Chapter 352 – Seclusion
“I want these inscription materials, I’ll trade you five Heaven Opening Pills for them. I can’t pay you now, but I’ll be sure to pay you back within the next two years.” Lin Ming said to Zhou Xinyu as he pointed at the massive pile of materials in the room.
Five Heaven Opening Pills was far from covering the entire price of the room of rare and precious materials. Not only that, but Lin Ming was only making a future promise for what he would owe. Of course, they had already stated beforehand that besides true essence stones, treasures, and cultivation method manual jade slips, all else would be divided between them. Although these materials were precious, they weren’t very useful to Zhou Xinyu in comparison to Heaven Opening Pills. Lin Ming also added on, “And I won’t take anything else.”
Zhou Xinyu agreed as before. After entering the treasure storehouse, almost everything had been divided according to Lin Ming’s thoughts; she didn’t oppose his suggestions at all.
Lin Ming also said, “I’ll be going into seclusion here for three months. Afterwards, I’ll be leaving for Divine Phoenix Island. Would you like to travel together with me?”
Mu Qianyu had given Lin Ming three months before he had to return to Divine Phoenix Island and enter the Divine Phoenix Mystic Realm. He would be idling around for these three months, so cultivating here was perfect. Not only that, but there were also some essence gathering arrays in this treasure storehouse, and the heaven and earth origin energy here wasn’t any worse than at the Seven Profound Valleys. The one who constructed this treasure storehouse probably had similar plans of what to do here. In this treasure storehouse, they could seek safety in asylum and also cultivate.
Lin Ming opened a door and found that there was a decent-sized underground lake within. In the lake there were also some plump white fish. This confirmed his guess, there was even a connected food source here.
Zhou Xinyu had nowhere to go, so she prepared to go into seclusion as Lin Ming would. Afterwards, she would go to Divine Phoenix Island with Lin Ming. That place was the holy land of cultivation for Zhou Xinyu. Zhou Xinyu dreamed of breaking through to the Revolving Core realm, and this would be impossible without the support of a large sect.
Like this, the boring and tedious days of cultivation began.
Lin Ming had a great number of things he needed to accomplish in this period, a timeline of three months was already very tight.
Lin Ming and Zhou Xinyu each took two separate side compartments of the room. There was an invisible line drawn between the rooms. With this midline as the separating point, they wouldn’t try to enter into each other’s territories; this was a request that Lin Ming had made.
After Zhou Xinyu heard this, her faced turned red and white with anger. In the situation of men and women sharing a room, the one most nervous would usually be the woman, because their strength was often far inferior to the man. Although Zhou Xinyu had a multitude of discontented thoughts about Lin Ming, she felt that his character was upright and trustworthy.
However, she didn’t think that Lin Ming would be the one to make this request. It was as if he were afraid that she was a cougar that would take advantage of him; how could she not be mad?
Lin Ming didn’t think that he would anger Zhou Xinyu in this way. The truth was that he only wanted to hide the secret of medicinal inscriptions from Zhou Xinyu. Not only that, but his cultivation process was a bit horrifying. If it was known by Zhou Xinyu that he would be eating Heaven Opening Pills like candy, her chin would probably fall to the ground.
At the start of Lin Ming’s secluded cultivation, he spent most of the time practicing inscription. Only after most of his soul force had been consumed would he meditate and then refine out the impurities and pill toxins from his body.
Back when Lin Ming was poor, he wasn’t even willing to use inscription materials for practice. Instead, he used his true essence to simulate the process, drawing the same symbols tens of thousands of times.
Now however, he had a massive amount of top quality materials that he could use with impunity, and he also had the support of his powerful soul force. Once his true essence was exhausted, he could just use a medium-grade true essence stone to restore it. He was able to trade low-grade true essence stones to Zhou Xinyu for medium-grade true essence stones.
