Chapter 59 – The Initial Achievement of White Bone
Li Qingshan thought of what the black ox had said in the past. Xiao An was only using the blood of beasts due to the circumstances for practising the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. If he wanted to practise it properly, he needed the blood of humans. He needed blood that was still warm from corpses that had just died. The more vitality it contained, the better it would be.
These mountain bandits were the great material the black ox was speaking about. Although Li Qingshan did not readily agree to this method, he did not mind too much. He moved the corpses over and formed quite a pile on an empty patch of land. The sight was extremely horrific and terrifying, and the sanguine smell was so heavy that it was overpowering. Even Li Qingshan himself felt rather shaken up. He could not help but ask himself, Was it really me who did this?
However, he immediately composed himself. This was retribution. If the bandits had not suffered such a fate, the world would be unfair. As long as he had a clear conscience, there was no need for him to feel regret over anything he had done. Afterwards, he followed the black ox’s orders and placed the porcelain jar that held Xiao An’s skeleton upside down on the pile of corpses.
Xiao An flew around rather nervously on the side. He only turned into a wisp and entered the jar when he heard Li Qingshan say, “Go!”
The piles of corpses trembled. The blood that dripped downwards suddenly flowed into the jar. The jar also began to tremble violently as the smell of blood became fainter and fainter.
A while later, there were cracking sounds, and the jar became riddled with fractures as red light seethed out. It was like coagulated blood, eye-dazzlingly red.
Li Qingshan frowned and held his breath. This seemed far too much like some kind of terrifying, evil ritual. It seemed like they were summoning some demon.
Bang! The jar exploded, and a tiny, blood-red skeleton remained seated on the pile of corpses. Two balls of blood-red flames blazed within its eye sockets. It was clearly an extremely mysterious and terrifying sight, but the little skeleton just happened to be sitting quietly with his hands together like some old monk meditating. It gave off a sacred feeling of enlightenment and seeing through life and death. The horrific, frightening pile of corpses vaguely seemed like the lotus pedestal that buddhas meditated on. Those pale, extended arms seemed like the pure-white petals of the lotus. It was extremely strange.
Li Qingshan probed by calling out, “Xiao An?”
The little skeleton raised its head, and its blood flames pulsed. It turned into a blood-red blur as it lunged over. It moved so quickly that it surprised even Li Qingshan. This was even faster than Yang Anzhi’s movement technique. He wanted to block or even counterattack instinctively, but he stopped himself. He allowed it to enter his arms before hitting him in the chest with a thud and sliding down.
Li Qingshan was immediately left at a loss as for how to react. All he saw was Xiao An sitting on the ground, shaking his head, as if he had failed to control his speed.
Xiao An stood up and looked at Li Qingshan. In Li Qingshan’s eyes, Xiao An saw his current figure. As if he had suddenly realised he was no longer a ghost, he lowered his head to look at his thin, bony hands before looking at his body. Afterwards, he began to tremble violently, squatting down and covering his face with his hands.
There was not the slightest sound, but Li Qingshan could clearly sense that Xiao An was weeping. As a ghost, at least he had a human form. Not a single person who had been turned into such an inhuman, terrifying state would be able to remain calm. Not to mention that he was still just a child.
Li Qingshan’s heart ached. His heart that had grown as tough as steel from the slaughter immediately softened. He rubbed his stinging nose and squatted down with a smile, rubbing Xiao An’s head. “Don’t be like this. Aren’t you pretty cute like this? In the past, only you could touch me. I couldn’t touch you. Now we’re fair.”
Xiao An raised his head, and the blood-red flames in his eye sockets became slightly brighter. He extended his hands and hugged Li Qingshan gently, laying his head against Li Qingshan’s chest. Li Qingshan opened his arms and embraced him tightly.
In the snow and wind, below a pile of corpses, a half-grown teenager and a small skeleton hugged one another, relying on each other. It was as if they could both feel a certain warmth from each other’s icy-cold bodies.
