| Chapter 18 - Ranking
"I did it." Zhao Feng restrained himself from shouting.
At this moment, he only needed one thought to emit a faint green glow from his palm. If one did not look closely, one would not be able to see it. This was the first thread of Inner Strength that Zhao Feng had formed. He had never thought that his dream would be so close to him.
Once someone formed their first thread of Inner Strength, the bottleneck to the fourth rank would be almost non-existent.
For Zhao Feng, it was now only a matter of time. He only needed to reach the peak of the third rank and he would be able to step into the fourth rank, becoming a true martial artist.
"There is not any other outer disciples in the Zhao sect that have formed their first thread of Inner Strength yet. Not even Zhao Yue and Zhao Yijian......" When Zhao Feng thought up to here he had a satisfied expression.
Being able to form Inner strength at the third rank meant that he was unstoppable for his cultivation level.
"The two-hundred year old blood plant cannot go to waste." Zhao Feng felt that his body still had remnants left from the blood plant so he formed a few more threads of Inner Strength.
Inner strength was one's strength compressed into a higher level. To consolidate his Inner Strength, Zhao Feng meditated for one day and one night.
The moment he stepped out of his room he felt that every breath of his could instantly conjure great pressure.
Zhao Feng's parents were also aware of this.
"Feng'er seems a bit different. It seems he has more energy nowadays." Zhao Shi smiled.
"It is time for his growth spurt." His father Zhao Tianyang even felt a faint pressure emanating from Zhao Feng.
Their feelings were not wrong. These changes indeed did occur on Zhao Feng.
After merging with the mysterious eye, Zhao Feng's blood had started to slowly change.....
The most obvious point was his strength, it had increased at a rapid rate.
His height and mental energy were also growing.
Adding on the change of his heart state, his whole aura had changed.
"Even my parents can see that I have changed. This means that martial artists can easily see that I have formed Inner Strength." Zhao Feng went into deep thought. There was still one month left until the family sparring contest, and his goal was to enter the top three!
"I need a way to hide my Inner strength." Soon, the one hundred martial art skills popped up in his mind.
He soon chose a skill named "Hiding Air Technique".
The Hiding Air Technique was not a combat skill, it could not even increase one's cultivation. The reason why Zhao Feng picked it up before was because it was a peak middle ranked martial art, the same level as Angry Dragon Fists.
If Hiding Air Technique was trained to the low level, it could hide one's inner strength and cultivation. When it reached the high level, one could control one's aura. When it reached the peak level, one could erase one's aura, which could be used for tracking and spying. Even a dog would be unable to smell one's presence.
Zhao Feng began to train in the Hiding Air Technique on the same day. Although it was a peak, middle ranked martial art it was easy for to Zhao Feng to train in it.
Using just half a day worth of time, Zhao Feng had already trained the Hiding Air Technique to the low level, which meant that he could now conceal his inner strength. Even true martial artists of the fourth rank or higher would be unable to find out that Zhao Feng had inner strength.
"According to the book, one needed at least a few months to train it to the low level." Zhao Feng was slightly shocked, but then he thought about how he had even learnt Lightly Floating Ferry, which was a high rank martial art.
Since the Hiding Air Technique was now at the low level, Zhao Feng could now openly walk around.
After a few more days it was the time for signing up for the family sparring contest.
"Feng'er you can sign up for the family sparring contest now. Do not forget to register." Zhao Tianyang warned him.
"Ok, I will go right now." Zhao Feng was very confident.
Zhao Tianyang nodded his head, "You have already reached the third rank. You should be able to reach the top one hundred."
"Top one hundred?" Zhao Feng laughed as he shook his head. His parents did not have much confidence in him. Zhao Feng felt certain that if he could not place first, he could still place in the top three.
Soon after, Zhao Feng arrived at the registering place.
The family sparring contest was held once every three years and the signup time was one month before the contest itself.
There were many other disciples lining up when Zhao Feng arrived.
