Chapter 25: Chapter 25 – Training Camp
Translator: Dragon Boat Translation Editor: Dragon Boat Translation
“Ha, ha, ha…”
On the training ground, most of the members of Group 8 had stopped at the side of the running track and bent down to catch their breaths. Even Xie Qiansi, who usually initiated conversations with everyone, had run out of energy to talk and was panting heavily with long beads of sweat dripping down his forehead. The rest of the group likewise looked like they were about to melt in the heat and collapse from their exhaustion.
“Have we been duped?” Yuan Dang asked as he wiped the sweat off his face with his sleeves. He looked at the other groups at the training area and said, “Why does it seem like we are the only ones so tired and left panting so heavily like dogs?”
“Even dogs don’t pant so heavily,” Qiao Muyi retorted glumly. She had not sweated much, but she gathered together with the rest of the girls in the group, slowly catching their breaths.
The group had been running along the track while practicing the breathing pattern taught by Zhao Jingzhong. Although the breathing pattern was rather complicated, it was quickly retained in muscle memory after about ten tries. Accordingly, it became a mere repetition, similar to radio calisthenics where there were many different actions but all of which were variations that stemmed from the basic ones.
Many of them had feared that the technique they would be taught would come from a mysterious ‘divine book’ of some kind that had been kept secret. They had not imagined that the technique was just a simple breathing technique resembling that which was utilized in yoga and naturally, they were not afraid of learning such a technique. The civil servants who were present would all have an above-average level of intellect and required no more than one hour to master the breathing pattern.
However, the problem they faced was their inability to complete 64 cycles of the breathing pattern.
Each cycle of the breathing pattern required one minute to complete, and 64 cycles of it added up to an hour. However, when they used such a breathing method while they ran, they realized that they became exhausted in a shorter time. Even if they were to jog slowly or even brisk walk, they were not able to complete the full 64 cycles and had to stop halfway.
Every time they stopped, they would have to restart the cycle from the beginning. On the other hand, their exhaustion would not restart again but would instead accumulate, to the extent that most of them could no longer continue after they had become familiar with the breathing pattern. Only a small handful of about 10 of them could persist for a few more cycles before they eventually fell out as well. Zhao Huo, for example, could only complete 24 cycles before he too was drained and stopped at the side to rest.
Xie Qiansi felt that it was peculiar and quickly left his group to check on the other groups. He came back after a short while with a livid look on his face. He said, “Heck, we have been played by our instructor!”
“What happened? Did he teach us a fake breathing technique?” Zhao Huo questioned as he narrowed his eyes and fiddled with his earrings.
Xie Qiansi explained, “My friend’s instructor only taught them to repeat the breathing pattern for four cycles, and the pattern is less complicated than ours. He went to ask his instructor, and he said that there are actually three levels of the breathing technique. The most basic level only required 4 cycles, while the intermediate level had 16 and the advanced level comprised 64. The higher the level of difficulty, the more effective the uptake of Reiki would be.”
“All of them started from the basic technique of 4 cycles so that their body would be accustomed to the Reiki in their body. Otherwise, under such an environment where there is a high concentration of Reiki, most people would not be able to practice the intermediate or advanced level techniques, unless they had an extremely strong physical ability,” he continued.
A commotion broke out immediately and they said, “How could our instructor dupe us like that?!”
“But it’s allowed,” an extremely displeased Xie Qiansi said. He added, “The instructors only need to teach us the breathing technique. Their instructor said that most of the soldiers had begun practicing straight from the intermediate level technique, but their physical endurance is no doubt better than ours. A small number of the soldiers even started directly from the advanced level technique, and the effectiveness of the advanced technique was much higher than that of the intermediate one.”
“If the basic technique has an average effectiveness of 1, the intermediate technique would have an average effectiveness of 2, while that of the advanced technique would be 4! Even if we question him, our instructor could just attribute it to him thinking that we have a relatively good natural ability, and so he taught us the advanced technique first for our benefit. We would need to expend energy in order to practice, and yet the energy we have in one day is limited. If we start immediately from the advanced breathing technique, we would naturally improve faster than others who begin from the basic technique,” he continued.
