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After stashing away the light, sea-green ornate light fabric robe and a small gourd filled with crystal clear water, Ja Sun walked out of his tent and stretched his body slightly. Bibi Dong and Liu Erlong were already present and once Xie Xan and Hu Lana came out of their shared tent followed by Ah Yin from her privately set up space, Bibi Dong inquired calmly.
"You all will enter together for one hour. Fill up your lungs with a deep breath because I will not allow any of you to keep your head out for more than 7 seconds. Ka-ul, lose your mask and everybody disrobe. Keep your inner garments on."
Bibi Dong instructed and everyone looked at each other.
"Do we have to?" Hu Lana scratched her cheeks awkwardly.
"Are you ashamed of your body?" Bibi Dong calmly inquired and always using her charms as a method of attacking her opponents. Bibi Dong's quite easily struck a nerve as Hu Lana scoffed and looked away.
"This training is for your benefit. If it helps, I did this training, too. But instead of a simple pool of the Iron Toad's poison, I dipped in the pool of poison collected from man-faced spiders."
Everyone flinched and stared at Bibi Dong incredulously.
"Did you think you can stand out without putting effort?" Bibi Dong sneered. If you don't want to remove your clothing, fine. The effects will be lowered is all and we will have to spend more time diving into the lake."
"Fine," Xie Xan grunted with a frown. He was the first to reveal his chiseled physique. But the girls still had some inhibitions. Bibi Dong gazed at Ja Sun with an inquisitive gaze.
"I can remove my mask, teacher. But there is no way to quicken the process with my clothes on?" Ja Sun inquired as he took his mask off. The other three instantly bore their gazes into his face. Over these weeks, admittedly, Ah Yin didn't let his hair grow out too much but near his forehead, his hair still bundled into thick locks. For the first time seeing a set of green irises surrounding two golden pupils without a mask, everybody's eyes lit up.
Bibi Dong nodded calmly, "Of course, there is. However, it is extremely painful..." realizing something, Bibi Dong gazed at Ja Sun, "But you don't mind that, do you?"
"Pain? No. Being the first idiot to remove his clothes, yes."
Ja Sun smiled. His smile was as derisive and dirty as the three had imagined and their lips twitched. Xie Xan looked at the bundled-up robe next to his feet and took a deep breath.
"If it is the painful experience you want, I have no right to stop you. Xie Xan, wear your clothes. Everyone, enter the pool. The toads below will not try to attack you. Remember, it is better if you can resist the pain and open your eyes in small intervals to have a proper effect. This lake is only formed from the poison of 10-year-old toads but it can injure 100-year-old beasts easily. Spirit Elders and higher should be fine.
Everyone nodded. Storing his mask, Ja Sun waited for everyone to move and began mumbling his mission. His eyes instantly lit up.
[Objective: Submerge within the lake of Iron Toads' poison and pump your fist in an enclosed space.
1) Keep your eyes from shutting for more than 2 seconds after every blink.
2) Keep your breath underwater for more than 30 minutes.
Mission Rank: C-B-A
Mission Rewards: Silver Toad's Grass—Golden Toad's Grass—Reflective Toad's grass.
Time Limit: 1 hour.]
Ja Sun was comparatively confident in his lung capacity. With spirit energy, one's basic bodily functions increases, and the quality of his body was better than cultivators of his own rank.
Seeing the many stopped at the edge of the lake, gazing at the putrid glance reluctantly, an astonishing situation occurred in front of their eyes.
Ja Sun rushed past the group and jumped high before curling his body midair. His hands wrapped around his knees and he shot down straight. With a loud splash, the putrid venom around him was pushed out and everyone gaped.
"Every minute to wait longer, I will increase your time in the lake by ten minutes."
Bibi Dong's chilly voice echoed behind them.
Gritting her teeth, Ah Yin looked towards the area where Ja Sun dove but he didn't come out. Slowly stepping forward, she placed a firm foot in the edge of liquid when—
With a wave of spiritual energy suddenly blasting them from behind, everyone flew into the lake.
"Remain underwater as much as you can."
Bibi Dong had carefully calculated her strength and the blast of spirit energy pushed the group close to where Ja Sun dove in. With a focused expression under the mask, Bibi Dong stretched her hand and from the tip of her fingers, green-yellow mucus seemed to be forming into drops that floated around her. Intense force fluctuated from each drop and once she had created ten drops, Bibi Dong shot it towards the group. Two of each drop not mixing with the venom but entering the circulation of the five of them submerged.
