Chapter 173: Turn of the Tides
Three months later, it was late autumn, and the weather slowly turned cold.
Beneath Flame Volcano, the plaza where twelve spirit pattern pillars were situated was still locked down.
Other than the personnel that normally catered to Qin Lie’s needs and Jiang Hao ,who brought him various spirit medicine and spirit tablets, all the other disciple, whether they were in the inner sect or outer sect, were strictly forbidden from taking even a step inside.
Sect Master Ying Xingran and three great reverends often took turns to check in on Qin Lie’s progress.
For the past three months, Armament Sect and Dark Shadow Tower’s clashes had become more and more frequent. Dark Shadow Tower’s Dark Tower and Shadow Tower experts continuously appeared outside Armament City to rob and kill all Armament Sect members who went in and out Armament City.
Armament Sect and Dark Shadow Tower’s conflicts caused a lot of martial practitioners from small forces who had come to Armament City for business to grow wary about entering the city.
Only the four great forces, Dark Asura Hall, Seven Fiends Valley, Cloud Sky Mountain, and Purple Mist Sea dared to continue trading as normal with Armament Sect with even with Dark Shadow Tower patrolling outside the city.
Because Dark Shadow Tower’s martial practitioners had appeared frequently outside Armament City, this directly caused how often spirit artifacts were transported to each Armament Pavilion to become less frequent, to the point where it even completely stopped at the end.
This directly affected Armament Sect’s business and caused their income to decrease greatly.
Ying Xingran’s health was growing worse as of late, and many leaders of the great forces had guessed that he only had a few years left.
Some of these people were worried for Armament Sect’s state. There were also some people who were quietly gloating and could not wait for Armament Sect to decline so they could divide their artificers amongst themselves.
“Xingran, you should stop visiting for a while and rest properly. Don’t worry too much.”
On the plaza Jiang Hao sighed softly at the bottom of his heart when he saw Ying Xingran coming over once more. He advised him in hopes that he would pay more attention to his body and not overwork himself.
“There are too many troublesome matters, and this is the only place I can grow excited, watching him learn the spirit pattern pillars one after another.”
Ying Xingran stared at Qin Lie with a somewhat bitter smile on his face. He suddenly said, “I may not last three years.”
Jiang Hao grew quiet. After a long time, he shook his head and sighed, “You are too obsessed with artifact forging and did not spent a more time in the martial way, so your realm could never increase, causing both your body and soul to fail to ascend, hence the damage to your mind and soul can never be really healed. Sigh…”
No matter how high an artificer's attainment, if their mind and soul were severely damaged, then they would not be able to recover through artifacts.
Only by breaking through to the next realm or acquiring a huge breakthrough in the martial way could one’s soul become strong and be able to fight against the damage to one’s mind and soul.
Ying Xingran had spent his entire life on artifact forging and never really spent much time to study the martial way. This caused his realm to be at the latter stage of the Manifestation Realm only, and he was never able to break through the final obstacle to enter the Netherpassage Realm.
This was also why even Jiang Hao could do nothing after he damaged his mind and soul.
“Mn, it’s too late for me, but I will learn from this lesson.” Ying Xingran’s eyes were gloomy. It was as if a sliver of life would be detached from his body everyday. He looked at Qin Lie and said, “If I’m dead, then I’m dead. It’s not like I’m of much use anyway even when I’m alive right now. But I will have Lang Xie teach him personally after Qin Bing has completely learned all of the spirit diagrams, so he may have an exceptional achievement in the martial way.”
Jiang Hao nodded his head, “Sigh. If you would’ve known this earlier, you will not have fallen to your current state.”
Ying Xingran’s expression was downcast as he shook his head with a bitter smile. He also felt regret in his heart.
While the duo was speaking, Qin Lie closed his eyes and sat straight beneath the spirit pattern pillar inscribed with the wondrous scene of the ancient world. He was sensing it with his soul consciousness.
There was a floor of discarded spirit tablets and many shattered jade bottles scattered beside him.
For the past three months he had long since successfully inscribed the remaining three spirit diagrams onto the spirit tablets.
After the Dragon Snake Coiling Sky Diagram, Three Disciplines Four Divisions Diagram, and Yin Yang Intersection Diagram were inscribed, he had failed his first attempt when he tried to break into the last spirit pattern pillar. He then temporarily put down the task and began reinscribing the eleven spirit diagrams from before.
He had truly used all he had to learn the diagrams and inscribed them countless times, carving them deep into his mind so he could recall them whenever necessary.
This process had taken him more than two months.
Only then did he focus on the last spirit diagram and attempt to break through it once more.
“This is already the last spirit pattern pillar, but why is it that I can never enter inside. It should be unlocked already…” Feeling unsure, he once again copied the ancient glyphs with his soul consciousness and attacked the interior of the pillar.
As if slamming into a thick membrane, his soul consciousness was bounced back. His head had also hurt suddenly.
“Not working, it’s still not working! It seems like there’s a seal inside, and it feels a little similar to the enchantment inside the Soul Suppressing Orb.” He opened his eyes and stared at the final spirit pattern pillar. “Even if I can unlock it, I still have to break through the barrier. This requires a certain level of soul energy. Perhaps the spirit diagram inside the spirit pattern pillar here is a little special, and only a strong soul can fathom it. That’s why there is this additional obstacle…”
He could only console himself this way.
For the past three days he had been continuously attacking it, attempting to enter into the world in the final spirit pattern pillar, but failed continuously.
No matter how much soul consciousness he accumulated or if he was in tip top condition, he was unable to breach the world inside the pillar with his soul to see the final spirit diagram.
He finally understood that it was because his realm wasn’t high enough and his soul wasn’t strong enough.
And so, he had no choice but to give up.
