Chapter 23: As if feeling the presence of the heavens themselves
Translated by Jouissance of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
It was the same Sect Leader Hall, the same fellow sect members, the same person sitting above them, but his eyes, in his world, it felt completely different!
It was like being born anew!
The elder had never thought that he would ever have the chance to reach Establish Foundation! His head full of white hair had signs of returning to its original black, and many of the wrinkles on his face had even disappeared. He looked no older than middle-aged, practically glowing like the sun in the sky.
From now on, he’d be able to soar through the skies using flying artifacts and perform real spells. His life would be extended by over a hundred years as well.
This scene was seen by all the disciples of the XianLin Sect and vibrated through their very beings. Yearning welled up in their hearts. As for the other elderly cultivators who had basically lost all hope of Establishing Foundations, they were trembling with their excitement, their dignified composure as cultivators all but forgotten, but who could suppress this kind of passion and joy?
The elderly Foundation Establishment cultivator stood, taking two steps forward and kneeling down in front of Chu You and Chu WuQing. “I will serve Eldest Shixiong with my very being, even if it means dying a hundred deaths.”
It was Chu WuQing and Chu You who had given him everything, allowing him to reach a level he hadn’t even dared to dream of in the past. He even had a chance to chase an even higher Path.
This simple sentence seemed solemn and extreme, but in reality, it was nothing compared to the emotions inside. Each word was spoken directly from the soul.
Chu WuQing nodded and said, “After you go back, cultivate using this technique to stabilize your cultivation level.” As he spoke, a jade drive containing the mentioned cultivation technique flew into the hands of the elderly cultivator.
The Qi Condensation stage cultivation manual he had provided was already unbelievably brilliant. It was easy to imagine just how much more amazing the Foundation Establishment cultivation method would be. Everyone stared at the jade drive in the elderly cultivator’s hands with envy.
The elderly cultivator was also stunned. He accepted the jade drive and bowed, retreating.
Chu WuQing’s gaze swept over the gathered cultivators. This time, the crazed passion in their eyes was completely unhidden. Everyone’s desire to Establish Foundations had reached a fever peak.
Chu WuQing, feeling satisfied with this result, said, “I trust all of you understand how precious Foundation Establishment pills are; there’s no need for me to explain. Evidently, such elixirs would not be given out for free. That previous disciple put his life on the line, thus he was given a corresponding reward and ascended to Foundation Establishment. However, you aren’t the same.”
No one was surprised at Chu WuQing’s words. This was how give, take, payment and reward worked. Plus, it was something so powerful as a Foundation Establishment pill, so from the very beginning, none of them had been expecting to receive it for free.
However, this didn’t diminish their respect for Chu WuQing.
Chu WuQing continued, “Our fight with the TaYue Sect is nigh. After what occurred last time, they might’ve even gone to other sects for help, possibly even allying themselves with other members of the Ten Great Sects. You can imagine how many Foundation Establishment cultivators they have on their side. Your future is not bright.”
After the consecutive breakthroughs that had been made these couples of days, everyone’s morale had skyrocketed. Everyone was cracking their fists, their hearts itching with battlelust. The Tayue Sect that they had originally feared, the Tayue Sect that had almost destroyed them had become something they began to underestimate and look down on with Chu WuQing’s arrival. They had it in their heads that if a war were to break out, victory would be certain.
However, listening to Chu WuQing now was like a bucket of cold water. It final managed to calm them down from the outrageous confidence they had gained due to their improvement in cultivation level.
That’s right. Their Golden Core stage cultivator was killed and their negotiations had failed, yet Tayue Sect didn’t seem to panic at all. It was clear that they had an ace up their sleeve. Plus, the whole reason Tayue Sect was so arrogant about this was almost certainly because they had the other Great Sects supporting them. It was just that with the Number One Great Sect presiding over things, they weren’t allowed to just destroy the XianLin Sect outright.
Now that their Golden Core cultivator had been killed, the Number One Great Sect probably wouldn’t even interfere in their war anymore. What was this but a perfect opportunity for those who were waiting to take advantage of XianLin Sect’s misfortune?
Tayue Sect could easily ally with other sects and completely annihilate the XianLin Sect, and the sheer number of Foundation Establishment and Golden Core cultivators that their enemies would be able to muster from such an alliance had their bodies numb just from thinking about it.
Chu WuQing quietly said, “I shall bestow upon you these Foundation Establishment pills now. Each pill will cost a thousand contribution points. If you want a cultivation manual, then you can obtain it through killing enemies.”
