Chapter 28: Astral Body of the Earth
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Jiang Yi’s expression turned icy: not at yet another request for him to marry into the Yi Clan, but at Yi Longyu’s mention of the Jiang Clan.
Jiang Yi mulled it over for a moment before comprehension dawned on him. As the strongest martial artist among the younger generations in the Yi Clan, he obviously would know a thing or two about the Jiang Clan’s martial art techniques. It would be easy for him to tell that the techniques Jiang Yi used belonged to the Jiang Clan.
After a moment of silence, Jiang Yi firmly turned him down. “I’m grateful for Young Master Yi’s kindness; but as someone of humble birth, I couldn’t possibly be a good match for Young Mistress Lingxue.”
Yi Longyu smiled at Jiang Yi’s words and headed outside without saying anything more. A few steps later, he turned around and chuckled. “You are definitely a strange brat. My Cloud-Spin Free Hand had actually seen some progress after a battle with you. Perhaps after a few more rounds, it would be reaching the phenomenal stage. Don’t worry… your secret is safe with me, but in return, you will have to spar a lot more frequently with the Yi Clan’s descendants. I hope you can give your all for every battle.”
His technique improved, too? The black essence force is so bizarre. But the thing is… the black essence force is within me; all I did was battle them. How could their technique improve? Bizarre indeed…
A martial artist’s comprehension of martial skills depended on their instincts and hard work. As long as one had competent instincts, any martial skill could attain the Phenomenal Stage; it was just a matter of time. If one didn’t have a minimum requirement of instincts, no matter how much hard work they put in, they would not be able to reach that certain proficiency level. Within this Technique Practicing Room, everyone’s essence forces were sealed and had to rely on the physical strength and martial skills to spar with their partner. The proficiency of the martial skills offered a great boost to one’s overall strength, but how could a few casual spars with Jiang Yi allow one’s martial skill to attain Phenomenal Stage?
What was the source of the problem?
Jiang Yi didn’t understand; even Manager Yang and Elder Fei who were seated in the secret room couldn’t either. The two of them had been paying attention to Jiang Yi’s spars for a long time. Through their eyes, they were still puzzled after much thought as to why Yi Lingxue could attain Phenomenal Stage in over ten martial skills.
“Elder Fei, can you see anything?”
Manager Yang had already watched that spars between Jiang Yi and Yi Lingxue twice but still had this puzzled expression. He had to seek assistance from this veteran who had extreme strength and authority within the Martial Arts Hall.
Elder Fei’s bread and brows were already white, even his hair was white as snow, but he had this ruddy complexion. He had this ‘classic white hair but with a child’s complexion’ appearance. He slightly shook his head and sighed. “I can’t get it either. I think only the Martial Arts Hall Master would have some clues. Hall Master is coming back in another two weeks time. I’m afraid that the Yi clansmen would constantly ask to spar with this kid. You record every single spar and wait for the Hall Master’s return.”
Manager Yang nodded his head and mentioned another matter, “Elder Fei, this kid’s cultivation speed is very fast. His current speed isn’t any inferior to those elite prodigies of the city. The weird thing was—if this kid had always been this fast, why would his cultivation stage be this low? I remembered a few months back, he was still at the first stage of the Cast Tripod Realm, but in just almost two months, he was about to breakthrough to the fourth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm.”
The two white brows of Elder Fei shook, but he quickly let out an expression of pity. “So what if his cultivation speed is at the same level as the girl from the Ji Clan? Unless the Main Hall is willing to nurture him with peak-grade resources. But do you think the upper echelons would agree? There are plenty of prodigies on this continent that have talents which are much superior to him by five folds or even ten folds…”
Manager Yang nodded and didn’t continue. As the uncrowned king of the continent, the Martial Arts Hall had an extensive amount of resources and also countless options. Regular prodigies wouldn’t even make the cut.
For the next few days, the Yi clansmen indeed came asking for spars against Jiang Yi in turns. But they were limited to three total entries per day. Most of them finished their session with Jiang Yi within an hour and would leave afterward. Jiang Yi had a tough time every single day. The daily spars would use up three wisps of black essence force, and he would need to replenish it. Due to this issue, his speed of cultivation and breaking of the runic patterns on the seal had been slower.
