Nine Astra Skies

Mad Snail

31 Gale Storm Talon

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Lying opposite of Ye Chen was Yun Laoliu, who was in an even more dire state than the young man was. The man was spitting out blood from his own mouth, and even his Celestial Chi was escaping from his battered body. Then, when every strength had left his body and he could no longer hold on to his life, Yun Laoliu's head finally fell onto the earth with a heavy slam. 

If it wasn't for his Explosive Seed, Ye Chen was sure that he could not have possibly stood as a significant challenger to the Eighth Stage fighter. Now, the young scion could only imagine how the poor man cursed his luck before he died. Imagine his humiliation to have died in the hands of a Sixth Stage "brat"!

Ye Chen quickly revolved his Celestial Chi to suppress his own injuries. With so much commotion made from the fight, he was sure he had already attracted someone's attention. Regardless of who that might be, he had to leave the scene soon!

Before returning home, of course, Ye Chen remembered to purloin a few of the enemies' belongings as his personal reward. He could not help but smile as he left. 

It took only a few minutes before the clansmen from the House of Yun appeared at the former battlefield. They had raced towards the source of the commotion as soon as they heard them, but neither of them had expected to be greeted by the ravaged corpses of Yun Laoliu, Ye Moyang and the rest. A state of sheer shock seized them before anger took over. 'Could this be the work of Ye Zhantian or Ye Changxuan?' they thought. 

The wounds found on Yun Laoliu's battered body seemed to confirm their conjecture — it must have been a Ninth Stage master. 

 After shots of meaningful glances were exchanged among themselves, they lifted the corpses up and raced back to Yun Castle.

All of that occurred when Ye Chen had finally vaulted over the walls of Ye Castle and safely returned to his quarters.

He started to check out the items pillaged from his enemies, but to his dismay, Yun Laoliu and Ye Moyang appeared to be bereft of any materialistic holding. Though among the pitiful amount of Chi-ama.s.sing pills pilfered, Ye Chen did manage to find a treatise detailing the discourse of the Shadow Storm Talon technique.

'Shadow Storm… Talon?'

Ye Chen frowned. Shadow Storm Talon was one of the best of all Ye family martial arts, second to the Primordial Thunder Body with its main hook being how ultimately fatal every strike a Shadow Storm Talon would always be. However, practicing it also comes with a drastic cost — every pract.i.tioner would inevitably become increasingly violent the more they practice it. With that being said, it would be best not to learn this technique. 

Yet, despite his justified misgivings, Ye Chen could not help but flip through the book a little just to sate his curiosity. He convinced himself that he might be able to obtain some general insights in martial art cultivation from it.

All it took was a brief browse for Ye Chen to finally understand the underlying cause of the renowned uncontainable anger in every pract.i.tioner of Shadow Storm Talon. It seemed that one of the technique features was to revolve one's Celestial Chi through the Taiyang meridian channel, before completely forcing that Celestial Chi current to course antagonistically to the direction of a normal circulation. It would be no surprise that after a prolonged time of practice, the pract.i.tioner would soon find themselves perpetually high-strung and embittered. It was less surprising that all of its pract.i.tioners would eventually and slowly suffer damages to their own internal organs due to this counterintuitive method.

In other words, all Ye Chen had to do to neutralize the bane of this technique was to emend some parts in its cultivation method! 

It would be a beneficial move because, with this revision, the potency of Shadow Storm Talon would sure rise several leagues higher. It would be an effective stopgap should one found themselves in desperate situations.

After the revision, which Ye Chen then tested through his own Celestial Chi, the center of Ye Chen's palm slowly emitted a golden-yellow ball of light as the low rumbles of thunder whispered.

By now, this revised version of Shadow Storm Talon was not it's original anymore. In fact, it had risen up in ranks and one could even say that it was a technique that was Third tier or above.

Ye Chen then proceeded to revolve his Celestial Chi according to Wind Grace Technique and somehow, the execution of Shadow Storm Talon became increasingly nimble. At this point, the technique was at least mid-Fourth Tier, which was even more advanced than the Primordial Thunder Body Technique itself. 

'Shadow Storm Talon? More like Gale Storm Talon from now on!' Ye Chen thought.

Another thought came into his head. 'I wonder if I could incorporate elements of Ice Mystic Technique into this one day.'

