Act 7: The 4 Directions
Naturally, the purpose of Mwana’s appraisal ability was to estimate the different values that could be attributed to both items and people. For example, an item’s worth could be calculated based on age, craftsmanship, long-lastingness, wear and tear, durability and sturdiness, as well as any external power stored within, etcetera.
As Mwana was someone who believed in order, he organized his Dragon Mirror Eye ability into 4 distinct sections which he named the 4 Directions. The first ability of the Dragon Mirror Eye was the ability to increase his sensory range and capacity. Through this ability, not only could he see clearly even when his vision was obscured such as in Majimaji’s Ink Darkness Domain, he could also detect things that others could not such as the trail of the Blood Mural Case serial killer whose discovery had earned him a Silver Guard Reserve Candidate Card from Mr. Black. Therefore, Mwana labelled this unique sensory ability as the Awareness Eye and assigned it to his right eye.
The second external ability was therefore the Appraisal Eye which he assigned to his left eye.
As for the 2 internal abilities of the Dragon Mirror Eye, they were the Reflection Eye and the Inner Eye. The Reflection Eye was naturally related to the state that Mwana had found himself in when he first awakened his innate ability. His consciousness was sucked into his mind and he found himself standing before a mirror within his mental plane. This mirror was the psychic representation of the Dragon Mirror Eye or Third Eye Mirror innate ability and by reflecting and mediating before it, there were some noticeable benefits. As for the Inner Eye, it was related to the even deeper Dream Realm that Mwana would experience occasionally – the dreams of the Green Dragon. However, he naturally did not have control over this state yet.
Therefore Mwana’s 4 Directions were:
- Mashariki-Jua [Eastern Eye of Perception] - Awareness Eye
- Magharibi-Elewa [Western Eye of Discernment] - Appraisal Eye
- Kaskazini-Kioo cha Fikra [Northern Eye of Contemplation] - Reflection Eye
- Magharibi-Wazia [Southern Eye of Insight] - Inner Eye
The external abilities of his Third Eye Mirror were each assigned to an organ – Jua was to the East therefore assigned to the right eye while Elewa was to the West therefore assigned to the left eye. If Mwana had an entry in the Young Heroes Ranking booklet, then his innate abilities would be classified as:
Innate Ability: Dragon Mirror Eye
Derivative Powers: External Powers - The Right Eye of Perception [East – The Awareness Eye] and The Left Eye of Discernment [West – The Appraisal Eye].
After activating appraisal, Mwana started scanning through the old man’s wares like a hawk scanning for prey over a grassland-plain. In his vision, while he did not perceive the value of the objects directly as numbers, his senses could pick up different aspects of the items, measure them, tally them up, and then present them to Mwana in a form he could easily understand such as a colour value. The first thing that stood out to him was a Sherehani-brand curse idol. These were basically wooden idols sewn over with thread. These things were not uncommon at all as they had many uses from playthings without the ‘curse’ aspect to ritualistic objects to items for warding off curses. However, their most common use was obviously cursing other people.
The curse idol Mwana was looking at was obviously of the more sinister kind.
“Elder, how much is this doll? It looks like it would make a great gift for my little sister.”
“For your little sister, how old is she?” The old seller could not help but ask in an incredulous tone.
“6.” Mwana replied with a deadpan tone.
“This is a curse idol!” The seller made sure to stress this point.
Hearing Mwana’s answer, the old seller could not help but stress again, “…it is not the plaything kind, it is a genuine tool that can be used to hold and send curses.”
“I heard you the first time. My sister has strange hobbies…and it is not like she will curse anyone anyway. Well not anyone who does not deserve it. Are you selling it or not?”
In the end, the old man could only relent even though he felt he was doing something unethical. Not only was he selling a genuine curse idol to a child, that child was going to hand it over to an even younger child!
Before choosing it, Mwana had discovered the uniqueness of the idol by its bright colour value compared to the other items. It probably had its own secrets that he would probe later. After getting the idol, he did not stop looking around and noted down some valuable things in his mind: a set of needles, two different eggs, a unique rock, and an old bone dagger. Although he was interested in them, he did not know exactly what to pick so he directly asked the old man’s advice. This time, the old man suggested that Mwana pick an egg. One of the eggs was that of the Lookout bird while the other egg belonged to some type of fish called the Flying masquerade bone-mask fish simply referred to as the Bone-mask fish.
Mwana was not at all interested in raising a Lookout bird considering his Eye of Awareness made him the best lookout for himself. In the future, his observation, surveillance, and scouting abilities would definitely grow to surpass a mere bird. Since he rejected the Lookout bird egg, the old man suggested the Bone-mask fish egg.
“This Bone-mask fish is not too bad either. You hear it has the word ‘flying’ in its name right. That means that this fish can fly through the air! Amazing, right? Makes you want it, right? In adulthood, the fish grows to be really large with sharp colourless scales covering its whole body. It also has sharp sword-like fins that can split the air in half like nothing when it swims. The most amazing thing is its teeth, sharp, serrated, and can chew up a person faster than any swam of piranhas! It is amazing right? This is the perfect creature! How much do you want it for?”
