Seeing the surprised looks on Bai’s and Tianlan’s faces, Hei spoke.
“It looks like I have successfully broken through to the externalisation realm.”
He could vaguely see everything around him in a three-meter radius. It wasn’t very clear, but for something like detecting fast moving objects, it was adequate.
Bai turned to Tianlan.
“It looks like it’s stable. His cultivation paths are fully formed.”
“Great! Now we just have to wait for the matriarch to handle things on her end. In the meantime, we’ll create her body refining technique and study spirit roots to solve her problem.”
Hei jumped in.
“If we’re going to do trials of the spirit root forging method, we should probably do it at home. It would be bad if I were seen leaving the Fang Clan injured.”
Hei was still thinking about the surveillance they may be under.
“Then we will gather information here and do the trials at home.”
Hei remembered something at this point.
“Now that we’re on the topic of the matriarch. Did either of you happen to see a blue aura around her at any point?”
Before Bai and Tianlan could answer, the door to the cultivation hall was opened, and an elder stepped in.
“What happened in here?”
Hei’s breakthrough had caused the defensive formations to activate, the elder had assumed that someone was up to no good here.
The elder wasn’t the only one.
The first floor wasn’t exactly populated, but there were a few juniors here and they were also wondering what had happened,
“I just broke through to the externalisation realm, and things decided to happen like this.”
Hearing this, the elder became angry.
“Do you think I was born yesterday? How could a breakthrough to the externalisation realm cause such disturbance? Besides, if you did break through, where is your tribulation?”
Bai stepped in.
“That’s exactly it. Our Shao Clan’s tribulation coping method is quite disruptive. It uses the earth as a medium to redirect the lightning. When this happens, there can be various phenomena, one being tremors.”
“Mm. We heard of the Fang Clan’s excellent defence formations, so we were sure that this would be a good place to break through. Not to mention the excellent information held in this cultivation hall that benefited us greatly. Even this first floor is more profound than anything we have ever seen.”
Hei added on.
“It was very fortunate for us to be able to come to the Fang Clan and see its wonders. Please forgive us for causing trouble.”
The three bowed politely as if they were really regretful.
“This… Our Fang Clan encourages the young to be bold. Since you had such faith in us, you will not be punished, but in the future, you should head to the ascension hall if you want to break through.”
“We are grateful for your graciousness.”
Seeing the three so quick to apologise and understand, the elder let it go. There was no harm done anyway.
After the elder left, Hei turned to Bai.
“Tribulation coping method huh? And you laid it on pretty thick Tianlan. Nicely done.”
The three laughed before Hei got back to his previous point.
“So. Did either of you see a blue aura around the matriarch at any point?”
“I saw something like that when she was asking for help.”
Tianlan added on.
“I also saw it. Do you think it means something?”
“If we could all see it, either she was emitting it on purpose, or it may have been the acknowledgement from the heavens.”
“But it was different from what we have.”
“It was, but you have to consider the fact that she has spirit roots. People with spirit roots are already different from us, so the way their acknowledgement manifests may also be different.”
“Hm. So what you’re saying, is we should create a technique with the assumption that she is one of us but with spirit roots?”
“Yes. So we will need to know what elements her spirit roots have, and how the acknowledgement will affect the way Qi interacts with them.”
“Mm. This is interesting. Maybe we will be able to do away with the null element core and have her soul attract the natural Qi like ours, then instead of having the changeable modifications we have, we can have the already existing spirit roots act in a way more similar to the way our changeable modifications would. Then we could-“
“OK, Little Bai. We should get to reading. We can discuss these things when we get home.”
Hei could see that Bai was speaking her thoughts out loud, and he wasn’t excited about going into detail with her.
Even though he had ‘unbelievable comprehension ability’, it didn’t mean that he enjoyed getting deep into cultivation theory the same way Bai did.
Bai skipped over to a bookshelf. She was like a kid in a candy store.
Hei looked over to Tianlan.
