Chu Li departed the Leisure Cloud Pub. He made his way down the alley. The alley was quiet, and he could clearly hear the sound of his boots stepping on the quartzite road.
Halfway into the alley, he caught whiff of a faint fragrance brushing across him. Then, Chu Li saw Mei Aoshuang landing onto the ground in front of him.
Chu Li sighed, "Leader Mei Aoshuang, I would not agree to it even if you kill me. Forget it!"
Aoshuang said coldly, "Why?"
Chu Li saw how determined she was, so he could only use the last resort. "If it was the Deer Cliff, I wouldn't object. But Tai Hua Valley... Hehe."
Aoshuang raised her eyebrows, her eyes glimmering with a chilly glow.
The aura and energy from the surroundings started seeping into Chu Li's body. He utilized Prince An's heart technique and condensed his inner strength, making it more pure and compact.
Aoshuang inhaled a breath, containing her piling anger, "The Deer Cliff may be strong, but however strong they can be, they could only turn Ein into a grandmaster. And it would take a long time for them to get there, I foresee something more than thirty years. But for me, I can turn Ein into a grandmaster in five years!"
"Five years?" Chu Li frowned.
Aoshuang thought that he did not buy it, then scoffed, "the heart techniques of our Tai Hua Valley is mystical, it requires a specific quality in a person. If that quality is complemented with our heart techniques, one would be able to take huge strides of improvements!"
Chu Li nodded as if he finally understood something.
For a person with no foundation of martial arts, it only took him one year to achieve innate mastery, this achieving the grandmaster's boundary within five years was believable.
Aoshuang was already a grandmaster at such a young age, hence what she said had some logic in it. Because if not, she would not have begged Chu Li for Ein so meticulously. Based on her character, it was already a miracle that she had talked so much to someone like him.
Aoshuang could see that Chu Li was finally starting to consider, so she began to feel more energized. She continued, "Ein's physical qualities are better than me, so her cultivation would naturally be faster. Five years may be an overestimation to her. If she has a rapid understanding of martial arts, I believe that it would only take her three years!"
Chu Li gave her a fist salute, "Leader Mei Aoshuang, I'm terribly sorry. I still can't say yes."
"Why?!" Aoshuang became anxious. She took a step forward, "Five, or even three years is all it takes to become a top-notch grandmaster. By then, she would have nothing to be afraid of, don't you think that's a good thing? Why must you entrap and restrict her to become a normal person?"
Chu Li replied, "What's the benefit of becoming a grandmaster? Can you be truly invincible?"
"Besides an enlightened master, who else could be invincible?" Aoshuang scoffed.
Chu Li said, "So she can't become invincible, then there will still be danger. What's the good in that?"
By having stronger martial art skills did not mean that one would be safer. It was like hiking up a mountain, the scenery at the foothills may be ordinary, but there was no danger. As you ascend higher up the mountain, the weather would become more volatile, and if you did slip and fall, it would be the end for you.
Ein had not stepped into the martial arts world, so she was still living a normal man's life. She had the protection of the public house, and she would not be exposed to any sort of danger. But once she entered the martial arts world, no matter how strong she might be, there would still be enemies everywhere, only danger awaits.
But the most important thing of all was, Ein and the rest of the girls had a shadow of their past in them. Neither one of them would be suitable for cultivation. They would not be able to cope with the demands of breaking through the boundaries of innate mastery or grandmaster's boundary. That would require a tranquil state of mind.
Their past would be an insurmountable obstacle for them, blocking their path to enlightenment. It was likely that they would not even achieve innate mastery after cultivating for a whole lifetime.
The only suitable path for them was the White Tiger Arts.
So long as they could cultivate the White Tiger Arts to the highest level, they would not fear even the strongest grandmasters. On top of that, the cultivation of the body was very deceptive. It would not draw unnecessary attention and they could hit back at crucial moments of danger. A one hit kill.
Ein's physical qualities were only good because she had cultivated the White Tiger Arts. She was the fastest to reach enlightenment amongst all the other girls, thus Aoshuang admire her that much.
But of course, Chu Li would not tell all of that to Aoshuang. She would not necessarily believe him, and he was not willing of revealing their dark secrets.
After hearing what Chu Li said, Aoshuang flew off the handle. She could not believe that a man would behave this way. He held a high position in the public house, but he was so close-minded. How can not having strong martial arts make somebody lead a carefree life? One would be susceptible to attack.
