True Path (Chapter 12)



  • i like author notes they help explain things or are funny. it fills me with dread though when something like baka suki comes around and puts them at the very bottom with links. its extremly annoying to have to scroll down the page then find where i was to read again.
  • edited August 2015
    Chapter 11: No Pain, No Gain (Part One)

    This was probably the longest chapter I’ve written :D


    Just walking to the training grounds will take a while, Eldon said as he headed northeast.

    “I know. That’s why you’ll be running there instead. Start running.” Ladriath commanded.



    Eldon began a brisk jog. Won’t I get tired before I start training? He asked, breathing in and out.

    “This is the beginning of your training. Any decent cultivator needs to have a robust body and mind.” Ladriath snorted. “The training grounds should be about five miles away. I expect you to reach there in about fifty minutes to an hour.”

    Eldon continued to jog, huffing a little bit. He felt his already ruddy cheeks turn redder as people looked at him. Some people had amused looks on their faces, but there were also a few other people running. After a few minutes, Ladriath gave advice to the tiring Eldon.

    “We’re mainly building your stamina with running. Try to find a constant pace that you can sustain through the entire run. You’re going a little bit slow now, so don’t be afraid to go a little bit faster. Also, control your breathing. You can breathe in out of your nose and expel out of your mouth, but it’s up to you to find what’s most comfortable. Try to find a steady rhythm while breathing, or you’ll end up gasping irregularly sooner or later.”

    Slow? I don’t think I can maintain this pace for five miles, Eldon groaned inwardly, his chest rising in and out quickly. Nevertheless, Eldon picked up his pace a little bit. His legs were beginning to burn, and he felt speckles of sweat on his brow.

    “Don’t think like that. If you think negatively, your performance can actually worsen. Be a little more confident.”

    Why not send some qi to my core? Eldon asked. I’m sure that my performance will improve.

    “It will, but it won’t be as helpful. Besides, it will take a while for your core to accept qi at first. You have never cultivated before. Pure qi is much more intense than impure qi, so you have to be prepared and concentrated to take on the qi from my core.”

    Where is your core, anyway?

    “After merging your body with my core, my core has also become incorporeal. Your core is right under your ribs, and my core is above it.”


    “Huff, huff, huff”

    After about twenty minutes of running, Eldon felt his entire body burning. His calves were screaming at him to stop, and sweat dripped profusely off his body. Eldon was surprised by how sore his arms and back felt. It was also a bad thing that his clothing wasn’t really meant for running. The weather was temperate, but Eldon was wearing rather bulky clothes.

    I’m...going to have to change into more suitable clothing next time.

    Eldon’s throat was parched. A few times, he felt cramps in his stomach, causing him to slow down a little bit for a while. Nevertheless, he was astounded that he lasted this long by listening to Ladriath’s tips and words of encouragement. Whenever Eldon felt like he had to stop, Ladriath would always egg him on.

    “You’re almost halfway there. Push past the pain; ignore it.”

    Easy for you to say. Eldon replied, continuing to huff and puff.

    “It is. If I still had my physical body, I could simply jump and glide a distance of five miles in mere seconds. I could teleport if I felt like it.”

    ...Are you even a mortal being?

    “I am still mortal, but I am very close to immortality. If only I could Ascend previously…” Ladriath sighed wistfully.

    Ascend? Eldon queried.

    “That is something unnecessary for you to know now. Perhaps, in the future…” Ladriath paused. “Anyway, it looks like someone wants to talk with you.” Eldon glanced at his right, and saw a slim and tan woman walking next to him. Walking?

    “Hi!” The woman greeted Eldon brightly. “I’m Calissa.”

    “...Hello. I’m Eldon.” Eldon said through his clenched teeth, afraid that he would accidently bite his tongue. People sure like to introduce themselves out of no where. Eldon thought.

    Calissa looked up and down at Eldon. Eldon awkwardly stared back at her, although he found it harder to breathe. The woman was quite tall, but her slim body was toned and nicely proportioned. Her blonde hair was up in a ponytail and her handsome but delicate face had not a drop of sweat upon it. There was a small scar on the bottom left of her chin. Eldon glanced down and saw that she had a slim and black sword sheath strapped on a worn out belt.

    “Keep your arms fairly relaxed and your shoulders down. Running requires good form, so run with your back straight, but don’t tense your neck!”

    Eldon had no idea who this woman was, but it looked like she just wanted to help him. He corrected his posture.

