Chapter 3:

Chapter 3 – Double Awakening

Crystal Evolution

"Next student. Kieran Arvost."

Kieran shook his head before coming to his senses. With a resolute look on his face, he slowly advanced towards the altar. His steps were unstable, headaches kept assaulting him, and his face was pale from the pain.

As he got closer and closer to the altar, he began to get nervous, realizing what was at stake right now. That single moment would determine the rest of his life.

Slowly advancing his trembling hand towards the crystal core, the lines of inscription on the circle beneath him activated. An energy went up along his legs before entering his body. His body shook slightly as if he had received an electric shock.

Everything faded before his eyes, and blurry images flickered endlessly in his mind. He tried to concentrate on trying to see them more clearly, but he could only discern floating shadows. In the end, he was able to see an image, but as soon as he opened his eyes, he couldn't remember what he had just seen.

The crystal seed inside his spiritual world began to awaken when suddenly a golden light escaped from it, slowly heading inside his spiritual world before disappearing. A feeling of refreshment passed through his body, gradually relieving the pain in his head until it disappeared completely.

'What was that golden light?'

Unable to understand what just happened, he turned his attention to the crystal seed that continued to awaken within his spiritual world. An illusory image of a seed made entirely of crystal appeared over his head. Slowly the seed began to split into two separate crystal seeds.

One of the crystal seeds had an image of a wolf on it, while on the other, an image resembling Kieran had appeared.

Looking down at the two crystal seeds, Kieran was in disbelief at the sight. He couldn't believe what was happening in front of him.

'I have two crystal seeds! I had a double awakening!'

Double awakening was not uncommon considering the entire Aegis Alliance, but on a planet like Ostrion, there weren't even more than a hundred thousand of them.

In the history of the Aegis Alliance, the double awakening was known as a blessing. Those who possessed it could cultivate two different crystal seeds at the same time. Possessing two different abilities as well as double the crystal essence reserve that a normal cultivator should have, their prowess was truly oppressive to anyone who faced them.

When they cultivated, their bodies would be nourished with twice the crystal essence resulting in a stronger physique than those at the same rank as them, but such blessings also had a price. If the body failed to keep up with the power of the two seeds, then the body could explode in the worst case or become crippled, leaving them wishing only for a quick death.

"Analyzing the data... Student Kieran Arvost Class 3-4 of Ozryn Academy. Double Awakened. Awakened Ability: Grade D Wolf Transformation, Grade D Giant Transformation"

Kieran couldn't help but inspect his two crystal seeds. The two he had awakened belonged to the combat category, and the two of them were also the transformation type. Even if their grade was just in the middle low, he was happy with such a result. After all, in the city of Ozryn, only a handful of people owned grade B crystal seeds. Having a double awakening with two grade D crystal seeds was already like a dream for him.

As he focused on his crystal seeds, a golden halo filled with ancient inscriptions formed in his right eye, and a transparent screen appeared in front of him, taking him by surprise.

[ 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]

'What the... I can see the refinement rate of my crystal seeds as well as the amount of crystal essence I have without the need for outside tools.'

Kieran didn't understand all that was happening in front of him when his eyes fell on "1798 available paths". He tried to concentrate on it when a list opened up in front of him.

[Wolf Transformation Evolution Path:
Evolution path (1): Earth Wolf Transformation -> Rock Wolf Transformation -> ? -> ? -> ........
Evolution path (2): Berserk Wolf Transformation -> Bloodfiend Wolf Transformation -> ? -> ? -> ........
Evolution path (3): Bronze Wolf Transformation -> Silver Wolf Transformation -> ? -> ? -> ........
Evolution path (4): ........ ]

The list continued to scroll before his eyes as he couldn't believe what appeared before him.

'These are all paths of evolution!'

The evolution paths allow to direct the evolution of a crystal seed in the desired direction.

During the evolution, the crystal seeds could greatly improve their ability, acquire new abilities, or even add a new effect to the current ability. It was not uncommon for a crystal seed to evolve to possess abilities belonging to several types, even if its foundation did not change.

Once a crystal seed was awakened, it would begin to transform, gradually becoming a crystal tree with roots. The crystal tree represented a cultivator. It represented their cultivation, their state of mind as well as their ability.

