However ferociously Xiaojin bristled, within the fifteen minutes of EV2's short lived life, Gu Yu had learned pretty much everything about the duplicant.
It was identical to the talisman user, but it had neither the flesh and blood, nor the mind and soul. It was nothing but an empty bag. It could carry out simple orders and had minimal defensive ability—an adult male could probably destroy it in one punch.
The talisman was valid for three days and would dissipate on its own after that.
Hence, they decided what the Shape-changing Spell was best used for: to fake an alibi! Wait, that couldn't be the answer, could it?
"We don't have much high-level talisman paper at the moment, so you'll have to practice on yellow talisman paper first. Talisman is going to play a more important role from now on and we need to put in our effort," Gu Yu instructed the others and asked his girlfriend, "How did it go with you?"
"I can't do it yet." Xiaozhai shook her head.
"Neither can I. A few times I was almost there, but my energy would stop flowing when I was only a stroke away from finishing." He sounded frustrated. "Taoist skills that could summon winds and rain have always been limited to immortals. Maybe we are simply not capable enough and will only be able to refine it until we reach the Human Immortal state."
What they referred to was none other than that purple talisman: the Five-transformation Rain-praying Talisman.
They shut themselves up each in their own meditation room and came out empty-handed after a few days of trying. Thus, they had to put it aside for the time being. Fortunately, they were making progress on the Flying Message Talisman and would be able to solve it with a little more effort.
Here came the question: the Flying Message and the Shape-changing were both blue talismans, why on earth was there such a great discrepancy in their functions?
They scratched their heads in puzzlement and came up with two guesses: either the classics of the Celestial Master Temple had recorded it incorrectly after all the tribulations it had gone through, or the function of the Shape-changing Spell had not been fully developed.
Maybe it was also an infinite type, which meant the more powerful the user was, the more effective the spell would be—it might actually produce an exact replica after all.
"We'll return to that later… Xiao Qiu!" Gu Yu beckoned for Long Qiu to come closer and gave her three pills of Body-refining and Mind-enhancing Dan and five of Evil-dispelling Dan. "Try them out on your own first and find your right intake cycle. When you run out, come to me, well, to you sister for more."
"Thank you, Brother!"
Holding the pills, Long Qiu smiled her eyes into crescent moons. She then put them into a small gourd.
He then called over Little Soap. "These are yours. Your cultivation level is not high enough, so take half a pill to begin with and see if you could stand the potency. Do not overreach yourself."
"Not high enough, not high enough… it's like you're handing out my monthly allowances. Shall I call you 'milord'?"
Disgruntled, Xiaojin made a show of mumbling to herself, but was in fact making every word clear enough for Gu Yu to hear. She put away her pills carefully all the same.
Gu Yu paid no attention to her. He took his share and handed the rest back to the head of the household. "Phoenix Mountain is becoming more resourceful than ever, but we should not allow ourselves to be inflated with pride. We are only men of innate state and there is a whole wide world out there for us to explore."
He paused a little and continued in a solemn tone. "To be honest, after I took the spiritual Dan for the first time and realized there is hope for me to reach the Human Immortal state, I was a little carried away by my emotions. Now that I looked back, it was frivolous and impetuous—I was being arrogant. The only way to walk the cultivation road is to believe firmly in the Great Dao and keep a sensible state of mind, so as to achieve perfection. Let us encourage each other in our endeavours."
"We will keep that in mind!"
At such good advice, the two younger ones did not make any teasing remark, but replied in a serious tone. Even Xiao Qing and Brother Fatso bowed at Gu Yu.
It had been two or three years since Long Qiu and Xiaojin became cultivators and they had been blessed with great fortune. At a national scale, Long Qiu and Xiaojin were probably the only two enjoying such resources and environment.
They had been among the first few to reach the innate state and their brother was going to attempt the Human Immortal state, so it was only natural that they would start imagining "Haha, I am getting an upgrade soon".
That was why Gu Yu reminded them with those words to prevent them from growing arrogant.