    “Not too straight; lean forward a little bit.” Eldon obliged. “Also, try breathing with your stomach, not your chest. It’s more effective.” She gave him a thumbs-up.

    “What a nice person. I’m not an expert in human anatomy, so it helps to have someone make sure that you’re not doing something incorrectly.”

    The woman accompanied Eldon for a little bit, humming a little tune while walking with his running. Although it seemed impossible for her to walk seemingly casually at the pace she did, she still was able to effortlessly catch up to Eldon. She looked at Eldon.

    “It’s pretty surprisingly to see a new student to be training before the school semester even starts.” She marveled. “I suppose that you want to be a swordsman, although you look more like a magician to me.”

    “I actually-huff-want to-huff-become a magician.” Eldon gasped out.

    Calissa gave Eldon an astounded look. “Really?”

    “My dad has always said-huff-that training one’s body-huff-is as important as training one’s-huff-mind.” Eldon let out.

    “Your dad is a smart man.” She praised. Calissa gave Eldon a quick thump on Eldon’s back, almost causing him to stumble. She didn’t seem to notice.

    “Ding, ding”

    Calissa abruptly stopped, as if she had ran into a wall. Eldon looked behind him. “Oops! I have a class to attend to. Well, I won’t hold you up any longer. Maybe I’ll see you in one of my classes! Have fun!”

    “Why not? Doesn’t working up a sweat feel good?” Ladriath said, bemused.

    It feels painful. Eldon winced as a sharp pain assaulted his right side. Oh no, I’m cramping up again.

    “No pain, no gain.”


    “That took you about an hour.” Ladriath commented, as Eldon dragged himself towards the training grounds.

    ...Great… Eldon sat down, rapidly breathing in and out. He felt lightheaded, and his eyes felt like they were going to blackout.

    Ooh...Eldon suddenly felt very nauseated. I think I’m going to throw up.

    “That was probably the most you’ve ever run in your entire life. I was surprised that you were able to keep going without completely stopping. That would’ve made it even more tiring.”

    Eldon didn’t bother to respond. Slowly, he got up, staggering a little bit. Eldon felt something going up his throat.


    Eldon felt a burning sensation in his throat. With great effort and the fear of embarrassment, Eldon managed to force down the surge of stomach fluids and his breakfast. He coughed, gagging a little.

    “Commendable.” Ladriath said rather amusingly. Nevertheless, he was genuinely impressed by Eldon’s will. “Looks like you’ll end up loving physical training quite soon.”

    I don’t know about that, Ladriath. Eldon wiped his mouth.

    “Rest a little bit and get some water. Then it’ll be time for strength training.”


    The training grounds consisted of an enormous tract of flat land, with a few buildings or so scattered around. The ground was mostly of coarse dirt, but there were a few paved and smooth places and raised platforms. While walking in through the open gate entrance of the training grounds, Eldon saw quite a few people training and practicing.


    A loud thud came from Eldon’s left.

    “Woah!” Eldon jumped. The boom was created from a large boulder being dropped by a brown-haired teenager, whose bare and wide chest was dripping with sweat as he hunched over. A faint brown aura radiated from his body, and slowly seeped back into his body. The boulder looked like it weighed hundreds of pounds, but surprisingly, it was shaped with indentations where hands could comfortably grip on to. It also had two handles jutting into it. The teenager’s flushed face looked up at the gawking Eldon. The teenager then slowly straightened his back, and walked over to a similar but smaller boulder, ignoring Eldon.

    “Go find an open space, but somewhere around the corners where people won’t pay much attention.” Ladriath advised.

    Okay, but I’m really thirsty right now.

    Slowly, Eldon trudged towards one of the buildings. This particular building was small, but Eldon had noticed that a few people were drinking water. To his delight, he found a well lit room inside the small building, with a large decorated silver bowl lying on a table in the middle of the room. Eldon peered into the bowl, where a large blue crystal was lying within.

    Where’s the water? Eldon thought, bewildered.

    There were multiple paper cups scattered around a few drawers in the room. Eldon took one and then looked around expectantly. Eldon was then surprised when he saw a bearded man go up to the bowl and hold his cup out before the bowl. The crystal faintly glowed, and some water then promptly surged out of the crystal and poured into the man’s cup. The water was crystal clear.

    “That’s quite a large water crystal, and of good quality too. It absorbs and stores water from the air but also purifies it. It’ll be greatly useful to you on journeys, although this one is too large. There are interdimensional utilities which you can use to store objects, but those are probably quite rare to come by. Carrying a small one in your pack would be good for emergencies, but you’ll probably have to find other water sources too, in the end.”

