While Zi Yuan and Ruan Hongling were looking for a powerful magical weapon — the Mirror of Heaven and Earth, which was left by Wang Yuanshan in Mount Longhu — Li Yundong was checking Zhou Qin's cultivation progress in his room.
Zhou Qin closed his eyes. After circulating the Great Heavenly Cycle 16 times, she slowly exhaled and opened her eyes. She saw Li Yundong gently smiling at her and saying, "Good, your current cultivation is almost close to the Yangshen phase. Your cultivation speed is even faster than before. Amazing! Your Nine Cycles Golden Elixir has also been cultivated to the seventh transformation and is only one step away from the eighth transformation of the 'Fire Creation'. Now your cultivation is already very impressive, you only need some experience of fighting in the formation and using magic treasures and magic arts. In a few days, I will teach you some magic, and you will become a very good cultivator!"
Usually, Zhou Qin was serious, but at this time, when she was being praised by Li Yundong, she only felt warm and sweet. The smile on her face was like a spring flower blooming. She smiled and said, "Really? Why do I feel that my cultivation is so slow?"
Li Yundong could not help but laugh. "Your cultivation is still slow? Then what should other cultivators do? Your speed is faster than mine. Are you mocking me?"
After the Taoist assembly, Zhou Qin's awe and respect for Li Yundong had reached an extreme level. She quickly said, "No, Master, how could I dare to satirize you? My cultivation is far lower than yours!"
Li Yundong laughed and said, "I'm kidding. You don't have to be so nervous."
As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Though Li Yundong had spoken it casually, Zhou Qin felt that his words and deeds were full of maturity and stability, as well as ease that a boy of his age should not have. She said with admiration, "Master, can I ask you a question?"
Li Yundong smiled and said, "You can."
"Master, are your fighting skills the best in the world now?"
Li Yundong laughed and said, "How could that be possible!"
"But they all call you Super Li!"
Li Yundong smiled and said, "Why do you believe these people's compliments? How could I be invincible?"
Zhou Qin's brows furrowed slightly. "But I saw that no one in the Taoist assembly could defeat Tachibana Wakako. However, Master, when you struck out with your palm, she was so frightened that she started crying. If that's not invincibility, what is?"
Li Yundong smiled. "Tachibana Wakako's kung fu comes from Zhenyan Tantrism, and the master of Zhenyan Tantrism worships the Immovable Wisdom King. When I showed the King's Fashen, it was like a gangster seeing a Gangster boss. How could she not have been afraid? Therefore, no matter how fierce she is, she won't dare to fight with me. If she really fights with me, the actual gap won't be as big as you think. After all, it's the Mahamayuri who drove her away. If she was a goddess instead of a witch, she would invite the Mahamayuri to come down to the human world, and even I would be no match for her then."
Zhou Qin was shocked and asked, "Is there anyone more powerful than Tachibana Wakako in Japan?"
Li Yundong nodded. "Of course! There is a Divine Lady above the Witch, and the Divine Lady is divided into three levels: the Aoyuan Goddess, the Dizang Goddess, and the Tianzhao Goddess. Among them, the Aoyuan Goddess is a powerful cultivator who can directly communicate with the gods. She is equivalent to a jinshen Master in our cultivation world. The Dizang Goddess is equivalent to a Master of the Lightning Retribution phase, while the Tianzhao Goddess is equivalent to a Jinshen Master."
Zhou Qin's expression was a little strange. "Are there such powerful figures in this group of Japanese?"
Li Yundong said, "There should be a goddess at the level of the Okunoin, which is equivalent to a sect-guarding master. I don't know about the Dizang Goddess or the Tianzhao Goddess. I know there are jinshen masters in the world, but I'm not sure if there is a Lightning Retribution phase master or a real jinshen master."
Zhou Qin thought for a moment before asking, "Master, I've always been confused. Didn't many cultivation classics say that the Yang Spirit is the pinnacle realm of cultivators? Even Zhang Sanfeng said that the Yang Spirit is the pinnacle. Why is there a third Firmament cultivation above Yang Spirit?"
Li Yundong smiled and said, "I knew that you would ask this question. I had the same question as you back then. I always had all kinds of doubts about cultivation. In fact, what you said is not wrong. The Yang Spirit is indeed the top realm of cultivators. It's because people rely on their own strength to cultivate with their Neidans. As long as they can successfully build a foundation, they will be able to reach a realm sooner or later."
