Bào bi struck the water hard. Water beat down on him as the current took him under. Ten. Twenty. Thirty feet. He sunk down into an abyss of pressure. It’d be nice to say that Bào bi’s high constitution had in some way played in his survival. However, a mid-tier cultivator had died under the onslaught of this waterfall, and there was no reason that Bào bi would fair any better. It wasn’t preparation, cultivation, or divine intervention that allowed Bào bi to survive. It was luck.
Bào bi burst out from the water. His body felt like it had been struck by a truck, and he was dizzy and nauseous. After vomiting once, he barely managed to drag himself onto a rock. The world around him was rather dark, and the pounding of the waterfall was incredibly close. It was cold, and the roaring water reverberated off the walls, dulling any other sounds. He laid there in the dark, shivering, for an hour, unable to move.
Bào bi had never had it this bad before. He had hunted many times and had been out in the wilderness on some pretty cold nights, but this one seemed to take the cake. His life had never been in this sort of jeopardy before, and he had a certain level of shock as well. Had the Reneki Mind Expansion pill not already changed his brain, it might have been even more serious.
As he looked around, he appeared to be in some kind of cave. However, it was too dark for Bào bi to make anything more than that. He had the impression that he was behind the waterfall. The cavern he was lying in was submerged, and with the exception of a few areas where rocks rose up from the ground, he’d need to trudge through two to three feet of ice-cold water to move anywhere. If he tried, he’d just have to hope he didn’t hit a hole which sent him down into a watery grave.
Adding to all of that, Bào bi’s ankle was broken, and so even the idea of walking around the cavern was an impossibility. His sight was completely useless in the dark. It was too wet to start a fire even. Bào bi realized for the first time that he might actually die. He had already died once. That was the memory of his past life. He never thought he’d have to think about life and death again so soon. Would he just reincarnate again? Would he wake up somewhere else and start a third life? Bào bi didn’t think so. He had a distinct feeling that this second life he had been granted was a one time offer.
At that point, Bào bi came to two realizations. First, if he didn’t do something now, he would die. Secondly, he really didn’t want to die. Bào bi reached down, feeling his foot. It was bent in the wrong direction. He took a few deep breaths and then twisted it in the correct position.
“Ahhhhhhiiiii!” He screamed, falling back and passing out from the pain.
When he woke, his foot was throbbing and his entire body itched. He was even colder than before. Not good. His sight was no better either. Even using his ears was impossible given the sound of the waterfall nearby. All of his senses were completely blocked. He might as well have been in a sensory deprivation chamber.
The only thing he could sense was… that’s right… spiritual energy! He began to pull on his spiritual energy, trying to visualize it. His spiritual perception was strong for a first realm, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have a long way to go. He could feel spiritual energy in this cave.It was in extreme abundance.
He began to realize that this cave had all the properties one would want to cultivate. Falling water would create more energy. It was sealed so the energy would condense in here. There was many pools of water which helped absorb the energy so that it lasted longer. It was free of distractions entirely. Bào bi realized that this place indeed made the perfect immortal cave!
Forcing himself into a seated position, Bào bi did the only thing he could do. It was the only thing his location and body would allow him to do. He began to cultivate. Up until this moment, he had never truly cultivated. He had purified his body by processing the pill, but any attempt to actually enter a state of cultivation was impossible for him. His mind wandered and he found himself too distracted, especially when he was outside and right in front of his parent’s house.
However, this cave sealed off all of his senses. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t hear. He couldn’t see. It was the perfect spot to force Bào bi finally focus properly. He concentrated on the spiritual energy around him, and it was the only sense that could give him any comfort. It was everywhere and circulated wildly thanks to the nearby waterfall constantly churning it. He excitedly pulled energy into his body and forced impurities out. Although he could have continued to use the pill, at this moment, he instead focused on the only sense he had, the sense of spirit, using external forces to change his body internally.
Bào bi didn’t know how long he sat in the cold darkness pulling in spiritual energy. It could have been hours, or it could have been days. However, after an uncertain amount of time, he felt something change. His body shivered as a fire exploded deep inside him. It rushed out to the surface, and a foul scent came out of his body as mud and dirt were expelled from his pores. Like that, Bào bi reached the second tier of purification.
