He had taken Frankenstein too in a new dimension. He had engulfed him in frightening whirls of four elements energy. Inside the whirls, the raw energy was hardly divisible into the four principles of the elements - Fire, Water, Earth and Wind. The kid with the black bangs raised an eyebrow. The Goblin dived into the energy whirl like an obsess. The whirl was tearing his body apart, but the Goblin kept breaking it up into its bases and essences, which he absorbed while grasping all the knowledge he could derive from them.
"I guess I happened to meet the weirdest Goblin alive. The madman to end all madmen…" The corners of the Devil's lips curled up in a melancholy smile, "My Breathing Technique won't be wasted, my dear friend. When you gave it to me during the war, I… I just couldn't-" He heaved a sigh and fell silent. He felt a huge weight on his shoulders. With his neck slightly leaned forward, he shook his head.
"This Goblin won't need anything more. Now I only need to make sure he won't get himself killed while maniacally searching for knowledge. Once his control has improved, I'll teach him the Breathing Technique that Shithead hasn't yet handed to him. And then my job will be done," said he as he sat down on a chair that appeared in midair just under his backside.
Air blades were slashing through space relentlessly, leaving deep marks on the ground. A silvery flare was bouncing left and right, and let a thunderbolt echo out with every move. It dodged every blow at such breathtaking speed that it looked nothing other than a blurred spot.
Suddenly, an air blade far too swift hit the huge white spot. The huge white spot tumbled on the ground and spat a mouthful of blood that stained the candid furry corners of his mouth.
The Devil, who was lying on a beach chair and sipping a peach juice, gave him a smug look. "Its speed is out of your league," he yawned. His tiny ghoulish hand could barely cover that excessive mouth opening.
He had taken him to a new dimension without much explanation. The kid had understood what terrifying skills Snowflake had since the latter's very first day of training. After all, his prior know-how was higher than that of Lumia and Frankenstein, and even of that of Helial. That cat had indeed some mysterious origin.
Snowflake stopped and started talking, in a very different tone than usual. His voice was calm even if his eyes were giving off an enormous fury. "What am I supposed to do?"
The Devil leaned his underlip forward and shrugged as he said: "There's a Seal, is there not?"
Snowflake ran a paw over his forehead. His face turned darker as his whiskers lowered. He nodded woefully.
"Why haven't you asked me to cancel it out?" under his beach umbrella, the kid yawned. Meanwhile, he kept sipping his peach juice.
Snowflake gave him an interested look. Then he frowned and said: "The Seal will cancel out itself when I'm as fast as that thing is." He let out these last words in an almost unintelligible whisper.
"How can you be as fast as that is with that Seal on you?" the Devil asked with a wicked smile on his face.
Snowflake was depressed. He looked completely different than the swaggering cat he usually was. After a few seconds, he grumbled some swear words and said: "Reactivate the wind blades! I gotta be faster!"
The Devil suddenly stood up from his beach chair with a smile. He reappeared near Snowflake and put a hand on his head. "Wait." Then added, solemnly: "It doesn't matter if you're not fast enough as long as you keep going."
Snowflake was struck by the profundity of those so seemingly common words. He felt that, if he reflected long enough on their meaning, his Dao of Mana could benefit from then enormously. All his Speed-related Skills probably would.
"Most people think that Heavenly Star Tigers are the fastest beings in the universe, but they're wrong. The fastest creature isn't a Heavenly Star Tiger," the kid said with a proud smile.
What? How was it possible that the fastest creature in the universe wasn't a Heavenly Star Tiger? Didn't the Emperor of Heavenly Star Tigers himself stumble upon his Movement Skill?
Snowflake looked baffled. His Movement Skill was without a doubt one of the most profound Skills of the whole universe, if not the most profound of all. It was the Skill used by the Emperor himself. How could it not be by far the fastest Skill in the world?
The principles behind that Skill were stunningly mysterious. Snowflake opened his Skills window and pondered for a while.
Divine Tiger Lightning Dance
Knowledge Grade: I'm the fastest
Affinity for Lightning +200%
Cost: 400 Mana/Sec
Cast Time: 0
The Skill of the Heavenly Star Tigers' Royal Family, the most profound Movement Skill in the whole universe.
The Skill had an exorbitant growth rate for Speed and Agility; it not only made them accelerate terrifyingly, but it also let the user have an unparalleled freedom of maneuver. How could that kid's Skill exceed such a monstrous one? Moreover, this was only the Skill form before Immortality. Once evolved, the Skill would definitely be unrivalled.
The kid finally activated his Skill. "But I'll show it only once."
Snowflake gazed at him with unheard of focus.
The Devil moved.
But… what was he doing?
Why wasn't he moving?
Ha! Wait, he was moving! But then why was he still on the spot?
He was moving so slowly that it could hardly be defined as a movement to begin with! Damn, what was that Devil doing? Was he kidding him? Snowflake couldn't get it. Several seconds passed. The Devil stayed on the spot. Snowflake was about to lose his temper.
Was that some sort of joke? Was the kid making a fool of him?
He was basically still. He didn't even seem to inch forward.
Though, now that he took a better look, Snowflake noticed that the kid's limbs were actually trembling. He seemed to be slightly vibrating, as though every fiber of his body was about to rush forward. Snowflake curled his whiskers in puzzlement. Then he tried to touch him.
