23 Meeting Elder Mu
"Finally awake eh," a clear voice asked?
Bai Qi was laying there for a bit, just having woken up. His headache had subsided quite a bit, though he just felt tired at this point, so he kept his eyes shut, trying to hold on to the peace of the darkness.
"You can open your eyes, you know," the voice said. "I don't bite, and your breathing gave it away."
Bai Qi opened his eyes and saw an old man reading something off a screen in front of him, off to the side by the corner of his bed. He was still in the training area, the baskets a few feet away. He sat up, pushing his back against the bed frame.
"We only have you for a short two months," the man continued to speak, not bothering to look up. "And you managed to pass out for the last 3 days."
The man waved the screen away from him and finally looked at Bai Qi. "Of course, that's better for me, since I do have a bet with Xing."
"A bet," Bai Qi repeated, confused.
"A bet, for quite a bit of fortune, even for me, that you wouldn't live up to his expectations."
"I'm sorry, I don't understand."
"A bet that you would be normal, to say the least. At least that's what I thought. But you're a freak, you just had to be."
"A freak?" Bai Qi was getting a bit afraid now, as the tone of the elder's voice had taken on a sudden edge.
The elder met Bai Qi's eyes. "A freak."
Then the man laughed. "Though, around these times, a freak isn't too bad."
Bai Qi hesitantly laughed along, unsure of what the situation was.
"I'm Elder Mu, the stand-in grand elder around these parts."
"Stand-in grand elder?"
"Mhmm. Speaking of which, Elder Xing would have wanted to you were awake. I should tell him."
Elder Mu touched a smaller green jade necklace, which briefly glowed.
"Ah, you know about it?"
"The guards used it when I came in."
"Yes, I made those."
"You made those?"
"Yes, along with some of the formations in place." Elder Mu glanced at Bai Qi. 'You seem surprised.
"I don't know much about those sorts of things."
"Well, " Elder Mu replied proudly, "I happen to be one of the most important people around here."
"Yes," Elder Mu replied, leaning in. "Some even say I'm more important that Elder Xing. Of course, it is a big debate, no one can agree on whos better."
"But everyone agrees that he's the one with his head the furthest up his own ass," a clear voice from behind Elder Mu spoke out.
Elder Xing stood there grinning. "So you really shouldn't take his words to heart."
Elder Mu glared at Elder Xing, and huffed.
"So you woke up," Xing continued, this time moving his attention to Bai Qi. He walked up to Bai Qi. and leaned down so that his face was at level with Bai Qi. "Look me in the eyes."
Bai Qi met his gaze.
"Hmm, no pupil dilation, no redness around the eyes. You slept well?"
"No," Bai Qi replied.
"You survived. No lasting problems from it, from the initial check-up, so let's move on to the next thing. Form a pure orb."
Bai Qi responded by taking a few moments to conjure two orbs in front of him simultaneously, the fire and earth showing up at around the same time.
"No need to focus as much, and you can control both of them to around the same degree. Excellent. It's clear that you're close to dual casting, more on that later, but the degree of control you've built up in such a short amount of time is astonishing. Do you understand what happened that caused you to pass out?"
Bai Qi hesitated, then lied and shook his head.
"You ran out of power."
"Essence, power, mana, energy, whatever you want to call it, it doesn't really have a word you would understand yet."
"I wouldn't understand?"
" M̷̴̴̷̶̶̴̸̴̵̸̴̴̷̶̷̶̵̵̶̵̴̷̵̷͉͎̳̖̽̍ǎ̶̵̸̶̷̴̶̸̵̵̶̵̴̶̵̸̴̴̷̛̦͜ġ̷̸̴̵̸̸̵̴̶̵̴̵̵̷̴̴̸̴̸̷̴̶̵̴̵̴̵̷̗̭̮͔̱̫i̶̸̷̴̴̸̶̷̵̶̵̵̴̶̵̴̶̷̶̶̶̵̵̶̴̶̷̷͓͓͔̞̅̿͂ "
His voice was soft, yet for some reason, Bai Qi broke out in a sweat. His heart started to beat louder, and the sound that Bai Qi heard, what seemed to be a word and wasn't, started to pound in his ears. He could hear a rushing noise getting louder, and all of a sudden, there was a rush, as his ears popped.
"What was that," Bai Qi asked, afraid.
"The essence, the mana, the power, whatever you call it," Elder Mu jumped in, cackling. "That's what we call it. Course, you aren't at the level of understanding it."
"Oddly calm after that," Elder Xing said, peering at Bai Qi's eyes. He put his finger on bai Qi's forehead, then took his arm. "No fever, pulse is uneven."
"A freak I tell you," Elder Mu said. "You're all freaks."
"What was that," Bai Qi repeated.
Elder Xing summoned a chair and sat down, before conjuring an apple out of thin air. "Tell me, What color is it."
Elder Mu laughed. "Let's say I'm blind. What color is it now?"
