Roughly fifty kilometers in a forest to the north of Yanlin City at night.
Bai Yunfei continued to pry apart the human-sized reeds obstructing his vision as he traveled forward. At the same time, he continued to look up at the sea of trees around him. Trekking over the dried leaves for several hundred meters, he finally decided upon a tall tree to climb up and looked around.
A moment later, his face stared gloomily at the setting sun far away. “Fuck. Even I don’t know where I am, how is the enemy supposed to find me here then??”
“Forget it, isn’t this how it’s always been? As long as I know the general direction, I should be fine. If the sun is setting down in that direction, then the north should be that direction as well….” Bai Yunfei turned towards the north while deep in thought, “I bet that Jiang Fan has already completely stopped that man from killing me so it should be safe. But I can’t return to Yanlin City either. I have to continue onwards to the north….”
“What a shame! I was only in Yanlin City for two days; there was so many things I haven’t seen yet!” Bai Yunfei lamented as he prepared to jump down from the tree to continue his travels.
“Eh?” Just at that moment, Bai Yunfei’s eyebrows rose up as he noticed something above his head.
A minute sound of moving wind could be heard as it drew close to him. A single azure shadow flitted over Bai Yunfei’s head, but not slow enough for him to see what it was. After the shadow flew past, it became a small dot that disappeared from sight shortly afterwards.
“That’s a….bird?? But isn’t it flying a little too fast?” Bai Yunfei stared in disbelief. Then, realizing something with a start, he spoke, “But this feeling, it’s a little familiar….oh! It’s almost the exact same as Xiao Tang!”
“A soulbeast!!” Bai Yunfei cried out with even more shock. “It’s a little weaker than Xiao Tang, but it’s speed definitely makes it stand out from the rest!”
Bai Yunfei had been stupefied as he looked around himself. “This forest has soulbeasts too? Isn’t that strange though? I never came across any before…”
“A bird huh….definitely a bird….if I had a bird soulbeast as a partner, then life wouldn’t be too bad. But it’s already gone so fast that it’s gone….” Bai Yunfei shook his head. But a second later, Bai Yunfei suddenly felt something wet from on top of his head, “Eh? What’s that on my head?”
When he brought a hand over to the top of his head, he could only feel something wet and sticky with his fingers.
“I can’t believe this, why do I have such bad luck?”Thinking the bird had actually crapped on him during its speedy flight, Bai Yunfei couldn’t help but let loose a curse as he brought up his finger to stare at it.
“Blood?” But unexpectedly, there was a splotch of blood on his finger.
“Then does that mean….it’s injured?” Bai Yunfei looked off into the direction the bird had flown off to in surprise. “It can still fly so fast while injured?! And does this mean it’s running for its life right now? Injured and yet still doing its best to escape….”
Having reached that line of thought, Bai Yunfei suddenly began to feel a little mournful for the bird. It was as if they were connected by the same string of fate that Bai Yunfei began to sympathize for the bird he didn’t even get a chance to see.
“Well! I’ll continue on my way then!” Bai Yunfei wiped the blood from his head and leapt off the tree to continue down his path.
By nighttime, Bai Yunfei found another rather well-hidden spot to rest and recover in until the next morning.
And so after two days and three nights, Bai Yunfei finally found himself facing a wide open road to travel upon. He had been glad; for if he had to stay within that forest for another two days, Bai Yunfei would surely have gone mad.
“I don’t know where this is, but judging from that direction, then this place should lead me straight to Yanlin City. And this direction should be….” Bai Yunfei paused for a moment, unsure of where the road would take him. Taking out a map from his space ring, he studied the parchment for a long time before answering himself, “If I go that way, then the next city is….Guyi City.”
“But what’s not known here is just how far away Guyi City is. I’d best find someone to make sure.” Bai Yunfei looked around the road to find someone, but to no avail.
“Forget it. I’ll start walking first and confirm it when I find someone on the way. As long as I go a little faster, I should be able to reach Guyi City.”
After making his decision, Bai Yunfei didn’t dawdle any longer. Seeing that the sun was already hanging up overhead, he took out a thatched straw hat and fastened it to his head. Then, with a jaunty folk song, he began to leisurely walk down the road.
“Equipment quality: Normal.”
“Upgrade level: +8.”
“Defense power: 2.”
“Additional defense power: 5.”
“Upgrade requirement: 4 soulpoints.”
Completely bored while traveling, Bai Yunfei had taken advantage of the clouds covering the sun to take his straw hat and upgrade it.
“A defensive strength of seven, that’s about the same level of power that could withstand a stone smashing into it. I wonder what effect it’d get if I upgrade it to +10?” Bai Yunfei looked at the straw hat with a curious eye as he begun to guess. “But this is just a crappy equipment you’d find anywhere, I bet there wouldn’t be anything special….”
Bai Yunfei had once upgraded an ordinary set of clothing to +10. As a result, its defensive power hadn’t even broken the double digit threshold and had an additional effect of having a 1% chance of increasing one’s defenses by ten if struck.
