While most villagers missed the excitement of the visitors Hui Yue could not help but feel happy when things returned to normal. The last month had been the first break the pair had taken from cultivation but Hui Yue did not enjoy the forced break. He was filled with excitement upon remembering Lan Feng’s promise about a martial art skill, and this morning he hurried out to pick up the goats even earlier than usual.
Upon reaching a fairly close hillside, Hui Yue sat down impatiently and waited for Lan Feng to understand his hint. He wanted to be able to use the qi he had painstakingly gathered throughout the years.
‘Do you even know what a martial art skill is?’ Lan Feng asked slightly overbearing as he disliked it whenever anyone tried to rush him.
‘I expected you to explain it to me,’ Hui Yue said with the sweetest smile on his face and a naivety in his eyes that made Lan Feng snort with disdain.
‘I’ll explain. But only because I need you to be strong,’ Lan Feng said arrogantly, ‘don’t think I will fall for your stupid acting.’ Hui Yue had nothing to say in return, Lan Feng was as usually correct, and in the end he would gain the knowledge needed.
‘Martial Art skills are split into the same ranks as cultivator bases, that is student, disciple, practitioner and so on and so on. Each rank is split into low, medium and high level.’ Hui Yue nodded, it made sense.
‘The cultivation base of a martial art skill has nothing to do with what rank you are at, it is only to rank the potential strength of the skill. Martial art skills have no actual rank restrictions, it all depends on your amount of qi and it will grow together with your strength until they reach their own cultivation base. You understand that the cultivation base is the rank where you can max out their potential power right?’ Lan Feng explained, once again incredibly overbearing. Hui Yue was slightly annoyed by the tone of voice, but he had no intention to comment on it as he knew Lan Feng would start a discussion rather than continuing on with the martial arts explanation.
‘That being said there are quite a lot of the higher ranked skills that you can’t use before you reach a certain rank since you don’t have a sufficient qi to activate it.’ Hearing that made a lot of sense to Hui Yue and he nodded again with great interest.
‘Also although I told you that you can have ten ranks of martial art skills, it is not like you can find ten ranks just like that. To create a martial art skill, you need to have the same cultivation as the skill you are creating. When cultivators open up the middle and upper dantians they no longer need to spend a lot of time on martial art skills since they get spirit powers and Wu Wei.’ Hearing this made Hui Yue grumble slightly as he was getting quite a depressing premonition.
‘Therefore you will have a lot of student, disciple and practitioner level martial art skills. You will have a decent amount of master ranked as they are still trying to create spirit energy, but grand master and duke ranked martial skills start to get rare. King, Emperor and saint level martial art skills are extremely rare. At least they were back when I lived here. I have never even heard about god ranked martial art skills.’
‘Are you telling me this because you are going to give me some useless martial art skill?’ Hui Yue said worried, but he was met by indignation, ‘did I ever give you anything useless?’ Lan Feng asked insulted, and Hui Yue had to admit that Lan Feng was doing his utmost to ensure that Hui Yue would become strong.
‘I am going to give you a movement martial art skill,’ Lan Feng said with a determined satisfaction, however Hui Yue could not help but feel slightly disappointed.
‘A movement martial art?’ he asked downcast, ‘what use is that for me?’
‘You really are useless,’ Lan Feng answered impatiently, ‘Firstly you need a movement martial art skill to be able to run away. Even if you do know any fighting skills, your cultivation base is simply too low. It is better to teach you how to run away so that you can stay alive. I don’t care about honour or dignity. All we need is to stay alive until we reach our goals, and this skill is needed for you and me to stay alive.’ Although Hui Yue had been slightly depressed, he could not help but acknowledge what Lan Feng had said.
‘A movement martial art skill also has other uses,’ Lan Feng continued, he did after all want to prove his extensive knowledge to the younger Hui Yue, ‘You can use a movement martial art skill to quicker attack or quicker defend. Also when you manage to perfect it you will be able to leave behind a mirage while moving or even create some optical illusion causing the opponent to waste some skills on nothing.’ Lan Feng sounded fairly smug and Hui Yue understood why. The movement skill was definitely much better than what he had expected at first.
