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  1. #141
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 5 – Scarlet Armor Bodily Refinement Technique



    Gradually, the circular floor steadily kept plumping, eventually settling ninety something meters below the ceiling of the hall, as a judges’ stage at the epicenter of the four fighting stages.

    All the cheering spectators, whether those socializing or those who had already picked seats in advance, halted their acclamations in an abrupt and frozen manner right around the time of the participants’ complete descent.

    The participants, backers and even the well informed beautiful emissary turned around with blazing gazes. Those who were compressed atop the packed judges’ stage with their vision obstructed, moved to one of the four fighting stages without hesitation, both to standout and have a better view.

    A strong sensation of something imperious approaching washed over everyone’s hearts.

    DING!

    An elevator at the west side of the hall rang and its doors started to open.

    Eyes unwaveringly fixated on the elevator, all senses tensed. A series of steps that moved out to the marble floor echoed in the deafening silence of the hall.

    Like gods descending from mount Olympus, fourteen men and women exited the elevator, exuding auras of grandeur.

    Of the one hundred and nine who arrived through the judges’ stage, one was the beautiful emissary and twenty six were the backers. Those remaining were the eighty two participants of the Martial competition.

    Seeing the fourteen walking toward them while projecting overbearing majesty, the eighty two participants squinted and one by one released their respective auras.

    Even Zax, who could not manifest an aura due to his mist condition, discharged to a distance of five meters from himself almost tangible waves of kinetic energy, along with thick and immaculate fighting spirit.

    Seeing how they managed to arouse the group of participants, several of the fourteen chuckled smugly while some paying no heed to the vehemence surging toward them.

    BANG!

    The fourteen simultaneously, explosively unleashed their full strength. Their auras grew mightier, met, confronted and overpowered the eighty two’s combined effort.

    More than thirty participants were shaken at the aftermath of the clash, yet were able to maintain their footing on the fighting stages. The majority of participants, though, only revealed mulishness. The clash did not seem to affect them at all, but they retrieved their auras and calmed down anyway.

    The backers and spectators, who have seen their representatives still impressively stalwart after clashing with the fourteen, could not help but smile with satisfaction.

    Those, on the other hand, who their representatives barely managed to stand their ground, frowned for a split second and then cursed inwardly, especially the backers…

    Why the hell did their representatives have to answer the fourteen, full fledged old monsters’ provocation? Did they seriously not sense that every person amid the fourteen is at least a third level Core Master?! Not to mention, two were freaking third realm experts!

    Couple of the participants, such as Zax and the others from Eden Formation and about ten more, noticed right away the cultivation levels of the fourteen. They were not that discreet about their strength.

    For this reason, this small number of participants did not emit killing intent; it would have only made them a greater of a joke. In the beginning, they were actually reluctant to retaliate, at all, yet in the end they responded due to couple of reasons…

    To start with, they realized that this was some sort of a test, so there was no real harm in showing off, but this was only a secondary reason. The main reason they fought back was that some of them recognized one or two of the fourteen. In the case of Eden Formation’s representatives, it was superintendent Ten they recognized.

    And then there was the personal reason, which stimulated the resolution of only a handful, to not just retaliate, but also beat a specific few of the fourteen experts.

    Zax was one of these handful participants, and his reason to not hold back was a stray chilly aura, belonging to one of the fourteen, that viciously targeted solely him.

    The expert behind the aura was a Beginner phase third level Core Master, which with just that could not pose a threat to Zax, although, from a far, Zax could also do nothing but aim his fighting spirit at the specific individual. That being said, to know more about his opponent, Zax use his Soul Sense to inspect him, however, when his Soul Sense expended and he tried to probe the individual, an exceptionally handsome looking white man with piercing eyes and pitch black hair, the man’s Soul Sense was like impenetrable wall, preventing Zax’s from even perceiving his existence.

    ‘Is he really just measuring me, or does he have some sort of enmity related to me?’ Zax could not tell from the man’s attitude why did he single him out. His intuition told him that his focus on him was more than just a test. Either way, though, he was not legitimately concerned about him.

    WHOOSH!

    The fourteen pounced and in a blink of an eye arrived before the lower seats of the Supreme Rulers’ platform.

    “Honorable elders”, finally, two spoken words indicated the end of the fourteen elders’ test of the eighty two participants.

    The one to speak was the beautiful emissary. Her gaze rose and then lowered in minute, delicate prostration. “Supreme Rulers of our Kingdom Earth”. The words that followed resounded in everyone’s minds like the deep resonant “DONG” of a large bell.

    Here it was again, the imperious atmosphere all participants, backers and spectators felt before the arrival of the fourteen elders, but much heavier and suffocating.

    In that moment, all the participants who had their fighting spirit still burning in their eyes asked themselves the same question.

    ‘What sort of insanity one needs to undergo in order to attain this level of cultivation?!’

    All eighty two participants, twenty six backers, one emissary, hundreds of spectators, all but the fourteen elders, indisputably showed their reverence and cupped their hands for the Supreme Rulers.

    It was uncertain when they arrived and settled in their three high seats.

    One man to the left, one woman in the middle and one man to the right, in that exact order they were, respectfully, Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch, Supreme Ruler Trey Zoearth and Supreme Ruler Ar Yen Takeda.

    Yes, it was not official, yet, the ground breaking news about the passing of Supreme Ruler Gid Chu Takeda’s seat and the ascension of his grandson, Ar Yen Takeda, but here he was… prominent atop the highest position one can have in Kingdom Earth, like a new kind of deity with the power to steal the breath of anyone beneath him.

    For an undetermined passage of time, everyone remained still within the hall.

    The tall Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch was sitting with a long combed red hair and big blue eyes like that of a scholar. He wore a plain green robe and a pair of sandals. His appearance altogether gave of a feeling of vivid freshness.

    Supreme Ruler Trey Zoearth rested her hands on the seat’s armrests. Her hair was short, had a similar style to Don’s hair, but the color was different, dark brown like her eyes and skin tone. She wore the women’s traditional clothing of the high red letter day of her region, Tongguo, an earthly gown with bright paths outlines. Surrounding her was a radiance of absolute softness, one that can dissipate all evil and embrace all good.

    The strapping Supreme Ruler Ar Yen Takeda sat back on his high seat. His skin was white and healthy, his eyes and short hair black like a cave without Sun Stones. He wore everyday training garments. Glancing at the participants of the Martial competition, those tiny ones forty five years old and younger, standing on the fighting stages, he nodded in approval half smiling.

    “Go on, Talhera”, Supreme Ruler Trey said to the beautiful emissary, one of her emissaries, Talhera.

    “Supreme Ruler”, Talhera replied and turned her attention to the participants, backers and spectators. “Everyone, it is time for the Martial competition to begin. Please take your seats before the announcement of the competition’s rules”.

    Her voice, as if an alarm call, awakened everyone from the stupor caused by the magnitude of the Supreme Rulers.

    In an orderly fashion, all of the people still standing, hurriedly picked their seats. The notable groups and factions gathered together, representatives, backers and their entourage, sat in the front and second lines of seats. Nevertheless, there were only so many reputable seats in the front and second lines and many who tagged those with high status had to separate from their groups and faction for the upper lines of seats.

    Unknowingly to Zax and the rest, Don, as a member of the Dauch family and successor to superintendent Ten’s original position as Eden Formation’s school principal, received directions from superintendent Ten, through his Sublime Soul Sense, to take the arranged first line seats adjacent to the platform.

    Zax’s group was of the medium size ones with nine people, including of course Anet, vice principal Mizuri and the two leaders of the Disciplinary Class and Student Council Class.

    The arranged adjacent seats to the platform were just ten in each side. Afterwards the rest were not worth mentioning in comparison. Virtually, all the spectators coveted those seats, and some were bold enough to try and get them. As the tacit race for the seats occurred, only Don and one more man did not rush their groups and slowly approached the seats.

    The man, like Don, led a group of nine people and received the invitation for the seats from the second third realm expert, an elderly woman who is part of the fourteen elders.

    A high number of backers headed with their groups for the twenty arranged seat. All of them were of the highest echelon in Kingdom Earth and carried themselves with pretentiousness and bravado even among their peers. Some even had unique connections with the Supreme Rulers and the fourteen elders.

    And yet, in spite of all their reasons to be confident in the pursuit for the arranged seats, the instant superintendent Ten and the other third realm expert, who sat at the two center seats of the fourteen elders, turned down their heads and swept their gaze at the crowd, everyone but Don’s and the man’s group felt shivers all over their body and the inability to walk a step closer toward the seats.

    Seeing the indifference of the Supreme Rulers and the rest of the twelve elders, as Don’s group and the man’s group settled on the twenty arranged seats, the backers of the rest of the groups knew instantaneously that they are in no position to snatch the arranged seats. Thus, without a hint of disappointment or disgruntlement on their faces, that is, on the countenances of the backers and not the bitter youngsters in their groups, they went to pick the other seats in the first line. At this point, they simply forced, with the air they put, those who did not have the backbone to pursue the arranged seats to give up the first and second lines places.

    On the judges’ stage Talhera waited fifteen breaths for everyone to finish settling down, and when it seemed that all eyes fell on her, she opened her mouth with a smile.

    “Greetings, everyone, spectators and participants of the Martial competition, alike. My name, as you all have heard, is Talhera, and I will be the main judge today while our honorable elders will enact the part of the minor judges”.

    Talhera’s declaration of herself as the main judge made those who did not know better to exclaim in surprise. Her undisguised cultivation raised the question of how a Mist Lord can keep up in a competition in which most participants had broken through the second realm, and those who have not are still acknowledged as peerless prodigies.

    Talhera displayed a gorgeous smile. Golden mist energy shone at the tip of her finger. She slid it across her long red dress.

    ZZZZZ!

    A buzzing sound emanated from the dress as it started to glow in a red blood color and transform.

    “That is…!”

    “This appearance!”

    “It can’t be, isn’t she Supreme Ruler Trey’s emissary? Is she his Tal, too?!”

    “Definitely, see how he looks at her from the second middle elder’s seat!”

    “No doubt… This is the Scarlet Armor bodily refinement technique! But I thought he has only one Tal, the guy chosen to participate in the competition”.

    “What do you know? Does someone incredible like him, the creator of our Kingdom Earth best bodily refinement technique, must notify anyone every time he accepts a Tal?”

    A myriad of voices could not restrain their bewilderment and exhilaration as Talhera’s red dress became a scarlet fighting suit.

    From his seat between Susuya and Anet, Zax, who up till now was wondering about the elder that tested him and amazed that no less than five third realm experts are sitting not far from him, three of which are nothing short than Kingdom Earth’s Supreme Rulers, suddenly became shocked from the proclamation thrown in the hubbub.

    ‘Kingdom Earth’s best bodily refinement technique, Scarlet Armor, is his creation…?!’

  2. #142
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 6 – Molten Core Causing Trouble



    Indeed, the elder who measured Zax with a cold aura was the same one everyone talked about, Talhera’s Mor and the creator of Kingdom Earth’s best bodily refinement technique, Scarlet Armor.

    Zax glanced over at the elder. He had a stern look on his handsome face and sharp eyes.

    ‘From how it seems, both of your Tals are present and one is even a participant…’ Zax gathered for what reason the elder has to be, or give the impression that he is, hostile toward him, but he was not a hundred percent certain so even if his previous behavior angered him a little, he refrained for letting it dictate his disposition. Calmly he speculated. ‘Is it because you have specific problem with Grandmaster’s bodily refinement technique, or you just wanted to see how I’m fairing in comparison to your competing Tal?’

    With regards to how the elder knew of Zax identity and the aspect he cultivates… there were too many possibilities. Besides, the Martial competition was not small matter. A while ago Zax came to realize how important to the different groups and factions in Kingdom Earth it was. Back then, when a representative of the Dauch family and Eden Formation approached Grandmaster Kartion it was all for this day, to receive his consent of assigning Zax as their chief representative in the competition.

    With this in mind, by now Zax was convinced that at least half the backers spent just as much efforts on their representatives and did their research about him and the other participants.

    Wearing her Scarlet Armor, Talhera proceeded to explain the structure and rules of the competition.

    “The Martial competition is divided to six rounds, wherein the second and fifth, the semifinal, will each hold a three way battle. Naturally, those who will participate in the three way battle and everyone else will be treated by our recovery team before the next round, though you all need to bear in mind that there is only so much that we can do and luck and preservation are also of significance in determining your chances of winning the competition”. Talhera emphasized for the participants more so than everyone else.

    “Shortly, everyone will be given ten minutes of preparation alone or with their backers, in which time a random selection for the pairing of participants will take place. Before we will get there, I would like to state the rules of the Martial competition and elaborate a little about the prizes”.

    The matter of the competition’s prizes was never disclosed in its entirety. Generally, there are two kinds of prizes, the grand prizes of the top three places, and the communal prize of the top ten places. The communal prize was the one that was kept from even the backers and only the top ten participants got to know about, which even then they were not allowed to reveal without a layer of restriction. But the ones to take the top ten places will only learn about the severity of the communal prize only after they will win their fights.

    Upon learning about the three way fights, some people had grim expression. Almost no one wanted their participant to exhaust him or her in a battle against two other opponents for only one round of the competition. Only a few confident backers did not care about it.

    “The rules of engagement are as followed: The moment I announce the start of a battle, any attempt to exist the stages before the end of the battle is decided will be considered as a forfeit. Participants who proficient in certain weapons are permitted to use them, however, it is forbidden to cripple or take an opponent’s life. That being said, this is combative competition and accidents do happens. Battles are declared over once opponent surrenders, thrown out of the stage or found unfit to fight. In the case of a tie both participants would be forfeited from the rest of the competition, so as I said before, make efforts to preserve, otherwise you may suffer the bitterest kind of loss. Lastly, any sorts of supplement are prohibited, regardless of their use. Participants who break this rule will induce upon themselves a harsh punishment and their backers will also suffer the consequences”.

    Although still mesmerizing with her beauty, as she gone over the rules Ralhera did not smile even once and her demeanor was exceedingly strict.

    “I hope everyone will take to heart the competition’s rules. For the rest of the competition I will enforce the rules from the judges’ stage and our honorable elders will spectate from their seats and interfere according to their personal judgment”.

    Although the Supreme Rulers were of the highest position both figuratively and literally, they relinquished the privilege of passing judgment. Their interest lay on something else.

    “To finish I would like to touch upon the subject of the prizes. Like every Martial competition before, there are four prizes, of which one is communal for the top ten places and will not be disclosed until the end of the competition. The grand prizes, for the top three, are a consumable attribute essence of the third place winner’s choosing, a high grade World Gathering Bone for the second place winner, and as the first place grand prize, pure third realm Core!”

    “High grade World Gathering Bone?! Pure third realm Core?!”

