Dale looked down at the jungle path he had been traversing with a smile, stretching. Strapped to his back was the large wooden chest the Profound Beast Hunters had placed in his room, storing away the hide and medicinal horn of the Crystal Bamboo Bull. The chest was wrapped several times in a thick vine, and secured to his Growth Armor, the odd turtle shells having reformed from their previously damaged state, a result of Dale’s fight with the Crystal Bamboo Bull. Strapped to his side was the long claymore Aarsasho, sticking out awkwardly towards his back. He couldn’t leave the hilt strapped to his back while carrying the chest, and had to set it to his side.
Recently, Dale was starting to feel the limit of the weapon he used. When his body was weaker, using the claymore to increase the power of his blows had been a find idea. Now, however, Dale wasn’t too certain of its use. Aarsasho, his trusty claymore, was a solid weapon, the weapon he had used for years. In his younger years, he had used the weapon to compensate for his weaker cultivation, the mighty blade complementing his strength.
However, Dale’s body had reached a point where the effects of his claymore’s increased weight were negligible. That was to say, using Aarsasho had as much benefit as using any other blade that was as durable, the weight of the sword was light enough that it didn’t matter.
The heaviest Dale could make the sword, if he concentrated solely with his cultivation, was to be around 2,000 pounds. The weapon itself would feel the same weight in his hands, a mere 10 pounds, but would have all the effects of a 2,000 pound blade on his enemies. This was certainly a useful power, Dale noted. Whenever he fought with Aarsasho, however, Dale noticed that his general tactic was to just swing his blade till his enemy died or was defeated. Using the claymore let him overpower most enemies in his youth, and as such, his sword technique had not advanced a great deal.
When Dale was younger, he had practiced in a powerful Time Art known as the Fallen Time Knight’s Art. The technique involved manipulating time, something Dale couldn’t do here due to the rigorous and powerful Laws regulating this Universe. What the Art also taught, however, was a type of sword technique, the only real sword technique Dale had ever learned.
The only downside was the specific sword technique wasn’t something Dale could use Aasasho to practice. Instead, it required a rapier, a long thin metal sword, in order to practice it.
In Dale’s battle with the Crystal Bamboo Bull, Dale had once again noticed how in general he just overpowered enemies to kill them.
This wasn’t something he would continue to be able doing, Dale knew. His physical strength was indeed strong, but there would always be someone stronger. What Dale decided, in order to further become stronger, his number one goal, was that he would begin practicing his sword technique. However, he also wanted to purchase a rapier to take back up the practice of his old sword art. He had experience using the rapier, and some skill in it, and Dale figured if he continues to practice the famed Time Art, it would help him in the future, when he became strong enough to affect the powers of Time. Dale’s eyes glowed as he thought about this, his eagerness for strength palpable.
“SQUAAAAAAWWWWWWK!” A crabby, loud squawk sounded out as Cloud flapped down, Dale’s golden white parrot. The odd bird landed on Dale’s right shoulder, staring at his piercingly. A small sparkle of golden light flushed in its eyes, moving slowly.
“What do you want, Cloud?” Dale said, smiling. He hadn’t seen too much of his rather attached parrot these days, the bird spending great amounts of time with Lei Fan. Cloud had apparently taken a liking to the wild girl, and enjoyed playing with her/teasing her a great deal. Dale felt rather relieved at the sight. He didn’t know that much about the mysterious origins of the parrot. He had rescued it from a mysteriously powerful hunter on his old world, and the parrot had become attached to him ever since.
“Squawk! Squawk! Raaa!” The parrot nuzzled in, settling on Dale’s shoulder comfortably and starting to nap. Cloud tapped Dale’s face with his wings a couple times as if to make sure Dale was still there while the bird’s eyes were closed. Dale could never quite tell how intelligent Cloud was. Sometimes the bird would act as if he was completely self aware, and other times he would act like a simple bird.
“Cloooooud!” Lei Fan’s voice appeared in the air as she came running up to where Dale was resting. Cloud whipped his head around from Dale’s shoulder and let out another loud screech before hopping down and landing on Lei Fan’s head. Lei Fan giggled happily, and starting twirling Cloud’s feathers around.
“Master Dale, we are approaching the Great Lake City.” Lin Rakesh’s voice called out. Dale turned to look at the scarred man. Two giant black eyes were currently fading on the man’s face, a result of his drunken escapades a couple weeks back. The man was completely respectful to Dale now, however, Dale’s show of strength overwhelming.
After Dale agreed to join the Profound Beast Hunters, the warriors of the tribe had become much more relaxed. After all, no matter how strong the attacking Profound Beast in the city was, the power Dale showed was at a level the Profound Beast Hunters considered incomprehensible. As such, several other villagers had accompanied them to the City to bring the various hides and skins for sale. Lei Fan had tagged long with the village traders.