‘What rank is it?’ Hui Yue asked curiously. It would be quite good if it was a master ranked skill.
‘It is a high king rank,’ Lan Feng said indifferently, causing Hui Yue to doubt his hearing,
‘High king rank?! Didn’t you just say that they were incredibly rare?’ he said shocked, and his reaction clearly pleased Lan Feng.
‘I would not be this confident in myself if I did not at least have a vast amount of high ranked skills,’ Lan Feng said with his self-satisfied voice, and Hui Yue was quite relieved knowing that he had a library of skills for when he should need it.
‘However,’ Lan Feng continued, as he understood what Hui Yue was thinking, ‘I have no intention of giving you any more skills no matter how easy they are, before you have perfected this one.’ Lan Feng was as stern with the martial art skills as he had been with the quality of qi refining, and although Hui Yue were tempted to ask for more he managed to hold back as he fully understood Lan Feng’s decision.
Lan Feng ordered Hui Yue to sit down in a meditation stance and slowly guide his consciousness into the dantian cave where the phoenix was waiting for him.
Lan Feng instantly ordered the adult consciousness of Hui Yue into yet another meditation stance with his hands once again placed in the bird hand seal and closing his eyes.
Lan Feng moved slowly, lifting his finger towards his own forehead and pressed it between his eyes where his upper dantian was located. A sharp ice blue light instantly lit up the entire dantian cave. Lan Feng extended his index finger and a small pearl appeared at the tip, which quickly sucked in the shining blue light. Lan Feng quietly observed the pearl sucking in the light, and gave a satisfied nod as the final speck of light had disappeared. He looked at the pearl in his hand which had gone from transparent to a lustrous ice blue.
Lan Feng moved towards the meditating Hui Yue and pressed the blue pearl against the former’s forehead. The pearl unexpectedly slipped into Hui Yue’s head and illuminated the consciousness from within.
The unnatural light that was breaking out from within Hui Yue was the only thing that indicated that something different was happening from the usual qi refining.
Lan Feng was exhausted upon retracting the martial art from within and slumped down against the cave wall while observing his focused friend.
The blue Phoenix could not help but feel a slight bit of relief upon looking at his hard working student. Hui Yue did not have any incredible talent when it came to cultivating, nor did he have any pills or elixirs to help speed up the process, but he had been continuing his refinement for year after year to ensure that the quality of his qi was as good as possible.
Lan Feng would never admit it, but even he himself would have given up the painstakingly slow cultivating that they were doing now, so he could not help but have a strange feeling of gratefulness towards Hui Yue.
While Lan Feng was exhaustedly inspecting his feelings, Hui Yue was swallowed by a sea of information. As soon as the pearl had entered his head it dissolved into rays of light that spread throughout the body, teaching Hui Yue the martial art skill known as Velocity Flow.
To use a martial art skill, the cultivator would have to practice it. The information he was given was which routes he would have to direct his qi to flow through his meridians to allow certain actions including two seals he would need to create within his Qi cave.
The rays of light were shooting through the meridians and giving Hui Yue examples of where and how to apply his qi, and he quickly remembered the paths, the combinations and the different seals needed to practice the martial art skill.
Although it was only one skill it had multiple ways of being used, and each usage had its own qi flow combination, to be able to perform the individual abilities, each and every one of them needed practice.
Slowly the light disappeared and Hui Yue opened his blue eyes which were glistening with excitement upon gaining this new knowledge. He could not wait to try it out, and he returned to controlling his body rather than his consciousness.
Hui Yue remembered every combination, and quickly lead his qi towards his legs, allowing it to flow in the combination that he had learned, but his brows quickly furrowed as he felt that something was wrong.
Although he felt as if he had gained a slight speed, it was definitely far inferior to what it should have been, not only that, the speed was very uneven and impossible to control.
Hui Yue frowned at first, but the frown quickly turned into a brilliant smile as he knew what the skill would be capable of doing upon perfection. All he needed to do was training, and training was definitely something that Hui Yue did not fear.
After learning the martial art skill Hui Yue had to change his schedule slightly. Prior to this he would have spent his whole day cultivating, however now it was obvious that he needed time to practice his martial art skill, so he ended up spending the morning and early noon at practicing and then the afternoon and evening on cultivating.
