Chapter 568 – Within the Demon Suppression Hall
The influence of such a supreme prodigy like this was far too great. Once he decided to support her in her path to the peak of the cultivation world, then if it resulted in any negative consequences, he would have to bear it all alone.
Several thousand years ago, the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga had once produced a buddhist genius known to be unrivalled, yet in the end, the monastery suffered tremendous losses, almost falling into decline. With this as a lesson, how could the Dauntless monk afford to be careless? He asked the Unraging monk again, “And why do you want that kid as your disciple?”
“I just find him pleasing to the eye,” the Unraging monk said as he chuckled. He could sense something special from Li Qingshan.
Just when the Dauntless monk wanted to ask further, the Unraging monk said, “Look, they’re already there.”
It was as if they had been sucked into a black vortex, reaching the bottom of the water, passing through and setting foot in a different world.
Li Qingshan and Xiao An stood hand in hand. They looked around, only to see they had already arrived in a magnificent room. The ground was layered with golden tiles, while gold leaf covered the walls, detailed with graceful patterns. It resembled an imperial palace, forming a clear contrast with the gate that was close to falling apart.
However, when Li Qingshan studied the surroundings carefully, he discovered this was not an imperial palace, but a prison.
The room they were standing in was a cage. Before him was a row of glistening bars, blocking the path out, while opposite of the bars were similar rooms.
Li Qingshan walked over and pushed gently. With a clank, the prison door opened.
He arrived in a wide passageway, which was also beautifully decorated, but on the two sides of the passageway were various cages of different sizes.
Li Qingshan asked in confusion, “Why is the Demon Suppression hall built like a prison?”
When the Demon Suppression hall was first constructed, it did indeed function as a prison. The monks of the monastery would capture and subdue demonic cultivators, throwing them into the Demon Suppression hall to be detained, giving them the opportunity to turn over a new leaf.
However, during the several millennia since the Great Xia empire was established, the world experienced peace and tranquility, and demonic cultivators faded away from public sight. The conflict between good and bad ceased to exist. Even if cultivators made trouble, there was the Hawkwolf Guard that could capture them or hunt them down. There was no need for the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga to do anything.
As a result, the demonic cultivators originally suppressed in the hall either reformed and became buddhists, or they downright died from old age. The original purpose of the Demon Suppression hall was gradually abandoned, but it was soon repurposed with a new function. It had been turned into a ground of trials for disciples.
True, large sects would always remain vigilant. They were aware of the nature of bloody conflict of the cultivation world. They would never be corroded away by the false impression of “a peaceful world”. They ground their blades constantly, ready to confront bloody conflict at any time. If buddhist scriptures, dharma, and benevolence were the only things they had relied on, the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga would have been destroyed countless times already.
While internal competitions could maintain a competitive mindset, it was nowhere near true conflict. As a result, whether it be the Sword Collection palace or the Umbral Yin sect, they all established facilities like these.
A shrill shriek rang out from the end of the passageway, filled with pain and refusal. It echoed throughout the magnificent prison, enough to send chills down the spines of people.
Li Qingshan’s eyes narrowed as he withdrew his aura. He flew over to the end of the passageway with great speed and agility, only to see a group of people kneeling on the ground, huddling into a group. Fresh blood flowed out between them, dyeing the golden tiles red.
Among them was a child around seven or eight with his guts spilling out. They were grabbing his innards and shoving them into their mouths. The child was still alive, putting up a desperate struggle as he shrieked in pain and hatred.
“Stop!” Li Qingshan bellowed. The group of people looked over, all covered in blood and hideous. It basically resembled the classical scenes of zombie films from his past life.
But to Li Qingshan’s surprise, they did not lunge over immediately. The burliest man among them even wiped the blood from his mouth as he asked, “You a newcomer?”
The tone of his voice was rather strange, but he was clearly intelligent and not a mad, wild beast. Yet, he behaved like he was not doing anything wrong at all. The child continued to scream. It was truly as strange as it could get.
“Release him!” Li Qingshan was taken aback before shouting out coldly. He had never thought something as tragic as cannibalism would happen in the renowned Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. These monks were far more vicious than he had imagined them to be.
“Do you want some?” The burly man’s expression changed, but his tone seemed like he was talking about a pig or a lamb, not a child.
At this moment, Xiao An arrived too, standing beside Li Qingshan. The burly man’s eyes lit up, filled with undisguised lust. His crotch actually responded immediately, and he stood up without the slightest hint of shame.
The other men were no different. They opened their mouths and drooled. They were clearly people, yet they seemed to become wild beasts in the heat all of a sudden.
“Is that woman yours? Give her to me or die!”
The man pointed at Xiao An and said to Li Qingshan. Before he had even finished, there was a bang, and his head exploded like a watermelon. Brain matter and blood covered the golden walls nearby.
“You better use your head before you talk!”
Li Qingshan pulled back his leg as he said that.
