"It's 2 in the morning."
Nik groaned loudly. Not a single shred of his 'teacher' charisma remained on his face. His hair was disheveled, his eyes could barely open and there was still the dried out mark of the trail of his saliva from the corner of his lips to his chin.
"Besides the point."
Shen Xiu spoke with a dispassionate tone. Her eyes groaned in an equal amount of protest as Nik's did while the slight darkening of the region under her eyes marred her pretty face slightly.
"I need you to train me," She continued. Even hailing from such a noble family, the number of etiquette classes still failed to improve her social interactions, "You will be well remunerated, of course."
It was at this point, Nik understood the implication behind her words and his eyes finally opened up slightly. Amus.e.m.e.nt flashed within his gaze as Nik inquired, "In other words, you wish to be my student?"
Shen Xiu nodded in a heartbeat. Nik's strength was something she longed for. She couldn't care less about the political interests of the three high noble families and her elder brother's conspiracy in regards to arranging her marriage. She needed to find answers to certain events. Events that could easily spiral out of the strength of her own being. To grasp the issue by its neck, she thirsted for Nik's strength. His was the style that seemed the most pleasing to her eyes.
"What was your spirit rank again?"
Nik inquired for confirmation's sake.
"I am a rank 26 Spirit Grandmaster. Why?"
Shen Xiu inquired with a look of confusion.
"It's nothing. I think I can train you... but wouldn't that come in between your cultivation?"
The spirit masters were divided from rank 1 to the fabled rank 100. Every ten ranks marked a breakthrough. Rank 1-10 were Spirit Trainees. The capacity of their spirit energy wasn't enough to accommodate a spirit ring. Du Ze, Shen Yue and even Ye Ziyun were all spirit trainees. While Ye Ziyun had long since reached the requirements of absorbing the spirit rings, the laws of the city restricted her from absorbing one until she graduated from the apprentice class with flying colors.
Rank 10-20, however, could hold a spirit ring. In fact, absorbing a spirit ring of a decently aged spirit beast was one of the requirements to breakthrough into each ten-rank realm. Shen Xiu was already a Rank 26 Spirit Grandmaster. Her admittance to Nik's guidance instantly allowed her into Nik's pool of students he had to guide while nurturing them into a peak rank-30 spirit Grandmaster.
Hearing Nik's inquiry, Shen Xiu's lips curled up mockingly.
"My daily diet holds an average of a hundred-years spirit beast while many ten-years spirit herbs. My cultivation won't stop rising even if I wish it to. Now, teach me your techniques."
Nik frowned and then took a step back before inviting Shen Xiu in, "Let's talk about my remuneration first."
Shen Xiu nodded and entered Nik's room. Unlike her daily clothes, Shen Xiu wore a slightly loose pair of robe-pants. It was more of a sweatshirt and pants than anything else. Her hair was worn in loose braids that made it easier for her to train.
"This is quite small if one considers that you are from the Gin Family," Shen Xiu remarked as she measured the edges of the room with a condescending gaze.
"Beggars can't be choosers. I left that family in pursuit of martial arts. This space is my current accomplishment," Nik then gazed Shen Xiu's back and smiled, "Your remuneration will be my future one. And your achievement will be my greatest accomplishment."
Shen Xiu turned on her heels and matched Nik's gaze. He was an interesting one. At least, more interesting than the youths from the Snow Wind Family and the Divine family who wanted an 'in' into her body and the estate she held within the Sacred Family. Although she might be a socially disrespectful, living with her conniving sibling, she had long grown cautious.
"I will pay you with a ten thousand demon spirit coins every month and you will be supplied with ten kilograms of hundred-years spirit beast meat daily.
Is that enough?"
Shen Xiu impudently sat on Nik's bed and crossed her leg, an action that would have exposed her butt if she wore her usual thigh-split qipao.
"Of course, not."
Nik shrugged and leaned back on the wall. His words made Shen Xiu frown as she increased his salary once again.
"Get a hint already," Nik sighed and ruffled his hair in annoyance, "I don't want your money. I can just rob one of the mobsters running amok within these parts of the city."
Nik's unruly words made Shen Xiu flinched as she inquired, "You want a higher quality of spirit beasts?"
"And the world calls men dense social animals. Get a hint, will you? I want you."
Nik smiled and winked at Shen Xiu, "Over the past four days, I have spent a better part of my day with you. Needless to say, I like spending my time with you"
"Do you think it is that simple?" Shen Xiu cut Nik in between and spat coldly, "I have earned a lot of estate over the years. Now that I am at an age more than enough to place me in the books of men looking for marriage, do you think you have the chance"
"This is what I am talking about!"
Nik grinned happily. Money, he loved it. No doubt about it. But pursuing a woman was never based on monetary reasons for Nik. He was a being that craved carnal desires. Shen Xiu's very essence seemed to ignite something within Nik every time he saw her.
"You are presuming that I want to get richer, but in fact, I only intend to bring you to my social status voluntarily."
Nik's words stunned Shen Xiu as he continued, "I want neither your money or the spirit beasts. My compensation is the fact that I am the only man who is capable of boasting that you were in my room past midnight."
