Fighting God Chapter 2: Cultivation
Several months later….
It’s been months since Aldred and his parents had moved out of Silverstone Village. Kyle was upset at how little valued the familial ties were in Silverstone Village. It angered him so much that he decided to change his last name to that of his mother’s – Blackehearth. And so, the Blackehearth family traveled around looking for a place to stay. Initially, they had hoped that Elena’s family – the Goldensols – would take them in, however, given Aldred’s status as a “No-Affinity,” the Goldensols felt that they could not sustain such an embarrassment and refused the family’s request, even going as far as cutting familial ties with Elena. Having lost the privilege of the Goldensols name, Elena changed her last name to Blackehearth. With no place to go, Kyle decided to bring his family to the old log cabin he had built in his late teens. The log cabin was situated by a river filled with many kinds of fish. If it was like before, Kyle wouldn’t want to bring Elena to this old place…however, now that they don’t have a place to stay, the old cabin seemed to be a gift from the Heavens.
Upon arriving at the old, battered cabin, Elena burst into tears. She, a city girl, now have to live in the wild in an old cabin on the verge of falling apart. However, she steeled her mind because she will do anything for her child.
“This doesn’t look much, but I’ll fix it up quickly. By the time I’m done with it, you’ll be proud to live in such a place.” Kyle boasted as he started modifying and repairing the log cabin.
“I-I’ll help clean then.” Elena replied as she placed Aldred in his crib by a tree stump.
While his parents started renovating the cabin, Aldred was pondering about his future. He knows that he has no affinity to any of the elements, thus losing the ability to channel mana and generate magic. This obstacle would have crushed other people’s hopes, however, Aldred was not affected.
If I cannot use magic, then I will cultivate! Aldred thought. I will grow strong and make my parents proud. In the future, no one will bully my family.
After motivating himself a bit, Aldred moved into Full Lotus position and began focusing. Initially, he worried that there was no Qi in this world. However, after seeing the way his father powers up to fight even though he had little talent in channeling mana, Aldred knew that there must have been some form of Qi that permeates the atmosphere. After an hour, he was able to sense a sliver of Qi as it flowed along his skin. For a beginner, to break through into the Qi Gathering 1st Stage, one must first be able to feel the Qi running along his or her skin. Once one can feel like he or she is submerged in Qi, then one can break through and began gathering Qi. Currently, Aldred can only feel a small sliver of Qi. This progress is considered slow as if it was back in the Cultivation Realm, one hour is enough to feel submerged in Qi. This only goes to show how little Qi there is in this world.
Aldred continued to sense and draw in the Qi towards him. After some painstakingly long hours, he was able to feel three-quarters submerged. Ideally, it would be best to be fully submerged, however, Aldred did not think he would be able to continue drawing in more Qi. With 75% of his body submerged in Qi, he can only have a 75% chance at breaking through. Taking the risk, he began attempting to break through. If he fails, nothing bad would happen, just all the Qi he had drawn in towards him will disperse…thus wasting all those hours of meditating. Aldred made a few hand signs and began his first attempt at absorbing the Qi. There are two ways to absorb Qi – the first way is to let the Qi move into you naturally…however, this takes a long time and Aldred just doesn’t have that much leisure time. He needed to break through as soon as possible or he will be put at an disadvantage once he grows up. The second way is to forcefully absorb Qi. This path is shorter but less stable and raises the chance of Qi Dispersion.
However, Aldred took on this risk and began to forcefully push the Qi into his body. After a few more hours, success presented itself to him. He was able to absorb a small amount of Qi. Having gathered this small amount, he was finally able to officially call himself a Qi Gathering 1st Stage cultivator. Next step in cultivating is to continue gathering Qi until he reaches a peak. At this peak, he will attempt to break through and form his own type of Qi – this is called Qi Forming. Of course, this will be saved for another time as Aldred’s parents have just finished renovating the cabin. Wow! A lot has changed in those hours. The once battered cabin now looks like a resort. Elena walked over to Aldred and picked him up.
“Did you miss me while I was working Al?” Elena said as she called him by his short baby name.
“Look at what mommy and daddy did. Isn’t it wonderful?” Kyle said as he approached the two.
Aldred wanted to agree, but his stomach suddenly growled. He blushed with embarrassment and tried to hide himself. His parents chuckled lightly at his inconvenience and comforted him.
“Come, let’s go eat something.” Elena said as she brought Aldred into the new home.
Four and a half years passed….
In the four and a half years, Aldred’s family had experienced many hardships. His mother quit her job as a baker after she couldn’t take any more of the gossip and insults from her co-workers and the shop’s customers about her “trash” son. She did not mind much as she told herself that it was for the best. She reasoned that with the free time she has now, she could stay home and focus fully on raising Aldred into a proper man. To add misfortune on misfortune, Kyle was fired from his post as Captain of the Border Guards. Sola City’s military department felt that it was an embarrassment to their city if they had someone related to the “No-Affinity trash” working in a high position like Captain of the Border Guards. Naturally, they offered him a position as one of the Border Guards but Kyle refused in the heat of the moment out of outrage and pride. Unemployed, Kyle regretted his outrageous decision and struggled to find another job in order to support his family. Finally, after many days of searching, he was able to land a job as a caravan escort for the Merchant Union.
