Hei continued his explanation as if none of that had happened.
“And so, maybe the cause for the increase in the severity of your outbursts is your unwillingness to utilise your qi.”
“I see. Then you’re telling me that I should fight more?”
“You may find it helpful. Though, it’s probably best if your opponent is your enemy. If they’re your ally, they should be strong enough that you can’t harm them.”
“I see. I’ll think about it.”
Auntie Yimin thought the idea was an interesting one. To think it could have simply been that she was born to fight. All her life, she had been told that she was a bit too violent and that it was unladylike, so she tried to suppress her urges, but if all she needed to do was have a few sparring matches from time to time in order to satisfy them, then that was for the best.
Auntie Yimin turned to the desk, which was oddly enough, exactly the same as it had been when she came in. There wasn’t a sheet of paper out of place, even after all of that disruption.
She walked over to it and took a look at the technique which was written down on the paper in front of the chair.
“Is this the technique you were practising? It’s really done through holding hands?”
“Any kind of physical contact is sufficient. Though, it seems there are still some major issues to iron out.”
Auntie Yimin turned to Xiaoli who had just finished straightening herself up.
“Now that everything is calm, I can see that you look a little different.”
Xiaoli extended her arms and twisted her upper body as she inspected her exterior.
Auntie Yimin lowered her glasses and gave Xiaoli a once-over.
“Xiaoli… Were you at the fourth layer when you came in today?”
“Hm? What are you talking about? You checked for yourself. I’m still in the third layer.”
Auntie Yimin shook her head.
Xiaoli did as she said and was surprised by the results.
“I’ve broken through? How?”
Both Auntie Yimin and Xiaoli turned to Hei. Auntie Yimin looked down at the sheet of paper once more.
“Are these the results of this technique?”
“It should be so.”
Auntie Yimin let out a bright smile.
“Then why don’t the two of you keep at it?”
“W-wait. Auntie Yimin. Don’t you remember what just happened? If we try again-”
“Nonsense. I’m sure our guest here can make the appropriate adjustments. He did say he was in the fine-tuning phase, didn’t he? It’s only to be expected that there were a few minor issues.”
“Minor issues? But he said they were major-”
“Then I’ll leave you to it.”
Before Xiaoli could say anything else, Auntie Yimin had already closed the door. She was excited to see the chance of one of the young ladies finally rising up.
It was a shame that she was being pulled up by a boy though. But beggars couldn’t be choosers.
Back in the study, Hei looked at Xiaoli, who had her hand extended to the door and her mouth open.
He went to sit back on his chair and rested his head on his hand as he tapped his pen on the paper.
“We will only continue if you are willing. You don’t need to mind your Auntie Yimin’s wishes when it comes to your wellbeing.”
After speaking, Hei’s focus returned to the technique, but it wasn’t long before he heard Yuying’s voice.
[Who would have thought that a trip to the library would result in a fight? And that part where things went crazy was cool too. Keep it up.]
[It isn’t as if I was looking for any of that to occur.]
[Whether you were looking for it or not, it was really interesting. I’m just wondering how it will fit into the movie.]
[I’ll leave it to you.]
[Mm. So, what was the cause of that just now?]
[I’m thinking it was because the synchronisation took place too quickly. I should have slowed the circulation of the mixed essences as the circulation paths became more similar.]
[I see. But why was it one-sided? Only Xiaoli seemed to suffer the backlash while you were perfectly fine. Or were you just able to bear with it?]
[I didn’t suffer any backlash. It is likely due to the technique I cultivate.]
[And what would that be? Maybe I’ve heard of it.]
[You haven’t. To say it’s a technique I created myself wouldn’t be completely erroneous, so the chances of you knowing anything about it are remote.]
[You made your own cultivation technique? What were you practising before?]
[I’ve only ever practised this technique.]
[… I’m not going to ask any more questions about that.]
[That’s probably for the best.]
[So, what are you going to do if she doesn’t want to continue? Will you ask Auntie Yimin?]
[That also works. Though, she may suffer another one of those episodes if it were to be done right now.]
[You know, if I were there, I would offer to help.]
[That’s good to know. How much would you charge?]
[Perhaps your prices are a bit too high…]
[Don’t be like that.]
[You know, any woman will do, it doesn’t matter which one. And Miss Xiaoli had volunteered to do it for free. Why then, would your assistance be worth the exchange of Evil Slaying?]
[But you already gave them Evil Slaying. It’s like you paid them in advance.]
[I suppose one could look at it that way.]
[Anyway, it seems she’s made up her mind.]
Hei noticed Xiaoli walking over in his spiritual perception.
“What will it be?”
“Are you sure?”
Hei held his hand out, and Xiaoli placed hers on top.
He began the process once more, this time paying more attention to the changes in Xiaoli’s circulation paths. As they became closer to his, he slowed the circulation of the mixed essences, and as expected, the rate at which Xiaoli’s circulation paths were shifting decreased.
At the point at which Xiaoli’s circulation paths were almost perfectly matched with his own, he stopped the technique and observed in more detail.
