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“So it was actually the Thirteen Ming Tombs… Wei Zhongxian… when you spoke to me back then, did you already know earlier that I would cultivate the Eternal Alchemy Canon? In that case… did those two emperors know that I would go make a trip sooner or later, as well?”
Boom! At this time, the image in his mind instantly became crimson-red!
Swoosh… Upon reaching this point, the image cut off.
Xu Yangyi opened his eyes and gazed at the ceiling in a trance.
“The Thirteen Ming Tombs again… The Animus Armament’s final secret is related to what Ming Guangzong ultimately discovered. The secret that drew the Xuan-Yuan Sword’s attack… In addition to the Vermilion Bird Fire… Ming Guangzong actually took everything into his tomb…”
He was somewhat lost in thought. If he was a mortal, how could he know that there were so many things hidden below the world’s facade of splendor and beauty?
The cultivation world… was simply so magnificent that it left him fascinated.
Without warning, his left hand unleashed a swath of black light! Afterwards, the shortsword, the Animus Armament’s incarnation, flew out beyond his control. Crackling sounds came from the entire length of the pitch-black shortsword. Several seconds later, an image of Tai Sui unexpectedly took shape on the blade.
“Tai Sui…” Xu Yangyi gingerly picked up the sword, his face heavy like water. “The Vermilion Bird Fire…”
“Could there be some connection between these things?”
After contemplating for ages, he set this question aside once more.
It was for the same reason that if he didn’t return to China one day, he wouldn’t be able to figure out how to fully activate the Eternal Alchemy Canon, either. Furthermore, he could also sense…
“Absorbing the present qi… is almost completely useless to me.” He gritted his teeth and looked to his dantian. The region was as empty and vacuous as it could be. “There’s no way to advance my cultivation… If I don’t advance, how am I going to reach Core Formation? If I don’t reach Core Formation, how am I going to return to China? My arrest warrant might be posted everywhere in China right now. This is basically an untieable knot of death!”
For the time being, there wasn’t any way to go about this problem. The next one or two years was time for him to fill his qi up to the brim at Foundation Establishment. This qi was still enough to support him for a period of time. And yet… what about after these two years?
Based on the words of the cultivator behind Zu Huai’en, he reckoned that the other had stayed here for at least twenty-somewhat years. For not one second did Xu Yangyi believe that he held such great honor as to be able to return as he’d come.
“A cart come before a mountain is sure to have path, in times of peril does a village lie between the shadow of willow and the light of blossom.” Eventually, he reined in his somewhat worried mood. His spiritual sense shifted over and looked to his third change after Foundation Establishment.
This transformation was shockingly on the Eternal Alchemy Canon, as well!
He closed his eyes again. Swoosh… In his spiritual sense, limitless golden light shimmered, and an enormous jade slip floated into view within his mind. Facing the jade slip, he was like an ant. At the side of the Arcane Effort Record, there were large characters spilling out golden light, awesome to the eye!
“The Classic of Mountains and Seas…” he took a deep breath and gazed hotly at the large, shining characters.
These large characters were drawn in iron and crocheted in silver. Their grandeur was extraordinary, as if they were alive, and they floated on the jade slip. Yet at their left were two jade slips carved full of diagrams and records! It was like the Arcane Effort Record from a while ago!
The tree diagram!
On one page was the tree diagram of a plant. He was all too familiar with it.
The entire jade slip was taken up by this image!
However… the second page was the image of an enormous fallen tree!
There was a dense crowd of branches underneath. Above, at the summit, was the shadow of an immense butterfly!
Yet to say this was a butterfly was not wholly fitting. This butterfly’s shadow… transcended all butterflies that Xu Yangyi had witnessed! To the extent… that he saw a phoenix’s tail and a dragon’s horn! The wings were also burning like a fire!
With a mere glance of this shadow… Xu Yangyi sensed his mind tremble. As if one was suddenly thrust out of the cosmos and saw the Milky Way.
There were characters at the very top of this jade slip. “The Mother of Myriad Butterflies, Myriad Butterflies Stance”. There was no chance that one couldn’t pay heed to these eight words. Nonetheless, at the very base of the tree diagram was astonishingly the cocoon in his qi sea!
