Old Man Lu’s courtyard was messy to say the least with barely any place to step. Yet this old man didn’t seem to mind at all and even seemed keen on expanding the mess.
With no other choice, Ning Chen started off by cleaning up the courtyard for the man; at this rate, this courtyard would’ve become unlivable.
The first time he came to this courtyard, he was carried here by the old man, violently but also warmly.
In the old man’s eyes, him being crippled or not made no difference. In fact, he might even be better than some of the trash the old man talks about.
That unexpected blow wasn’t actually that heavy in retrospect. The main reason he spat out blood was because the injuries he sustained while fighting that old eunuch hadn’t recovered yet. Adding on all those sunless days he spent in the underworld, his injuries worsened thanks to the gruelling treatment he received there. Right now, any minor scuffle was enough to cause them to act up again.
Ever since he came to this world, the one thing he did the most was get injured, time after time, there was hardly any time when he was healthy.
Fortunately, he was still alive!
As Elder Lu stood in front of the doorway to his home, he stared intently at the teen’s wheelchair as he busied himself, his eyebrows slightly furrowed. Back when he created this wheelchair, it was his first time doing so thus he only added a few mechanisms and nothing else.
Increasing its speed now was going to be a tall task. Wheelchairs weren’t known for being fast after all.
Ning Chen wasn’t in any hurry however, he continued tidying up the courtyard while waiting for the elder. Who knows when was the next time he could visit, by then the place would be impassable if he didn’t clean it up now.
If Elder Lu was put in his previous world, he would probably be a mad scientist.
“Come here for a second.” A long while later, the old man beckoned to him, the crease on his forehead significantly deeper than before.
With a casual flick of his wrist, Ning Chen tossed the last piece of wood onto the nearby garbage heap and promptly wheeled over to the old man.
Elder Lu took a step forward and pressed down on the wheelchair, the wheelchair immediately falling apart a moment later. With a loud bang, it scattered onto the floor in a shower of parts.
“Old Man Lu, you…”
He gasped, swiftly drawing out his Ink Sword as he did so, stabbing it into the floor in the nick of time and preventing himself from falling too miserably.
Elder Lu blandly commented before bending down, picking up the two wheels and carrying them back into his workshop.
The door summarily slammed shut on Ning Chen after which a voice briefly stated: “Wait outside, do not enter the house no matter what.”
Only a fool would willingly enter that house. With a thud, he seated his butt down onto the floor and began the boring process of waiting for the old man.
Suddenly, he was struck with a tightening sensation in his chest followed by a warm rush up his throat. His left hand shot up to his chest grasping, a faint annoyance gripping his heart as the fresh blood dripped slowly out of his mouth. While this injury wasn’t life threatening, vomiting blood on a regular basis wasn’t sustainable either.
As he closed his eyes and regulated his True Qi, a silvery thread made a complete circuit around his meridians, suppressing his injuries once more.
Within the Ocean of Qi in his Dantian, the silvery whirlpool under the first golden page grew larger by the day. Like a miniature solar system, it slowly revolved around a point while at the side of it was a trace of dark gold True Qi that started to coalesce into a tiny Qi whirlpool of its own. Above it was the other golden page, floating silently as it continuously absorbed the surrounding True Qi.
In these past few days, he felt his cultivation speed begin to slow down; he knew that this was the sign of a cultivation bottleneck. Fifth-grade Houtian was a checkpoint of sorts for martial practitioners where a number of people ended up getting stuck at this point for the rest of their lives, never to advance again.
Geniuses like Qing Ning, the Divine Child and Miao Xiayu were rare cases in this world, very few could smoothly breakthrough to the peak of ninth-grade without experiencing such a bottleneck.
With his injuries suppressed, Ning Chen began cultivating on the spot; Elder Lu wasn’t going to be done anytime soon anyway. While he still had time, he needed to raise his strength as much as possible before entering the palace.
As for when he could actually breakthrough, he didn’t know. With the expansion of his silver whirlpool slowing down, the quickest method to increase his strength right now was to cultivate his second Qi whirlpool; who knows, this extra Qi might just come in handy during a fight.
