Ancient Strengthening Technique

 
 

Ancient Strengthening Technique Chapter 949-951


AST 949 – Central Palace Blood Essence Reservoir, Keeping a Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm, A blessing in Disguise

Trap the silkworm and extract it.

That was Qing Shui's current plan. He would have used another method in the past. There was another method that he considered but did not use, as he did not want to risk hurting Qin Zongheng.

Buddha’s True Eyes! It was a pity that he couldn't try it out.

After that, Qing Shui used Roc’s Might and slowly approached the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm only to find that it did not react…

A quick thought came to him: this Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm was more powerful than the one that was planted in his body. It could even ignore his spirit energy. Qing Shui had originally planned to condense his spirit energy into threads to kill the parasite, but now it was apparent that it will not work.

Ding!

Qing Shui stabbed the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm accurately, but was surprised to find that its hide was so thick that his gold needle could not penetrate it and was reflected off instead.

Is this Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm really so tough?

It seemed to be as hard as a diamond or even harder. Spirit energy had no effect on it. Once it entered a person's body, it was like a dragon in the ocean. Unless it came out of the body by itself, there was no effective medicine. Even if he could cut open the patient, the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm could escape easily. It could easily dig into any of it victim's organs, even dig through soil and stone.

It was an inch long and it had the girth of a baby's finger. A Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm was indeed the most unreasonably effective poison in the world. It was rumored that if a Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm was nourished by an expert cultivator or one with a special bloodline, it would mature into an extremely powerful creature.

But usually nobody dared to keep such a creature. It was just like a venomous snake or a ferocious wolf. One would never know if it would turn on its owner. If so, it would be lethal.

Remove!

Qing Shui activated his gold needle and trapped the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm. Both his hands moved quickly above the Yin Yang Image, flicking each of the needles. The rotating needles gave the illusion that the image was actually moving.

Gradually, the image got brighter and brighter, especially, the center of the image. It shone brightly like a mysterious Yin Yang Image.

More and more sweat appeared on his forehead, but Qing Shui did not care to wipe it away. He went into a high focus mode and channeled all his aura to his two hands, trapping the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm within the area of the Yin Yang Image.

Get out!

Qing Shui suddenly hit the extreme end of one of the gold needle. The bull-hair like gold needle started trembling. The speed of the vibration was beyond description. If they weren't gold needles, there was no way they could withstand the intensity.

After this, he could see a bright spot following the barrier of the needles. It was as if there was a small snake under Qin Zongheng's skin, which was glowing faintly.

Pu!

Suddenly with a spray of blood and a flash, the light headed for Qing Shui. Qing Shui was shocked, he must avoid it at all cost. He took out the metal canister he had previously prepared. It was made of 10,000 year coldsteel. He targeted the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm and then was not sure what he should do next.

Qing Shui could feel his Dantian suddenly reacting. The slightly liquefied Qi in his Dantian changed into liquid at a more rapid speed and spun in his Dantian in a whorl like a never ending hole. Just when the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm was about to enter the canister. There was a large flow of energy which sucked Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm towards himself. To the observers, it was as if the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm rushed towards Qing Shui of its own accord…

Everything happened too fast, so Qing Shui froze on the spot. Weng Xue was also dazed when she saw the empty canister and Qing Shui's expression. She knew that something went wrong, after all she saw the glow entering his body.

This time around, it was actually Qing Shui's Dantian which absorbed the silkworm into his body. Though Qing Shui was worried, he was not particularly nervous but rather he was very surprised. When he regained his composure, Qing Shui grinned awkwardly and wiped the sweat off his face. He helped Qin Zongheng up and healed his wounds.

"Elder Sis, it's a success. I will go take a bath now." Qing Shui turned away after giving Weng Xue a complex expression.

"Qing Shui, what will happen to you? How could I stay calm with you like this?" Weng Xue gave Qing Shui a worried look, she already witnessed how painful the experience was from the way her husband acted.

Qin Zongheng was still unconscious at that point.

"You've forgotten that someone planted that in me before. It is easy for me to extract it," Qing Shui smiled and said lightheartedly.

"I will give you this medicine. Don't leave. You must let me see that you are able to extract it yourself, otherwise, I won't let you leave." Weng Xue grabbed onto Qing Shui tightly.

"Okay. Don't worry. I am alright. I will let you see it when I extract it out." Qing Shui took the bottle of Snow-hearted Echeveria Pill and smiled at her.

Even though she was still a little unconvinced, she released Qing Shui.

