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To my surprise, by the time the next day came about, the alchemy laboratory had been completely repaired.

How…?

There was no sign of the damage that had been wrecked upon the alchemy laboratory the day before. The building stood proudly, as if nothing had ever occurred. There weren’t even any traces of destruction on the grounds outside the laboratory, as if everything that had transpired yesterday was a dream.

Did they seriously repair everything in just one night?

I shuddered at the possibility. True enough, I could detect a huge aura of qi that permeated the entire building, which had not been there previously. Whatever had happened, I knew for sure that someone used a qi technique to restore everything.

Can you really repair stuff with qi techniques?

Evidently qi wasn’t just for martial arts or enhancing one’s body. It was practically some kind of magic that could be used for anything. This nothing short of incredible, and at the same time terrifying. Wouldn’t that make cultivators godlike?

Would they launch an investigation to find out who wrecked the alchemy lab?

That thought unnerved me. even though I was certain that the three seniors weren’t stupid enough to spill the beans – particularly when it would get their sect into trouble – the very fact that cultivators were capable of such magical feats exposed the possibility that they could very easily dig out the truth of what happened here yesterday if they wanted to. For now, I hadn’t been called up to the principal’s office and asked to explain, so I was safe for now. But I knew that illusion of safety wouldn’t last forever.

“Hey, Fei Wu!”

Tong Xue waved at me when he passed by, only to stop when he caught me staring at the alchemy lab in amazement.

“What’s the matter? What happened to the alchemy lab?”

“Nothing.”

I shook my head and then resumed my journey toward the classroom. Tong Xue gave the alchemy lab one last glance before following me, a puzzled look on his face. Given how the intelligence guy in my class didn’t know anything about yesterday’s incident, it was safe to say that nobody knew about it either.

Or the higher-ups didn’t want to expose the information to the public.

“Oh? Really?”

Tong Xue sounded skeptical. I forced a smile.

“Nah, I was just wondering what we’ll be doing for alchemy class today. Will we ever get to concocting spirit pills or forging spiritual armaments?”

“Heh…so you’re planning on going down the support route rather than the combat route?” Tong Xue looked thoughtful as he nodded. “That makes sense. A One Star Constitution practitioner would have a better time staying back and supporting the higher Stars Constitution practitioners. You don’t need as much qi and power for support skills, but you’ll remain incredibly valuable and indispensable to the martial industry.”

I knew Tong Xue didn’t mean anything by it, but it still hurt whenever I was reminded of my complete lack of talent and my One Star Constitution.

“That said, neither an alchemist or weapon smith are easy vocations. You still need superlative skills, unyielding determination, and remarkable talents to be either of those. In some way, they’re even more difficult than the direct combat route.”

“I know. But it can’t hurt to try, right?”

Even as I said that, I actually had no intention of going down either of those routes. Both Zhu Jiao and I had resolved to become the strongest martial artists in Martial Academy, lack of talent or One Star Constitution be screwed.

While we continued toward class, a conversation between several of the senior students heading toward the second-year building caught my attention.

“Did you hear?”

“Hmm? About what?”

“The Iron Mountain Sect! Three of their main disciples were injured yesterday!”

“Heh…what happened? Did they just return from a high-rank mission?”

“No, they didn’t go out for any mission at all! I heard they challenged one of the seniors and ended up getting beaten up pretty badly!”

“Ah! I heard about that too! Apparently the senior was a fire-using martial artist!”

I gaped at the group of second-year girls as we passed by them, not believing what I was hearing. So the trio of seniors from the Iron Mountain Sect did get found out, after all. But funnily enough, nothing was mentioned about me, the Heaven and Earth Sect or the explosion in the alchemy lab. Rather, the incident seemed to have evolved into something else altogether…

“How do you know?”

“Didn’t you hear what sort of state they were in yesterday, when they limped back to the dorm? My boyfriend saw them, he says they were severely burned.”

“Ah! I heard from a friend who was in the infirmary yesterday. Yes, Teacher Yi Liao was treating them for third and second degree burns. Especially Tie Shan, he was suffering from many third degree burns all over his body!”

“That must be one vicious fire user!”

“But Tie Shan and the others from the Iron Mountain Sect are pretty skilled, you know? Even though they’re not as strong as the disciples from the major sects, their strength is at least mid-tier. I wonder who could have beaten them up so badly…”

“Do you think it was Feng Tian Xia from the Red Phoenix Sect?”

“Maybe Huo Xiong from the Nine-tailed Fox Sect?”

“Can’t be…I just saw Senior Huo Xiong yesterday…”

“Then maybe someone from the high school section?”

“Impossible! The high school seniors never come to the middle school area!”

I stifled a cough and turned away, half in relief. Evidently it seemed that nobody found out that I was the real culprit. That was great. As long as I kept mum and continued keeping a low profile, I wouldn’t have to worry about people coming after me.

“Heh…interesting…”

Tong Xue had perked up when he overheard the rumors. Stroking his chin, he mused quietly to himself.

“I should find out more about this.”

“Why?” I blurted out, almost too forcefully. “It’s not as if it’s any of our businesses.”

“You’ll never know,” Tong Xue replied flippantly. “Having more information is better than having less. And this sounds like an interesting case!”

I groaned inwardly, but it would seem suspicious if I protested any further. Inwardly, I prayed that Tong Xue never found out the truth.

As we neared class, I caught sight of Zhu Jiao.

“Hey, Zhu Jiao!”

“Ah, Fei Wu! Tong Xue!”

Zhu Jiao stopped and waved to us, waiting for us to catch up before he resumed his steps toward our classroom.

“Oh…looks like you’ve powered up?”

Tong Xue paused as he studied Zhu Jiao. The latter laughed sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his head.

“You can tell?”

“Yeah. Your aura is more potent than yesterday.”

Even I could see a distinct difference in the qi that Zhu Jiao was emanating. It was several times stronger than the presence he exuded yesterday. I couldn’t believe there was such a marked difference produced within just one day. His qi was more…how do I put it, fiery. It felt a little warm just standing next to him, and I could almost see the red tinge in the air shimmering about his body. There was also a tremendous increase in his yang qi.

“Ha ha, yeah. I broke through to the second level of the Red Jade Swordsmanship yesterday. I didn’t think that it would produce this much difference.”

“Heh…congratulations!”

Unlike Zhu Jiao’s Red Jade Swordsmanship, there weren’t any levels or whatever for the Shadow Steps, so there was no difference in my qi no matter how much progress I made. Nonetheless, I was still pleased for my friend. The two of us had been through quite a lot together over the past three months, surviving hardship after hardship.

“Hmm…only the second level, huh? As expected of a One Star Constitution cultivator. Your pace is so slow!”

The three of us whirled around, only to spot Qi Fu Ren and his two cronies strolling forward. Speak of the devil – one of the major hardships that had plagued us throughout these three months had chosen that exact moment to show up.

“I’ve already broken through the fourth level of White Tiger Claws,” Qi Fu Ren sneered. Raising his hand, he coalesced the silver qi into triple shimmering claws that rippled in the building light. “I should demonstrate for you.”

“No need to…” I began, but it was futile. Qi Fu Ren slashed with his qi tiger claws, taking Zhu Jiao by surprise. Despite bringing up both his arms to block on reflex, blood spurted and Zhu Jiao was hurtled into the wall with such force that the concrete cracked.

“Gah!”

“Hey!” I yelled at Qi Fu Ren, livid. “Don’t you think you’re going too far?”

“Shut up, trash. Know your place.”

I managed to dodge the almost casual flick of sharpened qi that Qi Fu Ren threw in my direction. The sharp tiger claws ripped into the wall, tearing the plaster from concrete. Jumping back, I avoided the next three attacks.

“Stop dodging!” Qi Fu Ren snarled. I almost rolled my eyes at that.

