Chapter 1 - Awakening of the Martial Spirit
In the Canglan Continent, if one were aiming to be a Martial Artist, awakening a Martial Spirit was essential. Only through a Martial Spirit would a cultivator be able to communicate with the Heavens and Earth to absorb Qi and cultivate.
There existed various kinds of Martial Spirits. It was impossible to count every single type of them. Generally, Martial Spirits were classified into four great ranks of Tian, Di, Xuan, and Huang, while each rank was further split into ten grades.
The rank of a Martial Spirit would determine the pace of cultivation, the capabilities, and potential of a cultivator; thus a higher ranked Martial Spirit would grant the cultivator a higher chance of becoming an expert in the future.
...Meanwhile, at the Qin Clan in Linshui City of the Luohe Kingdom, the Martial Spirit Awakening Ceremony was being held...
A handsome disciple wearing a prideful look was sitting on a pitch-black altar with his legs crossed. The altar was surrounded by the disciples and elders of the Qin Clan.
The disciple’s name was Qin Changkong, the son of the Supreme Elder of the Qin Clan. Among the disciples of the Qin Clan, he was ranked second, right after the Young Master of the Qin Clan, Qin Nan.
As such, the disciples and elders were wearing great anticipation on their faces.
The pitch-black altar began to operate as rays of white light were emitted from it, resulting in a magical sight. The crowd could see the light penetrating Qin Changkong’s body and moving around like giant illusionary snakes with their naked eyes.
An imperious roar of a beast was emitted from Qin Changkong’s body all of a sudden.
Yellow rays of light began to appear from Qin Changkong’s back, and when a total of five yellow rays could be seen, the phantom of a giant ferocious white tiger appeared with a monstrous aura, as if the king of beasts had arrived.
The elders and disciples could feel a great pressure at that instant.
“This is…” The elder in charge of the ceremony was left in awe momentarily, before he immediately collected his thoughts and burst out screaming in excitement, “Five yellow rays! Five yellow rays! It’s a fifth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit! Fifth-grade Huang ranked Beast-type Martial Spirit!”
The words served as a grenade being tossed into the crowd, startling the disciples and elders.
“What? A fifth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit?”
“Oh my Lord, our Qin Clan has finally produced a great talent!”
Everyone’s faces were filled with great astonishment. No one had expected this to happen.
...On a side note, one with a fifth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit was considered a top talent within the entire Linshui City. Such talent would only appear once every three years on average. Furthermore, those with a fifth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit or higher were guaranteed to acquire great achievements in the future.
They had initially thought that Qin Changkong would at most awaken a fourth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit.
Qin Changkong was immersed in great joy. Even he himself had not expected to awaken a fifth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit.
After seeing the astonishment in the eyes of the disciples and the elders, Qin Changkong could not help but feel proud. He then scanned the crowd and locked his gaze onto an ordinary-looking disciple in a mocking manner.
The disciple was none other than the Young Master of the Qin Clan who was known as the top genius of the clan: Qin Nan.
“Well done. Next, Qin Nan!” The elder in charge swiftly reacted and uttered a yell. Following this, his eyes were filled with great anticipation.
Now that Qin Changkong was already deemed to be an outstanding genius, Qin Nan would definitely awaken a better Martial Spirit than him, judging by his talents.
If that was the case, the future of the Qin Clan should not be underestimated with these two great geniuses.
As expected, after the elder in charge yelled out the name, the disciples and elders instantly withdrew their thoughts and glanced toward the ordinary-looking young man. The anticipation displayed in their eyes was greater than before.
Qin Nan was not only a legend to the Qin Clan, but to Linshui City too.
Qin Nan was the son of the Qin Clan’s Patriarch, who only began learning how to read and write at the age of six, and then shocked the entire Linshui City with his academic achievements at the age of eight. He then turned to the path of Martial Arts at the age of nine and practiced the Fist Arts at the age of ten. At eleven, he hunted a tiger with his bare hands, and started practicing Saber Arts. He had mastered ten Martial Skills at the age of thirteen, and when he had been struck by lightning at the age of fourteen, he was perfectly unharmed. Finally, he invented a Saber Art that was classified as a Middle-class Martial Skill, resulting in a great shock to the people of Linshui City.
