[I did not expect there to be so many limitations and restrictions.] Said solemnly Jasmine.
Sigh...I could only agree with her words. There were indeed limitations to our expectations. It seems like this world is not so simple.
We had been testing Jasmines theories and hypotheses all night. My expectations were completely crushed to smithereens. I couldn't increase the absorption of energy through the mirror, no matter how I tried. I tried to will the mirror to increase energy absorption, it didn't work. I tried to calm myself down and try to feel Yin power around me, to increase the absorption myself, it didn't work. It was a set pace, whether I wanted it to be or not. I didn't know if it was my fault at not following Jasmines instructions or it was the mirror. I had a feeling it was my fault. I knew the mirror would have conditions for increasing absorption of Yin energy, like it did with Yang energy, I just couldn't find those conditions.
I couldn't create an energy armour around my body. I willed the energy to coat my body, and that was possible. However, I couldn't materialize the energy into a physical form. I just didn't have to energy to do so at the moment. But that meant it was an option for the future, when I did have the energy to condense energy into a physical form around my body.
But I did figure out that the energy absorption increased every time my range increased! It was 20 meters in the 1st Houtian Profound Realm. It's now 25 meters in the 2nd Houtian Profound Realm!
Not to mention the 80 Profound Openings. Would these openings, which give countless benefits, magically open for Cesar? Of course not. He almost cried in his heart. They were all connected, and one had to follow a set pattern in opening them. It seems like he needed an extreme amount of energy to open each one, not to mention creating them. Energy seemed to be the bane of his existence. But he did not cower or lose hope, he knew energy wouldn't be a problem, all he needed was time.
What Cesar didn't know was that this world in-fact could only find 56 Profound Openings in males. If the information were to spread, that there were 80 Profound Openings in a males body, and 20 more could be created, heaven and earth desecrating pandemonium would ensue from the entire world. This piece of news would be equal to finding a Heavenly Desolate Master who could keep 100% of the Essence intact...
With defeat however, came success. I could combine Yin and Yang energy into Life energy. It has great healing properties and I could also use it on other people! Because I could control the energy, I could turn it into Life energy anytime I wanted to. This meant that any type of injury in the future could be healed, if given enough time! In this world where death and injury are frequent, I knew being able to heal myself and other people was very useful. The energy however, wasn't quite as potent as I wanted to be. I knew I had to gather better purity and quality Yang and Yin energy. The best way is when I could open at-least one of my meridians. They would purify the energy that came into my body, like a filter. Another was to absorb high quality Dan that contained pure Yang and Yin energy.
I could also coat my sword with Yang energy. This meant that my blade was now incredibly sharp! But the physical manifestation of Yang energy wasn't what I thought it would be. I thought it would be fire, or some type of flame. But it wasn't. Maybe it was the old man influencing my will over Yang energy but I could only make it into a solid, golden energy beam that would coat the edge of my blade. Even though it contained heat, it wasn't the level of fire. I could only coat the energy on the blade but not release it like the old man, not yet.
I knew the temperature and sharpness would increase the better quality Yang energy I put into it. This meant the strength of my blade would increase along with my Cultivation.
But most surprising of all, I could add pressure to my body by using the energy circulating in my blood. All I had to do was will it to restrict my body, and it would. Moving became much harder, and the pressure was even throughout my body. If I needed more pressure in a certain part of my body, I had to move energy there.
This process also increased the amount of energy my body absorbed. This gave me the double the benefit. It bettered my training, and increased the amount of energy my body would intake!
This meant that the strength I gained from Cultivating at night was enough. I had made progress. I knew more about how my mirror worked. I also knew I wouldn't become powerful in a short amount of time. There were limitations, restrictions and I needed to know them so I could become the strongest I possibly could.
I had gained insights from consuming the Relics or the Essence during the day, but I couldn't put them to use, not with my current power. It was the same with my knowledge from the previous world. I knew a lot, but I couldn't yet put it to use. I was just starting on my path of Cultivation, but I needed to advance my Cultivation.
There was only so much I could do in the Houtian Profound Realm. That didn't mean my Cultivation at night wasn't effective. I had improved my movements, if only a sliver. Also, Lily and I had trained for some of the night. She would point out my mistakes, I would fix them, over and over again. With the pressure added on Yang energy, I knew I was making great progress.
With my Yang energy, I would be able to fight more effectively. I could coat my blade, or even power certain parts of my body. If I needed to run, I could add more power in my legs and feet. If I needed to punch something harder, I could add more power in my arms and hands or even coat them with Yang energy, like I could with the blade. I would always keep this pressure on my body, unless my life was in danger.
Currently, my plan to increase my power was to absorb Dan, Essence, gain insights, and improve my body.
Because I was still in the Houtian Profound Realm, I still needed to sleep. It was also one of the joys I had from my previous world.
So in Lilys arms, I had dreamt 6 hours of the night away.
I woke up to Lily meditating. I knew she had to go hunt Ferocious Beasts on her level today. That meant Elite or King ranked Ferocious Beasts. Both of those types were dangerous. King ranked even more so because they had Elite and countless Ferocious Beasts within their grasp. If she fought one King ranked Ferocious Beast, that would mean many Elite ranked Ferocious Beasts and countless normal ones. Just as she cared and worried about me, I also did the same. I hadn't seen Lily hunt powerful monsters yet. I didn't want her getting injured or killed because the old man wanted her to have a serious fight. It wasn't worth the risk.
So looking at her with worry, I went over and pulled her into a hug.
“Morning love. I know you're going to hunt some strong beasts today, remember to be careful.” Was all I could say. She would have to fight anyways. It was a path for becoming stronger.
She smiled while she pulled me deeper into her. “Don't worry about me Cesar. Remember, you're going to be fighting many households today. Some might try to pull a power play or try to show off their prowess. You have to be careful. Remember, don't use your weapon, even if they want to. They will have wooden swords and spears they use for sparring, use those instead. Treat the matches as training that you do with me. Don't try to finish too quickly, even if the opponent is weaker than you. As you learn from them, they also learn from you. Also, hold back. You're stronger than you realize. Some of the stronger ones that are our age will be joining us in the Exhibit, make good connections with them.”
Even when she's going into danger, she's still more worried about me. Her words and care for me always warmed my heart more than she could ever imagine.
So in an caring, loving, worrying, light tone, I said “I'm not going to be the one in mortal danger Lily. You're going to be fighting death matches. Remember, King ranked Ferocious Beasts have countless followers, so go for Elite ranked Ferocious Beasts. If you want me to make some into Relics for you, remember to hide the bodies so I can make some for you later. Still being some over to the village so we can sell them.”
We already made some tidy profit from the kills we had yesterday. It seemed like the corpses the village got from the beast hoard weren't of high quality. Most of them had turned into paste by the time they got to them. But Ferocious Beast corpses were always in demand, especially ones that were clean kills and had minimal damage done to them like the ones we had yesterday.
With a loving look in her eyes, she she put her hands around my head and pulled me into a loving, deep kiss. I enjoyed her touch and lips as long as she let me. She pulled off of me and said “I will my love. I don't have to worry about Beasts of this level. But they will be nice for advancing my Cultivation and getting back in the groove in general. It's also time I spread my wings, so you don't soar higher than me. I don't know how long I can stay ahead of you Cesar, but I'll make sure I don't fall behind.”
With a laugh I said, “You'll be ahead of me for a long time, I'll make sure of it.”
So we departed and I went to the different households to challenge them. I wouldn't underestimate the humans of this world, but with the techniques I saw from the old man, I didn't have high expectations. There might be family heirlooms like weapons and good quality Cultivation techniques that could have some worth, but I didn't think they world be worth all that much. This village wasn't poor per-say, and I was sure that there were some people like the Imperial Family that had good treasures on them, but overall, I wasn't yet impressed. But with Lily's help from now on, by killing Elite ranked Ferocious beasts, the conditions will improve. Our reputation will also improve as we do more for the village.
