‘Here is not good’. Zax shook his head while sitting and contemplating the two domineering features of the Earthly Crater, its gravitational force and oppressive influence on the other attributes. ‘The seventh ring is too far, from this location the secrets of the Earthly Crater are too intricate to fathom’.
The problem was… each succeeding ring had a gravitational force twice as strong as the previous one. The seventh ring had thirty percent of the gravitational force above the Gentic Belt, each he could not revolt against, and the sixth had sixty percent of that.
Exiting his sea of consciousness and getting up, Zax walked patiently to the next ring. Due to the circumference of the Earthly Crater, each of its rings had a width between one to two kilometers. As for the area past the first ring, the deepest point even the Horned Eel, a Peak existence in Ercas Mir, avoided, this was a zone no living being could approach, both because till now the Overlord of the sea forbade it and since if someone did manage to get there, there was not a record of he or she ever returning.
There were roughly a hundred experts meditating in the Earthly Crater and only a fifth were Martial Mortal or could stand their ground as Peak Core Masters against first level Martial Mortals. By the time Zax got to the sixth ring he passed nearly all of those experts.
Feeling the invisible weight pressing on him, Zax was at a risk of losing his footing as his left knee bent. He let out a breath and composed himself, instead of straightening up he allowed the motion to continue until he was back to a seated position.
‘The difference is mostly in the gravitational force’. Zax thought back in his sea of consciousness as he fully began to concentrate, through his soul, body and even recently unclogged Qi channels; detect whatever he could of the Earthly Crater’s mysterious environment.
Time passed. A day, three days, eight days…
‘Hm? This is?’ On the eve of the ninth day, though Zax did not pay attention to the passage of time, after what seemed like countless flawed observations, a wisp of something alien that was difficult to put into words appeared, possibly drawn by a correct assessment and involuntary response, hovering above the Inner Panorama.
Pondering for a while, a brilliant spark lit in Zax eyes. ‘This speck of brown light is and earthly attribute!’ It permeated his dark world like a foreign invader. The Inner Panorama trembled and the spherical soul emanated dark light that shone on the brown speck, trying to expel it.
‘Does Nature really not permit to assimilate more than one attribute?’ Zax wondered.
He already knew that a cultivator could only have one attribute, even those who cultivated mist or Qi refinement techniques similar to his big sister Zetsa’s Radical Fiery Icy Provocation Qi refining technique, which doubled in both fire and ice, had to one day pick the attribute they had greater affinity toward. Nevertheless, it was still disappointing to naturally absorb an attribute essence and not being able to use it.
The earthly brown spark exuded a repulsive force in an attempt to repeal the dark light. It sustained for half a second and then got evaporated.
Zax watched the confrontation unfold with creased brows and kept standing with a pensive gaze when it was over. ‘Something strange’, he deduced from the short exchange between the two attributes, yet could not pinpoint what it was.
He thought and thought and thought meticulously, but the matter was so obscure even an expert would have a headache.
Finally giving up, Zax resumed the state of silent inspection of all his three aspects perceived, whilst waiting, hoping for another earthly speck to show up.
Eleven days, twelve days, fourteen days…
‘A second speck!’ This time, on the fifteenth day, he saw it descending from the cloudless dark sky like a falling star. Its descent reaching to a halt above the ash ground of the Inner Panorama.
The Inner Panorama trembled and the spherical soul released dark light as the same situation repeated.
‘I was right!’ Having a trace of an idea of what to looks for was better than staring without knowing what to except and it proved itself when Zax grasp a better understanding of the strange phenomenon. ‘The earthly speck, possibly all of the earthly attribute’s essence in the Earthly Crater… doesn’t originate in the crater, but being attracted here by something’.
The manner in which it was attracted was essentially the basis for the existence of the Gentic Belt and the gravitational force above it. Zax figured it out due to a fleeting reaction, which he could not explain, the earthly speck had to his dark attribute.
As for what that “Something” was? Since Soul Sense was useless here, unless he will get up and explore the Earthly Crater the old fashion way of walking on the feet and looking with the eyes, he will never find out.
‘Scrutinizing the specks of earthly attribute spawns better results than figuring the mystery of the Earthly Crater. On the other hand, I could sit here in the sixth ring for months, perhaps years, before I’ll truly know why the specks does nothing after entering my sea of consciousness and what connection is there between them and my dark attribute. Is it the same for those with earthly attribute? The specks could actually have the same response to all attributes and if that is the case, then my view will require rethinking…’
He did not want to waste years meditating on something he was not sure that could help him. Yes, there is a high likelihood that the Horned Eel obtained the means to exceed its limit and attain a strength equal to the Peak of the third realm by stumbling upon the secrets of the Earthly Crater, but no one can confirm that said secrets will have the same beneficial effect on someone else, after all, the Horned Eel is a Deformed Being and prone to the icy attribute, both things which Zax has nothing in common with.
‘In any case, the fifth ring can accelerate for me the rate of the earthly specks appearances, or at least it should’. He made his mind to advance a ring once more.
‘Oh? This is an unfamiliar face…’
‘This person got her only recently and yet he already progressed to the fifth ring!’
‘His perception is that good? Maybe I should go exchange insights with him…?‘
Various experts began to take note of Zax, however, this careful and calculated humans and beasts had been through a lot to err by carelessly voicing their thoughts among strangers, furthermore in this hostile environment.
“Eh?! Did my imagination run wild a moment ago?!” A beast cultivator, pretty much looking like a seven storey tall elephant with eight legs, three trunks and four Ivory tusks, suddenly murmured out loud in complete stupefaction.
His voiced attracted startled eyes to his position on the fourth ring, Zax’s included, as he was on his way to the fifth ring, preparing to tackle its gravitational force.
