The Gemstone Chronicles - Chapters 1-35 (UPDATED 5 CHAPTERS - SEPTEMBER 28th)

edited September 2015 in Original Stories
Somewhere in the continent of Theldon, Year 731


On a lonely mountain peak, in a small mountain range sat a couple. One of them was a woman in the midst of labor. She had a noble aura about her, a blonde woman with eyes that could pierce mountains. She wore a torn dress, gorgeous even in its ripped state, that gave off a faint pink color. Across her chest were several hideous wounds, oozing blood and a strange green mist. If anyone had been there to witness this birthing, they would have exclaimed at how odd the atmosphere was. One could see the tension and pain rising in the woman’s face as she bore the child.

A man sat opposite the woman. He had curly brown hair with a white stripe in it, to the side, and blue eyes that seemed as if they could freeze time. He was strongly built, and had a very intimidating look about him. He was dressed in a set of expensive looking black leather, and had a black crown, with a large ruby set in the middle, atop his head. His chest as well bore the strange wounds, and gave off the same odd green mist. He was, of all things, counting off numbers.

“1796..1797..1788..1799..1800..”

Abruptly, he stood up.

“They are nearly here, Delilah.” He stated.

“TIME!” She screamed, ”I need more time, Fel. The child is almost here-“ She broke off into panting and groaning as the child started to come forth.

“Time I can give you.” He said, as he handed her a small tablet, covered in mysterious symbols. “Break this as soon as the child is safe. I will go buy us some time.”

“Fel.” She whispered, “Don’t leave me.”

“I will never leave you,” he smiled sadly “goodbye, Del.” Suddenly, defying reason, he jumped off the peak, towards the forest below. Almost immediately, the sounds of a massive battle could be heard.

Amidst the screeches of metal, the crackles of fire, and echoes of ice, as the earth shattered and darkness covered light, a child’s cry could be heard.

“Oh my dear boy, my baby,” cried the woman. She held the boy close. The child stared back at her, not understanding.

Suddenly, the sounds of battle from below abruptly came to an end. Solemn figures could be seen striding up the mountain.

“Fel, it looks like we will be seeing each other quite soon.” The woman smiled contentedly. She looked down at the newborn child, and placed the tablet atop his head. The child started crying.

Suddenly, a massive blast of flame formed in the air above one of the figures on the side of the mountain, and blasted towards the woman and child. It was as if hell itself had opened its gates, and rained forth death upon this lonely mountain peak. The woman glanced up at the gargantuan ball of flame and magma.

“YOU. WILL. NOT. TAKE. HIM. FROM. ME.” She screamed, and, as the fire smashed into the mountain, she cracked the tablet laying on the child’s forehead. “Goodbye, darling,” She cried “I love you very much, my dear Dale…”

Fire descended. The mountain turned into a sea of fire and death, the various figures on the mountain scattered.

From the figure that raised the flame, a dark hand waved out. “It is done.”

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Somewhere in the Chel continent, Year 736

Sunlight pierced a thick layer of trees to flow through a window in a small thatch hut, deep in a forest. As if the sun was aiming, the light managed to perfectly land on the eyes of a sleeping child.

“DALE!” yelled an elderly man.

The child shot up faster then light, and ran outside the hut. “Yes grandpa!” he exclaimed.

“Dale, have you finished your chores? Are your clothes clean, the dishes washed, and the floor swept?”

Dale glanced off to the side and stammered “Well, uh, you see, there was this tiger fighting a panther and I got distracted and..”

“DALE WENSWORTH!” he yelled “I leave for ONE week and you already neglect the most basic of chores.” The elderly man began unloading a large bag on his back, setting down various odds and ends. He was a weathered and elderly looking gentleman. His hair was white and rapidly fading, with a long wispy beard on his chin, he looked very wise. At the moment, however, veins popped out in his head, his green eyes raging.

“Sorry grandpa! It won’t happen again!” Dale promised. He felt guilty about not doing his chores, but felt like he had some justification. It’s not every day an Ice panther and a Fire tiger battle against each other. It was quite an interesting battle, one that he was nearly caught up in as well. He had been quietly searching for several types of nuts and berries in the forest when they unexpectedly showed up.

“Regardless of anything, I expect you to always be punctual and fulfill your obligations.” He decried, shaking his head. “If your mother was here..”

“Today is a special day for you, Dale.” He said, “Today is your 5th birthday. You are finally old enough to be tested for cultivation aptitude.”

“Cultivation aptitude?” Dale said. “I thought everyone has the ability to cultivate, but some simply lack the will and perseverance.”

“Yes, it is true that anyone can become a cultivator.” The old man said, “However, some people are more talented then others, and the most powerful of cultivators are born with an innate Divine Characteristic. You’ve read of them in your books as the 8 Lords Bloodlines.”

The old man glared at Dale for a moment. “You HAVE read about them correct? I remember assigning you study material..” he said ominously.

“Yes!” exclaimed Dale, “The 8 Lords Bloodlines! They are the Fire, Ice, Earth, Sky, Time, Space, Life, and Aura Lords! Fire, Ice, Earth, and Sky are the common ones, with Time, Space, Life, and Aura lords being extraordinarily rare.” Dale dreamed of having an Innate Divine Characteristic.

Innate Divine Characteristics, also known as Lords Bloodlines, were extraordinarily powerful gifts. Each bloodline let one have dominance over its specific element. It gave these cultivators a huge power boost, and helped them quickly develop. A person with an Innate Divine Characteristic was considered a genius, no matter where in the world he was born. The chance of being born with one is roughly 1/10,000,000.

However, not all Characteristics were equal. Time, Space, Life, and Aura Lords bloodlines were the rarest among the rare. For every thousand Fire, Ice, Sky, or Earth Lords there were, there was only 1 Time, Space, Life, or Aura Lord.

Innate Divine Characteristics could be passed on by blood, about the half the time. That is to say, someone born from a Divine Lord had a 50% chance of inheriting his characteristic. However, they would still need to cultivate to the peak, and become powerful on their own. An Innate Divine Characteristic, while very powerful and helpful, does not guarantee one success.

The elderly man harrumphed “Good, good. I can never be sure with you, when it comes to anything relating to homework.”

“When do we go grandpa? How am I going to be tested? Who will test me? Are we leaving today?” Dale practically breathed out questions at the old man.

“We will travel in to town tomorrow.” He said, “The king’s testers will come through on their annual trip tomorrow. After we find out whether or not you have a Lords Bloodline, as well as what your innate strength is at, we will decide what school to send you to.”

“School?” Dale said, “Do I have to go to school? It sounds like so much work.”

“You brat! Don’t look down on school! Without an education, you will go nowhere in this world.” the elderly man said, “As well, if you have the talent, you will not be sent off to a commoners regular school. There are countless powerful schools in this Kingdom of Morn. Many of them are even worthy of their names.” 

“Grandpa, what school did you go to?” Dale asked.

Silence

“Grandpa?”

“The school I went to is very far from here, Dale. You wouldn’t recognize it.” He said, “Now! Pack up a set of clothes, and food for tomorrows trip. Off with you!”

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The morning came awake slowly. Birds started to tweet, and the forest gradually came alive. This forest, formally known as the Crysalis Deep Forest, lay in the center of the kingdom of Morn. Morn, ruled by a powerful Gold Metal Cultivator, was a large kingdom on the continent of Chel.

Towards the outskirts of this large forest lay a thatch hut. “DALE!” a faded but still loud voice yelled out.

“Yes grandpa! I’m all prepared!” Dale said, scratching at a bruise on his shoulder. He had snuck out last night to watch the stars, and on his way back in tripped and landed on his shoulder.

“Good! Let’s be off!” The elderly man came out of the hut, dressed in an expensive set of leather garments. He looked the part of a rich merchant, or a guard, tempered by age.

The duo set off from the hut, walking along a well-worn path through the rugged forestlands. Animals could be heard in the woods, crawling and creeping along, but strangely, none of them got anywhere near Dale or the old man. Dale thought it was a bit odd, as whenever he went out, he almost always bumped into an animal or two.

“Grandpa, am I talented?” Dale asked. “Do you think I have a Lords Bloodline? Is my innate strength high?” Dale worried that he wouldn’t be strong, and would let him down. But mostly, he was lazy and felt that if he wasn’t sufficiently powerful, his grandpa would make him work much harder then he usually did. Dale hated work.

The elderly man glanced at Dale for a moment “You should be rather strong,” He said, “after all, the various cats of this forest are no match for you, I doubt your strength is low.”

Dale glanced guiltily at the old man. Indeed, when Dale was bored, he would go play with the various Fire tigers and Ice panthers that inhabited this Crysalis forest. However, he didn’t think his grandpa had noticed. “I didn’t mean to do it behind your back! I just played with them a bit, it was fun!” He said, worriedly.

“Hah! Playing with Attribute Monsters for fun at the age of 5..” sighed the old man, shaking his head. “I think you are quite strong enough.”

They passed several miles like this, with Dale playfully asking questions, and the elderly gentleman answering him. The sun slowly traveled through the sky as they walked along. Eventually, they came to a point where the trees thinned out.

“How much longer till we get there, grandpa?” asked Dale. He had been impatiently waiting to go to town for several weeks now. They hadn’t visited in nearly a month.

“We’ve been through this way before,” said the old man, “You tell me.”

Dale squirmed around, avoiding the question.

Suddenly, a loud cry rang out from the sky. A roar, powerful, with a domineering aura blasted forth, shaking the trees in the forest, causing all the animals to lay quiet. In the sky flew a dark blue colored winged lizard. It had a massive body, with wings two or three times it’s size, and a large azure gemstone on its forehead. It was from this creature the roar originated.

“A Dragon!” the old man exclaimed! “and an Ice attribute Dragon as well! Do not move or make any noises, Dale!” He hurriedly glanced at the child.

He need not have worried; Dale didn’t move an inch, mainly because he couldn’t move an inch. The Dragon gave off an enormous amount of pressure as it flew by, causing all those to feel it to be overwhelmed. Dale, who hadn’t even cultivated to the most basic level yet, didn’t have a chance, and couldn’t move at all. Eventually, the pressure faded as the Dragon flew past them, towards the South-East.

“Grandpa! What’s a dragon doing here??” exclaimed Dale. He had never seen a Dragon before, and was very excited.

“I’m not sure, but it can’t be a good sign.” the old man said, with a worried glance.

After taking a moment for them to fully recover, the two continued their journey, and about 30 minutes later, arrived on the outskirts of Neldor, a small sized city, or a large sized town.

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Neldor is a small city, with a population of roughly 120,000. It lies near the center of Morn, and is know for its craftsmanship. Neldor has 5 different outer gate walls, and is a roughly pentagonal shape, with a large, imposing gate on each side. However, the most important aspect to Neldor is the fact that a 1st rate Morn cultivation school is here.

All the cultivation schools in Morn are known as the collective “Morn Cultivation School.” All the schools belong to the same family. However, some branches are better then others, and the branches are divided into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rate schools. The school in Neldor is a 1st rate school. 1st rate schools, as their name implies, are obviously the most powerful and wealthy of schools, and offer the most opportunity to quickly advance ones cultivation.

Dale and the elderly man walked up to the city gates.

“Name and reason for entry.” said a guard with a bored look on his face.

“I am Taric Qian, and this is my nephew, Dale Wensworth.” said the elderly man. “We have come to participate in the Cultivation Aptitude Test.”

The guard glanced at them again, then looked at Dale, with a slightly less bored look. “Alright, go on in.” He said, waving them forth.

Immediately after entering the gates, we walked into a large crowd. There must have been 500 people loitering around, listening to a man in a red kings guard outfit. He wore it rather well, and gave off a well-put together aura.

“Listen up! Hear, hear! A Dragon has been spotted flying to the South! Any information on where this dragon went, and if it returns will be generously rewarded by the king! This is a national matter, please uphold the utmost scrutiny!” he cried, glancing about imperiously.

“Grandpa, why do you think the dragon was fleeing to the south?” Dale wondered.

“I’m not too sure myself, but it didn’t look as if it was fleeing, or even in a hurry.” The old man said. “Put it out of your mind for now. Today, you need to focus on your test. Score well! Don’t let me down!”

“Yes sir!” Dale yelled, and indeed he had already forgotten about the case of the dragon, focusing his thoughts on his upcoming test.

After pushing there way through the crowd, Dale and the old man made there were to the center of town. Passing through several different streets, you could see several different types of shops on each side. Blacksmiths, alchemists, tailors, and more. Neldor really was a diverse trade city.

Finnaly, they reached the central square, though it was called a square it was really a pentagon. Dale wasn’t quite sure why they called it a square, but he just went with it. Less work that way. Inside the square were several tens of children accompanied by adults milling about. Two large tables were being setup, by 4 men clothed in Kings guard robes.

“All testee’s please line up! Please line up! We will begin the testing process in less then 30 minutes! Please line up!” yelled one of the officers helping set up. Next to him was a relatively old man, in what looked like his late 50’s, with a greying beard, and a very weathered face. He gave off a tough, no nonsense kind of air, and didn’t look like he could joke around. On his robes was a medal indicating his status as the Kings Ambassador, and therefore, the one giving the test.

On the tables the guards finishing setting up lay a large rock. It appeared to be some type of clear crystal, with hardly any specks or imperfections.

“What’s the rock for, grandpa?” Dale asked. He’d never seen something like that before, it gave off a bit of an eerie feeling.

“That is what they’ll be testing you with, my lad! It’s a soul crystal. By holding on to it, the rock will attempt to form and match your souls innate strength. By using it, you can tell how powerful a level your strength is at. You need to reach the condensing level, or the 10th layer of innate strength in order to successfully form a core.” he explained.

“I know, I know,” Dale said, excited beyond words. Dale has been looking forward to this for a while. He’s absolutely sure he must have some kind of bloodline, after all, isn’t it every child’s dream?

They quickly moved into line, and patiently waited as people ahead of them were tested. From the sounds of it, not very many people were pleased with their results. Directly in front of them was a young boy and his mother. He had blonde hair and golden-yellow eyes, eyes that gave off a slight glow. The kid turned towards Dale “Hi! My name is Feng! Whats yours?” he asked.

“I’m Dale! Nice to meetcha.” Dale said, “You nervous?”

“Pfft, this test is easy, I here!” said Feng, “All you do is stand there and touch a rock. I’m confident, heh.”

“I don’t think it’s hard really, I’m just nervous.” said Dale, “I hope I have a Lords Bloodline!” 

Feng gaped at him for a second. “You do know how rare those are right? No one in our entire province of Neldor has one! Only 2 people in Morn have one! Even the King doesn't have that!"

“I know! But well, you never know, right?” said Dale.

“I guess,” said Feng, “Haha, you never know!”

The two boys went on to talk back and forth about their lives, whilst the old man and the mother of the other child watched. Several minutes passed thus, as testees filed past, some with happy looks, some sad, but all looking determined. 

Finally, it was their turn.

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“Next!” Bellowed the intimidating graybeard cultivator. Several kids had just walked away from him almost in tears, apparently not happy with the results they achieved. The testing crystal could find the exact innate soul strength someone had, as long as they had yet to form their core, and if someone’s was lacking, it would be obvious.  

Feng walked up to the rock, confidently, with a bit of a swagger in his step. Feng originally grew up with his mother. His father was an unknown figure in his life, someone who had a child with his mother and left, only dropping by once to give her a sum of money large enough for them to live on. While Feng had no great love for his father, he had no hate for him either. After all, his mother didn’t seem too torn up about his absence, and the money that had to live on was enough to keep them comfortably fed, if not extravagantly.

However, one thing he learned from his life without a father was that he needed power. Only by being strong can one live and support one self. Though Feng was very young, only 5 years old, he had a very mature mind as a result of the life he’s lived so far.

The tester looked at Feng as he walked up. “Welcome youngling, I am Ambassador Winston. Please place your hand upon the testing crystal, and focus your strength.” Feng complied. Immediately, light started to focus in the crystal.

“1st layer..2nd layer..3rd layer.. The 3rd layer!” exclaimed the Ambassador. He glanced at Feng, quite impressed that one so young had already reached the 3rd layer of innate strength.

Suddenly, a fiery light blazed from the testing stone, giving off an actual physical sensation of heat. It was like the fires of the very cosmos themselves came into being and blazed forth. The Ambassador stared at Feng in amazement.

“A Fire Lord Bloodline!” he cried, “Quickly, send a pigeon to the King. Now!” he told one of the Kings guardsmen. The red clothed guard ran off as he requested. The ambassador turned back to face Feng. “What is your name, young master?” He said respectfully.

Feng proudly said “I am Feng Constantine, sir Ambassador.” He looked like he was full to the brim, bursting with pride.

The Ambassador quickly wrote down his information, and said “Congratulations Feng, you have a Lords Bloodline, that of the Fire Lord. You will, of course, be invited to the Main School in the Capital, if you so choose to come. Please wait here while we finish the rest of the tests.” The Ambassador bowed to Feng.

Feng walked off to the side, with quite the smug look on his face. He gave a wink to Dale as he walked off. Dale smiled at him nervously. He never thought Feng would actually have a Fire Lords bloodline!

“Next!” yelled the Ambassador. He was in quite the good mood, now that he had found a Lords Bloodline. Feng would be the 3rd ever Divine Lord in their kingdom. The King would definitely reward him well.

Dale nervously walked up to the Ambassador, and stated “I am Dale, sir.”

“Yes, yes. Place your hand here on the crystal, and focus your strength.” Ambassador Winston said.

Slowly, the crystal began to glow. At first, it started as a dull glimmer and gradually rose through several levels of light. However, in the center of the crystal, two seperate lights, separate yet alike, flashed brilliantly against each other, and eventually, cancelled each other out.

“1st layer.. 2nd layer.. 3rd layer.. 4th layer..5th layer?!? The 5th layer?” The Ambassador stuttered, “Impossible! Boy are you actually 5? Do not lie to me!” he glared at Dale.

“Yes sir! I am 5, you can ask my grandpa if you don’t believe me.” Dale said, a bit intimidated by the tester.

The old man walked up “Is there a problem? Yes, Dale is 5 years old, you can tell just by looking at him.”

“Ah, I was just a bit surprised,” the Ambassador apologized, “a 5th layer innate strength at the age of 5 is quite surprising, especially finding one so far from any main city. What is your full name? With your talent, I’m sure you will be able to accompany your friend to the Capitals Main school, or at the least join a 1st rate school.”

“The Main School,” Dale breathed. The Main School was the most powerful school in the Morn Kingdom. There are countless 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rate branch schools, but the most powerful and original school is the Main School. It is home to the most powerful cultivators and strongest disciples. To join this school was truly a dream for him.

“Please go wait by your friend to the side while we finish off the last of the testers, we will give you more information then.” said the Ambassador.

Dale walked over to Feng, saying “You actually have a Lords Bloodline!”

Feng looked back, a bit smug, “My mother always said my father had one, so I kind of thought I might, but I was never sure! It’s too bad you don’t have one! On the other hand, you’re already at the 5th innate strength layer! That’s ridiculous, especially since you’re just 5 and you don’t have a Lords Bloodline!”

Dale was a bit disappointed that he didn’t have a Lords Bloodline, but he didn’t expect to be one of the few out of millions that had one. It stung a little, though, that Feng had one.

However, 5th level innate strength layer was no joke. A normal persons strength is roughly half the of the 1st level of innate strength. To put it in common terms, a person at the 1st level innate could easily lift 100 lbs. The 2nd level could lift 200 lbs, the 3rd level 300, and so on. At the 5th level of innate strength, it was no wonder that Dale could easily combat with the Attribute beasts inside the forest he lived in.

“How come you’re so strong, though?” asked Feng. It was a good question. For a child at the age of 5 to be at the 5th layer of innate strength without a Lords Bloodline was extraordinary.

Dale shrugged, “I’ve always been this strong.” He really had. He thought it was normal to be at his level of strength, mistakenly assuming that all kids his age were this strong.

Just as Feng was about to respond, suddenly, an enormous sound vibrated through the air. A majestic, terrifying force overwhelmed everyone present, silencing the nearby students and townspeople.

With icy eyes set on the town of Neldor, an Azure Ice Dragon roared and flew forth through the sky, its eyes spelling death..

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Dragons, are.. well. Dragons. There’s not much normal people can do against one. The weakest of Dragons is as strong as an Iron level metal core cultivator. The Azure Ice Dragon was definitely not the weakest of Dragons.

The Dragon let loose another imposing roar as it soared towards the town. The townspeople stood frozen still. Not by choice, but because they physically could not resist the Dragons force of will and Aura. The Azure Ice Dragon is at least at the level of a Gold level metal core cultivator, probably even stronger.

“RETREAT!” an enormous yell burst forth from the graybeard Ambassador. “Everyone! Flee now! I will try to hold off the Dragon, get away!” The Ambassador bravely jumped forth, silver energy flash from his hand and blasted towards the great Dragon.

The Drake ignored the silver flash, and continued towards the town square. The energy shot forth by the Ambassador smashed into the great drakes scales and flew off, not even scratching its hide. The Azure Ice Dragon smashed into the square, knocking over several buildings, and killing several of the youths and accompanying guardians. Ice flashed forth as it swung its head around, instantly freezing the town’s guards that came to provide succor. The icy breath of the drake was freezing cold; it cracked the cobble stone ground of the square, spreading out in random patterns.

Feng and Dale stood stupidly, staring at the destruction and chaos occurring all around it. Suddenly, Dales grandfather stood up and said “Dale. Take Feng and run to the north of town, and out the north gate. No one here can stop this monster, but I can buy you some time.”

Before Dale could say anything, the old man withdrew a small crossbow from his pack, and dashed forward towards the Dragon. A silver glow slowly covered the elderly man, and suddenly, a brilliant ray of silver shot forth from the cross bow he had, plunging into the snout of the Azure Ice Dragon.

The Dragon, which had previously been busy blasting the remainder of the town guards, recoiled sharply. Though the bolt had done no real damage to the Drake, it caused a sharp pain and injured the dragon’s pride. The Drake glared at the old man, and attempted to freeze him with its ice breath. However, just as it swept upward to do so, the Ambassador blasted forth and slammed his leg against the side of the drake’s head. The full strength of a Silver Metal Core cultivator is not something to laugh at. Even if you are at a higher level, standing still and allowing them to blast you at full strength is not a viable option.

The Drake took the full force of the impact and it’s entire multi ton body smashed through several buildings off to the side, leaving a trail of destruction. The Ambassador promptly chased after it, wanting to press any advantage he could. Dale’s grandfather turned around “Go! Now! We are merely holding it off, we cannot stop it! The Ambassador has already sent word of Feng to the capital; you can be tested there again and will study in one of their schools. It is no longer safe here!”

Dale nodded, and ran off, with Feng close behind him. They headed towards the north gate, where they encountered a mass exodus of humanity, as everyone in the city had started to flee. An Azure Ice Drake could easily kill everyone in this city, staying here was tangible to committing suicide. Feng stared at Dale for a moment and said “Wait! My mother is still in the Square! I can’t leave without her.”

Dale paused a moment. If he went back to the square, it was almost certain death. The Dragon in that square was incalculably powerful; there was no way they could stand up to it. Even the Ambassador sent from the capital had no chance. Going back was one of the worst choices he could make, logically.

He said, “Feng, we cannot go back now. Think about it. Everyone that could flee already left the square, we were one of the last pairs to go. I’m sure your mother made it out, and if she did, she is fleeing to the capital with the rest of us. We can meet up with her there, but to return now would mean our deaths.”

“I don’t care! We have to go back!” he said, furiously. A house behind them shifted and fell.

Suddenly, several people blasted past where Feng and Dale stood, heading inwards towards the area where the Dragon fought. These people were all dressed similarily, and gave off powerful Auras. Several gave off a greyish iron feel, a few gave off a silver colored aura, and one, an old balding man with a square shaped beard, gave off a golden aura. The feeling of strength given off by this group was immense. Dale and Feng gaped as they passed by.

Dale, deciding to seize the moment, said, “Follow them! They must be from the 1st rate school in town, we’ll use them as cover to find your mother!”

Feng nodded furiously and they set off, following quickly in the wake of the cultivators.

Ahead, however, the battle with Dales grandfather and the Ambassador is not going well. After the Drake smashed through several buildings and came to a stop, it turned around and starting blasting its icy breath across the town, attempting to freeze the two bugs irritating it. Dales grandfather managed to dodge by the merit that he was farther away then the Ambassador, and had more time to react. The Ambassador, however, had already been severely burned by the drakes ice. His left leg and left arm were both partially frozen, and his movement speed was very much inhibited.

The Dragon lunged at the Ambassador, swiping its claws to shred him. However, just as it was about to land, a golden blast of energy connected with its claws and slightly deflected his strike. Instead of slicing through the Ambassador, it simply brushed him by, and knocked him through two buildings, back into the main square.

Dales grandfather, seeing this, gratefully yelled, “Thank you great elder! Please help us repel this Dragon, or at least buy time for the civilians to escape.”

The golden shrouded man nodded. Behind him, several other cultivators began to arrive, with a veritable ménage of aura enclosing them.

“Dorn, Mikael, distract it to the left and right. I will take its attention, whilst you two attempt to damage its wings. The rest of you are no match for it. Fall back and help the citizens escape. If my guess isn’t wrong, this Dragon appears to be in the late Gem Core stage, we won’t have a chance at killing it. But, we may be able to hold it off for a time.” He said sternly. The two cultivators that gave off a silvery aura immediately strode forward and launched silvery flashes of energy at the dragon, entering into the fray..