"Don't worry, Elder Sis. Trust me. Since I can remove the poisonous worm from Brother Qin, I can also force it out of my body."

Weng Xue remembered Qing Shui's shocked expression and felt that it was not as simple as he had explained. She could tell that it wouldn't be as easy as he claimed. She felt as if she had put Qing Shui in a terrible situation and was uneasy.

After she met Qing Shui, he gave her a Violet Jade Pendant and her two children a wondrous fruit each. All these were very valuable items but the most important gift he gave to her, was Qin Zongheng life…

After he went upstairs to take a bath, Qing Shui shut his room door and used his Inner Sight. He had already used up his maximum time quota for his Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal for the day.

When he used his Inner Sight, he was stunned.

It is rumored that humans have three Dantians. But basically, everyone could only use one Dantian, the Lower Dantian, which is the one that was around the lower abdomen. It is the most common and most important Dantian.

Around Qing Shui's Zhongfu acupoint was where the Middle Dantian was located. He could actually develop his Upper Dantian with his Niwan Palace in his sea of consciousness. Qing Shui was surprised when his Niwan Palace produced a small marble, because that meant that he had developed his Upper Dantian.

The Upper Dantian controlled one's spirit energy, the Lower Dantian one's Qi and the Middle Dantian controlled one's marrow…

He finally realized that the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm had entered his Middle Dantian and that controlled his blood and bones. To rear a Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm, one had to feed it with blood essence. With this in mind, he looked toward his own Middle Dantian.

There was a pool of blood there!

That area was quickly liquefying. There was already a Blood Essence pool which was about the size of his palm. The color of the Blood pool was not beautiful, it was instead rather plain but it still had a jade like quality. It was shaped like an octagon, with one side representing each direction.

The most amazing thing was that the blood in the pool was dark red with a light tint of brilliant purple. He suddenly saw a purple gas mixing with his blood.

This was his Blood Essence Reservoir!

At the other end of the purple gas, he saw his Emperor’s Qi connected.

He could see the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm swimming freely in the reservoir as if it enjoyed its environment…

After he observed it for a long time, suddenly a mysterious spirit energy started binding with the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm. It was just like the binding process with his demonic beasts. A sudden surge of energy overflowed from the Blood Essence pool.

Qing Shui measured his own ability and found that it had increased!

Ten stars!

He did not expect that when his Central Palace turned into this Blood Essence pool, it would help him gain ten stars of strength. Now Qing Shui's base strength was already at 100 stars. He could feel an extraordinary change in his body.

His Spiritual sense seemed to have leveled up and his entire world seemed very different.

The most profound change was not the 10 stars of strength brought by the Blood Essence pool. The thing was that the Blood Essence pool controlled his blood and bones. He could feel a large change in terms of the hardness of his bone and his recovery pace, etc.

Bones are what support the entire structure of a person. The strength and speed of one's muscles are intricately connected to a person's bones. A person's blood was their river of life, so it brought energy around the person's body…

Once again, he had received a blessing in disguise. However, Qing Shui felt that he needed to get to the bottom of the issue with the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm, otherwise he could not stop worrying. He felt that there shouldn't be much of a problem since he saw their spirit energy connecting.

After this connection, Qing Shui was really amazed. This was because he could fully control the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm in his body. Qing Shui could not believe, he had quickly called it to come to him.

When he reached out for it, it immediately appeared on his hand.

Now, Qing Shui was convinced. This was really a large blessing!

Qing Shui stared at the little one inch creature in his hand. It was shining brightly and was quite weighty. It was beautiful. He could see its two silver white eyes which were the size of a pinhead, they were rather cute. Its body was glowing, yet it had a translucent quality. It seemed to have some sort of armored skin which looked very tough. It stared at Qing Shui, not moving.

Qing Shui found it amusing that this little creature could cause so much pain to a powerful man like Qin Zongheng, who was already at the beginner grade of Martial Emperor.

"Later when I leave, I need you to cooperate," Qing Shui said as he felt a response from his sea of consciousness. Qing Shui placed it in the canister. He now had another incredible weapon he could use to kill. With some time, even if he was dealing with a Martial Emperor, he would be able to use his Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm to properly punish his opponents.

With all that time and the time he spent 'curing' Qin Zongheng, it was now getting dark. He walked out of the room he was given and back into the main hall. The two children were now eating their dinner and both Qin Zongheng and Weng Xue were frowning.

