“Increase the speed? I’m afraid that’ll increase the risk of corrupting our cores.”
“But didn’t you say the essences were avoiding the cores by themselves?”
“That may be the case for now, but it’s not guaranteed to remain that way. I don’t think the risks are worth the potential gains. Especially for you.”
Hei learned of some of the customs of this world from Jingfei. Apparently, maintaining the purity of one’s essence was extremely important, especially for women who wanted to find stability in marriage.
For him, or more specifically, the other soul in his body, they had Mei already, who would understand the situation once it was described to her, so there wasn’t much to be concerned about even if the pure core were to be corrupted.
But for Xiaoli, a young lady, her future husband’s family would frown upon the fact that her core was corrupted, no matter how it was described. Inevitably, her life wouldn’t be as comfortable as it could be.
That being said, it was only a concern if she did want to find a good husband, but there were a few women who would rather gain the strength to protect themselves and didn’t care for marriage. Perhaps to them, a corrupted core wouldn’t be much of a problem.
Either way, it wouldn’t do her any good if her core were to be corrupted. At best, her situation would stay the same, and on the negative side, her future would definitely be adversely affected.
Xiaoli also thought of these things and came up with a safer way to proceed.
“I think it’s worth a try. Let’s do it like this. I’ll move the essences, and you make sure our cores don’t get contaminated. Wouldn’t that work?”
“Are you capable of doing that?”
Xiaoli puffed her cheeks out.
“I may not look like it, but I’m still a transcendent realm cultivator, you know?”
“I see. Then we can give it a try.”
Hei stopped moving the essences and put his focus on the pure cores.
Xiaoli took over the essences and started moving them around.
Now that she was the one who was doing so, she could see just how different her circulation paths had become. Before, the warm sensation was influencing her internal representation herself, but now, she could see things clearly.
“What kind of cultivation technique do you practice? These circulation paths are so complex. No wonder you caused all that to happen.”
“My siblings practice the same technique, but their’s isn’t so exaggerated. It’s primarily due to my affinity with natural qi.”
“Oh right, you did mention that. Alright, I’m going to increase the speed now. Are you ready?”
She had now gotten the hang of controlling the mixed essences. Earlier, she talked a big game, but even as a transcendent realm cultivator, she still hadn’t ever experienced manipulating yin and yang essence. After all, for her, there was no benefit in practising dual cultivation techniques. It would only ruin her future.
Hei affirmed that he was prepared by nodding his head and humming.
“Are you sure?”
She ramped up the speed of the essences and immediately noticed that her cultivation speed had surpassed her previous limits.
Excited, she continued to increase the speed more and more.
“Hold on a minute. You don’t want to go that fast. Something unexpected may happen.”
Xiaoli was caught up in this amazing feeling of cultivating so effortlessly. This must have been how Jing’er felt all the time, otherwise, he wouldn’t spend so much of it cultivating, right?
She increased the speed without restraint, soaking up all the natural qi she could ever want.
Hei was going to speak, but there was no instability in the movement of the essences around the pure cores, and thus, no significant cause for concern.
Interestingly enough, he wasn’t benefiting from this very much. His cultivation was only slightly faster than the usual passive form. He speculated that the increase in ability to absorb natural qi that other cultivators experienced through dual cultivation was only bringing them up to his level. He was always in such a state.
The small increase probably came from the movement of the essences itself and him absorbing some of the surplus qi Xiaoli was bringing in that her own body couldn’t handle.
“Alright. I’ve reached my limit. I can’t speed it up anymore.”
Xiaoli had her eyes closed as she took in the feeling of being one with the world. It was truly something special. She only thought it was a shame that she couldn't sink even deeper into it.
But then she had an idea.
“You too. Help me.”
“I don’t think that’s a good-”
“It’ll be fine. Nothing has gone wrong so far, has it?”
She pulled at his hand, pleading with him to acquiesce once more.
“… Very well.”
Hei was also curious to see what would happen if this was pushed to its limits.
He stood up and Xiaoli led him to the centre of the study where there was space enough to move.
Feeling light as air, she started skipping around in circles while smiling cheerfully, forcing Hei to turn around where he stood.
After a few rounds, she stopped and looked down at the mask.
“Let’s do this.”
“Are you ready?”
She rolled her eyes.
“Yes. Are you sure? Yes. Very well.”
She smiled after saying that.
Hei split his focus from the pure cores and used some of it to increase the speed of the essences.
In the room, which was closed off from all sides, a breeze swept in. The ground also began to move with slight tremors.
“I’ve never felt like this before. It’s amazing! Don’t you agree?”
“I feel like this most of the time, so I can’t really say.”
“Aw. No fair.”
Xiaoli was feeling resentful. This was unfair. If she could feel this way all the time, wouldn’t she have become the number one expert on the lower continent by now?
At the very least, she would have become the fourth foundation establishment realm cultivator and be known the continent over as Fairy Xiaoli.
She didn’t know why, but she felt he was holding back a little. And knowing how concerned he was that something would go wrong, it was probably true.
