Serialized Science Fiction.

Strange Origins
Tom Haynes

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his best to lengthen the ceremony.

By cultivating, he added to the process. Most young cultivators would focus on the controlling the energy being added or in sensing the noon sun or midnight moon. Not him, he put his faith into The Duck. The pump had been primed and it was time to harvest his promised gains. What he didn't know was this gain wasn't what The Duck had envisioned.

He also did not know that potential was in large part determined by how early a youth opened their Dantian. If it didn't require the child to control the energy, parents would open the Dantian in the womb. But only the top most geniuses could do that. Following this rule of thumb, Arthur's potential was very limited - he would be very lucky to connect a Linking Meridian to his Dantian.

But as he didn't know this, he forged ahead. If the average Dantian was pea sized, his should be the size of a pinhead. With his ignorance and the strange origins, he quickly bypassed the pinhead size and eventually reached the size of a pea. Arthur had the feeling the growth wanted to slow down. While the light was red, the pea of Dantian was a sickly green, almost fluorescent like the Slime on TV, "You Can't Do That on Television".

He could tell that wasn't right either - the notes said a verdant green or a golden yellow were signs of a healthy Dantian. His lack of potential and corruption for 50 years of life were getting in his way. Even with a normal sized Dantian, his power would be weak.

What else had The Duck hinted at? Oh yes, he would have to come to accept pain. He had no choice, he would love to expand his Dantian, but cleaning it was more important. He focused the incoming Qi energy onto and not into the Dantian. While the openings path looked like a red laser, the Qi energy actually acted like a laser. It attacked the sickly portions, burning it off, polishing the Qi.

If the formation of the Dantian was a pleasant buzz, the burring of it was like a dental drill into a cavity, right on a nerve. He couldn't scream, he had no clue how safe it was here. As he lost himself in the pain, he lost control of the active process. While his Dantian wanted to slow down and stop, it was the slave process. Perhaps if it had been a senior cultivator pumping in energy or a cactus opening up the Dantian exhausting itself, it would have naturally stopped.

The other natural stopper was the explosion of the Dantian. However, because of his focus, he was actually refining his Dantian from when it first existed to the current state. He was healing it in real time. The Qi energy was mild, but he seemed to be attuned to it - causing it to last.

The sickly green would flake off a a black sludge, which stuck to the surrounding surfaces. As the Dantian started to glow a healthy verdant green, Arthur started to focus on the black sludge. Instinctively he shifted the energy intake from the gentle waves to the overhead sun, which was somewhat harshly beating down on him.

He started to channel the Qi energy, which had become wilder in nature, directly onto the black sludge. He just knew if he let that seep into his body he would place a huge burden on his future cultivation. As he lased the sludge, it became a vapor and slowly started to migrate out of his body. As it hit the surface, it solidified again, caking him in a black tarry substance. His nose, which had stopped working when he reached 40, kicked back in, letting him know that he reeked.

If he could see himself now, he would realize The Duck being black was a foreshadowing of the state he would be in every time he advanced in his cultivation.

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