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0016 ———————————————-
The debut of Lightning Dragon (雷龍出道)

After acquiring the energy of the Millennium Snow Ginseng, I felt as if I could fly. For people of Wulin (武林 Wǔlín - literally "Martial Forest", figuratively refers to the community of martial artists), Neigong is the fundamental foundation for their supernatural powers, so having much more Neigong allows them to reach another dimension in different levels. Of course, combat skills and weapon Technique (武器術 Wǔqìshù) are just as important as Neigong, but they can do anything if they are supported by enough Neigong.

By the way, how powerful was my Haste Skill (經身術 Jīngshēnshù) developed?

I peeked out into the cliff cave at the height of six meters. Normally, it would be a good idea to walk out of here through the byway, but I would like to test how powerful my Haste Skill increased. Moreover, I wanted to travel home quickly because I became so hungry and didn’t have enough energy left at all for the long trek back.

Originally, I could jump up to the point of one hundred and sixty centimeters when I performed the Haste Skill. It was great to do this because I could jump as tall as a normal person, but I felt it could be more than that now. I stood in front of the cliff, gave my feet a boost, and jumped up.



Tuung!

Aah! Yap!

I was startled when I suddenly leapt six meters up and flew into the cave's rooftop. Meanwhile, it was pure reflexes that quickly held my hands out against the cave wall. Surprisingly, it was more than four times as resilient as it used to be!

It was no exaggeration to say that I could jump over a reef or a fence. As I walked out of the cave, I calmed my relieved heart.

‘…This is even a more fabulous Neigong than I have heard of!’

Originally, I was told that the Millennium Snow Ginseng is a rare Elixir which could only ever be found once in a century. If I consume it once, I would gain an immense amount of Neigong. However, I did not think that it would be much greater than what I had expected, so I could not begin to realize the benefits. At this time, it seemed to me that only releasing Palm Method (掌法 Zhǎngfǎ) would have surpassed such a power.

Whirling!

“Fast…”

My senses entered new horizons as I sprinted through the valley as if I was flying. Weaving through rough terrain and narrow passes, it was not at all awkward or strenuous, and I could relax and take it easy while monitoring what was going on around me, as if time had slowed down. Just as if a third eye was staring out the back of my head, I could detect what is happening behind me.

Even though my feet suddenly landed on slippery rocks, I did not feel slippery at all, possibly because it was aerodynamic force oozing out of me. I felt as if the heavens and earth were flying freely like birds.

How long will it take for me to train myself to this level, despite going through the motions and finally reaching this far?

Fifty years? A hundred years?

What is definitely certain is that I acquired it with my own two hands, through rigorous tribulations of my endeavours. From now on, all I could do is use this power on the way I want to.

If I were to die, the beginning wouldn’t hurt that much at all.

I leapt through the cliff face, flying down at such speeds of up to five times more than what a normal martial artist could handle, so I could reach my thatched house before sunset. It would not only avoid the miserable weather, but it was also fully repaired, which thankfully I did whenever I had time in the past three years. I quickly opened the door and flopped down on a straw bed.

“Ouch.”

Meanwhile, a nail protruded out pricking me with a light sting. I properly covered the wound with a cloth, because if I had left it as it was while sleeping in the straw bed, it would have been infected and pus would have come out.

It was a convenient period for me because I had all the necessities in life.

As the pain subsided, I thought about what to do.

Although I longed to gain strength, I could not yet achieve a sense of it because I had so much to do from the rock bottom until I finally gained it with my own hands.

'I want to reap revenge on the village chief. But…’

The first thing that comes to mind, was taking revenge on the village chief, who killed me by hiring out an assassination unit. I really decided to fulfill my bloody vengeance, but for some odd reason it was not my priority. It’s a seriously easy thing to break into the village chief's house, and kill him using the power I’ve gained, but what happens next?

There was a sentence I thought of at the moment I was about to die, facing the Black Night assassin unit from the Devil Dao Eight Factions (魔道八門 Módào Bāmén): the world is truly scary.

Yes…

The world is scary.

In my second life, I only threatened the village chief. Nevertheless, a lot of assassins above second-grade (二流 Èrliú) were sent out to kill me.

Now, if I got in by stealth into the village and quietly killed off the village chief’s family, my heart would be relieved, but the reality is that the government officials will come out to investigate the murders, or Plum Blossom courier company and Gaibang (丐幇 Gàibāng – Beggars' Faction) which the village chief has been dealing with will also inquire into the matter. In the meantime, if my identity is revealed, announcing a new killer will become famous throughout Wulin and I may have to fight with martial artists from the Righteous Factions (正派 Zhèngpài) endlessly.

I can't live alone in this world.
There are laws and orders to be maintained in pursuit of a higher calling. If I violate it, I will be handed down with the corresponding punishment. The stronger the powers, the easier it is to ignore the limits, but I should always be careful of someone’s influence and reach.

I don't want to kill a family of the village chief and end up on the run for all my life. To be exact, I don't want to place the lives of the village chief’s and my life within the same category. If I want to take revenge, I will make out vengeance by stepping down on the chief like a worm.

To do so, I should not simply throw myself into a violent turmoil. I must have that kind of strength, status and reputation so that even if I did so, the sanctions and checks of the people would be brought to a minimum. Or wealth is okay as well.

“Haha.”

I had to chuckle for a bit. These thoughts should have been found before eating the Millennium Snow Ginseng. However, I was under pressure in my extreme endeavour to search through thirty mountain peaks, so thinking about the future made me indecisive.

As I only focused on one thing, it became harder to think about what to do in the future.

"Let’s not become too complicated. Instead, let’s think about what I should do first.”

