“Wait, what? Why am I the exception?”
“Why don’t you tell us where your cultivation came from?” Administrator Yang asked mockingly. “I’ll save you the breath. Everyone knows Su Ziyao has given you tons of pellets. Without them you would have gotten nowhere. Your cultivation is superficial, boy. What good are you to the sect?”
The old man couldn’t help but laugh as he continued, “I’ll make things easy for you. See all these outer disciples? Pick one. If you can survive ten moves, I’ll approve of you as an outer disciple. Otherwise…” Yang paused briefly, looking Lin Yun over disappointedly, before he barked, “Otherwise you’ll return to your hovel and continue on being a good little sword slave. You’re nothing more than a waste of sect resources!”
The exchange had brought a solemn atmosphere to the Administration Hall. Most pitied him. No one wanted to see two years of hard work go to waste in what was bound to be a humiliating display. Others agreed with the administrator. If it had taken him this long with the use of pellets, he had little hope.
However, asking him to survive ten moves from an outer disciple was cruel. How could someone in the third stage of the Martial Path possibly last ten moves against someone who had cultivated for years?
Lin Yun stared blankly at the old man. He couldn’t figure out why the administrator would make things difficult for him on purpose.
“Take it easy, brat. Your Senior Brother Zhou will take good care of you. If you manage to take five moves from me, I’ll let you have the remaining five for free,” a familiar voice came from the crowd. Lin Yun turned to see none other than Zhou Ping pushing his way past a group of outer disciples, a shit-eating grin spread across his homely face.
I should have known...
“Hey, what’s with the headband? You think hiding the mark means you’re not a slave?” Zhou Ping sneered as he shoved another outer disciple out of the way.
Everyone understood what was happening as soon as Zhou Ping showed himself. He was here for revenge and must have used his status to get help from the administrator.
Lin Yun was on his own. No one would want to risk getting into trouble for an insignificant sword slave. Ignoring Zhou Ping’s mockery, he turned around to look at the old man and asked, “Was that a promise, Administrator Yang? Once I survive ten moves from Senior Brother Zhou you’ll allow me to be an outer disciple?”
The old man was caught off guard by Lin Yun’s confidence, “You have my word. If you can prove that your cultivation is not superficial, what reason would I have to stop you?”
Although he sounded sincere, the old man was laughing inside. To face Zhou Ping, someone in the fourth stage of the Martial Path, Lin Yun was truly impudent.
“Senior Brother Zhou, please,” Lin Yun stretched out his hand after moving to an empty space in the Administration Hall.
“Heh, as your boss, I’ll go easy on you. Like I said, you only need to survive five moves from me!” Zhou Ping was on the move, palms spread apart, before he even finished speaking. A gale propelled him forward as he darted around the impromptu arena.
“Lowered torso, arms spread... This is the Eagle Palm Art!”
“Hunting Eagle... momentum is the key. Judging from his form, Zhou Ping is quite familiar with this technique. The moment he leaps off the ground, it will be even more incredible.”
“And here I thought he was being generous telling Lin Yun he only needed to survive five moves. He’s not far from greater mastery of the Eagle Palm Art.”
Everyone here was a cultivator and thus able to see the finer points of Zhou Ping’s attack. They were nothing like the odd-job workers from the Sword Cleaning Chamber. Outer disciples could easily tell how powerful Zhou Ping’s attack was.
As a torrent of wind rushed through his hair, Lin Yun locked eyes with Zhou Ping. Zhou Ping seemed like a different person from the man Lin Yun fought 3 days ago. He was taking this seriously. If it weren’t for his training over the last few days, Lin Yun would be doomed.
However, Lin Yun remained calm, remembering his encounters with the tiger from the painting. While Zhou Ping built his momentum, Lin Yun was shoring up his power.
“Look! The sword slave must be terrified. He’s just standing there! Does he have a death wish?”
“The Eagle Palm Art is absolutely overwhelming. Unless you have extraordinary footwork, it’s impossible to gain an advantage on it.”
“How would a sword slave know about that? Once Zhou Ping goes airborne, this fight’s over.”
“There it is! He jumped!”
