Chapter 8: Headlines
"Little sister, enough joking around. Both you and Martial son were born gifted with regards to the soul aspect". Kartius said. "Martial son, Zax, you already in possession of an attribute. Big brother researched about it after he ventured to the second Savage Cave and digested a treasure with dense accumulation of dark attribute. You might understand why in the future, but according to what big brother discovered, it is impossible to have more than one attribute. So there is no point for further thinking about the light attribute in the violet stone". Kartius said and then looked at Laivien.
"Little sister, I'll leave Martial son with you. In a month time, I'll come again. Please instruct Martial son till then".
"Martial son, don't disappoint me". Kartius stopped Zax from impeding his leave with this sentence and turned his back. Recalling his piece of violet stone to his hand, he left.
Zax's mood was down. If the violet stone could improve his cultivation tenfold, then to break through to Mist Lord's level with his soul he should need, at most, a month. His Master, apparently, did not give him the benefit of the doubt that he could break through earlier than a month.
"Cheer up, little Zax, if you'll make your girl wait for you a little, next time she'll see you, you might earn a kiss". Laivien mistook the reason of Zax's mood. Nevertheless, if not convincing, her words of encouragement were still uplifting in their effort to assure him.
Zax averted his gaze from his Master's departed back. "Thank you, Laivien". He said with a soft smile.
"We know each other for some time now. Today we got to meet face to face. If you feel sad, do you think I won't empathize? And in this case ... how often do you think that I get to see my Kartion?" It was not a question, but confession that turned to a small rant, not against Zax, but the household's current situation.
Laivien shook her head. "We all have duties and responsibilities. Yours are now tied to my instruction and the violet stone. In the future, we are going to spend much of our time together. At a certain point I'll let you know of my responsibility. For now, you should listen while I'll explain".
Laivien's abrupt change of attitude and firmness were justified and Zax knew it. True, he was not aware of the full story behind Grandmaster's and the household's enmity with those seeking to harm them, however, he already considered the individuals in this cave and the former as his second family, his Martial family. And for his family and friends, Zax's weakness, for them to have a peace of mind, he was the type who gave everything he had and asked questions later.
"I'm ready". Zax said. Other than his own conviction, he also picked up the sadness Laivien attempted to bury in her tone of voice. He did not want to make it more difficult for her.
Thus, once more, after he replied, Zax pushed everything not related to his cultivation to a corner in his sea of consciousness. He hoped that for one month, those things will be willing to wait.
"Good, little Zax, here, place your hand on the violet stone. Don't do anything else. Internally it already has too many fractures. With your body fitness level it won't be difficult for you to break it by mistake, and until I tell you, don't try to inspect it with your Soul Sense". Laivien laid out the first guidelines.
Zax complied. Laying his hand on the violet stone, he felt water like smoothness and cold. It was as if he had to constantly remind himself to keep his hand up, otherwise it would slide on its own.
"That's it, little Zax, the violet stone has a special way of handling it, you have to treat it as though it's incorporeal. Release a strand of soul energy and let it flow through the hand holding the violet stone, to the stone itself".
Following Laivien's instruction, from the blur that was Zax's soul particles of soul energy floated out. In a blink, a rope made of those particles formed, one end connected to Zax's soul, the other shooting and winding within his body. Eventually, reaching the palm of his hand and transmitting to the violet stone.
"It is so surreal!" A world opened before Zax the moment his soul energy contacted the violet stone. The world was pitch black, yet made it seems like colors and shapes could emerge at any moment and fill it with pure radiance.
"Look with your eyes". Laivien's voice sounded more vibrantly from simply everywhere in the pitch black world than directly in Zax's ears.
"Your awareness was sucked in by the violet stone. Divide it. Let your inner mind stay in the violet stone and your outer mind outside of it, to regulate your bodily functions".
"Alright". Zax replied, yet, to his surprise, concentrating on making his inner and outer mind to perform two different tasks caused him a bit of a headache.
The inner mind and the outer mind were two states of perception of one mind. Though one could both be immersed in reading a book with the outer mind and, at the same time, ponder numerous thoughts on its meaning with the inner mind, the two actions were associated with each other. If there was not an excessive aberration, then most cultivators would treat the use of inner and outer mind as a routine or second nature. And the higher the level of the soul was, more profoundly a cultivator will be able to indulge with the two states of mind.
Attempting to concentrate on a different task with each state of mind ... that is beyond deviating. It is something Zax never tried to do before.
The preconditions for a cultivator to completely divide the inner and outer mind were also obscure. Other than reaching to the second realm with the soul, experts among cultivators could only speculate. What made the preconditions more difficult to unravel, was that in the three levels of the Core Master realm there were those who could and could not completely divide the two states of mind.
Zax's soul level was in the first realm; however, his soul was always peculiar with its premature achievements. In terms of quality and quantity his soul was the same as any Peak phase Mist Master's soul. Nonetheless, Zax's soul had the capacity to challenge the ability and strength of cultivators whose souls reached the second level of the Core Master realm. Whether it granted him the competence to be among those who could perform two different tasks with their inner and outer mind, he was about to find out.
Zax heard something explode in his head, an undulation from the dark attribute in his soul spread, assimilated with his soul, and then everything was seen in two sets of eyes.
Unknowingly, Zax achieved what so many on the path of Martial cultivation struggled so much for.
"Phew!" Zax took a deep breath and released it. When all of his awareness was sucked into the violet stone, it seems that his body did not function at all.
Seeing Zax's body responding, Laivien said. "Truly admirable, little Zax, I thought that you'll have troubles and maybe fail to divide your mind. I can tell you now, this was big brother's bet. If you weren't able to maintain half of your awareness inside the violet stone and half in your body, then big brother's hopes for you would have been for naught and my Kartion would have taken you as his ninth apprentice".