4 “Passing” The Affinity Tes
After Jam left the Sect Head's mansion, he walked with both the lecturer from the Principle Lecture Hall and Rina. After the lecturer showed Jam to his courtyard, Jam was left alone with Rina. Rina, still reluctant with regards to talking to Jam after his outburst towards her, only looked at him with endless questions running through her mind.
Jam broke the ice "So... Where do you want to 'discuss daoist etiquette?' My courtyard?" The duo were currently just outside of his courtyard, so Jam thought his question was just for her to begin talking to him. He never expected Rina would react to his question in such an aggressive way.
"Are you dumb? What kind of guy just asks a girl to go to his house? Obviously we're going to go to a public place, so no one gets the wrong idea." Jam didn't understand Rina's response; more specifically he didn't understand the meaning of "getting the wrong idea." But somehow he knew not to ask any questions about this topic as it would, in one way or another, bring him more unnecessary trouble.
Rina on the other hand was completely overreacting. What did she expect Jam to do? And what would people think about seeing her in his house? They are, after all, just a couple of ten-year-olds; though to be honest, they could pass for seventeen-year-olds.
And so the dynamic duo ten-year-olds began their walk to the cafeteria; the public place Rina chose. Along the way, Rina decided to tell Jam about the various important places in the academy, before beginning the lesson on etiquette.
"Here's a map of the entire academy grounds. This place is so large that we would be walking for days if I showed you every building so I'll only tell you about the most important places before heading to the cafeteria for some lunch."
Rina made a circle gesture around the center of the map, the circle made up 30% of the academy grounds. "This circle right here is where we are heading, all the important building of the academy are located here. The area outside of the circle is where disciples and residents of the academy, the elders and disciples, live."
Rina made a gesture and the map enlarged itself to only show the circled area. She then pointed at several locations and said "This is the Hall of Affairs, here is the Teaching Department, these are the Training Grounds, over there are the Occupational Divisions, where each secondary occupation has its own building, and the rest of the courtyards inside the circle are for only the highest ranking members, you know? Like the Sect Head's mansion, where we just came from."
By the time Rina finished her explanation, about all the important places in the academy, Jam and Rina were standing before the cafeteria. Of course, this wasn't some trashy mall cafeteria, but a five story tall gourmet connoisseur's paradise. Jam was obviously broke so Rina had to pay for his meal begrudgingly.
Jam could be considered a social retard as he didn't even attempt to leave a good impression on Rina by picking some of the cheapest food. Instead he copied Rina's order making her pay double. Of course Jam didn't know how much the food cost and he didn't ask either.
Jam thought 'if you said it was on you, then I'll gladly accept it!' His actions might come of as shameful, in reality he truly didn't believe he was doing something wrong.
Rina gave him another glare, but she refrained from commenting on his behavior, before starting her lesson on etiquette. After a three hour long talk, Jam's new-found knowledge of the etiquette between cultivators made him shed a layer of cold sweat. 'Thank goodness these people are patient; especially Rina. I'd expect a kid like her to feel annoyed by a newbie like me.'
A small thing that Jam found funny, was that the reason the academy had to call their head as Sect Head; basically, it boiled down to social ranks and politics. A Sect Head was, according to societal norms, much more important than a Headmaster. In the cultivation world — where respect was about as important as your life — the Cultivation Academy would have to choose between renaming itself or awkwardly accept calling the Headmaster, "Sect Head."
Rina had finished her lesson and was just about to leave, and go about her business — happy that she no longer has to bother with Jam. When, all of a sudden, Jam stopped her and gave his appreciation with the bows and gestures the Rina taught him. This, along with the various apologies he had given her, as she explained how the cultivation world worked, improved Jam's image in Rina's mind significantly.
Now, Jam had a general gist of what opportunities were available to him in the academy. After he finished the food that Rina bought for him, Jam headed to one the academy training grounds. Even though it had been three hours, Jam hadn't eaten much as one of the first things Rina taught him about etiquette was that it was disrespectful to eat while listening to someone directly talking to you.
It was less about etiquette and more about common sense, but seeing how Jam really did start eating as she was talking, Rina figured she might as well tell him now, along with all the common sense things she could think of. Otherwise, their talk about etiquette wouldn't have been three hours long.
Rina told Jam, that after entering the academy, he should visit the training grounds and complete the various potential-determining tests. In the training grounds, there were a multitude of test to determine the academy disciples' potential, with regards to the various secondary occupations, as well as the aspects of normal cultivation.
