Chapter 3: Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth
"Fail to succeed, break to found. Unparalleled under heaven…."
The golden imp in Yang Qi's forehead continued to repeat the same words over and over. As it did, Yang Qi did his best to communicate with it, but got no response other than those same words.
The imp had come to him through the lightning, almost like some sort of god or spirit, filling him with a sensation of indescribable grandness and mystery.
It was like having a nearly invincible and all-powerful master always there with him.
In the past, he had personally seen the city magistrate of Yanhaven, who had cultivated his energy arts all the way to the ninth phase, the Master of Energy level. The city magistrate was a man of incredible influence and authority, and yet the power Yang Qi sensed from the golden imp far surpassed that.
As he attempted to make a connection with the imp, a stream of textual symbols suddenly poured out of it, accompanied by physical images. They poured directly into Yang Qi's sea of consciousness, revealing themselves as an energy art technique.
Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth
"Use energy to summon the god, which then becomes a mammoth; one's every act and movement will have the power of a megamammoth; formed from eight hundred forty million particles, which are the home of that power; if all the particles are awakened, one can become like a godmammoth, overturning seas and rivers, dragging stars down from the sky, devouring moons and suns, all with a single thought…."
To have the text suddenly pouring into his mind was so startling to Yang Qi that he nearly leaped to his feet.
"What technique is this? It's on a completely different level than the energy arts our Yang Clan cultivate. It must be millions of times beyond ours…."
The truth was that the energy arts practiced by the Yang Clan were actually considered quite advanced. Yang Qi's father Yang Zhan had already reached the eighth phase, the Energy Incarnation level, and was considered one of the top masters in Yanhaven, with only the city magistrate himself being far above him.
'Godmammoths?' Yang Qi thought. 'Godmammoths…. According to the rumors, there is another land mass far to the west of the Rich-Lush Continent, with a very hot climate. Supposedly, they worship elephants and mammoths as gods. I've even heard stories that there's another location in the west with an endless hell that people use godmammoths to suppress and crush. Perhaps this Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth is some superb technique from the west.'
The truth was that Yang Qi was not some hedonistic silkpants. He was actually one of the most elite young ones of his generation. His cultivation base had once been fairly good, to the point where he was on the edge of the Energy Eruption level, nearly able to utilize the Hundred Paces Divine Fist. Sadly, his judgement had become clouded by love, and thanks to being deceived by Yun Hailan, he ended up in his current state. 
Generally speaking, though, he was intelligent and quite well-informed.
As such, he could immediately tell that the technique the golden imp had imparted to him was extraordinary. Most energy arts involved circulating and converging energy within the meridians. However, this Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth was different. It viewed the body as being composed of eight hundred forty million tiny particles, each one of which was a sleeping megamammoth. When all of that power was awoken and combined, it would be enough to tear stars out of the sky.
'Hell-Crushing Godmammoth,' Yang Qi thought. 'Apparently, godmammoths are so powerful they can crush a never-ending hell. What exact level of power is that? I guess I profited from that disaster of mine. I acquired a remarkable ability that has the potential to push me far beyond my previous level. It really is a case of fail to succeed, break to found. Unparalleled under heaven….'
Without any further hesitation, he began to practice cultivation according to the methods of the technique.
As he did, countless strands of vital energy began to circulate throughout his body, which caused the lightning mammoth in his dantian region to stir in excitement. Vital energy began to stream out of it, causing it to slowly shrink. Meanwhile, that energy entered Yang Qi's fleshly body and began to transform it.
As Yang Qi sat there with his eyes closed, he could sense his body changing, and could hear something like creaking and cracking sounds. All of his damaged meridians were slowly being repaired, as was his sea of energy. In fact, as the process continued, they grew stronger than before.
Ordinarily, the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth was an apex-level technique that was incredibly difficult to cultivate. Even unusually intelligent people with superb innate talents would be unable to succeed with it unless they had some outside enlightenment. However, because of being struck by lightning, Yang Qi actually had a lightning mammoth inside of him, and every time he circulated his energy, some of it would be absorbed into him. Because of that, his cultivation speed was far faster than that of an ordinary person. A day of cultivation for him was like ten years of hard work for others.
As time went on, Yang Qi could sense the power building up inside of him, and his energy arts being restored. As he advance by leaps and bounds, his active mind was spun with theories about why all of this was happening.
"People say that some top experts will provoke reactions from the heavens during the course of their cultivation. Sometimes, lightning will even strike them. Could it be that some consummate expert was struck by lightning, transformed into a golden imp, and then later fell with lightning onto me, taking up residence in my forehead? Is the lightning mammoth a representation of his vital energy and energy arts?"
The imp apparently existed in a state between something physical and something formed from vital energy. It was almost like a spirit or god, and was something that Yang Qi couldn't take control of. After imparting the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth to him, it remained silent and unmoving, almost as if it were in a state of rest and recovery.
He tried several more times to communicate with it, but even after multiple attempts, got no response.
Yang Qi then decided to focus completely on mastering the new energy art he had been given, and on absorbing the lightning mammoth.
The power of the lightning mammoth was terrifying, and in fact, Yang Qi had no idea what his cultivation base would be like if he absorbed it all.
