The second morning, Qing Shui opened his eyes, a cheery smile hung upon his lips.
Finally, Qing Shui had managed to achieve 48 cycles of qi circulation per activation of his Ancient Strengthening Technique, it was as if all his pores were shivering in delight.
Since 5 years ago, Qing Shui had been stuck at the bottleneck at the peak of the 3rd heavenly layer of the Ancient Strengthening Technique. Throughout these past five years, he did not slack off at all. He still unceasingly practiced his cultivation daily, and now he finally had something to show for all his efforts. Since five years ago, when he was at the peak of the 3rd heavenly layer, with each activation of the Ancient Strengthening Technique, Qing Shui would be able to circulate his Qi up to 36 times. The current him, despite still being stuck on the peak of the 3rd layer, could actually cycle his Qi more than 48 times per activation!
Through trial and error, Qing Shui discovered that with each additional cycle of Qi Circulation, the more his strength would increase. This was perhaps the only consolation for him as he still could not break through to the 4th heavenly layer of the Ancient Strengthening Technique. Who knows, just from increasing his bodily strength, there may be one day he might be able to break through the bottleneck… Like a dying man clutching at straws to save his life, Qing Shui could not disregard the probability of that happening no matter how low that probability was.
Throughout these past five years, although Qing Shui only managed to increase the number of circulations from 36 cycles to 48 cycles, he was required to put in efforts 100 times that of others. Just with this increase of 12 cycles of circulation, his strength had directly upgraded from being able to lift 10,000 jin to 13,000 jin, an approximate 30% increase in strength! If he could cultivate to the point where he could circulate 108 cycles or more per activation, Qing Shui didn’t even dare to imagine how tyrannical his strength would be then… This way of circulating the Qi originated from the Ancient Strengthening Technique, it seems to Qing Shui that there exists no peak, or more accurately, no limit to the maximum number of cycles one could cultivate. But just only increasing 12 cycles actually took him five years of time… He didn’t know how long would it take for him to cultivate to the stage of 108 cycles or more.
Alas, he was unable to break through to the 4th heavenly layer of the Ancient Strengthening Technique. If he could do so, there was no need for him to laboriously slowly increase the number of cycled circulations. He would directly receive a colossal upgrade in strength! After all the 4th heavenly layer could be considered the mid tier of the Ancient Strengthening Technique. It was an entirely different realm when compared to before.
Leaping out of his bed, Qing Shui proceeded to open his door, walking towards his backyard just as the sun was rising. Ever since he could cultivate the Ancient Strengthening Technique, he had been the most diligent and dedicated cultivator in the entire Qing Clan.
Maybe it was because of the Yin-Yang symbol inside his sea of consciousness constantly nourishing his spirit and soul, but Qing Shui had an excellent fortitude and mental strength when compared to others. His current self only required 2 hours of sleep per day. The rest of the time when Qing Shui was awake, almost all of it was spent in cultivation!
Despite this, he was unable to shake off the label of trash, just why couldn’t he break through? Even though his true current strength could be considered at the peak of the Martial Warrior realm, this meager bit of strength was not even worth a fart in his eyes. Only with sufficient power, would he be able to do as he wishes, and protect the things he wanted to protect.
Reincarnation – checked.
Talent – checked
Intelligence – checked
Fortuitous Encounters – checked
But why was he still unable to break through!? Just what had he done to deserve this? Qing Shui bitterly smiled as he arrived at the spacious courtyard. His thoughts then drifted to the various encounters he had after he had started cultivating the Ancient Strengthening Technique.
Solitary Rapid Fist!
Qing Shui knew that the Solitary Rapid Fist technique was probably one of the more profound striking techniques. His skill in executing the Solitary Rapid Fist had already reached an unfathomably high level, almost to the point of perfection. It was all thanks to that bout of enlightenment he had before, if it was not for that, even if he had spent 10 years training this fist technique, he would still be far away from the realm he was currently in! Qing Shui held extreme confidence in the Solitary Rapid Fist, and his confidence was well founded. If not, there would definitely be no way for Qing Yi to suffer disadvantages in a spar just with the exchange of a single move. Not to mention, he refrained from using his internal Qi. One could only imagine how terrifying his strikes would be if Qing Shui used his internal Qi to complement the strikes of the Solitary Rapid Fist.