“Come, Brother. We can’t fall too far behind.”
Tianlan didn’t enjoy these kinds of things. His aptitude lay more in combat techniques.
The three spent the rest of the day reading, and only left when it became dark.
Bai was very happy as she was walking in front of her brothers.
“The information that the Fang Clan has is on a different level. Even though our Way of Essence can’t be improved any further, the variety of cultivation techniques we can create for others is quite interesting. Especially when you start looking at mixed roots. I think someone has been deceitful. There should be no reason for mixed roots to be inferior.”
Tianlan was surprised at Bai’s last statement.
“What do you mean? Mixed root cultivators have to spend more time practising techniques of different elements, they will inevitably grow weaker as the techniques become more profound.”
“That is correct. But have you ever considered the possibility of mixed techniques?”
“Mm. Who said a technique could only have one element?”
Tianlan could see where Bai was going with this. If there were techniques with mixed elements, the disadvantage of having to practice multiple techniques would be eliminated.
“Mm. I’m pretty sure that we’ll be able to do something about this. It may also be one of those things that are being blocked by the upper continent.”
As Bai was explaining her findings, the three saw a familiar face.
“Wait up, guys. It’s me, Fang Ren.”
‘We can see you. Is there a need to clarify who you are?’
The three stopped and waited for her to reach them.
“I wanted to thank you for helping me earlier.”
“There’s no need to thank us. Aren’t we friends?”
Fang Ren was excited to hear these words from Hei. So far, she had been the only one calling them friends but they had now reciprocated.
Not to mention, now that she was an externalisation cultivator, she could relate to her old friends who drifted away from her.
“Mm. Have you started cultivating your externalisation technique?”
“This… I was hoping you could help me with it.”
Fang Ren seemed to be embarrassed to ask.
She had already received a lot of help from these three, and she hadn’t done much in return.
“Sure. We’ll help you tomorrow. For today, practice your technique and have the cultivation paths stabilise.”
The three needed to have Fang Ren practice her technique so that Tianlan could analyse her cultivation paths. It wouldn’t be right for them to read her cultivation manual before they were accepted as guest elders, or the matriarch brought them to them herself.
Fang Ren was happy to hear this.
“I’ll escort you home.”
“…That won’t be necessary.”
Hei didn’t want to have too much contact with this clingy girl.
Bai turned to Hei and said.
“It’s good for the facade.”
Hei was silent for a moment. It really would be good to be escorted by a Fang Clan junior.
He turned to Fang Ren and spoke.
She immediately led the way.
Seeing her walking without hesitation, Hei became curious.
“Sister Ren. Do you know where we live?”
Fang Ren turned around with a confused face.
“The Shao Bakery, right?”
“Was it obvious?”
“You said you are from the Shao Clan, and you are bakers. You may not know, but the Shao Bakery is quite famous in Spring Leaf City.”
“Eh? Then why are there so few customers?”
“… That’s because the owner doesn’t… Apparently, he refuses to serve people who come because they have heard of the bread. He only serves those who stumbled upon it.”
“… How does he know?”
“That’s what everyone is trying to find out. He has had a 100% success rate.”
On a normal day, Hei would find his grandpa and ask about this, but he didn’t want to trigger a side quest, so he decided to keep quiet.
The four walked leisurely down the streets of Spring Leaf City.
Soon, they arrived at the Shao Bakery.
“This is us.”
“Mm. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Fang Ren waved goodbye before turning to leave.
The three entered their home.
When they got to the kitchen, they could see Xiulan baking as usual.
Hei could see the same golden glow around her that he had seen a few years ago.
He turned to Tianlan and Bai.
“Do you two see a golden glow around Mumu?”
Bai and Tianlan looked closer but shook their heads.
“So only I can see it.”
Bai turned to Hei.
“What do you think it is, Brother?”
“I don’t know. It seems to have something to do with baking, but I don’t remember having an ability like that.”
