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Afterwards, Xu Yangyi laughed, “Honestly, I would’ve said if I couldn’t hold on.”
There was a chance that he really wouldn’t be able to endure that terrible hammer art for long.
Gao Muya looked at him for a few seconds and laughed, “Not bad, young fellow.”
Before his voice even fell, the second hammer blow slammed down, likewise without a sliver of forewarning!
This old goon!
In his heart, Xu Yangyi almost vomited blood. He pulled his attention, not wanting himself to resist and cause the hammer to go askew. However, such a sensation… was extremely agonizing…
Crack! The treasure hammer actually brought forth thunder and lightning in the sky! With a rumble, it smashed the second hole!
Boom… The shock fallout swiftly diffused over Xu Yangyi’s body. His face was like golden paper, yet his teeth were tightly clenched. He was persevering through all of this, but… things weren’t done!
The second hole seemed to be much harder to smash than the first one. After the first hammer blow, there was unexpectedly a second strike!
“372!” Both of Gao Muya’s eyes went wide, and he snarled. As he extended his hand, the purple treasure-hammer was no longer seen. The old man used an inconceivable speed and took a green treasure-hammer from Guanyin’s 372nd hand. Gao Muya didn’t even glance and mustered all of his strength. Like a thunder god descending to the mortal world, he took aim at the second hole and smashed again!
“Urgh…” At the same time the hammer smashed down, Xu Yangyi couldn’t help but finally release a heavy groan. Two hammer blows in the same place. Right on his body! Although his arm didn’t have the slightest feeling, the shock wave caused his internal organs and even bones to feel as if they were breaking!
A thread of blood spilled out from the corner of his mouth. His right fist was already grabbing onto his thigh in a death grip, trembling fiercely. Even he hadn’t expected that forging the Ketu-Rahu Sword would be so painful.
Gao Muya finished his two hammer blows and raised his hand once more. Xu Yangyi no longer want to see how many times the grand master was going to come down. Gao Muya eyed him and said lowly, “Hold on, this is the last hammer.”
THUNK! The third hammer echoed loudly. A dark-green ripple emerged over the qi nail. The hammer departed, yet the qi nail was still trembling incessantly. In kind, Xu Yangyi was also shaking, his veins already drummed out of his flesh.
“Not bad.” Gao Muya wiped away at his sweat. He hadn't given voice to these three hammers, but they had a name, the Rolling Winds Three Broadaxes. And while these three supremely intense and unswerving hammer blows seemed simple, they in fact already mobilized over 30% of his entire spiritual force! If it weren’t for the defense of the old man’s light membrane, Xu Yangyi would been quaked to death by Foundation Establishment spiritual force, no chance for him to be any deader. But even with this shield, this feeling truly could be said to be a life worse than death.
Gao Muya’s “not bad” wasn’t said because Xu Yangyi was able to endure. On the contrary, it wasn’t just due to Xu Yangyi’s perseverance, but also the sole heavy groan he’d made until now.
He studied Xu Yangyi whose body was already raining down with sweat. Xu Yangyi’s muscles seemed to be partially cramping. The crook of Gao Muya’s mouth curved imperceptibly, and he swiped the storage ring on his hand and tossed out a bottle of pill elixir. “Drink it.”
Xu Yangyi didn’t take the bottle. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to but rather his entire body and all his bones weren't presently able to move. After no less than several minutes, he used his shaking hand to grasp the bottle and downed it in a sudden gulp.
Pure qi spread into his limbs and bones, and he felt a little bit bitter. His bloodless face finally recovered a trace of a flush.
“Twenty minutes,” Xu Yangyi crowed out. Leaning on the desk, he wiped away the cold sweat that dotted his forehead.
“Good.” Gao Muya also didn’t spare a word. This was nothing more than the most initial procedure. If Xu Yangyi couldn’t even endure this… As he’d said, he wouldn’t stop at all. And while Xu Yangyi certainly wouldn’t be struck to death, as for whether his foundation would suffer a shock later on… that wasn’t something related to him.
Twenty minutes later, Xu Yangyi wordlessly nodded. Gao Muya glanced at him and turned his head. “204.”
A red hammer fell into his hand. Shortly following, a half-moon of fiery-red brilliance ignited in the room. With a thunk, pain invaded and ate away at Xu Yangyi’s entire body again.
