Chapter 75:

Chapter 75 – Let’s Test Your Progress

Crystal Evolution

A month passed slowly after Kieran left the scattered ruins. Ryan and Thomas had returned a few days after him, both having experienced a leap in their cultivation. Each of them had reached the peak stage of the Iron Rank and was close to attacking the barrier to breakthrough into the Bronze Rank.

Since their return, the two had only been cultivating and training with Kieran to try and break down the final barrier that separated them from the Bronze rank.

Kieran was currently inside a forging room of the blacksmith association.

He was standing in front of a stone workbench. A dull gray metal with a slightly rough texture called Novastar Iron was placed on it.

Kieran was nervous but excited at the same time. He had been practicing his crystal essence control for over a month now and had finally attained enough proficiency that Runihoril taught him the Spiritual Hammer Refinement technique a few days ago.

He closed his eyes and focused on the crystal essence within his spiritual world, circulating it through his body. He could feel the energy pulsing through his veins and flowing through his body like a river. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes, grabbing the hammer next to him.

He gripped it tightly, feeling the weight in his hand.

Runihoril, who was standing behind him, looked at him attentively.

"Remember, Kieran. This metal is highly sensitive to crystal essence. You must strive to control every ounce of crystal essence that passes through your body."

Kieran nodded, his heart beating faster with excitement and nervousness. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath again, centering himself and calming his mind. He extended his hand covered in crystal essence, feeling the connection with the Novastar Iron.

He raised the hammer and focused his crystal essence on it. A golden blue circle formed on the flat of the hammer head before bringing it down on the Novastar Iron, and as he struck it, he felt a wave of crystal essence rush through the metal.

The Spiritual Hammer Refinement technique allowed him to transfer his crystal essence into the metal, refining it with each strike in a more natural way than normal strikes filled with his crystal essence without trying to control its direction or the power once released within the metal.

He continued hammering the Novastar iron, the metal being slowly refined with each strike, and a soft blue glow appeared on its surface.

The process was slow and meticulous, and Kieran had to concentrate on keeping control of his crystal essence, but he didn't let that distract him. He continued to strike the metal, his strikes becoming more fluid and natural with each passing moment.

After hours of hammering, he finally finished refining the Novastar Iron. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and inspected the metal carefully. The surface of the metal was smooth, and a blue glow emanated from it.

He picked up a blueprint for a double-bladed sword he had prepared earlier and started heating the metal in the oven. Once the metal was hot enough, he took it out and began to shape it using his hammer and anvil.

He was still new to blacksmithing, and his lack of experience showed as he struggled to shape the metal into the correct shape. The double-bladed sword was slightly uneven and had a few dents and scratches, but he was determined to make it work.

He continued to work on the double-bladed sword, his strikes becoming more confident as he gained more experience. After several hours of hard work, he finally finished his first creation. The double-bladed sword wasn't perfect, but it was usable. Kieran picked it up and swung it several times in front of him. It was heavy and unbalanced in his hand, but he could feel the power it held. He knew it wasn't the best double-bladed sword he could make, but it was a good start.

He was proud of what he had accomplished. He had successfully refined the metal using the Spiritual Hammer Refinement technique, and he had forged a weapon, which, although still lacking, was usable.

Runihoril approached him, carefully examining the double-bladed sword, "Not bad for a beginner," he said, nodding his head in approval, "It still lacks a bit of quality to qualify as a Silver rank weapon, but you did well. You still have a lot to learn, but you are progressing well. With more practice and patience, you could become a great blacksmith one day."

"Thank you, Master."

Kieran felt an odd sense of pride hearing Runihoril compliment him.

'Forging isn't so bad after all,' he thought to himself.


A notification appeared on his aurora collar, catching his attention.

"Hum? Are they finally about to breakthrough?"

He quickly packed his things in his aurora collar before leaving the blacksmith association to go home.


Once back home, Kieran was greeted by the sight of Ryan and Thomas, who were both sitting cross-legged in the garden, the aura of an early stage Bronze rank could be felt coming from their bodies.

Two illusory crystal trees floated above their heads, roots stretched out in front of them, surrounding dark scales in Thomas's hands and a soul crystal in Ryan's hands.

A dark gem and a transparent gem slowly formed before being drawn into their spiritual worlds by the roots of their crystal trees.

Their bodies shook slightly for a few seconds before they opened their eyes.

A look of disbelief appeared on their faces as they felt the change inside their bodies.

Kieran, who was behind them, watched them with a golden halo in his right eye.


