“W-What… What did you do?” Everyone present was shocked, but Principal Erudito was the first to mouth out his concerns. Among those that fainted, many of them were his students. Especially for Isadore and Elrin. If anything were to happen to them, the bronzed-face scholar wouldn’t know how to deal with the aftermath from their parents.
Wholly uninterested in the Principal’s worry, Shin quelled down the beautiful particles floating about in his domain and calmly replied: “I made them all sleep. Don’t worry, they’ll be up any second now.” As if on cue, the first downed man started to wake. Isadore, probably the one with the most robust constitution of them all, flickered his eyelids and moved his fingers. He rose from the ground with barely any strength in his muscles. Noticing his friend’s struggle, Shin ran forward and supported the androgynous man’s chest.
“Y-You… What the hell?” Isadore cursed, his face slightly annoyed. Who could blame him? His consciousness was just robbed from him without any prior warning, and if not for Shin asking them to remain seated, they would most definitely have collapsed under the pressure of their own weight, risking head injuries.
“Haha, sorry about that...” Shin bitterly laughed. “It’s my first time casting this ability, so I couldn’t tell you about its properties, lest you take measures to resist it. I’ll treat you later, just name the place.” The Prince of Water offered up an apology in the form of food.
“Yado Inn… Buffet-style...” Isadore instantly went for the most expensive compensation he could think off. Yado Inn was a high-class restaurant where just one dish cost as much as ten silver coins. If Isadore wanted to go all-you-can-eat, Shin would easily be down a gold ingot or more.
“Buffet-style? That’s a bit...”
Shin didn’t want to cross his friend any more than he did, so he acquiesced. “Alright, alright! buffet-style it is!” Rubbing the back of his ear, Shin left the youth to calm down and regain his senses and tended to the next person who had fainted. Bit by bit, the Spirit Adepts came to be. Even the weaker Spirit Core and Spirit Apostle orphans were starting to awake from their slumber. Only Shizen remained sprawled out on all fours like a sloth, snoring away in absolute bliss.
Shin placed the hobbit-like young man under the shade of a tree and walked over to the stunned adults. His domain was still active, and there was no sign of mana exhaustion from Shin’s part. It was as if he was wholly attuned to the ability already and it seemed like he could keep it going perpetually.
“This is my fifth spiritual ability, the Domain of Dreams,” Shin said, puffing his chest out full of pride. “My domain focuses on absorbing and easing out water elements or any elements related to water to my own benefit. So instead of being solely run by my mana, the domain would absorb the elements surrounding me and manipulate it to benefit my own abilities.”
“Wait… So how did you make them fall asleep?” Meijing Bingying had hundreds of questions. However, the most pressing one was to unravel how Shin performed that astonishing feat. “How does controlling the elements relate to knocking others out.”
Shin smiled. “It’s quite simple, actually. All human beings are made out of water. Your organs, your veins… There are so many things in a human body that consists of water and by extension, water elements. So, as long as you’re in my domain, and your cultivation level is lower than mine, I can mess with the blood flow a little bit.” Shin rubbed his index finger over his thumb like a shrewd merchant.
Audible gasps sounded out from the crowd, shocked that the youth could actually come up with such a vile technique. Even Lady Seph, who was a connoisseur of spiritual abilities, was astounded at her disciple’s ingenuity. Though, Shin wasn’t done with his explanation.
“By cutting off the blood flow to the brain, I can force my opponents to fall asleep inside of my domain or at the very least, weaken them enough so that I could capture them.” Shin clenched his fists as his eyes started to mist. Those that knew of his recent ordeals knew that this spiritual ability was a reflection of his current state of mind. Now, he didn’t have to kill the mindless Dalits or the crazed Shudras of the Black Masks. With this ability, Shin could capture them without harming anyone.
“Wait… You said that it can only be used on those weaker than you? So how is your domain going to deal with stronger opponents?” Meijing Bingying placed her finger on her dainty chin and asked. Being someone embroiled with Shin’s cultivation, the young maiden was worried that Shin had undercut himself.
“Sister Bingying, you don’t have to worry about that as well.” Shin chuckled. Moving his fingers like he was playing a piece on the piano, Shin instantly created a stream of flowing water, which wrapped around him like a serpentine creature. Those that knew of Shin’s ability to create water raised their brows a little bit. His actions seemed a little fast, and definitely much more seamless as compared to before.
“If there’s an opponent stronger than me who can resist my Domain of Dreams...” Shin turned his right hand rapidly, pushing the stream forward like a cobra released from its coil. In less than a second, the water stream wrapped around Meijing Bingying and turned solid white, with endless amounts of frost being emitted out. The Pearl in the East widened her eyes, raising her hands to meet the scythe of ice that enveloped her.
‘It used to take him ten seconds to freeze his water… Now it’s instantaneous?!’ The maiden marvelled at Shin’s increased aptitude.
