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Cold sweat dampened the state-magus’s entire face, and he clenched his teeth and forcibly braced himself. His clothes and beard were flying back in disarray. As the storm finally abated, he seemed to walk a loop between life and death. He took several deep breaths, his eyes containing incredible respect. At the same time, though, they carried even more envy. He trained his eyes on the burnt-out incense stick.
Silence. A silence like death. After ten minutes passed, an aged voice echoed, “Present.”
“Immortal Master.” At this moment, the old man was completely without his previous coolness and composure. Instead, he devoutly kneeled on the floor and tapped his head to it. “You spoke correctly, sir. Indeed, a cultivator extremely suspected to be an immortal master from an upper realm has descended upon the State of Shangchen. I ask the Immortal Master to show me how this matter is to be handled.”
“Handle?” the aged voice sneered without the slightest concealment. “You won’t be able to handle him… and he can more or less handle all of you…”
“Of those who can reach ‘Inside’, which one is not a shocking fiend? Or perhaps a demon-king in the flesh? And you lot want to take care of him yourselves?”
The state-magus didn’t dare to raise his head.
“How many years has it been… since This Throne has arrived here… How many years has it been already…” Silent for a couple minutes, the aged voice seemed to carry a tinge of well-hidden excitement. “This realm… has mysteriously lost connection with ‘Inside’... How many people still remember me?”
“Daomaster Scriptdraw… Daomaster Firestream… Daomaster Clearmoon… Junior has disappointed you… but now, there’s finally a chance to return ‘Inside’... Since this fellow Daoist was able to come, he surely has a path to return! Even if I can’t… the two of us can work together, and the chances will be a few shades better!”
“What in the world has happened to this realm… It was actually able to break free from the control of three half-step Nascent Soul. The ‘Realm Anchor’ disconnected, and the ‘Star Position’ was lost… It’s practically unimaginable.”
“Dao Master?” the state-magus asked carefully, his gaze shining.
There was no answer, as expected. After a few minutes passed, the voice began to laugh. “Dao Master…”
“To all of you, it is a legend…”
“Yes…” The state-magus’s forehead touched the floor, and he asked deferentially, “In that case… what of this Master Xu?”
“Observe him first.” The voice calmed down and said indifferently, “I haven’t felt the descent of Foundation Establishment… If he is Qi Condensation… then there won’t be the slightest impact.”
“Don’t obstruct him and don’t disturb him, either. Just… quietly watch him…”
Another few minutes went by. Only then did the state-magus raise his head. He had already become accustomed to the other’s mix of modern speech with few scattered bits of the old dialect.
He shot a complicated glance at the burnt-out incense stick and took out a cell phone. “Master Cui? It’s me, Zu Huai’en…”
Calendar, year 783. Two of Shangchen’s ten major qi corporations, the Li Family and Shui Family, had their respective spirit-masters fight over Mount Laojun’s ownership. The battlefield was determined to be Mount Laojun’s summit. One side was a cultivator of Shangchen’s twelve famous high spirit-masters, First Rat. However, based on his background, the other side was Tian Guotao, a mere initial spirit-master.
While everyone believed this to be a one-sided battle, the initial-rank Tian Guotao was surprisingly an equal match to First Rat, one of the twelve high spirit-masters, with his initial-rank evaluation! Ultimately, both sides were powerless to continue fighting, and the bout ended in a draw!
And yet this matter, which should’ve shocked the State of Shangchen, didn’t make the faintest echo. Even the people involved in the Li Family and Shui Family seemed to forget about this matter. A month later, under an unknown person’s hinting, the Shui Family was cut out of this land.
Hum… A helicopter landed again in A-31’s central zone. Exhaustion written all over his face, Tian Guotao walked out. This exhaustion, however, carried a nigh fanatical devotion.
He calmly walked over in front of the villa and bowed deeply for a full ten seconds.
Between him and a high spirit-master!
