The Strolling Golden Turtle Technique I am using for cultivation was made by a master named Ki Sung-ja (記性子). It is a strange martial art developed from the training of fighting cocks.
Ki Sung-ja, while an excellent martial master, was unlike other martial masters who traveled around Kangho and showed off their skills.
Masters from martial art families typically learn martial arts with the hopes of living a long life rather than using it to hurt others. Among them, Ki Sung-ja was a martial master who was not even intimated before the famed King Xuan of the Zhou Dynasty. The Strolling Golden Turtle Technique that he left behind is something very few could properly master.
Due to its nature, it is simply very difficult to complete.
This is because the ultimate goal of the Strolling Golden Turtle Technique is to gain immortality.
To explain it in terms used in Kangho, the ultimate goal is to reach a state of Impenetrability (刀劍不侵). In other words, it is a martial art where the turtle achieves an Impenetrable state and strolls around leisurely (逍遙, go wherever it pleases).
There are five stages to the Strolling Golden Turtle Technique.
Wood Chicken (木鷄, wooden chicken).
Fire Chicken (炎鷄, fire-breathing chicken).
Fighting Chicken (鬪鷄, fighting chicken).
Super Chicken (超鷄, superior chicken)
Golden Turtle (金龜, steel turtle).
A manual(祕技) exists for each stage that illustrates the palm and sword techniques in detail. Since I didn’t lose my memory after regression, I just focus on the cultivation method that improves internal energy.
When I first heard of the technique’s stage classifications, I was surprised.
Why would a chicken gain enlightenment and break its limits to become a turtle of steel?
Ki Sung-ja’s hobby was to breed chickens for fighting, but perhaps he thought Kangho martial artists and fighting cocks were similar.
It’s the same as how I see them as crazy monkeys.
Mad monkeys or fighting chickens both sound the same to me.
The Wooden Chicken stage focuses on the stillness of the mind (不動心), allowing complete control of the mind as its basis. This gives me the ideal method to deal with any Qi Deviation.
Once you reach the second stage of the technique, the Fire Chicken, internal energy can be used to wrap both fists and weapons in intense heat.
The Strolling Golden Turtle Technique is a martial art based on internal cultivation that favors extreme Yang energy.
I began to gain notoriety when I broke through the Fire Chicken stage, and I gained the skills enough to be called a master when I broke through the Fighting Chicken stage.
My exact level of mastery before regression was achieving the Super Chicken stage, but I could not break through to the final Golden Turtle stage.
The Super Chicken stage is one where you can breathe and move with ease; fighting no longer needs to follow principles, but the principles themselves can freely change.
I worked tirelessly to break through into the Golden Turtle stage. Yet just as its effects of changing the body to becoming impenetrable are mind-boggling, trying to achieve the Golden Turtle stage is a tiring and difficult process.
But this time, it’ll be different.
It’s only a feeling, but I feel really good about this.
I have only repeated the entire cycle of the first stage of cultivation a dozen times in the back room. Yet, the level of the Wooden Chicken is rising surprisingly quickly.
There is momentum and speed enough to break through to the Fire Chicken stage in just a short amount of time.
I open my eyes again after locking myself in the backroom to circulate my internal energy continuously.
Before I know it, it is dawn again.
The Zaha Inn is enveloped by a sense of tranquility.
My five senses develop as internal energy begins to circulate throughout my veins. I focus to check for any person’s presence or breathing before falling into a trance for some rest.
I still have enemies lurking about, so I didn’t plan to sleep comfortably for the time being.
As I close my eyes in a trance state, the masters in my previous life come to mind.
Even masters who were active before I became one myself…
I feel the corners of my mouth go up.
I will fully repay all those who helped me and crush all those who were my enemies.
To do so, I have no choice but to continue cultivating, skipping meals, ignoring my bodily functions, and sitting cross-legged to the point of death.
Inner cultivation only blooms through patience and endurance while resisting the call of nature.
It might be bizarre, but it’s the truth.
As soon as I wake up at noon from the trance, I feel hungry.
The side dishes Cha Sung-tae bought yesterday are tucked away nicely.
Maybe because my stomach is empty, I recall the rice soup from the Chunyang Restaurant.
‘I should get a bowl of rice soup.’
When I search inside Cha Sung-tae’s long robe, I find a heavy pouch. Seeing that the shape of the pouch is unfamiliar, it must be Cha Sung-tae’s, not mine.
After washing up and cleaning my eyes, I look around the neighborhood as I head to the Chunyang Restaurant.
Even though Cho Il-sum and Cho Yi-gyul died last night, Ilyang Prefecture is quiet and peaceful as if nothing happened.
However, rumors spread last night that I killed Cho Il-sum, so people are staring at me like a ghost as I pass by. All of them stay silent, with not even one greeting me.
As I enter the Chunyang Restaurant, the owner Jang Deuk-soo (張得水), looks at me with surprise.
“Oh, you’re here.”
“Brother Deuk-soo, rice soup.”
“Ah, sure. Grab a seat.”
