Ancient Strengthening Technique - Chapter 732-733
AST 732 - Five Colored Poison, Preparation for a Bloodbath
This location was like a tunnel. It became pitch black the moment the entrance was shut off!
"Don't move, we have to wait for about seven minutes. Otherwise, we'll be shot by the poison arrows from both sides." Elder Ge prevented Qing Shui from taking a step forward.
"There are some mechanisms installed on the walls of this stone path. It will shoot anyone who moves without waiting up to seven minutes. Even trying to fly across will have no effect. The poison on the arrows is from a type of Five Colored Poison Beast. Even a peak Martial Saint wouldn't dare to risk it," Elder Ge explained slowly.
"The poison of a Five Colored Poison Beast?" Qing Shui asked curiously as his eyes lit up when looking at Elder Ge.
"There are poison masters in the Heavenly Palace, but the poison from this Five Colored Poison Beast has been left behind from the past. The poison masters are only responsible to replace them once every few years. Normally, no one dared to touch this Five Colored Poison," Elder Ge sighed. He wasn't sure if it was at the decline of the Heavenly Palace or some other reason.
"Elder Ge, is there still any more Five Colored Poison left?" Qing Shui was a little excited in his heart. He had been developing the [Poison Scriptures] for quite some time now and was lacking a type of main poison. Although there were quite a number of poisonous beings in the Realm of Violet Jade Immortal, none of them could be used as most poisonous main ingredient at the moment. They were either lacking in toxicity or lacking in age.
If he could get his hand on a main ingredient, then he could start concocting the poison before finally strengthening it with the crystals produced by the Crystal Lions. The triple-eyed Grass Green Frogs could also be used for strengthening it. The difference between the two was that one was strengthened by produced crystals and the other one was being used as a medicinal ingredient itself.
"Yes, but not much. After all, this poison was prepared for the poison arrows in this mechanism. Since the poison arrows were very rarely used, there wasn't much Five Colored Poison to begin with," Elder Ge replied while looking at him.
"Oh, then give me half of the remaining Five Colored Poison. This way, I can have higher odds of success." Qing Shui's blood raced at the thoughts of more than twenty powerful cultivators on his opponent's side.
"I'll give all of it to you!" Elder Ge said with a smile.
"This is not the only mechanism in here, right?" He asked Elder Ge.
"Of course not."
Seven minutes passed very fast. The darkness in here didn't lessen from people getting accustomed to it despite being in here for prolonged period. It was still as dark as the black ink around them after seven minutes. They couldn't even see their own fingers when they extended their arms.
After turning a corner, Elder Ge informed Qing Shui, "We can only walk on the width of a meter in the center. Walking on either two sides will trigger the sharp blades beneath the floor. These blades were also dipped in poison. It's an extremely strong corrosive poison, so it can easily penetrate anything."
After turning another corner, they could only walk on the width of a meter on the right side...turning another corner, they could only walk on the width of a meter on the left side. Next, they could only fly across in the mid air without touching any of the four walls to prevent being attacked....
They even had to pause a few times in between. Other than the dangers mentioned above, there were also poisonous stone bugs and poisonous stones. On top of that, there were countless of them. Even a peak Martial Saint cultivator would have a hard time in such a narrow and confined space. Just like how 'a tiger may even be insulted by a dog when it leaves the remote mountains and comes to the flat area;even a shrimp dares to dupe the dragon when it is in the shallow water'*, they'd have no opportunities to put their strength to use. [TL Note: Part of a poem that has the meaning of 'Those who lose their advantages or power over others will be belittled and defeated'.]
Qing Shui was less worried now. After walking a few li through this meandering tunnel, his eyes were greeted by brightness. They had reached a quite spacious and empty place. This should be an underground world, since they had been traveling along a downhill path.
This place was like a mountain valley with spring and lake. There were even fishes in the lake. The sky here was overcast, but the air wasn't too bad. However, this place wasn't suited for long stays. Staying here for a year and half would pretty much be the limit.
There were many stone houses in the distance. Their purpose was to provide shelter whenever the Heavenly Palace was in danger. These were prepared for the sake of leaving behind some foundation for the next Heavenly Palace's successor.
"How is it? You can be at ease now, right? Besides, we can overlook the possibility of them finding out this place. You are the only thing I am worried about now. You are the key, otherwise everything here is just as useless as a decorative item."
"With the Five Colored Poison and nothing else to worry about, I should be able to kill them." Qing Shui evaluated that the odds of success was still very high with his Realm of Violet Jade Immortal, Fire Bird and the Diamond Gigantic Elephant. Though, that was provided that the opponents weren't too powerful. It would be a different story otherwise.
