chapter 251: a new beginning

Shortly after I descended, I was preparing to sit down on the smooth surface of the island that the Trials dungeon had created. It was small enough to hardly be noticed unless you passed right by, and most everyone used the elven gates to move between continents anyways. There were few reasons for people to be out this far in the ocean.

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However, just as I was about to ask the dungeon to remove its mana field so that I could train, I noticed that it had already done so. Curious, and a small bit worried, I used a quick burst of world sight to check out the situation of the dungeon. I was relieved to see that it was fine, and had simply restrained its mana to within its walls.

“Okay, let’s get started then.” I muttered to myself, before I began the process of creating elemental ki. Though… giving it a bit of thought, I once again stopped myself, thinking… Could control of natural energy make this easier?

Hey, Aurivy, got a second? I ask the halfling goddess, knowing that she had spent a considerable number of lives studying elementalists in order to learn what she could about their basics.

Sure thing, bro. Her voice came across energetically, making me think that something good had happened in her and Bihena’s world. What do you need?

Is it possible to use a druid’s ability to control natural energy to better merge with a monk’s ki? The normal method, the most archaic version, was to simply expel the ki into the surroundings and let it slowly merge with the ambient natural energy before pulling it back in. But… that could take an insane amount of time depending on how much ki needed to be converted.

Hmm… There have been a few breakthroughs in streamlining the process since I did that. Let me ask the others real fast! B.R.B!

When she said that, a quiet tone filled the connection, making me blink in surprise. She put me on hold. And she even included sound effects for it…

Back! Okay, Keliope said that there was a breakthrough about sixty years back to use druids to help elemental monks. If the monk had a good enough control of his ki, and the druid of the natural energy, it is possible to have the two create the elemental ki together. Though, it will still be under the control of the monk.

When I asked for details on the process, it actually sounded pretty simply. Maybe it was a big breakthrough for them because they did not have the information globes that gave us information about ki and natural energy… but this seemed like tier basic tier two usage for each.

Thanks. I’ll let you get back to whatever you were doing now. I told her, before taking a deep breath. For the first step, I brought my hands up in front of myself, my palms facing upwards. My ki surged along my body, moving through the paths that I had created and into my hands. From there, it lifted up in yellow strands, forming a glowing ball of energy.

“First, create a stable, exterior bundle of ki. And next…” I focused on my control of natural energy before I began to speak, reciting the ‘introduction’ lines. “I am the one who stands above the heavens. My word is the law of the universe. Spirits of nature, converge. Become the flames that guide my way.”

While this was primarily used for elementalist casting, the ‘will of the world’ similarly responded when I was purely using druidic powers. Streaks of green light formed in the air, condensed natural energy that had gathered at my command. Just as they were making contact with the ball of ki, they burst into flames.

“Mix with the light of my heart. The strength of my body will burn like the sun.” The ball of flaming ki roared, glowing brighter and hotter as more natural energy was added into it. I couldn’t help but be relieved that this method not only allowed me to more efficiently create elemental ki, but it even seemed possible to let me choose the element!

Soon, I measured the balance to be perfect, wrapping my world sight around this tiny sphere. It took some delicate control to properly combine the two energies without wasting much, but this was still far better than what I was used to. The efficiency of the original method would be lucky to return five points of elemental ki for every hundred invested, whereas this time it seemed like there was only five lost per hundred.

Once the fire element ki had stabilized, I clenched my two hands. The tiny sun above my palms shattered, turning into rays of light that flew back into my body. I guided those lights to one of the five empty pools around my heart, and found it filling with the fire elemental ki easily.

“One down…” I grinned, and began repeating the process. Water, earth, and wind all took their turns to gather at my call. Each one used the same method and achieved the same result. If only Aurivy knew how to do this back when she was studying elementalists, things would have been a lot easier for her.

By the time that I was done, all but one of the ki pools that I had prepared were set up. And seeing those wellsprings of energy within myself gave me an idea, but first… Udona.

Yes, Dale? The kitsune goddess responded after a brief moment.

I need cards. I heard that you had been gathering them for a while. I’m about to try something new, and I need a good defensive spell to protect myself in case it goes wrong.

There was a pause after my request, before she replied again. Okay… Give me just a moment and I’ll make something for you.

I nodded, standing up and stretching. The process of creating the four types of elemental ki had been quick, less than five minutes each. However, the expenditure and transfer of ki left my body feeling stiff. For what I wanted to do next, it was important to make sure that I had full control of myself.

Shortly after I was done, a single card floated down from the sky, clearly sent by Udona. Before the breeze could whisk it away, I held my hand out and used the wind to bring it to me. Once I looked at the card, I heard Udona’s calm voice explaining the effects of the card. Illusion of Damage spell. Using this will create a temporary buff that absorbs the next source of damage you take. The damage is then dispelled as if it were an illusion, so long as it does not exceed the mana that you place in the spell.

That is a… really convenient defensive spell. And just from looking at the card, I could tell that it belonged to the third tier. Thanks. This should help a lot. I told her, before activating the card. Just to be on the safe side, I used my Keeper mana to fuel it, not willing to spare any expense.

Only once I saw the card light up was I relieved enough to start the process of trying out what I wanted to do. Waving my hand, I created one large circle within the stone. How should I do this… I thought inwardly, placing four separate circles evenly spaced along the larger one, letting the large circle run directly through them.

