Book 5: The Capital || Chapter 33: Learning A Different Path (2)

Shin’s second day in school got off to a swelling start. After the commotion surrounding him yesterday, the young teen opted to go low key when commuting from class to class. However, due to Isadore’s valiant efforts, the number of challenges had dropped significantly, and there were even some of his fellow freshmen who consoled Shin with a tear in their eyes. Although he had much fewer troubles, Shin couldn’t help but have mixed feelings about Isadore’s methods.

‘Whatever, it’s not like he’s hurting me or anything…’ Shin decided to see the brighter side of the situation. Now that people were essentially treating him as a handicapped person, Shin could now focus on learning as much as he could from the numerous professors in the academy.

Attending the spiritual tools class that was headed by Professor Quinn, Shin was currently in the midst of learning how to utilise a spiritual tool. An elementary-grade spiritual armament that was forged in the shape of a hammer lay on his desk. On its head, many crude cravings that hinted that it was created by a novice, were crammed all about.

“The first lesson of utilising spiritual tools is how well you can transfer your mana into said tools. In front of you is a special hammer that has been specifically designed for the purpose of education. Once successfully infused with your mana, the hammerhead becomes twice as heavy, like so.” 

Professor Quinn picked up the crass hammer and allowed a little bit of his mana to seep into the tool. Almost instantly, the hammer started to shine in a dim light. Diverting his attention to the watermelon that sat next to the hammer, the professor slammed the cheap weapon into the poor fruit, clobbering it into a thousand pieces.

“Of course, you don’t have to smash the watermelon if you don’t want to, but it would be good for you to experience the change in the weight.” Leaving the hammer on the table, Professor Quinn released his mana, returning the blunt weapon to its original weight. “Now, you try it.”

As expected, the class was divided into two main groups. Those who already had the experience of mana infusion, and those that didn’t. Kanari, who had exposure to an array of spiritual tools from the moment she could walk, could effortlessly infuse the mana in the hammer. Naturally, due to her elegant disposition, she chose not to behave in the boorish act of smashing a watermelon into smithereens, lest it tarnishes her prim and proper image.

For those in the other camp, those that were not exposed to the art of mana infusion, they had much more trouble as it was an entirely foreign concept to them. Shin, being trained in the art of healing for almost is entire cultivation life, had no idea on how he should begin. Lady Seph was an originalist and disdained the use of healing tools as she felt that it would dull the healer’s ability to treat a patient. Thus, Shin had basically zero experience in the craft.

‘How do I release my mana into the hammer?’ Shin was confused. No matter how much mana he let out, it would all get dissipated into the air, instead of making its way into the tool that was in his hands. ‘What about this way?’

Not willing to give up, he attempted multiple methods, but it was all for nought. Professor Quinn, who was making his rounds through the class, noticed that the youth was having a little trouble and headed towards Shin.

“How’s it going?”

“Professor! No, it’s hard. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to move my mana into the hammer…” Shin sadly replied. 

“Haha, it’s a common issue. Most Spirit Users don’t consider the possibility of moving mana out of their bodies. The majority of the time, they congregate their mana inside of their bodies and cast their abilities. It’s alright. All it takes is just some practise.” Professor Quinn consoled the despondent youth with a few words of encouragement.

“Okay come, let’s take this from the top. Every human body consists of thousands of tiny holes called pores that release sweat and spiritual energy. I’m sure you know of them.”

“Of course.” Being a certified healer, there was no way that Shin wouldn’t know of something that rudimentary.

“The only way you can manipulate mana outside of your body is to release them through those pores. However, since they are so small and hard to sense, many Spirit Users have problems when they first try to release mana. Since it’s your first time learning this art, let me guide you through the process.” Gently grabbing Shin’s wrist, Professor Quinn attempted to take a hands-on approach in leading the youth. 

‘Why is there such a disparity between teachers in this school?! On one side, there’s that scoundrel Mychael, and on the other, there’s the angel Professor Quinn?!’ Shin hollered out in his mind. Almost brought to tears, the young boy shook his head to rid himself of unnecessary thoughts and decided to focus on the one-on-one lesson that Professor Quinn was giving him.

