After getting to know better the new state of mind he achieved by breaking through the third state of meditation and hearing all that Laivien had to say, Zax contemplated how he should spend the reminder of the day, since tomorrow he could finally return home.
No matter what, Zax concluded that in one he will not be able to find another spark of light. Thus, he decided to invest in time by completing in one go the Intermediate phase of the Soul Binding formation.
After Zax inspected the scripture of the formation, with his new level of perception, he uncovered practically the whole Intermediate phase of the formation. His level of understanding of it became so vivid that a wave of relief washed over Zax as he thought about the spiritual knowledge his subliminal mind gathered from the scripture of the formation, and how much correct it was for him to be meticulous and cautious when he lightly appreciated a few of the pieces of spiritual knowledge.
Where it to appreciate all the spiritual knowledge his subliminal mind gathered, he would have limited considerably his achievements with the Soul Binding formation. At most he could have hoped to complete the Intermediate phase of it.
Now, though, Zax’s conscious mind fathomed not just the Intermediate phase, but also the entry to the Advanced phase.
Within the scope of a mostly sandy landscape with barely noticeable black buds of vegetation, the naked body of a young teen stood tall and smiled, with an expression similar to an emperor overseeing his vast and prosperous thousand kilometers empire, even though the young teen’s land was a trifling radius of eighty meters.
Naturally, that young and naked teen was the manifested physique of Zax, atop his Inner Panorama.
‘It doesn’t matter anymore, hahahah!’ Zax laughed. ‘The formation still has to be erect at an appropriate distance from the soul, but with this recent breakthrough I can now create the pieces and pile them up wherever in a radius of thirty five meters from the soul’.
Accompanying this realization, the original number of eleven Soul Binding formation rose to twenty three in but an hour. With this, Zax truly completed the Intermediate phase of the formation and the proof was the number of the formation, which could not go above twenty three before breaking through the Advanced phase.
As for Zax’s comprehension of the Advanced phase, the last phase of the Soul Binding formation, it was not deep, but sufficient to know where to start. While the Beginner phase of the formation required an understanding of its structure and the Intermediate phase embarked on the discovery of the proper place to root its foundation, the Advanced phase preached for proficiency. For the Advanced phase of the Soul Binding formation, Zax had to recreate the seventy one pieces that build up the formation, each with its own unique touch. As to what followed… that would be the perfect from of the Soul Binding formation.
Completing the Intermediate phase of the formation took less time than Zax anticipated.
‘My body did not feel fatigue when reaching the pinnacle of the Intermediate phase, but going for the Advanced phase is still too early. The twenty three formations, the power of seven should be comparable to the soul of Intermediate phase second level Core Master. All twenty three, I wonder if I can momentarily bind the soul of a Beginner phase third level Core Master or perhaps a Peak phase second level Core Master’.
Zax speculated that with the Soul Binding formations he erected, although his bodily cultivation still cannot match a second level Core Master in a serious fight, if he will manage to land a single hand on his opponent and transmit the formations, then landing the other hand with the explosive power of the Kinetic Force would be a child play and the death of possibly a third level Core Master!
Of course, Zax was wholeheartedly aware that to get the shortest end of the stick was much more probable if his opponent will give him the benefit of the doubt. Beating the supercilious founder of the Dernalder family did not arouse the slightest feelings of grandeur in him.
‘Until I will resume cultivating the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement, I can only hope that my future opponents will rely on close quarter combat’. With this, Zax chances of winning against a stronger opponent would be the heights.
Leaving his sea of consciousness, a serene expression adorned Zax’s face. The constant state of Warood Meditation was precisely the reason for Zax’s calm.
Zax saw Laivien quietly resting her doe head beside the violet stone, lightly touching it. He presumed that she was either cultivating her soul or watching the members of the Martial household in the Essence Cave and the adjacent cave.
Regardless, she looked peaceful so he did not interrupt her.
Rising to his feet, Zax abandoned thoughts of further training. Although he was interested of how now that he reached the third form of meditation it would feel to appreciate the entity’s spiritual knowledge in the violet stone, he was worried that upon checking it out he will submerge himself in a long session of training that will make him forget about returning home tomorrow. Also, knowing how much his Master yearned for him to diligently keep training and uncover all bottlenecks of insight, he was not sure that he trusts him to pull him out from the violet stone in time of departure.
