Solus was a child. A smart child sure. But a child, nonetheless.
This was something she found trouble coming to terms with. For example, she wanted to learn proper cultivation techniques but apparently, those were for adults only.
She remembered exactly how angry she had been when Mary told her she would be able to cultivate until ‘Her Dantian opens,’
“What the heck does that even mean?” Solus grumbled. The reason she remembered how angry she had been was because that was yesterday.
Mary sighed in exasperation, when Solus got all pouty like this, she just had to remind herself why it was no longer ok to hit children.
A few hundred years ago, when Mary was growing up, hitting children was vogue. Everyone was doing it. But, just like slavery, child abuse had become a taboo in Terra.
Mary stared out of the study’s narrow coloured glass window at the marble street. Countless people strode by all dressed in flowing silk and satin.
“I feel as though time is just passing me by,” she muttered.
“Time is passing you dummy,” Solus giggled smugly.
Mary held back her open palm which was poised to slap Solus across her smug face. ‘Think happy thoughts,’ she kept repeating to herself like some sort of Buddhist chant.
Now, instead of hitting Solus, all Mary could do was ground her, which didn’t matter because Solus had no friends anyway.
Or she could give her more homework. Which also didn’t matter because Solus loved to read.
Honestly, there was nobody more desperate for Solus to be able to cultivate properly than Mary. Then, she could finally hit her under the guise of ‘Training’.
Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Mary sighed, “How many times do I have to tell you this? To cultivate, you need a fully formed Dantian to store Qi in.”
“Yes, I know. But when will my Dantian be fully-formed? Tomorrow? Next week?” Solus asked impatiently.
“Your Dantian will be fully formed when you begin puberty. At least in that, us girls have an advantage, seeing as we go through puberty earlier than boys,” Mary smiled softly as she spoke making the wrinkles on her face crease slightly.
She was remembering just how annoyed her older brother had been whenever she started cultivating before him.
“When will I go through puberty then?” Solus asked, cocking her head to the side slightly.
“Well, how old are you now?” Mary asked.
“8 years, 167 days,” Solus replied instantly.
Mary frowned as she thought for a moment, Finally, as Solus, who was on the edge of her seat waiting to hear the response nearly fell off her chair, Mary spoke.
“It should be soon then, I had mine around 9 years old. But a few of my friends had theirs later, some earlier. It’s just up to chance I guess,” Mary said with a shrug.
Solus looked disappointed for a moment before picking herself back up again, “Is there anything I can do to prepare? You know, to give me a head start,”
Mary sighed slightly, “Look, Solus, I know you are desperate to start cultivating because of your mum but, these things just happen when they do. All I can tell you is to follow the fitness regime your mum left and make sure to read up on as many techniques as possible.”
“Is there even any point?” Solus grumbled, “We won’t know my elemental affinity until my Dantian is fully formed either. Stupid Dantian.”
“I would be careful if I were you, what if your Dantian takes it personally and decides to be inefficient, maybe it will never fully form if you are mean to it,” Mary said knowingly.
“Inefficient? What do you mean? Can a Dantian even be inefficient,” Solus asked in shock.
Mary frowned, “Hm… I wasn’t going to explain this until you got a bit older in case it worried you, but I guess now is as good a time as any,”
The elderly woman slowly stood up from the comfy chair she was sitting in and cautiously made her way to a bookshelf at the far end of the study.
When she arrived in front of it, she raised one finger and sent a glowing green light into the bookshelf.
Solus stared on in shock as the bookshelf seemed to come alive and split in half, revealing another, smaller bookshelf behind it.
Mary reached in and brought out a big black tome with golden letters inlaid on the front.
She set the book down on a long ebony table and only when Solus heard the heavy thunk it made did she realise just how heavy it actually was. Solus stared intently at the golden symbols on the front of the book but no matter how hard she stared; she couldn’t make sense of the strange letters. It all just seemed like gibberish
Solus and Mary gathered around the tome and the little girl waited eagerly to find out what was hidden behind this mysterious book’s pages.
Once again, Mary raised a finger and sent a glowing green light into the book. After a few seconds, the golden letters on the front of the book began to glow and shift. Melting into each other as the originally unreadable symbols became legible.
Finally, Mary stopped the glowing light and the flowing symbols on the book slowed and came to a stop, setting themselves into the proper positions with a soft click.
“Foundation for Fools,” Solus said with a frown as she read the book's cover.
Mary laughed as she saw the confusion on the little girl’s face. “Yes, well the man who wrote this book was what you might call a true genius. He also seemed to have a twisted sense of humour as you will see later on. Sometimes, if immortals live long enough, they get strange temperaments. Some revert back to how they were as children, others become cold and detached from the mortal world.”
“Is that why some weird immortals will pretend to be homeless people or old ladies needing help to cross the street, and if you help them out, they give you an amazing immortal technique,” Solus asked excitedly.