    If to say that Talhera’s identity caused a commotion before, than now even the most astute personage in the hall had difficulties restraining himself and herself, and that included the fourteen elders!

    “Consumable attribute essence is hard to get, even more so, ones that are specifically searched for. But in the end, even if the market doesn’t have them, it is still just a matter of money. Put an enticing request in the Basement Floor and eventually someone will venture to the Savage Caves for you. But the other two prizes…!”

    “These are things that money simple cannot buy”.

    The noise in the hall made it seem as if every person could not keep his mouth shut, but in truth, maybe a quarter of all the people present ever heard about the existence of the high grade World Gathering Bone and pure third realm Core. The rest were just listening to the murmurs around them, occasionally daring to ask at the cost of showing their ignorance, what those prizes are.

    Zax, too, tried to figure out why so suddenly all those high and mighty figures who mostly maintain a calculated mug became so restless. He could understand the value of the third prize, consumable attribute essence. It was basically something that possessed one of the four attribute, like the fiery attribute liquid or the dark attribute oval shaped black object the man from back then consumed and made Carl’s bestial nature explode. It was the other two prizes that Zax was not sure about. He knew what are Cores and even third realm Cores, but pure Cures? He never heard the term.

    “Anet, have you heard about the prizes judge Talhera mentioned?” He asked her since she was much more erudite than him.

    “Err…” Anet pursed her eyebrows. It was hard to tell if she, too, was familiar with the prizes and was taken aback from how amazing they are, or clueless like him. “A little”. She said in a heavy breath. “Don Mor explained World Gathering Bones, they are unique objects that can help in cultivating any of the three aspects”. Anet did not start with the consumable attribute essence because she knew that Zax was already aware of it. “Third realm Core and Cores in general is something that you told me, but as far as ‘pure Core’, I really don’t know”.

    “Hahaha”, a mellow laughter sounded from the seat next to Susuya’s. It was Don who sat there and listened to the two’s conversation. “If you can recall, Zax, the World Gathering Bone is the stone blade the Derneldar founder used briefly when you fought, although his was just a low grade World Gathering Bone. The one offered for the second place in the competition vastly outstrips it and you know what, in my opinion, it’s not inferior to the first place’s prize”. Don spoke coolly, yet felt quite miserable for being unable to win herself such an astounding object.

    “The pure Core”, she proceeded. “It’s a refined attribute less third realm Core. It is said that by using it to cultivate a Mist User don’t need to worry about any bottleneck from the Earth’s Core Holder level to after breaking through the third realm”.

    ‘So that’s it!’ While Anet, Susuya and the rest were awestruck, Zax had a realization. ‘Isn’t either of these prizes is too awesome to describe. World Gathering Bone, if I can use it to gather world’s energy then I would be able to accelerate the cultivation of the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement, and if I’ll get the pure Cure and give it to Anet, her Martial path will surely benefit and for the mean time I’ll not have to worry about our future!’

    Like all the people who knew better before him, Zax finally began to feel the terrific rush to get the competition’s prizes.

    ‘First place, I won’t lose it to anyone!’ Above all, Zax’s heart desire was for his future with Anet to continue flourishing in the same direction.

    Despite her comprehensive capabilities, to reach her level of cultivation, Anet relied on quite a few mist nourishing supplements. And since the only thing limiting them was, mostly, Anet’s aptitude to go beyond the second realm, with the pure Core Zax will be able to eliminate this problem.

    “Everyone!” Talhera’s melodic voice rang, attracting the attention of all the people present to her. “You can all take now ten minutes to prepare to the first round battles. After the random selection will be completed, I will call for the opening eight participants to enter the four stages”.



    “All the participants left to discuss their strategies with their backers or wait quietly near the stages”. Fi Han, the new leader of the Disciplinary Class sighed after saying.

    Actually, it was not like all the participants vanished from the spectators’ eyes. They simply privately chatted with their backers far from the crowed, spreading all over the huge hall.

    “Senior Fi Han, why are you being all dawn?” Anet asked. In the ten minutes prior to the beginning of the competition, only she, Fi Han and her other senior, Uri, the leader of her class, the Student Council Class, were left on their own.

    “It’s because of them”. Uri pointed with his head, meaning the hundreds of supporters who were “degraded” to the regular spectators’ seats.

    “Many of them came to cheer for extremely important people with recognized heaven turning representatives. Evidently, a lot are not from El-Eden, which is why they think that it’s inadequate for our group to have the seats near the platform; otherwise they would have glared at the supporters of the other team who got to seat next to the platform”. Uri was judicious and due to his family’s business, more familiar with the mannerism of the high class.

    “Careful!” A glint of belligerence flashed in his eyes as he took the two by the hands and shoved them behind him.

    “Hahahaha, Uri, how come right after you saw me your face taken this ugly mien?” A twenty something man, accompanied by a group of eight people walked up to Uri, Anet and Fi Han like a lofty lord, passing through his territory while scouring his peasants’ quality of labor.

    The man and the eight people at his back, who appeared to be between the ages twenty to twenty nine, wore red and silver uniforms that unexpectedly had the Martial school Molten Core’s symbol on one shoulder and the Student Council insignia on the other.

    “If you so desperately want to know, Lizen, then I’d be honest. There is no amity between us, and I rather keep it that way”. Uri said in a detached voice.

    “Hey! Cousin how come this kid dares speaking to you without honorific? Bastard, only three student from your school were barely found eligible to come to the competition, can’t you show humility and shut the **** up?!” A man with slim body and ruffled curly hair stepped to Lizen’s right side and barked at Uri.

    His slurs drew the attention of the spectators around the east side of the hall and those who already eyed Uri, Anet and Fi Han were the first to encircle the two groups.

    “Razil…” Uri subdued his anger.

    That Razil and Lizen were not only cousins but also direct member of the Marzel great family of Tongguo. Right now there were too many people on their side and more will keep coming if he will start quarreling with them. Uri did not want to cause problems and interrupt Zax and the others. Furthermore, although both he and Lizen were the presidents of the school’s Student Council Class, Lizen’s cultivation was already in the Beginner phase of the Core Master first level and the other eight behind were not so weak, either.

    “What?! Think that I’m being too harsh?!” Hearing Uri uttering his name, further infuriated Razil.

    Lizen, when seeing his cousin going mad, stood silently thinking how it actually a lot better for Razil to be the one besmirching the Eden Formation’s group. Unlike him, Razil’s status was a bit lower both in the family and school and his short fuse would usually transform his speech to thoroughly insensitive.

    “I won’t say anything bad about the Dauch family, even though it’s connected to your school, but you, Eden Formation’s students, get to act so high and mighty because you also partake in the competition? Well, **** that!”

    “Uri, Fi Han, let’s go”. Ignoring Razil, Anet told the two.

    “*****, can’t you feel the difference in our cultivation?!” Razil cursed with red eyes. “Beginner phase Mist Lords should get the hell out of here!”

    “Razil, not so loud”. Lizen tapped his shoulder. His remark about Mist Lords was too general and could turn the crowd against them. Moreover, although he was told in advance from his school principal that verbal conflicts are common in occasions like this and the management turns a blind eye to them, he was also told not to go overboard.

    Uri and Fi Han were seething with anger. Anet was their friend and a girl, yet Razil both shouted and cursed her. The two seriously considered going all out against the Molten Core’s group, but Anet was holding them with her back turned to Razil’s face.

    Was Anet afraid? Absolutely not. Not anymore and determined not to ever be scared by anyone after she managed to heal her wounds…

    She was silently ignoring Razil because someone else does the fighting today, and these Molten Core students are stupidly ignorance to the fact that he can hear them.



    Zax indeed could hear everything even from afar and so do the others. He wanted to smash Razil’s face after hearing him curse Anet, but Don stopped him. They were currently behind a mantle that superintendent Ten raised so no one will hear their briefing.

    Don did not counsel Zax. She really had nothing in her mind to warn him about. But she still insisted not letting him go without telling him why. His intent to tear someone apart… who knew better than her how ferocious Zax could be?

    She wanted him to brew it longer, to burn it hotter, and serve it on the stage.

  3. #143
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 7 – Catching The Brown Digger



    “I understand, cousin, I won’t let my temper escalate too far, but now that I started talking, I won’t simply let them go!” Razil assured Lizen.

    Not saying anything in return, Lizen lowered his hand from Razil’s shoulder to give him the stage yet again.

    “You three, who said that you can leave!” Razil turned to Ur, Anet and Fi Han. The two young men reluctantly were being gripped by Anet with the intention to separate from the crowd and go to their seats.

    “Everyone, if you want some pacification, surround them until I’ll finish saying my peace. If you’re worried about foul language, I promised my cousin to restrain myself. From here on, I’ll earnestly justify my behavior”. Although still unwilling to change his mannerism, Razil tactfully spoke to sway the crowd in his favor.

    “And if we don’t want to listen?” Uri asked after being forced by the crowed to stay.

    “You don’t have any choice”. Razil proclaimed.

    “Uri, Anet, this people just seek to humiliate us, but they won’t go as far as starting a fight. We should not be so cooperative, let’s see if they are steadfast on raising a commotion”. Fi Han said angrily. As the leader of the Disciplinary Class, he was prone on doing what is right, regardless who wrongs him.

    “Humph!” A female member of Lizen’s group snorted at Fi Han. “You want the event’s management to interfere? This east corner of the hall meant for socialization, but there are no rules here stating that we all need to be polite toward each other. On the contrary, a commoner like you would not know, but while our friends fight in the west corner, this side was allocated for the rest of us to verbally demonstrate who has better bearing!”

    Although having said it with a mean attitude, the female member of Lizens’ group spoke the truth.

    Rarely there would be people like Anet and Fi Han, who were born in the low and middle classes, in event such as the Martial competition.

    There were two reasons to explain the girl’s, and most of the crowd’s, attitude and from the very beginning how Uri, Anet and Fi Han were able to accompany Zax and the rest to such a high level event.

    First, unlike Molten Core and many other groups and associations, Eden Formation has a majority of students from regular families in its student body; therefore, students from high class families that enrolled to the school often develop a friendly disposition with their classmate whatever their social status is.

    Second, the three were able to come mostly due to their positions in school, which entitled them the right to accompany Zax and the rest. Only Anet required a little help from superintendent Ten to be permitted to spectate the competition, but even that was dealt easily, since her position as Don’s Tal and the overall connection of Don to the Dauch family.

    “Forget it, let him vent his disgruntlement. Let them all if they want to. We came here to support our friends, not to enter disputes. The fighting stage will ultimately declare the righteous side”.

    Uri came from a big merchant family that dealt with the nasty and genial of Kingdom Earth’s high echelon. The general status of his family was that of a high class, but to maintain this status his family depended a lot on the more prominent families that accepted their business.

    “Very magnanimous of you to say it, kid”. Razil continuously referred to Uri in derogatory tone, even though their ages were not much apart and their cultivation levels were the same.

    “Everyone, I’ll be blunt”, Razil announced, not that he was subtle before, but the crowd listened attentively anyway. “I think that Eden Formation’s representatives are a joke! The school went above and beyond to gather four participants, two are graduates with no achievements to themselves, one is a little girl that attained the title ‘Peak’, and well… I’m willing to admit that has potential, but far from being fit to participate in the competition in her current cultivation level. And last one, supposedly their best one, is another so called ‘Pearl’ that has nothing to his name other than an old rumor about taking down a second rate great family”.

    Razil, similarly to a great number of people present, was well informed about the identity of nearly all the participants. Because Eden Formation released a statement couple of years ago about Zax being its first Pearl, anything about his life in Kingdom Earth, other than his mist condition, was uncovered to a certain degree.

    “That’s exactly the group that was invited to sit in the adjacent seats to the Supreme Rulers’ platform! On the other hand, participants like our Neyrar Ram of Molten Core, Salin and Silvia, the reputable twins of Crescent Arms, who are real Pearls, and others, were shunned to the sidelines”.

    The fundamental reason that Razil, and those who nodded in approval to his words in the crowd, were full of scorn toward the Eden Formation’s group, was the face they lost when superintendent Ten and the elderly female third realm expert obstructed them from getting to the arranged seats, and instead let the less than mediocre Eden Formation’s group have them.

    Razil continued. “I will speak now for Neyrar Ram, since I came to support him today. Consequently, if anyone wants to speak for the other participants, be my guest after I’ll finish”. He turned to the crowd before fixating his stare once more at Uri, Anet and Fi Han.

    “Let me say it first, our Molten Core school sent three participant to the competition, each of them far more adequate than any of your four. But I won’t waste everyone’s time and only use the most worthy comparison to prove the qualitative difference between our representatives”.

    “In your group the ‘Pearl’ and chief representative is but a brat with nothing behind but the backing of his school and that’s it. Even the Dauch family is not genuinely behind him so it won’t seem that the students of your school belonged to them. On the other hand, our Neyrar Ram is an exceptional genius and has the backing of various factions. He is the exalted Tal of the best bodily cultivator in Kingdom Earth, the Zoearth family and our Molten Core school are behind him and most important, even though he doesn’t belong to any great family, his father is one of the founders of the Core Breaker Guild and the recent and last third realm expert of our Kingdom Earth!”



    Swallowing his wrath, Zax listened to every word of Razil’s biased comparison. When he reached the end of his sentence, Zax’s pupils contracted and a tempest stirred up in his sea of consciousness.

    “Recent and last third realm expert” Razil’s words resounded incessantly in his head.

    ‘Kingdom Earth has only one more third realm expert?!’

    One was Supreme Ruler Ariel, the second was Supreme Ruler Trey, the third was Supreme Ruler Ar Yen and the fourth and the fifth were superintendent Ten and the old woman.

    A figure flashed in Zax’s mind. A man with bare upper body and short needle like black hair, at the back of his neck was a tattoo of a spiral cube and wearing black sturdy long pants with six pockets on each side and sleeves that are crammed inside his dark green shoes.

    This was the man who came out of the second Savage Cave, the man who consumed the oval shaped treasure with dark attribute and broke through the third realm. He was a human, he should be that Neyrar’s father, and if he is the remaining and sole third realm human expert of Kingdom Earth, then he is the one who led Carl to his death!

    “Zax!” Don yelled. Her expression was odious and a layer of azure mist energy was released to protect herself and Susuya while vice principal Mizuri, Jalal and Muri-Mer also defensively discharged their mist energy.

    Zax stood in his place, his mind whirling. He did not hear Don and his body exuded churning kinetic energy, embedded with his killing intent.

    “Breathe”. A relaxed, elderly voiced reverberated in Zax’s sea of consciousness. He suddenly became aware of his surrounding and pacified the kinetic energy that was exuded beyond his body.

