Zilan quickly went through the motions of absorbing the Universe’s energy held inside the ginseng. He put all his concentration in drawing the three cross formation before slowly sitting in the middle and just like he did with the cores, Zilan placed the ginseng in front of him and thoroughly massaged it.
This time though, it only took a single minute before the energy within started to leak out. He then cut across his palm and blood came pouring down onto the core as well as the formation.
His blood force then entered the formation causing it to glow brighter.
Not long after, and a blue mist that was clearly thicker than the one from the three low-level cores came flying out. The formation instantly pressed down on it, slowly guiding it into Zilan’s pores, mouth and nose.
This time, the process went much smoother and faster since the ginseng didn’t have the natural defensive abilities of the cores.
The mist felt wonderful as it entered Zilan. It felt like a never ending spring of life was flowing into him, strengthening his body, purifying his mind and electrifying his vigour.
Five minutes later and the energy stream was starting to thin however, the benefits Zilan reaped this time were mind blowing. It was truly a one in a million chance.
“It looks like even the Universe itself wishes for me to grow stronger.” joked Zilan.
The energy was so much that Zilan couldn’t absorb all of it so instead of letting it go to waste, he redirected the remainder towards his soul. Little did he know that doing so would cause his mental strength to grow at a frightening rate.
If other practitioners were to be asked what the most difficult thing to train was, the first thing they would utter from their mouths would be mental strength. This was especially true for spirit masters whose mental strength was directly linked to the quality of spirit tools they could make.
Training ones mental strength went hand in hand with training the spirit which was commonly known as the soul. However the training of a soul had many methods and not one could be described as easy except for of course, Zilan’s new found cheat.
He let out a faint chuckle before completely focusing himself on the task of circulating all of the Universe’s energy around his body.
One cycle, two cycles, three cycles…..
With each cycle the amount of energy minimised, until finally five hours later on the three hundredth cycle, all of the energy had been absorbed.
Zilan grit his teeth as his body vibrated uncontrollably. The scales on his neck increased in number but at the same time decreased in size.
His muscles as well as bone structure were both undergoing some changes, slowly shaping into the ideal body for a cultivator.
Suddenly as Zilan was going through this painful ordeal, two marks of tribulation shed off from his wrist. Unfortunately he was in too much pain to notice.
The reason he was undergoing such agony was because Zilan hadn’t bothered to train his body well enough during his years as a cripple. What he was experiencing now could be compared to a small sickly child abruptly transforming into a world-class strong man in the span of one night.
Not to mention that he had skipped a level once again by shedding off two marks of tribulation at once thus double the pain.
The marks were created by Zilan not just to stand as a tracker for his progress but also to work as a training regimen, since biting off more than one could chew would only result in pain like he was experiencing now, in the best of cases. In the worst case it could lead to his entire cultivation system collapsing, which in essence was the destruction of the blue core and since it hovered directly under his soul, any chance for re-incarnation would also disappear with his death.
Granted, Zilan didn’t know the effect consuming all of the energy within the ginseng would have. After all, in his mind shedding off the marks would be extremely difficult since it required not only the life blood of the Spring dragon but also Universe energy from three low-level cores to remove just the first mark.
However what Zilan didn’t realise was that he had yet to fully grasp the whole situation. Just like how the spiritual power held within the core of a powerful practitioner was different from that of a new cultivator, who was to say that there weren’t varying levels of quality of the Universe’s energy. No matter how good his formation was at drawing out the Universe’s energy from objects, impurities in the form of the object’s own unique aura or energy would still contaminate the sample.
Only if the object that held the energy was pure for example a spirit herb like the ten thousand year old ginseng, would the energy also be purer.
Zilan was definitely learning a lesson through pain this time.
As more time passed, the pain gradually subsided being replaced by a cool comfortable feeling.
“Phew~ I managed to get threw it.” exhaled Zilan as he wiped the sweat of his brow.
Almost immediately after thinking that, a sharp headache that felt like someone was drilling into his head suddenly assaulted him.
“This again! What the hell is going on?”
When it happened the first time, Zilan was still able to pass it off as a slight miscalculation or an unforeseen one-time occurrence however, now that it was happening again something was definitely going on.
As he tried to wrack his brain on what exactly that was and how to actually stop it from percisting, the piercing pain unexpectedly heightened to the point that Zilan started rolling on the ground while grabbing his head.
He tried to hold his voice in but no avail, wild and ear shuddering howls of torment escaped from his mouth.
A loud buzzing noise accompanied by a earth shaking thumping continuously sounded out in ears, driving him mad.
Suddenly just as Zilan was on the brink of knocking himself unconscious, he could feel a strange yet ancient force circling his brain.
As soon as he identified the force, a strange seal appeared on his forehead in large golden, bold characters spelling out the word, “Heaven”.
“A..a..A seal…no…a high level spell!” deduced Zilan as he struggled to his feet.
“If I can just get to the voidless sack…”
Before he could finish his thought, Zilan toppled back to the floor grabbing his head. The pain had unbelievably intensified.
Suddenly the force that was circling his brain dissipated however the pain did not.
“The spell is wearing off….is that what this is about?”
Just as he had suspected, the spell had worn off and the headache would soon follow just not yet.
As Zilan was pre-occupied with enduring the aching of his head. A crisp cracking sound broke out from within his brain that sent ripples across even his sea of consciousness.
His expression froze and his body went limp, numb to everything including the pain that was still plaguing him.
“It was all a lie!” were the only words he whispered before tears of blood trickled down his face.