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  1. #261
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2015


    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 22 – Assembling

    Zechariah, Linor, Rockwell, Riv, Giant Havreim, Varinka, Xiao Kirin, Gadgel.

    Of the twelve Gid Chu sent, he made sure all those members of the chain Zax got along with, even a little bit, and had no misgivings toward him, were present.

    Bonjier, Kloky, Soybam Peter and Lili were the remaining four, while Figed Esgad and Donkey – apparently a fixed nickname – were the members stationed in Selivereb and New Earth.

    In terms of cultivation, Bonjier and Kloky were the strongest, third level Martial Mortals. Soybam Peter, Lili, Rockwell and Riv were next as second level Martial Mortals. Zechariah, Linor, Giant Havreim and Varinka were the only ones still in the second Core Master realm, but at its Peak. The rest were between the first to second Martial Mortal levels.

    Communicating on the same frequency with the commanders of the operation, Bonjier and Kloky, allowed Zax to catch up with the group of twelve in no time and together head with them to the Western Continent, as usual, prudently and through the Earthly Crater.

    “Mommy, mommy”, a young girl’s voice cracked in innocent wariness. “What’s wrong, mommy? Who is this man? Why are you packing?” Little Liz clung to her mother, Laylen, while sneakily peeking at the brawny man at the opened entrance of the home, who was even bigger than her father and big brother and had a grim face with probably scary eyes behind those black spectacles.

    Half an hour earlier…

    The former mentioned black suited, bald man appeared in her Pre Core school and picked her out in the middle of class against the objections of her confused teacher. Even her school principal, who everyone said to be at the incredible Core Breaker level, when he heard that some stranger showed up and, in a manner that more resembled a broad daylight “kidnapping”, took one of his school’s student, when trying to stop the black suited man, by a mere glance his expression turned pale and he passed out, which only added to the fear of little Liz, as to begin with she had no means to call for her super strong and mighty big sister and big brother, her pillars.

    Telling, or more accurately “compelling” her to enter his black vehicle, little Liz’s mind was in a state of half panic, half muddleheaded, especially when her little lips muttered the names of her big sister and big brother, which only caused the black suited man to smirk.

    It was only when the black vehicle parked at the sidewalk, in front of the apartment building she lived with her parents, that she calmed down by a bit.

    The black suited man said nothing but indicate for her to come out of the vehicle as he intended to escort her up the stairs to the family’s apartment.

    When her parents came to view inside the apartment, it was as if a curtain was lifted from her eyes and she became somber again. She cried, running to her parents, not noticing the two more black suited men who were already together with her parents in the apartment, nor when they left, leaving behind only her black suited man.

    Back to the present…

    In all honestly, neither Laylen nor her husband, Marco, knew what to say to their youngest daughter that would not be a lie.

    And the black suited men came to their workplaces; they concisely informed them that someone they are related to has made terrible enemies who soon might come for them and that they are to follow them home to pack their stuff and leave New Earth. They also briefly said that their daughter, as well as members of their extended family are currently being round up and will also join them.

    Meeting at home, the black suited men did not prohibit the pair from talking, so long as they are hurrying. Thus, with what little registered in their brain under the urgency of two expert they could not opposed, Marco and Laylen assumed that the person related to them was their son, while both mistook the incomprehensible notion of leaving New Earth with leaving Kingdom Earth to the beasts’ territory, where their eldest daughter was supposed to be.

    “We are going on a trip, sweetie”, Laylen falsified.

    “And I’m your travel guide, honey”. The black suited man who picked little Liz from school said in somewhat joking, somewhat cynical tone. “So hurry to get everything you would like to take with you”.

    Hearing his tone, although Marco and Laylen did not like it, from what little they grasped, to their understanding even if that person was not genuinely amiable, he was still there to safeguard them, well… if they were not being lied to.

    “Go help her, Laylen”. Marco sent his wife and daughter together to Liz’s room, not wanting for either of them to be alone with these men.

    The black suited man detected Marco’s apprehension, but did not seem to mind it. He closed the door behind him and turned to the kitchen. “I’m going to make myself a cup of coffee. When I’ll finish we are leaving regardless if there are things left. From what I was told about your situation, I’ll suggest you pack for the long term. Frankly, I can’t imagine you ever returning”. He was decent enough to let his voice reach only Marco’s and Laylen’s ears, sparing the little one.

    Six minutes later the black suited man entered the living room, drinking from a small cup, apparently intending to finish its hot and bitter content in one gulp.

    “That’s it”. He placed the cup on the cabinet where the Screen stood, since whether it was left there, in the sink or washed did not matter anymore. “We need to go”. His face returned to be stern. Keeping up with schedule was of utmost importance to the operation.

    “We have another daughter. She isn’t here, she won’t know-”

    “Someone was sent to retrieve her”. The black suited man interrupted before Marco could complete the sentence. “Well?” He turned his head as his back was to them. There was no going back after exiting the apartment and he saw Marco’s and Laylen’s internal struggle reflecting from their eyes. “Out, now!” Mist energy was embedded to his voice, with a hint of a threat, again, that only Marco and Laylen could perceive. He was there to deliver them and if, for the sake of punctuality, a show of force was required, then so be it.

    The same event took place throughout Kingdom Earth, specifically in El-Eden. Men and women in black suited and awful temperament rounded up every member of Zax’s family, any friend and family of friends with deep enough relations that could be used to extort him. Even Zetsa’s Tal, the bewildered Take Edomachi, who Zax had not seen for the longest time, his wife, son, daughter and couple more family members were picked up by experts even the main branch of their family will not hastily revolt against, and escorted to unknown location.

    “This is all I know, ma’am. We were merely told that a risk from outside New Earth is about to descend for your brother’s relatives and friends and our job is to lead you out from below the ground to meet another group of people that will take you someplace safe. As for his Martial family, we were told that it has nothing to worry about so long as they remain in His Valor Ozeyn’s Valgarel”. A black suited woman with hanging black spectacles on the left pocket of her jacket respectfully narrated to Zetsa and the rest of the Martial family, excluding the absent Mes and Raroen, outside Grandmaster Kartion’s cave.

    Feeling the agitation causing her heart to throb in restless pace, Zetsa state of mind momentarily regressed to capacity of non cultivator and everything she heard was processed slowly. After a few minutes, a period of time that could be counted as hours for someone at her level of cultivation, she gradually collected her thoughts as her sea of consciousness resumed the transcendental perceptiveness of a second level Core Master.

    “Master”, Zetsa turned to greet his animalistic form, as well as the animalistic forms of all the present members of the Martial family, and her words got stuck in her throat.

    When they initially stepped out of the tunnel to Grandmaster Kartion’s cave, they all accompanied her in their human and humanoid forms. Without her paying attention, somewhere down the narration of the black suited woman, they all transformed as if their belligerent, feral spirit was roused.

    The black suited woman, who introduced herself by the name “Molian”, before commencing the narration, instinctively stumbled back. Drenched in cold beads sweat, her heart also pulsated from having to bear the multiply ominous hostile intents she just so happened to be in their range.

    While to Molian the hostile intents felt like being naked in a blizzard and unable to generate mist energy to shelter herself, to Zetsa they felt like a protective embrace.

    “You can’t!” The first words to come out were a protest toward her Martial family’s clear objective. “Have you forgotten Zax’s stories? The world above ground is abundant with Martial Mortals and first level Martial Mortals are typically the lowest standard for the title ‘Expert’. It will be okay, I need to go, but you don’t have to come with me!” She pleaded.

    In the Martial family her Master and Martial uncle were known to have the strength to rival first level Martial Mortals. These days, her eldest Martial brother, Raroen, also was assessed with having this kind of strength despite being at the Peak of the second realm as mist cultivator and the Peak of the first realm as bodily cultivator.

    Although in Valgarel and even on a wider scope, New Earth, the Martial family was not a force to be trifled with, considering the stories and events Zax recounted, with three experts comparable to first level Martial Mortals, they at most could enjoy scraping the bottom of the barrel for proper status in the world above ground.

    “Zetsa”, Grandmaster Kartion used to stiffly said her name, instead of referring to her as “Martial daughter”, when he was adamant with his decisions. “Danger lurking for my daughter, would I stand still on the side?” He lost one son for grievance that spawned from him, even if he was not entirely to blame for it. Knowing that his daughter‘s life is in risk was all the pretext he needed to act in spite of what may be the consequences.

    “Martial niece, someone wish to harm sole son, do you expect me to hide behind His Valor Ozeyn?” Kartius stomped and tore the earth.

    “Martial sister Zetsa, you can’t sway our resolve”. Simel professed.

    Stumped for response, Zetsa impetuously veered to the step by step retreating Molian. “Can a fight definitely be averted?” She asked. Simultaneously she had in mind to remind her Master and the rest of the Martial family Laivien’s condition and whether the household had enemies or not, she could not be left unguarded, but eventually revoked the idea. If a threat was imminent, then it was not like during the conflict with the Black Horns tribe, which could be protracted. Humans, with no exception, would never have the chance for His Valor Ozeyn’s benevolence. Besides, such argument will only be treated as an insult by the household. “Well?!” She urged Molian to answer.

    “Y- Yes”. Molian said in a shaky voice, meanwhile inwardly cursing her sexist boss for sending her to fetch Zetsa because “Strong women easily relate”.

    “Elaborate!” Zax demanded. A mere “Yes” will not convince the household.

    “Yes”, Molian repeated, slightly aggrieved. “Should the operation to transport everyone function with full cooperation, then I was told that no risk will befall upon you. Additionally, the experts that will escort you above ground are of uncanny caliber, even as Martial Mortals”.

    Hearing the three words “Escort” and “Martial Mortals” in the same sentence, Zetsa heaved a deep sigh of relief. “You see, Master, Martial uncle, everyone? Zax even had Martial Mortals to work as protective escort for us. And you know Zax, he would not leave anything for chance. If there was a risk that even one person will die at the move, then he will rather sacrifice himself to appease the hatred of his enemies”.

    Grandmaster Kartion mused. It was not a consideration of avoiding a fight or not, but whether the measures Zax took are really sufficient to ensure the safety of his loved ones.

    “It is fine, then. However, you will not go alone. I’ll accompany you and your family along with the escort above ground!”

  2. #262
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2015


    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 23 – Enemies At The Gate

    “Err… excuse me, sir, Kartion Ram”, Molian meekly interrupted, adding the honorific title common in Kingdom Earth. “Joining the transport outside of New Earth would be impossible. Our group can only lead as far as the other side of the pathway to the surface of the earth, since a return trip isn’t guaranteed”.

    “Are you saying that I’ll never get to see again my young Martial sister?” Hagen flapped her wings in a huff.

    “I- I don’t know”. Molian hurried to say. “All I’m aware of is that for Mr. Zel’s relatives and friends the safest place is somewhere not in New Earth, and that heading there must be done with haste since his enemies are soon to show up and when they will, according to my superior, they will only shy from offending His Valor Ozeyn. So… lack of time is basically the problem. You can join the escort outside of New Earth, but by then wanting to return may be too late”.

    “Big sister Hagen, it will be okay. Master, everyone, I understand your intention. If I was in your position, I’d have probably insisted too, but… the enemy is not the Black Horns tribe anymore…” Zetsa hardened her tone of voice, yet did not speak further. What she was implying was plain to their ears, even in the subtle manner she used.

    “Zetsa”, Grandmaster Kartion said in heavy tone, halted mid speech, heaved from his flared nostrils and continued. Their eyes met and he could still see the features of the little girl he once picked as his apprentice. “Not forever”. He finally said with meaning that sounded obscure, yet not to his daughter.

    His words weighed more than everything that could be added by the rest of the household, put together, so they let their intersecting gazes say their piece, all but one who Zetsa had to say goodbye to face to face.


    There were twelve armored vehicles parked in front the pathway from New Earth to Ercas Mir. Each gave the impression that its formation embroiled alloy could withstand the strikes of Peak Mist Lords and that its unique set of six wheels could traverse any terrain in existence.

    There were seventeen passenger seats in every vehicle, minus one for the driver.

    Standing not far from the pathway, surrounded by black suited men and women and a whole lot of confused and chary people, family members and friends, Laylen held Liz in her arms while Marco carried their bags and luggage.

    After being taken from their home, the three were driven to a secluded hangar where they saw coming and meeting members of the extended family, as well as old friends and families of their son’s old friends.

    From there, with barely a chance to talk, they were put on buses that left the hangar one every ten to twenty minutes that were headed to the pathway, to which their bus arrived fifteen minutes ago.

    “Mom, let me down, mommy!” Seeing the children that followed the adults, among which were several of her close age cousins, little Liz felt like joining them, running around playing.

    As she and all the other kids saw more familiar faces, they naturally felt more secure.

    “Not, Liz, stop!” Laylen’s brows creased, partly from gauging the many faces in search for Zetsa, who she was told would also be here, partly from counting the many people whose lives, she could not deny, her son implicated.

    “Give her to me, Laylen”. Marco let go of the handles on the luggage and took his daughter. “Go look for her”. He had the same idea of his wife.

    “Marco, do you know what’s going on?” A man with a few similarities in his facial features with Marco, accompanied by two youngsters, a teen boy and an older teen girl, as well as a woman in her mid thirties, came asking.

    “Manny, Kaya”, Marco tensely greeted his younger brother and sister in law.

    “Laylen?” Manny perplexedly looked at her as she brushed past him without a hello.

    “She went to search for Zetsa”. Marco explained.

    “Zetsa? She’s also supposed to come?” Kaya asked with signs of relief. Zetsa was a well respected cultivator. She, her husband and children were anxious due to the domineering black suited men and women that brought them here. Knowing that shortly there will be an expert they could rely on made them feel comforted in this perplexing situation.

    “Uncle Marco, big sister Zetsa really coming?” The boy who was thirteen or fourteen asked. Other than sharing the same current sentiment as his mother, Zetsa was an object for admiration to all the members of the family, especially for the younger generation with aspiration for Martial cultivation.

    “She will”. Marco nodded. Before being able to say anything more, his brother cut in.

    “Marco, we came together with dad and mom. Nissa and Gerison are with them with their families. We were all told the same thing…“ He hesitated to repeat with Liz and his children present. “Anyway, everyone is getting together trying to figure out what’s happening; you two and Laylen should not remain alone”.

    Although most of them belonged to the same family, there were several, like Marco and Laylen, who for various reasons tarried beside their immediate households.

    “Dad, I want to go to grandma and grandpa”. Liz said.

    “Manny, we’ll join you when Laylen return”. Marco said, not arguing with Liz.

    “Honey, maybe we should wait with them?” Kaya told her husband. She really hoped to see the expert of the family as soon as possible.


    “Liz, come to me”. Manny’s and Kaya’s sixteen or seventeen years old daughter reached out and plucked the enthusiastic Liz from Marco’s grasp. “Kirik, take out that games pad”. She asked in her big sister authoritarianism.

    Just like this, Manny and his family stuck longer together with Marco and Liz as more family members converged with them.

    “Zetsa, it is Zetsa!” At a certain point someone in the crowed cried in elation.

    To be frank, up until this moment, the atmosphere around Marco was growing sullen. It did not take much for people to notice that those brought over by the black suited men and women could be divided into two categories, members of the family and tiny groups of strangers who had more in common, by their greetings, with the branch side of Marco in the Zel family.

    Moreover, as more gathered, it was not a secret anymore, even to the children, that the cause they were all assimilated in what seemed to be mass relocation, was due to someone in the Zel family offending an unheard of but very dangerous bad people.

    Nevertheless, not one yet openly asked Marco or Ger, the oldest member of the Zel family, a detailed explanation. At most, some of Marco’s brothers and sister, Ger’s children, tried to gently inquire. They were all holding their tongues from lashing due to the black suited men and women who warned from rioting or anything of the sort, and the existence of two particular figures… one that just arrived, Zetsa, and another that earlier met with Laylen and then joined with her family to the cluster around Marco, Anet.

    “Miss Zetsa”, before anyone of the people gathered could get to her, a short, broad shouldered black suited man called with voice amplified by mist energy that created a deterrent effect.

    The black suited man took off his black spectacles, held them with two fingers and glanced at his subordinates. “Put everyone in the Shelled Wagons”. He ordered and averted his attention back to Zetsa. “I’m Figed Esgad Takeda”. He spoke with an imposing bearing, yet his name could only be heard by Zetsa.

    ‘A third level Core Master from the Takeda family… So they are the ones helping Zax’. Zetsa deduced. She saw her parents, little sister and the rest being loaded onto the armored vehicles. Some made eye contact with her, pleading for help, they wanted to go home. She only let her vision meaningfully linger on her parents and Anet, though it was indeterminate if in their present mindset they could interpret the assuredness in her look.

    Not waiting for Zetsa to respond, Figed Esgad expounded. “The pathway to above ground… the world called ‘Ercas Mir’ is long, fraught with all kinds of terrain hazards and so unfit for a march. Hence, the Shelled Wagons. My people will take you up to the exit of the pathway, drop you there and turn back immediately. Another group of people that belongs to the outside will take care of you from there, but it is essential that you, more than anyone else, will give an example by cooperating with the second group, do you understand why?”

    “Yes”. Zetsa nodded, yet inwardly even she felt a degree of restlessness. Transporting all the people related to her younger brother, forcing them to move, perhaps indefinitely, was unconscionable. And then there was the concept of where they are going to be relocated into, the world above ground, beneath the blue sky!

    Zetsa had to strive in order to restrain her bottled up emotions from bursting. It was every human’s and beast’s dream in New Earth to see the blue sky.

    “Alright”. Figed Esgad’s rough countenance lightened. “There is nothing more for me to say, get on the first Shelled Wagon”.




    Thirteen figures burst out of the waters of the Seer Don Ocean. Dashing in flight, they kept a steady pace that they all could keep up with, but was sufficiently fast for reaching their destination in time.

    “We will arrive to Selivereb in less than two hours. Zax, you are to remember not to reveal your identity under any circumstances. If otherwise something will happen to your people, it would be on your head!” Bonjier emphasized in her animalistic Black Feathered Lioness form.

    “You don’t have to remind me again”. Zax creased his brows. Simply thinking about the cause for the operation angered him. He was not sure that even after getting everyone safely to the chain’s base, he will be able to face with his loved ones.

    He silently flew at the forefront, maintaining the visage of a lanky old man with combed hair.

    It did not take long for them to reach the Western’s continent coastline, where they stow away the Voyage Charms in their pockets or some unseen place on their bodies – the beasts among them who stayed in animalistic forms.

    “Hey, something isn’t right”. Seconds after entering the forest of Titan Kapok Trees, Kloky, the first to survey the area with his Sublime Soul Senesce, announced. “I can’t detect anything, as if the entire forest is shrouded by a Soul Sense obstructing formation”.

    “How could that be?” Soybam Peter, a six handed, a meter and a half, brown and emerald furred Spider Ape retorted. “There were no signs of sigils or marks reacting to your probe”.

    “Odd”, Rockwell’s pupils contracted. “I can tell that we are progressing in the right direction, but no matter where I look, the vista appears exactly the same. Could this be a natural occurring formation?”

    “It can’t be. It’s too coincidental. Not to mention that naturally occurring formations normally influence one sense. If it was a brief natural phenomenon, Donkey would have warned us in advance, yet she said nothing when we talked”. Bonjier reasoned.

    “Do you think something happened to Donkey?” Kloky frowned and the entire group slowed down.

    “Wait”. Zax said before someone could answer or raise a speculation. ‘My vision and Soul Sense are impaired by some obstruction, but whatever it may be; due to its range it seems that it could not be much intricate. The attribute worldly energy is still accessible and with my level of understanding… let’s see if I can bypass this obstruction’.

    “Mm?” Fierce black, dark attribute energy all of a sudden erupted around Zax and his eyes glared at the far distance. “The five powers, Luminous Church and Blessed Army, they are here, along with a fourth level Martial Mortal!”

  3. #263
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2015


    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 24 – Kloky’s Decision

    “A fourth level Martial Mortal?” Kloky was so bewildered that he could not believe. “Where is he or she? Can he sense us?” Whether it was true or not, it was more important to stay safe.

    “It’s a He, surprisingly a Bishop of the church. I thought unless they receive permission, Martial Mortal members of the five powers aren’t allowed to intrude on each other territory”. Zax said as he concentrated on making sure his dark attribute energy enhanced Soul Sense remains at an undetectable range.

    “A Bishop in Valgarel?” Bonjier had an incredulous look.

    “Let’s retreat out of the boundary of this makeshift natural occurring formation”. Kloky instructed, despite they being on a schedule.

    “We can’t! I won’t! My family and friends are soon to arrive from New Earth. I won’t let them get caught by the forces of Luminous Church and Blessed Army!” Zax lividly responded. From his perspective, everyone sent by Gid Chu for this operation had obligation to ensure the wellbeing of his loved ones, otherwise, they can get lost!

    “Zax, tell us what do you see”. Zechariah interrupted.

    “How many members of the five powers can you count? What their level of cultivation?” Linor added.

    “Can you see Donkey? She has long face and short blond hair. Age wise her appearance is similar to late thirties non cultivator”. Soybam Peter described.

    “Give me a moment”. Zax replied and resumed his attention on the groups from Luminous Church and Blessed Army, as well as searching whoever seemed not to belong with accordance to the discerption of Donkey.

    “There are the five Curators. Apart from them, there are eight Blessed Army’s experts; five Peak Core Masters, two first level Martial Mortals and a third level Martial Mortal. Luminous Church seems to send only four of its personal, three Peak Core Masters and the Bishop… they are all around the pathway to New Earth, next to the Bishop there is a dead figure of a woman-”

    “Is it Donkey?” Varinka asked hysterically. Giant Havreim similarly had an ugly expression. By their behavior they probably had good relations with Donkey, better than the rest, at least.

    “It looks like it”. Noting the two’s reactions, Zax said gently.

    “Can the Bishop sense us, Zax? If it’s a possibility, immediately cease the exploration!” Bonjier commanded.

    Zax knitted his brows, but refrained from retorting. “I can only guess that… no. The odd formation in the forest is obstructing even his ability to sense my probing. Unless his understanding of the attribute is sufficiently high and he is intentionally guarding from Sublime Soul Sense and Soul Sense, he won’t notice. Equally, if I’ll withdraw my Soul Sense, than I won’t be able to tell if he will use his. I think the formation is their doing, and for some reason they are willing to pay the price of disabling their detecting capabilities for catching us”.

    “How did they know that we come?” Xiao Kirin asked.

    “I don’t know”. Zax shook his head. “Am I supposed to answer everything just because I can still use Soul Sense?” They kind of exaggerated with their expectations for every answer from him.

    Zax really could not know. How could he had guessed that while he was having his review, the leaders of the five powers finished theirs, leaving Archbishop Silternjan the trouble of verifying his connection to New Earth. For this task, Horn Kikon and General Logan allowed for a one time, temporary breach in the agreement between the five powers, consenting to Archbishop Silternjan request of sending a Bishop to oversight the investigation.

    Although Horn Kikon was told to send his own beasts, if he does not trust the group from Luminous Church, he refused. Ultimately, both he and General Logan served the same Immortal.

    With regards to Donkey’s dead body… The Bishop sent by the church received a peculiar set of wide range obstructing formation with the orders to erect it in its maximum scope with the pathway to New Earth as the center, should the need arise. As for the so call “need”, it was the case Sinister Chain will somehow figure the church investigation into Zax’s origin and one of its leaders will arrive on scene, not caring about admitting the truth, meaning to relocate possible relatives of the newly recruited prospect.

    The Bishop, one of the four male Bishops of the church, got wind of Donkey soon after she conversed with Bonjier. Capturing her when he realized her destination was the pathway to New Earth, and then making a quick interrogation, her excuses and meek behavior did not convince him. First, a Peak Core Master such as her should have noticed the five powers’ Curators and know to stay away. Second, if she was a denizen of New Earth then she broke the rules, anyway, by not joining any of the powers or returning before her breakthrough to the second realm.

    Hence, he killed her and erected the formation, just in case she was a scout of the chain.

    “Kloky, by the timeline senior Gid gave me, my family and friends will arrive in a few hours”. Zax reminded.

    “I’m aware”. Kloky grimaced. Using the Companion’s Link formation along with Bonjier, in terms of mist energy they could compare with a Beginner fourth level Martial Mortal, but as far as insights into the attribute… they were unable to match.

    Seeing Kloky toiling internally yet not coming up with a suggestion, while the others were also stumped with what they could do, Zax steeled his resolve. “I’ll take care of the Bishop”.

    He was not yet at the level of reaching a standstill against a Beginner fourth level Martial Mortal, more like prolonging the imminent, nor was he certain about the phase of the Bishop on scene, but there was no other solution. If he will be clever…

    The twelve instantly turned ugly faces. On one hand they were nervous by the current risk; it was supposed to be a grand scale escort operation with not much to worry about. On the other hand, even if they were not close with Zax, they knew better than standing by while his loved ones bear the consequences of his service to the chain.

    “The moment he will see you as a threat, not necessarily to him. Just someone weirdly strong that he could not identify, the Bishop will notify the church, perhaps ask for reinforcement from the army, in case he will suspect of Leader’s or Second Leader’s presence here”. Rockwell forewarned.

