Chapter 282 – Mutual Promotion
Li Qingshan’s senses for murderous auras and hostility were as sharp as they came, so how could he not notice her? If it were directed at him, he might have not cared, but since it was towards Xiao An, that was enough for him to kill her.
The female instructor saw how Li Qingshan was also a sixth layer Qi Practitioner, so she glared back to hold her ground. However, Li Qingshan’s gaze had already shifted over to Xiao An.
What she failed to notice was Qian Rongzhi’s gaze, as gentle as water, from within the crowd. There was no killing intent or hostility in there at all. Even if the female instructor saw it, she would find it very gentle.
“Xiao An, why have you come here?” Li Qingshan asked. Suddenly, he was taken aback. Hmm? The third layer?
Xiao An looked at Li Qingshan and immediately revealed a dazzling smile, throwing herself into his arms.
“What’s wrong? It has only been a morning since you last saw me. How did you reach the third layer?” Li Qingshan rubbed her head. He vaguely understood that this was probably due to the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty.
Even the plump old man could not bother to explain things. He knew the leaders were all watching, so he urged, “Get tested for your elemental affinity.”
Li Qingshan smiled. “This is good too. We can cultivate together. Go get tested!”
Under everyone’s watch, Xiao An made her way towards the formation. Most of the Qi Practitioners were bewildered. Why did a kid appear at the end, and why did the professor personally bring her here? Did she possess some powerful background? Though, she sure was impressive to have reached the third layer at such a young age.
No one imagined that she had still been a regular person in the morning, or at least she seemed like one. Even if someone thought of that, they would immediately dismiss this absurd idea.
“Isn’t that the child who follows Li Qingshan around? Called Xiao An or something? Didn’t she take part in the test for children?” Han Qiongzhi asked in surprise.
Hua Chengzan frowned. What was going on with this kid? The third layer? Was she hiding her strength? Aside from that, there were no better explanations. Suddenly, he thought of something. Don’t tell me?
“Brother Tian, look at that child. She’s so pretty!”
“I think we’ve seen her somewhere.”
Chu Tian just happened to be walking away while surrounded by a crowd. He also looked back in confusion? More people to be tested? What a waste of time. The Academy of the Hundred Schools should increase their requirements. Otherwise, even nobodies could study alongside him.
Xiao An stood in the centre of the formation. Looking at the ancient formation carved deep into the rock, she found it to be extremely familiar.
This sense of familiarity was even more intense than what Li Qingshan had experienced, but it was so sudden too. It was like an unexpected rogue wave slamming into her, releasing the remnants of a few memories.
She could not help but close her eyes. At some point in her past, she had stood in a similar formation as a delighted cry rang out in the surroundings, “Success!”
The formation let out an indetectable hum and suddenly lit up. The surroundings fell quiet. Everyone was slightly taken aback before bursting out with laughter.
“Talent like that sure is rare!”
Chu Tian laughed the loudest. “Don’t tell me that’s the Five Elements constitution too?”
Around Xiao An in the five corners of the formation flickered a smear of golden light, a tender grass shoot, a translucent droplet of water, and a pale yellow flame. The location for earth was just empty. Only at a closer glance could the hovering speck of dust be seen.
In the air above the formation, the light and darkness were so weak that it was almost invisible.
“All low ding?” The instructor responsible for recording the talents frowned. No, it should have been even lower than low ding. She did not possess any talent for the five elements, yin, or yang. If Chu Tian was a supreme genius, then she was supremely useless.
The plump old man sighed. The female instructor mocked, “Is this the Heavenly Meridians prodigy that the school leaders valued? I think she’s just a piece of trash!”
Li Qingshan glanced at her indifferently. There was no longer any murderous aura. There was no need for him to behave so viciously towards a dead person. He was not interested in why she was so hostile to Xiao An either.
His Xiao An was someone that even brother ox had praised as a genius.
The various school leaders were disappointed. Originally, they wanted to confirm which school Xiao An would belong to from her elemental affinity, but all of it was so low. This meant that her connection with the spiritual qi of the world was so weak that it was almost non-existent.
Sigh. It would have been fine if she had even average talent for any single attribute. No, even if it was mediocre, it would be fine. However, this was basically akin to possessing no talent at all. She would be alright as a Qi Practitioner, but Foundation Establishment required connecting with the spiritual qi of the world.
Liu Zhangqing shook his head with a soft sigh. “Can you call this both a blessing and a curse?”
Behind her supreme talent hid a tremendous flaw. It was not impossible to make up for her lack of elemental affinity, but the required resources were so tremendous and precious that probably only large sects like the Sword Collection palace or the Umbral Yin sect, or large clans like the provincial lord’s estate, could bear the costs of and produce. However, if they poured all of these resources into any regular Qi Practitioner, they could still produce a genius, so why did they have to spend it on her? The heavens were playing a huge, evil joke on her!
The various school leaders looked at earth elder Huang again. They found his foresight to be rather admirable. Prodigies could not be determined from a single aspect alone.
The old man continued to smoke his pipe, neither disappointed nor surprised.
Only the One Thought master brought his palms together and lowered his head, acting like he was taking pity on her. His lips curled into a mysterious smile. It’s all the buddha’s arrangements!