Comments

  • edited September 2015
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    Dale and Feng rushed into the Square. Ahead of them, they heard the Dragons screech of rage, an eerie roar that set their teeth on edge.

    “Do you see your mother?” yelled Dale, over the dragons roar.

    “No! She was over near that collapsed building!” Feng replied, running over.

    A large silversmiths store had collapsed when the Ambassador had repelled the drake. The front side of it had completely fallen, with the second floor following it to the ground. Rubble was strewn everywhere, and much of the ground was frozen.

    “Mother!” screamed Feng.

    Silence covered the square. In the background, warm silver and gold light flashed against icy blue.

    Suddenly, very faintly, we heard a voice.

    “Feng?..” the voice cried, very faintly. “Feng, is that you?”

    “MOTHER!” Feng cried, tearing towards one side of the rubble. After ripping off several large rocks, he could see his mother, pinned beneath a large stone pillar. Both her legs were stuck under this pillar. The pillar, one of the supporting bases of the silversmiths shop, was about 15 ft large, and looked like it weight 2-3 thousand pounds.

    “Dale come help me lift this! Her legs are trapped, we need to move her!” Feng cried.

    Both of them pulled mightily with all their strength. The pillar shifted slightly. Fengs mother cried out, softly whimpering.

    “Mom! Hold on mom, please.” Feng yelled, looking around piteously. The size and weight of the pillar was too much, even for these two together. All of a sudden in a rage, Feng’s eyes flashed a fiery red, and he started smashing the pillar to pieces, flames rising from his arms. “Arrrrrgh!”

    Dale looked at his friend, trying to think of what he could do to help. The pillar was beyond his strength, and there was nothing around to lever it with. However, at the rate that Feng was going, he should be able to break enough of the pillar in just a minute or two for them to move his mother.

    Suddenly, an inhumanly loud roar sounded out.

    “ROARRRRRRRRR!” a majestic, earth-shattering rage tore through the town square, blasting Dale and Feng off their feet. A silvery glow blasted pass them, smashing through several stores, slowly fading. It was promptly followed by another silvery glow, and a golden glow.

    “Dorn! Mikael!” groaned the man with the golden aura. He looked terrible, covered in horrible wounds, and half frozen. The two men that had accompanied him did not respond.

    Suddenly, the dragon filled the square. It’s majesty, imposing an aura that made both Dale and Feng unable to move. The pillar next to them shifted slightly.

    Slowly, like the passing of eons, the dragon turned its head from the injured golden master, to look at Dale and Feng.

    Dragons are very special creatures, special in that they are born with naturally powerful Auras. A Dragons Aura originates in its eyes. It imposes its will on whatever it sees, and it is impossible for normal people to resist this.

    Dale and Feng stared back into it, frozen, unable to move. Suddenly, Feng broke free, screaming insanely, and blasted fire at the Drake. The Drake, slightly startled, waved its wing slightly. The fire was completely extinguished, and the rubble in the square crashed around. The pillar covering Fengs mother, however, ripped free as well, freeing her legs.

    Dale broke free of its Aura as well “Run! Grab your mother, hurry! Let’s go!” He didn’t fancy his odds against such a gargantuan creature.

    The Dragon, still watching them curiously, suddenly raised its head and breathed deeply, about to cover them with its icy breath. Abruptly, a silver glow crashed against its head, slamming it towards one of the nearby frozen shops.

    “Grandpa!” Dale exclaimed, running over hurriedly! “Come with us! We need to go!” Dales grandpa was a sight to behold, also grievously injured like the golden aura master.

    The Dragon turned around in a rage, roaring furiously. It had been hundreds of years since any pathetic human dared injure its pride so. It would not let them off. The man with the golden aura decided then to launch another of his golden flashing attacks. Energy swarmed through the air, vibrating and crashing around. Small cracks appeared in the air when the dragon’s breath clashed with the golden mans energy. For some reason, the mans attacks were much more powerful then they were previously. While at first he had trouble with the Drake, currently now he was almost on par with it.

    “Flee!” yelled the golden man. “I am using my Core Base to fight it. I can only last a little longer!” the man continued to fight the dragon and managed to blast it back through to the street next to the square. The sounds of battle could be heard, rising through the air like a bird in flight.

    Feng carefully picked up his mother, holding her delicately in her arms, and ran towards where Dale and his grandpa were waiting. Dale’s grandpa was badly injured, but his wounds were not mortal. They slowly hobbled off to the north, escaping from the square.

    Suddenly.. The sounds of battle silenced behind them, and an oppressive aura rose forth…

    --------------------------------

    Dale, Feng, and Dale’s grandpa looked back frantically as they fled from the square. Moments ago, the battle between the Azure Ice Dragon and the golden aura human had stopped. An oppressive feeling had returned, trying to crush them where they stood.

    “ROAAR!” the Azure Ice Dragon smashed through several town homes, pursuing Dales grandpa and the two kids. All of a sudden, a massive blue flash waved by, freezing the ground in front of them into large spikes of ice. They were cut off. They turned around, staring at the huge dragon.

    Dales grandpa pulled out his cross bow, covering himself in a silver aura, armed his cross bow. However, before he could fire anything off, the Dragon swung its claws at them. Dales grandpa blasted Dale and Feng, still holding his mother, to the left, dodging the Drakes claws. However, he was brushed by one of them, and smashed into the wall, cracking the stone and causing the rest of the house to collapse.

    “GRANDPA!” screamed Dale, terrified and angry at the same time. The Drake swung its gaze to Dale, preparing to unleash its furious breath. Dale took in the entire scene. A huge dragon, with Azure colored scales, dark blue eyes, breathing deeply, it’s chest rising, as it drew in air to destroy him and his friends. His grandfather, grievously injured, crashing into a town home. The death and chaos all around him, as if a frozen hell descended upon the earth.

    Dale took all of this in, and something inside of him came awake. Something seemed to snap. Time began to slow down. He could see every detail of the Dragon, as it began to slow. And slowed again. And again. Time itself had nearly stopped, everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. Except for Dale.

    Dale glared at the Dragon. He had never been this angry, in his entire life. A furious rage filled him, and in that rage, he could feel a boiling force inside of him. This force was massive and felt limitless, crashing too and fro inside his soul. If his innate strength was a small pond inside of him, this force was a gargantuan sea, a size in itself a planet on its own. In his rage, Dale blindly grabbed a hold of this force, and infused it in his words.

    “YOU. WILL. STOP.” Dale screamed. Majesty erupted out of Dale, blasting in to the Dragon, freezing it in its tracks. An onlooker would have been stunned beyond words at the Aura Dale was giving off. It was as if he had been reborn a King among Kings. His Aura was equal to, if not stronger, then the massive Azure Ice Dragon that was attacking the town. The massive Drake glared at Dale, roaring defiance, refusing to stop.

    “GO AWAY!” he screamed. The Drake continued roaring defiance, it’s legs trembling, and started backing up. “GO AWAY!!!”

    The Dragons legs crashed to the floor, it blasted off the ground, fleeing back from the center of town, towards the south east, the direction it originated form. While it wasn’t injured at all, the terrible and majestic Aura from the young human it had been attacking scared it a great deal, causing it to flee.

    Dale rushed to the collapsed house, trembling from over exertion, as time restored back to its normal pace. “Grandpa! Grandpa!” he yelled.

    His grandfather shifted a bit, stating “I’m fine, Dale. Just a- Just a bit knocked up. Give me a few moments to rest.” He shook Dale off.

    Dale glanced at him again, taking in his injuries. His grandfather had several long gashes on his chest, as well as the fact that his arms and legs had a tinge of blue, and were freezing cold to the touch. However, as he watched, the elderly man grabbed a yellowish small copper orb from his pack, and swallowed it. Slowly, color began to return to his face, and the tinge of blue in his arms and legs faded away.

    Feng ran over “Sir, we need to go! The dragon might come back!” he glanced sideways at Dale “Is he alright?” Feng looked worried. His mother had fallen unconscious earlier, and he wanted to get her safely outside the city limits.

    Dale nodded, and helped his grandfather to stand. The rubble shifted around as they moved off of the ruined town home. The ice spike wall that had blocked them showed no signs of melting, so the group climbed over the sides of the wall, avoiding the sharp edges. In the distance, one could hear the dragons roar as it decimated a different section of the town, apparently regaining its courage after flying away from Dale.

    Dale suddenly swayed, leaning back and forth, as what felt like an enormous weight fell on him. The feeling, a new one to him, was of total exhaustion, and the last thing he saw as everything faded to blackness was Feng, yelling and catching him with a scared looking expression on his face.

    --------------------------------

    Chel Continent, The Morn Kingdom Capital, Cordanna, Year 739

    3 years later.

    “Dale!” whispered a voice, frantically next to him. “Dale wake up!”

    Dale came to, groggily shaking his head as he woke. He was sleeping on a hard wood bunk, with a luxurious mattress pad placed on top of it. This bunk was in a small sized room, also containing a redwood desk and chair, a brown wardrobe off to the side, and a few travel chests, tucked under his bed.

    “Dale! Are you awake?” whispered the voice.

    Dale glanced over. “Feng! What are you doing at my room this early? There’s not even sunlight yet outside!” he glared at Feng, taking a swing at his head.

    Feng ducked, “Daaaaale! Bro, todays the day the expedition force returns from the Deadlands!” he exclaimed, excitedly.

    Dale nodded, understanding. Feng was obsessed with the joining the Morn Expedition Force, and exploring the Deadlands, and battling against the various monsters, finding treasure, and becoming a legend. The Deadlands are a large area located to the south east of the Kingdom of Morn. The Morn Kingdom is located on the continent of a Chel, the smallest of the seven continents. In this continent, there are 3 kingdoms, a duchy alliance, and the Deadlands. Located to the far West is the Kingdom of Tallow, famous for their wealth, and powerful navy. To the North is the Thesselonian Alliance, 5 allied dukes that banded together to stay strong in the face of the other kingdoms. Each duke is equivalent to a Gold Metal cultivator, and is very strong. Located to the far East is the Kingdom of Churth, famous for their berserkers. Finally, there is the Kingdom of Morn, located in the South East. In the far south east, however, is a large area of land, equivalent to the size of a kingdom, called the Deadlands. It borders both the Kingdom of Churth and the Kingdom of Morn.

    The Deadlands is an area of land where powerful Attribute monsters rule. Attribute monsters are monsters that are powerful enough to have formed a core. Once a creature, whether it be human or not, forms a core, they are able to manipulate the 8 great elements. That is, Ice, Fire, Sky, Earth, Time, Space, Life, and Aura. Of these elements, the latter 4 are much harder to control then the first 4.

    Monsters that become Attributed monsters form a powerful core in there body. Unlike how humans form, the non-human monsters have to form a physical core in order to gain power. These cores, known as Monster Gems, are split up into several different tiers based on how powerful the growth of the attributed beast was.

    Regular cores, ones that have not successfully formed a metal, are useful for testing what ones innate strength was at, but not much else besides that. The truly powerful cores are the ones that have metal formed.

    Metal cores can be found in monsters that have successfully passed the first stage of cultivation, that of Forming a Core, and moved in to the second, Condensing a Metal Core. The weakest metal core is Coal, followed by Copper, Iron, Steel, Silver, Gold, the Golden Gem level, and then the next and final level of cultivation, the Condensing a Core Gem.

    Creatures with a Core Gem are exceedingly rare, and exceedingly powerful. The Azure Ice Dragon that ravaged Neldor was a Core Gem level attributed beast, with a Sapphire Gem embedded deep in its heart. After the town was attacked and largely destroyed, it disappeared back into the Deadlands. The remains of Neldor had been slightly rebuilt, but the attack was a permanent scar on the town that could not be erased.

    However, while Core Gems are incalculably valuable, useful in creating weapons and armor, in speeding up ones absorption of energy and more, Metal Cores are very valuable as well, if more common.

    A Metal Core, depending on the size, could be used to create weapons and armor, as well as being very useful in speeding up ones cultivation by absorbing the Cores energy, and helping break through the three bottlenecks in cultivation, that of the silver layer, the gold layer, and the golden gem layer. Metal Cores are graded according to their rank, from Coal to the Golden Gem level.

    The weakest Metal Core, a Coal Metal Core, would sell for enough money to keep a normal family fed for a month. The most powerful Core, the Golden Gem level, was worth thousands of times a Coal one, enough to feed a large family in luxury, for a lifetime. It was the dream of every young cultivator, to conquer powerful beasts and gain wealth and fame beyond guile.

    “DAAAALE!” Feng shook him from his thoughts, “Let’s go down and wait by the city gates! We can see the warriors as they come in!” he shouted, excitedly.

    Dale assented, gathering his clothes up, and changing. After washing his face, he walked out of his room, into a long hallway. Dale was currently living in the Main Schools 4th boys dorm. The Main School had 12 different dorms, each with roughly 100 children in each dorm. 8 of these dorms were for boys, 4 were for girls. The boys were completely full; the girls mostly full as well. There was also a 13th dorm for instructors, and various officials.

    The Main School lies in the capital of Morn, Cordanna. It is the school that regulates all of the branch schools, and helps rear the future generations of Morn. There are approximately 150,000 students enrolled in the Main School at any one time. The school is separated into a large ranking system. This system is used to keep track of the students, as well as determine what ones strength was at. The higher you were in the ranking, the more respect and authority people gave you. Various organizations that recruited their warriors from schools paid close attention to the rankings. One could say that if you graduated from the school with a high rank, then your future would be set, and you would be highly recruited. However, graduating with a low rank was unacceptable, and should be avoided.

    Dale was currently 8 years old. He had been attending this school since the Dragon incident in Neldor, 3 years ago. Because of his age, he was not allowed to fully cultivate until he turned 10. It was a well-known fact that till the age of 10, a child’s energy veins were not fully developed, and any practice besides simply accumulating energy and practicing moving it could permanently damage them.

    Feng, also 8, had broken through to the 6th layer of innate strength. To break through innate strength layers was rather easy, compared to later training. All one had to do was meditate, and concentrate the energy that was naturally in their body, forming an energy ball in there heart. Continuously doing this, over the years, will allow one to significantly increase ones strength. Feng could easily lift 600 lbs now, and was considered extraordinarily strong for his age.

    If Feng was considered strong, however, then Dale was considered an absolute monster. At the age of 8, Dale had successfully broken through the 8th layer of innate strength. He alone could lift 800lbs, and could easily shatter stone with his punches.

    To put this in to perspective, regular students at the academy have broke through to the 3rd or 4th layer of innate strength at the age of 8. While this number was massive to ordinary civilians, it was a small power compared to cultivators.

    Dale left the dorm, with Feng in tow, and joined a crowd of students making their way from the Main School to the eastern gate of Cordanna. Cordanna was a massive city, with 7 different walls. Famous for being the capital of Morn, it hosted a huge variety of palaces, and a thieving population, with roughly 3 million people living here. The Morn King’s castle could be seen in the distance, a massive white tower, surrounded by lesser towers and peaks. It gave off a faintly impressing aura, imposing its will on the world. Various nobles’ castles and residences could be seen surrounding this castle.

    They were joined by several of there classmates, as they walked along one of the main rodes to the gate.

    “I wonder what the Expedition will bring back this time?” a student exclaimed

    “My older brother said they seemed very excited when they passed through his city.” said another student.

    “Do you think they got a Golden Core? Or maybe even a Fake Golden Gem?” someone asked.

    “I’m not sure, but I can’t wait to see!” the students talked among themselves, trying to guess what the force had achieved.

    Dale asked Feng, “What do you think they brought back this time?”

    “Last time they brought back a silver Fire Saber Tooth Tigers core. Maybe they captured a gold one?” Feng shrugged.

    They soon arrived at the Eastern gate, were a hubbub of noise overflowed there senses. A huge crowd had formed, awaiting the arrival of the Expedition Force.

    --------------------------------

    Dale and Feng were currently waiting at the Eastern gate of Cordanna. This gate was a massive apparatus, over 40 feet in height, and over 8 feet in thickness; it could easily stop a marauding army in its tracks. It was painted white, with overlays of gold spread around in artistic designs.

    Motion could be seen at the front of the gate, as guards interacted with the Expedition Force on the outside. Suddenly, the Force pushed past the guards, walking down the center of the road. The crowd split around them, like a crowd of minnows in front of a shark.

    There were roughly 20 men in this Expedition Force. To be exact, this was the 102nd Expedition Force. To become a member of an Expedition Force, one had to be, at a minimum, at the Steel Metal Core stage. The 20 men gave off a strong aura, walking pride fully down the center. The man in front had a golden glow about him, and was carrying a small chest in his hands. He was tall, roughly 6 and a half feet in height, with dark black hair, and golden eyes. He had a small beard that matched his hair, and a very happy look in his eyes.

    “That’s Count Charles!” exclaimed on the students. “But I thought he was just a Silver Core cultivator? How come he has a Gold Aura?”

    “He must have broken through to the Gold Core metal layer!” Feng yelled.

    “Wow!” “No way!” “That’s awesome” the students talked among themselves.

    As the force walked past, you could see a ripple effect as the new spread. The Kingdom of Morn had gained another Gold layer powerhouse.

    The Count walked proudly past the group and continued on the main street, up towards the castle. Feng stared back at him with longing eyes.

    “I can’t wait Dale! When we turn 10, we can finally start cultivating, I’m going to be the most powerful warrior out there!” Feng declared.

    “Well, you do have a Fire Gods Bloodline, so you should have no trouble cultivating up to the Gold Aura level.” Dale replied.

    Indeed, people born with Lords Bloodlines have, at the least, always cultivated to the Gold Metal Core level. It was unheard of to be weaker then this with a Bloodline. Feng shrugged happily. Several of the nearby students overheard their conversation and looked at Feng with awe. One of them walked up.

    “Do you really have a Lords Bloodline?” said a short student. He had golden white hair, and ruddy red eyes, with a bit of an arrogant look in them. He was staring at Feng.

    “Yep!” Feng declared, proudly. The fact that Feng had a Lord’s Bloodline was not well known. Feng had decided on his that he wanted to maintain a low profile till he became strong. While having a Lords Bloodline was very powerful, he was still quite weak at the moment, and just a child. Till the day he became massively strong, he decided to not tell too many people his secret.

    However, Feng has never been the best at keep secrets, Dale knew, recalling the various punishments they received when Feng bragged about the pranks they pulled.

    “Wow! That’s pretty awesome! My name is Charles. Charles DeMonge, son of Lord Gern DeMonge, a Silver Lord. What’s yours?” the youth said arrogantly.

    “Feng, Feng Constantine, nice to meetcha.” Feng replied. They shook hands.

    Dale began to introduce himself as well, “Hi! My name is Dal-“

    The youth gave him a vicious look “I’m not talking to you. Please don’t interrupt me.” He turned back to Feng. “The protection of an official Lord is worth a great deal, in this Kingdom. If you ever need help, come talk to me.” He walked off.

    Dale stared at him, a bit put off. Feng shrugged saying “Well, some people are like that. Don’t let it bother you. If they knew what level your innate strength was, they’d treat you the same too.”

    The duo turned around and walked back towards the Main School, talking about the Expedition Force and wondering what was in the small chest.

    “What element are you going to train in?” asked Feng, “I’m obviously going to train in Fire Arts when I form my core. Have you decided yet?”

    Dale looked at Feng furtively “I’m planning on training in two or these of the Arts. I’m interested in a bunch, I’m not sure which I’ll train yet.”

    To explain a little, Arts are, more or less, martial techniques. All martial arts are based in one type of power or another. All the powers together are Fire, Ice, Sky, Earth, Time, Aura, Life, and Space. Martial Arts gave a way for people to manipulate these elements and combine them into powerful attacks. Most cultivators would choose a single Art to train in, and as they grow, branch out and take up one or two more Arts. To train in two or more Arts at a young age, while not unheard of, was very uncommon. Think of it as trying two languages at once. Difficult, but not impossible.

    Feng stared at him. “Two Arts? Dale you have to be one of the laziest boys I know, since when did you get the motivation to train more then one Art?”

    Dale responded, “Ever since that Dragon attack, I can’t help but want to be strong. Being able to defend myself is a must, I cannot stand the feeling that others have power over me.

    Feng nodded, understanding. It had been 3 years since the attack, but it had left a deep impression on both of the boys.

    They made their way back to the academy. After passing through there gates, they arrived at their dorm, and went back to there rooms to continue to meditate their cultivation, eagerly awaiting the day they too joined a force.

    --------------------------------

    Chel Continent, The Morn Kingdom Capital, Cordanna, Year 741

    2 years later.

    A horn blared through the dorm, waking all the boys up. “BLAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNN” it screeched.

    “WAKE UP, PUNKS.” Screamed one of the younger teachers. He seemed to be very into his job.

    “Today is the official ranking day of the month! All students age 10 and up, please line up to have your innate strength levels tested!” he continued to rant.

    Dale and Feng glanced at each other, delighted. They had both turned 10 in the previous month, but because of that they missed the ranking day for that month. Today would be their official debut in to the Morn School Rankings.

    The Morn School Rankings was how the Morn Kingdom ranked its students. The ranking ranked students from ALL schools, including branch schools, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rate schools, as well as the Main School. It was a comprehensive list that only gave power to the strong. The entire Morn Kingdom has a population of roughly 108 million people. In the Morn School rankings, there were roughly 3 million students, at the moment. The vast majority were in the lower rankings; the truly powerful students were ranked above 50,000. To be in this ranking meant you had a successful future ahead of you.

    There are two ways to increase your ranking, and both involve your inner strength and souls power. The first way is the innate strength test. By using this test, the school will get an accurate representation of your strength, and will add points to your rank. Nobody knows how the points are added to rankings, but everyone knows that someone with a stronger innate strength will rank higher then someone with a lower.

    The second way to increase your ranking was to participate and score highly in the Inner School Tournaments. Inner School Tournaments were a huge boost to ranking, The current Number 2 in the Ranking, a Silver Metal Core student, had ranked 1st in the last tournament. His name was Fredrick DeMonge, the eldest son of a Lord. He was currently 18 years old. The Number 1 Rank spot was held by a 16 year old girl, one who also happened to be a Gold Core level cultivator, one of the very few in the entire country. Her name was Jasmine Yu, the second daughter of Count Charles, the newly raised Gold Core Cultivator and head of the 102nd expeditionary force.

    Dale and Feng eagerly queued up in line. In the past two years, the duo had constantly trained and meditated their inner strength. Feng began to train his Lords Bloodline, concentrating on the fiery energy in his veins. While he didn’t dare to cultivate directly, his inner energy had grown greatly.

    Dale, on the other hand, had been trying to recall the feeling he felt when the Dragon so many years ago fled from him. Feng had said he didn’t remember much of it, his memory of what happened after it chased them was fuzzy. Dale’s grandfather said he had given off a massive Aura, overwhelmingly powerful. However, when they took Dale in to be tested, the innate crystal showed no bloodline results at all, it was very curious. Dale had attempted over the years to grab a hold of the power he felt, but to no avail. Not demotivated by his lack of progress, he continued to cultivate his strength, and broke through quite a large amount.

    The line moved through, and soon it was their turn. Feng stepped up to the teacher. “Concentrate your force here, please.” He said, impatiently.

    Feng complied. A dazzling brilliance came from the crystal, blasting through layers of light.

    “5th..6th..7th..8th..9th layer??! The 9th innate strength layer??” The teacher stared at him in astonishment.

    Suddenly, the stone gave off a massive wave of heat. Though the heat wasn’t in fact real, and couldn’t damage them, it still could be imagined.

    “Ah, you must be Feng Constantine, the Fire Lords Bloodline owner.” The teacher bowed, checking off some marks in his list. “Thank you for participating, please step off to the side.” He said, respectfully.

    It truly was different, how people with Lords bloodlines were treated. If someone with normal innate strength was treated normally, Bloodline owners were treated like kings. Dale thought it was a bit unfair, and felt that all people should be treated equally.

    It was Dales turn. He walked up to the testing crystal, and calmly laid his hand on it. Light slowly started accumulating, starting to blaze gloriously, and suddenly.

    “CRAAASSSHH!!” The testing crystal shattered.

    The teacher gaped at Dale.

    “What the-?!”

    There was only one normal way for a Innate crystal to shatter, and that was for the tester to have enough strength that when he focused, it couldn’t bear the force, and would tear apart. However, in order to have that, a user had to at least be at the peak of the 10th layer of Core Forming. For a 10 year old to have this kind of strength, without a Lords bloodline, was practically unheard of, for the continent of Chel.

    The students watching the test looked at each other in amazement.

    “Who is this kid?”

    “What power!”

    “Wow! Impressive!”

    “Does he have a Lords Bloodline?”

    “Is he really just 10?”

    They chattered among themselves. The teacher looked at him again, and asked his name.

    “My name is Dale, Dale Wensworth.” He stated, calmly.

    The teacher nodded, taking down his information and checking off a few things on his list.

    --------------------------------

    Morn School Official Ranking List -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    Dale and Feng stared up at the list, looking for their names in the giant crystal. The official ranking was kept in a large Core Gem block. This block could keep and store information, and could be updated at any time. It was a treasure, left behind by previous cultivators. The technology to make something like this is presently non-existent in the Kingdom of Morn.

    Both Dale and Feng were holding small metal plates, filled with names and numbers next to them. By pressing a symbol in the upper right hand corner, the names would change to the next 1,000 in the ranking.

    After a few minutes of searching, they found Fengs name.

