Translated by Moe
Chapter 29 Skin Refining Successfully Completed
“Ling Xiao, hurry up and greet Elder Taishang.” Ling Cang finally broke his silence and said anxiously.
Ling Xiao hesitated for second and then also bowed to Elder Taishang in greeting. However, he was not as fervent in ingratiating himself as the other four.
Seeing Ling Xiao’s lack of enthusiasm, Ling Cang’s heart twisted into a knot from anger, inwardly cursing this boy for having no sense of propriety.
Elder Taishang clasped old hands behind his back, narrowing his eyes as he gave Ling Kuang a once over, and then let out a gentle chuckle, “Not bad, not bad. He is indeed a good seedling.”
Hearing Elder Taishang’s praise, Ling Kuang nearly whooped in delight but remained calm and collected as he returned a salute. “Thank you, Elder Taishang, for your high praise.”
Off to the side, Second Elder Ling Mo exposed a rare smile, as if he was all but certain that Elder Taishang has settled on Ling Kuang.
Before long, Elder Taishang swept his gaze upon Ling Lin and said, “You’re also pretty good.” Just as Ling Lin was about to express her thanks, he continued, “It’s a pity that your attribute is incompatible with me.”
This last statement was like a dagger to Ling Lin and Fourth Elder Ling Wei’s hearts and made it incredibly difficult for them to bear.
“Don’t lose heart. So long as you remain assiduous in your practice, your future accomplishments will not be less than his.” Elder Taishang spoke again. He did not wish for his words to break the spirit of a good seedling.
Elder Taishang’s encouragement allowed Ling Lin to regain her self-confidence. She staunchly nodded and turned to speak to Elder Taishang, “Thank you Elder Taishang, I will heed your advice and strive with great effort.”
Elder Taishang nodded at her appreciatively before directing his gaze on Ling Li, only for his brows to jump from surprise. “Not bad. Not bad at all. Your breakthrough to xuan warrior is drawing nigh, and your temperament is very steady. There should be no limit to what you can achieve in the future.”
“Thank you, Elder Taishang, for your high praise.” Ling Li answered as he bowed with sincerity. He is currently eighteen years old and will turn nineteen before the year’s end. He’s confident he will break through to xuan warrior before then. His talent is only greater, not less than Ling Kuang, with his only shortcoming being that he’s a year younger than Ling Kuang. If not for his age, how would his current achievements be any less than Ling Kuang?
Eventually, Elder Taishang looked over both Ling Xian and Ling Xing in turn. Ling Xiao was still indifferent but regarded this old man with all due respect. Ling Xing, on the other hand, was incredibly nervous. His present condition is not good, and he was afraid that Elder Taishang will directly ignore him.
Regarding Ling Xiao and Ling Xing, Elder Taishang only left one remark, “Quite exceptional.”
The appraisal left the Patriarch and the Elders confused. They did not know who Elder Taishang has set his sights on. Was it Ling Kuang or Ling Li? These two’s chances were the greatest and Elder Taishang gave these two the highest evaluation.
This is not only a matter of personal achievement but is also an issue of great importance with regards to the balance of power between the Ling Family factions. If Elder Taishang selects Ling Kuang, Second Elder’s faction will become even more emboldened, and the position of next Patriarch will inevitably fall into the hands of the Second Elder’s son. If Elder Taishang chooses Ling Li, then Ling Cang’s position will be secured, leaving the Second Elder and Fifth Elder no choice but to pull in their horns. No one among them dares to offend Elder Taishang’s prestige.
A profound silence reigned in the surrounding area. Everyone stood still, awaiting Elder Taishang final decision.
It was at this time that a very impatient voice broke the silence, “Third Elder, give me my reward first. I still need to go back to have a meal.” The one who spoke out is no other than Ling Xiao. He had no interest in waiting for this old man’s decision. The exam had consumed more than half of the day, and he had long been starving.