Most of the wealth and treasures were in the hands of the few. I wanted to get my hands on them. I wasn't going to sell the Elite Ferocious Beasts corpses for gold, but higher level techniques, treasures, armour, weapons and the sort. They would be sold separately, and not with the normal Ferocious Beasts. If people started making a fuss for not selling them Elite beast corpses, than we didn't have to sell them anything. We also had the old man to control the fuss.
The first family I wanted to go to was the Flame family. I already had connections with them and they did invite me to join them if I wanted to spar. They also seemed to have a good reputation. I had my weapon on me just in-case, but I knew I wouldn't be using it unless it was an emergency. The people I was worried about were the ones with bad intentions. I knew everyone wanted their hands on the Ferocious Beast Corpses, but I knew Lily and I couldn't sell to everyone, we didn't have the amount. Some might hold grudges if we didn't sell to them.
So I ran to the Flame household. In about 5 minutes, I came upon multiple mansions. The Flame family owned a part of the town. They were quite wealthy because their family owned the Alchemist Association.
I saw their dojo and went close. There were a few people my age already training, but most were older. It was early morning, but they were already up and starting their day. They were swinging wooden swords, running, and the sort. As I got closer, people noticed me. They didn't seem hostile but just curious, and some women started panting, but only a few. I was glad these Cultivators had calmer minds. One of the older person teaching them noticed me, and made his way to me. He looked the same age as them but had a more powerful aura. I deemed him to be about 3rd Houtian Profound Realm, and about 30 years old.
With Jasmines help, she had showed me that ones age could be figured out, it was just harder. There were subtle differences like small wrinkles in the corner of the eyes, the roots of the hair, the quality of the skin, etc. The most important factor however, was a persons aura.
“Who are you and what do you want” He said straight forwardly. It was so straight forward that I almost laughed but held it in.
“General Calix sent me to challenge different households. My name is Cesar. He said I needed to know how to fight against people. Since I have connections with your family, I thought I would come and spar with someone powerful. I'm usually killing Ferocious Beasts so please take that into account.” Was what I said. I knew no one would hold a candle compared to Lily but she never tried to injure me, and always held back. I needed to be up against someone equal to my strength that I could really battle. I needed to get injured and put into a corner.
Just the thought of a battle got my blood pumping. Another mystery I needed to figure out was why the mirror was affected by my emotions. I knew I could make Yang energy stronger if I felt hot blooded and excited, but I didn't know the same conditions for Yin energy. The important part however, was that there were multiple conditions to different types of Yang energy.
He looked me over carefully and when the other students heard me, they did also.
He said “Grab a weapon. There's only one rule, don't kill anyone. Well, since your in our household, that's better for you. You will still get injured but I'll make sure they won't go overboard. Fighting humans is much different than fighting Ferocious beasts. You'll learn that through pain and suffering. Also, each household will ask for a fee or make a bet. You can pick anyone for your opponent, or someone will want to spar with you. If you want other conditions, like a team battle or something else, just let me know.”
A fee or a bet huh. No wonder they wouldn't make much fuss when I just came in and challenged them.
So I looked over the instructor and said “I want to spar with you. You're in the 3rd Houtian Profound Realm, so it'll be a tough fight. Since I'm the challenger, you can decide the bet.”
When he heard what I said, he looked sharply at me. “Nice perception kid. Since you want to injure yourself, I'll comply. It'll be 50 silver. Go grab a weapon.”
He grabbed a wooden sword and went to an open area. The other students stopped their training and looked like they were going to watch a show. One of them said “He's basically paying to get beaten. 50 Silver, my god, that's a lot. Instructor Lu already enjoys dishing out pain, I'm sure he made the high bet because he wanted to reach him a lesson.”
The others nodded to those words. They all knew instructor Lu liked showing people their place in the world, they all had experienced it, and grew to appreciate it.
An older person, who looked like an elder, was calmly sitting, drinking tea, and watching the training, said “Tsk. Tsk. You kids, don't you see how he's moving? Not a wasted movement and he has no openings. It'll be a good match between them. He's stronger than you lot. That old coot really found someone good. Lu, don't underestimate him. You need to give it your all, or your going to lose money and lose to someone more than half your age. Remember, the Flame family reputation is on the line.”