“Fuck…” He tightly gritted his teeth, his entire body numb. This time, he suddenly felt…
Inside his body… something was moving?
Right now, something that caused him to lose attention was undoubtedly for the best. With all his might, he was sensitive to things inside his body. However, the shaking feeling actually became weaker and weaker. After concentrating his full attention, he actually felt that Gao Muya’s hammer had relaxed by a hair.
Spiritual sense passed through his body, scanning it with Innersight bit by bit. In less than three seconds, he discovered… that the shaking wasn’t something else but rather his qi sea!
Or perhaps it should be said his former qi sea.
There within, after his qi sea originally shifted, there had been nothing. Nonetheless, he still placed something there.
Furthermore, he had used qi to cage it in. Even if the creature whined more, he wouldn’t release it. No matter the yearning the silkworm expressed towards his three tree leaves, he still wouldn’t give them to it to eat.
This silkworm had hatched from the strange stone. Even though he searched high and low in all ancient tomes and records, he still didn’t know what the creature was. Xu Yangyi absolutely wouldn’t allow such danger to arise.
And now… Gao Muya’s qi was too tyrannical. The refining brought by a Foundation Establishment qi hammer carried a great qi shock. The prison that he’d set up for the silkworm back then was jolting apart little by little!
Xu Yangyi gnashed his teeth, spiritual sense quickly drawing closing to his qi sea. As his spiritual sense hurried, he heard Gao Muya’s voice ring out again. “The time has come.”
Before his voice even fell, a shock even more violent that before passed on with a rumble!
If the past several blows were like tides… this one was a tsunami! Frenzied spiritual force charged into each of his bones and muscles, seemingly dragging him into the nexus of a storm!
Boom! Following this hammer, his dantian quaked sonorously. His spiritual sense saw that his qi cage had finally split open by a crack!
However, what emerged inside wasn’t a silkworm but a smidgen of white.
Boom! Before he even looked carefully, the next hammer blow immediately arrived. He clenched his teeth and suddenly flung his head back. Crystalline and translucent perspiration was flashing with splendor amidst the interweaving of all kinds of qi. Gao Muya’s hammer blow came too quickly. He no longer had time to say a word.
This time, the hammer blow was even more complex. In the wake of this strike, the crack on the qi cage in his dantian became progressively larger!
“Chatter, chatter, chatter…” Xu Yangyi’s teeth shook following this vibration. It wasn’t that he couldn’t tolerate it, but such a quake seemed as if it was going to smash open his soul. His mouth was no longer able to remain shut.
“Huff…” Almost instinctively, his breathing accelerated. This was the fundamental law of existence that Heavens Law taught. Extremely fast breathing could decrease pain. Especially excruciating pain.
Like so, time passed on by minutes and seconds, and each second seemed to crawl onwards like a year. The booming sounds of hammer blows echoed continuously, and the proliferation of the qi cage’s crack became even more intense!
BOOM!!!! Following a final echo, Gao Muya took a long sigh and wiped away the cold sweat that covered his face. Three qi nails had consumed over half of his qi. The old man handed over a qi capsule, and Gao Muya took it but didn’t eat it. Instead, he glanced at Xu Yangyi.
Xu Yangyi’s face was pale, yet a sound still hadn’t come out of his throat. His chest was heaving up and down fiercely, and it seemed that his heartbeat could be heard inside the basement.
“He hasn’t passed out, eh…” the old man clicked his tongue. “Teacher, you’re going to be lenient, right?”
Gao Muya faced upwards and popped the capsule into his mouth. He said indifferently, “How could I be lenient when it’s time to artifice? Even if it’s a rare precedent this time, I absolutely won’t make a joke with what might be my proudest work.”
The old man’s gaze flashed, and he glanced seriously at Xu Yangyi for the first time. “This young fellow…”
“He’s using his willpower to push himself.” Gao Muya put on his clothes and barked dryly in laughter. “Worthy of being a person able to leave Danxia Temple… Fellow Daoist Di, if this child can actually get a stretch of land this time, his future prospects will be limitless.”
Cultivator Di eyed Xu Yangyi and shook his head. “Difficult.”
“A cultivator’s individual battle strength and a collective war isn’t a single-layered thing.” He respectfully helped Gao Muya put his jacket on again. “The former would’ve destroyed a county at most. The latter… might destroy a country.”
