“The Celestial Water Mantra is the oldest water elemental technique known to man. The progenitor of all water Spirits, The Celestial Dragon imparted this technique to the woman. She then transmitted the technique to her children. In this world, only nine Spirits can successfully cultivate that legendary mantra. The Celestial Dragon and the Eight Scions of Water.”
The Chief Librarian walked towards the adjacent table and grabbed the golden box lying there. Knowing that Shin was coming, she had long retrieved the book that lay deep inside the depths of the Athenaeum. The Celestial Water Mantra is one of the most secured manuals in the Frie Clan. It was not even placed in the restricted zone of the third floor.
“Eminence of the Lake, The Sovereign Koi. That is your Spirit. One of the Eight Scions of Water, it is a mythical Spirit rarely seen in the Himmel Empire. The moment you awakened this Spirit Shin, you have sealed your destiny. The only true cultivation technique that you can practice, is the Celestial Water Mantra.”
Saying that the Chief Librarian handed the box over to Shin.
“Train well child… Once you master your Spirit, you will become a valuable asset to the Frie Clan.”
“Senior… Thank you…”
Seeing that the old woman in front of him was so helpful to him, Shin felt grateful. In fact, right now he recalled everything members of the Frie Clan did for him. From the previous Clan Master who had saved them from their parentless lives to the First Elder, who guided him every step of the way. Shin felt genuinely indebted to the Frie Clan. Mentally, he swore to become stronger for the Clan’s sake.
“Hoho seems like my efforts will not go to waste.”
Before, when the Chief Librarian saw Shin, she was unsure of whether passing on the Celestial Water Mantra to the boy was a good idea. But now, seeing the determination and gratitude in Shin’s eyes, the old woman affirmed that her choice was the correct one.
“Now try to memorise as much as you can today. You can use any of the tables on the third floor for your studies. The manuals can never leave the Athenaeum. So anytime you wish to read the manual, you can find me here.”
Hearing that, Shin despaired as he recollected the arduous route he had to take to reach the Athenaeum. Realising that every time he wanted to learn the Celestial Water Mantra he had to repeat the painful climb back here, Shin’s face blackened.
“Hohoho, just treat it as training child. The path to the Athenaeum is undoubtedly hard, but there is always a price for learning.”
Unwilling to agree with the Chief Librarian, Shin remained silent.
“Hoho, since I have finished what I came to do, I should return before some meddlesome juniors of mine come looking for me. Lou, you had better train them well!”
“Hmph! There’s no need for you to tell me that! Shin, Ella and Emma are my students. Needless to say, I will give them the best treatment!”
The Instructor solemnly responded to his mom’s warning.
“Hahahaha! Now that’s my boy!”
Satisfied with her son’s words, the Chief Librarian headed towards the lift and disappeared to a higher floor.
“Instructor, is that senior truly your mother?”
Now that the old woman had left, Shin asked the Instructor. It was inappropriate to ask such a question before, but now that only the Instructor remained, Shin, inquired.
“Unfortunately, yes. She is currently serving as Chief Librarian of the Athenaeum, the highest position in this place. Even the Clan Master would not have much control over her if it concerns the Athenaeum.”
All decisions about the Athenaeum were handled by the scholars and librarians who frequented the place. The regular members of the Frie Clan had very little influence over what happens in the Athenaeum. It’s as if this sanctum of learning is its own governing body. No matter what happens to the Frie Clan, the Athenaeum must live on.
Hence, having the Chief Librarian openly support the First Elder by providing the Celestial Water Mantra to Shin is a much bigger deal than it seems.
“Okay, enough about her, we should start reading the cultivation technique she handed you.”
Pointing towards the golden box in Shin’s hands, the Instructor suggested that Shin should start studying.
The golden box was reasonably easy to open. All Shin had to do was remove the clips and lift the lid. An azure coloured book lay in the box. Heavy foxing could be observed as the paper had started browning and showed signs of stain spots. Evidently, the manual was extremely old and even delicate preservation methods could not stop it from ageing.
“Is this the original book?!”
Thinking that the manual in the golden box was the original copy of the Celestial Water Mantra due to its age, Shin questioned the Instructor.
“Of course not! Virtually every writing that records the Celestial Water Mantra is a copy. The original manual has long decayed out of existence. There is no way a book can last for over a million years.”
Laughing at Shin’s preposterous query, the Instructor replied.
“So why is the manual here so old?”
“The majority of them are like that. The only organisation that prints issues of the Celestial Water Mantra is the Lantis Republic in the east and they usually sell it once every century. Adding to the fact that there are only nine Spirits that can cultivate this technique, it is a miracle that the Frie Clan even had a copy.”
“Well, once you’re done with your questions, it’s time to begin studying, I will assist you along the way. Look, Ella and Emma are already pulling far ahead.”
While Shin was listening attentively to the Chief Librarian’s lecture, the twins were busy learning their cultivation technique. They were already beginning to memorise the fundamentals.
“Now Shin, listen carefully. The Celestial Water Mantra teaches you in four key areas. Gathering of spiritual energy, converting that spiritual energy into mana, using mana to cultivate your Spirit and utilising your Spirit. These four steps seem simple, but there is ancient wisdom in the texts. If you are unable to understand something while reading the manual, feel free to voice your doubts. Also, there is no rush. You can always come back another day.”
“Fine, I get it…”
Hours go by as Shin, and the twins started studying their cultivation manuals. Many other ten-year-olds who had awakened their Spirits yesterday came later in the day to find cultivation techniques suited for them. Ariel and Tobias came an hour after the Chief Librarian left while children from the Second Elder’s division arrived fifteen minutes after them.
Noticing the orphans, the children sneered but did not dare make a scene in the Athenaeum. Their Instructors, on the other hand, were wide-eyed when they saw the manual that Shin was reading. One of them hastily retreated, presumingly to tell the news to the Second Elder.
Meanwhile, Ariel’s Instructor picked out the perfect cultivation technique for her. What truly infuriated Shin was the name of the technique that Ariel was going to cultivate. The Annihilation Hammer Mantra. A cultivation technique that focuses on preparing the Spirit User for the decimation of their enemy.
It looks like Shin must not only become strong for the sake of the Frie Clan, but also for his own well-being…