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Chapter 84: Heart Ability
Mencius was a lot more famous than the less known Hui Shi.
Mencius, the man who was given the t.i.tle Second Sage in the teaching of Confucius and Mencius was very famous even in modern times for his vast number of literary works, disciples, and depth of thought. Even a lousy student like Yue Qiang had heard of the great master of Confucianism, Mencius' taboo name. While the parable 'Slaughtered Pig For The Child As Promised' wasn't widespread, Yue Qiang did remember the expression 'Three Moves by Mencius' Mother' that was taught by teachers since kindergarten.
The focus of Ai Qian's story was that he had only taken one glance at child Mencius before his Heart ability level was increased!
This was the part Yue Qiang paid attention to the most.
The Heart ability. Its exact use was unknown, the universal method to obtain it was unknown, and the method to level it up was only cracked a little. It could basically considered unknown too. The one thing they did know about it was coincidence.
All sorts of coincidence.
On the surface, Mencius only needed to glance at the trader once to increase the trader's Heart ability. However, Qian's fear in between the lines of life and death, his struggle between morality and survival, and an extreme level of coincidence should've been factored as well.
If someone were to say that a normal skill could be leveled up through combat experience, and the upgraded version of the skill could be learned from a skillbook, then a Heart skill was the complete opposite in that a universal method to acquire a Heart skill could not be found at all. It was all luck.
Originally, Yue Qiang thought that he should not spend this much effort on figuring out a skill that didn't have any sort of explanation at all. However, from the information he learned up to this point, he began to feel more and more that Heart skill was the true foundation skill that decided one's strength.
Moreover, this strength did not refer to combat-related aspect alone.
"Do you know what's the relation between a Heart ability and strength?" Ai Qian used himself as an example, "The most direct reflection of this relation is that I'm rich now."
"Ever since my Heart ability has ascended to a new level, I've gotten rich."
"I was a worker under the butcher at the market, and in just a few months time I had become a small business proprietor myself. Another few months' time later, I had become a large business proprietor. Then, I became the richest man in town."
"On the surface, the reason I turned rich is because I'm miserly, I resort to petty tricks, and I know how to scheme. However, I know that is all false. It is thanks to that young boy's one glance that I am everything I am today. My Heart ability had increased after he cast a glance at me, that's all."
"When my Heart ability had climbed a level, I felt as if my entire being had attained some sort of enlightenment. When I do something, I would experience a kind of intuition… I do not need to think to know what I should do to achieve a certain goal. My code of conducts obeys the meaning represented by my Heart completely."
"I feel that everything I did is right. Everything I did is to obtain greater 'profit' and 'desire' for me, and this feeling where my choices are auto-selected is pretty great."
Yue Qiang could not quite understand Ai Qian in this regard.
He could imagine it if Yue Qiang were to say that the Heart affects one's combat strength. However, it felt a little far-fetched to tie the Heart and one's ability to do business; Ai Qian's fortune and his Heart skill together.
However, when he related this to Ai Qian's conducts and deeds, he suddenly felt that he understood what he meant a little:
Ai Qian's Heart skill was 'Greed Clouded Heart LVL 2'. Here, 'profit' and 'desire' were a part of them.
When Yue Qiang first met Ai Qian at Yue Village, he remembered clearly that he was a person of very strong 'desire'. This 'desire' was so strong that he had chosen to consume a pill without hesitation even when he knew that it would only increase his libido at the cost of his Strength and Const.i.tution. This wasn't a choice that a normal person should be making at all!
Or rather, Ai Qian's Heart skill had made the choice for him!
Later on, even though Ai Qian knew very well that this cave contained an immeasurable amount of risks, he still decided to bring Yin and him along to this place in search for precious treasures. This was the maximum reflection of Ai Qian's pursuit of 'profit'. He was willing to use his own life as a bargaining chip in order to exchange for the greatest 'profit'.
