Chapter 17 Not Exchanging For Even Ten Thousand Gold
Yan Liqiang’s reaction rendered everyone speechless. They all looked at each other in dismay, unsure of what to say.
"Everyone disperse at once and return to your posts. For now, please keep quiet about what happened tonight in this courtyard to avoid inviting trouble…" Qian Su spoke first, turning around and ordering the onlookers that had gathered around in the courtyard with an extremely solemn expression on his face.
The moment that Qian Su realized the red light in this courtyard wasn't a fire, he sent someone to placate the blacksmiths that had been rushing to put out the fire and get them to return to their quarters. So now there was only a small troop of about fifty soldiers from the Weaponsmiths Quarter in the courtyard. Of the group currently gathered, all were Qian Su’s subordinates, so naturally they wouldn’t dare to step out of line.
"Rest assured, Quarter Master. We naturally know how to handle this!" The commander of the squad nodded at Qian Su. He then shot an envious look at Yan Liqiang before turning around to admonish his troop loudly. "Those of you who are currently on duty may return to your posts. Those that are not on duty, may return to your barracks and rest. You are strictly prohibited from discussing or spreading the events that you have witnessed in this courtyard tonight. Any breach will be treated as a violation of military law. Everyone, heed my command. FACE TO THE REAR, AND MARCH…!"
In just the blink of an eye, the soldiers that had been carrying water buckets, sabers and swords all left the courtyard that Yan Liqiang was at. When the last soldier had passed the threshold, the squad commander even closed the door of the courtyard up once again.
"Uncle Qian… what’s going on? Why are you all here?" Yan Liqiang scratched his head while giving Qian Su a puzzled look.
Qian Su explained what had caused all those people to gather here and gave Yan Liqiang a strange look. "Don't tell me you were unaware of the fact that you passed the Horse Stance stage just now and the auspicious form that you revealed when you passed the stage?"
"What? I passed the Horse Stance stage?!" Yan Liqiang was stupefied on hearing this as a look of disbelief spread across his face. He was so immersed in the realm of Horse Stance earlier that he was unaware of what had been going on outside of his body. He only felt that the state he was in was something that had never happened to him before. It felt very pleasant. Now, his entire body was filled with energy. This kind of situation was completely new to Yan Liqiang, so naturally he was a little clueless. Little did he expect that he had unknowingly passed the Horse Stance stage, thus completing the first step in setting his foundation.
"Give it a try, you’ll know yourself of whether you have passed or not…"
Of course Yan Liqiang would want to try after hearing Qian Su’s words. The auspicious form of the passing of the Horse Stance Stage would only ever appear once, after that, it would never appear again. However, there were plenty of quick methods he could use to check if he had indeed passed the stage.
Yan Liqiang’s didn’t do much. He just stood where he was and forcefully curled in the little toe on one of his feet as it dug into the ground before abruptly releasing it. With just that simple move, Yan Liqiang could hear the Jade Pillow  at the back of his head ring out. He clearly heard a ‘dong’ sound in his ears, as if someone had just forcefully beaten once on a drum.
Curling in the toe and hearing the drum — this was the easiest way for one to check if they had passed the Horse Stance stage. This was due to the fact that people who passed this stage would have their large tendons in their legs completely unblocked. This allowed them to course their strength throughout their entire body, especially for the Lesser Yang Meridian that spanned all the way from one's head all the way to their toes. The moment the tension in his curled-in toe was released, the Lesser Yang Meridian at his feet would vibrate so he could hear something akin to drumbeats in his ears.
To many people, this sound was a celebratory drumbeat that signified the success of setting a solid foundation in martial cultivation.
While still listening to the distinct drumbeat still ringing in his ears, he sensed a new sensation as well as energy in his legs and body. As Yan Liqiang struck his fist out into the air, the energy from his legs and feet traveled to his fist within an instant, suddenly causing his normal punch to take on a different form and speed. The whooshing sound in the air was a few times louder than when he normally practiced his fists techniques. If Yan Liqiang had his current strength back in his battle with Hong Tao at the martial arts academy, then Hong Tao was nothing to be afraid of even with his Iron Palm technique.
An ecstatic look appeared on Yan Liqiang’s face. In this ordinary punch, he was able to re-experience that unstoppable sensation of striking out with his spear along with the momentum of riding on the back of the rhinodrake steed back at home. It really felt as if he was mounted on a running horse.
"Hahaha, I have passed the Horse Stance stage, I have passed the Horse Stance stage! I have passed the first stage in setting the foundation to become a Warrior…!" Yan Liqiang immediately started hopping around in the courtyard, unable to suppress the excitement he had in his heart. He was dancing in joy, happier than landing a great prize in a lucky draw.
Regardless, be it in his past or current life, this was his first time personally experiencing the profoundness and mysterious charm of martial art practice, so it was inevitable for him to feel so excited.
Normal people would be excited for about half a day if their character leveled up in a game, let alone experiencing a level up of your own self in reality.
Qian Su waited until Yan Liqiang had finally calmed down before explaining to him about the auspicious form that had manifested when he passed the Horse Stance stage. Out of curiosity, he then asked Yan Liqiang if he had been cultivating any secret techniques.
Of course, Yan Liqiang shook his head. "I have a rhinodrake steed at home that is used for practicing my horsemanship and gaining insight into the mystery of the Horse Stance. But I have no idea as to why something like that would happen when I passed my Horse Stance stage!"