Two days passed in this manner during which his golden whirlpool had grown tremendously, its growth eclipsing the silver whirlpool’s by leaps and bounds. Looks like this was going to be the best method for cultivation till he broke through that check point.
The sun set while the moon began its ascent. It was in this manner that the heavens underwent its celestial routine, yet the workshop door remained shut tight as always. Within the courtyard, Ning Chen continued his cultivation in the midst of the frigid weather, not caring about the frost forming on his clothes and body.
Under the moonlit sky, the entire courtyard began to form a giant dark golden whirlpool. With Ning Chen at its core, it began voraciously consuming the spiritual energies in the surroundings.
Without any realm bottlenecks to limit it, the whirlpool expanded completely unhindered, growing to the point where it could almost compete with the silver whirlpool in just a scant few moments.
Yet this rapid advancement came with shortcomings of its own. Without the baptism of a realm’s bottleneck, the golden whirlpool seemed to be lacking, whether it was in terms of quality or quantity. In the end, it didn’t have the same vast oppressive feel the silver whirlpool gave off.
It was at this moment that the workshop door opened up and Elder Lu stepped out. His wizened face had a look of fatigue on it but his eyes sparkled as if they were the stars itself.
Ning Chen opened his eyes and reined in his Qi as he quietly gazed at the old man.
“Kid, what’s the purpose of the martial path?” Asked Elder Lu
“For fighting.” Answered Ning Chen in a sincere tone.
“And your sword?”
“For killing people.”
“What if the people you want to kill or perhaps the people who try to kill you have some difficulties of their own?”
“How is that even my business?”
Elder Lu broke into a wide grin as he exclaimed, “That’s what I like you about you kid, that personality and that unapologetic shamelessness.”
“Thanks for the praise.”
“The wheelchair’s done, no need to thank me.”
“You’re getting ahead of yourself.”
As he watched the old man unveil the black wheelchair, his eyes shone with a bright spark. With a prompt slap of his right hand, he propelled himself into the air and landed onto the wheelchair.
The next moment, the wheelchair rapidly rotated around, performing what seemed like a thousand revolutions in a second as it cleaved out a silvery circle of light in the courtyard. With flex of his muscles, he abruptly halted the wheelchair and came face to face with Elder Lu. “Old man let’s have a quick spar.”
(TL: Gundam: Wheelchair-00 Raiser Full Town Rebake, ikimasu \o/)
With a forthright chuckle, Elder Lu said, “You asked for this kid.”
His body flashed out of sight and appeared a split second later, right palm raining down from the heavens at the same moment. Even after suppressing his cultivation base by 70%, it was still an unstoppable force that threatened to tear the ground apart.
Without a moment’s hesitation, his wheelchair backed away barely avoiding the shockwave. After seven paces, he gathered the Qi in his left finger and raced forward with his finger directed right at the old man’s Tianzong point. (Right shoulder)
The old man threw his shoulder back avoiding the strike completely, yet Ning Chen had predicted he would do so well in advance. With a swift draw of his Ink Sword, he slashed at the old man with a rapid turn of his body while advancing forward another half a pace.
Elder Lu let out a surprised cry. Not daring to take any chances, he lifted the restraints on his Qi aura and in a explosive burst of True Qi, pushed the teen back with tremendous force.
Ning Chen’s Ink Sword tore a gaping fissure into the ground as he tried to halt his momentum with his sword. Only after rolling back 7 meters did the wheelchair finally stop moving.
“Old man, can you be any less shameless?”
Ning Chen barked rhetorically.
“Haha, my bad, my hands slipped for a moment.”
Elder Lu’s face blushed a little as he said that; bullying a junior with his cultivation wasn’t exactly an honorable thing after all. However, this kid’s moves were simply too unpredictable. While they weren’t fast, they struck at odd angles and inopportune moments.
He still clearly remembered when the teen just came to the academy. Back then, he was a cripple and a merely second-grade Houtian beginner, other than their personality mashing well together, he had nothing else going for him.
Yet in just a few months, that beginner made such rapid advancements.
Looks like man’s potential only truly showed itself in times of adversity. The lack of talent and injuries might hinder one’s progress but they aren’t the end all be all either.
“Elder Lu, it’s time for me to go, farewell.”
