Chapter 8 – A Young Woman’s Birthday

So, a Six Severings Yin Corpse appeared within Mother Ghost Ridge.
That means there’s got to be an inauspicious yin spirit vein hidden there!

That’s the only way the ghosts there could undergo ‘corpse transformation’, slough off their old forms, and become Six Severings Yin Corpses. 

Even in the Nine Provinces of the Wilds, yin-aligned spirit veins are rare and unusual, yet one appeared within the territory of the spiritually barren Great Zhou.
It’s practically a miracle…..

As Su Yi pondered, he walked towards Guangling City along the banks of the Great Azure.

The third Realm of the Martial Dao is the ‘Inner Furnace.’ If I use a yin-aligned spirit vein to temper my internal organs, I’ll achieve twice the results for half the work. 

That aside, Mother Ghost Ridge has Six Yin Grass and Extreme Yang Flowers.
Those are precious medicines for Inner Furnace Realm cultivators.

Once I’ve reached the pinnacle of the Blood Circulation Realm, I’ll have to go in and take a look around. Su Yi made up his mind. 

He’d left his chance encounter with Xiao Tianque and Zi Jin with an ample harvest. 

Ten thousand taels of silver was enough to purchase the medicines he needed to temper his body.

At the same time, he’d intuited some enormously valuable intelligence regarding Mother Ghost Ridge. 

Such as the presence of an inauspicious yin spirit vein!

When Su Yi arrived at Guangling City, he saw the city lord’s’ guards garrisoned outside its gates. 

They were fully armored, and they looked stern, vigorous, and fully capable.

Before the guards, another group of the city’s higher-ups had gathered, all of them of extraordinary bearing; they were clearly long accustomed to power.
Ordinary experts of the Martial Day couldn’t compare with them at all.

Such a grand military formation was a rare sight in Guangling City.

The citizens passing through the gates were, without exception, both curious and awed.
The sound of discussion filled the air.

“The City Lord is here, and he even dispatched his Old Guard.
What’s all this for?” 

Ah, so that’s City Lord Fu Shan and his Old Guard…… Su Yi was inwardly curious too, but he couldn’t be bothered to ask around.
He went straight for the gates and walked inside. 

He could dimly discern the sound of the gathered experts’ laughter and conversation emanating from behind him—

“Look! Isn’t that the Wen Family’s live-in son-in-law, Su Yi? He was once the Sword Chief of Blueriver Sword Manor’s outer sect, a rare genius.”

“It’s really a pity.”

“A pity? Way I see it, if you want to pity someone, it ought to be Wen Lingzhao.
I’ve never seen such immense talent for the Martial Dao in all my life, and her good looks are one in ten thousand! Despite all that, she married Su Yi of all people.
What a tragedy!”

……

Su Yi laughed, but he wasn’t the least bit concerned.
He quickly disappeared into the bustling city streets. 

Not long after.

Xiao Tianque and Zi Jin appeared a ways beyond the city gates. 

At almost the same time, the Lord of Guangling City, Fu Shan, stepped forward and bowed in solemn greeting, his voice booming through the clouds.
“Your humble subordinate Fu Shan greets you, Marquis.
Greetings, Young Marchioness!” 

The experts and higher-ups behind Fu Shan, as well as his entire team of elite armed guards, quivered and repeated the greeting.
“Greetings, Marquis.
Greetings, Young Marchioness!” 

Suddenly, the city gates fell silent.
It was so still and quiet, not even the birds chirped.

The flow of citizens passing through the gates sunk into terrified silence.

Xiao Tianque stood a short distance away, his hands behind his back and his eyes closed.
He unconsciously emanated an air of authority; this was the bearing of one long accustomed to power.

Turning our attention to Zi Jin, she stood with her back straight.
Her figure was still tall and slender, and her egg-shaped face was still peerlessly beautiful, but she had a reserved, honorable bearing, as if she were a thousand miles away and unapproachable. 

“Fu Shan, I haven’t been a marquis for a long time.
Have the others step back; don’t disturb the populace!” Xiao Tianque furrowed his brow.

“Yes, sir!” City Lord Fu Shan agreed, then waved to the others.
The city’s major powers and the Old Guard left right away, not daring to delay. 

“Uncle Fu, I’ll have to trouble you to gather the medicinal ingredients listed on this recipe.
Remember, we need enough for seven days.
Also, please prepare a secluded room for my grandfather and I, somewhere we won’t be disturbed.” Zi Jin stepped forward and handed Fu Shan Su Yi’s prescription. 

“Princess, your subordinate shall carry out your orders with the utmost precision!” City Lord Fu Shan solemnly cupped his fist and bowed.

Xiao Tianque nodded, but said no more.
He and Zi Jin proceeded through the city gates. 

