Chapter 81: Ten Cardinals Red Lotus
Stifling the fire within their hearts, they were even more respectful.
“Do you have a gun?” Xu Yangyi suddenly asked.
“I… I-I do…” Li Zongyuan’s voice fluttered. He still hadn’t regained his bearings from the shock of moments ago. From what outsiders could see, Xu Yangyi was testing the might of the middle stage, however, it wasn’t just him alone, it was also Xu Yangyi reminding him not to make any dirty moves, otherwise, he would come to an end!
Xu Yangyi pointed at him: “Come.”
Li Zongyuan took out the gun in hesitation, shivering for ages, yet he simply dared not to fire it.
“No need to be scared.” Xu Yangyi laughed: “My intuition tells me that this thing won’t be able to injure me.”
Li Zongyuan gritted his teeth, waveringly taking aim at Xu Yangyi. He closed his eyes and suddenly pulled the trigger!
Xu Yangyi was standing in his original position, and a tiny bullet hole had appeared on his chest. He unbound his clothes to take a look, the flesh beneath faintly reddened. Surprisingly, the bullet tumbled into his clothing.
“Heh…” Wang Chunlai smiled wryly to himself. Regardless of the number of times, this was a scene that middle-stage cultivators had to test.
At the initial stage, gunshot wounds were still capable of causing traumatic injuries, however, in the middle stage… ordinary firearms wouldn’t even pierce the skin! This was the direct consequence of the final ten meters of the sea of spiritual light of moments ago that bore into Xu Yangyi’s bones, transforming his flesh and internal organs!
His skin like bronze and his bones like iron; his speed, reaction, and power, all were over a hundred-fold beyond an ordinary person! A true transcendence! From here onwards, humans, the race, were gradually growing distant to him, a cultivator of the middle stage, an outstanding divide. The resistance of a firearm was already sufficient to state that he had taken the initial step into the immortal path.
Xu Yangyi calmly held the bullet. In his heart, a quiet sigh of emotion bubbled in his mind. The middle stage… he was finally at the middle stage.
At eight, he entered Heavens Law. At thirteen, he began drawing qi into the body. At twenty-one, he tried assailing the middle stage for the first time, but was unexpectedly obstructed. Three years later, he attacked once again, breaking through in one go. 
However, he was also uncertain to say if these three years could be considered within his cultivation time limit. Truly… these affairs could be regarded as matters of the past. The recruitment fight of a couple major powers on the airplane and his scuffle with Chu Zhaonan, the bitter competition of the Qualifier, Vermillion Snow’s massacre of Heavens Law, and then Thousandedge’s scouts hunting him down...
In three years, there were many changes, but also many experiences. Nevertheless, he held no regrets. Even if he was lonely and even if he was solitary, such a feeling as oneself as god, such a powerful sensation of true existence, the hatred he bore, and these people displaying reverence to him, of any of these, which ones didn’t come through cultivation in full?
There was never a matter that the Heavenly Dao reaped without sowing. To wish to stand at the world’s apex, possess a lifespan barred from the possession of ordinary peoples, and view the vicissitudes of the world’s affairs like a deity, yet be incapable of enduring the loneliness, then why even cultivate? Why defy the heavens?
The Heavenly Dao rewarded the diligent and was always impartial.
Gently rolling the burning-hot bullet between his fingers, Xu Yangyi then transformed it into flat metal. Yet in the next second, everyone was completely dazed! This was because a fire had appeared in his hand. For any cultivator, it wasn’t strange at all to create the five phases from nothing. What was strange was… 
This fire… was different from ordinary fire! Its temperature far exceeded an ordinary flame! The trio was even separated by several meters, but they could even feel the scorched flavor in the air. The air currents in the entire room seemed to fuel it, and the space appeared indistinct!
“What… what powerful strength…” Zhang Gongchang forcefully gulped and fell back several steps, his heart beating wildly.
This absolutely wasn’t a fire a cultivator could ordinarily produce… From its might, he knew just from looking that this flame was much, much more intense than any ordinary flame he could produce! He even had a kind of feeling that so long as it touched him, it was capable of transforming him into flying ash!
Li Mu, Wang Chunlai, and Li Zongyuan likewise looked at this fire in astonishment. It was unrestrained and leisured, and it flickered with a myriad changes in moments. From time to time, it was like a fluttering butterfly on Xu Yangyi’s finger, and occasionally, it was like a snarling tiger. At the beginning… its power was great, and even now it was still great! A kind of terrifying might, completely reserved, could only be vaguely felt, yet none wished to test it at all!
“Hiss…” In less than a second, the bullet transformed into molten iron and fell on the ground. On the ground, a scorched black hole appeared. It was a gentle sound, but at this instant, it was incomparably distinct.
Xu Yangyi pulled his hand back in satisfaction. With his initial understanding of the Fire Manipulation Art, and the increases of his spiritual sense and power, he was considerably pleased.
“No!” Zhang Gongchang suddenly called something to mind and looked at the other two people in shock: “This… This is pill elixir fire?!” Before his voice even fell, the eyes of the two other people became incredibly bright in the space of an instant.
What was an alchemist? To say without the least bit exaggeration, it was a person wholly removed from the likes of them! One of heaven and earth!
“Pill elixir fire?!” Li Mu dumbly looked at Zhang Gongchang for a moment and suddenly turned to Xu Yangyi: “Congratulations F-Fellow Daoist for congealing an alchemy flame! Felicitations to the Fellow Daoist!”
Wang Chunlai was dazed for several seconds. Afterwards, his eyes reddened, and he clasped his hands with a shrill voice: “Congratulations, Fellow Daoist! My felicitations to the Fellow Daoist!”
Pill elixir fire? On the contrary, Xu Yangyi was stunned. What the hell was that?
His gaze swept over Li Zongyuan and also discovered an astonished appearance that stretched across the other’s face. Seeing the look in Xu Yangyi’s eyes, his first reaction wasn’t “you don’t know?” But rather a deep bow at the waist that seemed to have been shot off: “Master! Pill elixir fire is the most apex flame in the Dao of Alchemy! Although a vast majority of pill elixirs use apparatuses in production, those… are of the common type!”
“Genuine pill elixir, the most supreme pill elixirs, are all privately custom made! Ones incapable of being emulated by the use of apparatuses! A grand pill elixirist has to refine it by hand and seal the elixir! A pill elixir like this…” Li Zongyuan’s voice trembled in excitement: “Is valued at a million… no! Ten million spirit stones!”
“As for those who have congealed pill elixir fire… even among grand pill elixirist, not even one in ten has one!”
Xu Yangyi understood one matter. It appeared… the people who were capable of congealing pill elixir fire… were quite few? However, his fire was not some pill elixir one by any means.
“Well done.” In his heart, this was Xu Yangyi’s thinking, but his face was imposing with movement. He merely glanced indifferently at Li Zongyuan and said.
“Of course! It is only natural!” Li Zongyuan practically wanted to jump up in excitement! Who didn’t wish for a profound cultivation? Was it believed those cultivators indulgent in the pleasures of life didn’t hold initiative?
No… they were all once ambitious students, but they ultimately discovered their own talents were truly inadequate. Their connections were truly too inferior and their scope truly too small. In the end, they had abandoned themselves to misery.
Now… that a cultivator with the chance of someday being capable of “private custom orders” had appeared before him, Li Zongyuan’s long silent heart awakened once again! Fuck… just this possibility was also worth him staking it all, no limits! Xu Yangyi didn’t require any promise. So long as Xu Yangyi said the word, all of Li Zongyuan’s past grievances would entirely fade away without a trace!
Li Mu, Zhang Gongchang, and Wang Chunlai all glanced at each other in dismay. This reversal of events was too fast… They had planned on settling accounts and leaving… but now such a matter had surprisingly occurred! The other’s neurons had absolutely been unleashed! In addition, the numerical figure wasn’t low… no, it was quite possibly extraordinarily high!
The other really was… cultivating alchemy! What was wrong with following a master pill elixirist as a hunting dog? Even being a meat toilet was fine!
“Fellow Daoist!” In his mind, without nearly any deep consideration, Zhang Gongchang tread a step forward: “I have already taken the liberty to record Fellow Daoist’s time, the required time. It comprises the number of days of the first seclusion! How much time the first seclusion required! All of it’s recorded on file!”
Li Mu and Wang Chunlai realized it in a flash, however… they hadn’t produced this statistic! What was to be done? How were they to strike up relations with Xu Yangyi?
Right now, whatever the salary wasn’t important, it truly wasn’t significant. They didn’t even have the qualifications to meet face-to-face with the most rudimentary pill elixirist apprentice, but now, faced with a potential prospect seated before them, how could they be willing to part?
“Fellow Daoist Xu…”
“Everyone need not stand on ceremony.” Xu Yangyi seemed to have just discovered the others’ deferential and respectful appearances. He sat down on a chair, waving his hand and cutting the others off: “Since I just left seclusion, I need to stabilize my realm. I won’t be able to stay with all of you.”
A single word, a bolt of thunder across a clear blue sky.
The hearts of the trio were all inwardly regretting; why hadn’t they made relations with the other at the start? He had left seclusion several times, and they were all present. Why hadn’t they realized there was a real possibility that Xu Yangyi was training in alchemy?
Several times they had greeted dispassionately, and now? Xu Yangyi had broken through to the middle stage of Qi Condensation and even congealed a pill elixir flame! Such a prior investment opportunity… however, he obviously didn’t have a very great impression of them!
