AST 230 – Obscure Taiji, Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine Hammer Blows
With the sound of a bang, he continued with his Taichi. There was a series of slightly explosive sounds that made him feel very comfortable. Qing Shui never expected that he could use the physical strength of an ordinary person to create a ‘surface force’ pinnacle effect.
Surface Force was able to exert the body’s strength before one actually attained Xiantian. For cultivators that were at the pinnacle of Houtian, the strength which they circulated could all be considered as ‘surface force.’
Surface Force  requires both legs to be standing slightly bent. One should be relaxed, have locked shoulders, straighten one’s head, circulate the force from your Dantian and through the back of one’s knee. One should push forward, and retract the force back by pulling it towards the back and waist before tightening one gluteus to summon the force again. The exterior body must be loose and not rigid, as the force seeps into muscles and flesh. It is neither too gentle nor too unyielding. This is what surface force does.
(TL: tried my best, chinese martial arts descriptions and mantra is too hard for me T_T)
When arms are raised, they are filled with brute strength. The upper limb is tough and inflexible, while the lower body drifts like the wind, and exerts pure strength. This is also surface force. Qing Shui knew that users of surface force in the Greencloud Continent also couldn’t be considered an expert, let alone in this world of the nine continents.
Qing Shui was surprised because he actually used the power of his surface force, a type of force that was used by ordinary people. It actually had power that was not weaker than ‘hidden force’.
‘Hidden Force’  rises and falls according to the breaths of the user. It is formless, and when one’s Qi settles in their Dantian, one could use the pushing force of the blood circulation to move the settled Qi around the meridians and energy channels of one’s body. This helps trap the five elements, and strengthen the four limbs. Toughness contains gentleness, while gentleness encompasses toughness. Yin is yin but also yang, and vice versa. This will be channeling through muscles and bone structure, adapting to ‘hard’ or ‘soft’, weaving around, and linking up the myriad of acupoints in one’s body. After which, the Qi would sink in and become one with the body, and won’t dissipate unless it’s used. Even when used, it would not be totally exhausted. This is “hidden force”!
(TL: Once again I tried my best, respect to qualitea. He has to deal with all these martial arts translations every chapter for RDS)
Xiantian cultivators used their Xiantian Qi that was formed in their Dantian to power their attacks. This was also a form of hidden force! The Qi from the Ancient Strengthening Technique abruptly circulated automatically within his body as he executed a simple move, Taiji’s Single Whip!
He used a simple Taiji’s Single Whip, yet it exhausted about 80% of Qing Shui’s energy. However, there was no reaction or sound of the air being torn apart. There was just simply silence as though he was not using force at all. Upon seeing this, Qing Shui actually laughed.
He had somehow touched upon the doorway of the Obscure Realm. That arm of his when he was executing the earlier attack contained an extremely devastating destructive power.
Qing Shui didn’t expect that his Taiji Fist would be the next to break through to the Obscure Realm after his Iaido technique. This caused Qing Shui to feel that joy always existed in unintentioned happenings.
Now that his Taiji Fist had broken through to the Obscure Realm, his attacks seemed ordinary and without profoundness. Yet, there was an impressive atmosphere created from that seemingly simple, coordinated movements of his. They caused him to appear solemn and dignified, but also carefree as his strikes followed his heart’s desires perfectly.
Canghai Mingyue who was watching from a distance away was completely dumbfounded. If she didn’t personally witnessed this, she would not have believed it. Ever since this little fellow came here, the miracles he created had been relentless.
After breakfast, Qing Shui prepared to visit the blacksmith store which he bought yesterday. He was a man of his words, so he still had to treat the right arm of the sturdy blacksmith.
In the world of the nine continents, injuries to the meridians, bone structure, and Dantian, were usually considered to be incurable. Qing Shui didn’t think that this was the case because Yu Donghao and Baili Jingwei would still be in their crippled state.
He also didn’t expect his Primordial Needle Techniques to be so mystical and even able to cure something that the doctors and alchemists of this world couldn’t be able to cure.
“Qing Shui, let’s go together to take a look!” Canghai Mingyue and Huoyun Liu-Li smiled. The three of them walked towards the blacksmith store which Qing Shui purchased yesterday.
Strangely enough, Qing Shui didn’t take advantage of Canghai Mingyue with his mouth this time round. Two beautiful women, but each of them had a different beauty. Although Huoyun Liu-Li was beautiful, it was insufficient to cause Qing Shui to halt his steps. Underneath the vivaciousness of Huoyun, Qing Shui could feel a pure heart. He felt very warm whenever he interacted with her.
Canghai Mingyue was different. She was awe-inspiring, imposing, and her beauty was akin to the heavenly angels. Her beauty was a type of beauty that disdains all others. In Qing Shui’s mind, this was the type that stirred his emotions the most. However, there was one thing he couldn’t really accept – the woman he wanted was stronger when compared to him.