    I need one of these, Eldon thought as he gulped down his second cup of fresh water. He tossed the cup into a small bin outside of the entrance of the building.


    “Alright, Eldon. Time for some more training. Actually, what I’m teaching you is just merely body training that anyone can do, but we have to start somewhere. Later on, you can find a human teacher if you desire.”

    Eldon took in a deep breath. I’m ready.

    “Okay. First, we’ll start with pushups, situps, squats, and then you’ll be lifting small boulders to strengthen your back.”

    Eldon was dubious. Can I even get through all of that?

    “Possibly. Get into pushup position. Arms shoulder width apart, with your body as a straight line.”

    How do you know this stuff if you’re a dragon? Eldon asked as he get down onto the dirt ground.

    “I’ve lived a long, long life, Eldon. It can get quite boring at times, so I’ve done a few strange things for entertainment, although I’ve learned about human physical training in war times when I was younger and more restless. A few humans were quite willingly to demonstrate to me when I asked them nicely. Tighten your stomach and clench your butt. Don’t look at the ground when you go down, but lift your head up. Do as many as you can. Begin.”

    Thus, Eldon’s grueling strengthening training began. Slowly, Eldon went down, his face turning a little red from the exertion.

    “Go down until your arms are ninety degrees or less.” Ladriath said. “Breathe. I’ll keep track on your progress.”

    With some effort, Eldon pushed up, and then continued. Slowly but surely, the speed of Eldon’s pushups slowed down.


    Eldon let out a choked groan. His triceps were burning, and he almost forgot to breathe. With a great push, Eldon completed his twelfth pushup. He instantly collapsed onto the ground, panting. His arms felt like jelly.

    “Good. You should be feeling quite sore right now. Rest a minute and we’ll begin the situps.”

    After a minute, Eldon lied down on his back and listened to Ladriath’s informative instructions. He put his hands behind his head and brought his torso up using his abdominal muscles, making sure that he was not slouching forward, but coming up straight.

    “Twenty one...Twenty two...Twenty three...Twenty...Okay, that last one didn’t count. You couldn’t get up completely.” Eldon flopped onto the ground.

    “Ugh.” Eldon could only groan in reply; it felt as if his stomach muscles had tightened and then ripped apart.

    After a minute, Ladriath roused Eldon. “Time for some squats. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and arms crossed. When you squat down, make sure that your hips go below your knees for that to count as a squat.  Lock your hips and knees when you squat back up. Go.”

    With a shaky effort, Eldon pushed his face off the ground, spitting out dirt. His wobbling legs managed to stabilize themselves on the ground, and Eldon, with his face full of ruddy exertion, began to squat. His legs were constantly shaking as he went up.


    “Eurgh..!.!” Eldon let out a dying groan, almost causing a teenage boy nearby to drop the boulder he was holding over his head.


    “...Uhh…” As Eldon went down for his third squat, his legs simply gave out. He had absolutely no strength left in his legs after running five miles.

    I can’t...even...Eldon’s mind started to feel a little foggy.

    “But can you odd? Jokes aside...Hmm...Looks like I pushed you a bit. That’s good. Your stamina is commendable.” Although Eldon’s dad, Leonar, failed to make his son into a sword fanatic, his attempts to train Eldon had some results. “Only by exerting yourself to the limit will you be able to further the limit and increase your power.” Ladriath paused. “Alright, I’m going to send qi to your core now. This is your first time, so be ready.”

    Could other people notice? Eldon asked as he rolled onto his back and twisted his swollen torso up into a sitting position.

    “Many people meditate and absorb qi, Eldon. Besides, what’s happening is inside of you; nothing will be visible.”

    Eldon pulled his legs until they were in a criss-cross position. He was still trembling a little bit from the previous grueling workout, but he felt his body shiver as he prepared himself to take on the qi.

  • edited August 2015
    Chapter Eleven: No Pain, No Gain (Part Two)

    “The most I’ll do is send the qi to the core. It’s up to you to circulate it around your body. I could simply just eject the qi into your body, but that will not help you to become accustomed to controlling the qi. Alright, get ready. You might feel quite overwhelmed or pained as your core takes on qi for the first time.”

    Eldon took in a deep breath. I’m ready.

    “Although I’m sending very little qi, pure qi is nothing to laugh at. Try not to scream out.” Ladriath’s voice faded, and Eldon began to feel a trembling sensation originating somewhere in his chest. The sensation became slightly burning, and Eldon twitched a bit.

