Li Zongyuan worriedly looked at the cultivation room’s door. Twenty-six days had gone by, but Xu Yangyi still hadn’t appeared. The Fasting Capsules also should’ve been finished, right?
What the heck is Master doing inside?
A little jittery, he paced back and forth at the door, and Zhang Gongchang grabbed a newspaper and laughed, “Fellow Daoist, you don’t need to be worried. In my opinion, Fellow Daoist Xu is cultivating an arcane effort.”
“Yes, while I carefully noticed that Fellow Daoist Xu’s appearance was unsightly the last time he came out, his spirit wasn’t the least bit crestfallen. Among those who cultivate, do any emerge from seclusion looking good? Fellow Daoist, your anxiety is unnecessary.” Li Mu looked at his cell phone as he laughed.
“Fellow Daoist Xu is a smart, talented man.” Wang Chunlai laughed as he consoled Li Zongyuan. “Fellow Daoist Li, really, you don’t need to be too worried. If my guess isn’t off, I’m afraid that the three of us all together aren’t Fellow Daoist Xu’s opponent. It’s not a question with this level of talent that he’ll advance into the middle stage in a decade.”
Li Zongyuan glanced somewhat impatiently at the several people. He wasn’t supposed to be nervous? His prime essence had Xu Yangyi’s drop of blood in it! If something happened to Xu Yangyi, he would also meet with mishap! Was it possible for him NOT to be worried?! This was also the reason why Xu Yangyi dared to set his mind at ease by boldly handing over matters to him to manage.
“Fellow Daoist Wang, you feel that way, too?” Zhang Gongchang looked at Wang Chunlai in astonishment and then laughed wryly. “I thought I was the only one that felt like that. When I saw Fellow Daoist Xu back then, my intuition was telling me that this was someone who couldn’t be provoked… but I didn’t have the nerve to say it…”
“What’s there to be embarrassed about?” Li Mu sighed and set down his cell phone. “We’ve seen quite a few geniuses, as well. It’s nothing more than fate making fools out of men. 80% of people are like us. There’s nothing good to be found in blaming the heavens and faulting others.”
“Yes…” Wang Chunlai drank his tea, nodding towards Li Zongyuan. “Fellow Daoist Li, if there’s nothing else, I’m planning to take my leave at the end of this month. There’ll be a chance later to reconvene.”
“Yes, good, splendid…” Li Zongyuan naturally agreed without reservation.
“While I don’t know when we’ll see each other again, perhaps Fellow Daoist Xu’s realm will already be at the middle stage…” Li Mu glanced at the door of the cultivation room a tad complicatedly and shook his head. “How about we make a bet? When will Fellow Daoist Xu advance to the middle stage?”
“Hehe, people who can advance a single minor boundary in twenty years or even thirty years are a dime a dozen. On average, Foundation Establishment takes over seventy years. How could it be so easy?” Wang Chunlai laughed despite this, yet carefully mused. “I think that he has the promise to break through to the middle stage within five years.”
“Too short.” Zhang Gongchang shook his head. “He’s just in his early twenties. Apart from that fiend Sunnihilator who’s been drawing qi into his body since he was ten, I’ve never heard of anyone else that was able to accomplish this. Up to now, maybe he’s been cultivating for seven or eight years. Five years ain’t it, but neither is twelve… I bet eight!”
“Within eight years, Fellow Daoist Xu has the promise of advancing into the middle stage with a total of fifteen years!”
“Fifteen years…” Li Mu said somewhat enviously, “By then, he might be thirty-five or thirty-six… Such a golden age… Which clan wouldn’t want to fight over him? Even if he isn’t a core seed, he’s still a secondary core seed. Unlike us, who still need to find this kind of fast money… I feel that in a total of fifteen years, Fellow Daoist Xu has the promise to charge into the middle stage, too.”
No one was any the wiser that three years ago, Xu Yangyi had assailed the middle stage. If not for Chu Tianyi’s blatant interference back then, he would’ve long ranked in the middle stage.
“I shall bear all of Fellow Daoists’ auspicious words.” Li Zongyuan laughed dryly, yet his gaze deepened in worry. But at this instant, everyone’s gaze converged. Soon, the four people looked towards the surrounding space in unison.