When he saw them, Qing Shui knew that he made the right decision to acknowledge Weng Xue as his sister. In the future, he would have a close relationship with Sky City. Qin Zongheng was very powerful, so he had already removed the silver needles in his own body without Qing Shui. Even if Qin Zongheng did not inherit the governing rights to Sky City, he was definitely a powerful man in the region.

"Brother Qing Shui!" Qin Zongheng rushed over when he saw Qing Shui.

"Elder Sis, Brother Qin, don't worry! Look here." Qing Shui shook the 10,000 coldsteel canister.

"I must look at it. Don't lie to me." Weng Xue walked over and said in a serious manner.

Qing Shui opened the canister a little. As the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm glowed, it could be clearly seen even through the small gap. Weng Xue recognized the glow and finally believed him.

"Qing Shui, you are really my benefactor." Weng Xue eyes beamed.

Qin Zongheng looked at it and nodded his head, "Indeed. Qing Shui, I won't say any grateful words to you. Just know that if you have any requests or if you need any help, your big brother here will do all he can."

"It is really okay. Don't be so courteous if you take me as your brother." Qing Shui laughed and placed his canister into his Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. The two other people did not actually notice that the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm returned to Qing Shui's Blood Essence pool in that instant.

"Qing Shui, you must get rid of that worm properly. It is quite horrible." Qin Zongheng warned worriedly.

"It's okay. I can use it as an alchemy ingredient, so I will keep it." Qing Shui knew that none of them would even dare to touch it. It was just like any other lethal poison. Qin Zongheng already experienced that horrible pain, as the silkworm nibbled at his organs and bones every day. He really had had enough of that pain, if it weren't for his wife and his children, he would have killed himself.


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AST 950 – Leaving, Eagle Jiao Beast, Follow The Trail

Now that Qing Shui had saved his life, the tears of gratitude weren't enough to show how grateful Qin Zongheng was. The promise of standing by Qing Shui's side through severe trials wasn't a lie and the debt of gratitude would never be fully repaid. Weng Xue looked at Qing Shui with eyes full of tears, but with a sincere smile flashing across her face.

Even though Qin Zongheng could feel pain in his flesh, as well as his mind, Weng Xue was the one enduring the most excruciating pain in her heart – the suffering she had born on her shoulders was nothing short of exhausting. Because of that, Qin Zongheng was more than determined to persevere as long as he was still breathing. No matter how painful it was, all he had to do was to endure the pain with perseverance.

The purpose of saving Qin Zongheng's life was more complex than one could imagine. Qin Zongheng was the son of Sky City's City Lord. Sky City was extremely powerful, definitely much stronger than the Mu Clan and the mighty sect of the Godly Sword Clan.

If Qing Shui was right, there should be Grade Five Martial Emperors in Sky City. Cultivators of such strength would be comparable to the members of the Demon Gate. However, such powerful sects were known to extend their power by setting up sect branches all over the continent, allowing the sect members to harbor a superiority complex and a condescending attitude. Most people would be repulsed by the arrogance and egoistic nature of these sect members.

The Qin Clan was, of course, the strongest clan in Sky City. They had absolute power, as no one would dare provoke their wrath and no one would compete with them for the position of the strongest clan.

However, their absolute authority would only be effective within Sky City. The Central Continent was vast and wide, so most powerful sects would set up their power within a specific region. The stronger the sect became, the more they would gain exposure to the other regions, allowing the other sects to realize their power beyond their horizon. In spite of that, sects that were able to monopolize multiple regions were rare in the past several years.

Sure, most sects were competitive in nature and some would form an association to protect their position by combining powers – even if they were weak to begin with – to defeat the bigger and more powerful sects. One association would be able to contend with one powerful sect in most cases, thus securing the benefit of protecting their own clans with certainty.

Qin Zongheng now realized that Qing Shui was not an ordinary man. The physicians from the internal clans, alchemists and even the powerful cultivators from the aristocratic clans were not able to get rid of the 'poisonous bug' no matter how much they tried, yet Qing Shui was able to heal him completely. Judging by his medical skills alone, he would be able to climb to the top of the aristocratic clans in no time. If his medical skills were already impressive, then it wouldn't be strange to think that his martial cultivation was extraordinary as well.

Qin Zongheng then turned to look at Weng Xue, the love of his life as well as his life savior. Although Qing Shui was the one who saved him, he would have surely died if not for Weng Xue's acquaintance with Qing Shui.

"Little brother, it’s late. Whatever it is, you must stay for the night" Weng Xue had developed a deeper friendship and indescribable kindness to Qing Shui. They had bonded a form of love much closer to that of family.

