15 Strength Upgrade
After Arnin met with the village elder, he decided he needed to find a secluded area. When his dad's arm was broken, a tattoo on his forehead lit up because of his rampaging emotions. Although he still had control over himself, Arnin's rage still triggered a reaction from the tattoo. The tattoos on his head were not his sealed powers, but they had a connection with them. The tattoos had the ability to control and bring out his real power, which was Arnin's final trump card in case of an emergency. Now that one of the tattoos was controlling his original powers, he needed to seal it up once more. If he let it stay unsealed, then his powers would erupt and devour the essence around him.
Arnin ran to the lesson area very quietly. He bypassed many people without them even noticing his presence, until he found a cave just outside the lesson area. Luckily there were no essence beasts, or Arnin would have had to fend them off with his powers. The cave devoured Arnin's shadow as he walked into the chilling darkness. Water droplets fell from the top of the cave. That sound was the only thing he could hear other than his own breathing. The rocky ground caused Arnin to stumble many times as he walked because with the impenetrable darkness in front, Arnin could only feel out his surroundings.
After walking for what seemed like a decade, Arnin sat straight onto the ground. He felt his hand touch a sharp rock that slightly impaled his skin, leaving a small wound on his palm. Arnin chose to ignore the gash and began the sealing process. Since his powers were extremely strong and immense, the time it took seal them was more than a few seconds. Arnin closed his eyes and followed his blood towards the tattoos. When he got there, he found that there was a cube-like object inside his forehead. A bright light from the tattoo had attached itself onto the cube. There was no damage, but the light was stuck onto the cube like glue. Arnin tried to command the tattoo to leave the cube, but there was no reaction. He then tried to use some of his original gaseous powers to cut the light, but that only made the light brighter. Arnin was stumped. With his original powers, this would have been as easy as breathing, but now that he couldn't use them, he had to depend on other means.
While Arnin was thinking, his essence orb started to vibrate and release a dark light. Black threads shot out from the orb and traveled directly towards the cube that sealed his powers. Arnin watched in shock as to what was happening. He never directed the orb to do anything, so why was it acting on its own? Arnin decided to observe the clash and see what would happen.
The black threads buried themselves into the cube and began to become darker and redder. After the threads became pitch black with a red hue surrounding them, they got out of the cube and attacked the tattoo light. Arnin, who was watching this from the side, began to get a splitting headache. The threads continuously attacked the tattoo light, while the other attacked the threads. At first, the light had the advantage, but because the orb was providing energy for the threads, the tattoo fell to a disadvantage. Arnin was unable to watch what was happening because of the intense pain he was feeling. Even as a past Demon Lord, he had only felt such dreadful pain a couple of times. As the two powers rampaged inside his body, Arnin was not able to hold himself together and fainted.
The threads continued their attack and tried to absorb the light, while the light did the same. The essence orb became pitch black with a red hue around it, just like the threads. However, a symbol began to appear on the orb. It looked like the three tattoos on Arnin's forehead. The threads were gaining the advantage very quickly, and the light was becoming dimmer. Just as the tattoo light was about to get completely absorbed, the other two tattoos also lit up. Two new lights supported the first and began to thrash against the threads. With the two lights joining in, both powers became equivalent. The only way to break the equilibrium was if Arnin's real power joined in, however, both the thread and light would be absorbed immediately if that happened. The tattoo's on Arnin's head began to change somewhat with the new balance. There was now a small orb on each of the tattoo's tips.
Half an hour passed, and the two powers continued to be at a deadlock. Then suddenly, a saber-like object began to form. It was black with a red hue but also had the three grey lights mixed in. With the combination of the two powers, the color of saber gradually changed from a pitch black into a snow white.
Arnin was still oblivious as to what was happening inside of him. The only thing he could see were the faces of Ashia and Florian before they disappeared. The reluctant looks on their faces and the fear they had, penetrated deep into his soul. He was just happy that Nekaia didn't see anything. Suddenly, the pain he felt before disappeared. The darkness crumbled, taking away the faces of his family. Arnin did not have any reaction, only silently watching everything disappear.