Hence, Zax looked for the young Krikitories. Though the little ones were mostly learning from the adults and doing mild works, at certain rare time, when Zax took a break from his training, he would go find and play with the energetic young Krikitories. The adult Krikitories, on the other hand, were not satisfied with the human juvenile who taught their younglings all sorts of mischievous behavior, but being aware of his status, they could do nothing but let it go.
Time passed. Days, weeks and months gone by.
Between the day he cultivated the Intermediate phase of the Soul Binding Formation and his fifteenth birthday, Zax’s daily routine, whether in Kingdom Earth or Valgarel, was more or less free from eccentric changes.
As far as his time in Kingdom Earth passed, starting with the most unexpected thing, the day Zax made his second return from Valgarel with his Master. Upon arriving home and seeing his parents he received both surprising and startling news. To make a long story short, while Zax was away, training, news of his fight with Livai and vice principal Mizuri’s revelation of Eden Formation’s Pearl spread like wildfire in Kingdom Earth and, as a result, the name “Zax Zel” now reverberated in every household from the low to high class.
What happened next, following the moment this news were made public, many people began to speculate again about the annihilation of the Dernalder family, to connect the dots and figure that most certainly it was Zax who had conflict with, formerly, one of the five great families of El-Eden.
Still, no inquiries were made in order reaffirm those speculations, especially due to Zax’s status. It was actually quite for the opposite. While Zax was in Valgarel, many heads and founders of high class families, organization, Martial schools, etc… visited and paid their respect to Zax’s parents in various ways.
Poor Marco and Laylen did not know what to do with themselves. With each passing day their dream of normal, humble household and modest livelihood was getting farther and farther. If they dared to blink once they could find themselves living life of luxury in a five acre estate with more maids and servants than their entire extended Zel family.
Fortunately, representative of Eden Formation and the Dauch family accompanied the couple throughout their bewilderment.
In comparison to the proud but helpless parents, the extended Zax family was elated and exited so much that grandpa Ger got a mild heart attack. Luckily, the old man was fine and dandy at the very same day he was brought to the hospital, already making preparation for the biggest, most extravagant celebration cave twenty five ever known.
Zax, in contrast, hearing about everything that happened, other than feeling awkward, shrugged his shoulders and looked for a way to escape all the unwanted attention.
In conclusion, in the Zel family front, in the passing months, during grandpa Ger’s celebration, Zax at least got to meet everyone in his family.
Proceeding to the matter of his relationship with Anet… With the two having their own obligations, they found it easy to be content and get accustomed to their time apart without feeling dejection toward each other. Even more easily, the two discovered ways to compensate for their time apart and better appreciate the days they could spend together. Frankly, though, in the few dates they went out together, the execution was kind of sloppy due to the three years lack of communication and the slow process of properly getting to know each other again.
With regard to the rest of Zax friends, Take and the rest of the Earth’s Core search group… with Don’s approval, the nine teens met and spent four whole days as Eden Formation’s official and exchange students.
Getting to be with everyone, Zax was glad that apart from external appearance and mental growth, the disposition of the friends he did not meet last, have not changed much during the three years.
Like Zax and Anet, Merly, Take, Mi and Weysey have been in a relationship. Although, in these group of nine, Zax and Anet were the only one who were both dating each other and part of the group.
In the four days together, the word “reconcile” did not resurface in Zax head. The temperament of those who have not seen him before was open and friendly, not to mention, since they all knew about Zax’s status in the number one Martial school in El-Eden, none of Zax’s friends restrained their pride and excitement toward the one who surpassed his calamity and became the shining star of their home region, El-Eden.
At the end of the four days, when everyone had to go on their way again, as Zax walked home, to say goodbye to his parents and leave for Valgarel, something in Zax’s mentality experienced a transformation. Being able to finally amend the frictions in the bond with his friends, rejuvenate their friendship and also get together with his extended family, Zax felt like a colossal was released from his shoulders. A clearer picture of the life he wants to lead in the future appeared in his mind, showing two great desires he strived for more than anything in his life. One was Anet; the other was the Martial path.