    Feng Constantine – Innate Strength 9th layer – Divine Fire Lords Bloodline – Ranking 1,329

    “Wow!” Dale exclaimed, “You’re rank 1,329! That’s crazy, for a new student!” Dale looked at him enviously. He was correct in this case. Most regular students joined the ranking in the bottom of millions, this was considered normal. However, having a Lords Bloodline as well as being in the 9th layer of innate strength, he was far from normal.

    In a few minutes, they found Dales ranking as well.

    Dale Wensworth – Innate Strength 10th layer – Ranking 32,719

    “That’s not too bad yourself!” Feng said, “You’re in the top 50,000. Everyone knows the real rankers are here!” What he said was correct. The top 50,000 ranking spots were those that you can only attain with your own strength. Cultivators in this ranking  were the strong among the strong.

    Dale nodded, not happy with his rank, but not too disappointed either. To be in the top 50,000 on his first day wasn’t too bad.

    Now that they were officially cultivators, and had a spot in the ranking, Dale and Feng could finally cultivate and train in a martial Art.

    The Morn Main School was developed over a very large campus. There were several large dorm sections; Dale and Fengs dorms were in a south eastern section. Approximately 120,000 people lived on campus, the rest living in various places in and out of town. The duo lived in the 3rd section, 4th Dorm.

    The center of the Main Schools campus was home to a massive building, topped with spiked peaks, and large buttresses, it gave off the feeling of a majestic library. This was the Martial Arts storeroom. This large and imposing building was home to thousands and thousands of different Arts, originating from all over the 7 continents.

    When a person joins the Ranking for the first time, he is allowed to pick and choose up to 3 different Arts from the library. He takes these three, and copies them down, so as to not lose the original set. He cannot return for different techniques till he has returned shown at least a basic mastery in at least one of these Arts. You could say that picking the right Art for your first was very importnant.

    Dale and Feng changed out of their training clothes, and walked towards the center of campus. On the way, Feng asked Dale about what he was planning on choosing.

    “I asked some of the teachers about it, they recommended to me quite a few different fire Arts. The Flame God Art, The Rising Sun Technique, and the Overlords Flame Art.” He said, “Have you talked to any of them about yours?”

    Dale shook his head ruefully. Whilst he was sure the teachers would have provided at least some guidance if he asked, he knew they treated Feng very differently then they treated everyone else.

    “I told you, I want to try different elements for my Arts. I’m not sure which ones I’ll choose yet, I don’t know whats what, but I’ll know what I want when I see it.” Dale said, cryptically.

    Feng shook his head, “Even I wouldn’t dare to choose different elements techniques. It’s supposed to be super hard to train two elements at once, even with a Fire Lords Bloodline, I doubt I would try it.”

    Dale shrugged, confident that he would make the right choice when the time to decide came. That, or at least procrastinate enough that he had time to make the right choice.

    Eventually, after meandering through the campus, they arrived at the great building.

    “Wow! It’s massive.” Feng said, a little intimidated, but still excited.

    “Yep, it’s a building. They’re supposed to be big.” Dale said, indifferently. However, on the inside, his was roiling, nervous about choosing the right Art.

    After walking in to the great library, the clerk looked at them. “Names please.”

    They responded with their names, and after checking their ranking, the clerk, with a slightly more respectful attitude said, “This is your first time here, right? You have the right to choose any 3 Arts and train them. However, if you want to trade them for others, you must display basic mastery of at least one of the Arts. That is all, please return this token when you leave.” The librarian handed each of them a small silver token that gave off a soft light.

    “What’s this?” asked Feng.

    “Just a precaution to deter people taking more then the allowed amount of Arts.” Said the librarian, with a soft smile.

    Dale and Feng nodded their thanks, and set off into the large Library, and began searching for the Arts they would train. These first few Arts would help shape and mold their abilities and techniques, and would change their lives forever.

    --------------------------------

    Nearly 3 hours later, and Dale still had yet to choose the three Arts he would train. He had found several ones with potential, but none of them felt right to him. Feng had already left, choosing the three Arts he mentioned previously as his own.

    Dale smiled ruefully, thinking of what Feng would say if he knew how indecisive Dale was being. Dale had moved on past the initial bookcases, into the back rows, and finally was in one of the countless dusty rooms in the back, filled with ancient Arts. Many of them were so old; it wasn’t possible to read what was written on them. Dale searched through, and found two that caught his eye.

    Basic Slowed Time Fist Art – A cultivation technique where the user uses his energy to compress the forces of time, and can increase or decrease the speed of time for his fist, causing it to move at otherwise impossible speeds.

    Basic Heavy Fist Aura Art – A cultivation technique where the user bends Aura to his will, and infuses his Aura and will directly into his blows. This technique allows one to deal massive blows with seemingly small and weak hits.

    Dale looked through both of these Arts. “Perfect!” He thought. This felt like exactly what he needed. He remembered that when he stood up to that Dragon, time felt like it slowed, and it was a very useful feeling. That, combined with the odd Aura technique to infuse your power seemed like a very useful Art.

    However, after reading through the works, it noted that these techniques were extremely hard to train in, and required a great deal of concentration and effort. If one did not have the patience, they should give up now. Dale glanced past the warning, already determined to train them to the utmost.

    He still had one more Art to train in, however. Dale glanced at the two he chose, and decided to look for a movement technique. Powerful attacks meant nothing if you could not catch up to your opponent. After searching for another 30 minutes he found the Heavy Footsteps, Quick Movement technique. By using large and powerful impacts to strike the ground multiple times, it was possible to instantly change directions, and quickly follow after enemies, after developing this Art. It was based in Earth.

    Dale quickly took his choices up to the front desk, and returned his silver medallion to the librarian. Behind him, a large, noble looking student walked up.

    “Move aside.” The noble looking student said, looking past Dale imperiously.

    “Excuse me?” Dale asked, confused.

    “I said, move aside.” The boy looked at him viciously, “I have a higher ranking then you and am the 3rd son of Lord Caradon. Know your place, trash.”

    Dale stared at him, stunned. If there was on thing in this world Dale hated the most, it was inequality. He hated people being treated like they were trash, or treating others unequally. Things like slavery, he made a life goal to abolish. So, for a student to walk up to him and demand he move aside enraged him.

    “No.” Dale said, eyes deadlocked on him. He would not bend or bow for anyone, not even God himself. To think he would bow to a simple son of a high rank noble, there wasn’t a chance of this occurring.

    “Excuse me?” the boy stared at him, not believing that anyone would fail to give way.

    Suddenly, an the boy started to give off an Iron aura, strength overflowing from his limbs. “Move. Aside. Or I will kill you.” He declared, with Dales death in his eyes.

    Suddenly, the librarian stepped in, emitting a silver aura. “Do not fight in this library, or I will ban you from it. If you have differences, settle them in the arena.” He said, indifferently. He had finished retuning Dales medallion, and handed him the Arts he chose.

    Dale quickly brushed past the boy, walking off.

    “I am Collin Caradon, trash. Don’t think I’m done with you. Your life here is over.” The boy stared after Dale, seemingly waiting for Dale to state who he was.

    Dale glanced back at him, deciding to not declare his name. If this really was a youth from a powerful family, and it seemed possible, especially with his Iron aura, it wouldn’t be wise for them to learn who he was yet. When he managed to cultivate his strength to a higher level, he wouldn’t care. Till then, however, he decided to stay off the radar. No point in vowing vengeance or escalating the situation past what it was.

    For some reason, however, this simply infuriated the boy more. From his admittedly arrogant viewpoint, Dale was ignoring him. He vowed that the next time he saw this trash, he would slaughter it. No one disrespected him or his family, and got away with it.
    Dale quickly left the scene, and walked back to his dorm on campus. After arriving, he set out the arts, and started to read the first one.

    Slowed Time Fist Art - A cultivation technique where the user uses his energy to compress the forces of time, and can increase or decrease the speed of time for his fist, causing it to move at otherwise impossible speeds.

    Slowed Time Fist Art 1st layer – Focus the energy in your veins on a single point in your mind. In this point, all you need to do is focus into a circle. When you can successfully hold a circle of energy in your mind for 15 seconds, you will have achieved the 1st layer.

    Slowed Time Fist Art 2nd layer – Take the circle of energy you have focused and compress the energy in the circle into a shape that enshrouds your arm. This layer should be air tight, and should completely cover your arm, from the shoulder to the tips of your fingers.

    Slowed Time Fist Art 3rd layer – Embellish and compress the energy you have formed on your arm. It should now appear as a white glowing energy coating. At this layer, you will have shown basic mastery in the Art. Further mastery will require the Advanced Slowed Time Fist Art technique book.

    Dale glanced at the instructions again, and began to focus his energy veins. Every human in existence is born with energy veins in his body. Through these veins, natural energy your body absorbs and produces is circulated, and can eventually be stored. The energy, as one cultivates, is stored in an area next to your heart, this is called your “Core.” As one advances in cultivation, their core will develop and form, stronger and stronger. Cultivation arts use energy produced by your Core, traveling through your veins, to empower and strength your body and let you manipulate the 8 elements.

    Dale started to focus the energy in his veins in to a single mental point in his mind, slowly forming a circle.

    --------------------------------


  • edited September 2015
    Dale trained for three hours straight. He had started training approximately at noon, and it was now in the late afternoon. After multiple attempts, and failed tries, he had successfully formed a single point of energy in his head, using the energy circulating in his energy veins.

    Dale was, at the moment, only a 10th layer peak innate strength cultivator. He had yet to fully condense his core, and become a core cultivator, so the energy he could draw on was not yet complete. For him to be able to successfully practice the 1st layer of the Slowed Time Fist Art was monstrous beyond belief. If anyone had been looking on and saw this, they would have assumed that the boy was a long time practitioner that just looked young. Mainly, because Time Arts are extremely hard to train in. Despite Dales early success, for every ten thousand students that attempted this Art, perhaps one would manage to focus the first stage. It was incredibly difficult. However. Dale succeeded.

    Focusing on the point of energy in his mind, he began trying to compress the power into a circle. After a few seconds of wobbling, into a faintly circle-ish blob shape, the energy fell apart and dissipated.

    Dale sighed, a bit disappointed. He hadn’t truly expected to be able to master the 2nd layer on his first try, but he had hoped. He went back to meditating. A few moments later, Feng barged in.

    “Dale! Let’s go practice our Arts! I just got the hang of my Overlords technique, how about you?” he said.

    Dale nodded, staying “I sorta have a feel for the first layer of one of my Arts, the Slowed Time Fist, we can give it a chance.”

    Feng and Dale walked out to the nearby courtyard, and to the space in between dorms. When Dale and Feng were younger, they would practice meditating and training battles on the grass here. They got their share of odd looks, but they didn’t particularly care.

    The Overlord Flame Art, a technique in which one seeks the energy in ones veins, accumulating them just below the knuckles in ones hand. Then, the user focuses the energy into powerful balls, below their knuckles. After compressing the energy, the user will have completely concealed the Arts power in their hands. When they strike a blow, first the impact from their innate strength will hit the opponent, then the Flame Arts strength is released, and a second impact immediately smashes into the same spot, causing a huge boost in power. This technique was developed by the infamous “Overlord Charod Gorshyle.” It was derived off his Overlord Fist Art, adapting to use Fire energy instead of Aura.

    Feng, with the help of his divine characteristic, managed to rapidly advance, and learned first layer in just a few hours of trying. He had, apparently, destroyed several of the surrounding trees, resulting in a reprimand from the teachers. Thus, instead of practicing on inanimate objects, he decided to work with his best friend, Dale.

    Feng proudly showed off his technique, tossing some rocks in the air, and destroying them to dust. For one who had yet to completely form his core, it was quite impressive to see.

    Dale looked on, neutral feeling. It wasn’t that he didn’t think he could combat Fengs technique, he felt he could sufficiently dodge it, but he left like it was more stronger then his. The Slowed Time Fist gave barely any power to the attack, and while it could become insanely fast, it didn’t really have the impact he wanted.

    Feng lined up to spar. “Are you certain you can take this fist on? I know you have an insanely strong body, being at the peak of the 10th layer, but this attack is pretty dangerous.” It sounded arrogant, but Feng didn’t mean for it to be so. He simply wanted his friend to not be put in any danger.

    Dale smiled confidently, “Don’t worry, you won’t even touch me.”

    “Hah! We will see about that.” Feng smirked, letting out a yell.

    “Overlords 1st layer! Fire Impact!” he cried, throwing a fist towards Dale.

    Dale stood perfectly still, concentrating on forming the circular point in his mind. All the energy within his body focuses on this specific moment. He prepared to try and form the energy on his arm to let him block Fengs attack, however, something odd happened.

    Instead of forming on his arm, he felt like he could form the entire circle inside his body, along his skeleton and muscle frames. Quickly, he fed the energy through.

    Suddenly, for Dale, time slowed down. It didn’t slow down a great deal, perhaps it moved to 9/10ths the speed, but it was clearly perceptible.

    Fengs fist, streaming tiny bursts of fire energy on his knuckles, flew towards Dale. Where previously it had been a blazing burst towards him, now was quite easily perceptible. It didn’t move slow, per se, but it was slowed enough, or from another perspective, Dale was now fast enough, that he managed to dodge with a minimum of movement, barely avoiding the fist as it went by.

    As Feng tried to swing his body around as he missed, Dale’s own fist shot out, moving extremely fast. If an onlooker had bothered to pay attention to the battle between the two boys, he would have seen an odd shimmer surrounding Dales fist, as he slipped through Feng’s guard, smashing against his chin.

    Dale, expecting his blow to just be at the 10th layer like his strength currently was, watched in astonishment as Feng was sent flying nearly 4 meters away.

    “What??” he said, startled. There’s no way his fist should be that powerful, when Feng and Dale normally sparred, he could barely push Feng back a step. However, when he used his Slowed Time Fist Art, it blasted Feng back several meters.

    Feng groaned, “Ow. Teaches me right to talk down to you” he said, laughing it off. “When did you get so strong?”

    “I don’t know!” Dale said, looking at his fist in astonishment.

    Suddenly, Dale collapsed to the ground, darkness closing in on him as if a great weight was crushing him. Fatigue beyond belief crashed into him, as his consciousness slipped away.

    --------------------------------

    2 weeks later

    After Dale fainted during his match with Feng, he decided to be much more conservative with his strength. Practicing an Art without having formed his Core is already hard enough, so he decided to focus on forming his Core. Dale has been at the peak of the 10th layer of innate strength for several weeks. Breaking through and forming a Core isn’t very difficult, but it requires a sense of calmness and strength. Over the past two weeks, he had slowly meditated his energy to the fullest it could be, using the time in between his classes.

    Dale sat meditating in his room, concentrating all the energy he had through his veins, and slowly forming a focused ball of energy next to his heart, building it up, more and more.

    Suddenly, an overflow of energy raged through Dale, like a ship at sea tossed around during a storm. It felt like his arms were going to tear apart, as the energy in his veins went wild and then suddenly, with no warning, compressed into a solid ball near his heart.

    Dale tentatively focused on the ball there, and felt an incomparable amount of energy. 

    Success! Dale had successfully formed his Core!

    He fell over, sweating, covered in grime, but very happy as well.

    Dale learned, in the classes he took here, of the various stages of cultivation. The most basic stage is the Innate Strength stage(1st stage). This is a stage every human can practice, for the most part, and all it involves is focusing strength through his energy veins to form a core. Dale, however, is now a part of the second stage, and has successfully formed his core. He is now in the Condensing stage(2nd stage). In this stage, he will condense the energy in his core, and slowly form metal layerings over it.  The sheen and aura of the metal instantly allow someone to determine what level someone is at. In order, the lowest level, and Dales current level in this stage, is the Coal Metal Core. Followed by the Copper Metal Core, Iron Metal Core, Steel Metal Core, Silver Metal Core, Gold Metal Core, and Golden Gem level core. Each of these levels indicates a large jump in strength. For instance, someone at the Iron Metal Core stage will have the strength of 3 separate peak Copper Metal Core experts. Strength between layers was roughly triple.

    After one successfully cultivates to the Golden Gem level, they will reach the last bottleneck in cultivation. This is to form, from your Golden Gem Metal Core, a genuine Divine Gem. When a human cultivates into the 3rd stage, a Divine Gem forms inside of them, granting them a Divine bloodline, and a massive increase in power.

    This is the 3rd and final stage, and is called the Core Gem Stage(3rd stage). Core Gem stage experts are extremely rare, in the entire Kingdom of Morn, there is not a single Core Gem expert.

    Today, Dale had successfully managed to break through to the Coal Metal phase. As a Metal Practitioner, his body would be greatly strengthened, and his energy veins would be able to bear much more stress.

    Dale believed the main reason he blacked out after using his Slowed Fist Time Arts technique was because of his yet to be formed Core Metal energy. Now that his strength had jumped several levels, he should be able to use his Slowed Time art for a short period of time without such severe side effects. Dale got up, and walked over to the corner where he kept his wash bucket, pouring some water over himself, cooling down.

    Feng abruptly barged in to his room, “Dale guess what I- geez what’s this smell?” he said, glancing around with an uncomfortable look on his face.

    “I just managed to break through to the Metal Core level.” Dale said, calmly.

    Feng gaped at him, “That’s-wha-I I just broke through as well!” he said, astonished. Feng had been hoping to surprise his friend with the news, only to find out they were now both Core Metal Practicioners.

    “We can finally join the more interesting classes!” Feng cried, happy for his friend and himself.

    The classes Feng and Dale currently took were not the most interesting classes. Dale took Ethics, Geography, Math, and Basic Martial Cultivation. Feng was taking Ethics, Geography, Court law, and Basic Martial Cultivation as well. However, the level of other kids their age was pitiful compared to them. The strongest kid that was the same age as them as was at the 7th innate strength layer, a far cry from their both now Metal Core cultivation.

    Feng suddenly grinned excitedly, “Do you remember what they said about the monthly ranking system? How you can raise your ranking by participating in tournaments?” he said, with a light in his eye.

    Dale nodded, knowing where Feng was headed.

    “Let’s participate in the Main School Representatives Tournament next month!” Fend said, full of vigor and cheer. He was practically jumping up and down.

    The Main School Representatives Tournament was a tournament where the top 10 winners are chosen to battle as Repersentatives of the Main School in the Inner School Ranking Battle. The Inner School Ranking Battle was the largest event of the year, a massive annual tournament where only the geniuses of each school could participate. Because Feng and Dale were members of the Main School, they would have to work extra hard if they wanted to participate in such a massive tournament.

    The prize for winning the tournament had yet to be posted, but last year, it was a Silver Metal Monster Core, given to the past winner. Such a prize could massively boost ones cultivation rate, allowing you to shoot through the rankings. It was said that the top 100 rankers were allowed to peruse arts from the private teachers room in the Library.

    “Come on Dale!! Let’s go sign up!” Feng yelled loudly, running out the door.

    --------------------------------

    2 Weeks later

    Dale stood in the center of a modest combat room. The wall and grounds were a murky brown color. Surrounding him were 4 cultivators, all at the Steel Metal level. Each of these cultivators held blunt throwing knives in their hands, aiming them at Dale.

    All was calm for a moment, then suddenly, *Swish* 4 knives were thrown out, from different directions, aimed at Dale.

    Dale focused his entire being into calmness. Slowly, his perception of time, and his interaction with time slowed down, as energy ran rampart, solidifying in his energy veins. The knives seemed to move at an impossible speed, going through the air at roughly 8/10ths their original speed.

    After weeks of intense practice, Dale could successfully slow his perception and interaction with time down to 8/10ths of its original speed. However, he could only maintain this state for roughly 30 seconds, before he ran out of energy. He found that no matter how hard he focused, he could not slow it down any more. 8/10ths seemed to be some kind of limit, or bottleneck.

    Feng had signed himself and Dale up for the upcoming Main School Representatives Tournament. They were, consecutively, participant 971, and participant 972. With nearly a thousand other participants, Dale didn’t have high expectations for this tournament. He felt that he was decently powerful, especially with his time slowing ability, but he was still only a Coal Metal expert. Every morning, he meditated till his veins filled out, slowly raising his cultivation, but in 2 weeks, he was still suck at the early phase of the Coal Metal Core cultivation. The middle, and high stages were fairly distant yet.

    Dale, moving at a speed that looked slow yet was fast, dodged all four knives thrown at him, moving smoothly through the air. The surrounding cultivators, instead of continuing their attack, suddenly stopped and clapped.

    “Well done Dale!” Said Teacher O’Connel, a Steel Core Cultivator. Teacher O’Connel was the Dorm head for Dales sector. He was a middle-aged man, with a great greying mustache, and fiery red sideburns they stood out rather a lot. He was very strict, but always cheerful. Today, however, he had agreed to help Dale test his Art, and was very pleased with the result. “You are participating in the Main School Representatives Tournament right? Make sure you do well! You will represent Our 4th Dorm sector, hahaha!”  

    “Yes, Teacher.” Dale bowed slightly. The upcoming Tournament had been on his mind quite a bit. Recently, people had begun bumping into him, accidentally knocking his desk while he took notes, and being rude to him. Dale at first thought it was mere accidents, but when they started accumulating, he began to suspect a nefarious scheme. He decided to tail one of the boys who bothered him. After having his head nearly bashed in by someone’s stray elbow, Dale stealthily followed the large, blonde haired boy for a bit.

    After a few minutes of wondering, he saw him walk up to his dorm, and apparently take a nap.

    Sometimes, investigation can be a real pain, Dale sighed. He decided to stake out the dorm, just to see if anything happened. However, just a few minutes later, a figure he recognized walked by. It was that noble boy! The one he met in the Library! Connor Collinbry or some thing like that. Colleen? Collin maybe? He didn’t really remember.

    The noble boy walked up to the same dorm Dales assailant had entered, and disappeared as well. Dale thought about what had started occurring recently, and deduced that it was probably the petty revenge of that noble child, the one he slighted by refusing to bow out in the Library.

    Dale walked off, shaking his head. Equality was a thing worth fighting for, Dale promptly believed. As he walked off, he overheard the conversation of a pair of students walking by.

    “Did you hear? Collin said he would be participating in the Main School Representatives Tournament this month!” said a slightly overweight student.

    “What?! But he’s an Iron rank practitioner! That’s hardly fair!” the other boy decried.

    “You’re not wrong,” said the first boy, glumly. “We might as well give up now..” They walked off.

    Dales eyes flashed and an evil glint appeared in them. It looked like he would be meeting his adversary to dispense justice much, much sooner then he expected.

    --------------------------------


    Dale continued to cultivate in the morning, attend regular classes when required, and constantly practiced manipulating time. It became easier and easier for him to function while concentrating, though he had yet to break through the 8/10ths time barrier. Frustrated with his lack of tangible progress in his Time Arts, Dale decided to practice the other two Arts he had, in preparation for the upcoming Main School Representatives Tournament.

    Heavy footsteps, Quick movement was a footwork technique where you applied strong, powerful stomps in order to move great distances, or change directions quickly. It was a Earth Art technique, however, and required a high level of concentration to use effectively.

    After a solid day of practice, Dale managed to understand the basics of the technique. By using his inhumane strength to impact the ground several times, and using the energy in your energy veins to compact the earth, you could bounce off of practically any surface, and move at extraordinary speeds. At the higher levels, it was even possible to jump off of air itself.

    Dale spent the next 2 days mastering the first layer of this Earth Art. His speed only slightly increased, but his mobility, ability to change direction, and agility greatly increased.

    Next, Dale decided to work on the Heavy Fist Aura Art he had acquired.

    Basic Heavy Fist Aura Art – A cultivation technique where the user bends Aura to his will, and infuses his Aura and will directly into his blows. This technique allows one to deal massive blows with seemingly small and weak hits.

    Basic Heavy Fist Aura Art 1st layer – Concentrate your will solely. You must focus on nothing, and devote yourself to nothing, concentrating all of your energy, focus, and will into a singular point in your mind.

    Basic Heavy Fist Aura Art 2nd layer – Take the pinpoint of focused will you have maintained, and infuse the energy into the strength of your fist. The stronger your will and Aura is, the more powerful an impact you will leave.

    Basic Heavy Fist Aura Art 3rd layer – Infuse your strength and will directly into the force of your fist, and the impact you leave behind. The stronger your will and Aura is, the more powerful an impact you will leave. The aftermath of the impact, where you have infused your Aura into the air, will cause your enemy to feel overpowered, and can even cause fainting, in people who are sufficiently weaker.

    Dale noticed, the basic technique to the Heavy Fist Arts first layer was very similar to the Slowed Time Fists first layer. He focused his energy into a point, in his mind, and then forced his will over that point. However, he found that when he tried to force his will on the energy point, everything dissipated, and he was stunned for a few seconds.

    “It didn’t work.” He said, astonished. For Dale, everything he did had always come easy to him. Cultivating, breaking through layers, practice, everything had always worked well enough. This was the first time something flat out refused to bend to his will.

    He went at it again. He gathered the energy in his veins into a point in his mind, and once again used the full power of his will, crushing it into submission. However, just as he thought he had it under control, the energy sporadically blew out, and dissipated.

    Dale stared at his hands, suspiciously, as if they betrayed him. “I will not lose.” He proclaimed.

    Dale practiced like this for the next two days. However, on the third day of practice, something changed. Dale felt a flicker of control, when he focused his will on his energy. The energy dissipated like it had previously. But this time, it was slightly different. A miniscule, tiny fragment of energy stayed behind. Dale moved it around, and then released it in a flick of his fingers, flicking the wooden leg of the chair sitting near him in his room.