It wasn’t known when, but rice-sized motes of qi soundlessly emerged in their surroundings. They were very small, but… rather numerous!
In the last second, they had only just appeared, yet in the next, the motes that had solidified from nothingness became increasingly greater in number! They were densely swarming together!
The whole basement was different from the ocean of spiritual light during Xu Yangyi’s last advancement. This time, it was even larger! The one prior was merely ten to twenty meters. This time… it was shockingly over fifty meters!
These motes of qi appeared to feel some beckoning, and they joyously bounced and spun, causing the surroundings of Li Zongyuan and the others to become a beautiful expanse that was too resplendent for the eye, a lovely scenery akin to the Milky Way Galaxy!
“Qi Pours into the Body…” Everyone silently stood up, and Li Mu observed the surrounding sea of spiritual light that left him envious, and said shakily, “Fellow Daoist Zhang… y-you’re breaking through?”
“What fantasy are you going on about!” Zhang Gongchang’s eyes were somewhat reddened. A breakthrough, right before him, someone was breaking through!
He had already cultivated for twenty-three years and was at the initial stage of Qi Condensation to this day. The shadow of the middle stage was left unseen. Every now and then, he had seen a couple fellow Daoists assail the middle stage, and no matter who it was around, they gave their congratulations. Yet now, there was someone actually advancing to the middle stage in front of him!
Wait a second… in front of him?
He thought back and so did everyone else. Immediately, followed by an orderly whooshing sound, each person’s gaze started ardently at the tightly closed cultivation room. Presently, there was only one person with such a possibility!
“H-How…” Li Mu’s lips shivered faintly. “I shouldn’t have made a mistake… H-He’s just in his early twenties! How can he possibly break through now?!”
A breakthrough represented that the qi sea had already swelled. They had cultivated for over a dozen years, close to twenty, and had still only filled approximately three-fifths of theirs… Xu Yangyi had only cultivated for some odd years, yet they had even just placed bets that he would advance within eight. With a total cultivation time of fifteen years to advance, there was hope for Foundation Establishment. But in the next second, Xu Yangyi was advancing right in front of them?!
The emotions of each person’s eyes were filled with various complexities, yet not one person spoke whatsoever. These were Xu Yangyi’s silent words. Genius and talent could not be envied.
“Hehe…” Wang Chunlai laughed wryly all of a sudden and mumbled, “Way back, I observed a fellow Daoist’s breakthrough. His sea of spiritual light was no more than five meters… It’s no wonder… no surprise that there’s someone in the same stage that’s more fearsome than us…”
“The larger the sea of spiritual light, the greater the benefits obtained after breakthrough… This purest qi of the world will serve to perfect the flesh of any cultivator who succeeds in advancement… causing their bodies to become more suited to cultivation and further ease qi harmonization…”
He drifted off half way and continued no more.
To those who had cultivated for ten or twenty-odd years, what was a more enviable than the breakthrough of someone who had cultivated for less than a decade, below their eyelids?
No, no longer was this envy, it was unbearable! Presently, they simply wished to break into a dash and run. Yet hadn’t they only come to earn a quick buck? This, what the hell was this! But based on a cultivator’s instinct, to esteem those who were strong, they simply found it difficult to move their legs.
“A fifty-meter sea of spiritual light…” Li Mu’s mouth dried, yet he looked at the surrounding sea of spiritual light with obsession in his eyes. “I’ve… only read about this in books…”
In the cultivation room, Xu Yangyi’s eyes snapped open. It had come… It had arrived! That feeling of the surrounding qi coming to a sudden boil had come once again! He could even sense the surrounding qi was like the surface of water, happy and cheerful. This time, none would disturb him.
Without the slightest hesitation, he opened all of his pores, absorbing qi at full power! Immediately… all his meridians unexpectedly made cracking noises, and an acute pain bubbled up to his head. He rigidly clenched his teeth and endured.
His qi sea had continued to minutely expand. Later on, he learned it was in order to match with the Eternal Alchemy Canon. Now that the preliminary Wind Brandishes Traces had been completed, the first violent expansion was welcomed!
