Ancient Strengthening Technique - Chapter 1076-1077
AST 1076 –The Powerful Demon Binding Ropes, Unexpected Surprise
The smaller Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox did not attack Qing Shui but kept on staring at the Thunderous Beast instead. Qing Shui was perplexed as he stood close to the Nine Palace Formation, because he would have to think of another way to attract those beasts into the formation.
Qing Shui had been battling with the bigger Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox for a while now. Even though he had the Arhat Rosary Beads and whatnot, he would still need to maintain his constant usage of the Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation and the Buddha's True Eye. The rate of energy consumption wasn't a lot but the total amount was still quite staggering.
With two powers of the same level clashing with each other, it would take quite a long time before a victor emerged from the battle, especially for demonic beasts as they would take longer to battle than human beings because of their ability to regenerate their health quite quickly. Qing Shui's power was a bit higher than the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox's under the influence of the Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation and Buddha's True Eye, so he had a higher chance of winning this fight against the giant ox.
In most cases, demonic beasts would be weaker in terms of their spiritual energy when compared to their physical strength. Of course, there would be some exceptions where some demonic beasts would specialize in attacks that required the use of their spiritual energy to annihilate their foes.
The strength of the demonic beasts was mainly drawn from their physical bodies, just like this Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox, which was powerful due to its great body strength. The spiritual energy of the ox was less powerful, however. Unfortunately for this ox, it was forced to exchange blows with Qing Shui by using its lesser spiritual energy to deal its primary damage.
This was also why the usage of spiritual energy was considered unique. When one had reached a certain level –much like Qing Shui and the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox, they would prioritize using their strongest psychic attacks against each other. During this process, the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox would have the chance to use its physical strength to take out Qing Shui in one go.
After the time required to burn an incense stick had passed, Qing Shui switched the Sacred Jade Stone on his left hand with the Soulshake Bell and began shaking the artifact vigorously.
Qing Shui also used the Nine Palace Steps to turn things around by switching his position with this Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox in an instant, enabling the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox to enter somewhere close to the gates of the Nine Palace Formation.
Violet Lightning Strike!
At that very moment, the Thunderous Beast released its Violet Lightning Strike with Qing Shui simultaneously unleashing his Sword of Sixth Wave. It was a normal Sword of Sixth Wave, yet it was enough to hit the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox during the limited window of time it was left paralyzed by Thunderous Beast's attack.
A deep roar rang out. This was just a low leveled ancient desolate beast, so Qing Shui was able to push it into the Nine Palace Formation. It was at that moment that the smaller Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox came rushing toward Qing Shui with a brilliant halo of runic symbols trailing in its wake.
The stature of the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox was still large despite being slightly smaller. However, it didn't seem unnatural at all, as the figure of the ox was superior beyond transcendence. This was also an attitude of a certain realm and this Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox already had a posture that was uniquely its own.
Qing Shui had expected that the Soulshake Bell couldn't give him the effect he had wanted, so he quickly released a psychic attack under the effect of the Buddha's True Eye.
Buddha's Piercing Eyes!
The Buddha's True Eye was already overbearing but even then, all of his attacks were still nothing against the formidable ox, regardless if they were physical attacks or psychic attacks. This time, Qing Shui was able to unleash a substantial attack against the ox, albeit only barely.
The Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox in mid-air shook for a moment before it began to fall from the sky to the ground. Qing Shui's Primordial Flame Whip lashed onto the ox's giant head. He didn't want to kill it, which was why he didn't use hidden attacks to exploit the ox's weakness in the beginning –its eyes.
Demon Binding Ropes!
At that moment, Qing Shui immediately used the Demon Binding Ropes to bind the giant Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox, while the other end of the rope was still in his hand.
In the past, if he was able to bind his opponents completely, it would have been enough for him to unleash his lethal attack in that split-second moment. Normally, he wouldn't have to hold onto the other end of the ropes just so he could bind his opponents himself.
He did use the rope to tie the 'box' found under the deity statues once but the ropes were limited in length at that time. He hadn't experimented with the ropes fully after that, until now. The Demon Binding Ropes were able to bind the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox completely, with a bit of leftover ropes still in Qing Shui's grasp. It was at that moment he realized the Demon Binding Ropes had grown longer and his spiritual energy was still being infused into the ropes slowly.
