Chapter 17: The Gold Token-Grade Sparring Partner
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
As the words left his mouth, Jiang Yi instantly felt some regret. He forgot one thing: wasn’t Jiang Henshui in the Martial Arts Hall?
If he was paired up with Jiang Henshui, wouldn’t his identity immediately be revealed? That a descendant of the Jiang Family was serving as a sparring partner in the Martial Arts Hall… this was not something honorable at all…
However, not allowing him to hesitate any further, one of the guards wearing black armor at the door immediately grabbed his arm and enthusiastically brought him into the interior.
As they walked, the guard consoled him by saying, “Don’t worry; the Martial Arts Hall would never allow anyone to beat others to death. Even if you accidentally get injured during sparring practice, the Martial Arts Hall will offer some medicine for your wound recovery…”
Jiang Yi thought to himself that something was amiss. How many young masters and young mistresses were there in the Martial Arts Hall? Should there be that bad of a shortage of sparring partners?
It was unbelievable that the adage “beggars cannot be choosers” could apply to them now, and that even Jiang Yi with his power level at the first stage of the Cast Tripod Realm could apply to be a sparring partner; better yet, the other people involved were even scared that he would decide to quit.
Entering the Martial Arts Hall, Jiang Yi evidently felt that something was not right. The atmosphere in the building was a lot more fresh, clean and nicer-smelling than the air outside. He didn’t need to go into seclusion and sit in meditation to know that the heavenly and earthly spiritual forces in here were obscenely powerful, allowing anyone’s cultivation speed to be much faster in the Hall than outside.
What made his heart relax was that after he had followed that guard in, all he saw was a spacious and empty central hall, with not a single person inside. He allowed himself to lower his cloak slightly, while silently praying that he would not meet Jiang Henshui here.
Three sides of the central hall had multiple corridors.
The guard clad in black armor brought Jiang Yi into a corridor on the left-hand side. “All you need to do is to follow this corridor and walk into the building. Go and find Manager Yang; he will properly arrange your position.”
Jiang Yi paused for a moment.
Hesitating briefly, he asked, “Can I leave at any time I want?”
“Of course!” The guard wearing black armor continued, “You are allowed to leave at any time you want. However, if you do not fulfill your responsibilities as a sparring partner until the sky turns dark, you will not receive any money.”
Jiang Yi nodded his head. Since he was already there, he should make the best of it. After all, he normally did not have the opportunity to enter such a high-end place, where children of rich and powerful families came to play. It was also good to be able to see the world.
The guard wearing black armor waited for Jiang Yi to walk with big steps through the corridor into the inner bowels of the building before finally heaving a sigh of relief.
As though he was relieved of a heavy burden, he sighed and said, “Finally, I’ve recruited one person. Once this Spirit Beast College started recruiting students, the young masters and young mistresses in Skyplume City have endlessly trained their cultivation techniques and practiced their martial arts techniques, as though they’ve all gone mad.
“With this circumstance, even if we manage to find a hundred sparring partners, it will not be enough to fulfill their demands and accompany them in their fun!
“This boy only has his power level at the first stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. Who knows how long he can possibly maintain his post? I hope he does not crawl out after less than one hour…”
Passing through the corridor, Jiang Yi quickly arrived in the interior of a large hall. Seven or eight people were seated cross-legged in the center of the big hall.
All of them were wearing masks of bronze-green beasts, with many of them having very obvious injuries on their bodies and arms and some even having tattered clothes. There were also many small rooms surrounding the large hall. One could vaguely hear the sounds of combat coming from more than ten of these rooms.
It seems like this is the place where sparring practice occurs. Is this small room the technique-practicing room? Surely there must be at least twenty rooms here, no? No wonder there are not enough sparring partners available.
As Jiang Yi was pondering on his situation, an old man wearing a black robe and giving off the appearance of a manager walked over to him.
Giving him a glance, he passed to Jiang Yi a wolf-head mask made of bronze before coldly saying, “Put on the mask. Your code name is ‘Lone Wolf’. Later I will call on you to take the field.
“You are a bronze token-grade sparring partner. The workday of a sparring partner is counted if he works from dawn to dusk, while the daily rate is a tael of silver. If you quit in the middle of the day, you get no money.”
Jiang Yi received the mask with much curiosity. He muttered to himself that, by sheer coincidence, he need not wear the cloak any longer.
He hurriedly put on the bronze mask and tied it onto his face with the attached string. In his heart, however, he was thinking that needing sparring partners to put on beast-shaped masks was somewhat strange.
Surely it was not to trigger the fighting spirit in the group of young masters and mistresses? With the masks, it was likely they would treat their sparring partners like mere beasts and ferociously beat them up!
Just as he thought of posing a few queries regarding the rules, the sound of footsteps rang from the corridor behind him. The manager immediately cast him away and sent him off with a smile.
