Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
When Zhang Xiaohua saw He Tianshu’s hesitant behaviour, he felt that his actions were funny but more importantly, his admiration towards Piaomiao sect grew. Piaomiao sect was indeed deserving of being one of the top sects, its members were attentive towards the rules. Since the sect master did not say directly that He Tianshu was allowed to learn the martial art, He Tianshu did not dare to take the initiative and would only wait for Zhang Xiaohua to approach him before offering any pointers. This led Zhang Xiaohua to be in praise of the long standing reputation Piaomiao sect had built within Jianghu.
Thus, Zhang Xiaohua’s eyes rolled and he said in a serious tone towards He Tianshu, “Squad leader He, I encountered a difficult problem while reading this Piaomiao steps and would require your help to solve it.”
He Tianshu’s eyes brightened and he replied, “Why don’t you explain the problem to me first?”
Zhang Xiaohua flipped through the pages nonchalantly and said, “I looked at it for the entire afternoon but could not understand anything that was written on it, the contents just fogged around my head. I think that I will need squad leader He to read through it carefully first before teaching me how to practice it, and only after then will I be able to pinpoint a specific question to ask.”
Zhang Xiaohua glanced at He Tianshu again and pushed the pieces of paper the latter was still clenching onto back to him as he said, “What do you think?”
He Tianshu pondered for a moment and clenched his teeth before saying, “What you said sounds reasonable. If you could really understand what is written inside, then the sun would have risen from the west this morning. I should answer your first question by reading through the contents for now.”
Zhang Xiaohua clapped his hands as though he was patting off the dust on it when he saw He Tianshu accepted the manual, he smiled and said, “In that case, I will have to trouble squad leader He. However, there is one more thing, please be more patient while teaching it to me unlike how you taught me fist martial arts before.”
He Tianshu smiled first before glaring at Zhang Xiaohua, he replied, “You know your own capabilities the best, just try not to let down the sect master’s expectations.”
Zhang Xiaohua pursed his lips and said helplessly, “I know, I admit that my aptitude is not great but I am willing to put in a hundred percent of my effort to learning this life-saving footwork technique.”
“Life saving, footwork technique?” He Tianshu smiled bitterly when he heard this, he said, “It is one of the top three Piaomiao sect martial arts, you actually call it a martial art for escaping? Forget it, just think what you wish. It is quite late now so don’t stay in my room any longer, I will explain this to you after reading through it.”
After finishing his sentence, he chased away the rascal who slighted the martial art he worshipped out of his room.
Zhang Xiaohua vented off his frustration as he walked, he said, “Isn’t this qinggong used for escaping to protect one’s life? My fist martial arts are average, I don’t know how to use inner energy so I can’t beat any real opponents, wouldn’t I have to count on this martial art to escape then?”
He Tianshu “closed off” his listening and shut his door before minding his own business and studying the Piaomiao steps manual.
Zhang Xiaohua returned to his room, took out a book on herbs and started reading it casually. His heart was still excited so he was unable to concentrate on the book. In the end, he took out the sky blue-covered ‘Worry free heart sutra’ manual.
He flipped to the first page and speed-read it but could not find the two words “Piaomiao”, much less “Insomnia”. When he read it another time more meticulously, he gained an understanding of its contents. The passage said that there was Yuan Qi in the world, and if one can attract this Yuan Qi into the body, he will be able to wash his marrows and strengthen his body. If one is successful, his martial art skills will rise and his longevity will extend. This worry free manual was a type of martial art to attract Yuan Qi into the body, and it had a total of eighteen levels to assist the practitioner to refine this Qi.
Zhang Xiaohua felt joy, as the saying goes, one cannot gain nothing if he walked until his shoes were broken. Wasn’t this the inner energy cultivation method that he had been longing for, and wasn’t the Yuan Qi that entered the body the inner energy that he wanted to cultivate? Inner energy is more powerful than physical force, so the improvement in martial art must have been brought about by this inner energy.
