As soon as he entered the cabin, Ye Chen felt that his body was ready for another stage breakthrough. Without any delay, he sat down and practiced the Thunder Emperor Technique. The Celestial Chi coursing within his body started to move and circulate at his command.
Maybe his old progress as a Sixth Stage fighter – before his meridian channels were damaged – had laid down the foundation for his exponential advancement in Celestial Chi stages.
He sat down, cross-legged and roused the Flying Dagger in his mind. Again, at his response, a tidal wave of formidable Celestial Chi burst out from the blade and raced through all of his meridian channels.
The Celestial Chi provided by this Flying Dagger was not only ma.s.sive in size— it was more quintessential than any form of Celestial Chi he could ever find in nature too; that absolved Ye Chen from any need to absorb natural Celestial Chi. All that he ever needed could be supplied by the Flying Dagger alone.
However, Ye Chen could only absorb one-tenth of the volume as its Celestial Chi was too unadulterated. The other nine-tenths basically dissipated into the air around him.
'This is quite a tremendous waste.' Ye Chen thought out loud, perturbed. 'Will the Celestial Chi within this Flying Dagger ever run out as most of it seems to be wasted?'
Perhaps as an answer, an image resurfaced in his head— that bizarre dream he had back then, where he was floating above that vast, endless ocean of Celestial Chi. In fact, if what he saw was the world within the Flying Dagger, then his trepidation would automatically be questionable because he would never be able to exploit all of the Celestial Chi there!
However, there was no urgent need to fret about this. The question of utmost importance was not about wasting Celestial Chi – it was about wasting all the time he could salvage to quickly improve his martial prowess. The House of Yun was clearly formulating a strategy with the House of Ye being its target. Seeing as trouble seemed to be ahead of the House of Ye, Ye Chen had to improve his abilities as soon as possible or he would not be able to defend himself, let alone his loved ones.
As he threw his mind into circulating his Celestial Chi, Ye Chen slowly entered the state of meditative absorption. An ancient, distant voice called out to him and chanted the secrets of the Nine Astra Skies in his mind. With a calm heart, Ye Chen listened intently to the voice and gained a better understanding of that n.o.ble discourse.
There were nine chapters in Nine Astra Skies, each chapter had a discourse on nine different cultivation systems; the Thunder Emperor Technique being only one of them. Each of these cultivation systems actually enhanced one another—
they give rise to one and yet at the same time, they canceled another among themselve
s. Thus, the correct way of practicing Nine Astra Skies would be to train with every single one of the cultivation systems. Subsequently, the difficulty of mastering the Nine Astra Skies spiked because of this requirement but the fruit of this training would be unparalleled by any other cultivation systems under the sun.
The Nine Astra Skies was a compendium exclusively composed of chi-cultivation techniques, yet it encompa.s.sed the driving force behind just about any martial technique and its derivatives found and yet to be found. Hence, the Nine Astra Skies could be said to be the solitaire among all gems of martial arts!
Ye Chen could only marvel at the magnificence of Nine Astra Skies— to think that such a complete compendium of cultivation systems existed! He remembered what his martial instructor had said when he first started practicing martial arts, that cultivation systems and martial techniques refined one another and that martial techniques depended on its corresponding cultivation system to be usable. An example of this would be the sixteen types of martial techniques based on the Ye family's Inner Thunderclap Energy Cultivation— techniques that were exclusively only for pract.i.tioners of this particular Thunder-style cultivation system.
The same applied to techniques the other martial arts clans used as well, in that only those who were trained with a technique's corresponding cultivation system would be able to perform it. This meant that even if someone had secretly copied and learned another family's physical martial art technique and form, they would not be able to perform them.
Without its paired cultivation system, martial techniques would be rendered completely ineffective.
That was the reason why the history of a clan was so important. A clan with a long history of practicing martial arts would possess a unique cultivation system that had been reformed and improved as generations went by, such that it became more and more exclusive to their kin alone. Meanwhile, martial arts prodigies throughout the ages had used their often-practiced cultivation system as a foundation to synthesize unique martial techniques, which would then be adopted by their fellow clan members, thus increasing the clan's chance of survival in this harsh world filled with potent pugilists.
Yet by training in Nine Astra Skies, one's pool of techniques would immediately expand to include every martial technique ever invented. This had completely flipped Ye Chen's previous understanding of martial arts as a whole!
Nine Astra Skies was truly one of a kind, unmatched among all cultivation systems!
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The only caveat was that Nine Astra Skies was composed of nine different cultivation systems, so the difficulty in practicing them would be several times tougher than any other normal cultivation system.
Although practicing Thunder Emperor Technique would have been enough to elevate his powers, Ye Chen decided to practice all nine discourses after a meticulous a.n.a.lysis. He knew that his decision entailed making a turn to an even more arduous path of cultivation but Ye Chen believed that, with the right amount of austere efforts, he could surely overcome any obstacle that might come his way.