“I don’t know about the immortal technique part but yes, some immortals do indeed pretend to be helpless old ladies,” Mary agreed.
“Like you?” Solus asked while giving Mary a knowing glance.
“I don’t have to pretend to be an immortal, I am one,” Mary said defensively.
“Psh, aren’t you only Foundation establishment. That’s hardly an immortal,” Solus said, dismissively.
Mary thought happy thoughts as she clenched her fist, remembering this insult for whenever Solus began her training.
After clearing her throat, Mary waved her hand above the book and the golden pages flickered as it opened and began to turn to a specific page on its own.
After a couple of seconds, the golden pages stopped turning on a certain page. Written in black ink on the top of the page were the words ‘The Talent Spectrum,’
The big study grew quiet as the pair began pouring over the page, the only noises were the occasional gasp from Solus and a chuckle from Mary. She appeared to appreciate the eccentric genius who wrote this book's dark sense of humour.
Finally, Solus finished reading and pointed to the golden page with a shaking hand. “Is this true?” She asked nervously.
“All of it. They don’t call the author a genius for nothing,”
Solus gulped and looked back down at the page, memorising its contents.
The Talent Spectrum
When it comes to Talent, there are various types. Elemental affinity. Special constitutions. Constitution. And the more ethereal affinity of techniques which is hard to measure.
Here, in the Talent Spectrum, I have compiled only the basic constitution rankings and a brief explanation for each one.
Firstly, your constitution is defined by how many of the 1000 total meridians you can utilize. Meridians flow through your body and carry Qi in much the same way veins and arteries carry blood.
Unfortunately, those pesky meridians can be blocked quite easily due to circumstances beyond your control. Even before you are born, your meridians can become blocked due to your mother’s diet or health.
The more meridians you have open, the more Qi you can utilise and absorb, leading to faster cultivation speeds and use of techniques.
Constitutional Talent is divided into 10 levels, based on how many meridians you have open when your Dantian is fully formed, the longer that takes, the worse your talent becomes because you will absorb more impurities, blocking more meridians.
Fortunately, all is not lost, Meridians can be cleansed and unblocked through diligent cultivation, treasures of heaven and earth, rare medicinal pills and expert doctors to name a few methods.
Now, what you have been waiting for: The talent spectrum-
Mortal (0 Meridians open) – Unable to cultivate, Kill yourself.
Demi-Mortal (100 Meridians open) – Barely able to cultivate, practically useless.
Polluted Body (200 Meridians open) – Able to cultivate but poorly, twice the effort for half the reward. My dog is more talented than this.
Earth Body (300 Meridians open) – Barely average talent, can be expected to complete Foundation establishment. Don’t quit your day job.
Blessed Body (400 Meridians open) – Above average talent, possibly able to break into the Golden Core realm.
True Body (500 Meridians open) – Could be considered Talented by some people, and has a small chance to make it to Nascent Soul Realm.
Sky Body (600 Meridians open) – Quite talented, has a 50% chance to make it into Nascent Soul Realm.
Lord’s Body (700 Meridians open) – This is real Talent, even has a small chance to reach Void Traveller Realm.
Pure Body (800 Meridians open) – The best of the best, might be recruited once in a generation if a sect is lucky, 50% chance to reach Void Traveller Realm
Heaven Body (900 Meridians open) – Almost unheard of but legend has it, these lucky few will definitely reach Void Traveller and might even go beyond into the realm of Demi-Gods
Celestial Body (1000 Meridians open) – A complete Myth, one has never been recorded, but, if one were to theoretically exist, they may just be able to become eternal, reaching the Realm of True Gods.
Solus peeled her eyes from the golden pages of the book and took a deep breath before speaking, “What body do you have Mary?” She asked nervously.
Mary laughed and patted the little girl on her head of soft brown hair. “I know what you are thinking but try not to worry too much, I have an Earth Body and even in a city as mighty as Tera, I could be considered quite talented.”
“But the book said…” Solus muttered, trailing off without completing her thoughts.
“Yes well, that book is written in relation to the entire world. For example, if a heavenly body is so rare in relation to the entire world, just how rare would it be in this one single city? In my 200 years of life, I have never even met a Pure body, never mind a Heaven Body.” Mary said comfortingly.
“What about my mother?” Solus asked anxiously.
“Your mother is… the most talented person I have ever met. She is the only person in her generation to be born with a Lord’s Body,” Mary said slowly, watching the little girl's face carefully.
“Then why did she have to go into secluded cultivation so secretly,” Solus asked in annoyance.
Mary sighed and patted the little girl on the head again, “When you have that sort of talent, there are always people who want to use or get rid of you. Honestly, I hope you were born without that kind of burden,”
Solus shook her head vehemently, “If I’m not talented then my mum won’t want anything to do with me,” she said with a pout.
“Yes, well… we shall see,” Mary said quietly.