Another year passed while Hui Yue followed this schedule, working harder than before but also felt a great sense of happiness every time he gained more qi or could feel that his control over the Velocity Flow skill improved.
It was a day like any other when Hui Yue was guarding the goats on the hillside and training in Velocity Flow.
Lan Feng had allowed his consciousness to leave the safety of Hui Yue’s body as there was no danger around and a smile suddenly appeared on his face as he looked towards the village,
‘Hui Yue,’ he called with an excited voice, ‘there is a pleasant surprise waiting for you when we return home tonight!’
Although Lan Feng had allowed his consciousness to roam around on the grassy fields, their conversation was still held within their minds. Hui Yue looked at Lan Feng with a quizzical expression on his face, but he did not ask any questions. Even something as simple as a new dish created by his mother was enough to excite Lan Feng.
Sharing a body with Hui Yue had its benefits. Lan Feng naturally felt everything that Hui Yue felt, however he had no way of taking over the body, so he only sat back and enjoyed the experiences.
Hui Yue smiled at the phoenix who had changed slightly over the years. Back when they first met, Hui Yue had been sure that Lan Feng was the haughtiest creature in the world, however after years of conversations it was easier to look at Lan Feng as a spoiled boy with an extensive amount of power and knowledge in odd subjects.
Lan Feng still would act arrogant from time to time, however he was easy to coax into a good mood and friendly behaviour. Especially since Hui Yue started practicing his martial art skill and would make use of it to hunt down critters in the forest and bring home for dinner.
Lan Feng was definitely a beast, and the easiest way to tame a beast was to feed it. Hui Yue could not help but smirk while thinking back upon the way he usually convinced Lan Feng to behave.
Hui Yue decided it was time to return to the village and have a look at the great surprise that was waiting for him, so he hoisted two birds and a hare onto his shoulder while gathering the goats and moved down the hillside towards the village.
However, just before Hui Yue entered the village he noticed something out of the ordinary. There were a large number of tents erected on an empty lot next to the village, and the tents looked uncomfortably similar to those that had been there a year before.
‘Lan Feng,’ Hui Yue had a premonition that someone would be waiting for him, ‘do you think Rong Ming was serious when he said that he would return for me?’ he asked in a worried voice, but the only answer he got was a snickering grin.
Hui Yue could not help but let out a sigh before he slipped into a personality that would fit a six-year-old child who saw visitors in their quiet town.
“Hui Yue!” a voice called out, and with an internal sigh Hui Yue turned towards the voice with a shocked and excited expression on his face,
“Young master!” he said, with a smile beaming on his face, “Hui Yue did not expect to see you here!” he continued, while he actually wanted to say something along the lines of ‘please do not take another month away from my cultivation. It is already slow enough as it is.’ However, Rong Ming quickly took Hui Yue’s hand in his and after safely returning the goats to their pen, he dragged the white haired boy towards the campsite.
Hui Yue felt a surge of uneasiness arise within. He was currently still a second star student, however even a second star was not something that most six-year-old children achieved.
Both Hui Yue and Lan Feng knew that they would not be able to hide their cultivation base from Rong Ming’s father, there was even a chance that they would be unable to hide the presence of Lan Feng.
Fortunately enough, Rong Ming did not bring Hui Yue to meet his father, instead he brought him to meet his sister. Rong Xing was a beautiful young girl with a gentle temper. She quickly greeted Hui Yue but apart from that she just sat there with a smile on her face while Rong Ming was talking, telling Hui Yue about the past year.
“I really did miss you a lot,” Rong Ming said multiple times during the conversation, “oh and we are doing very good at the academy. We are here for more real practice you see. Do you want to cultivate too?”
Rong Ming spend the following month on once again following Hui Yue around. He would teach Hui Yue different cultivation methods, and promised that he would definitely take Hui Yue with him to the academy when he turned ten years old.
Hui Yue could only sigh, but deep inside it was impossible for him to hate the other boy, as his feelings were genuine. As to why Hui Yue received these genuine feelings was a mystery to Hui Yue himself, and although Lan Feng claimed to know, he refused to tell.
