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  1. #281
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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 2 – Worldwide Commotion


    "Henceforth New Earth is my domain!" Zax stated openly and decisively.

    "You want the entire world below the ground?" Horn Kikon snorted. "Comparatively, it is larger than each of our territories separately".

    "And I also want the periphery around the pathway to New Earth, as well as portion, half, of the Four Wings Stork's territory. Nothing is negotiable". Zax proceeded to say in one breath.

    Menacing light flickered in Horn Kikon's eyes. "If I didn't know better I would have that this appetite belongs to a beast instead of a human. Are you certain of being able to digest so much?"

    "Do you think there is anyone who can prevent me?" Zax retorted. “I was told by the Leader of Sinister Chain that you are the strongest being on this planet. If even you can’t defeat me and take damage…”

    Zax’s wording was explicit, the rules makers of this planet, the leaders of the five powers, would either be triumphed by his demeanor or take a step back whenever he is involved.

    The acknowledging manner Horn Kikon held Zax in did not deter his original intent. Even though he could not accomplish killing Zax, despite it being monotonous, his pride was sufficiently high to engage in as many more fights as his opponent dares to challenge.

    “As someone completely unrelated to us, you are the first indigenous to reach the state of Mortal Enlightenment, but there are two flaws in the way you think so highly of yourself. Even if you can sense you Evolutionary Ascension”, Horn Kikon deliberately elucidated so a “country bumpkin” such as Zax will connect the dots of what is general knowledge outside New Earth, and realize that whoever can sense his or hers Evolutionary Ascension is considered at the Mortal Enlightenment state. “It could be tens, hundreds and thousands of years before its arrival. Specifically how long only you should know, but in my experience, ninety some years are the shortest. That’s enough time for many poor occurrences to take place and bring down your ego. Who knows, at the end you might even fail to ascend. That is one flaw. The second is much greater! While your understanding and insights have completely exceeded us, leaders of the five powers, I’m not like the other four. Unless you’ll become Immortal you won’t be capable of truly harming my Youyue physique. On the other hand, as a Youyue beast I’m bound to eventually sense and have my Evolutionary Ascension, and when that will happen my power in the Mortal realm will reign supreme to all including those at the Mortal Enlightenment state“.

    Noting the threat in Horn Kikon’s tone, Zax was not intimidated. On the contrary, he felt like there is very much he could respond with, however he figured that being too talkative perhaps would be the cause of one of those poor occurrences he was warned about, hence he was not eager to tempt fate be revealing his cards regardless how confident he was.

    ‘No, Kikon, by comparing me to typical cultivator that attained Mortal Enlightenment it is you who err. Although I cannot foretell what the future holds, the assumption of I reaching the Peak of strength before Evolutionary Ascension is terribly wrong!’

    First of all, as far as sensing its arrival, Zax was completely oblivious to such distant appointment. He had not even stepped into the third realm with any of his three aspects. Secondly, although his impression of the element energy in his disposal was such that even if Grandmaster Kartion will develop his bodily refinement technique to the epitome of the Mortal path it will hardly match the newfound source of power, there is still the possibility of it not being inferior, even slightly superior to the astonishing Youyue physique.

    “Be that as it may, my mind is settled”. Zax insisted, showing off his stubbornness as a way to cover the thoughts backing his resolve.

    “Is that so…” Horn Kikon first scowled than a ripple spread from his body and he resumed his regular animalistic form. “I’ll do you the convenience of informing the others”, he turned to leave. “And would like to see how well and for how long you could shoulder the responsibility”. Transforming to a streak of light, he departed.

    Without further interruptions, Zax swept with his hand and received the still falling carcass of the Four Wings Stork. His spatial ring was not big enough to contain it, so he only put in it the former Overlord’s Pure Core.

    With his concentration on the Pure Core, Zax felt a jolt in his heart that erected all the hairs on his body. He smiled. “It’s time…”



    For the residence of the world above ground, Ercas Mir, the existence of New Earth was split into several outlooks. Commoners, non cultivators, had a shallow understanding, which bordered none at all, of the world beneath the earth. For those who cared to believe in the mysterious underground world, New Earth was no different than any other faraway place. Members of esteemed families and clans and up the chain of status had a better idea of the cultures in New Earth and the involvement of the five powers in it. They were aware of the rules and limitation on the inhabitant of New Earth, and that for those who live in Ercas Mir, to traverse the pathway in Selivereb an almost impossible to get permit from the five powers is required. As for the belief that the beasts and people of New Earth are the actual natives of this planet, only selected few outside and within the five powers knew the truth.

    In a structural clan on the Western Continent, people and humanoid beasts went on their usual business when windows began to tremble and most things made of glass suddenly shattered.

    “I AM ZAX ZEL! THE FIRST FIFTH LEVEL MARTIAL MORTAL OF NEW EARTH!”

    The introduction was akin to a thunder in a clear sky. The reaction of ordinary people and beasts, with no potential on the Martial path, was not really interesting. The realm of Martial Mortal was beyond them, not to mention its Peak. Hysteria and fear composed most of their responses and many evacuated the streets in the case more than just a sound wave will pass through the clan.

    The more animated reaction belonged, naturally, to the cultivators. The clan had many cultivators among its kin. Apart from them, there were several mercenary bands and independent cultivators. Their reaction was a mixture of incredulity, thrill, fear, envy and reverence. First and foremost, the admission of a fifth level Martial Mortal had never occurred before. Existences at such level were thought to be only within the fiver powers, their leaders – few knew that the man behind the Mercenary Association was also at that level. For a new one to emerge and in such a grandiose manner was a form of encouragement to every cultivator, a testimony that more than five figures can stand on the summit.

    Then there was the remark about being from New Earth! What that signified? Not just that a shackled man freed himself from the restraints of the greatest powers on the planet, but also forecasted that a shift in regime is about to happen.

    At the top of a two hundred storeys tower at the center of the clan, a naked figure donning a majestic, pink cape exuded fluctuations of a fourth level Martial Mortal. It was a stunning bright blond woman, seemingly twenty years of age.

    The wind causing her cape to flap exposed her gorgeous features, but it appeared that she was not bothered by it. Instead, she was solemnly occupied with the words that faded and now rang in her head.

    “This voice… Zax…” A complicated look manifested on her beautiful face and the deeper she reflected the graver her expression became.



    Somewhere past the border that marked the end of the Violet Scaled Troops’s territory and the start of the Blessed Army’s domain stood a magnificent city, surrounded by plains of short green grass that stretched for kilometers around it.

    The total population of the city amounted close to one million people, more humans than beasts. They lived in what one might confuse as a modern cave from Kingdom Earth, everything cutting edge, pristine and smooth, flying in the air and structured for at least dozens of storeys.

    Inside a private garden sat on the ground an orange haired, golden full beard man. Up to several seconds ago, if one had entered the garden there was no way he or she would have noticed the peacefully meditating man. Now, however… the gloomy presence of the man was prominent not just in his garden, but in a radius that for a split second when beyond the illustrated city.

    “Him…!”



    As Zax languidly made his way back to Green Snow village; a wave of tumults, following the one issued by his announcement, spread like wildfire, this time all over the world.

    Horn Kikon kept his words and delivered Zax demands to the other leaders of the five powers. Although after receiving his account there was a lot for them to discuss, for a temporary peace with the new expert that in one fell swoop outdone their thousands of years Martial accomplishments and control on the planet, they were willing take a step back before engaging Zax – as they did in the past with Sheldon.

    With that approach, and for the sake of preparing their members across the world to the new order in New Earth and Selivereb, every attendant of the five powers in every city and clan was informed and told to spread the news. Better they phrase it than let Zax make the declaration himself and harm the reputation of the five powers in the process.

    When Zax eyes saw through the formation that shelters the reclusive village amidst the snowy mountains range, his name was already spoken in every establishment and household. Unlike Sheldon, he was not reluctant to share his name, so to avoid misconception the five powers shared his entire identity, portraying as a success story of a lone man, turning cultivator, reaching the top of the Martial path and earning their acknowledgment. A crowd with adoration was simple to manipulate and had a quickly diminishing temperament. Of the common people, those who will remember Zax would soon only be the few set on following his footsteps and making a name for themselves. Among them, most would realize the hardship of duplicating his exploit and ultimately only handful brazen that nobody will take seriously would remain.

    At least, that was the plan for swiftly settle down the commotion Zax sparked, and if it will not work… so be it. The five power will still be the sovereigns of the world!

  2. #282
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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 3 – How Long?



    A mixture of dazed, flabbergasted and excited reception waited for Zax at Green Snow village. Several even gasped frighteningly when the carcass of the Four Wings Stork was recognized.

    There were Zax’s family and friends, who initially arrived to check on him after his closed doors session was extended beyond the original date, his neighbors, who joined the gathering after his loud announcement and every Dark Glow member currently present in the village.

    Many more in the village were on their way to arrive, but apart from his announcement, every action Zax took, including his talk with Horn Kikon and slackened flight back, were still quite fast for everyone to converge before his return.

    Seeing the welcoming faces, Zax smiled in embarrassment. What he just told to the entire world was too unbelievable and at a place such as Green Snow village, whether cultivators or regular villagers, all knew about the highest level of the known Martial path and that in this world the only six figures in this level are the sole rulers of this planet. Nevertheless, as exclusive as this level was, the person flying above them, who they were very much familiar with and in all sorts of relationships, has apparently strode upon this epitome of almost no rivals!

    “M… Mister… Zax,” Huland’s voice wavered as he flew first to greet Zax. It was apparent that he was conflicted in as to how to refer to him and if he could uphold the same genial temperament of their previous interaction. After all, not his father or his esteemed Master were now experts that could be mentioned in the same breath as Zax.

    Zax descended, looked friendly at Huland. He patted his shoulder as he passed him. ‘We’ll talk later. I believe it is time for me to answer your request. Oh, keep an eye on that for me”, he pointed with his thumb on the huge carcass. “See how it can be processed. If parts of it can be used as cultivation resources, please list it for me, anything else you can equally divide between your Dark Glow and Sinister Chain’.

    “Yes”. Huland blabbered outloud, not yet fully digesting that the content of Zax’s words when suddenly he felt the weight of the carcass being released from Zax’s control and pushing the air as it plummeted. He hurriedly used his mist energy to catch it.

    Not to his parents, his sisters, the rest of the family, friends or the sideline onlookers, but to Her Zax approached as if the world had only the two of them in it.

    She watched as he got closer and closer. At first it seemed like he advances at a general direction in which she was yet another someone part of the view, but as their gazes interlocked her perception of the surrounding turned mute as all she could focus on was Him.

    The drive was undoubtedly affection, but if being truly honest, for him it was also determination. Determination no regular person or cultivator of a lower caliber could match. And for her… in addition to love it was a portion of the new prowess oozing from him, which he had not yet realized he have to abate, else those too weak will be deprived from their bearing in his presence.

    Finally, landing on the ground with his feet, he reached for a halt roughly twenty centimeters from her.

    “Anet Lensi”, Zax gestured with his hand and the Four Wings Stork’s Pure Core appeared in his palm. “Will you marry me?”

    “I… I…” Anything and everything that was happening, the atmosphere he exuded, the bizarre Pure Core with fiery attribute fluctuations and sudden proposal, it all took Anet by so much surprise she lost track of reality.

    “You won’t?” Zax raised a brow, at last noticing his awe inspiring influence; he confined it and let the rest disperse. “Will you marry me, Anet?” He asked again, softly, leaning forward, as if to kiss her regardless of the answer.

    They were all staring with bated breath. They were captured by his figure, but now their awareness of the surrounding and one another returned and specially fixated on two most prominent.

    “Yes”. It came out as a whisper, not the consequence of embarrassment but the result of being too overwhelmed. “I will marry you-” She raised her voice, yet before she finished saying her reply he grabbed her shoulders, pulled her to his embrace and shut her mouth with a kiss.

    “Hahaha! My son is getting married!” Marco shouted, among both regular villagers and high end cultivator, was actually the one to break the silence and initiate the joyful cheers.

    “How fitting, Zax”, Serah teased from the side, as if they all returned to their juvenile past. “You had to become to strongest person in the world before having the guts to propose!” All the tension from trying to mediate the previous situation, before he exited his seclusion, and then from the shook of his announcement had vanished from her expression.

    “Yahoo! I’m finally going to be a bridesmaid!” Liz applauded, mostly to herself. Because of the local custom in Grerown’s birthplace, his wedding with Zetsa was postponed; hence she had yet to play the part.

    “Congratulation, guys!” Dane clapped, as many others.

    “Laylen, we are officially to become a family!” Beka, Anet’s mother, hugged Laylen.

    There were voices of joy and blessing from all over. Even those with no particular relationship to the Zel or Lensi families chipped in a few words out of courtesy. However, there were also, very few, faces who maintain solemn expressions.

    Huland and couple more of the third realm cultivators from Dark Glow had smiling faces when Zax returned, and were even more affable when he exhibited no loftiness when he descended and patted their Leader’s shoulder. But, when the Overlord’s Pure Core was revealed, with an odd aura of fiery attribute in it, and used as a wedding ring, it was hard not to think of it as a waste. Most regrettably was that not only they could not do a thing about it, they were even afraid to remark outloud.

    “Zax, when do you want to hold the wedding ceremony?” His grandpa inquired when his and Anet’s lips parted.

    With a smile that could not go away, Zax located his grandfather in the crowd. “Soon, grandpa”, he took the opportunity to inform everyone at the same time. “There are couple of things both Anet and I must do and discuss before we announce the date”.

    “Well, now we can at least celebrate the proposal!” Weysey, who came late and these days was a member of Dark Glow who happened to stay in Green Snow village, forced this way through. It was out of character to his perpetuate remoteness, which he displayed even with his girlfriend.

    And so, at the same day a seventh expert surmounted the Martial Peak of New Earth, he also happened to celebrate his marriage proposal for a festive period that continued for two days and two nights.

    Drinking, feasting, singing and dancing ensued. Unlike Anet, Zax had to loosen himself before he could feel comfortable with all the attention as he tried to enjoy each moment as a regular person. Green Snow village might have been larger than a typical village, but with its resources and proximity to one or two clans, it was easy to amass enough delicacies for as many humans and beasts who wished to join the celebration, either for the happy couple or their new idol, Zax.

    And so, a sum of forty eight hours eventually passed.

    Zax lay on his bed, with Anet in his embrace and nude, covered up to the waist by a thin, white sheet.

    He felt her chest raising and falling as she breathed in the most serene of rhythms and the calm rubbed on him. He could also sleep and relaxed, but ultimately chose otherwise. Since there would be much to do when Anet will wake up, his only time to examine the changes in him was now.

    He closed his eyes to fit the mood in the room, but instead of letting himself to sink in the void of blackness onto the valley of dreams, he manifested his naked self in his Inner Panorama.

    ‘How peculiar’. He muttered the moment he gauged the scene in his head, knowing that his reaction should be more astounded, yet he was not.

    It was tranquil; now waves, not clouds, not quakes and it looked the same, apart from two things.

    The first was the speck of dark light, the sixth bottleneck of insight. It floated in between heaven and earth, above the boundary of the land and sea. It appeared both within reach and untouchable.

    The second was the soul. It was situated at the center of the land of the Inner Panorama. Before the breakthrough to the Mortal Enlightenment state it was dark and spherical, now though… a hand protruded from within, pushing the encompassing wall of the soul as if it was an extremely elastic membrane. The hand of the existence inside stuck out up to the shoulder, like that of a giant, its five fingers extended forward in a grabbing motion for the sixth bottleneck of insight.

    As much as the hand extracted itself, it seemed to be at its limit and could not stretch the soul more toward the speck of dark light and now, for the meantime, was trapped in the position, at a length thirtieth part of the way from the object of its desire.

    The more Zax concentrated on the two objects, the deeper the stupor his consciousness fell into. When he looked at the speck of dark light and tried to pondered about it, an invisible force repelled his awareness from anything he was about to deem as remotely interesting. And whenever he wondered about the actions of his spirit – he managed to discern that it was it – he received the impression that it was all natural.

    ‘Wrong, wrong. It’s wrong!’ Zax repeated in an attempt to resist the mellowing effect emanating from the two. ‘That is the last bottleneck of insight, a manifestation of dark element! I… should be curious, wanting to explore it, not disregard it! And this… is my spirit. Yes, I understand now. Even though it represents my essence, my entire being, for a long time it concealed its doings inside the soul from my awareness. I can’t pinpoint when it began to behave like that, but I think it was sometime after I comprehended the fourth or fifth bottleneck of insight. It could not be at the third… right?’ Again, slightly succumbing to the effect of the speck of dark light and spirit, he proceeded to doubting himself.

    ‘No!’ He bellowed and dark tempest stirred his Inner Panorama. Outside his sea of consciousness, his brows creased and the arm embracing Anet faintly tightened its muscles.

    ‘I won’t be deceived when things are right in front of my perception!’ He settled down and maintained an attentive mind. ‘For my spirit to act this way, without me noticing until now, could mean that before it dropped the transparency it either develop second sentient that blocked my original one or everything it did, still does, was rather instinctive, beyond what I can fathom’.

    He felt stronger assuredness toward the latter option and as he did, a sort of reconnection was made between his consciousness and spirit.

    At that moment, lying on the bed, Zax opened his eyes wide and shut them again. From overlooking his spirit, he hastily averted his attention to the speck of dark light.

    ‘I need… you! My comprehension of you will succeed, not when I’ll manage to decipher you, but when my spirit will reach, grab and absorb you! Just like how it absorbed the dark attribute from the first Black Core and went through a fundamental transformation that changed my life, it will go through another, major transformation when it will make contact with your dark element!’ He spoke to the sixth bottleneck with anticipation and excitement, somewhat making it seem that it understood him.

    ‘But this road… it’s different from all of those I took before to comprehend the former five bottlenecks. Its complexity isn’t something I can accomplish in a simple sitting of closed doors training. If divided correctly, there are twenty nine more steps for my spirit to take before it will reach you and each of those steps is in need of unique enlightenment of its own on this path I chose to traverse’. With this realization his voice was muted and excitement subdued. ‘How long of a time is it gonna be?’ He feared that this new hurdle will hinder his Evolutionary Ascension to a date, post the imminent arrival of the Immortal powerhouses behind the five powers.

    ‘And there is another thing wrong…’

  3. #283
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    Book 10 – Immortal



    Chapter 4 – Informing The Martial Family





    ‘A hidden oppression… The Almighty’s!’ Zax concluded. Now that he reconnected the spirit and consciousness, he became conscious to the inconspicuous Godly Retribution bearing on his being. ‘It began to act’. If he had not reached the Mortal Enlightenment state and joined with his spirit he would have remained oblivious. ‘It’s trying to revoke the speck of the sixth bottleneck, cut off my opportunity to comprehend all six bottlenecks!’ The instant he figured, the land, sky and sea of his Inner Panorama reverberated in response to his rage.


    The Godly Retribution was invisible and if it was dormant, perhaps he would not have noticed it, but since it exposed its intent, whether fully or not, it gave him the chance to retaliate.


    Assisting his spirit get to the sixth bottleneck before it was disposed was impossible, so the only option was to resist the oppression by shielding the speck of dark light with his dark attribute energy and what little of dark element energy he could muster in this conditions.


    “Argh!” Zax’s eyes snapped open in a shout and he jumped to a sitting position, in the process frightening Anet back to wakefulness.


    “What happened?!” Seeing Zax’s entire body pale as blood gushed out of his seven orifices, Anet alarmingly asked, holding his swaying upper body.


    “Noth- cough!” Zax choked on blood. He took a moment to stabilize himself, but he did not improve. Furthermore, the root of his injury was so detrimental; he could not heal like he should have been able to. Worse yet, in comparison to his body, the state of his soul was more terrible.


    ‘How formidable?! Just making contact with the hint of Godly Retribution is so ruinous! The fact that I’m still alive is evidence to the calamity I passed!’ Zax cautiously examined his sea of consciousness, as he continued to endure the oppression of the Godly Retribution and although it impaired his healing capabilities, only the initial step of making contact carried a disastrous impact.


    The protective formation of dark attribute energy was still active, but constantly in a state of construction and deconstruction. ‘It won’t hold forever. If there is more to the Godly Retribution, then I’ll be helpless. Even now, as long as I persist, I won’t be able to divert energy for healing severe wounds in a dire fight, much less treat those I’ll keep sustaining by this resistance’.


    As he lamented, Zax kept wheezing blood and despite slowly recovering his complexion and reducing the loss of blood, internally he could still feel that unbearable pain of a God’s might and that was just the beginning of his plight.


    ‘In the meantime I’ll bear it. Losing the sixth bottleneck means throwing away everything I’ve put up with, before and after learning about Legacy Of One’s Path. I won’t stand for it!’


    Having comprehended five bottlenecks of insight, if he will not die prematurely, by the customary operation of Martial cultivation it was a matter of time before the coming of his Evolutionary Ascension. However, Zax was already enticed by the path laid out for him by the expert who claimed to snatch this planet from all other Immortals, in his time, and even reaching the summit of Immortality.


    “I’m okay”. He leaned on Anet and straightened, assuring her that he can support himself.


    “What happened? Don’t lie to me, Zax, I never saw you winding and oozing blood like this out of nowhere!” She glared, warning him with what she will not stand for.


    “It’s the retribution of an oath I made using a name of a God…” Zax opened and narrated the entire ordeal. Since he chose her for his wife he was determined to always answer her resolution to share his burdens.


    A long while passed with silence even after he finished talking and the two returned to lie with their gazes on the ceiling of the bedroom.


    “If…” Anet’s tone wavered with hesitation. The subject required deeper reflection than she had time to perform and she was worried that whatever advice she will give will deter Zax’s resolve, even if he will not take it to heart. She shook her head. “No. I believe in you!” She kissed him and rested herself on his chest and Zax, too, decided to sleep the reminder of the night.





    The following day, Kingdom Earth, Grandmaster Kartion’s cave.


    “Martial father”, Zax and Anet greeted Kartius in an atypical manner – hands held, calling together and even recognizing the same eminence.


    They headed for him at his abode in the Essence Cave, just as they arrived the residential cave of the Krikitory tribe, interrupted his analyzing of the dark attribute.


    “You two…” Kartius was confused for a brief moment, but before he could appropriately respond, a voice already called out in joy in all three’s sea of consciousness.


    ‘Congratulations! Congratulations! My darling Zax! My sweetheart Anet!’ Laivien praised enthusiastically. ‘Come to my valley, I wish to see the both of you!’


    They knew that she can watch them with her violet stone, so there was no keeping their announcement on the down low.


    In matter of minutes all members of the Martial family present in the two caves gathered in the small valley, except from Zetsa, Raroen and Shulip – the latter two were on their way, informed by the communicators Zax gifted his Martial family some time after the relocation of his relatives and friends to Green Snow village.


    “Wait! Am I hearing wrong?! Forget the marriage stuff; they are together for years, who cares about them announcing that they are planning to stay longer!” Mes tactlessly spewed all because he was too shocked by the second part of the duo’s news, the fight with Horn Kikon and Zax’s breakthrough.


    “Dumb snake!” Rarahel berated.


    “Viper!” Mes corrected.


    “Still stupid”. Simel shook his head.


    “All of you quiet!” Grandmaster Kartion rebuked. “Be less senseless, Mes! Are you taking for granted the bond between me, your Martial father and Laivien, your Martial mother?”


    “Forgive me, Master, Martial mom, little brother Zax, little sister Anet”. Mes put his hands together in apology, though no one really blamed him.


    Only clans have ceremonial customs for union between lovers and in Valgarel the only two tribes qualified for the “clan” status are the Red Rose Beaks tribe and Silverhorned tribe and neither shares those rituals of their counterparts in Ercas Mir. Want to demonstrate commitment? Show it in your affection – this is the way of the beasts in New Earth.


    “It’s fine, big brother Mes. I’m not mad”. Anet chuckled.


    “Compensate those vocals in your wedding gift”. Zax teased.


    “It’s a deal!” Mes promptly agreed. “See, Master, everything is fine. We can now move on to the subject of little brother Zax’s insane breakthrough”. Evidently he did not give up.


    Rarahel rolled her eyes and some shook their heads.


    “I, too, want to hear, Martial son”. Kartius said in a serious tone. “You mentioned an alternative path that to strode onto you ultimately chose to risk abandoning your past accumulations”.


