Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
Zhang Xuan sighed deeply before muttering beneath his breath.
"Forget it, I will just have to find a way to deal with it when the time comes. For the time being, it is more important for me to raise my cultivation!"
He was only a step away from reaching Half-Saint, and he happened to have the Scarlet Firefly Fruit required for his breakthrough as well. Since that was the case, there was no need for him to hesitate.
Conditioning his state back to its peak, he took a deep breath before reluctantly tossing his remaining three hundred high-tier spirit stones into the Spirit Gathering Formation.
Hu hu hu!
As soon as the high-tier spirit stones came into contact with the formation, the concentration of spiritual energy in the area swiftly rose to the point that it felt almost tangible.
Following which, Zhang Xuan took out a Scarlet Firefly Fruit and swallowed it.
Back in the valley, he had procured a total of ten of them. Hu Yaoyao and the others had taken four of them, and having achieved a breakthrough each, they had not required any more. Thus, the remaining six had gone into his storage ring.
As soon as the Scarlet Firefly Fruit entered his mouth, it melted into an immense surge of energy, which gushed through his body. In just a short moment, he could vaguely feel an impetus, driving him to a breakthrough.
However, the impetus wasn't very strong. Zhang Xuan knew that with the current momentum he had, there was a high chance that he would fail in his breakthrough. Thus, he took out another Scarlet Firefly Fruit and consumed it.
It took a total of four fruits before Zhang Xuan was finally satisfied. Feeling the immense power coursing through his meridians, he took a deep breath and absorbed the surrounding spiritual energy into his body.
A crisp echo sounded in the room, as if the shackles that had been trapping Zhang Xuan's body had been broken. At the same time, it also seemed as if a door leading to a new world had opened before his eyes.
All of his pores opened simultaneously, drawing the surrounding spiritual energy furiously into him, driving the evolution of his body and soul toward that of a higher being.
At Half-Saint, one was still a considerable distance away from achieving Sainthood, but nevertheless, one would no longer be considered to be on the same level of existence as a Transcendent Mortal. Be it one's physical body or soul, they had both undergone a qualitative evolution to become far stronger and more resilient than before, thus lengthening one's lifespan significantly as well.
The limit of an average Transcendent Mortal's lifespan was two hundred whereas a Half-Saint could easily live to five hundred!
That was more than a twofold increase in one's lifespan!
Other than that, Zhang Xuan's strength had also increased significantly. From the initial 47,000,000 ding, it had risen by 13,000,000 ding to 60,000,000 ding!
Just in terms of the strength he could draw from his zhenqi cultivation, he was already on par with a Nascent Saint primary stage cultivator!
Paired with his physical body and soul cultivation, he would be able to easily kill any Saint realm 1-dan expert at close range!
Other than the rise in his strength, his reaction speed and reflexes had also grown immensely.
If he were to face Mu shi's puppet once again in battle, he would surely be able to defeat the other party easily!
It is great that my fighting prowess has grown so much, but… I am back to my broke days once more! Zhang Xuan lamented.
The items he had received in the inauguration ceremony a few days ago had left him greatly excited, and he had thought that he could finally be considered a tycoon. As such, he had haughtily turned down the gifts from many, thinking that he should uphold his standing. Yet, a single round of cultivation had undone everything…
This darned cultivation! It sure was like an endless abyss, dragging him back to square one each time he thought he had struck it rich.
He knew that the cultivating the Saint Ascension Decipher would surely require a lot of zhenqi, and the fact that he cultivated the Heaven's Path Divine Art only served to nudge the requirement even higher. A couple of high-tier spirit stones could easily help others raise their cultivation up several stages, but to him, it was as if throwing pebbles into a pond, raising just a momentary ripple and nothing else.
Going by even my most conservative estimates, advancing to Saint realm… will cost me at least five thousand high-tier spirit stones! Zhang Xuan thought with twitching lips.
He had been thinking of advancing straight to Saint realm in a single breath after the inauguration ceremony, but that was clearly impossible now.
Advancing from Chrysalis realm primary stage to Half-Saint primary stage, despite using the energy contained within four Scarlet Firefly Fruits, had still depleted eight hundred high-tier spirit stones. The numbers would only rise for his breakthrough to Nascent Saint and eventually Saint realm. At this rate, five thousand would be a truly, truly positive estimate.
But the problem was that even if he were to overturn the entire Master Teacher Academy, he would still be unable to gather that many high-tier spirit stones!
