"WHAT!!? This is impossible, a piece of trash simply can't have the legendary black dragon constitution," shouted Lu Bu. His face was beet-red as if someone had slapped him repeatedly and he was shaking from anger. Bao Shu's brothers were standing almost frozen in complete shock. Out of the 4 brothers that were standing mutedly, Lu Zhao, the youngest of Lu Bu's son's was muttering something to himself.
While others couldn't pick up what he was saying, Bao Shu's senses were enhanced by the awakening and he saw him chuckle and heard what could only be described as ramblings of a madman.
"No, no, no, no, this can't be happening. I am the one that's supposed to inherit my father's resources, I am the one who is hailed as a genius of the past century! He promised me that everything was done for me and that I was the one who was special. How dare this blind peasant come here and steal my fame, my glory, my ascension to become the heir to one of the most powerful men in the entire empire. This insolent wretch has to pay, I can't let him pass the rest of the trials, he must suffer an accident, yes, he needs to pay." Lu Zhao's face went from anguish to joy in a matter of seconds as he stopped muttering and stared at Bao Shu.
Bao Shu was smiling at the discovery of his black dragon constitution, but as he listened to Lu Zhao's mutterings, his face started to become pale. He looked around for anyone, who had heard what Lu Zhao said, but he quickly realised that no one else had heard him.
The rest of the crowd was cheering, while the emperor himself was addressing Lu Bu. "Rejoice! Your son has one of the rarest constitutions in the entire Eirun empire. Every single person who has had the black dragon constitution has gone on to become a hero of great renown!"
Before Lu Bu could even reply, the third princess grinned and snidely said "Are you going to disown him for being trash after he passes your tests and becomes your heir? Being the father of a future hero, I'm sure you must be feeling very proud."
Lu Bu's expression went grim as all of the sudden, Bao Shu felt a suffocating pressure come from him. Looking straight at Lu Bu, he saw a lion over 10 feet appear above his father's head. The lion was blood-red, it's claws and fangs wicked sharp as it stared at everyone around it with killing intent. Bao Shu could swear that he saw blood dripping down its mouth as the lion's mane began to shine in an enchanting bloody light.
Lu Bu opened his mouth and roared "ENOUGH!" while the lion above him also opened its mouth and roared. What came out weren't words, but a true lion's roar, filled with dignity and might a lion has. It seemed to disregard everyone in this world, seeing the people around it as prey.
The crowd simultaneously froze and there were various phantoms appearing above people's heads. Bao Shu and all of his brothers were trembling in fear, but Bao Shu forced himself to take his eyes off Lu Bu and as he did, he saw a wide array of colors coming from the crowd.
Most of the people gathered here were commoners and people, who just began cultivating, but amongst the crowd were also various experts that had cultivated for several years now. As Lu Bu roared, each of them resisted the invisible pressure coming off Lu Bu by summoning their own beast phantoms. What Bao Shu saw surprised him greatly as he had never even seen a beast phantom in his entire life.
Above each expert was a beast shadow. What surprised Bao Shu was that each beast shadow was different from another. Above 2 experts standing next to each other were lion beast shadows. The expert's lion shadow on the right was jade green and it held a scroll in its mouth, while the expert's lion shadow on the left was pitch black, it seemed to absorb all light into it and the only things visible were the dark red eyes of the lion.
It seemed that, generally, there were only 4 types of beast shadows - a lion, a phoenix, a turtle and a qilin. Most of the expert's beast shadows were such, but there were some exceptions. The emperor materialized a beast shadow of the great beast, kun peng. The 3rd princess, who mocked Lu Bu earlier, materialized a strange beast he had never seen before. It was a 15 meter long fish with a crown on its head and a multi-colored tail.
After an brief and intense showdown between Lu Bu's red lion and the rest of the crowd's beast shadows, Lu Bu loudly exclaimed "This was only the first round of the inheritance, the next round will showcase the understanding of each of my sons and see, how fast they can comprehend either a divine ability or a spell!"
The crowd was still in shock from the earlier display of might from Lu Bu as the crowd was completely silent. Lu Bu turned to his sons and said in a stern voice "You are given an hour, go to the armory and choose your weapon. After that, sense the elements around you and comprehend your own unique skill, whether it is a divine art or a spell doesn't matter. Return here and I will summon my beast shadow to take your blows, the one who can force it to show a portion of its power will be the winner of this round."
Bao Shu was still trying to comprehend what Lu Bu said before Lu Zhao started heading in his direction. As he passed Bao Shu, he leaned in to whisper something in his ear. "You better watch out during the next few rounds, who knows what accidents might happen."
