Legends of Gods. Tale of Vjaira. (B3.Ch98 up!) (REWRITE FINISHED, YAY!)



  • Cool  ^_^
  • Yay new chapter great job ~~~ *yawn* im tired damn uni I-)
  • Sinra is forever alone rip Thanks for the chapter! and yeah, your writing is definitely getting better
  • edited December 2015
    My little rant. The pleasures and the miseries of writing.

    Hey guys and girls! Some of you might have, or might not have wondered how I work on my novel and how the whole process looks from the perspective of an author. Since, let’s be honest, we people of WW by now know well enough how the process of translating works ^.^ Well, why not learn a few things about writing from zero, too? Mm, somebody even asked me about that like 2-3 months ago, but I had no time or energy to sit and write about the matter in detail, that is - until now, hehe. Mm, that should be enough of an introduction. Let’s get going with it!

    I wonder if I should start from the pluses, or the minuses? Let’s go with the ‘worse’ part first, so we can have a positive ending later, hehe~

    There is this something, this desire to show other people what’s hiding inside your mind, to verbalize your thoughts, your fantasies and dreams. I certainly had it for as long as I can remember. At first, it was just day-dreaming a lot when I was a kid, nothing specific. Only later did it turn into playing RPG based text games online, where I put the first steps towards improving my language and having fun in a fantasy, text-created world. At first, it was all in my native language - polish. I’ve learned a lot about expressing myself through words by playing ‘Play by Forum’ aka ‘PBF’ and honed my writing foundations.

    Funnily enough, at that time I simply did it because I liked to and worked on improving my language and writing skills. For me at that time, it was quite a peculiar thing. I never put any effort into anything I didn’t like. what I only realized much later in my life, what I mentioned in my first random rant~~ Oh well. Basically, I’ve absorbed myself into the fantasy world around the early high school (or secondary school, however you want to call it. When I was 15-16). It was then when I switched from polish based texts, to English based. I didn’t write much in English yet, if anything at all. However, everything I was watching (anime, hehe) or reading online, be it manga, news, youtube videos… Everything revolved around English.

    This little passion about fantasy, without much effort from my side, created in me a few things necessary to any author. In the past, I wasn’t really doing it for a reason, but it just happened to help me in the future, as you can see now, hueh. My parents used to tell me I was wasting time, but yeah, I don’t feel like that time of my life was wasted and all. Although it wasn’t focused on partying with friends, but rather enjoying my own world a little more, I do not regret spending time this way :) Haa, I am getting sidetracked again, huh? What were we talking about? Ah, yeah, what this passion/obsession with fantasy of mine gave me precisely.

    Hmm, we should probably begin from my earliest contact with fantasy, since we started talking about this… Or rather, I started, haha. Why? Because it’s all connected, it’s all the same - these are all the reasons which created a ‘potential’ for me to write, which I am trying to ‘unleash’ now, haha.

    Mmm, my oldest memory is probably… It’s hard to say, but either being scared of the dog of my caretaker when I was 3-4 year old, or playing around the hospital my mother worked at somewhere around this time…

    Ekhm, sidetracked. Again. Uuum, as far as fantasy goes, it would likely be ‘Zodiac Knights’ which were aired in Poland like 15-16 years ago. Then, it would be pokemon and dragon ball, hehe… At some time, ‘Naruto’ started being aired in polish TV and I got so into anime, that I continued the grand ‘fantasy spree’ throughout the rest of my life… It was when I was 14 or so, when I got into watching anime, hehe….

    I feel like I am losing the point here, talking about random things, but whatever, it’s a rant after all, right?! xD ^.^

    Let me try getting to the point. The things I gained from fantasy (reading tone of books, following anime and manga. Playing games, reading novels…) were both language foundation, interesting ideas, knowledge how the ‘plots’ work. How to make an interesting story, or rather, what should an interesting and good story contain in my subjective opinion, etc. I’ve gained the basic ‘Awareness’ of an author, who knows what is good, what is bad and what he should be aiming for.

    Although my language skills are by no means perfect, I have a reference and help of a few people (hello, my PR’ers! ^.^) which enabled me to try and improve as the time goes. I had read tens of thousands of pages of text, if not hundreds of thousands, all in English, but also a lot in polish. Although I might not remember all the words and phrases used in them, I am ‘aware’ of them. My sub consciousness is trained enough to tell me when I can do something better, or when a phrase or sentence doesn’t feel ‘correct’, etc. The same goes for plot for my story, of which I am more or less ‘aware’ of what would be bad idea to implement, and what might work out. Complimented with the outside help of the certain people, just like any fresh author, I am trying to improve step by step.

    Aaaand, here we go! That’s the first reason as to why my writing takes so damn long. I am not satisfied with my level as it is, but am trying to reach something new, better. Every time I write, I try my best and only do it when my mind is clear enough to produce a decent work for a decent chapter. Certainly, I could have been writing much faster if I paid less attention to quality and long-term improvement. But, I hope to reach a ‘fine level’ after some time, where I won’t need to spend as much effort on each chapter as far as language quality goes, instead of slacking off and just spamming new chapters. Sure, PR’ers can ‘fix’ your sentences for you, but it will no longer by your work when half of the text needs to be corrected by someone else…

    Hmmm. So, that’s the first thing. What would be the next? Let’s try concentrating on the ‘plot’. How does transferring ideas and day-dreams into text work? Oh, believe me, it’s not as simple as it seems ^.^ That’s actually the hardest part. Creating a sensible and enjoyable plot not only in a macro scale when the whole layout of novel is considered, but in the micro scale, too!

    What makes reading novels enjoyable? For me, those are the little things you can find and enjoy through the chapters. The general idea being super good or innovative, is honestly not as important as what is written in the content and how the idea is executed.

    For example, there are my things in my novel which I could have completely omitted or settled with one phrase or two. I however, chose to focus less on constant action, but more on characters and plot development. At least, more than the average for the xianxia novels we know in English ^.^ The fights and martial/magical part are there, too, as those of you who are readers know. However, its amount is a little restricted ^.^ I just feel that too much fighting all the time makes it less special. What’s so fun reading again about MC who is being all cool showing off… For the 20’th time in the recent 30 chapters? Geez. Enough is enough, sometimes.

    Ekhm. Now that we’ve got that clear… Not that I started speaking (writing, duh) about something else… To create the ‘plot’, a lot of thinking is necessary. I know of some people who like to write everything down and follow that, but it doesn’t work for me. I will describe to you all how an exemplary process of writing a chapter of mine looks like, kay?

    To begin with, before even looking at some chapter that I would want to write, I try to look at the story overall and how my idea implemented here or there will affect it. Is the consequence of those events going to affect the story further in? If it will, then how much and what the consequences or results, changed in MC or his surrounding or whatever - how much will they be showed, how important will they be? And, of course if the idea doesn’t create plot holes or contradictions in the system of my world, which I have planned to use? Will the characters from the even appear again, or will they be forgotten? And if they are there again, where do I intend to implement them and in what kind of role and situation? (I am not kidding you, I think about those for about 100-200 chapters ahead…. haha….)

    Then, after I look at the overall, big picture, I tone it down to the few closer books. Do I intent do use the event in some way that will show consequences later? Or, is the event result of something that had already happened and I should mention it subtly, so that the readers will certain to notice? Does the event make sense and is not out of place filler in those arcs? And, if it’s a ‘filler’, is it going to be enjoyable enough to justify it being used? (As a filler, I mean an event which doesn’t serve to progress the plot, but is there just to make MC do something ‘cool’. I am trying to refrain from using such ‘fillers’, but some will surely appear in my novel, like in any novel, heh.)

    Okay, when this part is settles - what nowadays doesn’t take me too long anymore, since I got used to my world and think about it often, hehe… We progress to the ‘this book’ approach.

    What do I intend to have in my book, what will take how many chapters etc. Should I make the certain event shorter, or should I make it more complicated and outline it a bit more? How do I intent to have this book look when it’s finished?

    This here is usually done by me on whim or by instinct. However, my whims tend to often change, since I day-dream about anything and everything so much. When I happen to get a nice idea that I want to implement, I need to reconsider the outline of a book, sometimes the whole arc or the novel as a whole.

    Okay! Next thing is looking at the event itself. I think about the lynchpins which will progress the ‘events’ in the chapters. You know, he goes there, that happens. ‘That’ happened because of something else. Those characters think in this way and act like that so we can have a scene involving X and Y. It’s all creating the ‘plot’ for those few chapters.

    When the ‘plot’ for a singular event is not connected to the grand scheme of things, creating it is fairly easy and not complicated, even if the events themselves are ‘deep’ and ‘surprising’ ‘unexpected’. However, if I intend to use it in the grand scheme, I must consider all the connections between the event itself, the characters, it’s influence on the future and the ‘past’ background, which had led to the event itself.

    Uuuh. Sometimes, getting to this point can take me hours, if not days of wondering how should I create something 10-15 chapters ahead, or 2-3 chapters ahead, hehe…

    Theeeeen. When that is settled, we go into the ‘scenes’. Each scene needs to have its own background, if I can use the same word again in this smaller case. I think how the characters involved will react, what will their emotions be during the scene and overall, what will the characters be doing in the scene. A scene usually takes from 1 page, to 3-4, at most 5 pages in the extreme circumstances. That’s actually quite a lot of work, to nicely create all the scenes for a chapter or for an event and join them together into a sensible whole, instead of a bunch of loosely connected little events which by deus ex machina lead to the desired result of an author… Sigh. Hehe…

    When that is over, we go into the realm of ‘cut scenes’, if so to name them. I look at the few paragraphs in the scene and wonder what sentences and words do I want to use to describe what’s inside my head. This part is especially troublesome when I can’t find a proper word to describe something, or when I need to look for synonyms to not overuse a certain word. I tend to be ‘stuck’ at writing one sentence when I can’t find satisfying enough way to describe it - for hours. Yeaaa… Crazy. I obviously do some other things in-between, but I keep thinking and wondering about this one sentence… Haha… Well, lately it’s been getting a BIT better, since more or less, my language capabilities and ways of expressing myself are improving and evolving. ^.^

    In the end, writing paragraph after paragraph is what takes me most time. I look for the best result possible, so I tend to search for the best ways to write something, or for better words to express the same thing… Or for words or idioms which will let me express what I want accurately, what can also be quite troublesome in English or any other language…

    In comparison, if right now I am taking, let’s say ten hours on average to create a chapter, if I aborted caring for quality and improvement so much, I could likely dish out one per 3-4 hours. However, how satisfied would I be, and how satisfied by reading something so ‘average’ would you, readers be? I honestly considered increasing the quantity over the quality a few times, after especially tiresome to write chapters… But in the end, I feel that the best path for me to take is to stick to trying to improve and seek ‘perfection’, or rather, the thing as close to it as possible, hehe.

    I could write about a few other things in detail, too… But this rant is getting too long already anyway… So, maybe for now, let’s end it at that? It was quite a random rant, without clear diversification of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ (for my emotional state, lol) aspects of writing - but I hope you will forgive me for that, hah.

    Well, if you found this interesting and managed to stick to the end with me, then I am amazed! xD I didn’t think I would end up writing so much when ranting, again… Hehe…

    @ Updaaate >> If anyone is wondering how the chapter is doing. I wrote half of it and sacked it, since I felt it wasn't what i wanted it to be. Thus. i am pulling an all-nighter to write it from the beggining. Yeah.

    @ > I pretty much have the chapter finished since friday, but i have no time to edit it. I will do it when i come back home today (sunday...) and then let someone from american continent PR it for me, hehe... xD Should be released at monday morning. ;)

    ... Before i noticed i got so many pages that i will probably just make this 2 part chapter since it's going to be so long... Gonna release both parts asap, working on it...

    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • thanks for the chapter
  • nice rant finally came around to reading it ^^
    And now i understand why i can´t imagine writing a story myself:
    I have not the capability like you to lay out a world that is consistent.
    In my imagination everything changes so fast that i redesign stuff every minute so great work at having consistency ^^
    Also there is really a lot of stuff that goes into writing a story so my respect for you is growing more and more can´t wait for tomorrow ^^ 
  • edited December 2015
    Book 2. The outside world.

    Chapter 3. On the road.

    Laien sighed, clearing his mind from unnecessary thoughts. For a while, instead of chatting with Yin, he leisurely concentrated on the spiritual bond between the two of them. It really was an odd feeling, sensing Yin’s presence and his emotions. Especially when Yin’s mood was so carefree and happy; it was a pleasant sensation to feel it directly

    Laien and Yin looked at each other and chuckled at the same time. Although their thoughts couldn’t be shared, they could vaguely tell what the other person was thinking about. Right now, they were both concentrating on each other’s presence, making the spiritual bond clearer and stronger for the time being. Such a strange ‘conversation’ done only through exchanging moods and feelings was quite an amusing experience for either of them.

    Now that Laien thought about it, he really didn’t know much about Yin. Apart from his identity as a human-shaped magical beast ‘lightning wolf’ and some vague information about his grandfather, there wasn’t much more. He liked Yin as a person, maybe too much even… He was curious to know more about Yin’s past. “Mm, when there’s a chance, I will be sure to ask him.” Laien decided silently.

    “Can’t you brats hurry it up?” The only woman among the group of escorts called out in an irritated voice. She had heard about the two kids and their reputation as ‘prodigies’, but couldn’t care less. In the end, brats were brats. She saw no need to be respectful or hold back her temper in front of two twelve year old kids who likely knew nothing about the world.

    Laien frowned, extending his aura and checking how strong those seven guards were. After he found it out, a look of contempt appeared on Laien’s face. “This woman is only at the first Realm of Heroes; she’s only a martial master of the first rank. The group as a whole is not too exceptional either, the strongest one is at the third Realm of Heroes…” Laien sighed resignedly. Were people like those supposed to protect them? With their cultivation levels? They weren’t even that much stronger than him and Yin…

    “What are you staring at like a retard? No one ever taught the ‘young master’ any manners, eh?” Laien raised his eyebrow at the unspoken threat in woman’s voice and decided to completely ignore her. After what he had went through today and yesterday, he couldn’t care less about some stupid provocation. With a sigh, he wondered quietly. “Ah, how can Yin do it that his expression is always innocent? I guess I should try controlling myself a bit better, too. At least I wouldn’t need to listen to some stupid ranting of this woman…” Laien sighed and half a second too late, he realized that his feelings were once again being clearly displayed on his face.

