“One-tenth of the Spiritual Qi in the Earthvein has been sucked up by that young man.”
“Yeah. At this rate of extraction, the large storage of Spiritual Qi that had accumulated for two centuries won’t last for two more months. Soon, the underground will be empty.”
“He is really a monster! Is his body a bottomless pit that can never be filled? Even a superb master in the Celestial Being Realm can’t absorb so much Spiritual Qi in the Earthvein within such a short time!”
“Uh, it feels like we’ve done a losing business.”
The general ghosts all heaved with a sigh of frustration.
This time, they truly fell into a pit of their own digging. They had assumed that Li Mu could not find a way to extract the Spiritual Qi in the Earthvein. And even if he could, as a Natural Expert, his body certainly could not take much of it. However… “Damn it! We do have come across a monster. If we knew this early, we would not have given him this empty promise.”
“Now, what remedy shall we take?”
The ghosts were very much distressed.
The last time they were this distressed by something was when they were still alive.
Time flew by.
Quickly, a night went by.
The sky was turning bright in the east, morning mist lingering inside the military cemetery.
The ghosts dispersed.
Li Mu marched out of the formation.
In his body, a river of internal qi was raging in his meridians. The efficacy of the Xiantian Skill was extremely amazing. By this time, about eighty percent of the Spiritual Qi in the Earthvein he sucked in had been turned into the internal qi, which was running in his Eight Extra-Meridians in circles, forming big or small circulations on its own accord.
“Turns out that the breathing and meditating routes at the first level of the Xiantian Skill are precisely the routes of my meridians. After mastering how to produce internal qi, the internal qi I created circulates along those routes while nourishing my body and spirit.”
Li Mu exclaimed internally with emotion.
He felt like a treasure hunter, who was discovering the assorted wonderful uses of the Xiantian Skill and the Zhenwu Boxing one after another. Every time he thought he had basically grasped the main functions of the two Cultivation Methods, very soon he would be amazed by more new discoveries.
Today, he found out that the Xiantian Skill was not a Breathing Skill but also a Qi-nurturing Skill.
“Now, my internal qi has become so profoundly strong that it’s on par with that of those at the peak of the Great Master Realm. So, even if I don’t rely on my physical strength, I can beat that Heaven-Sword Celestial Being before he turned into a Natural Expert at that duel with my pure internal qi.”
He had a pretty accurate evaluation of his current internal qi level.
With a stir of mind, colorless internal qi issued out. A film of dreamy air quickly enveloped Li Mu.
Any expert in the Master Realm was already able to release the internal qi from his body and forged a defensive zone of varied sizes with the internal qi, which would wrap him in. That was one of the reasons that those top experts in the Master Realm could be so domineering. Also, an expert in the Great Master Realm could materialize his internal qi. He might fling up a palm and easily throw out a shot of invisible internal qi, which was sharp as a sword, flexible in length, capable of expansion and contraction, and could cut open gold and boulders, as well as killing people in a trice.
A Great Master at the peak could extend his internal qi defensive zone to about a hundred meters away. The invisible jet of qi he shot out could kill a target a kilometer away. When his internal qi was abundant, it could be said that such a Great Master was just a human-shaped weapon.
But, of course, executing general combat techniques would cost internal qi.
The more powerful the combat technique was, the more internal qi it consumed.
Thus, once a Great Master depleted his internal qi while fighting on a fierce battlefield, it was inevitable that he would be killed.
Well, that was all digression.
At present, Li Mu had finally managed to get to the peak of the Great Master Realm. By reason, he ought to hone his internal qi further, master the fighting methods of internal qi, and accumulate the experience in fighting with his internal qi. Only when he could release and withdraw his internal qi at will and attained perfection in its uses was it possible for him to challenge the Natural Realm.
During that duel with the Heaven-Sword Celestial Being on the other day, Li Mu once opened his Third Eye and had a peek in the wonders of the process of a Great Master entering the Natural Ream. Thus, he now knew every secret about it. Plus, given the unmatched brilliance of the Xiantian Skill he had been practicing, Li Mu decided to skip all the honing stage and directly dash into the Natural Realm.
“Well, no time better than the present. I’m feeling very good. My internal qi is roaring inside me. It’s time to challenge the Natural Realm!”
Li Mu quickly made up his mind.
These days, a storm was looming over the city of Chang’an. Undercurrents of trouble were flooding in. Needless to say, Zheng Cunjian had fed him a lot of messages. Although it seemed that Li Mu had no backing or sources in the city, he was, in fact, well aware of many things that happened in Chang’an recently.
Li Mu had a dim feeling that a huge thunderstorm that they never had before was taking shape inside Chang’an.
And it was also difficult for him to stay clear of the storm.
Such being the case, he knew he must waste no time to get stronger, to make sure that he could pound all the people who were hostile towards him into mince and tread on their body against the ground.
With that determination, Li Mu entered the tactical deployment again.
He had been replaying the process of the Heaven-Sword Celestial Being leveling up to be a Natural Expert on the other day in his mind. But this time, Li Mu did not sit down cross-legged. Instead, he simply launched his Zhenwu Boxing on the spot, propelled the running of his blood and qi, and adjusted the state of his corporeal body, which had the same effect as the Heaven-Sword Celestial Being taking a Mighty Blood Elixir. In truth, the first step of entering the Natural Realm was to make his blood and qi boiling, compel his corporeal body to reach the peak.
It was not hard for Li Mu.