The Solitary Rapid Fist was immeasurably deep. The underlying concepts and essence behind the Solitary Rapid Fist were steeped in the arts of hidden weapons techniques. Both techniques shared the same foundation. To measure the level of profoundness would be impossible to do so accurately, as hidden weapon techniques would usually enable a weaker practitioner to achieve victory over a stronger one.
After his reflections, Qing Shui knew that it was time to leave. He returned to his room and packed the [Continental Medical Annal], [10,000 Herbology Encyclopedia], [Herbal Combination Formula] and lastly, the [Basic Sword Techniques]. After which, he decided to write a letter and left it on top of the table. The contents included in the letter was him reassuring Qing Yi, and that he would be back before the end of the year. Beseeching her to bid farewell to the other elders on his behalf.
Surrounding the Qing Clan, other than the rivers in the east and the south, the only other notable land feature was a vast plot of fertile land that was suitable for farming. If one followed the eastern river, one would be able to reach the Hundred Miles City. Of course, the path would not be able to lead you directly into the Hundred Miles City, as there were many small villages and towns situated on the road to Hundred Miles City.
The Qing Clan had absolute authority over a radius of 100 Li, many of the smaller clans nearby earned a living by farming or hunting under the protection of the Qing Clan.
Qing Shui departed the Qing Village and headed towards a western direction. The west of the Qing Village consisted of mountains and the Greenwood Forest. Further ahead of him was the Greenwood forest where he had met the Golden Direwolf. Qing Shui decided to proceed up the western mountains and traverse beyond them to reach the 1,000,000 Li Mountains. He chose this route to temper himself, and thus gain benefits for his cultivation.
With a small bag on his back, Qing Shui left the Qing Clan seemingly unprepared. He only brought the 4 books, 2 sets of clean clothes and some dried rations. As he walked towards the western mountains, he was ceaselessly complaining to himself again. “Lame backpack, stupid backpack, where the hell are my storage rings? Damn this piece of shitty backpack!”
The grumbling lasted for about the time an incense stick takes to burn . Qing Shui had finally reached the bottom of the western mountains! With the damnable backpack on his back, Qing Shui chose a path up the mountains after searching the nearby ground for 2 stones the size of goose eggs and equipping them in his hands.
The mountainous region nearby was filled with danger. The wild beasts did not pose a threat to him, but if he ran into a beast of the ferocious or desolate grade, that would prove to be an entirely different matter. After all, he was out in the wilds, it would be safer if he was armed.
In this world of the 9 provinces, beasts can be categorized into 4 different levels. Wild Beast, Ferocious Beast, Desolate Beast, Demonic Beast. The ones with the weakest attack powers would be classified as the wild beasts. The demonic beasts are beasts who had already formed a demonic core in them. Their strength could be directly inferred from their age, the longer they had lived the more terrifying their level of strength would be! It was said that even Xiantian cultivators would not be able to prevail over demonic beasts of the same level! It appeared that the golden direwolf Qing Shui met earlier was only of the ferocious grade.
Qing Shui knew that cultivators who only chose to live a safe and stable life when compared to one who tread the perilous way, would be akin to a egg compared to a stone. Those who did not enter battle would not be able to go far in the long run! That was precisely why Qing Shui decided to head to the 1,000,000 Li Mountains! He wanted to gain combat experiences, and at the same time temper his state of mind and find an opportunity to break through!
Only while being out in the wilderness would one even begin to strive to gain an understanding of the Heavens and Earth. To comprehend the meaning of life, through contemplating the spiritual significance of the five elements in nature!
Every day, other than spending his time in cultivating the Ancient Strengthening Technique, Qing Shui would briefly study the contents of the 4 books he brought with him. Currently, the only book which he was fully immersed in understanding its contents was the [Continental Medical Annal]. Qing Shui could not help but exclaim in wonder, the knowledge of the ancients were at the very least on par or could even be considered superior when compared to the modern medicine in his previous world!
