Chapter 35:

The Young Master VII - "The Knyzosis Art"

Destiny Marine

Isaac couldn’t believe it. At long last, standing in the cultivation section of the library, he finally connected the dots and found another clue. Thomas Jan wrote a thin book, something that would perhaps take no more than three hours for a slow reader like Isaac to finish.


Even better, this book seemed similar to the one for the |Fists of Anji|. To follow this lead, perhaps he would have to train this perception Art, whatever it may be.

The lack of heroic figures and scantily-clad woman on the front cover gave this away as an academic book. Isaac flipped through the first few pages - copyrighted in the year 2456, published by Cartwright Media, Inc.


Now that Isaac thought about it, the Cartwrights did run a lot of Arcadia's competitor newspapers. The Reeds ran the mainstream Narragansett Observer; the Cartwrights had their Narragansett World. The Observer published local, national, and international news; World published tabloid stories.

…Isaac didn't want to admit it, but he did kind of like World more.

Whatever the case may be, the Cartwrights were somehow related to this book. Maybe they were just the publishers; maybe it was something more. A book this short contained no table of contents; it got right into the action.

I can remember it clearly. It was a hot August morning when I ascended the steps of the Transcendent Mountain, home of the former Sect Hidden in the Mountains. Two years earlier, the Sect had their fateful battle that sundered their mountain and destroyed half of its disciples; the surviving half, led by the fearless Viola Reed, Derek Domino, and Theodore Greylock, joined the revolutionary army that freed Arcadia from her Elysian-Quinsigamondite shackles. Although I was a scholar for Quinsigamond, I pledged my life to the new country and was granted mercy. They even made use of my academic talents and sent me to inspect what had happened on Transcendent Mountain in the intervening time. The amount of Rddhi discharged in the Sect’s final battle was considered enough to declare the mountain off-limits; I was there to inspect the damage.

Much to my surprise, I found the area to be completely inhabitable, with radiation at a minimum. To even more surprise, the area was actually filled with people. New acolytes, many of them former soldiers of the revolution, wore the same robes and practiced in the same style as their forebears. If it weren’t for all the construction going on - and half the summit having gone missing - then a person would never have suspected that the Sect destroyed themselves just two years earlier.

Unfortunately, while the old sect allowed travelers such as Viola, Domino, and Theodore into their ranks, these new acolytes immediately took me into custody. As fate would have it, and much to our later sorrow, these acolytes would form the nucleus of the later Theodite Rebellion. The hero had turned traitor, and these new acolytes were the basis of his army. At the time, though, I just thought the isolated mountain living had given them a suspicious disposition - only later would we realize the truth.

I did not see Theodore there, but he apparently spoke with his acolytes, and I was freed after only a few hours of captivity. They said their philosopher-king had nothing to fear from a single investigator. That’s the thing with both the old Sect Hidden in the Mountains and the Theodites - they had an odd obsession with the Greeks. The wonders and mysticism of three thousand years ago struck a mysterious chord in their souls that I could never fully understand. But I am not a cultivator - perhaps skirting an existence beyond existence makes one interested in the esotericism of ancient times.

I stayed the night there, and the acolytes regaled me with stories of Sect members they had never met. The most popular member was, of course, the daring, dashing cultivator of the revolution herself - Viola Reed. Everybody claimed to have a personal experience with the fallen hero - she gave them a rousing speech the night before the final battle, she shared the last bit of her canteen with them while on the march. One story did stick out to me, however, since this one seemed to have some actual historical, scientific, and cultilogical significance - that she created the Knyzsosis Perception Art, which, at the time, was the main form of encryption among messages in the revolutionary army and young Arcadian state.

Only those who had mastered the Art could encrypt or decipher the messages hidden behind the lines. With one stroke of the pen and one glance of the eye, the message would disappear into the paper, leaving no signs that it had been written in the first place. Should the communication fall into enemy hands, then there would be no danger of orders being intercepted and plans being discovered. Only those who had the Art could recognize that Knyzsosis writing had been written on the paper, let alone decipher it.