Li Qingxuan said, “However, not only are we not able to finish one full round of the breathing technique now, but we have also exhausted most of our energy…The instructor would just have wasted our entire morning, and that’s for no good reason.”
Yuan Dang asked, “In any case, did Master Xie ask them for the basic technique?”
“Of course, I did,” Master Xie said as he held his head up high. “The basic breathing technique is actually very simple, listen carefully…”
“It seems like none of you have completed a full round of the breathing cycle,” said Zhao Jingzhong, who had also been practicing the breathing technique on the training ground.
All of a sudden, Zhao Jingzhong walked towards them and saw that the group had stopped and been sweating profusely. He shouted loudly, “Group 8, gather round!”
He seemed to have used some Reiki technique to shout and project his voice. Although his voice was not extremely loud, the sound diminished very slowly, and his voice could be heard throughout the entire training ground. Group members who had been resting at other corners of the training compound heard him and walked back to assemble.
“I had thought that all of you were skilled talents and would be able to master the breathing technique easily,” Zhao Jingzhong said in a seemingly regretful tone. He said, “I had overestimated all of you. Now, I would have no choice but to start with the basic breathing method so that all of you can get a grasp of practicing Reiki as soon as possible.”
All of the students of the group shrugged their shoulders. What else could they do? Blame themselves for not being prodigies?
Who had known that the large-eyed Zhao Jingzhong who had thick eyebrows would be so petty as to take his small ‘revenge’ on them in such a way?
“All right, all of you, remember that the basic breathing pattern goes…Eh? Why is there one less person?”
Everyone was dazed as they glanced at each other, but they were not familiar with one another yet and could only check to see if their roommates were present. Quickly, Yuan Dang exclaimed, “Ren Suo’s missing!”
“Ren Suo?” a few of them who knew Ren Suo personally said as they looked around for him. They soon saw him on the track and said, “Ren Suo is on the running track!”
Everyone looked in the direction of the track and indeed, Ren Suo was still jogging at a slow pace on the track. His eyes were extremely focused on the path ahead of him. Every once in a while, a small, white cloud of mist would emerge from his mouth. It was an incredible sight!
Immediately, everyone recalled the time when they saw Zhao Jingzhong practicing on the sports ground, during which he too breathed out a white, long and thick cloud of mist from his mouth. If they had not seen the ball of white mist, they would not have thought that the breathing technique was a legitimate way to practice. A few of them had also tried to spit out the white mist, but could not last longer than a few seconds.
Each expelled cloud of white mist represented a complete cycle of the breathing pattern!
Zhao Jingzhong signaled for the group to remain quiet and he said, “Let him continue running. Let’s see how long it takes before he tires out.”
Five minutes passed.
Ten minutes passed.
Yet, Ren Suo remained on the track, deeply focused in his practice. Everyone was becoming more and more amazed.
Then, after 15 minutes had gone by, Ren Suo finally stopped. However, he did not drop to the ground in exhaustion, but instead walked over to the group energetically!
“How is he not tired?” some people curiously asked.
Zhao Jingzhong answered emotionlessly, “What I taught all of you just now was the advanced breathing technique. Upon completion of one full round of the breathing cycle, Reiki will be replenished, and your body will recover one-third of your strength. The rate of recovery will also be increased, and it won’t be long before you can carry on with your second breathing cycle.”
“On the other hand, the basic breathing technique does not have such benefits. Hence, in one day, the advanced technique is ten times more effective than the basic technique, although the time taken to complete one advanced cycle is longer than that of the basic cycle!” he explained.
“Nonetheless, this is subjective, and the actual effectiveness still depends on your individual skill level. Some people have a high skill level and use the basic technique, but their speed is ten times faster than the average person. On the other hand, some people have a lower skill level and yet, they choose to practice with the advanced technique. Hence they do not even achieve half of the average standard…” he continued.
“Skill level?” Yuan Dang asked. Everyone was daze and confused. Yuan Dang asked straightforwardly, “Does it refer to Spirit Affinities?!”
