"Oh, huh? Sorry Uncle Ail, I wasn't paying attention"
Uncle Ail sighed, "I know you're thinking about Dyon… But, the martial world is cruel. Without backing, or without willingness to bow your head, it's almost impossible to survive. It's just a shame that such a genius died… But, we have to move on. I've decided that you'll return the clan. You've allowed yourself to be bullied here for too long for the sake of this old man."
Eli was listening to Uncle Ail solemnly, but he couldn't help but laugh at the last line, "old man? You're not even 30 Uncle. If the elders here knew they were treating such a genius so disrespectfully, they'd cough up blood with regret."
Uncle Ail laughed lightly, "that Dyon boy had sharp eyes, it seemed he could tell I was younger than I looked… But, don't try to change the subject. The uproar from Lady Madeleine's wedding has caused all the seeded geniuses out of their preparation for the legacy world. In addition, the Elvin World will be opening up soon. How could your elder sister miss any of those 2 things? You'll go back with her once everything is finished. Your cultivation is being stifled in this small place, your talent in alchemy and herbology is much more than mine. Don't drag yourself down because I have useless dreams."
"Uncle Ail, I'll go back, but you're coming with me. How could you expect to become an array alchemist here of all places? They may have needed a top notch alchemist like you, but so do many other places. Also, I think the Viridi clan is short sighted. They choose to focus on only half of the mysteries of array alchemy because they're cowards. I respect you more than any of them, Uncle."
Uncle Ail sighed, "it's not that they're cowards, it's that the alchemy divisions are starting to suppress the array alchemists, no one thinks there's a future in it anymore. Ever since the Celestial deer clan was annihilated, the world began to lose more and more methods of producing top expert array alchemists. So, they tore apart the one occupation into 2, completely destroying the deeper meaning behind the ancient profession. The meaning behind array alchemy is elusive, but from my studies, I've come to understand that understanding of life and plants, and the understanding of arrays and formations, are inextricably connected. How can one build a proper array without being in line with the environment around them? The goal of an array is to literally create a new law and order in a limited space. How could you do that without understanding the laws to begin with?
And what about alchemy? Your goal is to balance life to create new life in the form of grafting plants or god-like pills. How can you do that without understanding the way of manipulating the laws of the world?"
Eli had heard this speech a million times, but he was captivated by it just the same.
"And yet these so-called novel experts seem to think that separation is the way to go about it. In my opinion, even the rotting main array alchemy branch stands head and shoulders above any formation or alchemy branch."
Eli smiled, "it's a shame the clan didn't agree with you Uncle. We're stuck in the ways of alchemy, but it bottle necks our future. Without understanding of arrays and the manipulation of laws, transcending to a grandmaster alchemist is impossible…
It's okay though Uncle. Before Dyon…," Eli took a deep breath, "he left us something. He didn't forget our little faction. With these array plates he left, we can not only try and comprehend the other half of array alchemy, we can sell them to fund awakening your aurora to 20%! That way, you can truly become an array alchemist."
"Don't be silly little Eli, opening it to 10% will be enough for me. We'll open yours up to 15%, your potential is much higher than mine is."
Eli was about to protest when he saw the resoluteness in his Uncle's eyes. He could only shake his head and smile bitterly.
"That aside Eli, you should also focus on your cultivation. The Elvin world opens tomorrow, and your sister should be here by then. Go in with her. For some reason, they've removed the usual quota system this year. It seems they want to find some items and want the most people looking."
"Really?! I haven't seen big sister in forever, I miss her. Okay! I'll go."
"Oliver! You weak fuck! Hahahaha," The robust laughter of a fiery red head filled the center pillar roof.
Oliver sighed, "Junior Lehabim, it's nice to see you."
"tsk tsk tsk, already 18 and still in the foundation stage. Isn't it embarrassing to be of equal strength with your little sister? I would thank you for killing the guy she was in love with, but you're letting her marry another loser?! I need an explanation! Why is my woman not marrying me!?"
Oliver's expression darkened, but before he could respond, a deep and resounding voice interrupted him, "you have a lot of nerve Sparky, to claim my goddess as your woman."
"You want to fight you bald fuck? This Oliver pussy wouldn't even if I challenged him, but I'm sure you've at least opened 9 meridians, right? If not this wouldn't be any fun," Lehabim cracked his knuckles.
A vein began to pop on the dark-skinned teen's shining head, "say that one more time you half cocked fire imp!"
Lehabim's Fiery red hair seemed to get brighter as he stormed up to Hashim. He had a smile that wasn't a smile on his face, "it seems that balding at such an early age made you senile. You think you can speak that way to just anyone?"
Oliver smiled bitterly, "guys, please. You're valued guests of our Focus Academy, you can't fight here."
They both turned to Oliver, eyes burning with fury.
"Shut the hell up Oliver, the only reason I haven't beaten you to a pulp is because of your sister. But, considering you killed that impotent fuck, I guess she might not protect you so fervently anymore right?" boomed Hashim.
Oliver's fists clenched. His relationship with his little sister had been his sore spot for the last month. But, he was still a genius in his own right. So, what if they'd already broken into the meridian formation stage? He was tempering his wills first to stabilize his foundation.
