The Portal Of Wonderland - Chapter 64
Stone Bai vs. Blue Phoenix
After taking several breaths, Shi Mu finally calmed himself down. He was excited when he found that he was not tired at all, instead, his mind was cool and clear.
Though he could open his head and examine what had happened inside, he was convinced that his brain must have gone through some fantastic changes.
Involuntarily, he thought about the Art of Heavenly Elephant, that he had practiced in the daytime, and it shocked him that something in the art he could not understand before had now become clearer after a few thoughts.
This amazing discovery shocked him so much that he froze, not moving, and he only came to himself after several minutes, filled with a wild joy. He had not expected that this weird Moon Swallowing Art would be so enormously helpful in his martial art training. If things went on like this, along with the Bone-Tempering and Blood-Strengthening Pills, it would be much easier for him to get the hang of the Art of Heavenly Elephant. At least, Stage One would be no problem.
He could not wait any longer. Turning his body, he jumped to his feet and glanced around to confirm that he was alone, then he quickly and quietly returned to his little stone house.
Once he had returned, he sat on the stone bed with legs crossed and tried to recall the details of the first stage of elephant art. When he was sure he know what he was doing, he downed a Blood-Strengthen Pill and kept his body in the posture of ’’Five-hearts to the Sky’’. He adjusted his breath and tried, with all his ability, to sense the heavenly energy in his environment.
Gradually, his breath became faint until it seemed to almost disappear. He felt he was in his best condition so he took one of the Bone-tempering Pills without hesitation, working up his real qi as the first stage of the art required.
Heavenly energy began to flow into and gather within his body, little by little, and eventually, as if led by an invisible force, the energy was all channeled into his veins before it started to flow slowly according to some pre-determined pattern.
An unknown amount of time had passed when flows of Qi in his veins grew in force from as thin as a hair, to as thick as a needle, before they eventually separated in a junction of several veins. Among them, a thin flow of Qi, not even as large as a strand of hair, wound its way into a new vein.
Shi Mu was glad to see the progress that the new way he practiced his art yielded. He had to change a little but the results were great, changing his former slow speed into a new speed. This whole day's practice proved to be more fruitful than expected: he had finally got his Qi to flow in this particular vein, with which he could absorb more energy from the environment at a higher speed.
So as Shi Mu found his own way to absorb more energy, he kept on practicing the Art of Heavenly Elephant, day and night, except for some spare time he devoted to polishing the Thirteen Series of Gale Force Blade and Stone-Breaking Fist. He was like a machine that could not be turned off once started.
On moonlit nights, he would sneak out of his stone house to the clearing in the woods, in order to enter the ape's dream and absorb moonlight, which he would condense in his brain by practicing the Moon Swallowing Art.
In two months, the crystal capsule in Shi Mu's brain eventually had grown from the size of a rice grain to that of a bean. Though he hadn't found the actual use of the crystal capsule, he had already benefited from it a lot, as it had made him even more quick-witted.
And in two months, Shi Mu had finally climbed to the first stage of the Heavenly Elephant Art with the help of Blood-Strengthening Pills and Bone-Tempering Pills.
The Art of Heavenly Elephant earned its name as an art that could strengthen one's body. His strength had by now increased by nearly a third, and, with the assistance of Qi, he had twice his original strength. His skin had also been toughened. Given more practice, he could probably ignore attacks from normal weapons. With the aid of Qi, he could strike three Stone-Breaking Fists or two cuts of the Thirteen Series of Gale Force Blade at one time. Moreover, this Qi had also inspired his Thirteen Series of Gale Force Blade Art, which was now nearing the consummate stage. By now, Shi Mu could easily do Thirteen Cuts in One Breath. And the power of Stone-breaking Fist had increased as well. He gave it a try the other day and was elated to find himself able to smash a rather sizable stone with just one punch. With his current strength, he was confident he could confront intermediate Houtian warriors, like the Jin Clan's Fifth Master, head-on without fear.
However, there were only a few Bone-Tempering and Blood-Strengthening Pills left so he needed to buy more. Shi Mu fumbled in a bag for several silver notes that amounted to less than thirty thousand silver - his last possession. It could only sustain for another half a month according to his current expenses.[A]
It was really beyond ordinary people's ability to bear the cost of this Heavenly Elephant Art. If it was not for his savings and the aid of the Moon-Swallowing Art, he could not have even succeeded to reach the first stage!
Shi Mu smiled bitterly, knowing that there was no other choice for him so that he could only try to find some way to make money in the Black Demon Sect.
He tugged the silver notes in his sleeves and went out.
Somewhere near the thirteenth mountain, new disciples were coming and going, making the residential area more lively than before. The new disciples, injured by Qu Kun's gang, had now fully recovered. By now two months had elapsed and most of them had become quite familiar with their sect.
The new disciples were, no doubt, very curious about a large sect like the Black Demon Sect, and most of them would remain outside their houses when they were not practicing, wandering in the valley and the square to get a feel for the ambiance of a great sect. However, Shi Mu was different. He was practicing all the time in his small stone house. As he only seldom went out, he was only familiar with a few disciples.
Now he was walking along a street towards the blue-stone square when he heard some shouting and yelling from a crossing nearby. Judging from the loud noise, there must be a large crowd convening for some special event.
Shi Mu frowned as he realized that there was an arena built at the foot of the thirteenth mountain in the Black Demon Sect. He had been there once before, with Stone Bai. Therefore, whoever was now using the arena must be fighting someone else, and had an audience cheering loudly. Moreover, this arena was exclusively for primary disciples, so it would not surprise him if he went there and saw his ’’travel companions’’ fighting each other. Without delay, he made his way towards the arena.
The ring was a platform made of green stone, and was about twenty meters in length and width, with black metal bars around it.
When he got there, he saw dozens of disciples, most of whom were newcomers and, by now, had roughly formed two groups, staring at each other with hostility. Right at this moment, two disciples were fighting fiercely in the ring. The slim young man was none other than Stone Bai, and the other was the girl with small bells all over her clothes.
’’Oh, it's her.’’ Shi Mu was puzzled.
On the day when they were fighting Qu Kun, to get into their living area, the girl showed quite a weird bloodline when avoiding Qu Kun's fist, leaving a deep impression on all the new disciples. Afterward, Shi Mu had also seen her on several occasions with Stone Bai, and he knew her name was Lan Feng, the ’’Blue Phoenix’’.
But the sight of Stone Bai challenging Blue Phoenix really bewildered him. Why would two elite disciples fight each other? Shi Mu murmured to himself.