~ Chapter 2: A child's game ~
Many other souls in Shengo’s shoes would have most likely seen this new life as a blissful opportunity to start anew, and so did he, but no one forgot to mention to him that small detail about the diaper changing business.
Of all the bodies, I had to drop in a poop making monster! the old soul cried inside while his mother changed his dirty diapers again.
“You are a little stinker, aren’t you?” she said with a forced smile.
The baby only squinted his eyes at her and then released the golden fountain.
“Ah! Stop it! Alutras! Mou! I just changed you!” she said rather upset.
Whatever you think I’m doing intentionally, I’m not! This damned body doesn’t listen to me! the old soul complained inside the baby’s body, but only mumbles and hiccups came out of his little mouth.
The first time he experienced this, Shengo felt absolutely ashamed. It was a curse, a nightmare, a bad dream from which he couldn’t wake up, and he cried like the little baby he was. His pride as a strong, powerful adult was shattered the moment someone else had to wipe his butt.
His parents, however, only saw those cries of his as his discomfort towards being changed. A silly little baby crying because of silly things. They found Alutras to be cute, but if they knew how old his soul was, they would have certainly seen things from a different and rather uncomfortable angle.
Unfortunately for him, Shengo wasn’t used with Alutras’ body, and such accidents would surely happen again and again until he relearned the trick with keeping his poop in rather than out.
The other problem he had to face was the language his parents spoke. No matter how old he was, in his previous life, Shengo was never able to learn more than two languages besides his native one and even then it turned out to be quite difficult for him. In short, he was a bit of an idiot when it came to anything else other than Soul and Divine Energy Control.
As for mathematics, he knew only basic arithmetic operations such as addition and subtraction, just enough to get him by with buying and selling a few things, but if someone dragged him into multiplication or division, then he would end up failing miserably. The more skillful merchants managed to trick him from time to time, but once they learned of his absurd strength, they understood it wasn’t a good idea to have him as their enemy. Needless to say there were those who still tried to trick him. Some succeeded, and those who didn’t end up punched to the other side of the mountain.
In this new life, Shengo decided Alutras was going to learn how to read and write in other languages. He was also going to focus on learning mathematics, and basically anything that had to do with studying. As Shengo, he had enough experience in combat, so there was no need to focus on that part besides cultivation of his Divine Energy. He already knew how life was when you didn’t have that sort of knowledge, and he didn’t like it at all. Most of his past life was spent as a hermit constantly training.
On another note, his lack of knowledge in the world’s political affairs as well as his constant focus on martial arts made all the kingdoms at that time simply ignore his existence. If his focus was only on himself, then there was no reason for anyone to worry about him seeking to lend his strength to anyone, especially in a time of war.
Leaving those old tales aside, it could be said that throughout his years, Shengo had never faced a bigger dilemma than the one he was facing at that moment. In this new body, he grew tired quickly, babbled like a fool when trying to speak, and he couldn’t even stop himself from constantly soiling himself with smelly bombs capable of burning his father’s nose hair. All of these because he had to learn once more, like any other baby out there, how to do each and every of those little things, or rather teach his body how to do them.
Thus, at the age of four months, he was proud to have achieved the astonishing feat of not pooping in his diapers, at least while awake. It was better than nothing. At night, his nose acted like a detector, and his cries like a fire alarm meant to wake up his parents.
When he reached the age of six months old, he was finally able to speak his first word.
“Poopy!” he giggled and pointed at his father.
“No, Alutras. I’m not poopy, I’m father. Faaa-ther!” he tried to make him repeat.
“Faaa-fu-poop!” Alutras tried, but on the inside, Shengo was cursing his baby tongue.
“What are you doing?” his mother asked.
“I was hoping he would call me father instead of poopy…” the man let out a depressed sigh.
“What?! He said his first word, and you didn’t tell me?” the woman was angry.
“Poopy!” Alutras said again pointing at his father.
“Aw! How cute!” his mother picked him up and snuggled him.
The affection and care he received from his parents was something Shengo enjoyed. He never could remember his parents being this way towards him. After he left his home at an early age, he never returned and was never interested in learning what happened to them afterwards.
“Yes! Yes! Father is a poopy face!” the mother said.
“Don’t tell him that! He will start calling my poopy instead of father!” the man begged his wife with a worried look into his eyes.
“Don’t worry, he will learn to call us properly by our names!” she smiled and gave the baby a kiss on the forehead.
All this time, Alutras never met other people besides his family and an ocasional friend or two of either his mother or father. Going outside was a rare event, but this was so because it was very dangerous for a small baby like him. Accidents could happen at every step.
By the time he was one year and a half, Alutras could speak a couple of words and understand most of what his parents were saying, but on the inside, Shengo was struggling each and every time a conversation sparked up. In time, he got the hang of it.
When compared to other babies of his age, Alutras had an average development. There was nothing special about him, and his proudest achievements were being able to walk a few steps, not sully his pants, and speak a few words. Meanwhile, the children of nobles learned much faster than him.
Nonetheless, Alutras didn’t spend his time only with these minor things. Whenever he was alone, the restless old soul inside of him began to meditate and cultivate the ability of his new body to control and use Divine Energy. Thus, his energy channels expanded and refined the energy flowing through them.
If a master practitioner in the Divine Energy Control were to look at him during those moments of training, they would see on the outside a commoner’s child with no special talent or future, but when they peeked at his soul, they would be utterly shocked by his ability to gather, refine, and circulate Divine Energy throughout his entire body. Saying he was a monster in the art would have been more accurate than saying he was a genius.
By the time he was two, he was already doing far better than most practitioners in the city, and he had yet to begin his more difficult training sessions, but he couldn’t do them either way. The age of his body prevented him from doing many things in the Art of Divine Energy Control.
