- Book 12 Qin Yu – Chapter 3 3-in-9 Soul Refinement
+Previously on Stellar Transformations…
Qin Yu felt heartened to Liu Han Shu, and helped the fellow reform his poor meridians. Stunned by this gracious act, Han Shu pled Qin Yu to take him as a disciple, and Qin Yu accepted. From Han Shu, Qin Yu learnt how he would go about traveling from Amber Moon to the demon realm…
“So road tolls and an interstellar map.” Qin Yu repeated to himself. In terms of the road toll, he wasn’t worried at all, he has mountains of low grade elemental stones. The down side was that he didn’t have an unlimited amount, if only he could be able to sell a few pieces of immortal class equipment, it would definitely increase his stocks. He had obtained multitudes of treasures from Ni Yang’s Realm. The next most important thing was the star chart.
From what Qin Yu could gather from his new disciple, stellar maps are very rare.
“Ah, master, there is another important thing I forgot to mention before.” Han Shu suddenly said aloud. “Speak.” Qin Yu turned to face his disciple. His disciple hastily replied, “I have heard rumours that a star chart is not always correct, the coordinates may be but the teleportation talisman may be destroyed at that location.” Qin Yu couldn’t help but feel a strand of loss.
He’s right, it might not be possible to permanently destroy or damage a teleportation talisman, but these star charts are as old as time. They couldn’t be kept up to date, which is to say that the talismans may or may not be usable, at least usable with ease.
Han Shu seriously pondered his master’s query, he wanted to be useful to his new master, “And……between two talismans, a star may have collapsed and became a ‘devouring region’. It might have drawn nearby stars and planets towards its core, making the talismans on those planets or stars less accessible.”
Qin Yu gazed downwards, deep in thought, considering all the possible problems that may occur below the surface of simple interstellar journeys. Cosmic bodies are constantly changing, a star chart will only show general routes but not the present situation at each talisman’s location. In order to determine the current situation at the location, he’d have to be there to accurately assess the scenario.
“Master, another thing, I’ve heard my father talk about interstellar journeys. Supposedly, the trekker needs to be at least a golden immortal stage expert!” Han Shu whispered in a breathless tone, eyes widened.
Qin Yu only smiled slightly. “Hoooh, Han Shu, you think that your master is not on par with a golden immortal? You’re worried that I might be in danger on my interstellar journey.”
Han Shu hastily replied, he didn’t want doubt his own master, “Master, junior does not doubt in master’s prowess. It’s just that…our Amber Moon star produced an interstellar merchant. I hear that those merchants are at least above golden immortal stage experts. You see, my father once served an interstellar merchant once, and when he returned he flaunted about his time telling me many things about an interstellar merchant.”
“Interstellar merchants?” Qin Yu brows shot up in mild surprise, “Tell me, what these so-called interstellar merchants?” He had his own assumptions of what they were, but he wanted to clarify these existences.
Han Shu licked his lips, his eyes swooning, his expression was in full worship, and said: “interstellar traders, those people are the cream of the crop of experts. They are all very skilled. They originate from the demon, devil and immortal realms, in all manners of places. Their primary goal is to buy cheap herbs, items or ores from one place, and sell it high at a distant place. They would earn the difference in prices – selling and buying, between the two markets. Sometimes, the difference would be ten times, or even a hundred times!”
It was as Qin Yu expected: they were very much similar to the merchants and traders of the Qian Long Continent, except they would travel longer distance.
“There is high risk to interstellar travel and the road toll is also very high, so those interstellar traders selling at prices hundred time greater than the buying price, is commonplace. The risks are sky high after all.” Han Shu continued solemnly as if showing sympathy, “Master, our small planet does not have many experts, but at the epicentre of our galaxy – the silver stream galaxy. That is at the Scarlet Leaf star, experts are plentiful and powerful. In the entire immortal plane, only the strong is respected. If others know you have many treasures, the powerful will likely to kill you for those treasures.”
