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“I’ve come due to this matter,” Thousandedge uttered. “Three months ago, Fellow Daoist Speechless’s Buried Flower Legion was completely wiped out. None of them escaped. I personally examined that their life slips left behind with me were totally fragmented.”
“Fellow Daoist Chen, I have to be on my way first. Let’s chat another day.” Thousandedge slightly cupped his hands and walked towards the inner hall, not turning his head back.
Cultivator Chen stood in place. After a brief moment of shock, he faced towards the heavens and sighed distantly, “The world’s affairs are fickle, and fortune makes fools out of men… even Fellow Daoist Speechless actually met his demise…”
Five minutes later, Thousandedge stopped in front of a door. This was the largest stone door, at least fifteen meters high and five to six meters wide. A person standing beneath it seemed to be an insect compared to a great tree. Thousandedge raised both his hands, faintly shivering. His coat fluttered back in the air, caught by the two assistants. Afterwards, they discreetly left.
The surface of the simple, large door was covered with hairline cracks, as if for too long it hadn’t been opened. It appeared ordinary, but so long as one stood before this immense stone door, it gave people a sense of admiration and caused hearts to rise without reason. Each crack was akin to a vestige of years and moons past. They were unembellished, and the grand vicissitudes of vast oceans to mulberry fields seemed to remind everyone that the front and back of this entrance was the disparity between man and god.
The massive character overhead for “sky” explained everything. This was China’s greatest battle strength, the world’s summit. One of the Cultivation Court’s twin powerhouses. The interim imperial residence where President Skybearer’s avatar was located. This character for “sky” was enough to make a hundred demons retreat and bring all humans to swear allegiance.
Half-step Nascent Soul! Humanity’s supreme military power!
Thousandedge took a deep breath and shut his eyes. Every time he stood here, even though he knew there was only a late-stage or Great Circle Foundation Establishment avatar inside, he still couldn’t basically put up a shred of mental resistance. All that prevailed was veneration, allegiance, and reverence that had already burrowed deeply into his bones.
Sucking in heavily, Thousandedge closed his eyes again and gently knocked on the door. After taking a knee on the floor, he said clearly, “Mingshui Province’s Featherwood Guard Branchmaster Thousandedge requests to meet the Dao Master.”
Boom… The tremendous stone door—he hadn’t used spiritual force—made a noise like great reed pipes, which resounded within the entire room. It seemed to calm a man of all emotions, granting a suddenly birthed serenity. No one replied, yet Thousandedge didn’t get up. Moreover, he didn’t have a scrap of displeasure on his face.
“You may rise.” Even after a full five minutes passed, the stone door still hadn’t opened by the slightest crack. Only a voice so aged that it seemed to see through all things distinctly echoed in his ear.
“Yes!” It was then that Thousandedge slowly stood up.
“Yes. In the branch that Junior oversees, the Buried Flower Legion was all exterminated at the same time in an hour. I request Your Majesty Dao Master to make deliberation.”
The voice inside the room appeared to lack a tinge of emotion. After several seconds, Skybearer slowly said, “Speechless… I remember that child… How unfortunate…” While he said “unfortunate”, the tone he used was merely akin to that of a historical spectator. Those who weathered centuries of hardship, tribulations of wind and frost, rain and snow, were like this for the most part.
It is quite a pity. The bridge I once walked has collapsed. It was such a frame of mind.
“You wish to ask me whether or not a Core Formation cultivator disposed of them?” The voice behind the stone door rang out again, “Nay. You may return.”
“Yes.” Thousandedge bowed deeply. “My thanks, Dao Master, for clearing my doubts.”
Behind the stone door, there was no further trace of a voice.
From distant parts, Thousandedge had used a magik treasure to hurry over in an hour and waited for months just to hear these three lines. One sentence was sorrow and the second was rhetoric. The answer to his question was but a single word. The final four words were a polite dismissal, sending a guest away with a cup of tea.
Thousandedge didn’t feel it to be inappropriate whatsoever. This was the proper right of the world’s apex. Several hundred years of bitter cultivation in exchange for a foot at the summit. By rising beyond and distinguishing himself from among China’s million-strong cultivator army, defying the heavens and changing fate, and chopping through winds and breaking tides, Daomaster Skybearer had achieved the prestigious reputation as “The Protector of National Law” of an era. Why couldn’t Skybearer possess such might?
