Great Blood Formation
While the Eastern Continent didn't lack in resources and cultivation methods to refine Blood Energy, most of them stemmed from heretical sources—carrying a plethora of stigmas that orthodox cultivators didn't want to shoulder. Blood Fruits, for example, were some of the least criticized of those resources, but still couldn't escape the shadow of Blood Spirits.
Only heretics who, just like Xinzi, didn't allow stigmas to derail their growth, wouldn't hesitate to cultivate their blood. By breaking through to the first order of Blood Energy, Xinzi could rid his mutated demon blood from impurities, cultivate a bloodline, and unlock physical strength comparable to a rank three mysterious beast. At the same time, his fleshly body's resistance to toxins would experience a massive boost.
Picturing the benefits a Blood Origin pellet refined through hundreds of Blood Yang Gorillas would have on him, the Armored Lion King licked his lips.
"Boss, where are the gifts? You are too shameless. How can we celebrate the coronation of our new ruler without an exchange of gifts?" The Armored Lion King said, pulled himself out of the rubble, and trotted towards Xinzi.
Orange light flashed on the lion's forehead, and as Xinzi and Tusha's eyes narrowed at him, a flowerless cyan plant sprouted from his forehead. Strands of frigid-cold air coiled the plant, but locked in the Lion King's energy ball, they didn't affect room temperature.
"This is the Ice-Glazed Lichen produced by the Ice-Fire cave 600 years ago. The centuries-worth of Ice Qi it has accumulated will give your cultivation base an extreme boost," the Armored Lion King said as the lichen floated towards Xinzi. Tusha didn't expect that before she could order her servant to fetch it, the Armored Lion King appeared to deliver the goods. Little did she know that the faithless beast came prepared to offer her the lichen as an apology for letting the Blood Yang Gorilla General escape. The change in leadership merely readjusted his priorities.
"For someone who just fell one spot in the valley's hierarchy, you're taking the new status quo pretty well."
"Haha, my boss' boss is still my boss. What is there to resist? If anything, I am the lucky one. By allowing me to serve Your Excellency, Heaven must be rewarding me for the good deeds of my previous lives!"
"Well said! To think that I'd luck on such a sensible subordinate. How can I reward you?" Xinzi asked with a jovial tone and bright smiling face. Convinced by the monk's gleeful tone, the lion king believed that he'd successfully hoodwinked his new boss.
His confidence went through the roof and, self-satisfied, the Armored Lion King cast Tusha a smug look before shifting beady, expectant eyes at Xinzi.
"A grain of Blood Origin pellet will do."
"Just a grain?"
"Well...actually, half is also fine."
"Half is enough for you?"
"Well, to be fair, you can give it all. I will make sure to share it with the brothers."
"Reasonable. What are you waiting for then? Until you round up the rebels, I can't refine the pill."
"You...agree?" Rarely had the Lion King interacted with such a pliable man. So pliable, in fact, that the Beast King started questioning the depth of his charms.
"Of course I do. In fact, let me give you an escort. Tusha, send him out," Xinzi said, but despite the mellow tone, the lion couldn't ignore the chilling sense of foreboding crawling on his metallic skin.
"Uhm...no need, no need."
"You are now my favorite subordinate. How can I let you go without an escort? Tusha, make every centimeter count. The farther, the better." Xinzi dismissed the lion king's fears. But with thousands of years of punitive experience, how could the nun not read through the lines? Her lips curled up.
Noticing that the room's Feng Shui no longer flowed in his favor, the lion king broke into a cold sweat—glancing left and right for an escape road. Tusha's face appeared at either side—dashing his final hopes. The lion king's squeals soon filled the hall.
Following this failed act, a wobbling Lion King left to gather the Blood Yang Gorillas. Meanwhile, Xinzi browsed the Devil Tome, seeking an appropriate cultivation method for his new body. Though eager to ingratiate herself, Tusha stood on the sidelines, hoping for Xinzi to realize that, in matters related to demonic cultivation, he still had to rely on her. The expected pleas never came—leading the nun to break the silence.
