In the end, when it came down to buying techniques, Arthur chose to prioritize what he wanted immediately along with saving for the future. Between paying for accommodation and the various boxes, expanding his combat techniques, and potentially having funds for more armour, he had found himself with much fewer resources than he had wanted. In the end, Arthur chose to purchase only two techniques.
The first would give him quite an extensive period of use, all the way to the top of the Tower. More than that, the Heavenly Sage series of cultivation techniques all had expansions, such that the next level in a more advanced Tower would have techniques in the same line that he could purchase. Important since it would also reduce the amount of time he needed to train in the technique. Even if there was no time limit for ascension, he could still die of old age.
As for the Refined Energy Dart, well, he did need a ranged attack. Even if it was not powerful or lethal at present, he could use the skill to kite monsters to him. Eventually, he might have other techniques that complemented or upgraded the skill.
And even if not, something was better than nothing.
Now, the only question was which one to study? Sucking on his lower lip, Arthur gave up on making a decision immediately. He grabbed the first scroll and sat down to glance over the Heavenly Sage manual. He did not try to comprehend it fully or even practice it, but simply skimmed the contents to get an overview of the entire matter before he turned to the Refined Energy Dart and did the same thing. Only when he was done, sometime after the sun had set, did he sit back, rocking on two legs.
To his surprise, even if the Heavenly Sage technique had been more expensive, it was actually easier to practice—at least, at first glance. Perhaps that was because he had already studied the concentration and flow of energy within his body with Focused Strike, on top of the overall empowerment of his body via Accelerated Healing. Many of the concepts seemed familiar.
Whereas the projection of energy outside of himself . . . well, that seemed more complicated. He did not understand the discussion about projection of energy to his aura, of holding it just within the aura membrane before releasing the built-up energy. Thus far, he had not even practiced with his aura, so . . .
Heavenly Sage’s Mischief it was.
But first: sleep!
The next morning, after a tasty but unnecessary meal of bacon, eggs with soya sauce, and kaya jam bread, Arthur got back to practicing. This time, he read over the manual for the Heavenly Sage’s Mischief in more detail, smirking slightly at the little monkey drawings in the corner of the manual that were meant to showcase the way the energy flowed. Rather than using a human outline, the manual had that of a mischievous monkey, though thankfully it kept to the usual meridian pathways.
Though, he wasn’t entirely certain that they were serious about the one where the monkey was hanging from its tail, upside down and scratching its armpit. That, he figured, was artistic license. He hoped so at least—or he was going to have problems.
Hours studying and practicing portions of the manual, memorizing energy pathways, and falling over as he sent energy the wrong way or too fast or too slow. Sometimes, he spent long minutes curled up, cramping as his muscles rebelled at the sudden surge of energy.
Often, he had to backtrack, decide if what was happening was because he was practicing all this in portions or because he was doing something wrong. More time was spent just whimpering or reading or debating how he was going to enact the technique.
Eventually, a whole day passed, leaving Arthur with the knowledge of the technique in his mind and what he believed was the correct method to manipulate the skill.
Before he could practice the technique in its whole, though, he needed to cultivate. Between wasted energy sources via practice and the need of his body, drained from the Tower, Arthur found himself quite empty.
Seated cross-legged on his bed, he began to cultivate for the first time since his change. Within minutes, he cursed himself, for he realized that there was indeed a major disadvantage to this new Yin Body.
The energy he drew into himself from the Tower was both Yin- and Yang-based. As it flooded his system, the heat of the Yang chi began to make his body ache; his dantian and his meridians increasingly felt on fire. Forced to stop, Arthur could only breathe slowly, cycling air through his lungs as he kept himself calm.
The good news: he noticed that the Yang energy slowly leeched itself out of his body or was converted by the greater Yin energy he held within himself into Yin again. However, the process was slow, even if the energy being converted reduced the pain he felt.
When the agony reached levels that could be withstood, he reviewed the cultivation technique he had been taught, turning it over and over in his mind. Was there a way to separate Yin and Yang chi? Could he block the Yang energy from coming in, thus decreasing the problem and pain?
Arthur was not certain, but he was sure that he should try. If not, this new Yin Body was going to be a real problem. He couldn’t be stopping to cultivate constantly.
A quick thought had him pull up his status, searching for the specific part he was concerned about.
Yup, there it was. That had been what had worried him when he started the process. His actual cultivation speed was incorrect right now, and the Tower was probably going to take time to figure out what his true cultivation speed was, if he brought in Yang and Yin chi. More importantly, while the Yang chi did convert, it was at a significant loss.
Overall, he was barely better than half a point of Yin chi for his cultivation speed.
“Hun dan!” Closing his eyes, Arthur forced himself to calm. He had been warned, he had been warned. But it worked in the movies and novels and . . .
Yeah. Okay. He could see where he went wrong.
“Right, got to fix this. Only person who can is you. Because there isn’t a gnu. Not there should be a gnu, but you never know.” Scratching his head, Arthur grimaced at the forced rhyme. “Right, right. Cultivation technique alterations . . . because that’s going to work out well.”
No more talking. Time to work.