Working with the five phases was no easy task; it was like using drops of water to eat through rock. It was often impossible to determine how much work would be needed to use five phases true energy and turn it into preheaven energy.
When it came to five phases quintessence energy absorbed from external sources, it didn’t matter how pure it was, there would still be impurities in it. Only by refining it with one’s energy and blood could it be converted into the preheaven five phases, which was its truly original form.
By polishing the five phases quintessence energy to higher degrees, it would increase one's future potential. Without that polishing, and with the postheaven impurities, it would be impossible to break through to the Five-Phases Transformation.
Thankfully, Yang Qi’s Hellfire Crucible was designed to melt even disgraced god-spirits, and therefore, it was as easy for him to polish the five phases quintessence energy as it was for a child to play house.
As the postheaven five phases quintessence energy entered him, he cleansed it with fire from the crucible, and transformed it into pure preheaven five phases quintessence energy. It was shining, brilliant, and pure, without any impurities of any sort.
Not even Great Sages could produce such pure five phases energy as this.
After combining it with the Sovereign Lord True Energy, it became even more true and real. The biggest change that resulted was that his Infernal Deity Spear now had golden designs on it, and looked even more ancient than before. It was also splattered with traces of blood, which was the blood of disgraced god-spirits in hell. Thanks to the five phases quintessence energy, the spear was no longer merely a pure expression of true energy. Instead, it was like an actual magical treasure from primeval times. Eventually, when Yang Qi reached the Great Sage level, the Infernal Deity Spear would actually surpass both the Grand Emperor's Pagoda and the Heaven-Dominating Golden Swordbreaker. It would truly be a magical treasure that could slaughter sages and exterminate immortals.
“Angel Wings….” Yang Qi murmured, and the Angel Wings unfurled behind him. They were fully fifty kilometers from end to end, and covered with endless spatial tempest fays. However, thanks to the transformations which were occurring, the fays were changing, becoming actual angels with wings and halos, which flew around the wings and sang the most holy of hymns and psalms.
The singing was so pure and distinct that it turned all the space around him into a holy kingdom of the gods.
The Angel Wings also flickered with five different colors, as though they were fire dragons, water dragons, earth dragons, metal dragons, and wood dragons. It was almost mythological, and in fact, in the depths of the Angel Wings, it was possible to see a vortex of stars, a conglomeration of radiance and light, and darkness and gloom. It was almost like a small-scale universe.
These wings were the type whose single flap could level cities and territories. They were like the wings of an ancient roc, which could skyrocket to the highest heavens with ease.
With these wings, Yang Qi wouldn’t have to expend any effort to prevent even someone in the eighth Legendary transformation from touching him. And if he found himself out among spatial tempests, then not even Great Sages could catch him.
That would be a huge advantage to him here in the Quake-Dawn Continent.
After all, now that he had taken the Heaven-Dominating Golden Swordbreaker, there was no way that the Spirit Origin Association would rest until they got it back.
His God Legion Battle Robe had also changed, and now floated in the air around him with the utmost ease. No longer did it surround him with shining halos. Instead, the cloth looked simple and pure. It actually looked like real cloth, spun from the pure quintessence energy of the five phases. His Hellfire Crucible was larger, and the Hell Portal and Devil-God Seal could now take more corporeal form, as if they were real magical treasures.
All of these items had been forged or created countless years in the past. Now that Yang Qi had mastered the five phases, they became exponentially more powerful in his hands. At the same time, the spatial dimensions throughout his body became more real and true than before, which made him think about a term he had read in some of the ancient records: to cultivate reality.
In the era of the primeval Yore-Wilds, if one cultivated energy arts to a very profound level, it was referred to as cultivating reality, and involved taking illusory vital energy and transforming it into physical things that were true and real. It could be used to create kingdoms for gods and spatial dimensions. 
After three days and nights of cultivation, Yang Qi was filled with a sense of dignity as he realized that his energy arts had reached a much higher level. As he sat there, a sagely-grade spirit stone rotated above his head, providing constant power to purify the five phases quintessence energy.
Deep in the Grand Emperor's Pagoda, the flesh and blood of the asura was finally fully evaporated, sucked into Yang Qi, the magical laws of a Half Sage transformed into power for him.
The sagely-grade spirit stone split open, and immensely powerful true energy spilled out, causing Yang Qi to ignite into flames. That in turn caused one particle after another within him to erupt with the power of ancient megamammoths.
In the shortest of moments, another fifty thousand megamammoths awoke, putting him at the level of six hundred and fifty thousand.
‘Sagely-grade spirit stones are definitely what I need!’
Looking down at the Quake-Dawn Continent, he could tell that three days had passed. Reigning in all of his energy arts, he ripped open another rift in space, stepped into it, and vanished.
After the time it takes an incense stick to burn, he appeared in Vermillion Dragon City, at the end of the long street, which was the location of the Grand-Wilds Mansion. Of course, there was someone waiting there to receive him, one of the appraisers.
“How very punctual of you,” the man said. “Come, the overseers are waiting!”
Yang Qi nodded and followed as he was led to one of the top floors of the Grand-Wilds Mansion, which was high above the level of the clouds.
