5 Am I in trouble?
Unknown to Zhen Shi, the improvement in his cultivation had brought about some major changes. With an inner view of his dantian, one could see that just like before the tendrils from the spiritual root crystals remained merged with the primordial chaos base.
Previously the spiritual roots had established balance in the cyclic transfer of qi and ended the one-way qi absorption of the primordial chaos base. As such, during every single moment, qi was released back to nature through Zhen Shi's body. And now... this qi had suddenly gained elemental properties!
The released qi had properties corresponding to the element of the spiritual root it originated from; fire aether from the fiery spiritual root, wind aether from the aerial spiritual root, water aether from the aqua spiritual root and, earth aether from the earthen spiritual root. This change had no adverse effects and continued to maintain the balance... but it did slowly improve Zhen Shi's affinity with the four elements.
In addition to this, while the primordial chaos had only absorbed the qi from nature before, it now also absorbed any speck of impure qi that appeared within Zhen Shi's body, leaving his qi purity at an almost perfect level.
And the moment Zhen Shi's qi purity approached the level of perfection, a miraculous change occurred. The four spiritual roots releasing four types of elemental qi of perfect purity, resonated with nature and radiated a mystical energy.
The moment this mystical energy passed throughout Zhen Shi's body, his vision blurred. But almost immediately his vision slowly grew clear...
The user has gained a new title: Acquainted with aether!
Zhen Shi's eyes widened as he stared in surprise at what he could see now. If he concentrated well enough, he could see streaks of beautiful energy dashing everywhere; the dark black aether surrounding the majority of the Xue Yue cultivators, with the exception of the scholar-like cultivator, who was instead surrounded by a strange golden aether occasionally forming random words, some readable and some not...
Ignoring them, when he turned to the sky there were sparks of silver-white aether and specks of cool blue water aether from the moon, within the wind and the air there was light-green wind aether, among the trees and the forest there was an aether of life, and amidst the rocks and the sand of the ground, there was a rocky-brown earth aether.
Everywhere was filled with beautiful aether... It was almost as if color had suddenly been added to a dreary black and white painting!
With his blurry memories of the 'Zhen Shi' that had been in this body in the past, Zhen Shi was confident that this was not an ability that ordinary cultivators possessed. Nevertheless, he was too entranced by the beauty of what he could see, to dwell too much on this problem.
While Zhen Shi was engrossed in what he could see, the Xue Yue cultivators were in a dilemma. Seeing the cultivation of this 'mortal' continue to increase rapidly, the Xue Yue cultivators had become extremely worried...
They had heard tales of monster-like cultivators who pretended to be weak and lowered their cultivation, just because they indulged in the hobby of preying upon those who were unfortunate enough to insult them...
And this strange mortal fit all the necessary criteria for that; despite being weak he wasn't afraid of them, he activated a divine blessing limited to divine prophets, immediately after he released a burst of unusual qi, and just moments after that his cultivation began to increase!
If these weren't the signs of a powerful monster cultivator pretending to be weak, they didn't know what was!
On the other hand, Zhen Shi was just as fearful of the Xue Yue cultivators... He could sense their powerful cultivation and was confident that all of them had at least reached the foundation establishment stage!
But, at the same time, he was rather distracted by the colorful aether he could see everywhere, so his attention was completely misplaced. In other words, his attention was on the aether surrounding him and not the deadly opponents nearby...
Nevertheless, the Xue Yue cultivators continued to stare at him warily while Zhen Shi moved his head randomly focusing on the different types of aether that could be found everywhere.
This resulted in a very unusual stare off; the worried Xue Yue cultivators staring in fear... at a half-naked guy who was randomly staring at random places with widened eyes.
As moments passed in silence, the Xue Yue cultivators gradually began to doubt the truth of the matter. The more time passed, the more doubtful they became.
This 'monster cultivator's' strength seemed to have stopped once it reached the Elementary Qi 6th Stage. In fact, something seemed to be wrong with his head. Instead of staring at them, he would stare at random trees, rocks, and even the air, with great amazement as if he was entranced by beauties with large chests or expensive treasure!
The moment they realized this, the Xue Yue cultivators couldn't help but become embarrassed.
They had actually been afraid of a half-naked cultivator with a screw-loose! Immediately, the one dressed in scholar robes and surrounded by golden words, pointed at Zhen Shi in anger and shame, \"You... you are only at the Elementary Qi stage? How dare you trick us?\"
The moment his shout rang out, Zhen Shi's vision was distracted away from the aether. With his vision gradually returning to normal, Zhen Shi tried to understand how he had 'tricked' these cultivators, and ended up confused thinking, 'What the hell did I do?'
Seeing his confused face, the Xue Yue cultivators felt even more ashamed and almost coughed up blood, 'To think we misunderstood that this clueless guy was a monster-like cultivator!'
