Chapter 19: Awe-Inspiring
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Zhao Ying grit her teeth and tried to keep her cool. She was beginning to feel hopeless with knives coming at her from every direction. Meanwhile, Chu Li was still behind her and incapable of retaliating. Could this be the end of both of their lives?
She quickly dismissed these negative thoughts and concentrated on her swordplay instead. She tried to strike whenever opportunities presented themselves. Every second that passed without her getting injured was a small victory in her mind.
“Brother! You go ahead!” Zhao Ying shouted.
Chu Li sighed. He drew his sword from its scabbard and jumped into the air. Then, he dived down from above like a hawk descending upon its prey, his sword flashing like a bolt of lightning in the bright sky.
“Ahahahah!” A loud succession of screaming was heard as Zhao Ying immediately felt a huge burden was taken off her shoulder when she turned and saw Chu Li striking from the sky like a demon. His sword was a chain of lightning, every flash of the sword was promptly followed by an opponent getting taken down.
In moments, everyone was on the ground, save for Chu Li and Zhao Ying.
“Brother…” Zhao Ying was startled.
Chu Li used the sword to prop himself up once more as he now looked an even more haunting shade of white.
“Let’s go, let’s not stay here for too long.”
“Got it!” Zhao Ying nodded.
She didn’t need Chu Li’s reminder this time around. She immediately raised her sword and started stabbing the people on the floor. She supported Chu Li up onto his horse and the two of them continued their journey past the boundary of the Raging Tiger Troupe.
Zhao Ying let out a deep breath as they left the vicinity of the troupe. She turned towards Chu Li who was not looking any better.
“Chu Li, let’s look for a place to rest. We’re now out of their territory so we no longer need to fear anymore robbery attempts.”
“We’ll have to go a little further, they might catch up”
“Can you make it though?” Zhao Ying was worried and prompted him.
“Not a problem.”Chu Li smiled.
Zhao Ying shook her head, this was not normal fatigue. He was definitely hurt. He had probably used a secret technique that greatly improved one’s ability and was now suffering from the side effects! He had even used the technique during the last encounter, which was probably why he was looking like a walking corpse.
She blamed herself for it. She was incompetent. Her skills in martial arts were not good enough. She did not even do her job right as a Protector and ended up becoming a burden. What humiliation!
Chu Li smiled when he sensed her frustration. “Zhao Ying, don’t blame yourself. You can’t help if you are weak or strong in martial arts, what you need to do now is to continue cultivating well.”
“Hmm.” Zhao Ying lowered her head.
“You haven’t even grasped the true potential of the Swallow Reversal. You might want to take some time to observe and analyze a swallow or some other birds on how they move and fly, you may be enlightened by the experience,” continued Chu Li.
“Right!” Zhao Ying lifted her head as she started to smile. “I should observe some swallows, then!”
Chu Li replied, “There will be plenty of chances to do so.”
Two of them continued talking for quite a long time as they traveled for many miles. After some time, they finally decided to rest beneath a tree.
It was already late evening when Zhao Ying hopped onto a tree to scout the area. She shook her head. “Brother Chu Li, we might have to camp in the wild tonight.”
“That’s not a problem, I’m not that noble.” Chu Li nodded.
He crossed his legs and sat on top of a thick pile of dried leaves. Inner strength immediately started to flow into him, nourishing his body. His meridians which were previously like a drought-stricken land were now tasting rain and immediately became revitalized.
As he was revitalizing his meridians, he activated a cycle of the Minute Pulse Cleansing Technique and sped up the process.
Zhao Ying studied Chu Li’s facial expressions as he did this.
Chu Li smiled. “I’m really okay, I just have to meditate for a bit.”
“It’s all my fault…” Zhao Ying softly mumbled.
“Zhao Ying, there is no point in thinking like that. If anyone were to blame, it’d be me for being too weak,” replied Chu Li.
Then, Chu Li changed the subject, “Zhao Ying, do you know how to cook?”
“Then make us a nice meal!”
“Roger that!” Zhao Ying nodded.
