Proofers/Editors: nick0 (Pascal), Bobo
As Zhang laid on the ground rolling in pain, Cai Cao’s finger extended once more and pressed against his forehead. Suddenly the pain subsides and Zhang could feel a raging energy gush into his body.
An overpowering sensation soon overtook him as a hand was extended to help him up.
“Let's go!” Cai Cao yelled as he pulled Zhang up and began running.
Now instead of feeling out of breath like before, Zhang felt that he could keep running for hours without stopping if he had to. His steps now felt lighter and his body felt like it was weightless.
“I temporarily opened up a few of your essence points, essence should be flowing into your
body and you should be connected to the great flow now.” Cai Cao said to Zhang.
Like acupuncture points, essence points were located throughout the human body. The only difference was, while there are hundreds of acupuncture points in the body there are only forty-four essence points that fed essence into channels that circulated throughout the body.
Regular people usually have their essence points blocked and only a small amount of essence could be found or produced in their bodies. But once the points are unblocked a substantial amount of essence fills the body, then the amount of essence produced inside the body would drastically increase.
“So is this what being a cultivator feels like?” Zhang thought to himself as he could feel the power swelling up inside his body.
They continued running as their pursuer continued pursuing. The shirtless man with bulging muscles were still hot on their trails, had Cai Cao not temporarily opened Zhang’s essence points then their pursuer would have caught up already.
Although Cai Cao could probably hold his own against the man with bulging muscles in a fight, if he had to protect Zhang while doing so then he would probably end up at a disadvantage. It would take a bit of time before Zhang’s body was used to being a part of the flow of essence and then perhaps they would be able to engage in combat.
“Tell me when you no longer feel the essence flowing into your body! That is when we strike.” Cai Cao said to Zhang in a quiet tone, trying to not let anyone else hear his words. Once Zhang’s essence points fill up and his body stabilizes then he and Cai Cao can face their pursuer.
From the looks of it their pursuer was definitely not on the first level of the fragmented realm or else he wouldn't be so confident as to chase after two opponents.
“If you two stop running and cough up your pills then I'll let you off with a light beating!” The man with bulging muscles roared.
“Hmph.” Cai Cao snorted as he continued running with Zhang.
Zhang and Cai Cao continued running through the mountains at high speeds, dodging trees and jumping over bushes. As the chase continued signs of frustration began to show on the face of their pursuer.
Although Zhang was not yet familiar with his new found power, if it was used solely for running then he was completely fine. But as the chase continued on, essence gradually seeped into every pore of his body until no more could flow inside.
By now their pursuer was an arm’s length away from the two and slowly closing in, had this man been armed with a sword then perhaps he would have been able to attack.
“Brother Cai! The flow stopped!” Zhang yelled out as he continued running.
“Good! Follow my lead!” Cai Cao yelled back as his body spun sideward with his fist out.
Cai Cao’s body did a one hundred and eighty degree turn and his fist swept right past the face of their pursuer. Had the man been an inch closer than Cai Cao’s fist would have struck his nose.
With his attack failing Cai Cao jumped backwards a few times to create some distance between him and the man with bulging muscles.
All of this happened in an instant and while Cai Cal swung his fist back, tried Zhang to perform a sweep kick with his leg but the man with the bulging muscles after being nearly struck by Cai Cao’s fist had jumped back causing Zhang’s attack to miss.
Having received some military combat training during his time in the Shu Army, Zhang was fairly familiar with hand to hand combat. Despite his lack of knowledge on the use of essence, if he simply relied on brute strength from his currently empowered body then perhaps he can be of some assistance to Cai Cao.
“You take the left I'll take the right!” Cai Cao roared to Zhang as he charged forth with unbelievable grace and speed.
“Come at me!” The man roared as his already bulging muscles seemed to bulge even more.
“Eat this!” Cai Cao yelled as dozens of tiny needles shot out from his sleeve as he waved his arm.
