Charles is siting cross legged on the ground taking a calm deep breath, the activity of inhaling and exhaling, with each breath taken and expelled, internal energy fill Charles body.
Charles must admit the feeling is like consuming drugs. It is intoxicating without all those pesky effects of drug.
It has been two months. In Midgard it would be the Puremoon, the month of Purification festival.
It is also Doveday, third day of the week.
A day of Love where the devotees of Arianna the Goddess of Love would leave some flowers in Her temples.
Charles remembers that during Doveday, many of the young girls who is about to be married will come to the Temple of Arianna and pray to Her, asking that their future husband heart will not stray.
The Puremoon was also when the Purification festival will be held in many large cities who still worship the Twelve Gods of Aesiron.
The festival is to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.
Each capital city of the Seven Kingdoms will held the festival with each one of the Seven Kingdoms claiming their sites of festival is related and had connection with the emperor of the past as a sign of prestige and legitimacy.
In Westhold, usually it will be held on the Capital City Westhold with each Kings of Westhold from the past to present, claiming that Westhold is the place where the Silver Legion of Silas, the Great Emperor of the Bourbon Dynasty fend of the Western Barbarian army from marching forward to the rest of Midgard, sacrificing their lives for the prosperity of the world.
Usually like last year Puremoon, Charles would also enjoy the festivities with his servants accompanying him, experts bodyguards shadowing from a distance, while he watch the fireworks at night and feasting in the morning.
‘It feels so long ago’ Charles sighed.
Possessing the memory of almost three decades in his head of another world, Charles could rarely think like a child and do not possess the naivety of a wide eyed, inquisitive child.
But he does possess the body of a child.
Lacking people to trust his word, lacking means to make a name for himself, lacking strength to free himself from his predicament right now.
‘Based on my calculation I should be in Taiyuan.’ Charles said to himself.
Fortunately, when he was travelling with his uncle he manages to snatch himself a map of Aeropa and studies it very intently.
Right now, Charles is inside a very strange and bizarre valley, like a fairyland of immortals.
He is inside a jade-green valley with clusters of bright flower bushes with variety of colors, each one is colorful and full of life, with white mist covered the whole valley in the morning making visibility low.
The flowers inside the valley were red like blood, the trees green and full of life, complementing each other to deliver this dazzling scenery.
As he trained in this breathing exercise he learned, he could feel his body and senses getting more sensitive.
Sometimes he could not help but question that woman intention, at least he was questioning it in the beginning.
But Charles must admit as he trains this technique he does not encounter any problems.
He did think of the possibility that this is a trap by the woman but at that time he was forced to practice the technique with a sword on his neck.
Then to Charles surprise the technique not only work, it began strengthening his body.
And Charles ambition was flaming again. Charles already consigned himself not being able to incite internal energy and learn internal martial arts.
Charles has always felt that if he would be able to learn martial arts, he could become the God of War of this generation.
As long as he is able to learn martial arts he could at least enter the military and render merits.
Charles is confident that a new warring era will start the moment the two Tigers of the East swallowed Avillon.
Now that an opportunity to learn has fallen into his lap, how could Charles resist such baits even though he might know it is a plot to harm him?
So he took a risk and it paid off.
And from Charles analysis, he doesn’t think that this woman hold any bad intention towards him.
First reason is because Charles does not possess any threats to her. He is a kid. Second, if the woman really wanted to harm him, she could already long harm him.
Of course he could be wrong.
But Charles has no other choice other than to take a risk. Taking a risk that this woman is not evil.
While she did kidnap him, she did not force him to do anything except one.
And that is to learn this technique and accept her as his teacher. The skills he learned but the obeisance was feigned.
The woman knows it and he knows it. But she did not say anything or does she changes her treatment towards Charles.
Only telling him to quickly learn the technique.
When asked about why he was kidnapped the woman would always reply the same answer
That Lancel and her had a promise to keep. And Charles is the insurance that Lancel will not run away this time and fulfill his promise.
