Zhao Ying clenched her teeth and tried to maintain her position. She began to feel hopeless when knives started to strike from every single direction, possibly taking her life. Chu Li was still behind her. Could it be that both of them were to die right then and there?
She quickly cleared her jumbled thoughts, and concentrated on her swordplay instead. She tried to strike whenever chances presented itself. Every moment she stayed still counted as a victory.
"Brother! You go ahead!" Zhao Ying shouted.
Chu Li sighed. He drew his sword from its scabbard, and pushed himself into the air. He rushed down from above like a hawk aiming for its prey, with his sword flashing like a strike of lightning.
"Ahahahah!" A chain of screaming can be heard, Zhao Ying immediately felt a sudden release of stress as she quickly turned and saw Chu Li striking from the sky like a demon. His sword was flashing lightning, every spark brought someone down.
In a split second, she had not even made her third move, and everyone was already on the ground, except for both Chu Li and Zhao Ying, who remained standing.
Zhao Ying was startled.
Chu Li stabled himself with the sword once more, and looked an even deadlier shade of pale.
"Let's go, let's not stay here for too long."
"Got it!" Zhao Ying nodded.
She needed not for Chu Li's reminder this time around. She held her sword and stabbed the people on the floor, one by one. She supported Chu Li up his horse and the both of them continued their journey past the boundary of the Raging Tigers.
As they left the vicinity of the Raging Tigers, Zhao Ying let out a deep breath. She turned towards Chu Li, who was not getting any better.
"Chu Li, let's look for a place to rest. We're now out of their territory. We need not fear any more attempts of robbery."
"We'll have to go a little further, they might catch up"
"Can you make it ?"
"Not a problem."Chu Li smiled.
Zhao Ying shook her head, this was not normal fatigue. He was definitely hurt, he probably used a secret technique that stimulated one's capacity, and he was suffering from the aftermath! Especially that last round, he definitely used the secret technique again, and he was really feeling the consequences of it.
She blamed herself for it. She was incompetent. Her skills in martial arts were low. She did not even do her job right as a Protector, and even became a burden, such a humiliation!
Chu Li smiled.
"Zhao Ying, don't blame yourself. You can't help to be weak or strong in martial arts, what you can do now is to simply cultivate well."
"Hmm." Zhao Ying lowered her head.
"You haven't even grasped the true mysteries of Swallow Reversal. You might as well observe and analyze a swallow, or some other birds on how they move and fly, you may be enlightened by the experience."
Chu Li said.
"Right!" Zhao Ying lifted her head and wore an excited expression. "I should observe a swallow!"
Chu Li smiled.
"There will be chances to do so."
Two of them were talking for quite the long time, and travelled on for many miles. They finally decided to rest beneath a tree.
It was already late evening. Zhao Ying hopped onto a tree to scouted the area. She shook her head. "Brother Chu Li, we might have to camp in the wild tonight."
"I'm not that noble."
Chu Li smiled.
He crossed his legs and sat atop of a thick bunch of dried leaves. Countless inner strength flowed into him, nourishing his body. His meridians were like a droughted land finally tasting sweet rain, and immediately revitalized.
As he was revitalizing his meridians, he activated a cycle of the Minute Pulse Cleansing Technique, and sped up the process.
Zhao Ying looked at Chu Li's facial complexion.
Chu Li smiled.
"I'm really okay, I just have to meditate for a bit."
"It's all my fault"
Zhao Ying softly mumbled.
"Zhao Ying, there is no point in thinking like that. If anyone were to be blamed, it'd be me for being too weak."
Chu Li replied.
Zhao Ying shook her head.
Chu Li smiled.
"Zhao Ying, do you know how to cook?"
"Then make us a nice meal!"
"Roger!" Zhao Ying nodded.
"You only have energy to heal yourself when you're full!"
She turned around and gathered some wild vegetables and mushrooms. Zhao Ying is proficient in mushrooms, she knew that most mushrooms in the wild was not edible, and any mistakes will lead to deadly poison. Most of the mushrooms outside however, were nice and fresh.
She used tied meat and rice, added wild vegetables and mushrooms and put them to cook in a pot. She boiled them for four full hours. The porridge smelled really good.
Chu Li warmed up and felt comfortable after drinking it. She had boiled the porridge with just the right heat control. The porridge was especially delicious if it had been consumed while tired.
The moonlight was as clear as the water, and Chu Li was quietly meditating to the side. Zhao Ying sat near him, listening to his long and deep breaths. She felt very safe and calm.
She took a few peeks at Chu Li as she noticed that Chu Li was heavily immersed in meditation. It was as if he was fused to the land, releasing an indescribable aura of prestige and vigor.
She quickly closed her eyes, afraid that Chu Li would notice. A sudden thought of the humiliation from daytime came into her mind. She immediately held her chin up and decided to dedicate herself in cultivation. With the channeling of her inner energy, her meridian was stabilized. It cycled her whole body over and over. She could usually do only ten cycles, but she had done twenty today!
If that was the case, her cultivating speed had doubled! This was incredibly surprising!
Her meridians were also stable during the day, but she never thought that it would be like this. The medicine's only completely diffused now, and revealed its benefits.
She took another peek at Chu Li before she decided to lie down and sleep.
The next morning, she woke up and looked around for Chu Li. She could not find him and quickly hopped onto the tree. The two horses were still there, but she could not find a trace of Chu Li. Right as she was about to call for him, she heard footsteps. Chu Li was holding onto two alpine musk deers, and walked out from the woods.
"Brother Chu Li!" She quickly called out.
Chu Li held up the two deer and smiled.
"We're going to have a good meal!"
"At least tell me about it!"
Zhao Ying lightly hopped in front of him and rolled her eyes.
