(Bonus chapters left: 1)
Dale took a deep breath as he looked around him, taking in the city area. He was currently walking towards the north of the Great Lake City, away from the Donden Auction House. He snorted angrily as he walked, annoyed. He tossed the sling he had covered his right arm with to the side angrily, trashing it.
“Tian Shou… Hmph. We will talk again in the future.” A gleam flashed in Dale’s eyes as he spoke aloud, a promise.
Right now, however, since Dale had left the auction, he found that he had a large amount of free time. He had originally planned on being at the auction for a long period of time through the night. The auctions were known to last several hours, and he had been looking forward to it. Tian Shou, unfortunately, ruined that for him.
“It’s fine, it’s fine…” He sighed aloud, talking to himself. “I’ll check it out next week.” The Donden Auction House held weekly auctions.
For now, Dale decided to check out the Mithril mines to the north west of Great Lake City.
The Mithril mines where the Great Lake City’s chief source of income, and the reason this Island was a Major Island. All Major Islands, after all, had some rare or powerful natural resource. It was the reason they were battled over.
Mithril was a rare, blue metal that was extremely durable and strong. It held similar properties to the two other base metals in this universe, Thorium and Borium. All three metals were worth roughly the same amount. They all had similar properties, the only differences being durability and toughness. Mithril was the most durable metal, lasting the longest and able to hold an edge the longest. Of the three, it was the defensive weakest, however. Borium happened to be the strongest defensive metal, and Thorium was a mix of the two, both durable and defensive, but losing to either metal in their specialty.
All of the strongest weapons contained a mix of all three rare metals, as well as a suitable Profound Core and whatever other additions the smith that made the weapon deemed necessary. Even regular high quality blades and weapons, like the Standard Borium Greataxe that had been sold, were made of these metals.
Dale was curious as to what the mine looked like, and decided to go visit it. There was still light outside, the time being early evening, and Dale wasn’t worried about traveling in the dark anyway. Ever since he learned that the natural resources of this world respawned naturally, he had been curious about why. It was, after all, one of the great mysteries of this universe.
Dale quickly crossed through the city. He moved across the rough stone paved ground, seeing the crowds of people walking about gradually thin as he reached the outskirts of the town. He soon arrived at the northern city gate.
The city walls were still huge. Dale stared at them as he passed through the northern gate, still impressed. While he would still be able to jump over them, if he really tried, these walls would stop any regular Profound Beast from entering the city.
To the north of the Great Lake City was the iconic Great Lake this island was known for. It was a massive pool of water, more than a dozen miles wide, and looked more like a miniature sea than a lake. Dale looked to the left of this, however, at the large mountain range the Great Lake City bordered.
The city walls were about three miles from the lake, and three miles from the mountain range. In the distance, Dale could see a massive wooden construction off the side of this mountain range. This was, presumably, the mithril mine.
Dale looked around at the stream of people moving back and forth through the city gate he had just exited. Several groups of fisherman could be seen out on the lake, fishing. Workers moved back and forth from the mine, some carrying pickaxes while others moved large wagons. He even saw a few Profound Beast Hunters moving about as well. The north gate was the busiest gate, open for business at all times of the day. He listed to the chatter of the crowd as he took a few minutes to relax.
“Wagon coming through! Wagon coming through!”
“Now that’s got to be the biggest Sirone fish I’ve seen caught yet!”
“The biggest? Hah! I don’t think it’s bigger than the City Lord’s fish!”
“They need forty more miners in the southern section of the mine, there was a cave collapse earlier. We really need better wooden supports, that’s what I’m saying.”
“Did you hear about the battle that ripped up Tolong street just before the southern gate?”
“Was it the Yellow Thunder Beast?”
Dale paused at that and inched closer. He was currently standing around one hundred meters from the gate, having slowly moved down the pathway towards the mithril mine. A tired looking middle-aged miner and a middle-aged fisherman were currently talking. Dale followed just close enough behind the two to hear them talking.
“No, I heard it was two experts from outside the Inner Sea! A bunch of old and powerful cultivators, each standing 8 feet tall!” The fisherman continued to expound upon the tale to the bedraggled looking miner.