    “And it was the smartest decision I’ve ever made on the Martial path. My entire being, three aspects and spirit had a qualitative transformation and I can now perceive the sixth bottleneck of insight”.


    “Sixth bottleneck?” Kartius was astonished. “Wait, don’t say anymore. This taboo subject can no longer be of help to some of us, and those who still struggle should reflect on their own”.


    In the Core Master Realm, each level has two bottlenecks of insights, overall six that are corresponding to the five senses and an element. The order in which they appear is random. This is why cultivators find it meaningless discussing them and even deterring to their personal efforts of perceiving and comprehending them. As for how those who have not perceived and comprehended all bottlenecks can know what they symbolize, well… it is not hard to assess. Those who gave on them do not mind to converse between themselves. With the first five bottlenecks appearing in no specific order, a group of Core Masters can easily list them. The only issue is the sixth bottleneck, which will keep eluding unless someone will comprehend the previous five and take a step beyond sensing it to perceiving.


    “Before, you claimed to equal at your best a Beginner fourth level Martial Mortal”. Raroen recapped. “But after your breakthrough you were capable of one hit killing an Overlord Deformed Being and with body strength alone withstand the blows of the strongest fifth level Martial Mortal, Horn Kikon. Maybe these realms are beyond our current achievement, but considering the information you disclosed with us, your rise in strength sounds inexplicable”.


    Raroen’s behavior was always genial toward the members of his Martial family, but he picked up couple of notions from Zax’s recitation that urged a degree of concern in his heart, which he hoped his youngest Martial brother could elucidate as he inwardly struggled to decipher on his own.


    Zax imagined that Raroen made similar connections in his perception to those he made in relation to him at the time of his closed door training. However, after he achieved the breakthrough, the previous realizations were further illuminated. It was a sort of new insight that was not harmful, yet produced sadness nonetheless…


    “I… was able to achieve elevation after discarding my old path because it is the only available way to perceive the sixth bottleneck of insight. If I hadn’t met the requirements of comprehending five bottlenecks and reaching a certain threshold in my understanding of the dark attribute, should I have attempted to exchange my attainments for the unknown, I would have definitely ruined my future as a Martial cultivator and even previous development”.


    “Then my choices…” Raroen turned glum.


    “You have nothing to feel sorry about, Martial son”, Grandmaster Kartion interfered. “As Martial nephew Zax said… misjudgment is total devastation of Martial cultivation, yet you still possess yours, while your soul and mist energy are already at the first Martial Mortal’s level”.


    With the assistant of Pure Cores, the Martial family had four of its members progressing swiftly to and through the Martial Mortal realm. These four were Kartius, Raroen, Simel, and Hagen. Among them, Kartius was the sole one to reach the second level.


    “My soul and mist, even my physique, grow stronger, but due to the path I brazenly elected back then my understanding of the attribute is lower than my younger Martial sister and brother”.


    “You let your sorrow plug your ears!” Grandmaster Kartion reproached.


    “You are referring to the ‘requirements’, Master”. Raroen showed that he listened. “That for my breakthrough, I mostly likely still have conditions to complete. But how long has it been since I encountered this bottleneck? Little brother Zax-”


    “Not even I compare myself to him!” Grandmaster Kartion scoffed.


    Everyone silently nodded. Although they seemed to diverge from the subject, it was for the sake of a family member. Therefore, everyone kept waiting as a Martial father and Martial son had their talk.


    “Maybe it’s time… for me to grant my children the liberty to leave”. Grandmaster Kartion’s next words stirred each and every one of his apprentices. “To seek your way in Ercas Mir”.


    “Master…!”


    “Martial father!”


    “Martial father, you mean on our own?!”


    “Without a time limit?!”


    Up until this very day, Grandmaster Kartion allowed his apprentices to venture to Ercas Mir only at the company of the strongest member of the family, Zax, and not farther than the periphery of Selivereb. Expect from Mes, neither wished to be babysit, especially by the pipsqueak of the family, regardless by how much his strength outgrew all of them.


    “With your youngest brother attaining the capital to stand at the summit of the world above, I’m sure new arrangements for the independence of New Earth’s inhabitants are pending”. Grandmaster Kartion guessed.


    “Actually…” Zax smiled and told them his demands from Horn Kikon to pass to the other four powers.


    “In this case, at the very least I don’t have to worry about anyone of you unjustly being chased by the five powers”. With that, Grandmaster Kartion gave his consent.


    “Then… Master, I-”


    “Don’t be rash, Raroen”, Laivien cut in. “Wait for little Zax to confirm the cooperation of the five power”.


    “When will you do it?” Hagen, in her favorite animalistic form enquired.


    “Within four days I’ll go to personally meet each of the five powers’ leaders”. Zax said with a confident smile that stunned everyone. “First, though, I’d like to make a trip to the Red Rose Beaks tribe. There is something over there that is long overdue for me to take”.

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    Book 10 – Immortal



    Chapter 5 – Meeting The King Of Beasts





    The Red Rose Beaks tribe was situated in Valgarel farthest than any other tribe from the border between the humans’ and beasts’ territories.


    It was the home of all crane type beasts and many other bird type beasts. Those who were assimilated through the years, after the establishment of the tribe, joined by succumbing to the influence and prestige of the ruler of all beasts in New Earth, who also happens to be a bird type beast.


    His Valor Ozeyn had all of Valgarel under his control, but the actual sphere of influence of the Red Rose Beaks tribe stretched across only several tens of caves. The caves were aligned like a sturdy chain, each of whom was abundant with mountain ranges and green ravines. They even had formations, similar to those in Kingdom Earth, creating a panoramic view of night and day.


    Cave Of Long Beaks, the core cave of Red Rose Beaks tribe.


    Nests by the thousands adorned each mountain from the base to the summit. A cacophony of flapping wings and bird cries rung in the air. Flocks of birds roamed the illusionary sky of the cave, only when they arrived to their destination, settled down and lowered their wings did they transform to either a humanoid or human form, depending on their ability. Such was the law in this cave, to fly as a beast, to land as a human. Those who had yet to achieve these results, trapped in their animalistic form, so long as they were members of this tribe, were bound to their nests, taken care of by their elders.


    A castle was erected on a flat ground, surrounded by humanlike structures of stone and steel with a minute technological design, yet no electricity, only glamorous formations charged by Sun Stones. There were streets, but no vehicles, only pedestrians.


    If one looked closely, inspected every man and woman, for there were no children, he or she would have discovered that every person was actually a beast in human form, actually speaking the tongue of Ercas Mir, Netherling, while donning garments of feathers and satin in a style very similar to the human villages above the ground.


    This settlement of a castle, surrounded by short and vast buildings, and beasts in human form, Shenghuo and Zhihui alike, was the Long Beak Palace, home of His Valor Ozeyn. In it were welcomed all bird type beasts that attained a complete human form, regardless of type and cultivation. There they could get guidance, cultivation materials and opportunities nowhere presentable anywhere else in New Earth. As for non bird type beasts, unless they were invited by someone of status within the tribe or were of particular type and cultivation level, they could only hear in envy, for even to watch they were not permitted.


    ‘Amazing!’ Zax spectated at the Long Beak Palace from above. ‘Horn Kikon treats Ozeyn and his tribe very kindly. I guess, as a Chaoyue that surmounted other Chaoyues he is worth the investment of roping him in’.


    The formations guarding the Long Beak Palace from being probed were easily bypassed by the new level of attainment of Zax’s Soul Sense. Even those that fourth level Martial Mortal could not see through without exploiting a bit of effort while eventually still get detected, did not react to Zax. Only one formation was a tad problematic, that of the castle.


    ‘There are no less than twenty three third realm experts, all Scarlet Cranes’. His Valor Ozeyn was the sole Demonic Scarlet Crane. ‘The highest being at the third level’. Zax was not that much surprised by the discovery.


    When he first learned about the third realm from his Master, he was told that altogether there were about ten Martial Mortals in New Earth. At the time it might have been true, but since then he was taught about the existence of Deformed Beings and Pure Cores and even shared such resources with his Martial family, which benefited greatly.


    ‘Well… that’s enough sightseeing. The third Black Core is my priority and I can sense its direction and that it’s close but not detect it with my Soul Sense’. Obviously it was within the parameter of the formation guarding the castle. He took a step and intruded the airspace of the castle.


    BANG!


    The sound of shattering glass resonated. The castle, which looked like a seven storeys pagoda with turrets at the four corners of the highest level, had another layer of protective formation that now broke. As this was the home of the king of beasts, Zax briefly wondered why it needed to be protected. Would there be any one stupid enough to break into this place? Apart from him, there were a handful of other cultivators stronger than His Valor Ozeyn.


    ‘The northern turret!’ The seventh storey of the pagoda and its four turrets appeared to be a place a selected few should have the right to enter.


    The northern turret had small windows. Its, and the other three turrets, entrance was at the seventh storey of the pagoda and to get there, one could either squeeze through its windows, climb from the first storey or hope the doors of the top terrace are not locked.


    ‘They are locked’. Zax sighed. ‘If built like this, to use force would be offending Ozeyn’. Although he was firmed with taking the Black Core, he preferred to give His Valor Ozeyn as much respect as he could afford for the backing he gave the Martial family. ‘Too late now…’ He sighed again.


    If he wanted to give His Valor Ozeyn face, he should not have broken the protective formation. Furthermore, the Red Rose Beaks tribe was in cahoots with the Violet Scaled Troops and now that Zax took New Earth as part of his domain, he intended to uproot the influence of the five powers, a process that inevitable will also undermine His Valor Ozeyn’s eminence in Valgarel.


    As he made up his mind, Zax noticed that the experts lying in the castle had begun to react to his burgling, yet they were too slow and by the time the strongest of them, the five at the third level of the Martial Mortal realm, traversed a centimeter, he already slammed through the northern turret.


    A human shape hole formed in the disintegrated wall. Inside was a nest of large pillows, coated by green fabric of glowing herbs that induced windy attribute fluctuation. Two men, a middle aged short red haired and a twenty looking short red haired, sat cross legged. The middle aged had his eyes open and was in a posture as if he was about to get up. The younger one was only quarter of the way of opening his eyes.


    Zax waited.


    “Who-”


    “Who?!” Before the middle aged man could finish, a figure of a man, a head shorter than Zax, with light brown skin glistening in red shine and slightly muscular physique, showed up outside the turret wearing a sleeveless scarlet coat and pants made from the exact same tiny feathers that were a waist long hair to his head.


    The powerful aura of a Peak fourth level Martial Mortal erupted from him, catching Zax’s interest. ‘His Valor Ozeyn!’ Their eyes met.


    “Let me introduce”, Zax replied with a smile. “I am Zax Zel, a human. My Master is Kartius the Black Stag”.


    “Kartius’s apprentice?” His Valor Ozeyn repeated in confusion. The fellow before him, whom he did not recognize, gave him the same impression as Horn Kikon when he turned to greet him. At that moment he thought that this perhaps is some other leader from the five powers he had yet to meet, but upon hearing his presentation he wondered if he heard correctly.


    “Yes. Maybe this will help prove my identity”. Zax exuded the power of his body and certain areas were highlighted in black light, plainly displaying the structure of the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique he cultivated, in addition to his attainment at the second stage.


    “This!” His Valor Ozeyn was shocked. Every now and then he would check with Grandmaster Kartion on the situation of the best bodily refinement technique, to date, and as far as he knew, the second stage of the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique was still incomplete.


    Regarding the setback Grandmaster Kartion assumed His Valor Ozeyn would have in cultivation the second realm of his bodily refinement technique, after realizing the proper formulation to the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique he wrote off this assessment.


    “Doesn’t matter!” A sudden shift in temperament emerged from His Valor Ozeyn as his bewilderment was put aside, replaced by undisputable majesty. “I am Ozeyn, ruler of Valgarel, invader-”


    “Hush now”. Zax pushed his left palm and a black imprint, two times his size, burst and smashed Ozeyn, stripping him from his Valor and sending him flying.


    At the instant of impact, apprehension filled Ozeyn. The momentum of the seemingly casual assault was unshakable. Nevertheless, he was the ruler of beasts in New Earth and a Youyue beast at that. His muscles bulged and his skin was set aflame. Gnashing, he clasped the giant, black hand imprint and squeezed.


    BANG!


    The imprint exploded and Ozeyn spun couple of meters before reaching to halt midair. A ferocious, blazing light with a hint of gold and silver shimmered in his pupils. He was incensed and was not afraid to let the opponent know, for even if he was a fifth level Martial Mortal, it would not necessarily be enough to kill him once in his animalistic form!


    “I had yet to experiment, but I don’t believe any other fourth level Martial Mortal could withstand this simple attack. Furthermore, you dispersed it in a human form and there isn’t even a trickle of blood. Youyue…”


    Before Ozeyn could catch his breath, Zax and the two men from the turret appeared in front of him.


    Feeling Ozeyn’s killing intent, Zax frowned. “I really don’t want to fight with my Martial family’s benefactor, so I only made a point. If, however, you insist… beware, I already declared to Horn Kikon and via him to the other leaders of the five powers, New Earth is Mine!” His voice was not loud, making it to Ozeyn and the two men’s ears and not farther, but the manner of the tone carried an irrefutable dominance. “All may stay as is, Kingdom Earth and Valgarel shall be unchanged, but for caging us with an imposed set of rules, I won’t permit the presence of the five powers in my home below the ground and the periphery of the pathway in Selivereb”.


    Ozeyn kept quiet until Zax finished saying his piece. Since he acknowledged himself as not an enemy, Ozeyn, too, decided to avoid battle. He was a Youyue type beast, but his ego was more manageable than Horn Kikon’s. Also, to fight an existence at the fifth Martial Mortal level he had to transform to his animalistic from, in which he was not yet capable to urge the gold and silver energies as Horn Kikon. Besides, Martial Mortal at his caliber would bring about certain devastation to their field of battle and this was his cramped territory.


    “Are you really Kartius’s apprentice?” His voice was deep and unyielding, but no longer battle driven.


    “I am. Go ahead and seek my Master. He will elaborate things for you”. Zax replied and turned to the two men. “Now you are aware that even your ruler cannot overpower me. Handover the Black Core!”

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    Book 10 – Immortal



    Chapter 6 – To Be The Heir





    The mentioning of the Black Core ensued in no reaction of any sort from the two men, other than the shock still plastered on their faces from Zax’s performance.


    Ozeyn, though, displayed confusion as he wondered what the all too powerful Zax wanted from the pair of tribe elder and his apprentice.


    “Pretending won’t work”. Zax warned, not caring about the story on how they got and what they know about the Black Core. What he wanted was to receive it and see if both they and Ozeyn could satisfy him with their word of not disclosing its existence to anyone.


    The threat worked and a shadow of reluctance passed across the changing mien of the pair. “Valor-” The elder turned to Ozeyn, but before the plea in his tone could merge with the first syllable, his throat contracted by an imposing pressure emanating from Zax.


    “Ozeyn”, Zax spoke clearly for both the ruler of beasts and the unwillingness of the pair to be sure to understand. “One of these two is in possession of an item in the shape of a black Earth’s Core. When I’ll leave here today, this Black Core would undeniably be in my hand. The question is… whether I can trust you to keep the knowledge of the Black Core between the three of us, or should I kill you all, just to be safe?”


    Quite certain about Zax’s level of power, Ozeyn pondered a little before quickly figuring whom on this planet are capable to challenge his authority. In addition, since Zax made the proclamation about basically owning New Earth and a portion of Ercas Mir, then… if not win, then he at least believed himself able to withstand the united wrath of those handful... In other words, even if he, Ozeyn, or anyone else from his tribe, will tattletale, no one would guarantee their livelihood.


    “You have my word as leader of the Red Rose Beaks tribe and a Youyue”. Ozeyn asserted and glanced on the pair. “Elder Naza, Baroet, give him what he wants and swear secrecy in the name of the tribe and your own names so he could go!” It was not a request and far from a typical instruction. The words Ozeyn uttered landed in Naza’s and Baroet’s ears like bombshells, wielded not by his superior cultivation, but the combined majesty of his type and beast and being a member of the same bird species.


    There was not room to argue, much less bargain. Naza flipped his hand and from within his spatial ring, which Zax noticed only the Martial Mortals in the tribe possessed, appeared a Black Core.


    The moment he laid his eyes on it, Zax felt a strong pulse of attraction from his dantian. His Qi that evolved to liquefied clogged mist as a child, later unclogged at a certain bodily breakthrough as an adult and yet ultimately was substituted by dark attribute energy, now surged in his channels brimming with desire, spawned from the Earth’s Core that absorbed the previous two Black Cores.


    Zax, emotionally, snatched the Black Core. So many thoughts flashed in his mind, but he momentarily put them all aside, to gaze at the reticent pair.


    “Swear!” Ozeyn barked. He did not waste time waiting for Zax to issue a hostile intent to motivate them. He had no patience for being played with. As for his interest in the odd Earth’s Core, he had never seen it and later would like to have a good discussion with his tribe elder about it.


    Naza’s facial features contracted, giving the impression that he is surrendering a piece of himself. It was not tough to imagine that even if he did not know what the Black Core exactly was, he still thought highly of its peculiarity. “I, Naza, third elder of the Red Rose Beaks tribe swear in my name and tribe that I won’t divulge today’s matters and the Black Core to anyone”.


    Baroet followed suit immediately after. “I, Baroet, successor and apprentice to third elder Naza and member of the Red Rose Beaks tribe, swear to never speak about today’s events or the Black Core to anyone”.


    Zax was contented. He had no doubts about the sincerity of the three, for he grew in Valgarel and knew the enormity of a tribe to a beast, especially for those that were valued in esteemed positions such as elder and successor. Unless they would be betrayed by the tribe, like Grandmaster Kartion was by the Black Horns tribe, they will never commit treason.


    He got what he desired and was sure that Ozeyn will not give up the confirmation trip to his Master; hence he had no further reasons to stay. His only words of solace to the pair before leaving were, “this was never yours”.





    ‘’Senior Gid, where are you? I need to meet you and Second Leader Yurnal!’ Zax transmitted via his communicator.


    As he finished his business at the Red Rose Beaks tribe, he asked Anet to stay a little while with the Martial family, explaining that he has to make a short visit to the Leaders of Sinister Chain.


    Currently, as he crossed the oceans and was within radius of communication… ‘Don’t worry. We have been waiting for you’. Gid Chu’s sounded solemn, as if he had predictions of what will transpire upon Zax’s arrival.


    As he got above the undersea cave in the Seer Don Ocean, Zax plunged into the water and recognized an opening in the concealing formations the sheltered all inhabitants of the cave from the chain’s enemies.


    ‘Leader, Second Leader, let’s meet outside the residential area’. Zax requested. He landed in a remote meadow like field with a herd of Deformed Beings as cattle, leisurely grazing and napping. His presence did not rattle them, as they were used to the company of beasts and humans.


    Seven figures streaked beneath the ceiling of the undersea cave as the welcoming party; Gid Chu, Yurnal and five more members of the chain – of which Zax was mildly familiar with only two, the duel pistols Duthur and formation expert Lenrah.


    “Zax, you…” Gid Chu stared at him, conflicted. He and every member of the chain heard his deafening announcement to the world, while Huland attested for the truth.


    Yurnal stood a step behind Gid Chu with the rest. No expression that told of his thoughts was visible on him.


    Lenrah, Duthur, the humanoid green shelled furry limbs beast, a long black haired middle aged woman and another beast in human form with horizontal pupils, as diverse and domineering group as they were they scrutinized Zax with a mixture of emotions from apprehension to admiration.


    “Leave”. Zax ordered the five. He was a tad irritated that Gid Chu and Yurnal brought them. Although he was not explicit in as asking for privacy, he told Gid Chu that he want to meet him and Yurnal, not mentioning others.


    Some of the five were not satisfied with being dismissed, but they were clever enough to hold their tongues and turn to Gid Chu and Yurnal.


    “Leave”. Still, without a hint of sentiment, Yurnal spoke. For him to abide Zax took the five by surprise. It was him who led four out of them and one followed Gid Chu.


    “Later there will be an assembly of the chain’s members. There we will discuss everything”. Gid Chu decided on the spot.


    Though some were reluctant, the five left tacitly.


    “You wanted us to meet alon-” Before Yurnal could finish, a black blur flashed before his eyes.


    Zax hand stretched forward, presenting the Black Core he took from Naza. “An elder of the Red Rose Beaks tribe had it up until half an hour ago. Now I have it and both him, a little fellow and Ozeyn swore to keep quiet about it”. He picked his words carefully, to underline the meaning behind them.


    If the appearance of the Black Core did not stun Gid Chu and Yurnal, then having heard that Zax actually got “His Valor Ozeyn” to submit definitely did.


    “A second one!” Yurnal shuddered, at last opening up, yet fast descending to deep contemplation.


    “There are four and this is the third to enter my possession”. Zax clarified, breaking his concentration, yet reaching to a halt mid speech as a sudden notion surfaced in his head…


    “These Black Cores… What are they truly, Zax?” Gid Chu asked with a frown.


    “Forgive me, senior Gid, but it is of no reason for you to know”. Zax replied without sparing a glance. “I imagine you are aware of the perquisites? Have you confessed it to senior Gid as the catalyst that inspired you to develop Infinite Transformations Altering Body?” He continued to ask Yurnal, only to be met with silence. “Give me the last Black Core. Without the other three it’d be useless to you and Yimin”.


    Yurnal clenched his fists. “Will you take it by force and intimidate me to comply to vows and pledges like you did His Valor Ozeyn, now that you miraculously achieved the Peak of the Martial cultivation on this Earth?!“


    “I’ve been entwined with the Black Cores for the better and longer part of my life. From the very first to the ultimate goal of gathering them all, my life was reshaped onto a path I cannot sidetrack, nor wants to”. Zax shook his head; sneering at whatever defiance Yurnal will insist to put on.


    He preferred to avoid the use of force, as was suggested in retort. Here was not his chosen domain, so he had no need to go as far as imposing. Moreover, Sinister Chain was his ally. Therefore, he let certain words and mannerism slide, but not actions!


    Baleful fluctuations were exuded from Yurnal’s body as his mist energy surged, aura was about to erupt and entire physique change to his animalistic form.


    BANG!


    Zax pressed down and an invisible pressure flattened Yurnal on the ground, confining his every movement of body and mist.


    “Zax!” Gid Chu snapped, jumping between him and Yurnal, he was cautiously composed to not use any form of opposition that might be interpreted as violent. “This behavior… are you still our kin?!” He supported Yurnal back to his feet as Zax withdrew the pressure.


    “You don’t understand”, Zax growled. “The fact that you dare throw this question at me, proves that Yurnal hasn’t told you everything, and the fewer the people knowing the better, right, Second Leader?”


    Considering his level of cultivation and conduct when the Black Core is concerned, Zax was convinced that Yurnal already accepted the messages left by the expert, former owner of Legacy Of The One’s Path, to his potential heir. How he managed to eject it or how many unknown variables there are to his experience with the Black Core still eluded him.


    “Gid Chu, depart”. Yurnal demanded.


    “To leave you alo-”


    “We will not fight!”


    “…Fine. Keep this secret between the two of you. Zax, I hope that your breakthrough is a blessing for our kin”. Gid Chu sighed. He once guarded Zax from a confrontation with Yurnal and today the tables have turned, while his guard remained up. “Our enemy remains the same”. He made sure they remembered and left.


    “Well…?” Zax asked after seeing Gid Chu’s silhouette vanish.


    “Legacy Of The One’s Path…” Yurnal muttered. “The unparalleled mist refinement technique”. His inner struggles grew apparent on his face and body language, but slowly they subsided and calm, which no one, perhaps not even his dear wife, Savir, had witnessed on his mien, had appeared. “It can be yours…”

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    Book 10 – Immortal



    Chapter 7 – Committed To His Word, Again!





    “I thought that my son could be the heir, I’ve given up my chance the day he was born. Not long after, however, you appeared. And when I heard that you tried to steal the Black Core, I had a bad premonition…” Yurnal narrated in an aggravated tone.


    He raised his gaze and glared at Zax as if he hoped that mere eyesight could take a life. He may have agreed to hand over the Black Core, but was it going to be an easy exchange?