Of course, Qin Yu had suspected as much. Most merchants must carry a number of treasures and precious goods, if they weren’t strong then they would’ve died and robbed by experts at each planet.
Han Shu in toned, “Our part of the immortal realm is slightly better, at least most people consider robbery in broad daylight below themselves, and they’re unlikely to act directly. They will only under the table or in secret. I hear that boundary between the devil and demon realm is far more chaotic and lawless, people get mugged as often as they could blink.”
Qin Yu uttered a hearty chuckle, his disciple was still a sapling, he doesn’t understand that underhanded cloth-and-dagger manoeuvres are more dangerous than daylight robbery. But he knew all that was said were all rumours or things his disciple heard second hand, and only by witnessing it first hand, will he be able to determine the authenticity of the information. Some things must be true or else it wouldn’t be gossiped, and from that he gain some understanding.
He heard enough, then instructed Han Shu, “Han Shu, I noticed the Xiuzhenists on the streets before did not have solid foundations. Your skills may be poor, but your soul is at the late Yuanying stage. Go on, absorb the energy from that middle grade holy elemental stone. Once you’ve reach Yuanying stage….we’ll see then.”
“At once. Then I will be retiring.” Han Shu immediately left the room after a curt bow.
Qin Yu sighed, “In the immortal plane, Xiuzhenists here are far more fortunate than the ones in the mortal plane. Here the density and quality of the energy in the world is of a higher grade than energy in the mortal plane. Alas, not only do practitioners train faster in skill, but also in soul.”
Even children are Jindan practitioners, if this were the mortal world, it would be unbelievable.
After a while, Qin Yu discarded his roaming thoughts. This place was his ‘here and now’, thinking about the past would not help his situation at all.
He recollected his thoughts and determined: “To know how much road tolls will cost, I need to find an interstellar merchant. As for the map, for now I don’t need a planar map of all the realms. A map for the Indigo Bay star field will suffice.” He knew how valuable and rare maps were, and didn’t want to set his sights on something unreachable.
But there are more things important than those goals, “I have more hidden power. As soon as possible, I should open the second layer world of the Atlas of Ten Thousand Beasts. In there are plenty of demon king stage divine beasts. Then will I be able to breathe easier.” Qin Yu had settled on his action plan, he wasn’t a bit worried.
A broad grin parted his lips, he remembered something essential, “Ha ha, how could I been so foolish. As a new master, I still haven’t bestow my disciple a gift.”
The only decision now was which treasure should he give? When he was in Ni Yang’s Realm, he had acquire numerous high grade immortal equipment. But, then a Yuanying brat with a high grade immortal item, isn’t that asking to be robbed and killed? “How about giving that top grade holy weapon to my disciple?” With a wave, Qin Yu retrieved that familiar black long sword, he’d used in the past, Hei Yuan.
‘Hei Yuan’ was a top grade holy weapon that Qin Yu refined himself. The key aspect that makes it no less precious than a low grade immortal item lies in its adaptability. It was that metallic sword that could shape-shift; whether it was defense, attack or various other designs, it could mimic very well.
He retracted the blood contract with the weapon and stored it again, in preparation for Han Shu, when the fellow finishes training.
“Shou Yan, bring another with you when you come out.” Intoned an indifferent voice.
From thin air, a beauty – Shou Yan, wearing fragrant purple gown and a middle-aged man in a teal robe appear unexpectedly in the room. The duo immediately bowed. “At your service, Milord.”
Shuo Yan started introductions, “Milord, this is Zang Yuan, a level 9 demon. He’s original form is the powerful Teal-coloured Shadow Panther. Whether it is strategy or strength, he is among the top ten of all the divine beasts of the first layer world.”
