After pocketing the orange colored Profound Core, Dale quickly returned back to the village. His arms and legs felt slightly heavy, tired from his exertions. He stayed on alert, however, as he traversed the multiple mile pathway.
As he ran through the forest, Dale shook his head and considered the chances of his meeting someone else his own age out here. The odds were truly too low. He had always been lucky, Dale knew, and didn’t consider it too out of the ordinary, however.
Still, he didn’t regret the meeting, especially when he looked back down at the Profound Core in his hand. He also felt as if he had gained a friend, despite their only meeting a single time. He felt like he and Tian had similar personalities.
After leaping through the forest for several miles, jumping from tree to tree or running on the forest ground, Dale arrived at the southern portion of the village.
The village itself wasn’t that large. There were maybe a little more then a thousand houses in the village, holding a sparse population of four thousand. The homes were more like hovels, poorly made wooden constructions that were covered by a rough thatch roof. The village had a lively atmosphere, however, as children ran all about playing around, while adults talked and haggled.
Hunters were constantly moving back and forth from the forest into the village, carrying the bodies of their prey. The village women worked on cleaning the meat and preparing it, while also skinning the prey and saving valuable materials for sale. The whole community operated together as a big, giant family.
Despite not speaking the common language yet, Dale felt a sense of oneness with the community. The way these people went about work, sharing with each other while also helping each other, it warmed his heart. Scholar Shen was an outsider but was treated as family. Dale himself was also treated as family, he knew, from the kind smiles he received from several of the motherly looking figures in the group.
If he didn’t have to grow stronger, Dale felt like this would be a perfect place to settle down. He understood why Scholar Shen choose this location to live.
Dale quickly moved through the village, reaching the section where Scholar Shen lived.
Scholar Shen’s house stood out from the rest of the village. It was located on the outer edge of the village, barely in the fringes. Instead of ramshackle wood and thatch, the house was born from some type of dark brown varnished oak wood and a mysterious black stone roof. It had a sense of solidness, as if nothing in the world could move it.
A small, wooden gate enclosed the house, a long fence that encircled the nearby area. To the right of the home was a large garden, filled with various vegetables and herbs. Dale only recognized a few of them, the rest foreign and strange to his eyes.
As he stepped through the gate, Dale heard a loud cry warble into the air. His face split into a smile as a loud, golden white parrot slammed into him, trying to knock him down. Unfortunately for the parrot, Dale’s incomparably tough body didn’t budge, and Dale grabbed onto it with both hands, hugging it.
Dale smiled happily at the parrot as it cawed at him. The small, odd creature had been a companion of his for years. He had found it in his previous world after it had been chased down by a powerful, mysterious cultivator. Dale’s thoughts weren’t too clear on how he gained Cloud, in actuality. Regardless, the young parrot had been his friend for years, and accompanied him on many adventures.
It was roughly the size of his hand, with white feathers that held a tinge of gold. It had a sharp, light blue beak and crystal clear eyes. Over the past couple years, the parrot had slowly changed form, going from pure white to a very faint gold. It wasn’t particularly powerful, though it was technically a monstrous beast from his old world.
“Ah, young Dale, you have returned!” An elderly, warm voice cried out from the front of the home. Dale turned and looked at the speaker, giving a cheery wave and a bow.
“Scholar Shen.” Dale replied, placing Cloud on his shoulder. He stepped forward towards the house, going inside.
“How was adventuring in the outside, yet? You told me you wanted to examine some Profound Beasts?” Dale nodded as the scholar spoke, talking a bit about his observations of Lei Bao. While he did trust the scholar, especially after living in his home for a week, he decided to keep his own secrets private. The scholar seemed to understand this, and wouldn’t press Dale on the issue.
After talking niceties for a few minutes, Dale returned to the room that had been provided for him, a large wooden guest room on the north side of the house. It was quite spacious, containing a bed, a desk filled with various language books, a book case, and a dresser. Dale had lived here for the past week.