From there, I created a sixth circle in the center, and lines connecting each of the four outer circles to the inner one. “This should work… I think?” I wasn’t entirely confident in myself at that, but I knew that something would happen.

Of course, before that… Dale, what are you trying to do, and why do I suddenly have this urge to smack you on the back of the head? Naturally, Terra had to speak up.

Little experiment. Already took protective measures with Udona. I figure if this works, I get an achievement and something nice. If it doesn’t… well, that’s what the protective measures were for.

I could practically feel Terra’s eyes narrowing. Aurivy is on standby. If the result of this experiment gets out of control, she’s going to make you abort.

And now I have more protective measures. I smiled slightly as I thought that.

“Okay, let’s do this.” I said, aiming my hands towards two of the circles. From each of my hands came a sphere of elemental ki. Fire emerged on the left, a tiny sun suspended on the air, while a small whirlwind formed in my right. I sent each of them into one of the four circles before moving to the others, releasing the water and earth spheres there as well.

Because it would be tedious to build it all back up again, I only used half of my ki from each element. Next… The large encompassing circle began to light up as I fed my mana into it. Thanks to my training with the Ten Thousand Threads, focusing on these five different energies was not nearly as difficult as I had expected.

“I am the one who stands above the heavens. My word is the law of the universe.” Lifting my head, I called out the introduction once again. I felt the natural energies stirring around me, responding to my call as I considered what words would be best to use here.

“Come, gather, create harmony. Let the four elements join as one. By magic, by might, and by the will of the world. Let all things share one origin.” I moved the mana along the connecting lines, slowly filling the rest of the circles while the four spheres began to let off strands of different colored light. Each strand following along one of the lines I had drawn to converge in the center.

“The world gave birth to fire, wind, water, and the earth. One creates four, and four create all things.” The excitement was starting to build up within me as I watched the four types of ki merging, more elemental energy pouring in from the surroundings while the mana rose up from below. Wary of catastrophic failure, I sent my world sight in to make sure that things were stabilizing.

I had no idea what formula I should be using for this, or even if there was a set formula. But, because of world sight I was able to easily find and correct any imbalances within the energy, adding or removing power where needed. I was able to see the four elements swirling within the center of the circle, gathering around a slowly growing fifth power. They were pouring their strength into it, drawing from my power and that of the world around me.

As I watched, I began to feel as if there was something missing. A gap left unfilled within the new energy. Not something to stabilize it, as it was already showing signs of becoming stable with what was already there. No… it needed something to control it. Once the energies merged, they had become a higher form, and it was no longer within my control.

Thankfully, this new energy didn’t seem to be a destructive one, or else I was certain that it contained enough power to destroy the island I was standing on. Thinking, I considered what could fill in that gap, before I remembered the one energy that I hadn’t inserted yet. Spiritually energy, which became the controlling force behind world sight.

Gritting my teeth, I pulled out a strand of my spirit and sent it out. Okay, Aurivy… moment of truth. If this goes boom, you’ve got to be faster.

Don’t worry, bro. I’ve got my eyes on you. She whispered back at my earnest prayer. There was a hint of worry in her tone, but also clear, unmasked excitement.

The concept of secondary ki pools likely hadn’t been explored too much yet in the current world, so what I was doing could be considered as uncharted territory. I had only considered it when I thought about which two elements I wanted to try to combine to fill in the final pool. Naturally, the answer was… Why not all of them?

When my spiritual energy made contact with the ball of translucent energy sitting at the center of the circle, the entire sphere turned silver. It began to rotate, and I felt my spiritual energy being pulled out forcefully, drawn into the sphere. I could only grit my teeth harder, fighting back the desire to cry out from the pain of my spirit being stripped away.

Above my head, my health bar had yet to appear, but I knew that this was still a dangerous situation. If too much of my spirit was drawn out, it was game over. So, I kept a close eye on my condition, not willing to let it go too far.

Much to my immense satisfaction, the suction force stopped after several long moments. After roughly a tenth of my spiritual energy as a Keeper had been pulled out, the sphere came to a slow halt, simply hovering in the air. Please don’t blow up, please don’t blow up. I muttered inwardly, though I could now distinctly sense the presence of the sphere, even without my world sight.

Feeling that I had some measure of control over it, I prayed inwardly, breaking off a small strand of it to bring it into my own body, hoping to plant it in the spare ki pool. It may have been created from a mix of all four energies, but at least half of its base composition had been ki… so it should work, right?

Soon, I felt the energy begin to settle. It filled my body with a gentle, warm glow from within. Seeing that it was not fighting to leave the ki pool, I began pulling more of it from the sphere, until I had completely filled the pool. Even then, roughly a third of the energy remained hovering above the circle that I had drawn…

Only allowed on

Well, this is a waste, but… Since I couldn’t safely absorb any more of the energy, I launched it up into the air, ensuring that I was well outside any potential blast radius before causing it to detonate. A brilliant silver glow filled the sky, pushing a few nearby clouds away, but… that was it. Lowering my head, I was honestly a bit disappointed, until I saw the message blinking in front of me.

Congratulations! You have earned a personal achievement!

For creating a new energy type without outside assistance, you have received the Spark of Inspiration achievement. +4 Intelligence, +20 points.

Congratulations! You have earned a personal achievement!

For creating the energy ‘Ki of Beginning’ through your own efforts, you have received the Spark of Life achievement. +10% Health, +20 points.

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