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AWG - Chapter 0004: Sweeping Melodious Energy

The eastern sky gradually brightened as the early morning sun revealed itself.

Yang Wu stretched as he woke, immediately feeling a difference in his body. There was no sign of pain from his broken wrist or other wounds. 

Astonished, the young man examined his body, trying to get his bearings and figure out what had changed. He flung his previously injured arm without even a twinge. He also felt a surge of power as if he had regained his lost cultivation.

“Wha-what’s going on?” Yang Wu was dumbfounded.

Last night, he had enjoyed a fantastic dream, in which he bathed and dined with a group of fairy maidens in a celestial spring. They had taken him to the sky, engaging in strange, sexual cultivation as they flew through the clouds. But hadn’t that just been a dream?

And as he woke, he realized that his body felt as good as new as though he hadn’t truly woken from the night’s dream.

“Am I really awake?” He slapped his cheek, and it stung, proof that he was.

Curious, he sat with his legs crossed to attempt circulating the energy absorption combat art unique to the Yang Clan. As he began, four words—Supreme Nine Profound Art—flashed through his mind. A series of mysterious incantations then overcame him, leaving him with no choice but to follow the technique, absorbing the latent Profound Energy around him.

Quickly, Yang Wu felt weak pulses of energy flow from his twelve meridians to his dantian. The sensation was warm, and he felt nourishing power radiate from his core. It was amazing!

“This viscount has been blessed with heaven’s fortune!” the young man joyously exclaimed. “It’s too good to be true! A simple dream has restored my body!”

Yang Wu crawled out from his den, stretching his limbs. He only tried to contain his excitement after confirming that all injuries had completely healed.

My dantian has recovered, but I still don’t have enough Profound Energy. I can’t even wield a normal weapon. This is a far cry from my previous cultivation progress. I have to recultivate my energy as soon as possible. The only way to avoid others’ abuse is to prove my strength. The young man secretly declared.

He continued to consider the matter. The Supreme Nine Profound Art is more mysterious and extraordinary than the Yang Clan’s combat art. However, the incantation indicated that I need to gather nine types of rare Profound Essences to evolve the art into the Ultimate Profound Art. For now, I’m stuck at the beginning. Should I continue with this profound art or rely on the Yang Clan’s combat art?

The young man could already sense how unusually powerful the Supreme Nine Profound Art was after cultivating the technique through a minor cycle. His current conundrum was the result.

He was collecting his thoughts when he heard a guard shouting at other prisoners not far from him. Without further ado, he fetched the crowbar from his den and rushed to the quarry. 

Before he left, he addressed the little black dog lying prone on the ground, “Just wait, Sooty! If I can dig up twenty-five kilograms of Scarlet Steel Rock today, I’ll trade it for a big bowl of meat and share half with you."

Yang Wu took his mining seriously while he wondered at his unbelievable luck. Throughout the day, he also discovered that the peach pit he had secured in his belt was gone.

That’s right. The peach pit—that must be it! Last night, I dreamed that I enjoyed a grand banquet of immortality peaches with the fairy maidens. The banquet might not have been real, but the peach pit I had on me was. Now it’s missing, and I’ve been healed. The pit has to have something to do with it! The youth asserted to himself.

But how did I swallow the pit?

He was sure that he had not swallowed it while sleepwalking, and finding its way into his stomach on its own was impossible. In that case, only one possibility remained; someone had fed him the peach pit.

Still, the situation did not make sense. Who, in this punishing place, would do such a thing?

Giving it some more thought, Yang Wu considered Sooty. The pup had given him the peach pit, in the first place, and had slept next to him through the night. This all had to have something to do with that little black dog.

The youth recalled seeing hazy wisps when he had dug the dog out of the rubble yesterday, and mixed emotions flashed across his face. Sooty has nearly human-like intelligence; it must have an unusual background!

He did not dwell on this matter long, though. Cherishing the opportunity and regaining his power as soon as possible was far more important.

He mined with all his strength. Scattered energy flowed through his twelve major meridians, increasing his strength considerably while he worked. He kept digging, and his strength felt inexhaustible, which only fed his excitement.

Half a day passed, and the strength in his arms only grew. Prying free a decent-sized rock, he sent it flying. The energy in his meridians stirred restlessly as his dantian absorbed it, instantly and significantly elevating his strength.

Suddenly, his twelve major meridians experienced a sensation called Sweeping Melodious Energy. As the energy flowed through them, it emitted a soft ringing, which sang with a rhythm until eventually returning to his peach pit dantian. It then formed an enchanting, pure-white mist of Profound Energy.

This was a sign of reaching the Inferior Grade Foot Soldier Realm.

The Foot Soldier Realm was the lowest of the cultivation realms. However, each realm was further divided into the Inferior, Medial, Superior, and Consummate Grades, respectively. A cultivator needed to progress past each grade before reaching the next realm.

The first experience of Sweeping Melodious Energy was a sign of reaching the Inferior Grade Foot Soldier Realm, which then granted a cultivator between one and four stones of strength.

This was the first time Yang Wu had experienced Sweeping Melodious Energy since the destruction of his dantian. He now possessed a single stone of strength. When he gained the next, his meridians would resonate with that mysterious sound again, as they would with every stone he gained.

Yang Wu had reached the Consummate Grade before his cultivation had been crippled, ranking at the top of the Foot Soldier Realm with nineteen stones of strength. One step away from the Warrior Realm, he had been considered a genius for his age, which was how he had caught a princess’s attention. Unfortunately, he had already found a sweetheart, thus refusing the imperial offer of marriage. His calamity of passion had brought disaster to his clan. 

