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"Such high stakes…" Jiang Fei said as he sucked in a deep breath. 

The gamble was laid open for him. Fusing with the Blackhole Core would grant him power but put him on the tip of the blade. Jiang Fei was not comfortable taking such a risk, not when he was in a position to choose otherwise. 

"Is there any way you could… I don't know… place the core in a machine to safely extract its energy?" Jiang Fei spat out an idea. 

To say that he was not in a critical condition was not entirely true. He had been enfeebled by the lack of energy in the Core of Will and the absence of Omnisurge. Facing the trials in his current condition would be suicidal. Then again, asking him to take the risk to fuse with the Blackhole Core there and then was something he would not do unless he was literally, not a figure of speech, in mortal danger.

"I see… That might work. Keep in mind that fusing with the Blackhole Core is not a matter of minutes but days. You will not be escaping danger if you suddenly wanted to fuse with the Blackhole Core," said 0541. Knowing fully well what was going through Jiang Fei's mind, 0541 was tempted to advise him about what he had always done; the habit of indulging himself to further danger when exposed to mortal danger. 

"Y-You got me there," said Jiang Fei. Everything might be peaceful now but he could not forget that he was part of the Valsalrian Army. Peace was but a quiet illusion waiting for chaos to spring out. If Jiang Fei were to take 0541's words literally, fusing with the Blackhole Core would only expose Jiang Fei to further danger if the fusion process wasn't instant. 

Even with that thought in mind, he was not ready for the fusion just yet. 

"If I fuse with the core, is there any way for me to limit its power? Like a limiter?" asked Jiang Fei. He had an idea. Controlling the Blackhole might take a while. With the graduation ceremony approaching soon, it would be risky to start now. In that case, wouldn't it be better to create a device that could limit the power of the Blackhole Core? That way, he could fuse with the core and still be in control, technically, with the device, and figure out how to control the core some other time. 

"That is a good idea! Give me some time. I will come up with something!" 0541 replied. After that, silence loomed over the ring as 0541 started to experiment and design a limiter for the Blackhole Core. 

"You best not eat me up when you're inside of me," Jiang Fei murmured to himself, silently praying for things to go well as he continued to train. 

A week later, 0541 returned with good news. 

"Captain, I have taken your idea and experimented with it. As such, I have designed a device capable of suppressing the power of the Blackhole Core. With the device, the Blackhole Core can only provide a certain amount of power that is within the safe perimeter." 

"Show me the results," said Jiang Fei as he laid down his sword.


A small metallic, coin-like pin appeared in his hands. 

"This is the limiter. It will always maintain the amount of power you draw from the Blackhole Core at a safe level. Even so, the amount of power is strong, sufficient enough to fully charge the Core of Will in just three days. At minimal power, you can draw its power to strengthen yourself," 0541 explained. 

"Three days to fully charge the Core of Will?!" Jiang Fei barked as he felt his stomach churn with excitement. By fusing with the Blackhole Core, he could use the power of the Core of Will that thirsted for energy. In a controlled environment, Jiang Fei could safely use the 10th Dimension every three days! With further control, he could practically use the power of the 10th Dimension without limitation, especially when didn't need to drag a planet sized monster and a whole ship into the 10th Dimension.

"I'm sold. Get it done," said Jiang Fei happily. 

"By the way, when charging the Core of Will, you will still gain a boon from the Blackhole Core. I predict that you will acquire additional strength and defense similar to a fighter at 3,000,000 combat level on top of your own." 

Jiang Fei's heart skipped a beat. To think that he would be able to fight on even without the 10th Dimension! On top of his own strength, Omnisurge provided him a boost of over 2,000,000 combat level, so he would be gaining over 5,000,000 combat level. Theoretically, he would be stronger than Commander Alexis.

"Jeez, you don't have to sell it anymore. I'm sold! Let's start the procedure now!" said Jiang Fei. 

"Alright. Please put the limiter on your ear like an earring. The pin should pierce through your earlobes properly. The limiter must, at all times, be on your body during usage of the Blackhole Core. Should you lose the limiter, you must immediately stop drawing power from the core! I need not remind you of the disastrous side effect of losing control." 

"I heard it before," said Jiang Fei as he pinned it to his earlobe. 

"Ouch…" 

"To think that I would be wearing accessories…" he complained. He had always thought that any kind of ear accessories for men were never as cool as they looked. 

"Come now, time to enter the pod," 0541 ignored Jiang Fei's complaints and summoned the Bio-pod for Jiang Fei.

Jiang Fei obediently entered the pod and shut his eyes. He knew that anything that happened next would either be painful or unpleasant as this was not his first trip into the Bio-pod. Either way, he was excited about the results.

"Keep your mind clear," said 0541 as he started the machine. 

Once Jiang Fei was ready, 0541 released the Blackhole Core into the pod. Instead of immediately fusing it with Jiang Fei, 0541 injected a little jolt of energy into the core, awakening it. The small white pulsating core, pulsated faster and glowed brighter.

"It's ready. Brace yourself, captain," said 0541 as he pushed the Blackhole Core toward Jiang Fei's chest. 

As soon as the core touched Jiang Fei's skin, it glowed brightly before it passed through his skin and into his chest. 

"Ough!" Jiang Fei let out a loud groan. The instead of feeling a massive object entering his chest cavity, he felt a powerful flow of energy concentrating around his heart. The Blackhole Core melted into a liquid form when it was inside Jiang Fei. It fused with his heart and was pumped throughout his body immediately. 

"Ugh… Arghh… ARGH!"

In the beginning, the flow of energy was slow and mild but as soon as more and more of the liquified Blackhole Core was spread throughout his body, the pain grew more intensely.

"Try to stay conscious, captain. The core is now modifying your body structure, to make it stronger to hold more power," 0541 explained. 

"Gah! V-Very well!" said Jiang Fei through his gritted teeth. The pain was strong, so strong that he was sure it would have killed him if he were still at the Pinnacle stage of Level 4. 

After an unknown amount of time, Jiang Fei's pores stopped secreting sweat. Instead of clear liquid, a thick, viscous, black liquid oozed out from all over him. He was at the stage where the body modification was at its peak, removing all kinds of matter that made Jiang Fei weaker. His cells were constantly trying to resist the changes, causing him immense pain. Unbeknownst to Jiang Fei, he was in a state between ethereal and biological being. In this state, the rate of energy absorption was exceptionally high, allowing his body to grow stronger at high speeds. 

"OOOOOOHHHHH AAAHHHH!" Jiang Fei roared. In the next instant, starting with his chest, his body glowed with intense radiance.


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