Beastmaster of the Ages - Chapter 1430
Normally, a destroyed bane-ring would leave nothing more than a scar behind once it recovered. However, her destroyed bane-ring was changing and pulsing, as if it was reconstructing itself. It still seemed capable of converting astralforce that gathered there into new totem ki.
“Aaah… aaaah!” Li Wushuang screamed uncontrollably in pain, her voice reverberating throughout the cave. If it weren’t for the fact that nothing else lived on the island, she would have alerted everyone on it. The spectacle lasted a full two hours before her groans gradually trailed off.
She laid softly against the wall, sweating as if she was badly sick. Her right hand weakly slumped down, no longer clutching the destroyed bane-ring and revealing a b.l.o.o.d.y light that illuminated the cavern. The moon-shaped bane-ring was nowhere to be seen, replaced by a blood-colored face of a female ghoul with long hair and a long tongue. It looked like a completely new bane-ring.
Normally, totems of destroyed bane-rings would turn back into terra and not stay as totems, but the ghost-faced bane-ring looked just like her old totem. It even seemed to pulse with life. An eighth of Li Wushuang’s hair seemed to have been dyed blood red to reflect the change. Even her left cheek seemed to twist slightly to bear a similar expression to the new bane-ring’s face. Before, her beauty had been emphasized by her cold demeanor, but now something about her looks seemed lacking, almost ugly. It was like an eighth of her face had been charred.
She took out a mirror, her hands shaking, and shrieked when she saw her own reflection. Tears immediately began flowing. “No!”
She smashed the mirror right away, grabbing a shard and intent on piercing the new bane-ring with it. Right then, a blood-red figure emerged from it and turned into a gigantic totem. It was the beautiful ghoul, dressed in a red gown that emphasized its perfect figure. However, her face, hair, and tongue made quite a terrifying visage. Long, sharp claws stretched out from the sleeves of the gown.
“Ugh….” She looked at the totem, feeling a chill. Though she desperately wanted to cry, her tears didn’t flow. She slumped slowly to the ground, kneeling, and the totem began to dissipate. She couldn’t help it and hugged her head as she sobbed.
“No… I don’t want this….”
Some time later, a golden transmission stone flew to her, emanating an aura that took the form of a blonde man. He smiled as he looked at her and said, “You’re rising after a fall. This is a new life, Shuang’er. It’s you, but perfected. You’ll become the sun empress…. You must understand what your Big Brother has done for your sake. I’ll never harm you.”
“Leave me alone! You’re doing it only for yourself, you mad, s.a.d.i.s.tic demon!” She smashed the transmission stone with her signature weapon, shattering it. However, the man’s aura lingered for a while longer, smiling, until it completely dissipated.
There was a sapling site near Magma Valley; it was the closest one to the Supracloud Sanctuary. The Northdipper Swordsage had stationed more than ten thousand swordpupils there. Right after they arrived, they began fortifying the surrounding area to make sure nothing could come or go. Countless beasts of all varieties, including stone swordbeasts, surrounded the area, making sure n.o.body approached. The same was the case with the other sapling sites. Even though the swordsage had run into trouble with attacking the Supracloud Sanctuary, he was determined to take the saplings.
“Stay alert. Let n.o.body approach the saplings. Kill anyone who does!”
“I wonder if the swordsage has taken over the Supracloud Sanctuary yet…”
“We’ll have lots of spoils to distribute… hahaha….”
“I killed two people today and got quite a lot already.”
As they were excitedly chatting away, both they and their lifebound beasts discovered the change in the divine tree.
“What’s going on?”
“The tree’s leaves and branches all turned red?”
“Something is wrong! Stay alert!”
All of the swordpupils and their beasts reacted, witnessing the process of the tree turning a demonic red. Was it really the verdant tree of life from before? The entire process only took three breaths of time. Before they were even able to react, a b.l.o.o.d.y aura permeated through their surroundings, seemingly turning the entire place into a b.l.o.o.d.y purgatory. Even the burning sky above was nowhere to be seen, and what replaced the heat waves was a rare, chilling breeze.
“What in the world is going on?” They all looked at each other, perplexed.
“Look at the saplings!” someone cried out. Near the saplings where the b.l.o.o.d.y mist was at its densest, some b.l.o.o.d.y liquid seemed to surround the saplings and started sizzling. The saplings that seemed like they were hugging each other looked like they were coming alive. There was a b.l.o.o.d.y glow in their eyes. Hand in hand, they looked at the crowd, opened their mouths, and vomited streams of blood, turning the environment around them even redder than before.
“What the h.e.l.l? Are these saplings conscious?”
Nothing made sense.
“Master, should we retreat further back? This is far too eerie. I have a bad feeling about this.”
“The swordsage’s orders were that we shouldn’t leave the saplings at all.”
They continued standing guard. Eventually, the b.l.o.o.d.y mist was all around them. All of a sudden, a shriek rang out and a commotion began forming.
“Who’s the one messing around and crying out?” chided a white-haired elder of the stonesword race.
“Granduncle, it’s Zhuang. He looks like he’s in pain.”
“What?” The old man pushed apart the droves of people and saw a youth rolling around on the ground, his face sweaty and pale. “What’s going on?” he asked as he helped him up.
“Aaaagh! My stomach! My stomach!”
The old man noticed something was amiss and removed the boy’s armor and clothes. When his abdomen was revealed, the people around him couldn’t help but cry out in shock and take a few steps back. b.l.o.o.d.y, thumb-sized boils had formed around his abdomen, looking like bulging eyeb.a.l.l.s. They began spreading throughout his body to his limbs, and even his head. When his face filled with boils, he was an ugly abomination. His eyes and mouth were squashed flat by the new growths of flesh. “Save me… save—aaagh!”
People watched as small, blood-colored saplings burst out from the boils before growing at a rapid pace, turning the poor fellow into a man-shaped tree. In an instant, the flesh and blood within him was drained, leaving nothing behind but a dry husk.
“Get back!” someone cried right before the youth exploded, spraying a b.l.o.o.d.y mist and chunks of his corpse on the people around him, causing them to vomit.
“What is this? Some kind of poison?”
“No idea…. It almost resembles an ability of a plant-type lifebound beast, but even those aren’t nearly as terrifying, are they?”
“Who did it?”
“Could it be the divine tree?”
The guesses began stirring panic among them. What was even worse was that a few more people began shrieking in despair. It was happening far too quickly! Boils began spreading across their body before saplings sprouted from them, eventually causing them to explode into mists of blood in the span of a few short breaths!
“Move away! Get back!”
It looked like an infectious disease, a truly terrifying enemy that couldn’t be seen or touched.
“Use astralforce to suppress it and protect yourself!”
Normally, astralforce would be enough to get rid of toxins in the air or blood. However, the chain reaction seemed to be happening too quickly for the cultivators to react in time. The mist was already all around them, causing screams to ring out nonstop. Even those who tried using astralforce to protect themselves noticed boils begin forming, and despaired as they sprouted. It soon spread to lifebound beasts. One thousand-meter-tall beast’s skin was covered in large, fist-sized boils, out of which b.l.o.o.d.y sprouts grew, resulting in a great explosion that caused blood and flesh to be showered all over the place. Terror and despair began spreading like a wildfire.
“The Azurecloud Divine Tree is venting its rage!”
Even though elite cultivators like them should have no issues surviving plagues, what had happened today completely rewrote what they knew. Not even the astralforce of lower-leveled solarians was able to stop this invisible killer that took care of them in a few short breaths. How could they not be afraid?