5 Body Refinement

"John, you're awake. Thank god." his mother Rachel exclaimed, crying while hugging him.

John looked around the room, still confused as to what just happened.

'Was that all just a dream?' John thought to himself. "The grandness of the palace, the power of the blood drop, all of it seemed so real..." John's thoughts trailed off as he still tried to remember everything that happened in the palace. No matter how he thought about it, he couldn't wrap his mind around it.

'One minute I was in the palace, and now I'm back here in my room. Was that just a dream after all?' he wondered silently. He looked up at his crying mother and realized he had been sitting there in silence for quite some time. He reached out and hugged her as well, comforting her as best he could.

"Don't worry mom, I'm fine. There's nothing to cry about." John said to his mother. Her tears eventually stopped falling as she composed herself, wiping the remaining teardrops from her face.

John then thought about the situation that led up to all of this. He last remembered walking down the stairs and to the altar, at which point he reached out and touched the ominous sphere. All he could remember was the intense pain that wracked his body, the feeling of something snapping inside of him, and the strange place he dreamed about, before waking up in his room.

John looked at his mother and asked "What happened? Why am I here?"

After a few seconds of silence, a serious expression appeared on Rachel Fenix's face as she looked at John. She took a few seconds to gather her thoughts, before saying "You had been down in the cellar for quite some time, so your father and I went down there to check what was going on. We then heard your screams echoing from the room below, and rushed down there as fast as possible, where we found you unconscious in the middle of the room. We then brought you back to your room and have been watching over you ever since. That was three days ago."

"Three days!"

Rachel paused for a few seconds before continuing "John, how did you end up down there?"

Gathering his thoughts, John started to explain to his mother what happened. He detailed how he felt an instinctual attraction that led him to the wall, at which point he found the lever to open it. He explained the rest of the events to his mother, detailing everything he could remember, up to touching the sphere, at which point his memories ended. John decided to keep the portion of the palace secret, as he had no idea if it was a dream or not.

His mother looked at him while he detailed his events, her face becoming ever more complicated as the story progressed. She sighed deeply at the end of John's story, not knowing what to say.

"Mom, what was that place? And what was that sphere? Why was it hidden down there, and why are we in possession of something so terrifying?" he asked his mother.

As he was asking his questions, his father Barden walked into the room. A relieved look washed across Barden's face as he noticed that John appeared to be alright, but his expression immediately became complicated as he heard John's question.

Rachel noticed her husband walk into the room and looked at him, unsure of how to reply to John.

Barden opened and closed his mouth a few times, trying to find the right words to say, before answering John.

"It involves a family secret that only your mother and I, as well as the clan leader knows about." Barden answered. He continued "The truth of the matter is...complicated, and despite us wanting to tell you about it, we have good reasons not to at the moment. We will explain to you everything you want to know when you're older, but now is not the time." Sitting to the side, Rachel Fenix had a downcast expression as she listened to her husband talk, as if a heavy burden weighed on her mind.

"What do you mean now is not the time? If not now, then when? And what does my age have to do with it?" John asked, both perplexed and angry. The terrifying sphere had almost killed him, but his parents still refused to say why they had it in the first place, or what it even was.

"In due time, my son, but not now. Now, we have a question to ask you. What did you do with the sphere?" his father asked.

John didn't understand the question. As far as he could remember, as soon as his fingers touched the sphere, immense pain radiated throughout his entire body before he passed out. He didn't even pick up the sphere, let along take it.

"I didn't do anything. Like I explained to mother, I touched the sphere, and then passed out from the pain it caused. I didn't even pick it up, let alone take it. It should still be down in that room," John explained.

Rachel and Barden Fenix looked at each other, a range of emotions passing across their faces before letting out long sighs.

"Well, if that's the case then it's alright. How are you feeling?" asked Barden.

John slowly got out of bed and stretched his stiff body. He was expecting to feel pain after the damage his body received from picking up the sphere, but much to his surprise, he felt completely fine.

"I'm feeling great. In fact, I'm feeling better than ever. The three days of rest must have helped a lot," John replied while testing his body's condition. He threw out a few kicks and punches, the power of which completely stunned him. Raising his hands in front of him, he was at a loss for words.

