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Time had eroded the light yellow parchment. Not only were many of the handwritten words within blurred with age, the pages themselves stuck to each other as well. Several footnotes were stained with the trace of decay.
The book was written in form of ancient script, the worlds looping and distorted. It seemed like a three-year-old child could have written it better.
Xavier had hated reading and writing ever since kindergarten. With the ‘good fortune’ of a father with a doctorate in history, he’d had to understand various ancient writing styles since his youth. This specific script was a specialty of his, having been taught it seriously by his father.
Xavier managed to read the parts that were still legible.
“This is clearly a mythological story…” When he thought of his youth and how this storybook had accompanied him in his childhood, a faint smile arose on Xavier’s face.
“The Snake Dowager ruled the entire Shadow World, and her descendents could later be found throughout the vicinity of Sanal. They possessed great power and defeated the homo sapiens, the Elias and other ancient creatures. Finally, they occupied the entire star continent.”
“The Allsnake’s heirs were called ‘blood descendants’ and grasped the shadows, able to talk to all species of snakes. The blood descendants divided the continent into 15 kingdoms, crowning the most pure-blooded of them as their monarch…”
“They wrote this like it actually happened.” Young Xavier continued to flip the pages. Most of the book’s latter pages were spent describing the beauty of the Snake Dowager and her power. There was also rich descriptions of the Shadow World under her rule. Just as he had arrived at the latter half of the book, information appeared that made Xavier’s eyes light up.
“When the giant serpent’s final glorious empire fell, their ancestor’s bloodline mixed with other tribes. Theoretically, all creatures who possess the bloodline of the giant serpent can go through a period of cultivation and trigger their unique bloodline power…”
Xavier’s finger traced a datura flower bud, his fingertips stroking the uneven surface. This complicated craftsmanship definitely required skill, and was not something that was made for fun.
If one looked at it carefully, they could see many complex black runes on the flower. Still, about half had been worn away by time.
After the symbol was a bunch of meandering descriptions of training techniques. They suggested things like mixing together the blood of bats and lizards, smearing it under the nose to increase one’s chances of entering a meditative state.
‘This is what caused me to make such a huge fool of myself in kindergarten…’ Xavier’s face twitched a little. In his view, this book’s techniques were extremely childish. It seemed to have come from the primitive tribes who liked to prank people.
‘Even if it’s fake, they should have made it a little more realistic. Everybody knows that there is nothing like soul force or a weave. It’s impossible to harness these abilities to use magic…’ Xavier speechlessly turned over the pages until he reached the very end.
The handwriting here was rather new and was clearly added later. It was written in a modern language and didn’t seem to be difficult at all.
This first part of this new content seemed to be a self-introduction of someone known as Chanal. The main idea was that he was from the same tribe as the original author, but his ancestor’s records were far too absurd. He did not believe in the descriptions of his world travel as well.
However at the every end, Chanal had added something else. Reportedly, it was a complete military technique from his own tribe. It was originally meant to be used by cultivators.
“This looks a little more sincere— So it’s called Snakebite Fist?”
Xavier flipped over the pictures at the very end and discovered several unusually realistic figures of a human body. It was rather genuine in its complexity, and its content looked very similar to other high-level biology diagrams.
From his recent martial arts experiences, this physical training didn’t look as if it was just some crazy nonsense.
Soul energy and this weave had caused the humans of the Shadow World to acknowledge several extraordinarily powerful existence. It had aroused a popular craze in martial arts and extra-sensory perception. Sadly, this fad was soon found to be full of liars.
Apart from soul energy and the weave, extrasensory perception seemed to have disappeared from this world entirely.
After some half-baked consideration, Xavier had wasted a considerable sum of money to enter and train in a high-ranked martial arts school. Unfortunately, the only benefit it gave him was the strengthening of his muscles.
After all, those true inheritances had been tenaciously hidden away by the military instructors. Those without enough power and money would not receive proper instruction and become true brothers in training. It was unfortunate that although Xavier’s family was a little wealthier than others, they were not infinitely more opulent.
Primarily based on his intellect and good relationship with his martial instructors and apprentice brothers, Xavier had learnt several genuine things.
