For the inauguration ceremony, the new batch of students was gathered in the main courtyard, in front of a stage.
When Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao arrived at the main courtyard, it was already very crowded and they could only stand at the back. However, they realised that they received lots of stares. The “Room 421” incident seemed to have been spread throughout the new batch of students. Some people looked at them with fear, some with admiration, some with contempt, some with amusement and some with anger. In one corner of the crowd, were the students from Wudang, and they were glaring at Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao. Amongst them were Hai Cheng who was in a cast.
“Guess we have really made Wudang our enemies, I hope they don’t try anything silly.” Muyou shrugged his shoulder as he ignored the others’ gaze.
Suddenly the chatter died down as everybody looked towards the stage. On the stage was Elder Hao, smiling as he gazed towards all of the new students.
“I am Elder Hao and I welcome you all, the 87th Batch on behalf of the Panther Academy.” Elder Hao smiled.
The crowd of students erupted into cheers. Panther Academy was a gathering place of the cream of the crop and to enter into Panther Academy was every Southern Province young martial art cultivator’s dream.
“Everybody here is a genius in their own right. In these 2 years of training in Panther Academy, everyone of you will undergo an intensive training regime. This regime will be unlike any training you had been through. It will be tough, but it will also allow you all to experience an unprecendented growth.” Elder Hao continued his welcome speech as he looked at the students’ awe-struck faces.
What Elder Hao said was not an exaggeration. There was a reason why every Sect and Clans would send their greatest talents to Panther Academy. It was because Panther Academy was an academy created by the Imperial Family to nurture future leaders of the country.
“Now, please proceed to the Logistics room to collect your training attires. After that, please rest early. You are going to need the rest for tomorrow’s training.” Elder Hao ended his speech as he exited the stage.
The students had collected several sets of training attire and Panther Academy uniform. The training attires were sleeveless black robe with a short pants, very simple design. The Panther Academy uniform was just an external black outer robe which had a white panther embroidered on the right chest.
After collecting, Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao had an early night. However, there were other students who spent the night partying away.
It was the next morning at 5am, everybody was still sleeping away. The sun had not even risen yet, however the training for the 87th Batch of students was about to begin.
“EVERYBODY ASSEMBLE AT THE SOUTHERN HALL IN 5 MINUTES!” A loud shout boomed throughout the accommodation tower. This shout woke everybody up and left them in shock. All of them hurriedly dress into their training attire and rushed down to the southern hall.
Despite being woken up suddenly, Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao looked very fresh as they rested early the previous night. However, those students who were partying the night away looked like they were still half-asleep.
“I am the head teacher for the 87th Batch, you can call me Instructor Wang. Now, for the next 3 months, everyday we will start with a warm-up. This warm-up will be a 10km run. Now let’s start.”
With just a simple introduction, Instructor Wang started the run.
When Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao were running in the middle of the pack, they received lots of stares. Muyou and Yiqi, who were dressed in the training attire, revealed the scars on their forearms for the first time. They had numerous battle scars on their forearms from their time spent in that jungle. The sight of their forearms shocked many students, as they could tell that Muyou and Yiqi had many deadly encounters. For the students in Panther Academy, most of them were geniuses in their hometown, so they were very well-protected. They were like young calfs who were bred in the best conditions, while Muyou and Yiqi looked like they were young calfs who spent their days ramapaging in the wild.
Yue Hao too were taken aback by their scars. “Seems like Muyou and Yiqi are not simple figures.” Yue Hao thought. It seemed like every moment he would learn something new about Muyou and Yiqi.
After reaching the 2km mark, Instructor Wang suddenly sped up. This caused many students to start to stagger behind. They had also entered the forest located behind Panther Academy. The path became uneven, rocky and slippery, the difficulty to keep up with Instructor Wang’s speed increased by several-fold. At the 4km mark, only 100 people were still able to keep up with Instructor Wang’s speed. The other 200 were still struggling at the back at their own pace. Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao were still able to keep up with his speed. Yue Hao was from a military clan, thus since young he had been undergoing such basic fitness training. Muyou and Yiqi who had spent most of their life running around in the jungle, thus this run was considered quite a breeze to them.