    Luckily, before the woman snapped, one of the other guards intervened. “Cut them some slack, Liza. We are supposed to protect them, not to fight with them. If you can’t handle kids, then just ignore them.” The man with short brown hair commented in a light voice. Liza clicked her tongue, rebuking shortly. “Dogs from the losers’ family shouldn’t be speaking. I can’t understand why were we ordered to do this mission with useless trash like your bunch.” The woman obviously wasn’t pleased with the situation at hand, but despite that, she didn’t say anything else. The look in her eyes, however, was clearly foretelling something bad to happen in the future.

    The brown haired man shook his head and rode forward, appraising Laien’s and Yin’s clothes. He nodded in approval, seeing that the two of them had gotten rid of flashy or suggestive elements. In truth, the matter concerned mainly Laien, since he was the one who liked wearing showy and eye-catching clothes.

    This time, Laien simply chose to wear the normal traveler’s clothes, similar to those of Yin’s. The set consisted of a pair of simple pants trimmed with leather, as to make riding a horse easier on the legs and a plain long-sleeved shirt. Along with sturdy boots, everything was kept in brown and grey colors, with a few white parts. The clothes weren’t fashionable, that’s for sure, but on the other hand they were quite comfortable to wear while traveling on horseback.

    “We need to leave the city soon, so let’s leave the introductions for some other time. I don’t see much point in telling you a bunch of names that you will soon forget anyway. Although you should know my three subordinates from your time spent in the Valius family, or so they told me…” Ruan said, looking at Laien. The boy took a better look at the remaining five men and indeed, he recognized the three guards from the main mansion of the Valius family. The same ones who wanted his help with inviting Master Shire for something and then when they got thrown out, didn’t even thank him for speaking up for them.

    The man coughed, seeing how Laien stopped paying attention to him for a little too long. Having gotten it back, he continued. “Just remember that I’m called Ruan. If you have any questions, come and ask me… Remember, we’re going to be escorting you, but not babysitting you. So, please at least try to not create troubles along the way, okay?” The brown-haired man ‘Ruan’ spoke calmly, in a teacher-like manner. From the looks of it, he viewed Laien and Yin as somewhat pampered young masters.

    Although Yin didn’t mind that at all, Ruan’s reprimand hit Laien in a sore spot. The man was only a martial master of the second rank, he barely achieved the second Realm of Heroes. Compared to Rudford and everyone Laien had just parted with, how could he be worth comparing? A man like that, in Laien’s eyes, didn’t represent much of an authority whatsoever; his opinions barely mattered to him. The man’s words, however, managed to anger him quite a bit, though.

    Laien kept his opinion to himself, not starting an argument with Ruan. He didn’t show his displeasure in his facial expression either, taught by the fresh experience with the woman. How was she called…? Liza? Not like he cared if he remembered her name well or not. Surprisingly, right at this moment Yin laughed, and Laien was quite sure that Yin was laughing at him. What was so funny about this situation?... He would need to ask Yin later, if he will still remember to.

    “Say, where are we going first?” Yin asked lightheartedly, as if they were about to go on a family trip. Ruan appeared to be quite confused about the behavior of the two boys, of whom one smiled at him while the other looked as if he was offended, but didn’t want to show it openly… Ruan refrained from commenting on it. Instead, he thoroughly answered Yin’s question.

    “We will follow the main road along the mountains and head two thousand kilometers to the north-west. We will stop by the Iron Fort at our northern borders with the Anarchic Lands and acquire fresh information about the further paths we could take. We’ve got a well maintained road all the way from Neil City to the Iron Fort and all of us have decent war horses. The plan is to gallop halfway through and stop at some inn along the way… We can easily cross the whole distance to the Iron Fort in two days or so. If we maintain a decent pace, we should be in the inn in about six or seven hours from now. After everyone is rested, we will set off again. Anything unclear?” Ruan asked, after providing a very detailed, yet chaotic explanation. Yin lightly shook his head, while Laien didn’t answer in any way. The man suppressed a sigh and gestured for the two boys to follow him.

    “Why are you sulking?” Yin asked openly, not minding the presence of the escorts around them. At the moment, they were riding through the Two Weeks City at a modest speed. Ruan was in front of them while the other six escorts were behind them, riding in the rows of three.

    “I will tell you later.” Laien responded briefly. He didn’t want to explain what got on his nerves when these seven were listening. He would need to spend a whole year with those people, so he thought it would be for the best to at least try to not antagonize all of them in the first fifteen minutes since they met…

    Yin wondered for a second, then said with his usual smile. “Either way, just cheer up.” He kept his words simple, without going too deep into the matter. There was no need, since…

    Laien blinked a few times, then chortled lightly. Right, being so close to each other, their feelings were constantly shared. It was possible to block them off, but one would need to concentrate on doing that. If his mood turned bad, it would also affect Yin. In the end, Laien smiled and stopped sulking and caring about Ruan’s words. It was much more pleasant to enjoy his time with Yin, than to worry about some stupid guards and their opinions.

    “We’re speeding up.” Ruan announced the fact, giving the two boys behind him a serious look. “What, worried we won’t keep up?” Laien couldn’t help but say, adding a little smirk to this question of his.

    To Laien’s surprise, Ruan actually laughed and replied with challenge. “Then let’s see you keeping up. If you can’t, you will be cooking dinner for yourselves today. Deal?” Laien and Yin looked at each other. Yin shrugged his shoulders and gave Laien a look saying ‘you decide, it’s your game’.

    “Then, if you can’t shake us off, you will cook a dinner for us.” Laien proposed, to what Ruan showed an amused expression. “That’s a deal, kiddos. Don’t forget your promise. Come over, we are using the military track to the right. We wouldn’t want to run over some innocent people.” Without any further delaying, Ruan leaned forward and as he was taking off, yelled merrily.

    “One thousand kilometers, the goal is to make it in five hours. Try to keep up, kiddos. We’re up for a long and crazy ride!” The man laughed, caressing the neck of his beloved horse. He tucked his legs, causing the mount to neigh excitedly and immediately rush ahead. Ruan realized he didn’t tell the other six their exact destination, but those three subordinates of his would probably know where his favorite inn is, in case the youngsters went beyond his expectations and displayed some riding skill.

    Constantly riding at the pace of two hundred kilometers per hour? Although Laien had pushed Bellicose to his limits and had exceeded the speed of two hundred kilometers a few times, he never tried to ride so fast for so long. Could a war horse really keep up with a pace like that? “I guess I am about to find out. It will get harder when it gets dark, though... I won’t be able to see the road far enough to ride properly. Hopefully the moon will be out today, then it will be fine.” Laien thought briefly, having those few things cross his mind.

    “Come on, let’s go.” Yin said calmly, leaning forward in his saddle and chasing after Ruan. Seeing Yin set off, Laien also quickly followed. The three riders rushed ahead, leaving the remaining six escorts behind. The six didn’t bother to join the race. Even if the kids managed to keep up with Ruan, they didn’t feel like rushing ahead. An hour here or there, they didn’t think it was worth paying proper attention to the road when traveling at close to top speed.

    “Damn, this guy is as stupid as those brats. Such a pointless race… I bet those kids will screw something up and we will catch up to them before the inn.” Liza smirked, and then admitted unwillingly. “That shithead might be from Valius’s, but he is one of the best riders around. If only he was smarter in choosing his allies…” She sighed, then galloped forward, feeling awkward about admitting to respect a man like Ruan for his skill.

    A short while after he reached the adequate speed, Ruan looked over his shoulder, wondering if the two young masters weren’t left in the dust with just that. “Hoo?” He murmured, surprised. By the looks of it, the two boys actually managed to catch up to him and were keeping up with the pace he had set. For them to do it so easily… Either they were more experienced than he gave them credit for, or their mounts were exceptional. Or maybe it was a mix of the two… He would surely learn later, when the road would get harder.

    In truth, neither Laien nor Yin needed to do all that much beside staying put in the saddle and not falling off; which wasn’t that easy when your horse was charging through the stone road at a ridiculous speed. At the moment, it was rather the quality of their mounts being displayed, rather than their skills. The two mounts were excited to gallop in this manner, it was in their blood to love moving at great speeds, especially in groups. The two horses were following their older and more experienced companion of theirs who was leading the way in front of them. Since the two were trained very well since youth, Laien and Yin had no problems controlling them at all. They barely needed to adjust anything, only sometimes telling their horses to turn slightly towards one side as to stay on the part of the road meant for military use.

    Ruan focused his eyesight on the boys themselves, curious as to how the two were feeling about the ride. “Hmm, the black-haired kiddo looks a bit fussed. But the other one appears to be completely relaxed… Interesting, interesting.” Ruan peeked ahead, just to confirm that nothing was in his way. He knew this road like the back of his hand, his horse was also used to it. During the first few hundred kilometers, it was quite straight with no major or minor obstacles. As long as some small caravan didn’t somehow crash and block the whole way, he didn’t need to pay special attention to the road itself.

    “Take this time to get used to riding at this speed, kiddos! The harder part of the road comes later! For now, try to find a stable, but not too straining position for yourselves! If you don’t, you will tire yourselves out before your mounts do!” Ruan shouted to Laien and Yin, giving them a simple advice. He was satisfied, seeing the two doing as he said and searching for a more comfortable position. Originally, he really thought he would be ‘babysitting’ some two spoiled young masters and was displeased to have received such an unfitting task. However, those kids weren’t as bad as he imagined them to be. At least, they had some knack for horse riding. That alone made Ruan view them in a better light.

    It surprised Ruan to see the green-haired, somewhat girly-looking boy settle for the ‘eagle’ position, which he had been using himself before he turned around to observe the two youths. The ‘eagle’, how Ruan liked to call it this manner of riding, meant leaning forward to the point of having one’s back in a nearly horizontal position, while lightly sitting in the saddle and spacing out one’s weight through it and the stirrups. The reins would be held in one hand while the other would be resting on the saddle, ready to grab it in case of emergency. The position overall was really well balanced, but often the amateurs would feel too scared to use it, as it wrongly felt unstable and insecure. For one of the boys to be using it… It really made Ruan baffled and caused him to recognize the boy’s talent, or maybe his bravery; he didn’t know whichever was true yet.

    The other boy, the black-haired one, seemed to have settled for something similar, but he wasn’t doing it as skillfully as his friend. He was a lot more tense, so instead of relaxing, he tightly clutched his legs and was wasting a lot of energy. “Well, he will soon realize he won’t be able to keep it up, given an hour or so. He will need to either relax, or give up.” Ruan thought to himself, but just as he was about to turn his gaze away from the boy, something strange happened. Completely out of the blue, the black-haired boy relaxed his muscles and adopted the eagle position in the correct way.

    Why did it happen so suddenly and without any apparent reason… Ruan failed to understand. He had seen many youngsters learning how to ride, he had also taught quite a few himself. Taking from his past experience, Ruan could say with certainty that one doesn’t just change his approach from one second to another without any advice given whatsoever. Of course, some were naturally gifted, for example like this green-haired boy here… However…

    It might not have seemed so, but it wasn’t easy to ‘believe in your horse’ and calm down while riding it. Normal people would find it hard to relax, fearing to be unable to react in case of an accident. Only by putting strength into one’s body when needed and being fairly relaxed at all other times, would a rider be able to travel long distances in one go.

    What Ruan failed to notice, was how Laien and Yin exchanged a glance. Feeling Yin’s mood through their spiritual bond, Laien could understand the simple message. He could also see how Yin handled himself on his horse. Although the new, more relaxed position still felt awkward for him, Laien trusted for it to be more correct than what he was previously doing. Additionally, the confidence of being all right, even if Bellicose happened to trip or fall aided Laien in his attempts to remove unnecessary strain from his body.

    “Those kiddos… It might actually be quite a nice task, to guard those two. If they aren’t some annoying and spoiled young masters, we might just get along fine.” Raun concluded from what he was seeing. It was very easy to verify one’s character by checking how the person would treat and deal with horses and animals overall , especially so when the person was young. Of course, the fact of being able to ride a horse well didn’t mean that a person would be great or have a good character. However, as far as youths went, it would often suggest that the youngster has a potential to adapt to new situations - and maybe even to change for the better, if his character is to be worked on and tempered for better.

    As the time passed, Laien and Yin got used to riding at high speed. After three hours, simply following Ruan became no problem at all. On their way, the three had passed by a hundred or so small sized caravans, delivering goods on the regional scale. They also saw quite a few groups of merchants traveling purely on horseback, without additional carts behind them.

    When trading was concerned, then naturally as the distance got greater and the volume of delivered items bigger, it was more convenient and cheaper to use interspatial rings than the old-fashioned caravans. The price of the high-grade interspatial rings, which were most suited for delivery purposes, could reach up to a few hundred crystal coins, making it unaffordable for the very majority of people. However, those big trading companies with hundreds years of history and enormous amount of accumulated wealth had no trouble affording them.

    Apart from the groups of traveling merchants, the three passed by quite a lot of normal travelers, who would usually be startled by the three riders speeding past them and disappearing soon after. It wasn’t that rare to see a messenger hurrying between cities, but the sight of three riders together moving at an extreme speed was quite unusual. Especially since two of the three seemed to be but young boys…

    “Brace yourselves, kiddos! The road will get a bit bumpy from now on with a few turns along the way! We’re entering the high grounds!” Ruan warned loudly, as the three of them were approaching the first slope. At that point, their small group have traveled two thirds of the whole distance of one thousand kilometers. It took them a little less than three hours to do it, so their pace was very good. However, their speed was about to slow down. The remaining one third of the way would likely take them around two hours, if the boys lived up to Ruan’s expectations.

