Yan Liqiang was dumbfounded, or perhaps it was best to say that he was in complete shock.
He recalled the physician in the medical hall back in the county town that had diagnosed his injury. It was a blood stasis that was left behind by the impact of the Iron Palm technique on the area located between his chest and abdomen. His body would recover as the blood stasis slowly dissolved.
Feeling an unobstructed sensation between his chest and abdomen, Yan Liqiang expanded his chest and swung his fists a couple of times with all his strength. He discovered that there wasn’t any discomfort at all in the area between his chest and abdomen. The ripping pain that he had felt whenever he tried those movements from last time was no longer present.
Upon taking another look at the puddle of black colored blood that he had coughed up, a thought crossed Yan Liqiang’s mind. Could this blood clot be the one that was left behind when he suffered the blow from Hong Tao’s Iron Palm technique? If he had coughed it out just like that, would this mean that he had actually recovered from his injury?
This was too incredible, just like a dream. He remembered that the physician had told him that his injury would require at least one or two months to heal, so how could it be this fast?
At this moment, the shock in Yan Liqiang’s heart was simply too difficult to be put into words. Regardless of how outrageous everything seemed, the unobstructed feeling in his body and the black colored blood clot that he had coughed up. had already clearly and undoubtedly told Yan Liqiang that everything that had just happened was real.
While Yan Liqiang was still in a daze, a series of knocks were suddenly heard on the door of his courtyard.
‘Dong dong... dong dong dong...’
At this moment, the sounds that traveled to Yan Liqiang’s ears were like drumbeats. Startled, Yan Liqiang subconsciously moved to open the door. After only two steps, he turned and saw the blood clot that he had coughed up on the floor. He hurriedly reversed his steps and dug into the ground with his shoe a few times to get some dirt to completely cover the blood clot.
After he was done with all this, he took a deep breath, doing his best to appear normal. He then proceeded to the entrance of the small courtyard and opened the door.
A round-faced maidservant about forty years old, stood outside of the door, carrying a food box in her hand. Yan Liqiang had seen this maid last night. She was one of the servants in the Weaponsmiths Quarter.
"Young Master Yan, I have brought you breakfast..." A cordial smile appeared on the round face of the maidservant as she handed him the food box. "Young Master Yan, please leave the food box by the door when you have finished. I’ll come back to collect it!"
"Alright, thank you!" Yan Liqiang gave her a slight smile and accepted the food box. "Oh right. There’s no need to deliver anything tomorrow morning."
As soon as Yan Liqiang had finished speaking, the maidservant face immediately contorted into terrified expression. "Oh, is Young Master Yan not pleased with our food?"
"That’s not it. I’ll take my breakfast with everyone else at the dining hall tomorrow morning so there’s no need for you to especially deliver my meal."
"But the Quarter Master had ordered that..."
"Don’t worry, I will talk to Uncle Qian!"
"Well... Alright then..."
Although he could stay in the courtyard the entire time while waiting to be served by others, Yan Liqiang didn’t want to be treated this way because he wasn’t a Young Master and wasn’t that pampered to begin with. From his previous life’s experience, this kind of habit was nothing more than ‘isolation’ and that wasn’t something positive. He had come here to Huanglong County to flee from dangers. Thus, it was needless for such pretension here. Although he was under the protection of Qian Su, mingling with everyone in the Weaponsmiths Quarter and following the mass line was the wisest choice.
After the maidservant left, Yan Liqiang took the food box to the stone table under the tree in the courtyard and opened it. A delicious fragrance immediately wafted towards his nose.
There was a generous serving of millet congee with lean meat in a big bowl, a plate of dried tofu, a plate of salted vegetables as well as two chicken eggs in the food box. Yan Liqiang’s tummy immediately growled at the sight of the food.
He wasn’t sure if it had been because of all the training he had just done or if it was the fact that all of these especially clean, unadulterated dishes were made out of authentic, natural ingredients that made them seem delicious. Regardless, he realized that his appetite today was particularly good and that he was able to eat more than usual. In just a short moment, he had wolfed down everything and the food box was polished clean.
