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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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