Today, like the past few days, Yan Liqiang spent his day performing the Horse Stance with his eyes closed, immersing himself into it.
For the earlier half of the month, the amount of time that Yan Liqiang spent on practicing the Horse Stance became much longer and as a result, his Horse Stance was becoming more stable by the day. This was especially true for his results of the past two days. Every time he performed the Horse Stance, he felt as though his body was floating on water. The upper half of his body from the waist felt weightless to him while assuming the stance, this caused his entire body to feel extremely light. Only when he was breathing did he sense that his body was slightly undulating. Although it came from a purely spiritual perception rather than an actual physical movement, his body was moving despite being inert. When he was drawing in breath, he could feel his body was inflating like a balloon, which gave the sense that he was floating upwards. Yet, whenever he breathed out, he felt his body dropping back down again.
Yan Liqiang himself also could not ascertain the reason why. His body had gotten used to practicing the Horse Stance for many years, and he was used to being drenched in sweat as well as feeling sore and aching pain in his legs which were always present every day of his life before. However, practicing the Horse Stance to him now felt no different from floating on water. Although this was something that he had never experienced before, Yan Liqiang began to suspect that it would not be a problem for him to practice it for an entire day under such conditions.
Because of the fact that he lacked an experienced master by his side with the ability to advise him, Yan Liqiang was unable to differentiate whether this was a good or a bad state to be in. But while he was in this state, his body was so comfortable that it couldn’t possibly be bad, so he would continue to persevere in doing this.
Today he stayed in this state without knowing for how long when all of a sudden, Yan Liqiang felt a surge of heat rising from the bottom of his feet. The heat firstly warmed up his shanks, feeling as comfortable as soaking them in warm water during a foot massage. Under that warmth, the soles of his feet felt like it had connected with the Earth. It was as though his entire body had been made from mud, and had just emerged from the ground. This gave rise to a sensation in which he’d feel his entire being was merging with the Earth underneath his feet, becoming one entity.
While he was still contemplating on how long this feeling would last, he was hit with the sensation that the heat was beginning to rise up from his shanks, over his knees, continuing to envelop the base of his thighs. From the waist down, the lower body completely felt as though he was soaked in a comfortable lukewarm liquid. Along with his breathing, his body continued to rise up and down. Slowly, the undulation motion formed towards an idea similar to that of riding a rhinodrake steed in a gallop. The strength of his quads seemed to follow the pace of his undulating and breathing conditions, like the surging waves of pulses, being slowly transmitted to his upper body.
Located within his waist area, seemed to be an obstruction which prevented the upsurge of force from spreading. The rippling force kept crashing against the obstruction, the faster the frequency, the more formidable the force became. The temperature from his waist up seemed to be slowly rising and when the might of the force reached its peak, it finally resulted in a loud ‘BANG!’. It was resonating, as the force that was being transmitted upwards had finally broken through the obstruction in the waist area. The heat he felt was similar to the blissful feeling of lukewarm water from under the waist. It burst forth in the form of waves, slowly moving past his pelvis, abdomen, chest, until the point where it was covering the the top of his head.
While he was being enveloped in such warmth, several large tendons in his two legs became increasingly hot, then started to vibrate. The vibrating force was transmitted from his small toes on his feet until it reached the forehead on the top of his head. As for his hands, it was needless to say that the strength in Yan Liqiang’s upper and lower body were thoroughly merging into one, as the paths obstructing their flow was now opened up. 𝒾𝒏n𝗿𝒆а𝑑. 𝘤𝘰m
Unbeknownst to Yan Liqiang, during the time that he’d spent immersed in practicing the Horse Stance, the small courtyard of his had already been filled with people.
About a total of a dozen people had rushed into the small courtyard of his. Some of them wielded sabers and swords in hand while some of them rushed in armed with water basins, water buckets, and even water jugs, all ready to put out fires.
At this moment, those very same people were all dumbstruck, staring at the scene in front of them. They could see the red light, akin to a fiery blaze, as well as the silhouette of an extremely magnificent rhinodrake steed enclosed within the red light, all the while forming around Yan Liqiang’s body.