    A skinny, almost bony hand was resting on his head. Superintendent Ten was the one who put his mind at ease. Luckily, the mantle he erected before prevent outsiders from noticing Zax’s outburst.

    “What happened, Zax?” Seeing how superintendent Ten resumed his passive aloofness, Don was the one who asked.

    “I… I…” Zax could not find the words to answer right away. Even with the soothing soul energy superintendent Ten issued in his sea of consciousness, he was still not entirely placid. “What he said to Anet and them, that Neyrar’s father is a third realm expert?”

    It was difficult to tell, but Don assumed that Zax was asking. Thus, a bit hesitantly, she replied, not daring to deceive Zax over such matter, yet hoping that the answer will not cause him any doubts about the competition. “Yes, in Kingdom Earth he should be the sixth and last third realm expert”. She affirmed.

    Zax did not respond, instead he was contemplating. He reconciled long ago with everything related to Carl’s death. Revenge was not in his mind, back then. The man who came out from the second Savage Cave was not truly at fault for what happened, and besides, he was an opponent that even today Zax could not dream of beating.

    But as it so happened, the son of that man participates in the competition. Furthermore, he seems to have a Mor who is not fond of Zax and a group of sycophants that wholeheartedly wish to belittle him.

    The muscles all over Zax’s body began to tense. His knuckles issued cracking sounds.

    ‘Neyrar…’ He was not sure who he was among the participants, but his gaze instinctively skimmed the hall, looking for the handsome man, the one they said to be the best bodily cultivator in Kingdom Earth and Neyrar’s Mor.

    He failed to found him. It appeared that superintendent Ten was not the only person to conceal his group for the duration of time before the first round.

    ‘It’s is fine. There is more than one way to draw a Brown Digger out of his hole’.



    Razil was on a roll. The crowd around the Molten Core and Eden Formation groups seemed sympathetic toward his arguments and some people even added to the fire by comparing Zax to the participants they were connected with.

    “May everyone please return to your seats. The selection and pairing of participant is done and the first round’s battles are about to commence”. Talhera amplified her voice with mist energy and announced graciously.

    Representatives and backers joined with their supporter and headed to their seat, while the fourteen elders, who spread around during the cessation with the teams from their factions, did the same.

    The crowd encircling Anet and the rest dispersed.

    “Are you fine?” Jalal and Muri-Mer hurriedly inquired upon meeting up with the three.

    “Yeah, they just spat nonsense, that’s all”. Fi Han said first in a nonchalant way.

    Anet and Uri also acted as if nothing big happened, even if their friends noticed and maybe heard the commotion. They insisted on acting apathetically, since there were bound to be more breaks between rounds, for participants to rest or discuss the next fight with their backers, and they did not want to concern their friends.

    “You!” Zax, however, ignored their act. He loudly shouted at Razil, Lizen and the others of their group that just joined with a few people, one of which was a short middle age man that shared pleasantries with Don in the previous lounge.

    Now Zax suspected that this man is the principal of Molten Core, the other old man is the vice principal and the two young men and woman beside them are their school’s representatives.

    Putting aside which of the two men is Neyrar, Zax walked to Razil, attracting the looks of those in his group and those passing them on their way to the seats.

    “What do you want?” Razil asked indifferently, only by the time his words left his mouth did he recognize Zax and frowned.

    “Your mouth was quite vile when you spoke to my friends. Also, you forced them to listen to your garbage. Come with me to apologize”. Although sounding composed, Zax was on an edge. Still, the true meaning behind his words to Razil was not to say sorry, but accept the thread to salvation he offered him. If he will refuse, then Zax would feel fully content to even kill him.

    “Young man”, the short Molten Core principal said to Zax, his countenance was peaceful, but his words came out sharp.

    “Don’t interfere, old man”. Zax ordered him in response. “Come or don’t come?” He asked Razil as if it was that simple for him to choose.

    Molten Core’s school principal was about to say something, but closed his mouth when he saw that his students were about to respond. He decided to not hastily take part in juniors’ matter.

    “You are that trash ‘Pearl’, get the hell from our sight!” A man in the latter half of his twenties, who came to spectate his schoolmates fight, and still had Razil’s words resonating in his head, step forward and barked at Zax.

    SLAP!

    Without looking, Zax casually threw his hand in the air, landing a vicious slap to the late twenty something man.

    The man was in the Beginner phase of the Mist Lord level. Receiving a slap from Zax, even if there was not force behind it, caused his whole physique to spin and blood with broken teeth come from his mouth.

    “There is no need to make a scene”. Zax said before the others reacted. “All of you, stay quiet”. He kept his composed demeanor and returned to Razil. “Well?”

    Seeing words escalate to violence, the Molten Core’s principal got furious at Zax. The other students were also fuming from anger and helping their friends. At the same time, Don brought the Eden Formation group over, yet refrained from being rush with Zax. His outburst let her know that unless someone who actually can put him down interferes, noting will sway him.

    “You… You are a participant and you raise your hand on a spectator, moreover, someone not from your school!” Razil yelled at Zax.

    “Is that a refusal?” Zax ignored his retort and asked.

    “Don’t be excessive. Words are words and actions are actions. If you have a problem with my cousin-”

    SLAP!

    A second slap landed beautifully on Lizen’s right cheek and despite having a higher cultivation than the previous man, the results of blood puking and shattered teeth were the same.

    Molten Core group of fourteen people was completely stunned from Zax domineering behavior and the spectators in the group, apart from the principal and vice principal, started to harbor fear for this violent man.

    “The judge is calling, everyone is here, apologize”. Zax said one last time.

    Razil felt at loss. His complexion was flustered. Even his cousin was humiliated, and his status was higher than his. The school principal and vice principal still remained silence, presumably because of the other school’s principal and vice principal. The only ones that were left with the ability to help were the three school’s representative, but for two successive strikes they did nothing.

    Razil gnashed his teeth. He felt that if he will obey Zax it will be worse than being slap, and the possibility of his ego suffering almost made the thought of future pain in his cheek negligible.

    WHOOSH!

    Zax swung his arm, still not carrying in force, but this time it was clenched to a fist.

    BANG!

    His fist failed to meet Razil’s face. An extremely handsome man, half a head shorter than Zax, with long flowing black hair and green eyes appeared before him and grabbed his fist midway.

    “Neyrar Ram!”

    Razil’s eyes opened wide and his voice did not conceal his feelings of relief.

    “Begone!” A charming sound came from the handsome man’s mouth.

    Zax sensed a great force shoving him back without exhibiting effort and making him retreat several steps.

    The Eden Formation group was taken aback, seeing to strongest among them being pushed back.

    The Molten Core group was feeling exhilaration, seeing their hero overpowering the enemy.

    Zax prevented his facial muscles from displaying a gratified smile.

    ‘Long hair is the Brown Digger’.

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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 8 – Round One, BEGIN!



    “You really are a bodily cultivator”. Zax said to Neyrar.

    Zax had to admit, this Neyrar was a very unique individual. His mist cultivation was obscure by mist concealment jewel, but from the power of his grip, the strength that Neyrar extracted was equivalent to the body fitness level of an Advanced phase second level Core Master.

    Neyrar should be in his late twenties. Considering that his bodily refinement technique is inferior to Zax’s, to possess such strength could only mean that his mist cultivation was unprecedentedly profound to his age, in the Beginner phase of the second Core Master’s level and his accomplishment in the Scarlet Armor of his Mor was higher than Zax’s in the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement.

    ‘So monsters like him exist, too…’ Zax sighed inwardly. Before him was someone who exceled in both bodily cultivation and mist cultivation, furthermore, his soul should also be quite strong to comprehend his peculiar bodily refinement techniques to such of a progressive level.

    That being said, Zax did not think himself weaker than Neyrar. In the past four years his body fitness level reached the equivalent of the body fitness level of a Peak second level Core Master. And if Neyrar could enchant himself more with his mist energy and by summoning the same a scarlet fighting suit, then he can utilized kinetic energy to more than even the odds.

    Neyrar’s green eyes stared taciturnity at Zax. He did not say anything in response.

    “Zax, the first round is about to begin, we are going”.

    “Everyone, gather yourself. Help your friends to the medical area and return to your seats”.

    Don and Molten Core’s school principal talked in union, each to his and her own group.

    Zax was a tad reluctant to go just yet. Razil still had to be taught a lesson by him.

    Neyrar also stood firmly in his place.

    Eventually, though, the two had to cease their standoff.

    Zax was grabbed by Anet and was the first leave with the Eden Formation group. Moreover, Zax was in quandary with himself. After meeting Neyrar, other than feeling mild hostility from the look in his eyes, he did not feel the same chilliness his Mor gave off, nor did his intent to kill him over his father’s actions arise. At most, he just was eager to fight him to determine the strongest cultivator.

    Back in their seats, Supreme Ruler Trey nodded her head and Talhera turned over to the crowd.

    “Thank you for the patience, everyone, I will now announce the pairing of the first round. Stage one, Denetar Heugs versus Lo Eipato. Stage two, Alexia Xin versus Mahar Tarak. Stage three, Salin Linenra versus Ragu Zin Kanekara. And stage four, Erin Sil Delamora versus Denya Partevs. Following them are…” Talhera listed the names of the first round of the competition.

    Zax’s name was announced second in his group, after Muri-Mer.

    Muri-Mer’s opponent was a female cultivator, one of the twelve individuals who turned out to be independents experts. She was not young, somewhere in her forties.

    Eighty two names were paired.

    “The participants whose names I first called out, please enter the stages you were assigned to”. Talhera asked.

    Immediately, eight figures got up from their seats and hastily occupied the four fighting stages.

    “The rules were already stated. BEGIN!” Talhera shouted.

    Each participant had his and her own strategy to try and dictate with it the fight. The participants in three stages were very cautious; they were the first pairs to fight and so knew nothing about the mindset of the opponent they will meet in the competition. Merely that like them, they all strive to win.

    Only one stage unveiled a ferocious battle right from the get go.

    Stage three, Salin Linenra versus Ragu Zin Kanekara.

    Salin was one of the two twin geniuses of Shitou Razil mentioned. She was just past twenty years old and already an Advanced phase first level Core Master. And if that was not enough, she was following the way of the sword. Her technique with the crescent sword was cultivated to such a brilliant level that she could easily bring down a Beginner phase second level Core Master.

    Ragu Zin, in comparison, had a much lower reputation and although he also represented a major Martial school, he was neither recognized nor had been granted the title of a “Pearl”. Despite this, he was not a push over, and even stirred the hearts of the spectators when a fight that was supposed to be over in a few breaths and won by Salin, was instead dragged and transformed into a heated confrontation!

    Older by a decade and only in the Intermediate phase of the first Core Master level, Ragu Zin sustained against Salin by relying on his battle experience, countering the sword and sharp mist energy with almost creatively.

    The battle on the third stage initiated before the other three stages and continued to keep going after the other six participants either lost or won.

    “I admit defeat”.

    In the end, much to everyone’s expectation, Salin was a prodigy that evolved faster through battle. With only temporary methods to counter her and not viable method to assault, Ragu Zin’s back was forced to the formation laid over the fighting stage to secure the safety of the spectators from long range mist attacks.

    He could either be pushed outside of the stage and lose or be cut by Salin’s sword and suffer greatly.

    “Winner, Salin!” Talhera announced, much like she did for the other three winners.

    Salin and Ragu Zin returned to their seats instead of going to the medical area. The former was without any blemish, while the latter had superficial cuts that did not require treatment.

    “Next four pairs, please enter the fighting stages!” Talhera called and the competition proceeded.



    “Next four pairs, please enter the fighting stages!”

    Finally it was Zax’s turn.

    Muri-Mer had her fight and lost her place in the competition in the first round. In all honesty, her situation could not be helped. He opponent was an independent expert and this, by itself, indicated that her cultivation level was at least in the Beginner phase of the second Core Master level.

    Muri-Mer fought well, not for nothing she was the president of the Student Council Class. But the disparity between her and the middle age female expert’s cultivation was too high, and the fighting style of her gushed with explosive power.

    Zax got up from his seat. He did not need words of encouragement so he just jumped to the fighting stage without waiting for them.

    Zax’s opponent was the arrogant young woman who belittled Talhera for her cultivation in the lounge, Elita. She appeared to be in her early thirties, like Ragu Zin, and when she entered the fighting stage her cultivation exploded with the power of a Peak first level Core Master.

    Elita was one of five representative of a certain organization and was accompanied to the competition with a pretty big group of supporters. Seeing the azure splendor surrounding Elita, from where she was sitting, roughly twenty people started to cheer her on.

    Not just the people from Elita’s group cheered, her marvelous beauty caused the supporters from other groups to also yell in her favor.

    “Well… aren’t you going to release your mist energy?” Elita asked haughtily.

    Zax did not pay her attention. He was rapt with the fighting stage. Tapping it with his foot, he was thinking. ‘There is another layer of formation below the stage that makes it durable’. Lifting his head, he seemed to glance at the crowd, but actually was wondering about something else. ‘In contrast, the formation protecting the spectators is mostly useful against long ranged attacks, which I don’t really have, nor can use from the first place, but if I were to physically punch through it… even little Susuya would not need to spend too much muscle strength’.

    “Hey, the judge already gave the signal to fight, you dare ignore me?” As Zax inspected the stage, Elita became furious with his nonchalant attitude. “You are Zax, right? Eden Formation’s Pearl?” She asked right around the time he finished looking at the stage and turned to meet her with his gaze.

    “Yes”. Zax replied. His manner of standing and doing nothing, that is, not releasing his aura, gave the impression that he had no idea what he was doing. Some spectators who were affected by Razil’s speech even wondered if he was right and Zax was just a bozo.

    Elita sneered. “I heard that you have taken down a great family”.

    The downfall of the Derneldar family was a public record, but as for who was the one to defeat their founder and ultimately ruin them… that sort of information required many curious people with ability and connection to go through some hoops before finding out.

    Among those who came to spectate the Martial competition, the ones who knew beforehand that Zax, supposedly, beat a second level Core Master, almost five years ago, were very few.

    Exposing his involvement with the Derneldar family so openly instantly caused numerous faces to shift to their stage.

    “So?” Zax neither confirmed nor denied.

    “So isn’t the information completely not accurate?”

    Elita had heard from one of her companion that during the ten minutes break, Razil of the Molten Core Martial school, and a scion to the Marzel great family, revealed some interesting and logical stuff about the Eden Formation chief representative and Pearl.

    Pampered since birth, recognized as genius by distinguished experts and prone to the high class mentality, Elita found Razil’s argument unquestionably convincing. In addition, the violent fashion in which Zax dealt with mere spectators made her certain that the things Razil said were true enough to uncover Zax’s unsightly upbringing.

    “You are not even twenty years old and you want us to believe that as fourteen years old you defeated a second level Core Master?” In response to Elita’s query the crowd nodded in agreement.

