Chapter 8: The Soul Apprentice Stage! Training and Research
The morning rays of the sun caressed at Bai Yunfei’s face, causing him to wake up with a gentle start.
From the moment he sat up from his bed, Bai Yunfei felt as if his head was about to split open from the headache he had. Even words wouldn’t be enough to describe the pain. Having never once tasted wine before, the fact that Bai Yunfei was able to return to his bed to sleep on was startling enough.
It was only after a while that Bai Yunfei felt himself sobering up a bit. Massaging his temple, he murmured to himself, “How did I get back home? I remember...drinking a jug of wine, but after that….nothing….is this what being drunk feels like? How painful, how do I make it go away?”
Whilst Bai Yunfei was in the middle of thinking of a way to make the pain in his head go away, a peculiar burst of energy came exploding out from his body and enveloped his entire body in a comforting feel as if he was placed inside a bath of warm water. The feeling had been so pleasant that Bai Yunfei nearly found himself moaning out in comfort.
When he regained his composure, the previous feeling of pain in his head was gone without a trace, leaving him even more vigorous than before.
“This….” Bai Yunfei shook his head in disbelief. A mysterious feeling began to appear in his mind—a mysterious something that felt as if it existed inside both his body and even in the depths of his soul….
“Could this be…” Suddenly thinking of something, Bai Yunfei brought his right hand in front of his face and looked at the space ring on his finger. Trying his best, Bai Yunfei thought hard to ‘control’ this mysterious existence in him.
Soon enough, he came to realize that this strange power was being controlled by his very thoughts; and with these thoughts, the energy flowed from through his arm and into the ring. A moment later, Bai Yunfei felt himself in front of an interdimensional plot of space!
The space was about five meters in length and width, and there were three scrolls and a spear that ‘floated’ in this area. Since only these four items were held in this space, the area looked quite spacious.
“Yes...this is it! This strange power is soulforce!”
He wanted to take the spear out from this space first, but a strange outside force was wrapped around the spear, preventing him from doing so. The same had happened when he tried taking one of the scrolls; he was unable to do so. But when he stretched his hand out to try another, his hand immediately felt heavier when a gray scroll suddenly appeared in it. But yet the third scroll remained untouched like the first one.
Looking at this newly acquired scroll, Bai Yunfei could see that it was as long as his palm and as large as two of his fingers touched together in diameter. The scroll itself was made from some sort of unknown material that resembled cloth, but also like the skin of an unknown animal. It had no opening, making unfolding an impossible method of trying to open it. On the outside face of the scroll, a multitude of abstruse and complex symbols strung together like an unknown language was written on it.
“I can’t open it. Then, should I use soulforce?”
This time, Bai Yunfei was able to swiftly and smoothly control a sliver of soulforce from his body and into the scroll. A string of information was immediately rushed into his head, causing him to feel slightly confused from the sudden torrent of knowledge. One by one, information continued to flow into his mindspace, prompting him to close his eyes and recollect himself so that he could receive the information.
“The Arte of Training the Soul. The most basics of ways to train the soul. With this, cultivating and recovering the soul can be learned. The soul and body are inextricably linked to one another, as the soul controls the body and the body cultivates the soul. The soul is hidden within the body, and only a soul cultivator is capable of feeling and controlling the soulforce….”
“There are three initial stages to being a soul cultivator; a Soul Apprentice, Soul Personage, and Soul Warrior. These three stages are known to be the stages where one learns to manipulate the body. In the Soul Apprentice stage, one learns to manipulate skin and flesh. In the Soul Personage stage, one learns to manipulate blood and bone. And in the Soul Warrior stage, one learns to manipulate the acupoints.”
“Soul Apprentice chapter….”
After a long period of time, Bai Yunfei finally reopened his eyes, “Only in the Soul Apprentice stage does someone learn to manipulate their skin and flesh, but I can feel that there’s still something more in this scroll. There has to be something about the Soul Personage and Soul Warrior stages and how they manipulate their bodies. Is it because I’m only just an early-stage Soul Apprentice that I can’t read ahead to the later methods?”
