This volume reveals just a bit more about their powers. Nothing definitive, in my opinion, but it has brought a few things to mind. I was right about Li Fang’s inherited power! Although it isn’t precisely what I was thinking, but it’s close enough. Then there’s Na Sha, whose incantation invokes her mastery over cloth. Also, Feng Yu can create wind and Hu Lei uses indirect contact force to interact with things–breaking rocks and tearing up the earth (haha! earthbending), so the ability to manipulate air is not particular to Tuo Ren. Now that I have more to compare it to, I see that Tuo Ren’s power is related to light and dark. After defeating the plant that Youxia led them to, Tuo Ren said that he figured that the plant’s weakness was light. Also, his incantation mentions removing the evil (dark) and revealing the pure (light). Until I see more, I’m going to stick with this conjecture.
I can already see frustration ahead. This story is more than a decade old, nearly two, so I know I’m going to encounter a lot of intimate moments that would be nicely capped off with a kiss (or more), but it’s never going to happen. For all of their hugging, I didn’t feel this pang with Tuo Ren and Li Fang, but as soon as Hu Lei and Xiang Lin came on the scene, I looked ahead to moment after unfulfilled moment. Having Hu Lei wake up in the bed with Xiang Lin and then later comforting him after he struck the doctor, such a tease. But it’s fine; I already know that I’m going to enjoy the story to some degree and for the parts I don’t, I’m pretty sure they’ll have nothing to do with the vexingly light shounen-ai aspect of the story.