    How preposterous, a fourteen years old kid eradicating a great family all on his own?

    “But perhaps not everything is a lie”, Elita continued. “Maybe you did have a conflict with the Derneldar family, an issue that had to end with one side annihilated. If this was the case, you, a low birth kid with potential, probably had the sympathy and hopes of your school, eventually either being clever or too pitiful, managed to involve your school to deal with the Derneldar family”. Elita merely hypothesized, but her approach signified that she was confident in her words.

    ‘Low birth?’ Zax idly thought to himself. To be classified as such amused him. Never did he care about social class and since the moment he embarked on the Martial path, time after time, he kept discarding conventional notions.

    To him, the way to determine the better between two people was only one, through strength.

    Mildly smiling, Zax asked. “How do these things matter to the competition? You asked me if I’m not going to release my aura while doing nothing for quite some time after releasing yours, are you even aware in was sort of competition we are participating? Were you sleeping until the judge called your name? To answer your question, no, I won’t release my aura. What now?” He ridiculed her.

    “You…” Being talked to so audaciously by someone she believed to be a phony and a liar, Elita said and bit her lower lips. She reached to a pocket in her short battle dress and took out a small object.

    Opening her hand, a shining blue pebble appeared.

    “Blue Stone! What is she going to take out?!” The spectators wondered outloud.

    Elita infused soul energy to the Blue Stone, it discharged small undulations and transformed into a thirty two centimeters tall blue tower.

    From the tower Elita summoned seven black and yellow sticks and a spearhead. Mist energy made the sticks and spearhead to float in the air right in front of Elita. “Combine!” She commanded.

    First, the seven sticks connected and then the spearhead merged with the long shaft as everything was being held by azure silky mist energy.

    “That is the Black Thunder Yellow River Spear!” Someone called in shock.

    “Only members of the Black And Yellow organization who cultivated their Thunder River spear technique to the Advanced phase are bestowed the exclusive Black Thunder Yellow River Spear!”

    Holding her spear, the air around Elita began to whirl and her bearing became battle ready.

    “This stance!” The woman that scolded Elita in the lounge, her backer, suddenly opened her eyes and her expression turned serious.

    “Licetna Mor”, a girl sitting beside Elita’s backer whispered. “Isn’t this spear technique the…”

    “Quite! Watch your senior!” Licetna bid. In her eyes anticipation and pride shone.

    Erita’s gaze locked on Zax. Her little bent body straightened up. Her left leg initiated an elegant motion to step back. Her mist energy congealed into a distinctive azure pattern on the shaft.

    Zax saw Erita lips slowly moving, still in her half motion back.

    WHOOSH!

    He took a step, a single regular move with his right leg.

    His figure vanished for almost all the eyes in the crowd and even couple of the fourteen elders gasped in astonishment. No one sensed the slightest fluctuation of mist energy.

    He appeared centimeters before Elita, who has not finished her half step back.

    Tapping her forehead softly with his index finger, Zax transmitted to her sea of consciousness a Soul Binding formation.

    The emerald formation confined Elita soul in a speed that was too fast for her to perceive. The patterns of congealed mist energy on the shaft of her spear rattled and then shattered to dispersing particles. The stringent light in her eyes dimmed as her whole face became expressionless. Her stance wavered and her body fell on the floor of the fighting stage.

    The battle was over, just like this. And not even the amazing and beautiful judge Talhear has realized.

  5. #145
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 9 – Three Way Battle



    Complete and utter silence.

    Elita’s body made a slight sound as she unconsciously fell on the stage. Strictly speaking, at that moment, Talhera, the main judge of the competition, should have called for the end of the fight and declared Zax the winner. Nevertheless, her expression was too stunned and stiff for her throat to issue a sound and her mouth to make the pronunciation.

    Not just the crowd of spectators, backers and participant were shaken by the abrupt and unassuming manner in which Zax defeated Elita.

    At least eleven of the fourteen elders, who were the minor judges of the competition, were looking at the fighting stage, where Elita was supposed to dazzle everyone with her prominent spear technique, and a perplexed look was plastered on their faces.

    The fourteen elders were all third level Core Master or above. Observing from their honorable seats that were only second to the Supreme Rulers’, each and every one of them saw and understood how Zax brought down Elita. But it was this very understanding that caused them to be all the more shocked than the regular spectators.

    Frankly, it was not how Zax proficiently transmitted the Soul Binding formation that had the elders captivated by his performance, but how nimble was a single step of his that could only be considered as a leisure nudge of a few toes.

    Zax’s one move to cover the distance between him and Elita indicated two staggering things. First, his control of the body was probably not inferior to that of a third realm expert. Second, the full power he could generate was most likely not weaker than any of the eleven shocked elders.

    The only three elders who still maintained a composed front were superintendent Ten and the elderly female third realm expert. One was already familiar with Zax’s capabilities to a profound degree and the other was pleasantly surprise by the younger generation. As for the third elder, the handsome best bodily cultivator in Kingdom Earth, his eyes viewed Zax coldly and nothing more.



    “Talhera”, a soft and amiable voice instigated the return of sounds to the hall.

    Talhera lifted her head and received a gentle nod from Supreme Ruler Trey. Only she, Supreme Ruler Ariel and Supreme Ruler Ar Yen did not have any reaction for the fight.

    Grasping the meaning behind the small gesture, Talhera’s composed demeanor of a main judge recovered.

    “Winner, Zax!” She declared, and as if assuring everyone that the prompt battle was indeed genuine, she opened the gates for all the spectators to acclaim excitedly.

    “Wooah! So fights like this can still occur even in the Martial competition?!” Someone exclaimed.

    “This guy… Is he really the one the Molten Core people demeaned? Did someone just want to play a prank on Elita?” Another person wondered outloud a question that many asked themselves.

    “The Black Thunder Yellow River Spear was broken with a mere poke to the head! Does anyone know what exactly happened?”

    “It was a soul attack! Definitely a formidable soul attack!”

    “Splendid! With ease and peace of mind, regardless of what Elita said, Zax triumphed splendidly!”

    There was no rest to the hubbub. Every spectator came to cheer and favor a specific participant, but that did not prevent them from appreciating impressive displays of ability and strength. Moreover, receiving the winner with smiles as he returns from the fighting stage could also be useful to make good impressions and later form beneficial ties.

    Of course, there were also those who felt dejection by Zax’s easy win. Razil, Elia’s backer and junior, figures who sided with Razil before or were competing through their representatives with Eden Formation for prestige and more… Surprisingly, Neyrar was not one of the demoralized people. Razil, on the other hand, was having it worse than anyone else as the fear of Zax still after him, only intensified.

    Zax returned to his seat as the chief representative, to his left and right he was being congratulated by his companions from Eden Formation.

    “Senior Zax, you were amazing!” Susuya praised.

    “Indeed, Zax, you finished the fight in a single move. Moreover, this Elita already took her stance and was in the midst of executing her spear technique when you struck. I doubt there is anyone here who is below the second level of the Core Master realm that could have done the same”. Uri expanded more in his compliment.

    “How it has been?” Anet asked. She was the only one who knew about Zax’s true thoughts and his acknowledgment of the fact that he might not win the competition.

    “It’s still the first round and there are several who ended their fights without showing their real strength”. Zax carefully said. Elita was weak in comparison to him, wining against her did not make him over confident. Seeing that his choice of words mildly changed Anet’s expression, he retracted. “Still, if I were to pick my opponent, I would rather fight with one of these elders”. He smiled and caressed her cheek with his thumb.

    The first round of the competition continued. Eden Formation had two more representatives to participate before the round ends.

    Susuya was up after Zax. Her opponent was the same as her, a pretty young first realm expert, a boy who represented both a great family and a reputable large company.

    Don grimaced when the boy, Evan, entered the stage. She did not have a bad premonition or anything profound of the sort; it was only the presence of the boy that bothered her, and the smile on the elderly female third realm expert. For someone so young who has yet to break through the second realm, to participate in the Martial competition only signified that he had some unique of talent. Generally, this would mean that Evan and Susuya were in the same boat; both were in the Core Breaker level, with minute differences in the phases they were in, and both joined the competition due to their accomplishment in other fields than mist cultivation.

    The instant the battle started in all four fighting stages, the two youngest participants currently engaging, Susuya and Evan, immediately displayed their personal expertise.

    Dark white aura erupted around Evan, mist energy circulated outside of his body. Evan executed a soft formation that seemed to be only a small component in his technique, and following the drawing of a few quick seals, his circulating mist energy divided into two, four, eight and finally sixteen same size currents, each pair split to circulate around Evan in diverse flows.

    Right leg, left leg, right arm, left arm, torso, neck, head and two currents that kept the original flow of circulation.

    Susuya did not stand idle. Bright white aura emanated from her body. She raised her arms up, hands aligned with each other and palms wide open. For a strange second she looked like a grand pianist, about to start her masterpiece.

    WHISH!

    Susuya lowered her hands swiftly and the air whistled a high pitched sound.

    Tens white strands began to float in front of Susuya, her fingers moved in a rhythm that appeared to be random and even childish, but as her formation took form, the eyes of several distinguish figures shined with a particular light. One of which was a set of blue and lucid eyes that watched from above, hinting their approval, these were Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch’s eyes.

    Watching from the sidelines, Zax could not tell what kind of formation Susuya erected. In the field of formation, he was only a little experienced in soul formations and one bodily formation. Conversely, when Evan made his first move, Zax immediately realized what technique he was using.

    ‘A Martial art integrated with mist energy!’ As a bodily cultivator he could perfectly tell that Evan’s technique was more than just a series of movement boosted by mist energy. The two things, which should have been separated, actually complemented each other and created something completely new.

    ‘Was the formation he added to the circulation of his mist energy the link of the technique?’ Zax wondered.

    Evan combination of Martial art and Martial technique was a method of close quarters combat. His body was propelled by a force that seemed as if something else controlled it, like the currents of circulating mist energy decided every move, moreover, could summon strength, speed and defense far above those of even a regular Advanced phase Mist Lord.

    Susuya could not contend in a close quarters combat even if she used formations like Don’s Ruler Is Perfect or Ruler’s Fort. Nevertheless, she was sharp and quick witted. Leeching on the power source of the fighting stage’s formations, she first erected a dome shaped protective formation, with additional countering properties, around her and, second, she spread a sheet thin reflecting formation all over the fighting stage that recoiled the mass of every one of Evan’s steps.

    Being countered in such a manner, the fight could not end in any other way but Susuya’s victory. That being said, not everyone took kindly to her misuse of the fighting stage’s formations and those from the same faction as Evan, other than the elderly female third realm expert, even demanded to call the fight null. In the end, Talhera had to consult with her fourteen minor judges. After a short discussion, the elderly female third realm expert stood up and issued a statement, pertaining the conclusion of the judges’ conclave.

    The judges determined that Susuya won the battle due to two factors. One, the rules of the competition did not state that a participant cannot make use of the power source of the fighting stages’ formation. Second, Susuya use of the said power source was only a matter of convenience. Without it, the battle would have concluded in the same manner since Susuya could still maintain her formations longer than Evan could maintain his technique.

    Thus, Susuya won in the first round. Afterwards, Jalal went to battle. Regrettably he, too, lost.

    The first round continued with all sorts of odd and plain battles and wins. Essentially, no participant of true caliber had been forced to reveal his or her power and quite a few ended their battle as plainly a Zax.

    “Everyone, we will now take a ten minutes cessation before the second round of the competition, please, do enjoy yourselves in the east side of the hall”. Talhera said after the last battle of the first round.



    “Congratulations, little brother Zax!”

    “Well done, young man, your display of skill was exquisite!”

    “Brother Zax, your spirit has moved the hearts of me and my friends here. Please allow us to toast for you”.

    As Zax insisted on staying with Anet, Uri, Fi Han, Jalal and Muri-Mer during the break, while Don privately conducted a briefing for Susuya, a crowd of affable faces approached them, showcasing their good nature and friendliness.

    The sight of quite a few people suddenly being so courteous toward the Eden Formation’s group did not go without notice.

    Everyone who previously sided with Razil was now passionately cursing him inwardly.

    Razil himself, Lizen and the other supporters of the Molten Core’s group were looking unwell. Although there were still many people sweetly talking and praising their school’s representatives who all made it to the second round, the once lofty group of supporters was now trying to keep their heads low, in fear of attracting Zax’s attention.

    What the group of Molten Core’s supporters was unaware of, was that Zax spent merely a fraction of a second thinking about them. Getting even for their behavior in the first break? He could not bother with it. He was not even patient toward the people who came to give him face only after he showed a bit of his strength and to not offend anyone, the other members of the Eden Formation’s group had to receive them.

    No, with regards to the Molten Core’s bunch, Zax was only resolute to carry out one thing, following through with his threat to Razil, that is, after dealing with the person who stood in his way, Neyrar.



    “Everyone, may you please return to your seats. The second round of the Martial competition is soon to begin”. Talhera requested.

    This time around, everyone reached to their seats from the first round.

    “The names have been shuffled yet again for the second round”. Talhera announced. “The battles will commence with the three way battle”. The moment she mentioned the first of the two three way battle the competition held, the crowd of spectators, participants and backers tensed up.

    “First three names, please come up right away to the first fighting stage. Silvia Linenra, Zax Zel, Woren”.

  6. #146
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 10 – Azure Snakes, White Rings



    “What?! These three are matched in the three way battle?!”

    “Did I hear wrong? Right from the second round they are going to create such a ferocious fight?!”

    “But selection of participants is random. The judges won’t cheat. This just must be these three’s bad luck…”

    Remark after remark of disbelief resounded after Talhera summoned Silvia, Zax and Woren to the first fighting stage.

    “Zax”, Don turned to him solemnly. “Don’t be complacent like in the first round. Although Silvia and Salin are twins, Silvia is many times stronger. I reckon that if she was to fight Ragu Zin, the battle would have ended in mere seconds. And that Woren also isn’t a walk in the park. He is an independent expert without a backing, but his reputation precedes him. He should be in his late thirties, but his cultivation is already in the Intermediate phase of the second Core Master’s level and very proficient in crowd control martial techniques”.

    Zax obediently listened to Don’s consultation. He was not planning on taking Silvia and Woren lightly. He saw them in the first round and neither was forced to reveal his and her true strength. Moreover, not counting his advantage that sprout from the use of Kinetic Force, his physical strength is only about strong enough to match a Peak second level Core Master. His two opponents should also have the similar battle powers, so underestimating them would be bad, especially if the two will decide to side against him, if only to push him out of the fighting stage.

    Atop the fighting stage, Zax, Silvia and Woren stood in a triangular formation. The other six participants to start the second round also entered the fighting stages, but in terms of the spectators’ concentration, not even their backers and supporters paid attention to them. To be honest, even the six were more interested in the three way fight than their own battles.

