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Why couldn’t Xu Yangyi use his hand to put in the ingredients? It was quite simple, because as the process was done, he needed to be constantly monitoring the magiks to sustain the arcane effort’s revolution. Refining a pill was to refine a man. This was where the Eternal Alchemy Canon’s greatest superiority lay.
“Right now, the composition of a Qi Condensation medicinal pill doesn’t go over ten ingredients…” He gently grasped a purple flower from a pile of ingredients in front of him. The flower was a gorgeous amethyst from petal to stem, yet it was ice-cold to the touch. Even stranger was that the moment it was placed on the floor all of its petals folded. And yet with the bump of a finger’s warmth, the flower immediately spread open, similar to a violet sun.
Casually, he softly brushed it. This was a component of the Spirit Strengthening Pill’s formula, the Violet Yang Flower. It grew in temperatures at absolute zero or below. It was considered one of the best artificial reproductions of heavenly treasures.
“The Foundation Establishment formula—the known pill formula—has at least thirty-five heavenly treasures. I haven’t seen the Core Formation formulation, but it shouldn’t be less than fifty…”
“The long degree of time is noted, and spiritual sense and spiritual force are doubly consumed. Cultivation state always has to be maintained. This is to take precaution against insufficient qi reserves in the qi sea and cause a failed pill refining. At the same time, Foundation Establishment and Core Formation pill ingredients are bound to be even more precious. I… can’t waste them.”
“The crux lies here…” His gaze twinkled as he recalled the pill formula. “The first step is to put in the ingredients. The higher the pill formula’s rank, the greater the amount of pairings, and the harder it is to grasp certainty. But… my first intro pill only has four kinds of pairings!”
“It’s difficulty isn’t in introduction, but rather mastery.” Xu Yangyi inhaled deeply and shut his eyes. His brows faintly stirred. In the wake of this action, four ribbons of misty white qi spilled out from his body, accurately connecting above four medicinal ingredients. Subsequently, the Violet Yang Flower, Imperial Heaven Wood, Cinnabar Fruit, and Pentascent Seeds floated up into the air, unsupported.
Xu Yangyi’s brows faintly wrinkled, yet they immediately smoothed. Spiritual sense was a qi manipulation technique. Any of a cultivator’s divine abilities relied on spiritual sense to mobilize qi. But meanwhile, as he caused the four medicinal ingredients to hover at the pill cauldron’s side, his mind was somewhat overwhelmed in task.
Concerning the four threads of qi, he was basically unable to accomplish the effortless moving of an arm as a finger as said by the Eternal Alchemy Canon. He tried, wishing for the Violet Yang Flower, but what came to him was the Imperial Heaven Wood. It seemed the four silken threads of qi unfathomably twisted together.
It was a problem of practice. Merely an issue of proficiency.
“If it’s a question of skill… then I’ll build things up with time!”
“I don’t believe that this second step is greater than a harder pill formula’s difficulty! I don’t believe that a minor problem of four heavenly treasures that don’t even require that much variation in fire strength can choke I, Xu Yangyi, to death here!”
Time passed quickly. One month swiftly went by. Two months fluttered past… In the cultivation room, Xu Yangyi’s eyes trembled, looking at the four floating medicinal ingredients at his side. He took a long sigh.
Li Zongyuan, Mao Ba’er, and the rest didn’t come to hurry him at all. Everyone clearly understood that it was all too common for cultivators to seclude themselves for anywhere between three to seven years. Foundation Establishment cultivators would enter seclusion as they wanted to for upwards of ten years. Furthermore, there could already be a change in regimes or eras when a Dao Master left seclusion.
A Violet Yang Flower flew in front of Xu Yangyi. He used his spiritual sense to feel everything in the outer world, gently moving his finger. Ensuingly, the flower blew as if it had been crossed by a faint breeze, calmly fluttering into the cauldron.
Xu Yangyi’s appearance had long since ceased to be the appearance he had entered with. A beard and sideburns had started to thickly grow in. In particular, his hair was unexpectedly shorter than when he had come in. Now, Xu Yangyi was nearly bald, and his remaining hair, less than a centimeter long, stuck to his scalp. His complexion was also somewhat black, and the clothes on the upper-half of his body had been discarded early on, revealing his tight muscles. At his side, the medicinal ingredients had already been reduced by around a half.
