Ancient Strengthening Technique: Chapter 38 – Annual Competition Amongst the Third Generations (1)
“Do not worry mother. With me by your side, even if the heavens were to tumble down, I would still be here to support you!”
Looking at Qing Shui, who was in high spirits, Qing Yi suddenly felt that Qing Shui had become so reliable. That lanky frame of his was suddenly so dependable, she thought as she felt a sweet warmth rise up in her heart. Her son had finally grown up!
Both mother and son slowly strolled the streets, enjoying the lively laughter of the crowd while watching the proceedings of the bustling streets unfold.
Standing at Qing Yi’s side, Qing Shui enjoyed the peace of this moment. Even in the middle of these bustling street, as long as Qing Yi was with him, then even if the skies were to fall Qing Shui would still feel that he was safe. Safety wasn’t from any protection that Qing Yi could afford him, but from the fact that someone in this world loved him. Drawing an analogy, back in his previous world, even in a prosperous, densely populated city, one would feel that the city was empty. This loneliness stems from the lack of kinship and love, which causes one to feel endless frustration in one’s hearts.
It was getting late at night as Qing Shui and Qing Yi both returned to the Qing Clan. There were only two more days left until the new year, although Qing Shui was not clear on the customs of this world, the customs of the Qing Clan were fortunately similar to the ones back when he was on earth. Also, in his previous life, Qing Shui also originated from a poor village and thus the things they did for celebrating the new year here were also similar. Pasting matching couplets, lighting up fireworks, offering incense as a token of respect for the previous generations etc………
The second day, Qing Shui and Qing Yi did spring cleaning together, actually there wasn’t that much to tidy up. Although there were servants, Qing Yi did not like it when other people entered her residence. The only exception to this was Qing Shui.
Yesterday night, despite the late hour after they returned, Qing Shui still used two hours of time and cultivated inside the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. There was no need to ask questions, with such a beneficial time dilation realm aiding him, how could he not grab every chance he could and abuse the sh*t out of it? No matter how busy he was, he would still make time for it.
Looking at the empty space, with that time dilation effect of 100:1, Qing Shui could not help but think to himself “Sigh, what a waste.” What a waste it is to not grow spiritual herbs inside the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. Initially, Qing Shui wanted to grow Precious Grade herbs inside the spatial realm, but how sad was it that the last stalk of the 1000-year Ginseng had already been bought by the Situ Clan. They had even made the trip personally. This goes to show just how valuable a Precious Grade herb was.
“Forget it, I will just wait until I get ahold of some in the future. After all, with 15 acres of earth, I can plant plenty of herbs here, and with the time dilation effect just cultivating the herbs here for a year would be equivalent to a hundred years hehehe.” Qing Shui was currently 15 years old, if he started planting herbs now, by the time he was 20, he would have plenty of 500 year old Common Grade spiritual herbs!
After thinking it through, Qing Shui was tremendously excited. If one decided on something, one should simply do it right away as there is no point in hesitating. After all, how could one simply just purchase Precious Grade herbs? Even if they ransacked the entire Hundred Miles City, there may not even be a single Precious Grade herb there. Since he had already decided to start on planting Common Grade herbs first, he still had to demarcate a boundary to ensure that there would still be space for planting Precious Grade herbs in the future.
“After the new year, I shall go and buy a few Common Grade herb seedlings, or forage for some in the wilds. After all, the current me could be considered to have some knowledge on the different types of spiritual herbs!” Qing Shui silently decided that he must do so right away, at the earliest opportunity!
“Ah Qing Shui, when did you return? I heard that for the past half year, you went out to practice your cultivation?”
At the sound of that voice, Qing Shui turned his head. This familiar voice belonged to Qing Yang. They had not met since their last meeting, back when Qing Shui first entered the Qing Clan’s practice yard, and all the way to when Qing Yang broke through to the 6th Grade of Martial Warrior. Qing Yang was unlike those youngsters of the other big clans in the Qing Village who looked down and sneered at Qing Shui back in the past.
The usage of the Qing Clan’s practice courtyard was not limited to the 3rd generation of the Qing Clan alone. Other than the Qing Clan members, there were plenty of other 3rd generation members from the other big clans in the Qing Village. When comparing the ratio, there were many more members from the other clans when compared to just the Qing Clan. For example, the 3rd generation members from the Lan Clan were also using the courtyard. The Lan Clan members all had outstanding performance throughout these past two years, even more so than the Qing Clan members.
