Chapter 21 – Orbs equal bad luck
Haru floated in the air for the first time truly appreciating the sight before him. He could finally see instead of simply feel this blood ocean before him, and it awed him. It awed him, and it scared him.
‘Why is this so different?’
After spending a bit of time looking at the sight before him and trying to notice any differences, it was Lily’s voice that brought him back to the real world.
“Haaaaruuuuu!!” her voice distinct and evenly pitched as she yelled from downstairs.
“I’ll be there in a second!” he yelled back as he made a move to jump down but noticed the blood staining his clothes in time. Realizing how bad he probably looked Haru took off his shirt and used it to wipe away all the blood from his face and threw it to the side deciding to come back for it later. Jumping down, he could feel the changes in his body. He was relaxed, much more so than before. Every movement took less strain, less effort giving him a refreshing feel of being in control.
“Lily, I’m over here!” he shouted as he entered his own room through the window.
“Where were you Ruruuu?” Lily asked skipping into the room and spinning around with a smile before pulling on his arms “Foooooood! I’m soooo hungry!”
“Is everything okay Ruru? You worried me to death when I didn’t see you in your room!” Eve asked as she finished cooking a broth for them. Dillan only gave her a glance as he gazed at Haru.
“I’m sorry mom. I couldn’t sit still so I went upstairs to meditate on the roof. I’ve… I’ve broken through… To the Spirit Realm.”
Haru was still unsure himself of whether he had truly broken through or not. He’d realized that his “space” where his “spiritually created space” as Linlin had taught him, had changed. He also recognized that his entire body felt different and he could feel a presence in the air. An unseen force which he felt like he could reach out and touch, use… Just slightly out of his reach.
Linlin and then Erith had already explained to Haru that when someone broke through to the Spiritual Realm they would be able to sense and barely apply “spirit power”. Except this would be a power they could apply externally, but Haru could feel that he was applying this power internally. As if it was a bloodline ability instead. The whole thing was confusing to Haru who’d had limited guidance up until this point.
Linlin taught his class general topics, the general strokes. Mostly he focused on cultivating their knowledge and ability to meditate and reach the Spirit Realm. Erith on the other hand, had until yesterday taught him very little, and what he’d told Haru yesterday had opened his mind but explained very little.
Even with his son’s unsure tone Dillan and Eve had already sensed it last night, he only nodded with a smile at his son. Even with his weak bloodline which had given him a great surprise, he could only be proud of his son who had worked so diligently everyday and managed to surpass even greatly talented children with all the teachers and resources available in Central City.
Eve’s eyes moistened, she didn’t want to cry. She held back any more questions and only went over and gave him a big hug. He only reached her shoulders. Embracing him as only a mother could, she knew she still thought of him as her little boy, and at this moment even with this achievement knew that she always would.
Lily’s eyes opened wide. “You broke through?” She looked over at her mom and dad and seeing their reactions she lowered her head for a moment making Haru think she was sad.
‘It’s because they won’t just let her go have her awakening ceremony… I can’t let this get her down…’
Squirming his way out of his mother’s tight hug he went over and gave Lily a big squeeze “Your brother is getting strong! Your brother wasn’t pulling your leg when he told you that he’d protect you forever and ever you know.”
Lily didn’t say anything but when he pulled away she was giving him a giant smile that made his heart tighten.
“Tonight we’ll have a feast. Go to the academy, get your recommendation and then go inform Erith and do your normal training. They’ll likely let you leave the academy early today so you’ll get home earlier today.” Dillan said with a proud smile on his face.
“There’s no rush is there? I thought I would take the day off from classes so I can meditate and get a better grasp of the changes.” Haru reasonably voiced.
“No. You should go now. The sooner the better. I have a surprise for you, and I’ll give it to you after you’ve gotten your recommendation.”
“You’re the greatest! Isn’t he Lily??” He laughed as he lifted her up into the air and twirled her around twice not thinking twice about his father’s words.
Eve urged them to stop playing around and eat while the food was still warm.
