Chapter 1: An Odd Fate
Winter nights began a bit earlier than the nights of other seasons. It was already dusk by the time school was let out. Students walked on the path that led to the school gate in twos or threes. The atmosphere rippled with a relaxed vibe.
Hurry up! Lets check it out! Song Jian, a first-year paleo martial artist, and Liu Yisi, a first year neo martial artist, are going to fight at the field!
The hoots of the group of busy bodies engulfed the area near the entrance to Founding Central, a high school of Treasure Island City. Their voices were like a waves, rising and falling in succession, and they attracted the students who were about to leave. The students stopped one after another, looking afar with expressions of astonishment and curiosity. Practically only a breath of time passed before they made wild dashes back to school. They headed straight to the scenethe field.
What had once been a school gate that had been crowded like a surging tide instantly turned into desolation. Everyones attention had been completely shifted onto the field. Qin Fen had come to watch the fight as well. He looked at the byzantine style building in front of him, built with red bricks, and sighed emotionally. The easiness of the lives of those who had money was far too different than that of those without money. At the very least, those who had money didnt have to moonlight after school for the sake of three meals a day and paying tuition. Those people spent their entire days fighting it out on the Sky Martial Battle Network, their dueling hearts still burning upon returning to reality. They established fight after fight to exhaust their excess energy. As for him, not only did he had deal with tuition, he also had to spend a lot of time working and making money. It was simply a life more tiresome than a dogs.
What do you think? Will Song Jian win? Or will Liu Yisi win?
Its hard to say. I hear that Song Jian is already quite proficient at the first stage of his paleo martial arts: the Prajna Palm.
Pff. Like that can do anything. I heard that Liu Yisis family spent money to give him a new implantation surgery. They spend money to buy the neo martial arts Coursing Electric Wolf Claw. I heard that Liu Yisi is already skilled at the first stage of it. He is a genuine one-star warrior.
So youre saying its hard to tell who will win and who will lose?
Thats right. Thats why the fight is worth seeing.
The conversation between a few excited onlookers drifted through the air from afar. Qin Fen could only shake his head with a wry smile when he heard it. He really wanted to ask,Are you really a part of one of the three best schools in East Asia? How do you students lack the fundamental ability to distinguish between fighters? Its hard to determine victory and defeat? Its possible for Song Jian to beat Liu Yisi?There was another possibility; Song Jian could violate the schools dueling rules and take a Berserker Pill in secret, getting a surge in combat power. Otherwise, Song Jians defeat was certain.
Qin Fen suddenly felt bored and empty. There was no suspense in this match from his perspective. He looked up, drew in a deep breath, and ran out of the school. He had zero interest in watching the fight. He was a poor student from the countryside. He didnt really have a lot of time to be leisurely lying around like his classmates, who would waste their energy on dueling fights in leisurely fun. There was a lot of work waiting for him after school. The entrance exams were coming up, and he had yet to gather the funds for the tuition fee for his freshman year of university.
He walked along the South Chongqing Road of Treasure Island, gazing at the cars whistling past him all around. It was an unending flow of maglev cars. Envy was involuntarily shown through Qin Fens gaze. It had been a hundred years since mankind had found the historical remains of the legendary city of Atlantis. Ever since then, technological progress shot up like a rocket piercing the highest of clouds.
Then, mankind unlocked the second level of Atlantiss vestiges. They discovered a few ancient scripts on that level. Several thousand enormous mysterious slates were deciphered, and they were discovered to have concealed sets and sets of secret martial arts techniques. These martial arts were extremely similar to the many martial arts around the world.
The differences between the techniques were large enough that one could say the arts and techniques left behind in the world were all simplified, junior versions of Atlantiss martial arts. They couldnt compare even to one percent of the original versions.
Humanity had already entered the interstellar era. People sought to possess tenacious and powerful survivability in the cosmos and to stimulate more adaptability in the face of crisis.For this sake, martial arts, which had long since been reduced to fitness programs, rose from the ashes once more. They embarked on a new beginning across the entire world and across all of humanity. They were summoned forth with new life.
These martial arts emerged around the world, blotting out the skies. A wave of paleo martial arts fever was unleashed throughout humanity, but soon people discovered that cultivating the paleo martial arts was a very slow process. Plus, cultivating these high level arts and techniques was much more dangerous than cultivating the original, junior versions in the world. It was very easy to descend into the flames of madness with one mis-slip, resulting in ones entire body to be paralyzed. Some had even exploded and died. Even in the less severe cases, it was very likely for the awkward situation of impotence to occur. There were even some cases where a man would find himself waking up a woman after cultivating overnight.
