Chapter 3: Never Giving Up (2)
Su Chen slowly lifted the stone dumbbells, alternating between his left and right arms. He turned his body and formed a strange posture. Then he raised his right arm...
In the martial practice yard, Su Chen was holding stone dumbbells in his hand and performing the Eight Methods of Body Tempering and the Basic Absorption technique.
The Eight Methods of Body Tempering was the most common Body Tempering technique amongst human clans. It could be considered the very foundation of Martial Dao Cultivation. The Basic Absorption Technique was a method to absorb energy to strengthen the body. With the two combined, one could simultaneously strengthen the body and establish one’s future foundation to become an Origin Qi Scholar.
As Su Chen was practicing, he heard footsteps from behind him.
“Father?” Su Chen stopped the stone dumbbells in his hands and turned his head.
He heard Su Cheng’an speak, “Didn’t you say before that my footsteps sound very similar to your Third Uncle, and that it was hard to tell them apart? How were you so certain it was me this time?”
Su Chen answered, “While Father’s and Third Uncle’s footsteps are very similar, Third Uncle practices the Brilliant Day Sword. It is now noon, when the Yang Qi is at its greatest concentration. As such, Third Uncle should now be cultivating and wouldn’t easily come out. Thus, it could only be Father.”
Hearing this, Su Cheng’an couldn’t help but sigh inwardly.
The ancestors had blessed him with an intelligent son. But the Heavens were jealous and had Su Chen encounter misfortune.
Even trapped in darkness, Su Chen hadn’t given up on himself. This caused Su Cheng’an to feel both happy and uneasy. With a conflicted heart, he didn’t know what he should say.
Finally Su Chen broke the silence, “Father, why did you come find me?”
Su Cheng’an composed himself and said, “Follow me. I want to speak to you about a few things.”
Departing from the martial practice yard with his son, Su Cheng’an arrived at a pavilion and took a seat.
Su Cheng’an didn’t talk about the main subject right off the bat. Instead, he first asked his son about his experiences and comprehensions from training. In return, Su Chen gave him a thorough and detailed answer.
“In three years, you are certain that you will enter Qi Drawing Realm? Not bad, Not bad at all.” Su Cheng’an repeatedly nodded his head.
The Qi Drawing Realm was the first of the seven stages of an Origin Scholar. Only after entering Qi Drawing Realm could one be considered a true Origin Qi Scholar. As for Body Tempering, it was only in the realm of martial arts and wasn’t considered to be of the seven Origin Qi Scholar stages.
Although Su Cheng’an spoke praises, his face wasn’t the slightest bit happy.
He looked at his son with a gaze that spoke of profound sorrow.
After a long while, he said, “Chen’er, You are incredible. So incredible that you surprise even me. Although fate has struck you down, you didn’t wallow in despair. Instead, you strove hard and managed to make your way back up again. But this father of yours is useless. Back then, I hadn’t assigned anyone to protect you, and even after I couldn’t find any medicine gods to cure you. I haven’t even found that assassin.”
Su Chen laughed, “Father, there is no need for all this. In this past year, Father and Mother have greatly suffered for me. Although this child cannot see, he can feel it in his heart.”
Hearing those words, Su Cheng’an sighed, “It is good you understand. Last night, your Second Uncle came to find me... regarding the end of year evaluation.”
Su Chen’s fingers tightened around the teacup he was holding.
He said, “He wants me to withdraw from the end of year evaluation?”
The Primordial Continent was a chaotic world. Demonic beasts occupied over sixty percent of the landmass, and what remained was fought over by several tens of Intelligent Races. The human race was but one of those several tens. In a world where one was constantly surrounded by enemies in waiting, military strength was the only law that mattered. Thus, the Primordial Continent had become one that revered martial prowess. A race’s martial ability was the only indicator of their prestige and status.
In order to encourage the children of later generations to improve themselves, the great clans each had a clan rule to host an end of year evaluation to test children of the later generation and see whose cultivation was the most powerful.
As time passed, this method to promote friendly competition and development became tradition. Regardless of whether it was a clan that dated back years or a burgeoning clan, if they had the resources to, they would hold a similar evaluation. At the most, they would simply change a few details on how the tradition was carried out.
