With a sizeable amount of time left open to freely waste and a pleasant abode of silence awaiting her perusal, the young girl returned her mind into the sea of perception.
An Fei attempted to make herself as comfortable as she could, ignoring the awkward and mixed typhoon of sensations racing through her lower abdomen as much as possible.
From the visualization’s purview, her physique had not changed since her entry into the Foundation Establishment Realm of mortal cultivation.
Though the baptism of golden light continued to seep into her body each night she spent in the Sanctum, the spiritual essence merely accumulated, but didn’t transform its environment.
Perhaps it had yet to reach the maximum threshold required for it to urge her physique to adapt?
An Fei numbered the increasing questions in her heart as she continued to scour her body from top to bottom with a scathing gaze.
The young girl rubbed at the base of her chin with her eyes closed, her fingers anxiously splayed on the bedsheets.
She wasn’t currently privy to any martial arts techniques that could drastically enhance her hearing to be able to eavesdrop on Shen Ming Yue’s footsteps from a long distance away.
Granted, the Sanctum’s Archives of Time were bound to possess not just a few techniques that empowered the primal senses of a practitioner, but An Fei had never sifted through any such book.
“Then, a supposed breakthrough into the next realm of cultivation?”
The young girl mused, her mind drifting along the blackened abdominal region on the mental visualization.
An Fei’s consciousness roamed from one conjecture to another, finding that the plausible circumstance of an unintentional breakthrough was the most reliable.
…though all of her previous breakthroughs in the path of cultivation was unintentional and imposed by the Sanctum’s whims…
The mortal world with its unforgiving shackles had suppressed her abilities to remain the same after the night’s endeavors, prompting An Fei to question her conjecture of a supposed breakthrough for not just a single time.
With a moment of deliberation, the young girl elected to perform a small experiment.
Breathe deeply, the air filling the lungs to their maximum capacity and easing the strain on the heart.
Exhale, and concentrate on a specific entity – to search for their presence in the vast world.
For a breath of time, to breaths, and infringing upon the third, An Fei suddenly heard the gentle hustle and bustle of a large volume of people crammed into a small region of space not unlike that of packed sardines.
The young girl froze in shock, before her mind flickered with disbelief.
An Fei glanced towards the window towards her right, but discovered that it was closed.
The curtained windows prevented the sunlight from breaching into the room in all of its glory and splendor.
However, a constant stream of voices continued to stream into the young girl’s ears, confounding her from head to toe.
“A phoenix dress imported from the Banshou Province, and was designed by the exquisite Mister Fan!”
“Here, we have a simple and plain hanfu from Cloud Moon Silk, the treasure approved by Jiang’an. Look at the delicate strains of fabric and the embroidered designs!”
“Not only does our shop have clothing made of Cloud Moon Silk, we also possess a few crafted treasures of Floating Gold Silk – from the archaic spiritual beast, the Golden Silkworm…”
A clothing store?
The young girl’s eyebrows lifted in surprise; what was Shen Ming Yue doing in a clothing store this early in the morning?
As An Fei glanced upon her delicate body lightly covered underneath the blankets, she could her the youthful girl’s soft and elegant voice echo in her ear.
Surely, she wasn’t…
“My little sister didn’t seem to be in possession of a few exquisite dresses,” Shen Ming Yue’s voice was hesitant, as if she were in deep contemplation.
“Furthermore, she seems to have liked deeper and more subdued colors… though the phoenix dress is indeed beautiful and staggering, it doesn’t seem that it would fit…”
A short burst of laughter escaped An Fei’s throat, but was accompanied by a ruthless sneeze that wormed its way into her airways.
Patting her slightly sore nose, the young girl felt a strain of warmth race throughout her heart at the words that continued to drift into her ears.
This Shen Ming Yue, ah…
“However, since I can listen to Shen Ming Yue’s activities from such a far distance away, I most probably did succeed in the breakthrough, huh?”
An Fei swiftly returned to a solemn mood as she submerged herself into the mental visualization.
The hubbub of the streets of Dong Lin City as well as Shen Ming Yue bargaining and deliberating in the city’s most exquisite clothing store vanished from the young girl’s mind, leaving nothing but a slew of complicated diagrams and weaving paths.