Rubbing his glabella, Zhang Xuan thought in frustration, It seems like I will have to head out and find a way to earn some money…
Really, what was with this?
When others cultivated, what they would be frustrated by was their bottleneck. But instead of worrying over that, his problem had always been being 'poor'.
Was this what they meant when they said that 'being poor limits one's imagination'?
If it really comes down to it, I will just have to sell the congratulatory gifts from the Cloudmist Ridge. That should tide me over for a while…
The gifts his tamed beasts from the Cloudmist Ridge had given him were indeed very valuable, and if he were to sell them, he would be able to earn two to three thousand high-tier spirit stones easily. However…
There were simply too few people in Hongyuan City who could afford to buy anything from him! Not even the royal family had that much money!
If he couldn't find ample spirit stones, he wouldn't be able to advance his cultivation despite possessing the complete Saint Ascension Decipher.
I almost forgot! Are the pavilion masters from the Master Teacher Pavilion of the surrounding empires still around? Perhaps, I might be able to sell my goods to them…
Back when School Head Mo was briefing him about the inauguration ceremony, he had also done a brief introduction on the four nearby Tier-1 Empires, Hongchi, Yuanjiang, Baituo, and Chiyao.
The national strengths of these four empires were comparable to Hongyuan Empire, perhaps exceeding it even.
If he could sell his goods to them, he should be able to earn quite a number of high-tier spirit stones to tide him over…
Zhang Xuan stroked his lower jaw contemplatively before rising to his feet and heading out of the Cultivation Compendium.
I think this is a plausible idea. However, for the time being, I should first get the Lightning Resonance Stone in the Mausoleum of Principals.
The Lightning Resonance Stone was the artifact he required as a catalyst for his breakthrough from Half-Saint to Nascent Saint. Already at Half-Saint, as long as he could gather sufficient high-tier spirit stones, it wouldn't be too long before he needed it to make a breakthrough. Thus, it would be best for him to take it and keep it on him.
After leaving the Cultivation Compendium, Zhang Xuan went to look for School Head Mo, and just as he was about to speak, the latter suddenly looked at him excitedly and said, "Principal Zhang, congratulations!"
Bewildered, Zhang Xuan shot the other party a questioning gaze.
"Weren't you trying to purchase the blood essence of a Saint realm Myriad Anthive Queen earlier? I sent in the application to the Beast Hall headquarters a while ago, and they approved the request! Just this morning, the Saint realm Myriad Anthive Queen's blood essence arrived at our Master Teacher Academy!" School Head Mo said excitedly. "Oh yes, your 7-star beast tamer emblem also arrived together with it!"
After which, School Head Mo quickly passed over a jade bottle and an emblem.
Zhang Xuan took those two items from School Head Mo's hands and studied the jade bottle with a perplexed expression before turning his gaze back to the latter. He asked, "Didn't you say that the Myriad Anthive Queen's blood essence would be expensive? Why would…"
The cultivation of his Myriad Anthive Queen was currently too low, rendering it incapable of continuing the expansion the Myriad Anthive Nest unless its cultivation was raised one way or another. Thus, a few days earlier, Zhang Xuan had paid School Head Mo a visit to enquire about the purchase of a Saint realm Myriad Anthive Queen's blood essence. However, the answer he had received was that it would cost at least several thousand high-tier spirit stones.
Until now, Zhang Xuan had yet to gather so many high-tier spirit stones, so why would the headquarters deliver the blood essence all of a sudden?
"It is indeed expensive, but Principal Zhang, you tamed all of the spirit beasts and saint beasts on the Cloudmist Ridge, and that is a huge contribution! Thus, the Beast Tamer Hall headquarters decided to gift this bottle of Myriad Anthive Queen's blood essence to you directly as a reward!" School Head Mo explained with a smile.
"On top of that, they have also expressed their interest in inviting you to the Qingyuan Empire Beast Hall to impart your technique for taming spirit beasts swiftly!"
Not expecting for there to be such a benefit from taming the beasts of the Cloudmist Ridge, Zhang Xuan nodded in delight.
"I see! Help me relay my thanks to the headquarters of the Beast Hall. I will definitely head there if I have an opportunity to do so in the future…"
As he uncorked the jade bottle, the scent of the blood essence within immediately permeated the air. Within the bottle, he could feel an immense energy being harnessed within the fluid.
After a quick glance, Zhang Xuan couldn't help but widen his eyes in shock. "Isn't this… the blood essence of a Saint realm 4-dan Myriad Anthive Queen?"
When he made the request, he had expected the blood essence to be from a Saint realm 1-dan or 2-dan Myriad Anthive Queen. Never in his dreams had he thought that it would be from a Saint realm 4-dan Myriad Anthive Queen!
It was already incredibly difficult to find a single one of the elusive Myriad Anthive Queens, needless to say a Saint realm 4-dan one. This was an unimaginably valuable commodity that was nearly impossible to find on the market! Yet, the other party had actually given so much of it at once… If he really had to pay for it, there was no way he would have been able to afford it!
With this, the strength of the Myriad Anthive Queen would soar, and it wouldn't be long before it achieved a breakthrough to Saint realm!
Flicking his wrist, Zhang Xuan placed the jade bottle into the Myriad Anthive Nest for the Myriad Anthive Queen to consume before turning his gaze to the 7-star beast tamer emblem.
The design was identical to that of the 4-star emblem he had, just that the four stars had been replaced with seven stars instead. However, one thing noteworthy was that the material of the emblem had changed. It felt a little heavier and solemn, seemingly reflecting the noble standing of the one who possessed it.
Even though he was a 7-star demonic tunist as well, ultimately, demonic tunist was only considered a Lower Nine Paths occupation. It could hardly compare with the prestigious Upper Nine Paths occupations.
Even if Zhang Xuan didn't have his identity as the principal of the Master Teacher Academy, just by this 7-star beast tamer emblem in itself, there was no one who would dare underestimate or disrespect him, regardless of where he went.
"Thank you, School Head Mo."
Knowing that the other party must have done quite a bit of work to apply for this emblem for him, Zhang Xuan clasped his fist in gratitude.
"There is no need for that." School Head Mo shook his head with a smile before gazing at Zhang Xuan intently. "Speaking of which, when do you intend to take the 6-star master teacher examination? I will have to make preparations in advance…"
"You should start making preparations then; I intend to take it as soon as possible. But before that, I would like to make a trip to the Mausoleum of Principals," Zhang Xuan said.
"Mausoleum of Principals?" School Head Mo was surprised for a moment before shaking his head. "I'm afraid that you might not have the authority to enter it at the moment…"
"Why?" Zhang Xuan frowned, perplexed by School Head Mo's words.
He had obtained the Supreme Jurisdiction and Impeccable Principal's Seal, was there anywhere in the Master Teacher Academy that he was still restricted from entering?
Fearing that Zhang Xuan would misunderstand, School Head Mo swiftly explained the matter, "You are indeed able to go anywhere you wish in the Master Teacher Academy, having received everyone's approval in the inauguration ceremony, but… to enter the Mausoleum of Principals, you will have to sever a portion of your soul and leave it on the Mausoleum Tablet… In other words, you have to leave a will behind as well!
"The severing of the soul inflicts considerable damage to one's soul, so why don't you challenge the 6-star master teacher examination first? Meanwhile, using your contribution, I can help you apply for an artifact for severing your soul from the Master Teacher Pavilion headquarters. This way, the damage to your soul will be minimized!"
Taming the spirit beasts and saint beasts of the Cloudmist Ridge was as huge a contribution to the Master Teacher Pavilion as it was to the Beast Hall.
Through the contribution, Zhang Xuan could easily apply for a powerful artifact to aid in the matter.
Hearing those words, Zhang Xuan nodded.
Given that the preceding principals of the Master Teacher Academy had appeared in the inauguration ceremony, it would mean that they had also severed their souls and left behind their will when they were alive.
Having severed his soul once in the past, he knew that it was a process that was highly damaging, even for soul oracles, who specialized in souls. It would take a long period of recuperation before one could recover from the trauma.
However, Zhang Xuan had the soul of the Bluehorn Dragon Beast in his possession, which he could use to quicken the recovery of his soul. However, if he were to do so, he would risk exposing his identity as a soul oracle, which could pose to be a great trouble.
After a moment of hesitation, Zhang Xuan nodded. "I see. I will take the 6-star master teacher examination first then."
It was one thing if he was just a normal master teacher, but as the new principal of the Hongyuan Master Teacher, his identity as a soul oracle could not be revealed by any means.
In any case, it was not like anyone else could get to the Lightning Resonance Stone before him, so taking the 6-star master teacher examination first wasn't a problem.
"Alright." School Head Mo nodded.
At that moment, an elder suddenly rushed into the room, and upon seeing the both of them, he clasped his fist and reported, "Principal Zhang, Emperor Yu Shenqing wishes to meet you. He has been waiting outside for some time now!"