“Now that seems a bit unlikely. 8 feet tall?” The miner remained a skeptic. The pair moved on out of range of Dale’s hearing as they crossed deeper into the small crowd of people moving in and out of the gate.
Dale smiled, shaking his head. While Gorgth wasn’t 8 feet tall, he was certainly close.
Just as Dale was about to leave, he felt a sixth sense of danger swoop upon him. The hair on the back of his neck stood up as he went on high alert, looking around. Dale instantly grasped ahold of his Will, commanding it to harden his skin defensively. His body instantly became tougher, his skin solidifying slightly, in a similar manner to his Titanic Transformation. Dale didn’t exactly want to activate his Divine Ability randomly, but held his Sea close if he needed it. He was already drawing energy from his Core at a slight rate, having kept up his Perfect Balance.
The sixth sense of danger faded, but Dale remained on alert, searching.
At first, Dale didn’t notice anything. He stepped back a few steps from the crowd and began scanning it, his eyes staring intensely.
Gradually, Dale became aware of two figures that seemed to be spying on him. Off on the city wall were two cultivators, Dale sensed. He used his Will to make his eye sight stronger, strengthening his eyes specifically. Instantly, his vision grew sharp and he was able to discern the details of these two figures.
Two men that appeared to be in their early twenties were standing on the wall. One had dark red hair, the other had blonde hair. They glanced at Dale from time to time but other then that appeared to be watching the crowd down below. Despite that, Dale had a feeling that they were following him, that they were watching him. The way they kept glancing at exactly where he was, but only for a few seconds, made him certain.
However, after glancing these two cultivators over, Dale didn’t feel any particularly large sense of danger coming from them. He continued to look around, trying to find the source of the-
A shriek tore across the evening light as, about two dozen meters from Dale, a small explosion shook the air. The sounds of the explosion preceded several bodies flying past Dale, slamming into other civilians that were walking by.
The crowd that had formed at the city gate as people moved in and out of it let out a communal wail as people began fleeing inside the city, running over each other. A scene of chaos unfolded as the situation rapidly devolved.
Dale had kept on his feet when the explosion occurred, using his Perfect Balance to dodge the bodies that flew past him. He decided to go all out from the forefront, and activated his Divine Ability, Titanic Transformation. His already hardened skin suddenly expanded and then immediately densified, his bones and muscles following suit. Dale felt as if he had gained an enormous amount of strength. His body right now was extremely powerful.
“It’s the Yellow Thunder Beast!!”
“Flee! The beast is here!”
“Call the watch! The Profound Hunters!”
“Ring the northern bell! Call the City Lord!”
Voices exploded as the crowd of people poured into the city.
Dale ignored the crowd and stepped forward towards the scene of the explosion. He watched as, a couple dozen meters away, the dust that covered the ground where the explosion had occurred cleared away, revealing a curious looking creature.
The figure was a bipedal creature that stood on two legs and had a torso and arm similar to a human’s. It was covered in short yellow fur that was smoothed downwards, from its legs to its arms and chest. It had a long, bird like head with a mane of yellow hair covering the back of its head. Its arms were long and slender, and it had human like hands. Its legs were also long and slender, ending in large bird like claws.
Right now, the creature was standing in the midst of the small five meter wide crater it had formed, holding the body of what appeared to be a Profound Beast Hunter in its arms.
The creature slung the body of the human over its shoulder, tossing the several hundred pounds hunter like he weighed nothing. It then turned towards the mountainous region, preparing to flee.
“Hold on there.” Dale said, feeling his blood start to rise. His anger at Tian Shou vanished as he looked at the creature that had appeared in front of him. He wanted to fight it. He also made a mental sidenote of trying to rescue the unconscious or dead Profound Beast Hunter.
Dale stepped forward, reaching towards his towards his hip unconsciously for his claymore.
Unfortunately, Dale didn’t have Aarsasho strapped with him.
When he had gone to the auction with Lei Bao and the others, he had left his armor and weapons in his room. The Donden Auction House didn’t allow weapons in their area unless they were to be sold. Even Gorgth, a powerful cultivator that was ranked very highly in the Yu Sect, hadn’t been allowed to bring his greataxe with him inside.
