83 A Similar Pas
Arnold wasn't opposed to getting a massage, especially after hearing that the massage would help him in recovery and even boost his cultivation speed afterwards. He received a warning from Jam to tell him when it was starting to feel "too good," before the massage began. Arnold didn't understand the warning until almost two minutes went by and Jam's blood energy output crossed over the 95% threshold. At that point, he practically scream at Jam to stop, which Jam did; almost instantly…
Jam made a mental note to keep the blood energy intensity at 95% percent and continued. After that blip, Arnold just enjoyed the massage for a couple more minutes until his armor was done regenerating.
As Jam moved away to work on his armor, Arnold marveled at the effects of his massage. He had been exposed to it far much longer than both Rina and Alex combined, so the benefits his body accrued from Jam's massage were naturally much better than theirs. For a while, his normal cultivation rate would improve by about 10%, and his body's constitution as a whole had improved across the board; making it more compatible with the Body Refining Path.
Jam finished upgrading Arnold's armor quickly, set with Tier 5 grade Light and Darkness Runes. Arnold was a practitioner of the Martial Dao, meaning his body was his weapon, thus, there was no weapon to upgrade. It got Jam thinking 'Why didn't he start Body Refining, if he uses his body as his main weapon?'
Jam was expecting some sort of big mystery surrounding this mystery, but when he received a reply he was left a bit let down. Arnold said "Why don't I practice Body Refining? Well, the reason is simple: I don't have a technique."
"Can't you… you know, get one from the academy?" Seriously, this didn't add up from a logical standpoint. The Cultivation Academy had all sorts of techniques, how can Arnold say with a straight face that he couldn't find a body refining technique there of all places?!
"I mean there are no Body Refining techniques for me specifically. Technically speaking I could have started a long time ago with basic Light or Darkness Body Refining techniques. But once you start, you can't go back, I'm sure you know this. Before I can start, I need to find a technique that allows me to use both Light and Darkness energies. You practice Yang right? Surely you know of the problems with Duality..."
"Um… no?" Jam didn't know what he was talking about.
"You don't know? Well the gist of it is that Dao forbids absolute extremities. If you practice only Yang on your journey through cultivation, at some point, you won't be able to continue without understanding and incorporating yin, and vice versa. That same principle applies to Light and Darkness as well as any Dao with principles of Duality: Water and Fire, Earth and Wind, Solar and Lunar, you get it, right?"
"Sure?" While Jam didn't really know what he meant, within Jam's soulscape Tzatziki was wondering where a kid like Arnold learned about this fairly profound understanding of Duality. It should be noted that even a great majority of Immortals had yet to discover this profound truth.
Jam, in an attempt at consoling his friend, came across uncharacteristically optimistic "Cheer up! I mean, we're still pretty young… Maybe later on when we enter the Immortal Plane, you'll find a technique suitable for yourself..."
"Yeah..." Arnold smiled, but couldn't help but turn sorrowful. Out of all the core disciples, including even Jam, none were more desperate for a Body Refining technique than Arnold. Body Refining was the path he was destined to walk, he even had the keys right in his hand to open those gates, but not enough strength…
Arnold traced his space ring and produced a plain old jade slip. Well, to Jam and Arnold it was very plain and even looked to be low quality. But, Tzatziki knew better, he took one look at jade slip and felt a bit of nostalgia. There had once been a fairly strong faction in the Divine Plane that once helped him out.
They were quite the formidable clan of Light Dao practitioners, all going by the moniker "Synth" in their Daoist Titles. If only he knew that Arnold's Daoist Title was "Jinxsynth," he might have made that connection, but Jam learned Arnold's title in the virtual world; only his soul had been there, Tzatziki's influence void.
Arnold thanked Jam for helping him out with upgrading his armor, and decided to trade some treasures for work. Jam, noticing the jade slip in Arnold's hands, asked to see any jade slips Arnold was willing to trade; he was more than well stocked even up to Tier 6 herbs and ores, so only improving his Dao Cultivation with new Daos would be worth the effort now.
Arnold, felt he didn't have anything worth hiding, so he took out all the jade slips in his possession. A great majority were worthless pieces of loot he had retrieved from fallen enemies, but a small collection of jade slips were the ordinary plain slips that Jam had ignored earlier.
