Chapter 561 – The Promised Land
“Alright, alright, alright.” Li Qingshan unfurled his wings of wind and fire and disappeared into the darkness with a trail of flames.
Gu Yanying shielded her eyes and gazed into the distance. “He sure is fast!”
“Big sis, are you going to just spare the moon demon like this and allow him to continue refining bodies of water?”
A young woman flew over. She had large eyes and thick brows, with a bright and clear expression. If it were not for her swelling chest, she could have easily been mistaken for a boy. She wore the uniform of a Hawk Wolf commander, making her the figure only second to Gu Yanying in the Hawkwolf Guard of the Ruyi commandery.
“What else am I supposed to do?” Gu Yanying shot a glance at her. “Call me commander.”
“Big sis, you can’t go easy on him just because he’s interested in you! Otherwise, wouldn’t that mean you can’t kill a single man in the world? Don’t tell me you’re actually interested in him, and you’ve even come specially to rescue him?”
Gu Yanying held the girl’s chin and pressed her face up close. “Are you jealous? Even without me, he wouldn’t die here.”
“I don’t believe it.” The girl’s face reddened as she shook her head.
“His powerful reinforcements will arrive very soon. If he can last until that child comes, Mo Yu really might be in some danger.” Gu Yanying released the girl.
“She’s that powerful?”
“If you’ve had enough fun, you better return to the Dragon province! The Green province is becoming less and less peaceful. Once you become involved in a battle like earlier, even you will be in danger.”
“Big sis, stop trying to coax me. I’m not returning. The confrontation between imperial brothers and sisters has already led to bloodshed for the position of Marquis of Ruyi. It only shows that the Ruyi commandery is a great place that everyone wants to be in,” the girl said seriously. Who knew whether she was joking around or truly ignorant.
“They’re coming here as marquises, not as a follower like you.”
“What’s wrong with being a follower? I’m constantly under big sis’s care. You’ll have to deal with a monster like the moon demon if you become the marquis. And, my imperial brothers and sisters can’t even obtain this position of a follower even if they want to!”
“Then you better follow me around!” Gu Yanying spun around and took off into the air like a white hawk, turning into a white speck in the blink of an eye.
“Wait for me, big sis!” The girl followed behind in a hurry, calling out from afar.
Gu Yanying had not been the only one spectating Li Qingshan’s battle with the Daemon Commanders. There were many other cultivators who used various methods to observe from afar. When they saw how the daemons were suffering from internal strife, they all cheered inside.
There were even many cultivators who considered swooping in for the kill, but when they witnessed the moon demon’s great strength and vicious brutality, they all dismissed that thought. Against such a terrifying daemon, even if he were putting up a last stand, he would still be able to drag a Golden Core cultivator down with him, not to mention he had never revealed any true exhaustion the entire time.
As a result, Li Qingshan continued on his way with refining bodies of water, no longer encountering any obstructions.
Apart from those peak second heavenly tribulation people and daemons, only the kings who had undergone the third heavenly tribulation could subdue Li Qingshan. There were already very few figures that could pose life-threatening danger to him.
He arrived at the end of another great river. The surging daemon qi refined the river and the Water God Seal shimmered, now with another thick trajectory.
Li Qingshan could sense the daemon qi in the spirit turtle’s daemon core had already reached the absolute peak. Once he devoured all the water spiritual qi of this river, he would basically be able to break through to the fifth layer of the spirit turtle. Afterwards, the heavenly tribulation would basically descend upon him.
Was he going to use this opportunity to break through to the fifth layer of the spirit turtle, undergo the heavenly tribulation and become a Daemon Commander, or was he going to remain at his current level and wait until the Phoenix Transformation caught up so that water and fire were balanced out and he managed to merge them?
Li Qingshan considered that question for a while before deciding on the former.
Normally, he would probably choose the latter. Although the long term benefits were not necessarily better than the benefits right before him, it was not like he was facing any life-threatening danger right now. Proceeding step by step in an orderly manner was obviously the best choice. Focusing on quick successes and instant benefits would only drastically increase the difficulty of cultivation later on, which would do more bad than good.
But right now, she was waiting for him!
Li Qingshan began absorbing the water spiritual qi, pouring it into the spirit turtle’s daemon core.
He comforted himself inside, This should also be a form of choice! If I can become a Daemon Commander, I might not be able to oppose the kings, but I’ll be able to protect myself to a certain degree. At the very least, I’ll have the confidence to triumph over opponents like Mo Yu. I’ll basically have a stable footing in the World of the Nine Provinces and can take my time with everything else.
Li Qingshan gradually shone with a resplendent, blue light, conjuring the figure of the spirit turtle again.
The eighty-ninth day.
Han Qiongzhi meditated with her legs crossed. Seeing the window light up, she murmured that inside before opening the window and gazing out, only to discover the sun had not risen yet. It was merely the reflection of the snow. She had actually made a mistake.
“Sister, stop waiting for that heartless guy. He’s not going to come.” A young girl walked over from behind. The days when she had fun with Han Qiongzhi in the garden were gone forever. The pain from losing her father had made her become much more mature all of a sudden.
“I’m going out for a stroll.”
Han Qiongzhi did not respond to that and left through the door. The world was completely white as huge snowflakes continued to drift through the sky. The graves had been covered in thick snow, turning into mounds in the snow.
A tall figure walked over from afar, trudging through the snow. He walked in such a familiar way.
Han Qiongzhi rubbed her eyes and murmured, “Qingshan.”
The tall figure sped up his pace, and Han Qiongzhi could not help but speed up too. They went from walking to running.
The two figures overlapped, embracing one another firmly.
“Apologies. I’ve come late.”
