Chapter 238: Life Flames Illuminate Heavenly Palaces!
It was early morning. After a night of experimentation, Xu Qing now had three bottles in front of him that he was very pleased with.
He had done many, many tests to reach this point. It was the ninth generation of beetles. At this point, they definitely weren’t black. They were semitransparent. In terms of the comparative reduction in size between the previous generation and this generation, it was like the difference between an egg and a peanut. Considering that the previous black beetles hadn’t been visible to the naked eye, it made it even more clear how hard it would be to detect the new versions. If it weren’t for the fact that Xu Qing’s blood was connected to them, then even he would have a hard time spotting them, let alone other people.
In addition to that, the beetles’ poison was vastly stronger than before. That was the result of the immense amounts of money he had spent to buy poisonous plants. When these beetles entered the body of an enemy and started chewing away and releasing poison, the damage would be many times greater than before.
It was the same with the mutagen. The beetles were very tough as well, thanks to the repeated exposure to the poison pill. In fact, that exposure ensured that the ninth generation of beetles had a very strong life force. It was so strong that they could survive inside of the taboo poison pill for several dozen breaths of time.
It’s too bad they’re not very intelligent. Otherwise, I might be able to get them to feign death. That would be a really good ability. They still haven’t reached the point I want them to reach.... I really need them to be able to reproduce inside the poison pill. Until that happens, I won’t be satisfied.
Sighing, Xu Qing quashed any feelings of satisfaction at his current progress. That said, he felt like his goal was attainable. After all, he had a lot of spirit stones, which meant he could still buy all sorts of expensive and rare poisonous plants. He just needed to keep doing more research.
Having reached this point in his train of thought, Xu Qing’s eyes shone with anticipation. Next, he took out the two fingers and examined them. Off to the side, Huang Yikun was unconscious and sealed in a jail cell. He and Xu Qing were the only living people in the cell block.
Yanyan had finally taken note of Xu Qing’s frown. And though she seemed reluctant to part with him, she had eventually left quietly. Once she was gone, Xu Qing had felt a lot more at ease. He didn’t like strangers hovering around him.𝒃𝒆𝒅𝒏𝒐𝒗𝙚𝙡.𝙘𝙤𝒎
Since Huang Yikun was unconscious, Xu Qing took out his identity medallion and sent a voice message. Then he opened the door of the cell block. The Mute was already outside and offered him a respectful clasping of hands.
Xu Qing examined him briefly. The Mute’s cultivation base was progressing quickly. He was already in the ninth level of Qi Condensation, and would soon be in the tenth. Xu Qing tossed a medicinal pill to him. Xu Qing had taken note of how sincere and hard-working the Mute had been lately.
The Mute’s eyes glittered as he accepted the medicinal pill. Then he looked at Xu Qing, awaiting orders.
Xu Qing pointed at Huang Yikun.
“Put twenty shackles on him and then toss him in with Sima Ling.”
The Mute nodded. Hurrying over, he grabbed Huang Yikun by the neck then dragged him forcefully out of the cell block. Only when he reached the main entrance did he handle him with some more care.
Xu Qing then looked back at the two dazzling fingers. They both emanated shocking fluctuations that caused his Balefire Soulswallowing Scripture to stir.
I wonder how to use these things. I feel like I can’t use them to open dharma apertures. They seem more appropriate for advancing my techniques.
After mulling the matter over, he sent a voice message to the Captain asking for advice.
It didn’t take long for the Captain to respond.
“Hahaha! Oh, little Ah Qing. So that idiot went over to you, huh? Well, I figured that would happen, which is why I left two fingers for you.
“Let me tell you, these Dark Serenity Fingers are amazing things. Huang Yikun really was a chosen, and he had massive perseverance and determination to form five of them.
“You see, the old man told me that they can totally transform our techniques. I still haven’t figured out exactly how, but it shouldn’t be long before I do. They’re going to be a transforming force for our echelon techniques here on the Seventh Peak.”
Hearing that, Xu Qing decided not to worry about the fingers. Instead, he took out Huang Yikun’s ring of holding.
Why do I get the feeling Huang Yikun is actually a bit poor?
Like Sima Ling’s ring of holding, this one was sealed. Unlike Sima Ling’s ring, this one had no jewel on it. It seemed much more standard.
The shadow didn’t need any instructions. It flew out, broke down the sealing mark, and then sent some fawning emotions out. Obviously it was still thinking about Xu Qing’s promise to give it the fragmented piece of the taboo treasure if it behaved well.
Suddenly, for the first time ever, Xu Qing gave an approving look to the shadow.
The shadow was stunned, and began to tremble in excitement, causing splits and cracks to appear in it.
Patriarch Golden Vajra Warrior was not happy at all. His body of lightning was also trembling, but in this case, it was because of a sense of deep foreboding.