“This can’t be right!” The man in coarse clothing with a long hat muttered with a frown. As the leader of the school of Yin-yang, Ma Buyi’s understanding of yin, yang, and the five elements completely surpassed the other school leaders. Born into the world, humans were created from yin, yang, and the five elements in the first place. Even regular people should not have been in possession of such poor talent.
“Child, you can come out from there now,” the plump old man said kindly.
Xiao An kept her eyes shut, without moving at all.
A woman’s cold voice rang out in her ears from the depths of her heart. “Do you understand the use of this formation now? Show me!”
She muttered with an almost indiscernible voice, “Yes, queen mother!”
“What did you say?” asked the plump old man.
Li Qingshan could sense there was something off about Xiao An. He took a few steps forward, wanting to pull Xiao An out.
The formation suddenly began to operate, shining with light.
The translucent droplet of water flew towards the tender grass shoot. The shoot began to grow, turning into a sapling in the blink of an eye. Just as the sapling thrived and budded, a spark landed on it, turning into a roaring fire.
The sapling was burnt to ashes, scattering as countless specks of dust, which were drawn over to the tiny speck of dust. They turned into a black piece of soil. Glimmers of golden light appeared in the soil, gaining a smear of gold.
Afterwards, the droplet of water appeared again, turning into a gurgling stream and wrapping around dead wood. It sprouted and grew once more.
The fire was unable to burn it all away. It sprouted once again in the spring wind.
At the same time, the two specks of light and darkness merged together above the formation, constantly revolving around one another. They would swell in size with each rotation, growing to the size of fists in the blink of an eye. The light and darkness were completely different, yet they also merged together without any repulsion. It looked like a diagram of yin and yang from all perspectives.
The instructor recording the affinities and talent was stunned. “All of the elements have reached high ding, no, bing!”
The Qi Practitioners in the surroundings had already become dumbfounded. Wasn’t this a testing formation? Since when could it be used like this?
“The five elements are promoting one another, and yin and yang are growing mutually. How is this possible?” Ma Buyi’s eyes widened as he leapt to his feet.
Liu Zhangqing frowned. “Fellow Ma, what is going on?”
“Do you know the full name of this formation?” Ma Buyi’s breathing became rather ragged.
The school leaders were all stumped. With their knowledge and experience, they even knew about a few rare, strange formations if they were asked, but they just happened to be at quite a loss regarding the name of this formation. Wasn’t this just the formation used to test elemental affinities?
The slovenly daoist priest asked, “Is it the Mutual Promotion and Regulation Formation of Yin, Yang, and the Five Elements?”
Ma Buyi said, “Exactly. Daoist brother, you truly are knowledgeable. Do you know what the true usage of this formation is?”
Even the slovenly daoist priest was rather stumped this time. Apart from testing affinities, what else was it for?
Ma Buyi said, “The cultivation methods of ancient cultivators have all been about practising yin, yang, and the five elements together. You all know that, right?”
The so-called supernatural powers in the ancient times was a power that merged together yin, yang, and the five elements. It allowed them to use any technique freely, with extraordinary power and infinite flexibility. However, the difficulty of cultivation and the requirement on the cultivator’s talent was unimaginable to cultivators of the present day. Only a very small number of people could grasp it. If they used the standards of the ancient times as a requirement on present day cultivators, then it would be quite impressive if the academy was left with around a hundred or so people.
In order to fight their enemies, ancient cultivators gained inspiration from their enemies, the daemons and the otherfolk, constantly improving the path of cultivation. That was why the cultivation method of practising just a single element of true qi existed in the present day. Although it decreased the overall quality of cultivators, it multiplied the number of cultivators by hundreds or thousands of times, which allowed the establishment of human supremacy.
The various leaders nodded. This could be regarded as the basic history of the cultivation world. Suddenly, they seemed to understand something, and they looked into the Watermirror disc.
A startling transition occurred in the formation.
The tree had already been burnt to ashes over a dozen times by the fire, but under the nourishment of water and earth, it had become a lush forest. A river parted the thick soil, winding through the forest as specks of gold glimmered in the river water.
They were unable to spot Xiao An in there anymore. They would only be able to catch a glimpse of her when the flames rose up and burned down everything again. The yin and yang had vanished too. They merged with every spark and every part of the tree shade, pushing and pulling, fluctuating between yin and yang.
The five elements no longer stood alone. Instead, they had merged together, like a living world. It seemed like the birth of the universe as primitive creation unfolded.
“They’re all yi,” the note-taking instructor murmured. He no longer knew what to say. Although they were all yi, anyone could tell that this was even rarer than Chu Tian’s complete jia. And, the yin, yang, and five elements were still growing. Reaching jia was just a matter of time.
“That’s right. This formation was created for ancient cultivators to practise cultivation. Practising yin, yang, and the five elements together requires you to understand the changes and transformations within interpromotion and interregulation. It’s both a method of cultivation and a very popular game among ancient cultivators, a game forgotten by people,” Ma Buyi uttered by himself. His gaze made him seem like he was reminiscing, but also sighing, about the past.