Fate Shift Chapter 21
Back in the Sword Hall, Gazeen had begun practicing the Extreme Unity Art. Although this meant he hadn't formed any artificial meridians, this wasn't a problem. Like most great Cultivation Arts, the Extreme Unity Art also recorded how to form artificial meridians. Where it differed was in when those meridians were meant to be formed. Typically, cultivators would form their artificial meridians in the Opening Meridian Realm. With the Extreme Unity Art, this wasn't an option, since the art couldn't be practiced until Armament Bonding. In theory, a cultivator could attempt to skip Meridian Opening as well as Soul Inception in order to practice the art sooner, but the art had an explanation for why that was a poor idea. Specifically, it warned that without opening one's meridians it would prove very difficult to successfully complete Armament Bonding. After all, Armament Bonding required a certain amount of Qi to help one connect with their Armament. This was especially true for someone who hadn't entered Soul Inception, as one would typically use their soul to aid them in bonding their chosen Armament.
So rather than worrying about forming artificial meridians, Gazeen jumped right into Armament Bonding. The first step in this Cultivation Realm was to infuse one's Armament with Qi. Once the Armament was filled with Qi, the next step was to practice circulating Qi from one's Dantian to the meridians, from the meridians to the Armament, through the Armament's own structure, then back into the meridians, and finally returning one's Qi to the Dantian. This process didn't increase one's total Qi but rather built up the connection with the Armament. Much like with Aura Genesis, Armament Bonding tested one's ability to use Qi. The main difference was that Armament Bonding had shortcuts that could expedite the process.
Using one's soul to strengthen the bond between cultivator and Armament was the most common trick used but hardly the only one. Gazeen didn't have a soul yet but he did have divine sense. The Extreme Unity Art left a detailed list of instructions on how one could use their divine sense to further deepen the bond in Armament Bonding.
Divine sense was a kind of sensory power that functioned without Qi. Even mortals could possess divine sense if they survived the Divine Sense Tribulation. In the modern cultivation world, most cultivators would never even encounter divine sense, let alone possess it. So not to mention techniques for using divine sense, just finding someone who had it was hard. For Gazeen, this meant that he'd hit the jackpot. Not only did he have divine sense, he also had the Extreme Unity Art which could teach him how to apply his divine sense.
Although he could've attempted to follow the Extreme Unity Art's instructions in reinforcing his bond with his divine sense, he didn't do that straight away. He instead focused on grasping the basics, so that he'd have enough experience to avoid making any mistakes. Only once he was confident he could control his divine sense did he intend to use it in his cultivation.
This led the sand wraith to split his time between cultivating and practicing his divine sense. Even though his progress in Armament Bonding was even slower than it would be for an average cultivator who'd entered Soul Inception first, Gazeen wasn't worried. He wanted to build a solid foundation and here in the Sword Hall, where he was safe, was the best place to do exactly that. No one would interrupt his cultivation here, so why should he rush? Gazeen wanted to make the best use of this opportunity, not waste it by being too hasty.
So the sand wraith immersed himself in learning how to wield his divine sense. It was a very interesting experience for a number of reasons. For one thing, divine sense resembled Qi in terms of its mobility. It could form almost any shape imaginable so long as Gazeen had the skill to control it properly. The resemblance to Qi ended there, though.
Divine sense was a sensory ability, one that allowed Gazeen to view the world in a totally new way. It normally settled into a sphere surrounding Gazeen, giving him a 360 degree view of his surroundings. The sand wraith found he could expand or shrink that sphere to decrease or increase clarity. The larger the area his divine sense covered, the less detail Gazeen could make out.
In regards to how observing the world through divine sense actually functioned, Gazeen was unsure. He didn't see precisely, as he couldn't identify colors with his divine sense. He could detect Qi most clearly, followed by mass, and finally energy. For example, Gazeen could clearly sense any Qi within his divine sense's normal range. He could also detect the objects in that range with greater detail than any of his other senses. As for sensing energy, he was very poor at that. As an experiment, Gazeen used a very basic heat spell to light a fire in his log cabin's fireplace. Looking at it with his divine sense, Gazeen could only barely tell some type of energy was there using his divine sense's normal range. Only by reducing the area his divine sense covered and wrapping it around the fireplace was he able to recognize the energy as heat.
That wasn't the only weakness divine sense had. In terms of the effective range of his senses, both sight and hearing had longer ranges than divine sense.
Even though divine sense was truly wondrous, it was clearly not without its imperfections. Gazeen, recognizing this, promised himself not to rely on divine sense too much. He'd want to complement his other senses with divine sense.
Four days after he began practicing with his divine sense, Gazeen felt he was ready to start using it in his cultivation. He recalled the instructions listed in the Extreme Unity Art and followed them precisely. Unlike with his Qi, which was being rotated in and out of the spear, Gazeen tightened his divine sense around the spear's form. This gave him a far greater understanding of the spear's structure and allowed him to observe his Qi moving through the Armament far more clearly.
Using his enhanced understanding of the spear and its internal pathways, Gazeen was able to improve the flow of Qi in the weapon. At the same time, he began slowly merging his divine sense into the weapon.
According to the Extreme Unity Art, this was the beginning of the process of transforming his divine sense into armament sense. In terms of its sensory ability, armament sense was identical to divine sense. There were three real benefits to turning divine sense into armament sense, aside from improving the strength of one's bond with their Armament.
The first benefit was that one's Armament's offensive ability could be increased. Essentially, armament sense could enable one's Armament to interact with divine sense, allowing a cultivator to attack or destroy it with far less difficulty. Without armament sense, harming foreign divine sense was a challenge, especially if that divine sense was greater than the divine sense a cultivator possessed. While Gazeen didn't expect to ever need to destroy someone's divine sense, he wasn't going to assume he knew his own future.
Beyond that, there was a much more useful reason to form armament sense, at least in Gazeen's opinion. The five standard senses were all tied to one's body; divine sense was the same. Although divine sense had a highly mutable form, its origin was still the cultivator. Armament sense wasn't tied to the cultivator; it was actually centered on the Armament. This meant that no matter where one's Armament was located, so long as their armament sense remained intact, they'd be able to observe the Armament's surrounding environment.
Finally, armament sense greatly aided other techniques in the Extreme Unity Art. As the art itself described, the Armament was the most important aspect of the Extreme Unity Art. All the various powers the Extreme Unity Art combined together relied on the Armament to act as the unifying foundation. The Extreme Unity Art was truly a demonstration of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Armament sense was one of the building blocks that made this possible; it was crucial for the Extreme Unity Art to display its absolute best performance. As for Gazeen, he wasn't going to second guess the wisdom contained in the Extreme Unity Art. He followed its words to the letter.
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