Chapter 541 – The Three Pillars
Outside the Gate of Hungry Ghosts, the number of Corpse Generals finally exceeded a hundred.
They did not communicate with one another, but they coordinated with tacit understanding. They constantly adjusted the formation in a tense but orderly fashion, leading a million Corpse Soldiers to guard the Gate of Hungry Ghosts.
The solemn silence was deathly still.
They were like an extensive yet delicate machine of war, ready to be activated at any time.
There was a saying, “Within the tens of thousands, people resembled mountains and seas,” so what kind of concept was “a million” Corpse Soldiers? It was virtually unimaginable unless someone saw it with their own eyes.
Centred around Burial Mound mountain, over a hundred hills in the surroundings had been completely covered by Corpse Soldiers, rising and falling like the waves of the sea. It spanned as far as the eye could see. It was truly a “sea of corpses”.
Under the dark clouds, the hilly terrain had been completely converted into a land of death and danger, and it constantly spread into the surroundings.
The cultivators were all forced back to fifty kilometers away. They did not attempt any more attacks.
Under the lead of the Corpse Generals, the Corpse Soldiers constantly adjusted their formations and expanded their arrays, turning into an unshakable military mountain. Simply a glance of it was enough to throw the heart into uncontrollable turmoil, filled with a sense of despair and powerlessness.
Would mobilising all the cultivators in the Ruyi commandery be enough to breach this military mountain?
And, the Gate of Hungry Ghosts was still rapidly opening wider, surging out with even more and even stronger undead.
Victory was completely impossible!
The end of the Clear River prefecture was here!
Li Qingshan widened his eyes and clenched his fist, but he was not afraid. Instead, he felt irrepressible excitement. A grand sight like this could never be seen in a mountain hamlet!
The Gate of Hungry Ghosts opened wider, but the black pillar of smoke instead began to thin.
Dark clouds no longer shrouded the sky directly above the Gate of Hungry Ghosts. The sky had become grey.
The sun seeped out with dismal light. There was no warmth or life, only cold stillness.
This was not a sight that could bring relief!
The mist-like coldness coiled like strands in the air.
The world was beginning to be converted into the Hungry Ghost realm.
At this very moment.
A gust of wind arrived!
Like a sharp paper cutter, it sliced through the clouds in the air.
The magnificent, resplendent light that poured out of the crack in the clouds was like a signal from god, landing on this land of death, on the boundless sea of corpses.
In a trance, Li Qingshan heard the cry of a hawk. It was far off in the distance in the beginning, but it arrived near him in the blink of an eye.
A glorious, white hawk unfurled its pure-white wings, riding on the light as it descended from above like a shadow from heaven.
It moved like a swift flash, yet also like an ever-fleeting gust of wind.
Even Li Qingshan had to gather his focus before he could barely make out the figure.
That was not a hawk, but a person.
Her speed left Li Qingshan lost in wonder. If he pushed the wings of wind to the limit and beat his phoenix wings as hard as possible, he could achieve the same speed after substantial effort, but he would not be able to maneuver about as freely and as skillfully as Gu Yanying. Moreover, she was clearly still holding back.
Gu Yanying seemed to sense something and suddenly turned her head, looking at Li Qingshan from afar. She seemed to smile at him before sailing off towards the Gate of Hungry Ghosts!
Probably only Li Qingshan managed to capture that “swift” smile of hers.
Hua Chengzan said, “Be careful, commander!”
Was she not flying to her death?
Li Qingshan was taken aback. Gu Yanying was powerful, but what she faced was an army of a million. She probably did not know about the horrors of the military formation, and she would be weakened by the Hungry Ghost realm.
The hundred Corpse Generals roared out together, lifting their weapons high into the air. The Corpse Soldiers immediately responded, except the disturbance they made was akin to a natural disaster, like the awakening roar of a colossal beast.
A hundred wisps of smoke rushed into the air, coiling and entangling as they surged towards Gu Yanyng.
