Everything that had transpired within the Core Formation palace was an absolute mystery to Xu Yangyi. Even what he would do after reaching Foundation Establishment was unclear.
In China, there were less than 20,000 Foundation Establishment cultivators. There were even less who presumptuously guessed about what they wanted to do and how to accomplish it. All of this was unrealistic, like flowers in a mirror or the moon in the water, viewed through rose-tinted glasses.
However, Xu Yangyi clearly understood two things. The first would be his actions in the aftermath of this colossal qi reparation in Longsu Province. If he could take hold of an amazing cultivation paradise, such as in the vicinity of the heavenbound door, then his cultivation some day—and as well as the Xingtian Legion’s strength—would advance. There were a hundred benefits without a single harm.
Second, a hero needed three supporting pillars. These words weren’t false. There was never such a record of one who cultivated to Core Formation alone.
“Branchmaster Xu, we’ve arrived.” A smiling voice pulled Xu Yangyi from the his diverging thoughts. He stowed his gaze and discovered that he was already standing in an empty and spacious area.
This region was large, no less than several hundred meters all around. However, compared to the ten-odd-kilometer-long palace, it was nothing but a mere corner. And yet, there was nothing here, only two twenty-meter-tall qilin statues. On left and right, they stood at both sides in the room.
“This is?” Xu Yangyi looked at the young cultivator doubtingly.
The young cultivator laughed and murmured, “Branchmaster Xu, Ancestor has a secret command. What you’re entering isn’t the Featherwood Guard’s treasury… but Ancestor’s own treasury.”
Xu Yangyi’s gaze flickered. So that was saying that as a disciple of a Core Formation master, there were still some conveniences after all?
His cultivation time was still short, and he didn’t clearly understand the qi reparation’s change regarding Longsu Province and the cultivation world. But such action by his master-ancestor was warning him… that the opponent this time was absolutely unlike those he’d encountered in the past. They were rather difficult to provoke?
In his contemplations, the young cultivator formed seals with both of his hands and produced two talismans at his left and right. White and black, they flew straight into the mouths of the two stone qilins. Shortly afterwards, the two stone qilins seemed to come alive. In harmony, four eyes shot out white spiritual light. In the place where they converged together, the lights twisted and wound around each other. Surprisingly, they formed a white qi formation that covered the surroundings with talismans a couple seconds later.
“Please, Branchmaster Xu.” The young cultivator made an inviting gesture. “I’ll have to mention in passing that Ancestor specifically commanded that you can take anything inside that will be useful in restoring your left arm as you please. All of this will be converted into achievement merit value. In the future, it will be settled lump sum.”
Xu Yangyi took a deep breath and nodded, flashing into the formation. This was the world’s apex, the treasury of a Core Formation ancestor!
Yes, he still had the Azure Snake Treasury located at the summit of Hunan Province’s Tianzi Mountain and also the Goldbrick Treasury of Jinshan Temple’s Fahai. Nonetheless, Xu Yangyi believed that while the items of these two treasuries would admittedly empower him, it might only be of an even more profound and long-lasting influence. But still, they were distant waters unable to quench approaching thirst, unlike Ancestor Ancientpine’s treasury,.
In an instant, splendid light flashed. As he opened his eyes, even he couldn’t help but gasp. He no longer knew where this place was. He was standing atop a stone bridge in a room.
The bridge floor was smooth white marble. The sky was a towering round dome, carved with the seemingly lifelike images of ancient cultivators and flying immortals. Four small waterfalls flowed straight down from the mouths of four dragon-shaped holes. Xu Yangyi looked down. Below was a pond of jade water and lotus flowers. This flower, greatly related to Daoism, Buddhism, and even Confucianism, was blooming on the lake below in abundance.
His distance from the pond wasn’t great. At most, it was estimated to be twenty or thirty meters. However, the focus of his attention at this moment wasn’t the pond. This room didn’t possess normal lighting fixtures. Furthermore, it wasn’t illuminated with spirit jades. Nevertheless, auspicious jewel light and treasure qi covered the sky! It caused each step to seem as if one was in an immortal realm!
