It was early morning; in the midst of a thousand mountains and trees.
As the breeze blew, the leaves swayed. With every rush of wind, a new tide in the color of green began. Wave after wave, there was no end in sight.
Somewhere in the sea of trees, a mile-tall waterfall hung. Mist and fog filled the air as the heavy water spattered. The atmosphere was hazy, the scenery resembled a fairyland.
Near the waterfall, a young boy dressed in white sat in the lotus pose on top of a boulder. His eyes tightly shut, surges of spiritual power engulfed him, slowly being absorbed into his body.
This young man was Ling Xian.
After teaching Ling Yu a lesson yesterday, he headed home exhilarated and had the best sleep he's ever had. Early this morning, he woke up and began his training in this rather isolated jungle. Even though he was young in age, he was extremely eager and mature. He understood the concept that if one wants to be well-trained and strengthen their skills, they must do so by fighting against the current.
It was not easy for him to start the journey of training and he truly valued the rare opportunity. In addition, he has always had this dream since he was young. For this dream, he needed a solid foundation of skills. That was why he needed to be dedicated and hardworking and he must treasure every second and every minute.
"Hmm… If I continue at this pace, I will achieve the fourth level of qi soon enough," Ling Xian opened his eyes and exhaled deeply to release the toxins accumulated throughout his training.
There were nine frontiers to break for the nine levels of qi. With every frontier that was extended, the spiritual power of the trainee got stronger. The slow accumulation of the spiritual powers would eventually trigger a drastic change in the trainee.
However, according to ancient literature, achieving the ninth level of qi was not the end of the journey. Way back in time, there was a tenth level that could be achieved. As time went on, less and less people successfully reached the tenth level - an achievement also known as the stage of invincibility. Because so little people have achieved the tenth level in recent years, the idea became a myth.
"'The Bible of the Three Flowers' sure is strange. I cannot understand anything," Ling Xian took out the book he borrowed from the library and frowned as he attempted to read the unrecognizable characters carved onto the book.
Even though mastering techniques was not the only way to train, simply absorbing spiritual energy to strengthen mana would not grant the trainee any advantages over others. The side effect of spiritual impurity may also arise, making it even easier for the trainee to be defeated. Learning different techniques, as a way of training, could bring drastic changes to one's body and give the trainee new special skills.
There were five types of common techniques. The metal type allowed user's mana to become sharper and more alert. The wood type allowed user's physical attributes to become strong. The water type made the user's mana longer lasting. The fire type allowed the user's mana to produce extra damage when used. Finally, the earth type granted the user with extra defense abilities.
"The Bible of the Three Flowers" however, could not be categorized into any of the five types. The methods, that the book recommended one to train, were ones Ling Xian had never seen before and therefore cannot comprehend.
"I guess I will have no choice but to ask Master when I enter the Painting of the Nine Immortals," Ling Xian said to himself. He stood up, inhaled deeply and began to practice a set of well-known boxing routine.
Fists of Longevity.
Contrary to its profound name, the routine was simply used to enhance the trainee's physical capabilities and increase his or her blood flow. It was a routine that other trainees tended to neglect, but Ling Xian never missed a day of practicing it in the past decade. Because he was handicapped, getting physically stronger was his only option.
The many side jobs he did also required him to be physically strong.
The red sun rose from the East, like a fish's white belly, the West sky brightened. Ling Xian adjusted his stance and continued his practice of the Fists of Longevity.
Very soon, he finished the routine. He was feeling refreshed, clear-minded, and there seemed to be an endless amount of energy in his body.
Just as he was getting ready to leave, three shadows emerged from the deep forest - two men and a woman. The woman was in front and the two men were behind. They were less than 100 meters apart and were engaged in a wild chase.
The woman was around the age of 20, her eyes beautiful like a painting, her visage exquisite and alluring.
One of the men behind her was tall and the other was short. Both of them had gloomy expressions on their faces, as if they were looking to kill the woman.
"Ling Tian Xiang, obediently give up, there is no way you can get away!" the short man spelt out a technique with his hands. Suddenly, seven finger-tip sized fireballs appeared and flew towards the woman.
The scorching fireballs slid forward, burning the trees they touch into dust.
"In your dreams!" the female, much like her name, was so dazzling that her beauty outshone the moon and the flowers blushed at the sight of her face. She coldly snickered as a light layer of water encircled her, protecting her from the fireballs.
She waved her hand. A two-meter-long ice sword broke through the air, dashing towards the men.