Right there and then, she wanted more than anything to let Chu Li know, what is the true meaning of being carefree!
After she finished talking, she threw out a palm strike. Under the orange rays of the setting sun, her hand looked as white as jade, almost like it was applied with a layer of rouge.
A turbulent wave of force swarmed at Chu Li's direction, as if a giant rock was thrown towards him.
Chu Li had cultivated the heart technique that he got from Prince An for weeks now. So, his inner strength was exceptionally pure. He stretched out his hand and took in the incoming force, and he took a step back sideways.
"Pom!" the quartzite road quivered, the spot where he stomped at appeared dented. The force that he had taken in from his opponent hot down on his body like a jackhammer.
Chu Li blinked away and reappeared behind Aoshuang, pressing his palm on her back.
"Pom!" Aoshuang's body shuddered. Along with the dull sound, the invisible block of air shielding her was immediately struck open with the force of Chu Li's palm strike.
Cold shiver trickled down her spine. Chu Li's speed was too fast, and she did not manage to respond in time.
Chu Li took two steps backwards, then shook his head and said, "Leader Mei Aoshuang, if I was using a treasure sword just now, I wonder what would happen to you? I hate to say I told you so, but even a grandmaster would be exposed to certain danger. Farewell."
After that, he blinked away, vanishing from sight.
Aoshuang rushed towards where he was standing at, but she could only hit his shadow.
She angrily threw a fist in the air, and she stomped her feet. "Pom!" The quartzite tiles beneath her cracked as the dull sound rang out once more.
She was on the verge of losing her mind.
A grandmaster like her, losing to a mere innate master, how embarrassing was that? She could not believe it. She intended to teach Chu Li a lesson, but the reverse happened.
She was stretched to the breaking point. The fury piled up under her chest, unable to dissipate.
"Chu Li------Chu------!" She gritted hardly on her snowy white teeth, stomping on her feet. Then, she left the place.
For two days following that event, Chu Li had stayed inside the Thousand Herbs Garden, trying to stay away from Mei Aoshuang.
He had also set aside some time to visit his little island.
Under the supervision of Xue Ling, the carpenters worked a hectic schedule. On seeing her capability of maintain order among the group of carpenters who would often find excuses to laze around, Chu Li applauded her.
Master Siao had never returned. It seemed that he had decided to stay at the Huay public house. Siao Qi did not seem to care at all. But Chu Li speculated that something was going on between their public house and the Huay public house.
It was early morning. The air was fresh.
Chu Li was amid cultivating the Sentient Menace move, when Su Ru paid him a visit. She was dressed in an apricot-yellow gown.
Chu Li retracted his moves and proceeded to join her at the small kiosk.
Xue Ling served them some tea, then she stood beside Chu Li.
Su Ru took a small sip of the tea. She smiled and took out a small wooden box from her sleeves, handing it to Chu Li, "This was lent to you by the Lady."
A smile etched on Chu Li's face. He took it over and opened it.
Inside the box was a yellowing notebook, laid on a layer of satin. On the cover of the book wrote "Natural Laws of Qilin" four big words, in a metallic silver ink. The words were carved with such force that it looked as though they are about to break away from the paper.
Su Ru said, "The Lady had ordered me to supervise you on this. She limits your study time on this book to a maximum of one hour per day."
Chu Li could not wait to flip over the cover of the book.
"Hey!" Su Ru yelled, "Did you not hear what I just said?!"
Chu Li had his eyes fixed onto the book. He gave her a half-hearted reply, "I know, I know. One hour per day."
"It seems that the Lady's worries are justified!" Su Ru scoffed.
Chu Li stared at the contents of the book with full focus, it was about elemental formation.
He had read a few elemental formation books before, but the previous ones only wrote about the basics, not the real technique. This book on the other hand, was different. There was an invisible force blocking his memory, a similar situation to when he first read the Scripture of Life and Death long ago. It was evident that the book possessed great power.
He was quick to indulge himself in the book. Time passed unknowingly.
It felt like only a few minutes had passed when Su Ru patted on his shoulder. She gently called out to him, "Chu Li, time's up!"
Chu Li shifted his glance from the book to her. He stared at her, looking dissatisfied.
Su Ru said, "If you don't stop now, I will have to tell the Lady!"
"...Fine." Chu Li reluctantly closed the thin book. He sighed, "It was a true eye-opener!"
He felt like the door to this world had been pushed open before his very eyes, the wonders and mysteries of martial arts emerging before him.
