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"That seems to be the case. Although the Celestial Circle Gate and the Crimson Sand Sword have been training a few potential candidates that could become Grandmasters of Combat, there are too little of them that might actually manage to become one." Corbella nodded with confidence.

"If this keeps up, both the public and the secret martial arts worlds would become dimmer and dimmer." Gate Master Luther of the Crimson Sand Sword nodded as he frowned.

"Don’t the governments that value them not raise ones themselves?" Garen asked curiously.

"They don’t have what it takes to raise one." Gate Master of the Crimson Sand Sword smile wryly. "A Grandmaster of Combat requires huge amount of herbal resources to provide nutrients and enhance the body. It takes a long time to train them as well. Excluding talented ones like you, a Grandmaster of Combat normally requires to train the secret martial arts since young for at least a decade before they qualify to become a Grandmaster of Combat."

"The problem lies in the qualification itself. The success rate is too low. It would be considered impressive if one out of a hundred candidates qualify as a Grandmaster of Combat." Corbella continued. "A low success rate combined with the long duration required to nurture them to reach the utmost limits of a human being. Only the crazy ones are daring enough to try and train their bodies for that. Furthermore, they would need to maintain the training for long periods of time as well to prevent the body from regressing. In short, producing one is extremely difficult.

"That’s true. A country can nurture a few sharpshooters within the time and resources required to nurture one Grandmaster of Combat. Furthermore, sharpshooters pose more threat on the battlefield. All three of us here would be helpless if we go up against a canon, right?" The Gate Master of the Crimson Sand Sword sighed.

The atmosphere in the living room had started to stale up.

"The technology of missiles and the power of firearms are getting stronger and stronger. This means that an individual’s effectiveness diminishes as the day goes by. Each country’s military armor and air force are exceedingly powerful. The current role of a Grandmaster of Combat is mainly protection and assassination. This is one of the main reasons why The federation does not value the Grandmasters of Combat as much." Luther explained.

Garen nodded in agreement.

It’s true that even if he had already mastered the body hardening technique, he would still be injured if he go against a person with firearms. If it were to be other Grandmaster of Combat, they would be torn in half in no time.

However, he felt that this was because the countries were not aware of the value the importance of special operations yet. Once special operations similar to that of Earth’s were in motion, the importance of having a Grandmaster of Combat would be obvious.

"Let’s not talk about this. The military has already arranged an airplane and I will leave two days later. " Garen looked at the Gate Master of the Crimson Sand Sword.

The Gate Master was skeptical. "Looks like you’re here purely to gather information?"

"Yes. There’s no problem, I assume?"

"Of course."

On the other side, Corbella stood up and said: "Then we shall pardon ourselves."

"See you."

Garen sat as he looked at Corbella and his two disciples leave. After that, he chatted with the Gate Master of the Crimson Sand Sword for a while and went to their headquarters.

They embarked with a convoy of well guarded red carriages as they left the courtyard of the headquarters that he visited a few days ago.

The house located in the middle of the courtyard was charred black, and most of the place was in a mess. The houses which were on the left looked fine, however.

"This way." The Gate Master of the Crimson Sand Sword lead Garen into the the left side area of the courtyard and passed through a few houses, reaching another small courtyard again.

This courtyard had a small garden, a false mountain pool and a huge locust tree. The courtyard was densely packed with trees and shades.

Garen followed behind the Gate Master and saw the same row of houses and a small courtyard across from the pool. He saw servants walking to and fro carrying water and a used bandages.

The Gate Master smiled and explained as he saw Garen’s gaze, "Beo lives in that courtyard. He is still resting as he was heavily injured from the mission given by the Federation’s government."

"Is that so?" Garen replied.

Both of them kept walking passing through the small courtyard and reached a small remote house.

There were two old women sitting in front of the red-brown door, facing each other. Each of them were holding a book on their hand as they muttered gloomily.

Both of them stood up as they saw the Gate Master approaching them.

"Is he here?"

"He’s here. Please open the door." The Gate Master of the Crimson Sand Sword nodded his head.

They proceeded to swing open the wooden door.

After giving some simple precautionary instructions, Gate Master Luther left the place alone.

The door was then closed, leaving Garen alone inside the house.

The room had the same rectangular reddish brown, wooden floor.

A row of bookshelves was placed by the wall opposite the door. There was a spiral staircase on the right side of the bookshelf that lead to the second floor of the house.

There was a table and chair in front of the bookshelf, with a stone carving of a big black man on it.

The statue was a man with curled hair, wearing a black coat. He wore a stern facial expression and seemed to be in a walking position with a book in his hand.

Garen walked passed the statue and stood in front of the bookshelf.

There were a total of four bookshelves and the books were categorized properly.

They were categorized into experience, practice, methods and low grade secret martial arts.

The bookshelf was sparse; most of them were strewn this way and that. At most, there were about ten to twenty books per bookshelf.

Garen went directly towards the low grade secret martial arts category and ignored the first three.

The secret martial arts bookshelf was once again sub-categorized into physical movement, palm method, kicking method, finger method and weaponries.

Among them, books related to the weaponries were the most abundant, amounting to about seven to eight books. Garen picked them up and glanced through them.

