It was deep into the night when Ren Baqian returned to his room. The little monk had fallen asleep, his eyes a little red and puffy from crying.
There was nothing abnormal about this. Any young child would cry from shock if they were brought to a foreign world with huge, burly people everywhere.
In addition, the aboriginals also gave off scary vibes. Ren Baqian frequently had a hallucination that he was living in a den of thieves when he first arrived as well.
He was now much more accustomed to their appearance, largely because he had attained the Man Wheel level. With an increase in size and strength, Ren Baqian could identify better with the aboriginals. Even though he was still relatively small in stature, this was largely a genetic issue. In terms of presence, Ren Baqian was closing the gap he had with them. He would sometimes look into the mirror and think fondly of the delicate features he once had.
Besides his parents, few others would be able to recognize him now.
Unlike other men, he wasn't losing hair. He was getting stronger and heavier.
He understood the importance of weight classes in boxing.
"Wake up. Go over to the other house to sleep." Ren Baqian nudged the little monk.
The little monk opened his eyes and asked, "Where am I?"
"Dayao, Tianjing Basin. You'll live here for the rest of your life."
"Will I be able to see my master again?"
"Nope, not unless you really attain buddhahood."
The little monk started bawling.
"This is the destiny that your master has urged you to follow," said Ren Baqian as he tried to console him. The little monk took a long time to fully calm down.
"Sleep first. We'll discuss other issues later." Ren Baqian brought him over to the house next door. Back in his room, he lay down on the bed and entered the [Visualization of Fire]. He was looking at a volcano that had streaks of red running down its black, sooty sides from its peak to its base.
These snaking red marks were rivers of lava. These rivers were much denser toward the peak where the temperature was much higher as well.
The metal chain was upright by one of the lava rivers. It dipped one of its ends into the lava and shivered in contentment before lying down on the lava bank. Every once in a while, it would dip that same end into the lava before quickly taking it out.
Ren Baqian wondered if the metal chain was having a foot soak. It looked quite lifelike.
After water and wood came fire, just like in the five element sequence. Next in line would be earth, followed finally by metal.
His strength had increased after completing the [Visualization of Wood], allowing him to exert 2,000 more newtons of force to reach 9,000 newtons. His speed, muscular and bone structure, and defensive capabilities had all gone up a bit as well.
After completing the [Visualization of Water], Ren Baqian's kidneys became much stronger. In traditional Chinese medicine, the kidneys are considered a person's store of essence. Essence can be divided into two different types, that which one is born with and that which one accumulates through growth. With no end in sight, Ren Baqian's increase in weight from 60 to 100 kilograms might have been the result of this growing essence. He tired much less easily and felt an abundance of vitality within his body.
Ren Baqian was very satisfied with this result. Strong, healthy kidneys were the base for most other things.
Completing the [Visualization of Wood] seemed to have improved the function of his liver. Ren Baqian had yet to do any tests and could only speculate. The liver was a store of blood, regulating the body's volume of it and refining it to provide qi essence. Now that Ren Baqian had overcome the [Visualization of Wood], a sliver of qi was constantly circulating throughout his body. The side effect appeared to be increased appetite, which was likely brought on by his body's continuous conversion of blood into qi essence and ultimately refining it into pure qi.
The liver's ability to regulate blood flow meant that it could stem it as well. Ren Baqian had tried this ability before when he got slapped on the nose by the empress. In the past, he would have to pinch his nose for about two minutes before the blood would stop flowing. Now, he could stem the bleeding in an instant without even having to touch his nose.
He had to admit that this ability was pretty useful!
Ren Baqian expected to gain a lot after breaking through the [Visualization of Fire]. The internal organ that corresponds with fire is the heart. The heart is the source of movement and is said to harbor the soul.
Ren Baqian guessed that completing the [Visualization of Fire] would lead to a large jump in his power. It should also nourish his mind and set up the foundation for his progress toward the Earth Wheel level.
