Two days have passed since Edward learned of his fate. In this time he has been trying to break through the tenth level reaching the Fusion stage. Despite the fact he was only a small step away he was still unable to since breaking through stages is always the hardest part for cultivators.
For normal cultivators they needed to refine their Essence to break through a difficult task as it required but at least it was pain free unlike for Edward. Since his body was the core instead he needed to temper it increasing the amount of Essence it can contain and devour but more importantly each time he breaks through a stage his ability to truly wield will increase.
Edward’s method of cultivation was actually a fusion of three different types of cultivation not just two the core the most common, then body tempering, and lastly the rarest the soul. Body tempering was a method typically only used by those who are not suitable for creating a core or magical beasts that are born with one. This method of cultivation was typically less common because it had more downsides than creating a core with the biggest being the pain absorbing Essence into ones body. Unlike how Edward devoured Essence they would not be able to fully wield Essence making things such as flight or teleportation impossible instead having to rely on artifacts for these.
Normally for Edward his body would have been naturally strengthened as he cultivated but miasma forcefully increasing his cultivation prevented that since it was necessary for him to survive the ordeal.
In the end for Edward to take the final step and break through he would need to finish tempering his body.
In this time Azaria gave Edward his own Nexus and taught him everything he should know about the universe. She also wanted to give one to Vere so they could communicate but it needed to be modified to work on beasts.
While a Nexus contains knowledge of most things it also contained plenty of useless knowledge so she explained some of the more important stuff herself. Currently in the universe the two most powerful civilization were that of humans and magical beasts but these two were also on the brink of a large war building up over countless years. Humanity has already begun making preparations in case a war does eventually break out even Aldan was making preparations.
Azaria told Edward he had nothing to worry about if a war did as long as he entered the Celestial school do to it being a special existence. Edward has asked her why but she did not know the details especially since she never entered the school herself.
She enjoyed teaching Edward about the universe and was planning on taking him to the biggest auction of the last 10,000 years or at least it was being advertised as such. If this was not a statement made by one of the biggest auction houses in the universe no one would have paid attention to it but advertising as such was placing its reputation on the line.
Another day passed before Warren returned. Warren had left the house not to meet with the others of the organization since that was done in a virtual space via his and Rex’s Nexus after he got Rex to start using it. Instead it was to get Rex checked out. While asking him some questions he had found out that Rex was originally talentless before he ate a strange fruit on his home planet. While such things were common most of them ate at the life of the user in order too do this. He only knew of one that you may never find after searching for millions of years but when Rex described the fruit he ate it was unlike any he had ever heard of.
When Rex was checked the opposite of what he expected happened instead of having his life slowly being eaten away it was increasing something that only ever happened after breaking through the next stage of cultivation.
“You’re back, how did it go!? Azaria asked Warren meeting with the organization since Warren did not tell her about the Rex.
“Good, but Rowan will be coming to see Edward. In the meantime he said to keep a low profile.”
“That’s fine then I’ll just wear a disguise to the auction tonight its not like they’re uncommon.” Disguises were common due to the fact that most cultivators did not have powerful backgrounds to rely on and if they bought something they did not want to later be killed for it.
If it was anyone else Warren would had them stay to prevent any problem but Azaria was not someone who would listen to him. “Then I’ll go with you in case you’re attacked again.”
“Good, but where’s Rex he should come along?”
“He’s with Johna, but their’s no need to worry he’s fine other than having an unusually large life force.”
“If he’s with Johna then their’s nothing I have to worry about.”
The sun soon set with the three of them arriving at the auction. Since this was a high profile auction all of them had to dress for the occasion. Azaria wore a beautiful black dress while Warren and Edward were both in suits. Despite how well they dressed they were still wearing masks and Azaria had even changed the color of her hair to a common black matching Warren’s and Edward’s hair.
Vere was the one with the biggest change since they didn’t want anyone knowing what he looked like. A once proud wolf was now looked like a somewhat rare reptile magical beast. Since cultivation was further suppressed around the auction house they did not have to worry about anyone seeing through his disguise.
Entering the auction house their was still a bit of time before it began because of this most people were socializing trying to form connections with other groups. As they walked around no one paid attention to them since they were wearing masks hiding their identities.
While Edward naturally did not recognize anyone Warren and Azaria were shocked by the people who came. Most of the people here were far more powerful than them with even the Ruler of the planet being here. Luckily for them they did not come here to buy anything considering most of the people here were far richer than them.
Eventually the time for the auction arrived so they went to take their seats in a booth meant to keep who was buying an item anonymous. What they did not realize was that another man in a mask had been observing them.
“Welcome everyone to the largest auction in the last 10,000 years hosted by the Niacent auction house! I’m sure most of you have heard rumors as to what is being auctioned tonight but that will be a surprise for now we will start with the first item of the night an ancient artifact!” As soon as the auctioneer had mention an ancient artifact the entire place went silent for many reasons the main being the fact that it was a Celestial grade artifact the highest tier. Artifacts of this grade were almost nonexistent to the point where only the most powerful of organizations had just one. “As all of you know after the devastation caused by the Cosmic War humanity paid a large price just to survive causing us to lose much including the method of producing Celestial grade artifacts but here today we have an ancient artifact at the Celestial level one the last of its kind! Due to this the bidding start at 10,000 top grade Essence Crystals!”
Edward had recently learned about Essence Crystals through his Nexus. As the name implied they were crystals formed of Essence and the currency of cultivators. Since they made of Essence they had many uses such as being used for cultivation but that is a very rare occurrence since they are not the most effective when used for cultivation. Generally they are most commonly used as a power source since they are much easier to find and get than a beast core.
At the moment Edward was more interested in the Cosmic War. As he was about to search for any information on it through his Nexus Azaria began talking, “I’m sure you interested in the Cosmic War but don’t waste your time. All information related to it was lost to time and the few remaining survivors from that time refuse to reveal anything that happened.”
Edward was a bit disappointed hearing that. His interest had been piqued but their was no way for him to find out more about it. Instead his interested shifted to the artifact seeing all the people around him fiercely bidding for it. Artifacts were objects of extreme power that required both a blacksmith and an inscriptor to work together creating powerful artifacts such as Aldan’s sword. For an item to be an artifact it must have inscriptions placed as the item was being created not after giving the item unique abilities making it an artifact.
Someone eventually won the artifact and the auction continued to progress.
“The next item up for grabs is a movement technique left behind by a Celestial! The Celestial who created this named it ‘Wings of a Phoenix’ after observing a phoenix for many years eventually imitating its movement to create this.” This item was not as exciting to the crowd as the ancient artifact since it designed for anyone who uses fire. Not only that it was common for people to create their own techniques especially for people like Edward with unique abilities or they would use techniques passed down by their ancestors. Of course this was still something people desired since as long as they modified they could use it themselves or give it to a disciple.
The auction continued with Azaria explaining anything of interest to Edward until it was for the final item to be unveiled. The last item was slowly rolled out onto the platform stored inside a small case building up the anticipation. Their had already been many rumors as to what the final item could be. Was it an Undying pill, a godbeast egg, or even an Eternal Flame all things so rare even Celestials might not have one and they are the strongest beings in the universe.
“It is finally time to unveil the final item! The auctioneer said moving over to open the case. As soon as he did a collective gasp could be heard. The energy released upon opening the case was so immense it took on a physical form pushing everyone back as it spread out in all directions.
As soon as the energy came into contact with Edward it was absorbed breaking him through fusion stage. Luckily for him unlike the miasma he recently absorbed this was a soothing energy that did no harm to his body.
While Edward was focused on the fact he broke through almost everyone else still had their eyes glued to the pure white bead. Everyone here in this auction had taken guesses as to what the last item may be but no one had expected it to be a small pure white bead. “I’m sure you have all guessed already but this is no normal bead it is infarct an essence artifact.” Hearing it be confirmed by the auctioneer caused all the Celestials in the audience to desire it.
