An inkbrush fell to the floor, and rolled across the wooden surface beyond reach.
A young girl twisted in a half-moon chair in attempt of salvaging the brush, but alas, it had moved out of range within mere moments.
An Fei rolled her eyes, expelling a heartfelt and exhausted sigh. Collapsing into the now uncomfortable chair, the young girl allowed her jaw to pry itself loose, directing a blank stare towards the sky.
The fingers of her right hand felt as if they had been submerged into a pit of molten magma, the appendages trembling as a searing heat blazed through her nerves.
Her elbow and upper arm was completely numb, creating a rather interesting but highly discomforting mixture of sensations. At the moment, the young girl wanted to nothing more than to take a long nap.
“Fourth Little Sister, brush.”
A fair-skinned hand, elegant and comprised with the perfect proportions of masculinity and delicateness, deposited the recovered inkbrush into her feeble palms.
When An Fei grumpily raised her gaze upward, she found the Eldest Young Master staring back with an indifferent expression.
“Why are you still here?”
Wei Chang Feng paused, before replying in an even tone that infuriated the young girl to no limits.
“The potential danger has not dissipated yet. Thus, Father agreed for me to continue residing here in the study.”
“I know that,” the girl rolled her eyes, unable to lift her arms to thoroughly slap the handsome yet cold youth before her.
“But why are you here, ah? Eldest Brother, you’ve been here since the crack of dawn, but you haven’t moved a single muscle for hours. Even with your fourth little sister’s hands are falling off working this dammed piece of calligraphy to death, you still sit in place doing what again!?”
To An Fei’s utmost surprise and slight dread, the Eldest Young Master suddenly extended his hand, resting two fingers onto her forehead.
The young girl attempted to move back to avoid the sudden affront, yet discovered that her body lacked the strength to do so.
After a while, the youth’s brows furrowed.
“There doesn’t seem to be a fever or noticeable sweat…”
“…Eldest Brother, what are you doing?”
The girl stared at him with widely opened eyes, a dumbstruck expression on her adorable countenance. Wei Chang Feng abruptly recoiled and sat back down in his seat, quickly reverting to his usual cold mental state.
“Fourth Young Sister is from an official’s family of the third rank; speaking in such a manner is inappropriate.”
“Then can’t you help this fourth little sister out a little, ah?” An Fei exasperatedly shook her fist towards the youth.
“All you do is sit in that chair and preach all day long. How about instead of plotting your family member’s death, you help me finish this absurd calligraphy assignment, ah?”
“Fourth Little Sister, I do not know calligraphy.”
The concise and curt reply slammed into the girl with the force of an unrestrained landslide, and she toppled from her perch on the half-moon chair.
Narrowly preventing her body from entering another intimate embrace with the earth, An Fei affixed an exhausted gaze towards the cold youth, dragging herself in the direction of the bed.
…she had little desire to glance in the direction of the drawing table.
Even without looking, An Fei was well aware of the miserable state the interior of the study of the Flowing Wind Residence had become. Part of it was due to her work, and the latter lion’s share belonged to that accursed Second Uncle and his calligraphy assignment.
The drawing table, the drying racks, the bookshelves, the loose pieces of furniture placed onto the ground upright, and even large partitions of the floor – all were covered to the brim with sheets upon sheets of paper marred by black ink.
Hundreds and hundreds of sheets bombed the study, leaving little room for the two inhabitants to move around.
All of this was due to the odd day An Fei had believed that Wei Xuan had dispatched her the unique calligraphy assignment.
The Treatise on the Healthy Mindfulness and Spirit by the Great Scholar Tie, the young girl wished to do nothing more than rip it to shreds with her own hands.
If it weren’t for that book, she wouldn’t have fallen for Wei Xuan’s trap!
He had carefully read over the dozens of sheets packed to the brim with dense, compact characters, releasing sounds of excitement and astonishment whilst marveling at the speed at which the young girl had produced the copy.
Then, under the guise of practicing calligraphy and making up for lost time, the crafty minister had launched an inescapable wager onto the unsuspecting girl, knowing far too well that An Fei could not reject the temptation.
“Fei’er, Father brought over some books for your calligraphy assignment, if you can complete it within a week, Father will reward you by taking you through the streets of Jiang’an. You can play and enjoy the city to your heart’s content, how about that?”
