26 Sparring with Xing
Bai Qi woke up to a bird pecking him in the head.
Tap tap, tap-tap, tap tap.
As he opened his eyes, he was met with the bird looking at him, it tilted it's head like it couldn't believe Bai Qi had the nerve to wake up.
Bai Qi shook his head, and the bird flew off, though it perched at his windowsill, watching him. As the sun came up behind the bird, the light rays danced off the smoky black feathers. One of the rays hit Bai Qi's eyes, and he glanced away for a split second. By the time he turned back to the windowsill, the bird was gone. Bai Qi shook his head and looked out the window. Though the sun had just come out a few minutes ago, there were people already outside, busy with the day to day activities of the sect.
There was a younger kid sweeping the path outside Bai Qi's room. Noticing Bai Qi, the kid waved, and yelled "Morning."
"Morning," Bai Qi yelled back. The early morning breeze made Bai Qi shiver, so he closed the window, and freshened up. He decided to take a shower, then just wait for Elder Xing to come to get him.
After an hour or so of just lingering around his room, the door opened up.
Elder Xing stepped out and looked at Bai Qi with a weird look on his face. "Why haven't you switched out your clothes yet?"
"My clothes?" Bai Qi looked down at his shirt, then his pants. "I don't have any other clothes."
"We gave you new clothes. Did Elder Mu not tell you?"
"Edler Mu didn't mention anything about that."
"You've been wearing the same thing for the last two weeks. Granted, we have arrays that don't make it smell and automatically clean your clothes, but for god's sake, a little decency.
Elder Xing pushed open an unassuming door near Bai Qi's window. It led to a furnished living room, with a sofa and a table in the middle. On top of the table was a green crystal, and Elder Xing tapped on it. The room brightened up, as the light came on. Near the side of the table was a stack of clothes, a shirt, pants, and shoes.
"Whoa," Bai Qi said. "I thought that was a closet."
'The crystal controls the basic things around the room, you'll understand later. If you need anything, tap the crystal. As for your clothes, get changed as quickly as you can, I'll be waiting in the training room."
Bai Qi looked over the clothes he was provided. A simple white cotton shirt, a loose pair of pants, and cloth shoes. He changed into the provided clothes and stacked his old clothes up on the table. As he did so, he couldn't help but notice the many holes and rips his clothes had, particularly his shirt, which was fraying around several of the seams.
As he stacked his clothes, he felt something digging into the side of his pant pockets. He rummaged through his old pant pockets but didn't feel anything in them, so he turned his pants inside out, to see what the object was.
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The thing was stuck in between the layers of his pants, near the rigid section where his pockets met the top lining, so coupled with the fact that Bai Qi hadn't changed his clothes the entire time, it had gone unnoticed.
He tried to open the fabric, but the seams wouldn't pull apart no matter how much force he put. For a moment, Bai Qi considered burning the top layer of the fabric, but he thought against it because he was afraid of destroying the embedded object.
Bai Qi decided to take the pants with him. He put on the cloth shoes, which were relatively loose, and walked back into his bedroom, then readied himself and walked into the training room.
Elder Xing was waiting for him, sitting down, his walking stick next to him. He glanced curiously at the pants Bai Qi was holding. 'You can leave your old clothes in your room, someone will take care of them."
Bai Qi held up his pants. "There's something hidden in here."
"Oh?" Edler Xing said surprised. "What do you mean?"
"In between the seams. I can't get it out."
Elder Xing motioned Bai Qi to bring it to him. He felt the seams and became curious. "This might have a piece of your past. Are you sure you want me to see it?"
Bai Qi shrugged. "I don't remember my past at all, and all I have left are these clothes, I don't really mind."
Elder Xing formed a blade out of light. Carefully, he started to cut away at the seams. As he cut a few more seams, the hole became wider, until it was enough to wiggle the item out. He held up the item for Bai Qi to see.
"Mhmm," Elder Xing nodded. The necklace had a sword emblem and looked somewhat worn out. "You recognize this?"
"No," Bai Qi replied. "Do you?"
"I've seen several places use a sword as a symbol, though none of them use this particular shape or emblem." Elder Xing passed the necklace to Bai Qi. "Keep it safe, might mean something to you later."
Bai Qi nodded. The necklace was cool to the touch, the indented markings making a pattern on the sword. No stones decorated it, and it looked somewhat plain, albeit it seemed to be made out of silver, and was probably worth a pretty penny. He put the necklace on and turned his attention back to Elder Xing.
Elder Xing walked a bit of distance away from Bai Qi. He raised his staff, and brought it down with a thud in front of him, facing Bai Qi. "Attack me."
Bai Qi nodded. He formed a few fireballs and lobbed them at Elder Xing.
Elder Xing simply took a step forward, half turning his body, evading all of the fireballs by a small margin. "Weak," he commented. "Try again, with a little more vigor."
Bai Qi once again summoned a wave of fireballs, shooting them at Elder Xing. Then he burst his arms into flames and followed up by rushing him, attacking with the fireballs. As he did so, he used his previous experience to use the wind to push himself slightly forward, giving him a decent speed boost.
