Chapter 22 – Dancing Moonblade
The sky was blue and clear, looking pure as if it had been washed clean. The sun was shining golden.
Puffs of white clouds floated away, and a group of colourful peacock parrots chirped as they flew beneath the blue sky, forming an arrow formation under the clouds as they soared.
This variant of colourful parrots would only appear in large groups during springtime. Their bodies were littered with feathers the colour of the rainbow, their bodies the size of an eagle. The birds had parrot beaks, while their tails were that of a peacock's flowing long tail.
It had been ten days since the day Fang Yuan managed to acquire number one in the test to refine the vital Gu. The spring breeze blew over the whole mountain's green grass, while the wild flowers bloomed eagerly, and the bees and butterflies danced around together. Life was surging all around; it was the wonderful beauty of spring.
The breath of spring was so strong that the tall bamboo walls surrounding the training grounds could not hold it back.
This training field occupied 3 Mu(1). The ground was flat, paved with a layer of thick and wide grey graphite. Its four sides were planted with green spear bamboo; these green poles were placed closely together side by side, straight and tall, forming a circle of green high walls.
While below the wall corners were stone as well, clumps of green grass emerged from many areas. In between the bamboo were also some wild roses, poking in from the outside, a few even climbing the wall.
Fifty-seven young teens at the age of fifteen were standing in the midst of the training field right now, formed in a semi-circle around the academy elder who was in the center, putting their focus on him.
This was a lesson to teach the students on how to use the Moonlight Gu.
"The Moonlight Gu is our Gu Yue clan's symbolic Gu, just like the Xiong(2) House's Bear Strength Gu, and the Bai(3) House's Stream Gu. The majority of you on the field have chosen the Moonlight Gu as your vital Gu, so you must all watch properly. Soon I will demonstrate personally how to use the Moonlight Gu to attack. Students whose vital Gu is not the Moonlight Gu must also concentrate on me, as this classical long-distance attacking method can also be used on other Gu; the spectrum of methods one can use is very wide."
As he spoke, the academy elder stretched out his right hand, his five fingers opening wide. He lowered his palm so that the young teens could see the center of it.
"Firstly, you use your mind to mobilize the Moonlight Gu, moving it to the center of your palm." Following his voice, the crescent mark that represented the Moonlight Gu moved down the elder's arm and into his palm.
"Then, you mobilize the primeval essence in your aperture, pouring it into the Moonlight Gu." A thread of white silver coloured primeval essence gushed out from the elder's body, so fine it was almost impossible to see. It entered the Moonlight Gu in his palm.
The academy elder was of a Rank three realm, and only Rank three Gu Masters could produce white silver coloured primeval essence. Rank one Gu Master's primeval essence was commonly known as green copper primeval essence, while Rank two Gu Masters had theirs called red iron primeval essence. When they reached Rank three, it becomes white silver primeval essence.
Once it absorbed the thread of white silver primeval essence, the crescent-shaped mark in the elder's hand instantly glowed brighter and brighter. Although it was daytime, it still issued a brilliant pale-blue light.
"How beautiful." The youngsters could not help but let out praises of surprise and amazement when they saw it.
The pale blue light was clear like water. It flickered faintly in the elder's palm. At first glance it would seem as if the academy elder's hand was scooping a handful of moonlight. The academy elder smiled a little. "Now watch carefully, the last step is just like how I will do it, launching it out."
As he said this, his widely opened five fingers slowly closed together, then he lifted his arm up and slowly moved it forward, his arm straight. Finally he waved his palm lightly in a cutting motion.
The entire movement was steady and powerful.
The young students could hear a light brushing sound beside their ear.
Following the academy elder's movement, the condensed water-like pale blue light in his palm was thrown out like that.
The light transformed into a small moonblade in the air, the faint blue moonblade only the size of a wide-open hand, the shape just like the crescent moon in the night sky. It drew a straight line in the air before it hit a grass puppet ten meters away.
