"Wow. He really did it. I'm surprised" said Jacob.
"Good, good. It should get entertaining from here on out" said Methis.
The two of them stared at a projection of the world below them and were keeping a close eye on Tom. They had been waiting for a day now and had finally seen some results. Jacob was happy that Tom had managed to step onto the path of cultivation that would allow him to win his bet, and, Methis was happy that Tom wouldn't bore him by living the life of a mortal, though that would bring some amusement to him too. Nevertheless, both of them wanted to watch and see what Tom would do while he was on the planet.
They figured that from now on, they would be able to have some fun watching Tom struggling around down there. They'd already found it hilarious when Tom couldn't stand properly and was stumbling about, but, they wanted him to get involved in some action too. What they were doing was like sitting down to watch a movie and they wanted it to be an exciting one. They had high hopes that Tom would do this for them.
"Let's see what he does now" said Methis.
Tom sat in his room, a huge grin on his face, silently revelling in his accomplishment. He was very happy to have passed the first stage of preliminary cultivation, but, he was also astutely aware that it was only the first stage. Right now he couldn't even be considered as a cultivator, just a preliminary cultivator. He needed more than this. Now that he'd passed the first stage, he had to move onto the second. Time after all, was of the essence. He only had 20 years down here and he didn't plan to waste it.
The second stage of preliminary cultivation was body sensing. This was similar to the first stage and required one to become in tune with one's own body. There were very faint traces of qi within the human body and one had to sense these traces to pass the second stage. The reason being was that there were energy channels in the human body, conduits for qi to travel through. Sensing qi was only one part of the equation when it came to cultivating. To cultivate, one had to take this energy inside their body. The second stage was equally as important as the first, because, if one couldn't sense the energy channels in their own body, they wouldn't even know where to begin when it came to absorbing qi into the body and moving it around the body.
Tom kept his mind focused. He continued sensing the qi around him and then slowly moved his focus from his surroundings to his body. This was one of the methods written in the records of the Cardinal clan of how to achieve body sensing. He needed to stay in touch with the qi, sensing it, and in doing so sense his internal qi.
There was qi inside the body as well as outside. He just needed to sense internally what he already could externally.
Tom was a bit worried about this because this wasn't his own body, it was a vessel. What's more, although he'd gotten used to it now and was fully functional in it, his motor control still couldn't be called exemplary. This wasn't to say that he couldn't perform any of the actions any normal person could perform; it just meant that he lacked still lacked a certain degree of finesse in controlling his body.
Luckily, his skill and competence in the motor control of his body did not hinder his progress and he shortly passed the second stage of preliminary cultivation. Now he could move on to the third stage.
The third stage was body opening. When a person had sensed the faint, almost negligible amount of qi that was in their body and in doing so had discovered the energy channels of their body, they would the need to open these channels and open their body up to be able to move qi in and out of it. This involved the stimulation of the energy in one's body.
Previously all one had to do was become attuned to qi, but now, to pass the third stage, a person was required to manipulate qi. Well, it wasn't really a true manipulation of qi, but, it still required a person to interact with it and affect it, causing it to flush out of their body and open up the body's energy channels.
Like the first stage, Tom wasn't able to achieve this straight away. Tom continued to sit there, focused on the task at hand. He was rather patient and unconcerned. Since he had already gotten this far, he was confident that he would pass this soon enough.
After over an hour passed, he finally felt a reaction from the qi in his body. Unfortunately, this was a volatile reaction. What started as just a slight tingle turned into an excruciating pain as the qi in his body was flushed out of it. All of his muscles tensed and began cramping, his face turned bright red and beads of sweat formed on his skin.
Tom clenched his teeth as hard as he could to bare the pain. He was feeling quite indignant about it. Ever since being in this body, he had gotten to experience a variety of new senses he wasn't used to. He wasn't human and being in a human body; feeling what it felt, was a new and curious experience for him, but, now that he was in a mortal body again, he also had to experience its pain. This was something he most certainly was not happy about.
Fortunately, the pain Tom felt in his body didn't last for long and although he had to undergo such pain, this meant that he had cleared the energy channels in his body and completed the third stage of preliminary cultivation.
"Three down, four to go"