Ancient Strengthening Technique: Chapter 40 – Annual Competition Amongst the 3rd Generation (3)
Qing Shui was already up and about as dawn broke. After his morning ablutions, he would enter the Qing Clan’s courtyard and do some simple stretches. The air in the morning was at its freshest during this part of the day. What Qing Shui wanted to do was to cultivate the Qi in his body by practicing a simple breathing technique, simply by breathing deeply.
The Ancient Strengthening Technique placed emphasis on the refinement of one’s body and bones. Everyday without fail, Qing Shui would practice the Solitary Rapid Fist, getting himself used to the harmonization of the muscles of his body, amplifying his strength to the highest level. In a perfect state of harmonization, not to mention a strike containing 100% of his power, even strikes amplified to 200% or higher were possible.
The silence in the courtyard was broken by the growling from the mastiffs lying about, but after seeing that it was Qing Shui, they soon quieted down and went back to their normally docile posture.
“Ghostly Steps!” Shadows flashed as Qing Shui sped across the courtyard. Qing Shui knew that this set of Ghostly Steps were derived from the essence of all escape techniques. It could even be used to evade and flee when one’s opponent was monstrously stronger than oneself, solely based on this fact one could tell how unfathomably mysterious this technique was.
Not only that, but in his repertoire was also the Solitary Rapid Fists! Qing Shui could not help but feel that both the Ghostly Steps and Solitary Rapid Fists complement each other perfectly, almost to the point where one could call it a flawless combination. The two skills he unlocked from the Ancient Strengthening Technique, could actually complement each other to such a degree… This discovery gave Qing Shui pause. Can other skills I obtain from breakthroughs complement each other as well? What a pity that he had still not broken through to the 4th heavenly layer despite such a long time. For the skills that he had already unlocked, the hidden weapon arts, Solitary Rapid Fist as well as Ghostly Steps, he had already cultivated them to a state where it was tough for him to improve them more in the near future.
However, Qing Shui knew that progress on the path of cultivation was akin to a sailing a boat against the currents! Not only would it be hard to break through after a certain level, if one stagnated for too long, one might actually regress as well.
The quintessential essence of the Solitary Rapid Fists lied in both the words “Solitary” and “Rapid”, one must train to the point where a single strike was so fast and agile that it would transform into two, two to four and so on. As for the Ghostly steps, the quintessential essence of it lied in the word “Ghostly”. One must cultivate the technique to the point where one would be as unpredictable as a shadow, and as illusive as a ghost.
In addition, Qing Shui was now proficient in the usage of swords. Contemplating on the essence of the basic sword techniques through Iaido, following the three-worded mantra – Swiftness, Accuracy, Decisiveness. Swiftness to the point of lightning, Accuracy refers to the way one wield the sword while Decisiveness pertained to the mental state. The essence of the sword could be boiled down to: “It is fine if I do not draw my sword, but when I do, I must obtain victory with a single strike, moving first to counter against any possible retaliation.”
It was still morning after he finished his regime, Qing Shui could hear the sounds of the store owners, the sounds of children hoo-hahing through the streets and the melodious sounds of chirping birds.
As he entered his residence, a delicious smell wafted over. Qing Shui looked at the table only to see Qing Yi smiling at him. Laid on the table were two dishes of vegetables and two dishes of wild boar meat, the smell was so alluring that it whet his appetite.
“Shui`er, hurry up and eat your meal, let us go and watch the competition later. Observing the battles of others can only bring benefits to your cultivation, even more so than just merely cultivating.” Qing Yi beseeched Qing Shui to eat as she explained the benefits to him.
“En, I have long since planned to watch the yearly competition today mother, I am sure that today will be interesting~” Qing Shui said with a grin. Looking at the elegant features of Qing Shui, one would be shocked to find that his table manners were somewhat lacking. Armed with a voracious appetite, he devoured everything with a speed that would rival that of combat soldiers. Qing Yi could only watch with a stunned expression on her face.
In his eyes, he didn’t bother much about what people thought about him. Qing Shui knew perfectly well that power was everything. If you are strong enough, then no matter what you do or how boorish you are, people would start to emulate you. If you were weak, then no matter how elegant you appeared to be, people would still only think of you as a sissy.
“Eat slower dear, no one is going to snatch the food away from you.” Qing Yi hurriedly said as her eyes bubbled with laughter.