Everyone except Ja Sun had terrible expressions within the nauseating liquid but Ja Sun's eyes were wide open. Prickling pain filled his body including his eyes but...
'It's not bad at all!' Ja Sun's eyes lit up as he looked down. The lake in the middle was as deep as ten meters and while everyone other than him controlled their bodies using spirit energy to stay just afloat, he suddenly felt something entering him. Into his blood, specifically.
His black hair floated up due to the liquid. His hands waving slightly and he silently gazed at the gauze of his hands.
Though corrosive, aside from the slight prickles, there was nothing much to fear. Even his clothes were fine.
"Hmm?" Bibi Dong could see through the water and was slightly startled to see Ja Sun not even trembling at the very least. Even Ah Yin seemed to have a slightly contorted expression and her body continuously fought the corrosion.
This was Bibi Dong's plan in the first place. To stimulate the body using outside influence and then push her own poison to make them more resistant to greater poisons. In Douluo Continent, her martial soul's poison was simply the strongest, after all!
Taking a deep breath, Bibi Dong shot two more drops towards Ja Sun.
Within the water of venom, Ja Sun was slowly experiencing all his strengths and tried to find his limit.
His eyes, physically refined by yang qi daily, were quite resistant already. Though they weren't bulletproof, their quality was most definitely amazing. After all, he can passively see through any illusions.
Then came his body. His body already being close to the level of Spirit King due to cultivating in the fifth level of the Revitalized Blood Qi Art, Ja Sun found himself quite resistant to this meager intensity of corrosion.
His mental and spirit energy didn't need to be considered since this was a physical toll.
At this time, Ja Sun once again felt something entering his body. Particularly, affecting his blood. Frowning, he looked around. His gaze condensing for a moment and then suddenly his head snapped up. His gaze passed through the yellow waters and focused on Bibi Dong standing on the edge.
Confused, Ja Sun circulated the Revitalized Blood Qi Art as his body was trembling slightly due to the greater prickling sensation.
'Poison?' Ja Sun continued to slowly dive deeper and deeper. He saw toad-shaped iron blocks covering the waterbed and observed the situation silently.
Unlike other four classmates of his, these toads were trembling even more furiously.
Curiously, Ja Sun swam towards them. His body once again feeling two more... drops, he realized, entering his circulation system but Ja Sun stopped caring as of this moment. Since his Revitalized Blood Qi Art considered it a tonic to nourish his blood, he let Bibi Dong continue whatever she was doing.
'Rock solid, like iron... they can't swim because of their constitution and can only wait for their food to arrive in their location,' Ja Sun gently touched the body of the toad. It felt like a smooth block of metal. But soon, Ja Sun himself began conditioning himself using spirit energy. Not because of pain, but to keep a check on his breathing capacity.
Meanwhile, on the ground, Bibi Dong's eyes were bright.
'Any and every poison travels blood. Ah Yin's limit is six drops of the mucus of Death Spider Emperor and that is because of her astonishing vitality. Still, it is strangely hard to shift her constitution to be resistant to poison. Her innate constitution is already relatively resistant to poison but her body isn't adaptable. She will be sitting out in the next training.
Liu Erlong showed a great reception to the poison but her adaptability is inferior to Xie Xan's and Hu Lana's blood. In other words, Ah Yin's blood already has its own characteristics and so does Liu Erlong's. Hu Lana, Xie Xan, and Ka-ul's blood are the most temperable.
Ja Sun's blood was accepting the poisonous mucus as snacks. This brought Bibi Dong a wave of hesitation. Ultimately, she decided not to use the actual poison to temper the trio until they reached the higher level of the lake. While Hu Lana and Xie Xan's bodies stopped accepting more of the poison after their 9th and 8th drops, Ja Sun's body had already refined its 16th drop of mucus. His blood was already moving within his vessels in a strange form of excitement. While everyone would swim out to take a deep breath, Ja Sun only came out once.
Only now did Ja Sun himself realize that how much more tolerant he had grown to pain.
One hour later.
"Hah... Hah..." Drenched, everybody coughed and gasped. Their body holding an extremely dangerous scent as they looked at each other with dismay.
"Ah Yin, Liu Erlong, you two will spar with me for the hour while the three of them will continue to dip into the poisonous lake."
Bibi Dong suddenly spoke up.
"Naturally," Ah Yin coughed.
"Thank god..." Erlong groaned, her nose scrunched due to the smell.
But not listening to Xie Xan's and Hu Lana's complaints, Bibi Dong gazed at Ja Sun and silently inquired with her expression as she looked at his quiet and eerie appearance.
