The village – if it could even be called as such – was simply a collection of mud houses that the demons had built. There were eight elders, and close to 400 other demons that lived here. They were stranded on the Human Realm and were the descendants of soldiers that had once conquered the place.
With the demon forces in the Human Realm on the decline, it was natural that they would seclude themselves from the secular world and attempt to remain here peacefully. Most of the demons were old, grey-haired, hermit-like beings, and rarely interacted with Ethan.
That was fine with him, since he actually preferred the silence. It allowed him to gather his thoughts, and to concentrate on the task at hand.
After a quick run around the settlement, Ethan finished his warm-up by shadow boxing for half an hour. After that, he returned to the small area in front of his shack and started training with his constructs. Since it was an Ultra rank skill at LV100, there was almost no lag between activation and the materialization of the constructs. He first made a full-plate armour, using the Will, Hope, Rage, Fear and Greed. Will hardened it, Hope strengthened Will, Rage added a corrosive effect, while Fear and Greed acted as CC. The main colour was green, but there were occasional wisps of red, yellow and orange that flitted across the surface.
Next, he made a weapon that he was the most familiar with – the sword. Boasting a 1.5m blade and an incomparable sharpness, he swung it around like a child's toy. Of course, since constructs were simply objects materialized using emotions, they had no weight. Despite that, the hardness of the sword meant that it was extremely sharp.
Dual-wielding such a weapon, Ethan had beheaded billions of his enemies on the battlefield – like a true God of War.
His swordsmanship had long reached the peak, so what he was doing now was imprinting the movements into his muscles so that they would move by themselves, rather than at his urging. Even though he wouldn't be able to display the Sword Arts' true might, it was enough for most encounters at his current level. Furthermore, having a solid foundation would allow him to recover his past strength at a quicker pace.
This kind of practice meant that his speed would exceed all of his opponents, since he didn't even need to think. It was the kind of thing that all good fighters wanted, yet only very few achieved. Giving his muscles a mind of their own, to act on their own instinct… only a select few at the peak could reach this state. Yet Ethan knew how to achieve it, and was practicing at such an early age!
Needless to say, Rome wasn't built in a day. He still had a long road ahead of him, and he could only take one step at a time. For now, he was content with being stronger than everyone in his generation. Not only within the demons, but also within the humans. After all, he was in the Human Realm. It was inevitable that he would need to come into contact with them.
Luckily, he had the Disguise skill maxed out. If it came down to it, he could pretend to be a human and 'inform' troops about the village. For Ethan, who had been the Demon Emperor for over 500 years, a ruthless yet simple decision such as this did not faze him at all. Anyone on Earth, or even within the Human Realm, would call him utterly heartless. However, he was not from this 10th Universe. He wasn't even from this… 'place', and had no true parents here.
There was nothing tying him down here, except for the fact that he couldn't return to Earth.
He would feel nothing for anyone other than those he loved. For them, he would do anything. Anyone else could go die in a drain for all he cared.
His current short-term goal was simple. He needed to infiltrate the humans, then find a way back to the Demon Realm. Once there, he could begin his true 'mission' of becoming the Demon Emperor. Based on the backstory of the Universes, if he brought the 10th Universe under his control, it was very likely that he could merge them all back into one Universe, with him at the top.
The only thing that troubled him was the existence of the system. He had no idea what it was, or who controlled it. He didn't know its motive, or where it got its powers from. All he knew was that it had indirectly tasked him with the reconstruction of the Universe.
In any case, it was obvious that he had a lot to do.
Finishing up his practice, he returned to his little shack and sat on his bed. He immediately activated his Soul Power cultivation method. This kind of technique was best used when both body and soul were exhausted.
The theory behind the method was simple. The soul was the container and producer of Soul Power. When one's Power ran out, the soul would be squeezed of Soul Power to replenish the stock. When this happened, the amount of Power released would increase at a rate dependant on the person's Soul Grade. For Ethan, he had the highest of the highest Soul Grade, an Ultra Soul.
From Poor to Legendary, the increase rate started at 3% and increased at an increment of 1% every rank. At the Ultra grade, the increase rate was 10%. Of course, this was only due to Ethan's cultivation technique. Other techniques had much worse increase rates.
Another thing to mention was that the soul would require 'rest' before it could produce more Soul Power. This 'rest' period also changed the higher the Soul Grade was. Poor grade souls required six hours, which each rank above requiring half an hour less. An Ultra Soul only required two hours.
For Ethan, with his almost cheat-like soul, he would take six hours before he could amass 1,000,000 Soul Power, granting him an additional legacy level. Granted, he was unable to cultivate non-stop for the whole day. At most, he would be able to raise his level twice before running out of energy. After all, the Soul Power cultivation method required the exhaustion of both the soul and the physical body. His daily training would tire his physical body, while the concentration he put into it would tire his soul.
His body was still rather weak, so normal training would be able to tire him out. His soul, however, was the same 500+ year old soul he had beforehand. Apart from extreme concentration that he could induce during intense training, the only other method to tire it would be to fight much stronger opponents.
Naturally, as a demon in the Human Realm, he had no lack of such opponents. However, with the body of a child, there was no way he would fight them at the risk of his life.
Not to mention, he had to let his physical body recover as well. There were no grades for mortal bodies, so recovery took much longer than two hours. Even with Ultra Regen LV100, the time could only be shortened to four hours. Not only that, he was also training in a transcendental Sword Art and trying to ingrain it in his muscles. This caused them to pretty much completely break apart, and reconnect itself in accordance to the movements.
Ethan had figured out at some point in time that the stats the system showed only referred to the strengths afforded by Soul Power and levels. Strengthening his physical body would not show up as an increase in stats, and instead as a change that only he could feel. He had deduced that he would obtain god-level strength if he balanced both Soul Power and physical strength. As such, he had amended and adapted his training regime in accordance.
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Therefore, Ethan did not mind at all that his level was rising 'slowly'.