The Knyzsosis Art was the unsung hero of the revolution. Unfortunately, as unsung heroes tend to do, the Art was gradually lost to history. Once knowledge of Knyzsosis reached her enemies, Arcadia shifted her encryption techniques to more advanced Perception Arts and even the new machine-based ciphers. Today, if Knyzsosis is ever mentioned, it’s usually within the dusty confines of forgotten military and history textbooks, or from the mouths of professors who love obscure knowledge (I am one of them).

Nevertheless, the story of the Knyzsosis Art is one that deserves to be remembered, and not just because it provides another yet another dimension to the fascinating life of Viola Reed; it stands on its own as accomplishment in cultilogical and military thinking - the first Arcadian encryption system. Though it is long dead, perhaps one day, someone still among the living will take note of it.

Isaac frowned. Scholars and professors always seemed to write flowery prose. Isaac favored simple prose. Less words better.

But on to the important things - maybe it was a longshot considering he only had a single journal page, but if Isaac mastered the Knyzsosis Perception Art, he might be able to uncover more writing in the journal. He found his next lead.

The discovery lifted a huge weight off his shoulders. He collapsed into nearby a chair and rubbed his temples. Isaac found the next step in the puzzle, but a whole range of new questions seemed to pop up out of thin air.

Okay, if knowledge of Knyzsosis has been largely forgotten, it makes sense Greg would use it. But he's not a cultivator. How could he have written it. Did he have a cultivator helping him? Were they arrested during that night, too? And all that other business - I knew of Viola, Domino, and Theodore's time in the Sect Hidden in the Mountains as well as Theodore’s later betrayal, but what are these other things?

Fifty years ago, the Sect destroyed itself since Viola heroically wanted to help the Arcadian rebels while a faction within the Sect wanted to stay neutral. The survivors of that battle joined the revolutionary army, defeated Quinsigamond, and founded Arcadia. Forty-eight years ago, this scholar discovered the beginnings of the Theodite Rebellion in the ruins of Transcendent Mountain. Forty-seven years ago, the Rebellion was crushed. Forty-five years ago, Supreme Commander Arthur Reed was shot by a vengeful Theodite, the same year the Cartwrights published this book. Why the Cartwrights? They don't like the Reeds, so why would they publish a book about Viola and heroism?

And why...why do I constantly think of "hero" whenever I think of Viola? Why do I associate the two so heavily?

Isaac knew why, of course. Because she was, and still is, Arcadia's most important hero. She fought and died for Arcadia's freedom. Isaac felt like he was on the verge of a grand discovery, and then it clicked.

Ever since Viola died and Arcadia was founded...has the government been deliberately propping her up as a symbol? So we can rally around her and feel better about ourselves? Can governments do that? Deliberately spread something for so long that it becomes everyday fact?

His head spun with more revelations and questions.

And who are these Greeks? Our knowledge of history only goes back to the Unleashing five hundred years ago, with only bits and pieces surviving from the Golden Age before that. Did humans really live three thousand years ago? Is what they did and said back then really still relatable today?

Isaac then gasped aloud. Were these Greeks the first monkeys to turn into humans?

All that thinking made his headache return. Nevertheless, Isaac felt like he was on the right track, and that was enough to make him walk with his head held high to the librarian’s desk. He was half-asleep by this point, his eyes glancing toward the ticking clock as he checked out the book.

Footsteps approached from behind. Isaac glanced back and his eyes narrowed.

With a frustrated look on his face, Kieran was in the middle of storming out of the library. His thunderous, exaggerated footsteps made sure the five people still in the archives knew all about it. When he realized one of those five people was Isaac, his face contorted. Apparently, Isaac was not somebody he wanted to see - yet he approached with pained steps nonetheless.

“Isaac,” he greeted. His voice was filled with inner turmoil. Before Isaac could answer, Kieran clapped his hands together and bowed his head.

“Please teach me how to unlock an Art!”


“You want me to teach you how to unlock an Art?” Isaac asked in disbelief.

“Yes, that’s literally what I just said.” Kieran saw the look on Isaac’s face and ducked his head. “Sorry, sorry.”