A mass of gorgeous lights lit up the entire dark stone chamber, just like a pile of beautiful fireworks. However, the value of this beautiful display was several hundreds of true essence stones in materials. Even just one stalk of 500 year old Nepenthe Grass was worth 100 true essence stones. In an instant, 100,000 gold had turned into nothing but ashes.
Such a failure would happen many times in a single day.
Every day three or four medium-grade true essence stones would turn white and explode into dust. By using this prodigal money-wasting method, and also with the memories of the Supreme Elder from the Realm of the Gods, Lin Ming’s inscription technique increased by leaps and bounds.
Sometimes Lin Min would look at the inscription technique jade slips in the stone chamber. Although these jade slips were second-rate in comparison to the inscription techniques from the Realm of the Gods, these jade slips were still able to provide Lin Ming with some inspiration. After all, the inscription materials of the Realm of the Gods were very different from the inscription materials of Sky Spill Continent.
Every day, when Lin Ming’s soul force was depleted, he would resist the urge to sleep and instead begin to meditate, refining the impurities from his true essence. After several hours, Lin Ming would always feel very hungry, and he would catch some plump white fish from the underground lake and roast them over a fire. He would give some to Zhou Xinyu, and this was one of the few times when the two would exchange words.
Each time she ate a fish, Zhou Xinyu would maintain a completely calm surface demeanor. However, her innermost feelings were constantly in amazement at Lin Ming’s cooking technique. Especially when she had seen Lin Ming take out a small knife from his spatial ring and slice out all of the fish bones in just a few dozen strokes. Even the small bones and pieces were cut out, leaving only gorgeous cuts on the tender fish flesh. This caused Zhou Xinyu to feel greatly surprised. This sort of cooking craft was completely irrelevant and separate from cultivation. Without a long time of practice, it was impossible to do this.
This fish bones were placed into a pot and made into fish bone soup. This strange white fish that didn’t have even eyes was originally a bony fish. Once the fish bones were boiled for about an hour, a delicious and mellow fragrance would drift out.
The only drawback in this situation was that Lin Ming didn’t cook enough. Sometimes he would stay in seclusion for four or five days, completely immersed in his practice.
During this time, Zhou Xinyu could only try to catch fish herself and roast them according to Lin Ming’s method and make soup. However, after killing several fish Zhou Xinyu was only just able to do so. But even so, she wasn’t able to achieve the same grilling effect, and the taste was miles apart. Also, it was impossible for her to slice out the fish bones with a knife like Lin Ming did.
Like this, an entire month passed. 100 medium-grade true essence stones were turned to white dust. These medium-grade true essence stones were traded from Zhou Xinyu according to market price. 100 medium-grade true essence stones had cost Lin Ming 10,000 low-grade true essence stones.
In addition to the massive amount of materials that were ruined, the losses were already in the tens of thousands of true essence stones.
Today, Lin Ming’s eyes were bloodshot. He clenched his teeth as he crushed a yellow symbol paper and a fire lit in the dark room just like a beacon of light. The flame wrapped around the Heaven Opening Pill, and within a few blinks of the eye it turned into a beautiful flame brand that marked itself atop the sparkling jade-green pill. After the fleeting radiance, the room became as dark as it was before.
“It’s finally complete!”
Lin Ming gasped for breath. This medicinal inscription symbol would be able to increase the effects of the Heaven Opening Pill by around 50%.
An increase of 50% medicinal efficacy seemed like just a bit, but the truth was the effect was much more. In general, pills had a limit to their medicinal efficacy according to their grade. Once this limit was surpassed, it would be useless to eat any more.
The inscription symbol was able to increase the medicinal efficacy by 50%. This was equal to increasing the grade of the Heaven Opening Pill by a great amount, and also increasing its value by several times. In an environment where Heaven Opening Pills were extremely scarce, if this matter were made known to a large sect, it would be an extraordinary matter.
