Chapter 9 Struggle
Seeking revenge would require immense power.
For Fang Xingjian, the optimal way to obtain tremendous power was studying sword arts.
And he had already thought of a way to study it in the Miracle World.
In this world, one's personal growth in the martial arts domain far surpassed that of the people on Earth. Even the strongest of the current Five Great Clans in Demonic City had relied on an enormous amount of resources from the Other World get to where they were.
Fang Xingjian must have been brought to the Miracle World by sea after he had been kidnapped by Caroline. The time that he spent on his recovery had not been wasted. He had pried information regarding this world from the old man, and found that most of it confirmed what he had previously learned in Demonic City.
In this world, one was accustomed to levels, attributes and techniques. These were thought to be as natural as the sky, the sun, or gravity.
Although he had heard rumors about the Other World many times back in Demonic City, it was Fang Xingjian's first time actually being here.
According to the old man, they were currently on a colossal continent, near the western coastline of Sinkoda, which was the biggest of the six countries on this continent.
'However, according to the internal government of Demonic City, out of the six countries Earth is only in contact with Uranlis. The remaining five are unfamiliar with Earth to such an extent that they are probably unaware that Uranlis has already teamed up with forces from another world.'
Fang Xingjian thought to himself, 'This seems to be congruent with what I've fished out from the old man. Ordinary people are clueless that their world is slowly being invaded by outsiders.
'The only question is, how deep the alliance between Uranlis and Earth actually is...'
Fang Xingjian turned around to see the old man regarding him indifferently. He was holding a sword covered in dust, stains, and grease. It looked much like a poker for the fireplace. One which had been lying in the house for a very long time.
As Fang Xingjian turned around, the old man flung the longsword at him.
Fang Xingjian unsheathed the sword. It lacked luster and did not exude a sinister chill. It was simply a common western single-handed sword, about 1.2 meters in length and three fingers in width. The blade was marked by nicks left behind by countless battles.
"You rascal! How dare you train everyday with such serious injuries? Are you thinking of going back for revenge? To have left you in such a terrible state... It couldn't have been an easy opponent."
Fang Xingjian did not reply to the old man's question.
Shaking his head, the old man said, "This is a sword I've kept from my days in the army. Take it. I have no use for it."
"Thank you." Fang Xingjian sincerely looked at the old man.
With that, he sheathed the longsword and walked towards the door.
"Where are you planning to go?"
"North, to Kirst. I hear that there are many institutions there training warriors and teaching skills," replied Fang Xingjian. It was the nearest big city to the fishing village. He was planning on looking for opportunities, gathering information, and finding places where he could learn sword arts.
Fang Xingjian believed that in a world where one possessed attributes, skills, and the ability to gain strength through training, there would certainly be communities similar to clans or unions, where the strongest were nurtured.
"Kirst is far, and the path leading to it dangerous. It's almost winter. Even large contingents of warriors might not safely survive a journey full of blizzards and ravenous wild beasts. Aren't you afraid of dying halfway?"
"I'd go even if I were to die on the way," Fang Xingjian paused to explain. He added, "There isn't much time left for me." Indeed, if the will in the purple flames had not been lying, he only had about five years left to live.
He was running out of time.
The old man stayed silent for a while. Then, he said, "When you arrive in Kirst, if you're not dead and if you're still keen on learning sword arts, you can go to The School of Sword Arts."
Fang Xingjian looked back and noticed the old man's brown eyes staring vacantly, as if he were immersed in a memory.
The old man rubbed his eyes and waved, "Go on, go on, do what you have to."
Even though everyone had the possibility to become the strong, perhaps because of how strong individuals were in general, progress in civilization was slow on the mainland.
Countless villages and towns were still in a profound state of ignorance. Most people were still deeply entrenched in manual labor, similar to Europe in the Middle Ages.
Furthermore, since the people here were mostly at level 5 and above, the majority of the commoners had become the main driving force of common labor. Some were still using horses as their main mode of transportation.
"Hurry up, hurry up! We have to reach the next camp by night!" yelled the blonde-haired green-eyed chief in charge of the trade caravans.
Amidst the trade caravans, Fang Xingjian carried a sword at his waist and almost 200 jin of goods on his back, advancing alongside the group.