Qing Shui and Elder Ge returned after they were done looking around this 'hidden room'. Upon their return to the Heavenly Palace, Qing Shui got his hands on the Five Colored Poison Pearls. These Poison Pearls were created by the Five Colored Poison Beasts. They weren't any inferior to the Five Colored Poison Beasts in the least.
"Fifteen!" Qing Shui took away nearly half of it. There was no need to take any more than that. If they were effective, only ten of them would suffice.
Without staying much longer, he returned to the Qing Residence and told them his plans. This involved letting them live there first for a period of time, because Qing Shui had decided to strike first to gain the upper hand.
Huoyun Liu-Li disagreed at first, and the others remained silent as well. Their hearts ached at the fact that Qing Shui had to shoulder the burden all by himself, but they still couldn't do anything to help.
Qing Yi had a very lonely expression on her face. She walked to Qing Shui's side and embraced him, "We'll all listen to you, but you have to be honest with your mother. What are the odds of your success? Why not hide with us? A lot of things may change over a year and a half."
Qing Yi's words were exactly what the others had on their mind. Since it was Qing Yi who asked him, the rest of them looked at Qing Shui earnestly.
"Mother, as long as you all can be safe, I have no problems in defending myself. I am 80% confident in eliminating them. I promise you that nothing will happen to me," Qing Shui told her firmly.
"You've grown into a man with indomitable spirit. Qing Shui, you have your wives and your children. You need to think through this carefully. You are the pillar of our clan. This clan needs your support," Qing Yi said gently. Each of her words resonated in Qing Shui's heart. He was well aware that the burden on his shoulders was indeed very heavy.
"Mother, I know. I understand as well. It's been a long time, you should trust your son." Qing Shui smiled. His smile had indescribable confidence. It was also greatly assuring to others who saw it.
Qing Shui entered the Realm of Violet Jade Immortal at night. He no longer spent his night in their rooms.
He started cultivating. The Ancient Strengthening Technique was stopped at the 399th cycle. With this, Qing Shui was certain that this was the Sixth Heavenly Layer's wall of obstruction. He should be able to breakthrough to the Seventh Heavenly Layer as long as he could breakthrough to the 400th cycle.
Even though he knew that it was hopeless for now, he still cultivated everyday. If he happened to have a sudden breakthrough, then those people of the Zuoshi Clan were really nothing to be worried about.
Qing Shui found a type of strong poison among the [Poison Scriptures] that could be applied on weapons. This poison was akin to Antiaris Toxicaria* and it travelled via blood. Therefore, opponents had to have an open wound first. As long as they were affected by this poison, only death awaited them. [TL Note: This plant is known as the 'Poison Arrow Tree' in China because its deadly poisonous latex was smeared on arrowheads in ancient times for use in hunting and warfare.]
Qing Shui still had ways to injure his opponents. Hidden weapons, Silver Needles, Gold Needles...he had quite a lot of trump cards up his sleeve. As long as he was able to use them at the right moment, they could kill opponents of the same level as him.
He concocted the poisonous liquid. This type of poisonous liquid was only good for one use. After it was concocted, weapons should be be soaked in it so that the essence within the poisonous liquid could adhere onto them.
The difference between concocting poison and medicine was that concocting poison usually wouldn't fail. Although, when a strong poison turned out to be weak poison during the concoction, then that would basically be an indication of failure. The poison could be used as a weak poison if one didn't want to waste all their efforts.
Concocting poison and medicine were quite similar to each other. Poison was first extracted and then refined. This wasn't his first time concocting poison, so he was able to do it very skillfully. The poison was successfully concocted very quickly, but there was a bit too little of the amount of poisonous liquid that was yielded.
"I guess it will yield more next time!"
He retrieved a crystal produced by the Crystal Lion and dropped it into the poisonous liquid. Then he pulled out about ten 1,000 Year Coldsteel Needles and six Frosted Iron Balls. He put all of them into it before he started the refinement again, until the 'crystal' had been completely dissolved.
The Gold Needles and Silver Needles could absorb poison, however they couldn't retain them for long. The 1,000 Year Coldsteel Needles originally contained cold poison and were strong in absorbing poison, but it required time. Although time was very tight, he didn't have to worry much with the Realm of Violet Jade Immortal in his possession. Next, Qing Shui started to concoct once again. He then dumped the newly concocted poisonous liquid into the poisonous substance from earlier.
The amount of yielded poisonous liquid was a little more this time around. He only stopped after seven Five Colored Poison Pearls were used up, and also added two more Frosted Iron Ball in between.
