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A shrill cry of an avian beast resonated within the mountain range, as a ferocious bird in the sky searched for its prey.
Under the clear blue sky, a tall youth valiantly stood on top of a small cliff, as a gentle breeze grazed his body.
His dark black hair swayed with the wind, while his bronze skin glistened with sweat, and his whipcord muscles rippled under the sunlight.
Completely bare-chested, the youth only wore a pair of shorts made from fur.
“Puff… puff… can I take a break, Teacher?”
Calron rasped, as his thick muscles twitched with exhaustion.
Five years had pa.s.sed since he had entered the Desolate Mountains, and Calron had gone through many physical changes!
He was several feet taller than before, and currently stood taller than most grown men. An angled face and a sharp jawline had replaced his previous childish features, not to mention the thick muscles covering his body.
Bursting with an unrestrained energy, Calron now exuded a primal aura akin to that of a beast!
His body was much more developed than a normal thirteen year old, and this was all due to the intense physical training that the Voice had forced him to undergo once they had entered the Desolate Mountains.
Over the past five years, Calron had long ago reached the peak of the Spiritual stage, but since then, his Teacher had prevented him from cultivating his essence any further, and made him solely train his body!
Calron had persistently asked the Voice for the reason for not cultivating anymore, but he only received half-hearted replies from the Voice.
Knowing that there was a reason his Teacher had forbade him from cultivating his essence, Calron could only dejectedly follow his Teacher’s commands.
So, for the past three years, Calron had been only training his body!
His training had included lifting heavy rocks and carrying them across large distances with no rest, or sometimes swimming in water with weights tied to his back. Other times, the Voice would tell Calron to simply run up and down the mountain, and continue the cycle until his legs would collapse!
The first few months of this torturous training had been a nightmare for Calron, but as his body grew accustomed to the strenuous physical activity, the training started to become easier and easier, until Calron no longer collapsed mid-training.
However, recently, there was different routine that his Teacher had started to implement. It forced Calron to train his battle instincts like reaction speed, deflecting and dodging attacks, or simply surviving an enemy encounter.
The new training was to bare-handedly fight the low ranked magical beasts!
On normal occasions, Calron could easily defeat any magical beast within the Spiritual stage, but his Teacher had commanded him to just use his physical strength to fight them, without the aid of his lightning or the Blood Legacy!
Unlike humans, magical beasts were born with extremely tough bodies and rather than cultivating their essence, most beasts relied on training their physical bodies!
It had been quite humiliating for Calron when he had to run away from a measly fifth ranked beast!
The large cat-like beast was much more agile than Calron when he was not using the Blood Mist Step, and his skin was unable to resist the sharpness of the large cat’s claws.
Calron had miserably slept that night with pitiful scratches all over his body, while the Voice continued to unceasingly laugh at the boy for being defeated by a large cat.
“You can rest now, Calron.”
The Voice calmly stated, as a dark cloud of smoke suddenly coalesced next to Calron.
The smoke soon materialized into a vague humanoid shape and quietly stood next to the youth.
After Calron had advanced to the seventh rank, the Voice had revealed its human form to him for the first time!
Although the Voice could not remain outside for a long period of time, as Calron’s strength increased, the duration of this time increased as well.
“Five years… a long time has pa.s.sed since then. Do you miss them?”
The Voice quietly asked while observing the scenery of the range of mountains below them.
Calron slowly sat down at the edge of the cliff, as he longingly gazed at the horizon with a forlorn expression on his face.
“I miss both of them… I know Fatty has gotten a lot stronger, but I just can’t seem to sense Master’s presence anymore… ”
Calron whispered as he tightly clenched his right fist.
Elias’s bridge in the Blood Legacy’s source pool was already damaged before when he had lost the ability to cultivate, and with such great distance separating them, Calron had no idea about his Master’s situation.
“Kid, how far have you come along in controlling the Azure Lightning?”
The Voice tried changing the topic, as it knew that whenever the boy reminisced about his Master, he would be depressed for several days.
“Oh! I think I managed to freely will it to come outside of my body for an entire minute!”
Calron exclaimed in an excited voice as he turned towards his Teacher.
Once Calron had reached the peak of the Spiritual stage, the Voice had suggested for him to try bringing out the Azure Lightning, and learn to control its power.
Initially, Calron could only draw it out for a few seconds until a sharp pain would shoot across his body! However, recently, Calron had reached a stage where he could manifest the power of the Azure Lightning for an entire minute!
A faint tendril of blue lightning burst above Calron’s palm, as it flashed across his fingertips.
An immense pressure could be felt just from that small bolt of lightning! After several seconds, veins started to pop on Calron’s hand, and drops of sweat coalesced on his forehead.
Calron abruptly yelled, when he started to feel the strain of controlling the Azure Lightning.
With a loud crackling sound, the blue lightning abruptly dispersed into the air.
“That is still pretty impressive, kid! I’m sure once you reach the Vajra stage, you will be able use more of its power.”
The Voice stated as it tried to smile with its smoky face.
Calron suddenly laughed out loud when the saw the expression on the Voice’s face.
Although the Voice had the rough shape of a human, his ‘body’ was completely made out of a mysterious dark smoke, so his smile just appeared as a floppy toothless grin.
“Tch, shut up, you brat!”
His Teacher sulkily shouted, as he returned back inside Calron’s body. This was not the first time Calron had fun of his appearance.
Chuckling at his Teacher’s behavior, Calron slowly stood up from the cliff’s edge and gave one last glance at the mountains below, before turning around and walking away.
For the past five years, he had solely remained in the outer area of the Desolate Mountains, as the Voice had told him that he could only enter the inner mountain range after reaching the Vajra stage.
Even if Calron continued to cultivate now, he still would not be able to break into the Vajra stage, as a monstrous amount of essence was required for that process! With the limitations on Calron’s lightning element, it was almost impossible to gather that much lightning essence from the environment!
It was only due to the Thunder-Bird technique that Calron had even been able to reach the peak of the Spiritual stage this quickly!
However, Calron had a feeling that the Voice knew a method for him to break into the Vajra stage!
“Sigh… I’ll just have to wait until Teacher reveals the secret to me.”
Calron muttered to himself, as he walked towards his current cave.
Since him and his Teacher moved around so much, Calron had gotten very good at detecting unhabited caves, and the recent one that they found was slightly larger than usual.
The Voice had also taught him a technique that created an invisible barrier at the entrance of the cave, to prevent any beast under the eighth rank of the Spiritual stage to enter it.
After Calron reached the entrance of his cave, he suddenly released his essence and a thin sheet of light flickered before the cave’s entrance. When Calron’s essence touched the barrier, it immediately dissolved into thin air.
Rushing into the cave, Calron soon came out into the open, with a large skinned bird under his arm.
Gently setting it on a nearby flat slab of rock, Calron slowly took a few steps back.
Golden lightning abruptly erupted around Calron’s hand, as he slowly directed the lightning towards the skinned bird.
The Voice had taught him this little trick several years ago, and Calron had soon become extremely adept at cooking meat with lightning!
Although, there had been several instances where he had burnt the meat to a crisp, it had stopped occurring after a few months of practice.
The best thing about cooking with lightning was that Calron did not have to spend hours searching for dry wood, or carry an extensive collection of cooking utensils with him.
Within a few seconds, the aromatic smell of a roasted bird started to permeate the air and Calron slowly withdrew the lightning back into him.
However, just as Calron was about to grab the delicious bird, a shadow suddenly approached behind him!