Sitting within the caravan’s carriage, Garen quietly calculated the formula in front of him, lines of tiny alphanumeric formulas flowed from the tip of his pen, neatly written on a sheet of white paper.
The wagon’s wheels rolled slowly, its creak blending with the rustling sound of writing.
The morning light shimmered in from the window, and illuminated some of the darker parts within the carriage.
They’d arrived at a safe zone; outside the carriage was the heavily armored white horse cavalry that had escorted them. These cavalryman were led by a Form 1 Totem User, whose head was held high and his chest bulged as he rode on horseback in white armor. The handsome man displayed an aura of pride and bravery.
Garen glanced away from the side of the cavalry.
"We're about to reach the West Farm defense line right?" he murmured.
Angel shrugged as she sat opposite him,carefully moving her injured shoulder to answer the question.
"Even the patrol cavalry has appeared, we’re definitely closer. According to the map, we should arrive in the afternoon." She paused, "Leila talked to them for a while, and she asked a few questions regarding the defensive lines."
"Give me the details."
"The West Farm defensive line is mainly patrolled by totem users leading elite soldiers, and an outpost and fortress is built every two hundred kilometers for the stationing of totem users. Each fortress is run by a lieutenant-class totem user, with at least ten Form 2 totem users stationed. Almost all of humanity's most elite troops are stationed on this line of defense, "Angel explained while she removed the bandage from her shoulder.
"After they learnt of the fall of Vanderman Manor, the cavalrymen were also shocked. The Vanderman Manor was interdependent with the stronghold here and was one of the 68 front-line strongholds. Now that it had been destroyed, they need to look into recalibrating their defensive lines, and wait for reinforcement troops. "Angel clenched her teeth, peeled the bandage off and swiped a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to sterilize the wound.
"I heard ... Ughh ... I heard that not only was the Vanderman Manor destroyed, in the nearby Thousand Cranes Manor, nobody survived. This is possibly be a large move by the Obscuro Society" She endured the pain and re-wrapped her new bandage.
"Yes, news of the Iron Tank City incident has spread throughout the entire human safe zone. Not only the Grand Duke of Blackfield Dragonhawk, of hundreds of kingdoms in East Continent, thousands of cities of different sizes, only one hundred and eighty two cities survived and have now been divided into six safe areas. Do you know which are the six? "Angel spiritedly asked.
"Which six?" Garen smiled and calmly asked.
"You're calm," Angel glanced at him in surprise. "Iron Tank District, centered in Iron Tank city, is called black territory because it is protected by the Duke of the Blackfield, and the surrounding twelve cities were reconstructed around Iron Tank City."
"Then Prince Alexander of Glory City , brother to King of Ender and the eldest son of Prince Tangula, also known as the Black Prince, his glorious city is at the core, the surrounding ten cities are being rebuilt and they are forming a complete basin defense known as the dragonfield."
Angel sipped some water, then continued speaking.
"Another is Queen Jean Earnest, a peerless beauty once hailed as the never-withering flower. She is also an unexpectedly strong totem user. She’s taken the Avision city as the core. Adjacent to Trinity, this city is reputed with the revival of fifteen cities. The queen is hailed as the queen of blood by unimaginative poets, and the area she protects is known as the Avision City."
"Those are only three safe areas, what are the rest?" Garen asked while calculating the formula.
"There is also the kingdoms of the three great powers forming the central safe zone: Kovitan, Canbria and Ender.Those three kingdoms combined with the capital as the core, establishing a huge security zone .The Three Empire Defense Circle, as well as the Blackfield Dragonfield, Avision City and Iron Tank District are now the entire congregation of six safe havens for people in East Continents, the rest are nothing but wastelands, all of them mutants and wild creatures.
Garen smiled but did not speak; the so-called land of death was only the public view. In fact, Obscuro Society, as well as Terraflor Society’s congregation spots were definitely not wastelands at all.
"A troubled world breeds heroes, I suppose this is true," Leila whispered around the side of her cup of coffee. "I also heard from a sister in the cavalry that there were a lot of powerful totem users coming from within the community."
"I also heard about that, it is rather lively around, we Kovitan have several famous totem users." Angel suddenly got interested.
They promptly ignored Garen, and chattered together on the side.
Garen shook his head and continued calculating his own model equations. With some classic books from Aquarius, his understanding and research on totems deepened.
In the process of sensing the Resonant Stone, he secretly combined it with the totem aspect in his system of knowledge, also with a trace of other gains.
As long as he managed to sipher study notes and academic books from Cia's father Vanderman while in the capital, he should be able to raise his research knowledge by several levels. He would then be able to unlock the secrets of the Crystal Derivator.
Regardless, the study done by Vanderman had reached a very deep level. Compared to other fields of study, it was the Grand Obscuro of Obscuro Society, the old senile people over at Terraflor, and even the three great empires’ Three Departments. Each of these were decent but their research headed in different directions, which was the cause of the many problems attracted by Vanderman.