"Oh right. I'm using my spiritual energy to use the Demon Binding Ropes this time. So then, before this…."
Qing Shui was excited. Exhausting a bit of his spiritual energy wasn't a big deal. He looked at the golden-gleaming Demon Binding Ropes that were thick and sturdy, not expecting that it could become this powerful one day. He was excited because the ropes that he had thought were mediocre had become something more than valuable.
"Such a waste, not using such a great item in the past. This is like a small divine artifact." Qing Shui tried his best to control the Demon Binding Ropes but could only bind his opponent for less than two breaths of time before the opponent broke free. Perhaps the ropes were still insufficient in level. Qing Shui wasted no time and threw the ropes against the ox once more.
The Demon Binding Rope was now in grade seven, achieving a level that could overcome powerful enemies easily. However, this level seemed like a bluff –or perhaps it was indeed a bluff. Otherwise, Qing Shui wouldn't have a hard time trying to bind the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox with the Demon Binding Ropes a few moments ago.
The Demon Binding Ropes hadn't had an upgrade for a long time. The seventh grade was essentially a large pit hole that hindered the Demon Binding Ropes from advancing further. However, Qing Shui had faith that it would upgrade again in the future. Even now, he still thought of this artifact as a minor divine artifact or a second-rated divine artifact.
This was also his first time using the Demon Binding Ropes after a long time. If he was able to master the ropes after a while, he could enhance the effects of the ropes even without a breakthrough. By then, going against the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Bull would be nothing less than an easy feat.
At this crucial moment in time, he unexpectedly discovered the formidable power of the Demon Binding Ropes. It was a big surprise to him. He continued to control the Demon Binding ropes like a golden giant serpent or a golden jiao, which became livelier as he persisted in using it. The aura above him became increasingly stable, as well as increasingly powerful.
Thunderous Beast's Thunderbolt strike did not stop once within this period of time. That was what he wanted, because the end result of being struck with the Thunderbolt continuously would be a successful infliction of paralysis, which enabled the Bloodhorn Silverhead Demon Ox to continue being confined by his Demon Binding Ropes.
The ox could easily shake off the ropes because of the strange runes, forcing Qing Shui and Thunderous Beast to switch positions continuously. Qing Shui had a bit of difficulty in withstanding the formidable power of the ox's Bloodflame, so he had no choice but to escape in the midst of blocking against the Bloodflame. This was even after Qing Shui had debuffed the ox. It would seem that the low-leveled ancient desolate beast was still as powerful as ever.
Qing Shui continued to struggle with the ox for about an hour. In the end, the ox was defeated by the Thunderbolt in one strike. To be exact, the demonic beast fell due to being paralyzed by the Thunderbolt, causing the ox to go limp with weakness.
At this stage, it would be easy for Qing Shui to give any medicinal pills to the ox without being retaliated against but he had no such thoughts. Instead, Qing Shui took out a 'Demonic Beast Token' and contained the ancient desolate beast inside, allowing it to slumber within the token.
The 'Demonic Beast Token' was somewhat similar to the Interspatial Silk Sachet and this item would normally be in the possession of a beast tamer. Instead of items, this token was used to contain demonic beasts. The demonic beasts inside would be in a state of slumber but remained alive. While Interspatial Silk Sachets that could contain such a large demonic beast do exist, their survivability would not be guaranteed.
Qing Shui had collected quite an amount of these Demonic Beast Tokens back in the day. Luan Luan has an abundant of these tokens in her possession because she needed them for her demonic beasts to rest and recuperate their health.
Since he had decided to keep one demonic beast inside a token, he thought that he might as well tame the rest for his own collection. The collecting process seemed simple but only because of the formidable prowess of the Demon Binding Ropes that only Qing Shui had knowledge about. With the cooperation of his Thunderous Beast, no demonic beast was impossible to tame.
Because of that, Qing Shui was overcome with emotions. He didn't think that the Demon Binding Ropes that he had ignored all this while were able to become this powerful one day. This was genuinely, way out of his expectation.