After yet another farewell, Hui Yue guessed that Rong Ming would return to the village next year, but he did not have any intention of wasting time worrying about that now, instead he returned to his usual schedule of cultivating and practicing of his martial art skills.
‘I don’t understand’ Hui Yue complained slightly. It had been almost a year since Rong Ming and his entourage had camped at the village last time, and Hui Yue was now a seven-year-old child. He was still as breathtakingly beautiful as ever, and his figure was depressingly short.
‘I am definitely using the Velocity Flow skill perfectly, but even when I execute it right my fists are still not able to deal any severe damage and instead I often get injured instead.’ Hui Yue continued while rubbing his head, wondering where he went wrong.
Lan Feng snorted, which usually happened whenever Hui Yue said something incredibly stupid.
‘It is a high king ranked movement skill. MOVEMENT SKILL dumbass.’ He said with a sigh, ‘it allows you to move your body with great speed and accuracy, but it is your body it moves. It’s not the skills fault you are weak.’ Hui Yue could only grumble in reply. What Lan Feng said make perfect sense, and he should have understood it himself without needing Lan Feng’s explanation.
Hui Yue could not help but feel grateful that he had Lan Feng to explain things to him. There was so many things that Hui Yue had a hard time understanding, even now, seven years after entering this new world.
Hui Yue had reached the rank of a third star student and he had perfected the movement aspect of his Velocity Flow skill. He was capable of producing a mirror image at a previous location, and he was currently practicing the final aspect of the high ranked skill, the optical illusion.
Hui Yue did not have sufficient qi to create more than one optical illusion, but upon perfecting the one illusion now, it would automatically increase later on together with his qi levels rising.
‘Oh,’ Lan Feng said smilingly, ‘Your friends are arriving early this year.’
Hui Yue had expected that Rong Ming would appear fairly soon so he was not greatly shocked upon hearing the information. Instead he was slightly surprised to find himself not hating the idea of having a friend to talk with.
Although there were many children in the village, none of them could be considered a playmate as all of them had their own chores to do throughout the day, and it was always far away from Hui Yue’s hillsides.
Hui Yue gathered the goats and led them back to the village. He wondered what had happened the last year, but when he reached the village he noticed that things seemed slightly different from the previous years.
Firstly, there was no Lord Rong Liang present, and although this did calm Hui Yue down slightly, he could not help but worry as to what the reason could be.
“Are you Hui Yue?” A voice suddenly rang from behind, and Hui Yue spun around. In front of him was a burly man with a kind face. He was wearing a Rilou city guard uniform and had no feeling of danger around.
Hui Yue nodded.
“Please follow me, the young master has requested that you are brought to him as soon as you returned.” He explained, and politely lead the way towards the tent in the centre of the camp.
Hui Yue was greatly surprised to see where he was taken, but he dared not say anything. Lan Feng too was incredibly silent, hiding away in the qi cave and hoped to not being noticed by any of the exceptional experts that were present in the camp.
“Hui Yue!” a familiar voice rang out the moment the young boy stepped into the tent, and Hui Yue looked upon Rong Ming with confused eyes.
Rong Ming was now twelve years old. He was sitting behind a desk in the middle of a tent and had an elderly man next to him. They seemed to be discussing something about the magical forest, as a map was spread across the desk and multiple flags were placed randomly on top of it.
“I am sorry that I could not come pick you up this time,” he said with an apology evident in his voice, and while he spoke, Hui Yue noticed that the middle aged man at his side was clearly measuring Hui Yue. A slight fear crept into Hui Yue’s heart. This man was definitely no weaker than Lord Rong Liang was.
However, the man quickly retracted his gaze and returned to looking at different paper scrolls on the table, and Hui Yue breathed a sigh of relief.
“I am in control of this year’s beast hunt.” Rong Ming explained proudly, “Father had some things that he needed to deal with in town, and he decided that it was time for me to learn something about managing a party of soldiers. This is Bu Huang. He is father’s councillor and he is assisting me on this trip,” Rong Ming explained while making a gesture towards the middle aged man.
Hui Yue quickly clasped his hands together and made a deep bow before saying in a fearful voice, “Hui Yue greets Lord Councillor.”
His actions seemed to cause some approval in Bu Huang’s face, and he nodded as a reply.
