Chapter 134 – The Second Layer of Qi Practitioner
With a Diamond Sutra cast aside on the ground, Xiao An leapt behind Li Qingshan and placed a bone finger on the Fengchi acupoint on the back of the latter’s head.
He seemed to hear the chiming of bells.
True qi rushed towards its final target, that great untraversable dam. Afterwards, it easily seeped through as if there was not an impenetrable wall blocking its way, but a soft sponge instead.
The final speck of light lit up, expanding in all directions like river water returning to the ocean. True qi flowed through the Yang Heel meridian constantly with no more obstruction anymore.
Li Qingshan had finally opened his first meridian, reaching the second layer of Qi Practitioner.
The Yang Heel meridian was like a highway, stretched from his head to his foot through his body, forming a passageway through his entire body. The acupoints were no longer closed. Instead, as every single one of them lit up, his whole body experienced change.
Li Qingshan opened his eyes. His surroundings became clearer and brighter than before, as if a layer of dust had been wiped away. The chirps of the summer insects outside his window were clear and layered. He even felt like he could count just how many insects were chirping. From time to time, a leaf would be blown off a tree, landing on the tiles of the roof. It would be as clear as a clap of thunder.
His sense of smell had increased by the least, but he could smell the fragrance of each flower outside the window, and the grass outside gave off a grassy smell from being baked by the hot, humid, summer night. As for his sense of taste, he knew it had become much stronger even without testing.
This was the strengthening of his five senses that came with the opening of the Dicang, Jùliao, Chengqi, and Qingming acupoints.
When he got up off his bed and stepped on the ground, there seemed to be a layer of air cushioning his feet. His body had become extremely light. He felt like as long as he used a little bit of force, he could fly through the sky. These were the changes brought on by the Shenmai, Pushen, and Fuyang acupoints on the bottom of his foot.
He casually raised his arm, and the Naoshu, Jianyu, and Jugu acupoints lit up. True qi flowed through his arm naturally to his hand, bursting out from his palm and striking the wall from afar. It left behind a hand print.
Every single movement seemed so smooth and natural. He personally felt like the meridian had connected his whole body together. Who knows how much faster he could circulate his true qi now.
It was like when emperor Yang of Sui completed the Grand Canal, connecting north and south, allowing people to move and transport goods freely. His efforts prompted economic exchange across the entire country. These acupoints were all like important hubs for transport.
However, none of these hubs seemed as important as the Fengchi acupoint, as the qi of the body was not all it was connected to.
Fengchi, or Wind Pool, was where wind evil accumulated. As mentioned in the Fundamentals of Nature: Acupoints along skeletal indentations, wind is the primary cause of all diseases. Once wind evil entered the brain, it would cause all types of diseases. As a result, it was an extremely important acupoint within the human body.
The moment he opened the Fengchi acupoint, some qi seemed to surge out as if he had opened a new cavity apart from his mouth and nose, allowing him to breath. However, he was not breathing air, but the qi of the world.
Of course, this was not exactly connecting with the spiritual qi of the world, but it was the first time he had sensed the existence of the spiritual qi of the world. It was just like wind, a qi that constantly flowed around.
When he used the mental cultivation method that came with the fourth layer of the Innate Method of Practising Qi, a gust of ‘wind’ would enter his body from the back of his head from time to time, reaching all the way to his feet. He could not help but shudder before feeling pleasure spread through his body.
On the back of the heads of wild beasts was a horizontal bone, the Henggu. Once they refined it, they would awaken their intelligence. As for humans, they had a Fengchi on the back of their heads. Opening the Fengchi allowed them to connect with the world.
Li Qingshan exhaled gently. The art of practising qi that humans created was extremely impressive. And, he could feel that practising qi provided assistance to daemon cultivators as well, just like how his physical strength would increase naturally once his daemon body became larger.
The two supplemented one another in a positive feedback loop.
Did brother ox leave the thing for me in the sumeru ring and encourage me to practise qi because he wanted me to merge these two different cultivation methods so that I can find my own path? Li Qingshan guessed. However, no matter what path he took, he was still a tiny shrimp who had just set off. He was nowhere close to achieving that.
There was a saying that the rocks from other mountains were tough enough to shape jade1. He would be sitting between two of these mountains and having them rub and collide with one another. Just what kind of sparks could he produce?
Li Qingshan suppressed his eagerness and delight as he said to Xiao An, “Did you help me out earlier?” It was definitely not a coincidence for him to be able to open his Fengchi meridian so easily.
The blood flames in Xiao An’s eyes were rather dim. His finger from earlier had drained him substantially.
While Li Qingshan was cultivating with his eyes closed, he watched slowly and gradually, his gaze managed to pierce Li Qingshan’s skin and muscles, akin to what modern radiography could achieve, looking through Li Qingshan’s body clearly. However, it was also clearer and more vivid that anything radiographic imaging could produce.
He saw the existence of the meridian and saw how Li Qingshan’s true qi constantly climbed upwards. Eventually, it climbed to the very top and rushed towards the Fengchi meridian at the back of his head. However, it clearly did not have the power to open it.
As a result, at that critical moment, he poked the Fengchi meridian.
By the human body, one really was just referring to a combination of bone and flesh. Even the wondrous meridians and profound acupoints were based on flesh. The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty could control both flesh and bone.
Xiao An’s current cultivation was still too weak. He had yet to even reach the first layer of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. If he did, just a single finger of his would be enough to shatter bone and peel off flesh. Although he still did not have that kind of strength, he was able to lend Li Qingshan a helping hand at his time of need.