Weng Xue adjusted Qing Shui's collar and said, "It’s almost time for dinner. You are not allowed to go under any circumstances, you hear?"

Qin Zongheng was exploding with happiness as he looked at Qing Shui and said, "We will have a drink tonight, dear brother. I know you are busy but surely you mustn’t worry your elder sister too much."

Using Weng Xue's name to hold back Qing Shui was quite effective.

"Then I’ll stay for the night!"

"Hmph, don’t blame me for not treating you well as an older sister. This is your home, now and forever will be," Weng Xue shot an angry look at Qing Shui, as she softly scoffed.

"Yes, yes. I'm wrong," Qing Shui quickly replied.

Qin Zongheng and Weng Xue were unexpectedly different than he had imagined. Even though both of them had a big heart, they were never ones to show their emotions openly and easily. However, Qing Shui could clearly tell that they were sincerely happy through their expression right now. Their happiness emanated from the bottom of their hearts, a genuine feeling shown to the man they called as their little brother.

"Come, let me raise a cup to you. Thanks to you for saving me, brother," Qin Zongheng stood up with a wine cup raised in the air, as he spoke with a serious tone.

"Brother Qin is too kind. Let me raise my cup for you!"

"This won’t do. I must raise this cup in honor for you!" Qin Zongheng raised his cup even more adamantly, insisting with a determination as solid as steel.

"Little brother, let him have it. I should raise my cup too, in honor of your help in saving my husband." Weng Xue raised her cup with a brilliant grin, as she said in a serious tone. With the cup raised to the air, she gulped it all without a drop left.

Qing Shui watched as Qin Zongheng drank his wine as well, so he decided to drink without constraint and enjoy his time with them for the night.

"I will raise this cup for Big Sister and Brother Qin then. Congratulations to Brother Qin for recovering from the poison. I wish dear sister and Brother Qin a happy life with lots of prosperity." And with that, Qing Shui raised his cup and drank the wine!

The couple laughed merrily and joined in again. Weng Xue raised her cup and smiled. "You too, little brother. Here’s to having your wish fulfilled. Cheers!"

The Three of them sat down and began chatting as they ate their dinner. It was at that moment that Qing Shui felt them becoming closer, as though they were true brothers and a family of genuine love and bonds. Perhaps it was true – real friendships could be born through countless adversities and misfortunes.

"Qing Shui, tell me. What sort of relationship do you have with He`er currently?" Weng Xue asked, as she looked at Qing Shui slowly. She continued after seeing a calm expression on his face, "That girl has never praised anyone in her whole life, but she seems to praise you quite a lot."

"I will not lie to you. She and I, well, if everything goes according to plan, she is to become my wife in the future," Qing Shui replied with an awkward smile.

Weng Xue was surprised to hear those words, but smiled nonetheless, "You should put more effort to that. I’m hopeful that one day your wish will come true."

Qin Zongheng made note of Qing Shui's plan silently. His wife was from the Hundred Flowers Valley and now Qing Shui would be marrying another woman from the Hundred Flowers Valley as well and on top of that, she was a valley head too. With that, he knew what he should do in the future. The Sky Cloud Inn was actually a business belonging to Weng Xue after all.

………

"Qing Shui, be careful on your journey. If you ever come back to the Central Continent, you must return to see us." Weng Xue held her son in her arms, as she bid farewell to Qing Shui.

"Take care. If there's anything at all, please don't hesitate to contact us," said Qin Zongheng while he took his daughter in his arms.

"Uncle!"

The little kids called out to Qing Shui cheerfully.

"I definitely will. We will see each other again." Qing Shui smiled waved goodbye, as he jumped onto his Fire Bird.

Weng Xue waved back at Qing Shui, as he flew away. She and Qin Zongheng knew that Qing Shui meant to meet them again at the ancient ruins three years from now.

"He is so mysterious!" Qin Zongheng said, as he watched Qing Shui slowly disappearing into the horizon.

"It seems like He`er likes him. I didn't think he would become your savior the moment I met him, you know." Weng Xue sighed with emotion, as she reminisced her first meeting with the young man.

"To be exact, Xue`er is my savior. Meeting you was the greatest happiness in my life," Qin Zongheng said, as he glanced at his wife lovingly.

"Don't say such things here, the kids are listening." Weng Xue was flushed in red; it was a blush of happiness and excitement. Qin Zongheng had recovered and so her worries had been lifted. She felt quite at ease as she stood beside her recovered husband.

