Chapter 331 – Commander Stage
Over the next two months, Shang taught the barbarians quite a bit about fighting in a group to please the Mages. As long as he was in their good graces, nobody would suspect his loyalty.
With Shang’s power, it wasn’t difficult to gain the respect of all the barbarians.
Just as promised, Shang received one fire beast heart every two weeks, giving him enough resources to increase his power by a lot.
The beast Mana was difficult to deal with, but the Procedure allowed Shang to absorb even more Mana than normal. For the remaining Mana, Shang had to actively drive it out of his body, which took a lot of effort.
However, he still managed to clean himself of the beast Mana just before he got the next heart.
Two months after arriving in the Plague Rat Zone, Researcher Veral began to experiment on Shang. He didn’t perform surgeries or anything on him, but he kept testing Shang’s threshold regarding strengthening Magic.
Having several strengthening Spells cast on one put a lot of pressure and pain on one’s body, and it wasn’t any different for Shang. It was normal for his body to bleed or for one or more of his bones to break.
Whenever that happened, Researcher Veral looked with interest at Shang’s broken body and made some notes. Obviously, he didn’t care even the slightest bit about Shang’s health.
Even worse, he was constantly encouraging and complimenting Shang while he was in pain to get him to stay loyal. It was almost like Researcher Veral wanted Shang to get Stockholm Syndrome.
‘If you already see me as worthless trash, at least be honest,’ Shang thought with annoyance as more Spells were put on his body.
The next couple of months were not pleasant at all. Shang bled on a daily basis, and Researcher Veral got more and more interesting ideas to strengthen Shang.
At some point, he even got the idea to carve Magic Circles into Shang’s flesh. Of course, he had to test it immediately after getting the idea.
The constant healing of Shang’s body became a problem to Researcher Veral, which was why he designed the Magic Circles to constantly burn into Shang’s body.
After a couple of weeks of pain and testing, Researcher Veral realized that this didn’t really work, and he got rid of the Magic Circles.
Shang had an incredible tolerance to pain, but even he had problems with those weeks.
‘I only have to hold out for a couple more months,’ he thought.
His body had already become a lot stronger. He guessed that his body was about 75% as powerful as the body of an equal beast.
Shang kept going through more and more torture in the name of science, but with every passing day, it became easier.
And like that, the eight months Shang needed eventually passed.
By now, Shang’s body was about 85% as powerful as the body of a Peak General Stage beast, which was insane.
This meant that Shang could beat a beast on his level with bare hands as long as he didn’t fight like a complete idiot. Even more, nearly every warrior could achieve the same. The Procedure was open to them, and the Dean would probably very soon develop something very similar to the Grandmountain Kingdom’s barbarian strengthening technique.
Right now, warriors needed to fight in groups of four to kill a beast on their level, and the fight definitely wouldn’t be easy.
But with the Procedure and the strengthening technique, they would have absolutely no issues with fighting beasts. One warrior could easily kill one beast on their level, and the fight wouldn’t even be difficult. Beasts on the same level would no longer be a problem.
In essence, this was equal to Mages. Mages also didn’t have any issues with beasts on their level.
The way was finally clear.
‘My body is at its limit. I guess 85% is the maximum I can achieve without Abominations,’ Shang thought.
Right now, Shang was being bombarded with strengthening Spells again in the basement of the black castle. However, he didn’t pay much attention. He was simply just sitting there, thinking about different things.
“That’s it for today,” Researcher Veral said with a thoughtful expression. “I need to analyze this data. Come back tomorrow morning.”
Shang stood up from the Magic Circle, his body finally healing after the avalanche of Spells had stopped. “Yes, sir,” Shang said.
Then, Shang left the basement as Researcher Veral kept focusing on the sheets of paper in front of him.
He had no idea that this was the last time he would see Shang.
It was a day like any other.
Nothing special was happening.
Shang left the castle, the Mages no longer even looking at him. They had become used to Shang constantly walking around the castle. He was the only barbarian allowed to be here.
After leaving the castle, Shang walked towards the north, onto a rather tall hill.
In the middle of a hill was a cave, and Shang entered without hesitation.
The cave continued going down into the hill for about a hundred meters before it stopped.
Funnily enough, this wasn’t a natural cave, but one Shang had dug for himself. He said that he was digging this cave so that he had a place for himself, a home.
Nobody thought anything about it.
Down at the bottom of the cave, Shang sat down and put Sword on his legs.
Then, he focused on his Mana.
Shang moved the Mana in his body around and focused on his Affinity.
For the first time, Shang used his Domain while actually having Mana.
Ever since his fight with Vice-Commander Wilbury, Shang hadn’t had any opportunity to use his Domain of Entropy.
But right now, he needed it to advance to the Commander Stage.
It was finally time.
As Shang sat on the ground, he heard the sounds of moving sand. This sound represented the walls and ground of the cave turning into sand and then turning into nothingness.
Shang felt a significant drain on his Mana, but he also saw that his body was digging further into the hill without even moving. Everything around him simply turned to Mana.
Under the effect of his Domain, Shang’s Mana began to flow smoothly throughout his body while slowly thinning, but that was how it was supposed to go.
The Mana inside Shang’s muscles began to be pulled out to supplement the usage of Shang’s Mana. Under normal circumstances, the body wouldn’t do that. After all, this would weaken the body.
But with Shang’s insistence, the Mana inside his muscles stretched throughout his entire body.
And then, Shang used the incredible control he had over his Mana to connect the strands of Mana with different muscles.
It took a couple of hours of intense concentration, but eventually, Shang managed to connect his individual muscles with strands of Mana.
And then, he stopped using his Domain.
As soon as he stopped, the muscles pulled back their Mana. Muscle A pulled Mana out of Muscle B, which pulled Mana out of Muscle C and so on.
Every muscle was pulling Mana from a different one, which resulted in the creation of a circle.
As soon as the circle appeared, the thick Mana inside the cave was being pulled into Shang’s body. The rotational effect had some kind of pull on Natural Mana.
Over the next two hours, Shang’s body pulled in more and more Mana until it finally became saturated.
Shang felt some kind of barrier break inside of him, and he felt his strength skyrocket!
It had finally happened!
Finally, Shang was at the Commander Stage!
The images of the different teachers in the Warrior Academy appeared inside his mind.
Their power had always been monstrous to Shang.
But now, he was on their level!
He was as strong as them and probably even stronger than most!
Shang now belonged to the strongest physical fighters in the world!
In fact, Shang was probably even amongst the 50 most powerful physical fighters in the entire world right now!