Qing Shui felt that the Demon Binding Ropes were essentially the kryptonite of most demonic beasts. That was indeed good news, as he could prepare this artifact in advance should he face a wild demonic beast in his journeys. It was troubling at first but now he felt at ease. He had no clue whether the Demon Binding Ropes were one of a kind but he could definitely conclude that the ropes were powerful. Moreover, the Sacred Beast Pills were great, yet they were scarce.
Little Fatty and the ladies were quite relaxed throughout the journey as they went to find new paths and search for treasures. Yiye Jiange, whose powers had recently gotten stronger, was also dreaming of becoming a beast tamer. However, after acquiring the Seven-Headed Crystal Beast, she was completely uninterested in taming demonic beasts of that type.
Luan Luan was different. Even though the powers of her demonic beasts could not be compared to that of the Seven-Headed Crystal Beast, they were still comparatively powerful. Most importantly, the number of demonic beasts she had tamed was more than anyone else. She managed to tame two demonic beasts in one day and they were as strong as the Six-Headed Windfire Wolf as well.
This was the prowess of a beast tamer. Once one was able to tame a demonic beast on their own, they would eventually be able to tame progressively stronger ones in the future. Before that, a beast tamer must have sufficient spiritual energy in order to tame a demonic beast. Additionally, a beast tamer must not underestimate the power of the demonic beast that they wished to tame, because if they weren't careful enough, the beast tamer, along with their demonic beasts, would be annihilated easily. The job of a beast tamer was essentially the same as risking their lives at the hands of demonic beasts.
Luan Luan had the Heart of Seven Orifices but that didn't mean that she could tame as many demonic beasts as she liked. It would be absurd if she was able to tame thousands or tens of thousands of demonic beasts by herself. But if that should happen, then there would only be one possible outcome: she would become a king to one species of demonic beast that she had tamed.
Because of that, Luan Luan had been strategically taming demonic beasts that could complement her existing demonic beasts. She would look for a demonic beast that could increase or buff the stats of the others, a demonic beast that was proficient in agile physical attacks and demonic beasts that possessed control skills…
With that said, the two demonic beasts that Luan Luan had captured were the Golden Light Sable and the Earth Bear King. The Golden Light Sable could increase the defense and attack of the allied demonic beasts within an area. The sable was also adept in its speed and the sharpness of its claws was almost the same as that of the Earth Devouring Mouse.
The Earth Bear King, on the other hand, was a slow-witted grey giant bear that specialized in earth elemental attacks. Any opponents hit by its attack would increase in weight, decreasing their speed in the process. This type of demonic beast could be a control type too.
Luan Luan's group of demonic beasts could be considered a small-scale group. Throughout the journey, the ladies were happily chatting with each other, with occasional giggles and laughter, while Little Fatty followed behind them as he took precautions around the area.
Ten days later, Qing Shui was standing in a strange place. There seemed to be countless layers of heavens and the pressure in this area was fluctuating in endless cycles, like the waves in the sea. He knew this was the furthest he had gone in the ancient ruins and he wouldn't be able to see another soul in this area any time soon.
Qing Shui had already used his Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation, which managed to suppress the overbearing force around the surroundings. Suppressing the overbearing pressure did not mean that the effects had been ignored completely, because no one in the world could do that. If the pressure was of the same level as his power, he could ignore the effect completely or do something more than ignoring the effects. However, even if the pressure was powerful to a certain degree, he could still ignore its effects completely. Nothing could faze through the prowess of absolute power.
Qing Shui was now gazing at a large mountain range in the distance. There were countless mountains in his sight. Strangely, he felt that he wasn't able to carry everything into his eyes. This was a strange place indeed. However, among the mountains around in his surroundings, only this one was deemed possible to climb.
The first mountain!
After climbing the first mountain, Qing Shui's brows began to curl into a deep frown. He noticed that the pressure in this area had become progressively stronger, just like the time in the places of deities but only stronger. Even though there were only a few layers of mountains to climb, he felt that it would be a bit impossible to climb through the last mountain with his current ability.
