“What is this?”
Lin Dong stared blankly at the object in his hand; it looked like a faintly ash-colored stone piece and was about as big as two fingers put together. Though it looked like a stone, as he rolled it over in his palm, it felt strangely soft. This kind of softness did not feel like that of a stone, yet it was also not like jade and even more not like wood.
Like stone yet not stone, like jade yet not jade, like wood yet not wood.
After Lin Dong had painstakingly climbed to the roof of the cave and searched about, he finally managed to find this stone piece in a hidden crevice. From the location it was found, It seemed like the liquid that had dripped into the rock pool had originated from this object.
Embedded within an extremely clear palm impression in such a dark place atop the mountain. If one were to take a closer look at the impression, he would find that it was so well imprinted that even the lines on the palm could be clearly seen. As he looked at the mysterious palm impression, Lin Dong suddenly realized that perhaps, someone had already arrived at this mountain cave long before he ever did.
“What a mysterious object.”
As Lin Dong muttered, he noticed that on this thumb-sized stone piece, some cryptic patterns which looked like some sort of mystical characters were faintly discernable.
These mystical characters covered every inch of the stone piece, causing it to resemble a mysterious stone talisman.
At this juncture, besides the cryptic and profound looking mystical characters on the stone talisman, there were no other unusual aspects. Yet Lin Dong understood that the shining drop of red liquid he had just seen was definitely not an illusion.
“The reason why the rock pool possessed that kind of special property must have something to do with this stone talisman……”
Lin Dong sunk deep into thought. Previously, he had personally seen a drop of light fall into the rock pool, and only this was the only evidence that could explain why the rock pool would possess such a miraculous property.
As Lin Dong reasoned to himself, the noise of rubble rolling sounded out from outside the cave. Immediately, he stuffed the stone talisman into his inner garments, placing it at the spot near his chest.
“Lin Dong-ge, hee hee, I knew that you would be here.”
Just as Lin Dong managed to hide the stone talisman, like a butterfly, a figure fluttered and appeared at the entrance of the cave. The figure was revealed to be a young girl who looked to be about 13 or 14 years old, wearing simple light colored clothes. Yet these simple clothes were unable to conceal the quick wittedness on her small face. Though the girl was rather young, her small face was rather elaborate, her huge eyes glittered, making her look extremely adorable.
Gazing at the young girl, Lin Dong secretly sighed in relief. The girl was not a member of the Lin Family, rather she was adopted by Liu Yan not long after he was born. She was younger by Lin Dong by just a bit, so the two of them had grown up together and their relationship was akin to that of brother and sister, extremely intimate. As she was an orphan, she did not take on the Lin family name. Thus Liu Yan helped choose a good name for her: Qing Tan. And like her namesake, she was full of liveliness like sandalwood.
“Lin Dong-ge, the sky is almost dark, Mother has been calling you for quite a while.”
Qing Tan laughed merrily as she approached, her small hands naturally pulling at Lin Dong’s arm as she dragged him out of the cave. As she walked, she mumbled: “If the sky had gotten dark, you won’t be able to see the rock path here, don’t tell me that you planned on sleeping in the cave like before?”
Gazing beside him at Qing Tan, whose voice chirped melodiously like a lark, Lin Dong could not help laugh. Soon after, his arm moved to lightly touch his chest area. At the centre of his chest was the talisman, which was emitting a cooling sensation.
Although he did not know where this stone talisman came from, Lin Dong’s intuition told him that it was definitely no ordinary thing.
As the dim light of the night shrouded the land, the cool and refreshing moonlight flowed down, washing away any remnants of heat from the day.
In the room, Lin Dong was fast asleep. Strands of moonlight sprayed from the window, some of which shined on Lin Dong’s body. Suddenly, the moonlight started to ripple like water, soon after a bizarre scene occurred. The moonlight unexpectedly started to gather at Lin Dong’s chest area, as if in response, the simple stone talisman emitted out a bit of light, causing it to be faintly discernable at the center of the light.
As the stone talisman shined, the originally sleeping Lin Dong slightly cracked opened his eyes. However, before he could fully open his eyes, a suddenly dizziness gushed forth from depths of his mind. Following which, he alarmingly found himself in a dark dark space.
There was no light here, only silence and cold.
This sudden change caused fear to rise up in Lin Dong’s heart. No matter what, he was still a 14 year old kid.
As Lin Dong choked in fear, a sudden voice broke the silence of the pitch-black space. Soon after, a glowing figure suddenly appeared before him. Carefully examining the figure, he realized that to his surprise, the figure looked exactly like him. However, its face did not have any signs of life, rather it was expressionless like a doll.
