AST 0117 – The State of Xiantian
Even before Qing Shui had studied all the information in his sea of consciousness, he was rudely awakened by Qing Bei. “Shui gege, it’s so boring, say something.”
Qing Shui gazed at the pouting Qing Bei, “What do you want me to say? Why don’t you talk, and I listen!”
“No way, I want to hear you talking.” Qing Bei started on her random antics which caused Qing Shui to be helpless.
“Fine, what do you want me to talk about? I don’t know what to say, why don’t you say what you want to hear me talk about?” Qing Shui felt like teasing her, upon seeing the adorable face of Qing Bei.
“Shui gege, a lot of people are spreading rumors about you and the big missy from the Shi Clan, that both of you have an extremely close relationship. Is this true?” Qing Bei blinked her innocent looking eyes as she asked.
“Extremely close relationship?” Qing Shui awkwardly laughed. Qing Shui knew that before the incident with Gongyang Xuantong, people were calling them an adulterous couple. After all, for those people, grapes that couldn’t be eaten by themselves, were sour. 
Not only that, after all, these were rumors, but even if it was a rumour, it engendered jealousy in many people, and even hatred. However, after that incident involving Gongyang Xuantong, nobody dared to even discuss this in public.
“If you believe so then it’s true, if you don’t believe it, then it never happened!” Qing Shui extended his hand as he gently rubbed Qing Bei’s head.
“Shui gege, you are not allowed to rub my head in the future. I’m already a grown up.” Qing Bei objected.
Time passed leisurely by leisurely just like this…
After exiting the Wild Boar Mountains, the skies had already darkened. The moon today was about 70% full, and the beautiful moonlight that cascaded down on the ground had a gentle beauty and softness to it, like muslin cloth.
“It’s night time, let us set camp here and rest. We should let the metallic bull take a break as well.” Qing Yi spoke to the two drivers as well as the rest of them.
“I’m going to go hunt some wild beasts, I’m tired of only eating dried rations!” Qing Shui exclaimed while they were setting up the tents.
“Alright, be careful, and don’t go too far!” Qing Yi reminded.
“Right, I know, no problem!”
Qing Shui discovered that in the distance, there was a forested region. Beside it, there was another desolate looking mountain valley. On the path there, they were no more towering peaks and gigantic mountains – instead, there were an unending number of hills, that linked together continually.
Although it was nighttime, there should still be plenty of beasts prowling around! After he broke through to the 4th heavenly layer, he could feel a boundless amount of strength circulating around his body. Every time he took a step, he could control his momentum, landing 1m to 10m away. The energy from the Ancient Strengthening Technique infused his whole body, and the most important thing was the state of his martial heart! This was the benefit of power, as long as a cultivator grew in power, their confidence would likewise increase, tempering the state of their heart!
This valley, was extremely tiny in size, after breaking through to the 4th heavenly layer, Qing Shui was able to see at night as clearly as day. The whole valley was cloaked in silence, with only the chatter of little rodents to be heard.
Maybe because the valley was small, the creatures that came out at night, were all small-sized.
After breaking through, aside from his speed being increased by twofold, his strength, the toughness of his body, his senses, his ability to withstand pressure, recovery rate as well as vitality, had all increased by a factor of 10 times!
The 4th Heavenly Layer, the energy of Ancient Strengthening Technique, will circulate forever, and would never run dry unless the consumption rate of it was astronomically high. For example, compared to when he was concocting the Golden Sore Ointment, currently, he could sustain the primordial flame needed, throughout the whole process.
Currently, Qing Shui held two stones in his hands. Ever since the incident with the Golden Boar, Qing Shui purposely made sure that he had a ready supply of ‘willow-shaped’ stones, where both sides of the stones were jagged with sharp edges. Even if these stones weren’t able to break through the defenses of the Golden Boar, Qing Shui could still aim the stones at it’s eyes.
As he slowly ambled forwards, he was paying attention closely to his surroundings.
Abruptly, with a flick of his wrist!
“Xiu! Ci! Pu!”
Simultaneously, three sounds rang out together. From this, one could see how fast the speed was. Calmly and unhurriedly, Qing Shui slowly strolled his way for about 100m, before stopping by a hole in the trunk of a gigantic tree.
Behind the tree was the carcass of a one-horned goat, and in its head was a hole similar to the size that of the hole in the tree, leaking out fresh blood.
Heaving the carcass on his back, Qing Shui estimated that its weight should be around 40 jin. This should be sufficient for dinner.
When he returned, the tents were already set up. Setting up a fire would be able to keep them warm at night, but there was no need for it during summer nights. Other than being able to warn away wild beasts, the fire could also be used as a method of cooking instead.
As there were no other condiments available, Qing Shui could only wash the carcass with clean water after he removed the bones and entrails from it, and handed the remains to Qing Yi and the two drivers. Actually, every time Qing Yi needed to travel, she would look for these two drivers. The two of them were blood brothers, and had no other hobbies other than going back and forth through the big cities. Thus, the two of them hired themselves out as drivers for merchants. Not only could they enjoy their hobby, but they would also earn some gold in order to survive.