    “That’s right”. Bonjier concurred. She was adamant with barring Zax’s emotions from dictating how they should conduct the operation. “It will take less than thirty minutes for a lieutenant to arrive here from the Blessed Army’s First Base at the north of the continent. And if that’s too much time, they can ask for Violet Scaled Troops to send a Feather, instead. Can you handle two fourth level Martial Mortals?”

    “I thought about it”. Zax said in a reassuring tone. “First thing I’ll do is breaking his communicator, I’ll be quick”. He added and proceeded to elaborate before being asked more refuting questions. “I’ll act like Donkey’s companion, show up searching for her. I’ll let the Bishop probe my soul level and made him think that I’m another Peak Core Master”.

    “You are a bodily cultivator. What would you do if he won’t find adequate mist coursing through your dantian and channels?” Bonjier rebutted, not doubting the level of his soul, which she believed was at a high level.

    In contrast, she was unaware that Zax’s soul was actually at the second realm because Leader Gid Chu told everyone about his feats, which could not possibly have been accomplished by someone who any random first level Martial Mortal can kill with one soul attack. In addition, she was oblivious to the matter of Zax’s soul uniqueness and how much his level of understanding of the dark attribute helped strengthen his soul.

    “It’s fine if he’ll believe I’m a bodily cultivator”. Zax persisted.

    There was not much to deny here. One may not encounter frequently bodily cultivators, but it was not like they were uncommon, every one of them should go through a severe background inspection, just because the opposite side is members of the five powers.

    “We can move on with this plan”, Kloky decided to end the debate.

    There was no point in continuing to argue. They were not prepared to abandon the operation together with Zax, to fend his family on his own. Moreover, when the convoy from New Earth will get here, who will distract the five powers so they will not be able to trace and eliminate them?

    “We can’t be sure how much and if Donkey said anything to the Bishop. Deceiving him by showing up alone would work only if Donkey maintained till death a cover. Since nothing can be left to chance, we will assume the Bishop know Donkey is a member of the chain and speculate that there are more of us”.

    “Kloky”, Varinka could not hold herself from snapping. “Donkey would not have revealed-”

    “A Core Master, regardless of level and phase, will not be able to hide anything from the interrogation of a third level Martial Mortal, much less a Bishop”. In a voice that was on the verge of admonishment, Kloky reminded Varinka and Giant Havreim, before the big fellow could back his companion and lover.

    “Donkey had to suicide to not break under the pressure of the Bishop”. Riv reasoned in a more sympathetic tone.

    “Continue with what you have to say, Kloky”. Bonjier requested. If there was someone whose critical thinking she could accept, even if she did not like it, it was Kloky’s.

    Nodding, Kloky opened, particularly aiming his words on Zax. “Confronting the Bishop under these conditions is not a one man job. Check the surrounding again and tell me if you find someone approaching”. He asked of Zax.

    “None are coming”. Zax said after a brief moment.

    “This means that the Bishop did not request reinforcement. Probably is reluctant to call the Blessed Army and Violet Scaled Troops before he is certain the situation too dicey for him to handle, otherwise he will lose face for the church. If all thirteen of us will show up in a group, it is likely that he will think that we decided to take him and the others on with everything we have, hence not saving anyone behind, which he will also be able to verify by using his Sublime Soul Sense, like you Zax.

    “A bunch of experts with the strongest being two third level Martial Mortals, at the very least, the Bishop will waver before making up his mind for contacting the other powers. This will be your window, Zax. You, I and Bonjier will pretend to combine our forces to fight him while you”, Kloky looked at the rest. “Will fight the third level Martial Mortal from the Blessed Army and the Core Masters”. His expression hardened. “It’s imperative to not expose you true strength, always be on the defensive. When the opportunity will arise for Zax, you will erupt with your full strength, first destroy the Bishop’s communicator and then do what you can to pull him away from here, but not escape! This will also be the signal for the rest of you to erupt. Exploit the shock of the members from the five powers to attack them, targeting their communicators first, second, their lives”.

    “Won’t the members of the Blessed Army or Curators will transmit the five powers before the Bishop?” Soybam Peter asked.

    “You haven’t seen before fourth level Martial Mortals do battle before, Soybam Peter… In comparison to third level Martial Mortals you can say that the disparity between them and us is even wider than the disparity between a fifth and a fourth level Martial Mortal. Knowing the enemy doesn’t has a fourth level Martial Mortal to deal with the Bishop, the five powers will wait for further situation report before taking matters to their own hands“.

    ‘It’s an understatement’. Zax refrained from saying outloud.

    From the fourth level of the third realm, experts are more measured by their understanding of the attribute than mist energy and till now he have not met or heard about a fourth level Martial Mortal with deficient understanding. Yes, a cultivator could reach the fifth level of the Martial Mortal realm without ever dwelling on the attribute, but at such levels, the soul reaches a state where it is capable of recognizing the value of worldly attribute energy and that it is outweigh mist energy.

    “Are there more questions?” Kloky glanced at each one of the twelve before him.

    Complete silence.

    “Good, take this, Zax, use it as part of your disguise. Let’s go!”

  4. #264
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2015


    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 25 – Gidon’s Dawn And Dusk

    “Cardinal Nonsup, we are ready”. A short, plump nun from Luminous Church’s crew notified with hands beneath the loose sleeves of her silver robe.

    “Go ahead and wait by the pathway”. The gorgeous Bishop Nonsup instructed and when the plumped, Peak Core Master abided him, his line of sight dropped to the bloody figure at his feet.

    “Sinister Chain…” He mused and revised the information he extorted from the dead Donkey.

    Encountering her was pure coincidence and deciding to interrogate her was done on a whim. Nevertheless, who would have thought that he actually caught a rat in the midst of group operation to steal the cheese? ‘His grace the Archbishop’s suspicions were correct. The chain new recruit came from New Earth’.

    Not all of it was conclude by solely what he managed to force out of Donkey. With the data chip the church received from the Mercenary Association, they learned a bit of Zax’s background. He was supposed to act in the High Rankers' trials as the Sensensar family’s envoy, but abandoned his duty by basically not proceeding in the trials after the Event in Demirva Ridge. The church and the other four powers even knew some stuff on Zax before he registered in Glorious Ground. As it so happened, the earlier confirmed sighting of him was in the village, Vergil’s Pasture, when he appeared out of nowhere and practically rescued the warrior villagers and the hired mercenaries, from Mendor's mercenary band, during a skirmish against the Black Chrome Alligator that terrorized the village.

    All of that, coupled with what he got from Donkey, and Bishop Nonsup was hundred percent positive that Zax originated from New Earth.

    “Mm…” Bishop Nonsup glanced at the surrounding. ‘I erected the Bewildering Archons Magic formation, exhausting all the resources his grace Archbishop Silternja and his grace Cardinal Northstar had managed to convince the other powers to contribute, all for the sake of eliminating the potential risk of an indigenous fifth level Martial Mortal. I was meant to use it in case any of the chain’s leaders would show up or that lad, Zax Walaow. To constrain or kill them, if possible, and if failing doing either, it would have been awkward, but overall fine, so long as I capture Zax’s loved ones’.

    Baleful, fiery aura emanated from his body, burnt Donkey’s body until nothing was left but ashes and scorched earth.

    ‘I rushed to use the formation because of that heretic woman… no!’ He shook his head, knowing that he, a fourth level Martial Mortal, could not shift the blame to mere Core Master. ‘Because I got riled up… The army and troops forbade anymore Martial Mortals coming if a fourth level one is sent. They expect me to hold off Gid Chu or Yurnal alone and cry for help. Making the church losing face is ridiculously important to them as eliminating the rise of an indigenous fifth level Martial Mortal’.

    It was half true. The Blessed Army and the Violet Scaled Troops had a Feather and a Lieutenant General on a standby not too far, waiting for a transmission from Bishop Nunsup asking for reinforcement. It will not take them long to arrive at all.

    Rescinding his aura, Bishop Nunsup shut his eyes. When he opened them again they were lucid with a gleam of tranquility.

    ‘Never mind. The formation is fully operational and it can’t be stopped for eight hours, even by a Peak Martial Mortal. Besides, if that Zax Walaow really has loved ones down there, then he doesn’t necessarily have to be threatened with an exchange of his life for theirs. Though he swore, evoking The Almighty’s name, The Almighty is merciful and may spare him, if such talent agree to repent’.

    Someone with so much talent such as Zax, who even though absorbed God made perfect attribute’s essence still unmistakably had potential surpassing any of the Holy Palace’s Ascended Elite, has honestly caused Archbishop Silternja contemplating whether it was worth killing than convert.

    In the gathering of the five powers’ leaders, Archbishop Silternja presented a mien bent on killing Zax especially for this reason, posing him as undeniable threat so none of the five powers would consider engaging him for negotiations.

    He even kept such plan from Cardinal Northstar and shared it only with his trusty Bishop. While Cardinal Northstar will gain more by pacifying His Young Eminence, Stelero Mars, with Zax’s death, those who stuck on this mud ball, Archbishop Silternja and his Bishops, will profit vastly by presenting such prospect before His Holiness. So much that he will definitely summon them back to the Holy Palace.

    Bishop Nunsup sighed. ‘This will be the best scenario for us, but his grace Archbishop Silternja said not to put all hope into it. There is a high chance that Zax Walaow will forsake his loved ones if it means strengthening the forces of the indigenous, particularly now that our contact with the Holy Palace was severed’.

    Turning, papering to decent to New Earth and leave the watch at Selivereb’s side of the pathway to the Blessed Army’s third level Martial Mortal <a href="">Major General</a>, Bishop Nunsup halted mid step and swiftly turned back.



    Just a moment ago he used his amplified by fiery attribute energy Sublime Soul Sense to survey the area before departure and his scan caught thirteen figures approaching, actually, seconds from reaching the pathway and most likely confronting with the members of the five powers already there.

    “Sinister Chain!” He clamored in complete confidence. Who else could they be? Then he realized that the strongest in the group are two third level Martial Mortals. ‘Good! Nearly alerted the army and troops for naught!’ He hastened to overtake their advancement to the pathway. ‘If that <a href="">Major General</a> will call for help, it will be even worse!’

    For him, the strongest and orders giver, to be away while the rest facing the chain… what level of disgraceful incompetence would that be?!

    “Bonjier, Gidon, combine forces against Bishop Nunsup, the rest of you divide accordingly!” Kloky shouted the moment he identified the church’s Bishop. As for the man named “Gidon”, it was the moniker Zax casually picked for his disguise.

    Bishop Nunsup made it to the pathway a step before Zax and the twelve. He was confused as to how they located the pathway under the influence of the Bewildering Archons Magic formation. Since Yurnal and Gid Chu were not among them, he wondered whether they were given for safety some unique treasure for obstructing formations or other purposes and even more was intrigued what that treasure may be and how the chain got it.

    ‘Could it be? Did they uncover an item belonging to that Immortal?’ He suspected and a tinge of excitement cased the edges of his lips to curve upwards. He will not need to speculate if he will just kill them and snatch their possessions. “<a href="">Major General</a> Hei, they have three third level Martial Mortals”, he was not clear about Zax, but assumed he was since he collaborated his assault with Kloky and Bonjier, two faces he recognized from field reports regarding Sinister Chain, gathered and shared by all five powers. “I’ll deal with them. You take care of Rockwell and his companion. Don’t call for help, I repeat, don’t you dare transmit for reinforcement without my permission!”

    The others could split against the enemies without his orders, so he did not bother giving any, nor did he had the time.

    Bonjier transformed to her human form, a black skinned, long smooth haired middle age beauty. She did so to accompaniment Kloky’s human physique so together they could execute the Companion’s Link formation.

    “Bishop Nunsup!” maintaining the visage of a lanky old man, Zax bellowed with a hoarse voice, imbued with abysmal hate. “Good, good, good”, after each good the malicious air around him intensified. “Over three hundred years ago it was a member of Luminous Church who accused my wife and daughters of polytheism in Onzengvas and murdered them. At the time I was not even a Core Master and the priest who took their lives was a third level Martial Mortal! Today, I cultivated to that priest’s level, but the one in front of me is still stronger. Hahaha! Three hundred and twenty eight years ago I thought the Gods forsook me, but now I realize that I was wrong. With my brother and sister in arms and the nurturing I received from what the church calls ‘the greatest evil’, Sinister Chain, Master Yurnal, I’ll use this precious opportunity to consecrate at dusk the graves of my wife and daughters with the rare blood of not just a mere priest, but a Bishop!”

    Zax made up the story on the spot and sounded awfully convincing, all due to how amusing he found the fictitious tale. The motive behind the drama, which even the other twelve were impressed by, since they knew it was a lie and beforehand Zax did not informed that of the act, was to avoid Bishop Nunsup snooping into the unfamiliar oddball in the trio confronting him. The chain had only a handful of bodily cultivators who could compare to third level Martial Mortal. The presence of a new one should, first and foremost, raise red flags to his or her identity. A cautious person without pretext to think otherwise would even dare suspect him for being one of the chain’s leaders in disguise.

    Hearing his account, Bishop Nunsup shook his head and drew back couple of kilometers while Zax, Bonjier and Kloky on his tail.

    He looked pensive because such stories were not foreign to him. On one hand he agreed with them being tragic, on the other, those whose bodies were purified in the name of The Almighty, will be guided onto the righteous path in their next life.

    He led them away to see what means they have to return to the pathway under the effect of the Bewildering Archons Magic formation.

    ‘Zax’, because of the Companion’s Link formation the voices of both Bonjier and Kloky were transmitted via the communicator. ‘Don’t forget, we will distract Nunsup as best we can, but it will be up to you to figure when to reveal your strength and how to ruin his communicator!’

    The communicator was inside Bishop Nunsup’s ear and the head was a generally an extremely guarded part of the body in battle, so the task required flawless timing and judgment.

    ‘Got it!’ Zax sent back. He flipped his hand and a three meters long pike, completely out of metal, appeared in his hand.

    It was given him by Kloky to match his disguise. Even bodily cultivators used weapons, and since he, in his true identity, already established being of the selected few who wielded only their limbs, there was no need for letting Bishop Nunsup question if it is possible for the chain to have more than one eccentric expert.

    About the pike, Zax asked Kloky about it on their way. He already met experts who used weapons made from the very same metal, Fengar’s axe, for example, and receiving such weapon to earnestly fight with for the first time triggered his curiosity.

    The pike was made of the popular and the diversely used Old Nature Metal. The type of metal could be found as a component in a variety of objects and across many fields, but was the sole other matter than World Gathering Bone that experts like to forge their weapons from.

    It had no auxiliary properties like World Gathering Bone, but it was graded in similar manner, from low to high. Low being sturdy enough to block, without applying mist energy, a strike from Peak Mist Lord, medium was about as tough as a Beginner third level Core Master and high could only be broken, if not augmented with mist energy, by Peak third level Martial Mortal.

    Old Nature Metal is said to be slightly solider than World Gathering Bone of the same grade, but the latter complement mist energy better, not to mention more beneficial for cultivation.

    Zax grabbed the pike steadily with both hands and thrust. The tip of the pike pierced the sound barrier, a feat generally third level Martial Mortals could perform only by combining a good weapon to their assault.

    Bishop Nunsup watched as the pike accelerated toward his heart as if it moved in slow motion. Someone as strong as third level Martial Mortal was beneath him. Nevertheless, he was not rushing to block with bare hands. A blunt weapon would not have been a problem, but unless he had the earthly attribute, the pointy edge of the pike could penetrate his mantle of mist energy if he did not employ a defensive intent.

    Turning half a spin, the pike went past him. “Are you buying them time with this level of skill?” He taunted Zax. He wanted them desperate so they would run away and expose how they ignore the formation.

    Zax, in his old man mien, scowled, pulled the pike, just back and thrust multiple times. He demonstrated utter reliance on his control of Kinetic Force to propel his attack as compensation to lacking mist energy and supposed meager understanding of the attribute.

    Two hundred meter behind were Kloky and Bonjier. Fervent invisible energy sheltered them as if nothing in the world could harm them. In front of them was a circle composed from thirty, fist size World Gathering Bone cubes and in front of it was, again, an invisible pressure in a diameter of thirty meters.

    Bishop Nunsup eyed the cubes and prodded the invisible pressure. He found them both unsightly in an uncomfortable fashion as he determined the invisible pressure being a formation erected by the coalesced prowess of the Companion’s Link formation and the cubes being projectiles that will each carry the weight of, probably, Beginner fourth level Martial Mortal the instant they will pass through the invisible pressure.

    He was an Intermediate fourth level Martial Mortal and could not afford resisting all thirty cubes at once… ten would make him sustain serious injury.

    With a solemn expression, Bishop Nunsup finally stopped avoid the pike. Reaching out, he grabbed it with his left hand and with his right glowing red he aimed at Zax’s chest.

    ‘Take it!’ Both Kloky and Bonjier sent.

    Zax complied and then it all happened too fast for a third level Martial Mortal at the caliber he pretended to be to react. He received the killing blow and spewed a current of blood as his entire torso caved and his figure started to descend.

    ‘My whole body is burning! He broke my bones and intended to incinerate my insides… Fortunately it wasn’t his full strength, my understanding of the dark attribute is higher than his of the fiery attribute and bodily refinement technique is Grandmaster’s Three Stages Of Hyper Physique, otherwise I would have suffered a slow and excruciating death!’

    Bishop Nunsup could not know that to truly harm Zax he had to put effort in his attack. Turning his back, expecting from the old man to fade from his memory together with his last breaths, he proceeded for Kloky and Bonjier in a temperate pace.

    ‘I killed one. Now do the smart thing and run, show me what treasure you’re hiding!’

  5. #265
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2015


    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 26 – Panic! Godly Retribution

    ‘Be prepared to make your move, Zax!’ Kloky and Bonjier urged his fallen façade of an old, lanky man. ‘We only have time to generate a strike to distract him. Subsequently, we’ll leave back to the pathway”, while in the Companion’s Link formation they combined soul could vaguely skim the visage within the Bewildering Archons Magic formation. “And it would be up to you to draw him far and for as long as possible. Transporting your family and friends to the base will take a week at the fastest!’

    ‘When you are ready’. Zax sent back. He already recovered from his major injuries, but has not found the opportunity to catch Bishop Nunsup from behind and it was still unclear in which ear he keeps the communicator.

    Bishop Nunsup advanced in a moderate flying pace toward the two, giving them enough time to retreat and reveal the means in which they could navigate in the Bewildering Archons Magic formation, but not too much time for their World Gathering Bone cubes and invisible formation to reach a state of completion that could threaten him.

    Eight cubes started spinning frantically, as Kloky and Bonjier commenced their assault, which could not be delayed anymore.

    Bishop Nunsup puckered his brows and then scoffed. ‘Eight will be tricky to block while avoiding damage, but it’s doable. Afterwards they won’t be able to prepare anymore cubes for a second volley; hence their only choice would be to run’. Or rather he will let them, temporarily.

    From beginning till this very moment, everything that took place was within a time frame of barely three seconds. Now, however, as Zax used internal dark attribute energy to contain instead of expel the fiery attribute energy and patiently waited to initiate his real assault, time was about to get even slower as powers were about to get unleashed.

    “Go!” Kloky and Bonjier, each raised his and her right arm and pointed as if they were the other’s shadow.

    The eight spinning cubes shot through the invisible formation, absorbing its refined energy while losing any indication of solidness, turning into pure rays of brilliant white light.

    The eight rays crossed the tens of meters between them and Bishop Nunsup in a blink of an eye.

    Bishop Nunsup’s expression grew solemn. The devastating power of the rays was both prominent by their speed and the fluctuations radiating from them. He extended his hands sideways as two daggers with curved, Old Nature Metal blade appeared in them.

    Fiery attribute energy pervaded the blades, inspiring red marks and shapes on them.

    ‘Six? Seven?’ Bishop Nunsup quickly estimated the number of rays he will be able to counter as well as all eight trajectories to determine which one or two will make the least amount of harm, should he miss. With this, he took stance and brandished his daggers in a peculiar yet dazzling set of dagger arts.

    Six rays were his targets. He could parry a seventh, but it would have required him to slightly alter his maneuvers and permitting a cube with perilous trajectory to hit him. Conversely, the two cubes that he will miss by maintain his chosen maneuvers, will only hit below waist at his left knee and right thigh, resulting in injuries that will not impede him as well as ones he has the means to easily recover from.

    With a “Ding” sound, three rays with the power of a Beginner fourth level Martial Mortal simultaneously clashed with Bishop Nunsup’s two daggers. The glaring light of the rays dissipated rapidly, soon to show the dim squared outlines of the cubes they engulfed.

    At the same time the eight rays shot off, Kloky and Bonjier turned tail to escape, furthering Bishop Nunsup attention on them.

    The cubes inside the fourth and fifth rays recoiled from the collision with the daggers, once their energy was thoroughly depleted; they followed the previous three in a flight back to their owners.

    One ray was left to parry and Bishop Nunsup readied himself to the incursions of the remaining two.

    Zax could not have known that the borrowed time for his sneak attack is at its end, but he could perceive the incipient awkwardness in Bishop Nunsup’s maneuvers and deduce the advent of the chance he needed.

    Dark Titan Storm’s second stage.

    Even if he wanted, Bishop Nunsup could not fail to notice the sudden ominous undulations of dark attribute energy at the back of his neck. Nevertheless, he was about to parry the sixth ray and absolutely could not afford to be distrusted and having it hit him, when it rocketed with clear trajectory toward his left eye.

    ‘What? Who? Could it be?’ Were the last word he heard asking himself in his mind when his vision turned blur and his ears rang.

    Zax slammed his two black palms at Bishop Nunsup’s ears. Perhaps by instinct, perhaps it was a sort of defensive mechanism put in advance, but a fiery shell of mist energy emerged as a thin layer on the skin of the gorgeous Bishop of the church.

    For a brief instant Zax was not sure whether he succeed in destroying the communicator or if his attack was completely blocked. Then, he felt a minute tingling at the palm of his right hand, the discharge electricity and violet stone’s energy.

    ‘It’s done!’ Zax was exuberant.

    Blood sipped from Bishop Nunsup’s ears due to the sneak attack, yet he managed to parry the sixth ray. However, he was in no position to celebrate, apart from still being about to get hit by two rays, an influx of the violet stone’s energy rampantly swirled in his sea of consciousness, wreaking havoc in his blazing Inner Panorama.

    ‘Be gone!’ A formation of soul energy was erected in his mind and vanquished the ruinous energy of the violet stone.



    The seventh and eighth rays hit, yet Bishop Nunsup did not react to them. He turned his head to the side, to see with rancorous eyes the figure that snuck on him.

    The figure was a tad difficult to recognized, at first, but then a memory of it resurfaced and it because clear as the sky in a sunny day.

    “You…!” Bishop Nunsup’s gaze turned shocked.

    Afraid to miss this moment in which his opponent was too stunned to properly counterattack, Zax smiled. “For my wife and daughter”. His words cause Bishop Nunsup to be even more shocked as it dawned on him…

    Gripping Bishop Nunsup’s shoulder with one hand and with the hand pushing at his back, Zax issued a burst of dark attribute energy and hurtled, pushing the Bishop tens of kilometers from the pathway.

    An involuntary groan seeped from Bishop Nunsup’s mouth. He gathered his strength to revolt. The temperature around his body escalated from tens to hundreds and thousands degrees.

    Zax resisted the scalding heat, but even in his Dark Titan Storm’s second stage, the palms of his hands started developing blisters. The pain was tolerable for the first few seconds; however it continued to spread along his arms and the fiery attribute energy with an explicit intent to hurt him pervaded past the defenses of his dark attribute physique, into his body.

    He let go from the Bishop when below them the forest of Titan Kapok Trees was replaced by a series of sceneries, mountains, villages, tribes and rivers till passing a great clan, alerting the beasts in it so much that even its second level Martial Mortal leader cowered in her residence, and arriving to a frosty, solitary mountain top.

    Ignoring the freezing landscape, Bishop Nunsup turned to face the black figure that hijacked him. ‘He really came!’ The Bone And Muscle Transformation technique was annulled by the transformation to the Dark Titan Storm’s second stage. ‘And…’ He touched his right ear with his fingers. Pulling his hand before his eyes, his facial muscles twitched from the sight of his own blood and the destruction of his communicator. Looking back at Zax, he contemplated. ‘Killing him… even if I can, he could escape Archbishop Silternja. I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to chase him… This leaves me with only two options and a very short window to pick which to follow’.

    In essence he could choose to negotiate for peace with Zax or head back to the pathway, seek out his loved ones and use them to threaten him.

    ‘Kloky and Bonjier are probably back at the pathway. Worst case scenario, if they will manage to sneakily destroy the communicators of the members of the church and army over there, then counting on reinforcement would be meaningless…’

    “Zax Walaow!” He opened in a steady and loud voice. “There is no need for us to fight”. Now it was his turn to shock the other side.

    ‘No need to fight?’ Zax did not ask outloud only because he expected Bishop Nunsup to clarify the notion.

    “Archbishop Silternja extends his good will for peace between you and Luminous Church. To bury the hatchet, as they say, the requisite is for you to first sincerely repent for your sins against The Almighty”. Bishop Nunsup spoke in a domineering tone, yet swiftly explained to avoid Zax misinterpreting him. “You gave oath in the name of The Almighty. If you won’t stand by it, not anyone, no hideout will be able to protect you from the wrath of The Almighty.

