Chapter 1 – The Ultimate Retainer
Tang Tian was the same as usual, standing lazily on the training grounds.
Looking at those young and pure faces, he snorted.
It was the first time the youths had come to Andrew Academy’s training grounds. Andrew Academy was Star Wind City’s top tenth academy. Even though the facilities on the training grounds were incomparable to the number one Heaven Dawn Establishment, they could still be considered a first-rate facility.
Furthermore, it was the first practical lesson for the new students, and they were brimming with curiosity.
“Everything that is written on the textbooks that you have all studied before, I have already explained thoroughly. From today onwards, other than theory classes, majority of your time will be spent here on the training grounds. If any of you dream of entering a better academy, studying and training diligently is the only way. Always remember, there are no shortcuts to success. Cultivating will forever be dull and tedious; never believe in luck.”
Master Cen solemnly said, as his voice echoed through the training grounds.
Eagerness and anticipation filled the young students’ eyes.
“Today, our syllabus is to practise the fundamentals of sword arts. Martial arts are useless if one simply studies the theory but neglects actual practise. However, before you all begin to practise on your own, your senior Tang Tian will demonstrate once. Senior Tang Tian is Andrew Academy’s most outstanding and skilled martial arts fundamentals expert, who even I, am unable to compete with. It will do you all well to watch and focus on what a perfect swordsmanship foundation looks like.”
“Shua”, all the youths turned their gazes to Tang Tian. In the eyes of many, the ‘slacker’ status changed for the better.
Tang Tian was cool and distant.
“Tang Tian, please begin.” Master Cen instructed.
“Oh.” Tang Tian responded with a sigh, and walked to the sword box in the corner and pulled out a wooden sword. Once he held the wooden sword, Tang Tian’s eyes instantly gleamed with sharpness and turned serious, with the previous laziness gone in a flash.
With his left leg pulled half a step back, his waist slightly lowered and his right elbow tucked in, Tang Tian raised the sword tip to eye level.
His waist was slightly deviated, his elbow was relaxed like a spring, and his wrist did not move an inch.
A shrilling sound rang through the clear air.
Andrew Academy’s Fundamental Sword Arts Strike!
Many youths subconsciously cheered in amusement. Many of them actually had no interest in the fundamental sword art techniques. As the name implied, the fundamental sword techniques aim to build a student’s foundation, and were considered the lowest stage of the sword art technique. It was normal for the youths to have no interest in them. Yet when they saw Tang Tian execute the fundamental sword techniques, each stroke looked simple, but was performed with grace and strength.
In a split second, he had won the hearts of the youths.
Tang Tian’s focus was at its peak, moving one foot swiftly forward, his shoulders were poised and unmoved, yet his arms were like ropes, when they suddenly trembled, the wood sword struck the floor.
The sound broke the silence, and people tensed.
The fundamental moves of the sword art technique generally have a much shorter range than those of the saber art, but stronger explosive force. As Tang Tian demonstrated the main points of ‘strike’ incisively and vividly, the youths could actually see the wooden sword’s flexibility in the air.
The youths once again, gasped in amazement, Master Cen was already used to it. He looked at Tang Tian standing on the training grounds and although he had seen him practise over and over again, every time he witnessed Tang Tian practise, it would always take his breath away. Master Cen even claimed that his mastery of the fundamental sword art techniques could not be compared to Tang Tian, and was very humble.
Raise, block, draw.
Tang Tian’s movements were like the clouds and flowing water, with a peaceful mind, he did not hesitate in the middle. His movements were poised, graceful, and yet, with strength. When he finished his last movement, the entire training grounds fell silent.
Tang Tian went back to his lazy facial expression, and threw the wooden sword away. As if the sword had eyes, it fell into the sword container at the corner.
The students cheered.
“Wow! That was amazing! The fundamental sword art techniques are actually this powerful!”
“Too cool! Too beautiful!”
“So cool! Tang Tian senior is so manly! Senior, senior, please be with me!” the eyes of the female students glimmered in the crowd. Tang Tian had a big stature, with this fundamental sword art techniques, it made him look perfect, without any ounce of clumsiness, leaving all to think he was coordinated as well as flexible.
Tang Tian was still indifferent.
