The next day, Garen was up before the sun was even up. In the living room, the little girl had already started work. Obviously she had the keys to this house.
He sat on the couch, watching as the little girl served him a plate of slice apples and some bread along with some warm goat milk.
"Enjoy your meal." The little girl Nicol performed a rough imitation of a greeting and turned back to the kitchen with haste.
Garen sipped the goat milk slightly. It’s thick and tasted fishy. Garen suspected something’s been added to it.
He raised the glass and scrutinized the milk. It’s got bits of yellowish substance floating around which he suspected was raw egg yolk.
Footsteps clopped on the stairs as Emin descended from the first floor. He wore an off-white robe and looked joyous.
Taking a seat in front of Garen, Emin took a slice of Garen’s bread and bit into it.
"Did you have a good rest?"
"It was great, Teacher." Garen nodded.
"Very well." Emin nodded back, "Today onward, we’ll converse using the Lush Forest dialect. This town was pretty cut off from the rest of the country. Aside from the common language of the empire, they only use their own dialect. They wouldn’t be able to understand any other dialects or languages. Furthermore, your Lush Forest dialect is somewhat different from the common language, this should be good enough for secrecy."
"I have no comment on that." Garen answered.
"Good, then we can start." Emin’s second half of the sentence was spoken entirely in the Lush Forest dialect. It sounded accurate too, something Garen wasn’t expecting.
"Teacher, how do I start learning tactics?" Garen asked formally.
"Tactics…" Emin muttered, as if to organize his thoughts.
The little girl Nicol appeared with Emin’s breakfast and set it down in front of him carefully. After silently curtsying at Emin, she turned and left.
She cleaned her hands on her black apron and exited the building, gently closing the door as she did.
When the little girl was out of earshot, Emin took his own glass of goat milk and said as he sipped on it.
"Tactics are the basics of any Luminarists and the foundation of all Luminarists’ abilities. This you need to remember."
He dipped his finger into his glass without manners and started drawing on the table.
A circular-shape appeared on the table with several sections.
"You should know that the Science Pictorial have found out a long time ago, that organisms were made up of microscopic cells." Emin retracted his index finger, "Cells make up tissues, which make up organs, which make up systems, and those make up a whole organism. You should know this, right?"
"Of course. This is the basics of Biology, we have learned about it." Garen nodded.
"Our tactics is basically the same as that. It’s just like a cell of an organism. They form the tissues, the organs, the systems, and become our own totem at the end. This is what you’ll go through in the future." Emin answered simply. "Tactics are also units. Professionally, we call them unit tactics. They are what we base our totem creatures on. Every Luminarist would create their own totem this way, no exceptions."
"Teacher, there are countless cells in an organism, if we have to create the same structures in a totem, don’t we have to build an insane amount of tactics?" Garen frowned.
"This is the core of what we learn. First, you will learn about the structure of a single tactic, an active unit. It is what forms everything else." Emin said seriously. "You will use active units in the future to build your own tissues, organs, systems, and finally a real living totem. This is what you have to do."
"That’s… a huge project…" Even if he reached the top of Martial Arts in his past life, this was still shocking to him. There are trillions of cells in an organism’s body, if he construct it one by one, it’s impossible to construct a totem even until the end of his life.
"What’s wrong? Disheartened?" Emin smiled. "Aren’t you a genius? You aren’t beaten with this little setback, are you?"
"So many Luminarists have successfully constructed their own totem, that means there’ll be some sort of pattern to it!" Garen answered with confidence.
"Not bad." Emin nodded with approval. "Let’s finish up our breakfast. I only told you what direction to take, you’ll need to learn to use the tools of the trade."
Both of them sped through their breakfast and went up the stairs to a white room that is reminiscent of a laboratory.
There was a huge rectangular table that took up half the room. A piece of black cloth was used to cover up something on the table.
Emin closed the door and locked it.
He walked in front of the black cloth and yanked at it.
The black cloth landed on the ground, unveiling the object.
Garen took it in with a breath, his face in disbelief.
The whole table had one very delicate-looking apparatus made with a transparent metal with silver sheen. Within the area of a palm, there were hundreds on faint silver components turning with gears.
The details on the instrument was so precise, it exuded a sense of purity and cold steel.
The whole apparatus was like a detailed toy, it kept dropping a small aqueous silver ball, from left to right, top to bottom, until it dropped into a silvery container.
On the apparatus that’s at least five meters long, there were thousands of components as big as a fingernail functioning as they’re meant to.
Emin walked in front of the apparatus, sporting a businesslike expression.
"I will be teaching you about one of the two most important tools of a Luminarist, unit factory."
"Unit factory?" Garen repeated the noun, his gaze still fixed on the instrument.
"Yes, just like what it’s called, it’s a factory that produces units." Emin nodded and answered. "This particular one is mine, it produces my totem White Bear." He paused.
"As I have said before, totem creatures were created from unit tactics. Your father is also a Luminarist, you would have seen totems before, so I won’t talk about that. Active units were the bedrock of everything. When a Luminarist studied and learned a creature’s active unit, he will be able to use unit factories to clone them, slowly building it up to a higher level of structure and ultimately, become a totem. Basically, it’s a tool to duplicate unit tactics to be formed into tissues, organs, systems and totems."
He covered the instrument with the black cloth.
"You’ll get one in the future as you’ll need one. Next, we’ll look at the second tool."
He walked to the other corner of the room, in front of a small table.
"This is a whole series of tools. Before unit factories can reproduce active units, where do they come from? That’s where the Luminarists have to search for themselves."
"Search?" Garen was confused. "Isn’t it a standard blueprint that everyone can use? Like your White Bear, won’t I be able to build it if I want to?"
"There’s also that. Learning a standard model and produce based on that, that’s the easiest way." Emin nodded, "Pretty observant, not bad. This is also why different Luminarists have different paths. The stronger and richer their inheritance, the stronger their totem will be. Hence, all Luminarists will be extra cautious about their own knowledge, because it literally represents their power."
Emin paused again, "Since you are my student, you’ll have to walk the same path as I did, but I’m not only proficient with White Bear, I know about other totems too. But let’s put that aside for now."
He pointed at a white instrument that looks mildly similar to a microscope on Earth.
"This is a microscope, it can show you enlarged images of objects. It can enlarge images up to 800 times their original size. It’s one of the medium-range ones on the market. Beside that are petri dish, forceps, magnifying glass, microdissection needle, tripod, asbestos net, bunsen burner, tube holder, blade tweezers, slides, coverslips…" Emin introduced the whole set to Garen.
Garen looked at the familiar equipments.
"These are definitely the same as the ones on Earth…" He thought.
At the end of his introduction, Emin sighed,
"Alas, I only have so much money. The RAL just came out with a new tool, but I don’t have the money to buy it."
He stood beside his table.
"These are the two things Luminarists must have, one to research, another to reproduce."
"I get it, active units are what forms everything, but how do active units come from?" Garen asked.
"This question is very crucial." Emin nodded with approval. "Their origins can be from anywhere. There are countless types of creatures in the world, Luminarists seek to research strong creatures and use silver to mimic their powers. The active units we talk about, are actually from the creatures in the nature."
"Creatures in the nature… If that’s the case, theoretically, any beings can be used as a totem?" Garen asked curiously.
"Of course. As long as you dig deep enough to understand the cells of a creature, you can use them as your totem," Emin nodded, smiling. "Of course, there’s a limit to everyone’s vigor, if you want to study everything but lack specificity, then nothing would come to fruition. Your totem may not even win against the most average Luminarist."