Chapter 2 - Third Stage of the Martial Path

While Lin Yun hesitated, Su Ziyao took her sword and left without a second glance. The boy followed shortly after, giving Lin Yun one last look of disgust as he left the room.

“Damn, he’s fortunate Senior Sister Su even still rewards him. There must be three Body Nourishing Pellets in that bottle, lucky bastard!”

“God only knows how many pellets Senior Sister Su has given that boy over the last two years. If I were in him, I would’ve easily reached the third stage of the Martial Path by now. What a waste.”

“Haha, don’t be jealous. Not being able to reach the third stage of the Martial Path despite having so many pellets, he’s probably vomited blood from the depression..”

“That’s right. Once a slave, always a slave. He’ll be a slave until the day that he dies.”

All the odd-job workers working in the yard of the Sword Cleaning Chamber started mocking Lin Yun out of jealousy.

As odd-job workers, they could stay in the Azure Sky Sect for two years. If they could not reach the third stage of the Martial Path within this period of time, they would be required to leave the sect. However, there was a way for them to stay, by becoming a slave.

In this world, there weren't many people as stubborn as Lin Yun. Becoming a slave willingly was unheard of, let alone betting his entire future on it. To the odd-job workers Lin Yun was beneath them, hence the mockery.

However, Lin Yun was unphased as he looked at the jade bottle thoroughly. He had lived for two lifetimes, he wasn’t about to let their jeers bother him.

“Hey, what’s wrong with you? You don’t want the reward from Senior Sister Su? In that case, I’ll take it!” The skinny man standing beside Lin Yun smirked as he bent down to grab the bottle.

Just as he touched the bottle, his hand was kicked away, sending the bottle upwards. In an instant, Lin Yun returned his leg to his side and caught the bottle as it rose into the air. The skinny man barely maintained his balance. 

When he stood back up, he roared as he pointed at Lin Yun, “You little bastard, how dare you? Do you know who I am!? Do you want to die?!”

His name was Zhou Ping, an outer disciple in the fourth stage of the Martial Path. Truthfully, he was not particularly gifted and had only been assigned as manager of the Sword Cleaning Chamber because his father happened to be an Outer Elder. While the Sword Cleaning Chamber wasn’t comparable to places like the Alchemy Chamber, Administration Hall, or Treasure Palace, it had an advantage in that it did not have any competitors.

Zhou Ping had been bullying Lin Yun for some time, always taking the reward Su Ziyao had given Lin Yun for himself.

“Forget it. I’ll not lower myself to your level. Old rules, hand over two of the three pellets in the bottle, and I’ll let you off the hook.” Zhou Ping said as he swept the dust off his body. Because Su Ziyao had given Lin Yun this reward personally, Zhou Ping did not want to take things too far. However, he couldn’t let Lin Yun get away with this insult.

In the past, Zhou Ping’s actions had irked him, especially since Lin Yun knew there was nothing he could do. But times had changed. He was no longer the Lin Yun of the past. He had already reached the third stage of the Martial Path, he had no one to fear. Looking at the jade bottle in his palm, Lin Yun tightened his grip and turned to walk out of the Sword Cleaning Chamber.

Seeing Lin Yun ignore him sent Zhou Ping into a rage, “Stop right there!”

There were too many odd-job workers around, Zhou Ping needed to save face. He could see Lin Yun had no intention of stopping as he continued to walk out of the Sword Cleaning Chamber.

“It’s your funeral!” 

Zhou Ping leaped into the sky with his palms spread apart. He was akin to a ferocious eagle, diving in Lin Yun’s direction. At the same time, his bones crackled, creating turbulence in the air around him. The blood within his body exploded with a thundering roar as his aura surged once more.

Being able to control the internal energy in his blood at will was the mark of someone in the fourth stage of the Martial Path. This technique belonged to the Eagle Palm Art, a technique above the Ferocious Tiger Fist. At a higher level, one could turn his palms into claws and rip a tiger in two.

