Chapter 11: This Is… a Friend? [Volume 1 – Between Daybreak and Evernight]
With a bang, the door to the room was kicked open yet again as Long Hai entered with furrowed brows. He asked coldly, “Who’s screaming?”
Chen Lei laboriously ran toward Long Hai like a terrified little beast.
Disgust momentarily appeared in Long Hai’s face as he whipped Chen Lei viciously.
“Trash!” he scolded before using his feet to turn Chen Lei’s body, which had fallen to the ground.
Chen Lei’s clothes had already been ripped, but his face was uninjured. Only the purplish black choke marks were abnormal.
Long Hai wasn’t interested at all. He simply asked loudly, “Who did it?”
Qianye stood up from his bed and calmly said, “Me.”
Long Hai narrowed his eyes, sizing Qianye before speaking. “Good, kid, you have guts! Men! Bring him out for ten lashes and hang him up until tomorrow!”
Qianye did not resist. He did not even show a hint of fear as he followed the guards out.
After a short while, the familiar sound of a whip striking flesh could be heard from the window. With every lash, the dark memories of the children surfaced, causing them to have uncomfortable expressions.
However, nothing accompanied the sounds of whipping coming from outside.
There wasn’t a scream nor a muffled cry. Not a sound could be heard. It was as if the guards were whipping a block of wood.
Even after Long Hai left, Chen Lei was still on the ground, incapable of standing. Long Hai’s whip was not at all light, and adding Chen Lei’s previous injuries, it would be impossible for him to recover in a month.
The gazes of the surrounding children were full of mockery and disdain. Everyone now knew that the weak, skinny Qianye was the truly vicious one. Chen Lei had wanted to assert himself, but he made a grave mistake in choosing the wrong victim.
“Go to sleep!” the strongest child in the class said wisely.
At the dawn of the next day, Qianye, who had been hung for the entire night, was taken down. He was so weak that he couldn’t even stand properly, but even so, he struggled to complete the morning run. After most of the children completed three rounds, he was still on his first. Yet he managed to complete his morning training by sacrificing his breakfast period.
When night came, Qianye had only managed to finish half of his daily training, and it was certain that his rank would fall. The entire class, however, seemed to have collectively forgotten that fact. Not a single child mentioned it.
That was because every child that received ten lashes would all stay in bed for the following few days. Every move they made would agitate their wounds, causing intense pain. None had acted like Qianye had.
As it was late, and every child was currently in their own bed.
Chen Lei, however, was kneeling in front of Qianye, hugging Qianye’s thigh as he cried for mercy.
Glancing at Chen Lei, Qianye pushed him away before slowly climbing into his own bed to sleep.
Every other child but Chen Lei was asleep. He sat on the ground, clenching and unclenching his fists, his face full of uncertainty.
Qianye had endured a whipping while Chen Lei had suffered internal wounds. Killing Qianye now would be easy, but he feared the punishment that would follow. Yet there was another fear deep in his heart, one he wasn’t willing to admit—the fear of losing to the current Qianye.
As expected, Qianye’s rank dropped by half that week. What was unexpected, however, was that as he was walking to his cultivating room one day, the child who was ranked number one in the class approached him and gave him a portion of Vermillion Countenance Blood.
“I have four portions of this, but I don’t need that much,” he had said.
As rank one, this child had received a lot of benefits.
Qianye looked at him with surprise. After thinking for a while, he unabashedly took it before extending his hand out as he spoke. “My name is Qianye.”
The boy smiled. “I’m Song Zining.”
Their hands touched as they got acquainted with the other once more, even though they had long ago known each other’s names.
That week, Song Zining gave Qianye a portion of Vermillion Countenance Blood every day until Qianye made it back to the upper half of the rankings, regaining his right to receive Vermillion Countenance Blood.
Other than that, Song Zining and Qianye did not interact much. They did not even speak more than a few sentences to each other.
Upon reaching the tenth month, Qianye finally completed his third cycle of origin tides and used his full power to attack the node barrier. Song Zining had already ignited his origin node two months ago.
Qianye noticed that the third cycle of origin tides had a strength that was an entire magnitude stronger than the first cycle. There was intense pain with every crash of the tides. In accordance with this development, the pain would rival that of getting whipped once he reached the tenth cycle. At that point, whether or not the children would be able to endure it was a mystery.
It was no wonder that so few cultivated higher levels of the Combatant Formula. Not only was it harmful to one’s body, the pain that it invoked was not something just anyone could withstand. However, to Qianye, there was another annoyance. Whenever the origin tides spread to his chest, his old wound would ache.
