Chapter 22: The Lightness of Being Debt Free!
A year passed quickly, Ling Lan was about six years old. She who had once destained how time passed too slowly now complained that time was moving too fast.
Since she began officially practicing the Ling family's body techniques at the age of five, Ling Lan began boldly practicing the Nine Refined Form Pattern. The amount she practiced was more than half the amount of the previous three years combined. In truth, before the age of five, she managed to complete four forms, but this year she managed to complete the latter three. The further down the Nine Refined Form Pattern someone practiced, the more difficult it became and the more time it took.
Unfortunately, Ling Lan couldn't relax – in fact, the pressure was even heavier. The learning space's time limit for the Nine Refined Form Pattern was only half a year away. Seeing the imminent deadline approaching, Ling Lan hadn't even finished the eighth form, let alone the most difficult ninth form.
So she couldn't help but use every second – even eating was done in a battle state. Her extreme burst of wind speed while eating food made her mother Lan Luofeng go mad1. She faced Ling Lan's father's photo and cried frantically, thinking she couldn't be sorry enough to her husband. Their child was taught crooked by her teaching and had no bit of a big family aura2.
But even so, the deadline still arrived on time. Although Ling Lan successfully completed the eight form, the ninth one still hadn't been completed.
Ling Lan really didn't want to face mentor No. 1, but unfortunately the learning space didn't allow her to escape. Once the countdown reached zero, Ling Lan's consciousness was captured by the learning space.
She once again arrived at the body technique learning space. Upon entering, the air seemed colder than usual. Not only that, No. 1 was already there and stood with a straight back, as if he had waited there for a long time.
Ling Lan rubbed her arms, trying to loosen the goosebumps that appeared on them. Facing such a strong powerhouse that excluded such a chilling aura, Ling Lan couldn't maintain her calm.
And this No. 1, the chill on his body was colder than the previous two meetings. Although his eyes were still calm and without the slightest trace of emotion, Ling Lan could still acutely sense signals of No. 1's extreme displeasure.
God, No. 1 must be really disatisfied with her behavior this time. Ling Lan's sixth sense was very strong and she quickly put on a serious look, lowering her eyebrows and appearing agreeable: "Mentor No. 1, I'm sorry, I let you down."
No. 1 coldly spoke: "No harm, we are only responsible for guidance. Cherish or not, it was all your own choice and has nothing to do with me. I'm sorry, you have found the wrong person."
Although No. 1 spoke as if the problem wasn't related to him, Ling Lan could still feel a strong dissatisfaction in his words.
Ling Lan was in tears: Mentor No. 1 ah, what exactly do you mean? What do you want to trouble in the end?
While Ling Lan was criticizing in her mind, her face dared not to express a trace of disrespect. She didn't dare to make excuses and could only droop her head.
After all, Ling Lan did have a guilty conscience. In the first three years, she indeed did waste a lot of time and didn't practice well. Of course, the large part of the reason was the constant care and attention from the Ling family. The cautious and anxious her could only used the time her mother was asleep to practice. Every day she could only practice up to five or six hours a day, greatly slowing her learning progress. Certainly they loosened their hold on her due to the start of her practicing the Ling family's body technique, the wasted time couldn't be made up for again.
"The practice of Nine Refined Form Pattern, completed the first eight forms. The ninth form's progress has reached 69%. The task was not complete. Punishment decisions: First, the deduction of 200 honor points. If honor points aren't enough, you may choose another option. Second, electric shock 200 times! Third, the use of honor points to exchange for more time. The penalty will double if not completed. Please select!"
The learning space's system mercilessly announced Ling Lan's punishment options, which made her both shocked and delighted. Shock was because of the system's ruthlessness. Whether it was choosing honor points or corporal punishment, until the last moment she didn't want to choose. Honor points were too precious, she couldn't bear it. As for corporal punishment…cough cough, she didn't have a self-abuse tendency.
The thing that delighted her was, the system still gave her a chance to make up. The only thing was, upon seeing how punishment would double, her consciousness couldn't help but tremble a few times. A cold sensation spread from her spine to the top of her head.
At this time, No. 1's cold voice sounded: "Tell me, which one do you choose?"
Ling Lan asked cautiously: "Mentor No. 1, can you help me explain the third option." If the cost of honor points wasn't very high, Ling Lan was willing to try.
No. 1 looked at her before coldly hmphing: "You can use ten honor points to exchange for thirty days. Within that time, you can continue practicing the Nine Refined Form Pattern. If completed on schedule, the punishment will be canceled. If it cannot be completed, the penalty will double."
Ling Lan's heart was happy. Ten honor points was a loss that she could afford. It was just that she had to finish the ninth form within thirty days, which was a bit difficult. To be honest, Ling Lan's heart didn't have a bottom. To be honest, she wasn't sure how many days it might take for her to complete it – perhaps a month, maybe two months or even three months. She wasn't even sure that she could finish it in a year. Ling Lan still remembered that when mentor No. 9 had instructed her to learn the Nine Refined Form Pattern, she told her that the mastery relied on both luck and awareness. Neither could be lacked.
Maybe she should try it for once? Ling Lan hesitated, but in the end she still wasn't willing to part with those precious honor points, nor could she cruelly undergo self-abuse. Thus she could only break her wrist and choose honor points to exchange for time.
When Ling Lan stated her choice, she immediately felt the temperature of the learning space raise a little and no longer felt as cold. No. 1 helped her choose the third option and before Ling Lan could ask about the situation, kicked her out of the body technique learning space.
Ling Lan could only remember No. 1's cold and threatening gaze, as if warning her that this task must be completed.
Once she returned to the consciousness space, she didn't even bother to greet the waiting Xiao Si. With a whizz, Ling Lan flew back to go full out in practicing.
Although Ling Lan didn't know what that final threatening look in No. 1's eyes were trying to tell her, her bones understood that if the forms could not be completed, she would certainly die a miserable death…
For the next month, Ling Lan practiced like an old yellow bull3. Every day, she practiced until the last breath of her strength before daring to rest. In this extreme self-torture method, Ling Lan successfully managed to complete the ninth form.
Upon entering the learning space, Ling Lan saw that the deadline only had a few tens of seconds remaining. Her body broke out into cold sweat. In fact, even to the last moment, she wasn't sure if she could complete the task on schedule. She could only circulate her body's energy and command herself to practice the Nine Refined Form Pattern over and over again.
Perhaps because of the reason of smashing a cracked pot4, when Ling Lan finally practiced to the point of having a vague understanding, she felt the splintering of some kind of block in her brain. Her body involuntarily moved in the shape of the Nine Refined Form Pattern, allowing the mind to firmly engrave the form that she spent 5 years bitterly practicing.
In this way, Ling Lan managed to resolve the problem of the sword hanging over her head and finally returned to the beginning lightness of being debt free.
Translated by somnious, unedited
1 风化 (fēnghuà): To be honest I'm actually not that clear on this phrase. I'm not sure if the author misspelled it or if there's a slang meaning that I can't find. T_T
2 大家族风范 (dà jiāzú fēngfàn): This is kind of funny bc it's basically the aura of an aristocrat/big family member?
3 老黄牛 (lǎo huángniú): old yellow bull, it means to work really hard and seriously
4 破罐子破摔 (pò guànzi pò shuāi): lit. to smash a cracked pot (idiom); crazy despair in the face of a blemish, defect, error or setback