Hei continued in his work, in preparation for dealing with the Zhu Clan.
The movie jades were only one part of the plan. They were the relay points that would transfer the gathered information over to him from a distance away.
These needed to be merged with other formations that would gather the information, store it, and combine multiple streams of information into one, which could then be separated and viewed individually.
He would then analyse all of the information, remaining undetected until the moment he decided to act.
This way, he would be able to come up with a very detailed action plan that could be executed in the shortest amount of time possible.
First of all, what he needed to do was to increase the range of the movie jades, so that they could relay the information to a neighbouring town of the city the Zhu Clan was established in.
After that, he needed to create a network of multiple jades, so that they could all work simultaneously to gather the information he needed, then relay it all to one terminal jade.
This terminal jade would also be the means by which he would issue instructions to the formations remotely, so he could appropriately react to any sudden changes in the situation.
Since he didn’t need to sleep, as his healing ability would always be providing him energy, he was able to work on his plan without rest.
While working on his second-generation prototypes, he felt a fluctuation in his original prototype, meaning he had received a request for communication.
Hei was surprised that the young lady he had met the day before had already found a reason to contact him.
This also reminded him of the events that occurred the previous day.
After having admitted the situation to the young lady, she insisted that he apologise to her in person, so he went over to her residence, where she gave him a few surprises.
First of all, unlike his expectations, she didn’t seem to be angry about the situation. Instead of attacking him, she saw that the situation wasn’t intentional on his part and that her own actions also played a part.
This was quite a practical way of handling it.
The second surprise came when he requested that she give him his jade. Her response opened his eyes to some things.
She asked him if he had considered selling the jades.
He gave her the same response he had given the cat. He didn’t lack means of gaining wealth. All he needed to do was take a simple stroll through a forest and he would come out the other side dripping with natural treasures.
But then she reminded him that he wasn’t a solo player in this world. He had people to take care of.
Even then, the Shao Clan still had means of sustaining themselves. Just Tianlan’s eyes alone were enough to sustain many people, but putting that kind of burden on Tianlan wasn’t the best way to do things.
It would be better if every member of the Shao Clan was able to sustain themselves.
That would also be the more practical approach.
Thinking about it, he had already created a manual for alchemy, so, as long as there were ingredients, any alchemists within the clan would be able to make a living.
But this had never been the intention. The entire reason for studying alchemy in the first place was to obtain merit points, for the purpose of obtaining more merit points.
After that, there was never really an intention to use alchemy for trade. The only reason to continue was that Bai was interested in all kinds of fields.
But even Bai’s actions were never in pursuit of wealth, she was purely seeking the knowledge that she would gain from studying the various professions.
This situation occurred because his goofy self was only thinking about the Shao Clan. He never considered the fact that he was pushing the Shao Clan to become the rulers of the world and what ramifications that could have.
He never considered whether the current system should be removed in the first place, never thought about what kind of chaos could be brought about by uprooting the current system, and never even considered what taking the throne of the world actually meant.
His entire reasoning was, ‘Well, we’ll just be the strongest. Then who can say anything?’.
But as the rulers of the world, wouldn’t it be their responsibility, and also in their interest to take care of those below them?
If they were unknowledgeable in things like business and administration, it would be strange, to say the least.
That being the case, he decided to think about these things and set up various channels for the Shao Clan to be able to sustain themselves and grow into capable rulers.
The third surprise came after he thanked her for her advice, and asked for his jade again.
She responded with a business proposal. She wanted to sell the jades on his behalf.
The idea wasn’t one he had any problem with, but with the current state of things, he couldn’t dedicate any time to completing the communication jades.
They weren’t in any kind of condition to be sold, as they were still relying on his aura as an envoy of the heavens in order to pair with each other.
Even after explaining that to her, she still wanted to proceed, so he accepted.
After some discussion, she brought up the issue of how the profits were to be split. After asking her what she thought, she replied with an initial offer of 65/35.