The remorse in their hearts rushed forth like a tide. In this half a year of training, an alchemy flame had emerged… Which sect’s Dao of Alchemy was he cultivating? What kind of pill elixirs would he be able to refine later on? Absent of reprieve, their hearts seemed to be raked at by a cat!
“Yes.” Three extremely unreconciled voices rang out. Everyone knew right now that whatever Xu Yangyi said was what went. Moreover, recent advancement did indeed require the stabilization of realms.
“Then…” Zhang Gongchang muttered and questioned tentatively: “Fellow Daoist Xu… may we pay a visit in a week?”
In the past, they had still wanted to leave, but now, why would they want to take off? To say the least, they wanted to strike up good relations first!
The three people sighed. Once they left, Xu Yangyi gently waved his hand and the door leading to the basement immediately shut. He softly stroked his chin, not uttering a single word.
“My congratulations, master, for advancing to the middle stage…” Li Zongyuan’s heart was filled with unparalleled admiration. The middle stage… Each progression in cultivation brought a sizeable change. A breakthrough in realms was moreover to flip the heavens and overturn the earth.
The middle stage… If it was the past, it could only be said that the body was more robust and qi even further abundant, but now, it possessed the most direct standard! It didn’t have to fear light firearms!
To a master like this, his first feeling was—well, perhaps such a master is pretty decent? Especially… since Xu Yangyi truly was training in alchemy! He hadn’t deceived him! Not to mention making him earn cash, he wouldn’t even break wind now if he had to go sell his blood!
Wasn’t it just Dew Congealing Grass? I’ll just work a bit harder; isn’t it being supplied to an elementary alchemy apprentice?!
In case Xu Yangyi succeeded… it was him that would always be the constant attendant, it was his initial investment… Thinking about this, he was even a bit bashful...
Xu Yangyi raised his hand, looking at him indifferently: “Do you have a divine ability?”
The first time they met, the toad had used the Wind Edge Technique.
“No.” Li Zongyuan promptly cooled his mind and immediately bowed: “Master… the value of a single divine ability is without market. This is the magik treasure that each great clan and major power uses to coax the hearts of men. Along with supplementary crafts, they can be jointly named as a two-horse chariot. If one doesn’t join these major powers, it’s very hard to get a hold of a divine ability. Of us demons, a lucky person with a high bloodline concentration might be able to enlighten themselves in one or two moves from bloodline inheritance. As for common cultivators, who would have such an item…”
“Even other ordinary divine abilities like the Wind Edge Technique and Fireball Technique can be bought so long as the initial price is put forth, no more than 2 million. Defensive divine abilities are the hardest to obtain, even the widely spread Earth Shield Technique is over 5 million… million… M-Master!!”
Before his voice subsided, his entire body had already grown weak on the ground! This was because a roaming flame dragon had appeared before him. Xu Yangyi narrowed his eyes and propped his chin with his hand. In the wake of his fingertips stirring, the roaming dragon moved along with his fingertips.
The wandering dragon was no less than three to four meters long, vivid like life. It was composed of flame from snout to tail, like a living creature. However, Li Zongyuan, who was rather close at hand, could clearly feel the passed on sensation of the slightly scorched hair on his head and body!
It was a kind of terrifying temperature. He held not the slightest suspicion that he would be burnt to ashes! This was a result of him beginning to feel that in such a proximity… the moisture of his entire body was swiftly falling to volatility!
“T-this is…” His perceptions were no longer too important. He looked at the roaming dragon in disbelief and said shrilly: “D-divine ability?!”
Even the cool and collected Xu Yangyi exposed a sliver of irrepressible excitement in his eyes. He clearly remembered how great the shock of Chu Zhaonan’s Gun Kata had left upon the entire audience in the Qualifier that year!
Now, he finally had his first divine ability! It wasn’t the cheap ordinary Wind Edge Technique and it wasn’t the divine abilities of a low-rank arcane effort like the Hundred Solutions. Instead, it was a bonafide ancient inheritance that far outstripped the Burning Heavens Revelation, the acquisition of the first divine ability after obtaining the elementary qualifications!
No… to say such would not be wholly correct. The first move was the Fire Manipulation Art; he had gained two divine abilities! One was the supplementary Wind Brandishes Traces, and the second was this offensive one!
The wind aids the strength of the fire and the fire lends to the might of the wind! He had continued to believe the Wind Brandishes Traces was a divine ability, however, just over the course of burning the furnace fire for six hours, this move, a true divine ability, suddenly emerged within his mind! This was the first killing divine ability of the Eternal Alchemy Canon. The Wind Brandishes Traces was no more than a supplementary arcane effort!
