Ancient Strengthening Technique: Chapter 14 – Still a Trash
The first stage only required one to be fast, and as fast as possible; to the absolute limits of speed; fast to the stage where one could produce after-images. The Ghostly Step required knowledge of the 9 Directional, 8 Trigram Calculations and the Mystical Gates to confuse opponents, making it easier for Qing Shui to escape. If one wanted to cultivate the Ghostly Step to its absolute pinnacle, one must incorporate the knowledge from the calculations and use it together with the techniques from the Ghostly Steps.
Time flew by, just like a white steed flitting passed a gap, and 5 years had elapsed. Qing Shui was now 15 years old, and his body grew taller and stronger. There were hints of coldness in his beautiful eyes, disregarding the whole world as if nothing was worthy of his attention!
Once again, Qing Shui held the label of trash. The only thing different from the past, was that he could progress no further after breaking through to the 3rd layered heavens of the Ancient Strengthening Technique!
Qing Shui was not negative, he faced everything with a calm perspective, disregarding how others viewed him. 2 years ago, he had already cultivated to the peak of the 3rd layered heavens of the Ancient Strengthening Technique. After that, no matter what he did or how he cultivated, he could progress no further.. Not only that, even his cultivation of the Blue Lotus Art was also similarly stuck at a bottleneck, at the peak of the 3rd level.
Through these 5 years, Qing Shui had suffered psychologically.Among the 3rd generation disciples, he had been the most dedicated when it came to cultivating. His expertise in the hidden weapons technique as well as the Solitary Rapid Fist had already soared to terrifying heights, with both reaching the large-success stage for both techniques.
Even for Ghostly Steps, Qing Shui had managed to cultivate it to the small-success stage. Although his expertise was only at the small success-stage, he had reached the stage of creating after-images, and could use it for advancing or retreating, and combining it with his hidden weapon techniques and Solitary Rapid Fist, this had allowed his might to soar to an unprecedented terrifying level
Currently in the Qing Clan, the eldest grandson Qing Zi had already managed to cultivate the Blue Lotus Art to the later phases of Martial Warrior, 7th Grade, almost reaching the peak of 7th Grade!
Qing You had already cultivated to the peak of Martial Warrior, 7th Grade and Qing Yang to the middle stages of Martial Warrior, 6th Grade. For the rest of the 3rd generation disciples who were aged 13-15 years old, most of them, including Qing Hu had reached the initial stages of Martial Warrior, 5th Grade.
In contrast, Qing Shui who was already 15 years old, had only managed to cultivate the Blue Lotus Art to the peak of Martial Warrior, 3rd Grade.
In the daily training sessions, Qing Shui could be considered one of the oldest 3rd generation disciples at the age of 15, and one of the weakest. Initially, at the daily training sessions, there were two 3rd generation disciples named Qing Hui and Qing Chuan whom were older than Qing Shui by 1 year and 2 year respectively. However, in the previous year and this year, the 2 of them had already managed to break through to the Martial Warrior, 6th Stage at the age of 16.
Martial Warrior, 6th Grade was a dividing point in the Qing Clan. Those who had cultivated to the Martial Warrior, 6th Grade and not exceeding the age of 16 had the hopes of the whole clan placed upon their shoulders. So in the Qing Clan, as long as one could reach the required level before the age of 16, their status in the Qing Clan would also undergo a change. Even if they wanted to summon rain and wind , the whole of Qing Clan would also be supportive. Furthermore, these geniuses would be the ones responsible for protecting the businesses of Qing Clan in the future. Only when the core members of the Qing Clan increases in number and power, their business partners would not be so daring to override them.
For those who had reached the Martial Warrior, 6th Grade after the age of 16, they would be sent out to the city, to take charge of the Qing Clan’s various businesses. Their cultivation base usually stagnates, as they could only cultivate during the lull periods. Most of the time, they would be too busy to cultivate.
Qing Shui was already 15 this year. If 1 more year passed, and he was still unable to breakthrough to Martial Warrior, 6th Grade, he would be sent out of the Qing Village.. Qing Shui knew that his Blue Lotus Art had long been integrated with the Ancient Strengthening Technique. Only when he had a breakthrough in the Ancient Strengthening Technique, would his Blue Lotus Art advanced. If someone wanted him to breakthrough to the 6th level of the Ancient Strengthening Technique in just a year of time, that person must have been either an idiot or was talking in his sleep. The probability of Qing Shui being sent out of the Qing Village was almost set in stone.
Although Qing Shui was the grandson of Qing Luo, because of his earlier constitution, Qing Shui had never seen the world outside before. In the past, he would suffered breathing problems and palpitation of his heart at the slightest hint of strenuous activity, if he were to stay on in Qing Clan after the age of 16, no one would have anything to say about it. Everyone understood the underlying fact that he was a trash that could not cultivate! But now, it was different, not only his constitution was better, his cultivation had even reached the peak of Martial Warrior, 3rd Grade. Sending Qing Shui out was only something to be expected.
