Emin left without a word. Although his injuries hadn’t healed completely yet, he was now able to move on his own. After writing Garen a handbook of notes, he also gave an address before he left. His requirement was that Garen learned everything in the book and achieved the standard stated there, before searching Emin out again.
Garen didn’t step out of the estate for an entire week. Every morning, after having breakfast with Vanderman, he would lock himself in his rooms and forbade anyone from entering. There, he focused all his attention to deciphering that handbook.
The handbook had a lot of messy and scattered bits and pieces of knowledge, with no sense of organization whatsoever. Therefore, Garen couldn’t use his special power to read and absorb it as a whole.
And there was another key problem, which is that Acacia’s, or this body’s intelligence was simply too low. The quality of this body was simply not there, and could not satisfy the basic conditions to learn the special ability. That was why he could only study the traditional way.
The handbook had no name. In it was a great deal of the most basic information about Luminarists, just the very basics.
It was only after Garen read some of these things that he began to understand the true mysteries behind the existence of the Luminarists.
This was a very powerful group of people.
They relied on a basic, inherent talent in quality appraisals, to achieve the level where they could sense and control silver.
At one point, some of the geniuses among them suddenly discovered that they could use silver to create a resonance of mysterious power, and so the Luminarists were born.
They used silver to form many different totems, and then used unique structures and principles to eventually light those totems, activating them. These then became their helpers or subordinates.
But these totems themselves didn’t have much intelligence, so they were only equal to a Luminarist’s second body.
From the handbook, Garen found out that you had to fulfill three conditions to become a Luminarist.
One: Appraisal, a basic talent.
This was the basic or basics. Without this, it was impossible to enter this circle. You woudn’t even be able to see through a Shielding Light that someone cast casually.
Two: Intricate blueprints.
The creation of a totem required an extremely intricate silver blueprint, and it had to be three-dimensional rather than flat. The level of accuracy needed was extremely high. Someone without this talent couldn’t become a Luminarist either. This was the basic method and road to transforming knowledge into power.
Three: Basic tactics.
The Luminarist was the base, designing the totem, creating the totem, and helping the totem to fight or work. These were all a series of tactic, and in actuality a totem can be broken down into countless basic tactics.
A totem was like a complex machine made out of countless tiny components, and the tactics were the most basic of intricate components. At the same time, they could be used individually, to increase a totem’s ability in any one area.
These three points were the key to becoming a Luminarist.
And when it came to basic tactics, there was actually a lot of basic knowledge to learn. Each and every different Luminarist had their own accumulation of knowledge.
The further they went with their knowledge, the stronger the totems they created.
In truth, totems were like the physical embodiment of their knowledge. As everyone’s understanding was different, the totems would turn out different even if they used the same basic tactics.
The handbook only contained the basic contents of intricate blueprints, for Garen to study.
This area of knowledge needed a steady hand and a calm mind. They had to focus intently, and their emotions must not be disturbed.
This was also why most Luminarists were quiet by nature, because this was the basic requirement for making intricate blueprints.
He practiced for a few days in the manor, but he didn’t improve very much. It was obvious that this body’s innate talent really wasn’t all that. He wasn’t steady at all, and despite his frustration, he couldn’t do anything but wait for his body to regain some of its old quality, before he can improve it and then learn faster. Right now, all he could do was repeat the exercises mechanically.
This time he couldn’t take any more shortcuts. Just like other normal Luminarists, he had to start training his steadiness from scratch.
Near the Trejons territory: the Palato family grounds.
The thick forest of trees was like a dark green carpet. Towards the left of a waterfall, there was a grey-black estate under renovation.
In one house on the estate, the balcony of the second floor.
Garen was lying lazily on a deckchair, looking at the blue sky through narrowed eyes. He heard gentle piano music wafting out from inside, feeling so comfortable he nearly fell asleep.
The balcony was a white semicircle. Garen lay on a chair near the edge, wearing white casual clothes with silver trimmings, long sleeves and long pants. His golden hair blew about in the wind.
The sunlight fell on him, reflecting a light that was so white it was nearly blinding.
"Cia." The glass door opened, and a young man with a black ponytail walked out. He looked at Acacia, stretched out on the chair, with mild surprise. "Aren’t you going to play a few hands in there? Marin and the others had put out a table just for you, what’s with you today?"
Garen tilted his head and looked at the young man.
"I don’t want to play today… Recently I’ve been thinking about the meaning of life."
The young man’s face went blank.
"Wha? The meaning of life?!" He stood there frozen, an expression of disbelief as he looked at Garen, "I say, Cia, we were best friends since we were kids. You can talk to me about anything, but don’t go doing anything stupid!1"
"It’s fine, I just understood some things recently." Garen waved his hand. "Alright, go on in, or those young masters and misses in there will have to call you again."
"Save me, Prynne! Andel wants to smear cake on me!" On cue, a girl screamed inside.
"What are they doing now?" The young man turned away exasperatedly, going in past the glass door. There was cacophony inside.
Garen continued narrowing his eyes disinterestedly, staring at the white clouds slowly floating through the sky. In his head, he kept repeating the basic points of knowledge from the handbook.
This was Acacia’s life, going out and gathering with three bad friends every day. Today your place, tomorrow mine. Or after a few days, everyone would go book a large hotel room, and occasionally they would have a barbeque, go hunting, swim.
Gambling, racing horses, watching wrestling, and then they would drink beer together and tell tall tales when they rested. Whenever there was a special occasion or some big incident occurred nearby, the four of them would always be the first to rush over and watch.
Things like foreign circuses, wandering theaters, these were all their favorite activities.
The four of them were one of the two circles with the highest family backgrounds among the nobles around here. Acacia and Prynne Acivis were the representative members, eating, drinking and playing. Whatever was fun, they’d do it.
Prynne’s mother was the lady of the largest territory in Lush Forest district, his family’s power stronger than even Acacia’s. Normally, people thought he was the main player, while Acacia was the sidekick. As for the other two, Andel and Marin, they were also girls from two noble families who played together with Prynne since they were young. Their families were slightly weaker, but not by much.
The four of them represented half of the noble families in the entire Lush Forest.
Through these memories flashing in his head, he remembered that when Acacia was young, the four of them had stood and compared how far they could pee… That really was a spectacularly embarrassing memory. Two boys competing with two girls to see who could pee further while standing…
Unlike regular families, noble families could get whatever they wanted. And there was a lot to learn about etiquette and culture when they were younger, so whenever they got to play, they threw caution and logic to the wind.
As they’re continually spoiled by kowtowers, they had played almost all there was to enjoy. All that was left was emptiness.
And so they look for more extreme things to do.
For example, look at the four of them now. If it weren’t that their families strictly forbade anything sexual to prevent bodily harm, they would probably have gotten tired of that by now too.
Garen lay quietly on his deckchair. After revising his basic knowledge, he rested a little more and took a short nap. Then he started to think back again. If there was anything he couldn’t remember, he would take out a tiny note he had copied and check.
Time passed before he knew it.
The room started to grow quiet. A guest had come to visit, and was rejected by Prynne lazily. The two girls them chased away the pianist and randomly hit some keys on their own, creating a ruckus.
Amidst the chaos, the glass door to the balcony opened again, and a tall girl in a black-purple dress walked out. She had blonde-brown hair falling over her shoulders, and she walked up to Garen before crouching down.
"Hey, what’s the matter with you recently? Why do I feel like you’re growing more and more listless."
"Leave me alone. I suddenly feel like it’s time to grow up," Garen said mildly, mimicking Acacia’s tone from before.
"Is it because of Big Sister Hathaway?" The girl’s rather plain face looked as though she understood. "It’s just an Astronomical Edict, there’s nothing to it. At the most, I’ll steal my uncle’s one to make up for yours." She clenched her teeth, as though it had taken her a lot of determination to make that decision.
"Leave me alone, Andel, I’m just not that happy inside." Garen stood up and took a deep breath. "Recently I’ve wanted to learn some things, and stop messing about like this. I mean, we’re already twenty, what will happen if we just continue like this?"
"The families have everything arranged for us, don’t they? We don’t have to worry about anything, and just follow the script, right?" Andel smiled, but there was a hint of unhappiness in it. "Once we’re old enough, we’ll just get married, have kids, and continue messing around like this. What’s wrong with that?"
"That’s what you say, but deep inside you don’t like it either, do you?" Garen glanced at the girl.
"Aren’t we all like that?" Andel retorted.
"That’s why I want to learn something, and stop wasting time like this anymore." Garen was starting make preparations for his future change.
"Forget it, you?" Andel pouted disbelievingly. For some reason, she was feeling slightly angry, so she went back inside and decided to ignore him.
She didn’t know why, but when she saw Garen saying that he wanted to learn something so seriously, she just felt really suffocated inside, and panicky.
Watching Andel walk away, Garen didn’t say anymore. He got up from the deckchair, and stood on the balcony, looking down into the distance.
The white waterfall roared as it left long white streams in its wake, falling down into an emerald pond. A few birds circled over it at times, and a few coaches were stopped next to it, the horses snorting away.
Everything seemed unusually quiet and peaceful.