    “You know the context of your oath, so I won’t mention it. Tell me, do you really believe yourself infallible? Sufficiently competent to make it a reality? Not in the far future, but today? A week from now? A month? A year? Ten years? Though you did not allocate a timestamp, do you think The Almighty will wait for you? Slowly but surely you will be dealt Godly Retribution. The blood you coughed, the weakness you felt when you made the oath, they are but a nip of what’s coming, soon”.

    ‘The pain I felt back then…’ Zax reminisced to the instance he made the oath. ‘He… is telling the truth!’ He could not sense and ounce of falsehood in Bishop Nunsup’s words. On the contrary, there was a hint of pity in his stringent tone.

    His heart pounded in his chest as dread germinated at every fiber of his being, remnant of the oppressive force that followed the oath and lay dormant in his cells, dantian and soul. ‘I…’ He said to himself and the next words came out to the world in an ignorant timbre. “Did not know…”

    Regular people, non cultivators, curse the Gods and curse Nature probably as much as they curse at each other. Despite that, there are never such things as “Divine Repercussions” for verbally venting due to misfortune and without discrimination.

    For cultivators, however, it is different. The higher the level of cultivation, the more likely the accuser will gain the attention of Gods and Nature. Since cultivation’s level correspond to loudness it is normal for some cultivators to get punished more severely than others.

    “Of course you did not. Most cultivators in Ercas Mir would not know even if they take The Almighty’s name in vain thousands of times. Not all are worthy to cough blood; the weak and dull perceive Godly Retribution as earthly cause and effect, unable to accurately realize the presence of the entity executing it. Your cultivation entitled you a glimpse at The Almighty’s might; hence your Godly Retribution will surely be calamitous. That being said, so long as his grace Archbishop Silternja’s offer stands, even for the ne'er-do-wells and insufferable bastards, absolution is still viable”.

  6. #266
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2015


    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 27 – Second Oath

    It would be a lie to claim that Zax’s imperious dark physique form, the Dark Titan Storm’s second stage, managed to utterly cover the stir that rippled from his heart.

    ‘Eliminating Luminous Church…’

    The oath was made in the spur of the moment, but it was not as if he was unware of the words coming out of his mouth or had no intention of following through with them. Simply, he was too weak and also had to consider the real chiefs which each of the five powers could turn to for help, the Immortal powerhouses behind them. Eliminated the church should be done progressively.

    ‘No! The church is wicked, vile to those who don’t share its fate’.

    Rockwell’s background was just one story that can be told about the church’s intent toward those they label as “Heathens”.

    ‘It and the other powers are a constant threat to those who oppose them. They are dominating behind the scenes the inhabitants of New Earth, imposing rules that implicate our rise to beneath the blue sky. They… will certainly go to any length in their search for the ‘something’ left by the Immortal expert, previous owner of the Black Core. And if Legacy Of The One’s Path is what they want, then I’ll never be able to resolve the concern of them either using my loved ones against me or openly employing all other means available to them to capture me’.

    Zax reflected on the pros and cons of reconciling, at the very least, with Luminous Church, the only power, currently, to have a force that could hinder the relocating of his family and friends.

    “You said that repenting is the first thing I’ll have to do”. Depend on how, he really intended to consider this. If The Almighty is going to make his life a living hell because of his oath, then he would rather do anything possible, and within his principles, for absolution. The blood and weakness from back then were enough scare for him to not dare disregard the attention of a God, now that he knows better.

    “First thing I said was the most important condition. Second is much simpler… join the Holy Palace”. A genuine smile bloomed on Bishop Nunsup’s face. He could be wanton, greedy and merciless, yet when welcoming another soul to the righteous path laid by The Almighty, he was nothing but candid and affable.

    ‘All animosity can end right now’. By the change in fluctuations in Bishop Nunsup’s aura, Zax believed that submission to the church would undoubtedly bring about closure for both parties. “Would I be limited? I won’t become a servant of the church or the Holy Palace”.

    “The word ‘Servant’ is of personal reference. Any member of the Holy Palace is rather an ‘Envoy’ of The Almighty. Some just choose to categorize themselves differently out of humbleness. Typically cultivation level and ascendancy over the holy teachings are what determine your position, but for selected few with exceptional potential such as yourself, exceptions can be made”. Bishop Nunsup encouraged upon seeing Zax not refusing right away, perhaps even getting comfortable with the idea.

    “That’s not what I mean. Cultivators from New Earth who joined the five powers are obligated to make oaths of several degrees of severity. So let me rephrase myself, will I be free to leave the Holy Palace whenever I’ll feel like it without consequences?”

    “That’s…” Zax’s blunt question caused Bishop Nunsup a tad awkwardness as well as slight irritation. Either he was not explicit enough or Zax was too dense to understand that it was not an olive branch extended to him, but the entire tree!

    Should he be received as a member of the church and be admitted to the shortest session of holy studies, then with his talent that surpasses an Ascended Elite’s, in a short while of handful years even figure like Archbishop Silternja and Cardinal Northstar would be obligated to show him respect.

    ‘I can’t tell if his interest is genuine or if he is just stalling for those Sinister Chain’s members…’ It would be awful if he will return to the Grand Abode, only to confess to Archbishop Silternja that he failed in both tasks due to being played with. “Once you will observed the holy studies, you will not want to leave the righteous path of The Almighty. I know I never regretted my decision, nor anyone else who ever joined the Holy Palace or the church, here in Ercas Mir”. Bishop Nunsup said in a resigned tone. He raised his palm and a rolled, white parchment appeared in it. He gestured and the parchment flew to Zax.

    “What’s that?” Zax asked, all the while still in the Dark Titan Storm’s second stage.

    “I won’t be able to answer you, but his grace Archbishop Silternja can. This is an Oath Parchment of the Holy Palace. When making deals it’s more proper, less adverse to use such methods than involve Gods or Nature”.

    “You want me to make another oath?!” Zax frowned.

    Ariel told him that he made an oath of secrecy for the Blessed Army and could renege it with no immediate penalty, only that the five powers can detect apostates, which is the real problem. Then again, Gid Chu made an oath of service and loyalty to the Blessed Army, which resigning cost him his mist cultivation. Since he was oblivious as to how every oath was made, Zax naturally was wary of complying with Bishop Nunsup’s white parchment.

    “We both will make. You will follow me right now to the Grand Abode, to meet Archbishop Silternja to get answers to all the questions you would like to ask. I will swear that whether you will join the Holy Palace, after talking with his grace the Archbishop, or want some time to think about it, you will be granted safe departure from Onzengvas, the territory”. Bishop Nunsup decided to cut all further explanation short.

    ‘Safe departure from Onzengvas…’ Zax sneered in his heart. ‘What will happen when I’ll leave Onzengvas? If the church won’t send someone to chase me, it can always alert the Golden Desert Fort’. He did not argue outloud. Bishop Nunsup could not guarantee matters beyond the Onzengvas or speak excessively for what treatment Archbishop Silternja’s will give him. Not to mention that he might encounter Cardinal Northstar or Stelero Mars, which neither even Archbishop Silternja cannot go against.

    “I can agree to meet Archbishop Silternja, but not in Onzengvas, in a neutral location, the Earthly Crater”.

    “There… fine!” Bishop Nunsup compromised. He flickered with his index finger and the white parchment opened. “Condense an oath made with soul energy into a drop of blood and drip it on the parchment”. As he spoke, a drop of blood sipped through his index finger’s skin, flew and landed on the parchment. In moments, the blood red letters appeared on the parchment.

    “Should Zax Walaow accompany myself, Bishop Nunsup of Luminous Church, to Ercas Mir’s Earthly Crater, without misdemeanors and to meet and discuss with his grace Archbishop Silternja, I swear with my life that at the end of the engagement Zax Walaow will be granted safe departure and journey to his preferable destination”

    The writings read.

    “See, Zax? You can do it like this. Don’t worry, though, you can swear a loss of cultivation, if you want, not necessarily your life”.

    ‘Zax Walaow!’ Zax restrained the shine in his eyes by reverting back to his normal form. He mimicked Bishop Nunsup and soon his own blood formed a text on the white parchment.

    “I, Zax Walaow, swear upon my life to follow obediently Bishop Nunsup to the Earthly Crater, where I’ll stay until Archbishop Silternja will arrive to negotiate the possibility of me joining the Holy Palace”

    “Is this good enough?”

    “Yes”. Bishop Nunsup nodded in satisfaction. The white parchment rolled and returned to Bishop Nunsup, which he then stashed it in his spatial ring. “Let’s go”. He took charge in leading the way. As for the entanglement in the pathway to New Earth… if he will get involved, affronting Zax in the process, then all this time spending talking about burying the hatchet with the church would have truly been for naught.

    ‘Kloky, Bonjier, I managed to get rid of Bishop Nunsup, but I can’t return for a while’. Zax transmitted via his communicator, deliberately not elaborating so there will not be misunderstanding.

    ‘Okay, Zax’, Kloky sent, his voice separate from Bonjier, apparently they no longer used the Companion’s Link formation. ‘We destroyed all communicators and only have to finish off the Blessed Army’s third level Martial Mortal and one more first level Martial Mortal. The convoy transporting you family and friends had not arrived, yet’.

    ‘When they do, bring them as fast as possible to the chain’s base. I need to go. If there is nothing else, then I’m about to be out of the communicator range. I’ll contact you when I can’. With that, Zax ended the conversation and proceeded after Bishop Nunsup, onwards to the Earthly Crater.

    The Horned Eel became irritated when he sensed the undulation in the water ensuing from Bishop Nunsup’s resistance to the gravitational force.

    The few cultivators that also been there similarly reacted to Bishop Nunsup’s presence, but in a different manner. Some of them were of the church, first level Martial Mortals meditating on the sixth ring of the crater. They greeted Bishop Nunsup in reverence from afar since he and Zax landed past the border between the fourth and third rings.

    The cultivators who were not from the church mostly tried to stay low key. Bishop Nunsup was a renowned expert and no cultivator at the moment in the crater could rival him. At best, two or three had their eyes glued on his direction, or rather at the person next to him.

    Saulalu, the aquatic expert who Zax approached to when he first trained in the Earthly Crater, after a bit more than eight decades has finally reached the fifth ring - where he now stared dumbfound at Zax who was in the company of an actual fourth level Martial Mortal and not peeking from afar like back then...

    “You ruined my communicator”. Bishop Nunsup reminded Zax, mildly blaming him. “Wait here while I’ll go inform his grace the Archbishop”. He said and left, not waiting for Zax’s response. He already swore.

    ‘Now is my chance to leave…’ Zax mused when Bishop Nunsup’s figure was too far to be seen. Nevertheless, he stayed rooted to the third ring like the sole tree in a glade, ogled by a few cultivators from one side and glared by the Horned Eel at the other.

    ‘I used mom’s maiden name in the registration office at Glorious Ground and now in an oath. I felt nothing particular afterwards, like when I used The Almighty’s name. It can be because my real last name is “Zel”, or that using an Oath Parchment isn’t onerous like Bishop Nunsup claimed’. The problem was having the confidence to test which is true.

    ‘I should stay. Moving everyone will take around a week. Even if nothing will happen to me by reneging on the oath, Archbishop Silternja might come in person to the Western Continent, and him there is no way that I’ll be able to deter’.

    “You stealthy returned and asked for me to erect a formation for privacy, Nunsup, I assume it’s related to the thing we talked about?” Archbishop Silternja inquired, stroking his white beard and mustache.

    Both he and Bishop Nunsup were in an alley of Onzengvas city, imperceptible by all who pass them, regardless of cultivation.

    “Speak fast. I bequeathed an inkling of my aura in my residence and no one should come seeking for me, but as long as Cardinal Northstar and His Young Eminence and Sister Iaura still stay in the Grand Abode, I cannot be to certain before making appropriate arrangement for confidential absence”.

    “Yes, your grace. It is as you suspect. I have him waiting to meet you in the Earthly Crater, willing to listen, with an interest… I believe should be worth you efforts”.

    “Of all the places he selected the Earthly Crater…” Archbishop Silternja contemplated and smiled. “Good. This planet is already divided. Although there are eyes and ears in the Earthly Crater, they are not a problem to elude and an Overlord’s territory is better than one of the other four powers’”. He patted Bishop Nunsup’s shoulders with both hands. “Good, Nunsup. If this will pay off, it would be thanks to yours smart thinking”. Obviously he could determine key points of what transpired in the Western Continent. “Wait for me here. I’ll go cover my absence and then we’ll head together to the Earthly Crater”.

  7. #267
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 28 – Ranks Of The Immortal Realm

    Earthly Crater.

    If not for the terrifying gravitational force that weighted on both the body and soul of whoever enters any of the seven rings, the calm water and the seemingly quiescent giant eel would have created a false impression of a peaceful aquatic vista.

    As Zax waited in the third ring of the crater, not paying heed to the experts honing their understanding of the attributes and other aspects of their cultivation paths, his ears suddenly perked as his sense of sound detected the faint whistle of an incoming projectile.

    It shot faster than what a typical second level Martial Mortal could perceive and caught the attention of few, among them the Horned Eel’s. Nevertheless, since nobody noticed where it came from, perhaps only the Horned Eel, and that the object was in fact nothing special aimed at someone unapproachable, the experts who saw the projectile averted their concentration back to training.

    Zax crouched and picked up the communicator that landed at his sandals. He could still sense the residues of the mist energy that protected it while flying at his direction. He put the device in his ear and a familiar, aged voice sounded in his sea of consciousness.

    ‘Zax Walaow, it’s good talking with you on this harmonious occasion’.’

    ‘Archbishop Silternja, I’m glad I get to talk to you when we can put the roles of each other’s adversary aside’. Zax responded.

    ‘Yes, I agree, and sorry that it cannot be done face to face, but it’s for you benefit as well’.

    ‘Bishop Nunsup has sworn for my safety. I’m sure everything is being done to uphold that oath’.

    ‘Exactly, therefore let’s allow the convention to remain as is. I assure you, apart from in the instance I hurled the communicator at your direction, I don’t have a view of you so please don’t try looking for me’.

    ‘Okay’. Zax said in compliance. He had two goals in having this conversation. First, he really was hopeful for finding a solution to his oath. Second, if not striking a sort of bargain both sides will agree on, then at the very least prolonging the church’s attention on him, instead of the relocating of his loved ones.

    ‘We should also withdraw the charade’. Archbishop Silternja’s next sentence caused Zax’s heart to miss a bit.

    ‘What do you mean?’ Many thoughts ran through Zax’s mind. Did the church identify him? Does Archbishop Silternja know about his loved ones being led to a sheltered base of the chain? Was his interest in joining the Holy Palace deemed insincere by Archbishop Silternja in the barely exchange that they had?

    ‘Aren’t you concerned for your family? They are being evacuated as we speak, aren’t they?’ There was a whimsical tone to Archbishop Silternja’s transmission. He had guessed why the sudden arrival of Zax and the other members of the chain to the pathway to New Earth, as did Bishop Nunsup. They both had to be really stupid to not figure it out and really cunning to postpone their response in a manner that seemed like it was not mattered whether they captured Zax’s loved ones or not.

    A moment of silence. Zax knew better than lying or worse, making up excuses. He waited for Archbishop Silternja to continue with whatever condition or ultimatum.

    ‘It’s a good idea, sending them someplace else we can’t get to, and by “We” I mean the other four powers’. Archbishop Silternja said unhurriedly with not haste to elaborate his meaning, allowing Zax some misconceptions. Probably his way of getting back to him, a bit, for the previous misconduct in the Grand Abode.

    ‘You are probably confused…’

    ‘Don’t play games with me’. Zax lost a bit restraint. He could not transmit his malicious intent, but his voice was clear with meaning.

    ‘Mr. Walaow, I assure you, no games are taking place between us. First of all, although it is true that we discovered your identity as an indigenous to this planet, we were not certain about your lineage’. The five powers were aware of some of the information Sinister Chain’s possessed, including the knowledge that they came from outer space. ‘For a family to suddenly vanish from Kingdom Earth… by doing a simple search into current sudden disappearances, you practically announced to us your familial connections, as well as who you really might be. Perhaps we will lose a trump card that could be held against you, but sometimes letting your enemies – I repeat, the other four powers – be certain of your real name is a graver alternative’.

    Zax did not understand Archbishop Silternja’s meaning. When his loved ones would all be safely relocated it will not matter if the five powers know his real or whatnot about him.

    ‘Second, and this you should engrave deeply in your heart… should either of the five powers would decide to threat the annihilation of all life in Kingdom Earth, unless you will surrender yourself to it, would you sit by and watch your kin’s end or give yourself up?’


    A ripple of dark attribute energy spread from Zax’s soul, emerged from his body and stirred the water of the third ring in the crater ominously. ‘Would you dare?!’

    “Roar!” At the first ring of the Earthly Crater, the Horned Eel lifted his head and snapped at Zax intimidatingly. Although he could not assess the human’s strength, he determined him being at the caliber of a third level Martial Mortal. In other words, one of those he forbade from crossing the third ring, which nearly happened with the intent that rippled from Zax.

    ‘I wasn’t making the threat myself, only alerting you to a certain possibility. If you don’t want to lose your life to the Overlord, you better soothe yourself’. Archbishop Silternja warned, indifferent to Zax’s mild tantrum. ‘As for the likelihood that such threat will be made… for now eliminating all indigenous is a bottom line we, the five powers, prefer not to cross’.

    ‘Enough!’ Zax retorted. Archbishop Silternja maintained friendly disposition, but should he and Zax will not come to terms, then everything he said is a warning of what might happen if Zax should continue to oppose to the church. ‘My family and friends are no more a function that can be used by you, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still in a perilous situation-’

    ‘Due to your oath…’

    ‘Because of the oath’.

    ‘That can be averted, if you’ll join the Holy Palace. Bishop Nunsup told you say, and I second it’. Without a change in demeanor, Archbishop Silternja abided by Zax’s wish to engage in the subject that brought them together. ‘You agree to join but don’t want to be confined, am I right?’

    ‘Yes’. It was not entirely true, but to avoid an early dispute Zax concurred.

    Archbishop Silternja mused for a short while. ‘The definition of confinement could be different in that way you regard it and how it is for prospect the Holy Palace granted the title of “Ascended Elite”. Moreover, by your skills have proven to be among the brightest of Ascended Elites, which earns more liberty than someone renowned like… let’s say, His Young Eminence Sterlero Mars…’

    ‘But will I be allowed to leave the Holy Palace, sever my ties with it freely?’

    ‘As an Ascended Elite… I cannot guarantee. As an Immortal… depend on the circumstance’.

    ‘Immortal?!’ Zax subtly mocked. ‘You… the five powers frequently promise young and talented cultivators the path for Immortality. The Elite Tryouts… Tell me, Archbishop Silternja, those in the top ten- no, winner of the Elite Tryouts, when they get to the Holy Palace, Voltic Star and Planetary Battalion, as what are they received?’

    ‘New Ascended Elite’.

    ‘New Ascended Elite… for hundreds of years you collected and branded cultivators from this planet with this title. How many gained it outside of Ercas Mir? Yet, the powerhouses at the back call of the five powers are merely three Immortals!’

    ‘You!’ To Zax’s affront, Archbishop Silternja sharply exclaimed. ‘You... you… Hahahaha! You ignorant! Hahahaha!’ An outburst of laughter resonated in the former’s sea of consciousness. ‘Three Immortals? That what you- the chain thinks?! Hahaha. All together hundreds if not thousands Ascended Elites were added to the three great powers and you believe there are still only three Immortals? FOOL!’

    Zax was momentarily shocked by Archbishop Silternja’s sudden loss of poised bearing.

    ‘Young indigenous, you think too little of the realm of Immortality’. Somewhere faraway an old, rustic looking man shook his head. ‘The word “plenty” is, perhaps, an exaggeration, but beneath the three Immortals we separately serve, there are more than a handful Immortals doing their bidding, with not a hint of defiance’.

    ‘Immortals serving Immortals?’ From the flow of the conversation Zax understood his lack of knowledge. To not make it more apparent than it already is, he kept the question to himself. His thoughts wondered onto a more pressing issue, anyways, so he was not even in the mind to listen to an answer. ‘According to senior Gid, the whole premise of why the Immortal powerhouses behind the five powers did not arrive already to the planet is because they don’t want for other Immortals to fight with them for the supposed treasure hidden here. If they have the strength to dominate other Immortal experts, what then stopping them from coming? And… to what level of power am I required to reach to face them?!’

    ‘How strong are they?’ He poorly disguised his ignorance. Not intendedly. Any question would have proven how little he knows. Nevertheless, it was the cost to coaxing Archbishop Silternja into expounding on the matter.

    Archbishop Silternja naturally could read into Zax’s intentions. There was not harm in pouring some light, especially if it would help persuade him to join the Holy Palace.

    ‘The ranks of Immortality divide to four, where the bigger number represents the highest attainment. Truthfully, even I don’t know much about them; maybe a bit more than their names and the exalted rank of His Holiness. Heavenly considered as the first rank, called so because Immortal in this rank are not bounded to any planet and could traverse space. Sacred is the second rank. Mythical Immortals ranked third and the highest, most glorious fourth rank is Neonate Immortals. His Holiness is a Mythical Immortal, fostered by the love and caring of his predecessors who like all are the benevolence of The Almighty. He is perhaps not at the Peak of Immortality, a Neonate Immortal, but of the rarity out there that attained the fourth rank, none has the gall to exhibit him discourteous conduct’.

    ‘The complete structure of the Immortal realm…!’ Zax shivered inwardly.

    The gaps between realms in the Mortal realm were obvious to him. It could be because of the Black Core in his dantian or something ingrained in him by being a progeny of the expert who molded the human races in this planet, but regardless what was the case, he had a terrible feelings that bridging the gap between ranks, like he always did to the three Mortal realms, is an impossible notion that should never be attempted, otherwise great disasters would unfold.

  8. #268
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 29 – Joining The Convoy Plans For The Future

    ‘Now you understand? Ascended Elite grants you the surest path to becoming an Immortal. At which point, if you won’t recognize the generosity The Almighty has bestowed on you, then maybe His Holiness will exile you on his own accord’.

    ‘So I might or mightn’t be permitted to leave the Holy Palace…’ Zax got the answer he sought and the moment his mind conjured the scenarios of his future as a member of the church, before he reached a conclusion toward any of them, his heart felt the morsel of reservation he had from the beginning inflating a bit. ‘I cannot make the decision now, even if it means suffering through whatever reprisal The Almighty will punish me with’.

    ‘I need time to think about it’. He sent back to Archbishop Silternja.

    ‘…You don’t care for The Almighty’s Godly retribution?’ Archbishop Silternja sounded mildly surprised. He did not expect an immediate positive or negative response to begin with.

    ‘When I’ll decide, I’ll personally let you know. I gather it won’t be a big deal if I’ll then show up in the Grand Abode’.

    ‘It won’t be a problem, but till then let’s make a deal. I can give you ten years to decide. Until then we will publically sustain our present inimical association, but beneath the surface, you will not do something that would really endanger the church in Ercas Mir, and I and my Bishops will not peruse life and death confrontation with you’.

    ‘What about Cardinal Northstar? Will you be able to keep him at bay, too?’

    ‘He… is an exception, as well as the orders given to all priest and sisters of the church by him or His young Eminence’.

    ‘If they… sisters, priests or even Stelero Mars will covet my life and put me in a position I won’t like, what do you expect me to do?’ Zax did not intend to hide or disguise himself for ten years.

    After a prolong silence. ‘Do what must be done to protect yourself, however, should you kill His Young Eminence, you’ll either do it in the purpose of replacing him, or dissolving all intentions of ever having amiable involvement with Luminous Church and the Holy Palace. Acceptable?’


    ‘Good. I truly hope that we reached an understanding. Farewell’.

    ‘Why?’ Zax pressingly sent before Archbishop Silternja will be out of the communicator range.

    ‘Why what?’ Archbishop Silternja’s voice was there, but gave the impression of someone who said his piece and now wanted solitude from the subject.

    ‘Why are you willing to forget my transgressions?’

    ‘If you’ll join the Holy Palace I’ll tell you’.

    Flying back to the Western Continent, despite knowing that the convoy of his family and friends is safe, at least from the church, Zax felt only slightly relived while mostly lamenting.

    ‘The might say otherwise, excuse it as an approach that only some, a small part believe in, but I very much doubt that it is truly so’. Zax was thinking on one of the biggest reasons that held him from joining the Holy Palace, his disagreement with the way the church handled and handling those who do not share its faith in The Almighty. ‘That alone is enough to prevent me from signing in. The Almighty is a God, but it’s not like he or she is the only one. If I ever decide to worship a God, it must be someone who corresponds to my Martial path and not by compulsion’.

    From his short time in Ercas Mir he witnessed the deeds of three Gods. First, during the funeral service in Vergil’s Pasture. Second, in Demirva Ridge. Third, the mannerism of Luminous Church’s members, most significant to the impression he had to them is from Sister Beatriz conduct in their initial meeting. From these three perspectives, the least appealing was the one he get related to The Almighty.

