he did not resemble a zombie at all!
Over the years, Burial Mound mountain had obtained large quantities of corpses, and they had refined many Corpse Generals. However, Corpse Generals under the control of military tablets were only powerful puppets at most. They were worlds apart compared to the Corpse General standing before them.
Liu Zhangqing’s heart ached. It was painful to have his spiritual artifact stolen from him, but he could no longer care about that anymore. Even more Corpse Soldiers were surging out of the Gate of Hungry Ghosts, and the Soaring Dragon ship had lost all of its fighting capacity.
He ordered loudly, “Strike together!”
The Corpse General swung the blade in his hand and almost ten thousand Corpse Soldiers shifted around, adjusting their formation with great speed and precision. The corpse qi from almost ten thousand Corpse Soldiers actually merged together and rose into the air, forming a huge, black shield.
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! The attacks rained down on the black shield endlessly, but the Corpse Qi only dispersed slightly. They could not destroy it.
Han Anjun’s expression changed. This bore some resemblance to the military formations of the school of the Military.
Military formations placed very high demands on the disciples who used them. They needed long periods of practise and consolidation before they could become connected in will and mind. But even with that being the case, when they faced real battle, they would still be influenced by various emotions like fear, fury, and so on, leading to the collapse of the military formation.
However, that was clearly something Corpse Soldiers did not have to worry about. Under the Corpse General’s control, he could wield them like his own arm, forming the most ingenious combination. Compared to the difficulty of becoming connected in will and mind, these Corpse Soldiers simply had no will or mind. Even if they were cleaved through the head, they would not be fazed.
A military formation assembled like that was without a doubt even more pure and powerful.
Among the cultivators present, no one understood the power of military formations better than Han Anjun. Perhaps the individual Corpse Soldiers were not powerful, but once they poured their strength together, it would go from quantity to quality. Even he dared not underestimate their power.
The Corpse General did not charge over single-mindedly, so for a moment, the cultivators had no idea what to do.
They stood in the air, in a distant stalemate.
The Corpse General rode the corpse horse, controlled the corpse cloud and led the Corpse Soldiers, pressing over slowly as the dark clouds in the sky spread out. Despite facing almost twenty Foundation Establishment cultivators, he gave off the demeanour of a great general like he was taking his time and devising strategies from his tent.
This is a cultivator of the Hungry Ghost realm!
Li Qingshan felt like his horizons had widened yet again. He could no longer treat the opposing Corpse General as a “monster” anymore. He was clearly a cold, powerful cultivator, even though the way he cultivated was vastly different from humans, from daemons, from all living creatures.
The Corpse General had indeed not taken Liu Zhangqing and the other cultivators seriously, but that did not mean he was confident enough to completely defeat them.
That was because slaughter was truly commonplace in the Hungry Ghost realm. Its intensity was well beyond what Liu Zhangqing and the others could imagine. Let alone facing a group of Foundation Establishment cultivators who were equivalent to Corpse Generals when he had a geographic advantage, he had faced situations involving Corpse Commanders, Corpse Kings, or even higher existences countless times already. Even putting up a struggle was pointless. All he could do was accept his fate.
Sometimes during the struggles on the battlefields, the only way to survive was to completely depend on luck. Having been through all that, the sight before him was no longer particularly significant anymore.
Hua Chengzan said, “We can’t afford to waste any more time!”
During this period of stalemate, a few more Corpse Generals climbed out of the Gate of Hungry Ghosts. They varied in sizes and appearances, where one of them clearly did not resemble a human’s corpse at all.
However, their eyes all flickered with intelligent light. The first thing they did after emerging was assembling the Corpse Soldiers. They glanced at the sky, but they did not launch an attack immediately.
Instead, they allowed the original Corpse General to face off with the cultivators in a stalemate. They instead led their armies out of the Gate of Hungry Ghosts and assembled a huge military formation, like some kind of wondrous formation.
The Corpse Soldiers served as the formation diagram, while the Corpse Generals served as the crucial points. No one would have imagined that measly Corpse Soldiers of the lowest level actually had so many wondrous uses if it were not for the fact that they had witnessed it in person.
In the moment the formation was completed, the black pillar of smoke from the Gate of Hungry Ghosts immediately became even thicker. They were working together from both inside and out to widen the Gate of Hungry Ghosts so that even more and stronger undead could enter this world from the Hungry Ghost realm.
Once the Gate of Hungry Ghosts widened to the point where the owner of the withered hand, the “Corpse King”, could enter, then it truly would be the end of the world.
If they remained passive like this, the situation would become more and more disadvantageous.
Whether it was to fight or to flee, they had to make a decision fast.
Han Anjun called out coldly, flying over and landing on the top of the dragon head, raising his spear and pointing it at the Corpse General.
He was also a general!
Before he set off, he had already received military orders from the great general Han Anguo. They could not flee from this battle. They had to hold their ground until reinforcements from the Ruyi commandery arrived.
