Within a sealed cavern, encompassed by blackness, sitting crossed legs, Zax prepared himself to tackle the fifth bottleneck of insight.
Smell, touch, taste, sight… These were the four bottlenecks of insight Zax already perceived and proceeded to comprehend.
Zax was not oblivious. By now he could tell that the bottlenecks of insight have something to do with the five senses.
The issue was with him unable to figure out if the remaining sense, sense of hearing, which will probably make him conscious to the sound of the world, is this new, fifth, bottleneck he faces or would it rather be the last, sixth, bottleneck.
Regardless of the sense of hearing being fifth or sixth, there were two other more questions on Zax’s mind.
If there are only five major senses and each one is being represented by one bottleneck of insight, what would be represented in the remaining bottleneck?
Also, who dictated, and why, that to traverse the road of Martial cultivation, it is necessary to comprehend bottlenecks that, overall, have a nearly similar effect to regular soul cultivation? One would even debate that cultivating the soul the normal way is much more efficient than dealing with the sixth bottlenecks of insight.
Sadly, to these questions, not even Zax’s Master and Grandmaster Kartion could answer or be assure that anyone in New Earth knows.
Comprehending five out of the six bottlenecks of insight is already unheard of, much less six, so even speculating is meaningless!
Zax heaved a long, cold breath and calmed his nerves. Despite his mental preparations, he was still agitated by the thought of how the fifth bottlenecks of affect him and how long the effect would last.
‘It is not good!’ Zax berated himself. ‘With this kind of bearing I can’t face the world above ground’.
Feeling his pants’ pocket he took out the Blue Stone Ariel handed him.
‘Let’s first see what’s inside’.
Although the cave was utterly dark, Zax’s eyesight as a bodily cultivator was extraordinarily keen. Furthermore, a cultivator’s Soul Sense, at a certain level of the soul, is so perceptive that it can practically read the ink on a the flat surface of a book’s page, and in a higher level can even distinguish intangible shapes who do not possess mist’s or soul’s energy signature, such as holograms.
Generally only a third level Core Master, or a higher level cultivator, can discern intangible shapes. Zax, due to his unique soul, since his soul reached to the Advanced phase of level B could distinguish intangible shapes.
Using his soul energy to activate the Blue Stone, a small blue and glowing tower, thirty seven centimeter tall, emerged on Zax’s hand.
A rolled scroll was the first thing that Zax’s hand picked up from inside the blue tower.
Putting down the blue tower, Zax broke the red seal and opened wide the scroll, which felt fragile and easy to tear.
The scroll stretched to a length of roughly two meters and was filled by written content and several drawings.
‘Mmm… unexpectedly this scroll has been written by more than one person”. Zax could tell by the various handwritings. “There is no way senior Ariel gave me the original manuscript, but if this is a copy why did he not give me a new one?’ Zax wondered in the split second it took his eyes to land on the computer’s font introduction, and guess the answer on his own.
“Earth’s Records – the complete addition.
Copy No. 18/22.
Notice: The scroll will disintegrate within thirty seconds after the breaking of the seal. In case of remnants, per the decree of three Supreme Rulers, the opener of the scroll must get rid entirely of any remnants and maintain secrecy over the knowledge obtain from the complete addition of Earth’s Records”.
‘Thirty seconds before it get destroyed…’ Zax indeed detected a formation embedded to the scroll.
‘Should not waste time’.
Although to experts on Zax’s level thirty seconds might as well be hours, sometime they might encounter something that would made them delve into contemplation that could last for a very long span of time, depends on how profound the matter that got their attention.
First, Zax covered all the reading material, which started being documented from the instant its primary writer stepped foot beneath the blue sky.
‘The rain forests of old South America!’ It was not a significant read, yet, somehow, it aroused inside of Zax a bubbly sense of expectation as his eyes continued to follow word after word.
“Hahaha! So in the great immigration humanity and beasts found the pathway to New Earth there!” It was common knowledge only to the highest echelon of New Earth, both in Kingdom Earth and Valgarel. Naturally, Zax never heard about it before this moment.
As enthusiasm kept growing, Zax’s outer voice continuously commented outloud.
“It really says nothing about the location of the pathway from New Earth to above the ground. I supposed at the day of my departure senior Ariel would reveal it to me. And crossing to the other side I’ll get to the ancient continent South America, which now is referred to by the five powers as ‘Selivereb’, mm… translated to ‘Neutral Landscape’ according to what it says here is the native language of the world above ground or ‘Ercas Mir’…”
The scroll further explained that although on the surface of the earth, Ercas Mir, the general language being used is different than the one commonly spread in New Earth, in the cities close to the pathway to New Earth, which were visited by a few of the scroll writers, most of the denizens do speak New Earth’s tongue. Supposedly it was introduced by the Blessed Army and the Violet Scaled Troops with benefits to those who master it. To what end and whether the other three powers also publicize the language of New Earth in their territories, the scroll’s writers could not tell.
It is also been written that due to Selivereb being the land where the pathway to New Earth is located, despite it being in the mutual zone of the Violet Scaled Troops and the Blessed Army, the five powers have agreed to not monopolize the area and each stationed an emissary to oversee the very strict intersection to and from New Earth.