He was unable to forget the scene that time, First Rat’s incredulous eyes under his mask and the surrounding spectators. Lord Li leaned on his cane, the veins on his hand swelling under his skin, and looked at him in shock. In the vicinity, each member of the Li Family who didn’t view him favorably—in fact, no one present favored him—now had their eyes rounded and mouths gaped. Their gazes congregated on him.
The people of the Shui Family looked at him, and some looked to First Rat. They weren’t sure whether or not the high spirit-master had thrown the match. Only Tian Guotao himself knew that the opponent had summoned his full strength long ago!
And there was also… that high and lofty state-magus!
The man hadn’t lost composure, but the look in his eyes was stunned all the same.
He couldn’t forget the feeling of the crowd focusing on him. He engraved it in his heart. Even he felt that this was a spirit-master! A true spirit-master!
After the competition, Lord Li had personally doubled the compensation to invite him to return to the family. Publicly and secretly, the Shui Family had expressed their willingness to pay an even higher price. There were even other families that extended an olive branch. Contracts that he dared not hold wild hope for in the past were placed in front of him. He rejected them all.
Because he clearly understood who gave him all of this.
The expression on his face each time he saw Xu Yangyi was respectful. While these things possibly weren’t profound, or perhaps they were only basic, general knowledge to the other, this foundational knowledge left him incredibly glad of his prompt decision back then to act as Xu Yangyi’s steward.
“Master Xu’s qi… has gotten stronger again…” He took a deep breath, absent of the least bit complacency, and gazed deeply at the villa facing him. Even standing outside, he could now sense streaks of wave-like qi buffeting his face. They were almost solid.
“When… will I be able to reach this step…?”
Clearcloud calendar, year 785. In the Li Family’s spirit-land war, Tian Guotao set out again. Yet this time, he was against First Rat again. They fought for four hours and fifteen minutes. Only through one move had Tian Guotao managed to scrape a victory.
In the same year, the Spirit-Master Guild had sent an invitation letter to Tian Guotao, inviting him to examine his aptitude again. They were rejected.
After the event, the Li Family invited him to become their idol of worship. They were rejected. Two months later, the surrounding 20,000 meters of District A-31 were divided for the Li Family’s possession. They freely provided Xu Yangyi to use it for any time limit of his disclosure.
Clearcloud calendar, year 788. The Li Family applied for first-class endowments, but were met with four families’ obstruction. In a disadvantage of four against one, Tian Guotao did not fall. Three months later, the Li Family succeeded in being promoted to the endowment of a platinum developer. From there onwards, all of Beifeng City completely fell into their hands.
The Spirit-Master Guild sent another invitation. They were rejected. A month afterwards, the Spirit-Master Guild put on file that Tian Guotao had been automatically promoted to high spirit-master. He was ranked in the top six among the Twelve Zodiac Beasts.
Clearcloud calendar, year 789. High spirit-masters Ninth Monkey, Tenth Rooster, and Eleventh Dog went together to visit District A-31. The outcome was unknown, but the trio immediately chose to enter seclusion after they returned.
Clearcloud calendar, year 791… a whole nine years had already passed since Xu Yangyi had arrived in this world. Not once had he shown his face in Tian Guotao’s slow and steady process of preparation and success. Nonetheless, even a dumber person would still more or less clearly figure out the origin within, over the course of so many years of investigation.
Moreover, Tian Guotao had never masked it from anyone who asked. He said with exceptional sincerity, “For being able to become who I am today, I must thank Master Xu. Were it not for him, my current self wouldn’t exist.”
This year, he’d already been elected as the top figure below special-rank spirit-masters! He was known as the the spirit-master with the most promise to assail the next twenty-year office of state-magus. However, his name wasn’t seen on the registration form at the beginning of the year.
A whole nine years and then some. His name couldn’t be hidden whatsoever. Any corporation related to qi, any spirit-master, knew of him. They furthermore knew of the person behind him—the madman that had secluded himself for over nine years, not stepping out once.
