Chapter 27: How Fascinating
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“I’ve already broken four hundred runic patterns on my seal; my cultivation speed is now 15 times faster than before, on par with an average descendant in the family! Hah… at this rate, just how terrifyingly fast would my cultivation speed become once the seal breaks completely?”
Jiang Yi opened his eyes and mused after a round of cultivation in his tiny room in the Technique Practicing Room. There were eighteen thousand runic patterns on the seal altogether, and his cultivation speed had already increased so drastically with just four hundred of them broken. He could hardly wrap his mind around how unnaturally powerful he would become when all the runic patterns were broken.
It had been a month since Jiang Yi came to the Martial Arts Hall. Besides cultivating, he spent all his energy on breaking the runic patterns on the seal. The progress for both was fast. By his estimation, it would only take approximately another month and a half for him to reach the fourth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm.
The essence force needed to elevate from the third to the fourth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm essentially doubled. Fortunately, Jiang Yi had access to an endless supply of Spirit Pills at the Martial Arts Hall, in addition to his black essence force which he used to strengthen the power of the pills. His cultivation speed could definitely match that of Jiang Henshui now.
On the other hand, while it was easy to achieve the first four stages of the Cast Tripod Realm, making a breakthrough to each of the subsequent stages was much more difficult. The fifth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm, in particular, was a bottleneck: the essence force needed was roughly the sum of all the previous stages. As such, many wastrel playboys and inept martial artists, like Jiang Ruhu and Ma Fei, were permanently held up at the fourth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. After all, it would be impossible for their families, however rich they might be, to keep supplying them with elixirs to forcibly elevate to the fifth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm.
In addition, the elixirs became less effective in strengthening cultivation as martial artists increase their power levels. Unless they were the superior earth-grade and heaven-grade elixirs, the effect would be negligible. However, the superior-grade elixirs were extraordinarily expensive. A single earth-grade elixir cost a hundred taels of gold. In a place as small as Skyplume City, even the Ji Family would not be able to supply earth-grade elixirs to its descendants over a long period of time. As for the heaven-grade elixirs, even Ji Tian himself would have trouble affording them.
“Whatever, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. First, I have to make a breakthrough to the fourth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm.”
Jiang Yi heaved a sigh and took out a teal-colored short sword from his chest pocket. Staring at its spiraling teal radiance, a deeply troubled look showed on his face. Ma Fei must have been searching for him for a month. With Jiang Yi missing, would he attempt to give Jiang Xiaonu a hard time instead?
“Long Wolf, come out and battle!”
Manager Yang’s voice came from the outside. Resigned, Jiang Yi stowed away the treasured artifact he took from Ma Fei back in his chest pocket and went out wearing the wolf mask.
That young mistress of the Yi Family simply refused to give up no matter how many times Jiang Yi turned her down, coming here every day like clockwork to order him. Although Jiang Yi was exasperated, there was little he or Manager Yang could do, as she was a customer of the Martial Arts Hall after all.
When he came out of his room, Jiang Yi saw that there was someone dressed in white standing beside Yi Lingxue. She was a lovely young mistress around Yi Lingxue’s age. Although her figure was not as curvaceous, she looked even more beautiful than Yi Lingxue.
Upon seeing Jiang Yi, Yi Lingxue wasted no time in going to him and whispering, “Lone Wolf, this is my cousin Yi Fei-er. I’ll be in seclusion for some time, so I’ll let you spar with her in the meantime!”
Jiang Yi could feel a headache coming. So this was how things went—now that he refused to join the Yi Family, Yi Lingxue was going to line up her family’s descendants to spar with him. What else could he do besides nodding in consent with a pained look?
Yi Fei-er was apparently uninterested in Jiang Yi. After Yi Lingxue’s departure, she looked at Jiang Yi dispassionately and went into the Technique Practicing Room with her head held up high. She stopped at the doors and said in an indifferent tone, “Are you not coming in?”
Jiang Yi went wordlessly. The moment the doors were shut, Yi Fei-er’s expression darkened; her legs pushed off the ground, fists transforming into fist silhouettes that filled the air, hurtling towards Jiang Yi with sheer power.
Only the third stage of the Cast Tripod Realm? Yet she was so arrogant?
Jiang Yi scoffed internally but did not fight back. He did not bother to activate the black essence force and merely circled the room with Psychedelic Step.
The result was unsurprising. Even without the black essence force, Jiang Yi’s speed of reaction and fighting instincts were continuously enhanced after so many sparring matches. The proud young mistress of the Yi Family was naturally no match against him.
Jiang Yi was effortlessly moving in circles. Yi Fei-er threw her attacks at him for close to three minutes, yet she was unable to even brush against his garments.
Yi Fei-er continued her attacks for a while, every punch hitting nothing but thin air. It made her incredibly sulky. After yet another miss, she scowled and pouted. “Is your zodiac a monkey? Do you only know how to leap and dodge like one?”
Jiang Yi stood still abashedly and retorted, “Should I not have dodged and let you hit me? Sparring partners are not punching bags for people to vent their anger on…”
Yi Fei-er scowled harder at this and stomped her foot. “Why don’t you fight back then? Where’s the fun in sparring when you are like this?”
Jiang Yi replied dryly. As Yi Fei-er started attacking again, he transferred a wisp of black essence force to his eyes and stood still, hands wrapping themselves around Yi Fei-er’s hands like threads of seaweed.
Yi Fei-er’s fighting skills were obviously far below that of Yi Lingxue. Effortlessly, Jiang Yi caught a pair of silky smooth hands amid the flying fist silhouettes. He dared not exert too much force and lightly yanked her sideways. That was all it took for Yi Fei-er to stumble over.