Because Zhenwu Boxing was the best way to achieve it.
Shortly, Li Mu felt all his blood and qi were burning inside him. Blood seemed to be raging in his veins. Every part of him was hot and excited. Evidently, his body had reached its best state.
“This is it!”
Li Mu started exercising the Xiantian Skill along with the Zhenwu Boxing to bring both his spirit and body to the peak.
In no time, perfect coordination of the body and spirit came into being inside Li Mu.
It was a resonance between both form and spirit.
Li Mu felt something corked up in his body had suddenly been opened and he became enlightened at once. In an instant, with the resonance between form and spirit, a new power kept growing inside him, rising from the Dantian behind his belly, surging through his Eight Extra-Meridians, and finally rushing to the top of his skull.
That was the state called the Three Flowers over Head.
Three jets of internal qi had risen up and formed the three illusory flowers over Li Mu’s head.
Back on Earth, the old faker had told him that the Three Flowers over Head referred to one’s essence, vigor, and spirit. The Three Flowers also meant three elements— the heaven, the earth, and the man. The man element refined essence into vigor, the earth element refined vigor to spirit, and the heaven turned the spirit back to void.
The stage of the Three Flowers over Head was actually a final combination and assembling of the three elements, or so-called the essence, vigor, and spirit, at Xuanguan.
This Xuanguan was the Mud-pill Palace.
It was a person’s skull, the head.
When a man was challenging the Natural Realm, the Three Flowers over Head was the last step, which was also the most crucial one.
Li Mu had braced himself in case he had to start over and over again at the last step. But surprisingly, his first shot went quite smoothly. Soon, the three elements combined into one stream of mingled qi and returned to the top of Li Mu’s skull before entering his Mud-pill Palace at last.
In a second, Li Mu’s aura turned ethereal, as if he would sprout a pair of wings and fly to heaven at any moment. His aura, which was now similar to an immortal’s, was swirling rapidly.
“This is the feeling of being a Natural Expert!”
Li Mu had put one foot into the Natural Realm.
He felt he still had some energy to spare. So, without any hesitation, he sat down cross-legged and continued running his Xiantian Skill to refine that wisp of mingled qi. He was hoping to create the real Natural qi right on the spot.
In fact, the Natural qi could not be produced out of thin air.
When the Three Flowers gathered over his head, the three elements combined into one and produced a wisp of mingled qi. It was the initial form of the Natural qi.
As the wisp of mingled qi made its way into the Mud-pill Palace, part of it would be lost. At last, the remaining portion would plant a seed of Natural Power inside the practitioner. Just like doing chemical experiments with catalysts on Earth, the seed demanded the constant nourishment of his spiritual force and internal qi to distill, to purify, and to refine. In the end, it would turn into a thread of Natural qi as thin as a wisp of hair.
After that, if he kept practicing on the base of the first thread of Natural qi, all the internal qi inside him would be refined into Natural qi.
In conclusion, all the practice in the Natural Realm was to refine all the internal qi a practitioner had into the Natural qi.
Once his internal qi was fully transformed into the Natural qi, he would have already reached the peak of the Natural Realm. Then, it was only a matter of good timing for him to proceed to the Celestial Being Realm.
Now, what Li Mu was going to do was to produce the first thread of Natural qi at the first step into the Natural Realm, just like what the Heaven-Sword Celestial Being did at that duel.
This time it went well, too.
The Xiantian Skill was quite amazing in nurturing and refining qi. As Li Mu performed this skill, that thread of mingled qi in his Mud-pill Palace completed a circulation in his Eight Extra-Meridians along the route set by the Xiantian Skill. Then, it began to change. Li Mu turned on his inward vision and saw the mingled qi which was originally grey-colored, turned pure bit by bit. At last, it became a wisp of transparent qi as fine as a hair.
That was the Natural qi.
Li Mu ceased exercising the skill and then slowly got to his feet.
Right now, it was already the noon of the next day.
“What? Lack of forces?” After hearing a subordinate’s report, Lu Lizi, the Routing Supervisor who came from the Supervisory Department in Qin City, let loose a cold laugh with shock and rage and then snarled, “Li Gang has ruled in Chang’an Mansion for so many years, how come he can’t handle a little Natural Expert? He is sheltering the criminal Li Mu, isn’t he?”
“Er… I’ve heard that eight years ago, Magistrate Li had taken Li Mu’s three punches and severed ties with this son,” said a gangling old Supervisor hesitantly. He was a senior official in the Chang’an Sub-division of Supervisory Department, who had devoted his whole life to the Chang’an Mansion.
“Humph, that’s just a cover story. The kinship can never just be cut off like a string.” Lu Lizi sneered.
On the Divine Land, not only the three great empires but also the vast pasture, the place occupied by a slew of different races in the farthest south, had established the Supervisory Department to monitor everyone within their territory. The Supervisory Department was extremely powerful, because this institution was devised to be run by outstanding figures selected from the nine Holy Clans through their consensus as well as all the eligible talents in the world. The founding principle of it was to maintain the security of the martial arts world. The officials in this department were responsible to supervise various large factions and to oppress those martial arts experts whom the local government found difficult to deal with.
The headquarters of the Supervisory Department in the Western Qin Empire was located in the capital, the Qin City. The Chief Supervisor was a highly-achieved and well-regarded Supreme Elder of the Guanshan Pasture, one of the nine Holy Clans. Being able to overawe the whole martial arts circle of the Western Qin Empire, this Chief Supervisor was surely a tough role.