“You’re not giving it everything you have, are you? You’re still thinking about our pure cores?”
“… You’re correct.”
“Just let go. Live this moment to it’s fullest. We can worry about the consequences later.”
“That’s one of the most foolish things I’ve ever heard.”
Xiaoli puffed her cheeks out.
“Just this once. Let’s give it everything we have.”
“… Very well.”
Looking at the stable flow, Hei decided that the risk of contamination was low enough to ignore. So he put all of his attention on the essences and moved them as fast as he could.
A muffled booming sound came from Xiaoli’s body and the breeze twisted around the two, forming a small cyclone in the room.
“This is the most-”
The wind was too loud for one to hear properly, so Xiaoli started shouting.
Hei tried to listen to what she was saying, but it was cut off by the sounds of the wind.
“This short time I’ve spent with you- You made me realise that- I’ve decided to- And that’s all thanks to you. After you leave- If there’s anything- Remember that I- Really, I mean it!”
At this point, there was obviously something wrong. These effects were far too strong, so Hei decided to take back his yang essence and returned Xiaoli’s yin essence to her.
Hearing the disturbance, Auntie Yimin opened the door, but neither Hei nor Xiaoli noticed. When she did, she saw a cyclone spinning crazily in the middle of the room.
Before she could do anything, she heard a boom, and something came flying out of the cyclone, coming directly towards her. It was Xiaoli.
Auntie Yimin prepared one of her techniques to catch Xiaoli, but before she could, the boy appeared in front of her and caught Xiaoli instead.
At this point, the cyclone had already dissipated and the ground stopped shaking, returning the room to normal.
Hei sensed Auntie Yimin’s presence, and after giving Xiaoli a quick inspection, he handed her over to Auntie Yimin.
Receiving Xiaoli from the boy, Auntie Yimin looked down at her face, which was red, and gave her a quick checkup. At least she was still awake this time.
“Xiaoli, what happened just now?”
“Heehee. The best thing ever.”
Xiaoli was momentarily weak, but she swiftly regained her strength and was able to stand on her own.
Hei decided to get her feedback about her own state.
“How are you feeling? Are there any problems?”
She straightened herself up and looked towards the masked one, though she was slightly wobbly.
“Problems? Hik. There aren’t… any… problems… at all. In fact, I feel… better than ever.”
Xiaoli was swaying from side to side as she spoke quite slowly and with slurred words. She was still revelling in the earlier experience.
Auntie Yimin supported her.
“Haaa. Auntie Yimin…. You’re always… there for me.”
She turned back to Hei.
“Everything’s a-okay. Though… I think… the tingling… came back.”
At this moment, Hei and Auntie Yimin raised their brows. It was Auntie Yimin who spoke.
“That isn’t tingling, Xiaoli. You triggered a spark warning.”
Xiaoli looked at her hands and could see bolts of electricity sparking sporadically, jumping from one finger to another in a playful dance. Though, there was something intimidating about it. Almost as if a hungry beast were deciding whether or not to take a bite out of her. That was especially so when she realised that this was happening all over her body.
“A spark warning? But isn’t… that for people… who are about to break through… to a new realm?”
She raised her unstable head to Auntie Yimin, her confusion clearly written on her face.
“Not quite. It means you have the necessary accumulation, but you still need the corresponding comprehension if you want to break through. I had my own spark warning a few years ago.”
At this moment, Auntie Yimin noticed something.
“Wait… Xiaoli, you’re at the peak of the transcendent realm?!”
Somehow, all of the redness on Xiaoli’s face disappeared and her complexion returned to normal.
“What? Can you say that again?”
“You’re as strong as me now, Xiaoli. The heavens really like to play tricks on this lady.”
She turned to Hei.
“Jeez. What kinds of techniques are you making? To raise someone from the third layer to the fourth was already surprising enough, but you weren’t content with that, huh? You just had to bring her to the peak?”
Auntie Yimin spoke as if she were discontent, but the smile on her face revealed her true feelings.
“I also didn’t expect such results. This can be said to be the fruit of a risk Miss Xiaoli was willing to take.”
“Darn. Where were you twenty years ago? Maybe I would’ve already been in the minute realm by now.”
She shook her head when a nonsensical idea came to her mind.
“You wouldn’t happen to know a way to help this lady, would you?”
“To break through to the minute realm?”
“I know it’s silly, but with what I’ve seen so far, I thought it was maybe possible. But to help someone comprehend is a different matter than to have them practice a technique.”
Xiaoli spoke up.
“Actually, he already said he was going to help someone else, so it shouldn’t be too much.”
She turned to Hei.
“Isn’t that right?”
“If you wish, you may sit in while I work. I’ll try to think out loud as I gain understandings, and maybe that will provide some small benefit for you.”
Auntie Yimin’s eyes shone.
She had been afraid of trying to break through to the minute realm because of her unique physique, but if this boy was there, he could stop her rampages.
And even if she couldn’t break through with his words, they would surely be beneficial to the younger generation.