When these words came out, Ling Xiao became the focus of attention once more. This guy is an absolute clown to not know the immensity of heaven and earth. With Elder Taishang present, this is not his place to speak out.
“Don’t be rude!” barked Ling Cang, his brow furrowed.
“If you want to leave, then leave. No one is stopping you.” Second Elder Ling Mo said, apparently displeased.
“But I haven’t received my reward!” Ling Xiao said. He was similarly in a bad mood; he had gone through great pains for his share of the reward, yet he has to leave with nothing to show for his efforts. This is too hard to swallow.
“Humph! Offending Elder Taishang is a capital offense. You’d make yourself scarce if you have any tact. Otherwise, even the Patriarch cannot save you.” Fifth Elder Ling Yan coldly snorted.
“Screw you old man. I still haven’t gotten my reward for beating your grandson, and you want to drive me out? Over my dead body.” Ling Xiao cursed. He had been holding himself back for a long time, but this Fifth Elder had been relentless in making life difficult for him. Since the old man had no good will toward him, he will not even deign to keep up appearances.
“How dare you curse at me?! Patriarch, as you can see, Ling Xiao is offensive to his seniors and has violated family rules. He should be punished for his impudence.” The Fifth Elder blew his beard to and fro in his angry tirade. He seized the opportunity to get Ling Xiao in trouble without affording Ling Cang an opportunity to deescalate the situation. His scheme could even be said to kill two birds with one stone and utterly ruthless.
Just as Ling Cang felt like he was caught between a rock and a hard place, Elder Taishang let out a gentle laughter, “There’s no need to feel anxious. Your reward is right here.” As he finished speaking, an ancient scroll fragment appeared on Elder Taishang’s hand.
“What is this?” Ling Xiao asked, filled with confusion.
“Take a look for yourself.” After Elder Taishang had finished speaking, he waved his hand softly and sent the fragment floating over to Ling Xiao.
The four individuals beside Ling Xiao could not understand Elder Taishang’s intentions, but all the Elders had an inkling of what was to come. An extremely unsightly expression appeared on the Second Elder and Fifth Elder’s faces. Only Third Elder Ling Yuan wore a smile on his face as if he had known all along.
“It turns out to be the latter three transformations of the Vajra Five Transformation Secret Art.” Ling Xiao muttered to himself. His eyes shone with a radiant glow as he flipped through the scroll fragment. He then looked up and said to Elder Taishang, “Thank you for the reward, Elder Taishang. Since everything’s in order, I’ll make my leave. Feel free to proceed with your conversation.”
Having said his piece, Ling Xiao received the extant fragment of the latter three transformations in his bosom, turned around and left.
Ling Xiao’s behavior left everyone speechless. This guy still doesn’t seem to understand just how lucky he was.
“Xiao’er, don’t be impolite. Why have you still not offered a bow of thanks to Elder Taishang?” Ling Cang was extremely anxious. He didn’t expect Elder Taishang would take a fancy to Ling Xiao. He was inwardly wild with joy, but was infuriated by Ling Xiao’s cavalier attitude and wanted to slap him to death. This boy was incorrigible.
“Haven’t I already thanked him? I need to hurry back home to eat. There’s no need to send me off.” Ling Xiao did not even turn his head as he waved his hand overhead and continued to walk away without missing a beat.
“Stinking brat!” Ling Cang shouted disapprovingly. Just as he was about to go after Ling Xiao, Elder Taishang waved his hands to stop him and chuckled, “I am also feeling a little hungry. I might as well go along with this boy to get something to eat.”
With that said, he took off in the direction Ling Xiao had just left, leaving everyone staring after him with blank expressions on their faces.
Half a month later, a young man stood with his upper body exposed, roasting under the blistering heat of the fiery sun. His normally ivory skin was now dark as coal, and sweat dripped off of him like rain drops. But most alarming of all was the threads of burnt, white smoke rising from his body.