    “CRASH! SNAP!” the chair’s leg completely exploded off, with wood shavings showering Dale. He looked at his finger in astonishment. Then at the destructive power left behind. This was from such a small fragment, what power must be contained if he could completely master it?! Dave thought.

    He hurriedly began to focus, and started his repetitive practice, over and over again.

    2 days before the Tournament.

    Dale walked over to Fengs room, knocking on his door. “Feng!” he yelled, “Are you in there?!” It was midafternoon, and Dale hadn’t seen Feng around recently.

    Feng opened the door, saw that it was Dale and said “Yo bro, whats up?”

    “Feng, I just reached the middle stage in my Coal Metal Core.” He exclaimed, “I wanted to share it with you, and ask if you wanted to help me practice in a bit!”

    “Haha! It’s about time you reached that stage!” Feng replied. Feng had reached the middle stage of the Coal level about a week ago, and had been practicing since. “I’m warning you now, though, this won’t be a repeat of last time. I’ve completely mastered my Overlord Flame Art to the 3rd layer!” Flames seemed to flicker in his eyes.

    Dale smiled confidently, “If you can beat me this time, I’ll owe you a Coal Monster Core when we join the Expedition force!” Fengs eyes bulged.

    “Haha! You have yourself a dear, little Dale,” Feng said, with a slightly evil greed tinged look in his eye. “Lets have a rematch!”

    --------------------------------


    Feng and Dale moved in to one of the practice rooms. The practice rooms they went to were located in a large building, towards the south side of the large campus. There were 4 different buildings that held practice rooms, one in each cardinal direction. This was the southern one. Each building held 20 separate rooms. The rooms themselves were roughly 30 ft by 30 ft, and had plenty of room for a close quarter battle. There was very little inside the room, just murky brown reinforced walls and a solid wooden floor, covered with dirt and old bloodstains. A few practice swords and the like lay in a box near the front entrance.

    Feng and Dale went into one of the rooms, and walked to the center. Dale immediately went into a state of deep concentration, ready to slow time at the slightest provocation. Feng, likewise, concentrated his inner fire, preparing to let loose and blast away. They studied each other for a moment.

    “Alright, here I come Dale!” Feng yelled, excitedly. Feng rushed forward, leading his attack with the same he started with in there first spar, a fist streaming fire from his knuckles. Dale slowed time to 9/10ths, dodging his attack relatively easily. 

    Dale had found that, if he slowed time to 9/10ths instead of 8/10ths, the amount of time he could last using this slowed state was longer. However, he had yet to break through the 8/10ths barrier.

    Fengs attacked missed by an inch. However, as Dale was about to launch a counter attack, the flames burning on Fengs hand suddenly exploded, forcing his arm backwards, into an elbow strike aimed directly at Dale's chest. Dale slowed time to 8/10ths, concentrating with all of his might, and threw his Slowed Time Fist to intercept Fengs elbow.

    The resulting impact threw Dale back about a meter, while Feng slid back roughly a foot. “Didn’t see that coming, eh?” Feng said, looking rather smug, “My new techniques allow me to manipulate fire much more strongly.”

    Dale stared at him, and smirked back, “Alright, tough guy, lets see how you take this.” Dale focused his Aura and forced his will to the energy in his veins, concentrating over it. Part of his energy dissipated, but a large part stayed, and Dale infused this inside his fist.

    Feng was watching Dale, and saw him take up a look of focus, but saw nothing else. He decided to try to startle Dale before he could finish, and led his next blazing fist right Dales chest. Just as he was about to smash into him, Dale lifted his fist and shot out towards Feng’s chest.

    *CRASHHHH* Feng was blown back, smashing into the reinforced wall, where he promptly bounced off. Dale, on the other hand, was also thrown back, but only about a single meter, before he managed to shrug off the brunt of the impact. His chest ached a bit, and he had burned out a great amount of his energy creating his last attack, but because of his attack at Feng, a good deal of the impact was nullified. Feng, on the other hand, looked dazed, and didn’t seem to be moving, with a small dribble of blood sliding down his lips. Dale walked up next to him, shaking him gently. “You alright?”

    “Yeah-yeah.” Feng said, nodding his head, “That was a pretty hard hit, haha!” he started laughing. “I’m glad you’re here, Dale. You give me someone to compete against, ahahaha.”

    Dale started laughing too, and the two laughing boys, laughed together, living what Dale would later recall as one of the happiest moments of his life. If he had known what was in stake for him and Feng in the future, he would have treasured this moment much much more.

    Dale smiled across, and began discussing their strategies. He explained how he was going to try to integrate his Aura fist with his Time fist. He couldn’t manage to do both at once, but if he slowed time right before he went to release his Aura, and then released right as time returned to normal, he figured it would be close to what he wanted. An impossibly fast, impossibly powerful impact. Something that no one could defend against.

    Feng, on the other hand, was concentrating on his control. He already had an enormous power focused in his knuckles, the deadly double layers of punches capable of causing devastating damage. With his new control over fire, he could detonate parts of his energy to quickly move or change directions, allowing him to have an erratic, unpredictable fighting style.

    They decided to practice fighting together, over the two days, to prepare for the upcoming tournament. Some of the most powerful rankers were participating, it will definitely be a battle that, even if you couldn’t participate, you wouldn’t want to miss.

    One Day before the tournament

    Dale and Feng walked towards the northern side of the campus. They were headed off into the Field Strength Test Crystal. This crystal was another legendary artifact, this one unique among even legendary items. The Field Strength Test Crystal was a massive block of some unknown gem, giving off a bluish haze. The crystal was nigh on indestructible. However, whenever it was damaged, it gave off levels of light. A measuring crystal on its side had been placed next to it, and by using trial and error, the school administration and learned how to measure exact amounts of strength.

    So, using this crystal, you could gain a measure of how powerful a punch or kick your attack was. It was an accurate measure that has quite a bit of competition around it. Students would bet on new students scores, as well as who would be stronger then who.

    This crystal was located on the northern training grounds, inside a large coliseum like building. Dale and Feng walked inside the building, towards the center where the crystal stood. Several dozens of students surrounded them, talking about the upcoming tournament.

    Off to the side of the crystal, you could see a small crowd gathered. Two students were going back and forth, taking turns punching the crystal.

    “Wow! Jonah Tarren just hit a 1800lb strike!” cried one of the watching students.

    “Look at Devin go! He just landed a 1845lb strike!” cried another.

    “Look at their Auras, both of them are clearly Coal Metal experts.” said one of the smaller students, standing at the front. He was eyeing both of them with a bit of worship in his eyes, “These two are some of our dark horses in the upcoming tournament! They might even make it into the semi finals!”

    All the other students looked at them in awe.

    “You’re not too shabby.” Said Jonah, staring at Devin. Jonah was of average height. He had black hair, and a strong pair of blue eyes. He looked very confident in his strength, and he had an air of confidence around him that was no doubt very charismatic.

    Devin returned, “Same to you.” Devin was slightly taller then Jonah, but more heavily built, with muscles overflowing on his body. He had dark green hair, and looked very intimidating. However, when he spoke, his voice was very high pitched, and quite annoying.

    Dale and Feng made there way through the crowd, approaching the large crystal monitor.

    A few members of the crowd noticed them making their way through.

    “Excuse me, are you kids sure you’re in the right area? This is the crystal testing area, where Metal Core cultivators test their strength. The kiddie practice ground is over there.” the speaker gestured.

    “Yes, we know where we are.” Dale responded, not appreciating being looked down on.

    A few of the crowd member began to ridicule Dale and Feng, talking about their foolishness.

    “Some people just can’t judge their own strength.” Said one man, shaking his head.

    “Don’t mess with us grown ups.” Said a teenager, with a scratchy beard on his face.

    Devin and Jonah, noticing the crowds attention pull from them, glanced at the duo who was drawing them off.

    “Well, well, well, what do we have here?” said Devin, smirking. He flexed his muscles as he crossed his arms, trying to stare Feng down. Unfortunately, Feng wasn’t paying attention, a normal state for Feng, and his attempted intimidation didn’t result in much. “This place is for grown ups only, kiddos like you might get hurt if you don’t leave.

    “There’s no need to threaten them, Devin.” Jonah said, glancing at Dale and Feng. “You two shouldn’t be here though. Only Core Metal Cultivators are allowed in this area.”

    The crowd behind them began to shout ridicule and laughed, waiting to see the embarrassed duo run off in shame.

    Dale and Feng glanced at each other.

    --------------------------------

    Dale and Feng glanced at each other. Then, with a sparkle in their eyes, they burst out in to laughter.

    “Ahahahahaha.”

    “Bahahahahha”

    Feng started to flop around on the ground, laughing as hard as he was. Dale, seeing him rolling on the floor, couldn’t help but laugh again, uncontrollably. Their laugh was so contagious, and Fengs worm like rolling so ridiculous, a couple of the onlookers began to laugh as well, with confused looks on their faces, as if they weren’t quite sure why they were laughing.

    Devin and Jonah stared at the duo furiously. From their perspective, the two newcomers were ridiculing them.

    Devin yelled, “Fine. Morons, get out of my sight before I end you.” Jonah glared at them furiously.

    Feng however, upon hearing Devin’s high pitched tone matched with his ridiculous threat, rolled back into his realistic earthworm like roll of laughter twice as strongly. A few more of the onlookers joined in laughing and suddenly everyone in the general vicinity was crying tears of joy, laughing their hearts out. The majority of them were simply laughing at Fengs flopping around antics, but quite a few joined in when they heard Devin’s squeaky rage.

    Dale choked back his laughing enough to say “Sorry, ho-honored seniors. It wasn’t our intention to interrupt you, but it’s also our intention to test our strength with the Field Strength Testing Crystal. Feng continued flopping.

    Jonah looked a bit annoyed as well, though if you looked closely, you could see he was holding back his own laughter. It was quite an awkward situation for poor Devin.

    Devin’s face turned a tomato color red, his eyes physically bulging in his rage. Most of his anger was directed at Feng, who had almost finished his dying fish impression, and was wobbling up. “I challenge you to a fight of strength!” declared Devin, with rage in his eyes.

    “If you beat me, I will crawl on my knees whenever I see you,” he declared, “but if I beat you, you have to crawl on your own knees anytime you see me, and call me your father.” Devin gave off a (rather squeaky) confident aura.

    Feng, after a moment to regain his balance, said with a carefree tone “Sure! I accept!” he glanced around at the onlookers, “Everyone here heard this right? When this guy loses, whenever he sees me, he will crawl away on his knees.”

    The onlookers stared at Feng. No matter how strong Feng was, you couldn’t change the fact that he was merely a 10 year old child. Even if he was a genius at the Coal Metal level, he could be, at the earliest, the early stage of the Coal level. Devin was a late stage Coal level expert. The difference between them was huge. On average, an early stage Coal Metal Core expert could punch between 1200 and 1400 pounds. A late stage Coal Metal Core expert averaged 1700 to 2000 lbs. While devin might not be at the peak of the Coal level, he was still hundreds of pounds stronger then an early stage brat.

    What the crowd thought and what Devin thought were both very logical. Normally, they would be correct, in this type of situation. However, Feng is, in simple terms, a freak. Born with an innate Fire Lords Bloodline, his cultivation and strength is much more powerful then the average early stage Coal Core cultivator. Feng looked around confidently, ignoring the ridicule of others.

    Dale gave him a thumbs up. Feng nodded, stepping up next to the gargantuan crystal. “All I have to do is beat your score, right?” he said.

    Devin laughed, “HAH! A brat like you is actually accepting my challenge? Don’t regret it!” he said, with a glint in his eye. Devin stepped up to the crystal as well. Suddenly, a powerful energy source could be felt, flowing out from the young man. Energy began to slowly accumulate in his palm. The energy forming there gave off a faint earthy feel, like that of freshly cut grass or moss on a tree.

    Suddenly, he struck out, yelling “Earthen Palm: Rock Strike!” His arm smashed into the large crystal, emitting an intense wave of green light. The ground near the crystal shook for a moment, and the onlookers watching cried out. Several flashes of light played forth, and suddenly, the screen to the left rattled off some numbers.

    “1600..1800.1850..1900..1920!” Jonah exclaimed, staring at Devin in astonishment! “That’s almost at the peak of the Coal level!” Jonah was quite surprised. His most powerful attack could only raise 1850 lbs of force. For Devin to be able to leverage such a powerful blow, he felt that he had fallen behind in cultivation power and skill. If there existed too big a gap between fighters, there would be no way for them to compete, in any tournament like setting.

    Dale simply watched, laughing in his head. Feng swaggered up to the center of the crystal. He concentrated for a few seconds, causing a flame to rise off of his knuckles. Then, with a fiery blast, his fist shot forth. Right as it was about to impact the great rock, an explosion occurred around his elbow. Feng had, in order to gain a maximum speed impact, detonated the energy flowing at the edge of his elbow. His fist, giving off a burning heat, smashed into the rock crystal, causing waves of fire to spread along it’s surface. The fire interacted with the faint misty light the crystal gave off, slowly being devoured by the mist. The rock turned a very faint shade of pink, for a moment.

    The screen on the side suddenly started to rattle of numbers as well, as the large crystal began flashing.

    “1800..1900..2000?!..2100..2180!” Jonah gaped at Feng in astonishment. He stared back at the crystal, then back at Feng. “Is..is it broken?!” He could not believe that a kid several years younger then him would have a strength past that of the Coal Core level.

    The Coal Metal Core level officially reaches its peak at 2000 lbs of strength. After that, normal cultivators would successfully form their next metal layer on their core, and move on to copper. However, Feng was clearly giving off the aura of a coal core cultivator, and an early stage one at that. For him to have landed such a massive blow should be impossible.

    There was dead silence in the crowd. All of those who had been shouting insults and ridiculing the boys suddenly began to regret their actions.

    Devin began to turn a pasty shade of green and red, as panic and rage set in.

  • edited September 2015
    --------------------------------

    “I I won’t accept this!” he screeched, and promptly ran off through the crowd, elbowing his way through. Several of the spectators laughed as he ran. Dale and Feng shook their heads, amused.

    Feng didn’t really care about his promise to crawl, it was just a temporary amusement to him. After all, with over 150,000 students on campus, he felt it unlikely they would meet again.

    Dale walked up to the massive crystal, mentally preparing himself to land a blow. “Alright Feng, I’ll give it a shot now.” He look at the huge rock for a bit. The spot where Feng had punched didn’t have any marks, but he could still feel the residue of heat, warming the air slightly. Standing next to the rock, the crystal was much larger up close. He could see mysterious symbols faintly moving inside.

    Dale closed his eyes for a moment, and concentrated on his Aura. He slowly focused his entire willpower to infuse Aura into his energy. Ever since Dale had begun his practice, he had noticed that, for some reason, any of the techniques he used that involved Aura or Time seemed to easily advance, and were much more powerful then the training books implied. However, when he went to be tested, the innate crystals showed that he didn’t have a bloodline. It was very confusing, he mentally shrugged.

    Dale fused his Aura and will, creating an enormous amount of energy. Some of the energy quietly dissipated, about 1/3rd of it, but the rest formed a small ball of power. Dale concentrated this ball of energy, infusing it into his fist. He opened his eyes, glancing at the massive crystal. Slowly, without any sense of hurry, he moved his arm into a perfect punch. As his arm moved, he slowly move the energy resting in his arm, into the momentum and strength of his moving fist.

    The crowd had been watching Dale, waiting for him to show some amazing power like Feng had. However, all they say was a boy close his eyes, as if he was nervous or scared, and then slowly bring out a fist to tap the crystal.

    “Moron! You’re supposed to punch it, not give it a hug!

    “Kiddo, what are you doing?”

    “Pathetic.”

    “Even I can hit it harder then that.”

    The crowd started ridiculing him, as he maintained his slow punch. Dale ignored them, focusing on punching a perfect blow. He didn’t need speed, as long as the angle, power, and momentum were perfect.

    The Aura infused in his fist grew more and more powerful, as his mounting will began to expand, and his concentrating grew. As Dale’s fist slowly moved, you could say he was at the peak of focus right now. His concentration was the highest it had ever been, focusing on infusing his Aura, and strengthening his blow to the utmost. Suddenly, as his heavy blow nearly crashed into the crystal, Dale felt a huge pool of power inside of him. It was pure Aura, and it felt like a massive ocean of power compared to his current strength. Dale was astonished, but instantly remembered the time he had driven off the Dragon, so many years ago.

    This was that exact same power. Dale maintained his concentration, and attempted to add just a little bit of power from this huge pool into his fist. A small river of power joined his blow, and suddenly, with a bit of fright, Dale felt like he was being overwhelmed. He quickly stemmed the flow coming into him. If he let the enormous power flow freely, it would completely ravage and destroy his energy veins, he thought, sweating nervously.

    However, at that exact moment, his fist, moving methodically through the air, came into contact with the Field Strength Testing Crystal.

    “BOOOOOOOOOOOOM!” the impact create a massive sound wave, and blasted several of the onlookers of their feet. The ground formed massive cracks, as waves of force blasted out in every direction, shaking the very foundation of the building. All the students in the hall turned and stared, gaping.

    “Is a Gold Core expert here?!” one of them exclaimed, moving forward to see who punched the crystal.

    “What a massive impact!” another said.

    “Who could possibly be this strong?! Is it one of the top 100 rankers, practicing?”

    “But why would they test their strength? Isn’t it pointless to measure by pure power at the higher levels.”

    The crowd members that had fallen slowly stood up, dusting themselves off.

    Dale stood before the huge crystal, looking at his fist in astonishment. The ground beneath him was covered in huge cracks, the residue of his powerful blow breaking the very earth.

    Suddenly, a light flashed out from the Field Strength Test Crystal, flashing through different colors and layers. The measuring crystal to the side started to rattle off numbers.

    “2000..3000..4000...5000…6000..8000..12000…12450?!?!” the students stared at Dale like he was a monster. And well, he was. To be able to hit a 12,450lb blow at the age of 10 was ridiculous in the extreme. It was a known fact that between layers, experts where roughly 3 times as powerful. However, this was based on experience and technique, not on pure power. A peak Coal expert should be able to impact around 2000lbs of force. A peak Copper expert, around 4000. Iron would be 6000, Steel at 8000, Silver at 10000, and Gold at roughly 12000. At the higher levels, the difference in strength is not too large, the key difference is the amount of energy they can handle in their veins, and the powers they have trained.

    However, for Dale, a 10 year old, to a hit a blow that some peak Gold experts coudln't should have been impossible. Indeed, even now for Dale, it was impossible to use this technique in battle. The reason he managed to land his punch with such force was because of the absolute concentration he maintained. Thanks to that concentration, he was able to perfectly gauge his fist, and release everything according to perfect. In an actual battle, this would not be the case. The other reason is because he moved slowly. Because of his slow speed, his concentration while punching reached a new peak, and he was able to tap into the massive Aura lurking in his body.

    Dale was very confused as to why he had such an Aura in his body at all. According to the testing crystals, he did not have a Lords Bloodline, and only Aura Lords should have something like that.

    However, Dale was wrong. He didn’t have just one Lords Bloodline, he actually had two Lords Bloodlines. Ever since his battle with the Azure Ice Dragon, Dales prowess in Time and Aura had rapidly shot up, giving him a huge advantage over other practicioners. Though Dale hadn't noticed yet, he was slowly gaining complete power over these 2 elements, a characteristic that only Divine Lords had. 

    When an Innate Strength crystal went to test him, it testing his innate strength as well as picked up on both of his Bloodlines. However, both Bloodlines flashed against each other, both trying to show up on the crystals record. The crystal had no set way to show this, and thus, both Bloodlines cancelled each other out, and resulted in neither one showing up.

    --------------------------------

    The surrounding students still looked at Dale as if he was a monster in disguise, a few of the particularly loud ones, ones that had been calling out insults, slowly backed off and ran away.

    Feng hopped up next to Dale and hi-fived him. “All right dude! That was sick! How did you do that? That’s crazy man!” One could see how excited he was.

    Dale shook his head, “I’m not too sure. I don’t think it’s something I’d be able to use in combat, it’s too slow, but it’s really strong, isn’t it?” Dale felt like this technique would be useful for several non-combat issues, like tearing down walls, or breaking through a shield. However, it was much too slow to hit someone, unless done in absolute secrecy.

    Two students walked forth, both of them emitting silver glows, “That was a pretty good punch.” Said the one on the left, “My name is Kyle, Kyle Mellow. What’s yours?” Kyle had deep yellow hair, and hazel colored eyes. He was lanky, but gave off a feeling of strength.

    “This is Jerome Yu,” he said, introducing his compatriot, “we’re both seniors here at the Main School.” Jerome gave off the feeling that he didn't talk much. He had light brown hair, and relaxing blue eyes. He seemed very collected, and confident.

    A few of the students around started murmuring.

    “Kyle Mellow? He’s rank 11 on the Ranking!” a few whispered excitedly.

    “Ohh, its Jerome Yu! He’s also a high rank, at 32!” said another.

    The students began talking among themselves, wondering what the duo would be doing, talking to Dale and Feng.

    “We were quite impressed with the two of you,” Kyle started, waving his hand at the crystal, “Feng, you have a Lords Bloodline, right? Several of the upperclassman heard one of those had joined the School a few years ago.”

    Feng nodded. “Yes. That’s right, I have the Fire Lords Bloodline.” He shrugged. Originally, he had planned on laying low till he gained enough strength, but since these seniors decided to reveal him, he went along with it. His power was sufficient to deal with anyone in the Coal level, he only had to worry about those above him.

    The surrounding students suddenly exploded with conversation.

    “A Fire Lords Bloodline?!”

    “Impossible! How can we not already know this?!”

    “Who is he? Quick , get his name!”

    “Wow! That’s awesome, a Fire Lord is right here!”

    “That explains why he’s so strong, but what about the other one!?”

    Kyle looked at Dale for a moment, “I heard you are the other monster that joined us a few years ago, Dale correct?” he said, gesturing at him.

    Dale assented, “Haha, I don’t think I’d call myself a monster, but I did join here with my bro Feng a few years ago.” He said, with a light smile. He was used to Feng being treated preferentially by the teachers, it was nice to get some recognition, even if it was from his senior.

    “Jerome and I are future members of the 112th future Expedition Force. We we’re told to recruit promising members for our future expedition, in 3 years, and we think you two qualify.” Kyle said, nodding at them. Jerome was off to the side, agreeing with everything Kyle said. While Feng wasn’t too ridiculously powerful now, a Lords Bloodline would give him a huge amount of control over Fire. As well, Dale was ridiculously powerful, if they could rope these 2 in for the future, theirs no telling what advancements they would discover.

    Dale, thinking furiously, started considering whether or not they would accept. To join a future Expedition Force was a huge deal. Only around 60~ people at the max would join an Expedition Force, and the rewards for being in one was huge. However, the risk was equally large, it was extremely dangerous.

    An Expedition forces goal was two point. They would 1) explore the Deadlands, mapping out what was were, looking for treasure and ancient artifacts and 2) kill monsters, and keep the monster population from rising to massive numbers, as well as loot the Cores from their bodies. To join an expedition force required you to either be very powerful, or very wealthy and influential. The various expedition forces all had to be signed of on by the king, however, any member of the nobility could fund one, and therefore, multiple Expeditions could happen at once.

    Feng was off to the side, practically overflowing with enthusiasm. You could see how eager and excited he was to have a chance at joining an Expedition Force. Dale glanced back at the two seniors.

    “Respected seniors, will you give us a day or two to answer you? We have a tournament tomorrow, and would like to keep our focus on our strength first, that way we don’t get distracted, and do poorly.” Dale said, maintaining his focus. Feng glared at him as if he had been betrayed.

    Kyle nodded his head, “Of course, of course!” he said, laughing. “You can find us on the north side of campus, in section 8, dorm 5. Just say Kyle wanted you, and they’ll take you to me.”

    Dale nodded, and watched as Kyle and Jerome walked off. Feng turned to Dale angrily, “Dale, why didn’t you say yes?!?”

    “It’s an important decision who and where we go on our first Expedition with. We should at least get some information about who else is going before we agree.” Dale said.

    “Well, I guess that makes sense,” Feng replied, “Whatever, let’s go destroy this tournament.”

    Dale nodded, and the duo set off towards there rooms, where they would rest till tomorrows tourney.

    --------------------------------


    The Day of The Tournament

    Dale and Feng woke up quite early, and started warming up outside their dorm. Dale began by stretching his muscles, and slowly punching and practicing his movements. Feng practiced concentrating his inner flame, and using his absolute control over fire to his advantage.

    Dale began to focus his mind. A circle of energy appeared in his head, and suddenly, time slowed down, to roughly 95%. Dale had found that, if he concentrated his will, he could compress time to 95% speed, AND focus his Aura as well. While 95% of time being slowed down doesn’t seem like much, in a life or death battle between someone, or a match with huge stakes, it was just enough to make a difference.

    However, it was rather awkward trying to talk in this state. According to Feng, his voice rose an octave or two, and he sounded like a girl. Feng fell over laughing every time he spoke, so Dale decided to pretend he couldn’t talk when time was slowed, for the foreseeable future.

    When Dale slowed time down to 95%, it was imperceptible to others. It just appeared like he was faster then he really was. A 5% advantage gave Dale enough time to register opponent’s movements and react according to them.

