Chapter 66:

Chapter 66 – Respect is Earned

Crystal Evolution

In a room of the blacksmiths' association, Kieran sat on the floor, his back leaning against the stone workbench.

His body was drenched in sweat, and his arms felt numb. He held a potion in his right hand, which he drank slowly. His muscles felt invigorated with every sip he took, and his crystal essence recovered quickly.

Runihoril, who was next to him, looked at the piece of Spiritual Iron on the workbench, which vibrated slightly, a faint blue glow surrounding it.

"Congratulations, you managed to complete the 1000 strikes," said Runihoril.

"Thank you, Master."

Kieran didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He had destroyed over 100 Spiritual Irons before he managed to complete 1000 strikes.

'My money...' he thought while looking at the pieces of Spiritual Iron destroyed on the floor.

"What you have just done is called metals refining in blacksmithing. Each strike filled with your crystal essence will flood this piece of Spiritual Iron, destroying the impurities that are hidden within. This is one of the basic stages of forging. Over the next month, you will train to refine different metals. Each metal is different. The power you will have to use to refine them will also be different. We will only stop this training when you can perfectly control your crystal essence to refine any metal accessible to your rank."

"I'm going to have to repeat that every day?!"

"It's going to be up to you. The more your control over your crystal essence improves, the fewer strikes you'll need to refine a piece of metal."

"I'm going to have to plan my training schedule. I can't stay all day in the forge if I want to progress in other areas too. I don't really need to sleep for a long time as long as I cultivate, my body will not tire. I can use my mornings to learn blacksmithing and the afternoons to train with a training dummy."

As he thought of a way to fit all his training into one day, his aurora collar suddenly rang, and an image of Thomas appeared before him.

"Hey, Thomas! How are you?"

"Kieran, come quickly to training room 17! Ryan has a problem!"

Thomas' agitated voice entered his ears.

"I'm coming!"

Ending the call, he quickly rushed to the exit of the blacksmiths' association while pulling another potion from his aurora collar to recover his crystal essence.


"Mr. Aurelius, you have to stop this! It's not training anymore!" said Thomas.

After calling Kieran, Thomas attempted once more to get Aurelius to react by pointing at Devan, who was relentlessly hitting Ryan, hunched over on the floor.

"Those are only minor injuries. He can be treated later. Stop bothering me with that," replied Aurelius.

"You... You don't know what will happen to him if he keeps hitting Ryan like that!"

"Humpf! What can happen to him? Are you going to fight him? You can do it if you want. I won't stop you."

"You will regret what you did."

"Ahah, how funny. To think that a mere student at the early stage of the Iron rank would tell me that I, a member of the Thundershields guild, will come to regret my actions."

Thomas gritted his teeth, turning away from Aurelius. He rushed to help Ryan.

Devan's punch was about to land on Ryan as Thomas stepped between the two with his two arms crossed in front of him, black scales that reflected the light covering his arms in an instant.


Its scales cracked at the contact of Devan's fist before its arms twisted into an odd angle, and the blow threw its body away.

"Another trash that thinks too much of itself," said Devan with disdain.

Devan turned his attention back to Ryan when an explosion sounded at the entrance to the training room.

Turning in the direction of the entrance, he could only see smoke and a footprint mark that had formed in the ground, but oddly, every student in the training room was not looking towards the entrance but was looking towards him with a strange expression on their face.

"What do you..."

"Hey, you."

A cold voice came from behind him, turning quickly. He could see Kieran holding the unconscious Ryan in his arms.

'How did he appear there?' thought Devan.

"Is it you who put him in this state?" Kieran asked without looking at him.

His crystal sense travels through Ryan's body, inspecting all of his wounds. His face darkened each time he found a new one.

Several of his bones had been broken, and some of his internal organs had been injured.

Devan felt a cold sweat running down his back as he stared into Kieran's cold eyes, but when he felt that he was at the same level of cultivation as him, he regained his courage, a smile appearing on his face.

