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Chapter: 90

Mind, body and soul.

There are three directions of cultivation, but the typical cultivators only cultivated one or two because of many reasons. Obviously, the first restriction is the conflict of cultivation techniques. 

A ‘mind’ cultivation technique will maximize the efficiency of one’s sea of consciousness and optimize the body for spellcasting, whereas a ‘body’ cultivation technique tempers the fleshy body into a strong vessel. 

The first would be akin to creating a glass vase that could hold mana, whereas the second would be incessantly smashing red-hot metals with a hammer to mold the body into the most powerful alloy. Both are actually not incompatible with one another if the proper technique is used, but a Mage will eventually reach a qualitative change when they reach the level of rank 3 Legend. After all, what’s the point in dual-cultivating if you’ll achieve a similar result in your pursuit of spellcraft? For most magic casters, cultivating the body would be a waste of time and resources.

Even if a mage chooses to cultivate their physical body while ignoring the intense resource expenditure, it’ll take a significant amount of energy and time that could be dedicated to pursue knowledge. Rather than being a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, it’s best for one to pursue one discipline and hone it to the absolute limit.

And so, dual cultivators which are competent in both fields are rather rare.

‘Did he form a Body of Element?’ Mordred silently thought, inspecting the humanoid lizard while swimming underwater. Faint electric rune-like patterns appeared on the lizardman's body caused by his bloodline being nurtured in the special environment for long decades. The electricity emanating from their bright blue scales made them into an imposing avatar of lightning. 

Due to the reasons stated before, most mages don't actually train their body despite body nurturing techniques that are compatible with mage’s meditation techniques having been invented a few thousand years ago. This was mainly caused by the fact that at rank 3, mages will be shedding their mortal shell with the process known as elementalization. Through this process, mages are generally more powerful (in certain metrics) than martial artists despite having not trained their bodies.

That being said, martial artists undergo a rather similar but different process. Unlike [Elementalization] that allowed a magic caster to (temporarily) turn themselves into an elemental-like lifeform, martial artists undergo a process known as [Body of Element], which was to further refine their body with their respective element. Having a Body of Element is a prerequisite for martial artists to take on the next step from rank 3 into the preparatory stage for a Protogenic Ascension.

‘[Body of Element] can be considered as a permanent pseudo-elementalization, the lizardman has laid out the foundation for it at rank 2… It’s too soon, there are several steps that you need to overcome before you can reach the rank of Legends. Forming the Body of Element at rank 2 so would be akin to building a house through erecting the walls and pillars first while forgoing to lay out the foundations. Not only can the house be unable to reach the optimum height, it’ll also be unstable.’

Mordred swam onto the surface and slowly elevated himself to the point of stepping on top of the surface. ‘Of course, there are methods which allow you to use an obscene amount of lightning elemental particles in the water to forcefully stabilize your foundation, but it is extremely inefficient. Not only that would make you unable to progress beyond a certain point due to the resources being consumed to maintain your genetic stability, it’ll also force you to be bound into this lake where to get a near-endless amount of lightning elemental particles…’

The chief didn’t wait for Mordred to finish his thought, "Wolf, you have no place here!" The rank 2 lizardmen, who was almost 3 meters tall, hissed at Lupusrazor, who's currently on top of the water.

Being at the top of the tribe, his features are more human than lizard. From one perspective, he can be considered as a human with scales and lizard features (tails, eyes, claws, etc) instead of a real lizardman. This is, once again, because of his bloodline being nurtured to its limit to the point of returning to his ancestry.

He gripped a trident-like bone weapon and his body is covered by a loose pale blue bone armor, but its craftsmanship is primitive. It would take an organism incapable of intelligent thought to not realize the significance of the 2 meter tall wolf-shark hybrid being who was able to walk on water instead of mere swimming.

Mordred focused his attention towards the lizardmen as he too, was able to walk on water effortlessly. "Lizardmen Chieftain, I’ve come to bargain."

The lizardman squinted his eyes, the hands gripping the bone trident tightens. Despite the lack of true understanding of the human language, his experience allows him to speak fluently… enough. "Not only have you disturbed my cultivation by causing a scene in the tribe, but you also stopped me from getting into the secret of the Lightning Lake… Why do you think I’ll listen to you?"

