Chapter 4 Gaps Filled

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The two siblings held hands as they walked back to their house of a little more than ten square meters.
Xiang Xiaoyu quickly brought Xiang Ning clean clothes and said, “Hurry up and get in the shower.” 

He nodded and took the clean clothes.
He entered the one to two square metered bathroom near the entrance and took a quick shower.
Soon, he walked out in just shorts, informing the reading Xiang Xiaoyu, “Xiaoyu, your turn.
I’ll make you stir-fried eggs with tomatoes, it’ll be ready just as you finish your shower.” 

Xiang Xiaoyu’s heart ached when she saw the scratches and green bruises on his body, tapping on the stool next to her.
“Come here.” 

Xiang Ning paused, then saw the antiseptic and cotton on the ground, understanding what she meant.
He smiled.
“It’s fine, I’ll do it myself.” 

“Sit here!” 

Seeing her stern look and her pouting face, he grunted and obediently sat, letting Xiang Xiaoyu gently rub his wounds. 

“Ning… does it hurt?” She was extremely gentle, afraid of hurting him. 

“It doesn’t, it tickles,” he said with a grin.
He wasn’t lying, probably because she was gentle or they had begun to heal.
Both were great, so he didn’t think much. 

They quickly finished, and she left for her shower after a few reminders. 

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Xiang Ning went to the stove to stir-fry some eggs with tomatoes.
They both lived in harmony; he was capable and she understood their hardships.
All Xiang Xiaoyu ever wanted was to eat stir-fried eggs with tomatoes, though it would be best if she also had a fried chicken drumstick. 

Although their small house wasn’t even twenty square meters, the two siblings had lived there for eight years.
It was all from an idea Xiang Ning had gotten from an advertisement he’d seen in the city.
It was an old, dilapidated little house but it had been refurbished into a vintage-style house where Xiang Xiaoyu had the entire upper floor to herself.
It was a perfect house for the two of them. 

Xiang Xiaoyu, fresh out of the shower, walked out of the bathroom in only a shirt.
Xiang Ning tossed her skintight soft armor over.
“Put this on, you’re in lower secondary now.” 

Taking the armor, she retaliated, “It’s uncomfortable and tight.” As she spoke, she looked down at her small chest, frowning. 

Xiang Ning didn’t know what to say to that. 

After dinner, he gathered the dishes and Xiang Xiaoyu washed them.
She then excitedly sat next to Xiang Ning.
Due to limited space, they only had one study desk and a few stools. 

Xiang Ning was currently reading a book at the table, a habit he had picked up.
Luck wasn’t the only factor that helped him get on the list for a good school, he was very well-read as well. 

“Ning, school starts tomorrow, you’ll go with me, won’t you?” Xiang Xiaoyu’s semester started a little later than Xiang Ning’s, because she was in the lower secondary form of Qiling High School. 

Both siblings had stellar academic results at school.
She thought she would study where Xiang Ning had previously done his lower secondary, but would he ever let her do that? Of course not.
He saved up enough for almost two years’ worth of fees to send her to a good school. 

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He didn’t want her living standards to be any worse than her classmates, and no matter how hard life became, he never wanted to burden her, either.
Although he only had two sets of clothing, he would buy Xiang Xiaoyu new clothes.
Despite her complaints, he was never willing to buy himself clothes. 

“Of course! You’ll dress up for school tomorrow, and I’m sure you will do well.” Xiang Ning lovingly smiled while she gave him a sweet grin. 

“Xiang Ning, you sound old.” 

He ruffled her hair.
“That’s my wish for you.” 

“Alright, I’ll leave you to your book.” Giggling, she ran upstairs to the world that belonged only to her.
Lying on her large, clean bed, she pulled the covers over her face and muttered, “He needs to treat himself better.…” 

At ten o’clock, Xiang Ning rubbed his tired eyes and put down his book.
There was no light upstairs; Xiang Xiaoyu must be asleep.
He quickly turned off his light too, afraid that it might keep her awake. 

He sat on his bed and began his nightly two-hour meditation session.
In lower secondary, he had utilized basic breathing techniques and took three years to achieve Physical Tempering stage four.
However, he had strangely advanced to stage six after being beaten up earlier.
That surprised him, and he wondered if the system still worked. 

No matter what, he needed to cultivate first.
Muttering the mantras of the advanced breathing techniques, he felt wafts of spiritual qi being absorbed into his body.
It was five times quicker than beginner techniques! 

He felt refreshed by the nourishing spiritual qi, his body slowly strengthening.
However, when he started to deepen his technique, the familiar texts appeared once more. 

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Scanning complete: User is learning a skill. 

Scanning complete: Advanced Breathing Techniques (obscure skill) 

Scanning complete: Gaps detected in cultivation. 

Scanning complete: User too weak.
Establishing out-of-protocol procedure.
Gaps will be filled now.

Gaps filled.

Xiang Ning stared at the floating text in confusion.
What? What does it all mean? Are the advanced breathing techniques obscure? It’s fine if you detected gaps, but what do you mean they’ve been filled? 

His mind raced, though he was still excited.
His techniques seemed to have been strengthened.
That was because when he read the ‘Gaps filled’ text, he felt his chanting change.
The spiritual qi now worked differently.
Initially, only his muscles were being nourished but now even his internal organs were increasing in strength.
He didn’t feel lacking in spiritual qi, either, even though he was absorbing two to three times faster—now more than ten times more than when he was at the beginner level.
What was this? Xiang Ning had no idea. 

Level: Physical Tempering Stage 6 (0/100) +4

+3

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+4

In barely ten minutes, Xiang Ning had broken through to the seventh stage! 

Level: Physical Tempering Stage 7 (0/500) 

“Hey? Wasn’t it a hundred just now? Why’s it five hundred now?” After some thought, Xiang Ning let it go.
He wasn’t too greedy, and such quick advancement was already an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. 

Xiang Ning felt himself growing stronger with every step, his heart beating strong and stable.
After more than an hour, he advanced from the seventh to the eighth stage.
Although more time had passed, one must ask—who in this world could advance from the fourth to the eighth stage in a day? 

Level: Physical Tempering Stage 8 (0/1000) 

Xiang Ning wasn’t displeased by the figure; on the contrary, he instead felt that it was natural.
His advancement had slowed down and the numbers only increased by units of +1.
They appeared slower, too, unlike the stream of numbers he had previously seen.
His eyes sprang open and he checked the time—it was already a quarter past midnight.
He had meditated longer than usual.
Usually, he slept right when the clock turned twelve. 

He yawned.
He wasn’t like characters from novels, who felt energized after a night of meditation.
On the contrary, cultivators spent a lot of mental energy cultivating, so sleep was essential for recovery. 

Before falling asleep, he tried asking a question in his mind but didn’t get an answer.
That was only what he had expected anyway.
Perhaps the system would only truly activate at a certain cultivation level.
He wanted to know how he had received it, too, but had no information to start with.
However, it had been a pleasant experience so far.
Xiang Ning decided not to worry—it was a good thing, after all. 

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