In cultivation, the fundamentals lie in one’s aptitude. In this instance, aptitude specifically referred to a person’s constitution. Unfortunately, Lin Yun’s inherent constitution left much to be desired and his foundation was below average as a result. The only way to make up for a lack of aptitude was to rely on external help.
Generally speaking, external help came mostly in the form of pellets, but one could also be aided by their environment. In places with an abundance of spiritual energy, cultivation efficiency could be boosted dramatically. However, such places in the Azure Sky Sect had already been claimed by inner disciples and Elders. Hence, without superb aptitude, a special location, or pellets, it was natural for Lin Yun’s progress in the Pure Yang Art to be slow.
Thankfully, the three days weren’t entirely wasted as he had become proficient in the Flowing Wind Sword. He also had not forgotten to practice the Ferocious Tiger Fist. It seemed techniques that required comprehension were his strong suit. Sword techniques were meant to kill, cultivation techniques were meant to cultivate his internal energy, and the Ferocious Tiger Fist was meant to strengthen his body. Proper training required the practice of all three.
Outside his wooden shack, Lin Yun spread his palms as he came in contact with the hilt of his sword. The sword let out a gentle hum as it began vibrating rapidly under his palm.
It appeared to be trying to spin, but was being held back by the scabbard lodged in the ground.
“Not yet…” Lin Yun said, closing his eyes as he focused all his senses on the vibrating blade. He began to slowly pour his spirit energy into the sword.
A gentle wisp of wind rose, tousling his hair.
Lin Yun’s eyes shot open and began to spark as he grabbed the hilt.
An intense downward force came from the sword as all the accumulated power pulled him toward the earth. It was only due to the foundation laid by the Ferocious Tiger Fist that Lin Yun managed to stabilize himself as he lifted the sword.
The instant he lifted the sword his body was dragged forward. The sword had traveled two feet and lodged itself in a rock, bringing Lin Yun with it. A spiderweb of fractures branched out from the inch deep incision the sword had created.
After only one attempt of this move, Lin Yun felt as if his entire body had been drained of its energy. Wiping the sweat on his forehead as Lin Yun looked at the sword that had pierced the stone.
That was Wind Assembling!
“So this is what it means to assemble the wind and unleash its power…” Lin Yun reflected. He had executed this move without pulling his sword out of the scabbard. If he had, the power would definitely be on a whole new different level. However, executing this move was impractically difficult. If he was in a battle with an enemy, his enemy would definitely not wait for him to accumulate his strength. He needed more practice. Some day he would be able to use this move at will, but only then would it see battle.
“Unfortunately, this is probably as far as I can go on my own. If I want to take the next step, I will have to visit the sect’s Mechanism Hall and battle puppets or leave the sect to find something to fight. I’ll need the experience if I want to improve my swordsmanship,” Lin Yun gently muttered. He was displeased that he had yet to obtain lesser mastery in the sword technique.
After a brief moment, Lin Yun made up his mind. He would find something to fight! The Mechanism Hall was effective, but it required money. Money he didn’t have. By going out, he would be able to train himself hunting beasts, which could then be sold for both money and pellets. After all, he needed pellets to increase his efficiency in Pure Yang Art. Without them, his cultivation would begin to stagnate. Even if he made a vast improvement in his sword technique, it was nothing without the cultivation to back it up.
Cloud Horizon Mountain resided behind the Azure Sky Sect. It was part of a vast mountain range that spread through numerous nations. Even the Aquasky Nation only occupied a small portion of it. However, this small portion was enough to cover a third of the Aquasky Nation’s land. The Aquasky Nation had three other great factions aside from the Azure Sky Sect, namely the Mad Blade Sect, Profound Sun Sect, and the Violet Ember Sect. A commonality between the four sects was that many of their disciples liked to adventure up Cloud Horizon Mountain. In the past, Lin Yun had been prohibited from doing so because of his status as a sword slave. Hence, he did not have many opportunities to train himself. However, he no longer had such concerns.
After putting a few things together, he left his wooden shack. Cloud Horizon Mountain wasn’t far from the Azure Sky Sect, located only an hour's journey behind the sect.
Many ferocious beasts reside on Cloud Horizon Mountain, and demonic beasts could be found if one dared venture too far. Compared to wild beasts, demonic beasts were mutated from absorbing spiritual energy, demonizing little by little. They were a terrifying sight to behold. Even the weakest one was comparable in strength to someone on the fifth stage of the Martial Path. If Lin Yun encountered a demonic beast in his current state, he would make it out alive. But he had no intention of trying his luck with the demonic beasts, so he traveled carefully as he hunted for more suitable prey. A beast’s fur, claws, and meat were all worth some money and, compared to how much he currently had, they would be a considerable source of income for Lin Yun. However, for some reason, he only encountered them in groups. Being alone, he was forced to give up on them.
Splash! Splash! Splash!
The sound led Lin Yun to a stream that fed into a lake. The noise was coming from the water as it crashed against the rocks.
“Convergent streams, flowing wind… The Flowing Wind Sword, like water and the wind!” Lin Yun’s eyes lit up as it dawned on him.
Could it be that the Flowing Wind Sword did not mean the flowing of wind, but wind like the flowing water?
No wonder no one succeeded in the Flowing Wind Sword. Perhaps this was the problem!
Closing his eyes, Lin Yun began concentrating on the image of the Flowing Wind Sword in his mind. A moment later, he drew his sword and leapt down into the water.
When he jumped into the stream, he was carried away by the torrent, soaking his body to its core. When Lin Yun made it back to shore, he got back on his feet quickly, completely unphased. Wiping the water off his face, he jumped in once more, repeating the cycle unafraid.
He lost track of how many times he failed. A hundred times? Maybe a thousand? His body was covered in bruises from the repeated impact of the current, but he had long since gone numb.
“I got it!”
His perseverance paid off as Lin Yun finally managed to gain a footing on a rock. No matter how torrential the current was, it could not drag him away. Overcome with joy, Lin Yun couldn’t help but smile as he started executing the Flowing Wind Sword.
“Convergent streams, flowing wind…”
Within the raging torrent, Lin Yun’s sword danced as he focused his senses on the wisps of wind created by the current. When he sprung from the water, his swordplay became one with the wind and stream.
Whoosh! Swish! Swish!
Lin Yun brandished his sword along with the flow as he leapt from rock to rock, losing himself in his cultivation of the Flowing Wind Sword. He was like the wind as he merged with the torrent, following the current to the stream’s mouth. The moment he was about to fall into the lake, the sword in his hand started rotating violently. Just as he was about to touch the lake, he roared and lunged his sword forward.
The momentum from the sword pulled him upwards, soaring like a bird just above the surface of the lake. Wherever the sword went, the lake beneath him was split in two. The lake was nearly a hundred meters across, but he had travelled across it with ease.
As Lin Yun looked back, he saw the walls of water the sword had created converge in a torrential spray before settling back into the lake. Traveling a hundred meters with the sword... he had finally achieved a lesser mastery in the Flowing Wind Sword!
“The Flowing Wind Sword seems to be stronger than the records show… It looks like the Azure Sky Sect’s Flowing Wind Sword might not be complete. At the very least, there are still some parts missing,” Lin Yun whispered to himself. For him to comprehend the Flowing Wind Sword today, the time he spent here had not been wasted.
“Roar!” Three howling roars echoed across the lake, snapping Lin Yun from his moment of bliss. When he turned his head to the source, he locked eyes with three brown Iron Clawed Wolves. They seemed to be searching for prey and had been drawn by the commotion.
The Iron Clawed Wolves were formidable beasts, with claws tougher and sharper than steel. They could easily tear out organs with nothing more than a gentle swipe. They also always traveled in packs, so Lin Yun had done his best to avoid them up until now.
But that was before Lin Yun had achieved a lesser mastery in the Flowing Wind Sword. Now he had a new technique he was eager to try. His smile faded and his brow sank, Lin Yun did not dare be careless. Clenching his sword, his body trembled slightly, not from the fear, but excitement.
The three Iron Clawed Wolves were cautious. They could sense something was unusual about their prey. They leered at Lin Yun as they howled, unleashing their bloodlust. An ordinary man would lose himself in the face of such unfettered savagery.
No one moved. To the untrained eye it appeared as if both parties had reached a stalemate, but in actuality they were sounding each other out. Lin Yun knew he only had one chance. If he failed to get rid of the three wolves in a single strike, he would be ripped to shreds. He needed to bide his time and wait for an opening. Sweeping his gaze, he could see one of the wolves was growing impatient.
Taking a step forward, he made his move! The moment they saw his muscles tense the three Iron Clawed Wolves lunged at Lin Yun in perfect unison. Remaining calm, Lin Yun burst forth like a torrent, wind following along with his sword. In the next instance, a spray of blood washed over the surrounding grass.
Lin Yun stumbled as he regained his footing. Three deep claw marks had been left on his left arm. There was a series thump behind him as the three Iron Clawed Wolves dropped to the ground. Turning his head, he saw the three wolves were bleeding profusely from the underside of their necks. They had already taken their last breaths. Walking over to the corpses, Lin Yun muttered, “I underestimated their speed. If I had been more accurate, I wouldn’t have been injured.”
Sheathing his sword, Lin Yun took out a dagger and started harvesting their claws. Their fur and meat weren’t worth the trouble it would take to bring them back, so he ultimately decided to leave them behind.
“Wind flowing like water. This proves I’m on the right path.”