Gu Yanying’s figure became even more fleeting, weaving between the thick pillars of smoke.
However, the smoke merged together and sealed off all of her space to dodge. She waved her delicate, jade folding fan, and a few streams of air rushed out, severing a few wisps of smoke.
The Corpse Generals immediately changed their formation. They wanted to go from offence to defence, but they were too slow.
Gu Yanying landed in the very centre of the military formation like a white bolt of lightning. Vicious faces revolved around her.
With her clothes whiter than snow, she drifted around like she was flying as streams of air circulated around her, blocking the invading chilly winds.
The hundred Corpse Generals roared furiously together and lunged over.
Although they had no time to control the military formation, the corpse qi from the Corpse Soldiers under their command gushed over, enveloping every single one of them in a greyish-black cloud. With their auras connected, they unleashed an ingenious combined attack, tearing away at the foolish opponent who had walked straight into the enemy’s ranks.
She raised her head, her eyes as sharp as hawk’s.
She swung her fan. A hundred heads flew into the air.
The smoke dispersed, and the Corpse Generals had all been slain.
From armies of thousands, she had taken the heads of their commanding officers so easily that she could do it with her eyes shut.
Having lost the leadership of the Corpse General, the army of a million immediately showed signs of collapse.
The cultivators roused with vigour and cheered. She had already reverted the seemingly-hopeless situation in a single instant single-handedly. They felt like they had just gone from hell to heaven.
Li Qingshan also rubbed his chin and murmured inside, Truly the woman who caught my eye!
“Yanying, your atmospheric winds have become even sharper than before!”
Hearty laughter surged through the clouds and a huge, square seal descended from above, falling onto the sea of corpses like a mountain. It directly crushed ten thousand Corpse Soldiers to death while sending a hundred thousand more flying.
The Marquis of Ruyi stood on the serpent’s body on the top of the Seal of Mountains and Rivers. He gazed at Gu Yanying with undisguised admiration.
Even if he used the Seal of Mountains and Rivers, he had no confidence in being able to kill a hundred Corpse Generals in a single stroke. If it were not for her startling speed, if it were not for her all-conquering atmospheric winds, she would have had to face the combined attack of a million-strong army.
Let along Golden Core cultivators, even cultivators at higher realms would have to weigh their options carefully.
The Seal of Mountains and Rivers flew up and returned to the Marquis of Ruyi, turning back into a tiny stamp. The words “Forever Presiding Over the Mountains and Rivers” appeared on the ground, with two smaller words “Ruyi” in the corner.
They were smaller words, but each was the size of a public square. They were as dignified and majestic as they could be.
Gu Yanying smiled and stowed her folding fan away, walking towards the Gate of Hungry Ghosts. The gate had stopped spewing out zombies. With her hands on her back, she bent over and gazed into the Gate of Hungry Ghosts in a leisurely manner.
Li Qingshan called out, “Be careful,” only to discover several other voices had rung out at the same time. One of them came from the Marquis of Ruyi.
The huge, withered hand suddenly extended out of the Gate of Hungry Ghosts like a serpent emerging from the ocean, reaching towards her. It was even swifter and more forceful than when it reached towards Li Qingshan.
Gu Yanying pulled back ubruptly, and her hair and clothes drifted forwards. However, the same leisurely expression remained on her face.
The entire arm of the wither hand extended out. As one advanced and one retreated, they were only inches apart.
Corpse qi circulated between the five fingers like a vortex, producing a great suction force.
Gu Yanying halted. She was about to be caught by the hand.
The Seal of Mountains and Rivers descended from above, stamping down violently.
A streak of black emerged from one side like a dragon, stretching over the sky and biting towards the wrist of the withered hand.
With her folding fan in hand, Gu Yanying thrusted it forwards and atmospheric winds revolved like a drill.
