Chapter 12:

Chapter 12 – Shapeshift

Crystal Evolution

In a forest, four people move through the trees quickly. They surrounded a beast that looks like a bear with huge claws covered in fire. Sensing the danger approaching him, the beast began to roar at them before rushing in their direction.

"Let's go, scatter you as we said. Kieran attacks when you see an opening."

Darvell charged towards the bear, seeing it point those huge claws at him, he adjusted his stance to stand firmly on the ground before raising his shield in front of him.


The bear's attack left a scratch mark on his shield, knocking him back a few steps, his arm numb from resisting the blow.

Catherine came out from behind a tree with an arrow made entirely of water floating above her hand. Moving her hand in the air in front of her, she controlled the arrow of water which shot toward the bear.

The arrow flew straight toward him before sinking into his chest. Another arrow came from the trees in the distance and stuck inside his right eye. The bear howled in rage and charged furiously toward Darvell.

Just as the bear is about to hit Darvell, Kieran, in the form of a giant wolf, appeared behind the bear, attacking him in the neck with his fangs sinking deeper and deeper inside his flesh. Crystal essence flowed into Kieran’s claws before he threw them into the bear’s to tear it apart.

The bear screamed in agony, he tried to knock Kieran off his back without any success. After several minutes of fierce struggle, the bear collapsed on the ground without any sign of life.

"Good job Kieran!" said Darvel with his thumb up.

Kieran's fur had several parts that the bear's flaming claws had burned. Once he saw that the bear was dead, he undo his wolf form, returning to a human form.

"Thanks, Darvell. I made it because you got his attention."

While talking with Darvell, Catherine, and Landen get closer to them.

Catherine looks at Kieran with a smile on her face.

"It's really easier since we have another person in our group. With you in the front, our team is better balanced."

Kieran had been with them for a week, and coordination began to be felt between their movements.

He had also been able to learn from them, especially from Catherine, her ability needed her to control his crystal essence well, and thanks to her, Kieran had learned how to manipulate his crystal essence more easily.

He could now use it in a fight to improve a part of his body, he couldn't get the crystal essence out of his body yet, but he was happy with what he had accomplished in a week.

During this week in their company, they had continuously hunted without a day off, managing to kill a little more than 40 crystal beasts.

Kieran buys them one or two crystals core every day in exchange for his shares of the other crystal cores to improve his crystal seeds which had finally grown into the shape of a sapling. The crystal essence mist around them now started forming a small pond below each tree.

Unlike him, who wanted to improve his strength quickly, the others preferred to earn money by selling crystal cores.

None of them were in a rush to reach the Bronze rank. They still needed to figure out the evolutionary path they wanted to follow.

The four approached the bear's body to inspect it.

"We should be able to sell this Fire Claw Bear for at least 200 nova credits and his crystal core should sell for 600 nova credits," said Darvell.

"It's the 5th crystal beast we killed today, I'll take his crystal core, and you'll take my share of the others."

"All right."

Darvell nodded, giving the crystal core of the Fire Claw Bear to Kieran.

"It's getting late let's take what can be sold and return to the refuge."

The group proceeded to carve up the corpse, and a pile of materials entered their aurora collar before they left for the refuge.

"I never thought I’d team up with someone as young as you one day. You’re fearless to go through the rift," Darvell expresses himself while looking at Kieran.

"Why is that? I'm only a few years younger than you three."

Catherine looked at Kieran strangely.

"Usually, the newly awakened ones don't come into the rifts. They would cultivate under the cover of the city and learn how to use their ability in different ways. Only after a few years of being stuck at Iron rank would they come here hoping to get the materials to evolve or make enough money to buy them."

"It hasn't been long since I awakened my abilities, but I can already fight crystal beasts through the rifts."

Hearing Kieran's words, Darvell started laughing.

"So far, we’ve hunted in the areas near the rift. All the beasts we’ve faced were not very strong, if a Bronze rank or even just a beast at the peak stage of the Iron rank appears, the fights will be different. Your ability is pretty powerful, but from what I’ve seen so far, you’re using it the same way without trying to figure out how to use them in another way."

"How do you use them in another way?"

"Your ability is related to transformation, right? Why do you transform your whole body every time?"

Kieran stopped on the spot. He felt as if he had received a shock.

'It's true, my abilities are transformation, but that doesn't mean I have to transform my whole body every time!'

A sparkle shines in his eyes as many ideas emerge in his mind.

"Thanks, Darvell. I had never thought of that."

"Ahah it's nothing. This senior is there for that!"

"What a senior you are, 23 years old, and you are still at the Iron rank. You have nothing to be proud of."

"It's just that I slowed down my progress to put myself on the same level as you Catherine!"

"Oh! So I'm slowing you down?"

A sharp glint appeared in Catherine's eyes, sending a shiver down Darvell's spine.

"No... forget it. I didn't say anything."

While the two were bickering, Kieran thought about what he could do with his abilities. He raised his hand in front of his face.

'What if I tried to change my hand to that of a wolf?'

He focused on his wolf transformation crystal seed trying to activate it only on his right hand, as soon as he wanted to activate it, the ability wanted to change his whole body instantly. He tried to resist the transformation, but his body changed entirely into a wolf.

'I felt the ability move towards my hand a little, but the concentration required is tremendous.'

He canceled his transformation and tried to experiment again.

'Slowly... I have to activate it slowly. If I try to go too fast, the ability will activate throughout my body.'

Time passed slowly, the group still continuing their walk toward the refuge. As the minutes passed, Kieran began to grasp the feeling of activating the ability in some part of his body.

Eventually, his hand started to change into a wolf's paw.

'I succeeded! Cultivation really isn't just about accumulating crystal essence to refine our crystal trees. Fully understanding his abilities and knowing how to use them could change the outcome of a fight!'

As he inspected his paw several times, Kieran recalled his nightmares, where his hand had changed into a pair of claws while retaining the shape of a human hand.

'I wonder if I can change the shape of the paw to look like a human hand like in my nightmare.'

He concentrated on his hand, trying to reform his fingers one by one.

After more than half an hour of trying, he had managed to reform all his fingers. His hand now had a human appearance with the characteristics of a wolf, covered in fur with five sharp claws protruding from each of his fingers.

'I succeeded. Can I continue this shapeshift all over my body? I should continue slowly until I can change my whole body while keeping a human appearance.'

While he was trying to shapeshift his body parts, the group arrived at the refuge.

"Finally arriving, let's sell what we got from the bear."

After selling what they had collected from the bear as well as the other crystal beasts hunted during the day, the group earned 2630 nova credit which they split into four after deducting the cost of the crystal core that Kieran had taken.

"We got a good sum, and as tomorrow we don't do any hunting, I invite you all to the bar. Drinks are on me!" said Darvell.

Catherine was the first to respond.

"If you're the one paying Darvell, I'm coming."

"We are two."

Landen, who hardly ever spoke, jumped at the chance.

The three turned to Kieran, waiting for his answer.

"I'll pass for this time, sorry."

Darvell smiles at his answer.

"I was already expecting this. Our whole trip back, you just practiced with your ability. You know where to find us if you ever change your mind."


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