Chapter 9 – Failure
“Hahaha. I truly did pick a good disciple.”
“Its not like you had a choice master, I was the only one.”
“Did you say something brat? If so I can start the array like you are.” As he said that Chu Shen had a horrified expression over his face.
“No master! This disciple was merely commenting on how grateful he was for you picking him. It truly was a fortuitous event.” Chu Shen panicked slightly.
“Good. An unyielding tree will be snapped, only the supple reed will survive the storm. Let that be your first advice from you master.”
“Thank you master.” Thankfully his master did not pursue this matter. He shuddered at the ‘testing’ his master would make him go through if TI Wu had.
“You will probably die on this next one. Can’t wait to see it.” Ti Wu rubbed his hands in glee.
Chu Shen almost spit up blood. He was the son of an esteemed elder and a genius! People might look at him with pity but never had they hoped he’d be in pain.
Snapping his fingers, Ti Wu healed Chu Shen. Letting him get in position, Ti Wu started the array.
A shadow with a saber appeared. This one had no armor except a leather breastplate. Chu Shen kept his distance as he thought about the saber. His master had said that a saber was exceptionally good at attack but average on defense.
The reason for this was because it only had a single edge and was curved. The curve made it hard to defend against but at the same time it couldn’t parry enemy attacks as well.
Its downsides, however, would be nullified in the hands of an expert.
‘I have to end this quickly, if the shadow is as good as I expect, I can’t let it gain any momentum. I must strike now.’ As all these thoughts ran through his mind, Chu Shen took up an offensive stance.
Running towards the shadow he paused just out of its range. The shadow became a blur as it ran towards him. Jumping to the side the blade just barely missed him.
Swinging his hammer Chu Shen hoped that the shadow had over exerted itself. The hammer barely missed the shadow as it followed the momentum of its swing.
It didn’t stop the blade as it missed him but rather went with it, making the blade go even faster! It was going significantly faster but again Chu Shen dodged it. Again it spun around, building up speed.
Chu Shen repeated this cycle a few times, dodging it only for it go faster and faster. Sweat was dripping down his forehead as it kept getting harder and harder for him to dodge.
The shadow was now like a cyclone making an impenetrable storm of blades. It even sucked in the air, making a slight draft, which just enhanced the image of a cyclone. Getting desperate he shot his crossbow at the cyclone.
Impossibly a saber flashed out and deflected the arrow! Chu Shen was floored. What skill is needed to move that fast while being that accurate. It didn’t even look like the shadow was dizzy.
He couldn’t keep track of the shadows blade any longer. The cyclone suddenly appeared in front of him. A burning pain was suddenly present all over his body.
Falling to the ground he realized that the shadow had sliced him with its saber dozens of times in a matter of seconds.
Ti Wu sighed. As expected, becoming a core disciple on the first test was out of reach for Chu Shen. Waving his hand the shadow dissipated and they were back in Chu Shen’s soul cavern.
Seeing the downtrodden expression on Chu Shen’s face his heart sank. If he lost his confidence then Chu Shen could encounter many serious problems later on.
“Kid, don’t let this defeat effect your soul.” Ti Wu said seriously.
“Yes master” Chu Shen still had a defeated look on his face.
“I’m serious brat. If you let this affect you it could do incomparable damage to your future cultivation. Let me ask you this, do you focus your martial arts training on fighting.”
Startled, Chu Shen shook his head no.
“That explains it. Have you ever fought a life or death battle?”
“Hmm. How many battles in total have you fought brat.”
“Only two master.”
“What!” Ti Wu was shocked at his answer. Chu Shen had showed good judgment in the battles, even if he had forgotten to use all his weapons and didn’t know how to fully bring out the potential of his hammer.
“So little experience yet you could reach the trial for core disciples.” Ti Wu grumbled under his breath.
Speaking up he called out to Chu Shen. “Once you can train more in the ways of combat you can come and take the test again. However, the key to success does not lie in getting to a better cultivation stage. The shadows strengths will adapt to match your own.”
“Do you know why I made you take this test?”
Chu Shen tentatively spoke up. “Because you were mad and wanted to punish me?”
“No! It was because of the sect’s rules. For some reason the founder of the Void sect decided that the Voids Hand would contain all the martial arts and cultivation methods of the sect. Only by taking a trial will you be able to learn these things.”
“Once you pass the test the Voids Hand will imprint on you a library with all these techniques. Only a core disciple has access to the most powerful techniques and can browse at will any of them.”
“You can only practice martial arts that are available to inner disciples. I will show you how to access the library and pick a suitable technique for you. Before that though, I’m going to explain some things about your Qi.”