The Immortal's Poison Chapter 4
Wen Leyang looked like someone with a fit as he threw himself around with strenuous effort. Under the guidance of Wen Tunhai, he quietly went on practicing the first move. He had to channel all of his power and strength in each movement to ensure he fell extremely hard each time.
Following the Punching Manual, once he exerted force, his twisted joints would then be broken down by a contorted and yet opposing force; followed by the intimate contact between the body and the ground. However, each time after such a heavy fall, the feeling of hundreds of thousands of knives in his body got better and was replaced with an icy cold sensation gathering at his abdomen.
Wen Leyang continued his falling practice for two whole days. When the feeling of those blunt knives finally subsided, his whole body was heavily bruised and his face was so swollen that it was bigger than a wash basin. If it were not for his sturdy foundations built since young, he would have died by falling for sure.
Pointing to his abdomen, Wen Leyang said in surprise to Wen Tunhai, "First Uncle, is the lump of cold air in the dantian…Qi?" He was equally shocked and surprised at this development. The past two days were miserable with every single part of his body feeling like they have been literally trampled by an elephant. However, if this process somehow cultivated either Pre-celestial or Post-celestial Qi, which felt as big as a size of a brick, it was indeed like a crash course. Hailing the Aro of Heaven’s Cultivation by his ancestor from his heart, Wen Leyang thought his ancestor had a well-deserved reputation.
Wen Tunhai chuckled, "First Nephew, it goes like this. Originally, after soaking in the medicinal potion, followed by cultivation according to the Punching Manual, not only will the person cultivate the ability for the refinery of profound poisons in future, the toxicity within the potion would also be absorbed by the body for its use during the refining of poisons. However, you’ve soaked in the potion for way too long, the acupuncture and medicine that I performed on you had cleared the most toxic part of the potion. The effect of the potion being absorbed into the body through the poison refinery and cultivation of martial art no longer existed. Do you understand me?"
Disheartened, Wen Leyang nodded his head.
"In short, other than to nullify the poison, the hard work of the past two days was for nothing."
"Then what’s this cold lump in my stomach?"
Without saying a word, Wen Tunhai pointed to the toilet at the backyard.
Holding his stomach, Wen Leyang ran towards the toilet while shouting, "First Uncle, please help get me some toilet paper!"
With the release of the cold lump, the heart of Wen Leyang was turning cold as well. For the past two days, the number of times he fell was far more than the falls which had occurred amongst the others in the village added up. But it all seemed like it was for nothing.
Wen Leyang came out from the toilet holding his stomach, feeling cold from his throat all the way to the navel and he asked with a bitter smile, "First Uncle, this Art of Punching…"
Not waiting for Wen Leyang to finish his sentence, Wen Tunhai interrupted with a smile, "Boy, the poison of the Wen is not used to solely poison others, it is also used to poison ourselves!" Upon saying that, he suddenly turned over and leaped up in an odd posture, with the head pointing downwards, he touched the ground lightly with his right palm.
A layer of color as green as jade appeared and spread out in all direction instantly. In a blink of an eye, it disappeared again.
First Uncle then flipped open the soil with a piece of rock. The worms found underneath the spot where the force of the green palm was earlier on had all hardened and turned into black blight.
Wen Leyang gulped nervously.
There was a sense of pride in the eyes of Wen Tunhai. He was clearly satisfied with the effects of his palm strike, "Our ancestral Faulty Punch combines the toxin in the medicinal potion with the Meridian vessels. It not only strengthens the muscles and bones, it releases the toxic power that has accumulated in the Meridian vessels through the force of the palm! Be it refining poison or fighting your enemy, this Faulty Punch will serve as your weapon!"
Only then did Wen Leyang realize that the Punching Manual that instructed its learner to keep falling on the ground was called The Faulty Punch.
Since then, just like all the days in his past twelve years, Wen Leyang obediently soaked naked in the medicinal potion every morning. He would climb out from the vat as soon as his body was unable to stand the pain on any longer and began practicing the Punching Manual under the supervision of First Uncle. Having a youthful temperament, Wen Leyang obstinately continued ramming himself to the ground in the courtyard with the tenacity of a bulldog.
The three Elders would come visit occasionally and ended up playing mahjong with First Uncle in the yard.
Once, Wen Leyang got the chance to witness a fight between Grand Elder Wen and First Uncle with only The Faulty Punch without using the power of poison. They moved like two maniacs who had been injected with chicken blood; all the body parts including the head, the hands, the legs, the elbows, the knees, the buttocks, the back and even the teeth could be a point of attack. Every single part of the body was attacking crazily at the opponent like a violent storm and each attack was filled with strength that could separate gold and split the stone. Looking at both of them fighting each other was more entertaining and exciting than watching ten martial art experts in Wulin.