    “You won’t get it for free. Even without the other three Black Cores, the assimilation of a Black Core’s dark attribute to the soul outstrips the assimilation by a regular attribute’s essence. Further than that I did not have the opportunity to explore, the moment I could I had a change in mind corresponding to Savir’s pregnancy and chose to remove the Black Core from my dantian. But if it’s Yimin and he is guided properly from the beginning… who knows, perhaps he will match your absurd growth?”


    “Yimin… I’m not a father, but I can understand your initiative to weigh all your efforts on him, for the betterment of his future path. However, I won’t hope too much on the Black Core as an aid to his cultivation. Let us assume that it has some long lasting supplementary effect, I absorbed two Black Cores and at most my bodily refinement technique underwent couple of minor changes”.


    Zax purposely downplayed the influence of the Black Core. It was preferable not to praise it, but with Yurnal’s knowledge it was impossible to completely deny. Maybe even the primary stages of his Infinite Transformations Altering Body were improved, at the time he had the Black Core in his dantian…?


    “Moreover, even before I absorbed the first Black Core, my soul was and is unique to others. You heard the messages from the expert, so I don’t need to elucidate on how or why. Also, I imagine that your soul isn’t that different, unless of course someone else found the Black Core?”


    As a child, during the Great Earth’s Core Pursuit, Zax was the sole person to be attracted – after a series of events and with less than half consciousness – to the Essence Cave where the Black Cores were imbedded to a giant rock. Back then, only two Black Cores remained on the rock that was hard to determine if it was just a boulder or a base of a mountain. While Zax got one, his Master, Kartius, took the other. What neither of the two knows is that Kartius would never have discovered the Essence Cave, if it did not open itself for Zax to begin with! Therefore, it also could have been that if Yurnal’s soul was not drown to the Essence Cave, then someone else was, and ultimately ended up losing his or her Black Core to its current owner, Yurnal.


    “It takes a special soul to be qualified to receive the Black Core, but not to possess it”. Yurnal admitted. “You would have figured it out yourself if we kept talking”.


    ‘So it was someone else…’ Zax was not surprised, nor cared about what unfolded for Yurnal to obtain the Black Core. “Let’s stop beating around the bush. For Yimin’s soul to meet the criteria is very unlikely-”


    “This cannot be determined before letting him absorb the Black Core!” Yurnal grunted.


    “Is Savir someone from New Earth, or have you met her in Ercas Mir?”


    “How is that-” Yurnal swallowed the question before it could fully come out. He knew why Zax asked and that with the truth he is bound to fall for the trap.


    “The expert’s clone modified Earth’s Core to aroused mutations in the residences of New Earth, to improve the successive gene. How old are you? A century old? Two centuries? Three? How much augmentation your generation experienced? Add this to procreation with someone from Ercas Mir and calculate for me Yimin’s potential growth with the aid of the Black Core?”


    Yurnal was incensed. Zax practically called his son and wife genetically inferior. Even if he did not intend to say so as an insult, it was too inconsiderate to be taken silently. “Right, right, Savir isn’t like me and you and to Yimin the Black Core will eventually raise an insurmountable threshold, but when he will get there, he could always use the same method I used to eject the Black Core and replaced it by a regular Earth’s Core or a Pure Core”.


    “So, then, back to stop beating around the bush, if it is an aid, for what sort of an alternative aid are you willing to exchange the Black Core?”


    “Something to propel my son’s Martial path that could equal the Black Core?” Yurnal snorted and leered. “A Pure Core would be fine… the Four Wings Stork’s Pure Core, that is”.


    For a brief instant, Zax’s reserved intent basted out with severe desire to slaughter. He hastily withdrew it, but it was already too later. As short as the moment was, all of Yurnal’s body hair was erected in trepidation and he distanced himself with no hint of reaching to a halt before fleeing beyond sight.


    The all powerful, unyielding Second Leader of the chain could not be blamed for trying to escape. To begin with, there was bad water between him and Zax, and now when they were haggling the tension they pretended as meager was actually very close to being tangible.


    Before ten a hundred meters were traversed, Zax sprang from his still state and overtook Yurnal. “Is it only the Four Wings Stork, or any Overlord will do?” He asked in a controlled manner.


    Ready to transform to his animalistic form when Zax intersected him, Yurnal stopped the vibrations in his body and replied in alarm to the question. “Any Overlord!” He did not feel like dragging it anymore. If Zax followed through with his intent, than it would have been his fault if Savir will become a widow and Yimin an orphan.


    “Then it’s decided. Handover the Black Core; after I’ll absorb it and the one I showed you, I’ll settle my score with the eel and will give you its Pure Core”.


    “First, bring the Pure Core!” Yurnal insisted. He knew from his apprentice, Huland, that Zax killed the Four Wings Stork, but killing one Overlord does not mean that he could kill another. “That’s my bottom line!” He fumed.


    Zax was angry, but kept his mien passive. Although he held Ozeyn in higher regard than Yurnal, the latter had stronger ties with him, even if they were not affable toward one another. “Open the formation of the cave! When I’ll get back, the Black Core will better be ready for my taking!” It was a warning, and one that he planned to keep.


    With black light suffusing underneath his skin, Zax turned to a blur and hurtled up. Barely keeping up with his silhouette, Yurnal transmitted a quick message, following which a small exit emerged for Zax and he departed for the Earthly Crater.





    He was not delusional. He knew that the outcome of his fight with the Four Wings Stork was due to the enemy carelessness. If he could utilize the same strategy against the Horned Eel, then that would be perfect, but was that plausible? An Overlord just died, so it is only reasonable that the remaining will have their guard up for a certain period, especially the Horned Eel! It was the closest of all Overlords to the Four Wings Stork’s nest.


    ‘If it will see me and be able to sense the tiniest fluctuation of threat, it will definitely deduce that it was I who killed the Four Wings Stork’.


    Three scales Deformed Beings were extremely intelligent and the few that grew to the level of Overlord were not below humans. They could easily recall distant memories, such as an irrelevant encounter with a human during a bout with another Overlord, at the human’s petty swears of revenge…


    “I won’t be able to catch up to with if it will escape. I’ll have to make it stay. Hopefully it will work…”





    It was peaceful with the silence of desolation in the Earthly Crater. Six of the seven rings had no living being inside of them. Several days ago the ruler of the crater, the Horned Eel, went on a rampage, scaring away all the cultivators and even its progenies. Afterwards, it coiled in the first ring and has not moved since then.


    BOOM!


    A striking black glow burst into the crater in an uncanny speed and crossed from the seventh to the first ring like a shooting star in sea.


    The seemingly inactive Horned Eel jittered. Portion of the water in a radius of a hundred meters around it constantly solidified to ice that cracked and shattered and resumed liquidation under the pressure of the crater’s gravitational force.


    The eyes of the Overlord opened with a gleam of venomous anticipation. “ROAR!” Seeing that his semi icy domain failed to hinder the black glow’s rapidness, it unlocked its jaw and a blue beam discharged.


    The size and intensity of the beam eclipsed the black glow’s and it even managed to carry the weight of the gravitational force! Nonetheless, at the moment of impact, sharp rays of black light split from the black glow, as if the might it exuded was too volatile to contain.


    Grinding sounds reverberated in the water. The black glow penetrated the blue beam as its speed finally slowed, yet its advancement has not ceased.


    Gauging the power of the black glow from its clash with the blue beam, the Horned Eel assumed a notion of the risk factor and was ready to mobilize its three kilometers elongated body. Its tail twirled, its bony scales emitted freezing vapor and it lashed.


    BANG!


    The Horned Eel’s tail bounced back and dark blue scales splattered, exposing the white meat under.


    The dark glow, too, was pushed back and dimmed, revealing the outline of a human figure before baring its features.


    Zax wiped his mouth. Black blood spilled from his lips, as well from the ghastly gash on the left side of his face. He sneered and waved his hand, passing the blood to the currents, while his face was healing and in breaths time immaculate.


    In comparison, the Horned snarled in pain. The broken scales of Deformed Beings, even Overlord, required a passage of time to recover and for this Overlord’s tail, only a thin layer of protective membrane had managed to form.


    “Yes, I killed the flaming bird and now I came for you, to return the favor of that day!” Zax proclaimed. “Now the question is… whether you’ll cower in the crater, or fly along me above the clouds, where we both can engage with no restraints?!”

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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 8 – Final Act Of Despair



    The Horned Eel was reluctant to answer Zax. It was not afraid of him, but as someone who killed an Overlord, it preferred to avoid battle, if possible.

    Zax loftily gazed down at the Horned Eel. He gestured with his hand and a black beam of dark attribute energy shot. It struck the ground next to the Horned Eel, missing it by a meter. Another beam was shot, landing closer, while the third hit the target, and so were the fourth and fifth and sixth and so on…

    A barrage of black beams hit the Horned Eel, doing close to none damage against its sturdy scales, resulting only in annoying and discomforting shockwaves.

    Posing an unperturbed demeanor, the Horned Eel tolerated the negligible assault to the best of its patience, but when he caught a glimpse of Zax’s figure slowly deceasing past the third and second rings of the crater, toward its sacred first ring, it finally lashed out a response.

    “ROAR!” It bellowed in retaliation. Its single horn sparkled in blue hues that spread across its long body, magically illuminating the darkness of its dark blue scales, like the reflection of a calm sea under starry sky.

    Zax halted and ceased the barrage. His haughtiness transformed to seriousness as he felt a threat when he scrutinized the Overlord in its new glittering appearance.

    The Horned Eel proved in the past to be faster in the oceans than the Four Wings Stork was in the sky, but that was something Zax witnessed during one of their trivial skirmishes, while he was more concentrated on escaping. If, in full strength, the Overlord of the sea still held the advantage, then this is going to be a fight he will have to exhaust his all in order to win.

    As for dark element energy, it was Zax’s trump card and could not be counted in his strategy, since against an enemy of the same caliber it is extremely difficult to control the course of the battle and trump cards – when not treated as last resort – can only be exploited in opportunistic moments.

    An azure streak charged out of the Earthly Crater and up. The Horned Eel took the initiative to lead the way out of the sea, to the firmament, the battlefield. It was certain of its survival whether by means of winning the fight or escaping, so naturally it consented to the unspoken agreement between all experts with the power to reshape the planet, to exchange blows in as high altitude as possible.

    Zax followed and did not fall behind in sea or sky, until both arrived to the mesosphere.

    BOOM!

    With no proper declaration, the battle started!

    The Horned Eel swept the horizon with its shining tail. It had not recovered its scales from the previous exchange, but layers of sparkling black ice formed around its body and burst to glitter after every attack.

    Zax’s punches and kicks slammed the fleeting small mountains of ice and each time they made contact he failed to break through them, even when he tried to delivered soul attacks. Furthermore, the glittering fragments that touched his body infused cold air to his innards.

    ‘It’s almost unfair. If their growth was not limited, Deformed Beings would have been just too frightening! Like the Four Wings Stork, each of the Horned Eel’s attack possesses immense might. For humans and beasts to execute such attacks require the mastering of top grade techniques or, alternatively, contemplate for many, many, many years to invent one on our own. Yet, for Deformed Beings those abilities are all innate! No wonder they are labeled as Nature’s most beloveds’. Zax sighed inwardly.

    To get rid from the frost efficiently, he stimulated his dark attribute energy to draw a formation on his internals that roused the Devouring nature of the dark attribute. Now, unless the Horned Eel’s icy glitter will exceed Zax’s internal defense, after seeping through the external, he has nothing to worry about.

    The two were not exactly evenly matched, but the differences were too small to matter. Zax’s defense and attack surpassed the Overlord’s and they also were equal in speed, but the latter could better maneuver, despite its huge physique, and its attack were more intricate to bypass.

    The pair had traded thousands of blows and the most notable damage was the dent and cracked scales on the Horned Eel.

    ‘Dammit!’ Zax cursed in frustration. ‘Whenever I afford too much attention on the fight, the Godly Retribution flares and the protective formation takes longer to reconstruct!’ He wanted to erect formations that will amplify the worldly dark attribute energy on the area and reduce all other worldly attribute energies, but to do so while confronting the Horned Eel was too taxing of a task.

    BANG!

    BANG!

    Another clash of Zax’s base attack versus the Horned Eel’s inborn techniques, which were the equivalent of top grade Martial techniques executable by fifth level Martial Mortal.

    A white light flashed before Zax eyes and before he could properly perceive the spectacle, the Horned Eel’s horn grew several sizes to a length of over hundred meters and it rammed its head forward.

    His eyes were slow, but his mind was quick and his battle experience not shallow as he allowed it to be in the past. Zax foresaw the situation deteriorating, should he let the thin horn to impale him. Even if his healing factor was not partially suppressed by the oppression of the Godlily Retribution, he would not have dared to take the injury.

    ‘Move! Move!’ He urged his body to spin, but by the time he just began to commence the rotation the tip of the horn reached centimeters from the center of his chest. ‘Not good! I have to…’

    BANG!

    A small explosion occurred at the left side of his abdomen, propelling him half a step aside before the tip of the horn reached him. The Horned Eel missed its target and noticed the minuscule explosion, but was already in a state of intemperate motion that could not be diverted before completion.

    Zax caught a glimpse of his reflection on the flat side of the horn, and then he sensed the piercing glare of the Horned Eel while its scaly head was on a collision course with him.

    “AH!” The most Zax could achieve was lifting his right arm in defense. If it was a regular butt, he would have countered with a punch, but since the entire body of the Overlord was augmented, second to its horn, by this peculiar attack, he chose to drawback.

    BOOM!

    For an instant Zax felt like a regular child hit by a truck, following which he woke up to the sound of a series of cracks that reverberated from his skeleton while his body was streaking like a meteor for tens of kilometers.

    ‘Luckily…’ The first word that came to mind caused him relief and think back to the last attack of the Four Wings Stork that the only reason he managed to intercept was because of an experimental use of his dark element energy. ‘That attack and the Horned Eel’s are probably the same, their ultimate techniques…’ He inferred and again felt glad, despite the broken bones and losing altitude rapidly. ‘The horn, like the beak, was where the entire capacity of attribute energy was amassed’. In other words, the butt had only the augmented force of the Horned Eel’s body, so by withstanding the brunt of it Zax could be already considered out of danger, since there was not invasive energy, and could more easily heal.

    Dark, black aura materialized around him. Zax stabilized, stopped plummeting and dashed back up with only one bit of pain that was slightly hard to bear.

    He bled black blood from the side of his waist, the result of the small explosion that helped him escape probable defeat by the Overlord’s horn. ‘I could only react fast enough with the dark element energy, but even though I used as little of it as I could, it still nearly tore my torso apart’. He wanted to, but in the midst of a battle he avoided clucking his tongue. ‘From this injury I won’t recover anytime soon’.

    The Horned Eel did not follow after accomplishing its attack, not even with its line of sight.

    ‘Its scale resumed some of their blue dark shade’. Zax recognized and not only that... The Overlord panted and its horn was shrinking.

    “ROAR!” It sensed the fluctuation of dark attribute energy and knew is opponent back.

    WHOOSH!

    WHOOSH!

    Neither wasted a second and the battle continued.

    One was worn out while the other was injured.

    At the speed they were going, Zax could not wait for the broken bones, ripped tendons and muscles in the right side of his body to heal, so just his left arm and leg were suitable to attack with.

    The Horned Eel could no longer smoothly muster the manifestation of black icy mountains in its attacks and gradually failed to keep up with Zax’s pace, resulting in more attacks landing on its body, increasingly damaging it.

    BANG!

    At last, a punch penetrated a bony scale and sent tremors inside the Horned Eel’s flesh. Zax pulled his arm out and retreated from the flux of white and blue blood. A layer of ice closed the wound almost instantly, but the pain was agonizing. Unlike the Overlord, Zax entire being was of dark attribute and each of his attacks contained the energy. The residues left inside the Horned Eel’s body caused its internals to twist as their vitality was being swallowed.

    The scales of the Horned Eel lost all their shine and sparkle as it used its spare energy to treats its insides.

    WHOOSH!

    It plunged in an attempt to escape.

    “Coward!” Zax hollered, but the Overlord did not care.

    Below the mesosphere it knew Zax will not act excessively, for the sake of the planet, and at most just humiliate it. Hence, it had no qualms for heading back to its underwater abode, the Earthly Crater.

    ‘This is bad!’ Zax frowned. ‘At this rate it will bury in the first ring of the crater and a killing blow at this location will be to devastating to the environment! I have to kill it now, while its back is to me!’

    He waited for an opening, a window to channel his strongest tool, dark element energy. He found it in the Horned Eel’s horn attack, which resembled the conditions of the Four Wings Stork’s beak attack. Sadly, he was too close while the horn attack was too fast and so could not exploit it. Now he found another window, but it had a very short time span!

    BANG!

    With his heel up and his head down, Zax kicked with dark element energy to boost. In a blink of an eye the gap between him and the Horned Eel was covered, but they were already back in the Troposphere and the space between the surface of the ocean and the Overlord was shorter than the Deformed Being’s length.

    ‘Not a punch, a needle!’ Zax doubted that even with the assistant of dark element energy, he will manage to break the Horned Eel from its tail to its head. He could not decide the fashion in which the dark element energy will charge out, only the quantity of it and the gesture of his body.

    He straightened his arm and pointed with his index finger. Dark attribute energy coalesced, forming a seven centimeter long black line.

    ‘If my mist energy was properly cultivated…’ Zax lamented.

    BOOM!

    His index finger snapped as dark element energy burst and immediately was inserted to the black line, which then zipped down.

    The Horned Eel felt a sting in its tail and thought it was that long range attack Zax used to taunt him at the beginning, but when the pain kept progressing throughout its body, ruining everything in it wake, instead of subside, it realized that the trifling sting spelled its demise.

    BANG!

    It huge body slammed against the waves.

    “ROAR!”

    “ROAR!”

    “ROAR!”

    The Horned Eel madly squirmed, exuding all of its strength. The speed of the foreign energy inside of it lessened but have not diminished in power or seemed close to a stop and it was already past the midsection of its body.

    “ROAR!”

    The more desperate it became, the lesser he cared about what will happen to the planet should it keep going nuts.

    Zax was above the Overlord, creating a mantle to block the spread of its tempestuous icy attribute energy, but he could only hinder up to roughly eighty percent of it.

    The remaining twenty percent or so provoked the weather, incited snow storms and tsunamic waves of ice.

    Unwilling and resentful, the Horned Eel sought the end of everything to accompany it once its death was indisputable.

    In a last feat of rage, before the needle penetrate its skull, it shot its horn like a flying sword to the depths, the Earthly Crater and the core at its center that even the vanquished Overlord never reached.

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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 9 – Template



    Thanks to his recent breakthrough, Zax’s Soul Sense had attained the qualities of Sublime Soul Sense, which only experts whose souls broke through the third realm possessed. With its aid, he followed the trajectory of the shooting horn up until it entered the Earthly Crater and his Soul Sense rebounded.

    His pupils shrank. Before he had the chance to formulate the first thought, to depict the abrupt anxiety in his guts, a tremor originated from the crater. It was not world shaking, but the instant it passed, the gravitational force, which is known for drawing the worldly earthly attribute energy and plunging to the sea those who attempt to traverse by air the range of the spontaneous wall of whirlpools, changed its pull.

    A repelling force erupted from the depths, an invisible pillar that thrust from the center of the crater upwards, past any obstacle between it and the last sphere of the planet. The fluctuations it exuded were exceedingly tyrannical, as they spread they pushed away not just substance such as the seawater and its rocky floor down below, but also all types of attribute energy and if Zax was an Immortal, then he also would have sensed the repellent of elemental energies.

    BANG!

    A ripple slammed into Zax as the range of the fluctuation continued to expand and his exhausted figure rocketed uncontrollably for several kilometers, like a fly getting hit by a human’s hand.

    With an involuntary groan Zax was absorbed by the high tidal waves. The impact with the water was violent, capable of inducing pain even to first level Martial Mortal. After the battle with the Horned Eel, Zax was extremely weakened, but still more able than a fourth level Martial Mortal.

    His attention was divided to two things as he circulated his dark attribute energy along with the worldly he drew from the surrounding, to accelerate his recovery.

    ‘It’s getting farther away!’ The Horned Eel’s carcass was carried by the currents after sinking and at this rate there was the risk of him losing it. Aiming his palm at its general direction, a whip of dark attribute energy extended from Zax’s hand, wrapped around the carcass and latched to it with its Swallowing property.

    ‘Mm? The oddity in the crater is subsiding…’ The other thing he paid attention to, the Earthly Crater, gave him the impression of a monstrous beast awakening for its slumber after being interrupted by the Horned Eel’s last attack. As the fluctuations grew fiercer and the invisible pillar sprouted higher, he only expected it to get worse. ‘No gravitational force or whirlpools…!’ His heart skipped a beat.

    The area was regaining a calm never been seen before. For a period of time that was impossible to determine, it was actually absolutely safe to cross the whirlpools ridden Gentic Belt!

    However, this was only a small part of Zax’s surprise. Assuming, that like everything, the focal point of the calm inaugurated from the Earthly Crater, then it was possible that all obstacles lurking in the crater – mainly those known such as the gravitational force, soul attacks and enchantment – have ceased as well.

    Without hesitation or a moment of delay, Zax sprung for the Earthly Crater. This prompt action was not due to rashness or a sign of recklessness, in fact, he thought and remained thinking about the risk factors as he approached his destination.

    ‘The leaders of the powers will surely come, and maybe are already on their way since the conclusion of my fight with the Horned Eel was inevitable. If the secret of the crater is related to that expert, the treasure the five powers try to unearth, than I can’t let this chance slip!’ He weighted the pros and cons. ‘However, I’ve got to hurry! Should they arrive together or even just Kikon or Beking, as I’m right now I’d be at their mercy’.

    Seawater gathered from around, after being repelled by the invisible pillar that vanished when it topped at outer space, and swirled back to fill the void with a crushing might that could flatten any living being below the Peak of the Core Master realm. Nevertheless, to Zax the water appeared to stand still…

    He dashed from the seventh ring all the way to the first, cautious of unforeseen abnormalities. Nothing occurred, which gave him the confidence to head for the center of the crater after only a fleeting instant of deliberation.

    A hole with a circumference of three hundred meter was located past the first ring as the entrance to the crater’s core. A rancid smell came out of it, like that of acute decay. Zax ignored the smell. He scavenged the deceased Overlord’s Pure Core, left the carcass that was too big for his spatial ring outside, and delved in; attempting to gouge the depth and whet is at the bottom, but to no avail.

    ‘This is not just blackness’. He assessed. ‘For the moment, Soul Sense seems to function in the crater, but not at the perimeter of this hole. Weirder is the scent… first it was horrible, but before I fully disregarded it, it became tolerable and as time trickle… pleasant’. He raised his vigilance, aware that his fondness of smells could not turn perverse unless something external was the cause. ‘Formation?’ He did not reject the idea, despite being unable to detect anything of the sort.

    ‘Ground’. After descending for less than a minute he found his footing, but in the process he lost his sense of orientation and so could not calculate the hole’s depth.

    ‘How nice’. A comfortable sensation sprouted from within him. ‘All senses, including Soul Sense, are muffled here; yet, instead of arousing concern it feels wonderful… I dare say it’s like returning to the womb!’ Without him noticing he became muddleheaded with coziness.

    A wrinkle he was oblivious to, made his brows crease. In his sea of consciousness, the relieving sensation even reduced the oppressiveness of the Godlily Retribution. His spirit, in its stance toward the sixth bottleneck of insight, shuddered. It grazed its left foot on the earth of the Inner Panorama and marched forward a pace; shortening the distances of twenty nine steps to its goal by one.

    White light bloomed above the sky of the Inner Panorama and suddenly Zax had a splitting headache. The bane of the Godlily Retribution relapsed, countless times – by Zax’s measurement – more domineering than before. Its oppressiveness and the sensation that permeated from the hole in the crater clashed and over ninety percent of the white light dimmed while the sensation was expelled.

    As the two incomprehensible powers withdrew, Zax’s sea of consciousness regained its calm. Although he was still holding off, with great difficulty, the Godlily Retribution from the sixth bottleneck, at the very least he also regained his lucidness in the hole.

    Around and below remained black, but looking up there was a dot of light, the entrance to the hole.

