Once again, Liao Shao was permitted to rest for 20 minutes.
Wei Muchen and Liao Shao silently faced off on the stage under the cheers of the disciples.
Just as the match began, Wei Muchen violently turned on himself, it seemed he had torn the air itself as he released a pitch-black horizontal qi crescent of several meters in length.
Liao Shao responded with his full power strike, not daring to take that attack lightly. The black crescent simply cut right through his attack and was about to reach him when the elder watching dissipated the attack. This black qi had an insane density!
"Wei Muchen wins."
Disciples all around were in awe of Wei Muchen's absolute power. He had become more low-key lately but his strength continued to grow in strides.
And so, after this brief demonstration, the final rankings at the top were updated to:
#1 Wei Muchen
#2 Wang Yimo
#3 Han Lingyun
#4 Liao Shao
#5 Qi Bo
#6 Qin Mei
#7 Qin Tengfei
#8 Liao Zhenzhen
#9 Pan Xiulan
#10 Lai Meihui
#11 Ma Zhong.
The rankings ended and the cultivation routines came back. As for Yang Haoyu? Less than a week after the day of the ranking duels, he finally reached the qi condensation realm, without even consuming the Supreme Condensation pellet.
It happened when Yang Haoyu had taken a mission with 3rd grade talents to kill a magical beast that terrified a small town. He had just felt something click after the successful hunt, then hurriedly found a quiet corner to complete his breakthrough. The process went without a hitch and he was now a qi condensation cultivator.
Yan Haoyu had breathed a huge sigh of relief and at the same time couldn't believe that the breakthrough had happened just when he had stopped to lose sleep about it. At last, with the right watering, the seed had sprouted.
But Yang Haoyu now found himself with a Supreme Condensation pellet he didn't need any more so he gave it to another disciple at the price of a simple show of gratitude, while reminding the disciple that when he would reach the peak of body strengthening, he might never need the pellet to breakthrough, just like himself.
Han Lingyun had progressed tremendously when he included the water concept in his cultivation spirit world. His train of thoughts thus logically came to the next question: could he include all the 5 elements in his mind world? What would the benefits be in that case?
As Han Lingyun experimented with his next idea, he very quickly understood that the easiest way to achieve incorporating the other elements to his spiritual world would be to first include wood by feeding it the concept of water.
Page 2: Wood.
The rune had a faint resemblance with two simplified bamboo shoots, a mixture of uprightness and soft incurvations.
Wood, one of the five natural runes. Water generates wood as it flows in its veins.
Wood is growth. Wood is the small sapling slowly reaching great heights, accumulating seasonal cycles into its core. Wood is the wisdom of life, but also excitement of vitality, joy of procreation and appreciation of sensuality. Wood is the tree birthing the forest. Wood is benevolence, altruism, and a caring mother gazing down at its mischievous children.
Wood is strength in flexibility, a bamboo surviving against the odds. But Wood is also the unyielding branch that snaps instead of bending to the world. Wood is anger, revolt and frustration: condemned to keep its original place, constrained as it yearns to reach higher with its leaves.
Wood is the young tree trying to reach for the heavens while keeping its roots.
After rereading the page and pondering on its details, Han Lingyun tried to think of every additional knowledge he had regarding plants and trees: photosynthesis, cells consuming CO2…
What is photosynthesis? It's the process of plants converting the energy of the sun into glucose (C6H12O6 if decomposed by its atoms).
6 CO2 + 6 H2O + light --> C6H12O6 + 6 O2
Glucose is basically fuel for the cells, a form of chemical energy that the plant can harvest with fermentation or cellular respiration. The other use of photosynthesis is the fixed carbon it provides, a carbon in an organic molecule like glucose. This carbon can be used on other reactions to construct different organic molecules needed by cells. In essence, photosynthesis, is what fuels plants' growth.
Han Lingyun mentally noted down all these aspects but still felt that his scientific understanding of the wood element was lacking compared to water. He thought about additional models to portray the whole idea of forest growth. Differential equation could bring satisfactory results on that part.
When he became satisfied, Han Lingyun sank into his spiritual world and imagined grass and trees spreading around the waterfall and pond.
He tried to concentrate on the emotions, ideas, and theory based around trees and wood but it felt extremely taxing on his mind and he wasn't able to cultivate properly at the same time. It was as if a heavy weight was pressing down on his mind, giving him a headache.
