13 Heaven“s Chimes
Dyon stared up at the ceiling, sweating profusely. His ragged breaths filled the room.
Lifting his hand up, golden lights flickered in his eyes. 3 small formation appeared in an instant, revolving around his hand. They expanded and contracted to his will, shining white gold. Dyon flipped himself up, stabilizing himself in a horse stance. His arm retracted to his side as he formed a fist, causing two of the formations to fuse with his arm. The third hovered in front of him, expanding rapidly. Dyon's eyes flashed as the golden patterns of the defensive array appeared larger and larger.
Dyon's fist collided with the formation, causing ripples to run through it. Amplification arrays appeared at his feet as he jumped backwards, stretching out his arm, 10s of mini formations spun around his arm. Dyon leaped forward.
The defensive formation burst apart, sparling lights of white and gold rained down in the room.
Dyon held his aching arm, 'oof, I didn't get the balance of hardening arrays and amplification arrays right that time. Too much amplification and not enough reinforcement. But, I'll get it right soon enough. Right now, the only amplification I can speed array is at about 1.5x, if I refine the simplified array some more, it should hit 2x. The problem is that the hardening array doesn't affect my body to nearly the extent the amplification arrays do. So, I need to balance out the hardening to amplification ratio to almost 2 to even 3.'
Dyon shook his head. He knew he needed to spend some time on higher level arrays soon. He noticed that his soul became stronger the more he practiced array alchemy. So, he'd get stronger with diligent practice, even without a cultivation method. Dyon was quite surprised about this, but when he thought about it, it made sense. From his understanding, while energy and the body can have better methods of improvements than others, the soul was odd. No matter the method of improvement, the foundations only depend on one's innate soul strength. Aside from better soul cultivation methods being more efficient, soul cultivation solely relied on talent. So, Dyon didn't need to worry about diverging to wrong paths. Since his aurora had reached its second stage, that implied that Dyon's soul strength was already at the peak of the foundation stage. The reason he couldn't make real use of this was because he had no technique mediums to implement his soul, so he could only use it to apply pressure and it could defend itself, but he couldn't attack.
'Doesn't matter, considering the 6th sense my aurora gives me and the versatility of the arrays I know I doubt this shitty academy has any students I can't escape from unscathed. As long as I'm willing to break a few bones, I can reach ridiculous speeds and power. After I master 4th common level speed arraying, I'll be unstoppable among students, even if they're at the peak of the foundation stage. Although… I shouldn't look down on this world. There may be some geniuses who have just as much flexibility and versatility as I do. In order to really be safe, I might need to study a weapon to mastery and see if I can begin understanding wills. If I can incorporate wills to my arrays, they'll reach a next level of perfection.'
Dyon knew that formations had different levels of perfection. Because he used speed arraying, he was well aware that the quality of his arrays was severely degraded from their perfect form. For example, the original first common level amplification array had 2x amplification, but it was only 1.5x at the moment for Dyon. What Dyon didn't know is that reaching perfection for most array alchemists was impossible. In fact, 1.5x is something they'd strive for after spending hours drawing the original array. Yet, Dyon reached this level with a simplified version and still thought it wasn't good enough. Array Alchemist Grandmasters must be rolling in their graves. Maybe only celestial level array alchemists could guarantee Dyon's speed and an amplification of 2x.
Dyon looked towards his window to see bright blue once again, 'it's been 3 days. If I count the time I was out cold, maybe about 5 days to a week has passed. I think it's about time I go to the array alchemy faction. I have a few ideas about what I could do for them, but first I have to see the state they're in.'
Dyon was about to walk out the door when he heard his stomach grumble and caught a whiff of himself, 'okay maybe some food and a shower first…'
Dyon walked out of his room with his classic sweats and T. The clicking of his flip flops followed him as he walked through the hallway, ignoring the weird looks he got. Think backing to the map of the school he had memorized, he knew that the array alchemy faction should be in a small corner on the library side of the Patia-Neva pillar.
"Ridiculous. Usual pillar factions have an entire floor to themselves, maybe even multiple floors, but they get a small corner."
Dyon walked to the library to find the usual large desk and massive black monitor. As he was about to walk past it, a flash caught his eye as the monitor flicked on.