He stood up and walked to Ying Xingran and Jiang Hao’s side. Under their astonished gazes he said, “I’m done here.”
“You’re done?” Jiang Hao looked dumbfounded. “But you haven’t inscribed the spirit diagram inside the final spirit pattern pillar and passed it to me to be checked yet?”
Surprisingly, Yin Xingran didn’t mind it. “Eleven spirit diagrams. Originally, we had only mastered six of them, but thanks to you, we now have five more spirit diagrams to use. The last diagram really is hard… so it’s fine to give up temporarily. Maybe you’ll find your fortune in the future and be able to learn it then.”
Jiang Hao also smiled and said, “I have been too greedy.”
“It’s not that I can’t learn it, but that I can’t enter it. My realm isn’t high enough.” Qin Lie frowned and explained solemnly, “The last spirit pattern pillar has an enchantment inside, and I need sufficient soul energy to be able to break through it. My cultivation of the martial way is only at the Natal Opening Realm after all.”
The moment he said this, Ying Xingran and Jiang Hao understood what he meant and grew even more relaxed.
“No worries, as long as you’re willing to stay at Armament Sect, you have nothing to worry about your Realm at all. Spirit medicine, precious treasures, and all kinds of spirit arts will be open to you! Moreover, you are already able to comprehend a concept by yourself and can cause a world changing phenomenon with it. Your talent in the martial way is just as outstanding as your talent in artifact forging, so why would you need to worry about ascending your realm?”
Qin Lie nodded, “Alright.”
Ying Xingran finally relaxed as a smile bloomed on his face as he said, “Follow me. I will lead you to the back of the mountain to Blood Spear’s cultivation area. Lang Xie is also coincidentally around today, he wants to teach you personally.”
“Lang Xie?” Qin Lie looked slightly dumbfounded.
“Heh heh, you know him. Once you see him, you’ll understand,” Jiang Hao also smiled.
Therefore, the plaza that had been locked down for almost seven months had finally been reopened. The twelve spirit pattern pillars had also returned to their original state.
Armament Sect’s outer and inner sect disciples who bore thoughts about the spirit pattern pillars could finally enter this place. They could also take the opportunity to learn the wonders of the spirit pattern pillars, seeing if the magics on the spirit pattern pillar would be easier to decipher after the huge change Qin Lie had wrought.
Even Lian Rou, Pang Shishi, Pan Xuan, and the rest of the inner sect disciples had hurried over after hearing that it had been opened.
They also wanted catch some of Qin Lie’s glory and learn something from the spirit pattern pillar so they could increase their own recognition of the spirit diagrams.
Yi Yuan was also mixed amidst the crowd, looking inside at the surface of a spirit pattern pillar with Ouyang Jingjing and a bunch of outer sect disciples surrounding it.
“Yi Yuan, I heard that you are quite familiar with Qin Bing?” The normally arrogant Ouyang Jingjing talked to Yi Yuan on her own.
“Mn, in the past we were quite okay, but I’m not sure how it is now.” Yi Yuan smiled gently, “You also know that Qin Bing’s status in the sect is incomparable to anyone else’s right now. I can’t say if he’ll still treat me as his friend like in the past either. Why bring this up?”
“I have a friend who’ll be coming to Armament City in a while. She will bring her two juniors to look for an artificer at Armament Sect to help forge two tailor-made spirit artifacts.” Ouyang Jingjing appeared a bit embarrassed. “As you know, the sect is recently in conflict with Dark Shadow Tower. The outer sect is busy dealing with Dark Shadow Tower and the inner sect elders are busy working with Qin Bing to convert the new spirit diagrams he had learned into the sect’s secret scriptures. They may not have much time…”
“It’s Lu Li and the Ling Family sisters, is it?”
Yi Yuan was very familiar with the latest news from all the large forces, so after he revealed that he understood the meaning behind her words, he said, “I know that your relationship with Dark Fiend Valley’s Lu Li is quite good. But at this time, there’s probably no one in the sect who has the energy to deal with such trivial matters.”
“That’s why I’m asking you to help me bring it up to Qin Bing. I believe that if he gives the word, then this matter will definitely succeed.” Ouyang Jingjing begged, “The task is mainly to help the Ling Family sisters to forge artifacts. I had agreed to help Lu Li a long time ago, but I didn’t expect the sect to come into conflict with Dark Shadow Tower, you know?”
“What can you give me?” Yi Yuan narrowed his eyes, “I definitely won’t help you for free.”
“Lian Rou’s family isn’t far away from our Profound Fiend Valley and is close to Dark Fiend Valley as well. We have two mines that originally belonged to Senior Lian Rou’s family,” Ouyang Jingjing’s voice lifted slightly.
On the other side, Lian Rou’s figure shook slightly and she abruptly looked over.
Ouyang Jingjing pursed her lips and smiled.
Lian Rou sucked in a breath and moved away from the area where the inner sect disciples were gathered on her own. She arrived next to Ouyang Jingjing and seriously asked, “Jingjing, you’re saying that if Qin Bing agrees to help and ask the inner sect elders to help forge artifacts for the Ling Family sisters, then you will then concede the mines that your family has seized from us?”
“You can’t call it seizing, can you?” Ouyang Jingjing’s expression was cunning. “You’re the ones who discovered the spirit mines, sure, but those two locations originally belonged to us in the first place. We’re just taking them back per normal.”
“Let’s talk about those things later. I’m asking you if you’re serious—do you really have the authority to make such a deal?!” Lian Rou exclaimed softly.
“If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t have brought it up,” Ouyang Jingjing proudly claimed.
“Yi Yuan! Go and deal with Qin Bing!” exclaimed Lian Rou in a clear cut manner as she suddenly glared at Yi Yuan after a moment of thought.