    ‘I have ten years to make up my mind, which are not the issue… say that I’ll manage to survive the Godly retribution, what of His Holiness?’ Just thinking about the topmost expert of the church made him feel a huge, cold lump weighing on his heart. ‘Senior Gid led me to believe that all it would take to confront the Immortals behind the five powers is for an expert from New Earth to accomplish Evolutionary Ascension and reach the realm of Immortality. Our adversaries aren’t at the Heavenly rank, but possibly three Mythical ranked Immortals with Heavenly and Sacred Immortals underneath them.’

    The face such an ordeal a thousand, perhaps ten thousand and a hundred thousand years, will not suffice for him, or any other qualified indigenous expert, to cultivate to a good enough level of strength.

    ‘Senior Gid’s plan must be revised and I… if not for dealing with His Holiness and the other two, then to with survive The Almighty’s Godly retribution, should it come before them, can only rely on myself, commencing the preparations by obtaining the remaining two Black Cores!’

    The pathway to New Earth.

    ‘There are traces of battle but no bodies nor trails that could be followed’. Zax assessed from his survey of the surrounding.

    Except of Luminous Church, the other four powers currently assumed that the pathway is guarded by a Bishop of the church. General Logan was patiently waiting for a report from the subordinates he sent, word that they apprehended the family members of “Zax Walaow”.

    ‘Kloky? Bonjier? Linor? Rockwell…’ Zax tried to contact the members of the church sent by Gid Chu to transport his family and friends, but to no avail. ‘They cannot have reached too far. If they are alive, which they should be, the only reason they don’t respond is because something interfering with frequency’. A glint appeared in his eyes. ‘Is the bewildering formation shortening the range of the frequency?’

    He got off the ground in flight, high above the formation laid by Bishop Nunsup.

    ‘Kloky!’ He called with extreme expectation. Should he receive a reply, he will finally get to meet every one of his friends and family, whom he owed much apologies and explanations.

    ‘Za- Z- Zax, I- barely hear- you…’ Kloky’s voice resounded with interferences through the communicator, which meant that they were within the range of the formation.

    Figuring that, Zax did not bother with a response. Changing his mien to that of the reincarnated Gidon and expanding his dark attribute energy amplified Soul Sense, he moved as a fleeting silhouette in the Titan Kapok Trees forest, in search of the convoy.

    ‘There they are!’ Within seconds he located them and at the same instance used the Bone And Muscle Transformation and formulated the bearing of taciturn, lanky old man.

    They traversed the Titan Kapok Trees forest by foot and eight six people vehicles that could manage the terrain of the forest, over a hundred and forty people, from infants to elderlies, men and women, escorted by twelve domineering guides\ guards.

    'Kloky, come to the back of the convoy'. He got there inconspicuously. His eyes were skimming the backs of his family and friends while his Soul Sense scanned the vehicles for the young and old who lacked the strength to walk the entire journey. Regardless how charmed and spellbound they were, all of them, by witnessing the blue sky and the twelve figures that waited them on the other side of the pathway, flying! There was a tensed, though understandable, atmosphere.

    He ended up lingering on his parents, sisters and Anet as he proceeded with heavy steps.

    'How did it go?' Kloky joined Zax roughly eighty meters behind the convoy, asking via the communicator so the other eleven could catch up on the situation with Bishop Nunsup.

    'He could not apprehend or defeat me, so we reached an agreement. I won't cross the entire planet, finding and destroying all Luminous Church's churches and he, or someone else, won't pursue us'. Zax lied, intending to share his conversation with Archbishop Silternja, in parts, with Gid Chu first.

    'You trust him to keep his word?' Bonjier seemed disgruntled.

    'You can bank on the members of the church, Zax, you know what they did to me, my people!' Rockwell was more incensed. 'We need to hasten the plan, Kloky-'

    'We don't'. Zax interrupted.


    'Of course I don't entirely believe in Bishop Nunsup'. Zax said sternly. 'But I know that he will stand by the agreement'.

    'How can you be certain?' Riv asked.

    'Because the five powers have plenty of experts, but very few that are capable of hindering me, and Bishop Nunsup grew very aware of it in our confrontation'.

    'Continue guarding the convoy'. Kloky ordered, siding with Zax, they were his relatives anyways. "You can stay at the rear, Zax, if it makes you feel more comfortable. It's fine if you want to make interactions, but wait for us to arrive to the base before revealing yourself". He channeled his voice with mist energy, to Zax's ears only.

    The hour was high noon and soon the sun will start its descent.

    After hours of walking and finally getting beyond the range of the Bewildering Archons Magic formation, Kloky called for a thirty minute break, and returned the belongings of Zax's family and friends, those too heavy to carry and kept in a set of spatial rings.

    For the adult it was time to converged, discuss the situation they were compelled into and trying to initiate a dialogue with any of their thirteen mystical chaperons.

    For the children it was an opportunity to ran around and have fun in this more field trip than forced immigration. They were actually beneath the blue sky with guides like experts, the kind of which even in their pre and post Core schools they have not learned about, neither seen on the Screen in series and movies, or even as game characters exhibiting such skill – even if some of them were scary to behold.

    'Let them'. Zax transmitted to the twelve, specifically to Peter and Lili who opened their mouths to scold overly curious, not so much cautious children. “They won’t be in danger”. He said outloud to the panic parents that chased after their young ones. “It’s safe; otherwise we wouldn’t have stopped here”.

    It was a white lie. Nowhere out of a village, tribe, clan or city was safe in the Titan Kapok Trees forest. There was a great deal of Deformed Beings loitering around and a number of wild beasts. Zax’s assurances or true up to the limit of his dark domain’s scope, the distance from himself in which he could control the worldly dark attribute energy. He probably could not kill a grown Black Chrome Alligator with it, but should he discover one or something just as troubling, he would utilize the dark attribute worldly energy to pull back the playing children.

    No one of the non cultivators dared contradict Zax and the few cultivators in the convoy or even more certain of the children’s safety if someone they could not assess said so.

    Zax sat crossed leg, closed eyes on the ground. With his Soul Sense keeping watch on the children and with his and ears listening to the discussion of the adult, the urgency in their voices and their pleas to his sister, Anet and couple of the other cultivators to speak with the Kloky or someone else regarding what will be with them and so on…

    Of course, not all the adults were in a state of crisis. Those yet captivated by the dream like notion of returning to the surface of the earth, where their ancestors lived, and the mesmerizing scenery of not a formation, but legit blue sky with white floating patches, and not a stone, but a faraway planet to represent the brilliant sun. The elderly among them looked rejuvenated while the middle aged and younger had their spirit of adventure joyfully brimming past their skin.

    “I am… lowlife“. Soaking all the expressions and sounds, Zax brooded and uttered silently.

    Those who wanted to return and those who wanted to stay… he wronged them once by uprooting and will wrong them twice by burying again.

  9. #269
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 30 – Distress And Cohesion

    Third morning of the forced immigration.

    Zax watched as his relatives and friends woke up and got out of their tents while Zechariah allocating time for quick preparation before breakfast.

    Despite not being famous in the commoner’s circle, as a prominent son of one of the three big families of Kingdom Earth, the Takeda family, among cultivators there were quite a few who still remembered the young promising prospect who vanished couple of years ago. Some of these cultivators were precisely four of the seven in the convoy. For this reasons, in addition to his genial temperament, Zechariah was chosen by Bonjier to manage most interactions with the little over hundred and forty people under their care.

    ‘The sleeping curfew lasts from nine to five in the morning. In this period of time they disparage in the crowd to their families’, Zax inspected the seven cultivators, frowning. ‘But the instant it comes to an end the discord begins…’

    Of the seven cultivators, Zax knew three. Other than Anet and Zetsa, there was his childhood friend, Weysey Inoki, who was also part of his group of eight during the Great Earth’s Core Pursuit event and now, to Zax surprise, as used to proclaim… Peak phase, C level Mist User, Core Breaker!

    Two of the remaining four cultivators were a pair of twins in their late twenties, brother and a sister, advanced phase Core Breakers. They apparently were distant relatives of his that recently made a breakthrough from the Peak of the D level Earth’s Core Holder and since then were received by the same Mor, a cultivator of a high class family who helped them overcome quite fast the Beginner and Intermediate phases of their new level.

    The sixth cultivator was actually at the Advanced phase of the Mist Master level, a gray haired, hunchbacked grandma. As it so happen, she was the relative of another of Zax’s friends from the Great Earth’s Core Pursuit, Mi’s – who by the way was consistently accompanied by anther of Zax’s friends, her husband, Merly and a three years old toddler with pigtails. Though they did not talk about it, Zax could still deduce that Mi’s grandmother had a sorrowful story behind her. She was a Mist Master with a five hundred years lifespan, yet looked like she is half foot in the grave. Zax could not judge her age for certainty that she lived that long, but from the gruesome old wound on her back, he was sure that she didn’t and in her past suffered an injury that drained her life force through the years, from which she had yet to recover.

    The last and seventh cultivator was, most astonishingly – from the perspective of New Earth’s native – at the second realm, Intermediate first level Core Master! He was a middle aged man who few years back married Serah’s – probably Zax’s closest friend – aunt. A formerly reclusive expert, who fell in love and decided to hide his Martial achievement in order to live normal life with his new wife.

    Zax did not think much about the guy’s decision, but a remark that Xiao Kirin in the open channel of their communicator, made him wonder, as well as revaluate him.

    In Xiao Kirin’s opinion, the first level Core Master either chose to settle down, or more probable, was merely indulging himself in love and passion that could only be expressed toward a unique significant other and will mostly definitely resume his training when his wife will reach old age and die.

    “Reclusive experts who lived long enough and still have thousands of years ahead of them would often change ambience to purify their state of mind”. Xiao Kirin noted at the time of the conversation, along with stating that her preferable preference was to seek another cultivator for a spouse. To which her husband, Gadgel, only smiled wryly, as if feelings were not part of her consideration, which was not truth, but still sounded like it.

    Getting back to Zax’s attention on the seven cultivators, his line of sight fell on the woman by the Core Master expert, Kade’s side. His wife initiated and led the discord among the seven and a tight group of the people in their midst.

    In essence, her issue was with Zetsa. Since they all were forcefully converged and ordered to depart from New Earth, it was Zetsa who calmed the tensed and received the deference of the group as a whole. Kade’s wife and Serah’s aunt, Linda, argued that everyone listened to Zetsa because most people were either part of the Zel or Walaow families and those unrelated who followed suit were only exhibiting herd mentality – “Because they don’t have a reliable cultivator to rely on in their situation” – at the very least she had to sense to pick her words carefully, to avoid giving the impression of inciting a disturbance that would involve their thirteen “wardens”.

    In Linda’s opinion, sure Zetsa was a remarkable person with great powers, but her husband did not fall short from the young Miss and if mentioning his much longer life experience, was more apt for the task of representing everyone in talks with their “leading guardians”.

    As far as Kade’s desire to be the one at the forefront of the one hundred and forty or not… well, initially he did not care and also felt confident when he met the renowned Zetsa, after being brought by several black suited experts to the pathway to the world even he had never believed of stepping into. However his feelings to his wife were not trivial thing, as a matter of a fact, in ever day gone by he became, beyond his control, more infatuated with her. Due to this, despite realizing that his cultivation was inferior to Zetsa’s, he took the pedestal beside his wife.

    If Xiao Kirin would have known the depth of his fascination to wife in his heart, she would have declared on the spot that her second assumption was the correct one. That a cultivator such as Kade, investing and staking a long term, resilient relationship on his next breakthrough.

    ‘Does anyone have communicators?’ Zax transmitted to the twelve, secondarily asking from being sick of the charade and primarily because he was driven by another motive.

    ‘How many you need? I have two’. Lili said.

    ‘Why? What do you intend to do with them?’ Bonjier asked suspiciously. ‘Remember-’

    ‘Lend them to me, Lili’. Zax ignored Bonjier and continued speaking to Kloky while letting the rest hear. ‘Kloky, Anet and my sister… this crap has gone far enough. I need to reassure them that everyone is going to be fine so they won’t have to feign their credibility’.

    ‘If you’ll complicate things any mishaps that might occur would be on your head, Zax’. Kloky gave him an ultimatum.

    ‘Lili, the communicators’.

    ‘Adjust their frequency’. Zechariah prompted.

    ‘Here’. Lili created a separate channel for both communicators, sent the frequency to Zax and flung them faster than anyone beside them, thirteen, could perceive, using a bit of mist energy to shelter them.

    Zax caught the two communicators and in the same instant they reached his hand, his figure vanished for a brief moment that was even faster than Lile’s throw.

    He got next to Anet and then next to Zetsa, placed the communicators inside their ears, they were small and undetectable to external view.

    He returned to his post as if he always been there.

    Feeling an itch in their ears, Zetsa and Anet were about to react simultaneously when a voice echoed in their sea of consciousness, shooting instructions in quick succession.

    ‘Don’t be alarmed. Big sis, Anet, it’s me, Zax. I placed a device in your ears. Don’t probe into it, try to respond, look for me or do anything out of the ordinary, just listen‘.

    At the center of crowed composed of thirty something people, most with breakfast bowls of porridges, two young predominant females felt a jolt running down their backs.

    ‘Zax!’ The thought flashed in both Zetsa’s and Anet’s minds.

    “…So? Are you going to say nothing? Kade would’ve known how to reply”. A short haired, blond woman in her early thirties remarked.

    “Linda”, a tall, black haired, brown skinned man, Kade, put a hand on her wrist, implying for her to let him speak now.

    Linda placed a hand on her husband’s and moved back a step.

    “Miss Zetsa, today marks the third day since we all were evacuated from our homes, the life we knew. It’s a strenuous task to over watch a hundred and forty people, but you accepted it along with everyone’s, mine too, deepest appreciation. However, that was when we were still in New Earth and passing through caves and tunnels. Now, things have changed. This is an uncharted territory. Yes, we are guided and safeguarded by experts, I admit, with powers behind my imaginations, but anything else, including comprehending our situation, was left for us to process on our own. I will not boast about why you should understandably step down for me to take charge of our people and talk with the experts accompanying us, between us, you are already aware of several of my accounts in the Basement Floor and Valgarel. Your approach got us thus far, safe and sound, but only as clueless sheep. Although I have no delusions of doing any better with regards to our chaperons, nevertheless I am adamant that it is time for a change in our internal leadership”.

    As Kade preached, the crowd around them grew bigger. Despite being related to most people and known by everyone, in the past three days Linda did what her husband refrained from and flaunt his accomplishments. Bragging how their home was visited by his old acquaintances – men and women that some were public figures discussed nearly daily in large papers and various Screen’s channels. As a result, the majority of the people tilt toward the idea that perhaps someone more experienced should take the responsibility of managing their situation.

    “The world beneath the blue sky, above our home, is called Ercas Mir”. Zetsa uttered all of a sudden.

    Silence! Not just from the surrounding people, but everyone whose ears were perked, listening from afar while busy with morning activities. Grasping that just now the first bit of information on this new world was shared, the sense of helplessness brewing in them since they were taken from their homes, schools and workplaces slightly stirred with minute alleviation.

    Even Linda and Kade stood with stupefied expression, not realizing that their silence was out of expectation for more of Zetsa’s revelation.

    Anet glanced at the crowd, a hint of a smile on her face, half of it because she was happy knowing that Zax nearby, the other half for the shift in behavior by everyone.

    Zetsa took a breath and the crowd around felt their nerves being sucked in.

    Roughly twenty minutes Zetsa spent reciting every word that Zax transmitted to both her and Anet. In short, all that was revealed was elementary knowledge about Ercas Mir, such as its dangers and division of power to forewarn the crowd, and natural treasures and Pure Cores to incite a positive view. Eventually, Zetsa arrived to a halt as Zechariah ordered everyone to peck their stuff and get ready to proceed with their journey.

    ‘It’s not enough, Zax, not fair to them, to us, to me!’ Zetsa complained after being taught how to work the communicator.

    ‘You must give us an explanation, a real one and not a distraction! You have no idea what we been through!’ Anet, too, admonished. ‘Everyone is confused and worried…’ She grieved ‘I need to see you’.

    So many variables were unknown and it took a mental toll that could be ignored, but not forgotten.

    ‘I…’ Zax stopped himself from apologizing. He already did it, not so long ago… and though they deserved it, words were insufficient this time. ‘I’ll tell you everything’.

  10. #270
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 31 – Green Snow

    ‘I will beat them. Believe me; I’m close to gaining the sufficient strength! Then, we, all our New Earth’s kin, won’t have to hide and cower from anyone!’ Upon finishing narrating all that happened to him since he last departed Kingdom Earth, apart from the conversation with Archbishop Silternjan, Zax included every detail and made a firm pledge to Anet and Zetsa.

    The convoy was on the move and the hour was nearing early noon.

    It took a while for both women to transmit a message back, as Zax taught them. They were lamenting on the new kind of danger that was made known to them, reflecting on the manner to respond.

    ‘Our families… our friends…’ For the very first time in their relationship Zax heard a tone he did not recognize, directed at him from Anet.

    ‘Take the communicators back, Zax. We need time to think with no distractions’. Zetsa hurriedly said. She sounded mad, and certainly was, but her true intent was to terminate the communication between her little brother and his girlfriend before the conversation will escalate and someone will say out of anger something that he or she does not really mean.

    ‘Take it’. Though Anet had other things to say, her heart told her to listen to Zetsa.

    Zax grimaced and neither could see, but his lack of response as well as the sensation that the foreign object in their ears is gone, gave Anet and Zetsa an idea as to his current disposition.

    ‘Did it go how you wanted?’ Lili asked as she received the communicators.

    It took Zax a moment to answer. He needed to compose himself. ‘Honestly? I don’t think that it could from the first place’.

    ‘At the very least’, Zax secretly thought. ‘They know now that nothing bad is or will happen to them’.

    Early evening of the third day.

    ‘Bandits?’ Zax raised a doubtful brow. ‘Fifty. They ride Two Headed Stallions Deformed Beings. The strongest among them is weaker than the leaders of those Gray Lords from back then, at the Peak of the Mist Lord level’.

    Since the deconstruction of the Gray Lords bandits at, mostly, his hands, no new group of lowlifes was able to take their place and dominate the Titan Kapok Trees forest. However, from time to time, someone will gather a group of meager experts to try their luck at the task, such was the band of bandits his Soul Sense detected.

    ‘They are heading at our direction. Why?’ He wondered, and then sent. ‘Who else noticed those bandits approaching?’


    ‘I did’.


    A chain of responses resounded in his sea of consciousness.

    It was determined early on that Zax will act as the convoy’s surveillance for the better part of the trip. His Soul Sense could only be perceived by fourth level Martial Mortal or higher and its scope was the largest. Hence, almost no one knew about the bandits before he alerted them.

    ‘According to the forest’s map, there should be a village four kilometers east of us’. Riv said.

    ‘That small place…’ Not just Zax, but everyone in the group had a Soul Sense or Sublime Soul Sense with the range to locate the village.

    ‘I’m erasing our traces. Those bandits will miss us if we’ll hasten our pace for couple of minutes’. Gadgel made a quick calculation five hundred meters behind the convoy.

    ‘Continue going at a higher pace’. Bonjier ordered.

    Zechariah complied, commanding the people to increase their pace with the excuse of wanting to find a place to settle for the night due to “bad weather”, which Martial Mortals at Bonjier’s and Kloky’s level could marginally stimulate.

    The third day’s evening and night passed smoothly.

    As most were resting, Zax monitored the Howling Heads, the bandit group he discovered.

    After arriving to their destination, they sure acted haughtily and done some damage to the village’s homes. Nevertheless, in the end it seemed that they were more bark than bite. Their goal was to solidify their menacing status, first, steal and rob, second. As for kidnapping and murder… they avoiding executing these heinous acts and when they left the village, as Zax listened to their talks he learned that they did not have the steel for such things.

    ‘The villages and tribes in the forests don’t have the protection of cities and clans. They have to waste their Splinters on mercenaries and that too is a temporary solution. If these Howling Heads will reign over them, at least they’ll be a deterrent to those with worst principles’.

    For this reasoning he let them live as they continue to move on.

    Fifth day.

    ‘Giant Havreim and Varinka return, but there is someone not too far behind them’. Zax alerted everyone, though he was not cautious of the tailing stranger.

    For the first time since they left the pathway and he caught up with them, Kloky send to scout ahead to of their thirteen, without explaining why.

    ‘Zechariah, stop the convoy. Zax, come with me’. Kloky ordered and without further delay flew toward the direction of the incoming three. ‘Converge with the rest’. He told Giant Havreim and Varinka as they passed them.

    “Why did you ask me to come with you?” Zax asked.

    Kloky’s line of sight intersected with the stranger, who halted his advancement on a wide and high branch, waiting.

    “The person we are going to meet… if I haven’t told you to join me, would you have used your Soul Sense to eavesdrop?” Zax stayed quiet. “Might as well bring you with me… Besides, it’s because of you that we have to trouble this person”.

    They arrived to the branch and the stranger welcomed them with a nodding smile, which Kloky returned.

    “Zax, meet, Mister Huland”. Kloky introduced the young man.

    He was clad in exquisite earthly beast fur from shoulders to ankles, a young looking man with short brown hair and dark brown mustache. His skin was pale white and his eyes deep blue. His height was about Zax’s shoulders, but his width was the same, hence, unfitting his frame.

    ‘Advanced first level Martial Mortal’. Zax deduced in an initial, shallow examination, but by Kloky humble conduct he figured that there is more to Huland.

    “Nice to meet you, Mister Zax”. Huland reached out with two hands for a shake.

    “Greetings, Mister Huland”. Zax cupped his hands with Huland’s and shook. The verbal and physical exchange caused him minor awkwardness.

    Huland radiated an open and cordial charm, a form of mannerism he not often encountered. The impression he gave was of someone who recognizes his Martial inferiority, yet is unconcerned by it and even believe himself competent of achieving equal footing with his counterpart.

    “Mister Huland is an ally of the chain”. Klokly said, standing between the two.

    “How can I not be when my Master is the Second Leader of the chain?” Huland laughed.

    “You are Yurnal’s apprentice?” Zax asked in surprise, only now noticing the hints of his animalistic form on his human one, such as the particular hair of his mustache, which was similar to the thin needles of his furry garments. In his eyes was an almost imperceptible glint that waned through the years, of his time as a newborn wild beast.

    “I am”. Huland answered proudly, as if the question was if he is Yurnal’s son.

    “Mister Huland, as you can see, these is the group transported by orders of Leader”. Kloky informed.

    “So many…” A complicated looked appeared on Huland’s face.

    “Can you handle them?”

    “If they are obedient, as a favor for the chain’s Leader. You are aware that if the request came from my Master I would have been left with no opportunity to refuse. You kind of give me an opening to avoid the trouble…” Huland chuckled and Kloky only half smiled.

    “What are the two of you talking about“. It did not take to be a genius for Zax to know that the pair was discussing the future of his friends and family. “Are we not proceeding to a hideout of the chain?”

    “Zax”, Kloky turned, standing aligned to Huland. “Mister Huland is a very powerful ally of the chain. His identities are not for me to reveal. He can mention them to you later, at any case. What’s more important for you to know is that yes, we are transporting your family and friends to a chain’s hideout, but there is also another option to be offered, should you be willing to take responsibility…”

    “What’s that?” Zax composed his eagerness. Up until this very moment he gathered his resolve to lock his loved ones in some shelter, like the chain’s cave adjacent to the western shores of the Eastern Continent. For an alternative that permitted more freedom he did not need to think twice before being on the verge of accepting, only be more versed on the matter.

    “Mister Huland”, Kloky made way for Huland to elaborate.

    “Well, Mister Zax, it would be clearer if first I’ll properly introduce who I really am… My birth name is Huland of the Malignant Monkey clan, seventeenth son of Loond, leader of the Malignant Monkey clan and Feather of Violet Scaled Troops”.

    “Feather?” Zax was stunned. “Your father is a fourth level Martial Mortal of Violet Scaled Troops and yet you are a collaborator of the chain?!”

    Huland nodded and Kloky stood back without making a reaction. “I am. Furthermore, I’m also the Leader of Dark Glare”. He added and lowered his voice, as if expecting Zax to be rattled again.

    “Who is Dark Glare?” Zax saw that Huland waited for his awe. There was not any. He was oblivious to the name.

    “Dark Glare, Zax”, Kloky interrupted to mend Huland’s embarrassment. “In the Western Continent it is the only crime organization that could compare the chain’s operations here. In terms of meticulousness, they are even a tier or two higher”.

    “We have to, Mister Kloky, do consider the risk’s differences. Unlike Sinister Chain, we don’t have as many third realm experts and our strongest...” Huland rubbed his nose. “Anyway, we are still incapable of committing the same level of audacious jobs as the chain”.

    “Don’t be fool by Mister Huland’s humbleness, Zax. It is only thanks what he and his organization achieved in the Western Continent, specifically, Selivereb that the second option is available. Mister Huland, let’s not suspend it anymore, otherwise I’m afraid this friend will lose his patience…”

    “This is what I have to offer…” Huland agreed. “Bring your people to my conversion place. In other words, a remote village at the south mountains of Selivereb. If they are willing to abide by its rules, you may relocate them there, instead of the chain’s sealed hideout”.

