“Ooof! This is heavy,” Xiaoxia complained, as he chugged a huge sack full of harvest from the sea. Most were dried and salted, while some were fresh.
The people of the fishermen village were extremely friendly, and sold him their produce for prices that Xiaoxia considered ridiculously low. When compared to establishments further inland and on other parts of the world, it was cheaper by a few folds.
Thus he went a little overboard with the purchase and ended up with a huge sack larger than his own person, it weighed almost as heavy as he was. Price aside, he loved seafood, it was a taste acquired only during his short stint in MeisterSchloss and the Academy of the Six Elements.
Unfortunately with the extra load, he was not able to fly at full speed with his sole plate. Xiaoxia had tweaked the sole plate over the years to accommodate for his growth, and while it could easily fly a few times faster than the speed of sound, it could only now only manage a fraction of it with the extra weight.
He was in no hurry and is still making good time, as he head towards his destination about fifty leagues from the shore. The area was covered with ravines, gorges, streams and waterfalls. It was a small paradise in itself, a place inaccessible by foot or spatial transportation portals.
It took him around an hour to reach his destination that happened to be a cavern, which was hidden behind the curtain of a waterfall. It was further obscured from above by the crowns of tall ancient trees, that expanded for more than a few thousand feet.
Light hardly penetrated into the land below, but the plants and other life forms thrived in their multitudes. It was a bio-luminescent wonderland, filled with colors and hues that befuddled the mind. In the night it multiplied by many times, as nocturnal species started to go about their lives.
This was one of the many places of solitude Gu Di have made his home over three thousand years of absence from society, and over the past seven years, Xiaoxia have seen many of them.
Even as they traveled, he continued his lessons in life with the help of Jay and Gu Di, as well as academic studies from literature gathered over the aeons by Wuming. Gu Di have kept most of them tucked away in various quantum bags and devices. Xiaoxia have not met any other Wuming members besides those two, but he knew he was in good hands.
His Ki training progressed rapidly, something Jay is always envious about. Gu Di once cracked a joke, saying Jay was not smart enough to progress his Ki rapidly, because he was dropped head first on the floor when he was a baby.
That could hardly be any farther from the truth, which was as simple as Jay just didn’t have the proper meridians unlocked.
On the other hand, Xiaoxia has always been physically strong since birth, it did not grow exponentially with age, but it still grew. It is another thing that Jay was envious, as at the tender age of 14, Xiaoxia had physical strength that surpassed him, if barely. It had already surpassed Gu Di by a long way, since strength is not one of Gu Di’s racial trait.
However when it comes to Ki strength, Xiaoxia still paled in comparison to Jay. There wasn’t even a need to compared it to Gu Di, who was simply in a class of his own.
The race from which Gu Di originated, is now extinct. They were the one of the original races, who had tremendously long lives, but drastically low birthrates. Their life span far exceeds those of the four major races.
But he claimed it was not a racial trait that made them long lived, nor was it inborn that he achieved his abilities. He theorized that there was a few simple reasons for his people’s long lives and abilities, which are – food for the body, food for the soul and food for the mind. It all had to do with the proper nourishment.
He had explained a while back, that all things living in the world of Yuan Zhong contained Ki. The ingredients used for food were made from living things like plants or animals, they all have a certain amount of Ki in them. The type of Ki is unique to each ingredient, and the need to properly achieve harmony among the ingredients is vital, if proper nourishment is to be obtained from them.
Therefore, meals were always prepared by Gu Di, and it was always something special, as he strongly encourage on having good meals to enforce his theories. The meals ended with a delicious green liquid drink made from leaves of a certain plant.
Besides food as a form of nourishment, the were others that Gu Di emphasized on. These ‘nourishments’ came in the form of reading, properly resting, solving puzzles, meditating, physical training and many more. They complimented each other in a way that Xiaoxia was never taught before.
Soon it became apparent that there was a trend to all of these, and it seemed like they are heading more towards the general direction of capitalizing on Xiaoxia’s mental capacity.
Even seafood have been known to be ‘brain food’, as such Gu Di have brought them closer to the coastal areas with every new relocation.
“You are finally back!” Jay groaned in despair as Xiaoxia enter the cavern.
It was remarkably bright in there, with light emitting from the bio-luminescent moss covering the entire wall.
“I am sorry it took so long,” Xiaoxia apologized, as he placed the sack of seafood aside. He sympathized with Jay, as he himself was already hungry and needed plenty of food.
(AN: reference to Volume 1 Chapter 16 on how Xiaoxia ate a few times more than people of his race who are big eaters themselves)
“Ugh, you smell! Are we having seafood again?” Jay complained.
“Stop complaining, this is one of the reasons why your brain is as small as a pea, and you are unable to progress any further,” Gu Di chided him.
“Pfft, there is no proof in that,” Jay retorted, as he took out some meat jerky and chewed on them.
Whether he was talking about the size of his brains, or if seafood actually made a difference, no one knew.
Gu Di paid no heed to Jay, as he took the sack and dragged it to his makeshift kitchen. He then took out its contents and looked at them with a thoughtful gaze, before gathering the plants harvested from around the area, and started to prepare their meal.
Meanwhile, Xiaoxia moved off to one side of the cavern to meditate. It is similar to Ki cultivation, but the process was much more complicated and it involved more than just simple refining and absorbing Ki.
By using this method, he rapidly became Grandmaster Realm Lower Tier just the year before, a feat only unique to him. There were no one else who have been known to achieve this level at such a young age.
(AN: The year before meant he was 13, check compendium for Ki Realms)
When he broke into the Grandmaster Realm, he could constantly maintain all 24 of his minor meridians and the Ki vessels connecting them. On the other hand he could also maintain the same for 3 of his major meridians. While it is still not possible for his extraordinary ones.