All Xu Yangyi felt was the droning of mosquitoes at the side of his ears. Right now, he couldn’t hear what the duo were talking about at all. As his perception returned to his body, he immediately looked towards his dantian.
There within… to his surprise, the qi cage had already crumbled apart! Yet what emerged was unexpectedly a cocoon!
“What the fuck is this thing…” He clenched his teeth, wanting to sit up, yet just as his body straightened, he felt his legs go soft. He persevered for quite a while, but he finally went weak and collapsed, no lost to his honor.
“Young fellow.” Gao Muya sat in a chair and drank tea water that had flown in from some unknown place, laughing. “Have your legs given out? Be happy with yourself, alright. Even using protective magik artifacts, the number of Qi Condensation cultivators that can even keep on bracing themselves after my hammers can be counted on five fingers. You can even sit up straight. That’s already considered strange.”
Xu Yangyi shut his eyes and regulated his breathing for a long time. He then said, “Senior, is the artificing next?”
“That’s right.” Gao Muya waved his hand and the teacup vanished without a trace. “But… your tempering has only just begun.”
With a passing magik art, a tremendous blaze ignited in a flash! At this moment, the temperature erupted all around! It was practically just like entering a blazing hell!
In concert, all the icy-blue runes on the wall flashed and forcibly absorbed the terrible heatwave.
Xu Yangyi took a deep breath. Just now, the air in the entire room had instantly blurred! But now… a giant white fox head, made entirely out of flame, was fixing its eyes on him several meters away.
“One of the most important judging standards of an artificer’s quality is fire manipulation technique.” Gao Muya stood up, looked at the several-meter-sized blaze, and uttered, “Next up… you’ll welcome this 20,000 °C flame to refine the Heavenmend Stone. When it’s at its hottest, it’ll be poured into your left arm bone.”
“Don’t blame me for not reminding you.” Cultivator Di laughed, taking delight in Xu Yangyi’s misfortune. “This… might cause your blood to boil in a flash. A temperature that can even roast brain flower to a crisp… I’m really looking forward to your screams. When that girl Quan was at this step back then—and although a Heavenmend Stone wasn’t used—one could even say that her screams tore at her heart and split open her lungs. I’ll probably get to hear an even more beautiful symphony this time.”
“The dead can’t die. It would be better if you passed out.” Gao Muya looked at Xu Yangyi and said, “You sure you don’t need something to bite into?”
“No need.” Xu Yangyi laughed and pointed at his body dripping with cold sweat. “Can I look even worse than this now?”
“That I can’t say for sure.” Gao Muya chuckled heartily and gently waved his hand. In an instant, a fist-sized stone appeared in his hand.
The Heavenmend Stone.
Multicolored and gorgeous, the stone illuminated the entire room with streaming light and overflowing color.
“This is the Heavenmend Stone, eh…” At this moment, Cultivator Di was somewhat quivering in excitement. “This… can be written into modern cultivation artificing history! Such a large piece of Heavenmend Stone… We get to personally dissolve it… This level of glory… simply unimaginable!”
Gao Muya didn’t speak and he pushed the Heavenmend Stone forward, his expression grave. The Heavenmend Stone immediately floated into the air.
Shortly afterwards, both of his hands began to form seals at a blinding speed. Yet as his hand seals became faster and faster, the fox fire actually emitted flame tails! In unison, they burned and scorched towards the Heavenmend Stone!
“Fire Manipulation Secret Art…” Both of Gao Muya’s hands clenched forwards without warning, and he shouted, “Heavenly Works Activation!!!”
BOOM! Snow-white radiance engulfed the multicolored domain in a matter of moments! It transformed everything in the underground palace in a field of white rays!
1. “Brain Flower” In context, this looks weird, but the old man is talking about a Chinese dish called “Roasted Brain Flower”. It uses a pig’s brain which is roasted. The “flower” part comes from other condiments used and Sichuan pepper powder.
2. 天工开物 - “Heavenly Works Activation” is the name I ended up coming up with. These Chinese characters are actually based on a book published in May 1637 CE by Song Yingxing. Its other translated name is The Exploitation of the Works of Nature. This name doesn’t exactly work as a “cool move”.
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