7 Chapter Seven
(Correlated with the manhua's chapter 7)
A couple months passed since Mo Fan and the rest of his grade went through their magic awakenings, during which Mo Fan's class had a single goal: to summon their individual star clusters at will.
The students learned that the release of magic is divided into three steps, the first of which being to deeply meditate with the goal of making their star cluster appear at will in their soul realm, because without practice the star cluster would remain hidden.
"Over these last two months, everyone has diligently practiced meditation. In particular, your fellow student Mu Bai has already begun training in 'taking control'."
Mo Fan's teacher made a point of openly praising excellent students in the hope of inspiring those with fewer achievements to stay dedicated with their training, which worked to an extent, as could be inferred by the admiring words of the students around Mo Fan.
"Mu Bai is really too awesome! I'm not even close to calling out my star cluster, yet he's already onto the next step!"
"If only I had half of Mu Bai's talent, my parents wouldn't be so strict with me!"
"Oh, shut it! With any more talent, you'd grow even more complacent and lazy!"
Noticing the rate of progression of his class, Mo Fan felt that he should not dally any longer with his own training.
*"Now that I can easily call on both the lightning and fire element star clusters it's time to practice 'taking control'."
The second step of releasing one's magic is the most difficult step: taking control. In every beginner-level star cluster, which is simply a new star cluster like both of Mo Fan's, there are seven stars moving about randomly. The second step consists of controlling those stars to arrange them into a star path.
Without waiting a second, Mo Fan tuned out the chatter of his classroom and dove into his soul realm, where he instantly summoned his lightning element star cluster.
*"Ha ha ha, you little stars will soon be under my control!"*
Within his soul realm, Mo Fan's mental projection pinpointed the seven stars in the star cluster and began willing them to move. Slowly, one of the seven stars ground to a halt before crawling to a specific location. Then, a second star did the same, slowly ceasing movement before traveling to its place in the star path, the entire process only being a tiny bit more difficult that time.
*"Heh, this is too easy! Maybe it was an exaggeration to say the second step is the most difficult. At this rate, I'll be fighting monsters before my classmates even manage to summon their star clusters!"*
Again, Mo Fan willed a star out of its chaotic, unsystematic rampage through the lightning element star cluster and into the star path.
*"No way, it can't really be this easy! I was just joking earlier… But if it is…"*
Mo Fan almost lost control of his stars by picturing himself wielding lightning, but quickly regained his focus and picked out a fourth star from the star cluster.
*"Nice and easy. Just follow my command…"*
The fourth star took much longer than the last three to come to a stop, making it evident to Mo Fan that the difficulty was just raised exponentially.
*"Okay, now move here…"*
The star wobbled and shook, but Mo Fan had control of it and was guiding it to its destination.
*"Phew, okay, now…"*
Just as Mo Fan tried to place the fourth star into the star path, it wrenched itself from his grasp, spinning and dashing in chaos once more.
Mo Fan's mental projection roared in frustration as his neat and orderly star path was shaken, eventually falling to shambles. Mo Fan learned the hard way why the second step was most difficult.
*"If I can't place every star into its path one after the other in succession, my stars return to disorder, leaving me with have no choice but to start over."*
Mo Fan exited his soul realm and returned to the physical world, his loud classroom. He massaged his face, attempting to soothe his irritation at failing to control even half of his stars in one star cluster.
*"No, it's fine."* Mo Fan consoled himself. *"This IS the most difficult step, yet I'm almost halfway through. It's not that bad…in fact, it's probably very good! I just need to take my time and continue training. I'll get it eventually…"*
Mo Fan peaked through the gaps in his fingers to take a look at Mu Bai, who was still indulging in the teacher's praise.
*"Even if I take longer than…others. I'll be fine."*
Mo Fan let out a sigh as he returned to his soul realm and continued training.
Some time later, Mo Fan Found himself yelling at himself under a tree in a park.
"Nooo! Start over!"
"Why does the fourth star act like this?!"
Exhausted, Mo Fan fell from his meditating posture onto his back with his arms sprawled at either side. He whimpered for a bit before heaving a great sigh and mindlessly watching the clouds.
"It looks like aligning three stars is my limit right now."
"Xinxia, need help getting home?"
Leaving the gates of her middle school, a girl offered to walk her friend, who sat in a wheelchair, home.
"No, my elder brother is coming to pick me up. Thank you."
"In that case, I'll go on first. Bye!"
"Hmm, see you tomorrow." Xinxia smiled and waved her friend goodbye.
Not long after, a young man appeared from around a corner, covered in sweat from running, and stopped in front of the girl in the wheelchair.
"Xinxia! I'm sorry!" He spoke in-between breaths. "I've kept you waiting!"
"Not at all. We were just dismissed."
"Even so, I should have been here sooner, to wait for you to exit the building!" The young man's voice was clearly heavy with guilt as he surveyed his surroundings to see other middle schoolers leaving the school premises, making sure Xinxia was telling the truth and that he wasn't too late.
"Brother Mo Fan you don't need to pick me up every day. After dropping me off, you still have to return to your school's dorm. It must be hard for you." Xinxia's voice contained her own guilt from taking up Mo Fan's time.
In response, Mo Fan gave a wry smile.
"Since I promised auntie I'd pick you up, of course, I won't disappoint my little Xinxia."
Mo Fan patted her head before gesturing towards the nearby Zhongshan Park.
"Though, from now on, wait for me at the entrance of that park. Okay?"
Xinxia nodded, then gently tugged at the end of Mo Fan's shirt.
"I feel like I'm always causing you trouble…"
Stepping behind Xinxia to push her wheelchair, Mo Fan laughed.
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"What? Ha! No, elder brothers look after their younger sisters in line with the principles of Heaven and Earth!" He let his confident words hang in the air for a bit before asking, "Then, it's agreed that you'll wait at the park?"
"Okay, Brother Mo Fan."