“That’s enough. I don’t even know what they like about that brat Huang Jing. They keep babbling on about becoming a princess. With the world in this state, what good would being a princess do them?” Yuan Jikong looked in the direction in which his two sisters left. He laughed bitterly in his heart.
He raised a cup of wine, and was about to finish it when a red reflection suddenly appeared in the wine.
His expression registered a sudden and slight change. He put the cup down.
“Why’re you here? I told you that there’s no hurry for now!”
Before he knew it, a red-robed middle-aged man had appeared in the side room.
The man shut the door softly with a gentle expression. He sat down opposite Yuan Jikong.
“The higher-ups can’t wait anymore. Yuan Jikong, even if you’re not considering it for the others, you should consider it for your father. The Moon Prince is going against the tide. He will fall from power sooner or later. When that time comes and your father is seen as a faction, isn’t it natural for his family to be wiped out as well?
“Now is the time for you to atone for your father’s crimes by meritorious acts.” The red-robed man smiled.
“I’ve given him the medicine, but it’s not showing any effects even now. What else can I do? I’m sure there’s an elite secretly helping Huang Jing out in his escape. I’m also sure that someone must’ve suggested to him to go cultivating and stay away from this place,” Yuan Jikong spoke in a muffled voice.
He did not mind telling such a huge secret. After all, if this red-robed man appeared, his surroundings would have been sound-proofed. The outsiders would not be able to hear a thing.
“It’s not that we’re suspicious of you, but your results have not met our expectations. If once isn’t enough, you’ll do it twice. If twice isn’t enough, you’ll do it thrice. That Huang Jing is a mere mortal, that’s a fact that I’ve confirmed after many observations,” said the red-robed man softly.
Yuan Jikong was silent now. He raised his cup and emptied it down his throat. He only spoke after a while.
“Tell me, what do I have to do this time?”
The red-robed man smiled. This time, he was sure that the mission would succeed.
Since poison did not kill him, they would send demon generals to kill him! He was a mere mortal. Even with his royal status, in the face of the Demon Tribe, all he could do would be to cry and beg. He would be powerless to fight back.
Inside the cave.
In the dim yellow glow of the shining crystals, Lu Sheng placed a pacified little white crane onto a flat rock slab.
The Twin Spirit Zheng Yuan Mantra had already guided his Great Clear Crane Enlightened Method’s Pure Qi into the little white crane’s body. The crane was already getting stronger as its blood circulated throughout its body.
“This Twin Spirit Zheng Yuan Mantra is quite amazing. It’s a pity that it’s not a main method. Regardless of how amazing it is, it’s only a minor sutra.” Lu Sheng waved his arm. A spot of red light slowly shone in the center of the little white crane’s body.
‘That’s the spirit origin… the core which represented the origin of life. Once the spirit origin is extinguished, the life flame will also be extinguished.’ Recently, Lu Sheng had been able to extract several interesting things from these two skill formulas.
The discovery of the spirit origin was one of them.
The spirit origin resembled potential contained within an organism’s body. The greater and more powerful that potential was, the greater the heights to which it could be improved.
Lu Sheng guided the new Pure Qi within his body carefully, and slowly infused the little white crane with more Great Clear Crane Pure Qi.
Before, he merely infused it with a sliver to have this little white crane get used to the nature of Pure Qi, and to give its body time to prepare for more.
Now, it had been almost a day, and he thought that this period would have sufficed. Hence, he officially started infusing this little white crane with Pure Qi, just like what he did to Little Yun.
A wisp of white Qi slowly flew out of Lu Sheng’s mouth. It formed a thread like a living being, and precisely pierced the center of the little white crane’s torso where the spirit origin was.
Red light erupted instantly. The spirit origin started beating intensely like a heart.
The inserted white Qi was greedily devoured and assimilated by it. In the blink of an eye, no white Qi was left.
Lu Sheng kept supplying it with his Pure Qi. Time ticked slowly, and the spirit origin’s radiance grew brighter and more glaring.
All of a sudden, the red light froze, and moved no more. White Qi slowly dispersed to the sides, and was sucked back into Lu Sheng’s mouth.
However, some inexplicable object emerged from the final wisps of white Qi, and swiftly merged with the red light.
Lu Sheng could not help but feel that he had infused it with something bad…
“Is it saturated?” He closed his stance and took a step back. Then, he circulated the Twin Spirit Zheng Yuan Mantra.
Slowly and silently, the feathers of the little white crane on the rock started to grow. It grew larger and longer as well. Its beak grew sharper, and its legs grew longer and thicker.
‘I’d like to see what kind of changes will occur if I infuse the Pure Qi incorporated with spirit-prompting threads into the spirit origin from the very beginning. In Little Yun’s case, I initially infused him with Pure Qi, and then sent in spirit-prompting threads in Pure Qi-wrapped parcels, but now I’m mixing my spirit-prompting threads and Pure Qi together and infusing it into the spirit origin.’
Lu Sheng was looking forward to the results. He observed the little white crane on the rock nervously.
He could control three white cranes with this Twin Spirit Zheng Yuan Mantra. That was the highest number of cranes he could control. This cultivation method actually treated white cranes as Treasures that had to be cultivated and nurtured so that they would become stronger.
It was similar to the Summoner profession Lu Sheng knew about from before.
As expected, the little white crane’s growth started showing some problems.
The growth of its feathers slowed. In place of that, muscles started to bulge underneath its skin.
