The Gemstone Chronicles – Book 2 – Chapter 16

6 months later
 
Dale stood in a small copse of trees, large oaks that shivered in the wind. Scattered through the small circle of trees were several smaller trees, willows that flowed back and forth. The meadow wasn’t small, with a radius of roughly 60 feet (20 meters). The air inside the meadow gave off a faint feeling of age, as if it had laid untouched for centuries.

Dale picked up his rapier. A small, slender sword, made of a powerful combination of steel and monster core metal, it was a gift from his teacher. Dale slowly went through a number of motions, practicing the various forms his teacher had taught him. He keenly felt the flow of time, taking careful attention of the energy in his veins. As he went into his final kata, he began to circulate the energy in his energy veins. He rapidly formed a small ball of energy, streaming from his Core, and formed a mental ball with the energy in his head. He spread this mental ball to compress and cover his entire body. A layer of energy settled over his vision. Then, he willed the energy to compress time, forcing his perspective ahead of the perspective of the regular world.

Time began to slow, from Dales perspective. However, to an onlooker, it would appear that Dale was the one speeding up, and that time was perfectly normal. In this subject, both the onlooker and Dale are correct.

Time Arts are all about perspective. When Dale slows time for himself, that is only from his perspective. To other people, it is Dale that is speeding up time. This is known as the Time Paradox. After all, how can one be speeding up time if one is slowing time? It is, again, all about perspective.

Dale slowed time to 80%, focusing his mind and will. He launched a punch at the tree in front of him, causing a collage of leaves to fall. Dale focused his eyes on each leaf, memorizing them in his head. Then, with a swish, he began to dance.

His rapier swished back and forth, piercing each leaf precisely in the middle. Hundreds of leaves were pierced in just a few short seconds, as Dale renewed his focus, concentrating harder and harder. Dale felt a barrier, something causing him to stop. There were still a few more leaves left, he noticed, his blade flashing out. One of the leaves was about to touch the ground, and at Dales current speed, he noted that he wouldn’t be able to pierce it. However, he shot forward anyway, willing his entire being into speed.

“Faster. FASTER. FASTER!”

*WHOOOOSH* Suddenly, Dale felt a breakthrough, and time slowed to 78%. The leaf was pierced, with barely a centimeter to spare from the ground.

“Haha! Excellent Dale! Excellent!” his instructor Lem announced, clapping his hands. The teacher was covered in brown robes, looking none the worse for being so far outside the city. They had hiked about 8 miles from the southern gate, to the meadow they now trained in. “You’ve broken through to past 80%! I would expect none less of my student.” The teacher said, looking quite smug.

Dale smiled, happy his teacher was in a good mood. Dale was 10 and a half, and eager to grow up and reach the peak of power. He hadn’t forgotten what happened to his parents, but he understood his limits well enough to leave it alone for now.

Dale had, over the past several months, been training his balance to an almost excessive level. According to Instructor Lem, the more powerful your sense of balance and control was, the stronger an effect you could have on time. Ones level of cultivation effected it too, but your level of balance served as a type of multiplier. He made Dale do various activities. The most annoying one, in Dales admittedly biased opinion, was the one they were preparing to do right now.

Instructor Lem brought out a perfectly shaped earthen ball. It was a largish brown metal ball, perfectly rounded. It was about 2 feet wide (.67M), and was made purely to torture Dale. He glared at the ball. The ball glared back. Or, it would, if it had eyes.

“Let’s see how your balance has improved. You have almost broken through to the Iron Layer, correct?” Instructor Lem said, as he moved the ball towards the meadow center.

Dale nodded. Over the past 6 months, he had concentrated on his cultivation like crazy. His Copper Core had rapidly filled up, and now whenever he concentrated, streaks of iron appeared in his Core Aura. He would make a breakthrough within the next several weeks.

Instructor Lem set the ball down carefully, and stepped away. Dale took a moment to gather his composure, and hopped on to the ball, carefully balancing. Dale closed his eyes, moving the energy in his veins into a ball in his head, and compressing it along his body. By slowing time for himself physically, his balance and ability to recover from mistakes greatly increased.

Dale slowly formed his balance. He was concentrating as usual when it happened.

Suddenly, everything he could see fell into place. Everything could be seen, perfectly. Dale felt the balance, he felt the opposing forces as gravity clashed against electromagnetism, as ionic bonds formed and broke, he felt everything at once. It was as if he had a perfect clarity. His feet, which had previously been wobbling back and forth, unsteadily, suddenly drew perfectly still.

Dale looked over at his instructor and was astonished. Instructor Lem was in a perfect state of balance. He was perfectly opposing gravity, electromagnetism, and the various other forces in the world. Dale could see and feel all of this at once. He watched as his teacher drew out his rapier, perfectly balanced in his hand, and slowly began its usual kata. However, Dale saw an entire new world in the kata. Previously, Dale had just been following the format, moving his rapier in what he thought was a precise pattern. However, now that he could clearly see everything, he saw just how imperfect he was. Immediately, he began to follow Instructor Lem’s movements, balancing his rapier perfectly, and performing the kata as precise as possible. As he performed the kata perfectly, time began to slow at a powerful rate. It was as if the kata’s form slowed time more then his personal energy could. 80%..78%..76%..75%! Time was slowed to 75%! Dale was overjoyed, this was slower then he had ever achieved on his own!

Instructor Lem noticed his perfect balance, and responded, going deeper into the kata then he ever had before. Some of the moves that made no sense to Dale previously made perfect sense now. Everything was to maintain a perfect balance! With a perfect balance, incredible power could be found. These techniques looked weak and inefficient, but time flowed separately, and each strike posed incredible damage. Soon, they reached the climax of the kata, and Instructor Lem shot forth his rapier in a piercing motion. Dale followed suit, launching his own rapier forward, launching a powerful force to pierce through the meadow.

The very air itself trembled, as two powerful piercing blows blasted through the meadow. Several of the trees were partially or fully destroyed, scraping over the ground, causing two massive, deep craters. The ground briefly shook, as if in rejection of the perfectly balanced forces that impacted it.

Dale looked at Instructor Lem in awe. Instructor Lem smiled back,

“This is the true power of a Fallen Time Knight,” he began, with a smile, “You have successfully completed the first form. From now on, we will move on to the second. Now that you have mastered it, I will tell you it’s name.”

He brought out a scroll from his dark robes, reading a name off of it.

“Fallen Gods Lance” – First Technique of the Fallen Time Knights Art.

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