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‘Are they alive, like Morenkai?’ The first Nest Core had defended itself and Micheal had felt an actual s.h.i.+ver in the air from this one, as if it was gathering energy to counterattack in a guided manner. It didn’t feel like an instinctual response.
Fortunately, the torrent of Advanced Tier Sword Energy he drew was enough to overwhelm its defenses, stopping its gathering attack in its tracks. Micheal’s Soul seemed to rebound after he released his Advanced Tier Sword Energy, a noticeable backlash that caused a headache to form. If he had held onto the Sword Energy for a few seconds longer, his Soul would’ve suffered from serious injuries.
The familiar wave of dizziness continued to sweep through him. Michael felt it serenade his mind, body, and Soul, rus.h.i.+ng through him.
As a result, he could feel a faint, but warm, energy seem to settle upon his Soul and… stretch. This energy sank and absorbed into him as if it had been a part of him this entire time, a type of natural power that his Soul did not reject. If his Soul could be seen as a human body, this energy seemed to be like a type of magical water.
It filled his Soul up and then helped it grow.
‘It’s… expanding the size of my Soul?’ He noted, his eyes still shut tight.
There were certain Abilities that could do similar things, geared towards increasing the strength of one’s Soul and upping one’s Soul stat through expansion. But as far as Micheal knew, the number of ways to expand the size of one’s soul without buying an Ability could be counted on just one hand, and each and every one of those ways was prohibitively expensive or difficult to find.
‘My Soul Quality is still 1 Star, I can sense that I would notice if it became 2 Stars without checking my status. But I can feel a noticeable increase. Breaking these Nest Cores allows me to absorb… some type of special energy that expands my Soul.’ Micheal nodded as he went over his conclusion in his head, feeling as if it was accurate.
As for what the energy specifically was… Micheal wasn’t really sure. He would leave that question for another time.
He checked his stats screen, glancing over everything.
— – Status — –
Name: Micheal Care
Physique: 1 Star
Soul Quality: 1 Star
– Stats –
Strength – 60
Endurance – 45
Recovery – 43
Soul – 21 -> 23
Abilities – (4/7)
Life Orb Master
Ki Cultivator (Mortal Tier – Peak)
Grandmaster Sword Mastery (1/5)
‘My Soul stat increased by 2!’ He grinned ferociously when he saw this. While his Soul Quality had remained the same, his Soul stat had still gone up! That was great news!
‘I really can farm these to increase my Soul stat!’ His eyes sparkled,
‘But… am I able to hold a higher number of Points? Can I reach farther beyond the Points Wall?’ He was unsure about this aspect.
Abruptly, his eyes widened as he looked at his Points total.
‘It’s almost 100,000 Points!’ Delight filled him. There were a mult.i.tude of things he might purchase, including a stronger sword or other gear, or maybe even an Ability he had his eyes on.
He put everything aside for now, however, realizing he was still in a dangerous location, even with the Nullification Aura Necklace s.h.i.+elding him.
After shattering the Nest Core, he left the skysc.r.a.per from the ground floor, using his Cloud Stepping Shoes to jump out of range of the roaming Morenkai down below. He ended up encountering a random Abnormal right as he was leaving, one he dispatched it with relative ease as he fled.
After that, Micheal had half flown, half jumped his way out of range of the Monster Cla.s.s Morenkai, flying for more than an hour. It was hard to balance on a single Life Orb, but he made it work, knowing he needed to put as much s.p.a.ce between him and the creature as possible.
And, the Monster Cla.s.s Morenkai had been occupied by Number 11 long enough that Micheal successfully escaped, making a getaway.
After fleeing, he laid low for a bit, rebuilding his Life Orbs and focusing on Ki Cultivation for a short period. His breakthrough to the Earth Cla.s.s was approaching and he needed to be fully ready for that when it came time.
And now… one thing led to another and he had ended up here, at the Briar Patch Open Market.
Micheal shook the memories from his head as he focused on the present. He scanned the Open Market, listening to various people talk for inspiration, while also making a few purchases. Many people were open to bartering, but the most commonly used form of ‘currency’ were Healing Pills.
Low-Tier Healing Pills were dirt cheap, at only 80 Points, one of the most affordable things in the Shop.
Mid-Tier Healing Pills cost 8,000 Points, but were much, much stronger.
Most people were willing to trade for Healing Pills due to their life-saving capabilities. The vast majority of battles in the First Layer were not like the battles Micheal experienced. Typically, warriors were matched up against Morenkai or people that were relatively close to them in power.
Taking a Mid-Tier Healing Pill would boost your Recovery stat significantly, and could be the turning point to a life-or-death situation. Even Low-Tier Healing Pills could provide moderate use, especially if taken after a fight concludes.
Especially so against Morenkai. If you were badly injured, a Healing Pill could heal you enough to allow you to flee.
From all of the Spatial Rings Micheal had looted, he had acc.u.mulated a total of 9 Mid-Tier Healing Pills and more than 400 Low-Tier Healing Pills.
