Chapter 4 - An Exception

Setting those thoughts aside, Lin Yun took out the painting that Senior Hong had given him. In the past, he had often seen Senior Hong looking at the painting carefully but had never been able to get a good look at it himself.

Embody the tiger, smell the rose?”

The words were written in a powerful, ancient dialect. When he unfurled the scroll, there released from within a ferocious howl as an astral tiger lept forth from the parchment.

WORAHHHHHH!

Lin Yun dropped the scroll in a panic, raising his arms to defend himself. His heart was in his throat as he struggled to regain his composure.

“I swear I was attacked by a tiger, but there’s nothing here…. What’s going on?!”

His eyes flashed back to the scroll laying in the dirt. His body resisted but he knew he must retrieve it. With a second look, Lin Yun could now see the painting was of a pouncing tiger. The simple act of viewing the painting brought an intense pressure crashing down on him. Time stood still as the tiger came alive once again.

Is this actually just painting?!

The beast’s ferocious visage left Lin Yun unable to breathe. He quickly bound the scroll as he no longer dared to look at it. He grasped his hands in an attempt to stop them from shaking. It was terrifying, and now he finally knew why Senior Hong was so careful.

The overbearing pressure the painting exuded and the king of beasts’ murderous intent were nothing like anything Lin Yun had ever experienced. This painting was undoubtedly a treasure. But how was he supposed to use something he could barely stand to hold?

“Wait…” Lin Yun’s eyes lit up as he recalled Senior Hong’s words. 

“If I remember correctly, you’re trained in the Ferocious Tiger Fist… Regardless of anything, this painting might be useful to you.”

Suddenly, he realized Senior Hong had not meant for him to solve how this mysterious painting worked, but rather for Lin Yun to use it to bring his Ferocious Tiger First to the next level!

The mastery of all techniques is separated into four different realms: initial, lesser, greater, and complete. The Ferocious Tiger Fist was the foundation of all foundation techniques. You needed minimal comprehension to achieve initial mystery and, if you worked hard enough, one could quite easily reach lesser mastery.

Reaching greater mastery was a different story, though. If you didn’t have enough comprehension, it was futile no matter how much time you put in. 

As for complete mastery, that was simply a dream. Any foundation technique could be made lethal if you were to reach a complete mastery in it. Complete mastery was so powerful that you might even be able to break through the initial gate of the technique itself and achieve greater lethality.

It had taken Lin Yun two years to achieve lesser mastery. This meant he could only unleash 30% of the Ferocious Tiger Fists’ full might, and it was complete luck that he had defeated Zhou Ping.

Zhou Ping was mostly to blame for his loss. If he had taken the fight seriously, there was not much Lin Yun could have done in his current state. The fact that Lin Yun had reached the third stage of the Martial Path had caught Zhou Ping off guard. He had underestimated Lin Yun, and his carelessness was his undoing. Lin Yun was in no condition to join the outer sect. At least, not as he was now.

I should stabilize my current cultivation and attain a greater mastery of the Ferocious Tiger Fist before I move on.

Lin Yun had always been a cautious man. He much preferred careful planning, preventing as many mistakes as possible along the way. This world belonged to those who had the strength to take it. Being rash could easily result in his death.

Satisfied with his decision, Lin Yun immediately got to work. 

Suppressing the fear in his heart, Lin Yun unrolled the scroll once more. As he did, the now familiar pressure came down on him once more. It took everything he had to keep his gaze locked on the tiger. He managed only two seconds before he was forced to wind the scroll.

Closing his eyes, Lin Yun allowed the ferocious tiger in the painting to linger in his mind. His eyes sparked with electricity as he began performing the Ferocious Tiger Fist in the center of his home. With each action his fists left behind gales that flowed as smooth as a gentle river. The tiger’s image dancing across his mind slowly began to dissolve as he performed the Ferocious Tiger Fist.

By the time he completed the first round, an intense sense of peace enveloped his entire being. Thoughts started gushing out of his mind in a flash of synthesis, all related to the Ferocious Tiger Fist. He had never experienced anything quite like this. 

Senior Hong was right!

Lin Yun could barely contain himself as he unfurled the scroll once more.

One second... two seconds… three seconds… four seconds!

This time, he managed to look at the scroll for four seconds, twice as long as before! The tiger in the painting began taking shape in his heart. 

In his small, wooden hut, Lin Yun felt as if he had opened a window to his soul as he practiced the Ferocious Tiger Fist, again and again, the foundation technique that everyone else took for granted. Sweat cascaded down his body as Lin Yun persisted despite the exhaustion tormenting his every muscle. But no matter how many times he viewed the scroll, the fear never faded. Each time, it was as if experiencing a new trauma. But he persevered.

Ferocious Tiger Descending the Mountains!