Dale didn’t think to bring his armor or weapons with him. His armor was negligible, but his weapon was something Dale mentally slapped himself for not picking up.
Dale instantly adapted, however. Using his extremely adaptive secret power, his Will, Dale commanded the skin on his knuckles to harden and propagate. After just a few moments, small spikes of bone and skin had formed on his hands, turning his fists into deadly, hardened weapons. While it wouldn’t be as deadly or sharp as his claymore, it would do.
In the few moments that Dale had taken to enact this change, the strange looking creature, the Yellow Thunder Beast, had detected Dale’s presence and his hostility.
The Yellow Thunder Beast tossed the body of the Profound Beast Hunter to the side and completely turned to focus on Dale. Small sparks of energy began to flow around the Yellow Thunder Beast as it stepped forward towards Dale, bending its legs downward.
Dale decided to act first. Moving with the grace his Perfect Balance and excellent control of his body allowed, Dale activated his Shatter Steps technique, hitting the ground beneath him. The rebound of raw energy blasted Dale forward at an incredible speed, hurtling him towards the Yellow Thunder Creature.
Dale’s movement speed was so fast, he covered the two dozen meters between him in the creature in a second. Even powerful cultivators would be hard-pressed to react to such a sudden acceleration.
In the instant that he accelerated, Dale brought his right fist up, aiming it towards the bird like face of the Profound Beast. He used all of his strength in this fist attack, bringing more than a million pounds of force to bear. In terms of pure physical strength, Dale was quite confident in his attacks.
Just as his fist crashed into the Yellow Thunder Beast, Dale blinked, confused. His right fist had hit the face of the Yellow Thunder Beast and continued on through, encountering no resistance. Dale felt a minuscule shock tingle through his body as the body of the Yellow Thunder Beast abruptly dissipated, vanishing.
Just as abruptly, Dale spun around, leading his left arm forward as his Perfect Balance caught up, sensing an intrusion into his space.
An explosion blasted the air around Dale with electrical energy as Dale was knocked off his feet and sent flying, crashing down hard fifteen meters to the north. He felt a slight tingle in his left arm as he flew through the air, spinning. Dale rolled as he hit the ground, his eyes moving up on alert as he recovered his balance. A wide smile covered his face as he instantly threw himself forward again, enjoying himself.
Standing where the explosion had originated was the Yellow Thunder Beast. Its right arm was covered in electrical sparks, and a dangerous aura had formed around it. As Dale ran forward, he focused on the small electrical sparks, sensing a dangerous amount of energy in them.
Dale glanced down at his left forearm, seeing a small burn mark that rapidly healed even as he ran forward. The red rash vanished from his midnight black transformed skin, healed.
In the instant that Dale had thrust his left arm backward and spun around, the Yellow Thunder Beast had appeared behind Dale and backhanded Dale with its right arm. The electrical sparks that covered its right arm had exploded forth with lightning energy, searing the ground and air itself in a small explosion that formed a second crater, this one a solid dozen meters wide, larger than the last one.
While the explosion was indeed powerful, and the electrical energy deadly, especially to a human not wearing any defensive armor, Dale was not a regular cultivator. He was half Titan, and using both his Inborn Divine Ability and his Will to strengthen his body. The defensive properties of his body were at a level that would require an extremely concentrated attack to break. When Tian Shou had sliced off Dale’s right arm, Dale hadn’t been using his Will to boost his defenses. When his Will combined with his Divine Ability, Titanic Transformation, his defensive prowess was boosted to an extreme level. Even then, however, Dale was still uncertain if he would have been able to block Tian Shou’s sword strike without injury. The strange energy and power in that cultivator’s attack had been especially fearsome.
Dale smiled confidently as he jumped forward, kicking off the ground with his Shatter Steps technique to once more charge the Yellow Thunder Beast. The earth beneath him exploded into shards as he launched himself forward.
And, once again, Dale felt himself hit nothing but sparks as the Yellow Thunder Beast moved at a speed Dale couldn’t even see. A second explosion shook the air as the Yellow Thunder Beast slapped Dale’s back, sending him flying. This time, Dale hadn’t even had time to respond, his arms at an awkward angle despite being aware of the attack’s origin thanks to his Perfect Balance.
