Chapter 4 Spirit Refinement
Everyone was delighted. When they looked at Bai Xiaochun, their adoration for him had peaked. Not only was he a cute kid, but his stomach was also full of rotten ideas. So Zhang Fatso One made the decision to reward Bai Xiaochun with a grain of rice that he stuffed into the boy’s hand.
With an overjoyed grin on his face, Bai Xiaochun dazedly stumbled back to his room. Before he had even climbed onto his bed, the spiritual energy in his body that had accumulated from consuming those countless treasures of heaven and earth, had already exploded. His mind blanked as he collapsed onto the floor and began snoring as he fell asleep straightaway.
Bai Xiaochun slept unusually well. The next dawn, when Bai Xiaochun opened his eyes feeling refreshed, he looked down to find that he had become one round fatter. His whole body was sticky, covered with a layer of black filth. He hurriedly went out to wash himself clean. When Zhang Fatso One and the other fatties who were busily preparing breakfast saw Bai Xiaochun’s appearance, they all began to chortle with laughter.
“Ninth brother, that filth is the dirt within your body. After it has been removed, your cultivation will become much smoother. These few days, we don’t need your help. Afterwards, you can start doing chores.”
“That grain of rice is a very useful. Remember to eat it quickly; it’ll degrade if you leave it for too long.”
Bai Xiaochun replied with a resolute nod and hurried back to his bedroom. He soon came out his room with a turtle-shaped pot on his back. After washing it carefully, he carried it back to the room and put it on the stove. The spirit rice he held in his palm was translucent and glowing softly, almost as small as the tip of a little finger. A tantalizing fragrance that emanated from the spirit rice filled the room.
“Ah, the food that immortals eat...Truly out of the ordinary.” Bai Xiaochu was thoroughly amazed by the rice as he quickly put several chunks of wood into the stove. As soon as the wood was lit, a blast of scorching heat forced Bai Xiaochun several steps back. He gazed at the flames, exclaiming in wonder.
“The fire is definitely special too. Not only is it abnormally fierce, the temperature is also much higher than those back in the village.” Bai Xiaochun glanced again at the wood inside the stove, concluding that the wood was also not ordinary.
At that moment, as the flames burned even higher, Bai Xiaochun was shocked to see that the first line on the surface of the turtle-shell pot started to light up, from bottom to top. Seconds later, the whole line was shining brightly.
Bai Xiaochun fixed his eyes on the bright lines, his mouth agape. Suddenly, he slapped his thigh.
“I knew it! This is a treasure; it’s definitely superior to those pots that my brothers have.” As Bai Xiaochun realized just how extraordinary his pot was, he swiftly threw the spirit rice inside.
As he sat beside the stove and waited, he picked up the bamboo scroll containing Purple Qi Cauldron Manipulation Technique and began to train according the movement and breathing method indicated by the first picture.
Even as he just began to cultivate, Bai Xiaochun’s eyes widened. He realised that the posture that had been so difficult for him last time, was now actually very natural, without even a trace of pain. Even the breathing method no longer suffocated him; On the contrary, it was in fact very comfortable now.
Especially with regards to the time he could hold the pose for -- he clearly remembered that previously, he could only sustain for a maximum of three to four breaths. But now, even after more than seven breaths, his body still did not feel sore.
Restraining his excitement, Bai Xiaochun calmed himself down in order to continue his cultivation. After his thirtieth breath, when he began to feel his body starting to ache slightly, a flow of Qi suddenly rose from inside his body. The Qi was ice cold as it rapidly swam within his inner body. Even though it didn’t complete its cycle before it vanished, Bai Xiaochun was still so excited that he bounced up and down in celebration.
“There’s Qi! Haha! There’s Qi now!” Bai Xiaochun was wild with glee as he paced within his room. He thought about all the treasures of heaven and earth that he had eaten last night and deeply regretted not eating more.
