Li Qingshan’s entire body blazed with fire. Even the surrounding ground had melted into red-hot, flowing lava. With his head lowered, kneeling in the pool of lava, he seemed like a demon god of fire at the end of his path, sunken deeply in mud.
He slowly raised a leg with difficulty, switching to a half-kneeling pose before suddenly raising his head, clenching his fists and spreading his arms, letting out a furious roar at the sky.
The flames surged madly as his scarlet hair drifted, dyeing the sky red.
The ox demon stands with its horns towards the heavens! This was a will to never yield!
Within the flames, his flesh and blood constantly regrew as his strength skyrocketed.
“He actually withstood it!” Gu Yanying was greatly shocked. That was four golden cores after all.
More accurately, it was five. There had also been a golden core from Wen Zhangqing.
The great strength of the ox demon was boundless.
However, that was not enough. It still was not enough!
It was not enough to defeat the Corpse King, and it was not enough to break through to the fifth layer of the ox demon.
Li Qingshan suddenly turned. The flames swept around and changed into the shape of pupils in his eye sockets, gazing at the injured Golden Core cultivator who had half his body destroyed.
With a tiger’s roar, he lunged over.
In that moment, everyone saw the flames on him transform into a winged, scarlet tiger, surging with malice and raging killing intent.
“Stop, wretched daemon!”
The Marquis of Ruyi yelled out, but he was unable to stop him in time, nor did he have the power to stop him.
“Wretched daemon, I’ll take you down with me!” the cultivator roared crazily. His golden core began to revolve and radiate with resplendent light, about to blow up with terrifying power.
The tiger claws condensed from fire kept it from moving before conjuring the figure of the spirit turtle. The trembling golden core settled down reluctantly.
The Spirit Turtle Suppresses the Seas, suppressing all restlessness.
The fire tiger extended its tongue and swept the golden core into its mouth, nodding slightly as if it was satisfied. It turned its head and glanced past the other cultivators.
The hearts of all cultivators sank completely. They faced internal and external strife. Both the Corpse King and the daemon were extremely terrifying.
Never had they thought this battle would actually end up so horrifying.
“Die, wretched daemon!”
The Seal of Mountains and Rivers smashed down. It was covered in cracks, but it was still tremendously powerful.
The fire tiger had already vanished from there. With a trail of flames, it lunged over and pressed down the other injured Golden Core cultivator, directly swallowing his golden core.
The cultivator was also prepared to blow up his golden core, but if Li Qingshan did not attack him, he obviously would not dig his own grave. Even ants cravenly clung to life, let alone a mighty Golden Core cultivator.
However, by the time Li Qingshan attacked him, all was too late. The spirit turtle could suppress the golden core before it exploded.
There were only two people present who could stop Li Qingshan. One was the Dark Queen, while the other was Gu Yanying, but neither of them had any intentions of stopping him.
The other cultivators were completely worn out from the battle. Even if they wanted to save them, they had to consider whether they had that ability or not.
Although the Marquis of Ruyi constantly tried to smash him with the Seal of Mountains and River, he climbed higher and higher into the air, just hurling constant abuse.
In the blink of an eye, Li Qingshan had killed three Golden Core cultivators, swallowing another three golden cores.
To the cultivators’ relief, Li Qingshan’s hunt ended with that. He began another round of refinement.
Everything had happened in a split second. From when he roared out to the three pounces, a lot had happened, but it all occurred within a few seconds.
If any mortals were present, they would not have even been able to grasp what had happened, let alone respond.
In total, Li Qingshan had swallowed eight golden cores!
“What’s he trying to do that actually requires so many golden cores? Is he trying to break through to Daemon Commander? That’s impossible. Once he triggered the heavenly tribulation, even if he survives it narrowly, he’ll be on his last legs. He won’t be of any assistance to this battle!”
No, I can’t let him continue like this. The Corpse King also felt that something was amiss, so he immediately summoned all the Corpse Commanders.
There was no response!
The Buddha Slaying sword embryo blocked their path. It seemed as ordinary as before, without any glow of a “divine artifact”.
Xiao An had basically poured half of the corpses she had refined into this Buddha Slaying sword embryo.
As the fragments of the Corpse Commanders fell down, they turned into Samādhi Flames of White Bone and merged into the Buddha Slaying sword embryo. Only then did the sword become coated in white, half-transparent light that surged about.
A skeleton head arrived beneath Xiao An. She stepped onto it gently and rose as she raised her sword.
“Let’s go! That sword is simply too terrifying!”
“What! This formation again!”
The Corpse Commanders scattered, but they were forced back together by the huge, house-sized skulls.
The skulls cackled, wrapped in white firelight as they constantly revolved.
When Xiao An released them from the Blood Sea Banner, she had also released the twenty-six Skull Prayer Beads that she had reforged, assembling the Skeleton Demon Formation.
Normally, it would only take Corpse Commanders a few seconds to break out of the Skeleton Demon Formation.
The light from the sword passed by in a flash. Xiao An did not pause at all, pushing off a skull and using the force to leap back into the formation. She shuttled back and forth. Soon, it became impossible to make out her figure. Only a streak of white light shot around inside the Skeleton Demon Formation.
The Skeleton Demon Formation constantly shrank before dispersing with a boom in the end. Not a single Corpse Commander remained. Only flaming pieces of corpses were left, which all merged together and channeled into the Buddha Slaying sword embryo. They vaguely formed a skeleton sitting in a lotus position on the hilt of the sword.
She had finally achieved initial success with the Buddha Slaying sword embryo.
It was not only the cultivators. Even the Corpse King had been taken aback as if a bucket of cold water had been poured over him.
