Gu Qishao’s joke was very loud, but it wasn’t clear whether he did that on purpose. In any case, Long Feiye heard it by his side while Han Yunxi and Gu Beiyue caught it further off. The cheerful atmosphere immediately turned chilly as an uneasy silence fell upon the group. If you put it lightly, Gu Qishao was simply provoking Long Feiye; if you took it seriously, Gu Qishao was sowing discord between Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue. After all, Gu Beiyue was part of West Qin.
As everyone’s gazes flew to Long Feiye, his expression remained cold and inscrutable. Han Yunxi wanted to send Gu Qishao flying with a kick before Long Feiye did it first and took his life. Gu Beiyue simply broke into laughter and broke the silence. He teased back, “Your Highness, if that’s the case, you had better watch out.”
Everyone was taken aback, assuming that Gu Beiyue would be in a hurry to explain himself. But he actually followed Gu Qishao’s train of thought to continue the jest. Baili Mingxiang glanced at Gu Beiyue, but saw no signs of a guilty conscience on his features. He was nothing but natural and at ease, broad and level. Baili Mingxiang understood many things about Doctor Gu, but she couldn’t grasp his calm. It was impossible to feign such a state unless the heart felt it too. She really wanted to ask him how he did it.
How do you like your master without being petty or low?
How do you secretly love without feeling a guilty conscience?
How do you face a joke like that and still calmly treat it as a jest?
Gu Beiyue was smiling easily in the silence. Long Feiye didn’t object to his remark, but told Gu Qishao coldly, “If they escape, this crown prince will break your dogged legs!”
Now Han Yunxi burst out laughing, dissipating the awkward air! Xu Donglin, Baili Mingxiang, and the other subordinates all joined in with their laughs. Only Gu Qishao was left with his lips twitching at them all. He was the one who started it, but ended up as the butt of the joke. Why did it turn out like this again?
Once the jokes were done, Gu Beiyue began to use his lightness techniques in the courtyard--or more accurately speaking, his shadow arts. His speed was too fast for anyone to pick up on his footsteps, so that he seemed to shift positions instantaneously. Although he was standing right before them, he’d vanish in the next second and appear on the roof instead. He ended up making a circuit around the courtyard before confirming that he truly was healed.
Landing in front of Han Yunxi, Long Feiye, and Gu Qishao, he cupped his hands and gave thanks so earnestly that none of them could refuse. Han Yunxi accepted it easily, but said nothing of the dangers they faced at Medicine Requesting Cave. As Gu Beiyue straightened up, he recalled something vital and muttered, “Your Highness, has the dual cultivation been going smoothly too?”
It had already passed the three-month mark. Long Feiye nodded and remarked, “It’s already finished. Tonight we two will have to go into seclusion alone…”
“Your Highness needn’t worry,” Gu Beiyue said before he finished, “This one will guard the princess well.”
Dual cultivation was crucial, but what came after was even more important. Although they were only going to cultivate separately for one night, it would be the crucial link between success or failure. Long Feiye would be rising to the third rank of Lustbite energy and would spend the night combining his fully mastered Lustbite energy with his original Nirvana Heart Arts into one entity to create an all new strong, peerless internal energy.
Many martial arts existed in the world, each with their own set of moves. A martial arts practitioner could master different forms of fighting styles, but only cultivated in one form of internal energy. Lustbite energy was an anomaly in that it was internal energy meant for dual cultivation. The double meanings of “dual” cultivation meant that 1) a practitioner could cultivate two types of internal energy at once and 2) the practitioner needed to cultivate one’s mind and body with a partner to reach the third rank of Lustebite energy.
Now Long Feiye was on his final step. Lustbite energy wasn’t his final goal, but combining it with his Nirvana Heart Arts to create an all new power. It would be the strongest type of internal energy in Cloud Realm Continent history.
His dual cultivation partner Han Yunxi had already filled her internal energy reserves with Nirvana Heart Arts energy. Although few people were aware that she knew martial arts at all, she could be considered a 100 percent expert similar to Long Feiye’s level two years ago. If she went to Celestial Mountain now, the number of people who could exchange blows with her would be counted on the fingers. Long Feiye’s solo cultivation tonight was important to her as well, because she possessed Phoenix energy. Lustbite energy was cultivated by oneself, while Phoenix energy was a mysterious force hidden within Han Yunxi’s body. It was a constant presence that wouldn’t increase with Han Yunxi’s internal energy reserves, but as Han Yunxi’s reserves grew, she would gain further mastery over the power. She needed to seize the time when her dual cultivation just ended to check how much Phoenix energy she could control.
Long Feiye had to suffer the hardships of cultivation while Han Yunxi had to struggle with the burden of release. Neither of them were very lucky or easy. Their strength relied on their own stamina and hard work cultivating together. Tonight was crucial because neither of them could afford to be disturbed or suffer the consequences. With prudence at the forefront, Long Feiye waited until Gu Beiyue was fully healed before beginning this step.
“Long Feiye, this old man will protect you tonight!” Gu Qishao’s tone was lofty. Everyone looked down at his claim, but Long Feiye actually nodded his head.
