Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
By the time Lu Ye and his companions regained their senses, they found themselves standing just in front of a large pit with tendrils of mists hovering lazily out of its bottomless abyss. Sentinels of the Xianyuan City Watch stood guard around the area of the pit and the captain immediately bowed and saluted at the sight of the Lord Governor appearing.
The master of the city waved a hand to dismiss the captain.
Lu Ye looked at the pit. He could see nothing inside except the roiling plumes of fog rolling out of a hole in the ground listlessly and somehow the mists just wouldn’t leak out of the edge as if an invisible wall was keeping them confined inside.
[Is this really the legendary Pool of Divine Purification?! If this is a pool, then where’s the water?!]
Yi Yi sidled close and whispered, “Lu Ye, Lu Ye… The mists… I have a feeling that they could be a boon to me.”
As a spectral entity herself, Yi Yi had a certain sensitivity toward the Spiritual Qi circulating in the mist. Lu Ye could not feel anything; but Yi Yi was positive that if she could enter the pool, she could derive plenty of benefits.
“So, um, that’s it?” Lu Ye panned his focus to the Lord Governor just beside him, “Just jump in?”
The master of the Lost City paced a couple of steps nearer to the pool with his hands held behind his back as if he was surveying its interior. “That’s right. Just jump in. But you have only six hours. After which, I will transport you back to where you came from.”
He barely finished speaking when Lu Ye threw himself inside. There was no time to lose, and Lu Ye knew he would need to make good use of every second he had.
As he plunged down the shaft, Lu Ye’s weight pulled him down into the blackness of the pit. He plummeted deeper and deeper—until he began to feel something amiss. [Is it me or is this godforsaken hole disguised as a pool just too deep?!]
The Lord Governor mentioned nothing of this sort!
Lu Ye was about to activate Glyph: Wings when he felt an invisible force coming from below his feet and stopping his descent.
But the feeling below his feet was not of anything rocky or even remotely solid; it felt like stepping on cotton. He looked at his feet and saw nothing below but the gaping darkness of the abyss staring back at him. All around him, his sight was obscured by fog assailing him from all sides, and he could not find Yi Yi and the others.
But he was not alarmed; they must be somewhere in the pool as well, and must be safe.
With only six hours Lu Ye wasted no time in sitting down and beginning his meditation.
Being here reminded Lu Ye of his experience enriching his physical endurance in the Dragon Spring where one needed to breathe in the deep scarlet effulgence from the spring to gain the benefits. Unlike the Spring, Lu Ye could feel power enveloping every inch of his skin and entering his body.
The sensation of being weightless left him in a very relaxed and tranquil mood, dispelling all the discomfort that had been accumulating from his long hours of insipid study.
Such were the effects of immersing oneself inside the fog of the Pool of Divine Purification, a spiritual cleansing that refreshed one’s mind and spiritual self. If Lu Ye was at a higher rank where his senses could perceive his own soul or other ectoplasmic substance, then the benefits that he would enjoy would be far greater than his imagination.
Even so, just being here was already a huge boon to him and most particularly his spiritual well-being.
But if he could already derive such benefits in his normal state, what about meditating? Would he gain even more?
Realizing this, Lu Ye constructed more Glyph: Gathering Spirits around himself.
The luminescent images of funnels hovered over every single one of his Spiritual Points. More churning swirls gathered around Lu Ye, rushing furiously into him. The torrents of energy being absorbed into his body greatly enhanced the clarity of his state of mind and Lu Ye was feeling himself growing lighter and lighter.
Standing by the edge of the pit with his hands behind his back was a curious Lord Governor of the Lost City in deep contemplation. “Two of the four signs have been revealed… In fact, they share a resemblance with that one… Intriguing…”
He was still murmuring to himself when he discovered a strange development occurring where Lu Ye had jumped into. His face looked grim. [What is going on?! What method is he employing to make the consumption of Spiritual Qi around him faster?!]
That was not anything worth celebrating or applause. The energies released by the Pool were so rich that just immersing oneself inside its gaseous emissions could make one spiritually stronger and more potent. But as with all things, moderation is the key to success. Wanton consumption or absorption of the energies would only cause one to be disintegrated by the sheer power of the energies.
[He won’t need six hours… By the looks of things, this brat will be out of the pit in an hour if he knows what’s good for him], mused the Lord Governor.
But the Lord Governor did nothing to stop Lu Ye. In fact, he stood there and watched with interest, eager to see what Lu Ye would do when he discovered the problem.
The enrichment of one’s spiritual being was something that many hoped for but oftentimes failed to achieve thus making it easy for one to lose oneself within the Pool.
In the meantime, Lu Ye was still busy and thrilled in constructing more Glyph: Gathering Spirits funnels. The more energy he consumed, the more he felt light and free. The inexplicable sensation of thrill and ignoration was intoxicating and overwhelming enough to engulf him in joy and confidence, making him feel that he could accomplish anything.
Feeling perturbed by the bizarre sensation, Lu Ye stopped constructing more Glyphs.
If the experience of enriching himself at the Dragon Spring had taught him anything, it was to not tempt Fate by pushing limits further than he ought to.
Lu Ye paused and reexamined himself. Something had changed. His spiritual senses had become more acute—no longer vague and murky like before—and the more he consumed the energies teeming the fog, the stronger the clarity became.
As a matter of fact, Lu Ye could even “see” the energies flowing in his veins. He could “see” his Tree of Glyphs; how it was growing and how many of the leaves on its boughs were aflame.
