Chapter 175, Outpost
Lu Ye spent some time tidying up the training chambers, weeding the hedges outside in the compound before he finally found one which he liked and stepped inside.
Despite the relatively deserted and neglected surroundings, the Crimson Blood Sect once expended a great amount of resources and wherewithal into building this place.
The training chambers were of crucial importance to the progress of the Sect’s younger generations.
The last thing the former leadership of the Sect wanted was to be flippant towards the future of the Sect, and for this reason, each and every chamber was guarded with specially erected enchantments to prevent strangers from using them.
But it had been quite some time since the chambers were used and maintained and that was the reason why the enchantment there had stopped working.
Lu Ye looked around.
The chamber wasn’t quite as large as he expected, and the furnishing was modest.
But his eyes immediately caught sight of a magical circle inscribed on the floor.
It was a magical circle designed to gather all Spiritual Qi in the atmosphere nearby and focus them here to help facilitate their training process: the Circle of Boon.
In addition to the circles, Lu Ye noted tiny little hollows around the circle.
Spirit Stones could be deposited there to help thicken the atmosphere with more Spiritual Qi when the magic circle operated.
The atmosphere in the outpost compounds was often richer with Spiritual Qi compared to the environment outside.
The atmosphere in the Crimson Blood Sect outpost compound, for instance, had one-tenth more Spiritual Power than that in the wild.
It wasn’t a lot by usual standards.
The outpost hadn’t been manned in decades and hence the increment afforded by the Divine Opportunity Column was only at its bare minimum.
But so long as the Column continued to operate, the entire compound of the outpost would still have more Spiritual Qi than outside.
Which was also part of the reason why independents chose to gather around the outpost—so that they could also make use of the denser Spiritual Qi in the vicinity.
But once an outpost was conquered, the Divine Opportunity Column of that outpost would lose its increment.
One such instance would be the Divine Opportunity Column in the stronghold at Mount Ying, where Lu Ye could barely feel any difference to the environment there compared to outside.
An additional one-tenth of the Spiritual Qi richness in the atmosphere was the most basic increment for all Divine Opportunity Columns; with enough Contribution Points, one could purchase more increments from the Heavens to further intensify the richness of Spiritual Qi in the outpost.
Most of the outposts in the core region of the Battlefield—redoubts that belonged to the more elite sects and orders—oftentimes carried increments that were few or even dozens of times richer in Spiritual Qi than outside.
That made training and meditating in such an environment extremely efficient.
Hence the Crimson Blood Sect outpost—with a Divine Opportunity Column that carried no additional increments—operated only the most basic amplification of Spiritual Qi.
Fortunately, the training chambers still had Circles of Boon.
Which was also why Shui Yuan had recommended Lu Ye to train at the outpost.
But the Circle of Boon wasn’t working.
It had long run out of its sustenance to continue functioning.
Hence Lu Ye did not have to hurriedly activate it; he first began by studying the circle itself.
A thorough study of the magic circle gave him a conclusion: the patterns of the Circle of Boon were very, very similar—up to eight-tenths at least—to the Glyph: Gathering Spirits that he used.
One could argue that they might share the same provenance.
In fact, Glyph: Gathering Spirit was very much a miniature Circle of Boon.
Lu Ye took out eight Spirit Stones.
He placed each of them in one of the eight cavities around the Circle of Boon, then he placed his hand on the Circle and channeled his power.
As he felt his Spiritual Power seeping into the Circle bit by bit, it began to operate.
The air began to thicken with Spiritual Qi.
In mere moments, the Spiritual Qi in the air inside the chamber had grown more abundant than outside.
It was not just because of the Circle working, but also due to the eight Spirit Stones being used as the catalyst to intensify its effect.
Nevertheless, there was a limit to the Circle’s ability.
Just when the air was two-tenths denser in Spiritual Qi than outside, it did not go any further.
The Circle of Boon just persisted at the rate of gathering every shred of Spiritual Qi in the air and if left unconsumed, the Spiritual Qi would begin to leak out of the chamber.
Lu Ye paused.
He placed a hand on the wall and created a Glyph: Gathering Spirit circle using his Spiritual Power.
