The Star Glory Federation had a culture rooted in martial might. The Cultivators with outstanding martial strength held the most paramount of statuses. Without exception, all common citizens of the Federation wished to step onto the road of cultivation and achieve the highest level of glory.
Even if one was not able to become a cultivator, people loved to steadfastly work on their strength, sharpen their physique, carve out their build, and dedicate their lives to maintaining cultivation practices.
And so, fitness centers could be found on every major street and alley, consisting of cultivation gyms and martial art schools. The majority of those that practiced cultivation in these centers weren’t extreme martial experts who were fearsome and vicious, but rather were obedient and disciplined law-abiding students and workers who strictly followed the rules.
When Li Yao saw the “Militant Wolf Slayers” sign, he felt more confidence towards buying the drugs.
He knew that owners for places like these were mostly feverish cultivation fanatics. The knock-off strengthening drugs they synthesized were meant to be consumed mainly by themselves and the members of their cultivation gym. Their priorities weren’t necessarily in increasing profits, so they often did not cheap out on manufacturing costs, guaranteeing the final product’s quality.
Li Yao felt around on the spider design on his face and strolled along inside.
The front gate of the cultivation gym was not large and it led to a completely different world inside: A dozen or so buff dudes dripping in sweat grasped barbells with bursting muscles in a three to four hundred square meter strength training room. Steel rope and iron plates pounded with “bang bang” ringing. A ripped giant was in the corner ferociously pounding on a sand bag.
Li Yao gazed around in a circle. He noticed that these ripped giants weren’t lifting too much weight and that their facial appearances were relatively kind and friendly. The feeling that they gave off wasn’t that of fear and violence. They appeared to be ordinary job workers. Li Yao couldn’t help but let out a sigh with his heart feeling more at ease.
He walked to the corner and prepared ask the ripped man who was punching the sandbag a question; this gentleman looked to be the most friendly of the bunch.
This ripped man was in the middle of a pulled tight stance. He thrusted the pulled-back hand forward. The explosive power unleashed by the entire body coalesced into this one heavy fist. The sandbag was smashed and flew upwards towards the sky, just happening to collide into Li Yao’s face with a “Pow!” sound.
The ripped man let out a “Ah!” and asked worryingly, “You ok dude?”
Li Yao’s head was dazed and his nose was somewhat painful. His nostrils throbbed twice and he shook his head saying, “It’s nothing. May I ask where I can find Zhao the gym leader?”
In a small tea room located in the back of the strength training room, two buff dudes each sat upon their own green-camo colored cushion. In between these two were two mugs, bacon, roasted chicken, peanuts, and other sorts of cooked food.
The person on the left was approximately forty to fifty years old. On the bald bump-riddled head was a tattoo of the wolf stabbed with a military spike. His left arm was missing, cleanly chopped off from the shoulder-blade. In its place, was a essence-powered prosthetic arm engraved with over a thousand glyph characters.
Over on the right looked to be a young man no older than 30 years old. He wore a very low-key gray-colored military jacket. He seemed to have worn it for many years since the colors had already been washed out and faded.
If Li Yao saw this person he would be excited to the point of pissing and collapsing. This awe-inspiring young man was the idol of every student in Crimson Nimbus Second, the new upstart within the cultivator circle of Floating Spear City, a member of the foundation stage, Fiend Blade Peng Hai!
At this moment, Peng Hai was not producing half a single bit of the imposing air of a cultivator from his body. He raised his mug and spoke frankly and straightforwardly towards the bald tattooed man: “Old Instructor, come. To our years in fierce battle during those days in the Fiend Beast Wasteland. Another cup!”
The mugs clearly contained the coarsest of Sorghum Liquors. Peng Hai was of great extravagance, living a life of luxury as a big member of the cultivation circle. But his behavior was as if he had encountered the nectar of gods, drinking it all in one gulp. He smacked his lips loudly: “Good alcohol! This shit is what all men ought to drink!”
Moving somewhat rigidly, the bald-headed tattooed man used his essence prosthetic arm to grasp and raise the mug. He said, deeply moved, “Peng Hai, kid, I know that you place great importance in feelings. Our camaraderie, even if you have become a cultivator of the foundation stage, has not been forgotten by you. You have not forgotten this old instructor and the days we braved through the fires of hell together! Even now, you are considerate. It’s fine when you come every few days to drink with me. But it really isn’t necessary to continue to practice cultivation at this place of mine. This place of mine is meant for amateurs. Our achievements are very low. As a foundation stage cultivator you are wasting your time by practicing here!”
Peng Hai laughed, “Old Instructor, the friendship between us simply cannot be described adequately with the words: ‘braving through the fires of hell’. Think back to that year when we executed ‘Operation Razor’s Edge’ together. That one time… If you had not blocked them off for me, I would be long dead to the point of no return. How would I have been able to become a foundation stage cultivator then? And Old Instructor, you……”
His gaze swept over to the left side of the bald tattooed man’s body. Peng Hai’s voice carried with it a hint of heaviness when he said, “You actually threw away your entire left arm. The shock was so much that even your heart lost 70% of its strength. You fell from the 13th stage of refinement all the way down to being a common military grade man, having no choice but to leave the ‘Wolf Regiment.’”