35 per cent sounded a little high to Hei, so he asked her why she was worth so much, and after hearing her explanation, he agreed that it wasn’t too outrageous.
But since he was going to be entering a business relationship with this young lady, he wanted to make sure she had good character.
He explained to her why she wasn’t necessarily worth 35 per cent, and after hearing his words, she adjusted it to an 80/20 split.
Seeing that she was willing to negotiate and was able to decrease her cut to a more reasonable figure, he had seen enough. He ended up offering her a 50/50 split.
This was both to thank her for giving him her advice, and because he thought it was a fair number. He really wouldn’t be putting much effort into this business, and she would be doing an awful lot of the work.
He thought it would be a good idea to establish an amicable relationship between the two of them. She may one day become useful, and being in business with her prior to that would simplify things greatly.
As for how the life-style movie jade business would turn out, frankly speaking, he couldn’t care less.
The final surprise came after he brought up the point of the movie jades possibly causing friction with the Merchant Association.
She responded by saying she wasn’t afraid of the Merchant Association, and that if they were to come, she and Hei would grind them into dust.
After she said these words, Hei saw a blue aura spring forth from her body, unlike any he had seen before.
If the auras emitted by Liling, Jingfei and Yunru were described as gentle blue glows, then the one emitted by this young lady was a bright and dazzling blue light, almost sharp in its appearance.
It looked closer to the auras emitted by Tianlan and the others than those emitted by Liling and the others. The only difference was, it wasn’t white, but blue.
Being unfamiliar with the situation, he decided to ask someone he knew to be somewhat reliable when it came to these things.
He called upon Onyx and asked what this young lady’s aura meant, and why it was different from the ones he had seen before.
Onyx’s answer was that this young lady’s situation was one rarely seen amongst envoys.
By his description, she was someone who had the same level of acknowledgement as a titled envoy but was born with spirit roots, leaving her somewhere in between.
He then described that the reason she was still in the body refining realm was likely due to this level of acknowledgement.
Unlike Liling and the others, her affinity with natural Qi was extremely high. This meant when she practised techniques which went against the heavens, the Qi found it to be a grievous offence and refused to allow her to break through.
Those like her were the ones with the highest potential, and also the most tragic ones, as they would be left defenceless in the world without the inheritance of the envoys.
All of the other vassals could practice those heaven-defying techniques, but those like this particular young lady would never be able to achieve anything by practising those.
On the other hand, once they were aligned with the heavens, they would show unbelievable potential. Unmatched in the world.
To illustrate, titled envoys were never meant to cultivate, and instead, were supposed to use armaments as their primary source of power. Those like this young lady were the true cultivators amongst envoys.
However, Hei’s appearance had shaken this up.
After hearing Onyx’s explanation, Hei asked what would happen if he were to use Heavenly Revocation on the young lady.
Would she become a titled envoy?
Hei wanted to know this because all titled envoys, as far as he knew, were capable of cultivating Way of Essence.
From his understanding, Way of Essence, as its name implied, was the essence of cultivation. It came without any comprehension, there was no prompt or influence that brought it about, and it was a path unlike any other.
Those who cultivated Way of Essence could not be grouped into cultivation realms.
While it could be said that Hei and his siblings were in the transcendent realm, that wasn’t completely accurate.
When most cultivators broke through to new realms, they would leave the old path behind and step onto a new one. It followed the road of body refining to externalisation to internalisation to transcendent, and so on and so forth.
Way of Essence, on the other hand, was much different.
Even in the body refining realm, Way of Essence already included transcendent realm concepts, such that cultivators had no need to break through to the transcendent realm in the future.
Also, the layer system did not exist in Way of Essence. There was never an end to any of the realms.
Even while being in the transcendent realm, they were still refining their bodies, their spiritual perceptions were still expanding, and their internal seas were still growing.
In other words, they were body refining, externalisation, internalisation, and transcendent realm cultivators, all at the same time.
