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Chapter 14: Sea of Essence (Two)

"Ba-dum… Ba-dum…" Xu Yangyi could even hear the beating of his heart at the side of ear. His mood was extremely complicated, like that of a stone sinking deeply down into the earth.

Strength… was something when gained, no one was willing to lose it.

He was even more unwilling because of his own great unavenged hatred. Any agent of Heaven's Law would receive the organization's help in finding their assailant, but not him! He needed more strength than any other agent!

Without an answer, his entire train of thought had completely sunk. Furthermore, he immediately entered his sea of essence.

Innersight.

Head… Chest… His spirit sense swept over them along the way, heading straight towards his sea of essence. He was extremely clear about it; on the occasion his sea of essence began to expand by itself, he wouldn't be able to make use of his spiritual strength. In case he did begin to use it, his meridians would be confronted with danger of exploding at anytime, anywhere!

There was a title for someone whose meridians were completely crippled: invalid.

Would the rank one of Heaven's Law's Yuyang City branch become an invalid!

Would he go from the graduate with the most boundless of prospects to a cripple?

Would he go from being a cultivator that could soar among the clouds and sail the mists to an ordinary person?

He was absolutely unreconciled to it!

He saw… He caught sight of an boundless whiteness like soaring mists and steaming red clouds…  It was the location of his sea of essence and also the gate of life that a cultivator would defend unconditionally to their death!

"Swish!" At this moment, a golden streak of prismatic light flickered before his eyes, penetrating into the expanse of mist. It should've delved even deeper into the distant white ocean, but at this instant, it completely froze his spirit sense in place. 

"This is…"

He clenched his fist rigidly and strongly crushed down his urge to exhale coldly.

Qi Condensation, or perhaps called the stage of condensing essence, was to draw essence into the body and construct an "ocean" of spiritual energy within the body. This was to represent Earth's standards of the organisms that had risen from the ocean. In Foundation Establishment, other changes would occur, however, currently, a small and exquisite case was whirling within his sea of essence. 

The case was forged from pure gold, about the size of the palm of a hand, and crafted exceptionally and meticulously. Employing openwork engraving, an outline of a fine, slender lotus was carved into the cover of the case. On the edges of the case was a ring of carved designs, or perhaps a script, that he simply didn't recognize.

The lotus had five petals, yet only a single petal was carved with a design.

It was the image of a leopard-headed man wearing ancient robes. 

His clothes were made from plain hemp, and he held a jade bamboo slip, sitting cross-legged on an unusual mount with the head of a wild boar and the body of a steed.

It occupied one of five of the petals, and as for the other four, there were only four harsh holes left behind.

The entire case could even be said to be an immaculate work of art. However, that was only the top portion. The bottom part had already vanished without a trace. 

"Buzzzzz…" Tt the instant when Xu Yangyi saw it clearly, the world of his sea of essence faintly began to shake. Simultaneously, in that fleeting moment, a part of him was had the urge to kneel and prostrate on the ground, rising from the depths his heart without the slightest of foreshadowing!

It was the purest… most primal… worship to a higher dimension and an even more powerful vitality.

Already, the totem had made his spirit sense feel as if it were dead leaves in a squall, immediately dispersed by it!

Not waiting for him to react, the small, exquisite chest slightly trembled and charged right before him in the next second!

In the real world, Xu Yangyi bit his tongue. Fresh blood immediately dribbled from the crook of his mouth, and he suddenly opening his reddened eyes. 

In this fraction of a moment, he understood it all.

The objective of this thing…  simply wasn't anything like his sea of essence! From the very beginning, it was his spirit sense!

If it could be said that the sea of essence was the foundation of cultivation, then spirit sense… was the foundation of life!

In reference with interpretations of the past, it was the soul. It encompassed a person's memories, mind, and so on. Scientific methods could be used to illustrate it as a kind of wave length. If this wavelength was lost…

Death would be the only path!