“Galu… moved!” Out of the nine experts in the fourth ring a second one cried, almost sounding alarmed. Following his remark, not just the attention of experts in the midst of passing the Earthly Crater and meditation was aroused, but even the aquatic Deformed Beings, loitering around the crater, stopped and averted their gazes as if their understood Netherling.
A statue like figure in the third ring, one of only two that occupied the third ring, in the form of a teenage girl, slightly shivered. Cracks appeared on the thin, purple membrane that wrapped the teenage girl. Broken it could not hold against the gravitational force of the third ring and collapsed in two shorts breaths.
Her hair was black, long and flowing in disregard of the fierce gravitational force. She was naked, yet undisturbed by her revealing figure. She gently pushed with her legs and her body rose up, as if floating. Then, in a blink of an eye, a crimson dress with purple hue appeared on her black skin.
Each of her actions, as unassuming as they were, intensified the jolt of surprise for most creatures in the Earthly Crater that seemed to know and name her “Galu”.
“Excuse me”, Zax said to an aquatic beast type expert in his humanoid form, which had white and green oily skin, wide fins above the elbows and knees and protrusions atop his bald head. Despite being in the nude, his reproductive organs were unseen.
The expert was concentrated on Galu as if she was his goddess. When Zax called him he seemed to awake from some sort of hypnotic state and abruptly raised his vigilance.
Zax took a step back. “I only have a few questions. I’m sorry if I startled you”.
“It wasn’t you”. The expert immediately refuted him. “You are new”. He recognized in a single glance.
“Yes, you can say-”
“Well, then what do you want? I’ve been in the sixth ring for eight decades. If you’re looking to share insights you better not disappoint me”. The aquatic expert said condescendingly, clearly was not paying attention when Zax began to stride for the fifth ring. That might have been his bestial temperament. He would not look around for troubles, but they come find him on their own, then he will certainly not back down.
“I just wanted to ask you about her”. Zax gestured with his chin at Galu’s direction, not daring to rudely point at her. “What’s the deal with her? How come she isn’t exuding any fluctuation yet somehow able to resist the gravitational force of the third ring?”
“Speak quietly, dammit. Have you not heard of Galu The Violet Knight? Even if she is in a good mood, it’s best to be docile when it concerns her…” The aquatic expert preferred to get away from Zax then furthering the conversation with him, but the latter was still curious.
“You are stuck in the sixth ring for eighty years. I am in the Earthly Crater for half a month and about to cross to the fifth ring. If you answer my questions I don’t mind later discussing matters of enlightenment”.
“Half a month? The fifth ring?” The aquatic expert felt like his long awaited opportunity at last presented itself and instead of embracing it he was discarding it for possibly the next person to come, or rather be approached by the new guy. “Wait”. He was slow, allowing Zax to initiate the threat of turning away. “Let’s talk over there”. He showed him a boulder on the sixth ring that will hide them from Galu’s field of view is she will turn around.
“A thousand years ago she received the moniker ‘Galu The Violet Knight’ and was a third level Martial Mortal at the time. Nine hundred years ago she came to the Earthly Crater. Five hundred or more years ago she was said to reach the fourth Martial Mortal level and since then had been meditating in the third ring”. Saulalu, the aquatic expert as he casually introduced himself, gave Zax the short summery of Galu. “My guess, as to why the gravitational force of the third ring doesn’t affect her is that she finally broke through its limitation?”
“Broke through?” Zax was confused. The gravitational force stemmed from the secret of the Earthly Crater, an external sort of power that had nothing to do with one’s Martial achievements.
“She should be the eighth to make this breakthrough. First was the Horned Eel Overload, then four of the five leaders of the five powers. The sixth was the Peak expert of the Mercenary Association and seven was Debuk Jin of the Blessed Army. I heard his gravitation technique was the fruit of his labor and is loosely based on the gravitational force of the Earthly Crater”. Saulalu spoke with clear envy. All those he mentioned were far superior to him in both cultivation and insight.
‘Debuk Jin’. Zax frowned as he recalled the orange haired man. At the time he did not catch his name. “Does he have an orange hair and his gravitation technique employed through mist energy lances?”
“And earthly attribute”. Saulalu corrected.
‘Debuk Jin’. He added a name to the face and compelled himself to put it aside. ‘Seven cultivators and a Deformed Being that don’t have so much in common supposedly all obtained something by contemplating in the Earthly Crater that allowed him to ignore its gravitational force. That means that the source of the gravitational force can be annulled regardless of the kind of attribute a cultivator has. Are the earthly specks also the same?’
“What is she doing?!” Saulalu glanced from behind the boulder, wondering what Galu intend to do now that she broke through. Will she depart like the other before her, or head to the second ring when she will see that the Horned Eel is not here to drove her away?
“He left, currently in a long conflict with the Four Wings Stork!” Someone decided to goad Galu by informing her. “That is why there is so many of us. We are all waiting for someone who is capable to withstand the gravitational force to take the leap no one ever dared!” The speaker was a short, husky elder. Not a new face to those at the Earthly Crater but a new arrival. By his manner of conduct others assumed to man was very conning and definitely had the capital to struggle against the gravitational force of the third ring long enough to reach the second ring.
“Is that you, Olaf?” Galu smiled mildly. “You think I’m unaware, you shriveled old man? I attainted my breakthrough twenty nine years ago. Since then I decided to spend another century, waiting for the chance the sea Overlord give me an opportunity”. She said while taking the first light step toward the second ring.
“Good, good, my black beauty”. Olaf poked with a smile, knowing he will rouse the bear.
Galu’s ears perked up, a second step in a momentary halt before landing on the ground, preceding the third.
“Nice, my black beauty, my violet beauty. Don’t flutter now. See, your reception committee is coming to greet you…”
Psst! Psst! Click here and join our YouTube Channel