Bao Shu shivered as Lu Zhao and the rest of his brothers passed by, heading towards the armory. Lu Kie, the 2nd youngest brother stopped before turning back to Bao Shu and said "You're Bao Shu, right? I've never seen a more impressive sight in my entire life, I was ecstatic when I saw my father's and Lu Zhao's expressions, they were priceless." Lu Kie laughed heartily and beckoned him over.
Bao Shu was still staring the Lu Bu in a daze and didn't seem to listen to Lu Kie's words. Seeing that Bao Shu was a little hesitant to go with him, he moved closer and said: "If you don't come now, you are going to lose precious time when comprehending your divine art, you don't want to fall behind to that jerk Lu Zhao do you?"
When Lu Kie mentioned Lu Zhao, Bao Shu woke up with a start, turning to Lu Kie, he said "Thank you brother, if you don't mind, can you lead me to the armory? This is my first time in the capital and it's a bit overwhelming for me, I still don't know where everything is." Lu Kie nodded his head and gestured to follow behind him. They quickly walked through the interior of the colosseum while Lu Kie started asking Bao Shu questions.
"So, I heard from my father and my other brothers that you were born blind huh? How is it like being blind, and, actually, how are you following me so precisely?" Lu Kie shamelessly asked as they walked the cold stone floor.
"Yes, I can't see anything, at least the way you can," said Bao Shu. "It was quite tough until a few years ago. All of the sudden, I felt as if the world became clear to me, I could see, no, sense the vibrant colors and how my mother looked, it was the happiest day of my life." Bao Shu smiled as he recalled what happened on that day.
"Really? It's not like I don't believe you, but I've never heard of this happening to anyone. Maybe that's the reason you awakened the black dragon constitution, the study of the constitutions is still in its early stages, so no one knows why certain people awaken certain constitutions." Lu Kie exclaimed as they continued walking, the interior of the colosseum was less impressive than what it seemed from the outside. Everything here had a purpose and there wasn't any unused space.
"Right, brother, Lu Bu said something about meridians, talent, corporealism and the size of the beast shadow, what does that all mean?
"I forget that you've got no idea about cultivation, is that right? Listen here, when you do the awakening ceremony, there are 3 things that determine your future. The meridian count, the size of your beast shadow and how corporeal it is. The number of meridians determines how well you can sense the elements inside and outside of your body, the size of the beast shadow determines how strong and how much potential your beast shadow has and how corporeal it is determines how long a beast shadow can materialize in this world." Lu Kie patiently explained what he knew to Bao Shu. As Lu Kie did so, Bao Shu sunk deep into thought, thinking about something before shaking his head.
"I wanted to ask, what was that appearing above Lu Bu? It seemed like the beast shadow that appeared above us during the awakening, but it was red, not like the lion oldest brother awakened." Bao Shu looked at Lu Kie, asking a question that's been on his mind ever since walking away from Lu Bu.
"What we, people of the Eirun empire do is cultivate our beast shadows. The beast shadow which appears when you awaken is its initial form, the elements that you absorb into your body, the elements which you can control, the spells and divine arts that you can cast all affect what color, shape and what the beast shadow can do. Father has a blood-red lion because he's constantly warring and fighting with people, thus he only practices divine arts which are the most effective at killing people. There are many more things a beast shadow can do, but I'm afraid we're out of time."
Lu Kie stopped in front of an opened metal door. Bao Shu peered his head in and immediately started to cough while retreating a few steps back. As he regained his bearings, he saw a dusty, old and worn-down armory. The ground, the shelves housing the weapons and the weapons themselves were covered by a thick layer of dust. Lu Kie looked around for something in the armory and a few seconds later, he picked up a simply massive greatsword. Seemingly with ease, he lifted it up and swung it in the air.
"Although this sword doesn't have an edge, it'll be better this way, come on, choose your weapon so we can go and create our moves for the trial." Lu Kie took his greatsword, heaved it up on his shoulder and looked at Bao Shu expectantly.
As Bao Shu entered the armory, he had a vague feeling of something calling him. He turned his head around, but only found Lu Kie staring at him questioningly. He stepped out and once more stepped inside, only to hear the same noise. Bao Shu walked forwards and the noise became louder. It sounded like a voice, a voice that was saying something to him, but he couldn't understand a single word of it. As he continued to step forward, the voice became louder and louder until it became so deafening that he had to put his hands on his ears in order to deafen the sound.
