Chapter 23: The Top Martial Disciple
Feng Jun stumbled over the edge of the ring, and with much difficulty managed to steady himself. Just as he was about to speak, blood gushed out from his mouth and his whole body dropped to the ground with a loud ‘thud’.
“Jun Er! You guys quickly take him to the treatment room at the back!” a figure ordered as he immediately dashed to Feng Jun and stuffed a pill into his mouth. He seemed to be burning in a frenzy of rage as he gave his orders.
This man, who was checking up on Feng Jun’s condition, was Leng Feng Chan.
The other Tian Lu Martial Disciples were at a loss concerning what they were to do since they were confused by events that had just unfolded in front of them. It wasn’t until they were given orders that they came to themselves and hurriedly went to look after Feng Jun. However, the others were still frozen with fear.
As compared to his Seven Cuts in One Breath of the ‘Thirteen Series of Gale Force Blade’, Shi Mu’s accomplished level in ‘Stone-Breaking’ Fists had shocked them even more dreadfully, making their hair rise in fear.
After all, reaching the level of Seven Cuts in One Breath in the ‘Thirteen Series of Gale Force Blade’ could only be counted as a small accomplishment.
There are four levels of accomplishment, or stages, in every technique, i.e. beginner, intermediate, advanced, and consummate. Generally, a person would need two to three months before it can be said that he knows how to use the skill. This would be the point when he would be considered to be at the beginner stage. To reach the intermediate stage, one has to be skilled at using the technique. Most people take a year or two on average to reach the intermediate stage.
The advanced stage can take much longer to reach, and some people have been known to take over a decade to reach the advanced stage. The final stage, i.e. the consummate stage of any particular skill, takes an even longer time. A few of the less talented Martial Disciples may even spend their entire lives practicing without even coming close to it.
This amount of time only applies to the ‘Martial Disciple level’ techniques. Hou Tian techniques would require more time and energy to be invested. Consequently, some Hou Tian Warriors are only able to reach a low level of accomplishment in their Hou Tian techniques. Li Cang Hai is an example of such an occurrence. He knew that he had no hope of reaching the consummate level in his Hou Tian techniques; therefore he had decided to devote his life to practising the ‘Gale Force Blade’ and the ‘Stone-Breaking’ Fist. Even then, he was only able to reach the advanced level after ten years of hard training, which was far from consummation in either of the techniques. But still, his skills ensured that he ranked top among the four clubs’ instructors.
Shi Mu had managed to reach the advanced stage in two techniques at such an early age, that too without inspiring his real Qi. No one could be indifferent to such an occurrence, unless they were entirely ignorant about martial arts since this implied that Shi Mu was a genius among geniuses.
Li Cang Hai’s face displayed an array of emotions, making it seem like he was trying hard to control himself. Then he said with a light cough, “Well, I think we may be mistaken in assuming this. My student Shi Mu has probably not reached the advanced stage in the Stone-Breaking Fist. It simply has to do with the fact that he is born with enormous strength, which makes it look like that he has the power of the advanced stage.”
“Exactly! If he had reached the advanced stage in the ‘Stone-Breaking’ Fists, his hands should have been fair and crystal-clear. Moreover, each punch should have made a metallic sound,” the red-faced instructor was suddenly enlightened by Li Cang Hai’s explanation.
“Indeed. If he can really reach the advanced stage in the ‘Stone-Breaking’ Fist before the age of twenty, he would be nothing short of a genius capable of stirring the whole city.”
“But even if that is so, the lad is born with enormous brute strength. That should not be overlooked. As long as he keeps training, he’ll easily defeat any one from the Martial Disciple level. Besides, he’s still very young. Moreover, if he manages to acquire Qi-sensing and somehow enters the Kai Yuan Martial Arts School, he might even have a chance of becoming one of their top disciples someday.”
This conversation between Li Cang Hai and the red-faced instructor enlightened their counterparts as well, and they immediately started discussing the matter. Meanwhile, a few people were still casting admiring glances at Shi Mu, as if he was a legendary figure who only existed in one’s imagination.