At this moment, he figured it out. Perhaps the serpent demon had discovered this bit early on. As a demon that could live in human society to a grand old age, it wasn't any pushover. As its sea of essence quickly expanded and exploded, it didn't even dare to let its spirit sense enter its body to play "doctor". The strange case had done its best to expand within the other's sea of essence in order to lure the other into using its spirit sense to "take a look", since its goal from the onset was spirit sense!

"What the heck is this thing!" It hadn't taken him more than a second of reflection to immediately command his spirit sense to begin a frantic retreat. His train of thought was to go at the fastest possible speed excluding that of light. In theory, its speed was… limitless!

Unexpectedly, it's goal was to get hold of a person's spirit… Was this still an object? 

In comparison with an object, it was more like living organism that possessed a high level of intelligence!

However, at this instant, his chest shook abruptly, and he grit his teeth harshly.

He had been "refused"…

From his brain, he had issued the "order" to make his spirit sense "retreat". As the unbounded command approached at light speed, it had been "refused" from within his sea of essence.

His spirit sense… went motionless.

No matter how his brain commanded it, his spirit sense was like it had taken root, not moving the slightest hair.

"P-Pretty boy, what's up? D-Don't scare me! What the heck happened?" Mao Ba'er leapt in fright and came straight to safeguard him. In the past several seconds, Xu Yangyi's fine complexion hadn't changed. However, just moments ago, Mao Ba'er's heart had fallen with a drum without rhyme or reason, like a dangerous omen was suddenly approaching. Soon afterwards, he watched Xu Yangyi perspire profusely and hack up blood from his mouth.

Xu Yangyi didn't respond to him and only pursed his lips rigidly. This was because at this same occasion, his spirit sense and the chest had completely collided together!

"Swoosh!" An expanse of eye-dazzling golden light had illuminated his entire sea of essence! Even his misting spiritual energy appeared to return to tranquility!

"Pretty boy! Pretty boy, what's happening to you?!" Mao Ba'er immediately jumped over. In front of him, Xu Yangyi didn't say a word as he clutched his head and collapsed on the bed.

A stabbing pain, an abrupt stabbing pain.

Like someone had used their hand to put a pile of things within his mind, it was a pain bursting at the seams, making him believe his head would split open at this point! 

Myriad awls stabbed into his mind. He felt a place he couldn't even speak of within the center of his brain turn into a nexus of pain. Yet this wave of pain was like a network, covering the cortex of his entire brain, as if an electric current was coursing through it!

But at the same time, countless vestiges of golden script followed by a fit of sharp pain, frantically rushed into his mind.

It was unknown how much time had passed… a minute, ten minutes, or perhaps an hour until the wave of piercing pain subsided.

"Pant… Pant…" His stomach moved up and down like a drawn bellows, and the sharp pain had long covered his hand in cold sweat. Mao Ba'er leaned against his bedside and looked at him nervously: "P-Pretty boy, you're scaring this pupper to death… In any case, there was an initial sign, but there weren't any signs whatsoever the second time around… I didn't think you would go down like this …You haven't even left a legacy… Are you alright?"

Xu Yangyi grit his teeth rigidly and shook his head. He shut his eyes, since the tearing pain within his brain had caused him to suddenly break out in a cold sweat from head to toe. However, presently, he simply couldn't shout in pain!

He "scanned" every nook and cranny of himself inch by inch. Hand… Chest… Stomach… His four limbs… Brain… however, he didn't find any changes!

As he scanned his sea of essence once more, he couldn't restrain himself from grinding his teeth.

The upper-half of the chest… had vanished!

As if it had never appeared!

He opened his eyes with a swish. Once, twice, thrice, he scanned his body, yet the truth was verified; indeed, there weren't any changes whatsoever. Just moments ago, he had clearly felt countless things rush into his mind, but now, he wasn't even able to recall anything!

One hour, two hours… after no less than three hours did he speak again.

"It's nothing." The devastating, storm-like pain within his body had finally let up to a degree. He took a long breath and looked deeply at Mao Ba'er: "Remember, you absolutely cannot reveal what has happened in these past several days to anyone."

"Why?" Mao Ba'er said anxiously: "With your body in such a state, don't you want to return to Heaven's Law and get a comprehensive examination? Don't you want to look for the instructor to discuss a countermeasure?" 

