Chapter 148: The Relic Transforms
Jiang Li took some time to calm down and emailed Luo Han and Xue Ling to let them know he was safe before beginning to train.
His consciousness began to seep deep into that of the Emperor Relic, trying to figure out what in the world could have changed it enough to absorb the energy’s holy fetus. It had turned from milk white to pale green, so some kind of unbelievable change must have taken place.
First, he opened a gap into the dimension.
The thick scent of the heaven and earth’s spirit wafted through the air in the depths of the dimension. It was as if something thick and sweet as syrup flowed through the walls.
Jiang Li’s consciousness seeped out again. He felt his mind waver, his spirit enter a dream state.
Thousands of autumns had passed in a dream. What year was it?
Accompanied by a low hum that sounded almost like a sigh, the middle-aged man in white appeared again.
This time, his form seemed clearer, his expression more vibrant. A smile graced his face as he greeted Jiang Li.
“Congratulations. You have provided the Emperor Relic with a portion of the energy it needs, along with sufficient spiritual support. You can now learn two seals: Emperor Water Seal and Emperor Heart Seal.”
“I can even learn the heart seal?” Jiang Li was dumbfounded.
There were nine heart and soul seals of the emperor, each representing a different element: the heavens, the earth, the human, the heart, the water, the fire, the wind, the thunder, and finally the “dream.”
With all nine seals together, one would be invincible.
This time, the Emperor Relic had absorbed the holy fetus and the spiritual attack it contained, and promised him the opportunity to start learning two seals at once.
But Jiang Li felt himself hesitating. The learning process would be even more difficult with two seals at once. Plus, even after all his learning, he didn’t even fully understand the thunder, wind, and fire seals yet. The more he learned, the deeper and more difficult it all seemed.
“If I choose not to learn them now, can I come back and learn them whenever I want in the future?” he asked.
“Of course, that’s completely up to you. The spiritual force helped you unlock the path to learning these two seals. But with your current physical state, I would say you’re better off studying the Emperor Water Seal and not suited to study the heart seal. Among the Emperor Seals, the water, fire, wind, and thunder are most beneficial in training the body, while the first four—heavens, earth, human, heart—are purely about matching your own heart to that of the heavens. Using your own intentions to unlock that of the Way, your own heart to prove yourself worthy of a heart of emptiness…this type of training will only be comprehensible to you once you can form a holy fetus. Practicing now will only hurt you.”
The man in white spoke freely. He seemed much less mechanical and much more natural than before.
“You seem freer than before. Are you not a spiritual seal anymore?” Jiang Li asked, noting the difference.
“The Emperor Relic absorbed the holy fetus and underwent a qualitative change. The energy nourished its spiritual seal, so naturally I’ve gained back my spirits,” The man in white smiled, “And I also remembered my name. From now on, call me Little Emperor.”
“Little Emperor?” Jiang Li chuckled out loud.
“Yes. It’s not a real name, though, but my nickname from the past. I don’t know who called me that. Much is lost to the past that I still can’t remember. Maybe more energy from the holy fetus will help me recall these things.” “Little Emperor” seemed more human now, with a wider range of movement and expressions.
“What’s changed with the Emperor Relic?”
That was what Jiang Li cared most about. The “Little Emperor” standing before him was no more than a spiritual imprint within the Emperor Relic, not much different than a computer’s artificial intelligence program. Absorbing the holy fetus was like a system upgrade.
“A long time ago, the Emperor Relic weathered several catastrophes and ended up suffering some internal damage. The best way to fix it is to inject the purest ‘energy spirit’, which is what you know as the holy fetus. Only holy fetuses formed by humans are the most beneficial when it comes to repairing the Emperor Relic. When you absorb the vitality of the heavens and the earth with your fetus, you’ll understand that.”
Little Emperor left off at that. What a tease.
“All right. I’ll unlock the training for the water seal first,” said Jiang Li. After some thought, he’d decided that it was best to train the four seals together. Perhaps the correspondence between water and fire might unlock more mysteries for him.
“Water!” Little Emperor formed a seal with his hands. Above his head there appeared the mind of the universe, spinning and changing at full speed. All those imagined courses of movement echoed through the void with the sound of rumbling water. The water burst through the sky, swallowing the whole universe.
“Water is the source of life. Fire, the mother of civilization. There can only be civilization with life, so there can only be fire with water. Without water, fire’s existence on this world loses all meaning.”
Playing out all kinds of miraculous movement above, Little Emperor continued to explain: “Water can destroy the world, but can also nourish it. Water is inextricably tied to not just mankind, but all the life that exists. The Emperor Water Seal is capable of shifting the structure of water within the human body. If used with utmost skill, one might be able to control all the water in someone’s body and cause drastic changes to their physical state.”
With his words the Little Emperor passed on all of the scriptures, meditations, and poses. Jiang Li felt the words enter his very soul. He followed the meditations and postures even while he dreamt. With each exercise he felt the structure of water within his own body shifting slowly.
The human body is seventy percent water. Humans are almost structured from water. The Emperor Water Seal’s basic function is to improve this structure, turning it into a vibrant, living structure. By doing this, one can strengthen their physique, transforming their body from head to toe.
Water, fire, wind, thunder—each one of these four seals had their foundations in the body.
Thunder hardens the body, wind weaves through the organs, fire invigorates the muscles, water scatters through the body.
Only step by step, learned in order, will culminate in great success—water, fire, wind, and thunder strengthening one’s whole body. Each movement would be like the descent of an emperor: each footstep causing a storm strong enough to rumble the earth, bringing the power and authority of the heavens.
