"Since the inception of martial arts, I must be the first one that has trained multiple secret methods at once. A secret method would at least take a couple of years to train and master. The secret method is also martial arts which means that without practice its power would deteriorate due to loss of familiarity. It's similar to going against the tide. Without a day of practice, three days of effort may go to waste. Without my special ability that can consolidate and reinforce the training results, it would be impossible to train other secret methods.
"The body's adaptability is like this."
He raised his head and scanned the roof's edge and the starry night. A bright crest hung in the night's sky as the moon cast a veil with its light.
"It would be better if I don't go home now, in case something happens in the near future, and my family will be worried." Garen made up his mind to stay at the dojo.
The news of his return didn't leak out as only a few select individuals knew about it.
He gently let out a sigh.
The hallway in front of the Dojo's library was pitch black and silent.
He strolled along the hallway. He had only taken a few steps when he saw a shadow sitting by the right wall.
He walked closer to take a better look.
"Grace?" Garen was surprised by her presence.
The shadow was Grace in a professional office assistant attire. Her graceful legs were covered by a thick layer of stockings and closed together. She was curled into a ball as if she was in a chilling weather.
She subconsciously opened her eyes when she heard the voice and looked at Garen in front of her.
"Garen you are done." Weakness transmitted through her voice. She tried to stand up, but her legs were sore. She lost balance and almost fell.
Garen caught her still in the air, feeling the fragility of her body. It was burning.
Grace grasped onto his body with force.
"Why are you waiting here?" Garen asked gently. "Manuyllton Corporation's intelligence gathering is impressive. I just got back, and you already know. When did you come here?"
"Afternoon…" Grace's voice dimmed, and she sounded frailer.
Garen reached a hand to touch her forehead. It was burning.
"You have a fever. There are doctors and nurses with the master. I'll take you there for a checkup. It shouldn't be a big problem."
He lifted her by the waist and strode to the room where his master rested.
The dojo was silent. There was no indication of any light, either. The massive dojo appeared hollow and void.
It was a short walk before they reached the room at the corner. A nurse was carrying a bucket of water from the room.
The dim yellow light slipped out past the edge of the door. Simon's silhouette was dozing off beside the bed.
Garen carried Grace and with a lowered voice asked,"Ms. Nurse, could you please find some cold and fever medicine for my friend?"
"No problem." The nurse was an ordinary girl with small freckles on her face, and she agreed without hesitation. "But don't bring her into the room. The patient in there has not yet recovered, and he may catch a cold."
"Put me down!" Grace began to resist Garen's hand. Her legs kicked, and her face had a vivid redness to it from the fever, which confused her senses.
Garen shook his head speechlessly as he waited for a while at the door. The nurse he spoke to found another one to arrange a room for Grace. Only then, could Garen find some time and walk into his master's room.
Simon drooled as he had fallen asleep with his head slanted to the side against the back of the chair.
Garen gently closed the door, but the sound was low enough that it didn't even wake him up. He walked over and tapped on his shoulder.
"Wooo." Simon slurped up the drool in a hurry. "Se… Senior brother!" When he saw Garen walk in, he was shocked and hastily stood up.
"Your arm is still in a cast, why are you not getting any rest? Go back to your room and sleep!" Garen told him with a stern face while trying to keep his voice steady.
"But the dojo master…" Simon wavered.
"I'll be here," Garen said. "Master hasn't woken up yet?"
Simon's face dimmed. "No, not even once. He has been like this since we returned from the Celestial Circle Gate."
"He wasn't injuried that seriously, what's going on?" Garen frowned with his eyerbows raised.
"I don't know, the doctor said that the dojo master's body is fine. They just don't know why he is unconscious," Simon replied with an undertone. "The dojo master is going to be okay, right? Senior Brother?" A worrisome expression appeared on his face.
"It's going to be okay, I am here, right?" Garen patted his shoulder. "Go rest now, I'll take care of him."
"I have only been here for a bit, Collin was here before." Simon laughed feeling a little embarrassed.
"To be fair, you don't have to stay here with me," Garen suddenly said. "You are just regular trainees."
"You don't have to say that! Senior Brother, we have already made up our minds, and we are going to stay at the dojo. Regardless of the results, the dojo has given us too much. This is Collin and I's choice. Carrie is different from us because she still has her parents and brother, so we convinced her to go back. Senior Brother, you won't blame us for this decision, right?" Simon calmed as he expressed his thoughts.
"Of course not." Garen didn't know what was the best thing to say at such a moment. "You guys don't have to do this much."
