This is the first chapter of Empty Container. I hope you all enjoy it and please point out and mistakes you see.
In the village of Braan a large group of youths were currently practicing, there was roughly 200 gathered in the courtyard. The group of youths were all meditating, they all sit completely still the only movement is their chest rising and falling with their breath. This has been a tradition for hundreds of years in the Braan clan who put strength and unity above everything else.
As a member of Braan you are expected to train yourself to your limit every day in the pursuit of strength. As long as you train hard no matter what the results you will accepted as one of the clan. In the group of youths currently meditating there is a youth who is feeling frustrated. He has been doing the same training since he had his fifth birthday and one month after that he realised he had already hit the limit of his inner energy. He had been at his limit before he had even begun his meditation, so a whole month had been wasted.
Usually one should be able to train their entire lives and not be able to reach their limit, but Alex hit it before he had begun training. This would be cause for celebration if not for the fact the only reason he hit his limit is because he simply couldn’t hold as much as everyone else. If normal people can hold an ocean of inner energy then Alex can hold a drop. No matter how much Alex tried to gather more Natural energy from around him it just wouldn’t be absorbed
Since he couldn’t absorb any more energy he quickly gave up meditation for the purpose of energy absorption and put his efforts somewhere else. Alex quickly learnt that meditating gets boring quickly if you are not absorbing energy, so he begun to use this time find his inner energy. After half a year of exploring his soul he found his soul well. Finding it put frustrated him even more though, stories of people finding their inner energy usually involved finding a near infinite space with a small amount of power floating around. All Alex found was a small area the size of his thumb and inside of this small area was a gray mist not making a single movement.
The problem of his lack of inner energy has been bothering Alex since he begun, not only did he lack the storage for inner energy, he found he only gathered it at a fraction of the rate others. Whenever sparring practice commences Alex would be defeated in an instant, just the pressure of the others energy when they begin causes him to fall down. Since this is the case even during sparring practice he would meditate, all the teachers think he just needs to absorb more of nature’s energy. They can’t comprehend the fact that he had a small reservoir for his inner power, it is simply unheard of.
Now whenever meditation begins with nothing else to do Alex would manipulate his energy. Moving it about trying to find anything that could allow him to catch up to his peers, but the only thing that he got was a way to pass the hours of boring meditation. Since Alex couldn’t absorb any more nature energy his physical development had progressed slowly. All living creatures need to absorb the natural energy and in doing so they develop their bodies, allowing them to become stronger and faster. In the three years of training Alex made little gains in power whether it is physical or inner energy.
Lucky for Alex in the clan of Braan whilst power is seen as important unity is just as important and they see that he is training just as hard as everyone else. They can’t really blame him for his lack of natural talent, so he is treated as well as everyone else or even better by some as they pity the child who has no future as a warrior. With no future as a warrior, he has very little future at all.
Even when Alex is home he is training, trying to gain even a fraction of strength. Ever since his parents died the only thing Alex ever wanted was to be strong, but with his cursed body was nothing he could do. Silently meditating Alex was still moving his inner energy around trying to find the smallest hint to a way to increase his power, when he heard a loud knock at his door and an immense pressure from a powerful warrior. In the middle manipulating his energy he lost concentration for a split second, once he lost concentration his body felt like it was on fire. He begun coughing up mouthfuls of blood, his entire body felt like it was falling apart. “Help, please” With the last remaining power he had left he cried for help from whoever was at the door.
At the front door stood three men in black robes, the symbol of the upper levels of the clan embroidered on their chests. With no answer from the door the three men enter the house, what they see worries them greatly. Their mission was to bring Alex to see their captain, and there he was on the ground near death. The leader of the three quickly checked Alex’s breath and found it was incredibly faint, a few more minutes and he would be dead. “I heard he was weak, but he shouldn’t be this bad are you sure it is alright to bring him he might ruin the entire squad” One of the robes men was obviously very disappointed in this child.
The leader sharing this idea would have just left the boy to die if it weren’t for his captains order “Give him the great dalma medicine, the captain was very specific about his want for this child. Unless you want to be the one who tells him we failed I would give it to him fast.” As quickly as possible both men behind their leader pulled out a small pouch of powder, rushing to pour it down his throat in the hopes that he will live.
