Hua Chenglu let out a soft groan, filled with both pain she did not want to bear and indescribable joy. Extremely pure wood spiritual qi rushed into her body, immediately dispersing and replacing the true qi she had built up over a decade of arduous cultivation. Afterwards, it merged with her body strand by strand, circulating according to the Method of Springtime Bloom.
The first layer, the second layer… In the blink of an eye, her cultivation was elevated to the eighth layer of Qi Practitioner again. Then it advanced forward until she reached the ninth before getting to the tenth layer of Qi Practitioner! All of the meridians in her body were opened and connected by the spiritual qi, which also happened to be countless times more pure and powerful than the true qi she had originally cultivated, welling up and filling her sea of qi in her dantian.
Even though the great banyan tree was only a hair to the Great Banyan Tree King, and the spiritual qi he had channeled into Hua Chenglu was a hair’s hair, it was so great to a measly Qi Practitioner that she struggled to endure this gift.
Originally, this would have been the limit. Perhaps the Great Banyan Tree King could purge her body of impurities and let her make minor breakthroughs as a Qi Practitioner, but he could not forcefully make her break through a major realm. It would still require her own cultivation and comprehension, but who knew how long that would take.
“Lassie, clear your mind and guard it. Don’t forget who you are!”
Suddenly, the Great Banyan Tree King’s voice rang out in her head, the complete opposite from his request earlier for her to relax earlier. Hua Chenglu recovered a sliver of clarity from the great joy of her breakthrough and thought to herself, I’m Hua Chenglu!
The vast, complex information erupted violently. In the past, she seemed to be trapped in a dark maze, constantly fumbling around and looking for a way out for the sake of her path of survival and path of cultivation.
In that moment, the tall walls of the maze suddenly collapsed. Blazing, white light flooded in. The haze and darkness that troubled her ceased to exist. Even her body seemed to have vanished, only leaving behind her soul, rapidly expanding in the light.
She was like someone who had spent their entire lives blind, deaf, and mentally disabled suddenly able to see, hear, and think clearly. It felt like thousands of years had passed, yet also like only an instant had passed. She was completely submerged in great joy and thought for some reason, So this is the paradise mentioned by buddhism!
“Don’t forget who you are!” The Great Banyan Tree King’s ancient voice rang out again. Hua Chenglu remembered the story about the Jade Wisdom Chan Master and was slightly surprised inside. Afterwards, she actually asked herself in some confusion, Who am I?
She was called Hua Chenglu, but that was only a name. Something had vanished, something had changed, and something had appeared out of nowhere, completely merging with her and now inseparable.
But without a doubt, she had become stronger, whether it was her mind or her body, but she also seemed to miss a lot of things. If a child could become as mature as an adult overnight, they would miss out on the innocence of childhood and the rashness of youth. The child perhaps would never be able to understand what price they had paid. There would only be an additional blank in their memories.
The aerial roots returned into the tree and Hua Chenglu drifted down like a gentle flower petal.
Lightning emerged from nowhere, baptising all creatures that wanted to remould themselves.
Hua Chenglu did not panic at all. She spread her arms and welcomed the lightning.
Ru Xin was a little annoyed. As soon as she entered the Dragon Arena, she immediately went off to meet up with Liu Zhangqing and everyone else, but she ran into an unwelcome guest along the way, a man wielding a fiery-red trident who burned violently—Zhu Lie.
Ru Xin did not want to fight anyway, while Zhu Lie happened to be following Si Qing’s orders, heading towards the forest of stone to unite with everyone so that they could kill Li Qingshan. He was not particularly happy with carrying out the order and would much rather find another opportunity for a battle to the death with Li Qingshan, but he did not have much choice as a captive.
On the mirror-like surface of the lake, these two people who rushed off towards different places brushed past one another.
Ru Xin sighed. Fire devourers had always been good at fighting, and the flames they unleashed possessed startling power. This guy was much more difficult to handle compared to regular late Foundation Establishment cultivators.
A streak of fire suddenly sped over, blocking her path. Zhu Lie furrowed his brows as the flames in his eyes leapt around, staring into Ru Xin’s eyes.
She was exceptionally beautiful, which made him confirm her face did not exist in her memories. He was not tempted by her charm either. Instead, he experienced a strange feeling. This woman made him feel an intense sensation of loathing. The loathing was almost instinctual, tempting him to relieve himself by killing her.
However, he considered his current situation, how he probably would feel the same no matter which human cultivator he saw. If it were only this sense of loathing, he would have never gone out of his way to turn around and rush back. The loathing also contained an indescribable sense of familiarity. It was like he had run into an acquaintance in a place far from home.
This feeling was so novel and special that it was unforgettable. In his memory, he had only experienced this feeling once before, so he asked.
“Have we met somewhere before?”
“I’ve never been to an uncivilised place like the Mist province. You may have mistaken me for someone else.”
Ru Xin smiled and gazed at Zhu Lie. She was doing her best to search her memories, but she found nothing. She had seen far too many fire devourers. After all these years, all that remained in her memories were furious balls of fire and twisted, raging faces.