“Close your eyes and sense the flow of mana. I’ll use my spiritual energy to try and guide you.” Professor Quinn’s Spirit was an auxiliary one, and it gave Shin a refreshing feeling when the professor’s mana entered his body. 

With his eyes closed, Shin could accurately visualise what was going on in his body. The mana, which had been kept within the hardened skin of his, was now trying to rush out the palms of his right hand and into the hammer that he was holding. Shin’s eyes jerked open at the unfamiliar sensation, and he had even unconsciously fought back against Professor Quinn’s mana.

“Don’t panic. The amount of mana leaving your body is negligible. It’s only because it’s the first time that you’re doing this that it feels uncomfortable but after a few more times doing this, you’ll get used to it.” Professor Quinn reassured the youth. “What’s more important is that you remember this feeling, this sensation of mana infusion. Try to focus.”

“Okay…” Closing his eyes once more, Shin did his best to comprehend what was going on, so that he could repeat it in the future.

The mana that left Shin’s body was immediately sucked up by the spiritual tool in his hand, and the hammer began to glow in a bright cerulean light. Feeling the weight in his hands becoming heavier, Shin unintentionally lowered his hands to accommodate the added burden on his arms. However, instead of feeling fatigued, Shin felt a wave of excitement burst through his entire being as he had successfully achieved what he sought out to do.

“Congratulations, you have completed your first mana infusion!” Professor Quinn praised the boy.

“Thank you.” 

“Alright, now you try on your own. Release your grip on the hammer, and the weight will automatically revert back to its original state.”

“Okay…” Doing as the professor said, Shin felt his mana being sucked back into his body as the glow that the hammer was emitting diminished.

“Do you remember the sensation?” Professor Quinn asked.

“I think so…” Staring at his palm for a few seconds, Shin closed his eyes once more and attempted to follow the exact same steps that the Professor had demonstrated to him. Initially, the mana that had easily flowed out from his pores due to Professor Quinn’s guidance had been abruptly stopped at the ends of Shin’s thickened skin. However, the youth was undeterred as he pressed forward with his attempt. After the third attempt, Shin finally managed to send out mana from his pores but was unable to direct it to the spirit tool. After the sixth attempt, the spirit tool began to light up, but since Shin only sent a little bit of the required mana, the hammer’s function didn’t activate, and it remained at the same weight. Finally, after the tenth try…

“I did it!” Shin exclaimed in joy. Looking down at the spiritual tool in his hands, the weight being burdened on his arm had clearly doubled, and the same cerulean light appeared as well.

“Y-Yeah… You did…” A bead of nervous sweat dripped down Professor Quinn’s forehead as he watched how Shin expertly learned the foreign concept in just a few minutes. Typically, for someone that has never learnt mana infusion before, it would take them at the very least, a full week of hard practice to even grasp the concept. In fact, once Shin failed for the last time, Professor Quinn would repeat a speech that he had prepared for all students that took his class for the first time without any prior knowledge of the subject. Yet, Shin had comprehended the concept many times faster than the average person, rendering the speech that he prepared obsolete.

“You’re a fast learner huh?”

“No! It’s the professor’s guidance that helped me! If not for your demonstration, I would probably never learn it this quickly!” Shin denied Professor Quinn’s words by praising his superb teaching skills.

‘Then why did the other students fail when you succeeded?! Now I know why this boy is already at Rank 18…’ Professor Quinn retorted mentally but kept his poker face intact.

“Ermmm, professor… I have a question, but I’m not sure if it’s proper to ask.” 

“Hmmm? What is it?”

“Is there any spirit armaments in the shape of a needle? Perhaps if there’s a spare in the academy, I would like to practice on them.” Shin asked.

After discovering the existence of weapons such as spirit armaments, the young teen had formulated a theoretical path that he could take to improve his combat ability. As a healer, he was knowledgeable of multiple weaknesses of the human body. Furthermore, he had some cursory knowledge about acupuncture and how to immobilise a human in the quickest way possible. Therefore, if he had an array of spirit-infused needles, Shin was confident that he would be able to bridge the gap between himself and monsters such as the Son of War or the Freak of the Dundlewoods.

“There are. But, I can’t just give them to you. You have to earn them. As I mentioned before, if you score the best during the mid-year tests, the reward would be an elementary-grade spiritual tool.” 