When everyone heard his voice, and understood what he said, they all turned serious, and some were even shocked at the elders words, especially instructor Lu. A person their age was as strong as their instructor? They didn't believe it. But it was their elder who told them, so it had to be true. Some, who were more prideful, doubted his words, but most listened and accepted his words, but still had shocked expressions on their faces.
From the energy within him, I knew the old man was at the peak of the 5th Houtian Profound Realm. What's with these clever old people. At least I knew I would get a good match now, with his warning. Instructor Lu wouldn't underestimate me, and will come at me seriously. I didn't care about losing 50 silver. The experience I would gain from the fight was worth it. Like the old man had said, I knew it would be a close match.
Even though this will be the first person I fight after Lily, I was still confident in the instructions that Lily gave.
Instructor Lu and I got to an open area and faced each other. We both took our stances and gazed at each other, looking for any openings.
With the delicate and perfect skin of Cesars hand, he held the wooden sword. With his chiseled jade like hands, the wooden sword didn't seem like it deserved to be in his hands. When he went into his sword stance, his aura changed. Cesar changed from an unassuming, calm child into a war god, ready to drown the world in blood. With fire in his deep eyes, and with his quick and precise movements, he shot towards instructor Lu. This was a probing move, to see how the opponent would react.
Instructor Lu calmly watched, waiting for Cesar to get closer. In his heart however, he was greatly surprised. The kid indeed had no openings! His movements were quick, graceful, and beautiful! Even his aura changed into one that caused fear in his heart. He lightly cursed inside because he knew that betting 50 silver wasn't the right choice. 50 silver was a huge amount, even for an instructor! He wanted to teach the brat a lesson to know when he should not provoke people more powerful than him, because the consequences can be severe! Powerful people were prideful, and if provoked by a brat, they might even kill him in spite and annoyance! But he now knew, that the kid choose his opponent correctly. If the students had fought him, they would have only lasted a few moments. The talk about killing Ferocious Beasts weren't child talk he realized, it was true! The brat bathed in blood! But he was an instructor, and knew that even if there were no openings, he would have to create them. So he waited for the attack, getting ready for a counter or a block.
Even though Cesar looked like a war god on the outside, he was an ancient ocean inside, without a ripple. His mind was completely calm, focusing on the battle. The sword in his hands, with precision, made movements, tells, showing his opponent where he would hit. But these were all faints. His move was simple. He tightened his arms, crouched, lowering his entire body, and casually slashed the instructors legs. The instructor was calm as water as he blocked the sword. But to his confusion, the sword had no weight or force behind it. Than he realized, and immediately ducked. But it was too late.
The lowering of the body wasn't to attack, but go gather power in his legs. Like unloading a spring, Cesar shot towards the instructor. He kicked the instructors abdomen with 30% his strength. He didn't want to injure the man, but make him take this fight seriously. But contrary to his expectations, the instructor flew 10 feet back while his feet were still on the ground. The instructors eyes started to twitch because he seemed to realize the blow he had taken was beyond his expectations.
What Cesar didn't realize that his body was ahead of his current cultivation and expectations. The changes that occurred from the Essence of the beast advanced and evolved his body beyond any of the training he had gone through. As the daughter of an unparalleled Heavenly Desolate Master, how could Lily not know what heaven shaking benefits Essence brought to the body. The reason she went to hunt strong Ferocious Beasts was not only for herself, or the village, but also for Cesar. Lily had realized just how strong his body already was, and was going to become, and that's why she told him to hold back. She knew, with sparring with him, just how quickly his body was advancing. She could restrict him, but that was because she a mountain, while he was a pebble. But he was a pebble that was a diamond, and when diamond meets another rock or metal, it would still outshine it. Lily didn't want him to go all out against people with people who he thought were similar in power, because she knew they wouldn't stand a chance. Not to mention, that Cesar was currently under immense pressure because the energy in his body was restricting him.
