“External… Aura Manipulation…” Xiao Wu read out aloud the flaming words that had been embedded in her mind. Xiao Wu frowned: she had never heard of this technique before. However, since her brother had risked his life for this piece of information she had no choice but believe in him.
She looked around for a bit unconsciously, checking if someone was there, and then sat down on the floor.
“Let me see what’s so great about you that my brother had to risk his life to get it!” Xiao Wu breathed in and entered the cultivation state. The time was seven in the morning and there were exactly three days left to the Outer Sect Exam.
Xiao Wu had been sitting crosslegged for three whole hours and finally, a hint of understanding flashed across her face. She opened her eyes and massaged her temples.
“This External Aura Manipulation… Is indeed quite useful!” Xiao Wu stood up and put her hand on her chin just like Cheng Hao used to do when he pondered himself.
She thought out aloud “Basically, I can manipulate the air surrounding me by letting out gaseous Qi… The Aura. By doing so, I can manipulate it to create various shapes, the easiest being basic objects, like geometrical shapes, while the hardest being living creatures, such as gigantic monsters and such. There are many levels to Aura manipulation, the lowest being Student followed by Scholar, Master, Grandmaster and, finally, Sage! Though, it is still unsure wether the Sage level is truly the end to Aura cultivation, as everybody reached a bottleneck at the Sage level…”
Xiao Wu paused as if to recall something and then continued “The way I should let out gaseous Qi is really similar to the way I create the illusory Martial Ways, so that won’t be a problem. The only thing that I’m worried about is that I need to thoroughly understand the internal structure of what I am about to create, otherwise it would be nothing but an empty shell…”
Xiao Wu smiled and then said “That is probably the reason brother asked me wether I practiced using the Black Dragon Blade… If I practice with it daily, I would naturally come to understand it more and more!”
“If an Aura Manipulator is able to manipulate Aura into stable, two-dimensional figures, then he will officially be recognized as an Aura Student. Making more than one, two-dimensional figures would count as graduating to a Scholar. Making a single three-dimensional figure would be on the level of a Master, more than one would be a Grandmaster and, finally, manipulating the Aura into a living being would make one a Sage”
Her previously happy expression turned discouraged as she said “Does that mean brother wants me to jump straight from Student to Master, to create three-dimensional copies of my two Martial Ways? That is simply asking for the impossible…”
Xiao Wu pondered and suddenly her foggy eyes cleared “Unless… He wants me to create a two-dimensional Black Dragon blade! Although it is referred to as Two Dimensional, it isn’t truly two dimensional as it has a very thin surface. But, as it still has an edge, it can still cut!”
Xiao Wu sat back down and began to move her hands in the air as a faint layer of coloured gases surrounded her. Her hands seemed to draw a figure in front of her and the gases slowly began to flow and follow her hands’ movement. After four hours of weaving the Qi, the faint outline of a long sword appeared.
Its shape was odd, one edge was sharp while the other wasn’t, it had no guard and the handle resembled a black dragon: this was the Black Dragon Sword!
Xiao Wu opened her eyes and wiped away the sweat from her face “This is much harder than I thought! After four hours I have barely scratched the surface of the technique! I have already expended most of the power in my Core, yet I could only draw the outline of the blade… This will take at least three times the effort if I want to finish this before the exam starts!”
Xiao Wu sighed and drew the gaseous Qi back in her body and the manipulated Aura in her Pseudo-Core: once she had recovered she would continue to manipulate the Aura as it would retain its shape. After all, wouldn’t it be useless in battle if she needed hours and hours to build it every time? Of course, she could still dissipate it any time she wanted.
This is also one of the reasons the amount of objects made out of Aura showed the strength of a Manipulator: as the amount of Aura one had was limited, only the control differed. Once one could control Aura well enough to make more than one shape, that would make a person rise in rank.
Although the ranks were only five, in the world as of today, only a few people had been recorded reaching the rank of Aura Grandmaster and the Aura Sages had been no more than a dozen and they had been people who shook the Heavens with their talent. Most of them though, had not been humans: only one human has been recorded to have ever successfully managed to reach such a stage. His name was Feng Mu, but he had disappeared soon afterwards… Some rumors claimed that he had actually found a level beyond the Aura Sage, but it was regarded as mere rumors, as there was no physical evidence of that.
One of the reasons Aura Manipulation experts were so rare was the fact that one needed to start from a low cultivation base, when Qi was rarer and thus easier to control. As one rose in rank, the control over one’s Qi would slowly get harder. If one did not have the chance to practice when Qi manipulation was easier and thus didn’t know the basics, it would be impossible to successfully manipulate Aura.
