Chapter 12 - Heaven
«Player Fire Red, Player Poisoned Fiend, Player Mad Dog, and Player Get Creamed has become the first players to have cleared Burning Cave for the first time! Congratulations!»
An announcement hung above the clouds as Yuan elegantly danced around with the steel sword in his grasp, quickly decapitating the four silver wolves surrounding him. The wolf corpses plummeted to the ground, but Yuan did not stop his sword movements and continued to dance, slaying the two wolves that were trying to run.
Xiao Hua, who was watching him at a distance clapped, like a spectator watching a street performance. "Brother Yuan's growth is simply astonishing, like a sponge absorbing water, he easily comprehends everything from his own weakness to his strength. In just a few mere hours, his swordsmanship and Qi manipulation has increased by leaps and bounds."
Her gaze suddenly flickered with regret. "If only Brother Yuan grew up in Supreme Heaven instead of this Lower Heaven where the Qi lacks in both quality and quantity…"
After slaying the last silver wolf, Yuan retrieved all monster cores he had collected during this grind.
"Only seven had dropped after killing dozens of monsters, huh." Yuan cried inwardly at the small amount of monster core he has obtained after spending so much time and effort into slaying monsters.
"Seven monster cores is considered a pretty successful hunt…" Xiao Hua said to him upon seeing his disappointment. "If used properly, seven monster cores can last a month of cultivation."
"But in Brother Yuan's case…"
"This wouldn't even last a minute for me, let alone one month!" Yuan suddenly throws one into his mouth, and sure enough, it startled Xiao Hua again.
«Heaven Refining Physique activated»
«560,000 Qi has been refined from the Silver Needle Wolf's monster core»
«You have absorbed enough Qi for a breakthrough»
«You have reached Ninth Level Spirit Apprentice»
«All stats +500»
"Brother Yuan… you…" Xiao Hua looked at Yuan like he was a ghost, her gaze filled with shock and bewilderment.
"Taste like candy." Yuan licked his lips and said, "Although it did not have as much Qi as the Jade Frog's monster core, it is still very beneficial towards my cultivation."
"B...B...Brother Yuan…" Xiao Hua called him, but she didn't know what to say after that.
"What's wrong?" He looked at her with an innocent gaze, seemingly unaware of how amazing his ability is.
"When a cultivator absorbs the Qi within a monster core, they can only absorb a limited amount of Qi from the monster core depending on the quality of the monster core. However, even a high-grade monster core will only allow one to absorb at most 50% of its total Qi before the rest dissipates back into the world. This is a rule set by Heaven itself and cannot be defied. But… from Brother Yuan's situation… perhaps his Heaven Refining Physique can ignore this rule and defy the Heavens?" Xiao Hua trembled at the thought that Yuan could possibly have a heaven-defying physique.
"Defying the heavens, huh…" Yuan thought of his real body in real life. "If only I had such an ability in my other life, too…" he sighed inwardly.
Suddenly, Xiao Hua turned her head, and her gaze narrowed. "Brother Yuan, there are people near us…"
'Hm? People? Are they players or NPCs?' He wondered. Since this will be his first encounter with other people besides Xiao Hua since he started playing this game, he wanted to see them.
"Three people — two Seventh Level Spirit Apprentice and one Eighth Level Spirit Apprentice, and they are fighting a peak-level Fiery Lizard."
"I am interested," said Yuan. "Let's go take a look."
Three young adults, two male, and one female stood a few meters away from a giant lizard with red scales that had black lines spread across like burn marks from a lightning strike. Their gaze flickered continuously with fear and nervousness, and underneath their clothes was a body covered in sweat. They have been fighting this Fiery Lizard for many minutes, yet none of them was able to break through this Fiery Lizard's defense.
"Shit! This thing's scale is as hard as steel! Senior apprentice-brother Mo, we need to leave now before we exhaust our Qi!"
"Junior apprentice-brother Wang is right! We cannot beat this beast with our current abilities! Let's leave before it's too late!"
The eldest among the three there, Mo Zhou, bit his lips as he stared at the Fiery Lizard before him. He has already exhausted all his techniques on this Fiery Lizard, yet there were only scratches on the surface of its scales. "I refuse!" he suddenly shouted.
"Senior apprentice-brother Mo!" The other two became anxious when they saw the stubbornness on his face.
"You two can leave, but I will stay here until either one of us dies! My life depends on this Fiery Lizard's monster core!" Mo Zhou bit his lips until it bled, but he continued to look at the Fiery Lizard with narrowed eyes filled with determination. "Either I die here or I return to the sect and die there! Since I will die either way, I might as well put everything on the line at this moment!"
"Then die here! I only helped you out of pity!" said the male before he turned to run away from the fight.
"This wouldn't be happening if you didn't offend Senior apprentice-brother Ren!" The female also abandoned the fight. Neither of those two was willing to risk their lives for him despite being friends for many years.
Mo Zhou sighed at his junior apprentice sister's words. "Junior apprentice-sister Ling is right… but I couldn't ignore my heart no matter what… not even knowing that I will be offending a Chosen by doing so…" He lifted his sword once again to face the Fiery Lizard. "Come, you trash!"
"Hmm? Xiao Hua, you said that there were three, but why is there only one here?" Yuan pointed at Mo Zhou, who was fighting the Fiery Lizard with fierce eyes and a bloodied robe.
"They left before we could arrive," she replied calmly.
"What about him? Do you think he'll win?"
Xiao Hua shook her head. "His cultivation base is almost dried up; it will only be a matter of time before he collapses due to Qi Deprivation."
"He is the only other person I have met so far besides you, Xiao Hua. It'd be a shame if he were to die here…" Yuan suddenly jumped into the fight with his sword raised. "Bloody Sword Strike!"
The Spirit Sword easily penetrated the unsuspected Fiery Lizard's steel-like scales and directly pierced its heart, instantly killing it with one strike. "Are you okay?" Yuan looked at the dazed Mo Zhou, who was staring at him like a dumb chicken, his mouth wide open and all.