“Shin, have you always been cultivating in your room?” Finding a suitable spot to sit, Principal Erudito asked the black-haired youth a simple question.
“Yes… I have?” Unsure of why the bronzed-face scholar asked such an obvious question, Shin tilted his head in confusion.
As he watched Shin’s confused and innocent face, Principal Erudito heaved a deep sigh. “Hah… No wonder… Mychael!!! You haven’t told him of the cultivation chambers yet right?!”
“How would I know that he would advance this quickly? Furthermore, usually, students would report to us whenever they were about to advance a rank!”
“But you didn’t explain it to him right?! How important it was to inform the teachers whenever students made progress in their cultivations!!!”
“Wasn’t it common sense?”
“Urgh, you’re going to be the death of me…” Rubbing the temples on his forehead, Principal Erudito tried to quell the headache that he was getting. Mychael was an excellent instructor of the martial arts, there was no denying that fact. Of all the students that he taught, nine of ten of them would develop skills on par to those of seasoned warriors in the military. However, his skills as a homeroom teacher were horrendous. He hardly cared for the welfare of his students and lacked the patience to guide them in the classroom.
Initially, based on his achievements, Mychael could have easily been made into the head of a department. Yet, due to his lacklustre interpersonal skills, Principal Erudito was hesitant to give such an important post to Mychael. Hence, he had placed Mychael as the form teacher of the Star Class to help him build his teaching experience. Of course, that had backfired spectacularly.
“Because of your negligence, now there’s a good chance that the entire academy would know of Shin’s advancement! If he had broken through in a cultivation chamber instead, there wouldn’t be this issue!”
“I can’t deny that…”
“Sorry to interrupt, but did I do anything wrong?” Still unclear about what had happened Shin cautiously asked the distraught Principal.
The bronzed-face scholar turned his attention to the black-haired youth, and his eyes started to shimmer. Even though he wanted to severely reprimand Shin, deep down, he knew that the young boy did nothing wrong. “No… You did well to advance to Rank 19. In fact, I’m stunned at how you can achieve that much. It’s just the manner in which you had accomplished it. If you had come to a teacher, we would have guided you through your breakthrough and would even reserve a cultivation chamber so that you could attempt to advance in peace.”
“However, since you’ve already advanced there’s no use crying over spilt milk… First of all, congratulations on your advancement!!!”
“Ah… Thank you…”
“But honestly, next time you attempt to advance, please notify your teachers. If you break through in your own room, all of those with significant cultivations in the campus would be alerted, and it might pose as a nuisance.” Principal Erudito warned Shin about repeating the reckless feat once more.
“Alright, now that you’re at Rank 19… Shin, do you have a spiritual ability in mind when you condense your Spirit Core?”
In Imperius Academy, it was imperative for a mentor to be assigned to a student who had just advanced to Rank 19. Typically, either a teacher or a competent senior would serve as the mentor, but due to Shin’s peculiar circumstances, Principal Erudito was willing to step in, just to ensure that the young boy didn’t go off a stray path.
“Yeah… Since I’m trying to become a fighter, I want to learn a Spiritual Body Enhancement ability!” Shin hurriedly replied.
“A Spiritual Body Enhancement ability…” Hearing Shin’s words, Principal Erudito turned his attention to the tanned scoundrel who was scratching his head in one corner. Of all the people in the academy, Mychael was perhaps the most adept to teach a Spirit User how to learn a Spirit Body Enhancement ability.
“What? I’m not going to teach this fu-, brat okay?” Almost swearing before his superior, Mychael quickly changed his speech halfway. The last time he agreed to teach Shin, he got yanked out from the heavenly brothel of his choice and had a portion of his pay taken out. The scoundrel didn’t want to go through that experience again.
“What choice do you have?! You are his homeroom teacher, and you were the one who didn’t inform him about the importance of breaking through!!! Take some god damn responsibility!!!”
“Tchhh, I knew that it would come to this…”
“Honestly, I don’t think that I should let you teach Shin after your blunder but…” Falling into thought, Principal Erudito weighed the pros and cons in his mind. “You know what? You will mentor him until he promotes into the Spirit Core realm and Warulee would oversee everything.”
“What?! Why her?!” Mychael immediately protested.
‘Madam Warulee? Isn’t she the head of the auxiliary department?’ Shin started to recall the moment where Principal Erudito introduced everyone in the faculty to the freshmen during the welcoming ceremony. The bespectacled scholarly woman was introduced as a Spirit King that specialised in the healing arts, and Shin’s first impression of her was that she was remarkably similar to the Headmistress that was back on Frie Mountain.
