Xan remembered the truth after hearing Rad's words.
He wasn't becoming a regular cultivator. His ultimate goal was to become a cultist; in the process, he would have to pledge loyalty to powerful existence that would demand him to do certain things that he might not feel comfortable doing.
After all, it is easier to say than to do.
If he had to kill innocent people in exchange for power, he wasn't sure he would be able to do it.
As if listening to Xan's complicated feelings, Rad tried to calm his pupil.
"You don't have to worry too much about it. You can choose to sign a deal with a relatively good-natured demon, and he will only be able to force you to do something you want if you accept a highly restrictive contract. Of course, the more problematic the contract is, the bigger the reward you can get from it." Rad explained.
"Good-natured demon? Sounds contradictory." Xan said, surprised.
"Well, good-natured compared with the others. As I already explained, some demons don't require soul sacrifices, and others that accept souls from beasts. There are even some that only want their followers to create as much chaos as they are capable of creating." Rad said before realizing he was straying from the initial topic." But let's leave the demons and pacts for another day. Now our priority is to teach you how to defend yourself."
Hearing that, Xan unsheathed his knife swiftly and held it firmly with his right hand.
"Don't go so fast." Rad said while making a sign for Xan to lower his weapon." That knife is an excellent weapon for fighting but a poor training tool. After all, as its blade is of mana steel, it will be much easier for the energy to flow through it to coat it."
"What are we going to do then?" Xan asked as he sheathed his knife again.
"You will start by learning how to coat your limbs, and after you have perfected that technique, you will continue with a knife made of a regular iron," Rad explained.
After that, Axel began his martial arts practice.
The first step was getting used to sending energy from his dantian to his arms without wasting too much. To do that, he used the energy pathways he used when he cultivated.
At first, Xan thought it wasn't much harder than cultivating, but as he tried to maintain the energy coat around his arms, he realized he needed to control both the energy he was sending to his limbs and the one covering them.
That was still doable, but the difficulty will increase when you add that those were combat techniques that Xan would need to use in the middle of a battle.
"Using martial arts can be difficult at first, but the more you practice, the more natural they become to your body to use them. At a point, they will be like breathing for you." Rad said as he covered his arm in energy once again. "Also, you don't need to maintain them active constantly. In fact, doing that would consume large amounts of energy and make you weaker than you should be."
"That makes sense. If I limit the energy usage to attack and block attacks, I should be able to last much longer in a fight." Xan said while looking at his hand palm.
Xan's eyes lightened up as if he just had a great idea.
Taking a large portion of energy from his dantian, he sent it directly to his right hand, but instead of using it to cover it carefully, he made a claw with his hand and stabbed the air in front of him while releasing all the energy through his fingers.
Xan felt how his arm went numb because of his lack of control and the amount of energy he used, but that didn't worry him. What mattered was that, for a second, he had covered his hand.
The coat had disappeared after he finished his movement, but the energy he had released was enough to cause severe damage if he hit someone around his level.
"That looks promising, but you should be careful with those attacks. They are great for sneak and fast attacks, but if you lose control of your energy or use too much, you might blow your arm away, so don't be too reckless when doing that." Rad said while laughing.
"I will be careful then," Xan replied, not wanting to lose a limb for nothing.
After that, they continued practicing for the next few hours until past midnight.