Just like Skybearer in his office, he’d stood in his Spirit Focusing Formation for several decades, which doubled for cultivation and handling official business. Who risked speaking half a word of nonsense to him?
Power had determined his position. Thousandedge didn’t stay behind, and after another hour passed, he finally returned to the branch. Leaning back in his chair, he held a teacup with both hands and faintly mumbled to himself. Among all Dao Masters, Daomaster Skybearer’s words were the ones deserving the most confidence. If Skybearer said nothing, then it was surely a non-matter.
“So it’s not a Core Formation master’s action… but the Buried Flower Legion was exterminated in an instant. In that case… they should’ve run into an ‘undefiable power’...” At some unknown time, Thousandedge’s hand flipped out the Black Kill Order, nimbly turning it through the air at his fingertips. Already, his face revealed a thin, ice-cold smile.
He picked up a telephone. “It’s me.”
“Investigate the Buried Flower Legion’s tracks at once. The last place they disappeared. I want the exact location.” After he hung up the telephone, Thousandedge gently waved his hand, and a folder landed in it. “Fellow Daoist…” He looked complicatedly at the data and picture of Speechless who was on the first page. Eventually, he sighed in a faint voice, “Cultivation is fickle… I clearly remember when you and I entered the cultivator world. I… will send you off on your journey.”
A ball of fire blazed to life. After ages, the folder turned into ash.
“However… you cannot be thought as of having died in vain…” He sneered as he looked towards the red dot on his computer that represented Xu Yangyi. “You allowed me to further understand what it means for the heavenly order to be impermanent… Be at ease… I will present a living child to accompany you in death… A paragon… even stronger than the you of that year…”
Thousandedge clearly understood. If it wasn’t the action of a Core Formation cultivator… then the Buried Flower Legion, an A-rank legion that was assailing the S-rank rating, had entered a place they shouldn’t have! To exterminate the Buried Flower Legion in an hour’s time… This had already transcended the scope of an orange region! It was infinitely approaching a red region!
“It really is… an ideal place to bury bones…” Thousandedge sipped his tea, bestirred with emotion. “Young friend, haven’t you been waiting for an awfully long time, too?”
“This great gift will serve as your Xingtian Legion’s first mission… Are you satisfied?”
Time hurriedly flowed by once again. Without paying attention, another half a year had passed with the snap of a finger. Xu Yangyi was fully unaware of everything in the outside world. Inside the cultivation room, his pill concoction had already progressed to the final step.
He had already cultivated for half a year. The current him was even more tranquil in expression. Solitary had polished him strong and durable against a whetstone. Tenacity had hammered his temperament. It far surpassed his last half year of seclusion. This year and a half had saw him removed from the crowd and isolated in his hermitage. A year-and-a-half seclusion of lonesome exploration even caused him to carry a silken thread of unworldliness at his age.
His gaze calmly studied the round black medicinal pill in the pill furnace in front of him. It was like pure and sparkling obsidian.
In the pill furnace, the pill floated motionlessly. Occasionally, a crackling sound echoed in its surroundings. That was Xu Yangyi using his spiritual sense to “sew and mend” all the sunken and depressed places which completely littered the medicinal pill.
It wasn’t for aesthetic, but because once the pill was formed, a minor hairline crack would lead to qi leakage! In other words, the Pentascent Seed of the Spirit Strengthening Pill or the “outer shell” of other medicinal pills wouldn’t hold medicinality. Only a firm wrapping would cause all of the pill’s internal medicinality not to leak out at all.
Xu Yangyi’s gaze was steady and firm. It was unknown how much time had passed until he finally huffed gently, a breath of turbid air exiting his mouth.
The pill had been formed! All that remained was the last step! The pill-forming stage was completed. In the End of Days, the Dao of Pills which had vanished for over a hundred years to close to two centuries could be declared as having made a re-emergence in the path of martial supremacy, winding between the Rivers and Lakes!