    Because of the Bloodlines that both Feng and Dale had, they found that they could advance and create their own techniques, basing them off the techniques they learned previously. This wasn’t a characteristic that either of the boys had heard Bloodline owners professed. However, it was a known fact that every Bloodline owner usually had some sort of unique signature technique, and were considered geniuses. They attributed this success to this.

    Feng had decided to solely focus on his Overlord Flame Art, ignoring the other techniques he had taken with him. With Fengs single-minded determination to become powerful, his Art was rising at a ferocious speed. Fengs original Art allowed him to manipulate his energy into his fist, under his knuckles. Then, when he punched something, his first would impact, and then the energy under his knuckles would explode in a fiery impact, dealing twice the damage to his enemy. However, thanks to his highly developed Fire Lords Bloodline, he was able to control his energy to explode all over his body, not just his knuckles. This allowed him to instantly change directions, and create large hits out of nowhere.

    When Feng launched his fist strike at the Field Strength Test Crystal, he hadn’t gone all out. At the time, Feng was still wishing to maintain a low profile, because he felt he wasn’t strong enough yet to be arrogant. He had used only 50% of his strength. His real power had yet to be revealed, he was looking forward to the upcoming tournament.

    As Feng practiced, he slowly started to build up his inner power, concentrating on absorbing heat from the air. A common characteristic of Fire Lords is that they can absorb energy to temporarily power up. The energy they absorb is not very pure, and therefore cannot be permanently kept, however, it could be held long enough to provide a powerful aid in ones attacks.

    Feng launched a punch at a nearby tree. Just as his fist was about to connect, he exploded the energy in front of his fist, blowing himself backwards several meters. He was unharmed, though a bit tired. The tree, on the other hand, had a huge hole through its middle, with two sides of it barely connecting. The piercing power of this attack was tremendous, he realized, easily powerful enough to deal with any low level monsters.

    Dale stopped watching Feng practice, and decided to practice his Aura Art. He made a motion to avoid using the massive store of energy locked inside him if he could. He had yet to find a safe way to tap into this, and decided to use his own innate energy instead. First, Dale slowed time to 95%, by focusing on a mental image of his energy compressing the time around his body. Then, he focused his will, and started to infuse his Aura into his fist. It was a slow process, but one that he felt he could do 100% of time successfully.

    Dale practiced this a few times, expending a slight amount of energy before stopping. Feng finished his practice two, and the boys glanced at each other, and decided to make their way up to the center of campus, were the preliminary rounds would be held.

    On their towards the middle of campus, they encountered a small exodus of students walking towards the tourney grounds. They overheard some of the chatter.

    “This fight should be a good one, eh?”

    “Yeah, I heard that the Rank 2 overall is participating!”

    “Oh wow, I guess it’s obvious who’s gonna win, huh.”

    “Did you guys hear? The town of Delmon was attacked by a Space Dragon!”

    “Whaaat? Did anyone live?”

    “I’ve been training my Earth Art, heh, I should be unmatched now!”

    “In your dreams, Yaon!”

    Dale and Feng went with the flow. Eventually, they came upon a massive building. It was also shaped like a coliseum, apparently a popular architecture choice for the school. It was enshrouded in a gold and white film, and gave off a feeling of majesty. It was also absolutely massive, you could Dale and Fengs entire dorm inside the arena with room to spare. This wasn’t counting all the seats for the audience.

    One of the entrances was gathering participants, Dale and Feng made their way over there, patiently waiting in line. Feng was bursting with eagerness, ready to test how powerful he had become. Dale was more calm, trying to focus on pulling his energy through his veins over and over. Both Dale and Feng were still on the early stage of being a Coal Metal Core expert, however, they were very close to being a middle stage expert. Neither of them had neglected there meditation, and had paid close attention to focus on raising there strength. Feng, because it was his dream to hold absolute power, Dale because he was interested in manipulating Time and strengthening his Aura. Dale also decided that if he met the Iron Core expert that had tried to bully him, Collin something, he would teach him a lesson. He hated inequality.

    Suddenly, a young man walked past, giving off a majestic silver aura. The nearby students stop and stared. He was a young man, with golden red hair, and imposing green eyes. He gave off a feeling of viciousness, and looked like he was prepared to fight an army. All the students immediately made way for him, allowing him to go to the front of the line, and register that he was here.

    “Looking arrogant as usual I see, Frederick” called out a familiar voice to their left. Dale and Feng glanced over, startled, because it was Kyle that spoke!

    “Kyle.” Fredrick DeMonge, the current Rank 2 in the school said, his voice dripping venom, “I don’t suppose you’re participating in this Tourney?”

    “Nope!” said Kyle, smiling cheerfully.

    “Coward.” Fredrick responded, his eyes glaring daggers at Kyle.

    “Hahaha, whatever you say mate.” Kyle brushed him off, and walked towards the spectator section, ignoring Fredrick. Fredrick turned around, and walked back inside. The various students left began talking amongst themselves, wondering what caused the enmity between the Rank 2 and Rank 11.

    “It would be a good fight.” said one student.

    Another scoffed, “Kyle is only Rank 11. Fredericks Rank 2, it wouldn’t be anything.”

    “Ranks aren’t set in stone.” voiced another.

    Dale and Feng quickly worked there way through the line, and finished registering for the tournament, ready to fight.

    --------------------------------


    Tournament Participant – Feng Constantine – A Block – 126th spot

    Tournament Participant – Dale Wensworth – D block – 221st spot

    Dale and Feng looked over their spots, comparing them to each other.

    “It looks like we won’t meet till the finals!” exclaimed Feng, comparing the chart. The tournament was home to roughly 1000 contenders. To manage the large number of participants, it was split into 4 separate blocks, with roughly 250 participants per block. At the Semi-finals, the A block champion would face the B block champion, and vice versa for the D and C block champions.

    “Who’s your first opponent?” Dale asked, looking at his list curiously. Dales first opponent was someone called ‘Myra Tazman’.

    Feng replied, “I don’t recognize his name, it says ‘Tyler Keevil.’ You know him?” he said, wondering.

    “Nope.” Dale replied. It wasn’t surprising. There were over 150,000 students in the Main School alone, to not recognize some of them was completely normal. In the background, as they talked, students were organizing according to blocks at the teachers yelled and motioned at them.

    "Split up into your seperate blocks!" yelled a rather overbearing, fat instructor. "D Block to the North, C to the East, B to the West, and A to the South. Move!" The fat instructor moved towards the D block section.

    Feng and Dale glanced at each other, and split up in separate directions.

    “See you at the top!” yelled Feng, as he rushed through the crowd towards where A block was gathering.

    “You know it!” Dale gave him a thumbs up, and moved his way through the crowd. Soon, he reached the D block section, and settled in, waiting for the other students to arrive. The fat instructor stood up and began to explain the rules.

    “Hello everyone, welcome to the first fights of our Main School Representative Tournament!” he said, glancing around calmly, “I hope you all do well, and represent the best and brightest of us. I’m going to go over the rules, please bear with me.” He reached into his pockets, bringing out a hand sized piece of faded yellow paper.

    “Ahem. Here they are. First, the only way someone can lose is by either being knocked out of the arena, knocked unconscious, or surrendering. If someone surrenders, you must immediately stop attacking. Failure to do so will result in your automatic loss. Secondly, Under no circumstances are you allowed to permanently main, or kill your opponent. Dangerous attacks are fine, but this is a tournament to find our 10 school representatives, not a death match. Please refrain from murder. Thirdly, blunted wooden weapons will be distributed to those who use weapons to fight. Bringing your own weapon is not allowed. However, manipulating the Elements to create a weapon to use is allowed. Lastly, any type of cheating will result in an automatic loss, if detected by the instructors. Any questions?” the teacher asked, as he finished speaking, rolling the paper up and replacing it in his pocket.

    Dale and the rest of the students shook their heads. The teacher began splitting the students up according to their matches. The preliminary battles would take place in the right corner of the stadium, where 10 circles lay on the ground. There were also 10 different teachers, here to referee the fights. Several of the battles soon started, clashing and yells could be heard as students went all out. Soon, Dales name was called.

    “Dale Wensworth Vs. Myra Tazman! Both of you please come to this ring!”

    Dale made his way to the ring, stepping over the bump in the ground. A girl walked into the ring on the opposite side. Dale stopped for a moment, staring. He couldn’t help himself, nearby all the male students eyes were glued to her as well. She was absolutely stunning. She had gorgeous light blonde hair, shining in the afternoon light like a star across the sky, with beautiful deep blue eyes that had a hint of ice in them. She had full lips, red like a deep and depthless rose, and her cheeks were faintly pink, giving off a sense of innocence and beauty.

    Dale recovered his composure, momentarily, stepping into the ring and bowed at her. “Hello! My name is Dale, let’s have a good match.”

    The girls eyes stared at him as if he didn’t exist and said “Yes, I’m Myra, let’s go.” a bit rudely. Clearly, she didn’t consider him an opponent. The referee glance at both sides and said “Match start!”

    Immediately, the air around the girl began to sink in temperature, and two shards of ice spawned into the air, floating around her hair. She stared at Dale imperiously, and flung them at him, moving at a very fast speed. A steelish aura enveloped her as she concentrated her power.

    As soon as she started to move, Dale had slowed time to 95%, waiting to see what she do. When she launched her Ice spikes, Dale had already dodged out of the path of trajectory, and started rushing forward.

    However, as the girl saw Dale dodge her spikes, she suddenly grew furious, and the ground began to tremble. Dale, noticing this, immediately jumped in the air, dodging out of the path of several massive spokes of ice. Suddenly, a spike of ice burst out of one of the previous spikes, aimed at Dale while he was in mid air.

    Dale stared at the ferocious spike of ice hurtling towards his chest, as he fell through the air, with nowhere to dodge. The watching students gasped in suspense, waiting to see wretched his body pierced by the ice, falling to the ground dead.

    --------------------------------


    A massive spike of ice was ripping through the air, aimed directly at his chest. Dale watched it, and slowed time to a full 80%. The world slowed down, as light stretched and time slowed. Peoples screams faded quietly, and everything that was blurred slowed to a perceptible speed. Dale shifted his hands, preparing to smash against the ice.

    Just as the spike of ice was about to pierce him, Dale shifted his chest, pushing off the ice as it cut past him, moving in slower motion. He smashed against the ice, shattering it, as he flipped through the air, speeding time back up to 95%.

    The surrounding crowd gaped in astonishment, not believing their eyes. A Coal Metal Core expert had successfully dodged a Steel Metal Core experts attack. The way the Coal expert moved too was unnatural, as if he could see the future, and dodged perfectly.

    “He’s a Time Art user!” exclaimed one of the students! The others looked on in surprise, then nodded, as it made sense. While the Time Arts were extremely difficult to practice in, they granted a great deal of power when it came to dodging attacks and telegraphing moves. The main downsides were that the Time Arts were seen as fast but not powerful, and the difficulty in cultivating the skill set a high bar.

    The cold eyed beauty, Myra, glared at him, and launched several more ice attacks, each aimed at piercing his chest and freezing him in place. Dale, however, had gotten a feeling for her pattern, basing his strategies on her previous attacks, and dodging began to become easier and easier, as the fight continued. Suddenly, he dashed forward, using his Heavy Steps, Quick Movement technique to change directions directly at her.

    Myra threw up a huge ice wall, attempting to stop him in his tracks while she gathered her energy to fling a collage of ice spikes at him. However, what she didn’t know is that while he stepped forward quickly, Dale had begun focusing his Aura in to his fist. After creating a massive circle of energy in his head, he forced most of it inside the momentum of his fist, creating a huge force. As he ran into the wall, he brought his aura fist up.

    “SCREEBOOOOOOOOMMMMM!” a massive screech occurred as the ice wall was completely shattered, shooting ice around the circle they fought in. Myra backed up desperately, not having had enough time to launch her attack, as Dale rushed in, swing his fist upwards. Dale slowed time again, going back to 80% time. He then dodged past her frantic defense, and gave her a slight push.

    Myra sailed through the air, and landed just outside the arena circle, her face frantic as if she was about to be hit by a massive impact. The onlooking students stared at Dale as if he was a monster. A Coal Metal Core expert had just defeated a Steel Metal Core expert, and in a flamboyant and completely overpowering way.

    Myra, sitting on the ground with a bruised tailbone, started to blush and glared across at Dale, practically spitting anger, “You-you you must have cheated! How can you be this strong as a Coal cultivator?!” she exclaimed.

    Several of the onlooking students quietly agreed as well. Dale had turned logic on his head, defeating someone who was several realms above him. In the first place, he shouldn’t have even been able to move her, as Myras personal strength was at the middle Steel level, and she could cause an impact of roughly 7000lbs if she tried. However, that’s without taking into account the fact that Dale can slow down time for himself. With time slowed down, he launched himself at the perfect angle, levering her own force against her, causing her to fall out of the arena with a light push.

    The referee suddenly declared, “Winner Dale! Advances to the next round.” and started calling up the names of other students.

    Myra glared at Dale angrily sputtering, “You, don’t think I’m done with you!!” and stormed off, shouldering.

    Dale winked at her as she left, which only turned to enrage her even more, as she left the arena.

    Smoothly, Dale progressed through his next match. He faced off against an Iron Metal Cultivator in his next match, and defeating him by using his Time Art to flip his opponent outside the arena again.

    However, it was during his third match that he encountered his first real challenge of the Tournament.

    A familiar cultivator giving off an imperious Steel aura walked on to the match as his named was called. He looked quite proud, and gave off a smug look, as if he had broken through recently.

    “Collin Caradon vs Dale Wensworth!” The referee yelled.

    “Match start!”

    --------------------------------


    “Hello trash,” Collin sneered, “Ready to die?” he said, as a Steel aura covered him. He gave off an evil aura, one that spoke of barely suppressed rage and arrogance.

    “I’m impressed. You reached the Steel Metal Core level, huh?” said Dale sarcastically. “You’re only what, 16? 17? That’s pretty good.” Some people went their entire lives without rising above the Iron Core level. The first bottleneck for most cultivators was the Steel Core level.

    “Hmph, your toadying will get you nothing.” Collin said, as he gathered energy in his palm. The wind in the arena seemed to slightly draw towards him.

    “I’m just being honest.” Dale shrugged. Some people took things personally; it’s just how it was. Arrogance begets arrogance. Dale kept his eyes on Collin, and slowly began moving forward. Though Dale wasn’t proficient in manipulating wind, he knew better then to take any attack from a Steel Core cultivator head on. While he might be extraordinary for his level, he was still just a Coal Core cultivator. An attack from a Steel Core could easily shatter his bones.

    Collins arm whipped out, “Swish, Swish, Swish!” Three separate blades of wind tore at Dale, moving at a frightening speed. Several members of the audience gasped, thinking Dale would be torn to shreds. However, a few members watched expectantly, having seen Dale deal with the previous 2 cultivators.

    Dale slowed time to 80% for a few seconds, and slipped past the blades of wind, with bare centimeters to spare. As time restored to 95%, the wind crashed into the ground, gouging large chunks out of the earth. Collin had begun gathering energy in his palm, and around his legs as Dale was dodging the first wind blades.

    “You’re quick to dodge, trash, but it’s not unexpected,” he said, smirking, “however, your speed is as nothing to me.” Collin slapped the ground with his legs, as the accumulated energy swept forth, and suddenly, his entire body blurred as he shot towards Dale. Dale backpedaled hurriedly, dodging to the left, and shifted time to 80%. Immediately, Collins speed slowed down and his movements appeared exaggerated. However, his speed still exceeded Dales by a slight margin.
    Collin whipped the air, and several wind blades began gouging through the sky like blades through butter. Dale dodged again and again, slowly taking note of his opponent’s patterns. Suddenly, Collin blasted through the air at breakneck speed and appeared right next to Dale, before he could react.


    “WHOOSH!” “WHAP” Dale was thrown to the side, flipping through the air, and landed roughly on the ground. His chest was aching, and a dribble of blood leaked out of his mouth, as he swayed back up. He stood on his feet, slightly dizzy, turning quickly and looking for Collin.

    “WHOOSH!” Three feet from him, Collins fist was blasting through the air, with whips of wind surrounding it, homing in on Dales face. Dale had no time to dodge, and mere seconds before he was impacted.
    Dale calmed his heart, instantly dropped his time slowing to 95%, and gathered his Aura, reinforcing the air in front of his head.

    “FFBOOOOOSSSH!” a massive impact sent shockwaves crashing into the air, rupturing the ground slightly. Collin was blown back a step or two, while Dale was blasted all the way to the edge of the ring. Because of his quick thinking, he had managed to nullify the majority of the impact, but what remained was enough to severely injure him. Dale was panting, clutching on to his side, blood dribbling down his cheek. He coughed up some blood.

    “Where’s your confidence now, trash?” Collin yelled, rushing forward once again, covering his legs in wind. Dale glanced up at him, and slowed time to 80%, thinking furiously. In his mind, Dale had already calculated the majority of Collins attack patterns. With Dales accelerated thinking, as well as the fact that time was slowed to 80%, he was able to calculate and predict attacks at an otherwise impossible rate. Dale, despite being slower then Collin by a large amount, was dodging before Collin even attacked. Because of this, Collin could no longer land a blow on him.

    “Stop dodging! Do you even know how to right?” Collin said, furiously. He whipped out several more wind blades, panting. Sweat had begun to appear on his forehead, and he was clearly tiring. Collin sat still for a moment, then stopped moving, and sat down. “If you aren’t going to fight and let me attack you, then I will let you attack me. Come, trash.” He looked supremely confident.

    The surrounding students watched on, curious as to how the fight would develop. From there perspective, it was already quite amazing that a Coal Metal Core user could dodge the attacks of a Steel Metal Core user. Collins strength had to be hugely more powerful then Dales, yet Dale managed to avoid each of his attacks smoothly, with bare centimeters to spare. However, now that Collin had stopped wasting energy, and was waiting for Dale to engage him, it looked like he had no chance.

    Dale put on a worried face, while on the inside he was yelling with glee. Quickly, he concentrated his Aura, focusing all of his will into a mental circle of energy. Then, focusing this energy onto a point, he brought the point of energy to rest just under his fist. Instantly, he felt the large sea of power, sloshing around inside his soul. He attempted to divert a small stream of it into his fist.

    Fiery energy blazed into his body, completely contained, and crashed around through his energy veins. He quickly cut off his connection with the sea of energy, and garnered control over the small stream he had managed. Dale began sweating furiously, trying to wrest complete control over this power. He forced his will onto it, refusing to bow, refusing to be defeated. The power slowly came under his control, unruly and unwilling, but without a choice. Dale felt it roiling inside of him, and was astonished at the power. He opened his eyes, glancing at the sitting Collin. He slowly began to step forward.

    From Collins perspective, his opponent had stood still for a moment, and adopted a worried face, and started sweating furiously, then slowly stepping forward. Collin smirked, thinking the battle was already over, and waited for Dale to walk close enough for him to be crushed. He decided against attacking early, not wanting Dale to revert back to his agile dodging.

    Dale slowed time to 95%, and leapt forward, concentrating all of his mind on transiting the energy from his fist to the force and momentum of his punch. Collin watched, preparing to attack while looked down on Dale. The speed at which Dale was punching led him to believe that the attack was harmless, and indeed, if a regular Coal Metal Core expert attacked like this, it would have no practical effect on a Steel Core expert.

    In a few seconds, Dale arrived within a few meters of Collin, swinging his fist at Collin. Collin, who had been concentrating his energy on recovering, let loose with a full force blow from his fist, with a huge amount of energy manipulating the wind around him, creating a huge and strong blow. Dales weak looking punch looked like a joke, to the various members of the audience.

    The ground crackled, and wind whipped through the air, as Dale and Collins fists made contact…

  • edited September 2015
    --------------------------------


    Dale and Collins fists collided. A massive impact shattered through the air, causing rippling shockwaves, shattering the ground beneath where they stood. Blades of wind whipped out, against a huge and overwhelming Aura. Onlookers were forced back a few steps, as the massive Aura dominated the field.

    “He can use the difficult Aura type of Art too?!?” several onlookers gaped in astonishment. Never in the history of the Main School had a Coal Metal Expert been adept at both Aura and Time. It was already exceeding rare to find a Time Coal Metal Core user. For him to be able to use Aura too was beyond ridiculous. It was practically monstrous.

    The massive impact split between the two of them, and both of there were forced back, flying through the air. Dale, with an inhumane force of will, kicked down, smashing his legs into the ground, forcing himself to stop, landing barely inside the arena ring. He looked down at his hand, which was badly injured from the impact. Blood had covered his hand, and he could see bone.

    He looked up, towards where Collin had fallen. Collin was in a daze, with a dribble of blood sliding down his face. He looked stunned, and had landed roughly 6 meters outside of the ring. He wasn’t as badly injured as Dale.

    “Winner! Dale Wensworth, advances!” cried the referee.

    Collin quickly roused himself, protesting, “I’m fine! I just slipped, I haven’t lost!” Collin refused to accept that he could have possibly lost to someone who was only in the Coal layer. He unsteadily got to his feat, his delicate features filled with rage.

    The referee, a Silver Metal Core layer expert, glared down at Collin stating, “Do you wish to question my decision?” his eyes spelled death.

    Collin glared at him annoyed, then relented and said, “No instructor.” grinding his teeth. He glared across the field at Dale, and them limped off.

    The instructor walked up to Dale, glancing down at his fist with a concerned look. “Here, take this.” He said, bringing out a light yellow orb. It gave off a warm and cozy feeling. “This orb will hear the majority of your injuries.”

    Dale nodded gratefully, and swallowed the orb, feeling its healing energy take over. His body began to reknit itself, slowly covering the exposed bone, and the pain he had felt was replaced by a warm feeling of happiness. Slowly, his energy stores restored himself, and he felt a warm glow surrounding him. This was the first time he had ever taken a healing orb, it’s effects were truly miraculous. From what he had learnt in his classes, the orb was creating using portions of Monster Cores as a base.

    Slowly, the matches around him came to a finish, and a teacher dressed in an austere and noble looking outfit yelled, “Todays matches have been resolved! All students please return to your dorms to rest! Tomorrow’s matches will begin at noon. That is all, thank you!” the teacher walked off, towards a gathering of the rest of instructors. Students around the arena began to peel off through the various entrances. Dale made his way over towards the A block, looking for Feng.

    Dale pushed his way through the crowd, spotting Feng leaning against the far wall. “Feng! Hey!” he waved. Feng nodded, smiling back, looking quite smug.

    “Heyo! How’d your matches go, Dale?” he said, with a glimmer in his eye.

    “I won all of them! The last one was a bit difficult though.” He stated, smiling. Feng seemed very eager to share how he performed. “How about yours?”

    “I won them all as well! I fought 2 Iron Core users, and a Coal Core user!” he said, smugly. “And I won against them all!” he looked at Dale expectantly, waiting for him to be astonished. Dale clapped lightly. “Who’d you fight against?”

    “Remember that Collin kid I told you about?” Dale said, leadingly, “I fought against him in my last match. He had advanced to the Steel Aura level. It wasn’t an easy match, and if it had been an actual battle, I don’t think I would have won. However, I managed to knock him outside the ring, and advanced.”

    “Niiiice!” Feng said, hi-fiving him, “About time someone taught that jerk a lesson, ahaha.” He started to hop around eagerly, full of energy even after having fought several matches.

    Dale nodded, and they made their way towards the northern exit, the one closest to them. They joined the large exodus of students, on their way, overhearing the various complaints and gossip.

    “Did you see Frederick go? Dude he’s brutal, I hope I don’t match up against him! I hear he’s in D block.”

    “Yeah man, he’s ridiculously powerful.”

    “What about that Life expert from C Block though? I think his name is Raven. He practically indestructible!”

    “Did you see the monster Coal expert in A Block?”

    “You mean D Block, right? Yeah that guy was crazy, he beat a Steel Core expert.”

    “No, he was in A Block! And he didn’t fight any Steel Core experts. What are you talking about?!”

    “No, he was-…

    Dale and Feng walked through the entrance, separating from the crowd on their way back to the apartment. They began to the discuss the various battles they had, comparing strategies and deciding what the other would do in their situation.

    Feng whistled, “I think I would’ve lost, if I faced that Collin prick.” He said, as they walked towards their dorm area. Feng glanced around at the surrounding trees, as if he wanted to practice breaking them with his newfound prowess in his flame Art.

    “It was a hard fight, like I said.” Dale shrugged, not too interested in the results of the fight. He had won, and that’s all that mattered. “Who do you think you’re up against tomorrow? Any ideas?”

    “No.” Feng replied, glumly, “The teachers wouldn’t give any hints, it’s supposed to be random.” He shrugged back at Dale.

    They arrived at their dorm, and split up, promising to meet in the morning tomorrow to practice before the next tournament rounds.

    Dale went back to his room, and started meditating. He focused on the battles he fought, integrating the experience he gained in with his strategies. He felt that if he hadn’t been so naive and unexplored in battle, he would have performed much better, without injuring himself as badly. He focused for a bit, and then headed off to sleep.

    The next day

    Dale and Feng were practicing outside the dorm, in the grass area. They were just lightly warming up, discussing how they planned on fighting, and practicing. They decided against wasting energy, especially since the tier of opponents they would be battling this late in the tournament would be top notch.

    After practicing for about an hour, Feng and Dale grabbed a late breakfast, and headed over to the tournament coliseum, at the center of campus. They encountered a much larger flow of students as they walked. Apparently, now that the preliminaries were over, and the final 120~ students were picked, the fights would be more exciting, and more people came to watch.