Gu Qishao was smiling smugly until Long Feiye said, “You can squat by the door.”
What kind of guard squatted on his haunches by the front door?
It took a while, but everyone soon burst into laughter. As expected, Long Feiye didn’t need to swear when cursing others out. Xu Dongling silently recorded this conversation in his memories. At the same time he began a secret account of the Ye-Xi Quotations, he had started writing down every retort his master made against Gu Qishao. He even had a great name for the book called Raving Lunatic.
Once the sun set, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi both retired to separated rooms to start their solo cultivation. Gu Beiyue steeped and drank tea in the courtyard, seemingly at ease. However, he was attentive to every movement around him. Gu Qishao didn’t end up squatting at the door, but sat on the steps outside Han Yunxi’s rooms. He seemed to be flipping through his poison codex, but was actually aware of his surroundings as well. When it came time to get serious, Gu Qishao was never careless. Although their whereabouts were secret even from those of Myriad Merchant Hall, safety came first. All of East Origin Hall was enforced with tight security.
After a sleepless night without words, Gu Qishao stood up to stretch his joints after day hit, walking towards Gu Beiyue.
“It’s about time, right?” he muttered in a low voice.
Things had gone smoothly until now. No outsiders came to interfere and both Long Feiye and Han Yunxi were very quiet. There were no major issues.
“Mm,” Gu Beiyue poured Gu Qishao a cup of tea to stir his spirits.
Gu Qishao sat across from him and said out of idleness, “How about we make a bet?”
“What kind of bet?” Gu Beiyue grew interested.
“Bet who comes out first?” Gu Qishao offered. He really had nothing else to do, but he couldn’t go to sleep. “If you lose, speak up for me more in the future. Don’t always stand on Long Feiye’s side!”
Gu Beiyue chuckled and asked, “And if I win?”
“You pick the terms,” Gu Qishao said easily.
“If I win, then you have to watch your mouth,” Gu Beiyue grew serious. “Sooner or later, it’s going to get you in trouble.”
Gu Qishao rolled his eyes at him and grew too lazy to continue the bet. At this moment, the door on the right opened and revealed Han Yunxi emerging first. Both men were pleasantly surprised and hurried to her side.
“Princess, did it go smoothly?”
“Poison lass, how is it?”
Han Yunxi didn’t wear a smile like they expected, but actually looked a little lost. She didn’t reply their questions and glanced towards the shut door next to hers. “Long Feiye hasn’t come out yet, right?”
“Not yet,” Gu Beiyue replied. “Princess, did things not go well?” His anxiety was written all over his eyes, while Gu Qishao’s worry was printed clearly on his face.
“Poison lass, just what happened? Hurry up and say it!”
The couple had maintained dual cultivation every night for three months. For the sake of keeping the chain intact, they had sacrificed much in Medicine Requesting Cave. Things should go smoothly now! Gu Qishao felt it’d be unfair otherwise.
“I can’t control much of the Phoenix energy and I keep feeling there’s something wrong, but…” In the middle of her sentence, Long Feiye suddenly opened the door. Everyone could see his complexion looked off.
“What is it?” Han Yunxi was very uneasy.
“The Lustbite energy couldn’t fuse with the Nirvana Heart Arts’ internal energy,” Long Feiye said with knitted brows. This last step was crucial, but not particularly difficult. He was even looking forward to the end, but never expected to have such a massive problem at the final step. If the two energy types couldn’t merge, then it meant he couldn’t have a big breakthrough for the Lustbite energy’s third rank. In other words, his rise in ranks had failed.
Long Feiye had finished his solo cultivation before it even grew light out, but he’d remained sitting in his rooms for a long time until he heard the commotion outdoors.
“How can this be?” Han Yunxi didn’t get it. “Long Feiye, I can only control 30 percent of the Phoenix energy.”
The sword sect master had said if their dual cultivation succeeded and her internal reserves increased, she could more or less master the Phoenix energy. Even if it wasn’t 70 to 80 percent, it’d at least be 50 to 60. It’d never go as low as 30 percent!
“Princess, would you allow this one to take your pulse?” Gu Beiyue asked.
Han Yunxi immediately raised her hand. After Gu Beiyue finished his examination, Long Feiye stuck out his wrist as well.
“Both of you have normal pulses and ample qi. Fortunately, there hasn’t been major changes to your bodies or the risk of cultivation deviation,” Gu Beiyue declared. He really was a doctor, only feeling reassured after confirming that Han Yunxi and Long Feiye weren’t in danger. As to why their dual cultivation failed by the end, he wasn’t expert enough to guess. He didn’t even know Phoenix energy existed in the first place.
“Strange. If the dual cultivation didn’t succeed, you two wouldn’t have had it so easy last night, right?” Gu Qishao grew curious.
Closed door cultivation like this was either a success or horrendous failure. Nothing like Long Feiye and Han Yunxi’s case had even been seen.
What was going on?
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Releasing the original 1PM chapter a little early because errr I need to grab a bite to eat, later guys~