Over the next two days, the pressure built up inside Wu City
Ren Baqian and the empress quietly sat in the courtyard. The empress shut her eyes and focused on getting into the right state of mind. She was determined to kill Teng Yue on the spot when he returned.
Honing the mind was essential before every major battle.
After all, her opponent was the fourth most powerful expert in the world. The empress wasn't going to underestimate him even if his power was not at its peak.
Fighting with such an expert was a good training experience in itself.
Going head to head with a powerful opponent meant having to utilize essence, qi, and spirit as one. It was through harmonizing the mind and spirit during a death battle that one's potential could be awakened. As such, every major battle led to some improvement.
The empress was at a point where it was difficult to improve. Her status also made it difficult to find suitable opponents.
This was why the empress had actually been delighted to be able to fight Hua Sanliu and the Spirit Wheel experts from Tianjing Basin.
This battle with Teng Yue was highly important to her.
Ren Baqian sat beside the empress in silence. All he did was stare at her face and admire her beautiful, glorious features.
Especially those red lips, which tempted him deeply.
Ren Baqian's gaze made the empress feel a slight itch on her face. She tolerated it for quite a while before opening her eyes and glaring at him.
"Are you done staring?"
"I don't think I'll ever be done. I'm always wondering how there can be someone so perfect. It's practically going against the laws of nature." Ren Baqian chuckled.
The empress wrinkled her nose and was about to laugh, but quickly changed her expression and said, "I need to be composed. Go do your own things."
Ren Baqian was chased out of the courtyard by the empress. He looked up to the sky, thinking of ways to exact revenge on that old coot, Xia Baichong. (TLC. Check spelling here.)
They had hardly had any time for respite due to that old coot's advances. First, there were the Zhu Mu Elders, then Lu Qi, and now Teng Yue, each one stronger than the last. Ren Baqian wondered just how much that old coot had spent to get these people moving.
Plus, there was Su Qing. He might have been a renegade to begin with, but Xia Baichong (TLC. Check spelling.) had definitely sent him to cause trouble in Dayao.
The Yun Nation and the Chen Nation were also goaded into action by his people.
Because of him, Ren Baqian had to leave his comfortable life in Lan City and was constantly on the move. The one behind all of this nonsense was that stupid old coot. Surely Ren Baqian couldn't just let that old coot enjoy his time in the palace while Ren Baqian was out here fighting for his life.
Good neighbors must both give and receive.
Maybe Ren Baqian should launch 1,000 skunk bombs at his palace? There would be no need for smoke this time, just pure and concentrated skunk musk. The people of Great Xia would be able to bask in the palace's scent for months. It would be a moment to remember.
Ren Baqian had experienced the power of concentrated skunk musk himself. Its destructiveness was shocking and no less than any other weapon of mass destruction. The fortified stink grenades used previously had contained a relatively small amount of concentrated skunk musk, yet they were able to induce thoughts of death in the empress and the experts from Tianjing Basin. It would be impossible for them to survive unscathed if he were to use a bomb that purely contained this substance.
He would announce Dayao's responsibility after the fact and goad Xia Baichong into taking action. How else could Xia Baichong preserve the dignity of Great Xia's royals?
Su Qing's chance would come once Great Xia assembled an army to march on them.
When Great Xia finally fell into chaos, Ren Baqian would find a way to corner Xia Baichong, give him two nice stabs in the abdomen, and watch as he saw his own country collapse into ruins. Now this was revenge.
No matter how Ren Baqian saw it, Su Qing would stand to gain from this plan. Ren Baqian guessed he would just have to extort some of his gains later on.
As for how he was going to lob the bombs into Great Xia's palace, it was up to Su Qing to devise a plan. Ren Baqian believed that Su Qing would have his ways. Since Su Qing had been sent to Tianjing Basin, he was no ordinary character. Perhaps he would know someone inside the palace.