An hour later, at noon, Han De was in the Archives once again. Before, he was reluctant to get close to this place. The cultivation idiot’s pride was as high as the heavens, Han De visiting this place would only gather unnecessary attention. However, thanks to his three disciples, and the Seven Luminaries Reminiscence pill, he could now safely visit this place.
Truthfully, his visit wasn’t a personal one. He didn’t want to look for a new spell in the short term. First, he needed to let other people get used to the idea of him using spells and other techniques. This time he wanted to look for information on alchemy, herbalism, and formations. Basically, anything that would allow Jin Shu to exploit her big brain advantage. And maybe some supplementary methods for her and Ning Bi too.
[Starfall Mountain Standard Herbalism Scripture Volume 1]
[Notes: Contains extremely limited knowledge about herbalism. Includes surface-level knowledge about 9874 species of spiritual herbs. Requires 1 Profound Point(s) to comprehend at Grand Master level.]
‘Well now I’m curious about the contents of this scripture since you seem to be dissing it so much. Going as far as offering Grand Master level just for a single point…’
Han De started browsing the scripture. It included tips about raising the plants. The Required characteristics of the soil in each growth period. The optimal spiritual energy density depending on the growth period, the season, and the time of day. The qualities of the water to be used. The quality of the adjacent herbs, how to harmonize their spiritual auras by calculating the best possible distance between them. The...
‘Shit, this is so in-depth… Just reading about one plant made me give up…’
Obviously, there was no need for Han De to learn these dry spiritual herb encyclopedias. He would much rather get a copy of these from the Archives and tell Jin Shu to study them on her own. Still, he got curious, just a single point for Grand Master level wasn’t too shabby. He comprehended the first volume just to see if he would get any extra knowledge that wouldn’t be readily apparent in this volume.
After the process was complete, his eyes lost focus and stared at emptiness for a while. He was reminded of his spiritual herb garden, which was managed by his servants. The placement of the herbs was abysmal, the soil quality was completely off, there was a complete disregard for separation of yin and yang energies of the herbs.
‘F#$%... This is like learning to notice bad kerning…’
Han De tried to compare his knowledge to the scripture in his hands, but his mind kept finding more and more problems with his spiritual herb garden. He decided to take a break from herbalism and went for the alchemy section instead.
[Starfall Mountain Standard Alchemy Scripture Volume 1]
[Notes: Contains extremely limited knowledge about primitive spiritual herb arrangements. Includes 314 recipes for primitive spiritual herb arrangements at the Qi Condensation level. Requires 1 Profound Point(s) to comprehend at Master level.]
‘Hmmm, this isn’t that bad. At least there are clear instructions. Still, in Xianxia’s they usually wouldn’t put tips and tricks in writings. They’ll probably come up with bullshit reasons like ‘everyone has to find their own path’ or something.’
Han De comprehended the alchemy scripture without even blinking an eye. While concocting pills sounded awesome, he didn’t really care about it. He was the sole heir of his family and the sect. He had no shortage of rare pills. Maybe at a later date, he would start concocting pills as a hobby to spice things up.
Comparing his new knowledge of the most basic Qi nourishment pill to the one in the first volume proved him right. The recipe in the scripture was almost designed to fail. Han De realized some of this was due to their intention of not scaring the potential new apprentices. There was some merit to giving them the much simplified and highly-likely to fail version to get them familiar with the ropes.
‘Still, this feels more like old guys laughing at the younger generation. You know what, I shouldn’t think badly of other people. They survived this far, they have to be doing something right…’
[Starfall Mountain Standard Formation Scripture Volume 1]
[Notes: Contains extremely limited knowledge about primitive formations. Includes 62 specifications of Qi Condensation level formations. Requires 1 Profound Point(s) to comprehend at Master level.]
‘Whoever came up with the idea of standardizing these things was a genius ahead of their time. Thank you, ancestor, for making my life so easier.’
Han De gave an unironic bow on the spot, then learned the formation scripture. He didn’t have a strong feeling towards formations. This wasn’t limited to Xianxia, he also didn’t care about magic circles in other genres. Even in RPGs and MMOs he never played trapper or summoner classes. The formations here were obviously far more useful and essential than some limited RPG skills, but he still couldn’t make himself care about them at a personal level.
