Old Shu tried to remember something.
“Ah! Yes, I have heard of this name, he was a legendary tyrant who almost destroyed both continents by taking control of the demonic beings and beasts. But why do you need to know about such an evil person? His actions are written only in the old books from around five thousand years ago. Well, what remained of them, of course. It seems that the legend is actually much older.” → Old Shu
“F-five thousand years?!” → Shen
So I won’t have to stress over him, that’s good.
It seems all the things happening in-game are actually more than 5,000 years old, but why do I feel like humanity hasn’t evolved at all since then?
“Grandpa! Grandpa! I caught a fish! Look! -“ → Unknown
While I was talking with Old Shu, a young boy around 10 years old rushed into the garden with a fish as big as an adult’s palm in his hands, stabbed with a wooden spear. When the boy saw me, he remained quiet and kept looking at me with curiosity in his eyes.
The boy had blond, curly hair and blue eyes. Unlike Old Shu’s eyes that were more of a deep blue like the ocean, this boy’s eyes were of light sky blue color. However, what surprised me the most, was how I saw my younger self inside him.
This kid… Just what has he experienced?
I thought with a little sadness. Even so, his eyes that showed liveliness and intelligence also surprised me.
Hoh? He seems completely fine, his heart must be a strong one.
“Ah, Little Theo, don’t stand there looking like that, come and greet our guest. He’ll stay at our place for a week and he will help with the work around our hut, don’t you have anything to say to him?” → Old Shu
“I’m sorry! Hello dear guest, my name is Theodore. Thank you for wanting to help with our work.” → Theodore
Even though Theo was a little bit suspicious of me, he still greeted me politely.
“No need to be so suspicious of me, I’m not a bandit. Your grandpa is here, I bet he can get me out the second I screw something up.” → Shen
I laughed then continued.
“My name is Shen, I came from a faraway place so I’m not used with the lifestyle around here, I’ll be in your care.” → Shen
Seeing how easy-going we are, Theo became more relaxed and started to talk with Old Shu and me, until they left toward the village while I started working.
For the next seven days, I had to work to pay back my debt, then I had to learn about trading in the village and selling some random sculpting I made in my training to control mana. It seems when I focus mana at my palm, I can make it hard as a hammer or as sharp as a knife.
Knowing that I started training on controlling the mana by sculpting in wood. While doing so, I created a windmill, a dog, some birds and a tiger along with a dragon, roaring at each other. After more failures, I finally did something presentable enough to be sold for 2 silver and 30 copper.
The monetary system is the classical copper, silver and gold.
100 Copper = 1 Silver
100 Silver = 1 Gold
There are golden ingots which are 100 gold each, but they are mostly in the capitals or big cities, such a small village would barely see any gold.
Old Shu would not show much interest in such meager control over mana, but little Theo was astonished. He would always ask me to teach him how to do this and that and how to control mana.
“How come your hand is so sharp?” → Theo
“It’s because I commanded the mana around my hands to be sharp like a knife.” → Shen
“How come it’s so hard now?” → Theo
“The same thing, but this time I made it be hard as a rock.” → Shen
“W-what is this shining light coming from your hands when you’re working?” → Theo
“This is condensed mana. The energy around, is of blue color, making a blue hue around my hands.” → Shen
“Please explain to me what mana is!” → Theo
I looked at Shu and saw him nodding indifferently. I was a little bit confused by why he didn’t teach Theo such basic knowledge, but I continued talking.
“Mana is the energy around us. It’s also present in the air you breathe. The best example is feeling it, it’s exactly as same as when you feel the water when being inside a bathtub. The feeling of water flowing around your body is the same as the mana around us. The only difference is the density, making mana feel only like a chilly wind. At first, it’s pretty hard to be conscious of the mana around you, just like how a fish is not conscious of the water in which it’s born, before jumping out and feeling the light air from outside. Once you’re conscious of this mana, you can try to control it with your mind to gather to your left hand then to your right hand. It would feel like the cold wind.” → Shen
I looked at Shu and saw him nodding in agreement.
So the knowledge from Earth is the same with the one from here… I’m extremely curious about how we as humans were able to control that thin mana from Earth, but now it’s too late for me.
“Hmm~… Oh, I see!” → Theo
Theo started to focus, closing his eyes and trying to feel the mana around. After 5 minutes, he opens them and looks at me with a confused look.
“Why do I feel the warmth? It is not cold and I don’t feel it on top of my hands but… inside, I think?” → Theo
I laughed seeing his confused face.
“That’s inner chi. It’s another kind of energy made by absorbing this mana in a point which is a little lower than the navel, then refining it into « Personal Energy ». With this energy, you can heal inner wounds faster, strengthen your body and release it outside the body for a protection field.” → Shen
I tried to explain it to be as easy as I could to make him understand.
