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Lyden woke up with a hopeful look in his eyes and not the same soulless look he had moments ago.


He could not count the minutes, hours, and days he was trapped inside the darkroom.

His skin was burnt black, his hair pretty much non-existent, and paralyzed from the neck down. He lost two of his arms in the fight. Even after all that, he did not feel pain.
It was because his cloned body suppressed the pain receptors after reaching a certain limit. Instead of pain, he felt a slight hint of bliss.

Even though it was dark with no hint of light, Lyden still tried to look around for something.

“Am I surrounded by fossilized aretisites?” Lyden forced himself to speak softly. He could not get up due to his spine breaking from the last attacked, but he did not need too. With Lyden not able to see anything, he closed his eyes.

He recalled the sensation when he connected with the 2-star aretisite, Muscle’s Muscle, and when he refined his first 2-star aretisite, the Red Torso Scale Lizard.

From the depth of his mind, a single thin thread appeared like a star being born in the void. Then seconds later, two threads popped into his mind, then five, then ten, then one hundred threads, until his mind was covered with so many threads.

‘These threads, they are all from aretisites. Some of them look quite different from each other,’ There were different colors of threads that Lyden could see. Eighty percent of the threads were red-violet, fifteen percent were neon green, and the five percent were pink. ’There are three different kinds of aretisite in this room...’ They all seem to be 1-star aretisite giving the thin width of the thread.

Lyden was lying on top of fossilized aretisites this entire time. Even part of the walls and ceiling were fossilized aretisites.

He was able to connect with hundreds of aretisite at the same time just by connecting to a few. This was because the aretisites were so densely packed together.
So when he connected to a few of them, he was able to connect to the rest of them indirectly. It was like electricity coursing through water.

‘I do not know they can help me get out of this situation... But they are my best hope’ Lyden was hopeful yet pessimistic about it. He recalled his Random Monster Transmutation aretisite. Even though he could still sense it, he could not activate it since he was paralyzed from the neck down.

Because of that, he was worried that if these aretisites were to assimilate with the body parts from the neck down, he would not be able to utilize it.

‘Let me try to assimilate with one of them.’ Lyden plucked a pink thread to assimilate it. He did it fifteen times until the thread moved like it was alive and swam down from his mind to his lungs. The small aretisite, the size of a flea, safely infused itself to the side of his lungs.

Also, a single star appeared on his chest, but it was hard to tell since his skin was burnt black.

‘This one, I cannot use it...’ He knew he had succeeded in his assimilation with it, but he could not activate. Thus, he did not know what it looked like or its ability. He felt his disappointment growing.

He tried the next one. This thread was the neon green and was just as thin as the pink one. He finished assimilating with it shortly after plucking it fifteen times.

This time, the thread swam into his head and rested between his skull and brain. It was smaller than any other aretisites so far, but when he focused it on it, it felt as if he was looking at it with a magnifying glass.

‘Great! It is in a place where I can use it.’ Lyden felt hope after going through a letdown.

The aretisite that he just obtained was called Between Eerie. It had one eyeball and a silver crown on top of it. On its back, it had a ghostly tail with a star on it.

Lyden activated Between Eerie to test its ability. After testing it, he was disappointed at the result.

“It is using a telekinesis force to move my body parts like muscles. However, it is so weak. It can barely move my toes. What makes it worse is that it only affects my body.” Although Lyden was disappointed about it, he did not give up on it. He had another idea. He was going to assimilate with all the Between Eerie.

After assimilating with more than a hundred of Between Eerie, which took a half-hour, he had to stop. There were too many Between Eerie in his head, which was giving him a headache. If he were to keep going, the many Between Eerie would be pushed against his brain and would have negative consequences. The Between Eerie do its best to live in harmony with its host, but if the host tried to push it, the aretisites could cause damage to their own host.

“Alright that should do it. Let’s see how much of my body I can move now.” Lyden willed all the Between Eerie like an extension of his limbs. When he activated it, he felt a dense invisible force flowing downward from his brain to his legs. He could feel the force moving to his toes, but he still could not feel his legs.

The force shaped to fit his feet like a sock, then traveled up to hips before it stopped due to reaching its limit.

Lyden was able to move his one of his legs freely. However, it was hard for him to curl his toes at the same time. If he willed one of his toes to curl, he had to focus on that entirely. He was having a hard time trying to bend his knee while curling his toes.

‘This is hard. Unlike muscles, I have to think about every little movement. It is like I am using a controller with hundreds of buttons to control my leg…’ Even with great difficulty, Lyden did not give up. He had no choice in the matter because if he does, he will stay trapped here until his clone body of his dies out in three years.

So he began practicing with significant effort.

Unlike in high school, where he felt free and chose to be lazy, he was now more productive, more focus since his life was at risk. He had no one telling him how to live or how to prepare for the future. Instead, life hit him in an unexpected way, and now he had to discipline himself and focus on what he had to do to survive.

Unknown to him, but this moment was the moment that Lyden knew the value of effort. It was an experience that only came in a desperate situation.

He spent days to weeks trying to control the force until he got to the point that he move his toes with ease. It was not much, but the amount of time and effort to succeed was tremendous for such a small movement.

Nonetheless, Lyden was ecstatic. He had put so much effort, and he came so far. At first, he could hardly control a single toe to move correctly but now could do it with all five. He could even control the telekinesis force to split in half, one for each leg.

“The Between Eerie are getting hungry again…” The Between Eerie fed on a hormone, melatonin. And since it was consistently dark, his pineal gland was able to produce it efficiently. One Between Eerie ate very little, but since he had so much of them, they eat a lot of melatonin. He hardly felt sleepy because now he had insomnia.

He could only sleep for one hour every 2-3 days. It was tough at the beginning that he wanted to quit many times, but he got used to it as he focused solely on training. If it were a regular person, they would die from what attempting to take in that many Between Eerie, but fortunately, his cloned body does not function as an ordinary human.

On the plus side, once the Between Eerie finish eating, they secrete collagen throughout his body, which helped his skin recovered faster.

‘I need to start refining all the Between Eerie now. There should be another hundred left.’ Lyden thought it was about time. He needed more Between Eerie so the telekinesis force will be able to fully enveloped from head to toes. But currently, he could not assimilate with it anymore without bringing danger to himself.



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Teekumi

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