    ‘For some reason the influence of this place was canceled by the Godlily Retribution…’ Zax could not guess the reason, so he put it aside and searched for what is so special in the Earthly Crater’s core and what exactly here was triggered by the Horned Eel’s attack.

    ‘It’s just earth’. He frowned after feeling with his hands. Inside the hole, he could only rely on his sense of touch. ‘The horn of the Horned Eel landed in the third ring. It was its strongest attack, yet not much damage was done beyond a partial area in the third ring. Something must have blocked it’. He reminisced the metaphor of the dormant beast. ‘Is it not here anymore? Was the bewitching good sensation residues of its departure?’ He tapped the ground. ‘This depth should already be in New Earth’s domain. Maybe…’

    An enthralling idea popped to mind and Zaz started digging enthusiastically.

    ‘It’s has been thousands of years, yet only one passageway from New Earth to Ercas Mir was ever discovered’.

    The network of tunnels and caves that makes New Earth was the product of the Black Cores’ previous owner. Not even fifth level Martial Mortals would not have easy time breaking in and only small substances can hope to leak through the cracks.

    Zax carefully utilized dark attribute energy to dig the ground and walls of the hole, waiting for a layer of earth to crumble and reveal, hopefully, new space that no one had ever explored before. In the process he wondered why he had not encountered yet Sun Stones or Earth Cores.

    Everything sounded like it being a long a tedious procedure, but to cultivators a second on the clock could stretch for minutes and for true experts, hours.

    CRACK!

    A stone fractured and Zax abruptly stopped. It was the first that he excavated something other than soil.

    It was buried southeast of him in the hole’s wall.

    TING!

    The stream of dark attribute energy he used to dig in another eastern position of him in the wall it something hard.

    TING!

    TING!

    TING!



    A sequence of ringing sounds reverberated through all streams of dark attribute energy that bore into the walls and ground of the hole.

    ‘Eighty one rocks the size of a watermelon, nine of which crumbled to dust when I made contact with them, twenty seven exude soft fluctuations and forty five fending my attribute energy while drawing the worldly dark and earthly attribute energy’. Zax noted. ‘It’s not leading to New Earth. This is somewhere in the gaps of the underground network. The eighty one rocks formed the formation of the Earthly Crater whereas the nine that crumbled and twenty seven with weak fluctuations were those that suffered the brunt of the Horned Eel’s attack’.

    Gradually, even if his analysis was incorrect, something valid was still taking shape in his mind.

    ‘Say that something was here and now it’s gone. The eighty one rocks might have been the sealing formation and the Earthly Crater was a derivative of the worldly attribute energy lure that meant to sustain the seal’.

    Zax sighed. ‘Finding the treasure trove but not the treasure sure is vexatious’. He flew out of the hole. ‘From now on the crater will possess seventy to eighty of its earlier effect’. A fleeting thought crossed his mind. ‘I could destroy the formation completely make it so the Gentic Belt will cease to exist permanently’. He let it be just a thought. ‘I know too little about the formation and what might have been in here’. Uninterested in learning the repercussion of senseless destruction he left; not forgetting the Overlord’s carcass.



    “Why did you summon me, elder sister Beking?” The young maiden looking, Admiral Hamumni, flew next to the stern looking woman, General Beking. “The apparition emerged from the Earthly Crater. The undulations reached farther than the fluctuations from His battle with the Overlord”. The "His" she mentioned rolled out of her tongue, leaving a bad taste.

    "Forget about him". General Becking instructed. "He indeed managed to surprise me for defeating yet another Overlord, but by doing so he warranted the detestation of the other Overlords, which will make him less trouble for us". Her tone sounded positive, but no hint of pleasure of satisfaction was visible on her strict mien. "As for why we are not going to the Earthly Crater? My subordinates in Down Ocean met a phenomenon that corresponded to the time of the apparition".

    "A clue or an actual lead?!" Admiral Hamumni exclaimed.

    "We'll know after getting there. If it was a reaction to the apparition, then the same can also happen in the other excavation locations, but if my subordinates are the only ones to encounter a phenomenon, by heading there instead of the crater, this can be considered for us as a great a risk that will arouse the others' suspicion".

    "So we must-"

    "Be quick in getting there and if there really is something directly connected to our purpose here, we'll have to use Sheldon's Galactic Communicator to inform the General of the Armies so his prestige will discourage the others from trying to annex our spot".

    Admiral Hamumni clenched her little fists. "They should not dream of snatching what's already in our hands!" Knowing what they, the five powers, are here for and that her Blue Sea and Golden Desert Fort have gotten closer to obtaining it, she was filled with venomous abhorrence toward those in her and General Beking's way. "The Godly Law Template shall belong to the General of the Armies!"

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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 10 – Satisfactory Potential Heir



    “Elder sister Beking, per the agreement with the General of the Armies, for our service, you and I will receive a year, each, to study the Godly Law Template. The fourth level Martial Mortals beneath us will get a month and third level Martial Mortals, only those who arrived with us to this planet, depends on the understanding of their attribute, will have to make a collective choice of either studying the Godly Law Template together for a week or separately for a day”. Admiral Hamumni recapped.

    “Yes, what about it? Mentioning this before finding the Godly Law Template is irrelevant. If, because of anything that can be perceived as incompetence on our side, one of the other Immortals will end up obtaining the Godly Law Template, then we’ll get severely punished”.

    “I’m well aware, but with this new development I still feel like bringing the matter up”.

    “Fine. State what’s on your mind”.

    “It’s actually a favor”. Admiral Hamumni feigned embarrassment. She was planning to ask for a lot, but due to her sisters like relationship with General Beking, she figured that eventually she will got what she wants, but only if she will display meekness.

    “Don’t try to deceive me, Little Squid”. General Beking scowled.

    Perhaps the both of them were past the ten thousand years milestone of age, but she was two thousand years older than Admiral Hamumni. She was already a third level Martial Mortal when Admiral Hamumni was born and among the four whom her direct superior, at the time, the Brigades Commander of the Planetary Battalion entrusted to raise this abnormal Chaoyue type beast.

    “But”, Admiral Hamumni smiled, exposing her tiny teeth. “I’m really embarrassed. You are my last remaining elder family member; I don’t want to anger you”. She admitted and proceeded to her request in the same breath. “If you’ll attain the Mortal Enlightenment state and predict the date of your Evolutionary Ascension before the end of your year of studying the Godly Law Template, please give me the reminder of your time”.

    General Beking puckered her brow. “You want me to provide you this once in a lifetime opportunity, not even the Brigades Commander and Right Arm General will get to enjoy? Just because of the small success in becoming a Heavenly Immortal?” She was extremely irritated by the presumptuous “favor”.

    “Elder sister, if you care for me you’ll listen… Your understanding of the Earthly attribute is already a sliver from reaching the Mortal Enlightenment state. I’m not too sure about the uniqueness of the Godly Law Template, but when we arrived to this planet, the General of the Armies said that after a year of contemplation your Immortal path would be certain. Since then so many years have passed and you made several breakthroughs. Now, perhaps half a year is all you need. I, at any rate, will most likely not after the full year will reach the Mortal Enlightenment state. What will be of me then? I’ll be stuck as a Mortal, depraved by old age. Is that what you really want for me, Mama Be?” Her tone changed as her mood became erratic, sounding like a child still struggling in pronunciation. It only lasted for a split second before she gathered her bearing and pressed her fears to the back of her mind. “I know I’m asking more than I will probably be ever able to pay, but think of me, of us… together eternally, stripped from Nature’s shackles of mortality!”

    Silence followed Admiral Hamumni’s appeal. When the gloomy vista of Down Ocean was in sight, General Beking gave her verdict. “Fine”. She sighed. “Enough talk. From here on we must be vigilant”.



    “So he killed another Overlord and in the short span of couple of days after eliminating the Four Wings Stork Overlord…” Archbishop Silternjan sighed to himself. He and Cardinal Northstar discussed above the weakened pull of the Gentic Belt.

    “The Pocket in the Earthly Crater was punctured and the apparition of the Godly Law Template vanished into the ether, with no trail behind it. No meaning in wasting a defensive Holy Scripture to dive for the center of the crater”.

    Their gazes were fixated on the water below and soon two figures emerged from the ocean.

    Horn Kikon and General Logan flew side by side toward the pair from Luminous Church. Their eyes, too, skimmed the surrounding, seemingly searching.

    General Logan removed a piece of hexagonal, finger size silver plate from his forehead. A moment later, the hexagonal plate crumbed to black dust and was carried by the wind, while General Logan looked at the small particles with a tint of regret.

    Horn Kikon, in his human form, had a silver gold glow emanating from his eyes as if they were flashlights. The hues dimmed gradually as he left the water.

    “Beking and Hamumni are late”. Horn Kikon noted.

    “No, use your Sublime Soul Sense. They aren’t coming”. Cardinal Northstar remarked. From the atmosphere surrounding the two, he and Admiral Silternjan could guess the results of their investigation in the crater even without raising the subject outloud.

    Both Horn Kikon and General Logan accepted the advice and discovered that they cannot locate General Beking and Admiral Hamumni.

    “Golden Desert Fort’s base in the Eastern Continent is the farthest from this location, but they should have been within the scope of my Sublime Soul Sense by now, if not already here”. General Logan withdrew his Sublime Soul Sense. “The explanation to their absence is obvious…”

    The other three tacitly reached the same conclusion.

    Having nothing left to explore in the crater and worried that Golden Desert Fort and Blue Sea will outmaneuver them in the race for finding the Godly Law Template, they collectively turned to a rainbow of four colors and rushed toward the Eastern Continent.



    By the time he returned to the undersea cave, Zax, externally appeared in perfect condition, but as a matter of fact during his trip back he sensed minor injuries that were healing slower than he anticipated. Overtime it was not an issue to worry about, but Zax still felt uncomfortable with the defects in his recovery capabilities that resulted from the combined effort of shouldering the Godlily Retribution and the strain from exercising dark element energy.

    The Horned Eel was among the largest creatures on the planet. When Zax dragged its carcass through the opening in the formation guarding the undersea cave, he instantly drew the attention of all humans and beasts, cultivators or not, that were outside the constructs in the residential area.

    ‘Second Leader Yurnal’, Zax called via his Soul Sense.

    ‘Where we previously met’. A voice sounded through his communicator, as Yurnal preferred the use of the communication device.

    No further words were shared and no witnesses were welcomed in the exchange. Zax departed in satisfaction, taking away the huge carcass since he already contributed one Overlord carcass to Sinister Chain and Dark Glow. He had a vague idea about using the Horned Eel’s carcass as the main ingredient in a formation that will spun in as many caves as possible in New Earth and when activated, will eradicate all external threat – specifically the five power, should he have a fallout with their leaders.

    Yurnal also went on his way with mute surprise. He was disgruntled to lose the Black Core even to an Overlord’s Pure Core, but he did not expect to find icy attribute agglomeration in it that was more potent than in any other icy attribute essence he had ever seen.



    BANG!

    BANG!

    BANG!

    Zax’s heart pounded in his chest as he flew back to the Western Continent. “Hahahaha! At last, hahaha! At last I gathered all four, hahahaha!” He laughed boisterously, inundated by emotions.

    ‘Anet, love, I finally obtained the last of the Black Cores I gathered’. He transmitted to her communicator upon his arrival to New Earth.

    He shared the existence of the Black Cores to his Martial family and Anet, but never detailed too much. Firstly, because he did not know what would happen after absorbing all four Black Cores. Secondly, the expert warned him to keep it a secret that he is in possession of Legacy Of The One’s Path. He was not afraid that they will divulge it, but chose leaving nothing to chance as there are beings such as Immortals and Gods that he is embroiled with and who knows what sort of altercations the future holds for him…

    ‘I’m entering seclusion, I’m sorry, however I must!’ He did not wait for her response. ’I’ll return after absorbing the Black Cores and ascertaining my condition afterwards’.

    ‘Just… don’t take too long’. Anet sounded displeased, but gave her okay nonetheless.

    Turning off his communicator, Zax did not want any disturbances from here until he will be done. His destination was the cavern he dug years back and often in New Earth used to perform closed doors training.

    Sealing it with a rock and using a veil of dark attribute to hide both the cavern and the Overlord carcass, Zax sat crossed legged, holding in each hand a Black Core.

    There was no particular order in which he felt he should absorb the Black Core, so after fiddling with them for a bit, Zax positioned them beneath his navel and let both sink together to his dantian.

    The Black Cores floated down at the sides of the Black Core already in the dantian and the instant they settled, black streams of the mist energy within them gushed for the centralized Black Core, and above and out of the dantian, through the mist channels, to the sea of consciousness, for the soul and spirit.

    Their size gradually shrunk, while the centralized Black Core bit by bit grew larger and the energized spirit slowly dragged itself forward for the sixth bottleneck of insight.

    “Phew…” Zax let out a pent up breath. Nothing of the two Black Cores remained and the changes in his dantian and sea of consciousness ceased. He could still feel a tension in his body, consequential of the stress the streams of mist energy put on his mist channels.

    The Black Core, only Core, in his dantian now, shrunk to the size of a regular Earth’s Core and his spirit halted after advancing seven steps, being at a distance of twenty one steps from its goal.

    “Mm?” Before he could inspect himself, a foreign sphere of black energy emerged in Zax’s sea of consciousness.

    It swirled above the Inner Panorama and with its presence forced everything, including the Godlily Retribution, to stand still.

    ‘Hell-o’, the sphere changed to a humanoid shape and a voice came out of it, but it seemed to meet an interference and indeed, moment later a fractious ripple discharged from the Godlily Retribution, as it refused to bent to the new presence.

    ‘Humph!’ The figure snorted and launched several streams of it black energy to counter the ripple.

    The ripple and streams canceled each other upon contact, but it was far from being the end of it. The Godlily Retribution flared, intending to collapse Zax’s sea of consciousness.

    ‘Tsk!’ The figure’s face was shrouded by black fog, as the rest of its body, all because of the Godlily Retribution’s resistance, which annoyed it. It raised its four arms and formed a series of shapes that contrary to it emerged vivid and lifelike as they combined to a gargantuan abomination.

    Meanwhile, Zax was unable to react, only spectate in obedience to the presence of the figure. He stared in bewilderment, then awe and then shock, because he recognized the gargantuan abomination, or at least part of it, as part of the being… the real appearance of the expert and former owner of the Black Cores.

    He could not shift much of his glance to fully see it, and a fraction of a second after it appeared it vanish anyway after vanquishing, temporarily, the Godlily Retribution.

    ‘Good’. The figure nodded in content. It turned to the spot where Zax’s awareness resided. The fog shrouding it cleared, and as it exposed the face behind, an endearing remark sounded. ‘Well done, well done! Although not yet there, a progeny, as hoped for, succeeded being at the forefront of potential heirs’. A yellow eye without a pupil was the first feature to show itself. ‘I supposed you earned the right to learn some important things…’

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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 11 – Blue World Estate



    ‘Is that it?’ Zax raised his brow.



    Listening for quite a while to the figure that emerged from the fog, the first thing Zax got to learn was its identity.

    Nocron Yorak Gogenta Jin Buvel, Gogenta in short. He is the previous owner of the Black Core. The humanoid form he presented himself in was his secondary form. His first, the colossal that gave the impression of being larger than a planet, too big to observe, was his innate form as a type of being called “Larzar”, which he in melancholy avoided elaborating about.

    ‘Larzars’ main form may differ, but our secondary share the same feature, so I’ll let you witness mine as I speak’. He said at the beginning and the entirety of the fog concealing him cleared out.

    He had no pupils, only golden yellowness to his eyes. His skin was gray and smooth like a polished statue. Three horns that were just about the length of his face protruded from his forehead. Sparkling white hair cascaded over his shoulders. He had four limbs with seven fingers on each hand and feet. He adorned himself in crimson long pants and atop his crimson shirt carried a pristine armor with shoulder blades that was just as bloody as his garments.

    ‘As infinite as the three Valleys may seem, the variety of beings on the Martial path is poorly at a two digits number. Nonetheless, there are among some of those beings members of the same group that are considered of a different type, out of ten to ten million other types. As a result, it is inevitable for some beings that are completely unrelated by species and ancestry to still share similar and even all external features’. Gogenta described without a pause, heartily preaching for this was a first in a very, very long time.

    ‘On a side note, human looking beings are the most common and many beings possess a sub form that appears human in every way. That is Nature’s decree, and thus why it is so easy to encounter humanoid beings, why true humans compose more than two quarters of the cultivators’ community in the three Valleys and also why I chose the simple human template to be closest to the chance of inheriting me.

    ‘Back to the main topic, the secondary form of us, Larzars, is unique, but there are still a handful of beings who share a couple or all of its features‘, Gogenta smiled. He placed his palm over his face and pointed with three of his fingers up, to his three horns, and while his golden yellow eyeballs were visible in the space between the three fingers, at the center of each horn a pupil of bone bulged. ‘Hence, the Three Stone Pupils are the actually identifying mark of Larzars’ secondary form’.

    Moving on, after remarking that the star they are in, and even the encompassing plain, is in some backwater corner of the first Valley, Gogenta generously narrated to Zax what was impossible for a country bumpkin in such a terrible location with still budding Martial path to know… the four ranks of Immortals: Heavenly, Sacred, Mythical and Neonate.

    And so we return to Zax’s prior question…



    ‘All?’ For the first time the figure of Gogenta responded to Zax as it reacted to the Godlily Retribution, that is, with a hint of sentience rather than a prerecorded message.

    He smiled warmly as if the expression used to be constant before his demise, but not always sincere. With his boney pupils submerging back to his horns and with his eyes having none, it was difficult to read him.

    When Zax listened to him, he felt a sense of cordiality from Gogenta that eventually enabled him to raise the question despite also feeling an extant of something he could not really term or measure, only submissively be aware of and guess that it is related to the difference in their cultivation.

    Gogenta’s lips parted with a gregarious ambiance and a trace of intimacy. ‘I… am a fragment of a soul long dissipated, a life lacking spirit, a simple clone… The Godlily Retribution you brought upon yourself was behind my predications and quashing it wasn’t inexpensive of me. The thing I can say are no more all that I would like to share and the stuff I was hesitant about are now for you to figure on your own’.

    There was silence, now by Zax’s initiative. Slower than ever before he manifested his body in his sea of consciousness and for the first time, bothered to cover himself.

    He looked toward his spirit, which even in the presence of Gogenta never rested its desire for the six bottleneck of insight, even if he himself would want it to relax. His gaze shifted to the shadow of the man once at the Peak of Immortality and what followed next was a decision that commemorated the first lesson he received from his Master Kartiu… He stood upright and bowed.

    ‘Descendant Zax Zel greets and thanks Ancestor!’ He said with filial piety, for no matter the differences between them, that one was something called Larzar and the other human, that one was the engineer and the other the design. Ultimately, without the former, not just the latter, by no life on this planet would have been born, and for those from New Earth, hundreds of millions humans and beasts, even if Legacy Of The One’s Path was not in the equation, due to the generations of modification passed through the Earth’s Cores by Gogenta the clone, they all still inherited a shred of inheritance, significant or not.

    ‘Descendant…’ Gogenta seemed to accept. ‘I never had any… I supposed you can be considered as mine’. His tone produced a touched vibe and a struggle to say more than he could rippled from his demeanor, yet in the end it faded.

    Somehow, the changes in his temperament made themselves apparent to Zax. There was no telling if it was intentional and the sentiment either way influenced Zax, yet again.

    ‘I apologize for my rude question’. Zax straightened his back. ‘If you can’t say anymore, meeting and learning the identity of my Ancestor is something that I can proudly etch to my soul, never to forget!’ There was no insight, much less enlightenment, in the experience, but Zax’s heart was still relieved by finding answers to some of the questions and pushed to the back of his mind.

    ‘No’. Gogenta shook his head. ‘I promised importance. Introducing myself was common courtesy, at least in the beginning… now I feel like the worth it had was more valuable to me’. The notion remained unsaid; along with the silent reflection of whether he would have thought the same if he was not a mere fragment of his past self. ‘The ranks of Immortals seem to not impress you… So you knew them beforehand, but I see that your understanding is still shallow… Forget it; all owners of Legacy Of The One’s Path are bound to learn someday. No meaning in squandering what few breaths I have on this and other matters Nature abhor...’ After some thought... ‘At your current level of cultivation, perhaps, if you are lucky, you’ll earn more by being taught about the things I had left…’

    Gogenta flicked a finger and two blurry images appeared before him, one blue and the other golden.

    The blue image moved forward and became more distinguishable. Before it became completely clear Zax muttered in surprise, ‘Blue Tower…’ but he was too hasty, since before he could finish more than one blue tower emerged, eleven in total, and they all surrounded a palace with as many floors as their total number and as tall as their collective height.

    ‘This is the Blue World Estate I excavated from a star size high end Blue Stone’. Gogenta said proudly, yet his attitude quickly reverted to regret. ‘For all the treasures I amassed throughout the innumerable years, only two remained post my demise to this wretched Plain. The Blue World Estate is one of them, however, at a certain juncture in the creation of the Earth’s Cores, I had to shatter it for the energy it contained. That being said, there is still a chance to restore it, but there are two requirements. You’ll have to collect all pieces of Blue Stones that belong to the original Blue World Estate, which is plausible to your level of cultivation. A sixth of The Blue Stones pieces are laying all across this star. If you were a Sacred Immortal, you could have found them with a sweep of your Sacred Sense, but since you are not and your Soul Sense can’t breach the restrictive spots in this star, this will be of help…’

    Gogenta drew twelve runes that merged into a single formation.

    ‘This is the Blue World Estate’s key. It will assist you in finding the millions of Blue Stones that comprise the scattered sixth of the estate and the twenty eight deposits of the remaining pieces. If you’ll succeed in collecting all pieces, then you’ll have to deal with the second requirement, and that is… in order to refine all pieces into one, the strength of a Mythical Immortal is indeed or an alternative equivalent energy source. This requirement will pose a greater issue, but while it is still problematic, I can suggest you three methods for solving it. Either look for someone who is familiar with this formation…’

    Gogenta drew a new formation but with three runes.

    ‘This is the secondary key for the Blue World Estate only those I considered my friends know how to activate. Any one of my old friends can refine the Blue Stones for you effortlessly. The pretext is that you’ll have to find and identify them. The second option is converting the radiation of a collapsing star, which you might as well purchase. Although it’s very costly to a typical Heavenly Immortal, should you gather the funds and conclude the purchase, the converted radiation from a collapsed will enable you to accomplish a minor refinement and open four of the eleven spires and floors of the Blue World Estate’.

    ‘What is the third method?’ Zax inquired when Gogenta quieted down instead of telling.

    Gogenta sighed. ‘This is one of those subjects which talking about bear consequence on my word count… Whatever, this and that are the sole things I decided to provide my… descendant knowledge about’. After firmly making up his mind, Gogenta was ready to reply. ‘Should you inherent Legacy Of The One’s Path, then the day you’ll breakthrough to the second rank of Sacred Immortal, you’ll have the strength to refine the Blue World Estate on your own’.

    ‘You mean…?!’ Zax blurted with a trace of realization and uncertainty.

    ‘It is for you to know, only if you can achieve’. Gogenta immediately sealed the matter and proceeded to his final summery of the Blue World Estate. ‘Ten of the eleven spires all have different functions that can be used by the Master Of The Estate, ranging from: Attack, Defense, Escape, Confine, Conceal, Inanimate Storage Unit, Living Storage Unit, Refinement Chamber, Enlightenment Chamber and Self Destruct. The eleventh spire maintains the balance between all the formations in the estate and designed to hold on last, with the eleventh floor of the palace, should calamity befell the estate.

    ‘As for the palace, it is the multi layered living quarters of the Master Of The Estate, an impenetrable vault by all standards of the first Valley, meaning… even a Neonate Immortal would spend decades before breaking in’.

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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 12 – Beneath The Surface Of The Water



    ‘It’d be excellent if you’ll obtain the Blue World Palace early on in your Immortal path, with it, at the very least you’ll be able to move freely in the first Valley without care for rules…’ Gogenta saw Zax’s forthcoming question and raised his seven fingered hand to stop him. ‘I told you my words are curbed, my presence provokes the Godlily Retribution and as a fragment of my former self there is a limit on how long I can stop it. Also, there is another thing, but I’ll keep it to the end’.