Gu Shan hurriedly followed them.
Only when they’d all left did the citizens near the gates come to their senses, as if awakening from a dream.
Immediately afterward, they broke into fervent discussion. 

Fu Shan was the lord of Guangling City, its highest authority figure.
Even Guangling City’s Three Great Clans had to treat him with respect. 

Yet now, right before their very eyes, he’d treated an old man and young woman with the utmost respect, heeding their every command!

Witnessing this broadened the citizens’ horizons, and they busily speculated at Xiao Tianque and Zi Jin’s identities. 

……

The Wen Family.

Su Yi sat in a tub within his chambers.

His eyes were shut, and with every breath, a faint wisp of white gas wound around him, like a snake flicking its tongue to a fantastical rhythm. 

This was the Pine and Crane Body Refining Art’s breathing technique. 

The bathtub contained a hot medicinal bath, a mixture of over fifty different herbs and grasses heated for four hours.

These medicinal herbs weren’t “spiritual medicines” in the eyes of cultivators, yet every last one was exceedingly valuable.
They were worth five hundred taels of silver in total.

In Guangling City, a common family’s annual expenses amounted to around a dozen taels at most!

This was the origin of the saying “the poor pursue scholarship, the wealthy, martial arts.” 

Only the wealthy were qualified to cultivate the Martial Dao. 

Even if a commoner wanted to cultivate, they couldn’t possibly bear the necessary expenditures. 

Even though the Wen Family was one of Guangling City’s Three Great Clans, and even though they boasted over a thousand members, only a select few were qualified to cultivate the Martial Dao from a young age. 

There was nothing for it.
Cultivating was just too expensive!

Ordinary warriors took supplements to meet their bodies’ needs on a daily basis.
They needed to purchase all sorts of medicines to further their cultivations, and even entering an academy to cultivate represented an enormous expense. 

Ordinary families simply couldn’t afford it.

It was the same throughout the Great Zhou.

Time flowed by, and soon, the sun cast slanted shadows from the west. 

Su Yi had spent a full six hours in meditation.
Two straight streams of gas, like pristine white silk, shot from his nostrils. 

The streams of gas were like arrows.
They shot ahead three feet, cutting through the air like knives with a faint rumbling reminiscent of thunder. 

His breathing was silken, yet it boomed like thunder!

This distinctive effect was the result of circulating your qi throughout your body until it boiled.

It was then that Su Yi opened his eyes, a flash of brilliance in the depths of his profound gaze, like the edge of a knife or a crackle of electricity.
It flickered briefly, then disappeared.

Today, I spent the morning breathing in the spiritual energy along the banks of the Great Azure, and the afternoon refining my body in a medicinal bath.
Less than a day has passed, but my foundations within the Blood Circulation Realm are already completely solid….. 

Su Yi got out of the bathtub, put on his clothes, and walked into the courtyard.

The sun was setting, casting a layer of gentle light over the jujube trees of the garden.

Su Yi stood firmly in place, sensing the power of his ample blood and qi.
Suddenly, he stretched out his finger and stabbed it into the branch of the nearest tree.

Wham!

The entire branch shattered into powder.

Strangely, the branch’s green leaves floated to the ground, completely intact.

Su Yi relaxed his finger and nodded to himself.

In the beginning stages of the Martial Dao, cultivators refined their physiques, blood, and qi.
Battles, however, were a display of both raw power and control.

Powerful warriors could stick a spear right through a date still on the tree.
One stab, one fruit.

They could stab a fly without leaving a mark on the wall below. 

This was an exquisite application of power. 

Su Yi’s finger attack was yet another example.

His movement seemed ordinary, but he struck like an arrow loosed from a bow or a sudden crack of lightning!

His finger shattered the branch with incredible ease, yet left the brittle, fragile leaves completely intact.

This represented a superb level of refined control.

But then, in his past life, a single finger could split an ocean, and a wave of his sleeves could sever mountains.
By comparison, shattering a branch was nothing but a parlor trick.

For the next few days, Su Yi left the city to cultivate along the riverbank every morning, and spent his evenings soaking in a medicinal bath to refine his physique.
His physical power underwent an earth-shaking transformation. 

During this time, his younger sister-in-law, Wen Lingxue, returned to Pinecloud Sword Manor.
Just before she left, she specifically reminded Su Yi that she’d be turning sixteen in just a few days and that she hoped he’d participate in the festivities.
Su Yi agreed without hesitation.

“The peak of the early-stage Blood Circulation Realm!” That morning, as Su Yi left the banks of the Great Azure, he sensed his body’s changes.
Despite himself, a satisfied grin tugged at the corners of his lips.

