The elderly man was startled by Wei Wuyin ’s interest in concocting products, a strong expression of aversion and despair flashed across his aged face. Then, when he recalled the likelihood of Wei Wuyin ’s sheltered background and pitiful fate, he regained himself and sighed with the heaviness of an entire ocean.
”This is not a fate that you want to experience. We can only hope that these elves will be sending us to their conversion camps. At least this means we might have a more peaceful, more relaxed life until the end. ” The defeatism within him was readily apparent from his tone.
Wei Wuyin furrowed his brows as he swept his gaze over the sullen expressions of everyone present. He calmly said, ”Can ’t you just kill yourself? ” While he wasn ’t a proponent of suicide or giving up, but if the fate one was left to live was too hellish and inescapable, then this was a viable option to take an early path to the grave.
His words caused a few of the captive men to jump, their eyes flitted with an ambiguously dangerous light for a moment. Then, as if a realization struck them, their expressions became dark and their heads hung low.
The contemptuous man, who found Wei Wuyin foolishly naive, sneered without restraint. ”And how will we go about doing that, Young Lord? Huh? How?! ” He mocked. Without waiting for Wei Wuyin to explain, he grabbed the collar that shackled his neck, energetically displaying the restraints on his arms and legs as if to demand a solution, to hear Wei Wuyin ’s brilliant idea of how.
”Stop, ” the elderly man abruptly said. ”These collars restrain our strength, suppress our forces and energies. We can ’t commit suicide without a sufficient external opportunity, anything less will just subject us to unnecessary pain. ”
Wei Wuyin glanced at the shackles, then he realized the truth in his words. It seems he was being naive, chuckling to himself. Each one of these cultivators had reinforced bodies by various energies, making them extremely durable and strong. If their forces and powers were restrained, they wouldn ’t be able to harm themselves with their bare hands.
While their physical strength was suppressed, the tempering their bodies underwent hadn ’t just vanished. In most ways, they were currently like mortals. It would be like trying to harm a fortified astral steel wall with their bare hands, it just wasn ’t possible.
They wouldn ’t be able to rip out their throats or bury their fingers into their eyes, stirring up their brains. These were particularly violent ways to kill oneself, but with their current lack of weapons or tools, this was all that was available to them. Furthermore, if there was a healer on standby, they might actually be saved by the elves.
”I guess you ’re right, ” Wei Wuyin admitted. This probably had to be one of the core struggles of cultivators, especially after they ’ve been restrained. In normal cases, this was a blessing. Those weakened due to battle or other reasons won ’t have others who were far, far weaker take advantage. But in the case they were restrained and suppressed, they were trapped in their own situation with no way out.
Even self-detonation of one ’s Natal or Astral Soul wasn ’t possible.
Wei Wuyin was a user of this principle in capturing and securing prisoners back in his Scarlet Solaris Sect days, but he had assumed that others would have a solution. In truth, he did. When he was a member of the Scarlet Solaris Sect, he devoted a portion of his time to concocting pellets of poison. These pellets were hidden in his subordinates ’ mouths, their teeth or stitched into the soft portion of their inner mouth.
It was all for the eventual possibility of torture. He made sure to inform them that if they were in a position of weakness, they would be killed after torture anyways. It was best to avoid that fate altogether. He had even concocted a few vicious poisons that would spread toxins into the air, poisoning nearby captors.
But these people obviously weren ’t prepared for that possibility. He had simply spoken in a way as if it should be common place for a profession prone to capture to have ways to commit suicide against a stronger enemy in the face of an abhorrent fate.
The elderly man was a little satisfied with Wei Wuyin for not flipping out in the face of such mocking actions. He explained, ”You might not know about Converter Camps, so let me explain. These are areas where cultivators, like us, are fed impure essence stones and volatile materials that are typically harmful to our cultivation bases and bodies. They have us convert these into pure energies and have us pour them into artificial stones. They can then use them for formations or their own cultivation. ”
”It ’s like turning us into filters, ” the bald man added with a shiver.
Wei Wuyin was stunned. What a vicious method. That ’s one way to cultivate without bringing harm to yourself, have others refine the materials for you. They received all the pure energies beneficial for cultivation while the impurities of essence stones and materials were kept within the refiner ’s bodies.
Considering the problematic issue of abundant resources but unusable materials that the starfield has, this might ’ve been an eventual possibility without advanced Alchemic Culture that had developed thanks to the King of Everlore and the Alchemic Association ’s Founder. There would be wars waged and sacrifices of the less talented, connected, and powerful to serve the cultivations for those who were.
But it seems the elves were outnumbered by humans, likely even outclassed in cultivation, so they hid and took what came.
