Chapter 14 Focus
"Obtaining the topmost degree of sword arts talent in the world requires giving up seventy-two years of lifespan, which leaves you with only five more years of your life. At the same time, you will never be able to feel love, kinship, and friendship, and you'll end up leading a lonely life until your death, unable to procreate, or to have any descendants.
"From now onwards, everything related to happiness in the human world shall no longer be of your concern. Are you willing to accept this?"
'Bearing such an enormous grudge, of course I would like to have my revenge! How could I not want power?'
Fang Xingjian was on the training grounds. Recalling the price he had paid, his cold eyes lit up once again with killing intent. The speed of the sword in his hand rose, as if to eradicate everything before him.
"Xingjian, Xingjian! Are you alright?"
Fang Xingjian came back to his senses, realizing that everyone was staring at him, stunned. The tip of his sword was right at the chest of another student.
"I'm sorry, I'm going to take a break." Shaking his head, Fang Xingjian sheathed his sword and headed to a corner at the side.
About ten more days passed by. Looking at his Techniques Column, Fang Xingjian could tell that the Grizzly Bear Sword Technique had reached level 27. The additional attributes were a 4 point increase in strength and a 4 point increase in agility. The potential of his physical body had increased a lot, bringing along improvements in his recovery speed after the exhaustion of his muscles and bones.
Other than the attributes created by the release of his body's potential, the effects of his daily practice of the Grizzly Bear Sword Technique had far exceeded that of an ordinary student. Day by day, he could feel his muscles and bones being nurtured and growing as if he were an evolving seed, as if he had returned to the time when he had been an infant. As a result, his appetite had greatly increased as well.
Although there had been no changes to the five major attributes on his Stats Window, he believed that if he kept going with his practice of the Grizzly Bear Sword Technique, it would only be natural for his body to become stronger and for his attributes to increase.
Within almost a month's time, Fang Xingjian had consecutively picked up the Eagle Sword Technique and the Tenauer-Style Body Strengthening Sword Technique.
Out of these two, the Eagle Sword Technique was one of the basic sword techniques in The School of Sword Arts. It complemented the Grizzly Bear Sword Technique well, and it was able to fully tap into the the human body's potential, strengthening its attributes.
On the other hand, the Tenauer-Style Body Strengthening Sword Technique was a basic dual-wielding sword technique created by the Empire's Sword Saint, St. John Tenauer. Training the body's flexibility, reaction, movements and joints, it was widely used in the military, and was eventually adopted even by major academies and factions, thus becoming a must-learn basic dual-wielding sword technique.
Within ten days or so, Fang Xingjian had not only reached level 27 for the Grizzly Bear Sword Technique, his Eagle Sword technique and Tenauer-Style Body Strengthening Sword Technique had also reached level 12, and 9 respectively.
He had gotten his first attribute increase from the Eagle Sword Technique, which included 1 point in agility, 1 point in reaction, 1 point in endurance, and 1 point in flexibility, along with an increase in the body's potential, in its physical strength, and in the mind's and body's agility.
As for the Tenauer-Style Body Strengthening Sword Technique, he was about to reach a breakthrough soon. He decided to buck up and practice until he would reach level 10.
He had devoted all his time to the tough training, to the extent that his endurance had also increased by 1 point.
If others were to find out that he had spent just slightly over 10 days to attain the level of training which would take others over 10 years, he would probably be considered the top genius across the world, right away.
But even if he would hold back on revealing his actual powers and would keep a low profile, Fang Xingjian had already attracted quite a lot of attention within The School of Sword Arts, as he had managed to pick up three sword techniques within merely over 10 days' time. It would have probably taken one to two months for a person with mediocre talent to grasp these three sword techniques.
However, talent was something that others could only be jealous of. As a result, because the students were full of envy and admiration for Fang Xingjian, even more of them were putting in effort into their practice, for fear of being left behind.
Meanwhile, Teacher Kyle did just as he had said, appearing only once in the morning and once in the afternoon, giving guidance before he quickly took his leave.
