Chapter 74: Refining the Heart (1)

Chapter 74: Refining the Heart (1)

 The wolf-demon trembled from head to toe, cold sweat dripping down desperately. However, Zhou Tingting didn’t have a frightened expression at all. She only looked at Xu Yangyi with a shining gaze. 

“After leaving Bai County, I gave you one final chance.” Xu Yangyi gently puffed out smoke, watching the vapor drift away in the wind. He said indifferently, “Now, you can chose on your own to leave right away. But at that time, you’ll have to let me leave an imprint in your spiritual senses. The same as Li Zongyuan.”

“However, you can choose to walk together with me.”

“Right now…” He inhaled deeply and stamped out his cigarette butt, looking coldly at the duo. “you know where I’m staying, and you know that I’m being hunted. You’re aware of the opposition’s background. There no longer exists even a shred of retreat for you. Follow me or die.”

“I’m willing to follow you, sir!” Before his voice fell, Zhou Tingting immediately bowed. “Since I saw you the first time, I knew I could only follow you, and only you were able to guide me! In the past several days, I’ve truly seen how fierce you are, sir! I have faith in my choice!”

Xu Yangyi smiled and leaned his head. Zhou Tingting pursed her lips as she walked over to the side. He didn’t speak, only calmly looking at the wolf-demon. “I still don’t know your name.”

“C-Cheng Jianfeng…” The wolf-demon simply dared not look straight at the other, lowering his head. After a while he said, “W-Why are you telling us this?”

“Only to let you know that I’m not actually a person that enjoys killing.” Xu Yangyi said a tad bit ruefully and sighed, “Sometimes, some people choose the worst place at the worst time to appear in front of someone that they should show up to the least. That’s why the person has a reason to kill.”

“If you don’t choose, I’m sorry. If you have some final testament, you can tell me now. I’ll deliver you to eternal rest without suffering. I’ll also agree to help you complete your desires.”

The wolf-demon’s lips shivered. He was still young. He hadn’t left the city, and he simply didn’t think of what a true cultivator was like. Now, in this year of 2019, he would remember this day for the rest of his life. He had broadened his horizons on a true cultivator. 

Merciless, yet sentimental. Only oneself as god, with no clear belief and respect to the deities. Forever, they held the greatest confidence in themselves. Any and all affairs that influenced their cultivation, so long as they didn’t violate their principles, would be cleanly handled.

He quite understood the kind of situation he was in right now.

Friendship? No, he had only seen one side, nothing more than a one-time cooperation. However, he knew of the other’s secret and the identities of the people hunting him down! Xu Yangyi had 101 reasons to kill him. 

If his cultivation was swapped with Xu Yangyi’s, then perhaps he would’ve already made a move while inside the toad’s stomach. 

“I… am willing to swear allegiance…” Cheng Jianfeng gritted his teeth, white mist continuously exuding from his seven apertures. In a flash, an elaborate little wolf appeared before Xu Yangyi.

Xu Yangyi silently bit his finger and a drop of blood fell into the surface of the little wolf. Cheng Jianfeng shivered all over, and a kind of indescribable sensation suddenly emerged within his spiritual sense. It seemed… like there were two thoughts in his spiritual sense. He could vaguely feel Xu Yangyi, and Xu Yangyi also existed within his spiritual sense. 

Xu Yangyi closed his eyes. All was prepared, and he only had to wait several days to begin cultivating.

Four days later, within the forest.

In the basement of a two-story cottage near a fish pond, Xu Yangyi looked at a lump of silver dust in his palm, muttering to himself.

Placing the dust under his nose and sniffing it, a fresh aroma battered his senses. It was like a fragrance after a rainy spring day in a bamboo forest that could cause someone to stop in intoxication. However, this scent was even more simple and elegant, still ancient. 

Using his forefinger to touch it, he placed it in his mouth for a taste. It entered his mouth and then transformed, raindrops seemingly coming together as water. Yet in his mouth, it left behind a flavor even more refreshing than any chewing gum. It was as if all his taste buds had opened in a flash. 

The basement didn’t allow for wind to pass through. In barely three days, Li Zongyuan had bought it. This house had been used for a pickled-vegetable business. Because of Li Zongyuan, they had a sizeable basement as a result. 