"Because your cultivation has reached a dead end." Mordred simply replied as his body posture slowly changed from a four-legged animal into a human posture that stood with two legs. Soon, the wolf-shark hybrid transformed into a humanoid werewolf with shark characteristics, the difference of their heights becoming negligible. 

The lizardmen simply frowned; Mordred’s words were true. 

Due to the rich lightning elemental particles, the Lightning Horn Tribe was able to nurture their bloodline better each generation.

‘Body’ cultivation is not limited to training their body, but also to nurture their bloodline.

However, cultivation is the result of countless efforts from generations to generations, inherited from the previous to the next. Endless amounts of corrections and revisions are the progenitor of any high-grade inheritance that is free from backlash and flaws. Without the effort of the predecessors who pioneered the path, the next generation would be hard-pressed to produce better results.

Of course, considering the fact that the current Lightning Horn Tribe’s chieftain has nurtured his bloodline into something that almost exceeded its original source, it was a great success.

However, as stated before, a ‘good’ inheritance can only be produced by an endless amount of corrections and revisions. 

The current chieftain meeting a dead end is, no matter how much one wants to deny, a fact that could gravely affect his standing in the tribe should he fail to properly nurture his inheritance.

"Your tribe’s bloodline origin must be the rank 2 lightning beast known as Aquaspark Horned Lizard, a type of serpentine lifeform that lived around this place… correct?" Mordred asked. There wasn’t even a need for him to dismantle the lizardmen as their bloodline origin is too weak for him. Compared to rank 4 desolate beasts whose genes are extremely complex, rank 2 beasts are rather simple, there’s no need to use a microscope to deduce their bloodline abilities and traits.  

Of course, Mordred having quasi-transcendent attainment in lightning-path plays a role.

The lizardmen chieftain growled. Nobody likes to deal with an arrogant know-it-all, especially one who has disturbed his cultivation. In a moment of anger, the lizardmen rushed forward to attack Mordred.

The lizardman chieftain is a rank 2 Lord. As a martial artist, he has reached the stage of being able to break the sound barrier easily. Boom! White mist of water vapor covered his body as he stabbed his trident at Mordred, but Lupusrazor is equipped with AT-Field amplification modules. 2 centimeters away from Lupusrazor, the trident was unable to penetrate the angled blue-colored AT-Field that was designed to alter the momentum of spear-like weapons.

In a blink of an eye, Lupusrazor used the buoyancy of the water as a counterforce to use his razor-sharp claws to strike at the belly of the lizardman. Needless to say, the reaction speed of a rank 2 lord is extremely high, and so he was able to barely dodge Mordred’s attack.

"Hmm?" The lizardman frowned as he touched the spot where Lupusrazor’s claws shouldn’t reach. "It’s the same with that woman’s blade-staff…?"

"It seems that even my [Resonant Cleave] can wound your scales. As expected, you skipped a few crucial parts when you were still at rank 1." Mordred’s words put a pause in the lizardman’s movements. "You’re too hasty not only in your actions, but also in your cultivation. Why don’t you try to listen to my words? Your nature has been influenced by the elemental particles you’ve injected into your bloodline. The fact that you’re too impatient with me is proof."

The lizardman shook his head. There’s no way this guy is stronger than he is. Despite emitting a heavy pressure, it was clear that this wolf-shark has rank 1 cultivation. 

He once again rushed towards Mordred, leaving a trail of electric sparks in his path. The trident in his hand broke the sound barrier before his body did. Any rank 1 cultivator would be hard pressed to react properly as his movement is simply too fast.

However, Mordred wasn’t a simple rank 1. With Lupusrazor on, his base specification has been augmented significantly. The werewolf-like armor was able to not only react to the chief’s flurry of attacks, but also parry and deflect them. 

Each time Lupusrazor claw parried the trident, the rank 2 cultivator’s scales were scarred as though a blade sliced his fingers. Even if most of the invisible attacks are not strong enough to make the lizardmen bleed, Mordred’s retaliation would eventually stack the damage and would completely destroy his hands.

Within the span of a second, the two probably exchanged a dozen attacks if not more. 

