Just as Qi Hai was about to enter the palace coffin, an enormous tentacle shot out from the ground and slapped him away. A giant human-faced octopus emerged, its head three hundred meters wide and eight slender tentacles thousands of meters long. The tentacles the immortals had been fighting belonged to this very octopus.
An icy fist of fear gripped Liu Chen as the bottom fell out of his stomach. The terrible existence growing inside the demon fetus had finally arrived in this world. Moreover… it’d possessed the body of Zhao Qing, the daughter of the primordial Exalted Divine Emperor!
With the advent of their master, the corpse demons stopped moving and human-headed octopi streamed out of the ground, positioning themselves in a defensive ring around the palace coffin.
“At long last, freedom is mine once again.” Zhao Qing’s flesh had fully regrown on her bones. Soft, beautiful locks flowed down her back like a cloud, and her cool eyes shone like the brilliant moon on a dark night. Her mien could drive every male being mad with desire. But right now, her otherworldly beauty only served to make the atmosphere inside the tomb incredibly bizarre.
‘Her’ voice was male.
“Don’t celebrate too soon,” a female voice sounded from Zhao Qing’s figure.
“Qing’er!” Thunderstruck, Qi Hai looked into the depths of the palace coffin as new hope flared to life in his eyes.
“Your true spirit hasn’t been extinguished yet?” the male voice spoke once more. But this time, Zhao Qing didn’t answer.
A faint golden flame suddenly erupted from the throne she occupied and enveloped her figure.
“Exalted Daofire!” an alarmed voice rang out from Zhao Qing’s body. Soon after, a demonic shadow emerged from her body and tried breaking free from it. However, the pale golden flame was connected to the throne and sealed off everything in its vicinity.
As the Exalted Daofire raged on, the princess’ body remained strangely intact. Her true spirit, however, and the one that’d possessed her body were fully set aflame. Just like the Exalted Immortal Reaper, the Exalted Daofire left the flesh intact and only harmed true spirits. But in comparison, the Exalted Daofire was more intense and more virulent.
And little wonder it was, for the fire in the Exalted Immortal Reaper was modeled after the Exalted Daofire.
Zhao Qing remained unmovingly stoic while the demon lord shrieked and flailed like a madman. Outside, the human-headed octopi swam frantically about and sealed off any access to the palace coffin.
Helpless, Qi Hai sagged limply to the ground. He shook with dry sobs, no tears to be found in the depths of his sorrow.
Liu Chen watched on silently. He’d known about the princess’ final trump card since a long time ago. Once the demon lord was born, he was bound to occupy her body, so she’d left the Exalted Daofire hidden below the throne coffin as her final ace.
Even if her true spirit were to disintegrate and disperse along the wind, she wouldn’t let the demonized true spirit of a divine emperor run free in the world.
Liu Chen trembled uncontrollably. Once, he used to dream of freedom with every breath he took, fantasizing about going wherever he pleased after Zhao Qing’s death, living a life free of care or worries.
But now, a sharp pain deep pricked his insides like a needle.
“Your Highness!” He broke into loud sobs and fell to his knees, kowtowing with resounding thumps at the palace coffin.
“Soul shroud!” Zhao Qing’s voice came from the throne, curt, piercing, and filled with inexplicable frustration.
There was a soul shroud on the demon god that warded off the Exalted Daofire!
The princess’ true spirit had been fully consumed by the Exalted Daofire, but only seventy percent of the demon’s true spirit had been incinerated, thanks to the soul shroud’s protection. This true spirit had once been the emperor of the divines!
“Hahaha, hahaha…” the demon god’s laughter boomed out of the palace coffin.
The palace crumbled explosively. Now that he’d fully integrated with the princess’ body, the demon’s true spirit transformed his female host into the body of an imposing man. He roared victoriously at the sky, his laughter filled with pride.
Although more than seventy percent of his true spirit had been consumed in the process, he’d still emerged the winner in the end. In due time, he would recover, and then… become a true emperor!
Gesticulating wildly, the octopi defending the palace coffin opened their mouths wide and shrilled with joy, tentacles wiggling in celebration.
“Lord Demon God, may you live forever and your reign be eternal!” Ge Yanxia threw her head back, braying with laughter.
“All of you will swear allegiance to me now or die!” The demon’s smile slipped off his face as he looked at the crowd of immortals.
“I will fight to the death! So I pledge!” Liu Chen stood up, his eyes shining with ghostly fire as he shot a glare of singular viciousness at the demon god.
Yuying and the other eight envoys stood silently in the air, their eyes cold as they looked at the demon. There was only one god in their hearts, and his name was Lu Yun!
“In that case, all of you can d—hrm?”
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The ground suddenly shook violently as a faraway giant stone statue reached them in the blink of an eye.
“The woman with the cosmic constitution belongs to me! To me, Donglin Taihuang!” the statue repeated obsessively.
“What? Donglin Taihuang?!”
“Step aside, step aside all of you, this Yin Qingran has arrived!” Yin Qingran’s voice rang out loud and clear. “Demon god, demon ghost, or demon slug, hand over your life!”
Hidden in the crowd of immortals, already planning to surrender to the demon and climb to new heights with his new master, Yin Qingran shuddered convulsively. He could’ve sworn he’d kept his mouth shut, so why was his voice emitting from his body for some reason?
His head spun at the paradox.
“What is this!” The demon god stood up and looked at the giant statue, expression going dark. The statue’s strength beggared belief! He wouldn’t have been afraid had he been in perfect condition, but not now, when he lacked most of his strength. He only had thirty percent left at his disposal!
More importantly, this stone statue… was charging straight at him!
“Avast, ye cretin!” The demon struck the stone statue with a backhand.
“Those who obstruct me... shall die!” The statue’s stone eyes were lifeless and showed no particular focus. Had it possessed eyes of flesh and blood, the demon god would have realized that the statue’s vision was firmly locked on to a certain speck of dust.
This microscopic particle had landed on Yin Qingran moments ago and spoken a few words before escaping. It was now inside the ruins of the palace coffin. However, the fearsome stone statue fully occupied everyone’s attention, demon god included, so he failed to notice this tiny speck of dust.
From his point of view, he himself was the monster’s target.
“Did Yin Qingran bring a helper?” the demon god mumbled to himself as his fist smashed into the statue’s chest.
Yin Qingran sprawled bonelessly to the ground with abject helplessness. For one reason or another, he’d been scapegoated one time too many.
High above, two mighty figures were trading blows. The demon god had once been an unparalleled powerhouse in the Primeval Era, and after stealing a divine emperor’s true spirit with a soul seed, he was in the prime of life. Backing away from a strange stone statue was naturally out of the question.
For its part, the stone spirit had inherited Donglin Taihuang’s obsession. Come what may, he had to obtain the woman with the cosmic constitution, so to see someone stand in its way drove it wild with rage.
RIP. I think we have a new bearer of the "Greatest Scapegoat" title after the poor bean soldier who died so many times in a tribulation. Tied with Yin Qingran though.