Chapter 3 – Master
Chu Shen was stunned. An expert wanted him to be his apprentice, at least he supposed the voice that sounded like an old mans that was coming from the gauntlets was a great expert. After all, he had managed to become a soul in the gauntlets and survive. Shen had never hear of someone doing that before even in the sect.
Hurriedly he kowtowed three times on the floor. “Yes master, this disciple hears you.”
“Humph humph. If not for your void constitution I would not even be able to teach you. Now where am I, a forge? WHAT! You would dare to melt down the voids hand like some cheap tool!”
Chu Shen, upon hearing the old man, as he now thought of the voice, anxiously kowtowed again saying, “I am sorry master, I am truly sorry. I had eyes but did not recognize Mount Tai.”
“Take me away at once. No better yet, put on the gauntlets.” Hearing the stern voice and wanting to please his newfound master Chu Shen quickly put on the gauntlets.
“Now I am going to test you, consider this punishment for trying to kill me, though I doubt you could even melt the leather.”
“Wait master, what do you me-“
Inside the Chu sects best forge a young man, renowned for crafting mid-tier Dragon weapons at the tender age of twelve, collapsed on the table next to him. As bits of metal and weapons clattered on the floor, the rusty gauntlets he
had on melted inside his skin.
Chu Shen woke up inside a cave. “What is this place?” Chu Shen asked in wonder as he looked around the cavern. Pieces of jade, black iron, dragons teeth stone, and other various crafting goods were strewn about like trash.
“This is your soul kid.” Chu Shen jumped as an ancient voice called out next to him. Turning his head he saw a middle aged man decked out in warriors clothes next to him. Chu Shen was curious as to why the voice sounded so old but that was not important now.
“My soul? How is that possible and why does it look like this.?” The man rolled his eyes.
“I am not going to say it twice to a brat the can’t hear. As to how it’s possible, it’s of course through the voids hand. It’s not called divine armor for nothing. It looks like this because the things you wish for is better items to forge with.”
“Now listen up kid. I wont repeat myself. I am from an ancient sect that was extremely powerful. We converted our Qi into Null Qi, this Qi can neutralize all other types of Qi, making it extremely useful in a fight.”
“Your void constitution would have been extremely valuable to the sect simply because your body naturally cultivates Null Qi. Not only that, you will be able to strengthen your body to the extreme as well, reaching strengths so that with your bare hands you can destroy entire mountains with a single blow. “
“The reason you are in your soul is just the first step. Next you will be transported to the testing realm contained within the voids hand for the sects test. I will not tell you more until you get there.”
“Master I don’t think….”
“No! You will take this test. I have told you I would take you as a disciple but there is a catch. In order for you to be considered my true disciple you must pass.”
“If you try and fail then you will simply learn basic techniques but if you pass or succeed above my expectations then I will grant you profound techniques that if cultivated properly can shake the heavens to its core. Let us begin”
“What now brat, I can’t dawdle time with idle questions otherwise my Qi will run out.”
Chu Shen cupped his hands in apology. “I am truly sorry master, I merely wanted to ask master his name.”
The middle aged man finally smiled, breaking his stern expression which he had kept the entire lecture. “Ah yes, I truly did overlook something didn’t I? Very well. My name is Ti Wu, elder of the Void sect. Try hard disciple, I truly hope you succeed.”
Suddenly Chu Shen was standing in the middle of a small island about 10 meters across either way. Surrounding him was a lake of lava and at the other end was a staff stuck in another island.
Chu Shen looked nervously at the surrounding lava. “I didn’t think master Wu was this crazy” he whispered.
Chapter 4 – Trials (1)
Chu Shen looked at the lava helplessly. Even now he could feel the heat, his face was even starting crack, which startled him.
It must be known that as the apprentice for a blacksmith he had long since gotten used to intense heat. He had never experienced his skin cracking even when his master had forged with the divine fire. This heat must be on a different level than what he had been used to during forging.
An ancient rumbling voice boomed out all around Chu Shen, completely unlike Ti Wu. “To practice martial arts is to transcend the natural order. It is to unflinchingly march forward and to harness the power of nature. Find your path to cultivation.”
Chu Shen flinched when he heard the voice but upon hearing the words it spoke his heart grew firm and his eyes cold.
“I have been a genius who knew I could never reach the top, that no matter what I did it would be pointless. This is my chance to reach the peak and no matter what lies in my path I shall overcome it.”
As Chu Shen said this he strode forward towards the lava. As he neared the edge he condensed his Qi towards his legs, helping reinforce them. He paused at the edge of the lava, his eyes searching endlessly for a hint in this desolate land of fire.
He sighed in regret. There was nothing out there. No ropes, no hints, nothing that could help him with this challenge. Finally he accepted what he must do. He must unflinchingly stride forwards on his path. Chu Shen knew his path was
to be unique and he must embrace without hesitation or nervousness.
It was one thing to know what you must do and another to actually do it. Breathing deeply he once more tried to pierce the gloomy land. Taking a couple steps back he ran towards the edge of the lava pool. With a tremendous leap he sailed into the sky towards the pole.
Unfortunately no matter how strong your courage was, it still is not enough in the face of nature. As Chu Shen reached the peak of his leap he knew he would fall short, not by much, but enough.
Without closing his eyes he prepared for his legs to be burnt and possibly his entire body to directly turn to ash. He got closer and closer to the lava, heat radiating off it becoming unbearable.
Then his legs touched the lava. With a splash he landed in the lava, not even two meters from his goal. Ah, such a waste.