Kairos continued going through every single skill manual in the place until he was certain that the storm palm he found previously is the right choice. It is a skill that will augment the lighting element he is trying to develop, and what more, Tommy and Edward who have affinity with all 3 nature’s elements would be perfect to practice it.
The irony is, the two of them have so great an affinity that they have the three elements, wind, lighting and frost, in their secret arts – and of course, Kairos secretly learned them—but it can be said that none of them have even stepped through the doors of apprenticeship having not mastered any control over these elemental Ki.
“If I properly learn the lighting element, I guess another Ki dragon will appear. Well, let’s go get an artefact for our last selection”
Okay! Aisa will pick the best one for you!
Whether it is by instinct or simply because the object held a good amount of energy, the small dragon directed him to an odd sphere of water that is simply sitting on a shelf without any container to hold it.
“This looks… ODD”
Ehehe. Its energy is very pure
“What happens if someone drinks it accidentally?”
Sounds scary. Aisa wouldn’t dare to
“Maybe it’d come out of the person’s body, forcefully, from everywhere… and turn him into a corpse?”
EEK! Don’t say that!
“Hehe, I’m just kidding with you. Aisa should I take this then?”
M…maybe not? B…but it has the purest and largest amount of energy among everything there
“Okay I’ll keep it then”
Without much delay, Fritzgen came over picked up the last item. The merchant had hidden it well on his face, no one could see how his heart is bleeding within, especially from this book that Kairos has chosen. The things that the others took are quite good, but when it comes to their boy leader, it is all priceless treasures that he had spent countless time and money to acquire. He did not know of course, that everyone were told to prioritise on artefacts that could save their lives, and every item that were picked out so far had received a quality check by Aisa.
“These people are just like monsters, monsters who knows robbery! Out of 25 items, they’ve only selected 1 martial art, and they picked the only one that is a hundred times more expensive than all the other martial arts manuals that I have, put together!!”
He could only console himself, that the things which they chose had given him a large amount of information, whether they want him to know or not, and he internally sighed.
He had to concur, especially with Kairos, for showing a good eye at finding the rarest and most unique from his inventory. Now, the owner of the Treasures Pavilion is even more certain than ever that this group with him are people with powerful backgrounds, and he politely brought them back to the guest hall.
“Young master, I know you wish to conceal your identities, but today Old Fritzgen has suffered a loss to build a business relationship with you. Would young master see fit to honour me by taking our platinum membership card?”
“No no, of course not, young master. You can be certain that it has no form of tracking enchantment placed on it at all. I am willing to stake our shop’s reputation on that. The runes placed on the card merely allows you to communicate with one of our staff and place your orders even if you are far away. We would be able to send you the shipment so long it is within Silent Lambs Empire, or you can come to our store to pick it up anytime in the future”
“I’ll gladly accept it then” Kairos nodded and took the card gratefully. He had not expect to gain something like this, and it will be a large advantage for them on their journey. Once again, he realise the importance of creating a good impression on others. His father as well, has reminded him frequently by way of example, and so far, many of the fortunate things that happened to him are because of help relented from the others,
With an elegant bow that seemed more practiced than it really is, Kairos greeted the shop owner before departing, “We will use this well. Farewell Mr. Fritzgen”
He looked at the shop one last time, watching the far more experienced shop owner run this shop has given him an understanding he did not have before.
“These items sold in the Treasures Pavilion is so varied and yet of such high quality, it is no wonder they are successful. I may have to increase my stores soon”
An irrational idea came to him, to have the Snowdrifts’ shop liaise with the Treasures Pavilion, but he dismissed it immediately. Although the increase in variety to his shop would be a great welcome, but there are simply too many obstacles at this point. Kairos do not know what will happen when Fritzgen found out Vouno’s lie that his crafted weapon is an ancient relic. Not only that, even if they solve this ‘minor’ issue, they would have problems importing goods from Silent Lambs Empire, a rival to their own country.
“And most importantly, we cannot afford to have our identities exposed” He thought resolutely. This excursion had them trade everything non-vital for the 25 items, and they no longer have enough to make purchases at the other shops in the black market. The risk of selling another weapon of his creation far-outweighs the risk of being found out, but this also means that once their foes know where they purchased their artefacts, it would be a simple thing to find out what new abilities they received.
He has no doubt, for even a single moment, that the Phrixus family will use every information they have against them, once they extracted Jones. Kairos simply hope that they are not too late. His instincts had been nudging him even more than before, to the point he did not want to stay for another night, and now that he has completed the trade he simply couldn’t wait to exit the place and head for his brother.
“Let’s go quickly” He spoke, louder than he intended. But when everyone walked off, he alone stood still where he was. A powerful image entered his mind. A torn body, hanging from rusted chains, so caked with blood that it is impossible to tell who the person is.
“Kairos! Hey! What’s wrong?” Vouno gave him a shake, waking him from his trance.
“I think I saw Jones, somehow. I don’t know what that image is but it’s imperative that we go to him quickly” He said, completely fazed by what he saw. The others nodded their heads, this isn’t an odd thing for cultivators, especially when they become stronger, they will become closer to the heavenly energies around them, and being able to see into the future or look at a scene far away are telling signs. Somehow, Kairos must have did the same.
However, instead of leaving immediately, Kairos decidedly went to one of Vox Shalua’s guards and flashed the token he received from Rielon. Shortly afterwards, he arrived in the office of the governor of this undercity. For the sake of speed, they chatted privately away from earshot even from his group and then he promptly left.
The group then rushed out to catch the last light of day and make some haste on the road. The edging feeling within him that Jones did not have much longer for them to tarry has continued to strengthen, and he bided the rest to keep going throughout the night.