“What! They shifted that much?!” Zax burst in astonishment, referring to the old world’s seven continents.
The seven continents, unlike from where humanity and beasts crossed to New Earth, were and are a subject taught in schools.
Before Earth was called “Ercas Mir”, before humanity and beasts immigrated to New Earth, the world was known to have seven continents.
In a crude handwriting on the thin scroll, the writer divulged: “My expedition’s companions and I tried to collect as much information about the full layout of Ercas Mir from the villagers of several small villages not far from the pathway home and later from residents of the Blessed Army’s fifth city, Glorious Ground. The villagers were poorly educated of the matter. Luckily some of them did know our language, although they thought that we came from another territory rather than New Earth (It is not certain how much our home is renowned to the surface dwellers), they were actually the ones recommending us to travel to Glorious Ground.
The differences between villages and cities turned out to be quite similar to the differences between our home’s low and high class caves. In Glorious Ground it was a lot easier to form interaction with the people. Sadly, it was risky approaching to anyone with stature, and the handful of merchants, me and my companions heard about, were impatient to those lacking currency. Therefore, we could only gather information by plunging into casual conversation with our inn keeper.
What we found about the current layout of the world is that the world is divided into two continents and a chain, in the south part of the globe, of seventy three small islands. The inn keeper showed us a rough map he managed to get his hands on, that when me and my companions matched to the old world map we remembered, made us realize how immensely the world changed in the past five thousand years.
Forming the larger of the two continents, the Eastern Continent, are the old world’s continents Asia, Africa, Europa and Australia. Forming the second continent, the Western Continent, are the old world’s continents North America and South America. As for the seventh continent, Antarctica, today it is Ercas Mir’s chain of seventy three small islands.
The inn keeper’s map added that the Blessed Army’s and the Violet Scaled Troops’ dominance is the Western Continent. The Golden Desert Fort’s and Luminous Church’s dominance is the Eastern Continent. And the Blue Sea’s dominance is the seventy three small islands”.
“Note: The legitimacy of the information collected in Earth’s Records is solely a hundred percent valid to a radius of two hundred and forty kilometers from the pathway to New Earth!”
Beneath the crude handwriting, printed in bold letters, was another computer’s font annotation.
“It seems that I can’t rely on everything written here”. Zax’s brows wrinkled.
As it so happened, perhaps to maintain credibility, other than the crude handwriting’s logs, there was no more information with regards to the world beyond the radius mentioned before.
Zax’s eyes quickly skimmed the description of the settlement within the two hundred and forty kilometer radius.
Most of the terrain was described to be within the territory of the Blessed Army; at the very least it was so in this part of the continent.
In the territory of the Blessed Army, the expedition groups whose logs compiled Earth’s Records, counted seventeen villages and two cities, Glorious Ground and Bare Hands Stronghold.
The Violet Scaled Troops’ territory, within the two hundred and forty kilometer radius, accommodated only nine small tribes and one beastly clan, Earnest Vendavar.
It is said in Earth’s Records that although both the beasts’ side of the Violet Scaled Troops and the human’s side of the Blessed Army both have their respected territory, there are still beasts and humans living on both territories. In some places they live in concert, in other places there are tribes of only beasts or villages of only humans. The Earnest Vendavar clan and the two cities all have mixed population.
A traveler should just take into consideration that the majority of the Violet Scaled Troops’ population is always belongs to beasts, while the majority in the Blessed Army’s territory is forever that of humans.
“There is nothing about technological advancements or the Martial cultivation level of the tribes, villages, clan and cities recorded in the scroll…” Zax felt a little disappointed. He anticipated learning about the strength of the people and beasts that live above the ground.
“A warning?” Red letters in a decent handwriting sparked a light of curiosity and venture in Zax’s light brown pupils.
Till now the recordings in the scroll were mostly plain, not yet the description of the world above ground, Ercas Mir, dangers.
Zax read ahead with bated breath what the new writer has encountered.
“Traversing in Selivereb the distance to the closest village from the pathway to and from New Earth is recommended to be done during daylight. In the event of spending a night in the wild it is most important to avoid camps on the ground. Cultivators under the second realm would better try to conceal themselves atop the Titan Kapok Trees and stay alert until after dawn!”
The writer first instructed the simple guidelines for survival in the wild night of Selivereb and then proceeded to elaborate about the origin of the wild’s dangers.
“From info acquired by conversations with tribebeasts and villagers, as well as risky encounters my team experienced, there are two types of dangers in Selivereb to the general experts below the Martial Mortal realm.
The first danger, usually met in the approximate topography of villages and tribes, rarely near the two human cities or beasts’ clan, is that of bandits and hunters groups.
In most cases, these dreadful men and beasts would have one or two peak existence at the early levels of the second realm who cultivate a moderate, or lower, Martial technique. To the peak existence of New Earth, these men and beasts are not a threat, but as long as the five powers are limiting the passage to Ercas Mir with their rules, expedition groups will constantly be at risk due to bandits and hunters groups.
The second danger, the one that should be taken to heart and is many times more fearsome than any bandit or hunter, is known as ‘Deformed Beings’, or as the natives of Ercas Mir like to call them… ‘the carrier of Pure Cores’!”