Two months living with her, Charles is confident of his judgment.
The woman does not wish him harm. He was once caught trying to escape so much so, that it has become a kind of training.
He would try to escape while she would undoubtedly manage to catch him.
Each time he is caught he would be beaten, but not bad enough that he would get terrible injury, but not soft enough that he could run in a few hours.
Two months trying to escape, Charles realizes that his foot and reflexes improving at an extraordinary rate.
At least for an eleven years old kid (he is now eleven years old. At the start of the story, it was already the last month of the year), Charles knows that none of the eleven years old kid he knows would be able to climb a valley to try to escape.
With each beating he took, Charles began to realize, that woman is strengthening his body.
Charles could not help to feel grateful as she is kind enough to teach him martial arts. But not so grateful that he would totally put down his guard.
After all he will not be a case of a Stockholm syndrome patient if he can help it.
Sometimes Charles would peek towards the hut on top of the Hill filled with white fog and sighed.
‘This place is like the dwellings of immortals’ Charles thought to himself. The grass is soft; the valley is full of clear and quiet fragrance of flower
He could hear the chirping from the mountain pass, and variety of rare and exotic fruits hanging from tree branches.
To enter this place one has to enter a dark cave which is covered with hidden mechanism that only that woman knows how to access.
The kind of engineering to build the hidden mechanism is high but not as unbelievable like a modern contraption.
‘It was like Paradise’ Charles repeated again his thoughts.
Then suddenly a whooshing sound could be heard that pierce the wind and Charles look at one of the tall peaks.
His Master flying out from his dwellings and landed on top of one of the peaks, brandishing her sword.
This jade green valley is surrounded by tall peaks.
The tip of the peaks on the four sides all were hidden behind the mist cloud, the cliff was very steep, it seemed like nobody would be able to climb it.
But Ziyan was jumping from peak to peak, like she was dancing.
It was like a sword dance but also not. It was like a dance but also not. It seems like a killing technique but also not.
The profundity of her swordplay was like a sharp intent that cut away the wind and slices the air.
Her steps were enchanting and dizzying, like she was stepping on water, floating like a Fairy, making her look ethereal and at the same time not.
Her strikes at times are forceful, at time are smooth, hardness and softness combined, two concepts that is opposite of each other fused into one.
Each strike produces a sound splitting noise that startles the goats that were grazing on the meadow.
The more Charles looks at the Ziyan movement and martial arts practice, the more he becomes confused and the more his mind becomes disoriented.
Charles quickly averts his gaze and tries to find a calming place inside his mind. He tries to remember other stuff like the name of this valley.
Once Charles asked Ziyan of the name of this place and Ziyan answer him which is rare since she doesn’t like answering question.
She answers that the name of the Valley is the Sword Tomb of Heartless.
She never explained why it is called the Sword Tomb of Heartless. At first, Charles thought it was because this valley is a tomb for swords.
But Charles has been here for a month but he never found any swords or any weapons. It was more like a Garden or a Fairyland instead of a tomb.
Charles shook his head as the dizzying sensation does not dissipate and think about other things almost immediately as the dizzying began to lessens.
One time Charles tries to escape from Ziyan, and climb the valley only to be caught almost immediately when he arrived at the top of the valley.
He still remembers how fast she could move and how profound her movement technique was.
As Charles began thinking of other things suddenly a sharp object flew towards his cheeks, rushing through the wind, creating a hair rising sound.
Charles immediately breaks out from his contemplation and senses the trajectory of the attack with his keen sense.
Charles immediately dodges by moving his head to the right, not to moment to late as the attack scratches his cheek, and droplets of blood started dripping from the wound.
‘What the-‘ And then looking at the hole bored into the boulder behind him Charles realized it was the Divine Flicking Finger from Ziyan.
The hole was smoking as smokes rises up resultant of the friction between the boulder and the small pebbles.