“Are you experiencing any discomfort?”
“No. Just the warmth and tingling.”
“I see. Then, I’ll continue.”
Hei moved the mixed essences very slowly, stopping at even the slightest shift in Xiaoli’s circulation paths and checking that her state was still within acceptable parameters.
In that way, Hei proceeded cautiously.
“There! I’m feeling something different now.”
Hei paused the technique and focused on the contact area between their hands. At this point, Xiaoli’s circulation paths were extremely close to his own, a little more movement and they would connect.
“What are you feeling?”
“It’s like lightning. The tingling has become a lot stronger.”
“I see. Is it unbearable?”
“No. I can endure it.”
“Then let’s maintain this state. Tell me if you experience any changes.”
The two remained still for a while.
“The tingling is back to normal now.”
Hei resumed the technique, but not long later, Xiaoli had more feedback.
“It’s back again.”
This kind of cycle continued until the circulation paths were one step away from connecting.
“It’s back to normal now. We can continue.”
“At this point, our circulation paths are about to fully synchronise. You may experience the same thing again.”
“I’m prepared for it this time. I won’t jump again.”
“Are you sure?”
Hei cycled the technique one last time and their circulation paths joined together, creating a single system.
Xiaoli’s body tensed. It felt like she was being struck by tribulation lightning. Her mental preparations almost rendered useless.
Hei moved his hand back to break their connection, aiming to separate their essences in the process, but Xiaoli clasped it with her own.
“Don’t… let go.”
“I… can… handle… it.”
“Are you sure?”
Xiaoli was getting tired of this. He was too attentive. Even speaking was becoming difficult, so she didn't want the conversation to continue.
Hei watched as Xiaoli’s face transition from pale to red then back again, all while keeping a close eye on her overall condition and making sure to avoid contaminating either of their pure cores.
Sweat began to bead up on her forehead, and her veins revealed themselves.
“Are you sure you want to continue? I can make some more adjustments and we can try again.”
Xiaoli shook her head. She couldn’t even speak any more as she tried to cope with this situation.
Hei turned to the jade floating beside him.
[Is she being unreasonable?]
Hei continued to monitor the situation for a while.
“Fwoo. It’s getting better now.”
Xiaoli was now able to speak again, but her body was still experiencing a lot of stress.
Fortunately for her, it wasn't too long before her condition returned to normal.
She wiped the sweat off of her forehead.
“Okay, the lightning’s gone. There isn’t even tingling any more, only warmth.”
There was a long silence of them holding hands and looking at each other.
Xiaoli decided to speak.
“I’m not sure. This has already gone beyond my expectations. The technique shouldn’t have caused any of these occurrences.”
“So, are you going to adjust it then?”
“That’s the only way.”
Hei turned back to the technique and pulled his hand back to rest his head on it, but Xiaoli didn’t let go.
He turned to her and tilted his head.
“I’m afraid if we break the connection, I’ll have to go through all that again, and I’d rather not. Please bear with me for a while.”
Hei still moved his elbow back to the table and rested his head on his hand.
Well, it wasn’t exactly his hand that he was resting his head on, it was Xiaoli’s, which was on top of his.
Xiaoli watched in silence as he tapped his pen on the paper and continued as if nothing was strange about the situation.
After a few cycles of writing things down and tapping his pen on the paper, Hei came up with a suitable adjustment to his original technique, which took into consideration what he had learned in this trial with Xiaoli.
“Are you ready to continue?”
“Hm? We’re going to stay like this?”
“Yes. I would like to jot down your feedback as we go, so please bear with me for a little while.”
“Okay… Then, let’s continue.”
“Alright. I’m going to give you a little more of my yang essence and take a little more of your yin. Don’t worry about your pure core, I’ll be sure not to corrupt it.”
“Tell me your experiences as we go.”
Hei then started to slowly increase the rate of mixture between their yin and yang essences.
“It’s getting warmer.”
“It’s still getting warmer.”
“Then let’s pause here.”
Even after a while, Xiaoli still felt it was hot.
“Then perhaps this is the maximum rate possible between us.”
There was still some unmixed essence left within both of their bodies, but over 50 percent was successfully mixed.
“Then I’ll start increasing the speed of circulation.”
As Hei started moving the mixed essences faster throughout their bodies, Xiaoli noticed several things.
“The natural qi seems to be leaking into my spirit roots on its own. This is so strange. Oh, and it’s not as hot as before, so I think you can increase the amount of mixed essence.”
“Then I’ll do that.”
This continued until all of the essences in both of their bodies had been mixed successfully, and what was more important was that there were no signs of the pure cores being at risk of contamination. The essences flowed cleanly around them without much effort on Hei’s part.
At this point, natural qi was flowing into Xiaoli as if she were intentionally cultivating, but she was doing absolutely nothing. It was a very interesting sensation.
“Then I think this can be considered a success.”
Hei marked down his findings on a new sheet of paper. There were still some details to iron out, but the technique was in a functional state.
He was about to let go of Xiaoli’s hand when she proposed an idea.
“What if we increased the speed even more?”