”What about forcefully altering cultivation bases to concoct products? What did you mean by that? ” Wei Wuyin asked, curious as to why this was even more ’hellish ’ in the minds of everyone present.
The man who mocked him earlier exclaimed with a contemptuous laugh, ”You know nothing, huh?! Do you not even know this? ”
Wei Wuyin looked at this man with a sidelong glance. Then, with a bright smile, he responded: ”I ’ve tolerated you long enough. Speak out of turn again with that tone, you won ’t have to wait for whatever awaits you. ” His unearthly handsome face, brilliant smile, and radiant silver eyes could cause numerous hearts to throb with swooning emotions, but all the mocking man felt was an icy-chill bolt through his spine.
”… ” The captives went silent, looking at Wei Wuyin. They were lost in his charm, feeling as if they had just forgotten about his appearance. They were so wrapped up in their own despair and hopelessness that they hadn ’t realized that Wei Wuyin was extremely handsome, and this was soon amplified by his unfathomable calm.
The bald man frowned, growing suspicious. It wasn ’t just him, but the elderly man felt shocked by Wei Wuyin. He recalled their conversation, and his eyes brightened.
He was about to shout, but he held his tongue and whispered, ”Do you have a way out of here? Seniors that are arriving? ” The calm and imposing demeanor of Wei Wuyin could be because of naiveté, but it also could be because of absolute confidence in one ’s freedom. This brought him hope.
Wei Wuyin turned away from the annoying captive, looking at the elderly man. ”Can you answer my question? ”
This only served to brighten the ray of hope in the elderly man ’s heart, and he soon grew excited. With a few breaths, sweeping his gazes at the nearby guards, he said: ”They would dissolve our cultivation bases with a unique method, then forcefully have us cultivate an Alchemic Soul. We would then be forced to concoct products until our untimely demise. ”
”An Alchemic Astral Soul? ” Wei Wuyin was shocked. They were all cultivators at the Astral Core Realm. He had many means to dissolve a person ’s cultivation base, having it restart anew via products. But after one enters the Astral Core Realm, their cultivation bases become irreversible in its foundation.
For example, if his Divine Saber Astral Soul, King, was dissolved, when he tried to rebuild his Astral Soul, it would still be a Divine Saber Astral Soul. This was because an Astral Soul can only undergo one Astral Tribulation in their lifetime. The only way to prevent that outcome would be to completely throw away every last bit of his cultivation, cultivate something similar to the Haven Heart Qi Method, and form a new Spirit.
But if he did that, he would suffer severely in lifespan, bodily conditions, and innate energy regulation. It was a risky possibility that one would undergo Cultivation Deviation during the procedure without proper oversight.
The elderly man nodded, ”Yes. ”
”…! ” Wei Wuyin ’s heart leapt in explosive shock. How?!
His mind was calculating a few principles of cultivation. This shouldn ’t be possible. An Alchemic Astral Soul has to undergo an Astral Tribulation, right? The dissolved bits of one ’s cultivation base should only be able to rebuild into the foundation of their cultivation, right?
It was these principles that allowed him to easily bring Zuhei back from crippling, twice.
Wei Wuyin ’s strong reaction prompted the bald man to add, ”While it ’s an Alchemic Astral Soul, it ’s not a true Alchemic Astral Soul. Furthermore, you won ’t be concocting products, but their alchemists will be using your enhanced alchemical energies you produce. It ’s rumored to be hellishly painful, dreadful to the point where one wishes for death for every second of their lives. ”
Wei Wuyin ’s eyebrows lifted, ”Not a true Alchemic Astral Soul? Enhanced alchemical energies? ” His mind flared with intensive thoughts as he found a possible way to do this, causing his heart to immediately relax. He chuckled to himself, ’It seems having your conventional thoughts overturn can really disturb the mind. I need to keep an open mind to all possibilities; to expect the unlikely and improbable. ’
As an Inheritor of Sin who bore witness to Temporal Reincarnation, visited Hell, saw the Yellow Springs, and was aware of the Heavenly Daos existence, he should be more resilient to the vastness of the world.
”I see. That ’s rather interesting. To use others as a proxy, but there ’s still one question: Who are we to be sold to? ” Wei Wuyin asked with uncertainty tainting his voice. The Grey Sands Elves could simply use them for those two things, why trade? It seemed like they ’re losing long term advantages for short term benefits.
The bald man dejectedly lowered his head. The other captives seemed to reveal indignant expressions, and that ’s when Wei Wuyin recalled Ai Juling ’s words about treatment and being sent back to where he ’d come from.
”No way! ” Wei Wuyin was shocked at the thought, but the elderly man only confirmed his assumption.
”To the forces that exist in The Desolate Lands; to the other humans here, to our own kind. ”
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