Once, a Martial Emperor Realm expert immediately stated after listening to Qin Nan’s achievements, “The talent that this child displayed is not to be underestimated. The Martial Spirit that he awakens in the future will surely be fifth-grade Huang ranked, or even higher. His future will be remarkably extraordinary.”
The words of the Martial Emperor immediately came into play. Before Qin Nan had managed to awaken his Martial Spirit, he was referred to as the top genius of Linshui City.
Qin Nan was wearing a long black robe, and his skin was slightly pale as if he had just recovered from an illness. Under the gaze of the crowd, he proceeded to the altar at a steady pace while wearing a calm expression.
“Phew, this day has finally arrived…”
Qin Nan mumbled to himself and took a deep breath. He ignored the gazes from the crowd and sat down with his legs crossed before shutting his eyes.
Following this, the white rays emitted from the altar penetrated Qin Nan’s body.
At that instant, the surrounding disciples and elders became excited after the process took place.
“My instinct is telling me that Young Master Qin Nan’s Martial Spirit is going to be quite remarkable!”
“Yeah, Qin Changkong has already awakened a fifth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit. Since Young Master Qin Nan has a greater talent, the rank of his Martial Spirit will surely be higher!”
“Gasp, a Martial Spirit surpassing the fifth-grade Huang rank. This has never happened in the history of our Qin Clan.”
“Shut up, try not to disturb Young Master Qin Nan. If anything goes wrong, are you able to bear the consequences?”
The atmosphere of the place turned incredibly lively. In addition to the young disciples, even the elders uttered continuous compliments with great anticipation.
However, when Qin Changkong saw the reaction of the crowd, the joy and pride from awakening a fifth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit instantly dissipated, leaving a twisted expression on his face.
“Humph, one’s Martial Spirit is determined by the Heavens. Nothing is able to alter the rules.” Qin Changkong said in a cold tone, “Do you really think that a fifth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit is that easy to be awakened? Wait until you see that your Young Master Qin Nan’s Martial Spirit turns out to be a mere second-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit!”
As soon as he finished speaking, the surrounding disciples and elders immediately glanced at him disdainfully.
That being said, the disciples and elders did not say anything. After all, Qin Changkong was a genius with a fifth-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit, thus his status in the clan was no longer the same.
Qin Changkong felt unpleasant after seeing the disgusted look in the eyes of the crowd. However, it did allow him to calm his thoughts. Qin Nan’s talents were obvious since he had been born. Even a Martial Emperor was impressed, hence there was no way he would awaken a second-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit.
Upon having this thought, Qin Changkong glared in the direction of the altar.
“Qin Nan, your Martial Spirit has to be lower than the fifth-grade Huang rank, or at least not surpassing the fifth-grade Huang rank…”
Qin Changkong could not help but let out a curse in his heart.
Meanwhile, the number of white rays emitted from the altar increased continuously.
Qin Nan’s face reddened slightly after being shone upon by the light, before a piercing buzz could be heard from his body.
The crowd held their breaths at that moment!
Following a loud bang, a yellow ray was fired from his body all of a sudden. Under the nervous gazes of the crowd, after the ray was emitted, a huge saber engulfed in flames slowly appeared within the ray of light.
The elders and disciples were instantly left in shock.
One yellow ray? A first-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit? The lowest possible rank? How was this possible?
Even Qin Changkong, who had kept on uttering curses in his heart, was utterly astounded. There was no way he would have expected the top genius of Linshui City to only awaken a first-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit—the worst Martial Spirit possible!
Qin Nan, who was sitting on the altar, slowly opened his eyes and observed the dumbfounded expressions on the faces of the crowd.
“Scarlet Flame Saber, a first-grade Huang ranked Martial Spirit, huh…”
Qin Nan mumbled to himself and withdrew the floating Scarlet Flame Saber into his body with a thought. He did not show any despair or loss of hope through his expression. Instead, his eyes flickered with a vague hint of joy, but he soon concealed it.
 TL Note: Tian, Di, Xuan, Huang (天地玄黄) is the first four letters in the Thousand Character Classic, a Chinese poem that has been used as a primer for teaching Chinese characters to children. Tian = heaven/sky, Di = Earth, Xuan = dark blue/obscure, Huang = yellow/human.