“You think some shitty needles can do anything to me? Everyone in my clan practices the iron body technique and at stage two my body is as hard as stone!” The man yelled mockingly.
However, when Cai Cao’s needles closed in he noticed they were emanating a faint trace of essence.
“Damn…” He thought as he jumped back trying to dodge the rain of needles. However, by the time he noticed the essence emanating from the needles and the time it took him to respond, it was already too late to completely dodge.
Although not every needle hit their mark, quite a few lodged themselves into the man’s arm as he tried to shield himself with them.
The needles that missed their mark were scattered about on the ground with their ends sticking up.
“What the…” The man with bulging muscles muttered as he felt a foreign energy invade his body causing it to go numb.
“Brother Zhang go!” Cai Cao’s voice rang out.
Zhang could be seen dashing forward and then performing a sweeping kick, but this time the man was distracted by Cao Cao’s needles and could not evade. Zhang leg crashed into the man’s ankle, knocking him off his center of gravity and causing him to tumble over onto the scattered needles on the ground.
“Gahhhh!” The man yelled out as his side was pricked by dozens of needles.
That was when Cai Cao’s hand extended forward and his fingers shot out at the man. Moments later the man’s expression was frozen solid and his body stopped moving.
“I've sealed some of his pressure points, along with a few of his essence points. He shouldn't be able to move for some time. Brother Zhang if you could please retrieve his essence supplement pill.” Cai Cao said as he gazed down at the man on the ground. Despite being inches away, Cai Cao showed no signs of wanting to retrieve the pill himself.
Not thinking too much of it, Zhang walked over a few steps and began checking to see where the man hid the pill. Since he wasn't wearing a shirt, it was fairly easy to find the pill because obviously it was in his pocket.
“Got it.” Zhang said as he tossed the pill to Cai Cao. However once the pill left his hand he felt extremely dizzy and the world around him began spinning.
An instant later Zhang coughed up a mouth full of blood and tumbled onto the ground.
“Brother Zhang! Are you okay!?” Cai Cao screamed as he caught Zhang in his arms.
“How could this be? I simply, temporarily opened his essence points.” Cai Cao muttered as he felt Zhang’s channels.
“Damn… I was too careless. His channels were too small and the strain of having all of the points opened caused them to rupture” Cai Cao muttered as a frown and creases appeared on his handsome face.
Moments later he extended his hand and sealed Zhang’s essence points and a few of his pressure points.
“First to stop the internal bleeding. Then I need to take him back to the courtyard.” Cai Cao mumbled.
Once he stopped Zhang’s internal bleeding, Cai Cao hoisted Zhang over his shoulder and slowly made his way up the mountain and toward their courtyard. Although at first there was a moment of hesitation as Cai Cao tried to pick Zhang up, it seemed that he did not want to come into contact with Zhang’s body.
“Damn it… If it wasn't my fault that you were in this condition, I wouldn't do this even if you paid me to.” Cai Cao complained as he gave Zhang a piggyback ride.
While carrying Zhang on his back, Cai Cao’s speed dropped to nearly a half of what it had been before. This meant that if other pursuers appeared he would definitely have to engage them in battle instead of trying to flee.
As Zhang stayed unconscious his new friend continued up the mountain. Sweat flowed down his slender face and dropped onto the ground as Cai Cao continued to carry Zhang.
Suddenly Cai Cao lifted his head and scanned his surroundings.
“Come out! There's no use hiding!” He yelled as he placed Zhang into the ground.
Moments later a young man or well a boy who looked no older than thirteen years of age walked out from behind a tree.
“Hand over your pill or I'll use my family’s heirloom sword on you!!” The boy roared as he lifted a short sword with a blood red blade into the air.
The sword looked extremely deadly with a skull placed at its hilt. Two deep red rubies were embedded into the skull, as its eyes. This sword had emitted an aura not that of a fragmented realm but something higher.
A scowl appeared on Cai Cao’s face as he eyed the sword.
“If-if you don't hand over your pill, I'll be forced to attack!” The boy yelled.