After what could have been a minute or a century, Jiang Li woke from his dream. The rock was the same old rock.
He began to recall the Emperor Water Seal’s training. It flashed before his eyes, vivid as if he’d just seen it. But so much of it was still impossible for him to understand. He needed time to run each detail through his mind, try to comprehend all of it.
Standing up, Jiang Li strolled from his room. Outside the sky was already dark. He rushed out until he was far from the human base before starting his fetal respiration.
As he expected, the moment he entered fetal respiration he felt different. Floods gushed from the heavens and the earth alike while spiritual energies gathered closer to him. In that instant, he almost felt like he stood amidst the crashing waves of an ocean.
So the Emperor Relic had indeed undergone a change. Now the fetal respiration absorbed much more energy from the heaven and earth than it did before.
The energy tunneled into Jiang Li’s body. He began to unleash the Emperor Water Seal. At once he felt the outside energy start to combine with the water within his body, diffusing in and imbuing it with a powerful vitality.
No longer was it just dead water. Inside of Jiang Li’s body, an intense power began to gush forth, almost as if it were going to break forth from his body. Caught off-guard, he called on the Emperor Fire Seal. The fire and water kept each other in check. At the same time, he summoned the power from the wind and thunder seals. Thunder rumbled through his body, while the wind led the fire to burn brighter.
An infinite amount of heavenly and earthly energies entered Jiang Li’s body. Under the influence of the Emperor Relic, they began to –liquefy!
To liquefy the forces of the heaven and the earth…only an extremely powerful mind with extremely intense spiritual wavelength could achieve that.
Most fetal respirations were only powerful enough to pull the energies from the second dimension. Only the strongest fetal respirations could hope to compress the energies, turning them into liquid that would melt into the user’s blood. This would rewrite the user’s physiology, lifting the body to its most perfect form.
Endless energies from the heaven and earth filled every inch of blood and moisture in Jiang Li’s body, turning his physical being into something more like an exquisite diamond, glimmering with the same energy that a spirit stone had.
His life force swelled inside him!
Finally, after increasing to 4, his life force slowed down.
He could hardly believe it. In the extreme absorption of energies, Jiang Li’s life force had increased by a full point! Not just 0.1, but one full point, in one night! It was a huge leap, almost unheard of.
Going from 3 to 4 was his transformation from an insignificant goldfish into a magnificent dragon. In an instant, he had caught up with Meng Xingyun.
Jiang Li stood up. A deep tremor ran through his body, and a gust of Force Qi rushed out, blowing up the grass and trees within ten steps of him.
He flicked his finger. Within 0.1 second, a swirling force blast grew on his fingertips and flew out, drilling into a rock that was five steps away. Granite powder flew everywhere; on the surface of the rock, a hole appeared.
With another wave of his hand, Jiang Li formed another Force Qi and slashed across the ground. Immediately, a ravine opened up before him.
It was the sword’s force. Just like Meng Xingyun from back then.
His arms trembled. The air beneath his feet gushed, rising upwards, as if he were walking on an invisible staircase. All of it went against the laws of physics.
It was like the martial arts in those old novels: footfalls light enough to tread upon clouds. In his case, though, it was only a perfect control over the air flow. This technique surpassed even the flight of birds. As long as you were physically powerful enough, allowing the muscles on your body to tremble was enough to cause a huge gust of wind.
Now that Jiang Li had learned to harness the changes of the Emperor Wind Seal, his air flow control was even more nuanced than most masters of the craft.
Like a fish bursting to the surface, he rose 20 meters above the ground, before slowly coming down again. If he wanted to twist around, it would look like he was walking on the earth as steadily as he might walk on the ground, or treating the air like his personal swimming pool.
“The water seal really has amazing uses. Floating in the air like it’s in a swimming pool…just another one of the perks from having a strong life force.” Jiang Li’s feet touched earth again. He felt a force in his body connect with the ground, steadying him, so that he stood strong, as if roots had sprouted between him and the earth.
He put the water seal into motion again.
The blood in his body rippled. The moisture began to move as the energy inside of him started to gather.
Eventually, in his lower abdomen, there formed a liquid droplet as big as a pea.
At the same time, his life force began to drop. From 4 to 3.5, all the way down to 3.
He had returned to the state he was before he began practicing with the seals.
“This is great!” Jiang Li thought to himself, his spirits soaring as he felt the change in his body, “The Emperor Water Seal really is a gem. I can hide my true power just by gathering all the fluid energy in my body together and lowering my life force. If I let it melt apart, my life force will go up again. What amazing power this is, this life energy!”
Even in his shock at all that had happened, he scattered the droplet of liquid in his abdomen and felt his life force shoot up again.
In the next moment, he gathered it back. Just like that, his life force dropped back to normal levels.
It was the perfect disguise. When anyone checked on him, they’d think he only had a life force of 3, while he actually had 4. His opponents would misjudge him and slip up, and he’d gain the chance to beat them before they could even react.
Not only that—if he kept practicing, the drop in his abdomen would only grow, increasing his life force exponentially.
The Emperor Relic had undergone stunning changes. While before it could only absorb energy from the heavens and the earth, now it could liquefy them!
“Hopefully I can find Meng Xingyun for a rematch. I won’t lose to him again!” Of course, Jiang Li couldn’t forget Meng Xingyun. The guy had beat him out of the top ten, after all.
The sky was growing hazy with light. Through the trees a morning glow shone, casting scattered shadows and light onto the ground.
Taking a deep breath of fresh air, Jiang Li began to walk back to the human base, his spirits still high.
Another new day was starting.