Chapter 2: The Pavilion of Martial Arts
However, no matter how hard he tried, he could not think of any other reason. The only possible explanation for his unusual comprehension speed, that allowed him to master the eighth form of the Skyfall Sword Art, had to be the fusion of his two souls.
For his breakthrough in the Qi Realm, the reason was quite simple. The heart of martial art laid in the art of calmness, while martial art broken down was simply the art of movement. Although they are two seemingly opposite forms of training, they all have the same effect on strengthening the Qi. However, the former was only used for training Qi, while the latter was primarily used for attacking the target and then subsequently training Qi.
Ye Chen's heart rate rose noticeably as he was enlightened. There are two important factors of a martial artist's potential: first, one must be blessed with a resilient body and discipline to hone their body, and second, one must have the comprehension to allow one to be able to grasp the heart of sutras and immerse themselves into the path of the sword.
To be blessed with a resilient body allows one to train their Qi much faster than others such as Ye Chang and Ye Xuan; and to have comprehension is to be able to easily pick up the physical martial arts and defeat those who seemingly stood above you. After all, being weak or strong depended on individual performances.
"What luck! At this rate, reaching the Eighth Level of the Qi Realm within a year is not impossible!" The path of cultivation is extremely difficult; people with great potential and ability may be able to achieve Level 5 in two years, but to reach Level 8 in two years after that would be uncertain, and the time needed to reach Level 9 and 10 would be at least twice than that. To reach the Condensing Reality was even more difficult! In the history of the Ye family, only the third master was able to reach that realm.
Ye Chen smiled as he walked out to search for more profound sword arts in the martial art pavilion.
Most manuals in the pavilion were low ranked; the master ranked manuals would never be stored here. Especially with his ranking as an outer disciple, he was only able to borrow Middle-Ranked Mortal and below manuals. Glancing around the room, the hundreds of manuals made him feel a bit dizzy.
"The Flying Sword, The Sword Art of Wind, The Freedom Sword Art, The Lone Peak of Thirteen Swords ... Cloud Pushing Palm, Broken Cloud Palm, Infinite Flying palms... Broken Air Fist, King Kong Fist, Seven Stars Mantis Fist..."
For sword arts alone, there were around forty different manuals, and for the palm and fist arts there were more than fifty manuals each, twenty-eight different kinds of different leg arts, and only eight manuals with regards to fingers.
The manual of The Flying Sword had a very high requirement, every stage described in the manual was very agile and complex; The Sword Art of Wind was slightly more in depth and required a certain level of comprehension; The Freedom Sword Art exuded an aura that was almost murderous, each stage was aggressive and bold, very suitable for those with a cold and calm personality. The Lone Peak of Thirteen Swords was even more outstanding and demanding than the ones before, with each stage, the sword movements growing sharper and indomitable.
"The Lone Peak of Thirteen Swords it shall be."
It was only after a quiet and long thought that Ye Chen had made up his mind. With his extraordinary comprehension, there was no point in wasting time to learn common sword arts. For Ye Chen to choose, only the best would suffice.
As for the fist palm, and finger arts, Ye Chen had already made up his mind.
Ye Chen chose the King Kong Fist for the time he could not use a sword. However, finger arts were very complicated and difficult to practice, and he was afraid that it would slow his way of the sword so he decided to give it up for now.
Holding the two scripts in his hand, Ye Chen walked up to the old man sitting lazily in a chair by the entrance, the pavilion master, to register the books.
"What? The Lone Peak of Thirteen Swords?" The pavilion master started to frown and tried to persuade Ye Chen, "Young one, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Never aim too high or too far. Put your feet on the ground and take it step by step. The Lone Peak of Thirteen Swords is a Middle-Ranked Mortal manual but the difficulty of mastering it is almost as hard as Top-Ranked manuals. Many outer disciples chose not to listen to me and ended up with nothing. Listen to this old man's words and work steadily, one step at a time, in order to make solid progress."
Ye Chen bowed his head as he listened to the speaker's heart and said, "Master, my path is a difficult path, yet chosen and blessed by destiny I shall walk forth." The pavilion master shook his head, thinking of all the disciples from before, also once full of confidence, before returning after months of unfruitful practice and with tearful faces. Such shame that their confidence was the only thing they had.
"Well...hmph...never mind. I do not have the right to stop anyone from choosing what they want. My job is to disperse wisdom in hopes that they would realize their abilities, instead of holding on to a fruitless dream."
With that thought in mind, the master added, "Remember our Sky Cloud Martial School's rules. You are not allowed to teach martial arts privately without permission, otherwise you will face expulsion. In more serious circumstance, you will be decapitated. You have three months to return the manuals."
"Don't worry elder, I don't dare to joke about my own life." Ye Chen took the scripts and walked out of the pavilion. Besides the morning and evening meals, once every three days the outer disciples of the Sky Cloud Martial School gathered together for a martial art lesson, the rest of the time was free for whatever they chose to pursue.
Ye Chen carried his great steel sword and walked deep into the mountains. The mountains had a height of three thousands eight hundred meters, the top half of the mountain covered in a perpetual mist. Far away from the secular world and civilization, it was quiet, calm and relaxing. Except for the expressly forbidden areas belonging to the masters and some core disciples, most of the space in this forest was open to all for practicing.
Ye Chen spent around an hour in the mountains before choosing a remote cliff. The cliff was around two to three meters high, the three sides filled with white mist whose form was ever changing, sometimes it was thousands of horses, sometimes it became a violent ocean, and sometimes it was just mist, expanding and contracting with no discernable pattern.
"Although the many wondrous views of Earth were quite breathtaking, it somehow just lacked a hint of mysteriousness. Only here will you be able forget everything, find peace, find enlightenment, and advance on the path of the sword," Ye Chen said. In his opinion, to master overnight was difficult! To do so, one would have to endure the loneliness and find peace, and those of who boasted about how they would master any top script if they could get their hands on it, were just ridiculously ignorant.
Taking a deep breath, Ye Chen started his boring and basic training.
Feel the Qi. Breathe. In. Out. Breath. Breath. Move the Qi. One step after another, continually directing the sword, moving his hands...
After only a day, Ye Chen comprehended the ninth routine "Shining in The Night". Smoothly moving from stance to stance, the light flashing from the sword was just like the light reflected off a river under the moonlight. As for its combat prowess, it had reached the early stages of Middle-Ranked Mortal arts and was Ye Chen's strongest move at the moment.
Mornings came, nights left, without noticing, three days had gone.
On that steep cliff, a human figure waved a sword and pointed towards the huge rock on the other side.
A light shone from a sword just like a mirror reflecting sunbeams.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!...
The huge rock was pierced like a piece of tofu leaving behind countless marks; each mark had a depth of more than three centimeters.
"Finally." Out of Qi, Ye Chen's head was full of sweat, but he did not seem to care at all. The sword marks on the rock caused him great satisfaction. The ninth stage was many times harder than the eight stage before, but its power was also many times stronger. He spent four whole days to master it, also, during the four days of training, the Qi inside his body had become more pure and intense, and moved faster and more easily than before.
Ye Chen let out a deep breath. Today will officially be the day he would start to practice the hardest manual- the Lone Peak of Thirteen Swords. It had thirteen stages, each were extremely dangerous, just like a peak standing alone after an apocalypse, seemingly able to see right through people's soul and mind.
After going through the script, Ye Chen understood the broad idea of the manual, and even sensed an indescribable realm behind it. Once he was able to master it, killing those weaker than him would only take an instant, and when facing those who are stronger than him, they would fall under his sword, unless they were very strong and half a foot into the surreal realm.