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Xu Yangyi nodded.
“A Core Formation-less lower realm was actually able to escape the hands of three half-step Nascent Soul ancestors… No, this isn’t the important point…” Zu Huai’en seemed to ponder something for three seconds. Just as he was about to speak, his body shivered without warning.
“Time’s up,” he made a long sigh. Afterwards, he said with an extremely grave expression, “Who first sensed the great dream… all of my life I myself knew.”
Xu Yangyi furrowed his brows. He didn’t understand the meaning behind Zu Huai’en’s words.
“In the entire Clearcloud Realm…” Zu Huai’en took a step forward, his voice shaking. “There is not one living person!”
“What?” Xu Yangyi’s gaze suddenly glimmered, and he quickly scanned the entire crowd below.
He dared to confirm that these people were absolutely alive! They couldn’t possibly be puppets! And they moreover couldn’t be dead!
“Fellow Daoist Xu.” Zu Huai’en’s body shuddered again, his face somewhat pale. “Don’t believe in anything you see… In this place, never believe!”
“Believe me… none of the people here are alive! Not a single one!” he repeated twice. “There is a great issue with the Clearcloud Realm! I suspect… that a godly cultivator…” he trailed off without finishing because white light was already flashing at the top of his head. This was the omen of two soul bodies splitting apart.
He stopped and said urgently, “The Sky Burial Festival.”
“Sky Burial Festival?”
“That’s right… In two years, the decennial Sky Burial Festival will come again. Remember at all cost… the history of this festival is in no way ordinary! No matter what, it cannot be missed! I am at where State-Magus Zu—”
Before his voice even fell, his body trembled again. This time, a slender ray of spiritual light soared straight to the horizon. As for his body, it fell down.
Soon… a talisman floated before Xu Yangyi. He scanned the piece of paper; it was a Summoning Talisman. He extended his hand and beckoned, causing Zu Huai’en’s body to drift down as if it was a feather. At the same time, his brows also furrowed.
The Clearcloud Realm absolutely wasn’t simple.
Since the realm was able to escape from the hands of three half-step Nascent Soul ancestors, how could it be simple? And that moreover wasn’t to mention… that the founder of cultivation in this world was named “Zhang Guangyao”. If this was a coincidence, then it was a little too happenstance.
“Forget it. My top priority is to stabilize my realm, since I’ve just reached Foundation Establishment.”
“Earth… I’m definitely coming back. Without a truly powerful cultivation, I won’t be able to accomplish this no matter what.”
His gaze swept over all the crouching spirit-masters. None of them risked a word. He softly raised his hand up, and a curtain of blue light divided the villa’s basement and the outside world into two realms.
“Don’t come in for one and a half years.”
Leaving these words, he slowly vanished in the sky. Several seconds later, his figure emerged in the basement.
He didn’t consolidate his power at once, instead silently meditating. After no less than a couple hours did he toss Zu Huai’en’s words from his mind. He faced downwards, his eyes looking to his nose, and his nose looking to his heart. His heart was like still water.
Without any delay, his spiritual sense immediately spilled into his body. Foundation Establishment was a qualitative leap to cultivators. Simultaneously, a great many things would change because of Foundation Establishment. For example…
His spiritual sense was already within an expanse of golden light. Golden light freely roamed the horizon, but… the Eternal Alchemy Canon was undeniably different in comparison to when he was at Qi Condensation!
All together… it illuminated three jade slips!
Atop each slip, there was a profound red flame burning. These flames completely traced the symbol on the surface of these slips. Furthermore, there were no characters on these three jade slips, but rather the diagram of a tree!
This was his first change—the Eternal Alchemy Canon’s advancement!
“In the end, what are you called…” Somewhat spellbound, he gazed a the jade slip of golden light in front of him that was like a hundred thousand great mountains. “The Animus Armament? The Eternal Alchemy Canon? Or perhaps… the Dao Scripture?”