Yi Fei-er almost fell; her face was red with embarrassment and anger. She steadied herself and immediately resumed her attack. Sadly, the result was the same, and she turned out to be the one who was like a monkey that was being provoked by Jiang Yi, dashing around in the room.
“Hah… Hah… I’m not fighting anymore!”
After several minutes, Yi Fei-er grumpily headed towards the doors and disappeared swiftly down the hallway.
Jiang Yi shrugged and went back to his cultivation. However… he was summoned again by Manager Yang an hour later—as another guest had requested his service.
Oh? What a powerful aura coming off of this young master, I’d reckon the power level is at least at the sixth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm. Which family does this young master belong to, and why has he ordered me?
Jiang Yi was in silent bewilderment. The young master in the meantime had gone into the Technique Practicing Room without another word. Jiang Yi had no choice but to follow him in.
The aloof young master waited till the doors were closed before introducing himself, “Yours truly, Yi Longyu. Lone Wolf, I have heard Xue-er mention you many times. Please battle me with everything you’ve got.”
Someone from the Yi Family again…
Jiang Yi’s headache came back in full force. It seemed that Yi Lingxue truly intended to have her family clan’s descendants lined up for sparring matches with him. Jiang Yi, however, was still doubtful of his ability—could he really help others to achieve phenomenal success? Would anyone in Skyplume City believe in something so bizarre if word were to get out?
Now that someone came to him, Jiang Yi did not have it in him to refuse. Fortunately, as he elevated through the stages in the Cast Tripod Realm, the black essence force became more condensed as well. Its color turned a shade lighter. Even though he could still only cultivate ten wisps at most, the duration that each wisp could strengthen his vision became longer, reaching as long as five minutes. Thanks to this, he could fend for himself in a fight without breaking into a sweat.
The sixth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm!
Facing off such a strong opponent for the first time, Jiang Yi could not afford to be sloppy. He transferred a wisp of black essence force at once and hunched his back slightly, sharp gaze tracking his opponent’s every move.
“Hah! Take this, Cloud-Spin Free Hand!”
Knowing that Jiang Yi was ready, Yi Longyu attacked with a haughty glint in his eyes. His hands formed a strange hand seal and transformed into knife hands that came down on Jiang Yi crosswise.
Eh? This martial art technique is quite hard to read. It allows infinite permutations; I can’t predict the trajectory at all!
Jiang Yi locked his gaze on his opponent’s hands, but to his dismay, he was unable to predict where the attacks would come from, seeing how Yi Longyu could easily change his technique at least three to four times in an instant.
Jiang Yi’s steps quickly swept backward, but the speed of a martial artist at the sixth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm was unbelievably fast. Yi Longyu’s figure flickered and then materialized near Jiang Yi in an instant, his knife hand sliced through the air and about to strike Jiang Yi’s neck.
Although the knife hand strike would not actually break his neck, it would hurt him to a point that his power would be significantly reduced. Jiang Yi was forced to ready his own martial art technique, putting up both hands to fend off the knife hand strike.
Yi Longyu smirked. Jiang Yi was only at the third stage of the Cast Tripod Realm after all. Even if the essence forces of the two sparring parties were sealed from use, Jiang Yi’s physical strength was far inferior to his own, and he could easily push past Jiang Yi’s defenses. With this thought, he maintained the current technique, and the knife hand strike continued its downward trajectory to Jiang Yi’s neck.
Great, prepare to lose if you weren’t going to change your technique! Silk Hand! Psychedelic Step!
Jiang Yi ascertained that his opponent would not change his technique before springing into action. Hands posing into claws, he deftly grabbed Yi Longyu’s wrists and sidestepped, hands pulling the man in the other direction, dissolving the attack while moving behind Yi Longyu in the same breath.
Mm? How fascinating indeed!
Yi Longyu’s prowess was not to be underestimated; unlike Yi Fei-er, he did not let Jiang Yi lead him on a wild goose chase and promptly steadied himself. He turned on Jiang Yi again, eyes igniting with fighting spirit. How could he, a martial artist at the sixth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm, be incapable of inflicting damage on someone at only the third stage of the Cast Tripod Realm? If word got out, he would be the laughingstock of Skyplume City. As the strongest martial artist of his generation in the Yi Family, he would disgrace the family, too.
Yi Longyu’s attacks were now at full throttle, each fist thrown held his full power, and there was a nasty look in his eyes. It was obvious that he would not rest until he had Jiang Yi beaten into the ground.
Jiang Yi groaned inwardly, there was little he could do except trying to block and dodge each attack as it came and when it does, with the help of superior reaction brought about by his enhanced vision.
An hour later, Jiang Yi took a heavy hit as his body was tossed to the side. At this point, Jiang Longyu was already panting with exhaustion. Jiang Yi grimaced and climbed to his feet, cupping his hands in salutation. “Young Master Yi was indeed strong; yours truly humbly admit defeat.”
Like Jiang Yi, Yi Longyu was bathed in perspiration and extreme fatigue. His expression was not one of complacency, but of self-mockery. “Lone Wolf, you might as well drop the pretense! You deliberately allowed me to hit you just now, didn’t you? You little bugger are truly as obscenely strong as what Lingxue said. This kind of reaction speed is just unnatural.
“Forget about the sixth stage of the Cast Tripod Realm, you’d be able to defeat me with ease even if you were just at the fourth stage! Speaking of which… have you given thought to being the Second Elder of my family yet? If you want to… let us deal with the Jiang Clan then. I can even make the decision on my father’s behalf and let you have Yi Lingxue’s hand in marriage!”