After that, both of them held their children and rode the Cloud Crane towards Sky City. They took a long journey to send Qing Shui off, a distance away from Sky City.

After their farewells, Qing Shui headed to the sky and flew far away. As for the Marionette Sect, he decided not to confront them for now. He wasn't in a hurry to look for them currently, so he decided he should go back home for now.

The Marionette Sect had chosen to let him go before this. But if they were sensible enough, they would not act rashly and blindly on their next move, otherwise they would be put at a disadvantage.

There was another thing that had made Qing Shui elated inside the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. He initially thought that the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm that he had cultivated with his blood and essence would affect him tremendously, in a sense that he would be devitalized, slowing the rate of advancement to his power or stagnating his overall improvements and so forth.

But the silkworm had managed to stay inside the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal for about three months and within this period, the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm dwelling inside the pool of blood and essence, did not once affect Qing Shui negatively. Even though the silkworm had absorbed an amount of energy from the pool, he did not feel like he had lost anything at all.

Because of that, Qing Shui felt relieved. Although he had suspected that the silkworm would affect his martial cultivation, he still took it in and cultivated the silkworm. The amount of blood and essence the silkworm could absorb was limited, especially after it had grown into an adult.

Moreover, he was still puzzled why his Central Palace (also known as the Heavenly Palace) had suddenly turned into a blood and essence pool. Perhaps that had something to do with the silkworm. His body was driven to the point of extreme exhaustion after he had treated Qin Zongheng's body. Whether that was a coincidence or the silkworm's fault, it had definitely spurred an odd change to his body.

That wasn't important anymore. Ultimately, he had treated it as a coincidence to get that matter off his mind.

And with that, the Upper, Middle and Lower Dantian were all fully developed. The Lower Dantian had also formed a core, as well as the core of Nature Energy, the core of State of Immovable as Mountains and the core of Emperor's Qi.

The Central Palace had experienced another change this time, even after expanding beyond the proximity of the [Heavenly Dan]. However, the Central Palace was, in essence, the precedence for the blood flow and bones. This time, it may be nothing more than a normal breakthrough.

In spite of everything, Qing Shui was still confused about his current cultivation realm – he didn't know which level he had reached. Nevertheless, he was quite fond of the pool of blood and essence, which had increased his strength by about ten stars, as well as strengthening his blood and bones by several times.

Not only had he saved Qin Zongheng, he had achieved a bunch of great benefits for himself too. At the very least, he had established a friendship with Qin Zongheng, which meant that future cooperation between them both had been made possible. After all, the news of his successful effort to cure Qin Zongheng would travel throughout Sky City, including the important figures and the higher-ups. The elders would not object to the idea of having Qing Shui as their acquaintance.

The Demon Gate was still far away, yet the Marionette Sect was already here. Qing Shui couldn't quite understand whether the Marionette Sect was trying to expand their influence or create more places to conceal their operations, but he knew that they would not stand a chance against him, even if they were to dispatch the strongest members of the sect to pursue him.

However, these people would not try anything, unless it concerned the matters of annihilating an entire sect.

In any case, Qing Shui wasn't too worried. He had the capability to flee at any given time. Moreover, he had the Marrow Nibbling Golden Silkworm, which would become a terrifying trump card within these next few days.

No one could stop him from going forward!

The Fire Bird was extremely fast, so there was no rush for Qing Shui to use the Nine Continent Steps for now. Qing Shui was currently all alone in this journey. He traveled continuously until the last few minutes of the day before using the Nine Continent Steps twice, immediately traversing to the next day. As usual, he would spend six hours inside the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal until the sky had become bright again.

He slept and ate his food inside the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal, so when the next morning arrived, he woke up and traveled towards his intended direction immediately.

However, less than two hours into his journey, he suddenly felt like he was being followed.

"Very reckless." Qing Shui shook his head. He didn't have to turn around to see who they were, because he knew he was being followed by the members of the Marionette Sect.

Without a shred of fear in his eyes, he allowed Fire Bird to maintain a steady speed as they flew forward. He pretended that he hadn't sensed them and looked at the surroundings nonchalantly – at the rivers below and the mountains ahead.

He continued on until afternoon when he was about to cross the border of Sky City. Beyond the border was a land of wilderness that stretched far away, a common sight for most cities. Once he had crossed to the other side, he knew the pursuers would make their move.

