Under the eyes of Zi Jin and everyone else, Bai Yunfei swallowed the red pill before then stuffing a jade-green piece of leaf into his mouth.
As soon as the pill entered his stomach, Bai Yunfei felt as if a fireball had dropped down his throat. From his tongue to his stomach, his entire body felt as if it was being burned alive.
So excruciating was the pain that Bai Yunfei couldn’t help but let out a slight grunt. His entire body was wet with sweat, but even that was unable to help with the burning sensation he was feeling. The leaf that was in his mouth was meant to reduce the heating effect, so when it entered his stomach after the pill, the pain noticeably lessened despite the flame growing larger.
“Whew…” He hissed. A white stream of vapor exuded forth from his mouth. Closing his eyes and pursing his lips, Bai Yunfei started to try and guide the burning elemental fire in his body around like Zi Jin instructed.
From far away, Zi Jin nodded his head in approval at Bai Yunfei’s actions. Waving his right hand, four beams of elemental fire shot forth and embedded themselves into the four superior-grade fire primal stones around Bai Yunfei.
A shockwave of sound kicked up all of the dust around Bai Yunfei as the fire primal stones started to shine. The grooves in the ground started to glow from the energy traveling through them, and soon enough, the entire formation was lit up.
The Flame Gathering Formation was now activated.
An immeasurable amount of elemental fire began to gather in the formation. There was an invisible line that contained the flames in a dome-shaped figure above Bai Yunfei.
Bai Yunfei could barely feel the elemental fire around him grow thicker and richer. It almost felt as if he had been submerged in water, but if he were to try and open his mouth, all he’d take in would be elemental fire.
The pill he had eaten helped him take in the elemental fire while the Flame Gathering Formation gathered elemental fire for him to take in. With the added help from both, Bai Yunfei’s attempt to absorb the elemental fire was far easier than before. Ecstatic, Bai Yunfei quickly tried his best to absorb it into his skin and blood vessels.
Bai Yunfei needed to absorb enough elemental fire to return to that initial state of carefreeness he had before, but after ten minutes of trying, the pill had been fully digested. Stuffing an ear of red wheat into his mouth, Bai Yunfei felt sad—if only the art of alchemy was still alive. If he had one of the pills made from such a mystical art, he wouldn’t have to struggle like he was a cow chewing grass.
It was only just a hope. If he could make himself stronger by chewing grass like this, then chew grass he would.
As time went on, the pile of medicine Bai Yunfei had in front of him grew smaller and smaller. In the end, all of it had been completely used up. Bai Yunfei continued to try his best to absorb the elemental fire even as he complained about the taste of the medicine. What he didn’t know was that the worth and importance of each of these medicines would’ve been enough to drive the average soul cultivator mad with want.
The more elemental fire in his body, the more excited Bai Yunfei felt. As long as he could absorb just a little more, he’d be able to form a new essence fireseed.
The most optimal time for this to be done was arriving when the first obstacle came crashing into him. All of the medicines he had eaten were starting to overwhelm him with their side-effects. Even though Zi Jin had warned Bai Yunfei to be careful, he was still caught off guard by the knife-peeling sensation that was happening all over his body.
He wanted to scream, but somehow, the howls of pain died in his throat. To do so here and now would be to fail this attempt of absorbing elemental fire.
A section of elemental fire had been lost to him, but it was only a small fraction. Gnashing his teeth in pain, Bai Yunfei used his soulforce to act as a ‘guide’ for the elemental fire, directing it through his body rather than let it go rampant.
“I can’t keep on going… but I have to form the essence fireseed!” Having kept track of his soulforce, Bai Yunfei knew that he couldn’t continue for much longer. Grunting, both of his hands formed a hand seal in front of him. This was the ‘orthodox’ hand seal Zi Jin had taught him to do when forming the essence fireseed. With this hand seal, the elemental fire would be able to make a successful loop and increase the chance of forming an essence fireseed.