Dale crashed down on the ground and threw himself forward a third time, growling loudly. He felt the burn on his back finish healing in less than a second as he continued trying to land a blow on the Yellow Thunder Beast, his movements ferocious.
Over the next minute, this scene repeated itself several times as the creature dodged Dale’s attacks over and over, moving at an inhumane speed. It wasn’t that Dale’s speed was low. On the contrary, regular cultivators wouldn’t even be able to follow Dale’s movements. This beast’s speed was simply too fast.
While their battle was ongoing, the rest of the civilians had finished fleeing the surrounding area. Several guards from the Great Lake City watch had formed a small perimeter near the entrance of the city, but made no moves to help Dale. All of them were not even at the 2 Star cultivator level, so it was understandable. The sounds of a large bell rang out as the city was alerted to the attack on the north gate. Forces from the Great Lake City began gathering and rushing northwards.
Meanwhile, the Donden Auction House went into uproar as the bells rang out. Several of the Profound Beast Hunters immediately left the house as soon as the bells rang out, heading northwards. Gorgth moved among these hunters, rushing eagerly alongside them towards the north of the city. Tian Shou remained in the auction house, supremely unconcerned.
The two white clothed cultivators, the one with red hair and the one with blonde hair, both remained on the city wall, watching Dale and the Yellow Thunder Beast battle. The red haired one had removed a small wooden tube from his robes and was twisting it, pulling it out. A slight snapping sound rang out as the tube suddenly expanded into a full sized bow, a large wooden contraption that gave off a faint hint of green energy. Clearly, this was a weapon that had been infused with a Profound Core, and a powerful one at that.
The blonde haired cultivator, on the other hand, was holding a small grey throwing knife that glowed with a slight, orange tang. An aura of strength had formed around this cultivator as both he and the red haired one watched the ongoing battle carefully.
Dale grunted as he fell hard on the ground for the thirteenth time, his breathing heavy. He got back up to his feet and stood still, heaving.
His current tactic was obviously not working, so Dale decided to switch it up.
In terms of movement speed, this Yellow Thunder Beast vastly outsped Dale. However, in terms of pure physical attack speed, Dale noted that its physical attacks were at a speed that while very fast, was not something he couldn’t block as long as he had his Perfect Balance. The small bubble of awareness gave Dale just enough of an advantage to allow him to block the attacks.
Thus, instead of chasing after the Yellow Thunder Beast, Dale decided to try to lure the beast towards him.
With a loud stop, Dale smashed the ground where he stood upon, cracking the earth in several directions as he glared at the Yellow Thunder Beast. He tightened his arms and held his hands forward, waiting.
The Yellow Thunder Beast cocked its head as it looked at Dale in an eerily intelligent manner. It studied him for a moment, the earlier violence between the two of them seeming to vanish.
The birdlike beast then let out a shrill growling noise and disappeared, an explosion of lightning appearing where it had previously been standing. The birds movement was at such a speed that, even with his Will enhanced eyes, Dale was unable to follow it.
Dale felt the creature enter the range of his Perfect Balance, the humanoid beast’s right arm slamming into his back at a ferocious speed. Dale had managed to turn around slightly, negating some of the force of the blade, but not enough to completely stop it. The now familiar explosion of energy shook the air as Dale sailed forward, skipping off the ground before coming to a hold several meters away.
“Damn. I can’t get a read on it.” Dale muttered as his body went to work regenerating his wounds. The Yellow Thunder Beast reappeared in his vision, more and more yellow sparks gathering around its body as it let out another loud shrill. It seemed to be getting angry.
His Titanic Sea was still more than half full, Dale noted, the power that kept him regenerating slowly draining away. He still had time, however.
“Alright,” Dale said as the Yellow Thunder Beast once more vanished, disappearing from his vision because of its incredible movement speed, and once more prepared to attack him.
“Let’s try this.”
Dale spread his Perfect Balance out to the max, drawing heavily from his Gold Core cultivation energy. He felt the rippling pool of awareness stretch out slightly, expanding. As it did so, Dale relaxed his entire body, calming himself down, and, with a deep breath…
Closed his eyes.