“After all, you only have the energy to heal yourself when you’re full!”
She turned around and began gathering some wild vegetables and mushrooms. Zhao Ying was knowledgeable about mushrooms, she knew that most mushrooms in the wild were not edible and that any mistakes in identifying them would lead to a very painful death from ingesting their poison. However, most of the mushrooms near them were nice and fresh.
She used some tied meat and rice they had packed and added wild vegetables and mushrooms to them before cooking them in a pot. She boiled them for four full hours, which made the whole area smell wonderful.
Chu Li warmed up and felt replenished after drinking the porridge. She had boiled the porridge with just the right amount of heat. The porridge was especially delicious for somebody who had just gone through a long day.
The moonlight was as clear as the water and Chu Li was quietly meditating nearby. Zhao Ying sat near him and listening to his deep breathing. She felt very safe and calm in his presence.
She took a few peeks at Chu Li as she noticed that Chu Li was heavily immersed in his meditation. It was as if he was one with the land, releasing an indescribable aura of life and vigor.
She quickly closed her eyes again, afraid that Chu Li would notice. A sudden memory of the humiliation from earlier popped into her mind and she immediately decided to begin cultivating. Her meridian was stabilized as she began channeling her inner energy, it cycled through her whole body over and over. Normally, she could only do ten cycles, but she had done twenty today!
Her cultivating speed had doubled! This was incredibly surprising! The medicine had completely diffused and was now showing its benefits.
She took another peek at Chu Li before she decided to lie down and sleep.
The next morning, she woke up and looked around for Chu Li. She could not find him and quickly hopped onto the tree for a better vantage point. The two horses were still there, but she could not find any trace of Chu Li. Right as she was about to call for him, she heard footsteps. Chu Li was dragging two alpine musk deer and walking out from the woods.
“Brother Chu Li!” She quickly called out.
Chu Li lifted his hand to wave at her. “We’re going to have a good meal!”
“At least tell me if you are going hunting!” Zhao Ying hopped in front of him and rolled her eyes. Then, she took both deers from him before asking, “Are you feeling any better?”
Chu Li smiled. “I’m feeling much better now!”
Zhao Ying returned a smile. “That’s good to hear. What do you want to eat, Chu Li?”
“Whatever you’re good at cooking” Chu Li laughed.
Zhao Ying had brought tools some with her, which were all small and light. It was important for Protectors to carry them with them, due to the fact that it was risky for Protectors to eat outside. Even if they had a silver needle to test for poison, it would be best to just eat their own cooking.
“Sit back and relax. I’ll handle this!” Zhao Ying gave him two thumbs up before getting to work.
The two of them had a meal of deer meat and wild mushrooms. The fragrance from the meat and the mushroom mixed together formed a rich and unique smell which made one drool when they smelt it. After this, the two of them continued their journey.
It was peaceful and smooth without any interruptions. By evening, they arrived at the front of a ravine.
The ravine itself was relatively hidden. It looked like some a regular plot of sunken land next to a small hill, but once someone entered, they would realize that it was a completely different world. There were thick grooves in the ravine and the plants were lush; without a doubt, the land here was well fertilized.
Chu Li was impressed, this was definitely going to be where the Public House was going to be set up. Thankfully, they were skilled enough that they were able to find such an impressive place that was simultaneously not eye-catching.
“It’s here? Zhao Ying walked in before asking. Looking at the dense trees, she helplessly remarked, “No one had come here before, right?”
Chu Li nodded. “That’s because it’s so well hidden. From today onwards, we aren’t allowed to leave here!”
“Hmm… How long do we need to stay here for?”
“What can we possibly do in this one month?”
“Plant the Deity’s Beard. You aren’t aware of this, right?” Zhao Ying shook her head.
Chu Li explained the Deity’s Beard to her while smiling. After this, they immediately started on their task. The three knives they had looted earlier played a crucial role here. They cut down trees like they were slicing tofu. Then, they made two wooden houses out of the wood they had harvested. The houses were both simple but strong.
