With the dried grass, some additional steps, and a bit of help from Qiu Ling, Jing Yi finally managed to make his first fire. He turned to look at Qiu Ling with a brilliant smile, feeling especially thankful.
Qiu Ling smiled back and then rubbed his head. “Let’s eat first and then start trying to let you take in spiritual energy then.”
“Mn.” Jing Yi nodded and the two of them waited for the soup from yesterday to boil.
“You know, if you can’t do it today yet, it’s not a problem to stay here for a while longer either. The place is nice, the spiritual energy in the surroundings is high, and we’re not pressed for time either. We might as well do it slowly.”
Jing Yi nodded. “In the worst case, we can do that. But it would be good if I could learn to do at least this fast. I mean it’s not even actual cultivation, is it? It’s just sensing spiritual energy and then taking it in.”
Qiu Ling hummed. “Isn’t that cultivation though?”
Jing Yi glanced at him. “Is it? I don’t really know. I only heard a bit because some senior brothers and sisters told me. One of them is from one of the villages close to the one where I grew up so he explained a bit more. I always thought that sensing the spiritual energy and then combining it to take it in was just the first step.”
Qiu Ling blinked his eyes. “Combining it?”
“Yes, because I have all six spirit veins I need to combine the spiritual energy and take it in at once.”
Qiu Ling looked at him with some confusion. “Why though? Can’t you just take it in one after the other?” Or were humans actually this different?
“That …” Jing Yi was confused as well when Qiu Ling asked him like this. Since Qiu Ling had said that he wasn’t just a practitioner but also a cultivator, he should know about it, shouldn’t he? But … “That’s what senior martial brother Qiguan said.”
Qiu Ling furrowed his brows. Qiguan … Why did this sound slightly familiar? Had he heard that name before? Ah, whatever. “I think you don’t have to do it that way. Let’s just try it with one first.”
Jing Yi nodded. Even though he trusted Qiguan Cheng Da, he knew Qiu Ling better by now and Qiu Ling was also from the inner sect. He should know more about cultivation than Qiguan Cheng Da.
Finally, the soup started to boil and the two of them ate first. When they finished, Qiu Ling rinsed the pot and put it away. Then, he and Jing Yi went to search for a place to sit down.
“I guess it would be best to find a spot as close as possible to the edge of the cliff?” Jing Yi craned his neck and looked at the place where the mountain suddenly stopped, only leaving empty air. That should be where the spiritual energy of the air was the strongest.
Qiu Ling nodded but still pulled him to the roots of the tree that was standing the closest to the cliff. Anyway, sitting directly at the edge was too dangerous. Even if he could jump after him and save him if something were to happen, he didn’t even want to imagine that scene, much less see it happen in reality. What if something happened to his beloved?
Jing Yi wanted to ask why they weren’t going closer but one look at the way Qiu Ling was holding him tightly answered his question already. Well, he shouldn’t have expected anything else.
The two of them sat down and Qiu Ling carelessly waved most of the winds away, only keeping one strand behind. It blew around them, ruffling their hair one moment, then weaving around their hands the next.
Jing Yi breathlessly observed it. This time he felt like there was something special about this breeze. It wasn’t like the wind before, such a large current that spanned their surroundings or even the entire mountain. This was just a strand of wind, barely enough to weave around their figures once.
He couldn’t see it, of course, but he felt it. He could actually feel its beginning and end as if it was a snake curling around them. Was this what it meant to sense spiritual energy? Had he actually achieved his wish on the first try today?
He looked up at Qiu Ling, his heart beating madly. He didn’t even dare to ask his question in fear that he would somehow lose that feeling.
Qiu Ling smiled back at him and reached out to grab his hands. They were sitting opposite each other, both seated in the lotus position. This was the standard position for teaching about taking in and guiding spiritual energy although … Qiu Ling had no idea. He had just thought that Jing Yi wouldn’t like it if he hugged him from behind all the time and if he couldn’t do that, then it would be the best if he could at least look at him while they worked. Anyway, he still wanted to try and help him. Taking a bit of advantage at the side shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Qiu Ling straightened up and squeezed his beloved’s hands. “Don’t worry. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and focus.”
Jing Yi nodded and then did as he had been told. He could still feel the air current close to them but with how anxious he had become, the feeling wasn’t as clear anymore.
“It’s alright.” Qiu Ling squeezed his hands again and took a deep breath himself in the hope of calming Jing Yi down.
Jing Yi nodded again and then followed Qiu Ling’s example. He took a deep breath and then tried again. Indeed, the feeling was a little stronger. After he had managed to do it once it seemed like he wouldn’t have any problems repeating this step ever again in the future. The revelation made him giddy with happiness until Qiu Ling tightened his grip.
Ah, right, he shouldn’t be happy too soon. This was only the beginning. He couldn’t mess up again right away.