Qian Su was also standing amongst the crowd. He was still wearing his night clothes as he had just fallen asleep not long ago. He was instantly awake the moment he heard someone shout ‘FIRE!’ outside. He got up at once, not even sparing the time to wear his clothes and rushed out of his room. After having charged out of his room, he noticed that the so-called ‘blaze’ was actually coming from the courtyard that Yan Liqiang resided in. Nothing else mattered to him in the heat of the moment, as he worried for Yan Liqiang’s safety as well as the supplies kept for military usage. He promptly directed the patrolling soldiers of the Weaponsmiths Quarter to force an entry through the courtyard gate of Yan Liqiang’s temporary residence. He charged in and prepared to put out the fire and initiate the search and rescue.
However, the scene they came across upon bursting into the courtyard was only that of Yan Liqiang who was currently practicing the Horse Stance in the courtyard. The red light that they’d mistaken for a blaze was currently blossoming from Yan Liqiang’s body.
Qian Su’s heart was currently filled to the brim with an astonished, yet pleasantly surprised feeling. Never would he ever have expected that in the few hours that he’d parted ways with Yan Liqiang, he would have caused such a huge commotion.
Each and every single one of the men in the courtyard stood rooted to the spot. Everyone’s envious eyes were focused on Yan Liqiang whose body was enclosed within the red light.
Everyone understood the meaning behind the appearance of the red light, as well as the magnificent rhinodrake steed within it. This was a visual representation of Young Master Yan having broken through one of the stages of the three foundation stages—the Horse Stance Stage! Of the three foundation stages, this was the first but was also the most difficult stage to break through. 99% of those so-called martial artists would fail to pass this stage.
The red light itself as well as the rhinodrake steed emerging from Yan Liqiang’s body that was shrouded by the light; both were classified as phenomena which would automatically occur upon breaking through the first stage. The spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth in this world would resonate upon contact with a martial arts practitioner. When said practitioner broke through an important stage or was successful in the training of any form of martial arts techniques, it would prompt a response from the spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth. This response came in many forms, exhibiting various kinds of Dharmic projection, art manifestation or auspicious form. These phenomena were given rise due to the resonance between a human and spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth, which was impossible to be faked. Due to this, it had also become the most standard and direct tool to test the cultivator’s level. Of course, it also became the best tool for cultivators to flaunt off their cultivation base with.
"Why is it a rhinodrake steed? Why is it a rhinodrake steed...?" The only squad commander leading an army in the Weaponsmiths Quarter was currently standing next to Qian Su. He stared absent-mindedly at the rhinodrake steed emerging from Yan Liqiang’s body, overwhelmed with shock.
As the squad commander, he had seen his fair share of men who succeeded in passing the Horse Stance stage, as he himself had also passed this stage. When the squad commander passed the stage, he also had an auspicious form. However, the thing that stuck in his mind the most was the fact that all of the auspicious form emergences he’d seen in the past was incomparable to the one he was seeing now.
The auspicious form around Yan Liqiang was too powerful and the light had been too strong in the first place. When the auspicious form appeared around his body just now, everyone outside thought that his courtyard had caught fire. Next, which was also the most important point, was the fact that the auspicious form that emerged from Yan Liqiang’s body when he passed the Horse Stance was a rhinodrake steed! A rhinodrake steed!! A rhinodrake steed!!!
This alone could practically drive a man to go insane with jealousy. Because under normal circumstances, 99% of the martial artists who passed this stage would only be able to give rise to an ordinary horse as their auspicious form, the origin of the Horse Stance. Only the extreme minority would have their auspicious form appear in the form of other beasts apart from the horse. This list included tigers, leopards, bears, and elephants when they passed the stage. But that tiny percentage of martial artists were either cultivating extremely powerful arcane secret techniques or they were natural born prodigies, the treasured sons and daughters of the Heavens above, when they passed this stage. When passing through this stage, the more potential in the body that was unearthed, the more likely it was that the auspicious form would reveal beasts apart from horses.
