A spooky voice flows from the shifting shadows, "Franklin! Franklin, do you truly wish to be strong?"
A young boy with disheveled hair was shocked by this voice. In fear, he ran towards his house for safety. Franklin was amid his old town. He often remembered the happy days before the war there.
It often turned into a nightmare as his mind drifted to when he'd learned of the death of his father. Then to the fires that engulfed the town as they fled. The screaming voices paralyzing his soul.
As Franklin was about to reach the door a large bush blocked his path. "Is this all your bold words amount to." A booming voice shook Franklin mind. How could this young boy stand up to John; he has a cultivation of seed coalescing and a hundred years of experience.
Fires enveloped the town a shaking the crying boy huddled in the middle of the street. "MOOMMY!"
"The Fires of the past will consume you. Will you let everything flow through your fingers?" asked a voice that came from every direction.
"Franklin hold on." A female voice pierced the scene and a woman coddled the young man as the world became hazy and faded away.
John returned to himself with a shake of his leaves. "Well, that could have gone better." Joe the demonic bull opened his droopy eyes and snorted at the bush.
"What? This was the first attempt he's just scared he'll come around." John said trying to look sagely by extending his branches making him look taller. Joe couldn't be bothered with this nonsense and returned to his sleep.
John had more growth in the short time of spring then he had all the previous year. He was now flush with branches with lush green foliage. "If there were any female bushes around they'd be all over me." John speculated. He had begun to give off a slight glow as energy flowed through him making him look extra healthy.
That day Franklin was a bit frazzled and didn't leave the hovel he was staying in. Laurel came over to see what was wrong but was shooed away by Anna. The day flowed by and soon the sun had set again.
Even though he was scared and didn't want to sleep his eyes soon drooped. He was a young boy with no cultivation after all; how long could he manage to stay up for? Again he was in his old hometown he shivered as he prepared for another nightmare.
As the dream solidified Franklin jumped back, "Ahh," almost casting him out of his dream! There was an old man in the center that was staring right at him. He had deep eyes that looked as if they had seen ages gone by.
"Well, here we are again." The old man snorted. "Are you going to run and cry for your mother again?"
Franklin trips as he back away from the old man falling on his bottom. "Who are you?" he asked with a trembling voice.
"Ha, I overheard you bragging to that little lady about how you were going to be strong." John smiled slyly while shaking his head. "Never did I think that the big strong boy would instantly cry for his mommy when I just came for a visit."
Franklin's eyes nearly bulged out of his head "How did you know?"
John couldn't hold it in anymore and started laughing with tears coming out of his eyes.
"What's so funny?" Franklin yelled dejectedly.
"It's just I'm in your dream." John wheezes between laughs. "Wouldn't most people just think I was part of the dream? If I'm just in your head why wouldn't I know who you talked to?"
Looking embarrassed the boy rubbed his head. "I guess that makes sense. But you said you came to visit so I just thought…."
"That I'm a super powerful being that came to help you out!?" The old man suddenly stopped laughing and flew at the boy in an instance. "That's right I am such a great personage."
Franklin swallowed heavily "But didn't you just..."
"Just what?" John asked as he became a large head eyeing the boy.
"No, nothing." Franklin deflated.
"That's what I thought." He harrumphed with his beard flowing. "I couldn't help but notice that your swordsmanship is…."
"Is what?" The young lad asked impatiently.
"Complete and utter garbage. Even a bush could beat you up!" With a finger pointing into the air, John looked quite heroic and proud of himself. However, the eyes of Franklin could only be called disdain.
Looking at the boy's unreserved attitude John definitely felt incensed. "Bah, what does a kid know anyways. Her I was planning on helping this nobody but he thinks he already knows everything." He said to no one, in particular, walking away with his hands behind his back.
Franklin was dumbstruck at the act of this old man. He was so shameless even as he walked away trying to look mysterious he kept peeking back to see if he would be stopped. "Fine, please teach me your great combat techniques." Franklin gave in he felt bad for the old man and decided to play along.
"Hmph, learn my techniques? Your body couldn't even handle any technique! Who are you joking." Franklin stumbled as the whole world shakes with the booming voice of the old man.
"I'm John and I've lived for many years before meeting you and I will live many more after you die." John gave a condescending look to Franklin. "If you can even gain a fraction of the power I have what mortal soldier could stand against you?"
This finally got Franklin a bit pumped to learn. With shining eyes, he asked, "What do I need to do master?"
A throne appeared behind John which he sat on looking smug. "Ha, I'll help you but calling me master is a bit much. Here look upon your training menu." With a wave of his hand, the dream became that of the cobbled together village.
Here Franklin could see himself running and running. How long was he expected to run for he wondered? After a hundred laps around the hill, the figment of him running stopped. Then it showed him lifting all kinds of heavy objects pans, pots, hammers, etc. over and over. "What is this?" Franklin was puzzled how was this some great technique training.
"It's the basics you lazy kid!" Flames spewed and the world broke apart. "How can someone scrawny like you learn any fighting techniques. Do your best kid and show me your determination." The resolute voice came from the void as Franklin was roused from his dreams by the morning light.