Xiang Shaoyun had only absorbed a tiny strand of the mystic earth essence energy. Thus, under his full suppression, he slowly defeated it and combined it with his astral energy. Eventually, the strand of energy became one with his astral energy, signifying that he had successfully fused them.
His earth star started growing, improving how much he could gain cultivating over several months or even an entire year. Like the gold star, the earth star also started exuding thick vicious energy, granting it a latent destructive prowess.
Xiang Shaoyun absorbed a few more strands of mystic earth essence energy, and after several rounds of suffering, his earth star finally reached the limit of his current cultivation realm. He could no longer compress the energy, and he stopped the absorption.
Of his nine stars, the earth, flame, and dark stars had reached their limits. The other stars had also reached the peak of his current cultivation level, only a tiny bit away from reaching their limits as well. He only needed to spend some time pus.h.i.+ng the other stars to their limits before he could attempt an advancement into the eighth stage.
Since he had comprehended nine profundities, he absorbed energy faster than many cultivators. In his plan, he would require less than three months to push himself to the next stage.
He ended the cultivation session and muttered, “There are formations here that weren’t set up by the strong-ape. Someone else must have been here before. Where is that person?”
He scanned his surroundings, but he couldn’t find anyone, not even a corpse. It greatly confused him. His gaze then landed on the mystic earth essence energy again. His vision pierced through the clump of energy, and he saw the vague image of something hovering up and down, as though a figure was seated cross-legged.
“Don’t tell me there’s a corpse there?” Xiang Shaoyun was speechless.
Anything would be destroyed upon contact with the clump of energy. Only a Saint would perhaps not fear it. But a figure seemed to be in there. Was there really a super expert cultivating inside?
After thinking about it for a bit, Xiang Shaoyun started wondering if what he saw was an illusion. He only saw a vague image that soon vanished. His current focus should be thinking of a way to collect this mystic earth essence energy so he could use it to forge his soul foundation in the future.
He drew his Radiant Saint Sword and dug out the walls around the mystic earth essence energy. These walls were formed of high-grade spirit crystals, and one would be bedazzled just looking at them.
When Xiang Shaoyun was done digging out the surface walls around the mystic earth essence energy, he used his astral cosmos sea to pull the entire s.p.a.ce inside, which was extremely dangerous. If his astral cosmos sea couldn’t withstand the might of the mystic earth essence energy, it would rot away, and not only would his astral cosmos sea be ruined. His entire person would rot away as well.
One could say that this was a great benefit that went hand in hand with great risk. If he succeeded, the gains would be humongous, and if he failed, his life would be the price.
Ultimately, Xiang Shaoyun succeeded.
When the mystic earth essence energy entered his astral cosmos sea, it did not change. Like all his other stored energies, it remained still, and its rotting power converged around itself instead of spreading and causing havoc.
“Sure enough, the astral cosmos sea can contain everything. The mystic earth essence energy might be scary, but staying in the astral cosmos sea is the same for it as staying in the outside world. It won’t harm me,” said Xiang Shaoyun, satisfied.
He then called the strong-ape, Aikai, Money, and the three birds inside and had them mine the spirit crystals in the cave. He had decided to thoroughly clean the cave of the crystals, leaving nothing behind. The strong-ape was somewhat unwilling, but he was left with no choice but to obey.
While mining the spirit crystals, Xiang Shaoyun also discovered some earth elemental herbs growing in the cave. He had the three birds consume them, leaving only three sovereign-grade strength-enhancing gra.s.ses that he planted nearby the mystic earth essence energy in his astral cosmos sea.
The strength-enhancing gra.s.ses had grown alongside the strong-ape in the cave. If an earth cultivator consumed them, the cultivator’s strength would greatly increase. However, the boost in strength would only last for about an hour. Even so, in a situation of life and death, consuming one such herb could allow one to turn the situation around.
The entire vein of spirit crystals occupied an area of about 30 cubic meters, with each cubic meter containing about 1,000 spirit crystals. Altogether, they had obtained around 30,000 high-grade spirit crystals after mining the entire vein clean.
Thirty thousand might not seem like a large number, but a high-grade spirit crystal was more than 10 times the worth of a mid-grade spirit crystal. Thus, one could only imagine the worth of what they had mined from the cave.
Xiang Shaoyun had given nearly all his spirit crystals to Scarlet Flame Monarch. The 30,000 high-grade spirit crystals worked perfectly to replenish his supply of spirit crystals.
“Strong-ape, I have a mission for you. If you can complete it, you will regain your freedom. I will also give you an opportunity to grow strong. If you disobey, I will kill you right now,” said Xiang Shaoyun.
The strong-ape was a decently helpful a.s.sistant, but for Xiang Shaoyun currently, the ape wasn’t too important.
“What is the mission?” asked the strong-ape.
“Temper the three little fellows for me and help them grow as quickly as possible. I hope that the next time I see them, they will be Emperors or stronger,” said Xiang Shaoyun as he pointed at the three birds.
“Boss, are you abandoning us?” asked the three birds anxiously.
“Fool. You are too weak, so you won’t be able to temper yourself properly by staying at my side. The strong-ape is the local tyrant here and cultivates the same element as you three.
“With him guiding you, your growth will accelerate,” said Xiang Shaoyun. He looked at the strong-ape and asked, “Do you agree?”
The strong-ape did not dare to disobey and answered, “I will do my best to teach them.”
“Um. Do this task well, and you will be amply rewarded,” said Xiang Shaoyun, happy with the answer.
He was in no rush to leave. In any case, the compet.i.tion of the four academies was still about two months away. He decided to stay and cultivate his six remaining stars to perfection. By the time the compet.i.tion began, he needed to be an eighth-stage Emperor. Only then would he have a chance at becoming the compet.i.tion’s champion, completing his master’s task.
His main body stayed in the cave and started absorbing the natural energy of the world with the nine profundities. He occasionally summoned a ma.s.sive volume of astral energy from the stars in the sky, enriching his inner stars over and over again.
Even so, he was still not satisfied with his progress. He summoned his clone out and had the clone practice the numerous battle techniques he knew outside the cave, further perfecting the might of his battle techniques.
With the main body and the clone working hard together, Xiang Shaoyun’s cultivation base and combat strength grew rapidly. Time pa.s.sed, and the four academies compet.i.tion drew near.