'But first, I'll start with the one I'm familiar with – Thunder Emperor Technique!'
Ye Chen focused his mind into experiencing the mystical secrets of the Thunder Emperor Discourse. The Celestial Chi within him roared and swirled as he practiced, br.i.m.m.i.n.g onto the rank barrier separating the Third and Fourth Stage until the barrier crumbled into debris in the face of this unforgiving tide of Celestial Chi.
After another Stage Advancement, Ye Chen could sense immediately that his Celestial Chi was significantly more tempered.
'I made it to the Fourth Stage!'
It had been three years since Ye Chen had gotten the taste of power flowing within every fiber of his body. He could not contain his euphoria after revisiting this sensation. When would he return to his previous zenith— the peak of the Sixth Stage? Ye Chen knew that that fated day would come very soon If this speed of improvement remained.
He exhaled and thought of the humiliation he had suffered for three years. 'One day,' he thought, 'I'll use my own power to restore my dignity.'
His speed in breaking through the ranks had slowed down a little ever since he had attained the Fourth Stage but he still progressed well in general. Every day without fail, the young man quietly trained in his own quarters.
It was a breezy afternoon, one that hardly matched the most forgiving definition of a hot day.
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Dong! Dong! Dong!
The crowd burst into waves of murmurs. However, most of them shot glances of different emotions at Ye Chen — some of them were regret, some were sympathy. After all, the Chief's son used to be the peerless prodigy who doubled as the hope and role model of the clan. He was supposed to take up the mantle of the guardian deity for his people so that any Ye member would always feel safe and protected in this jungle of a society. Yet, it seemed now that the Chief himself had given up on healing Ye Chen, had he not?
"Please reconsider, Chief!"
"Chief, we should not give up on healing Chen's meridian channels."
"I have my own plans regarding Chen's health," Ye Zhantian replied with stoicism as he looked at Ye Chen. Deep inside, he was feeling the total opposite. He was quaking with happiness.
"Brother Ye Chen, please don't be upset. I firmly believe that your meridian channels will recover one day," Ye Zhanlong's third son, a young lad named Ye Meng said nearby.
"I agree! Don't worry, Brother Ye Chen. All of your uncles are looking out for you in any way they can to help you." Another one who stood at Ye Meng's side, Ye Ming— the son of Ye Chen's sixth uncle— helpfully chimed in.
Ye Chen turned to the crowd and saw many pairs of eyes filled with sincere concern staring back at him. Being the receiver of their genuine care, Ye Chen realized that he had now truly felt the warmth of a family, even though he had been looked down by some of his own clansmen since that unfortunate incident. The ones who had mocked him were the exceptions; all of them goaded and were led by Ye Kongyan. However, most of his clan-brothers had remained by his side steadfastly and helped him in any way they could during his lowest point in life. These cousins had all saved up every penny they could just so they could contribute some money to the family's purchase of Chi-ama.s.sing pills for Ye Chen. How could the young man ever forget these tremendous gestures?
'From now on, these cousins of mine are brothers to me!' Ye Chen made a solemn oath in his heart.
"Now, onward to the second announcement. The daughter of my third brother Ye Zhanxiong, Ye Xuan, had pa.s.sed the entrance exam of the Emerald Cloud Sect. She will embark on her training with the Sect two months from now. This is one of the greatest tidings this clan had ever received in recent years! I urge all of the younger generations of this family to take Xuan as their inspiration and be even more earnest and driven in their training so that they too, can make the family great!"
The crowd let out an even more galvanized response right after the moment Ye Zhantian finished his speech. To be accepted by Emerald Cloud Sect was to attain the Sixth Stage before turning eighteen as well as pa.s.sing their prestigious entrance exam. For decades, no one from the House of Ye had managed to even pa.s.s it!
Ye Chen almost had a shot at it back then but the incident had thwarted their hopes before he could enter for this exam. Now, it turned out that it was Ye Xuan who had become the first of their generation to succeed!
"Whoa. Who would have thought a young lady such as Ye Xuan could achieve so much! This is incredible!"
"Looks like the future of our family falls onto Ye Xuan's shoulders now."
Meanwhile, the younger generations of acolytes turned to look at Ye Xuan, all of them looking positively jealous. After all, this marvelous young damsel had also been the girl of their many dreams…
This ("相生相克") is the basic principle for the Five Agents (五行). Think of it this way. Agent A produces Agent B. Then Agent B produces Agent C and Agent C produces Agent D. These agents "give rise" to others. Yet at the same time, Agent A counteracts with Agent C and Agent B counteracts with Agent D and so forth. It is, therefore, said that these agents "cancel" among each other.
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