    ‘I get it’. Zax sighed, reluctantly accepting that Gogenta will not budge.

    ‘The second treasure of mine that is still obtainable is called “Godly Law Template”. It can be considered as the second greatest treasure that was in my possession, after Legacy Of The One’s Path’. Gogenta’s gaze sharpened, a cold breeze was exuded from his eyes and for an instant Zax could not avert his concentration. ‘Do you want to know how Gods come to be?’

    The answer was obvious but the question was too shocking and Gogenta’s ambiance so overwhelming that Zax was incapable to respond.

    ‘The path is complicated and for you to explore, but the prerequisite is the same for all beings on the Martial path, therefore I’ll give you the short answer… for a Martial cultivator at the epitome of the Martial path, to make the next step and became a God requires the use of all of his or her Martial accumulation to create a Natural Law of their own that can only by governed by themselves. A Godly Law Template, at least the one I had, is a plate made from one of Nature’s seven elements: Dark, Light, Fire, Water, Earth, Wind and lightening. On it transcribed the successful formulation of a Natural Law, either by a cultivator who attained Godhood or a God who recast his or her Natural Law’.

    As Gogenta explained, the land, sky and sea of Zax’s Inner Panorama roared as if something threatened to crack them. Zax had an insufferable headache, but he was compelled to listen as Gogenta continued, regardless of the noticeable turmoil.

    ‘Bear with it’. Gogenta said as he himself seemed to be under immense pressure and his body turned slightly transparent. ‘Nature is only harsh toward those of us who go against it. Many mortals and basically any mortal who learns about particular things of what’s beyond the Mortal path will experience the same transitory burden’. He gave Zax a moment, but only to brace himself, since the agony will not cease until there will be nothing more new and of value to share. ‘Cultivators can use a Godly Law Template to gain unprecedented insights at every rank of the Immortal path – even at the Peak of the Mortal path – but more importantly, they can use it as reference to the formulation of their own Natural Law’.

    The explanation gave Zax the many ideas to comprehend the significance of such treasure. ‘The five powers should be here of the Godly Law Template. Did the strange affair in the Earthly Crater have something to do with it?’ He wondered to himself and quietly waited for Gogenta to expound.

    ‘The Godly Law Template is guarded by Three Locks formation. Two locks are planted in the oceans of this star and another in the network of tunnels and caves I created for my… descendants and potential heir. I can vaguely sense that one lock has lost a great deal of its power, enough for it to be insufficient for holding the Godly Law Template’s aura’.

    ‘Is it possible that the lock you mention is at the center of the Earthly Crater?’ Zax inquired.

    ‘Earthly Crater? Let me see…’ A luster shone in Gogenta’s eyes and he skimmed Zax’s soul of all the memories imprinted on it. ‘Yes. Another lock is at the place you call Down Ocean and a third is the chamber at the second Savage Cave. The chamber will be the hardest lock to crack since it’s in New Earth, which I created using a portion of my main form.

    ‘It’s impossible for those three Immortal brats and their five baby underlings to know about Legacy Of The One’s Path. It had been hundreds of millions of years before I even arrived to this plain that the fellows who knew me as the carrier of the legacy gave up or lost interest in it. It’s very unlikely that any billion years old Immortal, regardless of rank, would care about the legacy… and my secluded stay in this remote corner of the First Valley is over billions of years. The only plausible reason for outsider to come to this star in recent years, driven by a belief that there is some treasure hiding here, is if the God who created my Godly Law Template got bored and divulged the information ’.

    With this, everything about the intentions of the Immortal powerhouses behind the five powers was illuminated.

    ‘Will the God want the Godly Law Template back?’

    ‘She shouldn’t. Otherwise, she could collect it a long time ago. Either way, it doesn’t matter. If you want the Godly Law Template, you’ll be qualified to vie for it only after your Evolutionary Ascension. As of now…’ Gogenta scrutinized Zax’s spirit and the distance it had to go before reaching the spark of light that represented the sixth bottleneck of insight. ‘You’re twenty one steps away and the closer you get the hardest it is to advance. Lucky for you, you aren’t a normal human, none of those who were born in New Earth is, but you are one of the extra specials… On your own, I estimate that in less than five hundred years you’ll comprehend the last bottleneck. My advice to you is to forget about the Godly Law Template and focus on meeting the last condition of the legacy. It will be wise of you to settle on this path, judging by the existence of the Godlily Retribution. It can determine your aspiration, the comprehension of all six bottlenecks of insight, and so it’s bidding its time for when you’ll be most vulnerable’.

    Zax shuddered and took the warning to heart. ‘Can something be done to expel it from my sea of consciousness?’

    Gogenta shook his head. ‘You swore, evoking the name of a God. The best you can do is to strive in your cultivation and treat it as a catalyst. As for me… I said all I have to say. Let me lend you a bit of help as the last act of a person named Gogenta in the land of the living’.

    With that, Gogenta’s collapsed back into the mist from which he emerged and hurled at the back of Zax’s spirit like a spiraling wind.

    Zax’s spirit was forcefully pushed and stumbled forward… twenty steps, nineteen, eighteen… eleven!

    After ten steps, the strain on Zax’s spirit and soul threatened to split them. From hereon, he will first need some time to recuperate from Gogenta’s gift and then precede the remaining steps with his own strength.



    “General Beking, Admiral Hamumni!” A short, chubby woman in Golden Desert’s military uniforms saluted and then showed a gratified smile. “We were really fortunate in this occurrence. The excavation spot is seven kilometers to the east. Major Bif Hach coincidentally passed by here when the abrupt upsurge occurred and the aura of the Godly Law Template was briefly exposed in the Heavy Water Pool”.

    “Show us the way, Lieutenant General Hadida, and make haste. An unwanted company is on its way!” General Beking ordered.

    The trio was in the depths of Down Ocean, encompassed by prominent undulations that formed a small shelter from the hazardous spectacles in the turbid, mercury like seawater.

    They dived deep and far from the Eastern Continent’s coastline with the Down Ocean. Soon they arrived to what felt like soil beneath their feet, but at a place such as this ocean, they were aware of the many forms the environment can deceive and so they remained vigilant inside the small scope of the protecting undulations.

    “It was this Heavy Water Pool where the aura of the Godly Law Template emerged”. Lieutenant General Hadida pointed at the vista of a blue lake, or a pool, within the silver gray ocean.

    “Is there something special in this Heavy Water Pool?” Admiral Hamumni asked as she stepped on the frosty bank of the pool and beheld the cold foam atop it being swept by the currents.

    In the domain of the Down Ocean, Heavy Water Pools were notable for accumulating the sole source of recognizable attribute’s essence and energy. The water was actually a concentration of icy attribute energy that birthed a rich source of icy attribute’s essence. No one knows what is drawing the icy attribute energy. Before a Heavy Water Pool is formed it is even impossible to sense the icy attribute energy. Often, foam would be developed on the surface of the pool and then get carried away by a current, but occasionally the foam would dissolve and turn to a current different than those made by the seawater, one with the properties of the icy attribute and anyone who come across its path, even fifth level Martial Mortals, will be risking having their soul freeze and shatter.

    The scope of this particular Heavy Water Pool was considered midsize at a range of three hundred meters. Four figures, third level Martial Mortals and members of Golden Desert Fort, were sitting legs crossed in a four directions formation around the pool. Their palms were touching the soil of the bank and from their bodies surged mist energy as they attempted to explore the depth of the pool by its surrounding earth.

    Beads of sweat slid from their creased foreheads and two of them had blood stain below their nostrils, down to their chins. Whatever method they were using visibly took a toll and coupled with the poisonous seawater, their condition could only keep deteriorating.

    “Attention!” Lieutenant General Hadida called as she approached with General Beking.

    The four got up with stern expression and would have shouted a greeting to their general, if they could prevent themselves from coughing blood the moment their mouth would open.

    “Stand back”. General Beking ordered. She would have sent them to the base if she was not concerned of the four encountering Horn Kikon and the rest on their way.

    “You don’t need to ask them. I already measured the depth of the pool at seventy meters”. Admiral Hamumni informed General Beking next to her. “Besides, I doubt they would have detected the change I barely spotted at the bottom…”

    “Is that a confirmation that this Heavy Water Pool is different than the others?”

    “I can’t say for certain. Maybe all the Heavy Water Pools experienced changes after the Godly Law Template’s apparition and this one was just managed to catch the attention of your people”.

    “Is that so?” General Beking said and glanced at Admiral Hamumni’s face. “Then why do you invest such concentrated, bleak look on this pool”

    “Because… in your excavation location in the Down Ocean there are six Heavy Water Pools. Mine has four, Silternjan has one and Kikon and Logan have together ten. There are dozens more known pools and perhaps more undiscovered”.

    “What this has to do with your discovery?”

    “Heavy Water Pools aren’t connected, right?”

    “Indeed”. General Beking answer made Admiral Hamumni’s expression worse.

    “If this is true, how come, for a split second, I sensed a pulling force similar to that in the Earthly Crater, but it was not entirely like the Swallowing or Gravity properties of the dark and earthly attributes… it was more identical to an inhalation of something too big for one pool to accommodate”.

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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 13 – Spirits



    The breath felt mellowed, comfy, inconspicuous, but behind it was a presence that made Admiral Hamumni’s little heart pulsate. “We should not be the ones to disturb what’s down there, elder sister Beking”. She retreated from the Heavy Water Pool’s bank in both demeanor an steps.

    Being able to read Admiral Hamumni for all her life, General Beking trusted her judgment and gave up the further exploration of this particular Heavy Water Pool. “Let’s go to the other pool. I want you to examine them, too”.

    “What about Kikon and the others? They will arrive by then”.

    General Beking mused before she answered. “I have an idea… Can you assess the strength of the thing inside the pool?”

    Looking back at the Heavy Water Pool and finding her heartbeat getting higher again, Admiral Hamumni gnashed her teeth. “Even Kikon at his mightiest did not petrify me. That is to say, it should be at least as strong as a Heavenly Immortal. How is that factor in your idea?”

    “In favor of it. However, if I’m correct then it will also put not just us but also Logan, Northstar, Kikon and Silternjan in a difficult position… Lieutenant General Hadida”.

    “Yes, General”.

    “We are leaving to check the other Heavy Water Pools. Put a halt to the excavation in the Down Ocean and return to the Fourth Base to wait for further orders”.

    “Yes, General”. Lieutenant General Hadida exited the range of General Beking’s and Admiral Hamumni’s protective undulation and by unseen means, similar undulation began to spread around her from her body before the mercury like seawater could do harm.



    “Well?” General Beking asked, waiting for Admiral Hamumni’s conclusions of the second Heavy Water Pool they arrived to.

    “No… here I don’t sense a breath of anything, but the ice layer at the bottom of the pool is whitish. In my first inspection of them, I deduced that the ice layers of the Heavy Water Pools should be of the highest quality of icy attribute’s essence. Even in the Planetary Battalion it’d be a hard to obtain without proper connections. For its coloration to change from the crystalline blue to sickly white, something must be draining it bit by bit”. Admiral Hamumni contemplated with a frown.

    “Was the ice layer in the previous pool the same?”

    “No. Its essence seemed immaculate”.

    “Let’s-”

    BOOM!

    BOOM!

    BOOM!

    BOOM!

    A series of explosion interrupted General Beking. “They arrived”. She noted by the quantity of booms.

    “What should we do?”

    “Lead them to the next pool”. General Beking patted Admiral Hamumni’s delicate looking shoulder and with the same hand she brushed the water and directed her palm above.

    In the Down Ocean no Soul Sense, of any kind, or communicator could properly function, hence General Beking shot a brown beam of mist energy that split the ocean like a beacon that would be dangerous to ignore.

    “Come”. She told Admiral Hamumni and together they proceeded to the third Heavy Water Pool.

    Almost a minute later…

    Four figures plunged the periphery of the third Heavy Water Pool, greeted by the calm countenance of General Beking and Admiral Hamumni.

    “The Godly Law Template verifies its existence for the first time since we found this planet and the two of you wondering in the opposite side of this tiny world…” Archbishop Silternjan’s aged mien studied the surrounding with a patent look. “Do you care to enlighten us four what discoveries have you made?” His gaze fell on the Heavy Water Pool and the blunt question came out naturally.

    First of all, the four of them recalled the spot in which the brown beam of mist energy originated and knowing the layout of Golden Desert Fort’s territory in the Down Ocean, they realized that the pair drew them here from another Heavy Water Pool.

    Secondly, since the subject related to their reason of being in this planet, they were bent on getting answers. From their perspective, General Beking and Admiral Hamumni had only their imprudent conduct to blame for making them come seek the two after the absence at the Earthly Crater.

    “Of course, we won’t mind”. General Beking candidness caught the four unprepared and though their expression remained solid, a flicker of surprise in their eyes betrayed their thoughts. Not just they were stunned. Admiral Hamumni also did not expect General Beking to relay information, constructive or otherwise, so compliantly.

    “You better not withhold or lie!” Horn Kikon grunted.

    General Beking’s lips half stretched to a mocking smile before disregarding Horn Kikon and shifting to the other three. “Don’t be in a rush. In a moment all would be clear”. She turned to Admiral Hamumni. “Go on…”

    Nodding, Admiral Hamumni approached the Heavy Water Pool’s bank and commenced the probing.

    The four stood aside, without interfering. They all knew what Admiral Hamumni was doing. She was acknowledged as the cultivator with the highest understanding of the icy attribute on the planet. No one else could attempt the examination of the Heavy Water Pools to the same level of meticulousness.

    Ten seconds later, Admiral Hamumni regrouped with the impatient posse. “It’s like the second pool”. She informed General Beking.

    “Thought so…” General Beking said with a meaningful look that could not be deciphered as either happy or depressed. “Forget about the Godly Law Template”. She said coolly, despite being well aware of the contradictive responses the words will induce.

    “Quickly elaborate”. General Logan snapped quick and for everyone, as for whatever more there was to say, not before they will have the full picture.

    “When the Godly Law Template’s aura emerged from the Earthly Crater, my subordinates sighted a phenomenon by the Heavy Water Pool near the central zone of my excavation spot. My Lieutenant General could only briefly detect the aura of the Godly Law Template in the pool. I and Hamumni had been to the pool and two more afterwards, this being the third. The second and the third exhibited the same results… the layers of icy attribute’s essence at the bottom of the pools are being used to nourish something, things that aren’t yet sentient. If my assumption is accurate, the layers of icy attribute’s essence will recover after the things below them will gain sentience”.

    “Do you suggest the conception of a Spirit?!” Cardinal Northstar exclaimed as one of the two listeners who suddenly caught up with General Beking’s oblique assumption.

    “Kikon!” General Logan, who stood closest to the four armed, three meters tall golden man hastily fled ten or so meters.

    Gripping and clenching, the monster above all Mortals strived to restrain, but the rage and its highness among its kind were the arduous to control, hence the regal aura of pride permeated.

    Fizzing and hissing, the seawater just centimeters past Horn Kikon’s impeccable, impenetrable skin boiled to vapor that could give burns even to a careless fifth level Martial Mortal.

    Archbishop Silternjan, Admiral Hamumni and most of all, General Logan vigilantly kept away, stupefied. Whilst, General Beking and Cardinal Northstar bit their tongue, for they knew what turmoil was inside the Horn Kikon’s head and that an attempt to abate might further infuriate.

    Minutes passed and the boiling ceased and the vapor dissipated to the currents. No change in Horn Kikon’s seethed mien was apparent, but his aura withdrew and that was enough as a sign of peacefulness.

    “Humph!” Horn Kikon snorted, glaring at General Beking as he comprehended her earlier sneer.

    General Logan solemnly and cleverly avoided his brethren from Voltic Star. Familiar with his fickle temperament he rather inquire an enemy than recklessly touch a cooling furnace. “What do you mean by ‘Spirit’?” He gave voice to the question that similarly was on Archbishop Silternjan’s and Admiral Hamumni’s minds.

    “Elder sister Beking, what is the meaning of ‘conception of a Spirit’?”

    “Quiet for a moment!” Archbishop Silternjan ordered. “Northstar, are the rumors true?!”

    “Hamumni doesn’t know and it seems that Logan neither. If you are answering Silternjan, then explain all of them”. General Beking told Cardinal Northstar.

    “They are real”. Cardinal Northstar replied Archbishop Silternjan first before following General Beking’s request. “I don’t know much about the conception of Spirits since even Immortals won’t discuss the subject among themselves, much less with a Mortal, only that they are very unique beings among the myriad of beings in the three Valleys, as they are born from the worldly elemental energies. A scripture in the Holy Palace’s Capacity Study hall summarize in short the menace of Spirits and their sole vulnerability. It says that the weakest Spirt is already beyond the capabilities of a normal Heavenly Immortal and the strongest can only be challenged by a Neonate Immortal who attained minor accomplishments in the formulation of his Natural Law”.

    “An entity at the caliber of at least a Heavenly Immortal!” Both General Logan and Admiral Hamumni glanced scandalized at the Heavy Water Pool behind, while Archbishop Silternjan’s complexion turned ashen with an akin demeanor to Horn Kikon’s current one.

    “Neither physical attacks nor mist attack can harm Spirits. They can only be vanquished by soul assaults or elemental energy suppression; although for the latter option, an Immortal has to be a level above the Spirit to intimidate it”.

    With Cardinal Northstar’s voice settling down, a silence ensued.

    A threat on the Immortal level, one which can even deter a Heavenly Immortal… how are they supposed to deal with it?

    “Are you certain, elder sister Beking? The Heavy Water Pools accumulate only icy attribute energy through the instigation of the Heavy and Smooth properties at their bottom. As rich as a resource their ice layer may be, they are still far from the exquisite icy element energy”. Admiral Hamumni argued.

    “The Heavy Water Pools exists for thousands of years if not longer, just think about how old this planet is”. General Beking retorted.

    “I’ve seen deposits of icy attribute energy much older, who fluctuate with all three of its properties, with a dominant Flow and a strong sense of its Cold nature”. Admiral Hamumni insisted, partly because she could not accept the circumstances imposed on their plans by the existence of one Spirit or more.

    “So have I”. General Logan corresponded. “Including deposits of other attributes. I could not approach them with my status, but I gathered enough to learn that they were much more precious than these Heavy Water Pools and that the conception of anything never occurred in them”.

    He had to remain composed and scrap for a sliver of chance that General Beking is wrong. Should he be deemed inadequate to fulfill the duty given to him by the holder of the three titles: General of the Armies, Violet Star Commander and Fiend Immortal, he would lose the extraordinary, rare opportunity to study the Godly Law Template. To him and everyone else here with a similar chance presented by their superiors this would be an immense loss, but to one among them in particular… Horn Kikon, it would be devastating!

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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 14 – Tying Up Loose Ends



    “You are not wrong”. General Beking acknowledged General Logan’s point. “And you would have been right in this occasion also, if you did not omit a key issue… Did any of the places where you found attributes’ deposits have in their vicinity a Godly Law Template?” Then and there she made her case, using a point all of them had to accede to and none could refute.

    Not even the question of “how come the ice layer at the bottom of the first Heavy Water Pool looked normal, while those at the second and third pools were being drained” could salvage an ounce of concrete hope. It was obvious. The ice layer of the first pool simply recovered over time, after the Spirit below it obtain sentience and stopped draining it.

    “Your Lieutenant General noted only one Heavy Water Pool reacting to the apparition of the Godly Law Template at the Earthly Crater”. Cardinal Northstar said in an unyielding tone that drew everyone attention. Although the opportunity to study the Godly Law Template was Archbishop Silternjan’s, he could still make an agreement with him in exchange for his assistance against the other four. “If we assume that the presence of a sentient Spirit is a product of a reaction to the apparition and treat it as an indication to the proximity of the Godly Law Template, we can deduce whether the whereabouts of the template is at a center of a formation made by the reactive pools or just at the locality of the one your Lieutenant General found“.

    “Exactly!” Admiral Hamumni added. “Elder sister Beking, Lieutenant General Hadida and her subordinates couldn’t detect a reaction from all the Heavy Water Pools. The waters of the Down Ocean are filled with just too many anomalies. If Northstar’s former assumption is correct, perhaps we won’t have to deal with the Spirits at all!” Her excited tone revived completely the others’ enthusiasm, all but General Beking and fully revitalized Horn Kikon.

    Of the six of them, Horn Kikon, General Beking and Cardinal Northstar required one or two more strides in the understanding of their respected attributes to reach the Mortal Enlightenment state in order to predict their Evolutionary Ascension. For those in their position, unless they give up on crossing the threshold to the Martial Immortal path, stirring the heart was a taboo...

    “Hamumni, accompany Northstar and me to examine the Heavy Water Pool in my Luminous Church’s territory”. Archbishop Silternjan requested.

    “Hamumni, the Blessed Army has seven pools. We can get better understanding there than in Silternjan’s one spot. Also, it’s better to keep him in suspense instead of giving him quick answer and allowing him to make calculations…” General Logan said with no reservation to either Archbishop Silternjan’s or Cardinal Northstar’s face. He wanted them to forgo any notion of a ploy that may come to mind. The rest of them had not the time or patience to bear any misconduct now that the Godly Law Template revealed an evidence of existence.

    “Choose wisely, Hamumni”, Horn Kikon could not stay quiet anymore and since he and General Logan served the same faction, it was fine if the pools at the latter would be checked first.

    “Humph!” Admiral Hamumni snorted in disdain, though she was smart enough not to direct it at Horn Kikon whose fuse was currently shorter than usual. “How delusional are you to think that I’ll give any of you priority before elder sister Beking and I?”

    “Fine. In truth, it should not be a matter of concern whose Heavy Water Pool you’ll examine first”. Archbishop Silternjan smiled to appease Admiral Hamumni. “If the Heavy Water Pools do make a formation, to pinpoint further clues to the Godly Law Template, you must view not only our pools, but those we disregarded till now outside the territories of our excavation spots”.

    “She can also bother with the one reactive pool in my territory and discount your pools entirely”. General Beking’s remark caused the four men to suddenly frown. Naturally they understood the meaning between the words…

    As much troubles as they can give her, ultimately, trying to snatch the Heavy Water Pool with the sentient Spirit would be akin to affronting not a run of the mill Heavenly Immortal, but a Mythical Immortal whose strength rivals the powers behind them!

    The two women can investigate the latter of Cardinal Northstar’s options and even if it was wrong, only they will know, as well as be ready to proceed accordingly.

    “Name the price!” Cardinal Northstar hated to waste time. He was stuck on this planet longer than he initially planned for and under his supervision too many incidents involving His Young Eminence and Sister Iaura took place. The only redeeming quality left in this trip was the Godly Law Template objective.

    General Beking stood solemn for a while before answering. She gaged each of the four and from person to person the feeling she gave them grew onerous.

    “Two months”.

    There was no need for General Beking to be explicit. The words thundered in the four’s ears with full comprehension.

    The deal between every one of them resembled Admiral Hamumni’s and her own deal with the General of the Armies.

    “His Holiness and Fiend Immortal have promised you a year to study the template; they will not take their words back even if you’ll make an offering to the General of the Armies”.

    “Dammit, Beking!” Horn Kikon snapped. “My Year is Mine! I won’t spare a second of it on someone else! Are you conspiring against me?!” His aura would have erupted if he had not learned and was worried about the Spirits in the Down Ocean.

    Archbishop Silternjan’s bearing was composed, in contrast to the golden skinned giant of a man, but inwardly his heart ached almost as if it was stabbed repeatedly. He too only had the opportunity for a year of study. The fact that he original represented alone the Holy Palace did not earn him more than what the others received from their leaders and with Cardinal Northstar beside him the deal was still the same. Consequently, unlike Horn Kikon and General Logan, he had no one to share the burden of General Beking’s request. Furthermore, he was not a fool... Of course he knew the source of Cardinal Northstar’s eagerness to support him, even if they had yet to discuss it. This meant that more than two months of his year were on the line and that was a cost he could not wholeheartedly pay.

    ‘One month, Beking!” General Logan haggled and Admiral Hamumni’s eyes sparkled.

    She, too, was taken aback by the companion’s audacious demand. Up until General Logan lowered the timespan, she thought they would all object, but then a piece of pie actually fell from the sky!

    “Logan…” Horn Kikon gnashed his teeth.

    “I’ll provide the month”. General Logan said with his gaze locked on General Beking.

