Book 5 – Horns, Chapter 18 – The Five Fingers Into Fist Formation

“Serah…” Zushi let out helplessly.

“Let’s fight”. Zax ignored Zushi and responded to Livai.

Instantly, four huge smiles spread across the faces of the four students behind Livai.

“Everyone, we are heading to the court”. Livai glanced at the four behind him, in the process, informing Zax and his friends were the fight will be held.

The “court” in question was the same court Zax battled Don on and walked past with Susuya.

Couple classes of Beginner grade students practiced formations, as in the previous time Zax been to the court.

Most students were between the ages ten to fifteen. Fewer were around twenty years old and a handful of students were near the graduation’s age, thirty years old. The cultivation level of all present Beginner grade students ranged between F level to D level Earth’s Core Holder.

To all those watching from the side, the spectacle of mixed ages with similar cultivation level was a testimony for everyone who were accepted or rejected from Eden Formation, more or less from every Martial school, which signified a vital fact to anyone who dreams to stride upon the Martial path.

The essence of this spectacle was the old generation of Beginner grade students. These students and cultivators in the past were at the peak of their peers. Being accepted to Eden Formation indicated that at the time, in their generation, they were unrivaled. Years later, however, time revealed that the talent, aptitude and potential of these still Beginner grade students, was limited to the first steps one takes on the Martial path.

In contrast to those failed students, what was the so important vital fact, were actually the many others students who lacked the same qualities in the past and, as a result, could not enroll Eden Formation. A portion of those students, with years of hard work, outshined their past better ones, in less notable Martial schools.

On the court, the older generation students stood or sat in front of the younger generation students, either way, towering before them, merely so the younger generation students will always remember that although now they are the best among their peers, without the proper hard work their future will be ignominious.

As for the salvation of the Beginner grade student who were getting close to the graduation age, in Eden Formation the sole method for them to save some face was to take and pass the test to the Intermediate grade.

Zax and the others reached the court with tense air separating the two groups.

“Stop!” The closest teacher to the two groups shouted when Livai approached him.

The teacher was an Advanced phase Mist Master, but he was quite old and graduated as an Intermediate grade students from Eden Formation, before getting a teaching certificate and returning as a teacher. His status in the school entitled him the same respect as the top Intermediate grade students. Nevertheless, Livai still was very much courteous when he came over and made him stop the practice.

After the old teacher shouted, the six other teachers also stopped their classes.

“Teacher, we, Advanced grade students, want to use the court for a short fight”. Livai said in a placid manner. As if simply letting the teacher know his thoughts, rather than apologizing for interrupting the lesson and asking permission to borrow the court.

Livai’s voice was not strong, but the moment the students and teachers saw the group of Advanced grade students, such an absolute silence followed that even a pin drop could be heard.

Put aside Zax, Anet and the four from Livai’s group, Livai alone aroused immense feelings of veneration from the students and teachers. There was not one person among them who did not recognize the number two of the Advanced grade students.

As for Zax and the impression he left in his first visit to Eden Formation. While many students ran to the windows of the three grades buildings, there were not many opportunities to clearly see him between his confutation with the Disciplinary Class and Don.

Those who were capable of seeing him and taking a picture of him were a few and mostly from the Intermediate grade building. The Beginner grade students were too scared from angering their teachers by jumping around to the windows, and the Advanced grade students did not care about a strife between Intermediate grade students until it was too late and Don led Zax away from the three grades buildings.

Eventually, the Intermediate grade students with pictures of Zax had to hand over their Callers to the school and go through a crafty questioning process that meant to contaminate the credibility of their memories.

With regards to the memories the seven teachers had from Zax, at the time, they were busy calming their students.

Thus, other than the Disciplinary Class and the Student Council Class, about seventeen other students knew how Zax looked like and none of them was currently in the court.

Hearing Livai, the teacher’s face beamed with delight. Spars between Advanced grade students occurred regularly, but not on the school’s court. The Advanced grade students had their own private arenas inside their building. If Anet spent a little bit more time in getting to know the Advanced grade building, then training, she also would have come to know the existence of the arenas.

The teacher did not know why Livai wanted to spar in the court and he was not about to ask. Forgetting his students, it was an unprecedented chance for him to watch and maybe gain insight from the marvelous techniques of Livai, the second skillful Advanced grade student.

