Towards the center of the circle were a series of intricate and nonsensical inscriptions.
Regardless of how An Fei attempted to piece them together, the results continued to cause the young girl to scratch her head in frustration.
The inscriptions… did not seem to resemble any order of Chinese calligraphy.
Shapes, lines, and curves of all appearances and distortions littered the interior of the diagram following the secondary circumference of characters.
Furthermore, the closer they were to the epicenter, the inscriptions diminished in size, though the sheer quantity rose by exponential increments.
“I can piece together symbols and randomized strokes, but not this,” the young girl growled, the brush threatening to erase the intricate diagram drawn on the white sheet of paper.
“What am I supposed to do with a bundle of squiggles and shapes – read them?”
Heaving a heavy sigh, An Fei massaged the muscles in her neck before reaching for a clean sheet of paper.
Rolling the brush between her fingers to warm them up, the young girl relaxed her body before performing the tedious and diligent task of copying over the seemingly mundane inscriptions within the diagram.
A distorted dodecahedron, followed by an elongated series of warped lines, then three enneagons with a tetrahedron inscribed within, to be supplemented with a pair of obscure cylindrical depictions…
As she copied the inscriptions onto the fresh sheet of paper, An Fei attempted her best to arrange the inscriptions by any pattern she could glean from a glance, consuming far more sheets of paper in the process.
In the end, the young girl sat before a large fan of paper – drawings that categorized the inscriptions she noticed by the number of sides if it were geometric, or by the type of curve.
A rather simple method of archiving information, but it was the best An Fei could think of.
“There’s so many that don’t even fit in as a regular shape…” the young girl groaned in her heart.
“Maybe only a math textbook would dare toss such nonsensical diagrams and attempt to explain them by logical reason…”
The young girl pouted when she glanced at the fan of paper, before abruptly yanking the <Heavenly Secrets> from its peaceful position on the crystalline floor, her eyes scathing the pages for any useful source of information.
The young girl fanned the pages with a listless expression, skimming over many passages in hopes of encountering a lucky discovery.
“The processes… of the natural world… can be described as a series of sequential events, as though every iota of existence is to be adhered to in a similar form… as though an automaton.”
“Each action triggers a consequence, and whilst some merit rewards and acclaim, others incur punish… punishments. Such is the case regarding the circulation and distribution of fate and calamity – the callousness of the earth cannot be denied of such phenomenon.”
“If the earth we stand is not incorporeal but instead sentient, then it must not possess a soul; the transgressions committed by the ground in which we trod and the world we breath its essence far exceed that of the most vile and acrimonious cultivator in existence, which must trigger an according tribulation…”
“Why does cultivation trigger a calamity?” the young girl read with a nonplussed expression.
“If it were not an act of superseding its authority, the world in which we stand would not dispatch a systematic downfall of calamity. Why is it that people are not harmed upon declaring themselves the Supreme Emperor, but the world shakes in anger upon the ascension of a Nascent Soul Realm cultivator? If it were not to diminish the additional loss of its authority, why would many fall on the path to Mortal Tribulation…?”
An Fei’s voice unconsciously trailed into silence as she read, her mind buzzing with vigilance as she stared at the slightly worn and overused pages of the <Heavenly Secrets>.
The young girl’s consciousness flickered to her encounter with the Three Lotus Sect’s mysterious elder, upon which she had received this book.
The statements within the <Heavenly Secrets> were rather astonishing and discreetly hidden within the latter portions of the book, but An Fei… had read about those words quite a few times that alarm bells rang in her mind upon their encounter.
Was it not a term used explicitly by those of the Realm?
“Why would a book of the mortal world have these words?” the young girl tilted her head in puzzlement.
“The <Eternal Sanctum> and the black book left behind by grandfather, as well as several others within the Archive all described the mortal worlds as automatic processes, similar to that of a program; why would this <Heavenly Secrets> of the mortal world possess similar terminology – ah!?”
An Fei raised an unexpected cry of surprise, her countenance displaying a hint of excitement and delight.
The young girl dipped the brush into the prepared basin of ink with great haste, initiating a grand purge order onto the fan of paper besotted with the numerous categorized inscriptions.
“The world is like a program that can be found in a modern computer…” the young girl whispered to herself as her fingers wrote with a blazing ardor.
“Programs… run on a generic language that doesn’t function on a parallel scheme as human language… Therefore, this collection of inscriptions wouldn’t be akin to human language, either?”
The second transcription of the bizarre inscription within the observed diagram was completed in a shorter time, and An Fei had blown through the majority of her prepared stock of paper by her second pass.
The young girl patted her hands in delight and satisfaction, any notion regarding her previous frustration thrown into the chasm of the void.
Instead of categorizing the inscriptions by similar traits, the young girl had transcribed them as they appeared, only arranging them by layer to layer.
The papers were placed in a vertical arrangement, spanning from the outermost layer to the closest the young girl could decipher.
An Fei gasped, her mind reeling from the surprise. The young girl blinked in place for a brief moment, before her hands delicately traced the inscriptions transcribed layer per layer.
The arrangement could only be called perfect.
As she scanned the sheets of paper from top to bottom, the shock within An Fei’s consciousness couldn’t help but magnify.
When transcribing and organizing the obscure inscriptions as per their generic categorization, the young girl had discovered that there existed many similarities in a large number of the inscriptions – enough to complete a table that arranged the inscriptions by their type.
The layer arrangement simply displayed the inscriptions as they appeared on the original diagram, revealing a hint regarding its secret.
Within the neatly arranged layers of inscriptions and indecipherable shapes, were commonly repeating symbols and strains.
The patterns seemed to occur at deliberately configured positions within each layer, causing the young girl to frown with her index finger pinching at her chin.
She had obtained the clue of the structure of the mysterious and rather absurd implements of the language utilized within the diagram… but without possessing a relative cipher to translate its meaning, her achievement proved to be of little practical value.
“I only know that whenever spiritual essence encounters another of a similar source, the mysterious phenomenon occurs,” An Fei whispered with a tinge of annoyance.
“It’s a pity… that I don’t know whether this phenomenon is guaranteed or randomized… are there any supplementary conditions?”
The young girl traced the dried transcriptions of violet ink with her finger, her sea of perception roaring with a blizzard of multicolored lights as her consciousness attempted to analyze the traced layers.
A few sticks of incense’s worth of time had passed, but to no avail.
The young girl heaved a heavy sigh, clearing away the sheets of paper to open a decent quantity of available space to stretch her muscles. An Fei gazed at the transcribed diagram, her eyes fixated at the intricate drawings contained within the seemingly simple circle.
Since she couldn’t obtain any conclusive conjectures, it was now time for experimentation!