A tearing sound was heard, and the grass puppet's neck that was about thirty centimeters thick was cut clean by the moonblade. The puppet's body swayed about, the huge head suddenly falling onto the floor.
After cutting the grass puppet into half, the moonblade immediately appeared dimmer. However it continued flying about another six meters in the air before the crescent began to gradually fade away, finally dissipating in the air.
Looking at the grass puppet's neck again, one could see that the cut area was extremely flat, as if it was cut away by the sharpest sickle.
The youngsters were all shocked as they saw this, their eyes wide-open. A few of them even touched their own necks involuntarily, astonished by the attacking power of the moonblade.
After a short silence, the sounds of exclamation began. The teenagers had shining eyes as they stared at the grass puppet, some of them staring at the elder's palm. A few of them were looking at their peers, talking and whispering excitedly.
Only Fang Yuan stood hidden in the crowd with a cold expression, his stature calm.
In his previous life, Fang Yuan had cultivated to Rank six, and he had created the Blood Wing Demon Sect in the Middle Kingdom. He taught tens of thousands of people, and was reputed as a giant figurehead of the Demonic faction, his fame illustrious.
The academy elder was just a Rank three Gu Master. This small trick was just child's play to him; it would not cause any ripple of emotion in Fang Yuan's heart.
"All those of you who have refined the Moonlight Gu, step out. Each one of you shall take a grass puppet and follow the way I just did it, throwing out the moonblade, practice attacking."
Once the academy elder was finished, around thirty students stepped out.
In this batch the entire clan had a hundred young teens joining the Awakening Ceremony. Those who had cultivating talent were around fifty-seven. Among these students, those who had chosen the Moonlight Gu numbered around thirty-five. After going through these few days of hard work, they had all refined the Moonlight Gu. Those that were left were all D grade talents. It was not because they did not desire to refine the Moonlight Gu, but it was due to the inability of their talent, so they could only withdraw after learning of the difficulty.
To the youngsters of the Gu Yue clan, the Moonlight Gu was not a simple Gu worm, but the symbol of the clan's glory.
Very quickly thirty-five of them stood in a row. Each of them faced forward, standing ten meters away from a grass puppet on the opposite.
Fang Yuan stood in the middle of the row, but he did not garner any attention. The practice began.
The students all stretched out their right hands, letting the Moonlight Gu move to the heart of their palm. One by one the blue crescent mark started to give out water blue light as green copper primeval essence was poured in.
But when they drew a vertical cut with their palm, only seven or eight crescents flew out. Among these crescents, some of them only appeared for a short moment before dissipating away. Some flew out for two to three meters before disintegrating into blue light with a bang. Some flew further, but the direction was severely off-course, flying straight up to the sky.
The young teens all frowned. When they saw the elder's demonstration earlier it seemed quite easy. But when they started practicing themselves, they realised the skill required in this action. To throw out a moonblade and to have it hit on the grass puppet, it really was not that simple.
The elder had a faint smile as he watched. He saw this scene every year, and was not surprised. The remaining twenty-two students could only stand outside the field, watching jealously.
After practicing for five minutes, the youngsters were gradually able to produce moonblades. For a time in the training ground, pale-blue coloured moonblades flew about everywhere.
A few moonblades would fade halfway, a few unluckily crashing into another. Some flew out of the training field, twisting around. Those that were able to hit on the grass puppets were just a small few. Of course these were all due to sheer luck.
The academy elder started to tutor and guide each one personally.
He focused greatly on Fang Zheng, Mo Bei and Chi Cheng and those others with good latent talent. He patiently corrected their postures, teaching them his experience. Towards those C grade talent students like Fang Yuan, he only mentioned two sentences.
Fang Yuan kept condensing the blue light in his hand. He waved his palm a few times cutting the air, but he did not release the light, pretending and acting. With the field a mess at the moment and no one focusing on himself, he moved his thoughts and released his hold on the Moonlight Gu, his palm tilting a little, making a cutting action.
