“Here’s your cultivation technique!” Liao An slapped it down on Bào bǐ’s lap.
Bào bǐ opened his eyes and glanced at her. “Eh? You still on about that?”
“Your first cultivation technique should be movement. Since your father is currently using that technique, I procured a new one!” Liao An explained.
To any knowledgeable cultivator, her words would have been completely ridiculous. However, Bào bǐ had no frame of reference to understand how rare cultivation techniques scrolls actually were. Even weak ones were desperately sought after by small clans. However, his father had a dozen such scrolls in his study which he spent a significant price to acquire. Part of the reason they had lived in a small house built by Xaoi Yun was because he had blown every asset he had acquiring the ink and paper to be able to take those dozen techniques with him. Also, he had wasted time cultivating formation techniques so that he could be able to make those copies. His being kicked from the clan could be said to be something he had prepared from the day he was born.
Even then, they were trash copies of trash technique, but any mortal would give a King’s ransom for just one of them. So, anyone else who was casually handed a scroll technique would instantly be suspicious.
This technique was also much different from the technique that Xaoi Yun was now cultivating. Fundamentally, that was a clan technique modified and perfected to the best of Tigra’s ability. Since that plan went belly up when Bào bǐ’s father took it, she was now no longer limited by remaining within the frame of the Xiao Heavenly Wind Canon. Free to build completely from scratch, she instead using a much higher tier movement skill and tiered it specifically for how she observed Bào bǐ’s movements. The difference was that the technique that Xaoi Yun was using was the best technique it could be, where Bào bǐ’s technique was the best technique specifically for him. In a way, if Bào bǐ’s technique was handed to anyone else, it wouldn’t be as strong, perhaps even weaker the Xiao Heavenly Wind Canon.
Of course, Bào bǐ may change as he grew, which means his techniques would also need to change with him. This was the type of cultivation Tigra herself experienced, and the vast majority of people never could. To have a high enough level master customize your techniques personally and tweak them throughout your entire growth, the number of people who had that kind of enrichment could be counted on a single hand, although Bào bǐ was clueless of this treatment.
“It has no name yet.” Liao An explained. “However, it is a technique that combines both fast and slow moving techniques. You can use it for evasive movements as well as long distance. As long as you condense your core, you’ll be able to fly using this technique. It’s not dissimilar to the technique I myself have spent a thousand years cultivating.”
“Mmm-Hmmm… sound cool,” Bào bǐ shrugged.
He had grown used to Liao An’s strange way of talking. He suspected she had a very active imagination, as she often pretended she was much older than she was. Bào bǐ had little confidence in her movement skill, but he didn’t think trying it out would cause any harm. If playing around with his techniques was all it took to please a five-year-old, Bào bǐ didn’t mind. If any other cultivator heard his blatant disregard for such a sensitive topic, they would go nuts. Picking your techniques were extremely important, and picking wrong could have consequences that lasted the rest of your immortal life.
“Since you will be the first to cultivate this technique, you should be the one to name it.” Liao An declared.
“Oh… okay… in that case… I’ll name it… Rapid Movement Technique!”
“Rejected!” Liao An stamped her feet cutely. “What kind of name is that? These are techniques that allow mere mortals to rival the gods! This technique will be useable all the way past the heavenly realm. How can you not come up with a properly epic name? Like Star Shadow Demon Script… or Heavenly Aura of Divine Movement!
“Is that really necessary. That also seems to take a long time to say…”
“It’s absolutely necessary! How can you question the importance of this! Naming your techniques properly is not only a requirement of cultivation, but it is also an honor!”
Liao An’s face was flushed and she was panting. Clearly, being able to name this technique was very important to her. Bào bǐ sighed and went through his memory to search for a name that might work.
“How about… we call it speedy-“
“We’re calling it Wind Symphony of the Midnight Reign!” Liao An snapped. “End of story!”
“Ah… okay…” Bào bǐ scratched his cheek, now worrying about how he was going to remember the name of all of these techniques.
Bào bǐ finally opened up the scroll and looked through it. Almost as soon as his eyes touched the page, they began to glow with understanding. Bào bǐ didn’t have a normal mind, but one that had been altered by the use of the Renika Mind Expansion Pill. Given to him when his brain was the most malleable as a baby, it quickly restructured how his brain took in new information. Had he actually had the mind of a baby, this had the potential of destroying his capacity to learn basic activities, like walking and speaking, but thanks to his resurfaced conscious, Bào bǐ had a fully developed mind in an undeveloped brain.
In short, the pill increased Bào bǐ’s capacity to comprehend by many leagues. One advantage of the Xiao Heavenly Wind Canon that Xaoi Yun took was its ease of comprehension. She wasn’t lying when she said it was a beginner’s technique. It’d do wonders for anyone on the mortal plane, but it would need to be abandoned once one reached the heavenly plane because it was too limiting. Thus, a new movement skill would need to be learned from scratch. However, while time-consuming, it wasn’t abnormal to abandon old techniques for better, new ones as your cultivation grew.