    “Two month. No less”. General Beking shook her head and before Admiral Hamumni could utter the first syllable to convince her otherwise, she was shut silence by a warning glare.

    “What do you expect me to do?” Archbishop Silternjan opened hoarsely.

    “Comply”. General Beking flatly replied. “Silternjan, as the oldest of us it is not a secret that soon you’ll welcome your last millennia. Over the years there was a period in which you were the strongest among us. What happened that changed it? That resulted in me, Kikon and Logan leaving you stranded behind? I always had my suspicion and I’m sure you know…”

    Archbishop Silternjan’s jaw hanged with his mouth half opened. General Beking touched his most personal affair and her phrasing, cautious and thoughtful as it was, could only play in his ears brutally, for it had a subtle truth in it. His mouth closed and he gave his consent. ‘Perhaps… I was lax with myself for too long… Perhaps pressure would be a good thing…?’

    “Two months, Logan. Will you accept it?” General Beking repeated.

    With Archbishop Silternjan surrounding to her terms and Cardinal Northstar bidding his time, seemingly fine with the matter, a refusal from General Logan meant being at a disadvantage in the search for the Godly Law Template.

    “…Okay”. General Logan succumbed. He knew that Horn Kikon will not bend and even default into his violent nature to sabotage the four, but how much he could achieve will not be worth the aftermath…

    “Elder sister Beking”, Admiral Hamumni stepped forward. She was overjoyed, yet maintained a straight countenance. For this one time she will keep the wounds clean from salt. “I’m ready to examine the next Heavy Water Pool”.

    “Let’s go”. General Beking nodded and the rest were ready to follow.



    “Will you really not be in any danger? If they ganged up on you-”

    “I’m not going to pick a fight with them. Besides, my record of killing beings at the fifth Martial Mortal level is the best validation to my strength. Aside than working together, one, two or even three of them will have to willingly sacrifice their lives to kill me. I don’t believe there is someone so magnanimous among them”.

    Zax chuckled and Anet embraced them.

    They were in their home at Green Snow village. Twenty seven days had passed since Zax exited his closed doors session, with many goals in mind. However, to accomplish anything, he first needed to recover from his battle with the Horned Eel and flaring of the Godlily Retribution.

    It took him nearly a month to return to perfect shape, albeit the Godlily Retribution’s intensity increased by a notch.

    Outside the house there were the sounds of a joyous hubbub. It began two days ago and proliferated every day after. The cause was one for celebration… The freedom to return to New Earth!

    Even more than the given option to live freely in Selivereb, outside Green Snow village and the rules of the five powers, those who immigrated against their will couple of years back were now enthralled by the prospect of meeting their families and friends left behind because their relations to Zax were too distant for his enemies to make association.

    “Help your parents pack. In two days the transportation vehicles will arrive outside the mountain range”. Zax encouraged. “Due to your Mor’s status as a member of the Dauch family, you haven’t seen her for a long time. Be sure to prepare a good gift for Don Ram”.

    “I already did”. Anet smiled. “With Mister Huland’s help I prepared a Pure Core of an adolescent three scales Deformed Being”.

    “A befitting gift. Don Ram won’t be disappointed”. Zax remarked. ‘Mister Huland sure went through a lot of trouble to carry this favor… Does he think that I’ve forgotten my promise to him…?’

    “Get back as soon as you can”. Anet finally released her hold, though she would have preferred to keep and just sit together, talking about what to do for their wedding.

    Zax kissed her forehead and then her lips and left.



    It was nighttime at the northern part of the Western Continent. A figure streaked above the summer clouds like a black ray of a shooting star. Its glittering trail dimmed when it stop above a military base with many, pristine buildings, shrouded by a variety of formations.

    Black glow suffused in Zax’s glare as he scrutinized every nook and cranny in the base below, disregarding the several of formation meant to obstruct all forms of infiltration.

    The first line of small buildings, at the periphery of the base, was all sorts of offices for lower rank personal. Past them, onwards on the tidied roads, was a residential area with towering structures in a four directions array.

    The base had eighteen metallic domes of undetermined purpose and underground abodes that one of which contained aura that caught Zax’s attention.

    Amidst the multitude of formations there was a handful, which Zax’s penetrating gaze could not see through. These were larger than skyscrapers, pillars of unknown materials that sprung from the ground and connected in it. Aside from the pillars, seven of the sizeable buildings surrounding them were rooted to their connection in the ground and also were unobservable.

    Zax concentrated his vision on the pillars and seven buildings and then averted his line of sight to one of the underground abodes that exuded earthly attribute fluctuations.

    He whispered with killing intent. “Debuk Jin, I come to repay my debt”.

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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 15 – Cannot Get Back



    The interior of the chamber was spherical and curved metal plates sealed it from the inside. Its circumference was a hundred and eighty meters and at the center floated a figure shrouded by brown mist, contemplating in meditation the profundity of the earthly attribute.

    Suddenly…

    BOOM!

    The chamber trembled as if a meteorite struck. At the same instant, the surrounding brown mist was sucked in back to the robust, orange haired, golden bearded figure, which then opened its eyes with an aghast look.

    BOOM!

    Before a word could be uttered in response to the first collision, a second occurred and struck true terror in the white skinned figure.

    “T- The- Walls are disbanding!” The sight was so inconceivable that it actually brought some sense to the man. He commenced a motion with his hand, a simple sweep to summon the holographic interface of the chamber, but…

    BOOM!

    CRACK!

    This time the impact was so strong, it felt as if it unthinkably managed to shift the chamber from its secure position. However, this was not the source of fretfulness that froze the hand in its track right before the holographic interface fully materialized, but the cracking sounds that followed and the voice that breached from the outside.

    “Are you there, Debuk Jin?“

    The sinister tone of the speaker sent chills down the coldly drenched back of Debuk Jin. He did not recognize the voice, but the feat of breaking the chamber’s wall from the outside in addition to his apparent animosity toward him, made his mind reel in a search for an answer.



    Zax moved like lightning at first, when he descended and bore to the ground, fists clenched in preparation to destroy the chamber. To his surprise, his fist barely made a few millimeters deep dent. Furthermore, he actually felt a slight pain traveling from his fingers to his wrist!

    After the initial attempt to be swift with handing Debuk Jin his long awaited reprisal, Zax realized…

    ‘The metallic domes and underground abodes… are they made from similar material as the Grand Abode?!’ Even now he was uncertain on whether he could rupture Archbishop Silternjan’s dwelling and the heart of Luminous Church in Ercas Mir, however in contrast to back then, he had a new type of weapon joining his arsenal…

    The second strike contained a hint of the dark element energy at his disposal. It was his first usage of it after Gogenta assisted his spirit advance ten steps closer to the sixth spark of insight.

    “Hahaha!” His voice reverberated in the ground, though not yet inside the chamber, as the bit of dark element energy was only sufficient to make an about two meters in diameter and twenty something centimeters deep reduction in the outer wall of the chamber.

    ‘It’s not an improvement in quality, but who even knows if there is more potent energy than elemental energy!’ Zax stated in his mind without a care for the answer. The attempt with the dark element energy made him animated regardless, since it seems that the close he is to capturing the last bottleneck, the greater quantity of dark element energy he can use and better manipulate with less strain on himself.

    “Eighty percent!” He declared, measuring it as slightly over his former top capacity and deducing it, just from the flow of dark element energy in his body, as the new safe limit.

    As the fist ran its course he already sensed the incoming auras, converging to his position from several locations in the base.

    But the durability of the chamber was bound to give in; they were bound to be late…

    “Let’s see if you’re really in there!”

    After making a small opening and fracturing the wall, Zax easily squeezed his fingers through the larger cracks. With dark element energy aiding his endeavor, he collapsed the weakened parts of wall, creating a human size breach.

    BANG!

    BANG!

    BANG!



    A series of crashes from above resounded as the upper echelon of the Blessed Army burrowed in the earth like fish in water. Zax ignored them and laid his eyes and at the confused and fearful Debuk Jin. He saw the holographic interface next to the man and could read the distress call on the blue panel – it was in Netherling.

    Debuk Jin opened his mouth, but by his expression it was difficult to determine what line of words he was formulating. His eyes lingered on the killing intent in the intruder’s eyes and slowly shifted to decipher the rest of the face.

    Zax allowed it. His timetable was to act before the fifth level Martial Mortal’s presence that was nearing would arrived and Debuk Jin was a fourth level Martial Mortal, so he could spare the time of letting him remembering.

    ‘They are here!’ Zax stepped into the chamber and arrived beside the slow to react Debuk Jin. He grabbed his face with his right hand, sealing his mouth from mumbling nonsense, with his left hand pulverized Debuk Jin’s right shoulder.

    “Zax Zel!” An imposing, vibrant voice berated.

    ‘Right on time’. Zax grinned and glanced back, disregarding Debuk Jin’s painful moans. Normally, a fourth level Martial Mortal would be able to bear the pain, but the manner in which Zax delivered his destructive attribute energy was purposely meant to torment.

    General Logan, accompanied by eleven men and women enter the chamber and halted midair at his manmade entrance. Among them was the person he formerly knew as Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch.

    Putting aside his senior, Zax focused on the leading shorthaired blond man; wearing a shining dark blue armor, silvery pants and a long silvery cape. Though they were inferior to Horn Kikon’s, the man exuded fluctuations that surpassed the fourth Martial Mortal level.

    “General of the Blessed Army, Logan, you are the third leader of the five powers I’ve met”. Zax proclaimed.

    “Release my subordinate!” General Logan maintained a composed countenance, but his tone remained the same as ever.

    Zax did not obey and kept his attention on General Logan.

    “I know he affronted you”. General Logan changed his approach. His former one was merely a test to Zax’s mentality.

    Zax had exchanged blows with Horn Kikon, right after his battle with the Four Wings Stork and was not at a disadvantage. General Logan knew he could not stop him, even if Zax will decide to abduct Debuk Jin right in front of him.

    The fact that Zax only injured Debuk Jin and remained in the base signified that he has an ulterior motive and revenge is just the pretext to his brazen conduct, which dares to offend General Logan on his Blessed Army’s base of operation.

    “What is it that you want in order to forgive and forget?”

    ‘His mannerism sure is composed, even when I’m baiting him to make a move… a stark difference from Horn Kikon and I’m not certain if even Archbishop Silternjan could be so forbearing. No wonder the intel from senior Gid describes him as the best soul expert!’ Zax mused. Continuing his cold shoulder comportment, he veered from General Logan to Ariel. “It had been a long time, senior Ariel. Allow me to show my gratitude for the opportunity you gave me back then. The surface beneath the blue sky sure is interesting and full of adventures”. He dipped his head, sincerely.

    “So, it was really you… I found it hard to believe even when you spread your name after killing the Overlord of the sky. After all, the Curators’ Marks were not something you should have been able to erase; by all accounts it was more logical to think that you’ve died”. Ariel carried a complicated look on his face. To climb to his position in the Blessed Army and afford the trust of General Logan, he made the same oath that cost Gid Chu his mist cultivation base. As such, Gid Chu and Supreme Ruler Trey could not disclose a lot of things with him, among them Zax somehow fooling the five powers’ marks, letting everyone assume that he died.

    “You were the young cultivator Lieutenant General escorted to Ercas Mir…” General Logan, as well as the rest of the ten and even the confined Debuk Jin compared what they already knew about Zax with Ariel’s statement and came to the same realization after finding the matching points.

    This bit of information illuminated more of the identity of the man who fought to a standstill with Horn Kikon. Zax was a contestant in Kingdom Earth’s recent Martial competition, an event with a forty five years age limit. Since then only five years passed. If Zax was forty five years old during the competition, which they all for some reason doubted, then this year he should be fifty… A fifty years old man who reached the Mortal Enlightenment State and probably before the experiencing the passage of a century, will have his Evolutionary Ascension!

    With Zax having other things on his mind and Ariel busy lamenting on the past, neither spotted the fleeting emotional upheaval that astounded the others in the chamber.

    “Yes”. Zax blandly replied.

    A multitude of thoughts surged in General Logan’s sea of consciousness. He laid them all aside. “I’ll say it again, name what you want”.

    “What I want? A payback, for starters. God Demirva’s dark attribute’s essences that was stolen from me, for seconds. Debuk Jin’s life can satisfy the first of my desires. The destruction of Monivore city’s Dewgong family and all those related to the theft of my dark attribute’s essences will satiate my remaining bloodlust”.

    “But you know that I’m not trying to be your merchant of death”. General Logan tactfully denied. “So what else, alternatively, would you want?”

    “My God made dark attribute’s essences-”

    “That’s impossible”. General Logan carefully rejected, always eyeing Zax. He was waiting for this request, but not as one to consent to, but to traverse past…

    “Explain!” Zax frowned and tightened his grip on Debuk Jin’s cheeks, his fingers digging to his sharp cheekbones and producing cracking sounds.

    “We”, General Logan said instead of “Debuk Jin”, “investigated the ordeal in the Dewgong family’s estate. Dewgong Deg obtained his position as mayor of Monivore city from the army. All disturbances related to his family or the city, have to be inspected”.

    “So you discovered the dark attribute’s essences and… used them?!” Zax’s mood deteriorated and his killing intent no longer was exclusively directed at Debuk Jin.

    “A certain member of the Dewgong family absorbed one of the dark attribute’s essences. He was a talented boy Dewgong Deg decided to invest and bet on. Someone with the potential to elevate the status of the Dewgong family in the future, should I’d be enticed to recruit him, in addition to being offered the two dark attribute’s essences. I recruited the lucky boy and used the dark attribute’s essences”.

    Discovering the fate of his precious God made dark attribute’s essences; Zax deliberated what to do… ‘As I feared, the dark attribute’s essences are lost’. Blood slid from Debuk Jin’s impaled face on his clutching hand. “So now the Blessed Army is related to the theft of my dark attribute’s essences”. He turned Debuk Jin around and tore off his left arm, sending needle like threads of dark attribute energy to augment the pain exponentially.

    General Logan’s pupils shrank. Debuk Jin was not a mere fourth level Martial Mortal cultivated on this planet, but someone who accompanied him for thousands of years in the vast space, a countryman from Voltic Star!

    “Stop!” He bellowed.

    Zax threw the torn limb and drew the dark attribute energy, permitting Debuk Jin to pass out. Glaring at General Logan, he informed in a heavy tone. “What do I want? Everything!”

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    Book 10 – Immortal

    Chapter 16 – A Way Out



    “’Everything’, you say?” One of the women in the group accompanying General Logan, slender and young looking lass, blurted. “What insanity! What gall!” She emanated fluctuations of the fourth Martial Mortal level, coalesced with fiery attribute energy.

    “Am I?” Zax emitted a vicious glare at the woman. An invisible undulation traversed the distance between them in a blink of an eye and sunk into her glabella, while Zax watched in expectation.

    “Argh!” The woman groaned in pain. For a brief moment her pupils were unfocused and when they regained their clarity, the white in her eyes turned reddish.

    A long range soul attack of a fifth level Martial Mortal who is not specializing in the soul will not harm a fourth level Martial Mortal, but the one Zax delivered contained a trace of dark element.

    “Omina, stand still!” General Logan ordered. He hurriedly tapped her glabella and by the time he removed his finger, the slender Omina’s complexion recovered.

    “You are not proficient with the soul”. General Logan commented to Zax. “The strength of your soul attack was overbearing, but that is due to the Mortal Enlightenment state and the portion of element energy you possess”.

    “It was merely an experiment”. Zax declared, still scowling, though inwardly he agreed with General Logan. Despite his innately unique soul and the decision to study more on soul’s techniques and formations, there was too little quality material available to learn from for his level and to develop something of his own was too time consuming.

    Omina bit her lower lip and reluctantly kept quiet. She, like Debuk Jin, served as General Logan subordinate since before finding this planet. Her grasp of the overall situation calculated variables a bumpkin from a remote Plain, such as Zax, could not comprehend. There was a limit for how much she could indulge Zax. Even if he will sooner or later have his Evolutionary Ascension and she will forever be stuck as a Mortal, those she and her General answer to are way above the Heavenly Immortal rank.

    “Be specific with what you want”. General Logan requested. Obviously he did not take seriously Zax’s ridiculous outburst; otherwise he might as well give escape to Horn Kikon and seek his help in dealing with Zax, a possibility he counted the latter took into consideration.

    “Set aside my uncompromised demand for revenge on the Dewgong family”, Zax’s killing intent temporarily subsided. “If you don’t have something of similar value to God made dark attribute’s essences, then how do you imagine yourself capable of compensating me?!”

    “By trading quantity for quality”. General Loran’s reply hinted that he already deliberated on the issue. “As long as we are in Ercas Mir, resources of equal value to God Demirva’s dark attribute’s essence are not available to me, however cultivation resources of a bit lower quality I have in abundance”.

    “Will they be sufficient in nurturing a fourth level Martial Mortal?” From Gid Chu Zax learned that the person controlling the Mercenary Association, Sheldon was the previous and first cultivator to absorb a perfect God made dark attribute’s essence and that through it he reached the fifth Martial Mortal level. His stolen dark attribute’s essences were second rate goods in comparison, but were still the God made; therefore they could still bring forth a fourth level Martial Mortal with a chance for greater heights. Hence, his query was more than reasonable.

    “This… I can’t promise”. General Logan was compelled to admit, yet his disposition had not dithered. “But a regiment of third level Martial Mortal is achievable, and that may be of greater worth than a pair of fourth level Martial Mortals”.

    For most cultivators, the third level of the Martial Mortal realm was a threshold in the understanding of the attributes. Succeeding to cross it is a testimony to one’s future prospects, at least on the Mortal path.

    “I don’t need a regiment. I would rather have a set future for one or three people close to me”. Zax claimed. “Something else, offer me something other than cultivation resources, if you aren’t able to put up a treasure equal in quality to my dark attribute’s essences”. He deliberately pressed on General Logan, for there was something he wanted, which a composed General Logan would only make difficult to obtain.

    This time, General Logan was not in a rush to make offers, as he was forced to a tricky spot. The Blessed Army did have quite a few things that could be traded for the dark attribute’s essence, but the reason they were precious was because they were not of this planet. Initially, he believed that he could appease Zax with cultivation resources, as many as he will desire – the Blessed Army accumulated plenty of resources fit for the Mortal realm from its voyages in space and thousands of years on this sprouting cultivation planet. Now it no longer seemed to be the case.

    “Name what you want”. He stopped being in the mood to entertain this guessing game. Worse comes to worst, he was prepared to escape and contact Horn Kikon.

    “Release senior Ariel from his oath”. Zax demanded.

    “Done”. General Logan did not quibble and before Zax’s voice faded and the Lieutenant Generals behind could react, he let out white smoke from his spatial ring, residues of whatever means he possessed to bound Ariel.

    While the others could only see white smoke, Ariel had also felt something inside of him being set free. The shackles that restricted him in favor of the Blessed Army were removed without harming his cultivation base.

    “At the day he would have returned to Voltic Star I had planned to rescind your oath anyway”. General Logan told Ariel. Ultimately, the former strongest human indigenous was an extraordinary talent he truly wanted to foster.

    “You are free now, senior Ariel”, Zax said without the slightest indication of satisfaction. “Collect your stuff and the personal you care about, you’re leaving with me”.

    “Go”. General Logan also instructed Ariel, before he will speak words of goodbye and gratitude, otherwise, he will not feel obliged to return.

    “Next… I want a method to leave this planet, to travel with whomever I choose to among the stars”. Zax revealed his aspiration. Instead of going about the content of the Blessed Army’s repository, he figured he should think big for something no one else can give him and would comfort his loss of the dark attribute’s essences.

    “A spacecraft?” General Logan muttered, bewildered and the Lieutenant Generals at his back just as shocked.

    “Yes. You and Horn Kikon are from the same faction, but arrived here separately, right? Either way it means you have two spacecrafts, so it won’t be a problem for you to return to your home planet”.

    Out of Zax’s expectation, the moment he finished presenting his reasoning, instead of outraging, General Logan and the rest stared with amusement, as if unsure whether they should laugh.

    “Am I entertaining you?” Zax frowned.

    “Entertain?” General Logan retained a straight countenance. “You can say you are”. Apparently, as funny as he thought Zax’s demand, it still struck a nerve. “You are but an uneducated cultivator from an uncouth Star and Plain, which is why you can’t be blame for your ignorance. Spacecrafts, such as the ones, we leader of the five powers command, are not things mortals can possess, not even first rank Immortals are qualified to own them. Our spacecrafts are the property of Mythical Immortals, their value outstrips even tens of thousands imperfect God made attribute’s essences. Three…? Do you understand now what’s laughable?”

    ‘Claiming the property of a Mythical Immortal…’ Zax grumbled inwardly. He grudgingly recede his greed, but what came in its place was once again a surge of killing intent that assaulted his adversaries. “I’m not mad”.

    His resignation did not gladden General Logan one bit. On the contrary, by finding nothing satisfactory in the earlier proposal and not getting his second demand fulfilled, there was a clear sign in Zax’s killing intent that this time it was not just for show, but actually belligerent.

    “I’ll say one last time. If the next thing you offer will not meet my standards, then Everything it will be… Every patch of land belonging to the Blessed Army’s territory in the Western Continent will be the price, in addition to the lives I own!”

    ‘Prepare to execute your battle formation!’ General Logan ordered his Lieutenant Generals. ‘Should a battle commence, I’ll buy the time to imitate it, take Debuk Jin and escape to Horn Kikon!’ Of course, he had to mean for them to help him fight back in the base, but considering the recent Godly Law Template discoveries, he preferred to retreat and conserve his secret methods for the cause of their presence on this planet.

    Mist energy circulated covertly and auras were restrained, but the Lieutenant Generals were taut, ready for the word.

    “I can’t offer a spacecraft to travel from Plain to Plain, but a vessel to accommodate a number of people in a journey between the Stars, that is something I can realize”. General Logan studied Zax for his response, to catch ahead of time the faintest indication of a follow up action to the latter’s intent.

    Pondering, Zax asked: “Then to travel solely within this plain, that is the Milky Way galaxy?”

    “To my knowledge, ’Milky Way galaxy’, by the records of your Kingdom Earth, is the given name the aboriginal of this Star, or planet, refer to this Plain”. General Logan confirmed. “In fact, as it is too remote and not containing local civilizations with the capability to leave for other Plains, this Plain had not met the requirements for an official name”.

    Zax did not care about General Logan’s explanation, only his affirmation. ‘The Milky Way galaxy can be called “backwater” and “lacking”’. He thought. ‘Insulting as it sounds, to take offence depended on who said it’.

    The five powers were hailed from places with Mythical Immortals. Obviously, their homes are much more prosperous and their aspirations lying only where they are certain of fortune.

    Gogenta’s perspective resulted from a different frame of mind. He was at the Peak of Immortality, at the summit of the Neonate Immortal rank – what even that means. Forget the Milky Way galaxy, perhaps his opinion will not differ when mentioning the Plains of the Holy Palace, Planetary Battalion and Voltic Star.

    Lastly, the Milky Way galaxy’s diameter is over one hundred thousand light years. Zax could only recall this bit of trivia from light reading he did as a child in Pre Core school. Even now the subject was beyond his understanding, but by reflecting on another piece of trivia…

    ‘Over a hundred billions Stars!’

    His adventurous spirit was stirred to the point of nearly being thrown out from his body.

    “How long will it take, using the vessel at your disposal, to cross the size of this Plain?” Zax estimated his fastest speed at roughly ten times the speed of sound. There was no means of transport in Ercas Mir that could rival his speed and although he was willing to give the benefit of the doubt to General Logan’s offered spacecraft, he was worried that even if it was faster than him by tens of thousands of time, in his lifetime he will still be limited to a tiny serving of the Milky Way galaxy.

    General Logan calculated for a second and even appeared to consulting someone via his communicator.

    “As long as you do not attempt to leave this Plain, the Star Scavenger I can promise you can accelerate up to a speed of fifty three light years. As for the matter of fuel… it won’t be a problem for me to provide you a sufficient amount for several roundtrips across this Plain”.

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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 17 – Three, Two, One Leaving An Impression





    “Take Lieutenant General Debuk Jin to the Medical Center. Is injuries are too severe…” General Logan instructed as his line of sight fixated on the horizon and the distant back of the departing figure.


