When the three had gotten home, Hei realised something.
“So, you guys have new techniques. Where’s mine?”
He felt that it would be a little unfair if his siblings were to have only created new techniques for themselves and left him out. Especially when he was the one going through all of the pain to help them.
After hearing Hei’s words, Bai and Tianlan turned to each other.
“We did create a technique for you.”
“Oh? Let me see.”
After seeing the excitement in Hei’s eyes, Bai reluctantly wrote down a technique on the floor.
Immediately after reading the technique, Hei’s eyes lit up.
“What is this? So cool!”
Even though she was reluctant to give Hei this technique, Bai shared in his excitement.
“We noticed that you never attack, Brother. That was why we created this technique that can be used as both offence and defence. Not only that, but it also blends the concepts of externalisation, allowing you to perform a wide variety of actions.”
Tianlan stepped in.
“In other words, you can do whatever you can imagine.”
“How did you come up with this?”
Hei was still surprised at this technique. It was nothing like the techniques Bai and Tianlan used, as it wasn’t an attack or a defence, but it could be used in both ways.
“It is because you are always spreading your Qi into the surroundings. We thought that if you instead solidified it into uniform objects, you would be able to use it more efficiently, and with more impact.”
“That’s true. If it’s like this I can anchor myself, and also shield myself and others. And if need be, I can directly attack with them.”
“Mm. The only limit is on your mental energy. This means that as you practice the technique, you will get better at manipulating your Qi, your mental energy will grow, and you will be able to attack, defend, anchor yourself, move around and even hinder your opponent. All using the same technique.”
Hei was very impressed by his siblings.
“What do you call this technique?”
“Due to its limitless potential and the nature of the uniform components, we decided to name it Unlimited Chain Works.”
“Unlimited Chain Works?”
Hei was excited at this name. It reminded him of something from his past life.
“Mm. Do you like it?”
Bai was a little embarrassed. She could see the excitement in Hei’s eyes.
Hei stepped to Bai and hugged her tightly.
“The name is perfect. Thank you for creating this technique for me, Little Bai.”
After seeing this, Tianlan grumbled.
“I worked on it as well you know?”
His words were ignored, and Hei released Bai, after rubbing her head.
He then proceeded to try out his new technique.
He focused on creating a link, and it started forming in his hand. Then he created another link and joined them together.
This continued until he had a long chain.
“It’s quite draining, but the chain remains solid without any further control. How long will it last?”
He turned to Bai, who answered:
“It will last as long as your branding remains on the Qi.”
“Hm. I wonder how long that is.”
Hei continued to create new links.
He noticed that he could feel anything that touched his chain, similar to spiritual perception, but in a more focused form.
He could also tell that the links were very strong, and he could adjust their density, by adjusting the amount of Qi.
If there was a downside to the technique, He would say it was that the chains had to be tied to his body physically if he wanted to control them.
If he were to remove the chains from his body, he would lose the senses and they would become regular chains, but he could reconnect with them by touching them.
That meant that if he were to come across a cultivator stronger than him, he could be dragged around by his own chain, or he could potentially lose a lot of condensed Qi.
‘Maybe, if I comprehend spatial laws, I can have the chains come out of nowhere like Gilgamesh.’
Hei was excited at the prospect. He wanted to be able to overwhelm his enemies with chains.
This would be especially useful because he now had a way to restrain them.
After the sparring matches, he realised that he was unable to stop his enemies from re-joining the battle, even after he had blocked their attacks.
He only had two hands to physically hold them.
Now that he had these chains that he could manipulate at will, he could permanently remove an opponent from the fight as soon as he caught them.
Tianlan seemed to be getting impatient.
“Ok. So let’s break through to the internalisation realm real quick.”
Hei’s thoughts were cancelled by Tianlan’s words. He was about to go through some more torture.
He was reluctant, but in the end, he broke through to the internalisation realm without difficulty.
This time the ground didn’t shake.
Apparently, breaking through to the internalisation realm, was all about creating internal representations of the external, which meant that all of the changes took place internally.
There was no phenomenon to be exaggerated by Hei.
What he did get, was a pool of water in his mind.
This was the internal representation of his spiritual perception. The size of the pool represented the range at which a cultivator could spread their spiritual perception.
Hei’s pool was growing at a slow but constant pace.
He was also able to monitor his internal state now, so he would be able to see how bad his own injuries were if he chose to do so.
Bai and Tianlan wasted no time in getting to work. They had Hei ‘voluntarily’ die for them.
As the days went by, Hei would cope with his torture by practising his new technique. There was something strangely calming about creating link after link which allowed him to endure the pain.
He also noticed something interesting about this new technique. It seemed the chains never went away.
After some time, the entire floor of the room was covered in chains, and Hei decided to store it in his storage space.
Because the chains were connected to his body, he could create them directly inside the storage space, showing no sign of them externally. He could then disconnect them for long-term storage.
