Book 4 – Conflict, Chapter 9 – Two Questions, One Decision

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Don waved her hand, repealing the bits of blood and dusty remnants of her former teacher from the sleeve of her neat suit.

“Allow me to explain”, seeing the petrified expression on Binjo’s face and the restrained expression on Dureil’s face, Don calmly said. “It came to my attention that a longtime teacher of my school has been takings bribes from students and their families to alter students’ records in his class. He was also selling sensitive information about our cultivation techniques and Martial techniques. Indeed, Mr. Slaverin was that teacher”. Her tone was indifferent. She walked past the duo of father and son, back to her tall backrest seat.

“Well then, the two of us will take our leave. Come, Binjo”. Dureil said. He grabbed his son’s hand and dragged him out of the principal office.

Closing the door behind them, vice principal Mizuri turned to Don and sighed. “Taking bribes and selling our techniques… Who’ll dare?” He raised an eyebrow.

“Should I have said that I killed him because someone in the Derneldar family influenced him to disobey my orders and lie to me?” Don was certain. Binjo alone could not persuade the deceased Slaverin. She suspected that it was the brother who helped him to apprehend Anet.

“Did the conversation go well?” Mizuri decided that arguing for the dead was pointless. Besides, he, too, was resentful toward the unethical teacher. It interested him more if Don managed to achieve her goals with Dureil Derneldar.

“Have the matter of Mr. Slaverin’s dismissal taken care of. Make something about him departing to Valgarel due to imminent breakthrough and inform his family”. Don instructed. She knew that neither Dureil nor Binjo would dare say otherwise if they learn of this cover up of teacher Slaverin’s death. “I’ll tell you everything afterwards”.

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Valgarel. The entrance to the first Savage Cave.

It took Zax several days, but he made it to the first Savage Cave without resting once to eat, sleep or meditate to renew his powers.

“Finally!” Zax let aloud and sped through the long tunnel.

Entering the first Savage Cave, it was the same for Zax as being in any other cave. After the event with the man from the second Savage Cave, the imperceptible dark attribute in his soul made some changes that nullified completely the effect of the savage force on him.

WHOOSH !

Zax kicked the ground and swiftly vanished.

Short time later Zax stopped in front of familiar foliage of trees, the grove he found shelter when he first entered the Savage Cave, and the place he buried Carl.

CRUNCH!

Zax finished the unripe Blood Red Grape he plucked on his way. He had everything planned in his mind, but when he was about to enter the grove, an overwhelming sense of longing to visit Carl’s grave manifested in his heart.

‘No. After I’ll kill Binjo and his brother and help Anet I’ll come see how you are’. He could tell.

He wanted a moment to alleviate the contempt he felt toward himself for not being able to keep his word to Anet and for being brazen toward Don. In both times he allowed self confidence to cloud his judgment. He overestimated himself and the blow to his self esteem was massive.

To deal with the shame he could seek consolation by reminiscing his time with the big brother that he made when he trained in the Savage Cave. Of course, Carl was not the only one with the power to absolve Zax. His big sister and Master also had this power on him. However, Zax knew that whether it was Carl, Zetsa or Kartius, turning to any of them or even reflecting on how they may or might have console him was merely a form of dependency, a remnant of his receding child mind that considered all three as his rescuers in one form or another.

Eating a couple more unripe Blood Red Grapes until he felt his body about to burst with vitality, Zax relocated a suitable place inside the grove where in time it would be spacious enough to train in the bodily maneuvers, sat down and began to meditate.

‘With this much energy, in about a week my arm will grow back’, he made the assessment with moderate accuracy. It was why he chose to train in the first Savage Cave. To regrow his arm as fast as possible and to recover instantly the energy he will expend by practicing the bodily maneuvers, he needed external supplements and the unripe Blood Red Grapes were the only that came to mind.

‘The Kinetic Force’ Zax started to ponder and gradually recalled his last experience with it that obliterated his left arm and destroyed Don’s defensive battle suit formation.

How it came to be and why it was so hard to control were the two questions that occupied him. Zax felt that by finding the answers, he would be able enrich his insight of the Kinetic Force so much that besides a workable utilization of is, he would also, possibly, be closer to a breakthrough in the overall bodily maneuvers.

‘No… first is the kinetic energy. At first I thought that the bodily maneuvers were the source of it, like how an Earth’s Core is the source of mist energy. But when I read the definition of “Omnipresent” and later figured out what the energy is and tried to forcibly converge it into Kinetic Force, I realized. Kinetic energy was not created from the bodily maneuvers nor was the Kinetic Force. Additionally, the purpose of the bodily maneuvers is not just to allow me to feel kinetic energy and then use the Kinetic Force, at least the purpose of the of the Intermediate phase of the bodily maneuvers was not that. Its purpose is to limit the convergent of kinetic energy to Kinetic Force and the flow of the Kinetic Force’.

