Chapter 7: Blood Warriors
Translator: Novel Saga Editor: - -
"For a beginner, your growth has been amazing. I've never seen anything like it before. Could it be... that you have inspired your blood?" said Li Cang Hai with an amazed look on his face for he was completely taken aback by Shi Mu's performance.
"Inspired my blood?" Shi Mu said, pausing.
"Haha, I'm just throwing a wild guess at you. You can't possibly be a Blood Warrior, for they are quite rare. You must have great inherent strength. However, it does seem as if your body was made to practice the 'Stone-Breaking' Fist," said Li Cang Hai as he shook his head and smiled silently, for he was finding it hard to speak.
"Master Li, who are these Blood Warriors?" Shi Mu asked out of curiosity.
"Well, it is hard to explain. Some Hou Tian Warriors manage to stimulate a special kind of blood in their veins. Such warriors are called Blood Warriors, and this ability comes as a natural process. In order to even have a chance, a warrior needs to be born with it. Barely one in a million warriors is able to achieve this.
"As a Martial Disciple, it is next to impossible to stimulate your blood vessels. The Kai Yuan Martial Arts School will be able to help you learn more about the Blood Warriors, so prepare to get enrolled. Blood Warriors are often regarded as demons because they have the ability to annihilate any other warrior of the same level.
"You must remember that they are, in fact, hated for their talents. Being a Blood Warrior from a powerful family may be a fortunate occurrence, but otherwise Blood Warriors are usually assassinated at an early age. In fact, I recall that there are a few Blood Warriors among the candidates this year." Li Cang Hai said, waving off the topic with a brief explanation, showing an obvious indifference.
Shi Mu nodded and did not inquire further, but memorized every piece of information about the Blood Warriors, and his own mutation deep in his heart.
"It is true that you do have outstanding talents in the 'Stone-Breaking' art. Anyway, I'd better quicken the pace, or the current exercise would become useless for you," said Li, and paused.
"But, there is no question about your talents," he added with a meaningful look at Shi Mu, along with a smile.
Then Li Cang Hai instructed some servants to fill the tank with sharp-looking stones. He took off another layer from the boy's gloves and ordered Shi Mu to continue practicing.
This time, Shi Mu's fists began to feel the soreness almost immediately. A little while later, both fists began to sting. It felt as if a myriad of tiny needles lay hidden in the stones.
Shi Mu turned to see Li Cang Hai standing near him, and he was able to tell that instructor Li had no intention of making him stop. So Shi Mu continued to hit the stones with a wild energy, his teeth clenched as he struck at his usual pace.
"There is a good possibility that your ligaments and bones will get injured because of the violent and forceful nature of the Stone Breaking fist method. Even with my secret medicine and your good aptitude, you must take a break for at least four days between each practice session.
"While you rest, you must continue to practice your Body Tempering and give your hands the chance to recover fully, so that you can move forward with your 'Stone-Breaking' fist later. If you are successful in adhering to this schedule for half a year, there is a possibility that you will reach the intermediate level of accomplishment in this fist art," instructed Li Cang Hai.
"Yes," Shi Mu said firmly, then threw another heavy punch into the stone tank, making it quiver slightly.
The day subsided and the night fell.
Shi Mu sat on the wooden chair in his room. His arms were resting on the table in front of him, with his hands bare without the gloves. His ten fingers were swollen to twice their usual size and were as red as an apple. The swelling had left his skin extremely thin and transparent, exposing his veins underneath. Shi Mu smiled bitterly as he sat in this miserable state.
Li Cang Hai believed that the effectiveness of his practice in the day could be justified only by an injury of this extent. But even applying the ointment was quite an impossible task, considering the state of his hands.
He contorted his face in agony as he attempted to take Instructor Li's medicine bottle out from his shirt. He opened the lid and generously applied the ointment onto his swollen palm. He swore out aloud as his head and back broke out in a cold sweat.
The next morning, Shi Mu looked at his hands subconsciously as he woke up.
He was left stunned. The hands that had been swollen a night ago were now completely healed, as if no harm had been done to them. Had it not been for the residue of light red blood stains on the back of his hands, he would have thought that he was dreaming.