The Eternal Alchemy Canon recorded fifteen kinds of pill-forming arts. Nonetheless, over his year-plus consultation, he had finally selected one of them. It was also the fairest and most moderate one; the Pill Cauldron Sect’s Wei Clan pill-forming art, that of the half-immortal Wei Boyang! The Whale-Inhaling Pill-Forming Art!
The so-called forming of the pill was referring to the period before the pill wasn’t yet formed, and the medicinal pill’s nature still hadn’t unified in medicinality. For instance, Xu Yangyi was now able to distinctly sense that the four medicinal forces within the pill were mutually pulling and balancing each other. However, these forces still hadn’t harmonized together.
As for forming the pill, this was to cause the pill embryo—already completely the same in external appearance to a medicinal pill—to truly unite in medicinal force and transform into a real medicinal pill! And yet compared to the prior time-consuming steps, this step was exceptionally simple.
Xu Yangyi sucked in deeply and stood up. In his heart, he silently recited the Wei Clan’s pill-forming art and calmed all his thoughts. He revolved the magik art, and his finger softly pointed towards the pill embryo. In the next second, he suddenly discovered that the entire room’s qi… had moved!
The qi inside the cultivation room was boundless like an ocean. Behind him, it took the shape of a tremendous white maelstrom! Following along his finger, a shocking likeness of a funnel was directly “injected” into the medicinal pill! Such a situation was akin to a giant whale sucking in water. As for the medicinal pill, the whole body was surprisingly releasing a misty white light. In the pill furnace, the embryo sunk and floated. Immediately following, in the wake of a soft cracking noise, Xu Yangyi’s heart skipped.
How could the medicinal pill crack at a time like this? No! Promptly, he discovered it wasn’t a split. Instead… the medicinal pill’s surface was being carved as if there was an invisible pen circling and rounding. Difficult to distinguish with the naked eye, only by using spiritual sense could these halo-like patterns be discerned as they slowly emerged on the medicinal pill’s surface.
A pill mark! Xu Yangyi forced down the excitement in his heart. Extreme delight almost caused his scalp to numb. Nonetheless, his fingertip didn’t tremble by a hair, still pointed straight at the medicinal pill.
In the End of Days, the century-lost Pill Dao was on the eve of being recreated in his hand! Even if it was the simplest four-part formula of the Spirit Strengthening Pill, this was still a genuine medicinal pill!
A pill mark represented a medicinal pill’s craftsmanship. Xu Yangyi held no extravagant hope to attain other degrees. Of the most basic Monarch, Minister, Assistant, and Envoy pills, it would be pretty good to achieve an Envoy pill. A single pill mark indicated that this medicinal pill was already the lowest-grade Envoy pill.
Following this line mark’s appearance, he clearly sensed the medicinal forces inside the pill fuse together at lightning speed! Xu Yangyi kept quiet, only breathing. Even now, he was somewhat anxious. The inside of the room was dead-silent. A second crack echoed, and a second line-mark appeared.
His heart gently quelled. An Assistant pill. He was quite satisfied with this grade of two pill marks. At the same time, within his spiritual sense, he finally no longer felt that the medicinal pill had any other medicinal forces. The four heavenly treasures had completely fused into one whole at this moment, a fantastic spiritual force that any of the past heavenly treasures didn’t possess!
“C’mon… baby…” Xu Yangyi excitedly licked his lips. Such a feeling of an object, lost for a hundred years, reappearing in his hand was truly too amazing!
Buzz… A sound similar to a dragon’s cry echoed melodiously from the pill furnace. This sound was like the unmasking of a prologue. A prologue of a grand era!
On this day, the Dao of Pills, which had been lost for a hundred years, had officially been declared revived in the hands of an insignificant Qi Condensation cultivator!
Swoosh! Xu Yangyi was absent of hesitation and plucked out the medicinal pill from the cauldron. Inconsiderate to scrutiny, he carefully examined the pellet in his hand.
Crack! At this instant, a third sound rang out!
1. The word “deliberate” in Chinese is specifically used with emperors, which is why I added “Your Majesty Dao Master”.
2. Reminder, Wei Boyang was earlier credited in the story as the creator of the Eternal Alchemy Canon. He is also a real historical figure in early Chinese history who is known as an alchemist. The term half-immortal isn’t necessarily that Wei Boyang was a “half-step immortal”, but someone with such great fame that he was titled as one.
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