Gu Di frowned upon this method of containing Ki between the Ki vessels and meridians, and he felt it a very primitive way to manipulate and handle Ki. However, he decided only if Xiaoxia showed significant progress in his meditation technique, will he then instruct him on a new way, so now he left it as it is.
In the meantime, Xiaoxia knew what his Ki Realm was, by using the device he still had from the Freshmen Competition. There was once in the first year since they left, when Gu Di saw him using it, and gave him a look of disapproval, but he did not take it away.
(AN: the device from the competition indicates a person’s Ki Realm)
Instead he promptly gave Xiaoxia a long lecture on how thrashes of the world relied on measuring Ki Realms to judge a person’s worth. He also went the whole nine yards on how it only serves to boost the already humongous egos of many pugilists who are blinded by it.
Although Xiaoxia knew what he meant, curiosity still got the better of him, and whenever he felt he made a breakthrough, secretly checked with the device.
He was going to use it again soon, as he felt extremely close to achieving another breakthrough. This time he have have been grasping along the edges for a prolonged duration, and it meant that it could be a significant one if it took this long. It has almost been a year, the longest so far, since his last breakthrough.
Sitting at the side of the cavern in a lotus stance, he started to calm his thoughts, and began the process of delving into his body and mind. When he first learnt this technique, he was constantly plagued by the thoughts of his family, friends and Instructor Wei.
The first few months were the toughest, and it even affected his sleep. Neither Jay nor Gu Di did anything to help, and they left him to overcome this by himself. It was something Xiaoxia knew only he alone have to achieve.
It was a part of the training, if he could not pass this stage, what is to say of those in the future. Hence he toughed it out, and eventually pulled through. He learnt from Gu Di, that the mind was like a muscle, and by constantly exercising and training it, it’s strength as well as capacity will gradually increase.
Moreover it is a way to train the major meridians that were connected to the brains. Everyone has 12 major meridians, and they were vital to every living person. Each person who could cultivate Ki, was born with their first major meridian fully opened, and it was at the Ki center.
There were 9 other major meridians that are connected to all the major organs in the body and sub-connected to the minor ones. Besides the one at the Ki center and the other 9 for the major organs, the brain was the only one with 2 major meridians.
In normal cases, each of the 9 major meridians were opened only a tiny fraction since birth, this is to allow for natural bodily functions. Of the two situated at the brain, one of it was totally closed. With it opened and properly trained, it enabled the individual to achieve higher cognitive brain functions and special abilities.
(AN: refer to volume 1 chapter 16 on some reference to meridians)
Gu Di have already demonstrated how great the two major meridians of the brain were, as he could use spatial movement with Ki alone. He did not require those devices which are commonly used, and relied instead on his own cognitive abilities and Ki.
He informed Xiaoxia that the fundamental structure of those devices, were actually mimicking what he and others like him could do. With all of Xiaoxia’s natural meridians opened, he could apply the same abilities as Gu Di.
(AN: Natural meridians refers to the 24 minor meridians, 12 major meridians and 8 extraordinary meridians. It does not include the Unique Meridian, which is not considered natural)
In addition to this, when Xiaoxia first met Gu Di, they connected on a telepathic level through Gu Di’s hands, and communicated information and emotions via Ki. It could only be done when both sides have their 2 major meridians of the brain opened. It was also a form of spatial communications. If fully trained and honed, communicating instantly with each other all over the world without seeing or touch will be possible.
“…..out of ideas … fish meat …”
Xiaoxia jerked opened his eyes suddenly, he could hear vaguely Gu Di’s voice in his mind.
Looking towards where Gu Di was, Xiaoxia initially thought somehow Gu Di accidently bumped into him and made physical contact, hence he could hear the voice.
But Gu Di was dozens of feet away in the cavern, muttering to himself as he cooked. He was not exactly the grand figure that came to mind, when told that he was the leader of Wuming, a legendary group of heroes. The heroic image and legacy of Wuming instantly dissolved when Jay was added to the picture.
Forcefully pushing those images that crept into his head, Xiaoxia shook away the distraction and went back to meditate, feeling that perhaps he was mistaken about the voice.
“… the vegetables cannot be added too soon … nutrients, vitamins and natural occuring …”
Within moments, he could vaguely hear Gu Di again. This time he did not stop, but concentrated delving farther into his body and mind.
In what seemed like a long time, a dam suddenly burst, and he was washed away in a flood of energies. Yet he did not open his eyes, no, he could not open them now even if he wanted.
He was drawn into himself further, and could see a large facula in what seemed like a featureless environment. A large network of streams containing energies, which looked like lightning passed in rapid succession across the entire space that surrounded him. It looked like a gigantic cobweb that was haphazardly made with no distinct patterns.
They all connected to the large facula, which seemed to pulsed mysteriously. It did not feel threatening, but had a familiar warm feeling to it.
He was observing this marvel, when out of the blue it dawned on him that he was looking into his own mind. Prompted by his own awareness, he reached out to touch it, and instantly the world exploded.
When he open his eyes after finally being aware of his surroundings, he saw Jay staring at him with his mouth wide opened. The meat jerky he was chewing slowly slide from his mouth and landed on his feet.
At the same time, some stuff were floating in the air and came crashing down, but Xiaoxia had no idea why it was such.
“Congratulations! Finally! It’s only been like what? Seven years?,” Gu Di’s voice which previously had been vague and almost like a whisper, could now be clearly heard in Xiaoxia’s mind, as if he was right beside him.
Xiaoxia turned towards him, he was still dozens of feet away in the makeshift kitchen. But now he was looking at Xiaoxia with a smile.
“You have just gained the power of the mind,” the voice of Gu Di told him in his thoughts.