Chapter 559 – No One’s Allowed to Leave
Because the Dark Queen had devoted her attention to Xiao An, she had failed to notice this. During Han Anguo’s final strike that he poured all his strength into, he had failed to defeat the Dark Queen, but his soul did manage to escape, allowing him to avoid the fate of ending up in the Myriad Ghost Banner.
“If his soul has remained in the World of the Nine Provinces, that’ll be troublesome. However, in that sealed region, the only place his soul can venture to is the six realms of saṃsāra. Has he been sucked into the Hungry Ghost realm, or is he currently facing judgement in the Hell realm? No, with his character and aptitude, he’s probably been accepted into the Asura realm!”
Although the school of the Military had methods to connect with the Asura realm, the Asura realm was boundless, so finding a newborn asura was absolutely impossible. There was nothing for her to worry about.
She stopped worrying and began torturing and interrogating the souls of the Marquis of Ruyi and everyone else for their cultivation methods. Although it was useless to her, she could offer it up to the Umbral Yin sect in exchange for resources. They were absolutely necessary for a sect to gather.
Light poured in through the window and into the gloomy hall.
Han Qiongzhi stood by the window. She finished reading the letter, but she was unable to hide her disappointment. In the end, he had not even given her a precise time. He only said as soon as possible.
“Qiongzhi, we’re setting off.”
Han Anjun entered the hall. The funeral rites were complete. Today was the day for interment.
Han Qiongzhi asked a question, “Father, does cultivation come before all?”
Han Anjun said, “Then why else would we be called cultivators? Turmoil is about to erupt. If you don’t have strength, you won’t even be able to protect your own life, just like your uncle. He hasn’t done anything wrong. As a father, I don’t like the way he treats my daughter, but as ‘fellow cultivators’, I must recognise him.”
Han Qiongzhi shook her head gently and said bitterly, “I understand, I understand. That’s why women are always in the minority in the cultivation community. Men sure are cold-hearted!”
“It’s not cold-heartedness. It’s just that his greatest passion is not the feelings between a man and a woman. He’s shrouded in a layer of mist, which even I cannot see through. However, his ambitions are anything but small. If you really want to become partners with him, then all you can do is attempt to understand his path. If you share the same path, then that would be for the best. If you don’t, there’s no need to force it either.”
Han Qiongzhi was taken aback. Although they had already engaged in intimate contact countless times already, she would still be left at a loss if she was asked what his “path” was. In retrospect, she had never been able to see through the layer of mist around him either.
Within the drizzle, the army meandered and advanced, taking part in Han Anguo’s funeral procession.
They interred him in the ancestral grave of the Han family, establishing a cenotaph.
Outside the cenotaph was a row of simple buildings. All of his blood relatives would stand watch there for a hundred days.
Han Qiongzhi chose a simple room and walked in. She gazed into the horizon. “I will wait for you and try to understand your path.”
Light shimmered on the Water God Seal. It had gained an area of marsh, becoming even more resplendent.
The Water God Seal drained all the water spiritual qi that had accumulated in the marsh over the past millennium, all flowing into the spirit turtle’s daemon core.
The spirit turtle’s daemon core was like a whale taking in water, absorbing all of the spiritual qi without holding back. However, it still seemed dissatisfied, showing no signs of breaking through to the fifth layer of the spirit turtle.
Li Qingshan exhaled deeply. The Spirit Turtle Transformation determined his cultivation, and it had always taken up more resources than the ox demon or tiger demon. However, he still had never expected the breakthrough to the fifth layer of spirit turtle to actually be so difficult.
But from a different perspective, this was instead a good thing. The more accumulation he required, the greater the benefits the breakthrough would bring. Currently, the “quality” of his daemon qi was already on par with Daemon Commanders, but his “quantity” was still insufficient.
If he could break through to the fifth layer of the spirit turtle, then both the quantity and quality of his daemon qi would completely surpass Daemon Commanders. Even when he faced those “kings”, he would have what it took to speak up.
Li Qingshan continued on his way. What awaited him was obviously constant battles. Daemon Commanders were extremely territorial and none of them could be dealt with through talking alone. However, none of the Daemon Commanders were his opponent either.
With how powerful and ingenious his innate abilities were, Li Qingshan used force to triumph over both force and trickery.
Time passed by. In the blink of an eye, it was already two months later.
Autumn left and winter came. Snow drifted through the air.
A river bound in ice meandered along the ground. Beneath the ice, the river water raged.
A man with scarlet hair ignored the icy-cold climate and travelled on the ice. Wherever he passed by, the ice would shatter loudly, and the slumbering river would toss and turn like a waking dragon, while he was standing on the dragon’s head.
Li Qingshan gazed at the snowy sky and let out a white breath before gazing ahead again. This river that was no smaller than the Clear river finally reached its end too. He had almost refined it completely.
If this one was included, he would have refined four large rivers and eight large lakes. These lakes and rivers were all major rivers and lakes that could rival the Clear river and Moon Court lake. There were countless other bodies of water too.
He was already very far away from the Clear River prefecture now. He had basically followed the twisting rivers and traversed the entire Ruyi commandery. The spirit turtle’s daemon core finally showed signs of filling up, and the fourth layer of the spirit turtle had finally almost been pushed to the peak. Now, both the quality and quantity of his daemon qi had achieved or even surpassed the level of Daemon Commanders.