Qin Yu nodded in interest. There were over two hundred level 9 demons in the first layer world, and as per Emperor Ni Yang’s introduction, all are powerful demons. It’s true that Shuo Yan mentioned the ones in the first layer world had poorer aptitudes, simply because they did not ascend to the second layer world as a demon king. To be able to stand at the top ten of so many level 9 demons, their strength would be no less than ordinary level 9 golden immortals.
“Zang Yuan, Shuo Yan. I know that interstellar merchants exist with strength no less than a golden immortals’, but their servants couldn’t be as powerful as them, right?” Qin Yu laughed.
Shuo Yan smiled in return, “Milord, you should direct this question to Zang Yuan. His father was a former interstellar merchant.”
“Oh?” Qin Yu arched his right brow in mild surprise. He looked at Zang Yuan with anticipation.
“Milord, an interstellar merchant must be at least a golden immortal, that is fact. The most common reason is that the journey is dangerous, but the most important reason is so that they could use ‘greater teleportation’ during their travels. Say, if the merchant meets trouble at a location on the map, their sense to no lose out on profits enforces them not to turn back. In this case, they would need an escape plan, right? That’s where ‘greater teleportation’ comes into play as a way to take a shortcut around the problem.”
His disciple had only heard about interstellar merchants while Zang Yuan had a firmer backing and more to say.
“These merchants may be soloists or come with attendants. Attendants are separated into two categories – bodyguards and servants. Normally, the prowess of bodyguards are relatively strong, of course, golden immortal bodyguards would cost a fortune to hire.” Zang Yuan informed, “A rule of thumb: the most powerful the hired guns are the more expensive their fees are. While servants are primarily to serve the merchant’s everyday desires, and are naturally weak.”
“Everything has a price. Tell me, how much is money, in the immortal plane, worth?” He had held this question in for a while now, unsure who to ask to get an accurate approximation.
Shuo Yan had a smiled playing on her lips, “Your honour, that is very easy. For experts at the stage of immortal, devil and demon, low grade elemental stones represent the smallest unit of money in the immortal plane. Generally, say it something costs a hundred dollars it represents a hundred low grade elemental stones.” With another smile, she continued, “In terms of higher units and currency exchange: 1 top grade elemental stone = 100 high-grade stones = 10,000 middle-grade stones = 1,000,000 low-grade stones. The most valuable is the elemental essence core, where 1 = 100 top-grade elemental stones. But, this is only an approximate, because essence cores are extremely scarce. At times, they can be worth more than said amount.”
The trio continued to discussion for a long time.
By the end of the conversation, Qin Yu had gained some deeper insights to how the immortal plane operated. He excused himself and began to meditate and train his soul force. What he needed now was the sufficient soul force to refine level 1 golden immortal yuanyings, because he still has three unrefined golden immortal yuanyings.
“I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally broken through to the early yuanying stage.” Han Shu breathed in deeply, his eyes shone with excitement. He walked out of his room towards the direction of his master’s.
A chilling voice broke him from his thoughts, he snapped his head towards the voice. In the courtyard, there are a man and woman eating some fruits from a stone table.
The fruits looked peculiar; these were fruits grown in the first layer world of the Atlas.
“Who are you? Why did you come to my residence?” Han Shu looked worriedly at the two strangers.
Unknown to him, the duo was precisely, Shuo Yan and Zang Yuan.
The two continued to eat, didn’t even give Han Shu a look, “The master is training, do not disturb him.” The woman said nonchalantly, “Our lordship is also your martial master, do not worry, and just wait outside for him.” A yuanying stage practitioner wasn’t even worthy her attention. She was the leader of a large group of level 7-9 demon stage divine beasts.
“Mm…aster?” Han Shu choked on his own breath. He widened to the limit, how did his own master gain two attendants already? And so quickly!
Within Qin Yu’s room.
Qin Yu was sitting in a cross-legged position, as lifeless and still as a rock. There wasn’t a wisp of life force or presence around his body.
During his soul training, he became aware that the training was divide into three stages: human, earth and then sky. Only when one reaches these three stages, one’s soul could then be considered complete and whole.