    On the stage, due to his brawny physique and height, Zax appeared as the most dominant of the three.

    Silvia was older than Salin in couple of seconds, but the two, nevertheless, looked the same, around twenty centimeters shorter than Zax, with delicate features, short hairstyle and assertive disposition. She was holding the same type of crescent blade sword as her younger twin sister.

    Woren’s gaze calculated in all times. He was not using weapons. His arsenal was solely dedicated to Martial techniques that are comparable to his mist refinement technique and personality.

    The three did not trade words. They recognized each other strength and were already engrossed with intent to battle that anything else would have just hindered their mental preparation.

    “…Begin!” Talhera gave the order for the second round battles to start.

    The participants in stage two to four were already a bit familiar with their opponent from the observation in the first round. Per Talhera’s command, six auras manifested and three intense fights began.

    Only the status of stage one remained static.

    “Senior Silvia, cut these two brutes!” The two juniors who accompanied Silvia and Salin from Crescent Arms, Shitou’s top Martial school, cheered loudly.

    “Woren, you got the support of the Rendevar cooperation!”

    “Tongguo’s Art Of Destruction give our full support to Woren!”

    “The Zein family and the Zein association hail the definite winner of the three way battle, Woren!”

    Groups that had their representatives failing to pass the first round, ignored the shamelessness of their behavior and started to draw Woren, the only participant among the three without a power behind him, to their circle.

    “Big brother Zax, don’t hold back! Show them your-” Before Susuya could finish her sentence, Anet rested her hand on her mouth.

    “Junior Susuya, you can’t say things that Zax might want to keep secret”.



    “I’ll say it so it would be clear to the two of you, I’m going all out”. The long robe, bleached hair Woren was the first to speak, but he used the opportunity only to warn Zax and Silvia.

    In response to him, Silvia raised her sword. Instead of words, she used her azure aura, which flattered her blue school uniforms, to convey her intention to also take the fight seriously.

    ‘If they go all out right from the beginning, I really should be careful, but to reveal my accomplishment in the bodily maneuvers in the second round would be too soon’. Zax glanced at the two. He really felt impishly eager to challenge them both, but at the same time was aware of the difficulty they presented if he was not planning to use Kinetic Force.

    ‘…Woren!’ He could not tell what strategy they had in mind, so he ended up compromising on first beating the one who seemed more capable of threatening him.

    WHOOSH!

    The three pounced at the same instant.

    Inauspicious azure glow conjured from the sleeves of Woren’s robe, as if four azure translucent huge snakes were hiding underneath it.

    The crescent blade of Silvia’s sword doubled in size, but the increase was in pursuance of the manner in which she utilized her mist energy, and a white hue solidified at the crescent edge.

    Zax’s control of the body was something his opponents could not rival. Moreover, the speed and strength he could generate were enough so long Woren and Silvia could not exhibit attacks beyond the capacity of a second level Core Master.

    As the three were on direct course of collision, Woren rotated his arms and legs. The four azure snakes split, two toward Zax and two toward Silvia.

    Unwilling to retreat, Silvia slashed with her sword. Her expanded blade, as if capable of taking the initiative to strike without the need for its mistress’s command, cut two white rings that decapitated the azure snakes, however, not completely dissipating the mist energy they consisted from. The mist energy reassembled to target her again.

    Zax extended both of his palms. The upcoming long range mist attack was something he determined within the scope of his physical ability to withstand.

    BANG!

    Two snacks heads slammed against the palms of his hands. The impact steadied Zax in his place, restraining him from taking another step forward, but the two snake heads were not better off.

    Zax clenched his fingers, crushing the snakes into a mush of mist energy that dispersed and gathered once more. A bit of disappointment reflected on Zax’s face, but not because the failure of completely eradicating the mist energy constructs. The Soul Binding formation he transmitted through the bodies of the snakes did not even make it halfway to Woren before dissolving. From this Zax gathered that unless he will make a physical contact of Woren, he will not be able to make use of any type of soul attack like he did years ago against Eden Formation’s Disciplinary Class and their Hydra formation.

    Woren halted, took a step back and a turn, his movements were in coordination with his four snakes. He claimed to go all out, but his conduct gave the impression that as fierce as his attack was, he was still moderating himself.

    In the span of time the two snakes reassembled, Zax kicked the ground, seizing the chance to arrive next to Woren and deal him a heavyweight punch.

    ‘Not good!’ An ominous feeling at the back of his neck caused Zax to abruptly shift his posture in evasion.

    A white ring flew in a blinding speed, hitting the stage’s floor where Zax was intending to step on. White spark exploded from contact with the floor, the protective formation activated and brightened all the bricks of the fighting stage, and after a second of weathering, the light dimmed down and the white ring vanished.

    ‘Her sword can cut me’. Zax silently confessed.

    Silvia maybe was the quiet type, but much like her sister, her temperament when fighting was unruly and dangerous. With Woren thinking that he can afford fighting both Zax and her, and Zax downright disregarding her, the glowing enlarged crescent blade issued three cries.

    One, to shred the two snakes obstructing her.

    Second, to cut the back Zax dared turning to her.

    Third, to finish Woren.

    The white ring caught up and struck at Woren’s chest. His defensive mist energy sustained for a breath before it was minced. The four assembling snakes dispersed and brutal mist energy erupted from Woren’s dantian.

    “Graaah!” He let out a scream; the white ring pierced his chest but stopped at his ribs. Woren’s eyes reddened, a savage expression plastered on his face. The long robe torn apart and over twenty red eyes mist snakes burst from his slim torso.

    All of this happened at the same moment the first ring cut the two snakes and Zax avoided the second one.

    Most of the spectators watching the events following Silvia’s attack unfold, believed Woren was doomed and a one versus one battle is about the begin, but as they heard Woren suddenly roaring and saw the over twenty mist snakes emerging with terrifying killing intent, all their speculations crumbled and their cheering subdued as fear replaced the excitement.

    “Eh?” Zax could not help but dumbly stare.

    Woren went mad and unleashed his full power, but was actually only targeting Silvia. And the tomboy girl in response displayed a hint of satisfaction. Facing twenty four snakes surging toward her, her aura discharged a sharp dominance.

    ZING!

    Silvia’s sword split and a duplicate appeared in her left hand, but despite the division, the power she emitted only augmented.

    Silvia charged into the myriad of snakes. Her twin sword technique danced in a dazzling performance. Every swing of her arm, every nudge of the crescent blade cut one snake after the other. Nevertheless, the snakes reassembled ceaselessly, making it impossible for Silvia to reach Woren at the end of their tails.

    ‘Mist Users are truly flashy’. Zax sighed inwardly. It seems like not just the two, but even the spectators have forgotten him, but the fact was that he could not approached Silvia without risking getting cut, or get close to Woren at the expanse of not knowing what more does he hide.

    ‘If the fight could extend beyond the circumference of the stage, it would have been a playful battle for me; however, if I’m bent on not using Kinetic Force, I should take this fight more seriously…’

    Till now Zax was not concerned from getting hurt, but being unable to stand his ground when confronting his opponent’s attack. Although he was agile enough to avoid the two, he did not want to resort to running around from attacks that cannot take his life.

    WHOOSH!

    Zax’s speed spiked, his body was accelerating toward Woren.

    Whatever state of mind Woren was in, even though it was difficult for his inner mind to keep up with Zax, his mist energy reacted instinctively.

    A swarm of finger size snakes was shot from his hand, hundreds in number. The little snakes had red eyes much like the twenty four large snakes and the one who conjured them. They crawled on the stage and pounced at in the incoming Zax in a form of an azure tide.

    Zax retracted his arms to his waist. His biceps bulged, becoming prominent underneath the sleeves of his shirt.

    BOOM!

    BOOM!

    Two punches were thrown successively against the tide of little azure snakes, blasting a passage for Zax to go through.

    The savage light in Woren’s eyes flickered, he did not expect for his attack to practically be dismissed in such a simple manner. He knew that Zax was a bodily cultivator, but they were too scarce to meet, much less have a fight with, and so even his cautionary assessment turned out insufficient.

    Five of the closest large snakes holding Silvia in place, separated from their group to stop Zax.

    The five huge snakes viciously hissed their way to halt Zax. The summoning technique Woren utilized to conjure them, clearly was superior to the initial four snakes. The initial power of each of the new ones was equivalent to an Advanced phase second level Core Master and only after getting destroyed will their strength slowly deteriorate.

    The first two, Zax blasted with his fist, but that only pushed them back and made them reassemble. Two more Zax kicked, sending them flying. The last one opened his jaw and bit Zax’s neck with its greenish fangs, getting past his skin, yet stuck in his trapezius.

    “Futile!” Zax’s eyes shone with their own vicious light. He grabbed the snake head and flung it away as a few drops of blood dripped from the wound in his neck before healing.

    If he had to tangle with all twenty four snakes like Silvia, then using the Kinetic Force would have been unavoidable, unless he choose to evade, but since Silvia roused Woren’s killing intent, she had to deal with this problem.

    Traversing the remaining meters, Zax made it behind Woren and placed his hand at the right side of his head.

    Woren was startled. He could not protect himself due to the grueling manipulation of his mist energy.

    Seven Soul Binding formations flown to his sea of consciousness, one for each giant snake that assaulted Zax.

    The redness in his eyes lessened until they resumed the healthy white, but his snakes technique dissolved and his body fell like a log on the stage.

    Silvia was drenched with sweat and panting. No matter how many times she slashed with her swords or white rings, the mist snakes could preserve for a long time, and Woren gave the impression that he could maintain his technique even long enough for her to make a mistake before him. Luckily, Zax incapacitated him before Silvia sustained any wounds.

    Regrettably, as she laid her eyes at Zax and then Woren at his feet, one look was more than enough for Silvia to realize that even if she will be able to match Zax for a while, in the end she will end up in the same unsightly conclusion as Woren and the earlier fallen Elita.

    Such a loss would be too shameful for someone proud like her.

    Silvia sighed, the sword in her left hand disappeared and the one in her right hand was lowered.

    “I concede”.

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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 11 – Razil’s Ploy



    “Winner, Zax!” Talhera declared.

    The crowd of spectators stared in bewilderment. The fight might have seemed like it took a long time to conclude, but in truth it was over in less than four minutes after the three began to move.

    “That’s… That’s it?! With the same single move he subdued Woren and simultaneously made Silvia forfeit?!” A spectator murmured to himself.

    This was the second round, and nothing yet spectacular should have taken place, but the three way battle had three experts that any one of whom was fit to be among the top ten. It was reasonable for everyone to expect from the first stage to shine with the spender of high class techniques. With this expectation in mind, Woren and Silvia certainly complied to the crowd’s anticipation, but Zax… the winner of the three way battle… with just a flick of his hand, it felt as if not just his two opponents were defeated, but the great suspense of the crowd was crushed!

    “What the hell?! What kind of soul attack did he employ to take down an expert such as Woren without giving him a chance to retaliate?!”

    While there were many who voiced their shock, there were quite a few who sat with dejected expressions on their faces.

    Yet again, all those who derided Zax before the first round felt like a sharp bone was stuck in their throat, and the one to swallow the prime rib was, of course, Razil. Not long ago he compered Silvia and her sister to Neyrar, claiming in the same breath that they are genuine Pearls in comparison to Zax. And now, the stronger of the two sisters lost to Zax without even trying to put up a fight.

    Will it not be his turn, sooner or later, to receive Zax’s retribution?

    Razil bit his tongue and inconspicuously glanced at Neyrar. Quickly color began to return to his face with additional red shine. Piously he put his fate in his the number one representative of his school and several major forces.



    “Senior Ten, your kid seems fond of your Soul Binding formation, but am I seeing things wrong? The formations he used in this fight and the previous one a bit differs from what I remember…” The elderly third realm woman said with a piqued smile and even though she did not send her word through her Sublime Soul Sense, superintendent Ten was still the sole person to hear her.

    “Mmm, student Zax cultivated my Soul Binding formation to perfection couple of years ago. What he used in the two fights was a variation of his creation. That is why it looks familiar to you, lady Takeda”. Superintendent Ten used the same technique to transmit his words directly to her ears.

    In the past four years, while learning from the reading material in Eden Formation’s Summit and Grandmaster Kartion about the basis of soul formations, Zax had yet to attain a proficient enough level to create a formation that could match superintendent Ten’s Soul Binding formation. But he was able to experiment. And although, overall, the variation he came up with is not better than the original Soul Binding formation, he did manage to modify it for a more comfortable use for himself.

    “But… I would rather suggest you to subtly take note of student Zax’s soul. There, lies his true fortitude as a Martial cultivator”. Superintendent Ten added.

    The elderly female third realm expert, lady Takeda, carefully inspected Zax’s sea of consciousness with her Sublime Soul Sense as he came down from the fighting stage.

    “I see… his soul is at the Peak of the first realm, but its strength comparable to a Peak second level Core Master, maybe even a Beginner third level Core Master. So he himself is yet another freak of nature...” Lady Takeda sighed. “Judging by that and his extraordinary bodily refinement technique, I’ll say that there are only three junior participants who can match his ability. As for age, only Nirger’s boy has surpassed his accomplishments”.

    “Ahm”, superintendent Ten groaned. “Nirger’s boy is indeed exceptional, but student Zax traverses a Martial path unique to him alone, which none among the older generations sitting here can follow, and, perhaps, not one of the younger generation will ever repeat”.

    Toward this steadfast comment lady Takeda had not say in response anything. The Martial path is known to be the same as an endless root system with countless small and big paths. Most are negligible, having nothing special to them but conformism. But a few rare ones possess the challenges that even fewer are really qualify to pass for attainment of transcendence beyond their peers.

    If Zax was on such of a unique path, lady Takeda could make a guess to find out which. After all, a junior in the first realm could only traverse so far. Nevertheless, lady Takeda kept to herself. It will be unbefitting for a senior to dig into the affairs of a junior. Moreover, in her opinion, a third realm expert at her age should forget about everything and either die or continue cultivating for the alluding infinitesimal chance of true ascension.



    The second round fights proceeded in high spirit despite the bland results of the three way battle.

    There was a total of twenty battles for forty one participants to fight over the twenty places of the third round.

    Susuya entered the fighting stage along with an independent female expert, seemingly thirty five years of age. The name of the female expert was Linor, and by the crowd reaction to her appearing in the second round, her popularity was really big.

    Linor’s frame was bulky to a woman and her body, including her face, was scars ridden. From that, one could gather that it was not her unparalleled beauty that the crowd regarded with great exclamations, but the strength with which she dominated and gained her reputation as the number one assassin of the Basement Floor!

