Chapter 126: Heavenly Refining Tower
“Professor Ding, this gift is too precious!”
Li Yao felt a surge of warmth in his heart, while the jade chip in his palm felt incredibly hot.
Even though Ding Yin’s refining ability could not be called outstanding, he was still a respected theoretical expert in the refiners’ community who was especially good at researching basic theories.
His notes would, no doubt, help Li Yao lay the most solid theoretical foundation.
Ding Yin faintly smiled: “Student Li Yao, you are a genius. It’s my wish that you don’t waste your talent. Although the reputation of Grand Desolate War Institutions’ Refining Department is insignificant and is ranked last among the ‘Nine Elite Universities’, this, by no means, implies that its strength is only limited to this. Rather, this is also related to the different concepts of refining. That is to say, the ‘struggle over the great daos’ between schools.”
“Professor Zheng Xuan, who is the head of the Refining Department, is known as ‘Madman’ in the refiners’ circle. The refining concepts he insists on are completely different than that of the other ‘eight major refining departments’—in fact, they are polar opposites!”
“All because of this, he has always been unable to gain the recognition of the few major schools and authorities among the refiners’ community, which is why the Grand Desolate War Institution has fallen to such a level.”
“However, I have, on several occasions, dealt with Madman Zheng, and I feel that he is very strong. His concepts seem somewhat mad, but they are also innovative. He seems to be creating a system of his own.”
“Your talent is so outstanding, and not to mention that you have already awakened your spiritual roots, so you will definitely become his direct disciple. He will carefully groom you, and in addition to my notes, perhaps you would weave out a new yet unknown path!”
“That’s why you have to try hard! I heard that you have once boasted in public that you will lead the Grand Desolate War Institution’s Refining Department and challenge the Deep Sea University’s Refining Department one day—this kind of heroic utterance, even if it is inconceivable, as a man, you must do everything to achieve it!”
Ding Yin extended his metal fist and heavily punched Li Yao’s stomach. “If one day you truly lead the Grand Desolate War Institution’s Refining Department and challenge the Deep Sea University’s Refining Department, I will certainly cheer and hoist flags for you from the back!”
“Professor Ding, then you have to prepare a super big flag so that it presents a magnificent appearance when you wave it!”
Just as Li Yao finished speaking, the two were smiling at each other.
At this time, a chubby little girl who wore a pink skirt, revealing two chubby calves, upon noticing the spirit prosthetic body controlled by Wei Qingqing, had her big, fat eyes suddenly shine as she cried in an unclear voice. Breaking away from her mother’s hand, she clumsily ran towards Wei Qingqing.
Wei Qingqing spread her wings and danced around the little girl before finally perching on the little girl’s shoulder.
“Little birdy, little birdy, I am Dudu, what’s your name?” blinking her big eyes, the little girl naively asked.
“Hello Dudu, I am Qinqqing!” Wei Qingqing softly said.
“Wow, a talking bird! So awesome!”
Dudu puffed her cheeks, as though two apples had been stuffed in both sides of her mouth. Staring with wide-opened eyes, she carefully placed Wei Qingqing on her palm and tenderly said, “Qingqing, you are so beautiful and your voice is also very pleasant, can we be friends?”
“Yes, we can! Qingqing is also very happy to have a cute little sister like Dudu. From now on, we are good friends!” Wei Qingqing said with a laugh.
“Amazing! Mother, mother, look! I made a friend, it’s a talking bird!”
Dudu, with the little bluebird, ran towards her mother in excitement.
Wei Qingqing revealed an incredibly satisfied look in her crystal eyes while comfortably lying in the little girl’s arm.
Ding Yin watched the little girl’s back for a very long time.
Although he didn’t have tear glands, Li Yao saw his artificial crystal eyes sparkle.
“I have granddaughter twins who have turned four and a half this year. They are just as old as this little girl, and their smiles are also like this little girl’s. They are so cute and silly.”
Ding Yin said absent-mindedly. Suddenly, he changed the subject, “Student Li Yao, before we part, I want to tell you a secret.”