The room became clouded by thick grey fog, even though the room was aired out con the breeze from the open windows, the mist did not clear. It hung around like a bad cold.
Qin Yu had spread his awareness to the space surrounded the mist. This was the first stage of the soul – the human stage soul domain, he’d only know of it when his soul was transformed by his meteoric tear – by the 3-in-9 Soul Refinement. Before this time, Qin Yu had not known that the soul could be trained. He had always thought the soul could only be nurture with age.
The mist and domain was the materialisation of Qin Yu’s human stage soul and awareness.
Within the illusionary first layer’s mist of the soul, his hands moved in a preordained manner according to the pattern depicted by the ‘3-in-9 Soul Refinement’. It contained a continuous flow of thirty-six hand seals. On the surface looked easy but as he flowed through from the first to the next, each successive seal was somehow more difficult than the last.
He couldn’t divert his attention even a little, the slightest distraction would cause that sense to fail, but…..he noticed that these seals have a unique aura to them, when completed it relaxed the mind and body.
As he shifted through the hand seals, streams of green-tinted mist pervade the first layer soul domain from outside. Over time, many more streams of green mist flowed into the domain. His hands moved like experts in mid-combat flowing from one form to another, through the thirty-six seals.
It may have been dull for others to repeat the same movement, but Qin Yu did not tire, he could feel his soul developing, growing and transforming, constantly at an astonishing rate.
Were he not too focused on capturing this mantra-like state, he would notice that the green-tinted mist was diluted versions of the bright green specks the flowed out from the meteoric tear. In this form of meditation, like any other close-door training, time was a subjective thing – it did not feel like time flowed the same as in the real world.
Suddenly, something clicked, like a light prevailing over the endless space…
Qin Yu was at the precipice of another breakthrough, but he did not proceed and stop immediately. “Phew, well now, my soul force should be around a level 8 immortal.” Qin Yu couldn’t feel much like has passed, but look about and by estimation, he knew a full three months had passed.
He sighed; if he’d allowed his soul to passively cultivate the meteoric tear’s nourishment, it would have taken at least three years to reach this stage. By active cultivation it only taken him three months to accomplish the same results.
Looking about his room, he walked outside for the first time in three months.
In the courtyard of the little residence, the two demons were patiently waiting for their master. Seeing Qin Yu approach, the two stood up in unison and paid their respects. “Welcome, master.” Qin Yu gave them a light nod, “Oh that’s right, where is my disciple?”
“That child – Liu Han Shu, did not know how long the master would train for, so he went out a while ago.” Shuo Yan answered.
Qin Yu nodded, almost to himself. It was expected. He extended his immortal sense to encompass the entire city, not single action in the city went unnoticed.
Liu Feng city; with over ten million population, was a bristling city. Citizens were going about their destinations, among them were about a thousand immortals. These immortals dotted the landscape, in every profession, every craft and every task. It was business as usual.
He already could sense where his disciple was. “I’d never of thought….” He swung his head side to side and sighed, “My first disciple in the immortal plane would be bullied and kicked about at someone else’s leisure….. Well, I wish to acquire a star map, so it would be best if I establish myself with a little force. First I’ll gain control of this puny Amber Moon planet, and acquire some attendants and followers, that would make my job much easier.”
Qin Yu wasn’t one with excess patience, he would not allow things to ebb by in nature’s way. He was the type of person to take things by storm and calculation, of course.
With a thought, he disappeared from the courtyard. He had teleported to his destination.
As the master of both Shuo Yan and Zang Yuan, they were aware of their master’s location, and a second later, they also teleported to Qin Yu’s location.
Amber Moon was governed by three major clans, these clans hold equal power. But with the appearance of Qin Yu and formation of his relationship, with one clan’s – Liu’s, nearly insignificant disciple, clouds of change was rolling in from the far horizon. Amber Moon was the verge of this coming storm.