Li Qiye brought Zhang Baitu straight to the Rainbow Pavilion in Dragonhark. They reserved a small courtyard and settled down.
The Rainbow Pavilion was the biggest inn at Dragonhark. In fact, it was the only one in Dragonhark and all of Rainbow City as well.
No one knew why there was only one inn in the entire region. Some believed that the inn belonged to Rainbow City and that they didn’t wish to share this business with outsiders. Others stated that behind the inn was the Jian Clan. This clan had a very deep relationship with Rainbow City.
Despite being the only inn here, the pricing was very reasonable and could accommodate more than ten thousand guests. Because of this, there were no complaints from outsiders upon visiting the inn.
After taking care of Zhang Baitu, Li Qiye went out to buy some medicinal materials. When he passed by the lobby, he heard a shopkeeper advertising to the guests: “Fair to the young and old with the right price, we have eighty million years of reputation!”
The shopkeeper was an old man around the mortal age of seventy with a gray robe. His appearance was not too outstanding, but he was very hardworking, evident by the calluses on his hands.
Li Qiye smirked after seeing the shopkeeper and revealed a very interested smile.
The shopkeeper noticed Li Qiye and smiled back: “Sir, do you want to go out or need something?”
Li Qiye smiled back: “How can you prove that your reputation has been great for more than eighty million years?”
The shopkeeper laughed and replied: “Ah, Sir, just look at my age and you should know that I am not a swindler. My hair is completely gray from being tormented by time. At this age, why would I need to lie, right?”
Li Qiye continued to smile and leisurely responded: “Was it an eventful experience?”
“You are asking about my life?” The shopkeeper happily responded: “It wasn’t bad, so-so I guess. I don’t want much at this age, only a full belly. And of course, my old bones have a bunch of children and grandchildren as well. What more do I want? Just food and clothing and children playing around me, this would be more than enough for an old man like me.”
Li Qiye nodded while looking at him and movingly said: “You’re right, what more do you want in life? Warmth and food with children surrounding you — quite an enviable lifestyle.”
The talkative shopkeeper asked with a grin: “Sir, do you have any other pursuits in life?”
Li Qiye pondered for a bit before smiling at the shopkeeper: “I just want an answer, that’s all I need.”
The shopkeeper rubbed his clothing with his callused hands and continued: “Who can have all the answers in life?”
Li Qiye responded: “No one knows the answer, which is why I require it.” With that, he turned and left the inn.
“What is the goal of life?” Li Qiye sighed and recalled the past. In a distant era, someone had asked him the same question at Rainbow City.
It had been said that the heaven and earth were too unreachable. All were mere ants below them, but this was also fine. It was just like what the old man said, nothing was bad about having a content life with loved ones surrounding you.
Li Qiye walked on slowly in silence while contemplating this issue and the unforgettable words.
Being an ant within this unreachable heaven and earth was not necessarily a bad thing.
He became lost in a daze. There was once an extremely wise man here who eventually chose a peaceful ending.
After a while, he lifted his head towards the distance. With an incomparable firm gaze as if nothing and nobody could shake him, he said: “No matter how distant the heaven and earth might be and regardless of how long this path is before the end, I just need an answer. This has always been the case in the past, the present, and will be so in the future as well!”
He smiled freely after this and entered the streets full of pedestrians.
Rainbow City was too large to be measured. Even though there were very few landmasses in the Heaven Spirit World, there were still several big cities. The ones here weren’t necessarily the biggest ones in this world, but they were definitely among the top ten.
Dragonhark, as the first stopping point, was very lively. This was the biggest market in Rainbow City. It could even be considered the largest one in all of Heaven Spirit.
There were sea demons from this region, charming spirits from the Abyss Sea, and treants from the Jade Sea.
In additions to the many shops, cultivators set up little stalls along the streets as well to sell their treasures. Some were searching for alchemy ingredients. It was a scene that encompassed all sorts of images.
Many cultivators came here due to the great reputation and size of this market at Dragonhark. There was a phrase used to describe this place: there is nothing one couldn’t buy here if they had enough money.
Li Qiye bought a lot of materials for Zhang Baitu. They weren’t that precious, which was why he went outside and buy them.
He was getting ready to destroy Baitu’s cultivation in order to have him start from the beginning. Because his cultivation was needlessly complex and convoluted, it was only harmful without any benefits.
Of course, it would have been much easier for a young cultivator to destroy their cultivation, but it was different for Zhang Baitu. He was no longer young and his blood energy was quite feeble. Without being supplemented by pills, he would be going to see his maker after destroying his cultivation.
After preparing all the alchemy ingredients, he readied the cauldron to refine them. The flame ignited and melted all the ingredients. It burned away the dregs and left behind the essences.
Eventually, the fire flowed like a pot of soup within. In this moment, it was difficult to tell the fire from the medicinal essences.
Under Li Qiye’s instruction, Zhang Baitu stepped into the cauldron. The fire seemed to have its own life and slowly infiltrated Zhang Baitu’s body along with the essences. They protected his meridians and veins.
Li Qiye ordered: “Remember, focus your energy while clearing your mind of needless thoughts.”
Any carelessness would result in death for an old cultivator like Zhang Baitu, so Li Qiye had no choice but to use this method.
The old man followed his order and calmed his mind while converging his vitality. He could feel the essences flowing through his body.
Right at this moment, Li Qiye began with lightning speed and shattered Zhang Baitu’s dao foundation.
“Crack!” Zhang Baitu’s dao foundation collapsed in an instant. He trembled and almost audibly screamed, but he managed to endure the pain.
Li Qiye was fast and accurate as he quickly destroyed the foundation completely. At this time, there was nothing left of the broken foundation in Zhang Baitu. All of the residue has been destroyed without leaving behind any traces.
Zhang Baitu now resembled a mortal that had never cultivated before. The essences began to integrate into the key locations in his body, every muscle and joint, in order to strengthen him.
His condition stabilized due to the medicine. Otherwise, someone else at his age experiencing this process would immediately turn into a hunchback old man after losing their dao foundation.
Li Qiye withdrew the fire and Zhang Baitu fell to the ground. There weren’t too many visible changes to him. His hair became grayer and he had lost the aura of a cultivator. However, his complexion was quite ruddy like an immortal with gray hair, yet he still had the face of a young man. This was a very healthy and rare constitution for a mortal man.
Zhang Baitu’s vision worsened and he couldn’t walk as if he was flying like other cultivators. Most of his abilities were gone as well. Of course, this was the great difference between a mortal and a cultivator.
“Maybe it isn’t that bad being a mortal sometimes.” Zhang Baitu sighed emotionally after his regression.
The sense of loss was there, but it was not overwhelming. After all, his cultivation was extremely shallow in the first place. This would be a completely different scenario for a master. Some wouldn’t be able to handle losing their cultivation.
“Thank you, Young Noble.” Zhang Baitu quickly thanked Li Qiye.
Li Qiye waved his sleeve dismissively: “There’s no need to be emotional, what you have lost will return not long from now.”
“Young Noble, you wish to pass down a merit law to me?!” Zhang Baitu happily asked right away after hearing this.
Despite knowing his terrible talents and that he wouldn’t get much further in his life in terms of cultivation, he had never given up before. Persistence was part of his character.
His hope had been rekindled after becoming a mortal and listening to Li Qiye.