[TL Note: The ancient Chinese has different terms for different kinds of princesses, like a princess daughter of the empress or that of a concubine. Their terms/titles show their differences in status. The term used here is sort of a lesser princess. Depending on the dynasty, this term/title can mean different things. However, in this particular case, this princess is the emperor’s niece, the daughter of the emperor’s younger brother. While not of the emperor’s descendent, she holds the imperial family’s name, making her a princess of sorts.]

I hadn’t expected to recover to the Foot Soldier Realm so soon. It looks like I’ll have to mine harder and build my strength. I need to reach my previous grade as quickly as possible to protect myself in this forsaken place. If I can do more and reach the Warrior Realm, I should be able to escape this hell and identity. Yang Wu’s newly-restored cultivation helped rebuild his confidence.

On a whim, a prison guard chose that moment to cause him trouble. After several lashes from his whip, the guard blasted, “You better start digging! Don’t you dare slack off!”

These guards needed no excuse to use their whips. They’d even target prisoners for ridiculous reasons, such as how unpleasant one was to look at. They were especially eager to target Yang Wu, whom they had been instructed to single out.

The youth turned his head to glare at the guard. The sharp, authoritative look was intimidating enough that the guard took a step back.

He was a noble viscount by birth and accustomed to luxury and an entourage. His superior air had been ingrained in him since birth. No one could blame the guard for that moment of fear. 

But that only irritated the guard further, who raised his whip to lash the young man a few more times. It was not until he had left an eye-catching bruise on Yang Wu’s perfectly-healed body that he finally stopped.

“You better beat me to death, or I’ll ensure you suffer a fate ten times worse!” Yang Wu retorted through clenched teeth.

“Hmph, don’t think I wouldn’t dare. If not for the order to make your life worse than death, someone would’ve buried you by now. Don’t act so proud. You’re nothing more than a lowly prisoner here!” The guard responded with a sneer.

The older man kicked Yang Wu again before wandering off, satisfied after venting his anger. 

Skinny Monkey chose that time to appear out of nowhere. “Bro, you really need to watch what you say. You’ll suffer less that way.”

“They wanted me, a viscount, to submit. I refuse to let them have their way. Just wait and see. I’ll be strong enough to get out of here soon.” Yang Wu declared to his friend, standing proud, his back straight.

Looking at the young man before him, Skinny Monkey believed his claim, although he wasn’t sure why. “Don’t forget about me when the time comes, my good brother.”

“Don’t worry. If I make it out, I’ll give you a helping hand!” Yang Wu’s reply was serious, and after a pause, he continued, “How about we make you the boss of cellblock 68?”

“Don’t scare me like that, bro! I’m timid.” Skinny Monkey refused with a shudder.

“If you don’t, you might never find fifty thousand kilograms of Scarlet Steel Rock, even with a lifetime of mining. Just follow my lead. The only reason other prisoners have climbed the ranks is their reliance on brute strength. If we prove ourselves stronger than them, they’ll have to obey us.” Yang Wu explained his reasoning, glowing with confidence.

“But ... I’m not all that strong,” Skinny Monkey muttered the cowardly reply, looking down at his scrawny fists.

“Show some backbone!” The youth rolled his eyes. After a moment, he whispered, “Come here. I’ll teach you an energy absorption method. Whether or not you make it out of here will depend on how much talent you have for cultivation.”

Skinny Monkey’s pupils constricted before he inched closer, listening carefully to what his companion had to say. As he closed the distance, he realized that Yang Wu’s arm, which had been broken only yesterday, was as good as new. He could not help but wonder, Does Yang Wu really have some sort of secret?

Yang Wu then shared the details of a General Class combat art called the Whirling Combat Art.

This technique had not been developed by the Yang Clan, but only the members of the Yang Clan were allowed to learn it. The art form was second only to the clan’s exclusive combat art, ranking as a Medial Grade General Class technique worth tens of thousands of gold.

The viscount shared the technique with Skinny Monkey only because he already saw the young man as a sworn brother.

Of course, he was ambitious as well, hoping Skinny Monkey would grow alongside him and become a suitable ally.

Skinny Monkey had gotten along with Yang Wu since the moment they had met, and he was immensely grateful for the chance to learn this new combat art. This solidified the foundation of the two’s brotherhood.

The Whirling Combat Art’s incantation was not long, and Yang Wu only taught Skinny Monkey half of it. Though he was growing fond of his new friend, they had not known each other long. He would wait and decide whether or not he would share the rest of the incantation down the road.

After listening to the incantation two or three times, Skinny Monkey had it memorized. Excited, he said, “You truly are my benefactor, brother!” He even felt as if he should kneel before Yang Wu.

The young man had not come from a wealthy family and had been sent to this prison after being unjustly framed, yet he had dreamed of becoming a cultivator ever since he was a boy. But how could some mountain peasant like him ever gain access to combat arts and techniques? Even ordinary arts and techniques cost thousands of gold. No poor village chap could afford such things.

Yang Wu grasped his companion’s arm, preventing the young man from kneeling. With all seriousness, he said, “Let’s work hard on our cultivation and get out of here. A better world awaits us.”

“Alright, let’s cultivate and get out of here together!” This moment with his new brother rekindled hope within Skinny Monkey.

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Translated by: Half-Cat
Edited by: FluffyGoblyn
Checked by: DragonInWhite

DragonInWhite's Notes:

Currently still 2 chapters a week. Sorry for the slow pace. Just have to figure out how to speed up.

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Written by I Am Pure 我本纯洁. Translated by DragonInWhite. Edited by FluffyGoblyn.