Against Heaven

Chapter 4: The First Encounter

Coming from Jian Yu Island, Wang Lin had been very careful. He knew that any mistake would mean his end. Living in a world of survival of the fittest, he constantly reminded himself to be cautious.

Putting this aside, there was something else that concerned Wang Lin; Grade D spells were high level spells so the time required to train in them was longer than Grade E spells.

Wang Lin knew that what he was lacking right now, was time. Taking all of this into consideration, he decided to train with Grade E spells so that he could reach Level 3 soul power as quickly as possible. Future plans would be made after attaining the ability to defend himself.

Spiritual Enhancement Technique was a commonly seen spell in the Empress Mainland. It had one function, strengthening the body. Rumours were that practising this spell for an extended period of time could prolong one’s life.

This spell had no chants. One just needed to follow the poses shown in the illustrations, and as described in the texts. Because of its utmost simplicity, it became the favourite for people in the Empress Mainland.

Wang Lin began practising by following the illustrations in the book.

The pose for the first illustration was weird.. The arms were twisted to the back while both legs formed corkscrew motions. After a lot of effort, Wang Lin barely managed to make a pose similar to it.

No more than ten seconds later, he immediately felt burning aches all over his body as his breathing became laboured.

According to the requirements for the Spiritual Enhancement Technique, it’s considered a small progress to be able to hold a pose for more than ten minutes. If one was able to hold the pose for more than an hour, it would be considered a success and one could proceed to the next illustration.

After loosening up a bit, Wang Lin reattempted the pose from the first illustration with great determination. Ten seconds later, he could feel every inch of his muscles burning in pain, but he persevered with a strong will. He knew that there was no room to slack off as his time was precious.

After twenty seconds, the pain subsided. But before Wang Lin could even sigh in relief, a sharp pain radiated from his chest. He retched and vomited dark purple blood, before collapsing and falling unconscious.

After some time, Wang Lin slowly regained his consciousness. Upon waking up, he carefully observed his surroundings and gave a sigh of relief when he realised that everything still looked the same.

With the sky already turning dark, it appeared he was unconscious for quite some time. Wang Lin recalled his previous training and felt confused. The pose would explain the numbness and aching. But to think that he would have a sudden onset of chest pain and blood vomiting?

Unable to figure out the root of the problem, Wang Lin once again tried the pose. Ten seconds later, he felt the same aches.

With great focus, he maintained his posture. After twenty seconds, he could clearly feel pain all over the left side of his chest, as though something were tearing and biting through him. Before the pain got any worse, he stopped.

At this point, his face became pale. With every breath, traces of rosy redness returned to his face. It took a while for his facial colour to return to normal.

“Something is wrong!” Wang Lin’s eyes was full of apprehension. He opened his shirt, revealing his chest. He bent his head towards the left side of his chest to take a look while slowly palpating it.

He relaxed his body and shut his eyes. Slowly, his breathing became calmer. His surroundings were silent and he could feel his heart beating, “Lub dub, lub dub……”

Hold on, that’s not right. Wang Lin abruptly opened his eyes. He could feel that with every heartbeat, there was something moving within the left side of his chest.

With a finger, Wang Lin touched the location where he felt the sensation and gave it a good poke. That thing actually moved. It shifted away slightly from Wang Lin’s finger.

“This….. This thing is actually alive!” Wang Lin was horrified.

It must have been this thing that disrupted his training, but how did it enter his body? There were only two possible answers. One, was that it had been inside him ever since Jian Yu Island. The second explanation, would be because of the poison given to him by San Xiao Jie.

Between the two answers, he was more inclined towards the latter.

Wang Lin seemed to be in deep thoughts. He picked up the broken piece of clay from his bedside and put it under his foot. He knew very well that if he was not able to solve this problem, he would be unable to continue his training. Clenching his teeth, he took a deep breath and repeated the pose shown in the illustration again. Twenty seconds later, there was an extreme sensation of pain as expected. Wang Lin grabbed the piece of clay and unhesitantly stabbed into the location of the moving thing.

He disregarded the pain and the fresh blood flowing from his chest. With one quick movement, he explored the wound with his right hand. After a sharp shriek from inside the wound, Wang Lin sat weakly on the floor. In between his two fingers was a black, half bean-sized body of a worm.

“What a cunning worm.” Still shivering, Wang Lin brought out one of the herbs he bought. After munching on it, he applied it to his chest.

He felt drowsy and drained of energy.

“Lucky for me, one of these herbs is an excellent blood coagulant.” After a long time, Wang Lin’s pain slightly subsided. He then bandaged the wound with his shirt.

This slight movement caused the wound to start bleeding again. Wang Lin leaned on the side of his bed with both eyes closed. His face was unusually pale.

