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The Merchant Union, Tianyun city. In the Stone Room of the Shi family.
Yang Hai, who was a little stout, was sitting on a stone stool with a serious face. Eyes narrowed, he was checking an account book, page by page, and reporting the recent month’s production status of the quarry to the family head of Shi family, Shi Jian.
Though Shi Jian was in his seventies, he looked in good health. Being the family head of Shi family, he was simply wearing a plain gown which was suited to martial training. Sitting on a brown stone stool, he had a calm demeanor and was listening to Yang Hai earnestly.
After Yang Hai ill.u.s.trated the case, Shi Jian frowned and commented, "Hai, the production in recent months has literally decreased by 20 percent. What's up?"
"It's all because of the Mo and Ling families." Yang Hai sighed, "Many skilled pitmen were lured away by their high salary. We are now lacking in pitmen. We were in bad situation due to the secret fight with the two families. Those pitmen feared that we would be beaten by them, plus they were being offered a higher salary, so the pitmen turned to them."
"Humph!" Shi Jian sniffed. "They are doing that deliberately. Since Mo Yanyu and Ling Shao Feng got engaged, the Mo family and Ling families have gotten closer and closer. The Ling family has also been interfering in our secret fight with Mo family. They must have come to an agreement, or Mo family couldn't compete with us."
"Master, when do we strike back?" Yang Hai asked.
"No worries. I have a plan." Shi Jian looked a.s.sured, then he paused and frowned, "Is my little b.a.s.t.a.r.d grandson Shi Yan still is not back home?"
"No. I was just about to mention that." Yang Hai looked disturbed, "That stupid boy said he would go to the Dark Forest before he left. It's been a year since he left home. I received information a couple of days ago that Mo Chaoge and Mo Yanyu were in the Dark Forest as well. I'm afraid he has had an accident. He didn't take any capable escorts with him. His mother Qing died early, and we have this single child. I am so worried..."
Shi Jian frowned and kept silent for a long while. Then he sighed, "This boy was born without inheriting the Petrifaction Martial Spirit of the Shi family, and nor was he fascinated by Martial Arts. Instead, he was crazy about those odd things, and would always goof around. Troublesome!"
"Master, it's all because of my humble bloodline. If I had a Martial Spirit, Qing would have given birth to a kid with a Martial Spirit." Yang Hai was ashamed.
"It's all doomed." Shi Jian shook his head, "Hai, I found you by the Endless Sea. Though you are not my own, I treat you as my own son, or, I wouldn't have betrothed my daughter Qing to you. Yes, you don't own a Martial Spirit, nor did you train in Martial Arts, but you play a key role in the development of Shi family and the management of our quarries. We wouldn't have acc.u.mulated so much wealth if it hadn't been for you. Though you don't know about Martial Arts, you contribute a lot to the family."
"But nowadays, a strong warrior is much more valuable than anything." Yang Hai smiled and mocked himself, "If I had a Martial Spirit, I would have trained in Martial Arts. And if Yan had inherited the Petrifaction Martial Spirit from his mother, he too would have trained in it. But a Martial Spirit is inborn..."
Shi Jian nodded, and sighed, "Yes. It's true. A strong warrior is more valuable than anything."
"Family Head, could that little boy be in danger?" Yang Hai couldn't help but worry.
“He shouldn't be." Shi Jian thought for a while, and added, "My grandson isn't into Martial Arts, so the Mo family have never set their eyes upon him. Neither Mo Chaoge nor Mo Yanyu have seen him before. So it's not possible that they would harm him."
"But I still feel something's wrong. He should have been home."
"Well, I will tell those soldiers in Silent Town to keep an eye for him. Silent Town was beside the Dark Forest. Once they spot Shi Yan, they will let us know. So don't worry."
"Thank you, Family Head."
"Why? Your son is also my grandson!" Shi Jian glared at him and berated, "How many times have I told you? Don't call me Family Head. I'm your adoptive father, and also your father-in-law. You can call me anything but Family Head."
“I got it, Father."
The Dark Forest. A silent night.
Luo Hao was standing still on the side of the track, with a quintuple gravitational field surrounding him; it was getting very hard to breath.
Shi Yan was perspiring from all over his body, as he pounded in the air and jumped around Luo Hao. Blue veins showed up on his face and neck, quivering like little snakes.
In the gra.s.s, Mu Yu Die was gazing at them secretly, biting a straw in her mouth.
"Guess how long could he endure today?" Di Yalan asked as she walked up and sat beside her
"You finished your task today?" Mu Yu Die chuckled, without replying her.
"Zhao Xin took over. It was really dangerous! A single horned silver snake was twining around the tree trunk, and I didn't notice it. I was almost bitten by it! If I hadn’t moved quick enough, I would be dead right now."