The crystal trees were divided into several ranks. Each cultivator started at the Iron rank, and it was by feeding the crystal seeds with crystal essence absorbed from the environment or crystal core collected from the crystal beasts that they could grow in a crystal tree. Once a crystal tree couldn't absorb any more crystal essence, the cultivator had to try to breakthrough those limits and cross that 'barrier' that separates them from the next rank.

Depending on a cultivator's talent, the barrier that separates them from the next rank could be breakthrough in a matter of hours, while others might not succeed even after several years.

Once the last barrier was crossed and the next rank reached, the crystal tree needed to absorb a catalyst that allowed the crystal tree to evolve. If the crystal tree did not undergo any evolution once a cultivator had reached a new rank for a full week, the cultivator would see their crystal essence escape from their spiritual world before their rank started to regress. They could never progress through the ranks again in their entire life.

The catalysts could be found in different forms, a natural treasure, equipment, or a soul crystal from a crystal beast. Once a crystal tree absorbs the catalyst, if it is compatible with it, it will transform into a crystal connected to its roots, becoming part of the tree. If the catalyst were incompatible with the crystal tree, it would reject it.

The Soul Crystals were one of the rarest catalysts for crystal trees. It will sometimes form at the death of a crystal beast above the Iron rank. When a crystal beast dies, the crystal tree inside their spiritual world absorbs all the energy in their body until it forms a compressed energy crystal called soul crystal.

Breakthrough from one rank to another could be difficult depending on the path of evolution that one took. If a cultivator decides to start a path where he had to absorb a soul crystal, he would have to either buy the soul crystal at a price exorbitant for a normal person or kill a Bronze rank crystal beast possessing an ability that their crystal trees could absorb without being rejected and obtaining the soul crystal.

Soul crystals only had a chance of being fully formed when a crystal beast became a Bronze rank which meant that an Iron rank had to absorb a Bronze rank crystal to evolve if they chose such evolutionary paths.

The crystal trees were divided into several ranks, and the first five ranks were called evolver trees. They were separated into Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Diamond.

Above these ranks, the crystal trees underwent a qualitative change. Cultivators with these crystal trees were called transcendents, no longer able to be considered normal humans. Most of the information about them was still unknown to the general public.

Reaching the Diamond rank allows you to become the manager of a D-class city like Ozryn, thus granting privileged rights in the Aegis Alliance in exchange for which one should offer protection for all citizens inside the city walls.

The Aegis Alliance counted millions of cities scattered on several planets across the universe, all divided into several ranks. The higher the rank of a city was, the greater the advantages that the city had, and one of them, surely the most important thing for any citizen who didn't have a spiritual world that could accommodate a crystal seed, was the security provided by a powerful cultivator. Class D cities like Ozryn have hundreds of millions of people protected by a Diamond rank cultivator.

The paths of evolution were the most important things in the life of a cultivator. The path you took would decide your future. The more the path you took had possible evolution, the more your crystal tree could grow and continue to evolve through the ranks.

The paths of evolution should not be rushed. Some people wait years before moving to Bronze rank just to be sure not to take the wrong path.

Some followed paths already traced by their ancestors, others turned to ancient myths of humanity that were longer forgotten, while others wanted to create their own paths. The possibilities of success and failure were infinite, given the number of different abilities that existed.

While Kieran was lost in his thought, a voice suddenly woke him up.

"Congratulations on your double awakening. You have good potential even if you don't have a powerful ability. Having a double awakening will give you a huge advantage over your peers. Try to train hard!" said the Director, approaching him.

"Thank you, sir!"

While talking with the Director, he tried to use his new ability to see if he could see the evolution paths of others, but even after focusing on them for several minutes, no screen appeared before him.

'Can I only use it on myself?'

He glanced in the direction of the students, and his gaze fell on Ryan, who met his eye, but as he looked at his brother, he looked away and lowered his head.

The other students in the class all look at Kieran with jealousy in their eyes. A double awakened was so rare on the planet Ostrion that he was the first to appear in the city of Ozryn since its creation 200 years ago.

The class 3-4 teacher called all his students before going back to class with them.

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