When Ling Xiao opened his eyes, his first sight was his old grandfather’s face.
White-haired, emaciated figure, gaunt face: this was his family.
“Ai, there was no need to do what you did. Admitting defeat would have been fine! Come, drink some medicine!”
The old man sighed and brought out a bitter-smelling herbal medicine soup.
His grandfather’s concerned and helpless words concerned Ling Xiao.
“Heh, heh, it’s nothing! Anyway, it’s not the first time. In any case, I’m not convinced of his victory.”
Ling Xiao laughed. “After I breakthrough to Rank Two Martial Vein, I’ll look for that Ling Chong and settle our accounts!”
The old man sighed. Although Ling Xiao was only an orphan he had found, he treated him like his biological grandson.
Upon seeing Ling Xiao injured, his heart felt unsettled.
Ling Xiao took the bowl and drank it in one go with a smile.
He had refused to admit defeat not because of his stubborn temper but actually another reason.
After he had cultivated that incomplete merit law, his body’s recovery speed had become particularly fast.
In the past, even after being beaten unconscious, he had always woken up in less than an hour perfectly fine. Coupled with the herbal medicine soup, he had fully recovered.
“Just now, Ling Clan sent someone over.”
After saying this, the old man hesitated.
“Grandpa, just tell me! I can take it.”
The old man met Ling Xiao’s eyes before sighing. “They asked you to prepare your procedures for leaving the Ling Clan.”
“Leaving the Ling Clan? Why?” exclaimed Ling Xiao.
In the Ling Clan, he had the chance to learn better martial art skills and, thus, stand out among his fellows. If he left the Ling Clan, he had no clue on how to change his destiny.
“There’s only half a month before the year’s end contest. In this contest, any outer disciples who haven’t reached Rank Two Martial Vein will be automatically disqualified and expelled from the Ling Clan.”
Now that he had said all this, the old man paused before adding, “I heard that some other clans snatched some Ling Clan resources, so it can no longer support as many people. Therefore, the elders plan to cut some of the disciples, and the original rules have become even harsher.”
“How could this be?”
Ling Xiao was astonished. In a month, he was confident about a breakthrough, but half a month was too much pressure.
However, the blow was not yet finished.
The old man continued.
“Furthermore, even if an outer disciple breaks through to Rank Two Martial Vein within this half month, he or she will only temporarily retain his or her qualifications. Before the age of 14, if he or she cannot obtain a Rank Three Martial Vein, the outer disciple will become a servant. All others will have their cultivations destroyed and be expelled.”
“This is too excessive!”
Ling Xiao felt a spike of worry. He was now 13. How could he reach Rank Three Martial Vein before turning 14?
If he became a servant, then his grandfather wouldn’t be able to continue living in the Ling Clan. After that, how could he stay here at ease?
This was no longer an issue of face; it was an issue of life or death.
What’s more, when the Ling Clan had selected him, their brothers in the beggars’ union had been full of admiration.
If he left the Ling Clan like this, where would his face with the beggars’ union go?
“Yes, but the Ling Clan is large with its own rules. In the end, we are just outsiders.”
The old man barked in laughter. “Forget it. It’s not impossible for this old man to return to begging. Don’t worry; you shouldn’t delay your future for me.”
Ling Xiao shook his head, “Grandpa, if there’s a shred of chance, I will not give up! I will work harder than ever before and strive to reach the Rank Three Martial Vein Realm before 14! I will definitely let you live some good days.”
He grit his teeth and clenched his hands, fiercely glaring at the world.
He would go all out!
“Child, if you work any harder, not only will you not breakthrough, but your body will also collapse.”
The old man exhaled. “We have to recognize reality. It’s almost impossible to break to Rank Two Martial Vein within half a month, let alone thinking about the next step.”
Ling Xiao felt like a bucket of cold water had been poured on him.
He hadn’t managed to in a year. What confidence did he have to breakthrough within half a month?
His heart sunk. The matter he feared most was hard work failing him.
If he’d had a month, he would have been at least 30-40% confident.
Although he was unwilling to admit it, it was impossible to succeed with his new time limits unless a miracle occured.
“Child, don’t be too sad. It’s fine so long as we, grandfather and grandson, are well. Grandfather doesn’t care about your power level. As long as you are well, it’s all good!”
The old man’s thoughts were very simple. He didn’t want Ling Xiao to carry a heavy mental burden.
“Don’t worry about those beggar brothers mocking us. They are all unfortunate people, so they won’t mock you. If you are successful, they will be happy, but even if you fail, they will still accept you.”
Become a beggar once more and lead a vain, humdrum life?
Ling Xiao firmly shook his head and said, “Grandpa, did you forget how people bullied and humiliated us on the streets?”
“Have you forgotten how the people beat Gou Zi to death?”
“Or those sinister and vicious people giving us poisoned rat food?”
“Over a hundred of our brothers died!”
“However, we couldn’t revolt against that person since he had the protection of martial artists. Those who went to seek justice had their legs broken!”
“Don’t tell me that you want to continue living worse than dogs? I, Ling Xiao, will not accept it! I’m not inferior to anyone! Heaven will never seal off all exits!”
In fact, Ling Xiao didn’t have any great ambitions. He only wanted to learn martial arts to live better and avenge his dead brothers!
The old man was in tears because Ling Xiao’s harsh words were true.
If he didn’t become a martial artist, these tragedies would only continue.
“Alas, I hadn’t planned to give you the latter half of this book because I feared that you wouldn’t be able to control it. Now, I’ve been truly convinced by you. You can do it.”
The old man took a worn-out book from his inner clothing.
“Is this the complement to that previous fragment?” asked Ling Xiao.
“Yes, when grandfather originally picked up the book, it was complete, but was this sentence. Read it yourself.”
The old man turned a page.
“Without the determination of a rock and strong motivation, under all circumstances, don’t cultivate the contents after this page. Otherwise, you will die for certain!”
The words were written in blood.
“Grandpa, rest assured. I’m determined and have the motivation. There will be no mishaps.”
Ling Xiao excitedly took the latter portion of the book before returning to his room. He pieced it together with the front half and read the entire book from start to finish.
A golden light unexpectedly shot out from the book page into his body.
He was frightened, but couldn’t find anything unusual with himself. Once he finally relaxed his vigilance, an image appeared in his mind.
It was a painting.
Its contents were very complicated. But it could be classified as a landscape painting. Filled with mountains, rivers, and buildings, it seemed endless.
However, the painting was shrouded with clouds and mist, preventing him from seeing its full contents. He could only see a corner. In this small piece was a peaceful village with people and animals.