He was not aware of how many days had passed. The events of the last few days were all a blur to him and worst of all, he was now considered a cripple. The effects of the drug given to him had begun to wear off. His wound had start to hurt again and the burning sensation in his chest had crept its way back. Thing's seemed like they couldn't get any worse, but finally the familiar bamboo hut came into view. The hut looked very demure standing next to the other bamboo giants.posted by DuGu Qiu Bai
Li picked up his pace. The wound had made him very weak and he fell to his feet many times, but sure enough, he picked himself up every time. Finally, he made it to the front door. Just as he was about to call out for that person however, he lost all strength and darkness enveloped him.
Li finally regained consciousness. He found himself looking at the canopies of the bamboo forest, while laying on a pile of leaves. It reminded him of his younger days, before he had set his foot upon wulin, before he became ill. Suddenly, he caught the whiff of a very familiar aroma. Rolling his head to the left, he saw a sitting figure, a familiar figure, with a pipe in his hand. The man must have been in his late 70's, but despite that, he looked like he was full of energy. He was bald with chaotic eye brows, eyes half shut, a very long beard, and had the face of an enlightened person.
"Long time no see young disciple," muttered the man as a puff of smoke escaped from his mouth.
Li got to his knees and bowed in obeisance as fast he could.
"Student Li Kang pays respect to master."
"Enough with the formalities. Tell how you came to be in this shape."
.....A few moments pass as Li Kang recounts his life for the past nine years and of how he had sustained such a serious injury.....
"It seems as if you've gone through many hardships my disciple. All those years working on your sword skill only to end up in this condition and now, you suffer from a life threatening illness," said Li's master followed by a long sigh.
"I'm sorry master. If I were a better student, I wouldn't have ended up like this."
There was a sudden, but short silence between the two.
"Concerning your tuberculosis, I cannot cure you. I believe only Shui Dou Yi has those capabilities, but with my nei gong, I can probably suppress it for quite sometime. Enough time for me to teach you the complete and true Demon's Waltz. Though it will not cure you, the nei gong boost that you gain from this will be more than enough to suppress the illness. I shall teach you my forte, the true Demon's Waltz, something that you've never seen. In three month's time, I will make you become even more powerful than you were. More powerful than you'd ever imagined."
"I am greatly indebted to you master," said Li as he bowed to his master many times.
When Li finally finished, he noticed that his master was gone.
"He must have gone into the house," thought Li.
An instant later, Li's master came out of the house with a black bag in his hand.
"Here, put this on. You begin your training today," said Li's master as he brought the bag to Li..
Li's master reached inside the bag and pulled out an iron tablet along with a few pieces of cloth.
In my youth, this is how I trained. Here take hold of it,” said Li's master as he handed the bar to Li.
Li reached to receive the tablet, but suddenly he lost his seating balance and fell over. The weight of the tablet shocked him. The tablet must have weighed at least 150lbs.
“You must condition your arm for this technique. For three months, you will wear this day and night, as if it were a part of you.” said Li's master as he took the tablet and tied it to Li's arm with some cloth.
“What skill will I learn master?”
“Don't ask, just follow me and you'll see.”
Li's master took off ahead of him. Li had to muster up great effort to get to his feet, but eventually he did. He followed in his master's direction.