Each pill was a thousand contribution points, they would be in debt from such a purchase, and everything in the sect had to be exchanged with contribution points. All they could do was work harder, but no one was unwilling.
Chu WuQing distributed the remaining Foundation Establishment pills and had the cultivators gather in the spiritual energy gathering array to Establish Foundations. Amidst these people, there was only one he had not given a Foundation Establishment pill to. After the crowd had finished Establishing Foundations and left, Chu WuQing summoned the one who had not received any. “You are displeased at this?”
This person was called Ke Yun and he was the youngest of the sixty-eight. He was at Peak Qi Condensation stage, yet only twenty-seven years old. He had rare Dual Spiritual Roots.
However, even one so talented as to have Dual Spiritual Roots would have trouble Establishing Foundations in a Lower Realm like this with such thin ambient spiritual energy.
A strange emotion flashed through his eyes. Apart from the first day after he joined the sect, Chu WuQing rarely appeared in front of others, never mind called others to talk to him personally. This was such a great honor. Though he also desired a Foundation Establishment pill and logically speaking, he should’ve been the first to get one what with his talent – he believed that Chu WuQing had his reasons for not giving him one.
Plus, these Foundation Establishment pills weren’t the XianLin Sect’s in the first place. Chu WuQing saved them from their complete annihilation and gave them cultivation pills and manuals. He could never hold a grudge just because he was the only one who had not received the Foundation Establishment pill.
“Eldest Shixiong has already given me items to aid my cultivation as well as a cultivation manual. It would be ungrateful of me to hold a grudge from something like this,” Ke Yun replied, honesty in his gaze without a hint of insincerity.
Chu WuQing smiled, saying, “I’m glad you think this way. Though the ambient spiritual energy here is thin, making Foundation Establishment difficult, with your talent, a Foundation Establishment pill is sure to make it easy. However, you won’t be able to experience the struggle of breakthrough and the enlightenment of breaking free of your mortal constraints. If you are able to Establish Foundations without this extra help, you’ll have hope of forming your own Golden Core.”
Light flashed through Ke Yun’s eyes with a hint of disbelief.
All cultivators who stepped onto the path of cultivation, no matter their potential and talent, had dreamt of one day forming their own Golden Core, becoming a person of great power presiding above the rest and being able to influence the situation of the entire cultivation world.
However, these dreams were no more than that, dreams. No one truly believed they could actually achieve it. Forming a Golden Core was far too difficult. Including those with pseudo-cores, there were less than seventy known Golden Core cultivators.
However, there were countless Foundation Establishment and Qi Condensation stage cultivators. It made it clear how difficult forming a core truly was.
Struggling to absorb spiritual energy and achieve a breakthrough in their internal spiritual energy was the easy part. More importantly, they had to come to an understanding and find their own Path. This Path was deep and complex beyond words; forming a true core was as difficult as reaching heaven.
Hearing the other say he had hope of forming his very own Golden Core stirred up waves, disturbing the shores of the calm heart he took so much pride in. Nonetheless, he forced himself to act composed. Even if his legs were trembling, he schooled his expression.
He didn’t want to lose his composure in front of Chu WuQing, not even a bit.
Chu WuQing tossed a jade vial to Ke Yun, saying, “This vial had three high-grade Qi Condensing pills. It can help you refine your spiritual energy faster. Once the spiritual energy inside your Dantian has been condensed to the limit, you can try to blast open your meridians and open up your own sea of consciousness.”
Ke Yun caught it and cupped the vial in both hands, kowtowing towards Chu WuQing, and said, “I won’t disappoint Eldest Shixiong. If I can’t Establish my Foundations, then I shall tear my meridians asunder.” His tone was resolute.
Afterwards, Ke Yun stepped into the array, opening the vial. A heavy aroma wafted in the air. Just the scent of it had the spiritual energy inside him reacting. It was easy to imagine just how valuable this elixir was.
Ke Yun’s gaze was filled with solemnity and his heart was filled with gratitude. He ingested one pill, beginning to refine his spiritual energy. Ambient spiritual energy enveloped him, compressing his spiritual energy further and further.
However, the Dantian of a Qi Condensation stage cultivator was thin and fragile. Injecting spiritual energy like this would put immense pressure on it. Pushing more spiritual energy into an area already completely full to its limits caused the inner walls to thin like a balloon, on the verge of giving in and exploding.
Sweat began to bead on Ke Yun’s forehead, and his face went pale. The veins on his arms bulged and soon enough, there was blood dripping from his nose.
Ke Yun groaned softly in pain, his straight back slowly starting to bend in his meditation pose. It was like there was some sort of invisible pressure pushing down against his back.
