Book 7: The Summit || Chapter 2: Invitation (2)

“We can do that?” Shin nearly fell down in shock. Based on what Lady Seph had described, the global summit would undoubtedly become one of the most monumental moments in human history.

Not only were the three superpowers sending representatives there, but there was also bigwig organisations such as the Healer’s Association and the Mercenary Guild attending as well. Bards will sing eternal songs about how the Black Masks brought the world together, and newspapers all over the world would go crazy in their coverage. Even if he were a mere attendant in the summit, Shin would feel proud to be part of such a historical moment.

“Of course you can!” Lady Seph beamed and replied. “While we can ignore the other organisations, the three superpowers would definitely bring the best members of the younger generation! The Imperial Family would be sending out notices to all of you soon, so Kanari and Elrin, I’m sure you’ll learn about it from your parents. I’m just informing you a little early.”

The two girls nodded. For such a big event to occur, there was no way that their names wouldn’t be put into the fray. In fact, they were glad to be part of history as well. The problem was…

“Aren’t we just sixteen? Aren’t there more suitable candidates to represent the country?” Kanari questioned. For those that were considered in the ‘younger generation,’ they had to be below twenty-five years of age. In human years, twenty-five was quite a significant age. Many regular humans would have settled down and would have a family by twenty-five. However, for cultivators, a twenty-five-year-old was basically a child who has yet to hit puberty.

In the eyes of the top cultivators, if a youngling wasn’t in the Spirit Adept realm by twenty-five, they basically had no chance of reaching the Spirit Emperor or Spirit Venerate realm. If a member of the younger generation had broken through their first barrier of mortality and entered into the Spirit Spectre realm, then there would be multiple heads turned.

Even though both Kanari and Shin were on pace to reach the Spirit Spectre realm before they turned twenty-one, they were still just sixteen-years-old. They weren’t that arrogant to think that they could thoroughly beat the elites from the Kori Federation and the Lantis Republic, who had either reached the Spirit Adept or Spectre realm.

“Of course, there are. That’s why you’ll just be attending, not leading.” Principal Erudito finally opened his mouth. “Kanari, I don’t mean to be rude, but your name is not only well-known in the Empire. Both the Kori Federation and the Lantis Republic have heard of the Witch in the South, the Empire’s top prodigy. If you don’t attend, people would be sure to talk.”

“…” Kanari couldn’t come up with a rebuttal.

“Elrin, you too. Your Rosary of Eternity is perhaps one of the most sought after auxiliary Spirits in the world. When you participate in the summit, I’m sure that you’ll almost immediately become the centre of attention.”

“Hehe~.” Elrin blushed at the principal’s high praise. Even if she weren’t invited, the merchant blood in her would be pushing her to go anyway. A chance to network with the highest level of each superpower was one that came only once in a lifetime. If she wished to inherit her father’s business, it was vital that she joined the summit.

And finally, there was Shin…

He may be famous in the Empire, but his meteoric rise meant that there weren’t many entities outside of the Empire that knew of his existence. Perhaps in a few years, the name Shin Iofiel, the Black-Haired Tyrant would resonate in the continent, but for now, there was no real need for Shin to expose himself on the international stage.

Nonetheless, the reason why Shin was invited, the reason why Lady Seph pushed the boy to attend, was due to one prime reason.

“Shin, you’re not going there to show your talents, and neither are you going there to become the poster boy of the Himmel Empire. Shin, I’m sending you there for one reason only…” Lady Seph took over the explanation. “Shin, I want you to learn more about the Lantis Republic, and if possible, I want you to form a bond with some of those from the younger generation that would be attending.”

“Huh?” Shin’s eyes twitched in confusion. He didn’t understand why his master was putting forth such a weird idea. The surprise wasn’t limited to Shin, even Kanari and Elrin had their jaws dropped.

“It’s not just you that I’m sending. I’m sending Ella and Emma as well. Their presence there should be beneficial for them as well.”

“Wait! I don’t understand! Why must I bond with those from the Lantis Republic? And why should Ella and Emma attend? They’re just Spirit Apostles!” Shin protested. Based on what Kanari had just said, there would be a plethora of teenagers and young adults ranging from the Spirit Core realm to the Spirit Spectre realm. Against those monsters, the twins didn’t stand a chance.

“As I said, you’re not there to become the poster boy of the Himmel Empire. You’re there to make your presence known to the Lantis Republic.”

“What?”

“Shin, I’m sure you have heard of the Celestial River, one of the Empyrean Wonders of the World?”

Hearing the familiar term, Shin turned to Kanari. Back when they first met, Kanari had pulled him into her personal auditorium, which housed the Soul Tree, a watered-down version of the Tree of Illusions. There, she mistakenly thought that he was part of Spion and wished to expose him. However, when it was revealed that Shin was really just a talented student that was brought in to the academy, Kanari allowed him to ask her a few questions. That was when he learnt all about the Empyrean Wonders of the World.

“Yes…”

“Then do you know that the Lantis Republic uses it to baptise every single cultivator in the country the awaken either one of the Eight Scions of Water?”

“…” Shin immediately turned speechless. He had once heard that the Celestial River was an Empyrean Wonder that had always resided in the Lantis Archipelago, and it had been used to help boost the powers of the Spirit Users, but he always assumed that it was only a slight improvement. After all, the best way to cultivate was to rely on himself. External help may give a small growth in the short-term, however, in the long-run, the cultivator that muscled his way through to the top would definitely become a much more powerful Spirit User.

“What about it?”

Lady Seph scoffed that the nonchalant attitude that Shin was taking. “What about it? It’s everything! The Lantis Republic almost exclusively uses the Celestial River for its own people! For those with the Eight Scions of Water, it’s even more drastic! There are even rumours that some cultivators that were baptised by the Celestial River, could see their Spirit undergo an evolution!”

