Chapter 184 – Golden Veins

Chapter 184 – Golden Veins
“We are approaching our target location, so prepare yourself Calron. Since we will not be able to discuss freely once we enter hostile territory, I will explain to you our objective for today.”
Drien started speaking as the group was sprinting along the forest.
“One of our patrol teams stationed in the woods has not been responding to any communication, so we believe that they have been attacked by enemy darklings. We don’t know how many of them there are, but it will be your job to dispose of them. Vala will shadow you as you fight them but he will not intervene unless you are in mortal danger. The same goes for the rest of us. We will be simply watching you and test your combat ability.”
“What do the darklings look like?”
Calron asked while following behind Drien. The others chuckled when he asked the question about the darklings.
“You’ll find out soon.”
Vala smirked, teasing the newbie. 
“Alright, we’re here.”
Drien stated, slowing down and signaling the group to be careful.
“Blood.”
Eva sniffed the air and spat out in anger.
“Felror, stay back and keep your sight on us. Let me know if anyone tries to sneak up on our group.”
Drien looked back and addressed the stocky warrior.
Felror gave a quick nod and vanished amongst the trees and hills.
Calron followed behind them as they traced the scent of blood. They did not have to search for long as they soon encountered two mangled human corpses. Both of them were mutilated beyond recognition to the point where even their facial features were unrecognizable.
One of them had their throat clawed off while the other’s four limbs were severed roughly. It looked like a pack of beasts slaughtered their way through here.
What are these creatures?
Calron wondered with disgust, seeing the way the darklings had killed those two humans.
“There were five patrol members in total, so we are missing three others.”
Drien kneeled down to inspect the corpses.
“The tracks lead towards that direction. Three of them were running away as the group of darklings chased them down.”
Vala said quietly with his eyes closed and his hand pressing against the earth.
“How many of them?”
Eva questioned.
“Around ten to fifteen.”
Vala answered and slowly got up from the ground.
“Remember this, Calron, the darklings are not creatures with sympathy or mercy. The only thing they like is… cruelty.”
Drien said seriously, walking towards Vala and the direction he pointed to.
“The blood is still fresh so they must be ahead. From here on out, it’s your battle. Go!”
Drien ordered Calron, staring intensely into the youth’s eyes.
“Understood.”
Calron responded firmly and activated his Blood Mist Step to speed up.
“Do you think he’ll be able to do it?”
Eva turned to Drien once Calron left the area.
“He will. It’s because the blood of the Raizel clan runs through him just like us.”
Drien muttered and commanded the group to trail behind Calron.
………………………………
Are those the darklings?
Calron mused while ducking behind an overgrown bush and peeking at the crowd of creatures gathered a few meters in front of him.
The creatures were roughly around the same height as normal humans, but instead of standing straight, the darklings had their backs bent slightly. Their skin was furry akin to a wolf, but the fur stopped just under their neck where it was then followed by a greyish-black skin.
The darklings’ faintly resembled humans, but their similarities ended when it came to their slightly pointed ears, protruded incisors, longer arms and clawed hands.
There were around a dozen darklings gathered in front of Calron, with each one’s fur a different shade of black and grey. One of them had just finished killing the last survivor of the patrol team, causing Calron to seethe in fury at the massacre of the three humans.
At that moment, he heard one of the darklings’ growl at the one who had killed the last survivor. This darkling was much larger than the rest, so Calron guessed that he was the leader of this team.
This darkling was also a second rank Saint stage expert!
Rest of the darklings were all around the eighth rank or the peak of Vajra stage.
Calron did not understand the darkling’s language, but he got the feeling that the leader was telling his subordinates to hurry up and leave this area. They probably knew that the humans would soon arrive searching for their comrades.
“Like I’ll let you leave.”
Calron muttered under his breath and swiftly rushed at the unaware bunch of darklings.
The darkling leader was the first one to detect his presence, but by then Calron already had his golden claw pierced straight through one of the darkling’s throat.
“GRUAHH!”
The darkling leader howled, drawing his subordinates’ attention to the single enemy in front of them.
“Not exactly the ideal method to approach them as he could have silently killed a few more darklings before revealing his presence, but this works as well. Vala, weren’t you supposed to go with him?”
Drien spectated the battle from far away and turned to Vala to see that the warrior still had not left to aid Calron.
“I heard that boy was the only one able to fight against a Heavenly stage expert while everyone else was crippled or subdued… I want to see that strength.”
Vala responded calmly. The Patriarch had told them that Calron was special and had to be groomed carefully in the battles that would follow in future. It was not so difficult for one to understand the real reason why they were training Calron.
They were grooming him to be the next Patriarch of the clan.
“I need to use the Azure Lightning!”
Calron stared silently at the horde of darklings charging at him. This was the main purpose of his training today.
*RUMBLE*
The sound of thunder reverberated in the forest as an explosion of blue lightning bolts spread out from the center of Calron’s body and disintegrated the first few darklings that dared to attack him.
“Impressive! So that’s the strange lightning that the elders were talking about.”
Eva smiled when she sensed the power of the blue lightning. Despite her giving Calron a hard time, she was happy that the new generation had someone with this frightening potential.
“Come.”
Calron stated coldly, bolts of blue lightning flashing across his eyes.
Shit! That was too careless!
Although Calron did not show it on the outside, that explosion of blue lightning had consumed almost eighty percent of his essence. He was used to channeling the elemental power of lightning when he started a battle, but bringing out so much of the Azure Lightning at once had already drained his essence reserves.
I need to conserve my energy and only use it when I strike.
He would use these darklings to train using the power of the Divine Element. 
“RUA!”
One of the darkling’s roared and slashed its claws at Calron’s face.
Just as Calron was about to dodge, he felt a strange sensation inside his body and saw the movement of the darkling slow down. It was not only the darkling in front, but all the enemies surrounding him were moving extremely slowly.
What was that!?
Calron froze in his spot, confused as to what was going on.
However, the slowed down time effect abruptly stopped and darkling’s claw struck Calron’s chest, instantly piercing his flesh and drawing blood. Seeing the look on the darklings’ faces, Calron knew that they had not experienced the slowed down time.
As Calron was preparing to counter-attack, the same sensation returned once again inside his body and the darklings’ movements slowed down.
*thump*  *thump*
The golden veins near his heart were pulsing with each heartbeat.
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