As Xu Yangyi stepped out of the formation, the young cultivator laughed, “Has Branchmaster Xu chosen well?”
“Yes.” Xu Yangyi licked his lips. It appeared that Daomaster Ancientpine wasn’t a total caretaker. Although this open backdoor wasn’t a direct action, it gave him the perfect adrenaline shot to firmly stand and dig his feet!
The Taiyi Everlasting Array! 
This formation’s name couldn’t be considered too mystical, and its effect couldn’t be thought of as extremely amazing. However, set in this place, this item was the most suited to Xu Yangyi! It far surpassed all the other treasures!
Why would a Qi Condensation formation appear here?
No more no less, late Qi Condensation was capable of using it. In Foundation Establishment, there were even better formations, but in the Qi Condensation realm, its defensive function could be said to be top-notch!
A Qi Condensation formation appearing in a Core Formation master’s treasury… Apart from being specifically placed here, there was no other explanation!
“It looks like Master-Ancestor still isn’t too willing to go all in and nurture me, eh…” Xu Yangyi grinned and laughed, stroking his storage ring. His mood was rather cheerful.
Yes, this formation couldn’t be considered some secret treasure, but… it was a grand mountain-protector array!
And what was the meaning of a grand mountain-protector array?
Any sect or apex power would be outfitted with such a formation. As to how complicated it was to craft such a formation, even the lowest mountain-protector array necessitated the cooperation of several grand artificers and grand talismancers. The expense of heavenly treasures was incalculable. This included various functions like identity screening, smart activation and shutdown, reflexive chained offense, reflexive defense, and qi linking. Furthermore… based on the formation’s strength, divine abilities, offensive magik artifacts, and defensive magik artifacts could be added. But most important was the room left to upgrade the formation!
For the most part, this kind of formation was prepared for a sect or power. From Qi Condensation to Foundation Establishment, it possessed everything. But as for its price…
The market value of a complete mountain-protector array in the Qi Condensation realm was 50,000 middle-grade spirit stones!
Despite the wealth that Xu Yangyi’s last auction had brought rolling in, he only had enough to buy two parts! Moreover, the workmanship wouldn’t even be considered the highest! If an array came forth by the hand of a grand master…
There was a possibility that the price could even rocket up to one million! This was the difference between an individual’s wealth and a sect’s wealth, and also the reason that Xu Yangyi needed his own organization! Once the Eternal Alchemy Canon was completely activated in Foundation Establishment, it truly would be too late for him to regret his failure to produce an adequate amount of spirit stones to burn.
He firmly remembered the phrase in the canon’s text: “one nation to nurture one person”. In all likelihood, these words were certainly no falsehood.
“This really is a generous gift…” His heart was somewhat burning in excitement. Immediately, his expression became grave. “But I can see at least three levels of meaning from this mountain-protector array.”
“The first is that I’m not familiar with qi reparations. Based on my qualifications and experience, it still isn’t enough to be fully aware of this subject. Master-Ancestor is reminding me to investigate this right away. In addition, this business is very important to the entire cultivation world.”
Xu Yangyi clicked his tongue. The him of those days was a martial tyrant. Knowing about these things… was too hard for him.
“Second… is that Master-Ancestor is already sure… that there are clans who want to station themselves in Longsu Province. And… they’re certainly not small clans. In that case, there’s no question that Longsu Province’s cultivation powers are going to be shuffled again. The CSIB, Heavens Law, Featherwood Guard, and Bountiful Treasures Pavilion… Nobody dares to act against the four great powers per se, but there’s a prerequisite to that…”
He took a deep breath. “The overseer HAS to be a Foundation Establishment Senior!”
“While I keep watch in Longsu as a Qi Condensation cultivator, there’s no doubt that all the organizations are staring at me dead-on like I’m a pushover. The Cultivation Court doesn’t care at all about how human-demon disputes are handled. Those A-rank Foundation Establishment legions probably won’t listen to my orders. No…” he paused, “they definitely won’t listen to my orders.”
“It can be assumed that I’m too young compared to them. I’m still a cultivator with a Qi Condensation cultivation acting as branch master, and I’m not going to cuss them out… Master-Ancestor, you’ve really given me a big problem, eh.”
