The first month of the year passed by in a blink of an eye and Wang Lu's daily life once again became like in the past two years: studying at Misty Peak during the day, and going back to the Non-Phase Peak to refine his bone in the evening. A simple yet fulfilling life.
After experiencing the grueling ordeal of training the first layer of the Non-Phase Sword Bone, the experience became less and less painful. At least, it was not on the level of wishing-oneself-to-die pain.
However, according to his respectable Master's argument, the Non-Phase Sword Bone had a side effect. After cultivating the first layer, one would become more tolerant to pain the more one repeated the process. Several layers later, the tolerance of pain would reach such an alarming level that even the process of "destroying the old body and creating the new" would only feel like a mosquito bite. It was so much that if one was asleep and someone cut their p*nis, then they wouldn't even feel it!
Hearing this explanation, Wang Lu and little Wang Lu suddenly went into shock! If he lost the ability to feel pain, wouldn't he be like a bull terrier? But on the bright side, he wouldn't have to feel like he was having daily menstrual pain every time he practiced this body training method. However, when he practiced it the third time, Wang Lu discovered another "side effect".
There was no positive side effect!
Properly speaking, this kind of lower level body refining method to reach the Foundation Establishment Stage ought to increase the body's capability compared to those mortal world's martial arts. After reaching the third layer in a week, not to mention the divine power of Dragon and Elephant, Wang Lu should, at least, be as strong as an Ox and could run like the wind. But the result of his week-long training was actually... nothing. To make things worse, his running speed seemed to have slowed down a little!
When he asked his Master, her sincere reply was that this Non-Phase Sword Bone was broad and profound; it was impossible for it to bear fruit in the time between. She advised him to take a long-term view, and in ten years, he would definitely understand her painstaking effort.
Painstaking effort my ass!
Thus, Wang Lu "ran away from home" that night and changed his allegiance to the Lady Boss.
In response to this, the Lady Boss gladly accepted him. In her own words, to train a rare martial arts prodigy was a temptation that any martial arts master could never resist.
"Don't worry, I will impart you all of my life's skills. Although I don't understand about things regarding cultivation, even if my skills are just mortal world's martial arts, it would be enough for you to reach the Foundation Establishment Stage."
Wang Lu had also heard about this point. The legendary top martial artists of the mortal world could defeat Qi Cultivating Stage cultivators. However, before one reached the Foundation Establishment Stage, formed the Jade Mansion core and connected the magical power inside and outside the body, mortal world's Martial Arts were basically ineffective… But even for a top sect like the Spirit Sword Sect, it would need three to five years from forging the body to the Foundation Establishment Stage. Therefore, he would also need around three to five years of training with the Lady Boss before it could be effective. Furthermore, even if he did succeed in reaching the Foundation Establishment Stage, it would still be very difficult for mortal world's martial arts to be effective; however, this common knowledge still had some grain of truth in it.
So, when he started to practice again, he still performed the Divine Skill of Subduing the Dragon. After all, it was a basic skill that the Lady Boss highly recommended for him. It was said that it could strengthen one's overall physique. As long as he could learn through the first layer, he could have the strength of a tiger or leopard, and he could be comparable to a common great martial arts master.
Thus, after three days of hard training, Wang Lu finally reached the first layer of the Divine Skill of Subduing the Dragon. On the day of his success, the Lady Boss purposely made a whole pot of trotters sauce for Wang Lu to celebrate.
However, when he was eating the trotters together with the Lady Boss in between his training time, a problem suddenly arose.
"Lady Boss, according to your estimate, by now, I should be as fast as Cheetah, strong like Tiger and tough like Bison… right?"
Lady Boss nodded. "Yes, this is the standard result of reaching the first layer of the Divine Skill of Subduing the Dragon, what's wrong?"
Wang Lu went silent for a long time before replying with, "I feel like I didn't change at all."
The Lady Boss was taken aback. "Impossible! I can clearly see that you have reached the first layer through the energy in your dragon vein. How could there be no effect, unless…"
The Lady Boss suddenly thought of something, causing her eyebrows to deeply furrow.
"I think I understand what's going on. This is called the cover phenomenon."
The Lady Boss reluctantly explained, "This is not difficult to understand; a top rank martial art has a cover effect over a low rank martial art. For example, if you first practice Six Yang Melting Snow Skill, and over a period of time you also practice the even more profound Nine Yang Divine Skill, then your internal energy will reflect the characteristic of Nine Yang Divine Skill; The Six Yang Melting Snow Skill is already being covered by the Nine Yang Divine Skill. But now… while the Divine Skill of Subduing the Dragon is the closest martial art to the Immortal Cultivation art, but the Non-Phase Sword Bone is, nevertheless, a genuine Immortal Cultivation art, which means it covers the Divine Skill of Subduing the Dragon."