Stepping down from the bed, Bai Yunfei walked up to the pile of bricks he stacked earlier. There were five or six of them left still. Thinking carefully, Bai Yunfei clenched his right hand into a fist and concentrated heavily on it. Gradually, the skin and flesh of his right arm began to squirm slightly and expand outwards. Bulging and growing, the muscles started to rise up before his entire arm looked quite bigger and more powerful than before.
With a grunt, he slammed his fist down onto the bricks.
“Boom!” A loud but clear explosion resonated through the room with such clamor that the entire room shook a bit.
“Hey, you there! What are you doing in my room?! I’ll warn you now, if you damage my rooms, I’ll go after you with all I’ve got! I—” A furious roar rang out from outside the room before the door was slammed open to reveal a bearded man barging in.
As soon as he slammed open the door and peeked into it with just half of his body in the room, the man could see that Bai Yunfei was standing right in front of a pile of broken brick fragments. His right arm was bulging ever-so-much, and even then, a layer of red brick dust was noticeably covering his fist….
“Yo—uh, contin—continue whatever you’re—uh, doing. I’ll be on my way now….” Stammering, the man carefully retreated out from his room and closed the door.
Even with the interruption of the man, Bai Yunfei was so immersed in his thoughts that he didn’t even take notice of him.
“The very first step to manipulation of the skin and flesh is already really strong if it can improve my strength by that much….”
Looking at the pile of broken bricks in front of him, Bai Yunfei began to feel at the soulforce in him again. It was faint, but still, it was there. His heart skipped a beat, “Soul cultivators….I’ve finally become one! The promised day of revenge, I’ve gotten one step closer to it….”
Tidying up the room, Bai Yunfei had a simple meal to fill his stomach and returned to sit on his bed. Carefully looking at the space ring, he stored the remaining brick, daggers, and other items he had into it.
Bai Yunfei had a deep fondness for this tiny little thing; it was really far too convenient.
On top of his bed, Bai Yunfei held the space ring and thought to himself, “Upgrade.”
|Equipment Grade: High|
Upgrade Level: +6
Additional Attribute: +19 Strength
Upgrade Requirement: 12 Soulpoints
“This is it! Soulpoints are the same as soulforce!” When he upgraded the item again, Bai Yunfei could feel that same feeling of energy being drained out from his body again. He didn’t know what it was before, but now, he could clearly feel that it was soulforce!
Without stopping, Bai Yunfei began to upgrade the items several more times (with one failure).
|Equipment Grade: High|
Upgrade Level: +8
Additional Attribute: +33 Strength
Upgrade Requirement: 16 Soulpoints
Since he didn’t know whether or not a high-grade space ring could be destroyed after reaching +8 like a normal dagger, Bai Yunfei didn’t want to venture the risk; in the case that it were to be destroyed, he’d have nowhere to cry to.
Taking careful notice of his soulforce, Bai Yunfei could feel that it was quite weaker than before. Taking out a dagger, he upgraded it to +8. Now, it felt as if he had used half of his overall soulforce.
Ceasing his upgrading, Bai Yunfei thought back to what was written in ‘The Arte of Training the Soul’, and began to concentrate to circulate his soulforce around the special passageways in his body and slowly make up for what had been used already.
When he felt his soulforce was fully recovered, Bai Yunfei continued to do as he was so that he could increase the amount of soulforce he had.
It was only when the moon was starting to rise that Bai Yunfei slowly reopened his eyes.
“Soulpoints are soulforce. It can be recovered and increased through the act of training…” Bai Yunfei shook the space ring on his hand so that several daggers appeared in them. “Then that means the amount of soulforce I have can be calculated by seeing how many soulpoints, what an intuitive conversion. Then, let’s see….”
A moment later...
“Damn it! Failed again! I didn’t think it’d be so hard to get a +10 item!” Bai Yunfei shook his head, “I’ve already reached my limit. If I count the last upgrade, I’ve about 219 soulpoints left….”
When Bai Yunfei woke up the next day, the very first thing he checked for was for the state of his soulforce.