Xu Yangyi collected his gaze. This time, the mountain-protector array held enough leeway to display. In a regional reshuffling, he had to lay down a future foundation lasting for several decades. There was no question that savage combat would be commonplace. None of those were coming were easy marks.
“Third…” the demon slayer laughed, “Master-Ancestor’s intention is to not have Foundation Establishment cultivators participate? Otherwise, why wouldn’t he give me a Foundation Establishment grand formation?” His eyes slightly flickered. “I get it…”
At some unknown time amidst his deep ponderings, Xu Yangyi had already left the grand hall. Just as he walked to the palace entrance, he saw an unexpected person.
“Senior Apprentice-Brother.” Quick to act, Xu Yangyi slightly bowed. “Junior Brother pays respects to Senior Brother.”
“Junior Brother, you’re too polite. This Throne doesn’t care too much about these things.” Jadesun laughed, looking at Xu Yangyi somewhat complicatedly. Pausing for a quite a while, he chuckled, “Junior Brother, the mountain rains wish to come. Flood-control measures must first be made.”
“Junior Brother understands,” Xu Yangyi laughed and answered.
“Really?” Jadesun didn’t depart. Instead, he smiled as he beckoned towards Xu Yangyi. He and Xu Yangyi walked together to the front of a window.
“Take a look at this Longsu Province…” Jadesun wistfully looked down below. “Such abundant qi… In no less than fifty years, this place might become a heavenly paradise of legend. Hehe… you still shouldn’t know the meaning of a heavenly paradise, yes? No matter. If you step into Foundation Establishment, you will naturally come to know. As long as you remember now, you’ll have a hundred-year foundation if you can strike out a territory here.”
Xu Yangyi nodded and said nothing.
“But, you know, everyone knows. Little Junior Brother, are you aware how many first-rate clans are short of one breath in rising to an apex power?” He wore a smile on his face as he studied Xu Yangyi, raising four fingers. “Four clans. Altogether, there are four first-rate clans. It just so happens that two are demons and two are humans.”
“Faced with such great enticement, they are incapable of not acting. Right now…” He eyed Xu Yangyi with seemingly deep meaning. “Whoever is seated on this branch master’s position is placed on a wood charcoal oven. Not only the Featherwood Guard, but the CSIB and the Bountiful Treasures Pavilion are also the same.”
Jadesun looked at the sky and changed topics. “I’ve heard Master-Ancestor speak of some minor news. The four great powers will investigate this place for half a year. This concerns the level of qi density and regeneration and the level of qi savings. I do not understand these things…”
Xu Yangyi’s gaze shone. These words were undoubtedly for him. He still had half a year to prepare!
He wanted to clasp his hands to express his respects but discovered that his left arm had long since been done away with. He laughed wryly, “Thank you, Senior Brother.”
“What are you thanking me for?” Jadesun smiled and shook his head. His figure gradually turned fuzzy. “Some words aren’t to be said to anyone… I’m just investing, right…”
Jadesun left, and Xu Yangyi’s gaze looked to the blue sky, watching the free clouds on the horizon and the distant, vast Earth.
“Half a year, huh…” After ages, he retrieved his gaze. From longing for the future, he became firm and resolute. “I, Xu Yangyi, have never been afraid of a challenge!”
“If you want me to start a war, I’ll straight up give you a war of cultivators. As long as no Foundation Establishment cultivators participate, what do I even have to be afraid of since I’ve tempered myself through Danxia Temple?”
Ten minutes later, he said his goodbyes and left the Core Formation palace.
“Master-Ancestor.” Jadesun’s vision seemed as if it could penetrate the clouds. He studied Xu Yangyi, who was under his protective magiks and flying down below, and turned his head. “It appears that junior brother doesn’t understand what the qi reparation represents. Do you think we should…”
So long as Daomaster Ancientpine said the word, none would dare act against the newly titled branch master!
“Should what?” Ancientpine was presently holding a cup of tea. He said, somewhat spellbound, “This Dao Master has already declared back then that whoever raises their hand against my disciple, I will leave neither their chickens nor dogs behind.”
“But…” Jadesun gritted his teeth and said, “Disciple thinks Seventeenth Junior Brother has true potential. Your words in those circumstances back then was to only protect, not a specific declaration. In this following rearrangement process, will you shelter him…”
“Why would I want to say that?” Ancientpine raised his head and looked at the ceiling. “These words were not to disallow them from acting against seventeenth disciple, but rather warn them that they could. However, they cannot dispatch cultivators that exceed his realm.”
