Zarasen watched in horror as a humungous mass of source qi rushed towards the seating boy. “How is this possible? He just began to practice!! Could it that he remembered how to cultivate?” He shook his head, partially trying to awake from his shock and partially to deny his last question. The shock remained, still gripping his heart and drying his mouth.
“ No, even if he remembered how to cultivate, this mass of energy is way above the level of the qi circulation level.” The higher your cultivation the more source qi you could attract, this was common sense.
And at the heaven opening stage, the norm was to move a small strand. With the size ranging from a hair for the less talented or those with broken spirit-veins to a palm wide stream for the more talented. By the third phase of the heaven opening stage, the more talented could move twice the source qi. But nothing like what he was seeing.
The kid was pulling energy from every corner of the room. As he paid closer attention Zarasen realized that Aleran was attracting the source qi in waves. Once a wave reached him, it took almost the time to blink an eye to gather another wave. It was so fast that it could be taken by a continuous stream, but Zarasen could see it clearly.
Like a fast beating heart, wave after wave dragged the source qi inside the room towards the kid. And as this source qi moved, more took its place from outside the cell. “How is he doing it? It would take a monstrous concentration to compress and circulate all that source qi inside your spirit-veins.”
“This could lead to another cultivation deviation.” But Zarasen could tell that the brat was in complete control. It almost made the idea of the kid ever suffering a cultivation deviation laughable.
As if suddenly remembering something Zarasen jumped at the window on the door. He plastered his nose on the glass to look around. “ Shit! I stay too much time being impress at this little turd's feat and I forgot the mess he is doing with the energy.”
He turned around and looked at Aleran closely. He had to calculate the exact time to stop him, with this much source qi it would be dangerous to interrupt a revolution inside his body. Zarasen had to wait for one revolution to end and stop Aleran from beginning a new one. The thing was that the little bastard was to quick at doing the revolutions, it was like watching a time accelerated cultivation.
Aleran never felt so comfortable in his past or this short life. Every time he completed a revolution, every time he put his refined qi inside some node, he felt his body shivering with pleasure. It was like putting armor around every single cell, giving each one support and power.
It made Aleran wonder how all this process worked. He controlled everything till the point he pored the refined qi into the node. But then the qi would naturally go from the node to the physical body and them it enhanced his body on its own. Almost as if it were alive.
“Focus!” He scolded himself for going on a tangent. Cultivation was harder than he thought, it required all his concentration to move the energy inside his spirit-veins and remember the paths Zarasen taught him. He had a good memory but the spirit veins were like a maze, sometimes making him doubt which path to take.
Aleran was about to begin another revolution when he felt something weird. Frowning and easily stopping he opened his eyes to look down. Attached to his right foot was the old man sucking at his big toe like a leech. The old man looked up at him and, like a kid removing a lollipop from his mouth, he stopped sucking his toe.
Aleran took a time to react, enough for the old man to stand up again. “ What the fuck are you doing you old perverted fart?!” Aleran didn't know how to react. Luckily Zarasen had been generous teaching him curses for these situations.
But the bad jokes Aleran was expecting of the old man didn't come. The old man just started whispering.“Shhh. We don't have much time.” Said in a hurried state.
‘Then, don't lick my feet, just wake me like a normal person!’ Aleran saved his complaints in his mind and just listened.
“Lay on your bed and don't move a muscle, now your every movement is filled with qi. If you don't move they would have to focus specifically on you to discover that you have active qi.”
With a single fast jump, Aleran went from a sitting position on the floor to the bed. He was expecting to get up with that jump and immediately running to the bed with the impulse. Instead, he almost crashed against the wall next to the bed.
‘Is this the result of just one session of cultivation?’ Aleran stood on top of his bed for a while, looking at his hands and legs. ‘ I have to control the qi I consume when I move.’
“Come on, little turd, lay down” Sarazen's voice reached Aleran and he did as the old man said. ‘Did he just called me a turd?’ Another thing he will have save for later.
Soon after laying down he heard the hurried steps of the guards. ‘Why are they so stressed, did I do something wrong?’
before the footsteps got closer the old man warned him. “ KId once they are close stay very still, don't even breathe.”
As he wondered what could he had possibly done wrong, the voice of the guards came from the corridor. “ What the hell was that?”