The willpower test evaluates how well a cultivator's willpower resists pain to the mind, body, and soul. Along with the test of willpower, there was another test to measure the soul's strength, one where a cultivator would have his heart demons challenged by all manners of illusions. Heart demons were various negatives aspects brought on to a cultivator through their fears, or emotions that can negatively affect them.
The affinity test, gives a cultivator a better understanding of what types of energy they have affinity with. Say for instance, a cultivator has a superpower that's not aligned with elemental energy like Berserking. That cultivator still needs to absorb elemental energy from his surroundings to improve his cultivation, and knowing which energies he has affinity with can help said cultivator progress faster.
Even those whose superpowers intuitively give preference to some energies, might have hidden attributes that they also have affinity with. Rina, for example, explained to Jam that while she had the superpower Flame Domain — a superpower clearly aligned with the Dao of Fire — when she took the attribute test, it showed she had significant affinity for Yin type energy — and by proxy, the Dao of Yin.
Most of the other tests were to determine if a person had talent for secondary occupations, having the option of becoming an Alchemist, Formation Array Master, Inscriptionist, Beast Tamer, Illusionist, Cook or Artifact Refiner.
Alchemists produced pills with all kinds of wondrous effects; from healing the body, energy, and soul, to hastening cultivation.
Formation masters, created large scale arrays with runes, that could create a domain with all sorts of functions, like killing arrays, illusion arrays, or trial arrays, which were what the academy used to create the tests in the first place.
Inscriptionists, also known as Talisman masters, created smaller more compact arrays, called inscriptions, which could produce similar results to an alchemist's pills. At least this was all Jam knew from Woody's stories.
Beast Tamers, Illusionists, Body Refiners and Cooks all had self defining titles. The first tamed beasts, the second pursued a secondary system of cultivation, soul cultivation, to manipulate other through their souls with illusions. The third, also pursued a secondary system of cultivation, body cultivation or fleshy body cultivation, striving to earn a body comparable to the Dao itself. And Cooks? They were just like mortal cooks, however, they mastered how to infuse the food they made with suitable energy for similar results to Incriptionists' inscriptions, or alchemists' pills.
Jam decided to first test his affinity, and made his way over to the academy grounds, where he stood before a gigantic pillar. The pillar was so long that its peak was hidden in the clouds. Inscribed on the pillar were instructions on how to operate it. Jam directly stood before the base of the pillar and extended his hand to touch it.
Usually there would be a long line of people waiting to test their affinity, but because Jam was special and entered the academy without going through the standard selection procedures, there weren't any other newbies like him needing to be tested. Once a person was tested he wouldn't bother testing again as affinity was an attribute of a humans body that was innate, and could not be easily changed.
After Jam touched the pillar a sharp pain erupted inside his mind. Jam almost blacked out from the sheer amount of information overloading his brain. The pillar shot Jam's result straight into his mind, so that other people, if there were any snooping around, wouldn't be able to see his results.
A thing like one's affinity with the various energies was something every cultivator would keep secret, even if later on parts of it would be revealed anyways in the midst of a battle. After several minutes of rolling around on the floor, Jam's headache loosened up and he was half shocked and half scared at the results from his test.
[Divinity: Unlimited Affinity for earth, wind, … , space, time, yin, yang, … , chaos, creation, destruction, ...]
Jam's superpower, Divinity, had contributed immensely in his comically outrageous results. Literally every possible energy that Jam had heard of, even the rare and ephemeral ones, were listed by the pillar as being energies that Jam had unlimited potential with.
Unlimited potential was the highest rating a person could get. Unlimited potential meant that reaching the Immortal Realm was possible, as long as the person didn't get him or herself killed before achieving it. Because Jam was in the Cultivation Academy, there would be many people with unlimited potential. However, on average, less than one in a million humans had unlimited affinity for one element.
The pillar also had the ability of analyzing superpowers and listed Jam's superpower as being completely unique; there were at least no recorded cases of such a superpower appearing within the academy at an earlier time.
The pillar estimated that it was a superpower which originated from the Dao of Creation. This made sense as only the Dao of Creation could hope to be compatible with every energy in existence. However, even if Jam didn't currently know this information, his superpower had to be connected with other types of Daos, as the Dao of Creation could not be single handedly responsible for the existence of Divinity.
Now that Jam learned of his insane affinity, he had to make a big choice and pick which Daos he would be pursuing. The path of cultivation was one of self discovery and learning, and while most didn't have the luxury of being able to pick which Daos to pursue, those who did, took this decision to be a life changing one.
Jam currently didn't have access to any technique, so he chose to head to the library. Hopefully there would be free cultivation methods and skills that would interest him. With Jam's affinity he could freely practice any skill or technique, including those that are diametrically opposed.