Junior Leopard stood naked in the middle of the stream, splashing his face with its water. Every inch of his body seemed to stink, as if he had just emerged from rolling around in a pit of manure.
It was lucky that the little monster was in a bad mood and farted on him not once, but twice. Otherwise, he would have been knocked out by the first one and perhaps would not have been able to wake up in time. The little monster's second fart, however, had managed to awake him from this stupor.
"This must be the most tragic day of my life!" Junior Leopard said to himself, as he climbed with bare buttocks out of the stream. He could not help but grimace, when he saw his clothes hanging beside the stream were still wet.
Damn, now it looks like I have to use up my internal strength to dry out these clothes, and I still need to find some living animals for Xue Wuya… well, never mind, I cannot run around naked, I will just have to resign myself to this fate. Although there are no people here, I am still a civilized person... not like that little monster, running about from dusk till dawn completely naked!
Without noticing it, he had equated himself with that little monster.
Indeed, this was also a kind of tragedy.
After Junior Leopard had dried his clothes using his internal strength, he prepared about 15 living animals and dragged them at a cumbersome pace into that steep valley. By the time he arrived, he had no strength left at all.
When Xue Wuya saw Junior Leopard's face full of disappointment and dejection, as if he had suffered a gross violation, he couldn't help finding it a little strange.
"What's wrong? Have you got into any trouble?!"
"Just a little bit of trouble!" Junior Leopard said, and as he thought back to the situation he had got himself into, his stomach suddenly churned again and he coughed up some bile right there.
"It looks like you are not doing so well today!" Xue Wuya let out a rare smile, teasingly. "How on earth did you find something to give yourself trouble in this surrounding area?"
"No, when I was hunting for living animals, I bumped into a skunk weasel. It accidentally took a bit of my blood when I wasn't paying attention!"
"Hahaha!" Hearing this, Xue Wuya immediately erupted with laughter. "What luck you are having!"
"Yes!" Junior Leopard said through gritted teeth.
"Well, I see you are in bad mood today. Go back, and come here early tomorrow. I have some businesses for you!"
"What is it?" The question slipped out of Junior Leopard's lips.
"I'll tell you tomorrow!" Xue Wuya glanced over at Junior Leopard, and his eyes flashed fiercely as if to say "Didn't I just tell you to come tomorrow?"
Junior Leopard shivered and said no more, obediently leaving the steep valley and breathing a sigh of relief. He had feared that Xue Wuya would try to test his martial arts again like yesterday, and he really did not have the energy for it right now.
Next morning Junior Leopard had recovered his energy. He finished collecting the living animals early, and he headed straight for the steep valley.
He quietly stood aside, waiting for Xue Wuya to finish the living animals and have a brief rest.
Xue Wuya was very satisfied with Junior Leopard's respectful behavior.
"I have something for you to do!"
"Waiting orders, teacher!" Junior Leopard replied, a modest and polite smile on his face. In this formal situation, Junior Leopard did not want to give Xue Wuya any opportunity to catch him doing the slightest thing wrong. He believed that even if he were to bitterly chop off Xue Wuya's head with Kunai, he could still keep this modest and polite expression on his face. This reminded him of his previous life. Although a hypocritically modest smile was not part of his nature, he could not deny that this expression, in that moment, was very useful for him.
"I require some Rootless Grass, Wandering Flower, and Gall Orchids!" Xue Wuya said.
Junior Leopard raised his head and looked blankly at Xue Wuya. He had never heard of these herbs before. In fact, in the prescription of the elixir, the rootless grass was one of the herbs required for bone-forging pills, and both wandering flower and gall orchid were used in the tendon-changing pills. However, he had only seen their names before but never seen them in real life and he didn't even know what they looked like.
What did Xue Wuya want these things for?
And why did he tell me his need of these herbs?
I have never seen such herbs before!
