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Volume 2, Chapter 42 — Five Cloud Sands, The True Highest Profound Light
As Xie Zongyuan spoke, Liu Tao’s eyes also followed and glanced over.
Zhang Yan smiled and said, “We do cultivate and tread the path to immortality. This in itself goes against the heaven’s law. But whatever we find on the path, all calamities and obstacles in our path exist to temper ourselves. The existing gate to relieve ourselves is only to forge and move forward. So, how can I not go?”
Xie Zongyuan was overjoyed and spoke, “Great! Senior Brother Zhang is truly refreshing. So, everything is settled then.”
Liu Tao replied, “However, we need to be cautious in entering the Sea Eye Demon Hole. We must not be too hasty and prepare everything we need. Such as preparing 500 Spirit Shellfishes for each one of us, since the female immortal in the Guardian Hall wouldn’t let us pass if we don’t pay the toll fee.”
Xie Zongyuan waved his hand as he didn’t care about it, and said, “It’s only a trivial number. We don’t need to care about it. Those will be on me!”
The Xie Family was second place amongst the 12 Great Clans. And Xie Zongyuan was a direct descendant of the family. Thousands of Spirit Shellfishes naturally weren’t worth much in his eyes. Moreover, he was also able to be with Zhang Yan and Liu Tao, that could be said that it was worth trading for.
Liu Tao then stood up as he cupped his hands over to Zhang Yan and Xie Zongyuan and spoke, “I will speak truthfully to the two of you. I know a Fellow Daoist. He has long crossed the Radiant Qi Realm Third Stage, but due to his limited aptitude, he could only condense his Profound Light Seed in three years but is unable to breakthrough. This time he also intends to go.”
Xie Zongyuan was quite surprised but he didn’t mind it and replied, “Senior Brother Liu is our friend. You naturally also have other friends. Then, we can go together. Since the Demon Hole is dangerous, the more people we have, the stronger our force would be.”
Liu Tao laughed, “Naturally, I also cannot allow Senior Brother Xie’s expense to be for naught. This person is also from the Waning List of Ancient Families. Although his family has long been declining, however, his ancestor has a magical treasure called the Agarwood Ship. This ship is able to submerge hundreds of thousands of feet into deep water. Since this Sea Eye Demon Hole is under the Great Lake, our Primordial Qi would inevitably be consumed due to the lack of oxygen there. But with this ship, we would be able to go easily.”
Xie Zongyuan was delighted, “Ah, very good! Senior Brother Liu is really thinking it through. After this Junior Brother returns to my family, I will also mobilize my clansmen to find more information about this Demon Hole.”
He patted the table and invited Liu Tao to sit down and drink again.
After having arranged these issues, the three of them enjoyed the wine and food heartily whilst appreciating the scenery under the moonlight. Zhang Yan looked at the dazzling bright moonlight reflected on the surging tides of the Great Lake. He extended his hand as a Mermaid beauty swam over.
He looked down and whispered a few words. The Mermaid beauty nodded brightly, and quickly dove into the water and disappeared.
Xie Zongyuan asked curiously, “Eh, Senior Brother Zhang, why were you so mysterious?”
Zhang Yan smiled and replied, “The two brothers will know about it soon.”
Soon after, brilliant dazzling lights suddenly lit up in the surroundings, as halos were tinkling and something was floating and gliding on the water surface as it suddenly floated up. Xie Zongyuan and Liu Tao looked over at the twinkling lights as though the stars in the Milky Way. They took a closer look and it turned out to be 100 Mermaids Beauties, each one of them holding a shiny glowing pearl that illuminated their celestial beautiful faces under the moonlight.
Xie Zongyuan’s eyes shined brightly as he stroked the wine cup and praised, “Wonderful, amazing, looking at this scene while drinking a pot of wine.” The moment he finished speaking, he rolled his sleeves up as he looked up, lifted a pot of wine and gulped it down.