    Dale and Feng arrived at the grounds, splitting up to their personal blocks, ready to fight, but nervous and excited at the same time. Dale patiently waited as various fights started. Suddenly, Dale heard his name called.

    “Dale Wensworth vs Frederick DeMonge!” called the referee, glancing around as Dale stepped into the ring.

    “Match start!”

    --------------------------------


    “Match start!”

    Dale glanced at Frederick. He was still arrogant looking, giving off the feeling that he was superior to everyone. He wasn’t even paying attention to Dale. Frederick turned around, looking at Dale in surprise.

    “Step off the arena.” He said, waiting expectantly. The audience waiting around looked at the fight and nodded their agreement. They could see that Dale was merely a Coal Core level expert, while Frederick was the Rank 2 in the entire school, a Silver Core level expert. Dale had no chance.

    Regardless, Dale refused to give up without a fight, saying, “No.”

    Frederick stared at him for a second, not believing that some kid would refuse him. He glared at him for a moment, then spat out, “Fine, have it your way. Try not to die.” A huge silver aura enveloped him, and he blasted forward.

    Immediately as the Silver aura descended, Dale slowed time to 80%, already beginning his dodging motion to avoid Frederick’s attack. He knew he had no real chance against the Rank 2, but he had to try. However, Dale had underestimated the power and speed of the Rank 2 boy. Despite time being slowed to 80%, Frederick appeared before Dale in an instant, swiping his arm to the side, intending to blast him off the stage. Dale responded, dashing forward into the attack, dodging Fredericks arm by less then a centimeter. However, the wind pressure created by Fredericks attack smashed into Dale, knocking him back several meters. Dale looked down at his ripped clothing, feeling his aching chest.

    “I cannot let him hit me!” he thought, working out a strategy furiously. Dale refused to give up, however, he couldn’t find a single scenario where he won. Frederick slowly turned around, yet again surprised that the Coal Expert who stood before him remained in the arena.

    “You do have some talent.” He said, grudgingly, “However, with just this level of strength, you will never match me. Come back and try again in a few years.” He lunged forward again, a silver aura enveloping him. This time, however, a blade of wind enveloped his legs, and he instantaneously arrived in front of Dale, slapping out again.

    Dale stared at the incoming blow, powerless. It was simply too fast! He furiously ducked, trying to avoid the blow. Dale smashed against his arm, and was thrown back through the air. He furiously cut his legs down, managing to slow himself just inside the arena, at the outer edge.

    “Why are you struggling so?” Frederick said, staring at him, “There’s no shame in losing to me. Accept your fate.” He dashed forward, leading his attack with another instantaneous blow, this time a kick towards Dales chest.

    As Dale watched the blow descend, he knew in his heart that he could not dodge this blow. Dale had never wanted anything more in his life, then to be able to dodge this blow. He focused all of his will, his concentration reaching a new high, putting every single fiber of his being into dodging this attack.

    Suddenly, Dale felt a huge pool of energy in his mind. It was similar to the power of his Aura when he concentrated, however, this power was in his mind, and seemed much softer and less overt. Dale grasped this power, pouring a huge stream of it into his body, mentally screaming at himself to dodge.

    As Dale forced the huge energy into his veins, time began to slow. And slow again. And again. He glanced around, surprised. Fredericks blow, which was previously lightning fast and not dodge-able, had slowed to a crawl. The sound all around Dale had dropped away, it was as if he was alone in the world. Fredericks blow slowly whipped towards Dale. Dale ducked slightly under it, feeling the air pressure move through the air. He swept just under it, and jumped to the left. Suddenly, he lost a hold of the huge river of energy and time returned back to its normal pace.

    “WHOOOOSH! CRASH!” Fredericks massive blow shattered into the ground, creating shockwaves, and moving the earth. Several of the nearby onlookers were forced a step back. However, everyone’s attention was on Dale.

    “What the hell was that?!” was the uniform thought. They had been watching the battle so far, and saw Fredericks impossibly quick attack flare out towards Dale, and had been eagerly awaiting the results of that blow, expecting Dale to be smashed into smithereens. However, the impossible had occurred, and the space around Dale had blurred, and he had suddenly appeared to the left of Fredericks strike. It was impossible, yet it had happened. Frederick turned around, eyes blazing, “How is this possible?! How could you dodge my attack! You, a mere Coal level expert, are nothing compared to me!” He viciously advanced on Dale, death in his eyes. Frederick was enraged, having to go all out against a Coal level expert infuriated him.

    However, at that exact moment, a huge amount of fatigue crashed into Dale, and Dale fell to the ground, watching as blackness took him over, the last thing he saw was Fredericks face filled with fury and malice.

    Dale gratefully swept into the darkness, resting his eyes, and fell into blissful unawareness.

    --------------------------------


    A few days later

    Dale sat up from his meditation, glancing around his room. After losing his fight to Frederick in the Representative Tournament, Dale had decided to solely focus on improving his strength. His last battle was very taxing, and if he had a higher base of cultivation, it might have turned out differently.

    Thanks to the past several days of focus, Dale had broken through to the middle phase of the Coal Metal Core layer. His strength had risen a small amount, and he felt that his energy veins had grown a small bit.

    After he had collapsed from his match, the arena staff had taken him away to the infirmary, where he was treated. They released him back to his dorm the next day, determining that the reason for his collapse was due to exhaustion and fatigue. Feng had also lost his match, fighting against a Silver Core user that manipulated Ice.

    Dale got up, and walked out of his room, down the hall towards Fengs room. He knocked on the door “Feng, are you here?”

    “Yeah, come in.” he yelled in a muffled tone, the sound partially blocked by the doorway. Dale walked in.

    “How’s your strength? Have you reached the middle phase yet?” Dale asked.

    Feng shook his head, saying, “Not yet.”

    Dale nodded, replying “I just reached the middle phase a little while ago." Dale was a bit proud of his achievement.

    “Alright man! Nice!” Feng congratulated him, slapping him on the back.

    "So whats up, Dale?” Feng asked, curious. Dale usually visited him for a reason, when they weren’t messing around.

    “Feng, I don’t know what to do. I feel like we aren’t strong enough, but I don’t know how to get stronger quicker.” Dale explained, “I talked to one of the teachers, and they just told me to focus on my studies, and meditation. They all give me the same answer.” He shrugged.

    Feng nodded, understanding. “I know what you mean. I think it’s because were kids, Dale. We don’t get taken seriously. I’ve spoken with the Principal, Instructor Darren, while you were practicing. He gave me some advice that’s been helping me.” Feng said, gesturing towards the floating flame that he had been focusing on, when Dale came in.

    “Why don’t you go talk to him?” Feng said, “He’s a Gold Core expert, I’m sure he’d have some helpful advice, even though he's a bit scary."

    “Alright, I’ll try it. I’m going to write a letter to my Grandpa as well.” Dale walked off, and exited the dorm, heading towards the central campus.

    The Main School campus is very large. At the center of this huge campus lies a large castle like building. The building looked like a classical castle, with large buttresses, and an imposing front gate. However, it lacked a moat and the gate was always wide open. It is home to several higher-level training and instruction rooms, as well as the principal’s office. Principle Darren was a very involved principle, and would often drop by in random classes to keep the teachers on their toes, Dale had heard from other students.

    Dale made his way towards the center of the campus, walking past several students practicing various Arts. He saw one student controlling a Dragon made of water, having it float through the air and scare various younger students as they walked by. When he tried to scare Dale, Dale simply stared at him and laughed. The older student glanced at him in confusion, thinking he was an odd kid. Very mature for a 10 year old.

    Soon, Dale reached the central castle. Walking inside, he walked over to one of the smaller rooms to the side, where a large elderly man could be seen sitting inside. The man was completely bald, without a beard or hair on his head. He had several scars on his face, and gave off a slightly ferocious, but at the same time, kind air. He was talking to a rather odd elderly looking teacher. The teacher had slightly blue hair, with an oddly familiar white stripe in it. He had a slight build, not very muscular, but not emaciated either. He gave off an odd air, as if he wasn’t used to talking to people. A secretary greeted Dale.

    “Yes can I help you?” asked the clerk.

    “I wanted to see the Principal, I had some questions involving my training.” Dale said, nervously.

    “Name? Do you have an appointment?” the clerked looked at him, expectantly.

    “Uh, my name is Dale, and no, I don’t have an appointment. I didn’t know I needed to have one.”

    The clerk looked at him disdainfully, “This is a huge school. Principal Darren is a very busy person. Please come back when you have an appointment booked. Here is a list of openings.” The clerk pulled out a long list, filled with lines and lines of writing.

    “Never mind,” Dale walked off, grumbling. Just as he was about to exit, a voice called out to him!

    “Boy! You there! You said your name was Dale?” exclaimed the blue haired teacher who had been talking to the principle.

    “Yes instructor, my name is Dale, Dale Wensworth.” Said Dale, bowing, wondering what the teacher wanted.

    “I heard from one of our fellow teachers, you are a Time Art practice?” he said, questioningly. He had an eager look in his eye, and gestured rather oddly while he talked, as if he was trying to convey his meaning with his hands.

    “Yes, I use the Slowed Time Fist Art.” Dale said, waiting to see how the teacher responded.

    “Excellent!” the teacher proclaimed, “I am Instructor Lem! Northenk Lem. I also happen to be a Time Art Practitioner.” He said, warmly smiling at Dale, “I gather you don’t have a specific master yet?”

    “Yes sir,” Dale said respectfully. On the inside, he was secretly jumping for joy. Finally! A teacher that doesn’t ignore him and treat him like a child!

    “Though you may not know it, Time Art practitioners are very rare,” Continued Instructor Lem, “Would you be willing to be this old fools disciple?” he glanced at Dale. A glimmer was present in his eye. Lem had been searching for a suitable disicple for years. It truly was rare to find anyone that pracitced the Time Art.

    “Yes sir! I would!” exclaimed Dale, excitedly. Childish delight showed in his eyes, as he imagined all the amazing techniques he would learn now that he had a master.

    “Excellent! Let’s start immediately! Follow me!” Instructor Lem turned around, with Dale in tow, heading out towards the outside of the castle.

    Dale followed, overjoyed at his luck.

    3 hours later

    Dale immensely regretting becoming Instructor Lem’s disciple. The teacher wasn’t human, he was a demon, Dale was convinced. Dale had been standing still for the past hour and a half, balancing himself on a wooden log, while the Teacher occasionally shook the log while he read a book. Dale glared at him hatefully.

    The first hour and a half of training was hard, but nothing impossible. It involved various jogging, weight lifting, and flexibility exercises to, as Instructor Lem put, “Test your foundation.”

    Dale stood, perched precariously on the shifting log, doing his utmost to concentrate on not falling. Slowly, he began to feel the balance in the log, just a little bit at first, but increasing as time went on. Soon, he no longer shifted as much, and maintaining his balance when Instructor Lem struck the log was much easier.

    “Very good, very good.” Said the demon teacher, nodding his head approvingly, “Todays key lesson is about maintaining your balance, no matter what elements obstruct you. The most important thing for a Time Art user is to never lose his balance. You will depend on your speed to dodge opponent’s attacks, and deliver your own riposte’s. Losing your balance is a deadly mistake.” Suddenly, he turned around lightning quick, throwing a powerful kick towards Dales head. Dale ducked furiously, slipping off the log, and hitting the ground. “However, you have a long way to go.”

    1 week later

    “Dale, come here for a moment.” Instructor Lem called out to him, “I have something important to talk to you about.” They were outside, in the northwestern section of campus, in a small yard filled with trees. Dale was perched on the balancing log, concentrating on not falling. Over the past week, it had started to become easier and easier to maintain his balance. Lem was secretly surprised, he’d never seen a student improve at such a fast rate. The Instructor was reclining, sitting against a tree, with a rather somber look on his face.

    “Yes instructor!” Dale said, dragging his verifiably dying(in his opinion) body over to the teacher.

    “Dale, why do you practice martial arts? What do you hope to do, in this world?” said Instructor Lem, “What is your goal?” he looked at Dale expectantly.

    Dale thought about it for a moment. Then, a moment more. Dale realized, with surprise, that he had never really considered why he wanted to become strong. He had always felt that he must become strong, in order to right a wrong. But there was no wrong to right. Dale looked around, in confusion. He told the Instructor, “I’m not sure, teacher. I..I always felt that I wanted to be strong in order to fix something. But I don’t know what I need to fix. It’s just a feeling I’ve always had.” He shrugged.

    “Righting a wrong is a honorable reason to desire strength.” Instructor Lem said, nodding his head approvingly, “However, Dale, if you are to truly be my student, there are a few things you must promise me.” Dale nodded.

    “I am a member of an International Organization known as the Order of Fallen Time. We are more commonly known as Time Knights. You can instantly recognize one of our kind by the white stripe in our hair,” he continued, gesturing at his own light blue head of hair, and the strip of whiteness that hung in it.

    “Our goal is to maintain the Balance of Time. Since ancient times, there have been constant battles between man and monsters. Legend speaks of a time where Dragons ruled, and humans were mere slaves, obeying every whim. It is our purpose to make sure something like that never happens. I am one of the missionaries sent out in to the world, to recruit new blood.” Instructor Lem spoke proudly, his eyes filling with fervor and strength, “We are humanities last shield!”

    As the Instructor went on, Dales eyes began to acquire a glow. It was every boys dream to be a hero, and his Instructor was offering him a chance on a silver platter. Dale began to imagine himself, a glorious knight, slaying monsters left and right, while saving beautiful women.

    The Instructor continued on, “However, it’s not all fun and heroics. Time Knights must travel from continent to continent, moving forward with their assigned projects, always fighting for justice. It is a hard life. That’s not to say it doesn’t come with its share of glory, it does! However, for the most part, our heroics are unknown, and only your fellow Time Knights will truly know what you do for mankind.” The Instructor looked back at Dale, and noticed his eyes were unfocused, no doubt imagining future glories. He ruefully shook his head, laughing. Dale was very mature for his age, he sometimes forgot that he was still a child.

    “Regardless, today starts as your first official day of training! Now that we are past the warm up and conditioning practice, we can move on to real training!” The Instructor said, with an overly cheery expression of his face.”

    Dale groaned, and prepared for the worst.

    --------------------------------

    The Deadlands, Chel Continent

    A massive Dragon drifted in slumber, dreaming of days of conquest and destruction. The great Drake slowly raised its eyes and awoke, glancing around at its lair. The years had taken their toll, with several large cracks appearing in the huge cave wall. The Dragon was sitting on a huge crystal rock that gave off a bluish aura, in the depths of the earth. A large, dark cavern spread around the Drake, with countless shadowy passageways spread around in every direction.

    “Wrrrraaaaatttthhhhhhhh..” the drake rumbled, his deep voice shaking the air. The huge Dragon was colored a deep and powerful ruby red, with huge glinting eyes, narrowed to slits now, staring out at the world. He had a huge wingspan, and gave off a majestic aura that could bring kings to their knees. Right now, however, he looked quite angry. “WRAAAATHHH!” he roared, grumbling loudly.

    Quickly, a smaller but still massive Dragon rushed into the cave, “Yes milord.” Wrath said, slowly tasting the air with his tongue. Wrath was also a Ruby dragon, with a large Ruby set in his heart, “What does milord require?”

    “I felt a Fire Lord awaken, somewhere in this continent,” said the Ancient Drake, it’s eyes glowing, “Bring him to me.”

    “Yes milord!” cried Wrath, quickly bowing and making an exit. The ground rumbled as he swiftly moved through the passageways.

    The Ancient Drake slowly lowered his head, and closed his eyes, resting as time continued its inevitable march.

    Morn Main School, Chel Continent

    “WHAP!” Dale was sent smashing through the air, barely managed to land on his feet, and spin around, resuming his guard position, launching a lightning fast riposte. “CLANG!” Dales blade collided with his opponents and he was sent flying again.

    “Maintain your balance! There is nothing more important to a Time Knight.” Declared Instructor Lem, as he wove his Rapier in a beautiful but powerful attack. It was all Dale could do to block his attack, and it was clear that Instructor Lem was not trying hard. “To date, the only opponents you have fought have been children.” He said, shaking his head, “Their naïve way of fighting has infected you. When you fight against a child, of course maintain your balance isn’t a necessity. After all, they may be strong, but none of them are masters. However, in the real world, there are no children fighters.” Instructor Lem sent Dale flying again.

    Dale was currently learning and practicing the first stage of the Time Knight Weapon Technique. This technique was several levels above his previous Slowed Time technique. It was the combat style of all Time Knights, and was ridiculously powerful. Instructor Lem, who was only a Silver Core Expert, could slow time to an incredible 55%, allowing him to make ridiculously fast attacks. These attacks, combined with the deadly accurate piercing power of the Time Knight’s Weapon Technique was truly powerful.

    Time Knights wield a weapon known as a Rapier. Rapiers are long thin metal swords, usually sharpened only at the point. Their piercing power was second to none, and was one of the three weapons of choice for Time Knights. Dale was fighting against Instructor Lem using a small wooden rendition of a Rapier.

    “Focus your energy on compressing time as you move! The key to understanding the Time Knight Weapon Technique is balance. You must perfectly balance yourself, and slip through Time. True masters are said to be able to completely slip through time, freezing time as 0%.” Lem continued, launching another of his smooth attacks.

    Dale focused his energy, slowing time as he slowly struck out. Time slowed to 80%, his rapier lunged out directly at Instructor Lems face. Instructor Lem swept his rapier through the air, almost as if in slow motion, blocking Dales attack, and responding with a riposte of his own. Dale was sent flying again.

    “Hmm, that’s enough for today. You have already advanced to the limit of the first step. You will have advanced to the second step when you can break past the 80% time limit.” Instructor Lem said, slowly lowering his blade. He walked over to the side of the practice room, grabbing one of the buckets he brought, drawing water from it. He handed Dale a cup. Dale accepted gratefully, drinking it down.

    “Your friend Feng is being taught by the Principal himself now, right? I think they should be finished for today as well, off with you!” Lem said, a smile on his face.

    “Yes Instructor!” Dale ran out of the room, waving gratefully despite his aching muscles. It had been 2 months since he accepted Dale as his student. In that time, Dale had successfully broken through to the peak of the Coal Core level, and was making progress in forming his Copper core. He could feel his energy slowly transforming.

    Dale jogged towards his dorm, on the south side of campus. He passed by the dorm where Kyle lived. Kyle and Jerome, the boys who invited then to join them on a future Expedition Force, had been overjoyed when they heard Dale and Feng accept their proposal. The Expedition Force might be a long 3 years from now, but it was never too late to prepare.

    Dale soon passed by the campuses central coliseum, moving through the large building, peeking into training rooms as he walked by. He soon found the one with Feng in it.

    “Power! Strength! Might! Put all of these into your attacks!” yelled a huge, overbearing figure, his face covered in scars. It was Principal Warren, giving off a majestic and powerful air. Feng was standing net to him, drawing in air as he prepared to launch another powerful attack. Feng was undergoing strength training, and was using large powerful attacks over and over, to give him a better grasp at distributing his attacks with maximum efficiency.

    Feng noticed Dale standing in the doorway, and abandoned his attack, sprinting over to Dale. He yelled, “Master! Look, Dale is done! Doesn’t that mean I can go now?” he glanced down meekly at the Principal.

    “Hmph, very well. Get out of my site. Don’t forget to mediate and practice! You are almost through the Copper level, and are at a very important stage!” Warren gestured at them to leave. Dale and Feng complied, heading back towards their dorm.

    “Thank God you came when you did!” gasped Feng, “That old monster is trying to kill me, I swear. He makes me practice full strength for hours, I’m dying.”

    “Oh, it cant be THAT bad,” Dale replied, shrugging his aching muscles, “My instructor tries to stab me to death every time we practice. It’s pure torture I say.” The boys grumbled together, mutually complain about their various practices.

    As they walked towards their southern dorm, they passed by a group of students, gathered in a circle. In the center of this circle, a fight was going on. Two identical looking boys were going at each other, launching powerful attacks, tearing up the ground. The only difference between the two was one of them had a red stripe in his hair blonde hair, while the other didn’t. Both boys had average sized builds, and looked to be around 11 or 12. They gave of a Coal aura, as they swung their fists back and forth.

    “It’s your fault!” screamed the boy with no stripe in his hair.

    “No! It’s yours!” replied the boy with a stripe.

    This went back and forth, as the boys dueled, covering each other in bruises. Dale asked one of the onlookers what started the fight.

    “Apparently these twins confessed to the same girl, and were both rejected. They blame each other.” The fight started to escalate, with the aura of Arts started to join their attacks.

    Suddenly, a suave looking kid who looked perhaps 13 or 14 and was dressed like a noble separated from a pack of gorgeous women and jumped forward. He restrained each brother and said, “Come, let’s not fight! Why can’t we all be friends here, eh? You two look to be brothers, why don’t you just talk over your differences.”

    “Words mean nothing!” yelled the boy with no stripe, preparing to launch a powerful looking attack.

    The noble looking started looking nervous, trying to defuse the situation. Dale stepped forward, grabbing the fists of the boy without a stripe. Feng stepped forward as well, retraining the striped kids arms.

    “Listen to what this guy says. Don’t fight on campus.” Dale said, staring at his classmates coldly. He gave off just a hint of his Aura.

    The boys faces whitened, and they apologized, before running off together, conflicts forgotten. Feng gave Dale a thumbs up. The noble looking boy turned to face him. “Thanks for that!” he said, nodding towards Dale and Feng, “someone might have been injured if they kept fighting! I abhor violence, after all!” he laughed.

    “My name is Regis! Regis Sarn. A pleasure to make your acquaintance!” He smiled cheerfuly at Dale and Feng, “What are your names?”


    “I’m Dale Wensworth, and this is my best friend, Feng Constantine.” They shook hands, smiling. Regis really was quite polite. Regis looked at them for a moment, as if trying to recall something.

    "Aha! Feng Constantine! You have a Lords Bloodline, right? I watched some of your battles during the last Tournament! And Dale, you did amazingly well too! You are a Time Arts user, right?" he exlaimed, looking at the two of them. Time Arts users are incredbily rare, it wasn't unexpected that he would have heard of Dale. As well, once word got out that Feng had the Fire Lords bloodline, his name spread like wildfire.

    Regis looked at them for a moment, as if making a decision. 

    “My father owns several of the largest auction houses in the city,” Regis said, taking our a card, “You guys, feel free to come visit me anytime! When I’m not in class here, I’m helping him take care of auctions, and working on paperwork up there!” he said warmly, “Drop by tomorrow, theirs a huge auction going on, I think you guys would have fun watching it!” he handed Dale and Feng a small silver card that read “Sarn Auctions: Vip Card.”

    The capital city of Morn is home to the largest Auction houses in the world. It was said the wealth of kingdoms was exchanged in these great homes. Items beyond compare, legendary artifacts, Gem level monster cores, secret Art techniques and more were bought and sold at these homes. Hundreds of thousands of gold was exchanged. To be able to even be present at one of the prestigious auctions required either a huge amount of wealth, or connections in the right places. The Sarn Auctions were known to be the wealthiest, filled with the most exotic and exciting items.

    “That’ll get you inside, I’ll be in the 3rd booth at the top, on the right! You guys better come! It’s boring up there alone with my parents and his guests!” He smilled winningly at Dale and Feng, and then ran off through the crowd, back towards the women he was walking with. He waved at Dale and Feng as he exited.

    Dale and Feng exchanged looks, and shrugged, returning back towards there dorm. Tomorrow would be an interesting day, they both thought.

    --------------------------------


    Dale was meditating, concentrating the energy in his veins through his body when Feng crashed into his room, ignoring knocking in lieu of barging in.

    “I broke through last night!” Feng yelled, with an excited look in his eyes. A powerful, coppery aura surrounded him. He was still wearing his nightclothes, ignoring the various yells of other boys in the dorm for him to shut up.

    “I’m finally a Copper Core expert!”

    “Alright!” Dale hi-fived him, a bit annoyed he hadn’t broken through first, even though he was but a half step from forming his own Copper layer. Dale glanced at his now broken wooden door handle, “You broke my door…”

    Feng glanced at the door, glanced at Dale, then back at the door. He slowly backed out in to the hallway, and then raced off to his room to change.

    Dale stared after him, bemusedly, as he picked up and replaced his door. Dale quickly changed, preparing for the day. He met Feng outside his room, and they both made their way to the mess hall for students. The Southside Student Mess, as it was called, was located about a quarter mile from their dorm.

    The Student Mess was a wide and long brown building. It had very few windows, and several large doors. Feng and Dale walked through, picking up some of the roasted chicken and vegetables, and sat down at one of the several long tables inside.

    “What’s it like having a Copper Core?” Dale asked, as he swallowed a particularly large green bean, grimacing. He never liked vegetables.

    “I feel about the same, mostly. However, I think my control over fire grew a little bit. I can now focus on 2 floating flames.” Feng never explained his training to Dale, though he told him it was difficult for him to control individual flames. Feng considered Dale his rival, and didn’t want to spoil his techniques.

    Suddenly, someone clapped Dale on the back, “Howdy! Long time no see, Dale-oh!” Kyles familiar voice floated over his shoulder, “Mind if we sit with you?” Jerome was behind him.

    “Sure, go ahead.” Dale responded, munching on his chicken. As Kyle say down, Feng began shooting questions at him, asking about their future Expedition Force. Dale glanced at Jerome, who was slowly twisting the green beans on his tray.

