The bubbles floated up with my exhalation into the snorkel and burst near my ear, breaking the silence of the underwater environment.
The noon sunlight broke through the impediment of the water, broken up by the rippling surface into wavy lines of light that illuminated my body, naked except for a loin cloth.
I took in another deep breath through the snorkel and concentrated my mind on the exercises.
Thunderclap Samsara Palms.
The signature technique of my clan, developed and perfected over the five hundred years of its history.
The lead weights on my waist and ankles kept me underwater, preventing me from floating up.
Settling my feet solidly on the bottom of the indoor pool, I squatted slightly and exploded into motion.
Back straight, muscles tense, I lashed out with my right palm in an arcing manner, aiming at an imaginary opponent diagonally from top right to bottom left.
My palm was cupped in a manner that pushed the maximum amount of liquid in its path forward.
At the end of its path, I laid my palm along the line of my forearm and withdrew it back to the starting position along the path of the least water resistance.
I repeated the motion slowly, correcting any flaws I might have picked up in my form and integrating my breathing pattern into the movement.
Inhale, strike, exhale, withdraw...
Moving on to the other five movements; using my right arm, horizontally from right to left, from bottom right to top left, using the left arm for a diagonal strike from top left to bottom right, horizontally from left to right and finally from bottom left to top right, I drilled them repeatedly, slowing down to check for flaws.
Satisfied that I was doing them correctly, I sped up the movements.
The water around me became turbid as my arms began to blur. The streams slowly became an orderly vortex as I continued to repeat the moves.
One set per second…
Two sets per second…
Three sets per second…
When it got to the rate of ten sets a second, my palms were moving so fast that they displaced the water faster than it could fill in the gap, leaving a vacuum in their path.
The surrounding water rushed in to fill the gap, creating an explosive rumble in the process.
That's where the technique got its name from.
When practiced to the level of fifty-five sets per second and above, the speed of the strikes broke through the sonic barrier and could cause sonic booms in the air.
The sound accompanying the strikes was directed towards the opponent and penetrated their body to cause internal injury.
In the early stages, the practice was carried on underwater, often with glitter spread in it so the practitioner could observe the trend of the water flow due to their strikes and perfect it so the final sound wave was directed towards their opponent.
As a pure beginner without the advantage of a Barrier to protect my body from the backlash of moving at extreme speeds and as a Hominum without the sturdiness provided by the beast bloodline, it was a miracle I had managed to keep up with my Bestia peers and reach this level of proficiency.
Although a lot of that was due to the expensive medicines my father lavished on me to strengthen my body and the healing of my mother to ensure that I didn't leave behind any latent injuries after my hellish training regimen.
My muscles burned with exertion as I demanded more and more from them and sped up my attacks.
Eleven sets per second…
My chest burned from the lack of air as I was unable to pace my breathing with the strikes.
Twelve sets per second…
The speed of my strikes surpassed my current cognition capacity and I ran them on muscle memory and instinct as the lactic acid continued to build up.
Thirteen sets per second…
My brain grew fuzzy from the lack of oxygen as my arms drew upon it all to fuel the crazed speed at which they were moving. Suddenly, pushed too far beyond its limits, my left bicep cramped, deviating the direction of my strike.
The disorderly stream interfered with the vortex set up around me and caused it to collapse inwards, slamming into me with the speed and force of several of my own strikes, forcing the air out of my lungs in a burst of bubbles.
I stood my ground with my arms crossed in front of me and weathered the beating until the raging water settled.
I slowly stood up straight from my protective crouch and breathed deeply through the snorkel as I closed my eyes and let the warm sunlight ripple on my face through the water.
A sharp pain ran up from my shoulder and my eyes snapped open as I turned my gaze towards my trainer.
I could see a distorted image of him through the water.
He was six-feet-tall with a swimmer's body with wide shoulders and a slim waist with wiry muscles that spoke of great power concealed within their bundles.
Having perfectly awakened his Royal Bengal tiger bloodline, minor bestial traits had seeped into his features.
His dark orange hair was kept cropped close to his skull with dark stripes running through it. There was a 王 marking on his forehead and his eyes were a brilliant gold without any sclera. His ears were rounded with soft fur filling them.
His orange and black striped tail lashed out in impatience as he overlooked me from the side of the pool.
He also happened to be my father, the head of the Felidae clan.
Flicking his finger at me again, a tiny bullet of compressed wind howled through the air, pierced the water and snapped against my other shoulder. His immaculate control of wind, his bloodline talent.
A thin thread of wind formed, linking his mouth with my ear and his growl reverberated within my ear: "Again."
So, I ran through my forms again and again until he was finally satisfied and I was utterly exhausted and could barely raise my hands.
Dragging my weights along, I ponderously dragged my body out of the water, discarded the snorkel and collapsed by the poolside, my chest rising and falling with my deep breaths.
A shadow covered the sun and I looked up to the golden eyes of my father.
A stoic man, his square jawed, emotionless visage gave nothing away as we locked gazes. Then an appreciative light filled his eyes and he squeezed out the word, "Good" from his mouth and turned around to walk away.
A warmth filled my chest. Father's praise was a very rare thing and I appreciated every instance of it.
Groaning as I dragged my protesting body up to my feet and divested myself of the weights, depositing them in a designated box by the poolside, I made my way to the infirmary.
My entire body was black and blue from the collapsing water currents. My arms were specially covered with bruises from the air bullets shot at them by father to correct my form whenever I went astray.
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