What Else
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Ailsa watched on with an expectant expression, her eyes lit up with excitement.

‘His Phoenix Flames are synergizing. The Rebirth Flame and the Life Flame working as one, just what kind of result would that bring?’

Much like the Rebirth Flame was also known as the Nirvana Flame, the Ice Flame also had a secondary moniker – the Life Flame!

Within lower flame grade tiers, a flame would be lucky to have any ability besides its innate heat. However, within higher grades, flames would begin to manifest all sorts of extraordinary powers. The Rebirth Flame’s immunity to flames, and the Ice Flames oppressive cold were just two examples of this.

As one might expect with a secondary name like this, the Ice Flame breathed boundless vitality into its wielder. Ryu had yet to find the opportunity to experience it because the moment he awakened it, he immediately formed his Qi Blade. His Mental Realm was so focused on his breakthrough into the Spiritual Severing Realm that it didn’t have any stamina to spare toward his Ice Flame.

But now, things were different.

Thanks to Ailsa, Ryu’s Blood Essence was fueled with more than enough energy to fill his body with the blood he had lost. And, thanks to the Incubator, this process had been seamless. Plus, having rested for so many days in a row, Ryu’s Mental Realm had long since begun the process toward recovery. After all, with the perpetual Visualization of the [Immortal Sakura], Ryu’s Mental Realm wasn’t so fragile.

‘Could it be that the Nirvana Flame has an Amplification Talent as well as an Immunity Talent? Or is it that this ability can only be seen when combined with other Phoenix Flames…?’

From Ailsa’s understanding, the Dark Phoenix was the Phoenix with the most potent attack power, the Ice Phoenix was the Phoenix with most potent defense, however, the Fire Phoenix was the ruler of all Phoenixes!

As for why this was despite their apparent lackluster abilities, it was precisely because Rebirth was what bridged Life and Death. There was no more suitable ruler of the Phoenixes, which was also why the Fire Phoenix was the most often depicted representation of Phoenixes.

Since the Fire Phoenix was seen as the Emperor of Phoenixes, it wouldn’t be surprising if their Flames had a nurturing effect on the Ice Flame. In fact, the benefits were plain as day.

Ryu’s Ice Flame shouldn’t have awakened any healing talents yet, for now, it should only have its Freeze Talent. As for the vitality it provided, this was more of an auxiliary effect. To most accurately describe it, it was similar to water dripping from a leaky faucet. The talent had yet to truly awaken, but it still provided some benefits in certain aspects.

Yet, under the influence of the Nirvana Flame, Ryu’s Ice Flame performed as though it had already awakened its Heal Talent!

If it was this potent now, how potent would it be once this talent truly awakened?!

Ailsa who was lost in thought was suddenly stunned by Ryu’s eyelids flashing open.

Before she could react, Ryu shot upward, his arms wrapping around her so strongly she lost her breath.

“Ry…u.” Ailsa squeezed out.

But Ryu didn’t move. No, that wasn’t true. He was moving. It was just that this sort of movement broke Ailsa’s heart.

Ryu was actually trembling.

For a moment, Ailsa forgot about how cold it was around her. Though Ryu’s Freeze Talent hadn’t been activated in its truest sense, his skin was still incredibly cold to the touch.

It was after she sobered up that Ailsa understood. Ryu wasn’t trembling in sadness or pain, he was trembling in rage. He wanted to immediately leave this cave Ailsa found and take the heads of those three so-called geniuses, but he knew such an attempt would only end in failure.

He was nothing but a cripple now. Without his Spiritual Foundation, even Body Realm cultivation was impossible. If it hadn’t been, why would he have been so weak in his first life?

Without a Spiritual Foundation, any sort of cultivation was impossible! Not Qi Realm cultivation, not Body Realm cultivation, and not even Mental Realm cultivation! It was all impossible!

This wasn’t entirely true, because some minor Body and Mental Realm increases in strength was still possible, but they could only be performed in the crudest way imaginable.

How would you increase your Body Realm without a Spiritual Foundation? Lift some weights, do some pushups, go on long runs…

How would you raise your Mental Realm without a Spiritual Foundation? Suffer through torture, meditate, continuously test your will power…

Maybe if Ryu used all his remaining lifespan training, he might experience a few dozen jin increase in physical strength, and that was only after factoring in his innate talent. As for his Mental Realm? This hardly needed to be mentioned… It was impossible.

However, Ryu was unwilling to give up. Things couldn’t end like this. His family was waiting for him…

His mother was still sealed in her World of Ice… His father was still roaming the Nether Realm alone… His wife was waiting for his return, for him to fulfill his promise…

He needed to calm his rage, he needed to calm his heart. He couldn’t lash out. Doing so wouldn’t benefit him, it would only harm him.

But, he didn’t know how. He didn’t know how to calm this seething heat in chest. If it wasn’t for his Rebirth Flame synergizing with his Ice Flame, maybe he would have never woken up.

So, he held onto Ailsa. It wasn’t because he had accepted some secretly hidden feelings within him, but it was rather because he was being selfish. He wanted… No, he needed comfort. The way things were right now, the only comfort he could possibly find was in Ailsa.

He remained silent and as unmoving as his trembling body would allow, his strong arms wrapped around her waist.

After a while, Ailsa’s arms stopped hanging limply as her hands lightly rubbed his back.

It was impossible to know how many hours they remained like this, but Ryu’s trembling eventually began to slow before quietly fading away completely.

In those moments, Ailsa’s gaze flashed with determination. She didn’t know quite yet how she was going to do it, but she would definitely find a way to re-establish Ryu’s link to his dantian! Since she had guided him into this mess, she would guide him out!  

This was her duty as a Cultus Faerie! This was her pride as the Princess of the Cultus Clan!

Her shaky insecurity and faulty determination vanished. Since the worst-case scenario had already occurred, what else was there left to fear?!