Xue Wuya did not care about Junior Leopard's thoughts and just pointed to a cliff-face behind him. "The appearances and properties of these three types of herbs I have already illustrated for you on the cliff-face. Although these herbs are rare, they can all be found here in the Misty Mountain. They should not be too hard to be found. I will give you five days. Five days later, you bring these herbs back for me!"
"Five days?!" Junior Leopard was gob-smacked, and a wry smile immediately appeared on his face. "Master, it is not that I do not wish to serve you, but that is indeed a difficult task to do in only five days!"
"Difficult?!" Xue Wuya raised his eyebrows and looked with surprise at Junior Leopard's courteous face. "So you can't do it?!"
"I don't dare to deceive you!" Junior Leopard said. "Whatever task my teacher assigns to me, I will complete even if he will die… but here we are on the Misty Mountain. In the last few days, I have scouted out the surrounding area, and yesterday when I went deeper into the forest, I was nearly eaten by a white-scaled python. Your disciple's strength is too limited to run far. In addition, this place is also a death-trap with a 10,000 feet precipice behind this valley. Your humble disciple is not able to cross it. From a cave upon the cliff-face, I spied a stream stretching ahead for about 10 miles, and during the daytime, there is a strange fog hanging over it. I have never seen any living creatures enter that fog, so I think it may be some noxious gas. Your disciple is simply not able to pass through there! In the last two days when I was wandering around to hunt for food, I became very familiar with the surrounding area, but as for the herbs that teacher has drawn, your disciple has seen no sign of them at all. However, if I have to scour everywhere out of a hundred mile radius, your disciple's life is trivial, but that is a gravely serious sin beyond the value of my own life to delay teacher's business!"
"My, what an interesting boy you are!" Xue Wuya said after gaping for a while when Junior Leopard finished his words.
The expression on Junior Leopard's face did not change, but his heart felt like it was blossoming into a smile.
This was a technique that he had often used in his previous life. Whenever a leader gave him a task, he would agree to do it. As long as it was a task that the leader has assigned, he would complete it to the letter. No matter what the leader said, it was correct, and whatever the leader required you to do, that was what he should be.
And before doing such difficult tasks, he would first scheme and plot. Then he would think clearly about the entire process and analyzed any problems or difficulties he might encounter. At last, he would draw up a detailed plan. If he didn't do this, he could not show how seriously he was taking the task that the leader had assigned, and there would be no way to prove his ability as a subordinate.
All the difficulties and troubles were shown on the table although the works should be completed whether conditions met the requirement or not. However, the leaders were all quite understanding and wise. Besides, the leaders were so appreciative of the difficulties that their underlings' face, that they would certainly provide as many conveniences, funds, and manpower for this task as possible!
As for the leaders who were not good at understanding people and who were unsympathetic to their underlings, it didn't matter. If there was a mistake made in doing the task, then both he and the leader should hold responsibility for it, after all, he had explained clearly the points of difficulty in advance. And when the annual leader evaluation came, he would give his leader the rating "poor". Since the ratings were anonymous, the leader would certainly know why he got this rating!
Although Junior Leopard realized the type of trickery from his previous life, it was deeply rooted in his mind. Whenever a situation demanded it, he would find himself involuntarily and unconsciously employing this tactic with no visible signs of artifice.
As for Xue Wuya, his facial expression clearly turned a little gloomier, like a slightly constipated look.
Although he really wanted to slap this slippery fellow to death once, he could not deny that what Junior Leopard said was correct. Although this boy was already accomplished in Lightness Skill body movements, he would indeed have to go very deep into the Misty Mountains before he could find the herbs.
"What you say makes sense. But since I am asking you to do, I have naturally already considered this problem." Xue Wuya said — as for whether he really had thought of this, God knew. "The Yanfu Inner Strength I have passed on you is the highest level of Lightness Skill and one of the very best in the entire Jianghu. It is only because you have not had enough time to practice and your inner strength is not strong enough to use the body movement to its full force. But if you use it to overcome some wild beasts in this mountain, this should be enough for you."
