Volume 1 – Between Daybreak and Evernight, Chapter 16: Long Enough to Become Desperate
Yet… where would the skirt come from? Qianye tried his best to solve this problem. He shook his head forcefully, then noticed the girls around them and understood where the skirt would come from.
This was how being drunk felt? It felt pretty good! The more he thought, the more he became excited.
Song Zining and the two other youths seemed to be speaking about something. They would occasionally turn to ask Qianye a few questions. However, Qianye’s consciousness was floating and he could never hear them clearly. Even if he did hear them, he wouldn’t have been able to comprehend what they were saying.
In spite of that, Qianye still could understand the gist of it. These three incessantly buzzing houseflies were asking him to drink, and drink, and drink! They also said that, since Qianye was drunk, he had to accept his loss, change, and dance. Then he wouldn’t have to drink anymore.
Song Zining gave Qianye an evil smile as he pulled a girl closer and started to undo her skirt. The girl laughed happily without shying away. She even shook her hips to allow the skirt to fall faster.
Except Qianye did not think that he was drunk.
“I can still drink! Here, cheers!” He raised his wine cup as he spoke boldly, pouring its contents down his throat before taking another cup.
Since he challenged them, Song Zining and the other two did not want to look weak and also started drinking.
Dazed, Qianye looked into the night sky and felt as though the moon had moved very quickly. It had just been in the sky to his left, yet it had rushed over to the right side?
The night seemed to be quiet, as it should be.
In this quiet night, Qianye couldn’t help but yawn. He currently felt like sleeping. He lay down as he had that thought, and his head landed on a lump of softness, making him feel extremely comfortable.
In the next moment, sweat poured off of him as he shot back up!
This night was not supposed to be quiet! A while ago, there had been a group of people drinking and making noise! Why was it suddenly so silent?!
Qianye looked around and was stunned to see a pile of people in which Song Zining, young men, and young women were sleeping soundly.
After a long period of confusion, Qianye understood. They were all drunk.
At this drinking party, Qianye had beaten three powerful opponents by himself. After releasing all of his sweat, he was now completely sober.
Yet being sober this early wasn’t a good thing. Upon seeing this messy scene, Qianye felt a headache coming on. He didn’t know what to do next. Dragging these ten or so dead pigs back would not be easy.
At that moment, a gentle voice came from behind him, “This place seems rather lively!”
Hearing this voice, Qianye’s natural instincts caused him to jump up immediately. Standing as straight as a pen, he greeted loudly, “Good evening, Instructor!”
Zhang Jing walked out from the forest, looked at the countless empty bottles of alcohol littered on the ground, then looked at Qianye. She smiled faintly. “Did you do this?”
“This is—no…” Qianye did not know how to answer, but at this moment, he felt as though the atmosphere was rather strange. Zhang Jing’s gaze was particularly bright, and the air seemed to carry the scent of danger.
Zhang Jing sized Qianye up multiple times, then sighed as the bright light in her eyes faded.
Waving her hand, she said in a somewhat lonely tone, “Go back first. Don’t worry about things here. Go and report to Instructor Shadow tomorrow morning. He will give you a week’s worth of private lessons as a reward for your results in this exam.”
Qianye was both shocked and elated. Not only was Shadow a firearm specialist, he was also an expert sniper. Being privately taught for a week was invaluable.
Returning to his room, the spirits that filled his belly took effect and he quickly fell asleep.
When morning came, Qianye was awakened by a commotion in the field. Not knowing what was going on, he went over to investigate before shockingly finding out that Song Zining and the two other youths were tied to the pillars, three lashes decorating each of their completely naked bodies.
The three of them were all fearsome figures who had ranked in the top ten for the midyear exam, They were also rumored to be from powerful families. Not only were they punished together, they were hung like naked pigs for people to watch! For the children from poorer backgrounds, this was not small news. The bare buttocks of these three powerful individuals was not a sight they would normally have a chance to see!
The reason why Song Zining and the others looked so miserable was another piece of news that shocked everyone.
It was said that Song Zining had a three on one drinking competition with someone and still lost completely. This also happened to be seen by Zhang Jing in passing. This demoness of an instructor felt that these three made her lose face, so not only did she whip them thrice, she wanted them to be publicly humiliated for an entire day.
This event was only a small incident in the training camp, but since then, Song Zining no longer agreed to drink with Qianye. He would always stay a good distance away from him if alcohol was ever mentioned.
This was a matter of regret for Qianye. He truly enjoyed the tipsy sensations he experienced that night, but without Song Zining, the penniless Qianye could not afford to drink even the cheapest kind of alcohol.
In the blink of an eye, three months passed.
Song Zining managed to ignite his second origin node and directly went to take the graduation exam. After successfully passing the exam, as was expected, he left the Yellow Springs Training Camp.
At that point, Qianye was still struggling with his origin tides in the cultivation room. He only learned about it after class, and at the same time, he received a wooden box from Zhang Jing that contained four neat pieces of Vermillion Countenance Blood.
Xu Lang had already graduated a year before that.