People say that a excellent practitioner of the martial arts would also be half a medical scholar as well. Excellent martial artists would have some knowledge on the medical arts pertaining to injuries and wounds, and the meridians and acupoints of the human body. Qing Shui continued reading, and was not surprised to find that the facts recorded in the book was actually consistent with the information he unlocked with the Ancient Strengthening Technique.
Only when Qing Shui arrived at the foot of the 1,000,000 Li Mountains, did he truly know the true meaning of the word “spacious”. In his line of sight, as far as his eyes could see, the surrounding region was filled with majestic peaks and mountains, seemingly endless.
“Xuuuu” At this instant, a light breezy mountain wind begin to rise and blew past Qing Shui. As it was the summer season now, the light mountain wind was a welcome change to alleviate the heat of the summer sun. Qing Shui begin traversing the mountain path by executing Ghostly Steps! He wanted to cultivate it to the point where he could unconsciously execute each step with the minimum amount of strength required.
A week had passed, in this period of time, Qing Shui did not know exactly how far had he traversed. He only knew that he climbed five mountains and slew over 300 wild and ferocious grade beasts. Out of these 300 beasts, there was a particular battle with an Earthen Gigantic Elephant that filled him with much excitement.
Initially, Qing Shui was nervous to be facing against such an opponent. The Earthen Gigantic Elephant had a body size of 5m in height and 15m in length! How would he be able to fight on equal grounds with it? To clash directly with it was pure madness! In terms of strength and body size, there was no way Qing Shui would be comparable to it, thus Qing Shui had no choice but to temporarily retreat.
Although the elephant was colossal in size, and with a hide with the toughness of steel plates, there was no hindrance to its movements! With speed that one would not have expected from that massive frame of body, its muscles flowed together in perfect harmony as the elephant sped over to Qing Shui, causing tremors that shook the ground with each step it took.
Taking measure of his opponent and his own strength, Qing Shui knew that the current him did not have the power to injure this ferocious beast. If he wanted to prevail, he had to use his wits instead! Advancing in the guise of retreat, by using the Ghostly Steps, Qing Shui led the Earthen Gigantic Elephant through a series of wild dances before strategically baiting it to a point near the cliff. Using his swiftness and agility, Qing Shui execute the Ghostly Steps to dodge the killing blow unleashed. A moment later, he appeared behind the elephant and with his full explosive strength, he threw a fist aiming at one of its massive hind legs, succeeding in his attempt to push the elephant off the cliff.
“Kacha~” The sound of bones breaking resounded as the elephant beast plummeted with a tragic cry filled with rage and misery!
After a glance at the giant corpse at the foot of the mountains, Qing Shui stared dumbly at his own hands, even though he a strength of 13,000 jin, it still took the entirety of his strength to deliver the killing blow. A smile broke out on his face as hints of savage victory filled his heart. So this was how the ruler of the wilds felt like. By using his own strength and wits, he had caused the Earthen Gigantic Elephant to be smashed beyond recognition!
This bout had made Qing Shui appreciate the Ancient Strengthening Technique even more… If he had cultivated using normal methods, the strength gained from them would pale in comparison to the Ancient Strengthening Technique, and his defeat would be unquestionable. The Ancient Strengthening Technique was undoubtedly the strongest strengthening technique, and when cultivated to its zenith the refinement of his body would be comparable even to the Gods and Demons!
Although he was content with the victory, there exists a more pressing problem in front of him. Qing Shui had already run out of drinkable water! He had also not come across any water sources or beasts in the last 3 days.
“Damn, I’m in trouble. Without a water source, there would naturally be no beasts nearby, no wonder I had no other encounters for the past 3 days.” Wetting his parched lips with his saliva, Qing Shui frowned. All of a sudden, a huge shadow blotted out the sunlight. “Huh?” Qing Shui inclined his head in surprise, and swiftly after, his expression changed drastically for the worst.