Chapter 545 – The Black Coffin Locks the Souls
If the Hungry Ghost realm was the paradise of the dead, then the phoenix would be the symbol of eternal life. It used its constant rebirth in nirvāṇa to defeat death, making it the arch nemesis of all “death”.
Li Qingshan flew back, only to see Xuanyue standing furiously in the air with her hands on her hips. “You traitor, ogling up that bird woman!”
Bird woman! Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow with no idea how to respond.
Thump! The folding fan smacked Xuanyue over the head and Gu Yanying said, “I’m right here!”
Xuanyue groaned in pain while clutching her head, baring her teeth at Li Qingshan. Gu Yanying studied the wings behind Li Qingshan and said with some surprise, “Phoenix?”
There was a saying where “all birds paid homage to the phoenix”. The phoenix was the sovereign of avians, and it possessed an impressive, dignified bearing of nobility and purity. It was particularly clear to her.
“Am I worthy of you?”
“I’m the one who’s unworthy of you.”
“It’s you, you wretched daemon!”
The Marquis of Ruyi rushed over. Several Corpse Commanders had surrounded him, but he forced his way out when “Zi’er” had been distracted for a moment. The hair ornament on his head had been destroyed such that his hair flew around in a messy manner. He seemed rather disheveled.
He flew into a rage as soon as he saw Northmoon, and when he saw him conversing with Gu Yanying, he noticed a rare hint of gentleness on her face, which gave him even more reason to lose his temper.
Before Li Qingshan could even respond, Xuanyue leapt forward. “Who’re you cursing as a wretched daemon?”
“Y- you’re…” The Marquis of Ruyi recognised the Dark Queen’s infamous cat. “Go away. I’m talking about the wretched daemon behind you. Why don’t you hurry up and die?”
Li Qingshan yelled back, “So it’s you, you bastard! Your grandfather Northmoon will send you off to the next world right now!”
With a flip of his hand, the Marquis of Ruyi lifted up the Seal of Mountains and Rivers. “Die, wretched daemon!”
Gu Yanying did not try to pacify them. She pointed down. “Look below!”
The two of them could not help but look down, only to see over a dozen Corpse Commanders glaring at them.
Zi’er did not make the Corpse Commanders engage them immediately. If they were not speed-focused Corpse Commanders, they would not even be able to touch them. They would only be killed off instead. Corpse Commanders were different from Corpse Soldiers. Every loss was a huge one.
Most importantly, time stood on Zi’er’s side. She only needed to wait and victory would be hers.
Gu Yanying said relaxedly, “I’d say even a Corpse King would not have over a hundred Corpse Commanders under him. However, we’ll probably be the ones to run out of strength first before we get through all of them. And, before long, the region will be completely assimilated into the Hungry Ghost realm. By then, we’ll be able to see this sir Corpse King’s true appearance. He probably won’t be prettier than right now!”
The Marquis of Ruyi immediately lost interest in fighting. Once the Corpse King actually took action, death would be certain.
“You sure are very relaxed!” Li Qingshan could not help but admire Gu Yanying’s level of composure. There were many people who did not fear death, but rarely could anyone remain so unfazed.
“Don’t overestimate me. If there’s really a chance for me to die, I probably wouldn’t be able to smile either. If I want to leave right now, I do have a way out, but it’ll be just me at most. There’s nothing I can do about the two of you.”
Gu Yanying said with her soul sense, so her voice directly rang out in their ears. She did indeed possess a way to cross the boundary and leave, but she had to do it before the Hungry Ghost realm completely devoured the region. Otherwise, she would be powerless too.
“Then why don’t you leave?” “It’s far too dangerous here. If you have a way, then please leave first, Yanying!”
Li Qingshan and the Marquis of Ruyi said at the same time. They exchanged glances and killing intent bubbled.
“There are a lot of reasons. Time is tight, so I’m not going to go into detail. When this place is about to completely assimilate with the Hungry Ghost realm, I will leave, but before that, let’s try to do something!”
Gu Yanying was clearcut with everything, so straightforward that it could be displeasing. Unconsciously, she gave off a sense of cold alienation as if she was telling a group of people on the brink of death:
I won’t die. I hope all of you can live. I’ll be working hard towards this as well. If none of you can live, then all I can do is bid you farewell and survive alone.
She could not help but come off as cold and heartless, yet she was also faultless.
Li Qingshan wondered. Perhaps when a person truly became so graceful and unconstrained that nothing tied them down anymore, they would come off as blunt and cold like this!
The Marquis of Ruyi said, “Then what should we do now?”
Gu Yanying said, “First of all, we need to seal the Gate of Hungry Ghosts, which requires her highness the Dark Queen’s power. If she falls in battle, then I’ll probably have to take my leave in advance. Secondly, we need to deliver her highness the Dark Queen to the Gate of Hungry Ghosts. We need to concentrate our strength as much as possible and save her highness the Dark Queen. After that, we need to save the other fellows as quickly as possible and converge for a decisive battle.”
They had said all of that using soul sense, and they had not wasted much time either.
Li Qingshan nodded in agreement. The priority was still to seal off the Hungry Ghost realm and destroy this region. With Xiao An’s ability, she would not be in any danger anyway as long as she hid herself in a pile of bones.
At this very moment, there was a golden flash within the thick, black mist. The light that surged out was like a golden meteor landing, growing brighter and brighter.
Soon afterwards was a great boom and waves of air rushed out.
The Marquis of Ruyi was alarmed. “A Golden Core cultivator has blown up his golden core!”
Gu Yanying’s eyes lit up. “That’s our opportunity. Let’s go!”
