Chapter 78: A Little Dance, Entering the World of Cultivation (2)

Gathering her grimly protesting body and hauling herself to the bed at the center of the platform, An Fei continued to recite the first section of the book bound with blued leather.

Repeating the phrases in her mind and verbalizing into the tranquil Archive of Time, the girl sentimentally reflected as she sat on the edge of the bed, nursing her bruised body.

Though the majority of the contents of what she had read regarding the <Shadow Dance> technique, An Fei was still intrigued and astounded by what she had managed to glean from the passages.

Though uncertain when such a trait had developed within herself, the girl remained hopeful and expectant of the completed results.

The Sanctum of Eternity had never failed in producing a successful result, even if the completed product did not align with her expectations.

She didn’t even know how martial arts techniques within the Archive or Time functioned, and her experience with cultivation was pure theory obtained from the <Eternal Sanctum>.

However, she possessed great anticipation and regret towards the practicality of the <Steps of Underlying Shadows>, the first technique of the <Shadow Dance> martial arts.

The statements within the <Shadow Dance> promised absolute stealth, and more importantly, a guarantee of evasion.

If the technique functioned in the manner as the manual proposed, then An Fei wished that she had obtained the blued leather book in her past life.

Exploiting the technique’s abilities would have allowed her the ability to avoid many of the confrontations that had resulted in unnecessary conflict and injury.

Thus, she wouldn’t have suffered such a mishap on the streets of Taipei.

Patting her clothes several times to determine whether she required a bath, An Fei began to massage her right calf. Her fingers gently poked at the exhausted and quivering muscles along the limb, gradually relaxing them one by one.

The throbbing sensation within her calf gradually began to decrease to be replaced by an imperceptible numbness that scratched at her insides, bringing a relieved smile on her countenance.

Before the girl could examine the rest of her bruises, her expression of relief morphed into horror.

“No, why now!?” An Fei bemoaned, clutching at the sphere of warmth churning within her insides, her countenance white as a sheet.

“It’s not nighttime yet! Why is it happening now?”

With a startled cry, the delicate figure crumpled onto the soft bedsheets, the strength departing from her body in an instant. Soon after, the sphere of warmth dissolved into a fierce flood of heat that inundated the girl’s body, reigniting the torturous but comfortable process once again.

“Erngh!”

An Fei profusely sweated as her body convulsed on the bed, her mind rolling from the unforgettable, odd mixture of comfort and heat rampaging within her body.

As she shut her eyes in panic, the diagram of the insides of her body appeared before her consciousness in the same omniscient clarity; however, the golden light shrouding the system of her veins had begun to fluctuate, increasing in intensity by the moment.

The major arteries were already suffused in the golden radiance; only the minor capillaries and vessels near her eyes, fingers, and toes had yet to be affected.

As the girl observed the ever-changing, complex diagram of her own body flash before her consciousness, the warmth plaguing her body surged towards her feet.

“No, no, no!”

The heat accumulated in her toes, producing a searing warmth that raced through the girl’s nerves, causing her to cry out in shock. The oppressive yet pleasurable sensation had dissolved into baseless nihility, forcing the girl to bear the entire burden of the excruciating pain.

Groans of pain and discomfort echoed within the platform as An Fei writhed on the bed, her body flopping around as she tried to vent out the searing heat ravaging her toes. The golden light encapsulating her blood vessels inched forth at a snail’s pace, further exacerbating her torment.

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The girl deeply wished for the odd sensation to return instead of bearing the pain, yet could only be disappointed. At the same instant, the veins within her fingers and eyes similarly began to receive a similar torment.

Hot!

Unbearably hot!

Searing needles of pain stabbed deeply into her nerves and flesh, causing harrowing screams to resound throughout the crystalline Archive of Time. An Fei tightly shut her eyes in an attempt to dilute a portion of the painful sensation, and could only helplessly curl her body as tightly as possible.

Each movement of the golden light displayed on the mental diagram triggered forth an amplified wave of heat and pain.

Her body trembling fiercely from the torment, An Fei felt as if her fingers and toes were being burnt off at an excruciatingly slow pace, and her eyes were subject to a merciless torture.