"I was wondering if you were dead you know," said Libro with a massive smile on his face.
"Me? Dead? Never," Dyon grinned, "plus it's only been a few days, did you miss me so much?"
"A few days? It's been almost 3 weeks. You must have really been out of it."
Dyon started, "3 weeks?"
'Must have taken time for my soul to power up and my aurora to reach the next level. Otherwise, it wouldn't possibly take that long.'
Dyon recovered quickly though, "Maybe I was busy figuring out how to complete the incomplete technique you gave me," a mysterious smile creeped across his face.
"You?... Interesting, it seems I've underestimated you yet again," Libro shook his head. He should stop giving such a monster any boundaries at all. Of course he would have realized the technique was incomplete.
"You'd be surprised how proficient I am now, I can even speed read multiple books at a time if I spread my consciousness"
"Spread your consciousness…" Libro looked at Dyon in confusion before a sudden realization hit him, 'innate aurora… the sixth sense…. Monster.'
Before Libro could even speak again, Dyon had already waved goodbye and leaped over the desk, too lazy to walk around it.
Walking to the further corner of the library, Dyon found a door with a shabby sign above it reading: Array Alchemy Faction. He lightly knocked and waited patiently.
A while went by, so Dyon decided to knock again, but before he could, the door swung open. A disheveled man appeared wearing a worn out red elder's robe. His hair was erratic and charred black in some places, but you could barely tell that burnt portions from the normal brunette color. His beard was massive, but somehow not long. Coupled with his hair, it was almost like his face was encased in a sphere of burnt hair.
If you really focused, you could tell he was a lot younger than he seemed to be. But, his disposition was that of an old eccentric.
"Eli? You've grown taller. I thought you were already here."
"Uh…" Dyon had a weird look on his face as he looked at the man he assumed headed the array alchemy faction, "No, senior I'm Dyon. I came to join. I'm a friend of Eli's"
"Join?" An incredulous look passed through the elder's face. Almost as if he had never heard something so ridiculous. But, he quickly recovered, "Two first years want to join? This must be a blessing from the heavens. Come, come. I've been in need of help for so long."
Dyon awkwardly scratched the back of his head before following the elder in, 'seems like the array alchemist faction needs even more help than I thought'.
The inside of faction was a mess of paper, inks and torn up plants. The room was about double the size of Dyon's, but for an entire faction, it seemed lack luster. In the corner, Dyon found a familiar skinny boy picking seeds off of withered plants and dropping them into a crafted basket.
Eli wiped sweat off of his brow before looking up. A look of surprise flashed across his face, "DYON!".
He rushed up in excitement, "I thought the worst had happened. I haven't heard from you in so long. I'm happy you're here."
Dyon smiled, 'what a weird faction. The student is here, but the elder got the door? I might like it here.'
"I'm here to help in whatever way I can. Elder… er, sorry senior, I'm not sure of your name."
The elder waved his hands while looking down at his notes, "don't call me elder. You can just call me Uncle Ail, that's what Eli calls me."
Dyon clasped his hands respectfully, "it's nice to meet you uncle Ail."
Uncle Ail nodded his head without looking up, "we haven't had many members at all, and we don't have much to offer. But, we'll be a family here. I won't tolerate any nonsense. It takes years of study to succeed here. It'll be slow. But, if you work hard, you'll see that there's no other secondary occupation that can compare. We're defenders, healers, and fighters. We're romantics, demons, and gods. There is no comparison. A blacksmith can only forge. An herb expert's best quality is their tea. A beast tamer spends their time in shit filled stalls. There is no occupation as noble or as omnipresent as ours," Uncle Ail looked up with a serious expression, almost as if to tell Dyon he meant every word he said. He was pleasantly surprised to not find any disbelief in Dyon's eyes, all he found was determination.
"Tell me about your experience so I can see where I should start you off at. Eli has quite a bit of understand about plants because of his family, so he can already be consider half a first common level array alchemist. That meaning that he has all the necessary knowledge for the alchemy portion, but not the array portion. Although his plant knowledge surpasses the first common level, he hasn't met the other requirements."
