Chapter 2: The Bronze Mirror

If anyone from the Xuanqing group suddenly decided to turn back, they would surely see the “celestial beings” in their minds laughing hysterically, slapping their knees in amusement. Unfortunately, those people were too scared to death. After some time had passed, they had already gone several miles away, so even if Yu Ci laughed louder, they wouldn’t hear it.

Yu Ci had laughed enough and no longer pretended to be intimidating. He found a comfortable position, leaning against the incense table, with his long sword casually placed beside him.

Why did he initially assume that Xuanqing was one of his own kind? Because whether it was big lies or small lies, lies were lies.

“Celestial beings, celestial beings, what a load of nonsense.”

Yu Ci knew his own background very well. What kind of celestial being was he? At best, he was on par with Xuanqing in terms of cultivation level, plus those strong men with decent skills. If they had seen through his act and surrounded him, it would have been troublesome.

Of course, he could bypass the situation or confront them directly before they formed a circle around him. But if he did that, would he be able to enjoy the warmth and comfort of this shelter as freely as he was now?

As he relaxed, he began to assess Xuanqing’s true level. Based on the Clear Heart Incantation he displayed, he was capable of using ordinary cinnabar as a catalyst to draw symbols and summon spirits. He was probably at the peak of the Enlightened Spirit realm.

In the world of cultivation, there were three stages known as the “mundane three gates”: Qi Cultivation, Qi Breathing, and Enlightened Spirit.

Qi Circulation involved refining the body through breathing techniques, resulting in a sense of vitality, often referred to as “refining essence into qi.”

Qi Breathing led to the cultivation of inner vitality, allowing bursts of great strength with each breath, circulating energy throughout the body, and prolonging lifespan to around 150 years.

As for the Enlightened Spirit realm, there were no further physical advancements, but under the nourishment of true energy, one’s soul would strengthen, gradually opening spiritual senses and exhibiting mysterious responses. In this realm, with sufficient cultivation and the aid of high-quality materials like cinnabar and peach wood, one could use various methods such as symbols, techniques, and sorcery to perform feats like summoning wind and rain or commanding thunder and lightning.

Yu Ci was like this. He knew a dozen symbols and could use them for calming the mind, warding off evil, and even conjuring palm-sized lightning strikes. But that was about it, and Xuanqing was probably similar.

However, Xuanqing lacked courage. The long sword Yu Ci had on his knee was supposed to be used preemptively when his cover was blown, but he hadn’t expected Xuanqing to be so easily frightened.

Perhaps Xuanqing had tasted the bitterness from above?

That was not impossible.

If Enlightened Spirit was the final stage of the mundane three gates and the pinnacle of mundane cultivation, then transcending beyond the mundane three gates, advancing from the Enlightened Spirit realm to another level, would truly break free from constraints and enter a realm composed of special individuals and non-humans, as well as a strange and wondrous world.

Those individuals were called cultivators, and “using qi to form symbols” was a unique skill of cultivators.

Xuanqing lacked discernment and mistakenly believed him to be a legendary cultivator, which terrified him. Yu Ci, on the other hand, had witnessed…

Watching the campfire, Yu Ci gradually drifted into a trance. The fiery red light seeped through his eyelids, playing with its eerie figure. In a trance, the flames licked his body, almost roasting his internal organs. He leaped from the boundless sea of fire, darting towards the table, where a glimmer of opportunity awaited him.

With a sudden noise, Yu Ci snapped out of his reverie, realizing he had unconsciously bumped into the “demonic creature’s head” beside him, and couldn’t help but chuckle.

The demonic head rolled a few times, its profile facing the blazing campfire. In the firelight, its red eyes emitted an eerie glow, caught by Yu Ci’s gaze. To be honest, he didn’t like the ugly thing, but when he pretended to examine it earlier, he found its texture strangely peculiar. Beneath its cold bone shell, there seemed to be a faint warmth.

Hmm, maybe it’s worth investigating later.

With the intent to collect, Yu Ci still felt it odd to keep such an unknown head close to him. He wrapped it in a piece of cloth and stashed it in his sleeve.

While storing the object, he felt something else on his fingertips. He smiled and carefully retrieved it after securing the demonic head. It was a round bronze mirror, palm-sized, flawless in appearance, with a polished surface that revealed every strand of hair. However, upon inspecting the back of the mirror, he found no handle, only engraved Yin patterns, faint and irregular, as if scribbled casually.

Though it was indeed a mirror, Yu Ci didn’t use it as one.

Turning the mirror face up and infusing it with true energy, he gently shook it. Suddenly, the mirror flashed with a green light, casting his features in an emerald hue.

He pinched it with two fingers amid the green light’s reflection, and faint radiance detached from the main light, tracing clear patterns in the void, accompanied by flickering spiritual lights that danced around him.

This was the true nature of “using qi to form symbols.”

Yu Ci, despite not transcending the mundane three gates, still required spiritual catalysts for drawing symbols. However, instead of using cinnabar and paper like Xuanqing, he used the bronze mirror in his hand.

Drawing out the green light from his sleeve and painting in the air, as long as his techniques were skillful enough, he could easily create scenes of gathering spiritual light without relying on external objects.

This kind of deception and trickery was something Yu Ci was adept at, likely due to his upbringing. When he was just eight or nine years old, barely beginning his cultivation journey, he was already hailed as a child prodigy in the Twin Immortal Sect, worshipped by countless believers for miles around. Compared to Xuanqing playing god in this desolate temple, wasn’t Yu Ci a hundred times more cunning?

With this in mind, he couldn’t help but laugh again, though the smile carried a chilly undertone, and the green light on the bronze mirror seemed to respond.

From there, he traveled north for countless miles until he reached the kingdom of Chen. With hundreds of thousands of households, the people of Chen did not believe in Buddhism or Taoism but instead fervently worshipped the so-called “Twin Immortals.” Purple Thunder and Red Yin, the Twin Immortals, established their sect in Chen, capable of controlling winds and clouds, viewed by the people as no different from gods.

Yu Ci was a close attendant in the Twin Immortal Sect, revered

 by believers and cultivators alike, hailed as the foremost disciple under the age of twenty. He spent his days exploring the realm, seeking treasures, and practicing his craft.

One day, he stumbled upon a peculiar mirror in an ancient ruin, which was neither divine nor demonic. It was a twin mirror, crafted by immortals, yet it bore no spiritual essence. Instead, it was an ordinary bronze mirror, reflecting an image, but with a twist. 

He learned from his master that the mirror possessed a unique ability—to trap and reflect spiritual light, capturing the essence of symbols and techniques. With this mirror, even a fledgling cultivator like Yu Ci could perform feats of magic beyond his years.

So, he took the mirror and left the sect, journeying across the land, venturing into desolate ruins and hidden realms, seeking treasures and uncovering secrets.

In the desolate temple, amidst the ruins of a forgotten sect, Yu Ci utilized the mirror’s power to its fullest, manipulating spiritual light with ease, conjuring illusions and deceiving his enemies.

The mirror was his most prized possession, his faithful companion in his journey through the world of cultivation.

With the bronze mirror in hand, Yu Ci set out once more, his heart filled with excitement and anticipation. There were many mysteries yet to uncover, many treasures yet to find, and many adventures yet to be had.

And so, the legend of Yu Ci, the cunning cultivator, continued to spread throughout the land, inspiring awe and fear in equal measure.

But that is a story for another time.

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