Chapter 230 - Is It Easy?
When Xue Er’s figure appeared again, her puffy palm had already connected to Ye Wei’s chest.
‘Damn! What happened?’
Ye Wei did not expect such speed nor had he faced an opponent armed with this level of quickness. Before he could process Xue Er’s strike, he was already sent flying, falling backwards.
“Haha! Loser!” Xue Er clapped her tiny hands hysterically, overwhelmed by the excitement of victory.
“How was that possible?” Ye Wei stood himself up and widened his eyes in shock, struggling to believe the innocent looking girl, who now had a childish smile on her face, just knocked him down with one strike. ‘I might have a shot if I used the third Supernova Evolution alongside the Eternal Star stance. But even so I won’t be quick enough to react to that kind of speed and strength in a long fight!”
“You have been tricked! There is no way you could beat her. Xue Er has been keeping her real strength a secret for a while now. She became a six-star returned prime Warrior since more than half a year ago. Our plan is to keep her strength a secret before she is strong enough to contest with the higher ranked talents.” Qing Yao’s eyes narrowed and curled as she laughed.
“It is impressive that your have a body of a three-star returned prime Warrior. I’m guessing your cultivation level is lower than that, but you can’t defeat Xue Er with gimmicks.” Qing Yao smiled and shook her head.
“Six-star returned prime level?” Ye Wei gulped and looked at Xue Er’s childish face again.
‘I’m glad that I’ve made her a friend of mine rather than a foe.’ The initiate thought to himself, ‘This is a great reminder… I should never judge people by first impressions, cultivators are eccentric, especially the stronger ones.’
“Don’t take it too personal. Both me and Xue Er have been training in secret realms, it’s okay that you are not as strong as we are.” Qing Yao gently smiled at Ye Wei and said.
“I surrender!” Without any hesitation, Ye Wei lifted his arms and shouted. ‘Even if I managed to finish learning the second pattern I will not be able to fight her for longer than twenty minutes. I am also certain that she has some more tricks up her sleeves.’
‘There is more competition in this palace than I expected, there will be more like Xue Er who keep a low profile before they are ready to challenge the higher ranks.’ He thought. ‘Like Qing Yao said, I should take advantage of the secret realms controlled by the Helians, I can’t waste more time.’
Time passed quickly like a white pony's shadow across a crevice. Over two weeks’ time, Ye Wei had spent hours of daylight with Qing Yao studying Light Slash Finger stance and experimenting with runes.
While sharing their experiences, Qing Yao had mentioned the Runemaster that she idolized and how she was inspired and motivated by the mysterious figure.
And when Ye Wei figured out that she was talking about none but himself, he felt increasingly uncomfortable as Qing Yao expressed her admiration again and again.
He also found out that Qing Yao assumed the mysterious Runemaster to be a respected, knowledgeable Grand-Runemaster who is trying to keep a low-profile.
There were a few moments when Ye Wei was dying to give up information that might help Qing Yao figure out he was the one she admired but he managed to hold his tongue.
A couple more days past quickly, although the duo did not manage to refine the stance, but they did improve Ye Wei’s runic knowledge and he was getting more comfortable with manipulating more complicated runes.
During this period, he was also training on his own when he was not with Qing Yao. As the result, on top of mastering the Light Slash Finger stance, he also improved his own Sword Qi by a great deal. Furthermore, he was able to push his body strength and his light clone to four-star returned prime level by infusing the runic patterns of the Eternal Star Stance into his own bloodstream.
As the date of the first ranking fight approached, a lot of cultivators that had been training in remote secret realms had returned to the palace. Although more crowded, the Black Dragon Valley was even quieter than usual, the atmosphere in the palace was becoming heavier.
Ye Wei exhaled deeply as the first drop of sun landed on his face, the energy of the stars surrounding his body then fading. After a whole night working on the Eternal Star stance, his body was sore as his mind was restless.
“I have been training for twenty-two days straight now, eight more days and I will be facing the high ranked cultivators.” The stone doors of his training chamber opened when he stood up, he mumbled to himself while he headed to his courtyard.
Standing in the courtyard, Ye Wei helplessly shook his head, breathing in cool morning air. Although in the past twenty-two days his strength improved considerately, his cultivation was not much closer to reaching the next rank.
“Cultivation should be my fundamental focus! Although I can train my body regardless of it, there is a roof to how strong my body can get with limited amount of Qi flowing through my meridians. It’s not efficient to keep training my body before I breakthrough to become a returned prime Warrior.”
