346 One of a Kind Part 1 of 3

    Two days later, Roley and the rest of the highest scoring students accompanied the teachers of their academy to Elementi's capital. Once there, they would have to take part in the competition that would ultimately grant them a spot amongst the elite members of the faction. However, that was not the only goal of this competition. The secondary objective was to garner the attention of the leaders of the elemental faction, a group that was composed of the oldest human cultivators, as well as the oldest elementals.. Also known as the Lords of Mana.

    This competition was known as the picking of mana's inheritors, and was an event held every five years with the purpose of selecting the cultivators that showed the most passion and predisposition to become elite members of the Tyrants of Mana.

    After two days of tests, the cultivators would be ranked based on their personal score. Their rank would dictate the amount of resources and help they would receive in their future. Once they would reach the appropriate level of power, they would undergo the procedure that would change their bodies into that of a half elemental.

    Contrary to what many would believe, these tests were not built to find out which one of the competitors possessed the highest battle prowess, but instead, to understand who possessed the highest affinity to each element.

    Of the thousands of participants that would undergo these tests, all of them possessed a perfect comprehension of the essence they had chosen to master.. But even amongst cultivators who had achieved a perfect comprehension of an element, there were some who were able to use their powers much faster, or in more efficient ways than others. After all, those specific abilities were dictated not by cultivation and power, but by intelligence, memory, and affinity.

    Roley was standing in a group of thousands of cultivators dressed in robes of various colors, and each of these colors were indicative of the elements that the individual that wore them had trained in.

    Amongst these cultivators were a few that were dressed in an identical robes, but instead of being colored, they were white and with colored stripes around their right sleeve. The number of stripes indicated how many elements these students had mastered, and their colors showed which ones.

    These white robed cultivators, while more talented than the others, were scorned at by the others, and the reason for that was simple. During the procedure to become an elite member of the tyrants of mana, every cultivator would have to pick a single element to merge. Since that choice could be made at any point during the cultivator's life, most of them would chose to study a single element to begin with, as their comprehension of any other essence, after becoming half humans and half elementals, would ultimately go to waste.

    In the eyes of the cultivators with colored robes, theses white-robed cultivators appeared like jacks of all trades, while they were masters of one. Their control over the essences they had mastered was also underestimated, as each of these cultivators in colored robes had spent virtually all of their lives training their control over a single essence, while the white robed cultivators had chosen to split their attention over the mastery of multiple essences.

    The more colored stripes one cultivator would have, the more the others would look at them with disdain.

    However, the numbers of stripes were never above the three or four. Or at least, that was how it had always been in the past, because during this event, for the first time in history, was a cultivator in white robes with seven stripes that covered his arm from underneath the shoulder, all the way down to his wrist.

    This cultivator was, of course, Roley.

    He was standing in the middle of a cleared area within the crowd, and was waiting for the event to being. This cleared area was formed by the many cultivators who, instead of bothering to talk to him, ridiculed his lack of foresight.

    Not all white-robed cultivators were seen the same way Roley was, after all, having a perfect comprehension of multiple essences did not necessarily mean that one could not possibly be as experienced in both of them as a cultivator who focused on a single one. However, in their eyes, the more essences one had mastered, the lower was the chance that they had put as much attention into the specific essence they had the highest affinity in.

    Amongst the crowd, were a very small number of white-robed cultivators with two or three stripes, that were treated with very high respect. Those were the ones that had been proven to be as capable as the others despite having mastered multiple essences, and therefore, were considered to be the true talents of the event.

    "Boss! BOSS!!" Shouted a disembodied voice with enthusiasm.

    When Roley turned to look at the direction where this voice came from, he noticed a skinny arm being raised high up above the heads of the other cultivators, making the position of the person who was shouting clear.

    "I am here, boss!" He added before finally breaking through the circle, and revealing himself as a young man in his mid twenties, and dressed in white clothes with two stripes around his right arm. One of them was brown, while the other was dark green.

    "What is the point of shouting, if you are running towards me anyway." Said Roley with a hint of embarrassment. This young man had pestered him for the past couple of years, and he would have avoided him if he hadn't been the only one from which Roley had been able to receive any news regarding Daniel.

    After reaching Roley, the young man calmed himself down, then said, "It's urgent.."

    More than two years had passed since the last time Roley had been able to obtain any piece of information regarding Daniel, and while for the first few months he had waited for any rumor to suddenly pop out.. That never happened.

    Two years weren't long for a cultivator, so Roley decided not to assume the worst, and instead, he waited patiently until the day he would hear about another one of Daniel's crazy adventures. At the same time, he was moving towards his own goal, which was to obtain a way to teleport himself around the universe, and find the other members of the group.

    Now that the word "urgent" had come out of this young man's mouth, his first thoughts instinctively went towards Daniel. "What happened?" He asked through a wisp of sound essence that reached the young man's ears alone.

    "The Church of Damnation.. It's gone!" Said the young man out loud, and with shock. Then, after noticing Roley's confused expression, he added, "You know that my father is one of the people in charge of selling essence spheres to the other factions, right? One of the contracts he was assigned to deal with, was the sale of essence spheres to hell's factions. However, when he arrived to hell's gate a week ago, instead of finding the usual demons, he found a member of the beastmaster faction, who bought everything he sold in bulk."

