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“If back then I discarded the idea of associating dark attribute energy with the sixth and seventh stage, then perhaps today, after following big brother Raroen’s footsteps, I would have uncovered the true lineage of kinetic energy and Kinetic Force”. Zax momentarily lamented, as he really appreciated kinetic energy and was very much curious to figure if it is an independent force or ultimately birthed from the worldly attributes as a specific one’s Nature or Property.
Zetsa sighed. Her proficiency in Kinetic Force was lower than Zax’s, mainly because she had more than solely that to rely on. On the other hand, to cultivate her Master’s bodily refinement technique, she had to dedicate long training sessions on improving her familiarity and control on Kinetic Energy, which consequently taught her its enhancing values.
“But eventually it would not have made you as strong as you are when utilizing dark attribute energy”. She consoled. “Not as quickly, at least, and it’s not like rushing comprehension and understanding of an attribute done anyone bad…”
“I know, which brings me to the next point. Shifting from the path of kinetic energy to attribute energy was easy to me, but only because I already possessed dark attribute energy in me, and more importantly, absorbed God made dark attribute’s essence. If I had taken the customary route of quietly meditating and cultivating in order to elevate my path to attribute energy, I would have probably been encountering a similar blockade to that of big brother Raroen’s and the one I’m facing now”.
“Wait, please, younger brother Zax”, a flash of insight shone in Grerown’s eyes and made him agitated. “Let’s recap. I admit, I’m not the least bit of versed in kinetic energy, much less can comprehend the capacity of which you or my dear could handle it, but… the way you phrase yourself, forsaking a safe and long path of kinetic energy for attribute energy, forsaking your current path for something new and unknown…” Grerown restrained the stutter but his tone was aggrieved, envious to the point cynicism. “We agreed to stop the jokes, so please don’t kid with us. Should you forsake attribute energy, a path it is said is prerequisite to Immortality, what do you expect to find?”
Grerown addressed Zax as he would a blood related brother, and he acknowledged his inferiority in terms of talent to the many prodigies from Kingdom Earth, including his wife, but Zax’s assumption were bordering blasphemy in the circle of cultivators who struggle and constantly failed to perceive a hint of the worldly attribute. They were akin to a mocking slap in the face. Now, if he did not care about Zax, Grerown would have scorned and letting destroy his Martial path, but since he already accepted him as family, he only became more furious by his irresponsible words.
“You can’t do it!” Zetsa rebuked. “Put aside Immortality, isn’t it attribute energy that is the main source of your, as well as every Martial Mortal, power? How strong will you be by solely using your body? Don’t forget that Master had not yet completed the second stage of Three Stages Of Hyper Physique and it’s not an exaggeration to assume that another century will pass before he will attain any accomplishment regarding the third stage! In contrast, attribute energy is not something to wait for in order to be taught. The world provides it. It’s already there to meditate about and understand. And you… with your extreme talent and vast achievement in the worldly dark attribute energy, lack nothing but time before ascending to new heights, again and again and again. I get what you mean when comparing the transition from kinetic energy, but unlike attribute energy, it is not a publically acknowledged set path, at least you don’t have the means to verify, just a gut feeling. So even if in the past you made a similar choice, the variables today are different!”
Letting them both say their piece, Zax paused further discussions for a minute so they will calm down. Gradually, their strained expression eased up and they seemed to be ready to listen. He took turn to build up the atmosphere, so his next words will sink in instead of being refuted the instant they will be heard. His own expression turned from attentive to assertive and he opened.
“Do you both think I'm not aware of that? I might be relinquishing my future, should it turn out being the wrong decision. Therefore, please note that I haven’t done anything yet and am here talking, considering perspectives for the sake of conviction”. He placed his palm above his hand and black radiance emerged, shattering Grerown’s privacy formation and forming a new and superior one. “There is nobody who knows better than I what at stake. Priceless treasures were spent and fortuitous chances were experienced for me to have my current understanding. No matter how talented I am, on my own I’m well aware where would I had been without them”. He said sternly.
“Then, if this is how you respond to our opinion, why did you come here? Did you want our blessings in this ridiculous venture or honesty?” Grerown said.
“Neither”. Zax shook his head and resumed his attention on his big sister. “I want your impression of the breakthrough you had during Jing Jing’s birth, big sis”.
“Mine?” Zetsa frowned. She now figured here brother’s intentions and felt sore that he put her on the pedestal, along Raroen, to entertain his crazy idea. Whatever she might say could determine Zax’s future and if he will catch up on a lie, the outcome perhaps will be even more deviating.
