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56 The Castle Part 2

    Daniel observed each of these spheres from up close.

    Inside them, a single wisp of essence could be felt. Fire, water, wood and and various other elemental essences.

    Daniel had already guessed correctly what this room was for. It was an essence comprehension room.

    He had also guessed that, once he would put one of these spheres onto the altar, something that would help him comprehend the sphere's element would happen.

    For as exciting the idea was, he knew that he would only have the chance to learn one of these essences, so he had to choose carefully.

    There were truly a large number of essences, and if the Clear Mage had comprehended each of these essences to a similar level the Dark Warrior had comprehended weapon mastery.. It would truly be incredible.

    One could understand how and why the two had become such legendary figures in the area.

    Not all rank 9 cultivators were the same. After all, aside from the progression of one's rank, the style of life would change a cultivator's success as well.

    A clear example, was the president of Golden Cauldron. Even though he was a rank 9 spiritual cultivator, he had to spend a large number of years in developing his company, and build a reputation as the best alchemist.

    All the time he had spent doing those two things, was time he hadn't been able to spend inside volcanoes, battered by cold winds, or flying in the middle of thunderstorms and around the world.

    While immersed in his thoughts, the spheres kept rotating quietly. Their pyramidal formation was composed of stratums, and each contained different types of essence.

    The lowest stratum was the one with the most spheres. These spheres contained elemental mana. Fire, water, wood, metal, wind, lightning and earth were present.

    Inside the spheres of the second layer, Daniel felt wisps of composed essences. There were only four spheres, and their overall intensity was no different than that of any other singular element. The only difference, was that the their intensity was split into various different essences.

    These spheres contained magma, storm, quake and nature. Magma was composed of fire, earth and metal, storm was composed of thunder, water and wind, quake was composed by earth and metal, and finally, nature was composed by earth and water.

    If Daniel's guess was right, by putting one of these four spheres on the altar, he would be able to comprehend various different essences, along with their way of mixing together.. But the intensity of the essence would also be decreased.

    In the third level of the pyramid, two spheres rotated slowly.

    These two spheres also contained composed elements, but their composition was formed not only by basic essences, but also by their mixes.

    These two spheres contained Sky essence, and Earth essence.

    Inside the Sky essence sphere, Daniel could feel the presence of wind, water, thunder and the mixes between the three, storm and hurricane.

    The Earth essence, instead, was a composition of metal, water, earth and fire, and their combinations quake and nature.

    Similar to the second layer, the wisps of essence within these spheres was identical in intensity, and yet, if separated, each individual essence would be so faint, that one would hardly be able to learn anything from them.

    The last sphere at the top of the pyramid, contained world essence formed by the classic elements, along with any sort of combination between the seven, and their mixes.

    The feeling that this orb gave Daniel, was the same he had when he walked in the outside world.

    The singular essences were so faint, that one would need to focus in order to distinguish each of them.

    "So it's a trap.." Muttered Daniel to himself.

    Daniel's guess, was once again, correct. What he meant by trap, was tempting cultivators by putting the spheres in a pyramid shaped form. One would believe that more and higher were better, but that wasn't the way of a spiritual cultivator.

    The purer an essence was, the easier it was to comprehend.

    It was a waste to observe and comprehend mixes amongst elements, if in the end, one wouldn't be able to comprehend each element by itself.

    This pyramid, was basically like offering three swords to a kid to train with. One is perfect to him. Not too heavy, not too light, perfectly balanced and of the right size. The second is larger but of better quality. Its weight is a bit off and overall, it's slightly hard to swing it. The third sword is enormous and expensive looking, but too hard to hold and useful for nothing more than exposition.

    There was no doubt in Daniel's mind about which of these sphere would be the most beneficial to him. He extended his arm and interjected the motion of one of the orbs, he then put it immediately on the altar.

    Everything disappeared. Spheres, altar and walls, nothing was there anymore. The only thing he could see, was a blinding white light that twitched in his eyes.

    His body became stiff, as electricity gently wandered his body, making his muscles tremble, hair raise and spine shiver.

    This electric current was gentle, and posed no threat to Daniel. It simply wandered his body, showing him how it propagates inside a human's body and the effects it had.

    Daniel was excited beyond words. The intensity of lightning essence contained in the sphere he had picked, was weaker than that contained within the essence spheres the old alchemist had lent him, as it lacked a lightning treasure which could bind all the essence into a concentrated state. Nevertheless, he was sure that he could be able to at least reach the same comprehension he had for water and wind essence.

    The reason was simple. Even though the lightning essence wasn't concentrated, it was omnipresent. In fact, Daniel felt as if he was standing inside a lightning.

    He immediately activated 'Time is Precious' and started to comprehend the lightning essence.

    -----

    The concentration of the essence was not as powerful as that of the wind and water essence spheres, which made comprehension slightly harder for Daniel. On the other hand, his system's ability 'Time is Precious' had been upgraded twice since the last time he tried to comprehend an essence, and its effects were doubled.

