Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
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While Jiang Yao was busy dealing with things that could not be delayed, Luo Xiao was much more at peace in the academy.
After a good nights sleep, he woke up and started heading towards the facilities that could improve his cultivation speed.
The gravity room would help him strengthen his physical body, the essence tower would help him increase his spiritual energy, the resource hall could give him an instant boost in strength by consuming pills. There was also the training chambers where one was supposed to meet the optimal conditions for training their skills.
He never considered going to the skill depository because he already got his hands on two skills, so getting more before he had perfected them would be rather useless.
After careful consideration, he also ruled out the gravity room. Although it could help him improve his physical body, right now this was not the most beneficial place for him to be.
Then were the pills. He was quite curious about pills and the other materials that could assist him in increasing his cultivation base instantly, but after even more consideration he dared not venture down that road.
Although he could base his cultivation on pills, it was never as good a result as if he had refined all the energy himself.
This only left two options for him. The first was to enter the essence tower and cultivate his spiritual energy, increase his strength and cultivation base at a faster speed than normal, while the other was to enter a training room and focus on perfecting his grasp over the Black Pagoda Art and the Moon Goddess Hand.
He knew that he was currently being protected by the Shadow Guards that worked for Jiang Yao, but he was also aware that it would become rather messy if they stepped up and showed themselves to the public.
Since this was the case, he decided to go to the training room to get a better grasp of his two techniques. If he managed to understand their principles and learn how to use them well, then he would be able to protect himself much more efficiently, and no one would have to worry about him.
Although this meant that his progress of rank would be slower than if he had gone to the essence tower, Luo Xiao still felt this was the most efficient way to strengthen himself.
He also knew that if he managed to gain enlightenment while understanding the techniques, then he might still be able to use this encounter to break through to the next rank.
After weighing out the pros and cons of the different methods, he ended up deciding on going for the training room and train his skills.
The training rooms were located in a building next to the sparring field, it was a place where there were constant battles.
Some came to solve their disagreements through battle, others came to test out their new skills against other cultivators. All in all, it was a place filled with chaos and noise. There were people moving around all the time, never was it quiet.
The training rooms by the side were the same. These training rooms were graded, and each floor had different levels of efficiency.
The training rooms had been shrouded in formations that could calm one’s mind and allow for one to focus fully on the task at hand. The higher up one wished to go, the more expensive the rooms, but the stronger the formation was.
Luo Xiao did not know about how strong these formations were, he had heard about them being mentioned in passing, but because he had no experience, he was unsure of what to do.
Should he use all his points and jump to one of the good rooms, or should he try the lesser rooms at first to adapt?
After thinking it through, he quickly decided to pick one of the lower leveled rooms. The building had nine floors, and he picked one on floor three.
He knew that the first floor was likely to not be very different from the outside world, and going there would prove to be a waste of points.
The second floor ought to be very similar to the first floor, so even if he would get some assistance, he would not get enough to warrant using his points at it.
Then the third floor would be the highest of the low ranking floors. The point cost was higher than for the two first floors, but it was a lot lower than the fourth floor.
The floors were split into the lower floors, the middle floors, and the top floors.
The point cost would rise significantly when one went from the lower to the middle floors, and again from the middle to the top floors.
So what currently seemed to be the cheapest but most viable option was the third floor.
Luo Xiao had been standing in front of the training rooms for a long time while contemplating his options – he was not in a rush to do anything – and when he finally decided he went to the counter.
“Yes?” The clerk at the counter was rather curt when speaking, but Luo Xiao paid it no attention.
“I would like to rent a training room on the third floor for two hours,” he said politely, his eyes sparkling intelligently.
The clerk was surprised to see this youngster being so polite, and his mood instantly turned for the better, his behavior became much friendlier too.
“A room on the third floor for two hours? That is twenty points,” he said and Luo Xiao handed over his card, which then was swiped on a big stone before it was handed back to the young man.
“Go to room twenty-seven, that will be your room the next two hours. When two hours is up a bell will ring in the chamber to remind you to leave. If you do not leave you will be charged double for all extra time you spend.”
“Thank you,” Luo Xiao was happy to be informed about these basic things as it was his first time entering, and after cupping his fists to the man, did he walk towards the stairs.
