Jump to content

Kumo

Former Moderators
  • Content Count

    256
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    9

Kumo last won the day on October 26 2017

Kumo had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

488 Excellent

About Kumo

  • Rank
    Connor Knight
  • Birthday 09/23/1996

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Kingsport, TN
  • Interests
    The Official RP
  • RPG Profile

    Name| Connor Knight
    Race| Fullbringer

Recent Profile Visitors

17,922 profile views
  1. Name: Connor Knight Race: Fullbringer No. 0081
  2. Kumo

    Just Another Day

    According to common sense, there existed the various ores for metal which are then combined and refined into different metals that are meant for different tools. Different ratios for each type of metal are taken into consideration during the metallurgy process. Until now, Connor had always focused on metals which had high edge retention and overall durability. He believed that he could even be considered knowledgeable about the most suitable types of metals due to the various tests he performed to find what metals were suited for what purpose. He had thought that he would be able to understand his Teacher’s intentions by inspecting the materials laid out. The day before Connor hadn’t looked too closely at the materials. Even if he had tried, his teacher’s frame blocked most of them from his line of sight. Today, he had arrived before his Teacher. What he saw was a large piece of black ore with golden specks spread throughout it and a smaller pure golden ingot surrounded by several different stones and jewels with a few jade bottles to the side. “We’re going to use all of this to make my spear?” Connor couldn’t resist asking this question despite there being no one to answer it. He couldn’t help being confused after seeing the unusual items, several of which generally wouldn’t have any place in a forging process. It was at that moment that he felt the temperature in the area rise slightly. Turning to look at the door, Connor saw his teacher carrying a glowing red orb. From it were visible waves of heat being produced, that heat was causing the heat of the forge to continue to rise. “Are you curious?” The old man had a smile on his face as he held the orb in his hand. It almost seemed as if it simply wasn’t hot in the first place, but the steadily rising temperature suggested otherwise. Both the orb in the old man’s hand and the various materials that he didn’t understand caused Connor to be unable to deny his curiosity. “The flame is extremely important to the forging process, so I went and collected some top quality flames to use for this.” The old man paused for a moment when he noticed that the curiosity hadn’t faded, but instead increased after mentioning the flames. “This orb stores the flames. These flames are necessary to heat the metals that we are going to use for your spear.” “I understand, but I am more curious about what all of these are for.” As Connor spoke he gestured towards the table with all of the materials. His interest in the flame orb paled in comparison to the strange materials gather for his spear. “Always straight to the point with you.” The old man had an awkward smile on his face at this moment. He had been hoping to show off in front of Connor about this orb, the flames within, and the ease with which he had gathered them. Despite his best efforts to rouse Connor’s curiosity, the result was his disciple glossing over it in favor of the materials. The old man was prideful about the materials, but the difference was that it originated from his experiences and connections in regards to the materials. On the other hand, the flames had relied entirely on his personal ability. “You win. The larger chunk of black metal is Star Pattern Steel. It’s a naturally created top quality metal that has an extremely high affinity with the energy of people like us. It’s formed when a meteor of a specific composition falls to the earth and is refined through the heat produced by entering the atmosphere. This is likely to be one of the largest pieces that has ever been unearthed, and it’s this piece of metal that will be used for your spear shaft. It’s an extremely dense, durable, and flexible metal. It is perfect for a spear shaft, assuming that the person holding it can handle it’s extremely high weight. The smaller ingot is something called Thunder Gold. Thunder Gold isn’t the same as typical gold that wouldn’t ever be able to be used in weaponsmithing. This material is formed after a gold vein in a mountain is struck a countless number of times, using the lightning to refine the material into something else entirely. From a material standpoint, it is similar to the Star Pattern Steel as it is extremely dense and durable, however rather than flexibility it is an extremely hard material that is nearly guaranteed to retain it’s edge. Due to the endless lightning refinement, this metal became lightning attributed to the extent that it will directly clash with almost all other elements that flow through it. This would be a problem for others, however your Fullbring is one hundred percent compatible with it. As for the stones and gems, they are catalysts to help manipulate these rare materials and bring out their full potential. They will also allow us to create energy paths within to allow your energy to enter and pass uninhibited similar to your own body. This will be a later step that we will have to cooperate to accomplish properly. As for the jade bottles, they contain powders of various materials to guarantee a connection is formed between you and this spear. We simply have to include them in the heating process to allow them to display their use later on. The final goal is to make a nine feet and nine inch long spear that even a god would be jealous of. Do you have any questions left after that explanation?” The old man made a point to clearly explain all of the details that were relevant. That was something that could be considered uncharacteristic for him, however it was simply impossible for someone to assist him without that basic amount of knowledge. “I understood all that you were saying, but you should know very well that I have no idea how to help with materials like these or the processes that you mentioned. All of my previous experiences related to normal steel and those various materials. Something like this is unknown territory for me.” It was only now that Connor realized that in comparison to his Teacher, he had only dabbled in the art of forging. Understanding that he couldn’t offer anything more than another set of hands, he told his teacher what he truly thought at that moment. “That’s fine, I didn’t hold whatever experience you had in high regard. Put bluntly, it was impossible for you to come into contact with materials such as these before your powers awakened. I don’t need you to hammer away, or directly assist me in forging the spear. All I need is for you to take the Star Pattern Steel and constantly pour your energy into it. Before that metal goes through a proper heat treatment you will be able to slowly mold it with your energy. By doing that, you will build up a slight connection with it as well. It’s best that you constantly keep it with you during your practice from today onward. Keep in mind that the length that it needs to reach in the end is nine feet. While you do that I will focus on creating the spearhead. I should have it finished around the time that you finish shaping the spear shaft.” “So, you mean to say that I won’t be doing anything in here?” Finally finding out how he could help was frustrating. Connor had built up a certain amount of confidence in regard to forging. His Fullbring had become his focus, however he still enjoyed the art of weaponsmithing. “There isn’t anything new to learn here for you, I will simply be performing all of the steps that you know until this ingot of Thunder Gold is forged into the form of a spearhead. It’s a tedious process that relies heavily on my flames, you simply can’t help me with this task. Instead, you will be taking care of shaping the shaft of your spear, it will be made into the shape that is most comfortable in your hands and you will be able to familiarize yourself with it. It’s not that you aren’t helping by not being here, but that by not being here you will be doing what’s best for yourself. During this time, you should slowly shape it, and once you form it’s rough shape treat it like a spear as you train and study new applications of your powers through it.” The old man didn’t wish to dishearten his Disciple due to his decisions, so he could only explain his intentions more clearly. “I understand, so I will go ahead and start working on this.” Connor felt somewhat better after hearing his Teacher, although he was still aware that there was still much more for him to learn. The world was no longer as simple as it had previously been, and he would have to accept that there would only be more things that he didn’t understand in the future. Without much thought put into the action he walked to the table and attempted to grab the large chunk of metal. When speaking about density, he thought that it would at most be several tens of pounds. What shocked him was that the weight was more like several hundred after he lifted it. It wasn’t exactly heavy to Connor after the changes to his body, however for the first time since he experienced the feeling of truly holding something with weight that wasn’t just a large rock or tree. _________________________________________ Connor had exited the home and found a spot within the courtyard that spread behind the building. The walls ensured that Connor didn’t need to be too concerned about privacy. Even if someone were to try and sneak in, unless they were much stronger, he would become aware of it immediately. Currently, he was sitting on the ground inspecting the large chunk of Star Pattern Steel in front of him. At a glance he could easily tell that the metal was superior to anything that he previously knew about. He was curious about the composition, but he didn’t intend to find someone to check it. The chances were high that a careless action would bring trouble to himself and his Teacher if he casually took this out in public. “Well, I guess I will try to do things the way the old man suggested.” Connor had yet to attempt channelling his energy into the metal and manipulating it; however, based on the way his Teacher spoke, it should be relatively simple. With his expectations set and his understanding of smithing, Connor thought that this would be a relatively quick process. He started with a small amount of energy and progressively increased it. This continued until he was giving his full effort, but even then there weren’t any noticeable changes to the chunk of metal. Connor continued to pour more energy in to fill the metal, and it continued to remain unchanged. Several minutes passed and beads of sweat formed on Connor’s forehead before he managed to channel enough energy into the steel to fill it to a point of saturation. It was only at this point that there was the slightest change on the surface of the chunk as the metal slowly began to smooth itself at a snail’s pace. “I knew I needed to come check on you. If you don’t have an image in mind, and use your will to reinforce that image, then you won’t succeed even if ten years pass.” Connor was trying his best to keep up the constant energy usage when he heard his Teacher’s voice. He had gotten ahead of himself while thinking that it must be simple, and hadn’t considered how he was actually supposed to mold the metal. With this guidance he immediately spread his will to the energy within in order to control the changes occurring. The energy consumption almost immediately leveled out, even forming a cycle between Connor and the metal that circulated the energy through it and back to him. This caused the exhaustion to immediately decrease to the lowest point. The will that he put in the energy served as a sort of program causing the energy to constantly work towards the intended shape, albeit still as slowly as before. Connor hadn’t gotten a chance to reply to his Teacher before he noticed that the old man was already back inside at the forge. It was likely that he had only decided to come out after becoming aware of Connor’s situation. Thanks to the old man’s timely intervention, he could keep up the consumption for a much longer time with greater ease. The progress was dreadfully slow, but it also let him reflect on what he could accomplish with this energy of his. When taking a break from the tedious process of molding the metal Connor would then test the theories on a smaller scale to increase the knowledge he had about his Fullbring. This would be the simplest description of the training he would undertake over the course of what would take a month to form the shaft of the spear. _____________________________________ The first aspect that Connor contemplated was his physique. Ever since he gained his Fullbring, the changes to it had been the most noticeable. His increased Strength, Speed, Perception, and Stamina all came as a result of the changes to his physique. At a very basic level, all of his attributes had increased greatly. Alongside these increases came an energy that represented the lightning flowing through his body. Connor hadn’t been able to grasp this aspect until he cleared his doubts and strengthened his will, but now manipulating it was similar to breathing for him. As his understanding of the energy increased it became easier to actively manipulate the aspects it strengthened for him. Granted, after awakening the process had slowed down by a large margin. That didn’t change the fact that his power constantly broke down his body at a slow enough rate that it healed. Typically, it went unnoticed and without a sudden explosive increase occurring there wasn’t a harm to his overall prowess. The easiest aspect he found to increase was his physical strength. To agitate the muscles similar to how an athlete would cause growth in their muscles with the lightning energy was the simplest among the various parts of his body. It was only thanks to the energy helping to maintain his size that the only noticeable point outwardly was the fact that his skin had been purified and the definition of his muscles had only increased slightly despite the massive growth in strength. Connor’s perception and overall brain function had been greatly improved due to the general nature of his Fullbring. The nervous system operated through minute electrical signals. The cause for this hadn’t been fully explored by him, however he felt that it was likely due to his how he always trusted in his senses and relied on them to perform tasks. Throughout his life he could have lacked other things, but not his perception. For the time being, that was Connor’s only guess about the matter according to the logic of his Teacher. There was also the simple possibility that there wasn’t a reason or meaning his Fullbring, and that it simply was always meant to be in the form of lightning within himself. Either way, the result was that the way his sensory organs interacted with his brain steadily improved causing Connor’s perception to grow steadily. In comparison to others at a similar level, there were aspects that he likely surpassed them in. The general strength of his physical senses made it difficult for him to miss things happening in his surroundings. The speed that Connor was capable of allowed him to move faster than a normal person would be able to capture with the naked eye. He hadn’t been particularly gifted with agility, but dedication allowed it to reach a standard comparable to his natural perception. While he didn’t excel physically in regards to speed, the energy that filled him had always represented speed. He was far from achieving what the limits of lightning were, but he had the confidence to reach a similar standard eventually. The method to accomplish speed that he found to suit him the most was to move by using both his external and internal advantages. Externally, he had an extremely strong body full of explosive power. Internally, he had an energy that could move through his body at speeds beyond comprehension in order to command his actions. For most, the limit of the electrical signals from the brain was a messenger for it’s commands. That wasn’t the case for Connor, by actively willing that electricity to assist his body he managed to increase the movement and reaction speed. The downside to this method is that it is difficult to control both in perfect harmony. Despite that, Connor still managed to reach a point where his speed was on par with his perception. Stamina benefited the least from his Fullbring awakening, the increases that he obtained from the lightning refinement were negligible. His other organs and bones reflected his increase to stamina. His physical body had become monstrous by normal standards, but those aspects were extremely slow to improve. The organs didn’t have many ways to improve besides slowly merging energy into them, and the bones were gradually tempered and strengthened by the flow of energy. Both were extremely slow, and the speed of his improvements so far could be attributed to the months of fighting drawing out his potential. Compared to his other physical aspects, this was the most difficult to increase as well as the one that would most likely run out of potential before the others. No matter what change you considered, they relied heavily on the energy within Connor. It could be said that his potential in this regard was the foundation for everything else, and as a result the actual force he could produce by manipulating it was limited. It was similar to only being able to use a fraction of his power at any given time; however, that was simply how his foundation was made. What this meant to Connor was that the energy pool that he could freely manipulate grew the slowest out of all his other aspects. He couldn’t be sure where his talent would allow him to progress to, but it was destined that it would only ever be a secondary focus for him to use this energy to attack. He was unsure whether it was a blessing or curse that he could freely control the lightning, but it never reach the same standard as his physical strength. _____________________________________ “You’re doing well to have gotten this far in only a few days. If you keep going at this rate, it will only take around a month for you to finish it perfectly. Not to mention that it will likely be in the general shape long before that.” Connor was currently sprawled out on the ground next to the chunk of metal unable to talk due to his ragged breath. He had just finished testing the last of his current theories moments ago and exhausted the remaining energy left within him after today’s long session of molding. He hadn’t made much progress in new applications for his powers, but had managed to gain a much deeper understanding of his body as a result. Connor was confident in his understanding regarding his talents after these few days. “The Thunder Gold should be finished around the same time. After we finish the body of the spear, that’s when we can create the energy paths in it for your energy to flow. After we do that, it should be time for you to awaken to it and allow it to merge with your current powers.” “Why does it sound so simple when you explain it, but it’s so damn difficult to actually accomplish?” Connor had managed to catch his breath by this point, and couldn’t help but ask this question. The last few days had been grueling, and the result was only the chunk of steel elongating a few inches. This didn’t include the refining of the surface that had come to a screeching halt after he dedicated his will to manipulating the shape. Only the slightest bit overflowed into smoothing the surface in a manner suitable for a spear. Compared to his teacher, Connor wasn’t very optimistic about completing the task after a month. Even Connor’s most optimistic guess was that it would require two months. “Did you expect it to be easy? We aren’t just making a godly weapon, but we are making one that is intimately connected to your very soul. Just this little bit of effort and you will have something that countless others can only dream of possessing. If you told most people that they could awaken their Duality trait by spending at most a few months, they would go crazy at the prospect. Even if it were to take a few years, they would be willing. Do you understand now?” “I understand, but I have one more question. How do you know so much?” Connor couldn’t resist asking this question after having experienced the knowledge that his Teacher possessed, especially during the last few days. “You’re so curious and constantly asking questions, but you haven’t bothered to read anything in my Study?” The old man couldn’t help feeling exasperated. Before, he expected Connor to wander in on his own and find the answers to these questions within the records. The house was only so large, so it wasn’t difficult to find your way into the study if you simply looked around. “From tonight onward go to my Study and research the things you are curious about. There is plenty enough there for you to pass the time while you recover before going to bed.” “But Teacher, where is the Study?” Connor was curious, but that didn’t mean that he was someone who would willingly invade someone’s privacy. His Teacher may have expected him to wander freely, but without being given permission he wouldn’t do that. It was only now that Connor would be able to search for answers to all of his questions on his own. “There are only so many rooms in this damn place, find it yourself and quit bugging me!” With that, the old man stormed off and back into the forge to continue his work. The truth was that the results he had seen during these days was less than Connor’s, and only due to having a much smaller requirement was he able to guarantee a month for completion. Even factoring for that, it required his full strength to heat and hammer the Thunder Gold into shape. “Uh… Okay.” Connor hadn’t expected an outburst all of a sudden, and could only gawk at the old man’s back. Seeing that his Teacher didn’t head inside to rest, but back to the Forge caused Connor to have mixed feelings. He was filled with gratitude, but he couldn’t help feeling bad as well. Connor could go without sleep for days, but only under circumstances where he wasn’t consuming his energy. His Teacher was still stronger than him, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t need to rest. Despite that, the old man went back to work without hesitation. Connor felt exhausted at this moment, but seeing these actions filled him with a certain determination to at least visit the study for a few hours before getting some rest. ________________________________________ “...I see now, so there are at least three ways for powers to develop in a human. The most common way that a Fullbring develops is because the mother was harmed by a Hollow during her pregnancy causing some of its powers to manifest in the baby. This seems extremely unlikely to have occurred to my mother, but I can look into it the next time I see them. The second method would be encountering someone with an extremely high energy level. As more contact is made with spiritual energy, the person will have the potential to develop powers of their own. Even if it isn’t a Fullbring, a certain level of spirituality will be obtained to come in contact with spirits. The third is the one that seems to resemble my situation the best. There are rare cases of dormant potential manifesting. The origin could be from a past life, or it could be as simple as a mutation in the soul. Considering I haven’t ever been able to see spirits until now, and there weren’t any indications prior, this seems to be the most likely reason for my powers. They only manifested after my teacher forced them to; however, he wasn’t lying about suddenly awakening powers that weren’t apparent causing death. In a way, I really am lucky. Besides explaining the origins of the power known as Fullbring, there were passages describing Duality. It seems to be a certain Soul Trait that allows for the manifestation of multiple powers. There were also some short explanations on how to take advantage of this trait that were discovered after several people awakened useless powers. That’s the process that I’m currently in the middle of. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that with the improvements, my ability to memorize information and comprehend it is much higher than before. I’ve already read through several books and can still remember all of their details perfectly. Unfortunately, most of the information within were ancient records describing Fullbrings and Duality. If the important information had been taken and compiled into a separate book then I would be able to gather useful information faster.” Connor had just finished in the study for the night. WIth the addition of expanding his knowledge, his time awake was entirely taken up by improving himself. If it wasn’t his weapon, he would be working on his skills, if not that then he would be buried in books. This left no more than a few hours for sleep. Thankfully, he had left behind the standard of normal people and could get by on those few hours of rest, even with all of this current exhaustion. ____________________________________ Lightning was fast, if one blinked then it could be missed entirely. Only the rolling thunder that followed would bring awareness to its existence before it was gone entirely. Lightning was explosively powerful, it would damage and destroy almost anything that it came in contact with. Lightning existed as raw energy that few things in nature can compare with. Lightning and electricity are the same, the only difference being the scale at which it operates. In a way, electricity existed almost everywhere. Even inside a person, it was only through slight electrical signals that the body functions. Connor’s Fullbring were these signals, and this power caused those negligible signals to become something else entirely. It crossed the line between electricity and lightning. The power within was undeniable, yet it flowed freely and harmlessly throughout his body. With each movement the energy moved within him. Each day he trained, and within each swing of his fist there was a lightning strike hidden within. His physical force relied on his muscles, but what if he gathered that lightning force within. What if the force that moved because of multiple attacks were gathered into a single attack? What if he were to use that energy to accelerate himself beyond his limits? The thought of this pushed connor to test his ideas. At first, it was impossible to gather the energy the way he wanted. It required him to not only gather it, but to condense it into an energy that could go beyond his limits. Only an instant was required, no more and no less as long as he could launch an attack within that instant. Complications couldn’t be avoided. In the first few attempts Connor harmed himself and required his Teacher’s assistant to heal his wounds. Thankfully, pain was a strong motivation that allowed him to quickly reach a stage that didn’t cause self harm. He didn’t harm himself, but the unique movement of energy required him to slowly gain experience in order to actually benefit from. He could feel his strike exceeding his regular speed in that moment. Unfortunately, it was such a slight difference that it wouldn’t be able to affect the outcome of a fight. The current level of acceleration was useless, yet it was an exciting prospect. The sloppiest usage of the concept allowed him to surpass his limit ever so slightly, so he could only imagine what the result would be after perfecting this technique. Each day he was constantly experiencing the feeling of moving his energy due to the Star Pattern Steel. This allowed him to steadily explore his options and improve himself. The results could only improve slowly but the rate remained steady. That steady rate of improvement ignited Connor’s passion and focus. He wouldn’t consider another technique while this one wasn’t complete. By having a singular focus Connor was able to accelerate his rate of improvement to a more manageable level. It was a slow rate of improvement from Connor’s perspective, but if one were to look at the time needed to make the progress he was then it could only be described as monstrously fast. Within the first day of tests he had managed to confirm the theory and begin steady improvement. To a knowledgeable observer, such improvement could only be described as frustrating to witness. The movement required of the energy was similar to overlapping waves. First he had to bring multiple waves of energy to the limb he wished to strike with. That was the most basic requirement. After that energy was gathered, each wave had to be condensed in order to allow the energy of multiple attacks to move in the space that the energy of one would normally move in. Finally, the waves would rapidly move and alternate positions within gathering that momentum within to accelerate his attack faster. The concept wasn’t complicated, however to move the energy properly required a certain amount of experience to freely do. It was that experience that Connor spent his time building up by repeatedly attempting it. By the end of Connor’s second day focusing on this technique he could perfectly use the energy of a single attack to boost his speed consistently. It was naturally easier to use a single attack for this, and the gains from a single couldn’t compare to what multiple could achieve. Despite that, the increase to his speed had already reached a higher degree than his initial clumsy attempts. By this point, Connor understood his limit better than before as well as the extent that he could exceed that limit. It wouldn’t have been surprising if the next day came and Connor had difficulty increasing the waves of force that he could use. It should have been harder for him to add a second or third wave. But he had already experienced the feeling of using a wave of lightning to accelerate him. The only steps left were to deduce the timing, and understand the feeling of using the multiple waves. As Connor perfected his control over this technique, he realized that there would be a certain amount of energy overflow from the points where his energy gathered in the form of distinct electric arcs. This would make it easier to recognize after it’s first use, but in the heat of battle a sudden change in speed with an attack was worth the few detriments. __________________________________ “That’s a scary technique that you came up with.” The old man came out of the forge to see Connor training his technique. He was the one who knew Connor’s abilities better than anyone, and had watched the idea grow to fruition. It sounded like a simple concept to accelerate attacks; however, the old man simply couldn’t replicate it. Connor had explained the logic multiple times, and the result was only ever injury. “It’s not scary. Once you understand the trick it’s actually pretty easy to do.” Connor had managed to perfect his control and understanding over the technique on the third day. He would continue practicing it, but there wasn’t any way to improve the technique itself. It had reached its full potential, all that remained was to continue to experience it for the future when it would be used in combat. “You’re even scarier for thinking something ridiculous like that. There may be others who have the potential to use energy in such a way, but I haven’t ever seen someone who has accomplished something similar. Have you named this technique of yours?” “I was thinking that I would keep it simple and call it Instant Strike. The entire concept is to boost the speed for an instant, and in that instant unleash a strike beyond the limit of my speed. Sounds good, right?” Connor didn’t put much thought into a name for the technique, and only went with what felt right. It wasn’t as if he would ever shout the name of his techniques like a raving madman. ‘People screaming attack names in a battle at one another must be a Chuunibyou.’ “Simple and to the point, I like it. How goes the research?” It wasn’t every day that the two were able to take the time to talk. Since Connor had started studying the volumes of spiritual knowledge, the two hadn’t spoken. They were focused on separate things, and rarely had their schedule line up. Even if it was only by a few minutes, they would typically miss each other. “I’m probably around a quarter of the way through all of the books. Where in the world did you get so many records related to spiritual occurrences?” Connor had been relying on his enhanced memory to quickly make his way through countless books during the last few days. The only reason he hadn’t read more was simply because he didn’t spend enough time. “What do you mean, a quarter of the way through?! It’s only been a few days!” The old man simply couldn’t believe that Connor had completely read through so much information. There were countless books in his collection, many of which were passed down through his family. He had also collected all that he could and recorded any missing information himself. It was astounding to hear that anyone could read a quarter in that short period of time, especially when he was aware that Connor only spent a few hours a day within. “You guessed at the origin of my Fullbring, right? I can tell you with certainty that it is the electrical signals of the nervous system, and that the changes there improved certain functions. That happened to include memory and comprehension. Now, with books and things like that I can read through them with extreme efficiency.” Connor didn’t have anything to hide from his Teacher, so he was forthright about the matter. “So, you basically could be the world’s best bookworm?” The old man found it somewhat funny. He was perfectly aware that Connor wouldn’t drop everything in a pursuit of knowledge, so it could be said that his new talent would likely be completely wasted in the future. Connor’s Teacher felt helpless; however, he had a sudden enlightenment. “If that’s the case, how about I get you some books to learn foreign languages? It would be good if you could speak Mandarin and Japanese.” “Japanese?” Connor was slightly confused at the mention of a language that was entirely unrelated to him. He could understand Mandarin as he was living in China at the moment. Japan on the other hand wasn’t a place he had any intention of going for the time being. “Did you think that you would just stay here forever? After we awaken your spear it will be time to send you somewhere to gain experience. There is no better place than Karakura Town in Japan for that. Basically all of the major spiritual occurrences happen there, and it can be considered a gathering hub for the Spiritual World. It would be pointless to do all of this training and never face more than a Gillian with your powers.” “So, here in at most a few months I will be heading to Japan?” Connor was baffled by this new information. The one who didn’t know about this until now was only him, but he was the one who would be going. Connor had more than once been thrust into a surprise situation because of the old man’s nature, and he couldn’t help but doubt that it wouldn’t have been different this time. At the very least, had something not come up related then he wouldn’t have mentioned it until right before it was time to go. “Exactly, going there is basically a requirement to amount to anything in this community that you’ve become a part of. If you need to go to Japan, then you understand how important it will be to understand Japanese, right? The relevant materials are easy to come by, so I will have someone deliver them within the next few days. Until then you can keep up what you’re doing.” “So, you weren’t going to tell me that you planned to send me to another country alone?” This was a question that Connor couldn’t resist. He wasn’t exactly upset due to having gotten used to his Teacher’s personality. He had literally been kidnapped during their first encounter, and after that he spent the better part of a year the strange actions were considered normal. “What do you mean? I told you just now!” This reply was enough to answer Connor’s question. The old man really hadn’t intended to mention it. ‘I guess as you grow older, you also become shameless.’ Connor sighed at that thought, but said nothing more as he just walking inside in a somewhat helpless manner. _______________________________________ Speed is absolute. In combat being slightly faster than your opponent could decide life or death. If two attacks started at the same moment then the slightly faster one would strike first. There wasn’t a guarantee to ever be faster than any particular person. It was safer to assume that anyone you couldn’t see through was faster than yourself. What should one do when encountering a speed which exceeds their own? A minor speed difference could be overcome through skillful movements. If you minimized wasteful actions and maximized efficiency, then it was simple. Any perceptive and experienced fighter has the potential to put this theory to use. It required a fair amount of experience to do it well, but those who excel at this type of combat would always be able to get a slight edge over an opponent. To fight in this manner you must be able to perceive the minor movements of the body are read them to an extent. For a normal person this was an extremely difficult task, but to someone with the ability to see clearly for miles it wasn’t that difficult to read the movements of a body within a few hundred feet of them. For times when the opponent wasn’t within your direct line of sight, you must make use of your other senses. You needed to be able to listen to the footfalls and the air being pushed through. With your entire body you needed to feel the ground and the air for changes. At times, even the sense of smell would be able to assist in locating to opponent or attacks if they left distinct traces such as burning. When all else failed, mixing skillful use of your spiritual sense to lock on to the general direction of a moving opponent could be considered a good supplement to the other senses. The ability to effectively use these collective senses could be simply described as Combat Sense, which is the ability to fight with your entire being. Equally important to the perception is the experience to make use of it. The only sense which offers extremely detailed information is ultimately eyesight. A skillful combination of the others may allow for a relatively detailed analysis without the use of the eyes; however, if one hasn’t specifically trained their senses to operate without then it was nearly impossible to reach that level. Generally, it could be considered unnecessary to reach that level if your eyesight hadn’t been crippled. If you couldn’t follow a movement with your eyes, or rely on those senses to bring awareness quick enough for you to use your eyes then the person would simply be too fast for your perception. At that point, even if your other senses allowed you to accurately sense the surroundings that level of speed would typically exceed your ability to follow or react to it. The most important use of the experience when fighting with this style is the ability to not have your other senses tricked easily by elaborate fakes. That requires understanding the slight differences between sounds and vibrations which can only be gained through countless fights. In Connor’s case, he was proficient at fighting in this manner due to the months of combat against his Teacher who maintained a faster level of speed. His solution had been to remain steady and increase efficiency to the peak. Each step and movement aimed to be made without waste, and each attack would strike for the vitals. He hadn’t learned any particular style during those months, but due to them he had a large amount of combat experience that would allow him to fight freely. Once the speed difference could be considered relatively major it would be required that the slower combatant resolve himself for injury. Generally only two types of people would be much faster. Those who focused primarily on speed allowing even those at the same level to surpass your level by far, and those who were simply stronger. The first wasn’t as frightening. The speed focused type at the same level would generally be lacking strength to follow through and the stamina to maintain it. This type could still be managed by outlasting them. It was only when encountering someone all around stronger that the difficulty would drastically increase. Luck played a major role in overcoming a large difference in attributes. Even if one was extremely skilled if they were weaker, slower, and with less stamina then it would be hard to bridge the gap. If you were lucky then it would be possible for you to counter them in some way, or limit their strength somehow. If you weren’t lucky then mutual destruction may be the only option left. Anything beyond that level would be considered too fast. It didn’t matter if it was in regards to the ability to perceive or the ability to react, if you lacked one then it was unlikely that you could overcome a difference that could be considered beyond major. This was the understanding of speed that Connor obtained during the time after his powers awakened. This understanding caused him to put time into finding methods to take advantage of the ways his Fullbring could boost his speed. He was confident in handling situations where the difference was minor, so he turned his focus towards major speed differences. There would always be times with major speed differences that wouldn’t allow for the slower individual to avoid taking damage. ‘I need to come up with a way to avoid taking critical damage in those situations.' This was the general goal that led him to contemplate ways to use a burst lightning to accelerate himself. Initially, Connor attempted to apply the momentum philosophy of his instant strike attack. The technique itself was excellent in regards to speed; however, after a couple of attempts it was painfully clear that it was impossible to apply the concept to the entire body. The result was that the energy clashed within him and actually slowed him down and caused harm. Truthfully, he didn’t have much hope to succeed and was only curious if the attempt would inspire him. The result was disappointing and painful, but enough for him to realize that it was a dead end. Going forward with this idea was difficult. He couldn’t simply use the energy freely to pull him out of the way. He didn’t possess the raw energy to do something such as that. Within his body the energy flowed through at extreme speeds, but outside of his body those speeds were extremely slow in comparison. ‘Wait.’ “Why didn’t I think of that before?” Inspiration came to Connor in that moment. He didn’t need to use the energy to generate momentum, or to use the lightning to move himself. At the basic level his Fullbring is the command signal from the brain for movement. Those signals played a part in determining speed. They weren’t something that could be simply interpreted; however, what if they were accelerated? Movement could be described as being determined by two key points. The first point is intent. Intention requires learning a certain process physically to translate into a command. The various functions of the body operate based on physical necessity, but can still be controlled by intention. Learning to walk and talk can be considered as examples of programming intentions into the brain. That is where the second point comes into play, interpretation. When a person uses their intent to decide movement, they leave the details to the brain the interpret. The action of learning can be simply described as narrowing down those interpretations to the correct method. This new concept relied on accelerating the commands and moving on instinct. To dodge an attack that would be too fast to dodge normally meant that it couldn’t rely on conscious commands. Instinct in this case referred to applying his combat senses in a way that the brain actively interpreted the best course of action and send signals several times faster than normal. These signals would then affect the muscles and push them past their limits momentarily to achieve the limit of movement within the bounds of Connor’s perception. It was the sort of thing that was simple to explain, but extremely difficult to actually do. Anything related to the brain became more complicated. In this case, Connor had to somehow train his mind to go into autopilot and still make accurate judgement about the best movement to make while his energy supplemented everything else. It was relatively simple to come up with a method to incorporate his energy into the signals to improve their speed and his following actions. That simple act alone was enough to justify a technique on it’s own. It was simple for Connor to do as it was making use of the most basic aspect of his fullbring; however, that wasn’t his goal. It may be enough to bridge the gap with a minor speed difference, but it wouldn’t be much in the face of a major difference. What Connor wanted was a way to dodge what would have been impossible to dodge before. A technique to manipulate his mind into performing a perfect evasive maneuver in that moment. It was naturally impossible to intentionally manipulate the brain freely. If it was so simple to put it into autopilot, then everyone would do something similar. After extensive consideration Connor looked into the theory behind hypnosis. It wasn’t extremely complicated, relying mainly on guiding someone into a state which relied on the subconscious. Without it being an extremely unique situation, people such as Connor would be nearly impossible to hypnotize. He was tempted to move on to the next idea when he realized that he could simulate the experience within himself using only a single command. ‘DODGE’ It took a few days to collect enough material to understand the process of the brain during hypnosis. After that, the difficulty was getting the various energy manipulation in sync with that single thought. The total time required to achieve a combat ready proficiency was a week after nailing down the theory behind it. _______________________________________ “Okay, you got me. How the hell did you move like that just now?!” The Old Man had been confused when Connor came to him and asked him to attack him as fast as possible, but still obliged due to the confidence Connor was exuding. The result was that he saw the emotion disappear from Connor’s face for a split second before executing a movement that went far beyond the limit of what he knew Connor’s limit to be. The Old Man could only look on dumbfounded at the spot where Connor now stood and wait for a reply to his question. “It’s not bad, right?” Connor was slightly short of breath with a faint weakness washing over him at this moment. It was due to the exertion caused by the technique in those few moments. It wasn’t extremely detrimental to his stamina or strength, but it didn’t affect him for a few moments after until he caught his breath. This meant that it wasn’t great for follow up attacks, but considering it was made with the intention to escape in mind that was suitable. “Not bad? You keep coming up with ridiculous things as if they are simple. It’s not supposed to be that easy to go beyond the limits of your speed, even if only for a moment. Are you willing to tell me how you managed this one?” The Old Man could only stave off exasperation. It was exciting to have a talented disciple, but frustrating to have one like Connor who had a unique style and Fullbring type who applied knowledge differently. “I was planning to tell you, don’t worry. A few days ago I asked you to gather information on the way hypnosis affects the brain, right? The nature of my Fullbring makes it possible for me to apply certain principles there. By simulating hypnosis instantaneously and bringing instinct to the forefront with a single mental command, I am able to let my brain operate beyond its limits for a moment to produce a perfect dodge within the limits of my perception.” “That still doesn’t explain how your body moved that way. I know your capabilities like the back of my hand, and that speed was far beyond your limits. Even if you execute perfect movements, in the face of an absolute difference in speed the result wouldn’t change so much.” The old man was suspicious of the explanation. He was well aware that even if you could perfectly see the opponent’s movements and knew the best course of action, without the necessary speed that would be pointless. “That’s where the second aspect comes into play. I use the signals from the brain to the muscles to essentially break the natural limiter the brain puts on the physical body by increasing the energy in that signal. If this were to be performed by a normal person then they would likely be a cripple, but I have an extremely sturdy body that only suffers some temporary weakness immediately afterwards.” Connor had a proud smile on his face as he finished explaining the details to his Teacher. It was complicated and dangerous to attempt to create a technique using internal aspects, so he believed that it would be impressive even to his teacher. “Are you trying to turn yourself into a cripple?” After fully understanding the technique, the old man was in awe. At the same time, he was steadily becoming more upset as his understanding grew. If a stranger were to perform a technique such as this then he would only have respect for that person and the technique. When Connor was the one displaying the technique, the result was completely different. His disciple was the one playing with his life to create a technique that a single mistake could ruin him mentally. If it were just at the level of harming the muscles then it would still be tolerable; however, Connor just admitted to directly affecting his own brain with extremely powerful electricity. Fullbringers could potentially have superhuman bodies, but that didn’t mean that the brain could directly withstand the energy that flowed through him. “What do you mean? I already said that only a normal person would be at risk.” Connor could see the shift in mood with his Teacher, but didn’t understand. “What do I mean? What the hell do you think your brain is made out of?!” “Old man, why are you worrying so much? You haven’t forgotten what my Fullbring is, right? My brain may not be stronger than others, but there are few things more compatible with my energy than my brain is. Even if I stored all of my energy there, so long as I don’t force it into a volatile state to intentionally harm myself then it never will. Don’t worry, I may get caught up in the process but I don’t forget to take care of myself.” Connor found it somewhat humorous that his teacher had worried so much due to this. At the same time, he also deeply appreciated the concern that his teacher had for him. “Oh, yeah… How are things going with the Star Pattern Steel?” Realizing that he had worried too much over something that truly was minor to Connor caused some slight embarrassment. His worries were dispelled after the reminder, so he made an attempt to change the subject to the spear. “It’s going well. As you can see, it’s still too thick and unbalanced to be used as anything besides a large club. Thankfully, it’s like you said it would be and it’s progressively getting easier to mold. After working with it for so long I can tell that your estimate was about right.” “That’s good to hear. Once we complete the two parts it will be time to create your spear. After that will come the complete awakening of your powers, so work hard until then.” “I have been, otherwise you wouldn’t get to experience the wonderful feeling of being shocked every few days.” “Damned brat, go do something productive instead of trying to tease your teacher. I’m going back to work.” The Old Man wasn’t willing to continue the conversation with Connor who seemed to excel at getting under his skin. Connor had developed the joking habit of his when he still lived at home. He didn’t force jokes into situations as some sort of bad comic relief like one would see in movies, instead he would just joke about current situations. Depending on the joke, they excelled at getting under the skin of others due to being related to them. Most of the time these jokes were made unintentionally, but he wasn’t one to pass up a good opportunity. With a smile on his face Connor picked up the embryonic form of the spear shaft and carried it with him to the study to continue reading more. _________________________________________ Affinity towards an element was something that Connor hadn’t considered before he awakened his powers. No matter how much you loved an element, the truth was that it would still harm you all the same. For Connor, that wasn’t the case after awakening his Fullbring. His body was molded by the lightning which now flowed through every inch of his body, changing it on a fundamental level. As a result, it wasn’t easy for lightning to harm him in any way. He had been aware of this for some time due to his encounter with lightning when he first obtained an understanding of his powers and lightning struck him like a waterfall. At that time his body naturally accepted that lightning and stored it. Over time that energy natural dissipated on its own, but until then it left Connor feeling as if he had more energy untapped energy stored within him. Since then he hadn’t had a chance to understand that feeling further. It wasn’t as if it was common for lightning to strike someone. He had always had a slight curiosity about this innate ability of his and wondered about the extent with which it could reach and be considered as a technique. Only by fully understanding the extent that it could be used to in combat could it truly be considered a technique. The opportunity to test the limits of his absorption ability came the following day when the sky dark and dreary. Connor sat cross legged in the clearing with the Star Pattern Steel laying across his lap. His upper body was bare allowing anyone observing to see the long steady breaths that he was taking. Golden arcs of electricity could be faintly seen dancing up and down his body. In the sky above flashes of gold appear rhythmically, almost in sync with the ones appearing on Connor. At that moment Connor was trying to connect his energy with the lightning gathering above him and call it down similar to his previous experience. Actively doing this was much different to the instinctive actions that took place previously, and the focus required meant that it was unlikely for him to ever be able to do the same in a combat situation. Even though that was the case, he was content to be able to train in such a manner. Nearly an hour passed in this manner before Connor was able to feel a subtle connection with the ground that rushed through him towards the sky. Simultaneously in the sky a bolt rushed down towards himself and smashed on to him. Rather than immediately reproduce the previous scene where he easily took in the bolt, Connor felt his skin instantly burn and split in that moment as blood spilled out and dried in that moment as well. ‘Ah, I forgot that my powers won’t just actively do what I want. I need to understand how to manipulate my powers to produce the desired result.’ He went into the situation expecting it to work out due to his previous experience and neglected to try and understand the process or even apply his intent to the energy within him. Connor had never been one to give up, and wouldn’t do so now due to some pain. Even now, his injuries looked worse than they actually were. Within him were remnants of the rampant energy that constantly attempted to do more damage, but were slowly being tamed by his own energy. Despite the fact that his energy was slowly taming the raw natural energy, it wasn’t anywhere near as smooth as it previously was. The energy was also dissipating faster than he could store it within himself. This made him aware that although he had a natural resistance to the element, he wasn’t immune to it by any means. This suggested that there was a unique method to take in the energy efficiently. Before the foreign energy within him could be entirely wasted, Connor decided to take advantage of those wisps to test a different method. There were only so many ways that could work for this, and clashing resulted in damage and wastefulness. Because of that he considered guiding it through himself. It was extremely difficult to push the foreign energy as it would simply result in a clash, so instead he let it push through his own. At the same time, he allowed his energy to immediately wrap around the entirety of that energy. The result of his actions shocked him. He had no way of knowing whether this would work, and simply tried it due to limited options. What happened as a result was the energy wrapped around turned completely docile and allowed itself to be guided through himself before settling within him calmly. It was in that moment that he realized that he didn’t simply absorb the energy as his own, instead it seemed more like he devoured the energy and was slowly digesting it within himself. ‘Again.’ Having understood the trick after a few moment Connor immediately decided to repeat his attempt. The result could be expected as his energy wrapped around the incoming energy almost immediately and proceeded to guide it to the same spot that the previous wisps gathered. There wasn’t any pain involved during this time. It was in a quick but painful manner that he was able to recreate the circumstances that he previously experienced. Like before a sense of becoming full slightly appeared and he knew that it was necessary to test his limits. With no more than a minute between each instance, Connor called down lightning on himself repeated. It was after the fourth bolt fell that the energy began to be truly devoured and transformed into his own. That energy overflowed through his body causing the previously gained wounds to rapidly fade as the energy within him grew. It was at that moment that the sky seemed to turn entirely golden for a moment. By this point in time Connor’s Teacher had exited the forge and was watching in awe. After the lightning dyed the sky golden he watched as countless bolts pour over his disciple as if the heavens had been provoked. After the awe came unprecedented fear, fear that Connor would be destroyed by the flood of lightning that seemed intent on destroying him. For just a moment, the world seemed to only exist as a golden flash as the old man was rooted to the ground. The force of the lightning which struck was enough that even he would lose his life when encountering it. After the golden flash faded, thunder boomed as if a god had been enraged. It seemed as if the sky shook for that moment, while the ground shook with enough force to seem as though a localized earthquake had taken place for a few moments. A few windows broke through various buildings in the area, at location which Connor sat was a large scorched area with small flames flickered on the grounds. The blackened area was bare of all life leaving only Connor there with the still forming spear shaft in hand. It was unknown to the old man when Connor had stood up; however it was clear that he was in perfect condition. Even the Star Pattern Steel was visibly improving as electricity danced up and down it. _________________________________________ “What the fuck was that?!” The old man rushed up to Connor unsure of how the previous situation occurred. “What do you mean? It’s not as though it’s your first time seeing it. It’s just this time is the first time I have actively tested the limits and applications of it.” Connor swung the spear shaft with his left hand to feel the weight and balance of it. All of the excess energy he just had was used to quicken the process of molding the spear. The result was that he now held a seven foot long staff that was too thick to hold comfortably and too rough to call complete, but this short stint had shaved several days off of the completion time. “You mean to say that this is the same as the last time on the mountain?” The old man had trouble relating this occurrence to the previous one due to the result being completely different. “This one was a bit different due to gaining experience about the technique now that I am actively using it. Plus, it’s not often that I can take advantage of a brewing storm in such a way. In the future something like this won’t occur, don’t worry too much.” “You make it sound like any of this would be normal. Even by the standards of people like us, you’re abnormal for doing something like that. Even if it will only be a rare occurrence, it was still ridiculous.” “Anyone with powers like mine would suffer the fate of a lightning rod under those specific circumstances. There are some unique aspects to this power of mine that let me safely get through that situation, otherwise I would have died today. It’s because of that danger that I made sure to understand why it happened. In the future, such occurrences during training will be under my control.” “I thought you said that it won’t occur in the future?” “The way it all gathered and struck me won’t happen again if I don’t allow it. This is still the only way for me to train that aspect unless you can fire bolts of lightning at me.” “I can’t… I don’t have the talent to use wind and lightning Gafu.” “What’s Gafu?” Connor heard a new term at this moment that piqued his interest. Ever since he obtained his powers he vaguely felt the desire to grow stronger pushing him forward. “The basic ability of a Fullbringer is to manipulate souls, or at least that’s the commonly accepted theory. I personally believe that a Fullbringer relies only on their will to force the surroundings to assist them.” “I know that feeling, for me it is my intent and will that is needed to make use of my powers.” “Exactly, but on to Gafu. That’s a more advanced application of Fullbring directed at the elements around us. Most people only have a single elemental affinity. People with duality have the potential to have two affinities. As for more, I haven’t heard of that but it’s still possible.” “My elemental affinity is Fire. It was through my own person fullbring and gafu that I brought the flames needed to forge the Thunder Gold. In the future you will also gradually understand-” The old man found his words caught in the back of his throat as Lightning danced around Connor. It wouldn’t have been surprising to see if Connor was relying on him own reiryoku; however, the old man could feel that this was natural lightning that formed only because of Connor’s will. His shock grew as the lightning slowly took on the shape of a chinese dragon that became more detailed by the second. It was only when his shock couldn’t grow anymore that it faded away completely, vanishing like smoke. “...I don’t know if I will ever be shocked by anything again after I get used to you and your bullshit…” “Don’t call it bullshit, call it talent! I am cursed with this jaw dropping talent, so how could I ever be average?” Connor spoke in an exaggerated and overconfident manner at this moment. He didn’t let anything related to his powers go to his head, but he enjoyed taking advantage of it to annoy his Teacher. “If you weren’t my disciple, I’m pretty sure that I would kill your smartass.” the Old Man’s face was deadpan as he spoke these words. Connor couldn’t tell how serious he was at this moment and felt a slight chill as those words sank in. “All of this is due to my amazing teacher! Without him, I wouldn’t be who I am today!” Rather than keep jokingly boasting about himself, Connor directed that obnoxious behavior towards his teacher and praising him. “Quit the bullshit, you should know that I was kidding.” “...How was I supposed to know that a kidnapper wouldn’t be a killer…” Connor looked down at the ground and spoke quietly, as if he was seriously reply to what his Teacher said. “Your Teacher wasn’t a killer before today, but I’m afraid that he’s about to become one.” “Ah! Where is the bastard that my Teacher wants dead! I won’t let him get away!” Connor acted oblivious as he dramatically turned and looked around the area as if he were searching for his worst enemy. “Okay, let’s stop this farce and get back to business. Can you do what you just did with lightning to the wind?” “The wind? Why would I be able to do it to the wind?” “You give me a headache… Lightning affinity typically follows the Wind affinity. According to common sense, if you can use the lightning in that way then you should be able to do the same with the wind.” “I was able to use the lightning Gafu partially because of the fact that I was just struck by lightning and experienced it with my body, but mainly because the nature of my powers.” “Can you feel any connection with the air at all when you spread your will out?” “All I feel are the minute positive and negative charges in the atmosphere that follow my will.” *Sigh* “That makes it extremely likely that your natural affinity for lightning has dominated any previous affinity for wind that you could have had. In the future, you probably won’t be able to use Wind based Gafu at all. The trade off is that you can already use lightning Gafu perfectly.” “That’s fine by me. It would be nice to have wind, but lightning is plenty enough. Plus, I still have duality and I can slowly master a second element in the future.” “I can’t understand why you are so easy going about this as the one who is losing out. I’m more frustrated than you are, and it’s not even my power.” “Well, if I struggled in the future, I could probably obtain it still. But why should I? My powers focus on lightning, and even in the case of awakening my second Fullbring we are supplementing that. We were already planning for my focus to be on lightning, so why should I be upset about about things that aren’t related?” “That’s true. Speaking of which, the spear shaft seems to have improved a lot after that short period of time?” “I was able to channel the energy that should have augmented myself into it and use it to improve it in one quick burst.” “Why not just repeat that until you finish?” “First off, I doubt you want lightning to keep striking your home like that. Secondly, I have less control over the changes to the Star Pattern Steel in that state. I also run the risk of heating the metal due to the excessive energy which would cause complications in this molding process. It’s just not worth it to continue repeating that after I got lucky this time.” “Since that’s the case, it really is for the best if you don’t recklessly rush the process. What do you plan to do now?” “I may not have mentioned this before, but the energy that I pour into the spear gets circulated back into myself. I have some theories I want to test with that energy and an idea that I considered in the past while I still have the chance.” “You’re not going to make it seem like the apocalypse are you?” After what just occurred, the Old Man was justified in this suspicious behavior. “Do I seem like some kind of demon to you?” Connor asked this question jokingly, but received an immediate reply. “If I didn’t know any better, I would think that you were a lightning demon that just looked like a human.” The Old Man spoke in a frank and honest manner in reply to Connor’s question without any hesitation. “...Did you really have to answer like that?” Connor hadn’t expected his Teacher to answer him in such a way. He asked the question to lighten the mood, not to be told that he was actually a demon. “I wouldn’t ever lie to my disciple, so of course I had to answer honestly!” The Old Man spoke righteously, as if he truly had every justification to describe Connor in that manner. What he didn’t know was that Connor was currently cursing him as the one who turned him into a ‘lightning demon’. “This is the only time that you speak so openly and honestly. Oh well, I need to practice or I really will have to start calling down some more lightning.” “Ah, I will be going in for now. Don’t destroy my home.” With that, the Old man turned and walked inside. ____________________________________________ Previously, Connor had touched on the concept of increased speed when devising the technique for his Escape skill. The thought crossed his mind that simply increasing the speed alone would be enough to justify his focus as a technique on it’s own. He had intended to revisit the concept sooner, but became distracted by the storm as that didn’t occur every day to allow him to train his Devour technique. He hadn’t expected that the techniques would have the potential to synergize together and become something greater. The ability to accelerate himself was something that he had understood by perfecting his other technique, and all that remained was testing the limits of active usage before it could be considered a technique. Determining the most efficient speed boost as well as the amount of time that it could be maintained for was extremely important for him to determine how to effectively utilize it. On the other hand, he had the devour skill that could eventually help him achieve a Super Charged State. It was that state that had the potential to strengthen his acceleration technique to the next level. It would increase the power which flowed through him and assisted his movements to a higher level during the duration of the state. His goal was to understand the limits of the interaction between the two techniques, and then the limit that just the acceleration technique could achieve on its own. Because he had these goals in mind, Connor didn’t hesitate to immediately allow the energy to overflow through his body and enter the Super Charged State once more. After entering this state he circulated his energy to follow the commands given to his physical body and strengthen them. The electrical signals that moved his body were further strengthened in transit by the energy of his super charged state. Connor knew that by doing this he would produce extreme results; however, he hadn’t expected the massive increase that occurred causing him to misjudge the distance and timing needed to stop before smashing into the wall of the courtyard. Before contact he managed to turn himself sideways in order to perform something similar to a shoulder bash against the wall. The sheer speed of his movement produced enough force to cause the wall to crack despite not putting much strength into the action. He was shocked by the result, but at the same time he was excited. There was no doubt that he had obtained another ridiculous technique in his arsenal. His Teacher had said that he wouldn’t be shocked again earlier, but he expected that this combination would be able to accomplish exactly that. Following that initial movement Connor spent the next period of time slowly adjusting to his speed in this state to be able to better control his own movements. It was when he was just managing to get control over his movements that he felt the excess energy that he had drain away from him into the atmosphere. Following the loss of energy came an empty feeling. That empty feeling wasn’t the absence of energy, but rather a sign that he wasn’t in a state of over saturation. His body ached as well, but it wasn’t to the extent that it would affect his combat prowess. At most, he felt as if his stamina had been drained. He could instinctively feel that his body couldn’t handle the continuous torment of the strengthening that this technique provided, so he waited a period of time and calmed his breathing before the ache faded from his body. This was another time that he was thankful for the effects that his powers had on his body by strengthening it. With the remnant pain from the previous activation fading, Connor was able to activate it once more. This time, Connor could feel the increase and roughly estimate it as a third of his previous increase. ‘Not bad, now how long can it be maintained?’ Unlike before Connor was able to easily handle this speed increase and move freely around the courtyard like a bolt of lightning. __________________________________ “The duration is shorter, the effectiveness is less as well, but I can use this freely while the Super Charged State has strict requirements to enter. I could also feel my condition improves, or maybe it’s more accurate to say that it was easier to focus while I activated the technique? Hmmm, I think I will call this my Thunder Battleform. It will be my best state during a fight, and is able to be improved with the Super Charged State of my Devouring technique. This isn’t too bad.” Connor was reflecting on his experiences out loud as he walked into the house. Because he was too focused he didn’t realize that his Teacher was sitting nearby drinking tea as he continued to walk towards the bathroom in order to clean himself up. “Brat, what was that sound?” The Old Man was calmly drinking his tea at this moment. He asked the question in a manner that would make someone believe that it was unrelated, and that he only asked out of passing curiosity. “Ah, I nearly ran through the courtyard wall.” Connor answered almost subconsciously as he continued to walk through the house while focused on comprehending the various aspects of the two techniques. His train of thought was halted a moment after he spoke due to violent coughing that followed. “How the fuck did you almost run through the wall?!” The old man expected it to be an attack that struck the ground or something along those lines that wouldn’t affect the area outside of the courtyard. If it was an attack then it made sense that it would strike something and cause damage in that manner. He didn’t expect that Connor had nearly destroyed a part of the wall and caused a mess for him to clean up. “I couldn’t control my speed for a moment, so there wasn’t any way that I could help it. It didn’t look like it was going to collapse, so it should be fine?” “Should be fine? How is it fine?! I still have to get that fixed!” “You’re the one who brought me here and told me to train. How am I supposed to do that without anything happening?” “...I should have left you on that mountain…” “It will be fine, I haven’t made any attack techniques yet.” “...Don’t talk about that right now, if you do I will toss you on a different mountain that is further away…” The Old Teacher felt like he aged a few more years when he considered to potential damage that would come from the future training. “But can you get away fast enough for me not to just follow you back?” Connor asked this question in all seriousness. He didn’t know his Teacher’s limits, but he doubted that it would be too fast for him to follow at all. “I can’t, so I will just seal you and stick you on one.” After speaking the old man laughed happily, almost like he didn’t just threaten his disciple “You wouldn’t do something like that would you?” Connor happily laughed along thinking that it was a joke. At least, it seemed like a joke until a voice came from behind him. “I would.” This was the last thing that Connor heard before his vision darkened. _______________________________________ “That damned old man…” Connor’s voice sounded out within a dark space as a quiet whisper that was strained to make even that sound. After his vision darkened and his consciousness, the old man had actually taken him to some unknown location and sealed him with some unique method. Pitch black chains covered in countless tiny runes were fastened around Connor’s wrists that suppressed his energy. These chains were pulling both of his arms out towards their respective side. Dried streaks of blood could be seen along his arms due to the cuffs cutting into his flesh as he struggled when he woke up. The only light in this space came from two chain glowing chains that pierced through the center of his chest, and a few inches below in his abdomen that extended indefinitely into the darkness in both directions through him. It was that light that allowed him to see his surroundings faintly in the space that would have only had absolute darkness otherwise. Around his neck was a tightly fitting metal collar that had chains extending forwards, backwards, and towards both sides. The combination of all of these was enough that his energy had almost completely stagnated within him. He could only rely on his physical strength which didn’t seem to be enough to break the chains that bound him. He had considered standing up; however, it seemed the old man had also considered that and sat him upright in a cross legged position with solid pillars extending into the sky weighing down directly on his knees to prevent their movement. He had already spent more than twenty four hours trapped in this manner. He couldn’t use brute force to escape as it seemed that the various restraints made use of energy in the surroundings to be strengthened. Because of that, he was left to reflect on the subtle changes of his surroundings and the ones within himself. “When I get out of here, I am going to make that old bastard regret this…” Connor paused for a moment. “Maybe, I will wait for my spear…” Connor was speaking to himself through gritted teeth at this moment. After a short time passed, he finally shelved his anger and calmed himself to find a method to free himself. That calmness allowed him to notice that although his Fullbring was suppressed, it wasn’t truly sealed perfectly. His energy moved slowly, but it still followed his will. Since he couldn’t move his body freely his attempts could only be related to his energy countering the various seals. Slowly but surely he moved energy to the points where the chains were sealing him. He first struggled in an attempt to push a bit of his energy out in order to attempt to damage the various chains. The result was that the force produced by them suppressed and prevented his energy from flowing out. Connor was too stubborn to give up here and proceeded to progressively push more and more of his energy against the chains. When the flow of his energy peaked he finally felt a wisp push outward. “Hmph, if a steady flow won’t work then what will happen if I force out as much energy was in the steady flow all at once?” He could tell that he was on the right track and had no intention to give up at this moment. The only limiting factor was how slowly he gathered energy in order to make a second attempt. Several hours passed during the slow energy gathering process, but eventually he gathered masses of energy at each point in order to let it burst out at the seals. ‘There’s no time like the present. I probably won’t die, right?’ This was Connor’s last thought before he willed the energy to burst out towards the seals. Connor was aware that he shouldn’t be in any danger. Despite that, he still refused to quietly wait for his Teacher to come release him. He felt as if his bone deep pride and trust that he developed over several had been stepped all over by being sealed. For that reason he would continue attempting to break out of his current situation until the moment his teacher returned, if that was necessary. The result of his actions had a shocking result. Truthfully, Connor hadn’t expected much from his actions. Considering how weak he felt, he doubted his lightning would have the strength to cause any harm to the seals. It was ultimately an act of defiance and expression of his will, and yet tiny arcs of electricity climbed up the various chains. Faint sounds of cracking could be heard from all the various chains that bound him. As the sounds spread outward, he experienced the feeling of his power rising up once again. The glowing chains which pierced through his body faded completely after a few moments. Before this, it had felt as if his soul was bound within him by countless chains and it was only after they were gone that his physical strength returned to him once more. The chains that bound his neck and arms had the countless runes carved in them damaged reducing them to mere ordinary chains. With his physical strength and spiritual strength returning there wasn’t any way for regular chains or stone pillars that simply relied on their weight to keep down his body while it was weakened to restrain him. After he overcame the shock he felt at his sudden freedom, Connor immediately pulled his arms forcefully towards himself causing those chains to shatter. Without rushing for a moment, he proceeded to crush the cuffs that remained on his wrist. He inspected the injuries that they had caused him while sealed, and felt somewhat impressed that something so fragile was able to cause him harm. The next thing that he took care of were the pillars. He extended his now free arms out in front of himself and swung them out towards his side, right through the stone pillars that broke on contact. Connor directly stood up after that with the chains to the collar on his neck still intact. The result could be expected as they were pulled taut halfway through the motion, and snapped by the time he was standing straight up. His various joints had made popping sounds as a wave of comfort spread through his previously weak body. Finally, he took both his hands and pulled outward on both sides of the collar which shatter similar to the various other items. With the various restraints removed Connor remained calm. He knew that although his Teacher put him here, the old man’s fullbring wasn’t related to sealing. It was likely that he had come into contact with a strange method to accomplish this and learnt it over the years. Another important fact that he knew was that his teacher was currently stronger than him by enough to put him in this situation. Having lowered his guard played an important part in the old man’s success, but that was only because he was strong enough. “How frustrating…” The more Connor thought about it, he realized that there wasn’t anything that he could do for the time being. “He probably expects me to be stuck here for a while, so I doubt he will return for at least a few more days. Since that’s the case, how about I come up with some attacks since he dreaded them so much.” He quickly decided to take advantage of this time to finish his mastering his fullbring during these few days and get some payback when the time came. “It looks like he accidentally helped me create a technique against bastards who like to trap their enemies. I would almost be thankful if he wasn’t one of those bastards.” __________________________________________ Among the ideas that Connor intended to apply, the one that he had the most understanding about was the only one related to his nervous system. He had two other techniques that directly used the nervous system, granted one was derived from the other. This time, he intended to take advantage of it once more to accelerate the speed of the signals that commanded movements. He didn’t need an actual boost to his speed for this period of time, all he needed was to increase his efficiency to strike more within a certain period of time. In Connor’s case, he was talented at close quarters combat due to the strength of his physical body. He also had months of training focused on honing his senses for combat dedicated to unarmed combat and combat with the spear. If within a short few moments he could only attack four times as his limit, then by succeeding with this technique he would be able to increase that to five or six times simply by manipulating to signals. At least, that was the plan he had for the technique. He started testing this idea immediately as it was the easiest to accomplish among the few ideas that he had. Truthfully, he had a certain amount of assurance of success due to his previous experiences and was only confirming those at this moment. In a very familiar way he circulated his energy alongside his thoughts causing it to focus entirely on speeding up his nervous system. This also meant that for these few moments he had the potential to take in more information. His physical speed didn’t increase, his senses didn’t strengthen, but for a moment he felt as if he had a heightened clarity. Immediately afterwards he unleashed a flurry of punches and kicks as if he had an opponent in front of him at that moment. Things went roughly as he expected as he unleashed an extra attack in the same time frame that he could unleash at most four previously. The feeling of activity faded causing his head to throb for just a moment. After that moment he repeated the process, with more familiarity he was able to execute two attacks within the same time frame as before. Like last time, as the activity faded his head throbbed once more. This time was slightly different as the throbbing was more intense and longer lasting. He had a gut feeling that suggested that he had reached the limit of how many times it could be executed within a certain period of time, but he still decided to attempt to activate it a third time. ___________________________________ “Fuck, that’s terrible…” Connor just woke up moments ago on the ground. The result of his previous attempt was that he almost immediately fell unconscious. Now that he was awake, he still experienced a splitting headache. He had somewhat expected this result, but also knew it was important to clearly understand his limits. This technique was related to attacking, but it could at most be considered a supporting skill meant to assist in his attacks. His previously created Instant Strike technique was a similar type. Neither actually improved the attack itself and only boosted his existing attacks in different ways. His goal now was to come up with a couple of attacks that would be able to increase his damage capabilities. “The most obvious aspect to make use of is lightning, but I could also consider using thunder as well. Since I can use lightning, it should be possible to create thunder.” Connor still hadn’t sat up at this point, only unintentionally speaking out loud as he considered the various possibilities for attacks. “Hmm, I am painfully aware of my limits in regards to purely energy based attacks. It wouldn’t be suitable to create something like that since it was unlikely that it would ever reach its full potential. That leaves augmenting my attacks will energy as my only option…” Connor paused his thoughts for a moment by this point to make an attempt to sit upright. His headache was still pounding, but he couldn’t be sure when it would finally fade. “Let’s play with the concept of thunder first. Lightning creates thunder, but I can’t create true lightning. At least, I can’t do so yet. The energy I control is more like electricity being given the form of lightning. It doesn’t achieve the same level of heat to be able to cause the air to vibrate and produce thunder like the natural lightning does. If I reduce the scale then even if I don’t create thunder, the vibrations that are reminiscent of thunder should be possible. This might be worth a shot.” He was hopeful about being able to apply vibrations to his attacks in order to strengthen them. Vibrations excelled at bypassing defenses and causing damage, so if he was successful there was the potential to create an extremely powerful attack. “The only way I will be able to produce the thunder is if I focus on converting the electricity into heat, and the speed to achieve move that energy through space will require using my physical speed…” Connor paused to contemplate before continuing to speak out loud. “It will still need a certain amount out space for the air heated through the energy and friction and the cool air around it to meet and vibrate. If I can get a strong enough vibration by doing this, then I can use my energy to multiply that and strike.” All that remained was testing the methods that could produce vibrations after he thought to this point. He was aware that a simple swing of the weapon without any gimmick wouldn’t allow him to produce the base vibration that he required, so he immediately ruled out merely gathering energy in his fist. Several attempts later, Connor found a potential solution. He coated his arm in energy that contained its effects on the surroundings first. This energy didn’t produce heat, or even possess the electric qualities normal seen. It just serves as a golden cover for his arm. A few inches out from his arm was an arc of electricity that extended and wrapped around his around the length of his forearm. It’s appearance was that of an electric coil that produced as much heat as possible with his energy. If his thoughts were correct then after sending out a punch he would dispel the coil allowing the cool air to rush in. The resulting vibrations would then be captured by the energy coating for him to take advantage of. The only remaining action left was to test his theory. He didn’t typically take a stance while fighting, but for this test Connor made a point to slowly take up a stance that allowed him to punch at any moment. He took a deep breath to calm himself, and then let loose a punch as he exhaled sharply. Part of the way through the motion he dispersed the energy coil. Vibrations faintly appeared in the air as his fist moved forward, roughly three quarters of the way through the motion the vibrating strength in the energy had peaked. During the final quarter of motion the cover rushed up his arm and towards his fist as it merged the spread force within his fist that smashed outward. The air shook as vibrations shot forward from his fist as a golden ripple at a speed that he simply couldn’t follow with his eyes as more than a blur before dissipating several feet from him. The force lingered in the air as the roar of thunder sounded purely from his new technique. “I guess I can create thunder…” Connor was shocked by the force produced. Through the attack he had made small corrections; however, the result was an attack that exceeded expectations. The force alone was a level above his own, but the speed seemed nearly twice as fast as his own. “...I would like to see that old bastard try to bully me now.” After saying this Connor continued to practice this skill until he reached his limit. ___________________________________ “I can feel it, I am close to exploring the limits of my powers. After creating my new Thundering Heavens attack, all that remains is perfecting my control one step further. During this period of training, things have gone smoothly precisely because my instincts guided me to make decisions. Until now, I always felt ideas and understanding coming to me. It always felt as if these things welled up from within me rather than being created by me. Maybe it’s better to describe these techniques as having always been the potential of my Fullbring that guided me forward. I may grow more in the future, but by taking the next step I should be able to master my Fullbring. If the only thing holding me back is my control, then I know the perfect way to train that. Training to focus power into a single point is without a doubt the most suitable for myself. Even if I am considering my weapon, nothing represents the spear more than gathering all of my strength into a single point to use in a single overwhelming attack.” As his understanding of his Fullbring grew, Connor understood more about the process of his growth. From the moment he awakened his powers he was in a state that exceeded the requirements physically to achieve his mastered fullbring. All he lacked was the experience. The required experience to grow rapidly was gained through months of train, and his own unique experiences. It could be said that his current stat was only a matter of time, the only difference was that he found a Teacher to train him in the way of the spear. That training improved his potential subtly, and would only continuously grow in the future after he obtained his spear. Connor wasn’t one to wait after finding his path, and immediately he began to train. First he focused on his body. His control over it was near perfect already, so he could use that to establish a foundation for perfecting his energy if he perfected that first. The concept of perfecting bodily control was simple, but being aware of each minute detail and perfecting the cycle with which they occurred was the hardest part. The technical difficulty of this final step was higher than each step on the path before this one combined. Still, Connor continued to move and unleash attack after attack. Slowly he was perfecting the way his muscles could build force off of the others to unleash his strongest force with each movement. Hours passed in this manner, and fatigue continued to build up. Without food or water, he could only rely on the passive support of his energy to keep himself from starving in these conditions. By the time he had nearly completely exhausted himself, Connor was relying purely on willpower to move his body. The only way to notice an improvement to his movements was by comparing the difficulty required to move to the last time. In this state of exhaustion Connor entered a unique mindset that allowed him to reflect on his movements clearly and find the subtle flaws that had eluded him. As he understood them in this state, he also fixed them in his movements. By the time he collapsed from exhaustion he had finally achieved the proficiency level of freely manipulating strength to any point on his body to strike with the maximum force. ______________________________________ Connor’s eyes slowly opened after an unknown amount of time, his surroundings were blurry for a moment before gradually clearing to reveal that he wasn’t in the darkness that he became accustomed to, but rather the room he recognized from before the old man acted extremely. He understood that it was also his Teacher who had to bring him home, but it didn’t alleviate his anger in the slightest. Just when he was about the sit up and search for the old man, he heard a haggard voice sound. “Finally awake?” “What happened to you?” Connor wanted to immediately snap at the old man, but hearing the voice he could tell that the circumstances weren’t better for his Teacher. “I have a disciple that only makes work for me, so I haven’t been getting enough sleep.” “And I have a Teacher who sealed me in some god forsaken place for no apparent reason.” Connor retorted almost immediately to the old man’s complaint. “I needed some peace and quiet, while you needed to fuck off for a bit. You being gone let me finish Forging the Thunder Gold without interruption.” “That’s all? That’s the reason why?” As he asked this question Connor raised his body to sit on the edge of his bed. “That’s all. You cause too many problems with your training, plus that seal specializes in suppressing powers in order to allow them to explode out upon release. If you had remained sealed then it would have been boring, but you would have grown. You’re just a monster and able to break out of a seal that could seal an actual demon. You’re like the damned demon king to be pulling off bullshit like that.” “Says the old demon who seal his gentle and kindhearted disciple away without a single word of warning.” Connor’s anger slowly faded as he talked to the old man. He always knew at the back of his mind that the old man wouldn’t do anything to harm him. ‘And he is still the only one who can help me awaken my spear.’ Any revenge that he had in mind could wait until after that. “Hmph, I’m more like a dragon among men. Not some pathetic old demon.” “Yeah yeah, whatever, I’m going to finish up on the spear shaft.” Connor immediately stood up and walked out without stopping to prevent the old man from speaking to him some more. _________________________________________ A few days passed and the month deadline arrived with him completing the spear shaft according to the original time frame. He had actually finished a day earlier, but decided to make it more aesthetically pleasing by manipulating the scatter golden specks within the steel to form the shape of a golden dragon that wrapped around the length of the spear shaft with the head just below where the Thunder Gold would be connected to the Star Pattern Steel. “Hoooh, that’s not a bad design.” The old man looked at the spear shaft in Connor’s hand and appraised it. The task had been perfectly accomplished, and even allowed for him to make his own unique dragon pattern. “I know it is, that’s why I made it.” “...Is it that hard to take a compliment without being a smartass?” The Old Man was used to Connor’s remarks, but he couldn’t resist this question. “It really is hard…” “...Are you ready to complete your spear?” They had been working towards finishing this spear for so long that the old didn’t wish to bicker back and forth. “Of course!” Ever since he had returned he had focused entirely on his spear and suppressed his breakthrough despite only being a hair away from perfecting his control over energy in order to take the chance when he awakened his spear to master his Fullbring and further the connection between the two. “Alright, let me see that spear shaft.” As he spoke, the old man extended his hand towards Connor to accept it from him. “Here you go.” Connor handed it over immediately when he was asked to do so. He was extremely excited about finally obtaining this spear. He had nearly forgotten what happened no more than a week ago due to this excitement. The following process was tedious, but not extremely complicated for them at this point. After properly heating the Star Pattern Steel and quenching it to finalize its shape, the old man used a special technique to fuse the two metals together in a way that defied common sense. On a very basic level the two metals were connected and couldn’t be separated without ruining both of them completely. A noteworthy point was that during the heating of the metals the old man had sprinkled various unknown materials on top of the metal. Connor recognized those as the ones that he mentioned would assist him in making a connection to the spear when it came time. The next step was to use some other unique materials to imbue true spirituality into the spear. Connor had the simple and more difficult job as he had to use his energy to slowly move through the spear and establish the paths for energy flow. His Teacher continued to use various rare materials to merge with the paths and form circuits that would improve and accelerate the flow of energy through the metal. This process took several hours, the day turned to night as the finally completed the forging process. The spear was exactly nine feet and nine inches long. The spear shaft was black with the golden dragon shimmering along it. Faint electric arcs could be seen dancing up and down the dragon. The spearhead was pure golden as if it was forged from lightning itself. “The body and spirit are here, all that remains is to give it life. Connor, let it feed on your blood to complete to connection and perfectly awaken.” “Let it do what now? I don’t remember this being a part of the explanation.” “You heard me, the materials that were added were to allow you to establish a connection through blood.” “And that’s it?” Connor was suspicious after having this sudden extra process added. Normally, when his teacher hid information it was because Connor wouldn’t agree to it. “Yes! Now hurry the fuck up!” Connor didn’t say anything more after getting the confirmation. He had gotten used to pain by this point and didn’t hesitate to take the spear shaft by the spot just below the spearhead and slash it across his wrist. He expected the blood to overflow, but instead he experienced the feeling of his blood uncontrollably rushing out of this wound and into the spear in his hand. “What the fuck?!” “Shitty brat, I didn’t say how much blood it would take.” The blood continued to drain from his body and into the spear. He tried to pull it away, but it was as if his body was frozen in this position. It wasn’t long before his vision began to darken and his consciousness faded. The last sight that he saw was a glowing red that approached his chest, his hearing lasted slightly longer but it was difficult to understand. “The Spear of the Long is inherited by only one each generation. I leave to you only the name Long. I have no children to pass down my heritage to, so it can only go to you who are my successor. We’ll meet again in the future if that is your fate.” _________________________________________ Connor wasn’t aware of how much time passed when he finally woke from his deep sleep. A wave of weakness flooded over him as he tried to sit up causing him to almost fall over as a result. He couldn’t see clearly at that moment, but he could vaguely make out a long golden glow that was in front of him. Due to the connection that he felt at that moment he was aware of what that silhouette represented. In front of him was his spear that had successfully awakened, floating in the air as lightning danced along it. Connor felt frustration at the sudden turn of events rather than the excitement that he expected. He felt as if he were going to explode from anger as he recalled the bullshit that his Teacher pulled and sensed that he was nowhere near by. After shaking off the grogginess, he stood to his feet without any consideration causing him to miss the letter that had fallen off of his chest. His first action in that moment was to take hold of his spear, without hesitation he thrust it forward. It wasn’t a normal attack, but the technique that he had previously been unable to complete. In his unconscious state he had naturally broke through the barrier for energy control and unconsciously executed the attack. What followed wasn’t an explosion, or mass destruction but a perfectly circular black hole burnt in the wall slightly wider than his spear. “FUCK!” It was only later that Connor would realize that there had been a letter addressed to him. WC: 18,039 -Mastered Fullbring and Duality Obtained-
  3. Kumo