When Arnin opened his now black-red eyes, he didn't see darkness anymore, he could clearly see the inside of the cave. Nothing changed, there weren't any torches or any sort of light. Arnin was astonished by what he saw and quickly remembered what happened inside of him. He dived back into his mind to find what had changed. When he reached the place where the threads and the light faced off, what he found astonished him. The threads and the light were gone. The only thing present, other than the cube that sealed his power, was a snow white sword that released a whitish grey gas. Arnin took a closer look at the sword and found that it was like a very long saber. The blade had a slight curve, while the handle was wrapped with what seemed like white flames. The sight was astonishing and extremely abnormal. Arnin did not feel uncomfortable with the sword in any way, rather he felt close to it. It felt like the cube and the orb; his own power. Arnin called for the saber, however, there was no answer. Arnin tried many more times, but the saber didn't respond. Arnin inspected it one more time, surprisingly found that the saber was a combination of his tattoo power and the power from his orb. He knew that the tattoo was able to control his real power, but never thought it would be its own system.
Realizing that he wasn't able to call upon the sword yet, Arnin began to thoroughly inspect his whole body for changes. To his surprise, he found that his orb threads that fed his entire body changed into pitch black with a red hue. They seemed much stronger and sturdier than before, plus they released the same aura as his original power. Arnin was extremely happy with the change because he was more comfortable with his original power than anything else. He had used it for more than a hundred million years so nothing was better.
As Arnin drowned himself in ecstasy because of the big change to his threads, he almost forgot to inspect the source of those threads; his essence orb. When he got to the orb, he found that just like the threads, it was darker and red, however, there was something new. Three symbols that resembled the tattoos were now on the orb. Arnin guessed that it was because the fight that happened before he fainted, so he didn't really think much about it. As long as it didn't harm him, he was relieved.
Arnin stood up from the ground and stretched his sore body. Crackles resounded in the silent cave. Arnin began to head out from the cave, however, when he took his first step he realized he was much lighter now. Arnin was still confused as to how he could see in the cave and why he felt lighter. He knew he didn't make a breakthrough, all he could relate this change to was the combination of the tattoo, his power, and the orb. Arnin decided to see the threads in his eyes once again. He traced the threads all the way to his eyes and did a deep inspection. He found that there were many symbols deeply embedded inside his threads. They were similar to the ones he used for cultivation, however, the power resembled that of the tattoos. Arnin also noticed that there were slight differences in the symbols he made and the ones that was in his eyes. Rather than a single symbol, the ones in his eyes was compacted with many symbols. They were placed together in an octagon pattern, which seemed to absorb body essence and provide it to the eyes.
Arnin's eyes lit up when he saw that. He finally understood why the symbols he was using before numbed different parts of his body. What he was absorbing before was the worldly essence, however, to strengthen a part of his body or improve it, he needed to use his own orb essence. Although the orb essence originally came from the world, the difference between the two was that the orb was able to convert the world essence to match Arnin's body. Arnin decided to do some more experiments with this new discovery. He applied the octagon pattern symbol to his arms and legs and found that there was already some patterns present and increasing the amount was not making much of a difference. Arnin could only experiment on others now that his body already had the patterns.
Outside the cave, the sky was dark which told Arnin that he was in the cave for a while. Arnin found himself a large boulder and sat on top of it. He looked at the night sky and started to think deeply about different things. Were his parents alright? Would his sister have awakened her memory the next time he met her? Where was Zhaik and how was he doing? Many things appeared in mind as he closed his eyes.
Arnin was sleeping on a large boulder in the middle of the forest. The rock was covered in the light of the sun that was able to escape the blockade of the large trees. Arnin slowly opened his eyes and blocked the light with his hands. Everything was still somewhat blurry, but after keeping his eyes open for a few seconds, the blurriness faded. Arnin got up from the boulder and stretched slightly. He then kicked his feet off the boulder and gently landed on the ground. He knew that he had to meet the village elder at the academy in two days time, so he pulled the map out of his pocket and began to study it. The map was small and only showed a small area. In the middle of the map was Talonton village, on the extreme top right side of the map was the academy that Arnin had to go to. There wasn't anything major on the road to the academy, only some dangerous areas that the village elder marked for Arnin.