With his goal accomplished, Ning Chen didn’t want to see the man’s infuriating face any longer and wheeled off after giving him a wave of his hands.
“Next time I’ll bring you some imperial wine from the palace.”
As he said that, his silhouette began disappearing into the night. However, just at the moment it was going to disappear, the old man’s face suddenly changed and with rapid change of his tone, yelled to the kid with his arm raised, “Kid, you’re welcome here anytime.”
Ning Chen waved back at the old man without turning around and slowly disappeared into the night.
Elder Lu let out a dejected sigh before promptly turning around to leave for his room. That’s enough work for tonight, time to sleep.
As he stepped into the academy, the white foal had just came back from its trip to the Sage’s residence. As their eyes met, man and beast suddenly felt a sense of closeness to each other. It leaned in with its face but just as it was about to show its happiness, it was suddenly pushed aside by Ning Chen, “Shoo, this brother is going to sleep, you’re on your own for the night.”
With a bang, Ning Chen slammed his room door shut leaving the white foal standing alone in the courtyard confused as to how it angered its strange master once more.
The night passed without any incident and as the sun began to rise, Ning Chen rolled out of his room without even waking up the young horse.
He wanted to see the headmaster and thank him. Other than that, there was no other motive behind this.
The residences of the various staff members weren’t a secret and everyone knew about it.
In a remote corner of a small forest was a ordinary looking house. Yet despite the heavy snow outside, there was no snowfall within several hundred meters of that house.
As he rolled up to the house, he respectfully said, “Headmaster, Ning Chen requests an audience.”
The door slowly swung open revealing an old man dressed in clothings made of coarse cloth. He had an ordinary face that made him seem like any other old man on the street.
Yet this was the Headmaster of the Ashen Heaven Academy, one of the strongest five people in the world.
He gave the teen a nod. He knew of this teen, the current Queen had never once begged a person yet she did so for this very teen.
“I’m here to thank you and bid my farewells at the same time.”
“Why are you leaving?” The headmaster asked in a calm tone.
“To return to the palace.”
Ning Chen kept silent at that.
The headmaster’s brows furrowed as he pressed the teen, “You don’t trust me.”
Ning Chen kept silent once more, this was his answer.
Gratitude and trust were two matters after all. In this world, the number of people he trusted were few and this wasn’t going to change just because this old man saved his life.
“You may go.”
He turned around with a wave of his sleeves and entered the house.
“Thank you Headmaster.” Ning Chen bowed before promptly turning around as well.
Their entire meeting barely lasted several breaths; the headmaster was a busy man and so was Ning Chen. Thus the two weren’t willing to waste time on pleasantries.
In the end, the two weren’t even that close to begin with.
One acted under the request of another while the other had no choice in this matter. Simply put, they had no real reason to get acquainted with each other.
In this world, there weren’t that many people who hit it off at first sight, neither were there many instances of respecting the old and cherishing the young.
The difference in strength was forever the largest barrier separating people.
The Headmaster was a Xiantian while he was merely a Houtian. A difference in realms meant a difference between Heaven and Earth.
Ning Chen was no fool and thus he wouldn’t do such foolish things either.
Within the courtyard, the white foal continued slumbering peacefully, this time however, Ning Chen didn’t wake it up and instead waited for it. There was something he had to tell the young horse and this bit of guilt required time for him to get used to.
An hour later, the white foal began waking up. Seeing his evil master seated before him, it immediately rose to its feet, any sleepiness chased away by its fright.
After a long deliberation, he finally decided to tell it straight.
The white foal prepared to follow him.
“I’m leaving alone.”
He said calmly as he stared at the white foal.
“Huff, huff.” The white foal panicked, letting forth a series of frantic huffs. It didn’t know what it had done wrong this time.
“It’s not your fault, I…broke my promise. Still, I need to leave.”
Forcefully suppressing the unwillingness in his heart, he let forth a long sigh. This trip was simply too dangerous for it, whether or not he could even make it back was an unknown. There was no way he could endanger the white foal like that.
“Wooo…” The white foal lowered its head and begged in a broken hearted tone, its eyes watering as it pleaded with the teen.
A simple but heavy sigh. With that he steeled his heart and left, not wishing to turn around anymore……