In the eleventh month, Qianye broke through the barrier!
The moment that the barrier was broken, his origin power entered his node like a flood. The node itself seemed to have powers of attraction, increasing the speed of the origin power that entered. It absorbed as if it were swallowing it.
After it reached the utmost limit, a light that resembled candlelight dancing in the wind appeared in the depths of the node. This was the sign of an ignited node.
The current Qianye had become a rank one Fighter. He was no longer a typical commoner.
Once the instructors confirmed that Qianye’s node was indeed ignited, he received another benefit in his assigned resources. It was a dark brown pill that was said to be useful for recovering from internal injuries, medicine that would help in the cultivation of the Combatant Formula.
In the next month, Qianye slowed down his cultivation speed as instructed. Instead, he controlled the movements of his origin tides to clean, nourish, and temper his first node, easing the synthesis of the two types of origin power in his body.
However, his origin power continued to steadily increase, and Qianye’s body was growing proportionate to that. Despite not having reached the age of ten, he was already capable of lifting fifty kilograms with one hand.
After Qianye, other children also ignited their nodes. By Zhang Jing’s one year deadline, there was a total sixty children who had lit their nodes, leaving only three who hadn’t. After the examination, Qianye never saw them again.
Just like that, a second year in the Yellow Springs Training Camp had quietly passed. In the third year, the size of Qianye’s class increased by one hundred children once more.
In the third year, Qianye became ten years old.
From this year onward, he began to attack the second origin node in his chest. This node was very important among the nine origin nodes, the other important one being the node in the forehead. Within many cultivation arts, this was called the Aura Sea, and it directly determined how far one would be able to cultivate their origin power in the future.
After nourishing the first node, Qianye calmly began to tackle the second.
The surging origin power slowly became a tide as it rushed toward the node in his chest. However, the moment it approached his wound, an intense pain washed over him!
This kind of pain had exceeded the limit of what humans could endure! Qianye fell to the ground with a cry, experiencing a seizure while blood spurted from his mouth. He fainted.
Hearing his shout, the guards immediately entered his cultivating room. After being shocked by the state he was in, they carried him away.
Some time later, Qianye lay naked in the classroom for Biological Structure. He was on the metal workbench on stage. There was no clinic of any sort in the Yellow Springs Training Camp.
Only Zhang Jing and Long Hai were present. Shadow was left outside the room to prevent others from entering.
Before the stage, Shen Tu moved very calmly, like how he did in his classes, using all kinds of equipment to open three small holes in Qianye’s scar.
The old man stopped moving after a while, then started to slowly pack up his equipment. He did not look at the unconscious Qianye, instead turning to Zhang Jing and Long Hai. “Having been his instructor for so long, you two must have noticed…”
Long Hai wore a strange expression.
Zhang Jing revealed a charming smile and spoke absentmindedly, “Isn’t it origin power theft?”
Long Hai’s face became ugly while the sides of Shen Tu’s mouth twitched. Even the smile on Zhang Jing’s face was unnatural.
At this moment, the door to the class opened as a person walked in with large strides. Behind that person was Shadow. “That’s correct. It is indeed origin power theft.”
The few people in the room turned around in surprise, only to be shocked even more when they saw who had entered.
A somewhat short, middle-aged man with a kind face had walked in. His face was square and looked very ordinary, a face that could easily be forgotten. This was Director Sun Ni of the Yellow Springs Training Camp. He wore an old, faded military uniform without a single badge indicating his rank.
Sun Ni walked to Qianye and reached out to touch his scar, light appearing in his hands. After a while, he sighed. “As expected! This child... what a pity.”
Zhang Jing noticed something. “This is the child Marshal Lin sent. Is there a problem?”
“What do all of you think?” Director Sun replied with a question.
Since Long Hai was the one that brought him here, he spoke first. “Although he was sent by Marshal Lin, the man did not leave any special instructions. He did not even ask us to preserve his life. I heard that he is an orphan Marshal Lin picked up on a whim. If there are any discrepancies regarding his past…”
Shen Tu’s hoarse voice went a tone deeper, carrying a dark feel. “The only ones capable of doing this kind of thing are those petty families, but why would they leave a survivor? It’s rather strange.”
Sun Ni laughed mysteriously before speaking slowly, “I know this. In fact, others also know this. Or, to state it more clearly, those who need to know… already know about it.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter