267 Agony 1
The nervous system is arguably the most important part of the body. Being separated into two main parts – one consisting of the brain and spinal cord with the other containing their branching segments – the nervous system is essentially the central hub of the body.
In the martial world, this system is no less important. In fact, it was so important to cultivation that during the foundation stage, the 7th, 8th and 9th levels were all dedicated to priming this system.
'It seems that the nervous system is what gates the natural to the supernatural…' Dyon pondered over the complex array, slowly teasing apart its simpler parts before building toward the more complex.
From what he could see, the array wasn't 2D. In fact, it was his own lack of foundation that made him assume that it was 2D.
When studying an array of any kind, there were layers one must take into account. These layers were like a building block to proper understanding. And, from what Dyon could tell, the building blocks of this array stemmed from the information it held about the foundation stage and its importance.
According to the array – or, more specifically, how the array was constructed – it was becoming clear that energy cultivation built on itself much like the array did.
Strengthening accustomed the body to the foreign essence energy. Flesh was strengthened to support the coming increase in bone density and strength. And the increase in bone density and strength primed the body for an increase in marrow quality all before each of the last steps could properly protect the and sustain the improvement in your internal organs.
The last step was to improve the nervous system, and when you thought of the benefits – or more accurately, the strain – that came with that, it was suddenly very clear why you had to prime the rest of the body first.
The reasons for the importance of the nervous system were manifold.
For one, many neglect the fact that with faster movement speeds, faster communication is needed. If a martial artist could move at speeds close to that of sound or even light, but couldn't think or react faster than that, what was the use of the added speed? This was part of Dyon's problem. His aurora's 6th sense was useful, but it was greatly handicapped by his movement speed and reaction time.
Secondly, muscles rely on constant signals from nerves to respond. However, there are always refractory periods with such things – meaning times where signals are redundant or can't be sent due to a cool down time.
An improved nervous system eliminates this. Instead of being limited by how many signals you can send in rapid succession, you'll instead be limited by the amount of energy you have. Something that would greatly benefit a martial artist.
Thirdly, there was the idea of limits that stemmed from this second point. The nervous system of the mortal realm often limited mortals to what their body could handle, only rarely allowing them to surpass these limits. However, the martial world was different.
In a world where will power was among the most important things you could have, wouldn't a nervous system that didn't limit you based on your body's capabilities be ideal?
With the proper priming of the nervous system, a martial artist would suddenly gain full control of those limiters, able to push them at will should they have the mental fortitude to do so.
Fourthly, there was still the concept of the autonomic nervous system. This is a segment of the nervous system that perform involuntary actions a person wouldn't have to think about. These would include the pumping of your heart, or you digestion.
If properly primed, a martial artist at the peak of the foundation stage can control these systems at will. In fact, there were many techniques that relied on increasing heart or digestive rate.
The former could greatly boost combat abilities by increasing blood circulation at the expense of some internal damage. While the latter allows martial artist to replenish themselves more efficiently. In the mortal realm, digestion was very efficient, even to the point of resulting in waste material. However, this wasn't something martial artists had to worry about. By using techniques, you could suddenly deal with hard to digest things all while gaining energy efficiently and quickly.
In the end, this was why the nervous system was tempered so thoroughly. It was so important that those connections be refined and improved that the time investment was worth it. After this priming was complete, the future energy cultivation would increase one's control over it even more.
However, maybe the most important and intriguing point that Dyon found in his study was that the nervous system was actually the main connection to the main character of energy cultivation – the meridians.
This was how everything built up from each other. Every former stage of the foundation stage all led up to the remodeling of the nervous system, all so that one could have a proper gate way into energy cultivation.
Without this gateway, even sensing your meridians was near impossible. Why? Because the improvement of the nervous system is exactly what allowed one to sense their dantian… Without absolute control of one's body in every aspect, it would be impossible to even fathom what it took to energy cultivate.
This was why when Dyon finally reached the top – when he finally hit that pinnacle – his eyes brightened as though he had entered an entirely new world.
He could feel every cell of his body breathing in the energy around him. He could see his blood flowing through his veins. He could even feel the shocks of electricity that arced through his brain with every thought. It was as though he had entered a new state of being, a state he wasn't willing to let go.
And yet, he felt empty. He felt as though there was something missing, a part of him that was locked away. The feeling of loss pained his heart… He knew there was no road to continue forward from here.