Crack… Crack crack crack… Countless spider-web cracks filled the space in front of him. As they reached a critical point, the entire world loudly collapsed as a brittle noise rang out!
Swoosh. Spatial fragments exploded all around, and Xu Yangyi exhaled sharply. In this instant… he saw an endless void behind these fragments! As if… this world was a cage in the vast darkness!
However, the time of this entire “cage” now seemed to pause.
All the fragments, like they were pressing down on a time-out button, froze where they had shattered. In the next second, each fragment wildly swarmed Xu Yangyi. A second later, an object he was rather familiar with, a fingertip size, slowly spun in front of him.
“This…” Xu Yangyi looked at it in a trance. He was familiar with the item… very familiar! In the past twenty years, he had conducted research on it numerous times! Despite this however, he was unable to figure out the truth!
It was a hexagonal prism!
A hexagonal prism like a black gem!
Twenty years ago, when Xiaoqing had sent him away from Earth, this hexagonal prism had appeared during his seemingly phantasmal journey through time and space!
“The second one,” he mumbled to himself and extended his hand. Just as he was about to take the hexagonal crystal into his hand, a dazzling ray of light suddenly exploded out from the crystal at the same time. From the very center of the crystal, light blossomed, stinging his eyes into instinctually closing them in a flash.
Swoosh… The splendor seemed to go through heaven and earth, sparkling for no less than several minutes. As the view in front of Xu Yangyi calmed down again, he immediately opened his eyes.
The cavern was still present.
But… he was laying down on the stone buddha’s hand!
He did so steadily and serenely, as if everything moments ago was all an illusion.
And yet… it hadn’t been!
Not to mention the emptiness he now felt in his spiritual force because he used the Heavenly Opening Fifth Erosion, and the stabs of pain he withstood from Ancientpine, a thumb-sized crystal was now floating before him in particular.
As far as the eye could see, one person was sleeping in each stone buddha’s hand.
At his side, the Realm Spirit was in deep slumber. He didn’t know how, but Zhao Ziqi had returned to his mind. In his surroundings, though, State-Magi Mu, Cui, Zu, his fellow Daoist Moonless, and everyone else… were all fast asleep.
“What… happened?” He looked around the cavern in shock. “Could it be that everything just now for us was all an illusion? But if that’s the case, where did that sense of reality come from?”
Ahead of the cavern was a path. At this moment, however, the ice-cold wind blowing out from the passage caused shivers to run down his body.
“Huff… Huff…” All around, an even and steady noise rose and fell again and again. Xu Yangyi stowed his gaze and looked to each person.
The twelve high spirit-masters of the Twelve Zodiac Beasts and the four state-magi… he came closer and looked through them. All of a sudden, his eyes flashed.
On a stone buddha’s hand, a head was being held.
A dragon mask was present, but there was no body. This was High Spiritmaster Fifth Dragon!
If one died in the illusion, they would likewise die in reality!
“This place is a lot weirder than Danxia Temple… At least, I could still defend myself a little back then. Now, I don’t even know whose doing this. If one dies in the illusion, they can’t do anything against it.”
A hundred roaming thoughts gained no answer, and he cut his train of thought. He was absolutely unwilling to abandon the Clearcloud Realm. He had long since made a resolution. If nothing from the outside was forcing him to give up, then what good was there in continuing to think?
Xu Yangyi stepped back from his musings. What he was most interested in now was the nature behind A Thousand Li Invincible, which had just activated from the Nine Glorious Stars Descent!
The first star was the Heavenly Opening Six Erosions, but the sixth erosion still hadn’t appeared. Would the last eight stars be even stronger than the Heavenly Opening Six Erosions?
His spiritual sense sunk into the Eternal Alchemy Canon. After an hour passed, he slowly opened his eyes, a trace of shock contained in his gaze.
