Chapter 4 - Hidden Ques
Yuan continued to play with Xiao Hua throughout the night without a care in the world. Meanwhile, other Players were either trying to find the best way to strengthen themselves or were already in the process of grinding their strength.
The Players also grew addicted to their new profound strength, with the power to smash rocks with mere fists and skip meters into the distance; it gave them a sense of superiority, and it made them feel really good about themselves.
However, for someone who is crippled and blind in the real world, Yuan wouldn't mind spending all of his time just playing with Xiao Hua, who has many resemblances to his younger sister.
The world under the night sky seemed still, with the only thing moving being two shadowy figures and a ball.
"Xiao Hua, will you be fine with playing out here till so late? Won't your parents be worried if you don't return soon?" Yuan asked her after noticing that she has been out here playing with him for nearly the entire day.
"It is okay. Xiao Hua is always out here playing by herself, so they are used to it."
"..." His pity towards her increased with every passing moment he spent with her. "Xiao Hua, how about we take a rest from playing and let me tell you some more stories?"
"Stories?" Her eyes began flickering like the stars in the night sky upon hearing the magic word, and she instantly sat by the tree.
Yuan followed and sat beside her. "The stories I will be telling you today are fairy tales from my homeland."
"Fairy tales? Like mythology and legends?"
"Well… not exactly. Fairy tales are more short stories made for entertainment rather than legends and such. They are pure fiction, so it's not real."
"What's the difference?"
"...You will know when you hear it."
Yuan began telling her famous and classical fairy tales from Earth that he's heard when he was young such as a certain individual poisoning a girl who awakened due to a kiss from a prince, mermaids in the ocean, and pirates fighting in the sea.
While it has been many years since Yuan has heard of these stories, he was still able to recall them clearly and greatly entertain Xiao Hua, who was not used to this genre of stories.
"These people… are they all mortals?" She suddenly asked him.
"To my knowledge, yes."
"This is nothing like stories of mythical beasts ruling the world or immortals overturning Heaven. It is normal, yet it brings so much entertainment." She didn't know mortals could be so entertaining despite being the focus of these stories.
"Do you have any more fairy tales to tell Xiao Hua?" She asked.
"Unfortunately, that was all I could remember. But I will find some more to tell you later."
"It's a promise!"
"It's a promise." Yuan smiled.
"Okay, then it is Xiao Hua's turn to read." She opened the same book she used to teach him Heaven's Secret Art.
"That's…" Yuan wondered if she was going to teach him another skill.
"Although Brother Yuan has already learned the technique, you have not fully mastered it. However, with your powerful comprehension skills, Xiao Hua believes that Brother Yuan will master it in no time."
Thus, she began reading.
However, this time around, Yuan was only able to understand everything from the beginning only to lose comphrension later on. It felt like he was listening to a story with a plot that quickly deepens as it progresses, becoming more mysterious and profound.
It took Xiao Hua nearly an hour to finish reading the book that was only a dozen pages thick.
When she finished, she looked at Yuan to see the expression he was making. He was sitting still with his eyes closed, and on his face was a calm expression, looking as though he was in a trance.
'Brother Yuan is truly a genius��' she mumbled to herself, 'What takes others many tries to comprehend takes you only one time. What takes others many years to learn — you learn in just a few hours.'
Her gaze stared at his face nonstop, seemingly enchanted by his expression. 'Who are you, really?'
«Your comprehension for Heaven's Secret Art has greatly increased»
«Heaven's Secret Art Mastery Level has been increased(1 -» 2)»
«You have learned Heaven's Second Secret Art — Heaven Splitting Sword Strike»
«Heaven's Second Secret Art — Heaven Splitting Sword Strike»
«Mastery Level: 1»
«Description: Consumes 10,000 Qi. Must wield a sword to activate. Creates a pillar of light that will destroy everything that dares to block its path.»
When Yuan opened his eyes again, Xiao Hua was resting her head on his lap, and the night sky had already long passed with the sun peeking in the horizon.
"It's already morning?" He wondered how long he had been in that trance state.
"Oh… You're awake, Brother Yuan." Xiao Hua rubbed her eyes and casually sat up. "Did you learn anything new during your enlightenment?"
"Enlightenment? Is that what that feeling was?"
"I see… Right, I have reached the second stage of Heaven's Secret Art and learned Heaven Splitting Sword Strike."
Xiao Hua looked at him with her eyes slightly widened more than usual, seemingly filled with surprise.
"Good job, Brother Yuan." She gave him a thumbs up a moment later. "But your cultivation base is lacking, so you will not be able to use it right away."
"Right, it says I need 10,000 Qi for its activation. Is it the same Qi as the one I absorb when cultivating?"
She nodded to his question.
"It says I have 5,010/10,000 Qi right now. If I max it out and use the skill, won't my Qi be depleted and I will have to cultivate until I gain it back?"
"Your depleted Qi will naturally recover until it returns to its original state so you will not have to cultivate every time you use a technique. However, recovering Qi naturally takes time, and it will slow down your cultivation. That is why Cultivators do not use their Qi pointlessly." Xiao Hua explained to him as though she was an expert. "Additionally, if your Qi falls below a certain point, then your body will be in a weakened state until you recover your Qi. In extreme cases, you may lose consciousness or even the ability to Cultivate."
Yuan took his time digesting all of the information. "So if I have 100 Qi and I use a skill that requires 10 Qi, my remaining 90 Qi will naturally recover back to 100 without the need to cultivate?" He asked her just in case.
Seeing her nod, Yuan fully understood the system. "So it is just like any other game but with a slight twist that requires more management. Qi is required for skills but also for a breakthrough in cultivation; it would be unwise to use it unless necessary."
"Thank you, Xiao Hua. If not for you, I would still be clueless right now."
"Brother Yuan, gratitude is shown with action, not with words." She patted her own head, causing him to laugh.
"Right, right. Thank you very much…" He said with his hands on her head.
After Xiao Hua was satisfied, Yuan stood up and said, "It is about time for me to leave again, but I will be back later."
Xiao Hua didn't stop him this time and nodded. "Bye-bye, Brother Yuan. Play with Xiao Hua again when you get back, okay? Here, you can use this to call me." She handed him a necklace that she had just removed from her neck.
Yuan accepted the necklace without much thought. "Then, I will see you later." He waved at her before disappearing from the sunlight like a ghost.
After Yuan left, Xiao Hua stared at where he stood before logging off, seemingly in a daze. "Thank you, for playing with Xiao Hua…" Her body suddenly began to flicker, and her body glowed with beautiful light.
"It was fun… really, really fun…" Her body slowly broke down into tiny lights resembling fireflies before floating towards the clouds and disappearing.
«Congratulations! Player Yuan has completed the world's first Hidden Quest!»
"Brother Yuan…" That night, a sweet and childish voice echoed across the starry sky.