“No wonder Brother Zhang told me that he’d rather die hungry on a stove than to go out and fight. This kind of good fortune wouldn’t be available to Outer Sect disciples.” Bai Xiaochun hurriedly sat down as he began to cultivate again.
This time, as Bai Xiaochun cultivated following the breathing method and posture indicated by the first level of the Purple Qi Cauldron Manipulation Technique, he got to the sixtieth breath. At this point, a flow of qi approximately two times stronger than the previous one, burst from inside him, trickling away within his inner body like rivulets of water.
Now, that he had experienced it, Bai Xiaochun hurriedly positioned his body according to the picture in the manual, silently thinking about the routes of Qi flow in his body.
Soon after, the Qi inside Bai Xiaochun began to flow according to the routes he had imagined. As he held the stance similar to the one shown in the first diagram, he felt numerous strands of cold Qi emitting from every part of his body, assimilating into the flow of Qi like droplets of water, causing the flow to become bigger and bigger.
Eventually, the flow of Qi accumulated into a stream as it completed a cycle within Bai Xiaochun. His entire body jerked and as though a storm cloud had gathered in his mind, a clap of thunder could be heard.
A light and nimble sensation that Bai Xiaochun had never experienced before instantly surfaced within his body as clumps of dirt oozed endlessly from every sweat pore.
Unlike his previous efforts where the stream of Qi would disappear, this time it stayed even after his cultivation as it flowed freely and gently throughout his body. Bai Xiaochun opened his eyes to find that his sight had become clearer and his brain could process things faster.
Even his body clearly felt more light and relaxed.
“This lasting flow of Qi, it’s the indication that I’ve reached the first level of Purple Qi Cauldron Manipulation Technique, which also represents the first level of Qi Condensation.” Bai Xiaochun revelled in his ecstasy before he rushed out of the room to take another shower.
When the fat Brothers saw him, they smiled knowingly. Towards the fact that Bai Xiaochun had so quickly attained the first level of cultivation, they were startled, but they also understood the origins of that speed.
Returning to his room, Bai Xiaochun took a few deep breaths before he picked the bamboo scroll and inspected it closely.
“Once the first level of the Purple Qi Cauldron Manipulation Technique has been mastered, I can begin to manipulate certain objects without touching them. This is truly a technique of the Immortals.” Bai Xiaochun’s sparkled as he mimicked the simple hand gesture depicted on the manual and pointed to the table beside him. Instantly, he felt the small stream in his body flow towards his index finger, like an unbridled horse, before leaving his fingertip.
It was as though an invisible line had formed between his fingertip and the table. Unfortunately, the moment the line connected the two, it became unstable and shattered with a crack.
It took quite a while for Bai Xiaochun to recover from the shock; he raised his slightly paled face and started pondering. After careful analysis, he figured out that maybe he should give up the desk and choose something smaller instead. He pulled out a wooden sword, though he didn’t know what kind of wood this was made of, when he weighed the sword in hand, he was sure it was heavy. Confidently, he raised one finger of his right hand.
With a slight vibration, the sword slowly floated in the air. Nevertheless, when it rose to as high as one cun , it suddenly dropped off to the ground.
Bai Xiaochun was not a quitter, so he tried numerous times passionately. Fortunately, progress was made step by step. The height rose from one cun to ten cun, twenty cun, thirty cun…He practiced relentlessly throughout the night until dawn. Providence never let down a man who had tried his best. Finally, he successfully maintained the sword at a certain height and was able to make it float horizontally. Although the sword moved rather slowly and couldn’t turn around, it was a great achievement given that Bai Xiaochun had just begun learning. At the very least, it would not fall again.
“From now on, I’m one of those immortals!” Bai Xiaochun stood there arrogantly. He put his left hand behind, and waved his raised right hand in the air, directing the movements of the close by wooden sword, which was flying back and forth staggeringly.