"Since I'm already here. Let's give it a try!" Qing Shui lifted his head and scanned the view. There was still nine layers of mountain left.
AST 1077 –The Earth Diamond Bear Of Early Stage Adulthood, Ancient Temple
Qing Shui managed to climbed up to the first tier of the mountain. He stood on top and gazed around at the scenery, realizing that the first tier was already quite high. He cocked his head upwards to face the overlapping skies and thought about the so-called other four continents up in the sky. Were the other four continents situated in a higher land or was the sky separated into multiple layers?
He shook his head and dispersed his thoughts. Even if someone were to tell him that imperial palaces exist in the sky, he wouldn't have a hard time believing it. At that moment, he recalled the circumstances of his journey and he realized that his life had been revolving around shouldering responsibilities and burdens. Even now, he was still shouldering heavy burdens on his own.
Aside from him, there were many who had been shouldering burdens in their lives too. However, burdens came in different sizes, so it would be subjective for each person carrying them. For Qing Shui, one type of burden may be insignificant but for other people, that burden felt extremely heavy and important. Because of that, it would be sufficient to say that everyone had their fair share of hardship in their lives.
The pressure on his body was growing but Qing Shui could not sense it for now. In any case, he continued to climb towards the higher tiers slowly. Burdens could be a life-changing mission. If one could cast off their burdens, then he or she would complete their mission, which in turn would allow them to live happier and blissful lives.
In the words of Buddhism, one would always suffer as long as one lived. They would experience the suffering of living, the suffering of aging, the suffering of sickness, the suffering of death, the suffering of parting from loved ones, the suffering of meeting what one disliked, the suffering of being unable to obtain what they wanted and the suffering arising from the five components constituting one's body and mind. Life would always be filled with sufferings. How could a cultivator cut off the roots of suffering when one would always seek what they had always wanted?
Sure, life was a whirlwind of sufferings but happiness could be found amidst the constant blossoms of suffering. As much as there were sufferings, there would be an abundance of happiness too. It would all depend on how one looked at their sufferings. However, in some cases, these sufferings could strike a blow to a person's heart and kill them without mercy.
Life would always be short, so one might as well turn their sufferings into blessings!
Perhaps Qing Shui had been asking for it all along!
He quickly shook his head again. His aura was fluctuating constantly, a delicate change to his body, which also caused the Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation to solidify slowly. He wasn't the type to be depressed as he still had many things he needed to do in this world. Life would always be filled with endless battles, battle with the heavens, battle with the nature on earth and battle with other humans.
Unconsciously, he had already reached the peak of the second tier mountain. The surrounding air was filled with a subtle fog hovering around him. He didn't exactly know why there would be a mountain as strange as this but strange places were abundant in the World of the Nine Continents, so he was more intrigued than confused.
A formless energy seemed to be guiding Qing Shui forward. His train of thoughts and spirit were beginning to change slowly and his aura was beginning to grow immensely, penetrating everywhere as the aura continued to emit from his body.
The third tier of the mountain!
Suddenly, Qing Shui felt like he had awoken from his dream and felt a sudden rush of pressure from Heaven and Earth gushing towards him like a raging sea wave. His lower body, starting from his knees, began to sink down onto the hard mountain rocks immediately, yet he was able to maintain a straight back without any sign of bending or arching.
Qing Shui stood on the rocks quietly without moving an inch of his muscles. The Nature Energy and the State of Immovable as Mountains were circulated to the maximum in an attempt to neutralize the immense pressure around him.
Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation!
The activation of his skills consumed a lot more energy than usual. This was the first time Qing Shui had extreme difficulty climbing a mountain. But because of that, he was able to reap a whole lot of benefits just from climbing a short distance and he was able to increase his power by an incredible amount as well.
Qing Shui slowly lifted his legs but once he had lifted about an inch upwards, he was being forced down again by the pressure. His legs submerged into the rocks quite intensely, causing the rocks around his legs to crack and crumble away slowly. The Yin-Yang Image in his sea of consciousness began to circulate as fast as it could.
Qing Shui shouted in a muffled voice and took a step forward. In doing so, the rocks around his step were immediately crushed into powdered pieces of fine dust.
