The Gemstone Chronicles – Chapter 8

Chel Continent, The Morn Kingdom Capital, Cordanna, Year 739

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3 years later.

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“Dale!” whispered a voice, frantically next to him. “Dale, wake up!”

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Dale came to, groggily shaking his head as he woke. He was sleeping on a hard wood bunk, upon a luxurious mattress pad that ruffled as he turned his head. This bunk was in a small sized room, also containing a redwood desk and chair, a brown wardrobe off to the side, and a few travel chests tucked under his bed.

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“Dale! Are you awake?” whispered the voice.

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Dale glanced over, “Feng! What are you doing at my room this early? There’s not even sunlight yet outside!” he glared at Feng, taking a swing at his head.

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Feng ducked, “Daaaaale! Bro, today’s the day the expedition force returns from the Deadlands!” he exclaimed, excitedly.

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Dale nodded, understanding. Feng was obsessed with the joining the Morn Expedition Force, exploring the Deadlands, battling against the various monsters, finding treasure, and becoming a legend. The Deadlands are a large area located to the south east of the Kingdom of Morn. The Morn Kingdom is located on the continent of  Chel, the smallest of the seven continents. In this continent, there are 3 kingdoms, a duchy alliance, and the Deadlands. Located to the far West is the Kingdom of Tallow, famous for their wealth and powerful navy. To the North is the Thesselonian Alliance, 5 allied dukes that banded together to stay strong in the face of the other kingdoms. Each duke is equivalent to a Gold Metal cultivator, and is very strong. Located to the far East is the Kingdom of Churth, famous for their berserkers. Finally, there is the Kingdom of Morn, located in the South East. In the far south east, however, is a large area of land, equivalent to the size of a kingdom, called the Deadlands. It borders both the Kingdom of Churth and the Kingdom of Morn.

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The Deadlands is an area of land where powerful Attribute monsters rule. Attribute monsters are monsters that are powerful enough to have formed a core. Once a creature, whether it be human or not, forms a core, they are able to manipulate the 8 great elements. That is, Ice, Fire, Sky, Earth, Time, Space, Life, and Aura. Of these elements, the latter 4 are much harder to control then the first 4.

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Monsters that become Attributed monsters form a powerful core in their body. Unlike how humans form, the non-human monsters have to form a physical core in order to gain power. These cores, known as Monster Gems, are split up into several different tiers based on how powerful the growth of the attributed beast was.

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Regular cores, ones that have not successfully formed a metal, are useful for testing what one’s innate strength was at, but not much else besides that. The truly powerful cores are the ones that have metal formed.

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Creatures with a Core Gem are exceedingly rare, and exceedingly powerful. The Azure Ice Dragon, that ravaged Neldor, was a Core Gem level attributed beast, with a Sapphire Gem embedded deep in its heart. After the town was attacked and largely destroyed, it disappeared back into the Deadlands. The remains of Neldor had been slightly rebuilt, but the attack was a permanent scar on the town that could not be erased.

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However, while Core Gems are incalculably valuable, useful in creating weapons and armor, in speeding up one’s absorption of energy and more, Metal Cores are very valuable as well, andmore common.

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A Metal Core, depending on the size, could be used to create weapons and armor, as well as being very useful in speeding up one’s cultivation by absorbing the Core’s energy, and helping break through the three bottlenecks in cultivation: that of the silver layer, the gold layer, and the black gold layer. Metal Cores are graded according to their rank, from Coal to the Black Gold level.

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The weakest Metal Core, a Coal Metal Core, would sell for enough money to keep a normal family fed for a month. The most powerful Core, the Black Gold level, was worth thousands of times a Coal one, enough to feed a large family in luxury, for a lifetime. It was the dream of every young cultivator, to conquer powerful beasts and gain wealth and fame.

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“DAAAALE!” Feng shook him from his thoughts, “Let’s go down and wait by the city gates! We can see the warriors as they come in!” he shouted, excitedly.

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Dale assented, gathering his clothes up, and changing. After washing his face, he walked out of his room into a long hallway. Dale was currently living in the Main School’s 4th boys section. The Main School had 16 different sections, each with roughly 80 dorms per section. Each dorm had roughly 100 students. The boy’s dorms were completely full, overflowing with students eager to enter the Main School. There was also a 13th section for instructors and various officials.

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The Main School lies in the capital of Morn, Cordanna. It is the school that regulates all of the branch schools, and helps rear the future generations of Morn. There are approximately 150,000 students enrolled in the Main School at any one time. The school is separated into a large ranking system. This system is used to keep track of the students, as well as determine what one’s strength was at. The higher you were in the ranking, the more respect and authority people gave you. Various organizations that recruited their warriors from schools paid close attention to the rankings. One could say that if you graduated from the school with a high rank, then your future would be set, and you would be highly recruited. However, graduating with a low rank was unacceptable, and should be avoided. Only those with the highest rank could join the legendary army of Morn, Legion.

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Dale was currently 8 years old. He had been attending this school since the Dragon incident in Neldor, 3 years ago. Because of his age, he was not allowed to fully cultivate until he turned 10. It was a well-known fact that till the age of 10, a normal child’s energy veins were not fully developed, and any practice besides simply accumulating energy and practicing moving it could permanently damage them.

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Feng, also 8, had broken through to the 6th layer of innate strength. To break through innate strength layers was rather easy, compared to later training. All one had to do was meditate, and concentrate the energy that was naturally in their body, forming an energy ball in their heart. Continuously doing this, over the years, will allow one to significantly increase one’s strength. Feng could easily lift 600 lbs now, and was considered extraordinarily strong for his age.

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If Feng was considered strong, however, then Dale was considered an absolute monster. At the age of 8, Dale had successfully broken through the 8th layer of innate strength. He alone could lift 800lbs, and could easily shatter stone with his punches.

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To put this into perspective, regular students at the academy have broken through to the 3rd or 4th layer of innate strength at the age of 8. While this number was massive to ordinary civilians, it was a small power compared to cultivators.

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Dale left the dorm, with Feng in tow, and joined a crowd of students making their way from the Main School to the eastern gate of Cordanna. Cordanna was a massive city, with 7 different walls. Famous for being the capital of Morn, it hosted a huge variety of palaces, and a thieving population, with roughly 3 million people living here. The Morn King’s castle could be seen in the distance, a massive, white tower, surrounded by lesser towers and peaks. It gave off a faintly impressing aura, imposing its will on the world. Various nobles’ castles and residences could be seen surrounding this castle.

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They were joined by several of their classmates, as they walked along one of the main roads to the gate.

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“I wonder what the Expedition will bring back this time?” a student exclaimed.

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“My older brother said they seemed very excited when they passed through his city.” said another student.

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“Do you think they got a Gold Core? Or maybe even a Black Gold Core?” someone asked.

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“I’m not sure, but I can’t wait to see!” the students talked among themselves, trying to guess what the force had achieved.

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Dale asked Feng, “What do you think they brought back this time?”

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“Last time they brought back a silver Fire Saber Tooth Tiger’s core. Maybe they captured a gold one?” Feng shrugged.

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They soon arrived at the Eastern gate, were a hubbub of noise overflowed their senses. A huge crowd had formed, awaiting the arrival of the Expedition Force.

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