William's fear came true, and he could not help but feel sad. After a moment of reflection, he straightened himself up and walked around the room. Then he started talking:
"I accept your decision and I will help you train in that method but I have some conditions. First, I want you to train your mental energy for six months and if after that time I won't consider you ready I will not allow you to begin the treatment. The second condition is that you will have to train the twin saber style with me personally. Will you accept?"
Noah looked at him a bit confused and rebuked quietly:
"May I know the reason behind these conditions?"
William stopped in place and answered:
"To withstand that kind of pain and still be able to manipulate the "Breath" you'll need a way stronger mind than the average man. If you train your sea of consciousness for some time you will increase your chances to survive the treatment. As for the second condition, I will be practicing torture on a kid and I don't really feel good about it. At least I will vent a little by training you and you might even raise your tolerance of pain during the process."
Noah was a bit taken aback from this answer, especially concerning its last part.
"Master, you don't have to force yourself to do the treatment to me if you don't want to."
"No one from the inner circle will help you do that and the only ones in the outer circle that can use the "Breath" skillfully enough are me and the captain. Yet, my precision in its usage is far better, so I'm the best candidate to perform it."
Noah fell into thought.
'Even though he tried to con me earlier, he's not a bad character. Well, it's either trusting him or going back to scam guards so I don't have much of a choice.'
Said Noah in the end.
Answered William, and then he took another piece of paper that was folded from a pocket in his pants. He handed that folded sheet to Noah and then started explaining again.
"Inside that sheet, there is written a rune called Kesier rune after the species of magical beasts they were obtained from. It is said that these beasts had such a powerful mental energy they could squeeze an adult man into a little ball of flesh with a single thought. They were similar to big monkeys and each of their kind had a different number of these runes embodied on their back, the more runes they had, the more powerful their mental energy was. When humans found out that they could use these runes to empower their mental energy, a big extermination begun, and of the Kesier species, only the runes remain now. The method to train the mental energy is the result of years of experimentation on these runes. Nowadays, there are three sets each made of three runes for a total of nine runes."
William paused a bit and then pointed at the folded sheet in Noah's hands.
"That one that I gave you is the first rune of the first set. When you will read it, you will feel a terrible pain in the center of your brain, which is caused by your first interaction with the sea of consciousness. Actually, there is a painless method to interact for the first time with the sea of consciousness but it will take you a week and knowing the kind of masochist you are I figured out that this method will suit you better. Go ahead and try reading the rune, after the pain comes, focus on it to enter your sea of consciousness."
Noah smiled a little at being called a masochist, he was just eager to get stronger, wasn't that the same for everyone?
He slowly unfolded the sheet in his hands till a strand of ink was visible. Immediately, he felt like his head was going to split open. He groaned, enduring the pain and hiding again the rune and then he focused on the origin of the pain.
He felt that he was in another world. The feeling of being on the ground disappeared and there was no smell, only the constant noise of sea waves was present. He opened his eyes and looked around him. He was sitting cross-legged in the air, his figure half transparent. Above him there was darkness, separated from him by a spherical barrier, beneath him there was an azure sea, with slight waves on its surface. After some seconds of pure amazement, he found himself back in the room with William staring at him, it seemed just one instant had passed.
"Master, can you explain?"
Asked Noah completely stupefied by this out-of-body experience.
"You have just seen your sea of consciousness. Consider it a personal dimension, where your thoughts, emotions and mental energy are stored. The bigger that dimension is, the more influence it will have on the material world. The water inside it represents your ability to think, so be careful when you train mental energy or cast spells because it will deplete that water, and once you are out of it, your ability to think will be greatly affected until the sea of consciousness is replenished. You might even faint in that situation and if it happens too often, you can even damage your sphere. Once the sphere is broken, your mind will shatter and you will just be a living body with no will or thought."
William was talking with a really serious face in that moment, it was hard to imagine how many men had shattered their own sphere trying to push their limits or overexerting themselves.
"The training method of mental energy is pretty simple, just memorize the rune. You will know that you have memorized it once the rune appears inside your sea of consciousness like it did on the skin of the Kesier species and looking at it will cause no more depletion of mental energy. Once you've done it you can be considered a rank 1 mage and you can learn your first spells after confirming your elemental aptitude. The ranks of mages go from 1 to 9 based on the number of Kesier runes in their sea of consciousness and they have an auxiliary title based on their rank. For rank 1,2 and 3 it's apprentice mage; for rank 4,5 and 6 is intermediate mage; for the rest of them is high mage. Basically, every wealthy family has a set of the first three runes, Balvan family should have the first five ones, while for the higher ones only the Shosti family or similar high-noble families might have them. Now, enough with the explanations, go back to your home and start practicing the first rune. I will send the twin saber style forms and descriptions to your lodging including another saber. I will see you again in one week from now to check your progress with both of them. Remember not to exhaust your mental energy!"