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 Chapter 55 - The Art of Heaven Elephants

"Stop looking at me like that! Haven't you seen a bird speak before? Oh, just leave me alone! It's rude of you to disturb my sleep in the morning. The old fellow doesn't want to guard the entrance so he locked me up here instead. It's soooo boring. I will eat that old fellow one day!" The large parrot flapped its wings and combed them with its beak, then slowly said these words which shocked Shi Mu a lot.

"Well, Cai Er, I thought you wanted to stay in the cage? If not, I could just clean you up and put you in a pot and make some bird stew..." A mountain of flesh appeared behind the table.

Shi Mu was scared but he managed to calm down and look at the massive figure, which turned out to be a fat man who was more like an ocean than a mountain. His fat jiggled like waves as he walked.

"Master, please don't put me into the pot, I won't say that again, please!" The large parrot threw itself on the bottom of the cag, as it saw the fat man, and covered its eyes with both wings, trembling and crying.

"Master...?"Shi Mu was stunned.

"No need to make a fuss. This is my pet, summoned from another world. When I found it, I saw that it could speak, so I had thought it was a treasure. Then I brought it back and found it was totally useless. What's more, it cost me a lot of spirit power! If I hadn't wasted almost all my money to summon it, I would have killed it and made a pot of stew." The fat man cursed.

As the fat man vented his anger, Shi Mu saw the parrot move its wings stealthily. It even stole a glance at the fat man, the way a human would, making a hilarious sight which brought Shi Mu great mirth. He suppressed the urge to laugh and greeted the fat man, "Senior, I am a new disciple and have come here to exchange my tokens for arts."

"Aaah. You young disciples, all coming here one after the other today, and disrupting my nap. Well, it is just as you heard from the bird, so help yourself to the books. All the books here, no matter whether they are on martial arts or magic arts, cost six Black Fire Tokens. You new disciples have twelve tokens, so you can have a book on cultivation and another on techniques. Oh, one more word, the books here are all excerpts. Just a brief introduction for you to preview t art. If you ever have made your choice, just come to me and I will copy the complete book onto jade slips for you. Also, my family name is Ju, so just call me Uncle Ju." The fat man said, with a focused look.

Shi Mu finally understood Stone Bai's previous remark after the fat man's explanation. It was obvious that Xiao Ming who had lost one Black Fire Token and could only choose a single art because his remaining five tokens would not be enough for him to exchange for another. He was obviously quite upset over this. After all, he had lost his chance to strengthen himself while the others hadn't.

"This one thanks Uncle Ju."

Shi Mu bowed to the fat man and walked over to the shelves behind the table. "The Cultivation of Rock", "The Cultivation of Blood Waves", "The Secret Canon of Three yang", "The Cultivation of Heaven-Stirring Real Qi", "The Sutra of Blue Origin". So many cultivation techniques for Houtian Warriors! Shi Mu began to read through the techniques.

The Cultivation of Rock: This cultivation focuses on steadiness. There are five levels to it, which means that, after finishing all of them, one's real qi cannot be advanced, but at this point, one can begin to develop a real qi area, which means one can move on to the next level, the Xiantian Saint.

[Fit for mediocre Houtian warriors. No tools or weapons required. Difficulty - Average]

The Secret Canon of Three yang[1]: This cultivation belongs to the quality of yang and has three levels.

This cultivation gives a Houtian warrior, who practices it, an overpowering real qi which can injure one's enemy from inside their body. Reaching the advanced level in this technique will allow one to develop a real qi area and, eventually, advance to the Xiantian level.

[Fit for intermediate Houtian warriors with requisite resources. Difficulty - Average]

The Cultivation of Heaven-Stirring Real Qi: This cultivation has a vigorous and simple quality about it. There are seven levels, which, after progressing through all of them, helps them to develop a real qi area and, eventually move on to Xiantian level.

[Fit for warriors less intelligent than average. No tools or weapons required. Difficulty - Average]

As Shi Mu fingered through the books, he found the introductions to be quite detailed, with lists of each art's characteristics and difficulties, even providing some advice to disciples. Gradually, he brewed over his own plan for choosing arts. For him, a Practitioner with the bloodline of the stone monkey, which posed a great difficulty to practicing real qi, avoiding difficult arts would be a wise choice. Now that he had enforced his physical body, to the extent that he could fight with a beginner level Houtian Warrior, he might as well choose an art that could further strengthen his physical body. Only this way could he gain more resources in competitions and quickly advance his cultivation.

As he pondered over this, he browsed all the dozens of books about cultivation on the long bookshelf. Then he stopped in front of a big bamboo slip, to have a closer look at it. The slip read,

The Cultivation of Heaven Elephant: This cultivation features huge strength and it is quite simple to practice.

Advancing through all the levels, there are a total of eleven, gives the warrior, who practices it, immense physical strength, like that of a Heavenly Elephant. But the process of finishing all the levels is a long one which requires the consumption of a large amount of expensive pills.

[Not fit for under-equipped warriors. Bones-Tempering Pill are required. Difficulty - Easy]

Without any doubt, the nature of the real qi needed in this art, and its overall difficulty, was very good fit for Shi Mu. But the requirement of a large amount of pills made him hesitate. Of course, he planned to gain resources in order to accelerate his practice, by winning competitions, but he didn't have the pills right now to practice this cultivation. And from the name, Bone Tempering Pill, it sounded like it wasn't cheap. What if the cultivation was not as powerful as he expected and could not help him in the competition? In that case, he would only be hurting himself if he took this art.

Shi Mu remained in front of the slip, hesitating for about a quarter of an hour, before something dawned on him, making him put the bamboo slip down and turn around toward the fat man.

"You have made your choice?" The fat man was killing his time by poking the parrot with a stick, making it let out eerie cries. The game amused him so much that he spoke, without even turning his head, when he heard footsteps behind him.

"Uncle Ju, I heard there is a Bloodline Sutras House, providing arts specially for Bloodline Warriors, but I haven't seen it on the map, can Uncle tell me where I can find it." Shi Mu stood behind the fat uncle, and asked him a question.

"Oh, are you are a Bloodline Warrior? That's not exactly surprising, because the time of the Blood-wave has come and there are many Bloodline Warriors emerging like angry bees from a hive." The fat man turned around, with a small trace of surprise on his face, which quickly vanished as he spoke.

"I am a Bloodline Warrior."Shi Mu replied without any hesitation. But in his heart he quietly added to himself, that, even though it was considered to be a waste bloodline, the Bloodline of the Stone Monkey was also a bloodline - and nothing to be ashamed of.

Notes:

[1] yang: the masculine or positive principle in nature, opposed to yin (the same yin found in the name of the Tian Yin sect)

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