“T-then, that means I can already control this ci?” → Theo
“It’s called Chi and yeah, of course. Controlling it isn’t that hard. The problem is in accumulating more energy inside your chakras than you normally can. Making your chi more abundant and purer than what is now, would make you able to break boulders with your fists and be able to run for hours at max speed without getting tired.” → Shen
I said while getting amused by Theo’s eyes, which became bigger and shinier with every word I said.
This kid is really funny.
I talked some more with Theo about chi and mana. After he left to sleep, I walked toward Old Shu. I already knew that Old Shu was a master at magic and maybe even at martial arts, but never expected him not to teach his own grandson some basic magic, especially when he is so talented.
“I don’t know if, where you’ve come from, magic is a normal thing, but here, things like magic or martial arts are only seen in the big cities, I’m not going to let my grandson in the hands of those lunatics.” → Old Shu
I didn’t know what he meant so I asked him about it.
“As you know, these two continents are being ruled by two empires with the same names as the continents. Around them, there are kingdoms that are under their authority and protection, yearly paying taxes. The problem is, these so-called ‘taxes’ are actually children with talent in controlling mana and in martial arts, who are sent to schools in the capitals of these kingdoms, then in the Empire’s Military University where they prepare the talented generation to fight for their lands. There are some rare cases where some children are not admitted to these schools, but later they find their inner strength and brought back once the schools find out about them. Well, there is some freedom of choice, but what they are looking for, is only the talent while the person itself is just the sword and shield of the empire.” → Old Shu
“I see… So, the reason you won’t teach your grandson how to control mana and chi is, so he won’t have to go to such schools? Then can’t you just go to a more secluded place and do so? You know, the success that is known by no one is just another failure, the same is with knowledge. If you’re the only person in his life to have such knowledge, then that knowledge is just another idea of an old man, unknown to no one, isn’t it?” → Shen
I was a little angry at the idea of there being such schools that send their students to their own death. However, what I hated more was Old Shu’s immobility about it. I was able to tell that he had a lot of knowledge and power in him, but he only kept it for himself. It was impossible for me to not get angry.
“You are right, but keep in mind that I’m not able to protect little Theo with this frail body of mine. I can’t use any mana or chi for combat but only to keep this body working for a while longer. If I do otherwise, I’ll bite the dust in 2-3 more weeks. Theo is still a kid, however smart or talented he is, a child must be able to have a childhood and enjoy it as much as possible. Teaching him magic is like letting the kingdom know about his existence and wait for him to be taken away.“ → Old Shu
“I get it now.” → Shen
Teaching Theo magic then letting him play with the other children from the village, will only end up making the entire village know about Theo’s talent. Rumors will then start spreading, ending up in the ears of the heads of such schools, and because of such outcomes, Shu was placed in a dilemma between letting Theo have a healthy and normal childhood or for him to be taken away to study magic from young.
I felt bitter, Theo was someone really interested and talented in magic and martial arts. He would look at me while I was training with sparks in his eyes. I wanted to show him the way of magic and combat for self-discipline, but after hearing Shu’s story, I gave up the idea. He isn’t my child or disciple anyway, I shouldn’t meddle in someone else’s problems.
“Sorry, it seems I already told him some stuff about mana and chi.” → Shen
“Don’t mind it. Such trifling control won’t make him able to even make a spark in front of someone for now.” → Old Shu
“Ah, alright then. Old Shu, my debt was paid so I’ll leave now, may the Mana be with you and Theo from now on” → Shen
“And where will you go? These woods are dangerous. Even with some martial arts and some trifle magic, you think you can survive?” → Old Shu
Even after hearing this, I felt no danger. I nodded.
“It’s alright old man, I can take good care of myself.” → Shen
With the money I got from selling the sculptures, I bought some normal clothes, food and a map of the continent of Nostrung. I was still thinking about where to go when Old Shu approached me and told me something.
“Why don’t you go here?” → Old Shu
He pointed at a mountainous chain in the form of a huge U with a green valley in the middle. “It’s called « White Mountain Valley ». From my glory days, I left there some of my stuff together with a friend of mine. You might see those scrap metals as useful, maybe.” → Old Shu
“Oh?” → Shen
I knew that, for someone who says that my mana control is just passable, that scrap metal must be something pretty useful.
“Thank you for this, Old Shu. If there will ever be something I can help with, feel free to visit. If that place is good then I will not change location for a good period of time.” → Shen
That was a very good hiding place and that’s exactly what I needed, if I get caught by some Nostrung agents, I’ll be forced to go into one of those schools when I just finished mine. I wanted to find a good place in which I could research this world’s mana and create new magic and martial arts techniques. After meditating lately, new moves are emerging in my head, cool moves that make me frustrated because I can’t write them on anything.