Using a pebble and covering the pebble with her internal energy, she flicks her finger and the pebble was shot out with the momentum of a gunshot in Charles previous world.
Her voice travelled from the top of the peak, like she was beside him ordering him:
‘Concentrate. Breathe in and breathe out. Search for immortality.’
Then she continues saying, the voice faints and ethereal:
‘Living in solitude is that the life of an Immortal?’
There are other parts to that phrase but Ziyan never finished her words, letting the other parts of that phrase to always remain a mystery.
Charles understands the first part of the words but not the last part of the word. That always baffles him.
But Charles thinks it is something important.
‘Fine’ Charles said glaring at Ziyan and then obediently he closes his eyes and concentrates and feels the energy all around him, originating inside this mystical valley.
‘All things come from emptiness’ Charles said and he could feel the cold energy in his dantian covering his veins as he access his internal energy.
All around him white mist swirls around his waist, though it is faint and hard to see.
‘Emptiness is just form, and form is just emptiness’ he recites the Heartless Sutra, the teachings of the Ziyan School, Jade Palace Gate.
Charles realizes that the more he practices this breathing technique his senses become even more acute and powerful.
He could also feel internal energy inside his body after he started practicing the breathing technique.
Which is weird considering that he could not incite the internal energy inside his body before.
This lead to Charles formulating the supposition that his master is an even greater martial artist than his uncle.
Before he learn this technique, every time he tries to incite his internal energy, even under the guidance of his Uncle he would be attacked by a bout of dizziness and coldness.
Nowadays his routine is different.
First, he would meditate after dawn. Then practice the breathing Methods. Soaking in the Sword Pool when morning came.
For breakfast he is given herbal and medicinal remedies concocted from the plant that existed here in the valley.
Then learning the Life Force Restoration Methods. On the afternoon he would start regulating the Life Force inside the Body.
This was his first week on what he learned.
Charles is now Ziyan disciple.
Even till now Charles doesn’t understand why Ziyan accept him as her disciple. To be honest, Charles was forced to accept her as his master.
But thinking about it, Charles thinks he might be lucky
Charles began training as he could feel the free circulation of internal energy only that his internal energy feels malevolent and icy.
But unlike the cold that gives him pain, this kind of cold nourishes his body.
The hallmarks of free circulation of his internal energy is also different in that instead of feeling heat he is feeling cold in various parts of the body, feeling tingling sensations, and having mild experiences of energy surging from the lower abdomen.
The more he practices the more energy surges and the stronger his body became.
It has only been a month but his body has slowly recovered from the last beatings he takes from Ziyan.
Charles still could not acknowledge that person as his master.
Charles then guided his energy to up along his spine and slowly he becomes tranquil, his breathing was following a very strange rhythm.
It was not uniform but it was also not chaotic it was just unusual and strange. Charles not knowing he is being observed intently by Ziyan keeps practicing.
On the other hand Ziyan has already finished her training and look at Charles with a trace of amazement.
Ziyan just sighed. She forces the boy to learn the technique of her Teacher because of the boy unfortunate boy constitution
She then sighed and repeats the word of the Second Patriarch of her school
‘Fate does exist, Karma is sowed and reaped. No one escape the cycle of Heaven, the vicissitudes of life and the path of destiny that they must walk on.’
Then looking at the boy again she sighed.
Of all the Patriarch and Matriarch of her school only a few could practice the Heartless Sutra. It was named so because of the creator of the Sutra whose name is Heartless.
The First Patriarch, Heartless. The reason why only a few could learn the Sutra is because it requires a Poisonous Extreme Yin body.
It was not like an Extreme Yin Body but a Poisonous Extreme Yin Body. Even Ziyan herself could not learn the Sutra because she does not possess the constitution.
The First Founder of her school is called Heartless.
From what the stories told about him, he was born in a martial art family.
But he possesses a body that could not incite internal energy and the physician at that time predicted that Heartless could only live up to the age of twenty.