Wang Lu nearly vomited blood upon hearing this; the Non-Phase Sword Bone was really a rip-off! "Oh, Master, I have to give it to you. You're the only person in the world who can create this kind of 'wonderful' skill!"
The Lady Boss bitterly smiled. "Don't dwell too much on it. Although I don't understand much of the Non-Phase Sword Bone, I still do know some of it. Although it does have shortcomings at the beginning, it deserves its name as an Immortal Cultivation Skill, not something that Divine Skill of Subduing the Dragon can match."
"Lady Boss, rather than consoling me with this nonsense, you might as well advise me to masturbate by fantasizing my Master being gang raped…"
Seeing that her sympathy talk was invalid, the Lady Boss immediately said, "It's okay if you can't practice this Divine Skill of Subduing the Dragon. In any case, it's just a basic body refining method; we can still practice the fighting method… and I happen to have several sets of sword skill that are suitable for you."
Wang Lu shook his head. "Just let it be, my Master has a set of Non-Phase Sword Knack waiting to rip me off."
"... Em, yeah, you're right. How about this, let's practice your footwork! This will not be a problem because Wang Wu consistently ignores this kind of skill; there are no such thing as lightness skill in her Non-Phase Method. So let's practice this!"
"Footwork? Dodging and breaking away?" Although this skill would be useless once he succeeded in Immortal Cultivation in the future, but prior to Foundation Establishment Stage, even those Inner Court Disciples wouldn't know how to fly.
"It's enough if I can use this until I reach the Foundation Establishment Stage. Oh, Master Lady Boss, please accept my respect once again!"
Wang Lu then paid obeisance to the Lady Boss.
The next few days, Wang Lu spent his time practicing his footwork under the Lady Boss's guidance. Strangely, the footwork was neither the legendary "Graceful Steps Upon the Waves" , nor was it the "Ghost Shadow Steps" which could use afterimages to confuse the opponent. Instead, it was the "Winding Step", which needed amazing balance and toughness to cast out, and could even be called as uncanny and fantastic footwork.
As the name implied, the main feature of Winding Step was the word "winding". As soon as the person with this Winding Step wound around the opponent, the opponent wouldn't be able to break away no matter what, like a chewing gum stuck on someone. This skill didn't emphasize on dodging nor the ability to break away; instead, in a one-on-one combat, it could work wonders.
Wang Lu was unclear on why the Lady Boss purposely taught him this footwork, but unlike his real Master, she never tried to cheat him. Thus, he paid attention to her teaching, seriously learning this Winding Step.
And so it went, Wang Lu began his triple training of the Cultural Education, Non-Phase Sword Bone and Winding Step. Every day, after finishing his morning long distance running, he soaked himself in the super dosage medicinal concoction and trained the Non-Phase Sword Bone. At noon, he would go to the Misty Peak to attend the Cultural Class to earn sect credits. After the lesson, he would go down the mountain to look for the Lady Boss and train the Winding Step. In the evening, he would go back to the Non-Phase Peak to rest.
Two months later, he had mastered the Winding Step. Although he couldn't fly nor create afterimages, after he grasped the essence of this footwork, he didn't think that it was less amazing than those footworks.
As it happened, there was a situation where Wang Lu could fully display the ultimate power of this miraculous footwork. This situation happened when, in the past, Wang Lu failed to climb the Non-Phase Peak when he tried to look for herbs or plants. Previously, when he looked for herbs or plants at the Non-Phase Peak, Wang Lu would often have to turn around and run away with his tail between his legs when he was bullied by wild monkeys, hare or pheasant, wild boar or wolf and so on. Now, equipped with this Winding Step, although he still hasn't learned any offensive martial arts and his Master's Non-Phase Sword Bone was especially deceptive, he would still have a chance to put out a fight even when encountering a ferocious beast.
In order to prove himself, on the third day after he mastered the Winding Step, Wang Lu went into the deep wilderness area of the Non-Phase Peak to find his two years old nemesis: the One-eyed Black Bear.