He turned his head and looked at Jadesun. “Originally, I wanted you to act for your Seventeenth Junior Brother, against no less than ten people. Nonetheless, only the Ming Clan’s Foundation Establishment cultivator was among them. If they still don’t understand the meaning of this finger of mine… then I don’t mind having them realize a bit more.”
“Master-Ancestor’s foresight stands tall and sees far.”
“What? You think me to be a cruel master?” Ancientpine laughed but suddenly sighed gently, “You are not alone. Sometimes… I think myself cruel…”
“But if you want to raise a true Core Formation seed, one has no choice but to rear venomous Gu.” Ancientpine stood up and said with unbounded haughtiness, “In the past, any Dao Master was a King of Venoms!”
“If one lacks the skill, the wisdom, and the determination to kill their way out from a horde of Gu, what is there to even discuss about the Grand Dao of Core Formation?” He glanced at Jadesun. “Could it be that you think that the tempering I give him… surpasses the scope of his ability?”
Not waiting for Jadesun to reply, he laughed, “No, it doesn’t surpass him… only just now… did he tread the line of life and death… He didn’t rely on luck to leave Danxia Temple. I still want to see… if it really wasn’t luck. In that case, a step to the left leads to survival. A step to the right…” He said indifferently, “just when his fate is poor, yes…”
Jadesun nodded respectfully and said softly, “But… Master-Ancestor, Seventeenth Disciple still doesn’t know what he’s facing this time… These aren’t geniuses fighting alone… These are the true cultivation lineages. I fear that he killed many lineage disciples in Danxia Temple and looks down on these lineages…”
“If that’s the case, why in the world is he still alive?” Ancientpine was unstirred by billowing waves. “Cultivation is like walking on thin ice. One victory against the famous cultivation lineages, and vigilance is lost? As the steel blade reaches the neck, does one think of the legends of these lineages?”
Ancientpine sneered, “If such a fool is nurtured as a seed, it’ll cause those old fellow ‘Inside’ to just laugh their heads off.”
Jadesun nodded yet suddenly realized something. His head snapped up, and he stole a glance at his master, gasping in shock, “M-Master-Ancestor! Y-You’re saying…”
“That’s right.” Ancientpine sipped a mouthful of tea, his expression motionless. “After he reaches Foundation Establishment, I will personally send him there. The ‘Inside’ has already urged the ‘Outside’ to bring seeds in many, many times. Recently, in these past several decades, that place… has become increasingly restless… Jadesun…”
His voice softened by a fraction. “Don’t blame me for not sending you in. Your talents are quite good, but… they truly aren’t enough to go there.”
“Sunnihilator, Lumenpath, Skydragon, Zen-Master Wisdom, Flowerbright, and Willowruin, these juniors that left countless legends in the cultivation world back then… have the qualifications to be there. You think… that you can arm wrestle with any one of them? The fastest Foundation Establishment Sunnihilator? Or Sorceress Flowerbright who can wipe out a city alone? Or Grandmaster Willowruin, the youngest in history to cultivate two crafts?” 
“After all… that place is the ultimate secret why we still have heavenly treasures to struggle for at death’s door in the End of Days, and also the very first battle line…”
1. 太乙无极阵. I am pretty sure I got this right. Taiyi is the name of a “zhenren” named Taiyi Zhenren. Said to be a reincarnation of the first emperor of the Shang dynasty. The name Taiyi itself means Highest Yi, with yi being the second of the ten Heavenly Stems. Yi is the “primordial unity between Yin and Yang”.
2. Sometimes you get some names that are just straight up, but other other titles contain a deeper meaning. I would like to draw attention to the names Flowerbright and Willowruin. First of all, these are most likely the titles belonging to women. Flowerbright (花解语) is an a play on a phrase that originates during the Tang dynasty. It is often meant to describe a woman who is either more beautiful than a flower or extremely intelligent. Willowruin (柳倾城) was a bit harder to translate, but also the same idea as Flowerbright. A woman who is so beautiful that her beauty can topple cities. These names are strange to begin with, so I might be wrong and these aren’t titles but rather names.