    “I’m sending the qi to your core.”


    Eldon nearly bit his tongue as he felt a scorching but icy sensation flood under his ribs. Suddenly, Eldon’s core was awakened. He fell into a trance-like state, and his mind seemed to wander into his body, and hover before his once inactive core, which was now teeming with a golden aura.

    “This is the tricky part.”

    The golden aura within his core swirled around randomly, as if it had no sense of direction or purpose. Suddenly, a few specks of the aura shot out of the core, bombarding Eldon’s body. It was shockingly painful. The qi then began to leak out of the core, and Eldon couldn’t help but let out a muffled scream.

    “Concentrate! Focus your mind on to your core.” Ladriath was worried. I was expecting this, but I’ve given him a bit too much for him to handle. Argh. Controlling such a minute amount of qi is exceedingly difficult, even for me.  “Control the qi inside your core. Circulate it in a pattern; don’t let it move around wildly. Contain it within your core.”

    Why is it so painful?! Eldon groaned internally. The feeling originating from his core became crushing, as if it was getting heavier and heavier. Eldon’s body swayed.

    “You don’t have control over the qi, because it originated from me. Focus. Will the qi; become one with it. Believe that you are in control. Your core is the vessel for the qi.”

    How? The flecks of golden qi continued to bombard Eldon’s internal organs, causing them to tremble. Eldon tasted a little blood. It was beginning to become exceedingly painful.

    “Just do it.”

    Gritting his teeth and clenching his fists, Eldon concentrated his mind on his core. Although the amount of qi was very little, it was pure qi. The qi in his core began to become increasingly frantic, as if it was trying to escape.

    “Control it. Push it into your core. Contain it.”

    Eldon focused onto the qi. With a great effort, Eldon willed the qi inside of his core. Although he hadn’t the slightest idea how it was working, the leakage of the qi began to slow down, and while it was still very painful, the qi bombardment inside of him also started to lessen. Sensing within his core, Eldon found that the qi was still chaotic, but it was getting compressed into his core.

    “Good. You’re doing quite excellently. Now, you must control the flow of the qi. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Only then will you be able to utilize the qi’s power.”

    Shouldn’t I have done this before I exercised? Eldon asked.

    “I’m pushing you to past your limits, Eldon.”

    Trying to control to qi was a lot harder than Eldon expected. After a few minutes, the qi leakage had ceased, but the qi was still chaotic and random.

    How long will this take me? Eldon was growing extremely exhausted. He had already taxed his body to the limits, and now even his mind was growing dim as he spent much energy concentrating on the qi.

    “Relax. Although you haven’t controlled the qi, you’ve contained it. We can always try again later.” Ladriath comforted Eldon. He was already quite pleased with Eldon’s progress. It looks like his diligent nature also shows itself in other things besides studying.

    No...I’ll continue. Eldon did not want to have gone through all of that training to be unable to control the qi. He focused back on to the chaotic qi.

    I must control it...Will it to my desire…

    Eldon closed his eyes. I am in control. Suddenly, the once frantic qi began to spin in one direction, and the particles of the qi stopped bombarding with each other; instead, they began to follow one path. The drops of qi inside of Eldon’s core began to converge together, forming a small ball in his core. Although it was small, the brightness and color it radiated revealed its immense quality and power. On a closer inspection, the particles of qi were not touching each other at all. They were flowing rapidly but smoothly. The small ball hovered in Eldon’s core, seemingly rotating about. Eldon found that he no longer had to concentrate anymore to keep the qi spinning; it was like breathing.

    “Oh!” Ladriath was impressed. “You’ve succeeded. Not only that, but the way you’ve controlled your qi is quite excellent and efficient. Some can only make their qi flow in abstract shapes. Congratulations!

    Eldon opened his eyes. Slowly, he felt a particularly strange but comfortable sensation originating from his core. His exhausted mind began to clear a little.

    “This makes everything easier. Now, slowly let out the qi in your core, and circulate it around your body. It should be much easier now that you’ve successfully controlled the qi.”

    Indeed, it was as easy as Ladriath had said. Eldon easily willed the qi out, and it seemed like second nature when he let the qi circulate around his aching and numb body. The qi rapidly circulated around his body, covering it completely internally. Because Eldon was circulating the qi inside his body, it did not radiate out as aura. His eyes squinted as he found that everything became much brighter temporarily. A pure golden color flooded into his eyes for a moment, but nobody noticed. There was still some qi left in Eldon’s core, but it was of a very little amount.