“A Thousand Li Invincible… actually has such a great origin…”
This divine ability came from a sage who had entered the Dao with his martial ability. He was first a man and then later venerated as a god.
The Saint of War, Guan Yu! Daolord Highpeace! 
“A thousand li journeyed on a single horse, a thousand li invincible… is that the meaning?”
What Xu Yangyi paid special attention to… was this wasn’t a divine ability.
At the very least, this wasn’t a divine ability in the broad sense of the term.
This… was a physique divine ability!
Physique divine abilities had two directions of development. The first was physique refinement, to hammer and smelt the body into a magik treasure. The suffering experienced through this process far exceeded that of qi divine abilities by the thousands! Moreover, many suitable bodies required special constitutions. This was the principal reason why body-refining divine abilities had disappeared a long, long time ago in history’s long river.
Only through bitter hardship could one gain honor and riches. Unfortunately though, how many were there of such status in the olden days?
Second… were physique arts, ones similar to the low-end divine abilities of Heavens Law’s Hundred Solutions. Qi that went through each area of the body and coalesced within, turning every part of the body into one’s own spear and shield. If refined to the limit, one could even enlarge, shrink, and grow other parts of the body as they pleased!
For example… the skill popularized by Sun Wukong, Heavenly Way, Earthly Form, and the popular Three Heads, Six Arms. These were the physique divine abilities of the most ultimate supreme Buddhist monasteries! 
And A Thousand Li Invincible was the second kind!
Although it was unknown whether or not it would exhibit the heights of absolute divine abilities like Heavenly Way, Earthly Form and Three Heads, Six Arms once refined to the peak, it was Lord Guan Yu’s trademark so it should’ve been very strong.
“A Thousand Li Invincible has a total of eleven levels… Interesting, it’s the sum of ‘passing through five blockades and slaying six generals’, huh?” Xu Yangyi closed his eyes and recalled the Eternal Alchemy Canon’s contents. “The first three levels are the Hundred Refinements Boundary, which require five kinds of worldly spirit-objects that embody the hardness of Yang and the softness of Yin. They’re then enclosed inside the body for fifty years…” 
Fifty years… of enduring the severing pain of Yin and Yang day after day. Upon just hearing this, Xu Yangyi felt his bones ache. Nonetheless, his brows didn’t even furrow a little, and he continued pondering.
Without suffering trial and tribulation, how could one become exalted!
“There’s nothing strange about everything else… The first level has a divine ability. It’s called…” he inhaled deeply, carrying burning-hot excitement as he murmured softly, “Dragon’s Form, Tiger’s Shape!”
“But… this move has two styles for capturing dragons and two styles for subduing tigers! In comparison to the pain needed for setting up the foundation for this divine ability, using it is pretty simple! It won’t take too long, I’ll be able to memorize four minor styles and one major style all in three days!”
This was the difference between body-cultivators and qi-cultivators!
He remembered very clearly that he had delved into the Heavenly Opening Six Erosions for almost ten years. However, all he needed was three days for a physique divine ability!
Still, setting up the foundation for a physique divine ability took no less than fifty years! And this was merely for the first three levels! And what about qi-cultivators?
As long as qi existed, everything could be cultivated.
“Time’s tight. Since I’ve decided to do as I want, the outer form isn’t important. What suits me is the best divine ability, and I’m obviously leaning closer to physique arts.” He attempted hand seals based on the Eternal Alchemy Canon to revolve a full qi cycle. A few hours later, the manifestation of a dragon and tiger coming together was already behind him.
Time passed quickly. Everyone was in deep slumber, and the second day went by quickly. Somewhat beyond his expectations, however, was that he was only able to comprehend half of these four divine abilities.
“It’s a little bit harder than what I thought.” Behind him, the phantasm of a white tiger had almost solidified. No matter how he wanted to get rid of it, though, it just wouldn’t go away. He couldn’t even receive the tiger into his body. As far as he could see, he really had been fooled to some extent if he wasn’t able to understand the ins-and-outs of the move.