    “Jerome, what technique do you focus on?” Asked Dale, trying to draw him into conversation.

    Jerome stared at him for a moment, then mumbled, “I am a Space Arts user, at the peak Steel Core level.” He looked around nervously.

    “Wow! A Space Arts user! I’ve never met one.” Dale looked at him, his interest renewed, “Can you teleport?” He had heard that Space Arts users could teleport, and create personal dimensional pockets, as well as powerful attacks that ripped space itself.

    “Yes, but only small distances, perhaps a hundred meters if I have to dodge an attack.” He said, getting slightly more enthusiastic as they talked about his specialty, “My most powerful teleport can move a group of 5 or 6 people roughly 10 miles, but it takes about 5 minutes to set it up.”

    Kyle suddenly chimed in, “Don’t let this guy fool ya. He’s the strongest Space Art user in the entire school. Some of the teachers are weaker then him.” Kyle looked proud of his friend. Jerome just looked nervous. Kyle continued, “He’s also one of the only 3 Space users, however. Not a lot of people can perform that Art.”

    Feng chimed in as well, “Kyle, what Art do you use?” he said, questioningly. Kyle smiled mysteriously.

    “Ah! That’s a secret!” Kyle waved his hands around, trying to seem secretive. Jerome spoke up, “He’s a Sky user, and a damned good one.” He said proudly. He seemed confident when he talked about his friend, though precious little else.

    “Ohhhh!” Feng and Dale said, simultaneously, “That’s awesome!! Can you fly?” They looked at Kyle expectantly.

    “Dammit Jerome! And no, I can’t fly, but I can hover, and can float downwards a great deal. If I get a running start, I can sail over a hundred meters at a decent pace.” Kyle said, looking pretty confident. He seemed to put a great deal of importance into the length he could float.

    “Anyways, what are you two up too today? Down for some practice sparring?” Kyle looked at Feng and Dale.

    “We would! But we were invited to go to the Sarn Auction, later on today. We’re gonna head out and check the place out.” Dale replied, shrugging.

    Kyle whistled loosely, “Wow! How did you two get into a Sarn Auction? Even getting in just to see the auction is super expensive.” He rubbed his fingers together, as if he was counting the money.

    “A friend invited us!” Feng said. Dale thought about Regis, and his impromptu invitation. It really was quite abrupt, but Dale was eager to see what would be auctioned.

    “Lucky! Well, you’ll have to tell us what you see! The hands of the super rich change money at Sarn auctions, you can find the rarest of items there. I hear they have locations in other kingdoms too.” Kyle declared, as he finished eating and stood up. Jerome followed him, picking up his tray. “We’ll see you guys around!” Jerome waved, and they walked off.

    Dale and Feng exchanged glances, and finished eating. They took their trays over to the counter, turning them in, and left the mess hall. They quickly went back to their dorms and changed. Dale went off to find his Instructor Lem, while Feng went to talk to the Principal.

    Dale arrived at Instructors Lems office, which was set up in the side of one of the training buildings.

    “Instructor!” Dale yelled, knocking on his door. Lem came to the door.

    “Dale? What can I do for you? We don’t meet till later.”

    “Yes master, I just wanted to ask if its alright if I miss practice today. A friend of mine invited me to the Sarn Auction that’s happening today, and I wanted to ask permission to go to it.” Dale replied, bowing respectfully.

    Instructor Lem looked up in surprise, “A Sarn auction? Well, I certainly can’t hold you from that!” he said with a laugh. “It’s time you had a break, enjoy yourself! Take some time to think your goals as well. Stay strong!” Instructor Lem smiled down at him. Dale took his leave, deciding to take a walk while he waited on Feng. As he walked towards his dorm, passing packs of students as they walked by, Dale decided to write to his grandpa. The past few weeks had been very hectic, and he hadn’t managed to find the time yet.

    Dale went over to the Student Mail Hall, the schools hub for mail. Students receiving or sending out mail would meet here. The Student Mail Hall was a medium sized building. It wasn’t very large, but it had a very quiet feel in it. It had a brown roof, with large white walls surrounding it. There were no windows, though it had a very large door, at least 10 feet tall, open in the front.

    Dale walked in the front. On the inside, there was a large counter towards the back, with large piles of mail scattered across various boxes. A tired looking old man was manning the counter, helping a pair of students send off some writing. Dale walked into line behind the two students currently being served. Soon, the students finished there business and left. Dale walked up to the front.

    “Howdy. What can I do for you, youngster?” asked the elderly gentleman, with a kindly if tired smile on his face.

    “I’d like to write a letter,” Dale began, twiddling his fingers, “I don’t have any paper or ink, though.” Dale had written to his Grandpa previously, but Feng had always been the one to take the papers to the Mailroom. Feng had a small supply of paper and ink that he used to write to his mother, every week.

    “That’s fine, that’s fine. All current students are allowed to write up to 5 articles of mail a year for free.” The elderly man handed Dale a long sheet of paper and a small jar of ink combined with a feathered pen. Dale walked over to the side, where several tables were set up, and sat down. He began writing.

    Dear Honored Grandpa,

    Hi Grandpa! This is Dale! Sorry for not writing in a while! The last few weeks have been super hectic, with practice and a tournament! I actually fought in a tournament! I didn’t win, but it was a lot of fun. I also have a master now! His name is Instructor Lem, he says he’s a Time knight!

    Anyways, Grandpa, I’m writing to you today because I need some advice. Grandpa, what should my goal in life be? I feel like I am meant to right a wrong, and help fix the world, but I don’t know what wrong I need to fit. Master says that a man must have integrity, be brave, and never surrender. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I know I’m different from the other kids. Everyone else seems so happy and cheerful. But I feel like there’s something greater waiting for me. I feel like I’m destined for something else, then just sitting around in school and learning.

    I don’t know what to do anymore, grandpa. I feel lost. If I didn’t have my best friend, I’m not sure what I would do.

    Love you, Dale Wensworth.

    Dale sealed his letter and handed it to the elderly gentleman on the counter. His eyes felt heavy, after writing out his worries, and he left the mail room, holding in his tears.

    Why are you crying! Dale berated himself mentally, There’s no reason to cry. Real men don’t cry! Dale slowly recovered himself. For some reason, he felt a great deal of pain and loss, as if a block in his mind was slowly coming clean. Dales eyes suddenly unfocused, as his mind flashed back to memories hidden in the darkest corner of his mind.

    --------------------------------

    Dale looked out on the world he had just been brought into. He saw a beautiful, kindly face look back at him, from this new, unknown world. Dale felt such a sense of love and compassion from this face, he immediately knew it was his mother. Dale cried out, sharing his feelings with her in away words could not. Dale suddenly heard strange sounds coming from an area farther from him. Explosions, screeches, and crackling sounds arose from the south. Dale noticed a green mist rising off his mother’s chest, and saw several hideous wounds on her.

    Dale started to cry, frightened by the loud noises, and by the tense look on his mother as well as her grievous wounds.

    The sounds suddenly stopped. Dale looked up, as his mother placed a rough rectangle shaped object on his head. Dale tried to grab it, but failed. It felt rough on his head, but he could somehow feel a small pool of energy gathered in it.

    The kindly, beautiful looking women suddenly turned her face away from Dale, her aura turning ferocious. Dale turned to look, and saw several ominous figures, clothed in shadows and black, advancing on his mother. Dale tried to cry out, hoping to protect his mom.

    His mother looked at Dale, smiling sadly, but with a fierce sense of pride. She looked up and screamed at them, a majestic Aura spreading out, crashing down as if the heavens on high had descended to destroy the earth, an overwhelming force crashing against that which cannot be seen. It was as if God himself had descended, the force of her words warped the air, shaking the very foundations of the massive mountain they stood on.

    YOU.

     WILL.

     NOT.

    TAKE.

     HIM.

    FROM.

     ME.

    Waves of force crashed out, smashing into those ominous figures, bringing them to a pause. Suddenly, she coughed up blood, her eyes starting to fail, the green mist rushing off of her in a collage. A man on the left raised his hand, a massive collusion of flame and magma appearing above her in the sky.

    “Goodbye, darling,” She cried, “I love you very much, my dear Dale…” She cracked the tablet she had stayed on his head.

    Fire descended. The mountain turned into a sea of fire and death, the various figures on the mountain scattered.

    From the figure that raised the flame, a dark hand waved out. “It is done.”

    One of the figures turned around, glancing at the man who had raised the flame, “Indeed, Victor. Indeed.”

    Dales memories began to fade, as his body turned into motes of light, flashing away from this continent, and into a secluded hut, filled with history and geography books, where an old man stood, holding his head in his hands..

    “ARRRRRRGHHHH!” Dale screamed, clutching his head. Students walking around stared at him, backing away, and avoiding eye contact. Dale held his head in his hands, tears streaming from his face. He felt pain, overwhelming pain, pain that threatened to crash down on him and tear him down. He had never felt this much pain in his entire life.

    Sorrow

    Guilt

    Loss

    Despair

    Hopelessness

    Disgust

    Self hate

    His emotions crashed to and fro, as he fell to his knees, panting. Tears fled his eyes, as his sorrow mounted. He couldn’t stop feeling. He felt his mothers death again, the loss of connection, the pain. Oh God, the pain.

    As his pain rose, however, so did his anger.

    Rage, like a great typhoon rose in him, fueling him, empowering him.

    He came to his feet, his eyes flashing, as the very air around him warped, and he gave off waves of power. His eyes spelled death, a promise that shook the sky. Several nearby students were thrown off their feet, the force of Dales aura overwhelming them. The ground where Dale stood suddenly cracked, rupturing the earth itself.

    Dale screamed a promise.

    I will find you

    Silence reigned. The crackles of the earth slowed, and Dales Aura slowly faded. His pain filled face slowly regained control, and he tried to recover, slowly.

    Dale stood alone.

    His shoulders bent forward, as if he bore the weight of a heavy mountain, as he slowly tried to walk.

    Suddenly, a voice called out from the side.

    “DALE!” Feng came running up, barging through students, completely ignoring everyone, as he ran towards Dale, “DALE WHATS THE MATTER? WHO THE FUCK IS MESSING WITH YOU?!?” Feng drew alongside Dale, fire glimmering in his eyes, his chest heaving.

    Dale looked at him for a moment, feeling everything he felt crash down on him again. Feng looked back, and somehow felt what Dale needed, and grabbed Dale by the shoulders, drawing him into a hug. Dale stood for a moment, and then collapsed into tears, crying and dissolving into a young boy, whose heart had been broken, and filled with pain.

    45 minutes later

    Dale had recovered enough to talk. He told Feng of his returning memories, of what happened to his mother, and the ominous figures that had caused it.

    Feng stood still for a moment, stunned, and then burst forth with an overwhelming anger. The air itself began to burn, as a fiery power raged out from his eyes. Flames everywhere on the school campus began to flicker and glow, as Feng realized the extent of his anger.

    Feng said coldly, “Dale, you are a brother to me. Your pain is my pain; your loss is my loss. Today, I vow, I will not rest until the day we bring those men death.” Power radiated out, as he sealed his promise with the flames of death. Dale nodded at him, eternally grateful.

    At that moment, the bond between these two brothers grew to a close. Feng would die a thousand miserable deaths to avenge his brother, and he knew Dale would do the same. They had formed an unbreakable bond, one that would prove its power throughout the ages. Though not related by blood, Dale and Feng would come to be known to the world as two of the most legendary figures in existence.

    Thus, the promise that would shake the foundations of the 7 continents itself, began from one boys broken heart and another’s furious rage.
  • Oh didn't think you would post it this quick after my suggestion. You should get plenty fans here. 
  • bonifide said:

    Oh didn't think you would post it this quick after my suggestion. You should get plenty fans here. 


    Haha hey! Yes, your suggestion convinced me! I might as well, right? I also read a buncha the stories here, so its gucci. 
  • good story
  • This is really good.....i want more!!
  • Wow... I wasn't expecting much, but before I knew it, I read all 30 chapters.  More please and thank you for this long update:)
  • edited September 2015
    hey.. it's a good novel and i want more of it, can you put chapter number in every time you put the chapter of the novel??
  • hi, thx for the story... its a nice story...
    I dont know if its a typo or not, but sometime you mistaken their with there and where with were, and the like...
    and could you change the general measurments term? like lbs, pound, ft into the more globaly use of kg, meter and the like, because not all of us (including me) came from a country that use such a measurments. it make us hard to imagine what is the exact measurments of thing are.

    anyway, its a great story, and I hope for more...

    p.s: sorry for the bad english, not my main language :)
    Life is a series of choices that makes who you are today and thread your path ahead.

    ~~Branzel~~
  • Branzel said:

    hi, thx for the story... its a nice story...
    I dont know if its a typo or not, but sometime you mistaken their with there and where with were, and the like...
    and could you change the general measurments term? like lbs, pound, ft into the more globaly use of kg, meter and the like, because not all of us (including me) came from a country that use such a measurments. it make us hard to imagine what is the exact measurments of thing are.

    anyway, its a great story, and I hope for more...

    p.s: sorry for the bad english, not my main language :)

      2.2 LBS = 1 KG

    1 FT = .3048 Meters/30.48 cm

    1 Mile = 1609 Meters/1.6 km

     Hope that helps.  But if the author is from a country that uses pounds and miles, just let him/her do it since you can find a conversion calculator on google.  


  • Branzel said:

    hi, thx for the story... its a nice story...
    I dont know if its a typo or not, but sometime you mistaken their with there and where with were, and the like...
    and could you change the general measurments term? like lbs, pound, ft into the more globaly use of kg, meter and the like, because not all of us (including me) came from a country that use such a measurments. it make us hard to imagine what is the exact measurments of thing are.

    anyway, its a great story, and I hope for more...

    p.s: sorry for the bad english, not my main language :)

      2.2 LBS = 1 KG

    1 FT = .3048 Meters/30.48 cm

    1 Mile = 1609 Meters/1.6 km

     Hope that helps.  But if the author is from a country that uses pounds and miles, just let him/her do it since you can find with conversion calculator on google.  




    so you mean, if some readers dont understand one of the measurements, they (I) have to go to google first to understand it, then go back to reading?
    I'm sorry, but that will disturb the flow of the story.
    and it is not so enjoyable to do that...
    Life is a series of choices that makes who you are today and thread your path ahead.

    ~~Branzel~~
  • Branzel said:

    Branzel said:

    hi, thx for the story... its a nice story...
    I dont know if its a typo or not, but sometime you mistaken their with there and where with were, and the like...
    and could you change the general measurments term? like lbs, pound, ft into the more globaly use of kg, meter and the like, because not all of us (including me) came from a country that use such a measurments. it make us hard to imagine what is the exact measurments of thing are.

    anyway, its a great story, and I hope for more...

    p.s: sorry for the bad english, not my main language :)

      2.2 LBS = 1 KG

    1 FT = .3048 Meters/30.48 cm

    1 Mile = 1609 Meters/1.6 km

     Hope that helps.  But if the author is from a country that uses pounds and miles, just let him/her do it since you can find with conversion calculator on google.  




    so you mean, if some readers dont understand one of the measurements, they (I) have to go to google first to understand it, then go back to reading?
    I'm sorry, but that will disturb the flow of the story.
    and it is not so enjoyable to do that...

    Hi buddy, I'm the author.

    I get that it can confuse some of the people that read my work overseas, in my new chapters, I include metric conversions in parentheses next to any numeric measurements. 

    Hope that helps!
  • edited September 2015

    September 28th Update



    Dale and Feng went back to there apartments, till noon. Dale needed some time alone, to get his bearings. He sat in his room and stared as his hands, meditating, slowly calming down. He felt the energy in his veins move powerfully. He felt a deep sense of calm, and a huge sense of purpose.

     

    Feng knocked on his still broken door, “Hey bud, how ya holding up?” he looked concernedly at Dale.

     

    “I’m good now. It was just a shock. I haven’t forgotten, but I won’t be overwhelmed again.” Dale still looked rather somber.

     

    “Why don’t we go to the Sarn Auction now? It starts in about an hour or two, but we can meet that Regis kid there, and find out why he invited us!” Feng thought it would be good to distract Dale off what was on his mind. An exotic auction was perfect for that.

     

    Dale looked up and nodded. The Sarn Auction did sound interesting, and he wanted to find out the reason behind Regis’ invitation. The boys changed into presentable clothing, and made there way to the southern gate.

     

    The Morn Main School is located in the northern center of the Morn capital. The Morn capital is an absolutely massive monstrosity, stretching for miles. Inside of it, millions of people live. There are tons of weapon shops, core shops, smithies, auction homes, gambling halls, and more! It was a paradise for those with money. Dale had never really taken the time to consider his wealth and equipment. Because Dale and Feng were on scholarships, they hadn’t had to worry about tuition fees, or covering any of there basic needs.

     

    The continent of Chel used identical currency, among the various duchies and kingdoms. There were 3 separate denominations. The cheapest denomination was in copper coins. The average family made approximately 1000 coppers a month. The next denomination was in steel coins. 100 copper coins could be traded in for 1 black steel coin. So, average families would make approximately 10 black steel coins a month. Black steel was also a highly useful crafting material, and could be used to make powerful weapons and armor, thus, satisfying its permanent usefulness, and value. The last and final denomination was in gold. Gold was one of the most common standards of wealth in this world. For the continent of Chel, 100 steel coins was equivalent to 1 gold coin. Also in this Continent, several of the major banks operating together had formed something that was called “Gem Crystal Cards.” A Gem Crystal Card would hold a unique signature that could only be used by the living owner. These cards could hold up to an infinite amount of wealth, and one could walk around holding tens of thousands of gold, with no one the wiser. However, even owning one of these cards was an indication of the super wealthy, and very few could afford one.

     

    Dale and Feng arrived at the southern gate to their school. From talking to their teachers and classmates, the boys knew that the current active Sarn Auction would be taking place in the Southern Grand Auction Hall. It was a decent walk from their school, however, so the boys set off early. They passed by several grand looking shops, and gazed about the streets in curiosity. Street vendors yelled their wares while merchants worked on customers, the clang of metal sounded in smithies, the smell of fresh bread from bakers.

     

    A group of mercenaries, giving off a powerful aura, walked past Dale and Feng. Several of them were wounded, and they looked like they had just fought a fierce battle. Dale overheard some of what they were grumbling about.

     

    “Damn Space Dragon hit another village, this one in the north sector.” Said one grizzled merc, shaking his head.

     

    “Them Fire Drakes have been getting more active. They haven’t destroyed anything, but several have been spotted in the skies recently.”

     

    “It’s a bad sign, I say. Nothing good can from more dragons.”

     

    Dale strained to overhear more, but the group had walked past. He turned to Feng, his eyes shining!

     

    “Dragons Feng! Wouldn’t it be awesome to ride a dragon?” he had a childish delight in his eyes.

     

    “Hmph. After that Ice Dragon in Neldor, I’ve had enough of Dragons, thank you very much.” Feng shook his head, a disgruntled expression appearing. Feng had decided, after visiting Neldor, that he did not like dragons. When his mother almost died in the Ice Dragons attack, Feng had developed a strong hatred of Drakes.

     

    The boys continued on their way, and eventually arrived at the Southern Grand Auction Hall.

     

    The Southern Grand Auction Hall is a massive building. It had a stadium like image, with a stage set in the back, while tons of seats curled around in a half circle. There was a second level, filled with private booths for the super wealthy, above the thousands of seats for rich merchants and lesser nobles. Another thing unique to this hall was that everything was lined in precious metals. Black steel, Gold, Silver, even rare gems lined the inside roof and back dropping. It was a glorious and wasteful display of wealth that let one know how wealthy the Sarn Auction House really is.

     

    Dale and Feng made their way to the front entrance. There was a very long line out from, at least a hundred people long, with people waiting to buy passes and tickets into the hall. Dale glanced up at the sun, confirming that the Auction still had over an hour before it began.

     

    “Should we go wait in line? We already have a pass, but I don’t see any other way..” Feng began, looking annoyed.

     

    Abruptly, a man clad in wealthy looking garments walked by. He had a strong chin, and deep auburn colored hair. He gave off a cheerful and determined air. He pulled out a gold colored ticket, walking up to the clerk past the people waiting in line. The clerk passed from checking in the current merchant he was working with, checked the man’s golden ticket, and passed him through. The clerk seemed to grant the noble a great deal of respect, bowing deeply as he walked by.

     

    Dale and Feng, seeing this, decided to copy him, and walked up to the clerk, past the people in line. Several of the adults in the line stopped and stared at the duo as they walked by, wondering what they were doing. When they saw the kids intent was towards the entrance, a few got annoyed, and shouted ridicule.

     

    “Get to the back of the line, kids!”

     

    “Scram! You punks don’t belong in a place like this!”

     

    Dale and Feng ignored them, and instead chose to study the various persons as they walked to the front. Their were young looking nobles sons, clad in rich clothes with large smiles, packed with overweight merchants, panting in wheezing in the noon heat. Authoritative looking figures stood next to wealthy rich snobs, all waiting in line to get in to the legendary Sarn Auction House.

     

    Dale and Feng arrived at the front, walking up to the clerk. The clerk, who was presently dealing with an arrogant looking young man, took one glance at the duo and yelled, “Scram! We don’t give away tickets here!”

     

    He then completely ignored the two, giving them no face.

     

    Dale started, “I believe there’s a misund-“

     

    “Kids, why are you still here?” said the arrogant looking young man, “If you want to buy a ticket, which I highly doubt you have the wealth to do,” he sneered, “go to the back of the line like the rest of these peasants.” The clerk and noble went back to ignoring them.

     

    Feng, eyes blazing, suddenly gave off a powerful copper aura, and let loose at the clerk and noble child.

     

    “WHO DO YOU FUCKING THINK YOU ARE TO ORDER ME AROUND?” The air began to burn, and fire nearby flickered. The jaws of all the nearby merchants and nobles fell to the floor.

     

    “What the fuck? A Fire Lord?!”

     

    “He has a Fire Lords Bloodline! Wow!”

     

    “Thank god I didn’t offend him! He’s a Fire Lord!”

     

    The nearby wealthy patrons looked like they were about to faint in shock. The ones who had insulted the duo slowly left the line, hurrying off to get somewhere safe.

     

    The clerk and noble young adult stared at Feng in amazement. Suddenly, the clerk hurriedly bowed forward, apologizing profusely.

     

    “A thousand apologies young master, I had no idea who you were, this clerk is truly shameless. Please forgive me.” The clerk apologized over and over, starting to sweat profusely. While Feng might not be extremely powerful now, he had a Fire Lords bloodline. There was bound to be some powerful backing behind him, and he was not an existence a mere clerk could offend.

     

    The noble man looked disconcerted for a moment, before his arrogant manner returned to him, “Hmph. Even if you have a Fire Lords Bloodline, you can’t get into the Sarn Auction House for free. Come back when you have a ticket, after properly waiting in line, brats.” The noble sniffed at them, disdainfully.

     

    “Don’t have tickets, eh?” Dale said, a smile in his head. Dale withdrew his hand from his pockets, slamming down two golden colored tickets on the clerks desk. When the arrogant noble saw this, his face turned white. The clerk also looked shocked.

     

    “Two VIP tickets?!” the clerk gasped, staring. Indeed, VIP tickets to Sarn Auctions were not handed out freely. Only the wealthiest and most powerful of patrons could have one, and yet these kids, who looked to be barely 10 years old, had two!

     

    “You, you must have stolen them!” The arrogant noble could not accept that two mere brats clad in regular clothing could be VIP members. He glared at the duo. The clerk stood for a moment, uncertain of what to do. Suddenly, a familiar voice called out.

     

    “Dale! Feng! I’m glad you decided to come!” Regis’ eversmiling face appeared. He glanced at the clerk, “Is there a problem, Alfred?” he said, expectantly.

     

    “No, young master, of course not.” He rapidly waved Dale and Feng through, his face nervously looking back and forth. Regis glanced at the arrogant noble, his eyes giving away nothing. The arrogant noble quickly bowed, his face white, and apologized, slowly backing off before fleeing in terror.

     

    Dale and Feng quickly followed Regis into the auction house.


    -----------------


     

    The trio made their way to the stage, a large square at the back of the auction house. On their way there, Regis decided to educate them on the history of his family.

     

    “The Sarns were originally a merchant family,” he began, gesturing all around, “We decided to focus our trade on exotic items. However, my ancestors found that it was often times too hard to find buyers for specific items. So, they had the idea to form a grand auction, where the rarest and most powerful of items would be sold. And that’s here!” he exclaimed, looking around proudly, “Theres not a single family with more wealth then my Sarn family, not in the entire Morn kingdom.” They reached the back of the stage, and walked behind some of the large curtains, to find a luxurious stairway set aside. They quickly filed up, and reached the upper floor, looking for their booth.

     

    Regis led them to their booth, and they walked inside. Inside, the booth was much larger then it appeared on the outside. It had several large couches, a few tables, and a small counter filled with various wines. It gave off a feeling of luxury and wealth.

     

    Dale and Feng glanced around curiously. Feng said, “Regis, this place seems bigger on the inside then it is on the out. How?!”

     

    Regis nodded at several indentions in the walls, “All of these booths were made by a powerful Space Gem Lord. He created these several generations back, and they have stood testament to the Sarns power ever since. Each booth actually has the room of a small house.”

     

    Dale and Feng glanced around in amazement. Dale opened his energy veins, trying to sense his surrounding area. What he found astonished him. There was a huge amount of energy concentrated on the perimeter of the room. When he went for a closer look at the alien energy, he found that he couldn’t quite find it. It was as if it was here but not here. Space energy was weird, he thought. He came back to focus.