Barden squinted, noticing that something about John was off. A second later, a slight expression of excitement flashed across his face before returning back to normal. He walked over to John and raised his right palm in front of John, saying "John, I want you to punch my hand with all your might."

John was confused by the request, but agreed and squared himself towards his father's hand. He took a wide and powerful stance before striking towards his father's hand with all his might.


A loud sound echoed around the room as John fist collided with his father's palm, and a shocked expression evident on John's face. John raised his fist in front of him, curious as to how he had put that much power into the punch.

"That punch was much stronger than anything I've ever thrown in my life!" John said his face tinged with shock.

After looking at his fist for a few seconds, he looked up to see an absolutely ecstatic look on his father's face. Barden raced over to him and grabbed his arms, then started poking and prodding John all over, before eventually letting out an excited shout of joy.

After taking a few seconds to calm down, Barden excitedly exclaimed "I thought my divine sense was lying to me, so I had to personally check to be sure. John, I don't know how it happened, but you are now a Body Refinement cultivator. And not only an early stage Body Refinement cultivator...you're already at the Muscle Refinement realm."

John could hardly believe the words he was hearing. In fact, for a few moments he thought his father was playing a cruel joke on him. But as he started analyzing his body, he realized that his father was telling the truth. Once he looked closely, he could clearly see the massive difference in his body. His organs were sturdier, his bones harder, his tendons more flexible, and his muscles brimming with power.

'How did this happen?' John wondered with disbelief, his thoughts drifting towards that mysterious sphere. He had never been able to cultivate, and even if he had been able to start cultivating, he would have needed to go step by step starting at the Organ Refinement realm. He had never heard of anyone going all the way to the Muscle Refinement realm in a single leap.

"John, do you know how this happened? When did you become able to cultivate?" his father asked.

John remained silent as he thought about the events that happened with the sphere, as well as the strange realm thereafter. When he touched the sphere, he remembered the feeling of something snapping inside of him, like a chain breaking that was shackling his body. He also thought about the palace realm thereafter, and the blood drop of terrifying power that entered his body.

'So that really wasn't a dream? I wasn't able to cultivate before I touched the sphere, but now I'm already a Body Refinement cultivator. There's nothing else that explains this situation,' John thought to himself. Although it was hard to believe, he could only come to the conclusion that everything that had occurred after he touched the sphere really happened.

'If everything from before really happened, then what exactly was that palace? And how did I get there?' he wondered, but no matter how he thought about it, he had no idea how any of that happened. All he could surmise is that everything was related to that dark and mysterious sphere.

Noticing John's silence, Barden didn't ask again. "Well, regardless of the reason, my son is now a cultivator, and I couldn't be happier. This calls for a celebration. I'll immediately alert my father. We must throw a grand celebration for this occasion," his father exclaimed before striding out of the room.

Rachel Fenix could only smile at her husband's newfound happiness as she watched him leave, then turned to John. "Well, regardless of all that happened, you're safe and sound and that's all that matters. You must be starving. I'll go make some of your favorite stew."

John watched his mother leave the room as he stood there speechless, still coming to terms with everything that just happened. A large smile eventually appeared on John's face, as he came to terms with his newfound ability to cultivate.

"I can finally start cultivating!" John exclaimed loudly, clenching his fists tightly. "The feeling of being powerless while watching others soar to heights I could never reach was unbearable. Never again. Now that I can cultivate, I will ascend as high as I can reach on the martial path, so I never feel like that again!"

He then walked over to the washroom and cleaned himself, before walking to his wardrobe and donning his favorite black robe. Then, a single thought crept across his mind as he started walking towards his balcony door. Opening the door and striding through, John took a large breath of fresh air and walked to the balconies edge.

The sun hung high in the sky as John gazed at the scenery below him. His mansions sprawling garden stretched out in front of him, with flowers of various kinds dotting the landscape. Multiple fountains were arranged in a circle around the garden, their runoff causing rivulets leading to a small pond in the middle of the garden, which shimmered wonderfully under the bright sun.

After taking in the scenery for some time, John climbed up on the balcony railing and looked towards the ground thirty feet below. Taking another deep breath, he stepped off the railings edge and plummeted to the surface below.

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