As the sun gradually upheld its daily burden of descending over the horizon, the study of the Flowing Wind Residence was peacefully quiet.
The swaying of the grass and plants accompanied the dull silence underneath the gentle breeze, a tranquil lull emanating from the wooden structure.
The respective courtyards of the Madams, Young Masters, and Young Misses were similarly subdued in their aura. Not a single servant could be spotted within the entirety of the Wei manor, and the doors were sealed shut.
The Sanctum, with its vast walls of sky-blue crystal, was silent as usual. The throne room, the numerous corridors leading to unknown destinations, all were still and untouched by the passage of time.
Well, not quite.
The Archives of Time was mired within an unceasing peal of giggles and laughter, its sole inhabitant radiating unceasing plumes of joy and delight.
The seventeenth platform of the Archives, though designed to peruse the bounds of cultivation and martial arts, had never experienced such rowdiness and unrestrained behavior.
“Hehe, stop, don’t move!”
A young girl screamed at the top of her lungs, before erupting into peals of laughter.
Near the center of the crystalline platform stood a massive, comfortable bed, and the young girl rolled around on the sheets, clutching her stomach with both hands.
An Fei… had not become insane after exerting her consciousness to project a detailed visualization of her own physical body.
Rather, she was carefully inspecting that mental image, as well as… toying with the tiny strand of spiritual essence dancing within her chest.
“Just a simple thought, and it moves however I wish!” the girl exclaimed, tracing in the air with her index finger.
“This is too amazing – no, not there – is this why so many people are addicted to stepping on the path of cultivation? Not to mention that this is just the beginning, perhaps the later benefits will make this seem like a mere trifle!”
An Fei curled up with the cotton pillowcase clutched to her bosom, her mind whirling with unprecedented activity. As she quietly exclaimed her findings to herself, the young girl continued to reflect about the various concepts that she had unwittingly obtained from the Archives.
Only now, could she faintly understand with confidence regarding Wei Xuan and the others’ excitement and incessant motivation for cultivation.
If this benefit wasn’t extraordinarily enough to cajole a person into partaking in the unwalkable road, then what could?
To be frank, the spiritual essence confined with An Fei’s body was hardly enough to be considered noteworthy at the slightest. The spiritual essence swimming around her heart was a mere centimeter in length and approximately a hair’s width – a quantity that would receive Wei Xuan’s wholehearted and utter disdain.
Nonetheless, the meagre amount was enough to reveal a new world before the girl.
The tiny thread of spiritual essence emitted a rhythmic pulse of warmth that tickled her heart, and was fully cognizant and obedient to her orders.
Furthermore, just by a single thought, An Fei could not only command the thread to displace itself to another region to her body, she could compress or expand its length, or even cause the warmth to invert and radiate a faint chill.
Though there were enough benefits, the deficits were certainly present.
The tiny thread could only expand to a maximum of five times its length, of which the width of the thread was too thin that the mere thought of further expansion brought forth the unsettling worry that it would snap, and dissipate and never return.
“Even so, this is amazing enough,” a wide smile broke across the girl’s beautiful countenance.
“How much spiritual essence would I obtain at the Foundation Establishment Realm? And to think that within the perspective of the <Eternal Sanctum>, even the unimaginable peak, the so-called Divine Ascension Realm is nothing…”
An Fei released a heartfelt sigh, realizing that a rather long road stretched before her. Grandfather had explicitly reminded her to diligently cultivate the <Eternal Sanctum> upon her arrival – a process that wouldn’t even begin for quite the long time.
How many years would pass before she could even take a step on that journey?
“Enough. There’s better things to do!”
The young girl shouted, thrusting both of her arms into the air with a soulful cry. Disengaging the distracting thoughts from her mind, An Fei clambered out of the bed to sit down before the drawing table.
The drawing table sported a small stack of paper marred by a dark indigo ink, notes that An Fei had personally crafted regarding a particular subject. The top sheet displayed an intricate design of a lotus flower.
The flower consisted of eight layers of petals, each layers possessing eighteen distinct petals to form a grand total of a hundred and forty-four petals.
