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Time began to pass. Although Bao Bi didn’t return to the valley, Liao An would sometimes take him on hunting trips. Other times, she would just go on her own and come back with an assortment of ingredients. Then, they would work on alchemy.
Alchemy required a great deal of effort, and it even needed profound energy besides. Bao Bi remembered back when he tried to treat it like cooking and made special drinks for his father to help him cultivate. He now knew that his father must have been humoring him by drinking the colon blows. Well, they were still a good health drink, and Bao Bi wouldn’t be convinced otherwise.
Bao Bi did end up giving the spiritual stones he had gathered to his father. At first, Liao An said he was acting foolish, but after he saw the tears in his father’s eyes, Bao Bi knew it was the right decision. Xaoi Yun didn’t ask where his son had gotten them from. He understood that every man’s fortune was there own to know. He only felt pride that his son had been born with such luck. Luck, of course, was another aspect of a man, and one he could feel pride for, as well as take advantage of since he seemed to have little of his own.
He swore he would pay his son back a hundred times for his generosity, and then took the stones to do whatever he was doing with them all. Bao Bi vaguely recalled something about a magic pendant. Hopefully, it wasn’t a scam that took all of his father’s stones and then took off laughing. If that happened, well, that was his father’s burden to bear.
Since pressure was taken off of his father, Xaoi Yun could spend more time with Xaoi Lan. That gave Bao Bi ample opportunity to spend more time on his cultivation since he didn’t need to return every night to comfort his mother, and so that in the end even Liao An had to admit that it was the best decision. After all, he didn’t want to have to listen to them trying to break the bed all night long. Even for a pornstar accustomed to such noises, it was a bit much, not that his father’s efforts weren’t impressive, and gave Bao Bi much encouragement for when he was proper age and found a proper woman.
Of course, when he thought of that, his thoughts couldn’t dwell on the only woman he had ever been close to in this world, Liao An. She was reaching maturity now and had grown a few inches while her chest was just starting to bud. Her skin was perfect, her hair was clean, and she had a way of moving her body that always came off as sensual. Although she was usually cold, her eyes sometimes showed a fire in them that suggested she might be a vigorous woman in bed, not unlike Bao Bi’s mom.
Suffice it to say. His mother had met and approved of Laio An, although both parents found her just as odd as he was. As parents who didn’t hang out with other parents because of their unique status as cultivators, they began to assume that the way the pair acted was just how kids acted these days. They were so adult and hard working. There really was nothing to complain about. She even noticed that Liao An was a third-tier cultivator of the 1st realm. As someone only in the 1st tier herself, it made mom feel a bit lonely like she was left behind. She even felt a slight regret that she had given up her vital yin so young. Although, that wasn’t too big of a deal. She had already built a resistance to her husband with a hundred strokes. It was simply that she had never taken to cultivating seriously.
As for Bao Bi, he continued to train his various techniques every day, while also working with his profound energy. He had nearly tripled his output, although because he was still in the 1st realm, it appeared that all of his profound energy was stored in the cells of his body, rather than within his dantian, which had yet to expand from it’s collapsed state in order to store profound energy.
At the moment, Bao Bi was still in the 9th realm of the Mortal Purification realm. Although he had absorbed trace amount of profound energy, also known as spirit energy, it should have been extremely low. In a normal cultivator of his level, the energy absorbed could be used to help with purification, but it couldn’t be stored or used, so after it was absorbed, it just left the body naturally.
Since his spirit veins were dried up, it should have been impossible to move the spirit energy in any functional way. Yeah, because of Bao Bi’s strange upbringing under the god-tier pills and Tigra’s hand-made techniques, his veins had reached half-awakened state, and he could actually absorb and release profound energy.
When absorbed, that energy wasn’t able to enter his primordial dantian in its collapsed state. The formation of the dantian, where profound energy is stored, only occurs during the Mortal Origin. Yet, somehow, his body managed to create a mini dantian in every cell of his body, storing the excess energy and slowly allowing it to build. Tigra had heard about such cultivators who lacked a dantian and grew strength by keeping their profound energy within the cells of their body. No one would ever willingly choose to do both. The demand for profound energy would simply be too high, and their progress would be far too slow.
Yet, given Tigra’s intervention, she didn’t need to worry about such things. The more profound energy he stored, the richer his Yang would become, and the more advantageous he’d become to the Midnight Queen during their inevitable joining. It also had the unexpected side effect of slowing down his cultivation, which was a bit of a worry to her since the beginning.
Tigra had investigated, and it appeared like in five years, there would be a competition in which the Bao Bi would be able to join the Xaoi sect that had abandoned him. Resources in the area available to Liao An were pathetic, and Bao Bi needed such resources. She knew her best option was to have Bao Bi join the Xaoi sect to gain the best awards for themselves. She would naturally join as well.