As soon as he entered his room, Dale sat down on the floor and began to meditate.
In his previous world, cultivation had been something that actually was rather difficult for Dale.
Dale’s cultivation art was known as the Crowning Gem Formation. This was a cultivation technique where one would absorb natural energy through all of their pores, absorbing the energy directly into their body and soul. They would then condense this energy into a specific element. The more the energy condensed, the higher quality element would form, and the stronger their cultivation would be.
Dale right now had a Gold Core. The levels before this were the Silver Core, Steel Core, Iron Core, and Coal Core. He had spent years getting past these levels, and had barely managed to break through to the Gold Core level. Breaking through to the Gold Core level had been extremely difficult.
Despite that, Dale was considered the number one figure among the youth because of his incomparably powerful body. It was thanks to this that his relatively inferior cultivation didn’t detriment him.
After he broke through to the Gold Core level, Dale found that while his cultivation did indeed increase, his overall strength didn’t change very much. It was as if the cultivation he was growing didn’t really have that much affect in comparison to his natural body.
Regardless, Dale had seen the power held by the cultivators that stood at the apex of his cultivation style.
From forming a Gold Core, one would condense that Core to a Black Gold Core, and then finally a Gem Core. Once a cultivator successfully formed a Gem Core, they would continue to cultivate, forming multiple Gem Cores. The peak of cultivation was when they formed their last Gem Core, and formed a Gem Crown.
Those at the peak of power had a Gem Crown. The condensed energy they could emanate and the extreme power they held had left a deep impression on Dale. As well, only cultivators with Gem Crowns had the ability to fly in Dale’s home world. To be able to forcibly reject the earth and dance among the sky, it was a wondrous sight that Dale wanted for himself.
Thus, it always frustrated Dale that he was unable to cultivate quickly. Among his generation, the strongest of the youth besides himself had already cultivated to the Gem Core level. Indeed, for Dale’s cultivation to only be at the Gold Core level by the age of thirteen, he could only be considered average, cultivation wise.
Thus, as Dale looked down at the 4 Star Profound Core in his hands, he trembled slightly. The eagerness he emanated from his stare was obvious.
Dale sat down and grabbed the Core firmly, and began to cultivate.
The Crowning Gem Formation cultivation technique began by absorbing natural energy around directly into one’s skin. Dale began the process by sending a tendril of energy into the Core.
The small orange Profound Core was roughly twice the size of Dale’s thumb. It had a milky outer surface, and glowed faintly in his room. Cloud squawked loudly at the Core and jumped onto Dale’s bed, preening himself.
As Dale struck a tendril of his own Core energy into the Profound Core, he got his first real feel for this world’s natural energy.
Bestial. Powerful. Overbearing.
The energy that flowed about in the small orb shocked Dale as he took a full hold of it. It was like a boiling ball of electricity had been poured and condensed into this small orb, erratic and powerful. Dale got the faint image of some type of ferocious bull, remnants of the Profound Core’s owner.
Dale felt a giddy smile cover his face. The concentration of natural energy in this Profound Core was easily a hundred times the concentration of natural energy in his old world. The amount of energy, the purity, it was incredible.
Immediately, Dale began to greedily absorb the energy, feeling it flock into him. He used his own Core Energy to directly absorb the energy into his body, where it was bound to his Soul.
Dale’s cultivation art, the Crowning Gem Formation, actually formed its Core with a tangible connection to the Soul. It was a mysterious property to this cultivation art, and one Dale didn’t actually know of. He simply knew that when he checked his Soul landscape, his Core was also there.
Thus, Dale began to directly absorb the energy from the Core, into his body, and then into his Soul.
Waves of bestial, pure natural energy flowed out of the glowing orange orb in an explosion of light. Dale’s room lit up with the orange light, flashing brightly as he devoured the energy. Strings of light and power flashed over Dale’s body as the enormous stock of energy present in the 4 Star Profound Core flowed into him.
