Folding his hands, the man declined to answer, which led the chief to curse under his breath before heading back to his position.
Meanwhile, that statement from the Chief had resulted in peals of laughter erupting from the Children, with even Jenny placing a hand over her mouth to hide the fact that she was laughing.
Aaron, though, had a very serious expression on his face, just like Woof, which was keeping its eyes on that man even though he didn’t look like that much of a threat.
They could tell that that projectile had the power to penetrate the scales or thick flesh of most of the beings they usually encountered in the jungle. In fact, a hit at a critical spot might even guarantee instant death.
Although the aim seemed to be a problem currently, if it was mastered, it would definitely become a devastating weapon that could rule the jungle.
After the laughter died down, Jenny pointed to the woman, saying, “All right, that was the path of the Weapon Wielders, and more specifically, it was the sub-path of a Gunslinger. Infusing the Energy absorbed by a Core, a Weapon Wielder increases their offensive or defensive capabilities. Next up, we have…”
Even before the last sentence left her mouth, the delicate-looking woman raised both of her hands and made a cup with them.
“If any of you are feeling cold, come right up!”
Shouting out this weird sentence with glee, this woman, too, made her ‘Core’ appear, which flashed.
After the impressive performance of the one behind her, everyone, including Aaron, was expecting something even more awesome.
Yet, 10 seconds passed, and there was no change.
With impatience, the children started to move forward, but they gasped after they took a few steps.
Even though the sun was up, Skystead Hamlet was in a location where it was mostly cold all year around.
However, the area near the woman was warm and even toasty.
Raising a hand, a little girl said, “Y-you’re a magician!”
Aaron, too, moved forward, and he was amazed when he felt the warmth. Obviously, it wasn’t as majestic as that projectile being shot, but it was still something to behold.
Yet, the next moment, this thought of Aaron’s was wrecked.
Fire sprang into being on the clothes of the woman, who yelped and quickly began to put it out.
The Chief, too, leaped forward to help and together, they managed to douse the flames.
Once again, Aaron’s jaw dropped.
This woman…could make flames appear out of nothing?! Almost like a Flame-Tongued Viper?
Disbelief clouded his face, but Jenny’s explanation made him understand and shake his head, realizing that the world really was much more wondrous than he had thought.
“Little Kaitlyn, yes, that’s one name. The official name for that path is ‘Energy Manipulator’, but many choose to call such people Mages. In that fashion, poor Ying Yao here is a budding Fire Mage. Absorbed Energy is manipulated and imbued into the world to cause changes in the surroundings of a Mage, giving Mages the ability to use elemental attacks. Ying, you’re excused, go start sewing up your dress.”
Nodding, the delicate woman who had fair skin and narrow eyes left with a bashful smile on her face.
At this moment, Aaron noticed something.
Why were both the demonstrations so far…such failures?
Were these people weak, or was that power really that uncontrollable?
The children whose eyes had gone as round as saucers on seeing magic for the first time were made to refocus on the bulky man by Jenny.
“Let’s move this along. Lastly, we have ‘Body Practitioners’, who ingest the absorbed Energy to train their body to move faster or stronger, and ‘Tera Masters’.”
For his demonstration, the bulky man moved to the side and lifted up the Chief, who started to grumble that this was hardly necessary.
Yet, the sheer strength that must have been required to lift up the heavily-built Chief made the children and Aaron feel amazed.
After the Chief was set down, he raised his arm just like Jenny and made the Core between his knuckles flash, which resulted in that fat viper appearing again.
Ah, so that was where it had gone.
The viper, which had fallen asleep, lazily raised its head and viewed its surroundings before going back to sleep.
Gesturing in its direction, Jenny said, “Tera Masters use the special ability of Cores which allow them to convert a subservient Tera into an Energy form which is stored inside the Core. The absorbed Energy allows the Tera to grow in strength faster, allowing it to grow powerful enough to accomplish anything the Tera Master might want. For a Core to absorb a Tera, its Energy must first be made to enter the mind of a Tera. This creates a link between that integrated Core and the Tera. Through the link, a Tera Master can send certain basic commands to the Tera, and, if needed, the link also has the ability to cause death to that Tera by causing a violent attack to assault its brain. And that concludes the Orientation. Chief, please take over?”
With a broad smile, Jenny watched as everyone slowly digested the information.
It was all…so mind-bogglingly marvelous that anyone would require quite some time to understand it all.
It was the same for Aaron. His mind felt as if it had been run over by a charging Tri-Horned Rhino, causing it to be such a mess that nothing made sense.
“Thank you, Jenny. Now then, are you all ready to hear about the Path to the Stars?”
The Chief’s words made excitement return to the faces of Aaron and the children.
Seeing them nod, the Chief let out another peal of booming laughter before leading them to the next mosaic.
By now, they had reached the other end of the room, which meant that the Orientation was coming to an end.
Here, there was a depiction of a man looking up at the stars, while there was a stairway made of floating steps in front of him.
“The Path to the Stars. Kids, we humans didn’t just sit around and allow ourselves to be vanquished. We used every means available to us to establish foothold after foothold on the planet, beating back the hordes of beasts and legions of Teras which threatened to annihilate us on each step of the way. Finally, two centuries after the apocalypse, the best and strongest of humans gathered together to form the World Government: an alliance of the greatest protectors on Earth.
“After a long discussion, it was established that if we want to thrive and not perish under the hands of the Teras, all of us must strive to ascend to the stars. That…was how the Path to the Stars was born. This Path is for those who wish to grow strong enough to help protect their race. Cores are the most precious materials we have: Jenny neglected to mention that they are so rare and have such mystifying abilities because they are the solidified remnants of the core of the Earth which came to the surface during the apocalypse. There are grades to Cores, too, which segregate them according to how well a Core absorbs Energy, or how powerful a Tera a Core can store. If they wanted, the World Government could hoard all the resources. Yet, they opened them to the world.”
Speaking until here, the Chief took a deep breath, while an expression of pride and hope appeared on his face.
“Any human who proves themselves to be worthy can obtain better cores, better weapons, better manipulation techniques, better body arts, and even better Teras. And how to prove your worth, you ask?”
With this, he led them to the last mosaic, which was blank.
He first pointed at that bare spot on the wall, which made everyone focus their eyes there, before twisting that hand and pointing at himself.
“Simple. Defeat me. As the Hamlet Chief of the Skystead Hamlet, I am one of the first barriers you must cross. I am authorized by the World Government to hand out ordinary-grade Cores, such as the one I am using, to anyone who reaches 18 years of age. Likewise, I will also give you the basic materials and information you need to get started on any path. But, after that, even if you want to find out the next step, you will have to defeat me. Good luck, kiddos. Bwahahaha! No one has dared to even challenge me-”
Right at that moment, a loud sound of a door being kicked open interrupted the Chief.
Looking in the direction of the sound, Aaron saw that a young man with blond hair who was wearing shiny red clothes had appeared on the doorstep.
As he looked around, his eyes paused on Woof for a moment, but on spotting the Chief, he raised a finger and pointed in the direction of the man and proclaimed:
“Skystead Hamlet Chief! I, Edmond, have come here to challenge you as an Ascender! Prepare to face defeat by my hand!”
While the Chief blushed with shame on being interrupted and embarrassed for the umpteenth time today, the children and Aaron stared with disbelief, wondering who this guy who sounded so confident was.
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I'm an aspiring author who fell in love with writing the moment I wrote my first story.
Most Notable Work: World Domination System, an 800,000 word ongoing fantasy novel which can be found at https://www.webnovel.com/book/11413811606356705/World-Domination-System