Qing Shui only breathed a sigh of relief when he had completed all these tasks. According to the [Poison Scriptures], the soaking process required at least 81 days. But of course, the longer they were soaked, the better. All the poison in it would be fully absorbed if such were the case.
Next, Qing Shui invested all his time into cultivating. He rode on the Diamond Gigantic Elephant to practice the State of One with Elephant in between because he had a feeling that he was about to breakthrough the current realm.
Although the time he spent practicing the State of One with Elephant wasn't a lot, he had used it quite a number of times. In addition, it had been long enough... about a few years. It would be great if he could have a breakthrough during such a crucial period.
The very next day, Qing Shui brought the entire Qing Clan along with food stored in the Realm of Violet Jade Immortal. They left for that 'hidden room' with Elder Ge's guidance.
Qing Shui patiently escorted each of them through the entrance. It took more than half a day to escort everyone inside. They then proceeded to clean those stone houses.
There were abundant fishes and prawns swimming about in the lake. The springwater was refreshingly delicious and there were also some turtles and crabs in it. Therefore it was still possible to survive here for up to a year and half. This was a land of idyllic beauty. The only thing about it was the atmosphere here was a little damp. It wasn't much of a problem for those with high cultivation, but it wasn't suitable for those two little fellows, Qing Zun and Qing Yin, to stay for too long.
Qing Shui helped them to settle down and also spent a day there before leaving. He also asked them to seal up the entrance. Even Elder Ge wasn't going to leave this place because there was only one key.
If they had to come out, they could unseal the entrance first then let Luan Luan release a demonic beast to sense if there were any danger lurking outside before coming out. But for one month, they had to stay in there. They mustn't come out whatsoever.
Qing Shui let everyone around him enter the the 'hidden room' along with the people above the Elder ranking in the Heavenly Palace. For the remaining few hundred thousands of ordinary disciples, even if he let them kill, they wouldn't dare to.
Qing Shui couldn't help feeling sorrowful when he returned to an empty Qing Residence despite knowing that they were all in the hidden room.
He stopped at the stairs in the big hall and sat there. Memories of the past started to replay in his head without him realizing it. He recalled his journey from the past decade. He was like a horse that kept running relentlessly in hopes of settling down some day. He had no choice but to do this for the sake of his belief and a promise. He even felt extremely exhausted to the point of giving up sometimes.
But when he saw the unintentional looks of sorrow and hope, he understood that it was because he had a past. So he had chosen to do this. No matter how difficult or tiring it was, it was all worth it.
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AST 733 - Heading for Pingyang Country's Zuoshi Clan, Start of the Killing Spree
As he sat there, letting his thoughts run wild, time passed by and it was soon dark. Qing Shui directly entered the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal, starting his cultivation as usual.
Qing Shui walked up to the Poison Refining Furnance and saw that there was only a small amount of the poison used to soak the Frosted Iron Balls and Coldsteel Needles left. The Frosted Iron Balls and Coldsteel Needles were now so black that it looked scary.
Qing Shui tried sensing them with his Spiritual Sense and felt very satisfied. These things should be able to kill quite a number of people. This is even when there was no breakthrough in the Ancient Strengthening Technique nor in the State of One with Elephant.
Qing Shui's State of One with Elephant was only at the small success stage and could only merge with 20% of the Diamond Gigantic Elephant's abilities. This 20% was based on the current abilities of the Diamond Gigantic Elephant. For example, if under normal conditions, the Diamond Gigantic Elephant's attack prowess with its Diamond Protection and Diamond Crossing Rivers was at 5000 countries, he would be able to merge with 20% of this strength. Under the State of One with Elephant, his Ferocious Diamond Attack would be able to reach 10,000 countries of strength. However, Qing Shui had made a few attempts but could not merge with its attacking prowess in just an instant.
Therefore, at the small success stage, Qing Shui's State of One with Elephant could increase his strength by 1000 countries. Although he felt that he was about to attain a breakthrough soon, this breakthrough was not within his control and more haste, less speed. He would still require a small opportunity.
In the middle of the night, Qing Shui came out from the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal and called for the Fire Bird, before flying into the distance. His goal: Pingyang Country.
Since they had come to look for him to find trouble, Qing Shui decided to head to Pingyang Country himself this time around. This so-called great reputable clan was now at bitter odds with him, and one of them must definitely disappear.
Qing Shui knew the map of Greencloud Continent. Now, without having to worry for the Qing Clan, Qing Shui could leave without any worries. Thinking of Zuoshi Long's viciousness, Qing Shui had no choice but to be wary against the Zuoshi Clan's unscrupulous means.
Nine Continent Steps!
