Chapter 73 – The First Strike
A large tree instantly split open right in the center and crashed onto the ground with its bark charred black.
Thick bolts of lightning continued to viciously attack the earth as they burned and destroyed everything in its path.
The sky was dark and ominous, with the grey-black clouds looming above and suffocating the very air around it. The rumbling sound of thunder echoed out within the vast, forsaken land while flashes of lightning burst through the dark sky.
Standing on top of a cliff was a bare-chested youth who wore a loincloth made of fur.
Gazing at the violent scenery in front of him, Calron turned to his Teacher, who had materialized next to him, and conveyed his nervousness through their shared mind.
“Sigh… this is it, Calron. There will be no going back once you step into the thunderstorm in front of you. I cannot guarantee that I will be able to protect you, so everything will be on your shoulders. Are you ready?”
The Voice questioned its student in a serious tone.
It knew that once they entered the vicinity of the thunderstorm, it would be all up to Calron to remain alive. Unbeknownst to Calron, there was still a piece of information that the Voice had not yet revealed to him.
“I want to confidently say that I’m ready, but I still feel afraid, Teacher… ”
Calron quietly muttered as his heart loudly pounded against his chest.
“Haha, it’s fine to feel afraid, but will you let it stop you from fulfilling your desires?”
The Voice inquired as it glided in front of its student, coming face to face with Calron.
Staring into the dark abyss of his Teacher’s smoky eyes, Calron mustered up the will to overcome his fear.
“If I die, then you’ll have to tell the little jaguar cub about me.”
Calron joked, as he attempted to lighten the mood.
He had no choice but to step forward. Without even advancing to the Vajra stage, how could be hope to avenge his family and stop running away from powerful people?
Raising his head towards the dark and gloomy sky, a slight smile escaped from Calron’s face.
“Let’s see how your lightning compares to mine!”
Calron yelled out to the heavens, as he suddenly charged down the cliff while simultaneously activating the Blood Mist Step.
His control over the Blood Mist Step had reached a point where he was able to freely burst his entire body into a crimson mist and instantly reappear several yards away.
Racing down the vertical cliff, Calron’s hair fluttered in the wind as his eyes shone with excitement.
His heart still thumped against his chest with fear, but a sense of thrill and adrenaline slowly overtook his mind.
“That’s the spirit!”
The Voice laughingly shouted in the wind as it rapidly trailed behind Calron.
A bolt of lightning suddenly struck the ground a few inches away from the speeding Calron.
Without stopping, Calron quickly turned his body into the crimson mist as his instincts kicked in. Reappearing a few feet ahead, Calron glanced back to see the aftermath of the lightning strike in the place he was just a second ago.
“This is going to be fun… ”
Calron breathlessly whispered to himself as he triggered the Divine Perception and continued to dart around the land, as his eyes started glowing an unnatural grey.
Detecting the lightning essence in the air, Calron tried to predict where the next bolt would strike and dodge before it collided against him.
“Hey kid, the whole purpose of coming here was for you to absorb the lightning, so why are you dodging them?”
The Voice inquired in an amused tone.
“Huh? Wait, you still haven’t told me how to activate the third stage of the thunder-bird technique!”
Calron heatedly bellowed out while continuing to evade the bolts of lightning around him.
“It’s easy… just reawaken your beast bloodline!”
The Voice nonchalantly replied while quickly rushing back into its student’s body.
The Voice had been anxious about how Calron would react when it revealed that, in order to use the third stage, he would have to forcefully awaken his beast heritage, which would momentarily allow him to have the body of a beast.
Unknown to Calron, the Thunder-Bird technique was created for young beasts of the bird family to completely awaken their bloodline and inherit the memories of their ancestors.
Any human or beast could practice the first two stages of this technique, but the final stage could only be mastered by someone with a beast bloodline.
“Please tell me you’re joking… Teacher!”
Calron furiously shouted out into the air, while also mentally nudging the Voice inside his mind.
His Teacher remained silent.
“Chief, what is that human doing?”
One of the bears in the back quietly asked the massive red bear in the front of the group.
“Something is strange about this human… He seems… familiar?”
The red bear mused to itself while continuing to observe the spectacle in front of it.
“Hey, what is the Chief talking about?”
A skinny grey bear whispered into the ear of its friend.
“I don’t know, maybe he is still dreaming. I knew we should not have woken him up. Chief already has frequent mood swings, who knows what he’ll tell us to do next.”
The other bear quietly whispered back while scratching its ear.
“I will pound that little Karn into a pulp when we return back to the cave! I could be taking my own nap right now… ”
The grey bear bitterly sighed.
“Shut up, you bunch of idiots! Can’t you see that the Chief is thinking of a master plan to kill that human? Don’t disturb him!”
Lort angrily shushed down the others, and then turned to look at the red bear with an admiring gaze.
The Chief had one day found him alone in the distant mountain, and he had taken him under his guidance and taught his own cultivation secrets to him.
The Chief was a variant beast within the bear species known as the Molten Fanged Bear. This name was due to their unique ivory fangs situated in their upper jaw and their inherent ability to turn their fire essence into molten lava.
The Chief was actually a beast within the Vajra stage and the undisputed ruler of this mountain!
I should have slept for a bit more… my skin is starting get drier these days… maybe I should tell Van to get me some of those herbs from the next mountain. I hear they do wonders for fur…
The Chief absentmindedly pondered with an outward serious expression on his face.
“Chief is so amazing!”
The young brown bear zealously stated with his eyes twinkling.
“Tch, brat, you only realize that now? I knew Chief was amazing from the very first day I met him!”
Lort interjected with an equally as passionate gaze at the red bear.
“Oi… those two are creeping me out…”
The remaining bears whispered amongst themselves while shooting nervous glances at the two bears in front.
“I heard that!”
Lort annoyingly growled back as he attempted to snap his jaws at the nearest bear.
“Quiet! The human has stopped moving!”
Chief interrupted his subordinates while coming out of his daze, and eagerly watched the scene with the mysterious human unfold.
“Sh*t! Teacher, come back here!”
Calron irritatedly shouted as he stopped moving and mentally tried to nudge the Voice.
No matter what he tried, his Teacher refused to answer him.
“How am I supposed to reawaken my beast bloodline? This is ridiculous!”
Calron’s grey eyes blazed with annoyance as he racked his brains to discover the method to bring forth his beast heritage.
“It has to have something to do with the Thunder-Bird technique and the physical training that I did for months. Teacher would not leave me out here without leaving me any clues.”
Calron muttered to himself while he flashed through his memories.
Although the Voice was annoying in its habits, it must have had a reason for keeping silent during Calron’s current ordeal.
“I can’t figure it out… ”
Calron stated with a blank face as he realized that he had no idea how to activate the third stage of the Thunder-Bird technique.
Suddenly, a thick bolt of lightning came crashing down towards Calron’s location!
There was no time to dodge.
Tilting his head up, Calron’s grey eyes widened with alarm as the bolt of lightning slowly approached him.
Seconds felt minutes, and minutes felt like hours, as the sensation of an inevitable death loomed over Calron’s mind.
His face glowed with an eerie glow as the tip of the lightning was only an inch away from his face.
Calron’s heart stopped.
A gut-wrenching cry resounded within the empty land.