Di Yalan still looked terrified. She cursed, "More and more demon beasts are appearing these days. We have to be careful. We have met five groups of demon beasts in the past three days. They walk around especially at night. You'd better take me with you next time you want to peep. Or you will be in danger."
"You just wanted to say the last thing right?" Mu Yu Die giggled.
"Ha, you found it out." Di Yalan didn't disguise herself and said, "That guy is really something. He broke his limit every day in the past three days, and got more and more stamina. Though I’m at the Third Sky of the Nascent Realm, I don’t dare break the rules in the quintuple gravitational field of Uncle Luo. This guy is literally insane. Every time, he won’t stop until he faints. Nuts! Nuts!"
“His endurance is most shocking." Mu Yu Die shook her head slowly, as her eyes glimmered.
“Yes, and he recovered in such a short time. Unbelievable! He is only at the First Sky of the Nascent Realm, but he has incredible recovering ability.” Di Yalan was confused too.
"This guy… has so many secrets..." Mu Yu Die thought for a while and murmured, “I have never seen anyone greedier than him! He almost ate up all our food in the past three days. I’m now worried about food. He is such a rice bucket*!”
(*ED Note: A ‘rice bucket’ is a slang term for a useless person. Someone who is only good for eating rice.)
Di Yalan laughed, “But he talks in a funny way! Any of his casual talks could amuse us a lot. And he has so many novel ideas that I have never heard of. He says that kings must be voted in by citizens, and merchants dominate a country. By the way, he even composes sarcastic poems. I’m really confused, how could this 17 year old boy be filled with so many odd things.”
“And it is this 17 year old guy who looks as if he wants eat us when he casts his eyes upon us. I have never seen such possessive eyes. b.a.s.t.a.r.d! Too bad!” Mu Yu Die grinded her teeth, and made an action of cutting in the air, “I would let him know how capable I am!”
“Till your Martial Spirit is back, ha, what’s the big deal to let him look at us? We don’t lose anything. Also Zhao Xin and Hu Long, the cowards, pretend to not be ogling at my a.s.s when I am right in front of them. I despise them more! Compared to them, that b.a.s.t.a.r.d is bolder, I like it!” Di Yalan laughed loudly.
“You are trying to seduce him?” Mu Yu Die smirked, “He is still a kid! Don’t seduce him!”
“Have you seen any kid who gives that kind of look?” Di Yalan lowered her voice, “I am guessing that he is older than he looks. Maybe he had adopted some secret skill to make himself look young! Maybe it’s a special secret Martial Spirit...”
“Could be. Seems we have to be careful.” Mu Yu Die pondered, and then nodded slowly.
Shi Yan was sprawled on his back. He was totally exhausted. He asked in a raucous voice, "How many laps?"
"Fifteen." Luo Hao answered with a complex look. “You made actions of jumping and rolling during the fifteen laps, which made the pressure much bigger. Young man, you really… can bear that?”
“Well, we will know tomorrow.” Shi Yan found it even impossible to speak.
In the past three days, he trained in [Rampage] whenever he had free time.
After the arduous training, the meridians in his chest and waist could easily release negative energy at his will, which made him pine away a lot.
He almost trained every part of his body to the most, but the hardest part, was his brain...
At night, he would ask Luo Hao to lay the quintuple gravitational field, then he could steel himself under the ma.s.sive stress.
Three days. In those short three days, he broke his limit from eleven laps to fifteen laps. While running, he also increased the hardness as he jumped and rolled, to consume more energy.
By undergoing this intensive training, he found his body becoming much more powerful than before. His hands, feet, ribs, muscles and entrails all became stronger. Every morning, when he woke from his training, his body would be full of explosiveness, and he could jump several meters higher in normal gravity. Even his hands and feet became more agile.
He could feel the progress every day clearly, thus he continued the training, and wrecked himself crazily. He steeled himself in such strenuous way that his ability increased rapidly, while his Profound Qi condensed even faster as well.
“Aaao! Aaao!” There came a weird sound from far away.
Luo Hao turned pale and cried out, “It’s the Level-4 demon beast, Fire Snake! A Fire Snake is very tough. They don’t usually go out at night. Someone must have annoyed them!”
"Uncle Luo!" Zhao Xin and Hu Long hurried over, looking anxious.
"What's up?" Lou Hao yelled.
“A troop of warriors are hunting the Fire Snake, and the latter are approaching toward us! The warriors are h.e.l.l bent, thus the Fire Snakes are totally irritated!” Zhao Xin was in a panic.
"s.h.i.t!" Luo Hao took off the broadsword on his shoulder, and said, "Take care of Die!" Then he dashed away.
Shi Yan, who was suffering all over, sat up immediately and began to operate his Profound Qi. Eyes lit and cool-minded, he silently gazed in the direction of Luo Hao.