Suddenly, Zhang Xiaohua recalled what his second brother told him before, that practicing inner energy would require one to sit down and imagine inner energy entering through one’s head, Zhang Xiaohua wondered if this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ would be the same.
When he thought up to here, he hurriedly flipped to the instructions for the first level.
Indeed, the instructions for the first level was like that. To attract this energy into the body, one must first be able to sense it, then use a special type of breathing method to open all the pores on the body and attract the body. The following passage explained how to sense this natural Yuan Qi, how to breathe, how to open one’s pores in order to attract the Yuan Qi into the body according to predefined paths hence washing the marrows and reforming the body, and finally accumulating it in the dantian. Only after a certain amount of Yuan Qi had been stored in the dantian can one move from the first level to the second.
When Zhang Xiaohua read up to here, he stopped to think to himself. He knew that even though the process sounded easy, Zhang Xiaohua took much time despite his talent so for someone like him, he would have to put in thrice the effort before thinking about how to attack the second level.
Just based on this point, Zhang Xiaohua’s growth can be seen as not only was he hardworking, he would choose not to do things that were useless for his cultivation then.
Of course, it was already commendable that he was able to discern what was best for himself.
After Zhang Xiaohua read his fill, he felt some understanding forming in his head and flipped through the secret manual to read it again. He ascertained that he had remembered the contents correctly before closing the manual and keeping it into his breast.
Zhang Xiaohua sat on the bed with an expression of worry on his face. Zhang Xiaohu had advised him many times not to practice inner energy cultivation methods without a teacher’s instruction because the risk of going astray would be prohibitively high. However, only Zhang Xiaohua himself was allowed to read this ‘Worry free heart sutra’ and there was not a single person among the many members in Piaomiao sect who had practiced it before. Zhang Xiaohua could not possible find Ou Peng to ask for instruction from the busy and important man.
When he thought of the delicacy in his hand, Zhang Xiaohua could not resist opening his mouth to enjoy its taste. Finally, Zhang Xiaohua firmed his heart, as the saying goes, benefits exists in danger and if he wanted a safe and comfortable life, why would he leave Guo village and come to Pingyang city instead? Furthermore, Zhang Xiaohua’s heart told him that this inner energy method was unordinary, and he would not necessarily be moved if He Tianshu were to teach him another inner energy cultivation method right then.
Furthermore, this heart sutra had eighteen levels so the most elementary level should not be too dangerous.
Since he had already made his mind, Zhang Xiaohua ignored his fears and sat in a position with his eyes to his nose, nose to his heart and palms facing up. Following the instructions in the heart sutra, he tried “nine shallow and one deep” breathing, mm, that’s right, “nine shallow and one deep” special method of breathing. Zhang Xiaohua took three shallow breaths, paused for a moment, breathed in six more times hurriedly before taking a long deep breath.
Even though the instructions in the heart sutra was very detailed, to be honest, the length of time for breathing to be deep or shallow could be debatable, so who could tell if he was doing it right without a teacher sitting beside? Due to this, Zhang Xiaohua breathed for half a day but was unable to achieve what was stated in the manual, not to mention sense the so called natural Yuan Qi in the world.
Zhang Xiaohua could not help but question himself, “If this is how to practice inner energy, how does one go astray?”
However, when he thought of how other people tried to absorb inner energy through their heads while he did so through his pores, the method was different so perhaps if he went astray in the future, his skin would at most be burnt.
Since he had stray thoughts in his head, the “nine shallow and one deep” breathing tempo was naturally broken so Zhang Xiaohua hurriedly regained his composure and focused wholeheartedly on the “nine shallow and one deep” again.
One of Zhang Xiaohua’s good point that cannot be denied was how focused he would be when doing one thing.
Not long later, he felt as if he entered a sort of state where he was submerged within the special breathing tempo, but was unable to sense the existence of Yuan Qi throughout the process.