He needed to be extremely careful with the finger. The back of the head was already a weak point of the human body. If he messed up, it was very likely for him to kill Li Qingshan. If it were not for the toughness of Li Qingshan’s body, Xiao An would have never been bold enough to attempt such an action. It had also drained away all of his mental energy, making him even more tired than after a fight against a terrifying daemonic beast.
Xiao An held a wolf-hair brush and finished writing. Only then did Li Qingshan learn the whole story. He could not help but become speechless. “Isn’t the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty a little far too powerful? If I had your help, wouldn’t it be much easier for me to practise qi?”
Xiao An shook his head. He dipped his brush in ink and wrote four words. “Haste is not speed.”
Li Qingshan said, “Really? I want to finish the Innate Method of Practising Qi sooner, and then switch to a new cultivation method.”
Xiao An asked Li Qingshan a few questions regarding the Innate Method of Practising Qi through the paper.
Li Qingshan actually did not know how to answer them. Only then did he discover that he had yet to understand the Innate Method of Practising Qi completely. Afterwards, he asked in surprise, “You’ve practised the Innate Method of Practising Qi before as well?”
Xiao An shook his head before nodding. Afterwards, he wrote away.
As it turned out, Xiao An had been listening along silently when Yan Song passed the Innate Method of Practising Qi to Li Qingshan, which he found to be rather familiar. Now that he had witnessed Li Qingshan break through to the second layer of Qi Practitioner tonight, this sense of familiarity grew stronger. He naturally understood many important aspects that came with practising the Innate Method of Practising Qi, comprehending its essentials. Afterwards, he found that Li Qingshan’s method of practising seemed to deviate from it slightly, so he could not help but ask him a few questions.
Originally, Li Qingshan did not find the Innate Method of Practising Qi to be very profound or complicated, but after seeing the points that Xiao An mentioned, he felt like he had suddenly been enlightened. He was like a primary school student who had just started going to school with regards to the path of practising qi, practising addition keenly, but suddenly, the times tables descended upon him.
He rubbed Xiao An’s head and smiled bitterly. “Looks like my talent for comprehension really is horrid!”
Actually, Li Qingshan’s comprehension was not that bad. Instead, the problem was that he had never received guidance from anybody on the path of practising qi.
The path of cultivation was about four words—wealth, companionship, method, and environment. Companionship ranked second, which mostly referred to master-disciple relationships. Every single person required the guidance of a senior so that they could stand on the shoulder of giants. It would always take much less effort compared to fumbling around by themselves.
Xiao An was not using his natural talent for comprehension, but much of the knowledge hidden deep within his memories.
Xiao An was immediately left at a loss as for how to comfort him. Li Qingshan smiled. “I’ll have to rely on your guidance in the future then. Though, I must say, it’s far too inconvenient, but it’ll be fine once you reconstruct your body. Don’t worry, it won’t be too long.”
Li Qingshan continued to meditate, following Xiao An’s guidance and going through the first to the fourth layer of the Innate Method of Practising Qi again, stabilising his current cultivation bit by bit.
A few Qi Gathering pills were obviously eaten during the process. Afterwards, he discovered that he had less than thirty Qi Gathering pills on him now, immediately dropping from being well-off to just being able to make ends meet. This was the price that came with walking two paths. He probably would not have much income in the foreseeable future, so he had to carefully calculate and budget his remaining Qi Gathering pills.
The sky lit up. There was knocking on the door, and Li Qingshan went downstairs, opening up. All he saw was Diao Fei and Qian Rongzhi standing at the entrance. He asked, “What’s the matter?”
Diao Fei and Qian Rongzhi were about to speak, but they ended up forgetting what they were going to say. They stared at Li Qingshan in shock as they said in disbelief, “Y- you’ve broken through to the second layer?” Just the night before, they had been amazed by Li Qingshan’s cultivation speed, yet today, he had taken them by surprise again. It was just like how Li Qingshan sighed to Xiao An about his horrible talent for comprehension. Jealousy was the only thing Diao Fei and Qian Rongzhi could feel right now.
Li Qingshan nodded in an unconcerned manner. “Yeah, I spent some time cultivating. If there isn’t anything else, I’m going back to cultivating.” With that, he was about to close the door.
“Hold on, didn’t we discuss this last night? The trial mission!”
Li Qingshan remembered it. “Oh, I almost forgot.”
The two of them congratulated Li Qingshan reluctantly. Afterwards, Li Qingshan tidied himself up slightly, bringing along Xiao An before going with the two of them to receive the mission.
The Black Wolf guards they came across along the way were all surprised when they saw Li Qingshan, all congratulating him with various expressions. After all, there was no matter more joyous than a breakthrough to cultivators. No matter how they thought of him, they could not lack common courtesy.
At the same time, there was respect towards strength. Second layer Qi Practitioners formed the very bottom of the Hawkwolf Guard, but Li Qingshan was a tough figure who managed to easily defeat a second layer Qi Practitioner and even frighten third layer Qi Practitioners while he was at the first layer. Now that he had broken through again, he had basically become one of the stronger people in the Hawkwolf Guard of Jiaping city.
Arriving in the main office of the Hawkwolf Guard, Zhuo Zhibo waited for them there in person. It was a tradition for the commander to personally give the first trial mission to newcomers. When he saw Li Qingshan, he was surprised at first before smiling. “You’ve broken through again. You really are young and promising. Your future prospects are immeasurable.”
Li Qingshan cut to the chase and said, “I was just lucky. Commander Zhuo, may I ask what our trial mission is?”
Zhuo Zhibo waved his hand, and an envoy in black passed a document to him. Li Qingshan unfurled it, and even with his mental fortitude, he could not help but be stunned.
1. Rocks from other mountains are tough enough to shape jade is basically saying that the advice of others can benefit you. In other words, it’s referring to other people or things (or cultivation methods in this case) that can improve you.