What it was called wasn’t important. He took a few good deep breaths and looked at the first jade slip with a fiery gaze.
“Arcane Effort Record.” The name was exceptionally normal, but its contents… With a mere glance, he felt his mind sway.
On the surface was the diagram of an enormous tree, yet there were no less than ten divine abilities at the very bottom! Each one was vague and fuzzy, as if he could see their shadow. Even looking carefully, however, he couldn’t read anything clearly. Nonetheless… the three tiny red flames on the surface ignited three places!
Ten Cardinals Red Lotus!
Pill Cauldron Builds Spirit!
And above them was the tree diagram that represented evolution. The Ten Cardinals Red Lotus was shockingly aimed at the Ten Cardinals Purgatory! Pill Cauldron Builds Spirit had already lit up into Pill Cauldron Is My Heart! And the Spiritcleaver Pulse had lit into Myriad Spirits Suppression at the same time!
Moreover, further above them, three lines of ash-gray characters likewise appeared. In comparison to the vague characters that couldn’t be made out at all, the gray color of these three moves represented that they weren’t “unlocked”. Nonetheless, he could clearly read them!
Ten Cardinals Karmic Blaze!
Jade Pot Chills Heart!
Deity Roams A Hundred Li!
“These… should be Core Formation divine abilities! There’s no mention of required meticulous cultivation on the path of the divine ability tree diagram.” He forced down his fluctuating emotions. He’d already become educated on the Ten Cardinals Purgatory’s might. However… Zu Huai’en was simply unaware that while five fire-dragons could be unleashed from the Ten Cardinals Purgatory, it wasn’t just five. On the contrary…
It was a whole ten!
What was the meaning of the ten cardinal directions?
The heavens above, the earth below, east, west, north, south, the gate of life, the seat of death, the past, and the future!
Escape was impossible in the purgatory of flaming dragons!
A while ago, he’d only used the move at nothing more than half power, deliberately reducing the amount of spiritual force. Xu Yangyi pursed his lips and looked even further up. Above Core Formation… was Nascent Soul. The characters there were also grey, yet they were indistinct. He could read them clearly.
“That’s unfortunate. I won’t be able to look at it anytime soon,” he sighed. “This really is unbelievable… If I reach Core Formation, how much stronger will these divine abilities be? No… there are ten divine abilities on these slip. I’ve only unlocked three. The others… don’t have any conditions whatsoever, but in that case… what secret is hidden?”
“Then… what about Nascent Soul?” His heart grew fiery-hot from expectation. He carefully did a once over of his new gains. The Ten Cardinals Purgatory was on the second level, yet there were quite a few move levels above.
“No!” His eyes flared with light, and the bodhi seed revolved at maximum speed. His breathing was a shade hurried. “If said, the Ten Cardinals Purgatory is a Foundation Establishment divine ability, so it’s on the second level… then isn’t this tree diagram telling me how many realms there are in cultivation?!”
In the moment this idea emerged, it promptly took root in his mind. Afterwards, he gasped coldly because he clearly remembered… that there weren’t only two trees! Instead… there were at least six or seven!
After Foundation Establishment… there were still six or seven realms?!
Never was this heard of!
He quickly looked over. As expected… at the tree diagram’s edge, corresponding with the two characters of Foundation Establishment for the Ten Cardinals Purgatory, there were the two characters of Core Formation. They were written in bold and flamboyant strokes, like flying dragons and dancing phoenixes. It wasn’t like the other characters that seemed to be born on the jade slip, but rather drawn with a brush!
His gaze like fire, he looked over, but the area above was blurry once again.
“In other words… I can only see things that are a realm above mine?” He rubbed his chin and mused. He continued reading. Although he knew about Nascent Soul above Core Formation, he couldn’t see. However, was the situation somewhat different beyond Nascent Soul?
