Chapter 171: The [Big Dipper] Predicament
Translator: YH Editor: Lis
The authenticity of this "spiritual force" was questionable since this was, after all, purely Ai Hui's deduction.
Regardless, the most pressing issue now was to figure out how to make use of it.
It was a pity that his five residences and eight palaces had been destroyed.
Prior to becoming unconscious, Ai Hui had been devastated to see his efforts and dreams ruined. Waking up now, however, his feelings of disappointment had faded substantially, leaving only survival instincts ablaze.
No, the five residences and eight palaces were not completely destroyed. There was one that remained intact-the sky palace, which housed the sword embryo.
He would be thinking of ways to repair the other seven palaces, but that was only if his natal residence had not been destroyed. That was the foundation for the system of five residences and eight palaces as well as the basis for nurturing elemental energy. As long as the foundation was intact, there were ways to fix the rest of the system. But the destruction of his natal residence meant that there was no way of restoring the other seven palaces.
Hang on, the rest of the seven palaces....
A thought formed hazily, and he couldn't quite make it out.
Seven palaces... seven palaces....
Ai Hui racked his brains before finally realizing what he had been reminded of.
Didn't the [Big Dipper] require seven palaces?
A sudden surge of inspiration led him to the answer; it was indeed the [Big Dipper]. Having only recently acquired the technique, Ai Hui had yet to carefully examine it. The [Big Dipper] he received was the original version left behind by its creator, containing all of his experiences and a massive amount of information beyond Ai Hui's comprehension.
He hadn't thought to use it so soon, originally intending to digest more of the information before taking that final step.
Nobody would rush to utilize an original inheritance. It was a waste of the precious knowledge contained within, and it was also exceedingly dangerous to do so.
Anyone with some semblance of common sense would understand the principle of taking things one step at a time. To receive such tremendous knowledge as a greenhorn was analogous to a traveler dying of thirst throwing himself against enormous waves. Not only would he be unable to quench his thirst, he would end up drowning as well.
But time was a luxury he could no longer afford. He was at the crossroads between life and death.
There was no time to hesitate, nothing further to consider.
Without further deliberation, Ai Hui's mind delved into the [Big Dipper]. The feeling was akin to piercing the surface of a ball of water.
What came out, however, was not a stream of knowledge but a raging torrent of information. Ai Hui was unable to react in time and became overwhelmed.
He soon fell into a trance-like state.
A flood of specious arguments, paradoxical thoughts, and familiarly unfamiliar feelings engulfed his mind. After what seemed a long period of time, his consciousness emerged from what had been another person's world and drifted along like a wilted leaf upon a vast ocean.
While his consciousness was exploring the [Big Dipper], the strands of energy flowing through his body were stirred up.
The once peaceful flow began to surge ceaselessly.
While Ai Hui was in a trance-like state, the sword embryo within his sky palace also became active.
Its throbbing slowed in tempo but grew in strength. It pulsed like a bass drum, booming steadily and causing the energy strands within his body to quiver with each beat.
The "spiritual force" began to move from his lungs, completing one Circulatory Cycle Revolution before seeping through his arm and into the Dragonspine Inferno. It then proceeded to flow back into his body.
If Ai Hui was conscious, he would have been shocked to discover that this "spiritual force" circulated through the same route as the elemental energy.
The returning "spiritual force" possessed a sharp flavor and was completely absorbed by the sword embryo.
As the sword embryo grew in size, the sharp beats became even more pronounced.
Once it reached the size of a soybean, the sword embryo halted its expansion but not the absorption of "spiritual force." On the surface, a faint pattern appeared where the sword embryo was located, and as it continued to absorb the "spiritual force", the pattern became more distinct and refined, ultimately culminating into the shape of a longsword.
Only after the mark of the longsword appeared did the sword embryo halt the absorption of "spiritual force". The sharp aura shrouding the sword embryo quickly became more restrained as the sword embryo whirled about within the confines of the space between Ai Hui's eyebrows until it looked just like an ordinary seed.
The returning "spiritual force" still flowed through the sword embryo, but it appeared to have lost all interest. As the Circulatory Cycle Revolution continued, the outflow of "spiritual force" from the sword embryo was now equal to the "inflow."
There was an increase in the amount of "spiritual force" entering the Circulatory Cycle Revolution. With each revolution, the "spiritual force" passed through the sky palace as well as the sword embryo.
And each time it passed through the sword embryo, the "spiritual force" became thicker and its razor-sharp flavor enhanced. The Circulatory Cycle Revolution gradually slowed.
After countless revolutions, the "spiritual force" had become as viscous as magma. Imbued with a dense sword intent, the "spiritual force" flowed slowly back into Ai Hui's lungs. It moved along the inner walls of his lung residence and covered the entire area with a thick layer of "spiritual force." The constant influx of "spiritual energy" accumulated within and thickened the inner walls.
With each Circulatory Cycle, the thick "spiritual force" passed through the sword embryo and accumulated a stronger sword intent. The thickening layer of "spiritual force" silently transformed Ai Hui's lungs.
The "spiritual force" seemed to have a naturally nourishing effect for flesh and blood. A portion of it penetrated the inner walls of Ai Hui's lungs and began to grow with the force of life. Once Ai Hui's dilapidated lungs were fully saturated with "spiritual force," they began to steadily rejuvenate.
The sword intent embedded within the "spiritual force" was also absorbed by his lungs.