"Are you not ashamed of such a weak spell?" the tall man stopped running. With two hands, he punched the ground beneath him. Immediately, three giant earth walls emerged one by one behind each other. Though the ice sword was sharp and powerful, it barely pierced through the second wall when it lost its mana and evaporated into thin air.
Ling Tian Xiang's brows knitted together. She suddenly saw the young, handsome boy in front of her. She became anxious and screamed, "Run!"
Ling Xian raised an eyebrow. He could not believe that there would be a hot pursuit in the middle of such an isolated forest. Moreover, he could not believe that he was witnessing it.
"So unlucky…" Ling Xian hurriedly ran away as he sighed. What a joke. He did not have any intention of being a hero and saving the lady. Despite her beauty, heroes needed to be aware of their own capabilities and their opponent's. The woman's abilities were already not weak in Ling Xian's book, clearly, the two men were even stronger.
Seeing the young boy running away like the wind, Ling Tian Xiang was a little surprised and a little disappointed. Even though he was young, he was still a man, how could he just run away without any intention of helping her out? Did she lose her charm?
She didn't have the time to think too much. Despite her wound, she clenched her teeth and casted a charm that helped her speed up.
The two men laughed mockingly. Building up their energy, the sixth level of qi began to spew out of them ferociously, engulfing all of them, including Ling Xian.
Feeling the weight of their vigor, Ling Xian felt like he was running in mud. A few drops of sweat formed on his forehead as his body got heavier and his feet got slower.
Liang Tian Xiang was now in an even worse situation. Before the hunting began with those two men, she already had a life and death battle with a werewolf. Her spiritual energy was running dangerously low. Under the gravity of their qi, she felt a powerful pressure on her chest. She spat out a mouthful of blood and collapsed to the ground.
The two men smiled, but did not stop their attacks. Rows of stone pillars surfaced from the ground, trapping Ling Tian Xiang and Ling Xian.
"Haha, Ling Tian Xiang, we finally caught you. You did not think this day would come, did you?" the short man laughed furiously.
"Screw off!" Ling Tian Xiang scowled. Using the last of her mana, countless icicles formed and shot towards the men.
"I've been waiting for this," a giant flame flared up on the short man's left palm, melting those icicles. Finally, an inhibition spell was casted, tying up Ling Tian Xiang's physical body and her spiritual energy.
The short man walked closer. He pinched her now unmoving cheek and grinned, "don't even try to fight it off. You never know, if you can make us happy, we might spare you your pitiful life."
"If you bastards touch even a hair of mine, the Ling Clan will never forgive you!" Ling Tian Xiang's face whitened.
"Ah, you are from the Ling Clan? I am so scared," the short man faked a scared expression. "Oh my goodness, older brother, she is from the Ling Clan. We have caused big trouble."
"Oh my, a member of the Ling Clan, we must let her go quickly," the tall man chimed in.
Hearing this, Ling Tian Xiang's eyes brightened with a little hope. Like a drowning person who just found a floating piece of wood, she was just about to speak when a stinging slap hit her face. A distinct, red, palm shaped print showed up on her delicate and soft skin.
"You!" Ling Tian Xiang clenched her teeth. She was not stupid, she realized immediately that these two were only acting. But those involved are often blinded, she couldn't believe she got tricked.
"Do you even know your place? How dare you talk to me this way after being sealed of all your powers?" the short man smirked. "I know you are the eldest daughter of the Ling Clan, and the little sister of the leader. But so what? In a place so isolated, who will know of your death? Even if someone does find you eventually, my brother and I would be long gone."
"I knew it, the Fang Clan ordered you to kill me…" Ling Tian Xiang's heart sunk, she had lost all hope.
Ling Xian on the other side knew he was in trouble. When the pillars rose and trapped him, he felt his heart drop. Now that he heard the secret of the Fang Clan's attempt to kill the eldest daughter of the Ling Clan, he knew he was dead.
"I'm sorry for dragging you into this," Ling Tian Xiang looked at Ling Xian, her eyes apologetic and regretful.
Ling Xian didn't respond. He was thinking of a strategy to get out of there. He knew very well that with him knowing the faces of the two men and with him knowing such a big secret, the situation was not in his favor.
The short man complimented, "I've heard about Lady Ling's beauty for a long time. But seeing it in person today has proven the rumors to be true."
Liang Tian Xiang's whole body shook. She tried hard to stop her tears as she attempted to end her own life by biting off her tongue. But the tall man acted faster than her and grabbed her jaw.
"You want to die? It's not going to be that easy," he sneered.
At that moment, a helpless voice with a hint of ridicule spoke up.
"Hey, how do you guys feel about including me in this?"
The young man smiled warmly with a trace of misfortune between his brows.