Slowly, Chu Yang opened his eyes.
"Younger Martial Brother Chu, how was it!" Shi Qian Shan asked anxiously, as he had not noticed any increase in Chu Yang's martial powers raised.
For some unknown reason, those who achieved a jump in grades or ranks, even if just slightly, would usually tremble uncontrollably. However, with the refined energy provided by the Nine Tribulations Sword, Chu Yang had managed to increase his grade without any such reaction...
Chu Yang's had a calm face, but he was deep in thought. "This definitely will be helpful for hiding my true capabilities from others! If they think I'm only at the Third Grade, even though I'm actually at a much higher grade... ah, how surprised would they be!"
"It seems like there wasn't much effect... I'm still stuck at the Third Grade. Furthermore, the Elixir was too powerful, and I could not fully control the energy it gave me. Unfortunately, I wasted a lot of the Elixir's effects." Chu Yang suppressed his joy, instead of furrowing his brows and sighing. Concentrating all his efforts on hiding his emotions, Chu Yang said frustratedly, "Argh, it's such a waste. If I'd known that I was so useless, I'd have given it to you, Eldest Martial Brother..."
Shi Qian Shan's eyes widened in a mix of shock and anger, and his eyeballs looked like they were about to pop out of their sockets. He then laughed weakly, and his face briefly flushed, before turning a pale white. Finally, he stood up, and, with a peculiar facial expression, said, "I'm going for a walk."
Hurriedly, Shi Qian Shan shuffled out.
"It looked like Eldest Martial Brother was very uncomfortable..." Both of Tan Tan's misshapen eyebrows twitched endlessly. While looking at Shi Qian Shan's disappearing figure with a puzzled look, he said," Is anything wrong with him?"
"It seems like Eldest Martial Brother has been very tired recently," Chu Yang stroked his chin and said in a discerning manner. "He must have had a lot on his mind. Furthermore, judging from his facial expression, it's quite possible that he has a stomach cramp. Could it be that he's going through those few days which come every month..."
"Ohhh... Eldest Martial Brother is unduly worried. I mean, I guess it's because Teacher washes his hands of most affairs, and lets Eldest Martial Brother handle everything. No wonder that he's feeling tired." Tan Tan said with a deep conviction, as his large ears started shifting up and down. "It has definitely been a difficult time for him. Stomach cramps... I guess that's also possible. Hmm, but Chu Yang, those few days which come every month... what are you talking about? Why haven't I heard about such a problem with Eldest Martial Brother?"
Tan Tan asked inquisitively.
"Erm... I guess you'll know when you're old enough. Young children like us shouldn't listen in on others' conversations, especially if they are adult matters, okay?" Chu Yang tilted his head slightly as if he was lecturing Tan Tan.
Tan Tan's eyebrows continued shifting uneasily, clearly mirroring the puzzled state of his mind. He reluctantly muttered something under his breath and stopped speaking.
Chu Yang rolled his eyes. Suddenly, he had another idea!
He remembered that in his previous life, Shi Qian Shan had discovered a Golden Blood Ningpo Figwort Root nearby! He also recalled Shi Qian Shan mindlessly revealing that the plant was located on the perilous cliffs of the back mountains...
Although the Golden Blood Ningpo Figwort Root could not increase one's martial powers, it had the effect of broadening one's meridian channels! Moreover, after consuming a Golden Blood Ningpo Figwort Root which was at least fifty years old, the effects of the root would linger on the meridian channels long after the initial consumption. As such, if one had been below the rank of Martial Artist when they consumed the root, subsequently, whenever they gained a grade, their meridian channels would greatly broaden!
Regardless of which martial skill was being used, energy and strength would have to flow through the meridian channels. As such, someone with broader meridian channels would display stronger powers. Between two people of the same rank, nothing would give them an edge as large as wider meridian channels...
The Golden Blood Ningpo Figwort Root was the most useful for those who had yet to attain the rank of Martial Artist, as one's meridian channels were actually ingrained during that period of growth. Initially, the difference might seem unremarkable, but at the end, it could be the underlying reason behind all their lifetime accomplishments!
Previously, it was indeed because of the Golden Blood Ningpo Figwort Root that Shi Qian Shan was able to stand out from amongst all the Disciples of Beyond The Heavens Storey...
Chu Yang stroked his chin and thought, "I don't know if the Golden Blood Ningpo Figwort Root has been discovered by Shi Qian Shan yet. If he hasn't discovered it yet, ahhh, I guess I should go and gather it and see for myself its effectiveness...