    Eventually, he successfully reached an agreement with Zax. To avoid conflict, his Blessed Army paid one Star Scavenger for one dark attribute’s essence, which would be delivered fully equipped within a month. To compensate for the second dark attribute’s essence, General Logan offered again the resources to assist the nurturing of third level Martial Mortals, but since the price was still insufficient, he also added a thousand ton of each type of medium quality attribute’s essence. This staggering amount of attribute’s essences impressed Zax even more than the other promised resources and he even suspected that much of it was gathered and brought over from other Stars and Plains. For the third dark attribute’s essence Zax had a change of mind and asked for nothing tangible, other than a piece of a rather special type of paper, an Oath Parchment with General Logan word of assistance in one endeavor. The last sums to pay were the arrest of the Dewgong family and their extradition to Kingdom Earth, along with the permit for Monivore city.


    General Logan closed his eyes and sighed, an unbecoming gesture for someone of his rank, hence an invisible ripple spread from his sea of consciousness outward, mesmerizing all onlookers in his base.


    ‘If the Violet Star Commander was not pressured by those other Immortals, I wouldn’t have needed to care about offending Heavenly Immortals, much less someone who is just at the Mortal Enlightenment state’. If need be, in every other assignment he could have asked for Immortal reinforcement, but here he only had Horn Kikon. ‘Hopefully, Hamumni’s investigation will lead to the whereabouts of the Godly Law Template. We’ve been here too long’.





    Although his desire was mostly fulfilled, Zax was far from being complacent, for he now was on his way to tangle with yet another fifth level Martial Mortal, the strongest of the five powers…


    Violet Scaled Troops’ headquarters was located at the southern region of the Western Continent, at a place referred to as “Yellow Grassland”. It was a meadow of coarse and sharp yellow grass that grew by absorbing the nutrients in the warm yellow sand in which it took root. The meadow stretched for almost four kilometers and several kinds of Deformed Beings were grazing freely at its expanse. It was a soothing panorama that was only ruined by the grotesque pillar of earth that stuck up at its center, hundreds of meters from the ground and with circumference of one point five kilometers, like an extremely oversized termites nest.


    This grotesque, earthly structure was the Violet Scaled Troops’ headquarters, otherwise known as the Great Cave. Though it would not seem like it at the moment, but the Great Cave had over a hundred entries, however they were all sealed until the next time Violet Scaled Troops will hold the Elite Tryouts. The only entrance that was constantly open was at the top of the Great Cave.


    Zax arrived above the Great Cave and his presence far from being concealed, like when he got to the Blessed Army. Consequently, this time he received a proper welcome…


    “Why have you come here?” Horn Kikon’s voice reverberated from the Great Cave, dispersing the soft patches of white clouds that left slow moving shadows on the meadow. Following the enquiry, a golden man, cladding a red fur cloak emerged out of the top entrance.


    “For a more than a fair trade”. Zax smiled sincerely, knowing that he could not uphold the same mien he used in the confrontation with General Logan.


    “A trade?” Horn Kikon crossed all four of his four arms. He too was perfectly aware that in this occurrence his feral temper will fail to intimidate the adversary before him. Nevertheless, the aura he emanated was as regal as ever. “Ulvi involvement was negligible; you are not eligible for her life”. After Horn Kikon informed his Feathers, fourth level Martial Mortals, about Zax’s prodigious rise, Ulvi told him what happened in Monivore city. Since then he was prepared for Zax’s arrival, whether General Logan alerted him of his visit or not.


    “Knowing your reputation, I’m not convinced that you would’ve spared anyone who even looked at you the wrong way”. Zax snorted. “Ulvi wasn’t the main instigator, but her participation in my pursuit is indisputable”.


    “Even so…” Horn Kikon frowned. Dropping his arms, he moved to a transformation posture, should the need arise. “You are alive”.


    “Even so…” Zax unleashed his black aura. “I’m pissed”.


    Silence.


    The two were in a stalemate. Neither was willing to back down nor initiate a meaningless fight.


    “I said that I will agree to a trade”. Zax repeated, waving his stubbornness and took Horn Kikon’s quiet as an indication of being listened to. “Annulling my feud with Ulvi for surrendering someone else”.


    “Who?” Horn Kikon asked in a heavy tone.


    “Someone from the Malignant Monkey clan, a Velvet Furred Alouatta named Mand”.


    “Him?! My Feather’s Chaoyue apprentice!” Horn Kikon bellowed, referring to Huland’s father.


    “Better a Feather’s apprentice than a Feather clipped!” Zax retorted.


    “He is a Chaoyue”. Horn Kikon took pride as the epitome of his kind, and although he cared more about his subordinates’ cultivation, he still had a bias for those of an esteemed type as a beast.


    “Do I look like I give a damn?!” Zax shot back angrily. “Kikon, a dirtbag is a dirtbag no matter how you address him”.


    “How did he offend you?” From Zax’s comment, Horn Kikon realized that the issue was more personal to Zax than he assumed.


    “He killed someone he shouldn’t”. Zax answered plain and simple, to avoid implicating Huland. “That’s all I’m going to say on the matter. Are you sending him out? I know that he is in your Great Cave”.


    The wind blew from all four direction of the compass, bringing with it a veil of dark cloud that slowly shrouded the bright sky. The stimulation of the elements was triggered by the movement of the ubiquitous worldly attributes energy, as it was drawn by Zax and Horn Kikon.


    In the meadow, the grazing Deformed Being felt their instincts shivering and hastily left in a stampede.


    Horn Kikon’s golden, four armed human body erupted as he transformed the moment the first cold drop of rain touched his pristine skin and a purple lightning snapped from above.


    Meanwhile, a black luster washed over Zax, a glimpse of his true self since his three aspects and spirit transformed to dark attribute.


    Neither had the power to summon the electric and icy attributes, but those attributes were everywhere and the mild similarities between their different Properties with the Properties of Zax and Horn Kikon’s attributes were sufficient enough to induce this weather change.


    From the top entrance of the Great Cave, several colorful beams emerged, seven in total. They were all beasts, as in their animalistic forms of wings, fur, talons, scales and fangs. They were all the present Feathers, fourth level Martial Mortals, in the Great Cave.


    “Send him to me, Ulvi!” Horn Kikon’s voice suppressed the sounds of thunder.


    A yellow furred, pink feathered beast woman that was vaguely familiar to Zax, flew from the group of seven, but to whom type she belonged as a beast, he was completely clueless. It was a shame that this part in human history from before the great immigration to the world beneath the earth was lost, nonetheless, even then a being such as her was considered unreal, a mythological creature.


    The harpy Ulvi left behind her a streak of pink and yellow, as she approached her Horn and in her talons held a swaying Velvet Furred Alouatta.


    Horn Kikon swept with one of his dragon arms and the Alouatta’s shoulders were torn from the harpy’s talons and its entire unconscious body was flung toward Zax.


    Zax caught the Alouatta and without saying a word departed.


    An expression that rarely appear on the nightmarish head of Horn Kikon, rather than the expected rowdiness, he looked gloom.


    Ulvi, who was nearest to him, averted her gaze and returned to the Great Cave with the other six Feathers, leaving their Horn with his innermost thoughts.





    It took Huland a bit of time to compose himself. The unconscious Mand was right there on the ground, in front of him, in his glorious Chaoyue animalistic form that made this stranger more of a son to his father then he ever was.


    In his animalistic Chaoyue form, Mand was quite big to place inconspicuously in Green Snow village, so Zax contacted Huland at a remote spot in the green valley.


    “That’s him, correct?”


    “Y- Y- Yes…” Huland stuttered.


    “Good. I’ll be on my way now. In a while please prepare whoever wants to return to Kingdom Earth. A lot of changes in this continent will soon take place, but it’d be a process and for now I still think that it’d be safer for our people to not wander”. Zax finished saying and took flight, back to New Earth, Valgarel, where his faience was waiting with his Martial family.





    The days moved fast since Zax concluded the last of his paybacks and the promise to Huland. Many things were to follow that will influence the life of every New Earth resident, human or a beast. There was so much to do that required careful planning for apt execution, and Zax could neither do alone nor had the experience.


    Luckily, with Ariel free from his oath and Gid Chu once again free to return to New Earth, the three original Supreme Rulers of Kingdom Earth could unite again to lend a hand in this new endeavor for the entire population of Kingdom Earth. Just, before they could act, there was one more thing Zax had to provide them help with.


    In addition to Ariel and Gid Chu, Supreme Ruler Trey Zoearth was also bound by an oath to the Blessed Army. Albeit, a less harsh oath, in comparison to the former two, but an oath nonetheless, which only General Logan could annul – and he did.


    Kingdom Earth, El-Eden’s Parliament building.


    At the seventy second floor’s conference room, seventy eight sitting placements were neatly ordered in three rows in a crescent arrangement. Before each ground seat was a golden table with a touch screen, a black green labeled bottle and a small cup.


    All seventy eight seats and tables were directed at six identical seats and tables that were arranged oppositely.


    Three corridors led to the conference room. Two of the conference room’s entrances opened, the main and east wing, and a male and female attendant in black suits gestured in to a stream of people with an august bearing. Those esteemed who came from the main entrance found their names across the touch screens of the third and second rows’ tables, while those revered who passed the threshold of the east wing entrance had their placements marked in the first row.


    Seventy eights spots were filled and a bell rang. The west wing door opened and three figures went in line.


    Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch, Supreme Ruler Trey Zoearth and Supreme Ruler Ar Yen Takeda. The moment they stepped on the conference room’s polished tiles, the seventy eight people already waiting straightened their backs with solemn expressions, though those formal appearances quickly turned stunned when the next two figures entered the room.


    Former Supreme Ruler Gid Chu Takeda walked, smilingly, side by side with an unfamiliar face.


    “A beast?” Someone conjectured silently by the striking presence radiating from the short brown haired, earthly fur cladded young looking man. What was more outstanding was the cultivation of the young man. None of the seventy eight people could determine his strength. Even the strict, superintendent Ten of the top Martial school, Eden Formation, was at a complete loss.


    “Don’t take offence, Mister Huland. Most of them had yet to behold the vastness of the blue sky”. Gid Chu tapped Huland’s shoulder.


    “It’s fine”. Huland nodded.


    “Another person?” An elderly woman from the first row inquired as the attendants of the west wing entrance still maintained their gesture.


    One foot after the other, Zax entered the conference room last. At a first glance, he looked awfully unassuming, especially coming behind already so many dignified and imposing figures. But at a second glance, through the eyes of those whose gazes lingered a little bit longer, for a fleeting instant, the images of a monarch was ascending his throne was captured.

  17. #297
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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 18 – He Is Warranted





    There were six seats staring at the crowed of seventy eight. Kingdom Earth’s Supreme Rulers of past and present settled on the four middle ones while Huland and Zax rested on the leftmost and rightmost seats.


    Tension filled the conference room. One reason was the return of former Supreme Ruler Gid Chu Takeda, another was the unfathomable strange beast in human form, Huland, the mysterious subject for which they converged to deliberate was a third; fourth and last… the appearance of Zax, someone all of them knew about and few cared to remembered, a deceased who is back with the living, moreover sharing seats with their Supreme Rulers!


    Among the seventy eight pairs of eyes, several observed Zax with mixed emotions that weighed heavenly on their hearts by the moment; people who came to know him at different occurrences and either followed his exploits as he grew up or researched them afterwards.


    The first name on this short list of astonished and recognizable faces was Habul Majid. The cheerful founder of the Majid family was known as a strong Mist User when Zax was a child. His progression on the Martial path was slightly above average when his name began to shine, yet it somehow sprouted when he became a Mist Lord. Whatever means he discovered, internal or external, improved his cultivation by leaps and bound, in a few short years he reached the Peak of the first Core Master level.


    In fact, not one person in the conference room was below the second realm of Martial cultivation and Habul was among the weakest sitting at the third row.


    Next in line was none else than Don Dauch, Anet’s Mor and Eden Formation’s retired school principal. Unexpectedly, the deep expression of the red head middle age woman was more akin to a scowl than surprise. Her placement in the first row was evidence to her profound cultivation, the Peak of the second realm. In the past few years, Anet visited her Mor whenever she accompanied Zax to New Earth. In one of those visits, she gifted Don a Pure Core of an adult two scales Deformed Being. To Anet’s dismay, though, Zax never bothered to see her Mor, not even after forcing her to leave New Earth.


    Another person that shared an apprehensive scowl was Linda Marzel, matriarch of the Marzel family who Zax once associated with Linor, due to the similarities in their names and crafts, and whom great grandson, Razil, suffered a painful reprisal for his conduct toward Anet in the Martial competition.


    “Heck, boy, didn’t you die?!” Superintendent Ten snapped, breaking the silence. Following his comment, all attention was shifted to Zax.


    “Senior Ten”. Zax smiled affirmatively. He was not a student anymore so he dropped the “Superintendent”.


    A burst of white aura erupted from the old superintendent. Avoiding disturbing the people at his sides and back, superintendent Ten projected his bright mist energy at Zax.


    “Old man Ten, are you nuts!” The white haired and wrinkled woman sitting beside him exclaimed. Her cultivation was at the Peak of the second realm and despite not being harmed, the overbearing fluctuations still gave her a scare.


    “Thank you for taking care of me”. Before more people could respond, Zax’s voice sounded in everyone’s ears, but his words were especially emphasized in superintendent Ten’s. Subsequent to the blinding glare, a flash of blackness veiled all spectating eyes, with no exception, and with it vanished the imperious second level Martial Mortal’s projection of superintendent Ten.


    “Boy, to what sort of monster have you turned to?” Superintendent Ten granted with a pale face. His three aspects had a stifling sensation, particularly in his dantian; almost like his mist cultivation was sealed permanently rather than momentarily suppressed.


    Watching superintendent Ten, one of the scarce Martial Mortals in New Earth, surrendering, alarmed the men and women in the room and intensified the suspense.


    “Everyone”, Supreme Ruler Ariel raised his hand and a soothing breeze swept the crowd. “Allow me to introduce”. He gestured right. “Leader of Dark Glare, our Kingdom Earth’s ally from beneath the blue sky, Mister Huland”.


    “Greetings”. Huland nodded. His identity and profound cultivation captivated the seventy two figures and spawned a multitude of thoughts, more than his place of origin managed to arouse.


    In fact…


    One year ago, the expedition group led by Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch’s ninth son, Mortimer Dauch, finally returned into New Earth. The members of the expedition left as Mist Lords but upon their return all broke through to the Core Master realm. For a bunch of people to simultaneously create such a feat was definitely not a coincidence, but the notion of some magical treasure that could benefit Martial cultivation by such degree and be obtained above the ground, was also too outrageous to publicize to the general population. Hence, the report of the expedition group was split into two versions that were revised by the Supreme Rulers.


    The version released to the populace coordinated with the collective belief. It spoke about a marvelous, yet dangerous world, mentioning Deformed Beings, accessibility to cultivation resources, layout of the Western Continent and even talked about small communities that happened to be up there, villages and tribes who ostensibly were remnants of the human and beast populations from before the great immigration to New Earth, thousands of years ago.


    Then there was the more informative version only the high echelon of Kingdom Earth was eligible to. Those were the families founders and several organizations leaders with good record under their belt in their service to the three main great families of Kingdom Earth, Douch, Zoearth and Takeda.


    In their report, the five powers were carefully detailed as the real governing force of the entire planet, as well as the cities and clans of the Western Continent, Mercenary Association and even expectation of Immortality was vaguely touched upon.


    Although this alone was not the sole outlook on Ercas Mir for some of the people among the seventy two, for several who just recently attained their revered status it was an eye opener.


    “The man to my left is someone some of you personally know and others should have only seen from afar or heard about”. Supreme Ruler Ariel moved on to gesture toward Zax. Moreover, there was a distinguish change in his tone, different from amiable and dominant he was recognizable by.


    “Zax Zel…” Matriarch Linda uttered from her seat at the second row.


    Habul Majid smiled and nodded in approval, acting like a prideful elder. He did not try to be discreet and his attitude made Zax wonder what went inside the head of the cordial man’s whose son never get his fair chance with his big sister.


    ‘Is he thinking of matching me with his daughter as a sort of compensation… was Masela her name?’


    An aged man and woman sitting side by side also gave Zax an affirmative nudge of head from the third row, but they were unfamiliar to him.


    Two seats to the left of superintendent Ten was the old woman who sat beside him during the Martial competition. She was one of the few Martial Mortals of Kingdom Earth and her line of sight repetitively shifted back to Gid Chu after each time Supreme Ruler Ariel’s voice stopped.


    “What about him?” A thick voice inquired from the first row. It was a man with short needle like black hair and a tattoo of a spiral cube at the back of his neck. He was Neyrar’s father, was still Kingdom Earth’s recent Martial Mortal and also… the one responsible for Carl’s death.


    Unlike Habul Majid, who also met Zax as a child, he did not remember their encounter in the first Savage Cave. Zax, on the other hand…


    His mien and even frame of mind were composed. The grudge he had for the man had long been forgotten; at worse he was a little prejudice, yet unsure in what manner to proceed should they interact.


    “Heaven”, Supreme Ruler Ariel slowly replied to Neyrar’s father, otherwise known as Heaven, but as words started accumulating in his throat, his tongue halted and he realized that not one lone person in the room was qualified for personal clarification on Zax. “Everyone, Zax Zel is a citizen of my El-Eden. A year after the last Martial competition I guided him to the blue sky of Ercas Mir and the next time I saw him he told me this…”


    Thus, Supreme Ruler Ariel narrated Zax’s tale in Ercas Mir, at least what the latter chose to disclose.


    With ups, downs and breaks in between for an aromatic cup of tea and then an hour later for an afternoon repast; the story came to an end when far above their heads, in Selivereb of Ercas Mir, the sun had completely set.


    With the passing of another hour, the seventy two honored men and women sunk into self reflection, for they all had been outclassed by a member of the younger generation, both in cultivation and contribution to Kingdom Earth. Then, one by one, gazes turned up and to their right with humility and now everyone could witness the missed second glance.


    A man cupped his hands and tilted his head down and like so, the first to pose in gratitude was Heaven. Subsequently, seventy one more people acknowledge a new sort of existence at not a lower prominence than former and current Supreme Rulers.


    He was young, youngest in the room, in fact, by decades and centuries; however, there were things that exceeded seniority in value.


    The most basic one that he had over everyone in the room was Strength!


    “Liberation” was the second.


    Once upon a time, two unparalleled men and an unfathomable woman came and vanquished a powerhouse by the short name “UGNE”; as a result, freeing the oppressed and uniting humanity toward a brighter future.


    Today, an incomprehensible man shattered all obstacles and opened a clear path to the world beneath the blue sky.





    “It is too dangerous before establishing ourselves and to do so would take time. The common folks will lose patience fast”. A middle aged woman in a dark purple suit stated her opinion from the first row of seats. Her name was Umer Lia Hern and she was the matriarch of Tongguo’s Hern great family.


    “Obtaining an already functioning city is helpful in settling our foundation, but Monivore city is too distant for first realm cultivators to traverse on their own, let alone non cultivators”. Supreme Ruler Trey affirmed.


    “Sir… forgive me, mister Huland, is it possible for your organization to supply intelligence on the five powers’ major movement in Selivereb?” A dorky looking young man in the second row asked. His cultivation at the second Core Master level was mediocre in present company, but no one in the first row dared to disparage him, for he was Heaven’s Shadow in the Basement Floor of the Core Breaker Guild, an up and coming youth who said to have broken the Assassination Stele of records before unmasking himself and accepting Heaven as his Mor.


    “Inside of several clans and cities, with eighty to ninety percent certainty. Outside, it depends where, which power and what prior preparations were taken”. Huland replied.


    “This matter involves the entirety of New Earth, at least those with influence”. An old man in the third row noted. His cultivation was a hairline from the third Core Master level and his status was the Head Steward in a prominent household in Shitou that recently suffered a tragedy, leaving only the young heir alive. “What about the Valgarel’s tribes and His Valor Ozeyn? Are we to worry of them colluding with Blue Sea or Violet Scaled Troops?”


    “If they yearn for the blue sky, they’ll assist. Otherwise, they would be left behind, as simple as that”. Zax declared, and although there was nothing special in his voice, his words were perceived as law.


    “Yurnal and Ozeyn are in good relationship and the ruler of beasts also acts with his species in mind”. Gid Chu explained. “And finally, aren’t we from the same Earth?”


    “The Blessed Army and Violet Scaled Troops are under the same banner. General Logan welcomed the residents of New Earth to Ercas Mir with the conclusion of his negotiation with Zax. Since he stays his hand, Horn Kikon will act in accordance”. Supreme Ruler Ariel said.


    “And the remaining three powers are far and deep in the sea and Eastern Continent with their leaders”. Supreme Ruler Trey said. “It’s rather the unrelated locals that we need to consider”.


    “Independent experts, mercenaries, villages and tribes… They are spread all around the continent. Even in just the land allocated to New Earth there are still millions of humans and beasts, even more Deformed Beings. That’s a huge number, depends on how we want to deal with the land. One method of dwindling it is exiling all settlements and letting the Blessed Army and Violet Scaled Troops take responsibility”. A robust woman with smooth, pink skin and silver ponytail proposed. “Or, we can assimilate them in a fashion of our choosing, making them the foundation of New Earth’s settlement”.


    Huland shook his head. “It’s more complicated than ‘I’m strong, you are weak, obey’. Have you considered the matter of faith? The villages and tribes are a lot more pious than cities and clans. They worship Gods and would rather die than denounce their beliefs. I know that here the absence of religious air is replaced by honoring the ancestors, so it’s a bit difficult to understand if you’d never been to a ceremony in which the manifestation of a God descended. Set aside promoting cultural and religious tolerance, what would you do to prevent your commoners from being converted to a dogma beyond your sphere of control?”


    Several grumbling and musing tones sounded in the conference room as the issue was revised.


    “Miss Omenera’s first proposition may be the quick solution”. A blond woman in a black dress and white blouse said, referring to the reboots woman’s exile option.


    “That’s right”. Huland agreed.


    “Except in Luminous Church’s territory, this method is frequently used by four of the five powers when they institute a new city or clan… They don’t care about what beliefs there are in tribes and villages, but in their cities and clans, their rules are absolute. Not agreeing means you better depart or wait to be arrested, penalized and if lucky, thrown out”. Gid Chu said. “As for the church, heretics are to be killed on the spot”.

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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 19 – Lensi And Zel




    “Four years”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen closed and got up from his seat along with the five humans and beast by his sides.


    Four years was the time given to complete the project “Back To The Blue Sky”.


    Back To The Blue Sky, in its competition, any citizen of Kingdom Earth will have the freedom to wander from New Earth to Ercas Mir.


    It was divided to four phases, each having the span of a year to conclude, each supervised by an administration of eighteen of the seventy two honored men and women, plus a Supreme Ruler, past and current. Only the first phase would include one more person and it would be Huland, who will help Gid Chu and the other eighteen lay the groundwork in Selivereb.


    As for Zax’s part in the project? Well, nothing that requires actual time or effort. His deterring presence is more than enough of help for this enterprise and besides, there are other things he will rather do.





    “Little Zax, enough with the gloomy face. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to have you as company for these couple of days, but by now you dampened the mood so much that it’s unbearable!” Laivien nudged again and again her big white doe head against Zax’s little human head.


    “It had been eighteen days”. Zax complained while leaning on the egg shape, meter tall violet stone in the pavilion. “I’ve made the decision the moment I knew nothing can harm us, in whatever form you want to describe it, and I thought she made it when I proposed”.


    “She did make it”. Laivien applied more forced and shoved Zax out of the pavilion. “With her heart”, she continued. “But she is a cultivator and your proposal was too sudden. For this commitment, she can agree in advance, though it’s inappropriate, but to follow through she must dispel even the tiniest doubt”. She shook her head with a sigh. “Perhaps, if you were a bit more romantic, then she would have been a bit more mentally prepared. Alas, you are not better than my Kartion and she is just as poor as me”.


    “Tsk!” Zax stood up and rubbed his bottom from the dirt, signing to Laivien’s Krikitories caretakers that he does not need help. “I won’t bicker with you about my romantic talents; otherwise, I might as well have stayed home, hearing from my mom and sisters”.


    “Then why won’t you go to big brother and my Kartion? They surely don’t care of talks about romance”.