    Just Another Day

    It had been a few days since Connor fully gained control over his powers. With each passing day he was able to understand how to utilize his Fullbring. Having overcome his doubts and worries, there wasn’t anything to hold him back from perfectly controlling his powers. It could be said that with this recent breakthrough Connor had fully synchronized with his powers. Until now, Connor had been training at this remote mountain solely because he was a danger to himself and all those around him. Just a casual accident could cause massive amounts of property damage, and the danger involved for normal people was massive. That wasn’t the case with his current level of control. His Fullbring was deeply connected to his physical attributes, this also meant that as the control of one increased so to did the other. His gains in control over his Fullbring increased his control over his body, in the same vein of things his physical training prior assisted his control over his fullbring as well. That mutual support allowed Connor to reach a state of minute control over himself and his powers. That very same control convinced his Teacher to allow him to return back to civilization the day after he exited his meditation His Teacher’s home was at a relatively secluded area, yet near enough to a downtown area that for a normal person it would take less than thirty minutes to walk there. It was a relatively small home that was furnished plainly with the main decoration being weaponry, as one would expect from an old man who lived by running a forge for years. That very forge was connected to this small house. After so many months outside of one Connor had an urge to rush in there and use it. His Teacher had denied him access immediately after requesting to use it. Instead, his Teacher told him to adjust back to being around people and rest for a few days. When Connor thought back to his experience during his ‘mental journey’, he couldn’t help but remember that he truly hadn’t spoken to his parents since he left. After that experience he truly did need to contact them to put both his and their heart at ease. Other than that he could take this time to get some much needed human interaction. ________________________________________ “Hey Mom, Hey Dad. How are you?” Connor had a gentle smile on his face as he spoke towards his phone held out in front of him. On the screen were his parents squeezed together with a small corner showing what he looked like. “I’m a lot better now that you finally contacted us!” His mother’s voice returned almost immediately. Her voice expressed dissatisfaction, however by looking at her eyes, it was clear to Connor that she was both happy and relieved. Similar emotions could be seen from his father who was silently smiling while Caitlynn spoke to Connor. “I’m sorry, I got caught up with my Teacher. You both know how I can lose myself in things like this, not to mention that he’s also quite eccentric.” Connor decided that he couldn’t tell them the truth of the situation no matter what. Even if they believed him, it would make them aware of something terrifying that they could do nothing about. It would also make them aware of the eventual danger that he would be facing as a result. He wasn’t willing to cause them that kind of worrying. “Well, make time! Even once a month is okay…” After her initial happiness, Caitlynn slowly slipped into a state of sadness as she thought of the months before without a word from her son. This was apparent to Connor who could only look on apologetically. “How is it over there?” The slight moment of silence that came because Connor was unsure of how to reply was ended when Jon spoke in a calm voice. It was unknown to Connor exactly how his father felt at this moment. Everything indicated that he was calm and happy, not fluctuating like his mother. “It’s nice. The person who is teaching me lives in a relatively quiet place, and I am staying with him for the time being.” Connor hid the truth once more by revealing only part of the relevant information. He could only imagine how they would react if he told them that he had lived on a remote mountain until a few days ago. “That’s good to hear. Have you been taking care of yourself?” It was once again his father speaking. Jon wasn’t reproachful or upset, only asking the most sincere questions that reflected how much he cared for Connor. “Ah! Have you found a daughter-in-law for us yet?!” Connor didn’t get a chance to answer his father before this dreaded question came from his mother. If there was one thing that Connor hoped to avoid during this call, it would be this question. It was a question that was frequently asked, and the end result was always a lecture about finding a woman. “I have been taking care of myself, thanks for asking Dad.” Rather than indulge his mother, Connor opted to simply ignore the question. This wasn’t an uncommon occurrence when he was still at home, and it wouldn’t change because he wasn’t. “That’s good, that’s real good. How have you handled not knowing Mandarin?” Jon was aware that Connor intended to completely bypass the topic that Caitlynn brought up. After so many months of being defeated by his wife in conversation, he appreciated Connor’s actions that would frustrate her. While replying to Connor, a restrained smile crept onto his face. “The person who teaches me speaks English fluently, so I haven’t had to struggle with it during my stay. It’s probably more common to find people who can speak Eglish here than it is to find people that speak foreign languages back home.” To be asked simple questions like this relieved Connor. He didn’t intend to reveal the truth, however he didn’t enjoy lying to his parents. “Don’t ignore me!” It wasn’t a surprise that Caitlynn was upset by the two of them carrying on as if she hadn’t asked anything at all. At least, she seemed to be upset. The truth was that after so long she appreciated the familiar and somewhat silly progression of their conversations. “Who ignored you? It must have been poor connection.” Connor wouldn’t admit to ignoring her, at least not about the matter of him finding a woman. It was one of the few matters that he simply couldn’t get motivated for. If it happened, then it did. If it didn’t, then he would simply go without. There wasn’t any need to complicate his life further, especially having awakened his Fullbring. “He is in another Country, it’s only natural that not everything goes through clearly.” Jon chimed in the support Connor’s claim. Conversations like this were reminiscent of months ago when Connor was still home, and exactly for that reason all three of the participants felt better because of it. “Mom, Dad; I know it's been a while, but I need to get back to what I was working on. I will make sure to keep in touch more, okay? I love you both.” Connor had the time to continue talking; However, he wasn’t able to guarantee that he wouldn’t slip up and reveal any worrying information. While the conversation was still relatively lighthearted he decided to take the chance to cut the conversation short. “Already?” Caitlynn had visible disappointment and unwillingness flash across her face after Connor spoke. She hadn’t spoken to her son in months, and he seemed to be rushing to get off already. “Darling, it’s okay! You heard him, he will be calling more often from now on.” Jon spoke out to prevent Caitlynn from causing Connor to feel guilt over his lack of contact. It was an undeniable fact that the three of them all love each other, so he didn’t wish to cause his son to be upset right before they ended the call. “Fine! But Connor, please call us more, okay?” She couldn’t force her son to stay on the phone, however she could only hope that pleading now would cause him to make time for them sooner. “I will okay? I’m going to go now, I will talk to y’all soon.” “Take care of yourself! We love you!” “Bye Mom, Bye Dad.” As he finished speaking those words Connor cut off the video call and let out a sigh of relief. He had been worried about the possibility of revealing someone he shouldn’t, but now he could relax. At least until the next time they spoke. ________________________________________ For a few days after the call with his parents Connor took the chance to visit the town, unfortunately he could only return shortly after dejectedly. He still didn’t know Mandarin, and few people knew English well enough to carry on a conversation. He could search for a translator, but that would likely go to waste. He also couldn’t contact his previous one as he was literally kidnapped months ago. ‘I wonder what she did after I was taken?’ He hadn’t considered what had happened legally after he was taken. There was a chance that he was reported missing, or had somehow gotten in trouble for staying in the Country longer than allowed. The repercussions may not affect him, however his parents may not remain unaffected. Realizing this new worry, Connor went to find his Teacher to discuss the issue. A quick search through the house brought Connor to the attached smithy as the last location to check. He hadn’t had a chance to enter it before today because his teacher refused to allow him access. He didn’t intend to barge in and go against the wishes of his Teacher, so he simply knocked on the door. “Come in.” Before Connor had a chance to call out for him, he had called for Connor. “I have something I want to talk to you about.” When Connor entered the room, his voice sounded out. Constantly inspecting the conditions of the equipment, it was apparent that everything within was top quality. Directly in front of him was his Teacher who had his back facing him. “What is it?” The old man was calm as he appraised the materials on the table in front of him rather than look back at Connor who just entered. “What happened as a result of you kidnapping me?” Connor was very direct about his concern, addressing it immediately rather than beating around the bush. “...That’s a little rude…” For a moment the Old man visibly tensed as he slowly replied. Even the calmest person wouldn’t be able to remain calm as he was called a kidnapper. In this case, the old man had actually done so and felt ashamed to have the incident mentioned so bluntly now. “And it’s also true, so?” Connor didn’t hold back regarding this matter. Even though he had come to forgive and even respect his Teacher, there wasn’t any way that he could forget the suffering that he went through as a result of the old man’s actions. “Well, Nothing happened. When I came back I had the matter taken care of. It’s not hard to get some decent influence in an average country when you are anything but average yourself. It’s a good choice when you’re like me and getting older.” The old man’s simple answer was slightly surprising, but easily accepted by Connor. “That’s good. What are you working on?” Now aware that there weren’t any problems, Connor was able to move on to what it was that kept his Teacher preoccupied. “Do you remember during our training that at times a green light flashed over your spear when we were training?” For the first time since Connor entered the room, his Teacher turned to face him as he asked this question. “I do, here recently I realized that it was a subconscious application of my Fullbring, right?” Connor could easily recall what his teacher was referring to. It wasn’t an extremely apparent light, but it was hard to not become aware of it after such a long time. “You’re half right. It’s related to your fullbring, however there are a limited number of people who can do that with just anything they pick up. You can do that freely now, right?” “I should be able to, but I haven’t tried.” Ever since he came back there wasn’t a need to attempt to strengthen a weapon in such a manner, so he hadn’t tried. He vaguely understood that it was simply his will protecting the weapon so it wouldn’t break due to the battle. To test it, he picked up a hammer on a nearby table and willed it in a similar way causing a faint light to glow on it. Unlike before when it was a distinct green, now it was a shimmering golden. This change most likely due to his drastic change in proficiency with his Fullbring since the last time it was performed. “Good. That’s a sign of a unique trait known as Duality. It’s possible for some people to go their entire lives without being aware of it, but you managed to become aware in such a simple manner… You really are blessed with talent.” Towards the end the old man’s voice contained a hint of envy and defeat when comparing himself to Connor. “What do you mean? What’s Duality?” Connor was naturally curious about what this unique trait was. He had thought that he had a good grasp over his abilities, yet at this moment a new aspect was being introduced. “Simply put, it’s the inborn trait that allows multiple types of powers. I have been preparing to help you awaken that second type. Since it hasn’t manifested yet, that means there is the chance to help you tailor it to your current powers and skills to improve upon them.” “I don’t get a say in this? What if I want to be able to shoot lasers from my eyes or something?” Connor wasn’t being serious, only pointing out that his Teacher was forcing this upon him without consideration through some casual teasing. “Are you willing?” The old man had long since gotten used to his disciple’s personality, and wasn’t bothered by what he said. Instead, he simply asked this single question. “I am.” Connor had no hesitation or doubts towards what his teacher had in mind for him. He didn’t understand the various important details of these powers, only able to rely on the knowledge of his teacher to help him along the way while learning all that he could. “Good. As you can see here, I have all kinds of materials. These materials are for us to create a spear that is suitable for you. They are rare, and almost unheard of to the average person but we will use them to create a spear that is unique to you. During the creation process you will need to slowly merge your powers into the weapon to establish a link between you and it. By the time we finish forging the weapon, you should be taking the last steps towards perfecting your powers. It’s at that time that your spear will awaken, and you will reach your full potential.” “Does that mean that you’re going to finally teach me something that I actually came here for?” “That’s exactly what it means. Are you ready?” “When do we start?” “Tomorrow. These materials aren’t common materials, and it could take the two of us months to finish this spear. I hope you’re ready for that.” With that said the old man left turned to walk out of the smithy leaving behind an excited Connor who couldn’t help but stare at those materials a bit longer before following his Teacher out to get one last night of rest. Word Count: 2,660 Total Word Count: 4,989
  4. Kumo