The space was 700 square feet in size and four meters high. Originally, it should’ve been a dusky space permeated with a strange odor, but now, a kind of fresh fragrance, that of a spring valley, pervaded the air. The ground was no longer the cheap slate of a peasant family, but rather installed with a layer of true wood flooring. On top, a layer of soft scarlet carpet was spread out. At first, the overhead was lit by fluorescent light, but had been exchanged earlier with four or five crystal chandeliers. A few calligraphy pieces and paintings of unknown origin hung on the wall, appearing refined and tasteful.

Li Zongyuan nervously stood at the side. He had done all the decorating here and expended much thought into it. However, he further understood that it was the Dew Congealing Grass that allowed his survival. If these things couldn’t please the fiend in front of him, then when the time came… 

There was the possibility that in a long time from now, someone would discover a tremendous toad corpse around twenty to thirty meters in size, in this basement...

“High grade.” Xu Yangyi took a box containing the powder and placed it at the side in satisfaction, nodding. “Dew Congealing Grass sprouts at midnight. As the first rays of the sun rise, the qi vanishes. In case it comes across a human body, it will immediately wither. It can only be grown in an extremely acidic place…”

Xu Yangyi glanced at Li Zongyuan. “I won’t ask about your secret art. However, how did you establish this dimensional space within your stomach?”

“Master is resplendently brilliant.” Li Zongyuan’s heart pounded and he swallowed his saliva, laughing wryly, “I’ve been picking this Dew Congealing Grass that I’ve cultivated for more than a decade. Canaries must be used to pick them, and then they are placed in a cold ice container… This is a delicate work…”

The implication from the toad to the human was clear. You want to cultivate? Only I can do these things. I’m still quite useful! Don’t kill me!

Xu Yangyi smiled. From the beginning, he never had the thought of killing the other. Compared with the Eternal Alchemy Canon, the life of the insignificant Li Zongyuan was not even worth a scrap of value. 

“You’ve proven your worth.”

It was only when these words were said that Li Zongyuan felt his whole body relax. He nearly sat down on the ground, paralyzed. Throughout the whole journey, only his heart was truly hanging! He had always strove with his best efforts to strike up relations. Only now did he feel his life had returned.

Next… was to see if the pact could be removed. Although the hope for it was quite uncertain, was the time still not long?

“And the others?” Xu Yangyi asked.

“They’ve contacted a school…” Li Zongyuan watched Xu Yangyi’s expression and replied, “Mr. Xu, they’re still at the age of a junior in high school… without a great teacher to guide cultivation, and since you’re also going to enter seclusion now, their best choice is but to rely on a cultivation university to seek advancement and wait for you to come out seclusion.”

Xu Yangyi nodded. Presently, he also really didn’t have the motivation to take care of the others. 

“Next, go buy several kinds of items for me.” He snapped his finger. “I speak, you write it down.”

After Li Zongyuan took out his cell phone, he nearly pricked his ears up to listen. Granted that he had much discontent in his heart and furthermore the thought of escape, he absolutely couldn’t display a trace of it right now!

If it manifested, he was very certain that the young man he was speaking nicely with wouldn’t mind causing him to relive the nightmare of three years prior at all.

“Ten catties of Violet Yang Flower.”

“Ten catties of Imperial Heaven Wood tips.

“One catty of Cinnabar Fruit peels.”

“Three catties of Pentascent Seeds.”

As Li Zongyuan recorded over twenty of these vast raw materials. The suspicions in his heart became greater. These items seemed to be quite familiar… Where had he heard of them?

“Got it?” Xu Yangyi’s voice rang out again, and Li Zongyuan immediately restrained his mind. 

Coughing with a smile, he said, “I noted it all down. I’ll read it all out once more, and Master can see whether or not anything was overlooked.”

“Ten catties of Violet Yang Flower, ten catties of Imperial Heaven Wood tips, a catty of Cinnabar Fruit, three catties of Pentascent Seeds… T-This!” Just as he recorded this list, his attention scattered. He hadn’t paid it any mind, but now that he was reading it, drawing a connection to the Dew Congealing Grass, a cold sweat exuded from his entire body in fright! 

