Ye Xiu had managed to finish covering his entire body in scales though not without effort on his part. It still counted as mastering the first stage since once you manage to cover your entire body in scales the first time, the succeeding transformations would come with greater ease.
Once Ye Xiu had accomplished his first goal, he had immediately stopped to celebrate with Tian Bai. Though he knew that the test was far from over, he still wanted a tiny celebration. He knew that Shi Die had a hard time achieving control over his transformation and he was happy that he had something else in common with his friend. They celebrated for an hour since Tian Bai pushed Ye Xiu to meditate since his eating was being disturbed by him.
Tian Bai had watched Ye Xiu carefully the past few weeks that he had been with him and had been surprised about his personality and the way he treated others. He had known that Ye Xiu had trauma. There was certainly no way for Ye Xiu to get past his trauma in such a short amount of time especially when he spent the majority of his time training. He never had a chance to rest even in the two weeks that they had been given at the villa.
Tian Bai was certain. Yes, he was very certain that Ye Xiu's coping mechanism was to forget about the event and train as best as he could. Training took his mind off other matters and that was what mattered to Ye Xiu. Tian Bai, however, saw that behaviour for what it was and wanted to help him. Though he had his own quirks, he was a very observant weasel, after all, he had survived years in the valley by his lonesome.
He was only a few years of age yet he felt like an older brother quietly watching over the younger sibling. It gave a sort of warmth in Tian Bai's tiny heart and he wouldn't do anything to trade it away.
Tian Bai watched as Ye Xiu meditated. He may be a person that was easily bored but that never stopped him from training. The weasel had its own method of training which would've been bizarre to anyone who heard about the training method though not completely out of the world. Many cultivators knew that Qi Beasts had unique ways of cultivation which meant that Tian Bai would be able to easily explain his rapid growth.
Tian Bai hadn't told Ye Xiu what species he actually was and allowed him to assume. It had learnt to hide the traits of its original species from its predators and Tian Bai would continue to do so due to the danger it would pose if word got out. His species was one that had the potential to surpass many Qi Beasts and it was only due to his young age that he was stuck in the valley in the first place.
He watched as Ye Xiu got out of his meditative pose and walk over towards the statue. It was a short meditation session but he believed that Ye Xiu always had his own explanations for everything that he did.
Ye Xiu moved toward the statue so that he could take a look at what the next stage of the technique would require. He was surprisingly able to review his first successful completion of the first stage rather quickly. He wanted nothing more than to train but then realised that he shouldn't be so excited.
Sure, he had managed to get his entire body covered in scales but it certainly took too much time. He was definitely not going to be able to use it for combat purposes unless he focused on dodging for the entirety of the time that the scales appeared. However, he didn't want that. His transformation should be fast just like Shi Die's and he should be able to shift between his forms with ease yet he was complacent with only covering his body in scales at a slow speed.
Reigniting his flames of passion, Ye Xiu backed off from the statue and focused on learning how to achieve the first stage of transformation in the shortest amount of time possible. He would still learn the second stage of the technique since it was required for him to even be eligible for the final fight against a random opponent.
He had made a pattern of his training, an hour to refine his transformation speed and the next two hours to be spent on the second stage of the technique. The information that was giving for the second stage of the technique was vague. Vague to the point that the only information that it actually had was the body part that he had to transform. Luckily for him, it wasn't too hard to imagine the specific part since he had seen similar things.
The claws of a dragon were definitely different compared to Shi Die's, though that wasn't something to be surprised about since Shi Die's transformation was more of a canine species whilst his bloodline was of a reptilian species. The differences in the claws weren't that massive of a change though he would still have trouble trying to visualise the claws. He eventually settled with what he could see on the statue and apparently his mind was able to supply what else was needed.
Though it wasn't stated Ye Xiu could obviously tell that a dragon's claws were sure to be strong. It would be unlikely for a dragon's claw to even break when it was busy smashing through buildings. He had imagined the claws to be dense and strong yet not too large. Each of the claws was easily identifiable and had a distinct curve to them. They were sharp. That was something he was sure about.