    Ruan slowed a little and braced himself in the saddle, preparing for the tougher part of their little ride. He rode into the high grounds followed by the two boys ,who were just few dozen meters behind him.

    Although the turn on top of the slope wasn’t immediate, at the ridiculous speed the three of them were going at, it seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. Ruan leaned his whole body to the side, allowing his horse to maintain a proper center of gravity during the mediocrely sharp turn; which at the high speed wasn’t all that safe to manage for a horse and its rider.

    Unlike Ruan, Laien and Yin weren’t able to react either properly or in time. They lost a considerable amount of speed while being pulled over to the left, trying to not ride out of the road while taking a wide turn. They only managed to escape unscratched out of this predicament relatively well thanks to their top quality mounts, which made up for their riders’ lacking experience. Well, at least they didn’t crash into some random people, since there was no one atop of the slope.

    Surely enough, this little ride wasn’t the most responsible thing to do, but it didn’t look like either of the three cared about it at the moment…

    Taking a look at the path ahead of them and at Ruan, who was getting further and further away at a quick pace, the two youths took opposite approaches to the situation at hand. Yin slowed down without much hesitation. He didn’t think anything through, he simply felt that it would be nice if he took it slower and got used to turning at high speed before trying to go at the fastest pace he could manage. On the other hand, Laien stubbornly urged Bellicose to go faster, unwilling to lose the - fairly meaningless - bet. Laien had seen how Ruan moved while taking the turn earlier, and wanted to copy his movements. In case of a failure, he was confident to amortize the fall with his magic, so he didn’t hesitate to be reckless. He felt that slowing down at this point would make him lose sight of Ruan for good and result in his defeat.

    Not long afterwards, Ruan looked behind himself, knowing he can afford to do it at this particular part of the road. When he saw the two boys, he grew intrigued. The green-haired one, contrary to Ruan’s expectations, decided to slow down and perhaps, try to improve with each turn he would be taking. Given how leisure the green-haired boy was about riding, Ruan really expected him to try and rush after him. Surprisingly, the black-haired one chose to exactly that and one way or another, with the aid of a strange mix of luck, a good mount and a good deal of persistence, he was managing to stick close to him. Well, not exactly close, as he was about one kilometer off by now, but certainly much closer to him than the green-haired boy, who was behind by two times as much.

    “They sure are quite odd. Hmmm, let’s give them a chance to catch up. Not like they can win in the end, anyway, heh.” Ruan chuckled, thinking about the final dozen of kilometers before the inn. There was no way those two would be able to keep up with him, even if he were to let them catch all the way back up. On the other hand, instead of losing them now, it would be much more amusing and interesting to let them struggle a bit more. It was always good to be a bit harsh on the young ones, in Ruan’s opinion. Thus, he lowered his pace slightly and continued peeking at the boys one time after another, judging their progress.

    The hot summer night finally feel, with no hint of clouds on the sky, as usually in the south. Ruan enjoyed the ride and the perfect weather, but the two boys on the other hand, had less time to notice the beautiful starry sky.

    Laien was about to start cursing; that was how frustrated he was. No matter what he did or how he moved, he just couldn’t grasp the right timing for taking a turn on the road and he always ended up losing some speed. Two of three times, he was right about to crash into some travelers, who luckily managed to dodge him and send some swears toward him afterward. Perhaps it was because he was rushing too much, that he failed time after time, but he wasn’t cool-headed enough to think about it and try taking some other approach. Not to mention that, he had trouble with simply calming down and thinking rationally.

    As for Yin, steadily but surely he was speeding up. With each passing moment he was making the turns smoother and smoother. With a carefree smile on his face, he proceeded at the pace he felt was right at the moment. All the while, he was familiarizing himself with his horse’s habits and his strong points. He was doing that part unconsciously, without paying active attention to it. Simply, when it felt that his mount was doing worse or wasn’t happy with something, Yin tried to adjust his actions a little, looking for something which would make him and his horse comfortable.

    Not even an hour passed, when Yin caught up to Laien. “I’m going ahead.” He said, passing him and speeding up even further. Although Yin didn’t care much about the bet itself, he enjoyed competing and learning new things. With his naturally positive approach toward just about anything, his skills improved quickly. Having no mental obstacles in the way really helped, too.

    Meanwhile, the prime example of being too rash and emotional was being displayed by Laien, who still refused to take a step back to then take two steps forward. Instead, he was causing himself to be stuck in the same place, barely improving at all.

    “Damn it, I’m not getting any closer to this bastard. Yin also caught up and passed me… Argh, it’s not that hard, why do I keep failing and losing balance every time? Can’t this damn horse just listen to what I am telling him to do?” Laien complained, getting more frustrated by the moment. He had gotten used to grasping any physical-related things with close to no effort. Although his martial talent wasn’t all that great, he was exceptional when it came to wielding his spear and using his body to fight. It was just so natural, so easy to learn. When he saw something, he learned it by heart with little to no effort. When he wanted his body to move in a specific way, it would respond perfectly. But now… To be in a sync with his horse seemed to be all but naught.

    For some reason, they were always choosing different timings and wanted to do things in a different way. To make it worse, Bellicose couldn’t adjust himself to Laien, even though he wanted to, all the while Laien stubbornly refused to compromise and let his mount lead the way. The rider and the horse, they just so happened to not be quite compatible when the riding difficulty extended above the certain range. Given Laien’s attitude, it would be nearly impossible for him to improve without someone’s advice or some miraculous event if he continued to progress in this manner.

    Another half an hour passed. By now, the three had traveled about nine hundred kilometers, meaning that less than a hundred was left to their goal. Ruan and Yin were riding in the front, with Yin staying just a few dozen meters behind Ruan. As for Laien… He was still stuck one kilometer behind, unable to increase his speed in the slightest. Knowing that there is not much of a distance left to their goal, Laien was starting to grow anxious and desperate for some good idea.

    With the first day of their journey being nearly over, Ruan was pleasantly surprised by Yin and somewhat disappointed by Laien. Among his past trainees, there was no one as quick to catch on as Yin, but also no one as thick-headed as Laien. “What can I do. That’s what happens when a kid is given too much too easily… He will eventually grow spoiled and unable to face simple problems. By now, he really should have realized that what he is doing leads to nowhere… Oh well. Shall we go ahead to the inn and wait for him there?” Ruan wondered silently, then one last time looked over his shoulder at Laien. After he saw what Laien was doing, Ruan’s mouth opened wide. The man laughed with disbelief. What was this youth thinking he was doing?!

    Laien, instead of facing the problem head on, ended up abandoning the problem as a whole. He didn’t try to take the turns in a perfect manner anymore. Or rather, he didn’t try to take them at all, instead cutting right through the stony mountain land, moving in the straight line toward Ruan and Yin. Despite the craziness of doing something so unreasonable during the night, Laien finally began feeling at ease. Sure, he was nervous about Bellicose tripping and falling, but somehow, he felt it wouldn’t happen. On the contrary, riding in this wild manner seemed to suit his and Bellicose’s tastes better than trying to take curves on the road in a technical way. The crazy and dangerous idea which was somehow being pulled through, allowed Laien to shorten the distance separating him from Ruan and Yin quite quickly. If nothing went wrong, he would join them soon, with a good margin of safety before reaching the end of the road for today.

    “How in the world had his horse not fallen over yet? This kid’s got a devils luck…” Ruan murmured, gazing at Laien who was getting closer with each passing minute. As the distance between them was getting shorter, Ruan was growing more amazed. It simply couldn’t be all luck. Without trust between the rider and his horse and some skill, such a feat would be impossible.

    How did the boy who refused to listen to his horse suddenly change his mind and let the mount do how it pleased? Ruan yet again failed to understand what was going on in Laien’s head.

    Ruan didn’t quite understand, but Yin realized well enough what it was all about. Yin was smiling happily, laughing from time to time. Laien wouldn’t have let himself have troubles with something ‘simple’, with a task given to him. However, if it was something reckless and stupid, he wouldn’t hesitate to entrust everything to his instincts. Although Yin couldn’t really find proper words to explain it, he understood that Laien’s problem was being too emotional, while having strong and well developed instincts; and with all of that being paired up with his desire for rational thinking and analyzing things. All in all, Laien’s personality was full of contradictions, which only increased its explosiveness and made it hard to understand.

    For this very reason, it was easy to influence Laien’s mood and his thinking. However, the later one only applied to people Laien liked or cared about. He simply wouldn’t listen to an opinion of someone irrelevant to him, even if the person was saying something smart. He could be angered by a stranger, but for him to be influenced in a long term was unlikely.

    When more or less thirty kilometers were left to the goal, Laien caught up to Ruan and Yin. The road seemed to have become straighter, too, so he had no further problems with keeping up.

    At the moment, Laien’s breath was ragged and his heart was beating incredibly fast from all the adrenaline. The reckless ride was a pretty never-wrecking experience for him. but having caught up, he felt quite happy with himself. Maybe he failed to deal with the highlands in a ‘proper’ way, but he found something else and pulled it off. At the very least, he wouldn’t lose the bet!

    Ruan shook his head. One thing was certain - he wouldn’t be bored traveling with those two kiddos.“Haha, the two of you did well, but you’re going to be cooking food for yourselves anyway. Just follow the road and take the first turn right, see you in a few minutes!” Ruan called out, his words at first not making much sense for Laien and Yin. Then, he pulled his reins to the right and… rode straight into the forest, still galloping and barely slowing down.

    The two boys stared at the forest, completely slack-jawed. Yin sighed with a smile, while Laien shook his head with an ironic laugh. There was no way either of them would try to chase after Ruan in this situation. This wouldn’t be bravery or confidence, but suicide. The two of them looked at each other and laughed helplessly. From the very beginning, there was no way they would beat this person, not on the road he knew so well.

    “Aah, so tired… Let’s get there quickly, I can’t wait to lie down and go to sleep.” Laien moaned, feeling the muscles all over his body twitch painfully. He was hurting all over, even in the places where he thought it was impossible to hurt. “It would be nice to get some rest.” Yin agreed straightforwardly. He himself wasn’t as exhausted as Laien; not only was his martial cultivation two levels higher, at the peak of seventh mortal realm, his body was also tougher and stronger thanks to his magical beast heritage. It required a lot more to make his body tired out.

    “Oh, there we have the crossroads. Let’s go, we should be fairly close.” Laien said with relief. The two youths slowed down and headed through the narrow forest road towards the inn. slowing down and heading through the small forest road towards the inn.

    This chapter was proofread by Yong!

    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • edited December 2015

    Originally i didn't think it would get that long, but it did. Well, first 'part' ended up being a whole chapter, hehe... Now, gotta finish the second and also release it. Buuuhuuu! :D (likely tomorrow, mmmm!)

    Thanks for reading~~
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • hahahahaha they got wrecked! xD Thanks for the chapter!
  • Yay, someone commented, saving me from the gloominess~~ Sigh. I will try to start posting regularly from now on, since I more or less stabilized my life, hehe ~ Gotta create some stable schedule and everything... Well, will see how it goes by the end of this week ~~
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • Yes ;-; stable schedules <3
  • edited December 2015
    Book 2. The outside world.

    Chapter 4. Scolded?

    After riding for a few minutes, Laien and Yin found the fairly big inn, which was hidden inside the forest. The building was much bigger compared to those inns they had seen on their way here, but didn’t look especially ‘rich’. It was normal, made mainly from wood. It blended in with the forest. The place where the inn was build was peculiar, as if its owner didn’t care if many travelers stopped for the night or not. Or, perhaps he wanted to keep the inn somewhat secretive; to make it an unusual place.

    In the courtyard, the two boys noticed Ruan, who already started taking take of his horse. The man noticed them and called out. “Make sure to groom your horses properly before anything else. Then, make yourselves something to eat. We will be setting out tomorrow in the afternoon, as to avoid sweating needlessly in the heat. You can rest and sleep all you want. Any questions?” Ruan explained briefly, then waited to see if anything was unclear. Since the two boys weren’t asking, he returned to grooming his mount.

    Laien sighed quietly. After putting so much effort, he really expected the man to at least say a word or two about the ride or the bet. Instead, Ruan didn’t comment about either, making Laien feel as if the whole ride was pointless. “At least I learned to ride a bit better… I will need to ask Yin for some advice next time, though.” With another sigh, Laien jumped down from Bellicose and looked at the brown-furred stallion. “Now, I’ve got to groom you every time we finish the ride? Ah, that’s going to be a major pain in the ass…” Taking a deep breath, Laien started with the meticulous task.

    Soon enough, the two war horses were taken care of and the time for making supper came. The matter troubled Laien, who scratched his head and asked Yin in a somewhat embarrassed manner. “Have you ever cooked anything? I have no idea at all how to go about it…” Laien smiled awkwardly. He knew how to roast some meat or that certain dishes needed to be cooked in water. But, as far as adding spices and judging how long to cook the dish… He was completely green about that, with no experience whatsoever.

    If Laien was by himself, he would have been satisfied to eat something simple. However, since he was with Yin and the whole situation was kind of… Well, totally his fault; he felt bad about making Yin go through the same ‘punishment’. He really hoped that Yin won’t be angry at him...

    “I cooked for myself often when I was traveling, I watched some landladies cooking, too. Let’s get some fresh ingredients from the inn and make a bullion from meat and vegetables. It’s fast to make and fairly simple, so all the better. I am no expert at cooking, either.” Yin explained, chucking while saying the last sentence. He had been traveling alone for over a year, so he had a chance to learn a few things. Preparing a simple dish was within his capabilities, but he didn’t know how to cook anything fancy either.

    “Thanks, Yin. If I can help with anything, just say a word!” Laien stated with a hint of apology in his voice. He was slowly beginning to realize how little he knew about normal life of an everyday person. Cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, earning money… Although he could fight well, he couldn’t do any of those basic things. Knowing that Yin can probably do any of those made Laien feel somewhat embarrassed about himself.

    “Then, can you prepare a bonfire? Around this size would be fine.” Yin proposed, showing with his hands how big did he want it to be. “Sure.” Laien agreed and went towards the line of trees. Since the task given to him wasn’t hard, he finished it quickly. Yin also didn’t take long getting the ingredients and joined Laien in the yard.

    Laien extended his hand and waved over the wood, releasing some spiritual energy and heating it up with the aid of Principle of Energy. The fire ignited instantly, accompanied by the cracking sounds caused by the water instantly vaporizing from the timber. Using the Principle of Energy in this manner was obvious to Laien. However, Yin who saw it for the first time from close-up and had time to concentrate on the process, was surprised.

    “That was the pure energy causing air to heat up? So it can be used like that, too?” Yin looked at Laien curiously. He had been using this strange energy to enhance his lightning since forever and didn’t pay much attention to it. Discovering that it was actually the very energy which allowed Laien to manipulate the temperature and likely, his water element spells, was pretty unexpected.

    Laien thought for a second how to explain what he was doing with the Principle of Energy. He didn’t know if it had the same effects on other elements… and it probably did not. In the end, he deicded to leave the more complicated stuff for later and begin from what he understood. “ Um, do I say that… You know that there is the basic ‘pure’ energy and that this energy can be changed into two different forms? The ‘positive’ one and the ‘negative one’?” Laien asked, wondering if Yin by a chance started leaning about the Principle of Energy from the opposite end compared to himself.

    At that time, when he watched Dan’s father, Duaran, forge the Living Steel for him, he had became aware of the ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ aspects of the Principle of Energy Only later did he understand that by joining the two, somewhere in the middle, existed the natural primordial energy, which could be used to strengthen any actions on the very basic level. Be it a spell, a punch, or even a normal shout. However, why exactly were those things becoming more powerful after mixing with the primordial energy… He had no idea. It just worked like that, for some reason. Maybe one day, he would understand it thoroughly.

    Laien sighed in his heart. In all honesty, he didn’t yet understand the Principles too well. Similarly, he had only superficial understanding of the Elemental Law of Water and its Attributes. What he knew and understood the best, were the various Aspects, but even in this field, he was far from being an expert. He just took a few first steps on the long road of cultivation.

    After thinking for a bit about what Laien said, Yin put the ingredients to the side and raised his palm. He gathered some pure, primordial energy on top it. “That’s the thing, right? It can make the air get hot? Can you show me again?” Yin asked, after attempting to do the same as Laien and failing. He wanted to copy what Laien did and heat up the air, but… There was something wrong in the process and he couldn’t do it.

    Laien nodded, then gathered some primordial energy atop of his hand. He willed it, and so the energy changed, as if it embraced the air around itself. The energy caused the air to waver from intense heat. A few seconds later, Laien changed the energy again, causing a steady amount of extremely cold mist to flow down from his hand.

    “I’ve used this basic for my ice spells and… uh, you know, the incredibly hot currents of air. I have no idea how to call them.” Laien mentioned, then added more spiritual energy and created some water. The liquid froze in the blink of an eye, to only be vaporized into a steaming and deadly mist a moment later.

    Yin observed the little show with interest, focusing his senses on process itself. He tilted his head, then tried something out. He gathered some Qi in his hand and transformed it into lightning. Then, added the pure energy, strengthening it as he always did. Then, feeling that the approach of ‘making something hot’, as Laien did with his water, would work out better, attempted to tell the energy itself to change…

    Instantly, the lightning on top of Yin’s hand grew chaotic and got completely out of his control. It exploded outwards, the white currents of electricity striking the ground in two or three meters range. The lightning, of course, completely avoided Laien and did him no harm. After the two entered the Blood Pact, unless Yin put the clear intent into his Qi, it would avoid harming Laien.

    Right afterward, Yin extended his hand, pointing at the ground thirty metes away. He repeated the same process, this time focusing more on controlling the chaotic ‘positive’ energy. The violent surge of lightning moved through the air and hit the exact spot in the distance.

    “Whoa, it can work like that! A distance attack! It basically changed the properties of my lightning! Normally, it would be really hard for me to control it when it got further away, it would stick to anything in its way very easily. But now, it felt like a ‘surge’, where I could choose its final destination! Wow!” Yin said excitedly, fidgeting as if he wanted to go and try everything out right now. However, the sound of his stomach growling reminded him what was more urgent. The two of them exchanged a glance and laughed at the same time.

    Yin quickly finished preparing the ingredients and put everything into the pot. Then, he returned to the matter which still baffled him. “Say, I can affect my lightning with this natural energy, but even if I try, I can’t do it with the air itself like you did when igniting the bonfire. How did you do that? Do you have affinity for the wind element, too?” Yin asked, pretty sure that it wasn’t because he ‘didn’t understand’ how Laien heated up the air. It was just that… He couldn’t do the same! Naturally, the only explanation would be for Laien to have wind-type affinity.

    “Eh? Wind element? No, I have practically no affinity to elements other than water. And it’s not like I am heating up the air directly, only the moisture in it, you know?” Laien said, frowning a bit. It was strange that Yin thought he could heat up the air itself. But… eh? “Wait a second… I really heated up the air directly a moment ago. But how did I do it?” Laien tried to recall the feeling and repeat what he just did a moment ago, but he wasn’t able to. The fact intrigued him, but at the time, he really had no way of explaining what was going on.

    “You probably did it instinctually. I had a few cases when I did something and didn’t understand what just happened or how to repeat it.” Yin commented with a smile, not minding an unclear conclusion to the matter of using the natural energy. He already learned something new and was very happy about it.

    “Well, there is no point in thinking about it. Maybe I will understand it someday.” Laien agreed and instead focused on the boiling soup. The rich smell of meat and spices made his stomachs growl no less than Yin’s; their appetites certainly were aroused. Suddenly and out of the blue, Yin asked, having remembered about something. “Why were you sulking back then, when we were setting off?” The thing wasn’t too important, but Yin wanted to know. He had felt Laien’s emotions through their spiritual bond and didn’t quite understand what had provoked such a reaction from him.

    Laien looked somewhere to the side and answered grumblingly. “I got angry at that guy, what else? He was acting all important and looked down on us, when he is nothing special… apart from his riding skills, I guess…” Laien shook his head. It was strange to know what Yin felt about the matter without him speaking up. “Why was it wrong for me to get angry?” Laien thought to himself, feeling that Yin is about to reprimand him. A boy his age wants to scold him… If not for knowing Yin’s intentions being really clear to him thanks to the spiritual bond, he likely wouldn’t have even tried to listen to him.

    “You know, my grandfather said that no matter who the person is, there is always something we can learn from him. I realize I know little about the world; do you think you know everything?” Yin asked bluntly, looking Laien in the eye. His usual smile was gone and the atmosphere had turned a little oppressive. It wasn’t something Laien would have expected to hear from Yin with his easy-going and lighthearted personality, nor would he expect Yin to act in this way.

    If it was some other person, it would have been hard for Laien to keep his calm as well as he did now. The events from the past two days also paid some dividend, allowing Laien to face the problem, instead of running away from it. “Obviously I don’t know everything. But, does it mean I should be happy when someone insults me? How come you weren’t angry when he told us he doesn’t want to babysit us? He was looking at us like at some spoiled young masters who would piss themselves at the mere sight of the real world.” Laien spoke his feelings, thinking back to the situation. He wasn’t just anyone, and he always worked hard to get what he wanted to. Only because of his efforts and luck did he meet and befriend so many amazing people.

    Who were some random escorts, to criticize him and look down on him? He already held back enough, not making an affair out of the thing back then. What else was he supposed to do?

    Yin smiled and chuckled. He asked ironically. “But aren’t you behaving just like the very spoiled young master, by being angry over a pointless thing?” Seeing Laien’s expression, Yin couldn’t help but laugh again. He then continued speaking, having returned to his usual merry tone of voice. “I got angry at him, just like you did. But, like grandfather said, it’s better to feel angered, but not be angry. Uuh, to be honest, I still don’t really get what he meant by that, but I think it’s about keeping your calm, you know? Not ignoring everything around you, but also not taking stupid things to heart. What’s the point of making your mood bad?” Yin concluded, shrugging his shoulders. As for himself, it wasn’t that he wasn’t thinking about anything or was clueless because he preferred to be happy than to sulk over every little thing. He simply would rather have fun, instead of looking for problems behind every corner.

    Laien stayed silent for a moment, digesting what he just heard from Yin. It wasn’t easy for Laien to try looking at himself objectively, especially as far as his normal, every-day behavior went. He had been harshly corrected in his training by Master Shier, or reprimanded for his recklessness by Rudford. He had also been lectured by Sinra… But being scolded? Apart from Yin, no one had tried to scold him for anything for as long as he could remember. Or, even if some random people threw some comments his way, he had simply ignored them, thinking something like ‘What could they know to be lecturing me!’.

    Laien smiled self-mockingly. Wasn’t that the very thing Yin just mentioned? That he shouldn’t look down on people from the moment he met them? Maybe there really was some sense in that. “I didn’t expect anything from that guy, but he could teach me how to ride a horse well… Maybe he knows how to do some other things well ,too, and I could learn from him…” Laien sighed. The talent for cultivation was important, but it wasn’t everything. He raised his gaze towards Yin and said quietly.

    “It was stupid of me to get angry at that guy and to act all offended afterwards. You are right, there is no point. It’s childish and what’s worse, only makes my mood worse. I will try to be more reasonable…” Laien said awkwardly, not knowing how he was supposed to feel about explaining himself to a boy his age. He began understanding that Yin was much more mature than him about certain aspects of life, but he wouldn’t want to admit it openly.

    Regardless, it was much easier for Laien to open himself up and take criticism from another person his age, from someone talented and someone he really liked. Changing one’s approach for the better wasn’t easy, but Laien had taken the first step towards becoming less of a child and more of a young man. The step by itself didn’t seem too important, but whether it was or if it wasn’t, would only be known in the future.

    Yin only smiled at Laien’s statement. There was no need for pointless follow up, since the two could very well feel each other’s emotions through their spiritual bond. The two of them relaxed, having the troublesome matter concluded nicely. “Let’s start eating, it should be ready by now.” Yin said, pouring bullion into the bowl and handing it over to Laien along with some bread.

    “Thanks.” Laien licked his lips and tasted the bullion, adding a large bite of bread to the mix. The little pieces of meat melted under his teeth, while the rich taste spread through his mouth. Laien swallowed and looked at Yin. “It’s good! Really good!” He said, unsuspecting that a simple dish could taste so well. Those delicacies he had gotten used to eating were delicious, but… There was something else in this regular food, eaten with a friend in the yard of some inn somewhere in the country, and it was great.

    Yin smiled at Laien and also started eating. He was happy Laien like the food, but saying something like that would be somewhat embarrassing. The two of them ate all they wanted until their bellies got full, and a few minutes later were finished with the supper.

    Feeling pretty good where he was, Laien decided on a whim. “I think I will sleep outside. The night won’t be cold in the middle of summer. How about you?” Laien asked, taking out a fur blanket and placing it on the ground nearby the bonfire. After getting atop of it, he withdrew a thinner blanket and placed it over himself.

    Yin couldn’t not understand the half amused and half teasing expression on Laien’s face. He had nothing against sleeping outside. In fact, he liked it. Training with the natural energy could wait until morning, too. He moved over to Laien and laid down at his side, covering himself up to the chest with the white, thin blanket.

    Without fooling around or speaking too much, the two simply started at the sky, enjoying the moment. It didn’t take long for them to fall asleep.

    This chapter was proofread by Yong!

    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • edited December 2015

    Yay, the first daily chapter has been released! I truly hope to continue releasing daily, hehe. For those who don't look at the OP (original post) and don't know what is going on - go take a peek there, everything is briefly explained ^.^

    >>> As always, thanks for reading and please, do comment; be it with simple thanks or some larger feedback! It means a lot to me! Huehue :)
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • Thanks for the chapter! I finally got the time to read it lol. I'm really busy right now, but I managed to do it :D

    I'm looking forward to the future chapters :D
  • edited December 2015
    Book 2. The outside world.

    Chapter 5. The dangerous recklessness.

    “Look there, it’s those brats.” The man riding at Liza’s side said as their group of six entered the yard in front of the inn. “Don’t tell me they actually kept up with that freak?” The man wondered loudly, looking at the two sleeping boys.

    “Don’t be stupid Jin. How could that be true? Stop staring them and get your ass moving, I want to eat something and get some good sleep.” Liza commented sourly, giving her partner an angry look. However, despite her words, she didn’t hurry inside the inn, instead taking her time to properly groom her war horse. Spending a few minutes to thoroughly take care of the mount wasn’t much, but would save many troubles along the way. Anyone who had ever traveled a long distance knew this truth and would leave his mount be until morning after dismounting it.

    The grooming itself was fairly simple. It involved taking off the saddle along with the whole head piece, then letting the first dry up and cleaning the second one. The horse’s fur would need to be mussed up and its hooves cleaned. After getting used to the process, it would take no longer than five minutes, even if done really meticulously.

    “Oi, Liza, look. Those two brats are hugging each other while sleeping. Think they are ‘that’?” Jin smirked, gazing towards the two with a strange glimpse in his eyes. “Tch, you and your kinky interests.” Liza frowned, not commenting any further. Although she technically was with this man, mainly because of his good looks and how good he was in bed… She couldn’t stand some of Jin’s more peculiar hobbies.

    “Haha, come on, why are you so uptight? Didn’t you want to get back at those two a little? We could have some fun with them, or I could, if you aren’t interested.” Yin said with a laugh, not minding Liza’s displeased expression. He raised an eyebrow, noticing the cold stares from the side. “And what are you three looking at?” He barked at the three guards from Valius family. As Jin saw it, a group of trashes who couldn’t even reach the Realm of Heroes should be sitting quietly in the corner, not bothering him!

    “Pipe down you dimwit and stop thinking with your dick. Making it hard for those two is one thing, but assaulting them would be another story. You want to try having a Great Master pull your insides out through your asshole, huh? If not, you’d better forget about making any moves on them.” Liza said angrily, wondering if this man of hers had anything inside this head of his, or did his brain somehow evaporate through his ears. Of course she wanted to annoy those two young masters a bit, but she knew where the limits lied. She wouldn’t do anything stupid enough to risk encoring evoking the wrath of the people who stood behind those two kids.

