“Summon out your Spirit, you fuc-, I mean just do it.” Before he could curse, Mychael felt a chilling aura towering behind him, and immediately retracted his statement. “I need to examine your Spirit before I can give you tips right?”
“Okay…” Closing his eyes, Shin cupped his two hands together and congregated his mana. Summoning out The Sovereign Koi once more, Shin allowed the adorable little fish to swim about in the air.
‘Hoho, so he really does possess The Sovereign Koi…’ Madam Warulee sighed in amazement. Even though she had been given a full detailed report about Shin’s background, it was better to confirm the facts with her own eyes. ‘Sovereign Koi Spirit Users had historically been kept in the Longyu Clan and yet, here is one that was born and raised in our Himmel Empire… If we raise him well, would the Lantis Republic come and cause problems?’
Being one of the Eight Scions of Water, Spirit Users that awaken the Eminence of the Lake, The Sovereign Koi, were always located in the fertile lands of the Lantis Archipelago. A location where the water elements thrived, it was every water elemental Spirit User’s dream to cultivate in the Lantis Republic. Not to mention the eight ancient clans that ran the country loved to keep a monopoly of Spirit Users who had awakened Spirits with the water element. If they ever found out of Shin’s monstrous existence, there was no doubt in Madam Warulee’s mind that they would do anything in their power to bring Shin to their country.
‘Well, that’s a problem for another time. I really want to see how much this kid can grow.’ Madam Warulee was a born educator. In life, nothing gave her as much satisfaction as seeing her students grow to become competent individuals in their own respective fields.
Bending his waist downwards, Mychael carefully observed the petite cerulean Koi. “Your Spirit is The Sovereign Koi, right?”
Nodding his head in approval, the tanned man started his explanation once more. “As one of the Eight Scions of Water, The Sovereign Koi is probably one of the best water elemental Spirits there is. But that could be a blessing and a curse when you create your Spiritual Body Enhancement. First of all, in a water-rich environment, you would be practically invincible. With the scales and gills that you would gain, your movement in and around water would give you a significant advantage during battle. However, in a dried-up place such as a desert, your Spiritual Body Enhancement effectiveness would be halved.”
While listing the pros and cons of The Sovereign Koi, Mychael gave Shin his honest assessment. “In my opinion, you have two options before you. Either you go all in and rely on your innate talents to boost your attack power to the limits, or you go for a more balanced build, where you can fight in any location. The choice is yours.”
Before Mychael could begin designing a regimen for Shin to train, he needed to know what was Shin’s choice.
‘To go all in for my strength or to choose a more balanced build?’ Shin thought to himself. ‘If I choose a more balanced route, I would be able to fight in all terrains, but I would lose a significant amount of power… To beat Junius, to beat those other monsters in my year, I can’t afford to do so.’
From the beginning, there would only be one answer for the young black-haired boy. The entire reason why he came to Imperius Academy in the first place was to become stronger. If he had a better way to increase his strength, why wouldn’t he take that option? Additionally…
‘If the terrain doesn’t suit my Spirit, can’t I just adjust the environment to my liking?’ With Shin’s first ability, he could simply generate water until it was suitable for him to fight. Snapping open his eyes, Shin gave Mychael a resolute stare as he said:
“I’ll do it. I’ll take the stronger path.”
“Haha, I knew that you would do that! Come with me! Ah, Waru you can stay here.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! Where are you bringing him?”
“To his training ground of course!” With a sinister smile, Mychael led the duo out of private training facility. After following the tanned scoundrel for a significant period, Madam Warulee and Shin were brought out of academy grounds and deep into the Thaishu mountain range.
It wasn’t long until they were greeted by a pristine and subterranean lake. With a gorgeous teardrop-silver hue, the immense freshwater basin shimmered in the rising sun giving the area a rather angelic presence.
“The Eminence of the Lake should train in a lake of course!” Mychael cheerfully exclaimed.
“Hmmm, for someone of your standard, that’s actually a good plan.” Madam Warulee agreed with the tanned scoundrel for once. For a Spirit that was a descendant of the Celestial Water Dragon, training in such close proximity to such a breathtaking reservoir of water could really help improve Shin’s overall cultivation.
“To fully comprehend and master Spiritual Body Enhancement, you must be attuned to your Spirit’s natural habitat. For instance, when learning the Spiritual Body Enhancement for my Spirit, the Espigado Crocodile, I spent weeks lying on river banks, trying to imitate how a crocodile would behave in the wild.”
“Wait… Don’t tell me you want me to practice for hours underwater?! I will die if that happens!” With Shin’s intellect, he could immediately tell where the conversation was going and immediately raised his voice in protest.
“No, that’s not the case at all. I don’t want you to practice underwater for hours… I want you to practice underwater for DAYS!!!” Mychael laughed out loud like a stereotypical villain that had cornered the protagonist of the story. “Don’t worry. I won’t let you drown. All you need to do is stay in the lake until I’m satisfied. Oh, it would be better if you could swim around like a fish. That would DEFINITELY improve your chances of learning an epic Spiritual Body Enhancement ability!”