    Just Another Day

    Nothingness, absolute endless nothingness; Countless people speak about it, however very few will ever experience the terror that is nothingness. Some people enter rooms with few items and feel as if there is nothing there, others stand atop the tallest mountains insisting there is also nothing there. If only those people knew how lucky they were to be able to describe those experiences as nothing. A common thought among the populace was that in death there was only nothingness. While that wasn’t true, it was this feeling that was frightening enough for countless people to believe was death. It was in this world that Connor had lost himself. He believed that this was the answer, however how could it be so easy to accomplish. There were people who could spend more time than he had been alive to master their spirit sense. He hadn’t awakened his powers for a year, and he was rushing it in such a manner. It would take a miracle for such a presumptuous method to succeed. _______________________________________ ‘Who am I?’ Within the emptiness, only this thought existed. No sense of time or self remained for anyone lost to it. No answer would ever come to the question in this place. The only solution was to simply find oneself. This could be considered easier said than done. It wasn’t as if you simply enter into nothingness and lose your way, instead it’s more like you are slowly corroded. Through what feels like an endless amount of time, you are invaded by all that surrounds you. It consumes everything which makes you who the person that you are. In this case, it was only the tiniest fragment of consciousness that remained, constantly questioning itself in search of answers. Within the vast expanse were countless imperceptible fragments similar to that one. All of which resonating with together to ask one question. ‘Who am I?’ That one question was able to make even the void tremble ever so slightly in that single moment. There were countless fragments with an equal number of questions being asked. Collectively, it was as if all that remained within this nothingness was a sea of doubts. The concerns hidden at the depths of the heart gathered here. ‘Who am I?’ This was the one question being asked more than any other. There were countless who, what, when, where, why, and how questions all searching for an answer, but it was this one that continued to bring a resonance from the sea of consciousness. Hope to be anything more than a part of this eternal nothingness could only be found in the possibility of answers. At the center of the sea of doubts existed a featureless soul, stripped of all that formed it’s existence. None of the physical senses remained, however the vague feeling of being surrounded existed. The weight of the doubts weighed heavily on the soul form. It could only instinctively push back in an attempt to reach some form of equilibrium. It was as if all that surrounded it was quicksand, unable to be escaped from. The soul could vaguely sense the occasional tremble. In those moments it similarly shook. Did the trembling of the sea reach it, or did it perhaps cause the sea to shake? It was a question without an answer, all that could be known is that the two were connected at the most fundamental of levels. The sea constantly pressured the soul as it sank deeper, while it continued to struggle for existence. It was a losing battle that the soul could only eventually succumb to. The force to push back eventually let through a thread of the sea, and it was in that moment that it resonated stronger than ever before causing even the vast nothingness to tremble. ‘WHO AM I?!’ ___________________________________________ “Wake up!” “Come on, ******, it’s time to wake up.” Eyes snapped open at that moment, all that existed were two vague figures in front of the soul at that moment. The wide open eyes couldn’t see anything, it was only for a split second that the outline of the two were transmitted to it. All the details of the two were hidden by shadows, the voice unheard. The soul couldn’t understand, even in that moment it’s eyes and ears failed to capture anything. The eyes without light closed once more. “Don’t go back to sleep, it’s time for school!” When the eyes opened again they were greeted with the images of a small child’s room. To it, all these sights and concepts were foreign. Moments ago, the words that were spoken seemed to ring from the depths of his soul. Now, it could only watch the day go by from this perspective. The scenes came from a shorter perspective than the two who had woken it. Cleaning up, changing clothes, eating breakfast, all of this was done in silence. The mouths moved, and various objects should have made sound. That should have happened, however the sound had disappeared leaving only images with everyone else hidden by a veil of shadows. Like this, the day went by much like one would expect a young child’s day in elementary school would. That was when the soul saw the smile of the man and woman standing next to the bed. In that moment, the core of its existence shook as a rumbling sound rang within. ‘WAKE UP!’ The scene in front of it fragmented slowly and the perspective of the soul returned to share a height with the two figures in front of him. They were also slowly fragmenting alongside this scene; however, their eyes were slowly piercing through the veil to show something similar to awareness. “Who are you?” A man’s voice could be heard. That simple question caused a profound sadness to appear in the soul, something that had long since been lost to it. Light flickered slightly in it’s eyes as it heard that voice. A voice that seemed so familiar that it could be described as imprinted within. It was that voice that roused the tiniest remains deep within the soul that had yet to scatter into the sea. Those remaining fragments remained stubbornly hidden deep within, refusing to give in under any circumstances. “Who are you?” It was a woman’s voice this time. It was unknown how they reached it, however the two together had awakened the last remaining wisp within. Tiny arcs of electricity danced across the entirety of the soul in that moment and gathered towards its eyes. As the bit of electricity reached that point, the soul closed and opened its eyes again. Human emotion filled the blue eyes glowing with electric light as it opened its mouth to reply. “Who am I?” “I. Am. Connor.” In that moment the soul transformed into the appearance of the Connor who had been on top of that mountain previously. At the same time the room shattered away leaving only Connor standing in front of the now revealed figures of his parents who were no longer fragmenting. The two were abnormally calm in appearance, almost eerily so. Connor gazed at them as they seemed to appraise him. This continued until the ‘parents’ broke the silence. “Why are you here?” “What do you mean?” “Why are you here?” “Wait a damn second! You ask who I am, but who the fuck are you?! Why do you look like my parents?!” “We are your doubts.” “My doubts about what? Why would that make you look like my parents?” “You mean to say that you don’t feel guilty? You selfishly left because you wanted to. In over half a year you never once thought to contact your parents to let them know you’re safe. And now, your life will be so full of turmoil that you can’t even guarantee their safety.” “That’s why I’m training, to make sure they’re safe!” “Bullshit. We are you, we know the truth that you keep hiding! We know what you deny deep down in your heart!!” “Bullshit? What bullshit?!” “It’s true that you thought of them, however that was in passing. Ever since, you have been so focused on training that you forgot all about that reason!” “...” “What? No retort?” *sigh* “...No.” “That’s all? You’re just going to give in like that? Tell me, why did this happen?” “I suddenly awakened these powers…” “Oh? You suddenly awakened these powers and became drunk on them? You rushed into this thinking you could master your Spirit Sense, but you’ve nearly gone brain dead as a result. Way to go, you’re so smart.” “Conceited.” “You haven’t ever controlled your power, not even once. Until now, all you have done is take advantage of what you could as you let it rule over you.” “Weak willed.” “You already subconsciously use your powers, however you are so weak willed that you can’t control them!” “Pathetic.” “You have it all, but you lack the decisive will to make use of it. You really are pathetic.” “What do you mean, decisive will?” “Hmph, answer our questions and we will answer yours.” “Why do you want this strength? To fight? To kill?” “...I want it to protect…” “Don’t lie to us now, we have already explained why that isn’t true!” “...Because it’s the first time in my life that I have felt complete.” “That’s all? Are you sure?” “I haven’t thought too much about it, after I gained these powers I have simply been fixated on the training.” “Training? You need training?! Did someone teach you to breathe when you were born?! NO! You were born with this power, it’s not something you GAINED! You always had it slumbering within, and you can use it as freely as one would their own limbs!” “Your will is key. The will to fight against anyone who dares do so, to slaughter any who stand in opposition, you need an unbending and unbreaking will! Doubts and hesitation will be the death of you. You want to be stronger? Do it! Don’t overthink it. This is your power, and it is your right to become stronger. Dominate that strength with your will and use it however you see fit!” The only sound remaining was the roar of the figure in the form of his father. They three floated in the sea of consciousness that had been tainted with doubts. All that existed was this sea within the endless nothingness, however at this moment it was rapidly churning and converging towards the center. At that center the three stood silently. Before, countless questions could vaguely be heard originating from that sea. Now, lightning rushed outward from the water surrounding Connor purifying these doubts. Rather than directly speak out, Connor raised his left hand in front of him with his palm facing towards himself. For the first time, he could clearly see himself and his surroundings in this place. Clenching his fist tightly Connor moved his line of sight back to the two who now had a slight smile. “Of course my guilt and doubts manifested as you two. The most important people in my life, naturally I feel guilty and doubt my ability to protect them. It was this simple, but so hard to understand. It’s only with my strength that I can walk towards the future, so why should I not accept it? Until now, I really had only taken advantage of what I gained without trying to do more. You are both me, however I have no need for doubts anymore. Begone.” With that single word lightning began to surge forth like a tsunami almost instantly cleansing the sea which was then absorbed into Connor’s form which stood within like a bottomless pit. When completed, it would be time to awaken. ___________________________________________ Back in reality, Connor had been motionless for a month. Within his mind it was unknown how much time had passed; however, for his teacher this single month felt longer than his lifetime. At some point almost all signs of life vanished from Connor’s body, at that moment the old man felt as if his heart had stopped. He wasn’t able to tell what state his disciple had entered, but could clearly see the danger involved. On this day, it had previously been sunny and clear out. No more than fifteen minutes passed by before it had reversed to have pitch black clouds overhead. The nearby old man quickly became aware of these changes. As he observed Connor he noticed small arcs of electricity dancing dancing across his body. The previously plummeted life force rapidly restored itself as the snakes of lightning danced. Relief burst forth at this moment to soon be replaced by excitement from Connor’s recovery. This strange situation continued for several hours. If it persisted then night would soon be upon them, however things were destined to not reach that point. The lightning in the sky gathered to one point above Connor before it struck down violently. The force was higher than any normal lightning ever seen, however Connor’s body within remained unphased as the energy washed over him. A slight smile could even be seen adorning his face for several moments as a waterfall of lightning continued to descend stunning the old man off in the distance who could only retreat. After the lightning came thunder, brutal thunder that sounded as if the sky had collapsed at Connor’s location. As it rumbled Connor woke from his month long meditation. His clothing had been burned off entirely from lightning. His body was currently in perfect condition despite the month without food or water that was followed by the lightning. It wasn’t something that was understandable with common sense, however Connor was standing there in perfect health as if to challenge common sense. When he saw his teacher in the distance and with the dumbfounded expression on his face, Connor couldn’t resist smiling as he spoke for the first time in a month. “I’m back.” Word Count: 2,329
  5. Kumo

    Fate Points: Tutorial and Shop

    RP Name: Connor Knight Race: Fullbringer Reiatsu: 60,000 Fate Points: 11 -Previous purchases- 4 FP - Duality 2 FP - 2 release ability slots 1 FP - 1 time 5k boost (To be added after Weekly earned WC reiatsu) -New Purchases- 3 FP - Focus: Speed Remaining Points: 1
  6. Kumo

    Just Another Day

    According to common sense, a remote mountain would be peaceful. In the summer months there would be the occasional rainfall, lush forestry, and signs of life all around. The birds singing and creatures of all sizes roaming around. That’s what would have been the case on any other remote mountain, however on this one in particular that was furthest from the truth. The previously dense forestry had thinned out considerably. From the sky countless craters and shattered tree stumps were visible where the canopy of leaves was the thinnest. The further up the mountain on looked, the more destruction could be seen. The previous lofty peak had essentially been flattened entirely with various sized boulders decorating the region. The bit of color present in the dreary landscape was a large pool of clear blue water that formed a small stream that slow snaked down the mountain in a continuous flow. Across the entire mountain only the sound of water flowing and leaves rustling could be heard at this particular moment. The only life remaining happened to be the plants, however if they could it was possible that even they would have uprooted themselves and fled this place. Time continued to flow, and in the next a thunderous boom shook the mountain as a whole. Following the the boom came an ear piercing grating sound that should never have existed in such a remote location. Almost like an endless cycle, a moment of silence followed by roaring thunder and singing metal. The origin of these sounds were two silhouettes constantly shifting around the area near the peak of the mountain like shadows. Each time they neared one another deafening sound spread out, at the same time one of the figures was forced into a swift retreat. That retreating figure was Connor. In his hand was a nine foot, nine inch long simple spear that had an almost imperceptible green glow which danced along it. That light was only able to be seen in the shadows and lost within the sunlight. Another five months had passed atop this mountain. In comparison to a month before, he was now shirtless and covered in countless cuts all over his body of various depths. It looked terrible with so many open wounds leaking blood, however with his current physique it wasn’t much for me to recover from within a single night. All that would remain were faint scars that given time would also fade away. A crucial factor in his ability to easily recover was the control his teacher had when striking. The cause of these wounds was the spear in the old man’s hands that looked almost identical to the one he was carrying. After he gained a decent amount of control over his strength, he was able to rapidly improve his control to a near perfect level. In hand to hand combat he would typically be forced to retreat, but could still stand firmly on his feet after an additional month had passed. A grand total of two months since his strength had awakened. It was around then that his teacher returned with these two spears and he began to learn the way of the spear. Before, his greatest interest had been in forging weapons while second to that was martial arts. After all of the fighting his interest in martial arts had soared greatly. He hadn’t given up his interest in forging, but for the time being martial arts became his singular focus. For the last two weeks he had trained in combat with his spear against his teacher. Throughout this entire period of time he had only fought. According to the old man’s philosophy, experience was the best way to learn and a particular style of Martial arts could be detrimental to his growth. What the old man pursued was the essence of each move, essence referring to the subtle actions which reduce the range of motion and maximize power. It was essentially the style of not having any style at all. Understanding the intricacies of each movement of the body, slowly perfecting the control over the body in order to always be able to maximize an attack’s potential, and slowly gaining the experience to use the essence of each move efficiently. To someone who only watched they would see similarities to countless different existing styles, however to someone who practiced those particular styles it would seem completely different from person to person. To some it may seem as though he was extremely skilled, and to others it could seem to be the exact opposite. The truth was that it was both none and all of them. The essence of each move was distilled from countless others making it something different entirely. Facing someone who had achieved an extremely high standard of this style, Connor naturally suffered like an amateur the entire time. This carried on into the spear training, the concept remained the same as before. That suffering is precisely what caused a rapid growth in his skills. The only way to walk the path that his Teacher paved was through experience. For the old man, he had to use his entire life to slowly refine each move. For Connor, he experienced each attack with his body in order to slowly adapt and progressively understand the essence of the moves for himself. The difficulty of this had soared after introducing the spear. One month passed since he took up the spear, and the results were the injuries covering him while he could only act passively. _______________________________________ Three more months flew by for Connor as he fought with a spear in hand. Constant sounds of the Teacher and Disciple clashing could be heard all across throughout the days while absolute silence ruled the nights. Whether he was eating or sleeping he had his spear in hand. It wasn’t as if this weapon had a spirit like a Zanpaktou, however by not separating from his weapon he was able to develop his habits to the extent of natural fluid movements at all times with this spear that was more than three feet longer than he was tall. The progress he showed day to day seemed minimal, however by the end of each month it accumulated into visible results. At the end of the fourth month the amount of wounds covering him had nearly decreased by half. At the end of the fifth month the amount of wounds had halved again to a quarter of the original total. It was only in the sixth month that he finally had some success in fighting back. Before this point, his attacks were parried or avoided by the old man with relative ease. Now, he was occasionally able to draw blood with his attacks while basically avoiding most if not all attacks to his vitals by parrying and dodging. He only ever finished with more wounds than his teacher and not less, however it couldn’t be forgot that Connor had only been training six months to produce such results against someone who trained his skills over a lifetime. It could be described as a monstrous feat for Connor to reach this point that only occurred due to the old man wholeheartedly passing on his skills and Connor’s naturally high perception allowing his to quickly understand. Something noteworthy was that his mental processing speed had increased several times over when his powers awakened. Whether it be the way he perceived things, or his ability to memorize and recall information, he had improved massively. It was this aspect that allowed him to grow as quickly as he did, combined with his effort towards that goal of course. The day was now the first day of the seventh month. Every day for the last six months he had fought his teacher until he was exhausted. The pain of his injuries and constant fatigue that made it difficult to go forward in such a manner, however his teacher didn’t allow him to rest for even a single day. If Connor’s injuries became too much, his teacher would heal him. If Connor’s fatigue caused him to weaken, he would simply get beaten more harshly. It was extremely strict training, however the results were undeniable. The difference between him six months before and the current him was large enough that he could kill his previous self in a single move. Even if it was comparing the him of four months ago and the current him, he could kill that past self within ten moves. It would be considered unbelievably improvement to anyone who heard about his rapid improvements. The only reason he still continued to suffer was that his Teacher was simply stronger than he was. “It looks like you’re about ready to start learning about your powers and how to control them, are you ready?” Connor stood facing the old man as the morning sun slowly rose over the horizon, completely confused by what he just heard. There was a teasing smile on his Teacher’s face that both surprised and frustrated him to hear this sentence to the point that he needed a moment to reply. “What do you mean? I thought that was what I was doing for these last several months!” “You really look down on not only your esteemed Teacher, but also yourself if you think this is the limits of your power.” Connor couldn’t prevent the surprise from growing within him and overflowing into his expression as he digested those words. He had already become monstrously strong, but this was actually only his starting point. He was both amazed and excited by this information, but even more curious. ‘How is it possible that I have more power, but I haven’t ever felt it myself?’ This was the question that lingered in the back of his mind. He was distracted for a few moments and didn’t get a chance to reply before his teacher spoke once more. “What? You don’t believe me? You have been getting stronger because your power relates to your body, by training in this way you have been instinctually using it to grow stronger. If it was possible, I would have started teaching you all of this months ago. Unfortunately, I have an untalented brat who needed a full six months to get used to his strength.” Connor had always thought that he was making good progress and believe in himself. To anyone else, these words would have sounded like a joke. Only a bit more than six months ago Connor had been at most slightly above average among normal people. It only took a short six months to go from a normal person to a strong combatant among spiritual existences. Connor didn’t understand this and could only feel slightly embarrassed thinking that he may truly lack talent, this led to him being unable to reply once more. “If it wasn’t for this great Teacher that you have, even six months wouldn’t be enough for you to reach the standard you have. But back to your powers, do you know what your power actually is?” “I don’t, until now I had thought that I just got stronger.” “That’s understandable, you haven’t had the chance to really understand your power through all of the fighting. Throughout the world there are countless names for people like us. Superheros, Psychics, and Cultivators to name a few. These are people who don’t really understand the big picture...” The old man paused for a moment to examine Connor’s reaction. It was calm and focused, completely unlike what one would expect from someone hearing about such astounding information. The old man had a high opinion of Connor’s talent, but he couldn’t help but to also appreciate his personality as well. “The main spiritual ground that exists are Shinigami, they are diametrically opposed to Hollows. All other groups and factions are minor in comparison to these two, and the formally recognized term by these groups for people such as ourselves is Fullbringer. It’s as simple as it sounds, by nature we are able to bring out the full potential of something. Some people possess the ability to fullbring more than one item, however typically it is something precious to the person. Do you have anything like that?” “I don’t.” “Nothing related to electricity in any way?” “If there was anything then it would have been related to smithing, which is unlikely considering this power wiped away the traces of that on me.” “Alright, I guess that means that we will have to slowly figure it out on our own then. It doesn’t seem to be an item since there wasn’t an apparent change. Even if it’s your body, it’s strange that there isn’t a physical manifestation of some sort.” “Why did you ask about electricity?” “That was the force destroying your body repeatedly when you awakened your power, however it was more likely lightning surging through your veins.” “My veins? I have lightning in my veins?” “...You did at the time, but since then such an occurrence hasn’t appeared.” “Does that mean that my power is dormant in me?” “Most likely, if I had to guess it’s because you weren’t aware and able to actively take control of it at the time.” “...Is it possible that my fullbring is something within me in that case?” “...Why didn’t I think of that…” Connor’s teacher couldn’t be faulted for assuming that his fullbring would manifest in an item or outwardly on his body, that was the standard for nearly everyone he was aware of including himself. Since Connor’s power had at most passively played a part throughout his training and was never actively used, it wasn’t apparent what it actually was. Going along this line of thinking it was apparent that Connor’s fullbring was actually the minute electrical signals flowing throughout his body. As the old man stood there looking at Connor’s calm countenance he shuddered with shock and spoke to himself under his breath. “...What the hell is this…” Connor’s senses could only improve during this period of time and not worsen, naturally he heard the nearly inaudible words from the old man. His calm expression gradually became inquisitive as to why the old man spoke those words. It was only because he could clearly see the shock in his Teacher’s eyes that he held back from directly asking. He didn’t have to wait long before the old man closed his eyes and took a deep breath, when they opened once more they were as steady as always. The answer to his question followed this change. “I know what your Fullbring is.” “What is it?” “I can’t tell you.” “What do you mean?” “You have to realize what it is for yourself, I can only teach you the method to search.” “That’s all?” “Yes. Most people have their fullbring for as long as they can remember, very few are like you and awaken this late in their life. The ones that do usually have unique circumstances or are unusually powerful. That’s mainly why I grabbed you while I could. In your case, if I hadn’t been there when you awakened then you were guaranteed to die due to how violent it was, so in a way, I unintentionally saved your life.” “But, there was no guarantee that I would have ever awakened my powers without your intervention, right?” “...No…” “Oh well, that’s in the past. What’s this method you were talking about?” “Do you understand your perception?” “As in the five senses?” “Yes, but there is more than that.” “What do you mean?” “There is essentially a sixth sense that exists for people such as ourselves. It slightly differs from person to person, but imagine that your senses were spreading from your body. You would see things that your eyes can’t capture and feel things that are formless. In most cases, people naturally use this sense as their powers develop.” Pausing for a moment the old man extended his empty hand towards Connor with his palm facing upward. Above his hand a small green swirl appeared mysteriously. It danced through the air causing it to swirl, a slight breeze spreading outward from it. “This light is what happens when we use this elusive sense and our powerful will to interact with the world. There are limitless possibilities with this, however it requires that you first gain an understanding of this sense for yourself. It will be important to you going forward, not only for this, but also because this will let you gradually gain control over your own personal power.” By this point Connor had become captivated by his Teacher’s skills. He had previously thought that being a Fullbringer meant that his body had become monstrous, however what he was shown today opened to door to an entirely new concept for him. He couldn’t wait to learn more about himself and the power he possessed. “Today marks the beginning of a new schedule with your training. From now on, every day will be spent reflecting on yourself. Try to understand your senses, contemplate your spearmanship, and even consider what kind of future you want for yourself. I will bring you food each day, and we will fight once a week to see if you can improve yourself. Other than those times, you will be here alone, are you ready for that?” “Once I am focused on something entirely I tend to lose myself in it, I will be fine.” “Ah, that’s right. I already collected your things a long time ago. I will bring them here one week from now when we fight. Also, it’s about time that you make somewhere to actually sleep since you won’t be exhausted like you were previously.” Before Connor had a chance to ask anymore questions, his mysterious Teacher vanished. The speed put on display far exceeded what he believed the old man could achieve. ‘He’s been holding back…’ To Connor this display of speed sent a message, one telling him that there is still a long road ahead of him and that he should work hard to improve himself. “But how do I train now? I know he said that I have to figure it out for myself, but what happened to showing me the way?” He was raring to go, however it felt like he had no direction to go in. He could at best experiment with what little bit of information he was given to find his way slowly. As for a place to sleep, even though his teacher recommended it, he couldn’t justify it when there where only rocks and trees in his surroundings. No matter what he did for himself, the comfort wouldn’t be much more than it is now. With his body having strengthened several times over wind and rain wouldn’t be able to affect him. Rather than waste his time for a useless shelter, he sat near the spring that had appeared. ‘I know that I need to somehow comprehend this sense, but it’s not easy to understand something that you know nothing about. First, I will try to understand my five senses better… Er, maybe just four of the five senses.’ Connor didn’t have any way to test his sense of taste, so he chose to avoid testing it’s limits. Even if he could test it, he likely wouldn’t as there weren’t any combat application for it. First he focused on his eyesight. After his powers awakened he noticed that it had improved significantly. Even after several months had gone by, it seemed as though he wasn’t able to fully make full use of his various senses. Sometimes it was as if the world was running in slow motion, and at other times everything seemed normal to him. Other times he would experience the jarring feeling of having his sight magnified to show the minute details of things near him and also what may be far into the distance. His hearing was a constant challenge as well. Sometimes he would hear things far in the distance as if they were close, other times the slightest sounds would sound like thunder. Connor suffered the most from his sense of smell. At times it would be normal, however at others even pleasant things would be nauseating. His sense of touch was currently the most beneficial of them. He could feel the vibrations of the ground and air with his body which actually helped him in his fight. Unfortunately, sometimes his sensitivity to pain, heat, cold, and other similar things would greatly increase. The only sense that seemed consistent was taste, however he didn’t wish to push his luck. The detrimental effects of being unaccustomed to his senses naturally affected him during his training, however complaining wouldn’t have changed anything. He had an average result from the several fights, but he had both good and bad experiences depending on how his senses fluctuated. Even if he was unable to understand his spiritual sense like this, gaining control of his other senses would improve his combat prowess. From this point onward, Connor continued finding ways to apply his various senses to understand and control them better. When the time came to spar he became progressively more consistent, eventually further improving to take roughly twice as many attacks as his teacher by the end of the eighth month. It was at this time that he finally managed to get his entire body in sync. In his quest to control his senses to their fullest he actually stumbled across a unique way to forcefully seal them. At the start of the ninth month Connor met the first roadblock in his training since he gained his powers. His spearmanship could only slowly accumulate, his strength could at most passively increase without gaining control over his powers, and he couldn’t gain control over his powers without gaining control of his spiritual sense. He constantly tried to focus on his surroundings to somehow find a clue, however he had no luck. Two weeks passed quietly on the mountain with Connor making little progress. During these two weeks there he played with a particular idea, an idea that would place him in a vulnerable state. ‘If I seal all of my other senses, then the only sense left to me will be the one I have yet to grasp. There are risks involved with doing this though. The last time I attempted to seal too many of my senses, even though seemed like only a few short moments, nearly an entire day had passed. Another time in order to confirm that result I tested it again for a short moment to end up feeling like a week. After that I didn’t test it again, but it seemed clear enough that with too many senses sealed the concept of time fades.’ That night after his teacher dropped off his meal Connor resolved himself to attempt sealing his senses entirely. It was possible for him to be harmed, or even lose himself in that feeling of nothingness. Whether it would succeed or not was unknown, however this was the only possibility left for him to attempt other than slowly waiting. Since there was an option that could expedite the process, there was no need to wait for something that may never come. It was the idea that a dangerous action could benefit him more than safely taking no action, that there would be rewards where there are risks. It was like this that he sealed his senses causing the world to turn dark. Connor sat like a stone at the peak of that mountain with progress as his goal, and only the next day would his Teacher become aware of this startling change. Word Count: 3,963 Total Word Count: 16,870
  7. Kumo