Upon entering the reception room, he found himself facing five Half Sages. Overseer Redwood was among them, and they all began to size up Yang Qi as soon as they laid eyes on him.
“You kept your word, friend,” Overseer Redwood said. “Three days! Excellent. Now, allow me to introduce you to everyone present. This is Overseer Greenwood, Overseer Amberwood, Overseer Dragonwood, and Overseer Heavenwood. We oversee daily affairs in the Grand-Wilds Mansion, although we usually are stationed in different branches. We gathered here today in rare form for this very important occasion. Did you manage to bring that living asura with you? If so, why don't we finalize our deal?”
“I did,” Yang Qi said. “But first I’d like to see the sagely-grade spirit stones.”
A silver platter appeared, upon which were ten sagely-grade spirit stones, each of them shining with dazzling light. If one closed one’s eyes and listened carefully, it was even possible to catch hints of ancient sages discussing profound truths. It was possible to benefit from these stones even by just keeping them in one’s presence. In fact, a Lifeseizer who had long-term access to one could reach the Legendary level without doing a thing.
“Great!” Yang Qi waved his hand, sending a crystalline object tumbling onto the table. Inside it was an asura, extremely lifelike and pulsing with baleful energy. It looked so intent on fighting that everyone else in the room instinctively edged away from it.
“A Never-Dying asura!”
“It’s actually been sealed alive. There’s no way anyone other than a Great Sage could do something like this.”
“But… only one? That’s only worth a single sagely-grade spirit stone.”
The overseers passed the sealed asura amongst themselves to examine it. All of them could tell that the seal keeping it in check was powerful, and that if they unraveled it, the asura would leap forth and cause a catastrophe.
“I have one more. Take a look and tell me what it's worth.” He waved his hand again, and the Half Sage asura appeared on his palm. Everyone in the room immediately leaped to their feet and circulated their energy arts to ward off the baleful energy that swirled out.
“A Half Sage asura marshal!” Overseer Greenwood blurted, reaching out excitedly.
“That’s no forgery. It's really a Half Sage!” The two most powerful of the overseers, Overseer Dragonwood and Overseer Heavenwood, exchanged a glance, and could see how shocked each other were.
“Yes, it's a Half Sage asura,” Yang Qi said. “If you want, I could loosen the seal for you to take a closer look.” Even as he spoke, the seal began to fade like melting frost.
A bellow echoed out as if from the depths of hell, causing the innards of everyone present to twist. Meanwhile, the asura began to claw at the sealing mark as if it intended to leap out into the open.
“No, don’t!” Overseer Redwood shouted. “We've seen enough. That’s a Half Sage asura marshal, alright. There’s no need for any further proof. If you let that thing out, I'm afraid that not even all of us working together could contain it. We’d need the help of a Great Sage for sure.”
“Very well then,” Yang Qi said. With that, he strengthened the seal until the asura looked like little more than a crystal statue. “How many spirit stones is a Half Sage asura worth?”
The group exchange glances. “Five. Is that enough? That’s really our limit. And that’s taking into consideration that you might join our mercenary squad.”
“Five?” Yang Qi thought about it and then nodded. “Fine. Including the Never-Dying asura, that’s a total of six. Hand ‘em over.”
Both sides seemed happy with the deal, and quickly exchanged the goods. As of now, Yang Qi was confident that he had the resources he needed to significantly further his cultivation.
“Friend, are you really only a Space-Void Legendary?” Overseer Heavenwood asked.
“What?” Yang Qi said, looking a bit displeased.
“I'm not asking you to reveal any of your secrets,” Overseer Heavenwood quickly added. “If you’re really in the third Legendary transformation, then you must cultivate some extremely profound technique. Either that, or there’s something fundamentally special about you. Perhaps you come from a higher plane in the universe. Of course, that means that achieving cultivation breakthroughs is harder for you. Normally speaking, Legendaries only need royal-grade spirit stones, but you need sagely-grade. It's really a very shocking thing. Presumably, you need five phases quintessence energy, and luckily for you, we have just that. In fact, we have a set of five phases spirits. Do you think you might be interested in another deal, friend?”
1. The character 修 by itself means “to cultivate”. Often, it is paired with another character, to make words like 修行, 修炼, 修真 all of which are often translated as simply “cultivate” or “cultivation”, both in real life, and in these fantasy novels. But since they consist of two characters, obviously, their full meaning is a bit deeper. Although there are various definitions and interpretations, in the simplest sense, the 行 in 修行 could be said to refer to behavior. So 修行 could be interpreted as “to cultivate (one's) behavior”. This is a common religious term, and even a daily life term in modern Chinese culture. It goes without saying that its meaning in the fantasy novels tends to be related to magical cultivation. As for the next one, 修炼, that second character 炼 can be interpreted in many, many ways, but for the purposes of the novels, it could be “to cultivate a practice”. Then there is 修真, which is also a word from real-life Daoism. The 真 character is profound, so the real-life interpretation is complicated. In SaMo, though, the 真 character relates to things being "true and real”. So in this context, it would be to “cultivate the real" or "cultivate reality”. In any case, most of the time, the nuanced meanings of the different words aren’t really important, except in situations like this when the author chooses to play off the character components.