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A few days later.
It was a sunny day blessed the Blackwood Household. A giant gate of golden-colored metal was standing mighty, awed common people for decades by now.
Carriages came one by one. There were few servants stationed to park their cart in the provided field. They bought a lot of colorful gifts as they walk toward the party in the courtyard.
Today is Lyla Blackwood’s fourteenth birthday. The younger generation’s only girl of Blackwood’s main bloodline family. She was quite pretty and sweet. Especially in a simple azure-colored dress of her. Her eyes were big and round, and her face was cutely chubby with a thin white-snow neck. Women always smiling whenever the looked at the innocent girl. As for men, there’s always a hidden thought inside their mind.
“I don’t like these gifts and cakes,” Lyla pouted. “And I don’t like meeting these people.”
“Young Lady, please bear it for a moment. They were rich and kind people, don’t you see how generous their gifts are?” the nanny tried very hard to appease her.
“No, Aunt Jiji! I don’t wanna gifts! I no wanna any gifts! I only want my Big Sista Bhela! If Mom doesn’t let her play with me then naturally I will jump!”
The little darling of the household threatening the whole family with a cute kitten-like roar of her. The “jump” she mentioned in her threat was an exaggerated one, as it wouldn’t so dangerous if one only jumping from a high dining table. But still, the female middle-aged nanny quite worried. She would explain patiently why Lyla’s closest friend would be hard to appear in public places like birthday event. Because in the end, her salary would at stakes here if the innocent-looking young lady was injured in her knees.
Young Lady Lyla sulkily nodded.
“Is it because of that time with Yashura Family?” the girl whispered.
The middle-aged nanny couldn’t do anything except tell her the truth. “Now everybody knew the real ident.i.ty of Young Lady Bhela Malikh. Big Madam was displeased. Even Young Master Frane did not escape her wrath. So please be good now, Young Lady. Naturally, when the party over you will meet Young Lady Bhela inside the mansion.”
Knowing she would able to meet her friend, Young Lady Lyla Blackwood turned obedient like a little chick. She heard from the servants how his elder brother Frane Blackwood was punished severely but understand neither the reason nor implication for it. So, right now, all she can do is wait for the end of this boring party.
Shira Yashura silently left Yashura household on a cold and lonely dawn.
His face was serious. Behind followed the hovering roguish spirit. They move toward the coldest place in Badril Village, a wide river with a clamorous current.
“This is a quite nice place to practice,” said the Good-Natured Spirit.
“Is the Yin energy you talked about was abundant here?” Shira rubs his shivering cold hands.
“You betcha. Looks like there’s quite a lot of residue of grieving spirits around here, maybe we standing above ancient burial ground or something.”
“Until five years ago, this river was a popular place for suicide,” Shira told him with a grave expression.
“Ah, no wonder.”
Good-Natured Spirit let out a chilling chuckle while Shira found himself a spot to sit and meditate peacefully. Today, till the sun sets in the east, he would absorb and refine so-called “Yin energy”.
Shira didn’t quite understand what was the spirit talking about before. He spoke a lot of foreign words like “Yin energy” and “kung fu technique” and “I’m as awesome as Bruce Lee”. However, the skill manual is written in form of scroll didn’t have such unfamiliar terms. Sometimes, Shira felt the Good-Natured Spirit was wandering as lost soul quite long that he didn’t know that his era and popular sayings were lost long ago.
“Breath steadily!” the spirit rebuked harshly. “Don’t let your mind wander! There’s no pretty chick walkin’ nude to distract you here, how could your mental strength so poor?”
One hour later. The cold and dark sky turned a little orange as time pa.s.ses.
“Fuuuhhh…” the youth mind a little bit dizzy. He was tired from one hour of focused meditation.
“Do this a few time again and naturally you’ll be ready for the real training of h.e.l.l montage scene!” the spirit told him before he stands up.
“This is quite strange. For some reason, I was already familiar with this pa.s.sive skill…”
“Didn’t you already read my ‘Water Flowing Style’ instruction before? Of course it would be familiar!”
Shira didn’t agree, but didn’t argue either. He left the river and walks calmly toward the hill behind Yashura household.
“Now, let’s see your current progress.”
