The black floodwyrm shot forth, and Yang Qi didn't waste time speaking.
He blurred into motion, and before the black floodwyrm could react, its body shattered into countless pieces. Before any of the blood could even flow out, a huge burst of true energy shoved it down into the sea floor, burying it.
Everything was over, just like that. It was almost as if the mighty black floodwyrm hadn’t even appeared to begin with.
At the same time, a perfectly spherical demon core appeared in Yang Qi’s hand. It was mighty, but not particularly sturdy. In contrast, it was very soft and pliable, almost like an internal organ of some sort. However, it pulsed with profoundly vigorous life force, almost as if there were an infant inside of it, about to be born.
Supposedly, when some daemons reach a high level of cultivation, they could break out of the cycle of reincarnation, and create an infant inside of their demon core. Eventually, they could then abandon their daemon body and become a perfect human.
This black floodwyrm had not quite reached that level, but its core did thump with life force, almost like a heartbeat, indicating that it was very close to forming that infant.
‘Lunar Corona, Cosmic Sunflare.’
It was with no warning whatsoever that Yang Qi unleashed the sword energy of the Cosmic Sunflare Sword technique, causing the water around him to bubble and boil.
The flaming sword energy hit the demon core, and the opposing forces of water and fire caused a taiji symbol to appear, as a perfect balance between the sun and moon was unleashed.
Black floodwyrms loved to consume moonlight, which was, of course, the quintessence of the moon above. In contrast, the Cosmic Sunflare Sword ate up the vital energy of the burning sun, providing the perfect complement.
Yang Qi threw the core into his Hellfire Crucible, and it instantly began to melt.
Eyes flickering, he looked off into the distance.
‘Is this place a black floodwyrm nest or something? That’s definitely the Black Floodwyrm Grotto over there. Supposedly, it's even higher ranked than the Blood Demon Grotto. It's definitely a very dangerous place, that's for sure.’
For most experts, even Lifeseizers, it would be a big waste of true energy to try to stay hidden in the depths of the icy Black Sea. Obviously, humans couldn’t breathe underwater; they would need to use true energy to move about. Because of that limitation, most Masters of Energy would only be able to stay underwater for a short time.
Lifeseizers could last for longer, but of course, if they ended up fighting with demonlings, would have to waste true energy even more. Occasionally, Lifeseizers would enter the Black Sea to help rid the world of devils and demons. But in most instances, they wouldn’t even be able to get close to the Black Floodwyrm Grotto. They would end up getting involved in fighting the various demonlings on the way, run out of true energy, and then be forced to flee. Either that, or be killed.
But Yang Qi was a terrifying exception to the norm. He wasn’t even close to running low on true energy. After all, he could consume the demon cores of the creatures he killed. As such, his true energy was surging, and he was actually in a better position than someone of the Seafolk would be here.
With his pitch black Infernal Deity Plate Armor, Yang Qi was like a devil-ghost from hell.
As for his Infernal Deity Spear, the platinum magical symbols that glittered on its surface made it seem like it was a glorious blessing from the legion of gods.
Furthermore, the helmet of the Infernal Deity Plate Armor had true energy eyes that made it possible for Yang Qi to see everything with utter clarity. He could even see the meridians inside his enemies, and the true energy flowing through them.
And he could also see all of the underwater terrain features. There were gullies, mountains, and further into the immense valley, a sprawling plain. And right in the middle of that plain was a collection of temples, crystalline palaces, and the like, which was the Black Floodwyrm Grotto itself.
He could sense countless auras within the mountains, and the way they caused his hackles to rise led him to the conclusion that if he charged blindly ahead, he would be killed.
‘What I need to do now is perfect the dao of the quick strike. There are definitely black floodwyrms practicing cultivation in caves. If I catch a few by surprise, and kill them quietly, I shouldn’t attract any attention.’ After a short moment of planning, he headed down into one of the gullies, and then in the direction of the palace complex up ahead. 
Eventually, he caught sight of a black floodwyrm in the depths of the gully laying there completely motionless. However, its true energy was focused on its head, in humanoid form, holding a rotating pearl in its hands.
That pearl was much larger than the demon core Yang Qi had taken from the black floodwyrm earlier, and was clearly of much higher quality. Shockingly, this floodwyrm was in the Lifeseizing level! And it was completely focused on its cultivation.
‘Good… very good.’ Yang Qi’s heart immediately started pounding. After all, Lifeseizing demon cores were exactly what he needed to make sure that Li He, Hua Yinhu, and He Jili achieved their breakthroughs.
