Even if Tigerfang was only a Tier-0 Artifact – also called Tierless because it could be bound by any kind of War Rune – it was of exceptional quality. Five Stars meant that it was of Epic Quality! It was super rare!!
"Why didn't you use that money to expand your territory?! You could have easily doubled the size of your territory with the fortune you wasted on that!" Michael shouted even before he realized it. He didn't want his brother to suffer because of him.
However, upon seeing Danny's stern expression, the next words died on Michael's tongue. He couldn't force himself to speak aloud.
"Take it and try to bind it to your War Rune. If the toll is too high, I have weapons with a lower rating for you to bind. I don't care what you say about the costs of the Artifacts, you need to be as strong as possible to survive in the Origin Expanse! If you reject my help now, you might be dead before you realize your mistake," Danny reprimanded his brother, his voice growing more serious and colder.
He was dead serious.
If necessary, he would shove the Artifacts deep into his brother's throat!
Michael had never seen his brother like that. For a moment, he felt like saying something, but he knew better than to argue with Danny.
He silently picked up Tigerfang and willed the War Rune to bind the thin longsword. A thin white tentacle-like thread emerged from the War Rune. It wiggled uncontrollably, searching for the Artifact it was supposed to bind. Michael quietly moved Tigerfang closer to connect the tentacle-like thread before he observed the next few steps carefully.
Even his brother stared at the process intently.
'Good thing that he is not as restless as I was when I bound my first Artifact.' Daniel Fang thought with a bitter expression on his face as he recalled his own stupidity. The pain was forever branded in his mind.
Michael's War Rune bound Tigerfang slowly, and the process lasted for quite a while. It could have been done instantaneously but Michael willed the War Rune to take its time. Meanwhile, his body's temperature slowly increased as well. A warm, fuzzy sensation engulfed his entire body. It was comfortable.
Unfortunately, this warm and soothing sensation turned into searing heat after a few minutes. Michael could sense drastic enhancement in his physical strength, but he was also painfully aware that he was reaching his limit.
'A little bit more and I won't be able to handle it,' He thought just before he slumped to the ground.
His back was drenched in cold sweat and his shirt was plastered to his body, but he smiled foolishly. The white tentacle-like strand of the War Rune returned to where it belonged.
'I made it…though just barely. An Epic Tierless Artifact is all I can handle right now…This is crazy…"
Michael had yet to test his current prowess, but he felt like his agility and strength had at least doubled in power. His senses had also been enhanced.
'An Epic Artifact is truly special. I will repay you for this treasure…just wait and watch, brother!' He swore in his heart, clenching his fist.
Closing his eyes, Michael focused on his consciousness – just like he often read in the books about War Rune and the Origin Expanse.
He used his Will to transform Tigerfang into a ball of light that fused back into the War Rune. Knowing the basics and having sound theoretical knowledge was a great advantage. It didn't indicate that he should be perfect in the practical aspect, but it helped, nonetheless. In a matter of minutes, he was able to see a small light hidden in the deepest parts of his body.
'The light is the War Rune, isn't it?' Michael wondered.
The ball of light that belonged to Tigerfang had transformed into an illusionary shadow that revolved around the small light. That was another effect of Artifacts. The enhancement effect provided by Artifacts would never fade off. He was fine with it as long as his body could withstand the effect – which he could barely.
It was merely an external aid, an enhancement granted through the Artifacts, but it was still amazing.
His survival rate increased drastically!
As long as the enhancement effect was not too strong for his body that could cause him to collapse, or splatter into countless pieces, he would be fine.
The thin longsword was perfect for him, and so was the enhancement he had received.
Swords were considered a Jack of all trades, which was exactly what Michael needed. He could end up in a desert, in the midst of a savannah, or even in a tundra region upon entering the Origin Expanse. Luck was the deciding factor – which was usually bad for the Fang Family. His territory could be anywhere, and having a sword around was probably the most helpful.
Of course, there were always circumstances in which even the mightiest weapons would turn useless. However, that was not something Michael wanted to think about right now.