It wasn’t a matter if his cultivation speed was slightly slower; it was mainly because of Yi Clan’s great fanfare which might attract the attention of others. If they were to alert the Ma Clan, his identity would be simply revealed after some investigations.
But Manager Yang didn’t have any sign of expression, and Jiang Yi had to clench his teeth while going for the spar. Luckily, Ma Heiqi and Liu He—who he anticipated—didn’t come looking for trouble, and this made Jiang Yi slightly relieved.
Ten days later, Yi Clan’s frequent actions finally attracted the attention of various young masters and ladies. They, too, began to request for sparring sessions with Jiang Yi.
All those who requested to spar with Jiang Yi were at least at the fourth or fifth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. If Jiang Yi didn’t use the black essence force, he would most certainly be abused by them. But after he used the black essence force, those young masters and ladies, who requested to spar with him, looked as though they had discovered a whole new world and began requesting to spar with Jiang Yi every single day, just like the Yi clansmen.
The members of the Yi Clan realized the change in circumstances and increased the amount clansmen from three to six. Now it was difficult to not attract any attention—because there was a queue for those who requested a spar with Jiang Yi.
“It is all over for me if this carries on…”
Jiang Yi even felt like dying. Every night, he would need to cultivate ten wisps of black essence forces and didn’t have any chance to break any of the runic patterns on his seal. All the elixirs’ medicinal effects were exhausted on the spars. From the looks of it, the queue would only get longer, and the daily ten wisps of black essence forces would be insufficient. Most importantly, among the people that requested for spars was this Ma Clan’s young lady.
Jiang Yi tried looking for Manager Yang, but it was useless, he was just a lowly manager and couldn’t afford to offend any young master or lady. He could only ask Jiang Yi to endure, but he did increase Jiang Yi’s salary by three folds.
Two weeks later, the Technique Practicing Room welcomed a special guest. He was a middle-aged man and had this strapping build. He wore a dark blue robe with black hemlines. He had this square head and huge ears, the face of a formidable hegemon who emitted a prowess even when he wasn’t infuriated. On his left ear was a silver earring that looked odd.
“Greetings to the Hall Master!”
With the appearance of this middle-aged man—Manager Yang and all the guards within the Technique Practicing Room—all got down on one knee. All the sparring partners knelt down in a flurry and greeted in unison, too, while two young masters bowed politely.
Skyplume City’s Martial Arts Hall Branch Master?
Jiang Yi’s mind got jolted. When he felt the mountain-like presence of this middle-aged man, his breathing became erratic. He was the Skyplume’s City no. 2 combatant, second only to Ji Tian and was also a formidable fighter of the peak stage of the Purple Mansion Realm. Back in the days, even the Grand Elder was ranked under him.
As the Martial Arts Hall Master strode in, he stopped when he walked to where Jiang Yi was. A pair of tiger-like eyes looked over the youth; he then asked with his raised brows, “You… why aren’t you kneeling?”
After being glared by the Martial Arts Hall Master, Jiang Yi felt as though he got struck by lightning: his body and soul trembled. He nearly suffocated while being shrouded by the mountain-like prowess. Both his legs were trembling, and he nearly couldn’t help but fall to his knees.
Even so, Jiang Yi clenched his teeth and held on. He struggled to open his mouth and said, “My grandfather once told me… the knees of a man contain something more precious than gold, and it is only meant for kneeling to the heavens, earth, and one’s own parents!”
The Martial Arts Hall Master didn’t say much but gave a snort. He withdrew his sights and imposing prowess and then walked into a small room. Manager Yang hastily stood up and wiped off the cold sweat on his forehead. He gave Jiang Yi a look of reproach and walked into the room in a hurry.
Jiang Yi let out a deep breath while his body nearly collapsed. He realized that his back was completely drenched in sweat. He lamented in his heart at how formidable this man was who was at the peak stage of Purple Mansion Realm. If the Martial Arts Hall Master wanted to kill Jiang Yi, he might probably be able to do so by just using his presence to put pressure on Jiang Yi. In the past, the Grand Elder was always kind towards Jiang Yi and never once revealed his imposing presence. Jiang Yi thought nothing of it… until today when he actually experienced the true strength of a true expert.