When Cesar realized it, he cursed the old man. He was wasting his time. He was against a 3rd Houtian Profound Realm practitioner, and while under restrictions of the energy in his body, and only using 30% of his energy, he was already winning. He could go all out against Lily and she would trounce him like a tiger, slapping him silly. Fighting against households, gaining experience against fighting with humans, what bullshit! He needed to keep his strength hidden, but against Ferocious Beasts? He didn't need to hide shit! But he quickly realized that he didn't need to hide all his strength, just the important secrets. He just needed to fight against stronger people. So if the 3rd Houtain Profound Realm wasn't enough, than he just needed to plow through to the 4th Houtain Profound Realm and challenge them instead.
He decided to stop wasting his time, and finish the fight. But what happened next was beyond his expectations. The wooden sword in the instructors hand started glowing red. From the crowd, Cesar heard “The family Yang Flame technique! Instructor Lu is finally serious!”
Cesars eyes focused. The sword was slightly glowing red. It was faint, and but he could feel the heat increasing. He smiled. Yang flame technique. It was possible to turn Yang energy into flames. He didn't know how, but he would learn. Flames were a multipurpose tool, one that a person needed.
So I waited, because I wanted to experience the full power of his technique. With the instructors eyes focused on me like a lion, he charged me. I was disappointed. His sword was wasn't even hot enough to boil water, not to mention flames. But with this move, I realized something. Did he use Yang energy to increase the movements of the molecules in the wood? Or just he just coat the energy around his sword? A mixture of both? But I felt like that wasn't it, like I was missing a crucial piece of a puzzle.
Not to mention, his movements still contained holes. There weren't a lot, but they were still there. His speed was also average.
His own Yang energy was hotter when he coated the edge of his blade, but he didn't do so here.
But Cesar still hadn't realized Jasmines words. The energy in his control was a closed system. Jasmine hadn't said those words lightly. Only later would be realize the importance of those words.
With his energy vision, he could tell the technique was guzzling energy like a first world nation. With the amount of energy that the instructor was consuming, it didn't have great results. He still couldn't see the process, but he could tell that it was a crude method, whatever it was.
At the last moment, he dodged right, escaping the swords trajectory. He took his sword and hit the instructors right ankle. The instructors leg flew to the air, and ended up falling on his back. Cesar just smiled as he put his wooden sword on the instructors neck. The match was over, and he wasn't satisfied. He calmly glanced to the elder, wanting to provoke him. So what if the 3rd Houtian Profound wasn't enough to challenge him. The 5th Profound Realm would, and the old geezer must have a lifetime of battle experience. Cesar wanted to be beaten, to learn, to become stronger through battle. He knew one could learn to become stronger, through the strong. He knew he would be filled with pain, but this would tempering himself. He needed to get used to pain, so in crucial moments, it doesn't distract him or be the death of him.
He looked back down at the beaten Instructor Lu, and said “Thanks for the match. I've been trained by someone much stronger than I am so I could see through your movements. You also held back, and it was why I won so easily.”
And he helped the instructor get back onto his feet. That was when he finally noticed the crowds reactions. They were looking wide eyed at him, with their mouths open, all of them. Seeing all the people having the same expression, Cesar laughed. The instructor made his way to the giant house, ignoring and not looking at anyone else.
The elder, that was sitting there, just nodded.
“Well done brat. Lu has been stuck on his cultivation and has lost his motivation for some time now. Maybe now, he'll start working hard again. It would have been a better battle if he went all out. I can tell your not satisfied with the battle, and held back quite a bit of strength.” He said.
He was right. But I didn't want to battle him either. I had Lily and General Calix, who were stronger. And I couldn't fight anyone to death, with everything on the line. This meant I had to choose the strongest person that I could to train with. Since Lily was out to battle, gaining strength, that left General Calix. I knew he also had his responsibilities, so he couldn't spend all his time training me. So this left me with the strong people like this elder.
So I said “I did withhold a bit of strength. So I would like to learn from you. It would be dishonourable to bet against an elder so I would be happy to pay a fee, just name your price.”
