Chapter 33: Regaining a Secret Skill
It was late into the quiet night.
It was dark in the tent, disconnected from the chillness of the outside.
Zhen Jin was lying on a mat made of hay and dried leaves, his body covered by a thin quilt.
Previously, he and Zi Di had slept and ate in the open, but now their circumstances became very cozy and warm.
A feeling of weakness was still lingering in his body.
This was the potion’s residual effects.
Neither the cozy sleeping environment nor his exhausted body were enough to make Zhen Jin fall asleep.
The youngster’s eyes were wide open and his brows were furrowed as he pondered over the empty sensation he had felt after vomiting the ice cubes and blood.
“There is no mistaking it, it was the exact same1 sensation!” Zhen Jin was completely certain at this point.
At the time, he had to deal with the blade legged spider, but he didn’t have a dagger, thus he was unable to cut the spider’s webs and was in a dangerous situation. However at the most critical moment, his hands unexpectedly transformed into sharp claws that pierced into the spider’s body.
Thus, Zhen Jin counterattacked, killed the blade legged spider, and turned peril into safety.
Afterwards, his hands turned back to normal and an indescribable feeling of emptiness came from deep within his body.
These two feelings were exactly the same.
“The effect of this potion is to condense the magic power related to the frost in my body into a ball, and then induce vomiting.”
“Therefore, this empty feeling should be because I suddenly used up a massive amount of internal magical power.”
Zhen Jin placed great importance on this discovery.
It was because this transformation ability contained enormous value.
Due to the current situation, Zhen Jin couldn’t activate his battle qi, making it hard to display his true strength. If he faced desperate straits once again, and he could change his hands into sharp claws, it would no doubt be a strong trump card. After all, this trump card killed the silver level blade legged spider in one fatal strike.
“According to my current understanding, did Zi Di really unintentionally make a transformation potion when she was treating me?”
“And that was how I gained the monkey bear transformation?”
A transformation potion was a type of magic potion, powerful grandmaster pharmacists could even make potions that could temporarily transform humans into great dragons.
In the past hundred years, transformation potions had become the craze in the upper class of the human race.
The key figure that caused this was Duchess Ai Mei.
Not only was this Duchess’s personal strength formidable, she also had great influence, and she was very fond of a woman’s charm and beauty.
She personally researched and developed innumerable transformation potions.
Different from the mentality of previous greatmaster pharmacists, the vast majority of potions made by Duke Ai Mei were very basic.
The potions’ effects were very minor.
After drinking them, people would change skin color, hair color, or straighten up their noses, enlarge their eyes, etc.
Currently, within the markets of the Sheng Ming Empire, Ai Mei’s transformation potions were already a household name and were best sellers all year round. This business was also the biggest source of income for Ai Mei.
Zhen Jin carefully recalled his memories.
He charged to his death and killed the monkey bear. In the process, he was seriously injured and was on the verge of death, and he fell unconscious with a few intervals of fuzzy consciousness. Yet he distinctly remembered one scene—where Zi Di had directly infused the bear’s blood into his body.
According to Zi Di's later explanation, she was desperate and had no choice but to make a risky attempt. Fortunately, her risky attempt succeeded!
“The bear blood contained a great amount of magic power similar to when I ate the goat meat. These magic powers were concealed within my body and when my transformation used up this magic power, it led to me feeling an intense sensation of emptiness.”
“Naturally, there is another possibility—battle qi.”
“The situation is still quite complicated.”
“Perhaps, I aroused my potential during the crisis of life and death and instinctively activated my battle qi.”
“This island prohibits the activation of low level magic and battle qi, however no one has accurately measured the upper limit of this prohibition presently. Perhaps I have gold level cultivation. At the critical moment, I might have temporarily broken through the seal and used my gold level battle qi.”
“Gold level battle qi is not the most important thing.”
“The key is that, at that dangerous moment, my bloodline awakened!”