This included the action where Ai Qian had burned his own hair in search for knife coins within the gaps of the coffin. Every action he made had adhered to his own intentions. His natural movements had made him appear a little crazy to the point where you could even call him a nut job.
However, one could not deny that his actions were in harmony with his thoughts too.
This was harmony in madness; harmony in abnormality.
It was the Heart ability that had tied this two things together in a strange fashion.
Was this what a Heart skill truly meant?
If this is the case then… Yue Qiang recalled all of the Heart skills he had seen up to this point inwardly. He recalled the village elder saying that, 'a Heart skill would imperceptibly influence the external expression of one's temperament'. For example, Gongshu Shaoyang's 'Heart of Artisan' gave her a meticulous and patient expression in norm. She was very skilled when she worked as a smith, but she looked a little like a carefree and pa.s.sionate dummy when treating people. Meanwhile, the blacksmith Tan Xiong's 'Heart of Mohist' made him rather irritable. The hunter Tu Xu was righteous, and the doctor Ming Que was cowardly…
His thoughts returned to the present. What about his own Pure Heart?
Literal wise, the skill 'Pure Heart' was almost impossible to decipher. He himself had not felt any improvement in term of his thoughts. Could it be that he didn't feel the changes brought by his Heart ability because he was outside the game?
When he thought up to this point, he looked at Ai Qian once more. The trader's gaze was trained on Yue Qiang's character as his eyes swept up and down. His eyes looked very sharp, and it made Yue Qiang recall his skill 'Keen Sight'.
"Your Heart ability… Your Heart ability is this?! Interesting, how very interesting!" Ai Qian wore an incredibly curious look on his face after he cast several careful glances at Yue Qiang.
"Most average people's Heart ability had a simple and common name. There are very few people only whose Heart ability had special t.i.tles. For example, both 'Heart of Mohist' and 'Heart of Artisan' were pretty common Heart abilities." Ai Qian said even as he continued to look at Yue Qiang curiously, "I've arrived in this world for many years, I have the Keen Sight skill. Although there aren't many people who possess an uncommon Heart ability to begin with, I have seen many kinds of Heart abilities over time."
"Among them, your Heart ability is the most special of them all!" Ai Qian suddenly pointed a finger at Yue Qiang and declared unhesitatingly, "I have only seen a Heart ability identical to yours once in my life here!"
A strange feeling rose from the bottom of Yue Qiang's heart.
He suddenly thought that the trader before him was a little mysterious.
He felt a little nervous.
To be frank, he hadn't thought highly of Ai Qian all this time. To begin with, this trader did not have any combat skills, and looked a little deranged. So far, he was a burden in this three man team, and he had fainted before he even touched the little wooden house's door. However, he had gradually revealed a bit of his unusualness after he talked about his long experience just now.
His story was especially unusual. Ultimately, everything he said could be concluded with one term:
Right now, Yue Qiang's primary mission was to survive the battle against Zhao Yan ten days later. Therefore, improving his own strength was his most urgent objective right now. He had long since thought that Heart ability was a very strange skill, and the more he listened to Ai Qian's long story, the more he felt the importance of Heart ability.
This was especially true since he had no idea what his Pure Heart was used for.
Now, he suddenly heard from Ai Qian that those who possessed a Heart ability was already very special, and his Heart ability was the most special type among these very special group of people.
He was long since prepared to hear that his Heart ability was the most special among all. After all, he had a feeling that this was a single player game since a long time ago. However, he was now suddenly told that someone shared the same Heart skill as him. This made him a little curious. He wanted to know who was the person who shared the same Heart ability as him.
"Do you want to know who had the same Heart ability as you do?" Ai Qian said, "You've seen this person before, actually."
I've seen him before? A big question mark flashed past Yue Qiang's mind.
"You've fought him once, and you've stolen things right beneath his eyes too."
"He is Zhao Yan. He is the Zhao State's Yan Campaign Great General."
"His Heart ability is the same as yours! His Heart ability is also Pure Heart!"
"The level of his Heart ability… is level 2!"