“You know what I’m asking”. Zax also creased his brows. At the time the decision in front of her might have been clearer than his and Raroen’s, but it was a step to an unknown frontier for her and a sacrifice of all that she, under the guidance of her Master, invested on.
It was a long silence with a nearly tangible tension. Grerown did not interrupt anymore, as his opinion was deemed irrelevant nor asked and there was nothing else he could contribute.
Zetsa stood up from the sofa, the look on her face ugly, unwilling. “Leave Zax”.
Zax got up, too. “Answer me”. He insisted.
“It’s an entirely different situation”.
“Only a few ‘variables’, which isn’t what I want to hear from you”.
“Certainty”. He cut her off. “Tell me whether you were certain or not. Raroen was and still is, toward the unknown. What about you?”
“I…” The reply weighed on her tongue and lips, even before it reached them from her brain.
“Before you set your resolve on the fiery attribute”. He reminded.
“…was”. Finally, it came out and when it did she glimpse at the flicker of delight in her brother’s eyes.
“Thank you, big sis, Grerown”, Zax smiled and the air exuding from him lightened. “Don’t worry. My decision isn’t made, yet, and I won’t be rash”. He half turned, toward the door. “I’ll take my leave now. My apologies for imposing and… being a bad uncle. I fear that my next closed doors session won’t be one night long…”
Anet and his parents, they agreed only for one month of separation and not a day more. To a certain degree it was inconsiderate on their part. Yes, he made them a promise not to be gone for extensive periods of time. However, that was years back and to mend their relationship after the move to Green Snow village.
It was his fault that he stuck to it till now. While his daily routine purified his heart and mind from the snags of pursuing the epitome of the Martial path, even though he was just scraping the first milestone, his loved ones got used to his presence there and always beside them.
To get some leeway from Anet was still feasible, she was a cultivator who reached the Core Master realm and so understood the difficulties of advancements in short sittings. His parents were the issue. Their first grandson could only make them take a step back from the matter of progressing their second child’s relationship with his girlfriend, which they already treated as a daughter in law. Other than that, they were used to his company, the sight of their youngest having her big brother whenever she needed him and just the view of their children growing together, which did go so well with their eldest daughter and son.
A month was what Zax got from his parents with the help of Anet. No promises were requested of him, which he both appreciated and felt bad about, for he was concerned on what will transpire in the upcoming closed doors session and even with the confidence he mustered, he had doubts about passing the ordeal ahead of him in one month.
‘I sealed the chamber. Anet won’t be able to sense any fluctuations’. Zax sat on the mat of volcanic rocks. Although the room was dark, there was a black sheen on the walls, a formation of dark attribute energy he erected to seclude himself and anything that might occur from spreading to the outside world without him wanting so.
He closed his eyes.
They opened again – those of his naked manifestation on his Inner Panorama.
The crossroad appeared before him, two optional paths.
‘Proceeding with the dark attribute might eventually take me to the same place as the other path; same way sticking to kinetic energy might eventually lead to a certain attribute. Or I’m wrong, dark attribute will only be a criterion before achieving Evolutionary Ascension and the blockade I have no my hands here is a mere farce…’
He dwelled on that thought for a moment or two before it dissipate on its own from his sea of consciousness.
There was no need to let such distraction affect him, for he was already certain.
The path that was an opened road vanished and the one that remained became more prominent as if to imply that there is no going back.
Zax’s manifested self rose to his feet and floated, glaring at the nothing. The blockade of the path he selected was not a wall or a locked door and what lay beyond it was not seen as an actual paved road in his sea of consciousness. The so called “path” was a notion he perceived and the “blockade” obstructing him from exploring it was him not yet meeting the requirements to go past the entry point.
‘I augmented my understanding of the dark attribute in the past two years and also examined what I learned of the Nature and Properties of other attributes I witnessed. Initially, I had a vague feeling, but over the years it evolved to expectation and I grasped something. At the moment, I may not know what, but I’m finally ready to clear the suspense’.
The dark sky, dark sea and dark continent that occupied his sea of consciousness as his Inner Panorama hushed. Zax stopped postponing and submerged into a state of deep contemplation.
Like ascending a ladder, he used all he accumulated to climb closer to comprehending the path behind the notion. Each step up was an improved hypothesis while the steps he forwent were unnecessary weight that eventually was burnt.
It was peaceful in the training chamber and serene in his sea of consciousness, but nearby, at the center of the Inner Panorama, the dark sphere situated amidst the dark land, sky and sea, Zax’s soul, had a shade of human figure reflected from within. The spirit inside placed a shady palm on its protective shell and shivered.
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