Alex was being carried by the robes men, his breathing returned to normal thanks to the medine provided. Being careful not to hurt him they slowly made their way to the centre of the village, this was a very difficult thing for them as they were jumping from one roof staying in the shadows to avoid the eyes of everyone. The closer they got to the centre the larger the buildings became until they came to one of the largest buildings in the area. Quietly they entered from the back making sure no one saw them enter.
As they enter their captains room they placed Alex on the ground and went on their knees in respect not even daring to look their leader in the eyes. “Very good, you three have done well here is your reward, you may leave now.” Whilst staying in the shadows the figure moved and a large pouch came flying towards the robed men. As soon as they received their reward they escaped as quickly as they could, leaving only black blur wherever they moved.
After a few minutes Alex woke up, he found himself in a strange room and he could feel an oppressive pressure all around him, far stronger than the one he felt behind his door. Although his strength had returned with the pressure around him he could hardly move, only just managing to get on his knees he finally noticed the silhouette of a man in front of him. Straight away he could tell this man was strong, just sitting there and he was releasing power stronger than when he faced his peers in sparring. “Hello Alex, I have had you brought here for a very important reason. We recently created a new squad, I am officially giving you an invitation to join this squad.” The voice felt strange to Alex, just hearing the voice made him feel weak in the knees and his mind was compelling him to listen to whatever this man says. The man in front of Alex was a natural born leader.
Many things were floating around in Alex’s mind when this was asked, but the main thing was that he could finally help his clan who has given him so much. “Of course ill join!” Alex could only agree, after all, when would he ever get another chance to become a warrior for his clan. Probably never, not with his level of skills. “When do I start captain?” asked Alex, he could hardly wait to finally be useful for his clan.
“Vice captain Lance, you can show yourself now” Ozu said with a wave of his hand. In front of Alex a new man had appeared shocking Alex, never had he seen this type of technique used before. The man standing ahead of Alex gave of a cold aura, Alex could hardly tell it was there at all. The man was tall, an unremarkable face, one that would easily blend in crowds and there was no telling how powerful he was since his aura could not be sensed he was the perfect spy.
As soon as Lance appeared he walked around Alex evaluating him as someone would cattle.“ From now on you are directly under my command, you will train with the others in your squad and I will personally oversee this. Remember Alex this squad is a secret so you must not tell anyone” Lance told Alex though he was lacking in emotions as he spoke. His voice made it sounds like he didn’t really care about this at all, he gave off a very lazy aura. Only his last sentence seemed to fill Alex with fear, obviously Lance would deal severely with him if he spread the news of this squad.
Lance handed a small black orb to Alex about the size of his an eye. “When you return home I want you to absorb this like you would natural energy” It wasn’t strange to absorb objects like that, there were many types of medicines that worked like this, there were also items that could be stored in your soul. With that Alex was dismissed, when he left the villa he ran straight home.
When running home Alex found he was full of energy, he was so excited to finally be productive part of the clan he didn’t even realise he was running far faster than he normally could. Reaching his home he got straight into his meditation position and begun to absorb the orb. He was a little worried he wouldn’t be able to fit it in since he was full, but he managed to absorb it. Checking to make sure it was properly inside, Alex inspected his well what he found freighted him. All his inner energy had disappeared, inner energy doesn’t just disappear even when it is used it only exhausts the energy not consumed it.
At first he thought it might have been the orb, but it couldn’t have been consuming his inner energy would have been noticed. After all losing your inner energy is like losing a limb, that was when he remembered earlier that day when he had lost concentration due to the aura from behind his door. Before the knock he was playing around with his energy, he had split it into two large balls and manipulated them around his well. When he lost his concentration his two balls of energy collided, this is what caused him to fall down and cough up blood.
Carefully inspecting his well he noticed a small amount of white liquid. After carefully inspecting the liquid Alex found that it was infact his inner energy but far more powerful than what he had previously had. The speck of liquid energy was at least five times as powerful as the entire amount of his previous inner energy. Finally finding out what was happening with is body he couldn’t help but be excited, after all he had finally found a way to improve and he had joined a squad for the clan. Finally things were starting to look up for him, so of course he was excited.
After learning that his inner energy had gone, he begun to mediate and gather more. Alex spent the entire night absorbing the natural energy around him. Even with him gathering the energy around him for twelve hours he only managed to fill a tenth of his container. His rate of absorption really was terrible compared to other people, Alex couldn’t help but frown even if he can make more of this liquid energy he wouldn’t be able to gather enough natural energy to be on equal footing with the others.