Kris Dagger Technique, The Sword of Glory, Twin Sword Art, Trio Sword Art, Double Handed Sword, Single Handed Sword, Heavy Sword.

He glanced through all of them. As they were all low grade secret martial arts, they did not require high physical attribution. Now that he had maxed out his physical attribution and reached the utmost limit of a human being, he effortlessly memorized everything on the book by giving them a cursory glance.

While he did not need it now, that didn’t mean he won’t be needing it in the future. These secret martial arts were at the most, third rated, which was on par with the Iron Body and the Boulder martial arts.

After scanning through the weaponry secret martial arts, he set his gaze upon the physical movement category.

He gently brushed over the physical movement column with his finger.

Seasnake Walk, Greenwood Impact, Raid, Stella Assassination Step.

There were only these few books. Garen picked them up and flipped them open. Although most of the training methods made use of special techniques that require a sudden release in muscle and qi, they did not mention the methods in making up what it lacked. They were just very strong techniques with great power and Garen found most of them overbearing.

"These styles were all very different. Is this the secret techniques of the Galantia that I hear about?" He memorized all of them.

He took only a few minutes to memorize one whole book.

The important ones were the Palm Method and Finger Method.

However they were not a lot of them.

Finger Method: Wicked Claw, Double Finger Method.

Palm Method: Hundred Compound Palm, Javier Punch.

These were not so helpful towards Garen. However he could learn from the different training methods and perhaps he could gain some useful effects.

He walked up to the second floor as there was nothing interesting on the first floor.

There was only one bookshelf on the second floor. Similarly, there were only ten plus books scattered about.

However, Garen’s eye was burned with excitement as he laid his eyes upon them.

Most of the secret martial arts books on this bookshelf were much more suited for him.

He simply picked out a book called the Lion King Fist. It was a secret martial art that hardens the user’s fist, which suits his fighting style. It was rumored that it could enhance one’s self-confidence through exercise. It would be very helpful in changing a person’s personality. It was considered as one of the Magic Fist Art.

He memorized the Lion King Fist down in detail and continued looking for more.

Boulder martial arts, Iron Body and Firestream Fist could be seen on the bookshelf too.

Garen took out all the secret martial artss that he had yet to know and placed them on the second floor’s table.

Speed Shifting Palm, Bronze Statue Technique, Steel Statue Technique, Gold Statue Technique, Hodman’s Gun Jabbing Fist, Ember Claw.

There were a total of six secret technique books that Garen had never seen before, and they were all complete sets. They were all second rated or third rated secret techniques, which were the same grade as the Mammoth Secret Technique and beyond.

The Crimson Sand Sword seemed to not keep anything other than techniques with complete sets.

Garen then reread the secret techniques such as the Firestream Fist that he already knew to see if there was anything different from what he knew. After that, he memorized the remaining six new secret techniques.

Bronze Statue Technique, Steel Statue Technique and Gold Statue Technique was obtained by the Crimson Sand Sword by eliminating body hardening factions. It was obvious that they had prepared this for Garen since they hadn’t taken them away.

Although these three techniques were strong, their differences in power were not that far apart. However, there was one crucial factor.

Although the three levels, namely Bronze, Silver and Gold were not much of a difference to an outsider, there was a difference between the users. The Steel Statue users could restrain the Bronze Statue users and the Gold Statue users could restrain the Steel Statue users easily.

This was an obvious way to form a hierarchy within the Gate.

The Speed Shifting Palm Technique could be use to increase the agility of the palm techniques, which could be considered as a small secret technique regime.

On the other hand, the Hodman’s Gun Jabbing Fist was a secret technique with a powerful force. It was a palm technique derived by a fighting form mimicking the gun. It could produce at least three times the power of a commoner.

However, Hodman, who had invented this technique died before reaching forty due to this technique. Whoever practiced this technique had either died of young or possessed huge prowess. There were no exceptions.

The age of the users when they passed away was recorded in the book. None of them died from disease.

"This could be used to train sacrificial pawn." Garen memorized this secret technique as well.

The last one was Ember Claw.

It was a simple secret technique that trained both hands. Although it was able to increase the temperature of both hands to very high temperatures, its power was average. It was invented by a mediocre Grandmaster of Combat who wanted to improve himself in his late forties. However, he died from the fire he created..

As Garen was reading the secret technique, he was tempted. He closed his eyes and looked at his attribute pane after memorizing the whole thing.

Strength 2.66. Agility 2.72. Vitality 2.65. Intelligence 2.53. Potential 626%.

Secret Technique ----

Mammotth Variation: Explosive (Max Level), Epidermal Hardening Grade 1 (Iron Body), Blood Qi Stabilization Grade 1 (Boulder martial arts).

Red Jade Palm: rudimentary level (Grade 1), Burning Strengthen Level 1 (Dark Crimson Technique), Vitality Enhancement Level 1 (Dark Crimson Technique)’

"Another point from Potential." Garen smiled in satisfaction. "The Golden Sword Throne is indeed a good item. It was worth my time to take the risk and obtain it. It’s good to be able to obtain one potential point per week."

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