Speck by diamond speck sunk into Zhuo Fan’s body as the array turned. The sand acted like minute needles boring through his muscles and drawing blood.
All Diamond Sand that touched him pierced his body, with no exception. One or two specks, he could bear, but a hundred, a thousand… they were beginning to take its toll on him and all this while he could only gnash his teeth.
When the number reached millions, his whole body was soaked in blood. And this blood all came from pin-sized holes left behind by the diamond speck, akin to a very fine sieve.
Looking closely, the Diamond Sand had ruined his muscles, turning them to mush.
And this was only the beginning, yet the pain was so excruciating, worse than any torture; death by a thousand cuts, quite literally.
However, to speed up his increase in power, Zhuo Fan still bore through it with clenched teeth, unwilling to utter even a grunt. Fine sweat ran over his body, testament to the pain. Even the mighty Demonic Emperor was reduced to a shivering mess.
Then, Zhuo Fan’s eyes narrowed as he cried out, unable to endure another million specks piercing his skin and muscles.
He yelled and howled from the pain, but knew he had to stop and soon closed his mouth shut.
In his heart he knew, this body refining method would remake his entire body, from the inside out, replacing his all with Diamond Sand. So much so he would become an unbreakable diamond.
But before that, he would have to endure this agony.
Yet this was just the flesh, it would soon be followed by the bones and inner organs.
Zhuo Fan could only grit his teeth and follow through. If not for wishing to save Xue Ningxiang, he wouldn’t have chosen this path no matter how amazing the result!
The strange array never stopped revolving, feeding Zhuo Fan’s body with Diamond Sand. After two long hours, his muscles were broken down to the last fragment, then the Diamond Sand continued on to pierce his bones.
Zhuo Fan shook from the pain and a grunt escaped his clenched teeth.
Yelling would only amplify his suffering until he could take it no more. To avoid his demise, he forced his mouth shut while his eyes bulged out of his blanched face.
[Damn rotten decrepit senile Nine Serenities Emperor. How the hell did you come up with this insane refining method?]
The moment the Diamond Sand entered his bones, Zhuo Fan spasmed. He couldn’t even speak, so he cursed the first Demon Emperor of ages past in his mind.
Had the Demon Emperor heard, his reply would be mockery, “Did I push your hand? Who lied to you that a meager thing like you can succeed?”
Suddenly Zhuo Fan’s body seized up one second and laid limp the next. His skeleton was turned to dust in that instant.
Such pain filled his eyes with tears, but he was now nothing more than a pile of mush. And all he could do was lie paralyzed on the ground.
[There’s also the last step… body remodeling…]
Zhuo Fan was sweating bullets as he sucked in a deep breath through gritted teeth.
With his skeleton nothing more than a bone meal, the Diamond Sand burrowed deep into his organs. It didn’t wait to stick to them like before but punched right through them.
Zhuo Fan’s organs were shredded and he was spewing blood mixed with flesh again and again.
The blood seeped into the strange array and fused with it. Yet despite the constant flow of blood and the sweat and the pain, his lips curled into a sinister grin.
[I have prevailed. Now only body remodeling is left…]
Zhuo Fan’s smile was wiped away by a wail.
It didn’t go as planned. The Diamond Sand finished with his organs and went for his brain.
Be it a mortal or cultivator, the brain was the weakest for both, as it was the place that housed one’s soul.
Diamond Sand was raining havoc in his very soul, his mind. Once it was gone, his death would be final.
He felt as if thousands of ghosts were assailing him, a pain down to the bottom of his core. It was thousands of times crueler than the first step. But unlike before, when his mind was clear, the pain was now eating away at his consciousness.
His soul was slowly being spent and was on the verge of shattering. And all he could do was wait for his demise.
“Ha-ha-ha, for me, the grand Demonic Emperor, to die at my own hands! How ironic! If only I knew how wretched this body refining method was…”
Zhuo Fan chastised himself as he grew weaker.
All this while, the strange array never stopped spinning, and the remaining Diamond Sand on it was soaked in his blood, but he was too far gone to even care. He was hanging by a thread, one that thinned by the second.
What struck him as odd was, why did he have to refine his body through this hellish torture?
“I must’ve gone insane. Why did I use this deviant secret art…”
Zhuo Fan shut his eyes with a trace of regret, as his life flashed before his eyes.
Since he became a demonic cultivator, he overcame all trials baring his path, becoming the leader of the Eight Emperors in the Sacred Domain, the first below a Saint; a path filled with glory. Then he gained the Nine Serenities Secret Records, bringing him further joy, and though his disciple sold him out, he was reborn in the Luo clan, as a steward. Then he met Xie Tianyang and Xue Ningxiang…
“Xue Ningxiang… Xue Ningxiang…” Zhuo Fan’s lips cracked open, muttering her name in his delirium. Then he flashed his eyes open and yelled, “Ning’er!”
He recalled why he chose this path. It was to save her.
At that moment, the strange array spun faster and faster, encompassing everything in it in arcane power.
Zhuo Fan’s forehead released a blue flame that turned into tendrils and enveloped his body, to ultimately fuse into the strange array.
Zhuo Fan had no clue that this secret body refining method didn’t just refine the body, but one’s spirit too. Its purpose was to unearth all potential of a cultivator.
If only the body was refined through this method, failure was guaranteed and death was a certainty.
When Zhuo Fan was nearing death, he woke up to the reason behind his choice and his will to live thrummed with power. It resonated with his soul and allowed the blue flame in his body to fuse with the array.
It was only now that this strange array displayed its true power.
The array spun so fast that it kicked up a storm. It soon turned blue from the flame and melted the Diamond Sand before fusing it with Zhuo Fan’s blood, flowing throughout his body.
Golden blood soothed Zhuo Fan’s lacerated body, breathing life into his muscles, bones, and organs. The blue flame returned to his forehead once the process was complete and fused with his soul.
Zhuo Fan kept his eyes closed, unaware of what happened outside. He only felt his life renewing and growing with every passing moment.
All this time, Blood Infant sat cross-legged in his Dantian. Seeing the incoming golden blood, it was filled with ecstasy, swallowing as much as it could.
It began to alternate between fading in and out of reality, to ultimately turn into a golden infant. It opened its eyes and they flashed golden, filled with vigor.
Thanks to the blue flame, the pair of wings which were streaked with lightning, were turned into liquid and entered Zhuo Fan. In a blink, an image of a pair of blue wings appeared on his back with lightning flashing across them.
Deep in the Allbeast Mountain Range, high up a mountain, laid a cave. And from this cave came the shocked voice of a strong middle-aged man.
“Eh? How come the azure flame I gave the kid is now gone? Did he remove it, or did he take control over it?”
Then laughter came from deep within the cave, “Ha-ha-ha, I must be getting old. For that kid to erase it is already impossible, so how could he refine it? Not even a Saint Stage expert can receive my azure flame.”
“Although, if he really removed it, how will I find him? Well, he’ll come around sooner or later, ha-ha-ha…”
The man laughed in his cave, and the sound traveled for hundreds of miles, but there was no spiritual beast around to hear it…