Chapter 111: Refining Bone Marrow
As blood filled the tunnels, fewer and fewer beasts made their way towards the stone chamber which Hui Yue had claimed as their own. Even the original owner seemed to have decided to flee rather than trying its luck with attacking the youngsters.
As soon as the influx of magical beasts stopped, Hui Yue gave the order to his friends that all the blood from earlier be removed, not allowing for any evidence to be left behind. He had no idea how long it would take the Dragon Corps to arrive, but when they did, everything had to look a ordinary as usual.
The first few days went by in peace. The meat was getting smoked while Hui Yue spent some time on analysing the phenomena of the caves from within his dantian Qi cave.
The red mist had grown by a noticeable amount and it was roiling as if it was filled with anger, locked up within the cave in which it usually resided.
Next to it was the blue cloud which also seemed to have grown in size, yet unlike the constantly turbulent and frenzied red mist, the blue cloud of tranquillity was calm and composed, staying still within its designated cave.
The green pearl was slowly rotating, and with each swirl Qi from within the Qi cave slowly flowed into the pearl, which was then refined into whatever kind of energy the green pearl was made of.
Observing the pearl, Hui Yue furrowed his brow and started various experiments. Some of them were where he intentionally injured himself by cutting, others were injuries inflicted by his friends, when he asked, and finally some of the tests were while he was sparring and got wounded in battle.
No matter which experiments Hui Yue underwent he found that the pearl would sometimes start healing him and yet other times completely ignore the wounds. It seemed as if it was completely random as to whether or not the green pearl activated.
Trying his very best to understand the pearl, Hui Yue was frustrated beyond words as soon as he realised that the result of the pearl was different from time to time. That even if the same wound was inflicted it might or might not be healed. This uncertainty drove Hui Yue crazy.
Eventually he had no other option than to give up his endeavour. Grumbling he closed his eyes and sat down in a meditative position, after which he submerged himself in cultivating more spiritual energy. He did all this while waiting for the rest of the meat to smoke.
One day after another quickly went by within the stone chamber. Hui Yue and his friends used the time to stabilize their cultivation bases and since the chamber was rather large, they also used it for sparring.
Each day two of them would go out to hunt food, which consisted of different magical beasts, while the other two would stay back and guard their new home.
The first thing Hui Yue requested Deng Wu to create was an inscription. that would inform Hui Yue whenever the gateway leading into Cave’s End opened, so that they were aware of the movements of the Dragon Corps. A few times per day, Hui Yue and Sha Yun would also merge with the earth, scanning the surroundings, to see whether or not they were lucky enough to notice the Dragon Corps.
So far nothing had been found and after a week of multiple sparring matches, hunting down magical beasts, and merging with the earth, Hui Yue finally felt that his cultivation base had steadied itself enough, become much more stable than it had been before. A satisfied smile appeared on Hui Yue’s mouth as he finally opened his eyes which were shining in pleasure.
Although he had not increased his rank, he could feel how his strength had grown tremendously from being stabilized. His cultivation base was no longer something to be trifled with and this excitement caused waves to crash upon the shore of his spiritual energy sea. The five flames in the middle of the sea were all growing in size, this sight alone filled Hui Yue with happiness.
Opening his eyes, Hui Yue withdrew a storage stone from within another storage stone and emptied the contents onto the floor in front of him. A mountain of magical beast bones appeared in front of him, swiftly the now empty storage stone once more got deposited into the stone embedded in his belt. Hui Yue drew out yet another stone from which he withdrew jade bottles and parchment.
Sitting down with crossed legs, Hui Yue took a few deep breaths before he picked up a bone from a magical beast and thoroughly observed it.
It was the hind leg of one of the wolves they had slain earlier when they first entered the tunnels and although it was not of one of the strongest wolves, it was still a bone of remarkable size.
Closing his eyes, Hui Yue’s mental projection traveled to the spiritual energy sea where it summoned the silver coloured flame, before he allowed for it to fill his entire body. Its energy flowed through his meridians and entered his veins.
Metal was the one element which Hui Yue still had not taken the time to truly understand and increase his affinity with. However now that they were stuck within the boring tunnels, he figured that it would be the perfect time to try it out. He could not help but feel excitement as he was seated with the wolf’s hind leg bone in his hands.
At first he removed all the marrow from the bone and placed it in a bowl after which he produced a silver flame. The silver flame was contained between his two palms, but unlike the fire flame he usually created, this one had no heat radiating from it, instead a chilling air seemed to radiate outward from Hui Yue.
