Chapter 288: The Path to Perfection
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Twenty days… it had been twenty days since I had entered my ‘secluded training’. At least, according to the Keeper Standard Time. At the moment, I wasn’t in any sort of mood to check exactly how long it had been within the world. I knew that there were only a few days left before we found out who our next opponent would be in the Keeper Games.

My body ached, from my skin right down to my bones. Everything just felt like terrible pain. But I had done it, I had managed to complete the Perfect Soul, and practiced enough to where I was able to do it multiple times in a row without error.

By the time I made it back to my room, I wanted nothing more than to simply collapse in my bed. A good rest sounded perfect right now, but I had to make sure to act while the process was still fresh in my mind. Terra, has everything been prepared?

I let them all know already… All you have to do is restrict their access, and you’ll be able to descend and begin.

I gave a small nod, sitting down at my desk with a low groan while I mentally called Leowynn back to myself. By the way, I was wondering… if the knowledge of how to become a false divinity pushes the world level so high up… what about Lorek? The profound laws lead to divinity, and Tubrock has already studied them.

That’s… a bit different. Terra said with a small sigh. In truth, reaching divinity through the profound laws is both easier and harder than normally. First, it requires someone begin their cultivation following three different paths, which the vast majority would not be capable of.

After a brief moment to pause and consider, she continued. Let’s be generous and say that one percent of the population, once all three methods are known, attempt to tackle all three and make it to the first stage. From there, cultivation becomes far more difficult. The breakthroughs in the three different types all require their own understanding of the aspect and law that they are studying.

As an example, let’s take Tubrock. He followed all three paths, and was able to easily break through to the second stage due to his innate understanding of crafting and the laws. He even managed to break through to the third stage with only a bit of effort. But even as the god of the forge, every breakthrough after that became far more difficult. After twenty thousand years, his incarnation finally died at the fifth stage. Of course, by that time he had already completed the crafting of different empires all over the world, so it’s just a matter of waiting for the dwarves to expand.

I gave a small nod as I listened to that, briefly registering as Leowynn entered the room and returned to my spiritual realm. And… how many stages are there exactly?

In the laws that you bought… there are a total of eleven. There is the Protostar, the Law Sequencing, Constellation, Nebula Cycle, and the last one that Tubrock managed to achieve was Inner Sky. Even as a true god, he couldn’t easily move past that.

Of course, the names that the locals give the stages may be different later. The point is that anyone can enter the ‘Protostar’ stage. All it takes is the knowledge how. But every stage beyond it has increasingly strict requirements. For someone only practicing one path, they’ll forever be stuck halfway.

So back to our example… out of that one percent of people that manage to achieve Protostar by following all three paths from the start… Maybe a tenth of them will advance towards the second stage. From there, one percent of those will get to the third stage. Then one in every ten thousand, and one in every million.

Out of a world population that could reach into the trillions eventually… you will only get three or four people every generation that have the potential to make it to the fourth stage. As for the fifth? You would get maybe one every hundred thousand years. These odds won’t improve until the world has advanced far more than it has now, far more than any of your worlds.

Comparatively, it is easier to achieve false divinity on Earth. It doesn’t take thousands of years to build up a similar amount of energy. Just a few decades of diligent training, maybe a century at most if they spread their focus among different classes evenly. Then, it is just a matter of knowing the proper mixture. While it is still not ‘easy’, the odds of a successful divinity being born among the populace increase from one every several million years to one every few centuries.

Okay… that did make it a bit easier to understand. And also made me wonder just how much Lorek was going to expand into outer space, given that there is every chance their own sun could go supernova before they had managed to birth their own false divinity.

For the record, the Inner Sky stage following all three methods at once would be the equivalent of a level four hundred and fifty individual from Earth, splitting their focus between Monk, Mage, and Spirit Hunter, dabbling in Druid. To give you an idea of their level of energy.

I gave a small nod at that, thankful for the information. Someone that high level would certainly be among the elite even in the present day Earth. But they wouldn’t automatically be the strongest. Hell, Tsubaki was higher level than that, last I checked.

Of course, I couldn’t underestimate the effects that a firm foundation would have, but… no, I shook my head to clear those thoughts from my mind, returning my focus to the task at hand. I quickly finished cutting off the access to the others, only letting Terra continue as normal.

Once that was taken care of, I began scanning the four worlds for somewhere that I could perform the merge without being disturbed. Naturally, my eyes came to rest on Fyor. Out of all of the worlds, it had the most unexplored territory, given that every floor practically unlocked a whole new world to see.

I briefly recalled that the last floor unlocked was an underground insect complex, and immediately decided not to go there for this. The odds of being allowed to remain undisturbed throughout the entire process were incredibly low if I were to go right into a hive.

As for one layer down, on the nineteenth floor, there were still many areas that had yet to be properly explored. It was a giant ocean floor with scattered island chains throughout it. Unsurprisingly, the only native race was a type of fish-person which reminded me vaguely of the merkin. It didn’t seem like my people had encountered them yet, as much of the layer was still left open.

I chose a remote island, far away from both the fish-people and any inhabited islands. I had to make sure that it was large enough for Leowynn to be able to go entertain herself without peeking on the process, but there were plenty of large islands like that.