Boom! The Seal of Mountains and Rivers crushed down heavily on the hand. Han Anguo’s figure appeared, and he thrusted his spear into the wrist. The atmospheric winds sliced through the corpse qi vortex and into the palm.
The hand suddenly closed, but Gu Yanying had already pulled away, completely unscathed. Together, the three pillars of the Ruyi commandery taught the withered hand a lesson.
Their powers were so great that even the Hungry Ghost realm struggled to keep them suppressed.
The Marquis of Ruyi’s Seal of Mountains and Rivers relied on the power of belief. Han Anguo was a powerful cultivator of the body, so he relied on himself, while Gu Yanying’s atmospheric winds, just like the underground magnetic field, was an extremely special existence.
Having grabbed nothing, the withered hand was suddenly lifted up into the air, shaking off the Seal of Mountains and Rivers and retreating back into the Gate of Hungry Ghosts. The three of them retreated from the range of the hand. The three of them had only caught the withered hand off-guard, but even their combined attack failed to heavily injure a mere arm of his.
Although they could be regarded as the best of the best among second heavenly tribulation cultivators, they were still lacking a lot if they wanted to properly contest against the Corpse King.
In a triangular formation, they surrounded the Gate of Hungry Ghosts.
Gu Yanying said, “Her highness the Dark Queen will be here shortly!
The three of them had originally been waiting to receive the Dark Queen in the commandery city of Ruyi. None of them expected this to happen, so they rushed over here immediately. They obviously contacted the Dark Queen too.
“Good!” Han Anjun nodded, and the Marquis of Ruyi eased up too.
Technically speaking, the Dark Queen had reached the peak of the second heavenly tribulation a long time ago, but due to certain reasons, she had never been able to break through, preventing her from reaching the realm of “kings”, so why would the three of them place such great trust in her?
It was all because the Umbral Yin sect was known for their ghost control techniques, and they were closely connected to the Hungry Ghost realm. It was said that the sect possessed a controllable Gate of Hungry Ghosts that was specially provided for disciples to train and cultivate in.
There was nothing strange about that. The six realms of saṃsāra had always been omnipresent. Just like how the school of Legalism drew power from the Hell realm to cultivate, allowing them to use techniques like the Hell of Ice, the school of the Military also borrowed strength from the Asura realm that dictated warfare and slaughter.
Gu Yanying could not help but think of an extremely widespread rumor among the upper echelon of the Green province cultivation community.
If the Umbral Yin sect faced a devastating disaster, then they would open the Gate of Hungry Ghosts to the limit regardless of the consequences, such that no one would be able to seal it. They would allow countless Corpse Kings and Ghost Kings to flood the nine provinces, turning the World of the Nine Provinces into a part of the Hungry Ghost realm.
As it seemed, it was very likely for this rumor to be true. And, the Umbral Yin sect had probably spread this rumor intentionally, turning it into the strongest form of deterrence.
After the establishment of Great Xia and the ushering of an age where the “righteous path” prevailed and the “demonic path” diminished, it was not without reason that the Umbral Yin sect that had once been the greatest demonic sect in the Green province could remain and prosper.
Most importantly, this deterrence was not a furious attempt at mutual destruction. According to the cultivation methods of the Umbral Yin sect, even if the Hungry Ghost realm truly descended, the disciples of the Umbral Yin sect would still be able to survive. As for the other cultivators, they would have to die first.
Thinking up to there, Gu Yanying shifted her gaze and looked at Li Qingshan again.
The Dark Queen’s visit this time is closely related to this kid. She’s even brought an old acquaintance of his with her. So what is all of this for? Don’t tell me it’s actually connected to that?
Li Qingshan looked back and met her eyes, but Gu Yanying had already shifted her gaze away with a smile. He lowered his head, feeling slightly uneasy inside.
When he heard the two words “Dark Queen” being mentioned from afar, he immediately recalled the endless wind and snow on the Ice Sword cliff, as well as that cat that had somehow become his master.
Don’t tell me Xuanyue is going to be here?