Chapter 72: Solar Bulwark
After bidding farewell to everyone, Su Ping and Fan Yujing went to the front counter of the base to apply for departure and to have the Nether Ore decontaminated. Once this was done, they could head to the designated pick-up station inside the base city to retrieve the ore.
Without wasting any time, they took their car to travel back to the city in the middle of the night.
When they reached the major intercity highway, the horizon was already brightening up. On the front passenger seat, Su Ping yawned in boredom and began checking what he earned for finishing the rescue mission.
It seemed to be a skill designed to enhance his body. He didn’t have to read the book because its content was already imprinted in his brain.
“Let me see… Solar Bulwark is a bodily cultivation art created by an ancient clan of mythical creatures called the Jinwu, or ‘the golden sun crow’. Those who master this art will receive devastating strength that can punch through mountains and lands. Once perfected, it will even allow its user to shatter the stars and resurrect from fatal injuries.
“To harvest its power, you must draw in the energy of nature and develop a core of celestial consciousness inside, which in turn helps fortify your inner structure as well as your mentality. When you fully synchronize with this consciousness, you will be able to temporarily transform into a fledgling golden crow who can fly faster than sound and unleash an impinging blaze…”
Reading the description of the new skill had helped Su Ping get rid of the drowsiness completely. He knew he could expect something good from the system. But not this good!
If the book wasn’t overstating things, this art must have come from mythical creatures who could use all kinds of unimaginable moves.
“I can even become a mythical crow? Awesome…” He couldn’t help but feel extremely thrilled at the moment. As he remembered, “mythical” was a term for very ancient beings that existed way before Beast Kings came to be.
Also according to the book, this skill only had seven ranks, while proceeding to each following rank was extremely hard. At the same time, reaching a new rank would exceedingly improve its performance.
The first rank allowed its wielder to withstand common blades and bullets using an unprotected body and move at sonic speed. This alone meant powerful defenses, already as strong as that of fifth-rank Astral Pets.
Getting to the next rank meant moving even faster and defending against deadlier assaults such as armor-piercing weapons and cannons, which were commonly used against eighth or ninth-rank Astral Pets.
At the third rank, the user would be able to activate the “golden crow mode” and use several basic moves available to this particular mythical beast. In extreme situations, he might even survive in space briefly.
“Wicked! This thing can make people as sturdy as Astral Pets. Guess this is how battle pet warriors from old times trained. Well, as the masters of powerful pets, they should be strong themselves.”
Their car had entered the city area. Soon, they reached the street where Su Ping had been picked up the other day.
“We’re here.” Fan Yujing parked the car and was going to see Su Ping off.
Su Ping was already leaving. “I’ll be seeing you.”
“Thank you for your help. Really.”
“Don’t mention it.”
Fan Yujing saw Su Ping going away without looking back and shook his head with a bitter smile.
Su Ping’s plan of sneaking back into his bedroom went bust when he saw his mother, Li Qingru, waiting right inside the living room. What was worse, Li Qingru was giving him a cold gaze that made him feel as if he were being stared down by an actual Beast King.
“Where have you been?”
“Staying up late, mom?” Su Ping felt bad all of a sudden.
“Just come here.”
Defeated, Su Ping went ahead while getting ready for a good beat-up.
Li Qingru checked him and made sure there weren’t any smells of alcohol or weed.
“Where did you go?”
“I was helping someone with their computer—wait, no. I was out looking after someone’s pet.”
“Someone’s pet? It took you an entire night?”
Su Ping had no choice but to follow up with his lie. Thankfully, his mother believed him somewhat, since he was looking after their shop after all.
“Did you tire yourself out? Oh dear. Are you hungry?”
“Yeah, uh, sorta.”
“Go wash your face. You look awful. I’ll prepare breakfast. And remember to wake your sister up. If you’re feeling unwell, you can take the day off.”
Once again, Su Ping felt glad that he had a home and someone who cared for him in this cruel world.
He went to the bathroom to get washed as told, although he might need some more time to take care of his watering eyes.
Once this was done, he went to Su Lingyue’s room upstairs. He didn’t need to knock on the door because Su Lingyue came out first as if she knew this would happen.
Su Lingyue gave him an unfriendly glare, pushed him aside, and walked away.
“Don’t stay outside at night again.”
Su Ping raised an eyebrow, not sure what she meant by that.
The duration of the breakfast was awfully quiet. As soon as Su Lingyue finished her meal, she headed off to her academy without insulting Su Ping, which was pretty rare.
Su Ping still went to his shop as usual despite his mother’s suggestion. His trained body could take a sleepless night or two without trouble.
The business was poor as always. The few customers who did decide to come in were scared away by the price tags, without giving Su Ping any chance to introduce his merchandise.
He felt bored. Very, very bored.
Thankfully, he had something to do in the meantime, such as studying the four basic augmentation skills he just obtained from the settler base. Those skills worked by creating astral runes that were affixed onto his pets, using his astral power. To make the enhancement last longer, he had to “paint” the runes as accurately and completely as possible.
Learning how to paint astral runes was usually difficult at first. But being someone who had read a Chaos Star Chart before could get familiarized with such runes rather fast. Within a day, he successfully grasped all four augmentations of the first rank, which would usually take common students one to three months, or even half a year for someone bad at studying.
Using his spare time, he would also occasionally use the computer to look for tools and medications that could help him train Solar Bulwark, so he could get them from the settler base later.
The first rank and the very foundation of Solar Bulwark required an insanely large amount of natural energy to enhance his body. Using the energy, he could forge his body just like he would a weapon, until his flesh became hardy enough to both deflect blades and unleash devastating punches and kicks.