Chapter 3: The Nameless Formulation
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Jiang Yi did not need to pinch his legs to know that he was no longer dreaming, as the painful sensations resonating from his multiple wounds felt believably clear. Besides, the sky was still pitch black and neither had the Grand Elder not returned home, nor had Xiaonu finished with her work shift outside—not to mention the impossibility of a mountain-like stack of secret manuals piled atop the table.
But if it wasn’t a dream…
Jiang Yi closed his eyes, carefully focusing his attention on his inner thoughts. Once again, he saw that unimaginably freakish and mysterious script. He could see each character unbelievably clear; they were black, skinny, and moved about energetically. This was definitely no figment of his imagination.
Jiang Yi let out a pent-up sigh. “Thankfully… well… at least for now, I haven’t discovered any negative impacts.”
Jiang Yi lay on the bed deep in thought for a while. After a moment, he shook his body, then pinched his head. When he confirmed that those tiny black words were probably not harmful to his well-being, he finally heaved a long sigh of relief. Many years of oppression in a depressive life had conditioned his spirit. His ability to endure more stress was greater than that of most other people of his age.
“Damn, it’s almost midnight! Why did I dilly-dally for so long? I’d better deal with my wounds quickly before Xiaonu returns home and starts nagging me!”
At that moment, Jiang Yi had lost all his drowsiness. He quickly looked out the window, before lighting his candle. After enduring the bodily agony from applying medicine on some twenty or thirty wounds throughout his body, he sat cross-legged on his bed.
The most important factor behind the speedy recovery of any wound was to apply medicine on the exterior and “regulate” from the interior.
In other words, one had to consume or apply any necessary medicine and direct the essence force in the body towards the wound. This would ensure the smooth circulation of blood and life force around the body to aid in regeneration. Thus, after applying medicine, Jiang Yi still had to practice the Jiang Water Art to circulate the essence force from the first stage of the Cast Tripod Realm and help his wounds heal faster.
“Benevolent acts resemble water in character. Water benefits all and does not compete… In the vastness of the heaven and earth, only The Way is eternal. To obtain proof of heavenly law, one must first cultivate oneself… eh… no, wrong…”
Although the effects of the martial arts practice were severely limited by the magical seal, Jiang Yi still took his essence force training very seriously and concentrated all his attention on practicing.
However, preoccupied with other thoughts, he had accidentally transferred his blood down the wrong circulatory route a number of times. He was lucky he was able to rectify the error before he suffered from deviated Qi. Nonetheless, he was distracted by the black script in his mind that kept swaying and moving about in front of his vision. It left him unable to calm down.
“Forget it, forget it! Hmmm… How about I give it a try? Grandfather always chides me not to practice any random cultivation technique before I have fully confirmed the potential of my abilities, but this is a special situation…”
As Jiang Yi repeatedly mouthed those tiny black words again and again, he could feel that this formula was vastly different compared to the multitude of cultivation techniques he tried when he was younger to boost his essence force. It was definitely bizarre. Nonetheless, once that curiosity to experiment and try was borne in his heart, that desire exploded like a wildfire and was unable to ever be extinguished!
That was how Jiang Yi was: if he said he would do it, he would definitely do it!
One short hour later…
Jiang Yi opened both his eyes with some disappointment. This nameless chant could indeed help him cultivate his essence force, and the method did indeed produce some results—it was just unfortunate that the speed at which he was cultivating heaven-and-earth essence force through this style was much too slow compared to the Jiang Water Art he practiced regularly.
“Might as well use the Jiang Water Art to heal up! Huh…?”
It was common knowledge on Stellarsky Continent that one should only transfer of one type of essence force through the dantian, otherwise difference essence force could very easily clash and get mixed up. However, when Jiang Yi transferred the essence force produced from this nameless formula through his navel in preparation for practicing the Jiang Water Art instead, he quickly realised that the newly distilled essence force was black!
The martial artists of Stellarsky Continent practiced different cultivation techniques, with each technique producing essence force of different colors. The colors of the essence force was usually directly connected with the elements channeled by the cultivation style.
For instance, when Jiang Yi practiced channeling water-element abilities through the Jiang Water Art, the essence force produced was blue; as for the Wildfire Art he had practiced when he was younger, the essence force produced was red.
In the Jiang family, due to his relationship with the Grand Elder as well as his personal physical condition, Jiang Yi had been trying many methods of spirit training and had similarly witnessed essence force of numerous colors. Water-element techniques usually produced blue essence force, and fire-element techniques usually produced red. There were also wood-element techniques, which produced green and earth-element techniques which produced yellow. Yet he had never observed a technique that could produce black-colored essence force!
“Forget about it! The cultivation speed is so slow that this skill is useless! What’s the point even if it can produce rainbow-colored essence force!? An essence force cultivation technique, no matter how powerful, is practically useless and meaningless so long as it cannot help me practice up to a specific level of ability!”
Jiang Yi was too lazy to think or care about the black essence force that had been distilled through his dantian. He decided instead to transfer the essence force to a small meridian on his left arm, somewhere which would not affect his abilities in practicing the Jiang Water Art. He also resolved to prepare to force this essence out of his body tomorrow.
