The <Golden Lotus of Establishment>.
A completed set of mortal cultivation and martial arts techniques that Wei Xuan praised to guarantee the practitioner to enter the realm of the Nascent Soul without trouble, a technique worthy of exuberant reverence in the Shattered Star Continent.
Simultaneously, it was the technique An Fei had blurted out to Xiao Ying when questioned regarding which cultivation technique she was practicing.
It had heralded the list of the techniques in her possession after dividing the spoils of the ‘plunder’ at the Pagoda of Sun and Moon, thus she had uttered it in a moment of thoughtlessness.
Thus, she was placed in a dilemma that required immediate correction. From Wei Xuan’s current actions, the minister appeared clueless regarding which cultivation technique An Fei had chosen or even whether she had begun cultivation after the disastrous incident a few weeks prior.
Since that day, Wei Xuan had skirted the topic of cultivation at all costs, as if to distract himself from the horror he had witnessed then.
Fortunately or unfortunate for An Fei, she had some time before Xiao Ying revealed to the minister that the Fourth Young Miss could unexpectedly cultivate, and had already completed the first pillar of Body Tempering.
All she had to do in the limited time was to mimic the ‘s fundamental principles via the ridiculous and seemingly impossible but tempting theory of hers.
Otherwise, as An Fei progressed in cultivation, the astute minister would instantly notice the discrepancies between the cultivation technique and the bane of mortal existence, the .
And that… would foretell a horrible ending for the young girl currently stressing over the drawing table, a dry brush pursed between her lips, shuffling through numerous pages of a large book bound in goldleaf.
Having learned her lesson, An Fei dared not to dip the brush in ink before holding it in her mouth, or at least dry it with a towel to avoid splatters of ink tainting her clothing.
This lesson proved effective especially so, for the only ink she had discovered in the Archives of Time was a dark indigo. When the paper was placed on the drawing table, there was little noticeable difference, but was strikingly apparent when she raised it up to inspect her writing.
“A combination of spiritual essence gathered from a Yin acupuncture point and a Yang acupuncture point,” An Fei murmured, smoothing the sheet of snow-white paper before her.
“Form a homogenous mixture between the two, but it is to be fused only when passing through the Governing Vessel of the body. Thus, when it is expelled to… manifest in the world, it is of greater potency than a ordinary practitioner’s spiritual essence…”
The was naturally secured in Xiao Ying’s possession. An Fei was limited in knowledge regarding the portion of the manual she had managed to read, detailing the fundamental principles of practicing the technique.
“Then, when forming the actual , the practitioner… deposits the mixed spiritual essence in the dantian – no, the technique mentioned the Belt Meridian, the dantian was absent from all descriptions – allowing the mixed existence to congeal into inscriptions of spiritual essence… inscriptions of spiritual essence…”
The brush swept across the paper, marring the pristine, snow-white sheets with monotone lines and sweeps of ink. The ink commanded a trail of discordant, unfettered information, incomprehensible to all but its creator.
An Fei placed down the brush, her eyes carefully examining the sheet of notes resting on the drawing table. Reading the strings of characters several times, the girl finally placed the sheet of paper down, releasing a heavy sigh.
“Why did I make such a gaffe, this is too hard…”
Raising her right hand and curling her fingers into a fist, the girl knocked her own forehead in frustration.
The mere thought of having to explain to Wei Xuan, especially regarding a rather secretive and evasive topic as her ability to cultivate, brought An Fei innumerable headaches.
Furthermore, she might only have a few days left before he found out, ah!
“The fundamental concept isn’t that difficult to comprehend, but…”
The principle of the was contrary to expectation, straightforward and not difficult to understand.
The fundamental source of the technique’s ability was the pairing of spiritual essence gathered from sources of polar attributes by a certain degree, then expelling it out of the body to manifest as a fused existence.
Simple and complicated to the nth degree without much effort.
The driving processes of the technique was exceedingly simple, but the countless uncertainties compounded upon one another caused the young girl’s task to become ever-increasingly difficult.
For example, was the ‘s principles even compatible with spiritual essence obtained from the Sanctum? Otherwise, would she die a gruesome death upon her first attempt of emulating the mortal technique?
How were cultivation techniques even created in the first place anyways?
“ARGH!” the girl shouted in irritation, the ink brush sweeping across several strings of characters, condemning them to extinction.
“Cross that out, that doesn’t appear to be logical. This doesn’t work either… that doesn’t even make sense… why is this so difficult, ah?”
An Fei groaned, deeply wishing to dig a deep hole and bury herself at the bottom of the crevice. Recalling the words she had instantly cast in response to the maidservant’s inquiry, the young girl felt as if she was nothing more than an imbecile in disguise.
“I’m so stupid, I’m so stupid… why, why, why did I say those words to Xiao Ying? Anything but that, and I… argh!”
She didn’t even know whether she possessed spiritual essence to verify her theories! Moreover, though she had observed Wei Xuan and Wei Chang Feng spar with their auras and a modicum amount of spiritual essence, she didn’t possess an iota of the required knowledge or intuition to inspect her body to begin searching!
An Fei felt as if she was a scholar tasked with discovering a mythical object known as gold. She knew it was an object similar to a stone, but had little to almost no information regarding concrete details about its appearance, location, or even if it existed in the first place.
Not to mention that an irascible emperor dangled a deadly sword over her head. If she didn’t find this ‘gold’ soon, then her life was in jeopardy, consigned to death in all possibilities.
“There’s too many uncertain variables that prevent me from even validating this theory…” An Fei groaned to herself, twirling the brush around, clasped between her fingers.
“The fundamental principles appear sound and relatively concrete compared to the original… but I would need to first determine whether the technique is comparable with spiritual essence from the Sanctum…”
“First off, why is there a large discrepancy between the cultivation and martial arts between that of the mortal world and the Sanctum?” the girl mused, the pair of dull, scarlet irises glazed as they glared at the sheets of paper.
“The techniques in the Sanctum describe the information in detail, especially the principles behind the technique, whereas those like the <Golden Lotus of Establishment> only describe the process…”
The girl placed the brush onto the drawing table, her mind fatigued and unable to create any new conjectures or theories that made relative logical sense. Releasing a massive yawn, An Fei sat at the edge of the bed, restraining herself from leaning onto the comfortable blankets to sleep.
“I should return… shouldn’t make Father any more suspicious, or he might act like that man…” the girl patted her chest, easing the tensed muscles of her body.
“I think any combination of falsehood and truth worked to exit? Hm… [Reveal falsehood and disparage] – Mmph!?”
An Fei suddenly clenched her chest in surprise, her fingers resting directly above her heart. There, she could feel an abnormal warmth gently caress her heart.
The thread of warmth had simply pooled near her chest since she awoke this morning, but had remained still. For it to encircle and dance around her heart with motions akin to a fish swimming in a pond, what did it entail?
What was this warmth? The Sanctum didn’t react aversely… so this thread of heat traveling within her chest cavity… isn’t harmful, right?
An Fei nervously nibbled at her bottom lip, as she massaged her chest.
Unfortunately, all curiosity or worry regarding the mysterious thread of warmth swimming around her heart quickly washed away as a thought splashed cold water over her head.
“I’ve been in the Sanctum for too long, I can’t make Father suspicious! [Reveal falsehood, disparage truth]!”
As the girl’s figure became indistinct within the Sanctum of Eternal Peace, a young girl within the study of the Flowing Wind Residence lazily fluttered her eyelids, arising from a linen bed.
Good, Father wasn’t around to question her…