Perhaps the legend was true!
I need to kill it, regardless of the cost!
The Corpse King’s eyes shone with cruel, green light. The nails on his ten fingers burst forth like bamboo shoots in spring. He hurled them forwards, all targeting Xiao An.
Ten streaks of black light shot over furiously.
A streak of black light pierced the Void-bellied Ghost King, and it was unable to last any longer, dispersing and revealing the Dark Queen. Her black hair drifted in the air as she suddenly turned back. “Be careful!”
Gu Yanying immediately swung her delicate, jade folding fan to provide support in a hurry. She had already become extremely confident in her guess. When the Golden Core cultivators died to the “moon demon” earlier, the Dark Queen had not even batted an eye, yet she had paled in fright so much over this “other being”. She probably was not even that concerned over her own life.
However, the Corpse King seemed to have anticipated this a long time ago. With a swing of his huge hand, a fierce wind rushed over like a tornado and forced Gu Yanying to slow down. She could no longer provide any assistance in time.
The flames in Xiao An’s eye sockets burned brightly as she stared straight ahead. She wielded the sword with both hands, even relinquishing control over the Blood Sea Banner and Skull Prayer Beads.
All that was left in her heart was sword styles, sword techniques, sword moves, and sword intent. There was her comprehension from the Cursive Sword Calligraphy, as well as her insight from her awakened memories. Afterwards, it all vanished, reduced to nothingness.
A skeleton sat in the lotus position.
The Buddha Slaying sword emitted a streak of light that was several meters long. With a flash, a fingernail was cut in half, sweeping past her.
Xiao An retreated. The light moved steadily, making a turn back and cutting apart another fingernail.
Sword swing, sword swing, sword swing!
The streak of light danced wildly, cutting through four fingernails in a single breath. The fifth fingernail filled her vision, but she was unable to stop it anymore.
She parried with the Buddha Slaying sword embryo. Xiao An said in an unflinching manner, “This is the limit.”
Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!
Five huge fingernails that resembled stone beams struck Xiao An one after another.
In that instant, her white bones became riddled with cracks as the sound of fractures resonated like thunder. Even the colliding booms were unable to drown them out.
Boom! Dust filled the air.
Xiao An slammed heavily into a hill, and her aura vanished.
No matter how powerful the Buddha Slaying sword embryo was, it had to be wielded with her own strength!
Xiao An had only undergone one heavenly tribulation so far. She was able to kill a group of Corpse Commanders an entire cultivation realm above hers with the Buddha Slaying sword embryo, but her strength was insufficient when she faced the killing strike of a Corpse King.
This was an absolute difference in strength, which could not be made up for with external objects.
Having swept away a several-million-strong Corpse Soldier army, Xiao An who carried everyone’s hopes on her shoulders had also reached her limit.
Over half of the Golden Core cultivators had fallen in battle. The Dark Queen had failed. The Marquis of Ruyi’s face became filled with despair. “It’s over! It’s all over!”
Gu Yanying raised her head and looked at the hazy, grey sky. Her eyes narrowed, and her gaze that was as sharp as a hawk’s pierced through the region, vaguely making out constantly twinkling, green stars.
They were not stars, but the eyes of countless undead. There were countless existences as powerful as the Corpse King among them, as well as even stronger existences who were well beyond what the current World of the Nine Provinces could handle.
They were like a flock of vultures, circling above the heads of those about to die so that they could swarm over and pick apart their corpses once they collapsed and died.
Compared to the World of the Nine Provinces, this place is already closer to the Hungry Ghost realm. The Hungry Ghost realm is about to descend. Do I leave? No, there’s still one more. He hasn’t spoken yet.
The bellow of an ox rose up, oppressive and drawn-out as if it originated from the depths of the earth.
The ground trembled slightly. The entire region was shaking.
The hills rose and fell together like the turbulent seas.
An iron hoof took a step forward. The ground sank and cracked.
Invisible tremors radiated in all directions.
Hundreds of mountains collapsed in silence.
The curved horns were like the crescent moon that hung high in the sky as their edges shone with a sharp light.
The word “moon” was etched on there.
His scarlet pupils resembled the arrival of a malevolent star. Rumors had it that its appearance would always bring about destruction and war.
He strode over, making his way towards the Corpse King. With every step he took, the ground would shake in an oppressive manner.
Even the Dark Queen moved out of the way. She felt like a huge mountain was pressing forward.
He arrived before the Corpse King, and two streams of air gushed out of his nose. He raised his head and asked, “How dare you harm her!?”
“Harm? No, I killed it! The next one’s you!”
The Corpse King lowered his head and looked down from above. He was extremely relaxed.
It was as if he had seen the crack of dawn, and the red sun would soon rise up. Victory would be arriving shortly.
He felt himself grow stronger and stronger. It came from both himself and the reward of the Hungry Ghost realm. No one could repel him at this time, in this place!
Li Qingshan lowered his head, formed a fist, and threw it.
Dense, black cracks dispersed from the fist.
His punch was as heavy as a mountain. At first glance, it seemed sluggish as if it pushed forward inch by inch.
Whenever it pushed forward slightly, the black cracks would layer upon each other. In the very end, it became pitch-black. It was like a black glove that piled up countless tremors.
“You’ve bitten off more than you can chew!”
The Corpse King let out a great laugh. He stood with his arms crossed as he looked down from above. His huge, withered hand clenched into a fist as rolling corpse qi coiled around it. He raised it high into the air, extending it to the limit. The bone spike on his elbows seemed even more vicious.
Like a roaring dragon, it descended from above to destroy everything.