     

    While he was concentrating, Regis and Feng had launched into a debate about Dragons. Regis was saying that they had great economic use, and that they shouldn’t be completely exterminated. Feng argued that they were a danger and all deserved to die, beign quite stubborn as well.

     

    Dale chimed in, “Regis, have you heard about the recent Space Dragons attacks? We’ve heard a bit about it, but only rumor.”

     

    Regis nodded, “There’s been a rampaging space dragon sacking towns. 3 villages have already been wiped out, Morn has been sending knights after it, to no avail.” He stated, “Also, there’s been sightings of Fire Drakes recently. They haven’t caused any significant damage or destruction, but it’s only a matter of time. Our kingdom is in slightly dire straits.” He shrugged, not looking too worried.

     

    “However, our most powerful cities are well protected. Even a rampaging Space Dragon would not last a minute attacking the capital, or any of the major trade cities. They’re heavily guarded be legions of Steel and Silver core experts, with a few Gold Core commanders as well.” Regis said, “The only towns that are in danger are the smaller ones. With all the knights that have been sent out, it’s only a matter of time till the Drakes brought down. It’s a rare breed, you know. Space Dragons are very uncommon.”

     

    Dale nodded. He had found out how rare his own talents were, especially with the large lack of available techniques. He looked forward to getting more advanced techniques from his teacher. On his Aura Art, however, he was at a bit of a loss. After developing his current Art to the utmost, he had reached a point where he could not advance. It wasn’t that his power wasn’t great enough, he had just reached the limit of the Art he had.

     

    Various nobles and merchants began to file in to the vast amphitheater. The seats slowly began filling up, and chatter filled the hall. As Dale and Feng sat their, talking and getting to know Regis, several high level nobles and officials filled the booths around them. Regis looked eager to point them out, explaining their roles and positions, as well as estimated wealth level.

     

    “That right there is Duke Conway! One of the five Dukes in our kingdom, he’s known for coming to our auctions and splurging on huge purchases,” Regis said, rubbing his hands together, “He’s somewhat hard to talk to, however.” The Duke made his way to one of the central booths, and walked inside. He was an elderly man, with a large frame. He was balding, but had a long grey beard. He was accompanied by several beauties, as well as two powerful looking guards

     

    “Oh, there goes Madame Selena! She’s super rich as well! She runs all the brothels in the city, as well as various other activities.” A very attractive, middle-aged woman walked by. She wore a gorgeous red dress, and had a mature and respected air. Feng couldn’t keep his eyes off her. Dale nudged him.

     

    As Regis named each an every super wealthy booth holder, the auction down below finished up, and a wiry looking old man with a small grey goatee started setting up the stage. He gave off a very clear Gold Aura, and waited as the various dignitaries quieted down. 

     

    As the crowd turned to silence, he declared, “Welcome! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our humble Sarn Auction House. This will be our 732nd Auction, thank you all for coming!” he bowed to the crowd, the epitome of humbleness. The majority of the crowd bowed back.

     

    “We will begin the auction at once! Please wait a moment while we bring out the first object!” The wiry old man backed away for a moment. Some rustling took place in the back, and an assistant brought out a beautiful golden scepter.

     

    “This is a solid gold scepter, enhanced with the core of a Gold level Monster! It can greatly enhance the energy you use the Fire and Sky attributes. Starting bid is 400 Gold coins.” He declared, hoisting the shiny scepter. It had several designs carved into it, and looked quite exotic.

     

    Bids rang out from all sides of the amphitheater.

     

    “400!”

     

    “450!”

     

    “475!”

     

    “500!”

     

    “525!”

     

    Suddenly, an oddly familiar loud voice declared,

     

    “2500!”

     

    It was from one of the booths near Dale and Feng. Dale looked at the speaker, and suddenly realized he recognized him! It was the kid that had walked up to Feng a while back, when he heard he was a Fire Lord, completely ignoring Dale. What was his name again.. Demon? Demontree? DeMonge! That was it! Dale remembered clearly now, the arrogant youth, Charles DeMonge. He was sitting several booths over, with several other older men.

     

    As Dale was contemplating Charles, several people walked into their booth. Regis turned around and greeted them. “Father, Mother,” he began, bowing deeply, “I brought a few of my friends, I hope you don’t mind.”

     

    Regis’s father walked up, and smiled, saying, “Of course, of course, hahaha!” he guided his wife over to some of the chairs. Behind him were a few servants and what looked to be an elderly looking man, giving off a Gold Aura. He seemed like a bodyguard, the way he glanced around.

     

    Suddenly, the proprietor down below gestured, bringing forth another item. Charles had successfully bid the highest, looked quite smug. The proprietor yelled, “Next on our list, we have an ancient Art technique. This one has been certified, and is extremely powerful in the right hands. It is listed on the Great Arts Diagram as one of the Godly 108 Techniques!”

     

    The Great Arts Diagram was a listing of all the rare and powerful Arts known to man. It was divided into 5 sections. The first one, the common Arts did not have a name, and were countless. Next, it held the Lower 5024 Techniques. Then, the Middle 2012 techniques. After that, The 812 Upper Techniques, and lastly the Godly 108 Techniques.

     

    “However, although this is the correct technique, it is a copy and is not complete! It is missing the final 3 steps, but contains the first 9!” the auctioner smiled a winning smile, but didn’t get much reaction. An Art that was incomplete was useless to most users. After all, if you couldn’t bring out the full power of the Art, what was the point in having it? However, if it truly was one of the Godly 108 Techniques, if it was one of the powerful ones, many people would buy it regardless.

     

    “With a starting bid of 50 gold, here is the Dragon Gods Overwhelming Aura Art!”


    -----------------

     

    “With a starting bid of 50 gold, here is the Dragon Gods Overwhelming Aura Art!”

     

    The room was silent for a moment, then exploded into sighs and chatter. No one bid for the Art. This wasn’t as strange as it may at first seem. Among the 8 natures, Fire, Ice, Sky, Earth, Life, Time, Space and Aura, Aura is the most mysterious. Very few people practice it, and it is often seen as the weakest. Therefore, an incomplete Aura Art, even a Godly 108 Art, was not very exciting. However, that was for regular people. When Dale heard the name of this Art, his heart skipped a beat, and he started, staring at the auctioneer.

     

    Dale desperately checked his pockets, knowing he didn’t have enough. Regis and Feng noticed his behavior. Regis said, “You want this Art? That’s right, I heard you practice an Aura technique as well as your time one.”

     

    “I can’t possibly impose.” Dale said, on the inside secretly dying to have said yes.

     

    “Don’t worry about it! It’s super cheap! I’ll get you it as a gift, among new friends!” Regis called out a number, “50 gold!” Several auction goers turned to see who bought the rather worthless, if rare, incomplete art.

     

    “It came from the Sarn booth.”

     

    “I bet they bought it just so someone would but it!”

     

    “It really is a worthless Art, if the auction house itself has to but it.”

     

    People generally agreed that the Art wasn’t worth much, and decided that the Sarn Auction House was buying it back to save face.

     

    “Other bids? No? Sold! Moving on to our next item…” the auctioneer continued his job, moving on to various exotic items. However, Dale had eyes only for the scroll that was being passed to one of the auctioneer’s assistants. Dale turned to Regis and said, “I can’t thank you enough, Regis! One day I will pay you back, I promise!” Dales opinion of Regis had gone up a great deal. He decided that he really did want to be friends with him.

     

    Regis smiled, “Haha, whatever you say! Maybe you can introduce me to some of the attractive women in your class, eh? Eh?” he laughed.

     

    The auction quickly moved on, selling one exotic item after another. Powerful merchant unions bought up several cores, while rich nobles took powerful weapons and expensive items. However, the nobles in the VIP booths bought very little. Suddenly, the lights dimmed, and the auctioneer assumed a somber and rather dramatic look. The people in the VIP booths perked up, focusing on the auctioneer.

     

    “Ladies and gentleman, now that we have finished our initial items, it is time for the main auction.” The auctioneer gestured to the side, and several boxes were moved onto the stage.

     

    “With an initial bid price of 5,000 gold, our first item for auction is this!” he dramatically whipped off the top of the box, revealing a golden shining orb. The orb gave off a powerful feeling of strength, and pulsated out, spreading energy. It seemed faintly reptilian.

     

    “A Golden Metal Core from a Lizard Scaled Tiger! Found in the depths of the Dead Lands by the 108th Expedition Force, this Lizard Scaled Tiger Core is in excellent condition, ready to be absorbed, or crafted into powerful weapons or armor.”

     

    Immediately, a frenzy overtook the VIP members. This was the reason many of them had come. Monster cores were not uncommon, per se. But, the high level cores were extremely rare, and powerful. To be able to even purchase them was a rare event, and Sarn Auctions were a common ground to find such valuable materials. Each major power in the city would want their hands on powerful monster cores. Even if they did not use it for personal use, they could quickly strengthen there warriors, or successors, and ensure the success of their business.

    “5,000 gold!” cried one VIP member, to the side.

    “5,500 gold!” cried a rich merchant, down below, hoping for a steal.

    “10,000 gold!”

    “12,000 gold!”

    “13,000 gold”

    “15,000 gold!”

    The bidding continued, eventually settling around a price of 23,500 gold. The auctioneer took down the box containing the Gold Core, and moved on to the next one. Feng and Dale looked at each other in shock.

     

    “23,500 gold?!” Feng exclaimed, his eyes round saucers, “That’s enough to buy a huge amount of food! I could eat for a lifetime! In luxury! The dream!” Dale knocked him on the head.

     

    “Think of the armor and weapons we could acquire! We could buy legendary gear! Full Silver armor, or a Gold weapon!” The boys dreamed of wealth and power. Regis glanced at them, amused. 23,500 gold was not a small amount to him, but neither was it a large one.

     

    He smiled, saying, “If you join a powerful expedition force, and take down enough monsters, you can easily make double, nay triple that!”

     

    The boys rapidly began to talk about potential Expedition Forces, the future Expedition Force that Dale and Feng were members of, and things they would buy. As the boys dreamed of wealth and adventure, a creature far for away from them dreamed of freedom and carnage.

     

    Somewhere underground in the Theldon continent

     

    *SMASH!*

     

    A huge force collided with a cave wall, causing no discernible impact. The cave has a roughly 25 feet (8m~) long radius, and is shaped like a circle. The floor is covered with mysterious symbols, shaped into a confusing and odd pattern. The floor gives off a faint blue light. Inside this circular cage, lies a man shaped creature. This creature has limbs that are pure black, and is covered in rippling muscles. It gives off waves and strength, crackling through the air.

     

    Abruptly, the man seemed to breath, and his body rapidly expanding, causing his muscles to expand to massive sizes. Rapidly, his body condensed, and the feeling of power and strength tripled. The man shaped creature through out another titanic punch, smashing into the cave wall. Again, though there was a huge impact, the wall showed no result. Suddenly, so faintly a normal human would not have discerned it, a tiny portion of the diagram below the man flickered. It was a faint flicker, one that barely affected the light in the tunnel. It lasted maybe .1 seconds before disappearing. However, the human shaped creature noticed.

     

    For the first time in over a thousand years, the being that had been locked away in a circular cave, a thousand meters below the surface began to laugh.


    -----------------


    Regis, Dale, and Feng made their way out of the Sarn Auction house, leaving before the auction finished. They wanted to avoid the crowd, and, seeing as Regis was a member of the Sarn family, they were allowed preferential treatment, and were able to pick up the Art Regis got Dale early.

     

    Regis handed the incomplete Art to Dale saying, “I hope you can make good use of it! It’s a pity it’s incomplete, though.” Dale nodded, not revealing that he had the ability to develop and further techniques, even without the next steps listed. They reached an intersection, towards the center of town, and split up, Regis headed towards his family home, while Dale and Feng went back to the Main School. It was late evening when they finally arrived.

     

    Dale and Feng arrived at their dorms and split up, each tired by the days events. Dale walked into his room, and set down the scroll containing his new Art on his desk. He say for a moment in silence, gathering his thoughts.

     

    Dale considered how he felt. He felt sadness, determination, and an overwhelming rage. Dale glanced over at the rest of the books siting on his desk. Besides his classwork, there was a short volume that Instructor Lem had given him. It was titled, “The Order Of Fallen Time: Time Lords Code.” Master Lem has told Dale to study and learn from it, saying it would help him grow as a person.

     

    Dale opened it up and began to read.

     

    The Order Of Fallen Time: Time Lords Code.

     

    Hello! My name is Orsus Brood, the founder of our prestigious order. I decided to write this Code to help our future generations, in laying the ground works of what it means to be a member of Fallen Time. If you are looking for glory, you should turn back now. Ours is the past of the hidden, reviled as the fallen. We do not seek glory, or fame. We shy from recognition, and work from the shadows. We are the darkness in the night, the shadows in the day, flickering through life, changing and supporting, but never taking control.

     

    Maintaining the Balance is our goal. To keep like in equilibrium, we will fight to the death. For if the Balance is upset too strongly, only harm can come. Recall to the time where all humans were slaves to dragons. The time where wars broke out over the smallest slights, where human lives were treated as trash, and human dignity was non-existent. We are humanities last shield. We cannot fall to chaos, for we have already Fallen, to everlasting Time.

     

    To be a member of our Order, you must give up material attachments. The only true power in this world is that of the soul. Study and cultivate your soul, to gain the true power and understanding of our Order. Accept your faults, and move on. This is all I will say, in this brief introduction.

     

    Fair you well, cultivators. Remember the Fallen, and maintain the Balance.

     

    Dale shut the book. He stood, and breathed deeply.

     

    “I will accept this pain, and it will make me stronger.” He said, his arms trembling.

     

    “I accept this sorrow, for the sake to grow powerful.” Dales eyes shook.

     

    “I accept this despair, for I will be mighty.” The air quivered.

     

    “I accept this loss, for only by losing will I gain strength.” He started to shake uncontrollably.

     

    “Mother. Father.” Tears welled in Dales eyes, as pain threatened to overwhelm him. Dale fought against his pain, against his sorry, his will coming to renew.

     

    “I will not cry. I will not bend. I WILL NOT BREAK.” Dales Aura began to fill his words, contained in his head, as he shook the air itself.

     

    Dale fell to the floor, exhausted. His thoughts on his deceased parents, all the loss he had gained.

     

    “Mother, Father. I know you have moved on. You are no longer with me in this world. But know this, I will make you proud. I will be the most powerful Gem Master in the world, and I will avenge you.” Dale said, tears streaming down his face. He felt overwhelming pain, but still he stood, refusing to give up, refusing to quit. He curled into a ball, sliding into the corner of his room, and began to breath deeply.

     

    Dale ran the energy through his veins, filled with purpose and emotion. His energy budded powerfully, gathering in his heart. Dale focused on the inside of his body, where his heart was located, where his core was located. He felt the Coal Metal Core, with flickers of coppery light flowing around it. Dale focused his Aura, and put forth his will. His refusal to bend, to break, he forced all of these feelings to condense the energy flowing in his veins around his Copper Core. Slowly, inexorably, the energy began to thicken and flow. His Core, which had previously stood still, began to slowly turn, gathering power. Energy flickered faster and faster. Dale felt lightheaded, as he put his entire being into forming his copper core.

     

    The energy inside Dale rose to a crescendo, swarming through his veins, thronging to his Core. Suddenly, light exploded out from Dale, and a coppery Aura covered the air.

     

    “Success!” Dale yelled quietly, fist pumping in the air. The air around Dale now gave off a coppery sheen. Dale looked around tiredly, mentally and physically exhausted. He gave one last glance at the Fallen Time Code, and the new Aura Art he gained, before falling into his bed, welcoming blissful sleep.

     

     

    Dale woke to the cries of death. Fire surrounded him, burning everything in sight. Dale blasted through the wall, scrambling to his feet, looking around. He was no longer in the Main School. He was on a lonely mountain peak, surrounded by several ominous figures. Fiery attacks shot at him, blazing through the sky. Dale barely dodged him, and suddenly found a woman before him.

     

    “Help me Dale, help me…” his mother cried, as she fell to the floor, life fleeing from her eyes. The figures surrounded Dale, launching attack after attack, as Dale screamed “NOOOOOOOOOOO-

     

     

    -OOOOOOAAAAARrrrrrrggghhhhh!” Dale shot up awake, staring around his room desperately, looking for enemies. He looked around his room; he was still in the Main School, laying in his apartment. He saw his familiar desk, the still broken door, his things scattered about. He took a deep breath, wiping the sweat off his forehead. He looked out his window, seeing the faint light of dawn appearing.

     

    Dale swung to his feet, and grabbed some clothes to change into, out of his nightclothes. He left the dorm early, opting to skip breakfast, and went towards Instructor Lems small house on campus. He passed by the center coliseum, admiring its figure in the morning dawn. The building was truly massive, and gave off an ancient aura. It was here Dale had fought against Frederick and Collin, against Myra and others.

     

    Dale arrived at the small cottage, located on the north side of the campus, and knocked on the front door. It was a small place, two stories tall, but very small otherwise. There couldn’t be more then 5 rooms in the entire home. It had a white roof, with dark grey walls. Soon, Dale heard movement behind the door.

     

    Instructor Lem opened the door, looking out at Dale, “Dale? What can I do for you so early? Is something wrong?” he motioned for Dale to come in. The instructor was dressed in his normal robes, looking like he was about to go teach a class, despite the fact dawn had yet to fully arrive, and none of the classes started till after dawn.

     

    Dale looked at his master, and then told him everything. He talked about his pain, his loss, what happened to his parents, the description and name Victor, as well as the various techniques he remembered. Instructor Lem stood quietly by, listening to all he said, his eyes gradually growing darker and darker.

     

    “Thank you for telling me this Dale. This is quite a serious incident.” Dale could hear anger in his voice. He then looked at Dale kindly, “Well, there is something small I can tell you. You said your father had a white stripe in his hair, like I do?”

     

    Dale nodded, recalling the stripe along his fathers hair that he had seen.

     

    “This stripe, like I mentioned before, is the signature of a Fallen Time knight. It means your father was a member of our brotherhood!”


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  • edited September 2015








    Dale looked at his Master, astonished. He had noticed the white stripe a while ago, but he hadn’t made the connection. “What does the white stripe mean, teacher?” Dale asked, looking at his head curiously. 


    “This strip is what we call our Soul.” Master Lem began, glancing at Dale, “Not our eternal soul, which would pass on when we fall to eternal rest, but our Souls energy. Once you reach the Steel Core level, you can begin to cultivate your own Soul energy. These white stripes act like a storage section, allowing you to store a great deal of energy in them. I am only at the Silver Core level, yet if I release the energy I have stored in my Soul, I can slow time to an incredible 20%.”


    Instructor Lem went on, “It is incredibly important that a cultivator takes great care of his Soul. The more energy you store, the longer or slower you can make time stretch.” He looked at Dale, to see if he understood. Dale nodded.


    “From what I can tell, your father must have been one of our members. I can think of no other group that would have such a unique stripe in their hair.”


    Dale said, “Thanks for letting me know, master. Anything about my parents would mean a lot to me, I haven’t ever really had the chance to know them.” Dale looked down, refusing to let tears overtake him. He had always held the hope that his parents were lost somewhere, looking for him. His hope now seemed a fools dream, one that could never come true.


    Instructor Lem looked at him for a time, then went into his kitchen, drawing up some tea, and pouring some for himself and Dale. “Dale, I understand what you must be feeling. However, you need to focus on becoming as strong as you can. Only with great strength will you be able to have any affect on this world.”


    Dale nodded, stating, “I know, master. I will become the most powerful being in this universe, and I will have my vengeance. However, I know that I’m too young now, and don’t have the strength yet.” He clenched his fists, determination overwhelming him for a moment.


    “Good! That is what I mean.” Instructor Lem looked at Dale for a moment, a complicated look on his face. He wanted the best for his disciple, but he regretted the pain and sorrow Dale had to feel. The two of them continued to talk, before going there separate ways, each of them beginning their day.


    Feng’s Point of View


    Feng woke up, yawning as he got to his feet. The light outside was glaring, clearly well past dawn. He stretched slowly, rattling his bones as he felt the flames in his body rise. He sat down, focusing his mind on creating a small flickering flame. He shuddered as he remembered the tortures his Demon Principal Warren had put him through, to get to this point. Feng deftly manipulated the flame he had formed in the air, moving it through various shapes. 


    Instructor Warren had told Feng to focus on his control over flame. He said that while Feng had great power, his control was severely lacking. When Feng could successfully control a single flame to a perfect extent, the Principal said he would teach him a powerful technique. Feng concentrated, willing the flame floating in the air to form a ball. The flame resisted a slight amount, before giving in to his power. With the aid of his Fire Lord Bloodline, Fengs control of fire had rapidly increased, at an almost unbelievable rate. 


    Feng thought back to the recent events, especially Dales collapse and break down yesterday. When Feng had heard what had happened to Dales parents, he had been beside himself with rage. Dale was like his brother. Feng had tried imagining what it would be like if his mother had been the one to suffer what Dales had. His vision had turned red, and he almost incinerated the ground he stood on.


    Feng had decided then and there, he would help Dale in his mission, to gain revenge, no matter the cost. Because, to Feng, Dales friendship and brotherhood was a bond that could not be broken. He would defend him to the last. Feng nodded, confident. The flicker of fire he held in the air suddenly exploded into exotic shapes, as Feng willed it this way and that. 


    Feng stood up, dampening the flame in the air. He walked out of the dorm, sneaking past Dales still broken door, and made his way towards the Principals office. Ever since he had become the Principals disciple, his name and his face had become well known, especially after the previous tournament. He tried to avoid talking to people, as he never felt comfortable with the toadying. Feng knew that people treated him differently then they treated Dale, and always felt it was unfair. Feng mentally shrugged, putting it behind him. What he couldn’t solve, he couldn’t solve. There was no use worrying over it, at least not now.


    Feng arrived at the Principals office. Principal Warren was, as usual, awake and cheerful, hiding his demonic nature from others to see. Feng knew better, however, and cautiously approached. The secretary sitting nearby waved him through. Feng walked in the office, bowing his head as he did.


    The Principal looked up from the desk he was sitting at, going through several different Arts, “Ahahaha! Young Feng! What brings you here? Surely not to say you have mastered your fire yet?” he said, with a curious look on his face. However, the stars covering his strong head made his curious smile seem slightly demonic. Feng thought it was quite appropriate. 


    “Yes sir! I have mastered controlling a flame, and am here to learn more, master!” Feng bowed again, respectfully. On the inside, he was secretly planning on how to take down the Principal in a fight.


    “Hahaha! Well then! Let’s go test your skills!” The Principal led them to a training room, down the hall. It was a bit larger then the normal training rooms, and looked as if it had been made specifically for the principal. All the walls had a metallic sheen, and when the door slammed shut, no sound could be heard from the outside. Feng was not surprised. 


    Feng sat down, cross-legged, and began to focus. He slowly willed a flame into existence, floating in the air. He then drew it about, weaving and bobbing, changing its form and strength. 


    Principal Warren watched on, a neutral expression on his face. On the inside, however, he was shocked. Feng had been practicing for a very short amount of time. For him to grow this powerful, this exact in his skill, he was a monster, the Principal concluded. Possibly a demon. He shook his head ruefully, clearing his thoughts. 


    “Hahahahaha! Well done, brat!” The Principal said, an insufferably cheerful look on his face. Feng glared at him, which only served to send the damned demon into another fit of laughter. “It looks like I’ll actually have to start teaching you ahaha.”


    The Principal looked at Feng for a moment. Feng looked back, and suddenly, a Black colored Aura, riven with streaks of Gold sprang into existence. A huge pressure crashed into Feng, driving him backwards, extinguishing the flame he had brought into the world. 


    “Very well! Today, then, young Feng, it’s time you learned the Flame Body Transformation!” Flames burst out, surrounding Principal Warrens figure. The heat was oppressive, warping the air itself. Warren transformed into what looked like an embodiment of heat and power. Flames covered him, licking his shouldars and blasting off him in waves. Feng looked on in awe. 


    There are 4 forms to cultivating the Flame Body Transformation! This technique is not like normal techniques. You must cultivate the energy in your soul, storing your power, to create a powerful physical transformation. I personally can only hold this form for perhaps 30 seconds. However, you have great potential, young Feng.” He said, gesturing at Feng. Suddenly, the flames surrounding him disappeared, and the heat dissipated. He looked tired, as the smoke drifted off of him, coloring the room a murky grey. 


    He went over to the side of the room, opening a safe that was set in the wall. The safe gleamed a mysterious silver, shining off of the metal surrounding it. After a moment of fiddling with the safe, he brought out a small scroll. He tossed it to Feng. Feng, scrambling to his feet, snatched the scroll from the air, carefully holding on to it like it was a great treasure.


    “This technique is my ultimate form. One of the Godly 108 Arts found on the Great Arts Diagram. Treat it well, and learn. You will need this power, one day.” He smiled fondly at Feng. Principal Warren treated Feng like his own grandson, admittedly, with a bit of a tough love sentiment. 


    Feng nodded gratefully at him, and made as if to leave. The Principal let out a great laugh, “HahahahAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Surely you don’t think we’re done with practice for the day now?”


    Feng groaned, and put the instruction manual to the side, preparing to combat whatever tortures his Master had developed for today.

  • When will you update?  Love the story so far!
  • Go to his website wizshovels.com you will see it there
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