Yan Liqiang was initially planning to continue to study and experiment with the ‘Performing Muscle Tendon Changing and Marrow Cleansing Internal Cultivation Manual’ in his mind after he was done with his meal. However, after a second thought, he was only a fourteen year old teenager right now. The nature of teens at this age was supposed to be active rather than staying quiet. If he holed himself up in the courtyard behind closed doors every day, people would think that there was something wrong with him instead.
If he didn’t have that shocking experience from before, perhaps Yan Liqiang wouldn’t really be bothered whether or not he was normal or abnormal in other people’s eyes. But it just so happened that Yan Liqiang had the mentioned experience, so he was adamant about becoming a normal, inconspicuous person in other people’s eyes.
After finishing the rest of his food, Yan Liqiang left the food box by the entrance and exited the courtyard. He made his way directly towards the mountain forest behind the Weaponsmiths Quarter, ready to stroll around the mountain.
That mountain forest mostly consisted of White Ash Trees while pine trees and other trees made up the rest of the forest. The White Ash trees stood perfectly straight in that mountain forest, just like sentinels standing guard. These White Ash trees should not be underestimated. They were actually important military supplies to the Weaponsmiths Quarter because the trunks of these White Ash trees were materials used for manufacturing the poles of long spears and moreover, long spears happened to be one of the most important weapons to the army of this era. This White Ash Forest was a provider for the most important weapon among the Military Governor’s Office in the Pingxi Prefecture. It could also be said that the Huanglong Weaponsmiths Quarter existed solely because of this White Ash Forest.
The White Ash Forest had people that specially cared for it. They trimmed the branches and leaves, protected them against insects and ensured that there were no scars or holes made by pests on the trunk of every White Ash tree. Every White Ash tree here stood straight like a spear and their sturdy trunks all had fine textures.
The air in this mountain forest was very fresh and there was an abundance of spiritual Qi and energy of the mountain. Yan Liqiang leisurely strolled around the forest, while carefully noting the terrain. In about twenty minutes or so, he finally made it to a wide empty land near the mountain summit.
This place wasn’t that huge, it had an area of only thirty or forty square meters. The lush green grass on the ground was like a mattress, with thick trees in the surroundings; behind this was a mountain wall that went all the way up to the summit and a stream by the side. He was right in front of the slope of a hill, the courtyards of the Weaponsmiths Quarter lay just below this hill. From here, Yan Liqiang could easily assess the situation at the foot of the mountain. He was able to clearly see if someone was coming up. However, the same could not be said for the people at the mountain foot or in the distance.
When Yan Liqiang arrived, the sun had just fully risen from the East and the earth’s yang Qi had started increasing. The warm sunlight bathed the White Ash Forest and its surroundings on the mountain. In this clearing, the light interspersed with the shadows while the air was filled with vitality; it was a good place to train.
Ascending the mountain had helped Yan Liqiang digest almost all his food. He exercised his entire body here for awhile and realized that the unpleasant feeling between his chest and abdomen really had vanished without a trace. This boosted his confidence. After he was done with exercising his entire body, he stood properly while taking a few deep breaths. He then shifted his right leg to the 4 o’clock position as he assumed the Left Bow Stance. He faced his right palm to the right and raised it up, towards the front, allowing it to draw an arc to the front of his body. He turned his palms facing upwards, while the same time bending his right elbow. He raised his right palm to the side of his waist while assuming the beginning stance of the Empty Step with Flashing Palm. In an instant, he fully focused his attention.
After taking a few breaths, Yan Liqiang unleashed the Tiger Roaring Consecutive Fist technique. i𝑛𝗻rℯ𝒂𝒅． 𝓬o𝘮
The Tiger Roaring Consecutive Fist technique was a type of basic fist technique that was widely spread throughout the Great Han Empire. Almost everyone knew it. The popularity of this fist technique was comparable to ‘The Most Dazzling Folk Style’ that was deeply adored by the aunties who performed it in plaza dances in his past life. Yan Liqiang’s father and Zhou Tiezhu both knew this fist technique. Yan Liqiang knew of this technique because Yan Dechang had personally taught it to him. The sequence of movements in this fist technique was short, hence it was very easy to learn and practice. It could also help a novice martial artist set their foundation in fist techniques. At the same time, it also had great effect in stretching the muscles and bones. Though the movements in this fist technique were few, it had stricter requirements on the hands, eyes, body, and footwork. Among the youths in Liuhe Town, at least nine out of every ten people had cultivated this fist technique since young.
