Chapter 86: Returning
"The creator of this pill is truly worth his salt as the Alchemist God," Xu Min mused. He reached out his hand and took the pill into his palm. The pill had a faint chill to it as it touched his skin; the more he looked at it, the more mysterious Xu Min felt that it was.
There was no scent of medicinal properties wafting off this pill, which shocked Xu Min significantly. As to why this was, Xu Min was easily able to guess. "So a pill where none of the medicinal properties are being wasted is truly magnificent," he lamented as he looked at the pill in his hand. Nodding his head, he sat down on the cold floor and popped the pill into his mouth.
Xu Min had guessed the next trial would not begin before he requested it. As time in here flowed differently to that of the outside, it made this Blood Pagoda the most beneficial place to cultivate, which he was going to use to the fullest.
As soon as the pill landed in his mouth, the seemingly odorless pill turned into streams of energy that entered his entire body, seeping into and reconstructing every cell.
Xu Min felt as though he was on fire. The pain was unbelievably severe as he felt his bones disintegrate and slowly reforming. The cells were shattered and rebuilt. Xu Min started bleeding. Blood seeped out through his skin. The blood fell like tears from his eyes, dripping from his ears and nose, and soon sliding down the corners of his lips.
His face turned pale having never experienced such incomparably excruciating pain before. A scream escaped his lips, and his eyes rolled back to the top of his head. Soon, he collapsed on the ground, his consciousness turning black as he could no longer withstand the pain.
The last thought Xu Min had before the darkness consumed him was how he wished he could die. The pain was many times worse than what he had thought humanly possible to endure. Fortunately, he lost consciousness soon after and was incapable of killing himself.
The Blood Pagoda fell as silent as a graveyard while Xu Min's body was lying on the platform. The blood seeped from his pores dying the floor red and making the entire room contain a metallic scent befitting of the name Blood Pagoda.
Xu Min did not know how long time had passed. It could have been minutes, it could have been days, but when he awoke once more, the pain had subsided. In the pain’s place, he instead felt an extreme comfort.
His body was messy; grime and dried blood stuck to his skin. A grimace appeared on his face as he felt his hair had gone stiff from the blood that had seeped out from his skull.
"I guess all the blood in my body was renewed as well. I feel no after effects of blood loss. However, by looking at the amount of blood I've lost, I should have died already." Xu Min nevertheless had a smile on his face. He felt refreshed; his body was light as a feather, and he felt how the Qi in his body was flowing through the meridians much more freely than ever before. He no longer needed to wait for the Qi to activate. The moment he thought about it, it had already activated.
Xu Min moved his hand and lifting his sword., He started moving in strange patterns. He was shocked to notice that he could feel the flow of the wind when he moved. The wind energy he had absorbed from the fairy was enough to make it so that he too could feel the wind. This ability to sense the wind would help his fighting ability as well as allow him to move swifter. While it was impossible for him to use the wind the way the fairy had done, he had understood the concept of the wind and was able to use it to his own benefit. This understanding increased his speed to unprecedented heights, in turn, making his attacks much swifter.
This was a pleasant surprise to Xu Min. He moved even swifter, twisted and turned, slashed and stabbed. He was moving so quickly that only a blur was visible atop the platform in the Blood Pagoda. When he finally stopped, sweat soaked his body, but his eyes were lit with excitement and a great smile played on his lips despite being short of breath.
Without delay, he sat down on the ground and started meditating. He was meditating with the insight he had attained. The sudden understanding of the wind and the power of his entire recreated body.
He was in meditation for a full ten hours before he finally opened his eyes again. Looking at himself, he could only wrinkle his nose. He wished to wash and to change his clothes, but this was not an option right now. Thus he looked into the air, "I am ready for the next trial," he called out. Without delay a screen of light surrounded him, making him sleepy. Although he was a cultivator, this kind of sleepiness was impossible to withstand. At first, he sat down in meditation in an attempt to suppress it, but it became more and more overpowering until he eventually could fight it no longer. His head dropped to the side, a low snoring sound escaping his lips.
"Do you think he will awaken and finish the Emperor Tier Trial?" A guardian asked curiously as he was standing in front of the water screen. It was not only him, but everyone present was feeling the same kind of uncertainty.
