“Eh…” Zax’s sudden confession took Anet by surprise. Right at that moment, time stood still, her eyes were fixated on Zax’s resolute face and his words rang through her ears, pulsating in her sea of consciousness.
The whirling thoughts that seconds ago agitated Zax, now seemed to transfer to Anet.
In the disorder, Anet knew that she has to make some sort of response that was more than just a startling gaffe. Her inner mind tried to make sense of how deep her affectionate feelings for Zax were, not with words, but by deciphering her own emotions.
Were there feelings for Zax? Definitely. Were they so strong that they affected her state of mind when thinking about him? No doubt. So then, how accurately she could convert those feelings into words as a response to Zax? The answer for this question was like a dispersing mist, at the tip of her tongue, yet not ready to come out.
In truth, it was not so hard for Anet to answer as she made it to be. As a girl, her understanding of the feelings of the heart was like innate ability that man could simply not comprehend until a certain age and many experiences. In comparison to her, Zax’s confession could mix and confuse the outburst of a youthful love or a first love with what a girl really cared for, the purest form of love, true love. Regardless to what kind of love he carried in his heart, his words were already said and Anet was infatuated by them.
Now, for Anet to convey her feelings, in the short span of time that passed since the door to the sixth level closed shut and Zax confessed, her inner mind assessed what sort of love she carried in her heart, despite its rushed built foundations, and only upon clearing all forms of uncertainties, the answer became transparent.
“I love you, too”.
As the words left Anet’s mouth, both she and Zax felt like the last obstacle between them, the disparity between their feelings for each other was reduced in size, aligned and completely vanished.
“Then from now on you are my girlfriend”. Zax said, extending his for Anet. It was an intimate declaration for just the two of them.
“And you are my boyfriend”. Anet grab his hand.
Awkwardness was unavoidable for this newly established relationship, but the two were content with it and even enjoyed it a little.
“Let’s go to the sixth level”. Anet said to Zax, “I’ll show you the mist refinement technique I cultivate. Sadly, my comprehensive abilities aren’t as good as Livai’s, so the formation I study to cultivate my soul is in the third level, a top D class formation”. Turning around she placed a hand, once more, on the door to the sixth level.
‘That’s right. Everything can be settled due time. Anet is still a student with obligations for her training. Leaving to Valgarel for a period of time should not affect us’.
The sixth level of the Summit’s Martial section was a lot smaller than the fifth level. Once more, the interior was structured like a cubic vault, but this time around it was four square meters in size, rather than fifteen. Furthermore, there were also fewer deposit boxes in the walls of the sixth level, twelve to be exact.
“The sixth level has in total two Martial techniques and one formation that are related to the soul. As far as I know, though, no one in the Student Council Class cultivates them because of their level of difficulty”. Anet said. “With regards to the seventh level, you should not bother. I can’t go there, but Don Ram told me that there are only two techniques in there and they are both mist related”. She recounted.
“Do you know which ones are the soul’s techniques and formation?” Zax asked with the intentions of checking all three, to see which one would be most suitable for his current needs and borrow it from the Summit. He could only pick one after all.
The deposit boxes imbedded to the sixth level’s walls had plates with different names written on each and every one of them.
“I remember one of the soul techniques because Don Ram showed it to me once. It’s beside the mist refinement technique that I cultivate, ’Nine Storey Pagoda’. The soul technique is called ‘Densely Packed Soul Bullet’… here it is!” Anet found the deposit box. Placing a finger on it, a light flashed underneath her finger and the deposit box released a “Ting” before sliding out from within the wall. The procedure was identical to the door opening process of the seven levels of the Martial section.
Inside the deposit box was a tube like casing and inside of it was a rolled scripture. When Zax picked up the casing and took out the scripture to see its content, a holographic message lit up and hovered above the opened deposit box.
“That’s the description of the soul technique”. Anet said.
“Name: Densely Packed Soul Bullet. Grade: Beginner A soul attack technique. Creator: A.D”.
The description was short and did not say anything about the implementation of the Densely Packed Soul Bullet. Nevertheless, it had a peculiar appeal when one read the initials of the creator.
“Is that…?” Zax carefully asked. He looked, staggered, at Anet.
Seeing his expression, Anet smiled cutely at him. “Hehe, I wondered if you’ll notice. That’s right, the creator of this soul technique is our Supreme Ruler, Ariel Dauch!”
Although he had his suspensions, Zax still found himself shocked and speechless.
Anet picked up the scripture and handed it to him. “The school is almost like a branch of the Dauch family. Naturally, the founder of the family will contribute to improve the quality of the school’s techniques and formations. Over sixty percent of what the school’s teachers teach is based of varied levels of understanding of Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch’s teachings”.
“Let me see”. Zax composed himself and took the scripture from Anet. It was his first time reading a documented technique, first time handling a Martial technique outside of a fight, not considering the bodily maneuvers and the Kinetic Force, so when he rolled it opened, he did so gently.
Opened, the scripture had very few words and many explanatory pictures of flowing shapes, or in other words, the cultivation method of the Densely Packed Soul Bullet through soul energy.