The purifying effect seemed to work with the constitution pill, further reconfiguring and rebuilding his body. The broken ankle’s swelling went down, and after only another few hours the pain started to subside. Bào bi realized that he was exhausted and hungry. He finally opened his eyes, and he let out a cry of disbelief. The room around him was no longer completely dark. It wasn’t filled with light either. Rather, he seemed to have expanded his spiritual perception. He could now see it independent of his sight. He had the feeling he could see it through walls, and it gave off a strange kind of light that allowed Bào bi to make out the walls around him.
The thick spiritual energy within this cave had become a light source for him. No longer in the dark, Bào bi carefully surveyed the room once again. It was within his expectations. There were three or four rocky rises that came out of the water, but for the most part, the ground of this cave was completely submerged. As to the hole that brought Bào bi here, he thought he could trace the spiritual energy leading back out through the waterfall. However, he felt like he needed more practice with spiritual perception before he could do so. Not to mention, while his ankle seemed to heal when he increased a tier, it still felt tender and needed a little bit more time.
Realizing he’d need to stay there a while longer, Bào bi looked for a place that was a little dryer. A particular piece of earth caught his attention immediately. Other than being bone dry, it also glowed strangely of spiritual energy. If Bào bi guessed, something within that rock was the source of most of the spiritual energy that filled this cave. If that was the case, then that was the place he wanted to use to continue to increase his cultivation.
Easing his feet into the water, he very carefully made his way over, walking with a snail’s pace. He used the cold water to wash off his toxins. When he finished, he climbed up onto the rock and lied down. To his surprise, the rock emitted some kind of warmth. It felt familiar to Bào bi as if this spiritual energy was for him and him alone. The rock exhibited a sort of softness as well, to the point that he didn’t even mind using it as a bed. For the first time since he had entered the cave, he fell into a deep sleep, his head nestled in a crack of the rock.
When he finally woke up, he felt considerably better than he had before. The spiritual rock had filled him with vitality and energy. With renewed vigor, he crossed his legs and began to cultivate once again. This cultivation went even better than the first time. He included using the pill in it and felt like he made substantial gains toward the third tier of purification. A combination of the pill, the spiritual stone, and the high spiritual energy stored in this cave made his progress skyrocket.
It was incredibly impressive, especially considering he didn’t possess any cultivation technique and was doing it based on instinct. At this rate, he could reach the third within a week or two. A solid month of pure cultivation, and he could break into the mid-tier. This immortal cave was a true treasure trove, and it was due to the mystical rock which gave off spiritual energy.
Bào bi stomached rumbled. He had managed to forgo eating this long thanks to the large quantity of spiritual energy he had taken in along with his increasing rank. However, that could only preserve his body for so long. At some point, he needed food. Watching the floor of spiritual energy, he was able to trace where it leaked out under the waterfall. He was considerably stronger now and felt like he could swim against the current that had carried him into this cave. Taking a few deep breaths, he jumped into the water and began to swim.
His body had made significant gains since entering the cave. Although an increased purity of the body seemed like it wouldn’t mean much, each tier halved the amount of toxin in the body. After the first tier, the total body toxins would be decreased by one half. This change was permanent. The body would no longer be able to tolerate a greater amount of toxins. Like oil and water, the toxins would no longer be able to mix in the body, and would always leak away naturally.
This didn’t just translate to a cleaner, better functioning body. The removal of the toxins allowed someone to execute more power, strength, and endurance. After each tier was reached, the body became more able to execute its full strength and ability, unrestrained by the plights of mortals. In essence, the first realm was about turning your body into the strongest body it could be. You would have no defects and no weaknesses. This was a fundamental requirement for bringing in spiritual energy. A mortal body with weakness would quickly be destroyed by storing large pools of spirit. Only a purified body was ready for the onslaught and storage of spiritual energy.
This also meant that even a maxed first realm cultivator was still fundamentally a mortal. Their lifespan might be expanded to the max possible for humans, somewhere around 120 to 150 years, but they couldn’t execute more power than the human body could execute. Only after reaching the second realm did they bring in external energy and could thus output more than the strongest and most fit humans on the planet.