Back then, he and Xiaozhai made their painstaking conversation by the lamp and figured out the cultivation history in this country. As mentioned before, in the ancient times, there was no "immortal world", but only a "human world", which was categorized into four levels, namely the perfected, the supremes, the deities, and the saints. Later, the idea of "immortal world" became popular and the levels became heaven, earth, immortal, and man.
The Heavenly Immortals were those who had risen above the three divisions of the universe. They could exist for eternity and witness the creation and destruction of all worlds. The Earthly Immortals were as splendid as the sun and the moon. They could live as long as the heaven and earth allowed them and were no longer bound by the limit of life. The Immortals possessed remarkable physical and spiritual forms, as well as unfathomable capabilities. They would not meet their end for as long as thousands of years. The Human Immortals could utilize spiritual essence, with which they could nourish their body and live as long as hundreds of years.
Another type of special beings also existed, who could escape death by cultivating their primordial spirits. They were of the same standard as the Earthly Immortals in terms of their cultivation level, but did not have physical strength of the latter. They were known as Ghostly Immortals.
There was no so-called Zhuji ("building base"), Jindan ("golden Dan"), Yuanying ("primary infant"), etc., nor was there the hideous middle-phase of Zhuji, last-phase of Jindan, completion of Yuanying, or concepts of "halfway", "peak", or "second-stage".
They were following the most ancient and primitive categorization. He and Xiaozhai knew better than anyone else of the great difficulty they would be facing in filling in the discrepancy between two states and breaking through!
"Paper mills are very hard to apply for license these days—too much pollution. I did some brief research: generally speaking, there are mills of packing paper, fine paper, and household paper. The papermaking process of the three is so completely different that they can't share a single production line. As for the capital, we will need about three million excluding the raw materials, which equals to about five or six million if you count in the working capital."
In the manor at the mountain foot, Old Shui was briefing the couple. He was indeed a very capable man and knew just enough about everything.
He went on, "But it is talisman paper we're making, so the annual output would not exceed ten thousand tons. Plus, there's the confidentiality issue, which means we will have to choose manual operation. I have contacted a few old masters and the deal is pretty much settled. The mill will be to the east of the manor and all I need now is you agreement and your money."
"Ha, that was neat!"
Xiaozhai was very satisfied with his efficiency. "We'll give you four million to start with; make sure you've put everything and everyone in order. The raw materials will come out of the mountain. I'll circle out an area for you later. Keep a close eye on them. No one can cross the board."
"Leave everything to me. I'm as solid as a rock!" Old Shui smacked his chest and gave his promise.
The formula of the talisman paper was to concoct a special potion and add it into the paper pulp so as to reach the standard. The main ingredients of the potion were nothing but plants, metal, and rocks—nothing too rare to find.
"By the way, we'll also be needing some herb-planting experts. Put that on your list, too. Four or five should do."
Gu Yu took out a small bottle and said, "And there's this. Post an ad on the app and don't reveal the price yet. If anyone shows a genuine interest, tell them the price is 1000 spiritual stones."
The words took Old Shui by surprise. "What's in it?"
"See it for yourself."
Gu Yu handed him the bottle and Old Shui opened it. He saw two verdant, round, and fragrant pills inside, the color of which reminded him of the tale of "I forgive you" 1 . He realized what they were right away—they were most likely the newly made elixirs that these two were going to make into a rip-off— scratch that, to find a buyer for.
He knew the merchandise of the Pavilion of Gems very well. All things sold there were things of daily use up on the mountain but sold out in no time out there. Everything there was tradable at the moment.
The two only stayed for a while before going back to the mountain. After seeing the two bosses off, Old Shui also left in his car to see a construction team in the city.
The car was new: bought with the bosses' money, top of the line, big muscle. As he drove on, he felt something was off, but he could not point out what it was.
A while later, the feeling was growing stronger as he was further away from Phoenix Mountain.
Old Shui stepped on the brake and realized what it was. Sticking his head out of the window, he saw a blazing golden sun above. The brief second looking at it was already stinging his eyes and made them go bleary.
"Tsk, this heat is unnatural!"TL/N: still referring to the connection between the color green and the cheated husband.