At this moment, he stood below his own stone statue and across from another statue that was a couple dozen meters tall. Behind him, a white tiger was perched high, and wisps of mystical clouds that only cultivators could see were actually on his fists and feet. He was just like a celestial immortal.
“It’s different from what I imagined. These four moves aren’t all about power, but actually focus.” The light of his eyes flashed, and he quickly shot out. At the same time, the originally napping eyes of the white tiger behind him opened! In a flash, the might of a tiger, the king of all beasts, flooded the surroundings!
“ROAR!!!” A furious snarl caused pebbles all over the ground to hop wildly. Xu Yangyi was already in the air, his left hand in the form of claw. He tested out the first physique art he had learned!
“Splitting Air!!!” Following his shout, his claw-shaped left hand swiftly raked forward.
There was no wind, only the faint fluctuations of space. At the same time his hand paused, five slender white marks appeared without warning in the air!
Each one was about a dozen meters long, yet they were as thin as a strand of hair. They seemed to lacerate space apart. But in white marks… pitch-black traces were revealed.
“Spatial cracks?” Xu Yangyi looked at his hand in astonishment. This move of Splitting Air actually split the air!
At this time a soft cracking noise rang out. Five scars shockingly appeared on the stone buddha in front of him. In the next moment, great amounts of dust spread from the stone buddha’s body, and a loud rumble boomed. Several dozen meters tall, the stone buddha was neatly cut into five chunks, the cuts as glossy as a mirror. It was as if a supreme swordsman had slashed out five times!
However… this wasn’t everything!
Behind the buddha statue was stone wall. All of a sudden, the five fine marks evenly appeared on the twenty-meter-tall stone wall! A crash resounded! Sunshine darted straight into the cavern!
After ripping apart the buddha statue… this claw’s residual power hadn’t faded away. It had tore through over thirty meters of rock!
Rumble… Rumble… Shocked, Xu Yangyi looked at the cavern leading to the outside world over twenty meters away from him. Endless sunlight shot in. He didn’t dare believe that all of this had come from barely one claw!
Splitting Air… could last for five minutes! He… could tear an enormous mountain peak into rubble!
This was much more powerful than the might of a qi divine ability!
“From one penetration point, the impact force was shared to the entire mountain. It can seriously produce such massive destructive power…” In a slight daze, he studied his hand. “This… is a physique art?”
“In that case… what is a physique art refined to the limit like?”
This thought merely flitted by, and he raised his hand again. He wanted to see where his ultimate boundary laid.
Swoosh! Just as he was about to swipe out with his second claw, a twisting pain suddenly came from his arm!
The anguish was so violent that it caused his brows to scrunch together. As he pressed down on his arm, he instantly crumpled to the floor, the veins on his forehead bulging out. Only after a full minute passed did he let loose an unbearable groan.
He couldn’t take the pain!
The attack should’ve had a five minute duration, but he couldn’t even last for three seconds!
“My body hasn’t been strengthened…” He tightly gritted his teeth and reluctantly soaked in the sun’s rays. “As expected… physique refinement divine abilities are THE foundation. Without a sturdy body a powerful physique art like this can’t show its power. If physique divine abilities were so easily cultivated, body-cultivators would’ve been around since the old days.”
1. In Chinese culture, Guan Yu is known as a figure from the Three Kingdoms who served under Liu Bei for the State of Shu. He is noted for his martial prowess and loyalty. He is worshiped as a folk god in some communities.
2. Heavenly Way, Earthly Form = 法天象地 (Way of Heaven, Form of Earth) is a move used by Sun Wukong in Journey to the West. He is able to increase his size and do many other body-altering techniques because of it. Erlangshen, a Chinese deity, is shown to use it in other media as well. Three Heads, Six Arms is a skill often seen in Chinese novels that mimics the appearance of asuras in Buddhism.
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