Chapter 4: Energy Eruption Level
"I can't believe I broke through to the next level so quickly. I'm in the fifth phase of energy arts! The Energy Eruption level!"
He struck out with his fist, and a hundred paces away, another tree snapped in half. Afterward, Yang Qi looked down with wide eyes at his hand, and sensed that his vital energy had reached the point of being able to disregard all favors or humiliations.
Only one day and one night had passed, and he had transformed as surely as if he had been transported from hell to heaven. First he stole the Latent Dragon Pill, then he was betrayed by Yun Hailan. Next, his martial arts were crippled, and he was struck by lightning.
Later, he found that being struck by lightning had been extremely fortuitous; he had acquired the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, and had his cultivation base bolstered by the vital energy of the lightning mammoth inside him. And now, he had broken through to the Energy Eruption level.
Even better, he was certain that the overall level of his energy arts actually surpassed the Energy Eruption level.
Most experts could unleash their energy externally to some degree after reaching the Energy Eruption level. But most could do little more than cause a tree to sway back and forth with a ranged fist strike. Damaging or destroying a tree was a completely different matter.
It was only common to be able to unleash the Hundred Paces Divine Fist after reaching the peak of the Energy Eruption level, or perhaps after entering the Energy Weapon level. In any case, a profound cultivation base was required to release such devastating force.
Yang Qi could also tell that his physical body was stronger than the day before. He really had experienced a complete transformation both inside and out. He took another step forward, and unleashed his energy arts to crush a boulder with a kick. This was the true power that came with energy arts.
"The people who mocked and laughed at me could never have guessed that I would only remain a cripple for a day. Not only did I reach the highest level of enlightenment, I made dramatic progress! At the clan forum in three days, there will definitely be some attempts to force my father to abdicate. Instead, I'll make sure he comes out stronger than ever!"
Of course, Yang Qi knew that despite having reached the Energy Eruption level and becoming a powerful expert, he didn't count for much when compared to the other major experts in Yanhaven. For example, there was Luo Hun, the very man who had crippled him. He was already in the seventh phase of energy arts, the Energy Manifestation level, in which energy arts could manifest in physical form and allow one to fly through the air or swim through the water. A single fist strike from a person like that was like the attack of a dragon or a tiger.
'I need to conceal the true level of my strength,'Yang Qi thought. 'And I can't reveal the truth about the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, nor any of its stances or moves. I'll just use the energy art forms and stances of the Yang Clan. If anyone asks how I recovered so quickly, I'll just say that it was thanks to my aunt.'
Having reached this point in his train of thought, Yang Qi suddenly found himself thinking about his aunt, whom he hadn't seen in ten years. Back then, when she still wore her hair in twin braids, she had taught him how to read and write.
Even though he called her aunt, she wasn't surnamed Yang; she was an orphan his grandfather had taken in. The only reason he called her aunt was that she was about three years older than him. For all intents and purposes, she was really his sister.
He had essentially grown up with his aunt, until one day when he was almost ten. That was when an eccentric expert traveling through Yanhaven had taken her away. Only later did he learn that the eccentric in question was an elder from the Demi-Immortal Institute, which was the top organization in the Rich-Lush Continent.
Back when she first arrived at the Demi-Immortal Institute, she had occasionally written him letters. However, he hadn't heard from her for the past five or six years. Even still, everyone in Yanhaven knew that she was someone very important in the Yang Clan.
After all, the Demi-Immortal Institute was a major player in the Rich-Lush Continent, and was second only to the dominant power in all the lands, the Sage Ancestor Dynasty.
The Sage Ancestor Dynasty was essentially a feudal government. There was no true centralized state power, but instead, a host of vassal states. Separate locations held local jurisdiction, and had independent law, but on a yearly basis would send tribute to the Sage Ancestor Dynasty, and would dispatch representatives to offer worship.
Yanhaven was only one of many tiny vassal states. The city magistrate there held ultimate sway over the area, and made all the decisions, which meant that the aristocratic clans in the city had no choice but to submit to him. As for all of the nearby towns, villages, marketplaces, and counties, they also fell under the jurisdiction of Yanhaven.
In some ways Yanhaven could actually be considered a nation of sorts, a State of Yan, although on a very small scale.
Compared to the Demi-Immortal Institute, Yanhaven was quite insignificant. One was like a rabbit, the other, a tiger.
In the final analysis, the only reason that Yang Qi hadn't been immediately executed for stealing the Latent Dragon Pill was his aunt, who was backed by the Demi-Immortal Institute. The city magistrate was simply too leery of offending her.
Golden Toad Eats the Moon
Fierce Tiger Leaps Over the Stream
Shatter the Heart, Crush the Lungs
Corpse-Chomping White Tiger
Yang Qi went through all of the forms of the energy arts he knew, until he was little more than a blur. As he did, his energy flowed inside of him faster and faster, and the lightning mammoth in his sea of energy continued to bolster his vital energy.
As for the essence of his life force, it grew more and more robust.
He continued with his practice, and his physical body grew stronger and more resilient.
Thanks to the transformation provided by the lightning strike, he was growing in unbelievable ways.
Over and over again, he released fist strikes that destroyed trees and rocks dozens of meters away.