With the archives closing, the two midshipmen arrived outside under the night sky and stopped under a lamppost. A sentry strolled along past them, the orange light from his cigarette trailing behind him. The two watched him pass by, then resumed their conversation.

“You remember our fight?” Kieran asked rhetorically. “I had you," he claimed, and then his face dropped. “I almost had you. Our fighting styles are similar - superpowered punches. That leaves us lacking in terms of ranged attacks. Similar to your |Fists of Anji|, I trained an art called |Flechette Storm| that would shoot my iron at my opponent. I would’ve shot them at you during our team battle, but…”

“It didn’t go off,” Isaac recalled. He didn’t really want to still be here, but Kieran’s proposition came so out of left field that it caught Isaac off-guard and trapped him there. He decided to at least hear him out. And shooting iron - that seemed pretty dangerous too, especially for someone who just unlocked that power. Why could Kieran use that power while Reed couldn't use hers?

“Much to my shame,” Kieran admitted. He found a nearby pebble and kicked it for emphasis - it clattered away into the darkness. “For reasons unknown to you, I must prove myself. There’s somebody I want to catch-”

“Your sister?”

Kieran grew red in the face. “How’d you know?”

Isaac tapped his temple. “I’m a bit of a brain expert.” He decided not to bring up his bastard theory.

“I must do it. I will do it.”

“But why me?” Isaac asked.

“You call yourself a bit of a brain expert and don’t know?”

When Isaac frowned, Kieran sighed. “Again, sorry. Since I’m trying to catch my sister, I don’t wish to train with her. Your powers are also similar to mine. And, beyond Mackenzie, you are probably the person I speak to most here.”

Moths flew around the lamppost above them. “Huh? What about your rich person posse?”

“They like me for my money and power, not for me myself.”

“But I don’t like you either.”

Kieran bristled. “The feeling is mutual. Nevertheless, we have trained together and sparred together. We stand in the morning reveille together.” He then sighed in recognition of his own limits. “My sister is the person I want to catch, but I could never be her rival. A rival is someone you have a chance of beating. You…you’re my rival, someone that would help me push myself, someone to motivate me, someone I could even…”

“Befriend?” Isaac asked, recognizing the similarity in thinking between the two Cartwright siblings.

“Not a chance,” Kieran answered quickly and plainly with a frown. “Friendship isn’t real. Interactions between humans are conducted on a transactional nature. You offer me training, and I will offer you something in return.”

Between the offer and his terrible definition of friendship, Isaac raised an eyebrow. “What do you have in mind?”

“I get a monthly allowance from my family far beyond the wages here,” Kieran explained. “Except I don’t accept it. I want to prove my worth to my family based on my own merits, not because I take their charity. However, I’ll accept that allowance and pay it to you in exchange for training.”

Isaac leaned against the lamppost and pondered the offer. Money was cool and all, but after fighting Jackson, doing something merely for money left a sour taste in Isaac’s mouth. He needed a real reason to help out Kieran.

He didn’t have one.

“I’m all set,” Isaac told Kieran as he lifted himself off the lamppost. “I understand you’re coming from a tight spot in terms of family life, but you’ve been an unrepentant jerk since we started training together. You expect you can just pay me and that’ll smooth things over?”

“No…I suppose not. You’re a better man than that.” Kieran took a step forward, then brought his hands together in prayer and respect. “Please teach me, Isaac. You’re fighting for a dream, aren’t you? So am I. But the way you carry yourself, you must consider your dream to be achievable. I know mine isn’t. But I have to strive for it anyway. Please help out a fellow dreamer, someone whose dream is far more hopeless than yours is.”

Isaac kept quiet. Something about dreams brought him back to Patuxet and that final night with Greg and Kassandra. Overthrowing the government seemed impossible to Isaac, but to his brother and friend. And, thanks to what they went through, it now seemed more than possible for Isaac to accomplish it, even if they wouldn’t be around to see it.

Perhaps Kieran’s journey could go the same way.

Isaac briefly looked at the dark sky, then made his decision.

“You ever had a reuben?”

Kieran looked taken aback. “Uh…yes.”

“Good,” Isaac said. He looked him in the eyes. “Because I’m going to train you, and you’re going to get me reubens.”