Damien froze as the man’s words played on repeat inside his head. A potion that could cure any wound or disease. Even if one was on the brink of death with their heart pierced and body mutilated, Elixir could bring them back to the peak of their health.
With this information came a rush of emotion. Scenes of his mother replayed in his mind. Her efforts to raise him after his dad disappeared, the constant stress she endured that started turning her hair white even before she was 40, and the way that she never let him worry about a thing, even while she was carrying such a major burden.
Ever since he was old enough to understand the struggles she was going through just to give him a proper life, he had been overflowing with the urge to repay her, but before he could even gain a method to do so, the world changed. His mother fell into a coma and rather than being able to repay her, he was forced to do everything he could to just keep her alive.
So many things had been happening recently that Damien had put all these thoughts to the back of his mind, but the Elixir made him recall one of the only things he missed about Earth. If he could truly win first place in this event and gain the prize, he would have a way to cure his mother the second he gets back to Earth.
His old determination rose to prominence once more as Damien managed to lift himself off of his seat and rush out of the tavern. His destination? The adventurers guild. The trade center on the 6th to 10th floor wasn’t just for material items, but information as well.
And while the man in the tavern would be much cheaper, he preferred to spend some money to use a reliable source instead. He had plenty of money anyway. He wasn’t a lavish spender in the slightest and his 3 months of constant work ended up compiling him a small fortune.
Entering the guild, Damien went straight to the 8th floor where the information brokers stayed and queued into line. All of the brokers who were allowed to sell their services at the guild were trustworthy, so it didn’t matter which one he went to.
Plus, the information he was looking for wasn’t secretive, so he didn’t need to be cautious.
Half an hour later, it was Damien’s turn, and he didn’t waste a second as he entered the private room. In front of Damien was a stick-like old man with a flowing white beard that made him look like a martial arts master.
“What do you seek from me today?” The old man said as Damien made himself comfortable on the couch in front of him.
“I want all information you have on the upcoming Nexus Event. From the general things to the requirements to participate.” Damien responded.
“Very well. That will be 350 gold.”
Damien stared at the old man for a few seconds before nodding his head and taking out a storage ring with the money in it. It was well known that the brokers here were exorbitant in their prices, so he didn’t make a fuss.
On another note, Damien had realized that he was showing off his inventory quite frequently on accident, so he went out and bought 2 storage rings. One was just a decoration to make people believe he wasn’t using his own spatial storage, and the other was for transactions.
Accepting the money, the old man began to talk. “After the Great War that took place 1000 years ago, the various races on Apeiron decided that they needed to build their relationships and solidify their bonds in case a similar situation ever happened again.”
Damien was startled at the sudden history lesson that seemed to raise some sort of flag, but he ignored it and continued listening.
“The solution they decided on was the Nexus Event. Every 10 years, all races and empires of the world have their younger generations compete for prizes and opportunities. During this event, many can forge connections and make alliances for the betterment of the world.”
Damien understood the importance of such an event. Even back on Earth, they would have events like the Olympics that were hosted and attended by many nations of the world.
“Although there are still struggles for supremacy between those who live in this world, the event signifies their promise for unity against outside threats.”
Pausing for a second, the old man looked deeply at Damien. Although he was currently giving information, he was also attempting to gain information.
He had long heard of the rumored “Grim Reaper” who had shown up out of the blue, and many were interested in his history. The man wanted to see if Damien had any reaction to the mention of outside threats, but he was left without any hints. Seeing that his probe failed, he continued.
“As for the requirements to participate, it’s really simple. As long as you are below 40 years old you can gain entry, but this is only as a regular participant. To be qualified as a genius, you need to gain recognition. For our Human Race, the place where you can do this is the Zenith Academy.”
While 40 years sounds old, it was nothing in the eyes of true powerhouses. As one leveled up, their lifespan would naturally increase as mana regulated their body functions.
A 1st class alone can live for 200 years before dying naturally, while a 2nd class has 500 years, a 3rd class has 1000 years and a 4th class has 2000 years. As for 5th class, that remained a mystery.
Due to this, Damien wasn’t surprised by the age limit. Damien had also read about the Zenith Academy. It was a public academy in the human domain that was prided as the #1 magic academy in the entire world, including those of other races.
This academy was completely unbiased and unsegregated, even accepting students of other races. As long as one fit the standards of the academy, they were free to join.
There was only one question Damien still had. “What’s the difference between entering as a genius and through normal methods?”
The old man smiled. “It’s simple really. It’s a matter of status and opportunity. While everyone will be participating together whether they are a genius or average, geniuses get priority to be seeded and are given better accommodations during the duration of the event. If you are planning to enter, I suggest you try to do so as a genius.”
Damien nodded his head as he began to formulate a rough outline of his next moves. As he moved to edit the room, the old man once again spoke up.
“Ah! I almost forgot about prizes. 3rd place will receive an SS rank artifact, 2nd place will receive a rare permanent stat boost potion along with the 3rd place prize, and 1st place receives the other prizes as well as Elixir, which you’ve probably already heard about. However, this is not it.”
The old man watched Damien’s intrigued expression with a smile on his face. He enjoyed seeing the younger generation produce talents with ambition like Damien.
“Since it is the 1000th anniversary of the Nexus Event, the peak powers of each race decided to pull out all the stops. Along with providing Elixir, a potion whose rarity is on par with the number of 4th class experts of the world, they decided to allow the top 50 participants to enter into the Eternal Secret Realm.”
Damien’s eyes widened in shock. With Kurt being a supreme powerhouse of the world, he had naturally left behind information on the Eternal Secret Realm. This realm was like a hidden world that could only be opened by the joint efforts of many 4th stage powerhouses.
It was a mystical place filled with both high risks and high rewards. It’s said that even the small amount of Elixir that was present in the world was obtained from this secret realm. The number of treasures inside were innumerable, but there were many hostile beasts and a few barbaric races that lived inside it.
Thanking the old man, Damien left the guild and headed back to his house. ‘The tournament is my ticket to saving my mother while the secret realm is my ticket to 3rd class. This set of events might be my ticket back to Earth.’
Now that he had fought one, Damien knew the true difference between second and 3rd class. There was a reason why 3rd class consisted of 100 levels rather than 50 like first and second class.
Even Adrian, who was only at the beginning of 3rd class, had around 10 times the amount of mana that Damien had. The only reason he was able to win was because he hadn’t allowed Adrian to make use of that large mana capacity.
If Damien was able to achieve 3rd class, he would finally be able to go home, if home was even the right word anymore. Even if his mana capacity wasn’t enough to warp him back to Earth, his vector control would have improved to the point where traversing space would be easy.
His warp ability couldn’t take him to Earth, but that was solely due to mana capacity. Through his attempts, he had sensed the general direction and distance to Earth. It wasn’t that far at all. Even if he had to spend years traversing outer space, he’d do it.
His main goal was always to return. While he had a burning desire to explore the universe and the myriad of worlds it contained, this could wait until he had healed his mother.
Damien smiled thinking that he had finally seen a path forward.
‘Well, it’s a bit cliche, but I guess it’s time to start my own academy arc. Let’s just hope it isn’t as boring as high school.’