60 Inception of a Technique Part 4
The cave they entered was narrow with only enough room for two people to walk shoulder to shoulder. Of course, the garish armor party could barely walk single file. It seemed that the stream of water had dug this path, changing a small crack into a hallway.
John was following at the back of the party. Due to the large size of their armor, he couldn't see ahead at all. The cave passage seemed to go on for miles. As they continued deeper and deeper, the air started to become unbearably humid. After a few hours, they finally reached an opening in the cave.
As they exited, John sucked in a cold breath. It was like they'd just entered another world. The cave ceiling was covered with yang stone creating a greenhouse effect. Even better, the sun never fell, allowing plants to thrive. From the entrance, one could see that this wasn't the only stream that poured out into this cavern.
But the most surprising sight was the endless red guts covering the floor. The Forlorn Mucus Fungus had long infested this place. He was already dreading walking through this slimy goop. "Did you guys truly trudge through this?" John asked in disgust.
"Of course not we flew over," the woman with a bird on her chest replied as if it was obvious.
John made a sour face. Even though they were powerful, they weren't strong enough to defy gravity. If they had been, they wouldn't have trudged all this way just for him. Which means they all had some external device powered by inscriptions and spirit stones. But how could he have such an extravagant item? He was lucky to have spare spirit stones, let alone a personal vehicle for eating them up.
Falcon saw Johns perturbed face and laughed, "Don't worry, friend. I prepared a side seat for you on my vehicle." He then releases the vehicle from his interspatial ring. It's a fancy rocketed shape vehicle with a sun emblem and flames along the side. A box was tied to the side with rope for John to ride in.
"Thanks," John curses.
"Don't worry, it wasn't a problem!" Falcon said while patting John's shoulder.
As they fly over the endless sea of guts and slime, John clings to his box as it shakes and shifts precariously. If he falls at this speed and height, it'd be quite dangerous. John couldn't help but imagine his mangled body covered in slime below. 'I should have left that invitation to be fertilizer,' John cried to himself.
After flying half a day, the ground had begun to change. John sighed in relief; they could Finally go back to walking. But to his dismay, they continued on. He looked down at the ground and frowned. The wind from the five vehicles was causing the plants down below to shake, and if he wasn't mistaken a dusting of neon green was floating out. "Isn't that Welting Snile fern?"
Falcon glanced down and then shrugged. "Looks like it," he replied.
"Yeah isn't this bad?" John complained.
"Why?" Falcon asked quizzically.
"The poison," John reminds.
"It's not that bad just ignore it," Falcon dismissed.
"No, it's deadly. I'm sure of it," John explained with haste as below was starting to become a neon green dust storm.
"We didn't have any problems before," Falcon
John points at himself in frustration, "I'll have a problem!"
Falcon looked over at John and said, "We'll just fly faster and get away then!"
"No, that's," John started to protest but was cut off by the speed doubling. "That's not how this works," John cried, but it was too late, and his voice was left far behind them.
Behind them a massive green cloud formed turning this underground world into a neon one. As they continued to speed away, it seemed like a flock of dragons was chasing after them consuming everything in their wake. John was holding his breath as he looked at the massive death cloud behind him.
"Hey, we're going to land!" Falcon calls.
John turned around in shock. 'You caused this death dust storm, and now you're going to stop. If you want to kill me just smack me damn it!' he cursed.
Ahead of them was a large lake covered in Waterwheel Spine divine plants, creating a no-fly zone. They landed next to the lake and left their crafts. The impending doom cloud coming from behind made John slouch in depression.
"It's just a weak poison stop making such a fuss," The man with the oversized armor chastised.
Falcon flashed his bright smile and slammed the man with oversized armor on the back. "A few more hours won't hurt just throw up a shield, and we'll wait out the poison," Falcon negotiated.
"Seriously Falcon this plan of yours is getting ridiculous," The oversized man complained.
One of the other men gruffly retorted, "What's getting ridiculous is you complaining. If you don't want to explore the tomb, just go home."
"Fine!" The oversized man said and through up a domed shield around them.
Finally, John could relax. Everyone stored their flying vehicles back into their interspatial rings. They then settled down to wait out the poison.
"It's time to show your worth," the woman with the bird on her chest said to John.
John shook his head. "I don't know what you're expecting, but I'll do my part," John acknowledges.
Falcon gestured to the lake ahead and said, "First we need to get past this death trap. It's impossible to fly over as you might imagine."
John shrugs and looks over. "As you already know they attack whatever passes over them so staying low to the water would be best. As long as you avoid the mature Waterwheel Spine's, there shouldn't be a problem to pass through," John explained.
"You don't think we thought of that already?" the oversized man snapped.
The woman with a bird on her chest nodded, "We've attempted to fly over them, under them, and even just hacking our way through. Every time we lost a few people. If we weren't desperate for a new solution, we wouldn't have set up such a huge and expensive event."