Kids at Aldred’s age were out playing and forming friendships, however, that was not the case for Aldred. Because of the constant gossip of the parents and the adults of the city and the surrounding villages, the children learned not to associate themselves with Aldred. They began to think that it was okay to insult and bully Aldred as well…after all, their parents were already doing it. If Aldred was a kid, he would have fought back…but with his mature mentality, he chose to ignore the abusers. After some months, the children and the adults got tired of the cold shoulder and stopped abusing Aldred. Eventually, they forgot about his existence. This was for the best…with the outside disturbances gone, Aldred can wholeheartedly focus on his cultivation.
After Aldred became a Qi Gathering 1st Stage cultivator, he decided to start cultivating the technique he used in his past life – the Earth God Cultivation Technique. This cultivation technique was something he discovered in his past life while out venturing an ancient ruins. When a cultivator first begins to cultivate, he or she can choose what type of cultivation to use. Each cultivation technique will help determine the way their Qi is used. For instance, Earth-style Qi focuses on strength and defense – tough like rocks, unwavering like mountains, destructive like avalanches. And if it was Fire-style Qi, cultivators generally focuses on power and ferocity while Wind-style Qi users would focus on sharpness and speed…and so on.
So, Aldred began his cultivation in the Earth-style use of Qi. Qi exists everywhere – in the skies, in the water, in animals, and naturally in the earth. To cultivate in the style of the Earth, one must meditate in Full Lotus position on a patch of grass-less soil. Then, one must wait and focus and contemplate, until he or she could feel the Qi beneath them. Each breath must be long and deep. With each inhale, Qi should be absorbed or gathered into the body and with each exhale, Qi should be circulated throughout each meridian point of the body – thus tempering the body and expanding the Qi veins. When cultivators first start out cultivating Earth-style Qi, they must picture themselves to be a huge human-shaped boulder – unwavering and solid.
Of course the cultivation isn’t only meditation, breathing, and visualization. There are practical parts including stances and movements. For an Earth-style Qi user, strong lower body that is deeply rooted to the ground and connects the user to the earth is valued as top priority. To not have a well-trained foundation is to be vulnerable to collapse and failure. Just like how mountains have a wide base that supports the mountain as a whole. In addition to a strong lower body, a powerful upper body is needed as well. In short, strong upper body and an even stronger lower body. Stances included standing in different postures for long periods of time while channeling and circulating the Qi from the body to the earth and back in order to help the user form connections to the earth easier in the future. Postures include standing upright on two legs and on one leg, squatting with knees bent and back straight on two legs and on one leg, crouching with arms stretched out and butt almost touching the ground on two legs and on one leg, etc. All these stances are to help increase the strength of the core where the center of gravity is at and the lower body. These stances can be repeated with hands as well to increase the strength of the arms and shoulders. Naturally, there are more advanced forms of stances but they are usually a derivation of the basic stages mentioned only with slight changes in arm position and body position. Basic movements of punching, kicking, and stretching are used so that the arms won’t become too rigid.
For the first four years, Aldred continued with the meditation, breathing, and visualization portions of cultivation. Just by this alone, he was able to break through to the Qi Gathering 2nd Stage. After reaching five years of age, he began incorporating the stances and movement portions of cultivation. Other than cultivation, Aldred had also learned to read, write, and do simple arithmetic from his mother. He learned the general history of the world as well as the geography. When he reached five, along with the secret cultivation training, he was also taught basic swordsmanship and shield training from his father. Being a fighting expert in his past life, he was quick to understand and grasp the concepts of the training. This led his father to believe that he was talented as a warrior. Delighted, Kyle even tried to teach him strategic maneuvers but was scolded by Elena for putting too much on a plate.
This everyday process continued for half an year until finally, it was near the Autumn season – the time when school was about to start. Aldred is finally able to attend school but with his “No-Affinity” status, what school would want him? He couldn’t attend a Military school to train as a warrior because those schools only accept adults, which in this world adults are 15+ years old. Aldred was unfortunately only 5 1/2 years old. Aldred wondered why his parents won’t just continued to tutor him instead and when he asked, his father told him that he needed to experience the outside world and form social connections. They believe that despite Aldred’s status, he will still be able to attend a school, no matter how low rank it is. It’s the actions and connections that Aldred make that counts, not the school’s ranking. They will always support him and his decisions.
“Don’t worry father and mother,” Aldred replied on the fateful day as tears of gratitude formed in his eyes, “I will become a strong warrior that you will be proud of.”
“Don’t get into too much trouble dear.” His mother cried as his father embraced her tightly.
Nodding his head, Aldred set off to Sola City where many schools’ representatives are testing and recruiting.