The storage cave was dead quiet. The four-human head-sized Pearls of Light were the only things that brightened up the space.
On the 10 golden platforms, other than the Drunken Immortal Brew Ling Xian took and the Golden Pages Yue Lian Han snatched, eight treasures stood there harmlessly, moving rhythmically with spiritual energy.
The ground was carpeted with fresh blood and corpses, telling people the cruel tale of Taoism.
Every cultivator who came for good fortune has been killed. A minority of them were killed by Ling Xian, and the rest died in Yue Lian Han's hands. These cultivators were the stepping stones she used to acquire a treasure and transform herself into a dragon.
The cultivation journey was like this, betting against Gods, battling against time, and struggling against life. Everything about the journey was troublesome and required great intelligence, great luck, great insight, experience with hardships and failures. Only when one possess all these skills and knowledge can one see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Ling Xian had both of his eyes closed shut, and he sat in a lotus position. Strands of spiritual energy were entering and coming out of his body, healing and detoxicating him.
Mo Qing Fu was doing the same.
Both of them were heavily injured, especially Mo Qing Fu. First, he was stabbed by Ling Xian, then he paid the price of burning away his training process to summon three ancient characters from the Scroll. His body was in an awful state and he had weakened so much that his training has fallen to a Qi level of eight. While he still possessed the title Heaven's Favorite, he no longer had the capability to be one.
To perform techniques forcefully without fully mastering and practicing them before, often left permanent damages to one's body. Unless he consumed some specific and rare medicine, he will be forever stuck at a Qi level of eight and cannot advance anymore in his lifetime.
It was obvious how much sacrifice Mo Qing Fu made. Good thing was that he agreed that it was worth it. Using the power from the Hao Ran ancient characters and the strength from Ling Xian's Sword of Extinction, their teamwork successfully defended themselves from Yue Lian Han and saved both of their own lives.
After God knows how long it's been, Mo Qing Fu slowly opened his eyes and let go of his final murky breath. He exclaimed, [With the level of training that woman had, even if all the Heaven's Favorites in the ruin worked together, we could not have defeated her. Good thing my Hao Ran characters had powerful sealing abilities and his sword was sharp enough. If he didn't pinpoint her fatal flaw, we never would've made it this far.]
Then he remembered the enormous price he paid to get there. Not only did his training fall to level eight, he may also never be able to restore it to a state of normality. He couldn't help it but to sigh and proclaim, [Oh well. This is all meant to be. If I wasn't so stupid and fell into her trap, she never would've gotten the Golden Pages and leaped into the foundational level. I acted as an accomplice. To still be alive is already extremely lucky of me.]
Just then, Ling Xian opened his eyes as well. Looking at Mo Qing Fu's deep frown and troubled breathing, Ling Xian chuckled. "Stop sighing so much. It's not like there isn't a way to restore your wounds."
"There isn't a way. This kind of damage to spiritual energy is usually permanent. Once the injury is there, I cannot restore it back to normal." Mo Qing Fu's face was long. He sighed again. "However, to have been able to save this life, I am satisfied. At least I can see the Mistress again."
As he spoke, his sigh turned into a wide smile. The Mistress really was important to him.
"You may not have a way, but it doesn't mean I don't know a way." Ling Xian smiled mysteriously.
Mo Qing Fu felt his spirits rejuvenated. He asked hastily, "Brother, you really have a way?"
"Of course. There is no gain in lying to you," Ling Xian was confident.
Seeing how sure he appeared, Mo Qing Fu's mood was uplifted right away. The stages of training were known as the cultivator's second life. With him being the direct descendent of the Hao Ran House and with him being the collectively admired Heaven's Favorite, if his training was stuck at level eight, then it would be a traumatic blow to his mentality. More importantly, he was unwilling to disappoint the Mistress who placed so much hope on him.
When Ling Xian said he had a way, Mo Qing Fu wiped away his sad face and transformed into a bright and studious scholar again.
"Brother, please help me."
Mo Qing Fu excitedly stared at Ling Xian. He made a fist with one hand, cupped it with another, and then deeply bowed down.
"Don't worry. Of course, I will help you. After all, we are now comrades who fought against a common enemy. Even though you were the one who got us into the tough situation." Ling Xian nodded.
"Brother, stop mocking me. I have realized my mistake." Mo Qing Fu smiled. His face was a little red.
"As long as you know where your wrongs lie. I know a little bit about the Hao Ran House and the way they teach their students. For a man to always keep his words, there's nothing wrong with that. But you have to make judgement calls based on the situation. At the time, it was very obvious that once Yue Lian Han got what she wanted, she would've killed us. The result proved that my guess was right." Ling Xian smiled.
"Yes, I will remember your guidance and reflect upon them." Mo Qing Fu nodded. Then, his face flashed with worry. "What if Yue Lian Han comes back for us? When that happens, I'm sure it means she has merged with the Golden Pages. If she truly reaches the foundational level, then we are no match for her."
"No worries." Ling Xian waved his hand. He seemed to be anticipating something. "When the army comes, we can use our resources, such as water and land to defend. Even if she does reach the foundational level permanently, it's no trouble. Who knows, maybe I will achieve my breakthrough before she does. Then it will be me who's goes to find her and dig her a grave."
"What do you mean by that?" Mo Qing Fu asked.
"Your brain is like wood! It is obvious that you are only book smart," Ling Xian shook his head helplessly. Waving his sleeve, a tea pot of aromatic wine appeared in mid-air. Spiritual energy vibrated throughout the cave.
"Oh yes, I forgot you acquired the Drunken Immortal Brew." Mo Qing Fu suddenly realized. He then remembered something, and his eyes brightened. "Could it... that… are you planning on curing my wound with this?"
"No. Though this is a great treasure, it has no use against burned away spiritual energy." Ling Xian shook his head and didn't drag on this conversation any longer. "I plan to brew you a Dan."
"You are an alchemist? Which realm?" Mo Qing Fu was astounded. He did not think for a second that Ling Xian might've been a respected alchemist.
"Eighth-realm." Ling Xian softly chuckled. He waved his sleeve and the purple cauldron he received when he parted with Si Tu Nan appeared. It fell to the ground with a "dong!"
Mo Qing Fu gasped. With Ling Xian's age, he thought at most he was a ninth-realm alchemist. He did not predict that he belonged to the eighth-realm!
Being an eighth-realm alchemist was normal. Being a 15-year-old alchemist, however, was much less common, though not considered rare. To have a Heaven's Favorite, who was in the Undefeatable Realm to also have an unbelievable achievement with alchemy, was more than rare. It was more like the phoenix, almost legendary.
This was why Mo Qing Fu was as shocked as he was.
Seeing his face flood that amount of shock, Ling Xian gently grinned. "I will first brew you a Dan to cure your injuries. Then, you will stand on guard and protect me. I want to breakthrough to the foundational level in order to defend ourselves against Yue Lian Han."
Translator's Thoughts Tatienne
Sorry guys! There was a mix up in the uploading schedule but enjoy this chapter~ :)