    "How does that have anything to do with my friend?" Asked Roley after listening carefully to every single word the young man said.

    In response to this question, the young man smiled, and said, "By contract, my father was forced not to sell to any other faction but the ones who joined the universal government, but then, when he asked for an explanation. he was told that all of those factions had suddenly ceased to exist! The guy then told him that a young man accompanied by a dragon and a mental warrior wiped them out of hell!"

    "Wiped out?" Asked Roley in shock.

    However, as he was about to ask any further, an indomitable gust of wind made its way to the center stage, and turned into a small-scaled tornado. After this small tornato caught the attention of every participant of the event, it slowly began to take the shape of a woman dressed in refined light green clothes whose surface seemed to dance to the motion of wind.

    At the same time, the clouds in the sky moved close together, and from them came a lightning strike that struck only a meter to the side of the woman that had just appeared out of the small tornado. Once the bright light disappeared, standing next to the woman, was a kid which appeared to be in his early teens, and was dressed in light bright yellow clothes which appeared to be charged with the power of lightning itself.

    Accompanying the lightning strike, was a light rain that fell on the shoulders and heads of the students, but that instead of soaking their hair and clothes, bounced off of their bodies, and moved in the direction of the stage. Once there, they merged into a bigger and bigger mass of water that took the form of a man in his mid fifties dressed in dark blue clothes which seemed to become darker the more one looked at them.

    While someone who hadn't studied the natural mana to the degree these young men and women had, these three individuals would be mistaken for elite members of the Tyrants of Mana, but in reality, they were Elementals of the highest level.

    Their powers were oppressive, and each of them felt like the embodiment of primordial water, lightning, and wind. Their control was so vast, that they were able to turn into beings which would be easily mistaken as humans, by anyone that did not know what they were looking at.

    One of the details that gave out their nature, was the fact that they had teleported through the use of the essence from which they were born. Each of them was able to teleport their consciousness wherever there was a drop of water, gentle breeze, or electric charge. Their powers extended for as far as there was essence, and even if the planet was destroyed, thanks to the impressive reach of their powers, they would be easily able to put it back together.

    The moment these three individuals appeared, the crowd quitened down immediately.

    The wind elemental suddenly took a step forward, and after looking at this large number of cultivators for a few seconds, she said "Those who are applying to become lords of wind, stop this."

    As soon as she finished talking, precise and powerful gusts of wind moved in the direction of both cultivators with light green robes, and white-robes with light green stripes. These gusts of wind threatened to pick these cultivators up from the crowd, and throw them out of the testing area. If successful, that would mean that they had failed.

    Every single one of these young cultivators was prepared for this, and in a matter of moments, numerous countermeasures were put in place to prevent these sudden and powerful gusts from taking them away.

    Some formed metallic chains that kept them on the ground, some buried themselves halfway into the ground, some formed barriers of ice, or tried to burn the wind with fire, and some even went as far as creating portals of spatial essence that could stand in the way of these winds.

    Roley, along with a few others, had decided to deviate the powerful winds, by creating paths for the wind to follow around and past them.

    After five minutes, not one individual had been taken away by the winds, but on the face of the wind elemental, was all but happiness. Instead of rejoicing that everyone had passed, she doubled down on the wind's power, causing it to shatter each and every measure the participants had put in place to defend themselves.

    These cultivators, with exception made for those with white robes, were blown high up in the air, and thrown off of the area. Once gone, only around ten cultivators in light green clothes were left.

    After the wind elemental finished her test, she formed a gentler wind that surrounded the light green-clothed cultivators that were left on the testing area, and moved them on an empty platform next to the stage.

    Once done, the young looking lightning elemental stepped forward, and said, "Those who are applying to become lords of lightning, try not to die."

    The moment he finished speaking, the clouds that were floating quietly in the sky started to emit rumbling noises. The electric charge present in them was growing out of control, and it appeared that a thunderstorm would begin at any moment.

    From the fully charged clouds, a number of lightning that matched the number of cultivators in bright yellow clothes and white-robed cultivators with bright yellow stripes, came down all at once, and struck the cultivators all at the same time. After that, they struck again, and again, and again.

    Most of the cultivators that were being tested had, similarly to the test for the applicants of wind, created various measures that allowed them to stay safe from the onslaught of lightning strikes. Walls of metal and water which would direct the lightning's power to the ground, where it would dissipate.. Lightning strikes that were sent to face the incoming ones, and so on. Roley's method to deal with the lightning, however, was different from everybody else's. He had allowed the lightning to strike his body, and once inside his body, he would forcefully mark the lightning essence and make it dissipate before it could do any damage to him.

    Once again, after five minutes of testing, the lightning elemental looked at the crowd in disappointment. He then forced another series of lightning strikes which was incomparably stronger than before.

    The moment the light of this final wave disappeared, all of the students dressed in bright yellow clothes had disappeared from the testing arena. Some had been teleported out of the area, while a few others had reappeared in the area right next to the one where the successful candidates of wind were standing in.

    This time, however, something had changed. Amonst the ones that had been thrown out of the area, were not only the cultivators in bright yellow clothes, but also two cultivators in white-clothes which had both light green, and bright yellow stripes on the sleeve that covered their right arm.
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