It didn't feel like that long but time had flowed by like a spring stream, and suddenly three days had pa.s.sed in the darkness that was the Baili family's dungeons.
During this time, no one had visited him. There were people surrounding him he knew—as he could sense them with his perception, but none of them had engaged in conversation or tried to give him any food or drink.
Spiritual energy cultivators needed to eat and drink to sustain their bodies if their Qi levels had not reached a high enough realm, but Xue Wei was an Earth Knight, and he could be supported entirely on the heaven-and-earth essence.
So apart from being slightly bored, Xue Wei felt no discomfort. He even spent the time cultivating his Qi and spiritual energy, alternating between the two. He did not want to neglect one or the other, now that they were about equal.
It was on the fourth day that the Baili family finally started to act. In the silence of the dimly lit dungeon, Xue Wei was cultivating heartily and feeling rather pleased that the Baili family was taking this long to do anything.
Unfortunately, this quiet period would not last forever. The elders in the Baili family had bickered about which route to take with Xue Wei, and in the end, the brutal and violent method had won.
The biggest argument was about Xue Wei's personality. He was not someone who would succ.u.mb to the Baili family's coaxing, so coercion was the only way to go.
The low thudding of steps echoed through the dungeon and Xue Wei, who had been cultivating, slowly opened his eyes as he heard them getting close. An azure gleam flashed past his pupils as he observed the hallway outside his cell.
Not long after, an elderly man appeared in front of the cell door. It was the same elder who had spoken up the time that Xue Wei had stood in front of all the other elders of the Baili family—the one that all the others respectfully listened to.
“I am the Grand Elder of the Baili family,” the man introduced himself. “I am here to give you one last chance,” he continued as he looked at Xue Wei with greedy eyes, like a poor man eyeing a mountain of treasures.
“Work together with us, teach us and train us in your Qi techniques and any other valuable methods you have from your native continent, and you will be treated as an honorable guest. If you stay stubborn like this, there will be no other chances after this, and we will have to begin with harsher methods to extract the secrets out of you.”
“What's to say that I won't just tell you fake pill formulas or give you flawed methods?” Xue Wei asked with a smile on his face, his words making the expression of the Elder harden and his eyes glisten with coldness.
“You would have to treat us with sincerity,” the Elder said. “And of course, we would have you take an oath of loyalty to trust you.”
“You talk about sincerity and an oath of loyalty in the same sentence—that's quite an eyeopener about the Baili family,” Xue Wei mocked. “But forget it. I would rather you try your best to force me into revealing the information than take an oath of loyalty. There is no way I would ever swear another oath of loyalty.”
“Don't forget this is the choice you made!” the grand elder said with a sneer on his face and his body trembling with anger. He was used to being one of the most respected creatures on the entire continent, but now he was being looked down upon by a youngster. This was a first for him, and he was livid.
Originally, Xue Wei had not needed to be captured by the Baili family. He could have run away and been on the run together with his friends for a while like he was used to, but doing so would have been bringing with it quite some downsides.
Usually, Xue Wei would have just run away and gone somewhere else, but now, he had to get to the Demon Phoenix Continent as he had made a promise to Lan. Xue Wei was the kind of person that, when he made a promise to someone that deserved it, he would give his life to keep it, and thus why he did not make a lot of promises.
As a result, if they ran away, how would he be capable of solving the mystery of the academy? Without resolving this unexplained mystery, Xue Wei would not be getting a lift to the next continent, and thus he had to stay at the academy.
Alongside this, he had initially gotten close to the Yuan and Gu families just to obtain materials for the Rainbow Pills and other resources that would make life easier on Yan Dalu, but after interacting with Gu Bing'er and Yuan Bailong, he had become friends with them.
If he ran away, it was likely that the Baili family would turn to them in an attempt to extract the secrets from them, and they were not yet ready for a fight like this. They still needed to prepare to strike if they wanted a chance of success.
So in the end, to buy time for the Yuan and Gu families—and to ensure that he could later solve the mystery that he still really knew nothing about, he had decided to allow himself to be captured. Even if it meant that he would be subject to torture and other methods to gain knowledge of the techniques and methods he held, he would endure.
Xue Wei had made his decision, and he was going to be sticking to it no matter what the Baili family decided to do to him. He was even slightly curious as to the healing rate of the Azure Dragon race. Could he regrow severed limbs like a salamander?
Of course, he would prefer to have his limbs remain firmly attached, but if it should happen, then he could not do much about it.
Unfortunately, Xue Wei had also forgotten something important. It was true that experts who cultivated Qi would see the physical body as the most important treasure to torture. However, this was Yan Dalu. Even if you were physically crippled, you could still be an expert in spiritual energy, and thus when they worked, they would instead torture the mind and soul.