He continued upwards but with every step he made, he would crush the rocks under his feet in greater amounts. It has been a while since he had sweated. He did have blood running from the corner of his mouth but almost never had sweat rolled down his body. At that moment, Qing Shui was drenched completely in his sweat, as if he had been exposed to a heavy rain.
As he was about to climb onto the fourth tier of the mountain, his movements had become slow as a snail. He was even slower than snails, in fact, because he required a long time before he could take a step upwards. His personality and willpower were as solid as a rock but even so, he was rendered powerless. One wouldn't necessarily succeed with sheer willpower and perseverance, because one would need a parallel amount of power to do so as well.
The Earth Diamond Bear began to growl in a low tone, as if it had sensed a hint of desolation slowly overwhelming Qing Shui's emotion. Its growls became intense, deeper yet increasing distant.
Qing Shui became uncertain for a while. However, the aura of the Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation began to fluctuate suddenly, growing intenser by the minute. He stopped in his tracks and circulated his Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation so that he could stabilize the fluctuating aura of the Earth Diamond Bear.
A boundless amount of energy began to surge inside his body. It was as warm as spring, yet it felt like he had finally lain down on a comfortable bed after countless years of endless exhaustion and fatigue. Then again, he felt like a desert drought that had been nourished suddenly with moisture. Those feelings were wonderful yet miraculous at the same time.
All of a sudden, Qing Shui felt like his body had been filled with energy to the brim. The silhouette of the Earth Diamond Bear grew bigger in an instant, which was about 20 meters in size. Moreover, the bear seemed more substantial and the color of the bear was turning more of a golden yellow.
The Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation had achieved a breakthrough…
Because it was surprisingly unexpected, Qing Shui remained still and stared into the blank space. He did think about the breakthrough of the Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation but did not expect it this soon. Thanks to the breakthrough, the feeling of difficulty in taking another step had vanished quickly and completely. Based on that alone, he knew that the Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation had grown much stronger. Without hesitation, Qing Shui delved into his sea of consciousness to analyze his skill.
Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation: Earth Diamond Bear, early stage adulthood with the ability to triple its power and spiritual energy. The consumption of the spiritual energy was subsequently decreased by half.
Once activated, energy would be depleted constantly!
Early stage adulthood –this must be the stage where one had just became an adult. Even though the description was short, Qing Shui was elated nevertheless. Moreover, the energy consumption was reduced by half, which was one of the best attribute he had ever seen….
The increase of power and spiritual energy was initially doubled but had now jumped to triple. That was quite a leap in correspondence to Qing Shui's current power. Even a 10% increase was already unbelievable, which was why he thought that the Earth Diamond Bear had become extremely powerful.
With that, the power of the bear had increased yet again. On another note, Qing Shui might be able to smelt the Sacred Jade divine Stone he had acquired but not for the moment as he wanted to wait until everything had been settled before he would go into the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal to test it. For now, he wanted to see if this mountain had anything extraordinary. For a mountain as mystical as this, Qing Shui had a feeling that there might be something in here that could be worth his time.
Because he had a feeling that something was calling out to him, he gritted his teeth and continued to push forward. Normally if they were things that called out to him, then he must have some sort of fate with those items or in other words, those items were especially suitable for a man like him.
The pressure continued to escalate like the crashing waves in the sea around him. The higher he went, the more he felt that the pressure was pushing towards the core of the mountain.
This area was filled with layers of mountains. The strongest pressure wasn't felt at the highest point but at where Qing Shui was currently at –the fifth tier. He lifted up his head and counted that there were a total of nine tiers. Upon reaching the fifth tier, Qing Shui was back to when his Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation hadn't reach a breakthrough –he found it difficult to take another step forward once again.
Buddha Form Reveal, Buddha's True Eyes!
Qing Shui had no choice but to use this hidden power to lower the pressure in his surroundings in an instant. Despite the great decrease to the pressure effect, he could still feel his footsteps a bit heavier than usual. He then began forging his way towards the peak steadily and firmly.
