Chapter 45:

Chapter 45 – Stone Golem

Crystal Evolution

It's been three days since Kieran landed on the island. He slowly climbed the mountain arriving close to 7,000 meters high. Although he reached such a height, he did not feel any change in the temperature, but the more he climbed, the more he could feel that the environment was saturated with crystal essence.

During those three days when he couldn't take a path in the mountain, he climbed while covering his claws with crystal essence. Several beasts at the early stage of Bronze rank had attacked him many times. Far from being bothered by them, he was happy to welcome them as a training partner to practice the Dance of Heaven and Earth.

His hands moved into the corpse of a pair of stone golems he had just killed, harvesting their crystal cores and soul crystals.

"There are so many Bronze rank beasts on this mountain. Since we got over 4,000 meters, we hardly see any Iron rank beasts. It's completely different from the islands we've found until now."

"The high concentration of crystal essence on the island increases the rate at which crystal beasts become stronger. So far, we have only encountered beasts at the early stage of the Bronze rank, but with such a concentration of crystal essence, it wouldn't be strange to come across Silver rank crystal beasts."

"If there are Silver rank beasts, I hope not to cross them. With my current strength, I can only face beasts at the early stage of the Bronze rank. Even a beast close to reaching the middle stage of the Bronze rank could be hard for me to deal with. The only thing that reassures me is that we only met beasts related to the element of earth, and most of them are slow. Even if I can't face them, I should be able to escape with my speed in my lycan form."

As he chatted with Runihoril, he suddenly felt the earth shake under his feet.

"An earthquake?"

The earth shook harder and harder when something entered his crystal sense range.

"Something is coming. I can't see how powerful it is. It must be a middle stage Bronze rank."

He put Shard of a Broken World in his aurora collar before changing into a lycan. Approaching the side of the mountain, he covered his claws with crystal essence before starting to climb rapidly.

He quickly arrived at a height of 50 meters when he saw a giant figure moving slowly on the path where he was standing a moment before.

A giant humanoid beast measuring more than 30 meters appeared in his view. Its imposing body made the surroundings tremble with every step it took. The beast weighed at least 100 tons from the deep footprints it left on the floor.

The body of the beast was made up of pieces of stone put together, with vegetation that had grown on it, all forming the shape of a human with an oversized torso compared to the rest of its limbs, a dark yellow light shining on where a human's eyes should be.

"He's a stone giant. He's huge! Stone golems look like ants next to him... How can a Bronze rank beast be so big?"

"Giants are among the largest race in the universe. Very few races of the same rank can compare to them in terms of pure strength."

Kieran watched the stone giant move slowly without paying attention to him. Soon he passed below him, and he could examine him more closely.

"I have the feeling that even if he let me attack him for a whole day, I still wouldn't be able to inflict a serious injury on him..."

Several minutes passed before they could no longer see the stone giant. He descended the path resuming his climb, dodging every crystal beast he couldn't go against.

After several hours, he arrived at a large flat area of the mountain covered with grass. About fifty stone golems were wandering in the grassland without any goal.

In the distance, he could see a stone golem entirely different from the others. His body was smaller and thinner than the other stone golem resembling a human made of stone. A stone club was leaning against him as he sat near a flower with petals resembling dull yellow crystals, a faint yellow light emanating from the flower.

"What is this, Master?" Kieran asked, pointing toward the stone golem and the flower.

"Oh, that's rather interesting."

"What's interesting?"

"The flower you see is called an Aclaron. It is a flower with earth element properties. Alchemist often uses it to create pills to improve a person's control over the earth element. Crystal beasts with an affinity to the earth element prefer to stay close to this plant to absorb its effects slowly. The stone golem next to it has reformed its whole body thanks to the Aclaron."

Kieran was now looking at the flower with envy. If he breakthrough to the Bronze rank, his wolf transformation will evolve on a path linked to the earth element, the Aclaron will be useful to him at this time.

He slowly moved around the grassland, using his crystal sense to check on the cultivation of the stone golems that were strewn across the plain.

Apart from the stone golem next to the Aclaron, he was able to scan all the stone golems with his crystal sense. He was relieved when he felt that most of them were Iron rank, with only ten recently advanced to the Bronze rank.

"Are you planning to try to snatch the Aclaron from that stone golem?" Runihoril asked.

"Yes, once I reach Bronze rank, I should be able to control the earth. If I can find an alchemist back home, I can increase my control on it."

"It's not a bad idea, but be careful not to overestimate your strength. At this distance, the stone golem does not enter the detection range of your crystal sense."

"I'll deal with the other stone golems first before heading towards him. If I really can't face him, I'll give up."

Shard of Broken World appeared in his hand before he started taking out every stone golem in the plain while paying attention to the reaction of the stone golem next to the Aclaron.

Quickly Kieran ended up eliminating all the stone golems on the plain. He slowly approached the last stone golem next to the Aclaron and used crystal sense on him.

"His body contains a stronger crystal essence than other stone golems. He is close to reaching the middle stage of Bronze rank. If I am not wrong his crystal essence should be around 350 points," Kieran whispered.

A golden halo formed in his right eye before he inspected his crystal trees.

