The dark brown gorgeous eye opened wide, captive by the scenery that come into existence inside the vast void of Zax’s sea of consciousness. A ripple passed in the dark brown eye and the astonishment in it switched to serenity and veneration. The dark brown eye closed, becoming a crack, then a line and finally vanished.
The light brown juvenilia eye cracked open a lot slower than the dark brown eyes. It saw the same scenery, but had yet to perceive it. Instead, it appeared to be immersed in the properties of another sense.
‘Mm… This sweet scent of the world. Is it the first bottleneck of insight or new one? I can’t tell. Do all the bottlenecks of insight have this scent? And where is it?’ Only after pondering over this question, did the light brown eye begin to fully open and properly observe the surrounding.
‘Oh… is that part of the state of Warood Meditation?” Zax wondered as he looked ahead of his light brown mind eye.
A barren landscape encircled Zax’s soul. It was not vast, seemed like it had a radius of dozens of meters or so. The earth of the barren landscape was similar to the shiny sand deserts in old pictures, from before humanity immigrated to New Earth.
‘The sweet scent is coming from there…’ Entranced, Zax brought his eye shaped awareness closer, inside the scope of the barren landscape, as if it was moth attracted by the flame.
The instant Zax’s awareness floated above the barren landscape, an impulsive change took place. The light brown eye vanished and a youthful naked body materialized atop the earth.
‘Incredible! Warood Meditation is incredible!’ Upon sensing the physical form and realizing that it is his own body which was formed, Zax grew ebullient. Looking at the palms of his hands and clenching them, glancing at his shoulders and then lowering his gaze to inspect his torso and the rest of the body, down to digging his toes in the smooth and warm sand, it was the most surreal sensation Zax had ever experienced.
‘This is like combining the corporealness in the violet stone and the mysticism of a regular Adraak Meditation! And the scent… it’s so strong now! Stronger than even the first time I distinguished it, yet not at all imposing!’ Zax could not help but get down on his knees and lower his head and nose to the sand beneath him. ‘This land, all of it, possesses the scent of my first bottleneck of insight!’ Getting up, Zax shifted his head to his soul. ‘This is the first time I see it from this angle. Despite it getting a bit clearer, with the dark attribute flowing in it looks like an odd shaped giant construct encompassed by fug’. The state of Warood Meditation, especially inside the scope of the barren landscape, was a frozen state of everlasting lucidity and calmness. It surely elated Zax’s mood.
‘In this state I’m already supposed to be familiar with everything of my subliminal mind. Since I broke through by chance, I wonder if I can summon the spiritual knowledge of the entity, and able to appreciate and create small combinations of its great puzzle faster than in the black world of the violet stone?’ Zax was eager to find out.
Sitting down cross legged on the warm and soft sand, with but a mere though, nearly endless amount of spiritual knowledge, solely related to the entity of the Black Core, appeared above the barren landscape as black stars, which complemented Zax’s sandy desert.
Before getting into appreciating and creating combination, Zax just sat there for a while, watching those black stars. ‘Ah…’ He heaved a heavy sigh. ‘A tiny portion of all this spiritual knowledge can vastly outnumber all the spiritual knowledge my subliminal mind gathered from the Soul Binding formation’.
He made the small comparison simply because these were the only things he ever meditated over in the state of Adraak Meditation. And though the Soul Binding formation was an Intermediate A class formation, the amount of spiritual knowledge his subliminal mind gathered from it in several days was insignificant beside the amount of spiritual knowledge he was bestowed after a single glance at the entity.
‘And within the new state of meditation I now feel like there is a multitude of more spiritual knowledge of the entity that I had yet to uncover. Also, I suspect that some, if not the rest, of the bottlenecks of insight are among the concealed spiritual knowledge’.
A gratified smile suddenly adorned Zax’s face. ‘No, the sweet scent is indication that around one of these black stars, a second light speck of a bottleneck of insight is present’. It took him some time, but eventually Zax dictated it with the help of the first bottleneck of insight he comprehended.
Initially, Laivien told him that the fragrance was the scent of the world, however now it was emanating from the barren landscape, paving an invisible path up toward the black stars.
‘Am I supposed to follow the smell?’ The notion sounded humorous to Zax. Nevertheless, he abided the idea.
It did not take long before Zax found out that he can only make sense of the invisible path while remaining on the sandy desert. The result of this created a large distance between him and his allusive target. Fortunately, he could control the pieces of spiritual knowledge and make them come closer.
‘Tsk! There are too many pieces… Even if I follow the scent, the farther it passes through all them, the more muffled it becomes and the only way to clear these pieces away is by appreciating them’. Even though he had a stroke of luck and was close to grasp another speck of light, an accomplishment which takes tens of years, if not more, for other cultivators to achieve, Zax was still required to spend a lot of effort before finding and comprehending it.
Hence, Zax resumed his training regimen, but without the support of the violet stone, since he was not sure what would happen if he will give up this chance to capture a second speck of light.
Six days later.
‘There!’ Zax declared triumphantly.
After a long arduous session of mediation, where Zax appreciated about forty four thousand pieces of spiritual knowledge, the speck of light was finally sighted. Upon first appearance it was vague and outlandish, much like how the first speck of light appeared to Zax when he discovered it.
Pulling the speck of light toward him, Zax brought it centimeters from his eyes and inspected it closely.
Due to the third form of meditation, it was not a hour before Zax became ecstatic. It occur abruptly, like with the first speck of light, and the moment it did, it was not because of some amazing fragrance, but a ticklish feeling that aroused every nook and cranny of Zax’s being.
‘Hahahahahahahahaha!’ Zax was unable to stop the laughing. It was not a forced laugh or a noisy laugh. The way it rolled out uncontrollably was immersed with an innocent, embryotic bliss, not too much unfamiliar to the joyful laughter and happiness of a newborn baby once he is accepted by the world and he accepts it.