Moments after I had made the choice, I descended to the island in the same body that I had used for the recent invasion. Once there, I called out within myself. Alright, Leowynn. Same as last time. Also… this may be a bit uncomfortable for you, but don’t worry. If anything goes wrong, Terra knows what to do.

There was a brief moment of hesitation before I found the silver mist floating up out of my body, forming into Leowynn. She gave a small smile, nodding towards me. “Alright, father. Be careful.” With that, she turned, kicking off the ground to rush deeper into the island.

This gave me the chance to observe my surroundings for a moment before I began, making sure that she was far enough away for me to get started. The island that I had chosen was a dense, wild jungle, trees making it hard to move between them in most directions. Surprisingly, each tree seemed to be a minimum of five meters wide, giving them an incredibly firm, solid look.

With my full Keeper abilities unlocked, it was hard for me to properly tell how high the gravity was here. But if I had to guess, it should be about three or four times that of Earth. Looking around at all the plants easily standing upright, I wouldn’t be able to guess that without having experienced it myself.

I briefly focused on the area in front of myself, using the natural energy to push the trees back and create a wide enough area for me to work with. Then, I moved to the next crucial step, making sure that the world spirit of Fyor wouldn’t be able to wake up and see what I was doing.

“I am the one who stands above the heavens. My word is the law of the universe. Within this world, my will reigns supreme. None shall observe me, not even the world itself.” I closed my eyes, slowly speaking out each word to make sure that the elementalist spell would activate properly.

Moments later, I felt the change in my surroundings. The natural energy was still present, which was good. But it felt… different. Before, the spirit of the world had simply been sleeping. But now, it felt as if the spirit had left the area around me completely.

With this, my preparations were complete, and I sat myself down in the center of the clearing that I had created for myself. Unlike world sight, this was not a merger of all four energies. Rather, it was purely a merger of both mana and spiritual energy, though done through multiple stages.

The first thing that I had to do was to deploy my world sight, making sure the I diligently monitored every small change in the energy that I was controlling. Next, I began releasing both mana and spiritual energy, roughly two hundred and fifty thousand units of each. Clouds of silver and blue began to swirl around my body, and I had to struggle to keep them in check.

“Merge.” I whispered, feeling my eyes turn an odd shade of grey. Both mana and spiritual energy were highly responsive towards intent, so commanding them was far easier than if ki had been involved. “Swirl together and blend. Refine the impurities away and crystalize. Burn and break, condense and heal.”

I grit my teeth, feeling the energy working under my orders. My mana struck away at my spiritual energy, shredding and burning away any impurities within. In doing so, it actually robbed away my ‘ownership’ of the energy, which was why the next step was so important.

As shards of grey crystals began to emerge in the air around me, the shattered shards of a third of my soul, the grey light in my eyes began to shine brighter. “Gather.” I commanded, unleashing twice the amount of mana that I had used for the first step.

This mana had a single purpose, to collect all of the various shards, and piece them together. I could feel the heavy strain on my mind as the shards tried to fit themselves into place like pieces of a puzzle, all the while the strings of mana forcing themselves to be as gentle as possible to avoid shattering the shards.

With every piece that properly began to fit together, a bit of the mana was absorbed into it, and the two connecting shards fused. This was where the real pain started, and I had to bite my lip to hold back a scream. I had felt my spirit crumble before, but now it was starting to return to my control. And it did so in the most shattered, broken way imaginable. Every nerve seemed to be on fire, and I could feel the tears streaming down my face.

Soon, I was able to taste blood in my mouth, and knew I had been biting too hard. But I couldn’t stop here. I was so close. I needed as many shards as I could possibly put together. And after extensive trial over the last few weeks, I had found this to be my limit.

The process continued for several long, agonizing minutes, until finally I managed to slot the last little shard into the crystal. Now it hovered in front of me, a shining blue gem as big as my head. Its exterior was almost perfectly smooth, the jagged shards merging in slowly, bit by bit to become a shining pearl.

Almost done… I could feel the refreshing wave of energy feeding back into my soul already, but there was still one last step. Right now, the Soul Stone as I called it had not properly fused with my own spirit. It existed, and I could feel it, but my control over it was too limited.

Thankfully, this final step was far easier. With one last groan of pain, I expelled more of my spiritual energy, wrapping around the floating gemstone and pulling it towards me. As it did, I was able to see the stone visibly growing, devouring the spiritual energy that I was infusing into it and shredding away any impurities. It hurt, but… it wasn’t as bad as the earlier stages.

Finally, when the stone was directly against my chest, it was big enough for me to hug, linking my arms around it. And so I did… and the last little strand of spiritual energy connected the stone directly to my heart.

With one tight squeeze, it felt as if the stone were shrinking, pushing into my body without resistance. Only now, when it was actually entering my body, was I able to truly call it my own. As the last bit pushed into my skin, and I felt it reshaping my spiritual realm, I knew that I had achieved the Perfect Soul.

Glancing up, I found that my health had dropped by about forty percent during the entire endeavor, and gave a small nod. One thing that I had learned during my training… the smaller the soul stone, the harder it would be on your spirit. With how much I had invested, there was only a small portion of my spiritual energy left to ‘convert’, as opposed to when I had tried with a tiny stone… I think that would have actually killed me.

 

Congratulations, you have earned a personal achievement!

For cultivating the Perfect Soul energy, you have earned the Path to Perfection achievement! +50 points, +10% Spiritual Energy Affinity.

 

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