Before he was able to cross 300 li from the outskirts of the city, Qing Shui immediately stopped moving and stood on the back of the Fire Bird. Then, a few flying beasts appeared and approached from behind, as well as from both sides.

If Fire Bird had flown through the wilderness with its usual speed, he would have completely evaded his pursuers. However, he decided against fleeing and turned to face his opponents. Qing Shui was motionless, as he looked at the pursuers with cold eyes.

Three giant Eagle Jiao Beasts with large eagle bodies attached to heads of the ferocious Jiao with 100 meter wide expanded wings were approaching quickly. Behind each of the demonic beasts stood two elderly men – which meant that Qing Shui was followed by exactly six pursuers.

"We couldn't touch you when you were protected by the Qin Clan in Sky City. But now that you're traveling alone, your fate is sealed. This is what you get for offending our Marionette Sect. We will do whatever it takes to turn you into a marionette," a familiar voice rang through Qing Shui's ears.

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AST 951 – A Quick And Decisive Battle, Marionette Mark, End Of Killings

Qing Shui quickly cocked his head to the source of the voice!

It was the Grand Elder of the Marionette Sect! He was still holding the Dragon-Headed Cane that he had back at the Octagon Inn long ago. Qing Shui was the one who ran away from his grasp last time, yet the Grand Elder was able to track him down with a profound confidence and relentlessness at the outskirts of Sky City.

Qing Shui didn't plan to run away from this confrontation either. He looked at the other old men surrounding the Grand Elder, but the woman named Huang Wu was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps she wasn't strong enough to join their mission this time.

Back then, Qing Shui had only one option – and that was to run away. He had to use the Nine Continents Steps to do so, otherwise he would be caught by the Grand Elder and forced to become a marionette. He also didn't have a Sky Penetrating Grass last time and he hadn't broken through to the Martial Emperor level yet.

A lot had changed within one year, albeit nothing too dramatic. Facing the Grand Elder had implicitly reminded Qing Shui of his desperate escape. But with his upgraded power, he felt great facing his opponents once more. This was a change and an improvement to his situation.

With his powers strengthened, Qing Shui was able to sense the Grand Elder's power clearly. The old man had the strength of 200 stars, so it was understandable that Qing Shui couldn't escape without depending on his Nine Continents Steps.

The Marionette Sect was incomparable to the Qin Clan with such prowess displayed by their Grand Elder. However, the weakest cultivator in the Marionette Sect was an early stage Martial Emperor. Even if they could not best the Qin Clan, they could still be considered one of the top clans among the others in Sky City.

No matter where they were, the weakest Martial Emperor was also considered a super strong cultivator. Qing Shui was able to reach a higher realm of cultivation recently and because of that, he might be truly deemed as a person of Nine Yang Golden Body based on his current power, which could potentially become the Nine Yang Marionette King if he was caught by the Marionette Sect.

And because of his ability, he was able to enter the Sky Penetrating Mountain by befriending Dong Yan, Sun Yan, Mu Qing and the others. It was a godsend opportunity that was given only to those who were prepared with power from strenuous cultivation. If they were not prepared, the opportunity would be wasted and ultimately become nothing more than a misfortune. If they did not have the right power, they would never be able to grasp the chance to stand on top of the martial world.

The circle of martial cultivators was a peculiar existence itself. Only those who have the appropriate power would be able to enter normally. If these old men in front of Qing Shui were to be put inside the circle, they would be the focus of attention immediately. Unfortunately, Qing Shui thought otherwise, now they were nothing more than tiny ants in his eyes.

"Didn't the Marionette Sect lose a few men recently?" Qing Shui curled a smile, as he faced the Grand Elder in front of him.

This particular group, who traveled with the Grand Elder, must be the strongest one among the Marionette Sect. Of course, not all who were present here were considered the strongest in the sect, but they must not be underestimated. After all, the Grand Elder was among them.

Most importantly, Qing Shui was the person he had been looking for during the past 300 years, the one who could be turned into a Nine Yang Marionette King. If he could successfully turn him into one, the Marionette Sect would definitely gain a surge in power. No one would look down on them ever again, not even the clans from Sky City and Demon Gate.

The Grand Elder shot a gleam of rage from his eyes, as he looked at Qing Shui with deep hatred and said, "You were the one who killed them!"

Those five men were the top five cultivators from the next generation in the Marionette Sect. They were sent to the wilderness located between the Central Continent and the Eastern Victory Divine Continent to gain experience through various tests, but unfortunately fell into the hands of a cold-blooded murderer. Their corpses and bones were nowhere to be seen, but the members of the Marionette Sect already knew that those men could not have survived.