This flame created a few tongues of silver fire which dug into the bowl in his lap where it swallowed up the marrow and brought it into the middle of the flame.
At first Hui Yue expected the flame would do all the work on its own, however he quickly noticed that the flame instead started to subtract energy from the marrow. It then feed itself the energy from within the bone marrow, rather than encasing it, making none of it remain for Hui Yue to refine it for later uses.
Sending his will into the flame, Hui Yue noticed that although the flame was under his control it kept struggling against his will as if the flame hungered for the energy hidden in the marrow.
Gritting his teeth, Hui Yue refused to give in. Instead he focused his intent and threw yet another portion of will into the flame, this time much more demanding than the one before. By constantly keeping his attention on the flame, Hui Yue finally subdued the flame However he knew that he could in no way relax his grip on the flame, or it would end up devouring the energy which he wanted to refine.
The bone marrow no longer had the same structure as it did previously, instead it was now a red and thick liquid which constantly seemed to diminish in size, but darken in colour.
Its previously meaty look was now turned into a glistening drop of shining red energy and after ensuring that it could no longer be refined anymore only then did Hui Yue place his first refined energy within a jade bottle.
The jade bottle was quickly closed before Hui Yue heaved a heavy sigh of relief. Looking at the small drop of energy he had refined, Hui Yue quickly understood that more than half of the energy within the bone marrow had been consumed. It was used up by feeding the metal flame before he had managed to take control of the flame.
Energy was like fuel to the fire, and it provided the elemental flame with increased strength and tenacity. However, it had no lasting effects on the flame and the energy was therefore wasted.
Even though Hui Yue wasted some of the energy he was more than pleased with the final result considering that this was his very first attempt. The fact that he had refined even one drop of energy thrilled him.
Looking at the bone in front of him, Hui Yue contemplated the benefits of starting to refine the bones, or if he should finish all refining the bone marrow. After having thought about it for some time, Hui Yue picked up another bone and scraped out the bone marrow, getting ready to once more refine. His hope was to gain at least double the amount of energy he had gotten during his previous attempt.
Hui Yue decided not to start refining the bones until he finished all the marrow, as he knew that bones were even harder to refine. This was because they contained much more energy. The reason he kept refining the marrow was because bones were not refined the same way and he would rather repeat an action then switch between two different methods of refinement.
Hour after hour went by and as the day came to an end, Hui Yue had already gone through half of the bone marrow he had managed to store after the fight.
As the evening turned into night, Hui Yue was still refining bone marrow and he showed no intention of stopping anytime soon. As always, when the young man got his attention drawn to something, it was impossible for him to stop before he had finished his goal.
Hui Yue had long since perfected the method used to refine bone marrow. His mind was now saying the incantation needed to keep the metal flame under control by reflex, yet he still showed no signs of quitting.
The world within the tunnels was one long night. No sun was shining nor were there any other sources of light, only the light stones which Hui Yue and Wang Ju Long had brought with them Although the darkness was constant, it truly made no difference and all of them did nothing but pay attention to Hui Yue and his obsession with refining.
At first he filled up one jade bottle with pure bone marrow energy, but soon one bottle turned into to five. Then the five bottles turned into ten, and now twenty-three bottles were seated next to him.
The energy from the bone marrow was perfect to use for writing inscriptions and there was definitely enough here to allow for Hui Yue to practice inscriptions for a very long time.
After all the hours Hui Yue spent refining it should long since have been morning, but the underground world was the same as usual Hui Yue felt nothing other than excitement, as he looked at the twenty-seven jade bottles by his side, all filled to the brim with bone marrow energy.
This energy was the essence of the beast. Just like there was essence of the heavens and the earth, each living thing had an essence of their own and this essence could only be found in the very core of their being. For most living creatures this was the bone marrow of their bodies.
Hui Yue, who had now perfected one kind of refinement, spent some time to contemplate his next moves. Although he was incredibly excited about starting to make inscriptions, he also knew that a mountain of broken bones were placed next to him and these bones contained another form for energy and essence. Something which he also could use for his inscriptions.
With a sigh, and a longing glance at the bone marrow jade bottles, Hui Yue quickly stored them all within a storage stone. He then turned his entire attention towards the pile of broken bones and his expression once again turned serious as he once more picked up bones of a magical beast.