“Mother, who will maintain the order and be the host for this year’s competition?” Qing Shui suddenly thought of a question.
“The judges this year will include the Qing Clan, Lan Clan, Feng Clan and the Tong Clan, as well as someone from Hundred Miles City.” Qing Yi replied readily. It seemed like this had always been the case for the past as well.
When Qing Shui rushed to the courtyard, he found that the courtyard was swamped with a sea of people. It was as if everyone in the surrounding regions came if they could make it! It was no wonder however, the societies in the World of the Nine Continents were cultivation-oriented.
Despite the area being densely packed with people, there wasn’t a single soul to be seen in the spacious arena. At the rear area of the arena were representatives from the various clans who all sat on chairs with a table in front of them.
Standing at the bottom of the judging area, were members from each of the judge’s clans. For example, the 3rd generation members of the Qing Clan would congregate together with those of the 2nd generation. It was the same for the Lan Clan, Feng Clan and Tong Clan. Of course, there were also many separate groups of people standing there in disperse droves, but these were those who had neither status nor power.
Qing Shui walked towards the Qing Clan members.
“Oh Qing Shui is here, I thought you always hated watching these yearly competitions?” Qing Zi said laughingly as he glanced in Qing Shui’s direction.
“Haha, this event is so hyped up that everyone around me says that this year is going to be interesting. Also, this may be my last chance to watch this event. After all, after the coming of age ceremony, I do not know where my path will lead me.” Qing Shui replied with a slight smile on his lips.
Greetings unceasingly flowed from the surroundings and Qing Shui smiled back towards them. All of the 3rd generation members had arrived, and those who were 6th grade martial warrior and higher; Qing Zi, Qing You, Qing Hui, Qing Yang…………… Qing Hu and Qing Bei.
The current cultivation level of Qing Bei was already at the peak of the 7th Grade and was just a hair’s breadth away from breaking through to the 8th grade. She really lived up to her name as the little genius of the Qing Clan. Despite being one of the youngest, her martial cultivation had already surpassed many others.
A short moment later, Qing Yi and the rest of the 2nd generation arrived. On the stage was Grandpa Qing Luo, which Qing Shui naturally knew. Next to him was Lan Yu from the Lan Clan, which Qing Shui had met a few times before. However, regarding the Tong Clan and the Feng Clan, Qing Shui had never met their judges before. The Tong Clan sent out a middle-aged burly brute while the Feng Clan’s representative was a charming young woman.
Qing Shui could not help but glance over at the charming young woman a couple of times. Her skin was fair and as smooth as white silk, her pair of phoenix eyes were also extremely captivating to look at. She wore a sky-blue dress that tightly hugged her curvaceous figure, displaying her body’s contour for all to admire as a slight smile hung on her mature and seductive face. Qing Shui was unable to tell her exact age, but he guessed that she was not that young.
As Qing Shui was lost in his appreciation of the Feng Clan beauty, he got shocked back into reality after seeing Situ Nan Tian standing on the stage. To think that the representative judge from the Hundred Miles City would be this sly old fox, Situ Nan Tian. After noticing the presence of Situ Nan Tian, Qing Shui could not help but scan the crowds a few more times, as he did not know whether Situ Bu Fan would also be here amongst the spectators, together with Shi Qing Zhuang. Deep in his heart, Qing Shui had a strong desire to look upon the ice cold countenance of Shi Qing Zhuang again…
As Qing Shui had expected, the main judge amongst the five was that sly old fox! Situ Nan Tian explained the rules once, as his loud and sonorous voice reached everyone in the crowd.
The rules were common ones: no killing, no poison, no hidden weapons, and once the opponent surrenders, the winner must stay their hand.
After the rules were explained, the start of the competition was immediately announced . This made Qing Shui wonder if all cultivators possessed such a direct manner.
However, what made Qing Shui surprised was that the rules also stated that, out of all the competitors today, the last one standing could be considered the strongest across the 3rd generations.
Still, it was not so bad, as everyone had three chances on stage. This meant that if you were defeated in the first round, you could still choose to fight until you were defeated three times. The only prerequisite was that you were still be able to participate!
After the start of the competition was announced, the main judge departed. Silence reigned in the courtyard as the spectators waited to see who would be the first participant. After a short moment, Qing Hu stepped up on the arena.
The Qing clan knew that, as this were their home ground, this martial competition should naturally begin with one of their own!