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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

78 Hidden Latch

 The white light spilled on Meng Qi. He felt his chest muscles break the long sword and the crossbow strapped to his back fall. Even his wounds were healing and closing up. The dizziness from the blood loss was gone. So did the breathing difficulties resulting from his punctured lungs.

His skin was glowing a dull gold color. The Golden Bell Shield, broken by the final sword strike, was restored.

"It didn't even take me 18 years to become whole again!" Meng Qi was in a good mood for he had gained a lot from this round. He laughed like a satisfied villain as he stretched his muscles.

Samsara Square was empty at the moment. There was no one except him.

"They're still not back? Perhaps their return times aren't synchronized." Meng Qi looked around the room, squashing his concern for their lives. He walked to the center light pillar and pulled out his little Jade Buddha to get it appraised by Dominator of Samsara of the Six Realms.

"Cold Jade Buddha, a mysterious object. Its value and use are unknown. It seems to be a token, compass, or key of some kind. You can unlock its secret for 50,000 karma points," Dominator of Samsara in Six Realms said emotionlessly.

50,000 karma points... Meng Qi could only laugh in defeat. He suppressed his curiosity and put away his jade. He then recalled the Transformation Strategy in his mind and produced an ancient script out of it.

"Transformation Strategy, the practicing method during the enlightenment period. You can exchange it for 200 karma points."

When Meng Qi saw that the description did not indicate it was fake or incomplete, he felt more at ease. He looked at the exchange rate again and realized that the script had an original value of 400 karma points. This meant Duan Xiangfei did not tamper with it and the script was intact.

After thinking about it, he did not exchange it for Karma points. He decided to ask Jiang Zhiwei and the others if they knew anything about the three Secret Chambers.

"Little monk, you've back early." Just as he was deep in thought, Meng Qi heard Jiang Zhiwei's soft voice. He turned around and saw her wrapped in the white light. She seemed severely injured too, almost at the brink of her death.

Meng Qi answered with a smile, "I've probably completed the task just a little faster than you."

The white light disappeared and Jiang Zhiwei walked over to him carrying a heavy aeruginous sword sheath. Her black hair was still tied in a simple knot, graceful without lacking any charm. The only difference was she now wore an ivory dress rather than a yellow one. She seemed to favor simple colors with warm undertones.

"I couldn't believe that it was a solo task." Jiang Zhiwei smiled. "I was worried about your lack of experience since it was your first time taking on a one-person task."

In their previous conversations, Meng Qi had shared about his speculations based on his experience. He predicted that there may be solo and team tasks. When it really happened, Jiang Zhiwei did not panic.

"I have my Golden Bell Shield. Even if I lack experience and make mistakes, I still have protection." Meng Qi felt fortunate at this moment to have chosen this path. After all, being involved in the Samsara tasks meant he could not grow or gain experience slowly like ordinary Jianghu folks.

He became distracted as he spoke and asked, "Lady Jiang, what are you carrying on your back?"

On her back was a large navy-colored parcel.

Jiang Zhiwei scrunched her pointy nose. "Little monk, I consider us to be friends for life by now, so stop calling me Lady Jiang. Doesn't that make us seem like strangers? Just call me Zhiwei. Of course, I'd love it if you call me older sister." She gave a little laugh.

Meng Qi was little embarrassed but he could not blame her for wanting to be his older sister. He could only blame the fact that his current physical form was about four years younger than hers.

"I'll call you Zhiwei then." He wiped the nonexistent cold sweat off his forehead.

Jiang Zhiwei smiled. "I know you're unwilling to call me older sister, seeing as you're quite mature for your age."

Being quite open-minded, she did not insist on this matter. She smiled and pointed to the parcel on her back. "I had a lot of free time during this task, so I was able to collect quite a few scripts. I should be able to exchange them for a hundred Karma points or so."

"I planned to do the same, but I didn't have the time to do so," Meng Qi said with faux regret. It was fortunate that he had gained the Transformation Strategy. "You must have had help to collect that many scripts?"

"You're right. I had a lot of help, but these are just ordinary scripts. They're nothing to brag about." Jiang Zhiwei had verified Meng Qi's guess.

Since they were on the subject of scripts, Meng Qi quickly asked, "Zhiwei, what do you know about the three Secret Chambers?"

"Nothing." Jiang Zhiwei shook her head, before muttering, "I may know it under a different name. Tell me more about it."

"I might be referring to the lower Dantian, mid Dantian, and upper Dantian. I'm not quite sure about the first two, but the latter is refers to the practice of the Primal Aperture at Mid-brows. The practice could achieve the breakthrough of your spiritual Secret Chamber. During battles, it could help you obstruct your opponent's senses and give them hallucinations," Meng Qi explained in detail.

Jiang Zhiwei burst out laughing. "I get it. After your the Nine Innate Apertures open up, you must breakthrough into the mystery boundary and get on the 'bridge between heaven and earth' if you want to make a connection between the outer and inner heavens. This step is the practice of the Primal Aperture at Mid-brows. When you complete this step, you will create a connection between the heaven and earth and bring about many changes in the weather. This phenomenon is aptly named the Half-step Exterior Scenery. The amalgamation of the outer and inner heavens comes next and, finally, the Exterior.

"Duo Ercha from our previous round had reached this level. You did not battle him, so you didn't know how we felt like we could be struck by lightning at any moment when we tampered with his spirit. If it not for my open Eye Aperture helping me see past the hallucinations, I wouldn't have been able to hurt him at all. Even so, we still took a hit."

"The so-called spirit chamber ought to be referring to the dwelling of the soul and the mysterious boundary."