"The kid is rash to go through this trial! He should know his limits and give up before it becomes too hard. Although danger and opportunity walk hand in hand, it is a great risk to undertake this trial. Strength alone is not enough; one needs an unwavering determination. I know that in the past other experts have gone through this trial before, but I have never seen anyone succeed in it. Although I wish for us to recruit him, I fear it is too late," a Guardian lamented. His words caused many of the other guardians to nod their heads. Suddenly a clear voice sounded throughout the room, "You are all idiots!"
"Xu Min is not as dumb as you guys. So what if you have never seen anyone go through this trial, does that mean that it is impossible?!"
"Xu Min is smart and determined. He is strong and handsome. It is only natural that he, as my master, will pass this trial. Don't you all try to jinx him!"
The speaker was obviously Cao Cao, and his small cheeks were all puffed at the guardian’s insult. His eyes brimmed with anger.
He was already upset with the fact that his human had taken in a lion. He felt slighted as though he had been replaced, so he had not said much previously when the Guardians had been insulting Xu Min. However, now they were talking about Xu Min’s death! There was no way Cao Cao could idly sit back and say nothing. Xu Min was his friend! He had treated him so well and had always given him lots of food and played with him. Although Xu Min had been forced by Cao Cao's family to take him along, he had never seemed as though he had been unhappy with this. Instead, he had treated Cao Cao as an equal.
"Xu Min is different" he finally said with a sigh, "although you guys are not capable of doing something, does not mean that he cannot do it either."
The many Guardians looked at one another. Their eyes were filled with mixed emotions. Some of them felt sorry for Cao Cao as they simply did not believe that Xu Min could manage to overcome the second floor of the Blood Pagoda. Others looked astonished at hearing Cao Cao's words and felt that perhaps this Xu Min was capable of creating a miracle. However, some others were uncertain as to what to think; instead, they glanced at the head elder, who was sitting on the throne at the end of the room, his eyes closed and arms crossed in front of him.
Everyone here treated Cao Cao as an honored guest. All of them knew who he was, and they knew of his background. Some hoped that Xu Min died so that Cao Cao and Xu Min’s contract could be terminated. Others hoped that he would succeed, so then they could recruit him and get both him and the snake on their side.
"We do not know this young man's nature." The elder finally started speaking; his voice was calm as though he was talking to students instead of equals. The moment his voice rang out, everyone quieted down and looked at him. Their eyes were filled with worship and reverence for this older man.
"This young man might be able to survive, or he might not. We cannot know. This young man might be recruited by us, yet he might not. We do not know. Does he have aspirations in life? Does he have goals he needs to complete? Is there someone waiting for him somewhere? We are unaware of all these things, and we are too polite to ask young Cao Cao about it."
"What happens will happen. If he dies, he will die. If he survives, we will try to recruit him, but we know nothing of what will happen in the future. Keep watching the screen and observe. Even if he is not able to survive, even if we cannot recruit him, we can still learn from him."
"He has already finished the King tier trial. Thus we have learned about his fighting methods. Seeing such outstanding performance, don't tell me you have not gained enlightenment." The elder's voice suddenly became severe as he spoke, "seeing this battle in the Blood Pagoda, it is clear that he is a great asset to us."
"Elder!" someone called out in shock. Everyone looked at him with astonishment. To interrupt while the Elder was speaking was not accepted. It was a great insult to everyone who was listening, but seeing the man's shocked face, they all looked at what he was pointing at.
There, amongst the many other water screens, was a picture of Xu Min leaving the Blood Pagoda. His face had a secretive smile upon it as he reunited with Ye Ling.
While looking at that, they all moved their heads back to the Blood Pagoda screen. Xu Min was still present on this screen; he was sleeping while seated down.
"How is this possible?!" someone asked in shock, but the Elder just chuckled.
"The flow of time is different within the Blood Pagoda and the rest of the world. Although we watch what is happening within, he has already finished the trials. As to how high a rank he has achieved, we can only find out if we keep observing the screen." A smile was on his lips; Cao Cao looked relieved albeit a little smug as well.
"I told you all that my human is not as simple as you might expect!" he exclaimed happily. His statement caused mixed emotions all over. Some were excited, and some were dejected, but no one dared to speak.
Outside the room in which the Guardians were hiding everyone was shocked to see Xu Min once more returned to the screen after his long absence. To see him return, everyone had an unexplainable fear in their heart.
It was impossible to see his rank through the water screen, but they could all feel that he had undergone a transformation. He was no longer the same person he had been before he vanished from the screens. Even the Snow Mountain felt a shiver run down their spines with fear as they saw Xu Min's calm eyes and playful smile.