Edit: Slight edits by darklord5555
Chapter 23: Killing Style, One
Even though he had suffered before, the fist style’s degree of difficulty still completely exceeded Yue Qiang’s expectations.
He had practiced it for almost three months straight!
This was just unbelievably difficult.
At first it seemed average, but the more he trained, the more he felt that this set of fist fighting techniques… made zero sense.
It was all too easy to make a single move, but the moment he transited to the links that connected them it became so difficult that it was nearly impossible to complete. Moreover, she said that this fist style was supposed to be powerful? He couldn’t see how.
If he supposed that could use this set of fist fighting technique in-game after learning it in real life, then the skill that corresponded with this technique would probably be a big fat zero.
It was just incomparable. It was far lousier than the skill that he had seen on that Zhao Soldier, much less the skills of the enemies that would appear in later quests such as the mini-boss Zhao Officer.
The only assessment Yue Qiang could give to this fist style was that it looked beautiful. When Luqiu Duanyi danced, it was as if an angel was scattering flowers across the land. During this period, she had checked in on him and even demonstrated it again a couple of times and corrected some of his moves. Her movements were beautiful and standard, but she did not provide any guidance whatsoever to Yue Qiang’s main problem – the interlinking points of the fist style.
She did not even provide verbal guidance.
But even then, Yue Qiang could see the worry and urgency forming between her eyebrows.
Later on, he had also suspected that this was a method to train one’s constitution through external exercise. Perhaps he could train his body’s flexibility, balance and control through these high level connecting movements. That was why, on the fourth day of his practice, he had purposely cleared up some time to go back to his rented house, log into the Game, check his stats and verify his suspicions.
There were no changes in his stats whatsoever.
With that, he completely gave up and began seriously practicing this fist style without cutting any corners.
The good news was that the saying, ‘diligence can compensate for lack of natural talent’ was still applicable.
After over two months of hard work, he had finally completely mastered the fist style.
On the same late afternoon he mastered the fist style, Luqiu Duanyi saw him off at the entrance of the fitness club while holding a soft and brand new martial arts uniform. She eyed him for quite some time, as if contemplating the right words to use before she finally said,
“There are a few things I need to remind you of.” She said, “The limit of the human body will increase whenever it reaches a certain fold. The approximation of this fold is 1.6. When you’ve surpassed your limits three times and arrived at the fourth fold, then you will be met with the true bottleneck and limit of the human body.”
Yue Qiang memorized her words carefully while thinking, is this your way of telling me how the in-game level division works?
She continued, “The second thing I need to remind you is: Pay attention to the color of the sea. It means how much time you have left.”
The color of the sea is blue, so that meant the color blue was how much time he had left. But what did it all mean?
Luqiu Duanyi was silent for a very long time. She walked beside Yue Qiang and leaned really closely to him. She thoughtfully straightened all the wrinkles on his clothes before finally saying, “And finally, take care of yourself. Don’t die.”
The moment she finished speaking, she then left Yue Qiang and swiftly walked back towards the top-class fitness club. Standing at the center of the reception hall and bearing a huge smile, she said loudly, “Our work is done! Time to go home!”
It was late afternoon; just the time when the customers were slowly starting to increase. However, following her shout, the people inside began to leave the machines and walked out of the fitness club one after another. In no time at all, all the customers had left. After that, the front desk receptionists, the janitor and even the female manager he had met that day left as well.
Yue Qiang was already on his way, but he witnessed all of this when he was going down the escalator.
Suddenly, as if recalling something very important, he swiftly ran back to the club.
Luqiu Duanyi was still at the hall. It was as if going off work at late afternoon was a very normal matter.
Yue Qiang walked beside her and said, “Can you give me your number?”
“Come on, you’re still so straightforward even when you’re asking for a girl’s number. You’re not gentlemanly enough.” Luqiu Duanyi teased with a smile before writing down her number at the back of his hand.
“Can I reach you?” Yue Qiang asked.
“It can.” She continued to say joyfully.
“Can I really reach you?” Yue Qiang asked again.
This time Luqiu Duanyi withdrew her smile gradually, and after a moment of careful thought she nodded resolutely. Then she added, “You definitely can. But please, be quick.”