    Eldon’s body was transforming. His ripped and aching muscles sighed in relief as waves of qi seeped into them, and his internal organs thanked him as the now gentle qi wrapped around them. He felt the burning and swelling go away, and his reddish complexion began to fade as he began more relaxed. His bones began to creak, as if they wanted to expand. Nevertheless, Eldon felt no more pain. It was immensely comfortable. Slowly, all the qi had been absorbed by Eldon’s small body. Eldon’s body stopped trembling, and he felt like he was full of vigor. His face seemed to have a new luster and cleanliness as specks of dirt and dust dissipated off. Although he couldn’t tell if he had gotten any stronger, Eldon thought that he’d never been in such good shape as he was today, even though he still had a little fatigue left. It was like a dose of testosterone.

    “You’ve become stronger, but it still isn’t that much of a drastic improvement. Remember, this is just the beginning of your training. It is expected that you won’t reach superhuman levels yet. Although the improvement is small, it is still an improvement. Now, we’ll continue with your training. I can probably give you qi once more today before your body reaches its qi absorption limit. Just now, the qi has partially healed and sped up the mending of your muscles, so now you’ll be able to train again, although not at peak condition.”

    Yes. Eldon felt like a new person. If his friends saw him right now, they would be surprised by how Eldon looked less timid. Eldon’s mind was full of tranquility but also of clarity. Although he knew it was temporarily from the sensation he felt from the qi, Eldon felt much more confident than before. He resumed squatting again, but this time, his form was superb and his legs no longer shook. Eldon was able to complete twenty-five squats before he went to lifting a twenty pound or so small boulder to train his back.


    By the time Eldon was finished with training, it was already in the middle of the afternoon. Although Eldon had not eaten lunch, the nourishment from the qi was enough to abate any feelings of hunger that he had. Eldon was able to handle one more dose of qi and physical training before Ladriath called it a day. Eldon’s persona then went back to his normal. Feeling a bit exhausted but happy, he left the training grounds nevertheless with a new spring in his step. The teenage boy who he had shocked with his groan previously had praised Eldon for his stamina, and told him to keep up the good work, motivating Eldon.

    “Not only do you have to train your body, but also your core and mind. The most important thing right now is to increase the capacity of your core and then the quality of it. If you are able to pack your qi denser together, then you’ll be able to store more qi in your core in the long run.” Ladriath emphasized the importance of Eldon’s core training.

    I’m going to have an amazing sleep tonight, Eldon thought as he went to the library.


    When Eldon, carrying a few new borrowed books, went back to his residential building at night for dinner, he was reprimanded by Angus when he found out that he hadn’t eaten lunch.

    Angus knuckled Eldon’s head. “You book loving worm. Here, have some of my food too.”

    Eldon ate quite a lot for dinner, more than he had ever before. He heard the girls talking about lunch with Lazus. Nikolas scowled.

    “This Lazus thinks he's quite impressive, I have to say.” Nikolas took a sip of water.

    “He doesn’t seem so bad.” Angus slurred as he teared through a piece of meat.

    Brien rolled his eyes. “Close your mouth when you chew. It’s disgusting.” Angus opened his mouth. “Ugh. Anyway, you only say that because he treated you out to a lavish lunch. Nobles really do have it good.”

    Angus swallowed. “I’ve never heard or even seen some of the food that was served. It was delicious.”

    Nikolas leaned back in his chair. “What irritates me is that I’m pretty sure that he disdains us. Everytime he looked at me, he would always seem to be smirking.”

    Brien let out a stifled laugh. “Did you see how sullen Vernis looked? Pretty sure he got mad that the girls were talking to Lazus instead of him.”

    “What’s so great about the guy, anyway? He’s just got money from his parents.” Nikolas stabbed his fork at his peas, causing a few to bounce off. One hit Eldon on the nose. “Sorry, Eldon.”

    “It’s no problem.” Eldon touched his nose. “Anyway, he seems nice enough to me. It’s not like he’s out to hurt us or anything.”

    “I think he’s already wounded their pride.” Ladriath noted. “He seems to be quite the player. Reminds me of me.”


    “Don’t be jealous, Nikolas.” Rosaline intervened from the table next to them. “Lazus is really charming. Did you know that he’s already a Rank 10 Swordsman?”

    “Really?” Eldon exclaimed.

    “You spent a really long time at the library, Eldon.” Karis leaned forward on the table to look at him.

    Eldon looked at her square in the eyes and smiled. “Well, I do enjoy reading, Karis.”