Crackle… The furnace fire was without a sliver of variation. A spark revealed itself in the cauldron, and closely following, the flower… transformed. It wasn’t scorched but rather strangely melted, similar to ice meeting fire. After three seconds, a wiggling white liquid was floating in the cauldron.
The space between Xu Yangyi’s brows moved, and a chunk of black-lacquered inch-long wood promptly trailed behind. With a thump, the wood’s entire outer layer peeled off little by little, exposing the whiteness inside. The internal core resembled an infant’s skin.
“One… Two… Three… Ten… Thirty-five…”
His heart was absent of any other pursuits. As he counted up to forty-seven seconds, the Imperial Heaven Wood’s white inner core had already transformed into a light-yellow color. It released a crackle which quietly subsided. At this moment, it had already transformed from the size of a thumb to the size of a fingernail.
“Now!” Prompt, he controlled his spiritual sense, causing the ball of white liquid to swiftly encase the Imperial Heaven Wood. Following a hissing noise, like that of water splashing on fire, the Violet Yang Flower liquid and the Imperial Heaven Wood inner core miraculously fused together to Xu Yangyi’s surprise.
In the next second, this object, seemingly solid yet not solid, gently began to squirm as if it was alive. Its color also gradually turned into a kind of pleasing and heart-warming cyan from a yellowish-white.
Xu Yangyi didn’t delay in the slightest. According to the pill formula, the main part of the Spirit Strengthening Pill was formed from its foundation. The Cinnabar Fruit and Pentascent Seed that remained brought about a kind of chemical transformation effect, bringing the four types of different qi and different medicinal efficacies to completely meld together.
Up to now, this was his best attempt. This was because each day, he was becoming even more skilled than the previous day! His finger gently moved, and a thumb-sized, cherry-like, and completely transparent fruit swiftly flew up. It was quickly cast into the furnace fire.
Sizzle… Following a soft noise, the fruit’s flesh and skin appeared like paper encountering fire. In the cauldron, it rapidly transformed into black ash, only leaving a scarlet pit.
Xu Yangyi continued to silently count in his mind. As he counted up to twenty-eight, the pit had already transformed into a kind of semi-gelatinous substance. Shortly, he commanded the Violet Yang Flower and the Imperial Heaven Wood’s semi-solid to cover it.
Buzz… A soft droning rang out, and the cauldron slightly trembled. Even Xu Yangyi who was sitting in front of it could sense the lump of pure and vital qi boiling in the cauldron!
Swoosh! His eyes suddenly opened. In the next second, a five to six-centimeter-sized pentagonal plant, bearing an ineffable direction, charged into the cauldron without hesitation!
This time, everything had gone very swimmingly! Once the Pentascent Seed encapsulated this semi-solid lump, the rest was just the pill-congealing stage! And yet… Xu Yangyi’s gaze was exceptionally cautious. In these past months, all his failures rested upon this last step!
Whoosh! The Pentascent Seed met the fire and instantly transformed into a dense black fluid. It seemed that he hadn’t tossed in heavenly treasures, but rather a water bag containing black liquid. However, the black liquid simply didn’t have a sliver of fishy repulsiveness. Instead, it was emitting traces of a sweet fragrance, inconsistent with its appearance.
When both sides touched, the dense black liquid appeared to transform into a layer of outer clothing, swiftly beginning to wrap up the gelatinous substance! Nonetheless, the incomparably gentle gummy-wrapping substance from moments ago was now like a phantom wrapped in a bed sheet, the entire black “outer clothing” protruded eastwards and sunk in westwards. As if it wanted to struggle free of the outer-clothing restriction, the gummy rushed towards the outside world!
Xu Yangyi didn’t utter a word. He quietly and nervously studied the change inside the cauldron. So long as this step succeeded, and after following two hours of baking, he could enter the pill-congealing stage! But at this exact time, a ray of blue splendor abruptly swept through the inside of the cauldron and came out!
Boom! Simultaneously, the flames of the entire cauldron banded together to rise over ten feet high, taking Xu Yangyi who was in front of it and swallowing him in! Whoosh… Rain drizzled and the furnace fire was extinguished. Xu Yangyi stood up, his face black.
Good… His dense sword-like brows ceased to be, his shaggy hair was gone, and his eyelashes had been scorched. With the addition of the cauldron ash that had blown all over his face, it was unknown how terrible his image was. His legs were somewhat numb, the repercussions of long meditation. Nonetheless, he didn’t care for this at all, but rather mumbled to himself as he looked at the cauldron before his eyes.
