Published at 2nd of April 2024 01:28:21 PM

Chapter 57

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Year 11, Day 51

Beneath roots, light of flames

Ahteus slammed his hammer down on the flat piece of metal. Iron Qi was channeled through his body as he put intent behind each and every hit- His Earth Qi flowed through the hammer as he hit the iron sheet, with each impact he pushed his Earth Qi inside it and shaped the Qi to become grounding, earthly and strong, willing it to never bow down to anything but hold strongly, like a mountain. Beside him, lying on the ground close to the forge with his golden fur reflecting the orange-yellow light of the flames from the hearth of the forge, was his one and only golden fox: Goldy. 

Goldy really was a very good boy. He liked to sleep and was a little lazy, sure, but as a Lesser Earth Spirit, he still had energy to do a lot of things. Goldy was one of his few Lesser Siblings that had the Gold Qi Cultivation Root and could really use Gold Qi like he could, and that made the little fox special in Ahteus’ eyes. There were few Metal Qis that Ahteus knew existed and they were Iron Qi, Silver Qi, Gold Qi, Copper Qi, and Corrupted Silver Qi.

Copper Qi and Corrupted Silver Qi were a recent discovery, when father broke through the nest of those Spiders from Hell™, Ahteus collected the metal that made their nest to discover that it was just Silver that had been put through constant erosion and was constantly exposed to Dark Qi, Yin Qi, and Death Qi, making the Silver Qi that usually was able to absorb all kinds of Qi, only absorb Dark Qi, Yin Qi, and Death Qi. It was a surprise, since with this metal he could make a bunch of new items for his family! 

“Master!” (Remember him? Chapter 33?)

Ahteus had to physically hold himself back and not sigh. The annoying kid was back! “...what do you want this time, brat?” Twisting his neck to look behind himself, like an owl, Ahteus saw the little kid holding this small stone hammer in his childish hands, a smile on his lips as he presented him a shitty looking piece of rock? It was jagged and twisted, broken in some places but with cracks on others. “What is that in your hands?” The kid smiled bashfully, raising what he had on his hands- A blade? Or rather, it was supposed to be a blade, made out of crude black stone, hammered down and cracked, like the one who was making it panicked when he noticed that the hit he gave to the rock broke it down more than it was necessary. “ looks like shit.” As he looked at the stone blade, a memory sparked within his mind. 

He saw himself holding out the useless, trash broken piece of rock resembling a dagger in the worst way. He thought back, reminiscing about his father's reaction-


“Here is, my little one, my first gift to you.” His father whispered inside his mind, being held before him by two thin strands of silk made with Qi was this large dark brown hammer. The handle seemed to be made from this thick branch that had these soft lines that stretched over the surface of its rugged and dark bark, the “head” of the hammer seemed to be made from this deep dark, almost black, brown stone? It was like an essence of the earth itself, made with Nature Qi and Earth Qi. The hammer lowered itself softly, landing right on his open hands, and it had easily thrice his body size! “This hammer is going to be of great help for you, your first step to become the blacksmith you wish to become.” Even though he could not see his father's mouth (do trees have mouths?) he felt his happiness, he could feel his smile. 

“Father… Thank you.” Bowing, Ahteus felt his head hit the ground. He winced, not because of the pain of having his head hit the ground (It was a very heavy head, he had a little bit of an issue controlling his body, but he is getting used to it), feeling just a little embarrassed that he wasn't able to control his body properly. “Ah, you alright?” A root softly pushed his body up, Ahteus had to catch himself and mind the weight of his head as he got back on his feet: “Yeah, sorry.” Ahteus shook his head, tightly holding the hammer as he lifted it- Sure, it had thrice his body size, but he could not only lift it, but easily move it and wield it. “Well, I should now tell you what this hammer can do-” His Father went on and explained exactly what his hammer was capable of, the name of the hammer, and how he could use it to create and destroy. 

“Woah…” Ahteus was really impressed by the hammer: “It's name is ‘Hammer of Great Creation and Destruction’? That's a mouthful.” Ahteus waved his hammer around, feeling it as it moved through the air, cutting the air with a “woosh” sound: “Then, I know what to do!” Ahteus looked down towards his Father's roots and said: “I wanna make a forge!” 