    “Not bad. You can hold eye contact with her!” Ladriath snorted.


    Brien stood up and raised his arms up to stretch. “I think I’ll be going to sleep now, guys.”

    Nikolas turned to Eldon and took out two small plugs from his right pant pocket. “This is for tonight.”

    Eldon took the plugs gratefully. “Thanks, Nikolas.”


    Author’s blathering:

    Uhh...I think I tried too hard writing about Eldon’s workout and made it too specific :(. Maybe I should change the title of the novel to, “Ladriath’s Physical Training Guide.” I won’t go into so much detail in his subsequent trainings :P. Making him workout encourages me to also, though. He’s still a rather average boy, so this type of training should be expected, even if he is enhanced by pure qi. I’ve got to increase his base stats xD. He can’t be smashing trees or lifting giant boulders yet. However, it looks like this type of training will probably become useless once Eldon becomes more and more powerful...Hmm...Got to think of other ways to physically challenge him as he begins to surpass a commoner’s limits.

    Story progression still super slow xD. Maybe I’ll end up writing over 300 chapters from Eldon age 13 to age 14. I hope not (Begins rummaging through closet, looking for time travel devices). Still trying to find them...
  • Hahah..Reading this motivated me to work out to! (For 5 mins) Anyway! Yaaay! New chapter! *does happy dance* Me likey the story! Keep with the great work!
  • edited August 2015
    thnx for the chap. 2 per week then? guess i will be here next sunday.....
  • Thanks for the chapter! Can't wait until the next one. Will updates be posted on the weekends only?
  • Thanks for the chapter :-)
  • edited August 2015
    :) There will be a chapter each week, and it may happen on any day. It depends on if I wake up in the morning and feel the writing juices flowing or not. Hm...I still have no idea where exactly I'm going with this...I have the "end" planned but that's still ages away xD
  • i did the math at 1 chapter a week, if age 13-14 takes 200-300 chapters thats 4-7 years. and what would that be a fith of your story? u sure you can stay motivated over 25 ish years? (assumeing my estimates are right)
  • Shh! Don't mention statistics and demotivate him, yet! I don't want to lose another story to read this month.

    But seriously, though. I'm an avid fan of a couple of authors who work 50+ hours a week and still churn out full novels. One devotes a single night a week to compiling his thoughts that he's had over a few hours. This lets him churn out a book every several months. The other isn't anywhere near as polished as the first, but can churn out a 100k+ word novel in less than 10 days when he has inspiration. He's written 20+ books before the age of 30.

    A chapter a week is to help you have a goal and also give your readers a reasonable expectation. On days you have great inspiration, you'll churn out 10k+ words. Days you don't, 1k words is a reasonable goal. It's also why people who write web serials keep chapters stockpiled, to compensate when the inspiration isn't flowing on tap. If they don't use the stockpiled chapters before a book is done, they can do a grand release and make everyone happy.
  • Oops. Chapter might come out on Monday or even Tuesday. I've been rather lazy busy the past few days, so I haven't really written much yet. I'll start working now.
  • Yay! you can do it!! keep up the good work!!
  • Super duper sorry guys, it's been really hectic the past few days. I had an idea for my college essay and worked on it for a while but then I scrapped it Q.Q. My school also requires political service so that took a lot of time and energy out of me for the past few days. I won't make any more promises that I can't keep! Hopefully, I can get the chapter out today, but I have more political service TT.TT

    Argh! X.X 

  • edited August 2015
    Chapter Twelve: The First Challenge Against the Earplug

    It was the crack of dawn. A hint of blood red light emanated from the horizon, seeping through the curtain in Eldon’s room, where everyone was busy sleeping away. Thanks to Nikolas’s earplugs and Eldon’s workout yesterday, Eldon was able to fall asleep quickly. Right now, he was comfortably under his sheets, sleeping in a neat and straight position which contrasted with Angus’s, whose bedsheets had been tossed onto the floor. He was sprayed in an X position, like a puppet whose strings were cut. Other than the snores of Angus and Brien, the room was quiet and serene. Ladriath, being a core and soul, had no need to sleep and spent the entire night awake. He had fallen dormant for a few hours after merging with Eldon, but other than that, Ladriath was alert and active.

    Ugh. Mortals and their need for sleep. A few times at night, Ladriath would casually spread his soul sense out to look for anything interesting, but almost everyone was asleep. He occasioned upon a few hidden rooms with people inside, but he didn’t pay much attention. For amusement, he would focus his soul sense upon random people or animals, spooking them out. However, he didn’t dare to risk being noticed, so he usually fiddled with students and small, harmless animals.

