Chapter 65: Invisible Thread
Translator: YH Editor: Pranav
When Ai Hui roused from his deep rumination, the sky had already turned dark. Lou Lan was nowhere to be seen.
While the [Twin Weaving Technique] was honestly out of his league, Ai Hui was not discouraged; he was already used to facing all kinds of challenges.
He began his attempt.
The first step was to try to conjure two elemental energy needles. This was the most fundamental aspect of the technique, without which the cloth couldn't even be woven.
He had just learned how to integrate the element force needle in the morning, and the process wasn't exactly easy. An attempt at integrating two elemental energy needles at the same time was going to be difficult.
Ai Hui was, however, surprised that despite several issues, the attempt went relatively smoothly.
Ai Hui smiled, feeling pleased, as he gazed upon the needles on his right and left-hand fingers.
His left and right hands were very balanced, something he had discovered in the Wilderness. He was capable of wielding swords in either hand without much difficulty and was pleased to find out that such benefits extended to the use of elemental energy as well.
After the elemental energy at his fingertips stabilized, Ai Hui proceeded with his attempt at detaching the needles from his fingers.
He had learned the theory during his teacher's fundamental lessons on training. Teacher Wang's explanation hadn't been very detailed, so Ai Hui had to fumble with the method by himself.
Ai Hui continuously adjusted his breathing. His natal residence was in his lungs and had a direct relationship with his breathing. The human body was truly wondrous, the five residences were very different from one another.
Ai Hui's lungs expanded and contracted to the rhythm of his breathing. When he inhaled, his lungs suffused with a faint silver tint and exerted a pulling force that absorbed the metal elemental energy from the air. The residual air was then expelled through his nose.
Being able to cultivate elemental energy through the mere act of breathing was one of the advantages of opening the natal residence. Even though the elemental energy present in the air was very sparse, the accumulative effect of such absorption was nothing to scoff at in the long run.
Furthermore, every breath taken excited the metal elemental energy within his body, causing fluctuations that shifted with every adjustment to his breathing.
Being able to look into Ai Hui's body would reveal two extremely thin silver threads branching out of his silver-tinted lungs, with one entering his right hand and the other his left. These were formed from elemental energy.
Ai Hui's hand palaces had not been activated, which meant that the path from his natal residence to his palms hadn't been opened yet. According to the conventions of the Cultivation Era, these paths were known as elemental "veins."
Ai Hui's elemental energy was currently circulating via the back of his muscles. If the elemental veins were thought of as a wide torrential river, then the path through the muscles was like a small, convoluted stream in the middle of a forest. Not only was it unable to accommodate large amounts of elemental energy, but the muscles were also much less efficient in circulating elemental energy.
Ai Hui's situation was slightly better.
Opening his natal residence only after having developed his elemental energy to its fullest state had helped drench his muscles in elemental energy, greatly reducing the pathway's resistance to elemental energy.
The elemental energy condensed into needles at Ai Hui's fingertips, connecting to the thin silver threads of elemental energy within his body. Ai Hui was able to control the elemental energy needles because the other end of the silver threads were connected to his lungs.
Ai Hui tried to move the needles forward.
Under his watchful gaze, the elemental energy needles at his fingertips grew slightly longer.
No! This was not elemental energy detachment.
The principle behind this was not complex at all: keep the elemental energy thread unbroken, and maintain the density of the front of the conjured elemental energy needles while keeping it attached to an "invisible thread" behind it.
In other words, he had to thin the elemental energy further at the back of the needle, but not to the point where it would break away from the elemental energy within his body.
How was he going to make it thinner?
Ai Hui was at a loss. His teacher had not mentioned this before, as it was something that would be taught in the more advanced classes. This was too difficult for a rookie who had just opened his natal palace.
It was now too late in the night to find his teacher. Ai Hui decided to spend the night figuring it out by himself, and he would consult his teacher the next day if there were still no progress.
Ai Hui reflected on how he condensed the elemental energy into needles, thinking of reversing the process to make the elemental energy thread thinner.
He got to work immediately. Compressing the elemental energy at his fingertips was the key factor in manifesting the elemental energy needles. To do the opposite, he would have to make the elemental energy fainter.
The elemental energy needles at his fingertips gradually faded out of sight.
The glow slowly become dimmer, turning transparent, before finally becoming practically invisible. Ai Hui could still feel the elemental energy needles' presence even though he could no longer see it.
He did not stop there. Carefully controlling the elemental energy within his body, Ai Hui continued to weaken it while he strived to maintain its shape.
At this point, the elemental energy needle was so faint that Ai Hui had to consciously feel for it.
Ai Hui's body suddenly trembled; his face lit up with joy.
As the density of the elemental energy continued to drop, the feeling at the tip of his fingers that had almost disappeared completely became clear once again. He could distinctly feel a very faint elemental energy in front of him that moved according to his will.
The "invisible thread"!
Ai Hui was ecstatic to see the "invisible thread"! He had realized that weakening the elemental energy beyond the critical point was necessary for forming the "invisible thread."
This was the key!
Crossing this critical point would allow greater control over the elemental energy.
Understanding the "invisible thread" left Ai Hui feeling over the moon. Although he was still far from moving the detached needles, he was off to a great start. How could he not be happy after comprehending such an advanced lesson?
Suddenly, the "invisible thread" shattered into fragments.
Ai Hui was dazed for a moment. A moment later, a wry smile appeared on his face as he realized why this was taught in more advanced classes.
The "invisible thread" was highly flexible and was capable of being manipulated in a number of complex ways. The amount of elemental energy required to sustain it, however, was much greater than that of the compressed elemental energy. This had depleted Ai Hui's pool of elemental energy, and as he was no longer able to sustain the elemental energy thread within his body, the "invisible thread" quickly disintegrated.
What was the use of this "invisible thread" if it could only be sustained for such a short period of time?
Furthermore, elemental energy detachment wasn't just about the "invisible thread" alone. Combining the "invisible thread" with the elemental energy needle was going to deplete his elemental energy at an even faster rate. If the simplest part of the technique-moving the detached needles-was this tough, how was he going to execute the [Twin Weaving Technique] in its entirety?
Ai Hui sat under the starry sky, feeling empty inside.
He rested for a while and recovered some of his strength. He then stood up resolutely, picked up the backpack, and walked out of the training hall under the sky full of stars.