“Che, what ignorance! So what if your fundamental sword techniques are perfect, you didn’t manage to pass the final exams for 5 consecutive years, this cool Tang Tian senior, was already learning these fundamental sword techniques when my brother began studying at Andrew’s. Pew, my brother is already about to graduate.”
This youth clamoured in the crowd.
A deep silence followed, and the gazes which were originally filled with admiration, quickly changed to a stare.
There were rumours about a student who was the ultimate retainer in Andrew Academy, and everyone knew about this laughing stock. Many came with the intention to ask about this, but never did they think that the ultimate retainer would be the one standing in front of them, the invincible Tang Tian senior.
He knew it would turn out like this…
Tang Tian pouted, matters like this happened every year. He had already gotten used to it. Yet he still passed an unfriendly glare to the rascal with a weird ying yang temperament.
Your brother probably hasn’t told you, but I have beaten him up before.
Tang Tian had already decided to settle the score with that fellow after class, but maybe he did not have to wait for so long…
Tang Tian squinted, in an ill speaking tone: “Who gave you permission to be distracted from class time? Oh yes, I forgot to tell all of you, I am the assistant of Master Cen, and I am in charge of your revision. Anyone who does not practise well, I am willing to let into combat. You, yes you, want to come out and spar?”
Tang Tian pointed at the boy with sarcastic remarks, his fist was kneaded up so tightly it made ‘ka’ sounds.
The boy’s face turned pale immediately and he suddenly remembered Tang Tian’s reputation. He kept quiet and ran to a side and started to practise.
The other students observed, and hurriedly began practising with clumsy movements.
At the same time, Master Cen noted: “If you have any questions, feel free to consult Tang Tian senior. Practise hard, don’t be lazy. Tang Tian, keep an eye on their practice session.”
“Yes!” Tang Tian shouted.
Master Cen nodded his head in satisfaction, and turned to leave.
No one came up all the way until the class ended. Tang Tian was slightly disappointed as he groaned and went away.
Once the lesson ended, everybody gathered around the boy.
“Quickly tell us, you only managed to say half of it earlier.”
The boy said arrogantly: “This Tang Tian senior, is the legend of Andrew Academy. Andrew Academy has always been known to bring forward one’s graduation, so who would retain? However, our Tang Tian senior stayed, and now he’s stayed, hmm, let me count, five years, a total of five years! Think about it, to stay in Andrew Academy for five years, what kind of thoughts would come to mind? He is definitely the first one to ever do that!!”
“Why would he stay for so long?” someone could not help but ask: “Even if he could not make it to a prestigious academy, a normal one should still be easy!”
The gossip made the youths more energetic: “You know why? Well, our Tang Tian senior did not manage to learn any higher ranked martial techniques in these five years. He only managed to master the fundamental martial techniques. In these five years, what can fundamental martial techniques do? If you want to be a chef, you got to know more than just a thing or two about the knives. If you want to attend a higher class restaurant, you got to have the set of humility at the back of your palms to attain a higher level of skills. To be a bartender at a nightclub not only do you need the higher level of skills, you also need connections. Without those, people will not even bother to look at you twice. You tell me, what are fundamental martial techniques for? Even the lousiest school would have taught at least rank two martial techniques.”
The gossip burned like fuel with the youths, one of them acted professional and said: ”Fundamental martial techniques are a cultivator’s foundation, as long as you learn them, it’s sufficient. The earlier you start cultivating rank two martial techniques, the better. That is the right way to do it. Those prestigious schools have produced genius students who could cultivate a higher level of martial techniques at a tender age. If you are fourteen years old and have learned rank two martial techniques, then you can be enlisted into a normal academy. To be fourteen years of age, and have completed rank three martial techniques, you can enter a better academy. And at fourteen years, if you can master all three ranks of martial techniques, you can enter a prestigious academy.”
“I have heard of that before too.” Someone spoke out.
“But, I am thirteen this year, I want to enter a prestigious academy.” someone said frustratedly.
“Keep dreaming, be realistic, you should be happy to be able to enter a somewhat better academy.”
Seeing others who agreed with him, the boy who was gossiping became more arrogant: “Ha, but the fundamental martial techniques do have their own use, if you don’t learn them well, you will never be able to practise rank two martial techniques.”
