Legend had it there was an enormous sacred tree that was rooted in the heavens and grew downward, earthward—the Ashvattha.
The laws of the natural world formed the soil from which it drew its nutrients, and the souls of all living creatures were the nourishment it needed to bear fruit.
The Ashvattha flowered only once every ninety thousand years, and it bore fruit only once every ninety thousand years.
The flesh of the fruit would split wide open, releasing a seed that had the potential to become the next Sun.
When Xu Xiaoshou opened his eyes, he found himself in a world of scorching red lava.
It was a massive world with no end in sight, and it was unbearably hot.
The sight of lava bubbling furiously at his feet sent shock coursing through his veins.
Before him was a huge, ancient tree hanging upside down with skyward roots and groundward branches.
“Is that the Ashvattha”
Xu Xiaoshou reeled back in shock, unable to believe his eyes.
He was staring at something that belonged in myths and legends.
Within a blink of an eye, the sacred tree before him flowered and bore fruit.
The fruit shriveled, and its flesh wrinkled, peeling away to reveal a seed.
Then, with a soft explosion, a white sun suddenly appeared, was enveloped by a near-invisible shimmer, then plunged to the earth and right inside Xu Xiaoshou.
Waves of scorching energy flooded his energy reserve, their sheer heat vaporizing the blood in his body.
He screamed in agony.
How could a mere illusion cause him such pain
It hadnt the last time!
He didnt have time to think at all before he was seized by a sudden revelation.
Xu Xiaoshous eyes fell shut.
When he opened them and gazed upon the world again, he was greeted with the sight of countless red specks of lights hovering in midair.
“The fire element”
His fingers curled into tight fists.
Could it be true
Had his wish been answered
Had he acquired Flame Expertise
Suddenly, he heard the sound of chanting.
It was as if the gods themselves were murmuring Sanskrit scriptures into his ear, except these whispers rumbled like deafening thunder, filling his head.
Xu Xiaoshou tried to parse the chanting into words, only to realize that his mind had gone completely blank.
After a moments struggle, he gave up.
Out rushed all thoughts and desires, and suddenly, the voice in his head sounded as clear as day.
“…the world maketh the cauldron whilst fortune maketh the craft; from yin and yang, firewood for burning, from all things living, iron for smithing…”
Those words struck Xu Xiaoshou like a bolt of lightning.
He could hear nothing else after that.
Was the voice suggesting that he treat the world as his cauldron and that everything between this heaven and earth could be cultivated
What a terrifying thought!
A burst of light suddenly erupted from the lava, and a magical-looking herb floated before Xu Xiaoshous eyes.
This was the first time hed laid eyes on such a herb, yet he instantly knew everything about it.
An ancient mythical herb.
Can be used to revive the dead and regenerate flesh.
Masks fishy odors well.
Can be taken with meat.”
Xu Xiaoshou was dumbstruck.
What the h*ll was going on
A huge black bird flew across the skies, darkening the heavens with its massive shadow.
Xu Xiaoshou had never seen such a bird before, yet he instantly knew everything about it.
“Divine Black Strix.
An ancient mythical monster.
Infused with divinity.
Xu Xiaoshou was speechless.
What the h*ll
The introductory profile to both magical herb and creature had started off fine before going down this strange, descriptive path…
The illusory world had appeared so grand and breathtaking.
Yet, the sudden appearance of the magical mustard and winged beast had somehow killed the mood.
It was then that the Divine Black Strix swooped down on the Nona-Revival Mustard, and Xu Xiaoshou inexplicably reached out his hand…
He had no idea why he stuck out his hand.
He simply thought that he should…
Invisible Infernal Heavenly Flames shot down from the heavens as the Divine Black Strix clamped its beak shut around the Nona-Revival Mustard.
The flames engulfed the divine beast and instantly turned it into dust.
A strange fragrance filled the air, and before he knew it, the illusory world started falling apart.
“What just happened” Xu Xiaoshou was utterly bewildered.
The last time he entered the illusory realm, a revelation had seized him, granting him some understanding of swordsmanship.
This epiphany had clued him into the kind of Passive Skill hed gotten then.
But this time…
Initially, hed suspected that his new Passive Skill had something to do with fire, but now he wasnt so sure.
The words “extremely spicy” and “delicious” popped into his head…
They were like demons hounding him.
He just couldnt be rid of them.
He immediately looked at the Information Bar.
“Expertise Passive Skill acquired: Cooking Expert!”