The <Golden Lotus of Establishment>, or An Fei’s derivation of the fundamental principles.
A young girl with lacking knowledge regarding the perils of the path of cultivation, and lacking any sort of sufficient foundation of cultivation in any regards. Restrained within the sheets of paper was a haphazard and wild theory that attempted to emulate a near-pinnacle cultivation and martial arts technique from the Shattered Star Continent with brute force.
“Then, the first step to take is to merge the spiritual essence from a Yin acupuncture point with that of a Yang acupuncture point…” the girl murmured, before coming to a halt. Her gaze flickered across the platform as An Fei tapped her cheeks with her fingers, an expression of concern displayed on her countenance.
“Do I… even have enough spiritual essence to even complete the first step?”
Her current reserves of spiritual essence amounted to a tiny thread of a centimeter-long length.
Perhaps it couldn’t even be granted the honor of ‘reserve’, for that thread was the entirety of the spiritual essence confined within the girl’s body.
“Regardless, I have to try!” An Fei muttered, a faint anxiousness arising within her chest.
“I have to accomplish this before Father becomes aware, to ward off future troubles!”
Closing her eyes and settling herself into a comfortable position against the wooden chair, the young girl dove her consciousness deep into her sea of perception.
The complex and ever-increasingly detailed diagram of her constitution arose within her mind at the slightest bidding, displaying the smallest iota of existence before her perception. Without any hesitation, the girl located the thread of spiritual essence slumbering next to her heart.
The pulse of the spiritual essence had inadvertently altered itself to compensate for the missing rebound of her heartbeat, allowing the girl to emit the presence of a healthy heart.
“Yin acupuncture point… Yang acupuncture point…”
An Fei repeated in her consciousness, her perception searching the vast sea of meridians and acupuncture points within her body for an arbitrary combination of acupuncture points.
Eventually, she settled for two alongside the Small Intestine Meridian, two acupuncture points that resided within the central concentration of the meridian.
“Bingfeng and Tianzong… those should do!”
Gritting her teeth, the girl sorrowfully parted with the tiny thread of spiritual essence that had kept her heart company for the past hour.
Receiving her command, the tiny thread split into two, equally proportioned amounts, before traveling throughout her body to reside within the two specified acupuncture points.
The Small Intestine Meridian was a generic Yang-based meridian, but several of the acupuncture points along its length possessed a Yin attribute. The Bingfeng acupuncture point was attributed towards Yin, whereas the Tianzong acupuncture point was of a dominant Yang.
As the halved threads of spiritual essence entered the two acupuncture points, the girl only had two thoughts resounding within her mind.
Death by the sword, Tianzong!
Death by the pen, Bingfeng!
A death at the sword was aggressive and violent, unyielding to no soul in existence. A death by the pen, however, was a slow and excruciating torture that knew when to push forward and recede its attacks, ensuring a thorough death with minimal loss.
Thus, she had attempted to manifest those thoughts when she had imparted the threads of spiritual essence to the two acupuncture points.
Ultimately, the thoughts and intention of the cultivator determined the final result of any process regarding the expense of spiritual essence, as per Wei Xuan’s careful introduction to arrays.
Nothing should portray an extreme of a sentiment than death… no?
Having absorbed an even smaller thread of spiritual essence each, both acupuncture points radiated a golden light that far outshone the rest, even the vast streams of light forming the pathways of the meridians and blood vessels within the diagram.
As time passed, however, the Tianzong acupuncture point gradually began to emanate an orange hue, and the Bingfeng point a pale azure.
The changes weren’t distinct, but An Fei could tolerate it, for it was only her first try.
Furthermore, she wasn’t even certain regarding her theory in the slightest, and was possibly risking all of her accumulated efforts in this attempt.
Both acupuncture points revealed a distinctly different radiance despite having received the same source of pure, unadulterated spiritual essence – thus confirming that An Fei could attempt to cultivate in the founding principles of the <Golden Lotus of Establishment>, albeit not the complete version.
“Now… to gently merge the two distinct auras into one within the Governing Vessel…” the girl softly murmured, her fingers unconsciously clenched into fists.