That was Isaac's usual response when he needed somebody else's things. Other disciples would also be bringing animals back to sect. If Isaac wanted them and was capable of taking them, then why wouldn't he?
Fortunately for the other disciples, Isaac didn't commence his plan yet. While he still wasn't in peak condition, he had gotten over the worst of his illness and felt ready to exchange for a Basic Qi Pill.
Therefore, he visited the market with his reward point and the noses from the wolves he killed.
Noses and claws were the only body parts which sold for a reasonable amount, so they were the only body parts that Isaac had harvested. He kept the claws at home since he was trying to collect a set of wolf, bear and fox claws, but he brought the noses along. He found a street vendor who offered a good price, so he sold them for a few iron pieces and moved on.
After that, he went straight to the Points Exchange Centre. He queued up to purchase a Basic Qi Pill, handed over his reward point token, and received a milky white pill in return.
When he left the exchange centre, he noticed somebody following him. There were rules preventing conflict in the market, so people often tailed a target until they left the market, then stole whatever they'd bought. Fortunately, this was a common occurrence so Isaac was always on alert and looking to see if he was being followed. When he spotted his tail, he weaved through a sequence of back-alleys and quickly lost them. After that, he made his way home and prepared to meditate.
Isaac spent that day absorbing the Basic Qi Pill and improving his cultivation base. He was confident that his cultivation was higher than any of the other new 3rd class talents. However, he still had some way to go to equal the 2nd class talents, especially the stronger ones such as Johan and Erik.
Normally Isaac wouldn't worry about trivial things such as who cultivated quicker. Comparing his cultivation speed or current success against these people was truly futile, since the only thing that mattered was who would be greater in the end.
However, a new announcement had forced Isaac to compare his progress to the progress of others. The sect would be holding a tournament for the new disciples in 6 months. If the prizes were just pride and prestige, Isaac still wouldn't care. However, there were incredibly generous rewards for getting a top 10 spot. Obviously, the closer you were to first, the better these rewards got.
However, the most crucial thing for Isaac was access to a 1 star location within the sect. All top 10 spots would receive this reward, but with a varying amount of time in said location.
The sect had 1, 2 and 3 star locations which most people could not access. Only those with incredibly high merit points could access 1 and 2 star areas, while only those ranked as elders or higher could enter 3 star areas. On top of these requirements, you would also need to pay a certain amount of reward points to enter. However, the top 10 could spend a limited amount of time in any 1 star area for free.
Most disciples would consider this a chance to enter special cultivation grounds with dense ambient Qi. In comparison, Isaac thought of it as a way to access the sect's 1 star library. This library had information the non-starred ones didn't: formulas for creating Rank 1 Anima or advancing them to Rank 2, special alchemy recipes, and advanced books for inscriptionists. It would also contain profound information about the cultivation world, such as in-depth knowledge about the nature of Qi, Anima and cultivation talent.
This was crucial to Isaac, who had never forgotten the limit his 3rd class talent gave him. This limit even appeared in his dreams, preventing him from ever reaching Rank 4! However, he knew it wasn't impossible to break this limit. The sect had showed him that.
Isaac strongly believed the sect's method for improving cultivation talent was imperfect. With enough time and knowledge, he might be able to devise a better one. In fact, a better method might already exist. However, Isaac had no idea where to find such a thing, so he could only rely on himself to try and create one.
He had long since started his research – he had begun studying the properties of Qi and the theory behind awakening during his time in the academy. He had never expected to be a 1st class talent: the chance of that happening was far below 1 in 1,000. In fact, it had come as a shock when one of the 2,500 new disciples awakened as 1st class. Because of this, Isaac had already planned for the scenario where he was not a 1st class talent.
He had told himself, time and time again 'Do not be impatient. Ignore your talent for now and cultivate until you are strong. Then you will have access to higher quality information.'
However, a chance to access such information had arrived much sooner than expected!
This tournament would be his springboard! It was a heaven-sent opportunity to find some of the information he was looking for, and also earn a plethora of resources to catapult his cultivation further!
However, the tournament was merely that – an opportunity. It was down to Isaac to surpass the other disciples, fight well in the tournament and truly seize it.
