Ancient Strengthening Technique - Chapter 34
Qing Shui assiduously started his practice to master the way of Iaido, he stood there as images of sword shadows flashed through his mind as he visualized the most simplistic of all sword movements.
After he became exhausted, Qing Shui would take a break and drink water from the pond, eat the wild beasts that he had hunted and even read his books. There were a few times whereby Qing Shui was tempted to pluck the Energy Enhancing Fruit and eat them, but whenever he saw the glistening red color of the fruit, he would unconsciously reject the notion. This unconscious rejection was not born out of the fear that the fruit would be poisonous, however the actual reason was unknown to Qing Shui.
’’Why the rush? There is always time, let's wait for a while longer before I consume the Energy Enhancing Fruits.’’ Qing Shui decided to temporarily shelve the idea as he started reading the <<Continental Medical Annal>>, <<10,000 Herbal Encyclopedia>>and <<Herbal Combination Formula>>again. This was already the second time he read them, not to mention the fact that he had already memorized all of the contents in all three books! However, despite that, Qing Shui knew that he should only stop reading them when he had reached the point of forming an opinion regarding the theories behind the contents! It was only when he reached the point of forming his own opinions that he would be able to review the old and gain new knowledge. Only then would he be qualified to be a teacher!
Of course, he did not neglect the <<Basic Swords Techniques>>, in fact, practicing his sword techniques became the main point of Qing Shui's focus during this period of time. If people from the World of the Nine Continents knew that Qing Shui was so obsessed and expended such a huge amount of time and efforts in mastering the sort of simplistic movement of drawing the sword and returning it back to the scabbard, they would undoubtedly call him a foolish madman.
Qing Shui relentlessly practiced his Iaido Technique, he must have already reached the point of executing it hundreds of thousands to millions of times. Practice makes perfect, Qing Shui firmly believed that as long as he practiced this set of simplistic sword movements for a few hundred million times, he would definitely turn this ordinary looking technique into something miraculous!
What Qing Shui wanted, was exactly the effect of turning something ordinary looking into something miraculous! Because <<Basic Sword Techniques>>, formed the foundation of all sword users, as long as one assiduously practiced the basics to the pinnacle, the foundation they built would be tough and solid. This would enable them to reach greater and greater heights in the way of the sword in the future!
Another month passed, inside the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal Qing Shui had already been practicing the Iaido technique for 3 years... It could be said that in the whole wide world, only Qing Shui had this way of thinking. Only with sufficient determination would one be willing to expend this much time and effort on something like this.
Time after time he practiced the particular movement set of drawing and returning. Qing Shui had no idea how many wooden staves he had damaged over time. In the beginning, the wooden staves he used were only as thin as the width of a thumb. However, as he progressively improved, the wooden staff he used began to get thicker and thicker and now, it was the size of a wrist!
Everytime, he practiced the Iaido Technique, the amount of friction generated from the force of the movement would be too tough for a normal wooden staff to handle. Qing Shui had to forage for a long time before he found the rare Scryrius Ironwood and fashioned it into a sword. The Scryrius Ironwood was famed for its toughness. Back when he was in the Qing Clan, he remembered seeing furniture made from this type of wood, which was why he recognized this material when he saw it.
What Qing Shui didn't know however, was that other than furniture, there were also plenty of other weapons out there which were created from Scryrius Ironwood.
After finding it, Qing Shui decided to practice against something instead of just solo practice the simplistic set of movements, He stood atop the peak of a high mountain, surveying all four directions, trying to find a good location for his sword practice. Now, it was already August. The climate had turned chilly, but despite only wearing a thin layer of clothes Qing Shui did not fear the cold at all. His constitution had improved to such an extent that, even if he was half naked, the chill would not bother him.
Qing Shui unconcernedly and casually strutted down the mountain, trying to look for a suitable place. He passed by a hillside where there stood a gigantic tree, so large that it would require numerous people to join hands before they could hug it. A gentle breeze blew over, making the yellowed and reddish leaves begin to flutter in the air, falling from the tree branches and landing all over the ground.
Instinctively, Qing Shui executed his Iaido technique and pierced a leaf with the wooden sword he had fashioned out of Scryrius Ironwood. Following this, he continued piercing leaves. A second leaf, a third leaf...... but ultimately, there were still plenty of leaves that fell to the ground.