The other teachers had to same idea in their heads. Only, embarrassed to admit it out loud, they began to shout.

“Everyone, an honorable senior from the Advanced grade building is going to expound for you on the profoundness of our Eden Formation’s techniques in the manner of a spar with a fellow Advanced grade student. Everyone, don’t try to comprehend the techniques and methods of your honorable senior. Your cultivation is still too immature. For this occasion, it would be great fortune to just bear witness and meditate over what you saw in your private time”.

These were the general word of the seven teachers. They were not familiar with Zax, the only indication they got that he is Livai’s sparring partner, was how he stood out from the others. Also, the reason they praised Livai so much, was because they thought that the “short fight”, was really a lesson to give some pointers to another fellow student.

The Beginner grade students obeyed their teachers while failing from concealing their excitement.

“This is… this is…”

“Senior Livai!”

“It’s him, yes! I can’t believe we get to see senior Livai fight!”

“What are you saying?! My sister saw him in the half year Martial competition and said that his skills are the embodiment of our Supreme Ruler!”

“Unbelievable! I can’t wait!”

“By the way, does anyone know who is the other senior Advanced grade student?”

“Not sure”.

“Don’t care. I want to see senior Livai’s formation”.

“Eh? Isn’t she senior Anet, the newest member of the Student Council Class and principal Ram’s Tal?”

“She is!”

“Whoa! She is so beautiful, like a goddess!”

“Yeah, yeah, no wonder she became principal Ram’s Tal”.

“And she and Livai are even younger than half of the students in our Beginner grade building!”

The Beginner grade students were naive and, regardless of age, did not even dream to measure their seniors. If Livai was more suitable than Anet as Don’s Tal or how could it be that Anet became Don’s Tal instead of him… none of them entertained the thoughts.

The seven teachers, naturally, noticed Anet from the start. They did not give her special treatment due to the fact that they knew that she was inferior to Livai in both cultivation and skill, and because they did not have to from the first place.

Seeing and hearing the adoring eyes and words of the Beginner grade students and their teachers, Livai could not help but bask in the glorious manner he was conceived in. While he mostly had a level headed temperament and generally cared solely about his cultivation, he was also the type to relish in the acknowledgment others gave him. Especially when it came to the adorations of the Beginner grade students, they were the easiest to influence and it empowered his ego when he thought of how they looked at him as their idol and role model.

“Fellow teachers”, Livai turned to the seven as if they were his colleagues. He liked their idea of letting him educate the Beginner grade students, and by setting his mind to do so, he felt that it would only be appropriate to refer to them as such. “There is no need to leave the court, arrange the students in a large circle”. While verbally instructing, he even pointed with his finger.

The teachers obediently nodded and in less than a minute organized their classes into a large circle for Livai and Zax to spar in.

“Come here”. Livai called Zax. By now he was prepared to make for himself such of an outstanding impression in his juniors’ eyes that he stopped considering Zax as an opponent with the same level of cultivation, but a dummy for training.

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“Zax, look at how confident the teachers are about this guy. Are you insisting on fighting him?” Zushi gave one last try to persuade against the fight. Beside him, Serah also showed signs of distrust on her face. She trusted Zax’s strength, it was extraordinary since childhood, but even she could not ignore the reserved behavior of Eden Formation’s teachers, the teachers of the best Martial school in El-Eden, toward someone that was supposed to be their student.

Zax turned and noticed the changes in Serah while glancing at Zushi. “I’m strong”. He said resolutely and then smiled softly at his worried friends. ”I can’t be too excessive against a student with no good reason, but I can give you a satisfactory example of my strength”.

Finishing talking, Zax proceeded to enter into the giant circle the seven teachers and their classes have made.

Watching Zax, the teachers did not give voice to their thought. Though, as an Advanced grade student he deserved and received their respect, the one they were enthusiastically interested in was Livai.

Facing each other, a strong, pure silver aura exploded from Livai. “You may surrender at any time, but please don’t embarrass our Advanced grade by conceding right at the start”. He told Zax condescendingly.

“So powerful!”

“It’s silver aura, silver mist energy!”

“Senior Livai is so young and already is at the Intermediate phase of the Mist Master level!”