Either way, the point was that after reaching the second tier, Bào bi was more than qualified to make the swim out of the cave. He swam a bit of a way down the river before finally emerging. Knowing his parents were likely very worried, he immediately started heading back to the city. He had only made it a few kilometers when he heard a rustle. Looking down, he saw the little girl, Liao An, standing there glaring up at him.
Bào bi leaped down from the tree. “Liao An, you found me…”
Liao An’s eyes were red-rimmed. She hadn’t slept since the moment Bào bi had gone missing. She had spent time running all over the countryside looking for him. When all else failed, she had collapsed nearby, sending out a searching pulse every fifteen minutes. Two minutes ago, she picked up Bào bi’s force after having not detected it for days. Had he gone to a parallel world? She hadn’t detected any spatial anomalies or rifts. Although this body was still weak, it was possible she could have missed some pocket dimension.
Bào bi had been missing one week. Thus, for one week she had not slept or eaten. While Tigra had more experience stressing her body, and she was a mid-tier purification cultivator… the stress still wore on her heavily. From Bào bi’s point of view, it looked like she had been fraught with worry. Bào bi reached out and then grabbed Liao An, pulling her into his arms.
In another circumstance, Liao An might have dodged or prevented this act, but for some reason even she didn’t understand, she allowed him to hold her. For the briefest moment, she even felt like crying in his arms. That was the severity of her mental condition. In her real body, she never would have been this mentally vulnerable. Of course, it could be said that his parents were in no better shape having missed their son for the last week.
“I’m sorry I worried you.” Bào bi offered the only explanation he could.
He didn’t want to bring up his flight from death. He felt it would further worry Liao An and cause her stress to know how close he came to dying. Of course, he didn’t know she had already wiped out those cultivators. The Xaoi sect would send more eventually. Thankfully, they would never suspect the disabled Xaoi Yun had anything to do with the death of so many high ranked cultivators.
As for Liao An, her greatest concern was knowing why she couldn’t sense him for the previous week. Cultivators kept secrets all the time. A good fortune that Bào bi obtained was something he absolutely shouldn’t tell others. This is why Liao An made no attempt to pry into this. How could she possibly explain that she had been spying on him, and he had been outside of her spiritual sight for some time? She had her own secrets too.
Thus, their exchange ended quickly, with Bào bi not knowing what happened to the cultivators and Liao An not knowing what happened to Bào bi. As he started heading back to the city, they only spoke a little. Both were tired and hungry and looking to finally rest.
“Good night, Bào bi.” Liao An said stiffly, her mind still a bit frayed.
Bào bi nodded. “You too. Um… as for tomorrow, do not head to the house. We can no longer cultivate there. No matter, I found a better place to cultivate. I’m going to try to make the place a little more accessible, and then I will invite you, okay?”
Liao An blinked, but then she gave a nod of affirmation. A better place to cultivate? The only place around that was good for cultivating was the spiritual leak caused by Midnight’s portal. Every other spot was either too inaccessible to be found by the likes of Bào bi or already claimed by cultivators too powerful to easily remove. Wait… he couldn’t mean… no, that was impossible.
Still, Liao An’s curiosity was peaked. Just because she wouldn’t ask Bào bi to reveal his secrets, didn’t mean that she wouldn’t spy to discover them on her own. She only noticed as he walked away from her that he was actually in the 2nd tier of purification already. More than that, he was quickly nearing the third tier. That could only be possible if… no… no, no, no… that had to be a mistake. Liao An couldn’t believe he had found that place.
She returned to her home as did Bào bi. Both were fretted over by worried parents, but given their already grown up attitudes, other than forcing them to eat and get some sleep, their parents didn’t press either of them too hard for details. Bào bi, in particular, had worried his mother to tears, and he had to promise to go grocery shopping with her every weekend for the next two months before she’d finally let him off the hook.
