Yan Hong Min lowered his head and pondered. These disciples … “I guess it could work if we looked for them secretly, then sealed off the building where they worked for the time being. But we can only do that if the final confrontation is imminent. It’s only a temporary fix after all. Somebody will figure out sooner or later what is going on. Maybe not exactly but they will find enough hints to realize something.”
Mei Chao Bing returned to the table and sat down opposite Yan Hong Min, his own brows furrowing as well. “I can’t say what the plan on the Elders’ side is right now. When it comes to the timing of any attack … unless we take the initiative, that’s not really for us to determine. And as far as taking the initiative goes … that might be difficult to achieve.”
Yan Hong Min looked up, his expression slowly returning to its previous calmness. “Well, difficult doesn’t mean impossible, does it? What do you need to make it possible?”
Mei Chao Bing stared at him but Yun Bei Fen’s second senior martial brother simply looked back. Clearly, he was certain that he could help in some way. He might not be able to fight with his level being lower than average in his generation but he had the skills to make a difference nonetheless.
Mei Chao Bing felt calmer as well when he saw him like this. Right. Just strength alone wouldn’t determine the outcome. No, they weren’t weaker. They were simply in a disadvantaged position but they had ways to even the score. Now more than ever.
Mei Chao Bing tapped his leg and finally sighed. He couldn’t plan all of this by himself and he wasn’t sure if Yan Hong Min who had seldom been out on missions was the right person to help him with that predicament but he was somebody who could think outside the box so it was worth a try.
“Our information on the other side is limited. We know where their headquarters are and that they have more people than us but that is about it. There is a grand transportation formation that would allow them to get to different spots in the border region but we can disable that ahead of time to force them to stay in one place.
“The main problem might be that they have somehow managed to … replicate the abilities of one of the four guardians. We don’t know how but it’s the ability of the white jade so that makes this difficult in a fight.
“On the bright side: Your third and fourth junior apparently both have an ability of their own and your first senior martial brother is able to see even through the ability of the blue butterfly. Unfortunately, neither of them has had enough time to truly figure their abilities out and I’m not sure if they will be able to in time.”
“Huh.” Yan Hong Min raised his brows and rubbed his forehead. Leave it to his three martial brothers under the same Master to surprise him. He surely wouldn’t have expected that!
He lowered his head and folded his hands in his lap, thinking about everything that Mei Chao Bing had said. “Them replicating the ability … are there any guesses?”
“Not really, no. I … wanted to take a quick glance at the documents we have here at the sect to see if there was anything but we even asked the guardians and they couldn’t explain it themselves. They said everyone is born with their abilities and then a cultivation technique might be able to strengthen it or even act against it but that’s it. They’re honestly not sure.”
Yan Hong Min looked back up and pursed his lips. “A cultivation technique can counteract it?”
“Yes, apparently so.”
Yan Hong Min lightly touched his fingertips together, thinking to himself. The solution seemed to be directly in front of his eyes. “If a cultivation technique enhances it … that means with the right technique, an ability can be strengthened.”
Mei Chao Bing raised his brows, not sure where the difference between these two statements was. “Yes?”
“What I mean to say is: It’s known that the cultivation technique you study has an influence so you can deliberately use that knowledge. As for why the technique would have that influence …” He tilted his head and then slowly raised his brows. “It might be because of the same reason that allows my flower map to work.”
Mei Chao Bing couldn’t quite follow him so he only waited for Yan Hong Min to elaborate.
Yan Hong Min picked up a brush and pulled a fresh piece of paper over, drawing a stick figure on it before pointing at it. “That’s you.”
“You … might have an ability.”
Mei Chao Bing didn’t think he had but then, this was likely just Yan Hong Min trying to discuss his theory so he nodded.
Yan Hong Min painted four symbols next to the stick figure and tapped on them. “These would be the cultivation techniques of the four great sects. You are studying this one.” He pointed an arrow from the first to the stick figure and then added a second person on the other side, drawing an arrow from the second one toward it. “This person cultivates the second one.
“Now, what happens when you cultivate a technique?” He drew a small symbol above the head of the two figures that each represented the same one that connected them with the arrow. “It leaves a mark on the person. One that can be picked up with my flower map.
“I’ve always wondered where exactly that mark is. Is it the spiritual veins? The dantian? The whole body itself? The heart? The soul? I’ve concluded it can’t be the latter because the soul would leave the body after death but I can still pick up the mark even then. In the same vein, it shouldn’t be the dantian or the spirit veins because those … dim after the death of the cultivator as well. So it’s … something in the body itself. And thinking about it, I think it might be the blood.”