When bloodlines awakened, a person’s physical appearance would change.
For example a knight with the dragon bloodline would start to grow dragon scales on their skin.
A warlock with the hydra bloodline would have their circular human pupils transformed into vertical snake pupils.
The Marquis Jin Mang Ke of the Sheng Ming empire was a powerful individual at the saint level. In recent years he had been very active on the battlefield and was quite famous. Whenever he fought a bloody battle, the battle qi in his body would stimulate and awaken his bloodline, causing gold static lightning to hover from head to toe. His originally black hair would change completely into gold, and it would expand in size, and form into something resembling swollen muscles.2
Bloodline awakening was not commonly seen, even amongst the strong experts, only a portion of them would have it.
This was because bloodlines within one’s body needed to reach a very high concentration to have the possibility of awakening it.
“If I have gold level cultivation, based on my current age, my talent must surely be outstanding. This kind of talent also means I possess a fairly dense bloodline! It is not strange for bloodline awakening to happen to me.”
“But the source of my bloodline should be the golden queen bee. After my bloodline awakens, I should have the characteristics of a queen bee, then why did I have claws?”
“Perhaps my body has other bloodlines?”
Such things could not be determined precisely.
Human nobles were often frivolous and many bloodlines often mixed. If these bloodlines were never stimulated, they would stay dormant in the body throughout their entire life.
“Under the stimulus of death, I activated my gold level battle qi and awakened some mysterious bloodline in my body, changing my hands into sharp claws. However, why were they the same as the monkey bear’s claws? Is it really a coincidence?”
Therefore, after Zhen Jin considered all possible factors and possibilities, he still felt that a transformation potion was the most likely.
There was a possibility of bloodline awakening, but the probability of it was comparatively small.
But this brought upon a whole new issue.
“Is there still the magic power of the monkey bear remaining in my body?”
“If so, is this magic power having a corrosive effect on me?”
The consequences of magic corrosion were grave.
Different bloodlines basically could not coexist peacefully.
If a human noble had two bloodlines within them, one would be high level while the other would be low level, one strong and one weak. When they started cultivation, the higher level bloodline would become stronger and stronger until it finally expelled the inferior bloodline from the body.
If both bloodlines were high level and were stubborn, it would be quite troublesome. One must cultivate a specific battle qi art and pay great caution to the balance between these two bloodlines. Balance can base one bloodline as the main and the other as supplementary. It was also possible for both bloodlines to maintain equal strength. However, if balance was broken, violent conflict would form between the bloodlines and the practitioner would be heavily injured or even die. Bloodlines determined aptitude and aptitude was the key to grasping strength in the future.
The human race’s pursuit of bloodlines had always been crazy and persistent.
Nobles would think of every possible method to intermarry with stronger bloodlines, many nobles were connected by marriage and the private lives of nobles was a confused mess not only because of personal lust but also to make the aptitude of their clan’s next generation outstanding.
Among all the races, humans were experts at reproducing, they excelled more in this aspect compared to elves and dwarves. However among the offspring of nobles, those with outstanding talent were always a minority.
Furthermore, the more powerful an individual was, the more difficult it was for them to reproduce. The price of giving birth was also extremely high.
In addition to offspring, humans also used other dishonest methods.
For example they could use magic, make medicine, construct habitats, and make deals with devils, etc, to forcefully implant high level bloodlines into their bodies.
Forcefully implanting high level bloodlines was not impossible, there were even many methods that could all temporarily succeed.
However, all outcomes were usually poor.
Firstly was mutations, where the human body would produce horrifying aberrations. These deformities were not limited to the physical body and could also affect the mind. Many cases had symptoms such as insanity, sleep talking, confusion, dementia, etc.
Secondly, the lifeform’s original stability would be completely smashed, their lifespan would be severely reduced, and they wouldn’t survive for long.
Finally was the withering of the soul.
Zhen Jin had never heard of a case where someone was completely successful in obtaining a bloodline through external force.
This was why bloodlines were so rare and precious.
Higher level bloodlines produced outstanding aptitudes. Outstanding aptitudes over time would form formidable strength.
And strength led to authority.
This was the reason why human nobles were nobles and why they could place themselves over the majority of the same race; it was because of their solid foundations.
Bloodlines were the cornerstone and pride of the nobility!
“Zi Di treated me and unintentionally made a transformation potion. This transformation potion could let me transform my hands into a beast’s claws. This means that external force was used to mix the monkey bear bloodline into me.”
“This kind of inferior bloodline will have a bad influence and contaminate my noble bloodline.”
“If this influence is high, my cultivation aptitude will also fall as a result.”
Transformation potions could not be abused.
The consequences of abuse were serious and would have a disastrous price.
“Regardless of whether I am currently at the silver or gold level, I am still quite young with a long future ahead. This is only my starting point and by no means my end.”
“If this transformation potion dims my future prospects, then it is not worth it.”
Bronze, iron, silver, gold.
Above these were the saint and legend level.
Above legend level, there was even higher!
Who wouldn’t want to rise to saint, legend, and even higher?3
Zhen Jin did not want to see his growth obstructed by this monkey bear blood, reducing his potential and hope and making his originally radiant prospects appear gloomy.
“I know from experience that the empty feeling means I have consumed an enormous amount of internal magic power. In that case, does that mean the monkey bear’s magic power has been used up?”
“Previously, when my hands mutated for the first time, did it use up all the corresponding magic power? Do I currently have any leftover magic power inside my body?”
"After that time, regardless of my attempts, my arms were incapable of transforming. Does this prove that all relevant magic power has been depleted?"
“Including the latest occurrence, when I drank the potion, the foreign magic power within my body converged and was vomited out.”
“Was the potion Zi Di made to target the frost magic power also effective against the monkey bear’s magic power too?”
“Maybe I should reveal everything to Zi Di so I can ask her to assist me in designing a specialized emetic potion for myself?"
Zhen Jin’s train of thought was diverse, however he was in poor health as he soon fell asleep in the tent.
“Where am I? Am I dreaming?”
He did not know how long it had been when he found himself in an expansive area.
He was facing a long wooden table with a bow and arrow laying on it. One hundred meters away stood three archery targets.
The wooden table was manufactured in a crude style. The targets were human shaped rice straw dummies with circular white cloth around their heads. These white clothes had many layers of circles drawn on them with the innermost circle specially smeared with a red fuel.
This was an archery practice range.
The range only had two people.
One was Zhen Jin while the other was a middle aged man. The man’s body was straight, he had a slender beard, and his slightly raised face had the impression of noble arrogance and pride plastered on it.
Zhen Jin recognized this middle aged man.
This was his father and the current Bai Zhen Clan patriarch.
Because of his incomplete memory, Zhen Jin did not feel any emotions towards the man, however the memories he did recall let him learn of the close relationship between them.
“Lord father, I have obeyed your summons.” Zhen Jin found himself speaking.
The Bai Zhen Clan patriarch nodded: “It has already been a few days since you have returned from the imperial capital. I have come to check whether you have been training hard in the imperial capital. This time we will compare arrow techniques. If you can win, I will bestow you a swift bee.”
Upon hearing this, Zhen Jin’s eyes immediately brightened.
Swift bee was a flying mount, although it could only fly three meters above the ground, it was still invaluable with few rarely circulating in the market.
The number of nobles in the empire that had the technology to breed swift bees were few. The Bai Zhen Clan was one of them.
But after a moment, Zhen Jin heard himself speak in a sad and hesitant tone: “But Lord father your arm…“
Zhen Jin immediately understood: This scene should have taken place not long after the Bai Zhen Clan patriarch and Qing Kui dueled.
Zhen Jin had more than relevant memories about this, he knew: The Bai Zhen patriarch, his father, had formidable strength, however because he was negligent in his fight against Qing Kui, his arm was chopped off.
Indeed, nowadays the Bai Zhen Clan patriarch only had one arm remaining, therefore how could he hold a bow?
The Bai Zhen Clan patriarch, however, didn't care at all: "It's okay, you shoot first."
Zhen Jin then picked up a longbow, skillfully nocked an arrow, and with a whoosh, hit the target’s head.
Perhaps it was because of Zhen Jin’s gloominess that he didn’t hit the red bullseye.
Zhen Jin put the longbow back onto the table.
It was the Bai Zhen Clan patriarch’s turn.
The Bai Zhen Clan patriarch smiled faintly as he undid a button on his clothes with his hand and revealed a hidden bag from within.
The hidden bag had fine needles, threads, and ten long needles which were all densely packed into it.
The lengths of these needles were identical, each of them were the size of an adult’s index finger. They seemed like crystal, but with a faint cloudy white color instead of being completely transparent.
“Keep your eyes open my son.” The Bai Zhen Clan patriarch used his index and middle finger to grasp one of the white crystal needles.
The next moment, he activated his gold level battle qi and imbued the crystal needle with it.
In a split second, the long crystal needle flashed with a bright golden luster.
The Bai Zhen Clan patriarch faced the archery target and lightly flicked his fingers.
Zhen Jin’s ears suddenly echoed with the whistling sound of the needle as it pierced through the air.
At the same time, he saw the golden needle streak across the air as it left a bright ray of light behind.
The ray of light flew straight into the center of the archery target, soon after with a loud bang, the entire target completely shattered!
“This is?!” Zhen Jin's mouth was agape as his face was full of shock.
The Bai Zhen Clan patriarch smiled and explained: “There are many kinds of battle qi skills, among them are those that cannot be easily revealed to others, they are known as secret skills. Now that you have seen it, this is the secret skill the Bai Zhen Clan has handed down through the generations—the Needle Point Explosion. Do you want to learn it?”
“I want to learn it! I will ask Lord Father to bestow upon me his teachings.” Zhen Jin loudly spoke, his spirit clearly roused and his previous devastation and gloominess were swept away.
The Bai Zhen Clan patriarch then proceeded to impart his teachings on the spot and then put a crystal needle into Zhen Jin’s hand.
Zhen Jin made use of this opportunity to observe and emulate, he couldn’t help but inwardly think: “This white crystal throwing needle is not ordinary, it is at least a tool of the gold level!”
After that, Zhen Jin found that even after many attempts, he still couldn’t succeed.
“You have grasped the secret and your process of using it has no mistakes. The reason why you didn’t succeed is not strange.” The middle aged noble cleared up the confusion. “The reason you have failed lies in you not having enough battle qi stored up. To fully use the Needle Point Explosion secret skill, you need to consume a great amount of battle qi. Even with gold level cultivation, one can only use ten needles in a row, nothing more.”
“Based on your current total battle qi, you should barely be able to imbue and throw one needle.” The Bai Zhen Clan patriarch made an estimation.
Zhen Jin laughed bitterly: “Lord father, if that happens, isn’t using this secret skill a bit dangerous?”
Using up all the battle qi one had to barely use one needle.
If he faced an enemy and missed the target, without any battle qi to support himself, Zhen Jin would be in a very difficult situation.
The Bai Zhen Clan patriarch’s smiling face gradually dwindled and his expression turned grim.
He stared at Zhen Jin and said with profound meaning: “My son, reality is always cruel. Regardless of whether it is a battle or something else, you will always be faced with risk.”
“Many times, you will find that using your full strength for that one shot is the wisest choice.”
“It is very uncomfortable when using up all your battle qi, that kind of empty pain can be very uncomfortable. Sometimes, we have no choice but to do it.”
“Don’t be scared of the risk and don’t be afraid of sacrifice!”