19 Basic Training PT. 1
Bai Qi sighed. He couldn't sense the entity any more, the whole area had grown colder as he tried to look inside the space in his mind. There was an eerie, prickly feeling as he tried to extend his consciousness into the darkness, as if it was warning him to stay away.
He crossed his legs again and picked up the bead. "Now, how do I resonate with the bead,'' he murmured. He cupped his hands, placing one hand under the other, and held the marble in the middle of his palm. Bai Qi tried to get the feeling of the fire coursing through him again, but this time a gentle stream coming to meet into the middle of his palm.
The bead started to be enveloped by a thin layer of a red glow. However, the bead didn't react to the glow in any way.
"Hmmm. Maybe …"
Bai Qi tried to direct the glow to enter the bead. "Nothing's happening. Perhaps a combination of the two?"
The bead still remained the same, with no visible reaction to Bai Qi's attempts.
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"Elements resonate with each other, so instead of focusing on the bead, try to send a strand of your element and feel for the resonance."
"The resonance … strand of my element, I'm already doing that," Bai Qi contemplated. "But what did it mean by telling me to feel for the resonance? The bead doesn't react at all."
After a few minutes of sitting in silence, Bai Qi got startled. "Maybe, it's not a physical resonance."
He tried once again, enveloping the bead in a warm layer, while trying to push the strands of fire into the bead. This time however, he closed his eyes, and visualized the bead in his mind, and the fire essence integrating into the bead. The glow around the bead dimmed a bit. Bai Qi focused a bit more, imagining the elemental essence going in waves into the bead. After a minute, the bead in his hand started to warm up, the fire essence that he sent in waves came back out, only this time amplified.
"Success!" Bai Qi grinned. The waves of fire essence that emanated from the bead was just a bit stronger than the essence, as if the bead was communicating with him, sending his message back.
"I wonder what'll happen if I try to use earth essence with this."
Bai Qi sat up straight and closed his eyes. He focused the grounded feeling from the earth element into the bead. After a minute, he was able to condense earth essence as dust and gravel started to appear around the bead. He focused the feeling into the bead, and waited for an echo.
After a few minutes, the echo still didn't come, and probably wasn't going to.
"Well, that was worth a try," Bai Qi said as he placed the fire bead into one of the baskets. He placed that basket to his left and placed the second small basket to his right. The large basket was in front of him and he placed the third basket next to the large one.
"Time for the next one, I guess. I'll test fire first, then earth, and it's neither if there's no resonance at all." Bai Qi looked over at the large basket filled to the brim with beads. "This is going to take forever."
He picked up the next bead, and focused. After a minute, "Fire." He placed it in the first basket.
Next one. Two minutes later, "Earth." This one he put in the basket to his right.
Two minutes later, "Earth"
Bai Qi entered a sort of trance from the utter boredom this training was putting him through. "How many beads are there even," Bai Qi complained as he kept going.
After 4 hours, Bai Qi had only gotten through around 100 beads. Suddenly, the space behind him started to ripple. Feeling the waves from the rippling space, Bai Qi turned around, and saw a wooden table appear out of thin air.
"Why'd this appear here?"
As he said that, the space on top of the table started to ripple as well. One by one, dishes of food appeared.
"Oh. Lunch time already."
"Let's see what we have here"
"A bowl of water, some bread, wheat by the looks of it. A meat soup, maybe chicken? And what's this brown thing?" Bai Qi poked at the light brown mass at the center of the table. The mass jiggled at his touch. "Some sort of jelly? Never seen this before." Bai Qi paused for a moment. "Well I don't know if I've seen this before."
"A bowl of water to wash my hands, I guess, and a glass of this blue liquid."
Bai Qi sniffed the glass, and felt his stomach lurch. "Oh that smells disgusting, am I supposed to drink that?"
A small ripple on the table appeared, and a piece of paper along with a few utensils appeared.
"Lunch, eat and drink everything here," Bai Qi read. "Guess that answers that."
Bai Qi washed his hands and started to eat. The meat soup was surprisingly good, the meat was tender, but didn't fall apart easily, the soup was fragrant and well spiced. The jelly was very sweet, though the glass with the unknown liquid he had to drink was very bitter. By eating a spoonful of jelly, and taking a sip from the glass, Bai Qi was able to stomach the juice that he was given.
After a few minutes, Bai Qi used the remaining bread to mop up the rest of the soup that was left. "Finally done."
He washed his hands until they were clean, then dried them. The plates in front of him rippled away, though the table remained.
"Back to the beads I guess."
Another 4 hours later, another hundred beads done, before food once again appeared. Dinner this time was fish, rice, vegetables, and that same glass of blue juice.
The sky had gradually dimmed at this point, gradually getting darker. A lamp appeared on the table to allow Bai QI to see his food.
The space around the table started to ripple, and a simple cot appeared. There was a set of clothes, nightwear, pillows, and some sheets.
After eating the lamp turned off on it's own, and Bai Qi climbed on his bed to sleep.
Each bead resonance drained a bit of his energy, though Bai Qi hadn't noticed himself slowly getting tired. It wasn't until he pulled the sheets over him and knocked out that he realized that he was exhausted.
Bai Qi woke up in the morning, or what he presumed was morning as the sky slowly lightened up.
Bai Qi yawned as he stretched his hands over his head. The night had gone by quickly and he felt very refreshed, though he lost his sense of time in the meanwhile.
He rolled off the bed, walking back to the basket of beads. "This is gonna take forever. I got through maybe a bit over a hundred yesterday, but there's a few thousand left.
As he rummaged his hands through the beads, he couldn't help but think back to the dream he had.
"You there? Or still sleeping?"
Empty silence in a space devoid of any other people, with a table, a bed, and a baskets of beads.
Bai Qi couldn't help but sigh.
He started to sort the beads again, and after an hour or so, the table shimmered, bringing breakfast.
This time it was noodles, with some dumplings on the side. There was egg fried rice and a glass of that same juice.
After eating, Bai Qi went back to sorting, the boredom driving him crazy. There was nothing else to do, so Bai Qi continued to diligently sort the marbles.
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