“Fei’er…” a minister with a countenance haggard and deprived of sleep questioned a young girl over a table full of breakfast.
Pinching a few stir-fried bamboo strips between his chopsticks, Wei Xuan angled his head to the side to stare at the girl, before raising his eyebrows in confusion.
The young girl hadn’t even bothered to touch her food, the chopsticks neatly contained within the jade ornament. Instead, she was supporting her head with her arms against the cooled wooden surface of the table.
Flabbergasted by the sight before him, the minister extended a finger underneath An Fei’s nose.
When his finger acutely felt two faint streams of exhaled air, Wei Xuan sank back into the chair, his countenance stunned with disbelief.
This girl was… asleep?
She had just woken up to eat breakfast, and had returned to sleeping within a few minutes? No, not even an incense stick’s time had passed!
What was going on?
“This girl…” the minister darkly muttered upon realizing that the girl refused to show any signs of waking.
Pushing his seat closer to An Fei, Wei Xuan grasped a few dishes, bringing them within an arm’s reach.
“Hah… Chang Feng, you’re still going to stay there? It’s been a week already, go return before your mother’s heart explodes from worry.”
“No need. Chang Feng still has not completed Father’s task.”
A cold voice belonging to a youth responded to Wei Xuan’s resigned remark, causing the minister to deeply sigh. Shaking his head thrice and turning around, the silhouette of a youthful man was exposed to the minister’s gaze.
After a week of persistently kneeling in a single spot and exposed to the elements, Wei Chang Feng’s appearance was less than appealing to the eye.
However, the youth’s cold and indifferent demeanor had not reduced by an iota, and he continued to gaze towards the clear skies with a heavy gaze.
“Return. Return to the Slumbering Dawn Residence, and clean yourself up.”
The minister commanded with an unquestionable tone, an indomitable aura exploding forth. Hesitating for a brief moment, Wei Chang Feng directed a final glance towards the blue, cloudless sky, before bowing to Wei Xuan and departing from the pavilion with shaky but strong steps.
“Father, Chang Feng has scanned the skies numerous times,” the youth spoke from the entrance of the pavilion.
“There has been quite a few messenger birds over these past few days. It seems that Jiang’an may undergo a period of unrest in the near future.”
“So what?” Wei Xuan snorted, his arms reaching out to nestle the young girl into a solid embrace.
Patting the soft strands of hair, the minister directed a glance laden with a hundred streams at the youth standing at the fringes of the pavilion.
“Chang Feng, if it is simply a Taiyi Sect wandering about to rouse ire and conflict, there is no need for a youth like you to take charge of the matter. Your Father isn’t dead yet, nor has he exited his prime.”
“Understood.” The Eldest Young Master of Wei Manor dipped into a respectful bow.
“Then go!” Wei Xuan waved his hand, shooing the youth away.
“Unless you want to come over and feed your Fourth Little Sister, but I don’t see you ever doing that with your averse personality, ah.”
Conforming to his expectation, Wei Chang Feng bowed again before departing from the pavilion. One he confirmed that the youth’s back had left the Flowing Wind Residence, the minister gently jostled the young girl in his arms, reaching for the spoon with his free hand.
“If you’re going to sleep all day, at least eat your meals, ah…” Wei Xuan complained towards the girl with a doting tone in his voice.
“Well, you Father now gets to eat more bamboo shoots, so he won’t complain!”
If Wei Xuan realized that his constantly sleeping daughter was consuming a minimum of five hearty meals a day, it would be a marvelous sight to observe his countenance experience a myriad of transformations.
Or at the least, he would have fiercely pinched the young girl’s thin cheeks as he scolded her.
A glutton in the heart births a glutton of the body.
An Fei yawned as she placed down her chopsticks, glancing wistfully at the remains of a warzone decorating the plate before her.
Blinking her eyes, the girl grasped the wok and various cooking utensils, heading towards the stream to wash them.
The medicinal herbs and plantlife in the medicine garden appeared to be infinite, fully maturing the next day she appeared. Unfortunately, the pots and dishes still required her to manually clean them, which served as an effective barrier to her otherwise growing complacency.
As she rhythmically scrubbed at the black iron wok underneath the cool and powerful water current, the girl couldn’t help but lapse into thought.
Occasionally, An Fei stared not at the wok being cleaned underneath the rapidly flowing stream, but the distorted reflection gazing back at her.
Last night had brought forward a rather drastic change. She had anticipated and was fully aware of the nightly occurrence of the golden light cleansing her body, but the transformation was remarkably noticeable.
Her body felt inexplicably lighter. Additionally, a little stream of warmth continually pooled at her chest.
Each step she took, the girl felt as if a large burden had been removed to free her shoulders, and a breath brought forth a cool, pleasant sensation in her chest.
Similarly, her dexterity and physical agility of her limbs and body had increased by several folds, which had welcomed several hours of readjusting her pace to avoid falling onto the ground.
Rubbing at the fading bruises decorating her entire body, An Fei couldn’t suppress her thoughts from doubting the phenomena experienced by her at the moment. The increase in physical ability and constitution… was it all real?
When the golden light had encapsulated her blood vessels and arteries, the resultant was not as noticeable or obvious to the eye. Walking around or lifting dense objects, the girl only noticed an occasional, momentary increase in strength or lightening of her body by a margin.
Now, her body felt significantly lighter, and each breath introduced fresh air into her system, perplexing the girl beyond all bounds. As she attempted to rationalize her circumstances, the girl’s thoughts inadvertently returned to the concept of Body Tempering.
Five pillars that constituted Blood, Marrow, Meridian, Flesh, and inner organs.
Could it be declared that last night had propelled her through the pillar of blood, and into Meridian?
An Fei could neither inspect the inner workings of her physique; nor could she conjure the complex and incomprehensively detailed diagram of her constitution that displayed every structure within her body; the girl could only guess without limited information.
…at every juncture in this abstruse concept called cultivation, she would return to the start.
Quite frustrating, but equally helpless. The <Eternal Sanctum> did not detail such information, nor did the <Shadow Dance> or other books on mortal cultivation provide information sufficiently detailed to assuage her questions.
Placing away the now cleaned wok and grabbing the <Eternal Sanctum> after drying her hands, the girl directed one last glance towards the vibrant medicine garden. Stepping forward and closing the door behind her, An Fei quickly departed from the first corridor of the Sanctum.
Her destination was naturally, the Archives of Time in the second corridor.
Unexpectedly, she was not intending to practice the <Steps of Underly Shadows> at this time.
Instead, the girl intended to attempt something possibly far more damaging than falling onto the crystalline floor several dozens of times.
Stepping onto the seventeenth platform of the Archives of Time, An Fei gazed at the center of the platform with an excited gleam. There, placed neatly on the center of a wooden drawing table that was originally placed in an obscure corner, was a stack of pristine, snow-white sheets of paper and an ink brush.
Today was not a day dedicated towards practicing how to dance, but conducting a duel against an austere target.
A little lotus by the name of <Golden Lotus of Establishment>.