Qing Shui's current weapon was a wooden sword fashioned from Scryrius Ironwood, it looked simple and crude, but one could not question its toughness. Before this, he had been using staves to practice the sword techniques... However, in the end, a staff is still a staff and is unable to bring out the essence behind the sword arts. So Qing Shui, using his tyrannical strength, had fashioned the staves into the shape of a sword!
Qing Shui momentarily paused and extended his left fist, sending out a punch against the trunk of the gigantic tree. After which, the impact caused numerous leaves to flutter down from the skies as he brandished the wooden sword and charged towards them.
In the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal, other than practicing his sword techniques, he had also been training his Ghostly Steps. Now, using the unfathomable mysterious Ghostly Steps technique in his footwork, Qing Shui was like a fish in water, fluidly moving amongst the leaves as he stabbed towards them from different angles.
Despite only using a technique that seemed deceptively simple,, it was actually filled with profoundness. No matter the angle or direction, Qing Shui could unleash a torrent of sword stabs that were unparalleled in speed!
Qing Shui spent all of his time punching the gigantic tree and then attack the falling leaves, only after the poor tree was entirely devoid of leaves did he move on in search of other gigantic trees.
In the middle of his search, he came across a large bird that tried to ambush him. Of course, this bird was not as gigantic nor as ferocious as the previous White-headed Inky Jade Condor. Upon discovering the ambush attempt, just using a single strike, Qing Shui executed his Iaido Technique and pierced through the head of the large bird. Despite the grievous injury, the large bird still managed to fly away. It was because his current sword was fashioned out of a staff. The length of it left much to be desired, and it was unable to pierce all the way through to the brain of that huge bird.
Qing Shui sighed, the length of this sword was too short, if he had a larger and longer sword, he was absolutely certain that he would have been able to kill that bird earlier. His current sword could be considered akin to that of a mosquito bite. No matter how fiercely a mosquito bites, it is still unable to kill a person!
Especially when it comes to beasts with huge stature, it would be exceedingly tough for Qing Shui to kill them with a single strike to the head with his current sword. Conversely, if the opponent he faced was a human, he was certain that he would have no troubles at all.
As time passed and all the trees in the vicinity were stripped naked due to Qing Shui. Qing Shui knew that it was finally time for him to return back to the Qing Clan.
Qing Shui had left home for almost half a year! It was going to be November soon. For this past half year, all the leaves in the vicinity had served as target practice for Qing Shui sword technique.
’’One more month should be sufficient for me to rush back to the Qing Village,’’ Qing Shui exclaimed.
This decision to depart the Qing Village was a right one, doing so had gained Qing Shui tons of benefits. The greatest benefit Qing Shui received was not from the mastery of his Iaido Technique but the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal! After months of arduous practice, Qing Shui had already reached a frightening level with regards to his way of the sword. Amongst the thousands of fallen leaves, if one looked closely, one would find an opening created by a sword stab in the center of every leaf. Other than that, if Qing Shui so wished, he could have bunched all the leaves together with his Iaido technique, letting none of them touch the ground. 
This was the realm that Qing Shui's mastery of the sword had reached! The total amount of time he had spent on it could be considered close to 10 years! As the saying goes, '10 years to train a sword', he took precisely 10 years to master this single technique, profoundness in simplicity!
Other than using 2 hours everyday to cultivate inside of the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal, the remainder of his time was used to travel. Looking at all the majestic mountains surrounding him, Qing Shui could not help but feel that humans were just too insignificant. Qing Shui sped in the direction of the Qing Village as he could not wait to get back home.
His Ancient Strengthening Technique, was still stuck at the 48th cycle, no matter what he did, he was unable to break through the bottleneck. Despite this failure, Qing Shui was immensely excited. He believed that as long as he could manage to reach the 49th cycle, then he would break into the 4th heavenly layer of the Ancient Strengthening Technique!
During the night, after ending his cultivation practice inside the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal, Qing Shui helplessly sighed... That bottleneck was akin to a huge mountain blocking his path, no matter what he did he was unable to budge it the slightest... there was no hope of him breaking through!
At this moment, he inclined his head and looked up at the 10 blood-red, glistening fruits that hung on the Energy Enhancing Tree.
’’Maybe it's time for me to consume the Energy Enhancing Fruits?’’