As he did, the sound instead became even louder. Bao Shu had the feeling that the voice was resounding inside his brain, seemingly pleading and begging him for something. After 3 more steps, he finally arrived at the source of the deafening voice. Taking his hands off his ears, he quickly snatched the object in this hands. During this split second, it seemed as if the pain would knock him directly unconscious, but he endured it and his hand finally touched the object. He looked down and found himself gripping an old, wooden bow. The second the pain vanished, he dropped to the ground, completely exhausted.
Lu Kie rushed into the room and then stopped, staring at what was in Bao Shu's hands. "Brother, are you alright? Why are you on the floor?" said Lu Kie, his gaze stuck on the bow in Bao Shu's hands.
"Nothing, nothing, I'm fine. I just slipped, that's it." Unwilling to disclose what he saw, Bao Shu stood up, dusted himself off, pointed to the bow in his hands and said: "I'll choose this weapon, let's go, brother."
Lu Kie took one last glance towards the bow, "Yes, I'm sure the others have already started to comprehend their abilities, let's go," and as he said so, he started walking forwards. After a few minutes, they arrived at a particular door. It was made out of stone, just like the other doors, but on the door were symbols that Bao Shu couldn't make heads or tails of. He felt that they seemed to warp and twist around each other that after a few seconds, he had to stop paying attention to the symbols because of a headache that accompanied the symbols. Lu Kie entered the door and saw the other 3 already sitting cross-legged on the floor. As they entered, the others didn't pay them a single glance as they continued to hold up their weapons, some with their eyes closed and others intensively looking at their weapons.
Lu Kie whispered to Bao Shu "I didn't explain this to you, but as you will sit down, I'm sure you'll understand what you have to do." With that, he sat down in an empty spot, placed his broadsword on his knees and closed his eyes.
Bao Shu looked around, confused at what was going on but he imitated Lu Kie and picked an empty spot to sit down. He took his bow in his hand and started to inspect it. It was an ordinary wooden bow, though a bit old, it was still useful. He pulled the bowstring a few times with his hand, deciding that at least the bowstring was sturdy and wouldn't easily break.
As he ran his finger over the bow, he noticed something engraved on the bow. He ran his finger over the engravings a few more times, before realising that they were even more complex than the symbols he felt on the door. He flipped the bow over a few more times before he recalled that second youngest brother had told him that each minute was precious. He followed Lu Kie's example and placed his bow on his knees and closed his eyes.
After a few seconds, he was completely astounded. He wondered how he had never noticed this before. All around him were these tiny multicolored balls. They looked like tiny spirits floating in the air, inviting him over to play. These spirits seemed to be in constant motion as each second different colors popped up in his view. He could swear that he heard one of them laughing. The laughter sounded like bells chiming in the wind, making him completely relax and sink into this unknown world.
With his eyes closed, his spirit seemingly left his body. He felt himself sitting with his eyes closed as well as his brothers trying to comprehend their own abilities. Bao Shu admired the spirits before deciding to look all around him. On his lap was his wooden bow and what a sight it was! Multiple spirits were closing in on the bow and floating around it, seemingly tugging on it. He looked at himself and the sight of himself was both wonderful and terrifying. Inside his body were numerous spirits, arranged in weird formations.
The upper half of his body bright red while the lower half was dim yellow. All throughout his body were small, black spirits intertwined between the red and yellow spirits. Looking at it from his point of view, his body resembled a huge dragon made of 3 colors. As he looked at the dragon, the dragon looked at him back. All of the sudden, it opened its mouth and the red spirits from the dragon's upper half started gushing out. The dim yellow spirits went to his fangs and claws while the black spirits seemed to move to the edge of his body, gathering in bulk and not leaving a single gap between the black spirits.
While this sight was clearly impressive, to Bao Shu this was extremely horrifying. He could almost feel the red spirits overwhelm him as he turned his view back to the multicolored spirits and his bow, afraid to go back to the dragon. After some time, he regained his bearings and wanted to look closer at this multicolored ball. He didn't know how to bring it closer, so he simply willed it to come to him.
The spirit seemed unwilling at first but reluctantly arrived in his sight. As the spirit arrived closer, he saw that although the spirit did contain multiple lights, it seemed that the blue light was prevalent, though there were traces of yellow and transparent lights mixed with it. He released the spirit and looked over once more to his bow. This time, the various spirits were arranged in a neat fashion. There were many spirits, but probably not as many as he saw during himself breathe out. While the red spirits he saw were arranged in a spinning cone fashion, these were arranged as straight letters.