Because of how far from the village Scholar Shen lived, only a few of the villagers actually lived near where the man had lived. As well, none of the Profound Beast Hunters actually knew the man well. As such, when Doctor Saron had gone around questioning the villagers on Scholar Shen’s whereabouts, he only asked cursory questions of the Profound Beast Hunters. Because of this, the fact that Dale had used a special technique that ended up injuring his body, and not suffered an attack from someone that injured his body, this fact remained unknown to the Doctor.
“Excellent! Let’s get on to the city then.” Dale said, clapping his hands together. He grunted as he struggled with the large chest, making sure it was secure before he continued walking, headed towards the southern gate of the Great Lake City.
Bei Bron massaged his head as he watched the cultivators in front of him argue, feeling a headache coming on. Bron, as he simply went by, had stood as a Watch Commander for Great Lake City for more then three dozen years, a post that many of the surrounding cultivators looked up to. In terms of power, he could be considered third in command of the entire Great Lake City. Bron was confident in his strength, possessing a might equal to a mid level 3 Star Expert. Over these dozens of years of service to the city, he had always been treated with respect and servitude.
Yet today, of all days, was turning out to be the day he was forced to treat others servilely, bowing his head and smiling.
Right now, he was standing in front of the southern gate to the Great Lake City, a large gate that spanned two dozen meters in length. The Great Lake City was surrounded by a somewhat large ten-meter wall, a wall designed to keep out the weaker Profound Beasts that were known to prowl the nearby area. After all, even with constant patrols and guards, Profound Beasts were wily; it wouldn’t be unexpected to run into one just outside the wall.
Watch Commander Bei Bron sighed. Just two weeks ago, a Profound Beast that was now commonly called the Yellow Thunder Beast had gone on a rampage, slaughtering several Profound Beast Hunters and civilians. The Yellow Thunder Beast was still loose, and had killed several dozens of civilians and ten more Profound Beast Hunters. Great Lake City had gone on a near lockdown trying to find the beast, calling in all the resources they could muster from outlying villages.
And now, a second problem hopped into his lap.
Standing in front of the heavily armored Watch Commander were two young men currently arguing, blocking the road away from the southern entrance.
The first young cultivator was dressed in long white robes, with golden lace imprints up and down them. He wore a white silken jacket over his robes, and was currently resting his delicate looking hands on a slim, long katana sheathed in what looked like pure gold. The man had a small, feminine looking face that was currently glaring viciously at the young man standing across from him. He looked to be around eighteen or nineteen. A powerful sense of purity emanated from this cultivator, as if he was an unblemished power, one of ultimate power. A veneer of arrogance dominated the cultivator’s face, however, giving him a sneering appearance. The look his eyes held made it obvious he didn’t care at all about the lives of those around him. Despite that, he was still astonishingly handsome and had a regal air about him.
The second young man couldn’t be any more opposite. Dressed in what looked like some type of bear skin hides, with an enormous battle axe strapped to his back, the second cultivator was a large brute of a man. He had short brown bushy hair, opposed to the delicate looking cultivator’s long, blonde, and straight hair. He was extremely muscular and masculine, and gave off an aura that was filled with bloodthirst. At the moment, this barbarian like cultivator was currently glaring at the feminine slim warrior.
“Tian Shou, do you think I am afraid of you?! We may both be here on orders of the Patriarchs, but that doesn’t mean I will assist you! The Wu Sect will be the one to discover the source of the Mysterious Wave.” The barbarian looking cultivator yelled angrily, stamping his feet down. The ground near the cultivator trembled, the force in his legs truly fearsome. The bloodthirsty aura the cultivator gave off was nothing to joke about either. Because of the pressure he emanated, traffic through the southern gate had temporarily stopped as people gathered to watch.
A small crowd had gathered at a distance and was watching the commotion. The two arguing cultivators were blocking the southern gate, and inconveniencing a great many of the Great Lake City denizens. Despite that, however, no one walked up and tried to break them up. The powerful aura’s these two feuding cultivators gave off was quite fearsome.
“Gorgth.” Tian Shou said, his crystal clear eyes glinting softly, his kind sounding voice at odds with his words, “Your name is as barbaric as your manner. Why the Wu Sect took you in I have no idea. I could care less for your help, trash.”
A short crashing sound shook the air as the barbaric cultivator named Gorgth flung himself forward, swinging his enormous battle axe off his back towards the delicate looking cultivator in one smooth motion. The battle axe was truly massive, the blade alone two meters in length. The barbaric cultivator’s movements were like that of a fierce, pouncing bear, containing untold fury and power.
Tian Shou responded with a light smirk. His hands transformed into a blur as the katana he held sliced out, intercepting the enormous battle axe. His blade was extremely precise and contained a hint of some mysterious movement as it tapped against the battle axe, causing it to miss him.
In the next moment, both cultivators exchanged roughly thirty attacks with each other, Gorgth letting loose powerful axe blow after powerful, overbearing blow, and Tian Shou responding by delicately redirecting the force of each attack with extreme precision. Despite his redirection of each attack, Tian Shou didn’t appear to have the upper hand in the battle, as Gorgth let loose a grim smile.