“My soulforce, it really did increase!” Although he had his guesses, Bai Yunfei’s guesses were now confirmed to be true. This feat alone was enough to make Bai Yunfei’s entire body to tremble.
After using the Upgrade Technique, the usage of soulforce (also called soulpoints) allowed for the soulforce to grow in capacity. What….what would this mean, exactly?
This meant that in addition to training his soulforce like how the other soul cultivators did, Bai Yunfei could use the Upgrade Technique to grow stronger! If anything, this method could be said to be a shortcut! A shortcut only he could use!
Managing to calm his excitement down with some difficulty, Bai Yunfei began to summarize the results of his study on the numerical value of soulpoints. “With the last upgrade, all of my soulforce was used up, meaning I had 219 soulpoints. I can remember….that when I first used the Upgrade Technique, I exhausted all of my soulforce. At that time, it was about….60 soulpoints or so, 70 soulpoints at most. My body was pretty weak along with my soulforce, so a strong commoner person should have 100 soulpoints maybe.”
“The Upgrade Technique, The Arte of Training the Soul, and manipulating the skin and flesh as a Soul Apprentice….there’s a lot that I still don’t know about….”
For ten straight days, aside from doing the most fundamental things to life such as eating, sleeping, or buying several items, Bai Yunfei would spend the rest of his time inside his room training and studying. With each experiment and careful study, he managed to earn an ample amount of information and experience.
The very first discovery was about soulforce. Each night when he used up all of his soulforce, it’d grow by ten points or so when he woke up the next day after. By now, Bai Yunfei’s soulforce was about 300 or so. Based on his number crunching, he was a middle-stage Soul Apprentice!
In just ten days, Bai Yunfei had reached the middle-stage Soul Apprentice stage. If any other soul cultivator were to learn about this progression rate, they’d feel so inferior that they’d slam their heads against the wall!
As his soulforce became more powerful, so did his manipulation of his skin and flesh. Since his soulforce was growing rapidly, Bai Yunfei paid very close attention to his studies on the manipulation of his skin and flesh. If he couldn’t keep up with his understanding of bodily manipulation, it would not bode well for his future.
Right now when he tried to strengthen his skin and flesh with his soulforce, his entire body grew stronger. Whether it was his punches, his speed, how high he could jump, or even how strong his defenses were, they were at least ten times better than what they used to be as a simple commoner. It was already at the very limits of what the ordinary commoner could do or even achieve with their bodies.
And then there was the Upgrade Technique. After many trials and experimentations, Bai Yunfei was able to earn some meager level of understanding with it.
Apparently, anything could be upgraded. But the type of item that was being upgraded would differ in results after being upgraded.
Offense-type objects like blades, swords, spears, staffs, and stones, they all had the potential to inflict damage. The numerical value of how much damage they could inflict was dependent on the power of the object in question, but it could be upgraded in damage afterwards.
Defense-type objects like clothes, shoes, and hats. They all had the potential to gain defense. But the most common of clothes, whether they were made from coarse cloth or from brocaded silk, the defenses of the two would give a pitiful one or two points in it. Upgrading those would give almost no change in defense.
Then there were accessories such as rings and necklaces. Bai Yunfei bought a few of them to experiment on, and after they were upgraded, each accessory would gain a random attribute. There were four different attributes to his knowledge: strength, endurance, agility, and spirit. The first three were easy to understand, and the chances of any of the three from appearing was rather high. But the chances of ‘spirit’ was not as high. Only ‘spirit’ was capable of increasing soulforce!
Bai Yunfei had upgraded many accessories, but only one of them had been capable of increasing spirit, but even that one was destroyed in the end.
But according to what Bai Yunfei could tell, aside from the ‘high-grade’ space ring on his finger, everything else had been ‘normal’ items, even when upgraded to +8. The vast majority of them gained only a few attribute points—practically nothing—and even after he tried upgrading them again, none of them reached the +10 point before exploding.
On the tenth day, Bai Yunfei finally stopped his ‘closed-door training’ session and walked out on the streets.
There was a reason for that—he had run out of money….