After playing with the wooden sword for a long time, Bai Xiaochun discovered that his flow of qi was not as stable as before, so he stopped. When he was about to go back to cultivation, he caught scent of the alluring aroma that continually wafted from the pot. He raised his head and realized that the spirit rice was still stewing in the pot. So he dashed in front of the pot and opened the lid.
Suddenly, a rich, delicious smell filled Bai Xiaochun’ nostrils. Strangely, there was a glaring silver line on the spirit rice!
Bai Xiaochun stared at that mesmerizing silver line, and after several minutes, he found the color had faded to dark silver. Out of curiosity, he took out the spirit rice from the pot and scrutinized in his hands.
“I bet I have seen this line somewhere else…” Bai Xiaochun pondered. Looking down at the stove, he found all the wood was burned out to ashes. The line on the surface of the pot darkened itself as well.
Instantly, Bai Xiaochun discovered that the line on the spirit rice and the pot was the same!
Putting aside all his suspicions, Bai Xiaochun hid the cooked spirit rice into a hip-pocket, in case he caught any unknown disease by eating this rice. After thinking deeply, he went out and joined his fatty brothers.
Time flowed as per usual, and in a blink, half a month at hassed, In this half a month, Bai Xiaochun’s cultivation had paused again as his spiritual energy increased very slowly. But even so, he had found out that when other people were cooking the Spirit rice, there wouldn’t be any traces of silver lines.
Gradually, Bai Xiaochun concluded that both his spirit rice and the pot were weird. Several days later, Black Fatso Three went out to purchase materials. Bai Xiaochun seized this opportunity and slipped into the Four Seas House, where handymen were allowed to learn some rudimentary knowledge about immortal cultivation.
Bai Xiaochun concealed his excitement on his way back to his room, and he took out the spirit rice as soon as he arrived. He observed the silver line in rapt attention, soon, an unconceivable expression emerged from his face.
“All immortal cultivators have to go through three refinements, namely: medicine refinement, weapon refinement, and spirit refinement!” Bai Xiaochun compared the silver line on the spirit rice with the illustrative pictures in the classic record books in the Four Seas House, and he found that they were incredibly similar…
“Spirit refinement!” After a while, Bai Xiaochun exclaimed.
Spirit refinement was unique way of cultivation that forcefully injected the energies of heaven and earth in objects. By replacing the divine order of things and strengthening the objects through stealing that energy, be it Dan medicine, herbal medicine or treasures, they could all be enhanced through Spirit Refinement. Since this method went against the laws of nature, there was only a certain probability of success. But if you succeeded, the object’s potential would be largely increased. But if you failed, under the pressure of the energies of heaven and earth, the object would be turned into trash.
The most incredible part in spirit refinement was that the object was allowed to indefinitely repeat the refinement process as long as it didn’t drop. If an objected, for instance, was cultivated for ten times, it would obtain earthshaking improvements.
The rarer the object, the more terrifying the repeated spirit refinements were.
Unfortunately, the more time you cultivated on the same objects, the more slim its chance to success would become. Even for those masters of spirit refinement, they would be extremely cautious in making their decision for a repeated cultivation. After all, once it failed, all the previous efforts would be in vain.
“According to the classic record book, the most valued treasure of the Spirit River Sect was the Heaven’s Edge Sword, which was cultivated for ten times in spirit refinement!” Bai Xiaochun swallowed. He turned around and stared at the pot and the silver line. He was so confused, yet at the same time excited, as if his heart would jump out of his chest.
At this moment, Bai Xiaochun confirmed that the pot was the answer to all his confusions, especially the silver line on the spirit rice.
After some pausing to ponder, Bai Xiaochun gnashed his teeth, determined to decipher the mystery otherwise he would not be able to fall asleep. Knowing the uniqueness of his pot, he decided to keep the secret to himself.
Afraid of being spotted, Bai Xiaochun waited until midnight to examine the pot. As he approached the pot, he took out the wooden sword and threw it into the pot, just as he did with the spirit rice.
 cun: a unit of length, about 1/3 decimeters. 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far