The gigantic beast seemed like an insectoid. Its grey flesh stretched out from the center of Fufeng City. Apart from its dense eyes, its skin looked rather glossy and lustrous. As for the hundred thousand eyes, each of them seemed like it had a will of its own; they didn't seem to just be randomly looking around. They could even look in different directions, making it seem like there were countless other small beasts within the mouthless worm.
The terrifying insect let out a pungent stench that wafted through the city; it seemed to be the source of the many cries of anguish and terror. In comparison, Ghoul King Si Ling's other three lifebound beasts—the necrofiend flare dragon, necrostyx phoenix and necrogale qilin—seemed really small in comparison. The three lifebound beasts' eyes burned like green fire as they stood guard near the grey insect and the ghoul king.
Right in front of them were the six million captives of Fufeng City. Each of the weird insect's eyes locked onto a different person, instilling a terrifying silence in the surroundings. The people were huddled together in fear, feeling terror seemingly seep into their bodies through the ground. Regardless of gender or age, they all regarded the demonic fiends before them with terror.
Ghoul King Si Ling's infamy was wider spread than that of Xue Yi or Zi Xiao. Since her birth, she had been a nightmare to all the folk of the Flameyellow Continent. Her corpse puppet army would only continue increasing in number. If no one took action and stopped her, she would easily be able to turn the entire continent into a living hell.
Standing tall, she announced, "Fear not, escape not. You will die without sound nor pain and fight for me as corpse puppets. You won't feel anything at all, and it'll be fine even if your body gets torn to shreds as you're already dead the moment you become my puppet. I'm only using your body after you have no more use for it. In fact, you should even thank me for granting pathetic people like you the honor of contributing your worthless lives to our grand cause."
Her voice was calming and gentle, much like a doting mother's. Standing tall on the worm, she smiled as she watched the six million shivering people and their lifebound beasts.
The crying only intensified as the whole city fell into depths of despair so deep that nobody had thought it was possible to reach.
"Based on the crying, there must be a lot of children here, eh? You parents really are selfish. You must think very little of our sect, for you to have kept your children here with you. This is troubling. Killing too many children is bad for your lifespan, you know, and children make rather weak corpse puppets."
She chuckled, making the rest think that she would release the children. However, her expression turned cold almost immediately. "I have no choice. I'll let the little useless critters spearhead the charge against Tianming City then. I want those so-called ‘allies of justice’ to see how powerful my army of corpse puppet children is."
Her words sent chills down their spines.
"Ghoul King Si Ling, the heavens won't overlook your evil deeds! You’ll die a horrible death!"
"You sick sadistic animal!"
Countless people in the crowd cursed her, but she just smiled. "Don't say that. I’m rather kind to the common folk in the Nonahall Divine Realm, you know. As for you... you're not one of us, so you aren’t human. It isn't weird at all, right? Killing you is only a part of war. There's no good or evil in war, got it? As for karma... I've been making corpse puppets since I was ten, and I reckon I've made tens of millions of them. I'm still waiting for divine judgment or karmic punishment. It’s funny, when you think about it. I guess you can say I got my punishment if you consider promotions to higher positions of authority with heavier and heavier responsibilities a kind of punishment. Your so-called ‘heavenly arbiter’ is either stupid or non-existent. It is simply a case of being a higher lifeform than all of you. I’m your god, got it?" She laughed sadistically.
"Do you always say things like that to make yourself feel better before committing an atrocity? Looks like you have some dormant fear of the heavens after all!" a man among the crowd cried.
"Hehe..." She sent her whip flying toward the man and pulled. Before he could cry out in pain, her necrofiend flare dragon caught him in its jaws and chewed him up. Even after the man's lifebound beast emerged from its lifebound space, it suffered the same fate of being torn apart and spat out, man and beast flesh all mixed up.
"Any more dissenting voices?" Si Ling asked. All that remained were terrified cries. "What is good? What is evil? Naive children, they don't mean anything! Strength is the only law in this world. You were lucky to have learned this truth from me. Make sure to become someone like me in your next life. Rule the world with your own power, and everything will fall into place! Got it?" she said with a warm smile.
The children only continued sobbing.
"Cry... cry cry cry! That's all you do! No wonder you're animals that'll never evolve!" She had had enough fun. All this anguish she was witnessing was more than sufficient to wipe away the grief and frustration she had felt at Tianming City. "Li Tianming, Jian Wuyi, Beigong Linlan, Lin Qingtian, just you wait! Let's begin."
There were two keys to making corpse puppets. The first was to use a forbidden art passed down in the Nonahall Divine Realm, Necromantic Metamorphosis. The second was her fourth lifebound beast, the nightmare soulworm. Unlike the heartscourge fiend or greenvoid skydevourer, the nightmare soulworm was a broodmother-type beast in the truest sense. Apart from its size, it had no other redeeming qualities in combat. Usually, it wouldn't even make an appearance. Instead, its true purpose was the manipulation of souls!
"All six million of you and your lifebound beasts add up to at least twelve million... That's too high a number. You three, help us," she said to her other three beasts.
"Understood!" Having cultivated the same techniques, they could share their energy. Si Ling and her three beasts used Necromantic Metamorphosis together. First, they would kill their targets. While their bodies were still warm, they would infuse necromantic energy into their bodies to 'cast' them into corpse puppets. Then, the baby insects of the nightmare worm would enter the corpse puppets and become the bodies' new masters.
Great power flowed through the area as the four eleventh-level death samsarans, beasts included, turned into a grey fog and spread through the six million people. The skies turned dark all of a sudden and the howls and shrieks intensified. At the same time, the hundred thousand people and beasts that had been locked on to by the nightmare worm's eyes immediately blacked out, allowing the necromantic energy to invade their bodies to easily kill and change them, allowing the power of death to fester and turning the body into a suitable habitat for the nightmare bugs. Right after that, the little critters entered the corpse puppets in batches of a hundred thousand at a time. As there were around twelve million people and beasts combined, it would take more than a hundred batches.
"If I don't stop to rest, I should be able to finish in about a day. As it's inconvenient for me to stop midway, I'll need the five of you to keep a lookout for me," Si Ling said.
"Understood!" the Five Wraiths of Shoal Mountain replied. They watched as the necromantic energy wormed its way through the captives like an agile snake. Though they had witnessed all kinds of atrocities, they still felt a chill seeing the soundless cries of the people play out before their eyes as they were turned into corpse puppets.
"Don't overthink it. This is war. The victor is king and the loser is lower than a pig."
"That's true. However, even the people with the most power and achievements won't be able to turn back. They have to tread their chosen path to the end."
"Turning back only leads to death. Why bother?"
"Bloodstained hands can never be washed clean. In fact, if your hands are regularly covered in blood and you suddenly touch water, you'll even try to wash the water away with it. Who ever said that blood was dirtier than water? Who decided that was the case? If I like to drink blood more than water, then blood becomes cleaner to me."
No one was born evil by nature. Every action a person did had to be internally justified in whatever twisted way and with whatever mental gymnastics the person required. That was how Si Ling could smile as she slaughtered what she deemed to be nothing but livestock as the five wraiths watched.
The captives were being turned into nothing but empty husks, allowing the bugs to take control of their bodies. They stood on the walls of the city, arms crossed as they tried to stay out of the ghoul king's way. Four cities had fallen, and the nearby area was now Nonahall's territory.
They seemed so different from one another that the fact they were biological siblings was something nobody would ever see coming. If they were related, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that everyone and every beast on the Flameyellow Continent were cut from the same cloth.
All five of them had become third-origin tribulation elders; they were no doubt the only family capable of such a feat. The eldest of them was known as Green Longtongue, for obvious reasons.Previous Chapter Next Chapter