Yue Qiang returned to his own rented house once more.
For the past two months he had spent almost all of his time in Luqiu Duanyi’s fitness club. He hadn’t played the game much in the first place, and this time he didn’t even log in for tens of days in a row. When he went back, he specially bought a lot of cup noodles and water before leaving behind the store clerk’s seductive smile and extreme discounts.
Yue Qiang had a premonition that he would probably be playing the game for a very long time after this return. He would not be going back to that fitness club for a while.
While the real world grew more and more doubtful, his various speculations had instead decreased. Yue Qiang remembered Luqiu Duanyi’s words: Only by increasing his strength will he be able to understand everything and come to a solution.
Since it was the game that had brought all of these changes into his life, then, naturally, he had to return to the game to see through and resolve these problems.
This was a very plain and very natural principle.
Yue Qiang pressed the power button.
It seemed that the speed in which he entered the game had increased even further. In the blink of an eye, the character status screen was already before his eyes. After nearly three months of training, his Strength and Vitality had both increased by 2 points and reached 15 points respectively.
As expected, it was no easy task to improve further on every success. In fact, there were more changes to the progress bars at the corner of the screen.
The red progress bar was still stuck at 0, and the green one had progressed just a little. The blue bar had progressed the further and had reached close to 30%. Yue Qiang suddenly recalled Luqiu Duanyi’s advice: Pay attention to the color of the sea. It means how much time you have left.
Could she be referring to this blue progress bar?
After Luqiu Duanyi’s advice, Yue Qiang had paid special attention to these things. He carefully recalled the number of times these colors had appeared during a system message (T/N: Heh. I wonder how many people paid attention to this detail). The red color ones had almost never appeared before, and the green one had only appeared once after he activated the ‘Run’ Skill. On the other hand, the blue system messages had appeared the most frequently.
It seemed that the blue progress bar would gradually increase as he completed more and more quests.
This was especially true when it came to hidden quests. Other than displaying a blue color font, the system had even specifically labeled the word [Blue] behind ‘System Message’.
However, Yue Qiang did not view the blue progress bar as merely a achievement tracker of sorts.
Other than displaying the percentage of quests he had completed, it was very possible that it had a different function; something like a timer of sorts. When the progress bar had reached 100%, there would then be a sudden and massive change.
Perhaps this change had already begun.
But it was pointless to think about it. He could only complete as many main quests as possible.
He clicked the ‘Enter Game’ button and returned to that familiar room.
Anxious, Yue Qiang immediately opened his character status screen first before anything else. As expected, there was a new skill below ‘Run’ LVL 2.
“Killing Style, One!”
Skill Description: Swiftly unleash eight completely different styles of punches in a row towards the front. This skill will consume Stamina to use. This is a fist style designed specifically to kill, however it seems that that the eight fists do not flow well into one another as if it contained some great flaws. It can deal two to eight times the damage based of the Strength value.
The fluctuation range of the might of this Killing Style, One seemed to be a bit huge. As compared to the Zhao Soldier’s ‘Vertical Strike’ skill; which dealt a consistent damage of 4 times Strength value, this new skill of his didn’t seem too strong unless he could really deal 8 times the damage.
Forget it. Regardless, he would only know the true might of the skill after he tested it on the battlefield. While thinking, Yue Qiang swiftly exited and arrived at the village chief’s house.
For the past two months, he had come back frequently to login to the game, and it was mainly for the two latter two quests of the quest chain, ‘Assist in the Defense of Yue Village’ and ‘Take Down The Enemy General’. The last time he came back, the two quests were still in an inaccessible state.
They were very close to the time limit of three months now. Yue Qiang clicked Chen Zi Han’s avatar once more and checked the quests. The two quests’ release status had changed and was now accessible.
Chen Zi Han looked as aged as ever, but his expression was slightly different from his slightly jestful arrogance from before. It was closer to that of solemness of a priest who was about to be martyred; as if today would be the last day of his life.
It was still the same system message inside the dialog box, but now there was a kind of solemness that flowed from it.
Chen Zi Han: “The quest ‘Defend Yue Village’ has been activated. Do you accept?”
Warning: The difficulty of this quest is Dark Red. Difficulty: Extremely Hard!
Do you accept?