It was still dark outside when Chu Yang silent made his way out of his bed. Looking across the room, he saw Tan Tan spread-eagled across his bed, snoring rhythmically and somewhat melodiously, almost like he was singing in his sleep. Chu Yang smiled in the dark, changed his clothes and quickly left.
To become someone who is outstanding, a person has to overcome the toughest challenges!
Chu Yang knew that he did not exactly possess a high aptitude for the martial arts. Moreover, he had not really practised hard when he was a youth in his previous life, causing the rift between him and his more talented or hard-working peers to widen. If he did not work twice as hard as others beginning from now, how would he achieve his goals which were at least twice as ambitious?
In no time, Chu Yang reached his destination, the peak of the rocky cliff beyond the Purple Bamboo Garden. There, he quietly stood, his feet planted firmly, and his body in perfect harmony with the environment. After a brief silence, he began moving!
The movements he was trying to practise were very basic but incredibly hard to master. It required him to plant his feet in the ground as firmly as the roots of a tall tree, straighten his legs, and relax his arms, ensuring that they did not move. Only his upper body would move.
He would then slowly tilt his head to the left, and then slowly bend his waist in the same direction, until he formed a right angle with his body. He would then go back to his original position and do the same thing, but towards the right. Once again, original position, and then forward, and then finally, back to the original position, and then backwards.
It was only four repetitive movements, which he continuously cycled through. However, he bent lower and lower after each repetition, and in about an hour, he was as flexible as a fully bent bow, his head already almost reaching the ground!
He was doing core exercises!
The abdomen was the most important body part in martial arts, and as such, Chu Yang was prioritising its training.
After completing his core exercises, Chu Yang moved on to his legs, ankles, thighs, elbows, wrists and shoulders. He bent and flailed around until it seemed like his movements were getting faster. He looked like a blade of grass thrashing about in the middle of a thunderstorm, switching rapidly between the various body movements...
After doing six full cycles of exercises, Chu Yang's entire body was hot and sweaty and beads of sweat continuously dripped from his hair, soaking his clothes.
However, without pause, he flipped over his palm, and the item resting on his palm glimmered in the cold moonlight. It was a cyan-coloured sword, made of steel.
Practising with the sword was best done only after exercising the critical muscles in the entire body. Otherwise, if Chu Yang were to rest, his muscles and bones would have become rigid and stiff again, which would have prevented him from practising quite a few positions with his sword.
All martial artists knew this, but only a few actually put this knowledge into practice. Those who did had high levels of perseverance and willpower and were able to sustain their drive over a long period of time.
Chu Yang was one of those few martial artists, as he knew the importance of these seemingly trivial exercises. If he neglected even a small detail or a tiny but critical muscle during his practice, then he would face the consequences when using difficult but potent techniques against his enemies in the martial society, in the future.
Initially, the exercises seemed to make only a slight difference, but these differences would stack up and become a critical advantage in life-or-death situations. And even if the advantage was slight, when it came to protecting his own life, Chu Yang would need all the advantage he could gather! Countless others had regretted not following the proper techniques of practice at their deathbeds, but it was totally useless to feel regret only at that point!
Chu Yang did not want himself to have such foolish regrets.
As such, he was always careful and paid close attention to his body when practising! Regardless of what martial technique he was practising, even if it was the most basic movement, Chu Yang would practise until he was sure that it was perfect.
Chu Yang thoroughly practised every sword, fist, leg and palm techniques he needed to, and before he knew it, a ray of sunlight began to protrude from the horizon.
Chu Yang strolled to the peak of the rocky cliff. There, facing the rising sun, he placed both his hands above his Dantian. He then sat down and began to breathe deeply, taking in the fresh mountain air and exhaling the stale air in his lungs!
It was a simple breathing exercise, but as he inhaled and exhaled, something rather odd began to happen. As he inhaled, a faint purple fog from the Heavens and Earth seemed to enter his mouth. Then, as he held his breath, his Dantian rotated a full circle, and the air slowly diffused into the five viscera and six bowels of his body. When at last nothing was moving, Chu Yang then forcefully exhaled!
As Chu Yang exhaled, a slight dull smog was faintly visible inside his mouth. After completely exhaling, he closed his mouth, and once again, his Dantian rotated a complete three hundred and sixty degrees...
Without stopping, he continued his breathing exercises...
Both this technique of breathing, and Chu Yang's practice techniques had been carved into the body of the Nine Tribulations Sword in Chu Yang's previous life. Performing them would help Chu Yang eliminate all impurities from his body, and absorb the natural true flames of the Sun!
He was laying the foundations to practise the Nine Tribulations Of The Nine Heavens Divine Technique in the future!