"Did you hear? This year's rewards are extremely good!" One Zhao disciple said.
"Rewards? Tell us! No wonder you are an inner disciple." A few surrounding disciples had interested expressions as they looked towards the inner disciple.
Their discussion caught Zhao Feng's attention. He looked at the inner disciple who had a cultivation at the peak of the third rank. From the aura he released, his strength was at least on par with Zhao Gan.
"No wonder he's worthy of being an inner disciple." Zhao Feng thought, "Any random inner disciple has such strength."
"Those that become one of the top fifty will become inner disciples and will have the chance to enter the second floor of the Martial Arts Library and choose a high rank martial art skill. They will also receive a three-hundred year old blood plant. Those that reach the top twenty can choose two high ranked martial arts skill and will get two, three-hundred year old blood plants."
The inner disciple paused.
"Whoa! Three-hundred year old blood plants! The sect is spending a lot of money for this year's contest."
"High rank martial arts skills! Normal disciples will probably never even learn one." The disciples around seemed shocked by the news. Even Zhao Feng felt excited.
A three-hundred year old blood plant was worth three thousand silver. Obviously, the fact that they got to enter the second floor of the Martial Arts Library was more exciting to him.
"If I get the chance to go inside the second floor of the Martial Arts Library, I can take out a large amount of high ranked skills." Zhao Feng was full of anticipation.
This time the inner disciple continued, "The top ten can choose two high rank martial arts and will also get a five-hundred year old blood plant!"
Five-hundred year old blood plant!
Many disciples rubbed their palms together as they thought about it. One five-hundred year old blood plant was worth ten thousand silver!
"Apparently the top three can choose a peak rank skill, two high ranked skills and will also get a "Yun blood pill."
"Peak rank martial art!"
"Yun blood pill?"
Someone who trained a peak rank martial art could cultivate up to the ninth rank of the Martial Path. As for the "Yun blood pill", it was a precious pill that helped increase one's cultivation.
This type of precious pill was worth over fifty thousand silver......
"What does first place get?" Someone asked.
"You are right. Usually first place gets an extra reward." A few Zhao disciples said.
"First place will definitely have extra rewards, but even I do not know what that is." The inner disciple shook his head.
The disciples felt disappointed. However, because they did not know, they felt more intrigued to find out.
After waiting for a long time. Zhao Feng finally arrived at the registration place and took a badge. The badge had a number of 188 on it. Zhao Feng knew now knew what his number was.
The Zhao sect had a few hundred disciples entering the contest. According to the rules, there were only fifty spots for inner disciples under the age of eighteen.
There were fifty inner disciples at the moment.
This meant that some inner disciples may be eliminated and then replaced by the newer generation of disciples. Therefore, this contest was very cruel.
After signing up Zhao Feng returned home to work even harder.
Days passed. The time for the family sparring contest became closer and closer.
Twenty days before the family sparring contest started there was already an estimated ranking list. And the person who ranked first was an inner disciple who was the genius of of the Zhao sect, Zhao Linlong!
Zhao Linlong had reached the fourth rank of the Martial Path two years ago. He was ranked third in the last contest. At that time he wasn't even fifteen years old.
Now, he was one of the four geniuses of Sun Feather City. There was no doubt that he was the strongest!
Second place was Zhao Chi, third place Zhao Han, fourth place Zhao Qin...... Twenty-first place Zhao Yue! When Zhao Feng saw this he took a cold breath. Zhao Yue, who was first amongst the outer disciples, did not even reach the top twenty of the inner disciples.
Zhao Yijian and Zhao Yufei were respectively ranked thirty-eight and forty.
As for Zhao Gan and Zhao Guang who were both ranked in the top five amongst the outer disciples, they were ranked overall as forty-ninth and fifty-third. The ranking had a total of one hundred people. Zhao Feng kept on looking.
At the second to last name on the list, Zhao Feng finally found his own name.......