Falcon added, "The water is too pure containing too much of its original essence. If it wasn't so dangerous just this would be worth the trip here. But for us, it is just a hindrance."
John rubs his head as he racked his brain. 'The Waterwheel Spine needs water so if we could drain the lake… No it's too big. Digging around might work, but that would take significant manpower and time which they clearly want to avoid,' he contemplates. "Hmm, perhaps…" John mumbles.
Falcon looked at John with anticipation and asked, "You thought of something?"
"Perhaps, could you collect a few living specimens?" John inquires.
"Sure, just getting a few isn't a problem," Falcon responded.
The four that weren't holding up the shield went and collected a few of the plants. "Alright hold one above the other and repeat the demonstration from back at the banquet," John ordered.
Falcon nodded and prepared to defend his hand. However, the lower plant did not attack due to having a fellow of its kind in between. "I see they won't attack each other! We could collect them as a shield," Falcon said excitedly.
John shook his head and lectured, "It's not that they won't attack each other per se. It's just that they attack based on the energy produced by the thing above them. The goal isn't to collect them and use them as a shield because there could be an opening or some may die along the journey. Then the defense would be gone. We must mimic the energy they produce."
The woman with the bird on her chest responds, "That makes sense it's not like they have eyes so how else could they decide friend from foe."
"Mimicking energy isn't a simple task though," one of the other exhibition members reminded.
"The only other paths require manpower or ridiculous martial power. If you were willing to do either I wouldn't be here," John contended.
"We're stuck here until the poison dissipates so we might as well give it a try," Falcon encouraged.
After half a day, they managed to get the gist of creating a ball of energy that mimicked the plant's internal balance. It was easier than expected since it was a plant that relied so much on aqua energy. Most animals and even plants have a far more complex energy signature.
With the poison gone, they continued on their way flying over the deadly lake. John clutched on to Falcon's vehicle with all his might not wishing to fall and be skewered. After five days the number of Waterwheel Spines dissipated. Steam rose up in front of them becoming thicker and thicker. The denser the steam, the less Waterwheel Spines grew until there were none left.
Eventually they couldn't even see at all. The steam was thick and breathing it in felt like drowning. This was the same pure dangerous water from early not filling their lungs. John constantly coughed up water is lower cultivation and strength, causing him to be in dire straights. The others while doing better were beginning to worry for themselves.
They dived down, hoping to escape the rising steam. As they did the yang energy exploded out of a hole in the bottom of the cave. The steam dissipated quickly turning into a dry burning air. Going from one extreme to the other was the literal meaning of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
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Even still at least the current air was breathable. They all gave a sigh of relief as they examined this hole. "According to the map, this should be the right way. After going through this passage, we should be near the tomb entrance," Falcon said with excitement.
They had landed on an island in the lake. The ground was pure white. John dug up a hand full and rubbed it between his fingers. He then licked the soil only to frown in disgust. The land was full of salt and other impurities nothing could grow here.
The woman with the bird on her chest looked around in awe. "The pure water must have been created by the heat from the yang energy. It turned into steam over and over again for eons removing its impurities!" she exclaimed gaining some enlightenment.
"Let's not idle here our goal isn't this dead place but the tomb it conceals," the man with the oversized armor said.
With that they ventured down the passage. As they did John's skin begun to flake off as it died from the extreme heat. His lungs even lost a layer of skin causing him to cough up dust. He couldn't endure this for long. As John's will begun to crumble, he stumbled out into another vast chasm.
Ahead was a forest of Logi pine trees. "So many rare plants down here," John coughed.
Hearing this made every one pause. They'd already had enough trouble with vegetation. "Can we pass through?" Falcon asked. Their goal was so close now, so it was hard for them to hold back.
"It's fine if you don't mind being incinerated," John joked.
"We'd prefer to reach the end in one piece. Is there a way to deal with these?" Falcon quickly asked.
John was started to feel dehydrated even though he was drowning just a few minutes ago. His mind felt like it was evaporating like the water above… "The water above…"
"What about it?" The man with the oversized armor snapped.
"Logi pine trees can only live in pure yang environments. If we can break the ceiling and cause the lake above to rush in faster then it can be evaporated we should be able to eliminate them," John quickly explained.
The other's frowned bring down the ceiling of a cave that lasted so long? Not easy. The woman with the bird on her chest stood up straight and said, "If it was going to be easy, how could there still be treasure here. If we give up now we might as well give up on the future!"
"That's right," Falcon joined in, "Look there," Falcon pointed out a weaker looking section of the ceiling. "Focus there with everything you got!"
Sword might formed into energy swords around Falcon. The woman with a bird on her chest sent out energy in the shape of a phoenix. While the man with oversized armor formed sledgehammers. The other two also sent out their own attacks, causing the ceiling to crack and fall away.
The weight of the water now unleashed it tore apart more rock bringing large boulders with it. Ton's of water surged downward, taking everything with it. Among the boulders was one that caught John's eyes. On it was a red speck. He didn't know why but his eyes couldn't leave this red speck.