This was the formula for the Spirit Strengthening Pill Elixir! 

The ancient formula still existed nowadays, merely the alchemy technique had disappeared! Clever modern cultivators had taken these pill methods and transformed them into pill elixirs or capsules. 

Through a cultivator’s life, not many pill elixirs or capsules could be injected or consumed. The drug was somewhat poisonous, and although cultivation seemed quick, excessive pill elixir usage would lead the medicinality in the pill elixir to choke up the meridians. Ultimately, the heavy accumulations were difficult to pull back from, and one’s cultivation stopped at some boundary.

However, the Dao of Alchemy was rich with several thousand years, a craft that wouldn’t cause people to fear the essential despite minor risk by any measure or pace!

Any modern grand elixirist knew. Genuine pill elixir could be used frequently to restore the body’s injuries and cautiously raise one’s cultivation! However, there was a kind of pill elixir that all cultivators couldn’t abstain from!

Pill elixir specialized for breakthroughs.

For example, Wang Buzhi had possessed the world-shaking Hinayana Pill alchemy formula. Its ancient name… was the Foundation Establishment pill! 

And there was also the Life-Death Reincarnation Pill once mentioned by Vermilion Snow. Its ancient name was the Core Formation Pill! 

These were items that any cultivator would truly fight over! Especially those old undyings who were already confronted with death at the end of their lives, stranded in a position to break through to a great realm!

Spirit Strengthening Pill Elixir was among one of these kinds! Any cultivator assaulting a minor boundary would run into the “bodily limiter”. It was formless yet material. Only by shattering it could the next boundary be entered.

The Spirit Strengthening Elixir increased the present solidification level of a cultivator’s spiritual sense. After it was used, the odds of breaking through contrasted ordinarily would increase by 10%!

Stupefied, Li Zongyuan looked at Xu Yangyi. The thoughts within his heart nearly changed in a flash! If, say, Xu Yangyi was an alchemist, then there wouldn’t be any harm in following the other! Not to mention being a demon familiar… he was even willing to be a personal pet!

Any successful cultivator has an alchemist of thundering renown behind them. This was a saying in the cultivation world, one that was absolutely not unfounded!

“M-Master…” He felt his voice crack. Before, his heart was filled with grievance and thoughts of escape, yet in a flash, they dissipated like smoke. For the first time, he called out ‘master’ with honest sincerity, his voice shaky. “Y-You’re an alchemist?” 

“No.” Xu Yangyi said, thoroughly crushing his delusions. “I’m only studying.”

The lofty expectation in Li Zongyuan’s heart, the kind of disappointment that was raised up high and then heavily thrown down, caused an unrestrainable smidgen of despair to emerge on his face. Clenching his teeth, he said. “Alchemists are required to go to the Alchemy Association’s ‘Pill Cauldron Corporation’ subsidiary to enroll. Did you go? Also, I’ve heard that aptitude is still going to be tested. Master… y-your neurons have opened?”

Xu Yangyi was faintly dazed; he didn’t understand these matters at all. Mumbling to himself for a moment, he said, “Go buy the items first and return. Tanshan City’s Bountiful Treasures Pavilion branch has them on sale.”

Li Zongyuan nearly spat out blood in his heart. What was this? This was the thought of trying out whether or not one could refine pills from seeing the majestic status of an alchemist! Every year, if there weren’t ten thousand such cultivators, there was sure to be eight thousand! These colonies of penguins were everywhere! There couldn’t be too many of these kinds of dimwitted ninnies! 

The important point, though, was that this cost was still his money!

His fate was already joined together to Xu Yangyi’s, and spending money on cultivation really didn’t matter. Between a master and demon familiar, a master of high status wouldn’t mind advancing his demon familiar. However, wasn’t this a reckless waste of cash? 

“The money isn’t enough…” His throat and even his diaphragm ached, and he secretly gritted his teeth. “I only have 10 million… The new car was 700,000, this house was 500,000… The basement remodel was 100,000… Master, a catty of Violetfire Flower is 200,000… Master, it really isn’t enough!”

“Our funds are only sufficient to concoct five times!”

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