Chapter 426: Treachery
Jin Qing suppressed his fear and forced himself to ask, "Is your esteemed self man or ghost?"
The freakish shadow sinisterly smiled and teased, "Man? Ghost? You tell me!"
Jin Qing's expression became extremely unsightly.
Han Li remained silent and quickly opened his scroll painting without warning.
Countless fire birds rushed out, flocking straight towards the freakish shadow. At the same moment, the previously summoned huge bird released a sharp cry and abandoned its fight with the eerie snake, shooting straight towards the freakish shadow as a scorching ball of white flame.
The freakish shadow snorted disdainfully and said, "Congealed Yang Birds? If they had their genuine bodies, this Senior might be slightly fearful. But to dare attempt to devour ghosts and exterminate devils with only their remnant souls?"
Having said that, the green shadow raised its hands and condensed black Qi around them in an instant.
Pu, pu. The black Qi transformed into two, horned ink pythons which shot towards the large flock of fire birds. With their bloodthirsty mouths wide open, each python swallowed several fire birds. Immediately after, they each burped a wisp of white smoke and were completely unharmed.
At that moment, the huge Congealed Yang Bird that had turned into a ball of white flame arrived in front of the snakes. However, it completely ignored them and shot straight towards the freakish shadow.
When the shadow saw this, its eyes flashed with red light, enriching their color. Although the shadow didn't move, it faintly revealed a solemn expression. It was clear that the remnant souls of the Congealed Yang Bird wasn't nearly as harmless as it had made them out to be.
Peng. The green shadow's hands trembled, separating the horned pythons from its hands and allowing them to move on their own.
Then, while clenching its hands as hard as it could, otherworldly dark-green flames flourished from its grasp. Soon after, its body blurred and met the white fire sphere with a fierce punch.
As Han Li and Jin Qing watched on with shock, the white ball of flame was scattered by the strike and disappeared in an instant. A white crystal pearl suddenly appeared in the the green shadow's grasp.
The shadow evilly grinned and swallowed it without hesitation, before turning its ice-cold gaze back to Han Li once more.
At that moment, the scroll painting in Han Li's grasp set itself aflame, and he hurriedly tossed it away. It turned into ash in the blink of an eye. Once the scroll painting turned to ash, the fire birds that were still tangling with the ink snakes disappeared as well.
Han Li sucked in a deep breath.
Although he knew that the remnant souls of the Congealed Yang Birds weren't the green shadow's match, he didn't anticipate that a treasure that specialized in subduing Yin ghosts would be blown away with a single blow. He had only sent them out to probe the opponent's strength, and ended up not acquiring the slightest detail.
The only thing he was certain of was that the opponent wasn't a mere ghost or demon!
Remaining calm, Han Li attentively gazed at the green shadow and inwardly assessed how great his odds of victory were if they were to fight.
"Not bad! I'm now very interested in your body. As for you two, get lost!" The green shadow slowly spoke while looking at Han Li. It seemed his last attack had provoked it.
Naturally, Crooked Soul didn't move in the slightest, but when Jin Qing heard this, he grew distracted, and his expression incessantly changed.
Although he hadn't personally engaged it yet, his opponent's strength was deep and immeasurable. Even if he were to join hands with Han Li, Jin Qing reckoned that their odds of victory weren't very high.
Now that the freakish shadow told him to leave, Jin Qing's heart was wavering.
Having personally witnessed so many cultivators meet their tragic end on this very day, Jin Qing, who normally bragged about being guilt-free and clear-hearted, felt for the first time a desire to cherish life and live another day.
The green shadow snorted and swept its gaze past Jin Qing and Crooked Soul. It sinisterly said, "What? I give you two a chance for survival, and you two do not wish to take it? This Senior should've just saved himself the trouble and turned you two into corpses from the start!"
Having heard the freakish shadow's words brimming with killing intent, Jin Qing's face changed between red and white several times before eventually cupping his fist to Han Li and shamefully saying, "Brother Han, I do not wish to die here. I will have to let you down."
Afterwards, he said no more and rushed toward the stone steps without looking back!
Han Li's expression was calm and didn't reveal any emotions of anger or disappointment. He merely gazed at Jin Qing as he departed with a faint, cold glare.
The green shadow's red eyes revealed a trace of satisfaction.
Just as Jin Qing rushed past the shattered skeleton, an alarming change occurred.