"We'll see who tramples on who during the big sect tournament," said Oliver through gritted teeth, "I'm not like you weak so-called geniuses, I want to temper my meridians with 3 wills, not just 2. After I find a wind intent fruit in the Elvin world, I'll properly step into the meridian formation stage."
Lehabim and Hashim looked at Oliver with a slight surprise, 'it seems he's already understood 2 wills? And wants to understand a third?'
The truth was, the meridian formation stage was a course of opening 108 meridians. To do so, you had to temper the closed opening with your understanding of wills. This increased your affinity with your chosen wills and increased your chances of understanding those respective intents later on in cultivation and made your meridians more durable for higher levels of cultivation. Usually, regular cultivators only understand a single will before using it to temper their meridian openings. A genius would use 2. It seemed like Oliver wanted to use 3 to do so, but his cultivation had slowed down because of it.
"With my current level of understanding of wills, don't believe that I can't slice you two in half where you stand," Oliver's eyes sharpened as swirls of sword qi flew around him.
'that's… 5th level sword will…'
A feminine giggle sounded off in the distance, "don't be so dramatic brother in law, you know those two can't control themselves. If you were as beautiful as you were handsome, maybe I'd take a chance with you instead of my goddess Madeleine," a bird made of wind swooped down, dispersing to reveal a tall girl with jet black hair and blue eyes.
"I see the two of you are still fond of not wearing shirts," Knoton shook her beautiful head, "barbarians."
Oliver's lip twitched, 'brother in law? Who's your brother in law…'
"So, it's lady Jessica Knoton. It's a pleasure," Oliver said politely.
Jessica nodded towards Oliver, before turning a look of disdain towards Hashim and Lehabim, "did you think my Madeleine would be impressed by your testosterone filled heads? You two disgust me. There are a million trillion men in this world more muscular than the two of you, so how about you go take a shower and put on a shirt, you're stinking up the night air."
Oliver smiled bitterly, 'weren't you just trying to get them to stop fighting? Now you're adding fuel to the flames.'
Lehabim and Hashim turned their heated gazes towards Jessica, their eyes roaming over her tight black training suit, "it's a shame her temperament isn't as elegant or graceful as Madeleine's."
Hashim nodded in agreement, "not as beautiful either."
Lehabim and Hashim nodded together like they were the best of friends.
"who said my love isn't as beautiful!" a round boy bounded over to the group just as sparks were about to ignite.
Jessica's lip twitched, "who's your love! I don't need you to protect me Orbis. You can either be silent, or you can taste my wind blades like these two."
Oliver, seeing a fight was about to break out, jumped out again to try and mediate, "brothers, sister, please. The central pillar world opens up tomorrow morning. I know you all don't want to risk injury before that. Let's just talk about martial arts like the old days."
A girl with dirty blond hair and brown eyes walked slowly to the group, "Brother Sapientia is right. How about you bring out the other Focus Academy geniuses, Oliver? It might help water down the situation."
Oliver sighed in relief, seeing Viridi. His heart pounded slightly faster, but he did his best to maintain a calm smile, "since sister Venus wants to see the Focus Academy alumni, I'll call them over. Chenglei and Akihiko are currently trying their best to win over their fiancées, but there's still Draco and the top 3 from the 6th year. I can call over a few other promising geniuses as well. Remember Avios? Although he most likely passed away, his little sister is quite a genius too. Just recently turned 15 during the spring, yet she recently broke into the 6th foundation layer. Also, there's Tammy from the Storm family. It seems like she's their top genius. She's about to turn 16 yet is already at the 8th layer! I'll bring them over."
Lehabim looked excited, "Ava? She's a red head too right?"
"hmph, can't even focus on one girl yet you think you have the right to seek out my goddess?" Spoke Hashim in disdain.
"You're one to talk. You can't even speak cordially with the Duco family senior sisters without stuttering a blushing. I swear the shine on your head amplifies 10xs when they're around."
"You! It's called a healthy respect. A. Healthy. Respect." Hashim said defiantly.
"disgusting." Jessica said in disdain.
"would you like some water my love," Orbis didn't wait for an answer as he brought over a pitcher of water and poured a cup for Jessica.
Jessica took the cup with a harrumph, "if only I knew where my Madeleine was staying, then I wouldn't have to be here," she muttered.
"Come, come. Sit at the banquet table. The geniuses of Focus Academy will be here shortly. In the mean time, we can just talk. I actually had questions I wanted to ask you about the will of wind, Jessica," Oliver said with a smile.
The next morning, hundreds of young men and women stood on the top floor below the roof of the Central Pillar.
The pillar family heads stood in front of the crowd before Patia-Neva took a step forward to speak.
"As you all know, our Focus Academy is built in the wreckage of what used to be the Celestial Deer Sect. Although what we found was minimal and could only be stored in the small library in our center pillar, there was one thing that was left in the best of conditions: the center pillar world.
