The moon was like a silver plate and the stars filled the sky.
At the summit of the cliff, Xiao Yan lay on the grass and in his mouth was a strand of green grass. He chewed it slightly and let the bitterness spread into his mouth slowly.
He raised his white palm and put it in front of him, blocking the moon and only letting some moonlight pass through the gaps between his fingers. He looked at the giant circular silver moon in the sky.
“Ai…” Thinking back the testing in the afternoon, Xiao Yan sighed lightly. He lazily pulled his hand back and rested both hands on his head. He looked absent-minded.
“15 years already, huh?” a soft voice that suddenly was spat out from the young teen without any warning.
In Xiao Yan’s mind, there was a secret that only he himself knew: He wasn’t a person from this world. More accurately, his soul wasn’t from this world. He was from a deep blue star called Earth. As for unexplainable mystery of why he would be here, he himself had no clue. However, after living here for some time, he slowly realised: He passed through to the other side!
As he grew older, he slowly came to understand bits and pieces of this continent.
This continent was called the Dou Qi Continent. On the continent, there wasn’t many tales of magic users and their effects, but rather, Dou Qi was the main star.
On this big piece of land, the training of Dou Qi had become commonplace after the hard work of countless individuals who continued to train beyond generations, expanding the knowledge surrounding Dou Qi all the way to the top. Dou Qi and mankind are one and the same in everyday life and as such, Dou Qi is extremely important in the continent. It could be called irreplaceable!
As the number of levels in Dou Qi kept increasing, so did the number of ways to train it. Some were better than others, as expected.
After going through a system of analysis, the Dou Qi rankings in the Dou Qi Continent got split into four different classes – Tian, Di, Xuan, Huang.
And every class was split further into Beginner, Medium and High ranks!
The Dou Qi techniques you learned also determined how strong you would be. For example, if a person practiced a Xuan class Medium rank technique, he would naturally be stronger than a person who practiced a Huang class High rank technique.
In the Dou Qi Continent, to differentiate the strong from the weak, there are 3 criterias that need to be looked at.
First, and also the most important, is your natural body strength. If a person only has a 1 star level of strength, even if he practiced the Tian class High rank techniques, he wouldn’t be able to beat a Huang class Combat Master.
Next is technique level. If two people of the same innate strength were to battle, the one with the better technique will obviously win.
Lastly is Dou Ji1.
Dou Ji is a special kind of skill that is used when controlling Dou Qi and in the land of Dou Qi, Dou Ji is also separated into Tian, Di, Xuan, Huang.
Dou Qi in the continent speaks for itself, but Dou Ji is different. Almost everyone starts off with a Dou Ji class of Huang. If you wanted to learn more advance control skills, you would need to join a sect or enrol in a Dou Qi school.
Of course, there are some who, by chance, managed to learn the skills that others before have left behind, or those who have compatible Dou Ji skills. For these people, their combat level might be slightly higher than normal.
Relying on these 3 aspects, you can determine who is strong and who is weak. All in all, if you managed to learn a high level Dou Qi technique, the benefits in the future would be enormous.
However, high level Dou Qi techniques are really hard to come by as a commoner. Those that are open to the public are normal, Huang class techniques. For those bigger clans or small sects, Xuan class techniques are the norm. For example, in Xiao Yan’s clan, their highest level technique was only practiceable by the clan leader – Lion Wind Strike2. It was a wind style Xuan class Medium rank technique.
Above the Xuan class would be the Di class, but this kind of high-level techniques might only obtainable by a powerful country-like organisation.
As for the Tian class, in a hundred years, it hasn’t appeared once.
As previously stated, commoners trying to get a high-level technique is like trying to climb a mountain without gear. However, nothing is absolute. In the world of Dou Qi, there are thousands of clans. In the North, there are people referred to as ‘Unbeatable’. They fused their soul with wild animals and became barbarians. In the South, there are smart and talented high class beast spirit clans, and even the strange and infamous underworld people.
Because of the vastness of the continent, there are bound to be cases of nameless figures who, by chance, happened upon a miracle that made them strong. Or, perhaps, there might be people who are bound by fate to discover strong techniques. In the land of Dou Qi, there is one famous sentence: If you find yourself stuck in a ditch or forsaken by the world, don’t panic. Take two steps forward and maybe you’ll find yourself stronger than ever before.
Of course, though this line isn’t false, in the thousand years of history in the continent, there aren’t many stories of people getting strong by random chance.
As a result of this, every day, there are countless individuals who try to break through and discover a new skill or technique, but instead only return with a broken hip or leg.
All in all, this continent is full of mysteries and miracles.
To access the vault of secret Dou Qi techniques, you must at least be a full-fledged Dou Zhe to meet the basic requirements. For Xiao Yan, it seemed so far away.
Puu Xiao Yan spat the grass out and quickly stood up and made a maniacal face. He faced the sky and shouted: “God damn it! How could I be played for a fool like this?”
In his past life, Xiao Yan was a mediocre, average commoner. Wealth, fame and beauty seemed to run parallel to his life, never intersecting it. Then, when he came to this continent, Xiao Yan was shocked. Because of a second set of experiences, his spirit became much stronger than the average person.
It must be known that in the Dou Qi continent, your spirit is decided upon at birth. Maybe, as you grew older, it would strengthen a slight bit, but there is no known technique to train your spirit to be stronger.
It was Xiao Yan’s strong spirit that gave him his talent, as well as his fame as a genius.