After its destruction, his lungs had been like bellows riddled with holes, but now that they were repaired, the bellows were once again capable of generating air flow. Ai Hui's breathing caused his lungs to rhythmically expand and contract, increasing the speed at which the sluggish "spiritual force" was flowing.
His left hand's palace was repaired at the same slow pace. Soon enough, the palaces in his right hand, left foot, and right foot were also restored to their original states as they similarly absorbed the sword intent.
Unlike the palaces within his four limbs, Ai Hui's gate, earth, and sea palaces had never been activated. Even so, the potent blood poison had thoroughly spread to every part of his body, bursting into his three unactivated palaces and destroying them as well. The blood poison had evidently done him a huge favor.
The "spiritual force" entered the three palaces in accordance with the Circulatory Cycle Revolution, flowing along the damaged areas and thoroughly coating them.
The gate, sea, and earth palaces were like three damaged reservoirs being patched up by the "spiritual force." Never would Ai Hui have imagined that his gate, sea, and earth palaces would be activated in this way.
This was likely a great example of the rise after the fall.
Once the seven palaces were fully formed, Ai Hui's body convulsed.
He had been floating about, bobbing up and down within the vast sea of someone else's world like a duckweed without roots. And then without warning, the floating duckweed began to take root, the familiar experiences and information finally finding an inlet. The body that had been unfamiliar one moment became familiar the next.
After activating the [Big Dipper]'s inheritance, a tremendous wave of information and past experiences had crashed directly against his mind, knocking him senseless. What was more frustrating was his lack of seven palaces-without it, the knowledge couldn't be absorbed.
It was similar to having sudden realizations about swordplay without having a sword on hand. The torrent of understandings and past experiences were stoppered without outlet, further clogging his mind.
It wasn't until the "spiritual force" miraculously repaired his natal residence and seven palaces that the deluge of past realizations and experiences found their resting ground.
If Ai Hui were to regain consciousness now, he would be shocked to discover that his seven palaces were vibrating at the same frequency.
The intensity of the vibrations increased, provoking the "spiritual force" within his body to enter state like boiling water.
Ai Hui's consciousness was restored amidst these vibrations. He immediately felt as though he would explode!
The "spiritual energy" within his body was entering a state of overflow as the seven palaces' synchronised vibration caused the "spiritual energy" to gush.
A terrifying presence seeped from Ai Hui's body.
The mastiff raised its head, uneasily clawing at the ground with its front paw. It stared at the mass of gray smoke and uttered a low and ferocious growl. It could sense something amiss.
Ai Hui's aura was slowly growing in strength.
Like startled snakes, the bandages wrapped around Ai Hui's body hastily returned to their original positions with a whoosh.
The tree roots that stabbed into Ai Hui's body turned to ash, revealing Ai Hui who looked good as new without a single scratch to be seen on his body.
Ai Hui finally understood in part why the [Big Dipper] required seven strong palaces. By the time he had snapped out of his thoughts, it had already been too late. And while the past realizations and experiences contained within the [Big Dipper] inheritance were partially eroded from time, they were still immensely powerful.
Before he could even react, his instinct had already taken control from his entire body.
The seven palaces vibrated more intensely while his aura strengthened at an insane rate.
The mastiff stared with horror at the mass of gray smoke. It unwillingly feared and revered the aura that was emitted from within the smoke.
Its ferocious snarling had long turned into frightened whimpering, and its limbs were quivering in fear. The mere presence of whatever was within the smoke was terribly suffocating, completely suppressing the mastiff. Even the blood traces on it began began to destabilize.
Ultimately, fear overcame its obedience to directives as it quickly escaped.
Far away, the lady in red turned pale with shock. Equally far but in the opposite direction, Central Pine City was shaken as well.
The mayor and the dean immediately took to the skies and were soon followed by all elementalists in the city who had azure wings. Aghast, they stared into the depths of the blood forest.
Shi Xueman was filled with fear as wel.
The terrifying presence was like a ferocious beast that crawled out from the depths of time, bearing power that was as awe-inspiring as it was frightening.
The intensely stifling atmosphere clung heavily onto everyone.
In the depths of the forest, Ai Hui's muscles were convulsing wildly within the cloud of gray smoke. Suspended midair, he felt as though he was about to explode.
The [Big Dipper] was formidable and violent, but it was the "spiritual force" within his body that made things much worse.
If it really was spiritual force...
Ai Hui forced his eyes open. He was already at his limit, and intense rays of light were practically spilling out from his eyes. If spiritual force was truly within his body... exactly how many times stronger than elemental force was it?
Damn it, I've never learned this in class! The teachers never taught this!
Ai Hui clenched his teeth, coming up with a plan to use the simplest and most brutish method to release the overflowing "spiritual force" within his body.
Ai Hui adjusted his posture midair, facing his back towards the ground while clutching his sword against his chest. Like a meteor falling from the heavens, he threw himself towards the ground with heavy force.
With this posture and the spiritual force's strength, how much power would be unleashed from executing the [Arching Fish Back]?
The wind whistled in his ears.
Ai Hui's eyes widened as a single thought filled his head.
Damn it, something I haven't learned again....
The moment he felt something against his back, his body instinctively arched. The violently surging "spiritual force" rushed to his back.
The crude move that he had practiced countless times-
-- [Arching Fish Back].
A tremendous explosion burst forth.