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Ancient Strengthening Technique (Portraits of Beauty) is a web novel produced by I Am Superfluous (我是多余人). This lightnovel is currently Ongoing.
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AST 839 – Taking the Mysterious Fruit Once again
Qing Shui only let go of her hand with great reluctance when they had arrived above the Cloud Adventurer Guild, making Yun Duan speechless. This guy was really insatiable. To think that she had already let herself loose as it was.
Although he appeared to be very mature, Yun Duan felt that it could be because of her first impression toward him. In the battle earlier, he was very upright and reliable but when he stopped, she would keep thinking of how he was when they were back in Heavenly Palace. Back then, he already looked a little more mature for his age but he was still very much like a kid.
Therefore, she felt that she was slightly self-indulgent and had also allowed herself to indulge in him a little.
Thinking of how he was appearing to be like a greedy kid earlier…
Qing Shui and Yun Duan jumped down from the Fire Bird. There were still many people there, most of them from Cloud Adventurer Guild. Seeing that they had returned safely, they knew that the problem was solved.
However, Yun Clan and some of the core members of Cloud Adventurer Guild still rushed over. Although they had guessed what the result was, they still wanted to hear it directly from Qing Shui and Yun Duan.
“Father, mother, Hu Wei Adventurer Guild is gone now.” After saying this, Yun Duan hugged the beautiful woman with tears in her eyes.
Although she was silent, Qing Shui knew that she was crying. This stubborn lady was still a lady after all. It was just that she was stubborn and didn’t wish to show him her weaker sides.
A loud cheer spread out and many people left from Cloud Adventurer Guild to spread the good news. There was nothing that could be happier than this.
The few Elders from Cloud Adventurer Guild also took their leave. They had been worried about this previously since it didn’t only concern their own lives but also that of their families. This time around, they knew that their persistence had paid off.
It was not that people with a strong sense of righteousness were not afraid of death. No one was not afraid of death but it was a matter of whether the death was worth it. Moreover, if they were to remain alive, could they handle the responsibilities they had to bear, as well as could their consciousnesses handle it… In fact, for most people, it was just that they could not get past themselves.
Now, knowing that everything was fine, they could also put down the heavy burden in their hearts. Letting out a long exhale, the few old men left happily.
“Esteemed nephew , come, let’s go back,” the learned and refined looking man looked at Qing Shui happily and said.
Of course he could tell that this guy did not have a simple relations.h.i.+p with his daughter and he could also tell that his daughter liked this guy. The situation now was as if they had left h.e.l.l and headed immediately for heaven.
The reason behind all the changes was because of this guy.
“Qing Shui, come, they are already preparing the food.” The beautiful married woman held Yun Duan’s hand and smiled while speaking to Qing Shui. She was now the happiest out of all of them. Children are the most important thing to mothers and if their children were not living well, the mothers would be the ones who felt worst. Right now, she did not know what to do on hearing this great surprise.
Yun Duan stood next to the beautiful married lady, throwing Qing Shui occasional glances, while wearing a faint smile. The refined man and the beautiful married lady, as parents, naturally noticed this scene.
However, this was something they wanted to see. Moreover, there was nothing about Qing Shui which they could complain about. Anyway, if it was not for this young man, everything would have been gone. They were satisfied with the current situation.
Qing Shui nodded and left for the inner hall with the Yun family. There would naturally be people who would fix and reconstruct the hall in the Adventurer Guild.
“Brother Qing Shui, thank you very much,” Yun Yang smiled and said to Qing Shui.
Yun Chi also looked at Qing Shui happily.
“Brother Qing Shui, is my elder sister beautiful?” Yun Tong chuckled and asked.
“Of course she is. Is there a need to ask?” Qing Shui smiled and replied. Now, everyone’s mood was relaxed and thus their conversations were much lighter too. They could even bring up less stressful topics.
“Brother Qing Shui and my elder sister are such a good match.” Yun Tong grinned, appearing to be very honest and straightforward. However, it was hard to link that handsome appearance to a person who was very honest.
“Younger brother, if you’re going to continue with that c.r.a.p, you can have sword practice with me in a while,” Yun Duan chided.
“Alright, alright, I’ll stop.” Yun Tong quickly said. He had no intention of being a punching bag.
Qing Shui did not see Yun Duan’s eldest brother. The latter probably was too embarra.s.sed to appear before him. It might be good to let him stay away for a while. He tossed this thought aside. This was Yun Clan’s family issues. He was neither in the mood nor was there a need for him to be bothered with this.