Top experts in the fifth phase, the Energy Eruption level, could destroy things at such distance, but normally could not release strike after strike after strike. The drainage on vital energy was simply too significant.
But Yang Qi was different. He cultivated the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, a remarkable ability that could devastate devil-gods and devil-ghosts from hell. Not only was it a source of immense strength, it also provided incredible resilience.
The lightning mammoth, which was apparently formed from the quintessence of a powerful expert, was merging into Yang Qi, pushing his cultivation base to incredible heights.
If he fully assimilated it, then he would have enough vital energy to completely surpass any other ordinary person's ability with the Hundred Paces Divine Fist. While they might be capable of ten strikes in a row, he could easily reach a hundred, or perhaps even a thousand.
The difference between those two levels was obvious.
And yet, Yang Qi still wasn't happy. He wanted to be stronger, to reach the sixth phase, the seventh phase, the eighth phase, and eventually, the ninth phase, the Master of Energy level. He wanted to crush the city magistrate of Yanhaven, and make the Yang Clan the number one power in the area.
In the past, such goals would not have been reasonable, but now, they were within the realm of possibility.
The roaring trumpet of a megamammoth suddenly erupted inside of Yang Qi as he unleashed the ultimate level of fist strike possible for him. Afterward, he reined in his energy, which collected behind him to form the shadowy image of a megamammoth that then exploded, sending out a rushing wind that caused the leaves to rustle left and right on the low-lying mountain.
Yang Qi sat back down, closed his eyes, and sank into meditation. The power of the lightning mammoth flowed through him, and he began to use the cultivation techniques of the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth. First, he focused his thoughts on the eight hundred forty million tiny particles that made up his body, and the embryonic megamammoths inside of them, which could eventually give birth to a true godmammoth.
Godmammoths had heads like mountains, and trunks so many hundreds of millions of kilometers long that they could encompass stars.
Godmammoths' feet could trample hells, and transform the devil-gods and devil-ghosts they contained into dust.
Such images, such thoughts, had been transferred into Yang Qi by the golden imp, a fundamental aspect of the cultivation of the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth.
As he slowly went about his cultivation, a popping sound could suddenly be heard from one of those tiny particles. Then, a chaotic, primeval aura, something beastly and ancient, began to spread out through him.
In that instant, flocks of birds suddenly shot up into the air from the numerous surrounding trees.
Moments ago, the surrounding forest had been alive with the calls of all sorts of bugs and insects, but when the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth's aura suddenly awoke, it was as though all those bugs suddenly felt massive pressure weighing down on them, and went as still as death as a result.
Godmammoths were indeed divine spirits that had long existed in the west. They were filled with boundless power, enough to crush hells, and had murderous auras so intense that, with a single trumpet, they could cause all sorts of wild beasts to cower in fear. Even dragons and tigers would bow in allegiance to them.
As of this moment, Yang Qi had awoken one particle, and could use only a tiny scrap of the power of the godmammoths.
Currently, when Yang Qi used the full extent of his energy arts, he could unleash strength equivalent to a single ancient megamammoth.
But if he awoke all of the eight hundred forty million particles, then he would be able to unleash the hell-crushing power of the legendary godmammoths.
Yang Qi had just taken his first step on the path of that unmatchable and remarkable ability.
After taking that first step, he was convinced that this was an amazing ability that could lead to the highest heights and deepest depths. Of course, without the help of the lightning mammoth inside of him, he wouldn't have been able to make such amazing progress, not in one day, and not in ten years.
Now, Yang Qi was almost like an ancient megamammoth in human form, with terrifying, deadly power inside of him, ready to be unleashed at any moment.
Rising slowly to his feet, Yang Qi retracted his aura, as well as the chaotic, primeval, and beastly aura.
Afterward, the petrified bugs and birds in the area calmed back down and returned to their previous activities.
The night was dark, but Yang Qi's eyes glittered brightly, illuminating all of the details of the forest around him, even down to the feathers on the birds.
His hearing had now become so acute that he could even hear the ants a hundred paces away.
This was being able to hear sounds as quiet as the footsteps of an ant.
His ears were ten times as sensitive as before; the latent potential within him was truly being released.
"Eight hundred forty million tiny particles? If one of them makes me this strong, then how strong would I be if they were all awake? Also, considering that I'm advancing this quickly because of the lightning mammoth being inside of me, then after I absorb it, how will I continue to progress with the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth?"
Although he was very pleased with having become so strong, he also was a bit terrified of his new abilities. And he almost couldn't imagine how anyone could cultivate this technique to completion.
It was almost like a cultivation path designed, not for humans, but for gods and spirits.
Only entities like that could possibly complete it.
Yang Qi had always been one of the elite young ones in the area, and had been somewhat arrogant as a result. Although he was very intelligent, it was his complete overconfidence that had led to him being tripped up by love, and betrayed by Yun Hailan. He had foolishly believed that stealing a Latent Dragon Pill would convince her to run off with him. Now that he thought about it, he had been a real fool. Thankfully, his father had forgiven him.
And now that he had begun to cultivate the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, he suddenly had true humility within his heart.
In the past, he had believed that he could cultivate any technique he wanted, and succeed. But with this ability, he suddenly felt very, very tiny.
Bit by bit, eighteen-year-old Yang Qi was starting to grow up.