In the hundred-meter-sized room, the stone bridge was only ten meters wide. On both sides of the stone bridge, there were four sculptures that were no less than several tens of meters tall! They were carved, jutting out from the lake water. Only by climbing over the bridge by ten-plus meters could the top of the sculptures be seen! Compared to them, a person was only a measly fraction!
One sculpture was a young cultivator wielding a sword. It had three heads and six arms. However, what drew one’s attention wasn’t his appearance but the jade chests revolving at the top of his head and his hands. They were radiating treasure light all around!
There was a seal on each jade chest. From those seals, Xu Yangyi could sense a sliver of incredibly familiar Core Formation spiritual pressure.
“Each chest is personally sealed by Master-Ancestor…” Xu Yangyi inhaled heavily, not leaving immediately to take one. Instead, he looked at the other three statues.
One sculpture was a soaring female cultivator. One sculpture was a drunk old man. The last was a young man with a scholar’s appearance. Without exception, all of them carried nine jade chests.
“Nine is counted as the apex?” Xu Yangyi restrained the excitement in his heart and laughed, “Master-Ancestor, it seems that you’re a person who abides by the ancient customs, eh.”
In any case, his gaze kept on going! Although these jade chests were presently emitting brilliant rays, the radiance within this room didn’t originate from them! Rather… it came from the other end of the bridge!
Over yonder was an incredibly resplendent treasure light! A treasure light that caused Xu Yangyi to feel his heartbeat stop for a moment as he gazed upon it. A magnificence that concealed everything! This was the glimmering origin that dazzlingly illuminated the entire treasury!
Without any hesitation, Xu Yangyi took a stride forward.
Clear… Following this closing of distance, it became clearer and clearer. In not much time, Xu Yangyi had already taken it into his eye with full clarity. In that place, a two-meter-tall statue of Guanyin was erected! 
At the statue’s side, there was no jade chest floating but rather a gorgeous five-colored stone that was clasped between Guanyin’s hands. It radiated an extremely horrific qi, bobbing up and down in the air!
“This is…” Xu Yangyi stood in front, almost growing drunk on this sensation. Such an incredibly pure qi cleansed him to the point that he nearly moaned. And yet this fist-sized stone was bound to be an extremely mystical treasure!
After his mind trembled for several seconds, he took a deep breath and collected his gaze. The item that Daomaster Ancientpine wanted him to pick was in no way this item. Otherwise, Xu Yangyi was afraid that he would be slapped when he came out.
“One has to act tactfully.” Xu Yangyi laughed and retrieved his gaze without the slightest reluctance, yet it fell to the floor. He then discovered that someone had used their finger to carve a character in the floor, leaving behind spiritual force. Now sensing Xu Yangyi’s spiritual force, the character responded and radiated purple light like a lamp.
“This item’s name and efficacy is unknown… but it contains a terribly majestic demonic force….” Xu Yangyi read this and raised a brow. He observed the stone in astonishment.
Demonic force? In other words… this… was possibly some demon egg?
“It still has not hatched. As for the height of its realm, This Dao Master’s spiritual sense almost collapsed when I probed it. I suspect that it is a Pureblood Demon. I henceforth seal it here.”
A Pureblood Demon!
Xu Yangyi grinned wide, exposing his teeth. Pureblood Demons… had another name.
Ancient Greater Demons!
Such as Xiaoqing. A 3,600-year-old azure carp. Yes, she herself was only an azure carp but through endless cultivation, she had transformed into a Kun Peng! This was the power of an ancient pureblood demon!
In ancient times, it was said that even innate souls existed, the theory of a post-celestial soul. There was also the theory of a spirit root and the theory of variation spirit roots. However, now in the End of Days, traces of these concepts had long since vanished. 
This wasn’t an object that he could control… Xu Yangyi sighed in his heart. Turning his gaze, he turned to the other items. He began looking at the first statue. With a gentle wave of his hand, the first jade chest flew into his hand.
The jade chest was a meter long. The top was sealed all over with symbols. Under Xu Yangyi’s careful observations, he sighed wistfully once more.