There was also a pool under a stone wall deep in the ravine. It was as clear as a mirror and acted as their water source.
Zhao Ying was in charge of their meals while Chu Li plowed five units of farmland to plant the Deity’s Beard and Nightmare Flower.
He had found four Tendon Clearers in the process. He combined them with the Land’s Dragon, extracted another sixteen Torso Refiners, before splitting them in half. The Torso Refiner was normally quite rare, but it was really easy to obtain for them.
Zhao Ying did not attempt to be pretentious, she quickly accepted and consumed them. She soon realized that her meridian became twice as strong so that she could train from the night to the next morning. She cultivated for the entirety of the first night and improved dramatically by the morning of the next day. Chu Li himself was improving even faster.
Ten days in and she had already broken thirty acupuncture points. Another six and she would complete her acquired mastery. Normal Protectors could pass the seventh rank in this situation, provided that their skill in martial arts did not impede them.
Unfortunately, there exists a huge gap between acquiring the skills and mastering them. The mastery of innate skills was hard. Many people got stuck in this phase, unable to make a breakthrough in their cultivation. Nine out of ten martial artists suffer a plateau at this point, much like a carp attempting to jump over the Dragon’s Gate. To many, this was the make-or-break point of their cultivation.
The key to reaching the innate levels was in the cultivation itself. If one had a stable foundation and was gifted, it would be easy for them to pass. But if the opposite were true, then they would be stuck here for the rest of their life.
In the morning, Zhao Ying got up and washed up before instantly beginning training on her Swallow Reversal. She had recalled what Chu Li had taught her the day before and she was now trying to implement it, correcting herself bit by bit in the process. Even though she had only corrected two small parts, the overall power of her Swallow Reversal had noticeably increased.
Chu Li’s judgment was as sharp as razor. He could always find the weak point in her swordplay. After only ten days of effort, Zhao Ying could feel that her swordsmanship had undergone a huge change. Her power had now drastically improved.
She walked to Chu Li’s house after she finishing her practice and saw that Chu Li was training his Delusion Split. His movements were slow, as if he was wielding his sword without purpose.
She shook her head and recalled of how Zhuo Feiyang trained his Delusion Split. A flurry of strikes. He claimed that in order to beat the opponent’s sword, his swordplay needed to be faster or he would not be able to exploit their weaknesses when they presented themselves.
However, she placed her trust in Chu Li now and realized that Zhuo Feiyang had been acting like a child all this time. His knowledge was far inferior to Chu Li’s. There must be a reason as to why Chu Li was moving this slowly as he would not waste his time for no good reason.
“Oh. That flower on the table, have a taste of it.”
“I planted it for fun, it doesn’t taste too bad.”
“You’re not trying to fool me, are you?” Zhao Ying glared at him.
She noticed that Chu Li had the tendency to tease people. He enjoyed teasing her a lot and sometimes it was laughable to the point where Zhao Ying herself could not help but laugh alongside him.
Chu Li smiled as he continued to practice his swordsmanship.
“It’s good stuff. You’ll regret it if you don’t eat it!”
“I’m not going to forget this if anything happens after I eat it!” Zhao Ying muttered angrily.
She walked to the square wooden table and opened the wooden box on the table. It was a crystal clear flower and looked like it was carved out of ice. It was unusually beautiful too, so much so that she was not really willing to eat and destroy it.
“How do I eat this?”
“Just pluck out the petal and consume it, it tastes great.”
Zhao Ying could not stop worrying. She hesitantly plucked one of the petals out and placed into her mouth. It was fresh and sweet and went down her throat smoothly. She felt a sense of comfort as she continued to pluck the flower.
Moments later, she realized that had already finished eating the flower. She looked at Chu Li, clearly embarrassed.
Chu Li smiled at her. “This is the Nightmare Flower, it’s good for women like you.”
“What is it for?” Zhao Ying asked curiously.
She did not feel any discomfort. Rather, she felt warm and comfortable.
Chu Li smiled as he stared her dead in the eye. “It grants you eternal youth.”