Understanding that he could be lacking in comprehension or the necessary force of his spirit, Han Lingyun turned to outside help. He attempted again to introduce the concept of wood to his spirit world, but this time under the waterfall.
He succeeded to a small extent. Some life bloomed around the waterfall, as the source quenched the plants' thirst. That grass and trees didn't seem too vibrant though. Han Lingyun also noted an issue: his personal understanding of wood was based on photosynthesis to a large extent but his mind world didn't have any sun or true light, only a faint glimmer from qi particles, like fireflies in the darkness.
However, he hadn't included the fire element into his mind world yet, so a sun couldn't be replicated; and Han Lingyun knew very well that his spirit was already facing its limits in imagination for now.
This meant that Han Lingyun had introduced the wood element to his world but to a limited degree and his own understanding wasn't used. It was still better than nothing though.
Han Lingyun took a step back from his cultivation and thought of ways to mitigate his shortcomings.
In that situation, Han Lingyun decided to follow the example of his predecessors in cultivation: he headed for a training ground that consisted of a rich and lush forest.
A few disciples were scattered around the wonderous forest as they appreciated its atmosphere to cultivate in peace. Nonetheless, they weren't that numerous as most couldn't understand why they needed to cough out 5 Ps per hour just to stay in a slightly special forest.
Han Lingyun sat far from any other disciples; he had walked to the point where he felt that he was alone in the vibrant forest.
He took the usual lotus position on a cushion of moss, and admired the static spectacle that hid so much life, from microorganisms to worms, insects and the distant wildlife interrupting the tranquil silence.
Even under that summer heat, the forest maintained its cool. Han Lingyun breathed the fresh forest air and circulated his qi as he tried to figuratively absorb his feelings to transcribe them into his mind world.
After taking those action, Han Lingyun realized that the forest seemed to take root in his mind; ever so slowly expanding and radiating traces of life. Even if the impression was faint, it felt like a mother's warm welcome.
The waterfall remained uninterrupted, still at the center of his new world. Han Lingyun had progressed in his understanding of the concept of water in his last month of cultivation and now he could recreate the spiritual concept of that element with much more accuracy even when not cultivating under the waterfall.
In his mind, Han Lingyun stepped out from his lotus position under the waterfall and took his first steps in the forest, caressing the leaves. He remembered the scene when he became a qi cultivator under the rain and wielded his arm to make raindrops fall. The leaves seemed to wiggle with joy and Han Lingyun felt a strong sense of accomplishment and elation.
Now, wasn't he an all powerful being in his own world? With sufficient spirituality, he could imagine everything he wanted in his mind, a form of lucid dreaming.
It was at that point that he had a revolutionary thought; a bolt flashed on his mind. If he could imagine what he understood perfectly with little efforts, couldn't he create his own light?
Han Lingyun immediately concentrated on the task: he imagined a wooden turbine that used a portion of the waterfall to rotate, a generator that converted mechanical energy into electricity using the principle of electromagnetic induction. He had long mastered the basics to recreate those systems as he had studied that process in physics class during his last life. The electricity would then go through a cable to an incandescent bulb that emitted light while heating up. This was the simplest source of light he could think of right now without having to rely on the element of fire too much.
There were still some major flaws in his ideas though: the heating process was part of the technicalities of the concept of fire for example, and even such a simple circuit strained his mind to a great extent. This simple technology also fed on a shallower understanding of the spiritual concepts of light and electricity. Induction alone was a complicated process in real life.
Plus his knowledge of the generator, his precise understanding of all its parts and of the materials that composed it put a huge strain on his mind.
To his greatest joy, his light bulb still managed to emit a little bit of light for an instant, before Han Lingyun felt the burden on his mind was too much.
Anyway, the light has barely reached the plants, it was as if light struggled to spread out in his mind world.
But still managing to make his own light before incorporating a complete concept of fire in his mind world was a feat in itself, one none of his peers would believe.
That situation only came to be as a consequence to the incredible fact that Han Lingyun had a better comprehension of these physical phenomena than of the concept of fire. This would definitely stun Elder Wen to no end if he ever learned of it. Currently, there were huge limitations on Han Lingyun's ability to do as he wished in his mind projection but this exercise definitely functioned as a proof of concept.
The benefit of the faint light for the plants of his mind world wasn't worth the huge additional burden on his spirit though. Han Lingyun had to leave out his inventions in order to cultivate more efficiently for now. However, this promised a whole new world for Han Lingyun when his cultivation and spirit would be at a level enough to support all his wild ideas.