    After a full day, Daniel's eyes finally opened to the view of an empty room with grey stone walls. He immediately recognized the room as the one with the pyramid of spheres, which now were missing, along with the altar.

    Two doors had appeared, one behind him, and the other in front of him.

    Daniel closed his eyes once more, then started to emanate a faint veil of spiritual essence from his body. After a moment of focus, this colorless spiritual essence took the shape of hundreds of small bolts of lightning that roamed the surface of his body.

    "Amazing.." Was the only word that Daniel managed to mutter.

    A profound mastery of sword and a deep comprehension of lightning essence. Daniel's gains were already more than any other participant could have hoped.

    After a deep breath, Daniel thought "Alright, let's see what's further down.." he then entered the second room.

    This second room, was just as simple as the first one. But instead of a floating pyramid of rotating spheres, there was a set of small tables.

    Each table was identical, but they all had different characteristics, which associated them with the various basic elements. There was a table whose surfaces danced of a light red shine, one who seemed to be made of plain steel, and another which appeared to be made of dirt.

    Above these tables, were small cages with bars spaced just enough to grant a peek inbetween, and above each of these cages, a plain looking orb floated steadily.

    From between the cage bars, Daniel could see small boxes inside.

    It didn't require a genius for someone to understand the point of this test. First, comprehension of an essence, then, to test one's abilities.

    Daniel approached the table form which soft flickering white light emanated. He then put his hand on the orb, and started to push spiritual essence into it. Lastly, he turned the spiritual essence into lightning essence.

    A small ball of lightning formed within the orb, expanding slowly as time went by.

    There were no reactions to the orb at first, but then, the more Daniel increased the density of the lightning essence, the more unstable the orb became.

    In a minute, a crack appeared on its surface, and during the following five minutes, the crack expanded in length and width, until finally, the orb shattered into pieces.

    The moment the orb exploded, the small cage which surrounded the small box, started to slowly dissipate.

    Daniel reached for the small box, and opened it immediately. Inside, was an bead-sized transparent opal. This opal shined of flickering white lights, which followed the motion of hundreds of tiny lightning bolts.

    A lightning essence treasure.

    Daniel was familiar with what an elemental treasure was, as inside one of the books given to him by the old alchemist, he had found one that explained the use of essence treasures. The book also explained how they could be used to enchant weapons, armors, or create essence spheres.

    This lightning essence treasure could be used to enchant weapons, giving them a paralyzing effect. It could also be used to make a lightning sphere of fairly high quality.

    Suddenly, something strange caught Daniel's attention. The essence treasure he had obtained, was exactly at the same level as the highest state of comprehension he could muster of lightning essence.

    He then looked around, and found that the rest of the tables, were still there.

    Filled with excitement, he approached the tables whose correspondent essence he had at least a big of comprehension, he then repeated the process, and started to collect the other essence treasures.

    -----

    A full hour had passed, and in Daniel's hand, were seven items.

    Three of these items were of a much higher quality than the rest. The lightning opal from before, a coral which radiated with water essence and a feather whose barbs kept waving in the air.

    The remaining four treasures, were a small ruby with faint fire flickering in it, an orange stone that emanated faint earth essence, a piece of dark brown bark, and finally, an arrowhead made out of pure steel.

    Daniel put these items in his spatial ring, and left the room from the door that had appeared the moment he had obtained the lightning treasure.

    After a few minutes of walking, Daniel found himself in another stone room. Inside this stone room, there was nothing but a cushion on the ground, and a small table with a hand carved on the surface.

    Daniel looked around for a bit, but unable to find anything in the surroundings, he decided to sit on the cushion. He then placed his hand on the hand shaped carving.

    Nothing happened.

    "Mhh.. These are tests for spiritual cultivators.. It must have something to do with spiritual essence." Thought Daniel before driving his spiritual essence out of his hand.

    Suddenly, the small table disappeared, and in its place, a box similar to the previous ones he had seen, had appeared.

    Daniel quickly opened the box, but what he saw inside, wasn't an essence treasure.. It was a monster core.

    What was more surprising to Daniel, was that this wasn't a random high level monster core. Instead, it was a peak rank 4 monster core, which corresponded to his exact stage of spiritual cultivation.

    He was sure that, in he consumed this core right here and now, he would be able to advance to the fifth rank. The reason why Daniel hadn't advanced to the fifth rank, wasn't because he lacked the beast cores, after all his teachers had given him half a hundred of rank 4 beast cores alone. The reason was because he simply hadn't found the chance yet.

    Once taken the beast core from the box, nothing happened. No door had appeared, and no changes were made to the room.

    Slightly perplexed, Daniel started to think about the purpose of this test.

    Luckily, he was an intelligent person.. So in less than a minute, a smile of realization appeared on his face as he and muttered "It's talent in cultivating the spirit.."
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