“Since you don’t know how to properly guide a student, you would need someone to supervise you. It’s for your own good… Do you honestly want to be stuck as a measly combat instructor your entire life, Mychael?!”
“Urgh…” With just one sentence, Principal Erudito landed a fatal blow on his subordinate’s subconsciousness.
“Shin, I hope you don’t mind having Mychael as your mentor. As much as he’s a failure in life, he’s actually quite competent with his Spiritual Body Enhancement. I’m sure you’re aware of that.”
“Yeah…” If it weren’t for Mychael’s tutelage, Shin wouldn’t have been able to master mana strengthening. Therefore, as much as he disliked the scoundrel that only cared for money, Shin agreed that it was best for him to get taught by Mychael. Furthermore, since they had a history together, it would be much easier to get into the groove of training.
“At the same time, Madam Warulee Leylesron would be ensuring that Mychael doesn’t overstep his boundaries. So you don’t have to worry a thing. As compensation, the academy would be sure to provide you with the best resources you might require.”
“Thank you…” Unsure of the right reaction to display, Shin simply bowed his head in gratitude.
“Haha, don’t mention it. We should be the ones apologising since this idiot over here didn’t inform you about the rules of the academy. Speaking of which, you don’t have any intentions of using a hereditary opuscule to promote right?”
“No… Master said that it would be best if I could learn a spiritual ability by myself.”
“That’s right. Here at Imperius Academy, we recommend that our students do the same. Even though it might be tempting to take a fast way out, eventually after using a couple of hereditary opuscules, your cultivation might be stifled, and your comprehension ability would diminish.” Principal Erudito explained. “Furthermore, the usage of a hereditary opuscule wouldn’t be entirely optimised to your Spirit. For instance, if you used a hereditary opuscule created by Mychael, there would be a high chance that your Spiritual Body Enhancement technique would highly resemble his own. Hence, it is best if you could comprehend it using your own means. Of course, Mychael here would guide you accordingly.”
“Haha, that’s good… Now that this is settled, I’ll return back now. Shin, I wish you the best in your cultivations.” Leaving Shin and Mychael alone in the room, Principal Erudito exited the boy’s dorm and returned back to his office.
“Hey, brat… Do you specialise in curses? How is it that every time I’m involved with you, something bad happens to me?” Clearly in an irritable mood, Mychael lightly chided the youth.
“Not my fault… I didn’t even notice I was about to break through. It just happened while I was cultivating.” It was true with most of the times that Shin had advanced. Never facing a single bottleneck when it came to cultivation, most of the time, the young boy would experience a breakthrough when he was simply meditating.
“God damn it, now you’re showing off! Urgh, what have I done in my past life to deserve meeting you?”
“You don’t have to look too far. Just reflect on the deeds in your current life, and you’ll know why you are having such an unlucky streak.”
“Y-You!!! You’re getting cheekier and cheekier aren’t you?!” Mychael stomped his feet in annoyance as he went into a fit of wrath.
“Whatever, I don’t care anymore… Since you’re going to learn about Spiritual Body Enhancement, I’m going to drill you hard!!! I don’t care if you go off crying to your master, you hear me!”
“Yeah, yeah… I heard that speech before.” Shin brushed off Mychael’s threats and proceeded to tidy his room. “Oh, if you’re done here, could you leave? I need to prepare to go to bed.”
“Y-You!!! ARGHHH, I fucking hate your guts!!!” With a furious roar, Mychael stormed out of the room, leaving Shin alone in his room once more.
“They’re finally gone…” Falling onto his bed, Shin felt a wave of fatigue envelop his entire being. Keeping up with all of the chaos that had been happening throughout this long day had really taken its toll.
“I’m one step closer, Ariel…” Grabbing the amethyst necklace that was strapped around his neck, Shin said his thoughts out loud. To achieve his goals, becoming stronger was a necessity. To defeat Junius, to take down the mighty Allfather that stood behind the Black Masks, and finally, to potentially meet Ariel once more. Entering the Spirit Core realm would take him one step closer to accomplishing his objectives.
“I hope to see you soon…”
Himmel Empire. ??????????
In a remote ravine where civilisation had yet to touch, a small community of brick houses lay hidden from the Empire’s eyes. Even though the small cave town seemed isolated from the outside world, its infrastructure rivalled that of many structures in the modern Capital. In fact, to a certain extent, the city was much more advanced, with hundreds of Spirit Beasts living in harmony with the densely populated metropolis.