The cold inside Patriarch Heartless body will become even more painful as the years passed by so much so that by time he reached the age of twenty he would die from a frozen heart.
Knowing that, Patriarch Heartless family abandoned him into a mountain when he was five.
Instead of dying on the mountain Heartless manages to befriend the animals on top of the mountains.
Befriending the animals, he created his own martial arts derived from the movement of the animals.
He created the Tiger Stance, Mantis Stance and many other. It serves as the basis of elementary martial arts of Heartless as he ruled over the mountain.
But he mourned his short life and decided to die in the mountain, knowing that he can’t get revenge from his family.
One day Patriarch Heartless comes upon two old people that was starving and gives them both shelters and food.
Both of the old man, as sign of gratitude gives Patriarch Heartless a lecture about life and death, about rebirth and reincarnation, about the cycle of Heaven, and about love and hatred.
One of them talks about the Boundless Path. One talk about the Path of Nirvana.
For three days the two old man lecture towards Patriarch Heartless and Patriarch Heartless heard and committed everything they say into mind.
On the fourth day, both of them vanished and Patriarch Heartless got enlightenment and created his most consummate martial art skill of Jade Palace Gate.
The breathing technique derived from Patriarch Heartless understanding of the lecture.
It is called the Heartless Sutra.
By learning the Heartless Sutra, the poisonous Yin is transformed into Pure Yin, inciting the internal energy, dispelling the poison, purifying the meridians and washing over the marrows.
Patriarch Heartless then created the Soul Devouring Palm which absorb and refines other martial artist internal energy.
To steal someone else life force and energy.
Patriarch Heartless after creating these two martial art skills, come down the mountain at the age of fifteen, defeated his household and make a name in the Jianghu as the peerless existence of the era.
He lives during the era of Olaf Rebellion and aided Olaf in his rebellion and was even offered an official position when Olaf announce the formation of a new dynasty.
But Patriarch Heartless refuses and returns to Jianghu. Many of the disciples of Jade Palace Gate believe that Patriarch Heartless is a Northmen.
Since Jade Palace Gate does not discriminate races to join their school unlike the Righteous Temple on Shaoshi Mountain which only accept Aeropean.
The reason why Patriarch is called Heartless is because after he returns to the Jianghu, the event of the betrayal of one of Patriarch Heartless friends turns him cruel.
Patriarch Heartless become mad and crazy and commits treacherous slaughter and massacres all over Jianghu, killing many of great martial artists of the time.
It is thankful at the end of his life, he found his sanity and found a disciple who then become the Second Patriarch, Patriarch Heaven Law.
Patriarch Heaven Law also becomes a peerless expert of and possesses the same body constitution like Patriarch Heartless.
Many believes that is the reason Patriarch Heartless chose Patriarch Heaven Law to succeed him
Patriarch Heaven Law also learns the Heartless Sutra and the Soul Devouring Palm.
But since Patriarch Heaven Law originated from a prestigious scholarly family in Aeropa, he was not as vicious as the First Patriarch
He rarely used the Soul Devouring Palm as it is a technique that makes many factions and sect despise the school.
Instead the Second Patriarch created the Twelve Step of Heaven.
It was a movement technique that allows people to walk on water and to step on a blade of grass, floating like a weightless feather.
It does not require the prerequisite of having the Poisonous Extreme Yin body so Matriarch Nameless who is one of the disciples of Second Patriarch becomes the Third Matriarch.
Matriarch Nameless was a woman of dubious background but she was also a peerless expert of her generation and feared all over Jianghu.
She is credited in the creation of the Twin Dragon Imprisoning the Immortals Formation. But she died early.
Many of her disciples believes that she tries to learn the heartless Sutra and the Soul Devouring palm which is considered the most powerful technique of Jade Palace school.
The fourth Patriarch lives during the Battle of The Nine Princes in Midgard. He was a man and he was called Peerless.
For the first time in a long time Ziyan school once again embroiled themselves inside the Imperial Court businesses.
