The Chronicles Of New Havens Book 2 Chapter 225
On a grass field, where the spring wind whipped up a fresh flurry of flower petals, two figures stood facing one another. One was a middle-aged man with a stern expression and a dilapidated sword hung by his side. Clear signs of scars were shown across his skin, a testament to the brutal journey he had crossed to reach here. Despite his unassuming appearance, a monstrous aura surged from his very being. It innately forced all to kneel before him! This was unsurprisingly the Sword King Sin Quelldown, an Instinct Realm martial artist! The other was a fairly muscular boy with a sharp gaze. His body was also injured in some ways, but he stood straight as an arrow. There was not a single show of pain on his face. It was Benedict Hawken, now a former Hawken though.
The Sword King smirked. This much was expected from his disciple. If he could not handle this much, then he would be better off dead. Without wasting any time, the man extended his empty hand as a strange light began manifesting in his palm. Condensing under the Sword King's will, it transformed into a sword made of light! Benedict's eyes nearly popped out as would anyone else. Although the sword looked intangible, and almost illusory, Benedict could distinctly feel it was real. And not just real, but it felt more dangerous than any sword! Forming a blade like that, it was too absurd to reason! At the same time, he gave a dumbfounded look towards the Sword King. This was the true power behind the king of all swords? Was this something a normal person could achieve?
This was just the beginning though. Sword King Sin waved his hand, as if cutting the air itself. Using the Cloud Sea Style as casually as breathing, he attacked. As he slashed, the attack released and became a flying strike that cut across the nearby pond. Boom! Two tall vertical walls of water rose as it passed through, revealing the unbelievable power behind it. It seemed like it could cut several people in half, and quite easily as well! But that was not all. It continued to reach the other side of the pond where a large human-sized rock was. The Sword King's strike easily bisected the rock straight down the middle, splitting it so cleanly that it almost trivialized the act. Only then did the power finally dissipate and Benedict's breathing resumed. However, his eyes were fixed on that divided rock. For a person's strike to maintain that much power across such a large distance Just how was this possible?
"Martial Energy," the Sword King started. "You must think this is magic, but it's not. This was something done entirely without Magic Energy."
"Martial Energy?" a confused Benedict repeated, slowly pulling his attention back.
Nodding, the man continued, "That's right. I suppose that not many people would know of its existence. The truth behind martial artists, Martial Energy!"
Why were Arcanists so much stronger than martial artists? Just comparing the feats created by the two, there was an obvious disparity. Could Sir Winstin, a Perception Realm Master and the strongest knight, cleave through a vanguard force and kill hundreds with one attack? He could not! But Ten Dawns had achieved just that in the battle with the emperor using their spell while Sir Winstin and the other Royal Guards had turtled up to protect Lord Korogin. And why were there so many martial artists of a higher level compared to Arcanists? What Elizabeth had once wondered about was related to this mystery. The answer was rather simple: Martial Energy!
The source of all magic, Magic Energy, and the source of all martial arts, Martial Energy. The two stemmed from the same source, World Energy! While Magic Energy emphasized external manipulation, Martial Energy focused on internals. There were many names for it, such as stamina and internal energy, but they all roughly referred to the same thing. Like what Elizabeth learned, magic was not that special at all and there were similar counterparts in everyday life. Every action required energy to perform and this was, in some ways, exactly that Martial Energy! Every living creature possessed Martial Energy, though the problem was how to use it efficiently.
And there the problem was born. For humans, because Martial Energy was so common, it was the exact opposite of Magic Energy. There was no need to continue researching in something that was known. The fact that anyone could train their body through a bit of effort was enough. Furthermore, they managed to push through an imaginary barrier into Perception Realm! Perception Realms could transcend human limitations and reveal unprecedented strength. They could dominate! Hence, there was never a belief that their method was flawed. But it was. It was terribly flawed. It was no wonder superior civilizations regarded humanity as insignificant. They had failed to grasp the basics!
This was also why Arcanists were superior to martial artists of the same level. Why could the Ten Dawns unleash large-scale destructive spells that could affect the entire battlefield? And why could Perception Realms not do the same? Because they were fundamentally using their energy wrong. While Arcanists could pull out a hundred percent of their power, martial artists were struggling to use even one percent! This was also intimately related to the disparity in numbers. For every Condensed Drop Arcanist, there were probably a hundred Perception Realms. If everyone trained and used their energy effectively, then their numbers would be nearly equal. Of course, their corresponding might would be the same as well.
Hearing all of this, Benedict felt a headache coming on. However, he managed to summarize it in one brief sentence. "Then all the Perception Realms are fakes?"
"Hmm That's not a bad way to put it," the Sword King replied. "In a way, you're correct. You cannot be considered a true martial artist without a thorough comprehension of Martial Energy. This is even more important for Perception Realms."
"But you're different?" Benedict instinctively frowned. "I find it hard to believe that you're the only one out of millions of humans to discover this."
"I can't say I'm the first nor the last. However, I have completely mastered Martial Energy. I don't think I need another performance," he gestured to the pond finally returning to its calm surface and the split rock.
Benedict smiled bitterly at that and he asked, "How do I start to learn Martial Energy then?"