Being in front of such women, he felt inferior, and thus he unconsciously rejected such women. Qing Shui wasn’t a male chauvinist pig but he couldn’t accept the fact that his women would be stronger than him. The pride that was carved in his bones naturally caused him to veer away from such women. In the state of his random thoughts, the two women beside him felt that his expressions were very weird. Somehow, a little depression mixed with…hidden anger?
“Are you okay? What happened? Did you think of unhappy stuffs again?” Huoyun asked, concern apparent in her voice.
Canghai Mingyue was also curious. Suddenly, she thought of the little girl selling tea leaves in the Yan Clan. The girl that resembled Qing Shui so much. She could still remember the struggle in his eyes as well as holding him back. No one knew what was the burden he was carrying in his heart.
“I’m fine, how could there be unhappy stuffs? I’m walking with two great beauties right now, you know? How can I ask for more?”
Walking into the simple looking and unadorned store, the sturdy blacksmith was currently forging a piece of metal. They could even hear the ringing sounds of the hammer even before they entered.
“You’re here!” The sturdy blacksmith greeted Qing Shui, as he subtly swept his glance over to Canghai Mingyue and Huoyun Liu-Li before he looked away.
This caused Qing Shui to be silently impressed. He had specially paid attention to the eyes of the blacksmith. It was extremely clear even after he saw the two beauties.
“Come, let me help you cure the illness. You will need a week of treatment, and I will be here to administer help every day for this week. You will naturally know if it’s cured or not after a week.” Qing Shui decided to start straight away. After all, there were no benefits to the patient if the treatment for their damaged meridians and bone structures was delayed.
Forging was something that exhausted tremendous amounts of strength. To ordinary humans, one must at least be at the Martial Student grade before they had the caliber to be even called a blacksmith.
“Right now?” The sturdy man asked in astonishment.
“Yeah, let’s go. It will be quick!”
The blacksmith nodded his head, as he pointed to a chamber. “That room.”
After entering, the blacksmith undressed his upper clothings as his muscular, ripped arms were revealed. He looked at Qing Shui as he inquired, “Is there still something that you need me to do?”
“It’s fine, watch me. Take note, this will be painful.” Qing Shui retrieved his golden needles as he lightly exclaimed.
“I’m not afraid of pain. Thank you.” The blacksmith smiled as he laid down, extending his right arm out to Qing Shui.
“Do you usually spend the whole year here alone?” Qing Shui casually asked as he checked the extent of the injuries of the blacksmith. Although he had scanned the blacksmith yesterday with his Heavenly Vision Technique, that was merely a brief scan. Today, he was detailedly studying the extent of the injury. One of the energy channels in the right arm of the blacksmith was seriously damaged and at most would only be able to last till the end of this year. To a blacksmith, if one of his arms was disabled, it would be as though there was no more meaning in life.
“Yeah I’m alone here. The only thing that accompanies me is this blacksmith store. This is the only thing my parents left me. They hoped that I could become a great grandmaster of weaponsmithing in the future. This was also the reason why I was unwilling to sell the store.” The blacksmith sighed, as depression could be heard in his tone.
“Oh, but why did you still agree to my request in the end?” Qing Shui asked.
“Because this arm of mine is my everything. Without the store, I could still achieve the hopes my parents had for me. However if this arm is gone, everything, my hopes and dreams, would all be shattered.”
“Actually your objective can’t be considered tough to achieve at all!” Qing Shui smiled, as he inserted the golden needles infused with the Qi from his Ancient Strengthening Technique into the arms of the blacksmith, causing them to tremble slightly. Occasionally, he would retract and re-insert in different acupoints or continuously tap on a particular spot with his hands.
The sturdy blacksmith had a lack of comprehension on his face as he looked at Qing Shui. He didn’t understand why this young man would treat him so well. He basically had nothing to his name. Even if Qing Shui was a swindler, there was no need to put in so much effort to swindle him to gain the things that he possessed. Seeing the two beautiful women at the side of Qing Shui, he knew that Qing Shui was definitely someone extraordinary. Being able to cure his illness as well as taking out millions of taels of silver, how could he still be someone ordinary?
He was an alchemist, a mysterious and incredible alchemist, but why did he want a blacksmith store, and such a small one at that? Could it be like what Qing Shui had said earlier? There was no need for any reason if one wanted to do things.
Qing Shui slowly extracted the golden needles from the arm of the blacksmith. The blacksmith hadn’t utter a single cry since the start of the treatment. This caused Qing Shui to be silently impressed by his steel-like endurance.
“Go and test your arms. See if there are any differences.” Qing Shui smiled.
The sturdy blacksmith trembled his shoulders as he swung out in a straight-right direction. He repeated it again, and again.
“I can actually finally use my full strength!” The blacksmith shouted in excitement. In the past, he could only use half of his strength because there would be unbearable pain if he tried to exert more strength than that.
“Thank you, my name is Huyou .” The blacksmith happily exclaimed with gratitude. Although he was extremely happy, he didn’t forget his manners.
This was a man with excellent restraint!
“I’m Qing Shui. In the future, the two of us will manage this store together.” Qing Shui laughed.
“This store is already yours, but I hope I would still be able to stay here. After all, blacksmithing is my love and life.” Huyou seriously replied.
Qing Shui sighed, silently agreeing. He guessed that if he said anything more, the Huyou would surely refuse.
The two of them walked outside the room. Qing Shui realised that Canghai Mingyue and Huoyun were looking at some weapons. As they saw Qing Shui exiting the room, they began to walk over to him.
“Can you show me the process of forging a weapon? I would like to learn.” Qing Shui earnestly inquired to Huyou.
Huyou agreed as he started, first finding the cast of the weapon which he wanted to create…
Looking at the techniques as well as paying attention to some of the intricacies, Qing Shui saw that the form of a sword was finally lifted out from the cool water. Under the tempering of Huyou’s few hundred hammer pounds, eventually an average looking sword was retrieved from the furnace.
Qing Shui knew that quality of this sword was shoddy because Houyu was giving him a crash course in forging. The two ladies stood at the side as they watched with indescribable expressions in their eyes. Until now, they still didn’t believe that Qing Shui was interested in forging, although the craft of being a blacksmith was not looked down upon by others. On the contrary, blacksmiths enjoyed quite a high status in this world of the nine continents. A good weapon could boost one’s attack by several times.
“Let me try it!” Qing Shui spoke with ardent fervor.
Huyou smiled as Qing Shui took over his position. Qing Shui seemed to be really excited, after all, this was his first time trying to forge a weapon. Thus, he was filled with anticipation. Gazing at all the materials about, he realised that he could create any weapon cast he desired by using ‘silver mud’. Eventually, he decided to create the form of a sword with jagged edges. The appearance didn’t really matter much to him. His only requirement was that it could increase his might.
After which, he placed a common metal origin rock inside the furnace as he used the techniques Huyou showed him earlier. Very quickly, the original form was created. After dousing it with water, Qing Shui infused the smithing hammer with Qi from the Ancient Strengthening Technique as he began raining blows on the original form of the sword. Despite his clumsy looking poundings, he was actually incomparably excited, getting more into it by the second. Seeing how the metal yielded to the pressure created by his every strike, Qing Shui was filled with a sense of satisfaction.
Canghai Mingyue and Huoyun Liu-Li stared in amazement. The sword created from normal materials actually glowed with a gentle light in response to the hammering efforts of Qing Shui. At this moment, Qing Shui appeared even more like a blacksmith when compared to Huyou.
Although Huyou hastened the speed earlier, Qing Shui was still a newbie! As the sword creation process carried on, his rate of improvement could be clearly seen to the extent where if there were onlookers spectating the process, no one would believe that Qing Shui was a newbie.
Or was he a natural born master blacksmith!?
Even the way he hammered gave off an incredibly mysterious feeling. His hammer blows appeared simple yet filled with a complex sense of heaviness, as the original form of the sword began to finally look like the sword he pictured in his mind. He was using an image in his mind to mold the sword. Finally, after a thunderous sound echoed, the Silver Jagged Sword actually emitted a faint, cold light. This indicated that the sword was finally completed, as Qing Shui sighed in relief.
This was the first sword he created in his life and he had been tracking the number of hammer blows he used earlier. He used a total of 999 hammer blows, just one short of the information recorded in his memory unlocked by the Ancient Strengthening technique. He recalled the unlocked memory said that 1,000 hammer blows was the minimum requirement to forge a good weapon. The more hammer blows there were, the higher the quality of the created weapon would be. However, with the present materials at hand as well as his newly acquired skills, 999 hammer blows was already the absolute limit. After the faint light glowed, the efforts would be superfluous, even if he hammered again.
Qing Shui held the newly-created sword up in his hands. It could be considered a short sword. It was about three feet in length, and had jagged edges by the side. It glowed with a faint, cold light that added a mysterious feel to the sword. When held in his hands, Qing Shui felt extremely comfortable as though he was one with the weapon. After all, this was created with the aid of Qi from the Ancient Strengthening Technique. Using his Heavenly Vision Technique, he inspected the sword.
Qing Shui was thunderstruck. Could it actually still enhance his attributes?
 Chinese martial artists were strong believers in this type of force. It was said that Bruce Lee was one of those that could manifest Hidden Force.
Surface Force: For practitioners of external martial arts, they were able to exhibit surface force which would cause their palm attacks to be as tough as iron, capable of splitting apart rocks.
Surface Force ? external martial arts practitioner as opposed to Hidden Force ? Internal martial arts practitioner. Huyou – I couldn’t resist, it’s not ‘who you’ but same pronunciation LOL