In a small room at the heart of Paris, France, Mila took out the spear form of the Twin Dragons from the chest of her third target and sighed with relief, quickly starting to clean up the bodies of both him and his five subordinates who’d been hiding together and forcing contracts on innocent cultivators to have them try to assassinate Diana.
She’d just upgraded her Law Larva of the Reaper to high grade to match her other Laws and she would now be able to train Yin Yang Cosmology to level 7 before advancing. This in turn, given the limitations of the mixed version of Yin Yang Cosmology which only allowed the secondary cultivation technique it was matched with to be at most a level higher, would allow her to train the Twelve Element Primal Code to level 8 once Aalam reached peak grade in all his Laws, something Nana Xara judged he would almost certainly finish before the three months it would take her to raise her level of Yin Yang Cosmology.
Diana had used several hundred quadrillion trial points to buy a truly supreme formation which would help speed up everyone’s cultivation, and only with that could Mila reach level 7 of Yin Yang Cosmology so quickly.
She didn’t have Diana’s insane bloodline which made cultivating six times faster, and the base cultivation speed of her race was lower as well. If she didn’t advance her race, cultivating to level 8, even with the formation, would likely take years. But, looking at the massive increase in cultivation speed of Aalam’s new race, which she would benefit from as well when advancing in the Twelve Element Primal Code as she’d be making use of his resources, she was very much looking forward to her own advancement in the near future.
Done cleaning up, Mila undid the soul shackles on herself. Then she quickly started heading toward Shanghai, where the last of the major troublemakers on Earth was located. Once she killed him, the assassination attempts on Diana should mostly stop, and that would allow everyone to just quietly focus on growing and readying themselves for the challenges they would face at E rank.
* * *
As her Law Larva of Spark transformed into a Law Pupa of Flame, Diana felt her body heat up. What was a flame if not an expression of destruction. The ability to burn, the means to incinerate. The power to bring something to an end.
Yet at the same time fire was creation. Through fire, man created civilization. Through flame, materials transformed. Because of the flaming ball of gas that was a star, life found a way to start.
Fire was destruction, yet fire was creation. Fire was the end, yet fire was the beginning. Flames were power, and that power was something she could control.
Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes to see the setting sun behind that beautiful tree outside Aalam’s crafting hall, inspiration having hit yet again, her final Law now at the Law Pupa stage. Then she looked through the glass behind her into the crafting hall where Aalam was sitting and she yet again took in the site of the Stone of Primal Beginning.
The stone was pure white, reflecting all light like the Primal Code Soul Washing Dew, and it was about the size and shape of a softball, nearly perfectly spherical. The System had given it to them inside a glasslike vacuum-filled container and, for the last three months, it had been on a pedestal in the center of Aalam’s workshop.
Looking at it with her magical senses was like looking at an unformed universe, and it was such a wondrous experience.
Diana had never been very religious before the integration. Given how she’d thought her parents had died and she’d had to spend so much effort taking care of her little brother, it had been more comfortable to believe everything in her life was just a coincidence than that some active force was trying to make her miserable.
But training in Laws, while she still didn’t want to practice any religions given what she’d learned from Nana Xara about how gods worked, she felt far more spiritual than any other time in her life.
* * *
Aalam still liked the multi-dimensional puzzle analogy for thinking about his own Laws, and looking at the Stone of Primal Beginning was like looking at an about 8% complete version of that puzzle.
If the analogy was reduced to two dimensions, it was like the puzzle’s borders hadn’t been completed, but about 8% of the pieces had been connected to others, those smaller groupings just not yet connected to each other.