He was finally able to calm himself down enough to focus all his attention on circulating essence energy with the Jiang Water Art to heal his injuries.
“Jiang Yi, hurry up and report to me now!”
He had no idea how long had passed when he heard an enraged roar ringing from the courtyard outside. Upon hearing that voice, Jiang Yi was immediately startled awake from his meditation. His heart beat rapidly; he knew something was amiss.
This familiar voice came from Chief Rong, the man in the family in charge of the herb plantations. After taking over the responsibility of maintaining the herb plantations in the Western Hills, Jiang Yi had to report to Chief Rong daily as part of his instructions. However, he endured a vicious attack at the hands of Jiang Ruhu and his gang of cronies the day before. When he woke up, he was angry, dazed, and weak, so he had momentarily forgotten about that specific duty…
Jiang Yi hastily rose from the bed, hurriedly straightened out and tidied up his tattered clothes, and rushed out of the house.
By then, the sky was already brightly lit. The morning air was crisp and fresh; Jiang Yi could feel that, after a long night of meditation, his wounds had healed greatly. His vitality also seemed to have improved a few notches.
Unfortunately, Jiang Yi’s spirits were dampened by a middle-aged man in Chinese robes standing at the doorway to the courtyard, his back facing the door and arms folded. Upon hearing Jiang Yi’s footsteps coming from behind him, not only did the man refuse to turn around, he released a cold snort.
“Greetings, Chief Rong!”
Jiang Yi lowered his head, cupped his fists together, and bowed deeply. He muttered to himself bitterly that it was inconceivable that a young master like him had fallen from grace so badly that he had to greet and bow to a small supervisor…
Chief Rong didn’t even turn around to look at Jiang Yi.
“Didn’t I order you to check on Plantation Four yesterday morning?” he demanded coldly. “Why didn’t you report back to me?! This is a very easy job, you know! Is this how you do things around here?! I’m going to have to report this incident to the Disciplinary Court—forget about even getting a single coin for this month’s salary! Hmph!”
Jiang Yi was about to relate the incident of Jiang Ruhu and his cronies stealing medicine and beating him up, but he stopped himself just as he opened his mouth to speak. He had remembered that not only was Jiang Ruhu’s father the family’s chief supervisor, he was also Chief Rong’s head honcho. Should this incident be revealed by Jiang Yi… not only would Chief Rong not help him at all, Chief Rong may even invert right and wrong and punish him instead!
“I? What I?!” Chief Rong finally turned himself around and stared Jiang Yi straight into his eyes with a look of ferocity. “Go to the Western Hills now! If you haven’t reported back in four hours with the right numbers, you’ll be sorry!”
Upon finishing, Chief Rong flicked his long sleeves disdainfully and strode away from the courtyard. All Jiang Yi could do was scratch his nose in embarrassment. He headed back home to quickly freshen up and gulp down in a couple of mouthfuls of the meat porridge in the pot, before hastily making his way to the Western Hills.
Even though he was still limping, Jiang Yi was clearly not in as much agony as he was in yesterday, and this certainly improved his mood by much.
He reached the Western Hills in an hour.
The main crop being produced in the Western Hills was grass ginseng, a type of spirit herb that could boost and enrich the blood. grass ginseng was a ninth-grade spirit herb—even though this medicinal plant was of the lowest grade in quality, as the plant was considered a type of spirit herb, normal civilians could not afford to purchase this herb. Frankly speaking, the medicine produced by the Jiang family used grass ginseng as its primary ingredient. It was used heal wounds and improve blood quality and was mainly provided to descendants of the Jiang family, martial artists not within the family, as well as soldiers of the state army.
Jiang Yi stood at the boundary of the fields, staring into the verdant green of the grass ginseng. A sense of bitter agony filled his mind—after all, this was the place where he was beaten up and left unconscious. After regaining consciousness he had to endure with much difficulty and agony the journey home.
Shaking his head, Jiang Yi forced himself not to overthink and to instead start counting the plants. Chief Rong had only given him four hours to finish this task, after all. If he was unable to finish this work in time, he have to endure yet another scolding and something worse: a salary cut. If his monthly salary was cut, he would be thrown into a truly terrible situation.
Jiang Yi walked forward as he continued his counting task. When he walked past the third field, he heard a soft noise coming from in front of him. He looked up and spotted a suspicious silhouette hiding in the weeds in a far corner.
“Someone’s trying to steal the herbs again!”
A chill went down Jiang Yi’s spine. Unlike the day before, however, he did not rashly rush over to check, but rather decided to ignore the noise and instead pretend to not have heard it. He continued counting the medicinal plants around him, lest he faced new problems.
“Hah! And I was just wondering who it was! It’s just Jiang Yi, the good-for-nothing boy!”
A short moment later, a vague but familiar voice rang out from behind the thick grass. The silhouette of a short, fat person quickly revealed itself. His pig eyes revealed nothing but the intention to mock and deride.