This was something Xue Wei noticed when the elder left. As he went, he made a gesture to the people who had been stealthily surrounding the cell, and they stepped forward, all of them bearing sinister expressions on their faces.
“So it begins,” Xue Wei muttered to himself, and a wry smile was on his lips as he stood up, looking at the people coming towards him with vigilance.
But what happened next surprised him. They did not even unlock the cell and enter as he had expected. Instead, three men sat down in front of the cell, looking at him as if they could not wait to tear him apart.
At first, Xue Wei had been very alert because he thought the three of them would enter and beat him up, but then he remembered—these people could not beat him up. They were at most Heavenly Warriors; their physical strength would be unable to harm him in the slightest.
So how were they going to convince him to let go of his information? Xue Wei was puzzled but also curious. His biggest worry was that they would have made him into a cripple, but after realizing that even their strongest expert would be incapable of injuring him physically, he relaxed.
The reason he dared to relax was not that he was overconfident, but because he also had the golden dragon spirit within his mind. This spirit was capable of protecting him from mental attacks to a certain extent, and now it was time to see just how much protection it could offer.
The three men on the ground had their eyes closed and their hands in their laps. Spiritual energy started erupting from their minds, and energy waves came cras.h.i.+ng towards Xue Wei.
Xue Wei was almost swept off his feet, the spiritual energy was powerful and dense, and it came at him like a tidal wave, cras.h.i.+ng against his body and invading his mind.
The energy that surged through him penetrated his body like sparkling rays of light going deep into his skin and started wreaking havoc through his meridians, with all of them converging towards his mind palace.
Xue Wei felt himself stiffen as the foreign energy entered through every pore in his body, leaving him incapable of moving.
He expected to experience excruciating pain, but this pain never arrived. As the golden rays of light entered his mind palace, the golden dragon lazily opened its previously closed eyes and simply gulped it down.
The moment it entered the mouth of the golden dragon spirit, the body of the spirit started to s.h.i.+ne very faintly, but the more it consumed, the brighter the light became. Soon, much purer and refined rays of golden light were burped out from the well-fed dragon spirit, and mingled with the sea of golden energy in his mind palace, increasing his own cultivation instead.
Xue Wei was astounded. What kind of ability was this? The golden dragon spirit was simply heaven-defying. To be able to easily consume the spiritual energy of what appeared to be Sky Knights and transform it into his own energy was a heaven-sent opportunity, and Xue Wei forced his rather stiff body to sit down.
The three experts were unaware that the energy they had sent out had been consumed, so seeing Xue Wei's awkward movements alongside the fact that he was forced down, they a.s.sumed that their attack had worked.
His body was showing all the signs of having been hit by the crus.h.i.+ng power of their spiritual energy attack, and then him sitting down, what other reasoning could be behind it other than his soul feeling the pain that lingered after being injured?
Truth was that Xue Wei's eyes were glistening with excitement. Who would have thought that being tortured would be the reason that his cultivation base was rising?
The three men saw that Xue Wei was still holding on, however, so they continued to send increasingly powerful waves of energy, one after another towards the youngster, the waves going from being somewhat dense and heavy to what felt like rolling tidal waves at him.
They were spooked and shocked by Xue Wei's ability to withstand their onslaught. They were, after all, Sky Knights, and when they saw Xue Wei sitting still like this, with closed eyes and a rosy complexion, they started to suspect that something was wrong.
Unrelenting from their attacks, an hour had pa.s.sed like this, and Xue Wei's cultivation had encountered a bottleneck. Just a little bit more and he would break into the fourth layer of the Earth Knight rank with his spiritual energy, but for some reason, it was as if his dragon was now incapable of producing more spiritual energy from the beams of light that it devoured.
Although more and more energy was still being poured into his body, and the dragon kept up its consumption of it, less and less was being delivered to Xue Wei, yet the dragon spirit was growing in speed.
Now, the dragon spirit was suddenly starting to s.h.i.+ne with a radiant golden l.u.s.ter, the scales were much more prominent and visible than before, and the dragon seemed overflowing with vigor.
Xue Wei could sense how he was growing stronger by the minute, but he was not satisfied without managing to break into the fourth layer of the Earth Knight rank, and thus he opened an eye. He could not help but stare at the three sweating experts on the other side of the cell door.
“Is this really all that three such experts can handle?” he mocked them with a snicker on his lips, and the three men, who were on the verge of collapsing became filled with anger.
“Brat, you'll regret this!” one of them yelled, and suddenly the group of three all summoned their remaining spiritual energy to blast it towards Xue Wei, hoping to cripple him for good.