At some point during Yang Qi's meditation, the servant girl outside woke up and looked over at him in surprise.
"Young Master, are you awake?"
Yesterday, he had been half-dead and gasping for breath. But now, in spite of the fact that he was still wrapped in all sorts of bandages, he seemed to be in high spirits and full of energy.
"What's wrong, Little Yan?" Yang Qi said calmly. "Don't worry, I'm not dead yet!"
"Young Master, your father ordered that you were to go see him as soon as you were awake." Little Yan was only twelve, and was as fair and charming of a girl as could be imagined. She had served Yang Qi for a long time, and had always viewed him as a good person. After all, he never bullied her like most young masters would their servants. He was also one of the elite young ones in Yanhaven. But now, he had suffered a major calamity, and had brought the clan to the brink of bankruptcy. And he himself was now a cripple.
"Alright, I'll go see father." Yang Qi rose to his feet to find that the pain which had previously wracked him was now mostly gone. Instead, he felt like he was thrumming with power. However, he still tried to make himself look so weak that he could barely stand.
"Young Master," Little Yan said, sounding worried, "I heard that your energy arts are gone…. If you're feeling weak, why don't you—"
"Don't worry, Little Yan. When did I ever allow people to just bully me? The people who hurt me will be punished, and the clan will be revitalized…."
Little Yan nodded vigorously. "Alright, I believe you, Young Master."
As Yang Qi made his way through the labyrinthine corridors of the Yang Clan, he could hear what people were whispering about him. Most of them cursed him for being a hedonistic silkpants who had undermined his own clan.
He wasn't bothered by such talk. If his martial arts truly had been wiped out, and he had no hope of recovery, he would definitely have sunk into despair. But now that he could cultivate the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth, he had hope of restoring his martial arts. Better, his progress would come with incredible speed, and he would be even more powerful than before.
Now, he had hope and anticipation. Filled with thoughts of cultivating the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth to the very peak, he could walk with head held high, assured that he would be able to clear his name and restore the glory and honor of the clan.
After arriving at the official hall of business, he saw his father standing there as tall and straight as a mountain.
He immediately dropped to his knees. "I've been an unfilial son, Father, and have brought great trouble to the clan. Please, do not go lightly in my punishment…."
When Yang Zhan saw that his son was in high spirits, and didn't seem dejected at all, a smile broke out on his face. "What are you doing here so soon? You've already recovered from your injuries? I already know the story behind the Latent Dragon Pill. You stole it for Yun Hailan, princess of Yundale-by-the-Sea, didn't you? She's been in a cultivation bottleneck for a while now, and wanted that pill to help her achieve a breakthrough, all in the hopes of becoming a disciple of the Demi-Immortal Institute. I can't blame you for that, son. What youngster doesn't do something stupid for love at some point? In fact, I hope this will help you to grow up a bit. In any case, I'll help you deal with the fallout, and no matter what happens, I'll do my best to help you recover properly. Your mother left when you were young, and your cultivation success up to this point has been a result of your own hard work. You might have caused a disaster because of love, but no matter how many people threaten to hurt or kill you because of it, I understand what you did."
Feeling warmth in his heart, Yang Qi said, "Father, you just watch, I'm going to make you proud eventually. And I'll definitely restore the glory of the clan."
Yang Zhan nodded. "Very well. Your eldest brother and second brother have been notified of what happened, and are hurrying back to see you. I've also sent a letter to your aunt to explain. She's been away for ten years, but she'll definitely do everything she can to help us get through the coming crisis. Don't worry about any of it. You focus on recovering, and after everything has blown over, I'll help you restore your sea of energy."
Yang Qi rose to his feet, stepped back a few paces, and then clasped hands.
'Father would be happy to know about my major cultivation base progress,' he thought. 'But I can't reveal the matter of the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth. If word leaked, it would definitely lead to a bloodbath, and would harm father's position in the clan.'
Yang Qi was no idiot, and was definitely not a typical silkpants. Although he had acted with impulsive, youthful foolishness because of Yun Hailan, he had learned his lesson. The incident had already caused his heart to turn colder, and had propelled him to a new level of maturity and calmness.
Later that night, the sky was absolutely clear, revealing the brilliant moon above.
Yang Qi was alone at the top of a low-lying mountain, quietly practicing cultivation. Slipping from stance to stance, he was going through the moves that made up the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth.
His movements were smooth and fluid, like the flowing waters of a river, and caused occasional rumbling sounds to echo out. His muscles were as taut as iron, and beneath the light of the moon, his aura was like soft jade. There didn't seem to be any indication at all that he had been struck by lightning.
In fact, if one looked closely, his aura seemed like an enraged, fearless mammoth.
As he practiced his strikes and kicks, the explosive sounds of his blows filled the air.
Wind swirled around him, rising up into the air until a vortex spun in the area, with him at the center.
"Hundred Paces Divine Fist!" he growled. His energy arts surged, projecting force out of him and causing an enormous, bowl-thick tree about a hundred paces away to snap in half, sending leaves flying about in all directions.
"Unleash the energy arts externally with explosive force. The Hundred Paces Divine Fist can snap trees and smash boulders…." As of this moment, Yang Qi knew beyond doubt that he had reached the higher level he had sought after for so long.