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At the same time the Pill-Elixir Fire served as a kinetic source, it was purifying all of Xu Yangyi’s qi. Such circumstances brought happiness, but even greater apprehension.
“This is still just the outline of initially building the Eternal Alchemy Canon. There’s still a far difference from the theory of ‘refining man’… When it’s done, what kind of changes… will happen to my body…?” His gaze complicatedly studied the faint-blue talismans that covered the room. “What direction will my future road take me…?”
Nonetheless, this feeling vanished without a trace after a few seconds and was replaced with a stalwart emotion, that of shattering pots and sinking boats in hardened resolution.
Even so, what of it? He could already be regarded as possessing a monumental destiny. He fundamentally couldn’t tolerate such a matter as protecting his life like a treasure hidden in a mountain as he sat for a century until his bones withered. Even if a field of thistles and thorns were ahead, he was still willing to brave the path and cut his way through to charge forth and look forward. How could the unknown possibly make him abandon the Eternal Alchemy Canon?
“This isn’t me.” Xu Yangyi breathed in deeply a few times and calmed down. Chuckling, he lit a cigarette. “Fearless in assumption, but even more fearless in confirmation. That’s my style.” At the same time, another thought welled up in his mind. This… was still merely his own qi condensed into a Pill-Elixir Fire. What if… that legendary Spirit Flame was swapped instead?
Smoke scattered through the inside of the room. The cigarette butt echoed with a muffled sizzle as it was tossed under his foot, and he forced himself to sever these overwhelming and chaotic thoughts. In the end, his vision settled cautiously on his qi sea.
“Ultimately… it’s you…” The original position of his qi sea was totally dispersed of qi. In the first place, the space should’ve been without entity, but now there was a silkworm. A white silkworm. It was approximately just the size of a thumb. It was rather young and seemed soft and squishy. The insect didn’t look as if it had a destructive appearance.
Xu Yangyi’s spiritual sense kicked the creature without the slightest hesitation, yet the plump body merely trembled and fell back to another side. When kicked again, it retreated once more. Finally, when it was kicked into a corner, the baby silkworm sniveled like it was begging forgiveness. Xu Yangyi rubbed his chin and coolly studied his unexpected guest.
It appeared… his qi sea had always housed a renter… Beginning from the small chest to the stone-like object later on, and then to...
“Hold on…” His gaze abruptly chilled because he saw several additional objects.
In the silkworm’s surroundings, there were some scattered things, rather tiny objects. If one didn’t seriously look, they wouldn’t be able to clearly make these objects out at all. The objects… were pieces of stone-like skin. However, he recognized these “stones”. This should’ve been the stone’s shell from back then!
Xu Yangyi suddenly recalled that during his bloody battle at the Four Great Joint Pools, there had indeed been the sound of some object breaking into pieces within his body that was heard. Afterwards, he had comprehensively examined his body, but the stone had disappeared. However, he was unaware that this silkworm was unexpectedly hiding at the very bottom of his qi sea in some special location! He had went through several rounds of Innersight but was unable to detect this creature whatsoever!
Were it not for the Eternal Alchemy Canon suddenly drying out his qi sea and rebuilding his qi “circuit board”, perhaps he would forever be in the dark regarding this thing concealed at the bottom of his qi sea. This thing had hatched out from that “stone”. It had relied on eating its own “eggshell” to survive, always stationed in his qi sea.
Xu Yangyi didn’t speak. He was uncertain as to where in the world this creature had come from. Did it come from the Emperor Armament? The arcane effort?
“If it’s like that, then things’ll be fine. But if it’s some contingency left behind by Jadewave…” His gaze flickered. “Or a weird back-up from the Ming Clan… I have to keep it down on lock.”
“Since you like hanging out here, then you can stay.” Amidst his mumbling, Xu Yangyi turned around and left. Afterwards, several thousand ribbons of the purest qi besieged and trapped the silkworm into a qi cage, layer after layer. Before figuring out what this bug was, there was no way that he could ignore it getting loose. Especially since such a thing as a silkworm… could evolve. It seemed harmless for now, but who knew? If it was able to evolve later, would it become some kind of monstrosity?