"However, once a person's physical body has been cultivated to the Yangshen phase, if they want to break through again, there will be no way for them to do so. This is because human strength is sometimes exhausted! No matter how powerful one's physical body is, it's impossible for it to be limitless! Think about it: no matter how strong a person is, can they really carry a mountain on their own? Impossible, right? Because physical strength is limited, people only rely on their physical strength to cultivate. When one's cultivation reaches the Yangshen phase, it will be the limit. But at this time, if a person wants to cultivate again, they must borrow the power from heaven and earth!"
Zhou Qin asked curiously and confusedly, "Borrow power from heaven and earth?"
Li Yundong nodded. "Yes, cultivation focuses on the unity of man and nature. You use your Zhenqi as a medium to mobilize the power between heaven and earth, and use all kinds of magic tools and magic arts. If you want to cultivate from the Yang Spirit to the jinshen, you have to take pills. The fastest way is to take Diyuan Jindan of the three elixirs of life. If you don't have the Diyuan Jindan, you have to take other kinds of pills to help you. Think about it, where do the medicinal materials of these pills grow?"
Zhou Qin's eyes lit up. She seemed to have thought of something and suddenly said, "Deep mountains and old forests?"
Li Yundong said with appreciation, "Yes! The medicinal materials of the elixirs of life grow in the forest. They gather the Spiritual Energy between heaven and earth. When a cultivator takes it, it will be very beneficial. It will greatly enhance the power of the Neidan and constantly strengthen his True Energy. Therefore, to reach the Jinshen Realm, one must take pills to constantly absorb the Spiritual Energy between heaven and earth."
Zhou Qin asked again, "Then what's the matter with the realm of the Lightning Retribution phase? Does it also borrow force from heaven and earth?"
Li Yundong nodded. "That's right! The cultivation of jinshen is mainly about borrowing strength from earth because medicinal herbs grow on it, while the Lightning Retribution phase is about borrowing strength from the heavens, because lightning comes from the ninth firmament. Cultivators can only constantly strengthen themselves by putting jinshen in the sky where the lightning rises. This is the way to borrow strength from the heavens! That's why cultivators have the saying of transcending Lightning Retribution. However, even though crossing Lightning Retribution can greatly strengthen cultivators, it's also extremely dangerous. If one is careless, they will be destroyed. There's no room for regrets."
Hearing this, Zhou Qin couldn't help but be shocked. She asked, "Then, Master, you must be careful when you are undergoing Lightning Retribution!"
Li Yundong laughed and said, "Lightning retribution? I'm not even in the jinshen phase. How can I go through the Lightning Retribution phase? It's courting death to go through Lightning Retribution with a Yang Spirit body. Let's wait until I reach the top of the cultivation."
Zhou Qin had another question. She asked, "Master, how long will it take you to reach the Jinshen phase?"
Li Yundong frowned slightly. He sighed and said, "This is a rare thing. Wan Zhenyuan told me before that as long as I find the 1,000-year-old snow lotus, he can refine the Diyuan Jindan. If I have the Diyuan Jindan... I think I can reach the Jinshen phase successfully."
Zhou Qin asked curiously, "A 1,000-year-old snow lotus? Where is it? I'll find someone to buy it for you!"
Li Yundong glanced at Zhou Qin with a smile and said, "Don't be silly. You can't buy it. It grows on the top of Mount Athos in Tibet and has the protection of the Mountain-protecting Monk. Don't think you can buy it with money. Even if you traded a gold mountain with those Lamas, they wouldn't trade with you."
Hearing this, Zhou Qin suddenly yelped.
Li Yunqi asked, "What's wrong with you? Why you are surprised?"
Zhou Qin seemed to have remembered something. She smiled awkwardly at Li Yundong and said, "Master, I forgot to tell you something."
Li Yundong smiled and said, "What's the matter?"
Zhou Qin said with a wry smile, "Didn't I tell you last time that I met Meiduo when I was building my foundation in Tibet?"
Li Yundong asked, "I remember. What's wrong?"
Zhou Qin sighed and said, "After meeting her, I climbed to the top of Kari Holy Mountain to build my foundation. After I succeeded, I met Dorjee Tenzin Master. He said that Master Erdeni asked him to deliver a message."
"Did he send it to you?"
Zhou Qin shook her head and smiled embarrassedly. "No, it was sent to you. However, when I came back at that time, you happened to be cultivating in the Spirit Space. Before I could tell you, you went to the Taoist Assembly. So many things happened there, so I forgot to say it for a while."
Li Yunyang laughed and said, "It doesn't matter. What's up?"