Nevertheless, the cultivator who appeared to be the strongest of the group coughed loudly and began to speak as if nothing had happened, \"Although we overestimated him, it was just a small mistake on our part. Anyone would have thought the same, considering that it was he himself that pretended to be a divine prophet!\"
Nodding in agreement to his words, the scholarly cultivator turned to Zhen Shi and spoke with malice in his eyes, \"Pathetic. Why would you even hide your cultivation? Is it because you are too ashamed to show off your weak cultivation?\"
Hearing his word's Zhen Shi grew slightly angry, but at the same time, he realized that these cultivators thought he had been hiding his cultivation... But if they knew that he had reached his current cultivation within the few seconds during which they had been staring at him, he figured that they would probably vomit blood!
Ignorant of his thoughts, the strongest cultivator in the group, who also seemed to be acting as the leader turned to the scholarly cultivator and said, \"Brother Lin Wei is indeed correct. This brat is too weak... So this time let's attack to the very end. I refuse to believe that he has any more hidden strength...\"
With the silent agreement of the rest of the cultivators, he raised his blade in an attacking position that was copied immediately by the rest. Instantly their blades and bodies were covered in that pitch-black miasmic aura once more. While the terrifying black miasma shivered eerily in the night wind, one could just barely see a terrifying monster within.
At the same time, they stared at Zhen Shi with unhidden killing intent... and instantly slashed their raised blades down, in sync with each other.
Each slash combined together to form a terrifying and gigantic slash; much more powerful than the one that had struck Zou Rou before. As the slash dashed forwards, launching powerful gusts of wind and qi everywhere, the monster within the slash growled menacingly...
Despite having reached the Elementary Qi 6th Stage with abnormally purified qi, Zhen Shi was completely powerless against the combined attack of ten foundation establishment cultivators who were using a battle formation.
But at the same time, the aether manifested around him again, and this time it actually spoke! Well, it was more like a transfer of intent rather than a direct conversation. Either way, it warned him that he should dodge this attack or he would die...
However, Zhen Shi was too weak in comparison to the Xue Yue cultivators and would definitely be slashed into two before he could even begin dodging.
Thus hearing the 'helpful' advice of the aether, Zhen Shi didn't know whether to laugh or cry!
But, fortunately for him, the silver-haired girl, Zou Rou began to wake up at that very moment. Despite the fact that she was behind him, Zhen Shi could vaguely sense her motion due to the aether that was affected due to her movements. As such, he was elated when he realized that she was waking up!
As a foundation establishment cultivator, even if she was unable to handle the ten Xue Yue cultivators, with her help, Zhen Shi might be able to live longer. Thus Zhen Shi celebrated while thinking, 'This is what they mean by good deeds beget good deeds! This girl will save me from this plight just as I saved her before. When it comes to living, even if you're saved by a beautiful lady it's nothing to be ashamed of!'
Unaware of his thoughts, Zou Rou slowly opened her eyes. Having been knocked out, she was a bit delirious, and the moment she stared forwards, what her eyes saw assaulted her mind...
Zhen Shi was standing in front only a few steps away from her. And since he was facing the front, the loincloth covering his dignity was only active in the front, giving the silver-haired beauty an eye-blinding view of his backside.
So what lay facing her less than a meter away, just as she woke up, were two bare buttocks glistening brightly in the moonlight.
\"PERVERT!\" she shouted as she hurriedly struck forwards with her sword covered in golden qi. She had been fearing what the Xue Yue cultivators might have done when she had been unconscious. As such seeing a naked man's backside the moment she had woken up, had immediately scared her into attacking in 'self-defense'.
But despite the fact that her actions were fairly justified, it was still unfair for poor Zhen Shi. And his mouth twitched as he cursed mentally, 'WHAT THE HELL?'
With enemies attacking from the front, and the victim he had saved attacking from the back, he could only await death. And even the aether once again emphasized how his death was fast arriving...
'SHIT! Who made me wear this cursed piece of cloth in the first place? Am I really going to be killed just because of a stupid loincloth?'
Nevertheless, he refused to give in, and so with an unwavering will he thought, 'No! I won't give up. I already died due to a rolling tractor brought forth by footwear in my last life. You can all go to hell if you think I'll be dying ridiculously again due to a poor fashion choice!'
But what can just a strong will do in the face of sheer power?
Realizing this fact, Zhen Shi relaxed his mind as he made peace with the possibility of death once more. But this didn't mean he was willing to allow himself to be killed easily...
Either way, he understood that he was too weak to change his fate. And so he decided to take a risk and rely on the only thing he could at this moment, THE SYSTEM!
'When all else fails and everything seems dark and bleak...
When life seems hopeless ...
With great determination and will power, one should...
Leave everything to the system, kick back and relax! Maybe even dance to a jolly tune with no worries?' (~˘▾˘)~
But before he could even comprehend this new system notification, another memory appeared in his mind.
A cool breeze blew by causing the barren trees covered in specks of bleak white snow to rustle as if they were shivering in the cold.
Zhen Shi was confused as to where this place was until he realized that this was the same training courtyard where he had been before... except it was now winter.
And since it was the middle of winter, despite the fact that it was noon, it was extremely cold. Cold enough to adversely affect all cultivators of the Mortal Primary Stage. But Zhen Shi was completely ignoring the cold despite being shirtless and only wearing a pair of pants.