The minimum age for this competition was twelve. To every mortal child who wished to enter their sect to train, they would desperately train from as early on as they could for this day. Those who were children of Xaoi members were automatically accepted into the ranks at ten. Bao Bi was naturally an exception to this rule. Most children of the Xaoi family were given resources so that by the time they reached 12, they were giants over the mortal children.
In order to keep up, mortal children’s parents had to risk their lives and train them hard, and still, only experts among experts managed to make it into the intensive disciple ranking. You could try between ages 12 to 14, but the expectations increased as the age did.
At 12, you’d need to be in the lower tier of the first real. At 13, the middle tier, and at 14, the high tier. So, if you missed the cut off for one, there was a still a chance that you could find fortune the next year. Thus, except in rare cases where their body or veins were in some way special, most twelve-year-old needed to be at the 3rd tier to higher if they wanted any chance of getting accepted. If they failed, they had a year to break through to the mid-tier realm to try again.
However, there were always some who wanted to be the top of their age group and would thus wait until they were 13 or 14 to try to crush the previous year’s failures and be top of their age group. This allegedly awarded them special resources.
It would go without saying that Bao Bi, only seven, as a 9th tier purification which is steadily training his profound energy, would decimate the competition and alarm a lot of people. Although initially excited to keep increasing his abilities as quickly as possible, she now realized that in this world that this same act that would benefit him would also put him in impossible risk. She didn’t want to afford to bring jealous Xaoi clans mates on his head again. She had almost lost him once from such a foolish act, and she didn’t need a second lesson.
It was nearly a year later when Bai Bi finally got his alchemy up to the level of 70%. A normal cultivator did this in a furnace, but for the god-tier Liao An, she didn’t bother which such things. She had him use his profound energy to create a spiritual furnace. The fire was set with profound energy, and that energy was contained with a will. It was a technique only masters started to dabble in when they couldn’t figure out how to advance in alchemy and had nothing else to try. Yet, Bao Bi was doing it with every try.
On top of that, is profound energy was extremely low. Any stronger medicines were basically impossible, so Tigra had to develop new recipes that were less strenuous and used fewer resources. It took her six months, but she eventually had a set of recipes perfect for someone of Bao Bi’s level. Any alchemist on this world would have given over their entire wealth for these recipes. Although they were of low level and didn’t make anything of high value, they were exceptionally profound, and just studying them would help any alchemist grow.
However, Tigra wasn’t thinking about Bao Bi’s alchemy. In fact, she couldn’t care less if he learned it or not. The only thing she cared about was his profound energy training and his ability to advance his body technique with medicine. To those ends, this was all just par for the course. Bao Bi was happy to listen to Laio An, who he had grown to trust in most things. When it came to cultivation, he had to admit that she was very knowledgeable and trusted just about anything she said.
Although she was knowledgeable about cultivation, she wasn’t knowledgeable about much else, and he tried to help her out where common sense was concerned. He did pick up one or two things from his mom, so he noticed a few of her oddities here and there. Unlike like Liao An who completely cut herself off distantly from this world emotionally, Bai Bi still had a desire to live in it, so when he wasn’t training, he did watch people on the street and try to get a feel for normal lives.
Another year passed, and he finally reached the 2nd tier of the body technique with the help of body tempering pills he made himself. When Liao An couldn’t get any more supplies, she sold some of the body tempering pills through her father. It was only at this point that she discovered this worlds standard for medicine, and was shocked when her dad handed her so much money. He was ecstatic too, although he claimed he had a mysterious alchemist friend, it was enough that his business took a big boost.
Not only did she discover that 70% was the realm of a gold class alchemist, but she also realized that every time Bao Bi took pills, he ended up expelling the waste in his excrement and retained none of the impurities. It was to the point where Bao Bi just assumed it was normal for such medicines to give someone a tox cleaning, and given his previous life. It felt extremely normal.
Since it was no longer necessary, Tigra had put a stop to Bao Bi’s alchemy education, and instead focused back on his other techniques. By this point, his movement technique had moved into the mid-tier realm, and his palm technique was in the third tier, still a bit stuck at the bottleneck. Liao An told him his bottleneck was because he didn’t have enough real combat experience using his palms.
As far as profound energy techniques, the ones she had designed were for a 2nd realm, and she was hesitant to teach him any early, whether she thought he could handle it or not. All it would take is for him to accidentally use it, and it would generate a lot of questions.
However, Bao Bi had been practicing on his own, and with the electric spirit stick that she had casually made that one time, he had managed to shoot a bolt of lightning from it after two years of practice. He was especially excited about that accomplishment. Of course, Liao An had known he had done it, and could only sigh helplessly as she began to redesign profound energy techniques that would work with him.
He was now nine and would be turning ten soon. Although he was still locked in the 9th tier of the 1st realm, this wasn’t even something someone would consider abnormal. It usually would take a common Xaoi sect disciple three years for a normal person to reach the 2nd realm from the top of the 1st realm. Yet, the Bao Bi from two years ago and the Bao from now was radically different. His profound energy had increased by many times, and he could now exude it with each punch. Of course, Tigra had taught him to do it in a way that wouldn’t be noticed by any but the most observant cultivators.
