Dale trained for three hours straight. He had started training approximately at noon, and it was now in the late afternoon. His muscles were tired from repeated use, his mind rapidly tiring as well. After multiple attempts, and several failed tries, he had successfully formed a single point of energy in his head using the energy circulating in his energy veins.
Dale was, at the moment, only a 10th layer peak innate strength cultivator. He had yet to fully condense his Core, and become a Core cultivator, so the energy he could draw on was not yet complete. For him to be able to successfully practice the 1st layer of the Slowed Time Fist Art was beyond belief and shouldn't be possible for a normal person. If anyone had been looking on and saw this, they would have assumed that the boy was a long time practitioner that just looked young. After all, Time Arts are extremely hard to train in. Despite Dale’s early success; for every ten thousand students that attempted this Art, perhaps one would manage to focus the first stage. It was incredibly difficult, and not something anyone could accomplish. However, Dale succeeded.
Focusing on the point of energy in his mind, he began trying to compress the power into a circle. After a few seconds of wobbling, into a faintly circle-ish blob shape, the energy fell apart and dissipated.
Dale sighed, a bit disappointed. He hadn’t truly expected to be able to master the 2nd layer on his first try, but he had hoped. He went back to meditating, focusing on the information he had already mastered. A few minutes later, Feng barged in.
“Dale! Let’s go practice our Arts! I just got the hang of my Overlord's technique, how about you?” he said.
Dale nodded, saying, “I sorta have a feel for the first layer of one of my Arts, the Slowed Time Fist, we can give it a chance.”
Feng and Dale walked out to the nearby courtyard, continuing on to the space in between dorms. When Dale and Feng were younger, they would practice meditating and training battles on the grass here, for fun. They got yelled at several times for making large amounts of noise. They got their share of odd looks, but they didn’t particularly care.
The Overlord Flame Art, a technique in which one seeks the energy in one’s veins, accumulating them just below the knuckles in one’s hand. Then, the user focuses the energy into powerful balls, below their knuckles. After compressing the energy, the user will have completely concealed the Art’s power in their hands. When they strike a blow, first the impact from their innate strength will hit the opponent, then the Flame Art’s strength is released, and a second impact immediately smashes into the same spot, causing a huge boost in power. This technique was developed by the infamous “Overlord Charod Gorshyle.” It was derived off his Overlord Fist Art, adapting to use Fire energy instead of Aura.
Feng, with the help of his Lords Bloodline, managed to rapidly advance, and learned the first layer in just a few hours of practice. He had, apparently, destroyed several of the surrounding trees, resulting in a reprimand from the teachers. Instead of practicing on inanimate objects, Feng decided to work with Dale.
Feng proudly showed off his technique, tossing some rocks in the air, and crushing them to dust. For one who had yet to completely form his core, it was quite impressive to see.
Dale looked on, neutral feeling. It wasn’t that he didn’t think he could combat Feng’s technique, he felt he could sufficiently dodge it, but he felt like it was stronger than his attacks. The Slowed Time Fist gave barely any power to the attack, and while it could become insanely fast, it didn’t really have the impact he wanted.
Feng lined up to spar, “Are you certain you can take this fist on? I know you have an insanely strong body, being at the peak of the 10th layer, but this attack is pretty dangerous.” It sounded arrogant, but Feng didn’t mean for it to be so. He simply didn't want to put Dale in any danger.
Dale smiled confidently, “Don’t worry, you won’t even touch me.”
“Hah! We will see about that.” Feng smirked, letting out a yell.
“Overlord’s 1st layer! Fire Impact!” he cried, throwing a fist towards Dale.
Dale stood perfectly still, concentrating on forming the circular point in his mind. All the energy within his body focused on this specific moment. He prepared to try and form the energy on his arm to let him block Feng's attack. However, at that moment, something odd happened.
Instead of forming on his arm, he felt like he could form the entire circle inside his body, along his skeleton and muscle frames. Quickly, he fed the energy throughout his body, compressing time.
Suddenly, for Dale, time slowed down. It didn’t slow down a great deal, perhaps it moved to 9/10ths the speed, but it was clearly perceptible.
Feng's fist, streaming tiny bursts of fire energy on his knuckles, flew towards Dale. Where previously it had been a blazing burst towards him, now was quite easily perceptible. It didn’t move slowly, per se, but it was slowed enough, or from another perspective, Dale was now fast enough, that he managed to dodge with a minimum of movement, barely avoiding the fist as it went by.
As Feng tried to swing his body around as he missed, Dale’s own fist shot out, moving extremely fast. If an onlooker had bothered to pay attention to the battle between the two boys, he would have seen an odd shimmer surrounding Dale’s fist, as he slipped through Feng’s guard, smashing against his chin.
Dale, expecting his blow to just be at the 10th layer like his strength currently was, watched in astonishment as Feng was sent flying nearly 4 meters away.
“What??” he said, startled. There’s no way his fist should be that powerful; when Feng and Dale normally sparred, he could barely push Feng back a step. However, when he used his Slowed Time Fist Art, it blasted Feng back several meters.
Feng groaned, “Ow. Teaches me right to talk down to you.” he said, laughing it off, “When did you get so strong?”
“I don’t know!” Dale said, looking at his fist in astonishment.
Suddenly, Dale collapsed to the ground, darkness closing in on him as if a great weight was crushing him. Fatigue beyond belief crashed into him, as his consciousness slipped away.