The dishes served were quite extensive. It was late and it was dinner time. Yun Peng and the beautiful married woman casually asked about Qing Shui’s family situation. If they didn’t it would appear as if they didn’t show any interest but if they were to probe too much, it would make him feel uncomfortable. Therefore, they only asked a few casual questions. However, Qing Shui replied more since they would be able to get a better understanding about the situation without them asking too much.
Toward Qing Shui’s courtesy, Yun Peng, the beautiful married woman and the people from Yun Clan were all very happy.
They had an enjoyable meal together and the atmosphere was very good. When one was in a good mood, anything would taste delicious. They finished the dinner about two hours later.
Everyone departed after the meal and Yun Duan was naturally the person to bring Qing Shui to his room. However, thinking of Qing Shui’s words during the day, she felt a little nervous and uneasy.
Walking out of the hall, Yun Duan led Qing Shui to the building. Although it was dark at night, the moon and stars in the sky as well as the light stones all around lit the place up.
Unknowingly, they held each other’s hands and slowly walked to the other building. While it was a short distance away, they took a very long time to walk over.
“Qing Shui, how long will you be staying here?” Yun Duan smiled and asked softly.
“About three to five days. Or maybe I’ll leave tomorrow,” Qing Shui gave it some thought and said. He didn’t want to lie to her. He wanted to head to Eastern Victory Divine Continent to look for medicinal herbs. Of course, if there was Sky Penetrating Gra.s.s which was 5,000 Years or older, he didn’t mind staying here longer.
Clearly, Qing Shui’s reply was within Yun Duan’s expectation. She was not surprised and merely smiled and answered, “Will you come back and look for me in the future?”
After making their relations.h.i.+p clear, the two of them were now much more intimate in their conversation. Qing Shui only said this because he wouldn’t be staying long. Moreover, they had been very intimate on the Fire Bird, with her being the one to express her feelings first.
“I will. You’re my woman. If I’m alive and have time, I’ll come and visit you,” Qing Shui smiled and said.
“Don’t be saying such unlucky stuff.” Yun Duan covered Qing Shui’s mouth and said seriously.
They walked into the building. She stayed in this place alone. The building was not very big, with only three levels in total. There were no rooms on the first level. There was only a hall, kitchen, bathroom and such.
“Qing Shui, you can go look for a room on the second floor. I’ll go talk a bath…” After walking into the hall, Yun Duan said to Qing Shui.
“Let’s have a bath together. I want to have one too…”
Before Yun Duan could reply, Qing Shui picked her up and headed for the bathroom.
“Qing Shui…” Yun Duan called out a few times shyly and then entered the bathroom with Qing Shui smirking.
The bathroom was neither very big nor very small. There was a big bathtub which was six feet long and wide and four feet deep. Qing Shui filled up the tub.
Looking at the flushed red lady in his arms, Qing Shui noticed that he was slightly agitated at this moment. He found it funny himself. He knew that this was because he was not that familiar with this lady, although they had spent a night together previously.
Qing Shui was still carrying Yun Duan but he was already kissing her lips while his hands started to remove her clothes!
It might be because she knew that Qing Shui was going to leave very soon that Yun Duan didn’t resist too much and let him do as he wished. Very quickly, they were both undressed.
She had beautiful snow-white skin and a graceful and curvy figure.
She was warm to the touch and the tender feeling made Qing Shui enchanted. He released the slightly reddened lips and carried her into the bathtub.
The water in the bathtub only reached up in their chests, leaving Yun Duan’s upper body above the water. Qing Shui could not control himself and grabbed the snow-white and well-rounded peaks.
Yun Duan’s face turn slightly red from her blush and with the heat from the steam. She let out steamy gasps and there was an indescribable charm added to this graceful lady.
Qing Shui could not hold back the urge and embraced her, connecting with her.
Qing Shui looked at the lady sleeping in his arms who had a hint of satisfaction on her beautiful face. He thought of how he had wanted her many times over the night. To think that such a graceful lady would also have such a crazy side to her. It might be because he wouldn’t be staying for long that she only fell asleep a short while ago.
Qing Shui looked at the sky. It was already late in the night. He dared not move for fear of waking up the beauty in his arms.
It was only after Yun Duan was deeply asleep that Qing Shui entered the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal.
“Mmm, the second Mysterious Fruit is also mature now.”
Qing Shui looked at the two Mysterious Fruits he now had. The ratio of the time flow in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal had increased once again, making it even faster for the medicinal herbs to grow. After some cultivation, Qing Shui planned to use the two Mysterious Fruits.
