“This was the signature sword of Guru Ice-Soul, years ago,” Holy Daughter Manyflowers continued. “He forged it from Perennial frigidjade, and imbued it with the quintessence of an ice soul to give it a spirit of its own. It was tempered for an entire sixty-year-cycle in flame lightning, and when its full power is unleashed, it can freeze everything for hundreds of kilometers, and can even divert rivers. This is not the kind of thing that can be easily subjugated. How did you get it? And how did you get it to submit? Even a Legendary would have a hard time with it. And a Nonary Lifeseizer would definitely fail.”
“This sword and I are kindred spirits of a sort,” Yang Qi replied. “I encountered it by chance out in the East Sea. There was an old man out there named, what was it? Oh right. Patriarch Frost-Drake. He was fighting to pull the sword up from a spring on an island of peach blossoms. The two of them were seriously hurt in the struggle, and I swooped in at the end to take the sword.” Yang Qi told his tale very smoothly, leaving no holes whatsoever in his story.
“Oh? Patriarch Frost-Drake?” Holy Daughter Manyflowers nodded. “I've heard of him. He reached Nonary Lifeseizing quite some time ago. He acquired some snowflake godsteel, which he used to forge his Haughty Snow Sword. And supposedly, he acquired an old manual describing seven sword stances from the ancient Ravaging Dual Sword Sect.”
Holy Daughter Manyflowers didn’t have any reason to doubt Yang Qi. After all, it made sense that he might be able to snatch the Ice-Soul God-Sword after it experienced a protracted battle with Patriarch Frost-Drake that left both of them injured.
If she had been told that it was Yang Qi himself who dragged the Ice-Soul God-Sword out of the depths of a frozen kingdom, and then went on to defeat Patriarch Frost-Drake, there was no way she would have believed it. After all, only a Legendary should be able to do things like that.
“Lucky. So lucky,” she said with a sigh of admiration. “Although, don’t forget that the Cosmic Sunflare Sword and the Ice-Soul God-Sword are completely incompatible. Be careful.”
“Don't worry about that, Senior,” Yang Qi said. “I already gained enlightenment of yin and yang, and of the dao of water and fire. I even used the frigid energy of the Ice-Soul God-Sword to temper the burning flame of the Cosmic Sunflare Sword.”
“Oh?” Holy Daughter Manyflowers said, looking a bit surprised. “Do you mind doing a little demonstration?”
Yang Qi nodded and flicked his finger, sending out a spark of flame that transformed into a sword of fire, which then fused with the ice sword.
The two bursts of sword energy were like yin and yang, making a taiji symbol that rotated without cease.
He didn’t use any specific sword stances or techniques; he just revealed his profound understanding of the dao of the sword. After taking the sword energy that Patriarch Frost-Drake had worked for a hundred years to build up, and after seeking enlightenment for so many days on the island of peach blossoms, he now seemed like a grandmaster of the sword.
“Not bad,” Holy Daughter Manyflowers said, “Not bad at all. You understand the transformations of yin and yang, and the dao of the opposed sword energies of water and fire. Unfortunately, the Cosmic Sunflare Sword is actually a set of techniques, whereas the Ice-Soul God-Sword isn't a technique at all. How about I teach you the Moonset Hyperlunar Sword technique? It was created by a member of the senior generation to be a counterpoint to the Cosmic Sunflare Sword technique. That would be the perfect combination to use with the Ice-Soul God-Sword.”
“Many thanks, Senior. I really need to work hard on my sword technique. With the big martial arts competition coming up, I definitely have to win honor for the institute.”
“You’ll have a chance of making a scene with the Ice-Soul God-Sword.” Looking him up and down, she asked, “What level is your cultivation base now anyway?”
“Er, I've actually been in Quinary Lifeseizing for a while now, but I’ve been hiding it. The tallest tree attracts the most wind, right? Not only is the Crown Prince Society plotting against me, but I also offended the Gentlemen’s Society. So I've been trying to keep my head down.”
“Quinary Lifeseizing? You’re progressing very rapidly.” Holy Daughter Manyflowers was slowly coming to the realization that she was dealing with a real genius in Yang Qi. “Well, do as you wish. Incidentally, Susu has opened her apertures, and released the godpower of the Seven Apertures Sprite Body. The upper echelons will definitely take note of that, and spend extra resources to guide her. I'll be taking a trip to the Minorcosm World tomorrow to report the matter. Hmph! Just wait until those Patriarchs Wind and Cloud see how amazing my apprentice is!”
At this point, Yang Susu looked over at Yang Qi.
“Qi’er,” she said by way of greeting. She then took a breath, and the vital energy of heaven and earth thrummed in resonance. She rose to her feet, and the seven-colored glow inside of her radiated out into the open; clearly, her true energy was now far beyond that of any conclave student.
“I'm in Tertiary Lifeseizing already?” she blurted. “And my true energy is ten times beyond what it was before?”
“That’s right,” Holy Daughter Manyflowers responded. “You’ve fully activated your holy body, but that's only the first step. From here on out, your cultivation will proceed even more quickly than before. I realized back when you were a child that you had the blood of the Spritefolk in you. Unfortunately, your cultivation base wasn’t high enough to open your apertures at that time. Thankfully, I was able to use my rise to the Legendary level to awaken the latent potential in your blood. No one will possibly dare to underestimate us now.”
“But Master, what is a Seven Apertures Sprite Body?” Yang Susu asked.
