Theldon Continent – The Under Cave, Delica City-State, Var Family Estate
Dale held up the Steel Monster Core, examining it. The Core was slightly larger than the Copper Core he had just absorbed. It was shaped in a perfect globe, with a pool of energy inside of it. It gave off a slight steelish glow, shining faintly in the morning light. Dale poked it a few times, getting a feel for it.
Unfortunately, the Copper Monster Core didn’t do much for his cultivation. This Steel Monster Core, however, should be at least of some use, he thought, preparing himself to absorb it.
Dale focused on the Steel Monster Core in front of him for a moment, drawing energy from his Core to surround it. Because of the fact that he was in his Perfect Balance, he already had a good idea of the amount of energy in the Core in front of him. However, as his energy surrounded it, he truly grasped the difference between a Copper Monster Core and a Steel Monster Core. The Steel Monster Core had much more energy in it than the Copper Monster Core. In fact, the Steel Monster Core had nearly 100 times the energy of the Copper Monster Core. Dale quickly encircled it, drawing it back into his own Core. It was a slow process, but much faster than Dale had been with the Copper Monster Core. With his new experience in absorbing energy, Dale’s proficiency had greatly grown, allowing him to absorb energy from Monster Cores at a much faster rate.
Soon, an hour went by in the blink of an eye. Dale stopped, falling backwards on his bed. It was an hour before noon and his stomach was rumbling, reminding him he hadn’t eaten yet.
Dale had managed to completely absorb the energy in the Steel Monster Core, adding it to his own Core. His absorption rate was monstrously fast and the fact that he was able to absorb the entire energy of the Core was incredible. Normal humans usually lose a large part of the energy in the process of absorbing a Core, roughly 60 to 80 percent. For Dale to absorb the Core in its entirety was simply monstrous.
Dale looked up, smiling. In the one hour he had spent absorbing the Monster Core, his cultivation had increased at a rate that would normally have taken a full 12 hours of meditation. It was simply too much, he thought, his eyes filling with glee. If he could attain a large number of Monster Cores, his cultivation speed would skyrocket, allowing him to jump up in strength.
However, Dale didn’t have any other Cores that were at the Steel level. He took inventory, noting the large number of Iron and Copper Cores. He made a mental note to sell them when he got the chance, after the Var family relaxed.
Dale’s stomach rumbled again, reminding him he hadn’t eaten yet. Dale left his room, heading towards the kitchens. The two guards accompanied him, not saying anything. Both guards looked identical, dressed in chain armor with a red sword and shield tabard. Thanks to his Perfect Balance, Dale could tell that both of them were Steel Core Commanders. He mentally smiled. The Var family seemed to really be underestimating his strength if they thought two normal Steel Commanders could hold him. Or, after a moments thought, maybe they trusted him more than he thought, and the guards were just for show. Dale wasn’t sure and decided to focus on getting food.
Dale made his way to the kitchens, quickly snagging some breakfast. He carried it with him back to his room, devouring all of it before stepping into meditation. Dale decided, for the first time in his life, that he would go behind closed doors training. Instructor Lem had told him that focusing purely on training and nothing else for long periods of time would allow one to quickly gain results.
In the blink of an eye, a month had passed.
Dale looked up from his meditation, hearing a knock at his door.
Over the past month, Dale had fully adapted to his Steel Core level and practiced a great deal on his various Arts. Dale’s Dragon Sea had formed to be much larger, allowing him to tap into it for a small period of time. The Aura he gained when he tapped into the small sea was ferocious, worthy of the title, Dragon. However, Dale could tell that he was very far from completion and would need many weeks or even months till it would completely form.
Dale considered himself a member of Instructor Lem’s order, the Order of Fallen Time. He spent some of his meditation focusing on what his teacher had taught him. These teachings focused upon the importance of maintaining Balance, in life and in the world.
In his first and second week, Dale went through the motions of the first step of the Fallen Time Knights Art. He moved his body in a specific kata, slowing and compressing time, over and over. His rapier flew in his hands, moving forward to an invisible melody. If an onlooker had watched him, they would have thought he was doing some type of mysterious dance, not a deadly, powerful fighting technique.
Dale fell completely into his concentration at one point, becoming one with the world, his Perfect Balance resonating deeply. Suddenly, in a wave of strength, he had shot forward, unleashing a very exact amount of strength. Immediately, his Fallen God’s Lance technique had shot out, slicing through the air. A whirring sound had occurred, and suddenly, in Dale’s room, a small rocky hole had appeared, penetrating all the way through the outer wall into the outside air. The force from Dale’s rapier had precisely pierced the thick stone wall, cutting through like a knife through butter.