Working on his energy channels wasn’t the only thing Alutras did. For a good portion of time, he also worked on infusing his body with Divine Energy. Now, what this training of his did exactly was sensational! It strengthened his muscles and bones, enhanced his senses, and hardened his skin and inner organs, making him able to perform some rather outrageous movements as well as survive the recoil shock they would otherwise bring to him.
This was a lesson and rule few practitioners knew about or deemed as necessary. Most of them went with the erroneous belief that strengthening one’s channels, skin, and muscles was the equivalent of strengthening the entire body. Even Shengo fell into this trap during his younger days in his previous life, but as Alutras, he didn’t dare do the same thing again. He was quite aware of how dangerous it could be. Thus, he strengthened his body completely from the inside and outside.
Still, how did he achieve this in the first place? Where did the Divine Energy came from?
Shengo as Alutras was well aware that Divine Energy came in two forms: outer and inner. The inner form came from his soul directly, which acted as a generator for everything. The outer came from the gods themselves, and it was a bit harder to control. Taking Divine Energy from his soul, he then sent it to his organs and imagined them absorbing this energy at an accelerated rate like a hungry monster. But this wasn’t all. Every drop of energy Alutras used was programmed mentally by him to regenerate, protect, and dampen shocks applied to the tissues it was infused in. If he didn’t do this, the energy pretty much didn’t do anything or was left there as a way of storing it, a battery basically. This was also the main way some practitioners told themselves apart.
Divine Energy that wasn’t programmed in any way or manner acted like a shiny beacon in the eyes of other practitioners, but if programmed, it didn’t shine. Thus, if the Diviner who did his reading when he was a baby were to look at him now without probing too deep, he would only see a commoner lacking even the smallest ability to cultivate Divine Energy.
Alutras did all of his training when his parents weren’t watching him. If they, his grandmother, or one of their friends were there, he acted like a child playing, asking all sort of things, and trying to cuddle up to his mother. He trained secretly simply because he didn’t wish to frighten them, especially since they didn’t wish him to be more than a simple commoner, someone without the talent to practice and cultivate Divine Energy, not to mention use other Souls.
By the time he was four years old, Alutras became quite powerful, but also quite skilled in hiding said power because he programmed it carefully and didn’t let it emanate like the fire of a torch in the middle of a dark cave. Even so, he was far from achieving the strength he possessed in his previous life. Another big difference between Shengo and Alutras was the amount of Souls each possessed. In the previous life, he had control over countless demon and beast souls, including that of a Legendary Dragon which he saw something akin to a brother. That being said, acquiring a Soul in his new life would be just as easy for him as it was before because he already knew what he had to do.
He was aware of this fact and because of that, he didn’t try to speed up the process. Besides, his main purpose in this world wasn’t training but relationships and having fun. Alutras spent most of his time trying to learn the language, play with his father, ask his mother and grandmother various things, try to find out how other children spent their time.
Of all things, he was most curious about this thing called ‘school’. Unfortunately, since he was a commoner, he would most likely end up getting taught at the temple. If he showed promise, maybe he would be sent to a school, but until then, he still had a few years ahead of him, during which, his parents would do their best to teach him what they could.
One day, his father asked him out of the blue “Alutras, my son, do you want to go and see The Festival of the Divine?”
With big, curious eyes, the toddler looked up at him “Fes-Festival of the Divine?”
“Yup.” he nodded. “It’s a big festival that happens every year! Martial artists from all over the city gather up to represent their schools! These are the schools of Soul and Divine Energy Control, not the regular ones where any noble or rich merchant can send their children too! It’s very beautiful and if we are lucky, we might see a display of their noble arts!” the man spoke with excitement in the tone of his voice.
Although his family didn’t wish him to be a practitioner, they were all quite aware of their prestige and value to each city. Keeping monsters outside and protecting them was one of their many jobs, but above all, they had a proper role to play in the royal army if time ever called for their service. At the same time, their skills were eye catchy. His father wanted to take Alutras to the festival not in the hope of him trying to become a practitioner but in order for him to see something amazing and beautiful.
When he heard his words, Alutras’ eyes sparkled like two polished gems. Unlike his father, he didn’t care about the festival part, but was more interested in meeting fellow martial artists and see what their current power was. If he was lucky, maybe he would find even a potential rival with whom to cross swords with.
Of course, he also wondered if any of his old masters were still alive, but for that to be true, they had to have broken through some very high levels of cultivation. Longevity and immortality became an added bonus after a while, but he highly doubted any of those old fools were still alive. Back then, Shengo never saw this sort of potential in any of them. As for himself, it was a child’s play to do it. After all, he did reach the age of 258 before the gods sent him to reincarnate.
One has to say that reaching such a prestigious age and not learning anything else but the Soul and Divine Energy Control art was something truly incredible. Shengo was a prime example of stubbornness and single target focus.
“Alright, father! I wanna go too! I want to see the Festival of the Divine! Will you take me there?” Alutras asked with a bright smile on his face.
“Sure, my son! It will start tomorrow, and we will go right after I return from work!” the man replied.
“Will mother come?” he asked him.
“Hm, I don’t know… Your little sister is almost here, and your grandmother is watching over her. Maybe next year?” he gently patted him on the head.
“Un!” Alutras nodded and showed him a smile.
I never had any siblings in my past life… if I don’t count that old goat of a dragon. Although, why does he think the baby will be a girl? Mother said it was going to be a boy. he thought.
In all of these years, if Alutras were to be asked what he enjoyed the most, his answer would not mention his Divine Energy training or his silly child plays. The one thing he enjoyed the most was being together with his family, being surrounded by their love and affection. The feeling of being part of a family, of having a mother and a father, was a priceless treasure for the old soul inside. The gods truly answered his prayers that day on top of that mountain.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
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