“It is a type of physique among the Spritefolk. They were a holy people from the distant past, who supposedly had the blood of the gods in them. If you can awaken their power, it will be enough to move mountains and fill in seas. In antiquity, there were eight other types of godly bloodlines, and the Spritefolk were only one of them. Another example is the Seafolk, who have the blood of sea gods, although it's very out of the ordinary. Yun Hailan is one of the rare few who have it.” Turning to Yang Qi, she said, “Do you understand now, Yang Qi? Yun Hailan is no one to take lightly. It would be very difficult for you to beat her in a fight.”
“Yes,” Yang Qi said, nodding. ‘But if I used the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, not even ten Yun Hailans could kill me. But I probably wouldn’t be a match for her just using the Ice-Soul God-Sword. Besides, she also has the Crown Prince backing her.’
“Yang Qi,” Holy Daughter Manyflowers said, “are you thinking that your cultivation base is actually high enough to take on Yun Hailan? You might be almost invincible now with your Ice-Soul God-Sword, but she has the backing of the Crown Prince, and he’s far, far more powerful than the Ice-Soul God-Sword. He has countless treasures of unimaginable power, so many that he wouldn’t think twice about giving one or two to Yun Hailan as a gift. Beyond all that, Yun Hailan doesn’t just have the blood of a sea god in her, she also has the blood of a divine dragon. That gives her the power of a dragon in the sea.”
“The power of a dragon in the sea?” Yang Qi was actually chuckling inwardly, but outwardly, put on a look of confusion. “Senior, perhaps I really do need some more assistance from you.”
“Well, you’re not my apprentice, but you are Susu’s nephew, so in some ways, I'm obliged to help you.” Holy Daughter Manyflowers waved her hand, causing projected images of people to fill the hall. Some practiced sword techniques, some performed breathing exercises, some sat in meditation, some simply remained in place motionless…. All were working on the Moonset Hyperlunar Sword technique, which was soft and feminine, graceful and lonely in nature.
After giving Yang Qi plenty of time to memorize them all, she said, “This is the quintessence of the sword technique. You and Susu work on your cultivation here while I go for a trip to the Minorcosm World.” With that, she vanished.
The projections disappeared along with her, leaving behind only Yang Qi and Yang Susu.
Yang Qi closed his eyes to contemplate the new sword technique. Sometime later, he opened them. “Incredible! It's actually the perfect complement to the Cosmic Sunflare Sword technique. Cultivating this will be of great benefit to me.”
“Qi’er,” Yang Susu said, “your cultivation base is advancing by leaps and bounds! What good fortune did you come across?” By now, Yang Susu was convinced that there was much more to his cultivation base than he was letting on. After all, they had grown up together, and therefore, she could read him much better than others could.
“Let’s talk about that later,” Yang Qi said. “Aunt Susu. I have something amazing that should push your cultivation base even higher.” With the wave of his hand, Yang Qi produced the huge bottle gourd, which filled the hall with a powerful aura of life force.
“Life force springwater?” Yang Susu said. “Isn’t that what the Crown Prince Society uses? How did you get your hands on it?”
“I’ll explain everything later, Aunt Susu. For now, let me help you push your cultivation base to a higher level. With your Seven Apertures Sprite Body, you could probably make use of a big portion of life force quintessence.” He clenched his hand into a fist, causing water to fly out of the gourd and into Yang Susu.
A moment later, the seven-colored glow inside of her was even stronger than before.
Meanwhile, some distance away, Yun Hailan stood atop a mountain peak, clad in a blue garment, looking through the mist and clouds toward Manyflowers Peak. A seemingly bottomless cliff stretched out below her, and her delicate garment fluttered in the breeze.
In this moment, there was something quite odd about the way she carried herself.
“What’s wrong, Junior Sister Hailan? Are you feeling pressured?” Behind her stood a man with a warm smile on his face. He seemed graceful and refined, and looked more like a scholar than an energy artist.
And yet, standing behind him in deference were a host of experts from the Crown Prince Society.
The conclave student who had lost the life force springwater was there, the Septenary Lifeseizer Lei Tao, who cultivated the Grand Thunderclap Swordplay.
“Many thanks, Elder Brother Xie Feng,” Yun Hailan said coolly. “No, I'm not under any pressure. Yang Susu might have opened her apertures and activated the supposed Seven Apertures Sprite Body, but I could strangle her while she slept if I felt like it.”
The scholarly young man was none other than the Nonary Lifeseizer Xie Feng, who was just on the verge of becoming a Legendary, and was considered the leader of the conclave students in the Crown Prince Society.
The Crown Prince put a lot of trust in him, both to lead the society, and to accomplish all sorts of important tasks.
Whenever people outside of the institute talked about Xie Feng the Heaven-Toppler, they would shiver in fear. Once, he single-handedly waged war on eighteen sects, all because they had spoken ill of the Crown Prince.
And on one occasion, he killed a general from the Sage Ancestor Dynasty for saying that the Crown Prince didn’t deserve his name. The man had claimed that only the actual crown prince from the dynasty could legitimately be called that. In the end, Xie Feng killed him, and the Sage Ancestor Dynasty didn't do anything about it.
Although he looked gentle and civilized, when he struck, he never showed any mercy, and never left any loose ends.
“Holy Daughter Manyflowers is a Legendary,” he murmured, “and so will I be, soon.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter