(Bonus chapters left: 2)
(This chapter is a double length chapter, just to make up for not posting yesterday.)
Dale was blown backwards by the force of the attack. At the same time, he was also thrown through the air, losing his grip on the Yellow Thunder Beast’s right arm. The arrow strike had originally been quite precise, and the force of the blow would have been absorbed by the Yellow Thunder Beast. Watch Commander Bei Bron was a master archer, renowned for his hunting and tracking skills. He had observed Dale’s grip and entrapment of the Yellow Thunder Beast, and by all accounts the creature would have been unable to escape.
However, that was only if one considered the situation by human standards.
A normal human would never think to chop off his own leg simply to escape an attack. While it might buy him some time, such an action would only ever weaken a cultivator, unless they had a miraculous regeneration ability, similar to Dale’s own. Even then, deciding upon an action like that in a split second was an extremely daunting challenge. The sheer determination this Yellow Thunder Beast had was praiseworthy, in Bei Bron’s estimation.
In the instant that the creature sliced off its own leg, it jerked its right arm forward, pulling Dale off balance and throwing him. The creature’s leg wound spurted out blood before stopping almost instantly, an unusual manner the Watch Commander noted. This wound wasn’t instantly cauterized, unlike the creature’s previous attacks.
By slicing off its own leg and throw Dale to the side, the creature dodged out of the pathway of the red arrow. Instead of hitting the Yellow Thunder Beast, Watch Commander Bei Bron’s extremely powerful arrow strike slammed into the ground directly underneath where the creature had been standing, just next to it.
An explosion of red light shook the cave as Dale was knocked to the side. The Yellow Thunder Beast was knocked in the opposite direction of Dale, coincidentally slamming into the green robed cultivator.
“Arrrrrgh!” The green robed cultivator let out a scream of agony as the Yellow Thunder Beast slammed into it and, at the same time, pierced its right hand into the chest of the cultivator, directly where the man’s heart was.
The bulging muscles that had formed on the green robed cultivator all shriveled and shrank as the Yellow Thunder Beast seemed to absorb his life force, his body withering away. In less than a few seconds, the green robed cultivator fell to the ground, dead. The draining technique the Yellow Thunder Beast used was extremely fearsome.
Immediately after absorbing the life force of the green robed cultivator, the Yellow Thunder Beast once again became a little less lean. The hole in its right shoulder finished healing, restoring the fur it had to its yellow luster. Its right leg remained unhealed, however, still gapping.
“Shitty bird.” Dale mumbled, starting to get angry. While he didn’t personally know the two cultivators that had just perished, seeing another human die trying to take down the creature that was terrorizing the local area only served to enrage him.
At this point, Dale noted that his Titanic Sea was starting to run low. He had been fighting too long and constantly using it, drawing energy from it. Maintaining his Titanic Transformation for as long as he had while actively fighting wasn’t something he could accomplish for an indefinite amount of time. He still had his trump card, Laozi’s Gaze, but he didn’t want to perform that technique if he didn’t have to, and it would drain what was left of his Titanic Sea to perform. The massive knockback damage he suffered from it made the attack a very sharp double edged sword.
The Yellow Thunder Beast stood on one leg almost naturally, cawing out loudly. It didn’t move, however, and seemed unsteady as it looked around. Blood seeped out of its wounded leg.
“Don’t let it near me and I’ll take it out with another shot!” Watch Commander Bei Bron called out as he once more began to charge his red arrow attack, light starting to gather on his bow. A sheen of sweat covered his forehead as he pushed himself to his limit, drawing energy for a second attack.
“Alright.” Dale grunted, moving to place himself between the Yellow Thunder Beast and the Watch Commander. The Yellow Thunder Beast didn’t move from its place as Dale swiftly placed himself between the two.
At that exact moment, Dale heard the sounds of more than a hundred sets of feet pounding and echoing through the cave. He didn’t turn his head to look in the direction of the sound, keeping his focus on the Yellow Thunder Beast, but they had to be originating from outside the entrance to the Yellow Thunder Beast’s lair.
“… and don’t stop!”
“Kill the beast!”
“We found them! The trackers found them!”
“Charge! Those 50,000 Shards are mine!”
“In your dreams!”
A brief moment after Dale heard them, the group of Profound Beast Hunters and low level experts from the Donden Auction House burst into the cave, slightly more than a hundred figures running in. Gorgth had stepped to the side a few moments earlier and shook his head as the figures ran past, keeping an eye on the Yellow Thunder Beast. The bored expression remained on his face, however.
Watch Commander Bei Bron, meanwhile, was knocked to the side by the throng of cultivators, losing his focus on his arrow strike. The red light flashed out as he regained his balance, irritation flashing on his face.
Most of these cultivators were here simply because of the large reward offered. In the City Lord’s efforts to find the Yellow Thunder Beast, he had offered a 50,000 Shard reward to any cultivators who defeated it or took a major part in its defeat.
To these many 1 Star experts, 50,000 Energy Shards was a huge sum, equal to nearly 500 1 Star Profound Cores. They would be a huge boon in cultivator, and likely boost any of them all the way to the 2 Star Realm. Greed was an enormous driving factor.
The rest of these cultivators had simply joined the rushing crowd after hearing the eager shouts of people in the auction house, wanting to see what the hubbub was about. When they learned of the reward, many of them felt eagerness in their hearts as well, hoping to claim a piece of it. 50,000 Shards was a significant amount, and it was offered to those that played a major part in the beast’s death or capture, not just the person that killed it.
As soon as the horde of 1 Star warriors rushed inside the cave, the Yellow Thunder Beast air about itself seemed to change. It had originally been moving about in a fearful manner, trying to avoid attacks and treat its wounds. Now, however, it abruptly threw itself forward, towards the horde of warriors.
“No! Don’t attack it!” Dale yelled futilely, charging forward. The Yellow Thunder Beast was missing a leg still, its speed severely depleted. Despite that, it barely managed to reach the throng of warriors before Dale reached it, rushing into the crowd of eager cultivators.
“Prepare to taste my Teld-AHHHHH!” A cultivator with short blonde hair was the first victim, his shriek ending in a gurgling rip. The Yellow Thunder Beast literally tore his head off as it slammed into the cultivator, thrusting its right hand into the cultivators body and absorbing his energy.
In just a few seconds, the Yellow Thunder Beast tore through four other cultivators, absorbing their cultivation energy and life force. Blood and gore spattered the cave near the beast as it went on a rampage, attacking, killing, and absorbing.
Sevearl of the cultivators near the birdlike creature screamed out in terror, trying to flee. The warriors in the back of the crowd, however, not knowing of the terrible strength the beast held, pushed forward, not letting the warriors in the front flee.
Thus, even more cultivators died.
By the time Dale reached the Yellow Thunder Beast, 10 cultivators had already fallen to the creature.
The Yellow Thunder Beast’s fur was dyed red from the blood that covered it. Its formerly lean body had filled out, muscles slowly spreading out underneath its skin. It seemed to have physically grown, absorbing both the cultivation energy and the life force of every creature it killed. The majority of wounds on its body had healed, regenerating fully.
Its leg, however, had not healed. While the wound had stopped bleeding and scabbed over, the appendage itself had yet to grow back. It seemed that the Yellow Thunder Beast’s capacity to heal, while very powerful, was not at a level similar to Dale’s yet.
At this point, Dale had fought the Yellow Thunder Beast for a while. His understanding of how the creature defended itself and what it was weak to had grown a great deal. From this knowledge, Dale decided to first focus on weakening the creature.
It could regenerate regular wounds, even dire wounds on its body. It couldn’t, however, regenerate things that were completely sliced off.
Therefore, Dale activated his Draconic Sea for the first time this fight, drawing energy from it to use his Aura.
The Aura techniques Dale knew were naturally rather limited. The only Aura Art he had ever practiced, the Basic Heavy Fist Aura Art, had been taught more of the fundamentals than expansive techniques. However, in those fundaments, one of the things Dale had learned how to do was to project his Aura onto his palm when making a chopping motion, to form an edge.
This would allow him to deliver strikes as if he wielded a bladed weapon, simply using his palm. The technique was rather simple and had a similarly simple name, Heavy Aura Slash.
The thing that Dale took advantage of, however, was that all Aura techniques could be imbued with physical strength. If he threw out a full force punch, his Aura would combine with his physical strength, letting him throw out an incredibly strong punch. The same would apply to this technique. As long as he kept his Draconic Sea energy separate from his Titanic Sea energy, and didn’t try to perform Laozi’s Gaze, he wouldn’t have any trouble using the technique, though it would put some strain on his focus. The two energy sources in his Soul twisted and writhed, making it somewhat difficult to draw on them both at once.