Qian Su thought about it for a moment but shook his head. He knew Yan Dechang well and he was a blacksmith, so naturally he wouldn’t have known of any profound skills or secret techniques. The same went for Yan Liqiang. The Yan Clan couldn’t even afford to pay for a famous master for Yan Liqiang. If they had any profound skills or secret techniques, they wouldn’t stay cooped up in Liuhe Town for all these years. Furthermore, had he really been practicing such an amazing secret technique over these years, he wouldn’t lose so terribly during the preliminary exam of the Martial Arts County Trial and be forced take refuge in Huanglong County.
"I really didn’t expect this from you, Liqiang. You are indeed a rare talent and a prodigy in martial art practice for you to still be able to breakthrough in the midst of a predicament…" Qian Su was seeing Yan Liqiang in a new light. "I told you to cultivate the ‘Nine Palace Wind Shadow Steps’ that I gave you last time after you passed the Horse Stance stage to treat it as a motivation. I didn’t expect that you would actually manage to pass the Horse Stance stage in such a short period of time, in such a world-shaking way on top of that!"
"Qian Su, you are overpraising me. To be honest, I have no idea what is going on too…" Yan Liqiang foolishly laughed.
"This is the way geniuses are. They are able to instinctively achieve unimaginable things without deliberately trying!" Qian Su lowered his voice a little bit and continued. "The people in the Weaponsmiths will keep quiet about the incident today, so you can stay here without any worries. I will send someone to notify your father of your passing of the Horse Stance stage, so he can rejoice too. As for whether or not you should return to Liuhe Town, your father will probably send word to us. We’ll talk about this again when the time comes!"
Yan Liqiang nodded, as he also wished for his father to learn of this news so he could be happy too.
"Now that you have passed the Horse Stance stage, you’re another step closer to setting your foundation. You have already surpassed most of the people of your age as of right now and will have a promising future. From this point onwards, your strength will increase by leaps and bounds. But make sure to refrain from slacking off at all costs and also stay away from reckless frolics, especially when it comes to women. Be very cautious, do not lose your virginity before you finish setting your foundation. If you lose your primordial yang, you will destroy your own future. Many who passed the Horse Stance Stage weren’t able to make any further progress because they weren’t able to guard against their sexual temptations. They let a moment of pleasure ultimately adversely affect their entire life!" Qian Su solemnly warned Yan Liqiang.
Yan Liqiang was quite moved by Qian Su’s genuine and sincere reminder. He nodded his head vigorously. "I know, Uncle Qian!"
"That’s good then. I shall retire for tonight. You should go rest too…"
After Qian Su left, the courtyard quieted down once again, leaving Yan Liqiang all by himself. He lifted his head to gaze at the bright moon and the stars in the sky. His heart rose and fell like the waves, unable to settle down for the longest time...
After the incident today, he reckoned that everyone in the Weaponsmiths Quarter would think that he was some sort of extraordinary genius in cultivation, but in fact, Yan Liqiang himself knew that his aptitude was nowhere close to that of a genius at all.
The root cause of everything was that secret manual.
To be able to pass the Horse Stance stage this fast, the only thing that Yan Liqiang could think about right at this moment was a quote from that book —‘Those who can be pure and empty, will have no barriers. Those who can shed and change, will be unhindered…’ Unobstructed and unhindered would mean being able to proceed smoothly, hence naturally finding ‘a foundation for entering the Dao’.
He was an ordinary person in his past life, he was still an ordinary person in this life. However, he knew that his life would begin on a fresh page after tonight as his life would no longer be ordinary from here on out.
When he thought about the secret manual in his mind was only a ten or twenty yuan second-hand book that was sold at a street stall, Yan Liqiang felt bizarre.
In his previous life on Earth, nearly everyone was crazed towards chasing after their materialistic desires. They sunk themselves into dazzling LV bags, iPhones, luxury cars, mansions, diamonds and jewelry, branded watches and all other sorts of luxurious goods.
Yet only a minority had shown interest on truly valuable items such as the secret techniques that transcended worldliness and attained holiness, passed down by Buddha then brought all the way to China by Grandmaster Damo, and was a secret manual that was cultivated by Chinese national heroes like Yue Fei and Li Jing, even if free or nearly free.
Instead, the vast majority chased after bags that cost tens of thousands yuan, handphones that cost a few thousand yuan, or luxury cars that cost several million.
Such an exceptional secret manual only cost tens of yuan, it was even less expensive than a packet of cigarettes, yet was unnoticed by most...
This was how people measured the value of an object in his past life, simply by the number on the price tag displayed.
He wasn’t sure if he should be crying or laughing!
Maybe even God couldn’t put up with this ignorance any longer so He had Yan Liqiang reincarnated into this world along with this secret manual.
Even if anyone were to offer Yan Liqiang a city or a mountain of silver or gold at this moment, Yan Liqiang would still refuse to sell this secret manual. That was because right now in his heart, this secret manual was priceless. It was his future; his everything.
"God, since you have allowed me to live again, so I’m guessing that You don’t wish for me to live a life as another ordinary person…" An odd smile appeared on Yan Liqiang’s face as he faced towards the sky. He muttered under his breath, "Rest assured, I won’t let You down!"