With the rise of the sun Alex heard a knock on his door, opening the door he was faced with Larnce. As soon as the door was opened lance turned around and begun walking away, Alex could do nothing but follow behind him. After ten minutes of walking they walked through some gates to the courtyard of a large villa. The walls were over three meters high, obviously the owner of this villa was very conscious of privacy. “These three are the current squad members, introduce yourselves” and with that lance walked into the building.
“I’m Kell, ten year old” with a salute the largest boy introduced himself, he was two heads taller than Alex and was far more muscular as well. He looked like the typical child in the village.
“I’m Jerry, nine years old” the next boy walked up to alex and shook his hand, this boy was the same height has Alex but he far higher weight compared to Alex. Being overweight is an odd thing since when you absorb nature’s energy you normally gain strength and cleanse your body.
“…Sam…eight” the last person was a very shy girl she hardly raised her voice at all. Alex could only just hear her name and age.
“So what type of training do we do here?” After alex asked, other three looked at each other “We only mediate like everyone else” Kell finally said and with that all four of them begun to meditate. Alex wasn’t as bored as he usually is when meditating as he can finally begin to absorb inner energy.
After eight hours of meditation training was over, all four are to meet at the same place at the same time and train for eight hours everyday. When Alex got home he was exhausted, with no sleep then another eight hours of meditation he couldn’t handle doing any more. He also couldn’t sleep since meditating only burdens the mind not the body, so he decided he would try and make more of the liquid energy. Concentrating he splits his misty energy in two and slammed them together, as soon as the two collided he felt immense pressure all throughout his body. The pain was not as bad as the previous night. He could still concentrate on his well and could see the two groups of energy merge and make a tiny amount of liquid energy. He also noticed that all his energy is slowly going towards the black orb sticking to it like a weak magnet, though he could still forcefully remove it.
The next day went by just the same as his previous, he went to where his squad was practicing did eight hours of meditation. Then returned home did another eight hours of meditation and combined it into liquid energy. This continued for a whole year, nothing changed in his schedule constantly training and creation of liquid energy has allowed Alex’s strength to develop far faster than it had previously been. It is still not as fast as everyone else, but he was still happy with the progress after all before he found the liquid energy he could hardly stand in front of other fighters. Now he can spar without getting knocked out by their inner energy alone, he still can’t win but at least he can remain standing before the fight begins..
Inside Alex’s well his liquid energy has completely surrounded the black orb, there is now a very thin film of liquid energy all around the orb which alex can’t remove anymore since it doesn’t seem to be negatively affecting him he hasn’t done anything about it.
In the last couple months of his year long training there were a few skirmishes between the kingdom of Qola where Braan resides and its neighbouring kingdom Fruce. There had been a long line of fights between these two kingdoms, it is said that they have been fighting since their creation over 500 years ago.
Every few months Lance would come and check the squads progress, in his eyes Alex had made no improvements since he was only checking the amount of inner energy they had accumulated. The way warriors are graded is based on the quantity of inner energy once you reach a certain point you are considered a rank one warrior and can begin to learn new techniques that let you use your inner energy. This can range from further increasing your physical strength, your speed or even imbuing elements into your attacks. It is also at this point that you can use your personal weapon, everyone has a personal weapon and only when they gain enough power can they materialize it into the real world. When people become a rank one warrior the skill to do this is taught.
Each rank has a certain amount of inner energy you need and each time you reach a new rank you can learn different techniques. Each rank requires far more than the last one and once you reach rank eight you are considered one of the best, able to kill a hundred lower rank fighters with one attack of your weapon. Kingdoms everywhere will try and recruit you and an easy life is guaranteed, this is the goal of most young people.
For the first time ever Lance appeared two days in a row, all of the squad were whispering with each other wondering what was going on. Suddenly Lance spoke up “Our kingdom personally asked our clan head to send soldiers to the upcoming war, everyone of this squad has been given a special role in the war. Everyone was silent war was something common to the lives of these people, it was actually odd that they were not at war already. In the last 100 years the kingdom of Qola has been at war for 80 of them. This generation of children might be the only ones who haven’t grown up in war time.
“In ten days we will be departing to the kingdom of Fruce, there we will begin our mission. Everyone prepare yourselves!” Lance rarely shows emotion but right now his face is clearly excited at the notion of war. After all war is where soldiers get honour, fame and power and his current mission will give him all of the above.