Chapter 30 – Sight Seeing Training Part 3
A sword style encompassing practiced movements to the point of seeming as if they had reached perfection. They were practiced but natural, measured but unhesitant, intentional but serene…
When Haru saw this clear world of cloud and sky, and that figure engaging in sword arts through Erith’s eyes he had felt an inexplicable longing that had resonated with his soul. This longing was like a beacon, drawing him into this world without the slightest bit of resistance from Haru’s soul.
He yearned to to see more of this figure, not because of the overwhelming admiration he felt for the beauty, power and deadliness of this sword art but an innate desire to make it his own.
At the instant he’d felt this desire his soul had dropped any resistances it could have formed and jumped into the path, Erith had consciously created for him. Entering this world in but an instant causing surprise to show on Erith’s face.
The figure moving like the wind, tearing space with his sword came to a complete halt as he looked at Haru with a purely shocked expression.
Erith couldn’t even form a thought for a moment as he stared at his disciple. He had intentionally reflected his Spirit Domain through his eyes. The eyes being a window to the soul, a means to create a picture and in some cases even a door to allow someone in. Erith had intentionally created a means to draw Haru in, he was even intending on forcing Haru in if need be… Only to his shock, it had not even been a moment since he created this path before Haru appeared before him, not the slightest resistance.
Although it didn’t sound like much, normally a person’s soul would be disturbed at seeing or bearing the presence of another being’s Soul/Spirit Domain. Even more so when there was a vast difference in the strength and development of the two’s soul’s like it was in the case of Erith and Haru.
A normal person would feel some shock, fear, hesitation; all forms of negative emotions would rise from a person’s heart as a self-conscious form of self-preservation, but in front of this child Erith could only stare in wonderment as the expression he wore was one of pure desire!
The very fact that he had appeared in but an instant, with nothing more than an invitation, even partially coming into his soul domain of his own free will was proof of his lack of fear, that expression of desire containing his true feelings.
If he had believed Haru to be a genius in terms of potential and talent with the sword, that belief had only grown even stronger as he gazed at him. Erith had absolutely no question in his mind as to the reason why Haru could do such a daring thing and express such a joyous expression even after the devastating events of the past few days. It was Haru’s desire to grow stronger, but more specifically the desire he held towards his own sword arts which were constantly being practiced by his mind’s avatar within his own domain.
Inside this space, a space within his soul his avatar could not hide his feelings from showing through his avatar so he had already prepared beforehand. His avatar was currently faceless otherwise it would have revealed the joy at having such a disciple for a student.
That one word that Erith had spoken broke Haru’s concentration for just a moment as he realized how strange the situation of his surroundings truly was, but instead of focusing on any number of questions that could have easily bubbled to the surface of the pile his mind focused on the queer concept of a person with seemingly no face speaking.
‘Does he not have lips? If he doesn’t have lips how did he speak? Can I hear his thoughts? Maybe I just can’t see his face… Strange…’
The wonderment of his surroundings caused him to take a look around him as a clouds in the sky felt boundless but the strangeness of standing on the cloud as hard as the ground seeming no less strange. A gentle breeze passed through him causing a few strands of hair on his neck to raise. His hand automatically moved to the back of his neck as the strange sensation had made him feel as if something had skimmed the back of his neck, the surreal nature of this place had made him momentarily question the reality of his surroundings. ‘I felt that. This feels real. Is it real?’
Instead of focusing on the question of whether this was all real or not the encroaching swarm of swords from every direction drew his focus as his gaze sharpened and turned serious.
It took him but a moment more to realize where he was ‘This is what I saw in teacher’s eyes! What’s going on!?’ Haru gasped at the realization.
Taking a closer look at the figure in front of him, even without the face, the outline and shape of the man before him was no different than Erith’s. The same hairstyle, ‘It’s teacher… It has to be!’
A genuine look of admiration crossed his face as he realized this sword god in front of him was his teacher. He’d wondered for years what his teacher’s level truly was, in fact he knew little of swordsmanship as he’d always practiced all but one or two basic moves in a nonstop loop. His teacher had taught him no more, and the schools curriculum had only taught him basic self-defense and for those that relied on common bloodlines how to harness those advantages in battle.
At his age, he knew far too little of swordsmanship to gauge his teacher’s strength but this world of swords was sufficient enough proof for Haru to label him a ‘sword god’.
“Sword.” The faceless figure spoke as a sword materialized in front of Haru’s right hand. The shape and figure no different than the one he’d practiced with for the past three years. Haru’s hand reached out to grab it instinctively and the familiar weight made it feel no less real than the one he’d used just days ago.