‘He’s trying to get back at me…’ After spending a significant amount of time interacting with Mychael, Shin had begun to pick up some of the tanned scoundrel’s signature mannerisms. If Mychael specifically enunciates a particular word, it meant that he was passively trying to mess with Shin.
“Madam Warulee, is this really the right way to train in Spiritual Body Enhancements?” Knowing that he was being played, the young teen turned to the only hope that he had left. Unfortunately…
“Environmental mimicry is a common training method, Shin. Even I use it to teach my students sometimes.”
“I see…” Dropping his eyes down in disappointment, the young boy glared at the man that caused him so much harm.
‘Hehehe, you mess with me, I mess with you!’
‘How the hell did I mess with you?!’
‘I don’t care! Ever since I met you, there has been nothing but trouble! Don’t worry, the training regimen I have for you is bulletproof! Even that asshole Waru wouldn’t be able to argue with my means!’
Shin and Mychael exchanged words without even blinking an eye. Oddly enough, the two had somehow developed a ‘telepathic’ communication line, even though they weren’t Mind element users.
“Alright! Let’s get to training! Go jump into the water!”
“…” Unable to speak up in rebuttal, Shin simply squinted his eyes in frustration and disrobed himself to get into the cold morning lake.
“*Achoo!*. Urghhh, I’m going to die…” Falling down onto his homeroom desk, Shin rubbed his reddened nose with a tissue to wipe off the residue mucus that was spilling out. During Mychael’s special lessons in the weekend, Shin would stay in the middle of the lake, where the water would reach his chest, for hours each time. To allow the youth to form a stronger connection to his Spirit, Mychael and Madam Warulee would watch Shin as he cultivated and exercised in the frosty lake, and as a result, the young teen had contracted a minor cold.
“Shin? Are you okay?” While the black-haired youth was suffering, a short boy, who didn’t seem to be fifteen years of age, walked towards Shin’s table with a concerned expression.
“Shizen? Yeah… I just got sick over the weekend. Don’t worry, I have taken the medication. I should get better later in the day.”
After his short encounter with the Freak of the Dundlewoods, Shin had formed a good friendship with the short and innocent boy. He had even found out most of Shizen’s background throughout their conversations. Shizen Dundlewoods was an orphan who was raised in the Dundlewoods, a lush forest north of the Capital, by a tribe of nomads. When he awakened his Adivinar Tree Spirit, he had instantly become the idol of worship by the villagers and was given the best treatment, equivalent to that of the village head.
Shizen’s talent for cultivation became apparent at a young age as he flew the ranks with ease and eventually, he comprehended his own spiritual ability when he promoted to the Spirit Apostle realm. One day, an expedition from the Kori Federation happened to make their way to the nomadic village, and for some reason, they decided that it would be a good idea to utterly decimate the area, harming both the nomads and the sacred lands of the Dundlewoods.
Naturally, that wasn’t something that Shizen could tolerate. In one fell swoop, the young Spirit Apostle took on all of the experts in the expedition sent by the Kori Federation, which primarily consisted of Spirit Core cultivators, and cleared them out with little difficulty. Of course, that incident caused Shizen’s name to spread far and wide throughout both the Kori Federation and the Himmel Empire and had even given the moniker of the Freak of the Dundlewoods.
“Hmmm? Shin is sick? Do you need my help?”
“Haha, thanks for your kind thoughts, but honestly, I’m fine.”
While the two teenagers were conversing, the majority of the Star Class had their eyes glued on the duo. Being two of the most prominent names in the entire academy, everyone believed that the two had formed an alliance when in actual fact, they were just friends. Kanari, who had invited Shin to join her twice, was particularly dissatisfied. She had reached out to both Shin and Shizen to join her crew. However, it had always ended in failure, and yet, the two of them had gone off to form their own alliance with one another.
“Kanari, you’re staring at Shin and Shizen a lot these days. Has one of them struck your fancy?” From the black-haired beauty’s side, a cheerful voice chimed in.
“You know that it’s not like that, Elrin…”
“Haha, I know… I mean who wouldn’t be interested when the number two and three of our cohort had formed an alliance.”
“We don’t know that they did yet… Speculation isn’t a good habit to have, Elrin.”
“Well, guessing from how chummy they are behaving, there’s a high possibility of that happening!” Elrin doubled down on her hypothesis.
“Hmph!!!” From the other side of the room, a derisive snort could be heard as a pudgy boy abruptly stood up from his desk.
Danroy, who had a bad relationship with Shizen, to begin with, had started to see Shin as a despicable enemy in his path. By his side, a sinewy, muscular man was also eying Shin with a dirty look. Suji had a different reason to dislike the black-haired youth. The moment Shin advanced to Rank 19, he had unknowingly put pressure on the other students in his course, as he could be the first person in the cohort, after Kanari, to reach the Spirit Core realm. Initially, Suji wanted to be the one to hold that title, but with Shin already so close to Rank 20, it would take a miracle for him to catch up. Thus, without knowing, Shin had made half of the elites in the Star Class, his enemy.
‘Urgh, what a mess…’