Chapter 24 - The Messenger
"Who is it?"
Uncle Xu turned around, terrified, his arms crossed in front of his chest, looking in the direction of the voice.
Now, in the corner of the room, an inconspicuous dumpy older man was seen standing in the shade. He wore a grey robe and was looking at Uncle Xu and his nephew with a poker face.
Wang Tianhao was more astonished at the sudden appearance of the old man than his uncle, for he had been the one that faced the direction of the shade; but he did not see the grey-robed man until the latter made his voice heard. Could it be that the elder man knew how to make himself invisible?
"The secret art of Hiding in the Shade? May I know of whom I have the honor to see here? Can I help you with something?" Uncle Xu asked, pronouncing each word slowly and clearly, while staring fixedly at the elder man.
"No need to be flustered, I am Han Wu from Kai Yuan Martial Arts School." The dumpy old man laughed in a low voice, and then lifted his hand quickly. Consequently, a silver light dashed at Uncle Xu who caught it with a simple movement of his arm, acting almost automatically. The light turned out to be an identity card made of silver, as big as a palm and it was shaped like a triangle. On one side of the card there carved two characters "Kai Yuan", and on the other, only one, "Wu".
"The identity card of Kai Yuan, so you really do come from Kai Yuan Martial Arts School. But I'm wondering, what brings you to my home?" After a careful observation, Uncle Xu let out a sigh of relief.
"As an Houtian Warrior, I'm guessing Brother Xu knows about the tide of blood?" Lifting one of his arms, the dumpy elder man said slowly.
Suddenly a puffing sound was heard.
The part of his arm that was bare began to exude some green patterns, each moving like a living thing. Then grasses began to sprout on his skin to the height of a cun! What a scary sight!
"Grass grown from flesh, and the wild tide of blood? I understand now, you are a messenger from the school." Seeing this, Uncle Xu first blurted out his findings, and then showed an expression of sudden enlightenment.
However, Wang Tianhao was still completely in the dark.
"Hehe, it seems that there's no need for me to explain why your nephew can inspire his ancestor's blood without difficulty. I'm here to deliver a message from the alliance of the five martial arts schools' elders: now it is certain that the tide of the wild blood has come, so all martial arts school will open their Blood Halls, and send messengers to seek every possible blood warrior from all practitioners. Once a practitioner is identified as a real promising blood warrior, he can get enrolled into one of the schools without taking the enrollment test. Also, he will be provided with many more resources than ordinary practitioners." The look of the stumpy elder man grew serious as he pronounced his message.
"So the Blood Halls have really been opened! Then the three big sects will also open their gates, I guess?" Uncle Xu murmured. It was difficult to gauge his mood now.
"Why, you want to send your good nephew to the sects? Don't forget who gave the Wang Family their title of the Clan of Blood Warriors, and who have been providing them with money and food for the past three hundred years?" Hearing this Han Wu reproached with a stern face.
"Certainly not! We of the Wang clan have been protected by the court, so whenever there is a blood warrior in our family we shall send him to the Blood Hall as soon as possible." Uncle Xu reacted in no time and offered his flattery.
"As long as you remember that! Now let's test and see if young master Wang has really inspired his blood of Blaze, and how pure his blood is." Hearing the respectful promise Han Wu eased up on his stern look and produced an emerald green wooden bowl in his hand by just turning his palm up.
"Can I ask one thing, as a bloodline warrior, which one can offer me the best chance to make progress, the three sects or the Blood Hall?" Finally Wang Tianhao perceived their conversation, and then calmly asked his question.
"Though the three sects do all they can to make themselves a mystery to those of us not in a sect and so are their actual strengths are unknown, they treat bloodline warriors casually, paying less attention to them than our martial arts schools. After all, there are not only warriors in the sects, but also magicians who cost more resources, so only a small part of the resources can be saved to supply the bloodline warriors. However, we martial arts schools have done much research on some famous bloodline warriors, and have created many peculiar martial arts that can add power to one's blood. So, what do we do? We just add wings to a tiger to make it stronger. You'll never regret it once you come to our Blood Halls." To Wang Tianhao, Han Wu explained with much patience and amiable manners.
"If so I'll enter the Hall." Wang Tianhao gave a casual nod after hearing this.
Uncle Xu only twitched his mouth but still was unable to utter any disapproving words.
"Haha, that's quite sensible, young master Wang! Now please drip one drop of your blood into the bowl." The stumpy old man laughed delightedly and passed his green bowl to Wang Tianhao, who immediately bit his finger and made it bleed, then one drop of his blood fell into the bowl.
The drop disappeared into the bottom after a flash, then one puff of red fog rushed out of the bowl, and rose to the height of a half chi and turned into blazes after a swirl. The blazes did not seem to be dispersing.
