In fact, what Han Lingyun had discovered on his own was a technique inner disciples were trying to replicate. And inner disciples are foundation establishment cultivators. Who could equal his visualization capacity coupled with his understanding of runes at the qi condensation realm? At the White Tiger Sect, there was no one.
Han Lingyun's session lasted for another 4 hours. When he ran out of qi, he would absorb another portion from the qi crystals he had to extend his session.
After 4 hours, his mind was too tired to maintain this state of balance with the waterfall and qi.
In only half a day, he had advanced as much as he would have in a week at least. The best thing was that there weren't any potential side effects like with pills because in practice he was simply cultivating and circulating natural qi, just more efficiently than usual. In the end, his speed still scared him a bit. This felt too good to be true. Han Lingyun thus decided to talk about his method to Elder Wen right away.
That's when he learned that he had rediscovered the wheel to some extent. At the foundation establishment stage, once a disciple reaches a certain level, he then tries to incorporate different elements to his spiritual world. By mimicking a reality in his mind, the cultivation becomes much smoother.
Well, Elder Wen was completely stunned when Han Lingyun talked about his method, even after knowing the uniqueness of his disciple. The fact that he came with the idea of introducing runic concepts to his cultivation sessions, and that only at the early qi condensation stage, hinted at a great cultivation intuition.
What Elder Wen suggested to Han Lingyun was that he tried to recreate the state without being under a waterfall and by just imagining it. Han Lingyun agreed to do so once his body and mind were ready for another session. Indeed, in theory, he should be able to picture the waterfall in his mind world just as well.
However, theory and experience don't always go in pairs. When Han Lingyun attempted to imagine the waterfall from his house it felt much more difficult, as if concept of water was there but hidden by a fog. He still managed to recreate the waterfall and his qi cycle but it was too inferior. For the waterfall, it was like comparing a movie to seeing the thing in person: it was the same images but the feeling was different.
Han Lingyun only managed to reuse a small stream of qi. If he released more, the rest would just dissipate away. The process was thus at least 5 times slower than under the waterfall.
It was still a huge step though. This meant that his cultivation speed had permanently increased by a small amount, and that amount would continue to grow as his comprehension would increase.
Close contact with the concepts he envisioned would bring a huge boost to his cultivation speed though. Han Lingyun had understood another reason why core condensation cultivators enjoyed to cultivate at special or extreme places like mountain peaks. It wasn't just to find a greater concentration of qi in the environment but to aid their visualization as well.
Han Lingyun also realized why Wang Yimo's yin concept visualization helped her to cultivate, and the moonlights aided her further. The concept of Yin is associated to the coldness of the moons while Yang is linked to the hot sun.
Now that he had finished his cultivation session and experiments, Han Lingyun's looked around his house and his eyes fell on the array materials scattered on the floor. He would finally be attempting to make his first array.
After having studied runes for a couple months, Han Lingyun's theoretical knowledge was extremely impressive for his age but he had yet to construct his own array formation.
Han Lingyun picked up a paintbrush made to inscribe runes. The user would channel correctly flavored qi through it while replicating the abstract form that corresponded to the same concept.
The ink used was a special type that permitted to fix the qi coming from the brush in place.
Han Lingyun would start with the simplest formation he could think of: a qi barrier.
The first step was to inscribe a symbol on a blank flag he had lying around. Han Lingyun trained his hand without ink to prepare for the inscription.
The easiest concepts to inscribe were the runic equivalents of logical gates (AND, OR, NOR, …) as both there meaning and structure were basic and one dimensional. 1 or 2 straight strokes were enough. He only needed to inscribe those symbols on the flag for that particular construct.
One short horizontal line, one vertical, another two vertical lines next to each other, then a short horizontal line.
Han Lingyun then had to repeat the same process for another five different flags. In this formation, each of the 6 flags would serve as a node.
So far so good. He hadn't made any mistakes yet.