    ‘To live in a village…?!’ Zax had a multitude of questions in his head just for the notion. “What are the rules? Can you be more explicit?” He began with the two to draw Huland’s extend explanation without shooting them one after the other.

    “Green Snow, that’s the name of the village established by my Dark Glare. Its population is slightly below eight thousand souls and compiled of both humans and beasts. Its purpose is to mainly supply accommodation to victims of the five powers and loved ones of Dark Glare’s members and allies. Those who are welcomed there have two choices. First is assimilation into the villager’s life style. Naturally, we provide guidance and constant supervision to make sure if a mercenary band will come by, which happens rarely, or members of the five powers – an even rarer occurrence – the deception will not flunk. Second, for those who can’t be habituated to the first choice and its restrictive life, there is the option of covertly moving to a city or clan. Of course, we instill, to the point of brainwashing, guidelines and rules so the integration will be smooth and not result with jeopardizing Dark Glare”. Huland halted so everything will sink in for Zax. “There is more to elaborate on, in addition to show for better understanding. However, Mister Zax, you’ll have to first decide what it would be. A hideout in which you can’t leave, not enemy can come and inside there is the freedom to do as you want, within reason. Or the blue sky, you people of New Earth, adore so much”.

  11. #271
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 32 – Huland’s Request

    It had taken longer than the initial schedule to reach their destination. The cause of it was Zax’s decision to accept Huland’s offer. As a result, a relocation trip that should had been six to seven days, ended up being whole nine days and nights.

    Huland’s Green Snow village was situated in a small green valley, surrounded and concealed by snowy mountain range and a bewildering formation. The vehicles used to transport the elderly and the young could not cross the terrain, therefore, around the last rest stop, roughly eight kilometers from their destination, the Martial Mortals leading the convoy utilized their mist energy to carry groups of people directly to the village, whilst protecting them on the way from the severely cold elements of the encompassing mountain range.

    There were close to two thousand wooden structures at the village. Its human residents with weak constitution to the weather wore thick fur clothes. Its small beast population also had members of it wearing, granted in different fashion, the warm human clothes, even in animalistic form. They were those who could not get used to the cold climate and cultivation was sufficiently high to demonstrate human’s intelligence, but too low to shield themselves with mist energy – there were even some who had not cultivated yet to humanoid form.

    After receiving something warm to wear, Zax’s friends and family were assembled on a grass field outside the village. In front of them stood Zax, still in his disguise, the twelve members of the chain and Huland along with couple of his Dark Glare’s members.

    “Everyone, turn your attention to me”. Zax called as heads were turning and he slowly reverted to his true appearance.

    “Zax!” His grandpa Ger, who fell ill in the past two days from stress and reminiscing of his beloved home, was the first to uttered outloud. Immediately after, an upsurge of similar responses was triggered, in even more astonishment the grandpa Ger’s.

    “Marco, your son is alive!”

    “Laylen, Laylen, that- that’s your son!”


    These and many more reactions stirred the crowed.

    Of course, not all knew Zax. Among the adults, a handful were even unfamiliar with his name and it is meaningless mentioning the younger generation.

    Zax beheld the people in front of him. Many exhibited happiness, many showed suspicious, several were even angry and all were confused.

    “Ssh…” The whisper was carried on a wave of dark attribute energy, spread in the crowed and caused all who heard it to hush.

    Suddenly, everyone go the sense that the figure who asked for their attention was a giant with the power to squash or guard them, depends on his whim. At the same time, though, they also got the impression that as long as they will listen he will remain harmless.

    Zax sighed inwardly. He did not want to intimidate them into submission, but was aware that otherwise he will have to deal with never ending complains and demands. Yes he was their relative, yes they grew up as friends, but no, he could not based on those things, let them dictate right and wrong when there was far too little that they understood of the current situation.

    “I realize that you all must have many questions and in the past week and a half you experienced an overwhelming life changing revelations”. Zax opened. “I deeply apologize. The source of your misfortune is me”. Dark attribute energy constantly blended in his speech.

    “Y- You are responsible to the torment we had been through?!”

    A hateful voice snapped from the crowed. As the majority recognized Zax as an entity that should not be undermined, there were six or seven with pent up emotions that made them act like a cornered mouse with no choice but to retaliate for its life.

    “Linda!” Kade grabbed his wife and berated her. From head to feet tremors shook his body and echoed from his mouth. “What do you think you are doing?! Apologize this instant!” He forced her to the front of the crowed, there he made her drop to her knees together with him and pushed her head down. “Please forgive my wife’s audacity and my inadequate control of her, senior!” He begged toward Zax.

    A portion of his fear was the recollection of the bit of trouble he and his wife gave Zetsa, who he knew was Zax’s sister, while he always been there watching from the sideline, harboring who knows what?!

    The greater part of his fear was what little he learned about the experts accompanying them from the pathway to their underground home to this hidden village. They were being beyond his comprehension. Whatever they did was impossible for him to gage in the most rudimentary way.

    As an old fellow tempered by dangerous encounters and lessons of enlightenment, Kade hastily put up a loud show in it he purposely let everyone know that even he, a Core Master expert, yield to the man before them. As such, Zax would be pacified with him and his wife for making the people of Kingdom Earth, who view Core Breakers as a wonder, follow suit instead of giving him troubles for supposed grievances.

    ‘If he valued his life more than his wife’s he would’ve annulled their marriage’. Zax finally had a sense of the capacity of Kade’s feelings to Linda. “It’s fine. Please get back in line until I’ll finish”.

    “Yes, senior, thank you, senior. Thank you for elevating us to the blue sky of our dreams!” It might have sounded like too much, but that single sentence was another tool to strum the heart stringers of all New Earth’s inhabitants.

    The crowed quickly calmed down after the brief commotion. Zax spent an hour and forty minutes confessing his faults against them, explaining, not in depth, his grudge with the five powers, promising to return them home when it will be safe and mentioning opportunities that they may gain and will never find in New Earth. He dedicated another hour and ten minutes to the Green Snow village and everything he talked about with Huland, in addition to receiving the numerous questions everyone had.

    With a signal from Huland, thirty something villagers lead the entourage of one hundred and forty into processing. As they were forced to leave, Zax made eye contact and a head gesture with a simple meaning to his big sister, Anet and couple of his old friends “We’ll talk later. Now go and do as you’re told”.

    “I allocated them a place so they won’t be separated. With will help them get accustomed to their new life“. Huland said.

    “Thank you, Mister Huland, for everything”. Zax took the initiative to shake his hands.

    Huland smiled. “It will take time before they’ll finish the processing phase. Afterwards there will still be a lot left to teach and figure about each individual. For the meantime, come to my cottage. We should talk”. His tone indicated an actual matter at hand and not just small talk.

    “Mister Huland, Zax, we will depart now”. Kloky and Bonjier walked forward.

    “Your family and friends are safe now, Zax. You can calmly resume training or taking on the chain’s tasks”. Zechariah reminded him.

    “Don’t forget to make up with your girlfriend”. Xiao Kirin teased.

    “You should concentrating on really remedying your relationship with you relatives and friends. They might be ordinary people and in a blink of an eye there will come a day when they all passed away, but because of it, so your heart won’t have unfinished business in the future, you better take care of those things sooner than later…” Gadgel cautioned. Next to him, Rockwell, Giant Havreim and Varinka had complex look in their eyes, which Zax noticed and perhaps he sensed something relatable he nodded in affirmation to Gadgel.

    They left accompanied by a first level Martial Mortal, member of Dark Glare, to guide them through the bewildering formation.

    Huland’s wooden cottage was two storeys high, with a balcony and artificial lake. He and Zax sat in the balcony, surrounded by a mantle so nobody could hear or read their lips.

    “This is for you”. Huland retrieved a large container and placed it on the balcony’s wooden panels. “Hurry up and store it or pick it up. I don’t want my balcony’s floor to give in to the weight”.

    Zax swept his hand over the container and examined it once it was put in his spatial ring. ‘Liquefied dark attribute’s essence, and a thousand kilograms! ’ It was safe to say that he was gratified to at last receive the first portion for dark attribute’s essence he was promised. There was no need for questions, since it was easy to figure that Huland was merely Gid Chu’s messenger.

    “Thank you”.

    “Don’t mention it”. Huland waved his hand. “Philp, pour our guest first”. He motioned to a blond haired, blue eyes, brown skinned fur cladded youth in his early teens that entered the balcony holding a tray with two tall cups and a glass pitcher.

    The boy, Philp, filled Zax’s cup millimeter from the brim with the light green beverage and proceeded to do the same for Huland.

    “Good boy”. Zax nodded in approval. “Is he your Tal or apprentice?” He could sense Philip’s cultivation and it was ludicrous to imagine that a thirteen years old Beginner Core Breaker is just a retainer. Moreover, the boy oozed equanimity in his, a stranger seemingly on the same caliber as the owner of Green Snow village, presence.

    “I am Mor Huland’s second Tal”. Philp said in a respectful tone.

    “He is a human and I’m a beast, but I decided to retain the proper Kingdom Earth’s honorific since I like them better”. Huland said. “Philip, go do something else. I and Mister Zax have some matter to discuss privately”.

    “Yes, Mor Huland”. Philip bowed and jumped off the balcony.

    Seeing the energetic boy skipping away, Zax was infected by Huland low laughter. “It’s fortunate when a teacher happens to like from the initial interaction a potential student who come seeking their tutelage, but it blessing from the Gods when the teacher is the one who found the student. I was blessed in finding both my Tals, as well as being found by Master Yurnal”.

    “I can’t say that I share the sentiment, since I’m nobody teacher and my Master was introduced to me by my big sister. However, to me my Master is no different than a father and I was blessed by an entire Martial family”.

    “Then you and I are equal in our luck”. Huland laughed and poured him and Zax a second serving of the green beverage.

    Zax drank happily. The green beverage had a sour and sweet flavor and smelled like a mixture of kiwi, oranges and mango. It was not a rare kind of fruit, rather a common delicious drink.

    “What you wanted to talk with me about?” Zax inquired when the mood settled.

    “I’ll be frank with you, Mister Zax, the chain’s Leader divulged to me the details of your recent task. Your cultivation is baffling. I can’t assert it; only deduce that you haven’t broken through to the third realm in any aspect. It’s possible that you intentionally cloud your cultivation. Be that as it may, your battle powers are estimate around the level of Beginner fourth level Martial Moral and that’s the important thing”.

    “So your interest in me is my strength. I noticed two third level Martial Mortal when we passed the bewildering formation and the village came to view. Is the perquisite to your request of me is the strength of a fourth level Martial Mortal or the capability to at least escape from one?”

    “You understand and still willing to listen, does it mean that if I’ll elaborate you’ll accept it?”

    “I can’t kill a fourth level Martial Mortal, no matter how weak he or she may be”. Zax made it clear. In fact, he was not even confident that he will be able to escape Beginner fourth level Martial Mortal whose expertise are in speed or any Intermediate or above…

    “Good. I don’t want you to kill a fourth level Martial Mortal, only a third level one”.

    “A third level… why can’t you or one of your Dark Glare’s members kill him or her?”

    “Him. And although my current accomplishments in Master’s bodily refinement technique grant me the strength of an Intermediate third level Martial, while the opponent is at the Beginner phase, he is a Chaoyue type beast and an heir to my Malignant Monkey clan… also beloved apprentice to my damned father”.

  12. #272
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 33 – Alone

    “The heir of the Malignant Monkey clan and an apprentice of its current leader?” Zax was confused. “Is the fourth level Martial Mortal your father?”

    “Indeed. My father is a Chaoyue type beast. Of his thirty seven progenies, thirty six are Zhihui, while I, the seventeenth, am the only Shenghuo. I am a stain to my father’s reputation. As a Feather in Violet Scaled Troops and a clan leader, my very existence is an insult”. Huland creased his brows in bitterness.

    ‘He is like Grandmaster…’ Zax thought, despite Huland, in a first glance, seeming better off than the suffering Grandmaster Kartion been through. “Your Martial achievements mean nothing?” He inquired to verify how come in this world where the strong rule, someone comparable to a third level Martial Mortal happens to be so aggrieved and even more so because his family?

    “You don’t understand. In the troops, cultivation level comes second only to what type of beast you are, that is the way of Horn Kikon. Typically you won’t notice the discrimination, but when you are the inferior type beast offspring of a superior type beast, then you are really miserable. My father could bear his children being all Zhihui, since it is extremely rare for Chaoyue to be born. Moreover, none of our mothers was or is a Chaoyue. But Zhihui for a child is his bottom line. Though in the clan I’m honored as ‘Seventeenth Mensch’, it is all formality. Members of the clan prefer to fawn to either my elder siblings or my father’s beloved eldest apprentice”. With every spoken word, Holand demeanor got a little worse. He attempted to restrain himself and to a point succeeded, however what little slipped out was detected by Zax.

    “Why do you want me to kill him?” Zax will not agree to kill anyone. The victim, beast or human, had to be someone who either offended him in some form or manner, or he deemed as bad. “Bear in mind that I ask not because I already agreed to assassinate him, since whether I’ll do it or not, it will not be in the near future. For the time being I had my fill of encounters with fourth level Martial Mortals”.

    Huland grimaced upon hearing him. ‘Had his fill?’ He heard from Havreim and Varinka, when they led him to the convoy, that the expert named “Zax” who relatives and friends they transport, had managed to obstruct Bishop Nunsup. ‘According to Leader Gid Chu, he is an outside contractor, yet treated as an official member of Sinister Chain. Do I need to give him an incentive beyond taking care of his loved ones? ’ He felt his anger building up. ‘Calm down. Don’t let mixed emotions affect your temperament ’.

    He drank, finishing the content of his cup and placing it beside the pitcher.

    “My father’s eldest apprentice called ‘Mand’. He is one of the five Chaoyue in the clan, but the sole one who is a Velvet Furred Alouatta, like my father”. Huland snorted. “He is not even an illegitimate son to my father and yet shares more similarities to him than his own flesh and blood. You know what the real kicker? It’s possible that centuries and millenniums will pass before another Velvet Furred Alouatta show up. So for as long as Mand will live, he would be my father’s favorite above all else, hahahaha!” Huland relived his turbulent heart in a forced, virulent laughter.

    Zax could tell that Huland not just answering him, but spilling his heart out. He only wondered if he did it to lure his sympathy, if he simply wanted to be forthright with how he feels or if he could not talk about the issue without imploding.

    Emptying his lungs from all the air, Huland composed himself. ‘I don’t want you to kill him. I hoped to do it myself. However, postponing my revenge appears to be impossible anymore. Couple of days ago my father announced a decision regarding his apprentices… sending them to an indeterminate leave to the troops’ Great Cave, the troops’ core in the western Continent. Mand and his fellow apprentices supposed to depart together, I guess my father wants to introduce them collectively to Horn Kikon, but right now two of them are in closed doors session that is already about four years long and should last another five to seven years. In five to seven years I can’t see myself obtaining the strength to execute my revenge with my own two hands”, His tone got slower. “Revenge for killing my wife’.

    “Your father’s apprentice killed your wife?!” Zax was so shocked he had to be sure he did not get Huland wrong.

    “He did it on our wedding night. My wife, Konomi, was my childhood friend. Her standing in the clan was less than impressive and she and her family lived at its outskirt. Since I was never cared for, as a child I ventured a lot without supervision to the remote parts of the clan and outside of it. That is how we met. Subsequently I met my Master the same way, but that is unrelated. I visited Konomi often and even helped her cultivate to her human form.

    “The day we tied our fates was the one and only day my father and the rest of the high echelon of the clan felt curious to the identity of the useless seventeenth’s wife to be. When they showed up in the ceremonial ground, Mand was instantly smitten by Konomi and on the spot, as if he did not know shame, requested from my father, with authority as the clan Leader, to bestow her to him. My father…” Huland gritted his teeth rather than issuing a curse. “Agreed and told me and Konomi to untie our pledges. We both refused and Konomi kept refusing even after Mand and my father kept pestering her with promises. Eventually, my father gave up. To him, who had many women, there was nothing special in a significant other and those he could not get could always be replaced. Moreover, I was still his son and even if he despised me, snatching my wife was beneath his dislike. Mand, on the other hand, was not willing to let the matter end. On our first evening as husband and wife, he returned, demanding Konomi to reconsider. She refused and he in turn sighed, subdued me before I could react and ripped her heart from her chest”.

    ‘He deserves death’. Zax determined, not feeling anymore reservations to being Huland’s blade, in the appropriate time. “Why did he have to kill her? Was this action sanctioned by your father?”

    “Not in the moment it took place, not that it mattered. When I accused him for the murder of Konomi, he admitted and justified himself with the excuse that she was already engraved in his heart. If he could not have her, he had no choice but eliminate her existence; otherwise his unfulfilled affection would hinder his Martial path. With this reasoning, my father and the elders of the clan absolved him from his crime. As for me… they offered compensation in a form of my choosing, so long as its value matches a Shenghuo, such as Konomi”.

    In the short silence that followed, Zax unconsciously gazed at the direction his family and friends were taken as a figure among them surfaced in his mind. ‘Anet…’

    If the same thing occurred to them, how would he have coped? Would he have been as devastated as Huland when discussing the subject? Could he stay calculated and waited for the right opportunity to take revenge or would he have gone guns blazing?

    For some questions the answers were obvious, for others, he wanted them to be. Regardless, it brought up stuff he knew he should muse over, related to the future in all its aspects…

    “I want to help you, but I can’t”. He got up to leave as a sign for Huland to not convince him. “If it was a city, where the human population is larger, then I could have thought about it, but a beast clan with a leader being a Feather in Violet Scaled Troops… Ask me again in five years, when the first deadline for Mand’s and his fellow apprentices’ departure will approach”.

    ‘Five years… better than blunt refusal’. Huland assessed. “I will remember”.

    He arrived right when they grouped in the location allocated to them in the village. The adult’s expressions varied as they view their new homes while reminiscing the meticulous briefing from during processing. The children, on the other hand, ran around playing as if they finally arrived to their vacation resort.

    Men and women villagers assigned each family a decent to live in hut, equipped with all essentials, such as utilities food and drinks provisions and more. Tomorrow they will be given jobs and those with the aspirations to go to cities or clans will commence a six months long of strenuous preparation, learning how to assimilate in the outside population and hide their real identity. Of course, that was not all. They will have to prove themselves capable and trustworthy on many levels and even when they will pass all tests, soul formation will still be implanted in their sea of consciousness with the purpose of erasing their minds should they be caught and interrogated.

    Eyes turned to Zax as he landed on the snowy earth. His close friends, his family members, from his mother and father to his aunts, uncles and cousins, wavered before all walked toward him.

    “Big brother Zax!”

    There were plenty of children in the Zel family and more added to the pack surrounding little Liz as the sons and daughter of his friends and their families joined the snowball fight.

    “Catch!” Liz threw a snowball that hit Zax in the shoulder. “Hahaha, slowpoke!” She laughed and dashed away. The enthusiasm of the other kids playing tuned down when they first noticed Zax. Even his little cousins. Unlike his sisters, they barely ever saw him. As they saw the incredible cultivator, who could change his appearance, fly and probably do more astonishing things smile amiably at them, their childish wit manifested again. A few even mimicked Liz, hurling at him the cold balls of snow they held strongly.

    It was a joyous sight. Snow was a nearly nonexistent concept in New Earth. There are machines that can produce it, but it was mostly used in movies’ sets. Besides, it could not compare to marveling at how it just naturally fall from the sky.

    “That’s enough for today. It’s getting cold, everyone, return to your parents and… homes”. The voice speeking belonged to one of the people that approached him, someone Zax never thought will take the helm.

    Troel Lova, Serah’s father, drew everyone’s attention.

    “Go inside”.


    “Nina, enter our home”.

    “Gustavo, it’s cold. Go inside with your mother”.

    Parents followed up Troel with strict orders to their children.

    “Uncle Troel, we want to play”. Feeling the most confident with her entire family beside her, Liz answered back.

    “Listen to your uncle, darling”. Laylen said. Taking Liz’s hand she gave her no choice but go with her.

    In the span a minute and a half, Zax was left encircled with about a third of Kingdom Earth’s people.

    “You really shocked us, Zax. We thought that you died. We shared our condolences with your parents and sisters when they mourned you”. Troel opened in a mild tone. “I’m glad, truly glad, to see you alive”. His eyes reddened and he wiped them before tears could slide across his bearded cheeks. “Not only that. You turned out to be something we cannot measure by the standards we were taught of. An expert among experts who can actually fly and is associated with members of the Supreme Rulers’ families”, he referred to Zechariah. “In the blue sky you showed us, to me… you are also way up there, luminous as a star”.

    Troel’s flow of words blended in the falling snow. Zax listened, the surrounding people listened. Those who felt like inside them, too, there is a weight, treat it as their outlet.

    “Do you remember, the day we picked up you and Serah after your third grade annual field trip to cave fourteen. You stayed for the night since your parents could not get you. Back then was a monumental day for you as children before Great Earth’s Core Pursuit. However, at that peculiar evening emerged another reason to mark it as an even more monumental day. Mortimer Dauch, the ninth son of our Supreme Ruler, Ariel Dauch, led an expedition group to this world beneath the blue sky…” Troel lamented. “I have a question, Zax, to this day we never heard about the return of the expedition group. Are they okay?”

    The question surprised Zax. He did not expect to the sudden concern for their wellbeing, maybe something more on the lines of “why they haven’t returned yet” or “are we going to meet them”.

    “They should be. Supreme Ruler Ariel told me in person that they won’t return in the foreseeable future”. It had been couple of years since then, but Ariel spoke in cultivators’ terms, so it was all the same using the same words now to reply non cultivators.

    A glint of incredulity in Troel’s eyes and in many of the people around.

    “You met our Supreme Ruler?” One of Zax’s older cousins mumbled.

    “Kade…” Linda sought her husband’s comforting warm hand. She could not believe she confronted someone who actually conversed with a Supreme Ruler.

    “The child who was deemed unable to cultivate turned so remarkable…” Troel evoked certain memories in everyone who knew Zax since he was a child. He lifted his head and straitened his shoulders. “Good. They are brave people whose return will reignite the hopes of dreams of every Kingdom Earth’s citizen, much like how ecstatic we were when the news about the expedition and blue sky were broadcasted”. He gazed up, enchanted by the vast expanse of dark blue and gray. “The blue sky… it’s marvelous. But we never wanted to trade our home for it”.

  13. #273
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 34 – Plans For The Future


    There were no exceptions. Be they his father, big sister, lover, after Troel said his peace, everyone returned to their new homes in Green Snow village, leaving Zax behind and with justification.

    A long time passed before Zax made the tiniest movement after watching the backs of all those he disappointed vanishing. Snow accumulated atop him. As he understood the magnitude of the grief he caused, his heart palpitated and he could not master the bit of power to shelter himself from the snow.

    There was light in the window of his parents’ and sisters’ abode. He could use his Soul Sense to probe whether they were waiting for him or not, but he felt like it would be a cowardly act, hence he chose a lesser cowardly act and turned away, in departure.

    Huland prepared accommodation for him in the village, but Zax preferred to be far and secluded until his heart will be settled.

    He dug a cavern in one of the snowy mountains and sealed it with a giant boulder, as he used to do in his closed doors sessions before venturing to Ercas Mir.

    Regulating his breath helped pacify the sea and sky encompassing his Inner Panorama. When silence prevailed, only one question occupied his mind.

    ‘What to do?’

    The moment he asked himself a flow of accompanying thoughts emerged. Queries and solutions he rearranged in order, once they appeared, and began to muse over their usefulness.

    ‘It sums up to strength’. Was the first, rudimentary understanding he made. It was not a new realization, but it came up late since it was not the almighty solution to all of his concerns.

    ‘To honorably earn their forgiveness, I can no longer stay away’. It may deter his Martial path, but his loved ones severed their roots because of him. It was his responsibility to be by their side as they adjust to their new lives in this new world. Then, he could hope that they will find solace in his efforts to make amends.

    ‘This means that from this day forth, to train I will have to find a way to combine the secular life style with the difference routes of my cultivation’. The future results could only be imagined as lacking, in comparison to what his achievement could be, should he maintain the typical <a href="">habits</a> of most cultivators. Moreover, he could also not hope to expect some novel enlightenment along this road, like Kade, since his experiences were much less, even though they were on a higher scale. At best, he can explore insights and notions he had not fully comprehended.

    ‘Soul, body, sixth bottleneck of insight and dark attribute bodily maneuvers’. Zax assembled all the things he concentrated on for his cultivation. ‘As far as my soul goes, I can’t break through to the third realm before comprehending he sixth bottleneck of insight, otherwise I will lose my qualification for Legacy Of The One’s Path’. It was one trouble off his mind, but the rest were the real problem, anyway. ‘For a long time, now, I have this hunch that there are familiarities between the sixth bottleneck and the dark maneuvers. I can’t sit for a long periods of time trying to perceive the sixth bottleneck, it would be more efficient to set it aside for developing the dark maneuvers and only when I’ll reach a threshold I should check to see if it got my closer to the sixth bottleneck’.

