"Clack… clack… bang!"
Inside the meditation room, Xiaozhai watched her boyfriend unblinkingly. His face lightly contorted and his brows furrowing, Gu Yu was apparently experiencing what she had previously.
Under the inspection of her mental force, Gu Yu had turned into a lump of fire and all his orifices and tendons were opening, closing, loosening, and tightening in the flame of the potent medicine.
She was fully aware of that pain. It was like prising off every bone inside your body with a crowbar before jamming them back in one piece at a time. The benefit of this process was apparent: between the disassembly and reassembly, the red medicine fluid grew gentler and gradually fused into the vital essence.
Gu Yu's feeling was more specific—his body seemed to have turned into a high-power water pump frantically sucking in the red fluid to fill in all the gaps, especially his Dantian and Shihai, which were drinking it in voraciously.
The absorption speed was too high that it was reaching his limit; he was forced to slow down a little.
Before they realized, the sky outside was growing darker.
It took Xiaozhai half a day to digest the medicine entirely. Gu Yu spent a little less time than her, but when he opened his eyes, the moon was high up on the sky and the valley had gone still and quite.
"How did it go?" asked Xiaozhai.
"Two of my extrpoints were broken through in one go. This medicine is indeed ferociously potent!" The expression on his face was hard to describe; it was a mixture of excitement, expectation, and a little disbelief. "I thought it would be six or seven years before I could attempt to break into the Human Immortal state. But now, it seems I'll be able to have a go next year."
"I thought it would be ten years before I could complete all five Thunder Techniques. But now, it seems I'll be able to do it in six or seven," added Xiaozhai, imitating his wording.
To be able to reach the Human Immortal state through the essence-consuming method, one had to open up all twelve regular meridians, eight extra channels, and 720 acupuncture points of the body to reach a completed version of innate state physique. Meanwhile, one also had to condense their mental force to a certain level before they could rise into this state.
As for the Thunder Technique, one had to reach the passionless state of all five types of thunder to be qualified as a Human Immortal.
Gu Yu had been cultivating for four years and still had a third remaining to cover; Xiaozhai had been on hers for three years and had just started on the second Thunder Technique… as mentioned before, with the Body-refining and Mind-enhancing Dan, they could at least shorten the time by half.
They couldn't overdo it, though. The elder two would take one each month and the younger two could only take one every two months—especially Xiaojin, whose quota might need further reducing, limiting her to eating half a pill each time.
Those of the innate state were essentially mortal men. Once they reached the Human Immortal state, however, they would go through a qualitative leap and be one foot inside the world of "Immortals".
Presently, both were lost in their imagination. While they were at it, they decided to keep the pace and went on shutting themselves in without any break for the next few days so as to comb through what they had learned during this trip.
Seven days later, the meditation room.
On the table was a piece of blue talisman paper, a plate of concocted cinnabar, and a writing brush.
Gu Yu was dressed in loose-fitting clothes with clean hands and neatly-trimmed nails. He was going to draw a Shape-changing Talisman. He had been practicing with ordinary talisman paper before this until he was familiar with the skill. It was his first time using the real thing.
The couple was somewhat abashed to admit that since they inherited Tan Chongdai's talisman skills, they had not really had much practice.
They couldn't help it. Of the Golden Armor (copycat version), Bone-melting, Snake-expelling, Miscarriage-preventing, Bed-wetting Cure talismans and whatnot, apart from the bone-melting one, well, maybe the miscarriage-preventing one also for it might come in handy in the future, the rest were simply pointless to learn.
"Sigh, I wonder how the old priest is doing now…" Shaking his head, Gu Yu chased away the distracting thoughts and began to chant the Water-cleansing Incantation. "This water is no ordinary water. One drop onto the inkstone, clouds and rain are to follow in an instant. Patients will be cured of all their diseases once drinking this water. The evil spirit will be annihilated. Obey at once!"
Then came the Paper-cleansing and Brush-cleansing ones.
After the three incantations, he picked up the writing brush, focused the energy on its tip, and made three strokes. Three patterns resembling ticks appeared on the blue talisman, which was the most commonly used Triple Purity Heading.
