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This world is somewhat different from what you know.
The East has immortals and the West has magic.
Things that Science can't explain can be found here.
There are powers involved, of course. They are a part of man's unconscious revelation.
Science has been trying to a.n.a.lyze and understand these things for over a hundred years now.
Humans becoming immortal means they are becoming stronger. Living for an eternity is still something that most can't comprehend.
The path to immortality is split into many stages: Base, Eye-Opening, Golden Pill, Elemental Fetus, Out-of-Body, Split Body, Joint Body, Awakening, The Great Vehicle, and Ordeal.
It all sounds incredible but...
When a baby grows up and attends kindergarten, his spiritual root starts to grow.
The Base stage will be covered in grade one and two.
Eye-Opening in three and four.
Golden Pill in five and six.
Elementary school graduates become Golden Pill pract.i.tioners.
Elemental Fetus in middle school, junior year.
Out-of-Body in the second year.
Split Body in the third year.
Nine years of compulsory education then come to an end and even with Split Body, graduates aren't considered learned.
Vocational secondary and high schoolers master Fake Joint Body and Real Joint Body respectively, but they are collectively known as Joint Bodies.
Pre-university students and Undergraduates undergo fake and real Awakening respectively, but they are collectively known as the awakeners.
Post-Graduates are The Great Vehicles.
Doctors and those after are coined Ordealer and Post-ordealer.
This is the furthest one can go academically. The pursuers are left to improve by themselves.
It's the 21st century and cultivation is becoming easier.
Joint Bodies do not dare to speak.
Awakeners are everywhere and The Great Vehicles gather together.
And The Ordealers had the only reputation.
"You'd better eat more. Do you know how many Split Bodies have failed to become Joint Bodies and how many Joint Bodies have failed to become Awakeners? It's all because they weren't given enough nutrients when young," Mom chided.
"What about those who fast?" I asked.
"Where did you hear this nonsense? In the past, when everyone was poor, your father and I could only eat a piece of meat once a month. The experts have shared. Fasting cultivation is pseudoscience. Eat now, okay?" she answered impatiently.
I tried hard to control the chopsticks before looking bitterly at her.
She wasn't looking so I reached my hand out to grab them.
Before I got hold of them, a pair of floating chopsticks slapped my hand.
"How old are you already? Why are you still using your hands? Have I taught you nothing?" she demanded.
"I can't do it. It's going to take so long," I argued.
"Look at yourself, you useless boy. The boy next door, w.a.n.g Gangdan, is a year younger than you but he can already fold paper with mind control. He's already won so many awards. What about you? You can't even move a pair of chopsticks. What are you going to do when you grow older? How are you going to get married?" she questioned angrily.
"But I tried! It just won't work," I insisted.
"There are 40 kids in your cla.s.s. You're at the second bottom spot, just above the mentally r.e.t.a.r.ded kid. You know what? I'm going to teach you a lesson and I've already discussed this with your father. You're going for extra cla.s.ses in a few days. You'd better take this more seriously."
"I don't want tuition!" I shook my head.
"Don't want? Be glad that I'm not sending you to enrichment cla.s.ses. Look at our neighbor's daughter. Always first in forming pills and winning prizes. Her father is so proud of her, but what about me? You can't even produce anything. You only know how to play!" she shouted before willing her chopsticks to stuff mouthfuls of food into my mouth.
"But Mom, can't humans not be immortals? That guy who appears on TV every day... Yun Huateng, didn't he say that he's of Golden Pill standard?" I stammered.
"He's different. Are you as capable? How old are you? Why are you already thinking about straying from the convention? Do you want to become a beggar, eating trash you find on the ground?" She frowned.
A paper towel floated over and went over my mouth.
Next came a wet towel that gave my face a good wipe.
The newspaper in front of Dad folded itself and joined the rest of the stack. "Alright, I'm going to work. Stay at home and finish up your work. I'll check it when I come back. School's starting soon. Don't get into any trouble, or you'll regret it when we get a call from the school."
Because I could respond, he started chanting a few sentences.
A sword flew over and with a jump, Dad landed on it and flew out of the window.
Mom waved her hand and the dishes started was.h.i.+ng themselves in the kitchen.
She shook her head and said, "I won't repeat what your father has said. Just be good and finish your work. When you get tired, do eye exercises. Don't watch TV and don't be lazy."
Mom whistled and the back door opened.
A white crane appeared outside the house and spread its wings before making a bird call.
Mom walked over and sat on it's back. After some adjusting, the crane flew up and far away.
Frustrated, I went upstairs, opened my workbook and turned on the TV. An animated film was showing.
I had no troubles with school, save for my bad results.
There were powers where I needed many attempts to comprehend while others required only one try.
I knew that my cultivation progress was close to non-existent, so I started appreciating certain pieces of equipment that people with low abilities invented.
These equipment were types of machinery, made from electricity and metal, which made lives more convenient.
I kept this from my parents since they were working for the government in the world of immortals.
They discriminate against those with weaker abilities - the reason why they often compared me to other kids.
I was afraid of this, and it might even be the cause of my stagnant learning curve.
While my results were bad, it wasn't to a point where I had to retain.
But upon completing Split Body in middle school, practically no educational establishment was willing to accept me.
Vocational secondary schools of Fake Joint Bodies standard weren't good enough for my parents.
As my body was considered strong, they considered sending me to the army.
After all, when a soldier returns, he is considered to be of a scattered immortal level.
Even though it wasn't as high as, say, the golden immortal level, it was still better than Split and Fake Joint Body.
I rejected their proposal, however.
I showed them a book. "I want to learn machinery."
Dad waved his hand and the book started flipping itself in front of him.
He sighed. "What's this?"
"Some people aren't able to fly long distances or overexert their powers. With these pieces of machinery to help, they would be able to do things that are difficult to achieve manually," I explained.
He shook his head. "You're hopeless. You can't even learn by yourself and yet you want to learn such tricks? You're really letting yourself go, eh?"
Dad snapped his fingers and a flame rose in the air. It burned the book into ashes before disappearing like a breeze.
Surprisingly, Mom stopped Dad, saying, "Let him finish. He's really bad at cultivation, after all."
"Alright, speak. Get ready to be crippled if you can't give me a good reason," Dad demanded furiously.
"I've checked. There's a Fake Joint Body Inst.i.tution called Azure Flight.