Each swing that Gorgth had swung had been filled with a type of what appeared to be fire natural energy. This lent an incredible amount of heat and force to his blows, one that was extremely hard to redirect. Tian Shou, on the other hand, had responded with a method of pure sword technique, technique so advanced he was able to completely redirect the force of Gorgth’s attacks without using natural energy at all. The power behind Gorgth’s attacks was clearly extreme, yet the skill in which Tian Shou redirected them meant his understanding of the blade was also extreme.
To the crowd of civilians, both cultivators were extremely powerful but nothing too extreme. To the Profound Beast Hunters and to Watch Commander Bron who watched, however, both cultivators were monsters, their talent simply unimaginable. For Gorgth to be able to manipulate what looked and acted like fire natural energy, he had to be at least a 4 Star Profound Expert. For Tian Shou to be able to redirect those powerful attacks, his level of skill was unimaginable to these watchers. None of them had the ability to intervene, and they could only watch the fight unfold helplessly.
After exchanging a multitude of powerful blows, each one filled with some mysterious intent, both cultivators jumped backwards.
“Hmph.” Gorgth said, wiping sweat off his forehead as he smiled, “Beneath that girly face of yours, you ain’t half bad, not at all, not at all. If your sword wasn’t as durable as it is, however, this fight would already be over.” The barbaric cultivator leaned to the side and spat on the ground. The earth around the southern gate had been severely cracked and damaged by the powerful blows, though no massive shards of earth or debris had been torn up. The attacks of both cultivators had been extremely precise, such that even thought they were exchanging viciously powerful attacks, the area around them remained largely intact.
“If only your strength was as poor as your manner, filth.” The delicate looking Tian Shou responded, his eyes slitted shut.
At that exact moment, a loud squawking sound rang out.
A small looking gold and white parrot flew towards Tian Shou from the open southern gate and stopped, hovering a few feet away. The parrot looked at the delicate gold and white silk robes the cultivator wore in apparent mesmiration. Both Gorgth and Tian Shou stared at the parrot in shock and confusion, both completely taken off guard. The crowd of civilians watching the battle all stared at the bird in shock as well, feeling it completely break the tension of the moment.
A second later the golden parrot began to caw out happily and tackled into Tian Shou, hugging the gold and white silk robes. The parrot then began to make rather vulgar motions, moving quickly back and forth with the delicate robes.
“Get off me you tra- you scu- you-“ Tian Shou sputtered out in anger and embarrassment as the eager parrot continued to hump his robes, swinging out his katana. An incredible amount of power welled up in the arms of the cultivator as he swung at the parrot, moving to attack the parrot over and over. Rippling waves of energy began to form around the delicate looking cultivator as he tried desperately to slice the offending parrot in twain.
However, each time the katana was about to land on the parrot, the small bird seemed to somehow twist around the attack and dodge it. Instead of bothering to retaliate or respond, the parrot immediately went back to its curious humping motion, cawing out quite cheerfully as it did so.
“Ahahahahahahahaaahahahaha!” Gorgth, the barbaric cultivator dressed in bear skins, slammed his great axe into the ground as he fell to his knees laughing. The pavement of the road he fell on cracked again as he watched Tian Shou’s robe get violated, tears streaming down his face in merriment.
The crowd of watching civilians snickered quietly as well, though none of them daring to laugh like Gorgth. The cultivator being antagonized, after all, was obviously extremely powerful.
A scream of pure rage exploded out of Tian Shou as he stared at the offending parrot, his eyes going red. Instantly, a heavenly aura descended as his body transformed slightly, donning a pure, crystal white light. The air of purity that had appeared around this cultivator enhanced to an extreme level, making the young man seem as if he was as pure as purity itself. His skin was transformed from the delicate white it had originally been to that of a pure, enhanced white, a white such that a purer shade could not be found. The young man grew roughly a foot taller as well, his long blonde hair lengthening.
The force of this pure cultivator’s aura jumped to an extreme level, and blasted the golden white parrot back several dozen meters to the south, near the southern entrance to the city. The parrot fell to the ground then, the unexpected blast slightly dazing him.
“Clooooooud get back here!” A small girl’s voice broke through the air as, from the entryway of the southern gate, a young looking girl dressed in the hide of a Profound Beast appeared. The young girl ran up to the dazed parrot and picked him up, hugging him softly. She then looked around at all the people staring at her in surprise, and then at the livid delicate cultivator. The force of the aura the delicate cultivator gave off was too extreme and the young girl was abruptly overwhelmed, unable to move or speak.
“This is your spirit animal?” The delicate looking cultivator’s voice was like that of death itself, his face a picture of pure anger and rage. The incredible powerful amounts of energy the cultivator had been storing up as it tried to strike at the parrot suddenly converged on the young man’s katana as he leapt forward and struck out.