    “Oh, Lizzy. Why so harsh? You don’t believe they would be willing to have some fun with the elder brother here?” Jin chuckled, showing a smiled filled with boundless self-confidence. “You are retarded. Come, I think it’s the highest time to wring you dry, before you do anything irreversibly stupid. I could use some stretching before the meal.” Liza said resignedly and amorously at the same time. She grabbed Jin by his shirt pulled towards the entrance to the inn.

    The remaining four followed right after them. The remaining man from the Cail family’s side didn’t show any interest in the matter or in eating and quickly headed to sleep. The three guards from the Valius family however, wondered if they should be waking up their superior to deliver those news. In the end, since it didn’t look like this pair would try to attack the boys, the left the whole thing for later. After eating, the three of them headed to their rooms to have a good night’s rest.

    The next few hours passed uneventfully, and eventually the sun started rising behind the mountains in the east. The bright of the day came long before the first rays of sun, but nevertheless, the forest has been awoken. What during the night was quiet, now turned into a lively place filled with chirping of many different species of birds. The refreshing and cool wind was blowing lightly, causing the countless leafs to rustle characteristically.

    Laien woke up, enjoying the song of the nature. He opened his eyes after a while, and took a look at Yin’s sleeping face. “How did we even end up hugging each other?” Laien chuckled in his heart, becoming more aware of the position the two of them had been sleeping in.

    “He sure looks good…” The thought crossed Laien’s mind. Yin really was a typical ‘beautiful boy’ from the stories and dreams of many young girls. Yin’s hair was a mess, just like his own. It was getting a bit long, soon it would start reaching up to his shoulders. Yin’s facial features were somewhat girly, but looking up close, it was easy to tell that he was a boy.

    Laien was slightly started when suddenly, Yin moved and awakened; then gazed at him curiously. “Good morning.” Yin said, smiling happily. “I slept so well… Want to go and spar a little? I want to try a few things out.” Yin continued eagerly, remembering about yesterday and three days ago. He had learned some new things, but didn’t have a chance to try them out yet. Now that they had half a day of free time, he wanted to use it for training. Doing it with someone else, with Laien, would be much more interesting than practicing alone.

    “Um, yeah. I wanted to train, too, but… Maybe we should lie down for a while longer.” Laien gave Yin a meaningful look, then peeked down at the white blanked covering their lower bodies. Well, it was a morning, after all… Yin only laughed quietly and agreed with him. Thus, the two of them spent a few more minutes relaxing and listening to the sound of the forest, while chatting about unimportant things.

    On their way deeper into the forest, the two started talking about their insights and understanding of the various matters with regard to cultivation. Laien explained how he saw and named the various insights of his, then Yin did the same from his perspective. Although Laien looked at the whole thing more logically and Yin instinctively, they managed to understand each other without any major troubles.

    “So, summing it up.” Laien began, and started describing what he had learned about Yin’s insights. “You know and were always using the Principle of Energy and most likely, some Attributes of Lightning. Those were all understood by you naturally…” Laien sighed lightly, suppressing the feeling of jealously. He knew Yin was amazing, but only after learning the details did he start envying Yin’s talent. Suddenly, he no longer could think of himself as someone with extremely great potential. He realized that he needed to train hard, if he wanted to not be left behind.

    “If we were to look at the Aspects, then you know four of them. The strongest ones are the Aspect of Pride and the Aspect of Humility. Then, there is the Aspect of Awareness and lastly the Aspect of Desire… and you can easily use them all together, at once…” Laien released a resigned sigh. In his case, it took him some time and luck to understand how to fuse the Aspects of Tranquility and Wrath. Also, he was only able to add the Aspect of Awareness to the mix since it was a natural, supportive Aspect. He wasn’t confident at all in fusing another emotion, another Aspect into the mix, were he to gain understanding of it.

    “Aren’t you quite amazing yourself?” Yin mentioned in a light voice; Laien’s feelings being transmitted to him. “You know a bit about the Attributes of your element and you understand how to use the natural energy well. You know and can use three, um, Aspects? Altogether. The ‘Tranquility’, the ‘Wrath’ and the ‘Awareness’, right? But that’s not everything. There are also your spells and the Martial Arts you have yet to learn, right? If you make progress in all those things, you might soon be able to beat me.” Yin looked at Laien out of the corner of his eye, smiling teasingly.

    To that, Laien could only chuckle helplessly. He wasn’t foolish enough to believe he would be able to beat Yin if they fought for the second time. During their duel, he had only been able to put up a good fight since Yin wasn’t used to fighting a spiritual practitioner like him and he managed to surprise him with a sudden area of effect spell. The same ‘trick’ wouldn’t work twice, now when Yin was aware of his capabilities as a water-element spiritual practitioner. On the other hand, Yin’s raw abilities were just too great. Even knowing what to expect, Laien couldn’t find a miraculous way to deal with him. Yin was simply too fast, his instincts were too good and his weapon wielding technique not one bit inferior to his.

    The only way for him to gain advantage over Yin was to waste time for a full cast of a spell, what didn’t yield that great results compared to chantless casting anyway. In an actual fight, there was no way for him to have enough spare time to do a full cast for a spell, which usually would take ten or more seconds…

    “We should be far enough by now to not wake everyone up. Shall we start?” Laien said and materialized the dark blue spear in his hand. If he wanted to catch up to Yin and become strong enough to return to Sarkcente Kingdom to help Sinra, he would need to create a powerful Martial Art. To do exactly that, Laien wanted to gain better understanding just what does he expect from the Martial Art. What was he lacking and how could he improve the quickest?

    Yin nodded and took out his twin swords, concentrating and preparing to attack Laien. “Don’t be too harsh on me.” Laien said with a chuckle, swirling the spear between one hand and the other. He took a proper stance, grabbing the shaft with both hands and bending his knees lightly. “The same to you. Being boiled alive by that hot mist of yours was quite terrible experience, you know?” Yin reminded, rousing the Qi in his body.

    In an instant, the two of them clashed, sending the sound of multiple clashes throughout the forest. From time to time, the metallic sounds were being interrupted by explosions of energy. Once in a while, a tree would get shattered and would collapse. Concentrating on their own insights and trying to improve, the two boys kept on sparing lightly without noticing the passage of many minutes…

    A kilometer or so away from the place where Laien and Yin were sparring, two people were walking through the forest and looking around, searching “Damn you Jin, can’t you be searching for those brats alone? Why did you need to drag me with you?” Liza complained, feeling tired after spending most of the night with Jin. In comparison, her partner was as fresh-looking as ever. “Insatiable freak.” She laughed at the thought. After all, that was one of the reasons she liked Jin s so much.

    “Relax, relax. It’s going to be fun.” Jin reassured confidently. “I’ve got a good way to make even haughty young masters do what I want them to. Just wait, I will show you. We just need to-“ Jin stopped speaking, hearing the sound of clashing weapons coming from afar. “Hmmm. Are they sparring? So hardworking. Let’s go take a look.” He said casually, immediately heading into the direction where the two youths most likely were.

    Liza shook her head. She did not see anything remotely interesting in watching two kids spar. So what if they were top-level talents in Sarkcente Kingdom? They would still need at least a decade of training until they got stronger than she was. She wasn’t a person who would suck up to some brats just because they had a possibility to become strong in the future. For her, what mattered was what was now, not what would be someday. What’s more, she was completely satisfied with her current way of living. Getting involved in politics and struggles for power? She’d rather keep living freely as a mercenary, traveling the world.

    “After this mission is over, I should cut my ties with this whole Cail family. They pay good, but they want too much.” She decided silently, following Jin since there was nothing better to do. Well… Maybe she was interested in this ‘way’ that Jin mentioned to get the boys to do what he wanted. Just a little bit.

    “Why did you suddenly stop?” Liza walked up to Jin and stood at his side. From there, she could see the small area where the two boys were fighting. With her mouth slightly open, Liza watched Laien and Yin exchange quick blows. She was surprised to find out that the two were using rather unique weapons, rarely seen in the south. One was wielding a spear in a way she would have never imagined was possible, constantly turning and using momentum to keep up with the continuous barrage of slashes of the twin swords.

    Once in a while, the black-haired kid wielding the spear would try thrusting. However, the green-haired one would dodge effortlessly and gain the upper hand, pressuring his opponent with ease. The two might have seemed to be equally matched, but it was the black-haired kid who was constantly on the defensive. Obviously, the green-haired one was much stronger.

    “They’re quite something, don’t you think? Either of them would be a good match for a practitioner at the ninth mortal realm. They are so young, too. It’s impressive.” Jin praised honestly, his interest in the two growing even stronger. He needed to admit, that he never thought that the two would be outstanding to this extent. Being able to play with boys like those two would undoubtedly be extremely memorable experience…

    Laien smiled, receiving another dozen or so blows from Yin in a quick succession. He was grateful for a chance to spar with Yin with both of them holding back considerably. This way, he was becoming clearly aware of his shortcomings. Just like he had been thinking since long ago, he wanted to find a way to strengthen his body overall, so he could use every part of it while fighting. That much would be more or less solved by him advancing in his martial practice… But, he wanted something more! Something that would allow him to fight on par with Yin in close quarters.

    A rough idea began forming in Laien’s mind. He wondered if it was possible, to create something like that. “There’s no other way but to try, huh? To begin with, I will look through the Heavenly Flame scrolls I got from Injar and Sinra and then focus on the Principle of Energy.” Laien decided, having a feeling that this certain insight of his would work well as a foundation for his Martial Art.

    Around that time, the two of them broke away from each other and stopped sparring. They knew without talking when the other was content. Laien intended to ask if they should return to eat a breakfast, or if Yin would rather stay here to train in peace for a few hours, but the appearance of the certain two people made him swallow his words.

    “What do you want?” He asked, staring suspiciously at the black-haired woman and brown-haired gigolo, who were walking in their direction.

    “Nothing, we were just watching your spar. The two of you are very strong, really living up to your fame.” Jin complimented straightforwardly. However, to his surprise, Laien’s expression only turned for the worse, while Yin appeared to be unconcerned about the situation. “Ah, right. They are probably fed up with compliments. They surely have had a chance to spar with supreme experts far above my level, too. I should take different approach.” Jin quickly deduced and without delay, followed up.

    “Right, we haven’t been introduced to each other yet. I’m Jin, a martial master of the first rank.” The man began and waited for the two to respond. Laien shook his head just barely, remaining tight-lipped. What was unexpected, Yin reacted similarly. Perhaps he was able to instinctually sense the bad intentions of the man in front of him?

    Jin coughed and said, trying to not let the awkward silence continue for too long. “The two of you are quite strong, your real power is around the ninth mortal realm. Howe about it, don’t you want to test how do you fare against a martial master at the first realm of heroes?” Jin asked and right afterward, refrained from showing a satisfied smile. He finally managed to make the black-haired boy somewhat interested!

    “But, simply exchanging a few blows would be dull, wouldn’t it? How about adding a little bet to spice the things up? If you manage to wound me, I will owe you a favor. If you can’t, then you will owe me a favor. How about it?” Jin proposed, carefully observing the two boys to know if they are content and would agree, or still weren’t convinced.

    “The two of you can go at the same time, if you want to.” He quickly added, after seeing Laien shake his head.

    This time, Laien chortled resignedly. He and Yin glanced at each other, thinking the same thing. This man, ‘Jin’ or whatever; wasn’t he pretty badly mistaken about something important?

    “I can see you want to try, don’t chicken out! Come at me with your full strength attacks!” Jin said encouragingly and loudly, taking out his sword and preparing to receive the two. “Come, give your best!” He urged again, smiling at Laien and Yin with a faked honesty

    Laien raised his eyebrows and looked at Yin, asking wordlessly. What should they do about this horribly mistaken idiot, whose intentions were so obviously impure?

    This chapter was proofread by Ains!

    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • edited December 2015

    Took me longer than expected to write, since i was too tired to do it yesterday, so it's not professionalyl PR'ed yet. Tired to correct as much as i could notice, hehe. :)

    PS: Oh, got it just as i posted ^.^ Adding the PR - luckily there weren't many mistakes, only two or three little ones ^.^ Hehe. I am improving, Yaaay.
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • LOL he's gonna get his ass kicked so badly xD Thanks for the chapter(s)!
  • edited December 2015
    Book 2. The outside world.

    Chapter 6. Stupidity.

    “Hmmm…” Laien murmured. From the looks of it, Yin wanted him to not get involved with those two and ignore the man’s proposition. On the other hand, he himself wouldn’t mind teaching this annoying idiot a lesson. If the man just stood there and took their attacks head on… Forget the two of them attacking together, either full strength blow would almost certainly be enough to end the fool’s life.

    “Sorry, we are not interested.” Laien said in the end, after thinking the matter through. There was no need to get fired up by some idiot and involve himself in something stupid. Laien wanted to say something else, but suddenly he thought; what’s the point? There was no need to start an argument by rebuking the man aggressively. It was much better to go about it in a calmer way, without getting riled and emotional over every little thing.

    Liza smirked, giving Jin a look saying ‘haven’t I told you?’. The woman shook her head and said. “Let’s go back and not disturb the ‘young masters’. Come, stop wasting your time on the brats.” Having said so, the woman turned and headed back to the inn, not waiting for her partner to reply.

    Jin, however, just stood there, flabbergasted. He spend the majority of his life traveling and ever since he broke through to the Realm of Heroes half a century ago, he never was ignored by anyone. Fairly enough, it was because the man never dealt with truly powerful or important people, but he himself seemed to have not realized that. Denying the possibility, his thoughts turned to the only possible explanation which he could come up with.