“What, and let you hit me? Are you stupid?”

“You’ll pay for that!”

Somehow I doubted that. Even though Qi Fu Ren was clearly tougher and stronger, I was faster because of all the running I did and the Shadow Steps I practiced. If I focused all my attention on developing my footwork, speed and agility, it was possible that there would be no one in my generation able to catch me…

Unfortunately, I didn’t account for Qi Fu Ren’s two cronies.

Hu Shuo came from the side, distracting me for a second. Silver qi shrouded his palm as he punched at me, but I dodged that, only to jump above a leg that Ba Dao tried to hook under me to trip me up. Spinning around, I kicked Ba Dao in the face, knocking him over, before slamming my elbow into Hu Shuo’s midriff.

Hu Shuo doubled over, but he had fulfilled his role. Hu Shuo and Ba Dao’s attacks had served to distract me momentarily – only for a second. But a second was all Qi Fu Ren needed.

“!”

I just barely dodged under the sharpened Tiger Claws that Qi Fu Ren slashed toward my face, but too late I realized that the Tiger Claws from his right hand weren’t his real attack. His left hand had curled into a fist, which crackled thunderously with lightning, and he slammed it into my midriff before I could retreat.

“Gaaaah!”

An explosion of electricity, and I fell onto the floor, twitching as my body went numb. Losing control of my limbs, I helplessly flailed on the ground as devastating lightning coursed through my body and burned my flesh.

“Heh. Finally.”

Qi Fu Ren stomped on my face and leaned over triumphantly, shifting more of his weight onto my head.

Damn it…I managed to beat three seniors with strategy yesterday, but now I had fallen to a single bully? Granted, I had gotten a little cocky, and there were also three opponents this time, but I still couldn’t help but feel frustrated. On the other hand, it did feel as if Qi Fu Ren had surpassed the three seniors from the Iron Mountain Sect.

It was likelier that Qi Fu Ren’s specific set of skills happened to counter mine just as my speed and agility countered the slow but powerful techniques of the Iron Mountain Sect disciples. While it was easy for me to dance circles around the extremely strong and durable Iron Mountain Sect disciples, the White Tiger Sect was known for their speed. That superior speed, combined with their ferocity and sheer firepower that bordered on animalistic violence, was a direct counter to my speed techniques, given how I was less talented and physically inclined than someone like Qi Fu Ren.

Damn it!

“You really ought to behave like the bug you are.”

“Get your foot off him…” Zhu Jiao grunted, only for Hu Shuo to punch him in the gut, causing him to drop to his knees. A gleeful Ba Dao then pulled his head back by the hair, rendering him helpless despite his struggles.

On the other hand, Tong Xue was made conspicuous by his absence. The guy had run away at the first sign of trouble. Not that I could blame him. Few people in the first years were able to stand up to Qi Fu Ren in a direct fight. There was nothing Tong Xue could accomplish other than being beaten up along with me and Zhu Jiao.

Ugh…

I clenched my fists as the pressure from Qi Fu Ren’s foot grew. This was the sort of hardship Zhu Jiao and I had to face everyday, being looked down upon and bullied by bastards such as Qi Fu Ren and his underlings. The other more talented students such as Li Chun Long also treated us with contempt while Du Lang treated us with indifference – meaning that he wouldn’t step in to help us even when we were in trouble. But as long as we didn’t offend or provoke him, he wouldn’t bother us either, which was why I was on relatively good terms with him.

“What’s going on here?”

Teacher Jiao’s voice cut across the corridor. Instantly the pressure on my head ceased and Qi Fu Ren backed away. His cronies took a bit longer to digest what was going on, then they dropped Zhu Jiao like a hot potato and took shelter behind their leader.

“Nothing, Teacher Jiao. Just…a bit of sparring.”

“No fighting on school grounds without approval.” Teacher Jiao fixed Qi Fu Ren sternly with a glare. “You know the rules, Qi Fu Ren.”