Golden cores were a crystallisation of a cultivator’s many years of arduous cultivation. The power of the explosion was startling, pushing away the thick, black mist. The landscape on the ground immediately cleared up, which only seemed even more terrifying.
In that moment, Li Qingshan remembered the scene he had witnessed in the Hungry Ghost realm with his soul sense. He had no time to think about it as Gu Yanying had already flown off.
Over fifty kilometers away in the south-eastern direction, an illusionary ghost that stood three hundred meters tall roared and growled. Although it was injured again and again, it managed to hold off the Corpse Commanders.
Li Qingshan was secretly shocked. The Dark Queen was actually so powerful. Not only was the teamwork of the Corpse Commanders perfect, but they were even fighting with the strength of a million Corpse Soldiers and countless Corpse Generals. If that were him, he probably would not be able to last for even a while.
Even if he reverted to his original form, he would only reach the knees of the colossal ghost.
Gu Yanying said with some regret, “It’s a pity that her highness the Dark Queen has something holding her back mentally, preventing her from unleashing the strength of this Void-bellied Ghost King. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be in so much trouble today.”
Under the encirclement of the Corpse Commanders, the Void-bellied Ghost King rapidly dimmed. Suddenly, it opened its huge, pit-like mouth and sucked in hard. The aura of death rushed in, and its figure consolidated again. It threw out a punch and chilling winds whistled. A few Corpse Commanders scattered and dodged it, but it did kill countless Corpse Soldiers and Generals.
Li Qingshan was even more astounded. And you say she hasn’t unleashed its full strength!
If she truly could unleash it, then even if she faced a third heavenly tribulation cultivator, she probably would still be able to put up a fight. Controlling Ghost Kings for battle with a Golden Core cultivation was the strength of the Umbral Yin sect. It was no wonder that they stood on equal footing with the Sword Collection palace.
The Umbral Yin sect… The Umbral Yin Ghost Control technique… Xuanyue… Something holding her back… child…
Certain pieces of memories hidden in the depths of his mind abruptly surged out. Li Qingshan shook his head, refusing to think too much about it. He had no time to think about it either.
“Zi’er” no longer watched over the entire situation either, directly leading a few Corpse Commanders over to block them. She said, “I’ve won.”
“Not necessarily!” Li Qingshan studied “Zi’er”. Although she possessed great skill in battle, her personal strength was only at Corpse Commander. She was even slightly weaker than regular Corpse Commanders. She was not undefeatable.
“Zi’er” looked at Li Qingshan and said, “Descendants of the phoenix truly are rare, but your powers are far too weak. Otherwise, all I’d be able to do is retreat.”
Li Qingshan’s reply was burning flames of the phoenix.
“Zi’er” raised her hand and surging corpse qi condensed into a wall. It no longer seemed like qi, but more like pitch, constantly writhing about.
The flames of the phoenix smashed into it and immediately melted away a great chunk, but it was unable to penetrate it. The corpse qi churned and filled in the hole in the blink of an eye.
The flames of the phoenix could overwhelm corpse qi, but if the quality and quantity of corpse qi completely surpassed it, there was nothing it could do.
“The Hungry Ghost realm should reward me with even more if I kill a being with ‘eternal life’! The Black Coffin Locks the Souls!”
“Zi’er” smiled and raised her hand. The black wall suddenly extended.
“Oh no! Let’s go!”
The three of them flew up swiftly, but the Corpse Commanders had been prepared beforehand, lunging out of the walls.
Li Qingshan set a Corpse Commander alight with his wings, and the Corpse Commander immediately retreated into the black wall, extinguishing the flames. Meanwhile, Gu Yanying and the Marquis of Ruyi each repelled a Corpse Commander too, but they were all slowed down.
When they looked around again, the black wall condensed from corpse qi had already filled their vision. It was everywhere, having condensed into a black coffin and locking them inside. Clearly, this move had been prepared beforehand. It could not be breached easily.
Li Qingshan witnessed the terrifying powers of a Corpse King. Even though he only faced a puppet right now, the techniques he used while borrowing the power of his subordinates was still powerful enough.
After locking them up, the black coffin began to constantly shrink. They were locked within the black coffin, but the Corpse Commanders could come and go freely, constantly launching sneak attacks and obstructing their attempts to destroy the coffin.
The Marquis of Ruyi swung the Seal of Mountains and Rivers and stopped a Corpse Commander. He asked frantically, “What do we do?”
“Our plan has failed. Let’s hope her highness the Dark Queen can last a little longer.”
Gu Yanying had absolutely no confidence in that. At the end of the day, how could a plan they had hatched on the spot rival a scheme a Corpse Commander had been plotting for all these years? She was only doing what she could and leaving the rest up to fate. She was close to her limit too!
“Zi’er” turned around and looked at the Dark Queen. She raised her hand again and corpse qi constantly gathered and condensed without firing, just like the prior signs of an attack from the main cannon of a Soaring Dragon ship.
The Dark Queen abruptly looked back. She sensed danger. If she still could dodge earlier, then having fought until now, she had become rather feeble.
A deathly streak of light pierced the Void-bellied Ghost King silently.
The Void-bellied Ghost King roared as its figure constantly dimmed before finally dispersing. It returned to the Dark Queen’s shadow.
The Dark Queen’s forehead was drenched with sweat. She fell to the ground powerlessly as she heaved slightly, but her eyes were as chilly as before.
“Am I actually going to die here today?”
“Zi’er” waved her hand, and the Corpse Commanders swarmed over.
A long, blood-red banner burst out of the layers upon layers of bones, emerging from underground. It wrapped around the Dark Queen like a dragon.