Carefully perusing his memories, Xu Yangyi still didn’t find a fitting objective.
After four hours, he furrowed his brows. However, his gaze immediately fell to another memory.
Mottled and jumbled, his memories were like a heap of trash. Still, there was some undiscovered talent in the garbage. His good few differentiation methods were all found from it.
In the mist-colored world of his spiritual sense, a golden pearl was floating. This… was a sliver of Butterflymother Southflower’s memories!
“Don’t disappoint me…” His spiritual sense sunk in. As soon as he entered, he suddenly felt his head swoon.
Butterflymother Southflower… It was unknown how long she’d lived, and she’d moreover traversed countless dreamlands. A thread of her memories, to normal people, was practically a decades-to-a-hundred-years-old object stiffly forced into the mind. Even Xu Yangyi couldn’t bear it.
Moderating his breathing for a couple dozen minutes, he finally relaxed and began touring Butterflymother Southflower’s unabridged memory fragments.
A week later, he was sitting solemn-faced inside his cultivation room. He was recalling two memories with a little troubling difficulty. They really were something else!
The specifics had been plucked from whoever’s memory, and Xu Yangyi no longer wanted to investigate. He only remembered that these memories reeked of blood. They absolutely didn’t depict one of a righteous Dao.
“Qi Explosion Pill, Yin-Yang Spring.” He chewed over the two pill formulas in his mouth. In a flash, the Qi Explosion Pill could elevate oneself by a single minor boundary for thirty minutes. The price was that one would be totally drained of spiritual force for two hours. Anyone would be able to take advantage of you in this state.
Yin-Yang Spring. This name appeared irrelevant to pills, but it was indeed related!
It was the same as a pill spirit. Concocting pills might reveal benefit, but it could likewise give rise to fatal danger.
The Eternal Alchemy Canon also mentioned a note. “Those with pill fiends, the higher level a medicinal pill, the greater its pairings. The pill’s baleful aura is condensed into the quintessence of an object. The Five Phases unite for pill completion. However, the discarded undergo the refinement of divine flame or become a pill fiend. If the pill master discovers something unrecognized, it cannot be touched so easily. Violators may worry for their life.”
Concerning pill fiends, the vast and flowing Eternal Alchemy Canon only said this much.
Moreover, the Yin-Yang Spring was a single kind among pill fiends! According to the butterflymother’s memories, this was even a kind that left “somewhat of an impression” on her!
“To have a fair impression on an existence like Butterflymother Southflower… To me, this ‘fair’ isn’t so simple,” Xu Yangyi drawled. “But, its side effects are great as well. Once used, blood has to be drawn, and poisoned injuries reach both sides. To kill a thousand enemies and lose 800 of your own troops… Typical heretical methods.”
“However, I have the Lotus Reincarnation and Life Hangs By A Thread. Even if I use a pill fiend in the worst situation, I should still be able to keep my life. But what if it can’t be removed in future?”
He hesitated for a long time. In the end though, he decided to concoct a pill fiend.
Journey to the West… was a legend with a far greater standard than the Legend of the White Snake, and much more terrible. Furthermore, if Bladevessel had told the truth, everyone in these legends were real!
If so… what was the entity being sealed by Great Sage Sun in a Lesser Thousand Realm?
He couldn’t treat this lightly anymore!
“The Clearcloud Realm has all the materials, but both concoction methods are pretty strange. Forget it… it’ll still boost me.”
He resolved on a plan, and qi cycled through his entire body. In an instant, the qi that still hadn’t been completely refined inside him began to stir again.
Boom! An azure flame lit up in the pill cauldron. In a situation without any other flame, the Ten Cardinals Purgatory was a good skill at home and on journeys.
Time passed day after day. A year later, Xu Yangyi’s entire face was almost black with ash as he stood in front of his pill cauldron. He wore an eased smile on his face.
“I’ve finally grasped its increasing time interval and fire strength… Succeeding with a Qi Explosion Pill is just a few months away!”
At this time, a paper crane flew out from the corner of the room. Tian Guotao’s voice rang out.
“Master Xu, a person claiming that you would find him is on State-Magus Zu’s telephone line. He dialed through to the Li Family’s line and is clearly looking for you sir, may I?”
Xu Yangyi was stunned. He was disengaged from his joy of just having figured out the Qi Explosion Pill’s function procedure, and pensively rubbed his chin.
So you’ve come… It’s later than what I anticipated, but you really did keep your cool.
Once the figure behind Zu Huai’en heard that he’d found the return path, Xu Yangyi believed that the other would immediately hurry over and verify it. Nothing, however, had come to pass.
“He understands very well that in case we return to Earth, the Clearcloud Realm will both be our greatest secret… and last time we met, he already realized that he couldn’t kill me. No!” Xu Yangyi’s gaze flashed, and a few matters suddenly dawned on him. “Since the beginning last time, that’s been his heart. Rather than say he’s impulsive, it would be better to instead say…”
Xu Yangyi breathed in deeply. “He… wants to test my foundation!”
“If I were a little weaker, then he would definitely attack once we returned to Earth! After he found out he wasn’t able to control me, he went straight to roping me in…”
He murmured and stood up, “He wants to develop the Clearcloud Realm together with me? But he wants to take the lead? I was still suspicious why he didn’t borrow Zu Huai’en’s mouth back then to give me a general outline on what his plan is. So that’s how it is… At that time… he had the mind to kill me in the future!”
“Now that he’s heard that I’ve found the path, he’s finally panicking.” Xu Yangyi stretched out a hand and chuckled darkly as he stroked the supreme-grade spirit stone in front of him. “Wealth, scripture, companions, and land. Cultivations four treasures. As expected, wealth moves the human heart. Tian Guotao.”
“I am present.”
“I won’t meet him. Just say that I’m in death seclusion, and I’m not seeing any visitors. Next time you see this number, just reject it.”
In Zu Huai’en’s villa located in Baizhai City’s outskirts, Zu Huai’en’s finger pressed down on a telephone.
Afterwards, he turned his head around. There was no one behind him, but a cup of tea was floating in the air.
“He refused?” The teacup clacked as it was set on the table, and an old voice rang out.
“Yes,” Zu Huai’en promptly kneeled and answered, lowering his head with incredible respect.
Thunk… Thunk… The heavy sound of a wooden table being rapped echoed in front of Zu Huai’en. The sound was melodious and rich in tempo. Five minutes passed and grim laughter was heard. “Such a decisive refusal… Could it be he really found the way back?”
“State-Magus Zu, what do you say?”
“I… I do not know…” Currently State-Magus Zu’s head was beaded with cold sweat and his limbs were cast on the ground. His voice was shaking. “Master Xu… only said that he’s going somewhere in ten years… He didn’t say where…”
“Of course,” the voice laughed, “Of course he could foresee that you would tell me. Anyways, what did he explain to you in detail?”
Zu Huai’en gave an account, and the voice remained silent throughout.
Afterwards, the voice stewed in silence for a few seconds before ringing out again, “Go, I want to rest a bit. This fellow… really is slippery to get a hold of… His realm is inferior to mine, but his arcane effort is very strange, and the might of his divine abilities are very shocking as well. He really is quite the thorn.”
Wet with sweat, Zu Huai’en left. An unknown passage of time later, the teacup flew up again, and a gloomy voice was heard. “Xu Yangyi, eh… Although I’ve never heard of your name… among those able to enter this place, who isn’t a great talent…? You are one, and so am I! If you really think you can avoid me, then you’re too naive…”
“This Clearcloud Realm… If I’m trapped here forever, then forget it, but if I leave, it’ll be an endless treasure bowl. You want to rid me of my only way out? Your appetite is too big, be careful not to overstuff yourself.”
“It seems you also realized why I wanted to test you last time, and yet… what of it? Nothing more than initial-stage Foundation Establishment… With the Clearcloud Realm’s meager qi, I haven’t even advanced an inch in decades. I’ll give you another ten years. Even if you understand, what can you do? Looks like I’ll have to properly remind you, Fellow Daoist…”
Bang! The teacup violently shattered into pieces. Countless water droplets slowly flew out and coalesced all around. The aged voice was already brimming with a murderous aura. “The weak are food for the strong, this is the cultivation world’s nature!”
Just as the voice fell, the shower of water droplets became bullets. With a continuous rattle, they frantically raked down the surroundings! In short time, the entire hall became ruins. Numerous pitch-black bullet holes covered the area, and acrid plumes of smoke rose out from the holes. A cold snort followed, and the entire very expensive villa loudly collapsed!
Time was like an arrow, and the years and moons were like a shuttle. In the blink of an eye, half a year had already passed.
In the basement, Xu Yangyi was floating. His body seemed transparent, and streaks of azure qi mingled with an ash-gray tint was ceaselessly flowing in his meridians. In front of him, the pill cauldron raged with fire. A blood-red gelatinous object was bobbing up and down inside.
His hand had almost become a mirage now, manipulating the heat little by little. With each of his actions that followed, the gelatinous object became even smoother and rounder. In the center of the jelly, a black dot seemed to flash.
Time drifted on bit by bit. Another day passed, and all of a sudden the gelatinous mass began to violently shake! Xu Yangyi’s eyes snapped open. Just as he was about to pull his hand back, however, he hesitated. Then, he suddenly grasped it, and the violet furnace flame dramatically flared with a bang! In the next second, dazzling red light jetted out from the pill cauldron!
“Fuck!” Xu Yangyi gritted his teeth and said. In the next moment, a cover of white light came off his entire body and kept the tide of red light outside. Afterwards, he immediately looked to the furnace-cauldron. The red jelly had already become a pool of black ash.
“I was obviously about to form the pill, but I’m always that little bit off,” he sighed. In this half-year, the Qi Explosion Pill seemed as if it could be completed last month, but he was constantly a step short.
“Forget it, time waits for no man. Without a wise master to guide me, I’ll have to go and hit this wall myself!” 
With a snort, he waved his hand and the black ash vanished without a trace. He entered bitter cultivation again.
Winter passed and spring came. Flowers wilted and flowers bloomed. A year had passed in the turn of an eye.
Inside his cultivation room, Xu Yangyi’s posture was rigid. However, no one was any the wiser that the qi inside his meridians had now fully turned azure in color.
Boom! In front of him, a purple fire-dragon soared up. He was like a scientist testing numerous experiments. He beckoned easily, and a blood-red peephole-sized pill with a black line on the middle of it flew into his storage ring.
“Despite the difficulty.”
“In these two years, all my qi has finally been scraped of impurities. In the Eternal Alchemy Canon, concocting pills is to cultivate. How many alchemists would go nuts if they knew about my arcane effort?”
The Qi Explosion Pill had been completed earlier in the spring of the second year, but he didn’t stop. He became even more familiar with the pill formula. Xu Yangyi refined pull after pill until more than half a year later he’d already fully grasped the production method. Furthermore, he cultivated through pill concoction, so the endless impurities within his qi were all finally refined away!
1. “This wall” is specifically something called a “South Wall”. It has something to do in Chinese culture about house entrances being built in a certain way to the south. No matter how you tried to leave the house, left or right, you would always hit that entrance. It is something to this effect. Kinda means “no other way out” in context. There’s also some additional information about how rich people would have something called a “spirit wall”, which was a screen wall, to serve as a shield at this entrance.
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