    “Haaa, you are too shy to accept? Don’t worry, I never planned to request anything big from you in case you failed to wound me. There is no need to to hold yourselves back, come, we can exchange a few blows to warm up!” Jin spoke with absolute certainty that his reasoning was correct, while walking towards Laien and Yin. The man thought he was being friendly and considerate, but from the other point of view…

    Laien pointed the dark-blue spear towards Jin, wondering what kind of horseshit was inside this man’s head. “We’re not interested, is it too hard to understand? Fuck off!” Laien went as far as curse at the man, but seeing how the fool brushed his words off, as if he didn’t hear them, made Laien wonder if more of so ridiculously stupid people existed in the world.

    “Won’t you stop it already, you fool?” An angered voice came from afar, causing Jin to stop just as he was about to swing his sword at Laien. “Those three came to warn me that you might try stirring troubles with the kids, but to think you would try to attack them? Have you lost your mind?” Ruan rebuked, holding the hilt of the massive broadsword on his back with his hand.

    “It’s not what you think, we were only about to spar, right?” Jin tried to explain, taking a look at Laien and Yin. “To me, it only looked as if you wanted to attack us. Didn’t Laien tell you we don’t want to spar with you?” Yin replied coldly, not lowering his guard. Just a second ago, he was prepared to strike at the man the moment he would send a blow towards Laien. It wasn’t often that Yin would not tolerate a person, but this ‘Jin’ or whatever, managed to splendidly antagonize the green-haired youth. Even now, Yin was glaring at the man fiercely.

    “You head ‘em. Back off.” Ruan said decisively with a grim expression on his face. In his line of work as messenger, what he knew about the Cail family and people affiliated to them was mostly rumors. He really never expected for them to be exactly as those stories claimed. “Maybe I should have worried about this team, instead of how the kiddos would behave…” He sighed inwardly and walked in between Laien and Jin, separating the two for good.

    Jin’s face twitched. Faced with someone stronger than him, he didn’t argue at all. He quickly turned and left, heading after Liza. Inside the man’s head, however, it was Ruan who interrupted his best chance to get along with Laien and Yin. It simply didn’t occur to him how ridiculous his behavior was in reality. Not to mention that the man didn’t expect that he was actually about to get killed by the two youths, had he slashed with his sword at Laien. “Gonna have to try again, when this meddlesome guy won’t be there.” He thought resolutely, and no longer worried about what just happened.

    “Finally left. Are you two all right?” Ruan asked in a troubled manner. He was hoping for the third person hired by the Cail family to not be as problematic as that man. He could put a fresh martial master into order, but to deal with somebody one level above him? Hard! It would be too hard, if not impossible.

    “Yeah, all okay. Thanks.” Laien said, trying to sound as normal as possible. At first he didn’t take much of a liking towards Ruan, but maybe if he tried to, he would find him to be a better man than he gave him credit to. “Thanks for helping.” Yin also said, his usual smile having returned after Jin disappeared from his view.

    Ruan nodded, quietly taking notice of the positive change in Laien’s attitude. “If you want to continue training, do it closer to the inn, just in case. You should also try to avoid being alone with that man. Come, I will walk you back.” He advised and gestured at the two to follow him. Laien and Yin didn’t mind and went with Ruan, then settled to train in the forest nearby to the yard.

    As the two sat down to meditate for the period of time, Laien brought up another matter which piqued his curiosity. “Say, Yin. How do Aspects appear to you when you are training?” He asked, briefly sensing the presence of the two fully formed orbs of light inside him. The third one containing the Aspect of Awareness was beside them, but without concentrating properly and meditating, Laien couldn’t inspect it too well.

    “How? I don’t really know, aren’t they just there, mixed with my Qi?” Yin replied. Seeing the look in Laien’s eyes, he guessed that there was something more to that. “Come on, tell me quickly! There’s something more to them?” Yin urged excitedly, leaning forward toward Laien and looking him in the eye. His grandfather never understood those insights he had since young, so for Yin, talking with Laien was the first time he could consult his knowledge with another person.

    Laien chuckled lightly, then explained as well as he could. “At first, it was the same for me. Those ‘emotions’ were only in my Spiritual Energy. But later, when I began understanding the Aspects more thoroughly and when I became more aware of my soul, I found those strange orbs of light in it. The all-coloured orbs containing… Not just the insights, but rather the ‘foundations’ of those insights.” Laien put his hand to his mouth, trying to find some better way to word the explanation.

    “For example, that orb containing ‘Wrath’ completed itself when I understood… Uh, experienced what the ‘wrath’ is. I am still far away from understanding the Aspect completely, but when I understood those ‘foundations’, the orb completed itself. Thanks to those orbs, I can improve my insights of the Aspects at much faster rate.” He added, attempting to make everything clear. However, it didn’t seem to work…

    “Those orbs… They are inside your ‘soul’? How can you sense the presence of your soul?” Yin furrowed his eyebrows, concentrating on the world inside his body. He was clearly aware of the Qi Origin and the place where he could try and gather the Spiritual Energy, which would later transform into a Spiritual Core. As for his soul, Yin had no idea how to go about looking for it. “Maybe it’s easier for spiritual practitioners to sense their soul?” He wondered, muttering to himself.

    Laien was fairly surprised. Yin didn’t know; couldn’t sense the presence of his soul? Despite him being clearly aware of the presence of Yin’s soul simply through the spiritual link? Following this line of thoughts, Laien suddenly had an idea. “Yin, try concentrating on our spiritual bond, okay? I will try to show you.” He suggested, to what Yin promptly agreed.

    The two of them started meditating, sitting right next to each other. Then, the two focused on the spiritual bond, making it stronger. Laien was clearly aware of the constriction which the Blood Pact gave life to. It enabled their minds, their souls to be connected. Thus, wouldn’t it be easiest to simply guide Yin’s awareness towards his soul? All they needed to do was to make the spiritual bond distinct enough for him to reach out and touch Yin’s soul…

    They were making steady progress, up until the very last point. Laien felt as if only a few centimeters separated his and Yin’s consciousness, that he only needed to stretch his hand out a bit more and he would reach Yin’s souls and show him where it is. However, he couldn’t get any closer, despite the two of them pulling towards each other. If it continued like this, they would sooner or later get fatigued and the connection would weaken. Unconsciously, to prevent that, Laien moved his body and reached out with his hand, putting it on top of Yin’s palm.

    The next instant, Laien felt the bright presence light up the dark world around him. It was as if he could sense Yin’s very being. Simultaneously, Yin went through the identical experience. However, it was closer to looking at himself through Laien’s eyes… It was hard to explain.

    For an instant, everything disappeared, turning into nothingness. Then, Laien and Yin opened their eyes and looked at each other. The two of them were just as amazed by the peculiar world around them. They were sitting cross-legged, somewhere in the space, surrounded by dim light without an obvious source. “Whoaaa…” Yin looked around with his mouth slightly open. He moved his hand, and it was a strange feeling. As if the hand was his, but not really his…

    “Are we… within our souls?” Laien asked quietly, trying to bring the omni-colored orbs forth. The essences of the Aspects flowed out of his ‘body’ and appeared in front of him. “No, we Are the souls!” He said, realizing quickly. “Then what is this world? Is it result of the Blood Pact?” He wondered quietly, yet loudly. It seemed to be impossible to discern between ‘saying’ and ‘thinking’ in this peculiar place.

    “So those are the orbs? The look amazing… Let me try…” Yin said quietly, then successfully pulled out four orbs from within himself. Out of the four, two were completely formed, one was half-formed, and the last one was only a gathering of many strands of multi-colored light.

    “All three are fully formed?” Laien thought loudly, staring at the three orbs representing the three Aspects of his. Slowly, the three orbs moved closer to each other, and began exchanging parts of their essence. “They’ve fused?” Laien raised his sight to the orbs summoned by Yin. The Pride and the Humility were complete, the Awareness was half-formed and the… Desire, was yet to create orb of any kind.

    “How would the Principle look here?” Laien thought, or maybe said, causing Yin to ask himself the same question. Instantly, two small clouds of dark, greyish mist appeared and before Laien and Yin. Those two masses were very different compared to the essences of the Aspects. Somehow, it was possible to understand and learn from them. Not from one’s own, but from the other!

    The Aspects were individual matter, often different for every person. However, the Principles were universal! Laien’s or Yin’s insights of the Principle of Energy were pieces of the one whole. It only made sense for them to understand different pieces, especially when their understanding was still so superficial. Clear of each other’s intentions, the two calmed their thoughts down and started concentrating on the dark-grey clouds, analyzing them and gaining insights at a very fast pace.

    Although for Laien and Yin it was only a brief while, in the real world many hours were passing. The two of them sat there, not moving at all, holding hands and meditating. The air around them was filled to the brim with the Principle of Energy. Sometimes, a strand of grass or a random leaf would burn down to dust, or an icy mist would form, to then quickly disappear. The energy was fairly stable and didn’t cause any disasters, but it was only because it came into the contact with the nature. It originated from the nature and was there to begin with, so it wouldn’t cause much friction. Naturally, the insights temporarily existing in the air were coming from the boys so they wouldn’t hurt them either…

    “Uncle Ruan, you said they would finish soon, but they aren’t at all! You promised me they would play with me!” A little girl, seven or eight years of age, complained while pulling the sleeve of Ruan’s shirt. Ruan laughed helplessly, patting her niece on the head. “They are meditating, we shouldn’t disturb them. Is playing with me not enough for you?” Hearing the question, the little girl answered with the brutal honestly of an innocent child.

    “It is! Uncle only ever speaks about horses and doesn’t have any interesting adventures to tell!” The girl said with a frown and looked at her mother, wanting her to say something. The woman sighed and asked Ruan. “Can’t you do something about them? You know how boring it is to live in a place like this one. She could at least have some fun with kids her age from time to time.”

    Ruan smiled resignedly and replied. “Little sister, it was your choice to marry that man. I told you he wouldn’t be persuaded to move to the town. If your daughter can’t hold it in, she can try calling out to the boys herself. But, if they won’t respond, she needs to give up. It’s rude to interrupt one’s training for no reason.” He shook his head, hoping that the boys won’t be too angry to be disturbed.

    The little girl hugged Ruan happily and ran toward Laien and Yin without a care in the world. “You spoiled her too much.” Ruan criticized and met with no response from his little sister. “Oh well, worst case scenario she will come back crying after Laien gets angry with her…” Ruan thought sourly. He didn’t expect the boys to play with his niece, especially he didn’t think Laien would be in the mood for something like that… Eh. Wasn’t he spoiling the girl too, every time he came here? He shouldn’t have let her go to those two…

    “Hey, I’m Ninnie! Stop sleeping and come play with me!” The little girl called out, standing a few meters away from Laien and Yin. “Hey, are you listening?” She asked, seeing that the two did not react in any way. “Hey, I’m speaking to you! It’s rude to ignore other people!” The girl raised her voice, but to no avail. The two didn’t move a muscle, showing no signs of noticing her presence.

    The girl looked over her shoulder, at her uncle and mother. Ruan gestured with his hand, wanting her to come back. “Hmph!” The girl, however, stubbornly approached the two boys, intending to wake them up manually; by shaking them.

    The moment she took a step forward, the girl felt an indescribable pain over her whole body. She released an agonized cry and powerless, fell down to the ground. Even now, failing to make Laien or Yin notice her presence…

    This chapter was proofread by Ains!

    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • AN:

    I had trobule concentrating today at all. A bit late, sigh. Hopefuly i will be on time tomorrow ~~ If you see any mistakes, point them out for me, before the chapter gets PR'ed ~~
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • wow so many chapter to read haha
    i've finally have some time to read :)
  • Yay, someone still comments on my story, i guess i should put the rope away for now, huh? xD
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • Thank you so much for writing this story! I look forward to reading it everyday :)
  • Thanks for commenting, hehe. It makes writing so much easier when you know people are there to read it and do comment about it :P
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  • edited December 2015
    Book 2. The outside world.

    Chapter 7. Dumb luck.

    “Ninny!” The mother of the girl cried out. The next second, she saw the indistinct blur of her little brother hurrying forward. She followed right behind him, but was much slower. In a time like this, when every second counted, she was grateful for Ruan’s decisive reaction.

    Ruan hit the ground heavily, slowing down at the last moment. He clenched his teeth, looking at Ninny’s body, covered by many red stains. Her clothes were mostly undamaged, with a few holes burned here and there. Being so close, Ruan could sense the indescribable, dangerous aura in the air around the two boys. He extended his hands to grab Ninny and pull her away, getting ready for some pain. Having used his Qi to protect himself, Ruan was pretty sure he was safe, however…

    “Arhg!” He nearly screamed through his teeth, involuntarily pulling away. He stared at his hands, astonished. From his skin, all the way up to his elbows, the white smoke was oozing out. It looked and felt as if somebody roasted those parts of his body. Luckily, Ruan realized something. Ninny herself wasn’t in as dire straits. Why was it so? Perhaps because of that…!

    He tried to take the girl away again, this time completely pulling away the Qi from his hands, up to the point of nearly nothing being left. The pain appeared again, but it was nothing Ruan couldn’t handle. He lifted the girl and quickly took a few steps backward. “She’s breathing and apart from those red strains on her skin, seems to be all right… Thank you Heavens…” Ruan judged instantly, the inside of his chest filling with relief.

    “She doesn’t seem to be hurt. She has only fainted.” Ruan reassured his little sister who only now joined him at the place. He handed Ninny over to her mother, holding the pained expression back from showing on his face. As a martial master, he could tell that the wounds of his hands weren’t anything dangerous in the long-terms. They would heal just fine. However, it didn’t change the fact that they were hurting as hell, even some smoke was still rising from them.

    “Mommy?” The little girl asked, opening her eyes and gazing at her crying mother, not understanding or remembering what had happened. The last thing she remembered was how she wanted to wake the two boys up… After that, she couldn’t remember anything. The next thing she knew was waking up right now, in her mother’s arms.

    “Ninny! Thank you Heavens! Thank you! Quick, tell your mother, does anything hurt you? Doesn’t anything feel strange? Can you move just well?” The woman asked, worrying greatly. She kneeled on the ground, putting Ninny down while supporting her with a hand on her back.