"What if it's me? He's just trash. He should be happy to serve as a punching bag for me and thank me by kneeling in front of me!"

'With Aurelius here, even if he can beat me, he won't be able to do much more to me,' Devan thought with a smile on his face.

"Trash, huh..." Kieran muttered, gently setting Ryan down behind him.

His gaze fell on Thomas in the distance, who was slowly getting up, blood running from the corner of his lips, but a smile formed on his face when he saw him.

"If he's trash and has to kneel in front of you, I wonder what you can be," said Kieran while facing Devan again.

"Do you really dare to compare him with me?! Do you even know who I am?!" said Devan angrily.


Kieran's voice was not strong but carried a chilling coldness as a terrifying pressure emitted from his body, forcing Devan to the ground on his knees.

An incredulous expression appeared on Devan's face as he circulated his crystal essence throughout his body, trying to pull himself up under the pressure.

The earth elemental particles around them began to press against Devan's body, increasing the power that fell on him, causing his head to hit the ground with a loud noise, letting cracks appear under it.


Kieran slowly walked towards him, increasing the pressure Devan felt with each step he took.

"I don't care who you are, but I'm going to teach you something today. There's always a price to pay for talking without thinking first."

Grabbing him by the collar, Kieran pulled him up in front of him.


The noise was so loud it reverberated in the training room as broken teeth flew through the air.

"Y... You..."

Devan looked at Kieran, trembling, his body completely paralyzed under the pressure he emitted, unable to make any movement. He felt like he was standing in front of a beast in a human shape.

"Stop it!" shouted Aurelius.

Glancing quickly in his direction, Kieran’s attention returned to Devan before grabbing his right arm. Tightening his grip, he broke it without any resistance.

"Arghhh!" Devan's scream of pain was heard by anyone in the room.

"You dare!" Aurelius's voice was filled with anger.

Aurelius disappeared, rushing towards Kieran, swinging his fist at him.

Kieran's right fist moved to meet Aurelius's fist as he still held Devan in his left hand.


The two were pushed a step back, Kieran didn't seem perturbed, but Aurelius had a look of shock on his face.

'How?! He is just at the early stage of the Bronze rank!'

Aurelius' shock increases every second as his crystal sense scans Kieran several times to verify that he is not dreaming.

"Kieran! How dare you attack our academy's guest!"

Glancing behind him, Kieran saw Cassandra staring at him with hate in her eyes.

"Shut up."

"Who do you think you are?!" Cassandra screamed madly in his direction.

Throwing Devan to the ground, Kieran advanced towards Aurelius, stomping Devan's legs in his path, breaking his bones.

He heard Devan's screams under his feet and Cassandra's voice still coming from behind him, but he paid them no mind. He walked slowly toward Aurelius as a thick killing intent began to escape from his body.

The students who watched the scene unfold from afar felt an uncomfortable feeling for some reason they didn't know. A chill ran down their spines. Their hearts started to beat faster, and their bodies trembled slightly.

"Are you the one in charge of this training?" asked Kieran in a calm tone.

Aurelius was surprised that such a killing intent could come from such a young person, but he quickly ignored it.

"You should talk to your elder with more respect, young man. Didn't your parents teach you this?"

"My parents taught me that respect is earned. You didn't react when my brother was beaten by this guy, but when I beat him, you immediately came to stop me. Since you are so shameless, why should I bother to respect you?"

"You little brat. Do you really think you can act arrogant in front of me just because you have some little power? I'm going to teach you what respect is today!"

The muscles all over Aurelius's body began to swell, doubling in size. A powerful early stage Silver rank crystal essence escaped from his body.

He tightened his hand into a fist, rushing at Kieran, refusing to believe that now that he was using his ability, he couldn't hurt him.

Kieran's body shifted, taking on his lycan form, swinging his fist.