When there was only one of it, Qing Shui felt that the chances were too low. He was afraid that it would be too depressing should he fail.
He put both Mysterious Fruits next to him.
Qing Shui was still very agitated, if he was lucky enough, he might be able to breakthrough to the seventh heavenly layer. However, Qing Shui was not having such high hopes. He would be satisfied if he could get some advancement.
Although the Mysterious Fruit only had a 1% chance of success, this was only so for other people. Qing Shui didn’t know what was the success rate for himself but it would definitely be higher than 1%.
He had the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal which was tied together with his life. Just this alone would increase his success rate by quite abit. Moreover, he also had the Nature Energy and the Unmoving Like A Mountain.
In fact, there was still one thing which had a close connection with success rate…
Qing Shui felt that his comprehension level was still quite high. Otherwise, he would not have been able entered epiphany for so many times.
After circulating the Ancient Strengthening Technique for one round, Qing Shui then circulated Unmoving Like A Mountain and even used an amplifying Heavenly Talisman, bringing the condition of his body to the best it could be.
His Nature Energy circulated automatically. There was also the Diamond Qi, Diamond Protection, Diamond Crossing Rivers and others…
He then took one of the Mysterious Fruits, tossing aside all distracting thoughts, calming his mind and increasing the speed at which he was circulating the Qi of Ancient Strengthening Technique. He focused and tried to comprehend the power from the Mysterious Fruit in his body.
Time pa.s.sed by slowly and Qing Shui didn’t move at all. His hands formed signs as he slowly controlled the Qi of Ancient Strengthening Technique in his body slowly, gradually absorbing the power from the Mysterious Fruit.
Having experienced this one, Qing Shui tried his best to do what he did the previous time, trying hard not to let the power of the Mysterious Fruit to seep out of his body.
 Respectful address to someone from a younger generation. Does not have to be toward one who was related by blood.
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AST 840 – The Heart of Roc in the Large Success Stage, Fated to Be
Everything seemed to be going very smoothly, at least more so than the previous attempt. Previously, he had felt that it was a little tough and he realized that the power of the Mysterious Fruit could seep out. And once it did, the power would be lost.
Qing Shui didn’t know what it was like for others to take it but he felt that he should be absorbing the power of the Mysterious Fruit to the best of his ability. The more he absorbed, the higher the success rate and the greater the benefits he should get.
Gradually, the aura in Qing Shui’s body slowed down. After a short moment, he abruptly opened his eyes, his face in a daze and then he broke into a delighted smile.
He has succeeded!
Now, Qing Shui realized that as long as he controlled it well, the success rate of the Mysterious Fruit was basically very high. It could even reach up to above 50%. The only thing was that it took a very long time for one Mysterious Fruit to mature and even with the current Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal, it would took over two years.
The success this time did not allow his Ancient Strengthening Technique to breakthrough to the seventh heavenly layer. However, one of Qing Shui’s techniques leveled up. This surprise made Qing Shui feel overjoyed.
It was because the Mysterious Fruit had let Qing Shui’s Heart of Roc reach the large success stage…
Toward the end, when Qing Shui sensed that his spirit energy had increased several times, he knew that his Heart of Roc might be reaching a breakthrough. It was because a huge increase to his spirit energy could let the prowess of the primordial flames increase directly.
As expected, when he saw the large success stage for the Heart of Roc lit up in his consciousness, he was happy beyond what words could describe. It was because the Roc form’s battle techniques require very harsh requirements to reach the large success stage. The time required was not short and it also required talent, opportunity and a high level of comprehension.
At the large success stage, the Heart of Roc could allow Qing Shui’s abilities to increase by several times. It was because Qing Shui had the Hidden Weapon Technique and could fully unleash the prowess of the Heart of Roc.
It could increase the prowess of the primordial flames by five times. Just thinking about it made Qing Shui extremely agitated. What wpuld five times the prowess be like? The prowess of the primordial flames could already become Qing Shui’s great weapon previously and now, it has exceeded the majority of Qing Shui’s other attacks.
It would not even lose out to the poison weapons which had been tempered with the five-colored poison. Poison weapons were expendable and would decrease in numbers after each use. They also require the help of the Hidden Weapon Technique and there were great restrictions. In all, it was not as good as the primordial flames.
The Primordial Flame Ball depleted a large amount of energy but was convenient. It was also very flexible and could even be condensed to form into the shape of a sword whose prowess was not to be undermined. Qing Shui could also channel the prowess of the primordial flames through some mysterious items.
