Star Gate - C.374: Mask of Pain (II)

Star Gate

C.374: Mask of Pain (II)

Terrified, Li Hao took stock of his current status. The supernatural lock of his lungs was damaged, there was a crack on it. Some mysterious power was seeping out and modifying his lungs. The young man didn’t dare leave it unattended—this was not a good development. At least not right now.

One’s supernatural locks might eventually be broken, but that timing could not be now. They kept one’s potential locked away. If broken, the martial master either became a supernatural or fully released the potential of their body.

Li Hao was yet to reach this stage.

He swiftly directed internal force into his lungs and hastily broke a mysterious power stone to absorb its energy. Although the metal attribute stones had been consumed, mysterious power stones were able to strengthen the entire body as a whole.

The young man replenished the lungs with internal force, blood qi, and energy. He was shocked beyond belief that the lungs, already fortified with one thousand cubes, could not contain the dot that was the metal sword aura.

“The metal sword aura... dot... An ultimate eruption from the dot for a split second that exceeds the fire tiger aura.” Li Hao drew certain conclusions about this new kind of aura that’d appeared. The extremity of sudden force!

It was quiet and docile in regular times, but when activated, it was the strongest among the three auras even though he’d just comprehended it.

“This one creeps up on you!” Li Hao clucked his tongue. There would have been a massive problem if his supernatural lock had been just a bit weaker. But in either case, his lungs were insufficient to accommodate the item.

He would have to continue strengthening the lungs alongside his five organs, or he’d have to let the metal sword aura exist alone. It couldn’t be locked away, which meant that it wouldn’t meld into the sword overview like the fire tiger and earth sword auras had. It could only be used alone.

“A pair of lungs with a thousand cubes of energy can’t contain you?” Li Hao sensed the dot within his mind intent. He’d thought that the tiger aura was ferocious and strong enough, but the momentary eruption of the metal sword aura was far greater.

“It’s strong... but to the point of crippling someone!” Li Hao sighed with resignation, both happy and in pain. He liked a strong aura, but when it was so strong that his lungs couldn’t contain it, that was a problem. His five organs were in balance with each other. It wasn’t that they couldn’t be further strengthened—he could obtain more mysterious power if he needed to—but that his organs were too strong. He would have to fortify the rest of his body and bones to keep everything aligned.

In this way, he would require more sword energy. Extracting mysterious power also required sword energy. In other words... he was out of money. He still had the twelve hundred cubes of wind and thunder he’d traded from the Night Watchers and four mysterious power stones remaining after the one he’d just consumed.

The little sword had just absorbed three pieces. It would mean seven total if it devoured his remaining stores. That wasn’t much, but it would just barely help him convert all of his mysterious power.

The little sword required money, his body required money... They were so voracious that a rich guy like Li Hao was finding it difficult to keep up. He sighed and temporarily set aside the thought of strengthening his organs. The metal sword aura could not be melded into the rest at the moment. He couldn’t handle the strain!

In that case, he would absorb the wind and thunder energies first and enhance his bones and body. Otherwise, with the increasing power of his auras as his organs grew stronger, his body would become the limiter. While he was also nurturing his internal force, that was a slow process of accumulation. If one wanted instant results, that still required sword energy.

Li Hao looked outside the window, it was dark. His watch read three o’clock—likely three o’clock in the morning. This wasn’t a good time to visit anyone.

Thus, he decided to take out his storage ring and absorb the wind and thunder energies. The little sword probably wouldn’t be sufficient for this use since it’d only absorbed three mysterious power stones. Hopefully, he’d be able to complete the deed before depleting the other stones. He could continue to work on the organs only after he strengthened his body. As of now, his organs were noticeably stronger than his physical body.

It wouldn’t do for the organs to be too weak as they wouldn’t be able to support his cultivation then. It wouldn’t do for the organs to be too strong either as that would place too much strain on the body. A balance was necessary, or he’d turn into someone sickly and feeble who coughed all day. He might also become a fragile scholar who saw his body ripped apart by fierce blood qi in a moment of carelessness.

Li Hao began cultivating again. He tempered his joy of comprehending another aura. The appearance of the metal sword aura did indeed enhance his strength, but not by much. The crux of the issue was that it didn’t assimilate into the sword overview, so it couldn’t be used to summon a spirit.

In other words, he was too poor and didn’t have enough money. While he’d gained a lot, he improved so quickly that his ample stores of mysterious power and stones could not withstand the young man’s furious rate of consumption.

On this evening, Li Hao continued to absorb energy and strengthen his body. His body often broke when he employed it as a sword. That was a sign that his body wasn’t strong enough to endure the manifestation of aura. He was stronger now; even if he used his body with abandon, all he would do was give himself some cuts and scrapes.

Strengthening the body and skeleton was imperative.


