‘Being an outer campus student is completely different from being a freshman student,’ Yang Qi mused. ‘Look at these accommodations. A soaring tower with a view of endless clouds and bodies of water. Simply wonderful.’
The building he was in was fully thirty-six stories tall, each story thirty meters from top to bottom. It was truly an imposing structure.
This was where the outer campus students lived. The rooms were far larger than those of the freshman students, and currently, Yang Qi was sitting next to a window, looking at the beautiful winter scenery outside.
After paying his merit points and taking a test provided by the school to prove that he was a Master of Energy, he got his promotion. He was now an outer campus student with his own spectacular accommodations, a virtual mansion grotto. 
His four friends had similar rooms, and were currently there organizing their things.
The windows were made of pure crystal, with an inlaid screen that protected against the coldest of winds, but let in all of the light.
His accommodations were roughly six thousand square meters, and contained everything he could possibly need.  It had a pill furnace, the requisite flame to power it, a bed made of jade, and all sorts of other things that were required for cultivating energy arts.
The walls were made of some unknown gold-like metal, and were decorated with millions of complex decorative patterns that actually formed a spell formation.
That formation could absorb the quintessence of the sun and moon, and the spirit energy of heaven and earth, which made practicing cultivation twice as productive.
This was the most important aspect to the accommodations, and was a special remuneration from the sect to outer campus students.
The Demi-Immortal Institute had millions of freshman students, but when it came to the outer campus students, there was one-tenth that number. And of course, there were even fewer inner campus students.
Being promoted from freshman student to the Outer Campus was a major upgrade.
Freshman students were assigned all sorts of random tasks and jobs. Some of them even were sent to mines outside of the school to do hard labor. But not outer campus students. Not only did they not have to work, they were actually paid to do nothing.
A perfect example was the formation of spirit convergence that was built into the accommodations.
Such formations could only be set up by powerful Lifeseizers, and those who practiced cultivation in one would receive constant tempering from the formation itself. The spirit energy of heaven and earth would continuously enter their pores to strengthen their meridians and replenish their sea of energy. All-in-all, it made cultivation vastly more effective.
Back when he lived in Yanhaven, Yang Qi couldn’t even have imagined that such things existed.
Compared to the Demi-Immortal Institute, Yanhaven was essentially a slum.
It wasn’t a case of people there rarely using spell formations for cultivation; no, it was a situation of no one having ever seen a spell formation before.
In fact, Yang Qi was shocked to discover that when he left his room, he could sense that the air outside was heterogeneous and full of filth. In contrast, the air in his room was pure and refreshing. It made him feel like he was an immortal of sorts, and caused his true energy to flow even faster through his body.
Yang Qi also spent time memorizing the decorative designs that made up the spell formation. That way, when he reached the Lifeseizing level, he could theoretically return to the Yang Clan and set up a similar formation. That would ensure that his father and brothers would be able to advance in their cultivation much more quickly.
A spell formation like that could help people reach the fifth phase of energy arts in only a few years, as opposed to the dozens of years it would normally take.
Suddenly, Yang Qi heard someone knocking at the door. Waving his hand, he opened it.
“Brother Yang Qi, can you believe these formations of spirit convergence?!”
Li He and the others entered, looking completely proud and elated.
Yang Qi beckoned for them to enter. “I heard that inner campus students have formations of vital convergence that are supposed to accelerate your cultivation even more. I wonder what they’re like. Well, I guess we have to start saving up more merit points so that we can become inner campus students.”
As of now, he truly was the leader of their little team, and they respected his word over all else.
“We’ll need to perform a lot of meritorious service to become inner campus students,” Li He said. “Instead of saving up merit points, why don’t we focus on cultivation? If Brother Yang Qi can reach the Lifeseizing level, then he’ll become an elite student without having to pay a single merit point. Only the students who have absolutely no hope of reaching the Lifeseizing level will actually spend the merit points to get a promotion.”
“That's right,” Liang Dong said. “Once you reach the Lifeseizing level, you become very important to the institute. Brother Yang, it's all thanks to you that we're Masters of Energy. Considering we’re finally outer campus students, I think it's time for us to go home and visit our fathers. At long last we’ll officially get higher positions there, and access to greater resources. Before leaving, we wanted to check with you to see if you had any instructions for us while we’re gone. For example, what about the situation with your clan? As far as I'm concerned, the Yang Clan is family now, and your father is my father. I swear that we will live together and die together, and share both glory and misfortune.”