Then he saw himself sitting cross-legged, hovering in the middle of a bottomless shaft, surrounded by a deluge of fog swirling around him like a swarm of bees over a bed of flowers.
That terrified Lu Ye enough. For one to see oneself from such an angle was surrealistic enough. He instantly thought of the tales of astral projection that he had heard before. Then it hit him, something was terribly amiss!
He lowered his gaze and looked at himself. He had become something like Yi Yi—a spectral being!
The link between his body and his spirit was weakening!
[This cannot be! What in Heaven’s name is going on?!]
He quickly stopped whatever he was doing and focused hard. That was when he felt a strong pull. He once again opened his eyes. He was back inside his body, sitting down in the middle of nowhere. He no longer was in his spectral state anymore.
[Something is wrong with the fog!]
Lu Ye understood that he needed to tread more carefully from now on.
He made sure that he was fine and reflected on what happened. It did not take long for him to pinpoint the issue.
Beyond any doubt, the Pool of Divine Purification enriching properties could do any Cultivator a lot of good, but Lu Ye realized that he needed to be careful since, as a Spirit Creek Realm Cultivator, there was a limit to how much good his physical body could take.
If his spirit were to become too strong for his body to sustain, then it would break free from the confines of his physical body like what happened just now. The degree of this matter could be worse the stronger his spirit became.
Once his spirit broke free from the force that bound it to his physical body, he would become a real spectral being—an apparition free and completely separated from its vessel.
That was certainly not a price Lu Ye was ready or eager to pay.
Being a spectral being had its uses, but without a physical body as an anchor, there was little he could do as well. His options would be severely limited.
Yi Yi did not have her own physical body, but as the spirit possessed Amber, Amber was, in a way, her physical vessel.
Now that the problem has been identified, Lu Ye practiced more caution. At the Dragon Spring, Lu Ye did not have to worry about absorbing too much of the blood-red diffusion that the Spring emitted. All it took was a short duration of time for him to get used to the enhancements of his body.
But the Pool was altogether a different story. Having one’s spirit become too strong and too potent wasn’t good news.
From the one hundred and thirty Glyph: Gathering Spirits he constructed, Lu Ye quickly cut down more than half the amount to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. He needed to slow down his intake of energy.
Moments later, he cut down another half, leaving only thirty Gathering Spirits funnels operating.
But that barely improved things; he had absorbed too much energy from the Pool, making the growth of his spirit now at a zenith. Any further and his spirit would be forcibly extricated from his physical body once again—this time possibly for good.
He paused and waited. Ultimately, he concluded that all thirty Gathering Spirits funnels too needed to be unmade.
Lu Ye wasn’t enjoying this one bit. Here he was, surrounded by so much energy, yet all he could do was sit and allow his body to absorb it at an arduously ponderous pace.
Outside the pit, the Lord Governor was still observing. His head nodded. That Lu Ye had discovered the crux of the problem and had decisively chosen to drastically lower his rate of absorption had come as a huge surprise.
[Interesting fellow. ‘We mustn’t be too greedy’, eh? One really should understand that there’s always a point where too much can do more damage than good.]
His sentiments of feeling impressed were quickly proven to be misplaced after all as Lu Ye took out his Storage Bag, made sure that its opening was as wide as possible, and began waving it around as if to fill its insides with as much fog as possible…
That was hilarious enough for the Lord Governor that he groaned with exasperation. [One must not be greedy’? What a load of bollocks!]
Inside the pit, Lu Ye was peering into his Storage Bag. Did he manage to fill the Bag with some of the fog? No, he doubted it would be enough anyway. The Storage Bag was not without its limits; there was no telling whether this method would work and how much energy he could gather.
He had heard rumors about how people had brought back droplets of the Pool’s water to be presented to their elders and mentors as gifts. [How on earth did they even find the water?] He wondered.
Lu Ye stowed away the Storage Bag. That was when his gaze panned downwards.
[The swirling fog containing all this energy must come from somewhere below], he realized. [But how far is the bottom of this pit? Is the real Pool really down below?]
He clipped his Storage Bag back on his belt and dove down, falling deeper at breakneck speed to seek the bottom of the shaft.
He plummeted down the shaft with more fog wheezing by him as he fell. But it was not fast enough and he activated Glyph: Wings and zoomed all the way down.
He punched through the fog like a lark streaking through clouds in its flight.
After almost a quarter of an hour of diving the bottom of this shaft was still nowhere in sight. Lu Ye was beginning to wonder if this pool was really a bottomless abyss. His long dive was beginning to feel unsettling.
Outside the pit, the Lord Governor had elected to just sit by the edge and watch with his chin cupped in one hand. Humans who were alive were known to enter the Lost City of Xianyuan every now and then, but seldom had the Lord Governor shown himself to them. It had been long since he had stumbled upon anything as interesting as this.
He had been watching Lu Ye and unbeknownst to Lu Ye himself, he had never been falling any deeper. In fact, he had been right where he was all the time. It was just the strange and otherworldly properties of the fog surging upwards that had given him the impression that he was moving.
At last, Lu Ye withdrew his wings. He stopped and looked around, pondering quietly.
If he could not determine the true depth of this pit, and he could not ascertain if he reached the bottom; why couldn’t he just find some other way to produce the droplets?
The fog should be thick enough for him to condense into liquid, like how normal vapor could be changed into water. As to how, Lu Ye had found an idea.