Aris remained silent as he wrestled with his pride. His mind told him that everything that Gravis said was the truth, but he also felt that if he accepted the truth, he would lose. Accepting that someone else was right was always very difficult.
Gravis shook his head again. "Do you guys know what the most important thing is for becoming powerful?"
Aris was a bit surprised by such a stupid question. The answer was obviously power!
"Power itself!" Aris said, surprising the other two. Aris was willing to talk now?
"Power is the goal, not the prerequisite. What do you need to become truly powerful?" Gravis asked.
"Battles and a powerful body," Aris said.
"Half-true, Aris," Gravis said. "You were right with the necessity for battles, but the body part is not as important. After all, your body is already part of your strength, and you can change it however you want. Let me show you something."
Then, Gravis transmitted an image into the heads of his three children.
The three were a bit confused why Gravis transmitted this image. Wasn't this just some weak eel?
"This is the body I had after arriving in this world," Gravis said with a smirk.
Immediately, all three of them were shocked. This had been their father's body at some point? But this body was so weak and full of flaws! The body was slow, fragile, and had nearly no weapons. This body was about as bad as it could get!
"You should have noticed by now that it is possible to alter your body after every evolution. Right now, your instincts tell you to stay in this body and to become as small as possible. Yet, is that the correct choice?" Gravis asked with a smirk.
Before they could answer, Gravis sent another image. "This was my body after the first evolution," Gravis said as he showed them the image of the fleshy eel with an alligator head.
"This was my body after the second evolution," Gravis said as he showed them the image of the previous eel with some powerful arms.
"This was my body after the third evolution," Gravis said as he showed them the image of the same eel, but with a wider chest and black scales.
"And finally," Gravis said as he gestured to himself. "This is my body after the fourth evolution."
Cera and Yersi were intrigued as they listened to Gravis. Their father had managed to transform such a useless and weak body into such a powerful weapon? The first image didn't even have any resemblance to Gravis' current body.
"If I had followed my instincts, I would be a huge eel now," Gravis said with a smile. "Yet, I have noticed the weakness of my body and have planned my future evolutions accordingly. First, I needed a weapon, which was why I made my head."
"Then, I needed arms that allowed me to use tools. After that, I needed a more powerful defense. Lastly, I created my flexibility and speed. Like this, all aspects have been covered. Yet, this body only fits my fighting style."
Gravis summoned his saber again. "I use a saber, and my entire body is built around using one of these. My main weapons are not my teeth or claws. My main weapon is my saber. If your main weapon is not a saber, you might need to think about changing your body with the next evolution."
"For example, what about a longer tail with a sharp spike at its end? Your arms can hold someone while your tail deals the fatal attack. This would be similar to a scorpion. What about replacing one of your arms with a heavy club? This club would help you in breaking through an enemy's defense. What about both? The possibilities are endless," Gravis said as he gestured grandly.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
Then, Gravis pointed at his head. "Your creativity is your only limit."
The three of them fell into thought as they started thinking about changing their bodies. Before today, they would have never even considered that.
"Sorry for getting on a tangent," Gravis said with a snicker. "Back to my original question. I have asked what you need to become powerful. Battles are one part of the answer, but that only covers one aspect. The most important requirement for becoming powerful is the mindset."
"Mindset?" Cera asked with confusion.
Gravis nodded. "If you are not willing to risk your life, you won't be able to temper yourself. Your mindset to gamble with your life is what allows you to take such a risk. Additionally, I would like for you to imagine your future selves. In ten years, what would your future self think about you now?"
The three of them hadn't considered that before. They were beasts and hadn't come into contact with a true society yet. Such far-reaching planning was not something they had done before.
"I will tell you," Gravis said. "Your future selves will think that your current self is an idiot. You always continue growing, and you also always learn new things. Right now, you are much more experienced than the you from a year ago. The you from a year ago feels like a rookie compared to the current you, correct?"
Yersi and Cera agreed with a nod. They had learned a lot in the past year.
"What are you getting at?" Aris asked. Yet, he didn't sound arrogant this time. Instead, he sounded more open.
"What I'm saying is that if you have more things to learn and more things to change about yourself, you are not perfect right now," Gravis said. "Right now, you might not see any weakness in yourself, but your future self would find a ton of weaknesses in the current you."
"Yet, if you're unable to throw away your pride and see the flaws you currently have, your future self won't be able to see your flaws. Does this mean that you are perfect as you are now? If you were, you wouldn't have lost against me just now," Gravis said.
Aris felt attacked by Gravis' reminder about his bitter loss.
"Do you feel it?" Gravis asked as he came closer to Aris. "Do you feel the unwillingness deep inside you? Do you feel the frustration with realizing that someone else might be right?"
Gravis put his hand on Aris' shoulder, making his body shudder a bit.
"This feeling is the enemy. If this feeling wins, you will forever remain at your current level. Allow yourself to grow and to be open to change. If you realize that you have been mistaken about something, you shouldn't try to justify your path but try to adapt it. Take the best things from all paths and mindsets, and you will grow closer to perfection," Gravis said.
Aris knew exactly what Gravis was talking about, but it was hard. If he accepted Gravis' words, it would mean that he had lived his whole life with a wrong mindset.
"Your mindset isn't wrong," Gravis said, surprising Aris. Was his father able to read his mind?
Of course, Gravis wasn't able to do that. He just had a lot of experience with people and beasts.
"Don't see your current mindset as the correct or incorrect one. It is simply the first level. It's the base. Your future mindset doesn't invalidate your old one. It simply builds upon it and upgrades it."
Aris' mind was going wild. He could accept that. Gravis had said that his future self would think of his current self as an idiot anyway. Didn't that mean that his future self was a better version of his current self? Would his future self have the same identical beliefs as his current self? No, his future self would have grown.
Some seconds passed in silence.
"I'm sorry I doubted you, father," Aris said after he calmed down.
Cera was surprised when she heard Aris admit his fault. At the same time, Yersi's eyes shone as she realized that Aris finally accepted his weakness. If Aris managed to deal with his mindset, he would become truly powerful!
Gravis smiled happily when he heard that. "Thank you, Aris. You don't know how worried I have been about your mindset. You're my son. I don't want you to die. I want you to become powerful. Realize that I am doing this not to hurt you, but to help you."
The three of them were unsure if they had heard Gravis correctly. Had Gravis just said that he was worried for them? Every beast knew that allowing others to impact one's feelings was a weakness. Yet, their father had acknowledged that he had that weakness without any problem?
"Now," Gravis said, taking all of them out of their thoughts. "Sit down. I will tell you about my past and why you have your current bodies."
Cera quickly sat down in front of Gravis since she was very interested in what he had to say. Yersi shrugged and also sat down. Then, everyone looked at Aris.
Aris hesitated, but his mind won over his pride. By now, he had accepted that he needed to change. Listening to his father's story would be the first step towards his new mindset.
When Gravis saw Aris sitting down, he smiled happily.
And then, Gravis told them his story.