Chapter 95: Progress and Self Improvement
The burly man grinned, showing his sparkling teeth. His seemingly clumsy body movement turned out to be very fast!
He raised his arm to block my strike, causing my kick to collide with his arm. But it felt like I had just kicked an iron plate! It was so painful that I couldn’t help but grunt in pain!
He grabbed my ankle and forcefully spun me twice like a wheel before throwing me out!
I got thrown out a couple of meters back and had to use one of my hands as support before performing a quick rollover to stabilize my stance.
“You’re very agile, eh? But only having good martial arts skill is not enough to be qualified to join Phantasm Rain Pavilion.” The burly man praised. “Unleash your true strength, kiddo. It’s been a long time I fought somebody. Let me have some exercise today.” He glared at me, cracking his fingers loudly.
“Alright. But you’ve gotta be careful.”
Then, I hurled forward! With my Inner Force, flames instantly covered my hands as I quickly grabbed the man’s shoulder.
But the burly fella unexpectedly did not evade it and instead captured my wrist! I quickly put out my flaming hands and stepped back!
He also stopped, looking puzzled and asked, “Huh? Why did you stop? Didn’t you want to get some experience from sparring?”
“I do, but I don’t want to injure you.”
“Me getting injured? Hahaha…” The burly fella seemed to have heard the world’s funniest joke. After roaring in laughter for a short while, he said, “Man, I’m not some idiot trying to fuck myself up here. Just bring it on!”
‘Since he said so, then I have to dash at him once again!’
I used my Inner Force in conjunction with my punches and kicks, yet the more skilled at it I got the more scared I was!
Yeah, I was scared. But what scared me more was the ability of this guy!
As this big guy was fighting, a faint yellow shield would cover his body and made it so I was completely unable to break his defense at all!
Without me realizing it, half a month passed by.
I had been looking for this big fella every day and learned his name now, Tang Zhilong. His ability was some kind of secret art for bending the Earth element, one of the Five Elements which had a formidable defense. From the 10 days of sparring with him, I noticed that he only used his defensive ability and never took the initiative to attack me even once. I was pretty sure that it was not his only ability, though.
Every time I finished sparring with him, I went to the woods and continued practicing my body coordination in conjunction with the Inner Force, leaving myself tired and exhausted every day. Fortunately, my physique was good enough so I did not collapse. This was all thanks to… Ah… Every time I remembered Murong Daiyu, my worry and restlessness shot up. I did not know how things were with her, literally…
My strength had progressed and improved in these two weeks nevertheless. Yet only my agility and response speed had improved, while my Inner Force has stalled. That made we worry even more. Could I even get a place in the competition with only three months left?
I promised Tang Zhilong, that tanned big fella, to pay him a roasted chicken for an hour each day I sparred with him. A roasted chicken cost two white dice, while one person only had a monthly allowance of 30 white dice. I had been sparring with him in the last 15 days now, meaning that I had to give him all of my 30 white dice next month, lest they were robbed by others…
And today was the day of dice distribution.
Early in the morning, I had arrived at the yard of the Outer Court. A lot of people were here as well, including Tang Zhilong and those four punks who bullied and humiliated me that day. That cold-looking female was also here. My eyes turned narrow a bit as I shot those four punks a stare. I vowed that I would snatch back the Shadowbane sword from them sooner or later. But as for killing them, I must cast that idea away even though what they did to me had gone too far. Besides, I was a Daoist priest and not a murderer, to begin with; while murder was also forbidden in this place. More so that Tang Zhilong also told me that murder would be subject to severe punishments here.
Shortly after, the chubby Sun Yongfu fella, who was the Master of Outer Court, crept out of the hall. One guy then fawned upon him by moving over a chair for him to sit down. After Sun Yongfu took a seat, he said, “Alright, everyone. Another month has passed and I’m glad we can see each other again. As for this month, well… I got nothing to say to you, though. We’ll just do it as per usual custom. Those whose name is called come forward to collect your dice!”
I got my dice and yet could only sigh a bit inwardly. Ah, how I missed some real food after having the bitter taste of those leaves for this half a month! But those four punks who bullied me that day came to me again, one of whom then spoke, “If you don’t wanna get trashed again like last time, do yourself a favor and hand the dice over to me!”
“Well, well. What’s going on here?” Tang Zhilong came over. “Xiaolong, didn’t you promise me to give your dice?”
“Sure! I’m a man of my word. These 30 white dice are yours.” I replied to him and counted 30 white dice.
Tang Zhilong grinned and said, “Not bad, mate! Anyways, keep looking for me for the sparring, okay? Ah, that’s right. Want me to protect you while you leave this mountain? Pay me 5 black dice.” He extended his big palm out.
“Nah. Your price is kind of extortion, you know.” I smiled and said, “But I’ll go to your place to spar tomorrow.”
“Nevermind, then. Don’t blame me if you get robbed, though.” Then, he went to the front to collect his dice.
I looked back to the four guys calmly and said, “Give me back my backpack. I’ll exchange some of my dice for it.”
“What the fuck? Do you think we won’t dare touch you just because you have that Gorilla to shelter you?”