“It’s still no insurance.” Xu Yangyi’s spiritual sense pulled back and departed his qi sea. His hand gently tapped an object, and heavy clanging sounds rang out. He murmured softly, “I have to step into late-stage Qi Condensation as soon as possible. I can use a magik artifact later and ‘subdue’ this bug with a peak treasure.”
His finger making a faint scorching noise, Xu Yangyi sucked in deeply and gazed brightly towards the pill furnace.
Crackle… The black ball seemed to be a magnet, and the gelatin formed from three heavenly treasures was like an iron lump. At this moment, a marvelous chemical change occurred, and the two objects began to mutually draw close.
The inside of the room was absent of wind and bereft of human speech. All that existed was a slightly muffled breathing that carried a stifling trace. In Xu Yangyi’s expecting gaze, within this full minute, the surface of the object bulged and caved in. Even during its melding, the ball had been pulled and torn into an irregular state by the colossal medicinal force. However...
It was at peace. And while Xu Yangyi could sense the accumulated spiritual force within, four completely different medicinal powers now calmly curled back to four corners, mutually calming and stabilizing each other. Like the rivers of Jin and Wei, these medicinal forces were clearly delineated in separation.
“Success…?” Xu Yangyi softly pursed his lips, his gaze luminous as he looked at the totally irregular object. The blob was so ugly that it couldn’t be given words to. Nonetheless, he only felt it to be very beautiful, by no means a common product.
Since he secluded himself again, almost a year had passed. In the end, he faced towards the heavens and took a long sigh. Following this breath, the gloominess, grievance, and impatience in his heart all transformed into flying ash. There was no loud screaming and there was moreover no excited jumping about. He only gazed intently at the ugly medicinal pill embryo, his heart a tangle of various complex emotions.
Any pioneer was walking lonely in the dark night. It couldn’t be said, and it was incapable of being said. Added on with the Fire Manipulation Art, he had already cast two years time into the Eternal Alchemy Canon. Finally, Xu Yangyi had gained this fledgling form. Perhaps to an ancient cultivator, this was laughable. A four-part prescription, a medicinal pill without flame variation, was actually able to squander a year. Furthermore, it was then that Xu Yangyi arrived at the second step, but nevertheless he was quite pleased.
In the End of Days, this was the sole medicinal pill prototype! Next… was the juncture of congealing the pill.
“Soon… Daomaster Floatingcloud.” A small bloodthirsty grin played at the corner of his mouth, and he sneered as he licked his lips. “When the time comes, I’ll deliver a great gift to all of you… A gift that none of you will simply expect…” Stifling his heart’s excitement, his mind threw itself into studying the Eternal Alchemy Canon once again.
After a week, Xu Yangyi slowly opened his eyes. “The last two steps…” His mouth revealed the trace of a queer smile. “Are actually so simple.”
“Congealing the pill is to use spiritual sense to take the pill and return it to its initial form. This is also it’s most perfect state—spherical. This requires a steady carving flow.” He recalled the last two steps. “However, forming the pill is a bit troublesome…”
Through experiencing the two steps of fire manipulation and ingredient placement, and a whole year of “torture”, his patience and self-confidence had gained an immense upgrade.
“The Eternal Alchemy Canon has written that there are fifteen kinds of sect techniques for congealing the pill, all of them untransmitted secrets. It can be said that although 99% of the work has already been done, without this 1%, this object can’t be called a pill.”
“These two steps have detailed explanations. In comparison to the two last steps, it really is a lot more convenient.” Without sparing another word, Xu Yangyi had already engrossed himself for a year, eagerly wishing to view the fruits of his labor. Time surged past again like flowing water. It seemed that this cultivation room had vanished from the world.
On a white stone path, people came and went. A delegation of submissive Qi Condensation cultivators, their brows lowered and their eyes obeying, closely circled an old man with a gloomy expression and an overcoat hanging over his shoulders. Their leather shoes made a crisp sound as they walked on the path.