Zhou Qin said, "Master Erdeni said that you only learned half of the Mahamudra. He also said that when you go up the mountain in the future, you must go to the east."
Li Yundong was surprised. "I only learned half of it? But I went to school according to books! Don't tell me... the books are not complete? In addition, why do I have to go to the east to go up the mountain?"
Zhou Qin shook her head. "I don't know either. That's what Master Erdeni told Dorjee Tenzin. And that's what Dorjee Tenzin told me."
Li Yundong nodded slowly. After thinking for a while, he said to himself, "Does Master Erdeni expect me to go to the Mount Athos? Wan Zhenyuan... Does he also think that I will go to Mount Athos, so he proposed this deal to me? It couldn't be so coincidental, could it?"
Zhou Qin heard Li Yundong talking to himself. Although she was a little confused, she still vaguely thought of something and asked tentatively, "Master, are you going to Tibet?"
Li Yundong thought about it seriously, as if he was a little hesitant. Zhou Qin couldn't help asking, "Master, what are you hesitating over?"
Li Yundong said in a deep voice, "Wan Zhenyuan is an ambitious man. I am worried that this is a trap planned by him, so I have been worried about whether I should go or not."
Zhou Qin, however, laughed and said, "Master, this doesn't seem like you. Haven't you always said 'Amongst thousands of people, I forge ahead'? Moreover, nothing ventured, nothing gained. What's more, Diyuan Jindan is such a precious thing. I've met Master Erdeni. He's indeed an eminent monk. I believe he won't collude with Wan Zhenyuan to frame you, will he? And now Meiduo is the new Banda Lam, and she's your friend. It's even less likely that she'll harm you. I believe that you're destined to take this thousand-year-old lotus."
Li Yundong felt reasonable when he heard that. He looked at Zhou Qin in surprise and couldn't help laughing. "You're right! You're right! I'm too worried!"
Seeing that Li Yundong had listened to her persuasion, Zhou Qin couldn't help but smile and said, "Master, you have too many things to consider all day long. All the heavy burdens of the Fox Zen School are on you. Besides, you have to worry about our safety, so there are many things to consider. It's normal for you to be careful."
Li Yundong laughed and said, "Yes, you are right. You must remind me more often in the future!"
Hearing this, Zhou Qin felt warm. She looked at Li Yundong with affection and said to herself, "Master, I will accompany you and remind you all the time."
She looked at Li Yunyang's handsome profile in a daze, and she was a little lost for a moment.
Li Yundong didn't know Zhou Qin's thoughts at this moment. He thought for a moment and said, "Since the decision has been made, let's not delay. I'll set off tomorrow."
Zhou Qin packed up her thoughts and couldn't help saying, "Master, I'll go with you."
Li Yundong smiled and shook his head. "No, it's more convenient for me to go alone. If there is really a trap, I can escape alone. You stay at home and hold down the fort. Tomorrow, the Disanxian will reopen. I need you there."
Zhou Qin was a little disappointed, but she still nodded with a smile. "Well..." She turned around and took the Liuhe Sword from Li Yundong and handed it to him. She said, "Master, this is your powerful magical weapon. Take it with you, or I won't be at ease."
Li Yundong said with a smile, "I don't need this thing. You'd better keep it!"
However, Zhou Qin stubbornly shook her head and said, "Master, this Liuhe is your magic treasure. If I use it, it will be greatly reduced, but if you stay with it, it will be with your might redoubled. And if you take it with you, I can rest assured. Otherwise, even if the Liuhe is by my side, I will be restless every day. Even if I had an omnipotent ability, I would not be able to exert it."
Li Yundong knew that Zhou Qin's words were reasonable, so he nodded with a smile. He reached out to take the sword, but at the moment he did so, the two of them touched each other's fingers, skin-to-skin. Instantly, their bodies seemed to be flowing with an electric current, and they trembled.
Li Yundong couldn't help looking at Zhou Qin, only to see that his beautiful disciple was staring at him. Although his eyes were calm, Li Yundong could clearly feel the raging passion behind the calmness.
Li Yunyang's heart trembled, and he immediately stood up. He coughed awkwardly and said, "I'll take the Liuhe with me. You... you have to take care of yourself. I'll be back soon."
As he spoke, he quickly ran out of the room.
Zhou Qin couldn't help thinking behind him and shouting, "Master, this is your room!"
But before she could comment further, Li Yundong was gone.
Zhou Qin sighed quietly. Her eyes were blurred as she looked in the direction Li Yundong had gone in. For a moment, she was lost in thought.