“Endure it,” Chu WuQing’s voice wafted into his ears, cold and crisp. It landed in his sea of consciousness, causing his entire body to shudder. He forcibly tried to refine the incoming flow of energy to prevent himself from losing consciousness to pain.
“Don’t put all your attention on the new spiritual energy coming in. Use seventy percent of your divine sense to continue refining the spiritual energy that was originally inside you. Condense the energy into liquid.”
As soon as Chu WuQing spoke, Ke Yun immediately went to try. It sounded simple, condensing the gas-like spiritual energy inside of him into liquid form, but actually doing it was far more difficult. Not only was the divine sense he had allocated unable to compress the spiritual energy that had been condensed to the limit, it had his Dantian under even more pressure as the new spiritual energy that he was no longer refining entered. His face poured with sweat and he had even begun to sweat blood.
Chu WuQing’s eyebrows furrowed slightly and injected his intent-laden voice into Ke Yun’s sea of consciousness. “Don’t just try to push the ball of energy down. Stretch your divine consciousness out into a thin layer and envelop your spiritual energy evenly. Then compress it all at the same time…”
His voice held a spiritual clearing intent to it, allowing Ke Yun’s blurring consciousness to immediately recover. He attempted to follow Chu WuQing’s directions. Though it was difficult at first, he slowly began to get the trick to it. Finally, he managed to continuously compress the ball of energy while using thirty percent of his divine sense to refine the new spiritual energy he was absorbing.
Chu You was guarding the other the entire time and naturally heard what Chu WuQing had transmitted to the other through his divine sense. Something was strange; wasn’t Chu WuQing a Qi Condensation stage cultivator? Why was he so familiar with the Foundation Establishment process? How did he know such a smart and wonderful method? When Chu You had Established Foundations, he had never heard of or thought of anything like it.
However, recalling that Chu WuQing had a Soul Transformation stage father, Chu You’s confusion disappeared. In these three years, Chu WuQing would definitely end up Establishing Foundations. Chu HuanZhi loved his son dearly, so there was no doubt he would explain the entire process to Chu WuQing.
Even using all his strength, Ke Yun still struggled. The thick, dense spiritual energy once again pressed against his Dantian, and even his meridians were packed full. It was almost like the spiritual energy was on the verge of bursting them open… His face paled further, making him look as if he were on the verge of death.
“Endure it.” Chu WuQing’s comforting voice drifted into his mind.
His teeth were bloody from gritting them. His entire person seemed to sway in and out of consciousness, about to tumble off the precipice at any moment. However, hearing Chu WuQing’s voice had his entire body jolting.
Countless images flew through his head. Scene after scene of life and death crises and the promise he had made to himself for the pursuit of longevity.
A small child, standing under the sleeves of a Golden Core grandmaster, telling his friends with resolution, “Someday, I’ll become a Golden Core grandmaster as well, living freely and having the power to move mountains and seas.”
He reached out, wanting to feel what it was like to soar through the skies, not backing down even if the gales would slice open his fingers, rendering them torn and bloody.
In that moment, he felt unlimited power pour from his meridians. His mind was blank, but his divine sense swelled higher. In one swift action, he finally managed to refine the previously untouched spiritual energy, condensing it from a gaseous form to liquid.
The first droplet of water dripped into his Dantian with a hint of faint golden light. In that moment, a true spiritual sea of consciousness had formed.
He let out a long breath, his back completely straightening and his vision clear. More and more of the gaseous energy was condensed to liquid and his face began to regain its color. However, as he achieved condensation, he suddenly noticed that he had somehow used up all that spiritual energy in an instant.
Just a few moments ago, he had so much spiritual energy that it was practically bursting from his meridians, yet now it was all dried up. This time he didn’t need Chu WuQing’s reminder to ingest the second pill, rapidly absorbing and refining the gathering spiritual energy.
“Don’t solely rely on the pill. Use your cultivation method to absorb spiritual energy,” Chu WuQing spoke mildly.
That’s right. The two pills were only enough to form that tiny pool of spiritual liquid. It wasn’t nearly enough to cover his entire sea of consciousness. If he couldn’t cover it, then that meant that this spiritual liquid would eventually evaporate back into its gaseous form and his cultivation would fall back to Qi Condensation. He might even die due to the eruption of spiritual energy.
The pills were nearly there to ease the process, but they weren’t shortcuts.
Ke Yun immediately began circulating his qi using his cultivation method. He quickly absorbed the dense spiritual energy in the array. After an hour, his entire sea of consciousness had been covered with spiritual liquid far more stable and denser than what was given by the Foundation Establishment pill.