‘This thing actually includes a significant amount of math knowledge. Not only that, but it also has some beginner level geology and astronomy too.’
Han De looked at the hundreds of volumes in front of him. What he was seeing right now was only the formation scripture volumes. And these were just standard scriptures, more advanced knowledge was scattered between who knows how many different scriptures. Alchemy was probably even worse since it was more popular than formations.
‘Since I don’t know which one she’ll like to study, there is no need to be hasty. I’ll just write the two volumes I learned and give her that annoying herbalism volume directly. Once she selects one I can just write down the next few volumes of that and leave the rest as a challenge for her.’
Writing down hundreds, if not thousands of volumes of information just wasn’t feasible for him. Besides, Profound Teachers had the tendency of letting their students figure things out on their own. He just needed to give them a slight push. This manner of teaching was very convenient for Han De.
While going to another section, Han De suddenly stopped. He realized that the Crimson Terror was a mutation Fire Chrysanthemum, which was itself a close but rare variant of the common Red Chrysanthemum. Even if their attributes were only loosely similar to each other, the arrangement of the Crimson Terror on that cave back then was completely unacceptable. It was a miracle that the flower was able to bloom in that dismal environment.
He shook his head to clear out the useless thoughts. For a second, he really wanted to have a serious discussion about basic horticultural practices with that fox snake pair.
The Archives always had many low-level elders working as clerks. Technically, Han De’s rank in the sect was also pretty low, but his status was too important to ignore. He instructed one of them to retrieve copies of the entire herbalism, alchemy, and formation standard scriptures. The wide-eyed elder immediately went to work.
Han De’s storage ring had a huge capacity, and even thousands of these scriptures wouldn’t occupy a significant amount of space. Why would he waste time by coming back here in the future when the solution was so simple?
While waiting, his mind went to his disciples. Those three were completely focused on offense for some reason. Yao Qing was supposedly a really high realm expert and probably found her niche long ago. Ning Bi was a Fire Qi cultivator which was naturally slanted towards offense. Jin Shu was a closed box for now, but her current direction left a lot to be desired. Wood element’s specialty was defense combined with growth and healing, but she took out 12 offensive spells instead.
‘No, that won’t do. I can’t let them become glass cannons like the cultivation idiot.’
Originally he wanted to get some supplementary spells for Ning Bi, but the more he thought about, the more he was convinced that supplementary spells wouldn’t be enough.
‘They are MCs, they can do body cultivation and normal cultivation at the same time...’
Suddenly, Han De audibly gasped. The System was stingy and didn’t give him any points when he reached a new stage with his body cultivation, but would that be the case with his disciples? If he could find suitable methods, perhaps he could farm double the points from a single disciple!
Fueled by the promise of Profound Points, Han De immediately started looking up and down for any kind of body cultivation methods that would fit his disciples.
* * *
[Host's disciple Yao Qing successfully reached Qi Condensation Level 6]
[Issuing 55 Profound Points as a reward.]
Two days later, Han De exited the Archives with a sigh. At first, he wanted to find 3 body cultivation methods for his disciples. But as he searched up and down, he got a bit over-excited and decided to find both normal and body cultivation methods for various elements. He didn’t learn any of them, he just selected the most expensive ones.
He had 7 cultivation and 6 body cultivation methods for various different elements in his storage ring. He also included accompanying martial arts for these elements, along with 3 basic spells. With this, Han De had formed a basic starter package for new disciples. If he could scam some low talent MCs in the future, he wouldn’t have to worry about finding methods. At least initially.
Of course, shopping for his disciples ignited his inner min-max warrior. He also extensively looked at various illusion arts and spells. Since he was already taking out many methods and spells, he could safely sneak some Light element methods and spells in the mix.
While walking back to his abode, Han De was content. Apart from Yao Qing’s breakthrough, he wasn’t disturbed at all. He just kept looking at different methods, compared them, ridiculed their flowery language without a worry in the world.
‘Maybe I should take over the Archives or something. Looking over different skills wasn’t a bad way to spend time…’
Han De sensed Old Peng’s spiritual signature attempting to establish contact. His mood immediately soured, but he allowed the connection anyway.
<Elder De, forgive me for interrupting. We have completed the first round of ‘invites’ to the anomalies. Of the 26 we invited, 2 refused and 24 accepted. We have already moved 18 of them to the outer training grounds. We are awaiting your orders regarding the ones that refused.>
‘... Well, you haven’t beaten them, so that’s progress I guess.’
