"There's just an average increase of 0.01 in Attributes. I still need 2% more to enhance my Potential, just short by a little. Too bad there aren't any Antiques of Tragedy for me to absorb Potential. Antiques of Tragedy… What secret lies within these objects?" He had been unable to figure out what the Potential within Antiques of Tragedy actually was. He merely speculated that the more an antique was associated with a dangerous and bloody ancient legend, the more Potential it contained.
"It's unfortunate. If only the ring in uncle's hands was stronger, I could wear it for a few months to top up that final 2%. But if it were stronger, there would probably be problems before uncle could wait for me to realize it." The level of the ring was too low; it was essentially ineffective for him. He would probably have to wear it for a few years before there was any effect. He might as well approach the issue through Golden Hoop.
"I wonder if this Golden Sword Throne contains Potential. If an antique with a widespread legend could be an Antique of Tragedy, why were the similar antiques that I later found completely useless? Is it that only objects which are able to bring the collector misfortune contain Potential?"
"Forget it, I shouldn't think so much. This matter is unfinished. I will know when the time comes."
He stopped thinking further, and looked at the current Skills Pane.
——Secret Martial Art——
Mammoth Mutation: Explosive (Top level), Skin Hardening Level One (Iron Body), Blood Qi Stabilization (Boulder Martial Art).
Dark Iron Palm: Accumulation has not reached rudimentary level (accumulation of physical toxins Level Two)
Firestream Fist: Weak progress (Level Four)
"Duskdune Shura should have no idea that I killed a Royal General, otherwise he wouldn't have talked so much nonsense in the end, and would have just ended me directly. I've escaped this time, but the next encounter would be troublesome."
"Now that I'm caught up in this whirlpool of trouble, I can't leave to find low-level Secret Martial Arts. But even though I can't, that doesn't mean Su Lin can't! I could maybe seek his help in finding some low-level Secret Martial Arts for me to train in."
The ones most valuable to him were those inferior Secret Martial Arts that required little external criteria. Generally, for middle- or high-grade Secret Martial Arts, the higher the level, the more powerful it was, the less restriction it posed, the more it required external conditions to supplement it. Those would be unfavorable to his training.
He got out of bed and put on the prepared clothes by the bed. Garen suddenly saw, at the bottom of the bed, the martial arts notebook that he had previously found on the body of the Pink Pupil Royal General. He picked it up to browse.
On it were notes about the confusions the Pink Pupil Royal General faced in his martial arts training and the eventual solutions that he came up with. It was like someone recording their own difficulties, then focused their energies to conquer them.
Initially, Garen was merely browsing casually. He didn't expect to be unwittingly absorbed in it.
Much of the notes recorded some unexpected deficiencies and difficulties of martial arts. Garen had encountered many of them and had yet to encounter many more. Most of them contained solutions on the back.
It was then that Garen realized the value of this notebook. Because of his lowly origins from a low-level small sect, a lot of his martial arts experience had been unable to reach a certain height. This notebook could coincidentally make up for a portion of his deficiencies.
This also made him realize why his physical qualities and Attributes hadn't had much progress after all this while.
In other words, if it were not for his inherent special ability maintaining the solidification of his physical qualities, maybe he would have experienced a decline in quality long ago.
"Although its usefulness for me isn't that great, it would be very accessible and helpful for the average person learning martial arts." Garen looked at the book satisfactorily. This was an unexpected gain.
Unintentionally, he turned to a page about difficulties in Secret Martial Art training.
'Attempt to train in cumulative low-level Secret Martial Art, failed, extremely poor progress! Why?' This was a problem faced by the Pink Pupil Royal General. It was exactly what Garen was facing.
He started to look more serious.
He gently turned to the next page. The line of words recorded on it initially made Garen's heart skip a beat, but when he instantly saw the lines underneath; his lips couldn't help but curve upwards slightly.
Dense black wordings were clearly recorded on the pale yellow paper.
'Cumulative low-level Secret Martial Arts are mostly incomplete. Here I have collated the deficiencies of some common Secret Martial Arts.'
'1. Dagger Fist: Boil safflower petals in water and apply the solution to both hands. Method identical to previous medication.'
'2. Buzzbeck Arc Sword Skills: Need to forge a special hilt for continuous practice. The hilt design is as follows…'
'3. Odin Steel Fist: Need to use spiked board together with the medication for Level One Fist Arts in training.'
The more Garen read, the more he felt satisfied. Not for the deficiencies of the many Secret Martial Arts that he had never heard of, but because he actually found the practicing deficiencies for the two low-level Secret Martial Arts he was training in: Firestream Fist and Dark Iron Palm.
'31. Dark Iron Palm: Need to be upside down when practicing.' After reading this short line of content on the deficiency, Garen searched his memory and recalled the method of training for Dark Iron Palm, and was instantly enlightened.
Those training methods that seemed strange, if practiced upside down, would instantly make sense from the perspective of martial arts concepts.
He turned a page, and read on.
'38. Firestream Fist: A Secret Martial Art that is relatively more time-consuming. Practice needs to be complemented with hot iron sand. Strike and stab fists into a basin of iron sand in the initial stage, which can later be replaced with real charcoals. See illustration for specific training method.' On the back were a few clearly drawn illustrations for practice methods and stages. It covered every stage of practice for Firestream Fist.
Garen could not help but give a low laugh.
"Finally, I am able to complete these two low-level secret Martial Arts even if I don't go to Southern Sky Holy Fist Gate!" This bounty eased the depressed mood he had experienced from his injury and defeat.
"Practicing upside down, hehe, I'd like to give it a try." Garen was impatient to give it a go immediately. His sudden excitement caused him to feel a dull sensation in his chest.