“Very well, young Shen. Have a safe trip and may the Heavens look after you.” → Old Shu
I shook hands with Old Shu and patted Theo’s head then took my stuff and left toward the place Shu showed me. While going through the woods and mountains, I had to fight a lot of demonic and wild beasts. Through combat, the only useful skills I could use were the ones from the game, which were from my Spirit Fighter class.
« Seismic Step »
A strong step on the ground, which generates a shockwave, knocking down the enemies within an area of 3 meters.
« Leg Sweep »
Strong enough to sweep the leg of an elephant from my world and break the legs of normal beasts.
« Body Slam »
Take a strong step in front and slam the enemy with your shoulder. Forms a mana orb.
« Healing Palms »
Absorb mana in your palms then heal yourself by touching the wounded area.
« Sliding Step »
Literally slide on Earth and get in front of the enemy within half a second, then pack a punch to daze the enemy. Forms a mana orb.
« Energy Beam »
Condense the mana around you in your palm, after being condensed, the mana is released in front in the form of a beam.
« Iron Body »
Envelop the body with chi, then harden it to make your body hard like iron.
« Anti Gravitational Push »
Condense the element of Earth in both palms, and push the space in front by releasing energy waves.
« Emperor’s Punch »
Focus the entire chi from inside the body in your punch then release it at the moment of contact. When a stack of five mana orbs is created, the « Emperor’s Punch » evolves to « Godly Fist », forming three mana crystals around the arm, releasing an even stronger power at the impact.
I looked disappointed at the descriptions.
By the time I was still working at Old Shu’s hut, I found out that if I think about my stats and skills, they will appear in the form of a window. Right now, I was reading the skills I just used for getting in the Valley.
“The description is so… simplistic. And it says from my world then that means it must’ve used information from my consciousness? Sigh… I expected to find some secret descriptions for circulation of the chi and mana that would let know exactly how these abilities work… Not some descriptions from a third person’s viewpoint…”
My status was that of a mediocre player at the max level inside the game.
—– START OF STATS —–
« General Information »
Class: Spirit Fighter
Primary Element: Earth
« Skill Points »
Avg Attack Power: 1,200 (AP)
—– END OF STATS —–
Even though I said ‘mediocre’, the power was still ridiculous. I didn’t use them in front of Shu and Theo, thinking that this is not a game and I might really destroy the terrain around me. That was the best decision I made so far. I looked back and saw the ridiculously huge trees together with other sturdy looking boulders completely destroyed and torn apart. The ground was also destroyed with cracking signs everywhere and huge earth bumps, looking as if some huge boulder were dragged from its place by 100 oxes.
”Especially that « Godly Fist ». What the hell is that ridiculous power? With that one punch, I created those huge worm-like bumps, destroyed 3 huge trees in front and another 2 big boulders from the sides… All that, while trying to get rid of 3 demonic huge bears. They look like, they’re from a horror movie now.”
I had a pale face while looking at their completely destroyed bodies.
I can’t use this against humans. Nope, that would be horrible.
On my way to this valley, I saved some merchants who were attacked by a wild beast that looked like a huge bear with hair like needles on its spine and huge claws and fangs. I was able to kill it only by using one « Emperor’s Fist ». The merchants wanted to give me gold in exchange for my help but I said I only need empty books, pencils, and food. Surprisingly enough, they were merchants who were selling paper to schools. I got from them; 40 notebooks with each having 100 pages, 10 pencils and food to keep me for 1 month.
While I was examining what other abilities I have from this game-like function, I found out that I also have an inventory coming together with the list of skills and stats. Quite convenient, especially because then the food wouldn’t rot inside the [Inventory].
The Valley was surrounded by steep mountains but surprisingly enough, the place wasn’t showing traces of landslides. It was mostly because the stone from which the mountains were made was really hard to break, just some earthquakes won’t destroy these mountains.
The Valley looked like a green paradise, the form of the Valley was that of a U and there was a little river coming down from the mountains on the right side, looking more like a little waterfall. The middle of the U were small trees while the entry was blocked by humongous trees. In front of this empty place, there was a large cave with surprisingly neat walls.
It’s way too weird for this place to not be populated by at least one strong being.
I was way too suspicious about this heavenly place. There was a cave, some free space in front of the cave with a diameter of around 100 meters, just good enough for training, the little river that had sweet potable water and the trees that looked like they grew only to block the entry for any uninvited guests.
Besides, these mountains are way too hard to climb! What the hell! It took me one day just to climb half of this wall and I can jump 50 meters in height, for Goddess shake… This place is a real natural fortress… Hehehe~ I don’t know who’s staying here but get prepared to get your ass kicked out, this place is mine~.
I was thinking this while laughing like a devil.
[Kid, don’t expect to own my place without passing my test.]
A domineering voice boomed, it sounded from everywhere and it was the voice of an elderly person.