"It's still red," Bai Qi repeated
Elder Mu chuckled. He leaned forward and grabbed the apple off. "It's still red. But I'm blind. So what's red?"
Bai Qi laughed hesitantly. "I'm sorry, I don't understand."
Elder Xing was smiling. "No need to be apologetic. Once you reach grade 6 or 7 you'd come across it naturally, and one of the elders would have talked to you about it anyway long before then. Might as well do it now. How would you describe red to someone with no sight?"
"It's delicious, I can tell you that," Elder Mu said, taking a large bite out of it. "But that doesn't help me see it."
"I don't know how to describe it," Bai Qi replied. "It's a color."
"And that's fine and dandy, but I'm blind, so that doesn't help," Mu said, taking large bites out of the apple. "Mhmm, Xing, these apples are something else. Is it from your garden?"
"You know, we often heal the eyes of students that get into fights and accidentally lose one or two of them," Elder Xing said. 'They always say the same thing when their eyes are healed, how the world looks so much brighter, how colors are so vibrant. A load of bullcr*p."
"But," Elder Mu cut in. "There was the first time, about 300 or so years ago, where we started to research what happens to the naturally born blind when they get their sight after an entire life of living without it."
"Before then, only the rich got healed. It's an expensive process, you realize, and was extremely expensive back then. So if you were born blind, you'd have a chance at being healed, so this wasn't really noticed, the rich would just pay for it, and a baby wouldn't remember being blind. The poor, however, they would never get a chance," Elder Mu continued. "So, 700 years ago or so was when we first noticed this phenomenon, and 300 years ago, my mentor started to conduct research on it. He did a few experiments on those who were blind their entire life and saw for the first time."
"One of the first things they noticed is that after regaining their sight, there was a period where they couldn't make use of it. Their brain had no idea what sight was and just couldn't use the information. Think of it like an army general who wants to know the battle plans of the enemy team, but the information he receives from his spies was intercepted for the entire war. Suddenly, the messages start getting through, but the general is lost and confused because the spies had been using a cipher he had been unaware of the entire time. It takes time to break down those messages, and for a while, the messages from the spies are utterly useless, until that cipher is decoded."
"In hindsight," Elder Mu said, "this made sense. How would you know what seeing is if you never saw before."
"Anyway, as I was saying before Mu interrupted," Elder Xing continued. "The blind knew their sense was missing but didn't know what it was. For them, it was something that never existed. The essence of what mages use, the power we yield, it is the same thing. A sense that we know exist, but we can't understand until we have access to that information, until we get healed in some sort of way. Do you understand?"
"Somewhat," Bai Qi said.
"No mage here can describe what that essence or whatever is. We have names for it, but names are powerful things," Elder Mu said. "Until we call something out by its true name, anything we use is just a shell, a shadow of what that thing actually is. A true name describes the thing wholeheartedly."
"The final test to go from an apprentice Mage, to a ranked Mage, is to invoke the name of the essence," Elder Xing continued. "You'll understand more when the time comes."
"As for us old fogies, it's time for us to go, and for you to continue your training."
"The beads?" Bai Qi asked, his heart dropping.
Elder Mu laughed looking at Bai Qi's face. "The beads yes."
"It's so repetitive, I might go crazy."
"You wouldn't be the first one," Elder Mu said, glancing and Elder Xing. "Though I do feel bad for you, I don't have a full say on what Elder Xing wants to put you through.
Bai Qi sighed. "Could I at least get a break from time to time?"
Elder Xing's eyes twinkled. "It's time for us to go.
The two elders got up and created a doorway. Elder Mu looked back at Bai Qi.
"Good luck with your beads. I hope you fail, for my sake. No hard feelings," Mu said, before leaving with a wave.
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Bai Qi watched their backs gradually fade away as the door closed. He looked back at the basket full to the brim with beads, and sighed.
I welcome you guys with a challenge. I have a decent amount of the next few chapters completely outlined out, and a sizable amount of free time in my hands.
Top 200 of all power stones novels reached 47 stones by the time I'm writing this. Top 100 of original novels reached 37 power stones. Top 200 of original novels reached 12 power stones.
If we can make it to top 200 of all novels, I'll release 1 chapter a day, for 7 days, plus 5 extra.
If we hit the top 100 of original novels, I'll release 1 chapter a day for 7 days.
Top 200 of original novels will get 1 chapter every 2 days for a total of 6 chapters.
This bargain is for next week's rankings, not this week. So, start voting starting next Sunday when the power stone count resets every week.
The first chapter of next week's challenge will be released on Sunday. It will mark the beginning of the challenge, so make sure to vote. The longer we stay at the top, the more chapters you guys get.
We need more readers, I need an incentive to write, and you guys want more chapters. So, we start off with the first challenge of this year.
We released 21 chapters last year. I want to double that this year, at the very least.
Best of luck.
Discord is https://discord.gg/B7xQSKS
If the link doesn't work, hit me up at Paradoxicality#1088