At first, he thought he would be able to use his storage space as a medium to have his chains appear from nowhere, but it seemed it didn’t work that way.
After a while, the entire storage space was full of chains, so Hei decided to reabsorb them and create denser chains. He would create new links at the rate that the storage space grew.
It was a shame that he was now unable to create new links fast enough to distract himself from the pain, but he was getting better at manipulating the chains.
He started to create chains from other places than his hands.
As long as the area was big enough, he could create a chain from it. And if it wasn’t, he could just create a chain out of smaller links.
Hei experimented with all sorts of sizes and shapes. He even started to make chain-mail and various other objects out of the chain.
It got to the point where he was making small chain puppets of animals and people.
He would have them move around and perform for him.
Bai and Tianlan thought that it was quite sad seeing their brother heading down a strange road, but they were more concerned with the internalisation technique.
After a few months, Hei was holding full-blown sparring matches between his chain puppets.
Bai thought this was an interesting exercise in Qi manipulation, so she created modified versions of Unlimited Chain Words for herself and Tianlan, so they could also reap the benefits.
They found that it was much more difficult than Hei had made it seem. Their puppets were brittle, and their movements were rough.
Unlike them, Hei had access to the natural Qi in the environment to offset his expenditure. The Qi seemed to be willing to help without his asking.
Also, he was in the internalisation realm. It was easier for him to convert his thoughts into actions that the puppets would perform.
Bai and Tianlan, on the other hand, could only use their branded Qi and were in the externalisation realm.
None the less, it was good training.
As Hei’s ‘performances’ became better and better, Bai and Tianlan could see the puppets using their techniques.
Hei would have one of the puppets use Sonic Qi, and the other would use Territory.
Bai and Tianlan were not too happy to see this.
When Hei had asked them to show him their techniques in manual form, they thought it was because he had discovered some flaws and was going to improve them.
Never could they have imagined it was, so he could hold better performances with his puppets.
“This is no good. He’s getting a bit too familiar with our techniques.”
“Mm. We will have to make some new ones. Keep this a secret.”
“Luckily, he is only experiencing them through the puppets. He’s too injured to experience them first hand.”
Hei would be severely injured after each trial, but his mental energy wouldn’t be affected.
Using his Qi to manipulate the puppets was quite painful, but he was able to get past the pain because he enjoyed the sparring matches.
After a while, he added a third puppet, which was using Unlimited Chain Works to fight against the other two.
‘Hm. It seems Unlimited Chain Works is able to hold off Sonic Qi for a while.’
Hei paid attention to the results of the sparring matches. How his Unlimited Chain Works fared against Sonic Qi and Territory.
After a while, he realised that he had been using Unlimited Chain Works with the other techniques simultaneously this whole time.
He experimented further and was eventually able to use Sonic Qi to nullify Sonic Qi.
More importantly, he was able to use his links as explosives. So, he could throw them at the target, or plant them as landmines. He could wrap the target in chains and then detonate them if he wanted.
Depending on how much Qi was used to make the links, he could adjust the power of the explosions.
When Bai and Tianlan saw this, they regretted showing him their techniques. They had created a monster.
How were they supposed to win sparring matches against him now?
On the bright side, they also benefited from Hei’s discoveries.
After a total of 6 months, the three had completed the third layer of The Way of Essence.
Again, there was no big event when Hei practised the perfected technique, other than the usual rapid consumption of null element Qi.
Bai and Tianlan promptly broke through to the internalisation realm.
The next day, the three headed over to the Fang Clan, where they were welcomed by a hoard of juniors.
“It’s the childish sages!”
“Sage Tianlan is even more handsome than before.”
“Doesn’t Sage Hei look different as well?”
“How can you tell?”
“This… I’m not really sure.”
“They’ve been gone for a while, so there is a high chance of being on the list this time.”
“Mm. There are almost 200 slots.”
“The people who were on the list last time had crazy improvements.”
“I heard Fang Ren is already one of the strongest externalisation realm cultivators in the clan. At the same age, she only loses out to the Dual Polarities. And she has 5 elements mixed roots!”
“That’s right. She rose up out of nowhere.”
“Nowhere? Obviously, the childish sages helped her. I bet they could even take a rock from the side of the road and turn it into gold.”
The three could hear the juniors discussing around them as they headed to the matriarch’s residence.
Bai and Tianlan refused to spar when Hei asked them, so they had no need to go to the ‘office’ right now. They decided to give the matriarch her technique first.
As they approached, the doorman noticed them and opened the gate immediately.
This shocked the juniors.
“Did the childish sages have such high status?”
“They have benefited the clan tremendously. It would be strange if they got any less than this.”
“That’s true. As far as I know, the clan has never increased in strength like this before. We may even be stronger now than we were before the Mountain Splitting incident.”
Before the Mountain Splitting incident. This was when the Fang Clan was at its strongest. They had several talented juniors and many peak internalisation realm elders.
The matriarch herself was one of the previous generation’s Dual Polarities.
