Remember this is an original novel written by Addis of ExR. This is not a translation.
“How do I use this?” Kai asked holding a basketball sized crystal in his hands.
Clan Lord Hidel had handed it to him without much explanation. The crystal was foggy, and had a slight grey tint to it. Although it was large, it almost had no weight to it. This Scrying Stone was an averaged size one and could be found in the Capital rather cheaply, for around two gold. Although it could not test the full potential of anyone, it could at least test their basic aptitude.
Old Man Jaelen leaned forward and put his hand on the stone, explaining as he did so. “Put your hand on the surface of the stone and make sure it has full contact with your entire palm. Then slowly think about the Elements in your core traveling along your arm until they reach the stone. This Scrying Stone will show one’s aptitude in the form of, first, the color of the main Elements you control.” The Scrying Stone slowly started to change to a dark green color, indicating Earth.
“Then, once it’s stabilized, it will show your aptitude by how many rings appear in it’s center.” In the middle of the stone, five small rings of light appeared from within the mass of green. “The highest number of rings anyone has ever gotten has been twelve, this is considered a myth aptitude and no one has ever beaten it.”
“What do your five rings mean?”
“The first ring is barely passable, second and third mean common. Fourth, fifth and sixth are decent level. Seventh, eighth and ninth are from prodigies and tenth and eleventh are legendary, with the twelfth being mythical.”
Kai nodded and began to do as he was instructed. Feeling that brightly colored orb inside him react to his thoughts, he sent a wisp of the rainbow colored core down along his arm until it touched the cold surface of the stone.
Immediately, the stone lit up. Then, it got brighter, and brighter until, eventually, all three of them had to close their eyes from it. There was a loud sound, and the bright light disappeared. When the three of them opened their eyes again, the Scrying Stone was nothing more than a pile of dust in Kai’s lap.
“That’s never happened before, “ Hidel declared rather calmly. Although he was calm on the outside, there was a flare of excitement in his eyes that he tried to hide. If a normal Scrying Stone was unable to determine one’s aptitude, this was a major milestone that would guarantee rewards and compensation for Vahna. Eager now that he had an idea of Kai’s power, Hidel turned to Jaelen. “When is the next aptitude test in the Capital?”
Although the Capital boasted the best academy in the region, they had another rule when accepting new students. Only one aptitude test was given every year, if one missed it, they would have to wait an entire year before the next one. There were ways to cheat this system by having high power friends, but HIdel did not have any such people. He could only hope that the next test was sooner rather than later.
“The next test will be in three months.” Jaelen replied with excitement still in his voice.
Hidel could only respond with buoyant laughter. He was excited and couldn’t hold back his glee. From Vahna to the Capital, it would take a seasoned warrior at least a month to arrive. For someone with such a cultivation as Kai, this time would at least double. This meant that, if they did not run in to any problems, they could arrive in the Capital a fortnight before the testing began.
“I will gather what you need for the trip, you will leave in three days.”
And, just like that, Kai’s fate was determined without him even knowing.
“Even though Jaelen is going with you, you still need to be careful on your way.” Clan Lord Hidel was standing in front of Kai, his posture stern as he gave out advice.
In the last three days, Jaelen had used his magic to recover Kai’s stamina so that they could travel quickly. Although there were carriages in this world, they tended to be only for those with lots of power and money. The village of Vahna didn’t even own a single one. There was a reason for this and that was due to the fact that the Beastkin hated enslaving animals under them. They would rather do all the work themselves. Although this caused them to travel slower or farm slower, they built up a better connection to the Earth, almost as closely as the elves had.
Kai was in a new set of clothes that Hidel had prepared for him. It was a set of black trousers, white shirt and a black jacket. The black caused his eyes to stand out more and it enhanced the uniqueness of his ash grey hair. Hidel had also given him a short sword, it wasn’t the newest, but the blade was still sharp and about the length of his forearm. Kai still didn’t not know how to control the Elementals within him and to protect himself, he had to have some sort of weapon.
He couldn’t even remember using such a weapon before, but when he picked it up, it had felt right in his hand. Old Man Jaelen, on the other hand, had no weapons, just his Elemental magic. Besides the two of them, they were also traveling with another Beastkin who was as big as a bear.
This bear like Beastkin was called Faylor, and his beast form was a Blood Grizzly. Blood Grizzlies were variants of regular bears that had the same blood powers of vampires. Faylor was one of the strongest soldiers within Vahna which showed just how important Lord Hidel was treating Kai.
