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Book 8 – Element, Chapter 35 – Back To The Savage Caves

“Three Stages Of Hyper Physique?” Zax asked and before getting answer a notion came to his mind. “The Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement’s second phase!”

“Right, Martial son”. Kartius.

Grandmaster Kartion got up on his four hooves. “Martial nephew, since I finished the creation of the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique’s first stage, began to cultivate it and envision the second stage, I had a constant sense of dissatisfaction that something crucial for the first stage, the foundation to carry the second and third, is lacking a component I could not pinpoint. That problem is now behind me, as I realized what eluded me and managed to use it to amend the first stage and formulate the correct template for the next one”.

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“Kartion, congratulation!” Laivien brimmed with happiness. She was well aware of her Kartion’s setbacks in his work.

“Big brother, that is wonderful news!”

“Congratulation, Master!”

Though among those present only Grandmaster Kartion, Kartius and Zax broke through the second realm of bodily cultivation, and while there were few who did not cultivate at all their physique or ceased training in the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement, they all were extremely ecstatic.

Zax could not help but feel a surge of adrenalin flowing in his body as his blood boiled and all his hairs stood erect. ‘I haven’t had the opportunity, yet, but now…  Grandmaster could not have a more perfect timing’.

What was the thing he needed more than anything now that he, little by little, engaged more frequently with the true apex of Ercas Mir’s Martial world? Means to get stronger!

Zax knew that Grandmaster Kartion was arduously laboring for the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement’s second phase. For a while he had watched and been part of the process, with not much contribution, though. So he was mildly familiar with the first stage’s degree of growth in strength. At the time he thought that compared to the disparity between the seven gates of the first phase it was not as exponential.

‘If Grandmaster was able to improve on it…!’ He hoped for only one thing… the competence to contend against anyone below the fifth Martial Mortal’s level.

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“Grandmaster, when will it be possible to cultivate the first stage?”  Zax eagerly asked.

“Good Martial nephew, don’t be impatient”. There was slight resignation in Grandmaster Kartion’s voice. “Although I know what my Three Stages Of Hyper Physique was lacking and confident in adjusting it, it would still take me a long time before I could put it to the test.

“I don’t mind telling you in advance, the correction I was able to realize was related to the energy of the world I previously made use of. The aspects of the world we are exposed to by the bottlenecks of insight were what I believed until today the right propellant to draw upon, in order to cultivate the second realm of the body. When you said that as your insights and understanding grew you were able to manifest and make better use of a worldly dark attribute energy, I had an epiphany that drove me to reexamine my own understanding of the dark attribute and its encompassing worldly energy.  In spite of having, probably, less than meager understanding I was still capable of analyzing the new concept in my Inner Panorama and conclude it as success”.

“Master, the obscure dark attribute energy is perhaps beyond our perception, but we can attempt using dark attribute’s essence from the second Savage Cave”. Simel suggested. Of his fellow apprentices he was the most versed in their Master’s work.

“I can head out right now”. Hagen transformed to her animalistic form. She was a cultivation fanatic and did not care that her accomplishment in the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement were deficient, her real interest lain in the marvelous attribute worldly energy. If her Master can develop a way to utilize it, then maybe their Martial path will expand faster, regardless of comprehending four, five or six bottlenecks of insight.

“I’ll go!” Zax raised his voice. Gesturing with his hand, showing his spatial ring a collection of unique objects appeared on the ground.

Pure Cores and a liquefied attribute’s essences inside varying size vials.

The amount was not great. The few vials he found with the Splinters in the spatial ring he snatched from the Dewgong’s deposit box. The one third realm Pure Core kept in his Blue Stone before his spatial rings were stolen and the four Peak second realm Pure Core he gathered on the way from the Eastern Continent.

Seeing everything appear out of nowhere, everyone looked at the ring on Zax’s finger with admiration. In New Earth if someone wanted to store valuable in a mobile and comfortable to carry space, the sole solution were Blue Stone. The problems with Blue Stones were that most tower sizes, which they transform into, were rather small and that retrieving or placing objects inside had to be done manually, unlike doing so with a simple thought with spatial rings.

“This is a third realm Pure Core from a rather young three scales Deformed Being. It should help in getting to the Intermediate or Advanced phase of the first Martial Mortal’s level. The rest will take you to the Peak of the Core Master realm. They are why the number of expert in Ercas Mir is so huge. Anet, take this”. He gave her one of the four Pure Cores.

“But… I can’t, Zax”. A quick and smooth ride to the Peak of the second realm? Anet did not have the shamelessness of accepting the Pure Core when there was clearly not enough for everyone. “My Martial talent is good. One day I’ll definitely breakthrough to the second realm and Don Mor always say that I’ll eve surpass her, but next to everyone here… it will be a waste for me to receive a Pure Core. Even if my cultivation speed will improve, I don’t know how long it would take me to perceive and comprehend the bottlenecks of insight”.

“Take it, girl”. After today Grandmaster Kartion viewed Zax in a new light. If his Martial nephew brought a few gifts for the family and wanted to share them with his companion, too, he will express nothing but support.