‘Hahahahahahahahaha!’ The laughter continued and inside the sea of consciousness Zax gradually stopped seeing hearing, smelling, and even tasting, if there was anything to eat inside his sea of consciousness. All that was left were his sense of touch and the blissful ticklish feeling that took over.
‘Hahahahahahahahaha!’ Soon the laughter was coming not just from Zax’s mouth, but from everywhere inside his sea of consciousness.
The space of Zax’s sea of consciousness started to tremble mildly and then with a bit of force, till it violently shuddered.
The speck of light released undulation that spread around and the dark attribute discharged a black radiance. An interaction occurred between the two forces and the moment after, they simultaneously spun toward Zax’s soul, to nourish and refine it.
Zax kept laughing, and although it was inside his head, he could not halt to think of how to pronounce the shortest of words. Still, as helpless as he was, he did manage to notice the activity of the dark attribute and remember that it also reacted when he found the first speck of light and, at the time, he felt within the black radiance something exactly the same as the speck of light.
Other than differences in the effects of the first and second speck of light, everything proceeded practically as before, right to when Zax’s soul became less hazy, and an instant of unprecedented novelty dawned on him before a sensation of forthcoming new birth followed with a loud…
As before, a huge explosion erupted and the refinement process, of the black radiance and the undulation of the ticklish speck of light, was finished. The ticklish feeling had been integrated with Zax’s soul and the soul itself was less blurry. Lastly, although it was not a major breakthrough, the power of Zax’s soul increased from Beginner phase Mist Lord to Intermediate phase Mist Lord.
The speck of light vanished.
‘Hahahaha!’ This laugh was utterly voluntary. ‘Inconvincible! From the Beginner phase of the Mist Lord level to the Intermediate phase and so fast, hahaha!’ At last, words could form in Zax’s mind and echo through the mouth of his materialized body.
‘But I do want to know, how come the dark attribute contribute to my soul level for merely comprehending bottlenecks of insight?’ He did not dwell on the question. For the current him and his achievements on the Martial path, the answer was impossible to know. ‘It’s not good. If the dark attribute will keep initiating increase in strength each time that I comprehend a new bottleneck, then after the fourth bottleneck I’ll reach the Core Master realm’.
His Master wanted him to try and comprehend all the bottlenecks of insight of the Core Master realms before he would break through it. If nothing will change, the last two bottlenecks of insight, Zax would have to comprehend with a second realm soul and who knows how that will affect his training?
Zax raised his head and sighed. ‘And there are also all of you…’ He starred at the black stars. ‘The more I appreciate the more of you appear. And you are already in the millions…’ He pondered if the new bottleneck will help him as well to find more specks of light. ‘But it’s weird. Why I can smell the sweet scent of the world, yet not sense the ticklish feeling? Is there prerequisite or… S***!’ Zax cursed as soon as he recalled.
After he comprehended the first bottleneck of insight and left the violet stone, his new perception of the world caused the intoxicating sweet fragrance to be overbearing to the point of insanity. ‘Will the ticklish feeling also be overbearing once I’ll get out?’ Zax was genuinely afraid to leave the meditative state.
‘Crap! Crap! Crap! Three, two, one, GO!’ Zax composed himself, stopped thinking and grudgingly and with as much self firmness that he could muster, left his sea of consciousness.
Zax’s preparations were inefficient.
His sudden bursting laughter startled Laivien and the Krikitories around.
“Little Zax, what happened?!” This time, Laivien did not recognize the effect of the bottleneck of insight. The new bottleneck of insight Zax comprehend was clearly one that she had yet to encounter.
“Hahahahahahaha!” Zax held his stomach and rolled on the ground. He looked as if he just heard the funniest joke in the world.
His fists knocked the ground when he stopped and lay on his back while still laughing.
“Everyone, get away!” Laivien ordered the Krikitories. She, on the other hand, remained in her place. The sturdiness of the pavilion was able to withstand the shockwaves in the ground
Zax tried to restrain himself, but although it appeared like a mental issue, it was only the product of the ticklish feeling his body felt.
“His body resonated with something in the world… another bottleneck of insight?!” Laivien experienced two bottlenecks of insights. She needed a little observation of the situation and understanding of Zax to guess right.
“Sit still, little Zax, sit still. Quickly get accustomed to what you feel, before you’ll wreck the little village!” Laivien beseeched Zax.
Hearing the dread in Laivien’s voice, Zax pressed himself to settle down. He bit his tongue and stiffened his muscles, disabling his movement.
“Mhmhmhmhmhm!” He laughed with closed mouth. Happy? Joyful? Blissful? At this point there was no word to describe how pleasurable he felt.
The words to guide himself were jostled even when he attempted to say them in his head, but Laivien’s voice and words kept reminding him what he should do.
The bottleneck of insight, if Zax could give it name he would call it “Touch of the world”. Perhaps, after his sense of touch will adapt to it, he would really keep the name. For now, though, the ticklish feeling was way more imperious than the sweet fragrance.
Zax bent and clenched his body and waited.
Soon, a day and a half gone by after he comprehended the second bottleneck of insight and Zax’s sense of touch got used to the ticklish feeling.
“Ahhhh…” Zax’s sigh lasted a whole three minutes, and if had taken a deep breath beforehand, it could have lasted much, much more. But laughing for such a long time wore Zax completely.
“Master…” Lying on his back and with eyes looking backwards, Zax greeted his Master who waited for him in his animalistic form near Laivien.
“Superb, Marital son!” Kartius’s eyes reflected a splendor of contentment and excitement. “Get up. Inspect the changes in your Inner Panorama”.