The trio headed into the matriarch’s residence, led by the doorman.
They soon reached the reception room where the matriarch was already seated.
They sat on a couch opposite her, and Hei spoke.
“Long time no see.”
The matriarch responded with a smile. She had made tremendous progress in the last 6 months. She was now stronger than she had been when she was at the peak of the internalisation realm.
“Without further ado.”
Hei pulled out a pile of papers and floated them over to the matriarch, who took them excitedly.
After reading them, she spoke.
“You always come right on time. I just reached the peak of the externalisation realm this morning.”
“Mm. Do you have a new list of juniors?”
The matriarch pulled out the list and floated it over to Hei.
Hei put the list away without even reading it.
“Then we’ll be on our way.”
The matriarch seemed to be conflicted about something, but she didn’t say anything in the end.
For the next few days, the three advised some juniors and upgraded the Fang Clan’s techniques.
After that was complete, they headed to the library to go to the top floor.
The fourth floor of the library wasn’t as easy to access as the others. One needed the permission of the current clan head to enter.
This wasn’t a problem for the three, and they found themselves on the fourth floor.
“Kind of empty, isn’t it?”
Hei was surprised at the… spaciousness of the fourth floor.
The three quickly scanned all of the cultivation manuals, and their mouths twitched when they had finished.
Bai spoke first.
“Can these even be called cultivation manuals?”
“I think they are just vague descriptions of the transcendent realm.”
Hei stepped in.
“That isn’t important. At least the method to break through is clear enough. It may take more time, but we will eventually be able to derive the Way of Essence’s fourth layer.”
The three then left the library and went to the ‘office’ which Fang Ren was now frequenting as if it were her home.
Apparently, she was being bombarded with questions from the other juniors asking how she had advanced so quickly, and if she would introduce them to the childish sages.
This was the only place where she could be at peace because the juniors were afraid of annoying the childish sages.
Fang Ren was still far from reaching the peak of the externalisation realm of her technique which she had named Myriad Kindness for whatever reason.
The three had given her the internalisation realm version so she would be ready when the time came.
After being escorted home, Hei began the breakthrough process for the transcendent realm.
After some time, Tianlan verified that there was no change in Hei’s circulation paths.
“As we suspected. The matriarch had mentioned that we had condensed the transcendent realm to the body refining realm. I’m guessing that we have somehow fully implemented the transcendent realm concepts into the first three layers of the Way of Essence.”
“So, no torture.”
Bai looked away as she responded.
“… We won’t have to conduct any trials.”
Tianlan stepped in.
“So, we can jump straight to improving the Fang Clan’s techniques and creating the matriarch’s and Sister Ren’s.”
Over the next few days, the three finished up their work.
They returned to the Fang Clan and went to the matriarch’s residence.
The matriarch was surprised to see the three return so soon.
“… What brings you here?”
Hei pulled out a stack of papers and floated them over to the matriarch.
The matriarch stared with wide eyes.
“Transcendent realm? Already?”
“Mm. It seems we accidentally became transcendent realm cultivators.”
The matriarch was speechless.
It was already enough of an exaggeration for three children to be able to upgrade the Fang Clan’s techniques, but what was this?
She felt it was silly to try to take these three in. Truly biting off more than one could chew.
She then gave them the list of a few names.
“Now that you have studied all of our techniques, what will you do?”
“We’ll still come here to help your juniors, until the 5-sect summit. After that, we will no longer be guest elders of your Fang Clan.”
The matriarch wanted to say something, but she realised that the Fang Clan had nothing else to offer the three.
“Other than that, we will play around in the forest for a bit. There is a fox there with my name on it.”
Hei still remembered the fox Fang Lian had described. It was about time to take a look.
The matriarch also realised what Hei was talking about, and as she saw the excited look in Hei’s eyes she had to ask:
“What will you do with it?”
“Tame it, of course.”
Hei responded like it was the most natural thing in the world.
The matriarch was feeling conflicted. If Hei were to tame the fox, then as his maid, she would have to treat it with respect, even though it almost killed her daughter.
Since the conversation had come to an end, the three decided to leave.
The matriarch stopped them
“Wait a moment.”
Hei turned to her with a questioning gaze.
“Will you forgive Little Lian?”
Truthfully, Hei had forgotten about Fang Lian. The three hadn’t seen her in almost a year.
“Right. Let me ask you though, miss matriarch. What do you think the relationship between your daughter and us is?”
The matriarch didn’t really know. All she knew was that there was some friction between the two parties.
Seeing that the matriarch was unable to respond, Hei continued.
“I don’t know about my siblings, but I don’t have any personal grudge against your daughter. I don’t intend to get any kind of revenge. I don’t wish her harm or have any I’ll will towards her. In fact, I hope she lives a happy life.”
The matriarch was cut off.
“But I have a policy for those who take me as their enemy without proper reason.”
The matriarch was silent. Hei continued.
“We don’t have to be enemies, but we will never be friends.”