“Yes, yes.”

Qi Fu Ren waved the reprimand away, but didn’t argue. Even though he was the second-favorite in the White Tiger Sect, he still had to respect the school rules of Wu Ling Academy. Even one of the four major sects couldn’t cover for their disciples if they blatantly flouted and broke the rules of Wu Ling Academy.

“Are you two all right?”

Qing Xin Xia was rushing over and conjuring green qi into her hands. Within moments, she knelt by Zhu Jiao’s side and healed his injuries. Once she was done with Zhu Jiao, who stirred and got up, she tended to me.

“Thanks!” Zhu Jiao told her, looking at himself in awe. The wounds he had sustained during the fight with Qi Fu Ren and friends had vanished without a trace. He tilted his arm, as if trying to find any sign of them. “You’re amazing! Is this martial arts too?”

Qing Xin Xia blushed at the praise. “Uh, yes. This is the healing techniques of the Green Dragon Sect. as our elemental affinity is wood, we practice regenerative martial arts techniques and healing arts. I’m still not very good at it…”

“Nonsense! This is amazing! You’ve completely healed me!”

“Thanks.” I exhaled in relief as I sat up. The pain was slowly fading away, and Qing Xin Xia’s qi effused me in a gentle green glow. As Zhu Jiao remarked, this was nothing short of amazing. In a few seconds I couldn’t even tell that I had been in a fight.

“No problem…I’m glad you two are all right.”

I wasn’t stupid, and I recognized the gaze Qing Xin Xia was sending Zhu Jiao. It was clear that she held some sort of affection for him. As expected of the protagonist, all the pretty girls around him were falling in love with him.

“Xin Xia, let’s go.”

Xiang Xun Yi stepped in to gently pull her away. She cast a worried glance in Qi Fu Ren’s direction. Evidently she knew the consequences of getting on Qi Fu Ren’s bad side, and she was worried for her friend.

“Yes, but…”

Xiang Xun Yi wasn’t paying attention to Qing Xin Xia’s protests. She turned to us and swallowed.

“Take care of yourselves, you too,” she told us. At least she was not a complete bitch about it.

“Are you two all right?”

Teacher Jiao approached us, concerned. Tong Xue also showed up, now that the fight was over. In fact, I had an inkling that Tong Xue had slipped away in order to inform a teacher that Qi Fu Ren was up to no good.

“Yeah. Thank you.” I nodded both my thanks to Teacher Jiao and Tong Xue.

“…”

“Zhu Jiao?”

Everyone turned to Zhu Jiao when he remained silent. The spiky-haired protagonist wasn’t paying any attention to us, and was instead staring at the end of the corridor.

“?”

I wasn’t sure what he was staring at, and followed the direction of his gaze. Then I understood.

Bai Ning Xue was standing there, a cold expression on her beautiful face. She was locking eyes with Zhu Jiao, those sapphire orbs unreadable and void of emotion. It wasn’t as if she was staring at Zhu Jiao in contempt or pity…but more of indecision. Like she knew that there was nothing she could do or say that wouldn’t make Zhu Jiao feel worse, and therefore she was stuck keeping her distance and staring at him, not knowing how to proceed.

“Damn it.”

Zhu Jiao lowered his head and punched the floor. I could almost hear him seething, what second level of Red Jade Swordsmanship. In the end, I was still unable to do anything against Qi Fu Ren, wasn’t I?! Then he rose to his feet.

“Sorry…I am all right. Let’s go to class or we’ll be late.”

Without looking at any of us properly, Zhu Jiao stalked off.

I was at a loss at what to say, but I knew how frustrated Zhu Jiao must be feeling right now. To show such a vulnerable and pathetic side of himself toward a girl who he had been in love with since they were little children…

He must be cursing his powerlessness from the bottom of his heart right now. I knew that sentiment very well, because I was feeling the same way. But for Zhu Jiao, that terrible sensation was multiplied several times over because the girl he had a crush on since childhood had witnessed his helplessness.