He willed it and all of the sudden, found himself looking closer at the bow. He saw that the letters were primarily yellow, with all kinds of other elements mixed within them. As he was looking at the bow, strangely, he felt that the bow was trying to show him something. He willed himself to move backwards and keeping his eye on the letters, he tried to will spirits to come to him and arrange themselves in the shape of the letters. The spirits were unwilling and he could only shape one of three letters before the spirits simply dispersed and his head started throbbing.
Forcing himself to think through the headache, he, with great reluctance turned to himself and looked at the yellow spirits. Keeping the shape and the color in mind, he turned back to the bow and imagined the yellow spirits shaping arranging and shaping themselves into these letters. This time, the yellow spirits almost willingly arranged themselves in position. As the last spirit arrived, he snapped out of his trance and above his hands floated an arrow made of lightning. He felt the intense heat on his face as his concentration lapsed and the lightning arrow disappeared.
Bao Shu stood up, his bones cracking after sitting in the same position for an hour. Bao Shu noticed that his body has gotten sturdier after the awakening. Before this, his body was frail, he would groan from carrying over a basket of water from the river to his house. He felt like he could do carry several baskets before he would get tired.
Feeling the surroundings and the people still in the room, he couldn't find Lu Kie. The only one still in the room as Lu Zhao. Leaving him on his own, Bao Shu exited the room and went outside. After some thought, he decided to head to the colosseum, excited to try out his new ability in practice. Pondering about the letters on the bow and about the spirits he saw inside him, he didn't realise when he reached the colosseum.
Just as he was about to step outside, a sturdy arm grabbed him and forcibly turned him around. It was his oldest brother, Lu Fei. "Don't show your face to father before it is time to test our abilities," said Lu Fei, his voice similar to his father's voice.
"Hey, what ability did you comprehend? I didn't have any luck with the divine art father taught us, but it seems I got lucky with my innate ability, it's a bit hard to explain so I'll show it to you once we start to compete." A voice filled with enthusiasm came from the right of Bao Shu, he recognized it as Lu Kie immediately and said: "Well, it seems that there was a formation on the weapon."
As soon as he raised the wooden bow, the 3 brothers that were standing there froze. The oldest brother said with a stuttering voice "If father sees this, he will be pissed! Are you intentionally trying to humiliate him by bringing this lowly weapon to the test? Do you not realise what you picked is a bow of all things?"
"I felt a calling to it. Even if it is a somewhat strange weapon of choice, I feel that a bow has its merits." Bao Shu said, lowering his bow and turning towards the colosseum. Unbeknownst to him, Lu Zhao had already shown up and was currently staring at his bow with intense hatred. Just as he was about to say something, everyone heard the voice of Lu Bu shouting "Come out, let us begin the test!"
As the 5 of them came out, they saw a blood-red lion standing on the ground. This time, instead of floating above Lu Bu's head, it had actually materialized in this world and could stand on its own two feet! The pressure it gave off was less intense than when it was hovering above Lu Bu's head, but as the lion looked at the 5 of them, they could feel the killing intent hovering in the air.
"We shall test them in the order of their awakening, Lu Fei, attack my beast shadow with all you have" shouted Lu Bu as Lu Fei started advancing towards the beast shadow. In his hands, he held a glaive and quickly, he broke out into a sprint. He was rapidly approaching and when he was only a few meters away, he and the glaive in his hands started glowing with a soft-red light. Around his spear appeared a qilin. It coiled around his glaive and as it stabbed towards the lion, the qilin's mouth opened and wicked sharp teeth bit down on the lion.
While the strike seemed impressive, the lion simply stood still, looking at everyone but Lu Fei. The strike arrived and a moment later, the sound of two metals colliding could be heard. Lu Fei stood in shock as his glaive was knocked out of his hands and the lion stood there, uninjured.
"You lack the depth and the understanding of the techniques I had when I was younger, go back and don't show your face to me unless you can injure my lion," shouted Lu Bu, wrath in his eyes. Lu Fei took his glove and went back to the rest of his brothers dejectedly."
"Next, Lu Mao!" Without any extra words, Lu Mao took his longsword and charged at the blood lion. While there weren't any images appearing around his longsword, the last few meters were covered in a flash as he stabbed his longsword into the lion's belly. Once more a resounding clang echoed through the colosseum, but if one looked very carefully, you could see a bit of blood spilling from the lion.
