Shinsoo (신수 (神水), shinsu, literally "divine water") is a substance that flows through the Tower. Each Floor has areas of varying amounts of Shinsoo density, increasing with each Floor. In lower concentrations, its density makes the substance act like a gas, but in higher concentrations, it behaves like a liquid.
At different times, Shinsoo can take on the properties of water, fire, air or light etc. Shinsoo has an endless list of variations. As it can be so many different things, nothing can be singled out to define Shinsoo or to assign it to a special property. Shinsoo is the "basis of all energy".
Air and Shinsoo
Much research in the difference between air and Shinsoo has been made by Ashul Edwaru's book:
- "First, the common point is that they both let living beings breathe. And they both exist all throughout their worlds. It is also noted that they both are powerful enough to threaten living things when they flow harshly.
- Then the difference? The biggest difference is indeed the characteristics that vary by concentration. In Shinsoo's case it's more like a gas when it's in low concentrations and more like liquid when it is in high concentrations. However, it seems air cannot be liquefied, even in high concentrations.
- The second difference is the circulation. The circulation of Shinsoo is very fluent but there is no common law and the movements are all different, depending on the Floor of the Tower you are on. However, it is said that there are set laws in the circulation of air. (I want to study some more about the laws, but the research is slow because none of the Irregulars that I have met are knowledgeable enough about the laws of air.)
- The third difference is consumption. Shinsoo exists everywhere inside the Tower. So Shinsoo exists even in a room that is completely sealed. Shinsoo does not flow in from somewhere else, but is rather created from the Tower. Thus, Shinsoo even exists within a vacuum. Air is not created from sealed places and, if a being is locked inside a sealed room, the being will consume all of the air and die. (It seems very uncomfortable.)"
Manipulation of Shinsoo
Externally manipulating Shinsoo to change the environment, to attack an opponent or to carry out other actions, such as flying or levitation, is known as Shinsoo manipulation (신수 조작 (神水 操作), shinsoo jojahk; "divine water manipulation"). Depending on the group or region, it also goes by several other names such as "water mastery" (수역 (水役), sooyeok; "to make water a servant") or "wind technique" (풍술 (風術), poongsul; "wind skill").
The first person who began to systematically organize Shinsoo was one of the heads of the 10 Great Families, Po Bidau Gustang. All of the language (jargon), standards and units related to Shinsoo that are used today all originate from Gustang's work.
Shinsoo can be used to enhance physical abilities, to create barriers and as a formidable destructive energy. As mentioned above, there is even a rumour that Enryu can even use it to create life.
Bang, Myun and Soo
The basic unit of Shinsoo manipulation is called Baang (방 (放); release), the size of the Baang is called Myun (면 (面); surface) and the density of Shinsoo that goes in a Baang is called Soo (수 (水); water).
Note: The Company used "room" for Baang. However, room is actually 房(fáng) as opposed to 放(fàng). They used "room" because the whole explanation is easier to understand if you imagine it using "room / wall / mass". e.g. imagine some Rooms and each has a certain size (specified by Wall). But having many Rooms with big Walls doesn't mean it's strong because you also need to count Mass (basically density of object).
The Baang is the basic unit in which Shinsoo is measured by and made up of. The more Baangs one can control, the more skilled at manipulating Shinsoo one is judged to be. However, this does not mean one can manipulate greater Myun and higher Soo with many Baangs. As the number of Baangs increase, control becomes more difficult. Overdoing the handling of Baangs can physically and mentally exhaust the manipulator - in serious cases, this may lead to death.
Myun refers to the size of a Baang. Specifically, it refers to the surface area that Shinsoo is spread out across, regardless of height. 1 Myun is equal to 1 pyeong (평, 坪), which is equal to around 3.306 square meters of Shinsoo. When discussing the size of a Baang, the height is not considered because its range of fluctuation is large and heavily depends on the situation, which makes it difficult to discern. (Height is not involved in the calculation of the size of the Baang. The height is dealt with by converting it using the numerical value of the concentration of the Baang in question.)
Soo refers to the concentration or mass of Shinsoo within a Baang. Only the concentration of Shinsoo in the most concentrated area of the Baang is used to calculate Soo. There is no numerical unit used on Earth that can be related to Soo. The measurement of Soo can only be done using a Lighthouse, Observer or specialized senses. The higher the Soo, the more effective and destructive a Baang is. This is why controlling a high Soo is extremely important. Normally, the denser the Shinsoo in the environment, the faster the Soo in a Baang can be increased. However, there is a limit to the amount of Soo that can be pressed into a Baang and this limit depends on the person. The environment has no effect in overcoming this limit whatsoever.
Baang, Myun, and Soo:
Basically, when discussing the Baang, Myun, and Soo an individual can control, Baang would actually refer to the maximum number of Baangs one can manipulate simultaneously. Myun would actually refer to the maximum Myun one can manipulate if they created only one Baang and Soo would actually refer to the maximum concentration one can press into a Baang, regardless of the Myun in this case. For example, let's say someone can:
- control 4 Baangs at once, but they're not very big or dense
- control 100 Myun if they create only 1 Baang and focus everything on it
- gather up to 30 Soo into a single Baang
Despite the fact that they are unable to do all of the above at the same time, they are still evaluated as being able to control "4 Baang, 100 Myun, 30 Soo".
