Li Qingshan only remembered then. The green bull had said that using the blood of beasts was merely a temporary stopgap when cultivating the . You still needed human blood to genuinely cultivate, moreover blood still warm from people dead not long ago. It was also better the richer the blood energy.

Those bandits were precisely the great materials the green bull spoke about. Although he didn’t agree with it, he didn’t mind it too much either. He dragged over the ma.s.s of bandit corpses, piling them into a small hill on the open ground. The scene was very cruel and dreadful. The thick scent of blood a.s.saulted his nose. Even Li Qingshan himself felt somewhat disturbed. He couldn’t resist searching his heart, did I do that?

But he immediately calmed down. Only this was called just retribution. The laws of Heaven would have been unfair instead if this group of bandits didn’t meet such an end. One could do anything without being tangled in regrets as long as one had a clear conscience. Then he fastened the porcelain jar containing Little An’s skeleton upside down on the hill of corpses, following the green bull’s instructions.

Little An flew around randomly, a little anxious, until he heard Li Qingshan say: “Go then!” He turned into a clear breeze and entered inside the porcelain jar.

The corpse hill quivered. The blood that originally flowed down suddenly reverted itself and flowed to the porcelain jar. The porcelain jar followed suit and trembled as the reek of blood became increasingly fainter.

There was a “kacha kacha” after a long time. Crack after crack appeared on the porcelain jar, leaking beams of red light like blood clots.

Li Qingshan frowned and held his breath. The scene in front of him was really too much like some terrifying evil ritual, and this present development was even more like some demon about to be born into the world.

The porcelain jar exploded into pieces with a bang. A small blood-red skeleton sat upright on the hill of corpses, two blood flames fiercely burning inside its eye sockets. It was clearly an extremely strange and frightening scene, but the small skeleton had unexpectedly its two hands held together just like an old monk sitting in meditation. It actually gave off a holy sensation of one who’d reached nirvana and comprehended the truth of life and death. That cruel and dreadful hill of corpses vaguely resembled the lotus throne the Buddha quietly meditated on. Those pale arms extended out just like pure white lotus petals. It was utterly weird.

Li Qingshan probed with a call: “Little An?”

The little skeleton lifted its head. The blood flames swayed, then it transformed into a b.l.o.o.d.y shadow that flew his way, so fast even Li Qingshan was stunned. This was simply even faster than Yang Anzhi’s movement technique. He instinctively wanted to raise his hands and block or even counterattack, but then he stopped and allowed it to charge into his bosom. It b.u.mped on his chest with a “dong,” and slid down.

Li Qingshan suddenly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He saw Little An tumble and sit on the ground, shaking his head, totally looking like he didn’t control his speed.

Little An stood up, looked up at Li Qingshan, and saw from within his eyes his own present appearance. He seemed to suddenly realize that he wasn’t an incorporeal ghost anymore. He lowered his head and watched his hands that were comprised of only tiny bones, then looked again at his body. After that he shuddered violently, and after that he squatted on the ground, his two hands covering his face.

Although there wasn’t a single sound coming out, Li Qingshan could still clearly feel that he was weeping. At least he still had a human form as a ghost. Anyone who changed into this frightening inhuman appearance would be unable to keep their calm. What’s more, he was only a child.

Li Qingshan felt a heartache. His heart that had been hardened like iron admist the ma.s.sacre suddenly softened down. He kneaded his sour nose and squatted down with a smile. He rubbed Little An’s head: “Why are you like this, this isn’t very cute. You were the only one who could touch me before, I couldn’t touch you. Now we’re even.”

Little An lifted his head, the blood flames in his eye sockets brightening a little. He stretched his arms and lightly hugged Li Qingshan, pasting his head against his chest. Li Qingshan spread his arms open and hugged him tightly.

Amidst the wind and snow, under the mountain of corpses, a teenager and a tiny skeleton embraced and hugged each other, cuddling together as if they could feel warmth from their icy-cold bodies.

The green bull watched silently at the side, and there was none of the usual teasing expression in its eyes.

Little An had after all the temperament of a child, and his mood quickly became better. He inquisitively experimented with his new body, randomly walking on the ground a moment, getting a simple blade dropped by a bandit and randomly waving it around the next moment. Or he’d jump up, reaching several dozen feet in the air in a single leap, but he couldn’t help dropping back down with a “pa” and ended up sprawled on the ground.

