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Junior Soul Specialist
Rey approached a wooden door and saw the metal plaque hanging above it. 'Junior? Hopefully, he's good enough.' Rey heaved a sigh as he opened the wooden door and walked inside. The room was small, with just a few cushioned chairs and a metal end table on each side. Opposite the entrance was another door with a note saying to wait. Rey took this opportunity to sit and read Redwater Form until Grey returned. After studying it for a few minutes, Rey gave a strange look. After another hour Rey was completely lost.
'Fascinating. This book, it's a total rip off!' Rey cursed inwardly. 'I guess this is what I should expect for such a cheap price. The creator didn't even label or give any introduction. A C-grade technique that I can't make sense of. I wonder if I should have saved up and bought the E-grade technique instead.'
Rey doubted his decision. Occasionally looking upward from the book in his hand, he admired the decorative red and yellow gems embedded into the walls and simplistic, clean-cut marble. It contrasted well with the wooden furniture in the room. With a few paintings of a man with his back turned and gazing into the distance, Rey thought the room was neat and calming despite how small it was.
'I'll give it another look afterward I suppose.' Rey closed up the book and waited another ten minutes until he saw a tall, yet skinny man open the door near him.
"Rey Nefasi?" The man said in a tired voice. The man looked over at Rey and wore a shocked face. "It's you?!"
Rey began to sweat as he feared something was wrong but realized the man looked familiar. With his Sun Empire crest and woven red robes, Rey realized he had seen Grey before. "You're Grey Kioko?! The elite from the Sun Empire that pa.s.sed through and looked directly at me?"
Rey looked at his silver-colored hair and tired eyes. Despite this, Grey looked rather young, only 5 or so years older than him. Adorned with fine red and yellow robes, Rey thought he looked like a n.o.ble as he looked at Rey with a complex gaze.
"The boy with the exceptional soul? I noticed that your soul was abnormal. You have nothing tying down you down, no physical body or matter. Yet you appear human, and have a very strong soul for your age." He pondered and studied Rey, making him feel uncomfortable. "Come with me," Grey said hurriedly as waved Rey to come into his room.
They walked into an even smaller room, with only a small wooden desk and two chairs facing opposite to each other. A large window looked out towards Sanctuary with the suns shining down upon them.
"What do you need?" Grey said as they both sat down and he poured tea for both of them, taking a sip of tea.
"Someone is controlling my body, sir Kioko-"
Grey spat out his tea. "Don't use 'sir,' to address me. It's 'priest' to you, Rey."
Rey coughed once, feeling embarra.s.sed.
"Priest Kioko, can you destroy the person with soul attacks?" Rey looked at the man in front of him. Grey's tense face relaxed slightly as Rey called him a priest.
"I'll need full disclosure on who this is, are you still up for this?" Priest Grey looked at him sternly, which didn't match his age at all. Rey rather thought it was amusing and smiled.
"Yes. I can tell you everything I know." Rey got excited.
"Great! What's his cultivation level?"
Rey paused. "I don't know how to quantify it..."
Priest Kioko laughed. "Do you really not know your levels? There's the Mortal rank, Semi-mortal rank, Semi-novice rank, Novice rank, Semi-saint rank, Saint rank-"
"I know all of the ranks, it's just that I don't understand what realm he was in..." Rey gave a bitter smile.
"Oh, I see. You're still too young to properly identify those magical realms, especially as a mere soul." Priest Kioko laughed, "Are you sure he's still alive? Where did you last see him?"
"He's alive." Rey looked haunting as his mind flashed back to Soma's shouting. "He allows me to watch and hear everything he's doing with my body; I know he's in Mist Valley."
Priest Kioko tensed his eyes and touched his chin. "Your soul is still dwelling inside your body? He hasn't destroyed you and knows of your existence?" He inquired as he sat up and faced the window, waiting for Rey's response.
"Call him an unwanted, crazy friend." Rey squeezed his own arm and glanced up at Priest Kioko.
"If you hadn't already paid," He turned and his eyes locked with Rey, "I'd think you were lying." Tension filled the room as Rey kept his eyes focused at priest Kioko.
"But I can tell you aren't lying. I sense no malice in you, at least, not towards me. Are you ready to kill this 'friend' of yours?"
Rey was taken aback and wanted to say he was sure, but no words came out.
"You have doubts then." He sighed and walked over, placing his slender fingers on Rey's shoulder. "If I am to do this, you need to be ready and willing to force him out of you."
"I'm ready… I'll be ready to face Soma." Rey affirmed.
"Very well." Priest Kioko nodded and spoke with hesitance. "Just how strong is this 'Soma' you speak of?"
"The strongest I know. But his soul is fractured and only partial for some reason," Rey casually remarked, "so it should be easier to destroy his soul regardless."
"He's still capable of thought even with a damaged soul?" He gave Rey a weird look. "That shouldn't be possible. His willpower would have to be incredibly strong to keep his sense of self."
"Can you do it?" Rey asked.