The season wasn't the only thing that had changed. Zhen Shi was now quite a bit taller and much stronger than he had been before, as revealed by the faint lines of muscles on his body and torso. In fact, he could sense that he had surpassed the Elementary Qi Stage and was now in the Foundation Establishment 4th Stage!
This made some sense. After all, this memory took place nearly a year after the last memory he remembered.
But despite only being an eight-year-old child, his face had lost all traces of the innocence of childhood and had instead been replaced with a mature grim look that was out of place on the face of a child...
Zhen Shi heaved a heavy breath, and with a determined face dashed forwards. Instantly his figure blurred as he dashed about the snow-covered courtyard. He would jump on to the trees, rocks, walls and even run up them for a short distance. And he would also occasionally stop...
And every single time he did, he would execute a multitude of powerful attacks that caused the air to explode and powerful gusts of wind to blow over the courtyard. Each of these attacks contained a particularly complex method of driving qi through qi paths, making this an extremely difficult feat.
It was difficult because he had to apply that complex method of utilizing qi; on to his elbow when he performed an elbow strike, on to his knee when he performed a knee strike and so on, immediately after having dashed around the courtyard. In fact, he was even using this very same method on his feet to increase his speed.
In other words, he had to maintain a strict balance of qi throughout his entire body, every single moment. Even a momentary lapse in concentration will cause this method to end in failure.
However, he had trained this technique for an entire year. And so, he could maintain the current level quite easily...
What Zhen Shi was doing, was a specialized training based cultivation technique that built upon the concept of maintaining a balanced use of qi over his entire body for extended periods of time.
This was something that his father, Zhen Wei, had asked him to do. And as long as he continued to maintain this state, his cultivation would increase by an extremely minute amount.
Nevertheless, Zhen Shi took this training very seriously. After all, this was the only way he could currently cultivate...
Crazily enough, in every single moment that passed, his speed and strength gradually increased. In fact, within a few hours of continued training, he had reached a speed that was so great that even the snow beneath his feet had begun to melt, and a strength so powerful that the trees were shaking due to the residual wind and qi of his attacks!
But even having reached this level, Zhen Shi was unsatisfied with the current rate of cultivation. As such, he pushed on ignoring the pain in his body.
Unfortunately, within a few moments, his strength and speed stopped increasing. It was almost as if he had reached his current limit...
Almost immediately, Zhen Shi who had neared the limits of his body finally lost all energy and slipped on the melted snow water, collapsing backwards onto the snow-covered ground.
Now lying down on the ground and annoyed at his failure, Zhen Shi growled as he punched the snow repeatedly to appease his anger.
But beyond that, he found that his body was too fatigued to even make himself stand up. And so with an unhappy grimace, he slowly reached into his trouser pocket and brought out a silvery-white healing pill.
Zhen Shi immediately popped it into his mouth, and while the pill began its healing process he stared up at the bleak sky, with the wet snow slowly wetting his clothes. To master this training regime, he had to drive the qi all over his body by the same amount and reach a balanced state of improvement in all aspects. But this was much easier said than done... and his chaotic dantian didn't seem to be interested in helping either...
Nevertheless, within a few minutes due to the effects of that pill, his fatigue had lessened greatly.
As such Zhen Shi slowly pushed himself off the ground and stood up. With a slight twist of his neck to warm himself up for the rest of his training, he walked towards a nearby weapon stand filled with all sorts of weapons ranging from short swords to spears, from bows and arrows to heavy clubs... and reached towards one of them...
But, suddenly, Zhen Shi heard the slight sound of footsteps which caused him to hurriedly halt his actions. Immediately he dashed towards a nearby wooden bench on which a set of folded clothes was placed.
On top of these clothes was a single flower; it seemed that the spirit violet which he had before had been replaced by a spirit daffodil. And it lay beautifully with its yellow petals shimmering faintly in the bleak sunlight.
Zhen Shi hurriedly donned his shirt and a thick coat as well. Brushing off the snow that remained visible on his pants and body, he fixed the lone daffodil on to his shirt. With the spiritual scent of the daffodil lessening his fatigue almost as much as that pill had, he sat down on the bench and 'innocently' admired the surroundings.
Within a few seconds, a familiar figure slowly walked into the courtyard, and Zhen Shi turned to greet this person in 'surprise'. Despite Zhen Shi's attempts at hiding his intentions for being here, seeing this familiar figure he couldn't help but allow a truly genuine smile to slowly creep on to his face.
This was because the new arrival was his mother, Xie Li. While she looked almost exactly the same as she had last year, the slight lines of worry at the edges of her eyes and the slight weakness in her movements didn't go unnoticed by Zhen Shi.
Nevertheless, Zhen Shi walked forwards and said casually, \"Mother! What are you doing out here in the cold snow?\" while hugging her in her outstretched hands.
Xie Li laughed as she ruffled her son's hair and spoke accusingly, \"Shi'er I could ask the same of you...\"