That was also why Cheng Hao was so happy that Xiao Wu hadn’t broken through as she would gain the most benefits this way.
Another reason was that the art of Aura Manipulation was so rare that there were just too few Aura manipulators for a true genius to appear often.
Xiao Wu meditated and rotated her cultivation base to restore the Qi she had spent while manipulating the Aura into the Aura Black Dragon Sword.
Her forehead was full of sweat and her face pale: any other eight years old girl would have long given up. She hadn’t though, instead, she persevered and now her efforts would be rewarded!
Her mouth’s corners moved upwards as she smiled. Her eyes showed both satisfaction and tiredness as well as a sense of accomplishment. She lifted her right hand and a Black Dragon Blade appeared. This was the illusory blade created from her Martial Way.
She lifted her left hand and suddenly, another sword appeared. It looked flat and resembled the true Black Dragon Sword, it was slightly thicker than a piece of paper and could only be seen if you looked at it from the sides. She moved both of her hands and, although the fake black blade made of Aura was slightly slower, it was still easy to control.
Xiao Wu threw herself on the bed. As she laid down she couldn’t help but smile and relax as she had finally added a new weapon to her arsenal, a weapon that she could use in front of others!
“Oh…” As she looked at the ceiling she seemed to remember something “I didn’t cultivate the purple Qi from the East today… Brother will be angry”
Her eyelids slowly fell down and she fell asleep. The time was seven in the afternoon. Two days and eleven hours left to the Outer sect exam.
Cheng Hao was still unconscious but even though his body was badly injured and he couldn’t move, his consciousness hadn’t just taken a nap for these last few hours. As soon as he had passed out, his projection had once again appeared in the space inside the Pseudo-Core.
Once it had fully formed, the projection started walking towards the Immortal Ascension Tower hovering in the hidden place in his Pseudo-Core.
The first and second halos of light had already been consumed when he had broken through the Inferior and Basic stage respectively, so the first two floors were slightly darker than the other thirteen. However, although the second ring of light had been absorbed by Cheng Hao, the second floor’s gates were still shut.
This time, there was no such thing as locks and chains to bind the doors, only one big keyhole. Cheng Hao lifted his hand and a stream of Basic Qi approached the Tower.
As soon as it got close enough, the Qi changed into a gigantic bronze key which hovered in mid air. Chang Hao’s expression couldn’t be seen as his blurry figure wasn’t clear enough, but it could still be seen that his eyes looked regretful and had an apologetic look in them.
The figure on the key was that of a gigantic bird: its wings spanned hundreds of times the size of the body and it was completely white, except for the black claws at the ends of the wings. This beast hadn’t been seen for millennia but still many tales about its might had spread, tales of the bird that flew nonstop for thousands, millions of years at the highest level of the sky.
Cheng Hao sighed in reminisce and waved his hands. The key followed the commands imparted by Cheng Hao and slowly approached the keyhole before fitting in and turning…
The massive gates opened wide, allowing Cheng Hao to look at what was inside: the floor was large and completely white in color. In that ocean of white, an old man also wearing white turned his head to look at Cheng Hao: he had white eyes without pupils or irises but they still exuded kindness, long white hair that was dragged on the floor behind him when he walked, a trimmed beard and white mustache.
He was currently holding a book and staring with mixed feelings at the boy before him. Overall, he looked like an amiable old man.
“Boy… You are?” He asked nonchalantly.
Cheng Hao stepped forward “I, Junior Xu Ling, pays his respects to Uncle White! I apologize for locking you in here for the past two months and hope that you will forgive me!”
The book that the old man was holding fell on the ground and the expressions on this ‘Uncle White’s face settled into ones showing excitement and happiness. The old man’s eyes brightened up and he couldn’t help but stare with shock at the young boy for a while.
“Xu Ling… You have survived!”
Cookie’s Note: Ok, first of all, what is Aura? It is the Qi emitted from one’s body in gaseous form. It is impossible for a body to control too much Aura as if it is not controlled, the Qi will easily dissipate, resulting in a slight loss of cultivation.
The Aura that one can control depends on one’s cultivation and also on their own skills in controlling Qi. The method to control Aura is rare and only the most prestigious family hold it. Even then, few people have enough aptitude to actually Manipulate Aura, thus the lack in experts in Manipulating Aura.
I hope this was clear enough. Also, Cheng Hao consumed the second halo of light when he broke through to Basic stage while in secluded mediation. It was not mentioned but it happened ‘off screen’. Just take my word for it. Just do. Please. I forget about things like these…