'Killing a Lifeseizer will be different. I know that I can win, but there’s no guarantee it won’t manage to send out a cry for help. If that happens, and experts from the Black Floodwyrm Grotto come, I’ll be in big trouble!' He wanted to make his move, but was still hesitating.
If he attacked, he needed to accomplish the kill quickly and cleanly.
Even the weakest Lifeseizer who was facing a deadly attack would call upon all of their power to reach a peak state of defense. And at the very least, they would use their power to send out a cry for help.
To kill a Lifeseizer so quickly that they didn't know what hit them was very, very difficult.
If he were back on land, Yang Qi would have been more confident, but right now, he was in the depths of the Black Sea, and knew that any fluctuations which rolled out through the water could easily attract the attention of nearby experts.
From what he could tell, his best bet would be to strike like lightning, then wait to see if anyone noticed. If they did, he would attempt to flee as quickly as possible.
What he was doing right now would be exactly the same as if some deadly monster snuck into the Demi-Immortal Institute and tried to assassinate an elite student. It was easy to imagine how things would turn out if the deed were noticed.
‘Ah, whatever. I'm here, so I might as well prepare a killing blow. If it doesn’t work the first time, I’ll follow up with another attack.’
Dropping down, he concealed himself in one of the many reefs on the seafloor.
His mind filled with thoughts of the dao of the quick strike, he focused on his sea of energy, and the power of forty-nine ancient megamammoths that rested there, waiting to be unleashed….
This was something new to him; the desire to do battle inside of him was growing so strong that his killing intent threatened to leak out into the open. Keeping a tight grip on it, he continued to build up power.
Beneath his suit of true energy armor, he was sweating profusely.
He absolutely had to pull this off like an assassination.
To make matters worse, black floodwyrms had abundant life force, perhaps ten times more than humans. That would make it even more difficult to kill them quickly. This assassination attempt of Yang Qi’s was nothing short of heaven-defying. After all, if he succeeded here, then who in the world could be his match?
‘The boundless dao of the quick strike is about killing in one blow. Put complete focus into the attack, do something rarely seen, strike with utter mercilessness…. This is the perfect opportunity to temper my willpower and determination.’
As of this moment, his heart was pounding, and a thousand thoughts were running through his mind.
‘Maybe this isn’t a good idea after all. If my strike misses, and the experts from the Black Floodwyrm Grotto show up, I probably wouldn’t be able to escape them. It wasn’t easy to get to the level I’m currently at. And I still have plenty of time to cultivate the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth. As the saying goes, a wise man foresees the danger and avoids it.
‘That's right, if I ended up getting killed, what would father do? And what about the clan? And my brothers?’ Yang Qi almost felt like there were two voices inside of him arguing about what to do.
With each second that passed by, it seemed backing down might be the best thing to do.
After all, he didn't need to put himself in danger to further his Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth. He could just kill lower-level demonlings and use their cores to advance his cultivation base.
At that point, he very nearly abandoned his idea of attempting a quick strike on this floodwyrm. The crystalline palace complex up ahead just seemed too dangerous. And he knew that, however dangerous it seemed now, the true danger could erupt like a volcano at any moment.
‘No!’ he said to himself, forcing away the thoughts of giving up. ‘Ever since my life changed, my cultivation base has advanced steadily, without any major setbacks. I need some difficulty. I need some training. I'm going to go into that cave and kill that floodwyrm. I’ll either succeed, or die trying! Only by pushing myself harder can I rest at ease in my heart. Attack! No giving up! Otherwise, how could I hope to prop up heaven and earth as the successor of the godmammoths, and crush the devilish gods beneath my feet! If I backed down, my heart would be faulty, and how could I possibly continue with cultivation? I'm not weak. I know in my heart that I'm a powerful expert! Only by walking the path between life and death can I free myself from the shackles of doubt!’
In that moment, he made his decision.
Self-confidence blossomed inside of him as his own will fused with the raging spirit of the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth. All of a sudden, he felt something like a wave of approval from the golden imp in his forehead. It was as if the technique was personally approving of his soul.
As of this moment, his willpower was stronger than ever. Never before had he thrummed with such a powerful desire to fight.
Maintaining complete and utter silence, he shot forward with his spear.
There was no sound. There were no energy fluctuations. He blurred into motion, piercing through the water almost as if he existed in a different world.
He moved so quickly that it defied any and all description.
And then, his spear stabbed into the black floodwyrm.
In the blink of an eye, the Humanoid True Energy atop the floodwyrm’s head vanished. It died before it knew what hit it!
Yang Qi had succeeded!
1. In Chinese, the ‘dao of the quick strike’ could also be translated as the ‘dao of assassination’. However, the term is used later in ways that would make ‘dao of assassination’ the incorrect interpretation, as far as I’m concerned.