The boulders hit the ground with the water causing steam to explode out. The concussion sent John flying back and smack against the wall coughing up blood. As his vision blurred he saw the red dot fly about. John shakes his head to clear his vision, and he can clearly see a waterlily that had somehow grown in that Waterwheel Spine death zone.
John's heart went into his throat as he saw the small flower cling to a boulder by a thin strand of roots. It flew about like a kite in a thunderstorm. 'How can it hold on in that hell?' John asked himself.
The yang energy slowly dissipated as steam shot back out of the hole. The torrent of water slowly turned into a more controlled waterfall as the steam forced the debris back to the surface. "Perhaps in time there will be another island above," The woman with the bird on her chest mused.
"The path is clear! I can even see the tomb now," Falcon exclaimed.
They all rush forward happy to finally reach their destination. However John held back and looked at the waterlily now laying on the ground with no water to support it. It was drained of energy and already appeared to be wilting. 'I can't let it die here,' he thought.
"Falcon!" John called out.
"What!" Falcon said turning back his friendly face almost slipping.
John frowned but continued to say, "I clearly won't survive in the tomb. I'll take this waterlily as my portion." He then gestured over at the dying flower.
Franklin frowned and impatiently replied, "It's your choice I don't think anyone will fight you over this pick you've done us a great service."
The oversized man questioned, "Are you sure that could be the rarest thing we've found?"
The woman with a bird on her chest countered, "If that's the best thing we find nothing will be worth it. If any of us take the flower it will surely just die anyway."
"Let's not waste any more time," Falcon commands as he waves the rest forward.
John walked over to the red waterlily that still clung by it's small roots to the boulder. He gently picked it up and produced a bowl which he carefully filled with water. As he tried to put the waterlily into its container, it refused to let go. John gently smiled and caressed it gently. "Don't worry, you're safe now," he coos. The waterlily though, it lacked intelligence seemed to understand and allowed him to take it away.
In Franklin's dream John shakes his head. 'That was truly a risky adventure. They may never have come out of the tomb, or they may have killed me when they exited.'
As John comes out of his reflection, he sees Franklin duck under a boulder. His face turns grave. "What are you doing!" John hollers.
"They're too big. I'll get squashed," Franklin complains feeling aggrieved. He was already scraped and bruised.
"Nonsense we're in a dream. Worst case you wake up. How could you die? I'm no dream master that can kill people through dreams," John berates.
"Oh," Franklin says while rubbing his head sheepishly. His eyes light up, and he looks at John. "Doesn't that make dream training awesome?"
"Hardly, there are many problems with training in dreams. They aren't real, so you won't gain muscle memory or strength. You also can easily get an over-bloated sense of your power. The only reason it's a bit useful is that I'm solidifying your dream through force. Still, it's only useful for mental training like this and visualization," John explains.
"I don't get it," Franklin replied with a furrows brow.
"Either way the night's almost over. I'll now teach you how to make the proper training equipment and the basics for the technique. Get ready!" John commands.
"Yes!" Franklin responds, standing up straight.
As Franklin gets ready, the world changes into a flat plain. In the center of the plain is a training dummy. The training dummy has a sword in the right hand and a shield in the other. On the bottom is a long rope tied around a rotation point.
"This is pretty easy you can build it with anything you want the hardest part is here," John says as he points to the pivot point on the bottom. "This is the most crucial part. You'll use this to create rotation strength. That will allow you to modify the strength of the attack you receive."
John makes the dummy spin and strikes out with a Naginata as he does his muscles surge pausing the spin. The rope pulls taught and fights against him. He then turns the head of his Naginata with his wrist causing the dummy to lurch a bit.
"This is the basics of the technique. I've only ever used it with a Naginata. The technique isn't complete. You'll have to come up with how to use it with a variety of weapons," John explains with a sad sigh.
He then grabs the boys arms and looks him in the eye. "But I think you can master this technique. Even if you can't become the strongest if you can perfect a technique you'll still be treated with respect where ever you go." John extols.
"Thanks but I still want to be the strongest! I'll become strong and show the whole world your technique," Franklin says clenching his fists.
John chuckles, "Well, it's good to dream. Note this is not a simple soft technique, nor is it a technique that overwhelms your opponent. It transfers hard to soft. It is a technique that strikes the center of the enemies blade. By angling your weapon correctly, it will force the opponent attack to miss."
John shakes his head. "But if this were all it'd be a normal parry. This technique transfers the enemies hard attack into a soft attack allowing you to change the flow of energy. They must attack you and compete with you. If they pull back and retain their control, you've failed the technique," John explains.
John squeezes the boys should and concludes, "It's like river rapids running into a boulder the water will shift around the block. You must be able to match attacks far above you for an instant for it to work. If your opponent pulls back at all, you've failed the technique."