A streak of silver light shot through the air, stopping steadily above the great swamp. The King of Southern Yue stood with his hands behind his back, only to see plumes of demon qi rushing into the air and Demon Gods standing in the world, which left him surprised too.
“What a great formation!”
The Twelve Citadel Demon Formation of the Ominous possessed extremely ancient origins and was widespread in the Demon domain. Having waged war everywhere to suppress the demon caverns, the King of Southern Yue had witnessed it plenty of times, but this was the first time he had seen a formation of such scale and grandeur.
“No wonder you wanted me to save him, fellow. With this formation, probably no one in the Mist province can save him apart from me. However, the King of Savages is probably dead already after falling into it. Why would he still need saving?”
The King of Southern Yue turned around and said to the banyan bonsai on the table.
“According to my divination, he’s still alive, so please destroy the formation quickly!” the Great Banyan Tree King said sternly as he swung his branches.
“Just what makes Li Qingshan so capable that he’s in such good graces with you, fellow?” The King of Southern Yue sighed. The Great Banyan Tree King had not said much, but just the word “please” surpassed anything else he could say.
“This child is anything but ordinary. He shouldn’t die here. Also, the existence who set up such a trap probably didn’t do it to claim his life.” The Great Banyan Tree King’s voice became even sterner.
“What do you mean?”
“I suspect that all the demon caverns that had been cleaned up and all the Demon Kings that died earlier were just bait.”
“Bait!” The King of Southern Yue was finally alarmed. To use Demon Kings as bait, just who was the one at the pole? And what were they fishing for?
“If he’s coerced into joining the Demon domain, it wouldn’t just be the Mist province that’s overrun with demons before long. The entire nine provinces will become another Demon domain,” the Great Banyan Tree King said.
After knowing each other for so many years, he understood Li Qingshan extremely well. This was an aspect that the King of Southern Yue could not rival him in. The King of Southern Yue did govern the Mist province and did possess unmatched authority, but it was also unavoidable for his insight to be confined to this “well”; this prevented him from seeing the secret that originated from beyond this “well”, from beyond the heavens, that Li Qingshan was hiding.
“What? Looks like I’ve still underestimated him.”
The King of Southern Yue swung his hand, and the Silver Dragon King shone with resplendent silver light. The dragon head on the nose of the ship opened up, and specks of silver light gathered, growing brighter and brighter. It was like a silver sun, such that its glow even outshone the sun in the sky.
The twelve Demon Gods looked over. Their gazes seemed tangible, piercing the space and filled with extremely deep chaos and evil thoughts.
The King of Southern Yue shuddered. His face reddened before darkening, only recovering after quite a while. He said, “Impressive!”
He had specially docked the Silver Dragon King a safe distance away, and basically all formations suffered from the flaw of being more defensive than offensive. As long as he maintained a large enough berth, there would not be any danger.
However, the Twelve Citadel Demon Formation of the Ominous could actually launch an attack from so far away, and it directly attacked his soul. If it were not for the Silver Dragon King’s protection, he might have been scathed just with that.
“Attack!” The King of Southern Yue ordered in a dignified manner.
The Silver Dragon King shuddered, and a beam of blinding light pierced the world, right towards the Twelve Citadel Demon Formation of the Ominous!
This was a blast from the main cannon that could easily annihilate mountain ranges. It directly blew up half of a Demon God, but it was only an illusion at the end of the day, not a true Demon God.
However, the King of Southern Yue did not ease up at all. Although he had destroyed a Demon God, there were still eleven others, and even the destroyed Demon God rapidly recovered. The foundation of the Twelve Citadel Demon Formation of the Ominous was twelve demon caverns. It originated from another world, so it was very difficult for him to destroy the entire formation in a single blast.
The King of Southern Yue peered in through the opening created by the blast. Originally, he wanted to use this opening to allow Li Qingshan and Gong Yuan to escape, but he did not see them at all. He did not even see any Demon Kings.
“It’s already too late. They’ve either died already, or they’ve crossed through the demon cavern and entered the Demon domain.”
The King of Southern Yue shook his head. As long as he maintained the attack, he could destroy the Twelve Citadel Demon Formation of the Ominous sooner or later, but it would take a lot of time. The attacks from the Silver Dragon King were powerful, but it came at an extremely great cost too. Even he had to consider whether it was worth it or not.
“He’s still alive, and he hasn’t fallen into the Demon domain yet,” said the Great Banyan Tree King. If Li Qingshan had died, Xiao An would not have sent Ru Xin for support. If he had completely fallen into the Demon domain, that would be extremely difficult to divine, and it was not exactly dire straits for him anymore.
The King of Southern Yue fell into a moment of silence.
“If you let the demonfolk establish a stronghold through this formation and gain their footing, there will be no end to the demon plague in the Mist province. That’s definitely not an outcome that both you and I would wish to see.” The Great Banyan Tree King added.
He was implying that even if it were not for the sake of saving Li Qingshan, he had to destroy the formation for the sake of his own interests.
The King of Southern Yue’s eyes lit up, and he smiled. “So be it, so be it. I’ll just risk it this time. I’ll go assemble people to destroy the formation right now, so please help me out too, fellow. If Li Qingshan is still alive, I’ll definitely save him!” The Great Banyan Tree King had always refused to assist him with suppressing the demon plague. Now that he had finally relented, the King of Southern Yue even felt rather grateful towards Li Qingshan.
In order to protect the interests of the daemons, the Great Banyan Tree King originally had no plans on becoming involved so soon, but he would not turn a blind eye to Li Qingshan. He also had a feeling that if the King of Savages became a Demon King, they would have already lost half the war before it had even properly begun. If Xiao An continued to follow his footsteps, then they would be at an even greater disadvantage. He definitely could not just stand by.
