A good four hours had passed since Zilan had regained his cultivation however, his excitement was only growing stronger with time.
“This is amazing!”
He was currently relaxing on his bed with his hand stretched out in front of him. Above his palm, hovered a pigeon made entirely out of water, without warning it suddenly changed into a bear, then a snake, then into a wolf.
Zilan playfully toyed around with his new abilities, a satisfied grin could be seen on his face.
“Everything went perfectly, I can’t believe it! For once in my life barriers haven’t stood in my way.”
The only thing that troubled him was the piercing headache he felt after completing the process, it was not meant to occur however, nothing in this world can be predicted perfectly so Zilan pushed it to the back of his mind, choosing to focus on the good instead of the bad for once.
“Ha! If I’m not wrong I should be quite a bit ahead from what I was hoping for. Today just keeps getting better and better.”
The humans of this world cultivated in the ways of Heaven which was split into different stages;
-The Initial absorption stage includes levels (1-9)
-The Divine Baptism stage (10)
-The Tempering stage includes (10-99)
A Divine Baptism is needed for someone to successfully combine the first nine levels of power in order to break through to the 10th. The methods of Divine Baptism were similar for all commoners however special clans or sects will naturally have more effective methods to achieve the same goal. Only when one reaches the tempering stage can they truly be considered a practitioner.
Above the Tempering stage is the [Soul-compression stage], the great height that all practitioners strived to achieve. It involves one’s element for example, fire, water, lightning, wind, being compressed and fused with one’s soul thus its name the soul compression stage.
This stage is also divided into its own levels;
-Low level (100-1,000).
-Mid level (1,000-10,000).
-High level (10,000-100,000).
The rest of the stages could no longer be measured in levels.
As for beasts their cultivation was much more different as it relied on absorbing and comprehending the Universe’s secrets in order to further evolve. The only way to tell a Beast’s strength was from the colour of its core which could usually be seen somewhere around its body.
For those at the Intial absorption stage of strength, they had yellow cores signifying that they’re yet to evolve.
The Beasts at the Tempering stage level of strength have white cores which showed that they had already started to evolve.
As for the mighty Beasts at the Soul-compression stage level of strength, they had black coloured cores.
Unlike humans it was impossible to tell with pin point accuracy what level a Beast was, as even they themselves did not know. For example a human could accurately tell that they were at the 42nd level of the Tempering stage while a Beast could only estimate that they’re strength was nearing the 50th level.
That’s why it was always risky when battling with Beasts. Although, their cores showed that they were in a certain stage, no one knew if they had just entered it recently or if they were nearing the end of the stage.
From what Zilan could tell using his eyes, his power should currently be equal to that of the 40th level of the Tempering stage. For someone who had not even had his Divine Baptism when he was crippled, Zilan had unintentionally made history by jumping over thirty levels in one night. Also he hadn’t even included the strength of his body in to the equation when he made his estimation.
Such a huge unexpected blessing, even someone like Zilan who could rarely find anything that made him happy couldn’t help but rejoice at his good fortune.
There was just one slight worry that bothered him and that was his aura which was that of the Spring Dragon. Obviously, exuding an aura of a Beast while in the presence of humans wasn’t the most ideal situation however this was when his meticulous and thoughtful plans showed themselves to be useful.
When Zilan was designing Path of Blood, he had already thought of what if his aura was to change dramatically to that of the Spring Dragon, but nevertheless he still believed he would be able to suppress it using his cultivation. However just in case something unexpected like the Spring Dragon actually still being alive incident happened, Zilan prepared the inscription which was wrapped around his new core.
Zilan quickly sat up and after making a few hand gestures the inscription in his sea of consciousness glowed and tightened around the blue liquid, like a python strangling its prey. Minutes later and the only aura that leaked from Zilan’s body was that of the water element.
This aura would probably attract much attention to himself in the future as the calm, spring like aura that he let out could only signify that his affinity towards water was on a level above all others. Zilan despised unnecessary attention but it was better than exuding the aura of an Ancestral Beast that has not been seen for thousands of years.
