Book 3: Chapter 119: Spirit Jade Stage
Lily sat in seiza at the center of the stone formation half-covered in snow within the depths of Cherry Valley.
She took out the five crystal clear magatama that had been mined recently as she believed that they should be more than enough for her to break through to the Spirit Jade Stage.
The Spirit Jade Stage could be called the fetters of life for a normal samurai as 99% of the 7th-stage Awakened powerhouses were unable to form the spirit jade. The process didn’t just have a low success rate, it was also quite dangerous as failure to break through would lead to a huge loss in spirit power and a drop in strength. There were also chances of getting crippled physically or mentally.
In short, it was a huge gamble and a deadly challenge from the human samurai against the heavenly laws of this Heian world in order to overcome the limits of mortality!
A majority of the samurai refrained from taking this danger as the summit Awakened strength was more than enough for them to lead a decent life and have enough fame and wealth.
It wasn’t the geniuses who actually dared to tread the Path of Ascension but rather the lunatics and the fools1.
However, it was hard for anyone to actually distinguish between these 3 kinds of people.
There were some samurai who chose to breakthrough after becoming old as that actually had a higher success rate. They didn’t really mind it even if they failed as they had already lived long enough, and success was bound to increase their lifespan by a hundred years.
If a powerhouse were to break through to the Spirit Jade Stage in their youth, it was possible for them to gain a lifespan of 200 years or higher and there were even records of a 300-year-old Spirit Jade Stage powerhouse.
As such, most of the powerful samurai made the choice to take this gamble once they got old, and even with that, the success rate was still less than 50%.
Although attaining the Spirit Jade Stage might not be that difficult for some of the devils of n.o.ble lineages, naturally-born apparitions, and Great Demons, it was a nigh unsurpa.s.sable ordeal for humans on the path of advancement and the level of danger was just below that of the Heavenly Gate.
Pa.s.sing the Heavenly Gate, however, was a dream too distant and no one knew how many people in the Heian Empire had actually managed to pa.s.s through it as it wasn’t possible to verify it. There was also the possibility that it was just a legend, too.
The top samurai of the East were all able to see the ma.s.sive chasm that actually stopped them from advancing, which was forming the spirit jade!
This was the reason the East had a lot of late-stage sword saints and transcendents but had only a few Spirit Jade Stage powerhouses like the Furinkazan and so on.
It was too difficult to attain the Spirit Jade Stage!
However, there were also some existences that were beloved by the world and possessed an exceptional lineage. The lifeforms bestowed with an inherent lineage by the heavens were able to awaken through a fortuitous encounter, such as the blade maidens and the Buddhistic attendants.
The former harbored a powerful grudge unfathomable by mortals while the latter had the peerless merit from Buddha’s blessing.
They were capable of forming the spirit jade naturally in the Awakened Stage without any risks.
Thus, the current Lily only needed to a.s.similate these magatamas and the spirit jade inside her body would mature and transform automatically.
Lily activated the ancient rune formation and began a.s.similating these magatamas. Even though a bottleneck to the Spirit Jade Stage didn’t exist for the blade maidens, the process still demanded absolute silence as even the slightest disturbance could lead to danger.
This was the reason why Lily hadn’t attempted it until now and chose to carry out this step in the hidden stone formation discovered just recently inside Cherry Valley.
The magatama suspended in midair gave out a l.u.s.trous sheen as it a.s.similated into Lily and moisturized her whole body. The white light flowed into her mouth the moment she parted her wet lips and the other magatama floated into the air after that as well, giving out l.u.s.trous sheens as the light from them snaked inside Lily’s garments and skirt, looking for every possible opening to enter her body and moisturize as well as strengthen her body by supplying it with the purest spiritual essence.
The process continued for 3 whole days and the a.s.similation finally stopped when there was only half of the fifth magatama left. The magatama then shattered into small fragments and fell to the ground.
The current Lily brimmed with vitality and her skin was flushed enough to bewitch others.
“Ngh…” Lily moaned faintly2. The powerful energy made her feel quite hot even in this winter season, so she pulled the cleavage of her dress wider and exposed most of her fair bosom outside to let the body heat escape.
Lily also sensed an imperceptible contraction in her underbody.
The spirit palace in her lower abdomen was br.i.m.m.i.n.g with an abundance of spiritual mist at the moment and this unbelievably dense spiritual mist continued to converge towards the crimson spirit jade at the center.
The crystal clear spirit jade was in the shade of a bewitching red and seemed to nurture the splendorous flowering of the blade maiden.
The spirit jade had marvelous light flowing inside it and flashed like the breathing of a living creature.
“It’s full!” Lily thought suddenly.
The spirit jade stopped absorbing the spiritual mist and the marvelous light flowing inside it also became stronger.
Lily’s breathing also turned rougher, and her bosom heaved up and down visibly3.
The surplus spirit power then liquified and oozed out from her mouth, eyes and other apertures, leaving her dress drenched, but she didn’t mind it at all.
The spirit palace inside her body also began to contract rhythmically and Lily arched her back to issue a long and drawn-out moan after that.
The crimson spirit jade released a beautiful crimson and moonlight glow subsequently and this light transformed into a boundless mist after ama.s.sing within the spirit palace, turning from mist to liquid and raining down everywhere within the spirit palace. The rainwater formed a ruby-like, deep, crystal clear lake gradually and the s.p.a.ce above the lake took a shade of pure white for a while as the resplendent spirit jade floated at the center with a bewitching crimson shade, emitting an amaryllis-like magnificence that was un.o.btainable in the mortal world.
The sky and water inside the spirit palace were distinctively white and red, each encompa.s.sing half of the palace as the crimson spirit jade floated in the sky with a fascinating glow.