The worm was still alive and was hiding deeply inside Wang Lin’s body. Wang Lin tried searching for it, but was unable to detect the worm anymore. It must have realised Wang Lin’s brutality, thus it did not want to show itself anymore.

After resting for a bit, Wang Lin ignored the pain and once again made the pose. Twenty seconds later, even though there was still numbness and weakness all over his body, the pain caused by the worm did not recur.

This time, Wang Lin managed to hold the pose. The night slowly passed by.

That night Wang Lin’s wound reopened a few times, making him use up half of the blood coagulating herb. With unwavering persistence, he managed to extend the pose duration to 1 minute and 20 seconds before dawn.

Even though he hadn’t slept, Wang Lin realised that, apart from the pain coming from the wound, he did not feel tired at all. In fact, he was full of energy and his body felt quite well. This undoubtedly increased his confidence about the efficacy of the Spiritual Enhancement Technique.

In the morning, Chun Lan sent him some breakfast, but Wang Lin did not touch the food. After Chun Lan left, he took out one of the herbs he bought. It was a herb which could increase blood production and with spiritual energy restoration properties. He put a large chunk of it into his mouth and swallowed it to fill his stomach.

He had decided not to consume any food that was prepared in the mansion. If he was hungry, he would take some of the herbs he bought. Otherwise, he would walk to the street and buy some food himself. This was to deny San Xiao Jie any opportunity to poison him.

Initially he thought of asking Chun Lan to not bring him any food in the future. However, after thinking about it, he decided to not tell her. He would instead secretly dispose of the rice and dishes after Chun Lan left.

Sitting in bed cross-legged, Wang Lin was not willing to waste any more time. He continued to do the pose from the first illustration. This time, he set a target for himself. His goal was to hold this pose for more than two minutes today.

Previously, after Wang Lin became exhausted, he would require 10-minutes of rest to replenish his energy. However, with much endurance and persistence, his rest time became shorter and shorter as the body’s restoration speed improved.

Now, he only required 9 minutes of rest time before he could continue training. The more he trained, the better he got. The duration of the pose gradually increased; 1 minute 30 seconds, 1 minute 40 seconds, 1 minute 50 seconds.

Finally, at dusk, he had managed 1 minute 58 seconds.

Sensing that he was near his goal, Wang Lin stood up and gave a good stretch. Noticing a scab forming over his wound, he applied some more herbs on it.

After that, he pushed open the room door and took a deep breath. While admiring the setting sun, he let out a smile. The feeling that he was improving with time pleased him because he felt like he had more control over his own fate.

On a stone table in the courtyard, there were two plates of food and a set of new clothes. The food sent by Chun Lan was meant for lunch and dinner. After throwing the food away, Wang Lin took the clothes, returned to his room and continued training.

As he trained more, he realised that his senses had become sharper. He could sense Chun Lan clearly every time she sent him food.

Simultaneously, the ache and numbness became less the more he trained.

The next few days, Wang Lin was completely absorbed in training all day and night. Finally on the fourth day, he had a breakthrough. He managed to extend the pose duration to ten minutes with a rest time of five.

At the tenth minute of the pose, Wang Lin felt his brain tremble. His whole body, including every inch of his skin, muscles, bones, blood vessels and nerves experienced gushes of warmth. These gushes flowed through his entire body, as though it was crawling with ants.

Droplets of black liquid perspired from Wang Lin’s pores, drenching his clothes.

As the sensation slowly wore off, Wang Lin breathed out a dark cloud of air and opened his eyes. At this point, his eyes became as clear as moonlight.

“There’s finally a small breakthrough for the first illustration of Spiritual Enhancement Technique!” Wang Lin mumbled to himself. He was amazed to find that his whole body felt sticky. As he sniffed himself, his nose was greeted by an overwhelmingly foul smell.

Wang Lin immediately stood up, stripped and went to the bathroom to thoroughly clean his body. He was extremely delighted as the intense energy emanating from inside his body gave him an extra level of confidence!

“A small accomplishment after four days of training on the first illustration of Spiritual Enhancement Technique. That’s quite slow. The initial plan was to accomplish this in three days. It seems that I still need to work harder in order to be able to hold the pose for one hour. That way, I can proceed to the second illustration.” Wang Lin thought while cleaning his body.

Based on the record for the Spiritual Enhancement Technique, the fastest record for achieving a small accomplishment on the first illustration was three days. However, little did Wang Lin know that the record holder had regularly submerged in precious herb water from a young age, leading to no impurities in the body. Thus, it’s natural that the time needed to train was a lot shorter.

Aside from that person, others who had been training in the Spiritual Enhancement Technique would require months to achieve a small accomplishment on the first illustration.

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