“Where, exactly?” 

“Down- maybe, uhm, beneath your roots, pops?” 

“...” Ahteus did not hear an answer. Instead, he felt the earth beneath his feet move, slowly sinking deeper and deeper until he saw his father's roots open up to reveal this hollow circular chamber. It had a single large black stone: “You can make your forge here, Ahteus.” He could not and neither wanted to suppress the large smile on his lips. He raised his hammer and slammed it down, immediately his Earth Qi resonated with the Earth Qi on the ground. The ground flattened as he imagined it to, and he began to work tirelessly on his forge. “Dad, what do I do with the big rock?” Ahteus had a few ideas, but asking his dad for his opinion was something he wanted to do not only because he valued his father's opinion but also because he wanted his father's guidance on what to do at this moment. 

“How about an anvil? A nice anvil, simple and easy.” 


-he remembers the way he smacked his hammer against the newly built rock anvil, the way he concentrated his Earth Qi into the piece of rock he shaped into a crude and worthless resemblance of a dagger. Ahteus looked at the kid, sighed like a large beast, and said: “I am gonna certainly regret this… Pick up the hammer, Imma show ya some shit you can try and maybe fail at.” 

The moment he said those words, the kid's eyes widened in surprise before he smiled brightly, saying: “Yes, master!”

Neither did both of them know that this kid- although being nothing but a normal mortal child, with no Cultivation Root -was destined to defy the heavens itself. Or rather, was he determined to. Whether he rises or falls, or flies too close to the sun, depends on the sturdiness of his wings.

“Huh?” Looking up, Ahteus saw his old man's roots start to glow…?

Year 11, Day 58

Root, Leaves, Branches, Petals.

Root could feel it coming. After he gave Lumin the knowledge he had about light and its speed, alongside the knowledge of a certain pineapple man that kicks at light speed, he sent Lumin away and told all of his children to not intervene- why? Well, he got the notification from the system itself.

[Due to the Path you walk on, the Heavenly Tribulation that would normally accompany a cultivator in their path to ascension from the Bright Star Core Realm to the Soul Nascent Realm, shall happen now. You will be struck by lightning from the Heavens, and it is recommended that you resist it, for this is both a test and an opportunity. 

Good luck.]

And that warning came a few hours ago. He was about to complete his ascension- He went from the 4th Stage of the Core Formation Realm straight up to the 9th Stage of the Core Formation Realm in the span of a week! Sure, such a thing only happened because of his ability to convert Qi into other types of Qi with different ratios and costs. Thankfully, Sun Qi being turned into Nature Qi was natural, since most plants do photosynthesis and turn the energy they get from the sun into nutrients it was easy for him to turn Sun Qi into Nature Qi and not lose a lot of Qi from that change. “Tahsm, please notify all your siblings to be ready, be safe, and stay away.” 

“Yes, father.” Tahsm sounded hesitant as he asked: “...will I be a burden to you while you go through this, father?” Root stopped for a moment, considering the implications of what his progression would bring- The heavenly tribulation would affect his body, but just to be sure, he said: “Tahsm, my son, I'm afraid of what might happen to you. I never went through this, I do not know if you will be affected by this… so, as a precaution, you will have to enter one of your siblings’ Soul Space, and stay there until this is over.” 

“...very well, father.” Tahsm quickly sent the messages Root asked him to, and soon enough, Leaf appeared. He was the strongest of Root's children, having recently reached the 7th Stage of the Core Formation Realm! After all, the great amount of Nature Qi that Root produced was also absorbed by his children, trees, and even a few mortals had the Nature Qi enter their bodies, Chrysalis was studying the long term effects that this exposition to Nature Qi might do to these mortals. They were rather worried about the consequences and long term effects might have on mortals and their children. “Father.” Greeting his dad, Leaf bowed before Tahsm appeared before him, pushing out of Root's bark: “I'm sorry to bother you, my son, you'll have to house your brother within your soul for a while, while I go through this Heavenly Tribulation.” 