It was like how, in the past, in Hundred Miles City, he could use the Gold Needles to channel the primordial flames and incinerate the heart of a Xiantian cultivator. He did not know if the Gold Needles could still handle the primordial flames as they were now.
The primordial flames could refine everything in the world but for some things, time was required. For example, in order to refine the 10,000 Years Coldsteel Needles, it would take the current primordial flames some time to accomplish things. To be able to refine everything in the world did not mean that it was something that could be accomplished immediately. Moreover, there are many mysterious things in the world which have a strong resistance for fire or are things that fire could not get close to.
Fire Repelling Pearl!
Legend has it that it was of a similar existence to the Water Repelling Pearl. It has a natural resistance toward fire and flames that got near to it would be pushed away. Other than the Fire Repelling Pearl, it was also said that there were the Earth Repelling Pearl, Wood Repelling Pearl, Metal Repelling Pearl, Thunder Repelling Pearl…
The five elements contradict each other and each of them was a treasure that was hard to come by. Qing Shui even returned his only Water Repelling Pearl to that old turtle.
Therefore, no matter how powerful the “fire”, when it comes across something that contradicts it, its prowess would also be diminished slightly. There were things that required a very long time to refine and could even take years.
Qing Shui thought of his Big Dipper Sword. He was not sure what material the Big Dipper Sword was made from but he knew that the previous primordial flames were not able to affect the Big Dipper Sword even after burning it for some time.
Therefore, he felt that the Big Dipper Sword might just be a great treasure.
“I have the 10,000 Years Coldsteel! I can give this a try. I wonder how long it would take to refine the 10,000 Years Coldsteel.” Thinking of this, Qing Shui was full of antic.i.p.ation.
He had the 10,000 Coldsteel Needles which he had forged and thus there was no need to prepare other materials.
Taking in a deep breath, Qing Shui stretched out his hands to be parallel to the ground and started circulating the Ancient Technique Flames of Yin-Yang and his Qi of Ancient Strengthening Technique. Very quickly, a 6 foot long grey colored flame appeared in his hands…
This astonished Qing Shui. To think that it had improved by so much. Gradually adjusting his control, the primordial flames flames in his hand now continued to expand and contract with a throbbing temperature. Even the air was burned, leaving behind a black hole.
“How powerful!” Qing Shui smiled and could not help but exclaimed.
Qing Shui then started to gradually condense it. This was a technique and a process and in this process, he needed to be able to reduce the time spent to the shortest limit. Only then would it bring him more advantages when he was facing enemies.
With prior experience, he got the hang of it very quickly. However, when it was condensed to the size of an adult’s head, it had reached its limit and could not be condensed any more. Qing Shui sensed the two large flame b.a.l.l.s in his hands which encompa.s.sed a terrifying temperature and prowess within.
Qing Shui tossed them out into the air!
The two grey colored flame b.a.l.l.s that were the size of a human head collided, creating a tremendous explosion. The sky turned black for a moment before immediately recovering. Qing Shui knew that even if his opponent managed to survive the explosion, he would be devoured by the darkness.
Drawing out a 10,000 Years Coldsteel Needle and then channeling in his primordial flames, the 10,000 Years Coldsteel Needle which was as thin as a cow’s hair disappeared in the time it took for one to take a breath. Although it was very fine, it was made from 10,000 Years Coldsteel.
The time it took for one breath was sufficient. Qing Shui was very happy. If he could use it, it would only be a moment as well. Actually, what Qing Shui needed was not its resistance to high temperatures but he needed the material to be able to conduct quickly and it must also be tough enough. Otherwise, it would not even be able to pierce through experts’ flesh. Moreover, if he could hang on for just a short while, he could increase the penetrating impact of the 10,000 Years Coldsteel Needles.
Qing Shui thought of forging some slightly thicker 10,000 Years Coldsteel Needles. Being thin, the 10,000 Years Coldsteel Needle could be used to break through the defences of some experts. After all, being able to gather strength into one point would allow an increase in prowess.
However, who would be able to unleash their entire strength within a needle which was thin as a cow’s hair? Therefore, while everyone understood this theory, Qing Shui had yet to come across one who could put it into practice.
Qing Shui has been cultivating the Solitary Rapid Fist for many years and had even entered a state of epiphany once. Moreover, this was an ancient battle technique and he had only the achievements today because of the the ratio of the time he had in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal as well as him having an extraordinary perseverance.