Repeating this sequence ten times, Lin Yun roared as he executed the second offensive move of the Ferocious Tiger Fist. In this moment, he felt as though he had transformed into the tiger from the painting, leaping from the ground, nearly coming in contact with the roof of the wooden shack.

Upon landing, his bones crackled with a resounding roar. Four torrents of wind blew forth, ravaging the house’s interior.

Tiger Roaring in the Forest, Ferocious Tiger Descending the Mountains and Hundred Beast Wave.

These three forms could be used for attacking while the previous fifteen forms were meant to strengthen the body. Now that he had conquered the first two offensive moves, all that remained was the Hundred Beast Wave.

Lin Yun’s eyes shimmered. The scroll was truly a treasure. In half a day he had cultivated what previously would have taken him half a year.

“With the help of this scroll, I will reach greater mastery in no time!”


Three days later, as the sun rose on the horizon, an intense gale emanated from Lin Yun’s silhouette as he let loose punch after punch. He was still the sword slave, Lin Yun, having yet to become an official disciple in the outer sect.

Planting his feet firmly into the earth, Lin Yun’s eyes glowed intensely as he brought his onslaught to a halt. He focused his attention on the flowing current within his body, this was the internal energy that anyone can obtain after achieving the third stage of the Martial Path. He would only be able to obtain the technique to cultivate internal energy after becoming an outer disciple. Only then would he truly be considered a true martial practitioner.

Despite not receiving any formal training, his punches already contained both intent and internal energy. In an instant, Lin Yun’s eyes shot open, burning with an intensity from deep within his soul. It felt as if they were on fire.

“Tiger Roaring in the Forest!”

BOOM!

His bone crackled like the howl of a wild tiger as he threw a jab forth. An explosion rang out in the air before him as a violent gale tore through his surroundings.

“Ferocious Tiger Descending the Mountains!”

Taking advantage of the momentum, Lin Yun launched himself high into the air, transforming into a wild tiger before landing with an explosive force. Cracks spread out from where his fist connected with the ground, a sign he had achieved greater mastery in the Ferocious Tiger Fist!

Lin Yun had barely broken a sweat. Compared to how drenched he was after his first execution of the move, this was a drastic improvement. In just three days, he had achieved greater mastery in the Ferocious Tiger Fist all while stabilizing his cultivation in the third stage of the Martial Path.

Phew!

Lin Yun pulled his fist back and stood upright. Under the sunlight, Lin Yun’s soft face was full of vigor as he gently exhaled. His gaze softened as he spoke, “Now that I have stabilized my cultivation and achieved greater mastery of the Ferocious Tiger Fist, I feel much more confident.”

Lin Yun returned to his house to take a bath. His mind drifted when he saw the slave marking on his forehead in his reflection. It was simply too striking. Even if it didn’t bother him, people would notice.

Lin Yun retrieved a strip of cloth as he prepared to leave, pulling it taught around his head as he crossed the threshold.

Half an incense’s time later, Lin Yun arrived at the Administration Hall. This was where the sect distributed techniques and weapons. By the time Lin Yun arrived, there were already many disciples gathered.

Lin Yun spoke as he took out his identity plaque and handed it to the administrator, “Sir, my name is Lin Yun. I have reached the third stage of the Martial Path and would like to apply to become an outer disciple.”

The administrator was an old man from the Yang family. While there was nothing striking about his appearance, his cultivation was in the sixth stage of the Martial Path. Standing before him, Lin Yun could feel an immense pressure.

“Sword Slave Lin Yun?” the administrator asked, raising an eyebrow. He did not bother verifying Lin Yun’s identity and smiled, “I’ve heard of you. You have quite the talent when it comes to sword maintenance.”

The old man’s voice wasn’t particularly loud, but it still garnered attention from those nearby.

“Sword Slave Lin Yun!”

“Oh, hey! He’s fixed my sword before! He managed to reach the third stage of the Martial Path? Impressive!”

“Don’t get too excited. You’re forgetting how many pellets Senior Sister Su gave him. You’d have to be an idiot to take this long with those kinds of resources.”

The murmur in the Administration Hall turned into an uproar the moment the administrator mentioned Lin Yun’s name. Despite their jeers, Lin Yun continued unphased, “Senior, you’re being too courteous. May I become an outer disciple?”

“According to the rules established long ago, anyone who reaches the third stage of the Martial Path, regardless of their status, can become an outer disciple. So normally, yes…. But you’re the exception!”

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Thyaeria's Thoughts

Thyaeria: I think everyone knows by now, but here's an explanation if you don't. Sword Slave is practically a slave, but since this is a sect that uses swords. Furthermore, Lin Yun has been maintaining swords for others in the sect as a slave, so I guess that's also where Sword Slave comes from?