"Alright, I'm on a tight schedule. Let's settle our score, shall we? I didn't even ruffle your feathers when you first came to turn me into a marionette. An old man as unreasonable as you deserve to die, don't you think?" Qing Shui wasn't pressuring his opponents, yet the words that came out from his mouth were fanning the flames of hatred inside the Grand Elder's heart.

"You ran away last time and managed to hide somewhere secluded. Well, it's fine. Now you have come out of hiding, it would be a shame if we didn't turn you into a Nine Yang Marionette King. Your return is God's will descending upon us." The Grand Elder looked at Qing Shui with a mix of expressions, ranging from rage to excitement.

Qing Shui shook his head. Sure, he fled in desperation for his life last time, but that was a year ago. In a span of a year, he didn't expect that he would gain such a surge in power. His opponents would think the same, they didn't factor in that Qing Shui had become stronger from the moment they laid their eyes on him again.

Qing Shui decided to stop all nonsense and called back his Fire Bird. Since his opponents had stated their intention to start a fight, then he would annihilate them as soon as possible. The faster the fight was settled, the quicker he could continue his journey. In an instant, he faced the old man and unleashed a Mighty Elephant Stomp in his direction.

Bang!

A wave of brazing gas akin to a cloud of black ash swirled across the Grand Elder in a loud roar. Qing Shui's opponent was alarmed, but he didn't pursue the old man. Instead, he turned towards one of the Eagle Jiao Beast and struck an attack.

State of Immovable as Mountains!

Qing Shui circulated the Qi from the State of Immovable as Mountains to the maximum and struck it against the Eagle Jiao Beast. Then he extended his right hand and stuck another attack!

Ripping Tiger Claw!

A Foot long ghastly tiger claw appeared on Qing Shui's palms, gleaming with an intimidating glow as he struck the Eagle Jiao Beast's head in a swift motion.

Roar!

A shrilling cry rang out in the air. Even a gigantic Eagle Jiao Beast would not be able to endure the deadly force of the Ripping Tiger Claw, as it fell from the sky towards the ground within a few moments. Two old men who were standing behind the fallen beast earlier immediately flew up into the air and summoned five large men with finesse akin to an iron tower with a flick of their hands.

These men had heavy armor fixed to their bodies. With a height of three meters, all of them were wielding giant battle sabres in one hand. Their eyes seemed lifeless without a shred of emotion, as they remained still while floating in the air.

They were the strongest of the lower leveled marionettes from the sect, with the strength of a Martial Saint of low level. Their muscles and bones had been tempered with potions to become as solid as steel, forcing the marionettes to become the very definition of brute force without any vulnerability. The marionettes would risk everything when they began fighting – not even cultivators of the same rank could defeat them.

Qing Shui immediately called out the Five-Headed Demonic Spider!

This time, he didn't plan on letting his pursuers go without a fight. On top of that, the battle must be swift as well. As soon as the Five-Headed Demonic Spider appeared, Qing Shui turned towards the Grand Elder to take him out by himself.

The Five-Headed Demonic Spider, on the other hand, unleashed the Corrosive Poison Web at the marionettes, entangling them in the process before rushing towards the two old men who were caught in the spreading web.

Bang!

With the disparity of their power, they were heavily wounded in the first round. The Five-Headed Demonic Spider then proceeded to entangle the old men by extruding the spider silk around their bodies. Eight spooky towering legs gleamed with the luster of cold metal moved in a quick coordination like a meat shredder, as the spider wrapped the seven bodies one after another.

The Five-Headed Demonic Spider performed everything in a mere few seconds. After it was done, the demonic beast turned towards the old man standing behind the last Eagle Jiao Beast and rushed towards his direction in a swift jump…..

Qing Shui had his eyes focused on the Grand Elder instead, who had already summoned two marionettes in front of him. Both of them were about eight meters in height with the same dull eyes as the other marionettes. Moreover, their bodies seemed to be emitting a faint layer of black mist.

These were marionettes of the Peak Martial Saint level!

If they were human martial cultivators, then their strength would be nothing more than impressive. But as a marionette with such power, the situation was changed. Human martial cultivators would not be able to destroy the marionette because of its hardness. On top of that, Qing Shui could sense an air of toxicity from the marionettes in front of the Grand Elder.