Ke Yun opened his eyes. At this moment, he felt powerful. He used his sea of consciousness to expand his divine sense over the entire peak, allowing it to be rendered in its entirety in his mind.
He approached Chu WuQing and heavily kowtowed thrice in respect, the final time bringing forth blood from his forehead. “Ke Yun is willing to serve Eldest Shixiong for life with this drop of soul’s blood as proof.”
The bead of blood pulsed with the energy of the other’s very soul, clearly displaying its owner’s sincerity.
Chu WuQing accepted the bead of soul’s blood, this time taking out a jade drive. “This jade drive has the analyses of five hundred different common Path cultivation methods. You can take it to try and glean something from it. However, your Golden Core Path is something you’ll have to forge for yourself. I hope you succeed.”
Ke Yun jolted, his expression growing the most earnest and solemn it had been yet. The moment Chu WuQing had accepted his soul’s blood, he had sensed Chu WuQing’s true cultivation level. Level Ten Qi Condensation, different from what everyone had thought.
Though Chu WuQing’s cultivation level was completely different from expected, it only had him even more moved by the other. Only Level Ten Qi Condensation and he could bring life back to a dying sect and guide someone on how to Establish Foundations. What kind of prodigy was he? What character! His future would be something everyone was eager to witness.
The respect in Ke Yun’s heart deepened.
Accepting the jade drive, Ke Yun’s palms felt hot. Though he knew he was losing his composure in front of Chu WuQing, he couldn’t stop his hands from trembling.
Golden Core Path cultivation methods. Even the disciples of the Sect Leader in the Number One Great Sect QingLin Sect wouldn’t have access to a jade drive like this, never mind a subordinate.
“You’re dismissed.” Chu WuQing waved his hand.
Ke Yun once again pressed his head to the floor in a bow. After three bows, he left, face filled with admiration.
With everyone gone, only Chu You and Chu WuQing were left in the hall.
Chu You couldn’t help but ask, “When does master plan to Establish Foundations?”
Chu WuQing smiled, replying, “Once Lin Yi is settled, I’ll retire in the LinLong Tower for secluded cultivation and come out once I’ve Established Foundations.” He was a cautious person. Even with Chu You here, he wouldn’t give anyone a chance of trying anything. The word ‘settled’ was spoken with gritted teeth.
Though Chu You hadn’t spent much time with Chu WuQing, they had developed a kind of silent understanding of one another. Chu You often understood what Chu WuQing didn’t explain further.
When he heard the tone with which Chu WuQing spoke that word, he understood Lin Yi’s position in Chu WuQing’s heart. His hostility towards Lin Yi dispersed quite a bit, but… he didn’t know why he just couldn’t muster the desire to approach and help Lin Yi.
It was clear Chu WuQing planned on humiliating Lin Yi further. This was the best time for him to approach Lin Yi and gain his alliance, but for some reason he was more than willing to let Chu WuQing have his way.
Chu WuQing then said, “As for the battle with TaYue Sect, people plan, but the heavens decide their success. No matter if they succeed or fail, don’t bother me about it.”
Chu You nodded silently.
Just as the two came to a conclusion and Chu WuQing planned to rest, the sound of a sword’s cry broke through the skies and vibrated throughout the entire mountain range, loud enough to be heard from afar.
Just as he heard the sword’s cry, a feeling that something bad had happened built up in Chu WuQing’s heart. He hurriedly ran outside the hall and looked up. As he expected, the silhouette of an immense sword was rising up, breaking through the layers of clouds.
This silhouette, even just viewed from afar, had all those who bore witness trembling down to their very souls, as if feeling the presence of the heavens themselves.
What the hell!?
Chu WuQing’s eyes were filled with disbelief, and he felt so frustrated he could cough blood. He had planned everything so perfectly, preventing Lin Yi from colliding into any truly life-threatening situations, but now they had merely parted for a day and Lin Yi’s sword spiritual root had activated?!
Plus, the female lead was watching over him, too. Who was it that could’ve taken Lin Yi’s life under Su BeiCi’s watchful eyes?! Chu WuQing couldn’t understand.
As the phenomenon of Lin Yi’s spiritual root activation occurred, it roused the attention of the nearby sects. Immediately, arcs of light soared through the skies, heading in their direction. Each arc was from a Golden Core cultivator heading over.
Even Golden Core elders from the usually lofty and uncaring QingLin Sect were heading in the XianLin Sect’s direction.
At that point, Chu WuQing couldn’t help but curse, “Fuck!”
Fuck this shit.