Zhu Lie no longer said anything more. He suddenly struck out with his trident, blazing with fire as it shot towards Ru Xin like a meteor. Since you won’t admit it, I’ll kill you and see! This was how fire devourers handled things.
Before death, people will always divulge many secrets. If they still refuse to confess their secrets, then they can just take the secret with them to the afterlife! It is not like killing a measly early Foundation Establishment cultivator would take much time anyway.
Ru Xin was already prepared. In the moment Zhu Lie raised his trident, she directly plunged into the water. These damned fire devourers!
The trident missed. The scorching flames illuminated the surface of the lake as white mist rose up. Ru Xin’s voice rang out from beneath the water, “I heard a fire devourer was serving Si Qing as a dog, going around biting people under his orders. Don’t tell me that’s you!”
“Shut up!” Zhu Lie thrust the trident viciously towards the origins of the voice. With a boom, the surface of the lake was split open. Under the invading flames, a white figure flashed past, but it slid to one side gracefully the moment the flames were about to reach it.
“I’ve heard that among the otherfolk, Fire Devouring folk have the shortest temper. They’re all proper men with violent natures who would rather die than submit. Looks like rumors really aren’t reliable. As it turns out, you swagger around on your high horse when you’re matched up against those weaker than you and you suck up to those stronger than you. I’ve heard that Si Qing has quite the liking towards men, tsktsk!”
Ru Xin hit Zhu Lie’s sore spot. His flames immediately surged ten meters into the air.
“Very impressive. You’ve infuriated me. Do you know that the more angry fire devourers are, the stronger their flames become?”
“Tsk!” Ru Xin dove deep into the water.
Zhu Lie originally thought he could finish off Ru Xin in a few moves, but he discovered she was even more slippery than Li Qingshan, completely avoiding a direct confrontation with him and swimming around like a fish in the water. No matter how violent his flames were, she would always be able to grasp their weak points ingeniously and nullify his attacks wave after wave. It was as if she knew all of his abilities, moves, and even method of battle like the palm of her hand.
He clearly possessed a crushing advantage, yet he was unable to triumph over her immediately, which made him even more suspicious. Between the attacks, Ru Xin’s sneers and remarks would constantly ring out from the bottom of the water, agitating him so much that he roared out. He could no longer care about Si Qing’s orders anymore. His attacks became even more violent, refusing to give up until he killed her.
Ru Xin ran into danger again and again. If it were not for all the talismans she had accumulated, she would have come close to losing her life many times. She pursed her lips firmly, and her expression did not change at all, like a jade statue.
The constantly-invading flames, the ceaseless running, and the endless rainforest. These memories that she had already forgotten suddenly became clear once again. The blood continued to drip, without fading in colour at all. The pain was still so vivid like it was yesterday. Flames reignited in the depths of her eyes.
After fighting for another hour, Zhu Lie grasped the opportunity and lunged down, thrusting his trident towards Ru Xin’s back. Ru Xin suddenly turned around, and a smile stretched across her face. It was completely different from her usual, gentle expression. It was as flagrant as fire and filled with aggression.
A strange, hideous figure suddenly appeared behind him. It was a strange humanoid wrapped in bandages. The white bandages were soaked in blood and pus, making them lose their original, pure-white colour. The body exposed between the gaps was festering and rotten, covered in disgusting nodules. Some parts were only skin and bones as if even the flesh had been scraped away, while other parts were completely swollen, extremely foul and repulsive.
It went up to receive Zhu Lie as soon as it appeared. Zhu Lie frowned slightly. He was wrapped in flames and dressed in sturdy armour. Even regular weapons would struggle to harm him, so he was confident he could block any attack. How could he give up on his opportunity to kill her over a mere figure?
The hideous figure moved with alarming speed, passing through the flames and armour silently and lunging into Zhu Lie’s body.
Zhu Lie experienced an ominous feeling. His body stiffened, and his trident paused for a moment. Ru Xin used this opportunity to evade.
Zhu Lie touched his chest and discovered that apart from stiffening up in the very beginning, he felt nothing else. That was all the figure seemed to be capable of. As it turned out, it was merely a bluff. She had almost gotten him.
However, as time went on, he began feeling uncomfortable all over. In the beginning, it was only a small discomfort. His body felt hot and cold and slightly itchy, and he could not control the flames as freely as before. Afterwards, his head began to spin. Eventually, it became filled with pain like it was about to explode. Red rashes appeared all over his body, so itchy that he almost could not help but scratch them.
He mobilised the flames desperately, wanting to dispel the uncomfortable feeling, but it was completely useless. Although his attacks were still vicious and he possessed the upper hand firmly, he no longer posed a lethal threat to Ru Xin.
“What did you do to me?” Zhu Lie bellowed furiously, having lost his previous might already. His neck swelled up and bulged.
Ru Xin smiled. “Sir, you’re sick, but fortunately, you’re quite lucky. I’m a doctor!”