The two hundred young disciples rushed in, only to discover rows and rows of shelves of martial arts.
"How do they have so much?"
"Where do I start.?"
Some just began picking the introduction of one book after another starting from the closest one to find that most impressive looking martial art.
Others looked for elders that could guide them through the immense choices.
Some already had a martial art in mind because their major had recommended a couple.
As for Han Lingyun, he went for the section of movement type martial arts. To his dismay, that didn't limit his choice that much, with still hundreds of possibilities. 'Thankfully, this place is less crowded. I might as well start reading those I still have a lot of time.'
White Crane Art –part 1 Body strengthening.
Helps you run with great fluidity. Increases endurance when running by a factor of 2.
'Well that one is quite underwhelming, I am pursuing speed in priority here and this one doesn't seem to help. I still wish we could read how to use the martial art and not just have access to the intro. It seems this martial art can also be improved at the qi condensation level, which could save time to gain proficiency. Too bad it doesn't suit me well.'
Ground Falcon martial art.
You are faster than anyone else at your level when running. No one can keep up with you. You also gain superior reflexes and heightened senses to a small extent. Enhancement is permanent.
Condition: Wind affinity.
For a brief moment Han Lingyun felt ecstatic. That was until he saw the condition: wind affinity. 'Ugh that's frustrating, it seemed to be a good option. Well, that's okay, I don't have a wind affinity, there is no point in regretting this one. Up to the next. I still have a ton of martial arts to choose from.
Taunting martial art.
Small bursts of speed times 10. Frequent uses drain endurance. Leg muscles permanent gain in performance. Excellent to taunt opponents and anger them. In general, burst of speed cannot be maintained, making you vulnerable to large area attacks.
Han Lingyun stared in disbelief at this one.
'Taunting? Excellent to anger opponents? What is this?'
He moved on to the next one as he tried to imagine the cultivator who came up with this martial art.
Pouncing Cheetah martial art –part 1 Body strengthening.
Can suddenly pounce on opponent from an immobile position. 100m dash speed times 3. Loss of 70% of endurance after dash.
'I will keep that one in mind, it's not exactly what I was looking for though. But a cheetah might not mesh well amidst tigers. And the downside of a 100m seems too steep. Never mind let's move on.'
The Fleeing Antilope martial art.
Run faster than your predators. Perfect to avoid to fight. Small reflex enhancement. Downside: you become slightly more cowardly.
Han Lingyun grimaced. 'What even is this one again? It seemed normal at first. The one who came up with this martial art also seems to discourage anyone from learning it. Anyway, I'll keep this one at the back of my head. The change in temperament feels very undesirable for a 1st martial art though. Also, it looks like those authors enjoy using common animals to name those martial arts.'
White Sword Footwork –part 1 Body strengthening.
Never lose balance when swinging your sword, avoid strikes, exhaust your enemy faster. When running, gain in agility, better avoid obstacles.
'Hum an interesting one, oh it's a series, I'll have to ask an elder about this one.'
White Saber Footwork –part 1 Body strengthening.
White Knife Footwork –part 1 Body strengthening.
White Lance Footwork –part 1 Body strengthening.
Swallow martial art.
Become as light as a swallow. Greater agility. Increased running speed and dodging capabilities. Downside: decrease in strength.
Raging bull martial art.
Increased speed by 50% in a straight line. Short dash, attack with twice as much strength. Can only dash in the direction you are facing.
Blackbird martial art –part 1 Body strengthening.
A shadow that avoids every strike, that comes and goes as it pleases. Great increase in agility and overall speed. Slight increase in endurance.
Additional ability: stealth at night and in dark environments.
Level: Very Hard, Elite.
'This one has everything and more, I just need to decide if a very hard martial art is worth picking as a 1st martial art. I must remember that my priority is still cultivation speed.'
Tiger Footwork martial art –part 1 Body strengthening.
Increased agility. Permanent enhancement of reflexes (medium).
100m sprint speed times 2. Loss of 40% of endurance after sprint.
Additional abilities: Can leap to 8 meters. Can instill fear into weak minded or weaker opponents. Can be paired with Tiger Claw and Tiger strengthening to form the Young Tiger martial art.