“Anet”, Zetsa tapped her shoulder. “You are not valued less or more by having a worse or better talent. Besides, it’s only a Peak second realm Pure Core, it won’t do much for Martial uncle, big brother Rar, eldest Martial sister Hagen and big brother Simel as they all in the third Core Master’s level. As for the rest of us… Martial sister Rarahel and I both in the second Core Master’s level and toiling over our third bottleneck of insight, which now it seems we cannot pass. Master and Martial mother Laivien cannot cultivate mist. Only ones remaining are little sister Shulip and little brother Mes which can each take a Pure Core and we are still left with two”.

Forced to accept the Pure Core along with Zetsa’s arguing, Anet stop being reserved and took the Pure Core from Zax. “Thank you”.

“Silly, you don’t have to thank me”. Zax was enjoyed seeing her trying to restrain the glow of happiness.

Watching Anet receive a Pure Core and seeing how everyone approved of Zetsa’s argument, Mes clenched his fist and gathered his resolved. “Master, little brother Zax, can I get the second Pure Core”. He was stuck in the first Core Master’s level for years, even though he skipped and comprehended one bottlenecks. He felt ashamed, but there was nothing he could do about those feelings of jealousy.

“Grandmaster, we shouldn’t be conservative. There are plenty more of even the third realm ones in Ercas Mir. In the future it won’t be an issue getting them”. Zax said instead of answering Mes.

From his story, Grandmaster Kartion understood that Zax have plans to return to Ercas Mir. As such, there release was no need to rethink too much who and when receives a Pure Cure, except, maybe, to third realm one.

His used his soul telekinetically to send a Pure Core to Mes. “That is not an easy path that you had gained. The perseverance that you now have in excess, use it to comprehend at least three more bottlenecks of insight. It no longer matters which if you’ll develop understanding of your attribute”.

“Yes, Master!” Mes replied elatedly, took the Pure Core and actually shoved it through his mouth down his stomach, in his human form!

“Stupid, viper, don’t be so gross!” Simel rebuked him while Zetsa and Hagen glared at him.

They were used to his habit of swallowing his personal belonging since he kept his Blue Stone in his stomach, but when he did so in human form even beasts thought it looked weird.

“Huhuhu!” Laivien was amused by the four.

Mes snorted at the three. “I only did it to make Martial mother laugh”.

“Well then, thank you, little Mes, huhuhuhu”.

“Good, good, Martial son, see what joy did you bring”. Kartius said in gratification; however his tone turned strict for his next words. “Big brother, little sister, your Martial brothers and sisters, Martial niece Zetsa, Anet, your family in Kingdom Earth… Make sure not to frighten us like this ever again!” He got up on his hooves, as well. There were many insights to reflect upon, traces of profound enlightenment among them that he would like to explore. “Big brother, give the third realm Pure Core to one of your three eldest apprentices. Martial son, before you leave to Ercas Mir visit me. I would like to personally experience how well you had grown”. He finished, stamped the ground and departed in a soaring jump.

“Grandmaster”, Zax stood up. “I intend to go to the second Savage Cave and verify if there is really a third”.

“Is it because that Earthly Crater you mentioned?”

“Because of it, and because I want to gather dark attribute’s essences, to see if they can expedite the cultivation of the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique’s first stage”.

“That would also help me a lot”. Grandmaster Kartion concurred. “You said that former Supreme Ruler Gid had broken through to the third realm in his bodily refinement technique, yet still could not repair his dantian…” He mumbled to himself, turning to leave, collecting the Pure Cores in vials to a Blue Stone on his person. “Beloved, in the coming days there will be much for me to contemplate”.

“I understand”. Laivien nodded.

“Simel, we go back. Hagen, Mes, Zetsa, meditate about what Martial nephew told us. When your Martial brother Raroen and Martial sisters return send them to me immediately”.

“Yes, Master”. All four replied.

Hagen and Mes left alongside Grandmaster Kartion and Simel.

Exiting the Essence Cave together with Zetsa and Anet, Zax reassured them that he will not tarry and be sure to stand by his promise of returning within two and a half days.

Disregarding the tribes whose beast kin guarded tunnels and requested tribute for passing, Zax traversed the way to Savage Caves, while practicing the set of foot technique Linor taught him and the Bone And Muscle Transformation technique. As a result it took him longer than he should have to make it to the entrance of the first Savage Cave.

‘Due to my bodily control, in a short time my proficiency in Linor’s foot technique had risen to rivaling the demonstration she gave me’. Zax determined. ‘On the other hand I doubt what she showed was her limit in this foot technique… forget it! I’ll keep training for future references’. Who could tell if learning assassin’s steps will not save his life one day? “I still need months before having meaningful achievement in the Bone And Muscle Transformation technique. I wonder… will it be easier to practice if I’ll cultivate the first stand of the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique?”

He crossed the tunnel leading to the first cave, its savage force was ineffectual but a good reminder of its scary influence on the soul and that no matter how strong he is in comparison to his past self, he should not be complacent and prepare for his first stride in the unknown of the second Savage Cave.

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