“An Essence artifact?” Edward asked Azaria after ensuring the energy had truly done no harm to his body.
“They are artifacts that randomly appear in the universe and as far as I know no one knows of their origin! What I do know is that all of them are incredibly powerful easily capable of doubling the strength of a Celestial!”
Edward like many others began wondering why they would sell something so powerful but the Celestials still intended to buy it feeling the powerful energy the bead contained.
“Let the bidding begin at ten Pure Essence Crystals!”
The amount of Pure Essence Crystals that were being bid truly showed the value placed on the small white bead since 10 Pure Essence Crystals was enough to buy a medium grade planet like Deiumm. Even Azaria was amazed at the value these people placed on the bead after hearing it be raised to 500. This was because she was not a Celestial and did not know that their was still a large disparity between them in strength.
“We need to leave now!” Warren sudden shouted. Luckily they had their own booth so they did not have to worry about anyone hearing them.
“What happened?” Azaria asked.
“Do you think these inscriptions are capable of truly limiting the strength of Celestials. If they wanted to they could break them at any moment but until now they had to need.”
Azaria’s eyes widened at the realization of how much danger they were in.
Celestials were ruthless. Ten lives, a hundred lives, a million lives, a billion lives no entire worlds meant nothing in front of their pursuit of power. This was not to say that all Celestials are like this or started like this, this was just a byproduct of their long lives. To Celestials time was a cruel mistress as they slowly watched their friends, families, and even home planets return to dust. In the end with nothing left they most would fully throw themselves in their pursuit of strength slowly becoming numb to everything else.
As they tried to leave a dark energy began spreading out in all directions the polar opposite of the energy the bead had previously emitted preventing everyone from leaving. Ironically the inscriptions that were supposed to protect them harmed them instead preventing them from unleashing their strength in time. While most of the Celestials here were arrogant they also believed that they had nothing to worry about since fighting here would most likely also been seen as an act of death since you would instantly make enemies with many Celestials. This may also be seen as a disregard to humanities ruler the strongest Celestial in eons an enemy no one else here wanted to make even for an Essence artifact. After this moment countless people would want the head of whoever did this but not because of what he did but because of what he had.
A man in a mask slowly walked onto the platform stopping just in-front of the bead. He did not to try to grab the bead to admire it no he just quietly closed the case it was in and took his leave letting the essence he had already released to deal with everyone.
The dark essence was slowly draining away at the lives of everyone but Edward and Vere who don’t forget also had Edward’s bloodline but a weaker version that was unable to forcefully absorb another’s essence. They were releasing the soothing energy they had previously absorbed destroying all the dark essence around the two. It was unfortunate that they would not be able to use that energy to cultivate but Edward had already gotten plenty from it.
Edward quickly moved over to use the rest of the soothing energy to release Azaria and Warren so they could leave. Luckily the black essence did not do much harm since they were only being attacked by it for a few moments allowing them to quickly regain their senses. They quickly left after recovering not waiting for the situation to turn any worse.
After the incident Warren took them all to Johna’s place so she could examine them.
“Whoever used this essence at the auction was trying to kill everyone.” As she said that she gave Warren and Azaria pills to rid any of the remaining essence. “Well the Niacent auction house can only blame themselves for their greed. Trying to sell an Essence artifact was nothing if not greedy and foolish of them.”
“They will be suffering for it after today, I’ll be surprised if they will even be able to stay in business considering how many people died.” Warren said.
“Oh yeah, have you gotten the modified Nexus we asked for?” Azaria suddenly asked.
“I have.” She said taking it out. “Take it.”
Azaria grabbed it from Johna before walking over to Vere.
“With this you will be able to talk to us now.” Saying that Vere let her fuse the Nexus with himself. “Try using talking to us through he Nexus.”