"Your disciple understands!" Junior Leopard said. He indeed understood very well the profound power of Yanfu inner strength. But he did not think he could rely on Lightness Skill to help him find the herbs for Xue Wuya. Perhaps if he had another year or two of practicing he would make it. But for now, it's impossible.
"This body movement is one of the four secrets of Lightness Skill… it should be enough, it is only a shame that your strength is limited by your age so you cannot realize its full potential. And although the swordplay technique I taught you is mighty, you again cannot fully comprehend it within this short time!"
Junior Leopard did not say a word, and he looked at Xue Wuya impatiently, with eyebrows raised in expectation. Indeed, these skills that Xue Wuya had passed on to him were powerful, but apart from Yanfu Inner Strength, they were not too practical in this situation; and at present, he was not able to use them well.
"I will teach you a secret skill now. This skill will concentrate most effectively all your body's Internal Qi into your fist, so that you can give it an incredibly destructive force. This skill does not demand much of your Internal Qi, but it does demand self-control and a strong body. Considering your current level, you should be able to pull it off. It will massively increase the power of your attack. Besides you have my coal dagger which is also very effective for attacking, you do not lack of others. However, you should only use this movement in desperate life-threatening situations, I hope you will still have enough energy to use it at that time."
Xue Wuya glanced lightly at Junior Leopard, speaking faintly.
Junior Leopard was frozen by what he heard. He knew that Xue Wuya's mood was not good, and he had better not aggravate him any further. He forced his face into a smile of gratitude. "Thank you so much, teacher!"
Xue Wuya then proceeded to pass on the movement to Junior Leopard, holding nothing back. The teacher taught diligently, and the discipline learned diligently, and the process was complete within two hours.
"This secret skill mainly relies on mental cultivation methods, and as for movements, it is just a matter of punching your fist. I will allow you an extra day to familiarize yourself with it, and so after six days I hope you return here with those herbs!"
"Your disciple understands!" Junior Leopard said, nodding his head. "And as for the living animals for these few days, would you like your disciple to get them ready?"
"No need, I am hardly going to starve to death without few living animals!"
Junior Leopard dared not to speak anymore, and then he left the valley.
"Huh, this boy, although he is young, his thinking is more meticulous than an old man. If I had not already given him the handbook on Nine Dragons Heavenly Fire Technique, it is inconceivable that I would have spared his life and taken him on as a disciple. It is a pity — waits until I have gathered together all the herbs, and refined all the Tihu incense, and brought the evil beast out and under my command as spiritual creatures, and then your time will be up!" As he watched Junior Leopard walking away, a cold smile flashed across his lips. Even if he had not been planning to kill Junior Leopard from the very beginning, giving him all these new skills had only increased his determination to wipe him out, so as to silence him.
No matter if it was Nine Dragons Heavenly Fire Technique, or that swordplay technique, or the Yanfu Inner Strength and the secret skill. He had done a lot of thinking on whether or not to pass them on to Junior Leopard. They were necessary to protect his life, so couldn't refuse to pass them on; and if only for the fact he knew he would not spare his life, he did not fear him divulging these skills to anyone else.
The question was, could Junior Leopard complete these tasks satisfactorily?
"Is this... a secret skill?"
He simulated in his mind the pathways of the Internal Qi for the secret skill that Xue Wuya had just taught him. Junior Leopard furrowed his brow slightly. This type of skill seemed to be very similar to the Tunade's Extraordinary Strength Fist — both were about concentrating the Internal Qi within your body into just one point and then releasing it in one flash to create a tremendous destructive force. The difference was that the Tunade's Extraordinary Strength Fist could concentrate chakras in both hands and feet, while this secret skill was limited to only one fist.
At the same time, he only needed to clench his fist tightly and release. Because this was not, after all, a manga comic, but this involved the Internal Qi's route through his body's complex system of tendons and vessels. Although there were very many techniques of mental cultivation and martial arts in this world, every type of technique had been carefully perfected in the process of being passed on from generation to generation. The Internal Qi had to strictly follow a very particular path, or else only one mistake would result in severe consequences. In mild cases, it would feel as if your tendons and vessels had become possessed by the devil, and they would suffer damages. In severe cases, it would cost your life.
