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"We talked about the front kick a couple of days ago and you've learned it really well. Today I'm going to teach you another basic use of legs in Taekwondo, the side kick. I'll demonstrate first. Watch carefully…"

"Remember two key points when doing a side kick. First, lift your knee, and second, turn you hip; it's so that the impact is made with your instep. Now, let's do it step by step… thrust against the ground with your right foot, shift your stance to the left, then bend your right knee and heave it upwards… grind against the ground with your left foot and make an inward turn; turn your hip, yes! Now kick out your right leg!"

It was weekend and the gym was filled with students, mostly teenagers. Two tutors were leading the group, one man and one woman. The man would demonstrate first, followed by the woman, then they would repeat the moves again together.

The reaction of the teenagers was somewhat hilarious. The older kids were rather serious; the younger ones, however, were rolling around on the floor, enjoying themselves; the tutors paid little attention to the slackers.



Watching the group for a while, Gu Yu found what they were teaching rather flashy, with little substance. He was going to slip away quietly when one of the tutor said, "Next, we'll invite a student to come up here and have a brief pair exercise with me… any volunteers… oh, that gentleman over there, are you new here? Do you wanna have a go?"

'Hm?'

He hesitated for a second or two. Finding the suggestion harmless, he replied, "Well, ok."

With that, he walked to the front and the female tutor put a protective gear around his arms. She comforted him, "You can block the strike with your arms later. Don't worry, we know when to stop."

"That's right, it's just to give you a feel of it. We might have a new student if it interests you," grinned the male tutor.

Gu Yu was simply going along with it. He lifted his arms as instructed, as if he was really putting his mind into it.

"Here we go!"

Shouting, the male tutor struck out at Gu Yu with a side kick, his move precise and swift. Judging from his posture, the strike looked rather vigorous, which was approaching, approaching… and poof!

"..."

To be honest, Gu Yu was utterly embarrassed—he might as well be bitten by a buzzing mosquito. He was hesitating whether or not to stumble back or make a few shudders when the fellow asked, "How did that go? I was holding my strength back."

"Oh, it was great!" He complimented it despite his actual feelings.

"That's how you would kick in a match, faster than the previous demonstration. Have you all seen it clearly?" That fellow asked the bunch of kids.

"No, it was too fast!"

"Wow, our tutor is awesome!"

The guy was very pleased with the feedback and turned to Gu Yu again, "Here, you try it!"

Before Gu Yu could decline, the tutor had placed himself on guard. Seeing that, Gu Yu took off his protective gear and tried hand it over, but got waved off. "That's ok. Bring it on."

"Then get ready."

Gu Yu moved a few steps back. Putting his left foot behind and right foot in front, he went over the instructions he heard just then.

Cultivation could clear one's mind and improve intelligence. To put it plainly, it gifted one with an eidetic memory, enabled one to draw inferences about other cases from a single fact, and gave one a clearer head. He might act foolishly next to Xiaozhai, but was a fairly dependable guy under other circumstances.

He shifted his stance, lifted his right knee, turned his left foot 180 degrees inwards and turned his hip in the same direction as well… a perfect replication of the tutor's demonstration. Leveling his right foot with the floor, he straightened the back of his foot.

"Good, very good. You've remembered all the moves and are using it very…"

"Smack!"

"Woosh!"

The faint, crisp, crackling sound came first; immediately after that was the swoosh that ripped through the air. The guy choked on his words, feeling the hair standing up on his back.

Instinct told him to dodge, yet he was consciously aware of the fact that there was no way he could evade this.

"Watch out!"

The kids had no idea what was going on, but the female tutor was scared out of her wits. She shouted with a broken voice. However, that guy was frozen on the spot as he watched a blurry shadow smashing at his face. He closed his eyes involuntarily, 'I'm finished!'

"Woosh!"

He was sure he was going to have his head cracked open, but the swooshing sound stopped abruptly in front of him. All he felt was a stirring of his hair and a cooling sensation on his face. After that, a chilliness crept up from his spine, rising all the way to the back of his head like an exploding firecracker.

If he was appalled to start with, by now he was truly terrified.

"..."

Opening his eyes a few seconds later, he saw the man standing peacefully in front of him, as if nothing had happened.

"Thanks for the instruction. I won't keep you any longer. Bye bye!"

Returning the protective gear to the female tutor, Gu Yu politely bid them farewell.