As it turns out, he was not just exposing himself to the blazing sun, but had also surrounded himself on four sides by gold plated copper mirrors to reflect even more sunlight on his body. Any person that is located at the focus of the mirrors would be cooked alive by the highly concentrated sunlight, but the young man nevertheless raised two buckets of water in his hands. He struggled to maintain his horse stance, biting down on his teeth to keep from shaking, as he recited the mnemonic chants in his heart.
Sitting in the shade of a nearby green rattan pergola, an old man was leisurely drinking from a small wine cup. An elegant and beautiful young lady stood to his side, regularly pouring wine for him and putting him in a cheerful mood. It was as if it had been a long time since he had felt this kind of happiness.
“Venerable Elder, is it possible for you to let Young Master rest a while? He won’t be able to hold out for much longer.” While the young lady gently messaged the old man’s shoulders, she tried to speak up for the youth standing out in the sun.
The old man laughed and replied, “I did not ask for him to torture himself this way; this is all his own doing. You can go tell him to stop if that is what you want.”
The young lady seemed vexed as she said, “Young Master will not listen to my words.”
“He will also not listen to me.” The old man replied humorously.
The young lady stamped her feet in anger but didn’t have any other ideas.
Not even a second passed before the youth roasting in the sun let out a long howl. His expression was extremely fierce, as if he had turned into a wild beast, and the black skin on his body started to crack, giving him a dreadful and frightening appearance.
“Young Master, you don’t need to practice any longer!” The girl cried out in alarm, no longer paying attention to the old man.
The youth, as if he could not hear, continued to let out a blood-curdling scream, “AHH…AHH…”
The skin on his face eventually cracked and peeled off. The tiny cracks were like a cobweb, numerous and densely packed, as it extended out from the face towards the neck, then the chest, the arms and so on until no place was left uncovered.
“Quickly immerse in cold water!” The old man shouted loudly from under the rattan pergola.
The youth’s arms shook, sending the two buckets flying toward the nearby cask before plunging into the cask himself.
“Hiss…Hiss…” The fizzling sound as hot metal meets cold water filled the air.
“AHH!” The young man within the cask let out another terrifying scream.
“Young Master!” The girl covered her face as she cried out in alarm. She could not bring herself to watch the young man in such misery and suffering.
“Haha. I didn’t expect him to complete the first transformation, “Skin Refining,” in one short month. His incredible talent and voracious work ethic seem inseparable.” The old man exclaimed, looking extremely pleased as he stroked his white beard, and didn’t appear to feel the slightest grief for the youth’s miserable condition.
A long time passed, the young man made his way out from the cask, and bellowed, “I thought I was going to die back there. Only a masochist would be able to practice an external skill.”
“Young Master, are you okay?” The girl cried out in fear and then hurriedly ran over to the young man in the cask.
“I’m fine. What could possibly happen? A little bit of pain can’t stop your young master.” The youth patted his chest and said.
The young lady suddenly noticed the young man’s bare naked body, and her cheeks couldn’t help but flush a deep red. Just as she was about to turn away, she cried out in astonishment, “Young Master, your face…”
“What’s wrong with my face?” The young man asked as he touched his face.
However, his touch caused a large piece of skin to fall off and made him jump with fright.
This piece started a domino effect as he continued to shed all the skin on his face, exposing white, silky smooth skin underneath like that of a newborn infant.
“What-what is going on? Could it be that I’ve completed the first transformation?” The young man thought out loud as he watched the skin on his chest sloughed off.
“Correct. You’ve finished refining the first transformation, “Skin Refining.” The old man answered.
“Haha. This one month of hardship has finally paid off.” The youth roared with laughter as he jumped out from the cask, no more dead skin on his body. His whole person appears bright and lively and his skin exquisite and clean—the image of perfect health and manly charisma.
Needless to say, the youth is Ling Xiao, bitterly cultivating the Vajra Five Transformation Secret Art. The young lady is his servant girl, Bai Yu Xi. And the old man is Ling Family’s Elder Taishang.1
- No kidding.