    Getting two subjects down, his soul and the sixth bottleneck, Zax was the opposite of relieved. He knew that he is too optimist about his decisions. Still, his mind was made.

    ‘Lastly, my body and cultivation in the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique. After absorbing the thousand kilograms of dark attribute's essence, as well as a hundred kilogram worth of additional dark attribute's essence or a matching amount of dark attribute energy, my bodily cultivation will have to halt at the second stage, until Grandmaster will verify its completion. As for the benefits of the second stage… with understanding of the attribute being the main source of power at the highest levels, I gather the second stage will only supplement my abilities a little, primarily as a sturdier layer of defense during confrontations with fourth level Martial Mortals'.

    In other words, soon he would be left with just the dark maneuvers to train in.

    'It's too little'. As this order of priorities ideally corresponded with his desire to reestablish his presence in his loved ones' lives, it also took too much from his Martial path that Zax was influenced by a since of dread regarding future implications. 'I can do this'. After some thought a solution dawned on him.

    No more training, but studying and experimenting!

    'I have no concrete specialty in formations and weaponry. Till now I was merely lucky for having a unique soul that was capable of executing what it learnt and a body strong enough to compensate against weapon wielders. I'm more comfortable as a brawler, so weapons are not something I'm truly eager to pick up. In contrast, studying formations and not just employing handwritten techniques, will solidify my knowledge in the field and if I'm both lucky and dedicated enough, I might be able to support from the front Grandmaster creation of the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique's third stage'.

    At last, a smile crept on Zax's face. He will ask Huland to supply him all the material he could gather about formation study and split it to different levels of thought. He will accept even stuff about mist energy formations. He will be unable to experiment on them, but who knows? The hypothesis behind them might possess related points to soul and bodily formations.

    'Coming up with a way to develop and train in the dark maneuvers will be the hardest, considering that I won't be able to wantonly execute them in the company of others'. He had yet to figure what to do and it vexed him a bit. 'Guess that I'll do what I can. They can't be mad at me forever… right?'

    Time moves slowly, is the conception every cultivator makes at he or she first defection from the Martial path to the mundane, and Zax was not the exception.

    As the initial days passed at the vicinity of cold shoulders from old friends and relatives, Zax simply stood there, letting everybody know that he is there for whatever they need, whether they wanted to or not.

    Ordering their children to stay away from him and concentrate on learning Netherling, the common language of Ercas Mir, intensified the sense of solitude he received, and yet… he did not give up.

    Those with high cultivation were the quickest to learn and get accustomed to the new environment and its restrictions. Although they had the option of being drilled with Dark Glare’s specialized methods for integration in the society outside Green Snow village, they selected to help their kin in their new endeavor.

    More than half of Green Snow’s occupants had similar background stories to the group related to Zax. Both Dark Glare and Sinister Chain had members with some sort of connection to New Earth – the latter more so than the former – and so Zax’s group got to meet humans and beasts from their homeland, in addition to many others who happened to experience the same ordeal with mild changes.

    Having this bound of misery, imprisoned for their security, contributed to the mental recognition of their, Green Snow’s new residents, situation.

    Thanks to Huland’s generosity or perhaps it was the norm in Green Snow village, anyone with slight interest was allowed entry to the Martial repository of Dark Glare. Of course, not everything was free and to begin with one had to perform village related miscellaneous tasks for a period of time on a daily basis, before gradually being granted access.

    Overall, the miscellaneous tasks were not supposed to be difficult, but a routine to mentally coax new people to smoothly adjust within Green Snow’s lifestyle.

    Be it high grade mist cultivation techniques, Martial techniques or even Pure Cores, even children could get them and actually were quicker than the interested adults. In the subject of cultivation techniques, the distribution was partial. Obtaining a technique up to the second realm of Core Masters was done quite easily, but continuations to for the second realm and above had to be earn through officially joining Dark Glare and fulfilling certain duties. The same limitation was with Pure Cores. Pure Cores that were equivalent to New Earth’s rare D quality Earth’s Cores were easy to come by since they only assisted up to the bottleneck to the Core Breaker level. Pure Cores of a grown one scale Deformed Being, which could assist up to the bottleneck to the Core Master realm, were available through harsh assignment, but still village related. Any Pure Core above the first realm required joining Dark Glare.

    “Can I say something?” Zax asked Anet as she instructed a group of several adults and children through their cultivation using Pure Cores.

    Sweeping him with her gaze, after a month in Green Snow where he always in her line of sight, a passive, almost warm glint flickered in her eyes.

    She glanced at the medium class in front of her, men, women, boys and girls. No one showed signs indicating of reservation. “Sure”. She made way for him and their hands rubbed as he walked forward.

    “Most of you have been in the Great Earth’s Core Pursuit and were exposed to basic cultivation techniques of the Earth’s Core Holder three levels. Cultivating the first three levels with the assistance of a Pure Core differs than with sole reliance on your Earth’s Cores. When introducing a Pure Core to a dantian with an Earth’s Core, alterations that are not mentioned in those cultivation techniques you received, has to be calculated until breakthrough the Core Breaker level. The point you’ll have to remember…“

    She watched his back and listen to his voice. The tunic she wore was a definite mark of the change he forced upon them, but his diurnal intervention in their new life, whether she admitted to forgive him or not, brought a sense of bliss to her heart.

    “If you need me, I’m here”.

    She did not realize when finished talking and appeared before her with his body heat radiating so close she could feel it on her skin and remember…

    He looked at her and suddenly time stood still. His heightened perception could not resist the temptation of scrutinizing every one of her beautiful features. He noticed the change in her eyes, the flicker of amicability. It was small, yet it made him happy, eliminating any ounce of regret he had for discarding the correct path of Martial cultivation.

    Little did he know that he already engaged in the most fundamental, cultivation of the heart.

  14. #274
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 35 – Messing With The Village’s Kids

    Days and weeks passed leisurely to Zax in Green Snow village. He mostly kept being a bystander to his relatives and friends, but sometimes someone who was particularity close to him will initiate a conversation over a specific subject relevant to their new life.

    As he did his best to answer to their requests, Zax maintained the cultivation arrangement he decided for himself. While outwardly he seemed doing nothing special – either than seeking the company of the people around him, even when nighttime came and they left to their huts for homes –his attention was astutely divided and internally his manifested self on his Inner Panorama dedicatedly deliberated over the dark maneuvers.

    Presently. Behind the allocated area for the new arrivals from New Earth.

    “Mister, what are you doing?” A bright eyes, nine years old boy in a fur coat stared questionably at Zax.

    Together with him were two more boys of the same age in similar attire and a juvenile, reptilian beast on four, a Shenghuo Milky Scales Horned Lizard. The horned lizard was of equal size to the children and appeared to be a member of their group of four. It even wore a specially sewn fur coat that fit its shape. As Zax looked at the little one, whose innate potential was low and before reaching adulthood, rivaling a D level Earth’s Core Holder, will only be as intelligent as a third or four years old human child, he figure that his parents are probably beast villagers.

    “What does it look like I’m doing?” Zax asked back idly.

    “Building snowmen”. Another boy pointed out.


    “But why so many?” The first boy spoke again.

    “One will be insufficient?”

    “For what?” All three boys inquired and the little horned lizard waved its tail, annoyingly for the lack of direct response.

    “But of course”, Zax halted his hands midway working on the human size snowman’s head. “To take over the village!” An eerie smile stretched across his face as he meanly bent down to meet the frightened gaze of each of the four.

    “You- You- are lying”. The boys retreated and the first to speak daringly accused while the seemingly youngest of the group, the horned lizard, got behind the other three and hissed. “This is just snow! You are just trying to scare us!”

    “Really?” Zax feigned an unruffled mien. “Well, then let me ask you. Did you ever hear about the Cold Grove village in the Northern Icecaps?” The children did not respond and he continued. “A strange expert who came by this village during a snow storm was expelled by the inhospitable villagers. Though he was stronger than any warrior of in the village, he could not beat everyone and so had no choice but leave. However, the strange expert still wanted to take revenge on the villagers who sent him to the mercy of a snow storm and therefore he cast a curse which caused the snow of the very storm that nearly killed him, to awaken to life in the form of vengeful snowmen… the rest of what happened to the Cold Grove village, I believe you can imagine. I met the strange expert couple of years ago and after paying a hefty price he agreed to teach me he snowmen’s curse”.

    Hearing the story, the four felt the coldness of the weather more chilling than usual.

    “Our parents won’t let you!” The third of the three children shouted in protest. “I’ll tell Mister Huland, he will-”

    “Banish me from the village? Hahahaha!” Zax almost maniacally laughed. “You can tell your parents and Mister Huland, but know this, once the snowmen come to life whichever adult that would be touched by them will instantly turn into ice sculpture. Only children will not be affected by the freezing touch of the snowmen, but what the bunch of you kids could do to stop my snowmen? Hahaha!”

    Face the eerie amusement of this evildoer, the four felt like there was nothing more they could say, be it in human’s tongue or juvenile beast’s. They ran, pale with expressions of terror and unwillingness.

    The commotion of shouts and arguing did not go unnoticed by the residents of the nearby huts. But since the majority of these people were still giving Zax’s the cold shoulder and even the children learned by now that for the sake of their free time and not being lectured they should not speak to him, no one came to ask what happened or inquired about the invasive snowmen.

    About fifteen minutes later, as Zax completed the twenty seventh snowman, a smirk appeared on his face.

    “It’s him, Lorance, he… he is the snowman witch!” A voice Zax instantly recognized informed in a still shaking voice. It was the first kids to ask him about the snowmen, and with him, apart from the other three, was a larger group of boys and girls, humans and several young beasts, about the same age with most being older.

    Lorance, apparently the leader of the fourteen kids, a twelve years old with a hint of Peak D level Earth’s Core Holder’s aura, swept with a scrutinizing gaze the small unit of large snowmen, lingered a bit when his glare met the turning back of Zax and his supercilious face, before returning to the cluster of children beside and behind him.

    “This person is a fraud, Nisim. He fooled you four”. Lorance determined with a demeanor that declared he did not fall for this charlatan.

    “You think I’m a liar?” Zax rubbed the snow off the sleeves of his fur coat.

    “Yes you are a liar! There are no such things as ‘witches’, only cultivators who play tricks with mist energy. And I don’t sense any fluctuations of mist energy from these snowmen!” Lorance countered.

    ‘Clever boy’. Zax withheld his smile. ‘They truly teach them well here and their cultivation, at such a young age, exceeds what promised in the best of Martial schools in Kingdom Earth, on equal standing as the top three…’ He made the appraisal early when he arrived to Green Snow and surveyed the population, but it was a first for him to hold a conversation with the village’s kids.

    “You sure are observant, but wrong nonetheless. Have you ever witnessed a ceremony involving God or Gods? When their manifestation occurs odd things that don’t involve mist energy are known to happen”.

    Though he was not whole log conversant in the subject, Zax still remembered his first experience in Virgil’s Pasture and the greater part of Green Snow’s population originated from Ercas Mir, so they were all knowledgeable, to a degree, on the matter, even the children.

    “You… you are not a God!” Lorance exclaimed in a feat of contained outrage. A small portion of Green Snow’s population had a sort of “faith” in one God or many, entities embedded in their belief since their previous homelands. Although Lorance was born in Green Snow village, his parents and grandparents indigenous to a village at the northwest marshes of the Western Continent and had educated him in their beliefs.

    “No, I’m not”. Zax remained poised, yet said hurriedly to avoid the shifting the subject to an undesired direction. “I only used them as an example. Never mind. If you don’t understand now, soon you will, as well as everybody else in this place”. He finished with the twenty seventh snowman and moved to build the twenty eight.

    Having the same sense of frustration as Nisim and the other three previously had, Lorance puffed his chest as his breathing turned slightly heavy, proof of doubts germinating in his heart. He was not the only kid feeling like that. Eight others were influenced by Zax’s provocation, so much that their immature rational began to waver. They have not expressed themselves yet, since they were waiting for the group leader’s reaction.

    Clenching his fists and bearing his teeth, Lorance swiftly turned to his awaiting friends. Seeing their anticipation, the young ones pending for a more solid confirmation that the whole story about living snowmen is falsified, he feared that whatever he will say would be refuted by Zax and will make him more embarrassed.

    In a moment of lack of thinking he picked up a stone and threw it at one of the snowmen.


    The snowman’s head exploded and snow splashed in every direction. This throw contained all the power of a Peak Earth’s Core Holder.

    “Destroy the snowmen and even if he is saying the truth it won’t matter!” He yelled at his friends.


    The thirteen human kids and juvenile beasts responded and follow suit without hesitation. They all heard from Nisim and the other three about the abilities of the snowmen and if in fact Zax did not lie, then it can only be they to stop the snowmen, for the adults will turn to ice.

    Thus, be it stones, sticks or snowballs, a war ensued between the small group of kids and Zax’s inanimate snowmen.

    “You all, stop picking on my big brother!” A fuming voice shouted and small girl with long ponytail jumped at one of the kids as he was about to throw his snowball.

    Liz, as well as many of the other kids who recently arrived from Kingdom Earth, could not help but not notice the group of local kids entering their turf.

    Up till this very moment they only watched from afar, minding in their own games. When Nisim and his three friends came they only earned a few glimpse from Liz as the rest, as they approached “The One Thou Shall Not Speak To”. The New Earth’s kids could not gather much from the remote conversation and so they got closer when suddenly a larger group of kids arrived, but still could at best get a better view to the arising conflict.

    It was hard to tell the context of their words but was obvious that the related subject were the intriguing snowmen.

    Seeing the situation escalate and the snowmen her brother worked on for hours being smashed, Liz disregarded her parents orders – for at least outside, until everyone will get inured to their forced relocation, to limit her interactions with Zax – and hurled herself on the nearest kid who intended to throw something at the snowmen.

    “Hey! Stupid girl, what are you doing?!” The kid pushed Liz off of him. Their little squabble caught the attention of either group of friends and they all gathered up.

    “You are destroying my big brother’s snowmen! You better stop, now!” Liz blamed and warned.

    “He is your big brother? Do you know what he is doing?” A kid from the opposing group shouted back.

    “This is our area! Cousin Zax can do whatever he wants in our area!” A short fatty, the son of one of Marco’s brothers, supported Liz.

    “This is Green Snow village, it belonged to everyone! You just got here so don’t act like you know and own the place”. A girl, standing next to a hoofed red and orange furred beast, said while tightening her grip on the rock in her hands.

    “Don’t fight. This man is always by himself. My papa told me they don’t speak with him”. A kid living nor far from the Kingdom Earth’s residence, whose father was also Kingdom Earth’s citizen, tacked Lorance’s sleeve and informed everyone.

    “Really, Po?” Lorance asked the black, curly hurried boy.


    “In that case…” Lorance turned to Liz. “Your brother said that he will use these snowmen to take over the village, even turn our parents to ice!”

    “This is stupid!” Liz retorted and the boys and girls beside her nodded and made their own remarks about how gullible the other party. “Even if he could, big brother Zax won’t do something so terrible!”

    “But he said he will and we won’t take the risk. If you don’t believe us, ask him!”

    “Big bro…” Liz turned to Zax, starting to feel confused by the adamant behavior Lorance and his friends.

    “Liz, my precious little sister Liz…” Zax sighed and shook his head. “I’m afraid that what they’re saying is the truth”.

    “What?!” Liz stared at her big brother in disbelief and the boys and girls from Kingdom Earth shared the same reaction.

    “You only have yourself to blame. For a long time you ignored me when I try so hard and being so nice. I know everyone said that I did something wrong, but I apologized. How much can I say it for everyone to forgive me?” He seemed tired, but slowly dissatisfaction anger filled his voice. “I had enough! I took you from home but in return I brought to this safe place beneath the blue sky. Since you don’t feel happy, I might as well bring these snowmen to life and wreck everything”.

    “You are crazy!”

    “My mom is right, Zax is a bad person!”

    “Cousin Zax, don’t make fun of us…”

    “Big brother…”

    “Hahahaha! Don’t look at me like you don’t know!” Zax burst in laughter. “You think my snowmen are ruined? Ha! Unless you break the ice Core at the center of their stomach, they are totally fine! Look as they rebuild themselves and come to life!” His voice echoed. “Nukram Mardur Gravatz Ujik!” He chanted loudly.

    Not understanding the meaning of his words, the overall group of twenty five kids blocked their ears as booming resounded in them.

    “Oh no!”


    “He did not lie!”

    One by one they saw it, what began as minuscule motions and became vibrant movements, the awakening of the snowmen!

    “Hurry! Pick whatever you can, we must stop them and protect our village!”

    “There are not mist energy fluctuations!”

    “Save our parents!”

    “No… Evil snowmen!”

    Confronted with the realization that Zax said the truth and the sight of actually moving snowmen, the twenty five kids and young beasts shivered in fear. Nevertheless, the calls for arms and for the parents aroused their courage a long with the thought that even if they do not want to, Green Snow village now depends on them.

    “Help us. This is your home, too!” The boy Liz pushed said while holding two snowballs.

    Shaken, Liz looked down at the snowball handed to her. “Big brother Zax…” Her voice was weak, yet quickly flared and became feisty. “Big brother Zax, don’t pick on us!” She grabbed the snowball and threw it with all her might.

    It was about to hit Zax when a snowman moved his stick for an arm to shield him and it was detached from its place.

    “Hahahaha! Go, my snowmen, go and teach them that no one ignore me, hahahaha!”

  15. #275
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 36 – Formations

    “Thank you… Zax”. A middle aged woman with a combed black hair and a bit of weight around her waist walked toward him with hands down and holding one another.

    “You shouldn’t, Mrs. Inoki ”. Zax shook his head. The woman was the mother of his childhood friends, Weysey Inoki.

    Mrs. Inoki came to stand beside him, but her view was on the large group of children having the time of their life fighting the living snowmen. “Our home is at the periphery of us, newcomers’ huts. The hut next to us is where that ginger girl lives with her family”. She pointed for him to see. “Willy”, her nine years old, “Has a small crush on her, but is too timid to approach to other village’s children, much less try to speak with her”. She did not say more; only look how her youngest was now side by side with the girl he likes, acting gallantly as they played in the same team.

    Zax also remained quiet and kept watching the kids, as well as his snowmen. Everything evolved as he wanted and he was gratified. This all Invaders game he instigated was more than just him fooling around. It had two goals. The first who made him think of the idea was the desire to test his small accomplishment in dark attribute energy formations…

    A day after he decided his cultivation path for the time being, Huland provided him free entry to the stock of formations scriptures in Green Snow village, which were divided to three categories: Mist Formations, Soul Formations and Bodily Formations.

    Of the bodily formation there was very little to read with nothing that he could not recognized at a first glance as below inadequate. It was the aspect he was most versed in, in this world that placed more attention on the soul and mist energy. Whether his original creations, such as the Dark Titan Storm form or Dark Blast, were of any worth was not up to debate since regardless they were cream of the crop at least in Ercas Mir. Even others’ techniques of attribute physique could not really be compared since it was highly likely that Zax was the sole cultivator in Ercas Mir who attained his, through the combination of only dark attribute energy and the body.

    Soul and mist energy formations were the field he put his finger on. Dark attribute energy can be used by all aspects as is or as a boost to the unique capabilities of each aspect. Zax wanted to advance his understanding in soul formations, but realized that his inability to currently utilize mist will make half his studies a waste of time; he chose the former type of usage of dark attribute energy.

    The Control formation was a little something he came up with and was put to a test run via the snowmen. Despite having a lot more templets of impressive concepts in his head for experimental dark attribute formations, he dedicated himself to reestablish his foundation and start from small, to avoid the tiniest blemish on later works. Besides, this was also the first time that he delves deep, for a long period of time, to the field of formations on his own, without his Master or Grandmaster to contemplate together.

    The second goal was to make the scenery he, Mrs. Inoki and quite a few nearby adults were so much happy to watch.

    Since their arrival to Green Snow, the interaction between the young generation of Kingdom Earth’s newcomers and native young generation of the village was too restrained by both parties and being put in designated place for themselves made the integration even more difficult on the Kingdom Earth’s children’s part. As for the village’s children, even though they were curious and friendly, most felt uncomfortable entering the area set aside for the newcomers and initiating interaction with the new group of children seemingly already fine on their own.

    Zax’s instigation managed to bring both parties together, a feat their parents failed to achieve but right now were grateful to spectate.

    About two and a half hours after the battle began; the snowmen stopped regenerating and the last ice Core Zax imbued in each snowman was shattered to dissipating fragment. What took a very short time for the children to realize as a game was over and they all were hot and sweaty, lying on the snowy earth.

    They got up gradually, smiling and still energetic. One of the youngling beasts raised its head and roared.

    “Green Snow village is saved!” An eleven years old girl shouted triumphantly.

    “We beat all the snowmen!”

    “Good job, our parents are saved!”

    “We should be awarded with no homework for a month!”



    The hubbub went on as the group of over twenty children and juvenile beasts seemed to forget the reservation they had.

    Zax did not interrupt them – he did not need to.

    “Us who already accepted being ordinary people and find it too hard to alter the foundation he was can’t stand in the cold for a long time”. Mrs. Inoki noted and turned to Zax. “How about you join me for hot chocolate?”

    “I will love to”. Zax took the invitation without hesitation, as this was his first connection toward rekindling his old childhood friendships. As of now, he had yet to speak with anyone of his longtime friends. Anet and Take were the exception only because she was romantically involved with him and he was his big sister’s Tal.

    In the hut that was sizeable, furnished and not the least lacked the air of common living standards as in any home in Kingdom Earth, Zax sat alongside Mrs. Inoki, Weysey and his longtime girlfriend, Mr. Inoki and two more of their Weysey’s siblings.

    Mrs. Inoki summoned everyone. The initial atmosphere in the room was awkward, but Mrs. Inoki thought that it is even more ridiculous that if children can, apparently, so easily get along, they, adults, will struggle to also do so. Hence, she domineeringly forced the ice to break.

    They held small talks about their adaption to the new environment that soon developed to what lies beyond the green valley that is encompassed by tall mountains and impenetrable fog.

    Half an hour into the sit together the Inoki family attentively listened to the flow of stories and discerptions Zax had to share from his personal accounts and stuff he heard from others.

    Weysey and his girlfriend, Din Her, were both cultivators and their Mist Lords Mors also knew each other for many years. Cultivating in New Earth was much harder than in Ercas Mir, even though a great quantity of the inhabitants of the world beneath the ground had passible aptitude for the Martial path. For those with no baking or alignment, good resources could only be obtained through taking on missions in the Core Breaker Guild’s Basement Floor or venturing to Valgarel. Both options would more often than not lead to disastrous consequence, a fact that inhibit many, among which Weysey and Din Her.

    The couple somewhat resented Zax for practically abducting them from their homes and the care of their respectable Mors. Unlike Weysey, Din Her family were left in Kingdom Earth and this caused her to be even more aggravated. But after being presented the opportunity to broaden the horizon of their Martial path, the two became less indignant by the day and up until today only a tad of uneasiness around Zax remained.

    By the time everyone dispersed to their business, the weight on Zax heart lessened by six portions.

    ‘I… made the right choice’. He thought to himself as he headed to the decent abode Huland arranged for him. ‘I can keep going like this’. He meant with this life style that mixed becoming integral part of society and cultivation. ‘The windows to meditate and temper are short and in between, so breakthroughs take longer to achieve, but the feeling in my heart… it’s like having the joy of enlightenment every day’.

    Following days and weeks, months also started to pass in succession.

    As the first year lapsed the people from Kingdom Earth finally adjusted to Green Snow village being their new home. Simultaneously, Zax made amends with the majority of his relatives and friends. The few who still held a grudge were those family members of his friends that had no real relationship between him, and them and the life they had in Kingdom Earth was the life they worked hard to achieve and wanted. Apart from this matter, the rest was wonderful.

    Zax was hanging out with his friends and new people they introduced to him or he got to meet in Green Snow village. His relationship with Anet was back on its original track. His big sister met someone, a first level Core Master and a member of Dark Glare. They had not married, yet, but Zax accompanied them to Valgarel for the second approval from the Martial family and Zetsa’s Master. By yearend she was two months pregnant!

    The number of people who passed all the tests and preparations in order to move outside the village to a city or clan was on the low side. In the days before the second year commenced, four people received a favorable evaluation from Dark Glare and were sent to a clan in the southern part of the continent, where the organization had a measure of influence.

    Most joyous was that the designated newcomers’ area was no longer treated as such; due to almost everyone identifying themselves as Green Snow’s people.

    In an another ground chamber, atop a stone mat that released wisps of cold, black fumes, Zax’s figure was sitting crossed legged, naked.

    He stayed like this for fifteen minutes and will go on for full five hours before his eyelids will pull up and his training session will come to close. It was his nightly routine in the past three months. The chamber was naturally the basement of his abode and the mat was of tropical volcanic rocks of a dormant volcano whose fiery attribute’s essence was overwhelmed by dark attribute’s essence after a natural phenomenon.