Soon, the girl discovered to her dismay that her eyelids refused to move, black pinpricks appearing in her perception as the waves of pain slowly began to warp the diagram presented before her consciousness.

Within mere moments, the complex diagram detailing her physique had blurred to the extent that An Fei couldn’t even estimate the progress of the golden light.

…amidst the fierce and unstoppable pain ravaging her flesh, a thought suddenly sprung within her mind, instantly capturing her attention.

Five pillars of the Body Tempering Realm. Tempering the blood, skin, muscle, meridians, and organs of a cultivator to enhance their functions and durability.

The golden light was similar to the radiance that she observed from the vast collection of spiritual plants, medicinal herbs, artefacts, and manuals within the Sanctum of Eternity.

If, by relying on the scraps of information obtained from the Three Lotus Sect’s scholars and Wei Xuan’s explanations, the radiance signified spiritual essence…then wasn’t she undergoing the so-called cultivation at this moment?

An Fei’s consciousness flared in alarm at the idea, and the girl’s perception quickly isolated the searing heat scorching her blood vessels from within.

For some reason, the girl felt the urge to quietly observe the surging heat progress throughout her body, memorizing as many details as possible.

Hence, she quelled her chaotic thoughts, forcing her consciousness to enter a mental plateau as the throbs of pain and heat soon occupied the entirety of her attention. However, An Fei’s mind shook with surprise after a few moments of quiet, persistent observation.

The heat surging through her fingers, toes, and eyes were not stochastic; instead, the cluster of heat inched forward through the vein for a short length, before looping backwards to increment forward by an infinitesimal distance.

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Each time the cluster moved back, it would trace an indistinct and unknown pattern on the interior walls of the capillaries and arteries, causing the concentrated bursts of pain that ravaged her body.

Forming the revelation, An Fei ceased to grumble within her thoughts and continued to silently persist during the remainder of the experience, her senses constantly observing each action taken by the cluster of golden light. However, one subtle thought did arise within her consciousness, the future implications contained within shaking the girl’s self-esteem and confidence.

…was cultivation supposed to be this painful? Granted, she had suffered far worse until this instant, but if this was merely the beginning of an accumulating hill, then…

Night fell in Jiang’an.

The military patrol forced the majority of the wandering citizens to return to their residences due to the snowy weather, sternly reminding the doused youths of the lack of responsibility attributed to the Imperial Court if anyone was to become injured after hearing the warning.

Though not completely emptying, the streets of wealth and commerce slowly lulled into a tranquil slumber to awake a few hours later.

The servants within the Flowing Wind Residence completed their final chores for the night as they gradually began to return to the servants’ courtyards, stretching and releasing large yawns of exhaustion.

As they departed from the residence now clear from snow and restored to life, each servant directed a deep glance towards the study at the center of the courtyard.

Since Imperial Physician Feng had visited several days ago, Wei Xuan had not stepped out of the study. Daily necessities would be brought in by the servants and he would occasionally venture to the adjacent houses within the courtyard to settle his needs, but the minister did not stray too far from the study of the Flowing Wind Residence.

Furthermore, his countenance was always fatigued and wan.

When the servants had called for his attention, the person in question had merely fluttered his hand in acquiescence, his mind obviously latched in preoccupation. Not even Xiao Ying and Xiao Wen, who constantly attended to An Fei, could get the minister to provide a response longer than four words.

A faint sigh escaped Wei Xuan’s lips as he stared at the sleeping figure laid on the bed, his heart beating with heavy regret. Reaching out with his right hand to correct a stray cluster of hair that had gotten loose, the minister gently patted the young girl’s head in sore guilt.

“Fei’er…” he breathed, careful not to wake the sleeping forms of Xiao Ying and Xiao Wen slumped nearby.

Glancing at the ceiling barring what must contain a perfect backdrop of stars, the minister exhaled a second time, before leaning backwards into the half-moon chair.

Before his haggard eyes could close, a faint fluctuation of spiritual essence startled him awake, and the minister breathed harshly in shock and astonishment.

“First Pillar of Body Tempering?”

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