Then another batch of slates were deciphered, and humanity learned a portion of the neo martial arts methodhigh tech martial arts.
The so-called neo martial arts was where gene insertion surgery was carried out upon ones body or where a small machine or the internal organs of a super-organism were implanted within ones body. There were even cases of them being implanted with a high tech power source. After this, not only could people be allocated with new weapons of considerable power, the greatest benefits came from the fact that you just needed to have money for the surgery to have.
Ye Xin, you cant get away even if youre a three-star neo martial artist. If you dont hand over the thing you stole from the remains of Atlantis, then you will die here today!
A voice filled with killing intent interrupted Qin Fens thoughts. He slowly moved toward the alley in the corner, wondering,Is a robbery going on? I cant believe it.His body shuddered slightly when he thought this, and he quietly stopped walking as the other partys dialog could be heard coming from afar.
Thing? Ive already sent it away from earth. Youre just looking to kill me, but its pointless!
Sent it away from earth? Like you have the time to. If you hand over the goods now, Ill give you a good time seeing how we had a past friendship.
Oh man, its the real deal? They cant be coming over, right?Qin Fen secretly imagined the development of the situation. He thought about it, then decided he didnt want to be drawn into this bizarre event. He tiptoed backward.
You want to leave? A cold voice rang from behind Qin Fen, and a fiery hot palm struck his back.
Fuck! Its probably a three-star neo martial artist!Qin Fen cursed in his mind before immediately hearing the sound of his own spine snapping. It was like how a powerful man could shatter a porcelain cup just by squeezing it. Qin Fen fell to the ground with a torn body and crushed bones. The intense pain was almost enough to make him faint. Then, the person picked his body up and threw him high. Qin Fens entire body spun twice in the air before dropping down to the ground and raising a cloud of dust. This made it so that he was unable to see the things before him clearly. It also made the pain in his spine even more unmanageable.
He should of known to squeeze more time into cultivating the paleo martial arts. Otherwise, he wouldnt have fallen to this degree today!
Qin Fen gasped from the intense pain. He struggled to raise his head, and he happened to see the man, who launched the sneak attack, step ever so closer.
At the same time, the intense sounds of fighting rang out from over in the alley. The man who had first spoken said hurriedly, Forget about the kid. Hurry up and help get rid of Ye Xin! Treasure Islands electronic surveillance eyes arent just for show. The police can appear at any moment.
I wont let you guys get it even if I die! the man, Ye Xin, roared. Then he suddenly spread open his arms and screamed, Uranium Blast!
Speed. The man didnt even have time to shout the word flicker when Ye Xins body suddenly burst into intensive and dazzling green rays. The other man who had charged into the corner of the alley and attacked Qin Fen didnt even have time to utter a word. His body rapidly decomposed in the blink of an eye. Flicker. The first mans body was completely disintegrated by the time he yelled the final word.
The alley instantly restored its normal calm after the intense fight just now. A metal ball the size of a fist rolled down from Ye Xins body. It rolled away from his shattered flesh and blood, and continued down the corner of the alley.
A fit of pain. Qin Fen felt fresh blood spurt out from his mouth. In this very moment, he could feel the breath of death drawing closer and closer with absolute clarity. Only a moments effort was needed for his life to vanish in a puff of smoke.
He drew in a deep breath as he quietly mobilized what remained of his internal strength. Once a person receives a serious injury, the best thing he could do was to try to maintain steady breathing. Only then could he prolong his life to the greatest degree and wait for medical respondents to arrive and rescue him.
The metal ball collided against the wall, bouncing back to roll toward his position. In the end, it actually stopped upon the pool of his freshly spat blood.
What was this thing? Its actually totally unharmed even after the Uranium Blast? Qin Fen gazed at this odd metal ball with curiosity, forgetting the pain coming from his crushed spine.
The metal ball started acting like a soft caterpillar that had entrenched itself into the leaves of a tree; it began to wriggle its body. It seemed to move once more in the blink of an eye.
Whats this?Qin Fen believed that there was something wrong with his eyes. He saw the metal ball wriggle once more, like there was some sort of organism trying to break out of its cocoon, but the outside was as tough and sturdy as the film within an eggshell.
