TGL Volume 3, Chapter 25 (1)

“Underneath that pillar is the entrance to our sect’s tempering formation.”

Hmm? Before I went down, the old man crawled out of the hole in the wall his body made. He coughed a few times, and I think there was some blood on his lips. Mm, must’ve been my imagination. Anyways, he walked next to me and stared down at the hole in the ground before sighing. “There was a formation in place to move the pillar, but since you took the pillar away, it seems like we wasted our time installing it.”

“Tempering formation?” What’s that? Tempering…. “Is it going to make me mad?”

“No.” The old man scrunched up his forehead. “Possibly? I’m not sure.”

“It’s not going to kill me, right?” As long as it doesn’t do that, I’m going to go down the hole! “How about this? You lead the way for me, thanks.” Even if it’s dangerous, as long as I follow someone who knows about it, I should be perfectly safe.

The old man sighed again before stepping into the hole. It was a sloped passageway, not too steep but still steep enough to roll acorns down. It wasn’t dangerous at all according to my tail. Ilya, Softie, and that third girl followed behind me; I’m not sure why, but I don’t really mind. Ilya can help me out if there’s things that can only be solved by thinking down there. It’s not that I can’t think, okay? I just don’t want to right now. I think the bone of intelligence finally wore off…. And the bone of focus. Ah, is it because I got stronger again? When I was a sky-realm expert, bones from the earth realm didn’t do much. And when I became a quasi-immortal, bones from the sky realm were useless. Now that I’m even stronger, those tombs aren’t enough. Where can I find some immortal bones? What kind of sect collects cores and blood but no bones? So wasteful!

“This is the sect’s tempering formation,” the old man said. He stopped in front of a pit that oddly reminded me of a giant wok. It was large and sloped and curved like the insides of a wok. Ah! Crater. That’s the word I’m looking for. Mm, it’s a large crater that can easily fit lots of stuff inside of it. How come it reminds of a wok? There’s even this rock over here sticking out suspiciously like a handle…. And there’s an arched rock over there that’s like another handle…. Coincidence?

Anyways, ignoring this thing’s strange shape for now, there’s something more important. “What does it do?”

“This is a special formation that can only be activated by squirrel blood.” The old man pointed at the long handle of the wok, err, formation. “Once some blood is poured into this crevice over here, the formation activates. The person inside the center will be bombarded by the auras of holy beasts. If they’re lucky, they’ll absorb some of it and incorporate it into their own strength.”

“Do you have any squirrel blood?” Why squirrel blood? This was made by squirrels, right? Why would they make something painful like requiring their own blood to start it? Ah? It’s theft protection! That’s genius! …But painful. Why not squirrel spit? Mm, Mrs. Feathers was right; squirrels are a little dumb. Anyways, if I use my own blood, then everyone will know for sure that I’m a squirrel! I’m not sure why I’m still trying to hide it at this point. Can anyone even hurt me? Maybe I should let the whole world know; then all the phoenixes will come try to kill me since they’re supposed to hate squirrels, and once they come, I’ll eat them!

“Hello?”

Hmm? “Hi?”

The old man cleared his throat. “Do I need to repeat that?”

“Uh…, yes.” I’m listening now! Promise.

“The sect doesn’t have any more squirrel blood,” the old man said. “We ran out twenty years ago the last time we activated the formation. That’s why, when I heard rumors about a demi-squirrel on the outskirts of the Immortal Continent, I headed straight there and discovered you. So, while this may be presumptuous of me, would you mind giving our sect some of your blood? I know the majority of my sect members have had their limbs amputated, but the remainder can get stronger with this formation.”

This guy wants my blood? Only I’m allowed to have my blood! “No. It’s mine.” Anyways, is this formation really the key to becoming an immortal? I don’t think it is…, but it’s the only thing here. I’ll test it, but I need some of my blood. I don’t want to bleed! “Squirrel blood….”

“I have some,” Ilya said. She took a bottle out of her interspacial ring. “Here.”

“Oh. Thanks.” I wonder why she has squirrel blood. “Where’d you get this?”

“…Do you remember that time your arms were cut off by the guard captain?”

Um…. I vaguely remember my arms being cut off once…. It was painful! They grew back though, so it wasn’t really worth remembering. “Sorta?”

Ilya glanced at the bottle in my hand. “It’s from that time.”

Wait a minute. Didn’t she turn my arms into jelly? I guess she kept some of my blood for some reason…. Sometimes I have no idea what Ilya’s thinking. Mm, actually, most of the times it’s like that. Anyways, I won’t question it! Let’s open this bottle of my blood and pour it onto this handle, err, rock. Mm? The formation seems like it’s activating. The crater is rising up, and blue light is glowing underneath…. “Okay. This is definitely a giant wok; I’m not crazy, right, Ilya?”

“It does look like one now that you mention it.”

If Ilya says it looks like one, then it must be one! “Hey! Old man! I thought your contract said you couldn’t hurt me or trick me into getting hurt, but you wanted to cook me!?”

“N-no, I didn’t,” the old man said and shook his head while taking steps back. “We’ve always used this as a tempering formation. Hu Shen, go inside and demonstrate.”

“Yes, Teacher,” the third girl said and jumped up and into the wok before I could stop her. She sat down, and I swear I heard something sizzle. A moment later, a ghostly white tiger appeared near the far handle and pounced towards the girl. It bit her but dissolved when it made contact. Then, more and more beasts appeared all over the crater and made their way towards the girl in the center. It seemed a little like the dream I had, but I wasn’t being cooked in my dream. Mm, the girl doesn’t seem to be being cooked either. It seems like it really is a formation to help people get stronger…, but this isn’t it; this isn’t the feather I need, but I know that it’s here. Then what is it?

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