In this world, the beasts revealed in the auspicious form when passing the Horse Stance stage was not only for show but also represented the realm and result they had attained after passing this stage.
The ordinary folks practicing the Horse Stance would be able to increase their body’s strength by the power of an additional horse after passing the Horse Stance stage. They could perform the stance as if they had a horse beneath them, allowing them to achieve the unity of waist and horse, genuinely establishing the foundation for martial cultivation. This would instantly place them above other common folks. For people with other auspicious forms after passing the stage, apart from receiving the corresponding strength of the beasts, they would also obtain additional bonuses of those beasts, such as faster speed, greater strength, greater explosive power and so on. With this, these people would possess even more formidable might after passing the Horse Stance stage. On the road to martial cultivation, they would have a head start so big it would be no different from winning the first step at the starting line.
For ordinary folk, passing the Horse Stance stage was the first step in setting their foundation. This was already enough to fill them with happiness. As for those people who revealed extraordinary auspicious forms when passing the Horse Stance stage, ‘passing the Horse Stance stage’ was instead known as ‘crossing the golden gates’ or alternatively, ‘leaping over the dragon gate’. The future accomplishments of such people were hard to imagine. Such being the case, becoming a Warrior for them seemed to be a done deal.
The passing auspicious form from Yan Liqiang’s body was a rhinodrake steed. This signified that upon passing the Horse Stance stage, Yan Liqiang’s body strength would have an increase equivalent to the power of a rhinodrake steed. There was even a chance that he could also obtain other additional powers of the rhinodrake steed.
When compared to an ordinary horse, not only was the strength of the rhinodrake steed at least two times more, the rhinodrake steed also possessed a stronger endurance and faster speed.
Beasts were all different from one another, with the same being said for horses. Ordinary horses could be divided up into various grades, with the same also being said for rhinodrake steeds. Yet, regardless of how one viewed this scene, the figure of the rhinodrake seen emerging from Yan Liqiang’s body, with its tall frame, radiant eyes, and mighty aura as it galloped with its head held high, rather than being a normal rhinodrake steed, it seemed to be the most elite of its kind.
The most important thing to note here was the fact that Yan Liqiang was only fourteen years of age. Those who are able to pass the Horse Stance stage at this age were as rare as phoenix feathers and unicorn horns. Even for those people who were extremely gifted, they would usually need to wait until they were over sixteen years old before being able to pass the stage.
Practically everyone at the scene knew this fact and it was precisely because of this fact that overwhelmed everyone with shock.
As they stared at the radiance emitting from Yan Liqiang’s body, everyone appeared as though they were witnessing the rise of a martial superstar with their very own eyes.
Amongst the onlookers, was a half-naked soldier who had rushed over while carrying a bucket of water. While staring at the glow emanating from Yan Liqiang’s body, in his dazed state, he accidentally loosened his grip on the wooden bucket still in his hand and it instantly fell to the ground. Amidst the splashing water, the bottom edge of the wooden bucket crashed onto the foot of the person next to him.
"OWWW..." The person who had been hit was caught off guard and couldn’t hold back a blood-curdling scream of pain.
But precisely when this scream erupted, the majestic rhinodrake steed shrouded in the scarlet red light suddenly made a mad dash towards Yan Liqiang. It blended into Yan Liqiang’s body upon contact. The scarlet red glow slowly became dim, and then soon dissipated as though it was never there.
The moment Yan Liqiang opened his eyes, he discovered a large influx of strongly built men carrying various things had barged into his courtyard. And each and every single one of them was glaring at him like a tiger staring at its prey. Quite a few of them were still half-naked, revealing a chest full of hair with saliva almost drooling out from their mouth.
To his surprise, Qian Su was also present and only dressed in his thin nightgown. He was currently eyeing him with a peculiar expression on his face.
F*ck, was this a slumber party or a naked party? Everyone here were all guys! He certainly didn’t swing that way.
Startled, Yan Liqiang subconsciously moved to cover his chest. "What’re all of you doing?"
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