The elemental fire within his body started to turn to the center of his body and compress in on itself in the acupoint, the place where the essence fireseed would form.
Saying that the essence fireseed was nothing more than a mass of elemental fire compressed to its limits would be an oversimplification of the matter. The acupoint, where the essence fireseed was being formed, would force the elemental fire to undergo countless cycles of refinement before becoming an essence fireseed.
Even if someone didn’t know the normal method of guiding elemental fire through their body, any late-stage Soul Warrior could still form an essence fireseed by intuition.
Bai Yunfei had done the same when he has become a Soul Sprite.
The situation Bai Yunfei was in today was quite different; it required complete control over the entirety of the elemental fire around him for it to succeed. Since his advancement to the Soul Sprite realm had been unique, Bai Yunfei didn’t exactly ‘experience’ forming an essence fireseed.
That being said, this situation would be extremely trying for him.
As the elemental fire started to gather together, the surrounding elemental fire started to react to the new presence as well. A brilliant flash of red light was formed as a small disk-sized fire appeared in front of Bai Yunfei’s chest. Elemental fire drew in close as if being summoned by a need to be absorbed into him.
Zi Jin’s eyes lit up with excitement. His right hand flew up as yet another burst of elemental fire shot into the Flame Gathering Formation. The countless primal stones started to flash even faster now as the elemental fire in the area grew thicker.
The people behind Zi Jin concentrated heavily on Bai Yunfei, all of them wore expectant looks.
“Yunfei, you have to succeed. You can’t let things go wrong…” Tang Xinyun bit her lower lip. Both of her hands were clenching her robes as she looked on in worry and concern.
The pain that was stabbing at Bai Yunfei’s heart was almost enough to make him faint. His hands were visibly trembling, but he didn’t dare move. He was at a critical part of compressing the elemental fire; he just needed a little more before the essence fireseed would be formed.
It was only just a small distance to cross, but the step needed to cross it may as well have been the step needed to ascend the heavens.
A fierce pain stabbed into his heart.
His grunt had only taken a moment to form, but it took long enough that his concentration was slightly interrupted, causing the almost formed essence fireseed to start unraveling!!
“Bang!” Like a chain reaction, the fire around the outermost parts of his body started to dissipate as well. Almost as if the fuse to a bomb had been lit, the elemental fire around him started to ignite!
With all of the elemental fire starting to dissipate and ignite, Bai Yunfei felt the color in his face bleed away.
Following that, a mouthful of blood sprayed out from his mouth before immediately being evaporated from the heat.
Zi Jin’s face fell. He prepared to charge in to save Bai Yunfei; the signs that were showing up all pointed to a failed attempt at forming an essence fireseed.
“Master, don’t come in!!”
Bai Yunfei’s voice called out from within the fire. “I… I can still do it! Let me try again!!”
Zi Jin had only taken half a step. He hesitated for two seconds, but his decision was made.
He fell back.
Biting the tip of his tongue to snap himself out of his pain, Bai Yunfei sucked in a deep breath of air. Following the flow of soulforce, he began to realign the elemental fire in him and renew the process to gather and compress it. The fire that was around him started to flicker slightly before moving back into his body.
Beadlets of sweat dripped down his face before evaporating into the fire. The intense elemental fire was beginning to compress within the acupoints responsible for reforming the essence fireseed.
The flames fell apart again.
This was the third failure. The third time Bai Yunfei had spat out a mouthful of blood.
With bloodshot eyes, Bai Yunfei stared at the ring of fire around him; though he was in pain, his eyes remained as determined as ever.
There was no hesitation as he began the fourth attempt. All of the sweat that had been on his face was gone, but the tiniest of cracks could be seen now.
When the essence fireseed was about the size of a quail’s egg…
“This is it… the final push!!”
He bit his lower lip. The Violet Soul Ring on his right hand started to glow as the stockpiled two-thousand soulforce began to enter his body.
Refueled, Bai Yunfei started to use this new source of soulforce to compress the elemental fire with all he had!!