Chapter 349 – True Path
Saying that Shang was surprised would be an understatement.
He knew that Teacher Mervin was powerful, but he hadn’t known that he was this powerful!
Teacher Mervin could actually reach the True Path Stage if he so chose to!
“Then, why are you a Late Commander Stage warrior?” Shang asked in shock.
Teacher Mervin chuckled a bit. “Didn’t you already find out the reason why?”
Shang was confused for a second, but then he realized.
“You don’t want to only fight warriors,” Shang said.
“Correct,” Teacher Mervin said with a nod. “When I was 123 years old, I found my Path. I realized my goal, and after decades of training, I finally unlocked the ability to beat any warrior comparable to me in level.”
“It has always been my goal to be the most powerful warrior. After all, I am a warrior, and just like any other warrior, I want to be the best.”
“But when I reached my goal, I realized something.”
“There was so much more in the world.”
“High Mages could fly without a Spell.”
“I wanted to fly.”
“Zone Beasts could do whatever they want.”
“I want to do whatever I want.”
“And, even more, many Kings in the past vanished without a trace. They didn’t die, but they simply vanished.”
“I’m pretty sure that there is a wider world beyond the Abyss, and they probably went there.”
“I want to go there.”
Then, Teacher Mervin sighed.
“However, I have already achieved my goal.”
“I was the most powerful warrior.”
“Yet, I couldn’t do any of these other things.”
“Achieving my goal felt empty after realizing all of these things.”
“That’s when I realized that I chose the wrong goal.”
“I chose the wrong Path.”
“I found my Path, but this was the Path of a different person.”
“With these new realizations, I was no longer the person that chose that Path.”
“I needed a new Path because my old Path was no longer useful for my new goals.”
“And for the last thirty years, I concentrated on increasing my Battle-Strength when it comes to fighting beasts and Mages.”
“About ten years ago, I managed to widen my Path.”
“I know how to fight beasts perfectly.”
“I achieved that Path while fighting a Late Commander Stage Crevice Lizard.”
“Crevice Lizards are one of the weakest Late Commander Stage beasts that exist, and I nearly died in my fight. But in the end, I managed to win.”
“I was the only Commander Stage warrior in the world that could win against a beast on my level solo, even if it was one of the weakest.”
The more Shang heard, the more his respect grew.
Killing a beast on the same level as oneself as a warrior without the Procedure was unreal.
This was like Shang fighting a weak Late Commander Stage beast if one included his Procedure. He could theoretically win, but it wasn’t a sure thing.
This meant that Teacher Mervin was probably just as good, if not better, when it came to fighting beasts than Shang!
Teacher Mervin’s smile widened. “And for about the last ten years, I’ve been focusing on Mages. I’m learning a lot from Vice-Dean Ranos.”
“And when I can finally beat a Mage on my level, I will be ready for the True Path Stage.”
“But I don’t know how long it will take. It might happen tomorrow. It might never happen. I don’t know.”
“That’s my reason for staying in the Late Commander Stage,” Teacher Mervin finished.
Shang had had no idea that Teacher Mervin was this outstanding.
For the entire time, Shang had assumed that Vice-Dean Ranos was the most powerful Commander Stage warrior, with Vice-Dean Soran being just below him with a couple of other warriors.
Yet, there was this hidden monster.
Shang had always felt that Teacher Mervin was a bit special amongst the teachers, but he hadn’t thought that he had already condensed such a powerful True Path.
“Do you understand what I want to teach you?” Teacher Mervin asked.
Shang nodded. “Yes,” he answered. “Condensing a Path doesn’t mean that I should reach the True Path Stage.”
“If I feel that my goal is inadequate, I should look at myself and see if I am happy with my own power.”
Teacher Mervin nodded with a smile. “Do you want to be the strongest warrior in the world?”
Shang shook his head. “No.”
“I want to be the strongest.”
There was a great difference between these two statements.
The strongest warrior in the world was the Dean.
But the strongest being overall?
Shang glanced at the jester.
The Dean and the God couldn’t be compared.
“You are walking a more difficult Path than me, Shang,” Teacher Mervin said.
“Your goal is to be the strongest, no matter what you fight. May it be warriors, Mages, beasts, Abominations…”
Teacher Mervin glanced at the jester.
The jester only grinned.
“You have to work harder than anyone else, and you might need to take more time than anyone else. If you want to build the tallest building, you need the widest foundation.”
“Are you willing to do that?”
“Are you willing to see younger warriors and Mages overtake you in total power while you remain at the same level?”
“Are you willing to see the world be changed by others while you remain on a level of power that has no other option but to adapt to the very changes other powers decide to implement?” Teacher Mervin asked.
Shang took a deep breath.
Everyone wanted to change the world, but not many had the power.
Right now, Teacher Mervin was showing Shang his future.
In the future, Shang might have created a True Path so powerful that he could fight powerful High Mages without being at the True Path Stage.
Yet, the world was still run by the Kings and Zone Beasts.
King Skythunder might leave or die and be replaced by a King that didn’t like warriors very much.
Shang might be forced to run away and hide.
Shang might see the Dean and his friends die right in front of him while he had no other option but to run, hide, and train.
He could become powerful enough to resist the Kings if he advanced, but then, he might miss his true goal.
This meant putting his own goals over the lives of everyone else and maybe even above his own happiness.
Shang would be working towards the most distant, nearly unachievable goal.
In Earth terms, one could say that Shang would refuse to take a break, find a hobby, and find a relationship until he earned a billion dollars.
Was he willing to forsake all of this just to have a shot at achieving his goal?
Was he willing to sacrifice everything?
Shang looked at Teacher Mervin.
“Yes, I am willing,” he said, fire in his right eye.
“There is nothing more important than my goal.”
Teacher Mervin only smiled bitterly.
“This is not what I want you to choose,” he said. “What’s the point of being powerful when your life is grey and you have nothing else to live for?”
“I wanted to teach you this lesson when you were younger…”
Teacher Mervin sighed.
“But, apparently, I failed.”
Shang felt a bit guilty about disappointing Teacher Mervin, but he didn’t falter.
At that moment, Teacher Mervin readied his sword again.
“However, you are an adult now,” he said. “It is your choice to make. It is your Path.”
“And even if I don’t want you to walk down that path, as your teacher, it is my duty to help you achieve your goal.”
Teacher Mervin slightly moved his sword.
“Let me be the first to help you on your True Path.”
Then, Shang also readied his sword.