Knowing that if she completed the assignment, she could finally explore the city that she had fallen into, how could An Fei not agree?
Without even asking the minister what books she was to copy, the young girl had earnestly nodded her head, completely overwhelmed by the incentive of good food and outside entertainment.
Then… the Comprehensive Governance of Mind and Spirit by the Great Scholar Tie, the Treatise on Apt Cultivation by the Great Scholar Tie, the Governance of Heaven and Earth by Great Scholar Tie… the Treatise of Governance and Societal Organization by Great Scholar Tie…
F*ck Great Scholar Tie, screw that crazy dead old man until his grave fell apart from disuse!
The young girl howled in her heart, both towards the scholar who had composed the works, and herself for falling into Wei Xuan’s scheme.
The odd and difficult phrasing by the shriveled collection of bones that caused her to stumble and rewrite several sheets of paper, and that she even agreed to this in the first place…
…it had aggravated and stressed her conscience to the extent that each time she complained to the stone-faced Eldest Young Master, the young girl’s heart was overflowing with profanities…
“That’s it. I’m taking a bath.”
Wei Chang Feng’s head jerked at the sudden statement by An Fei, an uneasy premonition arising within his heart.
The cold youth directed a quizzical stare in the direction of the Fourth Young Miss, only to discover that she was clutching her a set of clean clothing and a large towel to her chest.
“Eldest Brother, your Fourth Little Sister is counting on you to watch the door, don’t let your little sister’s reputation be ruined!”
If she did get her reputation ruined, he would act first the bury to perpetrator, then bury her afterwards to remove any shame from plaguing the family!
Though with a large sigh, the Eldest Young Master of Wei stood from his chair to follow the young girl out of the study of the Flowing Wind Residence.
After five and a half days of disuse, the Sanctum of Eternity finally received its new owner with a gracious smile and a warm welcome.
The girl sat cross-legged in the library, a stack of pristine pages held in her hand.
The snow-white sheets of paper depicting numerous diagrams and explanations that scrawled over the entirety of the page with the compact letters that made it hard to distinguish between statements, the young girl absorbed with ease.
“This should work…”
Softly murmuring to herself, An Fei carefully stacked the sheets of paper on top of the drawing table, releasing an enormous sigh. Calming her body and allowing her mind to settle without any residual thoughts, the young girl relaxed against the comfortable chair.
Deep breath in, and relishing in the refreshing sensation of cool air streaming into her lungs.
Expel the air out, and ignite the thread of spiritual essence coiled within the heart cavity.
Ignite, manipulate, and redirect.
The thread of spiritual essence had elongated into a length of twenty centimeters following the successive reinforcement by the Sanctum, though the width remained unchanged.
At the young girl’s command, the thread of spiritual essence released a blinding radiance of golden light.
The thread split into two equal portions, streaking towards two different areas of the body.
The Small Intestine Meridian, the Bingfeng and Tianzong acupuncture points. The girl had unceasingly attempted to pool spiritual essence within the two acupuncture points from the beginning.
The two threads buried into the acupuncture points, the golden light submerged within the dense sea of meridians. Furrowing her brow, An Fei took a deep breath, before loudly reciting in her mind.
Death by the merciless sword, the blade that cleaved apart life to create death!
Death by the scheming pen, the blade that ravaged the soul into dust!
One charged forth with aggression and unstoppable might, whilst the other planted seeds of distrust and unease, eroding the soul from within.
One sought to eliminate others even at their own termination, and the other was capable of surviving calamities in exchange for a slower conclusion.
The young girl envisioned a sword of steel bathed in the blood of its conquests, and an inkbrush dipped in the blood of the executed. The sword sharpened itself by wallowing in the cries of its foes, and the pen increased in deadliness with each stroke.
A series of shockwaves erupted from within her body, and the two brilliant nodes of golden light instantly changed to a different color.
The Tianzong acupuncture point blazed with an orange radiance with a hint of cruelty and oppression emanating from its core, and the Bingfeng acupuncture point revealed a pulsing orb of cyan light that concealed the mocking shadow of death.
Whilst the girl sought to recover from the sudden shock, the two nodes of light streamed through the ever-complex systemization of the meridians in her body, collided and fused into an undefined existence whilst streaming along the length of the Governing Vessel to be released into the atmosphere in the form of a lotus petal…