The evaluation was simple, just testing a child’s strength much like an exam. The reason why most clans didn’t use martial exchange as a test was because of how easily it would lead to injuries and cause internal strife. While internal competition was a good thing, internal strife was disastrous.
Thus, the great majority of clans evaluation method was a formal comparison of strength instead of a martial exchange. One’s grade would be determined by the strength of one’s technique.
The Su Clan used this same method.
At the end of every year, the children of the Su Clan’s third generation would undergo a formal comparison to evaluate each child’s strength.
In previous examinations, Su Chen had always been the unquestioned champion.
After Su Chen was blinded, many believed Su Chen was already doomed to give into despair.
But who would have thought that after a few months of depression, Su Chen would spring forth with even faster progress.
He was still the most remarkable child of the third generation.
That was to say, if nothing unexpected occurred in this year’s evaluation, it was likely to be Su Chen’s victory once more.
This caused many people to feel uneasy.
With regards to the children of the third generation, losing to a blind person was simply a question of losing face.
But for the elders of the second generation, there was a more practical matter at stake. The champion of every year would have more resources allocated to them from the Su Clan.
To have the strong become stronger was the usual practice for many clans!
In this world where the limits of one’s martial power could be broken through over and over again, one genuinely strong person was often more useful than a large group of weaklings!
In the pavilion, Su Cheng’an nodded with a heavy complexion, “Chen’er, you were originally the most outstanding child of our Su Clan. If nothing unexpected had occurred, you would have been the future leader of the Su Clan. Regardless of whether it was your grandfather, your second uncle, your third uncle, your fourth aunt or any other of your branch elders, this was how they all saw it.”
“But unfortunately, I encountered mishap,” Su Chen interrupted, “ I can no longer see. Thus, even if I have a greater cultivation, I may not be able to win against an opponent of the Third Layer of Body Tempering. Thus, I no longer have the qualification to lead the clan.”
His calm tone was completely unlike that of a thirteen year old child.
Su Cheng’an sighed again, “Yes.”
“Which is why Second Uncle felt that any resources given to me would be a waste?”
Su Chen was extremely intelligent. Intelligent to the point where he had completely understood the generalities of the situation without an explanation.
This caused Su Cheng’an to feel relaxed, but he then felt restless afterwards.
“And it just so happens that my other brothers don’t believe they are able to win against me?” Su Chen further asked, revealing a slight smile.
This was the key question.
Su Chen’s excellence was the target of much admiration and praise. But when crucial interests were involved, that way of thinking naturally changed.
Su Chen was blind!
A blind child couldn’t necessarily make use of those resources they would be allocated.
Su Cheng’an looked at his son, “Yesterday Keji and I spoke for a long time. It wasn’t just for his own child. The Su Clan’s foundations are still shallow, shallow to the point where we absolutely require an outstanding junior to support the Clan. As a result, he wished that the Su Clan could produce a child capable of becoming a disciple of the Hidden Dragon Institution. He originally supported you. But now that you’re blind...”
Su Cheng’an didn’t finish his seentence. He only looked at Su Chen.
If Su Keji was only acting of behalf of Su Qing, Su Cheng’an absolutely wouldn’t agree to the request of his second younger brother.
However, Su Keji had repeatedly claimed that this was for the Su Clan. With such honest reasons behind his arguments, Su Cheng’an was unable to respond.
To be honest, Su Cheng’an personally felt that since Su Chen’s future no longer held hope, he should give up as well.
However, Su Chen was unwilling.
He believed he would be able to recover. That old beggar had said so, his eyes had been exchanged.
Originally, Su Cheng’an was also confident.
But after two years, Su Chen’s eyes hadn’t improved in the slightest.
Su Cheng’an had no choice but to believe that this was only a hallucination born from when Su Chen was in a stupor or some mere rubbish that the old beggar had said.
After a year, while Su Chen hadn’t given up, Su Cheng’an had already resigned himself to face the reality in front of him.
Thus, he went to find Su Chen today and console him.
Su Chen was silent.
After a long while, he said, “Is Father’s visit a forced ejection or kindly worded advice?”
