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It was no surprise that Xu Yangyi lost himself for a moment.
Zhang Guangyao… this name, even on Earth, was familiar to the ear! He had another name, a name that perhaps all the cultivation world would bow and pay worship to.
Daomaster Floatingcloud! The Motionless Wisdom Monarch!
The first person to return alive from the Dragon Hole! Furthermore, he was someone who had formed the core!
“Zhang Guangyao… Grandmaster Zhang,” Li Mingfang spoke somewhat openly. While the mood was initially relaxed, Xu Yangyi had unleashed his might with this question. The atmosphere immediately became reserved again.
Xu Yangyi said nothing. Instead, he closed his eyes and contemplated.
He’d actually heard the name of Zhang Guangyao here!
Was this a coincidence?
If… if there was a billionth of a chance… that after leaving the Clearcloud Realm, Zhang Guangyao discovered a passage leading to Earth, “ascending in the light of day” and achieving the Dao through desperate struggles on Earth… then this person was simply too frightening!
If that’s how it really was, then Zhang Guangyao might’ve been someone with the most promise to reach Nascent Soul! To say that such innate talent was in the defiance of the heavens was weak. The heavens bestowed fortune upon him!
No, not in the defiance of the heavens, it was a seizing of the heavens!
“How did he die?” Xu Yangyi asked lowly, restraining his emotions.
Master Tian’s gaze slightly flickered. In the Clearcloud Realm, there wasn’t anyone who mentioned Grandmaster Zhang as not having “passed on into immortality”. Yet this person seemed not have a trace of reverence towards Zhang Guangyao?
“He ascended…” Li Mingfang coughed lightly and said, “It’s written in history that Grandmaster Zhang ascended 150 years ago when he was seventy years old. However, he did it at the edge of the Endless Sea. Because of the total weightlessness, and since aviation technology wasn’t developed back then, only pictures could be taken from far away. At that time… a pillar of white light leading to the heavens shined. In each nation, these accounts are historical must-reads labeled as ‘The Overture of Life’...”
Ascended… In his heart, Xu Yangyi chuckled coldly, but he’d deciphered two layers of meaning from this short story.
First… was that the time was a complete match! If Zhang Guangyao had ascended from the Clearcloud Realm and arrived to Earth, he just happened to be Foundation Establishment. There was fundamentally no difference in age between the two parties whatsoever!
The second… was that the place Grandmaster Zhang had “ascended” was possibly the true passage leading to Earth! If the passage was inside the sea, and then moreover the weightless edge… it was wonder that no one had ever gained a reading!
But if the Clearcloud Realm really is Daomaster Floatingcloud’s homebase, why didn’t he build this place up? He just let such a good card go to waste? That doesn’t make any sense. A cultivator able to rise from a Lesser Thousand Realm to a Greater Thousand Realm definitely isn’t ordinary. Besides, he even reached Core Formation in a greater realm. How could a person like that not understand the significance of the Clearcloud Realm to him? No… he exhaled.
I’m getting too worked up.
This is under the premise that establishes that the ‘Zhang Guangyao’ here is Daomaster Floatingcloud. Right now, it’s nothing more than the same name and no mistake in age.
“Continue,” he said and drank his tea, taking this suspicion and marking it in his heart.
“Yes.” Li Mingfang was quite respectful. “So, each person’s body is merged with spiritual force. The Clearcloud Realm’s spiritual force, though, is so precious that it is accordingly subdued and sold! That’s because qi here is really too thin. Regardless of the technology and machines to gather it, the amount that still exists in nature itself is extremely valuable. Only at the edge of the Endless Sea does qi gradually become stronger.”
“That’s right,” Master Tian said, “Every year countless spirit-masters who have failed to advance head towards the Endless Sea with the hope of breaking through. However, not one person has returned.”
Xu Yangyi was silent. Although this place was a lower realm, it still possessed its own unique items. Earth was unable to take advantage of machines and manpower to extract spiritual force.
“So… that’s how you get those so-called qi capsules?” He quietly rapped the table and nodded. “Go on.”
“Yes… that’s right. That’s how the qi capsule was born. After all, there are very, very few spirit-masters who can live all the way to a hundred. Qi capsules is qi provided to ordinary people. It heals the congenital deficiency inside their bodies. However, the human body has always been a hard question for science. In developments up to now, the qi capsule has really displayed maximum effect. In the Clearcloud Realm, a majority of people’s life spans have been increased to around sixty. But likewise, there are still residual effects we can’t erase.”
“This so-called… addiction?” Xu Yangyi said lowly.
“Correct…” Master Tian followed up, “People’s aptitudes are different. Only the very best can become spirit-masters. Everyone else has to borrow outside qi for a long period of time. They aren’t able to form a cycle with the qi inside their bodies, and a kind of extremely strong dependency on qi arises. Moreover… the medicine is somewhat poisonous. The body’s internal qi ‘boundary’ is gradually heightened by capsules. In the end, it’ll cause one’s body to fall apart, in other words, death.”
“Although they die, they still get to live for several more decades,” Li Mingfang sighed.
Xu Yangyi understood.
He sighed ruefully. Each world had its own marvels. A Lesser Thousand Realm, based on the spread of Earth’s civilization, had surprisingly developed an all-new cultural system. He drank his tea and asked, “So, one can only buy capsules of higher quality that have purer spiritual force? Sixty years old? If an ordinary person reaches sixty, they won’t be able to afford high-quality qi capsules anymore?”