Before Qin Fen could react, the wriggling rate of the metal ball suddenly increased. Until now, Qin Fen totally didnt notice that the pool of blood beneath the metal sphere had totally disappeared. There wasnt a single trace remaining at all.
After the brief period of wriggling, the tough metal ball suddenly turned into liquid metal.
Liquid metal? How could it be? Wasnt this the new type of super metal that the government was developing all this time? They hadnt even completed development yet. Qin Fen stared at the liquid metal with an unwavering gaze, finding it hard to believe.
It was as if this metal had grown an eye. It understood quite well how to face Qin Fen, and it slowly crept over, soon crawling upon Qin Fens stomach. The liquid metal had no intentions of stopping. Instead, it crept steadily toward his mouth.
Qin Fens heart shivered with fear. The palm strike had destroyed most of the functions of his body. He was unable to complete the simple movement of closing his mouth. He could only silently pray to himself,Man, this is my mouth. You, liquid metal thing, dont take it to be your home.
The liquid metal ball did not heed his prayers. It didnt even have the slightest intent of stopping. It continued moving as it pleased, boldly creeping onto his tongue, trembling in delight as it found his taste buds. Before Qin Fen could react, the liquid metal slipped down his throat.
Qin Fen felt an ice-cold tingling sensation for a moment, and the liquid metal was now within his stomach. He gaped with his mouth, trying to vomit out this rude invader, but the injury to his back caused him to cough intensely. He could only give in silently to this awkward encounter.
Qin Fens eyes stared blankly ahead, seeming to look lifelessly into the distant sky. He thought about this series of fate. He had entered through a small alley just to have his spine broken by some man for some inexplicable reason, and God seemed to feel that he hadnt suffered enough. In the end, God had a bizarre metal placed within his internal organs!
For awhile, it was as if he had the sea churning in his stomach. It was also like the endless rolling of boiling water. Bloody liquid rushed up his throat, and he opened up his mouth to spit out a mouthful of fresh blood. Luckily, he had grown up in the countryside. His many years of training allowed him to possess an endurance exceeding that of normal people. He was able to maintain a clear head even though his body was at this degree in severity; he didnt faint. This was the first time Qin Fen hated his ability to endure for a time that exceeded that of normal people. It would be much easier to faint and die.
The boiling heat of the liquid metal didnt even last two seconds when it suddenly turned into something akin to a glacier that wouldnt melt even after a millennium. An intense and extreme cold energy quickly spread though his limbs and bones, suppressing the restless roasting sensation he had experienced in full earlier. But in the blink of an eye, the ice-cold sensation rapidly caused a thin layer of frost to form upon Qin Fens mouth.
Yet it didnt even take a second for this piercing world of ice and snow to rapidly transform into the most fiery magma of a volcano. The heat pierced through every vein and organ of his entire body, flowing back and forth in a domineering manner. It was as if the liquid metal was completely sliced and broken down by this heat in this moment. It transformed into a myriad of tentacles that pierced into every organ of his body, growing something like roots.
One second it was cold then the other second it was hot. It was a pain so intense that it could make one dizzy within half a second. After enduring for ten seconds, Qin Fen was unable to withstand such torment. His brain was headed for unconsciousness.
Unbeknown to Qin Fen, dusk soon welcomed the pitch-black night from the descent of the setting sun. The Uranium Blast had caused interference with the electronic surveillance eyes of the alley, so the police never discovered this startling scene from start to finish.
An unknown amount of time passed, and Qin Fen finally awoke from unconsciousness. The achiness of his head-splitting pain made him subconsciously groan softly. He slowly sat up, suddenly aware of something. He felt about his body with his two hands in haste, wondering,What the hell is going on? Wasnt my spine crushed? How can I sit up? And why doesnt it hurt at all?
What the hell is going on!?!?
There was no one in the empty alley who could answer his series of questions. Qin Fen stood up inquisitively, inspecting his body once more.
What the hell? Could it be that what just happened was all a hallucination? What about that bizarre liquid metal?
The large clock of the city rang out ten times in this moment, neither slowly nor quickly. Qin Fen suddenly had the temptation to go around the corner and confirm what just happened, but he thought about his unlucky experience, and he ultimately stopped his feet in place.
Why take the risk to foray into the unknown?Qin Fen told himself this, still deciding to walk a bit faster out of the alley. Since there were no longer issues with his body, it was best for him to return home quickly.