[ Kieran Arvost]

[Crystal Tree Status (1):
Name: Wolf Transformation
Refinement Rate: 84.39/100]

[Crystal Tree Status (2):
Name: Giant Transformation
Refinement Rate: 84.07/100]
[Crystal Essence: 168.46]

"So far, the most powerful crystal beast I have faced had strength equivalent to 250 crystal essence. I don't know how much my strength has increased since cultivating the Heavenly Sun Body."

The more he thought about the stone golem in front of him, the more he felt excitement rising in his body. He wanted to use the stone golem as a training partner to see how much his strength had improved.

Tightening his grip on Shard of a Broken World, he extended his right arm behind him before leaning his upper body forward, claws on his left hand digging into the ground.

The giant ability in his body shifted, concentrating on his legs, increasing their size as he contracted every one of his muscles.

He lowered himself, the thick crystal essence in his body moving madly, filling his legs before he pressed with all his strength against the ground.

Kieran's face blurred as he appeared in front of the stone golem, Shard of Broken World swung rapidly towards the stone golem's head.

The stone golem suddenly raised his head. He barely had time to react by pushing the club in front of him.

A sound of explosion sounded in the previously calm plain. The body of the stone golem was pushed back several meters, its feet had left deep marks in the ground, and the club in its hands had a small gash on it.

The stone golem opened its mouth, emitting a loud sound of stones rubbing between each other. Angered by the sudden enemy that had appeared before it, the stone golem rushed towards him, leaving deep footprints in the ground with each step.

Its club raised above its head. The stone golem swung it violently at Kieran.

Kieran's blood boiled with excitement after his last attack, not dodging the attack of the golem that came closer. He turned Shard of Broken World in his hands to make contact with the golem's club.

The two weapons clashed violently. The force behind the stone golem's club pushed him back. As the stone golem's club fell towards the ground, Kieran rotated Shard of a Broken World. Using the second blade that didn't make contact with the club, it left a deep gash on the stone golem's chest.

Enraged by his wound, the stone golem lifted the club, swinging it once more at him.

Kieran wanted to try a contest of strength once again with the stone golem when he saw the Aclaron, which was close to them. Not wishing to destroy the flower, he dodged the club, moving away from it to attract the stone golem.

The stone golem seemed mad with rage and rushed at him without the slightest hesitation. A smile appeared on his face as he dashed towards him.

The two weapons collided again. Seeing that he was once again losing the contest of strength, Kieran frowned.

He turned his body to the side, allowing the blade to fall under the weight of the attack and letting the club that was in contact with it slide. He tightens his grip on Shard of a Broken World, spinning it quickly in his hands, cutting the shoulder of the stone golem with the second blade.

Moving away from the stone golem, he watched it make loud noises in his direction.

"Let's go one more time."

He smiles before throwing himself at the stone golem, who raises his club again.

The two weapons were about to collide again when Kieran focused the giant’s transformation ability in his arms. His two arms inflated, and the handle of Shard of a Broken World, which had previously had enough space for him to maneuver it as he wished, was now encumbered by two giant lycan hands.

A loud explosion sounded across the plain. Kieran was not pushed away this time. He and the stone golem were in a contest of strength, one trying to push back the other without any clear winner.

The smile on his face widened. He stepped to the side, storing Shard of a Broken World in his aurora collar as he dodged the club that fell to the ground following Shard of a Broken World's disappearance. His left arm resumed its normal size while his right arm grew larger.

"Crystal Essence Claw!!!"

His giant pair of claws penetrated the stone golem's chest, shattering its stone heart. The body of the stone golem disintegrated in front of him, leaving only a pile of stones on the ground.

Kieran sat on the grass staring at the pile of rocks in front of him with a big smile on his face.

"I used a lot of crystal essence to go against each of his blows, but it was worth it!"

"You use the abilities of your crystal trees intelligently. Even if it would have been easier for you to use your speed rather than to face it in a contest of strength, you did very well."

"Thank you, Master."

"You should try to have a weapon with a core forged to replace Shard of a Broken World in the future. Your size in your lycan form is already very large to properly maneuver Shard of a Broken World, but if you use your giant ability on your arms, you won't be able to manipulate it correctly, not to mention that your future evolutions could force your body to grow even more."

"Are you talking about having an artifact forged? Forging an artifact that can grow to follow the changes in my body will be expensive, and no blacksmiths can do it in my city. I'd have to have it commissioned in another city, and the cost would increase even further."

"You have collected a lot of soul crystals. Selling them should bring you a nice amount of money, and if it is still not enough, you can try to learn blacksmithing on your own. Although it will take you longer, it will be more useful for you in the long term, not to mention that it will train your control of the crystal essence at the same time."

He considered Runihoril's words for a moment before accepting his idea.

"I'll try to learn blacksmithing when I get back home."

A slight smile appeared on Runihoril's face.

"Don’t worry, although there are very few techniques I can teach you, given your current level and the memories I have erased. Blacksmithing was an integral part of my life when I was still alive. I was a recognized blacksmith throughout the universe. I’ll teach you forging. As for the materials you need to learn it, with that weird ability you have to obtain a soul crystal every time, you don’t have to worry about the money."

Kieran finally understood Runihoril's intentions in asking him to learn blacksmithing. He wanted to teach him.

"I will do my best, Master."

He stood up and approached the Aclaron, using his claws to carefully dig up the ground around it before storing it in his aurora collar.

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