Getting to the Martial path… After thirty days were over, Zax returned the scripture of the Soul Binding formation to the Martial secession of the Summit. At the time and even after those months that gone by, Zax still did not reach perfection with the Soul Binding formation, but his affinity to soul formation in general revealed a sign of profundity, which allowed him to make considerable progress in the Advanced phase of the Soul Binding formation, enough to feel sure in himself and return its scripture instead of borrowing it for another thirty days.
Zax decided to borrow one of the soul techniques only when he will reach perfection with the Soul Binding formation.
Regrettably, with respect to the bottlenecks of insight, the quantity of the entity’s spiritual knowledge was growing greater and greater each time Zax appreciated and formed combinations from the small pieces. Only by luck, these past few days did Zax mange to detect, with the support of the sweet fragrance the ticklish feeling, a hint of a third spark of light. Now Zax felt himself being in a race, there was no way that appreciated so much profound spiritual knowledge and forming combinations will not cultivate his soul at all. The distance to the Advanced phase of the Mist Lord level for his soul was getting shorter with each training session. Thus, Zax was adamant in his attempt to find the spark of light, comprehend the third bottleneck of insight and contribute the progression in his soul to the reaction of the dark attribute.
And then there was the subject of Zax’s Martial household.
In the past few months, after the first two times his Master accompanied him home, Zax’s Martial brother and sisters took the responsibility of seeing off their youngest Martial brother.
Of his Martial brothers and sisters, the only times only one accompanied Zax was when Raroen or Simel escorted him or when Zetsa or Tularg also came to spend some time in Kingdom Earth. As for what Tularg had to do in Kingdom Earth? That was, naturally, to visit little Liz, the heir for his Cultivation Inheritance.
Exploiting the opportunities of spending time with their younger Martial brother, per Simel’s command, the first time Zax was companied by one or a group of his Martial brothers or sisters, a personal welcome from senior to junior in the household had to be made. And so, some of Zax’s Martial brothers and sister took him for a hunt on the way to Kingdom Earth, others exchanged pointers with him and one or two shared their story.
Incidentally, from Rarahel’s story, which she told at the first time she Mes and Shulip escorted him, Zax learned about the source of her bitterness toward Zetsa. Apparently, when Zetsa just became an apprentice of Grandmaster Kartion, an incident occurred when Raroen and Hagen took the, at the time, youngest – back then both in age and position – of their Master’s apprentices, Zetsa, for a combat training session outside Grandmaster Kartion’s cave.
The three encountered a large force of the household enemies. Protecting Zetsa and obstructing the enemies was too difficult, so Raroen ordered Zetsa to return to Grandmaster Kartion’s cave while he and Hagen will deal with the enemies. By comparing strength, none of the enemies could threaten neither Raroen nor Hagen, but their numbers were too overwhelming and a few got past them.
Rushing back to protect Zetsa, it was too late and Zetsa was already hurt, though Rarahel did not reveal to Zax to what extent. By then three were not far from Grandmaster Kartion’s cave, seeing Zetsa, Hagen entered into frenzy while Raroen took her back. Afterwards, when they saw Zetsa and Raroen; Mes, Tularg and Kartius left to assist Hagen and slaughter the enemy’s forces, while Shulip, Rarahel and Grandmaster Kartion tended to Zetsa’s wounds.
In the end, though, the cause for Rarahel’s bitterness was that to save Zetsa, Raroen, an irreplaceable heir of the Silverhorned tribe, her tribe, sacrificed his Cultivation Inheritance.
From here it was obvious for Zax and even Rarahel herself that her bitterness is not justified. Nonetheless, as a member of the Silverhorned tribe, Raroen’s cousin and the daughter of the second leader of the tribe, to this day she has not made her mind if sacrificing Raroen’s Cultivation Inheritance for Zetsa, or anyone for that matter, is something she can or could agree with.
Finishing with the members of Zax’s detailed escort… Martial sister Hagen was the only one who Zax had not met yet and who has not accompanied him at all.
Arriving to the present day.
It already has been a month since Zax’s fifteenth birthday. Zax was in Laivien’s valley. A short time ago his Master, Kartius, came by and told him to halt his training.
“Martial niece Hagen is about to leave for a mission. You and Martial nephew Mes are joining her”.