“Forget it, I shouldn’t brood on this so much, maybe I should just join the expedition to head outside of the Qing Village, who knows I may unexpectedly have the opportunity to break through then.” Qing Shui sighed listlessly, shaking his head.
After all, Qing Shui had long decided to aid Qing Yi in her business venture, concurrently also learning about the medical properties of the various herbs the Qing Clan had at their disposal. Qing Shui still held high hopes for himself, he still had yet to accomplish Qing Yi’s wishes, Qing Shui will never abandon himself to despair! Even though he could not achieve a breakthrough in the Ancient Strengthening Technique, but based on his current strength; the hidden weapon techniques, Solitary Rapid Fist, and a technique that even he himself feared to encounter against – the Ghostly Steps, would definitely make the hearts of his opponents tremble in fear. Truthfully speaking, Qing Shui had never held any of the 3rd generation disciples in regards, solely based on the strength of his body alone, without the aid of any martial techniques, he would already be able to suppress them sorely to the point where one could only call it trampling. The reason why he did not do that was because he knew that it was not wise to reveal his cards this early in the game, after all he was still a teenager at the young age of 15.
At this moment,
“Shui gege.” Qing Shui heard a voice calling him from outside his court yard.
Just as the last syllable rang out, Qing Bei appeared in his courtyard. Now that Qing Bei was 13, with a small and exquisite face, and eyes that shone especially brightly, Qing Shui could see hints of beauty blossoming in the features of this little girl, Qing Bei’s body was in the initial stages of puberty. After all, she was 13, only 3 years more to be considered an adult.
Qing Bei was the youngest and only granddaughter in the Qing Clan. Qing Shui’s treatment of her was sincere and from his heart. Despite not being on good terms with the rest of the 3rd generation disciples, in his heart, Qing Shui fiercely doted on this little cousin of his.
“Xiao Bei, I’m here!” Qing Shui smiled slightly as he waved in welcome. Qing Bei could be considered the little genius of the Qing Clan, breaking through to the peak of Martial Warrior, 5th Grade at only the age of 13. The elders of the Qing Clan were generally very happy with the talent of Qing Bei, the only slight regret they had was Qing Bei is a female! In the end, no matter how talented she is, she would still have to be married off to outsiders. Even now, at the age of 13, there already were countless suitors pursuing her.
2 years ago, after Qing Shui cultivated to the peak of the 3rd layered heavens of the Ancient Strengthening Technique, he had been unable to break through further. His intuition was telling him, if he did not have another chance encounter; battle with his life on the line, or another bout of enlightenment, within the short term, it was unlikely for him to make a breakthrough! As he was temporarily unable to make any advancement in his cultivation base, during his spare time, he would teach the basics of the Solitary Rapid Fist to Qing Hu and Qing Bei! Qing Shui had begun teaching them about half a year ago. As the saying goes “He, who gain new knowledge by reviewing the old, is fit to be a teacher”! Among the 3rd generation disciples, Qing Hu and Qing Bei’s relation with Qing Hu could be considered as close as blood brothers/sisters.
For the rest of the 3rd generation disciples, they rarely gathered together. Especially for eldest grandson Qing Zi and genius Qing You, Qing Shui only had the chance to see them only a few times a year. It was the same for Qing Yang, Qing Hui and Qing Chuan. Moreover, once any of the 3rd generation disciples had managed to break through to the realm of Martial Warrior, 6th Grade, they would need to assiduously practice the martial techniques in addition to their own cultivation.
One could say that in the Qing Clan, the path to true power only starts after one had manage to reach the realm of a 6th Grade Martial Warrior. Other than this, at the end of every year, those who had broken through to the 6th Grade, would have to spar with their fellow 3rd generation disciples who broke through, as well as elders from the Qing Clan. For those with cultivation bases lower than the realm of Martial Warrior, 6th Grade, could only spectate below the stage.
Qing Hu and Qing Bei had already spent half a year learning the basics of the Solitary Rapid Fist with Qing Shui. Looking at them, Qing Shui finally realized how lucky he was back then, to have that fortuitous encounter which led to the bout of enlightenment. Now, after half a year had passed, Qing Hu had only memorised 1/3 of the 360 acupoints on the human body, but he was still far away from true comprehension. In a real fight, he only truly comprehended about the path of attacks towards the shoulders, the front of the chest and the head.
Qing Bei was slightly better than Qing Hu, after all, girls are more meticulous by nature, she had already managed to memorise the locations of all 360 acupoints of the human body, but during a fight, her display of her comprehension regarding the attacks of the Solitary Fist Technique was roughly on par with Qing Hu.
“You came alone? Where is Qing Hu?” Qing Shui curiously asked, as he did not see Qing Hu tagging along. For this past year, every single day without fail, around evening time, Qing Hu and Qing Bei would visit Qing Shui together and practiced the Solitary Rapid Fist.
“Qing Hu was injured by the Lan Yan`er from the Lan Clan, so he could not come today.” Anger and helplessness could be heard in her voice as Qing Bei broke down.
 no matter what they wish for, Qing Clan would comply