    At the beginning of the fight, Talhera notified Susuya, and everyone else with the same idea, that from the second round onward it is forbidden to exploit the fighting stages’ formations. To everyone surprise, though, Linor did not mind whether Susuya use the power source of the stage to fuel her formations.

    The battle was practically a reiterate of Zax’s fight with Elita, over in a blink of an eye.

    Just as Susuya was forming the first seals of her formation, Linor’s figure flickered and appeared beside her. With a gentle tap at Susuya’s forehead, Liner transmitted a soul attack to rattle Susuya’s sea of consciousness and incapacitate her. The mere different from Zax’s fight, was that Linor surprisingly, considering her profession, was kindhearted enough to catch Susuya before her body hit the fighting stage.

    Obliged, Don received Susuya from Linor’s arms. Couple of minutes later Susuya awakened, a bit muddle headed and confused.

    The second round was over with couple of intense fight and a few just as dull as Zax’s and Linor.

    “Winner of the last battle of the second round, Mahagen”. With Talhera’s declaration, two men in white scrubs ran to and climbed on the fighting stage.

    The two men carried Mahagen’s beaten opponent as well as asked him to follow them to the medical area.

    “Everyone, the break before the third round will extend to fifteen minutes for the next round pairing to be complete and for the remaining twenty participants to collect themselves. I would like to remind everyone; the next round will determined the Martial competition top ten participants. I urge anyone who wishes to, at least, earn the communal prize, to assess your physical and mental conditions and check yourself in the medical area before I’ll the summoning back to your seats”.



    “That Linor is probably someone I will be forced against to use my Kinetic Force”. Zax solemnly admitted to Anet and the rest.

    “She is really strong. I was down before I knew it. I don’t even remember feeling pain”. Susuya exuberantly nodded in agreement. Since she was not hurt and furthermore, was dealt softly by Linor, she felt both appreciation and reverence for her mighty opponent.

    “It doesn’t matter. Since you are our last school’s representative and yet superintendent Ten chose not to attend this time briefing, I doubt there is a need for you to worry about the next round”. Uri discerned.

    Indeed, with Zax being the last representative of Eden Formation, not only superintendent Ten skipped overseeing the briefing, Don also did not bother to convene the briefing with just she and Zax. At most, she erected a formation around their group to conceal to course of the conversation from everyone and warn off those who wanted to fawn over Zax.

    “The competition is down to twenty participants”. Don suddenly said. “Zax, Linor is not the only dangerous participant in this competition. The three from Molten Core also made it to the third round. And Neyrar, the one who caught your fist, his battles till now have ended before even I could make up his movements”.

    Don was an Intermediate phase second level Core Master, but that was not her point. She mentioned the Molten Core’s three since there was a high chance for Zax to encounter one of them in the next round, and more importantly, she wanted to make sure his violent temper was not subsiding. Against Neyrar she genuinely believed that he will need it.

    Zax did not reply. Despite maintaining a casual countenance, his anger was still searing in his sea of consciousness. It was not showing because part of it was directed at Razil, an insignificant figure he already had an idea of how to punish, and the other part was aimed at the shadow of Neyrar’s father in his mind.

    As for Neyrar himself… no matter how much he wanted to blame him, his heart did not consent, not for his father’s action or his Mor’s hostility, which left Zax a little irritated by this indecisiveness.

    In contrast and a tint of harmony, with regard to Neyrar stopping his fist before, Zax was actually excited to confront such a strong opponent that was close to his age.



    Fifteen minutes passed to some too fast and other too slow. Talhera called everyone back to their seats with the exception of a few participants that got severely injured in the previous round and were still being treated.

    “Fourth stage, Hamer versus Zax Zel!”

    After the battles started, in but no time, because each cycle of fights hold four battles at the same time, Zax turn to enter the fighting stage together with his third opponent has arrived.

    Nervous and hopeful in his seat, Razil’s eyes lit up the instant he heard the first name Talhera mentioned. His head swiftly turned as fast as lightning to a certain young man sitting not far from him and who just stood up.

    “Wait, senior Hamer!” He shouted in near desperation for this senior Hamer of his and pounced from his seat to grab his hand. “Please, senior Hamer, allow me to accompany you to the fighting stage”. He asked, trying to contain his stress.

    Hamer tactfully gazed at Razil and then smirked. He cupped Razil’s hand.

    “Little junior, you can cheer from the spectator’s seat”. Hamer shook Razil’s hand, squeezing it in a peculiar way to hint for something. “To follow me to the stage will be too embarrassing”.

    Feeling his hand being squeezed, Razil was elated. His senior Hamer understood his true intentions and seemed to be willing to cooperate!

    In haste, Razil used his index finger to tap and write on Hamer’s palm. When they let go, Razil returned to his seat with a devious smile and excellent mood.

    If he could count on Neyrar to defeat Zax… Knowing this scary senior Hamer, offer the right price and he could count on him to do much, much worse!

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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 12 – Venting



    “Zax, this Hamer from Molten Core should be as strong, or stronger, than Silvia and Woren. I’m not worried about your chances in beating him, but do stay vigilant if you insist to not use your full strength”. Don asked.

    Hamer was forty four years old yet appeared as a blue haired, blue eyes young man in his late teens or early twenties, as a result of his cultivation level and his overall investment on the way he looked.

    In his previous fights, Hamer won with little difficulty. The techniques he revealed were trained to high proficiency; they ended each of his battles in a bloody manner and caused many faces in the spectators’ seats to grimace.

    Hamer had graduated almost fifteen years ago from Molten Core and with his vicious personality, went to work for the Basement Floor. Despite his faults, he was still offered the position of one of Molten Core three representatives, all for the sake of dominating the winner’s circle of the competition.

    Honestly, though, viewing Hamer as he smugly entered the fighting stage and then feeling the killing intent he imbued to his aura, there was not one spectator who has not wondered how such a person can be given the approval of the Zoearth family of the beloved Supreme Ruler Trey.

    Zax gauged Hamer next to Don in response to her request.

    ‘A Beginner phase second level Core Master…’ His eyes met Hamer’s.

    “Kid, hurry up and enter the stage”. A hint of bloodlust was fused in Hamer’s voice. “I won’t be apathetic as I was when you behaved arrogantly before the first round. In fact, now that we crossed paths in the competition, don’t think to blame me later. Everything that is about to happen is entirely your fault”.

    When he communicated clandestinely with Razil through subtle hand signs and taps, Hamer has agreed for the remuneration offered to him. As for what was the service he was hired to do? Naturally, it was to, as inconspicuously as possible, end the fight by crippling Zax or, better yet, unintentionally killing him.

    Hamer was extremely shrewd with the way he taunted Zax. The reason why he conducted himself so bluntly and made his intention to brutally confront Zax obvious, was so afterwards he will be able to justify his ferocity by claiming that he warned Zax and was consumed by raging desire for retribution over the disrespect and violence against his school and juniors.

    Zax pursed his eyebrows. First it was Neyrar’s Mor, than Razil, following was Elita and now Hamer... Just a while ago, in the second round, upon meeting his two opponents and feeling their resolve to treat him as an equal and serious adversary, Zax began to think that the he no longer has to deal with over the top, standoffish people.

    Moreover, each round he participated in, when some used their Soul Sense or Sublime Soul Sense to get a finer perspective of the battle, he always felt the chilly aggression of Neyrar’s Mor sweeps him as if trying to antagonize him. This left Zax a little vexed and intending to get to the root of the elder’s issue with him at one point during or early after the competition.

    “What’s going on?”

    “Why isn’t he entering the stage?”

    “Is he afraid of Hamer?”

    “I think Hamer threatened Zax into a stupor for the commotion between their schools earlier…”

    Staring at Zax as he kept standing in his place, unmoving, after Hamer provoked him, the crowd of spectators started to speculate if the underdog and last representative of Eden Formation has finally recognized a foe that he cannot match, and so was consumed with doubts about risking a brawl with him.

    “Participant Zax Zel, please enter the fighting stage or forfeit the match”. Talhera called him once more and let him know his options. She did not think that Zax was afraid or anything like some in the spectators’ seats, but had to inform him what would happen if he will not enter the stage per her duty as the main judge.

    Zax glanced at Talhera and nodded. In a single step he arrived at the stage.

    The fights in the other three stages were well underway, once more in the cycle of fights Zax was part of.

    “Do you, too, have a problem with me?” Zax asked. This time he wanted to know before executing a certain urge. “You weren’t so talkative in the previous two rounds”.

    He did not say anything about being targeted by Hamer’s bloodthirstiness since Zax viewed his fights and regardless of whom was his opponent, in each of his attacks, Hamer made sure to draw as much blood as he could. From a particular standpoint it almost looked like the splashes of blood were done in a ceremonial fashion.

    Zax continued. “And in the feud with the group from your school you seemed nonchalant from beginning to end. Why now are you making a fuss?” He was listening to Don during the exchange between Hamer and Razil, so he did not connect the dots.

    “It’s really simple”, Hamer said in a low voice. His expression turned grave and resentful, suitable for the part of a righteous man looking to regain lost face. “You injured my juniors, disregarded the presence of my old school principal, made further threats to my junior and even indirectly, verbally imposed yourself at me, and for what? An argument a few spectators had?” Hamer rested his breath with a sigh and raised his head again to meet Zax’s eyes. With an upright smile he said. “I won’t diss you because of rumors; actually, I’ll give you the respect of one who made it to the third round and fight seriously, for a change. But as for my opinion of you and objective in this fight… you are a lowlife”, Hamer pulled two short hidden World Gathering Bone daggers and his azure aura emerged, bellicose and bloodcurdling. “And I will painfully eliminate you from the path of vileness that you are on!”

    “He is brutal, but this may be just his fighting style. In essence, this Hamer seems quite benevolence”.

    “Indeed, I witnessed the discord between Eden Formation students and Molten Core students. In the end, participant Zax intervened and struck two Molten Core students…”

    “This certainly should not be allowed nor encouraged. Our society has rules and the eastern hall was designated for us to debate with one side losing and one side winning. It is the way of life. If you want to prove otherwise, do so on the fighting stage”.

    The spectators who found reason within Hamer’s speech and from the get go were more inclined toward Molten Core, voiced their opinion and strengthened the accusations Hamer made.

    “This people are disgustingly fickle!” Jalal remarked. “They will act obediently quiet when someone strong contradict them and will howl and cry when someone they think can protect them will show up”.

    “Don’t pay them attention, Jalal”, Don said. “If you look around you’ll see that these people are but a small portion from the crowd. Hamer is not a saint and everyone knows it. Whatever comments he has about Zax, let him present them with his fists”.

    Hamer dashed toward Zax, his two daggers glittering with spectacular cold light. Channeled in them was, astonishingly, Hamer’s mist energy with the addition of icy attribute!

     

    “If that is the case…” Zax softly spoke. He could not care less about Hamer’s reply to his question, his haughtiness and the crowd’s reaction. But if he come at him with the intent to kill and the mind to humiliate him, than Zax felt appropriate with the idea of discharging this annoying bit of frustration he had for Hamer’s kind.

    Hamer swung his arms and arched sharp beams of icy blue mist energy ejected from his daggers, thinner than a sheet of paper.

    Two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve icy blue beams neared Zax in a terrifying speed.

    WHOOSH!

    Zax kicked the stage, jumped and evaded the first two beams, but the instant he thought that he was in the clear, Hamer’s dagger vibrated and all the beams changed their trajectory.

    Zax was momentarily stunned. He did not avoid the long range attacks because he felt like jumping around, but due to their sharpness. Even if the arched beams could not easily dismember him, Zax sensed that they were not any less sharp than Silvia’s crescent blade and could easily cut him to the bone.

    An indistinct “BOOM” echoed underneath Zax’s leg, for the first time in the competition he was forced to use Kinetic Force, if only to, on principle, escape unscratched.

    Out of the over one thousand spectators, roughly ninety or so detected the nearly silent “BOOM”. After four years, this precise and delicate level of control over his Kinetic Force was one of Zax’s greatest achievements.

    WHOOSH!

    Zax’s speed surpassed the daggers’ beams, but thee stage was limiting in size, and Hamer, after seeing that he physically cannot catch up with Zax, unleashed the maximum number of arched icy beams that he could control at the same time.

    “Humph! Even if you can fly, it won’t help you to escape!”

    Twenty four daggers’ beams pursued Zax midair and on the ground.



    The crowd spectating from their seats, watched agape.

    “F- F- FLYING!” Someone jumped from his seat and burst in outrage, more than astonishment.

    “How can it be?! Hurry, anyone, Zax’s mist cultivation was not disclosed in any report, is he a third realm expert?!” Another woman, a backer of one of the participants, got up from her seat, beads of sweat sliding from her forehead to her slender neck.

    It was general knowledge for those in the high echelon, that the entities known as “third realm experts” were the only cultivator capable of flight. Sure, there were rare techniques, which enabled Core Masters to fly, but they were too mist consuming and impacted agility far too much to be used in battle.

    How come, then, that someone younger than twenty years of age, was moving freely between the ceiling of the hall and the floor of the stage like a bird?!

    “He is a bodily cultivator; this is definitely a bodily technique”. It did not take long for someone astute with a little more information about Zax to guess correctly.

    “Amazing! Amazing! A bodily technique that can make someone walk on air… is it possible that Eden Formation has embarked on the path of bodily cultivation as well as formations?”

    “Look at his speed!”

    “Don”, a middle age looking woman with black air, wearing a black suit turned to Don with a stern expression. “What is the meaning of this? Is this really a technique belong to your school?”

    “Hahahah”, Don covered her lips and laughed. “Mira, Eden Formation has many aces. If this is one of them, do I need to confirm or deny?”

    Mira, the black suit woman, stayed quiet. Was there a need for Don to reply? The answer was “it does not matter”. Zax was flying and is an Eden Formation’s student.

    Should it be said more explicitly?



    Even in air, Zax remained in the space above the stage. He could not tell if going outside the boundaries of the stage will be a violation of the rules, therefore he maintained cautiousness.

    The daggers’ beam followed without dissipating no matter how long it has been since Hamer shot them. They assaulted from every direction and their maneuvers were difficult to avoid in such a great number.

    “You are becoming predictable!” Hamer already realized that Zax was trying to get to him. In response, he controlled the daggers’ beams to defend more so than chase and after a while, for experts at least, he vaguely started to read Zax’s movement pattern.

    SLASH!

    An icy beam flashed across Zax’s shoulder and made contact.

    “Tsk!” Zax clicked his tongue. He had to hand it to Hamer, his technique was truly remarkable for it to keep up with him and even harm him.

    Nevertheless, although still disappointing, the cut was only skin deep and not so much as caused a single drop of blood.

    BOOM!

    Zax pounced back, far from Hamer and his sharp daggers’ beams, to stand at the far end of the fighting stage from his opponent.