Hei decided that he would pay attention to whenever he saw this. From what he could tell, whenever Xiulan became serious about baking, she would exhibit this glow. It also appeared on the bread at the birthday banquet.
The three decided to go to the room in the back where they discussed what they had discovered today.
It was decided that they would raise all of the cultivation techniques they had seen to the level of the Fang Clan’s core inheritance, then raise the core inheritance up a notch.
This would allow the Fang Clan’s strength to increase as a whole while keeping the core members stronger than the others, which would reduce the possibility of internal conflict.
They started with what they had read today.
Since they had already perfected the Way of Essence’s first layer, improving other body refining realm techniques was very simple.
They were able to upgrade all of the techniques they had seen within a few hours.
After they had done this, Hei spoke.
“Mm. We’ll give these to the matriarch tomorrow and while we’re there, we’ll study her constitution in detail so we can get started on creating her unique technique and also fixing her spirit roots.”
“Mm. This should speed up the process of us being accepted as guest elders, which means we will be able to access the second floor and above.”
Tianlan stepped in.
“Then we’ll be able to create the second layer of the Way of Essence.”
“We’ll also be able to work on the matriarch’s externalisation realm technique and Sister Ren’s as well, while also improving the Fang Clan’s externalisation techniques.”
Hei stepped in.
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but our strengths will rise rapidly, and our knowledge will expand as well.”
The next day, after baking training, the three went over to the Fang Clan.
There was a similar line to yesterday, which the three skipped.
When the doorman saw them, he immediately let them pass.
“How’s your problem?”
“I am already seeing an improvement. Thank you for your guidance.”
The doorman cupped his fists to the three. The problem that the clan elders couldn’t solve was easily improved by these three.
“That’s good. Just keep at it and you will be fully recovered in no time.”
Hei was putting on a show for anyone who may be watching.
The three then walked in and went straight to the reception hall.
Their thoughts were that the matriarch should have already put up a notification system in the case of their arrival, and they were correct.
Halfway there, the same middle-aged man from yesterday met up with them and offered to escort them.
“Isn’t there a selection assessment today? Don’t you have to handle that?”
“There is, but it is more important to greet our honoured guests.”
“Oh? Then lead the way.”
The three looked at each other as they followed behind the middle-aged man.
It seemed the matriarch had acted fast. Even though they weren’t staying at the Fang Clan, they were still being treated like honoured guests.
They soon arrived at the hall, which the middle-aged man led them into.
To the three’s surprise, they saw a similar scene to the day before. The hall was full of elders and the matriarch was seated upon her throne.
The middle-aged man led in the greeting. He cupped his fist and bowed while saying:
“Greetings to the matriarch.”
The three stood there without bowing, like yesterday. They said:
“Greetings to the Fang Clan matriarch.”
The elders still remembered this Shao Clan boy from yesterday, and how he had no respect for the Fang Clan. They were already annoyed at his behaviour.
The matriarch also noticed this and sighed internally. There was nothing she could do about Hei’s Innate Offensive Physique.
The matriarch said:
“You may stand. The three of you may take a seat.”
She pointed to an area without elders.
Hei could see that the Fang Clan had given up on their intimidation tactics.
The three sat down, and Hei said:
“So. What’s this about?”
An elder was about to shout out, but the matriarch raised her hand to stop him.
“I have suggested that the three of you become guest elders of my Fang Clan. These are the deliberations. Since you are here today, I have invited you to represent yourselves.”
One elder spoke up.
“To think that you could become guest elders of our Fang Clan, ridiculous!”
“Exactly! What gives you the right?”
“I also agree. Matriarch, there is no need for further deliberation.”
The elders turned to the matriarch, who smiled.
“Do you know why I made the suggestion? Do you think I was feeling frivolous and decided to gather everyone on a whim?”
“This… Then please explain.”
The matriarch paused for the room to become silent.
“These three friends have the ability to improve cultivation techniques. That includes our core inheritance.”
The elders broke into an uproar
“Mm. They surely lied. Don’t believe the nonsense of children!”
“That’s right! What could they know about cultivation? And improving our core inheritance? Preposterous!”
The matriarch allowed all of the elder to voice their doubts.
Once they had quietened down, she spoke.
“I have witnessed with my own eyes, these three friends improving the cultivation of one of our juniors within minutes. Fang Ren.”
The matriarch called out to Fang Ren, who entered the hall.
She was nervous to be in front of all these elders, but the events of yesterday had made her more relaxed.
“Greetings to the matriarch.”
Fang Ren cupped her fist and bowed to the matriarch, before turning to her three new friends.
Hei nodded to her and she turned back to the matriarch, who spoke.
“This is Fang Ren, and as some of you may know, she has been stuck at the peak of body refining for a while now. Yesterday, after practising the technique that these three friends modified, her striking force increased directly from 3,000 jin to 5,000 jin. And this was after only an hour.”
The elders were surprised to hear this. Many of them had known Fang Ren because she would always come to them and ask how to break through to the externalisation realm.
They had explained to her how they had done it, but she still couldn’t seem to break through.
“Not only that. After overhearing these three friends discussing the process of breaking through to the externalisation realm, Fang Ren was able to break through yesterday. She is now an externalisation realm cultivator!”
The elders were even more surprised. Just by overhearing a conversation she was able to break through, but when they had given her direct guidance, she was unable? What was this?
Seeing that the elders were moved, the matriarch spoke.
“What say you now? Are they qualified to become guest elders of our Fang Clan?”
The elders were unable to speak. It was true that being able to improve the core inheritance was quite beneficial and being able to help a junior who had been stuck for a while to advance was also beneficial.
After a while, one elder spoke up.
“While that is impressive. It is still not enough. They have only shown that they were able to help one junior by improving her cultivation in very particular circumstances. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the clan will benefit from accepting these three as guest elders.”
Another elder added on.
“Not only that, but they won’t even swear loyalty and won’t be a reliable source of assistance in hard times. To me, this all sounds like a scam. Who knows how long they have been preparing for this?”
“That’s right. They could have found out about Fang Ren’s specific difficulties and made it look like they were easily able to improve her cultivation when it had actually taken long planning. All so that they could gain access to our cultivation techniques.”
The other elders agreed with this. This one example was not enough.
Even the matriarch couldn’t refute this point.
She turned to the three with an apologetic expression. She was fairly confident that they were looking to gain, but she knew that their gain would not be the Fang Clan’s loss. It would be beneficial for both sides.
Seeing the matriarch’s face and hearing the elders’ points, Hei had to admit that the Fang Clan wasn’t stupid. There was a reason they were the number one clan.
He leaned back in his chair and raised his left arm and placed it in the right sleeve of his robe. He then pulled it back out and in his hand was a stack of papers.
“You doubt our abilities, that is no surprise.”
He threw the papers into the air and they scattered. They then floated over to the matriarch and landed in a neat pile in front of her.
The matriarch was shocked to see Hei doing this. This was an application of the externalisation realm.
When one reached the externalisation realm, they were able to manipulate the branded Qi that had left their body in a more intricate way.
It seemed Hei had wrapped each individual piece of paper in branded Qi and had them independently move over to the matriarch.
This was a level of control few could reach in the externalisation realm.
What’s more, yesterday he was a body refining cultivator. He had reached this level in a matter of hours!
After her shock, the matriarch turned to Hei and asked:
“What are these?”
“These are the cultivation techniques we had read in the cultivation hall yesterday. We have improved them all. You should find that they aren’t lacking when compared to your core inheritance.”
The elders spoke up.
“Our core inheritance? Don’t be too full of yourself.”
“That’s right. What does a little runt like you know about our core inheritance?”
Hearing this, Hei switched immediately.
“Say one more word and you won’t be able to say another!”