    The overall volcanic rocks of the mat were impregnated with around eight hundred kilograms worth of dark attribute’s essence that could be absorbed. However, Zax was in the yet to be officially completed second stage of the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique, and even if he could begin to cultivate it, seven hundred kilograms was too little to even consider and will be of more use to his Maser or Grandmaster Kartion. That being said, Zax kept the mat because there was more to it than a source to dark attribute’s essence. The natural phenomenon responsible to the formation of the volcanic rocks imprinted a morsel of residual dark attribute’s property only those with high understanding of the dark attribute could vaguely perceive and make something of it. Zax was not sure yet if the property in question was Swallowing. He sensed the Devouring nature and a grain of Swallowing, but also an additional thing or things – He could not pin point – that was or were new to his understanding.

    ‘A crossroad…’ On his Inner Panorama the black fumes sipped to his sea of consciousness and circled his manifested naked self.

    Before him was a notion, the crossroad, from which he sensed two directions he could thread, but had no clue of what on the other side of either.

    ‘One way has a blockade before it that in order to pass I’ll have to break through it. Another way is an open road, supposedly affirmation of the path I had taken till now… which should I pick?’

    Days and weeks went by and he has not decided.

  16. #276
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 37 – Seeking Conviction

    “Ucel Sax, ucel Sax”. A pair of chubby hands reached up after tagging for attention at the long and silky, fiery pants.

    The toddler had olive skin and brown hair just like his mother, and gemlike, yellow eyes similar to his father.

    “Jing Jing, give your uncle a big hug”. The man wearing the silky, fiery pants bent over the baby boy, picked him up and embraced him with two muscular arms that concealed the little figure.

    “Stop, big bro! You’re doing it on purpose so I won’t be able to get to Jing Jing! Jing Jing, can you hear me? It’s your number one aunt that loves you so much! Do you want me to carry you instead of your oaf of an uncle?”

    “Pipsqueak should wait their turn!”

    “Big bro…!“

    The actual name of Jing Jing the toddler was Jingrow, and he was the fourteen months old son of the unmarried Zetsa and her partner Grerown. The “oaf of an uncle” and “pipsqueak” were, obviously, Zax and Liz.

    Almost three years passed since the move to Green Snow village, thirty three months, to be precise. In New Earth’s calendar it was the year 5799, Zax was twenty four years old, Zetsa thirty five years old and Liz ten years old.

    The place was Zetsa’s and Grerown’s small wooden cottage in the village. It was built ahead of time when the couple decided to move together. As for their anticipated wedding… Grerown was born in a village in the northeast part of the Eastern Continent, where they taught the belief in a God called Namurus, who bestowed the customary blessing for marriage only if a couple already had, before the ceremony, exactly three offspring. In other words, the duo was two children short before they could get married with the consent of God Namurus.

    “Big sis Zetsa, big bro isn’t giving me Jing Jing, help me!” Liz whined, as she frequently does when both Zax and her fight over Jingrow.

    “Don’t get involve, sis. This brat began to think too highly of herself ever since she became an aunt”. Zax scoffed and then grinned mischievously. He channeled dark attribute energy around Jingrow that lifted him up in the air and caught his little sister before she could resist, giving her the same hug he gave his nephew. “You dare telltale on me to big sis, you pipsqueak! I’m your big brother and I can pamper or pick on you as much as I like and you can’t do anything about it”. He tickled her and she struggled to no avail.

    “I’m- Hahaha! I’m sorry, big bro- Hahahaha- Stop! Stop! I’m sor- Hahahaha…” Liz cried in laughter and Zax stopped only at the sign on tears.

    “So long as you remember”. He held her in one arm and with the other caught Jingrow. “Go to your little aunt, Jing Jing”. He put both down.

    “Lissss!” Jingrow stretched his chubby arms.

    “Let’s go play, Jing JIng”. Liz lovingly picked him, stuck out her tongue to Zax and ran away.

    “Showing up two days in a row, Zax?” Zetsa raised a brow. She extinguished the flame of the twenty five centimeters tall torch in front of her, stashed it somewhere Jing Jing will not be able to get and got up from the straw mat at the southeast corner of the living room.

    Both the straw mat and torch were cultivation instruments she valued deeply ever since she had a fortuitous moment of enlightenment in the process of giving birth to Jingrow and realized to which attribute her affinity predisposes.

    During her pregnancy Zetsa still wished to cultivate. As a matter of a fact, she found herself inspired to explore the boundaries of her condition as a pregnant woman. First, to refrain from harming the embryo, she pushed her accomplishments in the Blaze Frost Entanglement mist refining technique – the succeeding second realm cultivation technique of Radical Fiery Icy Provocation Qi Refining Technique – to the limits, attaining new comprehension for equilibrium. Then, days before the third term, she had an epiphany which helped her untangle the Blaze from the Frost and to detect to which she is more attracted to. Lastly, as she gave birth, she spontaneously broke through the third level of the Core Master realm, simultaneously realizing a newfound connection to the fiery attribute while also abandoning her mist cultivation technique that concentrates on both fiery and icy attributes to the Peak of the second realm.

    Zetsa’s endeavor does not take long to describe, but it is far from being simple and risk free as it may sound. The whole procedure of caring for the embryo drained Zetsa mentality and when she broke through if Zax did not sense the fluctuations and rushed to aid her in consolidating her mist energy, both she and Jingrow, who was still attached to her in the cord, would have died.

    A white veil of isolation emerged on the walls of the cottage and Grerown, who fed Jingrow when Zetsa meditated and until their guests arrived, lowered his right hand.

    “Before you tell me that there is no need, young brother Zax, entertain this habit of mine of keeping things private. Besides, I sensed that something irks your mind. Such matters are best to discuss behind closed doors”.

    Zax did not argue with Grerown over the concealment formation, not that there was a case of spying in the village or he thought it was necessary to begin with. Even if he did, he can erect a far more superior formation with dark attribute energy. He let it go because there was nothing wrong with a bit of discretion.

    The three converged around the living room table, sitting on three different sofas. From upstairs they could hear Liz’s rowdy footsteps as she stamped the wooden panel in Jingrow’s room, as if the little fellow could keep up with her.

    “How is your meditation of the fiery attribute going?” Zax asked Zetsa.

    The torch was something similar to his volcanic rocks, its wooden handle to be accurate. He obtained it in a short, probing trip in Malignant Monkey clan. Exploring the prestigious establishment in the mighty clan, Zax found the torch on sale in a store of some guild that is quite renowned at the southern part of the continent. With zero interest in the guild, Zax was solely enticed by the merchandise exhibited in the store and eventually purchased the torch for a little over two hundred thousand Splinters.

    The straw mat was a gift from Grerown, or rather, something he used for himself and shared with Zetsa after they commemorated their bond with the birth of their son. It had a soothing effect on the soul of the sitter and contributed greatly in meditation sessions.

    “The results barely worth mentioning in comparison to your understanding of the dark attribute, but for my age and level I know better than to be disgruntled”. Zetsa smiled and meant what she said.

    For cultivators it was extremely rare to get an ounce of understanding of an attribute before breaking through to the third realm. A trifecta of luck, fortune and talent was the prerequisite.

    Grerown sighed. “Have you come to sow salt on my wounds, young brother Zax?”

    “Sorry, Grerown”. Zax smiled apologetically.

    Grerown’s mist cultivation rose to the second level of the Core Master realm seven months ago, but his soul was at the third level for several years now. He began his path fifty seven years ago as a soul cultivator, at the age of two, so it was a given that his mist cultivation will be slow. However, reality struck him and the moment his soul reach the third Core Master level not only his path reached its end, since nowhere in Ercas Mir was a high grade soul cultivation technique for the third realm to be found, his understanding of the light attribute also encountered a bottleneck he had yet to pierce a needle size hole through.

    “…But indeed, the matter I came here to discuss partly regards attributes”.

    “Oh well…” Grerown leaned back on the sofa. “And I hoped it was about taking the next step in your relationship with Anet”. He quipped.

    As far as his parents, Laylen and Marco, are concerned, now that their eldest made the sensible thing of settling down as well as given them a cute grandson, there was no need to further nag their second child with his relationship.

    Anet’s parents, on the other hand, were less lax on the subject and pestered their daughter quite often. God or Gods forbid she will get to thirty years of age without marrying and having a child!

    “My little brother is still young and his cultivation path immeasurable. It is fine if he and Anet will delay the subject for a decade or two”. Zetsa saved Zax’s some face.

    “Are the jokes over?” Zax retorted.

    Zetsa’s and Grerown’s line of sight intersected and they laughed.

    “Yes, younger brother Zax, they are over”. Grerown affirmed with a joyful smile. In his heart he truly felt bliss for this family he made for himself as well for the relatives that accepted him – due to calamity it was all he had left.

    “Good”. Zax straightened his back. The atmosphere exuding from him turned solemn, signifying the gravity of his reason for coming. “Big sis, as I told you, for the past couple of years my progress in the understanding of the dark attribute is stuck in a crossroad”.

    “Yes”. Zetsa nodded. There was no leftover of amusement on her face and neither on Grerown’s.

    “Afraid of the consequences of rush decision I mulled on my achievements and experiences for a grain of clue for what lay at the culmination of one direction and the start of the other”.

    The options presented to him were a path he already started, so it was its end that he contemplated on, as far as he could imagine it. The other option was novel, but that was the most he sensed from it at the time he perceived them. Naturally, after two years of so of meditation, his opinion of the two did grow slightly profound.

    “Some time ago a certain realization dawned on me”. A hint of rapture blended in his tone, and as if he was sharing a cause for celebration with the two, their hearts stirred as something bordering excitement ignited in them.

    “What are you saying, Zax?” Zetsa, more than Grerown, felt sort of relation to the soon to be explained meaning in her brother’s words. He spoke to the two of them but clearly focused a larger portion of his attention on his big sister.

    “Big brother Raroen’s choice that impeded his bodily cultivation and success in discerning to which attribute he has affinity toward, isn’t inevitably an impasse. On the contrary, I believe it is similar to my blockade, an opportunity to soar on his originality, than Grandmaster’s”.

    This frame of thought initiated not long ago. Being unable to choose between an existing path and a new one, Zax did the second best thing of revising his knowledge of the dark attribute and the events that led him to improve his understanding.

    The starting line was the notion that dark attribute energy, or just attribute energy, was the indistinct concept of Grandmaster Kartion’s sixth and seventh steps of the seven steps of Kinetic Force. The more he thought about it, the more Zax believed it to be wrong. Furthermore, it was not just the two last steps, but the entire seven!

    In his opinion, Grandmaster Kartion’s perception of the steps of Kinetic Force is flawed. The way Grandmaster Kartion developed them initially was with accordance to the bodily maneuvers that meant to assist in the cultivation of the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement and implement its results. The first step to the fifth were correct, Zax determined, mostly.

    As they spawned from the bodily maneuvers, the basis was that they were only as good as the sequences of moves leading up to them. But if they were truly in coherent, then Grandmaster Kartion would not have assumed that the sixth and seventh steps are preceded by an understanding and have nothing to do with strengthening the body.

  17. #277
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 38 – Making A decision

    “If back then I discarded the idea of associating dark attribute energy with the sixth and seventh stage, then perhaps today, after following big brother Raroen’s footsteps, I would have uncovered the true lineage of kinetic energy and Kinetic Force”. Zax momentarily lamented, as he really appreciated kinetic energy and was very much curious to figure if it is an independent force or ultimately birthed from the worldly attributes as a specific one’s Nature or Property.

    Zetsa sighed. Her proficiency in Kinetic Force was lower than Zax’s, mainly because she had more than solely that to rely on. On the other hand, to cultivate her Master’s bodily refinement technique, she had to dedicate long training sessions on improving her familiarity and control on Kinetic Energy, which consequently taught her its enhancing values.

    “But eventually it would not have made you as strong as you are when utilizing dark attribute energy”. She consoled. “Not as quickly, at least, and it’s not like rushing comprehension and understanding of an attribute done anyone bad…”

    “I know, which brings me to the next point. Shifting from the path of kinetic energy to attribute energy was easy to me, but only because I already possessed dark attribute energy in me, and more importantly, absorbed God made dark attribute’s essence. If I had taken the customary route of quietly meditating and cultivating in order to elevate my path to attribute energy, I would have probably been encountering a similar blockade to that of big brother Raroen’s and the one I’m facing now”.

    “Wait, please, younger brother Zax”, a flash of insight shone in Grerown’s eyes and made him agitated. “Let’s recap. I admit, I’m not the least bit of versed in kinetic energy, much less can comprehend the capacity of which you or my dear could handle it, but… the way you phrase yourself, forsaking a safe and long path of kinetic energy for attribute energy, forsaking your current path for something new and unknown…” Grerown restrained the stutter but his tone was aggrieved, envious to the point cynicism. “We agreed to stop the jokes, so please don’t kid with us. Should you forsake attribute energy, a path it is said is prerequisite to Immortality, what do you expect to find?”

    Grerown addressed Zax as he would a blood related brother, and he acknowledged his inferiority in terms of talent to the many prodigies from Kingdom Earth, including his wife, but Zax’s assumption were bordering blasphemy in the circle of cultivators who struggle and constantly failed to perceive a hint of the worldly attribute. They were akin to a mocking slap in the face. Now, if he did not care about Zax, Grerown would have scorned and letting destroy his Martial path, but since he already accepted him as family, he only became more furious by his irresponsible words.

    “You can’t do it!” Zetsa rebuked. “Put aside Immortality, isn’t it attribute energy that is the main source of your, as well as every Martial Mortal, power? How strong will you be by solely using your body? Don’t forget that Master had not yet completed the second stage of Three Stages Of Hyper Physique and it’s not an exaggeration to assume that another century will pass before he will attain any accomplishment regarding the third stage! In contrast, attribute energy is not something to wait for in order to be taught. The world provides it. It’s already there to meditate about and understand. And you… with your extreme talent and vast achievement in the worldly dark attribute energy, lack nothing but time before ascending to new heights, again and again and again. I get what you mean when comparing the transition from kinetic energy, but unlike attribute energy, it is not a publically acknowledged set path, at least you don’t have the means to verify, just a gut feeling. So even if in the past you made a similar choice, the variables today are different!”

    Letting them both say their piece, Zax paused further discussions for a minute so they will calm down. Gradually, their strained expression eased up and they seemed to be ready to listen. He took turn to build up the atmosphere, so his next words will sink in instead of being refuted the instant they will be heard. His own expression turned from attentive to assertive and he opened.

    “Do you both think I'm not aware of that? I might be relinquishing my future, should it turn out being the wrong decision. Therefore, please note that I haven’t done anything yet and am here talking, considering perspectives for the sake of conviction”. He placed his palm above his hand and black radiance emerged, shattering Grerown’s privacy formation and forming a new and superior one. “There is nobody who knows better than I what at stake. Priceless treasures were spent and fortuitous chances were experienced for me to have my current understanding. No matter how talented I am, on my own I’m well aware where would I had been without them”. He said sternly.

    “Then, if this is how you respond to our opinion, why did you come here? Did you want our blessings in this ridiculous venture or honesty?” Grerown said.

    “Neither”. Zax shook his head and resumed his attention on his big sister. “I want your impression of the breakthrough you had during Jing Jing’s birth, big sis”.

    “Mine?” Zetsa frowned. She now figured here brother’s intentions and felt sore that he put her on the pedestal, along Raroen, to entertain his crazy idea. Whatever she might say could determine Zax’s future and if he will catch up on a lie, the outcome perhaps will be even more deviating.

    “You know what I’m asking”. Zax also creased his brows. At the time the decision in front of her might have been clearer than his and Raroen’s, but it was a step to an unknown frontier for her and a sacrifice of all that she, under the guidance of her Master, invested on.

    It was a long silence with a nearly tangible tension. Grerown did not interrupt anymore, as his opinion was deemed irrelevant nor asked and there was nothing else he could contribute.

    Zetsa stood up from the sofa, the look on her face ugly, unwilling. “Leave Zax”.

    Zax got up, too. “Answer me”. He insisted.

    “It’s an entirely different situation”.

    “Only a few ‘variables’, which isn’t what I want to hear from you”.


    “Certainty”. He cut her off. “Tell me whether you were certain or not. Raroen was and still is, toward the unknown. What about you?”

    “I…” The reply weighed on her tongue and lips, even before it reached them from her brain.

    “Before you set your resolve on the fiery attribute”. He reminded.

    “…was”. Finally, it came out and when it did she glimpse at the flicker of delight in her brother’s eyes.

    “Thank you, big sis, Grerown”, Zax smiled and the air exuding from him lightened. “Don’t worry. My decision isn’t made, yet, and I won’t be rash”. He half turned, toward the door. “I’ll take my leave now. My apologies for imposing and… being a bad uncle. I fear that my next closed doors session won’t be one night long…”

    A month.

    Anet and his parents, they agreed only for one month of separation and not a day more. To a certain degree it was inconsiderate on their part. Yes, he made them a promise not to be gone for extensive periods of time. However, that was years back and to mend their relationship after the move to Green Snow village.

    It was his fault that he stuck to it till now. While his daily routine purified his heart and mind from the snags of pursuing the epitome of the Martial path, even though he was just scraping the first milestone, his loved ones got used to his presence there and always beside them.

    To get some leeway from Anet was still feasible, she was a cultivator who reached the Core Master realm and so understood the difficulties of advancements in short sittings. His parents were the issue. Their first grandson could only make them take a step back from the matter of progressing their second child’s relationship with his girlfriend, which they already treated as a daughter in law. Other than that, they were used to his company, the sight of their youngest having her big brother whenever she needed him and just the view of their children growing together, which did go so well with their eldest daughter and son.

    A month was what Zax got from his parents with the help of Anet. No promises were requested of him, which he both appreciated and felt bad about, for he was concerned on what will transpire in the upcoming closed doors session and even with the confidence he mustered, he had doubts about passing the ordeal ahead of him in one month.

    ‘I sealed the chamber. Anet won’t be able to sense any fluctuations’. Zax sat on the mat of volcanic rocks. Although the room was dark, there was a black sheen on the walls, a formation of dark attribute energy he erected to seclude himself and anything that might occur from spreading to the outside world without him wanting so.

    He closed his eyes.

    They opened again – those of his naked manifestation on his Inner Panorama.

    The crossroad appeared before him, two optional paths.

    ‘Proceeding with the dark attribute might eventually take me to the same place as the other path; same way sticking to kinetic energy might eventually lead to a certain attribute. Or I’m wrong, dark attribute will only be a criterion before achieving Evolutionary Ascension and the blockade I have no my hands here is a mere farce…’

    He dwelled on that thought for a moment or two before it dissipate on its own from his sea of consciousness.

    There was no need to let such distraction affect him, for he was already certain.

    The path that was an opened road vanished and the one that remained became more prominent as if to imply that there is no going back.

    Zax’s manifested self rose to his feet and floated, glaring at the nothing. The blockade of the path he selected was not a wall or a locked door and what lay beyond it was not seen as an actual paved road in his sea of consciousness. The so called “path” was a notion he perceived and the “blockade” obstructing him from exploring it was him not yet meeting the requirements to go past the entry point.

    ‘I augmented my understanding of the dark attribute in the past two years and also examined what I learned of the Nature and Properties of other attributes I witnessed. Initially, I had a vague feeling, but over the years it evolved to expectation and I grasped something. At the moment, I may not know what, but I’m finally ready to clear the suspense’.

    The dark sky, dark sea and dark continent that occupied his sea of consciousness as his Inner Panorama hushed. Zax stopped postponing and submerged into a state of deep contemplation.

    Like ascending a ladder, he used all he accumulated to climb closer to comprehending the path behind the notion. Each step up was an improved hypothesis while the steps he forwent were unnecessary weight that eventually was burnt.

    It was peaceful in the training chamber and serene in his sea of consciousness, but nearby, at the center of the Inner Panorama, the dark sphere situated amidst the dark land, sky and sea, Zax’s soul, had a shade of human figure reflected from within. The spirit inside placed a shady palm on its protective shell and shivered.

  18. #278
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 39 – Cannon For A Gunslinger

    There are three aspects to a human, soul, body and Qi or mist. The purpose of the soul is to log life’s experiences and shelter the most fundamental part of a human, the spirit.

    The spirit is also known as the Self of a person. It is sealed inside the soul, unable to physically come out, but it can emit a portion of itself past the barrier encompassing it. That portion is its consciousness, awareness. Awareness that control the three aspects, awareness that comes to be when a cultivator manifest himself or herself in their sea of consciousness, awareness that is like a separate piece of the spirit and when it pulled back, willingly or as a defensive response mostly due to a trauma, until being sent out by the spirit again, it either enters a slumber or strenuously influence the spirit, typically to easily review the annals of the soul.

    There is also one more case relating to the awareness spirit… situations when the awareness unable to cross the barrier of the soul and, opposite from the spirit, locked outside.

    Zax is an example of such case. In the past, as his soul got stronger, he could more freely make one of the spirit and its awareness. However, at some point something changed and he grew remote of the concept of returning to the spirit. He did not notice it and was even more unruffled by this issue since he lacked the need for joining his spirit.

    Thus, when strode onto the new path he somewhat perceived, he was oblivious to his spirit’s reaction.

    ‘What is it?’ A voice echoed in a void of darkness and blackness.

    ‘Where is it?’ It did not sound from a mouth, but every direction.

    ‘What am I doing here?’ A trace of loss was slowly becoming distinct.

    ‘I am… Zax’. Himself he remembered, but everything else was dulled by the surrounding.

    Forgetting about his closed doors training, attempt for comprehending new path, the loved ones waiting for him, enemies he must face, Zax’s awareness indolently drifted in the void, not caring for answers.

    Sometimes he was sinking deeper into the state of idleness, other times a glint flickered in his eyes, that could not be seen or found in the void, and for a brief moment an aimless effort was exuded.

    Overall it was peaceful and it remained like this day in day out.




    Loud banging rang in his sea of consciousness, yet the land, sky and sea of his Inner Panorama maintain a placid state.




    Ceaselessly and rhythmically they repeated.




    As time passed they continued in the same loudness but growing, sort of emotional, intensity.

    From the first day of training, the moment it placed a shady palm on the soul and shivered; Zax’s spirit clenched its fist and punched and punched and punched.

    Its awareness was gone, but the happening etched to the soul and various experiences on his cultivation path aroused something imperceptible that initially was embryotic, like the black buds he discovered when he reached the state of Warood Meditation and his Inner Panorama appeared, and metamorphosed along the Inner Panorama after every comprehended bottleneck of insight.

    Now, as his awareness was pacing on the thin line of success and above the abyss of failure, his spirit, driven by something that through the years fostered in it, restlessly beat the soul for him to awake up, while desiring to this time partake the journey along its awareness on the new path.

    ‘What’s… this noise?’

    ‘Who is it?’

    ‘Who…? What…? Where…?’

    The wondering in the void was carefree and as far as he was concerned could go on forever. He had the sense that regardless how long it would last, everything could and should wait and that it was reasonable thinking.

    It stopped being contenting and even became displeasing with every annoying interruption that reverberated louder than his sluggish thoughts.


    ‘I… Zax… want it to stop’.

    ‘But… how?’

    ‘Where it comes from…?’

    ‘How do I get to it…?’

    ‘Where am I?’

    The more he was disturbed, the more brilliant and frequent the glint of effort in his invisible eyes was and the cohesive his thoughts returned to be.

    It was gradual, but in the void it was hard to determine whether a breath or an eon passed. Eventually, something shone and illuminated the blindness of the void, a speck of light.

    ‘The sixth spark of light!’ The instant he realized a crack appeared on the vista of the void.

    ‘The last bottlenecked of insight!’ He fully perceived and the cracks began to spread. Nevertheless, he did not seek to approach it, much less comprehend.

    ‘The path beyond the blockade!’ This was his original aim and he staked his all on striding it. The sixth bottleneck of insight was a welcomed byproduct, but should he digress for it, he had the feeling that he will lose everything.


    He could not tell if it belong to the ongoing bashing that provoked him or the shattering of the void.

    ‘Dark, black!’ Two words resonated and fused with his very essence, all three aspects and without his knowing, his impatient spirit, too.

    The fragments of the void rained as everything, including his naked manifested self, resumed to be in his Inner Panorama. Wherever they touched, the land, sky or sea, they merged. Meanwhile, a black glow has floated prominently in between everything, the sixth bottleneck of insight.

    As for Zax? He also floated, unmoved or reactive. When he uttered the two words “Dark” and “Black” he fell into profound contemplation. Not too fast or slow, as his three aspects and spirit continuously transformed, he was digging deeper to an epitome understanding of the dark attribute.

    “Let us in, Anet, I’m begging you!” Laylen pleaded with Marco beside her and little mob of Zax’s close family members and friends.

    “Go home mom, dad. Everyone, don’t make me block you by force!” Zetsa, holding Jingrow who appeared a bit older than Zax would have remembered, stood at the threshold of her brother’s home alongside Anet.

    At the beginning, the commotion attracted a sum of onlookers, but very fast all those who were not related averted their gazes and went on to their business. The reason was that for the past six months it became a recurrent event.

    “Today marks fifteen months since Zax announced his training”. Laylen argued. “He said that it would be a month, he promised, please Zetsa, we must check that nothing happened to your little brother!”

    Since the move to Green Snow village, although on the surface she looked well, mentally Laylen grew dependent on the stable life that followed after, when all of her children stayed nearby.