The one she had built from scratch was a dozen times harder to comprehend. In fact, few people in this mortal plan would be able to figure it out if given their entire lives. As for Bào bǐ, he instantly entered a state of contemplation, his eyes rapidly moving over the scroll as he considered the meaning of the words in front of him. While other scrolls and profound formulas had tugged at his eyes before, none had this kind of power. This wasn’t surprising, considering this entire technique, the Wind Symphony of the Midnight Reign, was created specifically for Bào bǐ to learn.
It took only about three hours before the profound technique was written within his mind, which was considered incredibly quick. Even twelve hours might have been considered fast given the contents on the scroll. From then onward, it’d be up to Bào bǐ himself how much of the Symphony he’d be able to master. At the moment, simply knowing the technique would already increase his speed slightly, but he’d need to reach the first tier before he saw any substantial benefits. It was a technique that combined slow movements and quick movements, and would thus be one Bào bǐ would need many years to master. He could only complete about one level per great realm, so he’d be near the point of entering the heavenly realm by the time he finished the symphony.
Time continued to pass. Every day for a week, Bào bǐ continued to return to the ruins of his house. Some of his time involved cultivating, some of his time involved setting up traps, and some of his time involved practicing his movement technique. Liao An was always there when he arrived. She sat and cultivated alongside him. Occasionally, she provided advice, especially on the technique she had made, but most of the time she preferred to sit in silence.
Bào bǐ’s progress was going well, and he was about a half-step into the 1st realm of Symphony. Furthermore, since he was able to cultivate using heavenly energy and the purification pill, his cultivation progress was also moving along quickly. To Liao An’s surprise, he started showing signs that he might reach the second tier sometime soon. Liao An herself had been suppressing her cultivation in the low-tier for some time. Once she reached the mid-tier, it’d be difficult to hide the fact she was a cultivator from her parents any longer.
Then, one week later, Bào bǐ arrived at the typical place and Liao An wasn’t there. He reckoned that the girl had grown bored of cultivation. Despite her useful knowledge and experience, he still saw her as a kid just playing. Thus, her disappearance didn’t disturb him in the least. He sighed and lifted up his pack, heading over to continue his standard routine. However, that was when he noticed that there were people approaching. He quickly hid behind a bush a moment before they broke out of the forest edge.
“So, this it Yun’s place, huh?” One guy said.
“It looks like crap.” A second added.
“But it looks like Ji Lie’s information wasn’t fake. I owe you a spirit stone. This is a good amount of spiritual energy. It’s a shame it looks like they left. I’d have like to teach that guy a lesson.”
“Hehe… I’d like to teach his wife many lessons.”
There were five men in all. They were all higher level that Li Jie was. Bào bǐ reasoned that Li Jie must have been too scared to go again. Rather than try another hand at his mother, the guy probably just passed the message on to his higher-ups. Li Jie was likely an underling compared to these guys. Three of them were midtier purification cultivators, one was a high tier, and the last guy was stronger than that. Bào bǐ actually couldn’t tell how high his strength was. He lacked the frame of reference to do so. Fortunately, in this world, purification experts didn’t practice much spiritual perception at this stage. None of these men seemed to have noticed Bào bǐ’s presence nearby.
“Ah! What the hell!” One guy suddenly tripped, grabbing at something that wrapped around his neck.
“What is that?” One of the other looked over at him.
“This… string?” The man cursed as he looked at the thread he was pulling away from his neck.
“Hey, be careful!” The highest-level guy who looked to be in charge barked.
“Whaaaaa!” No sooner had a spoke than a guy fell into a hole.
“They’re traps!” One of the men called.
“Aggggghhhhh… my leg!” One guy screamed as a beartrap clamped down.
The others ran over and managed to open his legs. There was a nasty gash that broke the skin, but the bone wasn’t broken. This was the power of a cultivator. Had it been the highest tier, even his skin might not have been broken. Bào bǐ felt a bit pleased that they were falling into his traps, but they weren’t quite leaving the impression he had wanted.
“Ridiculous… Xaoi Lan is this childish?” The highest tier guy growled. “Heavenly Wind Sweep!”
He let out a bunch of profound power, and the wind blew out in all directions. For a moment, the bush Bào bǐ was hiding behind’s leaves blew back, revealing his location. He clung on. Fortunately, the high tier was looking in another direction and the rest were busy still trying to tend the guy whose ankle got trapped. When everything was blown away, all of the holes and traps Bào bǐ had laid were exposed. Even the various strings had been snapped. In a single motion, this guy undid a week of work.