He looked at the faceless figure and looked through him to truly take in the surroundings. He was not slow, and after the conversation he’d had with Erith earlier, the strange events of the past few minutes had only managed to slightly rattle him but the faceless figure’s intentions were quite clear.
‘This is my training grounds’ a giddy feeling rose within his heart as he stopped thinking altogether and sprinted forward drawing the sword above his head with both hands and screaming “Ahhh” while bringing the sword down with a vertical slash with all the strength he possessed!
Haru’s eyes widened. He didn’t so much as see as much as he felt something as light as a feather seemingly tickle his throat as his body froze the moment he finished his swing.
The faceless figure seemingly the same distance as before Haru had moved.
Slowly Haru’s mind processed a cloying feeling as his body started to spasm.
A gurgling noise erupting from his mouth as blood pooled in his mouth and he coughed up blood a dreadful feeling as his his left hand grasped his neck while his lungs filled with blood.
The pain barely registering as his body began to panic! ‘What just happened!?’ he could only wonder as his consciousness slipped away and the world around him darkened.
A cold feeling gripped him as his pain and panic were washed away and nothingness was all that was left…
Only a moment later he opened his eyes as he drew in a huge breath with a gasp.
Cold sweat pooled on his forehead as a cold feeling creeped up his spine.
‘Did I just die…?’
Haru’s eyes were wide taking in the surroundings of the carriage once again.
Erith’s grin from before hadn’t changed for a moment. “You did quite well. You didn’t struggle, or show any fear. Even now you didn’t make a noise.”
The sound of Erith’s voice drawing Haru’s attention as he subconsciously rubbed his throat. “What was that?”
“That was my Spirit Domain.”
A blank expression on Haru’s face was a sufficient enough answer to make Erith mumble under his breath in dissatisfaction. “It’s really quite a shame how pitifully little they teach in these outer cities. That the basic outline path of the soul is not even covered is a true disgrace.”
Erith lifted his arm to cut him off “I know you don’t understand. It’s not your fault. Sigh”
“In the capital, in central city this is knowledge that is taken for granted. All children are taught this before they even have their bloodline awakening ceremony, and yet in these smaller cities it’s not even something taught to the “promising” prospects of an academy. Listen up, I’m going to explain some things so that you don’t make a fool of yourself when we reach East City.
This is something I should have told you during our years of training, but I partially just assumed it would be something your school teacher would cover with you. That you don’t know… Well it’ll take days for us to reach the city. I will explain everything you need to know before then.”
Haru still felt clammy after having his throat pierced, he still hadn’t stopped rubbing his neck but he understood he was fine. It was simply disconcerting to him having been killed in such a realistic setting even if it was all in his head.
“You already know that spirit power is awakened at age ten. During this phase you learn to enter a meditative state to sense your inner world superficially. Afterwards when you break through to the Spirit Realm, you gain the ability to slightly manipulate mana or aura, inadvertently your understanding of it reaches a new a level instinctively. This bit is something innate to one’s talent. Upon reaching this point, spirit power is no longer referred to by such a crude term and labeled as mana. This is the point you’ve now reached.” Erith’s hand’s motioned left and right as if drawing a picture in the air, distracting Haru as he felt the man in front of him was truly different.
‘He’s talking so much…’ but even with such a juvenile thought he still wholeheartedly focused on the topic at hand. It was something he was deeply interested in and had badgered Linlin numerous times only to be told it was unnecessary for him to know before reaching the Spirit Realm.
“Once you reach the Spirit Realm, the goal is to reach a sufficient level of control in manipulating mana so that you can begin to condense it, purify it and circulate it through your Spirit Realm. The moment you are able to purify and condense the mana around you and have it circulate in your spirit realm even once, you’ll notice a slight change. This slight change will bring about a whole new revelation to you. You’ll instinctively be able to tell the characteristics of your mana. Of your body’s nature. This is the Spirit Origin realm. Your mana’s characteristics is usually tied to a bloodline, or more specifically your bloodline’s nature should be telling of your mana’s characteristics.”
Haru’s eyes widened as curiousity filled him. “What does that mean? Will I be able to do something special with mana?”
A look of pity appeared in Erith’s eyes for a brief moment. The look did not go unnoticed by Haru as he felt himself blush in embarrassment. A small bit of anger flared inside of him but he could only chastise himself for being so ignorant.
“The truth is… This is the realm at which masters believe one’s truth path begins. Everything before it is merely the entering the starting line. The simplest of efforts that anyone can do. It’s at the Spirit Origin realm that one begins building their true foundation. There are even old texts that state that back when the continents were still one, before they split and the world changed people were born with their mana already having an attribute. Everyone could manipulate mana and the gods even spoke to them!”