Knowing this, he became even more determined. A multitude of thoughts, plots and plans kept flying through his mind and keeping him awake at night.
Eventually, Isaac did manage to sleep. When he got up in the morning, there was a renewed vigour about him despite the cold he still had. He seemed bursting with life and ready for action.
He was full of vigour when he left his house and went to practice swordsmanship. He spent 4 hours swinging his sword until sweat dripped from every pore, then he returned to his home for a bath.
When he finished, he felt clean and refreshed. Now it was past midday and he could properly get to work.
Midday was when the disciples would begin to return from their missions or hunting trips. Isaac made his way to the sect gate and found a spot nearby to discreetly watch those who entered. He watched and waited for a suitable target to appear.
After 5 minutes, Isaac saw a duo with an arctic fox pelt. Then he saw a group of 12 with the entire, intact corpse of a wolf. However, he let them pass and kept waiting.
Many minutes later, a party of 6 adventurers arrived, catching Isaac's attention. He could see they had a well-preserved bear pelt with all the claws, teeth, eyes, etc. still on it. Nothing had been removed to sell separately.
Handling 6 people was within Isaac's capabilities, and bears were the most valuable animal in this area, so this unfortunate group became his first target. Isaac observed them as they headed into a nearby street, planning how to take them out and steal their kill.
Of course, this type of theft was commonplace across the sect. However, the new disciples hadn't all adjusted to sect life. Many felt that the correct decision was to hunt, take missions and earn their own resources – very few chose to steal. Only some of the weaker disciples tried robbing others near the gate, so everybody above a certain level of strength assumed they were safe.
This group considered themselves strong enough to not get robbed, so they weren't particularly on guard. That meant they didn't spot Isaac following them. He tailed them perfectly as they turned left, right, then right again into a narrow alley with houses on both sides.
Then, the group stopped. It looked like they were having some kind of discussion, so Isaac hid in a doorway and tried to listen. However, he was too far away and could only catch a few words,
It wasn't enough to understand their conversation and he couldn't get any closer, so he could only observe.
A woman with a stern expression was making animated gestures with her hands. She seemed to be the one in charge and, after giving a few orders, she and 2 others turned to leave. Isaac pressed himself into the doorway as they walked past, staying silent and hidden.
They didn't notice Isaac, so they walked to the end of the street and turned the corner, vanishing from sight. After they were gone, Isaac pulled a length of black cloth out of his pocket and tied it around his face so it covered his nose and mouth. Concealing his face would help Isaac avoid any attempts at revenge, so he'd fashioned this bandanna from one of his ruined tops.
With his face covered, Isaac made his move. The 3 people all had their backs to Isaac – two of them were talking while the last guy was kneeling by the bear and inspecting it. That meant none of them saw Isaac as he silently moved towards them.
Step by step he approached, until he was standing right behind the kneeling man. Then he struck like a snake.
One hand covered the man's mouth, while Isaac's other arm wrapped around the man's neck in a chokehold. Then he pulled the man into a lying-down position and wrapped his legs around his torso, pinning the man's arms to his sides so he couldn't punch out.
After 10 seconds, the guy was out cold. However, Isaac continued to apply the choke for 20 more seconds to make sure he stayed unconscious. Then he slowly rolled the man off of him and stood up.
Remaining stealthy and silent, he picked up a hand-sized rock from the gutter. Then he stepped towards the duo who were still talking. He swung the rock hard, hitting a man in the side of his head. The man immediately crumpled and fell to the floor.
Isaac didn't give the last person time to react. While they were still processing what had happened, Isaac wrapped his arm around their neck and started choking them out as well. No matter how much they punched, kicked or flailed, they could not escape Isaac's grasp. After 30 seconds, he dropped their unconscious body to the floor.
Miraculously, the man Isaac had hit with a stone was still awake. He was lying there, bleeding from his head and barely conscious, but he still tried to grab at Isaac's leg. Isaac looked down at the man disdainfully. Then he stomped on the man's arm – eliciting a cry of pain – and walked past him.
He simply picked up the bear pelt and folded it over his shoulder. Then he disappeared into the labyrinth of alleyways from whence he came.