35 Walking on Air

    After lunch, Daniel went to follow the lesson regarding the third, and last spiritual art the old alchemist had decided to teach him. He headed towards the training ground, and as usual, he found the old man sitting on the usual stone bench, waiting for him with his eyes closed.

    "Ready to walk on air?" Asked the old alchemist the moment Daniel approached him. On his face, a big and excited grin.

    Daniel was pretty enthusiast about the skill he was about to learn. No matter how mature and intelligent a fourteen years old kid could be, they would still be a teenager, and teenagers dreamt of heroics and adventures.

    "'Aerial Walking' is a mixed elemental spiritual art, so in order to learn it, you'll have to get accustomed to the two elements of which air is formed. Specifically, water and wind." Said the old alchemist.

    Out of the blue, in his hands, two fist sized beads appeared. The moment these two beads appeared, Daniel felt as if he had been transported in the middle of a storm. These two beads were of the same size, but the feeling they gave was extremely different.

    The first thing Daniel noticed, was how massive and dense the elemental essence these two spheres emitted. One was completely transparent, and Daniel could feel the strong gusts of winds essence screaming within and around it. He felt like the old alchemist had a ball shaped tornado in his hand.

    The second bead was similar, but instead of impetuous and rageful, it emitted calm and quiet waves of water essence. Just by looking at it, Daniel felt as if he was in the middle of a tranquil lake. The bead's color was light blue, with a darker color in the middle, and it looked like a miniature aquatic planet.

    What was most interesting, was that the parts of the spheres which were closest to the other, were slowly starting to mutate. Within the clear sky blue bead, the essence started to stir, making the calmness of the water essence, turn into restless and devastating waves. It felt as if a storm had started to form within the sea, and immense waves were replacing the previous gentle movement of the water.

    On the other hand, the part of the transparent sphere closest to the sky blue sphere, had started to become misty, and strong conflicting winds started create hurricanes within its surface.

    "These, are elemental spheres. They are created by forcing a specific elemental essence into the shape of a sphere, then condensing it. Of course, in order to prevent the elemental essence from dispersing the very moment you give up control over it, you'd need a bounding item. Usually, the best choice is an elemental treasure. The nature of the elemental item would bind the essence, and then make it become self sufficient." Explained the old alchemist all at once.

    He paused for a minute to let the information sink in, then continued. "As you might have noticed, these two spheres have different effects on eachother. This is called mixing factor, and it's very useful for a mage to learn how to mix elements together."

    That was an important part of becoming a powerful mage.

    In order for a spiritual cultivator to truly understand the nature of the elements, they needed to see every form of that element. For example, the calm and still waters of a lake, the crashing waves of an ocean during a storm, the slow and misty clouds in the sky, and even solid ice and hot vapor. These were all just as important for one to truly understand water essence.

    Therefore, in order to truly understand an element, the intervention of a second element was required.

    Like wind was needed to understand the unstoppable motion of waves, or like fire was needed to understand water's vaporous state.

    There were a great number of combinations amongst the elements, and that had made mastering even a single one, very difficult. Not many spiritual cultivators could claim to have achieved that.

    The water's and wind's elemental spheres that the old alchemist had taken out, would allow Daniel to understand the presence of water within the air, and its reaction to winds.

    As the old alchemist was about to pass the two spheres to Daniel, he gave him an unusually serious look and said "Don't lose them.. My father made them and I want them back.. Plus, each of them costs at least a few hundred thousands of these hovels" During the last part of the sentence, he glanced at the building owned by the old master-at-arms.

    One could understand how expensive these two beads were just from that.

    If the old master-at-arms had been here, he would have cursed at the old alchemist. Not because of the mockery directed at his building, but because of the cheap shot which 'lending such precious and useful item to Daniel to train with' was.

    He would have felt as if he was competing for a kids affection by offering him stones, while the other offered him candies. It was plain cheating.

    Amongst the spectating practitioners, only a few could recognize the two beads that the old alchemist had handed over to Daniel. And each of them, belonged to one of the major powers which Daniel had seen crowding the old man's room. Amongst them, were the other members of the School of Everlasting Fury.

    Every single one of these cultivators memorized Daniels face, and then prepared to report what they had seen to the respective young masters and mistresses with whom they had come here with.

    That was to be expected, as an elemental sphere created with the elemental comprehension of a rank 9 spiritual cultivator, like the leader of the Golden Cauldron, really had no price.

    Daniel had learned how to ignore the curious looks of others, so he took the two beads, and entered one of the private cultivation room.

    He then sit on the ground, and activated 'Time is Precious'.