“What Spirit Affinity! You must have read too many novels. The skill level we refer to here is just a measure of your physical condition,” said Zhao Jingzhong. He looked at the anxious faces in front of him and decided not to scare the group any further. He said reassuringly, “Don’t worry, this skill level is just like your physical ability, you can improve slowly. For example, I started off with a level of 2.13, but when I went for the test last week, it had already escalated to 2.33.”
At this moment, Ren Suo walked towards them. The discussion about skill level had piqued his interest.
He asked, “How can we find out our current skill level then?”
“When you are able to form your own breathing current, you can go for a test. The test date is stated in your schedule, and it will be held on the fifth day of training,” Zhao Jingzhong said. He glanced at Ren Suo and asked, “Have you finished a full round of the breathing cycle?”
“Yes,” Ren Suo replied.
“You’re good, did you serve in the military before?” Zhao Jingzhong asked. He continued, “You are the only one here who was able to complete one full round while the rest of the group is already so exhausted. The rejuvenation of Reiki only happens at the last cycle in the advanced breathing method, so you would have had to persevere with your physical strength for the first 63 cycles. Most average people would only be able to practice the advanced level breathing technique after they have activated their own breathing currents…You’re good.”
“No, I didn’t serve in the military,” Ren Suo replied. He looked at the rest of the group and said, “I…it’s just that I liked to stay fit, that’s all.”
Zhao Jingzhong did not fully buy his answer but did not bother probing further. Instead, he said, “Take a short rest, then carry on with your own practice. Otherwise, you can listen to me explain the basic breathing technique to the rest of them, although the basic technique would be much less effective than the advanced one you have been practicing. All right, the rest of you, listen carefully! The basic method involves…”
Ren Suo knew that he had been able to complete the 64 breathing cycles of the advanced technique because of the [Enhanced Physique] reward. Otherwise, he would have been drained of all of his energy, much like the rest of the group.
Nonetheless, he had been able to feel a strong, heart-like, rhythmic palpitation where his Dantian was located, right in his diaphragm. Furthermore, he did not feel any exhaustion at all throughout his practice!
The effect of [Enhanced Physique] seemed to be much stronger than he had imagined. It had not only strengthened a single area of his body but also improved his physical condition and ability as a whole. For example, his waist and core had become stronger, his kidney had also become more tolerant, and the other effect was that he could last longer—although it was not applicable to him at the moment.
After Zhao Jingzhong finished explaining the basic breathing technique to the group, Ren Suo was stopped by Zhao Huo and Qiao Muyi. They wanted to practice together with Ren Suo, using the advanced breathing method.
“Just now, it was because everyone fell out one after another and we did not have a leader to take the lead. Now that you can take charge, I feel that we can take up a challenge and practice using the advanced method with you,” said Zhao Huo.
Ren Suo did not object to his suggestion. A few other students who heard what Zhao Huo said also came forward and followed likewise.
Ren Suo had no interest in remaining discreet, and furthermore being discreet referred to ‘low-profile identity, high-profile work’.
When training, it was crucial to perform to the best of one’s ability, in order to be noticed by others and through doing so, expand one’s social network and widen one’s horizons. Although Ren Suo did not have as many ulterior motives or agendas as Xie Qiansi, Ren Suo did not want to lose out on such a beneficial opportunity to make himself known.
Most importantly, this was a golden opportunity to close the distance between him and Qiao Muyi!
He had not forgotten about the unopened treasure chest in his game at home!
Ren Suo had thought that there was a direct relationship between those with ‘special abilities’ and his keys; however, he had only discovered a total of five keys, from Qiao Muyi, Li Dan, Yu Kuangtu, and another two of the men clad in the black vests. The other students and the instructor did not give him any ripples nor ‘palpitations’ in his heart.
He had intitally thought that he could retrieve at least 10 keys while he was at the training camp for his use later on…
At the same point in time, a strange rumor began to spread in Kamiya Village which was located near the Tedamia mountain range: a beautiful, golden-haired girl wearing a thin training suit had been spotted trekking through the mountains and forests at a blazingly fast speed.
The only point of contention was that there were witness accounts of the girl from two villages located 5 kilometres apart. However, the forests on Tedamia mountain were so thick and dense that people and even wild animals had died while trekking through it. It was virtually impossible to travel such a long distance in a day, on foot…