“To tell you the truth, on the crystal train, I wasn’t willing to come forward. I was the same as Jiang Tao. In my heart, I had tens of thousands of reasons to retreat.”
“However, in the end, I was not the same as Jiang Tao. He is just a student, a nameless newbie. Even if he badmouths us, it is not a big deal.”
“However, I am different. I can be considered to be a slightly reputed scholar in the refiners’ community, and I am also an elder of the Hidden God Valley. I have countless eyes pointed at me. The moment I flee instead of fighting, it would turn into a big scandal, and I don’t know how I would become an upright person in the future.”
“That’s why, even though I was not so willing to go forward, I still forcibly mustered up my courage and came forward, only to turn into a spectral cultivator in the end.”
“From the moment I was dead, I was also like Jiang Tao. Countless times, I have asked myself one question—was it worth it?”
“Was it worth it to sacrifice myself for a couple thousand ordinary citizen whom I don’t even know? Was it worth it for me to combust my life, smash my spirit, and forever live in this metal box? Was it worth it for me to be unable to be an ordinary husband, a father, and a grandfather?
“Until this moment, this question had always been lingering in my mind and had remained unanswered.”
“However, after I saw the cute smile on Dudu’s face, I found the answer.”
“It was worth it, it was totally worth it.”
“If someday, my granddaughter twins encounter a similar danger, I believe that there would be someone like me who would come forward to protect them, so that a carefree smile remains on their faces and they could live happily.”
“I firmly believe this.”
The crystal train gradually started moving, and soon, it left the endless army-green tents behind, replacing the scenery with a desolate desert that seemed to have no end.
This time, on the train, a single compartment had been allotted for Li Yao in accordance with the standard of the Class-1 Federation Disabled Servicemen.
Li Yao didn’t refuse. He very much needed to be alone to comfortably sink into the depths of his neural field and assimilate Ou Yezi’s memory fragments.
He could not wait to know whether there were any wonderful changes in his ability to assimilate memory fragments after he had awakened his spiritual root and advanced to a cultivator.
Locking the door, Li Yao laid down on the bed as he breathed evenly. The gap between each breath grew longer and longer, and soon, his soul heavily sunk into the depths of his neural field where the glittering tree of memories grew slowly.
“Sure enough, there are some changes!”
Li Yao’s soul shook in astonishment. At the central part of the tree of memories, which used to be pitch black, a few dozen “leaves” began to light up one by one and turned into memory fragments that could be assimilated!
In accordance with the former step by step assimilating speed, he was still far from lighting the memory fragments of this part.
He had never dreamt that along with his advancement to a cultivator, the number of memories he could assimilate would all of a sudden increase.
Upon carefully studying for some time, Li Yao discovered that the newly lit memories belonged to the days when Ou Yezi was a Refinement Stage disciple.
“Is the lighting of memory fragments dependent on my strength?”
“After I became a Refinement Stage cultivator, do I have the qualification to assimilate Ou Yezi’s memories as a Refinement Stage cultivator? If so, once I advanced to the Building Foundation Stage, will I be able to use Ou Yezi’s memories from the days when he was a Building Foundation Stage cultivator?”
This question could only be slowly answered with time. For the time being, Li Yao put it aside. With a sparkling gaze, he searched through the newly lit memory fragments, and soon, he was able to find the memory of the day which he had always been dreaming about day and night.
The memory belonged to the third day after Ou Yezi had become a cultivator. The Hundred Smelting Clan’s elder had brought the newcomers to the first floor of the Hundred Smelting Clan’s “Heavenly Refining Tower”!
The Heavenly Refining Tower was one of the most important restricted areas of the Hundred Smelting Clan and was also known as the “Scriptures Hall” in ordinary cultivation sects!
The Heavenly Refining Tower had a total of nine floors, each of which had multitudes of wondrous exercises and techniques, and what’s more, it even had a massive amount of refining books and notes that was as vast as the sea!
Li Yao cheerfully cried before his soul transformed into a stream of light and entered the memory fragment, finding himself amidst a group of newly advanced, low-level cultivators who were following the Hundred Smelting Clan’s Elder and arriving at the first floor of the mysterious Heavenly Refining Tower!
