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In the next ten minutes, Garen arranged for the doctor and nurse to take care of his master, calmed down the slightly frantic disciples and trainees, and finally let the juniors go to rest. He then asked one of the disciples to find a quiet room to discuss everything with Su Lin in detail.
The place they were led to was decorated with wooden furniture which gave it a classical vibe. Redwood walls and floor, a wooden table and chair, even the tea cups were made of redwood.
The two of them sat down across from each other. Two wooden cups, with steam rising slowly from them, were placed in the middle of the redwood table.
Garen gently touched the missing edge of the wooden table.
"This time, a lot of the disciples have left. Plenty of places look torn down which are obvious signs of the time when senior sister left. Now the elder senior brother is gone, too, and senior brother is prohibited from leaving. The entire gate feels empty and deserted… But that’s fine, let’s not talk about it. Tell me about what is troubling you."
Su Lin grabbed the tea cup with a bitter smile. "This is why I need your help. To be honest, when I found you in the first place, I had the intention of looking for a bodyguard."
"I don’t care about your intentions. The fact that you helped me out twice cannot be understated." Garen interrupted him to stop him from talking. "Tell me about your troubles. I can’t believe that with the force of the organization they can’t protect you?"
"Golden Loop possesses force only on paper. I’ve gotten into a conflict with an assassin organization, and one of the strongest ones in the world, Duskdune Shura." Su Lin’s face was distressed. "As to how I got into a conflict with them, I don’t even know myself. All I know is that starting from next summer, they will officially take action."
"Duskdune Shura? Are they powerful?" Garen asked in an undertone. "I’m not familiar with these things, you know."
"Let me make a comparison for you. Imagine them as disciples from the Celestial Circle Gate with mastery in weapons, special techniques, combat mastery, assassination, plus they never fight in the open and always look for an opportunity to deceive. I’m not afraid of them myself, but I’m worried about my family. They don’t have the ability to defend themselves and can only rely on the protection of others," Su Lin said with impotence clear in his voice. "I’ve used all kinds of excuses to find impeccable protection for my parents, but it’s just not enough for my sister."
"Does this Duskdune Shura have any Grandmasters of Combat?" Garen took a sip of the tea, not feeling frightened by the information.
"Yes." Su Lin looked at him. "It’s an elite Grandmaster of Combat that has successfully assassinated ten other Grandmasters of Combat. The organization’s leader is called Duskdune Shura. One of the top two elite fighters in the most recent documentation. Based on it, he is also part of the Immortal Palace Alliance."
Garen’s hand shook slighlty, and the tea almost spilled out of the cup.
"It’s the Immortal Palace Alliance again." He originally thought that this organization was strong but secretive, yet they reappeared again.
"Let’s not worry about Duskdune Shura for now. That can all be taken care of in the future. The most crucial task is to be ready for the Celestial Circle Gate, or else I would not be able to survive this year, let alone the next one."
"You are right." Su Lin tasted the tea, and his eyebrows furrowed into a frown. "The tea is quite nice, but whoever made it definitely didn’t possess skill."
He raised his head to look at Garen.
"The Celestial Circle Gate is indeed powerful. However, everything must follow the same rule. Their force is not powerful enough to break it."
"You are implying?" Garen locked his vision on Su lin as he asked with uncertainty.
"I’ll use the name of the military to let my dad announce that you’ll be my sister’s Wushu teacher," Su Lin answered calmly.
"Wushu teacher. That’s two birds with one stone." Garen’s expression turned peaceful as well. "My guess was also similar. Not only does it preserve the White Cloud Gate, but it also achieves what you wish for."
"However, before this, my father would need to personally pressure the Celestial Circle Gate. This cannot be done in an instant and will take around ten days. You’ll have to stay strong during this period."
"Ten days?" His head lowered, Garen stared at the teacup on the table.
Within it, the slightly red tea gradually spread out in waves to the edges of the cup. "Good, I also want to know how powerful the renowned top fighter from the south is."
"Confidence is good." Su Lin smiled.
The two of them sat quietly on their seats without speaking a word. They silently thought about their next steps.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
Someone was tapping on the door.
Garen looked in the direction of the door.
It gently opened. Collin, who had changed into a white outfit, came in and stood beside Garen.
"Senior Brother, Bouvini, who controls the assets, is here."
"Bouvini?" Garen quickly recalled this person’s identity. "Tell him that I suffered a severe injury and will require healing in peace. Please ask him to take care of master’s assets."
"Ok, Senior Brother." Collin nodded as he curiously peaked at Su Lin who sat across from him.
"In this case, I’ll leave as well. I need to head back to take care of the problem with your identity and convince my father as early as possible. It would help in alleviating the severity of this incident. However, this will only be a temporary solution to your conflict with the Celestial Circle Gate. You killed the talent of their younger generation. With how those older guys act as if they’re on top of the world, they will not let you go unscathed."
"I know, even if they want to resolve the problem, this incident was a detrimental hit to their reputation. It cannot be easily concluded for that alone." Garen was fully aware of the situation he was in.