The nearby fragments of the skeleton suddenly launched towards him like a barrage of arrows.
With furious alarm, Jin Qing surrounded himself in a layer of silver light in a flash. But without waiting for him to release his magic treasure or question the freakish shadow, the bone shards shined with white radiance and shot through his silver barrier as if it weren't even there.
An instant later, Jin Qing's body was utterly shredded and fell to the floor without uttering a single word.
Han Li expressionlessly looked at the corpse on the floor and lightly shook his head.
With a flip of his hand, a spirit beast pouch appeared in his hand. Simultaneously, his two flying swords in front of him trembled and faintly released a green radiance.
"Interesting! How come you aren't asking me why I didn't keep my promise?" the green shadow asked with a sneer.
"If your esteemed self doesn't wish to talk, then there is no need to take the initiative to ask. Since you don't want to talk, I'd just be wasting my breath." Han Li expressionlessly said.
"Not bad! Youngster, you are quite to my liking. If this were before I met great catastrophe, I might've taken you in as my disciple. But now, I will never take another disciple. I will be repaying my treacherous disciples by turning their bones to ash and refining their souls!" The green shadow was slightly surprised at Han Li's response, but soon its voice once again grew icy.
Without a change of expression, Han Li waved his arm. Crooked Soul then walked to Han Li's side with his body enveloped in blood light.
He didn't plan on spouting rubbish, instead preparing to use a thunderous strike to defeat the enemy in a single blow. At the same time, additional blades of his Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords from within his body readied themselves to pounce with fervor.
After seeing Crooked Soul's blood light, the shadow slightly trembled, and it smiled in great anger. "Divine Blood Light! Good, good! Are you disciples of Zenith Yin or Zenith Brilliance?"
Han Li slightly frowned.
"Zenith Yin? Could you talking about Grandmaster Zenith Yin of Zenith Yin Island?" Han Li indifferently asked. He faintly felt as if he could unravel the mystery behind the Black Fiend School and Zenith Yin Island.
Upon hearing Han Li, the green shadow flew into a rage and loudly shouted, "Grandmaster Zenith Yin? Could it be that traitorous disciple dares to call himself grandmaster?"
Han Li was slightly stunned. This ghost was actually the master of Grandmaster Zenith Yin. How truly bizarre!
Just as Han Li was left flabbergasted by those words, a green light flashed from his body and a muffled noise came from behind him.
Han Li couldn't help but turn around with alarm. However, there was absolutely nothing behind him.
"Not good!" In nearly an instant, Han Li understood that he had been tricked and hastily turned his head back, instinctively releasing seven flying swords to protect him.
As of current, controlling nine of his Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords was Han Li's absolute limit.
During the instant he turned his head over, his nine flying swords released a single streak of swordlight. A faint golden arc of Divine Devilbane Lightning struck from the swordlight, rendering the incoming green ball of light nonexistent .
Han Li was drenched in cold sweat, as he had nearly just fallen to the enemy.
"Gold Lightning Bamboo! You refined your flying swords from Gold Lightning Bamboo!" At that moment, the green shadow spoke with incredulousness.
Han Li sneered and thought to mock the shadow, but he suddenly felt a strange fluctuation from up above him.
He leaned to the side out of reflex, but he still felt his chest tremble. An extremely familiar red radiance had pierced through him with chilling cold, creating a wound that bled profusely. Immediately after, a yellow streak of light fiercely struck at him.
Dang. A clear ring sounded out. Several of his flying swords flew out to block the yellow streak, the Immemorial Bowl.
"Crooked Soul!" Han Li shouted to his side in furious alarm. The Blood Spirit Drill and the fierce attack from the Immemorial Bowl were clearly Crooked Soul's doing.
However, the figure at his side blurred, shooting towards the green shadow as if he hadn't heard him.
Han Li reached out for the connection in his mind. Although his spiritual sense was still present in Crooked Soul, for some unknown reason he had completely lost control of him.
The green shadow howled with laughter and flew towards Crooked Soul as a streak of green light.
Han Li's face grew extremely pale. Then with clenched teeth, he suddenly formed an incantation gesture and fiercely uttered, "Receive". From a distance, a small green ball flew from the crown of Crooked Soul's head and hastily shot into Han Li's body before disappearing without a trace.