These marionettes were known as the Poison Marionettes, which belonged to the marionettes of middle rank. They were definitely stronger than the previous marionettes as their attacks had been infused with poison. Even an ordinary early stage Martial Emperor would have a hard time dealing with these two marionettes. They were essentially the pride and ultimately, the protection of the Grand Elder.

Qing Shui almost laughed when he stood in front of the giant marionettes. The crooked method of the Grand Elder was mediocre at best in the eyes of Qing Shui. He wasted no time and tuned the Nature Energy onto his hands.

Critical Tiger Attack!

Both of Qing Shui's hands materialized two proportionally enormous tiger claws gleaming with golden lights, which he promptly used to hit one of the giant marionettes' bodies.

Pu!

A sound akin to the smashing of tofu rang out the air, followed by the emergence of the Grand Elder's bewildered expression on his face, as he watched his last 'hope' vanishing into thin air. That was a just a simple attack, yet……

He didn't expect that the young fellow would become this strong in just one year. Qing Shui only had the capability to run away when he first met him, but now he was the one who couldn't run away regardless of how desperate he was.

Clutching his Dragon-Headed Cane, he rushed towards Qing Shui with another marionette. Today was his last chance to be able to turn Qing Shui into his marionette. Despite the determined decision, he was still taken aback by the young man's stomp and prowess. As he was faltering between his thoughts, the enormously powerful demonic beast was already rushing towards him with a quick motion.

Marionette Mark!

The old man shouted abruptly in mid-air while swinging his pure gold Dragon-Headed Cane at Qing Shui. A thread of black halo spread towards him within a few seconds.

A halo of spiritual power!

Qing Shui could feel it, this was one of those unique psychological attacks, like hypnotism. Such an attack of this level was meant to subdue Qing Shui through his mind instead of physical confrontation.

The Marionette Mark would still inflict certain kind of damage to the target even if the subdue failed. That damage would include momentary confusion or a brief state of trance. The old man's cultivation in mental abilities was much greater than his cultivation in martial art techniques, so it wouldn't be an understatement that the Marionette Mark had killed way more opponents who were much stronger than him. Both the marionettes were stronger than the Grand Elder when they were alive back then, but they were easily defeated and killed because of his Marionette Mark.

Unfortunately for the Grand Elder, he had underestimated Qing Shui's level of spiritual energy.

Qing Shui could feel a subtle sense of constraint crawling into his mind, as if his soul was being removed from his body or his soul was being bound by an unknown force. However, the constricting sensation only lasted for a brief moment. The immense force from the sea of consciousness quickly swept away the uncomfortable sensations like a strong wave from the tides.

As the Grand Elder was getting closer, Qing Shui raised up his hand, followed by the appearance of the Violet Star Thunder God. At the same time, the Five Headed Demonic Spider was already entangling its web on the last marionette.

Raging Blow!

The meticulous style of the Violet Star Thunder God was performed in one swift motion, releasing an attack of tremendous force. It seemed like a simple strike from a hammer, but there was something more to it than meets the eye.

The strike turned the Grand Elder's expression into a sheet of white paper. It was only then that he realized the disparity between their strengths. It was too late, as he struggled to understand why a young man such as Qing Shui could become so strong in just one year.

Bang!

The whole world fell into silence!

Qing Shui picked up the pristine pure gold Dragon-Headed Cane and left without staying too long. This was the most eastern part of the Central Continent. He had already decided that he wouldn't initiate a fight with the Marionette Sect after he had parted ways with Weng Xue and Qin Zongheng. But if the members of the Marionette Sect insisted, he would not hold back either.

As for Demon Gate, Qing Shui was confident that he could run away from their grasp. As long as he could run, they would not trouble him any further.

Qing Shui looked at the far horizon, as if in deep thought. After a while, he decided to leave and continue his journey.

"Qing Shui's fine. You shouldn't worry so much!" Qin Zongheng turned towards Weng Xue and assured his wife.

"I didn't think he was this strong. No wonder He`er wants to marry him so bad." Weng Xue giggled and left promptly with Qin Zongheng as well as the two old people with them.

……..

At that moment, the Marionette Sect was thrown into chaos. The death of the Grand Elder and five Elders was a huge loss, which sent the old man sitting on the master seat in the grand hall of the Marionette Sect, into a rage. His beard and hair were bristling in fury – he was extremely furious at the bad news he had just received.

"If we don't have a standing in Sky City, even if the Qin Clan doesn't crush us, the others will. The powerful cultivators from the Qin Clan will certainly come for us, what do you think we should do?" The old man growled, as he looked at the members below his seat.


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