It seemed this old seller really loved this kind of fish considering how excited he got just describing it to Mwana.
“What made you think I would want such a thing?” Obviously Mwana was not moved in the slightest. He was not interested in owning a pet man-eating fish.
“Well you are buying a curse doll for your little sister who is only 6 so… anyway I figured anything goes for you.” The old seller could only reply with a disappointed shrug of his shoulders.
“It seems there isn’t anything anymore left for me. Thank you for everything elder. Have a good night.” There was not much left that Mwana was interested in so he put the doll in his cloth bag alongside the pot and bow, thanked the old seller for the service, and prepared to leave.
Seeing this, how could the old fellow just let his last customer for the day leave like this?
“You are not even going to look at the martial arts books, tablets, or manuals? There might be something good there.” The seller added luring Mwana back.
‘Indeed, I did not look at the martial arts yet. I doubt I will find something good but I was looking for simple things anyway,’ Mwana thought before asking, “Do you have a sword art? Just something basic and simple will do.”
In response, 3 books were pushed before Mwana’s feet. The first one was the [Burial Sword Art] which Mwana dismissed immediately. Not only was the name bad, but it seemed like a sinister art. The second book was flower-type sword art probably from foreign lands. It was even in a completely different language and written script that Mwana could not understand. As for the last book, it could not even be called a book. It was just a cover and 3 tattered pages. Dusting it off, the words that entered Mwana’s eyes were: “Moonshine Sword Manual.”
Mwana was instantly interested just from the name alone so he turned to the fist page.
A blinding white light and a loud sound of a sword tearing through the air entered Mwana’s senses. In his third eye vision, his body had already been cut in half with blood flying and the houses behind him shattered. Even though he had pulled his Instant Sword to defend almost instantly, he could not block the blow.
His face was full of sweat as the pain and fear assaulted his senses.
“….ey….id…kid…hey kid!” It was like being pulled from a deep well.
When the old seller’s voice entered Mwana’s ears, he realized that he was still holding the tattered book in his hands. His Instant Sword was still hidden away under his clothes and he was still in the same squatting position as before. He had not moved even a single inch!
‘So that was all an illusion? What kind of sword art is this! And this is just 3 pages of it. What was the complete version like?!’
While it was an incomplete move, the shocking sword aura had shaken Mwana to the core. However, as his hands were tightly grabbing the book while sweaty from the illusion, he felt something strange on the cover.
‘Cough cough.’ Once again, the old man coughed suspiciously.
Mwana already knew what that cough meant. Checking the book’s cover again, even a toddler would realize that the name had been plastered on. He could not help but look at the old seller with a disapproving look.
“Hey, this time do not blame me. You can see how unique this sword art is right? Unfortunately, it was heavily damaged when I got it with only 3 or 4 pages. The cover was also destroyed beyond measure. So I just gave it a name based on what I understood from the remaining pages.”
Hearing this, Mwana did not blame the old seller for being a con this time. It was not as blatant a lie as with the Dhahabu pot. To add, the sword move recorded was pretty amazing. This time, Mwana did not haggle and paid the full price since it was not that expensive. It was just 3 pages of an incomplete art anyway.
Even after Mwana bought four items from him, the old seller was still interested in continuing to milk his pockets. The martial art he tried to sell to Mwana this time was a compound art that could be applied to almost any fighting style including both weapon and weapon-less styles. However, Mwana was not interested at all as this was an art that he and everyone else were extremely familiar with.
“I know what that martial art is old fellow, Radimo’s Body Shattering martial arts named after lightning itself, the Final Art of Mheni.”
That’s right it was [the Final Art of Mheni].
If one were to ask, ‘what are the best martial arts in the Sword Scar Continent?’, then the Final Art of Mheni would definitely be in the top 10. At high mastery, the user of this martial art can cut through mountains like butter and slice through seas like the wind. Through sheer speed, their swords can slash lightning itself. Nature offers no resistance to such power. Mheni is a deadly technique that guarantees victory in speed and power.
However, despite the praise and status, this technique was like common cabbages in how it was distributed in the continent. Even the Jua village’s library had a copy of it. The main reason for this was that the technique was like a false mirage of a lake in a desert. Despite how amazing the Final Art of Mheni was, it was a complex technique that required the user to fulfil some impossible conditions. To this day, no one has ever truly mastered it apart from its creator, Radimo.
“You know your stuff kid. Indeed, Radimo was probably able to perfect this art because he had a physique that perfectly suited it. After him, no one else has ever mastered it, not even his direct students and descendants. However, it is still good reference material…and this time I won’t cheat you on the price. I will give you a discount.”
After some back and forth, the old seller finally ‘caught’ Mwana again and another sale was in the bag. However, this time both felt as if they had taken a loss. The old man even gave a discount yet Mwana still haggled lowering the price by almost half! As for Mwana, he felt a bit wronged as he had not been intending to buy anything else but was still ‘tricked’ into purchasing the Mheni book. Anyway, the Art of Mheni was still very powerful and while Mwana could not practice it, he could gain inspiration for enhancing his sword moves and improving his lightning arts.