Dale’s right hand chopped down on the left shoulder of the Yellow Thunder Beast, striking it from behind.
His palm contained, when combined with his body’s strength and his enhanced power, a strike that contained around one and a half million pounds of force. Such a fearsome amount could easily slice through solid stone and shatter rock, could easily break apart a castle wall or human body. This incredible strength was something only a person that had reached the 3 Star Realm could unleash.
The requirements for one to be known as a 3 Star Cultivator were simply to be able to unleash an attack that gave off a million pounds of force, otherwise known as a the strength of a dragon. This could be achieved in any manner, and led to many different levels of cultivators in the 3 Star Realm. Some could only unleash a million pounds of force with their utmost strongest attack, while others could unleash it with a simple slash or strike.
Dale was among the latter group, his body at a level that allowed him to convey attacks at a high scale. By using his Aura, Dale could concentrate all of the strength behind his attack, giving his strikes an incredibly strong piercing power. Thus, Dale’s simply downward chop, while not containing any natural energy, was still extremely deadly.
Dale knew that the Yellow Thunder Beast had an incredibly tough fur and hide, its skin being extremely resistant to attacks. From his fights with it and his observations as others attacked it, however, Dale had determined a single thing.
The Yellow Thunder Beast’s defensive fur was weaker in area’s that contained joints. Because of the body’s natural need to be able to bend and flow smoothly, the skin and fur in this area was naturally not as tough and absorbingly rigid.
Dale’s right palm sliced down directly on the joint that connected the Yellow Thunder Beast’s left shoulder to its left arm. His Aura energy concentrated on the edge of his palm, concentrating all of his force in a sharp line as it slammed into the left shoulder of the beast.
And sheared complexly through it, separating the arm from the creature’s body. Red blood spattered out of the creatures shoulder as its arm fell to the floor, red stained yellow fur flowing down.
The Yellow Thunder Beast released its piercing shriek, kicking off from the ground away from Dale towards several more cultivators, ignoring its wounds. Dale leapt after it, determined to kill the creature before it caused any more damage. His movement speed was much faster than the one legged Yellow Thunder Beast’s, allowing him to catch up to it in an a few seconds.
The 1 Star cultivators that had been pushing towards the Yellow Thunder Beast had all stopped in shock as the blood and gore of the moment registered. As all of the cultivators present became aware of the deaths of the initial 10 cultivators, fear and terror ran rampart through the crowd and the cultivators began to flee.
Unfortunately, they did not begin to flee soon enough. By the time Dale caught up with the Yellow Thunder Beast, the creature had managed to kill two more cultivators, absorbing the energy and life out of them. While it still didn’t regenerate from its wounds, the bleeding from its right shoulder stopped. Its body seemed to finish filling out, the muscles beneath its fur expanded completely. It no longer looked lean or lanky, and instead looked muscular. It was still missing its right leg and its left arm, however.
This time when Dale caught up to it, the creature flung its sole remaining right arm backwards, electricity glowing around it as it used its explosive electrical attack. Yellow lightning exploded in the air as a small explosion shook the cave. Dale was knocked backwards a few feet before regaining his balance, landing sharply on the cave ground.
Dale was pleased with the results, however. It was only a matter of time before the murdering beast was defeated. With only one arm and one leg, it wouldn’t be able to escape or be a serious threat. He looked at where the explosion had taken place, seeing a crowd of rock dust and stone, the explosion having formed a small bubble of dust.
Dale blinked as he saw a yellow blur flash out of the dust, speeding off towards the back of the cave. The Yellow Thunder Beast moved quickly despite its sole leg, kicking off the ground as it hurtled towards the back end of the cave.
Dale leapt after it, activating his Shatter Steps technique to quickly accelerate. He soared across the cave proper, chasing after the beast. He watched as the creature seemed to slam into the lower part of the wall and then vanished, disappearing from his vision.
Dale dashed towards the wall that the creature had disappeared under, just a few seconds behind. Despite being slowed down due to its wounds, when the beast focused all its efforts on fleeing, it was quite fast.
The stone wall looked unremarkable. It was a mix of blue and grey, barely visible in the fading light of the fireballs Gorgth had spawned earlier. Dale ignored the hubbub of the 1 Star cultivators shouting and fleeing in confusion as he placed his hand up on the wall.