    Orp Suggestions Discussion Thread

    So long as there is the consideration of to avoid making all battles simply battles of attrition then I support this 100%. I believe you all can definitely work out something great with this. As for tanks having higher ND, it only makes sense because they will typically be weaker in attack. I will stop worrying about what could be with this, and wait to see how it turns out. The way you have explained it, it can only be better and not worse than the current anyways.
  8. Kumo

    Orp Suggestions Discussion Thread

    That helped me understand a lot, and I am more or less content with it despite having a very aggressive and detail oriented style. (At least, that's how I would describe it.) My only concern that still exists is the realistic limitations of stamina. I get that ND can be consumed quickly, but the stat people leave slightly lower is typically stamina. More often than not, the reason that I charge in is because the ambiguity of stamina and the limitations that it presents. What concerns me that even is that if it isn't about a quickest kill, then it will be all about drawing out the fight. It seems to me that if you can't land enough decisive hits in a certain time, and the hits you get are negated by ND then the person with more stamina is more likely to win no matter how high your attack may be.
  9. Kumo

    Orp Suggestions Discussion Thread

    A final tier of strength would be 200 at the standard cap, while the first tier is 20 at max. If someone was ballsy enough to go into that fight and try to go punch for punch the person with 200 would take 20 ND loss while the person with 20 would lose 400 (assuming this is an example of the first tier being the highest). It may be good to make it within 10 for this rule for the multiplier as before cap it would seem as if someone with 150 strength was dealing half the damage of someone with 151. Edit: The first example was just saying that the natural difference between stats was already high enough from strictly the ND point of view. I realize that I hadn't entire understood your meaning when I replied, but basically someone with merely first tier attack stats as the highest wouldn't have high enough ND to last 1 round of attacks from someone with 200 in their attack stat.
  10. Kumo

    Orp Suggestions Discussion Thread

    The way I read it was that you couldn't die until ND was consumed according to the final bit in the spoiler of the suggestion thread. It also didn't state exactly what the results could and would be. I'm just looking to get all of the ambiguity out of it so that it isn't a confusing addition to have.
  11. Kumo

    Orp Suggestions Discussion Thread

    I don't think that this would be a bad change to ND, but I also don't think it's a HUGE improvement. It involves a bit of math, but is simple enough that most should be able to understand X number - X number = Updated number. For those people who will occasionally toss in weaker attacks I would point out that it's not based on the max stat, but the level of the stat used with the successful attack to avoid any arguments that could potentially come up as a result of that. (We all know how things can be when certain things aren't directly stated.) As for not being able to kill until it's empty, I agree that attacks to just any random part of the body shouldn't be that way. I don't think it should be absolutely impossible to kill someone before it's empty. For example, if you stab a weapon into someone's eye or mouth. These are places that are difficult to toughen, and I would suggest having at least the head of everyone serve as a sort of "fatality" area if the damage reaches a certain standard (Such as stabbing into the brain and such). It's probably the only universal OHK area across all races. The reason I think this would be good is because it wouldn't make much sense if someone let an attack land directly in a sensitive area like that. Talking about sensitive areas, I would also recommend that things like damage to the eyes and such can't simply be ignored because natural defense. It wouldn't make sense that an area like that could withstand a sword attack that can cut through a mountain. There are other concepts that would be worth considering, but it would be complicated to do much more than add what I mentioned. Even that would likely confused some people. But examples are things like attacking the same spot and such to "break" the defense. This is one of those things where it is simple, but it essentially makes the "ignore damage" aspect of stamina pointless as you essentially wouldn't be hurt as long as you have ND points. Another consideration is whether the amount of ND can realistically be used up. I don't know how this would work with minor damage, but realistically surface damage like a graze doesn't justify consuming X amount of natural defense. This would mean that you would have to have to make examples of partial blocks and maybe introduce the concept of partially dodging as well. A partial block is self-explanatory, but there are plenty of times that you move to cause an attack to fall on a non-critical area or have it land shallower for just a couple of examples. Is there a point to caring where an attack actually hits anymore? I got a bit side tracked, but we still have to obvious dodging and blocking as well. This consumes stamina, but no natural defense. I don't know about others, but I don't take attacks with my character that I can logically avoid without there being an equal trade off for that damage. If it's unreasonable for me to avoid, then that is one thing. But what happens when I am ten posts into a fight using technique after technique and I am running on empty (May not only be ten posts, but you get what I mean with the example)? I still have X amount of natural defense, logically they would have to drain that first. Also, is there the concept of blocking based on stats still that doesn't consume attack slots or is it only using attack versus attack to accomplish this? Realistically, a decent fight will result in two people who are totally exhausted having only landed a few clean hits leaving a ton of ND to burn through. I may not have the answers to these questions, but these things will all likely need an answer for it to work well in the system.
  12. Kumo

    Fate Points: Tutorial and Shop

    RP Name: Connor Knight Race: Fullbringer Reiatsu: 60,000 Fate Points: 11 4 - Duality 2 - 2 release ability slots 1 - 1 time 5k boost (To be added after Weekly earned WC reiatsu) Remaining Points: 4
  13. Kumo

    Just Another Day

    The surroundings were pitch black, and all sound had disappeared besides a distinct ringing that didn’t seem like it would ever fade. Within that darkness was Connor who continued to try and fumble around to no avail. At this moment he wasn’t able to recall what had happened. It felt as if he had fallen into an endless nightmare ever since he arrived in China. He couldn’t even be sure how much time had passed since his arrival anymore. From the perspective of anyone else they would see that today was a clear and beautiful sunny day. The time seemed to be near noon based on the sun’s position high in the sky. In a clearing on a mountain at some unknown location in China one could see an unconscious body lying lifelessly on the ground. Or at least it seemed lifeless, but upon closer inspection an observer would see the faint movement from the body’s chest due to shallow breathing. The black clothes had several holes torn in them, but still managed to fully cover the body. Through the holes in the clothing there were several dark bruises that would make most people cringe at the sight of. That body on the ground was Connor who had been beaten unconscious. For weeks he had been in a unique situation, learning things entirely different from what he intended when he set out from home. It all started after arriving he began his search for skilled craftsman that would potentially teach him. It didn’t take long for him to realize how unrealistic his goal had been. To these people their craft was their livelihood and no one intended to easily pass on their skills to just anyone who asked. That held true all the way up until the translator he had hired recommended someone. That person was apparently eccentric and highly skilled. The chance that he would agree was equal to the chances that he would harshly refuse. Almost out of options, he saw no harm in visiting this old man to give it a try. Unfortunately, everything started going downhill from there. Before he even had the opportunity to make his request the old man had rushed up to him at an inhuman speed while producing extremely loud and boisterous laughter. Connor was naturally stunned by the sudden occurrence, even the accompanying translator who had a certain level of understanding was equally stunned speechless. It wasn’t until a few moments later that the female translator turned to look at Connor that she realized both him and the old man had disappeared without a trace. Just one line spoken in mandarin lingered in her mind as she looked around in a daze. “I finally found a decent Successor!” It was this single encounter that changed Connor’s life forever, and for a long time it would be his most hated memory. _______________________________________ For the first time in Connor’s life he encountered a situation that truly stumped him. He had been kidnapped in broad daylight in a foreign country. The most shocking aspect wasn’t that he had been taken, instead it was the fact that within just a few moments he had appeared in a completely unknown location. Through the trees and the rocks he could only see tree covered mountains and clouds in the distance. The rapid change was jarring, however Connor still couldn’t resist looking around for the old man. That was when he saw roughly ten feet to his left was the short old man dressed in a plain unassuming manner. It was hard to believe that he was able to forge weapons, let alone take him away almost instantly to some random mountain. Connor continued to inspect the man who seemed unfazed by it. Almost a minute passed in silence before Connor was able to calm himself down enough to collect his thoughts and speak. “Why’d you bring me here?” The reply he received sounded like “ching chong” jibberish. Connor was aware that the man spoke mandarin, however he couldn’t help but to mentally insult the old man who just kidnapped him in whatever way he could before replying once more. “English?” Still maintaining the smile on his face, the only man spoke “Brat, you will be my disciple from today forward.” “I refuse.” Towards such a ridiculous reason, Connor could only blunt refuse. This old man appeared so suddenly, kidnapped him, and now expected him to become his disciple. Despite the inhuman capabilities of the person in front of him, Connor still chose not to forgo his pride. “That isn’t an option, I will have you kowtow now.” “Kowtow?” “It’s a show of respect given when one accepts a master.” “Again, I refuse.” “Brat, you don’t have an option. I am taking you as a disciple whether you like it or not.” “Damn it! Old man, how many times do I have to tell you?! I refuse to be your disciple!” “Shitty brat, kneel.” Going back and forth didn’t get Connor anywhere. He didn’t bother trying to run either. He was at most athletic, but that was still within the standards of humans. The old man in front of him defied that common sense, so there wasn’t any point. At most, he could only maintain his pride and not give the old man what he wanted. Unfortunately, the old man that he refused was especially shameless. He used an unknown method to force Connor directly to his knees despite how much he struggled. “Now press your forehead to the ground and let me accept your kowtow brat.” The old man spoke in a commanding way, as if he wasn’t already forcing Connor to do exactly what he said. The only thing preventing him from doing exactly that were his arms that he placed on the ground in front of him. The pressure exerted on him was extreme, to the extent that his arms immediately felt as if they would break. Even his knees felt as if he was bearing weight far beyond his capacity. The pain of slowly reaching the limit of the bones and joints was excruciating, but even then he did everything he could to raise his head and give the man a defiant glare. He couldn’t speak anymore, it was nearly impossible to breathe at this moment. He knew that it would stop if he submitted, however he refused to do that. At least, he refused to give in like this. Naturally Connor couldn’t lift his head much, however he was able to force it upward just enough to see the old man looking at him with genuine appreciation. It was ridiculous to Connor, being looked at like a new toy. At this moment he became utterly enraged after having his pride viciously trampled. For just a moment countless tiny arcs of electricity danced around his body, and in that moment the pressure lightened. Unfortunately, it was also at that exact moment that the pressure lightened allowing him to raise his body slightly that consciousness escaped him. “This boy really isn’t bad. He’s even close to awakening, but not quite there….” The old man’s voice gradually faded. Had Connor heard what he had to say then he would have been even more confused wondering just what he was supposed to awaken. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of Connor’s torture. It was only three days later that he would awaken due to the overwhelming sense of hunger and dehydration that were affecting him. _______________________________________ Connor had awoken moments ago and forced his aching body to turn over and lay on his back. His body hadn’t experienced any lasting damage, however he was at his absolute limit without food or water after so much time had passed. It was about that time that he heard footsteps approaching. Almost instinctively, Connor grit his teeth in anger. In these remote mountains it was likely that only the old man and connor would be walking around here. When the steps finally came to a stop Connor took the chance to look that way and speak. “For someone trying to take a disciple, you sure don’t care about their health.” “For someone dying a slow death, you sure seem to have a lot of energy for you to still be such a smartass.” “I can’t fight you with my fists, so I might as well see if I can anger you to death.” “Ha! You’re a hundred years too early to try angering you esteemed Master.” “Fuck off! I will never be your disciple!” Connor’s words echoed, and were followed by silence. That silence felt like a massive victory to Connor who was suffering due to the old man. Unfortunately, that triumphant feeling was crushed by the following words full of mockery. “You sure talk big for someone who was on his hands and knees just a few days ago.” “Wait, Days?! What do you mean days?! You let me fucking lay here for days you old bastard?!” “I’m not obligated to help someone who isn’t my disciple.” Connor was speechless at the shameless answer he received. ‘One second you claim that I am already your disciple, and the next you claim I’m not. Is my life a game to you?!’ Naturally Connor didn’t say these words. Even though he was upset, it didn’t take a genius to understand that contradicting this old man would only cause him to suffer. “Quit glaring at me like that. You’re hungry, right? I will go get you some food and water right away if you call me Master.” “I would rather die!” Connor wanted to add on a few accusations, but decided against it. Rather than continue arguing with the old man, he decided to simply silently endure. ‘I can’t hurt you and I can’t piss you off, so I will ignore you! Let’s see how you like not getting your way.’ “Fine, have it your way. It won’t be long until you’re begging me to be your master!” Connor continued to viciously glare at them old man, all the way up until the moment he vanished just like a gust of wind. *humph* ‘It won’t be that easy..’ Connor refused to give in, at the very least he wouldn’t give in without a true show of sincerity. Even if the old man truly acted sincere, it was unknown whether Connor would be able to shake the urge to hit him at least one good time. __________________________________________ A man’s stubbornness knows no bounds. Connor literally couldn’t function due to the excessive hunger and dehydration. That combined with the bone deep pain caused by that mysterious precious made the simple action of standing up seem impossible. The nausea and lightheaded feeling made it a pipe dream, however at this moment of helplessness that was exactly what his goal was. At this point, he couldn’t think clearly. He didn’t think that there was a simple way out of this situation, but he refused to pathetically lay there and wait. And so he turned back over once more and crawled his way towards the nearest tree. The ten feet between him and it felt like an endless gulf testing his willpower. He had no practical reason to go towards it. He only intended to entrust his weight to it so he could focus on the strength of his to keep himself upright. It was so simple that it was hard to use as motivation, however he refused to be looked down upon by the person who used his life as a plaything. And so, after a long hour of effort he was able to move those seemingly endless few feet. Using the tree to balance himself allowed him to perform the difficult task of sitting upright. It was just moments after he got upright that he looked around at his surroundings to see the old man mysterious appear rough five steps in front of him. Neither spoke a single word to the other. Connor glared at the person who he hated most with all the strength he could muster. The old man observed Connor’s pathetic state calmly. No fluctuations in his emotions could be detected. If a third party were looking at the two, they would get the feeling that the old man was meant to only be an observer. It was a surreal scene that needed no spoken words to express their feelings. When the old man appeared once more Connor had the urge to force himself to his feet at that moment, however, he felt too drained to physically to do that. All Connor could do was challenge the old man with his gaze, never breaking eye contact until he mysteriously disappeared once more. During the entire process Connor had his entire focus on the man, and by some miracle managed to capture the slightest of afterimages with his vision. It was only the slightest blurs, but he still managed to see something. A few more hours went by with Connor motionlessly leaning against this tree. At some unknown point he had closed his eyes to rest, but due to the suffering he was unable to sleep. It was just after the sun had set when he heard steps appear once more. As he opened his eyes he used what little strength he had remaining to quickly reach an upright position with the assistance of the tree trunk at his back. Just a couple steps away was that old man. *sigh* “Why are you so stubborn?” The old man paused for a few moments, intending to let Connor reply to no avail. “Refuse to answer? Can’t answer? Either way, it doesn’t matter. I will make a deal with you.” The old man paused to close his eyes and sigh with disappointment before continuing to speak with his eyes closed. “If you can hit—“ Just as the word hit came out of his mouth, Connor’s fist came smashing over. In that moment small golden arcs surged all over the entirety of Connor’s body. A couple of places on his clothes had holes burnt through them. At that moment Connor had the feeling as if something burst within him. At the same time strength surged throughout his entire body. Even if it was for just a moment, he felt better than he ever had before in his life. The word hit resonated with him, and without any hesitation, his left arm rose up from his side where it had been hanging before to smash towards the old man’s face. Unfortunately, midway through his swing his consciousness slipped from him. This single punch had been unleashed at the weakest point of his life, even without his consciousness his body continued instinctively due to the overwhelming desire to hit. Had Connor been awake, he would have realized that he moved with a speed that was beyond comprehension and a power that could only be described as monstrous. His fist connected almost immediately after the word hit left the old man’s mouth. The eyes of the old man that had been slowly opening widened abruptly as the fist with his face. He hadn’t had his guard up at this particular moment, and even if he had, the strength was much greater than anticipated. That fist contained enough force to cause the old man’s body to leave the ground and follow the rising direction of the punch through a couple of trees before he came to a halt. It was his turn to be stupefied by Connor. He could see the potential Connor possessed, but couldn’t accurately measure it. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect such a monsterous force to be produced by the seemingly normal boys body. Blood trickled out of his nose as he rushed back with excitement reflected in his eyes and a large grin plastered on his face. Unfortunately, all of that faded upon arrival. Connor truly had been a normal person before today. At most, he could be considered slightly above average. Even though the power was his own, his body hadn’t ever had a chance to adjust to that and suffered as a result. Almost every single muscle in his body had exerted a force far beyond what was currently possible for him. This cause his muscle tissue to be shredded, his tendons to snap, and bones to break. Several places all over his body had the skin split and blood leaking out. Upon closer inspection small streams of blood were even coming from his seven orifices. The extent of the damage was enough that Connor should have already died. If it wasn’t for the fact that at this moment that same power was helping to sustain his organs, he would have died. The thought of this, and the clear understanding of Connor’s body caused him to shudder as he rushed forward to use a secret technique to heal the countless injuries. It had to be mentioned that until this moment he had always been nearby to observe, attempting to push Connor to his limits and awaken his powers. All else could be explained after that happened, but now he truly felt regret and guilt for allowing this situation to occur. With the technique assisting his recovery Connor’s condition began to visibly improve. Unfortunately just as his body seemed to have stabilized and the old man began to relax Connor suddenly howled in pain. For a moment the old man was confused, but then he could feel rampant electricity surge everywhere throughout Connor’s body to break it for a second time. The old man tried to suppress the energy, however it seemed impossible causing him to pale in fright. With no other option he was forced to continue drawing on his energy to power the healing technique to counter the damage caused. Unfortunately, if he went faster, the energy broke Connor’s body faster. What frightened him even more was that it wasn’t just a second time. It repeated again, but seemed slightly slower. This puzzled the old man for a moment. But upon closer inspection he was shocked to realize that Connor’s power was taking advantage of the continuous healing to break everything and strengthen it in the most painful, but effective way. After understanding that, he was able to calm himself despite the constantly growing drain on his energy. Nine times, that was the number of times Connor experienced the excruciating pain of having his body shattered and repaired. The old man who supplied to healing eventually ran out of energy and was forced to use his own vitality to substitute in the process. This was an extreme that he normally wouldn’t be willing to go to, but he would be consumed with guilt if he didn’t. There was also the matter of taking Connor as his disciple that weighed on the old man’s mind. If he succeeded then it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he picked up a diamond in the rough, someone who would easily surpass him in the future. He couldn’t control the smile that crept onto his face as he looked at Connor who laid there peacefully after experiencing the last cycle of destruction and restoration. ________________________________________________ It was the morning of the seventh day since Connor had been taken that he finally regained consciousness. His clothing was tattered, but through the various holes one could see his healthy skin without any scars or blemishes. He shuddered at the cycle of refinement he went through. Even his tattoo had disappeared entirely without a single hint of it remaining. It was a miracle that he couldn’t understand that allowed his condition to change. It was today that he truly understood that everything had a price. Even a miracle didn’t come free, and this particular miracle had too high of a price to pay. He hadn’t eaten in a long time, but for some reason he didn’t feel hungry at all. He couldn’t understand it, and attributed it to the changes that he experienced. Currently he was leaning against a tree that he remembered to be several feet from his previous location, and against another tree nearby was the old man who he had hated so strongly not long ago. When he saw him now, most of that feeling had faded. There wasn’t any gratitude towards him, however Connor was aware from the moments when he stabilized and slightly regained consciousness that the old man had given his all in order to save his life. It could be said that to Connor, the good and bad had offset each other. Around the same time that Connor roused from his sleep, the Old Man’s eyes slowly opened to stare directly at Connor. There wasn’t any arrogance in that gaze, only the slightest hint of pure appreciation remained. After all that had taken place between them, the atmosphere was clearly awkward for both of them. Rather than speak up Connor decided to stand up and stretch his body after not moving for so long. The result of his action terrified him. Just pushing on the ground to stand up caused the ground to crack from the force. “What the hell?” “Kid, what’s your name?” “...Connor.” “Well Connor, are you willing to be my disciple now?” “Why would I?” “.......Because I saved your life…?” “And why do you think it had to be saved in the first place?” “I-I didn’t mean for it to come to that…” “You didn’t mean for my body to shatter, but starvation was okay?” “...I was aware of your dormant powers, and the best way to stimulate them is the fear of death… It’s not my fault that you’re too stubborn to awaken them easily that way…” “Did you consider my opinion, or perhaps what I would want to do?!” “...What kind of man would you be if you didn’t want to get stronger?” “...Fuck…” “It’s too late to go back now, so how about it? Are you willing?” “Do I even have a choice anymore? I can’t go around accidentally destroying everything can I?” “I mean, you can. I don’t recommend it though. There are people out there that will kill people who threaten the ‘balance’ and things that would see you as an easy meal if you don’t learn to control your newfound powers.” “...I refuse to kneel.” “Don’t worry, I just did that to piss you off.” “Fuck, okay. What should I call you then?” “Teacher, Master, or Sensei.” “Teacher it is. Now, can you explain what’s going on with me?” “Long Story or Short Story?” “Short.” “...Fine.Simply put, there are supernatural forces that exist in this world. Humans are honestly a minority. The majority are spirits of some sort. Some that just passed, some that passed safely and obtained power, others that passed that passed violently becoming monsters. I have also heard rumors of some vampire creatures, but never actually seen one. You are apart of the minority of humans.” “Oh, okay.” “What do you mean ‘Oh, Okay.’ like you aren’t confused by this sudden revelation?” “...A random old man kidnapped me in broad daylight at a speed that I thought was completely impossible, tortured me for several days, and finally helped me return from guaranteed death nine times. Plus, I just shatter the ground by lightly pushing. I’m not walking because I am worried about accidentally jumping high enough to kill me. Do these sound like the problems I would be having if this bullshit you dumped on me wasn’t true?” “Fair enough...” “Now, can the first lesson can you teach me how to control my strength?” “That’s easy, let’s fight!” “What?” “Fight me, Punk!” Without giving Connor a chance to reply, the old man dashed out appearing in front of Connor almost immediately. Unlike before, Connor could see the movements of the old man with relative ease. Like before, he still couldn’t react to those movements. Just his attempt to move caused the ground to crack underneath him. Without stable footing there wasn’t anything he could do besides wave his hands in an attempt to block it at the last second. In the end, it wasn’t possible for him to resist the strike. Although he couldn’t resist, he did understand the purpose of this after that short exchange. It is only by gaining control over his strength that he would be able to resist him. Unfortunately, understanding the purpose and actually gaining control were two separate concepts. He could only accept being beaten for the next few hours until he finally collapsed on the ground completely exhausted and bruised all over. “I’m hungry!” “Go catch something to eat!” “Really?” “No… We both know that the only thing you can do is hurt yourself the way you are now. I will go get something, you wait here.” Connor didn’t get a chance to reply before his new Teacher disappeared. What he didn’t expect was to faintly hear the old man’s voice after he left. “Ah, that felt so good. That was for breaking my nose!” It seemed that his Teacher was talking to himself and didn’t expect for Connor to hear it. Unfortunately for him, Connor’s various senses were greatly improved allowing him to hear what he wasn’t supposed to. It wasn’t long before the old man returned a bit awkwardly with a bag from a popular burger chain. Not being the picky type, Connor took the food offered to him and ate it swiftly as he actually hadn’t eaten in days. The old man had relaxed a bit watching him eat in such an unrestrained way. Something Connor wouldn’t come to find out for several days is that the old man was embarrassed to realize he didn’t know what Connor liked and could only get something like this. It would still take a few more days for that issue to be brought up. It was in a similar way to this day that Connor spent the next month of his life getting beaten constantly as he was forced to eat the same burger every day. After one month passed he finally began to full control his body. During that month, as his control became better he also received a more brutal beating. Word Count: 4,372 Total Word Count: 12,907 Release obtained: Incomplete Fullbring
  14. Kumo