“It shall be called… Ten Cardinals Red Lotus.” He sensed the roaring, everlasting fire dragon coil around him. The fluctuation of roiling heat caused him to inwardly nod. Through special methods to draw the qi of heaven and earth and use oneself as a conduit to release this qi, this was a divine ability. It… could take the original move of the common, widespread Fireball Technique and transform it into all kinds of different appearances. It possessed a completely different might!
For example, his unique divine ability, the Ten Cardinals Red Lotus, held a strength that was twenty-two times above the Fireball Technique. This might comprised explosive force, sustainability, and destructive power. Moreover, it also bore its own uncontested valor.
Upon meeting water, it would not be quenched. Upon encountering wind, it would not be extinguished. Without seizing a target to cinders, it absolutely wouldn’t die! In particular… he still had an idea within his heart he hadn’t validated.
That was of these two moves born from the Fire Manipulation Art of the Eternal Alchemy Canon, was it a possibility… that both sides could unite? Then maybe the true might of the Ten Cardinals Red Lotus demanded the corresponding use of the Wind Brandishes Traces? Or perhaps… the addition of Life Sacrification?
Of course, it wasn’t necessary to tell these matters to anyone. This was his own hidden ace.
The corner of his mouth suddenly perked upwards. Since he left the academy, like Chu Zhaonan had recognized him, he also only recognized the other. Back then, that bullet that had disabled him from gathering qi nearly spelled his doom. He really did desire to use this move against the other and roast him cleanly—of course, the other’s clothes would be lost afterwards, and he would have to head out into the heart of the provincial plaza.
Carefully pinching this art, the fire dragon transformed into sparks in a flash, vanishing in the air.
He silently glanced at the even more respectful Li Zongyuan. How could he be unaware? Were it not for forced circumstance, demons that became familiars were otherwise in no way willing. He could determine the other’s life or death with a single thought, however, to have a willing assistant was leagues better than an unwilling one.
He buried his excitement within his heart. He inhaled deeply and gradually settled his mind. Since he broke through the middle stage of Qi Condensation and grasped the initial Fire Manipulation Art of the Eternal Alchemy Canon, an esotericism of this divine ability had appeared within his mind. However, another one caused his heart to stir even further.
That was… he could vaguely sense the location of the Vermilion Bird Fire! It flashed momentarily and died away, but it deeply engraved an image within his mind. An expanse… a boundless grassland. In this grassland, a tranquil bending stream flowed. Behind it, there was a verdant cliff.
Yet this seemed to be a jigsaw puzzle. After his initial mastery of the fire control art, a thing similar to a grainy picture suddenly appeared within his mind. The Wind Brandishes Traces seemed to be a hand that wiped away at the surface of a region of grit. He couldn’t see any more.
This place didn’t explain anything at all. It was only capable of demonstrating a sole thing… He could feel… distinctly sense… as he looked at this at this image, a strand of formless spiritual sense, separated by thousands of kilometers, even over ten thousand kilometers, fell upon his body!
The other could likewise perceive him! It was a strand… of inexplicable spiritual sense. It wasn’t strong, and although its realm couldn’t be confirmed, he felt it ought to not have surpassed Foundation Establishment. However, it carried within it the wisp of a deep, eternally ancient flavor, seemingly capable of causing a man to transform into waste beneath a glance.
Simultaneously… a kind of unexplainable intent of roiling heat charged forth from the entire image, like it wanted to burn a man to ashes! He only saw two eyes and then understood. This place was of lush green hills and clear, limpid waters, however… this place was without qi!
Anything related to qi became fuel for that Worldly Spirit Flame! As expected… it was there!
“There are still three steps…” Xu Yangyi sighed gently. Three more steps and then he would be able to clearly see the whole picture and understand where this thing was! The ultimate resting place of that Spirit Flame that witnessed several millenniums of China’s development!
These words couldn’t be spoken to anyone… He looked at his surroundings and furrowed his brows: “Why is it only you? What about Cheng Jianfeng and Zhou Tingting?”
Once Li Zongyuan heard these words, he suddenly coughed dryly: “Master… T-this was the affair I was just about to report to you… a joyous occasion…” He looked at Xu Yangyi’s face: “Those two have recently been discussing marriage…”
Xu Yangyi’s hand that took a Cleansing Talisman stopped. This was truly an unexpected horror, no, a pleasant surprise.
“When?” Once the Cleansing Talisman was stuck on him, he felt much more comfortable and asked.
“Probably in two years…”
Xu Yangyi nodded: “I see. I’m going into seclusion for a week to stabilize my realm. After a week, we’ll immediately set off to the Four Great Joint Pools.”
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Note on chapter title: So the vanilla name of the term would be “Ten Directions Red Lotus”, but I spruced it up and used the word “cardinals” instead. The gist of the concept of ten directions refers to north/south/west/east/NW/SW/NE/SE + zenith/nadir. These ten directions are believed to hold a god/buddha in Buddhism.