“Ouch…he must really be hurting,” Tong Xue remarked as we watched Zhu Jiao disappear into the classroom.

*

There wasn’t much else I could do for Zhu Jiao, so I respectfully and tactfully kept my distance. Hell, I couldn’t even take care of myself, so I honestly was in no position to worry about others. I was just as weak and powerless as he was.

Well, that’s why we’re training. To remedy that.

As usual, once school ended, I resumed my training regimen and began doing my hundred pushups and hundred sit-ups. And by now I could probably lengthen my running to seventeen kilometers. My goal was to hit twenty by the end of this week.

“Huff…huff…”

The moment I passed the seventeen kilometer mark, the number clearly showing itself the moment my shoe took that final step to clear the distance, I paused to catch my breath. Leaning over, I wiped the perspiration off my face and closed my eyes. I stayed in that posture for a bit longer, allowing my body to recover.

“…?”

Pushing my glasses up, I turned around and noticed that there were a few figures shadowing me. They were doing their best to hide behind trees and make themselves look as inconspicuous as possible, but honestly…calling them amateurs would be too bloody kind.

I turned around and glared at them. They quickly shifted or crouched down, seeking cover behind trees or underneath shrubs, but their silhouettes stuck out like sore thumbs. I rubbed my head and sighed.

“Seniors, I can see you, you know.”

“…”

The group that was tailing me exchanged glances and finally emerged. The next thing I knew, the lot of them were surrounding me.

Fast!

I almost didn’t notice their movements. One moment they were still hiding around like monkeys, and the next they had already formed a ring around me.

“Who are you guys?”

Even as I asked that question, I could already guess the answer. Just like Tie Shan, Luan Fa and Mohawk from the day before, they were seniors from the middle school section. They were dressed in the same Wu Ling Academy uniform as I was, which was distinct from the high school seniors’ uniforms.

One of them stepped forward in an intimidating manner, towering over me. He glared at me with his dark eyes.

The one who stepped forward, a tall, lanky fella, narrowed his eyes in a condescending manner. I met his gaze evenly, not backing down.

“We are the Dark Shadow Sect.”

“Hello, seniors from the Dark Shadow Sect.” That explained their pathetic attempts at being ninjas. I tried not to let sarcasm ooze out of my polite greeting. “Nice to meet you. Is there anything I can help you with?”

“You can start by handing over the Heaven and Earth techniques.”

I groaned. Not this shit again.

“I don’t have the Heaven and Earth techniques.”

“Don’t lie!” the leader snarled as he bore down on me. “We know you defeated three schoolmates from the Iron Mountain Sect yesterday! And we have received indisputable information that you have met with the Absolute One!”

“Oh?” I pushed my glasses up as my voice took on a dangerous tone. “So did those three from the Iron Mountain Sect tell you all that?”

“Of course not. Why would they tell us anything? But we have a vast information network! Don’t underestimate our intelligence!”

Actually, there was a higher chance of me overestimating their intelligence than underestimating them, given how utterly stupid of them. As an aside, it meant I didn’t have to hunt down the trio from yesterday and punish them for spreading stuff about me.

“If your intelligence is even partially competent, then they should have confirmed that I didn’t inherit any Heaven and Earth techniques from any master. I’m just an ordinary One Star Constitution student.”

“Don’t lie! There’s no way the Absolute One wouldn’t teach you when you saved his life! There’s no way he wouldn’t have left a successor behind! He must have given you something!”

“The golden dragon medallion. According to our spies, you showed the golden dragon medallion to our schoolmates from the Iron Mountain Sect to prove that you’re the new leader of the Heaven and Earth Sect yesterday.”

One of the other Dark Shadow Sect members spoke up. I couldn’t help but stare at him, my jaw dropping.

How the fuck did the incident yesterday get distorted into such a weird scenario? I only showed them that to prove that the golden medallion was the only thing I received from the old man, not to establish my claim to the leadership of the Heaven and Earth Sect!