After Liao An had allowed herself to reach the mid-tier, she could now detect Bào bi from her home in the country. Thus, she didn’t need to go anywhere to check on him. That morning, she watched as he went into the forest, as he usually did. She followed him as he headed cross country at an extremely rapid pace. The journey that used to take him an hour now could be done in fifteen minutes. Part of that was his growing familiarity with the terrain, but also a natural part of his cultivation development and his movement technique.
However, he didn’t head for his home and the usual node of energy. With the cultivator’s dead, they’d likely have a few more weeks before someone else was sent out to check, but Liao An had already eradicated all traces and even left a few clues to implicate a rival sect. Thus, she didn’t mind that Bào bi wouldn’t head back there. After his near death, she didn’t want him to cross with other cultivators again until she started teaching him some offensive and defensive techniques.
Just as she was having those thoughts, she realized the direction he was going, and her face turned white. A minute later, his lifesigns disappeared once again. He really had gone there. Liao An had trouble believing it. It was not only incredibly unlikely, but it should have been impossible. Liao An set out to the river in front of the waterfall. With a sigh, she jumped in and swam the length of the water until she came out in the secluded cave. Unlike Bào bi, she didn’t struggle an ounce to see in the dark. It might as well have been day for her.
She was using a concealing technique, thus Bào bi wouldn’t see her as she entered the cave. Sitting on a rock, she could only stare at Bào bi as he sat in a cultivation pose on the other side of the cavern. Her eyebrow began to twitch, and her face formed an incredibly complicated expression. This cavern was one Liao An was very familiar with. It was because she herself had selected it many years ago. It was completely sealed off to outside elements, and with the waterfall circulating spiritual energy, it was basically impossible to notice leaked spiritual energy. For Bào bi to have ended up in here, it was a miraculous and unbelievable chance.
This was the place where Liao An had placed her true body, Tigra’s body. The place up north where those cultivators had found their grave was simply a trap. That coffin possessed a pair of her panties which she had imbued with her aura. Her true body… she had put in this cave, lying on a stone platform. And there, she laid, up until this moment, an immaculate beauty, an actual living goddess… and currently, a three-year-old boy was sitting on her stomach, cultivating. Where else would Liao An not be able to detect, but within the concealing formations she herself had set to prevent anyone from detecting her body.
The formations would have prevented a normal cultivator from getting through, but Bào bi was a notable exception. Due to his close training with Liao An, the formations must have recognized him as kin and allowed him through. It was common in some sects and families to create formations that wouldn’t hurt certain people. There were many stories amongst the immortal realm of grandfathers accidentally killing their children and ending their family lines by being too greedy in protecting their assets. Thus, most held a clause that accepted those of similar magic, technique, and bloodline.
Tigra’s formations had worked too perfectly. Not only did it block her own ability to see into the cavern, but it also allowed through the one person she absolutely couldn’t have afforded to let die. This was part of the reason he didn’t end up like that other cultivator, who would have struck the barrier like a solid rock wall. Furthermore, through Tigra’s perception formation, Bào bi could not see her body in the cave. To him, it was only a stone. It was a warm stone that was soft to the touch. It radiated spiritual energy, and it felt especially nice to lay his head between a certain crack to sleep, which would be none other than her cleavage!
Liao An’s brow furrowed even more. A goddess, the second greatest being in all existence, was being used as a cultivation stool. Her boobs were pillows, and her stomach was a place for his butt! Tigra had been used in many ways throughout her life. Men had certainly treated her as a prize, an award, and a sex object. However, it had never been quite this literal before today. For the first time in her life, Tigra was at a complete loss on what to do.
Bào bi was right. This was the greatest cultivation spot in a thousand miles. That’s why Liao An had picked it for her body’s resting place! After being sealed in this spot, and radiating her aura for years, even though her body was sealed to an extreme amount, it still amplified this place, making it perhaps one of the best immortal caves on this planet! Her goal was to protect Bào bi with her life and to help him cultivate until he was a high enough level where he could finally dual cultivate with Master. In that case, was this resource not the most ideal and necessary?
Despite that reasoning, Tigra continued to watch as Bào bi yawned, stretching out his hands. One landed on a certain rock and then squeezed it unconsciously. That rock, was, of course, Tigra’s boob. For the second time in so short a time, Liao An felt like she was about to cry.