“What?!” At Lady Seph’s rant, the entire room froze.

It was common knowledge that once a cultivator undergoes the Spirit Awakening Ceremony, they would reach into their spiritual body to grab hold of the little Spirit that lay dormant within. For the most part, the Spirit that a cultivator awakens would remain unchanged for the rest of their lives. Yes, some spiritual abilities might change the structure of the Spirit. For instance, Junius’ Pierce ability was able to change the length of his Azure Water Blade. However, the base Spirit would almost always remain the same.

A Spirit Evolution goes against that basic rule.

Not only would the base structure of the Spirit change when it underwent an evolution, but it would also almost always be strengthened multiple folds. That being said, a Spirit Evolution was perhaps the rarest occurrence that could ever happen to a cultivator. In fact, the number of Spirit Saints that the world had produced would far outnumber the number of cultivators with evolved Spirits. That was how rare the phenomenon was.

“Is that true, Venerate Seraphim?” Being the inquisitive scholar that she was, Vice-Principal Hirda pressed the blonde beauty in fear. If the Lantis Republic could use their Celestial River to forcibly trigger a Spirit Evolution, then wouldn’t that mean that the aquatic neighbour of theirs would have an endless supply of superhumans?

“Don’t worry, those cases are rare. However, it is a fact that there were some Spirit Users that have undergone a Spirit Evolution during their baptism. The current Spirit Saint Matriarch of the Longyu Clan is the best example.”

“You mean the Golden Sovereign Koi wasn’t a mutation, but an evolution?!” It was Principal Erudito’s turn to be surprised. All these years he had been told that one of the most feared Spirits in the world was a mutated Spirit. If it really was an evolution that was triggered by the Celestial River, god knows if there would be more Golden Sovereign Kois in the world.

“Golden Sovereign Koi?” Being part of the younger generation, Shin wasn’t familiar with the exploits of the infamous being that terrorised the world during her heyday as a Spirit Emperor or a Spirit Venerate. Fortunately, many in the room did remember.

“The Golden Sovereign Koi, the unique Spirit owned by Spirit Saint Longyu Tian, is the most feared Spirit in the entire Lantis Republic.” Vice-Principal Hirda gulped as she recollected all of the exploits that Longyu Tian had accomplished. However, there was one battle that came to mind. The one campaign that made her name synonymous with overwhelming power.

“Once, during the War of the Seas, Longyu Tian annihilated a million Spirit Beasts using the Golden Sovereign Koi… And she did so in just ten minutes…”

“…” Shin couldn’t find the words to express his shock. Killing off a million Spirit Beasts was a feat in itself, but Longyu Tian actually managed to do so in the time taken to boil a kettle of tea! Calling it overbearing would be too conservative.

“Venerate Seraphim… I have to confirm. Did Longyu Tian have a regular Sovereign Koi before her Spirit Evolution?” Principal Erudito already knew the answer, but he didn’t want to accept the terrible fact.

“Yes…” Lady Seph sighed. She was in the same state as them when she first heard the news. However, after much digging, the researcher knew that her worst fears were unfounded. “I know what you’re fearing. Don’t worry, from what I know, Longyu Tian’s Spirit Evolution was pure luck. If the Lantis Republic could manufacture Spirit Evolutions that could change the element of the Spirit, neither the Himmel Empire nor the Kori Federation would be able to survive their aggression.”

Only after Lady Seph’s reassurance did the two Spirit Emperors breathe a sigh of relief. Just imagining an army of Golden Sovereign Kois was sufficient to send shivers down a Spirit Saint’s spine.

“Change of element?” Kanari’s ears picked up an important detail.

“That’s right. After Longyu Tian’s Sovereign Koi got baptised by the Celestial River, it changed entirely. Not only did its colour change, it even changed its element. So it can’t really be called a Scion of Water, I guess?” Lady Seph joked.

‘To think that the element attribute could also be changed during Spirit Evolution!’ Shin kept marvelling at the new things that he was learning day by day. “Then what element did it change into?”

“What else but the dreaded Time-element…”

“TIME?!” The three teenagers hollered out. Elrin had even spat out a bit of her saliva onto the desk. And honestly, who could blame them? In all of history, there had only been five recorded instances where a Spirit User contracted with the Space or Time element.

“Yes, that exact time-element… The only reason why she was able to kill off that many Spirit Beasts was due to her time-slowing ability. In my opinion, she is perhaps the most dangerous Spirit Saint in the entire world. Just imagine, if she’s able to slow her own ageing process, Longyu Tian would have the capability of breaking the world record for longest living Spirit Saint! Of all the Spirit Saints that are currently alive, perhaps she has the best chance of transcending the heavens and grasping immortality!”

“Time-element…” Shin thought out loud. The young boy had many regrets in his life, and he had almost always thought of what he would do if he had the power to control time. There were hundreds of things that he would have loved to do, but the most important one was definitely to…

‘If I could reverse time, maybe! Just maybe! I could revive Ariel!!!’ Shin fantasized about the desire he wanted the most.

“That’s why you have to attend the Summit, Shin! Even if it’s a 0.01% chance of triggering a Spirit Evolution, it’s still a chance that you must take. Furthermore, you have the M…” Before Lady Seph could say ‘Mark of the Celestial Dragon,’ she remembered where she was. Although Shin trusted Kanari and Elrin, Lady Seph sure as hell didn’t. The fewer people who knew of Shin’s potential, the better. “You have overwhelming talent with the Sovereign Koi. If you befriend those from the Longyu Clan who are attending, I’m sure you will get a chance at baptism.”

“I understand!” Shin merrily replied. Even if he didn’t get a Spirit Evolution through the baptism, his Sovereign Koi would gain an overall boost, which was already worth the trip.

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