Looking at the notification, Shesmu was ecstatic. He then thought Cultivation Mode activate. The world around him spiraled into a cacophony of colors before he found himself in a dark space. At the edge of the darkness, a green mist hid whatever was behind it.
Shesmu took a breath in and out to calm himself down, before thinking Cultivation Mode Off. The darkness that surrounded him was replaced by the lively colors of the virtual world. Shesmu looked around only to see his friends and instructor opening their eyes after what seemed like a long meditation.
Well, there is no reason to rush anything. Shesmu thought, plus, any progress that I make here will be reset later. It’s better if I just experiment with things at my leisure before the game goes live. Plus, I still have those 12% unused in the character creation, I should take that into consideration as I train.
“Oh, seems like we unlocked a new mechanic. This cultivation system thingy seems very interesting.” Leo thought out loud.
He was quickly followed by DepressedRyan who said, “Yeah. Seems pretty interesting, I wonder what’s its use. I guess it has to do with the part about pushing Ki into our energy center?”
DepressedRyan was talking with Leo, but his question was mostly directed to Aldrien. Ryan was expecting a swift answer, but it didn’t come. In its stead, Aldrien sat up and went towards Shesmu before bowing.
“Your grace, thank you. This lowly servant will be forever grateful. Your talent, will, and magnanimity gave me hope into reaching for new heights and breaking through the limit of the third circle. This lowly-this lowly one does not know how to pay you back.”
Oh, I guess that the ether vortex I made let him finally sense all of his meridians. Well, I guess it’s his lucky day.
“Don’t worry about it. It’s just small matters.” Shesmu knew that whatever favor he had with Aldrien now, it will all disappear once the beta is finished. So was the cruel reality of the virtual reality industry. No matter how intelligent an AI was, at the end of the day, it was so fragile, so vulnerable. With but one click, all of its memories, emotions, and attachments will disappear.
Shesmu shook the useless thoughts out of his head before continuing.
“Well, you still have some explaining to do. What is this cultivation system thing?”
“Yes, your grace. Milords, the cultivation system is a blessing that our goddess Aida gifted to the golden generation. Through our soul, experience and wisdom, it gives you the ability to see the inside of your energy center and control the Ki inside it.”
Shesmu knew all of this, but Leo and DepressedRyan’s face finally showed some trace of understanding after a long period of constant confusion.
The group of four was still in a world of their own when a voice came from behind him.
“Milords, milord Aldrien, your grace. A group of the golden generation has come and waited for two hours, I’m afraid that they’re starting to lose patience.”
When the guard dropped this bomb, Aldrien’s face turned a shade paler. His eyes kept darting between the gate and Shesmu. He was obviously debating in his head whether to welcome the new party or keep attending to the duke, weighing the pros and cons of both decisions.
Shesmu knew all of this and decided not to make life harder for the poor instructor.
“Aldrien, go and do your duty. Just have someone lead me to the tower and all should be good.”
In face, Shesmu didn’t want to go to the tower right away. He wanted to delve deeper into the secrets of cultivation. The regrets of his past life didn’t fade away so quickly even if they were masked by the happiness he felt being his friends. However, even though his desires told him one thing, his principles stopped him from executing. He wasn’t so selfish as to make his friends wait for him for who knows how long before entering the tower.
“At once, your grace. Thomas, go and call Evie to attend to his grace and milords.” He then turned and bowed to Shesmu before saying, “Your grace, milords, this lowly servant will now leave you to attend to his duties.”
With those words, Aldrien left Shesmu and his party and went on to welcome the angry party.
“So, do we just wait here?” Leo asked.
“I guess so,” DepressedRyan answered. “Well, there is one thing we can do actually. We’re in a dojo and everything, so why don’t we teach you to slash cancel? It would help quite a lot with the tower. Plus, I’m also interested in cultivation system feature. I checked my list of skills and didn’t find it.”
“Yeah, it’s not there. Go to your character tab, it’s next to status. Or just think “Cultivation System” and an interface will appear.”
“Oh, thanks, Shesmu.”
“I think that before you do anything with cultivation, I should teach you first all the basic combat techniques. From what I have seen, cultivation seems to be the insanely complex subject and very long term based. Don’t see why you would focus on that in the beta.”
“Hmm, makes sense. I checked it too and reached the same conclusion. So, since Leo still hasn’t learned ESC, we should start with that first.”
“ESC?” Leo asked.
“Yeah, short for Empowered Slash Cancel. I mean, that name is a mouthful, so we should try and find a shortened version for it. So what do you think, ESC or slash cancel?”
“I think slash cancel is better,” answered Leo. “I mean, who the heck will remember what ESC means. And what about Empowered Thrust Cancel, ETC?”
“Yeah, gotta agree on that one with Leo,” added Shesmu. “ESC and ETC really do sound stupid.”
“Well, it was just an idea. So, we’re going with Slash Cancel and Thrust Cancel, right?”
“I think that’s the best names for now.”
With everyone agreeing, the discussion about Empowered Slash Cancel and Thrust Cancel has been settled.
“Well, since I already taught DepressedRyan Slash Cancel and he learned Thrust Cancel on his own, you’ll be the one to teach Leo. That way, you learn from him and he learns how to mentor people. Win-win.”
“Sure, let’s do that. Plus, I really want to work on them too as I’m still stiff with the cancels.”
“Good, and you Leo, have any problem with Ryan teaching you?”
“None at all.”
“Then everything is settled. You guys train here, while I train there.” Shesmu pointed to a random direction in the dojo. “That way we don’t distract each other.”
With that said, Shesmu walked towards the direction he pointed at and unsheathed his sword. He took one energy pill before performing all of the basic techniques again. From Slash Cancel and Thrust Cancels to Slash Thrust combos. Using the humanoid mist as his shadow boxing partner, Shesmu thought up all sorts of scenarios and ways to deal with them.
At the same time, Leo was studying hard under the guidance of DepressedRyan. Even though he still couldn’t get the timing right, he was getting closer after each try.