“Uh?” Xiao Wu was bewildered.
A Martial Way was something as rare as Qilin horns and Phoenix feathers, something that shouldn’t exist in the mortal world. The reason was simple: they were as rare as it was difficult to make them. A Reverend stage cultivator had nearly zero chances of creating one as it required deep understanding and great enlightenment.
Even then, it would require incredible effort and years of meditation just to make one, years that could easily be spent in cultivation.
But that child in front of her, a boy her same age had just achieved the impossible, he had condensed a Martial Way all by himself!
And it was such a mysterious and deep Martial Way, the likes of which only one person in her entire clan could barely hold a candle to, the greatest secret weapon of the Xiao Clan. And it was done in only a few months!
A Martial Way was essentially the foundation to one’s cultivation, the better the Martial Way, the higher the talent, and thus the chance to reach never seen before cultivation stages. But before Xiao Wu could be even more shocked, the last words the boy had just spoken reached her ears.
One must know that, unless one had a Martial Way to aid breakthrough, another one of its wondrous uses, such breakthrough could easily take weeks if not months, years, decades! After all, if it were that easy, a Reverend stage martial artist wouldn’t be so rare at all, instead they would be at the very bottom of the food chain!
But this new brother of hers had just said that tonight, they would break through… Together!
“Brother, you must be joking! Although it would probably be no problem for a genius like you, I have no chance to do that! Let alone a Martial Way, I haven’t even have begun to sense the Qi yet! How could I even dream of breaking through?”
Xiao Wu laughed bitterly.
The boy slowly opened his mouth and slowly, syllable by syllable, he spelled out “Purple, Black and White… The Moon, The Dragon and The Tree”
Xiao Wu shuddered at those words. Her eyes grew cold and she unconsciously put up her guard, before immediately pulling it back down. She trusted Cheng Hao, she helped her so much she had to, at the very least, trust him this much.
“How do you know…? Those words?” Xiao Wu looked at the eyes of the child in front of her.
The boy grinned “Of course I know them. I was the one who wrote them, alongside your ancestor, Xiao LAN. But while we studied them together, I alone was the one to create the cultivation technique!”
Xiao Wu was shocked and then started laughing “You shouldn’t joke on these things, brother Hao! Although it is indeed a mystery how you know that name! He is the secret weapon of our Clan!”
‘But I really was the one who wrote… Never mind’ the boy sighed but then also laughed. Suddenly though, his face turned serious.
“Sister Wu, you have indeed sensed something, and not just any Qi. You sensed a Qi so rare and powerful it might almost rival my previous Golden Gates of Old. Almost” He winked “And somebody has already aided you. It was probably that old fellow Lan, but it was probably done without you knowing. Calm down and breath as this might seem shocking”
Xiao Wu skeptically followed the instructions without asking for an explanation. Seeing that, Cheng Hao inwardly praised her and thought to himself that he really chose a good sister. He smiled warmly and resumed. He said nine simple words. Those words shook Xiao Wu’s mind and, as she understood the meaning she unconsciously grabbed her head.
“You have a Martial Way sealed inside your consciousness.”
Those shocking words came out so smoothly that it seemed as if Cheng Hao was just telling her his favourite colour is red.
“Brother Cheng… Is that true?” Her eyes glowed and she was extremely shocked as well as excited. As if to answer her, Cheng Hao approached and touched her forehead. B Unfortunately, Cheng Hao wasn’t just ‘somebody’ and he easily pulled through once again.
In the girl’s sea of consciousness, he once again gazed at the scene that had bewildered him a while ago: a gorgeous white tree as tall as the heavens stood proud, in the meantime, a black dragon thousands of feet long entwined around the tree’s branches as a purple moon hang high in a nonexistent sky.
The whole scene looked like something straight out of a fairy tale and it was just as scary and shocking as it was beautiful and stunning.
The whole scene was encased into what looked like a glass ball and it even seemed to emanate incredible pressure on what was located outside. Fortunately though, the glass sphere blocked that pressure, allowing Cheng Hao’s consciousness to approach.
With the wave of the consciousness’ hands, the glass ball and thus the scene as well shrank and fit into the small palm…
With a smile, Cheng Hao removed the finger from Xiao Wu’s forehead and, when he opened his palm, a glass ball was there.
