At Great Emperor Mingwu's invitation, Master Apothecary Xuanyi, Li Xu, Ye Chen, Little Wingsy, and a group of Earthly Venerable fighters under Master Apothecary Xuanyi's command stayed in a side courtyard of the imperial family. They could no longer stay in Xuan Pavilion for it was too large a target. Great Emperor Mingwu was worried if those from the Three Major Sects returned, he would not be able to rush over in time.If they stayed in the imperial family's side courtyard and carefully kept it a secret, the Three Major Sects would probably find it difficult to track down Master Apothecary Xuanyi, Ye Chen, and the rest.
In the imperial family's side courtyard.
It was a building complex with a perimeter of a few miles, surrounded by a wall. The courtyard was hidden deep within. There were bridges and streams which looked elegant. Master Apothecary Xuanyi's items had been moved here, and Ye Chen, Little Tanuki, and Little Wingsy all had their residences.
In the day, Ye Chen learned Alchemy from Master Apothecary Xuanyi. Ye Chen gave a portion of Liu Xun's poison to Master Apothecary Xuanyi, who was helping him a.n.a.lyze the poison's properties to concoct the corresponding antidote.
In the night, Ye Chen returned to his residence to cultivate, continuing to aim for an even higher level.
Occasionally, for a few days, Ye Chen would follow Great Emperor Mingwu to fish at Lake Nekros. Ye Chen was not able to catch the Purple-gold Divine Fish again. Even so, he caught plenty of Golden-armored Fish and the likes. After these fishes were caught, Master Apothecary Xuanyi refined them into medicinal pills. Each production of pills would be divided into three portions - one for each of them - which was a rich harvest indeed.
In the blink of an eye, more than two months had pa.s.sed. Those from the Three Major Sects did not show up again.
Ye Chen's alchemy had improved considerably. Based on what Master Apothecary Xuanyi had said, Ye Chen's alchemy was on par with a Master Apothecary of Minor Adroitness. After he had pa.s.sed the examination in the Central Empire, he could obtain his Master Apothecary's Nameplate.
Li Xu knew that Ye Chen was advancing rapidly in alchemy and could not describe how he felt. He began to obsessively go into isolated cultivation to learn more about alchemy. As Eldest Senior Brother, he was caught up and surpa.s.sed by Youngest Junior Brother in such a short time. How embarra.s.sing.
Ye Chen's talent was one of a kind. Master Apothecary Xuanyi was gratified that he was able to take on an apprentice like this in his lifetime.
It was night and the sky had slowly turned dark.
Ye Chen was in his residence, sitting cross-legged as he cultivated. In these two months, he had consumed quite a number of Soul-consolidating Pills. Although his cultivation base did not advance by leaps and bounds, it was very much consolidated. If he could just progress by one more step, he would become a mid-Earthly Venerable One. Moreover, his Astral Body had made headway as well. His Astral Body's single attack was close to a mid-Heavenly Venerable fighter.
It was too bad that his Astral Body's actual fighting strength was still a long way from a mid-Heavenly Venerable fighter. The main reason was that his Astral Body was not yet fully solidified and thus, could not withstand intense impacts. If he had exchanged a blow with a mid-Heavenly Venerable fighter, he would not lose by much. Nonetheless, his Astral Body would be shaken and its strength slightly diminished. If the fight went on, he would undoubtedly lose.
Therefore, first of all, Ye Chen had to continue fortifying his Astral Body. There were not many ways to do so. Ye Chen could only consume Soul-ama.s.sing Pills and Soul-consolidating Pills occasionally and absorb their medicinal strength. As his Astral Body grew stronger, Ye Chen could only continue to take these two types of pills.
In the sky, the moon was like a silver plate. The pure moonlight shone down and poured through the window of Ye Chen's room. It felt like a subtle allusion to the line "Bright moonlight before my bed."
Ye Chen opened his eyes. Quiet emotions rushed into his heart. He recalled many people – father, granduncle, and Little Rou. These were the people he cared for in this world.
Ye Chen had incessantly sought after power so that his loved ones could live a better life in this world!
Little Tanuki was silently cultivating on a blanket by Ye Chen's side.