Outside the cultivation room in the last second, the boundless white lights were only scurrying and jolting about. Yet in the next, they seemed suddenly hear some command! In an instant, they strove to outdo each other in being first to throw themselves into the door of the cultivation room!
“As expected… it really is him!” If said they were still somewhat suspicious before, Li Mu now sat down, his voice shrill. Wang Chunlai and Zhang Gongchang looked on in amazement at the rushing tide of the qi ocean above their heads, their feelings incomparably complex.
A genius? Was this a true genius? Cultivators like them who coalesced a ten-meter sea of spiritual light could brag for several decades. This was because the breakthrough of ordinary cultivators was difficult. However, going over their heads right in front of them was a sea of spiritual light that was no less than fifty meters! It was resplendent and fragrant. Seemingly like the Milky Way on a summer night. Yet it didn’t even glance at them, directly charging into that sealed door and gradually vanishing within.
“A genius… A true genius…” Wang Chunlai sighed in acceptance, staring fixedly at the door with a fiery gaze. At the same time, in the countryside village, two people raised their heads simultaneously.
“The qi is fluctuating? No… Qi Pours into the Body?!” Originally sleepy, a kiosk proprietor was like a pincushion at this moment, and suddenly jumped up from his position, not daring to believe as he looked towards a direction. “There’s actually someone in this little village breaking through?”
In a farm field, an old farmer sitting on a farming ridge looked to the sky in astonishment, his snow-white beard trembling in disarray. “How could this be… How could an amazing cultivator possibly come here? How could someone be making a breakthrough?”
Another middle Qi Condensation cultivator was different.The feeding grounds would have to be partitioned again; weren’t they just a picture of happiness? How could a middle-stage cultivator even fancy this place anyhow?
Xu Yangyi was simply unaware of all of this. He could only sense that his qi sea had transformed into a maelstrom filled with cosmic winds. His qi was like iron chains, undergoing a most fierce forging! 
It was the same as last time… yet also different! This was because he quickly discovered in his qi sea that his qi had already been “forged” to seemingly construct something! It was visibly indistinct and also nebulously imperceptible. It seemed like it was going to build another soul within his qi sea.
“Could this be a strange phenomenon from after cultivating the Eternal Alchemy Canon?” Nonetheless, he simply didn’t have the effort to care about this because the qi of the outside world was madly rushing in. This time, he had drawn upon a sea of spiritual light not ten or twenty meters, but rather a full fifty meters!
Motes of spiritual light charged into his meridians, and he could feel his bones become more robust, his spiritual sense even sharper, and his flesh increasingly solid. As he clenched his fist, a kind of never-experienced feeling of power arose from within his body. If he was capable of breaking a ten-meter-tall tree with a punch before, perhaps a fist was now capable of striking a massive twenty-meter hole in the ground!
Qi Pours into the Body!
He didn’t relax by a hair because this advancement still hadn’t met its conclusion! His spiritual sense had already touched upon a faintly discernible barrier.
The bodily limiter!
If he broke through this seal, he would be at the middle stage of Qi Condensation!
“I command you…” He inhaled deeply, his spiritual sense within his qi sea condensing with complete power, and he suddenly opened his eyes, roaring, “to BREAK!!!”
1. Just a minor note I want to make here. The word “cosmic wind” is based off a chinese word that has two meanings. 1, it refers to a Daoist concept of a wind that immortals ride on to travel, and 2, very high stratospheric winds. Since this is a cultivation novel, I am going with option 1.
Extended Note: I just want to make a quick note, since I’m actually confused about something myself. Readers may recall places such as Nantong Province and Mingshui Province, but the thing is, these places are not actually provinces, but counties, part of a province. I’m unsure if the way it is written in Chinese is supposed to refer (and be taken as rather) “Nantong’s province” and “Mingshui’s province”. I lack the depth to understand this. Mingshui County is actually part of Heilongjiang Province. Some people may recall that this is where the author of ISSTH/AWE hails from.
Also, I forgot to mention that the Four Joint Pools are a real place, but in real life, they are called the Five Great Joint Pools.