As he wildly punched out, trying to connect with Elder Xing, the fireballs attacked from different angles.
"Interesting," Elder Xing commented as he moved backward, taking small steps to dodge each of Bai Qi's punches. As he did so, he slightly moved his staff to hit the fireballs, the attacks being nullified with a simple tap. "You have a good combat sense."
"Thanks, " Bai Qi said, "but none of my attacks connect with you."
"You haven't used your earth attribute yet," Elder Xing said. "Try to incorporate it into your attacks."
"Like this," Elder Xing said, tapping his staff on the ground. Suddenly spikes grew out of the earth in front of him, aiming at Bai Qi's throat. Bai Qi stumbled backward out of surprise, from the speed of the spike growing from the ground, barely dodging them. As he tried to move backward, a pillar had appeared behind him, trapping him and causing his retreat to be stopped.
Bai Qi gulped, as the spike reached up to his throat, threatening to stab him. Edler Xing chuckled. "Earth is a powerful element, more defensive than attack, but the rigidity makes for amusing tactics."
The spike merged back into the ground, and the pillar behind Bai Qi melted away, the rocks breaking down and reforming.
"How did you do that?" Bai Qi asked.
"The Earth is under you, your most stable element. Control it, and push it out of the ground."
Bai Qi did so, concentrating on the ground beneath his feet. A shaky mound formed as he pulled the earth up.
"Excellent," Elder Xing said. He squatted down to take a closer look. "Quite amazing that you can do this seconds after I showed you."
The mound threatened to collapse as the site got bigger, forming a shaky tower.
Bai Qi looked utterly concentrated, but suddenly, the shaky mound formed a jagged spike, similar to Elder Xing's. The spike jutted out, and Elder Mu grinned, moving his head up and to the side to dodge it. However, Bai Qi had anticipated that move and followed through with a punch, his arms coated with flames.
"Ruthless, aren't you?" Elder Xing said, chuckling, as he bought his staff out to meet Bai Qi's punch, He used the staff to push Bai Qi's hand to the side, redirecting the force behind Bai Qi's punch, and providing enough of a push to tip Bai Qi off balance. He then followed up with a sweep, hooking Bai Qi's right foot, pulling it up. Bai Qi was left with all his weight shifted onto his left foot, as he was pushed forward, causing him to land facedown on the ground. "Trying to catch me off guard, huh."
"Amazing,' Elder Xing said, with a twinkle in his eyes. "Simply amazing. It took you a split second to learn how to use the same attack as me, then chain that up with a punch."
Bai Qi groaned, and got up, rubbing his head where he hit the ground. "It felt natural to follow it up that way."
"And it was beautifully executed," Elder Xing said. "Da Lao is going to have a field day with you. With that combat sense and quick thinking, he's going to strut you up and down the kingdom."
'Somehow, that doesn't sound good for me."
'You probably will nearly die several times when Da Lao picks you up," Elder Xing said honestly.
"Is he that scary?"
"Have you seen how he treats his army?"
Bai Qi nodded.
"Those that you saw were the regular people, Graded warriors, not Tiered."
"Graded and tiered warriors?"
"In order to keep a standardized system of who is where in terms of strength, people who are still learning how to use their talents are classified as Graded, from Grade 1 to 9, when at 9 you can challenge a mastery test to be Tiered, from Tier 1 to 9."
"Where are you on the scale," Bai Qi asked. "And is Da Lao or you stronger?"
"Da Lao is a bit stronger than me," Elder Xing admitted. "Though if we got into a fight, it's not guaranteed who would win. As for my placement on the scale, the numbers don't mean anything to you yet, so let's move on from that."
"Let's go," Elder Xing said, as he stepped backward from Bai Qi once again. "Attack me. It'll be your win if you can dirty my clothes."
Bai Qi got up and dusted himself off. "I'll try," he said, as he launched himself at Elder Xing once again, determined to land even a single hit on him.
Sorry for not posting yesterday, as part of my promise of a chapter every two days. I put up the reason on discord, but I'll repeat here.
Me being a dumbass wrote most of the chapter on a word doc I didn't save. As I am an idiot sometimes, I forgot about the word doc and was doing a battery calibration test on my laptop. After I did so, I decided it was time to clean up my disk, as I do once every 6 months or so, so I reset my laptop after backing up my saved files. Unfortunately, I never did save the doc, so as I reset the laptop, and rebooted, I realized, it wasn't in the folder I usually keep it.
I lost the entirety of this chapter and had to write it from scratch today with the general outline I had, as well as lost the notes for the next chapter. Because of that, the next chapter will probably be out tomorrow if I have a decent amount of free time on my hand, which depends, and if not, will be out on Sunday, effectively shifting our chapter every two days schedule one day over.
3/10, do not recommend.
Welp, chapters here. We hit the 72'd spot with 129 stones, and for the first time in this novel's history, we broke past 100 stones. :))
Tysm for voting.
Leave a comment on what you thought, your current feelings, idk whatever you want. :))
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P.S, Jello the enraged Skelly, from discord, has notified me that someone actually found this novel good enough to repost on a different website. I'm honored, I actually reached the point where someone decided to pirate my novel lmao.