“Hey, it has been a while, it seems like your cultivation has improved again!” After a period of five years, Qing Shui could still discern Qing Hai’s level of strength with a single glance. Currently, based on his observations, Qing Hai was at the peak of the 7th Grade of the Martial Warrior realm.
Qing Shui had a feeling that his younger cousin, the genius Qing You, had long surpassed the 7th Grade of the Martial Warrior realm. He only knew that the honest looking Qing Zi was still at the 8th Grade of the Martial Warrior realm.
“Interesting, seems like the competition this year will be more lively!” Qing Shui grinned. The end of year competition was not only limited to the Qing Clan, other clans could participate as well. However, the Qing Clan had a rule, disciples from the Qing Clan must be at least at the 6th Grade of Martial Warrior realm before they can enter the competition. Previously, a few years ago, a few youths from the other clans passed by Qing Village and arrived just in time for the yearly competition. Naturally, the hot-blooded youths, under the pretext of making friends through exchanging of pointers in martial arts, also entered the competition.
On the surface, although it was termed as a “competition”, in reality it was more of an exchange of pointers. The only other notable clans from the nearby regions were the Lan Clan from the Qing Village, as well as the Feng Clan and the Tong Clan from the Town of the Setting Phoenix.
“Brother Qing Yang, it seems like this year, you can finally unleash your prowess.” Qing Shui smiled.
Qing Yang bitterly smiled and said, “How could it be so easy, do you know not that Lan Ye from the Lan Clan, Feng Xishui from the Feng Clan and Tong Gang from the Tong clan have already broken through to the 9th Grade of the Martial Warrior realm.”
“What? the Martial Warrior 9th Grade? How is this possible? Elder Brother Qing Zi is only at the 8th Grade, does this means that no one from our Qing Clan are capable of fighting against them?” Qing Shui did not want to reveal his true strength yet. How weird, in these five years there was such a huge change, and to think that the other large clan’s 3rd generation members caught up with the strength level of the 3rd generation of Qing Clan. Looks like the decision that year, for the 2nd generation members to consume the Crippling Divine Pill, was also an action with no other recourse available to them.
“Luckily, we still have Qing You, the genius of our Qing Clan. He has already broken through to the peak level of the Martial Warrior realm and his strength should be sufficient to handle those 9th Grade Martial Warriors from the other clans, while leaving the other small fish and shrimps  for us.” Qing Yang was beaming when he spoke of Qing You. After all, only when the clans had strong individuals would they be in a better position to fight for future benefits.
Any ne`er-do-well from clans or sects with a thousand years of history, could be a total wastrel or a useless bum and still be able to look down on others.
After that, Qing Shui went around meeting with other people from the Qing Clan, and also went to pay his respects to Qing Luo. Qing Luo had always doted and treasured him, despite his title of trash. It may be because Qing Luo only had one daughter and his fatherly love for Qing Yi was transferred onto him.
“Qing Shui, you have matured a lot during this half past year, though you must remember that one must not force oneself on the road of cultivation. If the way is full of obstacles, there is always some other paths available for you to take. You should not be overly focused and single-mindedly follow a presumed path that may not be suitable for you when you could soar to greater heights if you selected another path instead. Based on your intelligence, Grandpa shall not try to persuade you anymore. Your own destiny lies in your own hands.” Qing Luo said kindly as he looked at the soon to be adult Qing Shui.
“Do not worry Grandpa, I know my limits, I will be fine.” Qing Shui knew that there was no need to say that much now.
The second day after the beginning of the new year, the streets were still bustling as everyone soaked up the lively atmosphere. Qing Shui talked about many things with Qing Yi, as they strolled in the streets.
On the fourth day, Qing Luo brought the entire Qing Clan to pay respects to their ancestors.
Another year has passed, the previous year had been an extraordinary one for Qing Shui. He was 16 years old this year, and it was also time for the coming of age ceremony as well as the time for him to decide on which path he wanted to leave the imprint of his footsteps on in the future.
 small fish and small shrimps in this context refers to weaker opponents that were not worthy of mention