“This… is Butterflymother Southflower’s evolution diagram!” He deeply inhaled and exhaled a few good times. This was the reason why he attached such massive importance to this cocoon!
If, he pondered, if maybe, possibly, he could one day truly evolve this cocoon to the level of Butterflymother Southflower…
Xu Yangyi dared not continue thinking. Along with Xiaoqing, the butterflymother was titled as one of the Eight Great Demon Kings. Yet if there was actually a billionth of a chance that she would hatch in his qi sea… Such a thought caused a shudder travel down his entire body as he entertained it.
“Most importantly, though… there are words on Butterflymother Southflower’s tree diagram!
A line of small characters was written on each branch of evolution. Presently, the cocoon in his qi sea corresponded with “Azurecloud Seed”, yet the gray name above was no longer indistinct.
“Dream Eater.” His gaze was fiery as he stroked this name. Underneath was another line of small characters. They were quite simple and also very frank.
Spirit stones! High grade! 30 million! Or devour a Core Formation-level Nightmare.
30 million high-grade spirit stones!
A Core Formation-level Nightmare!
Upon seeing these words, he nearly spat out.
It was unknown how many spirit stones his Eternal Alchemy Canon would need. He firmly remembered the remark written in the text: one country to raise one person. Even as an illusion, the Vermilion Bird Fire wasn’t a being he could withstand. What was the likelihood that the flame would stick to burning low-grade spirit stones?
If such a flame burned in his qi sea for a day, how many spirit stones would it consume?
And then afterwards… hehehe, Butterflymother Southflower’s egg would waste 30 million high-grade spirit stones for the first evolution! Right now, the question was whether or not China’s central spirit stone industries had that many in storage!
“Damn…” he laughed and clenched his teeth, continuing to look. This evolution… was divided seven times in total! Granted that the cost of each evolution didn’t increase… seven times was 210 million high-grade spirit stones!
In practice, this was an astronomical figure that China sorely scraped by to earn within five years! And still… was there a chance that the evolution cost of Butterflymother Southflower, one of the Eight Great Demon Kings, wouldn’t increase?
After Foundation Establishment, the amplitude of absorbed qi would increase. Would the evolution of a demon king, several thousand years old and possibly still alive in the world, be merely 30 million high-grade spirit stones? Inside Xiaoqing’s treasury, her armor, the Dark Lady of the Nine Heavens, was at least tens of millions of high-grade spirit stones! That moreover wasn’t to mention that this was the butterflymother’s egg in itself!
As for whatever Core Formation-level Nightmare, Xu Yangyi had already chosen to selectively ignore it once he saw the three words “Core Formation level”.
Xu Yangyi pressed down on his temples in pain. The allure, the hook of this gain was too great… but he couldn’t afford it.
“Forget it… a cart come before a mountain is sure to have path… a cart come before a mountain is sure to have path…” he laughed bitterly as he repeated this line a good many times. He then took his heart’s roiling-hot desire and forced it down.
He calmly meditated for several minutes. A streak of his spiritual sense drifted out and resonated in Tian Guotao’s mind. This was a feat that the Qi Condensation realm was incapable of. If he wanted to speak, the other couldn’t not hear him.
Master Tian, come over.
Tian Guotao quickly came over and respectfully bowed. “Master Xu. What is your command?”
Xu Yangyi fished out a jade slip he’d cast his spiritual sense into earlier and let it fly out. “This Throne is going to consolidate my realm for a period of a year and half. Likewise, I wish for no one to disturb me. I will start my seclusion in three months. In these three months, I hope you can find the items listed on this.”
On the jade slip he’d inscribed the contents related to the Myriad Spirits Pill.
The Rootless Nine Bends Aqua was on his person, and he currently only lacked ingredients. He was just making an attempt, nothing more. After all, realm consolidation was not the preparation of Foundation Establishment. What he cultivated was the Eternal Alchemy Canon. There was no better option than to concoct pills.
“In addition, I’m giving you a talisman. You can call on me to leave seclusion at a crucial moment. If you don’t use it, you must call me out of seclusion in a year and a half.”
Xu Yangyi eyed him deeply from what seemed to be various angles and nodded. “Go.”