The bald tattooed man gestured back and forth with his hand. He said unperturbed, “The road of cultivation is filled with danger at every corner. I’ve faced death in the eye, yet I am still alive. When I had already stepped onto this road of no return, I had lived life on the edge far early on. I am prepared to lose my life to the underworld at any time! This is just a hand I’ve thrown away. What does it matter? If you couldn’t even see through this point, why did you continue to cultivate in those days? Wouldn’t it have been safer to just go home as soon as possible and live life as a white-collared office worker and marry a wife? You don’t need to keep on carrying that matter in your heart. We who choose to cultivate, when our arms are severed, when our legs are cut, those limbs still return to the origin through death, happily seeing God. This is fate! My severed arm was decreed by fate! What does it have to do with you? I’ll repeat again. If I can’t cultivate myself, then why can’t I teach others to cultivate? This uncle collects a huge veteran’s disability pension every month. I drink some alcohol, roast some skewers, and everyday there’s always someone on top of my bed. You don’t know how free and chill I have it, how happy I am! As for the old war companions who still remain in the military, you are correct. Quite a few have become Foundation Stage Cultivators. There are even two people who formed their core becoming big shots. What does that matter? You can’t say for sure that tomorrow they won’t become a sack of chunkless diarrhea inside a fiend beast’s stomach without even a trace left behind! If you think about it, I got off good. Hahahaha!”
Peng Hai cheerfully replied, “Seizing opportunities, letting go of worries. You are the Old Instructor of my memories. Your bones clang like iron with your body of steel! However you are a bit mistaken, Old Instructor. I am not wasting my time by coming here everyday. I’m actually engaging in some extremely important cultivation methods.”
The bald tattooed man said with eyes wide in surprise, “Cultivating? In this broken down place of mine, what kind of techniques can you even cultivate?”
Peng Hai lightly laughed and explained, “I can already explode my essence force into reaching the high levels of the Foundation Stage for a moment. However, my state is very unstable. In so many critical moments of battle, my power would unexpectedly fall into the mid levels of the Foundation Stage, nearly causing my death. This is because I raised my absolute power far too quickly, and so I have not yet achieved perfect control over my strength. If I want to truly stand firmly in the high levels of the Foundation Stage, if I want to assault the boundary of the Foundation Stage’s apex, then I absolutely need to thoroughly and completely resolve this problem.
The tattooed bald man muttered to himself for a moment. He nodded saying, “ You are the youngest Foundation Stage Cultivator in the Federation; there is no one like you. You advanced too quickly. Indeed, this has brought you your problem with your unstable foundation. How do you intend to solve this?”
Peng Hai laughed answering, “In order to control my body’s power, I suppress my power down to 3% every time I come visit Old Instructor’s Militant Wolf Slayers Cultivation Gym. I only bring out 3% of my strength and I do progressive overload training!”
A light bulb went off in the bald tattooed man’s head, “So it turns out you’ve been only emitting 3% of your strength?” No wonder, I can’t feel even the least bit of a cultivator’s aura from your body.”
Peng Hai nodded, “I have persevered being in the 3% state of power for a month already. In this way, when I release my limits and bring forth 100% of my strength, I feel that my instantaneous explosive strength will increase by a huge margin. My control over essence will also increase quite a bit. My ultimate goal is to suppress my strength down to 1% and still be able to proceed with progressive overload training and sparring. If I can achieve this, I will definitely rush to the boundary of the peak Foundation Stage!”
He paused for a moment and laughed without worries, “My greatest weak point is my unstable essence force. I don’t want other people to know this, so I can only come to Old Instructor’s gym to do training. I only trust two people within Floating Spear City and Old Instructor is one of these people. Unfortunately the strength of your gym members are far too weak. None can withstand three minutes of my attacks in my 3% mode. And it seems they also differ by a stretch when just comparing strength training.”
The tattooed bald man glared an eye at him, “My gym members are all diligent salaried class workers. They don’t specialize in military applications, so of course they aren’t enough for you to fight. Even if you do use just 3% of your strength, you would completely slaughter them! Needless to say, this Old Instructor will take care of it. I know you’ve been looking for a durable high level sparring partner. So I specifically got in touch with a small famous gold medalist in my circle for him to be your sparring partner. Wait a bit for him to arrive.”
When Peng Hai heard this, he became interested, “Oh? Is he skilled?”
The bald tattooed man replied, “I contacted him through a friend and have not met him yet. Nevertheless, this person has hung out in the Underground Ghost Market crowd for quite a number of years already. He’s been at several gyms and schools as a specialized sparring partner. It’s said that his defensive and resistive strength is extremely strong, giving him the nickname of ‘Iron Turtle.’ He should be able to take on three minutes of your attacks in your 3% state, right?”
A one-way transparent glass made up the entire wall of one side of the tea room. By looking out from within, one can see what was going on in the strength training room.
When these two were talking, they saw Li Yao walk inside and get smashed ferociously in the face by the sandbag as if nothing had happened.
“He’s here. What do you think, is he not good enough for you?” The bald tattooed man stood up.