Nik's mocking smile and the implications behind such boasts made Shen Xiu's eyes widen in rage and disbelief.
To her surprise, she found Nik already in front of her. His rather large physique covering her's while his thick index fell on her lips. It was rough and warm.
"Hush, now. Do you want to wake up the entire dorm and create a misunderstanding that would incite public mocking?"
Nik smiled and took a step back.
"I will train you. Keep your money to yourself. Keep other forms of compensation to yourself. And get out. I will come out in a few minutes. I need to freshen up and if you are still outside, I will understand that the entire city is really mistaken about who the real Shen Xiu is."
"And the entire city is officially mistaken!"
Nik proclaimed softly as he walked out of his room and matched Shen Xiu's gaze. His words instantly pulled an uncharacteristically annoyed look from Shen Xiu before she turned around and made her way down the stairs. Nik followed her down until they reached the left training field. It was pretty dark outside and it would have been quite hard for the ordinary citizens to view the surroundings if it hadn't been for the lamps erected on the edges of the pavement.
Nik and Shen Xiu soon reached the grounds where Nik instructed her on the entirety of the basic technique. In fact, he performed the routine fluently and slowly without pausing so that Shen Xiu could observe the entirety of the technique. It took around 20 minutes this time around and Shen Xiu fell on her knees in five minutes' time as she felt short on oxygen while she took deep and continuous breaths.
"What *haah* kind of *huff* technique is this?"
Shen Xiu inquired. Her body has been continuously nourished by potent spiritual energy since her birth but even then, her physique seemed to fall short when compared to Nik's. It was absolutely shocking!
Honestly, Nik did not feel that much surprised. Since he had gained the affinity with the spirit energy, he let the soothing energy flood his body. His current pool of energy placed him in between the spiritual rank of 19 or 20. But much to his surprise, even when he deemed the spirit energy of higher quality, the Hamon energy from the previous travel had exponential reinforcement effects to the body. That is to say, the higher quality spirit energy still couldn't cover the benefits of lower quality specialized Hamon energy.
"This is a good technique. That's the only thing you should know. Your muscles will feel sore momentarily, so you should lie down."
"And muddy my clothes and hair? No thanks."
Shen Xiu scoffed as Nik sighed and crouched next to her. During his break, Nik had already fused another two of his skills with the use of his [Skill Palace].
He could manipulate the senses of his partners due to [Sense Manipulation] and could tweak the physical sensitivity of their body due to [Mirage's Touch], creating a skill that could manipulate the both of them. Since the two were innate skills, the fused skill turned out to be an innate one.
It allows the user to manipulate the senses and the sensitivity of the target. This skill requires quite a lot of practice and even the slightest slip up could endanger the life of the target. Higher the [VIT] of the target, lower the effects. Higher the [ENG] of the host, greater the effect.]
Nik utilized his technique and felt his mind connecting to Shen Xiu's. He could feel the physical 'strain' her body was feeling. Since he had already played with this technique, it did not take long for Nik to perceive the 'strain' as a sense of lethargy. Since Nik only had a rudimentary control over the technique, he had to follow the process and manipulate the senses of the target based on his own senses as the baseline. Nik reckoned that if his understanding of the skill grew greater, he could achieve the same effect with a snap.
Shen Xiu exclaimed as a sense of drowsiness struck her, making her elbows unable to support her torso, making her upper body dive down and hit the ground if not for the root cause of the incident extending his arm to catch her.
"There you go!"
Nik had enough experience in petting Nezuko that he could instantly pull the cross-legged position and position the back of the head of the target on his lap.
"What do you think you are doing?!"
Shen Xiu hissed as Nik thought internally,
"Taking advantage of you..."
Shen Xiu's eyes widened in disbelief! How can someone be so shameless?!
In fact, Nik was even more surprised.
"Did I just say that out loud?"
"Yes! Let me go, now! You pervert!"
With a sigh, Nik raised his palm and extended it towards Shen Xiu's face. Her face paled as a few scenes entered her mind involuntarily. She closed her eyes and turned her head away while she waited for the inevitable to happen. Instead, what she felt was a large hand soothingly stroking the top of her head.
"Like I said. If you try this technique further, your muscles will injure. You don't want to rush into this. Since you are older than the kids I taught yesterday, your muscles are more rigid.
Just enjoy the rest until you have the chance."
Nik's voice entered Shen Xiu's ears as her eyes snapped open and she turned her head back to match Nik's gaze. Her expression was filled with astonishment but Nik could only frown as he saw her.
"Why are you... crying?"
The next hour, Shen Xiu slept on Nik's lap soundly while Nik spread his pheromones to clear the scene. It was only after making sure that there wasn't anybody near them did Nik close his eyes and started to meditate on the [Tome of Battle]. Even though he had reached the heights in martial arts that would have been hard for him to achieve in such a short time, Nik understood from the contents that he had barely scratched the surface of the depths of the martial arts. Otherwise, the [Tome of Battle] wouldn't have been categorized as a masterpiece handwritten by the Supreme Seraphim and his loyal disciples.