Seeing how arrogant he had become, a person stood out and laughed coldly: “Hey, but I heard that our senior does not favour boys and only trusts girls. Knowing you did not respect him today, you better be on your toes, lest he finds some trouble with you.”
The gossiping boy’s face turned dull as he remembered the glare Tang Tian had given him, his heart trembled.
The others became more curious and asked away: “Doesn’t he only know the fundamental martial techniques? Why is he still so proud?”
The boy laughed coldly and said,”You all saw it just now, with his caliber, he has no problem fighting one against three. He’s used to fighting and acting out on anger, whoever pisses him off will receive a huge beating. Other than Master Cen, he doesn’t even give the other teachers face. Even the strongest in our school would not be able to hold a candle to him.
“Are you speaking the truth? He’s that fierce?” A few of them did not believe him at all.
“He has a good physique and is ferocious, as though bleeding is a routine part of his life. I’ve seen people stronger than him, but his ferociousness, it’s truly on another level. Currently, he’s won every fight he’s been in, and even in his hardest fight so far, it still ended up with the both of them being injured, and not him losing. And those fights were against popular seniors.” One of the students warned: “You lot best not be disturbing him.”
All of them withdrew their necks, and many threw pitying gazes towards the gossiping youth, who had a pale complexion.
On the faces of the girls who were originally starstruck, the adoring gazes were already disappearing from their eyes, some even held a bit of disdain, some showed sympathy, while others outrightly gave a disgusted expression, while engaging in whispers.
“So he is an idiot, he almost tricked me, that body sure is sturdy though!”
“He’s a ruffian, so upsetting, nobody likes such coarse and vulgar guys.”
“Aiya, this world is so cruel, dreams are shattered just as quickly as they are formed.”
“Hehe, Xiao Nizi has the hots for him….”
The new student who had been talking could not bear it and said: “Save it, stop dreaming. He might only be a retainer, but he wouldn’t fancy you all.”
“Based on what! Cheh, if he didn’t have such a good physique, I wouldn’t even bother giving him a second look.” One of the shrewish girls had a look of contempt.
The new student looked at the girl with even more contempt: “Other people can’t be bothered with you. Your entire being, is not even worth a single hair on Miss Qian Hui! He already has Miss Qian Hui in his eyes, how would he even notice you?”
Lady Qian Hui!
Some of the female students couldn’t help but stare with wide eyes. Shangguang Qian Hui was a legendary figure of Star Wind City, and was the idol of all the girls and the ideal love of the boys. Her beauty was unparalleled, while she was warm and pleasant, she also achieved top scores in the entry test to Andrew Academy. Having been admitted to Andrew Academy, she had dominated the first position, and due to her existence, Andrew Academy had risen in the ranks. Last year, when she left Andrew Academy, the academy had dropped in ranking instantly.
The girl stopped talking, if she dared to even speak badly of Miss Qian Hui, at least half the audience here would step up to pummel her.
“Why would Miss Qian Hui have anything to do with this guy with no potential?” Some girls could not believe it.
The boy also wore a complicated expression as he shook his head and sighed: “I would like to know as well! Let me tell you, because of the threat of Miss Qian Hui, not a single expert dares to provoke him.”
Although it had already been a year since Miss Qian Hui left the academy, her legacy still remained.
In the office, Master Cen stood by the window, watching the entire scene unfold, not a hint of emotion could be detected within those deep blue eyes of his, yet he sighed lightly in his heart.
In this world, not everyone could be equally lucky.
He adored Tang Tian, and this led to him constantly worrying about him. Tang Tian was already seventeen years of age, hanging around a group of youths aged between thirteen and fourteen, was like a countdown for him.
At Tang Tian’s age, he should be in his graduation year. Moving on the next year, he will be too old to stay in the school. That meant that Tang Tian will be forced to enter the real adult life. The worrying thing was, with Tang Tian’s potential, it was impossible to find a job that could sustain him.
No one would recruit someone who only knew basic swordsmanship.
If he knew rank two martial techniques, he could at least have a low income, which wouldn’t be so bad. Although the days ahead would be tough and difficult, at least he could live his life out.
If only he had ten percent of Qian Hui’s talent, that would be good…