“Against foes that can resist my Domain of Dreams, I’ll beat them down the old-fashioned way.” Shin jokes. “My domain consists of any type of water elements, be it ice or steam. As long as my mana remains, I can increase my water manipulation ability exponentially. So… What do you think?”
It was a rhetorical question. Shin knew that his fifth spiritual ability was mighty and perhaps the best suited for his needs. He had questioned himself: ‘What kind of Spirit Spectre would I want to be? Do I want to continue killing people in the path of a fighter? Or do I revert back to a healer that wasn’t strong enough to protect those I loved?’ Those were the two paths that Shin thought he had. However, it quickly became apparent that Shin had a third option.
To become a Spirit Spectre that defied all expectations. To not resort to killing anymore. To… Prevent cases like Latina from ever popping out once again. It really was a win-win spiritual ability, one fit for sovereigns of the craft.
“It’s perfect...” Bingying answered while she snapped the ice scythe in two. “Shin, you really are a box of surprises. I’m sure the Saint of Time would be delighted to see your progress.”
“The Saint of Time...” Shin thought back to the black-haired lady that almost kidnapped him back to the Lantis Republic and heaved out a deep sigh. Although there was still a year left in the agreement that the two superpowers had when it came to Shin, the youth felt like it was finally time to broaden his horizons. So, the Imperial Courts of the Himmel Empire and the High Council of the Lantis Republic had come to a compromise.
In two months, Shin would be handed to the Lantis Republic and would be bringing along a few of his trusted allies from the Himmel Empire. Lady Seph would be bringing her entire research laboratory over. Ella and Emma, who were the same age as Shin and about to graduate from Imperius Academy, were the only pair from the orphans that were tagging along. The rest of the orphans all had their own respective responsibilities in the Capital and couldn’t just leave willy-nilly.
Even among the seven young heroes, the clique that were inseparable for five years now, had to be split apart. For obvious reasons, Isadore couldn’t depart from the Himmel Empire to enter the heart of an enemy nation. Although Elrin could accompany Shin to the Lantis Republic, she couldn’t stay there for long and would have to alternate between the two superpower countries. As the heir of the Zedcris Conglomerate, there were still many things that she needed to learn, and Uncle Terlus would never stand to see his daughter missing for five long years.
Shizen’s case was a little strange. Being a drifter, the hobbit-like didn’t know what he wanted to do. Just like a tree, he would prefer to stagnate in a corner, far away from conflict and pain. Principal Erudito wanted to groom the young genius to become his successor, but anyone with a pair of eyes could tell that the brown-haired man wasn’t emotionally ready. So, Shizen was allowed to accompany Shin into the Lantis Republic to further temper himself. However, after a year or two, the Himmel Empire would recall him back to train him or at least help the man figure out what he could do in the grand scheme of things.
And finally, Kanari… The ruby-eyed beauty was the successor of the Highgarden Duchy and unquestionably one of the most important youngsters of her generation. Not only would she inherit one of the wealthiest lands in the Empire, but Kanari was one of the two members in the younger generation that was estimated to become a Spirit Saint.
It would be madness to send her to an enemy nation. However, her relationship with the other genius of her generation changed everything. If Kanari could tie Shin down to the Himmel Empire, even if it were just a little bit…
And even if Shin decides to eventually favour the Lantis Republic, if Kanari were to bear a child with Shin’s seed, the pedigree in the child’s blood would far outstrip anything that Kanari could accomplish as the Duchess of Highgarden. So the Imperial Courts were extremely optimistic about sending the young maiden alongside Shin to their rivalling nation. Of course, they were prepared to send a Spirit Venerate or two to protect Kanari as well as monitor the progression of Shin’s growth, just as the Lantis Republic did.
“Sister Bingying… How much longer until the Lantis Republic requires my presence?”
The sudden question threw everyone off for a beat. However, after a few seconds to settle herself, the Pearl in the East replied, her face seemingly excited.
“One month, maybe two? It all depends on your health. Definitely, the High Council would be pleased if you decide to depart immediately. If you really want to, we can leave within the week. After all, now that you’re a Spirit Spectre, the sooner you get your baptism, the better.”
A predominant reason why Shin wanted to enter the Lantis Republic was due to his own downfalls as a Spirit User of one of the Eight Scions of Water. He had heard wonderful things about the Celestial River baptisms and was looking forward to experiencing it himself. However...
Shin looked around. The unsettled faces of his friends and family, the apprehensive look in his teacher’s eyes and even the slight reluctance of Kanari by his side. Leaving for the Lantis Republic was a paramount decision. Even if he wanted to go immediately, those that he loved still had to tie up some loose ends.
“No… Let’s set it for a month.” Shin said, giving light to all of those downcast faces. “Not to mention… I still have some unfinished business in the Empire to tend to...”