All throughout the city, a low and sonorous chant echoed through the empty streets as if a religious procession had enveloped the entire town. The townsfolk, which were usually tending to their own matters, had all gathered near the centre of the city, where the one and only temple lay. A dark enshrined statue, that depicted a man with no facial features, towered over the entire house of worship. The sculpture’s arms were spread out like the wings of an eagle as if it was insinuating the endless amounts of love the man had for his people.
“The Allfather is great! The Allfather is great!” Down on the ground floor, the zealots of the town were chanting maniacally. Some of them were draped in all black robes, to glorify the colour that the Allfather had chosen for them.
“Do you think he’s going to be okay?” While the rest of the town was busy singing the praises of their leader, a concerned young girl, had her hands joined together as she anxiously watched the chamber that stood before her, hoping to catch a glimpse of the person inside.
“Don’t worry, Shia. The blessing of the Allfather is great and would do no harm to Junius.” Vellan tapped on Shia’s shoulders to reassure her of the youth’s safety.
“But, no one under Rank 30 had ever received a blessing from the Allfather! What if Junius’ body can’t withstand the might of the Allfather?!”
“You don’t have to worry. Junius is a tough kid. I’m sure that he would be able to pull through whatever challenges that lie in his path…”
As if to reaffirm his point, the doors of the chambers that Junius had once disappeared into jerked wide open, revealing a tall, viridian haired man whose body had been stripped down bare. A black, syrupy liquid fell from the crown of his head and dripped endlessly onto the ground beneath him, creating a blackened trail behind him.
“Junius!!!” Shia exclaimed in jubilation. Spreading the towel that she had in her hands, the young woman rushed over to cover Junius’ exposed body and wipe off the residue liquid that was stuck onto him.
Half a year had passed since the events of Frie Mountain, and Junius was now nineteen years of age and had reached the end of his growing years. However, due to excessive physical training, the young man’s physique had transformed to that akin to a God of Myth. Throughout his entire body, not an ounce of fat could be seen and his perfectly chiselled body would put the imaginations of the best sculptors to shame.
“How do you feel?” Vellan hurriedly asked the most pressing question.
“Perfect…” Junius raised his arms in wonder. “I feel as if, I had been entirely reborn… My mana is overflowing and my strength… Must have doubled!!!” Forming his Spirit Core long ago, the only thing that Junius had lacked was time to cultivate to the next stage. However, Vellan offered a shortcut. If Junius were baptised by the powers of the invincible Allfather, his progression would exponentially increase, allowing him to grow into the potent force that the Black Mask syndicate was looking for.
“Good!!! Praise the Allfather!”
“Yeah… Hold on…” Clenching his fists, Junius shut his eyes and allowed the newly found mana of his to congregate into his arm, and the next moment, he summoned out his Azure Water Sword. However, instead of its usual bright blue hue, Junius’ Spirit had been dyed in a deep obsidian black, giving quite a menacing look.
“J-J-Junius! Your sword!!!” Shia couldn’t help but remark the changes that Junius’ Spirit had underwent.
“T-That!!! HAHAHAHA!!! My brother! Junius had succeeded you! Junius had succeeded you!”
“Exactly… I finally did it. I inherited the Black Sword that my father wielded.” Intensifying the grip on the sword handle, Junius knuckles began to turn white as crimson blood dripped down his lean and muscular arms. Although he had never had a chance to spend time with his father, from the stories that Vellan and Shia told him, Junius somehow felt a lasting connection with his deceased father.
“With this sword in hand, I can finally grow stronger… Once I do, I’ll wreak havoc in the Frie Clan, and I’ll reunite all of us once again…” Like Shin, Junius had found a goal to work towards. Once he became stronger, he would exact vengeance on the Frie Clan once more and would bring back the happy days where the orphans all played together.
“Yeah, I know you will.” Shia locked her arms around Junius’ and lay on his shoulders. After the night where she comforted him, the two had grown attached to one another. Initially, Junius was apprehensive about seeing Shia when his heart was still with Lily, but being the uptight person that he was, Junius knew that he had to take responsibility for the night where he took advantage of Shia.
“Shia… One day… I’ll bring back Shin and the others. That way, we can all live happily ever after.”
“Yeah… Only when the young master is with us, would the Awter Clan be complete.”
“I know… I’ll definitely bring Shin and the rest back!!!”