    She was not the only one. In the years it took them to get accustomed to their new lives in their new homes, even though they were mostly confined to the snowy mountain range, quite a few of Zax’s loved ones developed reliance on his constant presence as a sort of pillar of support in this world of experts in every turn and monsters such as Deformed Beings. Their conduct was more moderated than Laylen’s and Marco’s, however they still joined the two in increments as the allocated time Zax stated turned more distant.

    Zetsa bit her lower lip and Anet restrained her trembling limbs. They, too, worried about Zax, especially since they knew the objective of his closed doors session. They debated often whether to check on him and even consult Huland, who by the way convinced them to patiently wait. Nonetheless, the waiting became harder and harder after a year passed. Laylen and Marco, who were willing to stretch the initial month gave a time limit of eleven months, in other words, not longer than a year. The duo could not bear having their son missing for so long when he gave his word to be back soon.

    “Laylen!” Anet burst from the stress of confronting with whom she looked up to as a mother in law. “Zax would have already come out if his training was as simple as you think. The fact that he did not, or even alert us that it might persist beyond a month, indicates that he definitely in a crucial part of his training. If we’ll interrupt – again, we can’t cause his chamber is sealed from the inside – then we’ll put a greater risk to him!”

    “Anet”, a voice stood out in the crowd. Serah stepped forward, seemingly with the intention to mediate a compromise than picking a side. “I understand what you are saying and I’m certain anyone here wish no harm to befall on Zax. That is why I approached experts from Dark Glow for help in the matter. While it’s true that all those I met bluntly refuse to meddle with Zax’s training, there were two who said that with their unique ability, should Mister Huland give the order, they will give a try to <a href="">augur</a>ing Zax’s condition”.

    “<a href="">Augur</a>ing?”

    Anet and Zetsa, as well as all the listeners, were stumped. They immediately all thought if, in their opinion, things like predications and divination were legit? In Kingdom Earth they were commonplace, but only as frauds or on the Screen. However, in Ercas Mir they were introduced to the existence of Gods, which were even superior to those almighty cultivators who could fly and ruled this planet!

    As most were busy reevaluating their view on anything supernatural – not as a result of mist energy usage – there were two who already made up their mind.

    “Conjuring something out of nothing is impossible”. Anet, Zetsa and honestly, any cultivator with sufficient accomplishments, would have realized.

    “It’s not as you say or believe, Serah”, Zetsa disputed. “Either of these two Dark Glow members will need something to act as a medium, an object with ties to the inside of Zax’s chamber or correlation to the formation he used to seal himself. Any of those options might have mild obtrusive effect, but who can assure us that the weakest undulation won’t be disastrous to Zax?”

    Serah fell silent. She was not versed in the methods of cultivators. Perhaps she had to discuss the matter more thoroughly with the Dark Glow members before bringing it up for suggesting?

    “What if-” The person who opened and could not finish his sentence was Dane, another one of Zax’s close childhood friends. His mouth hang opened with a comical shocked expression that nobody noticed because just then…

    ‘There is no need!’ A voice emerged from within the house and resonated in the heart of every human, beast and Deformed Being for kilometers upon kilometers, as if it was uttered by a deity.

    There was no ill intent to it. On the contrary, all who heard it felt a surge of unexplained excitement, which they somehow could tell was not belonged to them.

    No one saw the black light when it shot up to the sky and ascended till horizon line appeared round as an upside down bowl.

    A human figure revealed itself, closer to the heavens than the earth. Initially it was naked, but in a blink of an eye black tight, black boxers formed, covering its loins.

    Zax looked as if he was scrutinizing the vista, but in fact he could not care less about the one step to the wondrous outer space or the slight nudge of hand which would make it seem like he is holding the entire planet.

    As his perception grew heightened at an accelerating pace everything below and above reached a point of standing still. A smile began to form on his face and with each millimeter his lips stretched; his body trembled more and more violently and when the smile attained completion, Zax could not hold it in anymore and threw his limbs up and down, swiping with his arms and kicking with his legs as a thunderous laugher erupted from the center of his chest.


    Not just his understanding. His soul, body and dantian have all perfectly reconstructed by dark attribute.

    “The sixth bottle neck of insight!” His voice lowered, but the tone was beyond thrilling. “It is… It is… Dark Element! Element! Like the kind of energy Immortal capable of using! And now, even though it’s just a wisp, so am I!”

  19. #279
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    Book 9 – Eruption

    Chapter 40 – The Seventh Power!

    The sensation was fantastic, practically consuming. First it was the new condition of his three aspects. Everything about them was dark attribute without even the need to generate the energy. And its pureness… perhaps beyond any source of the exact attribute in Ercas Mir.

    ‘Maybe only the wraiths of Demirca Ridge can compare?’ Zax speculated as he marveled.

    His assessment was not wrong, but also not entirely right. The wraiths were creation of a God manipulating and merging souls and dark attribute energy. No Mortal or Immortal could compare against a God. However, in contrast to Zax, the wraiths were only made by transforming one aspect with dark attribute and they were not sentient. Their actions and behavior were “programed” by God Demirva. They had no comprehension toward their actual might and no way to solidify it further either to a greater level or as a Martial technique.

    The instant he managed to compose his urges from keeping to dwell on this intoxicating new feeling, a series of thoughts about what he should do next crossed Zax’s mind.

    ‘I… won’t be able to unwind until I’ll let something out’. He quickly deliberated. ‘Mister Huland’s request… confronting a fourth level Martial Mortal…’ He did not feel the smile growing larger on his face and his tightening jaw, as the excitement was too short and soon his expression turned apathetic. He remembered his exchange with Gid Chu, the fluctuations of the fourth level Martial Mortals, members of the five powers he encountered. He was suddenly unimpressed by them all!

    “In that case…” He finally spoke outloud. Resuming his smile, an ominous light shone in his eyes.

    There was so much to do… to explore, too many important things… Zax, however, chose his course of action and everything other than his immediate decision was put aside.

    His gaze fell on the western coastline of Selivereb and he turned to a ray of darkness, splitting the sky in its wake.

    It was winter season and a late evening hour. The waters of Nidbuk Ocean were cold and churning as waves reached heights of tens of meters.

    Under the limited windy clouds and above the ocean a figure appeared so fast, some first and second level Martial Mortal would have thought that it always been there.

    “Come on, old pal, I’m here to fulfil one half of the promise I made back then”. Zax said and his voice sounded oddly, as if it was being carried by the wind to a specific direction, an oncoming pair of ears.

    “Schree!” Cry resonated for hundreds of kilometers. It was aggravated, enraged. Before its source could be seen, a phenomenon in the sky drew Zax’s attention, only to make him grin.

    The clouds, which were already scarce, dispersed completely as a wave of heat and redness discharged from afar and covered the sky with rain of tongues of flames.

    They poured on Zax, yet he remained still with his grin. The temperature was scorching, could possible melt the defensive mantle of a fourth level Martial Mortal, yet Zax response was pleasant, as if he was taking a warm shower.


    A dejected fiery flare ignited the sky as if the sun descended. A flap of wings and a large shadow gradually emerged from within the brightness.

    The Four Wings Stork’s domain was the sky of two of the planet’s oceans, Nidbuk and Seer Don, as well as a portion of Selivereb. And now… not only was his territory was intruded by someone who was not in possession of a Voyage Charm, that person also actually dared to taunt him!

    Seeing his adversary approaching, Zax reminisced to their first encounter. At the time, just the distanced gales produced by this wingspan of nearly two hundred meters caused his skin cells to stir with dread. To keep his life he was forced to escape whilst being constantly bombarded with fearsome attacks, which ultimately he paid for greatly. On the other hand, now neither the gales nor flames aroused the slightest sensation, only the intent filled fluctuations that explicitly zeroed in on him managed to stimulate a reaction – sheer excitement.

    His clenched fists tightened and his muscles tensed. Strength that was genuine and novel and emerged from himself first, his past Martial accomplishments second, kept rising with no hint of imminent bottleneck. Zax strived to draw his maximum strength before the collision with the Four Wings Stork, as he knew that his conduct goaded the Overlord Deformed Being and it was getting closer with its own demeanor at its Peak.

    “HHAAA!” He howled in deep pleasure. It was not meant to boost him in any away. The continuous increase of power in his soul, body and dantian simply felt too good, but he was impatient and wanted to already know what would be his limit. Hence, he gave in to the exhilaration and used a surge of emotions to hasten the newfound power out.

    A pulse of darkness dispelled the fieriness from the sky above. The ocean’s waves were cleared as a depression pushed the water down a level in a scope of fifty something kilometers. Far, at the coastline of the western continent, the waves that vanished due to the howl have been found as they gathered to hundreds of meters tall tsunamis that were about to sweep kilometers of land.

    Zax lowered his voice and brought down his line of sight from looking up. He reached the Peak of his transformed body, the current Peak of what one step on the unknown path he chose to traverse, at the cost of assured future, bestowed him. Safe to say he did not have an ounce of regret.

    Virtually he looked the same as he was when he entered his closed doors training in his regular state. His skin was not black, muscular or any different than before he mustered all of his strength.

    Zax smiled ear from ear with teeth he could not help but bare.

    ‘You see! You see!’ His voice echoed as it was transmitted from his soul, much like any Martial Mortal could do, despite not yet breaking through the third realm with his soul. Unfortunately, there was no one to listen, other than the Four Wings Stork, for he wanted the whole world to hear him. ‘I transcended the Dark Titan Storm form and all attribute physiques that require transformation! This is who I am! This is my base strength! With this I’ll fight you to death!’


    Zax soared so fast, a series of shockwaves were left behind him as his trail. The Four Wings Stork also ascended. They both generated so much strength that should they not concentrate each every assault, the planet would be rendered asunder. Due to the risk and awareness that this battle will demand their all, they selected the battlefield to be in the mesosphere.

    For a fifth level Martial Mortal with notable understanding of their attribute, this was the edge of where he or she could make use of the worldly attribute energy. The Four Wings Stork refused to go higher. Meanwhile, Zax felt only a bit of pressure.

    ‘Can I actually cross farther? Past the exosphere?’ The thought occupied him for a brief second, before his attention was fully aimed at his opponent.

    The Four Wings Stork hovered at a not too far distance. Parting its long beak, it initiated the first move.

    A scalding torrent of blood red flames shot at Zax.

    ‘The intensity of these flames…’ Zax gauged and waited for them to arrive. As a contact was about to be made, he raised his arms defensively.


    The torrent rammed and shoved Zax across the spherical horizon, like a falling star. He tried to stabilize himself, to reach for a halt and stop the advancement of the torrent, but the weight of the attack was more than he accounted for.

    ‘But it can’t hurt me’. Zax smirked. The palms of his hands formed two claws. He turned to the offensive, swung and ripped the torrent with barely any effort.

    “Schree!” In one flap of wings the Four Wings Stork intended to deliver the second attack. Its beak started shining, its temperature escalated and the color of its flames correspondingly changed: From red to orange, yellow, white, azure and blue. For the breath of a time it took the Four Wings Stork to generate the epitome it grasped of the fiery attribute, the surrounding space quivered as if it was about to collapse. Luckily, the Overlord repressed the fluctuations to its beak before damage could occur.

    ‘This fire doesn’t surpass my darkness, but by combining it with the energy of the Peak Pure Core of a three scales Overlord and I’ll have to get serious as well!’ The piercing blue beak gave Zax the impression he should not take it head on.

    From the previous attack he obtained the assessment of his capabilities against someone equal to a fifth level Martial Mortal, since by the signs of attrition shown on the Four Wings Stork it was evident that the before torrent definitely was not just an attempt to test the air. By resorting to an attack of a vastly superior caliber so early in their fight, Zax figured that the Overlord did not want to prolong the confrontation, most likely because it could not allow itself to use its full strength below the mesosphere and at the mesosphere the difficulty of controlling the worldly fiery attribute energy was too demanding.

    The piercing blue beak was a close range attack and Zax was fine with it. Before examining himself he could not develop a proper long distant attack.

    ‘I’ve got no technique to contend against such attack’. He dashed toward the Four Wings Stork, pulling his right arm back, building the form for a straight punch. ‘Let’s see what this wisp can do!’

    His ace in the sleeve, the bit of dark element he comprehended!

    The moment he made a connection with it he realized the limitations of its employment. It could not amplify any of his properties, but it could borrow their characteristics. Meaning, it could be a bodily attack, a mist attack and a soul attack, but the moment of Zax decides which and release it, the might it has will not change from whatever it has in the initial state of a mere wisp.

    ‘A bodily attack!’ Zax selected and began the throwing motion of his fist. He could feel the wisp of dark element energy traveling from his sea of consciousness, down the back of his neck, shoulder and arm… it did not hurt or caused any sort of harm, but it did make him feel like what coursed in him was the detonation of a Peak Martial Mortal and even more terrifying!

    ‘I can use it as bursts in speed’. He figured as only millimeters separated his clenched fingers and the tip of the blue beak.


    “WHAT?!” Zax shouted in utter stupefaction. For a fraction of a second he was sure of it… there was a resistance when both attacks met. Nevertheless, before the first letter of the word “Struggle” could manifest, he felt the motion of his fist keeping going forward, cracking and breaking the blue beak, forcing its energy back and inflating it with it until it exploded. And since the attack involved the head of the Four Wings Stork…

    Three scales Deformed Beings have high intelligence and Overlords are smarter just as any human or beast, regardless of cultivation level.

    ‘It wasn’t supposed to be like this’. It was the last thought in the head of the Four Wings Stork, after the shock, alarm, fear, unwillingness and surrender.

    Zax was dragged by the unstoppable motion of his fist until the wisp of dark element energy was exhausted. Although it died out, his comprehension could not disappear and he could always use it to draw more of the worldly dark element energy, at the capacity he could handle, at least. However, for Zax now it did not matter.

    He finally halted, several kilometers after the falling carcass of the Four Wings Stork. To his perception, its descent was no different than it being frozen in time, midair, so he did not hurry to retrieve it. No, with his back to the giant carcass Zax hovered, crouched with eyes bulging out, staring at his right hand.

    “This… is the power of dark element energy?” He mumbled, dazed. “This is my… strength?” His body shuddered uncontrollably. Something snapped with the dawn of a sudden realization.

    “This is it! This is the strength I needed! With this… with this… as long that Immortals aren’t involved, there are no more shackles!”

    Without paying heed to the Four Wings Stork’s carcass or carrying of standing by his word of killing it as revenge, Zax rapidly plunged back to the troposphere.

    Raising his chest, it felt like his lungs were full of adrenalin rather than air.


  20. #280
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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 1 – Battle Of The Strongest

    The bellow was deafening and widespread. As it was issued by someone at the epitome of the Mortal’s Martial path, it strived to reach every corner of the world and if it was any other same size planet, it might have succeeded.
    The powerful sound wave bombarded the water of the ocean below and pushed it down a level, like how it previously happened in the preliminary confrontation between Zax and the Four Wings Stork, only on a smaller scope.
    The first places to hear his voices, were the settlements near the western coast of Selivereb, following by the southern part of the continent, where Violet Scaled Troops’ Great Cave was situated, its headquarters in Ercas Mir. A portion of the sound wave diminished after passing the gravitational belt above the wall whirlpools that are formed by the Earthly Crater. However, since Zax was at fairly high altitude, the influence gravitational force was negligible and his words still carried to the Eastern Continent at about the same time they reached the northern and eastern parts of the Western Continent.
    By the time the sound wave reached Blue Sea’s Deep Sea Navy and Zenvir ice lands in the Zenvir Ocean, Northern Icecaps, Golden Desert Fort and Luminous Church it was nothing but weakening undulations. Where it ultimately disappeared without leaving the tiniest indication of presence was in the Down Ocean. Needless to say they never had to smallest chance of reaching New Earth.

    “How can it be?!” An over three hundred meters long, golden scaled, silver furred beast hollered above the entrance to a dome like shaped, shining structure that could cover cities such as Glorious Ground and Monivore several times. “Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! This voice…” Horn Kikon gnashed his animalistic ebony teeth. “It’s that supposed Kingdom Earth brat the incompetents Silternjan and Northstar actually warned us about! By this performance, that location and the fluctuations the stork Overlord discharged before… he truly did break through the fifth Martial Mortal level!”
    A storm raged in Horn Kikon’s sea of consciousness. Yes, he, General Logan, General Beking and Admiral Hamumni decided against wasting the resources pursuing a highly valued shadow of a speculation in the belief that even if Luminous Church’s culprit will be the first indigenous to get to their level, he will still will not be able to match them who for thousands of years were sovereigns at this echelon. However, they were mostly acting due to uncertainty in the potential Archbishop Silternjan praised. For it to actually be legit meant that complacency was no longer permitted!
    Silvery and golden lights engulfed Hurn Kikon’s huge body and he fiercely whizzed away.

    Although three out of the five powers could not hear Zax’s words, their leaders were able to identify the original capacity of the undulation, as well as recognize Four Wings Stork’s fluctuations. Moreover, their agents in the Western Continent were quick to transmit the missing parts of the occurrence, which resulted in varying responses from each of the leaders, including the second to hear Zax, General Logan.
    As it so happened, all four who heard or learned about Zax’s declaration, were like Horn Kikon… planning to make a certain move. However, when word was sent from their delegates and agents near and in the Great Cave that its frightening leader, Horn Kikon, just departed after roaring accusingly, mentioning Archbishop Silternjan and Cardinal Northstar, the four other leaders of the five powers decided to postpone their approach for the meantime. Neither, even his collaborator from Voltic Star, wished to intervene whether by giving the nightmarish beast a hand or standing in his way.

    'Someone's coming!' Zax sensed the brutal fluctuations. 'Another Overlord? No, fifth level Martial Mortal. This appearance… Horn Kikon?' He deduced.
    Noting that an imminent encounter is about to occur with the strongest creature on the planet, instead of impending danger, the thrill of realizing his newly attained strength only intensified.
    It was still uncertain how he will fare in a confrontation with a fifth level Martial Mortal, since the skirmish with the Four Wings Stork ended briefly by the dark element energy, which could more or less be counted as a unique tool than his own strength.
    While the deceased Overlord's carcass continued its fall with its Pure Core still attached to it, black aura draped Zax and he dash to a collision with Horn Kikon.
    Rays of black, silver and gold hues reigned the sky as the duo exchanged countless go at a higher and higher altitude.
    "Decimate!" Golden, enlarged claws bore down at Zax.
    Clenching his fist, ‘eh? There is no need?’ Zax remarked, pleasantly surprised. He intended to construct the sole dark attribute formation he came up in the past years of studying formation, which meant to further strengthen his body, but apparently he could now muster greater force just by extracting his muscles.
    Externally it could not be seen but internally dark attribute flesh and bones seemed to solidify a notch. He punched up.
    A figure plumped, issuing sonic booms.
    "HA!" Zax howled and halted the decent midway to the surface of the sea. He lifted his fist and examined it. It was severed in half to the wrist, sent throbs of extreme pain and was infected by residues of oddly silvery golden glowing electric attribute. "Humph". He snorted and looked at the monster above him, whilst the residues of electric attribute expelled and his hand recovered.
    Horn Kikon snarled and stared back. The decimation was one of his strongest assault, yet it only caused a temporary injury. His left claw twitched, though milder, it actually sustained damage! Dark attribute energy permeated and felt tad difficult to remove.
    His blood boiled. The existence of his opponent could make trouble to his Violet Star Commander, much like Sheldon had become and even worse.
    'How can he be this powerful? His durability is way above a newly advanced fifth level Martial Mortal! Not even Beking and Northstar can counter this attack of mine and come out unscarred. Is it possible that his understanding of the attribute to also progressed… beyond all of us, emissaries of Immortals?!'
    "Is this it? The best the strongest being on this planet could do?" Zax taunted. He already figured that he could not defeat Horn Kikon without utilizing the dark element energy, and perhaps will be forced to escape should a battle be prolonged. Nevertheless, even if the worst case come to be he could not feel a threat to his life, hence did not mind further antagonizing his foe.
    "You received some of my attacks and let pride go to your head?" Horn Kikon scowled. "Do you know who I am?" His voice became deeper, gradually rumbling as if a thunder storm was brewing in his throat. "Do you know what I am?" Loud and louder he now let the entire world hear his looming claim, just as Zax did. "Can you measure me?" His voice turned down to a whisper, a silence before the resonating tone that will quake sky, sea and earth. "I AM YOUYUE!"
    “Youyue?” Zax squinted, not understanding the meaning of the word, but by the sudden shift in Horn Kikon’s demeanor and the fact that he was a beast, he gathered that it is possible related to his species.
    The fiend aura turned regal and two currents of electricity, silver and gold, coursed around Horn Kikon. The rise in power was discernable and in took Zax aback.
    ‘The display of attribute as well as every other aspect had grown stronger! I won’t be able to do anything but defend from this point!’ He was surprised and could not help but grimaced. ‘That rise is not by power he held back, it is more similar to an inclusive transformation’. He surmised despite not distinguishing any external changes.
    The currents of electricity flickered and Horn Kikon decisively plunged toward Zax. “Now be proud, human! You are the first to make me show Twin Pikes since my arrival to this planet”. He boasted.
    “Don’t get cocky!” Zax frowned. The irreverence his foe held to his home was obvious and the notion that the other leaders of the five powers and their subordinates from outer space might share the same behavior infuriated more. ‘Time to end it!’ He told himself, prepare to execute the strongest force he could rely on…
    Watching how Zax maintained his posture, at most pulling his arm as if about to throw another of his punches, Horn Kikon sneered inwardly. “You think that you could withstand the damage this ti-” The last word got stack in his throat and his entire smug countenance turned hideous. “It can’t be! It can’t be! You are…” He roared, trying to diverge, but his attack already initiated and was difficult to maneuver out of its intended aim. “RWOUR!” Madness took over.
    The over three hundred meters long body abruptly began to shrink. The silvery fur and the golden scales on three separate sections on the animalistic physique spread and intertwined. A smooth, chrome like skin with both silver and gold luster covered now the beast from head to eight toes, a total of seventy two sanguine claws on eight muscular legs and four burly arms. Even the horns and teeth were coated.
    ‘A fourth full transformation?!’ Zax’s heart palpitated. Beasts had only human, humanoid and animalistic forms. He already saw Horn Kikon’s animalistic form and how he appeared now could not by any of the former forms. There was little time to weigh how he was changing, whether it was a product of technique like his Dark Titan Storm form.
    The distance between them was shortening faster than their minds could keep up and no changes could be made anymore in the actions they commenced.
    Following contact, rather than the anticipated “BOOM” and mesmerizing flash of brilliant light rays, the world became devoid of colors and sounds.
    Two shades emerged as the first forms to be birthed in the lack of both consuming black and emitting white.
    Two panting patterns inhaled and exhaled the first breaths that brought back sound from the silent.
    One person nearly two meters tall and one beast roughly forty meters long levitated with their backs toward each other.
    The fluctuations of dark element energy were depleted, but Zax felt that with a thought he could generate more, with an effort, consecutively.
    The shine of the chrome like skin dimmed a little and at the forehead’s area there was a dent, but it quickly healed and regained its former luster. Horn Kikon gauged that no lasting damage was done and should it evolve to a battle of attrition he will hold the, superiority in both agility and defense, though it was impossible to tell for how long.
    ‘He recovered so fast’. Without even looking back Zax knew. ‘An attack that pulverized the Four Wings Stork’s strongest feature had barely harmed him, Youyue… ’
    ‘His progress is beyond “fast”! According to the reports, a while ago he could hardly hold his own against Peak Core Masters and now he reached this state! Set this aside, the Martial history of the aboriginal residents of this planet is only couple of thousands years old! Luck could play a part in his hasty rise in cultivation, but to sense his Evolutionary Ascension is all on him!’ Horn Kikon could not contain his inner voice from having a respectable tone. “State your name again”.
    “What’s a ‘Youyue’?” Zax retorted.
    “My type of a beast”. Horn Kikon replied with a groan. Figuring his opponent’s lack of knowledge due to being an indigenous of a disconnected planet, he managed the patience to entertain first. “A subtype of Chaoyue, exalted royalty among beasts, that’s what Youyue means and that’s what I am!” As he described an aura of grander project from Horn Kikon. “Don’t blink your eyes, human! In this lower Mortal Valley, existences such as I am are few and far between!”
    ‘Type that subverts Chaoyue… ’ Zax was not as astounded as he should have been since his assumption cut close to the truth. ‘So of the three Valleys containing all plains and stars that the exalted expert mentioned in his messages, one of which is belongs to mortals? Does it mean that the other two are of Immortals and… what are the chances… Gods?’ This piece of information left a more substantial impact.
    “Then again”, Horn Kikon continued with a hint of resignation that was astonishing for someone at his stature to expose. “It appears that other than lucky freaks like you, this planet never stops nurturing miracles… Apart from me, of the indigenous beasts to this planet, one of which is also Youyue”.
    “His Valor Ozeyn!” Zax blurted instinctively. Although they never met, simply by the things he heard his mind could not process any other beast in the place of the ruler of Valgarel.
    “Mm”. Horn Kikon grunted affirmation.
    Zax turned and Horn Kikon also. They were now face to face.
    “My name is Zax Zel”
    “My name is Kikon. Horn is the title bestowed to me and to all fifth level Martial Mortal Beasts by the Violet Star Commander”.

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