This time, they did not bother with their physical training, but simply choosing to cultivate on the back of the land wyrm. By now, thanks to their constant training and the surplus of cultivation materials along the way, everyone has already improved greatly. Besides him, his teammates have all reach Entry C rank, and their physical strength risen, although not yet at the point of breaking through to the next rank.
The members of Snowdrifts, especially the 4 team captains, show immense potential after Kairos has taught them of the Origin Cultivation methods, which he also customized for each person. On the whole, all of them reached D rank, the only difference between them is whether they are at Entry or Mid grade.
Now, the only one left that had shown no improvement is Kairos, and although he is certain he is close to breakthrough, yet no matter how hard he tried he only felt a lacked that vital burst of energy needed to cross the final step.
He took out the Divine Gorilla Soul and took a look at the shiny orb of light resting peacefully on his palm. He could feel the powerful life force within and somehow he knows that his criteria to enter C rank is related to this item. Monster souls such as this could be found by hunting down great number of enlightened beasts. And among those slain, very rarely one would leave this life force residue within their body.
“This is the item that Aisa said would help me? I hope I don’t develop anything odd from absorbing this. Like black fur or something”
With a bit of hesitation, he directed his will towards the object he is holding and it quickly seeped through his skin and entered his body. The immaterial energy is easily taken in by his soul, and he started to feel his life force becoming purer and its capacity increasing quickly.
With a spark of inspiration, he fixed his attention within himself observing how did he absorbed the soul. From it, he traced the multiple strands of the Divine Gorilla’s soul energy entering his Dantian, and as his soul perception followed it in. There he found a greatly pleasant surprise.
At the Peak of D rank, his Dantian has already been greatly developed, but this is the first time he ever used soul perception on himself to see it. After absorbing the soul, a beautiful orb started forming within, attempting to create a core within his Ki Centre, and immediately the signs of a breakthrough could be felt.
He immediately went into his cultivation stance and concentrated on helping his body create the core. During that time, everyone around felt the waves of energy emitted from Kairos and they instantly realised that he is finally breaking through to the next rank.
They halted the land wyrm and backed away, carefully avoid taking the heavenly energies around Kairos, leaving him with the best environment.
He continued unknowingly, with his focus within himself as he gathered the energy needed to create the perfect core. He did not know what it is, but somehow he felt it is important for him to do so. The general knowledge on core formation, requires the practitioner to be at triple S rank while crossing into the immortal ranks, yet he is here only at D rank but already forming a core.
Kairos moulded it carefully, yet it refused to become a perfect sphere. The unstable energy threatened to tear itself apart, and he could feel that if that happens, he will forever lose the chance to form this core within himself. Sweat started to run down his cheeks, his concentration continues to raise as he struggled to keep that ball of energy under control, but no matter what he does it would not find an equilibrium.
At this point, the twin Ki dragonlings suddenly noticed what is happening within their ‘home’, his Dantian, and they flew towards the energy core with curious eyes. Somehow, they seem to recognise it instantly, and they spiralled around it happily. Seeing this scene, Kairos understood that everything that happened -- his Ki dragons and this core -- is in fact due to his unique cultivation techniques. He can affirm that somehow, this cultivation is meant for him alone, even if he could teach it to the others but the effects would be different.
“Perhaps the Origin cultivation is truly the original source of all techniques? It is like everyone that learn it is given a foundation to build their cultivation on” Kairos thought curiously as he looked on. He believes that the weirdos around him would definitely come up with very interesting cultivations in the future, “People like Jim, or Alan, or Jones, or my father. My goodness, I’m actually surrounded by them, aren’t I. Think of which, actually, Edward is one too whenever he gets mad. Oh, and Tommy is really strange whenever it comes to Snow… its official, All of my friends and family are weirdos”
While his thoughts run wild, the core started splitting itself up, and strands of energy began to shoot outwards. Kairos hastily used more of his energy to force them back, but it refused to be kept intact. Then, the twin dragons stopped swimming about, and they sent their dragonbreaths toward the core. When the twin elements struck the unstable energy ball, it glowed brightly for an instant, then it no longer squirms about. He panted a sigh of relief, and wanted to retract his senses, but a thought stopped him and instead he looked carefully at the new addition within his Dantian. He come to realise that it, in fact, isn’t a solid mass of energy which normal Ki Cores are made of, but completely formed from spiritual energy.
When the sphere stabilised it suddenly vanished from sight, but Kairos could still feel its existence, tracing it all the way to his heart before it finally settled down.
“A soul core? Is there even such a thing?!” He exclaimed mentally.
Kairos became certain that what he has within himself isn’t a Ki created core that marks the beginning of becoming a top tier cultivator, but instead it gave of a feeling that his life force has changed greatly, both in quantity and quality. There had never been any records of any other kinds of energy cores except the ones made from Ki, although, within the Ki cores there are as many types as the stars.
The energy quickly stabilised into a perfect sphere and it hovered within his Dantian with a calm blue glow, then as if responding, his body immediately purged another layer of impurities from deep within his blood and he opened his eyes with brighten radiance on his skin as his energy became even more refined.
Entry, C rank!
At this level, he could easily clean his clothes and body of the grime by disintegrating them with his powerful Ki, and he immediately did so. Giving himself a fresher outlook.
Feeling that the barrier stopping him from cultivating has disappeared, he took out some cultivation pills and said with a gladden smile, “I’m going to try and breakthrough another grade. You guys should train as well”
The land wyrm started moving again. This time, he plans to try to gain the lighting element, while he gets himself to Mid grade.