The air roiled and swirled with even more Spiritual Qi.
He had a feeling that his guess would be correct.
The bigger a Glyph: Gathering Spirit circle wad, the stronger its effects would be.
And today, he finally confirmed his hypothesis.
Moreover, unlike the Circle of Boon which required the use of Spirit Stones as sustenance and catalyst, the circles of Glyph: Gathering Spirit could consume Spiritual Qi as fuel to keep running.
He examined himself.
Creating such a large Glyph: Gathering Spirit circle had taken a toll on his Spiritual Power reserves.
He had never created one so big before, although he was certain he could make another one.
It did not take long.
Lu Ye created a second Gathering Spirit circle on the wall and the exertion felt like a huge gaping hole in his gut.
But it was not for naught; the air was now practically teeming with so much Spiritual Qi he could almost taste it.
At the same time, he was curious to know how fast he could progress with one Circle of Boon and two Glyph: Gathering Spirit circles working in tandem.
He extracted a cushion from his Storage Bag and tossed it on the floor.
Next, he sat on it and began creating tiny Glyph: Gathering Spirit circles all over himself.
The process of creating sixty-four miniature Glyph: Gathering Spirit circles over each and every single one of his Spiritual Points took almost a half-hour.
It was like being in the eye of a squall.
Spiritual Qi percolated into his body in huge torrents and his cultivation discipline was burning on full cylinders to keep on converting the Spiritual Qi into his Spiritual Power.
That helped to replenish his exhausted reserves.
Six hours later, Lu Ye got up again and created another Glyph: Gathering Spirit Circle which was as large as the other two on the face of another wall.
The amassing of Spiritual Qi became more incredible!
He scanned himself.
In the end, he was genuinely surprised to find that meditating for one day and night under this condition was akin as consuming five Spirit Pills.
It was when Lu Ye was unlocking his twenty-ninth Spiritual Point that he had discovered the marvel of using Glyph: Gathering Spirit.
He had conjured Glyph: Gathering Spirit circles on all of his twenty-nine Spiritual Points which resulted in his hypothesis that a night and day of meditation under that condition would yield the same results as swallowing one Spirit Pill.
But now that he had reached sixty-four Spiritual Points—which was more than twice the amount of twenty-nine Spiritual Points—he discovered that this could make up for lost time and expedite his progress.
Unlocking a new Spiritual Point after reaching the Fifth-Order needed at least twenty Spirit Pills, but now that he had discovered this new idea, he could expect to unlock his next Spiritual Point in just four to five days.
But if he could also swallow Spirit Pills, that would certainly make the process even faster.
That was not all.
Lu Ye did not neglect the fact that the Divine Opportunity Column of this outpost did not have any increments purchased yet.
What if he could somehow increase the increments and make the amount of Spiritual Qi in this vicinity richer by double, triple, quadruple, or even several times higher
Just thinking of the possibilities could make Lu Ye feel ecstatic.
His next order of business was clear enough: he needed to restore the Tree of Glyphs’s ability to burn away the toxins in his body and find ways to enable more increments on the Divine Opportunity Column here.
The Vault of Providence might have what he needed to restore his Tree of Glyphs.
As for securing more increments for the Divine Opportunity Column, Lu Ye figured that he would need to look for Li Baxian for advice.
The jade slip that the latter gave him did not contain enough information in this regard.
His Spiritual Powers had been almost restored and Lu Ye was ready to try unlocking his sixty-fifth Spiritual Point.
But before he managed to break through the barrier, his Battlefield Imprint glowed.
It was a message sent to him by Shui Yuan.
“Brother Baxian is looking for you!”
Under most circumstances, there was no way for Cultivators to communicate directly between the real world of Jiu Zhou and the Battlefield.
The Spirit Creek Battlefield remained a separated pocket dimension after all.
But as legate-in-charge of the Crimson Blood Sect outpost, Lu Ye was afforded the privilege to communicate directly with Shui Yuan, who, as it happened, was the Sect’s Keeper of Seal.
Only then did Lu Ye realize that he had been so busy that he had forgotten about the appointment with Li Baxian that he agreed to.
[What is Brother Baxian up to] He wondered.
He responded quickly and decided to continue his meditation some other time.
He glanced at the eight Spirit Stones in the magical circle.
They were almost spent.
Lu Ye ignored them and left the chamber where he sealed the entrance before using his credentials as legate-in-charge of the outpost to reactivate the enchantments that guarded the training chambers.
He needed to make sure that no one could intrude into this area.
His personal training area.
He strode towards the Sanctum of Providence where he found a sullen-looking man sitting just outside the steps of the Sanctum, looking more like he was dozing than meditating.
His footfalls jolted the stranger awake, who opened his eyes and was surprisingly pleased to see him.
“Are you Lu Ye of the Crimson Blood Sect”
“I am,” Lu Ye answered.
He studied the stranger: a Third-Order Cultivator.
“Can I help you” he responded glumly.
“It’s Chen Yu,” said the stranger quickly.
“He’s looking to speak to you, sir.
It’s about the bazaar.”
“The bazaar” uttered an incredulous Lu Ye.
[What for] was the first thought that came to mind.
But he quickly grasped the reason.
The bazaar had been here for a long time with so many independents gathering there.
In fact, the bazaar could function as a pseudo-Divine Trade Association branch in some ways.
But now that he had been made legate-in-charge, the independents did not know what to do.
The bazaar had turned this place into a mecca of sorts for all independents but at the same time, Lu Ye’s presence here had introduced a new unknown into the equation which they could no longer solve.
As much as they knew that they needed to respect the wishes and arrangements of the Crimson Blood Sect, the independents were in no way amused to have a stranger breathing down their necks all of a sudden.
“If you could just wait a moment, sir.
I’ll have Chen Yu come here at once,” said the stranger who was about to trot off.
“Wait a minute.
I’m in a hurry.
Let’s talk next time,” said a fidgety Lu Ye who wanted to get back to the Sect’s main stronghold as soon as possible.
Besides, he could use some advice from Li Baxian and Shui Yuan on how he should manage this quandary with the bazaar.
“When would you be coming back I could at least have Chen Yu here at that time, then,” said the stranger with every semblance of a dutiful steward.
“Tomorrow then,” Lu Ye responded curtly before he dashed into the Sanctum of Providence and transported himself back to Jiu Zhou.
Lu Ye only just stepped out of the Sanctum of Providence when the aroma of delicious food tingled his senses.
He followed the smell that led him straight to the dining hall and there was this table laid full of sumptuous food.
Just the sight and the smells could instantly pique anyone’s appetite.
This was a feast not only to satisfy one’s palate but also for nourishment; the dishes were all cooked by Shui Yuan in person and the ingredients included very wholesome herbs and spices.
But Lu Ye noticed that today’s feast appeared unusually big.
Li Baxian was already at the table, stuffing his mouth with food on one end before flushing them all down his gullet with mouthfuls of liquor.
He was elated to see Lu Ye come back.
“Come, Lu Ye! Come try this fish I just caught!”
Lu Ye hastily sat down and helped himself to some fish.
He tasted the flesh and pronounced it fresh and delicious.
Li Baxian was delighted.
“This is the Blood Sturgeon from the lake Lunarmere.
In the past, each acolyte had a monthly allocation of Blood Sturgeon flesh because of its nourishing properties.
It can help to enrich one’s physical constitution.
But now, you can have your fill.
In fact, if you ever find yourself strapped for cash, all you have to do is to get a few of these and sell them for Spirit Stones.
A Blood Sturgeon can easily fetch you hundreds of Stones.”
“Cough! Cough! Cough!” Lu Ye launched into fits of coughs.
Never did he realize that he could be eating anything so valuable.
“By the way, Beaky loves these.
Take some back with you.
A couple of these should make him happy.
Poor thing has been alone for so long.”
“Understood,” Lu Ye nodded.
“Do you drink” Li Baxian asked, although a second later, he quickly regretted his question.
He could feel the scalding stare coming from somewhere that was threatening to burrow a hole through him.
He quickly rephrased, “Well, you’re too young, so you better abstain.
By the way, be careful of women trying to get you drunk.
You could be forced into a very compromising situation where you could be blackmailed.”
Lu Ye did not know how to respond to that.