He rushed to the academy, and when he got there made a beeline for his class to find Linlin. As soon as he entered the room Linlin could feel the difference and didn’t even need to say a word as Linlin gave him a big smile. “You broke through?”
Haru had rushed to the academy so that he would be the first one there. There was another student in the classroom already and his eyes opened wide as he heard Linlin words.
Haru nodded and waited for Linlin by the door as Linlin walked over and gave him a pat on the back. “Let’s go confirm.”
Although he ran to the academy excited to tell his professor an extremely small part of him felt a little frustrated that his teacher had about as much surprise as his father had for a moment. Considering all of his hard work he was surprised that they were surprised. ‘They even said the same thing in the same tone.’
They entered one of the less used rooms which held a variety of testing orbs. Linlin specifically picked out of the older looking ones and noticing his student’s gaze he gave him a knowing smile “It only looks this old and used because it’s sole usage is to test whether a person has entered the Spirit Realm. Even if it looks like this, these things are nearly indestructible. We’ve had all of these testing orbs since the academy was founded and this one gets the most use as bloodline warriors can usually just show their blood ability as proof.”
Staring at the orb it reminded him a little of the one he’d held years ago for his awakening ceremony. “Do I just place my hand on it?”
“No it’s not as simple as the ones used for the bloodline awakening ceremony.”
The hand that was midway to reaching the orb stilled as Haru wondered whether Linlin had read his mind. It wasn’t a farfetched thought with bloodline abilities being as varied as stars in the sky. No one had seen Linlin use a blood ability either making him wonder whether his first assumption was true.
“No I’m not reading your mind. You’re just obvious. Besides, where else would you have seen a testing orb? These things are ridiculously expensive.” Linlin said with a laugh.
Haur released a long breath he didn’t know he was holding. Feeling a little guilty and not knowing why he rubbed the back of his head “Are the materials that rare?”
“No it’s not about the materials. It’s simply that only the royal alchemists have the knowledge to make it. Therefore, they control the market for them. Now hurry up. Put your hand on the orb and try to influence the mana in your surroundings.”
Haru didn’t hesitate again as he placed his hand on the orb and instinctively used clenched his hand tightening his grip on the orb with a strength he knew was far more than what he could do with his own.
Instantly the orb lit up as Linlin nodded his head in approval. The reaction proved that his student had reached the Spirit Realm guaranteeing him a bonus for the year but his smile dampened a little as he saw the luster of the orb not light up any further.
The fact that it didn’t light up any further would normally indicate that Haru had the lowest talent possible in manipulating spirit power. Even so, he didn’t let it affect him at all, after seeing his student practice arduously for the past three years he knew that there was no way Haru would not make up for this lack of talent with perserverance and effort.
It was only after he gave it a few more seconds of thought that he remembered how Haru had learned to meditate on practically the first day. This was normally a big indicator of talent…
‘Strange…’ but he just shook his head completely unbothered.
“Hmm. The orb didn’t brighten up much, meaning you have indeed reached the Spirit Realm but… Should have little talent in manipulating spirit power in the future… But I’ve also seen how hard you work, don’t let this bother you. I have no doubt you’ll reap big benefits and achieve big things if you keep working as hard as you have for the past three years.”
Haru’s thoughts turned downcast as he heard his evaluation. ‘Effort… No talent… Again…’
Clenching his teeth he removed his hand and slapped his cheeks with both hands, taking a big breath. ‘I won’t let this get me down. Maybe I just have bad luck with these damn orbs. Tch. I’ wasn’t planning on slacking before, so it’s fine!’
Linlin paid no attention to the orb as he placed it down on one of the stands as he stared in Haru’s eyes. He watched as he only make an annoyed expression for but a moment before regaining that look of determination Linlin was so used to seeing.
As a teacher he felt a little disappointed that such a promising and hard working student had to tread such a difficult path, ‘Even so, we all forge our own paths. I’ll be rooting for you Haru Seishin.’
They left the room immediately afterwards as Linlin lead the path to the Dean’s office ready to announce the good news. In a rush to see the principle and preoccupied with thoughts of the future, neither of them noticed the extremely slight indentation of five fingers on the indestructible orb Haru had just squeezed…