Aurelius smiled at the sight. He expected Kieran's arm to be broken when their two fists made contact, but what he saw was different from his imagination. He felt a strong force pushing him back, wiping the smile from his face.

'What kind of monster is that?! His crystal essence is at an early stage Bronze rank. Why can he push me back?!'

Aurelius's gaze became serious. A light shone, and a two-meter war hammer with a head as big as its torso appeared.

The muscles in his arm contracted as he lifted the hammer onto his shoulder.

"You force me!" he shouted angrily.

Without saying a word, a light appeared in Kieran's hand, and the next moment he tightened his grip around Shard of a Broken World. A thick, almost tangible crystal essence escaped from his body.

'What is this weapon?' Aurelius couldn't help but ask himself as he saw the strange-looking weapon.

Holding Shard of a Broken World in his right hand, Kieran placed his right arm behind him, moving his forearm against the handle of Shard of a Broken World. He leaned his upper body forward, tensing his leg muscles. He pressed himself against the ground before suddenly dashing toward Aurelius.

A black blur appeared in front of Aurelius, taking him by surprise. He quickly swung his hammer in its direction.

The two weapons clashed, causing several cracks to appear in the ground beneath their feet. Kieran dropped the blade facing the hammer, spinning Shard of a Broken World, the second blade getting dangerously close to Aurelius's head, who quickly jumped back to dodge.

Aurelius felt a cold sweat run down his spine. When he touched his cheek, a trace of blood appeared on his hand.


Picking up his hammer, he rushed in the direction of Kieran like a madman.

The two weapons clashed several times without Aurelius being able to take advantage once on Kieran. His face became more and more ugly with each exchange.

'I'm a fucking Silver rank! Why can't I do anything against him!'

"You are weak."

Kieran's cold voice rang in his ears.

"You!! I'm a member of the Thundershields guild! Don't underestimate me!"

The crystal essence exploded from Aurelius's body, using all his strength to push Kieran back.

The elemental particles around Kieran began to stir. Five platforms of earth formed around them, and with a wave of his hand, a blade of fire appeared in front of him before heading toward Aurelius's head.


Seeing the blade of fire arriving on him, Aurelius took out a shield as big as him from his aurora collar to protect him from the attack, which pushed him back a step.

He lowered his shield, which obstructed his vision, when he found Kieran missing, a feeling of crisis filling his body as he jumped forward.


Kieran, who had appeared behind him, left a cut along his back.

Enduring the pain he felt, Aurelius turned around to face him. A light shone all over his body, revealing an armor that covered him entirely.

His leg muscles bulged as he thrust his shield forward, charging at Kieran once more.

The hammer in his hand began to turn blue as he swung it at Kieran.

"Hammer Smasher!"

Kieran jumped into the air evading the incoming hammer. In an aerial twist, he inverted his body, placing his head downward and his feet upward. He leaned on a platform of earth that he had formed above him, propelling himself towards Aurelius by spinning his body and Shard of a Broken World in his hands.

Not having time to take back his hammer, Aurelius dropped it before holding his shield with both hands in front of him to stop the attack.


The sound of metal rubbing against metal echoed throughout the room as Shard of a Broken World left a deep scratch on the shield.

Continuing on its way, the double-bladed sword dug into the ground.

Kieran forced his body to twist as he let go of his weapon, grabbing the top of the shield with his left hand. His arm muscles contracted as he lifted his whole body above Aurelius. The giant's transformation shifted within him, filling his right arm.

"Crystal Essence Claw!"

A golden blue streak cut through the air, instantly appearing before Aurelius's forehead.


A loud voice shook the whole training room as a pressure stronger than he had felt from the Earth Drake fell on the bodies of the two, freezing them in place as well as the claws of Kieran, who was a hair's breadth from piercing through Aurelius's skull with a drop of blood flowing from his forehead.

Walking slowly towards them, the academy Director who had arrived a second ago, was watching the scene with frowning eyebrows.

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