Qin Fen sprinted all the way back, so it didnt take long for him to get to the school dorms. The students in the dorms had long since gone to lie in bed, wearing the helmets of the Sky Battle Network. They continued to engage in close combat through this renowned network that could connect people together from any corner of the world.
Qin Fen picked up a cup and poured down two mouthfuls of water. Only then did he realize that he wasnt out of breath at all, and he had sprinted the entire way back. How was this possible?
Looking at the clock on the wall, Qin Fen snorted. Todays unfortunate event caused him to start work late. He should hurry, log onto the Sky Battle Network, and write a few fight commentaries to make a bit of writers money.
Qin Fen gently laughed as he picked up the Sky Battle Network helmet. The government sought channels to recruit talent for the military, and the nation gave out eight types of martial arts of free on this platform as well as basic equipment for every citizen. If it werent for these, then Qin Fen would have one less way to make money.
These eight free martial arts were called the eight main commoner martial schools by the public. They were divided into the Plum Snapping Hand, the Prajna Palm, the One Finger Zen, the Shaolin Thirteen Claws, the Burning Wood Blade, the Shaolin Arhat Fist, the Flood Fist, and one last secret internal cultivation technique that people absolutely wouldnt train inthe Dragon Elephant Prajna Art. People would rather spend their money cultivating in some other internal cultivation technique.
Upon entering the Sky Battle Network, Qin Fen adjusted himself to be in spectator mode. He utilized the positioning system to quickly enter the hand-to-hand martial arts training field of the free viewing channel.
Oh, youre late today, Expert Mouth-Shooter.
There were people who promptly greeted Qin Fen as soon as he appeared, and many people followed after and learned from these first people, greeting him in the same manner.
There were a few types of people who came to the Sky Battle Network. Some were the poor who came to learn the publicized paleo martial arts techniques in hopes of someday entering the military and soaring like the divine steed from legends. Some simply used this place with its training fields to improve their combat skills, since they wouldnt suffer real injuries here.
Even the journalists of various martial art news outlets often searched for people from all over, making appointments to personally experience the thrill of the fight.
Qin Fen was probably the only person with no record of combat in the entire Sky Battle Network. All he did ever since he first appeared in the Sky Battle Network was spectate the fights of others, upon which he would write a few fight commentaries to send to news outlets. He made a bit of money this way, and had eventually become a special correspondent who wasnt really a special correspondent for the newspaper Insights of Laymen.
Qin Fen gave a light nod to these people. He had become long accustomed to this nickname, Expert Mouth-Shooter.
There wasnt a man alive who didnt want to be the focus of the crowd, who didnt want to constantly improve himself. It was just that. Qin Fen shrugged his shoulders. Those with physical combat power would be better off finding work to do in the real world, making a bit more money for a living. The most important thing was to fill ones belly.
He looked at the fighter queue:
ID: War Angel
Height: One point eight three meters
Arm Reach: One point eight eight meters
Uses the Magma Art, a neo martial arts technique, at the second stage
Battle Record: Seventy-two Wins, thirteen losses
ID: Six Solar Palms
Height: One point eight seven meters
Arm Reach: One point nine one meters
Uses the Plum Snapping Hand, a paleo martial arts technique, at the second stage
Battle Record: Forty-six Wins, nine losses
Their levels were the same. Qin Fen already made a simple analysis in his mind as soon as the system sent over the battle data. The Magma Art was considered an explosive technique. Its destructive power was middle class within the grade two warriors. On the other hand, the Plum Snapping Hand was a speed-type technique. It was a bit weak in terms of destructive power, but it was the initial martial arts form of the advanced paleo martial arts technique, the Six Solar Palms.
A crisp and loud FIGHT! sounded from above the training field.
War Angel made an explosive roar as a red dot flared in the middle of his chest, and a red light akin to magma instantly surged around his body.
Six Solar Palms made a quiet approach. His target was none other than the red dot on War Angels chest. This was an indicator that War Angel hadnt practiced the Magma Art to perfection. This Achilles heel would instantly reveal itself the moment the art was unleashed.
Six Solar Palms moved extraordinarily quick. He was already right next to War Angel in the blink of an eye. The Plum Snapping Hand caused a hint blue light to coalesce and was as if it was already touching War Angels weakness.
Good! The people in the spectator channel immediately let out cheers in unison.