"Don't worry, Senior Brother." Simon smiled. "Collin and I are free from worry. It's the dojo master that has taught us everything. I'll go back and rest now, the master will depend on you now."
"Mhmm, you can go back." Garen nodded.
He watched Simon slowly left the room and closed the door.
Garen was deep in thought.
Compared to Senior Sister Rosetta, the normal core students were more like master Fei Baiyun's disciples. During the dojo's crisis, they didn't choose to leave but instead stayed with the dojo to fight together.
It was in critical times like this, when the dojo had almost fallen apart, that trust could be garnered.
Garen silently sat on the chair Simon had used and looked at the master lying in bed.
"Master, although the dojo is facing the most difficult situation since its inception, there are still some disciples that are worth fighting for and protecting. This is your luck, and our luck."
Despite being here for only one year, he felt a blood connection with Fei Baiyun who had taught him everything he knew. Fei Baiyun spent all his effort to provide him with the best route for growth. Even with Manuyllton Corporation's incident, he personally stepped in to solve the issue for him.
This time only Grace came. The bodyguards and Cynthia were all gone without a trace. The Corporation had clearly seen that the tide had turned and recalled them. When a ship is sinking, this is the obvious choice.
"If we can go through this crisis together, you shouldn't disagree with Collin and Simon becoming real disciples, right?" This was his last sentence before letting out a long sigh and closing his eyes to rest.
Fei Baiyun was still sleeping in bed with faint hints breathing. Maybe he had heard what Garen had said, maybe not.
Due to the secret methods' teaching rules, only disciples could learn.
Fei Baiyun had already announced that he would not teach any disciples. So Garen decided to teach himself. The best candidate was second senior brother Farak, but he was out there trying to assassinate senior sister Rosetta without any information.
Although he was confident in second senior brother's abilities, Garen was afraid that external forces would be involved.
For the longest time, the difference between the second senior brother and senior sister was minuscule at best. But he had been going easy on her as his force was too explosive without constraint. Thus, he would often lose against Rosetta. It would be different in a life and death situation.
Fights between martial adepts of the same level were also dependent on the feeling that day.
He sat in the master's room almost until the next morning. Only when a new nurse was about to come in to switch in, did Garen finally leave to train the secret methods.
He walked around the dojo and gained a better understanding of the situation.
Due to the riots in the gate, the majority of the core disciples had left. The lower level students were sent home on vacation. The sub-gates only had people to look after the door. Collin and Simon were the only ones left in the gate.
Only the core disciples knew the crisis the gate was facing. The majority of other students were not aware of the situation. Based on dojo master Fei Baiyun's reputation, most of them thought that everything would be normal after some time passed. They didn't know how severe the situation was.
The dojo that had been once filled with over a thousand people now only had less than ten remaining.
Not including Garen, Collin and Simon, only a few workers that had been here for years stayed.
Garen strolled into the dojo while the passing rooms and hallways spoke of the emptiness of the once prosperous White Cloud Gate. Only desolate air and marks of prosperity remained.
Garen left the dojo and ate breakfast at a store nearby. He then ordered some food for the people remaining and asked for it to be delivered to the dojo. He then returned to the Martial Coliseum on the second floor, where he started to train The Iron Body secret method. It only required one more level which needed an external force to aid the training.
The Martial Coliseum had a small room with heavy iron balls hanging from the ceiling. They were meant to train against hard hits.
This was because the White Cloud Gate's basic Explosive Fist required this condition.
He stood without any robes in the middle of tens of iron balls. They were the size of a human head, and Garen even added spikes on top of them.
The dense iron balls were like urchins that surrounded Garen in the middle.
He inhaled and exhaled before starting to follow the Iron Body's breathing method.
After a complete cycle, he began furiously pushing the iron balls around him.
Dang! Dang! Dang!
The sound of collision echoed within the room.
Following immediately after, were the sounds of spikes hitting against Garen. The clanking noise rang like metal impacting another piece of metal.
Garen's skin began to darken to a black color, at the same time as it gained a metallic sheen.
The countless metal balls swung in the room and collided with his body. They would then get pushed back from the force of his body and come back even stronger.
Every metal ball weighed more than ten pounds. With the added force, the force of the collision was at least over 100 pounds. The spikes made the area of collision decrease, which meant that the force Garen's body received drastically increased.
He only felt a tingling sensation that made him want to scratch the place hit. But he knew this was normal.
He practiced until noon before taking a break to eat. Eat, rest, train. Eat, rest, train. He repeated the same routine again, and again, and again.