I found Jing at our mansion after I got back from the cafeteria.
“I understand,” I said, even though I didn’t. A chick pecked at my shoe, and I moved my foot away. The chick followed. I gave it a small dose of my aura. It backed away for a second, before coming back to peck again.
Jing had moved into our mansion because “everywhere else is lonely and very not fun,” as she put it. I thought I wouldn’t mind, but then she brought her zoo with her. My garden crawled with all kinds of baby animals, including a few insects. They stayed on my property and didn’t disturb the neighbors, so I guess it was alright.
I tried not to let the mood in the school affect me or Hui Ming. Jing, who sat across from me, helped with that. But I also had more important matters to discuss. “I need to make this clear. I want this school to survive.”
“Big sis told me. You want to make the students here more powerful.” Jing pulled her sister’s chair closer to her.
“Something like that.”
She put Hui Ming’s hand on her lap. “They’ve hidden themselves well. The kid you and sis told me about is gone. My people are looking for them, but we’ve only captured two.”
“The elemental, and a fire mage girl we captured earlier today. They’re both more loyal than we thought, and they aren’t telling us anything. The fire mage told us they wanted to steal some of the library’s rarer scrolls. But she didn’t tell us anything about their location. ”
“Can you launch an assault on that mansion I was spying on?”
“Esha already paid it a visit. It’s abandoned. I really can’t do anything until I find them. I’ve made some plans to lure them out, but they’ll only work if that king is stupid. And he’s not stupid. I’m sorry, father.” She massaged Hui Ming’s palm.
“Don’t be, I know you’re doing everything you can. And how bout’ the school? Is it trying to help?” I asked.
Jing’s furrowed her eyebrows. “They’re not. Six Dao Journey Stage graduates of the school have come to help defend. They also captured one of the king’s subordinates, but the problem is they haven’t actually declared war against the king yet. They’re too afraid they might declare war against a real king. They’re even pressuring me to return the elemental.”
“Why don’t you?”
“Father, the king’s faking all of this. He won’t really stop if we return the elemental. He’ll only regain a powerful soldier. I think a lot of what’s happened so far has been planned, even you overhearing that conversation when you were spying. But I don’t know. I don’t even know what his goal is yet.” She looked down, as if ashamed about something.
“Thanks, Jing. Don’t stress about it. You’re doing what you can,” I said.
“Yes father…” She stayed for a few more minutes before heading off, dragging Hui Ming with her. The snake around my neck hissed at the chicken pecking my foot and it backed off. I headed to the Black Library again.
It was time to get serious about this. Esha, a native of this world, was able to reach absurd heights of power. I had two levels of cheats: my innate talent as one of the teleported, and my pills. I had no excuse for being so useless during the skirmish at the Black Library. I needed a Dao, or a way to manipulate my Qi. Even so, I would always be many times more powerful when surrounded by my plants.
I sat in an empty room, surrounded by thirty scrolls. Nine fireballs hovered before me. One of them flickered like a candle about to extinguish. A random thought about pig milk barged into my head, breaking my concentration. The five fireballs went out, leaving four.
This was a test of control, not power. I’d be sitting in lava if I used my full power.
I picked up a different scroll, this one on basic movement techniques. The first made me able to change my weight. The second locked me in place.
I improved at a rate of about a thousand times a normal person. This was nothing to brag about though. I should be comparing myself to the other people who teleported here. Those were the people that posed any real threat to me or my family.
I could improve even faster if I could use all my Qi. I wished I had a desert or wasteland I could practice in, but I was in a city. I continued practicing overnight, only leaving because I’d asked my students to meet at noon. At the time, I didn’t realize how fast what I’d learned would be put to use.