Intentionally or otherwise, Xu Qing happened to look at the black iron skewer for a moment, then sent dharma force into Huang Yikun’s ring of holding.
A moment later, an unsightly expression appeared on Xu Qing’s face.
“Is this Huang Yikun a counterfeit chosen??” he murmured.
He glanced in the direction where the Mute had disappeared with Huang Yikun, his expression one of displeasure. All Huang Yikun had in his ring of holding were some random bottles, a few jade slips, and spirit notes worth less than 100,000. He had no magical devices, and nothing else similar to what Xu Qing had hoped to see.
This level of poverty was incredible. Virtually any Foundation Establishment cultivator in Seven Blood Eyes probably had more money than Huang Yikun.
Then Xu Qing looked back at the two fingers, and realized he had his answer.
Did he really spend his entire life savings just to cultivate those five fingers...?
Xu Qing thought back to when he’d first met Huang Yikun, and how proud he had been of those fingers. It seemed that, in all likelihood, this was the explanation.
I almost feel sorry for the guy. He just had to go and show off his fancy stuff in front of the Captain.
Xu Qing shook his head and then went through all the random bottles in the ring of holding. After examining them, he looked a bit more pleased.
Most of the medicinal pills were related to healing, but there was one bottle that contained some pills Xu Qing recognized. They were the same ones that Sima Ling had, designed to open dharma apertures.
Without any hesitation, Xu Qing inspected them for safety, then popped them into his mouth. He knew exactly how extraordinary these pills were; based on how he’d found them, he could only guess that these chosen kept them around to use in critical moments. However, he figured it would be better to use them immediately rather than save them for later.
The moment he swallowed the pills, rumbling filled his body, and his 89th dharma aperture, which he had already been battering away at with the souls he’d extracted recently, opened up. More dharma force swept through him.
There was still more power left from the pills, so he sent it to his 90th dharma aperture. The aperture shivered, and then a crack opened up on it. However, it was only about ten percent open.
As the medicinal strength continued to explode, the crack opened wider. Twenty percent. Thirty percent. Forty percent....
Xu Qing took a deep breath and beat at the dharma aperture with all of the force he could muster. Gradually, it was sixty percent open. At that point, the force of the medicine waned. He barely managed to reach seventy percent before the medicinal efficacy faded away.
Xu Qing’s eyes were completely bloodshot. He could sense astonishing dharma force within that 90th aperture. The 29.5 apertures that formed the group after his 60th were all burning like stars. That fire wanted to form his third life flame, but the 90th aperture wasn’t completely opened, and thus the process couldn’t be completed. Xu Qing was already feeling very anxious. Being so close to his third life flame only made him more anxious.
“I’m going to open it today!”
Gritting his teeth, he took out his identity medallion and issued some orders.
“Bring all the Night Dove operatives we arrested to me!”
The constables of the Violent Crimes Division sprang into action, and began delivering numerous Night Dove prisoners to Harbor 176. The cell block there became like a black hole, gobbling up one Night Dove operative after another.
As evening came, brilliance spread out through the sky. Eventually, Xu Qing’s eyes snapped open, and violet light glittered. All of the dharma apertures from his 61st to his 90th were now opened, and they burned like raging furnaces.
Over the course of an incense stick’s worth of time, his third life flame took shape!
The moment it appeared, he felt like heavenly thunder was raging within him, causing him to shake from head to toe. Terrifying flame power swept out, incinerating the cell block around him, and turning the walls into blackened crystal. Of course, he had already put protective spell formations around, and the cell block had its own spell formation, so none of the fluctuations went out into the open.
As his third life flame burned, a heavenly palace started to become visible. It was only about ten percent of its full form, but it still looked magnificent, with dramatically beautiful architecture, decorated with auspicious beasts, and was partly illusory and partly corporeal.
Xu Qing’s guess was that heavenly palaces... had to do with Gold Core!
‘Life flames ignite to illuminate heavenly palaces.’
Xu Qing didn’t know all of the details of what heavenly palaces were, but he did know that ‘life flames ignite to illuminate heavenly palaces’ was a description of the process of rising from Foundation Establishment to Gold Core.
Three life flames....
As Xu Qing looked up, the golden crow danced in the air behind him, crying out noiselessly, its flaming tail combining with his life flames to cause a sea of flames to spread. Feather-shaped sparks swirled around him. If a painter were to create an artistic depiction of this moment, it would be immaculately beautiful.
And anyone present to observe would be completely shocked by the fact that neither the flames nor the golden crow emitted any pressure. And yet the golden crow’s mere gaze would be enough to shake a Foundation Establishment cultivator to the core.
What was more, Xu Qing’s gaze was just as exceptional as that of Master Shengyun!
He had three life flames, a life lamp, and an imperial-class technique.
That was... five-flame battle prowess!
When adding in his poison, it was possible a six-flame cultivator might fall to him. It was only natural that such power would be considered exceptional.