Li Lian came back home in the middle of the night. She was so exhausted that she didn’t bother changing into her sleeping gown after taking off her clothes. She entered her room then saw Xiao Fang already asleep on her bed.
“Xiao Fang…”, she said under her breath.
Li Lian crawled under their blanket and cocooned herself within Xiao Fang’s embrace.
Xiao Fang was awakened by the fragrant scent of her hair.
“Lian’er, you’re back”, he said sleepily as he tried to hug her tightly.
She chuckled to herself. “Xiao Fang, did you miss me?”
He buried his head in her hair, and brought his lips close to her ear as he whispered,
“Mn, I missed you a lot”, his masculine voice sent tingles down her spine.
“Xiao Fang, I love it when you whisper in my ear like that. Do it again”, she rubbed comfortably against him like a cat.
Xiao Fang was preparing to talk sweet nothings in her ear when he suddenly remembered about his gift. He reached for his spacial pouch that rested on top of the bedside table.
He didn’t want her to see the absence of merit points in his pouch so he planned to take the spirit cultivation technique out first.
“I got you a little gift”, he said.
“A gift? What did you get me?”, she tilted her head with a curious gaze.
“Don’t panic when you see it”.
“Yeah sure. Come on, let me see it”, she said excitedly.
The room was fairly dark. The only light they could see was the moonlight shining through the curtains. However, the moment he took the Heavenly fire scroll out, the room became as bright as day.
“Ahhh!!”, she screamed as she jumped off the bed. Xiao Fang couldn’t help but laugh a bit to her reaction.
“Are you trying to burn my house down?!”, she yelled at him.
Xiao Fang smiled bitterly.
She stared at his hand holding the scroll for a few seconds. “How are you able to do that?”, she asked.
“Don’t worry, it doesn’t burn. It’s just a cultivation technique”, he explained briefly.
“Take it. This is the gift I prepared for you”, he said as he held out the scroll in his hand.
She approached it cautiously, then accepted it with both hands. It was just as Xiao Fang said. It didn’t burn, it didn’t hurt, it just sat comfortably in her hands. She unraveled the scroll then began to read its contents.
Xiao Fang waited for her to say something, maybe a “thank you” at least, but she just froze there staring at the scroll.
He cleared his throat. “Ahem, cultivate it well, we only have a few more months till the inner court exam”, but she still didn’t reply.
“Li Lian?”, he tried to get her attention, but eventually realized that she was in a meditative state.
“Ah, you love it that much, huh. I guess I made the right choice then”, he thought before going back to bed.
While Xiao Fang was asleep, the burning scroll in Li Lian’s hands slowly engulfed her body. Some time later, the friendly fire gradually got absorbed into her body. Once the flame was all absorbed, her eyes Finally opened.
She felt a heartwarming energy circulating within her body. Her spirit surged with an unfamiliar yet profound power. She closed her eyes then began cultivating it. As she cultivated, her body emitted a burning aura. At first it burned violently, but it eventually settled.
In the morning, Xiao Fang woke up to a comfortable warmth. It didn’t make him feel hot, but it just made him feel refreshed. He yawned, feeling as if he had just woken up from a 1000 year slumber.
When he opened his eyes he saw Li Lian engulfed in flame. He panicked for just a brief moment but almost immediately realized what it was.
“That girl… was she cultivating all this time?”.
After Xiao Fang told her that he’d pay for her inner court exam fee, there was no reason for her to keep going on missions. Instead, she planned to focus wholeheartedly on her cultivation. However, Xiao Fang was nearly bankrupt. So he left.
Xiao Fang kept to his routine. After cultivating with Chun Hua, he then planned to cultivate with Xun Wei. However, they didn’t cultivate like they used to.
Today in the park, using Xiao Fang’s sword, he helped her practice her new sword skill: ‘Quick Sword’.
It had a simple name for a relatively difficult technique. After reading the technique over a few times Xiao Fang became flabbergasted by the complexity yet profound nature of this technique.
There were 3 levels to this technique:
1st level: Vanishing Blade
> 1st stage of the Body Strengthening Realm
> 1st stage of the Spirit Foundation Realm
[ To strike with a disappearing blade ]
2nd level: Ghost Blade Barrage
> 1st stage of the Body Refinement Realm
> 1st stage of the Spirit Refinement Realm
[ To strike multiple times simultaneously ]
3rd level: Phantom Swordsman
> 1st stage of the Solid Body Realm
> 1st stage of the Spirit Core Realm
[ To move faster than the eye can see ]
Xiao Fang’s heart stopped for a moment.
“Solid… Body. This is really a solid body sword cultivation technique. Also, what does it mean by ‘faster than the eye can see’? Was there really such a thing in this world?”, he stared at the the scroll with wide eyes.
He had the sudden urge to start practicing it himself. There was no reason why Xun Wei would be opposed to the both of them practicing together, after all he did purchase it for her.
“Why did it only cost 6000 merit points though?”, he thought out loud.
“Sword skills aren’t very common in this province or any other province really”, she replied.
