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36 The End of the Calm

    It was late in the night. The old master-at-arms had finally managed to get the young masters and mistresses off his tail, and was now qietly sitting at his desk, with a look filled with worry.

    He was currently thinking of what he should do with Mea, his old student's daughter.

    Within his mind, he was thorn between a few different choices. The first, was to send her away, and find a way for her to live safely someplace where she wouldn't be recognized. Unfortunately, at the moment, the old man was being watched carefully by many.

    So far, none of the young men and women that had occupied the building had either left or had been sent away, so, the first one, would definitely rise some people's brows in curiosity.

    His second choice, was to keep her within his building. Only then would he have the chance to protect her in case she would have been recognized. And if she did end up being found out, he could still try to plead with the king to spare her.

    Another choice, proposed by the old alchemist himself, was to make her join the Gold Cauldron, where the old alchemist would have been able to protect her for him, but he crossed that idea out right away. The old alchemist was one of his oldest friends, and asking him to take care of someone related to a traitor, was too dangerous of a favor to ask.. Even if he had offered.

    On the other side of the building, within a room just as big as the old master-at-arms, the old alchemist sat in silence.

    In front of him was a large cauldron, and under this cauldron, a dense green flame slowly danced.

    The old alchemist seemed focused on preparing something. A big wooden ladle stirred the content of the cauldron gently, while one ingredient after another appeared right next to the old alchemist's hand, and slowly floated into it.

    All these ingredients were spiritual plants, and their worth was extremely high, but the old alchemist didn't appear to be feeling the burnt on his wallet. And instead, he looked like he had been simply cooking breakfast.

    The night was a quiet one. The neighborhood festivity had just finished, and the streets were peaceful and devoid of people.

    The only noises came from the very same building, inside and around which, various groups of disciples, young masters and mistresses mingled under the bright moonlight.

    Amongst these various groups, one composed of two young men and four young girls, sat at the feet of a large tree.

    They were Reila, Finn, Mea, Riri, Miri, and Nilo.

    The six were chatting happily under the moonlight, while enjoying small servings of food which Reila and Mea had prepared.

    "So.. what's wrong between the two of you?" Asked Reila curiously while looking at Finn and Miri.

    Riri couldn't bear to listen to Finn and Miri bicker anymore, so, the moment Reila asked, she hissed and looked away. She tried to change topic and start a conversation with Mea, but then she heard Nilo's laugh.

    "Hahaha! You've got to hear that story.. So.."

    Nilo then recounted the story behind Finn's and Miri's bad blood. Apparently, the two had been an on and off couple since they had been kids, and each of their breakup had a funny story behind.

    For the next few minutes, laughter and shouts could be heard in the building's garden.. Until suddenly..

    Within the city of Phyrri, the heads of each and every cultivator above the sixth rank rose rapidly. They had all collectively felt an abnormality coming from the direction of Master Kye's building.

    The first ones to notice this abnormality, were the old alchemist and the old master-at-arms. The old alchemist immediately gave up the control over the flame, completely ruining the ingredients within the cauldron, and therefore failing the process of making whatever he was trying to make. He then disappeared from his room and reappeared in the air above the building.

    The moment he appeared in mid air, the old master-at-arms appeared as well on the opposite side of the building.

    The two seemed to be keeping watch on the hotel, while also observing what was happening.

    -----

    The abnormality which attracted the attention of every expert within the city, was not visible to the eyes, and for anyone who wasn't in the immediate vicinity, it was only a faint feeling. Yet, the shock it caused was beyond what anyone had felt before.

    A huge vortex had formed within the building.

    What picked people's attention was the nature of this vortex, as it did not attract physical items, but instead, attracted mana.

    Mana had always been omnipresent in the world, as everything that existed had his distinctive type of mana. Including men and beasts, whose types of mana were called Ki and Beast Essence.

    This vortex did not forcefully absorb the Mana in the surroundings, it simply attracted it. What the expert within Phyrri had felt, was a sudden faint instability within their ki, which seemed to be slowly moving to the direction of the building, as if magnetically attracted.

    Unable to extract the mana from physical things, the only mana that forcefully made its way towards the center of the vortex, was the one that had the ability to move its carrier's body, like the essences of wind, starlight, moonlight and that of the water particles present within the air.

    That had caused a beautiful phenomenon around the building. A massive number of droplets of water which shone with bright and multicolored light, were being carried by the wind into the vortex.

    It looked as if millions of small stars were merging into a massive and brighter one.

    The cultivators within the building felt their ki forcefully pressing against the skin in the direction of the middle of the vortex, but ultimately unable to push its way through. It was as if their body had become a huge compass, whose needle constantly pointed in the direction of the vortex.