The water that Mordred stood upon was bouncing up and down as he used the water’s buoyancy as a medium to store vibration and used it to counter the lizardman’s attack.

The lizardman retreated by taking a leap, he realized attacking blindly like that wouldn’t work. ‘Hmm, the water is strange…’ He inspected the werewolf and the water that he stepped on. His senses are telling him that whenever he attacked, the water would ripple as if responding to his strikes.

‘Heh, the non-newtonian water worked as intended as a battery for momentum. Now then, the most difficult phase in fighting a rank 2 has passed, his movement pattern has been recorded, he doesn’t use special martial arts that I am unaware of but he isn’t an idiot. I can’t continue to rely on the water that I treated with sound-path methods.’ Mordred used a confident tone, "Lizardman, have you tasted a bit of my strength?"

"Arrogant!" The lizardman chieftain rebuked with an angry tone, but seeing the display of strength, he actually cooled down a bit. "Are you really a werewolf? Your kin does not show up often in this place."

"My kin, Fenris Wolf Brood, went extinct after the 4th Calamity." Mordred uttered a lie that wasn’t a lie. The werewolf-shark variant that Lupusrazor was based on had truly become extinct during that period, but he wasn’t one in the first place. "That being said, my offer still stands. I don’t want to kill you… yet."

"You… What makes you think you have that ability?" The lizardmen channeled his radiation onto his trident. 

Electric sparks started to jump around the lake water, himself and the trident. The air is slowly being ionized, some of the floating magnetic rocks that get too close to the battlefield melting under the blue electric fire. Melting into a type of charged plasma-matter, it falls into the lake and evaporates water, increasing the moisture of the surface. Through this, the ionized mist becomes a better medium to channel the lizardman’s lightning-path radiation.

"You should stop being so rash. I, too, have a limited amount of patience." Mordred replied to the lizardman’s taunt with his own. Yet, it was not the only thing he matched. Lupusrazor’s frame slowly became covered in electric sparks. Unknown to the lizardman, the lightning elemental particles in the lake water and mist are swarming towards Mordred. 

Electric current moves towards the path of least resistance. The ‘resistance’ that Lupusrazor possessed towards the lightning elemental particle was actually at infinitesimal value. Meaning, the armor does not provide Mordred protection from lightning-path attack. It could be said that Lupusrazor is a great conductor, allowing electric current to pass through towards Mordred’s mortal shell without much of an issue.

Keep in mind that one of his Soul Traits is Lightning Brilliance, it allows him to absorb any lightning elemental attacks and use his truesoul as a medium to store them. This’ll allow him to gain an accelerated rate of energy recovery in lightning-path environments. 

In other words, he too, possessed home field advantage. One that was overwhelmingly more beneficial compared to the lizardman chieftain’s. 

Mordred released a faint smile. ‘Every Archmage knew that my previous self, the Great Archmage, can never be defeated by lightning-path cultivators. You’re just unlucky to have met me.’

Boom! Thunderous sound of sound barrier being broken are produced by both the lizardman and Lupusrazor. 

The fact that Lupusrazor is covered by purple lightning is a great surprise to the lizardmen chieftain. Every time their lightning-clad trident and claws made contact, their electric current conflicted with one another. Explosions of thunder and ionized air are left behind in their wake, but none have any problem fighting above water or below the water surface.

With a splash that distrubed the entire Kashada Lightning Lake, the serpentine and lupine figure continuously exchanged blows. The rank 2 and the weaker rank 1 aquatic lifeforms that lived near the lake’s core area became agitated at the skirmish. Yet, they cannot join the fight because the two who are fighting are leagues beyond their power level. 

Needless to say, the few weak ones that get caught up in the crossfire are killed. The lake water which was glowing with faint blue electric sparks is now mixed with the color of blood and dirt, loam soil caking the shallows. 

"Hahahah!" Mordred chuckled for the first time since his demise at the hands of the Braves, his very soul being lit up with adrenaline. He had never fought with someone at this power level before. To Mordred, it was like an unparalleled boxing champion experiencing a worthy opponent for the first time in years, and on even ground. ‘In this environment, I can overclock Lupusrazor to the extreme for days on end!’!’ 

Swoosh! His claws clad in [Resonant Claive] split open the lake water. The invisible sword-like attack wasn’t able to directly rupture the lizardman chieftain’s scales and bone armor, but his internal organs are receiving damage. The battle continues even as the overgrown lizard is pushed back underwater.

Of course, it wasn’t like the lizardman was the only one who’s receiving secondary-damage from exchanging blows. The bone trident is covered by the lizardman’s lightning, and deals extremely potent lightning damage towards Mordred, but the lizardmen chieftain wasn’t aware he was powering up Mordred and allowing him to disassemble his own lightning.

Mordred powering up from these attacks doesn't mean Lupusrazor could absorb the lizardman’s lightning with 100% efficiency. The lizardman attacked Mordred with the intention to kill, his lightning containing telepathic malicious intent. To absorb the attack, Mordred needs to wash away the malicious intent within the lightning which typically means a great reduction in the absorption efficiency. 

In the fifteen minutes of intense melee where no one can directly land a hit to each other, they have traded several thousand blows. 

It was only expected, lightning-path excels in burst movement and attack, their movement exceeded the speed of sound.

"Damn it!" The lizardman cursed under his breath. While his trident allows him to channel his lightning towards Lupusrazor, it makes contact with its claws, so it also allows Lupusrazor’s purple lightning to attack him. 

The problem is that the purple lightning hadn’t originally stung like this.

At first, the purple lightning looked as if it existed for purely cosmetic purposes only. After fighting for a minute, the werewolf’s lightning that attacked him became more powerful. ‘It feels as if… his lightning is sentient… it’s eating me from the inside."

"This is boring." Suddenly, Mordred used enough force to push the lizardman into the bottom of the lake. The water displaced by the aftereffect caused the lake to spill, washing some part of the lizardmen village, potentially affecting Larissa who’s currently subjugating the tribesmen. 

"I’ve decoded all of your possible movement patterns. I might be lacking in explosive strength to finish you, but you’re now incapable of killing me. You’re just a quasi-grandmaster at lightning-path, your growth speed during combat couldn't be compared to rank 1 human mages. Show me your martial arts." Mordred spat insulting words, taunting the lizardmen chieftain.

‘Fuck!’ The lizardman coughed blood. The damage in his internal organs have accumulated sufficiently that his heart almost couldn’t bear it. If the fight went on, he had a feeling that this werewolf might be able to use some secret technique to explode his heart from inside out.

‘I can’t believe this! I am the most powerful lizardman in Kashada Lightning Lake. Although I am unable to reach the top of Mount Kashada and meet the Capricious Thunder Bird’s clansmen, only a select number of beasts can best me…’

The water that was displaced by Mordred’s last attack returned back, muddy. Yet, those do not affect the perception of both.

"Have I… mistaken you for a martial artist?" Mordred suddenly asked himself. "You’ve never used a martial art, wouldn’t that make you a body fundamentalist instead?"

Body Fundamentalists are those who pursue the strength of their body. Most of them are strength-path cultivators, but it's not uncommon for cultivators of other paths to focus on their body. 

Their cultivation techniques revolve around Body Nurturing Technique or anything that is related to refining their body. They are typically lumped up together with Martial Artists because countless martial arts are deeply intertwined with Nurturing Techniques. Some Killing Techniques that martial artists possessed couldn’t be practiced without the necessary Nurturing Techniques to support them. 

"I see." Mordred nodded, as if he had successfully reached a conclusion. "No wonder your tribesmen have strong bodies. The resources provided by the lightning lake allows your clan to practice some sort of low-rank Nurturing Technique and develop it towards the direction of overabundance and so, you pioneered the path of [Body of Element] before rank 3."

The Hartina Kingdom Nine Master Clan’s low priority on developing (capturing) lightning-path resource points also contributed to why there’s a severe lack of newcomers or foreigners that could serve as reference. "Perhaps, it’s been decades or centuries since the last humans visited Kashada Lightning Lake. It all makes sense now."

Mordred slowly rises to reach for the surface. After standing up on the water surface, the electric current in the water is being absorbed by his feet rapidly. This environment is truly beneficial for him. 