“What is going on……”
Lin Dong blankly gazed at the glowing figure in front of him, his brain somewhat paralyzed with fear by this weird sight.
While Lin Dong was still in a daze, the glowing figure of “Lin Dong” suddenly moved. The figure’s had adjusted its body and extended both its fists, displaying a familiar fist technique with those hands.
“Is this…. Penetrating Punch?”
As he gazed at the fist technique displayed by the glowing figure, Lin Dong’s eyes opened wide in bewilderment. Soon after, a startled expression surfaced on his face as he realized that the Penetrating Punch displayed was even more elegant and refined than Lin Xiao’s!
Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa!
In the darkness, the glowing figure maneuvered swiftly as it moved its fists. Its moves were smooth and agile like a monkey, and seemed much sharper than when Lin Xiao performed it.
9 crisp echos!
Lin Dong stared in awe at the glowing figure that resembled him almost perfectly. As the figure executed Penetrating Punch, he could clearly hear 9 resounding echoes!
Just as Lin Dong mumbled to himself, suddenly he felt a jolt of shock. Just as the glowing figure finished performing the set of fist technique, it’s body jerked strangely. Immediately, a soft echo resounded from its arm!
The sound generated was extremely soft. Only because Lin Dong was in a state of high alert within this quiet space was he able to hear that last sound.
Lin Dong looked at the glowing figure in astonishment. He clearly knew that there were only supposed to be 9 echoes generated from the Penetrating Punch, yet this glowing figure was able to generate a 10th echo?!
At this point, Lin Dong was fairly certain that even if his father personally performed the Penetrating Punch, he would not be able to generate this last echo.
“What is going on?”
Lin Dong was shocked at this sight. Moments later, he finally regained his composure and started to contemplate the situation. Even though he had only witnessed it once, Lin Dong could sense that the Penetrating Punch displayed by the glowing figure was even more natural and sharp than his father’s, or perhaps, perfect.
As to why this glowing figure was able to display such unique ability, Lin Dong was clueless. Nonetheless, he understood that this time, he had found a treasure……
As this thought crossed Lin Dong’s mind, the glowing figure had yet to disappear. Instead, it once again displayed the same set of Penetrating Punch moves restarting from the beginning.
As Lin Dong stared at the agile glowing figure, he realized that the fear that plagued him at the start had unknowingly dissipated. Feeling a little lost, he decided to gather up his spirits and concentrate onto the glowing figure. With a particularly serious expression, he watched every move again and again, memorizing even the most minute details in each move.
After observing for some time, Lin Dong finally shifted into a stance. Opening up his feet, he begun to mimic the glowing figure and slowly executed the Penetrating Punch.
In the darkness stood two similar figures, one human shadow and one glowing shadow, tireless repeating the same set of fist techniques. A series of crisp crackling sounds continuously echoed, though a majority of them were generated by the glowing shadow.
Nonetheless, Lin Dong did not feel discouraged. An earnest expression remained on his tiny face, as he unconsciously adjusted his moves to resemble the glowing figure.
Even though these adjustments were merely minor changes, it was akin to adding the finishing touches to a masterpiece as each tiny adjustment brought about significant effect.
“Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa!”
As he wielded his fists, Lin Dong’s movements were nimble and agile like a monkey. Suddenly, four crisps echos sounded continuously as enough force was finally generated by his fists!
Both of Lin Dong’s eyes instantly brightened! He did not expect that a few minor adjustments would cause Penetrating Punch to flow so much more smoothly.
This sensation was akin to having guidance from a legendary master. Moreover, the level of mastery attained by this mentor was a truly terrifying one.
Lin Dong was ecstatic. He had achieved such remarkable progress in just one day that even his father’s jaw would drop after witnessing him produce 4 consecutive echoes. In fact, his father took nearly a month of training before he could reach this stage, yet Lin Dong managed to exceed this by more than 10 times!
After making such progress, Lin Dong’s spirits were lifted. Without taking a break, he once again shifted in fight stance and repeated the Penetrating Punch moves one by one. He was determined to perfect these moves until they were exactly the same as the glowing figure’s……
As if time had stopped flowing, Lin Dong continuously imitated the glowing figure within the pitch-black space. And as his sweat dripped off his body, his fist technique came to match the glowing figure’s more and more.
In the pitch-black space, a glowing shadow and a human shadow moved in unison, like a pair of lively monkeys. As their fists punched out, the sound of fists breaking through the air echoed out.