    Outside of the building, a large number of cultivators started to appear above the roofs of the surrounding buildings. They had all come close to observe the abnormality. The city lord was also amongst them.

    Some of them seemed fairly worried, while others felt only interest and curiosity for what was happening.

    The two old men were still quietly floating in the air. None of the observing parties dared to go closer than they were, either for a matter of respect, or for fear.

    Of course, not all of them feared the two old men. The worried ones between the crowd were those who had sent their children or disciples to study under the old man, and if it came to their safety, they would be willing to start a fight with the two masters.

    "Master Kye, Lord Noala.. What is happening here?" Asked a middle aged woman respectfully to the two old men.

    A stout middle aged man standing above one of the surrounding buildings added "Are our children safe?" Worry couldn't be hidden within his voice.

    The old alchemist looked at the crowd and answered in a low and serious voice. "We don't know.. It doesn't seem to  be harmful, so keep your distance for now. We'll save your children if needs be."

    -----

    Within the building, inside one of the many cultivation rooms, Daniel kept cultivating while unaware of the events, in fact, he didn't seem to be conscious at all.

    He had been trying to force his spirit into breaking through to the fourth rank for more than an hour, and right when he believed he was close to succeeding, his consciousness had slowly faded into oblivion.

    This wasn't the first time Daniel had entered this state. The first time had been when he had reached perfection of the body, and perfection of his spirit's connection. This state made him lose direct control over his cultivation, and yet it didn't stop it.

    The last time Daniel had advanced through this method of cultivation, his body had become much more suited to the presence of spiritual essence. To a point where his body and the essence didn't seem to be in contrast at all.

    In the past few days, he had went back into wondering what kind of change would reaching rank 4 in martial cultivation have, to completely revert the tuning of his body and spirit.. But, unable to find an answer, he was always forced to put this question aside.

    If Daniel had been conscious right now, he would have finally found out the answer he had longed for, for so long.

    While Daniel sat quietly in cultivation, the massive amount of mana attracted in the surrounding, started to invade his body ruthlessly. The excessive mana, devoid of control, was rapidly absorbed by the spiritual plane through his perfect connection with his spirit.

    The roaming essences of the spiritual plane, ki and mana, started to change Daniel's body physiology.

    His body was being refined, and forced to advance by the impetuous ki, which was constantly being produced by every bit of his body, and yet, his ki couldn't hinder the just as powerful refinement of his spirit.

    The two types of refinement were so powerful, that if Daniel's body hadn't been pre refined this same way once before, his body would have been destroyed and his spirit dissipated.

    Martial cultivation strengthened one's body, turning it into a prison for the spirit, while spiritual cultivation used one's weak body as a vessel to connect their powerful spirits to the spiritual plane.

    In comparison, a martial cultivator's body was like a porcelain vase, while a spiritual cultivator was like a balloon.

    A vase couldn't contain too much water, as being hard, it couldn't expand. At the same time, a balloon couldn't become as resistant as a vase, as it required to be elastic in order to contain the increasing amount of air within.

    But what was happening to Daniel, was as if both the container and the content couldn't stop the other's refinement. The only thing they could do, was to change, and adapt to the other's change.

    His spirit become denser, and his body, while still becoming stronger, was slowly being refined around the presence of spiritual essence.

    -----

    It was early in the morning outside, and the tens of experts were still standing near the vortex.

    The moment the sun had rose in the sky, the sunlight essence had joined the water and winds, giving it a bright shine which turned observing the vortex much more difficult.

    Chatter had filled the neighbourhood for the past few hours, as the many confused cultivators shared their own theories about this strange phenomenon.

    The only two that kept quiet, were the two old men. Since the beginning they had kept on quietly floating in the air, while demarcating a non traversable line with their own bodies.

    Suddenly, the chatting noises lessened, as everyone felt something change within the vortex.

    Spiritual cultivators were extremely sensitive to mana, so the moment they felt the attraction of the surrounding mana lessen, they noticed it immediately.

    On the contrary, what alerted the martial cultivators, was the behaviour of their internal ki, which, while before it was almost trying to push its way out of their bodies to rush to the middle of the vortex, now it was slowly calming down instead.

    The chatter stopped abruptly. The eyes of every person present on scene was directed towards the part of the building where the vortex seemed to have been generated. Specifically, one of the cultivation rooms.

    The vortex kept slowing down, until the attraction was too feeble to keep attracting the essences in the surrounding. Therefore making the drops of water fall on the ground like weak rain, the winds who were previously being attracted by the vortex were quietly pushed away by new incoming gushes, and the sunlight that seemed to focus on the building, was now dimming and returning to shine evenly on each part of the city.

    Under the attentive eyes of the city's experts, the door of the cultivation room opened, and from it, a young looking man stepped out quietly.
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