In the Myriad Poison cult, Xiao An gripped her sword with her right hand and formed a seal with her left, sitting on the throne in the hall with her legs crossed. Pale-white flames burned in the depths of her eyes as if they were about to emerge in a roaring fashion, only to be suppressed by the holy glow.
She endeavoured to maintain a calm expression, just like the surface of water, except beneath the surface, torrents were already surging about. It appeared as microexpressions on her face as if she was in pain, as if she felt regret. In short, she was conflicted.
The resplendent, flickering glow illuminated the gloomy hall.
Ru Xin watched her from afar and was secretly shocked. Just what cultivation method is this? Why does the aura she emits resemble that of Monk Kings?
If the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty had not originated from buddhism, then it would have been utterly crippled a long time ago under the crushing power of the Divine Nun of the South Sea.
However, the White Bone Bodhisattva who created the cultivation method had gone from buddhism to the demonic in the first place. The only reason why she lasted until now was because she mentally rejected everything to do with buddhism, coupled with the recently-hunted demonfolk as resources.
She was overcome with a multitude of mixed emotions. Even memories from much earlier appeared. She remiscined a certain person’s face, a person known as mother. When she thought up to there, she basically lost control as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Are… you fine?” For some reason, Ru Xin’s heart ached when she saw this. How could it not ache at the sight of a weeping beauty? However, she composed herself very soon. This girl was anything but that.
Xiao An glanced at Ru Xin with misty eyes. As if she had read her thoughts yet was also a little embarrassed, she asked gently, “Sister Ru Xin, can I eat you?”
“Def- in- ite- ly- not!” Ru Xin felt a hint of coldness, not because of how cold the question was, but because she actually felt the urge to agree for an instant.
Ru Xin had no idea what was happening to her, but ever since Xiao An gained natural emotions and expressions, her charms basically multiplied. Fortunately, she practised the Heavenly Tome of Cloud Furnace, so she basically had a heart of stone, which allowed her to withstand it.
“How stingy!” Xiao An pouted, like a child that had candy taken away from her.
“I’m sorry, I’m very disgusting to eat.” Ru Xin faked a smile, but she discovered that her eyes gradually cleared up. A hint of intelligence flashed through them as if she had thought something through.
“This… might be an opportunity!” Xiao An muttered to herself with a hint of resolve, which made Ru Xin think of Li Qingshan.
The best resource for practising the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty was not actually the demon hearts of demonfolk, but the śarīra of buddhist cultivators. Just like how she needed to study the buddhist dharma if she wanted to comprehend the essence of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, this was a buddhist cultivation method from a certain perspective.
The cultivation that the Divine Nun of the South Sea had accumulated across her entire life definitely was not poison to Xiao An, but more like a great nourishment. It could even give her the opportunity to experience the White Bone Bodhisattva’s process of going from buddhism to the demonic. In turn, this would give her a deeper comprehension of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty.
However, that was given that her Path of White Bone and Great Beauty was not completely crippled. This required a tremendous amount of resources, which was why she had asked Ru Xin whether she could eat her! She had only eased up after thinking this through. Her vengeful practical joke basically came as an influence from Li Qingshan’s horrible tastes.
Qingshan, you better come back soon! Xiao An and Ru Xin thought at the same time.
At this moment, Li Qingshan did not only sense coldness, but also murderousness. He never imagined Gong Yuan to respond so violently when she heard he had a son! He thought, Don’t tell me this ice woman is interested in me? Hehe, my charms sure are unstoppable!
However, his narcissism stopped there, as the murderousness grew heavier and heavier. It was already approaching actual killing intent.
“Hold on, not my son by blood! My adopted son! My adopted son!”
“Adopted son?” Gong Yuan said.
As a result, Li Qingshan told her the entire story, which left her amazed too. To think that phoenixes still existed in this world, and the divine wutong tree had actually trapped him in the phoenix’s nest to hatch the phoenix’s embryo, and he even ended up succeeding.
If it were not for the fact that they were mentally linked, she definitely would have treated it as one big lie, but the frozen sea showed no intentions of thawing.
“What, is there still something you’re dissatisfied with?” Li Qingshan asked.
“Do you know what Merfolk find to be the most despicable?” Gong Yuan said coldly.
“Probably everything that the fire devourers do?” Li Qingshan blinked his eyes.
“Faithless, fickle, and half-hearted people. If you’re untethered in the world, then so be it, but you’ve once mentioned that you’re already engaged, so you shouldn’t be so philanderous and casual. I despise you.” Gong Yuan grabbed Li Qingshan’s hand that was around her waist and pried it off. She pressed against Li Qingshan’s chest and pushed firmly. The ice shattered loudly.
Li Qingshan nodded and stroked his chin. “That does make some sense, but aren’t you implying that if I’m not engaged, or if I don’t have any relationships with other women, I’m free to do whatever I want with you?”
“That’s not necessarily impossible, but unfortunately, you’ll never be able to! In this aspect, even the fire devourer that my little sister became infatuated with is much greater than you.” Gong Yuan sneered in disdain.
“Forget about it. If you’re willing, why would I be unwilling? Even if there is a man who’s infatuated with you, how much sincerity can you give him? You have to consider your own cultivation and the development of the Merfolk. You even view your dignity as a queen with more importance than that man! Isn’t that being half-hearted too? You’re not your sister. You really have been thinking too much about going after true love or whatever it is.”