Room one to nine were placed on the first floor, ten to nineteen was on the second and so on. When he reached the third floor he quickly went to look for the room he had been given.
Half the rooms had open doors, while the others were tightly shut. It was impossible to break into a room that had been locked on the inside, and the formations that shrouded the rooms also ensured that the rooms were completely soundproof, so that the cultivator within could focus fully on the task at hand, instead of being bothered by anything happening outside.
As he entered the room, he looked around him to familiarize himself with the surroundings.
The room was quite simple. It was a square room with only one piece of furniture – a stone bed, that was positioned against the back wall.
There were no windows within the room, but it was illuminated by glistening light orbs, casting a gentle light over the entire room.
Nodding his head in satisfaction, Luo Xiao closed the door behind him and went towards the stone bed.
He sat down and started feeling the calmness right away. He was a soul cultivator, so the mental state was very important for his performance, and right now he was feeling much more sharp than usual, it was as if he was just a fraction away from being capable of having a breakthrough towards something amazing.
He started focusing on the Black Pagoda Art. The Black Pagoda Art had multiple layers, but each layer was increasingly hard to get under control.
Luo Xiao was seated still, the air around him was rippling with spiritual energy as it manifested and created the illusion of a black pagoda shrouding him.
This was already an amazing feat, being able to create such an illusion when he had only practiced the ability for a short time, but he was far from satisfied.
Luo Xiao wanted to perfect his control over the ability. He was not satisfied with a mere illusion, he needed it to turn corporeal, to have a physical form, so that it could actually defend him from attacks.
Once again the air rippled around him, and the shape of the pagoda appeared. This time it was clearer than it had been before, but it was still nothing more than a mirage.
Sweat started beading on Luo Xiao’s forehead, his eyes were focused on practicing, and he did not feel the passage of time.
Each attempt at creating the black pagoda caused him to use quite a bit of spiritual energy, and after the third attempt he had used up all the energy within his soul palace.
Returning to his senses, Luo Xiao wiped the sweat of his brows and sat down to meditate, so that he could fill his soul palace again before he began practicing once more.
It was not only a calming formation that was within the building that housed the training rooms, there were also essence gathering formations, but they were much weaker than the ones located within the essence tower – they were only strong enough to gather some essence towards the rooms, allowing for the user to quickly restore their energies.
After the time it takes for a cup of tea to brew, Luo Xiao could once more begin practicing.
Like this, the two hours quickly ticked by. Fortunately, he had substantial results within the chamber, he could not create a somewhat firm version of the Black Pagoda Arts, so much that it could now block at least a few attacks from Sky ranked Qi cultivators.
When the bell rang, Luo Xiao felt that he had already gained quite a bit from this room, and he was satisfied when he left. He could not help but wonder if he should head for one of the higher ranked ones for a few more hours, or if he should go to the Essence Tower to focus on his cultivation base.
After musing for a moment in front of the building he turned to leave. It was time for him to eat his dinner, and he had skipped breakfast this morning, so his stomach was starting to growl.
although he was a cultivator and could live without most mortal necessities, he still had a mental need for food. He could not completely let go of the mortal life that he had lived for so many years.
Heading back home, he started cooking his dinner. It was a simple portion of stuffed meat buns, and he made some extra ones so he could bring them with him.
Having finished lunch, and packed some snacks in his storage treasure, Luo Xiao once again decided to ponder on what to do.
“I cannot do something halfway,” he decided and headed back to the training rooms.
This time he went to the fourth floor and rented a full five hours of time. As he entered the fourth floor he felt much different from how he had felt before at the third floor.
Although he had been calmer and more clear than ever before, it was nothing compared to what he was experiencing now.
And this was only the fourth floor! He suddenly was grateful that he did not go straight towards the top floors, as if he were to experience the calmness at a full blow in the first encounter, he would have gone mad.
During these five hours, Luo Xiao was fully focused on the Black Pagoda Arts, and he managed to gain a rather deep impression of the first three levels.
He could now use the art to protect himself against both spiritual energy and Qi attacks. Although he was incapable of protecting himself against Star or above-ranked cultivators, he could still hold his ground rather firmly when facing those of his own rank.