Mike slowed his movements little by little exaggerating precision, over speed of execution. Roughly the same moment he came to a complete rest, a strange croaking growl rang out.
Mike laughed, patting his stomach.
He was hungry.
Meditation slowed his body down at the same time it sped up his mind. That didn’t mean his body stopped functioning.
If he’d been focusing on circulating his Qi through his meridians, his body would have absorbed some of the QI, subverting the hunger somewhat. Eventually as he grew his cultivation base, laying his foundation and building upon it step by step, there would come a point where meditation could replace the need to eat altogether.
Training his martial arts within the mental void offered no such benefits.
He hadn’t eaten in something thing like thirty six hours.
A few days ago he’d been fat and lazy. Even with the system his body hadn’t changed so completely that he could just skip meals and be fine.
Seeing the lunch that had been delivered for him still sitting out, Mike grabbed the plate. The earlier plates had been removed every time a fresh tray was laid out.
The food was cold and barely palatable, clearly designed with nutritional needs in mind, not taste. That was probably a good thing. His dependence on food as emotional support would quickly become a drain on his credits if he was forced to buy every meal from the vending machines. It was better he get used to eating to survive now, rather than later.
Cleaning the bowl of gruel, Mike dropped it back on the tray and returned to his bunk.
Breathing deeply he again sought the void state. Slowly the world fell away.
Rather than returning to the mental void, Mike entered the center of his being, his core. Finding a faint wisp of Qi he began to pull it through his meridians along his winding interconnecting qi paths using the methods of [Six Phases Demonic Transformation].
Steadily the qi strand gained momentum allowing Mike to loosen his grip until the qi was circulating unaided. Retreating to his center, he repeated the process again, and again. The numerous thin wisps of qi slowly combined together into a single solid strand as he increased the flow little by little.
As the wisps unified into a stream, Mike felt something suddenly give inside of him.
Gritting his teeth he endured, as the sound of bones cracking and muscle shredding filled his ears. The Qi strand flowing through him grew warm, its faint white glow brightening, repairing the damage by sinking into his muscle and bone, remaking it all stronger, and more pliable.
The pain was enormous, but thankfully the entire process lasted only a handful of moments, before, retching, Mike spit up a watery yellowish wad of foul smelling impurities.
The [Six Phases Demonic Transformation] method of cultivation was like second nature to him since he’d absorbed it from the system so Mike knew exactly what had just happened, he’d officially entered the first phase of demonic transformation.
Before he’d had a cultivation method he’d managed to clear his blood of impurities and unblock his meridians.
Now his muscle and bone were purified as well.
He could officially declare himself a cultivator of the demon path. His demonic transformation would no longer be limited to his hands, but when invoked would cover his entire body, raising his durability several fold.
As if to confirm his intuition the system *ding* announced his achievement.
|Congratulations! You have successfully entered the first phase of [Six Phases Demonic Transformation].
Achievement: You are the 1st player to become a demon path cultivator in your「System」district.
Reward: STR: +2 / QUI: +2 / BOD: +2 / SPI: +2
Mike wasn’t sure he could believe the reward. He opened his status to confirm it. Sure enough his attributes were all quite a bit higher than they had been the day before. In fact his Strength and Body both seemed higher than the reward’s increase alone would account.
|Name: Mike Tanner – Race: Half Orc
Occupation: Monk – Level: 7
Purse: 30 Credits
STR: 4.9 / QUI: 4.3 / BOD: 5.6 / SPI: 4.1 [AP: 0.0]
Standing he shifted his balance and threw out a series of punches and kicks.
His hands and feet almost seemed to disappear they moved with such speed, and he’d never felt as light as he did now, like someone had suddenly turned the gravity way down.
The change was so overwhelming, Mike actually found it a bit hard to move without over balancing at first.
Working through his martial arts katas that feeling quickly faded.
He couldn’t help but smile. In a day and a half of being locked up he’d advanced further in strength than two full days of hunting and killing monsters.
Cultivation really was a cheat.
Mike’s thoughts turned to Troy and his magical training. He wondered how much stronger Troy was now. Was magic as easy to progress in when a little time was given towards studying it? Or was the skeleton wizard struggling to learn anything?
Not that it mattered.
Troy wasn’t about to come crashing through the wall to free him, even if he’d become an archmage. He was on his own.
With that depressing thought echoing in his mind Mike didn’t see the guards had walked up to his cell, until one of them spoke.
“Stick your hands out through the slot. I’m supposed to take you to get cleaned up so you can see the boss and he can explain everything,” the first guard said.
Mike noted the use of the word boss. That wasn’t a rank, chief he might have believed, but “the boss” was either a nickname or outside the military chain of command. That was interesting knowledge.
Stepping up to the bars as he’d been told, Mike noted with amusement that two of the guard’s hands hovered over their pistol’s as the first man brought out a pair of heavy iron manacles.
The manacles were like something out of a medieval dungeon, and Mike briefly considered asking why they weren’t just using handcuffs when the guard answered the question for him.
“Sorry about these. We didn’t have any normal handcuffs so we had to buy some from the system vending machines, but nobody wanted to spend too many credits on something like this so you got the cheapest restraints the system offered.”
Mike filed that information away in the back of his mind, as he stretched his hands out through the gap in the door. Cheap likely meant easy to pick. He was hardly an expert, but then he probably wouldn’t need to be with the clunky old school handcuffs.
As the metal enclosed his wrists Mike revised his opinion of them. They were solid, and uncomfortable. Maybe he could pick the lock and get free. But until he did, the manacles were considerably more restricting than modern handcuffs.
A thought that maybe they were intentional occurred to him.
After all, it was just as likely the thick iron bands had been replaced with smaller ones because the smaller ones were more humane, as it was they were more effective.
Either way though, it didn’t really matter. He was bound, and as such he had to listen to his captors. At least until he found a way out of his bindings. Then the story might change considerably.
An hour later, Mike had taken a cold shower, been treated to a haircut and a shave, and re-dressed himself in another set of clothes stolen from the big and tall store. He’d also managed to pocket a safety pen when they removed his manacles so he could change.
If he got the chance, Mike fully intended to try picking the lock. He wasn’t sure he’d immediately try to escape after that, he didn’t know where he was, where Nikki was, or how many armed men were between him and the exit. But knowing if he could unlock them if he needed to would go a long way to giving him peace of mind.
His three guards had directed him through an endless seeming maze of hallways and stairwells to stand in front of a large double doors. Then unexpectedly the first guard had stepped forward again and gesturing for Mike to extend his hands, had begun to remove his manacles.
“The boss told us to use them so you didn’t get any ideas about running off. Now that you’re here though I have permission to remove these stupid things.” The manacles came free with a slight squeaking noise and the guard smiled, “the boss is actually a pretty good guy. I think you’ll like what he has to say. He’s waiting in there.”
The man pointed at the double doors.
Mike grunted in answer. Rolling his shoulders to relieve the built up tension, he took a deep breath and pushed open the doors.
Good news, hosting is paid up. This site is no longer in danger of disappearing at the end of the month. On another note, today’s chapter was finished early, so I went ahead and released it. But I still intend to push back normal release time to around five central time. Anyway on to the story, and thanks for reading.
Author : The Steve