“Shatter” he whispered and the glass ball indeed… Shattered! As soon as it did, the tree, the dragon and the moon appeared on top of it. He let go and the whole thing hovered in midair.
Cheng Hao sat back on the chair and made a sign towards Xiao Wu to take the Martial Way in front of her.
The boy’s face was pale while the girl’s was so red from excitement that an apple would be jealous.
Without thinking, she flew at Cheng Hao and tightly embraced him, tears and brotherly love poured out like water during a flood “Thank you brother, thank you!!! I will be your sister from now on, so don’t worry about anything! I’ll stop the arrows aimed against you with my body, sacrifice my life to save yours and step over seas of flames to get to you!”
Cheng Hao smiled weakly
“That was the wrong order, sis! When I said that it actually was-”
Xiao Wu embraced him even tighter “I don’t care! Brother, thank you!”
Cheng Hao laughed.
“Seeing how that Martial Way was made to perfectly match your sensed Qi, I feel like it was probably made after you reported you sensed the Qi, just before you left your clan to get here.
It also probably was your ancestor, Xiao Lan, who made it so you should thank him not me. Even then, I guess he somehow knows I am back, otherwise he wouldn’t have hid it in your consciousness where only a few people, except for me, can get it out.” Cheng Hao smiled.
Xiao Wu had already adjusted to the ‘egocentric’ Cheng Hao that liked to ‘joke around telling tales of a mysterious past of his’, so she didn’t mind him and kept observing the Martial Way. The more she looked at it, the deeper her understanding of her Purple Moon, Black Dragon And White Tree Sensed Qi became.
“Goldy, are the preparations ready?” The boy turned towards a spot in the middle of the room. Although the snake hadn’t been in sight for a while he actually had not stop working for a second and was instead inscribing a complicated formation.
“Goldy your grandfather!” The snake cursed.
“But mighty dragon, I really like that name… Can’t we please call you like that?” Xiao Wu acted all cute and girly making the snake uncomfortable.
“F-fine! I guess it is a pretty good name…”
Cheng Hao smiled and mocked as he sang a happy tune “Pedo snake… Pervy snake… In jail you go… In jail you go… For you no more sake… For you no more sake… Din… Don… Dan…”
“Sh-shut up, Stupid Hao!” The snake coughed and then said “Yes, the formation is finished. It is called the Impure Moonlight Gathering formation. It will help you in gathering the Qi in your body and it will help a bit in preventing your body from refining it into purer Qi. It should activate when the moon is at its highest, so in about a few moments”
Cheng Hao nodded and turned towards Xiao Wu “Remember. Sense the Qi, gather the Qi in your body and absorb it, form the Qi Sea and condense the Pseudo-Core!”
Xiao Wu nodded and spoke herself “Moving water does not freeze as long as it moves. To freeze water, stop it. Make it into still water, turn the river into a sea. Turn the sea into the Pseudo-Core!”
The two kids looked at each other and they could both see the determination in the other’s pupils.
Suddenly, the symbols making up the formation lit up and both Cheng Hao and Xiao Wu nodded to each other, took out their martial way and sat cross legged into the glowing formation.
As soon as Xiao Wu closed her eyes she entered the meditative state, a state where the mind and the consciousness swapped places. She was not able to feel her body any longer, nor was she able to see, hear, feel, smell or taste, instead she could ‘see’ the Qi strands surrounding her.
Usually, she would need at least a few hours maybe a day to find the right Qi strand, but thanks to the Martial Way she no longer had that problem.
The Qi strands she sought for were naturally attracted to the treasure so the ‘seeking’ part of the breakthrough was done. Now she only had to ‘gather and absorb’ the Qi strands. In the past she had already gathered a few strands by herself, but while that took months of work, in just a few breaths worth of time her reserve of Qi strands, now they were more like balls of wool than just strands, had already doubled.
In the time it would take to drink a cup of tea, she finished the gathering process. She was about to gather some more to have purer Qi, when Goldy’s voice reached her ears as the stream of Qi was suddenly interrupted.
“Don’t! Stupid Hao may be a cunt but he is no idiot. Don’t you remember what he said about purer Qi being harder to condense? You must not gather pure Qi! In the Inferior stage, purer Qi means a much more difficult cultivation and no benefits! Once you reach the target amount of Qi, you must immediately stop absorbing! I will help you with the absorbing part but, as for the forming of the Qi Sea and Core, Stupid Hao told me that I must leave you alone for that part as it will help you in future breakthroughs!”
