Chapter 27:

Chapter 27 – Secret Realm

Crystal Evolution

It had been four days since the end of the competition, Kieran was packing the things he would need for the expedition, and Ryan was with him, helping him get everything ready.

"Are you sure you don't want to come with me?"

"No, even though my barrier may be useful for you occasionally, I don't have enough crystal essence in my spiritual world yet to be useful, and I'm just starting to consider new ways to use my ability."

"All right."

"When do you think you'll be back?"

"I don't know exactly. I will try to get the necessary materials for my crystal trees to evolve. I think it will take me at least one month."

"One month... Mom will be worried about you if you leave for that long."

"You don't have to worry so much about Mom. I gave her a vital orb bound with my blood. She will know at every moment my condition."

"I see you've thought of everything."

"Even if I want to be able to explore through the rifts or in the Aegis Alliance, I also know that our parents are worried about us. The vital orb should reassure her."

"You were right to buy it, she doesn't talk about it, but the first time you left, she spent the first week crying, not knowing if you would come back alive."

Kieran didn't know what to say. He didn't know his mother cared so much for him, he didn't want her to feel that way, but he didn't want to give up on his dream of exploring the universe either.

Seeing his silent brother, Ryan gave him a tap on the shoulder.

"Don't worry. She knows you're doing fine now with the ranking you got. With the vital orb, she won't be so worried about you."

"Thank you, Ryan."

A slight smile appeared on Kieran’s face. Since the competition, Ryan started to talk to him again like before.

"Everything is ready. I'll go."

"See you in one month, Kieran."

"If I’m lucky, I’ll be at the Bronze rank when we meet again."

"Good luck."

Kieran left his house, heading towards the rift. Arriving in front of it, a guard stopped him to ask him for his authorization papers.

"Access to the Iron Rank 57 863 rift allowed. You can proceed."

He advanced slowly. A huge queue had formed in front of the rift to participate in the expedition.

'A secret realm.'

Kieran was lost in his thoughts when it was finally his turn to cross the rift.

Having already crossed a rift, Kieran was no longer anxious about crossing it. He quickly walked inside without hesitation.

The same feeling of loss of spatial perception invades him once more before everything returns to normal.

A wind blew across Kieran's face bringing with it the scent of the sea.

As he opened his eyes, the sight in front of him left him speechless.

The sound of the waves crashing against the coast, the reflections of the sun on the surface of the water, which stretched as far as his eyes could see with a few islands here and there to decorate the view. Everything looked like a piece of art.

"What a beautiful view. It's the first time I've seen the sea. It would have been nice if Ryan and Thomas had accompanied me to see this."

As more and more people appeared around him, he could see the same look of surprise on their faces.

'Looks like the secret realm attracts more people than I thought. Luckily it appeared in an Iron rank rift. Otherwise, all the cultivators in the city would have come.'

Looking away from the rift, Kieran saw the refuge created by the Aegis Alliance.

He entered the refuge, getting closer to the main square, he could see several large teams of hundreds of people forming. Some cultivators were raising their voices to recruit members into their teams.

"The Whisper of Life guild is recruiting members with support-type abilities. Anyone wishing to join must be at the late stage Iron rank."

"The Blessing of the Wolf guild is recruiting two members with elemental-type abilities related to lightning and fire. Anyone wishing to join must be at the late stage Iron rank."

"The Thundershields guild is recruiting members with healer-type abilities. Anyone wishing to join must be at the late stage Iron rank."

Kieran stood in the middle of the main square as more and more people were coming.

'Guilds only recruit cultivators with a Late Stage Iron rank cultivation. They must be at a loss for people to recruit so much. I bet the fact that a secret realm appeared in an Iron rank rift made more than one guild grind their teeth.'

As he continued to walk around, he could occasionally see cultivator who possessed a different aura from the others.

'These people must be newly promoted Bronze rank to lead their team in the secret realm.'

While he was lost in his thoughts, he suddenly felt a light tap on his shoulder.


Turning around, he saw a young woman standing in front of him, with short orange hair and bright green eyes.

"Excuse me, are you looking for a team?"

"Yes, but I don't know if they would accept me," Kieran said quietly before scratching his cheek.

"Ah, don't worry about that. No matter your ability, as long as you have reached the late stage Iron rank, my team will be happy to welcome you," said the young woman with a charming smile on her face.

"I'm in the middle stage of the Iron rank, but..."

"Tsk. I knew I was wasting my time."

The young woman's face darkened before she turned around, leaving Kieran alone.

"...I have a double awakening."

Kieran's frowned at the scene before his eyes.

'Just what happened?'

Still stunned by what had just happened, he shook his head before heading toward the teams that were recruiting.

Two hours passed, and Kieran's face had darkened.

'What's wrong with these teams? Did being in a guild make them stupid? Don't want a dead weight on our team? You're just a middle stage Iron rank? Fuck off, I can fight your dad without even breaking a sweat!'

The rage was rising inside him as he thought back to the two hours he had just lost because he was young. People judge him before he can even talk. The worst was that in each team, there was a cultivator sensitive to crystal essence who could estimate his cultivation level, categorically refusing to listen to his explanations.

'Those idiots, just because you can feel my cultivation level doesn't mean you know my full strength!'


With a long sigh, he sat on a bench, raising his head to the sky, his reddish brown eyes reflected the blue of the sky.

'If I can't find a team, I should go alone. I could only count on myself during the expedition but also inside the secret realm.'

He lowered his head, fixing his gaze on the crowd.

'It might be for the best after all if I join a team and find a treasure, there's a good chance they'll attack me to get it. At least in this way, I know that everyone here can become my enemy.'

After fifteen minutes, a loud voice swept through the entire square as a man in his twenties drew the attention of the crowd.

The man had short blond hair and light blue eyes. He wore a black combat outfit with an emblem of a piece of ice above an ocean on it.

"Your attention, please. My name is Alexei Hevroz, and I am the representative of the Cold Ocean Guild in this rift. We will begin our journey to the secret realm, we will have to cross many islands before we get there, and we will not turn back until we reach it. Those who want to follow us can, but we will not protect you. You will be responsible for your own protection. Once the secret realm is reached, all those who have followed our expedition will have to help open it. To be clear for everyone here. We allow you to follow us simply because it's impossible for us to open the secret realm alone with the few Iron rank cultivator we have. Once the secret realm is opened, the treasure you get will depend entirely on you and your capacity to preserve it."

Once Alexei's words ended, there was only silence. Everyone present understood that even if everything seemed calm at the moment, it would be different once the secret realm was opened.

Kieran’s face showed no emotions while his fists were tightening.

"Well, now that all is said, let's go. We have a long way to go before we get to the secret realms."

Alexei turned his back to the crowd, walking slowly towards the sea. A hundred cultivators followed behind him. Arriving in front of the sea, he slowly raised his right hand before a light appeared in the space in front of him. The next moment a huge sailing ship more than 300 meters long appeared for everyone to see.

'Damn, what space has this spatial gem to hold a ship of this size! If only I had a gem like that. I would have no problem transporting the corpses of the crystal beasts I hunt.'

"Those who want to join us are welcome, but if you come on board, you must obey our rules during the trip to the island."

Several cultivators looked at each other before moving, some boarding Alexei's ship, others followed their team leader, who had come prepared with a ship stored inside their aurora collar.

One by one, several ships appeared next to each other, and very quickly, a small fleet was formed.

In an instant, almost everyone present had boarded a ship. Not wanting to be left behind, Kieran headed for Alexei's ship.

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