He appeared 100,000 li away in an instant before continuing toward Pingyang Country on the Fire Bird. The Fire Bird's speed was considerably fast. With the Phoenix Dance, there was zero depletion of energy and its abilities were now two times stronger.
This increased the Fire Bird's flying speed to be two times faster. The rapid progress was very comfortable. This should be the feeling of exhilaration. It feels good to have speed.
The Greencloud Continent was located to the east of the Nine Continents while Pingyang Country was toward the southeast direction of the Greencloud Continent. They were not very far from each other, but it would still take a week's time to travel.
After three days of flying on the Fire Bird and the usage of the Nine Continent Steps, Qing Shui was nearing Pingyang Country. He didn't know if the people from the Zuoshi Clan had headed out toward Greencloud Continent. He had not met them along the way.
Regardless if they did or not, Qing Shui was not concerned. It would be better if they had. This way, their forces would be divided and it would be a pretty good idea to tackle them separately.
The Zuoshi Clan was the symbol of Pingyang Country and it was easy to look for them. After asking around to know where the Zuoshi Clan was, Qing Shui directly flew there on the Fire Bird.
Pingyang Country was about the same as Cang Lang Country, being the weakest countries. However, it was these two countries where Qing Shui and the great reputable clan Zuoshi Clan had emerged from respectively.
The Zuoshi Clan was in Pingyang City and when Qing Shui saw the Zuoshi Clan's manor, he was astonished. It was too luxurious. It took up a large amount of land and the pavilions and buildings were all of a violet color which nobles used. Under the sunlight, it reflected the riches of the owner.
The violet-colored glazed roof tiles and exquisite structure of the buildings were clearly the work of renowned masters. The wide front door, walls, artificial mountains, small lakes...
Everything here stood out from the other buildings in the area and were things they could not be compared with. However, those who could stay near the Zuoshi Clan were no ordinary people either. They were reputable characters in Pingyang City as well.
Qing Shui gradually landed before the Zuoshi Clan and retrieved the Fire Bird. He lifted his head to look at the majesty of the Zuoshi Clan's manor before calling out the Diamond Gigantic Elephant.
Mighty Elephant Stomp!
The Diamond Gigantic Elephant let out a tremendous cry, before unleashing a Mighty Elephant Stomp. The Mighty Elephant Stomp, which was at the great perfection stage, had the prowess to turn this place into a flat land.
Countless cracks reached out toward the Zuoshi Clan like slithering snakes . Everywhere they passed by, there would be loud booms and explosions. In just an instant, the place was filled with dust and sand, and everywhere within a one hundred meter radius had turned into a wasteland.
Qing Shui rose into the air on the Diamond Gigantic Elephant and looked down on the wasteland. Not long later, some people walked out from the buildings that had yet to collapse. There were people of all ages, both young and old, and there were about a hundred of them.
The ones in the lead were three old men. Their white brows were so long that they reached their chests, and with their long white hair, they gave off the feeling of an immortal. It was just that the vicious gazes in their eyes had ruined their image.
Qing Shui gave it some thought and could understand why. Ordinary people would definitely not create such a luxurious manor like how the Zuoshi Clan did. The Zuoshi Clan had the resources, and was a great reputable clan who had stayed away from conflicts with the rest of the world. In Greencloud Continent, it was one of the top existences and even if they were to do anything in Greencloud Continent, no one would be able to do anything to them, nor would they dare to. The feeling of superiority in such a great clan was something that was incomparable.
Qing Shui sensed that the first three elderly and the four behind them were of Martial Saint level, with the strength of one star to three stars. The three in front were all at two stars of strength with the old man with a strong build in the middle closer to three stars. (One star is equivalent to 10,000 countries of strength.)
There were seven of them here. Including the four who had died in the Qing Clan, there were eleven of them. From the looks of it, it seemed like they viewed Qing Shui in high regard. This should be about a third of the Zuoshi Clan's powers. When Qing Shui recalled the number of experts they had sent to Greencloud City, he was still very astonished.
’’You're Qing Shui?’’ The old man stared at Qing Shui, his deep eyes were cold like blades. His gaze appeared to be very complicated when he looked at Qing Shui.
Qing Shui was not surprised that they could guess who he was. Zuoshi Yun must have said everything when he came back, Moreover, he would probably be the only one who dared to come looking for trouble.
Zuoshi Hu looked at Qing Shui. Till now, he couldn't understand why he was here. No matter what, he couldn't believe that Qing Shui was here to kill them.
Qing Shui was very happy. Seven. He can just kill the seven of them first. At least this wouldn't have been a wasted trip. After avoiding their strongest people, he can return to catch them unaware after cleaning up here.
