Serialized Science Fiction.

Strange Origins
Tom Haynes

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Arthur was shocked, "What, why?"

Hung was still trying to control his laughter, "Ten percent either way of your result, meh, it is hard to judge potential. You might succeed, you might fail, hell, you may find something that boosts your potential. The absolute worst thing is to never try."

Arthur hesitated, "I don't have any skills - I'd feel safe if I was at least learning a Spiritual technique."

Hung plainly let him know the facts, "No clan, no sects, no prospects. No one is going to give you a skill. Get enough money, you can buy some dirt cheap Mortal class skill. You need a skill to earn a skill. Catch 22, I know, but the fact remains, you have to leave here today."

This stung Arthur, "What? Why? I'm paying the rent you've asked for?"

Hung did not take it personally and he tried to let Arthur know to do the same. "I can't teach Spiritual Skills. I can't take risk. Look, with just a Dantian and an old man, I could get away with just teaching you Kung Fu. All the kids made fun of you, and no one else could swallow their pride like you. But now that you are condensing your Spiritual Qi, I can't risk what I have left, little Bo. If you have any consideration of friendship with me, please, just turn around right now and leave."

He folded his arms up and stared dead ahead into Arthur's eyes. Arthur didn't have very many possessions. The main things were the jade box and slip, and those were always on hand. He turned, just like he was asked, then turned back and gave his friend one last bow of respect. As we walked away, he heard some last pieces of advice, "Examine your cultivation method carefully for clues on skills. Think about how the first skills must have come about. Trust in the Kung Fu you have learned. And have wonderful adventures my friend."

Chapter 10: What now? Or even the author doesn't know, yet!

Arthur walked out of about 4 months of his life. He was adrift and shell shocked. He had priced Spiritual Skills, and they were way out of his price range. He hadn't dipped into the money The Duck had provided, but he didn't have any income prospects. The odd jobs would dry up if he didn't have a place to live.

He thought a bit about that and decided that wasn't a sustainable model anyway. He had to quickly turn his mindset 180 degrees from safety to being on the martial path.

He started off some background tasks to gather up Spiritual Qi. His exhaustion could not stand in the way. He considered working on the tunnel, but suspected he needed to fill up his reserves first.

He took stock of what he did have going for him:

1) He had a good friend, who evidently was in trouble. 2) He could multitask, thanks to the jade slip. 3) He suspected he could develop some skills after he started connecting his limb Meridians, that tip from Tang Hung triggered a thought. 4) He had unlimited potential, after dying, it reset. Well, at least he strongly believed that. Tang Hung should have waited until his Spiritual Qi stabilized. He still wasn't planning on exhausting his potential with injected Spiritual Energy. :-) 5) He didn't need to consume much if he was cultivating.

A Martial technique was a must have, but it wasn't his first priority. He had to either waken his martial spirit or start connecting his Prime Meridians. In short, he needed a closed door retreat. Doing it in the

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