(One week later) The morning training sessions
"Move! Move!" a loud shout came from an unknown direction.
Sophie's eyes glowed slightly, and she ducked swiftly as a strong sense of danger came from her right side. She felt a small breeze from the blade that narrowly passed above her head with a whoosh.
Sophie immediately turned around launched a fierce series of kicks and then flung a knife towards the enemy.
A sudden jolt of pain was felt in her back and she crashed to the ground with a painful groan.
"Is that all you got?" the figure of the duke loomed above her.
Sophie gritted her teeth in determination and stood up with two daggers firmly held in her hands.
"I can still go on!"
(Two weeks later)
"Is that all you got?" came a familiar mocking tone.
(Five weeks later)
"Is that all you got?"
Sophie did not reply but just lowered her head in a contemplative mood before launching a series of shots from the blaster pistol in her grasp.
Every single shot was dodged by her father who then closed the gap and resolutely slammed a fist into her stomach.
The training was harsh and relentless, but Sophie kept pushing the limits of her body and her combat sense greatly improved. The mysterious qi gathering method would automatically activate at night and her cultivation level soon skyrocketed from qi body stage three to the stage seven after only one month with a breakneck pace.
Sophie fell into a regular routine over the next couple of weeks which drained her both physically and mentally. The mornings would involve her father mercilessly beating her in duels with varying weapons.
Knives, wh.i.p.s, swords, blaster pistols and hand to hand combat.
He did not teach her the cultivation arts that utilised these weapons but demanded perfection in the basics.
What was the point of learning a cultivation art when you could not even hold a blade properly?
Mastery of these weapons could not be achieved in the small timeframe of two months, so the Duke wanted to ensure that his daughter had a solid foundation in each type.
Although. his daughter had clearly not inherited his talent for swordsmanship
There was one weapon that Sophie's unexpected talent caused a small stir at the manor. The duke on a whim had lent her a whip for a sparring session just to showcase the strengths and weakness of the weapon.
What he did not expect was the immediate barrage of deadly attacks which caused him to be unable to get in the range to use palm attacks with his restricted cultivation base.
Wh.i.p.s were notoriously dangerous to master but had the advantage of a long range and greater flexibility that normal weapons could not match. It was only a class 4 training whip and yet it seemed almost alive in Sophie's hands.
There was also a strange look of battle l.u.s.t inside her eyes whenever she swung the weapon towards her old man.
The duke would not admit it, but a flash of fear entered his heart briefly when his daughter's eyes sparkled gleefully.
He disappeared in midair and defeated her swiftly but did not inform his daughter that he had to increase his cultivation base to the middle of the qi spirit stage to make an opening.
Were it not for the enormous amount of talent that his daughter possessed, the duke would have promptly stopped the use of the whip in training sessions.
Somehow, he felt that his innocent daughter may have awakened some. dangerous feelings.
The training for the other weapons also went quite well and Sophie learnt a reasonable degree of mastery for the knives and her aim with a blaster pistol was quite sharp.
'If only the other training sessions went so well' was a thought that frequently entered her mind.
Jack had taught her the Cloud Treading Dragon technique and she was now able to float in the air for two minutes. Sophie's speed had also increased drastically and sensed that the complete mastery of the technique was only one opportunity away.
The university entrance exam was one week after the class evaluation so there was no time to learn any other technique, but Jack gave her a data drive with a whip technique called the Black Viper Art.
There was only a slight regret that although she could now move the spider legs with a greater degree of movement, it was not up to the level of combat viability.
She promised to practice this technique when she returned to the royal academy and gave her awkward mentor a warm hug.
Jack was nothing but kind and patient throughout the whole two months and Sophie was filled with a deep sense of respect.
As for Katarina's training sessions,
Well let us just say that some things were better left unsaid.
It was fortunate that the duke house was rich enough to afford all the high-grade healing serums, but Sophie's body seemed to recover unusually quickly from physical injuries.
Sophie's cultivation level had also reached the cusp of the qi spirit stage and she sensed that a breakthrough was imminent.
Strangely enough she never saw the girl with six spider legs in the space after that one night despite trying desperately to search the darkness for her. Sophie did not know the reason but felt a sense of kinship towards the blurry figure and was upset when no trace of her could be found in the void.
On the final day of training her father threw a big surprise party at dinnertime and Sophie spent the night laughing joyfully with the teachers who helped her grow over these couple of months.
"My daughter, no matter what happens in the class evaluationI will always be proud of you," the duke muttered softly and wrapped his arms around Sophie in a big hug.
"You have statistically a 65 to 70 % chance of successfully reaching the minimum cut off point to represent the school," Jack said in a monotone.
He was then swiftly punched on the head and started rolling around on the floor in pain while Katarina scolded him relentlessly for being too negative. Jack was quite fortunate, as the duke was going to knock some sense into this tactless man before Katarina struck first.
"Don't listen to him kiddo. Just remember that if you can't winpoison them to death!" Katarina turned to her young pupil and gave a bloodthirsty grin.
Sophie looked at the two bickering bodyguards and felt the warm embrace of her father. She could not help the stifling feeling bubbling up in her chest and spoke up in an embarrassed tone,
"Thank you everyone."
"You are all my family."