“How can someone of the fragmented realm possess such a weapon…” Cai Cao thought as he jumped into the air and dozens of needles shot out of his sleeves.
“You think your sword alone can scare me!? A weapon is only as powerful as it’s user!” Cai Cao roared.
A look of surprise appeared on the boy’s face as the needles began raining down upon him. He had shown his sword to dozens of people and they all obediently had given him their supplement pills without putting up a fight.
“If it's just some needles then it should be fine.” The boy thought as raised his sword up in front of him to block Cai Cao’s attack.
Unlike the muscle man from before he did not notice the faint amount of essence being emitted from the needles. In mere moments the needles impacted the blood red sword and a boom sounded out.
Cai Cao landed to see that the boy had been knocked back a few steps and the blade of his sword showed dozens of cracks on it.
“A fake elementary realm sword?!” Cai Cao yelled in his mind as he launched more needles toward the youth in front of him.
Soon the cracks that appeared on the sword got longer and moments later the blade shattered into dozens of pieces.
“Give me all your pills or I'll run you full of needles!” Cai Cao yelled as five especially long needles appeared in his hand.
The boy stared blankly at the hilt in his hand and the shattered pieces of his blade on the ground. As Cai Cao’s words entered into his ears, the boy’s heart sank. The robber will soon become the robbed as the law of the jungle states, the strong shall step upon the weak.
“Here! Take it!” The boy said as he pulled out a small pouch from his robes and tossed it at Cai Cao.
Catching the pouch, Cai Cao noticed that the pouch was empty and when he looked up he saw the boy running back away.
“Hmph!” He snorted as five long needles shot out from his hand and embedded themselves into the boy’s leg.
Once the needles connected the boy tumbled onto the ground and a karate chop soon came down and struck his head.
“Give me your pills or else next time the needles won't be so shallow.” Cai Cao repeated as he looked down at the boy.
“Fi-fine you win.” The boy said as he produced another pouch and handed it to Cai Cao.
After examining the pouch, Cai Cao found about thirteen essence supplement pills inside.
“It seems you've been busy…” He said as he his hand struck a few of the boy’s pressure points and essence points, freezing him like the man with bulging muscles. Once the boy was disabled Cai Cao walked back toward Zhang and gave him a piggy back again.
“With this many supplement pills, your channels should be restored to normal.” Cai Cao murmured as he headed up the mountain once again. This time as he headed back toward their courtyard, no other disciples were encountered.
“We are here!” Cai Cao yelled out with glee as he reached the front door of the courtyard he and Zhang were assigned to. That was when the jade pendant that he had received from the inner sect elder along with the one Zhang received began emitting a dazzling light.
Once the dazzling lights struck the door that led into the courtyard a series of runes appeared on the door and seemed to brand the door. Moments later when the dazzling light ceased, the twin doors that led into the courtyard swung open.
“Door sealing talismans, with this only the two of us can open the door and enter this courtyard. No one but those with the door talismans can enter now, even if they tried to fly over the walls an invisible barrier would send them flying.” Cai Cao said with a smile.
Upon entering the courtyard and carrying Zhang up the steps leading to the house they were assigned, a small mirror attached to a necklace with dozens of mysterious runes on it fell out of Cai Cao’s robes and hung from his neck.
The moment they entered the house atop the stone steps, Cai Cao placed Zhang atop a bed and began feeding him the essence supplement pills.
“Not only do these things help increase one’s store of essence, they also help strengthen one’s essence channels. Since your channels bursted, once you take a few of these you should be all healed up.” Cai Cao said as he placed four pills into Zhang’s mouth and a blue glow began emitting from his hand. The blue glow being his essence, traveled into Zhang’s mouth and turned the four pills into liquid. Once the pills turned into liquid flowed it down Zhang’s throat with ease.
“You should be fine now and wake up in a few days once the pills are fully digested.” Cai Cao said before walking to the opposite side of the room and climbed onto a bed and placed an essence supplement pill into his mouth and began mediating.