For over nine years, no one could enter District A-31. All kinds of rumors were already spreading in the spirit-master world about the valley. Some said that a secret special-rank spirit-master resided there. With this ability, he taught Tian Guotao who had already dropped a boundary nine years ago. Some said that Tian Guotao had obtained Grandmaster Zhang’s true text. There wasn’t some special-rank spirit-master hiding in the villa.
None could enter, and Tian Guotao absolutely wouldn’t appear unless there was some business. Discussion about that Master Xu, who had once been a source of rumor, finally became a trace smaller during the endless period of time. Oddly, though, the three-state magi never set one foot into District A-31, as if they had made a pact.
Clearcloud calendar, year 792… the tenth year since Xu Yangyi had come to the Clearcloud Realm.
A whole ten years.
Tian Guotao quietly sat on the grass outside the villa. Just as always, he tidied the lawn and poured a cup of tea.
The sun rose and fell. Xu Yangyi didn’t appear.
He wasn’t baffled. Even he hadn’t seen Master Xu since two years ago. After the other had left behind an arcane effort for him, he didn’t come out again.
He remember very clearly. At twelve midnight in the year 790, he was abruptly summoned. Xu Yangyi simply gave him three pieces of paper and said afterwards: “In these three years, watch carefully.” Since then, the basement door wasn’t opened.
This was his 730th cup of tea. For over two years each day, he hadn’t stopped.
“Master Xu… what are you doing…” He watched the villa with some expectation but also some apprehension. He made tea on the lawn, not having any other way to do so. This was because… after that day, a completely different qi from before grew stronger and stronger inside the villa! It seemed to accumulate for a full ten years, finally discovering a gap and condensing inside the entire structure.
He was unable to approach.
That oppressive might was totally different than before. Although it was about the same as Master Xu’s qi that he was familiar with, it possessed a difference of heaven and earth!
His cultivation grew higher and higher, and so did his scope. He understood clearly that even if the Three Great State-Magi banded together, they weren’t an opponent to this qi!
No… he feared that the entire continent’s state-magi added together wouldn’t do! It had already transcended a kind of boundary and arrived at an unfathomable realm!
Two years, each day, the aura progressively became stronger. And in these past days… black clouds filled the sky, not drifting away.
“Huff…” Meanwhile in the basement, Xu Yangyi calmly opened his eyes.
His temperament had somewhat changed from the time he’d just arrived. It had become even cooler and solitary. He resembled a sharp sword sheathed in a scabbard, at rest when not out, but blood was bound to be seen once drawn.
And in his body’s surroundings, rays of solid-like qi revolved around him. The him of this moment… was floating in the air!
Not with the help of the Ketu-Rahu Sword! Not with the help of any magik artifact! He was truly floating in the air, cast away from gravity!
Each of his major acupuncture points were flashing with dazzling white light, and golden talismans wandered all over his body. In his heart, he screamed more fiercely than ever before!
“It’s time…” He raised his eyes up, and a wisp of great vicissitudes in disagreement with his age flashed through them. A smile finally blossomed at the corner of his mouth. “It’ll be these several days…”
“Ten years… Harmonizing the Ketu-Rahu Sword and my body, and getting roughly familiar with the Void Spirit Immortal Physique took five years. After that…” He suddenly brought his gaze up and looked at the surrounding walls. He smiled faintly and extended a finger.
“Heavenly Opening… First Erosion!”
BOOM! The surrounding walls answered and collapsed! However, each brick was floating like him. They hung suspended in the air, free of gravity!
He controlled his might. He’d once witnessed the complete edition of this move used at full strength, the Demonchariot Pheasant occupying the stargazer altar! Perhaps the basement would immediately become the heart of a storm!
A storm of spiritual force! A storm that swept the world! The nexus of a natural anomaly!
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