It was then that Wen Leyang comprehended, not taking into account of other factors, that the Faulty Punch had the ability to transform the fight from one person’s fight to multiple persons’ fight. It was the classic example of the art of a single person’s gang fight.
Wen Leyang had slowly grasped the knack of practicing and cultivating the Faulty Punch. This particular punching style twisted the power and strength within the body, circulated the absorbed poison to the Meridian vessels through the flow of the internal energy where it finally accumulated and precipitated.
During the fight with the enemy, the poison would then be released together with the punch.
Other than that, the Faulty Punch emphasized on two points; balance and distraction. To complete a move, one’s mind had to be diverted to all the limbs and joints of the body with the fists, the legs, the shoulders and the elbows having their own direction. It was impossible to allow the body to move according to the body’s natural coordination, else, one would fall terribly for sure.
In other words, to balance was to divert.
Wen Tunhai explained to him before, "At the advanced stage, the secret art of the Wen clan’s poison cultivation requires every part of the body to be used for cultivation. To cultivate up to hundreds of medicinal plants at the same time, at least ten pots and more are needed. Without mastering this Art of Punching, even with three heads and six arms and extraordinary martial arts, there’s no way to accomplish the cultivation."
As Wen Leyang got more skillful with the Art of Punching, the less he fell. Soaking in the potion, followed by the practice of the Art of Punching, the effect of refining the power of poison was becoming visible. Wen Leyang was feeling great and full of energy each day. His muscles and bones were getting remarkably tougher, even after being struck by a mop’s rod, not a single red mark was left behind.
Seeing his own physique getting stronger each day, Wen Leyang was overjoyed. He would indulge in himself for a while in the yard every time he finished practicing the boxing art.
One day, Wen Tunhai was squatting at the courtyard, slurping his piping hot corn porridge. When he saw the silly expression on Wen Leyang’s face, he teasingly scolded, "How far have you progressed to make you feel so satisfied?"
Wen Leyang shook his head with a smile, "It may not be much progress so far. But if I continue soaking and practicing, my body will get stronger day by day. If few months won’t do it, then a few decades’ later my body will eventually be as tough as iron."
Ignoring him, Wen Tunhai finished up his corn porridge and let out a long sigh, "The Meridian vessels are just like rubber pockets with a limited absorbing capacity of the normal power of poison. The Faulty Punch is not only capable of storing the power of poison in the Meridian vessels but expanding the pocket at the same time. However, there is always a limit to it. Once exceeded, the Meridian vessels will burst and the toxic poison will erode your internal organs. By then, you might as well just wrap yourself up as a mummy and get exhibited in the Egypt Exhibition Center, it might even get you a good price. Go fetch me a carrot!"
Both the uncle and nephew squatted at the courtyard and munched on their carrots. "Soaking in the potion right now is just establishing your foundation. When you’ve completed all thirteen moves of The Faulty Punch, the poison bearing capacity of your Meridian vessels will be at its limit as well."
Wen Leyang acknowledged the words of his uncle, clearly disappointed as his dream of becoming Mr. Muscleman was shattered. He asked with concern, "It won’t crash prematurely, right?"
With a chuckle, Wen Tunhai scolded, "Why is such an idiot like you selected as the Inner Disciple? At times crazily silly and at times a smart ass. But in a nutshell, a fool after all!"
Holding his half-eaten carrot to the sky, Wen Leyang pretended to act the fool.
"The thirteen moves of the Faulty Punch stress on taking it one step at a time. Without mastering the first move, you can forget about the second. The physique will also progress together. When you’ve reached the final step, the foundation established will be just nice! With so many Inner Disciples in the past, no one had ever died of poisoning from the potion without completing the thirteenth move."
Soaking in the medicinal potion and practicing the Faulty Punch was merely establishing the foundation for the refining and cultivation of the advanced Art of Poison in the future. Upon completing the Faulty Punch, the endurance of the Meridians towards the toxicity in the medicinal potion would have reached its limit as well. To have a breakthrough, the cultivator had to refine the toxin and poison according to his physique and then find a suitable toxin to be absorbed and resolved by the body to further strengthen the Meridian vessels. With this cultivation, one could only test the poison with his body repeatedly to find the most suitable poison strength that could be adapted to their body with no help from the others. There were many Inner Disciples of the Wen in the past generations that even with the effort of a lifetime, failed to identify the toxins of the Five Elements that best suited their body to progress further.
With a chuckle that revealed his teeth, it finally dawned on Wen Leyang.
Apart from practicing the Faulty Punch, Wen Leyang had been learning systematically the method of refining and discharging poisons from both First Uncle and Grand Elder Wen. The Wen clan categorized poisons according to the Five Elements, with a unique cyclic relationship that consisted of generation and inter inhibition of the Five Elements. There was only an ambiguous law in terms of the configuration and discharge for each poison type without a unified and strict procedure. To unleash the strongest power of poison, one could only practice and experiment with the generation and inter inhibition of the Five Elements.