‘…A definitive answer is too hard to find with my current level of perception, but if I’ll have to guess, I think that once a person is intuitive toward his body, like how I became after surpassing the Beginner phase of the bodily maneuvers, the kinetic energy that a person produce can become Kinetic Force by simply paying some attention to it and directing its convergent’.

In his sea of consciousness, Zax portrayed an emulation of how he interpreted the behavior of kinetic energy with his soul energy. Of course, he did not expect his soul energy to suddenly converge and become “Soul Force”, but by doing this it helped him reach his conclusion. Consequently, Zax believed that in his current condition he reached the best possible answer to the first question.

‘For now this will be my answer’. He dispersed his soul energy. ‘If I follow this assumption, then I can gather that the kinetic energy is in tune with the body, since it’s always exist in and outside of it, whether its perceptible or not, which means that the difficulties of controlling the Kinetic Force are mostly related to itself’. Zax mused.

‘How does it behave?’ Zax asked himself. In order to find why Kinetic Force is hard to control, he decided to recall its behavior when he use it while executing the bodily maneuvers and at the fight against Don.

A ball of soul energy emerged in his sea of consciousness. Zax made it to exemplify the behavior of Kinetic Force.

‘Different from Qi and mist energy, the Kinetic Force does not amplify the strength and sturdiness of a body’s part. Even when I use it to punch or kick, it’s more like explosively shot out from my body, like a long range mist attack, but actually, can only have an effect when it collides with an external force. Mmm…’ Zax had an idea.

He put aside the ball of soul energy and opened his eyes.

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Zax’s gaze turned to his right hand. He raised it and focused on his pinky. Minutes later, Zax shifted his head in a slight node of satisfaction. Being in the Beginner phase of the Intermediate phase of the bodily maneuvers it took him a little time, but eventually he managed to sense the kinetic energy in his pinky. It was very small, barely noticeable, exudes from the minuscule vibrations of his blood flow.

From this first stage of the experiment Zax thought of, he unexpectedly learned that the little the amount of kinetic energy is, the harder it is to sense. Proceeding to the next stage, Zax controlled the kinetic energy to gather and converge at the tip of his pinky.

“Tsk!” Zax clicked his tongue. Right when the Kinetic Force was formed, his pinky quivered, the Kinetic Force exploded and blood sprouted from the sides of his fingernail.

Unlike when he exercised the bodily maneuvers, Zax did not even have the time to disperse the Kinetic Force before it went out of control and exploded. Luckily, he used a very small amount of kinetic energy to create it so its power was measured respectively and at most he felt a light ache from his pinky and blood came out, yet his fingernail remained intact.

‘When it converges from kinetic energy, it concentrates the amount of kinetic energy I decide on, but no matter what, it stays unstable like a spark…’

Zax closed his eyes, and retrieved the ball of soul energy and began to play with it. He could not see how kinetic energy and Kinetic Force behave but he could feel them.

‘Kinetic energy is like water in a sea’, due to fantasy movies, old pictures, drawings and things he learned in school, Zax could make the comparison. ‘Always flowing, never stop moving, when it hits a rock, it flow on to it and from it. It does not care whether it is carried by a moveable or an unmovable object. Since it is in a constant movement, an unmovable object can only possess it for a short time, but a moveable object can carry it and manipulate it. Kinetic Force, on the other hand, is the moment when the sea hit the rocks and the water splash everywhere. Then it returns to be kinetic energy’.

The ball of soul energy changed its shape according to Zax’s analysis. It ceased after exploding several times more like a spark than splashing water.

‘The behavior of the Kinetic Force is always frenetic, but is it why I can’t control it?’ Zax considered the answer. ‘Partly. When I train in the bodily maneuvers it isn’t much different, but I still manage to disperse it before it explodes. Or rather… it explodes, but something in the bodily maneuvers prevents it from going out of control to a short moment. To know for certain I’ll have to continue practicing in the bodily maneuvers… It’s fine. Now that I have an idea of what to expect when the kinetic energy converges and how the Kinetic Force is going to react, it will be easier to accomplish through the bodily maneuvers’.

‘…Problem is I cannot practice in the bodily maneuvers without an arm…’ After thinking for so long Zax felt miserable. He was not sure if he truly cannot train in the bodily maneuvers with one harm missing, but he did not want to risk it and blow the left side of his upper body.

‘For the time being I should concentrate on healing as fast as possible. If I’ll direct all my body’s functions to healing, I can hasten the speed a little more. And when my arm will grow back, with the little insight that I gathered, I should try breaking through to the Intermediate phase of the Intermediate phase. Then, hopefully, the Kinetic Force would be more controllable and I would be able to conceive a way to use it safely’.

It sounded like a plan, a good one that all three, Zetsa, Kartius and Carl would approve.

“Five days is the limit!” However then Zax opened his eyes and said aloud to himself. “Five days, whether I’ll succeed or not”, he had a great incentive that roused both his fury and his determination, regardless of how sure of himself he felt. “Five days and I’ll go kill them!”

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