Its wings swelled up, and the contours of its muscles swiftly bulged with veins and blood vessels.
Its initially slender legs were now swiftly growing thicker. Its long bottleneck-like neck was now covered in muscular protrusions that resembled dragon scales. It had been only as thick as a fist before, but now it was as thick as a human head.
Suddenly, the little white crane opened its eyes and lifted its head as it let out a lion’s roar. The feathers on its body erupted and shattered. Only a tuft of white hair remained on the top of its head. The white hair stood erect as the muscles underneath tensed.
In the dim lighting of the cave, its dark red steel-like muscles appeared fiercer and stronger. It was like a terrifying beast whose silhouette was revealed in the dark.
“Father.” The little white crane straightened up its body, and went down from the rock slab like a human. “I have awakened…”
“…” Lu Sheng drew a deep breath. He had not expected this at all.
This little white crane had progressed from being an ordinary animal to the stage where it obtained its intelligence, and finally grew into a minor demon.
Through Lu Sheng’s profound competence of more than 1,000 years, the crane immediately skipped over several hundred years of painstaking cultivation, and attained the rank of a demon elite.
This was the result of infusing it with several hundred years’ worth of competence through the combination of spirit-prompting threads and his Great Clear Crane Enlightened Skill Pure Qi.
Lu Sheng looked at the little white crane with a hint of consolation.
“From this day on, you’ll be called Little Zhen. Go now, and bring Little Yun with you. He hasn’t gained intelligence yet, and I’ll need you to look after him.”
“Alright, Father. I will be careful.” Little Zhen nodded solemnly. He stood up straight. With a wave of his hand, a gust of gray demonic wind blew and picked up the scattered white feathers on the ground. The feathers stuck to his body and managed to look like a white feather cloth.
“I’ll be going out, then, Father.”
Lu Sheng could understand Little Zhen’s current feeling. He had been going through life in a daze, and now he had obtained intelligence. This favor was equivalent to being given a new lease of life. It could be regarded as a grace as serious as being a birth parent.
Hence, it was only natural for the little white crane to call him father.
The moment its intelligence was awakened, the little white crane’s previous memories and experience would instantly add to his current pool of experience and wealth of knowledge. The crane would be able to swiftly understand many things, including language, culture, and many other things.
‘From the records of the Twin Spirit Zheng Yuan Mantra, Little Yun’s aptitude should be better than Little Zhen’s. From their characteristics, Little Zhen should be of the demon elite rank, while Little Yun’s most probably of the demon general rank. Looks like the natural origin structure of the being has an influence on the heights it can attain in the future.’
Lu Sheng seemed to be lost in thought.
He did not mind giving away several hundred years’ worth of Pure Qi, since he was in no short supply of it. He could easily cultivate vast amounts of Pure Qi with his Yang Essence. Even if it was not enough, all he had to do was increase his competence with Mental Energy, and he would instantly be restored to his prime.
Moreover, his current Pure Qi recovery rate had far surpassed the records of the Clear Crane Enlightened Skill.
This derived and perfected Great Clear Crane Method was far superior compared to the original version in all aspects.
He would only need several days to completely replenish his spent Pure Qi by absorbing the spiritual Qi from the outside world. Hence, Lu Sheng’s current consideration was about these cranes’ upper limit of life.
The more Pure Qi they could endure, the more powerful they would become. Up until now, the crane with the most potential Lu Sheng had seen was Bai Songzi.
If he could subdue Bai Songzi this time, it would be smooth sailing from here.
It should be mentioned that the Twin Spirit Zheng Yuan Mantra was mutual in effect. The more powerful the crane was, and the more cranes the cultivator controlled, the more powerful the controller would become as he received more feedback of power.
Every crane would give some of its own body’s qualities back to the cultivator.
The Clear Crane Sect relied on this aspect to gain a certain level of combat strength. That was how they managed to protect themselves in these mountain forests.
Lu Sheng was still processing his thoughts when he suddenly heard a sharp crane cry from outside the cave. It was not a single crane, it was a flock!
Little Yun’s and Little Zhen’s cries were mixed among the cacophony as well.
He quickly went out the cave. He saw Little Zhen, who was six meters tall, standing there with a solemn expression. The feather robe on his body flapped in the wind.
Before him stood Little Yun whose eyes were slightly reddened.
The two of them seemed to be standing opposite each other for some reason. The white cranes around them, Bai Songzi included, where staring at Little Zhen, who walked out with a solemn gait.
Little Yun seemed to have sensed a threat. That was why he was shouting at Little Zhen.
“So, Bai Songzi, are you satisfied now?” Lu Sheng looked directly at Bai Songzi among the flock of cranes.
Bai Songzi sized Little Zhen up for a very long time. Although he had abdicated his post as the leader before this, he had no intention of trying this modification out himself.
“Just what is this magical medicine… It’s incredible!”
“This is only the beginning…” Lu Sheng displayed a profound smile.
If the first 50 cranes could be completely modified, the first step of his plan would be accomplished.
Once these cranes were modified, they would start to give him extremely formidable power as feedback. At the same time, they would be able to possess enough wisdom and complete his arrangements after this.
‘I was only able to create a demon elite crane after such a long time. Looks like I’ll have to improve the Great Clear Crane Enlightened Skill. Or maybe I need to get my hands on a more advanced version of the White Feather Mantra.’
It was time for him to lay his cards on the table with the Clear Crane Sect.