Chapter 51 – Ranking Stone
As he returned to his residence, Lin Ming looked at the piles of materials in his room and his heart filled with anticipation and excitement. These materials would even make an inscription master of the Sky Fortune Kingdom feel like their hand was heavy; they would be very careful in handling these rare materials and would not dare to waste a single bit. To them, an inscription symbol that used a few of these materials was already extraordinary and would be a very complex inscription technique, but Lin Ming wanted to create a medicinal inscription symbol, and that actually required the use of all these materials. Even with Lin Ming’s current inscription skill, there was no certainty at all that he would be successful.
“If I can successfully use the ‘Lower Spirit Cure Symbol’ on the Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill and the Golden Snake Scarlet Pill, and eat them, my strength would definitely rise tremendously.” These two pills were already top quality medicines, in addition to the efficiency of the medicinal inscription symbol and his diligent practice of his Second Stage cultivation, then he might be able to break through into the Third Stage of Body Transformation.
Moreover, if he was successful in creating the medicinal inscription symbol, then his own inscription technique would advance further, and he would be ever closer to being able to create body inscriptions that enhanced speed and combat prowess!
Though Lin Ming was excited in his heart that the prospects seemed so magnificent and wonderful to him, he knew that in order to truly implement all these ideas, it would very difficult and he would have to expend at least twice the effort. Even if Lin Ming had fused the with soul fragment memories, he also needed to constantly practice the coordinations of his body movements and soul.
In order to save materials, Lin Ming used the old method that he had from the very beginning. He only used true essence, and did not expend any materials.
In training such skills, victory was attained by repeated and unrelenting practice. If 1000 times was not good, then he would practice 10,000 times. If 10,000 times was not good, he would practice tens of 10,000s of times.
Repeating these motions tens of thousands of times was tedious and exhausting of soul force. This sort of grueling feeling was like not sleeping for three days and three nights, and was the acknowledgement of support by hard work and stubborn effort.
Lin Ming had been practicing for only two days and his eyes were already bloodshot. He stopped practice to take a rest and didn’t even have the strength to lift a cup.
“I used the ‘Overbearing Soul Tactic’, and I also bought pills that specialize in reducing fatigue and aiding in the restoration of soul force, and yet I still turned out like this. This medicinal inscription symbol’s difficulty is without a doubt several times higher than the object inscription symbol.”
“Tomorrow will be the admission day for the Seven Profound Martial House. It looks like it will be impossible to complete the medicinal inscription symbol before the admission day.”
From the end of the examination to the beginning of the official admission, there were three long days of relaxation in between. Tomorrow, he had to report to the Earth Hall at the Seven Profound Martial House.
The Earth Hall’s martial artists had an opportunity to challenge disciples of the Heavenly Abode once they reached the Fourth Stage of Body Transformation, Altering Muscles. Some martial artists who were at the peak of the Third Stage but had special circumstances could also obtain the qualifications to challenge to disciples of the Heavenly Abode.
With Lin Ming’s present strength, he was sorely lacking the qualifications to enter the Heavenly Abode.
Next day in the early morning, students of the Earth Hall were gathered in the back mountains. A tall, tanned, topless and red haired man walked in front of everyone with a black saber slung over his shoulder. He looked around at all of the youths present and opened his mouth to say, “Starting today, you lot have officially become disciples of the Seven Profound Martial House’s Earth Hall! I am your teacher! My name is Hong Xi, but you may also call me Instructor Hong.”
“This time the number of idiots who have passed the examination is 53! But standing here, 20 of you were the ones with the qualifications to actually enter the Earth Hall! Without a doubt, you are all extremely talented geniuses! I hope. But, do you think that just because you entered the Earth Hall that you are destined to become masters of your generation? Powerhouses could die early; peerless talents could fall from the sky. Only by unceasingly crawling upwards and surviving perils will you be able to have your name recorded throughout history!”
“Those of the Earth Hall have some possibility of being won over by forces of Sky Fortune City. Even though they will shower you with money and beautiful women and other sorts of enticements, you have all passed the Dream Trial test and have a heart of martial arts! But! Even a heart of martial arts can slowly be corrupted. These temptations might become the maggots that eat your clothes and gnaw at your will!”
“Remember this! Only strength is the most important! They want to win you over because you have the strength! If you do not have strength, then you have nothing! Come with me.”
The red haired man said all these and then led the group to a place deep within the back mountains.
The lands occupied by the Seven Profound Martial House were broad and vast. The entire Zhou Mountain was the land of the Seven Profound Martial House. In the back mountains there were only a few buildings. The path was dotted with beautiful green grass, great mountains stones and ancient trees that seemed to come to life. Occasionally, water springs flowed to life, giving the beautiful image of spring come alive.
After they walked for about the time an incense stick takes to burn, they reached a giant cliff. The cliff was several dozen feet high, and its surface was polished as smooth and shiny as a mirror. On it, was densely engraved numerous names. The name at the top was as big as a bucket. It said: Ling Sen.
The names downwards were smaller, and they were written in lines row after row. Altogether there were 20 rows.
Lin Ming faintly guessed the purpose of this cliff. Hong Xi’s words only verified his suspicions. He had said, “You saw the cliff, but the truth is that it is just an illusion. The names above are constantly changing; this is the Seven Profound Martial House’s Ranking Stone. The Ranking Stone has the names of everyone from the Earth Hall and the Heavenly Abode. Their names are all listed. There are over 200 individuals, these people are you fellow senior apprentice brothers and senior apprentice sisters.”
