Time went by quickly. Before Bai Yunfei knew it, five days had passed since he arrived here in the city.
Hardly had Bai Yunfei ever stepped out from the courtyard he was given. The bulk of his time was spent inside of it trying to recollect his thoughts and learn how to cultivate.
The courtyard had a kitchen of sorts next to it where several other trainees would gather. Everyone had their own assigned tasks and were generally receptive towards Bai Yunfei when he first arrived. Like him, they were all Soul Warriors, but they weren’t ready to breakthrough to become a Soul Sprite and so they all treated him with envious respect.
He learned from them that this type of lifestyle was common in the clan for trainees. In the clan, only Soul Sprites would be considered for an apprenticeship. Those with an aptitude for elemental fire would go into the branch for Alchemy while others would be relegated into other departments such as hunting, harvesting, etc.
Having an aptitude for elemental fire was quite common within the clan. The majority of the people here being a fire-type was proof of that. Given the importance of elemental fire in Alchemy, it was little wonder why all Soul Warriors would hope for talent in elemental fire.
And for Bai Yunfei, who was ‘rewarded’ a fireseed pill to solidify his aptitude for elemental fire, was treated with great envy by many people.
It came to the surprise of many to learn that Bai Yunfei wasn’t from the city. He was from the ‘outside’. Apprentices from the outside were fairly rare to see, but not totally unheard of. The elders often patrolled the outside mountains for the sake of safety and visiting the commoners that lived there. Sometimes, they’d come across someone whose talent for cultivation was abnormally high and take them back to the city to be trained. Still, it was rare to see. One year would never go above double digits, Bai Yunfei was the first one this year.
Wang Tong hadn’t come to see Bai Yunfei during these last five days. Neither did the other two. They all had their own things to do, especially during a time as hectic as this. The three of them were probably busy up to their heads on securing the safety of the city and had no time to spare on Bai Yunfei.
The courtyards had more people than usual on the sixth day. Even the trainees from the kitchens were eagerly looking at a room on the left.
Seated at the stone table at the center of the courtyard was the kindly-looking elder Cheng. He had a cup of tea in hand to sip. He too was waiting for something.
Today was the day Bai Yunfei would ingest the fireseed pill and attempt to breakthrough.
Generally speaking, the breakthrough of a Soul Sprite wasn’t something elder Cheng would care to see. But elder Cheng was more than happy to watch if it was a beloved student under his tutelage.
Popping the cork from the bottle, Bai Yunfei tipped it over his outstretched palm. A small red pill tumbled out from the mouth of the bottle, exuding heat as it laid on top of the palm. Bai Yunfei stared at it for a moment before raising it up to his mouth.
A wave of heat disseminated through his body as the fireseed pill dissolved in his stomach. Transforming into a fiery light, it shined forth from Bai Yunfei’s open mouth as if he was spitting out a small pillar of fire.
As its name implied, the fireseed pill helped one create and condense their fireseed. Having the rare fireseed spirit mushroom as its primary ingredient helped the pill dramatically increase the chance of success. In the history of the clan, there was not a single trainee that wasn’t able to form a fireseed after ingesting a fireseed pill.
Not only was it powerful, but the pill was also quick to manifest. Bai Yunfei felt like every single inch of his body was being lit up with fire and all the liquid in him being boiled. His skin was turning red and his pores were letting out steam while also taking in the energy from the world.
The air was warping in on itself around Bai Yunfei. Red light and heat were manifesting around him in great amounts before being drawn into his body to be absorbed.
“So it begins!” Elder Cheng murmured. The cup in his hand was placed back onto the table so he could smile and stare at the room Bai Yunfei was in. His eyes were sharp like an eagle. Was he able to see what was going on inside the room?
Everyone else could tell that something was happening inside Bai Yunfei’s room. The heat coming out from it and the light going into it was easily noticeable to them. Wide-eyed, they all stood there in silence to watch and wait.
Time trickled on with the smile on elder Cheng’s face slipping away bit by bit. Something about the length of this all was strange to him.
“This is…taking a little long, isn’t it?”
It was already half an hour after Bai Yunfei ingested the fireseed pill. Forming the fireseed should’ve happened a while ago in normal situations, but elemental fire was still coming in massive amounts into Bai Yunfei’s room. Elder Cheng could feel the energy go in, but not any traces of the fireseed starting to condense, which was strange.
“Could…could he be even more suited for elemental fire than we expected!?” Elder Cheng guessed.
Another half hour went by without any other development.
Unable to wait any longer, elder Cheng stood up from his stool and strode briskly to Bai Yunfei’s room.
By now, the amount of elemental fire Bai Yunfei gathered was no longer contained by his room. It was already spilling out into the courtyard to fill up the surrounding dozen meters with its light and heat.
“There’s so much elemental fire…how is he able to gather this much!”
This time, the elder couldn’t help himself from saying what he was thinking out loud.
The amount of elemental fire gathered around Bai Yunfei was simply far too much for the elder to believe.
Bai Yunfei knew he had to absorb all the elemental fire around him and compress it into the originseed for a fireseed to form, but he didn’t think it’d take this long. Over an hour was gone and he was still taking in even more elemental fire. It felt like the origin acupoint was still…unsatisfied with the amount of elemental fire going into it!
From what the jade slip told him, the elemental fire would undergo a qualitative change once there was enough of it gathered. Once that change was done he’d have a fireseed. But the slip described the entire process as only taking just ten minutes to accomplish.
Ten minutes….he should’ve been done over fifty minutes ago!
There was plenty he didn’t understand, but if there was one thing he did, it was that his acupoint wasn’t satisfied’. He couldn’t feel any other sensation than that. No bloating sensation, no sensation that was inherently wrong, or anything. It just felt like his body was a bottomless pit that was eagerly trying to have its fill of elemental fire.
In the end, Bai Yunfei just assumed that there wasn’t enough elemental energy and decided to try his best to continue absorbing all the elemental fire as he could.
“Eh?! Am I close?!”
Bai Yunfei felt a heat source spark to life within his chest. A heat source that radiated and filled his body with a great deal of limitless power.
Pleased, Bai Yunfei immediately stopped the attempt to absorb any more elemental fire to begin compressing the amount he already had inside his body. More and more energy was being used to compress the elemental fire so that it’d become a fireseed.
Then as he was just about done with the preparations and begin the final step…
To the utmost shock of Bai Yunfei, the fireseed he was trying to form suddenly exploded! The spark that had only just formed had for some reason exploded!
It was as if there was some kind of limit that was reached. It was a single step before the finish line, but all of Bai Yunfei’s efforts were dashed at the last spurt!
The pupils in Bai Yunfei’s eyes dilated in shock. He hadn’t realized there’d be a result like this! Not only had he failed to form the essence fireseed, but all of the elemental fire within his body also had immediately ‘disappeared’!
The surrounding elemental fire not yet inside his body started to grow agitated. Within a matter of seconds, Bai Yunfei was surrounded by a chaotic storm of energy!
Still turbulent, the elemental fire renewed their attempts to enter Bai Yunfei’s body and began to act more like a stormy ocean trying to drown out a single boat….
It took a few drastic seconds before the last of the red light disappeared. The room was back to normal, though a dazed Bai Yunfei sat there on his bed, thoroughly confused by what had just happened…