“The Shadow Manifestation Secret Art…” Xu Yangyi deeply caressed and gently stroked the chest a few times and placed it back. “Ancestor Ancientpine’s prime secret art… To the north and south of the Yangtze River, his martial prowess resonated throughout all of China…”
This wasn’t what he needed. Since he’d chosen the Eternal Alchemy Canon, switching one’s prime arcane effort midway was a cultivator’s great dread.
Xu Yangyi hesitated over the second chest for a long time.
Divine ability! The Shadowmaker Technique!
All cultivators’ magiks was simply a general term. To divide arcane efforts and divine abilities in detail, an arcane effort was the cultivation foundation, the prime arcane effort. Once confirmed, it was extremely difficult to change. But divine abilities were split into three kinds: offensive, defensive, and supplementary. A complete magik was sure to have many paired divine abilities of a prime arcane effort. For example, Xu Yangyi had always held an extraordinary yearning for the disaster-warding Ten Thousand Shadows Heavenly Punishment.
At the same time, there were still an even greater amount of paired divine abilities that weren’t divine abilities of a prime arcane effort. It was this reason that greatly stirred his heart.
“Forget it.” Gritting his teeth, he put the chest back in its original position in the end.
“The Ten Thousand Shadows Heavenly Punishment’s destructive power is absolute, but it’s a divine ability that's always paired with the Shadow Manifestation Secret Art. Moreover…” He laughed and mumbled, “the Nine Glorious Stars Descent that I have isn’t worse than the Ten Thousand Shadows Heavenly Punishment in any way!”
This divine ability could draw forth a worldly anomaly! Although it was unknown if he could fully wield its grandeur in the Qi Condensation realm, such a divine ability wasn’t something Core Formation could possess! Wei Zhongxian had relied on Celestial Master Zhang’s blessing to use it. And who was Celestial Master Zhang?
A contemporary sect master from among the three supreme sects of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism! If half-immortals existed, then he was a half-immortal!
Furthermore… the Heavenly Opening Six Erosions was merely the first move of the Nine Glorious Stars Descent! As he looked at the jade chests, each one caused him to feel a sudden rush of excitement in his heart.
He saw a magik treasure that could be used at initial Foundation Establishment. It was capable of forcibly raising one’s realm by two minor boundaries! It was simply a peerless edge able to jump ranks to slay foes! It was also unknown from where his master-ancestor gained it. In all likelihood, Ancientpine had relied on this to bring his name to such grandness.
Xu Yangyi also saw a petal. It seemed ordinary, but the explanation on it almost caused him to immediately take it.
Nine Turns Resurrection Flower, capable of obstructing a single death! If nine identical petals were collected… it could restore the qi sea!
Xu Yangyi even saw a medicinal pill! A true medicinal pill!
“This… is an Origin Pill!” Studying the numerous and densely packed pill marks, Xu Yangyi exhaled sharply. It was beyond his expectations that Ancestor Ancientpine was actually harboring a medicinal pill! And this medicinal pill was unexpectedly the only jade chest without any explanation!
He looked at the pill over and over, wishing each tune that he could take it and run off. Ultimately, he forcibly calmed himself once more.
This treasury was too precious… If any one of these items were set free, they would smash heads! He couldn’t help but imagine how rich the Tianzi Mountain and Jinshan Temple treasuries that belonged to two eternal greater demons were!
In his ruminations, his gaze fell on the final jade chest. With a glance, his gaze suddenly began to scorch. This item… He quickly recalled the meaningful expression that Ancestor Ancientpine had made back then for him to “carefully choose”.
“It’s you…” Xu Yangyi inhaled deeply. Without a moment’s hesitation, he deposited the jade chest into his storage ring. “This… is the great gift that Master-Ancestor prepared for me!”
2. Post-celestial soul. What I want to specifically point to is the concept of Post-celestial. If you’ve read a decent amount of xianxia novels at this point, you should be familiar with it as the “Houtian Realm”. The idea of Xiantian to Houtian (pre-celestial to post-celestial) in classical Daoist alchemy is a state of change, Yang to Yin. As indicative of the terms Xiantian to Houtian, before and after the cosmos within one’s body.