Running one hundred laps was easy! Um, I thought it was easy, but it looks like everyone else is having a really hard time. I’m supposed to go inside once I’m done, but it’s fun watching everyone else struggle. Even Ri is struggling. Oh, it’s not fun watching Ri struggle, only everyone else. “Hey, Ri, why don’t you just say you did one hundred laps and come inside with me? The teachers won’t know.”
Ri was panting and gasping. She didn’t look like she was running anymore. It was more like she was crawling while standing up. “I can’t. That’s cheating. For something like training, the only person you’re cheating is yourself.”
Ri’s saying things I don’t really understand again. I think she’s saying she’s too proud to cheat, which is a little silly. My mommy always cheats when she plays games with me, and she’s the strongest person in the world. “Do you want me to help you? I can carry you on my back.”
“That’s also cheating.” Ri glared at me, but it didn’t look like a glare. She was too tired to do that. “Why don’t you go inside first? I’ll catch up.”
Right now, I’m running with Ri. Um, it’s closer to jogging though. Ri runs really slow. “How many more laps do you have to do?”
“Seventy-two.” Ri took in a deep breath and swallowed something. I think she barfed a bit inside her mouth and drank it back down. “Please. Don’t distract me right now. I have to concentrate on my breathing.”
Am I distracting? Mommy says I’m distracting sometimes, but that’s only because she has a hard time thinking. Ri’s pretty good at thinking. Is running really that hard? It’s so weird. I’ll ask someone else. “Hey! How many laps do you have left?”
This boy only ran thirteen laps! Isn’t he one of the prodigies? I think he is, but a lot of people look very similar. Am I confusing him for someone else? Um, I think I’ll wait inside then. Ri doesn’t want to be distracted, and I’m not really friends with anyone else, so it’s a little boring here. The entrance is all the way on the other side, so I still have to run for a bit. The building is a big circle, and sometimes, when I run by certain parts, the air seems to get heavier and harder to run through. I think everyone else feels it too because they also slow down.
It didn’t take too long to reach the entrance again. With that, I ran an extra lap! “Ri, I’ll wait for you inside. You better hurry up!”
Ri didn’t say anything, but she grunted and nodded. She looked like she was going to collapse at any second. How could I tell? I’ve seen lots of people collapse before! Auntie Ilya does things to people, and they get really tired and fall asleep. Then, I never see them again. She calls them experimental subjects, and their names aren’t names—they’re numbers. Isn’t that strange?
“Back so soon? Did you have a question, Junior Fluffytail?” Teacher Lin was waiting at a table with a bunch of books beside her. I didn’t see the other teacher.
“No. I finished.”
“You finished running one hundred laps?” Teacher Lin placed the book down and stared at me. Her face is always so expressionless. It’s like she doesn’t get happy or mad or upset. It must be very sad not having any feelings. “Your body is stronger than I thought.”
“Yeah! I’m really good at running!” My favorite game is tag, but I don’t like playing it with Mommy. She always teleports and cheats to catch me! It’s only fun to play with Puppers because he doesn’t cheat. When I try to play tag with Mrs. Feathers, she always flies away. When I try to play with Big Sis Mirta, the plants always try to eat me. When I try to play tag with my other mommy, she always lets me win on purpose!
“Exceptional stamina, as expected of a beastkin,” Teacher Lin said. “Very well. Continue practicing your Shadow Devil Foundation Building Technique until the rest of the students are done. Use it to recover the energy you’ve lost.”
Energy I lost? It doesn’t feel like I’ve lost anything.
“Don’t listen to her.”
Oh, the other teacher is back. He’s coming from behind me. Was he watching us run from outside?
“You’re an exceptional talent,” Teacher Bloodmoon said and smiled at me. It was a smile, but it was a mean smile. He wasn’t happy. “There’s no reason to hold you back because the other students can’t keep up with you. I’ll give you some extra lessons while we wait.”
Um? Is that okay? Well, he’s a teacher, and Auntie Ilya did say I had to listen to my teachers…. “Okay!”
“Teacher Lin, I trust you don’t have any objections to this?” Teacher Bloodmoon asked. Those two were fighting when Mommy caught them. They don’t like each other very much, but I think he likes her more than she likes him. “No? Excellent.” Teacher Bloodmoon gestured for me to sit down, and I did. “Listen well. There are three ways to achieve immortality: through the body, through the spirit, and through the mind.”
Body, spirit, and mind. “They’re all different ways?” Auntie Ilya never told me about this. Um, I think she knew I’d learn it in school. “Which way did my mommy do it?”
“Your mother,” Teacher Bloodmoon said. His face twitched a little. “She should’ve achieved it through her body, most beastkins do. If there isn’t anything unexpected, you’ll be focusing on your body too.”
Body? I want to cultivate in the Divine Dream Scripture. That doesn’t sound like it uses my body very much. Um, what were dreams under? Illusions? “What about illusions? I want to learn those!”
“Illusions?” Teacher Bloodmoon raised his eyebrows. “You’ll have to train your mind for those. Before you can train your mind, you have to become a saint first, and to do that, you’ll have to train your body and spirit.”
Then I have to do all three? “Why?”
“Without a strong body, you can’t enter your sea of consciousness for long periods of time. Without a strong spirit, you can’t stimulate your sea of consciousness. They’re both necessary to train your mind.”
Um, but…. “Why?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter