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The qi thread wrote like the roaming of dragons and snakes, drawing bit by bit. There appeared not to be the slightest difference between the outer form of the schematic and an ordinary hand. Nonetheless, the surface was covered in profound runes. Furthermore, this hand diagram was a dissection drawing!
Xu Yangyi caught quick glimpses of the dizzying and complicated runes and extremely elaborate components of the opened interior texture. There was also a heavenly treasure that he simply couldn’t identify. These things were written below and explained line after line with another red qi thread.
Xu Yangyi couldn’t refrain from looking. He’d already guessed a few things, and because if this his heart stopped beating a little bit. His hand involuntarily grabbed towards his left arm wound.
“Dragonbeard Steel, Starshadow Iron, Sunshine Censer, Scarlet-Gilded Jade… hiss…” Xu Yangyi narrowed his eyes and skimmed through. He couldn’t help but gasp.
These items… Any of them were sold by the gram!
“Young fellow, this is only one part of a whole.” As if he was enjoying Xu Yangyi’s astonished look, Gao Muya fiddled with his beard and laughed. “If I didn’t see you bring back that little girl Quan safe and sound, you wouldn’t be seeing this heck of a mess here… You wouldn’t even be able to enter this room.”
“This really puts… the ‘expensive’ in preciously expensive.” Xu Yangyi inhaled deeply.
“If you drop the word ‘preciously’, isn’t it even more fitting?” Gao Muya boomed with laughter. “This is a true artificing technique… Combining countless kinds of materials together to form a perfect creation. Qi serves as the blood, materials as the meridians, and the blueprint as the form. This item is a supreme masterpiece of artificing.”
Xu Yangyi restrained his fluctuating mindset and continued to look carefully.
The item didn’t seem to be exaggerated and was also absent of might, yet there was a kind of mystical-artifact-like sensation that left one unable to focus on it. It resembled a star in the black night, shining with peerless clarity.
The arm’s shoulder, elbow, and palm positions were indicated by the brush, with three giant light motes that revolved around them. Xu Yangyi saw the diagram of a sword, an extremely elaborate but terribly fierce and strange sword!
The sword was concealed in the forearm. Apart from this, the arm didn’t have any other weapons. As for the upper arm, there was actually a design for a pair of black machine wings after it unfolded!
These aspects were noted and pointed out at the side. The entire arm indicated tens to a hundred attention points! It rendered one who didn’t understand artificing to feel dizzy and light-headed with a glance. Yet after someone who understood artificing caught a glimpse, they would be unable to free themselves from this genius.
“I dare say…” After ages, Gao Muya’s voice slowly echoed. It was different from before. At this moment, his voice was brimming with passion and excitement, as if he was completely enthralled. “This… is the fucking grandest masterpiece in the history of artificing!”
“Come… Come look… This is the most valiant magik treasure prosthesis—the Ketu-Rahu Sword!”
“It’s been decades… but even after I’ve had it for so long, I’ve never found someone that was compatible with it… The exquisiteness of its design, the terror of its might… It is practically… an object created by an immortal! It has already shed itself from the possibility of modern craft! Only an ancient cultivator or p-perhaps an alien! Only an alien cultivator would be able to forge such a perfect work of art!”
Xu Yangyi stowed his gaze. As expected, as expected, this was the Ketu-Rahu Sword. Quan Ningyue had told him about its blueprint numerous times. He merely hadn’t expected that this blueprint would be displayed in this type of manner.
Gao Muya also retrieved his gaze and looked at Xu Yangyi. However, the expression he used to look at Xu Yangyi with wasn’t one that saw a person. Instead, he seemed to be judging an object that could sustain a burden.
Xu Yangyi wasn’t angry at all. Furthermore, he wasn’t even somewhat shy. On the contrary, he generously allowed Gao Muya to observe him.
After an unknown passage of time, Gao Muya pulled back his gaze and nodded. Without saying a word, he gently snapped.
In a twinkling, the room flared with radiant lights and illuminated the interior with matchless clarity.
“Look up.” Gao Muya now seemed to regain his wits, pulling a chair over without the slightest care. He huffed and his butt landed on it.
Xu Yangyi looked up. In an instant, his gaze became solemn.
Above, there were twenty figures dressed in black clothes. Their standing positions appeared to be spread out thinly, but a second look actually caused one to feel somewhat faint. This was evidently a supremely profound formation-diagram.
Yet this wasn’t important at all. What was important was that each person’s hands were radiating white spiritual light. All of these rays converged into an ancient writing brush that was releasing a great amount of white light. As for this brush’s tip, it emitted an even purer white light, a white light that was drafting the Ketu-Rahu Sword!
And at the other side, there were also twenty cultivations. In a similar vein, red light shot out from their hands to converge on a small seal. They guided the red light with full attention.
At this time, the brilliant shining appeared to be scattered in the room by an invisible separation. Xu Yangyi immediately detected two things.
The first: amidst steadiness, there was an obvious strain in these cultivators’ auras. Evidently, this task was quite difficult for them.
The second… these cultivators were all Foundation Establishment cultivators! This blueprint was being outlined by forty Foundation Establishment Seniors!
“Young fellow, do you believe that the price I accept is high?” Gao Muya faced above and raised his chin. “Just on this work of making an inscription image, none who aren’t Foundation Establishment can triumph in this task. And then there's you. Apart from you, other Qi Condensation cultivators wanted me to make this blueprint. Even if I was willing, these disciples under my command weren’t!”
Xu Yangyi realized a third thing.
The Ketu-Rahu Sword… was expensive, very expensive. So expensive that he couldn’t possibly bear the cost.
“Inscription image?” The demon slayer furrowed his brows. There was another deep meaning in this word.