Usually for those that travel a lot, they would usually be proficient in the art of cooking, and could even be considered an expert. After all, aside from dried rations, they had to eat whatever they could hunt in the wild.
The few of them gathered around the bonfire as they ate the roasted meat. Although the taste could not be compared to the black fish and turtles, but considering their situation, it was already considered pretty good!
After entering their tents, Qing Shui speedily entered his Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. After all, cultivation was still the most important. In this cultivation-oriented world, an individual’s own power was still the most important thing after all.
“The state of the 4th Heavenly Layer should roughly be equivalent to the Xiantian level. Not only that, but my current state should have even exceeded the first three levels of Xiantian.” Qing Shui silently did a comparison.
Qing Shui extended his right hand out, as instantly, a ½ inch ball of greyish flame embers appeared on his palm. The hue of the grey, somewhat sparkled and was translucent. He had never thought that the color grey would be so beautiful to behold before. The intensity of heat that it unleashed was capable of even burning the atmosphere. Were it not for the strength of Qing Shui’s body, his palm would be burnt to a crisp as well.
“In the future, this could be a new attack technique. A pity that it’s size is only ½ inch. But still, it should be sufficient!” Qing Shui pondered.
Even though the power of his primordial flames were not omnipotent, the power it currently possessed was already extremely terrifying!
Qing Shui slowly controlled the primordial flames. The intensity of the flames got smaller and smaller, while the size of the ember also increasingly shrunk. This did not mean that the primordial flames had gotten weaker. On the contrary, the power within it was even stronger than before! Compacting the essence of the flames, the temperature within interior core of the flames were even more terrifying compared to before.
The most obvious indicator of a Xiantian, was the Xiantian Qi which they would be able to manifest.
Activating his Ancient Strengthening Technique, the energy of the Ancient Strengthening Technique gushed through his enlarged energy channels and meridians, frenziedly circulating one cycle of circulated Qi, two cycles… all the way to the 49th cycle.
As Qing Shui ferociously struck out, his fist emanated an inch thick, earthen-yellow Qi which was coated on the surface of his fist. Slowly extending his other hand, Qing Shui began to touch the surface of the Qi.
Qing Shui was very certain that Xiantian Qi was supposed to be white in color. In addition to that, Xiantian Qi had tremendous killing power hidden within. Even for those who had just stepped into the Xiantian Realm, they would be able to produce a half foot length of Xiantian Qi. But, why was it that the Qi he exuded, was only an inch in length? Not only that, but it was earthen-yellow in color, and did not possess any killing power within it. Instead, the earthen-yellow Qi gave off an extremely heavy and solid feeling.
During a battle of Xiantian cultivators, Xiantian Qi was something that would surely be used. If the Xiantian Cultivators were both of the same level, the victor who usually be the one whose defense is the strongest. In this case, defensive armors, and accessories were extremely valuable, akin to precious treasures.
Qing Shui in the meantime, was getting more proficient in his Free Spirit Steps, Iaido Technique, and Drop Sword. He had a feeling that mastering these techniques would be able to grant him a power that was capable of allowing him be in arrogant.
Speed is also power, the twofold increase in speed allowed him to synergize even better. When he combined both his newly attained strength and speed when executing the Solitary Rapid Fists, it achieved a result more than the total sum of it’s parts.
“Haha, I’m finally at the Xiantian level!” Qing Shui smiled, as he regarded the changes in his body. The strengthening of his fleshy body, his senses, his recovery rate, his ability to withstand pressure, as well as his vitality.
Vitality equates to his life force, Qing Shui could feel that his lifespan had lengthened by many times compared to before.
“Hmm, I’ve gained roughly 500 years of life force.”
He had finally achieved the dreams of many: to reach Xiantian. Not only that, but he was still so young. The promise he had made to Qing Yi to trample upon the Yan Clan in 5 years, was closer to fruition by another step now.
“I’ve got plenty of time. After I reach the peak of the 4th heavenly layer, my power will rise up by another grade. Oh I forgot, I still have not looked through all the information gained when I broke through previously.” Qing Shui felt incomparably joyful now. Xiantian, he had really reached Xiantian!
The way of life started with the strengthening of body, emphasizing on the nursing of spirit, eventually combining the material form and the internal spirit, providing support to each other. Protecting the spirit would protect the body, and when the body is protected, so is the spirit.
To nurture the spirit: manage stress, enjoying hobbies, as well as uphold moral character, etc.
To nurture the Qi: through exercise, and breathing techniques.
To nurture the body: tempering and refining flesh, through medical means and martial techniques.
“Huh, Nine Animal Mimicry Technique?” Qing Shui was filled with bewilderment, as he continued looking through the rest of the information.
“I thought it was known as the Five Animal Mimicry Technique that was used for exercise? Why did it become the Nine Animal Mimicry Technique?!”
 Chinese idiom meaning jealousy
 The Five Animal Mimicry Technique was an actual technique devised by a real-life legendary chinese doctor named Hua Tuo back in the warring periods. He wrote his life teaching into books, but somehow or other, only one of his book survived the burning, and within it, was the Five Animal Mimicry Technique which emulates movements of Five types of animals to keep the body young, strong, fit and healthy.