Bào bǐ gulped. He suddenly remembered how Liao An had treated his trap making as a waste of time. She had told him that only strength would allow him to get his revenge. After seeing this, he was starting to realize what she meant. Cultivators were far more powerful than he ever would have guessed. He realized just how much he had lucked out in his fight with those two cultivators. He had let it get to his head a bit, but both men had been struck by surprise. He didn’t even remember how he came flying back after Xaoi Chen had sent him flying. When he tried to remember, he recalled a slightly fishy smell, and then a giant pain in his butt, and the next thing he remembered, he was standing over the third tier who was unconscious.
He had no inclination that if he attacked these men, that he’d walk away in one piece. It looked like he had lost his opportunity to cultivate here. Since he had no reason to go to the forests, he’d probably stop seeing that little girl too. She was kind of a strange girl, but he felt like he’d miss her if they didn’t hang out anymore.
“Start moving dirty, we need to build a mound here.” The highest tier guy ordered.
“What? You want us to bury it?”
“No, idiot. We’re making an immortal cave. Whatever is causing spirit energy to build here is probably temporary. Right now, the spirit energy is just leaking away over time.”
“Why does that mean we bury it?” one of the guy’s frowned.
“Don’t you know anything? Earth blocks spiritual energy. If we leave this spiritual node in the open, it’ll last maybe a hundred years before it all disperses. If we put it in a cave, we might be able to get a thousand years out of it.”
“What about water? I say master’s immortal gave once and he had a pond!”
“Yeah, we’re going to do that too. Water absorbs spiritual energy. If we put water next to this node, then it’ll also help keep the spiritual energy cycling. Moving water is truly the best. It’s a shame it’d be too much trouble turning this into a waterfall. Waterfalls can regenerate and replenish spiritual energy.”
Bào bǐ listened cautiously, nodding to himself as he contemplated these words. They made sense to him. In a world where spiritual energy was weak, naturally, every precaution would need to be taken to ensure that all spiritual energy was maintained and renewed. This was something even Tigra only vaguely would have considered. After all, spiritual energy was plentiful where she came from. The idea of immortal caves was almost laughable, and generating spirit energy by depending on waterfalls was the equivalent of… well… eating grass to alleviate hunger.
However, it seemed like the idea of immortal caves was common in this world. When an area of high spiritual energy was found, it wasn’t uncommon to create a cave encompassing the source of said energy. This wasn’t always the source of immortal caves. Many formed naturally, or if the mountain itself contained a great deal of spiritual energy, the cave was bored directly into it, in this case functioning more like a tap rather than a protection.
Bào bǐ watched the men moving dirt for nearly an hour, waiting for the best time to flee. Regrettably, he didn’t find one. The men took shifts, and there was no time that they all had their guards down. The men worked tirelessly, although they didn’t use shovels or their hands to move the dirt. Instead, the made strange incarnation gestures, and the dirt seemed to move on its own. Each time they cast out to move earth, it barely moved a handful. Bào bǐ couldn’t help but think that a shovel would have been faster. On the other hand, a man on a shovel surely would have grown tired by now.
Bào bǐ watched their earth moving incantation. Since he had nothing to do other than watch, he started trying to replicate the movements as quietly as he could. In truth, Bào bǐ would just use a shovel given the same situation, but he still found the ability to move objects with a spell to be interesting. As he continued to repeat the motions, just trying to pass the time quietly, a flash of inspiration hit him. This time, his movements were perfect.
A moment later, spirit energy exploded from Bào bǐ’s hands. The wall the group had been painfully building for the last hour was pulled with some force, and the entire thing crumbled in a single go. Bào bǐ stared in shock, still not realizing he had been responsible for it.
“There’s someone here!” The high tier guy growled, his eyes immediately locking on to the bush the Bào bǐ was hiding behind. “He’s there!”
No sooner did he point than three of the men toss out their hands. Rather than move dirt, various other dangerous looking magics came out including what appeared to be a ball of fire and some kind heat wave. Bào bǐ leaped from behind the bush just as all three techniques struck it. A fireball erupted behind him with enough force that he could feel the hair on the back of his neck burn.
Bào bǐ rolled into a squat, looking up to realize that he was now in the open with five Xaoi sect cultivators looking directly at him.
“That kid just sabotaged our cave!” One guy said.
“That was an hour of work down the drain.”
“He’s actually a cultivator.”
“I’m sorry!” Bào bǐ immediately apologized. “It was a mistake! I saw you guys moving dirt and I replicated the movements. Please forgive me. I will help you rebuild it!”
Bào bǐ was only a mere three-year-old child after all, although these men likely mistook him for a small seven or eight-year-old. They may be cultivators, but they were still people. Even criminals wouldn’t hurt a small child, especially when he was apologizing in earnest. The cultivation world may be cutthroat, but human beings still had hearts and souls. As long as Bào bǐ appealed to their humanity, he should be fine.
To his relief, the highest-level guy gave a friendly smile and nodded. “A mistake.”
Bào bǐ relaxed. “Thanks, I’m so-“
“Kill him.” As he pointed his bony finger at Bào bǐ, his smile grew even more.