“My body’s strength is almost at its limit” Ye Wei muttered to himself as he looked at the distant white hazy mist gathering on the horizon.
“I must try again!” He positioned himself in the courtyard, crossed his legs to continue cultivating. He began to alter his Qi flow to the center meridians that led to the silver ball in his dantian, the ten golden fissures lit up as the ball of energy started spinning. His meridians then began to contract, pressuring his Qi. Suddenly the normal Qi flow became a great force that rushed through his entire body.
Empowered by the vast energy, the golden fissures on the silver ball of Qi began to thicken and rattle.
“Open up!” The veins on his forehead expanded and became visible, his face became pale now that he was losing control over his Qi.
Covered in sweat, with his clothes soaked through, Ye Wei was directing all of his energy to his dantian. All of a sudden a small fraction of the silver ball turned golden, but within the same second when the transformation took place, Ye Wei had lost focus. The powerful golden energy dissipated as quickly as it appeared, vanishing into nothing.
With a few clicking sounds, his meridians relaxed and the golden fissures in his dantian returned to their normal state.
“I am still very far from figuring it out!”
Ye Wei wiped his face with his sleeve, disappointment overtook him as he shook his head and slightly sighed. ‘The concentrated energy only overtook a tiny part of the energy ball, I would need at least ten times more Qi to actually breakthrough.’
“Qing Yao and Xue Er had to go through the same struggle in the past. I need to ask them for some advice, otherwise I’d never reach my goal before the start of the ranking tournament!” Ye Wei got up and strode towards Qing Yao’s villa.
At the villa, Qing Yao, Xue Er and Ye Wei were sitting by the bluestone table in the courtyard, and both of the girls were shocked when Ye Wei ask about them for tips regarding breaking through to the returned prime level.
“Did I hear it right? You still haven’t been able to breakthrough?”
Xue Er gave an incredulous look at Ye Wei, as subtleness was never her strong feature. ‘Was it a joke? Your body strength has already reached four-star returned prime level!’
“However strong a body stance is, it’s only a stance and therefore it will be limited by Qi and cultivation. I would say it is a miracle that your body could take it when your strength exceeded returned prime level. I have never heard any condensed prime managed to push their body strength past three-star returned prime level with any technique! Are you related to demons?”
She exclaimed with an air of surprise. ‘This is truly unexplainable!’
“I wasn’t joking. I still wasn’t able to breakthrough.” Used to having his cultivation as a secret as he was able to store his Qi on the Supernova runes on his bones, Ye Wei felt slightly uncomfortable talking about his relatively low cultivation level.
He took a deep breath and released a runic seal close to his palm, his Qi was then released from his bones to his meridians, giving him Qi presence like an ordinary cultivator.
“Seriously? Only a ten-star condensed prime warrior?!” Qing Yao looked suspiciously at Ye Wei, trying to see through him.
‘He possessed runic knowledge that allowed him to spot a mid-level Earth stance’s flaws and was even able to improve it, his body is as strong as a four-star returned prime warrior, but he is still a condensed prime?’
‘To what extent can he enhance his body strength? And what will happen when he finally makes it through?’ Qing Yao was more emotionally involved in developing Ye Wei to become a cultivation companion than she realized, with shining eyes she said. “It’s easy if you know a couple of tricks.”
As a martial art genius herself, Qing Yao saw some very impressive and talented people during her short life, however there were none who could compare to her unspoken abilities, maybe except Ye Wei.
Apart from Chi Wuxiu’s dominance, Qing Yao was not sure who else could be in the way of Ye Wei’s rise to the top in the future. And even Chi Wuxiu was the stronger cultivator at the time, Qing Yao was more interested in the initiate than the veteran.
‘Chi Wuxiu is a truly gifted cultivator, but Ye Wei is a both a fighter and a Runemaster with brimming talent and potential.’
“It’s easy if I know a couple of tricks?” mumbled Ye Wei stricken by their words. With a puzzled look he turned his face to Qing Yao, “there is a huge gap between condensed prime and returned prime warriors. How can it not be difficult?”
“Ye Wei, for the outside world the passage from condensed prime to returned prime is demanding and very challenging. But for us in the Million Stars Palace, it’s actually not that difficult. Anyone who has been training in the palace for more than a year had managed to become a returned prime Warrior!” Xue Er winked with her cute watery eyes.