“After Foundation Establishment was Spirit Building…”
The mortal cultivation’s Foundation Establishment Realm was divided into fifteen pillars, one allotted for each primary meridian thoroughly cleansed by spiritual essence to transform into a reservoir.
Though it didn’t transform the physical composition of the physique, each completed transformation of the meridians enabled the body to resonate with the atmospheric spiritual qi when conducting a movement.
Thus, with the subtle aid from the world, the practitioner could employ a greater degree of strength with each meridian cleansed and functioning as a reservoir.
As a byproduct, the number of reservoirs drastically increased the quantity of spiritual essence available to the practitioner’s disposal…
The last time An Fei had investigated the state of her meridians, only eight had been transformed; the visualization depicted her Eight Extraordinary Meridians with a unique color.
Other than that, the rest of her meridians had not undergone any change, even with her sleeping in the Sanctum for several months in a row.
When had she completed the remaining seven?
“The Twelve Primary Meridians…”
The young girl’s lips parted to gasp in surprise, her mind narrowing onto the peculiarity.
Of the twelve primary meridians, seven radiated with a golden light that was far superior to that of their peers. With careful inspection, An Fei quickly grasped onto the subtle hint regarding the question of her ‘attainment’ in cultivation.
The Eight Extraordinary Meridians received their own individual color, and seven of the Twelve Primary Meridians had their intensity exemplified by at least four folds.
The remaining five meridians had received a subsequent enhancement to their quality, but the radiance depicted on the visualization was not as pronounced.
It was as though the Eight Extraordinary Meridians were the primary reservoirs, whilst the Twelve Primary Meridians were the subsidiary reserves that were deployed only when the former were completely depleted.
The twenty meridians excluded from the multitude within her body had transformed into a self-regulating system that managed the circulation of spiritual essence.
As she continued to inspect her body for additional subtilties that represented a transformation, An Fei couldn’t help but muse that her body might accustom itself to that of a machine the further she progressed in the path of mortal cultivation.
Battery, wired circuits, and now capacitors – what was to be next?
“Still, to have been promoted in my cultivation but be suppressed to display the same degree of strength, how humiliating and frustrating, ah.”
Other than the still vague ability in which the confusing phenomenon regarding Shen Ming Yue and the clothing store manifested, An Fei’s capabilities remained no different than when she was still within the Foundation Establishment Realm.
Her physique remained the same, and the compressed sphere of spiritual essence at her heart was suppressed as ever.
No, because of the surprise attack of her menstrual cycle, her capabilities may have crippled themselves by a significant margin.
“Looks like I have to take a trip into the Archives again…”
An Fei tapped herself on the forehead, her thin arms dragging over the unconscious small fox and stroking its soft fur.
The young girl’s head swayed from side to side as she gradually became drowsy, her eyes rapidly blinking and sinking into dar-
Shen Ming Yue’s excited voice clapped into An Fei’s ears, thoroughly startling her awake.
The young girl prepared herself to deliver a sarcastic remark to her overly energetic roommate when her eyes caught onto the large fabric bag hung over the youthful girl’s shoulder, causing her to freeze in place.
That large bulge, and the discussion she had eavesdropped regarding a clothing store…
“Little Sister, wake up, ah!”
Shen Ming Yue quietly snuck and roared into the young girl’s ears, causing An Fei to hurl the blanket over her head and cower behind it.
At such an adorable reaction, the youthful girl smirked as she placed the cloth bag onto the ground, before crouching with her lips a few centimeters away from An Fei’s gently trembling body.
“Little Sister, if you don’t wake up, Elder Sister will scream and cause everyone to march down here – perhaps, they might just discover Little Sister’s interesting-“
A delicate hand shot from beneath the blanket to clamp onto Shen Ming Yue’s mouth, preventing her from speaking any further.
The young girl climbed from the bed, her heart howling in grief as she stared at the cloth bag with aggrieved eyes.
How was this a benevolent, just, and caring girl!?
This was a devil in a lamb’s skin, alright!?