88 Full Spectrum of Training
I didn't quite understand the meaning behind Nie Zun's words but this was no time to ponder; at the sight of Ta Lai's agonized expression, I waved a hand at Nie Zun in hurry. "That's not important right now.Ta Lai is our main concern. We can't possibly leave him like this; we can forget about getting out of here if he doesn't wake."
"Let me try." Nie Zun shifted over and removed the black glove on his left hand unhurriedly. Lifting Ta Lai's right hand, he weaved their fingers together.
"Wh—what are you doing?"
Nie Zun's reply was calm, "With the combination of my hand and MF, it will provoke a reaction from his body of consciousness. I'll try to see if it could affect the consciousness in his dream."
I stared at Nie Zun's hand and fell deep in ponder.
To be honest, I've always been curious about that hand of his. I had no idea he had drowned it into chemicals and turned it into the devil's hand during this time. All I had ever known, was that he didn't remove his gloves often, and neither had he ever touched me with his bare hands.
Now that I found out about the secret of his printless palms and the ability it had after he soaked them, I grew even more curious.
There was a vague prickling sensation when we touched, as though it could assault my heart through the point of our contact—at least, that was what I felt at the moment we touched, but I knew he hadn't manipulated any MF. What about those people who had came into contact with his hands when they were infused with MF then? How did they feel?
I could take a guess on how terrible it must feel just from the expression on Mi Fu's face when he clasped his hand around her neck, and from the kid back in that stone room of experiments—maybe it really is the devil's hand.
Even if that is so, I was still like a moth fluttering towards the flame; I still wanted to touch those hands of his. As if I've been entranced by the sight, I reached out my hand slowly towards his.
Just as I was about to touch him, Ta Lai bellowed out of the blue, "Return Bian Ying to me!"
Taken aback by the unexpected outburst, I retracted my hand subconsciously. When I snuck a glimpse at Nie Zun, nothing seemed to indicate that he realized my movement from before. His eyes were focused on Ta Lai.
"He's in bad shape." Nie Zun frowned ever so slightly.
I turned to Ta Lai at once; his face was scrunched tightly with beads of sweat glistening across his forehead. His lips were pale and quivering.
I gave his body a light push. "Ta Lai… Ta Lai, can you hear me?"
Nie Zun shook his head. "It's no use; even my hand wasn't able to affect him. I'm afraid he has sunken into deep coma. We'll need to find a way to wake him immediately, although I don't know if it'll work."
"If he had always been this way in his sleep, then there must be a way to wake him. Maybe we should trust in his willpower."
It was at that moment when Nie Zun's eyes darted swiftly to the jade ring on Ta Lai's finger, as though he reached an epiphany.
Letting go of the hand he was holding on to, Nie Zun's slender fingers turned the ring which Ta Lai donned. Like a mechanism set in place, the shaking form of Ta Lai calmed down in an instant and his frown began smoothing out as well. His breathing returned to its stable pace.
I breathed a sigh of relief. "What kind of mystical power does that jade ring have?"
"I don't know either but he always had a tendency of turning it, so I thought to give it a try."
Witnessing his breathing stabilizing to normal, I shook his shoulders gently. "Ta Lai?"
"I'm sure he's fine. He will wake up once the tension in him dissipates. Don't worry."
It wasn't long before Ta Lai roused from his slumber. The graceful and calm expression returned to Ta Lai as he sat up, wide awake after his rest as though nothing happened. As if he was oblivious to what happened just moments prior. "Have you both had enough rest?"
Please, we didn't catch a single wink of sleep in order to take care of you…
Still, watching his oblivion towards the nightmare, I didn't bring it up.
"Li Shen, the training we're going to embark on next will be targeted at your physical fitness. The objective of this is to ensure you don't expend any MF when using your physical force. I'll send out another ten of those giants which had immense strong and speed.
"However, I have my own limitations to MF usage as well and it takes a lot of time to craft those puppet giants; most of them had been destroyed by both of you. Hence, I'm going sending out only ten this time and your mission is to defeat them without using any MF."
Huh? Defeat ten giants without using any MF? You might as well tell those giants to beat me to pulp.
Without giving me the chance to object, Ta Lai turned to Nie Zun. "I've changed my mind about your training. From the strength you've transmitted earlier, I thought of something more suitable for you. Please follow me in a while."
Astonished by his words, my question spilled, "You knew about what happened earlier?"
Ta Lai flashed an easy smile. "My nightmares are a common occurrence, but the severity of it had been beyond my expectation. I felt the prickling sensation on my hand in the depths of my subconscious earlier.