A split second before his paw touched the Devil, a terrifying boom exploded. Snowflake almost ended up deafened; the spot where the Devil had stood a moment before turned into a big crater.
The explosion swept Snowflake away. He was now lying on the crater that had just formed, covered in earth and stones. Five yards away, the Devil was smiling maliciously at him. Was it even possible that he had moved that far? "That was the Skill's power before reaching the First Phase," said the kid as he rubbed his palms to remove some invisible dust. The next second he was lying on his beach chair again, with a new juice purposely appeared in his hand.
"The basis his simple. Slow but unstoppable."
Snowflake stood up from the ditch, unable to grasp the words the Devil was speaking. He was so wide-eyed that his eyes seemed unable to catch the faintest glimpse of light anymore. He fell silent, shocked.
Snowflake approached the kid on the beach chair with slow steps. The Devil smiled at him, ignoring his reaction completely.
Heavenly Star Tigers were one of the proudest and haughtiest races in the world. They had always sided with the forces of Life, but not even Life's biggest shots had ever managed to bend them to their will. The Heavenly Star Tigers Clan lived according to the collective consciousness of the pack, that differed greatly from the liberal attitude of the forces of Life. The members could only interact with members of their same race. Once reached Immortality, the noblest of them would take human shape. Even then though, Heavenly Star Tigers were forbidden to blend with other races. Every transgressor would be sentenced to death.
Snowflake bowed until his head brushed against the ground. His face was basically soaking in the soil.
Two warm tears were streaking his furry cheeks as the cat wept quietly.
That Skill wasn't merely more powerful than his Divine Tiger Lightning Dance, it was immensely more profound. It doesn't matter if you're not fast enough as long as you keep going. Snowflake could now grasp the meaning of these words. If his Skill was to be defined as majestic, elegant and powerful, that of the Devil could only be described as tyrannical.
Before Snowflake tried to touch him, the kid hadn't even moved, because that Skill was founded on the most incredible arrogance in the universe! Or rather, the unmatched self-awareness of being the fastest!
Snowflake couldn't help weeping; he realized that he had just received a gift he would have never been able to repay. The cat was arrogant and despotic, but he was no fool; he had understood what that Skill was meant to teach him.
Only the Tyrant of Tyrants would have been able to master that Skill. Only someone unrivalled who despised the natural laws of the universe could acquire it. That Skill was indeed a slap on the face of every living Heavenly Star Tiger. That Skill was screaming: "Are Heavenly Star Tigers the fastest creatures alive? Oh well, let's see! I could stand still until you move, and you still wouldn't be able to touch me!"
While Snowflake kept crying and tried to interiorize the principles of the Skill, that were beginning to take a vague shape in his mind, he reflected on who that kid might be. That Skill wasn't something one could hope to find from out of nowhere. In all likelihood, every Clan in the universe would have taken the field to put their hands on it and teach it to their younger generations. However, such a Skill would have likely driven every lord in the universe insane, being them Ancestral Creatures or great Immortals.
And yet, the kid gave it to him as if it were nothing! That being was too ridiculous! Would he bestow him with such a Skill just to let him grow stronger? That Devil had just let him bridge the unfair talent gap people were born with.
The talent gap people were born with…
Snowflake's voice was breaking, but he forced himself to articulate a speech all the same: "This S-Skill… I…" Snowflake took a deep breath and tried not to ridicule himself, despite the face he'd already lost: "Not only is this Skill powerful enough to make the Emperor himself turn pale, not only is it the brightest glimmer of hope I have ever received, not only is this the most terrifying weapon my paws could ever brandish…"
Snowflake gazed up and fixed his green reddened eyes in those black of the Devil: "... this Skill is also the kindest gift I could ever be given. The meaning of this Skill goes far beyond any prejudice, breaks through any barrier dictated by race. This Skills shows the entire universe that you don't need to be born a Heavenly Star Tiger to be the fastest. It's a slap to all living beings. I… I won't use this Skills as a Heavenly Star Tiger. I hereby deny my origins and my race. I'll use this Skill simply as Snowflake!"
Suddenly, Snowflake was hit by a beam of divine light that let all the information on how to learn the Skill rush through his mind. Snowflake's Dao of Mana was so developed that such a Skill had deliberately unveiled itself to him.
The Devil smiled, took a sip of his juice, and sighed: "I didn't think you'd grasp that much after seeing it only once, cat."
Snowflake shook his head: "I'm forever in your debt. Now I see who that brat learnt his strength from. I will fight for you willingly whenever necessary." Snowflake curved down again and, with the proudest look he had, he raised up. There were no more tears in his eyes.
"Not credit for me, actually. You couldn't have grasped any of these principles, nor overcome your limits, without enough willpower. Shithead did everything alone too. I only played a small part in this story." He smiled at him cross-eyed and added on: "I'm only here because it's worth watching. I'm a spectator, you are the main characters."
Suddenly, the kid's glare turned icy. He smiled as he wind black were reactivated. "We've still got a week ahead, cat. Let's liven things up."
The Devil ran his eye over the Goblin before him. He had just finished explaining what the training during the week before the entrance test of the Royal Academy would be like.