"How could this be? It's impossible!" Shi Mu blurted out in surprise, as he flexed his hands, feeling his fingers nimble and undamaged.
Everything felt just fine and there was no trace of pain, making it seem as if yesterday's practice had just been a dream.
He gazed at his hands in doubt, blinking his eyes. He then clutched the edge of the bed, exerting force through his fingers.
The chunk of wood broke into pieces.
Shi Mu was astonished at the sight, but quickly recovered and jumped with excitement. He took a moment to calm down, and then thought to himself, "It looks like I'm fine. Could it be that I've somehow aroused a blood vessel inside my body? If that is the case, then it must be because of that huge clam. Perhaps it's all due to the blood fog.
"Though, as I have learned from Li Cang Hai, it would not be a clever choice to reveal my talent right away. However, since my body is able to recover at this quick a pace, I believe I can practice the fist art every single day!"
It was the peak time of noon.
Shi Mu's hands were tightly pinned together with white straps, and a heavy sand bag was tied around his waist and legs. He was running around the square wildly, and shortly he became drenched in sweat.
Li Cang Hai watched from a short distance, his face expressing satisfaction.
In the afternoon, faint thuds could be heard from a room that was packed away deep inside the manor. Shi Mu was punching the stone tank wildly in the centre of the large empty room. The white straps that he had been using to protect his hands were no longer present, and the gloves he now wore were thinner.
He ignored the pangs in his fists, keeping his clenched mouth tightly shut, and continued punching the stones.
Deep in the night, the boy was fast asleep. His face expressed exhaustion, and his arms were stretched to the far edges of the bed. His fists were extremely red and swollen, and were now covered with a thick layer of white ointment. One of his fingers twitched suddenly, and his face was gripped with a grain of pain, but he continued to sleep through it.
"What? You want to try on iron this time?" Li Cang Hai was quite taken aback. He blurted out the question in disbelief, his eyes wide open.
"That's right. I remember that Master Li once talked about an alternative art of Body Tempering, the speed of which was much faster than that of any other method. I wish to learn it. I have a good chance of finishing level eleven before the enrolment test. Moreover, with the aid of a Qi Ling pill, I would have a better chance of attaining Qi-sensing," Shi Mu said in a rather calm voice. His hands were once again covered with thick layers of white straps.
"I have said this before. But I will repeat myself. Are you really aware of the danger of such a method? Despite its benefits, this method is dangerous and will require you to invest a huge amount of resources. Not to forget, you will risk dying every time you practice it," Li Cang Hai said with much severity.
"I'll do anything to reach the eleventh level within a year. I don't care about money or danger. Master Li, all I ask of you is to teach me," his face grim with determination, Shi Mu bowed and said.
"Well, I've already told you all the possible consequences. I have no reason not to teach you if you continue to insist. But this method requires some outside help in its first few stages. So you will have to come to our school. Will that be a problem?"
"Not at all. To save myself the hassle of commuting, I will live in the city and continue my training," Shi Mu said, immediately coming up with the idea.
"Your best option is to live near the club. Well then, we will resume our lesson tomorrow. Bring a thousand silver notes to the club tomorrow. I will go back to the school today and make the necessary preparations for you. Hey, you'll get your money's worth. As the name may suggest, this method of Body Tempering will temper your body as if it were made of iron, enhancing it with great force. During this period, you will go through a great deal of suffering and pain. You must take medicinal baths every day as per my instructions. Your body will break down if you attempt to skip these daily baths. Once you complete this, I'll have nothing left to teach you at the Martial Disciple's level," Li Cang Hai smiled, nodding in agreement.
Shi Mu listened to the instructions obediently.
Li Cang Hai continued to teach Shi Mu some other strength based skills for the rest of the day, and then left with a few parting words.
Shi Mu immediately asked for Zhang Suo, who was responsible for the manor's affairs. He requested a clean and vacant house to be rented for his residence in the city, for the period of his training.
Zhang Suo dutifully promised to run the errand, and then hurried away with some silver notes to do as he was asked.