"If you think you can handle more Artifacts, I have a few Tierless, Starless, and One-star Artifacts that won't burden you mu–..."
"I'm already at my limit, thanks Danny," Michael said in a weak voice. Talking seemed like a perilous task right now so he took a few breaths and smiled at his brother, knowing deep down that his brother was just worried about him.
"The storage space in your War Rune is quasi non-existent right now, so I can only support you this way…This is so frustrating…" Danny mumbled to himself," Otherwise, I would have also given you a bunch of resources and Summoning Scrolls…"
'Since when have you started doting on me so much? Did someone replace you with my disciplined and bad-tempered brother?!' Michael wondered, but he just smiled at Danny. It was rare to see his brother nervous like this.
Michael didn't mind the change in his brother's attitude, but it was strangely out of place for his elder brother to be so frazzled. Usually, his brother was busy being in the Origin Expanse or thinking about it. Only when they trained in the sword or gobbled down family-sized meals by themselves did his brother's thoughts drift away from the Origin Expanse.
This obsession his brother had developed was something Michael was worried about, at first. However, right now, he was curious to know what the Origin Expanse must have done to his brother to turn him into a helpless addict of the Origin Expanse.
Michael focused on adjusting his mind and body to the enhancement he received from the Epic Artifact for the next half an hour before he approached the White Gate.
After several years of hard work, it was finally time to enter the Origin Expanse. Michael was overflowing with excitement, but he was also nervous. Everything could go terribly wrong!
lightsΝοvεl ƈοmHe would have loved to carry a few more things to the Origin Expanse but only the clothes he wore, the Artifacts bound to the War Rune, and the items stored inside the War Rune could be brought to the Origin Expanse. Even carrying a backpack was useless since it would disappear into thin air.
As for guns, grenades, and other scientific weapons made outside the Origin Expanse, they wouldn't work inside.
"I'll take your leave now. Don't wait for me and take care of your territory. I will only return after the protection barrier is lifted and I'm certain that my territory won't be bulldozed once I leave," Michael said.
He smiled lightly at his brother, who recited all the warnings and instructions to be followed for the 100,000th time.
"If you don't feel prepared for the Origin Expanse, just abandon your territory, and become an Adventurer. I will gladly accept you in my territory. If your Soultrait is shit, don't feel burdened. Just give it your best. I know that you will make the best choice!"
'You're possessed, aren't you?' Michael groaned inwardly while continuing to smile.
He kept glancing at the luminescent white Gate that radiated an even brighter light. The material of the arched Gate was smooth and featureless. If not for the bright light engulfing it, one might mistake it for an ordinary, modern Gate.
However, it was much more than that. It was his opportunity for a greater future, a way to turn his family's misfortunes into great opportunities.
He stepped through the white Gate without saying anything further. Everything he wanted to say had been said. Now it was time to stand up for himself!
A moment later he disappeared inside the white Gate.
Meanwhile, Daniel stared at the white Gate that dispersed into countless white particles not long after.
"Please get a good territory, Michael. As long as your territory is good, everything can be managed…"
At first, everything around Michael was black. He couldn't see anything and the only thing he felt was a strong suctioning force pulling him somewhere. He was even more confused when white stars emerged all around him. Space twisted not long after and he had to close his eyes to make sure that his breakfast would stay where it was supposed to be.
His sense of time disappeared slowly, making it impossible to tell how much time had passed when he opened his eyes again. But that didn't matter because he had arrived in the Origin Expanse.
A faint gust brushed past his face, and sunlight shone through the canopy of towering trees around him. It was warm and humid, furthermore, everything seemed alive rather than the surrounding filled with towering skyscrapers.
He found himself surrounded by unknown terrain.
But instead of staring blankly at the lively scenery around him, Michael held his head while focusing on the figure who was approaching him slowly.
His eyes widened in shock, and they began to sparkle brightly.
'Is that why Danny likes the Origin Expanse?'