“Haha, that brat’s in for it now. He must have a screw loose today to offend Senior Brother Zhou.”

“Senior Brother Zhou is in the fourth stage of the Martial Path. A single palm of his is nearly 500 kilograms, not to mention that he’s achieved a lesser mastery in the Eagle Palm Art. If his palm connects, Lin Yun will be bedridden for at least half a month.”

“Lin Yun must not have learned his lesson in obedience from last year. Back then, he lost his temper and had to be beaten into submission.”

The odd-job workers had stopped what they were doing and had begun to congregate in anticipation for what they thought was Lin Yun’s inevitable beating.

Lin Yun sensed the incoming gale and in an instant the Ferocious Tiger Fist flashed across his mind and he turned around sending out a jab of his own. Along with it, there was a vague image of a tiger behind Lin Yun, unleashing a wild howl. The whole sequence was a single fluid motion.

But when Lin Yun turned he saw Zhou Ping soaring through the air like an eagle in the sky. His eyes were frighteningly sharp. Lin Yun originally wanted to crackle his bones to increase his aura, but that split second of hesitation was enough to cause his aura to drop instead. He failed to unleash the might of the Ferocious Tiger Fist.

Boom!

Lin Yun’s fist connected with Zhou Ping’s palm in an explosion, forcing Lin Yun to take three steps back as he struggled to maintain control of his body.

“What’s going on? Lin Yun actually managed to block that?”

All the odd-job workers were shocked. They expected that Lin Yun would be lying face down after such a strike, but he had only taken three steps back.

Even Zhou Ping looked surprised as he spoke out in a solemn voice, “No wonder you’re so fearless. You’ve made some improvements.”

Lin Yun reflected on the previous exchange. Logically speaking, he should be able to block it completely. However, he had just reached the third stage of the Martial Path, and had yet to formally start cultivating internal energy, not to mention that he had no experience in fighting. Admittedly, he had been a little nervous.

Despite being forced to take three steps back, his confidence surged. Zhou Ping was nothing to fear.

“If you think you can dance in front of me with that strength, you’re naive!” Zhou Ping roared as he dove at Lin Yun once more, his arms spread like an eagle.

His aura was oppressive. Lin Yun was forced to take another step back. But Lin Yun was calm as he shifted backwards. The previous exchange assured him he had nothing to fear from Zhou Ping. Flaws in one’s form can leave you exposed, and Zhou Ping had many.

Things didn't go as Zhou Ping had expected. Except for the few palms in the beginning that caught Lin Yun by surprise, he had brushed Zhou Ping’s strikes aside with ease while sending out a few of his own.

What’s going on? Why is Lin Yun suddenly so strong? He doesn’t even seem to be trying..

Zhou Ping was shocked as he increased his speed. He had to take Lin Yun down swiftly, or he wouldn’t be able to throw his tyranny around in the Sword Cleaning Chamber anymore.

“There!”

Zhou Ping was distracted for only a moment, but Lin Yun was ready for him. His eyes narrowed and his bones crackled. At the same time, his aura surged violently. His bones roared incessantly as he executed the Ferocious Tiger Fist⁠ — Tiger Roaring in the Forest.

“Bone crackling... this brat made a breakthrough!” Zhou Ping could not hide his surprise. He never expected that a worthless sword slave would actually reach the third stage of the Martial Path.

However, Lin Yun did not care about his shock, instead taking advantage of Zhou Ping’s brief distraction.The sound of his jab connecting with Zhou Ping’s chest was like that of a great drum. The explosive force sent Zhou Ping flying away, kicking up dust as he landed on the ground, rolling. He groaned in pain as he clutched his newly broken ribs.

The odd-job workers stared in awed silence for what seemed like an eternity, before one regained his composure, “Third stage of the Martial Path... Lin Yun reached the third stage of the Martial Path!”

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