'I can't see their evolution paths anymore. Even though I know their evolution conditions for the next two ranks, I will have to breakthrough to the Silver rank to see their evolution paths again, or I will have to find an excuse for them to remove all the crystal essence from their body,' he thought, seeing no screen appearing before him.

"How do you feel?" asked Kieran.

"Unbelievable..." Ryan said, inspecting his body, unable to believe all the changes that had happened. He still couldn't believe how much he had changed in a single month.

"It's amazing! To think that a month ago I was only at the early stage of the Iron rank," replied Thomas.

"It's no wonder, after cultivating inside the ancient formation array and using the crystal essence stones. If your crystal trees had absorbed the crystal essence any faster, you would have already broken through the Bronze rank barrier two weeks ago."

"I now understand why the rich students of our academy were all Bronze rank during the inter-class competition."

Kieran looked at his brother, who was still in a daze with a small barrier in his hand.

"How has your barrier evolved, Ryan?"

"It's... strange?"


"I can't explain it... It's different from before like something is constantly attracted towards my barrier."

Paying attention to the barrier in Ryan's hand, Kieran saw that small amounts of fire and earth elemental particles were being drawn toward the barrier.

"Why are the particles elements of fire and earth attracted to his barrier?" Kieran whispered.

Runihoril appeared next to him, staring at the barrier in Ryan's hand.

"It's not just fire and earth. You can't see it, but all the elements in that area are attracted in a small amount toward his barrier, slowly changing its defensive properties. You've chosen a good path for your brother."

"A good path? Do you know this evolution path, Master?"

"I've seen someone with this kind of crystal tree take a similar evolution path before. At his peak, even ten people of the same rank as him couldn't leave a scratch on his barrier, let alone thinking of destroying it. Those kinds of paths make this ability extremely frustrating to go against."

"Even ten people can't do anything against his barrier?"

A smile appeared on his face as he walked towards Ryan and Thomas.

"Let's test your progress."

Ryan and Thomas looked at each other for a moment with a serious look on their faces. Kieran had beaten them several times during this month, it was not the first time that they saw him smile like that, but in their minds, this smile looked more like a demon's smile than a human's.

Five barriers suddenly appeared, floating in rotation around Ryan as dark scales covered Thomas' entire body like thick armor.

Kieran slowly waved his right arm in the air as if making no effort. Dozens of blades of fire and spears of earth formed around him.

"Try to resist it as best you can."

As soon as he finished his words, blades of fire and spears of earth fell on both of them like an endless deluge.


"Are you telling me that you invited an early stage Bronze rank to join our team?"

A man in his thirties stood in front of Alexei with a frown.

"It's been a month now. He may have reached the middle stage?" Alexei replied cheerfully.

"Are you kidding me? Early or middle stage doesn't matter. He'll only be an annoyance where we're going!"

"I told you before. He's as strong as a Silver rank."

"Those are just rumors. No early stage Bronze rank can compete with a Silver rank."

"In any case, I have the permission of the guild master to take him with us. Whatever you say, it won't change anything."

"Don't be condescending with me, Alexei. You and Anna were just lucky to get permission to breakthrough to the Silver rank. Otherwise, you'd be like everyone else, having to defend the guild's resources through Bronze rank rifts!"

"But we got it. You and the others can't change that or the fact that Kieran will join our team."

"Tsk... It will be your responsibility if anything happens," said the man before leaving.


"What a troublesome guy. I know his ability will be useful to us, but why did he have to be on our team..."

He opened his contact list, searching for Kieran's name before calling him.

After a few seconds, a screen appeared in front of him, revealing Kieran in a courtyard with two badly injured bodies lying on the ground behind him.

"Hi Alexei, is it time to go?" said Kieran with a smile.

The mind of Alexei was blank for a second before he looked at Kieran, who seemed unconcerned about the two bodies behind him.

"Yes, we'll leave in three hours. Did you read the information I sent you?"

"Of course!"

"What do you think? Will you have a problem against a crystal beast of this level?"

"If I was alone, I don't think I could beat it, but if we add your guild members, there should be no problem dealing with this type of crystal beast."

"I see. You seem confident."

"I'm at least confident that I can run away at any time with my abilities."

"Okay. Meet us at the address I sent you in three hours."

"Okay, I'll be there on time," Kieran said, ending the call.

"What exactly has he been doing?" thinking back to the two bodies lying on the ground, Alexei couldn't help but wonder if Kieran was attacking people in the city.
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