Ye Chen was so engaged in the rapture of revising this particular martial technique that by the time he had checked himself, he was shocked to see that he had somehow fully mastered the Gale Storm Talon on top of giving it a drastic modify! Normally, a technique as advanced as the Shadow Storm Talon would require at least a good three or four years to fully master it. This would be the case even for the most naturally gifted martial art prodigies in the family. For the non-gifted pract.i.tioners, they may even require ten odd years, or even decades just to learn the basics. 

If learning an established technique was already a challenge, what more could be said of modifying martial arts? That was an even more advanced undertaking, something that required an immensely high level of skills than any other kinds of martial arts endeavors. As an ill.u.s.tration, the Ye clan's migrated — and ultimately settled down — to Donglin County about five or six hundred years ago. Yet, throughout this extensive history, only a handful of the members had ever managed to create a martial technique, let alone modify an existing one.

His own speed of mastering a technique, as well as his martial arts, bewildered Ye Chen himself. Could this be another example of the enigmatic Nine Astra Skies' power?

Ye Chen decided to return the book back to his father, but not before he made some marks over the erratic sections in the Shadow Storm Talon Discourse. However, he wasn't planning to teach anyone Gale Storm Talon since no one in the family had trained with Wind Grace Technique.

Suddenly, Little Tanuki, who had been standing quietly on a side, let out a squeak.

Ye Chen then looked down to catch Little Tanuki's crystal clear eyes staring deep into him. It might have even been doing this for a long while by now.

"Sorry, were you looking for this?" Ye Chen asked upon noticing that the creature's eyes were staring directly at the Heaven-Earth Pouch tied to his waist. Apologetically, he took the pouch down and handed it to the tanuki. 

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Together with some strange treatises on powerful techniques and cultivation systems, this pouch would have had great material wealth. However, it still belonged to the tanuki clan and hence, these things were Little Tanuki's birthright; Ye Chen had no right to h.o.a.rd them.

In fact, should any member of the Ye family became an Apothecary, their status would easily skyrocket to a whole new prestige within the County!

Ye Chen was quick to explore the prospects of this profession. First, to him personally, pill cultivation did not seem like a very difficult thing to do in the first place. In fact, just by browsing through the book, it had allowed Ye Chen to remember every part of the generic procedure clearly enough.

Secondly, in term of talents, Ye Chen was confident that his in controlling Celestial Chi should be up to par. The only conceivable hurdle would be the last requirement, which was the demand for Fire-styled Celestial Chi natural. As he had yet trained himself with the Fire-styled cultivation system recorded in Nine Astra Skies, he was not sure if he had any potential in it.

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Then, he turned his attention to the pills in the Heaven-Earth Pouch as he wondered about the ident.i.ty of the two maroon pills among them. With a quick look-up in the book, he was informed that those were Marrow Absolution Pills by the fifth page of the treatise. In it, the pill was described to be maroon in color, as large as a pigeon's egg, and made from thirty-two types of advanced herbs. 

Unless they had pa.s.sed the Seventh Stage prior to that, most martial art pract.i.tioners would inadvertently suffer from meridian channels stasis after they had reached the age of eighteen; that was to sole reason to the unwitting stagnating of their cultivation. However, by ingesting a single Marrow Absolution Pill, one's meridian channels would immediately rejuvenate as well as improve such that their meridian chi could return to the state that they were in when the pract.i.tioner was thirteen or fourteen-years-old.

'So this is the legendary Marrow Absolution Pill, the pill that only big clan could ever afford to own?'

Ye Chen was taken aback by this realization. He was, of course, cognizant of the value of a single Marrow Absolution Pill. It was worth even more than a Nexus Pill, and most importantly, it could only be made by a Master Apothecary!

A Nexus Pill may be able to save someone from being crippled forever, but even then, the person may still suffer from a complete reset of their Celestial Chi stage. A Marrow Absolution Pill, on the other hand, could create a savant out from an average person in a family! 

Ye Chen immediately thought of his two elder brothers, Ye Mu and Ye Peng. They were both beyond eighteen when their meridian channels had undergone stasis. With the aid of Marrow Absolution Pills, they would be given a second chance in the life of cultivation! 

Reminiscing the brotherly solidarity between himself and his brothers, Ye Chen was more than happy that he could finally repay their kindness with something equivalent of worth.

Anyway, as anyone who wants to be a Master Apothecary would first have to master a Fire-Styled cultivation system. So, Ye Chen decided to place 'The Grand Supreme Way of Alchemy' aside for the moment. 

Now, his attention was rested on the last book of the heap —'Palms Puncturing the Cosmos'.

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