Ye Chen's thoughts were muddled. He knew that his current state of mind was not suitable for cultivation. He stroked the jade pendant at his chest and thought about Little Rou who was far away in the Central Empire. Then, he took out the Black Pearl, the Heavenly Astra Seal, and other items from his armguard. Until today, he still had not studied the functions of these secret treasures.
The moment Ye Chen took out the Heavenly Astra Seal, a dazzling white light flooded the room.
What was going on?
Ye Chen turned pale with shock. Under the illumination of the moonlight, the Heavenly Astra Seal was like a resplendent, luminous pearl, shining with a blinding, milky white glow.
"Did the moonlight activate the Heavenly Astra Seal?"
Ye Chen's Astral Body seemed to sense terrifying energy and shuddered deep within.
"Huh? What's this thing that's within the Heavenly Astra Seal?" Ye Chen pondered in alarm. With a low cry, he released his Astral Body to its fullest to fight against this thing.
"Squeak squeak." Little Tanuki opened its eyes. The dazzling light was so piercing that nothing could be seen. It did not know what had happened and released its Astral Body along with Ye Chen's.
Just as Ye Chen unleashed his Astral Body, the Heavenly Astra Seal radiated with an even more dazzling light. This white light was full of mysterious runic seals that had encased Ye Chen and Little Tanuki. Suddenly, Ye Chen and Little Tanuki vanished along with the Heavenly Astra Seal.
Ye Chen felt that his body seemed to have pa.s.sed through a thin membrane, entering another place.
When Ye Chen opened his eyes, he instantly saw a huge, frightening beast opening its wide, b.l.o.o.d.y mouth and lunging toward him with a roar.
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This was a gigantic mystical beast that was over ten meters tall. It somewhat resembled a lion, but its body was covered in dark gray scales and a single, sharp horn protruded from its head. Its chest was dotted with specks of light that looked like bright constellations. Its four paws and tail were burning with fierce magenta flames.
Ye Chen wondered if his Astral Body was able to make this beast yield. This one-horned mystical beast's level must be too high! Even his Astral Body was unable to discern the true might of this one-horned mystical beast!
"Squeak squeak." Little Tanuki cried out a few times.
"Little Tanuki, you're saying that this one-horned mystical beast's strength is so formidable that it surpa.s.ses Little Wingsy?" Ye Chen looked up in amazement toward that one-horned mystical beast that was over ten meters tall. Although its body was not as ma.s.sive as Little Wingsy's original form, in most cases, the strength of a mystical beast was not measured based on its build.
It would be immensely difficult to tame this one-horned mystical beast in the Heavenly Astra Seal. The question now was, how should they get back outside?
Ye Chen tried various methods using his Astral Body to scan the entire s.p.a.ce. Nonetheless, this s.p.a.ce was sealed shut. There was no way out. What should they do?
"Little Tanuki, how should we get out?" Ye Chen frowned as he asked. Surely, they would not end up like this one-horned mystical beast and be trapped here, right?
Just as Ye Chen was pondering, Little Tanuki suddenly jumped up and bit him on the finger, then leaped down again.
Ye Chen endured the pain. A drop of blood slid from his finger, fell onto the floor, and immediately disappeared. Wisps of red halo diffused in all directions.
This magnificent red light was like red clouds in the sky, causing Ye Chen to be momentarily stunned. He felt himself forming a subtle connection with the Heavenly Astra Seal. The pattern of the formation was like his own blood vessels.
The one-horned mystical beast looked up at the surrounding changes and softly whimpered and howled, growling from time to time.
After a moment, there was an additional purple runic seal on Ye Chen's left palm. A ma.s.s of flames was ill.u.s.trated in the circle and it looked like a tattoo.
"Puny human, you can't possibly subdue me. The Heavenly Astra Hidden Magic Seal can only trap me for twenty years more. After twenty years, I'll break out of the Heavenly Astra Hidden Magic Seal. At that point, I'll surely eat you!" A thunderous voice suddenly a.s.sailed Ye Chen's mind.
Ye Chen covered his ears and yelled in agony. This voice was too overpowering as if it was about to shatter his eardrums. It was like countless sharp steel needles were poking into his brain.
 This refers to the first line of a well-known Chinese poem, "Quiet Night Thought" by Tang dynasty poet, Li Bai.
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