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High above Dominique, Mira nodded her head with a slight smile. 'She's become quite strong, hasn't she?'

Rather, Mira thought that Dominique's blood affinity was extremely powerful. All she needed to do was create a tiny cut on her opponent, and she was at an advantage.

'It's not something that most people would try to defend against either, considering how rare her affinity is.'

Now that she thought about it, Mira wasn't quite sure how to defend against Dominique's affinity. Not taking a hit would be the best solution, but for people around the same strength as her, that was a tall task, considering she trained the girl.

There was also the fact that using other people's blood was like turning their own strength against them. The quality of her Qi, while still important, didn't matter as much as the quality of her opponent's blood.

'In that aspect, I guess her physical strength is more important than her cultivation since all she needs is a single cut to win the battle.' Mira speculated but wasn't inclined to incorporate that into her training.

She wanted Dominique to excel in every aspect, not just one.

'Anyways,' She shook her head and slowly drifted away from the area. 'It looks like Elenei is doing a good job, and Dominique is finding her own opportunities. I'll leave them be for now, lest my bad luck rubs off on them.'

Then, she shot off into the distance, wanting to find something to fight.

***

Mira soared through the sky, her iridescent [Paragon Wings] shimmering behind her. The cold air rushed past her, but she hardly felt it. Her eyes scanned the landscape below for any sign of a worthy opponent.

It didn't take long before she spotted a colossal figure lumbering through the forest – a towering Mid-Stage Rank 9 Ice Golem. Mira's lips curved into a smile; this would work.

She dove toward the Ice Golem, her wings folding neatly against her back as she picked up speed. The Ice Golem sensed something approaching and turned its massive head towards her.

Just as she neared the golem, Mira executed a sharp turn, avoiding a sweeping arm that shattered all the nearby trees and ripped up chunks of the Thicket. She landed gracefully on the ground, her wings vanishing as she drew her scythe.

The Ice Golem roared and swung its massive fists at her. Mira darted to the side and dashed forward. She twirled her scythe, building momentum for her attack.

As the golem's fist crashed down where she had been moments before, Mira leaped up, her scythe spinning rapidly before she unleashed her attack. The blade met the Ice Golem's arm, carving through the thick ice with ease, cutting it off. The golem staggered back, roaring in anger at the loss of its arm.

Mira didn't give it a chance to recover. She unleashed a series of rapid strikes, aiming at the weak spots she had identified. The golem swung its remaining fist widely in hopes of hitting her, all while stomping on the ground, shaking the earth, but to no avail.

Even without her movement technique, Mira was too fast and unpredictable.

Her scythe twirled in her hands effortlessly as each rotation dug into the golem's ice-covered armor. Large chunks of ice flew off its body, crashing into the ground like tiny meteors, and there was nothing it could do.

The Ice Golem, now on its last leg, let out a bellow and unleashed a frost breath, a blizzard of icy wind and snow aimed directly at Mira. She responded by summoning a barrier of wind around her, deflecting the frost breath and charging through it toward the golem.

As she closed the distance, Mira activated her [Cyclone of the Frozen Moon] technique. Her scythe spun faster, becoming a whirlwind of ice and energy. Once she built up enough momentum, she struck the golem's core, the epicenter of its power, with all her might.

The impact was like thunder, echoing through the forest. The Ice Golem's body shattered, exploding into thousands of ice shards that glimmered like diamonds.

Mira landed softly on the ground, her scythe returning to her side. She looked at the remnants of the Ice Golem, a sense of satisfaction filling her.

'That felt a lot easier than I thought it would.' She gave herself a nod, but as she stared at the remains, a thought struck her.

Raising her hand, she used up about 10% of her Qi reserves to create [100 Glacial Warriors].

In place of where she just defeated the Mid-Stage Rank 9 Ice Golem, 100 smaller ones appeared. She had infused them with her creation tail to make them more permanent, then began inspecting them.

She flicked one with her finger, and it exploded on impact. The two behind it also exploded, causing her to frown.

'How did that ice golem come to be?' She wondered. The ones she created, while not identical, were extremely close in density and mechanically to the one she just fought, but the latter was clearly much stronger.

'So, it's still not good enough, huh?'

It seemed her ability to 'create' objects wasn't nearly as great as she initially thought. It was merely the progress she made that was significant, not the actual results.

'But, where do I go from here? I have absolutely no idea what it means to 'create' something. Doesn't matter what it is. All I've ever known how to do is kill and destroy.' She thought, somewhat downtrodden.

She wasn't unhappy about the fact that she's only ever destroyed people's lives throughout her existence, but that she might not fully understand how to use one of her innate abilities simply due to her disposition.

Even now, she was thinking about using her creations for destruction. Everything she did revolved around her ability to obliterate. Her techniques were rated based on their efficiency at killing. The way she judged other people was determined by how much devastation they could cause.

Nothing else mattered, and she still believed that. All she cared about was getting revenge and removing a crazy stalker who wanted nothing more than to steal her freedom. In order to do that, she needed to survive this harsh world, and the only way she knew how to do so was through destruction.

'...Maybe it's time to branch out?' She questioned, but that thought made her feel a bit uncomfortable. If she did that, it'd take away from her time training, improving her cultivation, and getting stronger. 'But, if it can help me use one of my abilities, then it might be worth it. I'm not pressed for time, anyways.'

If it were anything else, she wouldn't even be having these thoughts, but as her Creation and Destruction tails were on the same level of strength and complexity, she figured it'd be more than worthwhile how to use both.

'They are two sides of the same coin, right? If I learn how to create better, I should be able to better understand how to dismantle.' That last thought brought a smile to her face.

'I guess it's time to explore creation in a way I never have before,' she mused.

With that thought, Mira decided to take a different approach. She would start by studying the natural world, observing how things were created and sustained without her interference.

She ventured deeper into the Glacial Thicket, her Soul Sense keenly observing the intricate patterns of frost on leaves, the way ice formed on branches, and how snowflakes intricately designed themselves as they fell from the sky.

As she walked, she tried to mimic the natural processes, creating ice crystals and snowflakes with her Qi. She paid attention to their structure, the balance of elements within them, and how they interacted with the environment.

She created a snowflake, letting it drift down onto her palm. It was beautiful and delicate, yet it lacked the natural perfection of a real snowflake. She frowned slightly, realizing she had much to learn about the subtleties of creation.

'Creation is more than just power. Most of the things in the natural world aren't all that strong, but they are there for a reason. Maybe I should start there before I try and brute force my way to destroying mountains,' Mira thought.

She sat down on a frozen log, closing her eyes to concentrate. She visualized the structure of a snowflake, its symmetry, and its delicate form.

Opening her eyes, she tried again. This time, the snowflake that formed in her palm was closer to what she had envisioned. It was more intricate, more balanced. A small smile crept onto her face.

'Progress,' she thought, but her smile widened when she thought of a better way to do this.

'Rather than wasting my time walking around, searching for insights, it'd be much more efficient to make my own.' With lighter steps, Mira walked deeper into the icy forest. 'But, before that, let's see what secrets this Thicket has to offer.'