Dale appeared in his Soul landscape with a thought. He blinked as the pure white atmosphere formed around him, and instantly appeared in front of his Core.
The small ball of golden light glowed softly in his Soul. It gave off slight emanations of energy, quite small and weak compared to the enormous torrent given off by the Profound Core he was absorbing.
Dale felt a rush as the orange natural energy from the Profound Core blasted into his Soul. He keenly felt the energy condense towards him, raw natural power vibrating in the air.
Dale smiled and, with a thought, sent the energy to surround his Gold Core and began to condense it.
At least, he tried to condense it.
As he began to draw the energy around his Core, Dale suddenly felt two things.
The first was a strong tug in his Soul as the natural energy he was absorbing was pulled away from him. The second was a sort of resistance from his Core, as the Gold Core he was trying to condense energy around refused to condense.
Dale focused on the second feeling first, staring at the Gold Core floating in his Soul in consternation.
It was the same issue he’d had in his previous world.
Every time he tried to cultivate, especially as he achieved the higher and higher levels of cultivation, Dale felt like there was a resistance in his body. He felt like his Soul was rejecting his cultivation, and purposefully not accepting the energy he brought.
Dale knew the thought was ridiculous, after all, how could his own Soul stop him from cultivating. Yet, it happened regardless. It was as if it was rejecting his very cultivation technique.
Dale clenched his teeth tightly and grasped the natural energy flowing into his soul with a mental iron first, and forcefully tried to wrap it around his Gold Core and condense it.
Once again, the energy bounced back, not absorbing into his Gold Core at all. Instead, the tugging sensation he had felt only grew stronger. As well, when the energy bounced away from his Core, Dale felt a small backlash. Immediately, he coughed up a small portion of blood, feeling as if he had taken a tremendous blow.
As he trembled for a brief moment, he temporarily lost his grip on the powerful, throbbing natural energy from the 4 Star Profound Core.
A loud, roaring sound blasted through his Soul landscape as the orange natural energy suddenly flowed past Dale’s consciousness and rushed towards the two great Seas that rested in his Soul. Dale watched the process happen in shock, closely following the orange energy as it swarmed into the two giant oceans of power.
As soon as the energy came into contact with the boiling red sea and the turgid white sea, it flashed brightly and vanished, instantly absorbed.
Transcendent light filled Dale’s Soul landscape as the energy from the Profound Core was instantly absorbed into the two giant Seas, completely disregarding Dale. The speed at which this energy was absorbed was so great, the 4 Star Profound Core Dale held in his arms was drained in less than a second.
As soon as Dale finished absorbing the energy into his Soul, Dale felt an incredible sense of hunger as the two Seas seemed to stretch out, greedy for more energy. A second later, however, the two Seas returned back to normal, and everything in his Soul settled down.
The time it took for this process to happen was less than two seconds. Dale stared at his two Seas in shock, and then looked back at his Gold Core with a sigh. A second later he shook his head and exited his Soul landscape, appearing back in his room.
Dale looked down at the no longer glowing Profound Core in his hand, casting his Core energy around it. The Profound Core was empty of energy, however, devoid of anything he could use.
His Gold Core cultivation remained unchanged.
Dale sighed dejectedly. It was as he feared. He was still unable to progress in his cultivation easily. It was already very difficult in his previous world. Moving to this world, where he couldn’t even slowly absorb natural energy from the air, it just made everything harder.
Dale turned his thoughts to the tugging sensation and the energy that was absorbed by the two powerful Seas in his Soul.
After a moment, Dale suddenly gasped in astonishment, staring at the two eternal Seas of power that had been a part of him since he became a cultivator.
These two Seas had always been inside of Dale. While he couldn’t always access them, and only now could fully use a single one of the Seas, they had never changed inside of him. Once he gained the ability to sense them, they had remained unchanging. The only difference that ever appeared was when the black roots spread in his Titanic Sea.
Now, however, Dale detected a difference, for the first time in his life.
The never changing size of his Seas… They had grown larger!