Willard crossed his legs in a meditative position and was getting ready to start his training. He was currently adjusting his state of mind so that he could be in a perfect mind frame for cultivation. Ever since his fight with Kota, Willard had noticed an increase in the level of his soul. He was prepared to put that experience to good use, as he got ready to cultivate natural energy.
Before Willard went into his final meditative state, a quick thought flashed true his mind. “I wonder how Baya is doing?” Willard said before he firmly shut his eyes.
On the journey to the Red forest, Baya had taken every precaution possible to ensure his journey was safe. He traveled for a full day before reaching the outer perimeter of the Red forest. At this point, Baya could feel the elevated temperature of the strange forest. It was a marvel in itself that some plants could survive there. It was nighttime, so Baya decided to wait the night at the perimeters of the forest before he ventured into the forest. Baya eventually found a safe and secluded place to lay for the night.
When the day got brighter, Baya proceeded to venture into the forest. On his way, Baya primarily encountered only plant life forms that inhabited the forest. Baya was wary at first because of the rumors of certain beasts types that lived in the Red forest. After a couple of hours of walking through the Red forest, he had yet to encounter anything, so naturally he relaxed his mind for a bit.
From afar, Baya could see the outskirts of a bloody mist. A smile quickly blossomed on his face, as that meant he was about to reach the Red lagoon. Baya carefully walked into the mist and slowly proceeded to the Lagoon. Baya walked for a couple of hours before he realized that the earth beneath his foot increasingly got soggy, like the surface of a swamp. Moments later Baya could see a bright red Lagoon, beneath the thick clothing of the fog. Although the view of the Red lagoon had a peaceful and serene feel to it, Baya knew at the back of his mind that this place represented great danger. As someone who had never ventured to this parts before, he honestly had no idea of what to expect.
Not long after observing the lagoon, Baya located several fire plants growing in the lagoon. This red plants seemed to grow naturally in this harsh environment almost as if it had all the nutrients in the world. Baya slowly approached one of the plants closest to him. He stared at his surrounding as if he was expecting something to spontaneous appear. To his surprise, nothing had happened, the environment still had its usual tranquil scenery.
Baya reached out to grab the plant and yank it out. The moment his hands made contact with the plant, a loud shrill was heard. The noise had completely caught him off guard. He quickly looked up to see where the noise was coming from, but to his dismay, he could not see a thing. Baya started noticing that the fog that had been mostly calm several feets above the river were slowly descending. Baya wasn’t certain what that meant, but his subconscious told him it wasn’t good. So Baya reached for the plant again and aggressively yanked it out. Placing the plant in a sac, Baya immediately started making his way out of the lagoon, but suddenly he felt a strange tremor. Almost instantly, a root of a plant wrapped itself around Baya’s foot. Strange creatures emerged from within the descending fog. These creatures had a grotesque look to them and were shaped in a deformed humanoid form. They also had savage fangs for teeth and long elongated protrusions for fingers. The most surprising feature of these monstrosities were without a doubt their red wings.
The creatures flew at astonishing speed towards Baya, who at this point knew he was in real danger. Baya quickly pulled out his dagger and cut off the plant root that had entangled his foot. A strange red liquid gushed out of the severed plant, which rightly surprised Baya. Baya used the opportunity to utilize the movement martial technique in his bid to escape. Baya managed to gain some distance closer to the edge of the lagoon, but to his surprise, two other roots had instantly entangled both feet this time, as if they had predicted his movement, and were quickly spiraling up his legs. One of the creatures made a loud shrill as it came flying towards Baya. It used its nails to attack Baya, who was bounded by the plant, as it flew by. Baya tried his best to evade the attack but was still injured, as the creature had still managed to hit his back.
Baya without any hesitation used his dagger to cut off both roots that had bound him in place. After he cut them off, he used the martial movement technique in quick succession to try and escape the clutches of the lagoon. The creatures all continued flying towards Baya, who was running and using the movement technique in succession. At this point, Baya had lost his bearing as he ran in whatever direction those creatures were not in. The martial technique barely gave him the opportunity to move at a slightly faster pace than those creatures, who seemed unrelenting in their pursuit.
After running and using the martial movement technique for about an hour, the natural energy in Baya’s core was almost depleted. The thick fog which seemed to continue spreading as he ran, had stopped expanding up ahead of him. Baya decided to continue running in that direction. As Baya got towards the edge of the fog, he realized he had reached the top of a cliff. The creatures continued flying towards Baya, who seemed to have run into a dead end.
Baya looked at the cliff before him and saw nothing but an endless amount of trees, he was faced with two options of jumping or fighting against those creatures. Either choice would more than likely lead to his eventual death. After pondering for a few seconds, Baya decided to jump off the cliff, at least if he died, his body wouldn’t be mutilated by those creatures. After Baya jumped off the cliff, the sound of several branches breaking and an eventual thud was heard. The creatures continued their shrilling noise but did not leave the perimeters of the fog. Eventually, the creatures all flew back to where they came from.
While Willard was cultivating natural energy, he concentrated on his core as he pulled natural energy in through his body and directed it to his core. The energy was slowly revolving and compressing to give the shape of a milky sphere the size of a golf ball. Every time the energy swiveled around his core, he felt a slight ripple of sorts. He couldn’t quite understand what was causing the ripple, but he quickly realized the ripple had no negative effects on him.
In one stretch, Willard had cultivated for two full weeks. This was the longest time he had ever spent in a single training session after his reincarnation. As someone who could activate and nourish his body with natural energy, Willard had no need to consume food. Willard had previously informed Sebastian of his plan to go into seclusion training, of which Sebastian had instructed Asilis to make sure no one bothered Willard during his training session.
After two weeks of training, Willard finally opened his eyes for the first time. He took some time to inspect his body, after a short while, a smile erupted on Willard’s face.
“I have already reached the 9th level of natural energy,” Willard said approvingly.
“Although I’m still in the early phase of the 9th level, it shouldn’t take me too long to reach the mid-level.”