Below that were two ancient characters, which meant "the edict".
After that came gut of the talisman. Gu Yu wrote down one stroke after another, his movement as swift as slithering snakes. What he wrote was a forbidden character with the character "rain" on the top, "fire" on the lower left side, and "good" on the lower right.
This character meant "spirit officer".
Gu Yu did not stop there. He went on drawing the ending and only then did he stand back up. The entire talisman was drawn at a stretch and the spiritual essence did not pause for a second during the whole process. When he finished the last stroke and the brush tip left the paper, a subtle rippling effect suddenly appeared over the talisman as if a wave was rushing over it.
When the fluctuation disappeared, the blue talisman had a reserved splendor and natural power about it.
"I did it!"
He nodded and was relieved, feeling glad that he did not waste a piece of talisman paper. Carefully putting it away, he pushed the door open and walked out. It just so happened that Xiaozhai was coming out of her room at that moment.
Their eyes met and they read each other's mind.
Right away, Gu Yu summoned Long Qiu and Xiaojin. All four gathered under the old tree, ready to try out the Shape-changing Spell.
"Which one of you wants to try it?" He chuckled.
"Me, me, me! Let me!"
All young girls loved novelties. Long Qiu blinked her eyes and was going to raise her hand when Xiaojin beat her to it. It was not in Long Qiu's nature to nag and squabble, so she backed away quietly.
"Just find something and chant the spell."
Gu Yu passed her the talisman. Our utterly unpredictable Xiaojin grabbed Brother Fatso right away. "Haha, I have always wanted to know what you would look like transfigured… aiya, stop kicking! Work with me here!"
Brother Fatso acted as if it had just been squeezed through an Elizabethan Collar. Its eyes were wide open as it shrieked and kicked.
"Stop! Stop right there!"
Gu Yu's temple was throbbing. "Find some plant, metal, or stone. No living creature. Imprint it first. And, this is called a 'Shape-changing Spell', not 'Transfiguration Spell'!"
Xiaojin curled her lip. Tossing Brother Fatso aside, she found a verdant leaf, left her mental force imprint, and pinched it between her fingers together with the talisman.
She chanted, "Follow my order and take my shape for three days. The blue dragon and the white tiger will guard my body. All evil spirits will flee from me and my vital Qi rises fast. Obey my order!"
As soon as those words left her tongue, the blue talisman self-combusted without being lit, the flame soon wrapping the leaf inside. Immediately after that, the small lump of fire drifted away from her palm as if being blown away by the wind. It paused for a couple of seconds in the air, then there was a "whoosh", followed by a "poof"!
The flame erupted and fell straight down to the ground, then gradually took a human shape.
As the flame faded, the silhouette became clearer, finally turning into a living person. It was none other than Xiaojin!
All four were struck dumb with astonishment. Xiaojin herself was gaping. That was a miraculous spell!
"It, it looks just like me!"
Xiaojin moved happily closer and felt the figure from head to toe. It was almost identical to her: the facial features, the body shape, the skin, the hair, and the cup size were all the same.
The only thing was that its facial expression seemed stiff and its eyes weren't moving. Something just felt weird.
"Hello!" Xiaojin EVA waved.
"Hello!" Xiaojin EV2 waved back. Its tone was flat and cold, only slightly better than a robot.
"Have you eaten?"
"What's your name?"
"Bah! My name is not Little Soap."
"Yes, I'm not Little Soap."
"Am I the prettiest person in the world?"
"Do you want to share my bed tonight?"
She was enjoying herself very much. Suddenly, she stroked its cheek and grinned. "Hey, I have a very bold id— Aaaaah!"
She let out an abrupt scream, which was almost ear-splitting. A certain person smashed down her palm and EV2 turned into smoke without a last word and was blown away by the wind.
Xiaojin glared at the culprit, almost staring her eyeballs out. This offense to her was absolutely irreconcilable and was more bitter than any bitter feud. She could swallow her sister whole.
"Oops, slip of hand…"
Xiaozhai couldn't care less about her rage. She took out another piece of Shape-changing Talisman and smiled. "Here, Qiu Qiu, play with one, too."