"Logically speaking, I should be invincible in my own dreams, that's how I derived to the conclusion that the pain must have been caused by factors beyond my dream. It was because of this realization that I grew lucid in the nightmare, allowing myself to escape it without much time spent. The only one who could make that happen must be Nie Zun. With your current control of MF, you won't be able to achieve that yet."
I grew evidently indignant. Who are you belittling, huh?
However, changing my line of thought, didn't what he said meant that he was able to rid himself of the nightmare in shorter time because of Nie Zun's help? So… even without Nie Zun's help, he would still have been able to wake on his own?
Then what the hell were the two of us so worried about?!
Ta Lai had already stood back up in the midst of my annoyance. "Nie Zun, take a stroll with me. Don't worry, we won't be more than 500 metres away from her. Li Shen, why don't you stay here and play with the giants?"
He didn't even give me time to gather myself. With a wave of his hand, ten of those giants lined up at the corner of the stone room! I swallowed the lump in my throat. It was fortunate that the stone room was huge, equipped with a high ceiling. Otherwise, these ten giants would be enough to congest this space!
Ignoring my calls, Ta Lai leapt towards the darkness above with Nie Zun in tow and disappeared.
How… very spontaneous…
Speechless, I turned towards the giants who were preying on me while baring their teeth. I berated, "Who do you think you're looking at, huh? You—Yes, you! What are you drooling about? I'm not your food, or are you greedying over my beauty? Even so, you're not allowed to drool!"
In the face of those giants, I was basically speaking to myself with wild gestures—none of them were even listening to me! Instead, they charged at me without hesitance!
"Hey, hey, hey! Aren't you going to give me some time to prepare? Hey!"
By the time Ta Lai and Nie Zun had returned, they were greeted by the sight of me on the ground—completely drained of energy—and a pile of broken corpses which littered all around.
Ta Lai lifted his perfectly straight legs in an elegant posture and walked towards me without avoiding the blood on the ground. As the splattering sound of blood against sole echoed, a trail of bloody footprints made its way to me.
"Not bad at all. You felt the increase in your strength, right?" Ta Lai pointed at the floor of 'giants' around us. "I've already programmed them earlier; this training must have been really beneficial to you."
I rolled my eyes, unable to muster any strength for a response.
"Alright. The next crucial aspect is to train your control of MF; we'll conduct the new training back in Western District."
As he spoke, Ta Lai clapped his hands. The broken pieces on the ground vanished and the giants returned to its shrunken, wooden form, leaving a pool of fresh blood behind.
"Let's go, I'll bring you there."
With that, Ta Lai turned the jade ring on his finger and a previously non-existent door appeared on the stone wall.
I no longer had the energy to be surprised by these things. With a slump of my head, I broke my silence as I regarded Nie Zun's gleaming eyes—they looked as though he was ready to crack a joke about me anytime. "Can't you read the situation better? Hurry and help me up."
Nie Zun smiled. As he approached, he withdrew a hand from the pocket of his windbreaker and extended it towards me.
I inhaled a deep breath when we returned to the boundary forest of Western District.
"Phew, the past few days had been suffocating underground! Speaking of, why is the boundary forest the only area that's not affected by the ruins? Ta Lai, hurry up and spit it out—how long have you been secretly building those two stone rooms?
Stretching my limbs, I turned my head upwards to the grey, overcast sky. It had coincidentally been day time when we came up; after such a long time underground, I've lost track of time.
"If you have time to wonder about this, then why don't you ponder about how to manipulate your MF instead?" Ta Lai smiled.
"I can manipulate MF into my moves now though! Witness it for yourself if you don't believe me." I pulled out my Piercer and poured MF into it. With a horizontal flick of my whip, a powerful Violet Blade struck forth, rushing towards the trees ahead!
Crack, crack, crack!
The trees were easily snapped into half by my tackle!
Yet, Ta Lai merely shook his head. "This isn't manipulating your MF. You struck with your MF, and so your MF will only return to you at the conclusion of the move. The time taken for it to return is too long, and you'll need to protect yourself during combat as well. Hence, you wouldn't able to manipulate too much MF at one go. This isn't the best way to fight."
I tilted my head. "What do you think I should do then?"
Ta Lai smiled. "Humans fight with their bodies; their flesh body and consciousness can't be separated. This is the reason why your consciousness in the split zone takes the shape of your flesh body even though it had been forcefully separated. You display combat moves through the functions of your body, and so, you should be able to increase your strength just by the use of MF."
Seeing my look of bewilderment, Ta Lai raised a hand. "For example, you can increase the strength of your wrist with MF. Focus 80% of your MF on your wrist and the muscle fibre on your hand at the instant you whip your Piercer. Try it; increase the strength and speed of your wrist before using your Piercer."
Even though I was still unsure, I followed his instructions. Lifting my hand, I attempted to manipulate my MF before striking my Piercer again!