Baang, Myun and Soo are very closely related and, when supported by a Lighthouse or some other form of aid, large differences can be seen. Normally, the more numerous the number of Baang, the smaller the Myun and lower the Soo that can be managed and the larger the Myun, the lower the Soo that can be managed. Soo therefore heavily depends on the numerical value of Myun and Baang, as an increase in either means a decrease in Soo. Fundamentally, this is known as the "minus tendency" (마이너스 기질 (氣質), maineoseu gijil; or "minus constitution"). Sometimes, there is a special case in which the numbers of manageable Myun and Soo instead increase as the number of Baangs increases. This special case is known as "plus tendency" (플러스 기질 (氣質), peuleoseu gijil; or "plus constitution") and is an extremely rare talent.
The minus tendency can be overcome with improvement from training and support from external aids, which helps in reducing the amount subtracted. However, one can never become a plus tendency. Also, being a plus does not mean one can produce an infinite number of Baangs. Pluses find it equally difficult to increase the number of Baangs.
Types of Shinsoo Manipulation
There are two major types of Shinsoo manipulation:
- Flow Control (흐름제어, 흐름制御, heureumjae'eo)
- Reverse-Flow Control (역흐름제어, 逆흐름制御 ,yeokheureumjae'eo)
Flow Control is reading the original flow of Shinsoo and using that flow to manipulate Shinsoo. On the other hand, Reverse-Flow Control refers to reversing the flow to manipulate Shinsoo.
Flow Control is reading the flow of Shinsoo and manipulating it according to that flow.
Although there is no exact predictable pattern to the flow of Shinsoo, Shinsoo does momentarily flow in certain directions, so one can efficiently manipulate Shinsoo by reading and using these temporary directional flows. Once one begins to control Shinsoo in one direction, it is difficult to change direction.
The greatest advantage to flow control is that it allows the manipulator to control a large amount of Shinsoo without much effort. Compared to reverse-flow control, flow control is much faster and the user can control larger amounts of Shinsoo.
Sometimes, one can take advantage of the flow of the enemy's Baang of Shinsoo to make it their own. Of course, the most important part is reading the current flow of Shinsoo and finding the optimum point - the best way to use it.
This also applies to Body Reinforcement (신체강화, 身體强化 , shinchae gahnghwa; or "Physical Enhancement"). Every living organism within the Tower has an individual flow of Shinsoo. By using this flow, one can heal themselves or others, enhance their physical capabilities or grant numerous other abilities.
Of course, the opposite is also possible. If you strengthen or speed up the flow of Shinsoo within your own body, you can strengthen and speed up your own body, but you may also inflict a proportional amount of internal damage on yourself. This also applies to others. If you control your enemy's flow of Shinsoo beyond its limit, your enemy will be reduced to nothing but a sack of skin, like a popped water balloon.
Let's take a look at the case of Eurasia Blossom, who was the most talented and destructive in the Tower's history. She once proved that just by "accelerating" the Shinsoo in one area, she could instantly kill 99% of the population living there.
Reverse-Flow Control is controlling Shinsoo by forcefully changing its flow. It is slower than flow control and thus generally means the user can only control a smaller amount of Shinsoo in comparison to flow control. Reverse-flow control is mostly used to destroy or stop the enemy.
Reverse-flow control requires more caution when compared to flow control. In fact, to use reverse-flow control, you need to be able to read the flow of Shinsoo more accurately than you need to for flow control. You instead break, block and shatter the flow and make it your own. Even though this may sound very destructive, flow control is actually better for destroying things.
It is wiser to not make situations where you need to use reverse-flow control, but if you ever fall into a situation in which you must use reverse-flow control, listen to the wise words of Lightpen (라이트펜, Raiteupen), the current vice-president of the Research Association - "There is only one thing needed to defeat an enemy using reverse-flow control. You just have to be overwhelmingly more powerful than your opponent."
A Combination of the Two Kinds:
A few talented Wave Controllers in the Tower are capable of the magnificent feat of utilising Flow Control and Reverse-Flow Control at the same time. A simple analogy would be the talent of being able to play table tennis against two opponents at once holding a paddle in each hand.
This does not mean the same thing as just making two Baangs of Shinsoo. Of course, using different kinds of control in each Baang is a difficult task, but you are only considered to have this talent if you can use both Flow Control and Reverse-Flow Control in the same Baang.
The best example is Floral Butterfly Piercing Technique, a technique only taught to FUG members. This technique is a very destructive "Damage Technique" (타격술 (打擊術), tahgyeoksool). Once your body is in contact with your opponent's, you forcefully "reverse-flow control" the flow of Shinsoo in your opponent's body by accelerating the flow of Shinsoo inside your own body. You then "flow control" the returning shock inside your own body to protect yourself from the backlash. This is a dangerous technique that destroys everything in contact with your body while leaving you completely unharmed.