"I have not recovered yet. Duskdune Shura is powerful indeed. Such a light strike has caused me prolonged negative effects." A chill ran through Garen's heart. He recalled Duskdune Shura's tactics and his high spirits were calmed once again.
Knock knock knock.
"Mr Garen, Master requests your presence in the conference room. Breakfast will be served there too."
"Alright," Garen replied aloud. He quickly straightened his clothes and glanced at himself in the mirror.
His strong, fair body was evenly toned and muscular. There wasn't the slightest flabbiness and no muscles seemed overly uncoordinated.
His purple hair was somewhat long and almost covered his eyes. It draped at his shoulders, and seemed slightly frizzy. The faint dark red tone gave others a sense of cool toughness.
He put on a black shirt and a white suit, and allowed his shoulder-length hair to hang freely. Garen tugged the shirt collar and looked at himself in the mirror.
The man in the mirror gave off a sense of wildness, as well as a trace of cool and strength. His chin was slightly lifted. He could give others a strong sense of fear and oppression without saying a word.
"Unconsciously, I have become like this…" Garen swept aside the hair covering his vision.
He gently touched his chest; there was still a slight numbness.
He stowed the notebook, turned, and left through the door.
Estate Conference Room
A yellow boardroom-style table was placed in the middle of a small room with pale yellow tones, with a few black leather chairs surrounding it.
Above the table, a square-ish lamp hung from a black wire, emitting a soft, yellow light.
Su Lin and his father, Lieutenant Crohn sat in the main seats by the curtains. They were clad in black suits, slowly sipping coffees.
The Dragon King, Yoda sat with Su Lin. He looked calm, and was casually drinking coffee too.
A gloomy-looking old lady sat alone at the other end. This old lady was also wearing a military uniform. The golden badge on her shoulder shone with three silver stars and a pair of crossed swords. It was the symbol for lieutenants.
"Apologies, I am late." At the opened door, Garen slowed his pace and entered. He glanced at everyone inside, then sat directly beside Su Lin.
"No worries. Your injuries are not light." Crohn gave Garen a friendly smile. In that moment, after a suitable change of attire, Garen's temperament perfectly embodied his powerful true strength and Bravery.
Su Lin and Yoda looked at Garen, shocked. After the battle with Duskdune Shura, Garen's initial strong Bravery had become more restrained, and the impression he gave now was akin to a volcano hidden beneath the seabed. It wasn't like before, where the sight of him would be associated with strength, power, and pulverization!
He was indeed worthy of being deemed a martial arts expert capable of directly countering Duskdune Shura in a short amount of time.
Crohn was silently impressed. He pointed at the white-haired old woman sitting alone.
"Allow me to introduce. This is the person in charge of the Special Response Unit newly established by the Confederation, Lieutenant Lenny. "
The old woman, Lenny, nodded dully at the three of them, not saying a word.
"Lieutenant Lenny is the main person in charge of tracking and following-up on this terrorist attack. She is interested in your understanding of the situation, and hopes that you can provide her with some information on Duskdune Shura. Of course, I too will reveal the source of conflict between myself and Duskdune Shura."
"No problem," Su Lin was the first to respond.
"I have some reservations about matters related to my personal privacy, but rest assured there will not be any impact on this incident," Yoda answered lazily.
"I have no opinion either." Garen nodded.
Crohn nodded in satisfaction.
"In that case, let me start."
He gestured for the guards to shut the door, then glanced around the room once.
"Actually, no one knows what the essence of the Golden Sword Throne is apart from its maker, including myself, its owner."
He broke off, then continued.
"When I went to the ruins of Nabudas Empire on the Fivestar Continent, I acquired a golden ornament from the chief of the indigenous tribe there. It looked like a sword pierced into a throne-like ancient stone. It is merely the size of a palm, almost like a pen holder. I didn't expect it to be the legendary mysterious Golden Sword Throne."
"Fivestar Continent is different from Stonecliff Continent where we are at, as well as Azure Continent. There are many backwards and ancient areas there, so it's not surprising that they had a golden ornament like that. How do you know that the ornament is the Golden Sword Throne?" Lieutenant Lenny asked.
"Hold on. Can you explain what the effects of the Golden Sword Throne are, specifically?"
"This was confirmed by my daughter, and also by Duskdune Shura. As to its effects, it is said that the secret to the inheritance of an ancient and powerful martial art is hidden within. It has also been said that it was an object used by medieval warlocks to curse souls. There are also rumors that the Golden Sword Throne is the key to a mysterious ruin, and the person who accesses the ruin will obtain a gift from the devil. These are all different words telling the same story. I, too, am actually unsure of its true secret," Crohn explained. "Originally, I wasn't too concerned about it, and viewed it as a nice collectible. I didn't expect Duskdune Shura to contact me about trading for it. You must understand, terrorist organizations like Duskdune Shura's, if able to be eliminated, would be a fortunate event for the Confederation, and for the three continents, so…"
"So you used it as bait and mobilized the entire Special Agents Bureau, all to capture Duskdune Shura. What you didn't expect was for the opponent to be too strong, resulting in our current situation?" Yoda interjected.
"Indeed. My estimates were miscalculated, causing such a big casualty. It is indeed my responsibility," Crohn let out a long sigh.
"Even the entire Special Agents Bureau couldn't stop Duskdune Shura. If not for your son, Su Lin soliciting the help of two elite experts, I'm afraid you would have been killed in a miserable defeat," Lenny said casually.
"I am miserable enough." Crohn shrugged helplessly. "The reason I invited you all here, is mainly because we have discovered the location of the ruins where Duskdune Shura is headed. We are hoping that you would assist our military forces in killing the leader of this terrorist organization. Even though we are reluctant, we still have to admit that perhaps only with Garen and Mr Yoda, combined with the military, can there be a chance in suppressing Duskdune Shura."