"Bye… bye bye…"

The two astonished tutors waved their goodbye in a flurry and watched Gu Yu walk out of the gym.

As a matter of fact, Gu Yu was a bit disappointed. He had heard that Taekwondo was nothing but frills and today's experience had proved that claim to be true.

It seemed they did not pay much attention to the application of power, physical strength, or the control of muscles, but only emphasized on kicking as high and as showily as possible. Well, it might not be a bad exercise for female students, for at least it could tone the muscles around the waist and legs.

Bai Town was too small. There was only one shabby school of physical training in the town with no martial art schools or gyms at all. He needed to take a look in Shengtian.

He resumed going upstairs as he complained inwardly, venting his disappointment silently.

He searched around in the men's clothes and the outdoor section in turn, and at last purchased an outfit at a medium price range, a pair of sturdy shoes and a multi-purpose waterproof backpack.

Those three items alone cost him almost ten thousand yuan in total. [ED/N: Roughly 1,500 USD]

He was not solely buying them for the coming journey, though, for he expected he would be planning a lot of outings.

Evening, in the small courtyard.

An aroma of food was spilling out from the kitchen, the source of which was a pot over the stove. Inside it was a long bean stewed with a pancake, a traditional dish of northeast China. Basically, long beans, potatoes and spareribs were stewed together in a pot, with a large round plain-flour pancake covering all ingredients underneath. [1]

The pancake would be cooked by the rising steam and soaked with the broth of the stew in the process, making it incredibly chewy.

According to Gu Yu's deduction, by the time one achieved a spiritual body, one's desire for food would be significantly reduced. If one managed to reach the Human Immortal state, they would no longer require food to sustain their vitality.

Therefore, foodies should not even consider cultivation, for the absence of desire for food would kill them!

Right now, Gu Yu was sitting by his laptop, looking up recent news reports.

"In a safari park in the capital city, passengers of a small vehicle opened their car window by mistake and were surrounded by multiple black bears with their paws sticking into the vehicle. Thanks to the management crew who showed up on time, an accident was avoided." [2]

"In a zoo in the city of Yongshang, a man climbed over the park wall in an attempt at ticket evasion and landed inside a tiger enclosure. He provoked the tigers and was mauled to death."

"A villager from Willow Town was bitten by a snake. Thanks to the timely rescue…"

'Tsk!'

Combing through all reports that looked promising, none of them turned out to be relevant. He did not save any of them.

According to the speculation of the two, the so-called recovery spots of the spiritual essence should all be found in places near mountains and rivers, which were most likely to be tourist areas easy to find.

Between him and Xiaozhai, a dozen of news reports had been collected, which could either be what they were looking for, or simply false alarms. They were connected to each other by one characteristic, namely animals going crazy all of a sudden and causing casualties.

After reading through the news, Gu Yu realized the stew should be ready by now and went into the kitchen to turn off the heat.

The pancake was lifted out of the pot first and the rest of the content was poured out in one go. Oh my, the air was filled with the aroma rising out of the steaming stew. The spareribs were so nicely cooked that they almost seemed glittering and translucent.

After setting the table, he grabbed his phone, thinking of calling the Fang family over for dinner. However, before he dialed their number, his phone rang first.

"Hey, Bro!"

Out came the voice of Lei Ziming, as resonant as always. "What are you up to? Eaten yet?"

"Just about to."

"Well, our shooting club is holding an event tomorrow. Come around if you have time. We haven't met again after seeing you off the other day. Your great wits have short memories. The gold card I've given you is going to waste!" Lei Ziming reminded him half-jokingly.

'Right!'

Gu Yu blinked. He had indeed forgotten all about it.

[1] ED/N: At first I thought the person tossed a pancake into the stew, and I was like wtf... then I sighed with relief at the next paragraph which didn't sound like it, but was ruthlessly face-slapped by the later part of the chapter where it's obvious the pancake was in fact tossed into the stew. Just google pancake stew or pancake soup and you'll see some examples of how it may look like.
TL/N: Well, it's not really a "pancake soup". Basically, the pancake works as a "lid", a bit like the puff pastry over a soup. For to who are interested, here is the link of a photo of what the stew looks like http://h2.bytravel.cn/shop/head1/24908.gif

[2] ED/N: Safari park is a kind of zoo where animals live in large enclosures and you can drive your car inside to observe them from nearby.

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