Edit by Leafy: It seems Buster made a small mistake (though there were a lot of them). Beasts use Class (class 1, 2, etc) while cultivators use Level. So it’s only a small change. Please let me or Buster know if you see any places where there is the wrong term.
Deep in the Wilderness…
A sweet melody spread through the thick forest, drowning out the roars of the Spirit Beasts. The melody was particularly sweet for humans to listen to and some sensitive cultivators could even pick out slight ripples in the Spirit Energy wherever the melody passed through. It was like a sweet lullaby that would make them reminisce about sweet times, but they could only sense that much and were not able to pick out any oddities within the melody.
But whichever Spirit Beast that listened to this melody would go silent for a while and then roar out even more loudly. Its eyes would become blank and it would run towards the source of this melody like it was hypnotized.
Leora stood on a branch and gently blew into the flute that she held against her delicate lips. Below the tree, Azalon and Mark were waiting silently, ready and on guard.
In a few moments, the two of them heard numerous screeches and roars from the forest, some sounding almost next to them and some so far away that they had to strain their ears to listen to them.
“20… 35… 195 Spirit Beasts.” Mark murmured before Azalon shot a glance at him and said, “252 Spirit Beasts, and three Class 2 Spirit Beasts.”
Mark gazed at Azalon, slightly surprised. He was surprised that he, a seasoned hunter, couldn’t distinguish accurately between the different roars, but this kid could do so.
It was because Azalon had already spread his Spiritual Sense and anything within 1500 meters couldn’t escape his senses. Finding out the number of the Spirit Beasts and their strength was a simple matter for Azalon.
The melody stopped as Leora yelled down from the top of the branch she was lying on.
“The first wave is coming. You two better remember that my share is one-third. After all, I am the one luring all these Beasts to gather here. Ah, I am tired after playing the flute for this long. You two boys better get to work and not bother this princess while I rest.”
Mark and Azalon could only look at each other and smile wryly at this girl. Azalon could see the faint outlines of the Spirit Beasts that were visible at the edge of his vision and glanced up at the slender figure lying on the branch.
He had to admit that this innate ability of Leora’s Unique Soul Spirit, Hypnotic Wind Chimes, was pretty amazing. It produced a series of notes that wouldn’t have any effect on humans but could hypnotize Spirit Beasts to seek out the source of the sound.
This will make their hunt much easier as they are making the Spirit Beasts gather at the place they were waiting at.
The only downside was that even though it doesn’t consume a lot of Spirit Energy since it is an innate ability of the Soul Spirit, it could only lure out the Spirit Beasts that were of a lower cultivation level than the one playing the melody. That was the reason why there were only Class 1 Spirit Beasts in the horde and only 3 Class 2 Spirit Beasts that were successfully hypnotized even when they were in the deeper parts of the wilderness.
Mark nodded slightly at Azalon as his body changed into his half-vulture form. Thick feathers grew out from his hands as he jumped and soared onto a higher branch. Mark grinned and his body flashed as he soared into the sky before plummeting down like a black missile into the Spirit Beasts horde.
Azalon didn’t do anything and just stood there, gazing deeply at the oncoming Spirit Beasts. His eyes were flashing with golden veins in his silver pupils. LILY was constantly analyzing every bit of data that she got from the Spiritual Sense, Raka’s Beast Vision ability and her own sensors.
Information about the Spirit Beasts that made up the horde continuously popped up in his mind.
“LILY, filter out only the Lightning Attributed Spirit Beasts.” Azalon gave a command and the data shifted to list out only those Beasts. Azalon looked up and flying in the skies was a flock of purple color feathered birds that looked like extra-large versions of eagles with pointy beaks and sharp eyes. Azalon could see occasional streaks of lightning that would flash across their eyes.
Class 1 Spirit Beasts, Thunder Birds.
Although the name sounded grand, these birds were only Class 1 and had almost pathetic level of affinity with lightning. It doesn’t mean that they could be taken lightly, but for Azalon these birds are nothing but cannon fodder.
Azalon’s body moved and his steps became erratic and peculiar as he began to move in a bizarre fashion and he appeared directly beneath the flock of the Thunder Birds.
Now that the hypnotizing music has stopped, the Spirit Beasts were gradually recovering their consciousness and these purple birds were the first ones to do so. Azalon guessed that this may be because of the lightning affinity these Thunder Birds possessed. The Thunder Birds gave a screech and dived down like purple streaks onto Azalon.
This flock consisted of 30 birds and Azalon’s black eyes reflected the lightning like purple streaks that were raining down on him.
Azalon bent his knees slightly and the lightning Spirit Energy coursed through his Spirit Veins, concentrating in his arms. The muscles in his arm trembled peculiarly and once they reached a certain frequency, Azalon immediately made the tendons vibrate in another frequency.
Within a moment, these two vibrations reached a kind of resonance, making a drilling sound emerge from the arms of Azalon. He maintained this state for as long as he could, and punched out with his right hand!
Fifteen pulse Infinite Pulse Fists!
This was the trick he had found out about this Spiritual Art when he battled that Demon Soldier.