The youth nodded slightly. His body bent as he set his body in an extremely awkward manner. It was a weird stance. No one would guess the formidability of the stance at first glance.
“Water Element energy affinity should fill your Mana Sphere by now. Did you feel it?” the Good-Natured Spirit asked.
“Good. Then slowly proceed to style dance and practice tranquility you felt when you were meditating.”
For the first time, Shira felt quite strange that the spirit didn’t joke around with his instruction. But later as he progresses, he understands that, the attention on his inner energy and keeping conscious on the surrounding was quite taxing. He also aware that as the time pa.s.sed by, the Good-Natured Spirit’s words keep shorter and shorter. Until he left Shira alone with his wit and devices.
The Yashura youth was awkwardly dancing a strange move. His footing was lazy and sloppy, quite different from the stance that Yashura younger generation learned from the family’s manuals. But, at the same time, an experienced pair of eyes could tell this dance was a very profound set of moves.
“Eeeee? You achieve level 2 already?” the spirit was quite shocked when he noticed something.
Shira furrowed his brows deeply. “I know I have no talent but don’t belittle me. I’m a properly trained Level 3 Novice!”
“Brat, don’t be sensitive. That’s not what I’m talking about. Your progress on ‘Water Flowing Style’ was already shown an interesting level up is what I’m talkin’ about.”
“Oh. It was a good thing?”
“Of course! With this, we could speed up and hardened your training of h.e.l.l plan sets!”
“We could speed it up, but no increase in difficulty!”
“Brat, you actually this coward? Do you have no desire to slap that young arrogant master in the face?”
Shira shook his head. “I’m not planning to win in the first place. Just to protect my family’s face just barely enough.”
“Heeh. What a coward and unambitious youth. You will regret it in the future for sure.”
“Just kindly shut up for me, please.”
“Hah! What a brat! You’re a coward. But a witty coward so it’s alright,” he spoke satisfied with his head nodded.
“Just tell me the mantra again. I think I could feel something this time.”
“Okay. The mantra is: The Mountain, the sea, and the sky await. You did not remember this simple line after few times I told you?”
Shira thoughtlessly touching his chin. “The mountain… the sea… the sky… strange. It seems some familiar to me. Where did I hear this mantra before?”
The spirit sneered at the confused looking youth. “An ignorant brat like you could be familiar with my heavenly awesome ‘Water Flowing Style’? In your dream, kid!”
Their argument was quite common since the spirit came one year ago. But their relationship relaxed and was a good one, as Shira was quite lonely and don’t have many friends to chat with.
When the sun rose and its light fell upon his tired body, Shira slowly descends the hill. He slips into his room unnoticedly, then snores happily on his bed.
In Shira’s dream.
An old and ferocious voice was shouting inside his mind.
“Kill! Kill! Why do you hesitate?”
“I don’t want to kill people without reason,” Shira defend himself against the old voice, as he held his knife toward the unconscious and unfamiliar man.
“Your mercy someday will be your doom!” the voice howled. “The power, the responsibility, did you think you could take it all with a clean, untainted, and bloodless hand?”
Then, few more unfamiliar voices could be heard beside the youth.
“Shira Yashura, open this gate this moment! Release me!”
“Me too. Brat, open this chain! If you didn’t want to, then prepare my wrath!”
“You a coward and unremarkable youth. How could you be so cruel for your elders and prisoned us here?”
Then, all of sudden, the scene of Shira’s dream completely changed.
He stood before a giant and lifeless purple gate.
The grieving shouts he heard was from inside the gate. Including the old man’s voice.
Shira could felt his blood drained from his body. An extreme fear invades his mind. He stood there dumbfounded.
“You hear them? The time you must face your demons inside the gate would be the day of your demise! And you… a cowardly and reluctant young man… what else you could do besides waiting for your death? Unless…
“Unless you come forward and claim your destiny!
“A path of bloodshed. Ma.s.sacres under the heaven. A rebel within rebels, a king amongst the kings.
“You… would come to reclaim your karma… to open the gates and face what destiny had prepared for you!
“And you… will come back as one, and become Spirit Conductor!
“Spirit Conductor… the mountain, the sea, and the sky await!”