When he had finally gained enough momentum, Zhou Ping launched himself into the air with a violent stomp. He was like an arrow loosed from a bow flying higher and higher into the sky. As he reached the apex, a sinister smile spread across his face.
Leaving the humiliation from three days ago aside, Lin Yun was Zhou Ping’s cash cow. There was no way he would allow Lin Yun to become an outer disciple. He needed those pellets.
“Here I come!”
Zhou Ping screeched as he breached the apex, focusing his momentum directly at Lin Yun. His fingers formed into vicious talons as he dove for Lin Yun’s head.
The Administration Hall went silent as they anticipated the strike. Lin Yun was trapped. Zhou Ping had covered all options. None of the outer disciples could see a way for him to escape. He was going straight for his head. If somehow the move didn’t kill him, he’d wish it had.
Five moves? Zhou Ping only needed one to finish off Lin Yun. He had no intention of letting him pass.
With the impact imminent, Lin Yun barely managed to keep his eyes open through the violent gale, his hair dancing in the wind. Shifting his right foot back, Lin Yun lowered his body. No one could understand why he would do something so foolish. Was he going to dodge the attack? There’s no way he’ll be able to dodge in time, right?
The administrator’s right eye began to twitch as he realized what was happening. Lin Yun was locked in.
Embody the tiger, smell the rose!
The Ferocious Tiger Fist - Tiger Roaring in the Forest!
The shift back was not an attempt to escape, as everyone had thought. On the contrary, he was using his lowered stance as a platform to launch an attack of his own!
For a split second, it seemed as if an image had unfolded behind him. His bone crackled! The roar of a tiger rang out incessantly as Lin Yun threw his jab, causing an explosion in the air before him followed by a violent burst of wind.
This punch is for myself. You shouldn’t have obstructed my path!
“Greater Mastery of the Ferocious Tiger Fist!”
Only a few outer disciples had eyes keen enough to see what happened. Lin Yun’s Ferocious Tiger Fist had already reached the heights of greater mastery!
As the fist and palm connected, Zhou Ping’s Eagle Palm Art crumpled under the force. Zhou Ping’s palm was torn apart. It felt as if every bone in his arm had been ground to dust as he was sent flying across the hall. As he flew, Zhou Ping awoke to a new understanding of fear.
How is this possible? How did Lin Yun manage to achieve greater mastery in just three days?
The Ferocious Tiger Fist might be a foundation technique, but it was still not easy to reach greater mastery. He had intended to finish off Lin Yun in a single strike, but his plan had backfired! Such a strong attack had left him vulnerable, but how was he to know Lin Yun would be able to capitalize on that?!
Lin Yun’s cold gaze was still locked on his opponent as he took two steps forward and launched himself into the air. Although he did not reach the same heights as Zhou Ping, his ferocity perfectly resembled that of a tiger.
Ferocious Tiger Descending the Mountains!
Zhou Ping was still helplessly flying through the air, his right arm in shambles. He could only watch as Lin Yun’s fist connected with his chest, driving him into the ground.
Several of Zhou Ping’s ribs shattered as his breath evacuated his body.
This second punch is for this body’s previous owner! You shouldn’t have used your strength to bully him over the last two years!
With that, Lin Yun withdrew his fist back and stood upright, moving his fingers to calm the torrent of internal energy within his body.
Everyone expected Zhou Ping to end the fight in a single move. No one expected Zhou Ping to be defeated in just two.
The hall was silent.
The administrator flickered, a rush of wind blew past Lin Yun as he appeared beside Zhou Ping, checking on the latter’s injuries. After seeing the damage, he turned to Lin Yun in disgust, “How dare a sword slave like yourself be so ruthless! Lin Yun, for the act of injuring your peer, I hereby banish you from this sect!”
Lin Yun was taken aback by his fervor, but he had seen this coming, “The Ferocious Tiger Fist is weak against the Eagle Palm Art. If I had not brought out my full strength, I would’ve been the one on the ground.”
“Blasphemy! How dare you talk back to me?!” the administrator screamed furiously. How would he explain this to Zhou Ping’s father? This sword slave was truly courting death by talking back.
In an instant, the atmosphere within the Administration Hall had changed.Tensions rose as the administrator turned his wrath towards Lin Yun.