In the eyes of the Beginner grade students and the seven teachers, the fluctuations in the air caused by Livai’s aura were full of imposing lordliness.

“Your character sure has changed from when you quietly listened to your friends ridicule Anet and my friends”. Zax stood still, seemingly dull in the eyes of the spectators. He could not use Qi or mist to show off with a colorful aura like Livai, and he never had a preferable stance to start with in a fight. “I doesn’t matter, just remember your promise to fulfill a request of mine at the case that you would lose”.

“You still talk big… don’t worry, though, if by some sort of miracle you’ll win, ask anything you want”. Despite promising again, not an ounce of concern that his opponent will beat him sounded in Livai’s voice.

The exchange between the two confused their crowd, and mummers among the students reached Zax’s and Livai’s ears.

To make sure all the attention was focused on the fight, or rather at him, Livai amplified his voice and announced loudly. “Juniors, don’t avert your gazes, for I’ll now show you the peak of our school’s B class formations, the Four Breaths formation, which is comparable to a low A class formation!”

The moment Livai finished talking, silver light started to glow from the tips of his fingers as his hands transformed into multiply silver blurry shapes and in a matter of a few breaths he executed couple of thousand hands signs in an exceptional proficiency.

“Ha!” Livai shouted, stretching his arms and body, the thousands of shapes and symbols his hands drew withdrawn to his body.

Livai’s aura consumed the shapes and symbols, whilst growing thinner and finer around his body, till it became a silvery purple translucent armor.

“Everyone, two steps back!” Suddenly one of the teachers shouted.

At the moment of completion, a terrifying pressure that was akin to the power of a Beginner phase Mist Lord, emanated from Livai’s armor.

The strongest of the seven teachers was, at most, a Peak phase Mist Master. She could somewhat oppose the level of pressure Livai’s armor released, but alone she did not have the strength to shelter the students. Thus, as all the students took two steps backwards, she and the other six teachers lifted their arms and created a silvery mantle to block the pressure from spreading.

Even Livai’s friends did not stand still when the pressure surged to their direction. They all jumped back, while Anet grabbed Zushi and Serah before avoiding the pressure.

Finally, the pressure dissipated. The seven teachers lowered their arms with dry sensation in their throats.

“From an Intermediate Mist Master to a Beginner Mist Lord…” One of the seven uttered with great difficulty.

“This is the power of the best B class formation the school has!” Another teacher answered.

The execution of the Four Breaths formation left the seven teachers overwhelmed. As part of the school faculty, though they had access to the Four Breaths formation, neither of them dreamt of actually studding it. Among B class formation it was the best and in order to practice, it required an immense perseverance and aptitude that are past what the standard Mist Master can demonstrate.

Inside the circle, Livai looked like a knight from an epic tale. So dominant, none of the students could comment, but stare, gaping.

“Do you need time to erect your formation or have you already executed it?” Livai asked for one reason. When the surge of pressure emerged he was busy stabilizing the formation, therefore he did not see how Zax dealt with the pressure. Examining him now, Livai was a bit taken aback when he noticed that not a drop of sweat, not a single step back or a change in his dull stance occurred.

“I don’t need a formation”. Zax replied. His response seemed to irritate Livai.

“You are a new student, therefore I assume that you are ignorant to the power of the Four Breaths formation. Juniors, you also should listen carefully and memorized, so in the future, those of you who will make it to the Advanced grade, will know which formation is the best among our B class formation”. Livai said proudly. “The Four Breaths formation, as its name suggests, could be maintained only for four breaths after taking the first step. In one versus one fights, there is so better formation to finish your opponent with. Erect it perfectly and upon completion it will grant a Mist Master the strength of a Beginner phase Mist Lord in the first two breaths and the strength of an Intermediate phase Mist Lord in the latter breaths!“ Livai explained.

“Mist Lord?!”

“This guy is a new student and he want to compete against senior Livai who possesses now the power of a Mist Lord?!”

“Hahaha! This is probably just senior Livai giving pointers to the new senior”.

“Yeah, but is he crazy for not using a formation to fight back?”

“Who cares? Senior Livai! Senior Livai! Senior Livai!”