The sky brightened. Li Hao was still absorbing thunder energy. His bones popped and snapped as thunder energy circled around him, tempering his bones. Thunder and lightning dissipated after a long while, leaving the young man free to open his eyes and assess his body. His body and bones were much stronger than before, but... he sighed heavily.

He’d consumed more than three pieces of mysterious power to absorb twelve hundred cubes of wind and thunder energy! Three pieces hadn’t been enough! He’d had to smash two more pieces, leaving him with just two in his possession. The little sword was devoid of energy once more.

Li Hao stared at his two remaining pieces, one was of the dark attribute and the other of light. He’d wanted to try their properties for himself, but now... forget it. He was uneasy when the little sword was devoid of energy. Sword energy was his greatest guarantee.

“I earn money to spend it so I can be stronger. Then I earn more money to continue the positive feedback cycle,” Li Hao comforted himself. He thought of nothing else and crushed the last two stones, feeding it to the little sword. He was now out of mysterious power cubes and stones, but all of it had been worthwhile.

He’d paid such an enormous price to comprehend a third aura, strengthen his body and bones, and ratchet up his strength to a new level compared to before. He might be able to fortify his organs a bit next.

The most pressing course of action was to meld his metal sword aura into the organs. Once he successfully assimilated three auras together, Li Hao felt that he could stand at the peak of the Solar level. At least, he wouldn’t be weaker than the Huang Jie he’d met before. This was probably when he’d surpass the Yuan Shuo of old when the man battled the Qimei Staff.

His teacher had melded two auras together then; Li Hao had just finished three auras. Based on his current thoughts and judgment, he might be a little stronger than his teacher. But there were limits to his strength. The particulars depended on actual combat—his teacher was much more experienced than him.

“It was August 27th when teacher left... It’s September 13 now...” Li Hao realized in a daze. It felt like such a long time ago, but was only sixteen days when it came down to it.

His teacher had been an unparalleled existence sixteen days ago. Now if his teacher hadn’t improved recently... Li Hao rather felt that he could flex his muscles at his teacher.

“Can teacher finish summoning the third spirit in sixteen days? His organs aren’t strong, but he’s apparently killed a lot of Red Moon members lately. If he has sufficient blood pearls to strengthen his organs, then perhaps he’s finished incorporating his third aura!”

Yuan Shuo’s process wasn’t that complicated. All he needed to do was to strengthen his organ and input his aura into it. He didn’t need to comprehend or try anything, just shove his aura in. Thus, it was possible for him to complete his fourth and fifth aura if he possessed sufficient blood pearls, to say nothing of his third.

Some thoughts that’d just popped into Li Hao’s mind instantly vanished. He... likely still couldn’t defeat his teacher, not unless he finished the fusion of the five auras before his teacher did.

When the young man rose, it took him a few seconds to acclimate to his strengthened body. It didn’t take him long to do so, however. His three auras were more like four auras given the fortitude of his mind. Li Hao’s mind intent was growing ever stronger. His mind intent was strong, his mentality was strong, which cast his body in a weak light. On the other hand, it wasn’t hard to adapt to his condition.

Regular martial masters strengthened the body first, then mind intent. Li Hao had gone about it in the opposite direction. His mind intent was growing ever stronger! Ordinary Dominators would likely have issues withstanding him if he let loose without control.

The sunlight was bright and beautiful outside the little building. Shouts and calls from martial masters echoed in the distance. A new day of training had begun.

Li Hao was in an excellent mood; his spirits further lifted upon thinking that the chief should already be here. What a wonderful day!

A figure flashed to the door before Li Hao set out to look for Liu Long. Manager Yu looked at him with a frosty expression. She’d come quite early.

“Where is the Flaming Phoenix Spear?”

How miserly! Li Hao bared his teeth. It’s not like I said I’m keeping it. He reached out and manifested a spear, tossing it to Manager Yu. He’d seen all that he wanted to see, so the spear was of no further use to him. Other than it being a durable weapon, there wasn’t a single redeeming point about it. He couldn’t be bothered keeping it.

Manager Yu caught it with a quick shift of her eyes. She looked at Li Hao. “You... seemed to have changed some. Did you activate the spear?”

Director Hou had sealed it away, so how had the young man done it?

“Nope!” A blatant lie!

Manager Yu furrowed her brows, but didn’t say anything. It was fine so long as the Flaming Phoenix Spear had been returned in one piece. “I hear that you’ve been training all day and night the past couple of days. There is a path of training and a path of relaxation. It is not a good idea to be constantly training.”

Li Hao nodded in agreement.

“The manager speaks true, so I won’t be training starting from today.”

The secretary took a few more glances at Li Hao without saying anything else. The young man seemed to be in a good mood, so it looked like he’d gained quite a lot. The air of melancholy between his brows had dissipated.

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