The giant door of Heavenly Refining Tower gradually opened, revealing a narrow space with a radius of a dozen meters before the newly advanced cultivators. But as Li Yao stepped inside, a light gray mist rose around him and separated him from the rest.
“Whiz… Whiz… Whiz… Whiz…!”
A few dozen dusty book shelves surprisingly slid over from the gray mist and surrounded Li Yao.
Each bookshelf was stacked with low-level cultivation techniques that had been accumulated over the thousands of years by the Hundred Smelting Clan.
The most sophisticated body refining exercise, <Thousand Tempering Hundred Refining>, that was used to help low-level cultivators temper their soul and body.
The <Li Fire Technique> that was used to master spiritual energy flames and help low-level cultivators control the flames to smelt heaven and earth treasures.
The <Thirteen Ancient Sword Blueprint> that was intended for refiners to master the basics and had the blueprint of 13 ancient flying swords drawn in addition to the principle and refining method.
The <Thousand Fingers Supple Bone Exercise> that was derived from the Illusory Hand Pickpocketing Technique and was especially used to exercise flexibility of the fingers and increase one’s hand speed.
Every basic cultivation technique made Li Yao’s pair of eyes red, his breathing become ragged, and his heart pound like drums.
From the bookshelves, he took out the <Thousand Fingers Supple Bone Exercise> and lightly blew up on it, blowing away the dust that had accumulated on it. Then, with his head buried inside the book, he took a long, deep breath.
The ancient book had a faint aroma of sandalwood, which made him feel relaxed and happy; it was comfortable to the extreme.
Ruthlessly pinching his thighs, Li Yao focused his mind as he eagerly started reading.
His indulged himself in the Heavenly Refining Tower for an entire three days and three nights. Besides eating and the usual bodily requirements, for every minute and every second, he was assimilating Ou Yezi’s memories.
When he had finally, without complete comprehension, engraved the <Thousand Fingers Supple Bone Exercise>, <Thirteen Ancient Sword Blueprints>, and a dozen other basic exercises and records of the Hundred Smelting Clan in his mind, the crystal train gradually started slowing down.
A desolate, primitive, majestic, and wide town appeared on the horizon.
“Ladies and gentlemen, in fifteen minutes, the train will arrive at its destination, Wild Waves City. Thank you for your cooperation. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience encountered during the journey. Goodbye and we wish you a pleasant stay!”
A gentle female voice resounded in every coach.
“I have finally reached the Grand Desolate War Institution. I had never dreamt that so much would happen on the way, and neither have I dreamt that I would become a cultivator before even having stepped into the university!”
“However, I can not be proud. The world is vast, and I have a long road ahead of me. Devil knows what wonderful things are waiting for me!”
Li Yao slightly smiled as he carried the Black Wing Sword and Dark Star Rock and stepped out of the train in large strides.
 离火 – Li Fire, I could have used plain fire but it would be different. The Li(离) is the symbol on the eight trigrams or bagua which means Fire. In Chinese culture, the trigrams are related to everything, from astronomy, astrology, geography, geomancy, anatomy, the family, to everything else.
 Translator’s Rambling—On a side note, as to why there are inconsistencies in the novel when there is always talk about memories. For example, he should not be shocked about Peng Hai’s shocking display of power, as he must have already seen it in the memories and so on. So, here is what I think: the dream he saw, I think, is just a rough pigmentation of Ou Yezi’s memories pertaining to the events that had the most impact on him. Like when he joined the sect, the torturous training, when he smelted his first weapon, or when he became a cultivator and so on. And once again reading Chapter 11, I came across a sentence which should clear the doubt—”The rate at which the dreamland unfolded grew faster and faster. It was like the blurred lightning speed of a crystal rail train. Only during important moments did the speed slow down, allowing Li Yao to clearly see their details”. Only a small part of the dream he saw clearly, while the rest was blurry besides the important detail. Like in this chapter, Li Yao very well remembered when Ou Yezi became cultivator and entered the Heavenly Refining Tower. However, he didn’t remember the techniques and exercises.