With all of this, if one could cultivate the Way of Essence, then no other path needed consideration. If this young lady could become a titled envoy, it would be for the best.
Onyx’s answer caused this idea to be abandoned.
He described how this had been tried once before. And the results were positive. A person who was much like this young lady had received Heavenly Revocation and successfully became a titled envoy.
The problem came after that. The person sank deep into despair, and lost themselves to it, falling into madness.
The only way to rescue them was to use Heavenly Bestowal to return their spirit roots, but unfortunately, it was an irreversible change.
Left with few choices, they could only either kill them or refine them into an armament. They chose the second option, creating a cursed weapon.
Hearing this story, Hei decided to abandon the idea of using Heavenly Revocation to create titled envoys.
He then asked why those things occurred. Why it was that that person fell into despair. He remembered that Wu Dong had not been too affected after having received his revocation.
According to Onyx, as envoys of the heavens, each of them had an innate sense of belonging. It wasn’t always apparent, but there was something within each one of them that let them know that they were worthy.
It was integral to their being.
Heavenly Revocation was to remove just that, the very core of their being, effectively reducing their lives to nothing.
It was just about the worst thing that could happen to an envoy.
Those who weren’t envoys lacked this sense of belonging, this feeling of being worthy. And as such, Heavenly Revocation, to them, was simply having their spirit roots taken.
It didn’t have any of the meaning.
Hearing this, Hei remembered what he had done to Jingfei. If she had been like this young lady, he may have caused her irreversible harm. And all because he wasn’t willing to give her a little bit of time to sort out her feelings.
If such a thing had occurred, he wouldn’t know what to do.
After hearing the details of this young lady’s situation, Hei decided to give her Elemental Foundations. This was a technique that was going to be given to every envoy he met, regardless of the circumstances.
That was, of course, unless they had a technique that was superior to Elemental Foundations.
This was what he felt his minimum duty was, as a person who could bring them unwanted trouble at any moment. He would give them all the means with which to defend themselves.
Beyond that, if they wished to proceed on the path of Elemental Foundations, then they would have to join the pillar he was planning to establish during his takeover of the lower continent.
After having recalled the events of the previous day, he decided to acknowledge her communication request.
In front of him, her image appeared. She seemed to be happy about something.
“What kind of cultivation technique is this?!”
“Hmm? Is there some problem with it?”
He had tested all versions of elemental foundations extensively, and they were verified by Tianlan, so there should have been any problems with them.
“Problem? I’ve broken through to the externalisation realm!”
“Oh? Congratulations. To have broken through in a single night, you’re quite talented.”
This wasn’t just flattery. Her being able to reach the peak of the body refining realm after having started a new technique, in only a single day, was quite impressive.
At the very least, he hadn’t seen anyone else do it.
Hei noticed she seemed to be thinking about something.
“Did I say something wrong?”
“No, no. I want to thank you for helping me.”
She smiled after saying these words.
After her last words, there was nothing more to be said. She had impulsively started this communication and didn’t really have anything to talk about.
“So… how have you been doing?”
“I’m actually quite busy, so if you have nothing else to say…”
At this point, she remembered that Hei had requested that she only contact him for important matters. This could hardly be described as one.
“Oh! Right! Then, I’ll be seeing you.”
There was another long silence before she brought up her issue.
“So, how do I end this?”
“Stop providing Qi.”
“But I used the liquid.”
“Because I can’t activate the jade on my own.”
“… Congratulations on your break through to the externalisation realm…”
She had been so excited that she had forgotten that, as an externalisation cultivator, she would be able to activate the jade on her own.
“Well, I’ve already used the liquid, so how do I end this?”
“I’ll do it. Next time, you won’t need the liquid to start a communication request.”
Hei also hadn’t expected her to have broken through to the externalisation realm so soon, which was why he gave her his condensed Qi in liquid form.
When he had given her the technique, she seemed quite reluctant to practice it. He wondered why she had changed her mind.
She waved goodbye.
Hei also waved his hand before closing the communication channel.