Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 39

39 The Waiting Game
Over the next couple weeks the elders of the Nero Sect were brutally murdered one by one, two by two, and even three by three. Soon, every elder adventuring outside of the main sect headquarters had been slaughtered or had retreated to the inner sect sanctum. In this time, Lineir grew far more powerful...and experienced.

While individually his gains from absorbing the bloody hearts of cultivators could not be compared to the mythical fourth tier core he had fused with, when all was said and done, he had destroyed half the foundation of the Nero Sect. Unlike before, he also planned out the attacks. Methodically he would pick off an elder while he was separated and then let the rest of the group go. Then he would bide his time digesting until the hydra spirit inside of him grew hungry again. Then he would return and take another, and another. Only after a full twenty eight elders had been devoured did the Nero Sect finally realize they had been hunted by a terrifying figure in the dark, and called all their elders to hide. By this time, Mei had explained more about how her cultivation techniques worked and exactly where Lineir stood.

Simply put, there was the Rising Storm Stage to begin with. At the beginning of this stage, a disciple would form his Second Heart. As the practitioner grows more powerful, drawing upon the power of the elements grows easier and easier. Then at the peak of the Rising Storm Stage, where Lineir was now, the whirlpool inside would cease to be simple ambient energy and condense into a thick stormy cloud cell. From here, Lineir would have stepped into another realm of power, the Gathering Storm Stage. Beyond this there was the Raging Storm stage, where the energy would actually condense to form rain, then the Dark Lightning Stage, and finally the Endless Thunder Stage.

Beyond this, even Mei was unaware of exactly where to take her technique, though she had some ideas which she would tell Lineir when he grew strong enough to understand them. These stages were different from standard cultivation techniques. It was extremely difficult to compare different cultivation bases together based on their stage, because many followed different processes. For instance, the cultivation techniques of the Nero Sect and other backwater sects such as that were completely incomparable to Mei's. The techniques were essentially shortcuts, forming Second Hearts as quickly as possible in the hopes of funneling the energy to a patriarch. They were capped in development and could not even be mentioned in the same breath.

"So in order to classify most cultivators, we go by the standard magical beast system. It is a much more accurate measure to say what tier of magical beast you can kill or be compared to than to talk of your cultivation technique which may vary wildly. You yourself, can be compared to a fourth tier magical beast now, after fusing with the mythical core. Indeed, this level of battle power is strong even for my cultivation technique. You have simply too many strange abilities which make you far more dangerous than the average cultivator. While in terms of sheer power you cannot be matched with fifth tier beasts, against cultivators, you are like a terrifying nightmare which can conjure hidden claws and talons from the darkness to rend your foes to pieces. However, even a nightmare becomes weak in the light of day when people are together. Always remember that only unparalleled experts have the luxury of walking alone in the light. You, must always walk in the shadows."

Mei was confident in her assessment of Lineir's abilities. He truly was an enemy which nobody of the same level would want to meet in a one on one fight. Bone scythes as built in weapons, a hidden snake assassination technique which could devour Second Hearts, the analytical ability granted from madness which could cause him to fight as if he was possessed, and Mei herself, an incomparably sharp sword. His future potential was endless with her guidance.

"But master, I am still one step away from the Gathering Storm Stage. However, all the elders of the Nero Sect have hidden with their patriarch. I don't dare go and fight them all at once until I enter the Gathering Storm Stage. But I have no ways to quickly gather cultivation. I can sense a breakthrough, but I can feel that I need more power to do so. Should I just kill wild magical beasts and harvest their cores until I go? How long will that take."

Mei was skeptical.

"No, while you yourself are comparably strong to a magical beast, at your level, it is difficult to kill most beasts which would be beneficial to you. They are rarer and many are simply too large for you to easily harm. While they might not be able to kill you, you similarly, cannot kill them. Take that False Water Serpent for instance. While your speed now would make you extremely difficult to catch on land for it, you lack the necessary power to deal large amounts of damage to it, and in the water you lack the speed to battle it completely. This would be what you would expect in many cases. I suggest you set up camp outside the Nero Sect. Eventually someone will be careless and wander outside. Then it will be easy for you to deal with them. In the meantime, you can practice cultivating, and the pressure will build on the Nero Sect."

So it was as Mei said. Lineir hid outside of the Nero Sect's camp, and cultivated everyday. One elder wandered too far outside once, and Lineir immediately ended his life. However, he was the only one and all attempts to contact the outside world ceased after that.

"Ugh, they refuse to leave, but I am just a step away from the Gathering Storm Stage. Can it really be that I need to wait here until I break through just from regular cultivation?" Lineir griped about the lack of progress. He was so close, he could feel the energy inside him at the tipping point.

"What are the Nero Sect waiting for anyway? They cannot hold out forever, eventually their patriarch will have to attempt to break free. Yet they continue to wait..."

It was strange, the cultivation of those pathetic elders was so low that Lineir wasn't worried about them whatsoever. They would never break through to the next stage in their entire lives, especially with the Patriarch of the Nero Sect siphoning off their cultivation. However, the Patriarch was a different matter. Could it be that he was going to make a breakthrough? If he did, that would be disastrous, while Lineir didn't fear him one on one now, if he was to gain in power, combined with the surviving elders, Lineir absolutely would have no choice but to run away.

In the cultivation cave of the Nero Sect.

"Excellent elders of the Sect, continue cultivating! The stronger you are, the stronger the Nero Sect becomes, I myself am but a step away from a breakthrough. At that time, we will all break out together and exterminate this man who dares to keep us here!" The Patriarch of the Nero Sect roused his elders. They had no idea that he was using them to gain cultivation. His own cultivation efforts hardly mattered, as long as they cultivated, he gained! At that moment, elemental energy streamed around him, fusing into him faster and faster.

"I'm breaking through! Continue cultivating disciples, when I finish we will leave!"

Outside the sect, Lineir felt a large amount of elemental energy gathering.

"Shoot, could it be that the Patriarch of the Nero Sect really has broken through?"
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