He was now like a normal person climbing up the mountain, treading carefully while maintaining his pace upwards. The previous mountain was an effort of one step but right now, the Nine Palace Steps was out of the question as it would be extremely hard to pull off, given the current situation. Even if he managed to pull through, the sudden increase of pressure effect would only hurt him severely or worst, kill him. His current strategy of moving forward slowly could assure a higher chance of survivability, as well as gauging the limits of his endurance against the pressure effect.
Soon, he was getting closer. Qing Shui was clinging onto the walls of the mountain rocks. Each time he climbed up the mountain, his palms would be anchored into the hard rocks, creating holes in the process…
There were numerous times when Qing Shui had thoughts about giving up entirely but the aura of the callings were beginning to increase steadily, telling him that he was getting closer to the source. It would be a shame if he gave up so quickly but his sheer will had reached the limit and his body was already numbed from the pressure, as if a voice in his mind was telling him to give up. In any case, his body could not endure any longer and was about to give out completely.
It’s close, very close!
However, he could sense his conscious getting a bit blurry, so he bit the tip of his tongue with a bit of force, gushing a stream of fresh blood from the corner of his mouth. He did this countless of times throughout the climbing expedition. The bloodstains in the corner of his mouth had already dried up, leaving streaks of dried patches from his mouth down his chin.
Suddenly, Qing Shui was able to sense a faint yet lively energy circulating within his body. Even his will power seemed to be restoring to its optimal state.
Qi of Rebirth!
Qing Shui was on the verge of laughing as he recalled the times when he was utterly helpless. The Qi of Rebirth would always emerge at his worst to help him. Even though Qing Shui was trying his best this time, he felt that he wouldn’t be able to make it to the peak in one piece. However, with the Qi of Rebirth activated, his confidence had finally reemerged.
The Qi of Rebirth was weak as it continued to circulate slowly throughout his body. This was a type of energy that was geared towards the power of resurrection.
The mountain peak!
As Qing Shui emerged slowly to stand on the peak of the fifth tier, he felt a sense of heroism surging within his mind, just like the feeling of climbing to the peak in his past life. At that moment, he was proud of himself –a normal occurrence for anyone standing on the highest peak of the mountain.
The peak was huge and the pressure around this altitude was increasingly stronger as well. Despite this, Qing Shui stood on the peak unfaltering, allowing the clouds to float by him without fazing his steps.
Fortunately, the mountain peak was a flat land. In front of him stood a great hall in the distance. The call originated from there, so he slowly made his way towards the the great hall.
It was a quiet place. The silence was eerily devoid of any sound, with no background noises whatsoever. There was a strong transparent pressure shrouding the whole surrounding area, yet there was no wind to be heard. All that could be heard was his own heavy footsteps as he treaded along the path towards the great hall.
The heavy footsteps echoed throughout the quiet atmosphere of the mountain peak, which could be heard even from a distance away. His target was just in front of him, so he wasted no time and activated the Demonic Beast Armor Manifestation. Behind him was a giant image of a golden Buddha, shading Qing Shui in a brilliant golden light while solemnly trailing behind him as he continued walking.
The sky was getting darker and he had just realized that he had taken more than half a day to climb the mountain towards the peak. The great hall was now 100 meters away from Qing Shui as he approached at a steady pace.
The great building turned out to be a giant palace but Qing Shui knew that this was actually a temple passed down from ancient times. As he stood at a distance, he could somehow see the smoke swirling from the burning incense and he could hear a faint chanting of the sutra as well.
All of that was a strange reaction from his senses, because he clearly knew they were fake. However, those weren’t illusions and he was perfectly conscious. But as he continued to gaze upon the scenery of the grand ancient temple that was decorated magnificently like a person clad in luxurious clothes, everything seemed bright and glinting through his eyes.
The stairs leading to the temple were small, yet long enough to stretch from the temple towards the ground in front of Qing Shui.
The golden Buddha behind him seemed to have detected the power of the temple and began to appear slightly more visible and clearer. At that moment, the Buddha's eyes that had been shut in the beginning began to open on their own.
Qing Shui, on the other hand, was dumbfounded as he watched the situation unfold before his eyes. The Buddha’s eyes had actually opened all by themselves…