’’That's right. The Zuoshi Clan is truly something. To think that only the few of you are here to guard the place.’’ Qing Shui smiled in the air and said.
Zuoshi Hu and the others leaped into the air to Qing Shui's height. They stared at Qing Shui, not daring to be careless. Zuoshi Yun had said that Zuoshi Long's death was very simple and took only a short moment. This information had made them feel overwhelmed.
To be able to beat up Zuoshi Long to that extent, it would require at least a strength of two and a half stars. It was because Zuoshi Long had an amulet which could allow him to fend off at most 2000 countries of strength when he received damage.
’’Young man, you must die today.’’ The old man looked at Qing Shui and drew out his greatsword. The sword was five feet in length, four inches wide, and flashing a silvery light all over.
The rest of the people had also drawn their weapons. There were also two old men who called out two ’’Black Ember Demonic Tigers’’. They were a type of mutated beast which were originally ’’Whitecloud Tigers’’ and had a 10% chance of mutating into Black Ember Demonic Tigers after taking the ’’Black-flame Devil Flower’’. If they didn't succeed in the mutation, what awaited them would only be death.
Qing Shui could sense that these two ’’Black Ember Demonic Tigers’’ had the abilities of about 10,000 countries of strength. Furthermore, they could spew out Black-flame Devil Fire to attack. Although the prowess would be slightly weaker than the Fire Bird's Hell's Inferno, it was still a horrifying attack.
He held the Thunder God and Violet Gold divine Shield in his hands as he gradually increased his level. These two items were like divine artifacts to Qing Shui. As long as he had them, he would have the confidence to create a whole new world.
Qing Shui didn't apply any poison on the Thunder God. Poison would damage weapons. Natural poison weapons were the exception. Using poison to temper them would be a great nourishment to them.
The 1000 Years Coldsteel had cold poison in it and poison could be used to temper it. Qing Shui felt that if he were to come across 10,000 Years Coldsteel in the future, he could consider making poison weapons from it and then nurture and temper them with poison. With the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal and his [Poison Scriptures], he would be able to stand his ground just with poison weapons and poison alone.
Qing Shui took out the card he had obtained from refining the White Jade Jiao and slapped it on himself. A cool feeling surge through his body and his limbs gradually turned icy cold, but it was as if Qing Shui had not felt anything. On the contrary, he felt that it was very comfortable.
Even the Violet Gold divine Shield and the Thunder God had become piercingly cold.
’’Everyone, attack! To think that he's also a Demon Refiner...’’ The old man in the lead bellowed out anxiously before dashing toward Qing Shui, slashing down with his great sword.
Vajra Subdues Demons!
The Diamond Gigantic Elephant attacked with its Vajra Subdues Demons while Qing Shui's Fiery Golden Eyes and Emperor's Qi were activated in an instant. He then smashed down hard with his Thunder God.
State of One with Elephant!
The elder was sent flying by Qing Shui's attack and Qing Shui could see that a thin layer of ice fog had appeared on the old man's body, slowing down his speed. He recalled that this was the effect of the crystal card he got from refining the White Jade Jiao.
Additional effect: Speed reduction, frozen state. After using it, within an hour, the user's attacks would result in an opponent's speed reduction and has the chance to freeze the opponent. The duration of the frozen state would be affected by the opponent's level.
Earlier, their exchange was only for a moment. Seeing how the old man was sent flying, Qing Shui had wanted to give chase. However, the other six had already surrounded him. Qing Shui was speechless. The Zuoshi Clan was truly despicable.
Godly Armor Shield!
Without the Big Dipper Sword, Qing Shui couldn't use the Seven Star Armored Vest. However, the Thunder God's enhancement could allow Qing Shui to have the same effect as if he was still using the Seven Star Armored Vest.
Instantaneous Diamond Evasion!
Qing Shui dashed toward the weakest person in the Zuoshi Clan. The Diamond Gigantic Elephant's Instantaneous Diamond Evasion once again demonstrated its prowess.
With a loud boom, the old man was sent flying by Qing Shui. And in that instant, a one foot thick ice layer had formed on his body.
Through the ice, Qing Shui was still able to see the panic in the old man's eyes. How could he let go of this great chance?
Instantaneous Diamond Evasion!
Mountain Splitting Strike！
Qing Shui grabbed the opportunity, appearing next to the old man with an Instantaneous Diamond Evasion. His Thunder God smashed down on the ice block, causing the old man to disappear into thin air, not even leaving his weapon behind. Earlier, his opponents could dodge and through attacking in a group, Qing Shui had to split up his power.
Now, it was not the same!
When experts spar, victory would be decided in just an instant! That was a moment of life and death!