Ordinary people would not be able to use Coldsteel Needles which were thin as a cow’s hair but Qing Shui could do it. It just took him some practice. In his hands, they could be miraculous needles which saved lives but they could also be fatal needles which robbed people of their lives.
In the remaining time, Qing Shui tried to practicing controlling his Primordial Flame b.a.l.l.s, trying his best to be able to condense them even smaller and to be able to do so in a shorter amount of time.
All in all, Qing Shui was very satisfied with the Mysterious Fruit’s effects this time around. After all, if a person were to continue to cultivate his Heart of Roc under normal circ.u.mstances, it would probably take the person at least ten years to break through to the large success stage. It would also require encounters and luck. He felt that he must have gotten a streak of luck this time around.
This made Qing Shui turn toward the last Mysterious Fruit. He had wanted very much to eat it. Maybe it would really bring him to the 7th heavenly layer…
Dreams were beautiful but reality was harsh. Regardless if it was medicinal pills or heavenly and earthly treasures, there would be a buffer period. The better the item, the longer the buffer period. Therefore, for something like the Mysterious Fruit, it would be about at least half a year. Moreover, the shorter the duration between both consumptions, the shorter the success rate would be.
To Qing Shui, this would only be a few days time.
Now, Qing Shui was thinking about whether he should be using it for himself or refine it into a Fate Pill. He was not able to use the Fate Pill for himself and if he were to refine it, it would be for the people around him.
In the end, Qing Shui decided to leave it for now. He might have an urgent need for it later. In his remaining time, he focused on his cultivation.
Right now, his happy mood had made him temporarily toss away all other thoughts. The breakthrough for the Heart of Roc caused Qing Shui to feel slightly arrogant…
Feeling satisfied, he left the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. The sky was just starting to turn bright. Qing Shui had spent half the time in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. When he left, Yun Duan was still deep in sleep but he knew that she was going to wake up soon.
Martial arts pract.i.tioners were light sleepers and would be able to sense motions and the time they slept was also very short. It might be because she was with him or that it had been too tiring that she was now sleeping so soundly. He walked over softly, sat by the bed and looked at this lady whom he thought would pa.s.s by in his life forever. Even now, he still had the feeling that he was in a dream.
If they had not met, Hu Wei Adventurer Guild would definitely wipe them out completely. This stubborn lady would definitely not take the initiative to look for him, nor would she think that he would be able to solve a problem like this. This was fate. They had met and it was before this problem had arisen.
Therefore, even Qing Shui who did not believe in fate and affinity felt that this lady was blessed to him by the heavens. It was all fated.
Just then, Yun Duan opened her bright eyes. When she saw Qing Shui, her eyes twitched a little. Her long lashes were like small fans and were very beautiful. She was covered in a thin snow-white blanket, giving her an additional sacred feeling. Together with the bedsheets under her, she appeared very dignified and he could not help but think of how he had embraced her her last night.
Qing Shui smiled and reached his hands in, “You’ve waken up? Why don’t you sleep a little longer?”
“Ahhh, how am I going to sleep with you like this…?” Yun Duan tried to dodge Qing Shui’s hand and chided.
After Yun Duan begged to be let off, Qing Shui smiled and gave her a kiss before leaving. He was still going for his morning practice as usual and when he walked out of the building, he saw a bamboo forest.
There was quite a large s.p.a.ce amidst the tall bamboo forest. When Qing Shui drew in, he realized that the Nature Energy in his body that was automatically circulating was now even faster than before. It was even starting to absorb the Nature Energy in the surroundings, albeit at a very slow rate.
“Hmmm? What is this?”
Qing Shui was now astonished by this scene. When he came across the unknown, he would first feel worried, even if it was something good. Misfortunes and fortunes usually came hand in hand. Suddenly, Qing Shui’s gaze fell on the bamboo forest in front of him.
Between broken rocks striking my root deep, I bite the mountain green and won’t let go.
From whichever direction the wind leaps, I remain strong, though dealt many a blow .
Unbending and rising steeply from level ground, how strongly they tower into the sky…
The bamboo has the most unflinching righteousness! 
Could it be that bamboo could nurture his Nature Energy?
 A Chinese poem written by a Qing Dynasty artist by the name of Zheng Xie on his painting of bamboo and rocks. The English translation was done by Zheng Banqiao, an official in the Qing Dynasty. The latter was also apt in calligraphy and painting as well as in the area of literature.
 Translator’s feeble and miserable attempt to translate an extract of a Chinese Poem of an Qing Dynasty official, poet c.u.m educator.
 The bamboo has always been seen as a symbol of integrity and righteousness.
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