When it comes to body cultivators and swordsmen the relationship between the two are pretty complicated.
One can cultivate the body through physical training, but if one chooses to train with a sword their progress would be significantly slower, and much more grueling. That’s why most of the elders in the Divine Sword sect were mostly only in the body core and profound realm.
If one takes this path, not only will their bodies be much stronger compared to other body cultivators in the same cultivation realm, but they will also be able to practice body cultivation sword techniques.
When he thought about this, he suddenly realized why he didn’t make any breakthroughs in the last 5 months. Before taking the elixir, he was only at the 8th stage of the body refinement realm. So until his progress with the sword catches up to his current body’s cultivation he won’t be making any breakthroughs.
Although this would restrict him from making any progress in the near future, the real reason why he wasn’t making any progress right now was because it was just too difficult to make any breakthroughs in the (sword) body refinement realm, especially in just 5 months.
“Hmm. There are a few flaws to this technique. It solely focuses on speed, there is no strength to the attacks. If you were to clash swords with someone using a sword strengthening technique, theoretically speaking, your sword should break. However, to do such a thing would be extremely unlikely especially if you are moving your sword as fast as it makes it out to be”.
“The other problem is…”, instead of explaining it, he decided to show her.
He unsheathed his sword, then squeezed the blade in his hand tightly. When he removed his hand she saw that his hand was still fine.
“No blood, how can there be no blood?”, she looked at his hand in shock.
“If you want to fight another swordsman the only way you will be able to harm them with this technique is if your sword is sharp enough to cut their bodies”. This is why most swordsmen in the Divine Sword sect mostly learned sword strengthening techniques.
She was still in shock. She’s never seen a swordsman before. In this world the most common kind of practitioners were spirit cultivators, less than 15% were body cultivators, and less than 1% were swordsmen like Xiao Fang. So it was only natural that she wouldn’t know what swordsmen were capable of. The only thing she did know was that it was the most difficult path of cultivation.
He explained everything she needed to know then asked her, “Do you still want to practice this technique?”.
She hesitated for a second then replied, “please teach me”.
“Mn, alright. I’ll get you a sword some time soon, till then just use my sword to practice. Xiao Fang didn’t worry too much about his sword in her hands. The sword itself wasn’t particularly good or valuable. He already planned on buying a better sword for himself.
For the rest of the morning Xiao Fang taught her the basics in sword handling. He believed she needed to build a stable foundation before trying to learn any kind of sword skill.
As the afternoon approached, he was preparing to leave when Xun Wei suddenly stopped him. She took out a new batch of rapid healing pills and put it in his spacial pouch with a smile.
She knew he trained hard every night, because he would sometimes go to the library in the morning with his bandages still on his arms. He usually took them off before he started cultivating with Chun Hua though.
Every night while Xiao Fang was body cultivating by practicing iron cutting iron at Li Lian’s house, Xun Wei practiced her pill concoction technique. She bought the materials with the merit points Xiao Fang earned from Xiao Fang’s dual cultivation practice. And, like a good housewife preparing the meat her husband brought back after a successful hunt, she would concoct pills for the two of them and make sure he always had a good supply of healing pills handy.
Like a loving wife, she took good care of him. He smiled with affection in his eyes, and planted a passionate kiss on her sensuous lips. He then said a final thanks as he walked away. She watched him with loving eyes until he walked around a corner. Then she headed home full of thoughts of Xiao Fang dancing in her head.
During the afternoon, Xiao Fang went to work. He worked harder than usual today, even cultivating with 2 or even 3 women at the same time.
When it was starting to get dark he went back home to Li Lian and more cultivating.
“Oh, Xiao Fang your back! Where did you go all day?”
“No where really. I was just out cultivating”.
Her eyes narrowed. “Cultivating body or spirit?”. She began sniffing him all over.
He cursed inwardly, he knew that look of suspicion and frustration in her eyes. It made him feel guilty and nervous she might blow up again. This happened nearly every night, which was bothersome because he really loved her, but she couldn’t seem to get over his method of spirit cultivation.
So this time trying to bypass her anger, “Um, ehm, body. Definitely body”, he said nervously, subconsciously avoiding eye contact.
“Are you sure? I can clearly smell the perfume on you!”, her calm voice gradually got louder till she was finally screaming.
“Ah, honey, I-I only cultivated my spirit once, I promise”.
She slapped him as hard as she could and Xiao Fang threw himself to the wall like last time. Only, she didn’t follow through with her slap, she stopped her hand before it made contact.
She was about to forgive him because of the amazing gift he got her, but after seeing him throw himself to the wall she had a sudden realization.
Xiao Fang laid pitifully on the wall. “Ah… did she miss?”, he thought to himself.
Xiao Fang suddenly felt his heart sink to his stomach when he realized what that could mean.
“I F*CKING KNEW IT! YOU LYING BASTARD, I’M GOING TO F*CKING KILL YOU! AGGGHHHHH!!!”.
Her body bursted into flame and she looked like she was going to destroy the entire district with her next attack. Xiao Fang gulped and his dragon shriveled.