His hair swept back and his chin dripping with yellow liquid. His skin much redder than usual but his eyes glowing.
"You could have increased those drops much more, right? Why didn't you?" He stood up. Wearing his mask and gauntlets, he gazed straight at Bibi Dong, startling her somewhat.
"It wasn't enough?"
"Don't go easy on me." Ja Sun stated calmly before pulling out a chair and sitting on it. His words rang in Bibi Dong's ears and her expression turned terrible.
"I would suggest not to speak out of bounds again," she replied calmly, "The external pressure had already reached its limit. Pushing further would have harmed you."
Both of their gazes clashed from behind their masks. In terms of actual seniority, Ja Sun and Ah Yin were her grandmaster's disciples. So she wasn't actually considered the elder one, these two were. But until now, Ja Sun calmly listened to her arrangements which calmed her down somewhat. But matching his gaze at this moment, Bibi Dong found how terribly wrong she was.
"Teacher, if you were the origin of that poison, you can create more of it. I only wish not to be held back in training because you happened to be... afraid."
"It must be hard for your mind to understand the concept of preservation. But I will not willingly harm those under my tutelage. Of course, I will try my best to teach you the meaning of self-preservation." Bibi Dong's gloomy voice shook the hearts of listeners and a white glow covered her body momentarily before she quickly controlled herself.
"So you will willingly lower the intensity of my training just to match with others? Might as well give us the same names and clothes."
"What do you propose?" Bibi Dong pulled a chair from her essence tool and crossed her legs. Glancing sideways, she looked at the remaining students, "Go, change."
She stated faintly and others left. It was the peak of noon so everyone was already feeling uncomfortable. Returning to their tents, the students left Ja Sun and Bibi Dong alone.
"I am not proposing anything. I just want to be taught fearlessly. If I am willing to jump into the fire, why would you douse the flames?"
Bibi Dong's eyes twitched.
"I will not—"
"You can swim in the venom of a human-faced spider. But pushing little traces of poison is too much?" Ja Sun inquired.
Bibi Dong frowned for a moment.
"That is not the same. I'm more resistant to it."
"I'm not aware if I should tell you this. But this is a personal conversation, after all. Master said quite clearly that there are things that your master and mine cannot teach me. I respected his experience and agreed. If I had known that you like playing by the weakest points of the books, I wouldn't have joined the class at all."
Ja Sun stood up and silently returned to his tent. Why wouldn't he be frustrated?
Missions created around Bibi Dong have been amazing for him but today left him distaste and the putrid water was only half the reason.
Pumping his fist, Ja Sun found his rewards appearing in front of him.
The toad grasses were a good tonic so Ja Sun silently ate the blades of grasses. His blood slowly being pushed to the sixth level of the technique.
When everyone changed and waited for Bibi Dong's call, they didn't know that Bibi Dong herself had vanished from the encampment. Her figure flashing into the forest before she reached the peak of the first hill in a matter of seconds!
"Grandmaster," Bibi Dong gave a deep bow as she saw Qian Daoliu sitting on the peak holding a small skill manual in his hands and reading it with a peaceful expression. Her expression changed, however, when she found that the 'skill manual' was actually a simple book written by an ordinary human. After all, the title of the book was: Me and You.
"Hmm?" Qian Daoliu glanced sideways and revealed a confused expression, "Dong'er, why are you here? Go train your students."
"But... I thought you came here to teach me another lesson," Bibi Dong stated, clearly reluctant to leave without learning anything.
With a slightly amused expression, Qian Daoliu waved his hands, "I care about you lot. Xunji still has to seed another Seraphim so I am quite free nowadays. Go, be a good teacher. Lessons will come to you naturally."
Bibi Dong didn't dare linger after Qian Daoliu made his intentions clear. But she was also clear that he was the one who willingly revealed his breath to her.
The ability to not learn the truth—
On the way, Bibi Dong's expression froze and she stood rooted on a branch. Suddenly, a viper short out from the leaves and bit her ankles but strangely, the serpent itself trembled before limply falling off the branch. Its body corroding and turning into a bloody pool with a horrendous stench.
'The ability to not understand... the ability to not grow when you could be handed that feeling is truly frustrating,' her gaze changed.
From afar, Qian Daoliu observed Bibi Dong's aura turning tamer once again. She had gone through another qualitative step in her cleansing and once again, Qian Daoliu began reading the book in his head silently.
His expression much more serious.
'I cannot believe Xiao Yu will confess while he is sleeping. What a tease,' he frowned and his gaze turning a little dangerous. Very quickly, he flipped the page and continued to read with a heavy heart.
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