The rain wasn’t showing any signs of stopping at all.
The leaders of the three major factions of power suddenly felt an uneasiness in their hearts.
“Did they fail?” wondered Wang Aolin out loud.
Mo Yuluo crossed her legs and said somewhat randomly, “The wind has gotten stronger, and it’s a little chilly now.”
“In that case…it’ll depend on the individual’s capabilities,” murmured Fang Suyu as he narrowed his eyes.
Time slowly ticked by as the large raindrops continued to fall on Gu Suihan.
“It’s time to go back,” he said to himself. He pulled off his torn and tattered clothes, allowed the rain to wash all the blood and dirt off himself, then activated a Water Repelling Talisman to create a sizeable dry space before putting on clean clothes.
He looked at Chuan Xin’s lifeless body not too far away from him and smirked. After he removed Chuan Xin’s storage ring, he used his Spiritual Sense to scan it, wipe out the seal that Chuan Xin had used, and put his own seal on it before taking a look at what was inside.
Clothing and other useless items were instantly turned to powder. There was a bottle of Energy Burst Pills and three bottles of Core Refining pills, which were all good for cultivation, so he was pleased to find them. The ring also contained more than 300 low-grade Spiritual Stones and seven mid-grade Spiritual Stones, which wasn’t too bad.
But what surprised Gu Suihan was that Chuan Xin didn’t keep a single technique or spell inside this ring at all. Or rather, more accurately speaking, there wasn’t a single piece of paper inside the ring.
One required high levels of Qi to write on jade slips, so anybody below the Origin Core stage would never choose to use jade slips to take down notes or pass messages. That would be ridiculous. As a result, cultivators at this level would prefer to write everything on paper instead.
“What a careful person,” said Gu Suihan, shaking his head as he decided to not bother looking anymore.
He was interested in the technique that Chuan Xin had used in the fight earlier. The duel had been made exceptionally difficult, primarily because of the weather. The thunderstorm had increased the damage that Chuan Xin’s thunder-related technique could cause by at least 30%.
Techniques that made use of nature’s forces existed for cultivators at the Origin Core and Origin God realms. Still, there were very few meant for someone at merely the Foundation Establishment stage. That was why he was hoping to find some records of this technique, but unfortunately, none were found.
Gu Suihan started coughing a little, so he quietly used a technique to slowly suppress the mess of magic energy and air inside his body. He couldn’t help but frown in annoyance.
He had suffered a lot of damage from this battle. On the surface, he looked pretty okay. But his meridian channels and Spiritual Meridians were covered in wounds, and the pain from the two energies clashing inside his dantian was unbearable.
Suddenly, Gu Suihan thought of something and pulled Chuan Xin’s body out of the storage ring. He stroked his chin and took some time to think.
He had initially planned to bring this corpse back with him to turn it into a fighting puppet since the body was at Foundation Establishment while it was still alive. As a puppet, Gu Suihan could just send it out to fight on his behalf, and the enemy could smash it to pieces for all he cared. But he had just recalled that he could actually use this corpse as a way to recover from his injuries faster instead.
He had learned this technique after he killed a powerful adversary in his previous life. He could absorb the flesh and blood of a dead person to help his internal injuries heal more quickly. This technique was useless in repairing or improving the soul, but it was a valuable technique to know in the circumstances like these.
“I’ll just give it a shot. Otherwise, I might not survive the next battle.” Gu Suihan frowned slightly at this thought. He had no idea if the Way Seekers Alliance had any other plans up their sleeve, so he had to try and remain at tip-top condition until he had at least made it past the Qi activation stage. He would be able to defend himself once he reached Foundation Establishment.
There was an icy glint in his eyes as he started executing the technique and placed his right hand on Chuan Xin’s chest. His hand was immediately filled with a tremendous suction force that caused everything within the corpse to be sucked into his hand and congregate at his heart.
Chuan Xin’s body began to dry up in just a few moments, and his skin began to peel and disappear into the wind. In just 15 minutes, the body crumbled and turned into nothing but ash.
On the contrary, Gu Suihan’s pale and sickly complexion began to regain its pinkish glow as the immense Qi and blood from Chuan Xin’s Foundation Establishment stage body flowed into Gu Suihan’s body nourishing his dry and broken meridian channels.
“Hoo…” Gu Suihan suddenly expelled a smelly, brownish-black cloud of air from his mouth before he slowly stopped his process of conditioning his body. Chuan Xin had been at the Foundation Establishment stage for more than a decade, so the immense amount of internal energy, blood, and Qi his body had was not only able to help to heal Gu Suihan’s injuries, but it had also helped to improve his body condition.
He was now short of converting a few smaller meridian channels before making it past the Qi activation stage and into the Foundation Establishment Stage.
The process of cultivation requires mostly time, resources, and the honing of skills to reach the next stage. As long as the difference in the level of cultivation between two people wasn’t too significant, everyone was pretty used to being challenged to fights with others who were just a phase or two away from each other.
