It was already dusk as the students streamed out of the medicinal hall. Almost all of the students would spend hours in the medicinal hall browsing the exchange menu and memorising the various precious herbs available. Their current lack of Panther Tokens did not stop them from checking out the expensive herbs. It was like a window shopping experience for most of them, spending hours just looking around.
It was the same for Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao too. They were busy examining the various pictures and descriptions of the herbs, so that if they were to ever encounter one in the future they would not dismiss them as ordinary plants. Moreover, the information on the effects of various animals’ blood essence and body parts shocked Muyou and Yiqi. After reading through, then they had realised that during their 3 years in the jungle, how much of such precious resources had they threw away. For example, the huge gorilla which they spent so much effort to kill was actually a Mountain Gorilla. The bone marrow and blood essence of the Mountain Gorilla were actually worth 5 panther tokens each!
When Muyou and Yiqi recalled how they toss several valuable beasts’ corpses aside in the jungle, they felt like slapping themselves. Who knew how many more precious herbs Muyou and Yiqi had ignored previously too.
Thus, they stayed until the Medicinal Hall closing time. They were determined to commit all of these information to their memory.
When Muyou, Yiqi and Yue Hao left the Medicinal Hall, it was already late into the night. Although they were mentally exhausted, but each of them were extremely happy with their haul. Yue Hao had exchanged 1 of his panther token for a fiery boar blood essence. Muyou and Yiqi had only used up 2 of their panther tokens each to exchange for the Deep Marsh Mushroom for each of them. It was only the first week and they did not want to go on a spending spree.
Next day morning…
“What!? You guys did not go and get a new martial art skills manual!?” Instructor Pang shouted at Muyou and Yiqi.
Muyou and Yiqi were the most promising students Instructor Pang had ever taught, so he had extremely high hopes for them. In the training, he would devote most of his attention to Muyou and Yiqi which would inevitably cause some students to resent this favouritism.
However, Muyou and Yiqi’s flair in mastering the Panther Fists caused many of the other students to acknowledge their potential.
“We wanted to master the fourth and fifth stance before moving on to a new martial arts skill.” Yiqi answered.
“You two… How many times must I repeat myself that the fourth and fifth stances are extremely complicated. It was already an unprecedented accomplishment that you two managed to comprehend all 5 stances in one week. Most of the students in Panther Academy will just move on after barely comprehending the 5 stances, there were very few students who managed to master Panther Fists while in Panter Academy. Even I took 2 whole years to master the whole Panther Fists.” Instructor Pang was exasperated at this point. He did not want to see Muyou and Yiqi waste their time on this, it would be more beneficial for them to learn as many martial arts skill as possible. After learning, then they could take their time to master the martial arts skills.
That was also a reason why Panther Academy gave tokens upon comprehension of a stance but not mastery. It was because mastery of martial arts skills simply required too much time and certain stroke of enlightenment. The geniuses gathered in Panther Academy were still in their youth, and this was their best learning phase. Many people thought that it would be a waste of a person’s youth if he was to simply waste it away on mastering one martial arts skill.
“Please just let us try. If we fail to master these 2 stances in 3 weeks time, we will immediately pick up a new martial arts skill. Moreover, we will listen to your instructions from then on…” Muyou tried to negotiate. Muyou and Yiqi understood the vast difference between mastery and comprehension of a martial arts skill. During their time in the jungle, they had felt the power difference between mastery and comprehension of the martial arts skill. Thus, they were very unwilling to pick up a new martial arts skill before mastering the Panther Fists.
“Haiz…. You two… Ok, I will give you two till the end of this month. 3 weeks from now, if you still fail to master the last 2 stances, you 2 will listen to me from then on.” Instructor Pang gave in reluctantly. 3 weeks were a lot of time, especially with Muyou and Yiqi’s talent in learning martial arts skills.
For the whole of first week, Muyou and Yiqi always stayed in a secluded corner during the training. They did not have much interaction with the rest of the class, except an occasional chat with Yue Hao and the usual Instructor Pang’s pleas.
During the morning warm-up run, they would encounter Hai Cheng and he would kept glaring at them. Hai Cheng did not seem to be seeking trouble for them, thus they also left Hai Cheng alone.
