Chapter 7: Training Ends
Two months had passed since I started training, and I had been doing the running portion of that training for little over a week now. I was at my limit I didn’t even think I would be able to make it through the rest of the week. Nevertheless, I pushed harder than I’d ever pushed myself in my entire life. Though I was pushing harder than ever I still didn’t believe I’d make it through this part of the training.
I awoke on the tenth day of the running training, ready to accept the fact that I wouldn’t be able to finish. Then my master walked into my hut, he no longer had a sinister smile on his face as he had for the past couple of weeks. “Today we will finally be starting the real training; everything up until now has been child’s play.” He said with a serious expression on his face, it wasn’t anger or unhappiness at all it was just completely serious. I had never seen his face that way before, and it made me a little bit worried, but at the same time, I was very excited. Mostly because I didn’t want to be running anymore, but also I really wanted to get to start the training the way it was supposed to be done.
We headed back to the waterfall as we always did, he stared at me for a few minutes. “Now watch closely, pay close attention to everything I do.” He said, then closed his eyes, took a deep breath and began to speak again. “First thing you must do is envision what you want to do, then begin to time everything over a few movements in your mind. Your breath, your heartbeat, and how every muscle must be moved. Then you clear your mind of everything but what you’re trying to do, then gather every ounce of strength in your entire body. Then you give your muscles every bit of that strength all at once. And finally you move.” His last words were met with action as he vanished. Then from behind the waterfall I saw his hand waving at me, and then there he was next to me tapping on my shoulder.
“Now before you try to do that, you must first meditate, then we will find a clear path for you to practice on. You will practice moving along this path with your eyes closed at a normal speed, once you’ve gotten used to it. Then you will speed up doing it faster each time until you know every muscle that must move to complete the task. You must know every breath you take and every heart beat that happens along this path. Once you understand which muscles must be moved, and when they must be moved you will be able to speed that up in your mind and then try to actually do a phantom step.” He said to me and then vanished.
To be honest those were the worst instructions I had ever gotten.
I meditated for a short time, then found a clear path and walked around it a few times with my eyes open. I close my eyes and carefully walked around it afterwards. I stumbled a few times, but after the tenth time around I was able to do it without making any mistakes. Then I started running around it, at first I went slow, then after I went as fast as I could. It was a short path so it was easy to run around it a few hundred times without getting very tired. I rested for a little while as I gathered all my strength together, then I tried it. It worked in a sense, I moved slightly faster than I was able to running, however it was still not nearly fast enough. I was moving at a normal rate, though I was running very quickly.
After a while, I began to think I was doing something wrong, or maybe something was missing altogether. Oh well, I thought to myself, it wasn’t the worst part of the training anyway, I was at least able to take my time and rest as much as I needed. I continued like this day after day for two weeks, I did manage to speed up a little bit each day. But after the two weeks, I had reached my limit, I wasn’t speeding up anymore and no matter how hard I tried, I went the same speed.
I needed to do something else, I needed to do something more. I needed more speed and I need a lot of it. Even if I was able to double my speed I wouldn’t be able to catch up to them. But at the moment I had no clue what I could do in order to speed myself up. I had hit a dead-end nothing I did at this point was helping me go any faster, I wasn’t even getting tired any more.
“Well well, it looks as though you’ve gotten as fast as you can at this point.” Said my master, I just looked at him and nodded it was obvious that I couldn’t go any faster. He just gestured for me to follow him. We got on a small boat and went across the lake to the very edge of where the light from the waterfall reached. He showed me to a cave that looked as though it was carved into the very walls centuries ago. “Here on the walls of this cave are the writings that you will need to get to the level you want to be. It holds the secrets to the Phantom style, once you understand what’s written here you will have the knowledge you need to learn in order to use the Phantom style properly. After that you must get back to the village without a drop of water on you.” He pointed back to the village across the vast expanse of water.
“Oh yeah, you’re going to have to bring back one of those fruits too.”
He pointed up above me at a tree about fifty feet high with small orange fruits on it. He smiled and then vanished back to the village. I looked up at the tree and could see that everything around it was smooth, almost as if it was polished. There would be no way I could climb up and pick anything without falling back into the lake below. That meant that the only way I would be able to pick any of the fruits, would be if I were to use the Phantom style to get to the fruits and pick one.
I walked into the cave and as my eyes adjusted to the low light, I began to see what was there, and it was amazing. Around me were glowing words, on the walls, floor, and ceiling, but as I took a closer look I could see that there were three distinct languages. One on the ceiling and one on the two sides of the cave, but on the floor was something I didn’t understand, it look like a language and looked like numbers. I stood in awe and shock as a realization hit me.
I had been training for this moment my entire life, each of the languages on the walls were ones that I had learned to speak as a child. I never expected to ever use them in my life seeing that no one I had ever met had even heard of them before. The odd thing was I had learned hundreds of languages in my childhood but there were only a few of them that I had never used with anyone else but my father. And each of the ones written on the walls was one of those.
I started to read the words on the wall, hoping that not only would it teach me how to use the Phantom style better, but also hoping it would give me new insight into my father plans. However, as I read it, I just became more confused. At first, I thought it was because I was reading it out of order. But no matter what order I read it in or where I started, it was still all total nonsense. It seemed as though it was all just words randomly jumbled together on the walls. Maybe there is a code in here somewhere, I thought to myself as I looked around. After all, whoever wrote this went to the trouble of writing it in three different languages, so it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to put it in code to.
Day after day, I swam to the cave and studied the walls. I would spend the entire day studying the walls every single word and every carving of each word. Weeks went by and I memorized every letter, every shape and every curve on those walls, and yet still I learned nothing.