He unleashed his Qi into the surroundings, pressing down on the elders. He also mimicked his father and brought a suppressive aura.
He was alright with people mocking him or Tianlan, but Bai was off limits.
Immediately, all of the elders felt like a mountain was pressing down on them. They didn’t feel any pain, but they found it extremely difficult to move.
Even the chairs underneath them and the walls and floor of the hall were starting to take damage.
Glowing symbols lit up when the room was coming under this attack, but they also started to crack.
The matriarch was shocked. She immediately stood up.
“Forgive them Shao Hei! I apologise on their behalf.”
Bai also spoke up.
“It’s not a big deal, Brother.”
Hearing Bai’s words, Hei calmed down.
His Qi immediately returned, and the suppressive aura disappeared.
The damage that had been done started to repair itself and all was as if nothing had happened.
The only difference was the fear in the elders’ eyes.
The matriarch wasn’t too fearful because Hei had not suppressed her at all. She also knew that he wasn’t an overly violent person. Otherwise, he would have beaten her into submission yesterday.
Evidently, it would have been as easy as flipping his palm.
Hei laughed awkwardly.
“Sorry about that, miss matriarch, but I think it would be best if the elders were to refrain from offending my sister. It seems I lack self-control.”
Hei was never violent in his past life. In fact, he never got angry from what he could remember.
‘There is something in the air here. Yup, that’s it. Nothing to do with me at all.’
Hei was in denial. He wanted to assume that it was the world that had caused him to become angry. Something Crystalia had done. Anything but himself.
The matriarch was speechless. Hei was back to his previous self as if nothing had happened.
Seeing this, Hei decided to move ahead.
“You can take a look at the techniques. I doubt anyone will think that we have been infiltrating the cultivation hall over time to slowly improve them.”
The matriarch recalled the stack of papers that was still floating in front of her.
She took them and read through them one by one.
After a while, her eyes widened.
“These techniques… They really aren’t inferior to our core inheritance.”
The matriarch was shocked at the three’s ability to improve cultivation techniques.
As a peak internalisation cultivator, she was easily able to assess body refining techniques, and all of these techniques could be placed in the same classification as her Fang Clan’s core inheritance.
She passed the stack of papers to an elder and a similar situation occurred.
As each elder read the stack of papers, their thoughts changed. They looked at the three in awe.
After all of the elders had read the papers, they remained silent.
Hei noticed this and with a confused face asked.
“You have no opinions on them?”
The elders remained silent.
Hei looked to the matriarch with a questioning gaze.
The matriarch also didn’t answer. It was too awkward to say it.
Fang Ren was similar to Hei. She had no idea what was going on.
She knew that Hei had managed to intimidate the elders, but since she was new to the externalisation realm, she didn’t know exactly what had happened.
Seeing that Hei had no idea what was going on, Bai pulled at his sleeve and whispered in his ear.
Hei couldn’t believe what he was hearing. It was just a little Qi and some suppressive aura. Did they have to take it so seriously?
Hei had no idea how effective his intimidation was. To him he was just making a point, but he had deeply entrenched a fear in these elders.
They now knew that their lives could end immediately if they were to speak the wrong words.
The matriarch also didn’t quite know why the elders had taken it to this point because she had not experienced it for herself.
“Uh, you can say what you like. Just don’t insult Little Bai…”
One elder spoke cautiously.
“These techniques are excellent, but what will happen if our core inheritance loses its value?”
Hei sat up and the elder flinched back.
Hei was surprised at the jumpiness of this elder.
“It is not only these techniques that can be improved, but your core inheritance can also be improved, we just lack access to the techniques. We can easily make it so that the core inheritance is a step above the other techniques.”
Bai added on.
“That will increase the strength of the Fang Clan as a whole without changing the internal structure.”
Hearing this, another elder spoke.
“The matriarch has good eyes. I have no objections to welcoming our new guest elders.”
The other elders all cupped their fists towards the three.
“Welcome, Guest Elders Shao.”