He had much more experience, practicing his combat with Tigra countless times, and becoming extremely comfortable with his strong body and palm techniques. He no longer had a problem attacking animals, even profound beasts, with his bare hands. He could kill them easily and would do so when prompted. He had not had a reason to kill another human though, so Tigra feared he might still hesitate with that. There was still time in the future to get him passed that hurdle though.
In the last two years, he hadn’t aged much at all, except for a profound growth that could be seen in his eyes. He still looked like a 13-year-old young boy who had just reached maturity, and he would likely continue to do so for at least another four years. His next age stop would be around 1 to 20. That’s when the slowing begins, and then it would be hundreds of years before the visage of a young man grew to a middle-aged man and began to fade into an aged old man, depending on how high he got in cultivation.
It was at this time that he was sitting on the balcony of the second story of his home. He lived in a large home relative to the city he lived in. For any cultivator, it would have been called small and quaint, but to most mortals, it would have depicted a very wealthy family.
Few knew that a family of cultivators lived here. After abandoning their home in the countryside, Bao Bi’s family had settled for this place in the city where they would be hard to find. For the last two years, they had recovered while hiding from plain sight from anyone from the Xaoi sect that might be looking for revenge. Since the Xaoi sect cared little about mortals, living among them was actually the safest place for his family.
The biggest set back was that his mother was rarely allowed outside. It was clear she had grown very restless in these last few years. During the time when Xaoi Lan had been able to relax, she had exuded a great deal of restlessness on him, but as he grew low on spiritual stones, he had been leaving home once again, and it was reaching a point where his mother was about to explode.
Part of the reason Bao Bi was on the balcony was exactly that his mother was taking care of business in her room, and after years of never watching the volume of her voice, she could often shake the walls with her screams. Only the maids and servants could sympathize with him, and for the most part, their rooms were in a secondary servant wing a good distance from Mother’s room, where his was right next door.
Bao Bi had even considered taking care of things himself, but there were some boundaries even a former pornstar wouldn’t cross, and so her lust was a thing he could only endure, even when she stumbled into his room drunk and half-dressed to rub against him and cry about how much she missed her husband. Bao Bi had often had to promise he’d never leave her, although he knew that he would one day be leaving the house to forge his own path. Hopefully, when that day came, Xaoi Lan would have his shit together.
Just as Bao Bi thought enough time had passed and his mom had assuredly finished her third time… she needed at least three to get to sleep when she was lonely, he heard a woman’s scream. It was a distance away, but he had exceptionally good ears as a 9th tier Mortal Purification Expert. Standing up, he leapt from the 2nd floor to a nearby roof. This feat might have been impossible for a mortal, but Bao Bi who enjoyed leaping through the trees and had a powerful movement technique designed just for that could move around in the night with extreme ease.
The yell had come from an ally a dozen houses over. Bao Bi first noticed a lack of people present. There should have been guards, as this was a rich area of town. Furthermore, even if there weren’t guards, there should have been spectators. A woman did let out a scream, after all. Even if they were too cowardly to help, what would have them so frightened they wouldn’t even watch?
“You bastards!” A young boy shouted, his sword drawn. “Sister, stay behind me!”
They both looked young. The boy might have been eleven, while the girl looked to only be ten years old. They were backing up against a carriage. As to anyone who might have been watching them, that was probably the bodies lying on the ground. Three men had surrounded the carriage. Two were advancing from the front, and a third was just watching while grinning with his arms crossed.
“It’s nothing personal.” The man said. “We’ve been paid a few spirit stones to kill you. If your father really wanted your lives spared, he should have afforded cultivators.”
“W-we’re friends with the Xaoi sect. You can’t do this!” The boy shouted.
“Haha!” The man laughed. “If they can’t keep you safe, how is it our problem?”
“They’ll get vengeance!”
“Only if they find out who we are… fortunately, no one will testify against a cultivator. Mortals are so cowardly.”
The main man was in the 1st tier of the 2nd realm, and the other two were mid and high tier of the first realm. This was a formidable group of guys not unlike the group Bao Bi had fought in the valley. At least, that’s what he thought. However, two years had passed, and Bao Bi wasn’t the same boy he was before. Furthermore, they were members of the Shadow Sect, who used vicious techniques to be able to stay on level with the Xaoi sect. The Xaoi sect’s cultivators were a cut above any loose cultivator one might encounter.
One could tell how lowly they were just by the fact they were making deals with mortals. Outside of family ties and blood debts, the Xaoi Sect all but ignored the mortal realm. Loose cultivators, on the other hand, depended on mortals for resources, as these three appeared to be doing.
This was none of Bao Bi’s business, but when had that ever stopped him? He recalled Laio An lamenting that he hadn’t been in enough fights yet. He decided it was time to try out what he had learned these last two years.