Thousandedge’s face couldn’t be regarded as sightly in any way. He absolutely hadn’t foreseen that the trip of Court President Skybearer’s avatar would surprisingly exceed three months, with the latter not returning until three and a half months.
On the path, there was a youthful cultivator quietly discussing some business with a law enforcement officer who had a worried expression. The sound of conversation and walking was so low that they seemed to be inaudible, and yet they even further set off the prestige and tranquility of this place.
The entire journey was without conversation. As Thousandedge arrived ahead of the court entrance, which was a full twenty meters tall, three suited men had already heaped on sincere smiles and bowed deeply. “Respectful greetings, Senior. Junior presents the Dao Master’s command. Come in…”
The man’s voice yet to fall, Thousandedge’s body had already passed them. The trio were dazed yet not one bit discontent. They hastened to follow from behind and pointed out the route.
The transparency inside the tremendous court was excellent. It was silent, quiet like an empty cemetery; only the crisp sound of leather shoes knocking on the floor reverberated within the great hall. Thousandedge was without a sliver of mind to evaluate it. Just as he rounded a corner, a familiar voice was heard. “Fellow Daoist Thousandedge?”
“Fellow Daoist Chen.” Thousandedge halted for the first time. He absolutely didn’t care for Qi Condensation cultivators, but between fellow Foundation Establishment Daoists, he still had to observe decorum and relations.
“So it really is Fellow Daoist Thousandedge.” Following the sound of crisp leather shoes, a portly cultivator with graying hair at both sides of his temples and over a dozen initial-stage Qi Condensation secretarial assistants behind him cupped his hand towards Thousandedge. “We haven’t seen each other in thirty years, but Fellow Daoist has impressively advanced to the middle stage. Worthy of felicitations.”
“Congratulations, Senior.” Like they had made an agreement, the ten-plus secretarial assistants behind Cultivator Chen bowed in unison, their voices bright. “We wish the Senior immortal fortune and eternal joy, and a lifespan equal to the heavens.”
The assistants behind Thousandedge naturally dared not tarry, and promptly returned this politeness. In a meeting of Foundation Establishment cultivators, they had to serve as a proper foil. If they were in ancient times, a word more or a word wrong, and they would be killed on the spot. The others might even blame them for splashing blood on their bodies.
“Fellow Daoist, what’s happened that you’ve come to the highest court?” Cultivator Chen laughed and shook hands with Thousandedge. “If you have spare time, how about coming to chat with my Chen Clan? Thirty-one years ago, we seven cultivators charged through the secret realm of an immortal’s cave in the Changbai Mountains together. These days, it’s still fresh in my mind… Oh, that’s right. Isn’t Fellow Daoist Speechless also at the Mingshui Province Featherwood Guard? And the Fellow Daoist’s subordinates?”
Thousandedge was somewhat lost in thought. Afterwards, he took a long sigh, “Fellow Daoist Speechless has fallen.”
“What?” Cultivator Chen was dumbfounded, a scrap of disbelief revealed on his face. He immediately pursued this questioning. “How? Fellow Daoist Speechless was approaching the late stage thirty years ago. Thirty years later…”
1. “Shattering pots and sinking ships”. This is an idiom used to describe the final battle of an ancient conqueror, Xiang Yu (232-292 BCE). Xiang Yu fought against the Qin, and in his last fight, he decided to make a last stand. He ordered his men to break his pots (meant for cooking and sustaining the army) and drill holes into the boats. In the end, he committed honorable suicide after slaying over a hundred in Qin forces.
2. Another idiom. In China, the rivers Jin and Wei are tributaries of the Yellow River. On a map, it is clearly visible that they are separate.
3. I think already mentioned, but Changbai Mountains is also known as Baekdu Mountains for the Koreans. It borders Jilin Province and North Korea. Remember, Xu Yangyi is very far northeast now in comparison to the far west as before.
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