Li Qingshan went forward with great alarm, afraid he’d shatter his slender bones in the fall, but he saw him turn over and stand up just like that, scratching his head as he remembered he wasn’t a ghost and couldn’t fly anymore. But he wasn’t disappointed and started to crazily dash amidst the wind and snow once again.

Only then did Li Qingshan become relieved and expose a faint smile. Perhaps he was watching through affection-tinted, but he truly didn’t feel that Little An was all that frightening. The little skeleton had a sort of strange cuteness instead as its figure made various childish motions. However, others would certainly not think so.

He turned his head toward the green bull and asked: “Will Little An really spend his whole life looking like this?”

The green bull said: “There’s nothing wrong with this appearance. How many men beseech G.o.ds and wors.h.i.+p Buddha to become like this, and they can’t even succeed! But ordinary people don’t even need to think about making a yin spirit cultivate into a substantial body. Although it’s a supernatural skill from the way of demons, it doesn’t suffer restriction from any Buddhist law or Taoist technique. Moreover he will progress at lightning speed and possess formidable strength. If this supernatural skill were to spread out, I guarantee it’ll have ten thousand times the effect of the spirit ginseng in your hands. No matter monsters demons buddhas or daoists, they’d all come to s.n.a.t.c.h it.”

If someone offered you a great banquet, could you really blame them because the tableware wasn’t good enough? Li Qingshan could only smile wryly as he said: “I already knew that the was much more powerful than the just by the sounds of it.”

Not only the speed was so fast that even he couldn’t react, almost. When he turned his head around he saw Little An grab the seventh boss’s great iron hammer a hundred pounds heavy and randomly wave it around. Afterwards his hands slipped on the hammer handle because they were too small, and the iron hammer flew out several dozen feet away, smas.h.i.+ng into a wall with a loud rumble before knocking it down. The present Little An could definitely ma.s.sacre the whole Black Wind Camp by himself more effortlessly than himself.

Moreover, the Black Wind camp master found this paper talisman from who knew where and was able to contend against his strength of one bull just like that. Something that could be obtained by this head bandit would certainly not be any extraordinary high level stuff. He couldn’t help but start to feel a sliver of doubt about this Strength of Nine Bulls and Two Tigers.

“He absorbed the blood essence from a hundred persons, of course his strength won’t be weak. It’s actually not that difficult either if he wants to restore a human form.” The green bull laughed mischievously and changed the topic, brus.h.i.+ng off Li Qingshan’s doubts.

Li Qingshan indeed left his own affairs behind: “Is it true? What’s the way?”

The green bull said: “One way is to cultivate the to a certain degree, then he’ll be able to transform into a thousand shapes. He can become whatever he wants to become.”

Li Qingshan nodded: “Since the Buddhists speak of turning beauty into bones1, they originally fully grasped the meaning of truth and illusion already. But this is probably not something that can be done overnight. Moreover that’s only illusory transformation when all’s said and done.”

The green bull said: “There’s another shortcut. Take human hearts and pour the blood on him. It won’t take long before the skeleton gives birth to muscles and restores flesh, remodeling a corporeal body.”

Li Qingshan said in shock: “This way, won’t it just be like reviving Little An?”

The green bull shook its head and said: “Not alive nor dead, not dead nor alive, but from the point of view of ordinary people, there’s not much difference with a revival.”

“Good!” Li Qingshan felt a burst of excitement.

“Don’t be happy so early. You’re the one who still need to do this troublesome matter. We can definitely not let him be exposed in front of everyone and leave too many traces behind, otherwise people will come to wipe out the devil and defend righteousness. Don’t blame me for not reminding you.”

Li Qingshan said resolutely: “I still wouldn’t hesitate even if my body were polluted with bloodstains and had to bear this sin. Not to mention, the people in this world who ought to be killed and can be killed are too many to count.”

Author notes: A new volume, a new section. Li Qingshan will come into contact with this xianxia world different from others, and understand this world’s vast magnificence.

Translator notes: I am going to change the chapter numbering. This is originally book 2 chapter 1, but since my coding-fu is lacking I can’t seem to find a way to make the script that does next chapter/prev chapter work without the numbering going dumbly up. Apologies.

1. As a reminder, the saying originally means to look beyond the superficial.

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