“So now that Shi Mu has won again, is there anyone who wants to challenge him? If not, the Liu Feng club will be the champion in this year’s competition,” the officer said as he ascended to the ring again, looking at Shi Mu with increasing warmth and admiration as he pronounced the result.
A dead silence followed below the ring after the announcement.
Zhong Dong, the one with the Body of Solid Earth, threw a malicious look at Shi Mu from the Fei Hong club’s direction. Just as he was about to move forward, he was stopped again by the long-bearded elder. He pressed his hand against the boy’s shoulder disapprovingly, making it impossible for Zhong Dong to move even an inch.
The elder man muttered in his ear, “Even if you use all your skills, his advanced stage ‘Stone-Breaking’ Fist will probably defeat you. It is only a competition; it is not worthwhile to offend a promising warrior.”
The thin, dark boy’s revealed a look of reluctance upon hearing this.
Within half a day, the news that Liu Feng club had won the competition and Shi Mu had claimed the title of the new ‘Top Martial Disciple’ had spread across the whole city. Big families, as well as some less powerful sects began to gather information about the competition and Shi Mu.
“So Shi Mu is now the ‘Top Martial Disciple’?” Shi Yu Huan said as she gaped at the note her family had received in Aunt Zhen’s manor. She was full of suspicion, whereas Aunt Zhen was deep in thought.
*Inside the Jin Family’s manor.*
A middle-aged man was reprimanding a young man, whose face was similar to the man’s, but looked like that of a horse.
“Tian Er, I heard that you are now trying to challenge Shi Mu with the help of some of your cousins. Stop your attempts right now! Your grandfather has personally given me this order. You are to follow it even if you don’t wish to. After all, Shi Mu didn’t win the match by sleeping away the competition.”
The young man, Jin Tian, reluctantly obeyed his father, though he was full of resentment.
In the Wu Family manor, the three Wu brothers also got together to discuss the matter.
The military officer who had acted as the referee in the competition was the Feng City’s Sherriff. Inside his manor, he was reporting something to an elderly man, dressed in glamorous clothes, who seemed to be full of reverence.
In a secret room of the Jin Gang club, a conversation was taking place.
“Tian Hao, be honest with me. Have you inspired your blood?” Uncle Xu asked anxiously.
“Uncle, you’ve asked me the same question a hundred times, and my answer remains the same. I am unclear about the matter myself. I just felt a burning sensation in my body when I used the Blazing Spear that day, so I naturally controlled the flame,” Wang Tian Hao said, rolling his eyes. He was looking down at a certain spear art book with blue covers.
“Ha ha, that’s it! That is the reason why your father had sent you here to learn the ‘Blazing Spear’ art. Your spear art is a stimulant to your blood, so much so that it can quicken your progress to becoming a blood warrior,” Uncle Xu said, overjoyed at the news.
“This means that I’m not a genius at all. The only reason why I am able to use Hou Tian techniques when I’m still a Martial Disciple is because I have my ancestor’s blood,” Wang Tian Hao’s face dropped when he heard Uncle Xu’s remark.
“My foolish nephew, the fact that you are able to inspire your blood already proves that you are a real genius. The Wang Family may be famous for its blood warriors, but throughout the clan, among hundreds of our people, including our ancestors, only three or four have inspired their blood! And you are the first in your generation. Can’t you see the genius in that? From tomorrow onwards, I will personally teach you the most difficult skills of the ‘Blazing Spear’ art. Then, you will definitely be able to defeat everyone in the enrolment test to Kai Yuan Martial Arts School,” Uncle Xu answered, grinning from ear to ear.
“So, I will be able to defeat Shi Mu if I can learn the more difficult parts?” Wang Tian Hao asked, still a little unconvinced.
“Ha ha. Unless Shi Mu also turns out to be a blood warrior, you can definitely beat him then,” Uncle Xu replied with a hearty smile.
“How can you say that he isn’t a blood warrior when he has such brute strength?” Wang Tian Hao asked abruptly as he blinked his eyes.
“Well…” Uncle Xu’s laughter stopped.
“This is exactly what I’m curious to know.”
Just then, a third voice was heard in the secret room.