Zhang Xiaohua’s practice was going well but in the midst of his excitement, he forgot about his special trait and just as he was about to familiarize himself with the recently learnt breathing method, it became midnight.
Thus, Zhang Xiaohua fell asleep in his current sitting position with his palms facing up while breathing in the “nine shallow and one deep” method.
Within Zhang Xiaohua’s light filled dream, the lights flickered like they were breathing with each light having their own rhythm. Some of these lights affected Zhang Xiaohua, and his special breathing method slowly changed while following the tempo of the lights. His breathing became faster and slower, longer and shorter, and not long later, Zhang Xiaohua’s breathing became aligned with the lights and turned into a whole different “nine shallow and one deep” type of breathing.
While Zhang Xiaohua’s unique breathing became defined, it was as though he was submerged into a different type of brilliant environment. In the night sky faraway, the countless stars seemed to be attracted by Zhang Xiaohua, or perhaps they were attracted by the unique breathing he was practicing, and the starlight passed though the several layers of the atmosphere and layers of tangible objects like the roof onto Zhang Xiaohua’s body.
The starlight, even though it was called “light”, it was no longer visible when it reached Zhang Xiaohua’s body. Even though it was indiscrete, and Zhang Xiaohua’s body was still residing in the darkness, there were still some changes that occurred on Zhang Xiaohua’s body under the unique breathing method as he slept.
Right at that moment, all the pores on Zhang Xiaohua’s body were opened like little thirsty mouths and they swallowed all the surrounding starlight in abandon, and those little amounts of starlight flocked like little birds into them.
When the starlight entered Zhang Xiaohua’s pores, they stopped moving forward and started accumulating on his skin. When a certain amount was accumulated, the entire body of starlight started to have some reaction and it followed the path as stated in ‘Worry free heart sutra’ Zhang Xiaohua read earlier. As the starlight swam into his body, the space on his skin was cleared and more light from outside was speedily absorbed again.
The starlight in his body followed the path defined in the heart sutra but were not deposited in his dantian, instead, they continued to move and swim around his body was more starlight was being absorbed.
Normally speaking, these starlight should accumulate since there was a continuous influx of more starlight, but things did not happen that way. Within Zhang Xiaohua’s body, that natural Yuan Qi seemed as though it was refined as it loses seventy to eight percent of its matter. Under such an occurrence, even though the amount of starlight Zhang Xiaohua drew into his body became more and more substantial, it all became refined natural Yuan Qi and the resultant amount was very insignificant.
Hence, an entire night of sleeping passed like that.
When the sun appeared from the east horizon, Zhang Xiaohua opened his eyes and a flash of light appeared within his pupils.
When the awoken Zhang Xiaohua saw his sitting position, he could not help but smile bitterly, had he been sleeping in that position for the entire night?
However, when he jumped off his bed, he did not feel the shingles on his limbs as expected. On the contrary, his body felt more refreshed and lighter than he would while sleeping in a lying position. Zhang Xiaohua could not help but wonder secretly, “Should I sleep like this in the future?”
The early bird catches the worm, and Zhang Xiaohua diligently went into the forest to practice the life-saving sword martial art and body-protecting dipper heavenly fist. That day turned out to be a surprising day, just as Zhang Xiaohua executed his beloved dipper heavenly fist for the eighth cycle, the familiar sensation appeared again in his body. This provided some comfort to Zhang Xiaohua whose self-confidence had taken a large hit before, could this be the result of practicing so hard all these while?
Had the dipper heavenly fist improved into another level?
Indeed, under Zhang Xiaohua’s anticipation, he executed another round of eight cycles and the flow reappeared on the eighth cycle again. Thus, Zhang Xiaohua could ascertain that his dipper heavenly fist had improved.
