Chapter 4 – Evolution Path

After returning to class, the students continued to chat among themselves.


“You look better, Kieran. Congratulation on your double awakening.” said Thomas, looking toward Kieran.


“Thank you. You too, congratulation, you have awakened a grade D ability.”


“Haha, thank you! With this ability, I will be able to help my family.”


Kieran was happy for Thomas. They had been friends for several years now.


Unlike his family, Thomas didn’t have any cultivators in his family. With a grade D ability, he could improve his family’s situation, become rich, and owning a big house in Ozryn wasn’t just a dream for him anymore. It could become real now.


Kieran wondered if he could help his friend with his weird ability to see evolution paths. He tried to focus on Thomas, but after several seconds, as with the others he had tried on before, no screen appeared in front of him.


‘Can I really do nothing to see the evolution paths of the others?’


At this time, the teacher resumed his lessons.


“Now that you are all awakened, the next classes from today will focus on developing your abilities as well as techniques for surviving inside the rifts. The next month, the Ozryn Academy will organize a competition between all the classes of your age. The competition will consist in using the virtual machines to enter an artificial rift belonging to the academy and to hunt crystal beasts there. Of course, the other students will be with you and can prevent you from earning points or even eliminate you from the competition. The academy will reward the students with good results during the competition. Try to train well during this month. The academy’s rewards can help you progress in your cultivation.”


Most of the students were anxious. Ozryn Academy had almost thirty thousand students who reached the awakening age. Getting a reward from that number of students would take a lot of effort.


The teacher activated the holographic display again, and an image of different crystal trees appeared.


“The information I’m going to show you is common, and you can easily access it through the aurora net, but I’m going to explain it to you anyway.”


While he was talking, the teacher pointed to his neck, where an object resembling a metal-shaped necklace was attached to the back of his neck. All the students in the class possess the same type of necklace as the teacher.


The aurora collar was an invention of the Aegis Alliance. It was a collar similar to a personal computer that could communicate wirelessly with the user’s brain. The aurora collar could connect to the aurora net, the network of the Aegis Alliance as well as form a private network with other aurora collars within a range of 20 kilometers.


The aurora collar also has a slot at the neck to equip a spatial gem inside it. Spatial gems were stones containing a pocket dimension inside where time was frozen. The gems allowed the storage of inanimate objects inside the pocket dimension, and thanks to the frozen time inside of it, it was possible to preserve food for several months without it degrading.


Although an aurora collar was given to every Aegis Alliance citizen at birth, the spatial gem, however, was not free. A spatial gem with a capacity of 1m³ was cheap enough that most families could afford one. But the more the storage capacity increases, the more the gem’s price climbs wildly, easily reaching the price of a city like Ozryn.


“First of all, the crystal trees have many ranks. Each crystal tree starts at the Iron rank as a crystal seed, and by nurturing the crystal seeds inside your spiritual world by absorbing the crystal essence…”


While the professor continued his lesson, at the back of the class, Kieran tried to discover more about the strange ability that allowed him to see the evolutionary paths of his crystal seeds.


He focused on his crystal seeds again, and a golden halo filled with ancient inscriptions formed in his right eye, making the screen appear in front of him.


[ Kieran Arvost]
[Crystal Seed Status (1):
Name: Wolf Transformation
Type: Transformation
Rank: Iron
Ability: Transformation into a wolf
Refinement Rate: 1/100
Path of Evolution: 1798 available paths]

[Crystal Seed Status (2):
Name: Giant Transformation
Type: Transformation
Rank: Iron
Ability: Transformation into a giant
Refinement Rate: 1/100
Path of Evolution: 458 available paths]
[Crystal Essence: 2]


Seeing the number of possible evolutions for the Wolf Transformation, he connected to the aurora net to do research on it.


After ten minutes, he found about twenty evolution paths, most of which were not free, with only one being able to reach the Silver rank. By comparing the list he found on the network as well as the list he could see in front of him, he found those same paths inside it, but those were at the bottom of the list.


[Wolf Transformation Evolution Path:
Evolution path (1656): Putrifid Wolf Transformation -> Zombie Wolf Transformation -> ?
Evolution path (1722): Howling Wolf Transformation -> Roaring Wolf Transformation
Path of Evolution (1798): Aquatic Wolf Transformation]


After several inspections, he found that the more he went up on the list, the more evolutionary paths had many evolutions, and the last ones on the list had only one possible evolution. By taking this path he could only reach the Bronze rank, but if he took the first evolution path on the list, he had more than a dozen evolution. He did not even know what rank these evolutions belonged to.


After going through the evolution list several times, he realized that he could only see the first two evolutions of each path. He didn’t know if that was the limit of his ability or if it was because he was too weak at the moment to see the higher paths of evolution. He turned his attention to the first path of evolution on the list and tried to concentrate on it.


[Path of evolution (1):
Earth Wolf Transformation. Evolution conditions: Earth Elemental Stone Bronze Grade
Rock Wolf Transformation. Evolution conditions: Soul Crystal Stone Heart Silver Grade, Rock Wolf Bones Silver Grade
????. Evolution conditions: ?
????. Evolution conditions: ?
…….. ]


Kieran already knew about the elemental stones. These stones form in areas with high elemental concentration, connecting again to the aurora net. He searched for the words ‘soul crystal heart of stone’ and found a list of crystal beasts that can form these types of soul crystals when they die.


‘It looks like everything on this screen looks real, except that I have no proof that these paths can actually get me that far.’


*ringtone*


“Classes are over, see you tomorrow, start thinking about the path of evolution you would like to take in the future.”


Kieran was lost in his research when he heard the bell informing the end of class. He looked up to see the teacher leaving the class. While he was tidying up his belongings, he scanned the class.


“Hey, Thomas. Has Ryan left yet?”


“Ryan? I think he left before the teacher.”


“Okay, see you tomorrow Thomas.”


“See you tomorrow Kieran.”


Quickly leaving the academy, Kieran returned to his home.


He lived in a house with a floor and a garden in a small area in the southwest of Ozryn with his parents and brother.


When he entered his house, he found it empty. All the lights were off.


“Isn’t Ryan home yet?”


Moving upstairs, he came to a closed door, knocking twice, all he could hear was silence.


“Ryan?”


Waiting a few more seconds, he finally turned around after hearing no response.


On the other side of the door, the chamber was plunged into darkness while a figure could be seen sitting with his back against the door, his head buried between his arms. Ryan held there without making the slightest sound.

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