Liu Tao sighed and spoke, “This is presumably a scenery that could only be seen in the Water State, ‘The Pearls Holding Mermaids’. Never once have I ever thought that I would be able to see it here. Humph, if Zhuang Bufan acted carelessly and created such absurd rule, I would never have been able to see such a wonderful scenery like this.”
Xie Zongyuan glared at him with a dissatisfied expression and spoke, “Bah, why would Senior Brother Liu mention unpleasant things when there is such wonderful scenery in this beautiful night? You’re spoiling the fun, you must be punished with a drink.”
Liu Tao smiled as he picked up a cup of wine and gulped it down.
As they agreed to appoint the time to meet for next time, Zhang Yan sent Liu Tao off, leaving only Xie Zongyuan.
He bowed to him and spoke, “Senior Brother, this Junior Brother wants to ask for a little help from you.”
Xie Zongyuan generously replied, “Ah, Younger Brother, you don’t need to be that polite, please do say what you have in mind.”
Zhang Yan took out a volume of a book and placed in on the table, “This manual is called “The Scarlet Fire Cloud Scroll”. I got this after winning against Wang Pan in a duel. However, I’m planning to give this back to the Wang Family and am also willing to pledge an oath as to never reveal it outside. I would like to ask Senior Brother Xie to be the middleman between us.”
Xie Zongyuan looked at the manual. He received it and then smiled and nodded, “Junior Brother, what conditions will you put forward for this exchange?” He could clearly tell that Zhang Yan of course wouldn’t give back this manual to the Wang Family for no reason. But why would he wait until now? So, he definitely had a plan.
Zhang Yan replied, “I need a top-grade Fire-attribute Cloud Sand.”
Xie Zongyuan lightly laughed, “If it’s only a Cloud Sand, Senior Brother can be at ease that it would be easy for me. Within 3 days, I will send you a message.”
He didn’t ask Zhang Yan for what use he needed the Fire-attribute Cloud Sand for. This was only a minor detail. Not to mention that everyone had their own secrets, so it would be better not to ask.
After having chatted for awhile, Xie Zongyuan bid farewell and left.
Zhang Yan didn’t return to his Immortal Cave. He poured wine whilst pondering about Liu Tao.
Today, Liu Tao’s visit shouldn’t have been only on a whim, but it was planned beforehand. However, this person seemed to draw the topic and then played the main role as he threw the demon hole into topic while also putting out another variable such as his friend having a precious flying ship treasure. Xie Zongyuan did have the financial resources and connections. But his cultivation was not high. In the eyes of outsiders, he had no worth. But why would Liu Tao seem to be extra careful toward him?
However, he could tell that Liu Tao had no evil intentions, although his plan was quite deep. But he couldn’t help but keep his vigilance. The journey to the Demon Hole was never meant to have easy risks. It could be said that it would be extremely dangerous and only provided a narrow escape to survive. He couldn’t go without enough preparation, so as to avoid to get caught unprepared.
He secretly thought, “Senior Brother Zhou has been in the Sect for more than 200 years. I think he knows quite a bit about this Demon Hole. It would be better to visit him tomorrow and ask him about this.”
After making up his mind, he got up and returned to his Immortal Cave and sat in meditation.
Bands of sunlight began to awake in the horizon the next day as Zhang Yan took a bath and changed his clothes. He set up the flying ship and went straight toward the Alchemy Pavilion to see Zhou Chongju. He then told him his plan to go to the Demon Hole.
“What? You want to practice in the Sea Eye Demon Hole?”
Zhou Chongju frowned after hearing it. It was as though he was thinking about something difficult as he stood up and walked back and forth in the Hall for a few times. He then stood firm, turned his head and asked, “Junior Brother, that day Yang Gongzhen gave you a Cloud Sand. What attribute was it?”
Yan Gongzhen was Dao Master Yan’s true name. But Zhang Yan never heard of it. But he also wanted to know the person who had given it to him. He then promptly replied, “It was a Gold/Metal-attribute Cloud Sand.”
