"Oh my god! Are you okay?" Sophie saw her poor mentor soaring through the air and crashing into the floor of the holodeck. Her eyes stopped glowing eerily and the strange emotions present in her chest vanished almost as quickly as they appeared.
She hurriedly ran towards the sorry looking figure laying down on the ground. Jack had a much higher cultivation level than the young miss and hence did not sustain any injuries. Him flying backwards was due to having been caught off guard by the sudden and unexpected attack.
Well. his sense of pride had been greatly diminished
"Yes. Have no fear milady, I was only um testing your ability to track down a target and I felt the need to act a bit," Jack shamelessly replied.
Who know what would happen to his reputation if this matter spread to Katarina and the rest of the death guards?
He received a doubtful look from Sophie but continued to talk as if the incident never occurred.
"But how did you find me in the middle of the holographic illusion," he curiously asked.
No matter how much he racked his brains, there was just no possible way that a qi body cultivator would be able to know any techniques that could dispel that level of illusion. Sophie had not even learnt any qi techniques .so was it simply blind luck?
Sophie c.o.c.ked her head in bafflement and her answer made her teacher want to spit blood,
"I just used my eyes and the holograms just went away on their own."
She decided not to mention that an overwhelming feeling of adrenaline was coursing through her veins at the mere thought of hunting him down. Honestly, Sophie's memories were a bit vague after the challenge was issued as her body simply moved automatically.
"That's simply fascinating! Could it be that your mother's race is able to dispel illusions and mental manipulation techniques?" Jack wondered.
Sophie just shrugged as she had no answer to that question. Her father did not tell her the full abilities of her mysterious mother.
Jack noticed her silence and believed that the duke was keeping it a secret and hence dropped the matter.
"Here choose one of these four to learn over the next two months."
He casually reached into his bag and pulled out four tattered old books. Jack cheerfully handed them to Sophie and patiently waited for her to reach a decision.
There were four options that lay before her and Sophie had to consider the pros and cons of each method carefully as they were all vastly different.
The movement technique of the bunch was the 'Cloud Treading Dragon' which allowed the user to rapidly increase their speed and temporarily glide in the air.
The palm skill was the 'Noxious Yin Palm' and would cause internal injuries that would weaken and poison the recipient of the attack.
She held no interest in the sword technique and foot technique at least for the time being after reading on the introduction page that each would take over five months to learn.
Sophie could not perform these skills in the past as each would consume a certain amount of qi from her dantian.
Cultivation was built upon two fundamental practices that would form a cycle of strength in the user.
Qi gathering techniques would increase the cultivation level of the practitioner such as 'The Spider Whisper Art' that Sophie had found written down on the monument.
Each level of cultivation would mark an increase in the amount of qi present in the body which could be used to unleash powerful attacks and abilities. These attacks were based on cultivation techniques such as movement, sword etc.
But which was the right option
Sophie stood still in agony for a few moments before reaching out to the furthest book on the left.
She chose the Cloud Treading Dragon movement technique.
"Justify your choice," her mentor demanded.
"I learnt an important lesson from fighting my father which is that a fight is won by the person who strikes first." Sophie explained with confidence.
A small smile appeared on Jack's face, but he just gestured for her to go off to the side of the room to practice.
It was the perfect answer.
What was the use of great strength if one cannot even hit their opponent? Many young cultivators wanted to seek glory and trained fist, leg and sword techniques but speed would separate the genius from the common man.
Cultivation manuals were relatively easy to understand, and Sophie gathered her qi at the acupoints in her feet. The forms necessary for practice were outlined in the book so she spent a couple of peaceful hours trying and failing to interpret the technique.
This was a much more relaxing session than the previous one with her dad!
Unfortunately, Sophie's happy life was interrupted by a sharp voice from Jack who had been overseeing her progress the whole time.
"There is something I've been curious about have you ever tried using those spider appendages in a combat setting?" Jack suddenly asked.
"Um I don't think that they can be used. I can't seem to be able to control them very well," Sophie replied.
Actually, the thought of using her new body parts had been contemplated but when she attempted to move them in the mirror, she found that they were only capable of small side to side movement.
Jack said nothing but walked up to her slowly and withdrew a small cylinder from the inside of his waist. He pressed a button and several tiny nanomachines flew up to form the shape of a blade with the cylinder as the hilt.
"Increase the sharpness to level 4," he muttered quietly.
He swung the sword towards one of Sophie's spider legs and there was a resounding crash as the blade was reflected.
Sophie immediately checked the status of the leg but could not see a single trace of the sword strike. Jack stepped back and a contemplative look appeared on his face as he spoke with no small amount of astonishment.
"It seems like your appendages can withstand the strike of a grade 4 weapon that has not been embedded with qi energy. I'm curious to find out whether or not the density will increase as you ascend cultivation levels."
There were so many tests that he wanted to run on Sophie but the mental image of her father's reaction if he found out scared those thoughts away from his head.
There was quite a bit of battle potential of these appendages that could be explored safely.
Jack stood still for a few moments as he made adjustments to his training plan, there was no need to teach her how to dispel illusions as the early level cultivation techniques were less effective than her golden eyes.
Instead that time would be better spent figuring out how to use those four bioweapons on her back.
"I want you to try moving only the upper right spider leg in a stabbing motion," he calmly lectured.
Sophie nodded and began to take a series of deep breaths. It was a strange feeling having these extra body parts.
They somehow felt foreign and yet familiar at the same time.
There was no evidence that their use was combat viable but yet Sophie could not shake off the instinct that her legs were dangerous weapons that could improve her strength.
"I am the protagonist. My cultivation talent will allow me to soar into the heavens! Who has ever heard of heroes being stuck on the training phase" Sophie quietly whispered to herself.
Sui Meng's old supervisor would constantly preach about self hypnotising techniques that could trick the mind into performing at its best.
Suddenly a breakthrough occurred!
It was like a gate had been released within her mind and Sophie could feel an unfamiliar power rushing through her veins. These spider legs were as simple and easy to use as the fingers on her hand.
"Teacher I got it!" Sophie yelled in excitement.
This was the time for her to showcase the amazing progress of a favoured child of heavens who would overturn the galaxy.
She concentrated hard with beads of sweat pouring steadily down her face and eventually her upper right leg moved two centimetres forward.
An awkward silence reigned between the two and Sophie simply wished that the ground could swallow her up.
Why was the script wrong!