Unsealing Emptiness -
Chapter 405 - 405 Holding back?
405 Holding back?
Sparks flew as Ozul’s Purity collided with Kumaou’s fists. Each blow left a deep crater on the ground.
The trio and Rose had already retreated out of the forest, afraid they might get caught up in their fight.
Explosions bellowed as one tree fell after another.
Ozul put all his strength behind attacking the unyielding bear, but all of his attacks were blocked without much damage.
On the other hand, he couldn’t allow even a single attack of Kumaou to land on him. His defensive capabilities were subpar at best when fighting someone of equal strength or stronger.
‘So that is my current limit,’ Ozul thought bitterly.
It wasn’t enough.
He couldn’t go toe to toe with someone at the initial stage of the Origin Realm.
It would have been a different thing if he was trying to kill Kumaou, but fairly sparring with him proved the latter superior. He barely held on in front of the bear’s onslaught.
If they were to compare raw power and pure defense, Kumaou was a clear-cut above him.
“Is that all you amount to?! I might be disappointed at this rate!” Kumaou shouted as he once again brought down his claw-like fist, slashing down at him.
The Purity appeared above Ozul in the shape of a cross, blocking the ‘claw’, but plummeting him deep into the ground, leaving in its wake yet another crater.
Although he considered himself to be a very calm person, the taunts of Kuamou still irritated him since he didn’t know what he could do at this point to increase his strength now.
At least he now had a rough idea of how strong Origin cultivators are. That was the only gain from this.
Before Kumaou pulled back his punch to attack again, he swiftly jumped back, creating a large distance between them.
“That’s it, stop.”
But Kumaou grunted, not wanting to end it just yet. He had only started to feel it now.
“I admit my defeat. Let go,” Ozul added, reading his emotions carefully.
Kumaou narrowed his eyes at him before his aura finally began to diminish. Finally, the illusion of a bear behind him also disappeared as his body morphed back to its original shape.
A frown marred his wild face, indicating that he wasn’t pleased with the spar.
“You didn’t even manifest your soul! Tch!” he clicked his tongue at the end before turning around and leaving.
‘If I had it, I wouldn’t have kept it hidden...’ thought Ozul in his heart as he sighed and calmly flew toward the trio.
Kumaou thought that Ozul was holding back since he didn’t want to fight.
With a part of the forest destroyed, they appeared to walk out of it under the eyes of one more person than necessary.
“You guys really don’t care about nature, do you?”
Standing beside the trio and Rose was the famous Imperial Prince whom they hadn’t seen for a while now. Beside him, there was only his beloved horse.
To the common folk, it was nothing. However, even in the initial stage Origin cultivators in the royal palace could feel their battle from all the way much less him who was at the peak of the Origin Realm.
“His fault. I didn’t want to fight him,” with a single gesture, Ozul shifted all the blame to Kumaou who gave him a betrayed look in response.
Seeing Kuamou didn’t even have any explanation in his defense, the Prince sighed while shaking his head, “Ask your superior if you need a space for sparring next time. This forest was useless, so there was no harm done. ”
Ozul shrugged his shoulders in response while Kumaou seriously nodded his head.
‘He only gets serious in the presence of those he cannot defeat,’ he made a mental note about Kumaou’s behavior.
Seeing as they were done fighting, the Prince galloped his horse, leaving them to their own devices.
As Ozul walked back to the palace, he thought about the improvements of the trio.
Together, they would easily take on someone with a higher cultivation base. But that wasn’t enough. They were still too weak to take on any real challenges.
‘Even my progress has halted now.’ He couldn’t blame them when they were at least improving, while he was stuck in the same place.
Ember had made it clear how it was impossible to obtain the Spiritual Cores of cultivators above the initial stage of Origin Realm.
‘I need something else to absorb now,’ he knew he had only gotten stronger by absorbing other things, ‘Something that has more concentrated energy than Spiritual Cores...’
Once he was done with this royal palace, he would have to ask Ember; if there were things like that, she would know.
. . .
Fueled by the need to improve, the trio worked harder than before.
They got back to cultivating the moment they entered their room. Meanwhile, Rose could be seen occasionally glancing at Ozul from her corner.