This is actually a teleportation array to what we believe is an Elvin Forest. We aren't even certain of the grade of array it is, so we can't be certain of how far it teleports you and can definitely not protect you. We've found over the years that while the Elvin Government may allow younger cultivators in, they kill cultivators above 25 with no hesitation. We believe this might have to do with a pact the Elvin Kingdoms had with the Celestial Deer Sect. Although we cannot be certain, the information we have cost the lives of many elders. Take this very seriously. Although there is no cap on the amount of times we can use this array, it still takes tens of thousands of profound stones to activate. So, this is a heavy investment for our school. Make sure to grasp this opportunity. The array will automatically teleport you back in one month. Good luck! And be careful! You must stay within the designated areas!"
Once Patia-Neva's voice finished calling out, the sound of excited chatter filled the floor.
"do you know anything about the Elvin World big sister?"
Venus ruffled her little brother's dirty blonde hair with a gentle expression in her eyes, "Not much, but I do know that there are what they call intent fruits there in addition to cultivation fruits. The intent fruits make it easier to understand wills and, if they're of good enough quality, intents. The cultivation fruits make body tempering and meridian formation more gentle a smooth. In addition, with the atmosphere of nature in their kingdom, it's very good for us of the Viridi clan."
Eli nodded obediently, "Uncle Ail agreed to come back big sister, that's good right?"
Venus smiled, "of course, father misses him very much. He misses you more though, you were so stubborn to come all the way here."
Eli smiled like a child proud of his deeds. Venus could only giggle and turn towards the flashing array.
A tall and delicate faced blonde hair and blue eyed young man walked towards the back of two girls before catching them by surprise and putting his arms around both.
"AH!" Ava jumped forward, trying to dodge the arm, but it seemed to be an immovable mountain.
"Tammy!" A domineering voice rang through Ava's ear, "How about you introduce me to your friend?"
Tammy froze, looking back and up at the young man who was holding them in place, "this is my friend Ava, elder cousin. We'll be traveling together in the Elvin world."
"Well, you must have space for one more, right?" Although it was phrased like a question, it didn't seem to be.
Tammy smiled bitterly, looking over at Ava's questioning gaze. She feigned ignorance and shrugged her shoulders. But, on the inside, she felt like she was falling apart.
'So not only did you make me kill the man I love… You plan on making my best friend hate me for life too?... Well done "Storm" family… Well done indeed…'
A cold light flashed in Tammy's eyes as she pretended to be her normal bubbly self, "well, let's go then elder cousin. The sooner we get there, the more resources will be available to us!"
"Oh, so you're Tammy's cousin? It's nice to meet you," Ava said with a smile. She was a bit confused as to why she had never seen him before. All members of the Storm family attended the academy, right? But, she didn't bother asking, it didn't seem too important to her.
"I'm Baal, it's nice to meet such a beautiful girl too. I'm looking forward to the next month," he said with a smile.
Although there seemed nothing wrong with the smile on the surface, and he was actually quite handsome, Ava felt like something was off. But, she trusted her best friend wouldn't get her into any irredeemable situations. So, she pushed the feeling aside, smiling back.
In the back, a group of 4 blond hair and blue-eyed Storm family members looked on at Baal.
"Poor girl, looks like Baal has set his sights on another one. Does he really have to pick on Tammy so much?" said a girl with a bow strapped across her ample chest.
"You don't even mean that, so I don't know why you try and sound sympathetic, Autumn," said another girl with a connectable spear broken in two along her back.
"Maybe if she was strong enough, she wouldn't have to deal with all of this. Since she's the weakest, of course she'll be bullied and be sent to this trash can of a school to control the situation," Autumn retorted.
"You're well aware that she may be the weakest, but she's also the most talented and the smartest. If you keep bullying her, the future might now be so bright for you," Said a particularly bulky and stoic man. If you knew his age was only 17, you wouldn't believe it. He stood at 2.5 meters tall. In fact, many of the crowd couldn't stop looking at him.
A massive arm thick 4-meter-long spear graced his back. His aura was domineering despite the lazy look in his eyes.
"Don't be such a spoiler Dagon. I've never directly bullied her. But, I'm also not strong enough to stop Baal from bullying her, only you are. So, why haven't you done anything?"
Dagon looked over at his cousin, "you know me Callidora… how can I improve if I never have any pressure? The thought of her catching up one day and trampling on my pride really gets my blood boiling," Dagon's lazy look transformed as his blue eyes darkened. Electricity started bouncing around his bulky muscles as arcs of gold, red and blue emanated from him.
"*sigh*, you all need to calm down. You can do whatever you want in the Elvin World, but we still need to keep a low profile here. Even Tammy keeps her cultivation secret. Don't fuck it up," a faint voice stifled Dagon's aura.
Dagon chuckled, "it seems I'll have to keep an eye on you too Blade…"
"Do whatever you want. And remember not to touch the big sect geniuses… that's part of the deal" Faint light of spear qi circled around Blade as he walked towards the array, "let's go."
'didn't this guy just say to keep a low profile?'
'they'll drive us to an early death'
The two girls looked at each other helplessly, before following their respective elder brothers.
smh... poor Ava *facepalm*
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