On the lawn at the back of the inn, where both Jason and Caroline used to take their medicinal baths, Jianmen stood in front of his two students with his signature bamboo stick.
“Where’s Aimee and Thomas again? I thought this was a joint session?” Caroline looked around and asked.
“It is a joint session, but you will start earlier, so that you will have more time to practice.” Jianmen tapped the ground with his bamboo stick and said: “Now, I trust that your powers are stabilized enough - or at least stable enough to learn to fly. It’s still a little too early for the detectives, so they can come in later, so can they can spend more time dealing with the aftermath of lycans and vampires and helping their police friends.”
“Alright! Flying!” Caroline rubbed her hands together and said: “What should we do?”
“Okay, from what you have learned about your powers, what have you thought about?” Jianmen said: “And don’t go low concept only or be overly practical. Caroline?”
“So, my Xuanli is fire and wind, which - well, kind of a cliche combo for flying.” Caroline said: “Shooting flames or strong wind from my palms and the soles of my feet, that’s what I tried. I was able to float for a few seconds. But I think I’m gonna need a new pair of boots.”
“That’s very intuitive, and very pop culture, have you tried anything else?”
“Yeah, I was thinking about using some kind of airflow or strong wind to lift myself up.” Caroline thought for a brief moment and said: “But that seemed to be even more destructive than shooting flames and strong gushes of air.”
“I see, and what about you? Jason?”
“I - well, aside from directly exploding my Xuanli to create air jets like Caroline tried, at first I was thinking that I would construct some kind of metal wings, or maybe construct a jetpack with some extra strong propellers inside.” Jason scratched his head and answered: “But if you’re thinking about high concept - I was thinking something anti-gravity, or something magnetic, since my elemental affinities are metal and earth. I was feeling that if I looked into it I could find a way to do it. But this kind of method will be dependent on the presence of earth or a magnetic field, so probably not going to be useful everywhere.”
“Hmm. Keep those thoughts in mind, and pay attention” Jianmen nodded, then he raised his right leg, as if he was about to step on an invisible chair or platform, and when he put his leg down, the sole of his right foot seemed to have stepped onto a thin but sturdy enough surface created by energy that appeared in the air. Then he “walked up ” a few steps and elevated himself up in the air while still maintaining a standing composure: “Now, look at what I am doing, can you tell me what kind of trick I just used?”
“You’re standing on a construct.” Jason immediately pointed out.
“Yes, but a simple construct would still fall to the ground due to gravity.” Jianmen answered with a smile.
“Your construct seemed to be connected to the air around you.” Caroline’s eyes glowed in light green: “Interesting: I can see that there are a bunch of tiny energy threads connecting this thin energy cardboard you created to the air around you, and each of the energy threads is pulling on a patch of air.”
“Exactly, very good.” Jianmen deconstructed his construct and landed on the ground: “So, as cultivators of the fourth layer, you already have enough understanding of and experience with the basic usage and some of the fundamental properties of your Xuanli. What you will need to improve on, your understanding of how they could connect to the world and environment around you.
“Caroline, you are correct in calling the flight techniques you used with wind and fire energy cliche, but cliches are there because it is convenient and ready to use, so you should definitely experiment with that route and see if you can master it or find something else about it. Since you’re already able to float, this means that you’re off to a good start. The training rooms under this inn will be made spacious and empty, so feel free to try without the concern of disturbing others. But as you noticed, they tend to be quite disturbing to the environment and not very good in terms of stealiness.
“Jason, your high concept approach is a step in the right direction, and something a lot of cultivators start to think about when they are at the fifth layer. Keep that in mind when you try. But on the other hand, you may find diving head first into this approach might not be a good way to start flying tomorrow, and you may not have the right idea on where to start first. So, think about what I just did, and see if you can find something from it.”
“Uhh, boss?” Jason raised his hand.
“The energy threads you just used to connect to the air around you, are they techniques we can use?”
“Of course, it’s a very typical trick for cultivators of the fourth tier.” Jianmen waved his hand in the air, a thin energy wall appeared on his right and his hand bumped into the wall and made a “thud” sound: “Think about it this way - when you’re a power wielder of a certain caliber, the most convenient media with which you can channel your power is no longer just limited to your actual body, but also the space you occupy. This means that the air around you, the space around you, the ground on which you stand, can all be yours to command, just like your very eyes, ears, nose and limbs. ”
“Hmmm… ” Jason scratched his jaw and thought for a while: “Is this where the ‘kingdom of god’ comes from?”
“Very good, Jason.” Jianmen almost laughed out loud: “Very good. But before you ponder about Godhood, start practicing here now, and let me see what you can do.”