However, a new problem arose at the same time. As the spirit turtle strengthened, the pressure that the phoenix faced gradually intensified. It had even become sluggish for him to use the phoenix wings. Once he truly broke through to the fifth layer of the spirit turtle, then the balance he had narrowly achieved would probably be broken.
By then, perhaps the spirit turtle would completely suppress the phoenix and reject this power that was a polar opposite. His cultivation of the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa would become even more difficult.
There was a hint of exhaustion on his face too. Although he could recover his daemon qi through the Water God Seal and he could recover his strength through the Strength of the Earth, he had been constantly battling, refining bodies of water, before battling even more.
In order to see Han Qiongzhi as soon as possible, he seized every second. He did not relax mentally for even a moment.
Li Qingshan pondered with his brows furrowed for a moment before deciding to continue on his way. He would refine this river first before deciding what to do next. Right when he was about to refine the river, it suddenly ended in failure.
Li Qingshan looked back in the direction of the river. “Someone is making trouble upstream! That’s strange. I’ve already defeated this territory’s Daemon Commander. Who can still obstruct me? Have the humans finally responded and sent someone?”
He unfurled the phoenix wings and soared into the sky, arriving upstream very soon. He was surprised. “It’s you!”
Surprisingly enough, the one that got in his way of refining the river was the bullfrog Daemon Commander he had defeated first. He currently had his mouth wide open as he looked at Li Qingshan in a mocking manner.
“How bold of you. This isn’t even your territory, so why are you here… Hmm? All of you, come out!”
Li Qingshan’s heart skipped a beat. The spirit turtle actually detected a sliver of danger. Combined with the bullfrog Daemon Commander’s arrogant attitude, he immediately understood what was going on and called out.
The haze in the air twisted, revealing multiple Daemon Commanders. Li Qingshan was very familiar with this move too. It was the innate ability of a Daemon Commander he had defeated a month ago. In order to deal with him, it had taken him quite the effort.
Sure enough, when he looked at the Daemon Commanders, there were many familiar faces.
Li Qingshan scanned past them. There were thirteen Daemon Commanders in total, some defeated by him and some he had never seen before. Most of the Daemon Commanders within the Ruyi commandery had appeared.
They all leered at Li Qingshan as powerful clusters of daemon qi rushed into the air. They were hostile.
The bullfrog Daemon Commander let out a strange croak. “How’s that, Northmoon? You afraid now? Hand over your Water God Seal and bow to us in apology and we’ll spare your life.”
“You’re bold enough to try and kill me?”
Li Qingshan frowned. Daemon Commanders all occupied their own territories. Rarely did they band together like this, and he had not even seen some of the Daemon Commanders before. He did not have any disputes with them, yet they had actually come to gang up on him.
“You’ve defied your superiors and encroached upon our territory. Even if we kill you, the dragon king won’t blame us,” the bullfrog Daemon Commander said viciously. Laws could not punish too many people. It was impossible for the Dragon King of Ink Sea to punish them over the death of a “Northmoon”.
“I defeated you and spared your life, yet you’re shameless enough to gang up on me?”
Battles for territory among daemons had their own set of rules. Defeat was defeat. This was why Li Qingshan had never gotten Xiao An to assist him, just so he could avoid any Daemon Commanders unconvinced with their defeat and hassling him endlessly. Their actions had basically broken the rules.
And, rivers and lakes on the surface were not particularly important to them unless they were water Daemon Commanders. As a matter of fact, it did not even count as their territory. There was absolutely no need for them to go to war like this.
There were far too many things that made no sense.
“Cut the bullshit!” The bullfrog Daemon Commander let out a strange bellow and reverted to his original form. He crouched on the ground and opened his mouth, spitting out a huge bubble.
“Come!” The exhaustion in Li Qingshan’s eyes vanished, shining with a blazing light instead.
In that moment, over a dozen abilities dazzled his eyes. There were direct attacks and abilities to ensnare the opponent. There were far too many to see, let alone dodge.
Light illuminated the air as streams of air swept out violently.
Even if a Daemon Commander was sucked in, only death would be awaiting them.
Li Qingshan spread his arms and struck the space heavily. Around him, black shockwaves dispersed outwards as black cracks spread out like spiderwebs, shattering and tearing apart the countless abilities.
The phoenix wings unfurled and fire and wind blazed and danced. He created a trail of fire as he broke free from the encirclement.
“Don’t let him escape!” Some Daemon Commanders called out.
“Escape? Hmph!” Li Qingshan flapped his wings, approaching the Daemon Commander closest to him in the blink of an eye and used the “Tiger Demon Digs Out the Heart” he had not used in quite some time.
In human form, the Daemon Commander was a stocky, dark-skinned man. Two long, sharp teeth protruded from his mouth as he butted them towards Li Qingshan. He was a wild boar daemon.
He completely ignored Li Qingshan’s strike. One of his innate abilities was his thick hide. In terms of defence, he was even more powerful than Lolth.
Clang! Li Qingshan extended the horns on his head and caught the tusks.
Black cracks coiled around his slender, white arm, piercing the wild boar daemon’s hide and digging out a bloody heart. He directly shoved it into his mouth, chewed it a few times before swallowing.
The boar heart reeking of blood riled his killing intent. He grabbed the wild boar daemon’s tusks with both hands and snapped them off with a crack. Then he wrapped his arm around the wild boar daemon’s neck and malice surged from his body. He sneered. “Apologies, I went too easy last time, which is why you all still think you stand a chance. Today, no one’s allowed to leave!”