Jiang Yi felt a surge of hatred. He knew this boy. He had stolen medicine with Jiang Ruhu yesterday and was one of the many branch members who ganged up to beat up Jiang Yi. In other words, he was one of Jiang Ruhu’s many infamous lackeys. It seemed likely that this idiot had presumed that Jiang Yi was badly injured in the fight and that he was unlikely to go to the Western Hills. Due to this, he had returned to the plantation fields to steal more medicinal plants.
When the two enemies spotted each other, they locked eyes in mutual fury.
However, Jiang Yi did not dare to take action against Jiang Bao. Even though Jiang Bao had neither the talent nor the spirit to focus on his essence force training, he had nonetheless practiced for so many years that he was—despite slow progress—at the second stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. Jiang Yi, on the other hand, was only at the first stage of the Cast Tripod Realm; furthermore, he was still injured. If he had chosen to stubbornly lock horns with Jiang Bao at that moment, Jiang Yi was afraid he would lose the ensuing struggle.
“Jiang Yi, if you know what’s good for you, get off the mountain right now! Don’t bother saying anything, and don’t stay here and irritate me! If you dare to meddle in my work, I will get my revenge on you!”
Jiang Yi had no desire to stir up trouble, but Jiang Bao clearly had no desire to let him be. Jiang Bao gave off an intimidating air of ferocity and ruthlessness as he eyed Jiang Yi coldly.
His intentions were obvious: with Jiang Yi around, it was not convenient for him to grab the herbs as he pleased…
One became wiser after learning from one’s past mistakes!
Indeed, Jiang Yi did not want to meddle in Jiang Bao’s business. It was just that… if he could not account for the grass ginseng grown in the medicinal plantations, he could not report back to Supervisor Rong. He would end up having his already morsel-sized monthly salary docked fully… and Xiaonu would have to work even harder outside…
Thus he still stubbornly stood his ground, not uttering a single word.
“Looks like I’m going to have to teach you a lesson, or your good-for-nothing brain will never learn!”
Jiang Bao looked down and paused. Suddenly, without warning, with an ominous glint in his eyes and a loud roar, he jumped up into the air, a red-colored energy ball revolving around his right fist. Akin to a shooting star streaking across the vast night sky, he viciously punched at Jiang Yi’s head.
“The Man-tier superior-grade martial art technique Shooting Star Punch? Jiang Bao, you…”
Irritated, Jiang Yi hastily retreated backwards. He could not believe that not only did Jiang Bao not give much warning before starting his attacks, he even started with a powerful move straight away! The wounds on his body had not fully recovered yet.
It looks like this fight will only worsen them…
Jiang Bao’s iron fist flew through the air. Jiang Yi, unprepared to defend against such an attack, was focused entirely on avoiding the incoming attack. As a result, he was not attentive enough to see the uneven ditch in front of him and, in his haste to avoid the attack, he lost his balance stepping into the little hole in the ground and fell down. By the time he regained his senses, the fists of his opponent had already closed in on him.
Frantically, Jiang Yi transferred out all the essence force as quick as he could and crossed his arms to protect his upper frame. However, he forgot that the little sliver of black essence force he had cultivated using the nameless chant last night was still hidden in a small vein on his left arm and that he had forgotten to force it out of his body. When he spent all his energy to transfer the essence force using the Jiang Water Art, he had accidentally transferred the black essence force together with the other forces as well.
Shit! I’m about to suffer a Qi deviation…
He abruptly realised his mistake and was scared out of his wits. In the condition he was in right now, essence force of different elements couldn’t be circulated together at the same time, otherwise they would clash and create disorder in the body. The meridians and blood vessels in his body would simply explode from the collisions…
And yet… in the next instant, he was astonished to see that the black essence force cultivated from the nameless chant collided with the blue essence force cultivated from the Jiang Water Art. However, instead of throwing his body into disorder as he imagined, the two types of essence force mixed perfectly together like water and milk. They freely circulated through his arteries without even a tussle.
“Eh… They actually merged together?”
Jiang Yi blinked his eyes in disbelief, feeling relieved on the inside. However, seeing the opponent’s fists within mere inches from his face, without thinking too much, he subconsciously continued to circulate his essence force. He moved his body to the side to avoid the attack while shooting both his fists at Jiang Bao.
A loud, low sound rang through the air. It was not that Jiang Bao successfully hit Jiang Yi, however, but Jiang Bao’s stocky body flying a full fifty feet, like a broken cloth bag. After landing, he crashed heavily onto the ground.
An extremely tragic scream pierced the air as Jiang Bao rolled around the ground in severe agony. The right hand he had used to attack was pushed away by a mysterious force. He had used his left hand to block the attack that came after, but the sheer force dislocated his elbow.
Jiang Yi, in completely disbelief, stared at his own left hand and recalled all the weirdness that had just happened. It was a long time before he mumbled, “This black essence force is obviously not water attributed. But… how could it perfectly merge with the water essence force of the Jiang Water Art? And why is the power of the merged force so devastatingly powerful? That technique just now… my power must have increased at least two or three fold… otherwise how could I send Jiang Bao flying?”