Chapter 22: Training Hard for Three Months
The four spirit diagrams were like four magnificent mountains hanging high amidst a vast space inside the Soul Suppressing Orb.
The intricate and complex threads crisscrossed and connected with each other to form an extremely complex and mysterious pattern. An indescribable mystique was contained within it.
Qin Lie's mind consciousness flew over and examined one of the huge spirit diagrams, but it didn't take long before his mind wilted, afflicted with a strong sense of fatigue.
He hurriedly withdrew the wisp of consciousness.
In the space that stored the four spirit diagrams, a new world had appeared after the seal had been broken. He only needed to let out a thought and slip into the space that was unlocked if he wanted to examine the mysterious spirit diagrams.
However, if he thoroughly examined any one of the spirit diagrams, he would quickly feel his mind grow tired and it would greatly wound his state of mind as well.
This was different from the state of Thoughtless Tranquility.
In the state of Thoughtless Tranquility, his soul consciousness would slowly depart from his mind and, in the end, disappear entirely into the Soul Suppressing Orb, entering the Soul Suppressing Orb's outermost layer of space.
The external layer of space was vast and boundless, and a soul would never become fatigued when inside, nor would it ever become dispirited and listless as though it could be sustained for an eternity. It was like falling into a state of deep sleep while also having the wonderful effect of nurturing the soul and mind.
The internal layer of space stored the spirit diagrams, and he only needed a wisp of mind consciousness to enter inside. But the moment he entered, he needed to expend mind energy, and if he paid close attention to those spirit diagrams, he would grow weak and sluggish several times faster than normal. It would only take a moment for him to completely use up the wisp of consciousness he slipped in and for his soul to grow weary.
Mind energy was an incredibly esoteric and mysterious power, and only the soul could sense and use this formless power. Apparently, only high level martial practitioners would truly be familiar with the usage and cultivation methods of mind energy.
Spirit energy was the power born from the cultivation of a martial practitioner’s body while mind energy was the power born from the cultivation of the soul.
It was just that low level martial practitioners would find it very hard to detect mind energy, much less cultivate and use it.
Qin Lie's realm of cultivation was quite low, but for some reason he had always been able to sense his mind energy on a deeper level. Perhaps it had something to do with his sealed memories, or perhaps it had something to do with the Soul Suppressing Orb itself…
"Was it Grandpa who left these four spirit diagrams behind? Grandpa is also an Artificer... No, wait. Grandpa once said in a letter that even he couldn't figure out the mysteries behind the Soul Suppressing Orb, so it probably wasn't him... In that case, these spirit diagrams must have already been inside the orb from the very beginning."
After withdrawing his mind consciousness, Qin Lie looked slightly pale, and his handsome face was filled with doubt and confusion. He could not figure out where the four spirit diagrams came from or what they were.
A spirit diagram was the core item for an artificer because they formed the very foundation of the ranking and power of a spirit artifact. These mystical yet marvelous spirit diagrams could greatly increase the power of a spirit artifact and unleash its materials' highest potential!
One could even say that a spirit diagram was a spirit artifact’s soul and the very foundation of Artifact Forging for an artificer. It was also the basis that measured how far an artificer would rise!
After resting for a little while, Qin Lie formed yet another wisp of mind energy and continued to venture deeper into the vast space. He began examining the spirit diagram that he was watching earlier and attempted to engrave it in his heart.
The mind energy was like a sheet of faint luminescence inside the massive spirit diagram as it meticulously probed...
Connecting the different lengths and widths of these threads, that symbolized a network of spirit power, to his grandfather's words about basic spirit diagrams, he began to realize that the purpose of this spirit diagram was to 'gather spirit.'
According to his grandfather, basic spirit diagrams could be differentiated into four types: Spirit Gathering, Spirit Storage, Amplification, and Strengthening.
Spirit Gathering grants an “artifact” the ability to gather spirit energy. It enabled a martial practitioner to pour spirit energy into an artifact.
Spirit Storage allows an “artifact” the ability to store spirit energy. Repeatedly storing spirit energy for a number of times and unleashing it all at once would result in a terrifying power.
Amplification utilizes the materials an “artifact” was originally made out of to amplify the spirit energy that had been poured inside it.
For example, if a tenth of a person’s spirit energy had been poured inside an ”artifact,” some certain special ingredients were able to double or even triple that amount.
