The sun slowly started to rise on the horizon, as it colored the sky with a mix of red and orange. The servants were quietly sweeping the school grounds, while a few disciples groggily rose from their beds for the beginning of an early morning.
—In Calron’s hut—
A little boy was still peacefully sleeping with a blissful expression on his face. A slight smile was etched on the corner of his lips and one could only guess the content of the boy’s dream.
Suddenly, a mysterious dark smoke drifted out from the boy’s body, as it slowly took on the shape of a large eagle-like bird. Bolts of golden lightning crackled around it and soon the bird started to change its shape again, as it finally revealed the shadow of a kneeling man.
The translucent figure of the man stood up from the floor, as he gently gazed upon the sleeping boy. Tucking away the strands of dark hair from the boy’s forehead, the man bent down to gingerly touch the child’s face.
Although the translucent figure appeared to be formed of smoke, surprisingly, it had a real physical touch!
“You remind me of him so much, Calron, and it pains me that his descendants have to bear the agony of such a torturous life. I do not have the power that I once used to, but I will make sure to guide you to the peak of power that you desire of. Even those senile Ancients and Gods will tremble at the mere sight of you once they discover your existence.”
The man softly chuckled.
At that moment, the boy suddenly started to stir with his eyelids faintly flickering.
“Your heart is still soft, my child. You will need to get stronger soon as there will be countless battles ahead of you. Unfortunately, I will have to leave you for a while in order to give you the chance to survive. I will explain it when you wake up, so stay strong until we meet again.”
After whispering those words, the figure then exploded into bursts of smoke and re-entered the boy’s soul.
“Wake up, kid!”
Calron mumbled various incoherent words in annoyance, but the Voice persisted.
“Calron, we need to start on your breathing technique before you go out there. We cannot have anyone know the current cultivation rank you have reached! It will simply bring too much unwanted attention. Wake up now!”
“Alright, alright, I’m getting up! Geez!”
Calron annoyingly muttered under his breath, as he gingerly rubbed his eyes to force the drowsiness out of him.
Getting out of his bed, Calron slowly sat down on the mat below and took the meditative position. However, his eyelids started to slowly close.
Calron instantly sprung back into position and winced at pain in the back of his head.
“This is important, you punk! Do you know the dangers you’ll face if the world finds out what your current cultivation is at that age? Sleep again, and I will smack you harder the next time!”
The Voice said in a threatening tone.
Sensing a tone of urgency from his Teacher’s voice, Calron immediately became serious and started to focus his attention on the breathing technique. What he had failed to realize due to his sleepiness was that the Voice had actually inflicted physical pain onto him!
“The second stage of the Thunder-Bird technique aids you in gathering large amounts of essence into your body, and then circulates it within your spiritual veins. The reason why I had you wait until now was that with the absorption of massive amounts of essence, your physical body would have been unable to endure that strain and would have instantly broken apart!”
Calron attentively listened to every word his Teacher spoke, and tried to ingrain them into his memory.
The Voice continued with its lecture.
“The other benefit of this technique and the one which is most useful to you right now, is the ability it provides in camouflaging your cultivation! It will give you complete control over the flow of your essence, and you can use that to disguise your cultivation rank. Even experts at the Heavenly stage would be unable to uncover your cultivation if you do not want them to!”
Calron was completely stunned! A technique that even Heavenly stage experts could not see through? This was simply an inconceivable thought for Calron!
“Now, I will directly imprint this technique into your soul. We do not have the time for me to teach you step by step, and even with your unusually perfect perception, it will still take a very long time to fully comprehend this technique. Since we already share souls, I can easily imprint this technique onto you, and once it is engraved into your mind, you will be able to use this technique as if you had been practicing it for decades!”
The Voice suddenly turned silent for a while after it said those words, as if composing itself for the next stage.
“I’m ready, kid. One more thing, once I imprint this technique onto your soul, I will need to recover for a long time, and will not be able to advise you until then. The connection between our souls is still a bit unstable, so I will have to depend on my own soul energy to recover my vitality. After you receive the technique, immediately start practicing it and only leave the hut after you’ve completely comprehended it. Stay safe, child.”
The Voice tenderly whispered as its presence started to slowly vanish within Calron’s mind.
Sensing the absence of his Teacher, Calron suddenly felt more lost and alone than ever. Sorrow started to build up within his tiny chest, and just as his eyes were about to get misty, Calron remembered his previous resolve to stay strong, and forcibly suppressed the tears.
He terribly missed his Teacher, but he knew that the Voice would soon return after recovering, and until then Calron would just have to endure.
Within seconds, Calron felt a jolt shaking his very soul!
Streams of foreign energy circulated through his body until it finally reached the center of his mind. Calron saw flashes of images, as various sensations exploded within his nerves. He closed his eyes and started to absorb the technique being imprinted onto his soul!
After what seemed like years and years, Calron finally opened his eyes! Small bolts of golden lightning crackled around his pupils for a second before gradually fading away.
Currently, there was an intense aura surrounding the boy, as if the very essence around him trembled with an unrestrainable excitement!
The room was absolutely still.
There were no sounds, except the soft breathing of the boy seated on a mat in the middle.
Golden essence rippled around him, as it rose and fell to the rhythm of the boy’s breathing. The essence surged around him in waves akin to the rhythmic pumping of a large heart.
The birds continued to chirp outside, while the servants remained busy with their sweeping.
The waves of golden essence around Calron finally dispersed, as he let out a deep sigh.
“So that is the second stage of the Thunder-Bird technique… formidable!”
Calron then began to rotate his essence around his core in order to start masking his true cultivation rank. The main aspect of the technique lied in its ability to convert some of the liquid essence back into the gaseous state, and spread it outside of his core so as to make it appear as if one’s cultivation was much lower!
Calron could also change the amount of essence he wished to show, while hiding the majority of his essence within the center of his core.
It seemed simple in theory, but was extremely difficult to execute, as how many cultivators would have the ability to maintain both liquid and gas essences at the same time? It was only thanks to the Thunder-Bird technique that Calron was able to achieve this extreme control over his essence!
After disguising his cultivation back to the first rank, Calron breathed out a sigh of relief and hoped that the masking was perfect.
“Ah! I’m going to be late meeting Master Elias if I don’t leave right now!”
Calron exclaimed after he glanced outside his hut and saw the sun starting to fully rise on the horizon.
In a lush garden surrounded by lively vegetation, an old man sat at the edge of a lake with a small fishing rod resting in his hand.
None of the fish appeared to take the bait, but it did not seem to matter to the man as he simply reveled in the tranquility of nature.
Elias quietly hummed to himself while he enjoyed the sensation of the warm sunlight on his skin.
“I’m sorry Master, I was running late!”
Calron wheezed out the words after he caught his breath. He had rushed to Gretha for some quick breakfast and wolfed it down as fast as he could before sprinting here.
“Hmm, Calron? No worries, come here child. We will shortly begin on your training, but you have to get your mind calm and lucid first. Sit here.”
Elias gently stated without turning his head.
Calron obediently walked over to the lake and slowly sat down right next to his Master, while trying to regain and steady his breath.
The moment Elias turned his head and glimpsed towards Calron, he abruptly dropped his fishing rod as his hands started to tremble.