The single-eyed black-robed lecturer continued to walk forward, producing two small black pouches, handing them separately to Lin Xi and Bian Linghan.
Lin Xi and Bian Linghan opened the black pouches, discovering that what was inside were actually two leather finger gloves. They were faint golden in color, the material thick but soft.
“The Three Finger Control Method uses the thumb, middle finger, and index finger to hold the arrow in place, only using the ring finger and little finger to draw the bow and control the bowstring.” The single-eyed black-robed lecturer didn’t give the two a chance to ask any questions, slowly walking along the picturesque rainbow-stepped fields while slowly saying, “With three fingers on the arrow, it ensures maximum stability and control over the release of the arrow, and for a formidable archer, three fingers on the arrow produce astonishing accuracy. Generally speaking, top level archeres who train in this type of archery are the most precise out of all archers, but this style only allows for two fingers to draw the bowstring. That is why in order to minimize the harm to those two fingers, before you all reach State Knight levels of cultivation, you two must use those finger gloves.”
Lin Xi put that light golden finger glove on his right hand’s ring and little fingers.
The finger glove was light and soft, but the inside seemed to have a type of natural suction force, softly and tightly hugging his fingers.
The single-eyed black-robed lecturer leading the way turned slightly, giving Lin Xi a look and saying, “These are made from two pieces of the lightning python’s inner neck skin, not commonly seen even in the academy. That is why normally, you two shouldn’t bring them out.”
Lin Xi nodded. In his head, he imagined himself holding the bow with his left hand, right hand holding the arrow, this type of stance, and then he frowned. “Teacher, this type of stance of holding the arrow and drawing the bow seems to be extremely awkward.”
“The easier to learn is the Four Fingers Drawing Method, but when the fingers are used to both hold the arrow and draw the bowstring, it cannot produce the same effects that the Three Fingered Control Method would, using the three fingers’ fine movements to neutralize the trembling produced by the bowstring after the arrow leaves, so it can only be used to maximize firing rate.” The single-eyed black-robed lecturer’s tone naturally carried a type of indescribable pride. “The arrows of a Windstalker are never used to slaughter dogs, but rather used to deal with powerful individuals. That is why what you all are about to do is convert the unreasonable into the reasonable, train your shooting skills until it is as normal as walking with the wind.”
“Understood.” When it involved Bian Linghan’s future, Lin Xi didn’t speak any more nonsense, only nodding quietly in these rainbow-stepped fields.
Lin Xi and Bian Linghan’s expressions left the single-eyed black-robed lecturer rather satisfied, his tone also becoming a bit softer. “In the following days, I will teach you two the archery form and techniques, but you two have to remember that the most important part of an archer, is cool-headedness and patience. The slightest trace of mental fluctuations can lead to slight deviations, while the slightest bit of irritability will affect your handling of the bow and arrow.”
Lin Xi and Bian Linghan nodded their heads seriously again.
“You probably are not aware, but I am not only doing this because you are heaven’s choice, but also because you have an innate calmness and collected nature, which is why I was unwilling to just give up on you.”
The single-eyed black-robed lecturer withdrew his gaze from Lin Xi, no longer saying anything, but he was still thinking various things inside.
Lin Xi didn’t know that it was actually his nature resulting from his unique experiences that led to this single-eyed black-robed lecturer attaching so much importance to him.
He followed behind this single-eyed black-robed lecturer, passing a bamboo building.
In an open space within the forest behind the bamboo building was a stand, on it three identical black longbows. The bows themselves were made of hardwood, while the bow strings were made of a certain beast’s tendons, just that they didn’t have any runes on them. Next to the three black longbows were at least twenty arrow quivers, every one of them packed with arrows like grain stalks that had just been harvested from the fields.
“Watch what I do closely.”
The single-eyed black-robed lecturer didn’t waste any words, picking up the bow in front of Lin Xi, pulling the bow string, and then releasing the arrow. The originally warped and awkward stance in Lin Xi’s imagination, was actually so incredibly natural. Every single movement the single-eyed black-robed lecturer made gave everyone an indescribable feeling of flow and beauty.
A black arrow shot out like a comet, going extremely steadily right into the bull’s eye.
Shu! Shu! Shu! Shu!
The single-eyed black-robed lecturer didn’t stop, a vicious aura surging from his body, harmonizing with his graceful and elegant motions. Lin Xi and Bian Linghan were both completely stupefied. Every single arrow struck bull’s eye, hitting right at the center of the dozen or so targets scattered throughout the forest. In the blink of an eye, every single one of them had a black arrow sticking out from them.
“Pick up the bow, watch closely how I am holding the bow.”
The single-eyed black-robed lecturer paused for a moment, letting Lin Xi and Bian Linghan pick up their respective bow and arrows. In front of Lin Xi and Bian Linghan, as if everything was replaying in slow motion, he gradually pulled the arrow and bow string back, only, the arrow was never released.
He didn’t say anything else, just repeating this motion slowly again and again.
Lin Xi and Bian Linghan watched respectfully. Soon afterwards, they were full of respect. After several minutes of time passed, an extremely peaceful and harmonious scene could be seen in this vacant space: the single-eyed black-robed lecturer was in the middle, while Lin Xi and Bian Linghan were at his sides, the three of them repeating the same motions slowly, raising the bow, adding an arrow, and pulling back the bow string.
The single-eyed black-robed lecturer would stop from time to time, helping Lin Xi and Bian Linghan correct their technique.
Posture, bow, and arrow positioning.
This Three Fingered Control Method, in the beginning, didn’t have any shortcuts, purely repeating the motions again and again, lifting the bow, and then drawing back the bow string, training the most accurate motions just like that.