"While not amazing, it's better than your brother Lu Fei, not bad, next up, Lu Kie!" Lu Kie tapped Bao Shu on his shoulders and went charging off with his greatsword. All of the sudden, he stopped his sprint 5 meters away from the lion. His greatsword caught ablaze as he lifted it above his head and swung it down. The flame seemingly detached itself the sword and launched itself towards the lion in a great arc. For once, the lion exerted the effort to look at the blow and as it approached its head, the lion opened it's huge mouth and bit down on the flame. The flame disappeared, but the greatsword had peaked the lion's interest.
"Wonderfully done, this must be one of your innate skills if you can make my lion deflect your blow! Next up, Lu Zhao!" Lu Bu shouted this and he looked at Lu Zhao with hope in his eyes. He had put all of his resources into Lu Zhao and if Lu Zhao couldn't impress him, he would be sorely disappointed.
With a sneer on his face, he passed Bao Shu and stood 30 meters away from the lion. He shouted at the lion "I have comprehended an innate spell from my phoenix constitution, you better get serious or else you might regret it."
With that, he held his saber up in the air and closed his eyes. The air around the bloody lion started to become blurry as the lion stood up. A moment later, the air around the lion ignited as countless tiny sparks appeared around the lion. Lu Zhao tilted his saber and the sparks began to spin around the lion at extremely high speeds. It resembled a flaming tornado with the lion in the middle of it. The crowd cheered as the tornado spun around even faster.
The bloody lion let out a deafening roar as the air around it stilled and Lu Zhao collapsed, spitting out a mouthful of blood. Still, Lu Zhao looked proud as he said: "I name this move Flaming Ashes in dedication to you."
"Good, good. This is what a true hero should look like. Go rest now Zhao'er, you have accomplished a great deed today. With this, everyone can see that my Zhao'er is the one deserving the heir position. We shall move on to the third round after another hour of rest." Lu Bu proclaimed as the crowd went on to cheer once more.
"Aren't you forgetting someone. I seem to recall you have a son who did much better during the awakening than your Zhao'er," exclaimed the princess, her voice overpowering the voices in the crowd.
"Fine, just for the respect I have towards the royal family we shall let this disgrace complete. Next up, Bao Shu!" Lu Bu had a bitter expression on his face as he spat out the name. Bao Shu walked up a few meters before standing still and positioning his bow. The second that the bow was revealed to the rest of the crowd, there were several boos and curses heard.
"How dare you disrespect me and smear my family name! I will have you disowned and then you can live with your whore mother in some place in the middle of nowhere!" Lu Bu clenched his fists and shouted in rage. "Never has anyone humiliated me like this, I will not forget this, just you remember."
Bao Shu stood still and didn't even bother to listen to the shouts and the curses. In his mind, it was only him and his bow. He clutched the bowstring with one hand and held an arrow with his other hand. He seemed to think for a while before placing the arrow back in the quiver and simply holding his hand in the air. He closed his eyes and the strange world of spirits appeared in front of him again. He looked at the bow in his hand and willed for the yellow spirits to gather into the three lines as shown by the formation.
The yellow spirits came in a flood and in a second, the spirits had completed the formation. He opened his eyes and in one hand he held his bow, in the other he held an arrow made entirely out of lightning. Strangely, the arrow didn't burn his hand even as he felt the great heat surrounding it. He drew his bow and took a breath. As he released his breath, the arrow sprang from his bow like lightning. Before he even realised what happened, he saw the huge lion roaring in pain. Its shoulder had a hole in it as it gushed out copious amounts of blood. Behind the lion, the stone of the colosseum had an arrow-shaped hole and who knows how far the arrow traveled before it stopped.
Everyone gathered in this colosseum held their breaths for a moment, before a deafening cheer came from the crowd. The emperor and all the princes, as well as princesses, were smiling and nodding at Bao Shu. Lu Bu saw his lion and roared "How dare you injure my lion! I shall have you executed for that. Guards!"
As soon as he said that, above the emperor appeared a kun peng. It was 20 feet tall and it towered over everyone as the pressure from it almost suffocated Bao Shu. He looked at Lu Bu and said "I congratulate you, your son had shot that arrow with such might that I reckon most of the people here wouldn't be able to take it. He turned towards Bao Shu, "I advise for you to rest, Bao Shu. Save your strength for the 3rd trial because you'll need it"
Bao Shu bowed as he turned his back to Lu Bu, in his eyes was a mixture of pride and excitement as he went back to prepare for the 3rd trial.
Hey, noanime here. We are a bunch of guys writing the same novel and the goal is to pick off where the other guy left and try to make the sense of the story. If you have any suggestions or complaints, direct them to me.
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