In that short conversation, they had reached an agreement that influenced the entire situation in the Mist province. The two kings standing at the apex of the Mist province began issuing orders at the same time. In the gloomy, underground cities, on the towering peaks, in the expansive jungles, Daemon Kings and great cultivators answered their call.
Qingshan, you need to hold on for just a bit longer, the Great Banyan Tree King thought.
Li Qingshan turned into his original daemon form, standing tall and gazing at the heavens.
The blood-red swirl in the Asura Field had already become a pitch-black tribulation cloud. The sounds of thunder rolled through there. It was like a chariot driven by gods, touching the blood-red land from time to time and seeing a rebel. Not only did the rebel refuse to kneel down and accept his fate, but he even tried to defy the heavens, which made them lash their whip in fury!
Boom! A bolt of scorching lightning slammed into Li Qingshan’s back. There was a sliver of bright violet within, like steel wire embedded in the whip. It immediately split open his skin, revealing the metallic tiger bones inside.
Roar! Li Qingshan stood like a mountain, without budging at all. He spread his arms, and his scarlet hair flew as he bellowed at the heavens.
The pitch-black clouds immediately turned into a violent pool of lightning. Thousands of bolts of lightning criss-crossed together, like a riotous dance of dragons and snakes. The moment before it completely swallowed him, he sensed something and gazed into the distance. He wondered how Xiao An was doing.
A Skull Prayer Bead shattered, blocking a bolt of tribulation lightning for Xiao An. As a lifebound arcane artifact, it shattering shook her mind. However, before she could even spare a glance, she unleashed her path of the sword to the limit, and the Buddha Slaying sword slashed through several bolts of tribulation lightning. The Blood Sea Banner behind her was dim in colour and covered in burn marks, unable to produce another river of blood or swallow another bolt of lightning. The golden avatar had already shattered, exposing the jagged bones beneath her great beauty.
The Samādhi Flames of White Bone burned in her eyes without even wavering once no matter how much life-threatening danger she faced. She listened quietly to the furious roar of thunder and swung her sword, dancing in the pool of lightning like a ghost.
“Satisfying!” Li Qingshan bellowed. He ignored the warnings from the spirit turtle’s wisdom and ignored the falling phoenix feathers. He allowed the lightning to temper his body as his feet remained deeply buried in the ground. His eyes were filled with fighting spirit.
Who was the one who had once said that they had the time of their life opposing heaven, opposing earth, opposing humanity?
He cast aside his own fate and completely submerged himself in the delight of battle.
“What tremendous tribulation lightning. Is this really the third heavenly tribulation?”
Yin Qing avoided it from afar in a corner of the Asura Field, watching this unfold in shock. She had once witnessed an Asura Commander undergoing the tribulation and becoming an Asura King, but the scale of the heavenly tribulation was much smaller. Even when she could hide in space, she refused to come anywhere close to even a single bolt of lightning.
The Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine had endowed Li Qingshan with strength that far surpassed his peers, but that did not mean he underwent the tribulations like they were a piece of cake. The heavenly tribulations were the most stringent and the fairest judges. The stronger he was just by himself, the stronger the heavenly tribulations would be.
That applied to foreign objects too. It did not mean using a great pile of powerful arcane treasures, formations, and talismans would make the tribulation a little safer. The stronger the items were, the more there were, the larger and heavier the heavenly tribulation would become. If a cultivator could not unleash a hundred and twenty percent of the power of these foreign objects—such as Ye Duanhai and the Sea-splitting sword—they were better off not using them.
When Xiao An faced the tribulation, she had stowed the disciplinary stick and the scripture from the Divine Nun of the South Sea into her sumeru ring. She only used the lifebound arcane treasures forged from the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty.
The Skull Prayer Beads that she had refined one by one were shattered in the lightning, and the sea of blood in the Blood Sea Banner was close to dying out. Even the Buddha Slaying sword was covered in cracks, but these lifebound arcane treasures were facing the tribulation with her. Tempered by the tribulation lightning, they advanced towards a higher level arduously.
With a clang, Tiger’s Fang suddenly exited its sheathe, turning into a colossal blade as Li Qingshan gripped it firmly in his hand. He swung it at the sky.
The pool of lightning responded. The electricity all gathered on the blade, pouring into Li Qingshan’s body along the veins on the weapon.
At that moment, all the bones in his body became clearly visible. The electricity reached all the way to his marrow, making him shudder uncontrollably. Even his soul was about to be torn apart.
The might of the heavenly tribulation had already reached its limit!
He knew he was already staring death in its face. If he could not survive this, then it would be obliteration and annihilation. He grinned viciously as he gritted his teeth, unleashing the four superhuman abilities, the four transformations of the demonic and divine, at the same time. The figures of the ox demon, tiger demon, spirit turtle, and phoenix appeared on him one by one, either standing there silently or singing loudly and roaring furiously.
At that moment, the tenacity of the ox demon, the fighting spirit of the tiger demon, the depth of the spirit turtle, and the pride of the phoenix all gathered on him, becoming one whole.
The great earth bore the weight of everything, sharing his damage. The fierce wind whistled and swept about, gushing into the tribulation clouds. The black water was deep and unfathomable, predicting each attack. The scorching fire was endless, healing his wound-ridden body.
The blood-red soil under his feet crystallised under the tribulation lightning before being ground to powder and blown into the air, sweeping through the sky. Under the illumination of the lightning, it turned into a splendid, phantasmal sight, enveloping Li Qingshan’s mountainous figure.
As if a thousand years had passed, the sounds of thunder had vanished before he knew it, but the echoes persisted. The crystalline sand was scattered on the ground, forming a crystalline desert.
The mountainous figure vanished…
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