After a moment, a massive bowl of rice soup was served. This rice soup, coupled with plenty of meat with some thinly sliced vegetables and spicy seasoning, is simply called Chunyang Rice Soup.
I haven’t eaten this rice soup since I left Ilyang Prefecture.
This is not a delicacy of the central district but food that the Yue people living in the land of Baekwol enjoyed by mixing a bowl of rice in noodle soup.
It’s not a sign of how poor I am, but I nearly cry as I eat this rice soup that can only be found in the Ilyang Prefecture’s Chunyang Restaurant.
Since Jang Deuk-soo is looking at me, I say,
“It’s a bit spicy today. My eyes are sweating.”
“Oh, really? I put in more spice today. Was it too much?”
Jang Deuk-soo grins.
The rice soup is definitely spicier, warmer, and tastier than I remembered.
While filling my stomach with rice soup, Jang Deuk-soo whispers.
“… I heard you killed the Cho brothers. Is it true?”
Jang Deuk-soo says as if he can’t believe it.
“How did you kill him? Cho Il-sum is the strongest around here.”
“What do you mean? We fought with knives, and the loser died.”
Jang Deuk-soo and I laugh.
“What about Cho Yi-gyul?”
“He came to the inn to kill me, but he ended up in a grave he told his men to dig up.”
“Damn bastards, they’ve been killing people late at night. Serves them right. I’ll send word if Cho Sam-pyung returns. I should tell the other store owners in advance. How dare a human trafficking scumbag roam around a peaceful neighborhood like this. Do you want anything else?”
When I take out the money from Cha Sung-tae’s pouch and raise it to pay for the meal, surprise flashes through Jang Deuk-soo’s face.
“What? You always eat for free.”
“When did I always eat for free? I pay sometimes.”
“Didn’t we call it even with chicken noodle soup?”
I recall the good old days and grin.
“C’mon, you said you couldn’t eat it because it was so bad. Then I should pay for it.”
“Hah, you’ve changed. All right, go ahead.”
After eating rice soup, I go around Ilyang Prefecture as if I am patrolling. I want to check if the people were safe and if anything would interfere with my training.
Nothing much will happen until Cho Sam-pyung arrives. Jang Deuk-soo also confirms that the new situation was something everyone was happy with. Had the Cho brothers established their sect, they would have been charged exorbitant protection fees after all.
So I lock myself in the inn’s backroom and focus on the Strolling Golden Turtle Technique.
I also thought about finding a quiet mountain and going into seclusion for a while. Still, considering the variables, this shabby Zaha Inn is safer.
I devote myself to the cultivation method all day long to build up internal energy. Sometimes, when I am hungry, I go to the Chunyang Restaurant and eat rice soup.
Building internal energy, eating, and shitting.
This is how difficult it is to become a master.
How can a normal human being not go crazy?
Sometimes when I feel my back and legs getting too stiff from sitting too long, I take a walk and inspect every corner of Ilyang Prefecture.
Suppressing my emotions like a ‘Wooden Chicken (木鷄),’ I throw myself into training.
In the meantime, my internal energy is accumulating steadily and rapidly.
Compared to the past, the development of my internal energy is bafflingly fast.
Twenty days have passed since I locked myself in the Zaha Inn.
The lack of sleep leaves me slightly tired, but I manage to break through the Wooden Chicken stage and enter the Fire Chicken stage.
The speed of this is nothing short of miraculous.
Of course, I know I could reach this stage quicker due to my past life’s intensive training.
However, during the training process, the backroom I am staying in has become as dirty as a rat’s nest.
All the impurities flow out of my body as I enter the Fire Chicken stage.
The room smells like hell.
But this unbearable stench is a sign of my accomplishment.
This proves how clean my body is.
As each stage progresses, the body will become as purified as clean water, so I will never have to smell this stench again.
When I look at myself, my skin is glossy, my hair becomes softer, and my eyesight is much better as my eyes become clearer.
My five senses (五感) improves as I break through the stages.
Unlike internal and external martial arts, the five senses are closely related to evaluation and survival, so it is crucial to surviving in Kangho.
When I clench my fist and inject internal energy, my spine flexes.
‘I became stronger much faster than expected.’
In the past, I thought the Strolling Golden Turtle Technique was a great way to treat Qi Deviation, but this changed my mind.
‘I’m certain I can grow stronger than before.’
Certainly, warriors of Kangho feel the happiest and most satisfied when they achieve achievement in martial arts.
I idly think that I could become a celestial at this rate.
At this time, I hear Cha Sung-tae’s voice from outside.
“Ark! What’s this smell? I could smell something rotting. Ugh…”
When I come out of the backroom, Cha Sung-tae is stunned and looks like he is about to faint.
“Did you shit yourself? Urk…”
Cha Sung-tae covers his mouth with his hands as if he is about to vomit and runs out of the inn.
“This bastard. Wow…”
I am speechless for a moment..
As I see Cha Sung-tae who is gagging outside the inn, I think this,
I’ll have to live my life to torment him.
At that moment, Cha Sung-tae vomits with a disgusting sound.
I walk outside, feeling the killing intent (殺心) rising from deep within.
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