“It’s done!” Lily opened her eyes, not minding the fact that her body drenched in perfumed sweat and that most of the snow on the ground had been melted by her, forming a puddle of water in the center of the stone formation.
Lily could feel power flowing through her whole body and the spirit probe she employed after getting up was now able to cover a radius of 10,000 km. She willed her spirit power and realized that the spirit power density of her spirit power had increased by 3 times compared to when she was in the Awakened Stage and also confirmed that the twofold boost from the blade maiden attribute was still in effect.
The instantaneous s.h.i.+ft between the Awakened Stage and the Spirit Jade Stage didn’t actually enhance physical strength or the spirit reserves and actually enhanced the spirit power density and the power realm!
“I was able to attain the Spirit Jade Stage smoothly just as I had expected, but it wasn’t an easy task.”
Lily was an early-stage Spirit Jade powerhouse now.
The Spirit Jade Stage’s spirit power density was 3 times that of the Awakened Stage and spirit power in the early Spirit Jade Stage was the prelude to a new sequence of physical enhancement. The physical strength of powerhouses at this stage was essentially the same as that of 7th-stage Awakened, and the actual difference lied in the advancement of the power realm and the density of the spirit power. It could also be concluded simply by saying that the spirit power had become purer by 3 times and needed the gradual nourishment of spiritual essence to continue strengthening the newly advanced body from now on until the late Spirit Jade Stage and then the peak Spirit Jade Stage is attained, giving a several-fold boost in terms of strength.
However, the spirit power density, which is to say, the purity of spirit power, remains the same across the whole Spirit Jade Stage.
The only way to enhance the spirit power density once again was to advance into the next power realm.
But this was the real challenge that all blade maidens faced.
The Permanence Stage.
It wasn’t that difficult for blade maidens to attain the Spirit Jade Stage, but this was the very reason they found it quite difficult to advance into the Permanence Stage from the peak Spirit Jade Stage.
It could be said that the difficulty of advancement had actually been deferred to the next realm.
It was nigh impossible for blade maidens to attain the Permanence Stage and as difficult as reaching the Heavens.
The difficulty was harder than the combined difficulty of overcoming the two calamities, the Spirit Jade Stage and the Permanence Stage.
Perhaps this was the impartiality of the Heavens. The more transgressional the strength, the harder it was to break through after reaching the real bottleneck!
Even Kagura had stated that the chances for Lily to break through to the Permanence Stage as a blade maiden were quite slim with her current talent.
However, she didn’t need to worry about breaking through to the Permanence Stage right now as it was a problem for the future.
Lily’s present strength had multiplied several times compared to back when she fought Amanojaku, and it was possible for the present her to overpower him absolutely in terms of strength.
Lily gasped in comfort, both physically and mentally.
She never imagined that she would actually become a Spirit Jade Stage powerhouse, a transcendent existence like the members of the Furinkazan who she had chatted about with Sakiko back on the carriage when they moved to Kamakura. Lily had finally joined the ranks of the pract.i.tioners who have set foot on the Path of Ascension in the truest sense.
Even if the path ahead of her was rife with danger, Lily still brimmed with confidence and valor.
“Hmm?” Lily felt a sudden vibration from her underbody and bowed down to investigate the cause4.
Lily noticed that the mirror inside the sash had absorbed the spirit jade aura emanating from her and begun vibrating while releasing a silver beam of light. This beam of light shot towards the ancient stone formation around her made the stone pillars glow one by one, bringing the notch surrounded by Jōmon characters at the center of the stone formation into focus.
Lily checked the surroundings and discovered that the Jōmon engravings on the weathered rocks that were covered in moss initially had a faint and intermittent silver light flowing through them now.
“J-Just what in the world is this stone formation…”
Lily could sense that stone formation seemed to contain an incredible, ancient power and that it had finally reactivated once again after an unknown amount of time because of her breakthrough to the Spirit Jade Stage.
However, even then, Lily was still utterly clueless about this stone formation’s function.
While Lily was feeling confused, Kagura, who was asleep inside the Sakura Parasol within the mirror s.p.a.ce, called out to her suddenly, “Master! T-This is…”
“What is it, Kagura? Do you know what this stone formation is for?”
“Mhm… Let me first congratulate you for advancing to the Spirit Jade Stage smoothly, Master! You really have exceptional luck to have collected so many magatamas in such a short duration of time,” Kagura stated sincerely.
“Thank you, Kagura. I would’ve been utterly clueless about the process if it weren’t for your guidance. However, let’s leave the celebration for later. Can you tell me what’s the purpose of this stone formation first?” Lily adjusted her rushed breathing forcibly and asked calmly.
“Master, this is the Divine Moon Formation.”
“The Divine Moon Formation? What’s that?”
“The Divine Moon Formation is the counterpart of the Divine Sun Formation, and these two ancient stone formations actually exist in pairs. As the Divine Moon Formation is in this valley, it means that the Divine Sun Formation is probably somewhere faraway, and it’s possible to instantaneously teleport between the two formations if you manage to find the Divine Sun Formation and reactivate it.”
“What?!” Lily felt shocked, “You mean it’s possible to teleport from one formation to the other faraway formation spatially?”
“Yes, that’s always been the purpose of this formation. However, it follows its own rules. It’s only possible to teleport from the Divine Sun Formation to the Divine Moon Formation at daytime and from the Divine Moon Formation to the Divine Sun Formation at nighttime.5”
- Robinxen: The line between genius and madness is thin
- Robinxen: Lo0d
- Robinxen: Well that’s a 10/10 I guess
- Robinxen: Oh no?!
- Robinxen: Of course. Because it’d be a waste of the cast to leave them. The harem gate is here!