Lin Ming didn’t dare to randomly swallow the Shattered Demon Heart Crystals. However, he wasn’t this cautious about the Heaven Opening Pills. Lin Ming sat in meditation, restoring some of his strength, and then directly popped the Heaven Opening Pill into his mouth.
A moment later, the Heaven Opening Pill turned into a flow of heat that sank into his body and scattered in all directions. As it mixed into all of his meridians, he felt a familiar tingling feeling. But, after Lin Ming had suffered the ungodly torture of the Shattered Demon Heart Crystal, pain of this degree was just nothing to him.
Normally when a martial artist took the Heaven Opening Pill, they would feel the burning hot origin energy flowing through their meridians and skin before dissipating from their pores. This was also the same feeling when Lin Ming had taken the Heaven Opening Pill last time.
But this time, the origin energy was contained inside by an invisible strength from the medicinal inscription symbol, forcibly caged within Lin Ming’s body.
The hot origin energy repeatedly rushed against this invisible energy, but it wasn’t able to overcome it. This only made the origin energy even more violent, rushing left and right within Lin Ming’s meridians. The medicinal efficacy had become extremely brutal at this point.
If a normal martial artist encountered this situation, it would be a curse and not a blessing. In fact, they would not even be able to persist through such a savage attack. But Lin Ming had already fought many of these battles before, and even the Heaven Opening Pill with 50% increased strength was only able to cause his eyebrows to tighten and his palms to sweat. It wasn’t too much suffering; it was only like he drank a bowl of scalding hot water.
After a quarter of an hour of time, the crazy flow of heat succumbed to Lin Ming’s strength, allowing him to control it. Now, the process of Tempering Marrow could truly begin.
After the increase in power from the medicinal inscription symbol, the effects of the Heaven Opening Pill were much better. Lin Ming used this Heaven Opening Pill to temper his left arm.
This time, Lin Ming didn’t even absorb the tiniest bit of origin energy to enhance his cultivation. There were still many pill toxins in his body. If he hastily increased his cultivation like this, it would only harm him.
After several days of meditation, his marrow had completely absorbed the medicinal efficacy. Now, Lin Ming began to immediately draw the second medicinal inscription symbol.
After he inscribed the second Heaven Opening Pill, he then swallowed it down.
This similar stinging sensation came back, but much lighter than it was before. Lin Ming used a continuous quarter of an hour before he finally controlled the medicinal efficacy and began to temper his right foot.
After two days, the second Heaven Opening Pill was finally absorbed; this was much faster than the first time.
This process continued for a month. Lin Ming kept taking Heaven Opening Pills that were enhanced by the medicinal inscription symbol again and again. Finally, he began to use part of the Heaven Opening Pill to wash his marrows and muscles, removing some of the gray impurities from his body. But, because he had eaten too many Heaven Opening Pills, the impurities in Lin Ming’s body had reached a point where they couldn’t be removed anymore.
As the energy within Lin Ming’s body constantly accumulated, the effects of the Heaven Opening Pill continuously weakened. This was an unavoidable reality.
Lin Ming originally guessed that he would need around one or two thousand Heaven Opening Pills to complete Tempering Marrow. But the truth was that the only Heaven Opening Pills that would play any role were the first 100-200 Heaven Opening Pills. After 30-40% of Tempering Marrow was complete, Heaven Opening Pills would be useless.
At the end of the month, Lin Ming only needed an hour of time to fully absorb the medicinal efficacy of the Heaven Opening Pill. From this, one could see just how fast the medicinal efficacy had dropped.
From the 18 Heaven Opening Pills that he had obtained from the treasure storehouse along with the two he had obtained earlier, Lin Ming had collected a total of 20 Heaven Opening Pills. However, after eating all of these, Lin Ming had only completed 10% of Tempering Marrow. With the part of the Shattered Demon Heart Crystal that he had swallowed before, Lin Ming’s Tempering Marrow had reached around 20% completion.
But at this time, the residual medicinal efficacy in Lin Ming’s body had already reached the limit.