Chapter 51: A Touch With Arrogance, A Step Into Cultivation (1)

“Not this one! Fourth Young Miss, the platform after the next,” Xiao Ying’s cautionary voice rang in the girl’s ears as the maidservant climbed underneath the girl.

“This one is the eighth platform, which means that this is merely the first layer of three of the archives. To start searching for what the Fourth Young Miss is looking for, we would have to reach the tenth platform at the least.”

“Hah… is there… really a need for all of this?” the girl panted as she reached for the next rung.

“Can’t I just take-“

“Absolutely not!”

Xiao Wen’s voice was muffled as it rang from slightly below Xiao Ying, but sufficient enough to properly convey the stern intent concealed underneath.

“If the Fourth Young Miss selects any random set of techniques, that will be akin to crippling one’s life before even being born.”

An Fei inwardly groaned as she listened to the maidservant continue to grumble about the strict selection regarding cultivation and martial arts techniques.

Though she tried to blot out Xiao Wen’s droning voice as she continued to climb, it persistently drilled at her mind, forcing her to accept the contents with reluctance.

If one was of an unsuitable attribute, it could cause scarring or unwanted, permanent change to the body.

If it was lacking in the defined stages, one’s cultivation could only cut short and await a violent death.

If one selected a technique whose initial tempering or establishment of foundations were lacking or far too difficult, it could result in a gruesome, painful death.

If, if, if.

…she still didn’t even know enough information regarding cultivation at its fundamentals, alright!?

Moreover, she had even less information regarding the prerequisites to even selecting a so-called suitable technique!

Everyone, from Father Wei Xuan, Second Brother Wei Chang Luo, and even her maidservants Xiao Ying and Xiao Wen; all continued to speak in that aggravating, ambiguous tone that once she entered, she would understand immediately!

Well she had entered this glorified Pagoda of Sun and Moon, the treasured library of this Great Yong, and she still didn’t understand, ah!

Fuming in her heart, the girl still found the emotional strength and patience within herself to assess and compare the library in the Pagoda of Sun and Moon to the one in the crystal palace.

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…if she were to start, she could only say that though visually grandiose, the library contained within the Pagoda of Sun and Moon was lackadaisical compared to the archives in the palace of sky-blue crystal.

Not only was the sheer volume of books different, she had yet to be swarmed by the vibrant, multicolored light that she had discovered within the mysterious region.

The books, as vast as the seas as they were, were considerably silent compared to the storm of lights that welcomed her in the library contained within the palace. Though a similar glow existed in a select few, they were akin to flickering sparks compared to the consistent glow she had witnessed.

…at least the saving grace of the library here was that she didn’t feel out of breath.

Though she still felt the fatigue begin to encroach onto her mind, An Fei was nowhere near as exhausted or drained as her previous attempt to blindly climb a ladder.

She had Xiao Ying to thank for that.

Throughout the inexplicable and bizarre combination of physical torture in the form of exercise compounded with a blissful massage to tantalize the mind, the maidservant had forcibly increased An Fei’s constitution by several folds.

Though slightly subpar to her previous body’s performance, the girl was still blithely satisfied with her newly acquired physique.

Although how much of the torture was exercise and not a certain maidservant’s attempts of molesting her Young Miss, that was a story for the future.

“Xiao Ying… are you sure… that it is this… one?”

Words spewed out of her mouth through clenched teeth as An Fei finally stopped methodically climbing the egregiously long ladder, her head turned towards her right.

There, a granite platform protruded from the wall, revealing a wooden door dimly lit by a pair of merrily blazing torches.

On the side of the oaken door was the number ‘ten’, painted in bold and careless strokes. Glad to be freed from the arduous task of ladder climbing, the girl slung her leg onto the platform, massaging her sore neck as she stared daggers at the door.

“That…seems to be the right platform…” Xiao Ying affirmed as she assisted Xiao Wen onto the platform.

Taking a step forward with her right foot, the maidservant carefully but surely pushed the wooden door inward, revealing a similar sea of books as that of the ground floor.

If she hadn’t seen the number ‘ten’ on the door beforehand nor have any knowledge of climbing upwards, An Fei could easily have mistaken the tenth platform as the ground floor.

The structure, spacing of the tables, and the appearance of the bookshelves, every aspect of the two platforms were nearly identical.

…in her defense, they appeared to be practically the same in appearance.

When expanded to the size of a football field and asked to differentiate between the placement of objects no larger than an adult’s palm, the conclusion would almost always result in the two locations being identical.

Slowly striding to the nearest row of bookshelves, An Fei nonchalantly pulled a book out of the shelf, inspecting it with a mixture of scrutiny and boredom. Her fingers stroked the blued leather cover of the book, her gaze naturally falling onto the title embroidered with emboldened, golden strands of silk.

“<Cloudmist Steps>…” the girl read, her countenance displaying a splendid, dumbfounded expression.

Unable to process her thoughts for a brief moment, An Fei stood in silence as the maidservants argued amongst themselves regarding a seemingly inconsequential topic of discussion, before bursting into action.

“…Fourth Young Miss!?”

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Her arms darting all over the place, An Fei quickly amassed a stack of books at the edge of a nearby table, collecting a total of two dozen books. She had picked them in random order, simply selecting by an unknown whim.

Reaching for the rows on the sides, above and below, even rising onto the tips of her toes and squatting down to grab at a book that she found visually interesting.

Splaying the meagre collection of books on the table, the girl began to trace her fingers over the neatly ordered covers of the books, her mouth moving as she silently mouthed the titles of each.

“<Slaying Dragon Fist>.”

“<Azure Dragon Qi>.”

“<Hazed Mist Steps>.”

“<Ghostly Trail>.”

“<Divine Conquering, Crown Hammer>.”

“<Royal Execution>.”

“<Jin Huang Jing Shi Zhi>… what the heck?”

Though neither Xiao Ying nor Xiao Wen could guess at An Fei’s expression due to the veil obscuring even the most miniscule of detail regarding her facial appearance, the maidservants acutely sensed the Fourth Young Miss’ mood plummet to rock bottom.

Out of sheer impulse, Xiao Ying walked towards An Fei’s side to determine what had gone wrong – only to have her expression similarly become downtrodden and disgusted upon reading the title on the book with the lavish, goldleaf cover.

“Sister Ying, something wrong?”

Xiao Wen asked in a tentative manner as she gazed at the maidservant and Young Miss exacerbating their gloomy atmosphere without exchanging a single word.

However, without giving anyone the chance to say a single word, Xiao Ying snatched the golden book, before slotting it back into the bookshelf with an audible slam.

“The writer needed to work on naming a technique,” the maidservant scathed before opening one of the books in the collection An Fei had scattered across the table.

“<Cloudmist Steps>, not a bad technique. It’s a pity that-“

“…you actually agree with it?” The young girl suddenly recovered, abruptly interrupting Xiao Ying’s words in a loud voice.

“The name doesn’t appear strange whatsoever?”

The instant she blurted out, An Fei regretted deeply.

For not only did Xiao Ying and Xiao Wen direct a weird stare in her direction, even the two young scholars dressed in a three-patterned lotus nearby who had inadvertently eavesdropped on her scantily concealed outburst, stared at her with a strange expression.

“The naming of this technique is adequately ordinary, there isn’t anything strange.”

Four voices simultaneously rang as one after a brief moment of repose, though two seemed more intoxicated than conscious…

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