“That’s how it is…” Li Mingfang answered and said afterwards, “So, the qi company is the Clearcloud Realm’s largest enterprise. Our Li Family is one of Shangchen’s ten major qi corporations. Although we can’t compare to the three state-owned corporations, and we’re a little off from the four best corporations that rank forth, fifth, sixth, and seventh, our Li Family’s strength certainly isn’t weak.”
“It’s not that we don’t want to provide goods for free, but we want to live, too. If we give things out for free, then the entire qi supply system will collapse, and the cost of extracting qi is extremely high. We’ll be faced with bankruptcy. Please understand, Master.”
Xu Yangyi nodded. He didn’t really care about this.
“Alright, you’ve answered well,” he laughed. “I still have one last question.”
“Does the Clearcloud Realm have any particularly mystical places that no one can enter? Or something science can’t explain? I want detailed information.”
According to his experience, anything that couldn’t be explained by science on Earth had the shadow of the cultivation world behind it. It existed at each person’s side, yet no one could touch it.
“Particular places or things…” Master Tian mumbled to himself and then said, “Particular place… All that I can think up of is the Endless Sea… No one’s reached a distance of 10,000 miles from the edge of the realm because the area is is a total state of weightlessness. The location of Grandmaster Zhang’s ascension is within the final 10,000 miles, however. This is the spirit-master world’s most famous ‘10,000 Mile Theory’. It’s also called the realm’s two great unsolved mysteries.”
“Oh? Then what’s the second?”
“The second… is the holiday specific to each nation—the Sky Burial Festival,” Li Mingfang replied. “Because the bodies of those who die from falling apart don’t rot, a kind of object similar to crystal is formed. We call it ‘Corpsefree Crystal’. And these Corpsefree Crystals cycle for ten years and are taken by the heavens. In kind, they fall into the 10,000 mile area.”
Xu Yangyi’s gaze stirred and grew solemn again. People from a lower realm might not have known what this was, but he had a speculation. There were people who used these kinds of methods to live until they died of old age. After death, all their qi would scatter and cause their entire body to crystallize. On Earth, there were high-level cultivators with such golden bodies and undecaying bodies, all kinds of similar phenomenon.
Yet each one of these corpses… were valuable treasures. They were looked upon as great killing tools by the Buddhist Monastery, the Dao Sect, and even the noble lineages—such as Nalan Liusu’s corpse.
Presently… these people were the same as low-grade spirit stones. And yet, these spirit stones were taken back by “the heavens” once every ten years? Over to the 10,000 miles of the “final sea region”?
“Looks like the Clearcloud Realm is a lot more interesting than I imagined…”
Zhang Guangyao, the 10,000 mile sea region, Sky Burial… this world was interesting… very interesting…
“The Sky Burial Festival every ten years is each nation’s most majestic holiday. This symbolizes the soul’s return, once every ten years. There are even extremists who pretend to be corpses since they want to see the final end. None come back, though. Sky Burial is the rare, beautiful scenery of the Clearcloud Realm. On that day, countless white fireworks will appear in the sky and carry everyone away… Take them to the ultimate land of serenity…”
Xu Yangyi nodded. He more or less already understood everything at the moment. The rest wasn’t something that he could comprehend with an initial understanding. If the place Zhang Guangyao had ascended was the “Final 10,000 Miles”, then his first order of business was simple.
There was physically no way that he could go inside the 10,000 miles without being able to fly!
The second thing was to understand this realm. He didn’t understand how long he was going to stay here. Foundation Establishment and then a trip to look around inside the 10,000 miles, this was his idea. Regardless, going for a trip wasn’t equal to being able to return to Earth. Even if the past Zhang Guangyao was the example before. When the other had “ascended”, it was probably Foundation Establishment.
If so, his top priority was to find a place to stay for awhile, a power that would be most willing to provide for him and whose strength was not bad. The Li Family seemed pretty good.
He gently pursed his teacup to his mouth and then casually set it aside. A finger extended in front of Li Mingfang.
Neither Li Mingfang nor Master Tian understood and looked at this finger in shock. In the next second, the two of them bolted up on their feet!
“ROAR!!!” Following a thunderous snarl, a white fire-dragon rumbled forth from this finger! It screamed through the air, filling the room with death and ruthless heat!
Ten Cardinals Red Lotus!
Xu Yangyi intentionally decreased the art’s mass. This was merely a portion of the Ten Cardinals Red Lotus. However, this mere portion brought an immense shock to Li Mingfang and Master Tian!
“G… God…” Master Tian kneeled on the ground with a thud. He could sense that the spiritual force inside this fire-dragon was enough to rip him to shreds! And not just once!
“T-This is spiritual force externalization… this is spiritual force externalization!!!” His voice was somewhat hoarse, eyes flushed red. Although he had one knee planted on the floor, his gaze bore unconcealable envy and expectation, trained on the fire-dragon with fixed eyes.
“How many spirit-masters have researched for so long? It’s something they haven’t been able to achieve… Sir, y-you… Someone’s actually done it! My god… I just can’t… I can’t believe this at all!”
While Li Mingfang wasn’t capable of cultivating, there wasn’t anyone in the entire Clearcloud Realm that didn’t truly understand cultivation. In the very first moment he saw the fire-dragon, he knew…
This young man in front of him… was strong!
Xu Yangyi transcended all spirit-masters he’d seen!
1. “Corpsefree (Corpse Freedom)” is a specific word in Daoism (尸解) that refers to the idea of achieving immortality by shedding away the mortal body. It is believed that one’s soul escapes and achieves ascension while the “corpse” (yet not a corpse) is left behind.
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