In the secret room, Manager Yang immediately released the mechanism of the formation array which played back the recordings of Jiang Yi’s sparring sessions. He then explained everything in a low voice.
After the Martial Arts Hall Master came into the room, he sat as though a tiger crouching or dragon coiling and didn’t say a single word. He stared at the images on the wall and took two whole hours before gesturing with his hand. “Enough. There is no need to see anymore!”
Manager Yang quickly moved over, circulated his essence force, and patted the mechanism on the wall. He turned around to smile apologetically. “Hall Master, according to Elder Fei and my analysis, whenever Jiang Yi spars with a martial artist, their martial skills would have a drastic improvement in proficiency. We have been researching for a long time and are still unable to find the reason. Did Hall Master notice anything?”
The Martial Arts Hall Master shook his head; the silver earring on his left ear began to sway and releasing a clear ring. He smirked. “Jiang Yunshan is such a fool. He actually wasted away an Astral Body of the Earth. If they had nurtured this boy five or eight years back, the Jiang Clan would have another Purple Mansion Realm martial artist. It could even be birth of the first Divine Roam Realm martial artist of the Skyplume City. With Jiang Yunhai missing, it seems like the Jiang Clan would be ruined in the hands of Jiang Yunshan—this fool.”
“Jiang Yunshan? Astral Body of the Earth?”
Manager Yang had this look of astonishment. He already knew that Jiang Yi was a member of the Jiang Clan. Phantom Punch, Psychedelic Step, Silk Hands—they were the martial skills that were so obvious, even Yi Longyu knew Jiang Yi was from the Jiang Clan. How would Manager Yang not see it? What he was surprised of was the latter part; it was his first time hearing about the Astral Body of the Earth. He asked with some uncertainty, “Hall Master, what is this… Astral Body of the Earth? I have heard about Fire Astral Body and Water Astral Body though.”
The Martial Arts Hall Master paused for a moment before explaining. “There are many innate astral bodies in this world. Like the Fire Astral Body that could allow one to cultivate fire type martial arts faster. Or the Water, Wood, and Metal Astral Bodies. These Astral Bodies are considered normal, but there are three types of rare Astral Bodies that not many people know of. They are the Astral Body of the Earth, Heaven, and Divinity!
“These three types of Astral Body are aligned with the Heaven and Earth and are the daos of nature. They are very heaven-defying! Even the lowest-graded Astral Body of the Earth has a much superior comprehension towards the heaven dao patterns than others. There are nearly no bottlenecks when they break through the various stages of cultivation. They are able to comprehend martial skills much faster and… when they put their martial skills to use, they would bring about traces of heaven dao patterns.
“When in battle with others, it would unconsciously help their enemy comprehend martial skills faster, too. You should already know that all the martial skills in this world are created by referring to the heaven dao patterns. Do you think these people who are unknowingly immersing in heaven dao patterns, would have still been comprehending martial skills at a slow pace?”
“Dao patterns! This…”
Manager Yang’s body trembled with a shocked expression. The comprehension of heaven dao was something unattainable to a first stage of Purple Mansion Realm martial artist like him; even a Divine Roam Realm martial artist would desire it. Who would have thought that an abandoned clansman of the small Jiang Clan would be able to bring out traces of heaven dao patterns when he uses his martial skills?
“Hmph, what is there to fuss about? Don’t even mention the Astral Bodies of the Earth! Our Martial Arts Hall has plenty of individuals with Astral Bodies of the Heaven. What’s more—this kid’s Astral Body seems to be crippled and is only of the third stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. His achievements in this life would be limited.”
The Martial Arts Hall Master shot a glance at Manager Yang and spoke softly, “I forgot to mention, when these three types of Astral Bodies advances in cultivation stage, they would require more astral energy. So even if this kid can be nurtured by the Martial Arts Hall, his maximum strength would at best be Purple Mansion Realm! Without attaining the Divine Roam Realm, there is no difference in whether he can or cannot comprehend dao patterns