Jam didn't hold back, he prepared to scan through all the jade slips to see if anything would be useful. However, his thoughts remained realistic; he had already learned of most of the common Daos. Like he predicted most of the jade slips contained either Daos he had already learned, or techniques for Daos he majored in yet weren't good enough to get him interested in learning them.
When Jam reached the last three jade slips, however, something interesting happened. Jam tried to scan the slips with his divine sense, but he was completely rejected. Arnold was about to explain that those jade slips were odd pieces of memorabilia his family had left for him, but Jam as always, had to do something ridiculous.
He hadn't been trying to decipher a code or anything, only using his divine sense to casually browse through what he thought was a regular jade slip. Now, that he knew there was a challenge to triumph over, Jam turned a bit more serious. The most basic foundational first step he had to take for this task was to increase the intensity and concentration of his divine sense.
After all the overdrafting and tempering Jam had done to his soul in the past week, his divine sense was turning increasingly grand; they shared a proportional relationship after all. For that initial casual glance, Jam used less than a hundredth of a percent to scan the jade slip. To face this challenge headfirst, he upped the intensity straight to 10%! Alas, there was no reaction.
"Mhmm? Ok little jade slip, this is how you want to play right?!" Boom! 50% percent of his divine sense was concentrated on an object a regular mortal could pick up. Still nothing… "You've brought this upon yourself!" BOOM! As Jam was rapidly increasing the intensity of his divine sense, he felt the jade slip start trembling at the 80% mark. Thereon, the smile on Jam's face became increasingly bright as he slowly increased the intensity.
That smile though, began to dim as Jam surpassed 95% of his maximum intensity. The jade slip was still trembling harder than a jackhammer, but it wouldn't let up its defenses! It was only at 99% intensity, that Jam got a different response from the jade slip. At that point, it stopped trembling and unleashed Sage-like strength to blast Jam out of his own mansion!
As he flew through the air, coughing blood, and seeing the damage from this surprise attack, an ugly voice sounded off in his head "You are not of the Synth! Fuck off, and don't try again or I'll send not straight to hell!"
After the voice died down, the jade slip slowly floated back down to the ground. But no one was there to watch it. Arnold had instantly teleported away to help his friend. Thought the actions that play out before his eyes were interesting and thought provoking, Jam was hurt because of his jade slip, so he couldn't be bothered with the jade slip at the moment.
Apart, from Arnold, pretty much everyone else became alert; they all felt that Sage-like strength. Everyone hurried over to where Arnold and Jam were hovering, and began to ask a bunch of questions. Jam drew a connection between Arnold and the "Synths" almost instantly as he had been thoroughly enamored by his Daoist Title when it was revealed; it was just too random... He didn't want to cause him trouble, so he talked a bunch of bullshit, blaming the random burst of power on a technique failing.
No one really believed him, but everyone had a right to their own secrets, and given Jam's status as a respected elder-like figure in the Junkie Tribe, no one gave the situation much thought. Jam's peers on the other hand… they were already used to him doing ridiculous things in the background, so they were the first to ignore whatever happened after confirming that he was fine.
When everyone was dismissed, Jam brought Arnold back to his mansion and told him about the voice he heard from the jade slip. He said "Look, I don't know exactly how much you want to talk to me about this, if at all. Anyways, the only thing I could get from that jade slip were two things. If you want to open these up, you're going to need to improve your soul just a tiny bit more. Oh, and I don't know why but you should look into fusing your energies with your divine sense. That voice that struck me earlier definitely used light energy within his divine sense to communicate through the jade slip."
"Thanks… And about the Synths, I'm actually just as clueless as you. I mean, it's no secret back in the academy that I was left there by my family when I was younger. I don't remember anything about them, and everything I'm about to say came from the Sect Head. The only thing she told me was that my family had left me in the academy for unconventional reason's and left it at that. The only thing they left behind for me were those jade slips and a wish for my Daoist Title to include Synth…
Up until now, I hadn't thought much about the whole thing. The unbreakable jade slips were one thing, but now, I'm not really sure..."
"Well, after we become stronger let's go look for them and ask them straight up what it is that happened. Just know you're not the only one with questions about your past." He could relate to the experience Arnold had, since they were both, just about abandoned in their youths.