“Forget it, it’d be sad if it exploded on me. This hat has been with me for a long time, and it’s pretty good with shading me from the sun.” Now that the clouds had glided away for the sunlight to pass through, Bai Yunfei put the straw hat back on his head for protection. Shaking his right hand, several gleaming daggers appeared in it.
“An incomplete soul item can absorb a little soulforce, that is what differentiate it from a regular weapon….but for the weapons I upgrade, then as long as the attack power doesn’t reach the minimum required to be a soul item, it will need less soulforce to upgrade. This is a distinguishing point of my Upgrade technique.”
Bai Yunfei glanced at the dagger in his hand, “Attack power of 157. In the eyes of the regular person, this is already a ‘magical weapon’ capable of peeling iron like it’s mud. For a soul cultivator, this is just barely strong enough to use. The incomplete soul items that the house of Jiang are selling has to be from the Crafting School. But even these type of incomplete soul items are nothing more than scrap to be written off in the eyes of the Crafting School….”
“House of Jiang….Jiang Fan? Is he really a man from the Crafting School? He’s a Soul Ancestor and similar in age to brother Hong Yin. Then that means he’s another one of those rare to see talents. I wonder what rank he holds in the Crafting School….”
After living in the Green Willow School for several days, Bai Yunfei had a preliminary understanding of the world of soul cultivators. If there was a guide at hand, the average soul cultivator would need about ten or so years to awaken their soulforce. By the age of thirty, they’d become a Soul Warrior, but becoming in tune with one’s elemental energy was completely different, one had to be strong enough to automatically sense the one essence origin they were best suited for. But even then, there were plenty of people that trained hard for many years and were still incapable of sensing the existence of the elements. Some people were even forever stuck at the Soul Warrior stage for the rest of their lives. However, the average person would be able to become a Soul Sprite in their forties.
After becoming a Soul Sprite, one would be able to absorb the energy of the world and cultivate to strengthen their soulforce even more. After absorbing enough of the elements in the world and circulating their soulforce, one could reach a never ending strengthening effect while also connecting with the one essence element on a deeper level. The stronger a person became, the better the control they would have over their element.
When one became a Soul Sprite, it would take the majority of them to be in their fifties to become a Soul Ancestor whether they practiced in the elemental water or the elemental wind. However, becoming a Soul Exalt was many times harder than becoming a Soul Ancestor and was generally reached when a person was in their eighties to a hundred.
After becoming a Soul Exalt, one wouldn’t be able to use the words ‘the majority’ anymore. The Soul King level was a brand new level that only the exceptional leaders of their generation would be able to reach.
Naturally, this was only the average ‘statistics’. The stronger a soul cultivator became, the more variables and complications that would arise–especially in the future so it was hard to lump everything together. Every day was yet another day that one person might possibly breathe their last breath. Inversely, every day was also another day that another person might come across a treasure or fortunate encounter with a guide that might boost one’s strength. Like a coin toss, fortunate and misfortune were just another ordinary affair of the world.
Qiu Luliu of the Green Willow School became a Soul Sprite in her twenties. As a result, she was known to have a superb amount of talent. Hong Yin on the other hand became a Soul Exalt before his thirties, making him a once in ten thousand unique talent.
Bai Yunfei had been nineteen when he became a Soul Sprite and was thought to be exceptionally talented as well in their eyes. You Qingfeng had even wanted him to join the Wood School and nurture his talent there. But because Bai Yunfei had been adamant on joining the Crafting School, You Qingfeng could only give up his ideas. Bai Yunfei had been afraid to tell them that he had only became a soul cultivator the year before. If he did, Bai Yunfei knew that it would be very hard to explain everything. The Upgrade technique was his greatest secret that absolutely no one could learn about.
But Bai Yunfei had never thought himself to be a ‘genius’. He knew that the only reason why he had became so strong so quickly was all because of the Upgrade technique along with the fireseed spirit mushrooms Hong Yin had given him before. Without those two, he would have never gotten to where he was now. One time, for the sake of measuring his own cultivation rate without using the Upgrade technique, Bai Yunfei cultivated for nearly ten days before realizing that his soulforce had only gone up by a pitiful amount. He was better off using his Upgrade technique to use up his soulforce at once to gain a huge return.
As for Li Chengfeng….Bai Yunfei simply couldn’t understand it at all at first. But it was only now that he had realized that Li Chengfeng’s cultivation rate practically defied the heavens themselves–now that was what it meant to be a ‘genius’!
Jiang Fan and Hong Yin were similar in age, but while a soul cultivator’s strength was determined by their cultivation, they were generally grouped by their age in reality. But Bai Yunfei would wager that Jiang Fan’s position within the Crafting School was undoubtedly a high one.
“It was good that I was able to run away fast enough last night. If I was blocked by him, then I doubt that he’d believe I was a student of the Crafting School. That’d bring some unwanted attention….when the time comes for when I meet him after I join the Crafting School, I’ll have to make sure I thank him properly.”
“Aah? I’ve strayed away from the topic, I need to continue upgrading this….” Bai Yunfei’s unfocused eyes refocused on the dagger in his hand. “Upgrade.” He spoke silently.