“That would be my happiness and my honor to house my brother within my soul.” Leaf smiled at his younger brother, offering his hand. Once Tahsm held his hand, Leaf pulled him into a tight hug- Tahsm phased through Leaf's body, entering his Soul Realm so easily and effortlessly that it was like he was never there. “Now, I'll take my leave, father.” Bowing once more, Leaf quickly flew away as the clouds above started to darken. Many mortals and immortal cultivators alike were warned about what was going to happen, instead of telling every single person there about his Cultivation Realm, Root told his children to warn the Flareburns and the mortals that he was going to go through Heavenly Tribulation, which implied he was ascending to the Nascent Soul Realm. 

As the clouds above started rumbling, so did Root's core. His core had gathered enough energy, he had reached the peak of the Core Exaltation Realm at the 9th Stage. 

With a push- Lightning fell from the heavens with a loud thunderclap. It hit his bark, the pain was sharp and loud, like a stab wound. At the same time, he easily understood why this was both a trial and an opportunity. The Heavens were attacking him, but because of the changed laws of this world, Lightning Qi was… different. It was extremely pure and carried the will of the Heavens. It was very aggressive, seeking to tear his bark apart, like a worm digging through his bark trying to find something to destroy.

But this was his body. Heaven's Qi or not, this was his body.

[New Skill Created]

[C Rank: Lightning Resistance]

[Skill: Lightning Resistance

Rank: C

Description: You are more resistant to Lightning based attacks!]

He pulled the Lightning Qi apart, holding it and molding it, changing it to the purest Nature Qi he could. Another lightning bolt struck down upon his tree body.

And he converted it into Nature Qi. 

The Core Exaltation Realm was one someone could quickly go through if they had the willpower to hold together the extreme expansion of their core and they had the Qi to fuel their core's expansion. Normally, in this chaotic world, one would go through the Core Exaltation Realm slowly, which damped their potential. But Root? Root was going through it like it had been intended to.

You see, in other worlds, Heaven has a better control over its will. They are a world of order, not a world of chaos, the presence of Chaos Qi makes Heaven's Will weaker and therefore the Core Exaltation Realm has to be slowly cultivated and the cultivator doesn't have the option to go through Heavenly Tribulation to quickly go through the Core Exaltation Realm.. In a way, this makes so the cultivator isn't cultivating completely under Heaven's rules, and therefore, out of Heaven's control. 

And of there is something Heaven needs to have, is control. 

And Root? He was an anomaly. The Heavenly Tribulation he was going through wasn't a test- Well, not completely a test. It was a test, an opportunity, and an attempt to destroy the anomaly. But because Heaven has to follow its own rules, it can't attack Root without, at least, being fair. So, it attacked with the most power it could use against an anomaly of a lower realm, which packed the power of a Nascent Soul Realm Lightning Cultivator. 

[B Rank: Lightning Resistance]

[A Rank: Lightning Resistance]

[New Skill Created!]

[Rank A: Sharing is Grounding]

[Skill: Sharing is Grounding

Rank: A

Description: Under your might, you can withstand the attack of a thousand powers, and not be moved. You can redirect the power of attacks to your surroundings, or share it amongst a group, to reduce the damage you take by sharing the pain with others.]

[S Rank: Lightning Resistance]

[SS Rank: Lightning Resistance]

[Understanding the ways of Change and Transformation have granted you a higher control over Qi!]

[SS Rank: Primordial Law Qi Conversion Technique] 

[Achievement Acquired: Lightning Strikes]

[Lightning Strikes: You resisted a Heavenly Tribulation. You can now detect whenever the Heavens is going to strike someone down!]

[Achievement Acquired: Hanging on by a Thread!]

[Hanging On By a Thread: You've barely survived an attack. This Achievement increases your understanding of defensive techniques and your healing techniques.]

[You've received a Diamond Ticket]

[You've caught a glimpse of the Lightning Law!]

[New Dao: Lightning Dao - 10%]


He couldn't read further. His mind was numb, and he was slowly losing consciousness- He could hear his children crying, calling his name.

Root's enormous tree body was sundered. It had split in half. 

But he was still alive. 

He is alive-!


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