“Yeah!” another senior shouted as he drew a weapon. It was a short dagger with green qi swirling around it. “Hand over the techniques immediately! Since you’re the new leader of the Heaven and Earth Sect, you must possess the Heaven and Earth Formula!”

“I don’t have any Heaven and Earth Formula or whatever you’re talking about.” I raised both my hands to show my Shadow Steps manual. “All I have is the Shadow Steps manual. Perhaps you would like to learn that instead? It’s only a level 1 technique, so you can borrow a copy from the library.”

“Shut up! There’s no use pretending! Our intelligence network has already confirmed that you’re the new leader of the Heaven and Earth Sect!”

Someone needed to fire those guys operating in the Dark Shadow Sect’s intelligence network and hire people who were actually intelligent.

“Besides, how else did you defeat the three big experts of the Iron Mountain Sect if you don’t know the Heaven and Earth techniques?”

With other techniques? Did your stupid spies not tell you that? On the bright side, it seemed that none of them knew that I used the methane that was leaking from the broken Bunsen burners inside the alchemy lab to blow up the Iron Mountain trio. Perhaps I could use that to my advantage.

“Now hand it over, or we’ll kill you!” the leader snarled, producing a sword. I watched the obsidian blade warily, noticing the creepy purple qi that wreathed it. I so did not want to get cut by that thing. Most likely it was poison, but I didn’t know enough of martial arts and qi color-coding to be sure.

Still, I couldn’t help but snort at the guy’s threat.

“If you kill me, how do you expect me to hand over the techniques?”

“…”

The members of the Dark Shadow Sect stared at each other, not knowing how to reply. Like I said, they were complete amateurs.

“We’ll cut off your hand then,” the leader sneered. “And cripple your cultivation.”

Did this guy think I was stupid? Then all the more reason I had not to give whatever techniques they thought I had to them. Those threats…I knew for sure that they would still cripple me or kill me after robbing me of my techniques, because they obviously wanted to monopolize the Heaven and Earth techniques or they would be afraid of me mastering those at a later date, and would want to neutralize the threat before it materialized.

There was another thing that also occurred to me and I smiled as an idea formed in my head.

“Let me get this straight. You think that I possess the ultimate techniques that I inherited directly from the strongest martial artist in history…and your plan is to threaten me so that I can hand them over?”

I shrugged and shook my head with a smirk.

“Good luck.”

The Dark Shadow Sect members were now apprehensive and nervous. They were exchanging glances and taking several steps back, unsure of what to do. A few of them actually looked afraid, no doubt bolstered by the rumors that I defeated the trio from the Iron Mountain Sect yesterday. Looked like encountering those three seniors did have its uses.

“D…don’t falter!” the leader shouted as he brandished his sword. “According to our information, he only met the Absolute One about three months ago! It’s too short of a time period for him to have any real mastery of the Heaven and Earth techniques! He’s most vulnerable and at his weakest right now! We can overpower him!”

So we did have a smart guy here after all. No wonder he was the leader.

Not that it wasn’t going to help me much, though. The other members of the Dark Shadow Sect were being rallied when they realized that their leader had a point. They were being a bit bolder now, drawing their weapons and stepping forward.

Seemed like I needed to up the ante.

Flopping down on the ground, I sat in a peaceful, relaxed manner and beckoned for them to come at me.

“If you think so, you’re welcome to test me out. Since you want to see the Heaven and Earth techniques so badly, I might as well show them to you.”

Everyone froze. As for me, I could feel cold perspiration dripping down my back. This was a huge gamble – of course I didn’t know anything about any Heaven and Earth techniques, but it seemed that these idiots didn’t know for sure. So if I kept up the pretense, I might just be able to bluff my way out. Besides, they refused to believe that I didn’t possess the techniques, so I might as well play the role of the Heaven and Earth successor and pretend that I had learned some ultimate technique that could kill them in one strike.