The Sword King chuckled as he read his disciple's expressions. "It's a little hard to replicate my feat any time soon. You might be a Hawken swordsman and grasped a hint of Sword Intent, but you'll need to start from the bottom up. That's a good thing though. If you had reached Perception Realm, then I wouldn't have bothered to teach you anything," he laughed.
Gaseous Fog and Fundamental Realm were what higher civilizations called Rank 1. What did the number one symbolize? It was the beginning of everything. It was the first step on the grand staircase of strength and the journey towards the top! There was a reason that these two levels were grouped into the same rank. Gaseous Fog constructed the Core and taught Magic Energy. Fundamental Realm trained the body and taught Martial Energy. Both, in the end, were the basics and the foundational layer for the ones above!
This was why the Sword King had never bothered teaching Sir Winstin or the other Royal Guards. They were ridiculously strong, standing at the apex of power in the Alzar Kingdom. Even geniuses could not match their peerless talent and effort! They could be truly seen as living legends! How could Benedict or his other disciples match that? However, precisely because of that, they had strayed too far. A tall castle might look pretty, but with a poor foundation, then it would crumble with the slightest touch. For Sir Winstin and the others, who managed to climb to the peak of Perception Realm without touching Martial Energy, they were a lost cause. It would be a monumental challenge to start up from the beginning again. Therefore, it was better to teach someone showing outstanding potential, but had yet to truly tap into it.
"Martial Energy is the energy from within. When you swing your sword, when you run, or when you dodge, all of these are related to Martial Energy. Until you reach the level of a Perception Realm in Martial Energy control, you won't be able to project it outwards. Therefore, the first step is learning how to reinforce your body at will. With sufficient mastery, you won't need armor anymore. You would be able to take a direct hit and remain unharmed!"
"That's impossible," Benedict said reflexively.
The Sword King gave a bright smile. "It's good to be skeptical and I also believe seeing is better. Let's see then Why don't you try attacking me then?"
Seeing the suspicion drawn on Benedict's face, the Sword King sneered. "Exactly what I said. I won't bother to dodge, attack, block, or even move. However, if you can leave a single mark on my body, then I'll concede. You could do whatever you want from now on. How about it?"
"Are you sure about that?" Benedict asked again. The one facing him might be the Sword King, but even he felt some hesitation to attack an unarmed person. Regardless of everything, he was still a knight of the Alzar Kingdom and those principles stuck.
"If you insist," the boy drew his sword in a beautiful arc, as if urging the Sword King to reconsider.
However, the man's expression was tainted with amus.e.m.e.nt. It was the look of someone witnessing a clown. Benedict frowned, took a stance, and dove in. His sword pierced through the air and came slashing down. At the last second though, he flipped the blade to the dull side. Even if a hit were made, it would be non-fatal. This was the only way his heart would remain calm. Except what he imagined and what he saw were contradictory. His sword did land, but it helplessly slide off the Sword King's body, not cutting a single strand of hair. On the other hand, Benedict's hands stung like hitting a metal sheet. Feeling this, Benedict was shocked that someone could train their body to this extent. It was incredible!
"Why did you hold back? I'm telling you to attack me like you're trying to kill me," the tone was gradually growing irritated.
Benedict became speechless. What kind of person would willingly allow them to be hacked by a sword? Nevertheless, there was that tiny hint of expectation. If the Sword King could really deflect attacks with his mere body, then that meant he told the truth. There was so much Benedict could learn! Upon thinking all this, the boy took a deep breath and calmed himself. He had to treat this seriously. Benedict swept his leg through the grass, taking the third stance of the Hawken Style. Overwhelming speed and power to kill in one strike! He gained a bit of enlightenment from the fights at the Lannisail Household. Because of that, he was confident in using the third stance now. If that man could resist this, then Benedict would wholeheartedly give up and pursue his tutelage!
Sword King Sin maintained his lackl.u.s.ter attitude, but inside, he began commanding and the power of an Instinct Realm's body stirred in response. Martial Energy rushed up to the surface! Just one tenth of a percent was enough for facing Benedict. Although it may seem small, the aura released already felt like a titanic weight pressing down on Benedict and cutting into his skin. The might of an Instinct Realm could not be underestimated! Even a weakened Protector Avin could handle dozens of opponents simultaneously. What to say of a Sword King at his full strength? An extremely faint blue glow started to cover the man's palm, but the oppressive force screamed out danger to Benedict.
The boy gritted his teeth and his shoes dug into the soft dirt. Flexing his muscles to the extreme, Benedict shot off the ground towards the Sword King. His movements were still rough, but it was undoubtedly the third stance! He moved fast enough that the gap was closed in half a second. Aiming for his opponent's chest, he no longer held back. This strike was strong enough to kill! Unfortunately, his opponent was not so simple. It was decided in an instant. Benedict's eyes were widened in horror. There it was the Sword King was holding onto Benedict's sword! He actually caught it! And worse yet, there was not a trace of an injury. His hand was utterly untouched!
"As I told you before, Martial Energy is capable of performing feats like this rather easily," the man shrugged and tossed the sword away. "Now that we settled all your suspicions, it's time to get down to business. Your training will be quite straightforward. You'll meditate and concentrate until you can consciously control your Martial Energy. And then you'll copy me and do that." He pointed across the pond to the human-sized rock he split. The Sword King grinned menacingly and said, "Afterwards, I'll slowly teach you the Cloud Sea Style."