    “Because I don’t feel like contemplating over Grandmaster Kartion’s Three Stages Of Hyper Physique”. Due to the flow of the conversation, he did not want to say out loud that by her side, since childhood, it always been easier to calm down. He did not need to, she knew. However, this time she was not willing to take his side or be the comforting, loveable Laivien.


    The two were quiet, but the small valley was lively with the playful tunes of the young Krikitories.


    The little ones caught Zax’s line of sight on them and immediately waved their short bear arms up high, calling. “Bukibi! Bukibi! Mohey! Mohey!”


    “Mohey” was not a world in their species’ vocabulary, but the rough attempt of the little ones to pronounce the word “Play”.


    “Two more days”. Zax said and started walking toward the small group of young Krikitories. “Afterwards, I’ll simply intrude and whisper all the lovey dovey words in the world to her ears as she ruminates. See if I’m not romantic enough”.


    “Silly little Zax”. Laivien jeered.





    Fortunately for Anet, her session of introspection concluded at the noon of the nineteenth day, else, who knows how she would have handled it if Zax stuck to his absurd threat?


    The place she sat in seclusion was her old school, Eden Formation. Both he and she were in New Earth, as well as their friends and families, who he dragged to Ercas Mir, excluding a thirty or so who chose to stay behind for one reason or another.


    The number of caves and tunnels keeping them far apart was in the tens but the number of kilometers was in the hundreds. He could not have known when she will exit, so before the end of the twentieth day, it was up to her to come to him.


    After a day of fooling around, the young Krikitories were scolded back to their lessons and Zax was left lying on a hill of yellow grass, glaring for hours past the mist of the Essence Cave, at the Sun Stones embedded to the ceiling far above his head.


    “Hm?” A frail sound of footsteps was picked up by his ears, catching his attention. Their tempo was different than anyone in the Martial family, regardless of what form they were, yet somewhat similar to Zetsa’s.


    His heart beat like a drum and his pupils shrank. He was about to move, at his greatest, unrestrained speed, but the person approaching seemed to figure him out in advance and before Zax pulled his chest up, Anet appeared atop him.


    Of course he was faster and could intercept her movement before her brain even sent the initial signal to her feet, but…


    “Ladies first”. He teased her as the worry of the past nineteenth days scattered from his mind. From her face, he could read her answer and despite it, eagerly urged her to voice it.


    “I’m ready”.





    Last month of the year 5800.


    Morning of the day of the wedding.


    Inside a cabin surrounded by a smoky mist and shielded by protective formation, Zax was sitting on his knees clothed in a black tuxedo and wearing elegant black shoes. With his face shaved and his hair cut he was looking at the two men before him, also on their knees and with their back straight.


    One was Marco Zel, his father.


    Another was Kartius, in his human form –black eyed, black haired middle aged man with two protrusions in his forehead – for the first time since he broke through the third realm, also his father.


    Marco was likewise wearing a tuxedo and Kartius cladded himself in a black fur robe.


    The trio waited silently, until Marco checked his watch and announced: “It’s time”.


    They stood up, Kartius subtly mimicking Marco’s mannerism, and exited the cabin.


    With Zax in the lead, the smoky mist of the Essence Cave parted, allowing a clear, straight path.


    “Because of her pregnancy, Laivien can’t move” was the reason.


    “Then we will come to her” was the solution.


    Thus, it was decided by both Zax and Anet, with Grandmaster Kartion’s approval, to hold the wedding ceremony in Laivien’s valley, the other side of the path.





    Rows of white chairs were arranged neatly before the pavilion. Where the violet stone was situated was now a vacant space with enough room for a bride, a groom and a third, to marry the two.


    Forty to fifty guests, solely close friends and family, were waiting to be told to take their seats and for the time being, enjoyed the landscape and adorable Krikitories hosts.


    As to how so many humans, non cultivators, arrived to this far away cave in the beasts’ territory… Transportation via land vehicle in Valgarel was nigh impossible and extremely inconvenient, therefore, with Zax’s request, Ariel provided him a number of aircrafts so the guests would have a smooth trip back and forth.


    And as to why not the men, women and children were not one bit scared from the prospect of being in such a close proximity to beasts… It was not their first experience and in fact, for the past couple of years, they even lived alongside beasts, beneath the blue sky, at a place called Green Snow village.


    A clap of hands resonated in all preoccupied ears. The man who drew everyone attention was tall with vertical pupils. Mes scanned the crowed, amused, happy and hospitable; with no words he indicated that the ceremony will soon begin.


    All seats were filled and still there were some who remained standing. Apart from Mes and Kartius, all members of the Martial Family gave their utmost respect in their overwhelming animalistic forms. Naturally they could not fit in between the tiny humans.


    Three silhouettes appeared from afar. Zax and his two fathers continued their path that crossed the rows of seats.


    Meeting so many of his friends and family eye to eye; Zax felt a tinge of awkwardness, which made it difficult to maintain his composed mien.


    In battles he did not mind being the center of attention, not because he had to concentrate on his foes or his conviction was lacking, but since in these situations he can be as expressive as he wants without a care for others’ opinion.


    ‘Thankfully, Anet agreed that it won’t be sensible for too many guests to impose on Laivien’s valley’. Zax sighed inwardly and wondered why the unease manifested only now? Why he felt that it would pass after the ceremony? Why his heart pounded in his chest just from thinking about the moment he will turn around, to meet her?


    Due to Laivien’s permanent stay in the pavilion, she was not counted as one of the three arrivals and so Zax was second to walk up the stairs. The first was Don Dauch, as it was most proper for her to marry her Tal. She was adorned by a pristine golden robe. Like everything in the ceremony, it was just symbolic, a supposed blessing for a clean slate and riches ahead. Love and happiness were what brought the two together, so there was no need to accentuate.


    Don nodded toward Zax and he exchanged a smile with her. Marco and Kartius remained standing behind him, below the pavilion.


    There was no music, nor clap of hands to indicate her arrival. Zax turned around, driven but a gut feeling and then… there she was.


    The gown was Floor length, white and fiery. From the high hipline up her figure was accentuated, exquisite as if it was molded by a master artist. She had very little makeup and her blond hair cascaded down her shoulders with no formal arrangement, yet she was utterly stunning.


    Ever since she absorbed the Four Wings Stork’s Pure Core and came out from her seclusion before the wedding, some external changes occurred to Anet; three distinct scarlet strips of hair were mixed in her blond and her complexion had exhibited a rosy glow.


    Her parents held her arms and escorted to the pavilion. If Don was not the one to marry the bride and the groom, she would have taken her father’s spot.


    The instant he made eye contact with her, the world turned silence and everyone and everything, but her, disappeared.


    Whatever words were said by Don to the guests were unimportant, only the vows asked to be repeated and the final say to the monumental query…


    “I Do!”

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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 20 – Up Up And Away





    When he closed his eyes, Zax could vividly see and hear the sights and sound of the wedding celebration. Granted, it ended only eighteen hours ago and much less he, even a cultivator in the first realm could clearly browse through the memories imprinted on the soul of decades ago. Nevertheless, it was not exactly the same, as Zax was just silently lying nakedly on the bed, embracing his beloved wife, and not attempting to recall anything. He did not have to, his entre self was still under the effect of the last two days or so.





    After he would get married, Zax planned to end his wandering lifestyle. Together with Anet, he decided on a place to settle as a permanent home for the both of them and their future children.


    The location was New Earth, the cave was twenty five of Kingdom Earth.


    Setting aside his cultivation level, with just the resources at his disposal, Zax could buy half of Kingdom Earth, but why should he?


    Since neither he nor Anet came from a high class family and from a young age devoted themselves to the path of Martial cultivation, they were both fine with staying close to their relatives.


    The villa, which took a month to build, was three storeys tall, had two underground chambers and an area totaling eight hundred and thirty six meters, including the courtyard. It was somewhat extravagant for the newlywed couple, but for their status and the status of their guest they had to put a little effort in looking as if they care.





    “I received a message from Logan”. Zax said, his mouth full with the vegies omelet Anet made. The two of them sat in front of each other, by the kitchen counter rather than the dining room, having their breakfast, which neither required as nourishment but still enjoyed.


    “Is the spacecraft you asked for ready?” Anet asked, holding back her anticipation.


    “It better be!” Zax grinned. He knew she was just as excited as he.


    With regards to his deal with General Logan, the Dewgong family was the first part to be accomplished. After arresting all members of the family and presenting its high echelon before him, Zax’s killing intent spiked with a deep desire to exterminate. The sudden outburst caught him off guard. He did not expect that within him was such a hidden resentment toward this insignificant group of people whose misconduct, in a way, less affected him than the involvement of Debuk Jin and Ulvi, whom both of which he moved against with the intent to execute vengeance rather than hatred.


    It was not a big deal, but it made him uncomfortable, even suspect the Godly Retribution as being responsible, though he could not detect anything out of sort other than its constant bombarding at the protective formation erected in his sea of consciousness.


    Eventually, he dealt with the Dewgong family by ruining the cultivation of all first level Core Masters and above of the family and expelling them from the southern part of the Western Continent, freeing them to find shelter in some village or make the journey to a Blessed Army’s city.


    “Logan asked me to meet him in two days”. Zax continued.


    “Did he not say for what purpose?” The spacecraft was only a probable speculation and Anet wanted to be assured.


    “Previously, I only got to know when we met, at that time he surrendered the Dewgong family and half of the promised resources”. Of those resources meant for nurturing third level Core Masters, Zax contributed two thirds to Kingdom Earth, but in contrast, of the attribute’s essence he kept ninety percent for his Martial family, to assist Grandmaster Kartion in the development and cultivation in the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique.


    “I’m worried”. Anet put her fork down and held Zax’s hand. “I know that you are strong, but I still fear that one day those leaders of the five powers will ambush you”.


    Taking both her hands and clasping them in his, Zax smile. “Trust in your husband. Although I can’t prevent such thing from ever occurring, I do possess an Oath Parchment with Logan’s name on it. If they’ll ever turn against me, not only will they be four instead of five, they will contend against two instead of one!”





    Above all woodlands and mountain peaks, former nest of the deceased Four Wings Stork Overlord.


    It was the spacecraft, or rather “Star Scavenger”.


    It was oval and several stories tall with a silvery shin, like a metallic egg of a colossal chicken.


    “The form can be reshaped. In the original design it looked something like this, so when all systems are deactivated, it automatically reverts to this shape”. General Logan clarified as Zax scrutinized the unimpressive Star Scavenger and his expression did not conceal his thoughts.


    To be frank, Zax did not know what to expect when he waited for the Star Scavenger to be delivered and from the moment he coerced General Logan into submitting a spacecraft as part of the trade for the dark attribute’s essences, he quite often imagined it would look like those cool looking spaceships from movies and games he was familiar with as a child.


    “Here”. General Logan gave up on convincing Zax with words and simply transmitted all essential information of the Star Scavengers via his communicator. “The amount of fuel is about enough for one roundtrip across this Plain. Notify me when a refuel is in order”. He said coolly and left.


    Zax disregarded General Logan’s presences the moment he received the Star Scavenger’s information. It took him less than an hour to analyze the operation method of the Star Scavenger and another two hours to thoroughly its all other functions.


    With a thought, a remote command was sent and an entrance formed at the highpoint of the Star Scavenger.


    Zax flew in as lights turned on, welcoming him in along with the sounds of electronics being activated.


    The interior of the Star Scavenger was smaller than it led to believe from the outside, but that was because of the transformative feature of its exterior.


    The room was completely bronze in hue. There were four working stations, each with a chair and a sort of computer, and a fifth, elevated commander station, at the center of the room with only a chair.


    Zax flew to the commander station and sat down, leaning on the black padding while grasping the armrests to cease the shaking of excitement in his sweaty hands.


    “On!” He uttered with a vibrant tone.


    A white shine flickered on the smooth surface of the bronze wall of the room and a projection of the outside world appeared.


    Zax raised his right hand with a particular gesture, which summoned a silvery holographic interface, but just as he was about to execute a trifling motion of pressing down, his left hand shot to halt his right.


    ‘No yet’. Zax told himself, despite his inner desires. As much as he wanted to leave the planet, into the sparkling void of outer space, the moment was too monumental to do alone and his heart was already occupied by someone he wished to share everything with. ‘Besides, soon, when everyone in New Earth would learn that the land beneath the blue sky is traversable, they will need something to propel their aspirations toward new goals’.


    People cultivated so they could be strong, as plain as that. Next, they strived so they could venture into Valgarel. Those whose talent was worth nurturing, and had sufficient background, cultivated to be a pillar next to the three top great families of Kingdom Earth.


    Now another path for a cause to cultivate opened, far superior to the former three and others in between and unsaid; returning to the surface of the planet. Subsequently, many better reasons to stride ahead atop the path of Martial cultivation will open and Zax, as someone who surmounted them all, wished to extend the path beyond the perceivable horizon.


    Having made the decision to postpone launch for this renewed frontier, Zax sat on the commander’s seat and closed his eyes.


    ‘Eleven steps…’ His voice reverberated and an enormous pair of eyes opened in his Inner Panorama, musing over the scenery. ‘Move!’ After a long while he ordered his spirit.


    As shiver run through the stretched outlines of the giant figure that pushed against its protective soul’s membrane, yet in the end it failed to advance even a millimeter.


    ‘Move!’ Zax attempted a second time and again; expect from a fleeting shiver, nothing happened.


    ‘Move! Move! Move! Move! Mov-’ Zax bellowed, straining his mental state, however, as his voice grew louder at the overall seventh shout, an imperious pressure emerged like an invisible weight on his sea of consciousness as if to stand in his way and even do harm.


    The culprit was the Godly Retribution.


    Not wasting any time, just as it made its assault, Zax hastily transferred his concentrating from his spirit to the formations fending against the Godly Retribution.


    Observing, studying, reflecting mending and strengthening – this was his objective from the start.


    He forgo time, forgo ideas of outer space and all other distracting thoughts. The window was short and the risk factor too perilous to repeat, so he had to exploit every bit of it.


    Finally he was done.


    His mouth released a breath of black vapor, which had particles of blood. He was still absorbed in the Godly Retribution, observing with a glare its contained state.


    ‘It’s exuding constant pressure to place a burden on my sea of consciousness, but that’s not its actual intent. Severing my comprehension of the sixth bottleneck of insight is what it’s trying to do’. He determined, although he was not sure why and it performed, what sort of awareness it had and what would it take for it to pass.


    ‘Unless I’ll accept Silternjan’s offer, all I can do is tread carefully and see. This fix was taxing, but it would hold better than before and now that I’m certain of its intent I won’t give it the chance to exude pressure or worse, flare’.


    The only downside, he could not permit his spirit to proceed one more step, otherwise…





    “Hahaha!” Anet’s laughter rolled jubilantly. She wrapped her arms around Zax’s neck and jumped to kiss him. “That’s great!” She commented on the confirmation he gave her regarded the subject of his meeting with General Logan. “But I have something better to share!” She declared.


    “Oh, what?” Zax asked, surprised.


    “I’m pregnant!”

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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 21 – Crisis





    “W- What did you say?” Zax asked with a quivering voice, heart throbbing and head feeling like above it a storm is brewing.


    “I’m pregnant”. Anet repeated, amused by Zax’s response. “Soon I’ll be a mother and you’ll be a father!”


    BOOM!


    Zax heard a thunder rumbling in the sky of his Inner Panorama and a black glint reflected in his eyes, quick as lightning. He simply had no idea how to digest the notion of him becoming a father. Yes, he assumed that he would become one someday in the distant future, after all, for cultivators at his and his wife’s levels, even though they just married, thousand years later they would still look the same and very much capable of procreating.


    ‘Am I… fit to be a father?’ This question was his biggest concern.


    “Relax”, able to read his mind, Anet warmly caressed his cheek. “It will all be fine, you’ll see”.


    Pulling her closer to him with one hand and with the other holding her hand, bringing to his lips, Zax drew strength from his beloved.


    “Yes, it will be”.





    Laivien’s valley.


    The entire Martial family gathered beside the pavilion.


    “I want to join!” Mes shot up to his feet and declared. “When you first left to Ercas Mir, worrying to my safety, Master did not let me come along. Now, my little Martial brother is practically unrivaled both below and on this earth. Moreover, this is just a short trip!”


    “Shut up, Mes! The main topic is that little brother Zax and little sister Anet are about to add a new little member to the family; be tactful!” Rarahel snapped.


    “Little brother Mes, little sister Rarahel, stop arguing”. Simel rebuked. “Little brother Zax, little sister Anet, congratulation!”


    “You humans mature rather slowly, but why is it when you reach adulthood you still look like children”. Laivien jeered. Her big doe head was down and on her face climbed a little figure, Jingrow.


    Neither Zax nor Anet were offended by her comment. When playful, Laivien loved to lovingly tease. Besides, apart from Grandmaster Kartion and her elder brother Kartius she regarded all members of the Martial family from a parental viewpoint.


    Ignoring his little sister’s comment, Kartius examined his sole apprentice and daughter in law. “Good, Martial son! Good, Martial daughter! This Martial father has no other blood expect his sister, yet I somehow still managed to become a grandfather. Thank you…”


    “Don’t, Master!” Zax rose to his feet, deeply shaken. “From the moment you accepted me, you treated me as a son, while like Laivien said, I was slow to realize I gained a second father. It’s I that should be thanking you!”


    “Thank you, Martial father!” Anet quick wittedly said.


    Grandmaster Kartion watched as Laivien played with Jingrow. Up till now, he was the only one to remain silenced. Perhaps, of all present members of the Martial family, only Kartius, who was the first to be taught by him, Simel, who spent most time with him and Raroen, his eldest apprentice, were able to comprehend the sorrowful emotion in his eyes before it concealed itself.


    “Thank you, Anet”. Zetsa interrupted, heaving a deep sigh and held Grerown’s, her partner, hand. “Mom and dad will surely rejoice to learn that you are pregnant”.


    Once, Marco and Laylen could do nothing but dream of their children someday, in the distant future where only cultivators can live long enough to be part of, settling down. Thirty three percent of this dream turn a reality the day Zetsa discovered she is pregnant. Of their remaining two children, the old Zel couple was not worried about their youngest, Liz. However, they were concerned about their middle child, Zax. In fact, even after he got married, they did know what to assume of the future. Familiar with his and Anet’s temperament, which resembled what was frequently talked about in the low and middle class forums, they were not sure whether in this century or the next, meaning in this life or the next, their son will bless them with a child of his own.


    “They will be angry that we did not tell them immediately, but you remembered how they reacted when you announced your pregnancy with Jing Jing. Considering that Don Ram might also get involved, it’s hardly probable that for the next nine months they would let me out of their sight…” Anet admitted the reason for which she and Zax decided to first share the news with the Martial family.


    By the side, thinking about his parents’ reaction, Zax shook his head wearily.


    ‘At least I can now be considered as being filial…’





    “Hurry, Anet, come close for us to check you!” Laylen, as well as Anet’s mother, Beka, urged.


    “Mom, aunty, there is nothing to check, I’m not even a week pregnant”. Despite saying it, Anet yielded. “Don Ram, you too…”


    “Twenty five years old and about to be a father, hahaha!” Marco could not believe his ears, yet could not be happier.


    “Oh Zax, you did not disappoint this old man”. Anet’s father was also gratified. “Allowing you to marry my girl was a good choice”. He and his wife kept it to themselves, but initially they both hoped for their daughter to ultimately end up with someone aligned to their standards; not necessarily someone more outstanding than Zax, but a man with accomplishments on both the cultivation path and status, that is, a member of a high class family that would be suitable to the Tal of a Dauch heir.


    Zax was more than satisfactory to the criteria, but at the same time, his achievements were too great, the Lensi couple could not see through him to decide. All they could determine was that his aspirations are too fixed on cultivation; he cared very little about integrating in society.


    “Don Ram, please help see this child”. Beka invited. “Look at her, blubbering she is only on the first week, yet her cheeks are definitely more rubicund than usual!”


    “Let me see!” Liz jumped to the fray. Since the word “pregnant” left Anet’s lips, she had been pushed aside by the adults. “Oh, please, aunty Don, say it’s a girl!”


    “Stand back, darling, let me examine my Tal’s condition”. Don poked Liz forehead.


    “Ouch!” Liz angrily yelped and rubbed the small red spot on her forehead.


    “Hush now, little girl. Behave and I’ll later reward you”. Don soothed Liz as her attention focused on Anet.


    “There is no need, Don Ram”, Anet really preferred to wait for after the first trimester before letting others to probe her. With her cultivation level, it was within her power to inspect and learn on her own the situation of every nook and cranny in her body.


    “Nonsense, Anet, I’m your Mor, therefore I’m the one to decide where there is or isn’t a need”. Don refuted. “Don’t move”. She placed her palm on Anet’s abdomen and used her Peak Core Master’s mist energy to gently permeate in.


    “I hope that you three are happy”. Anet scowled. As gentle as Don was, the invasive foreign mist energy still felt uncomfortable. “Next time-” The words suddenly chocked in her throat and her pupils shrank.


    “Anet!” Don gasped.


    “HAAAAAAA!” An agonized cry of intense pain escaped Anet’s mouth.


    The world stood still as everything froze in front Zax’s heightened perception. He was in the midst of idle conversation with his father and Anet’s father when the note of torment reached his ears and his expression turned grave.


    His mind was in turmoil, but it did not let it distract him from acting. He nearly lost control when he grabbed Don by the shoulder and almost, instead of lightly pushing her aside, hurled her from his way.


    Rest his palm on Anet’s abdomen, Zax’s complexion paled. ‘No! No! No! No!’ He strived to hold himself from going insane.


    Just as he made contact, he sensed blood surging down from her uterus and before he could even ask “Why”, he was met by a deluge of contradicting fluctuations.


    Dark and fiery attributes fluctuations were wounding, and were very much close maiming, Anet’s innards. The battleground was the uterus and there, the fiery attributes fluctuations were forcefully repressed whilst continuing to surge from Anet’s dantian and through all her mist channels to maintain resistance.


    ‘Senior Ariel, senior Trey, whatever medicinal treasures you have, bring them right NOW to my parents’ home at cave twenty five!’ He relieved the dark attribute’s fluctuations and urgently sent via his communicator.


    What medicinal herbs he had on his person were meant to be concocted into proper medicine before consumption for the full effect, otherwise the range of their unique qualities both varied and was unknown to him. For one reason, due to his bodily refinement technique, for the most part, his body could recover on its own practically from every injury, with or without external assistant, apart from attribute energy; hence he had very little interest in studying even the basics of medicine. For another, everything he had on him were what little he saved for himself from the resources given to him by General Logan, which he was still unfamiliar with.


    Feeling as if even when he was thinking and moving so fast, precious time was slipping away nonetheless, Zax spread his Soul Sense past all caves and tunnels until locating Ariel and Trey. He then picked up Anet carefully, making sure not to stir her wounded body and departed from the apartment with the greatest speed he could muster.


    “Senior Ariel!” He called from afar, yet shortened the distanced before his voice could reach its target.


    Ariel hurried in his top speed after Zax’s message. When he saw the latter with his wife in his arms, a grim looked appeared on his face.


    “Help her consume what you brought; the damaged area is the abdomen, specifically uterus! I’m going to bring senior Trey!” Zax said and left, counting on Ariel to diagnose Anet and understand her condition.


    It took him the length of half long exaltation to cross tens of tunnels and caves before reaching Trey. Her cultivation was the lowest among the original Supreme Rulers and so she could not even perceive a blur when Zax caught up to her.


    “Senior Trey, I came to escort you”. He stalled briefly to say, grabbed her arm and pulled her after him, safeguarded by a mantle of dark attribute energy.


    Another half long exaltation later…


    “Well?” He asked, anxious and worried, upon his return with Trey.


    “She will be fine. Fortunately, your reaction was prompt, so despite her cultivation level the window to full recovery wasn’t missed”. Ariel turned to face him. “I’m sorry”.


    Mist energy circulates and polishes the body after each consecutive breakthrough, resulting in a superior physique, yet one unlike those cultivated by bodily refinement techniques, which means the higher the cultivation level, the most likely certain injuries either will be tough to heal from or bound to leave a lasting mark…


    In spite of receiving good news, Zax was upset more than calm, all because the last two words Ariel said.


    It was not an apology. It was his condolences for losing the baby.

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