Military orders were absolute!
The Soaring Dragon ship suddenly set off, smashing towards the corpse cloud like a furious, roaring dragon.
The Corpse General did not back down. He waved his blade again, pointing it straight at the sky. Surging corpse qi rose from the bodies of the Corpse Soldiers, turning into a hundred-meter-long edge that swung down towards the Soaring Dragon ship.
The Soaring Dragon ship had almost depleted all of its energy. It could not even activate its defensive formations. The colossal blade swung down and split the Soaring Dragon ship into two with a single stroke, clearly exposing its internal structure. Wooden shrapnel flew about like rain.
The momentum of the broken hull carried it forward, smashing into the corpse cloud viciously. Countless Corpse Soldiers were sent flying, falling to the ground.
The central furnace exploded loudly, swallowing the entire corpse cloud.
The military formation collapsed!
With a single measly Corpse General, how could he be the opponent of all these cultivators? Everyone wanted to kill him quickly and relieve themselves of any future problems, but they discovered that the Corpse General had already rushed off towards the Gate of Hungry Ghosts on his corpse horse with a wisp of smoke.
The Corpse General had turned around without hesitation as early as after swinging his sword. The corpse horse treaded on four clumps of thick smoke and sparks, taking off like the wind with startling speed.
It completely contrasted against his composed demeanour from earlier. The only way to describe him was fleeing for his life. For a moment, everyone struggled to make an appropriate response.
He was like an ancient general—no matter how valiant he was on the front lines, as soon as he fell to an ambush and faced certain defeat, he would take to his heels without even caring about his family. Victory and defeat were common in battle. All of this was just so he could rise from the ashes again in the future.
The cultivators pursued for a while, but they were forced to stop. The closer they were to the Gate of Hungry Ghosts, the heavier the aura of death became. Even the energy of the world became extremely feeble.
The chilly wind whistled, worming into their bodies through every single pore and snatching at their life force greedily.
If there were Qi Practitioners present, they would probably lose their lives in a short while.
Although the lives of the cultivators were not under threat, their strength diminished drastically, and the miserable mist and clouds obscured their visibility. All they could see was that over twenty Corpse Generals had already climbed out from the Gate of Hungry Ghosts from its surroundings, and Corpse Soldiers flooded the region like the sea.
They no longer possessed any advantages at all, whether it be in terms of quality or quantity.
Charging forwards would only lead them to their deaths.
Meanwhile, using techniques and spiritual artifacts from afar would struggle to achieve anything.
What were they supposed to do!?
The cultivators looked at one another. Even with how valiant and fearless Han Anjun was, he would not choose to lay his life down pointlessly.
They were stuck between a rock and a hard place.
“Qingshan, if this continues, the entire Clear River prefecture will become a land of the dead. All of the nine provinces might even become a part of the Hungry Ghost realm,” Hua Chengzan suddenly conveyed to Li Qingshan secretly.
Li Qingshan replied with a non-committal “yep”. He knew he had not fooled Hua Chengzan’s eyes with his actions in the underground palace.
How could a regular Foundation Establishment cultivator take on a strike from a Corpse King and escape even after being dragged into the pool of blood? Even if he had weakened drastically because of the limiting boundaries, he was still something powerful enough to rival Daemon Kings.
The Hungry Ghost realm definitely did not have any existences like water or mountain gods. That was definitely a land of death. If these zombies managed to invade this world, his career as a water god would be over too. And, the Hungry Ghost realm definitely was not suited for the living to cultivate.
However, Li Qingshan had no plans to take action. Even if the “moon demon” could slaughter these Corpse Generals and Corpse Soldiers and temporarily slow down the opening of the Gate of Hungry Ghosts when he took action, the huge, withered hand would definitely strike again. He had already tried clashing with it after transforming, and it had been very difficult.
Now that the Gate of Hungry Ghosts had already opened up so much more than before, the withered hand definitely would have become even more powerful. Combined with its terrifying tricks, it was extremely dangerous.
Li Qingshan was not arrogant to the point where he was bold enough to look down on a Corpse King. As a result, he replied to Hua Chengzan, “If the sky falls, you always have the tall ones to hold it up.”
Hua Chengzan was taken aback before forcing out a smile. “Fair enough.”
Li Qingshan stared at the Gate of Hungry Ghosts. These Corpse Generals seem terrifying, but to Xiao An, they might be highly nourishing. The Samādhi Flames of White Bone just happen to suppress these things.
Li Qingshan had already told Xiao An to rush over, but he also asked her to hide, to see and wait without taking action.
He was afraid that when the stronger people arrived later and saw them “step forward for a just cause” to “save the world”, they would destroy them first without even batting an eye.
Maybe not with Golden Core cultivators, but if it were the lord of the Green province, or the ones who stood at the apex of the large sects, they would not even have the chance to escape.