Amplification could also be expressed in other ways, such as compressing spirit energy and refining it cycle after cycle until it becomes extremely pure and sharp as a needle. This was another way to apply Amplification.
The reason that a lot of blade type spirit artifacts could unleash a blade beam or sword beam was because there was an Amplification type spirit diagram configured to compress energy within them.
Strengthening enhances the toughness and durability of an “artifact.” It makes them harder to break, able to store more spirit energy, and able to utilize stronger levels of amplification.
Spirit Gathering, Spirit Storage, Amplification, and Strengthening were the four basic types of spirit diagrams that an artificer had to master. However, an artificer's understanding of these four basic diagrams actually slightly differed from person to person.
A simple Amplification spirit diagram might have tens of inscription methods, and perhaps all of them could achieve the same amplification effect. However, the difference in effectiveness that each method could achieve was like heaven and earth.
Some Amplification spirit diagrams could only amplify the effective capacity by up to a hundredth. But other spirit diagrams could amplify an artifact’s effective capacity up to two times, several times, or even tens of times!
The same principle applied to the other three spirit diagrams. Depending on their inheritance, apprenticeship, and other differences, each artificer might have their own understanding and recognition of Spirit Gathering, Spirit Storage, and Strengthening spirit diagrams. So no two spirit diagrams would be the same, and their powers differed from one another as well.
Of course, the stronger the artificer, the stronger the spirit diagrams they could inscribe as their comprehension toward nature's spirit energy and natural law grows. The spirit diagrams will also become more and more flawless, increasingly matching the great way and natural law of the world, achieving amazing and hard to fathom effects.
"Spirit Gathering. This is Spirit Gathering! I need to see the other three spirit diagrams!"
Qin Lie focused his mind and discarded any thoughts of researching the diagram's mysteries for the moment. Relying purely on the artifact forging knowledge his grandfather had been forcing into his head for many years, he determined the effects of the remaining three spirit diagrams.
"Spirit Gathering! Amplification! Strengthening! So it is these three diagrams! But why are they so complicated even though they're the most basic of basics? This is practically chicken scratch; I feel faint just looking at it. It's hard to remember even one of them. I can't imagine who inscribed this in here..."
He quickly withdrew the wisp of mind energy soon after. Although he had confirmed the type of each of the four diagrams, the doubt in his heart had only further deepened.
In next period of time, he would use the cave's electrical network to refine his body and practice Heavenly Thunder Eradication whenever there was a thunderstorm.
After he broke through to the seventh level of Refinement, the pace at which he cultivated Heavenly Thunder Eradication had increased rapidly, and he could now conduct lightning into his marrow and internal organs.
As he refined his innards with lightning again and again, he felt his body becoming stronger, starting to grow towards an even higher level. He had a vague sense that he was about to finish laying a solid foundation for Heavenly Thunder Eradication.
When he could cultivate Heavenly Thunder Eradication to the point where his marrow and internal organs could handle lightning strikes without a hitch, he would no longer have to rely on the cave's electrical network and could cultivate directly from external lightning sources.
During stormless days, he would gather his spirit energy and expand his spirit sea. At the same time, he continued to work through his fingers to achieve a state where he could discharge spirit energy from all major attack points on his body.
When he cultivated until his body was exhausted, he would then gather his mind energy and examine the four spirit diagrams inside the Soul Suppressing Orb.
Although a month passed, he had only managed to remember a third of the “Spirit Gathering” spirit diagram, and he didn't even dare to inspect the other three.
The Spirit Gathering diagram alone consumed an enormous amount of mind energy, and every time he finished, his mind would become slow and sluggish.
However, he noticed that every time he recovered, his mind energy would improve, albeit by just a small amount. It seemed that examining the spirit diagram with his mind energy could also help cultivate it in return.
It was for this exact discovery that he forced himself and endured the incredibly dull task of diagram reading.
Mind energy was the power needed to break through the Soul Suppressing Orb's seal, and whether he could uncover the mysteries of his past and rediscover his memories in the future or not fell entirely on the strength of his mind energy.
Therefore, no matter how torturous it was, as long as it was something that could enhance his mind energy, he would grit his teeth and take it all in stride.
Time passed quickly, and soon two months flew by.
Having persevered through a harsh period of training, his mind energy had undergone an obvious improvement, and a solid foundation for Heavenly Thunder Eradication had been laid.