The person who arrived was a teenage girl dressed in fiery-red martial artist robes. With an arrogant look on her face and moderately good looks, she was a level lower compared to Ji Tingyu. However, as she wearing body-hugging martial artist robes that made the shapely contours of her figure visible, she was attractive.
The teenage girl swept a glance across Jiang Yi and the other persons around. Somewhat disgruntled, she said, “Manager Yang, why are there no silver token-grade sparring partners? Why are they all bronze token-grade ones?”
The elderly manager smiled and quickly replied, “Young Mistress Yi, they are all busy sparring with other partners. Why don’t you wait just a little longer?”
“I’m not waiting any longer. I’ll just fight a few casual rounds with them. I need a tael of purple gold just to stay for a single day at your Martial Arts Hall. I did not come here for fun.” The youth coldly snorted twice, before turning and walking into one of the technique-practicing rooms.
Manager Rong hurriedly shouted to the group of individuals in Jiang Yi’s corner of the room. “Wild Boar! It’s time to do battle, so get in the sparring room!”
A martial artist wearing a mask of a wild boar immediately stood up and walked towards that technique practicing room. It was not long before the doors to the room sealed shut. The sounds of combat and the teenage girl’s delicate voice vaguely rang out from inside.
In the end, it was only a short moment of time before the door to the technique-practicing room opened. “Wild Boar” staggered out. His mask hung from his neck, revealing a face filled with fresh blood. The silhouette of Young Mistress Yi appeared at the door.
She coldly snorted at Manager Yang and said, “Manager Yong, why is the strength of this bronze-token-grade sparring partner so weak? Get me another one.”
Jiang Yi looked sympathetically at his dear comrade-in-arms who had just been beaten to a pulp. This man was only at the second stage of the Cast Tripod Realm, whereas that Young Mistress Yi evidently had a power level minimally at the fourth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. Even if the essence force of the two sparring parties were sealed, the two were completely not a match for each other.
“Red Bear, it’s time for combat!” Manager Yang sighed helplessly, as he had no option but to beckon another sparring partner to head out for combat. At the moment, all of the silver-token-grade sparring partners were in the other remaining technique-practicing rooms. As such he could only find bronze-token-grade sparring partners to fill in the gaps.
It was not a while before the door was opened once again, as the martial artist wearing the red bear mask was kicked and sent flying out. This was followed by Young Mistress Yi’s cold voice. “Change my partner!”
Sigh… this sparring partnership job is definitely not a task that humans should do. No wonder why there is still a shortage of personnel even with an offer of high pay: these young masters and mistresses don’t even treat their sparring partners as fellow human beings.
Jiang Yi silently sighed to himself. However, he suddenly heard a swishing sound behind him. He turned his head around to see all the remaining sparring partners had retreated backward by several tens of feet. It was evident that they did not want to enter combat and receive abuse…
Nursing a headache, Manager Yang looked at the group of sparring partners, all of them riddled with injuries, before giving the rest of the technique-practicing rooms a sweeping glance. Seeing as none of the silver-token-grade sparring partners had left their rooms, he could only helplessly point at Jiang Yi and order, “Lone Wolf, you’re up for combat.”
Jiang Yi was startled, but quickly came to his senses. Was he himself not the person wearing a wolf mask? He hastily stood up and walked into the technique-practicing room. At the door, however, he made the decision to turn back and scan the room, but all he could see were the gazes of all the remaining sparring partners seemingly observing a moment of silence in tribute of Jiang Yi.
It was not long after Jiang Yi had entered the room that the door automatically sealed shut. He raised his head and looked around, seeing that that room was relatively spacious, with night pearls suspended all around the four corners of the room. This was actually a pretty good place for training.
Suddenly, the walls of the entire technique practicing room shone with brilliant rays of light. Jiang Yi felt an indescribable force that seemed to confine him tightly in shackles. He hurriedly tried to move his body but found no physical influence or change whatsoever. It was only when he set his mind to move his essence force that he realized he could not circulate even a sliver of blue essence force.
My essence force has indeed been sealed off! How magical!
Jiang Yi silently sighed to himself in surprise. Looks like there was some sort of mysterious magical spell at work in that technique practicing room that could prohibit the use of essence forces by all martial artists inside.
In a circumstance where there was no available essence force to use, martial artists seeking combat could only rely completely on the combat instincts and response speed, as well as their skills in martial arts. In this way, during sparring training, a martial artist’s reaction speed and level of proficiency could be greatly increased.
Jiang Yi suddenly thought of something and muttered to himself that something was amiss. Was his black essence force not a type of black essence force too? Was it not within his dantian? Since essence force was sealed off from use, would his black essence force naturally be sealed off as well?