That day on the arena, Yan Liqiang had used this Tiger Roaring Consecutive Fist technique in his showdown with Hong Tao as it was the only fist technique he knew.
Yan Liqiang couldn’t be more familiar with the only fist technique that he had cultivated over so many years.
At the beginning, Yan Liqiang’s movements were still a little slow. But slowly, as Yan Liqiang realized that there wasn’t any discomfort in his body when he was practicing his fists, and it had completely returned to normal like before, his movements started growing in strength and speed. One movement followed after another, as they were unleashed in an imposing manner.
By the time he finished practicing the thirty-two forms of Tiger Roaring Consecutive Fist, a thin sheen of sweat had already formed on his forehead. But what was more important was that he could finally confirm that his injuries had indeed been completely healed.
He had only practiced the Upright Body Diagrams of the ‘Performing Muscle Tendon Changing and Marrow Cleansing Internal Cultivation Manual’ for one entire morning to achieve this outcome. He wondered what would happen if he were to persist in his practice of the ‘Performing Muscle Tendon Changing and Marrow Cleansing Internal Cultivation Manual’ several times every day.
If he thought of this, then he should do it!
With that thought on his mind, Yan Liqiang once again started with the First Stance of the Upright Body Technique — the Fist Cupping Upright Stance and began to practice it.
This time, he didn’t repeat after he finished practicing the twenty seven stances of the Upright Body Diagrams. He instead proceeded to cultivate the Sideway Body Diagrams. There were eight stances in the Sideway Body Diagrams, One Hand Raising the Heaven Stance, Unsheathing the Sabre Stance, Drawing Bow Shooting Ball Stance, Straight Shoulder Stance, White Crane Flapping Wings Stance, Presenting the Pestle in Unity Stance, Facing Towards the Sky Stance and finally the Cupping and Returning Stance....
After finishing Sideway Body Diagrams, he continued onto Half Body Diagrams, then Leaning Body Diagrams, followed by Folding Body Diagrams, Twisting Body Diagrams, Falling Body Diagrams, Flipping Body Diagrams, Moving Body Diagrams, Sitting Body Diagrams, Fixed Body Diagram, and lastly Crouching Body Diagrams...
Among these various body diagrams, there were some that had more than twenty stances in the diagrams while there were also some with as little as seven or eight stances. Each and every single stance had their own ingenuity and distinction.
Nearly two hours had passed by the time he had just finished practicing a single round with a total of twelve body diagrams.
During his first round of practice, some of his movements were still somewhat shaky and inconsistent. Even so, Yan Liqiang felt that he was much more energetic after completing one round of practice. An endless stream of vigor seemed to well up from his body...
He practiced it again for another round. After another two hours had passed, Yan Liqiang felt as if his vitality had increased a hundredfold. His body had actually never felt this great before, it felt like there was a cool breeze blowing under his arms.
Yan Liqiang had actually wanted to continue practicing, but then he remembered that it was almost lunchtime back in the Weaponsmiths Quarter. So, to avoid complications from arising, he suppressed his urge to continue training and quickly descended the mountain...
After he had finished his lunch, Yan Liqiang took a walk around every courtyard in the Weaponsmiths Quarter in the afternoon, before returning to the mountain. He started cultivating the various techniques in the ‘Performing Muscle Tendon Changing and Marrow Cleansing Internal Cultivation Manual’ and only descended the mountain in the evening. After he finished dinner, he continued with his practice in his small courtyard.
In just one day, Yan Liqiang’s familiarity with the techniques grew after repeated rounds of cultivation. He had already fully grasped the essentials of the techniques such as movement and breathing...
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