"I’ll head back as soon as possible."
"I owe you for this." Garen bowed at Su Lin.
"Don’t worry." Su Lin smiled and gently stood up, leaving quietly.
"Lead Mr. Su Lin on his way out," Garen notified the disciple at the door.
The door gradually closed.
Garen let out a long sigh. He sat on the chair when all of a sudden a mixture of emotions overwhelmed him.
"I originally thought that I was just leading an exchange gathering. After it, I would come back and continue searching for the old man’s cause of death. But to my surprise, the Immortal Palace Alliance and the Celestial Circle Gate are connected somehow. There is no way that this is all a coincidence that the moment I was attacked, my master was also injured. The Southern Twelve Gates are in a dangerous situation right now.
"The Celestial Circle Gate… The Immortal Palace Alliance… An organization of psychokinetics… An organization of martial adepts... How is everything connected?"
He felt like he was about to be drawn into a whirlpool of complexities and troubles.
The Celestial Palace Gate was creating a force to eliminate the smaller gates. The Southern Twelve Gates were the first victims, and soon the other gates would be in dire danger as well.
Garen slowly stood up. He walked to the empty part of the room and gently made a standard White Cloud Combat Arts move.
Time passed minute by minute.
Gradually, his furrowed eyebrows began to relax. His spirit echoed the blood flow within his body as it cycled around. He felt calm.
"All the time, I’ve been reactive in dealing with the unexpected incidents that kept occurring. I’ve been flowing with the tide, uanble to do what I want."
His whole body began to shake as if he was a tumbler. Left and right, front and back, as he kept on swaying.
"I have a genuine interest in martial arts, so I’ll have to put all my effort into it. The Celestial Gates, Andrela, Sylphalan."
Garen didn’t know how everything came falling down to where it was now. All of the incidents weren’t caused by him, but he was a casualty caught in the middle of a landslide.
Sylphalan from the Immortal Palace Alliance was because of the old man, while the Celestial Circle Gate was because of his master at the White Cloud Gate. Without realizing it, he was suddenly surrounded by powerful enemies.
"The Celestial Circle Gate won’t allow the Southern Twelve Gates to have any force of resistance left." Garen knew it well. "The crusade on the Southern Twelve Gates is inevitable now. I just don’t know how involved Andrela is in all of this."
His body came to a sudden halt as if everything paused.
A crisp but deafening sound.
Garen’s right fist thrust forward, and a white trail appeared in the air. It was the mark left by the screeching streams of air.
He remembered the combat techniques he used. The wrong and ineffective moves were being gradually eliminated, and only the practical combo moves remained.
He suddenly recalled the explosive move he performed at the beginning in the Celestial Circle Gate’s ring.
One single move to defeat the challenger, and also injure the Grandmaster of Combat and himself. Though, the opponent’s injury was much more critical.
At that moment he only thought about unleashing all of his power. The blood qi ball in the middle of his body automatically flowed out and formed all his power into one. It then exploded into an unbelievable amount of power.
He was in a state where instinct and anger mixed together and using his body, in an instance, they gave birth to a new move.
He tried to relive that moment.
"If I could master this power so it would be at my command, my sudden explosiveness would increase to another level."
Garen closed his eyes and stood in the middle of the room. His hands continuously moved to mimic that explosive move.
The screeching sound of wind breaking echoed through the air. His speed continued to increase. So did his power.
Suddenly, his right arm pushed forward.
It made a sound similar to hands clapping.
In the direction his palm pushed toward, the curtains flew back as if a gust of wind had just passed by.
Garen stopped with a look of disappointment.
"Still feels like something is missing compared to last time. Unfortunate. I wish there were more Antiques of Tragedy."
The Antiques of Tragedy were still his best assurance of improvement.
Within a year and a half, he successfully trained from a novice martial adept to the level of a Grandmaster of Combat. His power couldn't be undermined.
He had mastered the White Cloud Fundamental Secret Method to perfection. In other words, with his explosive fists’ level, it was the highest level anyone had ever achieved. There was nowhere to advance further.
The White Cloud Gate wasn’t like other powerful gates that possessed more Wushu moves. Mammoth Secret Techniques could only be considered as third tier at best.
"With my current ability, I’m no match for Andrela. The difference was obvious. Even if both of us are Grandmasters of Combat, the secret methods we use are drastically different."
Garen pondered as he chugged the tea.
"There are only two ways: the Antiques of Tragedy or a stronger secret technique. With my special ability, as long as I meet the criteria, I could learn it easily."
His eyes brightened as he thought of something.
"Learn easily. Since the White Cloud Gate’s Fundamental Secret Method cannot meet my needs, I’ll find an even lower tier secret method. Perhaps below the third tier, the even worse fourth tier, the lowest tier secret method. With my physical condition and experience, I could easily meet its requirements! Within a short amount of time, those fourth tier secret methods could improve my combat techniques significantly!"