The Qi activating stage was almost no different from Foundation Establishment, with the most significant difference being how much magic energy one had. If Gu Suihan had converted all his internal energy into magic energy, he would have been on par with Chuan Xin.
But if an Origin Core cultivator fought a Foundation Establishment cultivator, there was no chance the Foundation Establishment cultivator would win. Origin Core cultivators would have survived one disaster, two afflictions, gathered three huas and three po by the time they reached that stage in order to form their core. They could even paralyze a Foundation Establishment cultivator with one look. So, you were definitely dead meat unless you had a large army of Daoist Soldiers that could take the Origin Core cultivator down in one fell swoop.
So, even after reaching the Foundation Establishment stage, Gu Suihan wasn’t going to attempt trying to kill Disciplinarian Zhang or anything like that because the difference in stages was too significant. He had Suihan’s soul and Spiritual Sense as his trump card, but it was so severely injured after just wiping out a Foundation Establishment cultivator like Chuan Xin. An attempt on an Origin Core cultivator like Disciplinarian Zhang was out of the question.
For now, Gu Suihan was just going to stall the greedy Disciplinarian Zhang for time. If he had to, he’d back off and avoid Disciplinarian Zhang if he could then kill him after he had formed his core.
Righteousness, dignity, face, and other intangible things like these were worthless to Gu Suihan. The most essential thing in life was to stay alive. Once one was dead, you would have nothing left.
He looked down at the dried-up clothing and the ashes left of Chuan Xin, then raised a hand to disperse everything into the forest. The rainwater slowly washed everything into the ground, and they disappeared from sight.
External disciples were like trash to the sect, and nobody in the sect cared if they died, but they bothered about internal disciples. Every internal disciple had a Soul Lamp which would go out if the person it was tied to died. And because it contained a little of that person’s soul, it would be able to find the rest of its body. That would be a big problem for Gu Suihan right now.
Once he could sense that the Water Repelling Talisman’s power was fading, he quickly prepared himself mentally and returned to the sect with a calm expression on his face.
Several days later.
Gu Suihan had returned to the sect on that same day and went about doing whatever he was supposed to like nothing had even happened.
For some reason, the entire mountain of external disciples seemed to get along in harmony, with the exception of that black stage that was meant for duels in the first place. It was covered in blood every day, and members of the sect had to throw out several dead bodies a day.
Feng Ran returned the day before. His face was terribly pale, and the Ghost Controlling Flag he had that was once alive with Ghost Qi was in tatters. His body was also covered in dozens of wounds so deep that one could even see his bone.
This morning, Li Rong returned. His fancy little sedan had been badly damaged, and he was only left with three out of eight jiangshis. The three of them were either missing an arm or a leg, while Li Rong himself nearly lost an arm.
Then just moments ago, Wang Xianxian appeared at the entrance to the sect, his body all covered in blood. He stumbled back to his residence and promptly fainted.
Three external disciples famed for their viciousness had returned with severe injuries and were on the brink of death. That news alone created an uproar within the four Compounds.
Anybody smart enough turned their gaze towards the three major factions of power. These factions were like sleeping monsters that could cause great damage if awakened, so the more intelligent disciples knew that the factions must have been involved in some or another.
If only one person returned like this, one might think this person had gone on a challenging mission. But the three of them were all lone rangers who didn’t belong or care about the three major factions. That was food for thought.
And while everyone was still murmuring among themselves about this matter, another shocking piece of news came from the internal disciples' side. Four internal disciples had died, and their Soul Lamps had gone out. It was confirmed that the souls of all four disciples had been destroyed beyond repair.
Everyone was quickly able to put two and two together. The thought of what must have transpired sent shivers down their spine. They immediately stopped thinking about this matter and shut up.
During this time, many disciples decided to lie low in case someone tried to kill them. They had to quietly spend more effort cultivating to wow the sect when the internal disciple selection came round. They were going to be like those carp that made it past the gate and transformed into a dragon.1
The Clacker’s All-You-Can-Eat Aquarium
Today’s snack recommendation: Jellyfish. Oh, jellyfish, so pretty but so yummy. Umami: depends on what you eat it with
Editor: Please thank TL-san for their work and helpful snack recommendations!
- Carp fish becoming a dragon
The fish's jumping feature is set in such a proverbial idiom as "Liyu (Carp) jumps over the Dragon Gate" (鲤跃龙门), an idiom that conveys a vivid image symbolizing a sudden uplifting in one's social status, as when one ascends into the upper society or has found favor with the royal or a noble family, perhaps through marriage, but in particular through success in the imperial examination. The idiom is often used to encourage students or children to achieve success through hard work and perseverance.
In this case, the external disciples were hoping to be selected to become internal ones since that would mean a much brighter future for them as cultivators.↩
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