He seemed satisfied with me answer because he said “No need for a fee. Just return the 50 Silver that you won. Lu isn't poor, but that's a weeks wage for him. I need to get my morning exercise anyways, so I don't mind doing some pointers. The students will also learn.”
He made his way to the open space. He had grabbed a similar wooden sword but in his hands, it was a profound weapon. The elder held it casually, but it seemed to be a part of him.
I didn't underestimate this old man. I knew I didn't have to hold back against him. He'd crush me if he wanted to, but this was for learning, and the elder seemed like the type to teach. An elder would give pointers wouldn't he? This was to teach wasn't it? Not for this fucking old man, it wasn't.
One moment I'm looking at the old man, another I'm on the ground on my back with searing pain on my face. The elder slapped me across the face like a child. I was so focused on his sword that he didn't even see it. He moved so quick, that I couldn't even react. The old bastard didn't even hold back on the slap. It was like the sound of lightning in my ears. All I saw was a blur and the next moment, I flew back and spun multiple times until I hit the ground. Was he trying to humiliate me for defeating someone in his family? But he was calm and fucking nodding his head like I had done something good for him a moment ago.
Didn't he want to teach the students? Wasn't this suppose to be some exercise for the old man?
The fucker didn't even let me get up. All I got were loud slaps across my face. Left, right, left, right. Twak! Twak! Twak! Twak! Over and over again. I was once again bright red, and swollen like a tomato, but this time, I wasn't happy. The stinging pain in my face caused my eyes to water.
I had to get back at the old man. I knew I would get beat up, but I thought I would still learn something. But I realized, I wasn't going to learn shit. I wanted it to be sometimes worthy of my time, and maybe the old man could also teach the students. Did I piss off the old man? Did he finally go senile? I could only cry at my luck.
I tried to attack but I couldn't. I tried to move but I couldn't. That was when I noticed, I couldn't even feel my arms or legs. Did he dislocate and break them? But I didn't feel pain. I realized, he hit my fucking pressure points, causing my arms and legs to go numb. He was punishing me. Was this old man a sadist? I didn't even need to ask.
When my face was beaten red and blue, he moved onto the rest of my body. He used the sword to bruise each square inch of my body. It hurt. Each part of my body hurt. My bones rattled with each hit, I thought all of my bones were either broken or fractured.
He went through my body like he was tenderizing it to be cooked. He started out lightly hitting my body, both back and front. He followed a pattern of torture, over and over again. It was slow and methodical, like a psycho who liked having control over peoples lives, and wanted to let them know that he could take their lives away any time he wanted to. By the 3rd cycle, I knew I was bleeding, each part of my body was bleeding. I would die if the old man continued, but he did anyways, without a regard to my body. Each time, It was worse than the time before. I swore in my heart, that once I had the power, I would torture and kill the old man. From the looks of it however, I would most likely die before that happened.
It wasn't training. It wasn't a battle. It was a show of power. It was torture. I was internally and externally bleeding. The bones in my fingers, hand, arms, shoulders, ribs, and legs were either broken or fractured. I tried to spread Life energy throughout my body, but the old fuck would just continue, counteracting any healing that was done.
Why didn't the students stop him? Wasn't one of the rules that no one was allowed to kill? Was he going to spare an inch of my life, throwing me out in the streets to die, saying 'I left the kid alive, but he must have died later'. What fucking bullshit. I thought the Flame family was suppose to be one of the better families!
With insurmountable pain oozing throughout my body, I passed out, not knowing whether I would live, or die.
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- Author Of Stories
I'm a university student in Toronto. I've been seriously reading Xainxia since Ren started translating Coiling Dragon and now I'm a hopeless addict. I've loved the genre but always thought that an English, Philosophical, and Scientific element added onto Xianxia would make it amazing. So that's what I did. An A.I Is Such A Cheat In The Martial World is my take on the genre. A Dangerous New World is my other serious novel which takes a look at an Apocalypse world mixed with Gaming elements.
Thanks for reading my novels. Cheers.