‘According to the teachings of the red-nosed military instructor, rank 0 to rank 2 spells are completely unable to harm experts with truly powerful cultivation techniques. Perhaps… Before the command is given, they could completely break off the wrist of ‘Swift’ that you prepared…’
Xavier looked at the resources on the Snakebite Fist and discovered that the written account was very detailed and reliable. From the most basic breathing techniques to the attacks and defensive techniques, there were also records of the necessary drug ingredients that were required for the cultivation. It could clearly be seen that Chanal was a very meticulous person at heart.
‘I fulfill all the basic requirements, so next is to buy these ingredients and make some training equipment…’ Xavier’s eyes seemed to burn with fervour, ‘Seems like I found something good when I was young. Shall I give it a go?’
“Wait, didn’t I plan to remain an ordinary man. What’s the point of these fighting techniques?”
Xavier suddenly thought of his old military instructor’s advice, “Those with real power these days are the strong mechanics who grasp several high-ranked spells. Researchers in psi energy who’ve graduated from famous universities are also strong, especially those with doctorates. Fighters have no chance of resisting their high-ranked spells…”
Xavier clearly recalled the desolate look in his instructor’s eyes.
“Yes, as long as one has enough money, they can easily download and use low-ranked spells. It’s not impossible to obtain mid-ranked spells either. Those martial artists who train their bodies and use martial arts to cultivate themselves are all fools. So why am I still considering it? I should hurry up and pass the entrance exam for the high-ranked mechanic permit and obtain the authority to use mid-ranked spells. Then, even the world’s top 500 companies will fight for me…”
Xavier sighed and shoved the voluminous book back into its original location. There was a trace of regret in his heart that, try as he might, he was unable to completely suppress…
Once the youth left and the door clicked shut behind him, the room was plunged into darkness. Leylin’s figure appeared suddenly, stepping across limitless space to arrive directly inside.
The bookshelf was opened up, and the large book was wrapped in a faint light that delivered it to Leylin’s hands. Page after page turned rapidly, until Leylin stopped at the symbol of the black datura flower bud.
“The Allsnake descendants’ inheritance? It seems like history’s hurt it a lor…” Given Leylin;s knowledge and experience, a single touch told him this book was written 1257 years ago. The author was an extraordinary expert, about equal in power to a rank 2 or rank 3 Magus.
It was only that the expert had received an incomplete form of the inheritance. With the passage of time, it had been reduced to this dilapidated state.
“According to the book’s meditation techniques, it’s still possible to cultivate extraordinary power. However, the chance of becoming a monster is even greater…
“The martial techniques at the end, however, abandon meditation techniques and spiritual energy. They’re rather suitable to this world’s laws. Perhaps it’s possible to cultivate something using it…”
Leylin vaguely gave his opinion before tossing the book back to its place in the bookshelf. As he was now, he was far too lazy to read this sort of thing. He instead turned his attention to the spines of the many black books that looked like a wave.
“A historian’s study… It should be enough for me to know how the world has changed,” Leylin’s eyes were fixed on the upper right hand corner of the bookshelf, where a voluminous book lay. The A.I. Chip’s light scanned across it at lightning speed.
It was most likely the history of this specific family, This scholar had preserved a great deal of his material books, which made Leylin feel pleasantly surprised.
Although he could access many powerful safety nets and even the Shadow Weave itself to obtain all he needed, it was difficult to avoid leaving traces behind that way. If it was discovered by the Mistress of the Night, he would face a difficult situation. Compared to that, even if this primitive method of collecting information was more tedious it could completely avoid Shar’s detection.
The bookshelf showed that the teenager’s father was quite meticulous. It was laid neatly in order, sorted by dates.
The bottommost section contained ancient myths and stories of bards, which seemed like the owner did not care very much for. In the middle were a stack of history books. Some of them even had their pages threaded by strings, old enough to be sold as antiques. On the uppermost portion was modern history, and the brand new covers gave off a glossy look. It was evident that these books had been picked up the most by the owner.
The history and changes of the Shadow World soon lay bare for Leylin’s perusal.
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