At that moment, the green shadow had already entered Crooked Soul.
As Han Li pushed down on the wound in his chest, he was fiercely staring at Crooked Soul.
Crooked Soul then slowly opened his eyes to reveal a pair of glowing blood-scarlet eyes.
Chapter 427: Profound Soul Demonificaiton
Han Li quickly took out a blue talisman from his storage pouch and gently slapped it onto his wound. With a flash of white light, the bleeding immediately stopped.
But when he turned his head back to meet Crooked Soul's icy gaze, Han Li wordlessly emitted an azure light around his body, which reached ten meters in height, and had his emerald swords revolve around him in streaks. It all appeared blindingly bright.
Han Li had already made a firm resolution that if he were going to leave this place, he needed to have these Bamboo Cloudswarm Swords outside his body to protect against any tricks this ancient eccentric may have in store.
To tell the truth, this was the most fearsome, menacing enemy he had encountered since entering the cultivation world. If his reactions were the slightest bit slow, he would've already had a hole through his heart. Were his spiritual sense not stronger and his mind not nimbler than a common cultivators, he would've undoubtedly met certain death from Crooked Soul's recent ambush.
The Blood Spirit Drill was truly vicious and sinister. It could hardly be blocked.
But now, Han Li didn't have to worry about any further attacks from the Blood Spirit Drill. That last attack was the last charge that Crooked Soul had cultivated.
However, Han Li still felt incredibly gloomy.
According to the External Reincarnation Technique, he clearly should have refined his spiritual sense fragment and Crooked Soul's physical body into one. Just how had this old ghost been able to take control of Crooked Soul without his knowledge?
He wasn't even given the slightest warning. Were if not for his quick wits in hastily retrieving his divided consciousness from Crooked Soul, he feared the shadow would've already used it as a method for consuming him.
Han Li now found himself in a truly troublesome situation.
Since the enemy had possessed Crooked Soul, then the green shadow must be deceased and was closer to an evil demonic spirit or primal soul. The shadow possessing Crooked Soul wasn't necessarily a bad thing, and it may have quite possibly given Han Li the opportunity to exterminate him.
With that thought, Han Li flipped his hand and an exquisitely-crafted small brass bell appeared in his hand: the Spirit Guiding Bell he had kept stored away for so long.
This bell contained the blood essence of Crooked Soul's physical body. Although he couldn't count on it to arrest the enemy, it could still be used to create an advantageous opportunity!
At that moment, "Crooked Soul" was stretching and moving his body as if wanting to familiarize himself with it.
Having seen Han Li's action, he eerily chucked as if the result of the coming battle were laid in stone.
Han Li's expression darkened, and he no longer hesitated to ring the small bell.
With a series of clear bell rings, Crooked Soul's red eyes flickered, but no other change occurred from his body as if nothing was wrong.
Han Li's heart sunk.
"Regardless of what tricks you perform on this Fiend Core Avatar, since I've become the master of this body, do you believe that minor restriction will have an effect one me?" Crooked Soul's rough voice slowly spoke with a mocking tone.
"You know that it is a Fiend Core Avatar?" Han Li's heart stirred with surprise.
"Hehe! The Fiend Core and External Reincarnation techniques were something I had originally passed down to my two traitorous disciples. Did you believe I wouldn't see through them? You sure are courageous to use them in front of me! Could it be that your master didn't warn you that so long as this secret technique was used to refine an avatar, that I would be able to easily control it?" Crooked Soul twisted his neck left and right and indifferently said with crossed arms.
Han Li was bewildered, but his face wore a strange expression.
"What master? The avatar creation technique was something I acquired from a jade talisman. Could it have some relation to you?" Han Li asked, unwilling to be a scapegoat for Grandmaster Zenith Yin. Regardless of whether his words were true or false, Han Li still gave a dull explanation.
"Jade slip? Youngster, did you believe that by not admitting to be the apprentice of my two traitorous disciples that I would let you go? After I capture you, I will refine your soul and acquire everything that I want to know." Crooked Soul didn't seem to believe Han Li and spoke expressionlessly.
With that said, he beckoned to the skeleton pile nearby without further hesitation, causing it to float in the air. In an instant, it reassembled into a complete skeleton, and flew towards Crooked Soul with a flash of white light.
Although Han Li didn't know what he intended, he wasn't going to allow his opponent to smoothly succeed.