The lizardman chieftain resurfaced shortly after. "You… think that I’ve been defeated?" He pointed at Lupusrazor with the trident but he was surprised when he saw lightning sparks floating around the aquatic werewolf. At the core of the lightning sparks, they were miniscule lifeforms made out of pure lightning elemental particles floating freely.

These lifeforms have various shapes and sizes. The biggest ones are as big as and have the form of a lightning cat, while the smallest ones are 10 cm tall humanoid with transparent cicada wings.

‘Hmmm? Oh, right. There are lesser lightning elementals that came out of the Elemental Repository for advancement in the main world.’ Mordred played around with the lightning sparks that seemed to be fond of him. They were like children who were given sweets for the first time, they don’t want to part too far away from Mordred.

The lizardmen can only stare blankly at the spectacle. "The spirits… you were able to make contact with the spirits…" There was a conflict in the lizardman’s eyes that persisted for quite a while.

Mordred isn’t rushing to subjugate this lizardman. As time progresses, the advantage will tilt towards his favor. 

Not only is the tribe slowly being subjugated by Larissa, he’s also absorbing lightning elemental particles rapidly. If this is allowed to persist for some time, Mordred will reach a point where he can use lightning-path methods that would be able to kill the rank 2 Lord lizardmen chieftain.

Furthermore, the various lightning elementals are swarming towards Mordred. Their mere presence is giving Mordred a significant boost in terms of energy recovery rate. If he can divert his attention, he might be able to make a contract with the elementals, but the opponent is a rank 2 Lord that could easily break the sound barrier. Those things can wait.

"You said you’ve come to bargain?" The lizardman muttered.

"That’s right." Lupusrazor reveal a smirk. "Kashada Lightning Lake is a gateway to Mount Kashada, a treasure trove of lightning-path resources. From what I can see, the utilization rate of the resources that your tribe has access to is less than 15%. It is such a waste."

Obviously, the lizardman does not understand what 15% meant. Double digits is something that’s beyond his arithmetic capability but it seems like it’s very little. "What do you want from my tribe? What can you give in exchange for it?"

Mordred smirked. "I want complete obedience. In return, I’ll carve a path for you to achieve rank 3, the rank of Legends!"

The lizardmen chieftain shook his head. That’s no different than enslavement. As a chieftain of the strongest village in the locale, he had his own pride. 

At this instant, he decided it was not worth sacrificing his tribe’s fate in exchange for power. The werewolf is no different to a devil, which ironically, is almost true. 

The lizardman’s heart beats rapidly, the energy within his blood being galvanized to activate his bloodline abilities to the fullest. Bzzt! Countless snake-like electric sparks covered his body, slowly gaining a deep red hue. His scales are being harmed by his own methods, some of them being scorched while in some places, soaking his body in even more of his own blood.

"A self-harming method similar to [Power Overwhelming]...? There are early signs of genetic collapse, not good!" Mordred’s expression turned serious. All instant defensive measures are automatically activated.

The lizardman suddenly attacked at the speed that surpassed what he had shown previously: Mach 4, a speed of which Mordred was unable to react properly.

His trident was deflected by an angled multi-colored AT-Field, but they actually broke like fragile glass. Lupusrazor’s heart was pierced by the red lightning-clad trident. A burst of red lightning exploded within Lupusrazor’s heart, but the trident was unable to pierce through the werewolf’s chest due to the lack of penetrative power. Mordred’s AT-Field has significantly reduced the penetrative power of this attack.

Mordred could see that the hands that wield the trident are bleeding, the lizardman’s scales are being ruptured due to the forceful attack. "Foolish," he commented. "Your pride has blinded you from reality."

Mordred twisted his waist, using his leg as a fulcrum to redirect the force behind the attack. With a kick of his other leg, Lupusrazor has disarmed the lizardman by throwing him away. 

"Just because I’m not using my methods… you think I’m a pushover?" There was a hint of annoyance in Mordred’s tone. "[Death by Hypothermia], [Death by Capital Punishment: Gallows], [Gravity Anchor], [Wave-Force Sound Breath], [Subjective Time Reversal]!"

Mordred activated five methods at the same time, his body produced colorful lights.