Tian Guotao left, and Xu Yangyi’s brows slightly furrowed.
Not a living person?
No matter how he looked… there was no doubt that Tian Guotao was a living person. Why would that mystery cultivator say these words?
“Forget it, I’ll go look myself during the next Sky Burial Festival… at what secret is being hidden here in the end.”
Time passed quickly. Two and a half months later, Tian Guotao delivered information that caused Xu Yangyi’s mind to stir. To his surprise, the Clearcloud Realm actually had all the ingredients!
This was a matter of great joy that went beyond expectation, for him, who was originally planning on bitterly cultivating in seclusion. He immediately entered cultivation.
Winter passed and spring came. Flowers wilted and flowers blossomed. A year and a half wasn’t as long as ten years. As the first leaf of autumn fell, the basement door of District A-31, having been partitioned as a forbidden region by the government a year and a half ago, opened again with a creak.
Xu Yangyi’s tall figure gently flickered over to the ground. The long-not-seen sunlight irritated his eyes a little. He narrowed them and looked over, suddenly laughing.
“Go.” He easily formed a seal, and his spiritual sense dramatically swelled in an instant. In the Qi Condensation realm, his maximum limit was 300 meters, but now… his maximum limit was 10,000 meters! Nevertheless, he wasn’t finished. In the wake of his seal, his spiritual sense sharply increased again! It fully expanded to 13,500 meters!
Pill Cauldron Is My Heart!
“I can’t even imagine it. How much can those Dao Masters’ spiritual senses cover? No wonder… each one of them watches over a city. Their spiritual senses probably cover a major city, more or less.”
Xu Yangyi’s spiritual sense paused over an area 3,000 meters away.
Over yonder, there were a great number of military outposts closely grouped together. They encircled the belly of District A-31. Various kinds of apparatuses that seemed to be for accuracy were aimed over at where he was located.
Autumn’s sun shined down on him, making him feel somewhat lazy. He casually snapped his finger, simply not caring whether or not anyone saw, and sat down in midair. A black medicinal pill came out from his storage ring and into his hand.
“Myriad Spirits Pill…” His gaze was regretful to an extent. The first time he’d ever heard of if was from Mao Ba’er. But now, was it known if his friends were safe and sound?
He had already taken the Myriad Spirits Pill. The pill he’d concocted was a Minister-level pill, capable of increasing spiritual sense by no less than 5%. Otherwise, even with the addition of Pill Cauldron Is My Heart to 13,000 meters, he still wouldn’t have the 500 meters extra.
In this place, he was carefree, yet the army outside already seemed to be facing a great foe. In front of surveillance monitors, every set of eyes was glaring daggers at him. He was without care for these things. After basking in the sun for roughly an hour, Xu Yangyi said indifferently, “Master Tian.”
“Are you still here?”
“If there is a day that Master Xu does not drive me out, then I will be here on that day,” Tian Guotao’s voice respectfully came from behind him.
Xu Yangyi squinted his eyes and studied the sun. “How much longer until the Sky Burial Festival?”
“A month, Your Excellency.”
“Baizhai City, beside the North Sea.”
Xu Yangyi nodded and then pointed to Tian Guotao’s forehead. In a flash, the follow-up of Heavens Law’s Hundred Solutions all poured into the steward’s mind.
“Cultivate well,” he said in a dull tone and finally stood up. He stretched out and his bones audibly cracked. At the same time, the trace of lethargy in his eyes gradually disappeared, replaced by a pointed edge that one found difficult to meet head on!
With twelve years of bitter cultivation, he gained the absolute strength to stand firm in the Clearcloud Realm. What followed next… was the search for a return path!
1. Reminder: Tai Sui in Chinese is noted as the star opposite to Jupiter during its roughly 12-year orbital cycle. Its name in English is “High Years”. If you remember, Tai Sui is featured as a leopard-headed man on the Animus Armament’s initial form. Tai Sui is noted sometimes as “Grand Duke Jupiter”.
2. I feel like a lot of people will know this, but The Classic of Mountains and Seas is a real, very ancient text. It dates all the way back to the 4th century BCE. It contains cultural information of pre-Qin China, interesting information on geography, and a lot of Chinese myths.
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