After listening to Livai’s explanation, some students murmured wonderingly, others were already proclaiming Livai as an expert beyond Zax’s reach, and the rest simply called the name of their idol as loud as they could.

“Oh… such a great rise in power does sound impressive”. Zax genuinely said. “But like I said before, I’m ready”.

“In our school it is complementary for both contesters to erect their formation before the fight, yet you choose to underestimate my formation and our school’s custom. Juniors, watch and learn the destructiveness of one’s poor step on the Martial path. Regrettably, you will only be able to witness the first breath of my Four Breaths formation and learn the gravity of your mistake!”

Livai bent his right leg slightly to a launching stance. “In front of your better ones, unsightly attitude and misbehavior are prone to create frictions and problems. Learn your place next time!”

WHOOSH!

The instant Livai kicked the ground, his silvery purple armor flared and the first breath of the Four Breaths formation commenced.

“Let’s see how long your breaths are”. Zax took a small step to the left, avoiding Livai’s straight punch.

“Eh?” Livai was momentarily stunned. ‘Was I holding back?’ He questioned. Clenching his fists tighter, he turned to Zax who was lazily standing couple of centimeters next to him.

The first breath could sustain for five seconds and within these five seconds, Livai was still assured that he will beat Zax.

WHOOSH!

Livai spun his body, aiming a screw kick to Zax’s right side.

Lowering his back, the kick traveled right above Zax’s head. ‘Oh… the way he just moved was not just a simple punch and kick. Is he practicing a close combat Martial art?’ Zax mused, placing more attention at the question than the fight.

‘Again?!’ Livai’s pupils contracted. ‘Am I hallucinating?’ He frowned and stared at the calm looking Zax. ‘Something wrong…’ An ominous feeling started to form in his heart. ‘Unacceptable!’ Though he could not pinpoint how an Intermediate Mist Master avoided his strikes twice, Livai gnashed his teeth and attributed his bad feeling to coincidence. ‘I’ll use the full extent of the first breath!’ He decided resolutely.

The silvery purple armor streamed all the energy embedded in it into Livai fists, burning the seconds it had until the second breath for the full blown power of a Beginner phase Mist Lord.

‘He doesn’t aim to the chest area or head, but his strikes can nonetheless sever a limb of a regular Mist Master…’ Zax thought as he leisurely avoided the rain of hundreds of fists Livai projected at him. ‘If he wants to hit me so bad…’ He stopped on his track.

BOOM!

‘A hit!’ Livai exulted. “What!” He then shouted in disbelief.

“Look!”

“Senior Livai wo- Eh!”

“Ho- Ho- Ho…w could it be?!”

“Teacher, what happened?!”

After Livai, the Beginner grade students who did not perceive a fraction of what occurred and could see just the last lingering strike, screamed in shock and sought answers from their teachers.

The seven teachers were the only ones who could barely follow the exchange and even they were unable to conceive how the scene before their eyes could ensue.

“Livai!” Livai’s four friends, who followed him to enjoy the sight of Zax getting beat up, cried in alarm.

“Zax…” Zushi, after hearing the description of the Four Breath formation was worried even more for his friend, now felt dumb and shocked.

Serah stared from behind Anet’s back. The pressure from before was too petrifying to endure and since Anet’s moved to protect her and Zushi, she remained sheltered behind her. Looking at Livai and Zax, her eyes sparkled and a huge lovely smile adorned her face.

As for Anet’s reaction… She only smiled.

“Im- Impossible!” Livai yelled and retreated to the edge of the circle.

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He fist landed smoothly on Zax, the fool even tried to counter it, but… At the moment of contact the right armguard of his silvery purple armor shattered to smithereens like silvery purple glass!

“You… You… What formation did you use?!” Livai did not care for his audience, teachers or even friends. He repeatedly practiced the Four Breaths formation for tens of thousands of times. His mastery over it was superb. Whether it is the winner of the half year Martial competition or a member from the Disciplinary Class and the Student Council Class, he did not believe anyone can break his formation with a plain punch Like Zax just used to counter him.

“Tell me! What sort of formation you insidiously used after claiming that you don’t need a formation”. Livai shouted, seething from anger, his ego and pride were damaged along with his formation.

Lifting his left hand up, Zax laughed. “The Five Fingers Into Fist formation”.

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