Another guard answered him. “ some sort of source qi turbulence... I think. I'm not sure. Someone must have broken in after all those here in the cells have their collars on.”
The first guard replied with a shaky voice. “Don't care, I already sent the signal. The supervisor should come any moment now, that turbulence was pretty big I don't think we can handle this”
The other seemed to agree to the first one and was equally shaky “ Yeah but we have to do some patrolling. You know as well that if he comes and finds us doing nothing about this anomaly he will flip out on us.”
With hurried and equally shaky footsteps the jailors passed by. “Haaa” Aleran let the breath out then he inhale deeply. The footsteps sounds were hurried but their actual footsteps must have been short and fast.
Not long after, the guards came back, their voices and peace were calmer. “ Even if there's nothing we did the right thing sending the signal. The qi turbulence was real, we both felt it after all”
The other said. “Maybe it was outside turbulence that somehow extended through here, it's rare, but it could happen.”
“Gudrak won't like to be called for a false alarm, but it's better than fighting an unknown intruder. Maybe if we hurry we can stop him from coming over. ”
Once they were outside their hearing range Zarasen spoke “ fortunately they think it was a disturbance on the source qi. We were quick enough if you were a little late in stopping your cultivation they would have figure out what really happened.” Afterward, he told Aleran what happened while he was cultivating.
“By the way you are now at the threshold between the second phase and the third. I seriously don't know how you do it, maybe it has something to do with having a second set of spirit veins out of nowhere. What did you feel?”
Aleran wasn't going to say anything about his soul or how he came to this world. He didn't know how people would react to it and what the implications maybe if there were any at all. He lied a little. “ I don't know, I just felt I could reach for more and I did. My cultivation will be faster than others, right? I'm a genius then.” He finished with a cheeky smile that gave one the urge to punch him.
Zarasen snorted “ You are a freaking monster all right, you make me wonder if there's Kaisha's blood on you. But don't be so pleased with yourself. Yes, it will make the heaven opening stage a breeze for you but in most other stages it won't make a big difference. For those stages, you will need comprehension of the source qi and your images.”
There were a few things Aleran didn't understand what Zarasen said but the last part picked his interest.
“What was that about images?”
“Sighh”. Sarazen dropped his shoulder like he was tired. “ I might as well explain it now.” ‘I just hope you are not a monster in this as well.’
With a little fear at what this brat was becoming he continued. “ You told me about your mother once freezing water. Remember? Well, all that she did was changing her inner qi to a freezing qi with an ice image, or cold image and inject that qi to the water. It depends on each person. By what you told me, she could probably project her inner qi and transform it into ice or water.
“The use of images can become quite complex. Only after you can project qi outside your body it becomes really important, before that it's pretty useless. But you can start meditating on images after you get at the heaven opening stage third phase. It will allow you to change your inner qi into your image, but if not controlled right it could be deadly to you. Just imagine your mother's case, she could freeze her blood if she changed her inner qi inside her.”
What image should I meditate in? And why do you have to meditate on them?
When you cultivate you enter a state of connection with the energy of heaven and earth and through it, you connect with the world. If you meditate your image while cultivating you can gain inspiration from this, it will improve your understanding of your image and how it behaves in the world. Though you can do it on your own, there are special techniques to meditate in these images. There are some sects and kingdoms that have their own especially when it comes to images.
So my image has to be based on my understanding of nature? ‘This is getting good’ thought Aleran
“Mmmmm yeas and no. It can be something completely imaginary or a concept, like the concept of fear. Many cultivators imbue their energy with this concept, it is capable of giving a heart attack to a normal human, but it is harder to improve these abstract images. And you are right that the closer you get to how something in nature works the more powerful the image becomes.”
“The image alone can be more powerful than the natural phenomenon. There are cultivators who can conjure fires more powerful than real fire. Yet if they want to improve their cultivation and images they have to understand better the natural fire. Don't worry it's too early for you to think about this, normally cultivators pick several images. Not too many and not too few, you will have the time to really improve 5 and the rest will be used as a support.”
Aleran was breathing heavily now because maybe, just maybe he will be able to put his knowledge to good use. ‘Knowledge will translate in real power’
Seeing his excited face Zarasen reminded Aleran “ Be careful with the image you choose, boy. Make sure you understand it and are able to control it.”
Aleran had already stopped listening, he just nodded out of pure reflex. He was deep in thought, about what image he should choose.