Having said that, the golden snake’s form appeared on the shoulder of her own consciousness and, seeing some disturbances and trembling in her state of mind, he immediately added.
“Don’t worry about Stupid Hao. He has already prepared a lot and I would just hinder him. He begged me to aid you instead…” A glint of warmth appeared for a split second in the snake’s consciousness’ eyes before disappearing immediately.
Xiao Wu’s consciousness grew still again and, together with the golden dragon, she began to absorb all the gathered Qi. Streams upon streams of energy moved towards her sea of consciousness and suddenly she realized something was wrong.
‘No! Those streams are not good! They are too fast! I must form a sea not a river!’ Unfortunately, she could not do anything as she could not stop the energy hurrying towards her consciousness. At the very last moment, a mighty golden energy smashed into the Qi strands, pushing them back towards the gathered Qi mass.
“No good. Try again” the golden dragon’s voice reached her as she understood: he will aid her when she fails but she must push through these hurdles herself. She won’t have to fear failure, but success was up to her!
She correctly guessed that was also part of Cheng Hao’s instructions, for her to grow.
“Brother… Could you actually… Be a genius?”
“And not only that. I will make you one too!”
‘If he wants me to be a genius, I must be able to do everything with my own power!’ She might borrow power to avoid failing but she must succeed with her own skill!
“That was too fast”
“Good, you are getting the hang of it! A few more rounds!”
After a few more attempts she finally succeeded in forming a small pond inside her consciousness. Slowly filling up the pond were three streams.
A purple, wavy and near gaseous stream, just like a dreamy cloud.
A black, sometimes weak, sometimes powerful stream, just like a waterfall.
A white, sturdy and constant stream, just like a millenary river that had kept flowing nonstop for thousands of years, undisturbed by the events of the outside world.
The three different streams then combined into the still pond that was sometimes white, others black and others purple. After two long hours, the Qi Sea was finally completely formed!
“Good job!” The snake praised “Now for the easy part, the Pseudo-Core!”
“E-easy part?” Xiao Wu staggered: many cultivators couldn’t proceed further into cultivation exactly because they couldn’t condense the Core, let alone her who was still without cultivation…
Seeing the confusion on the girl’s face, Goldy laughed.
“Remember, what, besides me, has helped you until now?”
In the blink of an eye, Xiao Wu realized.
Without needing Goldy to explain anything, she absorbed her Martial Way into her consciousness, letting it enter the Qi Sea until it got into its very center…
As she did that, her mind trembled, as if it couldn’t hold the Martial Way within for much longer.
The moment the Martial way finally appeared in the center of the Qi Sea, a powerful gravitational pull made the vast amount of liquified Qi collapse onto the treasure.
The Sea shrank in size until it became a transparent pellet not much bigger than a simple medicinal pill. It was see-through, meaning one could still see the tree, dragon and the moon hovering inside the pellet.
Suddenly the scenery inside the newly formed Pseudo-Core lit up and a Black-Purple-White ray of energy shot in the sky as the crazy amount of energy made Xiao Wu spit out black blood: it was blood full of the impurities in the bloodstream.
She knew what that pillar was: it was a manifestation of the power of her newly acquired Qi, something that would only appear when the sensed Qi was particularly powerful and the host had great talent! The pillar of energy slowly faded away and the night sky grew quiet again.
“Alright. Now you can remove your Martial Way, but remember that when fighting, if you wish to hold power alike that of the Advanced stage, then you must put it back, otherwise the Core will collapse. No big deal, as Cheng Hao will know what to do then, but you will lose your Pseudo-Advanced stage power.
“Remember that while in the future you will be able to actually fight Advanced stage with such a cultivation, right now both your true cultivation of the Inferior stage and the Pseudo-Advanced cultivation base are unstable, so don’t force it too much!”
Goldy and Xiao Wu’s consciousnesses both went back into their golden dragon and human bodies. They were both pretty tired but also excited.
However, when Xiao Wu saw the situation outside, she couldn’t help but shudder.
The small girl asked with a trembling voice “This… What is THIS?”
Author’s Note: Uh? Seeing how you got this far, it looks like someone is finally reading this! Hooray!