Another failure… His face lacked a shred of disappointment. These few months of seclusion—even if it was the relatively simple medicine-placement portion—had blessed him with layer upon layer of difficulties. At the beginning, he had once wished to show consideration for the medicinal ingredients, so he extinguished the furnace fire straightaway. After a month, he stopped putting the fire out, but it was unable to persist with the past continuous six hours of stability and consistency.
Straight afterwards, Xu Yangyi started the money-burning stage, ceaselessly tossing in one heavenly treasure after the other. After ruining an unknown number of medicinal ingredients, he had already arrived at the final medicine-placement step amidst his unwittingness.
The greatest difficulty was the Eternal Alchemy Canon’s description regarding time. It used “breaths”, not “seconds”. This gave him too many hardships. It could even be said he himself had restored and mended a complete modern edition of the Eternal Alchemy Canon by his own hand. But because of this, he had likewise gained the original understanding regarding fire control and timing without paying attention, memorizing the information with incredible clarity.
Xu Yangyi raised an eye towards a not-too-distant wall clock. This was the cultivation room’s only modern installation. Already, it was June 27th. A Cleansing Talisman disposed of his seclusion’s traces on his body. He lit a cigarette, and smoke charged into his chest. Suddenly, a kind of sensation of being alive emerged. It was somewhat abrupt and somewhat swift in its rise. He was dazed for a brief period, yet a smile grew at the crook of his mouth.
This was a cultivator. Cultivation in itself was like so. If loneliness could not be endured, why speak of eternal of life? If one didn’t want to pay the price, how would there be recompense?
He didn’t continue cultivating, but instead began organizing his over half a year’s drizzle of experience.
“It shouldn’t be a question of myself.” He calmly looked at the cigarette butt in his hand and ruminated. “For pill concoction, the intro is simple. The main focus is future accumulations. As soon as I fumble later on with putting in a hundred kinds of medicinal ingredients at the same time, then it’s possible a true reflection of the second step’s difficulties will arise… I’m only stuffed up here because I don’t have a wise master to point the way.”
If entering the gate of Pill Dao demanded several years for a pill formula refining, then it should’ve been a severed inheritance. In the world, there were currently over a hundred kinds of Qi Condensation pill formulas known. A proficiency in at least ten to twenty kinds could be called an attainment of a higher level, a departure from the outer room to the inner chamber.
Then in that case… without the Eternal Alchemy Canon’s universal capturing of the common masses, why even enter the path of pills? Would a Qi Condensation cultivator with an insignificant lifespan of a hundred years still want to join an alchemy sect?
“But this half year is actually a great help towards my dedication to progressing towards my future Alchemy Dao. Most of all…” Xu Yangyi narrowed his eyes. He had just advanced to the middle stage of Qi Condensation not too long ago, but under this dull seclusion, the qi in his qi sea had surprisingly accumulated by a tenth!
In nothing more than half a year! A hundred years to achieve Foundation Establishment; this was no falsehood. In the End of Days, the time for Foundation Establishment was on average 72.78 years. Cultivators that crossed a minor boundary in two decades were all around! As for him, refining pills was cultivation. Based on the meridian pathing of the Eternal Alchemy Canon and the addition of the high-grade Spirit Focusing Formation’s effect, gathering a tenth of qi unexpectedly only took half a year!
Such speed… already surpassed Sunnihilator’s marvel of Foundation Establish in thirty years!
“Looks like Sunnihilator back then didn’t have the destiny to obtain a Core Formation origin crystal and an ancient cultivator’s arcane effort.” Xu Yangyi laughed, pinching out his cigarette butt and closing his eyes again like a boulder.
The Featherwood Guard seemed safe, but in fact, great danger lay in ambush on all sides. In these upcoming years, if he didn’t seize an advantage to safeguard his body and make staunch his fate to go anywhere, he would be ignorant as to how he died!
Thousandedge wouldn't grant him the opportunity to complete a mission. Xu Yangyi and the scheming branch master were both well aware of each other.
He didn’t have the spare time to frolic among the flowers and winds, a romantic youth beneath snow and moon.
1. This idiom about flower/wind/snow/moon is actually just the characters for 花凤雪月. It is used to denote an idea of romantic youth.
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