The black ox watched on quietly from one side, but his gaze was missing his usual mocking sneer.
At the end of the day, Xiao An was still a child. He cheered up very quickly, experimenting with his new body curiously. He would wander around at times and pick up a fallen bandit’s blade and play around with it at other times. He would even leap several meters into the air before helplessly falling back down to the ground with a clatter.
Li Qingshan went up in alarm, afraid that his thin bones would shatter from the fall, but all he saw was Xiao An turning over and standing up. Xiao An scratched his head and remembered he was no longer a ghost, so he could not fly anymore, but he was not disappointed at all. He took off in the wind and snow once again.
Li Qingshan relaxed. He smiled. Perhaps due to how love would extend to everything related to it, he really did not find Xiao An horrifying at all. With the various childish actions that the small skeleton performed, Xiao An instead seemed strangely cute. However, other people definitely would not feel the same way.
He turned around and asked the black ox, “Will Xiao An be like this forever?”
The black ox said, “There’s nothing wrong with it. There are plenty of people who worship gods and buddhas, wishing that they could become like this, yet they can’t! Though, normal people would never even be able to imagine that a ghost could gain a physical body. Although it is an ability of the demonic path, it can’t be restrained with buddhism or daoism. With it, you can progress rapidly and achieve extraordinary power. If this ability had been public, I can guarantee you that the consequences will be a million times worse than the spiritual ginseng you possess. Whether it be people of buddhism, daoism, or daemons and demons, they would all come for it.”
If someone provided you with a feast, could you still blame them if they didn’t provide you with cutlery? Li Qingshan could only smile bitterly. “I knew it. The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty sounds much more powerful than the Strength of Nine Oxen and Two Tigers.”
Not only was he so fast that even Li Qingshan struggled to react in time, but when he looked back, he saw Xiao An grabbing the seventh boss’s huge mace that weighed over fifty kilograms, waving it about madly. Afterwards, due to his hand being too small, he lost his grip on the hilt, and the mace flew over fifty meters away, smashing into a wall. The current Xiao An could slaughter the entire Black Wind stronghold alone, and he would definitely complete the task with much greater ease.
Moreover, the talisman that the master of the Black Wind stronghold had somehow obtained could rival his strength of an ox. If the leader of a group of bandits like him could obtain it, it definitely was not some impressive, high quality item. As a result, he could not help but begin to doubt his Strength of Nine Oxen and Two Tigers.
“He has absorbed the essence blood of over a hundred people, so of course he wouldn’t be weak. If you want him to recover a human form, it’s actually not that difficult.” The black ox sniggered and changed the topic of conversation, ignoring Li Qingshan’s doubts.
As expected, Li Qingshan put this matter behind him too. “Really? How?”
The black ox said, “The first way is to cultivate the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty to a certain level, and then you’ll be able to conjure a myriad of different forms. You’ll be able to turn into anything you want.”
Li Qingshan nodded. “When buddhism says even great beauty will rot away into white bone upon death, it holds the meaning of seeing through falsehoods. However, this probably can’t be achieved overnight, and it’s just conjuring after all.”
The black ox said, “There’s a shortcut, which is to use the essence blood of people to form a foundation. With this method, you’ll be able to make tissue grow from white bone, regaining your flesh and blood and rebuilding your body of flesh before long.”
Li Qingshan was shocked. “Doesn’t that mean Xiao An will be alive again?”
The black ox shook his head. “Neither living nor dead. Neither dead nor living. However, from the perspective of mortals, it’s no different from resurrection.”
“Alright!” Li Qingshan was in high spirits.
“Don’t celebrate too soon. It’ll still be up to you to complete this troublesome task. You can’t expose him before everyone or leave behind too many traces, or people will come for you in the name of purging evil. Don’t blame me for not warning you.”
Li Qingshan said with determination, “Even if I have to bear sins and be covered in blood to achieve this, I will not hesitate at all. Moreover, there are countless people in the world who deserve to be killed.”