"I can try. I already took your money, it's against the Sun codex to refuse requests based on difficulty." He shook his head, "Why am I even telling you this?" Priest Kioko sighed. "We have a deal, but I can't travel to Mist Valley. There's a creature there that is disrupting our Empire."
"The s.p.a.ce beast?" Rey inquired.
"Who told you that? That's not public knowledge." Priest Kioko looked at Rey strangely but shook his head. "Yes, because there is a creature there. There is already a team currently on their way-" Priest started to say before cutting himself off. "I should not have said that. Don't spread that around. I definitely shouldn't have told you that." Wiping the sweat from his forehead, he breathed deeply.
"I see," Rey said curiously, "and the s.p.a.ce beast is sending in weaker men to fight it?"
"Scouts aren't necessarily-" He paused and looked at Rey. "Stop this. Enough talking. I'll contact you through your soul link here next time. You're not getting any more information out of me." Priest Kioko glared at Rey.
"I just wanted to know because my body is in the area." Rey sighed. "Can you tell the scouts to watch out for Soma?"
Priest Kioko thought more about it and agreed, thinking he was being too cautious towards Rey. After all, what would Rey have to gain?
"Very well, I'll pa.s.s it along. Thank you for the warning. Go hone your willpower. If you want to destroy this man, then you'll need much stronger willpower to keep your control and force him out of you." Priest Kioko noted and sent Rey on his way.
Walking out, Rey felt burden lessen as he now knew he had help, but he still felt uneasy. 'Just how helpful can he be in such a hopeless state?' Rey thought momentarily before casting aside that mentality. 'It won't help to doubt my decisions now. All I can do is figure out this technique.'
Rey walked back from the Sun Empire's market place and sent his consciousness back with the book in hand. Rey realized that the Redwater Form technique he bought was still with him in his soul realm. Abandoning his clothes, Rey made them disappear until he was left only with the book in hand. His hands caressed the leather binding as he thought momentarily.
'I need to study this, but first I have to observe Soma again.' Rey realized he needed to, but was still struck with fear. Despite his terrified expression, Rey continued walking forward until he approached the bars that kept him captive. Peering through them, he felt everything his body on the outside felt.
Large rocky mountains with shrubs and few trees lined his vision. Ravenous roars reverberated in his ears. A sweet taste filled his mouth as the chilling wind p.r.i.c.kled his skin. And the smell of iron and sugar filled up his nostrils. Rey felt the breath in his lungs and the energy coiling within his body; unspeakable happiness and joy gave Rey hope and determination. But he knew that, deep down, he was still trapped and couldn't move his own body.
"Rey," Soma softly muttered, but to Rey it felt as callous and cold as the frigid winters. "Ouranos is ready to learn? Come, Ozzy. He's improving fast!" He closed his eyes, prompting Rey to also see nothing anymore. A loud squeal startled Rey as he heard clunky steps and the wrestling of metal clinks approaching him. Soma's thoughts and mindset bore through Rey's will and drained any strength he had. Rey withdrew himself and came back to the void. Cold sweat formed on his back as he fell back.
"I can't do this!" Rey shouted into the void, only to return to absolute silence. His thoughts felt abstract and so far away. He felt the despair Soma exuded from his thoughts. Coupled with his own hatred for Soma, Rey felt angry and insignificant. Each time he fought for a foothold, Soma showed up and took it back from him.
'Why am I even fighting?' This thought stuck to Rey as he sat in the void, eventually returning to the Redwater Form technique.
Rey depressingly flipped open the pages and looked at the contents again. But after a glance, this time, he furrowed his brows. He read it and became amazed; everything was exactly the same, but also not. The words, layout, scribbles, everything was exactly the same. But as Rey read it again he felt his understanding grow more. Each flick of ink and drawing seemed to possess weight to the words that fascinated Rey. Absorbed in understanding, Rey's mind was like an old and creaky machine that had just been oiled. Slowly, his mind and understanding grew to the point that he was understanding the technique. When he got stuck in thought, it merely took a few hours to resolve the errors; his mind became clear.
"I understand why I can't give up. To fight for mother and father, my race, Riza, myself," Rey took a breathe, "I won't let Soma do as he wishes any longer. I need to fight and destroy this shadow over my heart." Rey instinctively touched his chest and felt the tightness around his heart.
Rey's heart and mind worked in unison as he became one with his body and mind. He sensed the energy swirling inside him like a river; like a current, energy pooled out from his heart and ran down his limbs. Rey became aware of the suppression in his heart and felt the energy being barred from circulating. Rey continued to sit in a lotus position.
Previously, Rey attempted to cut off all his feelings of sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch to focus on feeling the energy within him; but this technique showed him the opposite works even better if done correctly. By fully focusing on all of his senses at once, and noticing each small change that compounded on each other, Rey's sensitivity to all of his senses, including energy, magnified.
With this new technique, Rey concentrated on his awareness and energy sensing, as well as tempering his willpower further. Having clarity of mind and pulling himself out of his darkness, he felt refreshed.
'Tomorrow, after my training,' Rey hummed, 'I will talk with that madman. Until then... train!'