Zhou Chongju sneered and spoke, “Bah, I knew it! This person is narrow-minded. You’ve offended his disciple. How could he be so kind to give it to you without some hidden intentions?”
He looked at Zhang Yan and spoke, “Junior Brother, no wonder that he didn’t tell you who he was. But I know his intentions and he also has another plan, so I’m not afraid that he would make any more trouble for now. However, since you’re planning to go to the Demon Hole, then, it would be a bit troublesome.”
Zhang Yan sincerely replied, “Senior Brother naturally won’t harm me. What kind of trouble is it?”
“Well.” Zhou Chongju nodded and said, “Now I won’t hide it from you. The Supreme Senior before has passed down to me the ‘Five Elemental Path of The Highest True Profound Light’. This is not a cultivation law but a Secret Art left behind by his enemy tens of thousands of years ago. He said that its might is extremely powerful. He wants me pass it to someone who has a great destiny. Not even once have I ever flipped over it in these 200 years.”
He paused, and sighed, “Ah, when you entered this Alchemy Pavilion, I took it out and flipped over it. And I found a key step. It is that you must find 5 different attribute Cloud Sands before you condense your Profound Light Seed. I originally wanted you to calmly and steadily cultivate, then slowly and completely find all of those Cloud Sands to deliver it to you. The Cloud Sand given to you by Yan Gongzhen was originally mine.”
After he heard it, Zhang Yan was unable to restrain his astonishment. He was perfectly aware that his aptitude was not high. Moreover, he had never disclosed that he was cultivating the Taiyi Golden Manual. He really didn’t know why Zhou Chongju had always been so confident in him. Not only did he believe the Supreme Senior’s judgment and prophecy. Moreover, he also emboldened himself to give him this Secret Art.
“However, humans are truly only able to plan, as the heaven’s will has other ways. I really have never thought that you’d go to the Demon Hole to practice. During this time, I was only able to collect three types of Cloud Sands.”
Zhou Chongju raised his hand and took out 3 brocade boxes from his sleeve. He respectively put them on the table and pointed to a smooth, dark-green colored Cloud Sand, “This is a Wood-attribute Cloud Sand. I got this 50 years ago when I was in the medicinal herbs field. This is a top-grade quality Cloud Sand.”
He pointed to another one, saying, “This is the Gold/Metal-attribute one, and I only recently got this. But compared to the one Yan Gongzhen has given you, this one is much worse, and isn’t worth mentioning.”
Then, he took out the last one and said, “This is an Earth-attribute Cloud Sand. This is also recently obtained. I bought this one from outside. But the quality is of the lowest grade and it would be better not to use it.”
The quantity of the Earth-attribute Cloud Sand is the highest amongst all. One would find it easily in the mortal world. However, it was very difficult to find a top-grade quality for this type. Zhou Chongju, despite being the Alchemy Pavilion’s Master, was also unable to find it.
Zhang Yan smiled and said, “It has always been difficult to have everything we want. But it’s always better to have one than nothing at all. Senior Brother doesn’t need to mind such an excessive obsession.”
Zhou Chongju nodded slightly and sighed, “But still, we don’t have the two other types. One is the Water-attribute, and the other one is the Fire-attribute.”
Zhang Yan pondered for a moment and said, “I have the means to obtain the Fire-attribute Cloud Sand. Then, there’s only Water-attribute one, but I don’t know where to find it.”
When Zhou Chongju heard this, his spirit was suddenly lifted and asked, “Ah, you can get Fire-attribute Cloud Sand? How much chance do you have?”
Zhang Yan thought for a moment and replied, “80–90%.”
“Great! Great! Great!” Zhou Chongju even said “Great” three times. A light flashed in his eyes as he spoke, “Do you remember about the Lucid Serene Heavenly Lake from before?”
“I naturally remember it since I was going there, but Zhuang Bufan forcefully took me back in front of the Serene Mountain range.”
Zhou Chongju spoke in a solemn, “Then, you must go there again. You can find Water-attribute Cloud Sand in the deepest part of the Lucid Serene Heavenly Lake.”