For an average person, if they were told that they could be a genius, there’s little doubt that they would claim their fame and live the high life. For the run-of-the-mill person like Xiao Yan, when he started training his Dou Zhi Qi, the temptation of being able to rise to fame would be unbearable. Of course he wouldn’t choose to stay hidden and continue to train!
If there wasn’t any accident, Xiao Yan could perhaps grow even more with his ‘genius’ label. Unfortunately, at 11, his label was stolen from him and in one night, a genius turned into a piece of trash.
After shouting at the top of his lungs for a while, Xiao Yan finally calmed down and his face turned calm again. No matter how angry he got, he wouldn’t be able to get his strength back.
Bitterly shaking his head, Xiao Yan felt miserable. He had no clue what happened to his body, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. His spirit was growing as he aged, as expected. His absorbtion of Dou Zhi Qi was also extraordinarly fast. It was faster than the strongest fighter from a few years back. All these factors should have meant that Xiao Yan was a natural genius, but all the Dou Zhi Qi that he absorbed seemed to be completely gone. His self-esteem took a big hit and he could only feel depressed.
Taking another deep breath, Xiao Yan raised his hand. On his finger was a black ring of simple design. The material used to make it was unknown. On it were some markings as well. This was the only present his late mother gave to him before she passed. He started wearing it since the age of 4 and even now, 10 years later, he was still wearing. It was a precious gift from his mother and Xiao Yan treasured it dearly. He rubbed the ring and said bitterly: “These few years, I’ve really let Mother down, huh?”
Sighing deeply, Xiao Yan quickly stood up and turned around, saying to the black figure from the woods: “Father, why have you come?”
Though his Dou Zhi Qi was only 3rd stage, his spiritual awareness was akin to that of a 5 star Dou Zhe, perhaps even better. While thinking about his mother, he felt a sudden disturbance from the woods.
“Ah ah, Yan Er3. It’s already quite late. Why are you still here?” From within the cluster of trees, after a moment of silence, a tender voice sounded.
The trees shaked a little and a middle-aged man jumped out, face smiling widely. His eyes were locked on his son under the moonlight.
The middle-aged man was wearing an expensive looking grey tunic. He walked with pride and dignity and his face showed it. He was the Xiao clan leader, as well as Xiao Yan’s father, a 5 star Dou Shi – Xiao Zhan!
“Father, why have you not returned to rest yet?” Facing the middle-aged man, Xiao Yan’s smiled thickened. Although he had another set of memories, when he was born, the person before him treated him as with love and care. When he lost his power and spirit, the love did not lessen but grew instead. This poked at Xiao Yan’s heart, making Xiao Yan recognise him as his father.
“Yan Er, are you still thinking about what happened this afternoon?” Taking a big step forward, Xiao Zhan smiled again.
“Ha ha, what’s there to think about? It’s within my expectations.” Xiao Yan shaked his head and forced a smile.
“Ai…” Looking at Xiao Yan’s tender face, Xiao Zhan let out a sigh. The both of them sinked into silence for a while, before Xiao Zhan said: “Yan Er, you’re 15 now, aren’t you?”
“Just one more year… and you have to attend the Adulthood Ceremony…” Xiao Zhan said.
“Yes, father. Only a year left.” Xiao Yan’s fist clenched for a while before he replied. He was extremely clear what the Adulthood Ceremony meant. Once the ceremony had past, for the Xiao Yan that didn’t train, he would be subject to the criteria of searching for Dou Qi techniques. Because he was so weak, he would be sent to do a normal job in the other parts of the Xiao clan. This was a clan rule and even if the clan leader was his father, he would not be able to do anything about it.
If one didn’t reach Dou Zhe by the age of 25, the clan would abadon them.
“Sorry, Yan Er. If you don’t reach the Dou Zhi Qi 7th stage by next year, I can’t do anything to help you, no matter how much I want to. In this clan, I’m not the sole decision maker. There’s also those old geezers waiting for me to make a mistake…” Looking at the peaceful Xiao Yan, Xiao Zhan voiced guiltily.
“Father, I will continue to work hard. One year later, I’ll definitely reach the Dou Zhi Qi 7th stage!” Xiao Yan reassured his father.
“4 stages in 1 year? Ahh… if it were me from before, it may have been possible, but now… I might not have much of a chance…” Though Xiao Yan was trying to reassure his father, he himself was bitter about it.
Knowing full well Xiao Yan’s position, Xiao Zhan could only answer with a sigh. He knew that 4 stages of Dou Zhi Qi in a year was extremely difficult. He gently patted Xiao Yan’s head, and smiled, saying: “It’s getting quite late, you should go back and get some rest. Tomorrow, the clan has a guest and you shouldn’t miss the ceremony.”
“Guest? Who?” Xiao Yan asked, full of curiousity.
“You’ll find out tomorrow.” Xiao Zhan winked at the restless Xiao Yan, leaving with a big smile on his face.
“Don’t you worry, father. I’ll work really hard.” Xiao Yan rubbed the simple ring while raising his head and whispering.
Just when Xiao Yan raised his head, the black ring on his finger sudddenly lit up with a mysterious glow and flashed. Blinking, Xiao Yan realised it wasn’t a person…
斗技, meaning combat skills or something akin to that. ↩
狂狮怒罡 guessing the meaning here. ↩
炎儿, the first letter being Yan, Xiao Yan’s name. Used to refer to someone very close or someone you love dearly. Usually used by parents to address their children. ↩