TGL Volume 4, Chapter 6 (3)

Training is fun! It makes me a little hungry, but I don’t mind. Auntie Ilya said the foundations are very important. I think I know what foundation means, but I’m not sure on the exact meaning, but I understand it. I have to be very good at this Shadow Devil Foundation Building Technique if I want to be good at everything else. It’s easy to do. The first step, I stand with my legs apart, knees a little bent, back straight, elbows back, fists at my waist, and stare straight ahead. My tail always changes positions to whatever is most comfy. When I stand like this, I feel funny. It’s like something is pouring out of my belly into the rest of me.

The second step, I put all my weight onto my right leg. Then I stretch my left leg out to the side. I bend my right knee and stick my left leg as far as it can go, and then I bend it for my foot to touch the ground. It’s like I’m sitting on the air. Here, my tail is on the ground to help me balance! Everyone else has a hard time standing like this, but I don’t. I bet they wish they had tails now too. I’m not going to share mine! They made fun of it. I’ll only share with Ri, if I knew how to share my tail. When I stand like this, the funny feeling in my belly sinks to my feet. It feels really warm, and once it gets really hot, the heat goes up my body to my head. Is this qi? The teacher said I shouldn’t be feeling it so soon, so I don’t think it is. Maybe my feet are hungry.

The third step, I take my hands off my waist, and I hold them palm facing up in front of my lower belly. It’s like I’m carrying a really, really big pot of food and holding the bottom of it with a towel so I don’t burn myself. When I put my hands there, it feels like all the hotness shrinks down into the back of my neck. For the third step, I have to move my hands up, flip them over, and then back down. The feeling in my neck spreads out, and I feel super tingly when I do that! Is this qi? I think it might be it. I want to ask someone, but they’re all busy. I’ll ask the teacher again! “Teacher Lin, I feel something in my neck! Is that qi?”

The bald teacher frowned at me. Is she upset? No one ever frowns at me unless I do something really, really bad. I’m, I’m a little scared now. No, no, no. Auntie Ilya gave me a protective necklace. I’m not scared! This teacher can’t do anything to me; if she does, I’ll tell my mommy! “You’re wearing something new around your neck. The last time I saw you, you didn’t have that. Are you sure you’re not just feeling your necklace?”

Is that it? I didn’t notice before, but now I can feel the string on my neck. I’ll continue the training technique. The fourth step is very similar to the third. I bring my hands up, but instead of flipping them over, I reach past and stretch my arms towards the ceiling. Then, I make a big circle while bringing my arms down, and I slide my left leg towards my right leg until it’s like I’m in the first step’s position again. When I’m done making the circle, my hands are back to holding the invisible pot of food. It feels like something is growing in my chest. It’s a very nice feeling, a lot like when my mommy scratches my ears. I don’t think that’s qi. Qi isn’t supposed to feel nice. It’s supposed to feel powerful.

The fifth step is very strange. I raise my arms again, but one of them goes up, and the other goes down. I stretch my arms all the way and make another circle to switch their positions. Then, the arm that’s up comes down, and the arm that’s down comes up. Then, I push down like I’m doing the second step until I’m back in the original position. After that, I do it again but with different arms going up and down. Confusing, right? I had to watch Ri do it a few times after the teacher was done demonstrating to get it. She’s very good at remembering things. When I do the fifth step, it feels like something is mixing inside my belly, and I’m not sure if I have to burp or fart. It’s a little uncomfortable. Qi won’t make me want to burp, right? This can’t be qi either.

And, the sixth step is the simplest one. I raise my arms up like I’m holding a pot of stew over my head. It’s a very large pot, and my arms are spread wide but not straight. They’re a little curved like a ball. It’s not a very comfortable position. I’m not sure why the teacher said we should sleep like this. “Teacher Lin! How are we supposed to sleep like this?” What if my bed was a little smaller? I wouldn’t have space to lie down with my arms over my head. It’s impossible.

“When I said sleep, I meant when you faint, make sure you faint at the sixth movement.” Teacher Lin nodded. “If you faint during any other movement and just so happen to gather qi while asleep, you’ll explode. Any other questions?”

I’ll explode? I’ve seen some things in Auntie Ilya’s room explode. If that happens to me, then…! “Teacher Lin! What do I do if I explode!?”

“You don’t do anything,” Teacher Lin said. “If you explode, that’s it. Congratulations, you no longer have to work hard at becoming an immortal because you’ll be dead.”

I, I don’t want to be dead! No matter what, I can’t fall asleep!

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