“I am, but I think we might have a little bit of trouble.”
Calron sent his thoughts to his Teacher within his mind.
A furry baby jaguar let out gut-wrenching sobs as it tightly clutched onto Calron’s bare leg with its tiny paws and refused to let go.
Various small beasts all surrounded Calron and glued themselves to him while making pitiful crying noises. Calron was unable to escape as the baby beasts had also completely blocked off the mouth of the cave he was currently in.
A few hours ago, the baby beasts had all suddenly swarmed into his cave and swiftly latched onto Calron just as he was about to leave.
“Dammit, how did you guys find out?”
Calron asked the group as he tilted his head to look at the little jaguar in irritation. He did not know how they had found out, as he made sure not to let slip any hints of his departure.
The furry jaguar cub responded morosely and gazed up at Calron with its large teary eyes.
“I knew it was that little punk!”
Calron yelled as he turned towards the baby monkey hanging onto his right shoulder.
The baby monkey sorrowfully cried as it grasped Calron’s arm in a steely grip and rubbed its tiny head against his shoulder.
It became apparent to Calron that the little monkey had probably followed him once again and must have seen him remove the barrier around the cave.
Calron had been planning to sneak away without telling the beasts that he was leaving, as he knew that they would insist on coming with him. How could he knowingly endanger the little beasts by taking them with him, when even he himself did not what he would encounter in the inner range of the Desolate Mountains?
A tiny red bird landed on top of Calron’s head and softly rubbed its feathers against his hair.
“I can’t take you guys. Your parents all left you here for a reason, and besides, I don’t think I’m strong enough to even protect myself, let alone you brats.”
Calron sighed, as he bent down and gingerly picked up the baby jaguar.
“I have to leave right now, but I promise that I will come back in the future.”
Calron calmly spoke to the sniffling jaguar cub as he gently gazed into its eyes and gently petted its soft fur.
“You too, idiot. Don’t try to follow behind me.”
Calron warned the baby monkey, and raised his other arm to warmly stroke its tiny head.
The naughty monkey inquired as it pleadingly looked up at the human boy.
“Haha, alright, I promise to bring you some delicious foods when I return. Now, remember to take care of yourselves and stick to each other.”
Calron stated as he turned around his head to look at all the beasts.
A series of sad whimpers and sniffling echoed in the small cave as the baby beasts continued to protest against the human leaving.
Slowly setting the jaguar cub back onto the ground, Calron then gently nudged the little monkey to detach itself from his arm.
Once all the baby beasts had stepped aside to let him pass, Calron began walking towards the mouth of the cave while the little beasts sadly trudged behind him.
Just as he reached the outside, Calron let out a sigh and looked behind him.
Seeing the heartbroken expressions on the baby beasts’ faces, Calron felt his heart tremble violently. These baby beasts were all just like him – orphans.
The only thing that put his mind to rest was knowing that they had at least each other for company, and would not have to walk the same path of loneliness as him.
Suddenly, as if remembering something, Calron quickly patted his fur trousers until he found what he was looking for.
“Oi! Come here.”
Calron addressed the whimpering baby jaguar with a slight smile on his face.
Curious as to why the human was calling it, the little feline instantly rushed to the boy in a flash.
“This is for you guys to remember me by, and to also remember my promise that I will one day return back you.”
Calron whispered to the little cub while handing out the wooden flute.
The baby jaguar enthusiastically grasped the flute within its jaws and nodded its head vigorously.
“You’re really too cute, hahaha.”
Calron let out a chuckle when he saw the cheerful expression on the little feline’s face. Standing up straight, he then proceeded to turn towards the forest.
“Alright everyone, don’t get in too much trouble!”
Calron yelled as he took a final glance behind him, and then for the first time within the past few months, he activated the Blood Mist Step.
Soon, only a faint cloud of crimson mist remained in the place where Calron had been previously standing.
The little monkey slowly hopped over to its jaguar friend and asked with tears in its eyes.
The baby jaguar sadly replied as it set the wooden flute below on the ground.
A white eagle screeched while raising its head to the sky.
The bear cub stepped forward while shaking its head, and preventing the white eagle from moving.
The little monkey abruptly intervened as well as it voiced support for the white eagle’s suggestion.
“MEW! Mewww, mew meew!”
The baby jaguar scolded both the monkey and the white eagle.
Turning its little furry head to gaze in the direction that the human had just left, a small tear slowly escaped from its eye and soundlessly splashed onto the ground below.
“Dammit! I should not have so gotten attached to them.”
Calron cursed as he suddenly stopped midway and banged his fist against a tree.
“Kid, you will see them again, but you need to get much stronger first. Taking them with you right now would only put their lives at risk.”
The Voice consoled its student within his mind.
“I hate doing this, Teacher… I hate leaving people I care about. How long will I have to continue doing this?”
Calron quietly asked, as memories of Fatty, his Master, and his family all flashed through his mind.
“Calron, sad and cruel as it might be, only through strength can you have what you desire. This will not be the only time you will have to make a difficult choice, as there will be many more in future. Until you reach the stage where you have the power to freely do what you want, we must continue to tread this path.”
The Voice answered in a somber tone.
“You’re right… Teacher. Alright, let’s do the thing you wanted me to do.”
Calron stated, while a slow resolve began spreading across his face.
“Are you sure? There are other ways as well, but those will probably take months to have a small chance of success.”
“I made a promise to quickly return back to them, so I have to do this, otherwise, it will simply take too long to find the place we want.”
Calron firmly replied back to his Teacher.
A few weeks back, his Teacher had revealed to Calron that the next step in his training was to absorb a bolt of lightning from nature and use its essence to break into the Vajra stage. However, the hardest part about this process was to locate where the next thunderstorm would take place.
The Voice suggested that there were two main ways of locating a thunderstorm. One way was to keep track of the weather and to follow any grey clouds whenever they appeared. But this method had a very low chance of success and depended a lot on luck.
The second method and the one that would guarantee to give the location of a thunderstorm was to use a lightning attributed technique to search for traces of the lightning in the air. The problem with this method was that the Voice could not imprint another technique onto Calron, as it would damage their souls if they used this method often.
The only other alternative to the second option was to the use the ability that Elias had left him with – the Divine Perception.
“Very well, I will observe the process from within your consciousness then. If it gets out of control, I will try to intervene.”
The Voice silently stated.
Taking in a deep breath, Calron slowly closed his eyes as the symbol on his forehead began to glow faintly.