"If I do, they'll definitely try to understand what this thing is clearly later on!" Xu Yangyi said decisively.

He pursed his fairly dried lips and said lowly: "Human nature is never lacking of light the that makes people sing praises in admiration, but nor is it lacking the darkness that makes the hairs of men stand on edge."

"China is one of the world's four great ancient civilizations with a history of several millennia as long as a river. How many unsolved mysteries have been left behind? Mao Ba'er…" He stared into the other's eyes: "You think if someone said, 'oh, this is an ancient Core Formation cultivator's amazing mystical artifact that recognizes its master automatically'... even if the constraint of the law exists and even if it is but a mere 'suspicion', what do you think those decrepit cultivators with a one-way express ticket to death that are only a kick short from opening the next realm will believe?"  

Mao Ba'er was stunned.

"There's no need to guess…" He sneered and licked his lips: "In less than a week, even if I hid at the very ends of the Earth, they would shred everything to pieces to find me."

"Cultivation… was originally what every man strived to pass through." He leaned back, looking at the ceiling and said somewhat ruefully: "If that time comes, even if I have to brave the danger of a life sentence, I will nevertheless initiate a slaughter in warning."

Mao Ba'er swept his eyes over him: "Sometimes, I really don't know if you're a good guy or a villain at the end of the day… but you seem pretty noble. I've always thought that what lies hidden in your own heart is far more dreadful than what a demon holds in their own."

"I am merely a pragmatist." Xu Yangyi laughed.

"Pretty boy." Mao Ba'er hopped up on his body with his paw and said lowly: "However… I think it's still better to get back early for the branch graduation. Haven't you thought of what the branch represents?"

"Xu Yangyi glanced at him for an instant: "Truth."

"The truth of the world. The truth buried among history and books. A representation of the truth orally handed down word by word. Only through cultivation can the world truly be seen clearly."

"Then, you haven't thought of it. What is the branch?" Mao Ba'er plopped down on his pudgy butt: "There lies the key of truth… leading to the true entrance of truth… I believe only there will you truly be able to analyze the origins behind the changes of your sea of essence. I don't want to destroy your future because of a guess."

"My future prospects…" Xu Yangyi narrowed his eyes: "Compared with losing my life, which do you think is even worse?"

Skipping over the topic, he waved his hand: "Help me get the painkillers."

"Wouldn't it be better to get a loan of a hundred grand from the Many Treasures Pavilion and buy some Blackjade Wound Replenishing Ointment?" Mao Ba'er squinted his doggy eyes, suggesting enticingly: "Colorless, odorless, and greaseless, it'll eliminate any pains right away…"

"If I didn't hear incorrectly, the manager of Many Treasures Pavilion just happened to be at the door right around that time." Xu Yangyi laughed coldly: "Don't think I didn't hear it… Many Treasures Pavilion gave you five grand to get to me use their medicines… It's convenient that the Sanshui City branch has improved their workmanship… Am I only worth five fucking thousand?"

Like he had seen a living ghost, Mao Ba'er looked at Xu Yangyi as soon as he heard him say there was nothing wrong and began to open up like a flower at first sight, his paw covering his mouth in shock: "There was also a single bag of Many Treasures Pavilion's dog food… That's not the important part! What's important is how did you know!"*

"He was at the entrance stirring up a ruckus… Didn't you go?" Xu Yangyi rubbed his temples as they ached more and more.

"That's impossible!" Unexpectedly, Mao Ba'er suddenly jumped up, staring at Xu Yangyi unwaveringly: "There wasn't a single person speaking at the door! I dare to swear by it! Furthermore, I'm a canine! My sense of hearing and smell are much keener than that of a human's! In any case, I also just entered the initial stage of Qi Condensation! How can you be this pupper's opponent when it comes to listening and smell? How can you hear that, which I can't even?"

* open up like a flower at first sight is part of a longer chinese idiom. It means when a good looking guy walks by, all the girls stop to look and then the flowers open up to "look" too.

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