However, this bow was real, the arrow also real. Even though it was only the most basic black painted hardwood bow, and even after the first day of cultivation class, when the Clear Truth Pill already directly brought him into the ranks of cultivators, making Lin Xi feel that he had become much stronger, pulling back the bowstring with only his ring and little finger each time still wasn’t all that easy.
However, what was full of novelty and rather interesting to Lin Xi was that after continuously drawing the bow more than twenty times, just when his fingers and arms were already starting to feel sore, the fine stream within his dantian released wisps of warmth, alleviating a bit of this pain. Meanwhile, whenever the soreness between his fingers and arms was lessened a bit, some of that fine stream would be consumed.
After repeating these motions hundreds of times, the fine stream within his dantian was finally completely consumed. His arms, especially the right arm that held the arrow, even more so became unbearably sore.
“Alright, we’ll end things here today.”
However, when he wanted to persist a bit longer on his own initiative, the single-eyed black-robed lecturer instead stopped both him and Bian Linghan, moreover producing two bottles of medicinal ointment, handing it to them. “When you return, apply a layer over the sore areas, and then gently massage those areas for three minutes.”
“Lecturer Mu Qing has already placed identical bows and arrows to the ones you used here in your respective rooms. Once you guys recover a bit, you can practice on your own. If you have any insights or questions from today’s cultivation, you can ask me now.” After these two medicinal ointments that were definitely not ordinary goods were handed to Lin Xi and Bian Linghan, the single-eyed black-robed lecturer had the two put down their bows, and then follow him out of this place. He then said this slowly as they walked.
Lin Xi was immediately shocked. “Teacher, I thought no one was allowed to enter other people’s rooms in this academy?!”
“In the future, you should ask less stupid questions like this.” The single-eyed black-robed lecturer immediately couldn’t hold back the urge to smack Lin Xi. He looked at this brat who seemed more and more pleasing to the eye the longer he cultivated, but more irritating the more questions he asked, saying with a sunken voice, “What Lecturer Mu Qing represents is the academy… you have to remember, before the academy, your rooms have no secrets to hide!”
“Alright then.” Lin Xi rolled his eyes, and then he became serious again. He looked at the single-eyed black-robed lecturer in front of him and said, “Whenever we release an arrow, would a bit of soul force be consumed?”
The single-eyed black-robed lecturer nodded. “Soul Force can alleviate some of the body’s exhaustion. Currently, you can already be considered a cultivator, which is why even if it isn’t archery, as long as your body bears stress, soul force would naturally be slowly consumed.”
“Then as long as one’s soul force isn’t completely consumed, then the body could still hold on, continue to fire arrows?” Only after struggling quite a bit did Lin Xi remove the two finger gloves, rubbing his incredibly sore fingers while asking.
“Of course not.” The single-eyed black-robed lecturer looked at Lin Xi and said, “Soul force can only alleviate a portion of the body’s fatigue, it cannot completely erase it. The simplest example of this is when you are on the battlefield, if, before a larger half of your soul force has been consumed, your chest is penetrated by an arrow, you naturally cannot continue fighting. Only, for us cultivators, as we undergo more and more self-tempering, our cultivation reaches higher and higher levels, so the body will become a bit stronger. For example, a bow like this one, I’ll have to shoot around a thousand arrows in succession before I might feel a bit of fatigue, my body starting to slowly give in. However, for you all, when you are really fighting, your body might not even last firing a hundred arrows in succession.”
The single-eyed black-robed lecturer’s explanation and reasoning were extremely clear, not difficult for even Lin Xi to understand. After carefully sensing the degree of fatigue of his two arms, Lin Xi muttered to himself, “Teacher Tong, I’m used to holding the bow with my left hand, right hand gripping the arrow and pulling back the bow string, but like this, I feel like my right hand has to undergo much more stress. For example, right now, I feel like my right hand can’t hold on anymore, my fingers cannot even pull the bow string, so in that case, when I feel like my right hand can’t hold on anymore, can’t I switch to my right hand holding the bow, left hand clasping the arrow and bowstring? If I alternate like this, wouldn’t I be able to shoot more arrows?”
“You can’t even walk properly, yet you already want to overturn the world?” The single-eyed black-robed lecturer released a sneer, ruthlessly scolding Lin Xi, “I advise you to forget this idea, learning another type of bow technique will double the time you need to practice. Moreover, your aptitude is only two, so your soul force growth speed is naturally slower than others’. When the time comes for you to use soul weapons, your soul force might not even be enough to support a single bow method, let alone two types.”
Lin Xi’s brows jumped slightly, inwardly unconvinced. Teacher Tong, actually, you’re wrong. Even though my aptitude is two, at the very least, on this matter, Principal Zhang has explained clearly, saying that your bodies only have one bowl, while our bodies are equivalent to having two bowls… that is why the total of my soul force will instead be double that of those at the same level.
However, when he recalled how this Principal Zhang who came from the same world as himself wasted so many words to tell him that it was better to remain low-profile, that not even cultivators are unmatched existences in this world, Lin Xi’s lips instead formed a faint smile, deciding that it was better this way… Then, a name quickly appeared in his mind: Jing Wuming.
“Teacher, I suddenly thought of something… what kind of cultivation does one need to scale Heaven Ascension Mountain Range, enter the frozen plains behind it?”
“At least Sacred Master level I reckon. At the higher points of Heaven Ascension Mountain Range, it is almost impossible to breathe, each step consuming astonishing amounts of strength and soul force.”
Just like that, a black-robed lecturer and two young students who continuously stuffed their faces with food slowly walked under the sunset, passing through this rainbow-like valley.
1. An important character in Gu Long’s wuxia novels