She took both deer from his hands.
"Are you feeling any better?"
Chu Li smiled.
"Doing much better now!"
Zhao Ying smiled.
"That's nice to hear. What do you want to eat, Chu Li?"
"Whatever you're good at."
Chu Li smiled.
Zhao Ying had brought tools with her, all small and handy. It is important for Protectors to have them, being that it is risky for Protectors to eat outside. Even if they had a silver needle to test for poison, it would be best to just eat their own cooking.
Zhao Ying smiled.
Both of them had a meal of deer meat and wild mushrooms topped with even more deer meat. The fragrance from the meat and the mushroom mixed together, forming a rich and unique smell, making one drool when they smell it. Both of them continued their journey after a satisfying meal.
It was peaceful and smooth without any robbers. They came to the front of a ravine by late evening.
The ravine itself was relatively hidden. It looked just like a concave land next to a small hill, but once someone had entered, they would realize that it was a completely different world. There were thick grooves in the ravine, the plants were lush, and the land was fertilized.
Chu Li was impressed, it was indeed the Public House. They were powerful enough that they are able to find such a great place that was not eye-catching.
"It is here? Zhao Ying walked in. Looking at the dense trees, she helplessly said:
"No one had come here before, right?"
Chu Li nodded.
"That's why it's hidden. From today onwards, we aren't allowed to leave here!"
"How long do we need to stay here?"
"What can we possibly do in this one month?"
"Plant the Fairy's Beard. You don't know about this, do you?"
Zhao Ying shook her head, as she had never heard of it before.
Chu Li explained to her the Fairy's Beard while smiling. They began to work on it. The three knives they had looted played their role here. They cut down the trees like they were slicing tofu. Chu Li cut down a few trees and made two wooden houses out of it with Zhao Ying. They were both simple but strong.
Deep into the ravine there was a pool under the stone wall, it was as clear as a mirror, and that was their water source.
Zhao Ying was in charge of their meals, and then cultivated. Chu Li plowed five units of farm land to plant the Fairy's Beard and Dream of Pearl.
He had found four Tendon Clearers in the process. He combined them with the Land's Dragon, extracted another sixteen Torso Refiner, and split them into halves. The Torso Refiner was very rare to normal people, but to them it was really easy to obtain.
Zhao Ying did not attempt to be pretentious, she had accepted them and consumed them, realizing that her meridian was now twice as strong, she could train from the night to the next morning. She cultivated for the entirety of the first night and improved dramatically. Chu Li himself was improving even faster.
Ten days in, and she had already broke thirty acupuncture points. Another six and she would complete her acquired mastery. The Protectors could already pass the seventh rank in this situation, provided that their martial skill does not burden them.
Unfortunately, there exists a huge pit in between completely acquired skills and the mastery of innate skills. Mastery of innate skills is hard. Many people were stuck in this phase, unable to make a breakthrough. Nine of ten martial artists suffer a plateau at this point, much like a carp attempting to jump over the Dragon's Gate. A keypoint of transforming.
The key to reaching the innate levels is cultivation. If one had a stable foundation and was gifted, it would be much too easy for them to have broken through it. But if the opposite were true, they would be stuck for the rest of their life.
In the morning, Zhao Ying got up from bed, washed herself and instantly began training her Swallow Reversal. She had recalled what Chu Li had taught her the day before, and she was trying to figure it out, correcting herself bit by bit. Even though she had only corrected two small parts, the overall power of her Swallow Reversal had increased.
Chu Li's judgement was as sharp as razor. He could always find the weak point in her swordplay. With only ten days of effort, Zhao Ying could feel that her swordsmanship underwent large chZhao Ying. Its power was far different from before.
She walked to Chu Li's house after she finished her practice. Chu Li was training his Delusion Spilt. His moves were slow, it was as if he was wielding his sword without purpose.
She shook her head, and recalled of how Zhuo Fei Yang trains his Delusion Split. A flurry of strikes. He said that in order to win the opponent's sword, his swordplay needed to be faster, else he would not be able to see their weakness. If he were any slower, the chances would have already been gone and it was all completely useless.
However, she placed her trust on Chu Li now, knowing that Zhuo Fei Yang was acting like a child. His knowledge was far removed from Chu Li's. There must be a reason as to why Chu Li was moving this slowly. He would not waste his time for no good reason.
"Oh. That flower on the table, have a taste of it."
"I planted it for fun, it doesn't taste too bad."
"You're not trying to fool me, are you?"
Zhao Ying stared at him.
She realized that Chu Li had the tendency to tease people. He enjoyed teasing her a lot, and sometimes it was laughable to the point where Zhao Ying herself could not muster any anger.
Chu Li smiled and as he continued to practice his swordsmanship.
"It's good stuff, you'll regret if you don't eat it!"
"If anything happens after I eat it, I'll be counting on you!" Zhao Ying said it angrily.
She walked to the square wooden table and opened the wooden box on the table. It was a crystal clear flower, it looked like it was carved out of ice. It was unusually beautiful, so much so that she was not willing to eat it.
"How do I eat this?"
"Just pluck out the petal and eat it, it tastes great."
Zhao Ying could not stop worrying. She resolutely plucked one of the petals out and placed into her little mouth. It was fresh and sweet, it went down to her throat smoothly and flowed into her heart. It was inaudibly comfortable, she continued to pluck the flower.
When she regained consciousness, she had already finished eating the flower. She looked at Chu Li, embarrassed.
Chu Li smiled.
"This is the Dream of Pearl, it's good for women like you."
"What is it for?" Zhao Ying asked curiously.
She did not feel any discomfort, rather, it was very warm and speechlessly comfortable.
Chu Li smiled as he said.
"It grants you eternal youth."