In order not to raise attention, he did not focus on his own grass puppet opposite him, but aimed at the one on his left.
With a whoosh, a moonblade flew out quickly, passing through the center of chaos, drawing a straight line in the air and cutting accurately into the neck area of a grass puppet.
The grass puppet wavered for a moment, the neck area cut deeply by the moonblade. But very quickly, the green grassy area that was cut began to regrow, tangling together and healing away the wound.
Of course, this grass puppet was not a normal scarecrow. It was a Rank one Scarecrow Gu, having the nature-type ability of self-recovery.
Unless the puppet was cut into half at once, it would just recover back to normal in a short while.
"Wow, look at that crescent!"
"How cool, who threw it?"
Moonblades that were able to hit grass puppets right now were rare. Fang Yuan just casually hit one, yet it caused the most significant result so far. Thus in an instant the students outside the field gave out cries of surprise. Even the academy elder's attention was caught, and he asked, "That moonblade just now was not bad. Was it yours?"
He looked at a C grade talent student with an enquiring eye, since that grass puppet was just opposite him.
This male student blinked his eyes, feeling somewhat bewildered as he faced everyone's sudden gazes at him. To be honest the field was just in a chaos earlier with moonblades flying about, so even he did not know if it was he himself who threw it.
However looking at it, it probably is me? Thought the young boy. Then he nodded his head subconsciously.
The youngsters around him immediately looked at him with admiration.
"Who is he, what is his name?" Some of the girl students asked around.
"Even he can throw out a moonblade, I must not lose!" Gu Yue Mo Bei's eyes flashed with a hint of determination.
"So it's not big brother who threw it," Gu Yue Fang Zheng inexplicably sighed with relief. After Uncle and Aunt consoled him, he was able to recover from the previous blow.
"Big brother, you won first place last time because your luck was good, picking a weak-willed Moonlight Gu. A Gu Master's cultivation cannot always rely on luck, I will win you." Fang Zheng was cheering for himself in his heart.
"You did well. Continue trying hard, seize the feeling you had earlier." The academy elder patted the student's shoulder, smiling as he encouraged him.
The young boy quickly showed excitement and he nodded continuously, his eyes appearing with a different luster.
The elder took the opportunity and announced, "Listen up everyone, this will be your homework. Practice well after class, in three days I will check the results. Whoever performs the best will receive ten pieces of primeval stones as the prize. Understand?"
"Yes!" The young students all shouted loudly. They could not help but be more excited when they heard about the primeval stone reward.
However only three minutes later, the moonblades that flew about in the air started to thin gradually.
"Damn, every single moonblade takes up 10% of primeval essence."
"The consumption of the moonblade is just too much, I am just a C grade talent, my aperture can only hold 3 x 8 green copper primeval essence. I can only throw out three moonblades."
Those that stopped all sighed.
The academy elder was calm as he witnessed everything, but his heart sighed, "This is the benefit of those with high cultivating talent. To use the moonblade, it is simply just three words - Practice makes perfect. Those with higher grade talent are able to hold more primeval essence in their apertures, and the rate of recovery is faster, so they have more chances to practice. Those with poorer talent can also use primeval stones to make up for it, strengthening the number of practices. But those with low grade talent and have no primeval stones, though they have the mind to practice they will still be powerless. Sigh, the Gu Master's cultivation process is just so cruel. I had just better take care of those high grade talent students."
(1) 亩 - Mu, an ancient Chinese measurement. 1 Mu is 666 ⅔ meters²
(2) 熊家 - Xiong House, Xiong is the word for Bear
(3) 白家 - Bai House, Bai is the word for 'white' as in white colour
T/N: Well as per mentioned, Gu Yue clan's Gu Yue means Ancient Moon. I will keep people and clan names in their original Chinese term but if there is any significant meaning or anything important and relevant to the story I will explain it, of course.
I’ll probably make a page in future, detailing and listing down all these names and stuff so you can refer to it anytime.