However, this made Zhang Xiaohua yearn if he could ever reach a level where the flow would appear every time he executed the dipper heavenly fist? When he thought back to the eighteen levels of the worry free heart sutra, Zhang Xiaohua made the decision to split his dipper heavenly fist into nine levels, with each level reducing the number of cycles he had to practice for the flow to appear.
When he thought up to here, Zhang Xiaohua could not help but smile to himself, that day was a good day after all.
As he breathed in the fresh morning air, Zhang Xiaohua suddenly had a thought, was there no result from his “nine shallow and one deep” breathing tempo because the night air was not fresh enough? Since it was morning when all living things would wake up, would the breathing technique show its effectiveness then?
With this thought in his mind, Zhang Xiaohua immediately sat on the forest ground and tried to recall the breathing technique he attempted the night before.
Strangely speaking, even though Zhang Xiaohua recalled the breathing technique he memorized from the previous night, the way he breathed followed the modified breathing technique which was created when he was asleep. Actually, Zhang Xiaohua was unable to tell the difference between the two with his current level of understanding and even if someone told him about this fact, he would not believe his words.
The whole situation was actually peculiar, these types of breathing techniques were usually passed on by word of mouth and could not be expressed in words. Only with the guidance of a teacher could one slowly grasp the knack of the breathing technique, and even a normal genius would require countless of attempts and up to a few days to memorize and master it fully. However, Zhang Xiaohua was able to grasp this breathing technique within a night.
Our protagonist is truly overpowered!
Even though Zhang Xiaohua could not tell if he was practicing in the correct way, he felt as though he suddenly had a grasp of his entire body, as though there was some link from which he could communicate with his body. Zhang Xiaohua made a realization, could this be the opening of his pores?
However, when he continued to practice according to the instructions in the manual and tried to feel the natural Yuan Qi in the world, he only felt emptiness in the air, why was this so?
After half a bell without any visible improvement, Zhang Xiaohua stood up bitterly and patted off the dust on his body before walking out of the forest.
At that moment, he was feeling slight regretful, but there was no frustration or anxiety in his heart.
Obviously, Zhang Xiaohu told him before when he was practicing his inner energy cultivation method that not everyone could sense qi, and most people needed a long period of time for them to improve their qi sense. Zhang Xiaohu took up a long time himself, and Zhang Xiaohua was well aware of his own aptitude. Hence, he would be surprised instead if he was able to sense qi that soon.
Furthermore, he had already “eaten his worm” that day as his dipper heavenly fist already pointed a new direction for him to work towards.
Suddenly, a new thought sprung in Zhang Xiaohua’s head, if the dipper heavenly fist no longer had any effect after practicing nine times nine eighty-one times, then did his improved dipper heavenly fist have another surprise in store for him? Unfortunately, he was not in the small room within the mountains and he had tasks to complete for that day. Furthermore, it was no longer early so He Tianshu and the rest could have already finished all the breakfast.
He Tianshu and the rest were naturally not as inconsiderate as Zhang Xiaohua had assumed, there was some leftovers when Zhang Xiaohua went to the canteen. However, He Tianshu’s two eyes were bloodshot and he was stuffing food into his mouth dazedly, causing Zhang Xiaohua to jump in fright when he saw him.
Seeing He Tianshu’s exhausted expression, Zhang Xiaohua asked carefully, “Squad leader He, where did you go last night?”
“Oh, where did I went? I didn’t go anywhere, I was staying in my room the entire night.” He Tianshu replied listlessly.
Zhang Xiaohua asked in a concerned tone, “It’s good if you didn’t go anywhere, I thought that you went out with Ma Jing.”
“Went out with Ma Jing?” He Tianshu regained his senses and said, “Ah…… What rubbish are you talking about?”
When his gaze landed on Zhang Xiaohua, He Tianshu’s expression brightened and he grabbed Zhang Xiaohua’s wrist. He asked, “Zhang Xiaohua, why did you only appear now? Did you practice fist martial arts again? I say, you can’t keep on doing this, don’t bother practicing such unorthodox martial arts from now on.”