“That’s…”

“…no way…”

“…be careful,” one of the Dark Shadow Sect members warned, gulping. “I can hardly feel any qi from him…he must have mastered the ability to conceal his qi almost completely.”

No, the only reason why you could barely feel any qi from me was because I didn’t learn any proper qi techniques at all. Despite trying to learn Shadow Steps over the past three months, all I accomplish was strengthening my physical constitution and improving my stamina and fitness tremendously, but I made little progress in terms of accumulating qi.

Not that they needed to know that.

“What are you all waiting for?!” the leader roared. “He’s just one guy! And he has only learned the Heaven and Earth techniques for a month at most! There’s so many of us! We should be able to take him down!”

“Seems like you’re the leader,” I spoke up before the guy could convince his subordinates to attack.

“So what if I am?”

Good. This guy was clearly the brains of the outfit. If that was the case, the situation was easier for me to handle. Cut off the head, and the rest of the body would die along with it.

“Then why aren’t you leading by example? Are you trying to sacrifice your men and get them to die for you so that you alone can reap the benefits later?”

The other members began to step away, staring at the leader. Expressions of suspicion flashed across their faces. I couldn’t help but chuckle inwardly. I had succeeded in sowing seeds of discord and distrust in this shadowy group of ninja wannabes. The leader might have noticed that, for he flushed and pointed his sword at me.

“Don’t talk nonsense!”

“Then prove it.”

“Huh?!”

I beckoned him with my right hand.

“If you really think you can beat me, then go for it. Why rely on your…pawns to do the dirty work? Good leaders lead by example, do they not? If you want your underlings to attack, then you should lead the charge. Otherwise who’s going to be stupid enough to risk their lives for someone cowardly enough to stand in the back to give such audacious orders?”

“Fucker!”

The leader snapped and charged, his sword swinging downward.

His blade never reached me.

Before his sword could cleave my skull in half, I suddenly lunged forward. The sword whistled past where I was sitting earlier, missing me by a hair’s breadth. Ignoring the close shave, I spun around and slammed my foot into his chest.

Shadow Kick, one of the kicking techniques in the Shadow Steps.

“Gah!”

The leader was sent hurtling backward, blood spurting from his mouth. He soared across the courtyard and slammed into a tree before sliding down helplessly, his sword clattering next to him.

“What…what just happened?”

“How?!”

“I…It was so fast, I couldn’t see anything!”

“I didn’t even see him move!”

The other members of the Dark Shadow Sect backed away, their eyes wide in fear.

To be honest, I wasn’t stronger than their leader. Actually, I was weaker. But as the description for Shadow Steps in the academy’s intranet accurately told me, with a well-timed kick aimed at the opponent’s vulnerable area when his guard was down, I would be able to defeat him even though he was superior to me.

Unfortunately, none of the Dark Shadow Sect members recognized the techniques of Shadow Step, so they believed that I was using Heaven and Earth Formula. I had no intention of correcting their misperception.

“So, seniors…” I smiled at the remaining seniors pleasantly. “Anyone else wants to try?”

Evidently not. The majority of the Dark Shadow Sect members had fled, shrieking or whimpering. A few had stayed behind to haul their wounded leader to his feet and ferry him out of here. I allowed them to.

“Phew…”

I breathed a sigh of relief and watched them disappear, glad that they didn’t call my bluff. Good thing my current opponents were all idiots, or I would have a much harder time dealing with them. They were clearly greater than me in terms of strength, and that wasn’t even taking their superior numbers into consideration. Rubbing my neck, I relaxed my muscles, which had gone all tense in the encounter, and exhaled.

“I really have to do something about this…I don’t want to deal with this shit everyday.”

Grumbling to myself, I shook my head and trudged home wearily while praying hard that I wouldn’t run into yet another group wanting to steal whatever Heaven and Earth techniques that I didn’t have.

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GeSiLa

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Bio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn-oj7Z1x9k

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