Emery arrived at the Earth Institute.
He walked out of the portal, the endless sand dunes on his back and in front were the hundreds to thousands of houses made out of clay.
The towering yellow pillar in the center stood in all its glory, welcoming all those who came to this planet called Animus.
While he walked on the streets, he noticed that the crowds were lesser this time around.
He watched as a dozen of them of uniformed acolytes walked past him and some of the people he had passed by were actually not wearing the Magus Academy\'s uniform.
Emery looked over those who were wearing the academy\'s uniform, based on the number of their badge pinned on the collars, Emery could tell that they were mostly junior acolytes, but only one or two were senior acolytes like him.
No longer paying them attention, Emery went inside of the yellow pillar and greeted a senior acolyte who was currently waiting in the grand lobby.
Emery approached him and after giving a nod, the acolytes responded with a friendly tone, Is there anything I can help you with
Yes, Emery said.
I would like to join the Earth Institute.
The last time he had been here, he had not yet reached rank 2 acolyte.
He achieved it on the last day.
Hence, he hadn\'t had the chance to apply formally in the Earth Institute since their requirement was to become a rank 2 acolyte first.
Instead of the test pushing the rock, the examination this time was quite different.
A yellowish crystallized cube hovered in front of him and shot out a light, which scanned his whole body.
[Acolyte rank 5]
[Earth elemental affinity found]
[You are eligible to apply to the Earth Institute]
Yes, accept, said Emery with a nod.
[You are now an Earth Institute member]
Emery was quite surprised as to why the test had changed and this was one much easier.
He then figured that the rock pushing that Magus Darius had asked them to do the first time he was here was only for first year acolytes to gauge how quickly they would gain understanding regarding their affinity with the earth element.
But apparently, since he had already reached rank 5 and no longer a new acolyte, the test no longer seemed necessary.
[Would you like to get your joining package]
Yes, Emery answered the floating cube.
Since you are a member of the Magus Academy, we will provide you with one tier 1 spell as well as a tier 2 spell]
[Please choose a spell among the list.]
A bunch of spells appeared right before Emery\'s like.
This was a bit different from how he had received the [Analyze] and [Universal Flora Knowledge] upon his joining in the Apothecary Institute wherein he hadn\'t been given an option.
Still, these were free spells in which he hadn\'t to pay for so he was happy with that.
Emery was browsing and reading the description of spells.
[Rock Bullet - Tier 1]
[Stone Skin - Tier 1]
[Soften Earth - Tier 1]
[Glow stone - Tier 1]
[Mudwall - Tier 2]
[Ash Blast - Tier 2]
[Stone Fist - Tier 2]
At the moment, he already had a very reliable [Stone Skin] spell.
The rock bullet could be useful, but its strength and function should be about the same with his water element [whip splash] The [Soften Earth] and [Glow Stone] are more into utility spells.But Emery suddenly though [Soften Earth] could be a very useful spell for him.
He will always be around looking for plants somewhere, having a spell that could soften the rock could come in handy.
There is also the Duma\'s underground tunnel that he needed to explore soon or later.
As for tier two spell, [stone fist] the description says different than [Stone Skin] that makes the whole body into stone, this spell focuses all the energy into the fist, making the fist attack much stronger.But as Emery doesn\'t know much hand to hand skill, this spell is not for him.
The [Ash Blast] as an offensive spell also sounds very interesting, but Emery decided to go instead with the same tier two spell Julian had [Mudwall].
He thought this [Mudwall] would be more useful in a team fight, especially if they were about to be surrounded like his most recent experience in the savage planet with the hundreds of dumas.
If he cast together with Julian, Emery believed they could create a much stronger defense.
[Soften Earth - Tier 1 - Earth element]
[Mudwall - Tier 2 - Earth element]
Of course Emery still needed to spend some time learning the spell before he could use it, but he was very confident he could quickly master this spell.
Also, with the added information from the acolyte, it looked like he would also be getting a tier three spell, once he reached rank 6, just like Klea.
Hence, he became somewhat excited at the prospect of reaching rank 6 as soon as possible.
Getting back to business, he shook off his rising thoughts and got straight to the point.
He asked the acolyte, I wonder… is the stone origin room available
The acolyte nodded with a smile.
Yes, and you are in luck! Currently, it\'s available for all acolytes.
The yellow crystal cube once again approached Emery.
[Entry to the Earth\'s origin stone room]
[500 contribution points for half day]
For first year acolytes there was a free half day usage to help with their quick ascendance in the acolyte ranks, however, for second year acolytes, this has been changed.
This must be one of the reasons why they had extremely limited access in their first year.
Emery and his friend have discussed the use of contribution for time in the origin stone room, as it cannot be accessed with spirit stone but contribution point only, this was most likely one of the usage that woman\'s master had mentioned.
The earth origin stone room\'s main function was to help an acolyte better the element they were placed in quicker.
Right now, the benefit this room would provide him far outweighed what he would receive from consuming the spirit serum.
He needed this more so he could finally breakthrough in his cultivation.
So, without thinking too much about it, and since it was still quite early in the morning, Emery decided to pay one days worth of training.
[1000 contribution points has been taken]
Emery was then transported in front of the humongous stone gate.
The stones which Darius had summoned before were no longer here, but the same guard was still here.
After the guard checked Emery\'s information and access, he then allowed Emery to enter.
In the moment Emery took one step inside, immediately everything within his being felt heavy but not as heavy when he had first come in here.
He walked toward the stone sitting on top of three platforms and unlike before, there were clearly fewer than a thousand cultivating in this place.
Emery remembered that his limit before was eleven steps before he felt an unseeable wall blocking him, this time however, he was able to walk five more steps.
After that, he once again felt the same feeling.
He was unable to walk a step further.
Since he knew trying to push through wouldn\'t work and the steps were based on how high his understanding about the earth element, Emery decided to just sit on the floor and meditate.
Emery kept his eyes closed feeling as if the huge rock was about to crush him once again.
He kept calm though and then, he could suddenly feel the smooth flow of the earth element entering his dark core.
As he kept his focus, suddenly the illusion of the huge stone again trying to flatten him lessened.
It stopped what it was doing and then the same stone flew right in front of him as if it was asking to be touched.
Emery did as his instinct was telling him to do and tried touching the stone.
The instant his fingertips reached the stone, the rock glowed and his hand turned into a stone while feeling a wonderful sensation.
His hand became a bridge between him and stone as a rush of earth elemental power made its way to his dark core.
Emery\'s dark core spun in excitement while receiving a huge boon of energy.
Emery was then starting to feel that he was becoming one with the stone, unmoving and hard as a huge granite stone on a mountain.
Emery then awakened feeling ecstatic all over.
He noticed a new piece of information from his palm and after he read it, he smiled.
[You have achieve breakthrough into reaching peak stage earth element]
[Spirit force has increased]
[Spirit force has increased]
[Battle power has increased]
He looked at the time and noticed just a little over half a day had passed.
In that short amount of time, he had already received two points in spirit force and most importantly a breakthrough to his element understanding! It was a well spent 1,000 contribution points, he thought.
And since he still had more time left, Emery wasn\'t going to waste it and continued his meditation.
By the end of the day, he received two more spirit force point.
Today\'s experience had really riled him up.
It was addictive for him, so Emery couldn\'t wait to go to the Water Institute next.