Li Qingshan laughed aloud, making his voice echo through the abyss. He originally thought Gong Yuan would fly into a rage, but he never expected her to sink into silent thought. She actually showed a rare smile and even lamented slightly. “You’re not wrong. I can never become infatuated with someone like my little sister, nor do I have the right to make demands about how others should feel about me.” She became serious. “So we can cut the bullshit and talk about how we can use each other. What do you want me to do?”
“Help me clean up the demons and kill a good handful of Demon Kings!” Li Qingshan smiled, revealing his sharp canines.
“And what do I get in return?” Gong Yuan shivered inside. The demon plague of the Mist province was extremely severe, and fighting Demon Kings was extremely dangerous too. The King of Southern Yue’s estate had requested her assistance multiple times, but she had turned them all down.
“Absolutely nothing.” Li Qingshan shrugged.
“Li Qingshan, are you playing with me?” Gong Yuan squeezed out those words from between her teeth.
“It’s not using you if there are no benefits!” Li Qingshan directly met her eyes. “Call it a friend asking for your help, alright?”
Gong Yuan was mildly surprised, avoiding his gaze and sinking into a moment of thought. “Considering the fact that you still have some use in the future, I’ll help you out this one time. You better remember this and pay me back on fold in the future!” After a pause, she added, “And, we’re not friends!”
“Sigh, I know you want to become my wife!” Li Qingshan murmured in a rather narcissistic manner.
“What did you say!?”
“Nothing. Alright, your majesty. Whatever you want. Time waits for no one, so let’s set off!”
Gong Yuan returned to the Crystal palace and passed on some instructions before venturing to the Mist province with Li Qingshan.
Along the way, Li Qingshan asked, “Do you know Ye Weiyang?”
“Who doesn’t know the name of the Shadow Queen?”
“Why don’t we call her along too? We’ll have a better chance that way.”
Li Qingshan had originally considered visiting the Shadow palace and finding Ye Weiyang if Gong Yuan refused. This king of assassins in the Mist province was an extremely powerful help, but she would come at a price. However, it would be nothing as long as he could help Xiao An get through this.
“Then go ask her. I’ll return to the South sea!” Gong Yuan stopped and said coldly.
Despite both being “godfolk”, the conflict between the seven ancient divine kings was extremely deeply rooted. The fire devourers and merpeople were not the only ones with great grievances. For example, the grievances between the giant lumbermen and the fire devourers were no less either.
Although the merpeople and night roamers were both matriarchies, where women held the authority, that did not mean they could be happy friends. Night roamers were renowned for their liking towards schemes, intentionally stirring up chaos between the races to swoop in for the maximum benefit, so they achieved their objective of weakening the sixth other divine kingdoms in the end. Of course, the night roamers were not the only ones with this aspiration.
As a result, the kings of the divine kingdoms never saw one another, but once they did, there would be war.
Gong Yuan loathed Li Qingshan’s disrespectful and casual attitude, but she could not help but admit that she did trust Li Qingshan. This guy repaid his debts and was straightforward and open in whatever he did. He was quite reliable in dangerous battles, having blocked lethal attacks for her more than once. On the other hand, there had been an old saying passed down from the ancient times, that even dead night roamers were not trustworthy.
“Hmm, I’ve considered it, but I think it’s enough as long as we work together.” Li Qingshan immediately changed his mind. Who would spend money when he had free and fine labour?
Gong Yuan eased up slightly and caught up with Li Qingshan again, only to hear him sigh and shake his head. “Sure enough, there are no women who don’t get jealous!”
“What did you say?!”
The dark clouds were thick, sweeping over from the south and gushing into the demonics clouds condensed from demon qi before falling with heavy snow. This was a once-in-a-millenium sight in the Mist province.
The demonfolk all raised their heads. A beautiful flake of snow drifted down and landed on the tip of a demonfolk’s nose.
The demonfolk only felt his nose grow cold; then he lost all of his senses and became a transparent ice statue.
“Enemy!” The demonfolk on the side only managed to scream out that word before following his footsteps. The snowflakes seemed to possess consciousnesses of their own. None of them landed on the ground, all drifting towards the demonfolk.
Coldness permeated the surroundings. The thick mist turned into a layer of frost. The raucous demon cavern fell silent.
The Demon Commanders all demonified, but they did not launch attacks. Instead, they turned around and flew towards the demon cavern.
However, the snowflakes rapidly gathered and stuck together above the demon cavern, turning into a huge snowman.
The snowman was not terrifying in appearance. It even seemed rather simple and adorable. A smile hung on its round head, but a casual swing of its round fist sent two Demon Commanders flying.
A black spirit turtle hovered in the thick, snowy clouds. Li Qingshan and Gong Yuan stood within it, powering the Heart of the Abyss with their combined efforts.
“The snowman is quite adorable!” Li Qingshan glanced at Gong Yuan in surprise. The snowman’s strength had nothing to do with its outer appearance. It was completely up to the caster’s control. He never imagined there to be such an “ordinary” side to her.
“These demonfolk are only for testing out the various reactions across the nine provinces. How can you even call this a demon plague?” Gong Yuan said. The godfolk had far more experience than humans or daemons with dealing with demonfolk.
“The snowman is quite adorable.”
“Enough with you!”
At this moment, there was a rumble, and the snowman collapsed, drifting apart from a sky full of snowflakes.
A Demon King had appeared!
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