You lost 500 HP!
Helial felt his head was about to split in half. That terrifying roar had almost killed him.
Pop Pop Pop
Capillaries all over his body began to explode.
Out of the corner of his eye, the boy saw that Lumia had not stirred in her sleep. That meant she had not felt absolutely anything.
The pain was too much to bear, Helial could not restrain himself anymore. What the fuck's happening?
Helial had no more control over his body. Mana was seething violently, pushing against the walls of his Meridians, wounding them. Helial had suffered a number of internal injuries. His consciousness was about to be blown to smithereens. He could not move. His survival instincts had flooded him with fear.
All of a sudden, a laughter thundered in his mind. He lost consciousness.
When he reopened his eyes, he was no longer inside the cave. He was sitting cross-legged in a wide valley. He had no idea how he had traveled there or why Curse of the Demon had traveled there with him.
He was surrounded by a breathtaking scenery. Tall mountains with peaks that were lost among the clouds towered on everything else, their summits covered by glaciers that looked thousands of years old.
A huge river, that could have been mistaken for a sea, flowed not too far from the place where Helial was sitting. He could barely make out the other bank.
The grass was as soft as a pillow and the earth gave out a comforting warmth.
But Helial was oblivious to all this, because in front of him stood one of the most magnificent creatures in the entire universe.
Some sort of four-legged Dragon towered over young Helial. On top of the head of the creatures were two huge horns that shone in the sunlight. The scales covering his mighty sides looked impenetrable.
The eyes… the eyes were like two bottomless pits. Helial felt himself slipping in a coma, overwhelmed by that piercing stare.
Seeing that Helial was about to lose consciousness again, that mythological creature cleared his throat.
Human, you are probably wondering who I am. Alright. Don't worry, I will appease your curios-
"Where are we?" Helial cut him short.
Uhm. We are in a dimension that belongs to a small universe I crea-
"Another dimension?" asked Helial confused.
Once attained Immortality, one can create a small spa-
"Immortals can also create new dimensions?" interposed Helial, without letting the other time to finish.
Ah, humans…yes. Becau-
"Interesting…" Helial seemed to get lost deep in thought while the mythological creature was about to finish speaking.
SHUT UP, HUMAN. YOURS IS AN ARROGANT RACE. YOU ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF ONE OF THE GREATEST BEINGS IN THE UNIVERSE. HOW DARE YOU TALK TO ME THIS WAY? HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR YOUR GRANDFATHER AND SHUT THAT TRAP YOU HAVE FOR A MOUTH!
"Someone got their panties in a knot" Helial smirked, as usual tormenting whoever tried to explain something to him. "What do you want, Dragon? There must be a reason why I'm not dead yet."
Exasperated, the creature let out a terrifying growl.
You lost 1000 HP!
The roar hurt Helial.
Helial's life was now at risk. He began bleeding from all facial orifices. Several capillary that had just healed exploded again. The boy found himself sore and covered from head to toes in blood. Maybe teasing the Dragon had not been a great idea.
How dare you? Do not compare me to those damned things. I am no Dragon. I am a Qilin. And not just any Qilin: I am the Ancestor of all the Qilins! My name is Kirin! This is a fragment of my soul, left here to provide some extremely lucky human with a once in a lifetime opportunity! But it seems that I was the unlucky one, since I met such an insolent human… Qinguang, your race is a disgrace…
Often strength is not the only thing that counts in life. The greatest genius of his generation might get killed for bothering some old monster. Being strong is not the only important thing, luck also plays a fundamental part in our lives!
"Kirin?" Helial was taken aback. Could that be the Legendary Qilin Vidio had told him about? In the Nation of Fiercelake there were Qilins too, but none of them could compare with the mythological Kirin.
Helial pondered for a moment. If the Qilin wanted to kill him, he would have been dead by now. The Qilin had mentioned a once in a lifetime opportunity. Helial was very curious to know what he entailed.
"What is this opportunity?" asked Helial.
Helial had never learned god manners. After all, he had grown up in a village on the fringes of the Nation. Even his sister, a girl, had learned all those swearwords; how could Helial had learn to behave well around people? Even though he was a genius, he had never understood the advantage of talking in a studied way to someone. After the first meeting, he treated even Vidio as if he were a man from his village.
Kirin was exasperated. He almost regretted promising Qinguang to not kill people anymore. He sighed, trying to keep his cool.
"Man cub, this dimension was created to give men the opportunity to acquire Special Skills", said the Qilin, finally gaining Helial's undivided attention.
"What's your name?" asked Kirin, realizing he was the one to have first introduced himself.
"Alright. First, I will need to examine your Mana Seed. Then, if you are willing to risk your life, we can begin the test."
Helial kept quiet. He did not raise any barrier to prevent Kirin from checking his Seed. After all, even though he was just a Soul fragment, he was still one of the most powerful being that had ever lived.