“Naturally, it is kindly worded advice.” Su Cheng’an firmly said. “You are my son, and you haven’t made a single mistake. Regardless of your choice, your father will support you.”
“That is good!” Su Chen nodded his head. “Help me pass on a message to Second Uncle. If they want something, then they should strive hard to acquire it. Wanting me to give up... is absolutely impossible!”
The Sky Azure Vase painted with proud snow cold plums flew across the room, shattering into pieces as it crashed into the floor.
“He doesn’t know when to quit!” Su Keji loudly cursed as he stalked around the room in a rage, “ Who does he think I’m doing this for? Am I not doing this for the clan!? Su Chen is BLIND! What use is it for him to become stronger? Can he ever be a match for Qing’er? He’s doomed to lose from the second he steps into combat, and he still stubbornly refuses to let go! How selfish! How avaricious! Cold and ruthless even to his own clan!”
Si Keji loudly vented his rage.
Tong Ruzheng wordlessly stood to the side and calmly waited for Su Keji’s rage to subside. He clearly understood his lord’s temperament. If he was prevented from venting, no one’s words would get through to him.
After a moment more of yelling, Su Keji stopped, “Martial Elder Tong, what do you think?”
Despite already having an answer in mind, Tong Ruzheng assumed a contemplative posture for a moment. Then he unhurriedly said, “For this matter... To tell the truth, the problem lies with the Su Clan’s evaluation system.
Su Keji nodded his head, “Yes. We can only perform formal comparisons, not martial battles. In truth, it doesn’t completely reflect an individual's power. A fight also requires experience, perception, and reactions. Other races use battle as their standard. Demonic Beasts, for one, the Ravagers too. They certainly don’t merely determine victory by comparing the power of empty moves. Only a battle will speak true!”
Martial Elder Tong calmly continued, “Since it is like that, why don’t you change the evaluation system?”
“Ai! That won’t do, that won’t do at all.” Su Keji waved his hand. “Formal comparison was something my lord grandfather established, fearing that mishap would occur from martial battles and lead to strife between brothers. Lord Grandfather’s misgivings weren’t without reason either. There have already been a few great clans that have fallen because they did not properly address their internal strife.
“Then don’t use weapons and have a specialist watch over them. The odds of an accident would be much smaller. Besides, formal comparisons were previously used because they felt they could select outstanding children with this method. But now with these unusual circumstances, .. Su Chen’s circumstances, obviously the system has revealed a few flaws.” Martial Elder Tong said meaningfully.
Su Keji was startled.
Martial Elder Tong wasn’t wrong. The clan had previously approved of formal comparison because this method had been sufficient to resolve any disputes.
But now, the system itself was being abused. A person clearly not suitable for battle had continued to temper his body and had become first among the younger generation. It clearly illustrated the flaws within the formal comparison system.
If a system had flaws, then it should be changed!
With this thought, Su Keji said, “Right. I should propose this to father and drop this flawed system of formal comparison. However, changing the system, isn’t such an easy matter.”
After this was said, Su Keji was a bit tired.
Regardless of whether it was for a country, nationality, or family clan, a change to a system was a heavy matter.
When a rule was established, they weren't easily changed. Frequent changes in rules would only bring confusion, and cause the system’s authority to be taken lightly.
Furthermore, every change would inevitably bring harm to those with a vested interest in the status quo, and those people would be certain to resist.
This time was the same.
Su Cheng’an was the eldest son of the Su Clan and had the most influential position in the Su Clan. With him around, this change wouldn’t easily pass.
Furthermore, there was the Third Elder, Su Feihu . He was very fond of Su Chen, and his son and daughter were still young. Whether the system changed or not, it would have no effect on them. Thus, Su Keji was certain his desire to change the system wouldn’t be so easily approved.
On the other hand, there were several branch elders that would fight for this. But even with that, his hopes weren’t high.
Martial Senior Tong leisurely said, “That is why you must think of other methods. This old man has an idea in mind of how you may be able to change Su Cheng’an’s attitude. However, it will be a bit slow. It won’t likely come into effect until next year.”
“Another method? If it is effective, then there will be no harm in giving that brat another year of pride to strut around.” Su Keji said.
“Have Su Cheng’an give birth to another son.”