    Orp Suggestions

    So, it’s been a while since I made a suggestion. Thankfully for everyone else, it’s short and simple. As you get higher into the ranks it becomes easier and easier to max out the WC bank due to growth limitations and it causes a drop in activity. To prevent people from avoiding posts because it would waste WC and effort you could have the WC bank be a max of 10,000-15,000 and have the option to cash in like 10,000 towards a fate point or maybe some other bonus of some sort. That’s all there is to it.
  15. Kumo

    Just Another Day

    As the sun was setting over the western horizon all that could be heard was the rhythmic pinging of a hammer clashing against metal. If one approached the building, they would see an average sized garage just large enough that if used normally two cars could fit inside. Serving as a backdrop for the building is a large woodland area behind a barbed wire fence. The tall trees cast shadows towards the building, however the passing time went unnoticed to you young man inside the building with the garage door raised. The day was cooling, but if one was near the open door they would feel heat radiating outward. At the entrance was a man who appeared around fifty years old. The man was roughly six feet tall, with brown hair, blue eyes, and a thick well taken care of beard. If one looked closer gray hairs could be frequently seen. Despite his growing age he could generally be considered physically fit due to long years of hard physical labor. The man always had a passion for building, and finally one day was able to open his own construction company. The man’s gaze was directed towards the young man in the garage who took after his father hammering away at a glowing orange piece of steel. Watching his son, he couldn’t prevent his lips from curling upward. “Connor! Do you plan to stay out here all night again?” It was only when the man spoke that Connor noticed his presence due to having been so engrossed in creating a knife. Realizing his mistake, he halted his movements and smiled apologetically towards his father before replying back. “I never plan to stay out here all night!” “Smartass! Your mother’s fixing dinner, and she wants you to eat with us tonight so wrap it up.” From the smile on his father’s face, it was obvious that this was a normal routine for them. After a bit more small talk his father headed back towards the house which could be seen a distance away from Connor’s location. He would be going back to the house soon, so he couldn’t waste too much time on his current project. His gloved hands held a hammer in his left and a pair of tongs in his right. With the tongs he was clamping onto a dulling orange piece of steel which he had just finished shaping. The way he passed his time was by creating knives. It was early in his life when his father taught him the process of making knives. From the very first time he was completely captivated by the art. It wasn’t immediately that he could actually use the forge himself, however he understood the theory behind it well. After countless attempts and pestering he was able to convince his father to guide him through each step. Once he was able to attempt it for himself it was revealed that he had a natural talent for it. Through his life afterwards whenever he would spend his free time in the very same spot performing the same actions. If there was any downside to his situation, it would be the fact that despite loving the art he didn’t have anyone to teach him more than his father did, and it has to be noted his father was and is by no means experienced. It was simply something his father also taught him, and so he passed it to his son as well. This caused Connor’s forging techniques the stagnate where they currently are for many years after rapidly surpassing his father’s skill. The knife he was currently creating was a bowie knife. It couldn’t be considered a knife as it didn’t have an edge on it, despite the shape being there. He didn’t have time to do any more work before dinner or he would. For the time being all he could do is place the piece of metal on his anvil. He removed his gloves and placed them alongside his hammer, tongs, and various other tools on a nearby table. Finally, he turned off his gas forge. Before leaving he closed the garage door, and exited from a side entrance and proceeded on his path home. __________________________________________ “It looks delicious mom!” He had just sat down at a table with a spread of various dishes in the center of the table. She had made chicken casserole, along with an assortment of vegetables, and scratch made rolls. It was a round dining table with six seats, however only three were used normally. His parents sat next to each other, while he sat opposite of them. “Of course it is, I made it punk.” His mother proudly accepted the compliment, but like usual in his family she went out of the way to tease her son. “And that’s exactly why I complimented you. It’s hard to believe.” At the moment he said that the father and son looked at each other and smile, both of them remembering the several meals which were burnt in the past. However, rather than throw it out they were forced to eat those awful meals so long as they hadn’t been reduced to charcoal. Connor’s mother easily became emotional and was hurt at the mention of throwing out the food she cooked so they could only helplessly appease her if it seemed somewhat edible. When she heard what Connor said she had looked to her husband expectantly only to see him smiling, and she immediately began to lose her temper. It was only at these moments that their son could see fear appear in the depths of his father’s eyes. *cough* “Connor, don’t tease your mother like that. She worked very hard on this meal for us.” “That’s right honey! Connor, you should appreciate how caring and loving your mother is.” Just as he was about to crack another joke he could clearly see his father pleading with his eyes to just let it go. Internally he could only sigh as he gently smiled at the two of them. Every day was like this with their little family, and each day was just as entertaining as the last. Both of the men passed some of their time annoying the only woman in the house. However, neither actually wanted to make her upset so it could be said they both walked on the very fine line between mean and playful teasing. “Thank you for dinner mom; it looks and smells delicious so how could the taste be any different?” His mother was easily appeased with a bright smile adorning her face after immediately calming down. It made him wonder if she was actually that emotional, or acting that way to manipulate the two of them. It was certainly very difficult to tell the difference most of the time. “So, when are you going to bring a girl home?” There it was, the one question that never failed to come up when he was around his mom for an extended period of time. He had just started eating, but was already facing the toughest question to answer. “If I can’t find the right girl, and I bring home the wrong one won’t you be upset?” “I just want you to bring a girl home! I’m ready for some grandbabies!” She caught him with that just as he was taking a drink of water, and at that exclamation he could only choke the water down and glare at her. It was a sore spot for him to talk about girls. There weren’t many out there that appealed to him. He didn’t trust others easily, so despite going on a few successful dates he was left with nothing to show for it. He could see right through most of the girls he met, and none so far were worth bringing home. Let alone have children with them. “Mom…” “Yes?” “I’m afraid to bring a girl home.” At this moment he was laying a trap for her due to her teasing. He took a step back before, however with her ‘attack’ he could only fight fire with fire. As he spoke his expression turned more serious, and his mother who was smiling innocently towards him stayed quiet as if she was saying “Go on.” “If she turned out to be anything like you I would suffer for the rest of my life.” As he spoke a smile crept onto his face freezing his mother’s expression. After that she sat silently while eating her food awkwardly. It appeared he had hurt her feelings, however he knew better. He simply smiled triumphantly and continued to eat. His father, on the other hand, acted oblivious to the entire conversation, clearly intending to stay out of it. “Tomorrow morning I need you with me to discuss building a home for a client on his recently purchased property.” “In other words, don’t stay up all night?” “Exactly.” The three had finished eating, and were all cleaning up from their dinner. Everything was proceeding normally, they were simply making small talk covering and putting up their leftovers or washing dishes and wiping down the counter tops and dinner table. It was approaching eight thirty, the darkness had overtaken the light outside when Connor finally had the opportunity to return to his workshop. The seasons were changing, and each night seemed cooler than the last. Around this time of year in Tennessee eighty and ninety degree days were normal. It was abnormal for the temperature to drop below sixty through the night at the end of summer, however that was currently occurring. Connor didn’t actually notice this fact. Things such as temperature fluctuation didn’t affect him. From a young age he had a sturdy constitution that protected him from the elements to some extent. It was also rare for him to actually get sick. Because of that, although he could sense changes in the temperature he never paid much attention to it. Back at his forge once again he heated the metal evenly and hammered it correcting some earlier mistakes. The blade section of this particular knife is nine inches, while the tang is five and a half. The shape is that of a traditional bowie knife, with no major deviations in design. When Connor made his first knife he remembered the things that people normally have to do, and attempted to follow those steps in the beginning. It was only after gaining a bit of experience that although he could copy others, for himself it was easier to simply do what felt right. When he heated the metal even when his father initially would advise against it, he would remove it from the forge only when his intuition advised him. It was the same for the other steps with grinding, annealing, hardening, tempering. Even the guard, handle and sheath would take shape based on instinct. It is almost as if his body is leading him through the process after he began to understand it. Thankfully, that was only a feeling he had due to using his talent. With that being said, while he moves intuitively his attention is undivided. Over the years Connor attempted several times to improve, as well as diversify his techniques. Each attempt left him feeling that it was lacking. In his frustration he could only focus entirely on the basics refining his technique there as much as he could by improving himself. More than once he found himself studying foreign techniques, lost techniques, and various other weapons. Every time he thought about those things he would feel as if a fire was burning inside of him. It only ever served to stoke the flames of passion within him only to be smothered by the cruel reality that wouldn’t allow him to pursue his passion. His father relied on him during construction as he could essentially save money by preventing most mistakes. Grinding the shape of the blade, refining a sharp edge, creating perfect symmetry in such a way was simply captivating to him. This was actually his favorite part in the entire process. Two hours had passed with him reaching the stage required for him to harden the blade. It was at this point that he drilled five holes into the tang. Three of the are for pins, while the other two are for the epoxy to bridge between the two sides. With his pin holes made he proceeded to heat his blade as evenly as possible to reach the ideal orange glow. Next to him is a vat filled with oil which he just a bit before warmed with another piece of metal in preparation. As if there was someone guiding him from within he unhurriedly removed the blade from the forge and dipped it straight down into the previously mentioned vat. After a few seconds Connor slowly removed the blade just as straight as it went in. Held by his tongs he lifted it to eye level and checked the spine of the knife that came out perfectly straight. Seeing this, he couldn’t help but grin. He knew intuitively that he would succeed, but it was always better seeing the success rather than expecting it. Finally, all that remained was to temper the knife before finalizing the cutting edges of a bowie knife. The tempering process was simple for him as it involved evenly heating the blade to a low temperature followed by allowing it to cool naturally in the air. Once it cooled enough the be handled with his bare hands he completed the blade that night in preparation for the handle which could only wait for tomorrow. ____________________________________________ Early the next morning he woke up to train his body thoroughly. When he was younger he had taken the chance to attend quite a few martial arts classes. He had developed a love for martial arts at a young age because of that. Being naturally perceptive the techniques came naturally to him, but the process of training the body is extremely slow. Even though he worked hard, it wasn’t until he went through puberty that his body really improved. Afterwards he stopped attending around the start of high school, but continued practicing various moves from several different styles himself at home on his own. It was only thanks to his interest in martial arts that he continued he trained regularly. Unfortunately, he didn’t continue furthering his skills. It was around noon that Connor and his father were at the location that their client requested for the build. Connor’s biggest part in the builds would be his ability to accurately judge the land for the best spot to build, as well as any alterations they may need to make through the process. Most of the other work is then handled by several of the workers, however, through the time working for his father he learned some of the simpler trades and could assist on many fronts. Overall, his father was on site directing the construction on the technical end while Connor focused on a more interactive role. Another advantage related to Connor’s perception was that he could give a more accurate estimate based on the difficulty of building at the location. This was the reason why his father needed him today. Knowing the difficulty beforehand helps both them and the client as it prevents any surprises from appearing later. The person they were meeting with was actually someone that they frequently did business with. He was someone bad to go to auctions and take the cheapest properties he could find in order to improve, then sell for a profit. Because of that he tended to buy before thinking, or consulting due to having too much money. This man’s name was Don. “How is it kiddo?” The hopefulness was clearly projected towards the two next to him, especially so to Connor as he asked. “It’s a dud.” In a calm collected manner he assessed the property and answered crushing Don’s hopes. “Again?!” As if unable to take the loss the man who was slightly heavyset and around his father’s age reacted with an outburst. “If you don’t believe me then you can get someone out here to check for underground sinkholes. It would cost more than it is worth to do work to a property like this, as well as become a safety hazard.” Connor easily and calmly replied to the man having long since become used to his personality. “I got it, you don’t have to rub it in that much.” Don acted as if he was defeated, however the two knew all too well that behind that was a gambler’s mentality that never stopped. “You really shouldn’t just buy whatever you can like you do.” Connor gave some friendly advice to the man twice his age knowing that it would be ignored. “You’re still young so you don’t understand, if you don’t spend money you will never make money!” Don always replied similarly to him, as if he was justified to do what he did. “That’s true, but if you waste all of your money you won’t ever have any to spend either.” The man had worked with the Father Son duo several times, and understood how reliable Connor was when it came to this. This was just his personality, and always managed to get a good laugh out of the two. Both of them had a grin on their face watching the man act dramatically. They could all be considered acquainted so they weren’t overly formal with each other. His father was a prime example of this. Connor watched him place his hand on the client’s shoulder. “How much this time?” His father asked with a serious expression, and a stern tone as if interrogating a child. “Uh….” At the question it was clear that Don was embarrassed by his mistake. “Don, How much?” Connor’s father asked again in an equally serious manner as before. “F-Forty Thousand…” Hearing the answer both of the were only able to secretly marvel at how wasteful this man was with money. While they would give anything to have that money, who actually has it only knows how to waste it. “Your wife is going to put you in the dog house.” They were both smiling as if this single fact consoled them, and they had no intention of allowing Don to ignore his mistake. Just as Don was about to reply in justification Connor chimed in. “Again, right?” Just like that Don could only lower his head in defeat. They were truly a great duo, at least when they had a mutual ‘enemy’. Both dealt decisive blows to the man when they could. In the end they were still dealing with a client, thus they stopped there and continued professionally once more. “So, what are your plans for this place now?” This was the most important question his father could ask. Both understood Don’s personality well, and knew that today most likely wouldn’t amount to anything. They still had to confirm what he wanted to do. *sigh* “I’m not doing anything here. I am just going to sell it to someone else and hope to make at least some of my money back.” Don had already given up on the location. He was only doing this for fun, and wasn’t looking to overly trouble himself with complications. His only goal was to turn a profit easily, and this project couldn’t be considered that. And then there was the liability of the sinkhole opening up during the work. It just wasn’t worth it for him, or Connor’s father. “Well, do you want to stop and get something to eat?” His father was at least somewhat sympathetic towards Don. Connor believed it was something that only married men could understand, and didn’t bother to participate in the conversation. “Yeah, I might need it. It may be my last.” Don was clearly joking when he said that, however it also seemed to express real fear. When Connor heard it he couldn’t help but to think to himself ‘Maybe I just don’t get married.’ However that thought quickly left as he knew how upset his mother would be if he actually didn’t ever marry someone. “Well, while you two go do that I am going to head back to the house. I have a project waiting on me that I still haven’t finished. I will see you when you get home dad, and don’t drink any alcohol. We both know how mom can be. Don, I wish you the best of luck with your wife. I suggest that you don’t drink anything either, or else who knows how your wife might react.” With just that he had completely dissuaded either of them from doing anything foolish. The fear they feel towards their wives fury was clearly ingrained deep within them based on how they both appear to shiver for a moment when he spoke. Connor didn’t understand what the big deal was, however he had unconsciously already developed a similar fear towards his mother that he was unaware of. _______________________________________ On his way home his gaslight happened to come on. It just so happened that at that time not far up the road on his right was a gas station. When he pulled up to the pump and got out prepared to use his card at the pump to fill up he saw on the screen that it required one to pay inside. With that he put his billfold back into his right back pocket and proceeded towards the cashier. There wasn’t anyone else in the store, only a male cashier that appeared to be in his mid-twenties. At the register he handed the cashier two twenty dollar bills. “I’m gonna fill up.” After saying that he was met with only a nod before he returned to the pump, inserted the nozzle, selected the grade of fuel, and began pumping his gas. Rather than hold it himself he used the small flip switch to lock the pump open while he waited. After a minute or two had passed the pump stopped itself just short of thirty five dollars. Like any normal human would Connor pumped a bit more until it was thirty five even, replaced the nozzle, closed up his tank, and went in for his change from the cashier. When he approached the counter again he noticed a large sign that drew his gaze to it. It was an electronic sign displaying the powerball lottery total of five hundred and sixty seven million dollars as a reward. He had never been a gambler, but he didn’t care to occasionally test his luck. If he lost then he was only out a few dollars, but if he won then it could change the lives of himself and his parents. With that in mind, he asked for a lottery ticket with the change that he would be getting back. “What numbers?” The employee asked in a deadpan manner. It was clear that he wasn’t fond of the job he has. How he felt wasn’t something for Connor to consider, so he simply just requested the be randomized. He didn’t have any numbers come to mind, thus it was best left to fate. With that he received a single ticket and his change before leaving. Back at his home he headed directly to his workshop. Today he would be completing the knife he had been working on previously. He had already decided last night to used redwood for the handle and three stainless steel pins. On this knife in particular he decided against adding a guard to it. With his holes already drilled in the tang of the blade all that was left for him to do was to drill matching holes in the redwood scales. This step wasn’t too difficult for him, and proceeded smoothly. After confirming that the holes lined up the final step before shaping was for him to use epoxy on the side of the scales that go against the tang itself, push the pins through which had been cut to size, and then let the epoxy dry clamped together. In the meantime he prepared his belt sander. Once enough time had passed he undone the clamp on the knife handle, and proceeded to shape the handle. The design he decided on could almost be compared to an egg shape being narrower in the front and slightly thicker in the back while along the length of the entire handle there were slight indentations for the fingers to rest on either side to suit either left or right handed use. Finally, with every step being completed he tidied up the knife as a whole. All that was left of the entire process was for him to actually use the knife in order to test it’s durability and strength. The first thing he did after ensuring that he was content with the knife itself was to flip the way he was gripping the knife and extend his hand straight out to the side over the concrete floor. Through the entire motion he was smiling confidently, as if the knife itself spoke to him and told him that what he was about to do next would be okay. Immediately after fully extending his arm he dropped the knife with the tip facing downward. A moment later was a clear clang as the knife met the concrete, however there wasn’t a cracking sound. Knowing that Connor could only smile broader. Had he hardened the knife too much it would have become brittle and snapped just a moment ago. As that was no longer an issue he had full confidence in the blades sharpness as well as edge retention ability. However, to ensure those facts he still intended to test them. To test the sharpness was much simpler. While there are many ways to actually test this factor, the most accessible was for him to use the blade like a razor up his arm. Again, without any hesitation he placed the blade against his arm and slid it upward. Unsurprisingly to him it cleanly shaved a two inch portion of hair from his arm. Finally, to test the edge retention ability of the blade he laid out a three quarters of an inch thick rope along a wooden table in his workshop and proceeded to repeatedly and cleanly cut through the rope in one single motion. This continued for a long while cutting through over fifty feet of rope easily. It was at that point that Connor chose to stop as he couldn’t afford to continue on. After that test he once again tested the sharpness of the blade against his arm, and again it cleanly shaved a small two inch section of hair from his arm once more. With that he was completely confident in the knife overall. There was one last thing which would be needed for a good knife, and that was an equally good sheath to store it in. He decided to have a dark brown ten ounce leather for the sheath, so he properly cleaned and dyed the leather before wrapping the knife itself in saran wrap and using a cut to shape piece of leather to shape around the blade and roughly an inch of the handle. The design involved a piece of leather with a fastener to prevent the knife from being removed accidentally as well as a belt loop. After hours of forming, trimming, and stitching the sheath together he had a proper knife and sheath just before dinner time. Because he intended to show his parents his new piece he took it along with him when he closed up his workshop and returned back to the house. To his surprise what he saw wasn’t his parents together, but rather his mother who was absolutely livid. She looked at him but was clearly upset enough not to care about greeting him. It only took a moment for him to realize that his father hadn’t returned, or even called his mother. Being in an awkward situation, and fearing that she may lose her temper Connor slowly placed his hands behind his back which were holding the knife. “Hey mom, what’s wrong?” Connor calmly spoke to his mother while being completely sure that if he hadn’t she would have blown up on him rather than his father. ‘Sorry dad, but she’s your wife.’ He thought. “What did you put behind your back?” His mother spoke to him hatefully. It seemed as if she could read his thoughts, and immediately questioned him. “Hm? Oh, you mean this? It’s the knife I have been working on the past couple of days. Would you like to see it?” He wasn’t able to hide it from her, so the next best option was to simply advertise its existence to her to prevent misunderstandings. “Oh, is that so? Bring it here and let me have a look.” Her tone lightened a bit since he wasn’t secretly covering for his father like she had assumed moments ago. For Connor it was as if a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders as he approached and handed it to her. “This is a very pretty knife, you did a good job. Your father has never made anything like this.” While praising him she also managed to be spiteful towards his father. “Thanks Mom.” He naturally understood what was going on, but choose to stay out of their arguments. At least, he wished to. Unfortunately, nothing ever works out the way one plans. It was at the moment when his mother had his knife in hand that his father chose to arrive home. ‘Oh shit.` Connor thought as cold sweat ran down his forehead. “JON! WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?! WHY DID YOU NOT CALL ME?” His mother erupted with such fury that had something spontaneously caught fire at that moment, it would have seemed only natural. Looking closer at her he actually realized the hand that previously held the knife was now empty. It had been too sudden for him to realize she had actually thrown the knife towards his father. “Uh….” Glancing to his right at the knife which was now embedded deeply in the door frame Jon swallowed his words down and looked towards his son apologetically. “Connor, I thought I told you to tell your mother that I was going out with Don?” ‘Don’t blame this on me you bastard! Do you want to have a son after today?!’ He thought to himself. He had a bad feeling the moment his father looked towards him, and this was why. He was trying to shift the blame! “No, I think it was the other way around father. I thought I told you to call mom after I reminded you not to drink anything with Don.” ‘Two can play this game dad!’ With his mother so furious he refused to take the fall for this. Seeing that her gaze remained him his father Connor proceeded to mockingly smile towards him while receiving a glare. “Ah, that’s right. I’m sorry darling, I got caught up with Don because he lost money today.” His father changed his tune realizing the only path remaining for him was the one of honesty. He immediately became apologetic towards her, which in turn angered her more due to his attempt at lying his way out of it. “What? Do you think I don’t deserve a call because you are out with your buddy?” She wasn’t going to take a step back and make him answer for his crimes towards her. At the same time she clearly intended not to mention the fact that she nearly widowed herself moments ago. She could only cling to her anger to hide the embarrassment at this point. “I’m sorry darling!” This time his father simply apologized to his mother without making excuses which improved her mood quite a bit. Both Connor and his father were relieved to see that. It was almost as if they had a new lease on life now that she was calming down. “Just call me next time, okay?” She almost sounded pitiful when she spoke this time as if she had been hurt by the fact he didn’t call. It was a tone and appearance that would earn sympathy from most others if they happened to see her like this. However, the only two people in the world who would understand that this was the calm before the storm were both in the room with her. “So, you have to cook tonight, okay? That’s how you can make this up to me, and you also have to fix that.” She pointed at the knife she just moments ago threw at Jon as if it was normal. “Yes Caitlynn, my love!” Jon had immediately accepted her requests causing a smile to appear on her face, and send chills down Connor’s back who was only a bystander at this point. After that his knife was returned to him with praise from his father, and things proceeded normally for the next two days. For the most part work was only paperwork which was all handled by his father, with some help from his mother. It was only on Wednesday night that things took a turn towards strange. __________________________________________ “Son, I thought you bought one of these tickets!” Jon called out to Connor reminding him about the fact that he had forgotten about shortly after purchase. When he heard his father Connor took his billfold from his back pocket and removed the lottery ticket that he had put in his wallet with alongside his change from that day. That day he had let the machine choose his numbers, and didn’t have any expectations for the ticket to be ‘the one’. Despite his doubts towards the ticket he remained in the room to watch what numbers are drawn. “06, 21, 16, 17, 52, and the powerball is….” “25…” Connor spoke in sync with the announcer, which stupefied both of his parents. Both turned to look at him slightly confused, however they realized something was off from his dazed expression. Curiosity led them over to him, it was then that they saw the exact same numbers called out on the ticket in his hand. “Son, you know that your father has always loved you, right?” Jon had placed a hand on Connor’s shoulder and spoke in a serious tone immediately after seeing the ticket. This was the kind of relationship between the two of them. Even at times like this they would both joke with each other. “I know I have a loving father. A father so loving that he would never take advantage of his son, right?” Connor had no intention of keeping the money to himself, rather the moment he realized he had the winning numbers he had already decided to split the prize with his parents. It was only has father’s shameless behavior that caused him to reply the way that he did. “You wouldn’t just abandon your father now that you earned such a fortune, right? Think about your mother.” His father quickly changed approaches when he realized his first wasn’t going to go as planned. “Mom! We’re rich!” Connor ignored his father and proceeded to hug his mom. Since his father wanted a second round, he could only oblige. Jon was at a loss for words after Connor’s reply this time. Feeling a sense of victory he added on. “All three of us.” It was only then that his father also smiled happily. After they settled down at home the three proceeded to go through the process of claiming the prize. It wasn’t overly difficult, however it was tedious. In the end it was all worth it after a few days passed and everything was settled. Immediately after obtaining the cash reward he split it half for himself and half for his parents without a second thought. In the following days they adjusted to their new fortune. His father revamped their company with new equipment, and also hired more workers. This created more jobs in the area which was much appreciated by several people. His mother on the other hand decided to go on shopping sprees. When she found something she liked she would buy it in each color. Jon and Connor both knew she wouldn’t use or wear half of what she bought, but they remained quiet about this manner. After a few days her shopping craze calmed and things returned to normal for the most part. They were already living a good life before, the only difference now was that they could live freely and at ease. There were a few minor incidents in which relatives attempted to receive money from the family. Unfortunately for them, they hadn’t ever treated Connor and his family well before today and couldn’t receive anything. Connor spent the last several days helping his father settle things with his business, and his mother manage her clothes while simply crafting knives in his free time. As things were calming down he had time to think about his future, and what he wished to do. When things finally returned to normal he decided to sit down and talk to his parents. “So I want you two to know that I have made a decision after spending a long time thinking.” Connor spoke calmly and resolutely to his parents. He had already decided what he would be doing in the future, all that was left was for his parent’s to know too. “You’re leaving, right?” His mother was the first one to answer, but his father was also looking at him calmly. It seemed they both understood him well enough that he didn’t need to say anything at all. “Yes, I am. For a long time as you both know I have had this passion towards forging. However, it’s not limited to just that. I want to learn the different techniques from all over the world. I also want to learn about the various items I could create. That’s why I have decided to use what I kept of this money to travel and meet different blacksmiths willing to share their knowledge.” He was completely open with his parents about his intentions. He knew that no matter what they would support him. “Good, but you can’t come back without a woman! I still need some cute little grandbabies!” His mother never failed to bring this matter up. It was also Connor’s greatest headache when it came to his own mother. In reply to her he could only helplessly nod. In his father’s eyes was sympathy, while his mother smiled happily. After that short conversation for the next few days things proceeded normally. The only difference was that in his free time Connor was preparing everything he would need to travel. He only had a travel bag with his essentials such as clothes, a second pair of shoes, his toothbrush, and various other things one would typically need for travelling. The day he would leave for his journey was fast approaching. “I will try to come back whenever I can.” Connor said to his mother as he hugged her. Today was the day that he would finally leave home. His mother had kept finding reasons for him to stay to help her. She seemed to support him, but that was only on the surface. As a mother, she was naturally unwilling to know that her son would be travelling for an extended period of time. “You better have a girl with you the next time you come home!” His mother’s reply was expected, and to him seemed somewhat forced. It felt as if she was only saying that because it was all that she could say. If she had said anything else then it would have ended with her asking him to stay a while longer. If she did, then he would stay. They all knew that he would, and that was precisely why they avoided saying something that would prevent him from leaving at the last moment. “Do you have any idea where you are going to go first?” The way his father interacted was different from his mother. He didn’t step out to hug his son as that was unnecessary. The fact that his father cared, and was worried for his well being was conveyed clearly. Normally Jon could joke and act in a carefree manner with Connor however, today he was more serious and inquisitive. It expressed how close the two of them actually are. “I decided on China to be the first stop. From what I have read and seen about the forging techniques, as well as the weapons in general they are among the most interesting to me.” When he decided on this he actually didn’t put much thought into it. It was simple curiosity that led him to make this decision, and that was how he decided he would travel. He would drift from place to place, wherever the wind may blow. If there happened to be a specific weapon that he wanted to learn to create then he would simply go to the origin in search of someone who knows the methods. If he suddenly decides that he would like to learn the methods to create armor, then he would do that as well. He was ready to broaden his horizons and experience the world. This moment was the start of his first true adventure, as well as the moment he would later realize when his life began to rapidly change. For now however, he had no idea about the machinations of fate. “Since when could you speak Chinese?” His father didn’t understand why his son would suddenly choose China. Jon knew that his son had no knowledge of Mandarin. It made no sense to go somewhere that he couldn’t even understand what people were saying to him. “I’ll wing it.” This was Connor’s calm collected answer. He had enough money to afford a translator to accompany him while he was there, and if it was an extended stay he may just learn it himself. His parents however, they couldn’t understand where the confidence came from. This was an entirely foreign country that he wouldn’t have ever went to had their lives remained normal. Seeing his parents both confused he added. “Keep in mind how much money we actually have now. I’m sure you know that a lot of problems can be solved with it.” “A cute little Chinese girl would be okay too…” Both of his parents were smiling when his mother spoke. Among the three Connor had been the first to accept the sudden influx of money. Had he not had plans that involved it he would be like his parents, forgetting that they are actually very wealthy. Their life hadn’t been bad before, beyond updating and upgrading the money didn’t find much use. They weren’t the type of people to flaunt wealth, or rather anyone who intended to stay wealthy wouldn’t waste their money on meaningless things. If nothing else, they were frequently use it to do some charity around town. As business owners their mindset had reached that point where they simply didn’t buy needless things constantly, so they weren’t too worried. This mentality had also been passed down to Connor. While he is more willing to spend the money than his parents, that was almost entirely on something which he was passionate about and not random unnecessary things. “Mom, Dad, don’t worry. I will be okay no matter what. Look at who my parents are.” He attempted to put his parents at ease. They truly didn’t need to worry about him however, it made him happy to see for himself how worried they actually were now that he was about to leave. After he spoke he stepped forward and wrapped an arm around each of their necks. While men don’t need to hug, a father and son were naturally able to if they wanted. Both of his parents smiled and hugged him back. His Father’s hug was strong however, his Mother’s was stronger and felt as if she intended to squeeze the life out of him. He quietly endured until he simply couldn’t breathe. By that point his Father had already taken a step back while trying to separate her from Connor who was tapping her back. ‘Is she secretly a Pro Wrestler?!’ Connor thought having experienced her strength indirectly. “Darling, you’re killing him! He’s turning blue!” Jon spoke in an attempt to convince her to release their son. Knowing this would be the final time she would hug her son Caitlynn applied even more pressure. A series of popping sounds followed that which came from Connor’s back. His father winced as he watched his wife release their son. Despite being fearful of her strength Jon still stepped forward and took her hand into his, which she immediately gripped tightly. Despite looking harmless she truly was strong, so much so that cold sweat formed on his forehead imaging what his son just experienced. “I am going to miss my flight if we keep on like this. I love both of you, and I will talk to you soon.” Connor immediately took a step back with his bag in hand while also holding his back to make it seem worse than it was. He felt discomfort from his spine being forcibly popped, and he couldn’t breathe well while she hugged him. That was all there was to it. His mother is a strong woman, but not to the extent of actually being able to break someone in half with a hug. Seeing her son act that way managed to cheer Caitlynn up slightly allowing her to see him off without any tears and only a smile. It was only after he had walked into the airport that his mother lost control of her emotions and began crying. As a family the three of them were very close. Even his father seemed about ready to cry. There was something about realizing your child had suddenly grown up that makes a parent proud, but also makes them worry more than ever due to not always being able to be there for them. He wasn’t one to waste money normally, but on his first flight he chose to fly with their most expensive option. It wasn’t appealing to travel uncomfortably when he had a twelve hour trip ahead of himself. The procedures to board his flight were completed without any difficulty. By being aware of his surroundings he had proceeded through the airport effortlessly and not losing his way. There were a few stores or restaurants along the way, but he had no interest in them. He had packed relatively lightly compared to what one may expect. He would be travelling quite a bit, so he had decided to travel with only carry on luggage which included his credentials and around five hundred dollars cash to be prepared for any unexpected incidents. Before boarding the plane he had made only a single purchase to have a bottle of water prepared. Once he arrived at his seat Connor took in his surroundings, sat down, and tuned out everyone else that was around him. It was his first time travelling away from his Hometown and family. Unlike most people who would travel within their own country school and work had consistently kept them rooted in one place throughout their life. That was a blessing for his family as it meant that they were successful, and could keep food on the table. He didn’t have the desire to drive eight hours for the scenery. He preferred to explore and adventure outside of his comfort zone. In comparison to others who may want to travel to busy cities, resorts, and beaches; Connor preferred to trek up a mountain, or through forests. He would prefer to make his own path rather than follow someone else’s path. Even with forging his intention had always been to lay a foundation for the art covering a broad spectrum, then improve himself through experience afterwards. When deciding on his initial destination he was looking for a country which had variety for the types and uses of weapons. He wanted to use one country’s technique as a foundation to then study the theory of others to craft his own ideal weapons original to himself. In the end he decided on China as they had the variety, usage, and unique style that he would like to incorporate into his skill set. In particular he was drawn towards their single edged Dao (saber), their double edged Jian (straight sword), Qiang (spear), and Guandao (Glaive). The Dao and Jian were both swords, but had different uses while the Qiang and Guandao were similar in this regard. Understanding the similarities and differences of weapons, as well as the methods to create them were important for him to learn in order to improve. He understood forging, but the proper process was important for him to understand how to improve. While in a daze he thought about his past experiences, and glanced at his left arm reading the Hephaestus tattooed there. He had long since come to take a literal god of smithing as his goal. If he had a target which he couldn’t surpass, then he could only continuously improve was the mindset behind this which caused the tattoo itself to become an important focus in his life. The tattoo itself was a black band around his left wrist with the name ‘Hephaestus’ not filled in on the inner part of his wrist. When he decided to get this tattoo he chose that wrist in particular because on that arm were red burn marks wrapping upward with a vague similarity to a fire that seemed to burn from his hand towards his body. The cause for his scarring was his pure infatuation with forging while younger. When quenching a blade in oil it is common for flames to appear during the process. At the tender age of eleven when he forged weapons he entered his own little world. When he attempted to properly heat treat one of the first knives he ever worked on the result was a ball of flames rising up leaving second degree burns along his arm which never faded. At the time, he didn’t even understand what he had just experienced and didn’t even realize it immediately. It was his father at the time who jerked Connor away. His grip remained on the tongs firmly for a moment before the pain set in and his hand released. The blade at that time had fragmented into several pieces which he later used part of to craft a hammer shaped pendant for himself. Several years after that event the very same pendant still hangs from a leather rope necklace crafted by himself as a reminder of that time, and eventually also an embodiment of his goals. Lost in thoughts about the past he eventually fell asleep early on during his flight. Word Count: 8,535
×