Revenge is out of my list of priorities.
Then what is next for me?

I thought for a very long time and could not reach a conclusion.

“Interpreting Heavenly Dark Secret Book (天暗秘書 Tiānàn Mìshū).”

This is the first concern.
The ability of the Heavenly Dark Secret Book to retrograde me back to the past is very questionable.
I have had two retrogrades so far, but I have nothing further to say even if there is no third.
The point is that I don’t know any word of the contents inside, except for the title of Heavenly Dark Secret Book.

Retrograde holds the power with which I can reign over the world as a ruler. Though I don't know everything about Heavenly Dark Secret Book, at least I have to grasp the degree of this retrograde ability.

To do so, I must find the smartest sage in the world.

Where is the smartest sage?

I was thinking for a while trying to figure things out and eventually decided on my destination.

Luoyang (洛阳 Luòyáng – an old capital from pre-Han times)!

It is the most densely populated city that I am aware of and also the capital where the emperor of the continent resides. I do not know about any surrounding complexities, but I think that there would be an assemblage of the most intelligent people in the world there.

‘Hmm. Then, I have to pay my debts to Mr. Song of a goods dry store.

When I first came to Huangshan, he was kind enough to feed and give me new clothes. Although he was a resident of the neighboring town, and I did not see him during the annual search, I should repay him for such kindness. I could give the money I have earned so far, in bringing trees to the lumber mill. But I soon shook my head.

That was not the degree of grace I felt back then.
I’d like to return it with a sizeable one.
It was my wish to return due to the emotional level, whether it was of kindness or of an enemy.

I decided to ask him first, whatever I would give back. As I was about to have a new suit, the next day I arranged my final affairs in the thatched house and left Huangshan. Then, I visited Mr. Song of a dry goods store.

Mr. Song has still been there in business. I smiled at him.

“Hello.”

"Who is it?"

“Thanks for the meal at that time, and I was able to travel to Sagong courier company.”

“Ah! That boy is back!”

He seemed to remember me clearly. As I was more pleased with this fact, I had a few more conversations with Mr. Song.

"Oh yeah… You’ve been a guard since then.”

“Yes.”

“But why does it look like you're a beggar again?”

"As I wandered through the mountains…"

Then Mr. Song pulled out his tongue.

“I’m sorry, but I cannot afford to give you an outfit for free, because things are not so good these days…”

“No clothes, I have not paid it off yet…”

I asked softly.

“But why is it not good?”

“There is difference,” he said.

“The clothes always sell well, but there is more money to be offered now to the authorities."

He picked out the tobacco that he had left behind. Though the tobacco was not so good for the body, he smoked it with a long pipe, being aggrieved at heart. Of course, as a professional trader, he inevitably gave money to someone, but that was too much.

“Who do you pay for?”

“Where are you right now?”

“In Huangshan.”

Mr. Song tapped the teapot on the floor with the long pipe for smoking.

“Then Huangshan Faction.”

“Ah…”

It was intended for this kind of pun, but I could feel how powerful Huangshan Faction was now. There was no other faction near the mountain, and I have known more than ten of them, and of course, I could tell they were paying money to Huangshan Faction.

“How much money do you have to pay…?”

“Don’t even talk about it. I spend the whole month selling linen and cotton to earn two silver coins. But they always ask for one silver coin. They are sheer robbers.”

"…..!!”

It was not enough to call them sheer robbers. If no matter how popular a faction is, it should only ask for money at an appropriate level, since they belong to the Righteous Factions.

If it is not a part of Evil Factions, the excessive payment will certainly sully the reputation of the faction, and it will eventually lead to a government intervention. In the case of Evil Factions and Devil Dao, it is necessary to threaten the businessmen with violence so that they cannot report it to the government office.

So, I didn’t understand it very well.

“Is that what you only pay for?”

“No. That’s what everybody in the town does, of course.”

“What if you can’t?”

“I will not be able to live in this town. Huangshan Faction forces the landowners to stop the peasants from doing business here. There is nothing further I can do.”

“….”

I said it carefully.

“Don't the government offices detach the troops?”

“If possible, I would’ve already done it. Don’t you know the influence of Huangshan Faction, not only by the government office but also under the lord of the castle?”

Mr. Song sighed out of frustration.

“While Huangshan Faction might be hesitant for a while, the accusing party would be bound to be attacked by Huangshan Faction.”

“Right…”

Even if the Huangshan Faction is a member of Righteous Factions, they seek for ruling by force. It is so easy to hit a commoner though they can’t do it directly. If they come disguised and knock someone out with their martial arts , there will be no single entity to rise up against the Huangshan Faction, and no one can resolve this issue easily.

I was shocked to discover that Huangshan Faction was more violent than I had assumed.

'Huangshan Faction is still a member of the Nine Factions and Gaibang (九派一幇 Jiǔpài Yībāng), and belong to the Righteous Factions, and it is disgraceful behaviour and very unusual. What on earth is this?'

At the same time, my head was ringing with an indication that the time has come to repay his kindness sooner than expected. Rather than giving Mr. Song a few coins to live on, it would be nice to reduce the interference of Huangshan Faction.

Certainly, it is absurd to confront Huangshan Faction directly. No matter how much Neigong I achieved from the Millennium Snow Ginseng, I could not deal with a Peak-Class (絕頂 Juédǐng) martial artist. I felt it is necessary to settle this matter with my scheme.

‘Oh! That’ll do!’

I had a good idea and smiled. Then, I spoke to Mr. Song.

“Well… Wait a moment, I will have good news in three days.”

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Translator: Khan
Editors: T0ngan, Calvis

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