“According to what I know, an inscription image is also known as a ‘stone rubbing’. It takes the characters or images on a stone tablet or object and prints them on paper. In ancient times, durable tissues had to be soaked in advance and then spread on a stone tablet’s surface. After the paper dried, a brush was dipped in ink. The ink was used to evenly spread and cover the paper, and then the paper would be taken off,” he said thoughtfully. “Senior, if this word hasn’t been used incorrectly, then… the main part of the Ketu-Rahu Sword…”
“Stone?” Xu Yangyi’s eyes brightened, and he looked at Gao Muya who was already surprised beyond measure. Soon after, fortune blessed his mind, and he said astutely, “No! This can’t be stone. Left arm… Left arm… That’s right, that’s right!” He took a deep breath, his gaze trained straight on Gao Muya. “It’s not stone… It’s bone!”
“The original source that Daomaster Skybearer gave you was carved on bone! Right now, you’re trying to restore it! Am I right?!”
Swoosh! Gao Muya suddenly stood up and looked at Xu Yangyi in awe. After ages, he seemed as if he wanted to take out his shredded tobacco, yet he didn’t feel it after quite a while. He gnawed at his mouth as he deeply studied Xu Yangyi. “That girl Quan did say that you could divine three from one, and your thought process was extremely fast… It really is… You’ve surprised me…”
“Clever. From a single word of mine, you actually guessed the truth behind the Ketu-Rahu Sword. Although… you were off by a point.”
Xu Yangyi laughed sincerely. “Please clarify things, Senior.”
Gao Muya looked at Xu Yangyi. After a brief moment, he then said, “I wasn’t originally planning on having you look at the original source… but now, I’ve got a new idea…”
He quickly waved his hand. In an instant, above the forty Foundation Establishment cultivators, an object hidden in the darkness finally released rays of faint light.
It… was an arm.
However, it wasn’t just the bones of an arm! It was a completely intact black bone with an extremely odd appearance. It wasn’t clearly visible to the eye. Xu Yangyi shut his eyes and fully unleashed his spiritual sense. Yet as his spiritual sense extended outwards, he didn’t see the shining eyes of Gao Muya besides him. The grand artificer deeply nodded.
“What powerful spiritual sense… Although it’s nothing much compared to mine… in the Qi Condensation realm, it’s enough to be called powerful. It’s at least a fifth greater than cultivators of the same stage, no, that’s not right… This is… a fourth? No, a third? It’s actually close to the Great Circle?”
Just as Xu Yangyi’s spiritual sense shrouded the bone, a matching image had already emerged within his mind. It was a bone that was as long and thick as a normal person’s. There wasn’t a difference. But… the bone’s shape was absolutely different!
A normal person’s upper arm and forearm had two bones in each place. This arm bone… while it did have two bones, these bones weren’t totally straight. Instead… they had the appearance of fried dough twists! These bones were mutually intertwined! Like the coiling roots of a withered tree!
Every inch of these tree roots were carved with talismans that Xu Yangyi simply didn’t understand. Strangely, in the intersections of the “tree roots”, there were five distinct cavities. Inside… it seemed as if some object could be put in, or perhaps… something was placed there in the past.
“This isn’t a human arm bone. It’s more like a demon arm. More like a demon who cultivated a human form.” Positive, Xu Yangyi opened his eyes. “In addition, it’s not a demonbeast that became a demon cultivator. Maybe it was a plant, stone, or something else.”
Gao Muya narrowed his eyes at him and eventually said, “It’s a plant.”
“If it was a demonbeast, its bones wouldn’t be able to move like this. It would agitate and break down its original spirit and flesh. Stone or some other non-biological form like water, clouds, and so on have even lighter bones. The effect brought by this arm bone is merely the solidification of bodily reinforcement, so I deduced that this demon cultivator didn’t have flesh or blood within them.”
“How many holes are there?” Xu Yangyi asked.
“Maybe… it’s the fruit born from a plant-type demon?” Gao Muya shook his head. “I haven’t truly grasped the full extent of this detail, but concerning this arm, I have two points that I want to tell you.”
“First.” He raised a finger. “Its precise age before the present day is between 2,200 and 2,400 years.”
“2,200 years…” Upon hearing this figure, Xu Yangyi’s brows slightly furrowed. A few memories immediately surfaced due to the eidetic memory granted by the pill spirit. Those memories originated from Danxia Temple, from possibly the most ancient demon who existed in the world to this day.
“2,200 years… 2,400 years…” Suddenly, Xu Yangyi’s eyes brightened, and he lost his voice, whispering, “The End of the Han dynasty!”
“The End of the Han?” Gao Muya nodded. “That’s right, it’s the End of the Han. Why? You have a clue, young fellow?”
Xu Yangyi shook his head. The End of the Han… Xiaoqing had once said… on a certain day during the End of the Han, all ancient cultivators had vanished!
“Second.” Gao Muya looked into Xu Yangyi’s eyes. “This arm… was chopped off by someone.”
Xu Yangyi’s gaze violently sparked. Such a valiant demon of that era actually had their left arm chopped off by someone!
The Han dynasty had given rise to Daofather Zhang Daoling. The Han dynasty was when Buddhism entered China. The Han dynasty was when the hundred schools of thought were dismissed and Confucianism reigned supreme. At the same time the three super sects gained a firm foothold, and all cultivators had disappeared… In the end, what was this period concealing?
1. The exact Chinese is 珍贵, where Xu Yangyi is putting emphasis on the character “expensive”. This entire word itself means “precious”. I guess kinda like saying “it puts the ‘ice’ in ‘ice cream’.”
2. End of the Han dynasty is historically dated as 189-220 CE
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