Without any black essence force, he had no other result beyond ending up in a condition similar to those two persons before him: being simply beaten half to death, and sent flying out with a kick…
“Hmph! Thunderstorm Punch, take that!”
Young Mistress Yi, who was standing opposite him, did not care as much, as she rushed towards Jiang Yi with both her legs moving as fast as arrows and both her fists smashing forward with a momentum like a sudden thunderstorm.
Even though this Young Mistress Yi did not inject any essence force into her fists, the strength in her fist attacks was very powerful. It was at that moment that Jiang Yi received even more confirmation that that person indeed had a power level up to the fourth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm.
Many years of using essence force allowed the strength of her physical body to reach up to one horsepower or more; her combat speed was also much faster than any martial artist with at the second stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. Without any essence force, his end condition would definitely be tragic.
Black essence force, I summon you! he shouted loudly in his heart, setting his mind to summon and assemble his black essence forces.
What left him excited and bewildered was that a wisp of black essence force circulated out of his dantian in an instant, and flowed towards his meridians.
Jiang Yi experienced great joy. Not caring too much any further, he hurriedly took action. He quickly retreated backward and controlled his black essence force, transferring its flow towards his left eye.
It was not long before a black flash flashed past his eye and the fists of the opposing party, flying through the air like a thunderstorm, suddenly became crystal clear and appeared to slow down.
Oh… it was all an empty trick!
What Jiang Yi had seen just now were the silhouettes of fists in the Vast Sky Fists technique; yet at the moment what he managed to easily lock his gaze on were two real fists. His feet slipped as he circulated the Jiang Family Psychedelic Steps and retreated to the side.
Had her Thunderstorm Fists actually hit nothing but mere air? Young Mistress Yi’s delicate face revealed a look of astonishment, which immediately turned to frustrated embarrassment and subsequent anger, as she once again demonstrated her Vast Sky Fists technique and enveloped Jiang Yi inside her fist silhouettes.
Jiang Yi’s eyes were firmly locked on to the figures of her two actual fists, as he calculated at quick speed in his brain the opposing party’s attack trajectory and speed.
As he had already predicted the incoming attacks in advance, he had already taken the action to avoid the attack and retreat backward, allowing the opposing party to hit nothing but air once again.
“This is so strange… Try to take this!”
Young Mistress Yi became frantic and, with quick steps, moved closer to Jiang Yi. She tried to use various different martial arts techniques, as she pursued Jiang Yi relentlessly and tried to strike him. However, no matter the method she used to attack, Jiang Yi could avoid the move in advance. His steps were light and gentle, moving unhurriedly as though he were idly strolling in his own backyard.
“Huh, huh… I’m not fighting any longer!”
After approximately three minutes, Young Mistress Yi stopped attacking as she panted breathlessly. With her body sweating profusely, the red-colored martial artist robes, already body-hugging to begin with, stuck even more to her delicate and exquisite figure, revealing her perfect bodily curves in vivid detail and brilliance.
Without the additional support of essence force, and having just fought two rounds of combat, it was considered remarkable that she could still continuously attack for such a long time. She exerted her full force in every single punch and technique, after all. This consumed way too much of her bodily energy at once.
Fuming, she walked towards the door. She extended out her hand and punched the stone slab protruding out of the wall next to the door. The technique-practicing room was suddenly filled with the flash of bright light as the door opened up.
Jiang Yi quietly wiped off the cold sweat on his forehead. He realized he could once again summon and muster the blue essence force in his dantian, which he could not help but feel silently amazed by. Could the black essence force perhaps not be essence force at all? Why was it that the blue essence force could not be maneuvered just now, yet this black essence force could be maneuvered?
Checking the ten wisps of black essence force in his dantian and realizing that he only had one wisp left, Jiang Yi shook his head and sighed. It seemed like this sparring partner job was not suited for him. If that Young Mistress Yi persevered for a little longer, and if his black essence force was fully consumed, his original condition would be fully revealed and he would have to endure getting beaten up…
He walked out of the technique-practicing room, yet all he saw were the gazes of all the other sparring partners who were staring at him as if they had just seen a monstrous creature. It was as though they were truly shocked to see him walk out without a single injury.
As for that Young Mistress Yi… Her face was filled with an expression of discontent.
“Manager Yang, you are truly brazen!” she said with a snort. “Is it just that you’re disgruntled with me, Yi Lingxue? You arranged for a gold-token-grade sparring partner to pass off as a bronze-token-grade sparring partner… Is it a lot of fun for you to toy with me this way?”
“Gold-token-grade sparring partner?”
Manager Yang was flabbergasted. He looked at Jiang Yi as though he had seen a ghost. How could this martial artist at the first stage of the Cast Tripod Realm be a gold-token-grade sparring partner? If everyone was a gold-token-grade sparring partner, then the Martial Arts Hall would not be so desperately hiring new staff…