    There was no need to mention how fast Daniel's understanding of wind and water increased. Not only was his speed hundreds of times faster than a normal spiritual cultivator, but thanks to the dense and pure essence within the beads, Daniel's comprehension of wind and water easily surpassed that of fire and earth in just mere minutes.

    In ten minutes he could create gentle streams of water and faint gusts of winds with his spiritual essence. After an hour, he could merge the particles of water within the air of the room, and make them condense into tiny droplets of water. Two hours in, and he was able to make winds brush right over his skin, separating it completely form his clothes.

    And finally, after spending two more hours observing the changes that one element caused within the other, Daniel was finally able to crystallize water particles into ice, and merge raging gusts of wind into small tornados.

    Daniel went back to the old alchemist, and after handing the spheres back to him, he showed his progress.

    Above his right hand, invisible particles of water started to merge within the air, becoming bigger and bigger, until they reached the size of drops of water. They then merged once more into a bigger ball of water, which then started to slowly solidify, starting from its core.

    On his left hand, the sound of whistling winds started to scream in the air. Numerous whiffles started to approach the middle of his palm from various directions, and kept crashing one against the other, until they became a miniature tornado which rotated quietly above Daniel's hand.

    The old alchemist, for once, had been left without words. It took him an entire minute to barely to mumble "Astonishing.." He then woke himself out of the shock, and said "Very well, now.. 'Aerial Walking' should be simple for you.. Imagine being inside of a storm. A large hurricane lifts you from the ground, and forces you to helplessly follow the motion of its strong merged winds."

    After a small pause, he continued "Now, form a wind strong enough to lift your body up from the ground, and manage your balance by thickening the water within the air under your feet."

    Daniel followed the old alchemist's instructions, and what came out of it.. Was a disaster. He wasn't able to correct the strength of the updraft current, and as if that wasn't enough, he hadn't been able to form ice platforms strong enough to hold his weight in the air, especially since his weight kept changing due to the strong winds that kept shifting his balance.

    At the end of his first attempt, he had only managed to learn how to spin and drop from mid air.

    The increased speed of comprehension granted by his system, hadn't been able to help him this time, as it was his method that was wrong. Fortunately, Daniel was very intelligent, and it didn't take long for him to realize his mistake.

    With messy hair and a little bit of air sickness, he landed on the ground and prepared to make another attempt, when he heard the old man's voice "You're doing it wrong.. There is an easy way to understand how to use the wind, and it's to sim-" He was then interrupted by Daniels voice.

    "I have to force an even updrafting pressure, the same way water would pressure my body from above, if I were underwater." Daniel said.

    "Yes!!! EXACTLY!!!" Exclaimed the old alchemist, without holding back any of his enthusiasm.

    Daniel straightened his body, and started to push his spiritual essence outside of his body. He formed a column inside which the essence was even and well distributed, then, he turned it into wind essence, and forced it to a rising vertical motion.

    At first, his clothes started to rise, as if he was hanging by his feet. Then, as he got more used to the method, his body started to fluctuate in the air, gently pushed by the winds.

    Once steadily floating in the air, Daniel started to push more spiritual essence out from under his feet, and turned it into water essence, which slowly condensed into two layers of water, and then solidified into flat slabs of ice.

    He still needed a lot of practice in order to fully control the winds, so that they wouldn't hinder his steps, but for now, he had succeeded in standing in mid air.

    *Clap clap clap clap*

    A loud clapping sound resounded from behind Daniel. It came from the spectating old alchemist, which once again, had been shocked by Daniel's ability to find and adapt to new ways.

    The old alchemist then turned completely serious, and after he approached Daniel, he said "You have the intelligence needed to become a great spiritual cultivator. I'll do all I can to convince you that there is no other 'more appropriate' path for you but that."

    Daniel looked at the old alchemist gratefully. This old man had disrupted his plans of becoming a powerful martial cultivator, by showing him the amazing path of magic. He was now confused, and in no way were his ideas clear on which path to trade.

    Nevertheless, he was extremely grateful for the attention and care that the two old masters had put in him. For all they had done so far, he would have always remembered both of them as his first teachers.

    There was nothing else left to say, so Daniel bowed deeply to the old alchemist, and left the training ground. His direction, was the part of the building in which the cultivation rooms were located.

    Since that day, Daniel had decided to breakthrough to the fourth rank, no matter what, as he had enough karma points and beast cores, so he entered a private cultivation room, and sat on a mattress in the middle of the empty room.

    He then started to think about all that happened to him, about what he hoped to achieve in the future, and about what path of cultivation better suited him.

    Half an hour later, he took the fifth-sized rank 4 beast cores out of his bag, and started to cultivate.
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