After the age of twelve, the ordinary disciples of the Wen clan would cultivate and refine poisons according to the Manual of Poison in a similar process to cooking by following a recipe. By following the right quantities, the taste would not differ much from one another. Wen Leyang’s learning, on the other hand, was just like learning the knowledge of Physics step by step, whether or not a nuclear bomb could be produced in the future, it was all up to his realization, comprehension, and opportunity.
The former was copying the form without understanding the substance and though it is simple, convenient and practical there was not much prospect for development; the latter, however, was about applying the theory into practice and once one has become enlightened, they would be able to raise their level of development vastly.
It was not until two years later that Wen Leyang finally completed the last move in the Punching Manual. By then, he was already eighteen years old, though not very tall in height, a little shy of 1.8 meters tall. He was not too burly either but solidly built. However, the innocent look on his face had not changed at all. He looked just like an honest and guileless youth who grew up in the mountain.
Overjoyed, Wen Tunhai brought him to see the three Elders.
Looking at the unpromising look of a delighted Wen Leyang scratching his ears and cheek in embarrassment, Grand Elder Wen laughed aloud, "Silly boy, what’s there to be happy about completing the Punching Manual in two years? The body martial art that is freely practiced by all disciples of the Wen is to build the foundation for this Art of Punching. How long did your First Uncle take to complete this Art of Punching last time?"
Wen Leyang opened his mouth in astonishment.
With a stern look on his face, Third Elder Wen snorted and pointed to a big Chinese-scholar tree in the courtyard, "Show us some punches!"
Frowning, Wen Leyang said, "That tree is over four hundred years old now…"
"I’ve asked you to punch, you just do it! Cut your nonsense!"
Wen Leyang hurriedly agreed. He held his breath in for a short while and with deep concentration, he let out a cry suddenly and leaped upward. Every single joint of his body was oddly twitching, the fists and legs moved fast like the wind. Like a strange bird circling rapidly around the tree which was big as two persons walking abreast, the striking sounds rattled like bursting beans. A layer of blackness spread out immediately and penetrated into the tree with every punch. Before refining and cultivating the toxins of the Five Elements that are fit to be absorbed by the body, the power of the poison that burst forth through The Faulty Punch was of an ordinary black color. The power of the poison used by Wen Tunhai was of Wood element which gave out a verdant green color.
A layer of withered leaves fell off the tree and landed on the ground moments later. With Wen Leyang’s ability in the Faulty Punch, that was all he could achieve at the moment. He was still far from killing a big tree with only a few punches.
The three Elders exchanged a look with satisfaction.
Wen Leyang finished his attack and looked at the three Elders and his First Uncle uneasily.
Not expressing a word, Grand Elder Wen instructed Wen Tunhai with a smile, "Bring him into the woods tomorrow!" He then went to the side of his bed and fumbled at the bottom of the bed frame. Finally pulling out a square-shaped red wooden box, he asked Wen Leyang, "Do you know what’s inside?"
Holding back the answer of ‘cinerary casket’, he shook his head. Wen Tunhai, on the other hand, was thrilled upon seeing the box and pushed his First Nephew to kneel on the floor with a palm, "Hurry up and thank your First Grandpa!"
Inside the wooden box, there lay a jade cooking vessel tripod which was dark black in color.
With his eyes popping, Wen Leyang cried out in surprise, "It’s the Black Jade Incense Tripod!"
The incense tripod is an essential piece of equipment for disciples of the Wen clan. When a special herbal plant was burnt inside the tripod, it would attract poisonous insects from the surroundings. After a fight, only the most poisonous insect would stay inside the tripod. This was the easiest and most convenient way of capturing these poisonous insects. However, the tripods of the normal disciples were mainly made up of stone or bronze, which had limited effects on the herbal plants and was inferior in attracting the magical beasts with extraordinary poisons. Even if the beasts were attracted to the tripod, it would not stay for long and will leave after a short while.
However, The Black Jade Incense Tripod was of a different caliber. Upon burning the herbal plants, the normal insects would be terrified to even get close so only the insects with extraordinary poison and a fierce temper would be attracted. Compared to the normal tripod, the former was a mouse trap while the latter was akin to a bear trap.
Grand Elder Wen passed the wooden box to Wen Leyang and said, "As a Disciple of the Tuo Xie Sect, you will be dealing with these poisonous insects for the rest of your life. I am gifting you this tripod, and I’m sure it will come in handy in no time."
Wen Leyang kowtowed in delight while Wen Tunhai looked slightly displeased and joked, "First Father, his tripod’s better than mine!"
Glancing at him, Grand Elder Wen said, "Well, you can ask Le Yang and see if he’ll exchange with you, I’m not bothered."
Not waiting for Wen Tunhai to utter a word, Wen Leyang let out a cry and held tightly onto the tripod while running away and shouted, "No exchange! No way! No way!"