For two years, whenever Wang Lu went into the wilderness to look for herbs, the most hateful thing for him was this damn bear that occupied the area where the spirit grass grew. The other party was not some kind of high level monster who could control forces of nature, but it was one lazy, stupid clumsy bear. However, due to animal's sensitivity on the convergence of the spiritual energy on the Spirit Sword Mountain, the stupid bear instinctively knew the growing spot for the spirit grass and its benefit. Thus, everyday, the stupid bear would behave like a gardener who patrolled the mountain to protect the spirit grass from being taken away by Wang Lu who would then sell them for money. Therefore, this stupid bear became Wang Lu's sworn enemy.
Over the past two years, whenever he encountered this stupid bear, Wang Lu could only turn around and run away. In any case, he could always come back later. Plus, relying on his dexterity and endurance, he wasn't afraid that he wouldn't get the spirit grass or be eaten by the bear. Nevertheless, his money making plan had been repeatedly blocked. But now, with his newly mastered Winding Step, Wang Lu had the confidence to subdue that bear. Furthermore, since he had the heart to take revenge, he wouldn't want to wait until a chance encounter with the stupid bear; he wanted to crash into that black bear's cave.
That day, Wang Lu set off on his mission very early in the morning when the sky was yet to brighten up. The black bear was sleeping inside his cave with mouth dripping with saliva; it must've been having a good dream. Without any preamble, Wang Lu directly kicked its nose!
The black bear wailed because of its bleeding nose which gushed out like a fountain. Oddly, this made Wang Lu incomparably happy. The black bear clutched its bleeding nose as tears and saliva flowed down mixed with the blood; rays of hate came out of its bloodshot eyes.
You motherf*cker! Two years! Haven't you had enough!? Every weekday you would come and steal my spirit grass, but now, you even came to my home to plot against me!? Curse you! F*cking go to hell!
The black bear viciously snarled, blowing a gust of foul smell as it brandished its claws. A single strike from this beast could crack open a gold deposit. However, Wang Lu was not in a hurry; he shifted a step back and swung his upper body like a pendulum, deftly evading that paw's sweep.
Although the black bear seemed to be a clumsy animal, but in truth, his kind was faster and more flexible than ordinary humans. Once it missed its first strike, it immediately launched a precise second strike using its other paw and also threw its huge body forward with it to reduce the opponent's space to maneuver. However, Wang Lu had just taken a step back, and his upper body was still tilting backward; as such, his center of gravity wasn't stable—he had no way to dodge.
But in the next moment, he took advantage of the black bear's forward momentum and, like a ghost, he climbed its back and landed behind it in an instant.
The flexibility requirement of the Winding Step was vividly showcased here. The essence of this footwork was that, when needed, the user could make it seem like he was far away even though he was clearly at the reach of the opponent's fingertips.
After two successful dodges, Wang Lu had already found the ins and outs of the other party… Thus, the last trace of worry completely disappeared from his heart. He was certain that just by virtue of this set of footwork, even if the cave was such a small space, he did not need to be afraid of this wild beast.
The only problem was, although he could keep himself from being injured, Wang Lu didn't learn any fighting method; it was impossible for him to hurt this plump bear with its rough and thick furry skin… In the end, without any other choice, Wang Lu had to rely on his amazing endurance; he didn't believe the bear would win in the contest of endurance with him!
Four hours later, when Wang Lu was feeling a bit hungry, the black bear, after fruitlessly spending its energy on vain attacks, finally couldn't hold it anymore and fell down exhausted with a thump.
This affected-by-spirit-grass-which-make-it-a-bit-intelligent black bear had been thoroughly worn out by Wang Lu's ability to dodge all of its strikes! When it wanted to run away, he would always closely follow behind him and, from time to time, would use some kind of miraculous maneuver to trip it, making it stumble like an idiot. He then would seize this opportunity to kick its nose.
After four hours of almost continuous nose kicking, the black bear had turned mushy as it fell in the middle of the cav; its whole body was covered in mud, battered and exhausted. As for Wang Lu, he was still calmly standing on its back.
The black bear feebly wailed loudly as it finally stopped fighting back with great reluctance. Upon hearing this wail, Wang Lu came down from its back. The black bear then managed to brace itself and slowly crawl back to its cave. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, it managed to pull out a piece of white cloth and slowly waved it with its paw.
"The hell, this bear actually knows how this sign work!?"
This scene truly shocked him; he mused, "Immortal Cultivation Sect is indeed Immortal Cultivation Sect, even idiot animals know how to communicate through sign with humans; this fellow actually knows how to use the white flag!"
"All right, since you've admitted your defeat, I will not destroy you. Let's just get along like a neighbor."
Wang Lu patted the bear's head, turned around and walked away. His proud figure reflected in the tear-filled eyes of the black bear.