The dark purple lights of necro-path manifested a spear of ethereal coldness and a spectral rope that went for the lizardmen who was thrown away by Mordred’s kick, still hurtling through the air.

The electric blue light of lightning-path becomes a chain-like apparition that tightly bound the lizardman’s feet with a metaphysical anchor that increases the pull of terrestrial magnetism.

Lupusrazor’s mouth produces a lesser-version of the [Wave-Force Sound Artillery]1Sound Breath that Mordred used to kill the rank 2 chicken year beast a while ago. A white beam of concentrated sound pillar is approaching the Lizardman chieftain.

At the same time, Lupusrazor is also subjected under the golden glow of time-path, which reverses the timeflow of itself. After a brief second, the chest area of Lupusrazor returned to the point where it wasn’t damaged. 

BOOM! The lizardman chieftain’s body was thrown into his own house. The wooden abode was fortified with special lumber that grew around the lake, and was able to weather Mordred’s attack. However, the kick was imbued by a variation of [Bell Palm]. The ‘armor piercing’ effect of Mordred’s kick would typically melt the internal organs of rank 1 beasts, and so the chieftain became indented in the wall from sheer force.

The chieftain coughed blood, containing pieces of his internal organs. His powerful physique granted him the vitality strong enough to mitigate instant death, but it doesn’t mean he was without harm. Before the chieftain could react from the motion sickness, a spear of ethereal coldness penetrated his heart and a spectral rope binds his neck.

A strange pervasive cold energy infiltrated his soul while his neck was bound by the spectral rope. He soon became unable to move freely which opened up a chance for the following attack to arrive.

The lightning chain instantly put the lizardman’s gravity to ten times the usual amount. The heavy burden had yet to have an obvious negative effect before the pillar of sound attack pinned him further into the house's wall. Due to the sound attack, what remained of the fortified wall was instantly obliterated. The explosive force of Mordred’s sound breath would disintegrate small objects, the fortified house almost unable to endure the attack.

PSSSHTTTT!!!!  Lupusrazor’s external armor seemed like a fish’s scales being opened up. Superheated air is being exhaled by the armor, briefly appearing as steam before dispersing into the surrounding air. ‘Alright, this is good enough. The emergency cooling protocol has also been tested. All system’s green, I no longer need to gather more experimental combat data.’

With that in mind, Mordred approached the broken fortified house, simply trotting over on top of the water’s surface. 

When the dust settled, the lizardman chieftain’s position seemed to be the same before Mordred’s sound breath arrived. He was unable to move due to his neck being strangled by a spectral gallows rope and his feet bound by lightning anchor. His body has been battered, most of his lizard scales are decimated.

"Choose. Death, or subjugation." Mordred offered. The spectral gallows dissipated under Mordred’s will.

Despite the near-lethal damage that he suffered from, the chieftain’s eyes are filled with immovable conviction. "Ptui!" He spat blood at Lupusrazor’s feet. "My clan… will not be slaves…"

Mordred stared blankly at the lizardman for a few seconds as if the chieftain’s reaction was unexpected. "HAHAHAH!" He then laughed, in a rare moment of genuine amusement, "My life alteration surgery skills have been getting rusty. It’s rare for me to have a rank 2 ingredient like yourself, I hope you’ll stay sane until the end."

With a wave of Mordred’s hand, the chieftain’s consciousness felt drowsy. He tried his best to resist, but the chieftain’s wounded body could not support his consciousness. "My clan will… never… be your slave…" He wanted to refute as he coughed blood, but his words were cut off before he could finish them. 

In the end, the chieftain fell into a deep, deep slumber. 

"Mordred seems to have subjugated the lizardman chieftain…" Larissa glanced at the direction of the chieftain’s house which was crumbling from the battle. "Alright, it’s time for me to end this." Her soul radiation regressed, but they were not reduced. In fact, she was using amplification methods, the one similar to Mordred’s soul-burning one to activate a method that is beyond her current power level..

"Rank 2 enslavement-path soul art, [Chronophagous Dragon’s Might: Kayros’ Conscription]!"

At this moment, Larissa’s soul releases a faint draconic might which was especially effective on the lizardmen.

Soleil Still haven't got my own device ;-;

Proofreader: Engie

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