"You are indeed a promising bloodline warrior of the fire, and the purity of your blood belongs to the intermediate level. As for the details, I'm afraid they can only be made clear at the Blood Hall after some professional tests. But still, congratulations, with an average level you are entitled to get enrolled and be provided with top grade resources from the school." Han Wu said this after a shock, but he soon became overjoyed with his find. Although the previous scene of his awakening his blood seemed quite enigmatic, be he actually only ranked at the eighth grade of the elementary level. Otherwise he wouldn't have been a mere messenger. But if he could really bring a bloodline warrior of the intermediate level back to his school he must be offered a high reward.
"Of the intermediate level? That's fair enough." Wang Tianhao's seemingly calm face concealed a grain of excitement. After all, there was only one blood warrior among his ancestors, who made his family famous with an intermediate level, the sixth grade.
"Well, if you can only rank among the intermediate blood warriors, I wonder which rank does your defeater belongs." Han Wu then became deep in thought.
"What? You mean there are other messengers in the city?" Han Wu's remark made Uncle Xu quite confused.
"Yes, indeed, I have one fellow companion in the city. He should have been on an errand to another city, but he offered to come here as soon as he heard about Shi Mu's enormous strength. We two both think that Shi Mu is likely to be a bloodline warrior too, considering his amazing fights in this tide of wild blood." The stumpy elder man answered with a smile.
Hearing this Wang Tianhao and Uncle Xu were both astonished, gaping at each other.
At the backyard of Liu Feng dojo.
Shi Mu was staring at a wooden stick that was cut into pieces, as well as an ordinary long knife half of which was inserted fully into the ground. For a while he was unable to close his mouth.
"So this is the Blade-Throwing Art?"
"Exactly. Though it's not much to look at, you just saw my ten years of experience in it. The key is to grasp the right moment to apply the art, as well as the way you throw it. It is quite tricky. You may lose your weapon if the thrown knife misses its target. But ever since I accomplished the art, I have used it three times and not once let my enemy escape." Li Canghai said in a proud tone.
"That's brilliant! It really does catch an opponent off guard. Please, impart the basics to me." Shi Mu finally came to himself and resumed his normal color, asking with a bow.
Actually the sharpness of the art far surpassed what he expected now.
"Hehe, since you've already won the championship for our Liu Feng dojo, then I won't hold anything from you, now listen, I'll tell you its essence..."
It took Li Canghai a good hour to explain the key points, meanwhile he kept picking up his long knife and performing the movements personally for Shi Mu, repeating each movement until Shi Mu began to get the hang of it.
Just as Shi Mu was about to practise more by himself, suddenly a practitioner of their dojo came into the yard and hurriedly told Li Canghai, "Master, there's someone claiming to be the blood messenger out at the gate. He asked for Shi Mu."
"The blood messenger?" Li Canghai was astonished at the title.
"Instructor Li, do you know what a blood messenger is?" Shi Mu was somewhat surprised.
"I'll tell you later, now you go and see the man, maybe your chance has come." Li Canghai's look changed for several times successively, and only said this after a long sigh.
"My chance?" Shi Mu was now suspicious, blinking his eyes.
"Exactly. I can only tell you that the messenger comes from one of the five martial arts schools. If he thinks you are promising, you can get enrolled into the martial art school immediately, and also be offered resources inaccessible to ordinary practitioners." Li Canghai's voice contained much authoritativeness now.
"Since master has said so I'll see him." The news came so unexpected. After giving it some thought Shi Mu answered his instructor decidedly.
The two then left the yard for the gate of the dojo directly.
As soon as Shi Mu entered the hall behind the gate, he saw two men in a conversation; one is the red-faced instructor Min, while the other was a red-robed man, most of whose face was covered by a straw hat.
"Brother Li, Shi Mu, so you have come. This is Messenger Zhao from the Blood Hall." Seeing the two coming in, instructor Min greeted them and made the introduction cheerfully.
"Since the messenger from the Blood Hall has come personally, it seems that 'the event' has taken place?" Li Canghai walked forward a few steps, greeted the messenger and asked him seriously.
"Instructor Li is really no ordinary warrior, then I'll waste no more time exchanging pleasantries. I want to test this practitioner to see if he will really be a bloodline warrior in future. If so, I'll bring him back to the Hall and make him a powerful warrior." The man in straw hat lifted his head slightly; an exceedingly cold square face was beneath it. He made the announcement straightforwardly.
"Alright, if the boy's chance has come I won't bar the way. Shi Mu, just do as Messenger Zhao asks." Li Canghai nodded his agreement.
Giving the straw hat man a brief look, Shi Mu also nodded silently.
It seemed that the straw hat man did not care a bit about their response. He took out an emerald green bowl from his sleeves and demanded, "Little boy, drop one drop of your blood into it, and we'll see if you are a bloodline warrior."
After taking a deep breath Shi Mu drew his long knife from his waist, and cut swiftly at his finger. A wound of a cun's length appeared suddenly, and a drop of blood instantly fell into the bowl.
 Wu: The character has the meaning of being powerful and able to practise martial arts in Chinese.
 The three big sects: The author does not explain further which sects they are in this chapter, but will do so in further chapters.
 The eighth grade: The smaller the number of the grade in each level, the more powerful one's blood will be. The author does not specify how many grades altogether are there in each level, but probably ten.