Dale had looked at his rapier then, and smiled. Over the last two weeks, his finesse with his rapier had rapidly improved, allowing him to have a much greater control over his aim than he had previously. Though he hadn’t yet stepped past the first layer in his Fallen Time Knights Art, his control of the first layer had improved a great deal.
Dale had moved his rapier through the air, releasing his compression of time. He had quickly covered the hole in the wall by sliding his desk over, suddenly feeling guilty. It wasn’t his home after all, he had thought, nervously.
Around two weeks into his closed doors training, Dale had begun to focus on improving his footwork and movement pattern.
As of right now, Dale currently used a technique he had developed on his own called the Shifting Earth, Broken Land Art. This technique required Dale to be in his Perfect Balance, sensing the pulse of the earth and movement of the tectonic plates. By operating in concert with the forces in the ground, Dale could move forward at a rapid speed and turn at near impossible angles. However, Dale knew that he could do much, much more if given the time to develop his ability.
In the two weeks that he focused on improving his Shifting Earth, Broken Land Art, Dale discovered a new way to rapidly accelerate. One must understand that Dale had been feeling the pulse of the tectonic plates for a very long time now. Dale found that if he applied a sufficient force at a precise angle, the force of the earth would rebound back against him. The rebounding force was not very powerful when compared to the shifting movement of the plates as a whole. However, compared to the strength Dale had, it was a massive, overwhelming impact.
By jumping off the resounding explosion of force, Dale could rapidly move forward, greatly increasing his movement speed. However, as a result of his technique, the ground he stepped off of would crack, damaging the floor. After thinking for a few minutes, Dale decided this would be the first layer of his Shifting Earth, Broken Land Art, known as the Shatter Step.we
Though Dale didn’t know it, simply by creating his own Art, he had already stepped into the realm of geniuses. It was a known fact that powerful people created their own personal Art that adapted to their needs. No one knew how one attacked and moved better than oneself. Therefore, it’s only natural that a powerful Art developed by oneself would be more powerful than one developed by others.
However, fully developing an Art was extremely difficult, and very few people in the entire Human World would consider developing an Art before they reached the Black Gold Commander level.
For Dale, who was only a Steel Commander, to reach this level while he was a mere 10 years old was ridiculous. If he had been born into one of the great empires of the world, various sects and organizations would have heavily competed for his genius class talent.
Dale practiced his Shatter Step lightly, not wanting to damage his room too much. Despite his intentions, however, several large footprint sized cracks had appeared in the floor over the course of the month.
Dale now felt that if he came up against a Gold level Commander, while he might not be able to win, he would be able to hold his own or escape. Silver Commanders however, he didn’t even put in his eyes. He was fully confident he could defeat them.
Dale stood up, walking over to his door to see who it was. In his closed doors training, he hadn’t had many visitors. The Var family had gone into a frenzy, protecting the Onyx mine and building up a small fort around it. They had permanently stationed one of the three Black Gold Commanders they had at the site, leaving it well protected. However, in the entire month, they had yet to announce their findings. The various families in Delica all knew something was up, but had yet to see what had stirred the Var family so much.
Jerah had stopped by a few times, mostly to apologize about how his family had treated Dale, not letting him leave the estate. Dale, however, didn’t have a problem with it, taking advantage of the time to train. Jerah had also become very busy, helping his father organize information on the mine, learning a great deal about management. Because of how mature he acted, as well as his great contributions, Jerah’s father had placed a lot of emphasis on preparing him for the future. Jerah’s free time had virtually dried up, making him slightly irritable.
Dale opened the door, stretching as he walked forward. Jerah stood in the doorway, smiling, holding a small letter in his hands as he greeted Dale.
“Dale! Hey!” Jerah began, walking in without waiting.
Jerah’s family had actually been quite generous to Dale, mostly because of the fact that he had saved Jerah’s life when lizard warriors had attacked him. The majority of the family viewed Dale as a valuable, new member, greeting him in a friendly manner. Everyone knew that he was at the Steel Core level. His talent truly was shocking for one so young.
“How old are you, Dale?” Jerah said, looking at him questioningly.
“I am te- actually,” Dale said, mentally calculating his age, “I think I should be eleven now? I’m just barely eleven years old!” Dale said, smiling. Actually, Dale was eleven years and nearly two months old. However, Dale didn’t remember a solid month and a half of his memory, where Slayer had been active. In fact, over the past month of meditation and training, Dale had heard several quiet whispers in his head, as if someone was talking to him. However, whenever he concentrated on the whispers, they disappeared, leaving him a bit confused.
“Eleven? Perfect!” Jerah said, a winning smile on his face, “I have an important question for you, Dale!”
Jerah looked at him seriously for a moment before glancing down at the letter in his hands.
“Have you ever been to a ball?”