Kirin extended his Perception until Helial's Mana Seed. He saw a Black Seed and…
What?! How can this boy's body be so full of Destructive Energy? Kirin had cut his mental connection with Helial, so the small human could not hear his thoughts.
It's impossible. Such a concentration can be found only in some Ancestral Demons or in a Dragon. It's impossible that a small human could have been contaminated to this extent by Destructive Energy… What the fuck's happening? Can this little guy be a reincarnated Demon? No... It wouldn't make any sense. Not even the greatest living Demon could have so much Destructive Energy when just reincarnated; it would at least need to reach the Immortal level.
(A/N: Destruction and Life are the two forces on which the universe is based. If you didn't get it yet, it's a reference to Yin and Yang.)
Kirin kept thinking about how to explain that phenomenon. Several minutes went by. Helial was about to say something, then he saw a resolute look appear on Kirin's face. Maybe he was thinking about the test? "Better not to interrupt him", muttered Helial.
Kirin was decided to get to the bottom of that issue. He did not only use Perception, but directly injected his Divine Sense into Helial's body. Being at a lower level, Helial had no idea Divine Sense even existed and did not feel anything.
Just when Kirin was about to touch Helial's Mana Seed…
Kirin felt a terrifying force repel his Divine Sense and wound his Soul.
Helial saw Kirin grimace in pain. He was slightly taken aback. He had no idea of what was going on.
Kirin felt as if something had just tried to corrode his Soul. He was dumbstruck. Even though that was just a fragment of his Soul, it was still very unlikely to be harmed by a common Immortal. His real body had already reached an unthinkable level, therefore his Soul was equally powerful. This fragment had 1/10000 of the original force.
At that point, Kirin noticed that Helial was wounded. The Qilin had tried to limit the amount of Aura released in his roar, but that boy had not reached the First Phase yet, how could he have possibly get out of that unharmed? Kirin sighed, casting a ray of light from his paw.
Helial, dripping with blood, found himself immersed in a warm golden light.
Your Health has been restored to 100%!
Amazing! That creature had almost killed him with roars and now had cured him in a glimpse. Helial finally convinced himself that the Qilin was not bluffing. He stayed quiet, waiting for the creature to speak again.
I can't let this human live… Even though there is a small amount of Life Energy in his body, his Destructive Energy is immense. He is destined to become a Devil. I can't let this happen… But I can't kill him just like that either… Damn Qinguang! Kirin seemed lost in thought, but no emotions showed on his face. I can't bestow on him my Soul's Legacy. It would be shameful to contribute to the development of such an evil creature. But perhaps… There is no need for me to violate my pact with Qinguang.
Kirin had had an idea. A genius idea. Now he knew how to get rid of the kid. He immediately restored the connection with Helial.
Kid, I have been checking your body and I was surprised to see that you have a Black Mana Seed… I was so surprised you might even have heard me roaring with laughter! Don't worry. Even if your potential is close to none, I can offer you the chance of a lifetime. You could obtain a Partial Skill of the Qilins. As the name indicates, it is only Part of a Skill, nonetheless I guarantee you it goes beyond everything else on this small, useless planet… Whoever would be able to obtain it, would become a dragon among men! Someone anyone wouldn't dare to enrage. But… you see, such a thing can only come at a great price. To get the Complete Partial Skill you will have to pass three tests, at different difficulty levels. At the highest, I will not be able to intervene and save your life, in case you failed. In order to win the complete Partial Skill you will have to pass the test with the highest difficulty level. But, you see, you must know tha-
"Alright", snapped Helial, annoyed by all that beating around the bush. He stood up, leaving Curse of the Demon on the ground. "I'll tackle the tests right away. I'm only asking you to tell me what the test is before I begin. Maybe this is against the rules, but how could I hope to pass even one of these tests, me being so weak?"
Helial kept a neutral, almost dejected look on his face. But he was no fool. The change in the Qilin's attitude had been obvious. There was something fishy about all that. He would tackle the tests only when sure to be able to pass them.
Well… Kirin thought about it for a while. He could not let that little monster slip away, but he could not kill him either. Usually, one never revealed the content of the test to the contestants, but that boy had a Black Mana Seed and bending the rules would not have made any difference in his case.
Alright, I accept your conditions. So are you willing to do the test at its highest difficulty level?
Hehe. Do not regret it. You cannot go back on your word.
Helial was convinced he could pass all the tests. Besides, he could win a Skill belonging to the Ancestor of all the Qilins and he would never have forgiven himself for losing that chance. Once he knew the content of the test, he was sure he could pass it. But he was equally sure that the Qilin was plotting something: he had better keep his eyes open.
He had no intentions of giving up. In order to be free, he had first to become stronger; otherwise he was going to get crushed. That was going to be his first step towards strength, towards total freedom.
From that moment onwards, he would never have to bend in front of anyone! He was going to be master of his own life!