At the 6km mark, they approached a hill and Instructor Wang started speeding up again. With this increase of speed and the difficulty of running up a hill, only 50 people managed to keep up with Instructor Wang. Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao were among the 50 people, but they were giving it their all just to keep up with Instructor Wang’s speed. Luckily, this was the most difficult part of the run and the rest of the run was just running back to the Southern Hall.
When they reached back, there were only about 40 people who were able to keep up and they all looked like they were about to die from that run. Instructor Wang inspected the students who were able to keep up and nodded his head in satisfaction.
“40 people… Not too bad…” Instructor Wang seemed to be quite pleased with the 87th Batch.
“That concludes the warm-up! You guys can go to the canteen and grab your breakfast. Meet back at the Southern Hall at 7:30am!”
“Sir, what about those students who still had not finished the run?” A student asked as he was trying to catch his breath.
“Same for them! If they return at 7am, then they only have half an hour to eat! If they return at 7:30am, then they would not have any time to eat.”
This shocked the students. The thought of going through the trainings with no breakfast made them shuddered. Many of the students patted their backs for keeping up with Instructor Wang and were even more determined to keep up with Instructor Wang in the future.
Other than receiving a few stares from other students, nobody had created any trouble for Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao. The morning warm up run had already drained everybody of their energy, as they simply dragged their body into the canteen and wolfed down their breakfast.
After the breakfast, they were divided into 10 classes of 30 students. Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao were in a class under Instructor Pang. When they looked around at the students in the same class as them, they realised that everybody in this class was of common birth. There were no students from noble clans or great sects in this class. It seemed like Panther Academy still placed some focus on one’s status and background.
“Today, I am going to teach you guys the Panther Fists. This is a move which everybody in Panther Guards have to know. There are five stances to this move, now watch the first stance.”
Instructor Pang curled his fist like a panther paw and he leaned slightly backwards. Suddenly, his fists shot out in a spinning motion. His fists were like a shredder, shredding through the air with a Cha Cha Cha! sound.
“This is the Tearing of Disarm. This stance is meant to counter your opponent’s attack. If you master this stance, you can completely tear apart your opponent’s arm and weapons.”
When Instructor Pang finished his demonstration and explanation, all of the students in the class were filled with excitement, especially Muyou and Yiqi. They were not like students from other sects, so they only had the two martial art skills passed down by Grandmaster Hong. Although the two martial art skills were very powerful, they were still incomplete as Grandmaster Hong refused to pass down the full set. Thus, they were very eager in learning new martial arts skills.
“Now follow my motion. With the fist up, you have to gather your inner energy and bring it down like this…”
Instructor Pang went through the motion slowly with them and meticulously going through every small detail. He catered to every students’ learning speed and ensured that nobody was lagging behind.
In the afternoon, Instructor Pang brought them to the forest again and led them to a waterfall.
“Now all of you go stand under the waterfall and execute the Tearing of Disarm.”
It might seemed like a cliche method, but the impact of the waterfall was very effective in strengthening one’s body and help in mastering martial art stance. With the impact of the water constantly hitting on their arm as they executed the stance, they had to use all of their inner energy just to execute it once. All of the students, after executing the stance once had to rest for a moment before executing it again. However Muyou and Yiqi were constantly executing the stance under the waterfall.
After a while, Instructor Pang and the other students were all staring at them. The amount of inner energy and stamina they had were incredible. Even Yue Hao who was resting at one corner was staring at them in amazement. Another purpose of this training under the waterfall was to squeeze out all of the student’s inner energy which will allow for faster growth. However, Muyou and Yiqi were able to constantly execute the stance under the waterfall, and their stances were getting better with each execution.