Dyon pondered for a bit, "I have read and memorized every book on plants and arrays in this school. So, my knowledge should cover up to the 5th common level of array alchemy. I've awakened my aurora to the second stage and can therefore form a second stage level alchemy fire. Oh, and I'm proficient with 3 1st common level arrays."
Dyon looked up from his thoughts to find Uncle Ail and Eli looking at him like he was some sort of zoo animal.
"Which family do you come from, don't you know how expensive it is to awaken your aurora? Let alone to the second level?"
Dyon smiled and said nothing. Instead, he flicked his wrists, letting 3 complex array spin across the top of his hands.
"What kind of nonsense is this? Are you trying to play tricks with my eyes? I'm not as old as I look you know."
Eli tugged on Dyon's shirt and whispered, "you shouldn't use array plates to try and fool Uncle Ail, Dyon. His eyes are sharp."
"Of course, you're using array plates," Uncle Ail said in disgust, "how else could you form arrays so quickly? If you want to flaunt your riches, do so somewhere else. I only accept those who are serious about learning."
Dyon came to a sudden realization, "Oh, I understand."
Instead of speaking further, Dyon placed his hands in front of him and his eyes flashed with a golden light.
"Innate aurora…" Eli whispered in agitation.
A complex array began forming in front of Dyon. Lights swirled as the gentle hum of soul energy filled the air. The lines thickened and thinned. They crossed and diverged. The starting point of the drawing seemed to come from 8 separate origins. Almost as if 8 minds were working on finishing the array together.
"This… the split minds drawing technique… He's barely past 13, how is he doing this."
'With this technique, at least I won't need to stand for hours doing one formation. I can only split my mind 8 ways for now, but hopefully I'll be able to do more in the future.'
Half an hour later, the hums ceased and a deathly quiet filled the room. But, before anyone could comment, chimes that seemed to come from the heavens resonated with the array. The array seemed to shake with happiness, bowing to thank its maker.
"This… It's the perfection realm."
Uncle Ail didn't know if his eyes and ears were deceiving him, but he seemed to get younger by 10 years. His eyes shone with a bright light he hadn't had in decades.
When an array perfectly resonated with heaven's intent, the bells of the realm of perfection rang. This wasn't held to just array alchemy, this occurred for every secondary occupation when a task was complete to such an extent. Although Dyon only received one chime, the fact he used the split mind technique and just his age was enough to shock anyone.
Outside the room, the whole school vibrated in resonance with the chime. Everyone looked up, having no idea where this was coming from.
Patia-Neva looked up from his desk, a look of disbelief coming across his face.
Delia wiped sweat off her brow while holding her sword steady, trying to feel the vibrations of the chime, 'who was it?...'
Madaleine looked past her uncle and to the monitor, watching Dyon's golden hued eyes with curiosity. A smile crossed her fairy-like features as no one could tell what she was thinking.
Libro closed his eyes and shook his head, "monster…"
Back in the room, Uncle Ail and Eli looked happy beyond words.
"This is the resurrection of our faction!" Uncle Ail stood in agitation.
"Although you haven't been officially recognized by an Array Alchemy Guild, your level of expertise is at the very least at the peak of the 1st common level. And that's probably an underestimate," Eli said with a massive smile on his face.
"Wait, if you could do that, why would you use array plates," questioned Uncle Ail, "it's not good to rely on them you know."
Dyon scratched his head awkwardly, "the truth is, I didn't use an array plate. I just simplified the array so I could draw it in the least amount of time. I can't afford a good cultivation technique right now, so I wanted to learn array alchemy to protect myself."
The look on Uncle Ail's face was priceless. He shook his head as his lips trembled into a bitter smile, "I guess it's really true. Not everyone is born equal. You geniuses will be the end of me."
Dyon raised an eyebrow. He had a feeling uncle Ail wasn't talking about him anymore.
Uncle Ail shook his head, "It's such a shame to waste such a well-made formation, regardless of the fact it only took you a half hour to make. Here," Uncle Ail handed Dyon a formation plate.
Dyon looked up in surprise. Then a grin spread across his face, "this should sell for quite a lot, right uncle? Let's turn the school upside down."
Uncle Ail looked at Dyon like he was looking at a monster. But then he smiled too, "it seems like the heavens haven't forgotten about our little faction."
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