“But,” Rong Ming continued, this time with a slightly depressed expression in his face, “I have a lot of things that I need to do. Because of this I won’t be able to entertain you that much this month.” Hui Yue nodded before answering
“This lowly one is but a poor child, young master should focus on his responsibilities.” The look of approval within Bu Huang’s eyes grew stronger, and Rong Ming himself sent Hui Yue a sad smile before nodding.
“At least have dinner with us tonight!” Rong Ming exclaimed suddenly, and Bu Huang nodded. Hui Yue had no choice but to agree, and a feast was served for the three of them.
Rong Ming was speaking constantly during the meal. He spoke about the past year and how he had reached the second star disciple rank. Rong Xing had reached the third star, but she had an incredible innate talent. Hui Yue sensed no jealousy towards the sister, rather Rong Ming was proud after realising the latter’s talent.
Hui Yue did enjoy the evening and the food. Even more so when he realised that Rong Ming would be incapable of interrupting his training for the next month, and he happily went towards a small lake at the edge of the forest.
It was summer and the heat was both hot and humid. Hui Yue had been training all day, and although it was late, he really wanted to take a bath before going home.
The still water was chilled, and every drop of it caused Hui Yue to feel refreshed when he washed the old sweat and dirt of his skin. His long white hair was glistening in the moonlight and his blue eyes shone with a feeling of being content. Hui Yue was as stunning as an immortal fairy.
‘someone is observing you’ Lan Feng quietly commented, and Hui Yue turned to look at whomever it was. At first he had been worried, but upon noticing the person, a smile appeared on his face.
“Lady Rong Xing,” he said with his childish voice that bubbled with happiness. He quickly stepped out of the water and walked towards his clothes, clearly noticing a shocked expression appear on Rong Xing’s adorable face.
“Is there anything wrong?” he asked worriedly. Perhaps she had noticed something? He thought while being slightly scared.
“You… You are a boy?” she asked while her usually perfectly white skin had turned crimson with embarrassment. Hui Yue looked at her with a puzzled expression on his face, which caused Rong Xing to become even more shocked.
“Yes?” He answered confused. He had assumed that it was obvious. However, while thinking about it, he always said Hui Yue rather than I and they had never discussed his gender.
‘Lan Feng,’ he thought with a dreadful voice, ‘don’t tell me that Rong Ming thinks that I am a girl?’
Before Lan Feng had the chance to answer a bright laughter suddenly rang out from within the trees and Hui Yue looked at Rong Xing who was laughing so much that tears were streaming down her cheeks.
“This is perfect,” she giggled while trying to contain her laughter, “I’ll come visit you tomorrow at the hillside,” Rong Xing laughed while she turned around and returned to the campsite leaving Hui Yue and Lan Feng behind.
‘That Rong family is really quite messed up,’ Lan Feng finally said, before the two of them returned to their home.
Rong Xing walked into the central tent and saw how Rong Ming and Bu Huang were discussing the list of magical beast cores they were expected to produce from this trip, before she giggled slightly
Her giggle made Rong Ming look at her.
“Where have you been?” he asked curiously as Rong Xing rarely left the campsite whenever they were here.
“I met with Hui Yue,” she answered with a voice brimming with happiness. Rong Ming’s face suddenly changed and he grinned towards his twin sister.
“Do you like Hui Yue?” he asked with a slightly nervous voice, and his eyes were fixed at Rong Xing’s face. A feeling of relief flooded Rong Ming when he saw his sister nodding.
“Hui Yue is definitely an interesting person,” she said, her eyes shone with a light that was hard to explain.
“Would you like if Hui Yue became your sister in law?” Rong Ming asked seriously, but his serious expression quickly changed into a frown as his usually quiet sister started laughing uncontrollably. Although it was an uncontrollable laughter, it was still pleasant to the ear and it was hard to stay mad at her.
“Oh my dear brother,” Rong Xing said with a great smile on her face, “I would definitely love for that to happen, however I do not think that it is very likely.” Rong Ming furrowed his brows upon hearing her reply, but he was a stubborn young boy.
“We will see,” was his only answer before he once again returned to work out the list of magical beasts they needed to slay.