Faylor had a large backpack on his back that included a tent for their travels and all of the supplies they would need along their way. If they needed anything else, there were plenty of small villages between Vahna and the Capital. The most dangerous part of the trek would be the first part. In order to reach the next village, the three of them had to go through Sareen Forest where the druids resided. They could take the long way and follow along Zeon River, but that also presented danger because of the Merpeople.
Knowing that this would be a long trek to the Capital, Kai nodded at Lord Hidel, “I understand.”
“We cannot help you during the tests to enter the academy,” Hidel continued, “it will depend solely on your own power. Once you’re accepted, I am unsure whether we will meet in the near future, it may be years.”
Hidel had the utmost confidence that Kai would be accepted despite his age. Not everyone had the ability to pulverise a Scrying Stone even if it was a lower tiered one.
Bowing slightly, Kai said, “Thank you for taking care of me.” He didn’t not know what would have happened to him if the people of Vahna had not been the ones to find him. More than likely he would have ended up dead.
Hidel just smiled widely, shaking his head saying, “Thank me by doing your hardest to enter the academy. I believe in you.”
At the entrance of the village stood Old Man Jaelen and Faylor. Both of them had serious expressions on their faces. Jaelen looked at Kai, “We need to leave, Kai.”
“Get him to the capital as fast as you are able to Jaelen.” Hidel said seriously as he sent Kai towards the two Beastkin with hope in his eyes. This boy would be able to change the destiny of Vahna, he could feel it in his bones.
Nodding, Jaelen promised, “I will.”
“Travel safely,” Hidel sighed and watched the three travel into the distance. The three moons in the sky were just beginning to fade, turing everything in the world pink as the sun slowly awoke for the new day.
Three days into their journey, they finally reached the edges of Sareen Forest. It had been a quiet journey, but Jaelen was teaching Kai how to control the Elementals.
There was a trick to it, Kai learned, if one could connect to the Elemental core, then the power would flow easily to the end of his finger tips. The hardest part was controlling it after it left his body. Once the power was free of his core, Kai had to find the connection to the Elements. It wasn’t as easy as some made it out to be. Even though he had spent the last three days practicing, he still did not have full control over it and did not know if he could use it in a life or death situation.
The three set up camp outside of the forest, they wanted to restore their stamina before going in. Sareen Forest’s outskirts were relatively safe, however the farther they went in, the stronger the monsters were. There were bandits that used the outskirts of the forest as their hideouts which, in realities, made it more dangerous than even the center of the forest.
Dire creatures were the magic beasts that resided in parts of the world. These creatures had the ability to learn how to become cultivators but this may take millions of years. Until they were able to reach this step they were just referred to as DIre Creatures. The Dire creatures would run when faced with larger groups or stronger people, bandits, however, loved the thrill of being overpowered. They only wanted the equipment and any other precious items they could get.
This was the main reason why the three waited outside of the forest so as to not enter while it was dark. THey were more likely to be attacked at night or in the early morning. Plan set and tents up, between Jaelen and Faylor, the two alternated night watch shifts for any bandits that may have noticed their arrival. The reason Kai was left out was not because they didn’t trust him, but it was because they didn’t want him to use up too much strength before his test in the Capital.
Early next morning, the three set off into Sareen Forest.
The very first thing that caught Kai’s attention was the abundance of Earth Elementals that he could see with the naked eye. In Vahna, he was unable to actually see any of them normally. But, in the forest, they were like attractive fireflies that twinkled between the trees.
As if noticing Kai’s presence, many of the Elementals floated around him excitedly, some of the bigger ones merged into the crystal in his core while the small ones seemed to act dejected while flying around his head. The elemental’s around his head then began to bump into each other as if they were bickering. Kai wondered if that was what it was like to have a sibling. THen he wondered if he had siblings, and if he did, where were they?
Bemused, Kai watched these Elemntals as he walked behind Faylor with Jaelen following behind him. Faylor was vigilant in the lead, his sword at the ready and his eyes sharp as they scanned the area ahead of them. Jaelen was watching their backs, making sure no one wound around them for an ambush.
Due to seeing Elementals for the first time, it took Kai a few seconds to realize Faylor had stopped. Kai was lucky he hadn’t crashed into the larger man’s back. His grey hair fell into his eyes, and when he wiped it away to look for the cause, he wondered if he had bad luck.
In front of them, swords drawn, with vicious smiles, six robust men stood blocking their way.