At least, he tried to place his hand on the wall. When his hand touched the area where the cave wall intercepted, Dale felt a cooling sensation, and, with a feeling of slight resistance, his hand pierced through.
Dale whipped his hand back, staring at the wall in confusion. He stretched his Perfect Balance forward, feeling it intercept with the cave wall.
Even with his Perfect Balance, Dale was unable to sense anything but a regular cave wall. However, when he placed his hand up against it, it slid through.
After a moment, Dale made his decision, and walked directly forward, feeling his entire body slide forward with just the barest feeling of resistance. A cool sensation covered his body as he blinked, looking around the new chamber he had walked into.
The temperature in this area was at least 20 degrees cooler than the previous cave area, much cooler and colder. It was a large chamber, perhaps 80 meters in length, and around the same size in width. It was around 70 or 80 meters wide as well, the entire place shaped like a half sphere with a flat ground area. The cave walls were a pure grey, without a hint or stain of the blue coloration that covered the regular cave area.
What was striking about this chamber, however, wasn’t its sheer size or its cold temperature, but the huge, brightly glowing ball of yellow lightning, floating in the exact center of the room.
Dale gaped as he stared at it, unable to think of it as anything but a giant ball of lightning. It was huge, easily 10 meters in diameter, and was in constant motion, yellow and white lightning swiveling across it in flashing strikes. Tens of thousands of lightning bolts moved about it in a chaotic fury, unchecked. Dale also felt a terribly strong oppressive force emanating off this energy. The ball of lightning energy lit up the entire room.
As his eyes adjusted to the bright light, Dale caught site of the Yellow Thunder Beast, the creature just a few meters away from the dangerously oppressive ball of lightning energy.
Dale instantly determined that whatever plans the creature had in relevance to the giant ball of lightning energy were something he needed to stop. Without waiting, he rushed forward, using his Shatter Steps movement technique to accelerate towards the creature.
Meanwhile, back at the new entrance to the Yellow Thunder Beast’s Lair
Gorgth blinked, staring around in confusion at the crowd of warriors that were mulling about, several of them fleeing past him. He had been observing the crowd and watching the Yellow Thunder Beast fight, deciding that he would leave when the creature died. He had noticed the beast gaining muscle mass and becoming less skinny as it fought, and was curious exactly how the creature did this. Thus, he stayed behind despite being bored of the fight itself. In his eyes, it was very low level, and not something he felt inclined to participate in. He had lost sight of the creature a few moments earlier when the stone dust kicked up by the beast’s explosive energy attack obscured his vision.
Due to the angle at which the dust had formed, Gorgth hadn’t seen the creature flee inside the wall on the opposite side. He had, however, seen Dale run towards the opposite side of the cave wall. When the cloud of dust dispersed, however, Dale and the creature were nowhere to be seen. Gorgth stood up and began to walk towards the cave wall area that Dale had disappeared behind, pushing aside any cultivators that walked in his way.
“Flee! The beast is killing everyone!”
“A massacre! A massacre!”
“No shards are worth this!”
A multitude of shouts and screams filled the air as the Profound Beast Hunters and visitors from the Auction House fled the cave area in terror, trampling over each other despite the fact that the Yellow Thunder Beast was no longer visible.
Watch Commander Bei Bron, meanwhile, had gotten back up to his feet after being knocked over by the crowd of rushing in 1 Star cultivators. Normally cultivators at such a level would never be able to dislodge the strong captain. He was, after all, a 3 Star cultivator. The Commander, however, had been focused on his technique, and wasn’t able to defend himself.
Now, however, instead of charging his bow strike, he was simply trying to determine the location of the beast. His eyes darted around the room as he scanned the environment, confusion filling them as he failed to located either Dale or the creature.
Abruptly, a weird keening sound shook the air. A loud grating sound following this keening sound, as if a piece of metal was dragging somewhere inside the cave, its echoes reaching the cultivators here. The fleeing cultivators looked up and around in confusion as the sound appeared, unsure where it was coming from.
A second later, a figure appeared almost instantaneously, his movement speed so fast he simply appeared in the cave area. This figure was none other than the elderly man that had the appearance of an old fisherman, wielding a fishing rod across his back.
“City Lord!” Watch Commander Bei Bron stood at attention, raising his right hand in a salute as he saw the elderly man appear.
The elderly man scanned the entire cave area and then looked over at the Commander, his eyes piercing as he spoke aloud,
“Where is the creature?”