Han Qiongzhi buried her face in his chest. Tears had already begun falling down her face like rain.
Descendants of the Han family emerged one by one from the row of simple buildings and witnessed this. Han Anjun and Han Tieyi were among them too, but they remained silent. All they could hear was the sound of falling snow.
Under Han Qiongzhi’s lead, Li Qingshan arrived before Han Anguo’s cenotaph. He bowed with respect while holding incense and thought to himself, Uncle Han, I couldn’t save you back then, which I am truly sorry for. I will help out with the matters of the Han family as much as possible. I hope your soul can rest easy.
His breakthrough to the fifth layer of the spirit turtle had failed in the end. As the water spiritual qi gathered, it pushed the daemon qi in the spirit turtle’s daemon core to the very limit, but he encountered an unexpected yet also expected “bottleneck”.
Breaking through with the ox demon required devouring various pills and resources. Breaking through with the tiger demon required frenzied battles to the death.
As for the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression, it was similar to the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, requiring the existence of a level of comprehension to break through. At the very least, that was not something that the current Li Qingshan who was bothered with various thoughts could achieve.
He attempted the suppression with the power of the peak fourth layer spirit turtle. Coupled with the Water God Seal’s support, he finally suppressed the ox demon and tiger demon, turning back into human form.
However, the suppression had been extremely forced and difficult, such that he was unable to use any of the spirit turtle’s abilities anymore. He could not predict danger with great precision, and he struggled to conceal his aura.
As a result, whether he was in human or daemon form, he was unable to hide his spiritual qi or daemon qi.
As for innate abilities like the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell, they became even more impossible to use. The mirror clone he had created with the Watermirror’s Image also directly collapsed the moment he made this decision.
And, he was unable to freely interchange between Li Qingshan and Northmoon anymore. Once he released his daemon qi, suppressing it again would take a tremendous amount of effort. He could basically imagine the spirit turtle using everything it could to suppress the ox demon and tiger demon below itself.
Li Qingshan exhaled deeply inside. He had made it in time at long last.
He did not feel any regrets in failing his breakthrough to the fifth layer of the spirit turtle. Instead, it brought him relief. This was the best choice for him. He could slowly cultivate the Phoenix Transformation like this.
“You don’t mind him coming so late?” A young man in black could not help but question. His facial features resembled Han Tieyi slightly. He was one of Han Anguo’s sons.
The other descendants of the Han family were not particularly friendly either. With Han Anguo’s death in battle, even some family and friends that they were not particularly close with had come and paid respects a long time ago, yet as the son-in-law of the Han family, Li Qingshan had actually done something like this. He made Han Qiongzhi stand watch over the grave alone, only hurrying over when the mourning period was about to end. He was truly as rude as he could be, and it made them feel he was not worthy of her.
Han Qiongzhi wanted to speak up, but Li Qingshan had already arrived before her. “I won’t apologise, nor will I try and explain myself. The school of the Military doesn’t seem to accept reasons, no matter how eloquent. If you find anything displeasing, just come at me!”
“You!?” The young man in black was taken aback.
“What, afraid?” Before Li Qingshan had even finished speaking, the young man launched a palm strike at Li Qingshan. With a thump, Li Qingshan allowed the palm strike to land on his chest. “To think you’re actually a descendant of the Han family with such a weak and powerless attack.”
The young man in black was furious. He no longer held back anymore, using a battle skill and unleashing a barrage of attacks. Blasts of air rushed into the surroundings, sweeping up the snowflakes in the air.
“Qingshan!” Han Qiongzhi cried out, but Han Anjun stopped her. “He knows what he’s doing.”
“Have you hit me enough? How useless. Why don’t you all come at me together?”
Li Qingshan stood like a rock in the ocean. Having endured countless horrific wounds before, a Foundation Establishment cultivator’s attacks were basically no different from a scratch.
Hearing that, the other descendants of the Han family were unable to hold back either. They all joined in, launching attacks at him.
Li Qingshan also began fighting back. After going through all those battles, he was now returning and fighting with his identity and strength as a Foundation Establishment cultivator. At first, he found it rather unfamiliar and was rather unaccustomed to it, but he developed skill and ease very soon. He pushed the Arts of the Boundless Ocean and Ocean Wielding, the complementary cultivation method and battle skill, to the limit.
The sky lit up and the sunlight illuminated the translucent, snowy ground. The descendants of the Han family all lay on the ground, gasping for breath.
Li Qingshan sat on the snow. He seemed rather tired.
His exhaustion was not an act. After going through several months of battles and refinement, his mind was indeed extremely tired. He had finally managed to hold on until he saw her, and after relaxing, he was unable to hide it anymore. He pushed off his knees and stood up.
Han Anjun nodded towards Li Qingshan. These descendants of the Han family did not actually hate Li Qingshan or anything. It was just that their emotions had been repressed for far too long, and they needed a battle like this to vent.
Li Qingshan had given them the battle. He used his own method to pacify their frustration with him while also proving his strength. He did not mind what the people of the Han family thought of him, but he did not want Han Qiongzhi to be questioned so much by her own clansmen because of him. They were her family after all.
In the gloomy Hungry Ghost realm shrouded in dreary mist and clouds, Han Anguo wielded a crude blade fashioned from the ribs of some unknown animal. There was not a hint of confusion on his face. He was as determined as ever. He swung down with the blade and beheaded a corpse beast.
At this moment, a blood-red vortex appeared in the space there, rapidly growing in size like a great gate. A voice rang out.
“True warrior, your soul does not deserve to rot away in this land of death. Come, the endless battle awaits you!”
Han Anguo’s eyes shone. He dove into the blood-red vortex without even looking back.
That was the promised land of all warriors, the Asura realm!