He immediately flicked his finger three times, shooting out three streaks of azure swordlight from his hand. The Azure Essence Swordstreaks shot straight towards the skeleton.
"You dare to so presumptuously release those granules of light?" Crooked Soul sinisterly said. He then opened his mouth and spouted out a beam of blood light.
With a series of explosions, the blood light and the azure light struck and scattered into radiance.
Han Li frowned and wore a solemn expression. After being possessed, Crooked Soul's cultivation was no longer restricted to early Core Formation stage. How truly odd!
But what happened next left Han Li even more aghast!
Once the white skeleton flew in front of Crooked Soul, it merged into his body without the slightest obstruction.
Crooked Soul then loudly roared with his head facing upwards. His body emitted several different flashes of colors: from dark-green otherworldly flame, pitch-black ghost mist, and Crooked Soul's Divine Blood Light. These three distinct radiances tangled with one another, continuously wandering throughout Crooked Soul's body and fully covering him within it.
As Crooked Soul roared, a small explosion could be heard from within his body. With his body bowed in pain, his limbs and body began to slowly shrink.
Once this was done, he stood up appearing much shorter, exactly like an ordinary person.
But what caused Han Li to be most shocked was Crooked Soul's face had changed to that of a youth's with delicate facial features. Even the flourishing blood-red in his eyes had greatly dimmed. In that instant, Crooked Soul had undergone a transformation into a completely different person.
Han Li was stupefied for a moment before revealing a bitter smile.
Han Li originally wished to used this opportunity to strike his opponent given how audaciously he used magic in front of him, but he didn't expect that this technique would be performed so quickly that there wasn't an opportunity to make use of.
After a moment of silence, Han Li dryly asked the youth a bizarre question, "Is this possession? Or complete body seizure?"
The delicate youth mysteriously smiled and glanced at Han Li with narrowed eyes, serenely saying, " You greatly underestimate my Profound Soul Demonification Technique. It is a secret art that only a Nascent Soul cultivator is capable of performing. So long as it is cultivated, there are no restrictions with body seizure, and profound souls may be added to another body as one wishes. Now that my profound soul has solidified its bones, I will have you be a blood sacrifice so that this Divine Ancestor may rise once again!"
He raised his hands, suddenly turning his fingers into incisive claws with dark green fingernails several inches longs.
Han Li's expression darkened, and he didn't further waste his breath. He tossed out the spirit beast pouch that he had been holding since the beginning and released his several thousands of Gold Devouring Beetles. A short moment later, a glowing cloud of gold and silver floated above his head.
Then with a wave of his arms, white lights continuously flickered around him, surrounding Han Li with forty huge ape puppets. Each of them stared at the youth with an icy gaze.
But Han Li didn't stop there. With his two hands forming an incantation seal, his nine small swords flew out as azure light and converged into a three-meter-long emerald sword. The sword streak endlessly twinkled with faint golden arcs of light continuously sparking from it.
Upon seeing this, the delicate youth's expression greatly changed, revealing surprise and a grave expression.
After the youth's gaze flickered several times, he suddenly said, "Flying swords refined from Heaven Lightning Bamboo, insect control techniques, and puppets! It seems you really aren't the disciple of Zenith Yin and Zenith Brilliance. Since this is the case, then how about we have a proper chat?"
Han Li, who had just prepared his entire offensive, was stunned upon hearing this. But after a moment of silence, he coldly said, "Unfortunately, I really want to test whether or not your esteemed self is capable of receiving my flying swords!"
Without the slightest hesitation, Han Li pointed towards his huge flying sword, and it immediately launched towards the youth in a green streak of light as thick as a python. As it flew, it occasionally rolled with sounds of thunder.
The youth's face slightly sank upon seeing this, and he lightly waved his claws in front of him. Five crescents of black radiance appeared out of the air and rapidly expanded, blurring several times before quickly chopping towards the green sword streak.
Upon contact, the green sword streak sparked with faint golden arcs of lightning, completely obliterating the crescents of black radiance. They weren't able to withstand even a single blow!
Although the youth's expression remained calm, his mind was greatly startled. The power of the Gold Lightning Bamboo was far greater than he had anticipated.
In the blink of an eye, the green sword streak had arrived in front of the youth. However, he was still calm and collected as he indifferently watched the huge sword approach him as if he still had something up his sleeve.