‘Come to think of it, she hasn’t yet shown her soul manifestation...’ he thought as he remembered that Rose was a peak Nascent Soul Realm cultivator.
It didn’t matter though, he was just curious. The soul manifestations he had seen until now were inclined toward the personality or the nature of the cultivator.
Turning in his bed, he held Jinx close to his chest as he affectionately ran his fingers through her fur, thinking, ‘If I had a soul manifestation, I would like it to be... a void... or maybe a cat?’
He would have liked it to be a bottomless abyss, a void. However, a cat didn’t sound so bad either. He could lie down and sleep all day if his nature was inclined toward cats. But that might have already been the case.
Turning around, he closed his eyes; not wanting to worry about how he would increase his strength in the future.
A short nap of more than 24 hours could get his mind out of it.
A few days passed without much noise in the surroundings.
Ozul also noticed that Rose was anxious for a while before she suddenly calmed down. Something was happening with her and the people who had sent her, but he wasn’t going to involve himself any further.
He risked making her panic and causing her to quit and leave if he meddled in too much.
Finally, after waiting for a few days, the time came when they were once again informed by one of the guards to report to Sir Hamel.
‘This time will be for real,’ he thought before getting up from the bed, leaving Jinx sleeping.
“Man, I sure hope it’s a test again,” Kumaou muttered in excitement. He got to fight another Origin cultivator back then; he hoped there would be another similar opportunity.
Raven, Blaze, Zier, and Rose gave him a strange look. His feelings on the matter were polar opposites compared to theirs.
They found Hamel on the same gate with yet again three carriages lined up, but there were no special decorations carved on the middle carriage.
All three looked the same.
The soldiers ready to march alongside the carriages were the same faces as well.
Before Ozul could question why the princess was yet again not in the carriage, the answer to his question came in a sundress that looked more lavish than any wedding dress of a noblewoman.
The princess, with her eternal cheerfulness, came walking in a graceful manner followed by two maids.
As soon as her eyes laid on them, her eyes twinkled as she hurriedly tiptoed toward them.
“Sir Hamel! Are they the Dragons father was talking about??” She thoroughly inspected everyone when her eyes stopped on Ozul.
‘Not again...’ he mentally sighed, feeling the emotions bubbling inside the princess.
“Not Dragons, my lady. Their title is simply Dragon Hatchlings, they aren’t related to actual dragons.” Hamel briefly replied to the princess, not going into details.
“My lady?” he spoke as he noticed her staring at the quiet kid who went as far as to risk his body to complete the mission last time.
The princess didn’t respond to him as she walked toward Ozul in a daze before doing a courtesy bow and holding her hand in front of him, expecting him to bend to his knee and kiss the back of her hand.
Unfortunately for her, Ozul wasn’t keen on doing all that she was expecting of him.
He stood there looking at her, not knowing what to say when Zier who was standing right beside him took her hand and plastered a kiss on it while bowing slightly.
From that 5-second pause, Zier guessed that Ozul wasn’t going to do what the princess wanted, and he couldn’t bear that awkward situation.
“I will introduce us, my lady. My name is Zier, he is Ozul, she is...” Zier took it upon himself to name all members of the group one by one.
“Hmph!” The princess, however, was displeased nonetheless. She harrumphed once again before haughtily walking to her carriage.
Meanwhile, Sir Hamel ignored the situation completely, understanding that not everyone knew of these formalities. c
‘I just hope the princess doesn’t take it as an insult,’ Hamel sighed imagining the worst-case scenarios.
Having been assigned to her protection for so long, he knew just how many horrible things that innocent-looking child had gotten away with. Not that he had any qualms with it, just that there shouldn’t be a clash between the Dragon Hatchlings and her.
On the other hand, Ozul looked at Zier with a raised brow, surprised the meekest of them all would take such an initiative.
“Someone’s been studying royal manners,” Blaze also commented from the side.
Zier grinned slyly as he responded, “I used to read a lot of books.”
Ozul ignored their following conversation as he thought about the future.
‘How long will I have to endure her?’
Even if the princess didn’t actively interact with him, her emotions directed at him would continue to pester his conscious mind.
But guessing from her personality, he doubted she would leave him alone.
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