After the demons’ raid on the Sage Dungeon, the Adventurers’ Guild put the entire dungeon on lockdown for 2 weeks. The guild master’s reason was that the entire dungeon town needed to be prepared to hold off a demon invasion until more troops from the capital arrived. Currently, every single adventurer was on their toes, expecting the demons to attack at any moment. However, nothing happened at all throughout the week.
The real reason was to allow the dungeon time to repopulate and grow. From the information he was able to get out of Sigrid and the two surviving adventurers, almost all of the monsters in the dungeon were killed. This was a big strain on the dungeon as this rarely ever happened other than the first dungeon evaluation run, so the dungeon would need time to recover all of the losses. The upside was that a total of 13 demons had died in the dungeon with nine rank D, three rank C, and one rank B. These demons would provide the dungeon with a lot of mana, and by the guild master’s prediction, the dungeon should have enough for five floors. He would love to close it down for a bit longer, but 2 weeks was already pushing it.
The guild master knew that the the demons’ real plan was to take over the dungeon, and if they had succeeded, then a massive army would have followed suit. However, now that the plan had failed and the kingdom was on full alert, he predicted the demons won’t be coming back for a bit. But this didn’t mean that they wouldn’t come back at all. In fact, it just meant that the next time they come back, they will be even stronger. The guild master let out a sigh and hoped that the Kingdom of Zeal could hold off long enough for their help to arrive.
Sage didn’t have much time with Alice and Sigrid once the big battle was over. As much as he would love to let them recover completely before leaving, it was impossible because he needed them to still have those wounds when they left. After quickly telling Sigrid the story she would give, he sent them back out. He realized that it was likely he won’t be able to see Sigrid for a few weeks, so he created a normal book containing the next step of her cultivation. However, he did tell Alice to come back as soon as it was safe to do so as he planned to begin her cultivation as well.
He realized during the fight with the demons that what he needed were more boss monsters. Having trained normal or elite monsters was good against normal adventurers, but they were almost useless against those that threatened his life. Luckily, the 13 demons had enough mana to level him up to 57, which meant he could have five floors and a second dungeon boss. However, dungeon bosses were too slow to obtain, so he had to work with what he had. While Alice’s size put her at a disadvantage up close, her natural control of mana would allow her to become powerful at long ranges. If this worked out, then it would not only increase their safety outside, but also give him four dungeon boss levels to fight off enemies.
After the girls left, he focused on recovering all of the mana he had used up by absorbing the mana from the demons. This turned out to be a lot more dangerous than he expected as when he absorbed George’s mana, he suddenly felt another consciousness enter his crystal. This consciousness was like a raging fire that moved violently and attempted to take over his own. This was a shock as Sage had never experienced this kind of attack when absorbing a dead adventurer. However, he quickly calmed himself down and began to fight this raging energy.
A voice rang in Sage’s head, “Ha! You fool! Did you think I would go down so easily? Now without any help from that Ice Maidan, you’re mine. Although I have lost my body, gaining the power of a dungeon isn’t bad either.”
Sage angrily growled, “You! I see, even though your body died, your soul managed to retain its consciousness in your mana.”
The raging energy was starting to push Sage back as more than 30% of Sage’s crystal now glowed red. “Very good observation, dungeon core, but far too late to help you now. Yes, we higher level demons may continue living as spirits after we lose our bodies unless the attack that killed us also targets our soul. This way, we can escape to rebuild our bodies or steal one.” The voice became even more arrogant as now more than 50% of the crystal was glowing red.
Sage shouted back, “Is that how you managed to sneak in disguised as humans?”
The voice let out a laugh. “Still struggling? Well, I’ll humor you. Yes, that is how we possessed the humans to get past that old monster from the Adventurer’s Guild. Unless someone breaks through our mana barrier, it would be impossible to see through us. Although the price we pay is a loss in rank of power. Had I had my real body, you wouldn’t have gotten so lucky!”
Sage started at the last bit of information as he struggled to keep the demon at bay and said, “So was this your plan all along? To wait for me to absorb your mana and invade me?”
The voice was suddenly filled with disdain. “Don’t overestimate yourself. Like I would have wanted to lose my best men to you. Oh well, at least now they’ll help my new body grow stronger! Now die!”
The red glow on Sage’s crystal intensified and began to spread rapidly. At this rate, it would only be a matter of minutes before Sage’s crystal turned completely red. But Sage wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, his voice suddenly became calm. If he had a face right now, you would see a large grin.
“Thanks for all the information. In return, I’ll end this quickly. A word of advice from someone who has lived over 1,000 years: don’t talk so much in your next life.” Sage’s voice was calm and collected. Suddenly, at the center of the crystal, a bright blue immediately overpowered the red glow.
“What! No, no, no, no, no! Impossible! How… how could your soul be so powerful? Just what exactly are you? Damn it, she lie…..”
The red light tried to hold back the blue light, but it was pointless because Sage had already absorbed the previous 12 demons, which allowed Sage’s soul recover greatly. At his current state, this demon’s soul was nothing, but Sage purposely played it out to get as much information as he could before wiping the consciousness away and absorbing the mana. Before he completely wiped out the consciousness, he was also able to extract some information. Sadly, most of it was too fragmented to make any sense of. All that Sage managed to figure out was that the demons had launched an attack on the dungeon town to draw away anyone that could help, which explained why no adventurer from the guild came. It seemed the demons were planning to invade the kingdom, and their first target was Sage.
Sage thought for a long time after learning of this. In the end, he let out a sigh and muttered, “It seems like it won’t be safe here for long. I must complete my work on the soul gem…”
The last piece of information Sage managed to learn was that there was another demon that was also sent out to take control of him. George seemed to have gotten help from that demon, but the demon didn’t come in person to help George. It seemed that the demon wasn’t very powerful in terms of combat; they simply provided information. This caused Sage to be very alarmed as the demons had a spy nearby.
After pondering for a while, Sage muttered, “Alice and Sigrid won’t be able to draw this spy out, but maybe he can. Ah, seems like he is waking up. Let’s see if he is smart enough to agree on his own or if I need to force him to agree!”
Sage moved his attention to a small cave he had made that not even Sigrad and Alice knew about. While he could have let John die and gained his mana, he felt it would have been a waste. This was a great opportunity to gain another good pawn for himself, so when the fireball flew towards John, Sage gave him his spare mana to boost his natural defences just enough for him to survive. He needed John in a malleable state due to the fact that he didn’t have any way to guarantee John’s loyalty. However, that was no longer an issue as he when leveled up, he regained the ability to make a binding oath by swearing on one’s true soul. This oath was used to ensure 100% trust between two parties as anyone who breaks this oath would die from their soul being shattered. There were ways around it for those at the peak, but this was not something Sage needed to worry about here.
Sage’s consciousness moved into the small cave. The cave wasn’t very big, but it was more than enough living space for two people. On one side of the room was a small blob of blue slime. It was currently just sitting there, giving off a faint glow. This was all that was left of Blue, a few small pieces that didn’t get blown to dust when he self destructed and the bits that were inside John’s body. It was only recently that Sage realized how unique Blue was. At first, he thought Blue became like this because of absorbing all the mana around Sage, so after Blue managed to gain a human form, Sage naturally attempted to create more. However, he was met with failure as none of the Slimes had turned out to be as smart or powerful as Blue did. This puzzled Sage greatly, so he decided to ask Alice about it the next time she came back.
Alice’s response was that there must have been a hidden condition that was met that caused Blue to evolve the way he did. There were many things that factored into a monster’s evolution and they weren’t always things you could control. Sometimes, things like time of day, time of year, and countless other factors could attribute to some special evolution. Until Sage could figure it out, Blue was unique, which was why he took some precautions to preserve Blue. Luckily, Blue, being a slime, was easy to keep alive even without the ability for Sage to rebuild Blue’s body. Sage had considered making Blue a dungeon boss, but decided against it. While Blue would become a lot stronger, the restriction was too great and Blue would get stronger with time anyways. This allowed Sage an extra piece he could move outside the dungeon and allowed him to have one more powerful monster guarding him. Sage had a vague guess that his own enlightenments might be the cause for Blue’s evolution, but this was too hard to check.
As Sage’s thoughts wandered, John began to move as he regained his consciousness. Sage quickly stopped his train of thought and spoke to John. Things went as planned as Sage slowly manipulated John into giving in. In the end, John willingly agreed, so Sage didn’t have to use any force. Although he said John had a choice of serving him or death, in reality he was going to force John into submission no matter what. Sage made John swear an oath on his true soul that he would never betray Sage or disobey Sage’s orders. This was a very strict oath, as it meant John had to do anything Sage ordered or else he would die. Only after the oath was done did Sage finally feel it was safe enough to begin teaching John.
However, the first thing that needed to be dealt with was John’s body as right now he was a completely useless person. Lucky for John, Sage didn’t spend most of his life studying for nothing; he did have a way of allowing John to become stronger again. John’s current mana channels were a complete mess, but this gave Sage an easier time altering them. However, Sage could only alter and not completely restore or else he would give John something just as powerful, but not as hard. With the newly gained power, Sage’s control of mana had greatly increased. He was now able to make the mana move like thin threads throughout John’s body and stitched his mana channels back together.
This process was slow and painful. John tried to endure the pain, but in the end give in and began screaming. Sage mentally blocked out the screams and continued his work. After a while, John’s scream grew weaker and weaker until he finally stopped as he ran out of energy. He laid there against the wall, his eyes bleak and face pale as he endured the pain. This lasted for a whole night before Sage finally recovered John’s mana channels to an usable state. If it was anyone else but Sage here, they would tell John to give up because even though he could use mana again, his mana channels were too small for him to ever become strong.
This however wasn’t a problem with the Lightning Dragon Cultivation Method Sage was going to teach John, in fact, John’s current body was ideal for this cultivation method. The Lightning Dragon Cultivation Method was one of Sage’s own creations. He created this cultivation method after he observed a dragon purifying Qi to the extreme. He took that as the foundation and found that the purified Qi works best when using lightning-based techniques. Thus, he used this discovery to create a cultivation method made for people who lacked talent but were determined. The name of the cultivation method resulted from the dragon that lead to the purification method and the element this cultivation suited.
The basis of the cultivation was simple. Rather than relying on having a large amounts of mana, you instead use the purest mana you can create. This was achieved by making your meridians into filters and thus every time the mana passes through your body, it becomes more pure than before. Finally, a large amount of mana would be refined into a tiny droplet of pure mana that contained terrifying energy. This cultivation method can be used by anyone, but someone with a good body won’t go through the hard work the Lightning Dragon Cultivation Method needed as they could learn something just as strong much faster. But this cultivation method was a way for those who lack the talent to step into the same level as those blessed by the heavens.
Sage’s own lack of talent was a huge reason why he spent so much of his life perfecting this technique. Although it was too late for him to switch cultivation methods, he wanted to give those who were as determined as he was a chance against those monsters. After he finished the technique, he traveled far and wide to spread this cultivation method to those he felt had the qualifications. Some of the youngest had begun to rise up with his cultivation method, but he died and was reincarnated into this world before any of them reached his level. In truth, the technique had a limit, and Sage had been working on improved cultivation methods before his death. Now seemed to be the perfect time to resume that project, seeing that he had a pawn at his disposal.
Sage spawned food and living supplies that John would need to live and left him to recover. This time, Sage wasn’t going to create a skill book. Instead, he was going to teach John the old fashioned way. There were many reasons for this, but the main two were for the sake of Sage’s own research into perfecting his own future cultivation method and that he couldn’t really afford to waste the time to create a skill book of that level.
After returning to his chamber, Sage looked at the now almost empty dungeon and muttered, “Now it’s time to choose the new boss monsters…”
Edited by: Nova
Edited by: General Luke