The Pinecloud Body Refining Technique really was the number one foundational technique of the Nine Provinces of the Wilds!

After mastering its essence and profundities, he’d undergone a dramatic transformation akin to rebirth in just five days.
He’d established a solid foundation for his future efforts in one fell swoop!

Better yet, he was stronger than his past life had been at this level!

With my current physical power, ordinary Blood Circulation Realm cultivators aren’t even remotely comparable….. Su Yi still had his current incarnation’s seventeen years of memories.
After a brief comparison, he was certain—

Should they fight, even the peak Blood Circulation Realm disciples of the Blueriver Sword Manor would lose beyond a shadow of a doubt!

The Blood Circulation Realm was, after all, only the first realm of the Martial Dao.
Its cultivators refined their physiques, and although they were stronger than ordinary people, they were still well within the bounds of “mortality.”

In the Nine Provinces of the Wilds, the Four Realms of the Martial Dao were also known as “Shedding Mortality”.
The name represented a metamorphosis, a four-step sloughing of mortality.

Only after breaking past the Four Realms of the Martial Dao and entering the Origin Dao could you call yourself a “Xiantian” cultivator. 

At that level, a cultivator could subsist on dew and the light of dawn and abstain from food.
They were qualitatively different from “the common man.” 

Furthermore, in combat, they no longer competed with cultivation alone; they could use combat arts!

With the experience and skills of his past life, even with no cultivation at all, Su Yi could obliterate a Blood Circulation Realm small fry in minutes. 

In just five days, I spent two thousand, five hundred taels of silver, yet I’ve only just stepped past the threshold…..

I can already predict that going forward, the resources I need for my cultivation will increase exponentially.
My expenditures will soar accordingly.

Like it or not, it seems that even as I cultivate the Four Realms of the Martial Dao, I’ll have to consider ways of earning money long-term.

Wealth, companions, techniques, and land.
These were a cultivator’s basic needs.

Of them, “wealth” came first!

Su Yi was well aware that as his cultivation increased, the amount of “wealth” required would reach increasingly shocking heights. 

Of course, to cultivators, “wealth” didn’t just refer to simple gold and silver; it included all types of cultivation resources.

For example, spiritual medicines and materials, treasures, and pills, among others. 

“If I entered a faction of cultivators, I wouldn’t need to worry over such a paltry sum….” Su Yi sighed, then shook his head and cast those thoughts aside.

At least for now, he wouldn’t even consider leaving Guangling City. 

As he pondered, Su Yi found himself back at the Wen Family.
When he entered the family estate, he saw a faint, distant figure waiting outside his door.

Wen Lingxue.

She was all dolled up.
She wore a long, deep purple dress, and her hair was tied into a bun, displaying her extraordinarily beautiful face.
Her clear, bright eyes shone like the stars. 

She stood with her hands behind her back, her gaze expectant, as pretty as could be.
“Brother-in-law.”

When she saw Su Yi in the distance, a smile blossomed on her face, and she waved to him in delight.

At that moment, she was so beautiful, the sunlight seemed to dim by comparison. 

“Isn’t school still in session? What are you doing back here?” Su Yi smiled and went up to greet her.

“Today is my birthday!” A smile blossomed across Wen Lingxue’s face.
“I’ve already booked a banquet hall at the Immortal Gathering House.
Several of my classmates will be there.
Let’s get going!”

As she spoke, she affectionately took Su Yi’s arm and led him outside.

Su Yi, however, felt rather guilty. 

He’d spent the past few days thinking about nothing but cultivation.
He’d forgotten her birthday, which he really shouldn’t have. 

He glanced at the girl beside him, and she looked at him expectantly.
Her eyes were bright, and her fair features showed no sign of blaming him at all. 

However, this only made Su Yi feel worse.

He thought it over, and in the end, he made up his mind—

This year, he was going to give an extraordinary birthday gift!

Seth's Thoughts

Just a head’s up:

The Chinese for Zi Jin’s title is 君主, which is used for the daughter of a prefectural lord.
It’s often translated as some variation on “princess”.
For now, I decided to avoid the word “princess” because it seems misleading to use that word for someone who isn’t the literal child of a king of emperor.

I chose “Marchioness” as an alternative since it’s the female version of “Marquis”, her grandfather’s title.
The “young” is in there to indicate that she’s the child of the prefectural lord/marquis, not the one in charge herself. 

That said, I am still reading ahead, and it is entirely possible that this title will prove inappropriate down the line, in which case I’ll come back and change it.
If so, I’ll mention it in the comments before making the swap.

 It’s not always possible to translate a term properly without knowing the context, but there’s almost two thousand chapters of raws, and it’ll be a little while longer before I catch up.
I’m working on it.
Thanks for bearing with me in the meantime! 

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