At the previous world of his past life, this book would serve no purpose. Because at that world, there did not exist a kind of power which could allow someone to alter elements. Shifting the formation would be a waste of time, like a gun without bullets.
But it was an entirely different case in this world. There were mysterious energies in this world that was strong and endless. Mere mortals would not be able to drive that amount of energy.
It would be as astonishing as controlling a spirit beast. Controlling spirit beasts would garner an immense amount of energy, but not all people would be able to do so.
If it backfired, the huge amount of energy would consume the user, and there would be terrifying consequences.
That was the reason why out of a hundred people who attempted to learn the elemental formation, ninety would end up dead, or even more. Since the beginning of history, the number of people who could successfully drive the powers of elemental formation were extremely rare, almost as rare as the number of enlightened masters.
Chu Li had only managed to convince Siao Qi by telling her that it would help his mission to assassinate Prince An.
He knew it was impossible for him to step into the boundaries of an enlightened master in half a year's time. He did not know when he would go to the Mountain of Amethyst. Even if he went there now, it would also take more than half a year for him to become an enlightened master.
To become immensely powerful in such a short time frame, his only choice was to learn the elemental formation.
Siao Qi hesitated at first, but Chu Li's remarkable achievements all these while convinced her that Chu Li might be able to master the elemental formation.
Although she was confident about it, she remained cautious. She sent Su Ru over to supervise Chu Li, and to make sure he would not study it for more than an hour per day. She took the precaution to prevent Chu Li from getting too indulged in elemental formation, so much that he would drive himself crazy.
"Sigh..." Chu Li felt a little melancholy when he returned the book to Su Ru. "Oh, how good it would be if we have the spirit beast's blood."
Studying the elemental formation exhausts a lot of energy. In just an hour, Chu Li's head began to feel heavy. Besides the trauma he sustained when cultivating the Omniscient Mirror last time, it was the first time he had felt this bad. Even practicing martial arts for 24 hours straight would not feel as bad as this.
If he had the spirit beast's blood, he would be able to inscribe the weird symbols on the Nine Dragon's Tripod Cauldron. With that, he would be granted with an endless amount of energy, and it would certainly help with his ordeal.
After that hour of studying, he felt that he had begun to understand the elemental formation. He felt that he was making good progress.
The wisdom from his past life helped him a lot. Knowledge in particle physics helped him have a better observation of the world, more thorough than any other typical person. That was why it was easier for him to understand the main concepts of the elemental formation.
"Spirit beast's blood?" Su Ru laughed, "We can't even find a spirit beast, how do we even get its blood?"
Chu Li chuckled, "We don't have the luck of our grand ancestor."
"The blood of a wild beast wouldn't do the trick?" Su Ru asked. "Some rare beasts are quite strong too."
"Wild beasts" Chu Li pondered. "I think we could try."
"What do you want to do with the blood of a beast?" Su Ru asked. "Don't tell me you want to use it to produce pills?"
Chu Li smiled, "You're close."
"Then, what about wild birds?" Su Ru wondered. "There are several wild birds on White Skull Hill. They had devoured quite a few people. They were planning to have those wild birds killed, because once they tasted human flesh, they would yearn for more."
Chu Li turned his head around and said, "Xue Ling, commission a task to the Hall of Martial Arts. Ask them to get me two full bottles of the blood of beasts. I want fresh blood."
"Sure." Xue Ling promised.
Su Ru put the book back into the box, then kept it in her sleeves. "I will come back tomorrow."
She left the place after she finished speaking.
When Xue Ling returned, she told Chu Li, "Master, it's been quite a while since I've travelled outside of the public house. Why don't we go for a stroll?"
She had in fact received orders from Su Ru to keep Chu Li occupied. She came up with this idea to prevent Chu Li from constantly grinding the elemental formation in his head.
"There's nothing interesting out there." Chu Li said.
Xue Ling bit on her red lips and grinned, "Why don't we go to New Moon Brothel?"
Chu Li laughed, "You have quite the courage!"
The New Moon Brothel was Chong Ming town's first ever brothel. To ensure that Chu Li would stop thinking about elemental formation, she had to make the sacrifice.
"Do you dare to go there, Master?" Xue Ling scoffed.
Chu Li gave it a serious consideration. He thought, no matter how sneaky Aoshuang was, she would not step foot into the New Moon Brothel, so he smiled, "Alright then, I'll accompany you!"