Garen believes that as long as he find the research knowledge, he would definitely find out the way to completely control the crystal derivator.
Most importantly though was the evolution of his Black-Striped White Tiger.
He dropped the pen and checked the Black-Striped White Tiger's condition in its storage device. On his left ring finger was a black crystal ring which also doubled as the Black-Striped White Tiger's storage device.
After the Black-Striped White Tiger had been released and it had gobbled up the patterned crystal in several bites, Garen returned it into the ring, in accordance with the rhythm of evolution.
Now he has to wait for five hours, until the crystal was completely digested and absorbed.
He took out his pocket watch and checked the time.
"Just five hours."
Ignoring the two chatting people on the side, Garen set his eyes straight on the totem pane below his vision.
'Black-Striped White Tiger: Form 1 totem, upgradable. Evolution success rate: 11%. Potential consumption point: 700%.
Ability: Tail whip, rupturing bite. '
Checking his potential points, after killing Aquarius and the rest of the low-level totem users, he now accumulated more than two hundred points.
According to Black-Striped White Tiger core totem evolution law, he needs to obtain more than 100 points for a large activation and evolution. The Black-Striped White Tiger could not undergo fragmented genetic evolution and could only continue to activate large fragments, which was also the reason for its high potential point consumption.
Garen did not hesitate, his eyes stared down at the Black-Striped White Tiger icon. Three seconds later.
The potential points were drained significantly, as though a flood had washed them away.
Within a few seconds, the potential points had dropped by hundreds of points.
Garen’s face twitched in strong disapproval, as those potential points had been accumulated over a long time, in case of a few unsuccessful successions. Even though the potential points would be returned, some of them would be left in Black-Striped White Tiger.
"What a brilliant move! If you’re still so lousy after evolution, don’t blame me if I swap you out." Garen coldly steeled his resolve.
Finally, a full five seconds later, the Black-Striped White Tiger's icon slowly blurred, and Garen refocused his vision. If he didn’t observe it so keenly, it would have to be done the same as before; the accumulation of 7 points at a time, which was a much slower process. That was incomparable to this process, which could complete his goals in a single attempt.
He now understood that the icon displayed the rate of evolutionary success, which was the highest gene fragment success rate. It also showed the potential consumption point of its display, which also happened to be the point of least potential consumption.
The amount of potential points rose by more than 120 points before it finally stopped.
The Black-Striped White Tiger icon blurred for some time, and quickly cleared up.
As it returned to the properties pane, it sharply rose again.
"A failure." Garron spat, and this time, he did not see any need for other crystals.
He calculated that he’d failed once and it consumed thirty-five potential points. This was extremely wasteful to him.
However, in order to start a big activation, it would require more than 120 points. He thought for a while before trying again.
The second time the Black-Striped White Tiger icon blurred, it cleared up faster than before, but there were no changes. Another 35 potential points had been wasted.
Garen had wasted 70 potential points, leaving him with only 130 potential points.
He persisted and tried once more.
The icon absorbed a large number of potential points, it started to blur, and then …
It failed again.
Garen groaned; he was now in an extremely bad mood. Almost 100 potential points had been dumped, yet not even a ripple of water had changed, which worsened his increasing irritation towards Black-Striped White Tiger.
Originally he’d thought that he was talented and that this evolution would be viable. He had not expected that he’d have been overconfident in himself.
Black-Striped White Tiger had undergone multiple trials by researchers and they had not been able to find an evolutionary approach, what were the chances that he would discover an evolutionary approach so easily?
Seeing that he did not have enough points to attempt evolution again, Garen thought. "Since the Black-Striped White Tiger doesn’t work, then I’ll have to resort to another plan .. The replacement of the core totem, aside from five years buffer period, there has to be another way...."
Now that he’d learnt a lot on totem knowledge and research, he’d accumulated most of the preliminary knowledge for this area.
Black-Striped White Tiger was his failed choice, he’d spent so much potential points yet his attempts were all unsuccessful. Even if it did evolve into a Form 2 totem, how strong could it become? At most it could be comparable to a Form 3, but what about actually evolving it to Form 3?
After careful consideration, Garon decided to give up the Black-Striped White Tiger, realising that he’d been too sure of himself at the start.
"Contacting the core totem approach, aside from waiting for five years, there is the complete destruction of Black-Striped White Tiger." Garen narrowed his eyes and he had decided to replace the core totem.
Destroying the core totem was a very difficult decision.
Destroying just the totem’s light of the core totem would injure the totem users as well, and their spirit would be affected. If the core totem was completely destroyed, especially if the five years adaptation period had not completed, the totem user would be strongly impacted and their body’s integration with the core totem would be seriously traumatized.
Simply put, the current Garen would be gravely weakened by the core totem’s destruction. Totem users were often weak, and the magnitude of this would cause 10% of people to die.
"It’s the price I’ll pay for choosing wrongly."