When the students had questions during their practice, they would look for Ogden, Lambert, or Fang Xingjian.
"Martial... Martial Brother Fang?"
Fang Xingjian raised his head and saw a silvered-haired young girl standing before him. The young girl seemed very shy, staring at the ground. After gathering enough courage to raise her head, she immediately lowered it again like a startled deer once she exchanged a short glance with Fang Xingjian.
This young girl's name was Vivian, and she was considered a rare beauty amongst The School of Sword Arts' students. Since females were also allowed to train and to get stronger, their social status was not too far from that of the males. Many prestigious powerful Warriors had been women, including the Rose Knight who, as Kyle had mentioned before, was the first to compare the four types of martial arts with the four seasons.
Because of her good looks, Vivian was quite popular amongst the students in The School of Sword Arts, and there were quite a few young boys who had a crush on her.
Following Fang Xingjian's sudden appearance, these past few days everyone had figured out the fact that he was a genius with the sword, and even more students had started practicing with him. Vivian was one of them.
"What's the matter?" But, no matter how beautiful she was, it was impossible for her to leave any traces on Fang Xingjian's heart since he had lost the feeling of love.
Hearing his cold tone, Vivian's eyelashes trembled, as if she would break out in tears at any point. She spoke in an extremely soft voice, saying, "Martial... Martial Brother Fang, I haven't had much pro... progress in the Eagle Sword Technique recently." Her hands were entwined, her tone was shuddering and extremely feeble, making it seem as if Fang Xingjian was bullying her.
"I think that Martial Brother Fang is very talented and good with the sword. Can I trouble you to give me some pointers?"
"If you want to learn, you can observe from the side. I have no time to give guidance."
"Huh?" Vivian raised her head and saw that Fang Xingjian had already found a spot a quite a distance away and had started his practice. She bit her lips, but continued to follow Fang Xingjian's movements, practicing her sword technique.
During the next few days, Vivian continued to stay around Fang Xingjian, serving him tea, water, and even food, trying her utmost to please him. The other students were all full of envy.
From a distance, Second Martial Brother Lambert was squinting his eyes at the sight. He gave a cold, disdainful laughter.
'Genius? Not every genius can pass the Prefectural Selection. It'll be quite a few years before you'll be able to pass. By then, I'll have graduated from the Royal Academy and would be on my way to participating in the Regional Selection.
'The real battlefield is during the Empire's selections.'
After giving it some thought, he calmed his thoughts and focused on his training. Behind him, there was another group of students following him as he practiced.
Beside Fang Xingjian, Ogden had not glanced at Vivian at all, devoting all his attention to practicing the Grizzly Bear Sword Technique. It was as if the sword in his hand was the only thing left in the world.
The other students in the training grounds had also been distracted only for a short moment, and most of them had directed their focus to their training once again.
The Grand Selection. Passing the Prefectural Selection and becoming a knight. Everyone was clenching their teeth as they headed for their dreams.
Fang Xingjian repetitively practiced the twenty-one movements and stances of the Tenauer-Style Body Strengthening Sword Technique and unknowingly got immersed in it. He only felt that the two swords in his hands, combined with different stances and grasps, had gradually evolved into various combinations. An overwhelming sense of mystery enshrouded him, continuously correcting his movements.
Tenauer-Style Body Strengthening Sword Technique level 13. An additional 1 point for agility, 2 points for reaction, 1 point for flexibility, plus an increase in the flexibility and strength of joints and ligaments, which raised the consistency of attack and sword practice.
By the time Fang Xingjian felt that all his four limbs aching, his Tenauer-Style Body Strengthening Sword Technique had increased another level. He came to his senses and noticed that night had already fallen, the moon and stars filling up the sky. But at least a third of the students were still there, still practicing hard. There were also five or six students who had just come out of the canteen and were doing warm-ups, getting ready to continue with their practice after a short break.
It was as if a sense of urgency had swept through the air.
Fang Xingjian took in a deep breath as he further drowned himself in sword practice.
His five major attributes had changed to strength 18, agility 22, reaction 11, endurance 7 and flexibility 12.