Only this time it was not as lucky as Patriarch Heartless and Patriarch Peerless back the wrong Prince and was exiled to Beyond the Pass.
In his exile, he sees death and the futility of war. He sees suffering and pain. He felt the pain of the common people and the suffering resulted from the games of nobles and Kings.
He sees life and hope and like being awakened after a long sleep, he gained enlightenment under a Bodhi Tree and created the Forgiving Palm.
He is famous in Jianghu as a powerful expert that never killed his enemies.
He turns enemies into friends, rivals into bosom buddies and lives as carefree and justly as possible.
He is not ashamed of the Heaven and is not ashamed to wake up in the morning.
The day he died, his funeral was full of all the great heroes in Jianghu coming to honor him in the top of Tianshan Mountain.
On his death bed, he passed the Ring of Ownership to Patriarch Limitless, one of his most outstanding disciples.
During the Barbarian States Dynasty in Midgard, it was the Fifth Patriarch that creates a prosperous era for the school in the state of Han.
Helping the Han Wang to rid out of invaders, the Fifth Patriarch becomes the Grand Tutor of the son of Crown prince of Han.
The fifth Patriarch is called Limitless and he created the sword skill called the Severing the Heaven technique.
With this technique, Patriarch Limitless was undefeated and is given the title Sword Saint in Jianghu.
And since then every Patriarch or Matriarch of the school all have made it a tradition to create a new technique and passed it down to the next generation.
After the events of Warring Era that lasted a hundred year affecting both Aeropa and Midgard, Ziyan School has become a reclusive school with only a certain individuals that could join them.
The reason why Ziyan teaches the boy the core of her school technique is because one of the tenets of her school is that if any of the disciple of her school should ever encountered any person with the Poisonous Extreme Yin Body, then it is her or his duty to pass down the Heartless Sutra, Soul Devouring Palm, and the Poison Devouring Breathing Technique.
The reason why this becomes a tenet of her school, is because many of the Patriarch and Matriarch of the school possess the Poisonous Extreme Yin Body and they all sympathize for anyone that has the same affliction.
Even the First Patriarch has the same affliction and it is because of that he passed down his skills to Patriarch Heaven Law.
Because Patriarch Heaven Law possess the same affliction.
The Heartless Sutra, Soul Devouring Palm, and the Poison Devouring Breathing Technique, these three techniques could only be learned by those who possess the Poisonous Extreme Yin Constitution.
The fact that Lancel nephew possess this kind of body constitution and she who has the Sutra, isn’t this more than just a coincidence.
The Second Patriarch Heaven Law once lecture to his student,
“That there is no coincidence in this world. Forces greater than humans conspire to make certain things happen. Think of a million random choices that you make and yet how each and every one of them bring closer to your destiny.”
‘Karma is sowed and reaped’ Ziyan said sighing.
If she did not meet Lancel a long time ago, and swore a promise, would she have kidnaped this boy?
If she did not learn from the Jade Palace Gate even if she kidnapped the boy could she save his life by imparting the boy with the Heartless Sutra?
Ziyan look towards the sky and said
‘Heaven O Heaven’ and then she look back down and look at the boy. Learning these three techniques, it would be hard for that boy not to become a peerless existence in martial arts.
But heroes dies young and tragically. She sighed and lamented
‘Heaven Will. Heaven Will!’ as she flies through the air to reach her hut.
Inside the hut, she grabs the Qin and began playing it, creating a very melancholic sound, like she was lamenting to the Heavens and even affecting Charles contemplation.
The moonlight is high, unreachable, the wind is laughing. If a moth is afraid of touching fire, how can its life be magnificent?
What an unfortunate fate!! Those that have the Poisonous Extreme Yin body unless mastering the Heartless Sutra to its pinnacle would not live past forty.
‘If a moth is afraid of touching fire, how can its life be magnificent?’ she repeated as the sound of the Qin seems to be haunting the valley.