Though it was not visible to her eye, An Fei knew exactly where the diagram was located.
Directly level with her chest, separated by a distance of seventy-three centimeters.
If she were to lean forward for a bit and stretch her arms forwards in the direction of her heart, her fingers would make contact with the mystical pattern remaining stable in the air.
Unlike before, the invisible diagram continued to release fluctuations of spiritual essence even after the prescribed half-life period of three breaths of time had long since passed.
An Fei counted in her heart that two minutes had passed, yet her heart gently resonated with the fluctuations of spiritual essence emitted from the invisible chart before her chest.
Truly… a mystery.
An Fei murmured as she lightly lifted her body from the ground, crawling forward with the index finger of her right hand serving as the pathfinder.
Twenty centimeters, thirty centimeters… all the way until the distance of seventy-three centimeters had been crossed, and the finger poked against the surface of the diagram hovering in the air.
And the moment her fingertip made contact, the digit vanished from the air.
The young girl gasped as she carefully glanced at her right hand, for a portion of it was missing.
The joints of her palm that connected with the index finger was not present along with the digit itself, but there were no marks of harm or injury.
She couldn’t find any blood, nor did she experience any sensation of pain.
An Fei stared dumbly for a brief moment, her mind grinding to a halt.
The next instant, she withdrew her hand from its original position, only to discover that the index finger of her right hand had been recovered without inhibition.
“That’s… quite odd,” the young girl pouted in dissatisfaction.
“I couldn’t even feel my finger when it was missing… could it have something to do with the diagram?”
The young girl attempted with another finger, then her right palm.
Sure enough, regardless of whatever object she placed against the invisible diagram hovering in the air, it would vanish from the area.
She couldn’t see or hear movements generated by the object after it had become invisible, and the body parts she extended couldn’t relay any sensation of feedback.
Her senses were so finely blocked by the subtle implications of the phenomenon that An Fei didn’t even realize that she couldn’t feel anything from the vanished limb until she moved another.
At the end, An Fei sank back onto the sky-blue crystal, her mind running constant blanks in her frustration.
The young girl utilized a thicker book as an effective pillow, her eyes gazing upon the crystalline ceiling as she attempted to sort out her thoughts.
The diagram manifested upon the phenomenon induced by combining spiritual essence of similar sources had to possess some relation to the <Shadow Dance> tome’s principles.
Regardless of how she viewed it, An Fei deeply believed that the mystery of her limbs and nearby objects becoming invisible upon contacting the stabilized chart was connected with the latter half of the <Steps of Underly Shadow>.
“Everyone, be it inanimate or animate existence, possesses a unique fluctuation that emanates from their soul.”
The young girl whispered in the silent Sanctum, her body gently bathed in the sea of golden light arising from the floor.
An Fei closed her eyes, her mind plummeting into the depths of the sea of perception as she sifted through her memory for a second iteration.
“The fluctuation of the soul grants influence over others, through direct interaction. This constant influence coalesces into a static field that revolves around the soul, permitting individual existences to recognize, interact, and assimilate other creatures of existence.”
The functional roots of the fluctuations belonging to a soul are transferred onto the field of influence of an individual creature, to maximize and solidify a domain of temporal influence to exert authority over other individual creatures.
The static field, upon collision or infiltration of another similarly attuned field, possesses the potential to generate multiple phenomena.
“First, the field of influence that possesses a greater momentum can effectively isolate and assimilate the opposing soul without resistance if their fluctuation is disrupted. Thus, consumption and eradication are permissible to creatures of existence.”
Second, the field of influence of both souls disintegrate upon impact, eradicating all hopes for both souls in interacting with the surrounding environment.
In such a circumstance, it would be impossible for such a soul to recover its unique fluctuation, for the foundational root has been damaged.
“And thirdly, no phenomenon,” the young girl’s lips moved without a sound.
“The two souls bypass the other, forming a situation of no encounter. Neither field of influence is harmed, and the foundational roots of the soul is perfectly intact – but does not receive any additional benefit from the encounter.”
To touch an object, or consume, or destroy; these actions required the constant interference between the two fields of influence to permit such interaction.
Otherwise, even if the object stood before the soul in all possible display, the soul would be unable to interact with it.
The consciousness would never recognize, and the physical manifestation of the soul could never interact.
“The <Shadow Dance> is to eliminate one’s field of influence without harming the foundational roots, to permit the practitioner to wade through all mazes and waves of interference. Without detection, one can never interfere – unless the other entity is a static creature.”
The <Steps of Underlying Shadow>, the first martial arts technique of the <Shadow Dance>, permitted the practitioner to utilize the advantages of lacking a field of influence to their maximum.
The practitioner would evade all physical assaults without fail, and escape detection even if not bothering to conceal.
“To remove the shadow of a person would cause them to become unrecognizable from others,” An Fei intoned as her mind searched through her memories of the cryptic and blurred text.
“Souls recognize others not only through interaction of their fields of influence, but the physical manifestation, fluctuations of the soul, and the presence of a shadow. Eliminate the shadow and the field of influence, and the soul becomes unable to recognize the object as existing.”
In essence, every living object was blind to their surroundings.
The world was closed and finite before the soul, the boundaries and parameters strictly restricted by the soul’s perspectives.
Accepted notions would become variables, and those that were rejected were simply not recognized and barred from existing in the finite world.
Contact with another object or person was relayed by streams of information regarding taste, tactile feedback, smell, temperature, and their movements and behaviors.
If it were recognized as that of a human, then the object or person became a cohabitant of the world – otherwise, the object or person was not recognized.
The phenomenon was similar to that of the peculiarity of being unable to recognize an object despite standing directly before it.
And to extrapolate one step further and merge into another’s field of influence…
“…I only need to replicate the fluctuations from their shadow.”
An Fei’s eyes abruptly opened with a frightening glare as she stared at the warmly fluctuating golden lights of the Sanctum, the warm sensation seeping through her pores.
The young girl took a deep breath, the pair of scarlet irises flickering with a gentle and curious light.
“The latter portion of the <Steps of Underlying Shadow>, I wonder…”
The young girl’s will trembled, and the sea of spiritual essence within her chest cavity rose in action.
The process of dividing and measuring spiritual essence in microthreads commenced for a second time, and the grafted strands traversed through her body at swift speeds, breaching into the whirlpools of the Taizong and Bingfeng acupuncture points with ease.
Within a span of less then half a breath of time, the orange and cyan beads of lights awaited An Fei’s attention from within the whirlpools.
The young girl bit her lips as she gave the order to the altered strands of spiritual essence, her mind trembling with unease as she carefully traced the progress of the two strands as they traversed through the complex channel of meridians.
The strands of orange and cyan weaved through her Conception Meridian, and entered her Governing Meridian.
Only, the two strands of light did not traverse through the Governing Meridian towards the base of her palms, but instead streamlined towards her heart.
The orange and cyan strands swiftly assimilated into the sea of spiritual essence within her heart cavity, before beginning the merging and compression process.
The reservoir soon formed to contain the newly formed substance, but the surrounding sea of spiritual essence abruptly compressed the outer walls from all directions, forcing the interdimensional reservoir to shrink to the size of an atom in a tenth of a second.
The two mixtures of Yin and Yang were not permitted to gradually attune their frequencies and assimilate into a unified substance before the compression process was triggered.
An Fei never obtained a chance to react, and the reverberations within her chest were her only indicator that something was wrong.
“What’s going o – ah!?”
A surprised cry of shock resounded throughout the Sanctum, and the young girl entered into the threshold of mastering the <Steps of Underlying Shadow>.