    “Amusing! You think this much distance can make a different?” Hamer’s lips stretched to a smug. He swung his daggers as if dancing, and the beams he controlled flew toward Zax.

    “One cut”, Zax said while remaining still. “That is all you get!” Clenching his arms near his waist, he waited for the twenty four beams to reach him.

    The daggers’ beams approached. Fifty seven meters… forty fourth meters… thirty meters… twelve meters…

    Half a meter from him, Zax clenched his large physique. Kinetic energy circulated in his body and some of it even oozed out.

    VOOZE!

    Zax stretched out and Kinetic Force erupted from his body like an invisible dome, fending, blasting and shattering the twenty four beams.

    “What?!” Hamer complexion paled as the mist energy he channeled to his daggers rebounded. “Puah!” The shock to his internals caused blood to go up his throat.

    “Be prepared. I’m going to vent”. Zax bent his knee. In his eyes reflected the intent to break.

    WHOOSH!

    Hamer was injured, so Zax lacked the need for further use of Kinetic Force.

    BANG!

    His fist slammed against Hamer’s chest. Lifting him from the ground with enough force inside the impact to throw him off the stage, but Zax moved fast.

    “You should have been more decisive”. Zax discoursed. He caught Hamer’s arm and applied pressure.

    CRACK!

    “Ahh!” Hamer screamed. The daggers he held loosely slipped from his hands.

    “Not that it would have made a difference”. Zax turned, swinging Hamer like a rag doll, dislocating his shoulder and letting go.

    Hamer bolted out of the fighting stage, past the west side of the hall, straight to the socializing and to accommodating east side’s wall.

    BOOM!

  9. #149
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 13 – A Slight Change



    From the force of impact, Hamer’s defensive armor of mist energy crumbled and cracking sounds echoed. The east wall of the hall, on the other hand, was unblemished.

    A thin, glowing green layer of a mantle has been raised between Hamer and the wall to protect it, but the instant the force of the impact dissipated, the mantle vanished into air, while Hamer fall unconscious to the floor.

    To say that Hamer was “unlucky” is a statement that its true essence could only be understood by, maybe, one percent of the spectators. A handful of people were capable of spotting the green mantle, since the one who bothered to make sure the hall remains intact was none other than Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch. And this is related to Hamer unluckiness because if it was not for Supreme Ruler Ariel’s mantle, than the east wall would have absorbed the force of the impact instead of Hamer.

    “This intensity…!”

    “Yet another quick and decisive battle…”

    “That Zax Zel, where the hell Eden Formation found him? Has he not reached yet his limits? This is practically fighting and prowess on the same level as the most publicly acclaimed participants!”

    The spectators who were familiar with Hamer and assumed that Zax met the rival that will eliminate him from the competition were aghast.

    Two men from the medical team rushed to Hamer with a stretcher as Zax walked back to his seat.

    “Hahaha, your display of ruthlessness was astounding!” Fi Han greeted Zax with a laugh.

    “Ruthlessness?” Zax raised an eyebrow, but before he waited for a response he thought about it really fast and gathered that for those who never extended a step out of their Martial school, his actions might have seemed wild.

    “Yes, this Hamer nearly crippled his previous opponents. Most of the blood on the stages he fought on belongs to his opponents. Now he got what he deserved, hahaha!” As the leader of the Disciplinary Class, Fi Han treated the severity of Hamer injuries as a justice for the two opponents who fought him before Zax.

    “I concur”. Arms crossed, Jalal nodded in agreement.

    “Enough, you two. Everyone pay unnecessary attention to us. It is good that Zax won with no effort, but this fight determined his place among the top ten and it is best not to antagonize too much the participants and backers who failed at this round and the earlier ones”. Don said in a judicious consideration.

    The Martial competition is a significant event that only occurs once every fifty years. Some of the families, schools and other groups with the right to participate in it invest tremendously in their representative, if not to attain a place in the top three, then, at least, to reach the top ten.

    Although everything was managed by the Strong Arm League, no one could tell for certainty if some groups have prepared in advance, or not, measures to secretly sabotage the well being of others’ representatives.

    One must not forget that behind some of the powers here stand members of the fourteen elders and even the Supreme Rulers!



    Razil was biting his tongue in frustration. For Hamer to lose was beyond his expectations. His loss signified more than just the continuing existence of the menacing Zax, but that Zax is far stronger than he anticipated.

    ‘Senior Neyrar! Senior Neyrar! Senior Neyrar! Senior Neyrar!’ At this point he chanted as if praying for gods and devils alike, whoever can save him.

    If Neyrar will fight Zax and lose, then he would have to suffer great physical pain from Zax or turn tail and shamefully run to seek aid from the school principle.

    Both scenarios were unbearable for Razil to imagine, and the latter did not assure him that Zax, the madman exterminator of a great family – a story he started to take seriously more and more – will not still come after him. Thus, entrusting Neyrar his fate this time around has become the last remaining sensible lifeline.

    Of course, Razil was not the sole member of the Molten Core’s group currently fuming because of Zax.

    Except from Neyrar, the other female representative, who passed the third round before Zax’s battle with Hamer, and the school principle, everyone else in the Molten Core’s group were angrily glaring at Zax. Still, none dared to say a word. Hamer who is actually stronger than even the school principle and vice school principle, boasted that he will beat Zax and yet lost miserably.

    If weaklings like them, which mostly were able to attend the Martial competition due to their school’s permission more than their high class status, will offend someone unbridled as Zax, than any reprisal that will follow will a be bane they would not be able to escape.



    “Everyone, it is my pleasure to announce that the top ten stalwart participants of the Martial competition have earned their places and right for the communal prize!” Talhera spread her arms in the air, gesturing at the crowd and lingering whenever she passed one of the top ten participants. Her voice resounded with jubilation. “With this, the first half of the Martial competition has been concluded and we arrived to the quarter finals. Please, as the pairing of the fourth round participants take please, indulge yourselves in a hour long break. When the time will arrive, I will notify everyone to return back to your seats”. Talhera smiled and her voice rolled in a pleasant tune.



    With the top ten participants selected, the backers behind them stopped secluding their representatives from the other noteworthy groups, who lost their chances in the competition and now could only fawn and attempt to form ties with them.

    Unlike the break between the first and second rounds, after venting a little bit against Hamer, Zax had an easygoing temperament and agreed to meet the men and women that were introduced through Don and who wanted to congratulate and know him.

    “Little brother Zax, you are still young and have to concentrate on school and cultivation. My Anandores family will be honored if after graduation you will join us. Of course, any position that you desire may be available for you and there won’t be any restrictions”.

    “Brother Zax, your technique was exquisite to behold! The Hall Of Mist Users will bestow upon you the status of an Elder if you ever chose to honor us with your presence. Hahaha, it would be nothing time consuming on your part, and the status is just for helping our attendants at the Great Tabernacle to recognize and accommodate your needs accordingly”.

    “Young master Zax…”

    “Junior Zax…”

    At this phase of the competition, people were coming with all kind of grandiose invitations and gifts of titles and positions.

    Some people were of status that prolonged their greetings and conversations; others were also of the high echelon of Kingdom Earth, but still, not exactly on the same level and spent only a few words before cupping their hands and leaving.

    “Junior Don”, a man voice parted the crowd in front of the Eden Formation’s group.

    The lone man was tall with a shaved head and light skin. The air he exuded was soothing at one time, raging the next. The perceptive people who saw him were able to tell that his fluctuating disposition for others depended on where they stood in his vicinity.

    “Senior Raul”, Don smiled back at the man. The moment she turned and greeted him with high reverence, the surrounding people scattered, knowing that they will not have the chance to exchange pleasantries with Zax.

    The change in Don’s tone of voice was noticeable. Zax glanced away from the departing middle age woman that talked with him and recognize the shaved head man, Raul, who was taller than him.

    The man was the leader of the group that has been situated on the other line of arranged seats.

    “Good seed you managed to find, junior Don”. Raul nodded. His voice like his Advanced phase third level Core Master aura was loud and far from subtle.

    “Senior Raul, your Takeda family’s Zechariah also seems to me like one of the exceptional participants”. The “Zechariah” Don mentioned was a participant in his late thirties who dominated each of his three opponents in no more than two moves.

    Of the three junior participants that lady Takeda said to have a matching abilities to Zax, Zechariah was one of them, and not because he was her great grandson.

    “Zax, here, meet a senior of yours and mine from our Eden Formation”. Don made the introduction, surprising not just Zax, but even vice principle Mizuri and the rest.

    A senior of the current school principle of their El-Eden’s number one Martial school?

    To answer the astonishing looks of their company, Don said. “Everyone, come. Greet alongside Zax, senior Raul. He is of the first generation of our school and studied under Ten Ram and Supreme Ruler Ariel for many years before any of us were born”.

    The explanation has only deepened the bewilderment of the group.

    “Junior Zax greets senior Raul!”

    “Junior Mizuri greets senior Raul!”

    Zax and vice principle Mizuri were the first and only ones who steadily offered their salutation. After them, the rest staggered forward and cupped their hands in succession.

    “Senior Raul, you were taught by my grandfather and El-Eden’s ruler, yet lead the group from Shitou?” Susuya could not resist and asked, despite the question being a little rude.

    “You are Ten Mor’s granddaughter? Right, you fought my Evan well”. Raul’s initial response was laidback. Evidentially, he did not mind answering and casually continued while halting Don with his hand from scolding Susuya. “I moved to Shitou following my wife. Later, the Takeda family invited me to join it. Ten Mor and Supreme Ruler Ariel did not oppose the invitation, so I joined and now here, conducting this minor occasion as the head of our Takeda family’s group”.

    “Senior Raul, reminiscing personal history with juniors is not appropriate”. Regardless of his easygoing temperament with the younger generation, Don was the type of person who carried the seniors towering above her with veneration. In her mind there had to be a measurement of distance for the young to fully grasp the enormity of the old in order to comprehend their inheritance.

    “More importantly, senior Raul, how come you came meeting us alone?”

    Raul had a group to supervise and abandoning them at this specific time before the quarter finals of the competition may be unwise.

    The stress free expression on Raul’s face curved down to a grim. “Junior Don, contrary to your assumptions, I’m not here to check out the lad you managed to find for the school. My intentions are to talk to you alone, for that I don’t need the rest of my group. They can be fine on their own for a little while”.

    “Is something…” Don held her tongue from completing the sentence. “Vice principle Mizuri, take care of things for me”. She said with creased brows.

    A sudden sense of discomfort dawned on Don from Raul’s change of mood.

    “Leave everything to me”. Vice principle Mizuri was not dense, and neither Zax nor the others. But if Raul refrained from disclosing the issue weighing on him with the whole group, there was nothing they could do about it.



    Raul and Don stayed a length of meter or so from the group. It seemed the issue Raul wanted to discuss was more complicated than he let on, even to the point that separating from the group should have been avoided.

    No, to maintain privacy, instead of drawing attention by leaving Zax and the rest, Raul unobtrusively erected a sound canceling formation around him and Don.

    Feigning nonchalant gestures, facial expressions and even movements of lips, Don and Raul appeared to the people outside the sound canceling formation like two old friends, having small talk to pass the time till the fourth round.

    “What is it, Senior Raul?” Don covered her mouth with her fingers. Although it was simple, she was not proficient in the technique to transfer sound to desirable ears like superintendent Ten and lady Takeda, therefore, she had relied on faint gestures to seem refine and natural.

    “Junior Don… As of the beginning of the break, the wheels of something insidious started rolling… are you familiar with the rules of the Martial competition’s pairing process?”

    “Rules? Normally the majority to all of the participants’ pairing is being done randomly. However, if a participant fought the last cycle of a round and then is chosen for the next round’s first cycle, the minor judges may intervene. That’s something that I learnt from Ten Ram a while ago”.

    Raul sighed inwardly, as if struggling to remain calm. “That is mostly it, but not all. There is a special rule implemented to the second round’s three way battle. That is, participant who partook in it will not be selected for the latter three way battle of the fifth round. This rule never was stated officially, per se, but in past competitions the pairing of the fifth round was under surveillance to prevent having a participant encountering two extra opponents”.

    Don attentively listened. She was not told about the three way battles’ rule, but it made sense as something that should be enforced. It would be extremely unfair for someone to partake in both three way battles and she could imagine the kind of protests that can arise where the representative of a major force will meet such fate.

    “Nevertheless, junior Don, this year it seems that the minor judges are undetermined with regards to the special rule”.

    “Undetermined? Senior Raul”, Don’s heart throbbed strongly. “Don’t beat around the bush any further. My Zax had fought and won in the second round’s third way battle…”

    “Junior Don, you must first understand that the information I received is from lady Takeda, as among the thirteen elders only she and Ten Mor are looking out for your boy”.

    “Ten Ram and lady Takeda, the two are third realm experts. Are you saying that the others brave enough to undermine them in any matter?!”

    “Of course not. However, Elijah has involved the Supreme Rulers and his arguments managed to convince two of them, at least, to support him”.

    “Arguments? About what?” Don’s tone became severe. She demanded to know, not caring anymore about whomever that may survey their conversation.

    “The reason, junior Don, I’m uncertain what it is. What I know is that for the three way battle of the fifth round, your Zax might have to fight in it. Moreover”, continuing, Raul could not sustain and the expression on his face aggravated. “Your Zax has been assessed on the same level as my Zechariah, Elijah’s Tal, Neyrar, and the independent youngster, Linor. If none of them will meet in the next round, than there is a high probability that your boy will meet two of the three in the fifth round”.

    “That is!” Don was stunned beyond words. Losing complete countenance of civil manner, she said indignantly. “This is an inexcusable display of absolute discrimination, senior Raul! I won’t stand for it without a justified reason!” She turned to storm out of the sound canceling formation.

    “Wait, junior Don! I told you, lady Takeda and Ten Mor trying to prevent it from happening. There is a whole round before the three way battle, if you’ll create a scene who knows how worse the situation for your boy will become!”

    “But senior-”

    “Don! Nothing is absolute until the three way battle begins. Wait. Let the elders make up their minds. And if, at the next break, they will keep debating, we will get involved as well”.



    The hour long break was over.

    After agreeing to follow Raul’s advice, Don led her Eden Formation back to their seats peacefully. As for the look in her face, the group could see a hint of bitterness and possibly panic in her lips and eyes, but did not ask for explanation. They were well aware that if the need will arise, they will all know.

    “Thank you for joining me, everyone. The pairing for the fourth round and quarter finals are now ready to be announced. Before we get to them, though, there is a slight change in the structure of the competition the honorable elders, with the consent of the Supreme Rulers, have decided to make. For the first cycle of the fourth round, I would like to summon to the first fighting stage, Zechariah Takeda, Zax Zel and Linor, The second three way battle of the Martial competition is to commence at this very moment!”