It really was some sort of ranking system. Lin Ming looked at the strange names and followed downward from Ling Sen. He read them and still did not see Qin Xingxuan.
Why didn’t it list Qin Xingxuan? Lin Ming had some doubts; perhaps Qin Xingxuan was not included together with the disciples of the Heavenly Abode.
Lin Ming continued to look, and then after some time his eyes narrowed. He saw an extremely familiar name – Zhu Yan!
Zhu Yan, rank 39.
Heavenly Abode, 39!
Lin Ming took a deep breath. How long would it take for him to achieve this?
He continued downwards and was pleasantly surprised to see his own name. But immediately after him was that man, Wang Yanfeng. The rest of the 20 of them of the Earth Hall were listed. As for the others, their names were not written on the cliff ledge.
The Ranking Stone only showed the names of those in the Heavenly Abode and the Earth Hall.
Hong Xi said, “One way of the martial path is to hack your way through! If you wish to reach higher, then you must step on others underneath your boot! This land has no lack of talent! But do you know why we selected so many of you so called geniuses?
Hong Xi spoke this far, and the disciple were stunned. One disciple said, “Instructor Hong, choosing a talent is naturally to raise them and help them cultivate.”
“Raise them?” Hong Xi laughed and laughed again with unbridled impunity. You know how a beast trainer trains a vicious beast? They have the most excellent of systems. The beasts with the best qualifications and potential are chosen, and then reared. They are fed good, hearty meat daily, and trained. Then they put them in a cage and let them fight. Out of the several hundred beasts who began, there would only be one left; that is the king of the beasts.”
“You lot are in this cage of beasts. On the path of being a powerhouse you will need to step on countless peerless geniuses and climb over their corpses. Therefore the reason we chose and gathered so many talents is not to raise you, but in order to be raised for battle and slaughter! You are nothing more than stepping stones for the true talents to step on and climb higher!”
“There is no strongest, only stronger. You either step on the corpses and crawl up someone or you face the cruel death and are trampled underneath everyone else. This is the truth!”
Each of Hong Xi’s words hit the disciples like a steel ball. It made their hearts plummet into ice. The talents were not gathered together to focus on training, but only to be bodies for powerhouses to climb up and reach higher goals.
Hong Xi’s beast cage analogy planted a strong sense of crisis within the disciple. Even Lin Ming felt a surge of emotions.
“The last is the king…” Lin Ming clenched his fists and his eyes filled with thick fighting spirit.
“Good. Here are 20 jade slips. Inside are introductions to the rules and system of the Seven Profound Martial House. Your residence is arranged in the back mountains. Everything is written in the jade slip. Now you are all dismissed. We will officially begin lessons tomorrow.”
The red haired man waved his arms and 20 jade slips flew into the students’ hands. Lin Ming received one of them and he quickly sunk his soul force into it and saw where his own residence was.
“First I will find my place and settle down. Then I will create the medicinal inscription symbol and use it to raise my strength. The Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill I obtained is a miracle pill, helpful in making breakthroughs through bottlenecks. If I use an inscription symbol on it, it should be enough to break through to the Third Stage of Body Transformation.
Body Transformation had six Stages. Strength Training, Flesh Training, Viscera Training, Altering Muscle, Bone Forging, and Pulse Condensation. These six Stages were far removed from each other; wanting to breakthrough to the next would require a long period of time. Lin Ming had only been in the Second Stage of Body Transformation for over a month. He knew that making a breakthrough in a short period of time was not easy. But since he had the top tier pills, in addition to the power of the medicinal inscription symbol, breaking through was not impossibility.
As Lin Ming was thinking, he heard a loud voice and turned his head to look. He was surprised to see a young man in white clothing standing ten steps away with a sullen gaze staring at him.
This person was Wang Yanfeng. During the Seven Profound Martial House entrance examination, Wang Yanfeng had hated Lin Ming for snatching away his first place spot and even his Golden Snake Scarlet Pill. This was a huge blow to Wang Yanfeng and to him, the cause and instigator of all this was Lin Ming. This Lin Ming was without a doubt the pain of the flesh, the eternal thorn in his side!
“Those two pills, did you eat them?” Wang Yanfeng said with a cold tone through clenched teeth.
“What if I did, what if I didn’t?” Lin Ming answered quietly. These two pills were priceless, but he didn’t worry that others would covet them. In the Sky Fortune Kingdom, the Seven Profound Martial House was a supreme existence. They had terrible strength and an immeasurable background. If they gave a reward, then nobody would dare to steal it away.
“I know that you haven’t eaten them. Those two pills are strong and dangerous, your body simply cannot withstand them. Lin Ming, you are only a medium third-grade talent, you need to know that with your talent, those two pills – especially the Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill – would be wasted. At best you would only absorb 1/10 of it. Being eaten by you is a complete and total waste.
Lin Ming frowned. “What do you want to say?”
“I want to buy your Crimson Gold Dragon Marrow Pill.”
Lin Ming smiled. He didn’t think that Wang Yanfeng would say such funny words to him. It really made one laugh. “Are you cracking a joke? You think I will sell it to you?”
“Don’t reject it. Listen to my terms first.”