Late into the night, Fang Xingjian grit his teeth and tore into the stone-hard black bread. Staring at the bonfire, his eyes seemed to have burning flames in them.
In the middle of the storm, carriages were being swept off the cliff. Agitated, the chiefs hurried the laborers and slaves, having no other choice but to join them in their efforts.
Fang Xingjian was thoroughly drenched from the storm. As he marched along the muddy mountain road, the rain was biting cold. The goods were becoming increasingly heavy as they soaked up the rain, yet his back stayed straight.
"Here's your pay." A satchel of coins was flung at Fang Xingjian. "You really won't consider joining us to Filain? It'll be snowing soon, and the road to Kirst won't be smooth."
"Thank you." Fang Xingjian took the satchel and turned around to leave.
"You insolent fellow, the chief is talking to you!" A large man with brown hair stood up, only to be set back by the chief. He looked at the leader in confusion, "Chief?"
He did not understand why the chief had stopped him from teaching that arrogant prick a lesson. That prick did not have superior strength, and he clearly had not yet passed his first job transition. He would at most be a level 9 commoner.
The chief shook his head without a word, a grave look on his face as he constantly gazed at the rugged longsword at the youngster's waist.
Braving the mighty wind and snow, Fang Xingjian trudged northward, shrinking against the stinging frosty rain and against the ice-cold temperatures that made his skin turn purple. He wrapped himself tightly with a fur coat, protecting every inch of his skin from the snowstorm.
Under the starry sky, Fang Xingjian hid in a small pit he had dug. The bonfire beside him was growing weaker, as if it would sputter out at any moment. He shook uncontrollably, as though shaking could prevent his body heat from escaping, but his eyes were filled with the raging flames of revenge.
"Wait for me..."
Fang Xingjian sprinted, leapt, and drew his sword from his waist in the blink of an eye. Drops of searing blood trickled down the blade and splattered on the snowfield, leaving a long crimson trail.
Tens of large wolves howled savagely and sinisterly in fury, chasing at Fang Xingjian's heels. The smallest of the pack was more than four meters long, and all of these wolves looked like armoured cannonballs, tearing the air apart as they ran, and baying sharp thunderous howls.
In this digitized world, human beings were not the only ones who could become stronger. There were many strong, monstrous beasts as well.
These monsters were known as ferocious beasts, and they evolved from wild beasts which had levelled up by killing.
These countless ferocious beasts roamed the forests, grasslands, and rivers. Every year, there would be many people who travelled into the wilderness only to fall prey to these beasts.
This world had never belonged solely to Man. Most of those without formidable skills would never pass the first job transition and would probably never even leave their hometowns in their whole lives.
Fang Xingjian leapt into the flowing currents with a splash. The bitter-cold water nearly froze his body.
Looking back at the large wolves, he saw that they had paused at the waterbank, hesitating. After running alongside the river for another few hundred meters, they gradually gave up the chase.
Fang Xingjian finally found a chance to climb up the bank after drifting for two kilometers. He took off his clothes right away and started looking for flint in order to start a fire.
He stood by the bonfire, jumping continuously, swinging his sword, and exercising. His eyes shone with a beastly glint.
'I will survive!
'Not just survive, but become stronger, stronger and stronger!'
Be it storm, snow, or the loneliest night, Fang Xingjian never fell. He straightened his spine, eyes glimmering faintly like a wolf's.
He kept recalling that night in the ancestral hall, the days he was on the seas to the Miracle World. The images kept replaying in his mind, making his heart colder and colder and making the fire in his eyes blaze more aggressively with each moment.
A man stood in front of Kirst's city gate. His clothes were torn and tattered, and his hair was long and tangled. He had the appearance of a refugee from the dirtiest, lowest slums.
His lips were chapped, and his face was pale, green, and gaunt, as if he had suffered from famine. Only his eyes still shone like stars in the night sky.
'I'm finally here.'
This man was, naturally, Fang Xingjian. He lowered his head to look at his Specialties Window. It now had an added specialty.
Beginner's Survival Instinct: evolved endurance and willpower; allows you to ignore pain and tolerate hunger; all non-fatal injuries will not bother you in your battles and struggles.