    Although the suns were not visible from the horizon, the light was growling faintly stronger. Ladriath decided that it was a good time for Eldon to have some experience with utilizing magic with qi.

    Ladriath’s powerful and dense soul, which encompassed Eldon’s small and pale soul like a layer of protection, sent a small soul tendril to Eldon’s. The tendril, having met the surface of Eldon’s soul, gave a little poke.

    Eldon’s eyes burst open, and his upper body flew up out of his sheets. Angus’s snore stopped mid-way.


    “Oof…” Eldon winced, rubbing his entire body as he felt some muscle soreness and pain all over.

    “It’s not that bad. Qi helps to lessen the pain.”

    Am I happy for that. Having relaxed after the poke, Eldon began to yawn, stifling it so that he would not wake his fellow roommates. He took out the plugs from his rather sore ears and placed them on his drawer. Although the plugs blocked the sound of the snores, they were too uncomfortable. Eldon laid down on his bed again, enjoying the soft and plushy feeling of his pillow.

    Looks like I’ll have to just get used to their snoring. Eldon rolled over. Why did you wake me up?

    “Go wash your face to clear your mind and get dressed. Magic qi training is always best to be done during the early morning when your mind is refreshed.”

    Before Ladriath had finished speaking, Eldon had already jumped out of bed, looking for his slippers. After a few frustrating failures of putting his foot in the correct slipper, Eldon gave up and stumbled to the door barefooted. Luckily, there was a square and burgundy carpet under his feet, so there was little chance of slipping.

    “Relax. On a second note, you don’t have to get dressed. Your room is sufficient enough for what we’re doing.”

    Eldon grabbed the door handle and pulled, making sure not to slam the door accidentally.


    Eldon froze, fearing that Angus’s snore had awakened everyone else. Looking back, he saw that his friends were still sound asleep, albeit Brien mumbled a little and turned onto his side. Peeking his head out, Eldon saw no one and walked quickly but quietly to the bathroom.


    After splashing his face with cold water and brushing his teeth with a simple toothbrush and a gooey mixture of zeppermint and other various herbs, Eldon combed his hair to the extent that his mother would be satisfied with.

    Back in his room where everyone was busily sleeping away, Eldon was sitting crossed legged on top of his bed, listening to Ladriath’s instructions.

    “Yesterday, you may have noticed a small speck in the middle of your core while you were circulating your qi around it. This speck is of utmost importance for any cultivator, magician, or swordsman. I don’t know what you humans call it today, but in my time, it was known as the Lishen.”

    Lishen? Eldon asked. He remembered when he was circulating his qi, there was a small, yellow lump that seemed to be the origin of his circulation.

    “The Lishen is the controller and the origin of your power within your core. Although it is very small, your Lishen still possesses a significant amount of power that you can use in grave situations. However, the Lishen is the life of a cultivator. Never should you use up all your Lishen’s energy unless you have no other choice. Once you use up all your Lishen, you will not be able to control any qi, leaving you completely vulnerable. The drawbacks of using up your Lishen are small in the beginning of your cultivation, but as you become more and more powerful, you may possibly even die from the aftereffects of using up your Lishen.”

    Eldon shivered.

    Ladriath continued. “If one has affinity for an element, one’s Lishen will naturally refine and strengthen the qi within the core to become more attuned to the element. I have multiple affinities, so my qi is enhanced by them. However, since I have significant control over my Lishen, I can send neutral qi to your core. Any questions?”

    Is there a significance to the color of my Lishen?

    “The color of your Lishen usually depends upon your affinity for the elements. Since you have no affinity, the color of your Lishen is yellow, the same color as the natural qi within the world.”

    Eldon thought back to yesterday, thinking about how his Lishen seemed to become a little bit smaller after he circulated the qi throughout his body. Yesterday, my Lishen seemed to become a little smaller, even though I only used the qi that you gave me. Why is that?

    “Within your core, your Lishen will be constantly controlling and moving your qi. A very small amount of the Lishen’s energy is lost over time if you continue to store qi within your core. It becomes negligible as you become stronger and your Lishen becomes bigger and denser, but a good amount is lost in channeling qi around your body and in casting spells. Although I can replenish your qi, I cannot directly replenish your Lishen. Anyway, enough of my blathering. Let us begin.”

    Eldon sat up, feeling ready to learn about spellcasting.