The Infinite Pulse Fists relies on the vibrations of the muscles to produce waves of punches in one punch. The number of punches depends on the vibrations of the muscles, the higher the vibration, the higher number of punches that can be produced. But increasing the number of vibrations will place an enormous burden on the muscles and there was also a possibility of being crippled if the body couldn’t handle the burden.
But is there no other way to increase the number of vibrations without strengthening the muscles? That was how Azalon thought of the way of using the tendons in his arms to form a resonance with the vibrations of the muscles to increase them. He had done it subconsciously during that battle with the Demon Soldier and had been working on this for the past month.
Now the result was fifteen waves of punches chained in a single attack, that formed a tangible fist from the attack, ploughing through the bodies of the Thunder Birds that were diving, blasting a fist sized hole through their bodies, instantly killing them. The bodies of the fifteen birds stiffened and they fell down from the sky like rain. He punched out with his left hand and a second fist flew out, killing the remaining fifteen birds.
Azalon looked around and seeing that Mark was engrossed in a battle with a herd of buffalo-looking Spirit Beasts, he released Merup who absorbed the Souls of the Thunder Birds in a few moments, and disappeared again.
But Azalon was not satisfied as he couldn’t feel any changes in the Soul Embryo of Merup. He shook his head as this was within his expectations, after all these Thunder Birds were only Class 1 Spirit Beasts. He harvested the Spirit Cores of the Thunder Birds and stored the bodies into his Void Ring.
His body flashed again as he reappeared in the midst of another group of lightning affinity Spirit Beasts like a specter. He was concentrating on these kinds of Spirit Beasts because he was thinking of completing the evolution of Merup to the next level, to be on par with LILY and Raka.
Two hours later…
Azalon and Mark were panting lightly as they stood there, surrounded by the numerous corpses of the Spirit Beasts they had killed. Even though they were in the Spirit Condensation Realm, and these Beasts were only Class 1 and Class 2 which were not supposed to be a threat to them, both of them had used up almost half of their Spirit Energies.
The sheer number of Spirit Beasts and their own Spiritual Arts and techniques were the cause of this, especially because of the three Class 2 Spirit Beasts at the end.
“Hmmm… that was nice. Now don’t stand there like idiots and start collecting the Spirit Cores! This many Spirit Beasts and Spirit Cores, even though they are all Class 1, the spirit points that we could get would still be a good number. Now go on!” Leora started yelling from the top of the branch, jumping up and down from excitement.
Azalon and Mark immediately started harvesting the Spirit Cores as this was the only part of these low level Spirit Beasts that would be valued by the Academy while giving out spirit points. A few moments later, there was a small pile of Spirit Cores, all 252 of them. They decided to leave the bodies as they are and quickly left the area as the scent of the blood would definitely draw the attention of the other Spirit Beasts.
The three silhouettes disappeared into the forest but after a few moments, suddenly a figure appeared in the same spot. Azalon grinned slightly as Merup appeared next to him. Merup transformed into a purple streak of light and within Azalon’s Beast Vision, he could see the Soul Energies of the more than 250 Spirit Beasts being absorbed by Merup and he could feel the Soul Embryo of Merup changing slightly under the influx of the Soul Energies. Once Merup absorbed all of the Soul Energy, he lifted his hand and all the bodies of the Spirit Beasts disappeared into his Void Ring. His figure flashed again and he disappeared in the direction they went, leaving behind some afterimages.
Azalon quickly caught up with Mark and Leora, who looked back at Azalon with quizzical expressions on their faces but they didn’t ask anything.
Night gradually crept in and Azalon, Mark and Leora were camping for the night in an open grassland. A small fire burned before them as they counted their harvest for the day.
“1013 Class 1 Spirit Cores and two dozen Class 2 Spirit Cores. If they are converted into Spirit points, one point for every hundred Class 1 Spirit Cores and one point for every ten Class 2 Cores. That means that we only have 12 Spirit points. So stingy!!” Leora grumbled as she calculated the Spirit points they would get.
Azalon was slightly startled when he heard that even after all that hard work they had gone through, they would only get 4 Spirit points each.
“Hahaha… This is only the first day in the Wilderness and we have only hunted Class 1 and Class 2 Spirit Beasts. Even though we have hunted them in a large number, they are not that useful for the Academy. Did you forget that even Spirit Sense cultivators can hunt Class 1 Spirit Beasts and even Class 2 ones if they are at the peak? And almost all the students of the Academy are at the Spirit Condensation Realm. You have to be thankful that they are at least willing to give the Spirit points for these at all!” Mark commented and Azalon had to accept this. Even he had hunted some Class 1 Spirit Beasts back in the Blue Wind City when he was just in the Spirit Sense Realm.
Even though he could only hunt them one on one and not in huge numbers like he had done today, it was a fact that Class 1 Spirit Cores were pretty much useless to Spirit Condensation Realm cultivators.
They went to sleep after deciding to take turns to guard the camp. Mark took the first turn and Azalon would be the last one. He laid down on the soft grass and under the clear skies that was full of twinkling stars as well as the cool and refreshing breeze, he closed his eyes and immediately fell asleep with Raka curled up on his chest.
But little did Azalon know that the next day would bring him a string of surprises that would make this simple mission all the more dangerous and get him some new enemies and massive headaches…