Five weeks passed by in the blink of an eye, as John continued his hellish training with the Vice-Sect Leader. John was now sixteen, and had spent his birthday being beaten by the Vice-Sect Leader.
His powerup after the first day had caught her off guard for a moment, and had resulted in John landing a few blows on her body as she had restricted her cultivation to the Late Core Formation Realm. However, this trickery from John only served to ignite her anger, which resulted in his training becoming even more hellish.
He would report to her the first thing in the morning, and train all day until he was beaten black and blue. He would retire to his abode at night, walking through the sect each time to get back home.
Intense discussions quickly broke out amongst the disciples of the sect as they took note of John's permanent state of being bloodied and beaten.
"I heard he said some things to the Vice-Sect Leader that she didn't like, and as a result, she beats him up every day as punishment."
"That's not what I heard. I heard that he is being punished for something he did in the wastelands."
"No, that's not it. Apparently, she's taken him as her disciple and is training him as a result."
Shiver's crawled up the spines of all who heard this theory.
"He's her disciple now? That's a fate that's even worse than any of the other theories floating around. I can't help but feel bad for him if that's the case."
All who heard this couldn't help but agree. The Vice-Sect Leader was the most feared person in the sect, and for good reason. Being her disciple would surely be a non-stop source of pain and despair, and would not be worth it, no matter how much their power increased.
John heard such discussions break out around him every day as he walked through the sect, and couldn't help but agree with everything he heard. Every single day was a brutal hellscape of training, which pushed him to his absolute limits.
"I'm not her disciple," John grumbled to himself. The Vice-Sect Leader had made this point very clear to him early on, that she was only training him due to the circumstances.
However, he couldn't argue with the results he was seeing by training with the Vice-Sect Leader. His shaky essence foundation, which had happened due to his successive breakthroughs, had been completely refined and solidified, eliminating any flaws that were present before.
Not only that, but he was surprised as to how much his combat prowess was increasing. He had not improved his cultivation or any other source of power over the past several weeks, but his combat prowess had increased to an absolutely incredible level.
In combat alone, he was at least twice as proficient in battle as he was before, and was now able to do things in combat that he was never able to before. He had eliminated many flaws that were previously present in his fighting style, while also honing his instincts and battle intuitions to new heights.
If he fought his old self from just a few weeks ago, he would completely dominate that old self, despite not being any stronger cultivation wise.
Today, he found himself enjoying lunch with Adam, Elliot, and Leah in a courtyard, a rare treat these days. The Vice-Sect Leader had unexpectedly given him a half day off, which was a rare occurrence. However, John did not argue, as any respite from his hellish training was a blessing....
"So, how's the training going? Are you doing alright?" Leah couldn't help but ask in a concerned tone as she looked at John's appearance.
"She's beyond crazy," John replied. "But she does know what she's doing. My power has increased greatly, so I can't complain too much. Also, my body is pretty strong and durable, so I am fine for the most part. While the training is incredibly hellish and pushes me to my absolute limits, I can tell the Vice-Sect Leader is being careful to not push me over those limits. So I can be thankful for that at least. Also, for some reason, the training has gotten slightly easier as of late, so there's that as well."
"That's good," Leah replied with a relieved sigh.
"I have to say, it's quite refreshing to see you like this," Adam said with a smug tone. While he did feel bad for John, he did find it refreshing to see some payback for all the times John dragged him through those hellish trials of pain.
John looked at Adam, and a devious smile appeared on his face, sending a shiver down Adam's spine. "I can always convince the Vice-Sect Leader to let you join me," John replied.
"No no no no no," Adam rebuked while waving his hands in panic. "I'm not worthy of such an honor. You should be the one to experience it, not me."
John shook his head at Adam's response and looked over to Leah, who was asking him a new question.
"So what are you going to do nex-" Leah's question was cut off by an incredible power pushing down on the four of them.
John frowned as he felt this power, as it contained a small amount of hostility. However, there was no bloodlust within it, signifying that whoever this was, was not seeking their lives.
John looked up into the sky and saw a man hovering above them. The man wore earthen colored pants, and an earthen colored sleeveless shirt, which revealed two incredibly muscular arms. A brief inspection of the man revealed his cultivation to be in the Heaven Tribulation Realm, and at the very peak of the realm as well.
"I finally found you," the man stated as he looked directly at John.
John stared back at the man with a cold expression. The man was flaunting his power in the middle of the Heavenly Lightning Sect, clearly not placing it in his eyes.
"And who would I be to you?" John asked, his tone cold.
The man scoffed at John's tone, clearly finding it displeasing. However, he ignored it as he responded to John's question.
"The one who somehow stole and cultivated our Supreme Battle Sect's signature battle art! You'll be coming with me back to the Supreme Battle Sect for questioning!"