    Ladriath faked a yawn. “You see your earplugs on your drawer?”

    Yes. Eldon responded.

    “Pick an earplug and move it across the drawer.”

    Although Eldon was confused, he nevertheless obliged and went to take an earplug, before Ladriath’s voice rang in his head.

    “Stop. You can’t touch the earplug nor move. This is your first challenge.”


    Eldon suddenly realized what Ladriath wanted him to do. I guess I have to use qi, don’t I?

    Ladriath smirked internally. “Why don’t you try?” Ladriath then promptly sent a surge of qi into Eldon, who closed his eyes. Eldon felt the same feeling he felt yesterday originating from his chest and entering into his core. This time, however, Eldon was able to quite easily contain the qi. Within his core, Eldon’s faint yellow Lishen began to glow a little bit brighter. The specks of golden qi began to converge and revolve around his Lishen into a sphere. Eldon then opened his eyes, having established control within his core.

    Now what? He thought to himself. Oh well. Here goes nothing.

    Eldon furrowed his brow and peered into his core. He envisioned the qi going out of his body through his right hand. Eldon’s Lishen grew even more brighter. Soon, a small and faint stream of qi emerged from the qi sphere in Eldon’s core, albeit it seemed to be a little be hesitant and lost. Eldon focused onto the stream, seemingly encouraging and nudging it. The stream then veered out of Eldon’s core, bypassing a few of his internal organs, causing Eldon to feel a little tingly. The stream, which seemed to be fainter now, exited out of Eldon’s body and into the air. Nevertheless, it was not visible to the naked eye.

    “Good. Now, move that earplug.”

    This doesn’t seem to be that difficult. Eldon sent the stream towards the closer earplug. Once it reached the plug, the stream imbued itself into the plug. Concentrating, Eldon willed the stream to move the plug. Surprisingly, the plug began to rock a little bit, before slowly beginning to move slightly.

    Wow! I did it! Eldon thought excitedly. However, his momentary lack of concentration caused the stream to dissipate, and the qi was released back into the air.


    Ladriath chuckled. “You did quite well for your first try. Nevertheless, controlling your qi becomes harder as you bring it farther and farther away from your core. This is the most important type of training. Although many people can increase their core capacity and Lishen size, learning the fine elements of controlling qi is quite tricky. If you are able to grasp an excellent amount of control and finesse to your qi, you will be able to preserve more energy and concentration and even cast spells faster. This can be the decisive element in a battle between two equally powerful fighters. You can possibly even defeat stronger opponents with powerful control over your qi.”

    Eldon practiced a couple of more times, each time becoming more and more proficient. However, his mind started to become sluggish after the ninth time. After the eleventh, he probed his core and saw that his Lishen had become quite small.

    I barely used any qi compared to yesterday. Why has my Lishen become so small? Eldon asked.

    “You have just begun to finely control your qi, so it will be quite taxing in the beginning. Yesterday, you may have used up nearly all the qi, but channeling qi throughout your body is fairly simple because the qi will naturally flow through your qi channels. As a result, your Lishen did not have to expend much energy. In the future, I will teach you how to channel the qi through your body more efficiently by diverting the qi flow through other locked channels. For now, use up all of your Lishen.”

    Are you sure? Eldon thought apprehensively.

    “What some beings don’t realize is that in the beginning of cultivation, the aftereffects of using up all of your Lishen is small. However, you can become a lot stronger faster by exhausting your Lishen and in the future, the aftereffects of Lishen exhaustion will be less. You still have to be cautious, though. Worst case scenario, you’ll probably pass out for an hour or so.”

    Alright. Eldon moved the plug for the 12th time, this time quite smoothly compared to his first attempt. The small speck of his Lishen was then completely used up.

    Almost instantly, Eldon saw specks of black within his vision, as if he was going to pass out. His sluggish mind already began to shut down. Waves of exhaustion spreaded throughout his entire body.


    Eldon’s head met his pillow.

    “Well, that was unfortunate.” Ladriath commented.


    I think I'll go to sleep now for a nice mid-afternoon nap.
    I could've included this in the last chapter, but xD

  • Thanks for the chapter! (Finally) ~_~
  • Thanks for the chapter!
  • Wonderful story, I like how you have now kept most of your notes at the end of the story. Not everyone can place author notes in the story effectively but explaining details and certain trivia can be done between paragraphs without breaking immersion. Remember the readers are painting their own pictures when they read your story so you don't have to explain everything but make sure that you explain just-enough.
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