    The eight years old girl tilted her little head and raised her hands, looking at them and moving her fingers, then clenching her firsts a few times. She moved her legs, then sat by herself, without the need to be supported from behind. “Nn, nothing hurts. But my body feels strange. As if something was moving inside it…” Ninny said, but wasn’t scared of it. Rather opposite, she was intrigued by the new, unfamiliar sensation. It was pleasant to the extent of making her forget to worry about the strange red stains visible all over her body.

    “Moving inside… Ruan, can she possibly mean that…?” The woman asked, holding her breath. “She might. Why not confirm with the person herself? Ninny, does this ‘something’ moving inside you gather at some specific place?” Ruan inquired in easily understandable words. Unlike his little sister, he had been practicing martial arts for his whole life. Used to the sensation, he knew how to word the question properly.

    Ninny furrowed her eyebrows, making a frown appear on her little face. Her forehead smoothed out the moment she found the answer to her uncle’s question. “Mm, it is! It goes and sinks into some strange place somewhere inside my tummy, oh, right here.” The girl rubbed her lower abdomen, showing exactly which place did she mean.

    Ruan sighed, shook his head and smirked resignedly, all at once. He looked over his shoulder, at the two boys who were unchangeably absorbed in the meditation. A conflicted look appeared on Ruan’s face. Should he thank the two, or be angry at them for putting his niece in danger? “Eh, it was my fault to let her go and disturb them anyway.” Ruan reproached himself, glad that everything ended well. In fact, too well for it to be true.

    As for Ninny’s answer, her mother understood without Ruan’s explanation. Overjoyed by the lucky twist of fate, she hugged her daughter tightly and began crying the tears of joy. “Mommy, I can’t breathe!” Ninny wriggled, saying with a laugh. She didn’t really understand why her mother was so happy, but it didn’t matter too much. As long as there was a reason to be happy, she would be, too!

    “Ruan, what should we do? We’ve been worrying for so long with my husband, but now everything is solved! It must be some fate that brought you here with those boys. How can we thank them? Do you think there is anything? Andel should still have a lot of treasures from his days as an adventurer…” The woman was so happy, that she paid no mind to Laien and Yin remaining in their meditation. For years, she and her husband were worried about Ninny’s life. There was no way to cure her illness, and they thought she would never achieve even the first mortal realm…

    Since birth, Ninny’s body had been incapable of gathering energy in her Qi Origin. If the illness stayed like that for her whole life, she would die incredibly young! Just reaching the fourth or fifth mortal realm could extend by half a century! And if she happened to inherit some of her father’s talent, she could possibly live even longer!

    “Vanessa, calm down, you really are going to suffocate your daughter.” Ruan laughed, pointing out to his little sister. The woman recollected herself and stopped hugging Ninny. she did give Ruan a slightly annoyed look, however. “If you want to ‘reward’ these two brats behind me, you should give up. Just thank them normally if you must.” Ruan smirked again, wondering if he should tell his little sister about the identity of the two youngsters or not. In the end, he decided against blabbing pointlessly. He had already introduced the two as young masters from some rich clan, and couldn’t bother to explain the whole story from the very beginning.

    “Mommy, Uncle, what are you talking about? Why are we happy?” Ninny asked innocently, poking her mother’s shoulder with her little hand. Vanessa smiled at her daughter and asked instead. “Ninny, you are always saying that it’s so boring here. Do you want to practice martial arts, grow strong and leave to adventure the world like your father did?” Ninny blinked a few times. It took a while for her mother’s words to properly sink in, as she couldn’t believe what he had just heard.

    “Really?! I can?! Yes, I want! I totally want! I love you mom!” Ninny shouted excitedly and threw herself at her mother, hugging her tightly. Up until now, whenever she asked about the future, her mother would grow sad and would change the topic. Thus, she stopped asking and thinking about adventuring, instead focusing on enjoying every day to its fullest.

    After all, how could a little girl, raised in the middle of nowhere, have realized that she was different from everyone else? That her future would most likely be quite saddening? Vanessa and her husband naturally decided against telling her too early, as to not worry their daughter pointlessly. When she grew up some more, in a few years,, they would have explained it properly. But, now there was no need to explain anything! Their biggest worry was gone for good!

    Ruan sighed another time. Was he the only person thinking about what would have happened if Ninny didn’t recover from her illness, but was killed by this strange energy instead? Ruan trembled slightly at the thought, and from the pain in his hands. “At least a month until they recover… Damn it, I will have those brats explain to me what in the world caused their aura to change and become so dangerous... No way I am waking them, though. We are going to stay until they stop training by themselves.” For a second, Ruan had a thought to let this fool from the Cail family try and approach the boys, but he quickly threw it away. He didn’t need any more troubles… He only wanted to finish this mission peacefully.

    “We must tell daddy when he returns!” Ninny suddenly brought up, remembering that it was soon when her father would be returning from his trip to the cities. “Yes, we must tell him. But for now, let’s try and do something with those terrible stains on your body, or he will die of heart attack the moment he sees you.” Vanessa said, worried about her daughter’s perfect appearance. Regaining ability to cultivate was great, but what if she couldn’t find a husband if those stains left scars on her pure and beautiful skin?

    The three headed back to the inn. On the way, Ruan explained the situation to those members of the squad who were interested and advised everybody against approaching Laien and Yin. Since there was no real hurry, nobody had anything against staying in this certain inn for a few more days. The food was great, scenery pleasant, and the beds were soft...

    Four or five hours passed quickly. It was already the late afternoon, when inside the peculiar space, where Laien and Yin had been focusing on analyzing the Principle of Energy, a change occurred. Inside the grayish could of dust, something began shining. The light was dim, barely visible. However, it took the shape of a character, a sign, or maybe a letter. The palm-sized character floated in the space, inside the grayish could.

    Around that time, Laien and Yin finished learning about each other’s insights. They opened their eyes, or maybe simply looked ahead. It was hard to tell if it was possible to truly close eyes in this odd world. In an instant, the grayish dust rolled around and collapsed inwardly, as if sucked in the the character glowing in a dim, golden light. The whole process took but a three or four seconds and after it finished, the sign seemed to have become a little more distinct. The strange manifestation split into two identical copies, one of each flying towards one of the boys.

    The signs flew inside the boy’s chests, as if getting absorbed by them. The moment the golden characters were completely absorbed by Laien and Yin, they suddenly gained an unexpected revelation. They now understood that researching the Principles was very different to learning the Aspects. In case of a principle, the hardest part wasn’t creating the ‘foundation’ and ‘understanding the basics’ like when an Aspect was involved.

    Realizing the existence of a principle and its uses wasn’t the hardest part. The truly hard part was understanding the means of creating and applying the Principle! That character glowing with dim golden light… Laien and Yin felt, and their feelings were being exchanged and compared by the two of them, that it was only the first drop in the ocean. The sign itself wasn’t even completed, despite the two of them joining efforts and their insights to create it. And apart from that one sign, just how many more were there?

    Laien sighed with a smile on his face. He already felt that the Aspects were complicated and that gaining thorough knowledge of them would take him great amounts of time. However, now it seemed that the Principles were even more profound truths. When studying an aspect, he could more or less tell when ‘the end’ was. However, when staring at the part of the Principle of Energy, he saw an endless road ahead of him. He felt that even if he ran with all his might for his whole life, he would never reach its end.

    “Think we will be able to return to this place?” Yin asked suddenly. From the looks of it, he was thinking about the advantages this space provided and similarly to Laien, understood just how much the two of them had gained in but a moment. Or, in something that felt like a moment…

    If previously, the two of them using their full strength, could stand up to an average expert of the first Realm of Heroes, now they were confident in being able to beat an opponent like that. As for Yin, perhaps even an average outstanding martial master of the second rank wouldn’t be a match for him anymore.

    “Feeling confident, Yin? Don’t worry, I will catch up to you soon. Just now, I realized what exactly I should seek from my martial art. Just you wait.” Laien said in reply to Yin’s thoughts. “We should be able to return… It felt as if this space was created when our souls came into contact. It will probably appear again, if we do the same thing.” Laien then answered the previous question, with but a brief thought crossing his mind. There was no need to ‘speak’. The intention, even without the words to carry it, was clearly delivered to Yin. The same was true the other way around.

    Laien looked at the three orbs, which were at the same spot in the space, floating there. “Fused?” He asked himself, looking at the strands of energy being exchanged between the three. He shook his head, or maybe just threw away the question to which he couldn’t know the answer.

    “Let’s go back, Yin. We can’t be sure how long we had been in here. We can’t feel our real bodies at all, either. Weren’t we in the forest, near the inn? I’d rather not sit there like some doll for too long.” Laien reminded, taking last lingering look at the peculiar space surrounding him and Yin from everywhere. With Yin’s consent, the two of them focused on their own selves, separating their consciousness and souls, leaving the odd space.

    They woke up in the exactly same position. Their bodies were somewhat stiff, but apart from that, nothing changed. Judging from where the sun was on the sky, it was about time for their group to set off. The two of them took a deep breath and released the air simultaneously, while stretching a bit. They could tell that their spiritual bond had gotten stronger, nearly to the point of allowing them to hold a normal conversation through it.

    “Well, that was fun.” Laien chuckled and stood up, greatly satisfied with today’s progress. If he and Yin kept improving at this rate, then getting out of the Eclipse Academy in time would be piece of cake, he thought quietly. “Come on, let’s go. We should get something hot to eat before the ride. The Iron Fort, was it?” Laien smiled and reached out with his hand. Yin suppressed a laugh and grabbed it and pulled himself up on his legs. He might have chosen to become Laien’s partner without thinking the matter through, but his instinct didn’t fail him. Not only was Laien strong, but being with him was also fun and enjoyable. What else would he wish for?... Maybe for one thing, but that could still wait until the two of them got stronger. There was still a lot of time until the promised day…

    “Big brother Laien! Big brother Yin! Thank you!” The little girl, Ninny, called out from the table the moment they entered the inn. Laien and Yin exchanged a surprised glance. Was there something they didn’t know about? Maybe something had happened when they were basically unconscious, focusing on their training in the peculiar space?

    “Come here and sit with us, kiddos. I will tell you just what you managed to cause to happen. Then, I will have a few question for you.” Ruan said amiably, having calmed down since the time of the accident. “Wait a second, I will prepare you something good to eat while you talk. We can’t give you much, but consider that our thanks. If you ever need help, I am sure my husband will return the favour from today.” The landlady, Vanessa, assured them in a bright voice, then went to prepare a dinner without the further explanation.

    Laien and Yin, somewhat confused, sat at the table and listened to Ruan’s story of today’s events. Ruan decided to spare them the details, and only vaguely described what had happened with Ninny and mentioned the red stains on her skin, which didn’t diminish in the slightest. Then, he told them how Ninny had an illness preventing her from cultivating Qi, but oddly enough, it was cured during the accident.

    Having heard the story, Laien and Yin were baffled and felt bad to have put the little girl in danger. The two of them realized that insights could influence their surroundings when meditating, but it never happened to that extent… At least not when they were conscious of it… Because Laien could recall at least one even when he melted an iron box in the certain smithy…

    One way or another, everything had been settled and soon enough, the group left the inn. Ruan, Laien and Yin said goodbye to the landlady and her daughter, then mounted their war horses and left, heading straight to the Iron Fort. Their next goal - One of the three great citadels on the northern border of Sarkcente Kingdom.

    This chapter was proofread by Ains!

    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • random illness curing is random~ Thanks for the chapter!
  • Haha, well, just like the title said :P But don't worry, we are slowly arriving at the main plot for this book. It won't be filled with little events not connected to each other, hehe. :)
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • How I wish there were more authors like you. It's satisfying seeing (emotionally) three dimensional characters. All too often do you see myopic MC, support and villain characters who are black and white divisionally stained by the author's personal likes and dislikes as if the entirety of creation thinks just like them. If for no other reason, that aspect of your storytelling alone allows me to enjoy this work a great deal more than the previously mentioned others.
  • edited December 2015
    That's what i had been trying to aim for from the very beggining ^.^ I am very glad it's somehow working out, hehe. Of course i won't just lie down happily 'Now i'm perfect!' or anything (xD) and will, as always, keep trying to improve ^.^ There is always something that can be done better :) Thanks for the feedback! Made me very happy ^.^

    AN: Will be late more or less 1,5h with the chapter today. I had a little problem with finding how exactly do i want to describe everything, so I am a little slow in writing it. Hehe. Sorry!
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  • edited December 2015
    Book 2. The outside world.

    Chapter 8. The Iron Fort.

    “That’s the Iron ‘Fort’?” Laien laughed, shaking his head. Their group had been riding through the highlands until midnight, and now they could finally see their destination. What was there, built on the ground below mountains wasn’t a ‘fort’. but a gigantic citadel with its outer walls reaching the height of well over two hundred meters. With its walls being god knows how thick, the Iron Fort was actually nearly as big as the whole Neil City itself. Seeing the grand citadel from high up in all its glory was truly a breathtaking experience.

    “Apparently, when it was built three thousand years ago, it was but a wooden fort made at the last minute by our retreating army.” Ruan mentioned, making his horse slow down and trot unhurriedly. They were fairly close to their goal now, so there was no need to keep galloping. Instead, having some more time to appreciate the sight and tell the kiddos the story would more pleasant than simply rushing ahead. After he told Laien and Yin to ride closer to him, Ruan started telling the old military tale about the citadel they could see before their eyes.

    “During the assault on it, the wooden fort got completely burned down, but the enemy soldiers kept pushing with the intent of killing all the men inside. At that time, our warriors armed themselves with heavy iron armors and stood the ground, ignoring all missile fire and mowing down one wave of enemies after another. The mere one thousand warriors stopped the assault of an army numbering million men for the whole night, thanks to clever use of the advantageous terrain, with the mountain protecting their backs.” Ruan gazed at the citadel in daze, imagining the scene. Back then, their kingdom was one of the few with a professional army. They might have lost on the plains, but when it came to head on confrontations, solders of their kingdom were unmatched in the whole world.