As for the secret skills, they could be said that they were the peak achievements of transporting Internal Qi. No matter if they were the simplest secret skill, such as the one studied by Junior Leopard just now — the path they followed along his nerves and vessels was more complicated than that of ordinary methods of mental cultivation. Of course, this would not be a problem for Junior Leopard. He guessed that as soon as he unleashed this skill, there would be a burst of an incredibly destructive force, perhaps ten times stronger than normal. This was also the absolute limit that his tendons and vessels could bear at this present time; if its force was any greater, his body would certainly sustain damage when he unleashed its power.
The problem now was, just like Xue Wuya had said, that with the coal dagger in his hand there was no need to strengthen the force of his attacks anymore. If his fists were any stronger, then even a kitchen knife would be formidable, to say nothing of this dagger that could cut through iron as if it were mud.
But then again, he had hoped all along to gain some advantages from Xue Wuya. Anything else was just an excuse.
"So it turns out that this secret skill is pretty simple to use!"
Indeed, this secret skill really was simple to put into action. There were two main steps; first, concentrating your Internal Qi, and second, letting it burst out.
"And, it does not necessarily to burst out all at once!" Junior Leopard's eyes twinkled, and pale red rays of lights flashed from his pupils. He raised his two hands, clenching them into fists, and began his mental cultivation. After one breath, he could only see that his fists had turned scarlet, emitting a faint golden light.
Junior Leopard brandished his fist, and brought it smashing down fiercely into a nearby tree. A red light flashed, and then there was the sound of an explosion as his fist overturned the thick tree trunk. And then he spun around, bringing his another fist soaring through the air.
"Thunk!" A sound of something hollow being hit rang out, and it was as if the air around his fist had been fried by something. A ball of bright golden light flashed from his fist, and after the light faded, his hand returned to normal. However, meanwhile, a searing hot airflow billowed upon his face.
"Interesting!" Junior Leopard wasn't done yet. He took one step forward, and the fist which he had just snapped the tree with flashed brilliant rays of gold; and as he punched it out the red light faded, absorbed by his other first. He repeated this action nine times until the light from both his fists had completely extinguished.
Junior Leopard gasped slightly, and the burning red light in his eyes gradually fade away.
"This secret skill really does not demand much of one's Internal Qi. I can get nine punches out of it even with my low level, and I still have energy left. That means although every time I use it with only about 10% of my Internal Qi, I can still display the three or four times stronger than before. And if I let my entire body's Internal Qi burst out all at once, it will be double grow. However, my hand would perhaps melt off, my tendons and channel can only bear dozen times of power!" Junior Leopard laughed to himself. "But the premise is that I am able to master absolute control over my own Internal Qi!"
The control of Internal Qi was perhaps his biggest difference from others people. With the help of his eyes, his control over Internal Qi was incredible. As he got older and his strength grew, he believed that this control over his Qi would also get stronger and stronger.
"Perhaps, I can find another secret skill to practice — I have heard that secret skills emphasize control of your body's Internal Qi above all, just like this mental cultivation method for this kind of punch. Luckily for me, this happens to be my forte!" Junior Leopard began to fantasize about what he could achieve, and then laughed self-deprecatingly. "But where in the world can I find such secret skills? Anyone who gets secret skills will keep them secret, how could I find a new one to study so easily? Although it seems I'm lucky right now in encountering secret skills and special techniques, the risk is luck's close companion, and am I really ready and willing to bear these great risks now?"
In the steep valley, Xue Wuya was sitting by the cave and gazing up at the starry night sky, his eyes flashing with a glint of insanity, and he muttered to himself, "The Seven Wonderful Techniques… haha, I have even taught him all the Seven Wonderful Techniques, how can I not kill him? Hahaha!"