“It’s no different from being inked out!” He took a faint glance and discovered. “Qi Condensation, Foundation Establishment, Core Formation, and then black ink. But this…”
he stared tightly at the indistinct character. “Red… Hold on…”
He gazed to the side again. At the side of Qi Condensation, Foundation Establishment, Core Formation and the blurry Nascent Soul, there was another vague line of characters.
“The Four Boundaries of Dao Seeking?”
His mind was in a state of slight upheaval. He continued looking up and discovered… that there was a total of ten realms!
“Forget it, I’m only Foundation Establishment right now. Knowing too much will bother me instead.” Although his heart itched unbearably so, he decisively shifted his gaze away and looked below the tree diagram.
Underneath was the second tree diagram… the tree diagram of the Nine Glorious Stars Descent!
However, it was different from before. There were only a sum of three levels in it, and the first line of characters at the very bottom was already lit up by fire.
“Heavenly Opening Six Erosions,” he laughed in satisfaction. What he cultivated the most in these past years was this move, yet what left him more regretful was that these several other moves were blurry. In kind, their names were a mystery.
“But even the Heavenly Opening Six Erosions is only the lowest level… and the highest is actually the Nine Glorious Stars Descent. So… what about this level in the middle?”
“Even a divine ability like this, which can cause a worldly anomaly, can evolve… I can’t even imagine how strong its power will be after evolution.”
He quietly studied the slips for ages and then shifted his gaze away. He felt his spiritual sense grow somewhat faint from reading the Eternal Alchemy Canon too long. Once more, he entered meditation. After an unknown passage of time, he finally opened his eyes.
While the change brought by Foundation Establishment was comprehensive, it didn’t present him new arcane efforts. Instead, his previous ones began to slowly evolve. The Arcane Effort Record was his first gain.
But… when his spiritual sense entered his mind, his advancement to Foundation Establishment this time had a total of three major changes! This record was only the first.
“I’ll take advantage of the moment to look at the second change…”
His gaze chilled. He had long since known… what the second transformation would be.
Xu Yangyi closed his eyes and images flowed through his mind at lightning speed. These images, however, contained the burning-hot sensation of an inferno! It was as if these images could roast a man dry!
Moreover, a kind of sensation that strode across an era, one that spoke to the extremes of azure seas to mulberry fields, strongly seeped out. He didn’t risk being distracted one bit!
Swoosh… The image in his mind seemed to be carved into his brain, quickly entering at a blazing pace. He saw an ancient city and countless people from the distant past… in the end, his mind’s eye froze on a verdant mountain!
The mountain was big, yet through the development of human labor Xu Yangyi seemed to peer back on history’s long river. He saw countless workers deliver brick after brick of stone there. After an unknown passage of years… thirteen majestic palaces appeared in the mountain range!
“The Thirteen… Ming Tombs!” He tightly clenched his fist. His spiritual sense focused even more and in the next moment… an entire image loudly burned into his mind!
He saw a flame that was only a thumb in size. It was resting within a seemingly alive spherical mass! The walls of the object were akin to slabs of flesh, as if the objects insides were firmly sealing this blaze!
In this instant, all his hair and clothes rumbled and scorched into tiny embers. His eyes snapped open, and qi coursed through his entire body. Ten minutes later, the raging fire wreathing his frame died down.
He gravely raised his hand and stroked his cheek. In that instant, his skin had actually become as dry as a desert. He’d barely looked at these collection of images and the inside of his body had truly burned with fire!
“So strong…” he took a deep breath. “And it was still just an illusion… it wasn’t real. Just looking at an image so many years ago from the Eternal Alchemy Canon was hard for me to take… What level of power has it itself reached?”
This could be nothing else… but the location of the legendary Vermilion Bird Fire!
One of the Four Great Pre-Celestial Spirit Flames!
It was also his fire seed to truly ignite the Eternal Alchemy Canon’s core!
1. “Who first sensed the great dream… all of my life I myself knew”. A very special line of poetry by Ming dynasty novelist Luo Guanzhong (1330-1400 CE)...
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