He had already spent 2 of those Mid-Tier Healing Pills and roughly 100 of the Low-Tier Healing Pills on a Heaton Sniper Rifle, a powerful firearm that was used for long-range attacks. It condensed energy from the air to form a ‘heat bullet’ that was stronger than a regular bullet.
The gun cost 18,000 Points in the Shop, and while the exchange for it wasn’t 1-to-1 in terms of Points value, it was still a solid deal. As someone that could heal his body by breaking a Life Orb, Healing Pills didn’t have much value in his eyes.
And in terms of Points right now… Micheal actually didn’t have that many.
After acc.u.mulating nearly 100,000 Points, he had made a huge purchase in the Shop.
Micheal had opted to make this big purchase due to a certain realization.
‘My memory… it is no longer enough.’ His memories of the future were not clear enough.
He knew a ton of stuff, but gradually, things seemed to fade to the background. There was too much information out there that he vaguely recalled in the back of his head but couldn’t bring to the forefront. Important things that had seemed rather minor to him in the past, lurking in the underbelly of his thoughts.
As a result of realizing that, he purchased an Ability for 75,000 Points, dropping his Points total heavily. This Ability was one that could only be removed through a long, complicated process, but an Ability he felt was a necessity to have, at least for now. It wouldn’t remain a dead slot when he needed to replace it, even if it was a pain to get rid of.
He bought the Ceaseless Mind Ability.
This Ability had two important functions, but no effect at all on his stats. The first function helped him with his thinking and processing, making it easier to focus and clearing his head. It enhanced the power of his brain, a unique thing in its own right.
Its second function, however, was why he bought it.
He gained near perfect recall. Any memory that he had, he could now pour over in detail, his mind enhanced to be able to scour everything within it.
With this Ability at hand, he could now examine any memory he focused on in fine detail. While some things would still be lost due to how old his memories were, Micheal could remember many things with far greater ease, things he had heard and vaguely knew, but previously hadn’t been able to clearly recall.
After purchasing the Heaton Sniper Rifle, Micheal walked around the Open Market patiently, studying people.
He saw a group of middle-aged men dressed in military fatigues that were selling and buying used guns or other military weapons, and offering repair services that occupied several stalls.
He found a woman that sold Magic Energy Birds that could be used to send messages or attack your enemies through a series of custom commands.
He found a stall run by a midget that stood about at his waist that was selling Warm Coconut Cakes, a special type of food that could temporarily boost one’s Strength and Recovery, made by someone with the Magic Chef Type.
The number and variety of stalls and shops here stretched the imagination.
Apart from the unique shops, however, were the unique people.
He saw bands of fierce-looking men wearing what looked like tiger-hide armor, a group of women and men all dressed extremely formally, as if they were about to go to a ball, an asian man that wielded what looked like a stone pillar on his back…
There was so much to see here, it was hard to describe it all. Micheal simply enjoyed the sheer diversity of people and things as he walked around, waiting quietly after his shopping was complete. He no longer wore his mask, doing his best to fade into the background.
It took an entire hour before Michael heard what he was here for.
He had been walking in-between two stalls, one that sold swords and another that was hiring bodyguards, when he finally heard an urgent shout interrupt the Open Market area.
“Everyone, this is an official announcement from the Angels Arcadia!” The voice boomed out loud, catching everyone’s attention. From D Rankers to A Rankers, everyone present within the Open Market turned to face the speaker.
The man yelling was the Market Overseer, a middle-aged man wearing a set of white leather armor, signifying he was a member of the Angels Arcadia. He had a large axe strapped to his back and was standing at the center of the Open Market, at a spot where several guards were currently congregated.
Once he saw that he had everyone’s attention, the Overseer continued,
“The Angels Arcadia have officially declared Affiliation Law!”
When this shout interrupted Micheal’s conversation, his stomach fluttered.
It was finally happening.
A declaration of Affiliation Law meant that Arcadia was going to crack down extremely hard on anyone breaking the rules. Any violence, any theft, or anything of the sort would result in harsh punishments beyond the normal. The guards and Enforcement Teams would now go out of their way to take down anyone that broke the rules.
It was a type of martial law threat to convince people to follow the rules, one that was never enacted until now.
It could only mean one thing.
The Great Arrival had begun.
The future he knew was about to unfold before him, in a grand, fantastic manner. The huge event that kicked off a ma.s.sive change in the First Layer was finally here.
And… more importantly to Micheal’s immediate situation…
It meant that tomorrow, he had to go stop a confrontation between two groups that were arriving for the first time in the Main Cl.u.s.ter.
For that day was listed as the day that started the collapse of the Big 3.
Tomorrow, these two groups clashed, and because of that, in the future, the First Layer was thrown into years of turmoil and war that resulted in the deaths of millions.
All because of what happened on this fateful day.
The day that the Arabian Knights and the Dragon Slayer Guild declared war on each other.
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