“I see… No, that’s right, I should work for the reward. Professor, I’ll definitely achieve the best score during the mid-year tests!” Determined to gain the reward, Shin resolutely stared at the teacher with all that he had.

“Hoho… I look forward to your achievements…” Tapping the shoulder of the young boy, Professor Quinn took Shin’s words with a grain of salt before going on to tend to another student that was having troubles. 



~~~



One week has passed since the school had begun and Shin was slowly getting accustomed to academy life. Every morning, he would wake up before the sun rose and put on his training gear to do his daily laps and exercise sets. Once he was done, he would meet up with the twins for an early breakfast before school began to communicate about what was occurring in their lives. Oddly enough, the ones who were the busiest were the twins, as they had to deal with hordes of fans stalking up their door. Fortunately, due to the strict policies that separated the boys from the girls, the twins were able to hide behind some of the sternest teachers in the Empire and had even created a good relationship with many of the academy’s most talented female upperclassmen.

Finishing their breakfast, they would go through the school day and learn as much as they possibly could. For Shin, the school curriculum was both heaven and hell. During the best parts, he would learn from the best of the best about topics that he actually enjoyed to learn. For instance, the spiritual tools class was a prime example. On the other hand, he would also have to go through the dreaded combat class, where Mychael would bully him during training sessions. Of course, the only reason why Shin hasn’t dropped out of Mychael’s class was due to the fact that he was learning a lot from him in regards to close quarters combat abilities.

Finally, when school was over, Shin would focus on his cultivation sessions as he was preparing to breakthrough to the next realm. 

“Hah… I’m so tired…” Moaning in agony, Ella complained to her partners that were sharing the same dining table that she was.

“My condolences. Well, you’ve done well… Even though I’m not in the elite class, I still hear whispers about how much your fandom has been bothering you.” Shin sipped on his cup of Oolong tea while he consoled the tired purple-haired girl.

“Haha, it really has been quite troublesome to move around…” Emma bitterly added on, her deep eyebags that resembled that of a panda betrayed the lack of sleep that she was getting. Although Ella got the bulk of the fandom, multiple boys wished to hit on Emma as well.

In the academy, the twins were ranked among the top ten most beautiful freshmen girls, making their lives a living hell. Since many of the other girls in the ranking were aristocrats with a popular following, the number of boys that would bother them was quite minimal. For instance, no boy in their right mind would hit on Kanari as her security detail would ensure that he wouldn’t live to see another day. Thus, when a pair of gorgeous girls with a commoner background came along, they instantly garnered the attention of all the thirsty boys in the academy. 

“Not only that, they even made us the representatives of our class! Why the hell would we want that?! I don’t want to fight in the end-of-year competitions!” Ella complained yet again. 

“But won’t you have the chance to get more resources? That’s the ideal position to be in.” Shin argued. To be entirely honest, even though he was the second-ranked in his class, he was unsure if he would be given a slot to participate in the end-of-year competitions that boasted significant rewards for the winners.

“Why don’t you take our place then? I would swap with you in a heartbeat!”

“Not in your class, can’t do that.”

“Arghhh!!! So many troubles…” Sprawling out on the table once more, Ella knocked her forehead gently in an attempt to rid herself of the headache that had been plaguing her.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure that the hype would die down soon… Anyway, we got to go soon. Class is about to begin.” Standing up from his seat, Shin returned his tray to the restaurant owner and gestured for the twins to follow suit.

“Recently, you have been pissing me off quite a bit, Shin…”

“Haha, sorry about that then!”

“Urggh, whatever… Just pray that I don’t meet you during any of our training sessions! I won’t go easy on you!” Loudly declaring her intentions to Shin, Ella screamed out before racing towards her class.

“Sorry about that, she’s just a little stressed out.” Emma came forward and apologised.

“Yeah, I won’t take it to heart.”

“Hehe, this reminds me of the good old times. Back on Frie Mountain… The two of you could never get on terms.”

“Well, some things never change. Anyway, we really should get going. If there’s no pressing issue, you shouldn’t force yourselves to meet up with me every day. We can just communicate in school.”

“Hmmm, that sounds alright… Okay, I’ll tell that to Ella. I’ll see you soon.” Emma said her goodbyes before chasing after Ella, who had long disappeared into the horizon.

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