His efforts led to him being able to get a single claw on his scales hands in no time. He was surprised that it was a much easier task compared to the scales but then remembered that the scales were probably one of the most important features about a dragon in the first place so it would've obviously been hard to replicate such a feat.
His trial and errors continued. He did spend the majority of his time with his transformation training but he obviously delegated a portion of his time to one of the most important things that Ye Xiu would have to do. Combat training. Sure, he could perfect his transformation technique for all he cared but he still needed time and combat experience to get used to the changes that he has with the transformation.
His weight changed. It becomes nearly double the weight he originally was and that was only with the scales. He would have to practice fighting using his claws. He would have to make sure he knew how to use his scales defensively since there were apparently different types of scales that would be most helpful during a fight.
The changes were a welcome one with all the benefits that came with but there were always going to be cons to the changes. His control in strength had obviously been hurt and Ye Xiu doubted that he could swing his katana properly with the control he had currently. The change in weight might not seem like a big deal but it affected his motor skills greatly and due to that, he had obviously spent quite a bit of time to gain back his control.
Without the transformation, his control was still the same. Nice and perfect. It only frustrated Ye Xiu to see that his transformation had affected his own combat potential if he didn't relearn how to control himself.
Ye Xiu didn't have enough time for all of this so he settled for the method of brute strength. It was a less than graceful approach to fighting but Ye Xiu was sure that it would work out as long as didn't spend too long fighting in his transformed state. He still felt much more comfortable in his original form.
Tian Bai had to spar with Ye Xiu to correct the most glaring mistakes in his new combat style in the transformed state and it showed the difference. Before Ye Xiu could at least swing his katana to block a few of Tian Bai's attacks, now he could barely react to Tian Bai smashing into his scales. Though the upside to his slower movements was that the attacks didn't even faze him. Tian Bai was obviously put off by the strong defence.
The schedule became a set one once Ye Xiu managed to fully manifest his full set of claws on both hands. He didn't pursue past the second stage of the technique and instead started to refine the speed that his transformation took place. He had obviously taken a look at the instructions of the third stage and he had seen that it was nearly as vague as the second stage was though it definitely wasn't just a few words.
"To master the third stage, one must relinquish control to their dragon counterpart if they wish to complete the transformation. Be warned that this is the most dangerous part of the technique and is liable to have the user to go berserk. When the dragon counterpart takes over, it will automatically complete the humanoid dragon transformation for the user however from there on, the use must wrest control of the body back to themselves."
"If the user is unable to wrest control of their body, it is best to knock the user unconscious or kill them if no other solution is present." Ye Xiu grimaced at the implications of the third stage of the technique. It was also the main reason why he stayed away from that particular stage until he felt that he was ready and it would also give him more time to refine his transformation process.
He had less than a few days till the deadline was up but he was sure that he could at least cut down the transformation time to half of its current time.
Tian Bai had helped Ye Xiu because he was his friend and even if he wasn't his friend, he would've done it so that he could stave off his boredom. Tian Bai had managed to find many other little secret mechanisms that had different effects and he loved to torment Ye Xiu with them. One of the little mechanisms would've been a problem if Ye Xiu and Tian weren't resistant to the poisons that were released into the air.
Tian Bai messed around with the Qi density mechanism especially during fights so that Ye Xiu could get used to the environment. Ye Xiu could now manage to fight in the higher Qi density environment without suffocating.
Ye Xiu had managed to cut down his transformation time to less than fifteen seconds, it was not optimal for most people in a combat situation but Ye Xiu knew that he could still shave off the time needed after the test when he passed it. Though it wasn't optimal, Ye Xiu managed to use his multi-tasking to his ability. He was able to focus on the transformation whilst continuing to fight to the best of his ability.
It was a gradual change but Ye Xiu also preferred it in the same that Shi Die preferred his gradual change. It allowed him to adjust to the changes in the body so that it wouldn't affect his combat ability. He could brute force his way through the battles but he was unsure what his opponent's abilities were going to be like.
Tian Bai continued to spar with Ye Xiu so that he would have higher chances to win the fight that was coming. Tian Bai reasoned with Ye Xiu that the rules of the stage never mentioned that it was a one on one fight which meant that he would be joining to help.