Qianye was still painstakingly assailing the barrier of his Aura Sea node. He was now capable of withstanding the impact of twelve origin power tides, but amongst the children of the training camp, his speed was in the lower middle tier.
After rounds of elimination, the remaining children were outstanding in talent and temperament. Most of the children were capable of stimulating more than fifteen origin tides, but as the number of tides increased, the pain proportionately increased as well. Therefore, the number of children who could truly withstand the impact of fifteen cycles of origin tides did not even reach ten.
The more origin tides there were, the stronger the impacts would be, allowing more of the origin power in the surroundings to be absorbed. The corresponding harm and pain to the body, however, would also increase exponentially.
The Combatant Formula relied on the cultivator’s willpower and physical strength. Neither could be lacking.
In the imperial army, the extent to which one was able to withstand origin tide cycles was used for rankings. Seven or eight normally signified cowards, ten and above were acceptable, and fifteen and above were something to boast about. If one passed twenty, they would be able to act as they pleased in the army.
When Song Zining graduated, it was said that he was able to withstand seventeen origin tides. A few people in the class were currently able to withstand fifteen origin tides. They were also extremely close to igniting their second origin node. In the top ten ranking for combined results, Qianye was the weakest in origin tide endurance.
However, no one knew how painful the origin tides were for Qianye. The pain his twelfth origin tide brought him was comparable to the nineteenth cycle for normal cultivators!
After half a year, nine children graduated.
Qianye cultivated extremely slowly. He had barely managed to endure his fifteenth origin tide up to now, but he was still far from igniting his second node.
New students were added to the classes, and more than half the children were younger than Qianye. Qianye had been the youngest when he first entered the training camp, and now he was one of the older ones.
The additional students were all capable of withstanding the fifteenth origin tide. They started from the same place as Qianye, but the speed of their improvement left him in the dust. This was because Qianye needed three times more origin power than normal to achieve the same goal.
As he got to further stages, his cultivating speed became slower. Qianye noticed that, not only did he have to withstand even more excruciating pain because of his old injury, his Aura Sea node’s barrier was much sturdier than that of a regular cultivator.
With three times the origin power, if the impact of the fifteenth origin tide occurred in another person’s body, one attack would be enough to nearly topple the node barrier. Yet in Qianye’s body, the turbulent origin tides seemed to be striking a mountain. The barrier did not even move!
In this situation, even Zhang Jing did not know what to do. The only thing she could do was have Qianye slowly accumulate his origin power and let nature take its course, allowing the node to ignite naturally.
Just like that, when Qianye could finally endure the impact of the seventeenth origin tide, his node barrier finally showed signs of loosening. At that point, Qianye was already fifteen years old, becoming one of the oldest in his class.
This was the highest ranked class. The students that entered were all rank one Fighters that were able to withstand the impact of the fifteenth origin tide. They usually took only a few months to ignite their node, and a bit more time to stabilize it, before taking part in the graduation exam.
The graduation exam of the Yellow Springs Training Camp only had one task—hunt a Crystal Lizard in the great valley of the rear mountains. As long as these lizards, which were over ten meters long, were mature, they would have the strength of a rank two Fighter.
Despite the fact that every surviving student of the Yellow Springs Training Camp was a one-in-a-hundred kind of talent and had survived the cruelest training, killing a Crystal Lizard with a single dagger was still incredibly difficult. It was said that the death rate of students would always rise to fifteen percent whenever they conducted a graduation exam.
It was said that every person who qualified for the graduation exams was strong enough to be a company commander in the imperial army. This fact showed how shocking a death rate of fifteen percent was.
However, even though Qianye had the battle capabilities, he currently couldn’t ignite his second node and therefore did not qualify to participate in the graduation exam. Rules were rules in the Yellow Springs Training Camp, and they wouldn’t change for anyone or anything.
In this period of time, Qianye did benefit. He had earned full marks in every lesson other than the ones regarding origin power cultivation.
Yet origin power was the core of everything. Without origin power, scores were nothing.
In the blink of an eye, Qianye would soon be sixteen. On the night before his birthday, Qianye did not go to sleep. Instead, he left the barracks alone and went to a quiet place to sit under the moonlight.
“Already sixteen,” Qianye thought silently. Then he remembered the life changing encounter in the junkyard.
Qianye didn’t actually know his real birthday. Even his age was something that Gu Tuohai had used a secret art to estimate. Therefore, Lin Xitang had used the day that he collected Qianye from the junkyard as Qianye’s birthday.
Even now, Qianye still deeply remembered the warmth of that big, firm hand. His world originally had only darkness and cold. It was that very hand that brought the first ray of light into his life.
At that moment, Qianye was like a young bird that had just escaped from its shell. He secretly saw Lin Xitang as his father, but he had never told anyone that.
Sitting silently, Qianye gathered his thoughts and started cultivating. On this special night, he was willing to do anything to try and withstand the eighteenth origin tide. If he succeeded, he would soon ignite his node, but if he failed, it would be impossible for Qianye to recover from the devastation of the recoil. He might even die from his body exploding right then and there.
Qianye had been stuck at his second origin node for too long—so long that he had become desperate.