Arnin studied the map for a while longer and decided on the path he would take to the academy. He didn't know how long it would take him exactly, so he wanted to leave as soon as possible. With everything set, he rushed towards the academy.
While Arnin was making his way to the academy, the village elder was extremely busy at his home.
"Village elder, you must get justice for my son's family. Please, help me avenge my son." A large man that looked no younger than the village elder, was kneeling in front him. The man had a grievous look, with tears falling down his face.
"Zuko, I know what you are feeling, but I can't help you in this. The person that is supporting that family is not someone you or I can offend. If you go against that family, not only will I not support you, I will stop you with all costs." The village elder sighed as he looked at his saddened friend. The man in front of him was Zuko, the father of Viret. He was only second to the village elder and was even a large contributor to the village. The village elder was, of course, sad about the events that took place, but because of the contract he had with Arnin, he could only protect his family.
Zuko was shocked when he heard what the village elder said. "Village elder, why would you stand in my way to avenge my son's death? I have supported and protected this village for my entire life, even if you don't help me, you shouldn't go against me!" Zuko was more angry then sad. He was mad that his son was killed. He was angry that he couldn't even get the support of the village elder. Now he couldn't even avenge his son's family?
"I am sorry, but I really can't help you, even if I wanted to" The village elder was helpless. The contract forced him to protect Arnin's family no matter what. 'So this is what he meant when he said no matter what?' The village elder mockingly sighed. He got tricked by a five-year-old to protect his family no matter the cost. The village elder had some fear growing inside of him because of Arnin's deep calculations.
As the two old people were discussing, the door to the village elder's home opened up. Three people walked into the house; Ashia, Nekaia, and Avian. Ashia and Nekaia had pale faces, while Avian had an angry one.
"Village elder, tell me where Arnin is! I know you know where that brat is, so you better tell me!" Avian loudly spoke with great anger. When she finally came back from the city, she heard about what happened and was shocked. Arnin killed three people and fled the scene. The news shocked her and when she saw how Nekaia and everyone were handling it, she felt extremely mad. They were all depressed and gloomy, Ashia even had tear stains on her face.
"Who do you think you are, barging into this place? Don't think I won't dea-" Just as Zuko was about to berate Avian's manners, he felt his blood rush to his throat and coughed blood. A frightening aura erupted from Avian's body. It was not as sinister as Arnin's, but it was extremely powerful.
"Who do you think you are, old man? When I am speaking to someone, you need to silently wait in the corner. Now scram!" Avian didn't have time for Zuko's nonsense so she used the most effective way to shut him up; absolute strength.
"Miss Avian, please calm your anger." The village elder struggled to his feet under the terrifying pressure. He walked towards Avian with great fear and told her about the contract that Arnin had her sign.
"That stupid rascal and his contracts! Ashia, don't worry, I will get information about him as soon as possible." Avian gently looked at Ashia before glaring at the village elder.
"Little Ashia, Arnin told me to tell you that he doesn't wish for you to find him. He said that after he becomes stronger, he will come look for you himself. He just wants you guys to be safe." The village elder quickly spoke before stopping under Avian's penetrating stare.
"Village elder, was he alright? Is he safe right now? I hope that you can look after him for me. He is only five years old. I don't know what happened to him, but he is not a bad child. So please look after him." Ashia fell to her knees as she spoke with a sobbing voice. The village elder got on one knee and patted her head gently.
"It's ok dear, I will look after him. Nothing will happen to him with me around, so just live happily and leave the rest to me." The village elder whispered quietly to Ashia. Ashia got up slowly and nodded slightly towards the village elder before walking out with Avian and Nekaia.
After the three left, the village elder rushed towards Zuko and helped him up. Zuko, as a friend, I am telling you not to offend them. That woman is just not someone we can ever hope to take on. So please, for my sake, try to forget about it. Think about your remaining granddaughter, who was luckily not at the house when all of this happened. Take care of yourself so that she can also live knowing there is someone left." With that said, the village elder quietly left Zuko in the hall. Zuko silently cried for his son's family. He couldn't do anything except take care of his last family.
"Arnin, you devil spawn! You are lucky my granddaughter was spared. If she wasn't, I would have chased you for eternity." Zuko cursed under his breath before leaving the hall as well.