The other men lunged over wildly. Veins popped from their bodies, their muscles bulged, and teeth protruded from their mouths, producing howls like wild beasts.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
The group of people all collapsed as headly corpses. Blood flowed on the ground with broken bones and brain matter splattered everywhere.
Li Qingshan was bewildered. These people had bodies far tougher than regular people, but they also did not seem like cultivators. They could not even be regarded as wild beasts. Wild beasts would always flee when they faced danger, but they seemed to be completely under the control of their urges.
The child no longer shrieked. He propped himself up and extended his hand, covering his belly and shoving all the organs and intestines back inside. His life force was unbelievably tenacious. Afterwards, he threw himself at a headless corpse nearby and began ripping away at it, not for revenge, but purely because he was hungry and wanted to eat something.
Li Qingshan found this all absurd. He actually had no idea what to say. After the child had his fill, the wound on his belly had basically recovered completely.
The child asked rather bashfully, “Thank you for saving me. Can I follow you?”
“What’s your name? Who are they? Why were they…” Li Qingshan paused for a moment. “Eating you?”
“I’m Duoge. This is my dad. I don’t know the others. Why were they eating me? Obviously because they were hungry!” The child called “Duoge” pointed at the first man that Li Qingshan had killed with a kick and answered innocently.
Afterwards, he waved his arm around and advertised himself. “I can fight for you. If you get hungry, you can eat me too. My flesh is very tender.” His eyes swivelled craftily, and he pointed at the corpses on the ground, including his father’s. “These are enough to eat for many days!”
Li Qingshan felt mentally overwhelmed. These “people” were not powerful, but the things they did and said was horrifying. It proved that their natures were twisted to the limit, so hideous that it was repulsive.
A father had brought a group of people to eat his child. The child treated his father as food. If any regular people were present, probably even their view on life and values would be heavily impacted.
Actually, there had indeed been many disciples of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga who were unable to endure the mental pressure when they undertook trials in the Demon Suppression hall, thus losing their minds and going crazy. With such flimsy willpower, they were not worth treasuring no matter how talented they were.
Is it just because they’re trapped in here and they have nothing to eat, which is why they kill and devour one another? No, it’s not that simple. These people carry out these things like that’s simply how the world works. They aren’t bound by any form of conscience, nor are they tortured by so-called humanity.
The Dauntless monk had been observing everything inside the Demon Suppression hall the entire time. He discovered that Xiao An had remained unfazed the entire time. Even the light in her eyes had not rippled. This was no longer just simple indifference or coldness, but disregard. She disregarded the bloody sights and disregarded the horrific feasting.
The Dauntless monk had no idea whether he should be happy or worried. Everyone wanted their disciples to have firm willpower, but with how firm hers was, it was rather eerie or even terrifying. It completely exceeded her age. There was only one thing he could be certain about. She did not have a so-called “heart of compassion”.
As for this Li Qingshan, he had not been soft-handed at all. Originally, the Dauntless monk had considered whether he should remind them that the beings standing before them were not truly humans, but looking at it now, it was completely unnecessary.
“Duoge, do you know if there’s an exit somewhere?”
Li Qingshan asked. Although he knew the Dauntless monk would not let them go so easily, he still had to try and find the exit himself.
Duoge said, “There’s no exit. Once you come in, you can never leave.”
Li Qingshan said, “Then aren’t there any special places?”
Duoge hesitated. Li Qingshan said immediately, “Take us there!”
Duoge dared not decline. He picked up a corpse and pointed at the other corpses. “It’s very far away from here. You better bring those along to eat on the way!” He was worried Li Qingshan and Xiao An would run out of things to eat and eat him instead.
“Leave the corpse behind! Let’s go!”
As a result, Duoge tossed the corpse behind and strode ahead to lead the way. He glanced back reluctantly. That was not an attachment to his father, but an attachment to food.
“There’s meat!” “There’s food to eat!”
Soon after they had left, another group of people arrived, throwing themselves on the ground and eating. They gorged themselves happily.
The prison was like a maze. The passageways twisted and turned and forks constantly appeared. The area it covered was so great that it even exceeded Great Buddha mountain. This was definitely not a regular hall built underground.
They constantly came across others along the way. Basically all of them were young men, who lunged over like bulls in the heat as soon as they spotted Xiao An. All of them possessed tremendous strength, and they moved as swiftly as the wind. They could basically rival Iron Plate corpses.
Li Qingshan obviously killed his way through them without holding back. He discovered some of them possessed deformities, showing that they were clearly non-human, such as swellings on their foreheads, bulging backs, discoloured skin, and sharp teeth and nails. Normally, the more prominent their deformities were, the more powerful they were.
Li Qingshan’s doubts also grew heavier and heavier. Just what kind of people were they? Why had they become like this? And why were they imprisoned in the Demon Suppression hall?
The further they went, the stronger the enemies became. Some of them even exceeded the level of Corpse Soldiers, approaching the strength of Corpse Generals. He could not help but recall the Unraging monk’s warning.
“Don’t go too deep or too far.”