Observing the content of scripture, the outline of Zax’s face started to take the shape of a frown. Even with his unique soul and comprehensive abilities that allowed him to analyze and understand every method of training he practiced in the shortest time so far, to follow the instruction of the Densely Packed Soul Bullet was a new challenge for him.
While looking at the pictures, he tried to simultaneously direct his soul energy according to the flowing shapes, but there were too many variations between the shapes, some simple, others profound. Any minuscule mistake caused his attempt of creating the Densely Packed Soul Bullet to fail and his soul energy to rebound, creating instead a headache.
Zax did not think about it before, but now he understood why there was a borrowing time to the Summit. His soul, even with its capabilities that were better than the souls of most second level Core Masters, could not memorize the steps of the Densely Packed Soul Bullet to perfection. If someone wanted to learn this soul attack, he or she had to either spend a tremendous amount of time studying its scripture or maintain a constant watch on the scripture to make sure the utilization of soul energy is being done correctly.
Concurrently, Zax also learnt the advantages of recording a technique into a scripture, in addition to the disadvantage. By cultivating a technique or formation through a scripture, there is very little need for gaining insights, since everything is already recorded and, at most, an understanding of the material is all that the practitioner needs in order to comprehend the scripture. Then again, personal insights are the foundation of one’s cultivation and their importance can be illustrated in one example…
A person who studied a technique through a scripture, even if he or she could utilize a hundred percent of the written material, they would not be able to take the next step and improve the technique, much less use what they learned and create their own original technique.
Conversely, a person like Zax, who actually happened to stride on the proper path of learning, by witnessing the simplified version of a technique and assimilate it to his head, with just a few pointers now and then from a good teacher, can little by little, like climbing a ladder, uncover the genuine form of the technique on his own and even reach new heights with it. As for using the self acquired knowledge to create something completely new, although it will not be easy, it certainly is doable.
In Zax’s case, the bodily maneuver fit perfectly to this example. Kartius, his Master, made sure to only instill the six hundred and fifty bodily maneuvers in his head, without exposing anything of their depth. The proof of the usefulness in this method of learning and teaching can be displayed when going back to a little over a month ago… When Zax saw that Raroen’s accomplishment in the bodily maneuvers surpassed his, he could easily made the mistake of following his footsteps and ending up eventually facing the same premature limit of the bodily maneuvers. Instead, due to him practicing the bodily maneuvers primarily on his own, he could create illusionary manifestations in a method of training he was already familiar with and had good foundation in and detect the drawback of Raroen’s bodily maneuvers.
Nevertheless, Eden formation would not be the best Martial school in El-Eden and one of the three best Martial schools in all of Kingdom Earth if it did not have its own way of countering the disadvantage of learning through scriptures.
To compensate for the shortcut that is the record scriptures, the curriculum in Eden Formation emphasized on cultivating formations. The reason for this was because among all the materials that could be record as scriptures for Martial cultivation, only formations were an exception that forced whoever was trying to study them, whether by scriptures or verbal guidelines with basic example from a teacher, to industriously comprehend a shape or many on one’s own.
“Not what you were looking for?” Anet asked when she read Zax’s expression and sensed that his attention wavered from the allure of the soul technique in the scripture.
“No”. Zax rolled the scripture, returned to the casing and placed it in the deposit box. “Help me search for the other soul technique and soul formation”. He asked since the only way to find them was to open the remaining deposit boxes and read their descriptions.
It took couple of minutes for the two to go through several of the deposit boxes before they found the remaining soul technique and soul formation.
The description of the soul technique was as followed:
“Name: Whipping Soul. Grade: Beginner A soul attack technique. Creator: A.D”.
Yet again, it was another technique invented by Supreme Rulers Ariel Dauch.
After examining its content and giving it a try, Zax scowled. It was about as difficult to master as the Densely Packed Soul Bullet. The only difference was that Zax felt more comfortable with the Whipping Soul. He did not think about it too deeply, but he possibly had a better affinity to techniques that maintained constant contact with the user.
The soul formation was the last thing Zax got to. Its description read:
“Name: Soul Binding. Class: Intermediate A soul formation. Usage: Binding the awareness of an enemy to his sea of consciousness for an amount of time that is determined by the gap between soul levels. Creator: Ten”.
“’Ten’ as in Superintendent Ten?!” Surprised, Zax asked Anet.
Anet raised her eyebrows upon reading the name of the creator. “Possibly. Superintendent Ten was the first school principal of Eden Formation. Maybe not as many as Supreme Ruler Ariel, but he also added a lot of techniques and formation to the Summit”.
Zax did not dilly dally. After meeting the man, the third realm expert, even if for a short time, he wondered what sort of formation, which he could also use, the unfathomable old man developed. Not to mention that it was a phase higher than Supreme Ruler Ariel’s soul techniques!
As he laid his eyes on the scripture, reading through it and giving it a try with his soul energy, Zax failed within on breath of time.
As the immensely painful rebound of soul energy pounded his sea of consciousness worse than the two soul technique, a bizarre thought flashed in Zax’s mind and his closed eyes opened with a brilliant luster.
“It… It… It can’t be!”
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