<Do nothing. Keep watching them.>
<B-But shouldn’t we…>
Han De sighed and facepalmed.
<Those two are most likely the true anomalies of the group. Do you really think an anomaly would accept a random invite for an easy life? Those that agreed are probably just minor anomalies at best. Do not show hostility to those that reject the invite. Open a special file on each and track their movements and history. Only interfere when there is a risk of them or their family getting severely injured. Regarding those that accepted, I’ll visit them before leaving and classify them.>
<...Yes, Elder De. There is also the matter with Han Bai. We have thoroughly investigated but couldn’t find any abnormalities. He speaks the truth and there are no signs of his memory or personality being altered.>
‘What? There should be some part of him that betrayed the family, his profile fits everything…’
Silent Silhouette guys that killed the cultivation idiot knew about Han Bai through his memories. In these two months surely they would’ve investigated and questioned him. They were searching for the missing beads, asking the person that found the Prayer Beads would be common sense. Han De didn’t believe that they could be this sloppy.
<Release him but have someone follow him discreetly.>
<Yes, Elder De!>
‘These guys are really used to beating anything and everything that moves. Maybe I should find them an outlet…’
Han De started seriously thinking about finding a pressure valve for his lackeys. Their current reeducation was a tentative success, but old habits die hard. These guys might slip and revert to their true nature at an unexpected time. He walked towards his abode while thinking for a solution.
* * *
Just a few days ago, Wu Fu’s eyes were shining brightly as he talked about the future plans with his emperor. The Sun dynasty was his life’s work. He always felt immense pride for what he had achieved over the years. His life as a cultivator was a failure, but his mind was sharper than most. He couldn’t break through to the Nascent Soul realm, but at least with his mind he could leave a lasting mark that even Immortal Realm masters would have to look with reverence.
But now, Wu Fu’s eyes were empty. The Sun Emperor was assassinated. His heirs died, his royal guards died, his wives died. The entire royal palace was destroyed. The Emperor’s father, who was in secluded meditation in a secret cultivation realm for a critical breakthrough had disappeared.
Wu Fu didn’t have any children or family to succeed him. With the destruction of the dynasty, he had nothing to show for his efforts. Once he died, he wouldn’t be any different than an old farmer. He would be forgotten. No one would know that he had lived.
Wu Fu himself would’ve preferred to die, but fortunately, or perhaps, unfortunately, his Divinity Formation realm guard was able to send him away at a critical time. Maybe even by the empire’s enemies, he was deemed unimportant.
Xin Qiang felt the fluctuating power of space from a nearby location. She was currently working on identifying the characteristics of the last few weak points. Normally she wouldn’t really care about spatial fluctuations, but in the last two weeks, the weak points showed concerning peculiarities. Behind the veil, the demons were restless, as if they were roused of something. Unnecessary disturbances could catch their attention.
At the source of the fluctuations, Xin Qiang found a tired old man with white hair and an empty gaze. She narrowed her eyes, his aura was different, his wrinkled face that gave a kind impression before now looked decrepit, but it looked like him.
“Elder Wu Fu?”
Wu Fu looked at the young-looking woman. His mind inevitably went to the numerous plans that he built around her. He couldn’t help but give a bitter smile.
Xin Qiang detached herself and considered the situation. An advisor of his level appearing here, through a space gate, with this appearance. While there were many possibilities, in all cases, the course of action that she could take was the same.
She used a spiritual spell to grab the old advisor and decisively started to run. Without any hesitation, she used her full Ancient Realm speed.
“Miss Qiang, you know it as well as I do. You should leave me here. There is no need for you to be involved in this.”
Xin Qiang silently watched Wu Fu for a time. “Shouldn’t you be angry?”
Wu Fu shook his head. “I know you are far older than me. However, if I may be so bold, even if you are ten times older, you still lack the perspective that comes with growing old. One’s thoughts change not with time, but with wrinkles and white hair.”
The impression that this man had left on her was deep. This lowly Core Formation expert was like an old fox. She paid no mind to his self-pitying state.
His words admitted the state of the Sun Empire. In her mind, this old man just became a usable asset. As they were moving away with great speed, she started expanding her plan to make amends to Han De and the Starfall Mountain.