Qin Fen didnt agree with how everyone was cheering, shaking his head to himself. Neo martial artists would always think of a way to cover their Achilles heel. War Angel didnt cover his up at all. Clearly, he wanted to draw Six Solar Palms attention. The Plum Snapping Hand had its advantage in it nimbleness, in how it drifted without resting. Everyone knew that Six Solar Palms was aiming for War Angels weak point, and that restricted the strength of the Plum Snapping Hand. War Angel would be able to easily predict where his opponents attack would land.
Sure enough, the battlefield situation went just as Qin Fen predicted. Six Solar Palms made two nimble strikes with the Plum Snapping Hand, but they were easily dispelled by War Angel during the crucial moments. At the same time, Six Solar Palms was drawn into close range combat. He wasnt given the chance to display his forte, his nimbleness. The two engaged in super close range combat in the blink of an eye and streaks of punches and kicks flew all over, a sight dazzling to the eyes.
The spectators let out gasps of surprise and admiration again and again. This fight was truly far too intense. The fast pace made people nearly unable to breath.
Qin Fen gazed at the intense battle with suspicion. What the hell was this? How can the power of two-star warriors be so weak? From observing other fights between two-star warriors in the past, Qin Fen reckoned that at most he could only temporarily match a two-star warrior move for move. Against either of the two two-star warriors in the current fight, all he would need to do was move his shoulder and he would be able to instantly know what kind of move his opponent would make and instantly find a decisive window to attack at the same time.
Qin Fen lightly rubbed his forehead. He was a two-star warrior himself. Why did this fight between these two warriors look like a kids scuffle in his eyes? They should be on the same level as him.
This is super intense. I never thought that there would be such a wonderful fight in the free channel! I really dont know who will triumph in the end!
Totally dude! Its too beautiful!
Qin Fen gave a bored yawn when he heard the admiration coming from the people beside him. He said, without any thought at all, War Angels neo martial art will win.
Whoa! Isnt this the number one expert in shooting his mouth off? Dont you, sir, always wait until the fights over before pointing out why the loser lost? Whats with you today?
From Qin Fens perspective as one who only watched and never fought, the spectators here dont really like him. After all, everyone probably had a time when they lost. Naturally one wouldnt feel too great when hearing Qin Fens fight commentary, which always hit the nail on the head, during these moments. They always sought the chance to give this Expert Mouth-Shooter a good lesson. Helpless to the fact that Qin Fen never personally took part in fights, everyone could only use mocking words on him to reclaim some pride.
War Angel will win? It looks like Six Solar Palms will win to me. A person who had the reasons for his loss pointed out by Qin Fen two days ago spoke with a tone brimming with provocation. Number one expert in mouth shooting, do you have the guts to make a bet with me?
The surrounding people immediately started to laugh, one after another. Qin Fen was most known for two things. One thing was that he never fought, he only wrote fight commentaries at the end of fights. The second thing he was known for was his cowardice.
It was quite normal for spectators to make small gambles and bets. Everything time they laid down their bets, Qin Fen would always pull some distance away, intentionally or otherwise. He never participated.
Battles couldnt be completely calculated. There were all sorts of unpredictable events that could happen, but Qin Fen wasnt scared of gambling when he was a hundred percent sure of the outcome. Compared to others, he knew the pain of making money the most.
Sure, man. How about we bet fifty dollars?
Everyones laughter came to a screeching halt. Those familiar with Qin Fen began to be suspicious. Had he been hacked? Was someone else using his ID? After all, every time Qin Fen logged on, he would always use the systems privacy option to hide his true appearance.
Qin Fen was shocked as well. Why did he open his own goddamn mouth? And with a bet of fifty dollars! That was big money! A bold bet!
What was up with today? Qin Fen shook his head hard. First, the two-star experts looked like little kids playing around to him, and now he actually agreed to bet?
Fifty dollars? Fine! Took you long enough. I thought you would put down far bigger bucks.
Totally! Ill also bet fifty. Fifty on Six Solar Palms to win.
I also bet on Six Solar Palms!
I also will
There were quite a few people who had been subjects of Qin Fens fight commentary in the past. This chance came by rarely, so they seized it and began laying down bets in a steady stream. How much could they bet? It didnt matter! What was important was to make this uncouth boy lose face again and again!
Another one had just opened their mouth to lay down a bet when the system announced, War Angel, victory by technical knockout.