    After a short while, Ruan realized that he got too caught up in his thought and forgot to continue the story. However, Laien and Yin seemed to be just as absorbed in imagining the scene; they didn’t even notice that he had stopped talking. Letting a dozen or so seconds pass, Ruan continued telling the legend of the Iron Fort.

    “In the end, the defenders of the fort were all killed. They did sell their lives for a high price, however. Each one of our brave solders took forty enemies with him to the grave. The invading army lost nearly half of its numbers. People say that when their supreme commander saw the mountain of hundreds thousands corpses of his subordinates, he lost his heart and ordered the retreat.” Ruan suspended the story for a moment, letting the scene sink into the minds of the youths. Then, he continued speaking, his tone betraying signs of inspiration and glory.

    “When the war ended next year, the ‘Iron Fort’ had been rebuilt in the memory of the great merits of the nameless battalion which stayed behind on the suicide mission to defend it, and had created a miracle. Later on, the battalion had been named ‘The Iron Knights’, inspired by sturdy iron armors used by the battalion in their last battle. When the fort was finished, it had been handed over to the remaining descendants of those one thousand commoners, making them full-fledged nobility and a true military family. Ever since then, ‘the Iron Knights’ had been ruling over the ‘Iron Fort’ and all the nearby lands.”

    “As for the name ‘Iron Fort’, it was left behind by the so called ‘Iron family’ as a token of respect for their ancestors. Even when the fort had grown into a castle, a fortress and finally, into a mighty citadel, they kept the old name ‘Iron Fort’, as to never forget about the bravery, might in battle and the sacrifice made by their ancestors. Although the Iron family is not as powerful as the three Great families and technically is under the orders of the Royal Family, it does have a high degree of independency. With that in mind, try to not create any unnecessary problems, okay?” Laien couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the last reprimand of Ruan’s. Did he really look like a person who would create trouble anywhere he went?

    “Well, maybe I do.” Laien admitted before himself and chuckled. He looked at Yin, who was riding at the other side of Ruan. The two of them exchanged a meaningful glance. “Fine, fine. I will Try to not create problems.” Laien said lightheartedly, with a bit of irony in his voice. Hearing him, Ruan raised an eyebrow and shook his head helplessly. He didn’t know whether he should be happy that Laien is not ignoring him anymore, or worried if he is taking his words seriously. Most likely he wasn’t, was he?...

    “Who goes?” One of the solders on top of the walls shouted in a bored voice, amplifying it with his Qi, seeing the group of riders approach the southern gate. “We are escorting new students to their Academy and are here to seek information for our travel.” Ruan shouted back, raising his hand and making a golden sigil appear in it. When the solders saw the highest-tier military pass, their lazy and unconcerned attitude quickly changed. “Open the gate! Quickly! Call for the sergeant, too!” Some other man yelled loudly amidst the raised commotion.

    The excitement of those regular warriors was understandable. It wasn’t often that a traveling group got assigned the golden sigil. It could mean one of the few things. Either there was someone really important and influential amongst those travelers, or someone tasked with an important mission assigned by the Royal Family. That, or there was a supreme expert amongst the group. Whatever was true, an arrival of someone carrying the golden sigil could easily make a few regular solders be promoted or degraded, depending on the whim of those people. If they happened to speak with the superiors of the Iron Fort and speak about being received at the gate, either punishment or reward would follow for those solders involved.

    ‘Wow…’ Laien muttered quietly, seeing the gigantic steel gate being raised in front of him. As he was riding inside the citadel, Laien had a feeling that this defensive structure was supposed to be used by giants, not normal people. Everything here was so incredibly oversized… However, when he thought about an army or martial masters assaulting, everything started making sense. To have any chance to withstand a concentrated attack of many martial masters and possibly, some spiritual masters, only a structure of this size could achieve that. Normal buildings and walls would be effortlessly broken through by a martial master. Only a defensive structure grand enough could provide any protection for the army defending it.

    Given, even a citadel like the Iron Fort would be completely worthless in case a supreme expert joined the fray. The strength of a Kingdom was not measured only by the size and power its army, but by how many supreme experts it possessed! Any one of the four strongest martial masters of Sarkcente Kingdom was perfectly capable of putting the Iron Fort to rubble by himself, along with its whole garrison of hundreds thousands warriors.

    Laien and Yin broke away from Ruan as their group stopped at the yard behind the gate. The two of them kept looking around, amazed to have found themselves in a maze of differently sized walls, watch towers and many other defensive structures. The outer perimeter was littered with defensive structures, just imagining any army without an elite unit of martial masters trying to attack this place… it would be a slaughter for anyone who would dare to try. Normal solders below the realm of heroes wouldn’t even serve as a meat shields, they would have no way of reaching the defenders at all and would be massacred by them one-sidedly.

    “Glory to the Istrah.” A man who approached them called out in a steely voice, making a sword-draw like gesture with his right hand and clenching his fist. “Glory to the Istrah.” Ruan replied calmly, but only nodded his head. He noticed the confusion of Laien and Yin and explained briefly. “Only regular solders of the kingdom would greet others with the military salute. For the youngsters like you, it’s fine to not reply at all. Or rather, it’s considered rude for those who never experienced war or true battles to return the greeting in any form. Deniel probably wanted to impress you by giving our group face, but it seems that he failed.” Ruan laughed soundlessly, looking at his old acquaintance.

    With a sword at his belt and wearing the leather suit of the sergeant over the chain mail, Deniel chortled resignedly. “Are you still holding it against me for becoming a dog of the military? You should try to settle yourself. I could introduce you to my daughter…” He suggested, but then laughed in a troubled manner and gave up, seeing the frown on Ruan’s face.

    “Forget it. Lead us to the inner walls, we will be bothering General Agnes. Maybe he will promote you, old man, if he will be in a good mood for a change.” Ruan said with a sarcastic smile. “Good mood? You must be joking, right? Have you ever seen this bastard not be in the bad mood?” Deniel asked rhetorically. He mounted the horse brought to him by his subordinate and rode to lead the way through the maze.

    “The Devil is not here, is what I would like to say. He is supposed to return in the morning, though. So if you want to talk with him, you are lucky enough to be able to. Lately he had been spending less and less time in the Iron Fort and had been joining every minor expedition… People are saying that he is having problems dealing with his wife… You’d better not mention it in front of him if you hold your life dear. But as long as it’s about military affairs, he will be happy to bore you to death if you let him… eh, you know that anyway.” Deniel described the situation at hand, then for the meantime engaged in a simple chat with Ruan, to which Laien didn’t pay much attention.

    It took them good half an hour to leave the gigantic maze of the outer walls and enter the inner sector. Within the inner walls, the citadel started resembling a city. However, every structure had been built in a way to make defending the streets and districts easy and effective. There was no huge open spaces, while the alleys seemed to all look the same. Everything was white and gray, creating an oppressive and sad atmosphere to the place. Perhaps, it was the ‘military air’, which people like to mention when speaking of the places with many solders.

    As they were getting closer to the core of the Iron Fort, which was protected by the third layer of walls, Deniel started telling them about the Iron Fort and what they could see at the moment. “Our citadel is a home to one hundred thousand regular soldiers and their families. As far as military equipment goes, we are self-sufficient. We have the craft guilds located here in the inner district and the iron mines in the mountains, along with the coal mines to the south. During the night, it’s fairly peaceful here, but when the morning comes it becomes pretty noisy and more lively. We have schools, taverns, the trading district and everything. In case of a siege, we have enough rations stored to feed the whole population for decades.” Deniel bragged, obviously feeling proud of being part of the Iron Fort and its army. He was being a little boring, but Laien and Yin listened to him nevertheless.

    “Now, we are out of the residential area and you can see some more interesting structured located deep inside the inner walls. You hear the sounds of steel clashing? Right there are the many training grounds, occupied every day without exception. Right next to them there is the storehouse for the equipment and the stables. To the right, this lone big building, is the academy where the officers study the warfare. And lastly, we have our own arena where the tournaments and duels are held.” Deniel rounded up just in time, as their group approached the gate of the core walls and was stopped by the guards.

    Those people, unlike the regular solders on the outer walls, all gave off an air of the expert. Laien and Yin checked quickly and to their surprise, the gate was being guarded by nine martial masters whose strength was between the first and the third Realm of Heroes. Out of the nine, two were outside, while seven remained hidden inside the watchtowers on both sides of the gate.

    “We are here to see the General Agnes. We will wait for him inside the guest quarters.” Ruan stated their purpose clearly, without going deeper into the details. He showed the two guards the golden sigil and was let through with the whole group without any delay or formalities.

    “When you speak to martial masters here, it’s better to get straight to the matter. They are seasoned warriors and don’t like beating around the bush.” Ruan explained to the two youngsters. He gave the two a serious look, but his gaze remained on Laien quite a bit longer than on Yin, causing Laien to roll his eyes.

    The mansion inside the core area of the Iron Fort, be it from the outside or inside, resembled a small castle more than anything else. Apart from its defensive qualities, it was all plain, without bright colors or decorations anywhere. Every aspect of it was thoroughly military-like and seemed to be fairly depressing to live in. The rooms in the guests quarters, as expected, were kept in the same style, with the minimum amount of furniture and a bed in each room. The toilets and baths, were - of course - shared. There was not once bit of wastefulness in the whole Iron Fort, so very much unlike the places owned by the powers from the mainland of the Sarkcente Kingdom.

    “In the morning, I will come to wake you up and we will go to see the General. Don’t wander around the castle by yourselves… or If you do, at least Try to behave properly. I know you are used to being high up in the hierarchy, but it doesn’t work like that here, in the borders. People won’t care whoever you are or who is your master or friend…” Ruan started nagging, but sighed and cut the talk, seeing how Laien started ignoring him, having enough of listening to reprimands today. “Anyway, try to not make problems.” Ruan said once again and left the room of the two, shutting the thick wooden door behind himself.

    “So, where do you want to go?” Yin asked with an amused smile. He could clearly tell that Laien wanted to do something and it surely didn’t involve staying put and going to sleep like a good kid. “Mm. I want to spar some more. I know what to seek from my martial art, but I’d like to polish the details. I want to check a few things with the Principle of Energy, too.” Laien answered straightforwardly, looking excited about the training. “Then, the training grounds we saw at the gates?” Yin proposed as the two left the room and headed outside through the cold and dark corridors.

    “Yeah, I was also thinking about that place. We can’t really start fighting anywhere else in this citadel, or we would alarm too many people. It would be bothersome.” Laien commented, stretching a little, still feeling pretty stiff after the six hour ride.

    The two of them began chatting about the training-related matters, exchanging pointers and opinions leisurely. They didn’t expect to bump into anyone this late into the night, expect maybe some guards at the entrances to various parts of the castle, but the opposite happened. In an empty corridor, the two of them saw a girl, or maybe a young woman? The girl was probably around fourteen or fifteen year old and was dressed in a white dress, she looked as if she was returning from some part for aristocrats. She didn’t fit the place at all, sticking out like a sore thumb.

    Laien and Yin weren’t interested in the girl and intended to simply walk past her and continue heading to the training grounds. The girl at first also ignored the two of them, but when they were passing each other in the dark, she caught a glimpse of how the two of them looked. She stopped instantly and said with a frivolous happiness in her voice, all the while staring at Yin with sparking eyes. “You look great! I want you for myself! Come with me. You will be granted the honor of joining my private guards!” She stated and considering the matter concluded, reached out to grab Yin’s arm and take him with herself.

    Contrary to the girl’s expectations, Yin stepped back, avoiding her hand. He smiled at her awkwardly, not really knowing how to react in a strange situation like this one. “What’s wrong? You will have anything you could want, you just need to listen to me. Come!” The girl spoke, failing to understand Yin’s unwillingness. She tried to catch Yin again, seeing him as a simple young and beautiful boy…

    However, she got blocked by Laien, who stepped between her and Yin. Getting annoyed, the teenage girl spoke angrily. “I’m not interested in you, move away! I want only this cute boy right here.” She smiled at the green-haired boy, gazing at him intensely. To her displeasure, however, the boy took a step forward and hid himself behind his friend.

    “You ‘want’ him? You can’t ‘have’ people just because you want to.” Laien said coldly, but then mentioned with an amused smile. “He is already my ‘partner’ anyway.” He said, using the same confusing word Yin had used at that time, when they established the Blood Pact.

    The fourteen or fifteen year old girl in the white dress stomped at the stone floor angrily. She gave Laien a furious look and nearly shouted. “Who do you think you are? I’m the daughter of the General Agnes! If you disobey me, I will have my father lynch you when he returns! And stop lying about him being your partner! He is obviously a boy!” The girl stomped at the floor again, her face getting red from anger. The sight was actually kind of refreshing for Laien, who had long since been used to presence of haughty nobles and knew how to deal with them, much unlike Yin.

    “Hmm? Why would I be lying? We are partners, bound by blood. Do you think I will let you take him away just because you ‘want’ him?” Laien asked the girl, titling his head and smiling ironically. With her cluelessness about the word and behavior of a spoiled rich girl, she managed to awake his kinky side and the somewhat strange sense of humor. Daughter of the general? Well. He wouldn’t be harsh with the girl, but wouldn’t making some fun of her be acceptable? Especially since she was asking for it so much and setting herself up so nicely… It would be sin to not use the opportunity.

    “Hmph, I am not stupid! Don’t make fun of me! I know that boys can’t marry each other, he is obviously not your partner! Or, can you prove it somehow?” The girl continued arguing, digging a deep hole under her own feet. She even made Laien pity her stupidity a little bit. Right afterward, Laien heard Yin chuckle behind his back. Obviously enough, Yin understood what he wanted to do and this one time, went back on his own advice to not create enemies needlessly.

    This chapter was proofread by Ains!

    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
  • edited December 2015

    Duh, took 2,5h over the schedule, but I am fairly satisfied with how this chapter ended up looking. Thanks for patience! Hope you enjoyed reading :)

    PS: Woohooo, we are halfway up to 100k views! :) Yaaay! ^.^
    If you'd like more chapters of ISSI or Tales send me a note on patreon!
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