One week have past again and Muyou and Yiqi were focusing on trying to master the fourth stance. This fourth stance was called “Panther’s Charge”, it caused the user to lock onto the target and charge towards it. It was very effective in closing large distance in a short time and then delivering a deadly burst. It was basically like a panther surging onto its target and pouncing onto it. Muyou and Yiqi were able to execute the Panther’s Charge with an effective radius of 10m, however, they still felt that something was missing. It was like they were missing the essence of this stance. When they compared their stance to Instructor Pang’s, theirs was like a kitten trying to pounce on a cotton ball.
When Muyou and Yiqi were training in a secluded corner as usual, a group of students from their class approached them.
“Yes?” Muyou looked at them.
“I am Zi Long, a fellow student in your class. I wonder if any of you two are willing to have a sparring session with me?” A student stepped forward and asked courteously. His body muscles were ripped and he had sharp facial features with a chiselled jawline.
“Did Instructor Pang agree to this?” Muyou asked while glancing over at Instructor Pang and the other students who were making their way over.
“He agreed to it. Don’t take this the wrong way, this is just a friendly spar to exchange pointers.” Zi Long hastily tried to clear any misunderstanding.
Muyou and Yiqi were Instructor Pang’s favourite students and they did not socialise much with the other students in their class. Thus, they understood that there would certainly be other students who resented Instructor Pang’s favouritism.
“Just agree to it. Zi Long is also another talented student in our class, he has sparred with almost every student in the class.” Instructor Pang said as he glanced at Muyou and Yiqi.
Muyou and Yiqi looked at the surrounding students and could see the excited expressions on their faces. Yue Hao who was amongst them nodded his head, trying to urge Muyou and Yiqi to spar with him. Seeing Yue Hao’s approval of this sparring session, Muyou and Yiqi accepted it.
“I will go first.” Muyou said as he walked towards the center of the training area.
“Zi Long please do not exert your full inner strength, this is only a friendly sparring session to exchange pointers. You have already unblocked 60 meridian points while Muyou is still at 52.” Instructor Pang said as the referee of the match.
Before Zi Long could answer, Muyou raised his hand to cut him off.
“Don’t need for that, come with me at your full inner strength. The numbers and categories are not everything.” Muyou said confidently. This was not because of his hidden 8 meridian points, but because he was confident in his superior control of inner strength. During his time in Panther Academy, he had realised that many students and instructors placed heavy emphasis on raising the levels of inner strength but neglecting the control and distribution. Inner strength had became like a number game, with everybody rushing to reach the so-called “higher levels of marble body”. However these were merely human constructs, categories given by human to easily estimate a person’s strength. Grandmaster Hong had taught Muyou and Yiqi that large amount of inner strength would be nothing without a proper control.
Everybody was shocked at Muyou’s statement, especially Zi Long. “I really don’t think it is such a good idea, this is just a friendly sparring session. What if you get injured…”
“If you don’t believe me, deliver a punch with all of your inner strength. If I am hurt, I will not hold it against you.” Muyou stepped back as he held his hand up beckoning Zi Long to strike.
“If you insist then watch out.” Zi Long warned Muyou as he started gathering his inner strength in his fist.
After a few seconds, Zi Long let out a huge shout and sent his fist flying towards Muyou. It was an all-out punch which Zi Long had gathered all of his inner strength with much effort.
Muyou took a deep breath and extended his palm towards Zi Long’s punch.
Upon impact, there was a loud bang. However, Muyou did not retreat a single step. He stood firmly at his original position as his hand clutched onto Zi Long’s fist tightly. Muyou’s arm seemed perfectly fine and he was not injured in any way.
This sight caused all of the spectators to be astonished, even Instructor Pang.
“How… How is this possible… I am at 60 meridian points, while you are at 52 meridian points…” Zi Long stammered as he looked at Muyou in shock.
“Why are you all so obsessed with the numbers and levels… Do they mean everything?” Muyou shook his head. “Now let me show you how a 52 meridian points can make you kneel.”
Muyou’s hand which had clutched onto Zi Long’s fist started to exert more force.
“Ahh.. Ahh… Ahh..” Zi Long started to moan in pain as he felt as if his fist was being crushed between 2 huge rocks. He tried desperately to pull his fist out, but Muyou had firmly gripped onto his fist.
Muyou started to exert even more force, causing Zi Long’s face to turn pale white. By this time, he was in so much pain that he was unable to stand. He knelt down on the floor as he tried to struggle out of Muyou’s grip.
Upon seeing Zi Long kneeling on the ground, Muyou let go of his fist. This shocked everybody even more, especially Instructor Pang. How could a 52 meridian point body dominate a 60 meridian point body? This scene just doesn’t make sense to them.