Now came the hardest part: he took a stone disk of 50 cm in diameter. This would be the controlling platform of the array.
In order to create a qi barrier, Han Lingyun had to express several runic instructions.
-First, detect the flags (which will be placed around the central stone disk at equidistance).
-Then define two spheres: one intersecting with the flags, and a second one smaller than the first one by one percent.
-Convert the Qi from the crystal placed at this spot into the air.
-Maintain the qi inside the volume delimited by the two imaginary spheres and the ground.
In practice, the steps were slightly more complicated and the runic language complexified it further. But the principle behind Han Lingyun's runic instructions followed that framework.
After 10 minutes of intense concentration and precise hand control. Han Lingyun had finally finished the runic inscriptions.
Now he couldn't wait to test his creation and see if it worked out as planned. Han Lingyun placed the 6 flags around his house and made sure they formed a hexagon.
Before proceeding further, Han Lingyun re examined all his runes and the placement of the flags.
After being satisfied, he placed the stone disk on the floor at the center of his house and put a low-grade qi crystal at its center.
Han Lingyun waited with bated breath as the runes on the disk turned as white as the crystal. Full of expectation, he rushed out of his house to check the formation.
But it looked like there was nothing special around his house, only empty air.
Han Lingyun was unperturbed and passed his hand through the point where the imaginary spheres should be. He could sense plenty of qi!
"Yes!" Han Lingyun foolishly jumped up in joy after having completed his first formation array.
He ran around his house to verify that qi was distributed evenly around the sphere's surface. It seemed that everything was working as intended. Even if the formation was as basic as it could get, he had built it, and on his first try.
The idea behind the formation is that if someone launched a qi attack from outside the formation, the attack would be weakened or destroyed when it came in contact with a high qi area, just like qi attacks can cancel each other out.
Of course, that formation was very limited. This was possibly the worst possible use of qi to defend. Someone could also just move one flag and the qi would dissipate. Also, every qi attack it blocked would consume at least as much qi from the formation. It would thus need a constant supply of spirit stones or be weakened after every attack.
In truth, it was completely useless.
Han Lingyun didn't want his first formation to serve no purpose though, so he went back to add an instruction.
The instruction could basically be transcribed to "Color the qi in white."
The formation might as well be an esthetic piece, right?
Han Lingyun went outside and laughed at himself for creating a faintly white and translucent dome around his house. He felt it looked cool and mysterious. Han Lingyun decided to put in more low-grade qi crystals to make the dome stand out even further by augmenting the qi density. He found it quite amusing. With a bit more work he could even make himself a dome that changed color and such.
A disciple innocently passing by spotted Han Lingyun's array from a far and stopped in his tracks. He approached to take a closer look.
Han Lingyun then realized what he had just done.
'No way, I have turned his house into an attraction!'
As the friendly disciple approached for a chat, Han Lingyun rushed back to his house and added one symbol that nullified the last line, turning the qi invisible again.
The disciple was left a bit dazed by Han Lingyun running away from him and doing something to turn down the white dome.
"Is everything all right, disciple Lingyun?" He tentatively asked.
"Haha, no problem. I was testing this array I bought when I realized I was burning qi by keeping it on, that's all." Han Lingyun was just spouting nonsense but the disciple had no reason to doubt him.
"I-I see. Have a good day then." As the disciple continued on his way, he suddenly realized a problem. 'Why would Han Lingyun ever want to buy an array? Is he feeling threatened inside the sect? But the elders shouldn't allow any harm to be done to him in here.' The disciple couldn't find an answer but soon put his questions to the back of his mind. It didn't concern him anyway.
'Perhaps, Han Lingyun has too much Ps and bought random stuff. With my grade 2 talent, we are nearly in two different worlds after all.'
And so, Han Lingyun had taken his first step to array formation making. This was his "hello world" of array formations.
Now it was time to commence some more challenging projects.