'That… hum is definitely one of my picks. It's a bit more rounded than the cheetah, the endurance loss is less severe, and it's not too hard to learn. The permanent enhancement is nice too. And of course, there is the complete pack of the Young Tiger, what did I expect from the school? Okay that's about it for the martial arts. Most of them are truly lackluster in their usefulness, others have great effects but terrible downsides. I think that 3 stand out: the White weapon, Blackbird, and Tiger Footwork martial arts. I'll have to get the opinion of an elder on that one.'
Han Lingyun left the isle to search for an elder. Well, it wasn't a long search as they were positioned at each end of a row.
"Han Lingyun has seen the Elder." he bowed.
"What is your question, disciple Lingyun?
"I wish to have your advice elder, I have a 4th grade aptitude, looking for a movement art that could dodge and give more speed. But I also want to prioritize cultivation. Here are my 3 picks." Han Lingyun tried to explain his situation to his best while still being succinct.
The elder looked at Han Lingyun's selection. "Hum, let me see. Oh, by the way, there is no need to present yourself further, the elders have read and memorized the files on all of you. If you already use a weapon, a White weapon Footwork is best for combat."
"I have never used a sword or anything." Han Lingyun confirmed.
"Yes, but you will have classes about it this year. However, it still isn't a suitable choice for your 1st martial art. First you will also learn basic footwork for every weapon, and second if you find that you truly love a specific weapon, you will learn a better martial art later on."
"That leaves the blackbird and the Tiger footwork. The tiger footwork is heavily oriented towards attack, you pounce or catch up to your prey with a 100m dash. It is best paired up with the rest of the series of martial arts and well suited for the majority of disciples. However, I feel like it doesn't mesh well with your temperament disciple Lingyun. Tiger arts are inherently ferocious and focus on attack." The elder warned.
Han Lingyun was hesitant. "Indeed, explained like this, it doesn't suit me too well. But that leaves only…"
The elder finished his sentence. "The blackbird art. What is it? Are you scared about the Very Hard rating?"
Han Lingyun took a moment to organize his thoughts. "It's that I don't wish to lose too much time on a martial art that is hard to master and which I might eventually discard as I grow stronger. I want to focus most of my time on cultivation."
The elder looked back disapprovingly. "Disciple Lingyun."
"Yes?" Han Lingyun looked up.
"You are not the average disciple, your comprehension speed should be way faster than normal with your excellent memory, logic and abstraction capacity. It should be one of the fastest I have ever seen for a new disciple to be precise." The elder reassured.
"Really?" Han Lingyun became hopeful.
"Yes, so stop underestimating yourself. I tell you that for now you have a major flaw or otherwise your rank would be 3rd: you lack a strong Dao heart. A Dao heart is one of the most important aspects of cultivation, it's your drive, it's what makes you persevere in suffering, what makes you continue to cultivate hard even as you reach new heights. Let me tell you out of 1000 cultivators, on average less than 1 reaches the Core formation realm! The stats are a little higher at the school but not that much. Do you understand? Being a genius, having strange means, none of all this is enough to make progress after a certain stage. Only the more obstinate succeed."
Han Lingyun's eyes narrowed: "I understand elder, I'll do my best a try pushing myself more and more."
"Good. Ah, to come back to the blackbird martial art, you might have noticed that it was only part 1. Well, this martial art is a good first step for assassin type cultivators. But don't worry, you don't need to follow that direction if that doesn't suit you."
Han Lingyun was comforted in his choice. "Indeed, I'm not too sure about taking an assassin path. Anyway, the first level of the martial art suits me well. Elder, my sincere thanks for the advice and for rectifying my martial heart."
"Very well, I hope you keep that in mind. You can call me Elder Wu by the way. No need to stay, I have other disciples to give advice to." Elder Wu pointed at another disciple waiting behind Han Lingyun.
Han Lingyun headed for the library's entrance with eyes full of determination, no longer showing any doubts.
Another elder was posted at the entry, repeating the same thing and doing the same actions over and over again as the disciples were leaving the library one at a time.
"Here is your blackbird martial art. And here is your copy of the body tempering cultivation method manual. This manual is universal, you will find the same in all the important sects. It has been perfected by thousands of generations of martial artists; with cultivations you cannot even imagine. So, I recommend that you don't try your own method. And finally, here is your grey robe. Tomorrow will be your first class; you must be there at 8. Finally, you should read your two books and try to learn their content but it isn't recommended to start cultivating before tomorrow, where you will be supervised by cultivators that know what they are doing. That's all."
It was time for some reading. Han Lingyun was trembling with excitement at the notion of uncovering the method to cultivate.