In that instant, everything else—the Heaven Auction House, Beyond The Heaven, the Ten Absolutes Mountain—faded from Meng Qi’s mind. All she could see were Yun Qingyan’s handsome features, extremely up close. Each breath she took was filled with his clean, refreshing scent. Her heart pounded in her ears, thumping endlessly and growing louder, as if it might burst out any time. Her mind went blank; she remembered Yun Qingyan had asked her a question, but what it was and how to answer, she had no idea.
“I…” Meng Qi opened her mouth blankly. Yun Qingyan’s eyes were so bright, and they were so close that she could see not only the details of his eyelashes but also her own tiny reflection in his eyes.
“I…” She opened her mouth again, feeling as if she had returned to her childhood, babbling the same words over and over, unable to articulate anything else.
“Haha—” Someone chuckled—it sounded like laughter.
Who was laughing? Meng Qi gazed at Yun Qingyan, who was just an arm’s length away, and her cheeks burned with heat.
At that moment, Yun Qingyan let her go and sat back up, supporting himself with his hands on the chair. “Meng Qi,” he called, patting the spot beside him, indicating for her to sit up.
Meng Qi quickly sat upright, placing her hands on her knees in a well-behaved manner. Her face was still hot, not just her cheeks but also her ears, as if she had been soaking in hot water, making her head feel fuzzy. It took her a while to grasp the question Yun Qingyan had asked her earlier.
He seemed to be asking if she would continue if someone else wanted to treat her the same way.
Treat her how?
Meng Qi suddenly remembered. Back in Luoyun Manor, Yun Qingyan had almost fallen into qi deviation, his aura nearly breaking apart, and he lost control of his mind. While she was trying to sort out his aura and bring him back to consciousness, he clearly couldn’t control his body.
Meng Qi slowly blinked, realizing that Yun Qingyan had done something with her that was typically reserved for intimate partners.
So that was it.
Meng Qi sighed in relief. Yun Qingyan’s expression today was so different from his usual self, and she had been wondering if it was because she chose to leave him in the Starfallen Sea, upsetting him.
So it was because of this.
Meng Qi cleared her throat and sat up straighter. “Sovereign Qingyan,” she carefully chose her words, “For a medical cultivator, treating others is also a form of cultivation.”
“I know,” Yun Qingyan responded.
“This is probably like how sword cultivators practice with swords, and spell cultivators practicing their spells. For medical cultivators, giving medical treatment is part of our daily routine. Even if it’s only for the sake of our future advancement, it’s hard to ignore those in need,” Meng Qi added.
Yun Qingyan: “…”
“Accidents happen during cultivation, resulting in injuries, stagnation in cultivation, or even qi deviation in severe cases. The act of cultivating itself is defying the heaven, and to reach higher realms, certain experiences are inevitable,” Meng Qi spoke softly. She paused, looked into Yun Qingyan’s eyes, and sincerely said, “So, Sovereign Qingyan, you don’t need to worry about such trivial matters. Don’t we cultivators face tribulations at every breakthrough after the Golden Core?”
“Tribulation thunders strike down fiercely, and a moment’s inattention can lead to death and the soul’s demise. Compared to that, the incident between us was merely mutual assistance in dual cultivation… Ah!” Seeing Yun Qingyan’s expression, she quickly added, “My cultivation is far inferior to yours. In fact, I benefited more, with improvements in both my cultivation level and medical cultivation.”
Yun Qingyan: “…” Did he get it wrong? Is Meng Qi actually a demon cultivator? Don’t human cultivators care more about decency and such things?
“Actually…” Meng Qi suddenly said again, “I personally don’t really endorse this method of cultivation.”
“Hmm?” Yun Qingyan felt he couldn’t keep up with her thoughts.
“I… am talking about dual cultivation,” Meng Qi explained, trying her best to appear calm, “That day was an accident. You are a great celestial demon, and I am a common cultivator of the Three Thousand Worlds. If it hadn’t been for the coincidence that day when you were about to fall into qi deviation and I happened to be a medical cultivator… after all, our auras being completely different, and our methods of cultivation entirely distinct, so forced dual cultivation would likely have been harmful rather than beneficial.”
Yun Qingyan: “…”
Meng Qi didn’t feel any taboo bringing up such topics with Yun Qingyan. A smile gradually appeared on her face as she reminisced their past interactions. Yun Qingyan was always willing to listen to her ideas and never mocked her wild imagination. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have helped Meng Qi to use arrays to imbue spells on pills just as refinery cultivators did on artifacts.
Meng Qi always discussed her doubts and ideas regarding cultivation directly with Yun Qingyan. Their conversations resembled those between a mentor and a student, and also like discussions between peers. Those years of living together in seclusion in the valley were the happiest and most cherished times for Meng Qi.
“However…” Meng Qi continued, “If the cultivation methods are similar and the aura in the systems are from the same source, dual cultivation can be quite helpful. The Heaven And Earth Bookhall should have books on this topic. If there’s a chance, I could look them up. In that case…” She paused, then suddenly said, “Does this mean that a cultivator with a damaged inner core can use dual cultivation to help repair it?! Eh! Why didn’t I think of this before?!”
Meng Qi’s attention was now entirely focused on this idea. In the Three Realms to this day, many cultivators find Dao companions mostly because they were seeking someone with aligned goals to accompany them on the long and arduous life. Of course, some major sects also form marriage alliances for benefits or succession purposes.
Those who truly practiced dual cultivation for cultivation’s sake were actually rare.
Meng Qi rummaged through her storage space and pulled out a few jade slips. She had never considered it before, but a medical cultivator like her, who uses a cauldron as her natal weapon of choice, could utilize spells and medical techniques to refine various materials with spiritual aura and deliver the medicinal properties directly into the meridians of the person she wanted to heal.
For cultivators like Yan Xuan, whose inner core had already been damaged, they could no longer continue cultivation. An inner core — in a human cultivator’s case, their golden core — was where one’s spiritual sense resided. A damaged inner core meant a cultivator could no longer use their spiritual sense. In that case, even if their spiritual sea was still intact, it would be difficult for them to mobilize a large amount of aura. This was the reason Yan Xuan’s strength fell to the level of a Qi Condensation cultivator — that was the limit of aura he could mobilize in his current condition.
By the same principle, the lack of spiritual sense meant that the cultivator’s body could not utilize the medicinal aura it received during the treatment, and thus couldn’t use the aura to repair its damaged core.
But if dual cultivation was possible, then there might be a solution. Meng Qi quickly flipped through the jade slips in her hands, most of which she had purchased from Cloud Immortal Pavilion. A few of these slips, however, were obtained in Beyond The Heaven.
With spiritual sense aiding them, cultivators read very quickly. Meng Qi wasn’t trying to learn everything in the books, just searching for specific information she needed, so her speed was even faster.
Yun Qingyan: “…”
The room became extremely quiet. Meng Qi skimmed through the jade slips for a while, then took out a blank one and began scribbling. She was completely immersed in her own world, seemingly forgetting where she was and that there was another person in the room.
After a long while, Yun Qingyan slowly raised his hand and gently tapped three times in the air. The gate of the courtyard they were in opened, and a handsome youth in a white robe walked in.
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