"Hum...master, I recommend the Reincarnation of Mahasura and Devil Root Refining Law. Both are tribulation-grade techniques. One for blood cultivation, the other for qi cultivation. Pair them with the White Immortal sect's Nine Paths of Yin and Yang, and you can build a supreme foundation," Tusha said.
Two steps above the heaven-grade, throughout the Great Desolation world, tribulation-grade techniques only existed in the Hengye and Taiyang clans. Even the four Spirit Emperors didn't have access to them. Xinzi's eyes swept the two skills.
The Reincarnation of Mahasura enabled demons to cultivate six floating arms, each wielding a demon heart. The hearts produced Danavas, a confederacy of six high-ranking demon races that each boasted a formidable innate skill. Once Xinzi cultivated the skill to the sixth level, he could combine the six demon hearts into one and be reborn as a Mahasura—ferocious member of the devil race.
Devils were to the Infernal Paradise what gods were to Heaven: the summit of an immeasurable ladder. Xinzi could indeed not let go of this opportunity. But with limited time at his disposal, the monk couldn't afford to split his focus and decided to pour his efforts into the Reincarnation of Mahasura.
As he settled on the cultivation method, a stampede of loud thudding sounds drew Xinzi's attention. Led by the Armored Lion King, 543 Blood Yang Gorillas, including 47 at rank 2 and 6 at rank 3, lined up in platoons at the foot of the Dream Mountain. Swelling waves of Blood Energy pervaded the atmosphere, teasing the floating Blood Spirits who could only restrain themselves due to Tusha's control. Amidst this storm of sanguine force, the gorillas' gold and red fur gleamed with a mesmerizing luster.
Projecting his spiritual sense, Xinzi scanned the troops. Blood Yang Gorillas might not have half an ostrich's brain, but no one could deny their formidable cultivation and battle potential. Xinzi somewhat regretted having to give up such muscle-force but knew that with their leader under Xia Hu's control, he couldn't risk keeping them around.
"Activate the Great Blood Formation." Sitting crossed-legged on the circular stone seat, Xinzi raised his left hand, motioning for Tusha to make her move. The nun snapped her fingers, causing the blood banners hanging on the walls to flash with crackling arcs of sanguine lightning. The gray flames oozing from the cracked skulls' eye sockets turned red, and as flames and lightning intertwined, a massive blood sigil appeared above the great apes. Flame and lightning chains rained from the sigil, binding the gorillas and hurling them into the blood sigil.
From rank one foot-soldiers to rank three officers, the beasts thrashed against the chains. Alas, before Tusha's fifth-layer Formation, to say nothing of them, even their lord couldn't resist. The more Blood Energy they poured out, the weaker they became. Thus, by the time Tusha handed over control of the formation to Xinzi, all Blood Yang Gorillas had turned into burning fuel for the Great Blood Formation.
The monk's hands flashed in incantation gestures, the beasts melted into a pool of blood that shrank to form a single sanguine pill. Subsequently, the pill flew into the dream mountain, falling into Xinzi's hand. From a distance, the seven remaining rank-four Sentient Beasts watched this scene in silence.
"I suppose it's time we ask for Enslavement Gus," the Colossal Rooster said. Both his words and pensive look resonated with his fellow generals. Only the Three-Eyed Tiger, who consistently lagged behind in brain-heavy matters, failed to keep up.
"Rubbish! Why should I beg for chains when they allow me to roam free? And do you think that if they had Enslavement Gus to infect us with, they'd wait for our permission?
"This change in leadership can either be a blessing or disaster for us. Best we ask for the gu-worms now and make our loyalty clear, or one day, we will follow the Blood Yang tribe into the grave.." The Steaming Ape General chimed in, reminding the Three-Eyed Tiger that their position in the Blood Spirit valley had never been more precarious.