Besides, he intended to feign being a cripple for a little while longer therefore he would not be exposing his cultivation any time soon. So only when he was sure that he could safely expose his abilities would he allow people to notice his aura.
Although, Zilan really did have to admit, the Spring Dragon’s affinity towards water was as boundless as the ocean itself. His affinity to the attribute he was born with, [Nature] could not even compare, which didn’t really matter since he would only be able to use it again unless he found a Beast core that met the Ancestral requirements.
Suddenly just as Zilan was picturing the beautiful yet mature figure of his new Grandmother, a cool refreshing feeling passed through his body causing all the hairs on his body to stand up in delight.
Zilan quickly wiped his mouth of the drool that was about to drip and turned towards his shoulder where the cloud pattern tattoo was glistening with a hazy inky light.
“What’s going on? Did I trigger something?” puzzled, Zilan reached out to touch the cloud pattern only to get enveloped once again in that extremely comfortable, relaxing feeling that made him think he was sleeping on the clouds while being massaged by a group of angels.
He tried resisting the sensation but unfortunately it was too late, his consciousness was forcefully pulled out of his body and directly entered the cloud pattern.
In the blink of an eye, Zilan found himself in a white empty space. There was nothing apart from a strange grey mist meandering beneath his feet.
“Where am I?” he whispered.
A loud oppressive clicking sound resounded throughout the space, causing Zilan to immediately cover his ears.
“Is anyone there?” shouted Zilan.
“Yo..you…absolutely deserve to die!” the pained voice of a youth sounded out from the distance.
“Eh? Are you talking to me!?” questioned Zilan as he took a step back.
“Who else? You’re definitely the most despicable person I’ve met in all the years that I’ve served Mistress! Oh, why? Why did it have to be me who was chosen?”
The moaning sounds the youth made caused Zilan to cringe and grit his teeth in irritation.
“Hey! Who are you to call me despicable? You may think you know me but_…”
Before he could finish his sentence the crying youth’s mouth suddenly turned aggressive,
“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!….You’re definitely the worst, you even tricked the Mistress.”
Zilan was starting to get pissed off, he had no idea who the other party was and yet he insisted on cursing him.
“I don’t know what I’ve done to wrong you but your behaviour is too much. This Mistress of yours could it be Grandmother?”
All sound seized instantly.
A few seconds later and the realm started shaking, causing the air to distort. A figure suddenly appeared before Zilan coldly glaring at him with its red reptilian eyes.
“Eh? A dragon…midget?” exclaimed Zilan.
The creature before him was barely four feet tall yet it definitely had all the features of a fire Elemental Dragon. Was this little thing, that looked exactly like those toys little girls loved to play with, the one that was cursing him and causing the earth to shake?
“It can’t be!” he resolved.
“Ha! For someone so young like you to lecture me about bad behaviour I, Hihi the great genius overlord of the other geniuses and overlords never thought I would see the day. You punk deserve to be punished for daring to call Mistress, g-g..g..Grand..mother!” said the tiny dragon.
Zilan’s eyes widened in shock. This tiny thing actually proudly called himself Hihi and even gave himself such a stupidly grand title.
“Truly thick skin!” praised Zilan.
“You’re making fun of me, I can tell! Stop it!” growled Hihi.
“Fine! Why is genius Hihi cursing me and what is this place?” asked Zilan as his eyes looked around the place.
“Hmph! It’s not genius Hihi but Hihi the great genius overlord of the other geniuses and overlords. Don’t think you can trick me by saying nice things, I know you’re a very bad person!” snorted Hihi.
“Ok, if I’ve done it then I won’t deny hurry and tell me what wrong I’ve committed!”
“You little Bastard actually dared to make Mistress assign you a Guardian and yet y..you failed to mention that you were a CRIPPLE! I don’t understand what you did to put yourself back together again but I’m truly lucky otherwise pitiful Hihi, would have been trapped here alone until the day you died.” cursed Hihi as traces of tears could be seen in the corner of his eyes.
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