The stone provided an extremely clear view of those Laws it did contain, however, and that had greatly sped up the speed of Law advancement for both him and Diana. After three months, Diana had managed to raise all her Laws to the Law Pupa stage, which she said was an extremely enlightening and spiritual experience. Meanwhile, it took Aalam six months to raise all his Laws to Law Pupae, a process he found very mechanical and not spiritual at all. And this lack of spirituality was especially the case when he advanced his Law Larva of Storm to a Law Pupa of Atmosphere and when he merged his Law of 3 Dimensional Geometry into his Law of Multi-Dimensional Geometry, raising up a new Law of Dimensional Solidity instead, both of which were very deliberate choices not based on instinct at all.
During the same time period, he’d also raised his Twelve Element Primal Code to level 8, but it was all pointless. His Laws by this point were high enough to advance to his intended D rank classes, let alone the one’s available to him at E rank, and there were no new classes available.
It seemed Fabled grade really was a hard cap in the universe for everything other than bloodlines and uniquenesses at E rank.
Aalam got an idea, but it would be incredibly irresponsible to try and attempt what he was thinking on Earth, the possibility for a massive explosion just too high.
That didn’t mean he couldn’t make a theoretical model, however.
* * *
Watching Diana and Aalam raise their Laws so fast, Isaiah started to feel nervous. Mila was about to advance to the same incredibly powerful race as Aalam, and Diana was going to advance to something almost as amazing. So, it would soon become harder and harder for him to keep up.
“Stop it.” Epecteos knocked Isaiah’s spear away as they fought above Earth’s Atlantic Ocean and took several steps back. “I know what you are thinking and I just have a few simple words for you. Don’t be an idiot.”
“What?” Isaiah felt confused, like he was missing context.
“You’re comparing yourself against the Alvaro siblings. Stop and don’t be an idiot.” Epecteos walked forward through the air and placed a hand on Isaiah’s shoulder. “They’ve been making use of a type of resource maybe only one or two A rank forces in the universe have access to, which has saved them possibly several dozen years of Law meditation, but that’s only saving time and it’s good you’re not using that stone as it would be worse for you in the long run.
“Instead, the bigger issue is that they are way more talented than you to begin with.”
“This doesn’t feel like that great of a pep talk.”
Epecteos started laughing. “That’s because it’s not. As your master, I just want to make sure you’re thinking within the right context.
“Your power is mostly a result of Aalam, Mila, and Diana getting you resources, so you feel obligated to help them. And Aalam is your best friend while you’re romantically interested in Diana.”
“I—” Isaiah was about to protest, but Epecteos raised a hand and Isaiah shut his mouth out of respect.
“It’s obvious to everyone but the two of you and probably Aalam. Irena, Mila, and I even have a betting pool going and it would be nice for me if you asked her out before she reaches E rank. She’d say yes, and I’d win some credits.
“But that’s beside the point.
“What I’m trying to tell you is that you need to change your mentality. The level of training you are putting yourself through is good, but don’t train out of fear of being left behind. These very secretive people have let you in on all their secrets, and this shows they trust you. They also don’t have anyone more talented than you among their subordinates, and are unlikely to for at least a couple hundred years. Just from purely practical reasoning, they wouldn’t abandon you, and, from interacting with them for a couple years, I can tell you with certainty that they’re not the types of people who would do so anyway.
“If you want to repay them, all you have to do is do your best. If your best allows you to keep up with them and you can fight with them as their front line fighter, thats great. If your best has you lagging behind in your advancement speed, you can help Aalam conquer planets in the future as he’ll need more bodies to do that.
“No matter what, you’re not going to become useless.”
Isaiah just stared at Epecteos for a full minute, trying to absorb what he was saying, then he asked what his mind was truly focusing on. “If I asked Diana out, she’d say yes?”
Vote for SotSK on TopWebFiction! http://topwebfiction.com/listings/shadow-of-the-soul-king/
A special thank you to Shadow of the Soul King's 100+ patrons:
[Patron list pulled the on the Sunday before this chapter was posted]
William , Eric Spence , Ruffz , terrence L mccall , Talespinner Lore , Ryan Landry , Silberwolf325 , sata , AchroniaXenia , Alzein , K G
Nevinna , James Dean