Edward checked the crowd of gathered students. The students were standing separately from the spectators. Neither Daniel nor Sunny was present there. Both of them were too injured to participate. Edward looked around a little more. He not only checked there cultivation levels but also their will power and spirit.
"You there. What's your name?", Edward pointed at a chubby, fat boy with his finger.
The boy was excited to be called by Edward. He came walking towards Edward with hope in his eyes.
"Me? My name is Jonny, only Jonny. I don't have a surname, but most people call me Jonny Fatso. You can also call me that; if you like.", the fatty replied.
Edward was amused. Normally, fat people hate it when they are called fatso, but this fatso here has turned the word 'fatso' into his surname! Now, this is a true fatso!
"Ok, Jonny Fatso. You will be the third member of the team.", Edward said with a smile.
"Can I suggest something?", Jonny fatso raised his hand after a bit of hesitation.
"Feel free to do so.", Edward said.
"If you are taking me, then you should also take Little Teddy into the team. He and I work together very well.", Jonny fatso said.
"Little Teddy? Who is Little Teddy? Come here!", Edward said that as he looked at the shortest person among the crowd of students. He guessed that this was most likely Little Teddy.
But shocking him, the student at the very back started to move. This was the first time Edward noticed that among all students, one student was sitting, while others were standing. This student, even while sitting, he was as tall as the other students. When he finally stood up, he was almost Eleven Feet High.
"This is little Teddy? How the hell is he 'Little'? Which part of him seems little? His thighs are like old banyan trees, his arms are like pillars, and he is fucking Eleven Feet Tall. You call that little?", Edward screamed in his mind. Just what was up with this place?
He checked more students but didn't see anyone else who could grab his attention. He finally gave up and decided Daniel as the Fifth Member. Besides, he had other plans in his mind
With the selection of members done, both Edward and Robert left the Royal Academy and returned to Robert's cottage. They still had seven more days before they start heading for the Grand Sky Empire.
"I'm selecting Daniel for the last member.", Edward disclosed to Robert.
"Why?", although the matter of Daniel has pretty much cleared up, it has been a scar in Robert's mind for quite a while. It will take time for the scar to completely heal.
"He is fairly strong, and also he is your cousin. On top of that, this is a chance for you two to come clear with each other, and maybe make up with each other.", Edward said.
"Forget it. Daniel and I have been clashing with each other long before all the Eilin drama. He has always hated me, and I have always hated him. That's been the case since we were kids.", Robert said as he turned his face away. He didn't want to think about the past anymore.
"That's not true. He doesn't hate you. He envies you. I can feel it. You know how he had always shined in cultivation more than you, yet think about it, he had to always face the fact that he could never take the place of you, who is the family head's son. Did you think his talent was higher than you? Wrong. I can see it in his face. He doesn't have that great of a talent. He has been keeping up with you, even surpassing you all this time with sheer hard work. I could see callouses on his hand, and I could tell they were from practicing the same sword move again and again. His true talent is his hard work. From what I saw, I believe he trained day and night secretly only too surpass you. He acted as if it was all due to his talent in front of you because he didn't want you to think low of him. He had something to prove to you. He had to show you, the son of the family head, that he is not inferior to you in any way. Just think in his shoes, how does it feel to train day and night, surpassing the son of the family head, again and again, only to realize that you will always be the second in line in succession because you are not the son of the clan head?", Edward explained.
As Robert heard Edward's explanation, he also gave a thought to it. He could at last gradually see what his cousin had been going through.
"Daniel isn't trying so hard to be the clan leader for selfish reasons either. I know this kind of person when I see one. They act tough and careless on the outside, but on the inside, they only want to tell the world that they exist and they matter. They want to prove that they are not worthless. Your cousin, Daniel, is no different. He is just trying to prove to your family that it's not like he doesn't matter just because he is not the son of the family head. Your cousin has never hated you. If he hated someone, he hated himself, for not being born as the family head's son, for not being able to change his fate.", Edward said.
Robert thought more and more about what Edward had just said. Finally, when he bared his heart, he could accept the truth.
"You have finally opened my eyes, Edward. I understand things a lot better now. But let me ask you something. You lost your family when you were very young, and you never had any friends except me. How do you know about people's nature so much? How do you understand them so much?", Robert asked.
"I like to observe. Even when I was just an ordinary boy, not a cultivator, I liked to observe people. As I sold vegetables in the market, I would deeply observe all the people who came and went. As I kept watching people more and more, I came to understand them better. The nature of your cousin is like any other mortal, trying to tell the world that he exists, trying to thrive in his own nest, trying to prove that he matters, all mortals do that. Wrath, Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Sloth, Greed, these are all mortal nature. Every mortal has wrath, they have their pride, they have lust, they envy the fortuned, they greed over the fortunes, they swallow in gluttony, they slumber in sloth. Most importantly, they want to protect the reason for their existence, they want to prove they matter, they want to thrive wherever they are. You know what? I believe that even the Gods and Immortals, although they are undying, they do have a mortal nature at the core of their very being. In the end, Mortality of the body can be escaped, but there is no escaping the mortal-like nature of one's mind. In fact, Mortality is the ultimate truth of existence. Existence has to have a purpose and in order to fulfill that purpose, one cannot help but accept their mortal nature, even if they are Gods or Immortals by body and soul. So, finally, I came up with the answer that the more you understand and accept your mortality, the closer to the ultimate truth you become, and the closer to fulfilling the purpose of your existence you are. Mortality is actually an art, and only by mastering this art can one become the ultimate victor. A mortal who has fully mastered this art can become anything and everything. I call this concept, "The Art of Mortality."