A look of utter confusion appeared on Xu Xiaoshous face.
His eyes widened in disbelief, and his jaw dropped, nearly dislocating his jaw.
Hed been spirited away to a magnificent world of molten lava and treated to the sight of the mythical Ashvattha and the birth of a sun.
Hed thought that he had hit the jackpot, that he would be rewarded with the Flame Expertise…
…he had acquired culinary skills.
What a fine system this was indeed! It was just absolutely fantastic!
Xu Xiaoshou fell to his knees with a loud thud, then collapsed into a heap on the floor in a daze, his eyes glazed over.
He had waited so long to acquire another Passive Skill only to get this in the end.
A lousy skill that wasnt going to do him any good.
“Hah! Cooking Expert…”
Hold on a minute.
Something wasnt right.
Why did the floor feel warm
Xu Xiaoshou pulled his thoughts back to the present and sat up.
The bathtub had been turned over.
He surveyed the room and found it in an utter mess.
Its two windows were shattered, as if theyd been blown out by a storm.
What was going on
His pupils contracted.
He remembered lifting his hand up to summon the sun in his illusion…
Had he caused a similar explosion in reality too
Xu Xiaoshou unleased Sense upon hearing a familiar sound, and that was when he saw the invisible flames surrounding him.
“What the h*ll!” he thought.
“Did I set the Spiritual Law Division on fire
Xu Xiaoshou hastily deployed his Breathing Technique and sucked the room clean of fire.
He patted his chest and heaved a sigh of relief.
“Luckily its not that big a…”
Something sputtered faintly in the distance.
Xu Xiaoshou felt his scalp prickle.
His hair stood on end.
He clambered to his feet, then looked down and stared at the floorboards.
Were the first and second floors on fire too
“Oh my god!”
Xu Xiaoshou charged downstairs without a second thought.
He couldnt let the place burn.
Not when it was filled with manuals of spiritual techniques!
He wasnt ready to die!
Somebody, save him!
Meanwhile, outside the Spiritual Library Division.
A man dressed in black was hiding in the bushes.
Zhao Xidong had assigned him the duty of sentry.
He was to keep his eyes on the Spiritual Library Division at all times and inform everyone if he caught sight of Xu Xiaoshous kidnapper.
The law enforcer yawned.
Honestly, he didnt see how the kidnapper couldve sneaked his way into the Spiritual Library Division, but one could never be too careful.
His assignment might seem absurd and pointless, but nevertheless, he continued to keep a lookout for anything amiss around the Spiritual Library Division.
He felt a sudden rising heat in the air.
“Whats going on”
He looked up and stared at the darkening sky.
The sun had set.
The temperature should be dipping.
What was going on
He didnt have the luxury for leisurely contemplation.
The Spiritual Library Division suddenly quaked violently, and the protective barrier around the building lost its cloak of invisibility as it shimmered and rippled angrily.
An explosion louder than the one they had just experienced erupted.
The sentrys face turned pale.
He watched as two windows on the third level of the Spiritual Library Division shattered.
Shards of splintered wood sprayed into the air while a terrifying, scorching heat surged outward and began to flood the area.
The law enforcer was dumbstruck.
Had a kidnapper really been hiding in the Spiritual Library Division all along
Was he trying to blow up the Spiritual Library Division
Was he trying to destroy the foundation of the Tiansang Spirit Palace
The sound of crackling sputtered all around the law enforcer while grass transformed into scorched earth in a blink of an eye.
He was seized by a sharp streak of pain.
His spiritual senses instantly unfurled, and he was abruptly greeted by the sight of invisible fire burning all around him.
“Theres been an attack!” he yelled frantically at the top of his voice.
It hit him then.
This was why Zhao Xidong had been immediately made the leader of their team upon his graduation from the Inner Yard while he was still stuck with sentry duty despite years of service at the Spiritual Law Division.
Zhao Xidong now saw what hed missed.
Zhao Xidong had managed to piece everything together from the little that Xu Xiaoshou had said.
He, on the other hand, had had to see the Spiritual Law Division blow up with his very own eyes before finally believing what Zhao Xidong had said.
Fortunately, Zhao Xidong had already gone to seek reinforcements.
It was then that the law enforcer saw, to his horror, the protective barrier around the Spiritual Law Division burning as well.
He cried out a second time, his voice filled with panic and fear.
“The Spiritual Library Divisions on fire!”
“We have to put the fire out!”