“Actually, I just did some checking, Brother Yang,” Hua Yinhu said. “The fifty-thousand kilometer area that contains Yanhaven is fully engulfed in the flames of war. The main threat is the Seafolk, and to tell you the truth, the Yang Clan is in grave danger.”
“Really?” Yang Qi said. “Do you have any suggestion about what to do, Brothers? I know my clan is weak. If the Seafolk attack them, what should they do?” He was fairly certain that Li He would have a good idea in this regard.
“You don't even need to worry about it,” Li He said, sounding very matter-of-fact. “The four of us already talked the matter over. It will only take us a day to get back home. Once there, we can take advantage of our new positions to have some Masters of Energy sent to Yanhaven. It should only take three days. They should be able to keep the Yang Clan safe in the future. And if any significant trouble comes along, they can help the clan fall back. Considering we have our respective clans’ power at our disposal, your situation should be very easy to handle. The only caveat, Brother Yang Qi, is that you need to give our men something they can use to prove they’re allies.”
“Very well,” Yang Qi said, delighted. “I’ll entrust the matter of my clan to you. Here are ten Golden Nine Transformations Pills and ten Violet-Golden Meridian-Strengthening Pills. Send those along to give to my father and my brothers. Whatever’s left over can be distributed to loyal members of the clan.”
“Of course. Well, I’d say it will be about a month before we return with some good news, although who knows, it could be ten days.”
After discussing some more of the finer details, the group split up.
Once alone again, Yang Qi nodded in satisfaction. After their mission to deal with the vampire brigands, and the alliance they had formed, he had finally come up with a good way to help his clan.
Now, the main thing he had to do was focus on his cultivation, and hopefully break through to the Lifeseizing level.
Sitting down cross-legged in the middle of his room, he began to perform breathing exercises. Almost immediately, his true energy began to flow, and his meridians grew stronger. His bones and muscles were cleansed, and his sea of energy erupted like a volcano, causing rumbling sounds to fill his body.
Although massive levels of power were being unleashed, there was no longer any lightning mammoth in his sea of energy, and thus, he had no way to produce life force quintessence.
With that, he immersed himself in the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, causing his room to vanish from his senses. Instead, he saw eight hundred forty million star-like particles, almost like a galaxy that resembled a godmammoth. Unfortunately, those countless stars also pulsed with an aura of death, with the exception of twenty that shone brightly. Those were the twenty ancient megamammoths that he had already woken up.
Compared to that entire godmammoth galaxy, twenty stars were almost like nothing.
Yang Qi knew that if he actually woke up all eight hundred forty million particles, he would be just as powerful as a god-spirit. In fact, he himself would be a god.
‘Life force quintessence. Wake up that twenty-first particle!’
Clearing his thoughts, he sent his true energy thrumming through his body in an attempt to create life force quintessence.
Unfortunately, what he was capable of creating didn’t even cause the particle to stir, much less wake up.
His cultivation was proceeding completely differently than before. He was really stuck in a bottleneck.
He sighed. ‘With that lightning mammoth gone, my cultivation is going to slow down by a hundred or even a thousand percent. Godly-class energy arts are definitely not easy to cultivate. If I want to awaken another particle, I really need to break out of the Energy Arts level and reach the point of being able to seize life and vital energy from the heavens. At my current rate, it's going to take twenty years to wake up that twenty-first particle.’
Twenty years would definitely not do.
However, he had an idea of what to do. There was always the Hellfire Crucible in his sea of energy. At some point, he would be able to use it to refine and melt all types of true energy, and thus directly consume demon cores. He would become like a massive furnace that could melt even stone.
With that, he activated his thumb-ring, summoning a rippling blue door that led to a room filled with shelves of medicinal pills.
And of course, there was the completely eye-catching Sage Devil Painting, made up of thousands and thousands of Master of Energy demon cores, as well as that single Lifeseizing level demon core. The spell formation they created emanated a completely holy aura.
‘With the medicinal pills I have stockpiled here, my cultivation should speed up a bit. Unfortunately, I don’t know what most of these pills are for, so I can't really use them. And there’s no one in the institute that I can fully trust….’
All of a sudden his eyes lit up. ‘Wait, what about Aunt Susu? Now that I'm an outer campus student, I can go see her any time I want.’
1. I’ve decided, after many years, to make a major translation change. From now on, “immortal’s caves” will be “mansion grottos”. The reason for this is that the original term in Chinese actually does not have any character that relates to immortals. In my quest for a higher level of continuity and accuracy, I feel that this is a very necessary change.