I frowned a bit, “Didn’t I tell you it’s between you and me? I will exchange for that backpack with the dice!”
“Trading it, huh? Fine. But you are to obediently hand over every piece of your dice for the next three years, including all of your stuff,” arrogantly said another guy.
“Sorry, I’ll hold what’s mine. 10 black dice are yours.”
“Ten, eh? Fine… just be careful next time.” He coldly replied. His intention was evident. They would hit me the instant I came out of this courtyard.
Quickly, the dice distribution was completed, as Sun Yongfu said, “Alright, everyone. Let’s meet again next month. Bye, bye!” He then moved his full of fat body and crept back to the hall after speaking.
Tang Zhilong told me he would head for the cafeteria to buy a roasted chicken, so we took our separate ways as I headed back first.
And… those four fellas followed my tail.
Did they think I was really a pushover? An easy target to pinch on? Let them see what I had become after half a month of training then! Hence, I intentionally picked the path to a remote place and soon entered the woods. There, I stopped my pace.
The four fellas quickly had me surrounded, one of whom sarcastically said, “You took us to a remote place rarely passed by people on purpose, huh? Didn’t you learn your lesson last time?”
“Hmph, what’s there to be proud of for four men ganging up one man?” I coldly said, “Fight me one-to-one if you got the ability. You win and the dice are yours. But if I win without the other three help you, then your dice are mine!”
“What luck?! Fine. Let me see how far you’ve grown after all these days!” The tallest guy said, “It’s been a long time since the last time I played with a newbie. Brothers, the three of you stand back. Let me play with him alone.”
“Just finish him fast! We brothers still have some others to rob.” Then, the three others stepped back a bit.
The tall man said, “Remember the name who beats you, Boy. I’m Gao Jian!” Afterward, a line of icicles appeared in front of him!
So this guy was the one who controlled the ice last time! No wonder he just said his ability was able to overcome mine.
He flicked his fingers and the icicles shot at me and I quickly moved my body upward! My agility had greatly improved after sparring with Tang Zhilong for two weeks. I moved over closer to him while dodging the icicles. Seeing me move that fast, Gao Jian was stunned for a moment! I came right in front of him right when he was dazed as I sent an elbow to his chest and hit him!
Gao Jian slowed down and retreated fast and was barely able to parry my attack in a hair-breadth!
There was no way I’d stop here so I dashed closer to his body again, and then sent a barrage of attacks to clash with him head-on!
He was at a disadvantage right as the fight started because he underestimated his opponent too much, whereas I kept pressing and attacking him. His ice bending ability seemed to be not effective in close combat while his martial arts skill also seemed subpar.
“Hmph, you may have stomped on me three weeks ago, but casting off the weight of the lead bars and from what I’ve learned from two weeks of sparring, I can squeeze you easily now.”
Quickly, I caught a chance as my hand snatched his right arm and the other one grabbed his shoulder! With the 16 Ways of Grappling technique, I exerted some force and directly disjointed his arm!
The acute pain made him shriek in pain but a chilling force suddenly gathered around him as a layer of frost appeared on his arm! The chilling coldness quickly spread all over my body!
I quickly released Gao Jian and stepped back fast! Before retreating, I exerted my Inner Force and flames quickly covered my arms!
Even so, my whole body was still shivering since the chilling cold had invaded the inside of my body through my arm!
Such a chilling frost sensation simply couldn’t be expressed in words.
With his right arm hanging down, Gao Jian did not dare to move carelessly, whereas I forced my body to not shiver, putting on a calm face and asked, “So what now? Do you wanna keep fighting? If not, I’ll help you mend your arm!”
“Fine! You do have some balls, I’ll admit! I was too careless today but we’ll see to it next month! If you win, I’ll pay you something. But if you lose, your dice for the next year will all be mine. Do you dare?”
“No problem with that!”
Then, I went over to help him mend his arm back. After which, I turned to leave. These fellas did not snatch my dice again.
After exiting their line of sight, I leaned on a tree with my body trembling all over. Even though I set my arms aflame, I was still unable to dispel the kind of chilling sensation in my internal organs at all.
I had seen how the Old Swindler set his whole body alight with flames. But I did not have the guts to even try it, because it was extremely difficult to make internal organs burn without harming myself, even I could burn them and lead myself to death. But now…
I was hesitating but I did not have the courage to set my internal organs aflame, but rather quickly headed to the vicinity of Outfit Pavilion. Moving my body would generate heat and disperse this chilling sensation.
On the way to the Outfit Pavilion, I put on a new set of clothes and ran for more than an hour. The chilling coldness finally abated a lot, so I took off the new clothes and ran toward the bathroom.
Anyways, the black dice itself couldn’t be traded for a meal or bathing. But it could be used to exchange for daily necessities with others. It had been more than a month and I had not had a bath. I really had to take a bath now.
Fortunately, the bathhouse was next to the Outfit Pavilion, so I could enter and have a bath safely. After getting done with the shower, I put on new clothes, then took out scissors provided by the bathhouse and cut my hair casually. After that, I went back to the woods where I had been staying.