"As for the mid and lower Dantian, the steps to practice them were mentioned in the practice of opening up the Nine Apertures."

"You don't know this because you didn't see the practice for the enlightenment period."

Meng Qi listened carefully without interrupting. It was just as he had anticipated.

When Jiang Zhiwei was done with her explanation, he considered it for a moment and said, "The realm I'd experienced this time had its own unique methods. Even without being enlightened, there are ways of concentration practice for the lower and mid Dantian, as well as for breaking through the Primal Aperture at Mid-brows."

Jiang Zhiwei was taken aback, which was a rare reaction from her. "Is that really possible? Our bodies shouldn't be able to stand the pressure of breaking through the Hidden Latch between life and death. We would collapse from the countercharge after stepping on the bridge between heaven and earth."

The Taoist Primogenitor and Buddha once existed in the realm she and Meng Qi belonged to. There were innumerable Gods and gifted individuals. Many of them tried to bypass the Nine Innate Apertures to directly break through the Mid-brow Hidden Latch. In their opinion, their physical bodies would eventually decay and only their spirits would be forever intact. Hence they decided to abandon the refinement of their bodies and focus on their spirits.

But all these attempts failed in the end, leaving only a line of warning: "It's almost impossible for common ghosts to cultivate into Nether Spirit even if they have undertaken a thousand sufferings."

Before Meng Qi could respond, Jiang Zhiwei frowned and added, "Perhaps it utilizes all the senses and the earth's energy to block the countercharge? Like the Upstanding Qi and Evil spirit or Ice Crystal and Fire Spirit? But that's too much of a waste and it cuts off future paths for practice."

That was because, once that happened, the body would become something of a Magical Arms object. One would be incapable of conventional practice. Of course, once in the Exterior period, the body would then concentrate all the energies from the heaven and earth. One can use those energies to strengthen one's connection and power, but that would be a totally different method of practice.

"No, they practiced that directly." The more Meng Qi thought about it, the more perplexed he became about the realm Duan Xiangfei and Cui Xu belonged to.

Pursing her lips, Jiang Zhiwei said in distress, "I can't think of anything else. It's strange, very strange."

"They all looked alive and kicking to me. I don't see any countercharge effects." Meng Qi was confused too. "Why don't you examine this practice method and see what it's all about?"

His understanding of the enlightenment period was way too shallow compared to Jiang Zhiwei.

"You want me to examine it? But you'd lose half its exchange value." Jiang Zhiwei frowned.

If Meng Qi shared the Transformation Strategy with others, its value would be halved for every person he shared it with. Further, those who learned it through him would not be able to exchange points for it or teach it to someone else. They could only do that if they obtained the Transformation Strategy through other means.

Meng Qi was about to ask her not to mind it when Jiang Zhiwei suddenly smiled. She said, "I'm very interested in this new practice method that can help me breakthrough the mid-brow boundary without practicing the Nine Innate Apertures. I'll make up whatever Karma points you lose from sharing this with me."

She saw that Meng Qi was about to be courteous and added, "Things like this have to be settled clearly even among biological brothers. I don't want a few Karma points to come between us in the future."

"Okay." Meng Qi did not refuse Jiang Zhiwei's generosity and handed her the script.

Stroking her hair, Jiang Zhiwei started browsing through the script. "So that's how it's done!" she said after a while, voice a mixture of frustration and mirth.

"Huh?" Meng Qi waited for her explanation.

Jiang Zhiwei laughed strangely and said, "It's because they've never broken the boundary of the mid-brow."

"What?" Meng Qi was shocked.

Jiang Zhiwei collected herself and smiled. "This practice method is just at the beginner level. It stimulates the Primal Aperture to create hallucinations but never actually opens it. That's why there wouldn't be any countercharge. If the boundary is broken, the body would suffer the same charge of the heaven and earth. When that time comes, the body would either be severely injured or, worse, dead, with only the spirit remaining."

In Meng Qi's mind, the spirit and soul of ordinary people will go straight to either heaven or hell after they die. No one knew if they would completely disappear or go to some other place. The only exceptions to this were the Big Powers of the exterior.

Of course, the spirits of ordinary people could remain under special coincidences. That would mean another life on earth, but its lifespan would be short before it 'died' again. When that happened, the spirit would disintegrate without any remains.

"You mean the beginner-level practice of the Primal Aperture at Mid-brows could tamper with the opponent's senses and cause hallucinations?" Rather than being disappointed, Meng Qi was happy to hear this.

Jiang Zhiwei nodded. "That's right. If you practice repeatedly and once again break the boundary, you may have the power to cause minor changes to the weather. Of course, it wouldn't be on Duo Ercha's level."

"Yes! I've heard of such rumors in that world!" Meng Qi answered in surprise.

Jiang Zhiwei laughed in a self-mocking manner. "Indeed. For us, the only purpose of practicing the Primal Aperture at Mid-brows is to break the boundary between life and death. All our practice methods were designed for this purpose. We never considered it would be just a matter of stimulation and they had probably not thought about breaking the boundary. They achieved this step by step through trial and error and, in turn, discovered a shortcut. How ironic."

She paused before adding, "We can use this method with other practices. Not only will we gain more power from using this, but it will also make life easier for us when we practice advanced methods to break the boundary between life and death."

"You're right!" This was exactly what Meng Qi was excited about.

They had barely finished their conversation when two more pearly white light pillars appeared. Meng Qi and Jiang Zhiwei exchanged glances, both feeling relieved.

"We can now discuss what we should exchange for," Jiang Zhiwei said happily.