Now he could also discharge spirit energy from his fingers, palms, shoulders, and so forth. At times, when he had completely lost himself in training, he even vaguely felt that he was nearing the threshold to the eighth level of Refinement. This caused him to realize that his cultivation as of late had been progressing rapidly.
Moreover, he even managed to forcefully memorize that complicated and nigh incomprehensible Spirit Gathering diagram.
That being said, although he managed to memorize it, he did not understand the mystical workings of the diagram, nor did he know what it could be used for.
Today, when he returned to his stone house during the evening as usual, he saw Ling Yushi, who had been gone for a very long time, waiting for him with a smile.
"It's been three months and you’re still exactly the same. Really, shouldn't you at least look happy to see your fiancée?" Clad in green martial practitioner's clothes, Ling Yushi looked both fresh and tidy. Her long black hair was like silk spilling across her shoulders. Her face was a healthy shade of red, and her beautiful eyes danced in high spirits. It was obvious that her cultivation level had improved.
"Thanks to you, I've finally broken through to the eighth level of Refinement!" Seeing no response from Qin Lie, she couldn’t help but laugh before continuing, "I was only going to refine the Hundred Vein Pill, but I never thought that its effects would be this powerful! In conjunction with two Common Grade Six spirit stones, I actually broke through in just three months! This is incredible!"
Qin Lie was happy on the inside too. Because although her talent was slightly lacking compared to Ling Xuanxuan's, he knew that she was in fact not too far behind. Moreover, she had been stuck at the seventh level of the Refinement Realm for quite some time now, and in Qin Lie's opinion, it was only natural that she ascended a level after training hard for three months with the help of the Hundred Vein Pill and two Common Grade Six spirit stones.
"I've brought you something nice to eat, so come here already. I made them myself." Ling Yushi smiled, waved him over, and then began setting down the dishes.
There were four dishes and a bowl of soup, and they all looked pretty tasty and enticing. Qin Lie didn't bother with any pretenses as he picked up his chopsticks and started immediately. He found out that the food was really good.
"Nebula Pavilion found a fire crystal mine in Celestial Wolf Mountain. They have issued an order for the Ling Family, Feng Family, and Gao Family to send ten of their Refinement Realm martial practitioners to mine them, and in return, they are going to reward us with low level spirit stones. Since I just broke through to the eighth level of Refinement, dad asked me to lead a team together with Ling Feng and Ling Ying to mine the fire crystals with the Feng and Gao Family."
While he was eating, Ling Yushi said faintly, "Daddy doesn’t want my little sister to join us because she is still at the seventh level of Refinement. He wants her to cultivate in the house properly, so I'm the only one left to lead the team. Sigh, I just came out of seclusion and I'm already being sent out on a mission. I won't have time to take care of you... If I'm going out, then Ling Feng and Ling Ying will be as well, so you'll be entering Herb Mountain alone. I'm not at ease leaving you alone. How, how about you coming along with me?"
She looked at Qin Lie with starry eyes.
"Celestial Wolf Mountain..." Qin Lie recalled his grandfather's map and felt a small tremble in his heart.
"Since you’re not saying anything, I'm assuming that you've promised me okay? We’ll depart tomorrow morning, and I’ll come to pick you up. Don't worry, there are men from Nebula Pavilion stationed there, and both the Feng and Gao families will also be sending ten members each. There won't be any danger. Also, there are very few spirit beasts that appear around that area, so it's going to be fine."
With a wide smile, Ling Yushi stood up from her stone bench and watched Qin Lie with a sweet expression on her face as he buried himself in his food. As she pursed her lips and let out a giggle, she then turned around, immediately moving to fill the bath water for Qin Lie.
The moment she walked away, Qie Lie lifted his head. The vacant look in his eyes was gone, and his expression gradually turned serious.
"The reason why there aren't spirit beasts around Celestial Wolf Mountain is because it is the domain of a rank two spirit beast, the Silver Winged Demon Wolf! According to the labels on grandfather's map, Silver Winged Demon Wolves would set off on a pilgrimage to the peak, deep in the arctic mountains, every May and June, and they would return only around July. Now it's almost the end of June..."
Qin Lie looked towards the washroom entrance and listened to Ling Yushi humming a small tune while cheerfully filling the bath for him. He began to feel a bit agitated.
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