Upon returning triumphantly back to his hut, Wang Lu was surprised to find that his retard Master, who usually spent her time drunk all day long, had been sitting in the living room reading a book! "Jindan technique?"
"My lord! This retard is actually literate! She isn't holding the book upside down! And it's a genuine Immortal Cultivation Book and not some kind of porn magazine or something! Oh, my dear Master, your previous shameless rogue image in my heart has collapsed!"
Likewise, his Master was also surprised upon catching Wang Lu's figure. "Hey, why is your face full of smiles? Did you just come back from a brothel?"
"Brothel my ass!"
"Hmm, you've trained hard these past few days. Although I firmly believe that mortal world's martial arts are purely waste of time, fortunately, you didn't delay your Non-Phase Sword Bone cultivation, which is good," his Master said as she put down that book. "By the way, I also have a good news for you. Congratulations! You have almost succeeded in practicing the Non-Phase Sword Bone and pass the last hurdle to refine the energy."
Wang Lu raised his eyebrows. "Pass the last hurdle?"
"That's right, after finishing the eight layer of Sword Bone, you can begin cultivating the qi . Oh, there's also another thing. Didn't you often complain that this Sword Bone is a rip off, a skill that has no positive effect? In fact, the change by this Sword Bone has long been imperceptibly happening. It's just that you've been completely ignorant about it. However, after you pass the eight layers, you will feel a significant improvement. Unless your heart is truly black and your eyes are blind, otherwise, you will never complain about this Sword Bone again."
Wang Lu was stupefied by his Master's confident look; it was as if all she said was a matter of fact.
"Well then, let's just wait and see. I've just finished the seventh layer, so we'll see the outcome in a week. Whether this Sword Bone a peerless method or a pure rip-off, we'll know it by that time."
"How could it be so easy?" his master coldly said. "To complete this Non-Phase Sword Bone, you don't just endure the suffering."
Wang Lu asked, "What else then?"
His Master began to count with her finger, "First is the medicine pill. Starting from the eighth layer, cultivating Non-Phase Sword Bone has to be supplemented with a medicine pill. A daily cultivation requires a daily dose of Bone Strengthening Drug, which must be taken without break. The second is spirit stone. To succeed, you need to be able to gather the surrounding spiritual energy into your meridians. However, using the fundamental aggregate array alone to gather the spiritual energy is not enough. You need a few pieces of low rank spirit stones. And lastly, a famous Master. You need a famous Master, like myself, to make sure that everything is foolproof. Amongst these three conditions, I can easily provide you with the last two. However, regarding the medicine pill, that is entirely up to you. To refine the Bone Strengthening Drug, you need one Cinnabar Fruit. I don't have this thing and I can't afford it either… Sorry, even if you scold me or berate me, I still can't afford it. Nowadays, it's discounted price for Elders is three thousand spirit stones per piece. Even if I could afford it, I still won't buy it. Do you understand now?"
Wang Lu was surprised. "Three thousand spirit stones per piece is not that expensive. It's not even strange even if it's priced ten times outside. The problem is, usually, Immortal Cultivators only need medicine pill when they reach Foundation Establishment Stage. Yet, I already need that three thousand spirit stones supplement when I am still in the body refining stage!?"
His Master wryly smiled but didn't explain it to him; she just continued, "There are actually a lot of this Cinnabar Fruits on the Clear Sky Peak; they grow there. However, that place is the sect's strategic resource reserve point. Even the Sect Leader can't just pick the herbs there at will. The only people who are not restricted from going there are low-level disciples you who has just started cultivating. Needless to say, you should know the reason to that, right?"
It was indeed not difficult to understand the reason behind such restrictions. It was to encourage the young disciples to explore and challenge their limits.
"As it happens, in several days, the Misty Peak and Carefree Peak will organize their newcomers to do experiential learning at the Clear Sky Peak. You should go together with them and think of a way to harvest a few pieces of Cinnabar Fruit and then I'll help you refine the Bone Strengthening Drug."
"If I fail to harvest any?"
His Master thought for a moment and then said, "Actually, it's not that big of a deal. Even if there is no Bone Strengthening Drug, we can still use similar but low-level drugs. However, your practice speed will be at least ten times slower. So, there's a trade-off that you need to choose."
"What is there to chose? Of course, I am going to go there! As a matter of fact, I want to go there right now!"
 Ling Bo Wei Bu from Jin Yong's Demi God and Semi Devil.
 Qi and energy will be used interchangeably.