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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 14 – We Will Fight



    Razil swayed in his seat, his head was so light that it could carry the rest of his body and fly circles in the hall. His face brimmed with giddiness.

    BANG!

    The armrest of Don’s seat was crushed to smithereens in her grip.

    ‘Calm down!’ Superintendent Ten’s voice reverberated in her head. ‘Nothing can be done to change it!’

    ‘Ten!’ One word of endless pleading echoed in Don’s sea of consciousness, the farthest she could shout without uttering sound to the outside world, so distressed and livid she left out the honorific title.

    ‘There are things you don’t know, Don, things I haven’t fully explained to you! I’m ordering you, stay seated!’

    With that, superintendent Ten forced silence to revisit Don’s mind.

    But even if Don herself did not say a word, the crowd of spectators, backers and participants who lost in the previous rounds, were too flabbergasted to be able to stay quiet.

    A chatter of subtle voices, trying to understand the meaning of Talhera’s announcement, spread like a wildfire in the west side of the hall and anyone who said a word done so while being inconspicuous. No one after all wanted to be the person to directly undermine the elders and Supreme Rulers.

    “Zechariah Takeda, Zax Zel and Linor… of the ten participants remaining, they are the three randomly chosen for the three way battle?”

    “What the hell… This selection, in comparison to the previous three way battle, is too messed up”.

    “This decision… It cannot be coincidental. Zax won the first three way battle. Can any of the seniors present here today, recall a past competition having the same participant fighting in both the first and second three way battles?”

    “Forget about a participant fighting in two three way battle, never in the history of the Martial competition was its structure altered after the first round has begun”.

    “I still cannot digest it… And I’m sure none of the friends here is blind, either. Zechariah Takeda, Zax Zel and Linor, together with the Molten Core’s representative, Neyrar, are the top contenders most likely to succeed the top three places. Pitting three of the four against each other… regardless of who will win, the end result of the competition would be unpredictable”.

    “Indeed. No one other than these three can threaten Neyrar and after their fight, whoever will win should be so weakened, it is doubtful he or she will manage to contend for the second place”.

    The crowd was one mind, but no matter what was said they were all ignored by the fourteen elders, as well as the three Supreme Rulers.

    While everyone composed themselves and with effort tried to understand the will of the elders and Supreme Rulers, only few people, those that either came as supporters or sat close to the three pivotal participants, noticed the mutual stiffness of Zechariah, Zax and Linor.

    Zax sat in his seat, unresponsive to Anet’s and Susuya’s mixed words of protests and encouragement. In his mind flashed a sequence of thoughts not that much different than the thoughts in Zechariah’s and Linor’s minds.

    They were not dense, nor obtuse.

    ‘Something wrong with the competition, this three way battle cannot be randomly picked. Moreover they did not even give a reason for advancing it’.

    ‘Old timers, are you taking this junior for a docile child?’

    The lack of explanation awakened a reciprocal sense of rebelliousness within the three.

    ‘This coldness!’ Zax eyes wanted to shift left and up, to the elder, so called best bodily cultivator in Kingdom Earth, Neyrar’s Mor and the man who throughout the competition treated him eerily with his gaze.

    The chilly hostility embedded Elijah’s Soul Sense. It swept Zax for a single instant, as if curious about his reaction to the three way battle announcement, but not wanting to overexpose his interest.

    Zax did not dwell on Elijah’s probe. The next thought to manifest in his mind ran shivers down his back.

    ‘My opponents this time… are these two…’

    He spectated Zechariah’s and Linor’s fights. He observed all the battle in the competition till now with keen curiosity for the different fighting styles and Martial techniques rather than with the intent to learn the methods of his potential opponents.

    Scenes of Zechariah’s and Linor’s fights played in his head. The more Zax watched, the deeper he recalled them, the more his stiff hands clenched tighter and tighter to the form of two bulging fists.

    ‘Zechariah and Linor, they won’t permit me to hold back, won’t they?’ Slowly Zax released the pressure from his hands and loosened his whole body on the seat. The next moment feelings of exultation, anxiety, eagerness, impatience and lust for battle washed over him.

    ‘Finally!’

    Finally, the participants he awaited to meet, those with the strength to challenge and if not careful beat him, were right in front of him.

    Zax got up from his seat and stood like an unshakeable pillar. Zechariah and Linor got up virtually at the same time as Zax, as if to prove how much their minds were in sync with each other.

    The sounds of chattering subsided to a hush. The crowd stared at the three with bated breaths. Everyone had something to say about the alteration and selection of the three way battle, but the response of only three people was the one that mattered.

    Each of the three took a step forward, and a second step and a third step and so on… closing the distance to the fighting stage.

    Talhera called their names, but had not yet declared the beginning of the fight. Nevertheless, even if she wanted to her voice did not come out.

    As the three approached the fighting stage in moderate steps, they each emanated a piercing atmosphere that covered the hall like a rain of scalding needles.

    Nearly all of the spectators, backers and participants shuddered in their seats. Their blood boiled in their veins, making them feel both pain and thrill.

    Zechariah and Linor made a swift move with their hands and blue pebbles, Blue Stones, appeared in their palms.

    The Blue Stones transformed to two blue towers, fifty five centimeters tall and two meters and ten centimeters tall.

    Linor extract two maces with blunt but heavy blades.

    Zechariah took out a long scythe with curved World Gathering Bone for a blade.

    The two towers shrunk back into two Blue Stones, but no one noticed. Everyone fully concentrated on the two’s weapons that were revealed for the first time in the competition and gulped.

    The air in the hall became more intense by several fold.

    Zax was not proficient in weaponry, only the use of his physique. When he saw the Blue Stones he guessed that his opponents are about to show some sort of weapons, the indication of their resolve to go all out.

    Zax wore shoes, but as his right sole stepped on the smooth floor of the hall, a tremor ran past his foot and soared. The muscles through his entire right leg stretched and protruded.

    The next step ran another tremor and the muscles in his left leg stretched and protruded also.

    Clenching his fist, the muscles in his arms, neck and shoulders bulged and all of his upper body issued cracks.

    Filling his lungs with air, Zax’s chest expended. Breathing out, his visible body parts seemed to give a red luster and release barely distinguishable steams plumes.

    Zax warmed his body in response and preparation for the fight.

    The three halted their steps a meter or so from the fighting stage, their determination and intent almost tangible.

    “Participants Zechariah, Zax, Linor-” Talhera opened.

    VOOM!

    ZUZUZU!

    VOOM!

    Zechariah’s and Linor’s auras burst in red and black.

    Zax’s kinetic energy breached his layers of skin and caused the air in circumference of ninety nine centimeter around him to vibrate.

    On the judges’ stage, Talhera felt like she was stuck beside a raging storm.

    The tension in the hall reached a bottleneck.

    BANG!

    BANG!

    BANG!

    The three dashed explosively.

    The scythe’s curved blade glowed in fiery red light.

    Kinetic energy converged to Kinetic Force.

    Black aura surged from the two maces.

    Zechariah swung!

    Zax punched!

    Linor brandished!

    Since they were told to do battle, they will show them a fight!

    BOOM!

    A turbulent of fierce, rampant energies erupted and an invisible shockwave blasted from the epicenter of the three’s collision.

    The shockwave slammed into the fighting stage’s formation and in the span of two breaths fractured and completely destroyed it.

    WHOOSH!

    A figure whizzed and Talhera found herself in the hands of her exceptionally handsome Mor, Elijah.

    Simultaneously, elven men and women, all the other honorable elders except from superintendent Ten and Lady Takeda, sprung from their seats with serious expression to encompass the fighting stage. Four of them raised their arms and blocked the shockwave from making it to the spectators, the remaining seven erected a spherical formation around the fighting stage, to absorb and prevent following shockwaves from toppling the hall and the Path Arena above it.

    The three attacked with the same level of strength, but the force of impact was not equally divided.

    Zax felt his body being pushed back after absorbing thirty percent of the impact.

    Zechariah sustained the same amount of force.

    Linor, however, suffered the brunt of the collision, forty percent of the impact, and was thrown to the edge of the fighting stage.



    Silence. The crowd watching the collision of the three forces sat quietly in their seats like a gathering of ghosts.

    “Did you see it?! Did you freaking see it?!” Among the many spectators, the first person who could not hold his breath anymore, stood up, pointed and shouted at the people around him with exhilaration and lingering shock written all over his face.

    “So young, so vibrant!” Another woman said.

    “Zechariah, Zax and Linor… Three kids made the honorable elder to leave their seats… Everyone, steady yourselves, a tempest is coming!”



    Zax tapped his foot on the stage.

    WHOOSH!

    Zechariah poured mist energy to his legs and moved them in a bizarre manner that accelerated his speed.

    WHOOSH!

    Kinetic Force filling Zax fist, on the verge of exploding.

    Zechariah tilted his scythe, drawing a circle and manifesting a dreamy picture of a sunset.

    BOOM!

    A fist and a sun clashed.

    Zax felt a searing pain in his fingers, penetrating his skin and bones and spreading to his arm. Gritting his teeth, Zax adamantly preserved.

    Zechariah felt his Setting Sun scythe technique quivering. He persisted and his grip extracted greater strength on the shaft.

    BANG!

    The sun split to four parts and Zechariah’s arms were repelled up, still in hold of the scythe.

    Zax was no better. His fist was shoved back and his balanced was broken.

    The two’s pupils squinted with surprise, anger and delight.

    WHOOSH!

    Zax punched.

    Zechariah swung.

    BANG!



    The two exchanged blows in quick succession, tens and hundreds of strikes in mere seconds.

    Streaming kinetic energy and converging it.

    Mustering fiery red mist energy.

    The air around Zax’s fist seemed to howl.

    The curved blade of the scythe blazed.

    The two threw their unrestrained attacks.

    WHOOSH!

    A figure appeared between Zax and Zechariah.

    Linor’s thrust her shining black maces, one at Zax’s incoming fist, the other at Zechariah’s descending scythe.

    DING!

    DING!

    A gentle sound echoed, but the force it generated broke the two attacks.

    Zax was astonished. ‘Her control of her body is superb! And her maces… it is as if they are an extension of her arms!’

    Linor’s attack was precise, with the smallest amount of effort, to the right spot, in order to cause the greatest amount of damage.

    No wonder she is titled as the number one assassin of the Basement Floor!

    Linor’s maces did not have the intent of defeating Zax and Zechariah at one stroke. That would have been wishful thinking. No, she only wanted to parry their attacks and remind them that this is a three way battle.

    WHOOSH!

    WHOOSH!

    Zax and Zechariah pressed forward and sent their attacks.

    Linor, in the middle of the strife, swung her maces to meet them both.

    BANG!



    A series of clashes rang.

    The fighting stage around the three cracked, its formation crumbled like a piece of tofu under the weight of a boulder.



    Dark and fiery beams of mist energy ricocheted with enormous power, capable of splitting, piercing and smashing even Advanced phase first level Core Masters.

    Under the protection of the elven elders, the crowd of spectators watched as three blurs constantly traded blows, totally numb to the fact that the other battles of the fourth round’s first cycle were not instigated and the name of their participants not mentioned.

    Fear, excitement, reverence, envy, lust… Whatever feeling you can name, at least one person in the crowd felt it.

    And words? Everyone in the crowd understood the consequences. Waste a fraction of concentration on an otiose need such as expressing one’s self, and you will regret it all your life if an undistinguishable instant of the battle will pass unnoticed.

  11. #151
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 15 – The Steps Of Kinetic Force



    BOOM!

    SLASH!

    Zax punched and Zechariah cut.

    Linor could only surpass the two for a few seconds before she was overwhelmed and pushed back in a defensive posture, leaving two trails of broken stone on the stage.

    Zax and Zechariah both frowned. There was not a sign of the tiniest wound on Linor.

    ‘My last attack was the Peak of the second step. And that Zechariah’s scythe attack was even stronger, at least comparable to the third step of my Kinetic Force!’ Zax pondered solemnly.

    In the past four years, as he got closer to the Advanced phase of the bodily maneuvers, Zax was taught by his Master and Grandmaster Kartion, a system of steps to calculate the output of Kinetic Force he can handle, to measure the precise growth in his strength as he converged more kinetic energy to Kinetic Force and to allocate it to different levels, or in Zax’s naming sense, steps.

    The first step was Zax’s base physical strength, without the supplement of kinetic energy or Kinetic Force.

    The second step was the first actual use of kinetic energy, and the Kinetic Force he generated in this step increased the power of his attacks by a hundred percent.

    The scythe attack Zechariah released right now had a similar strength to the power of Zax’s third step, which is a double increase of the second step, two hundred percent of his base physical strength.

    Zax, of course, could utilize Kinetic Force to generate twenty percent, ninety percent, one hundred and seventy percent and so on increase of his base physical strength. He was already doing it after he discovered that the second step is insufficient against Zechariah and Linor.

    However, battle wise, if treating Kinetic Force as a Martial technique, then by dividing it to predetermined increments between each step, it would be much more efficient as instantaneous means to gauge, counter, surprise and swiftly defeat any opponent.

    That being said, mastering the steps of Kinetic Force was not an easy task for Zax. For each step he had to repeat and retain the same increments of Kinetic Force after convergence for thousands of times until he memorized them in body and soul and became able to execute the steps instinctively.

    According to Kartius, the third step of Zax’s Kinetic Force was capable of severely hurting an Intermediate phase third level Core Master. And Linor just blocked this level of strength from Zechariah, in addition to blocking Zax’s punch, without a scratch!

    ‘This woman cannot possibly be so strong. She redirected the force of our attacks after the impact to her feet!’ Zax and Zechariah shared the same thought. They were able to distinguish the diminutive shivers in Linor’s legs.

    WHOOSH!

    Zechariah evaded Zax’s punch and retreated forty meters back. With his right hand he held his scythe behind his back. His left hand sprang forward, surrounded by dazzling fiery red aura; he began to sketch with it in the air a pattern of scrambled shapes.

    Linor channeled her mist energy to her arm, her veins started to protrude like winding black snakes. The maces she held issued a “TING” and their heads disconnected and fell, swinging by a thirty five centimeters long metallic chain from the shaft.

    “Zax, Linor, I never imagined that I would meet in the Martial competition participants that could threaten me other than Neyrar. But I’m glad, your techniques differ from mine and are very unique, so fighting you is both interesting and exciting”. Zechariah’s left hand finished the flaming diagram, his eyes shined and his lips stretched to a genuine smile. “From now on, I won’t hold anything back!”

    BANG!

    Zechariah thrust the pointy tip of his scythe in the diagram. The scythe seemed struggling to penetrate the diagram, but slowly it passed through, emitting fluctuation of mist energy that propelled to every direction in fiery lights.

    “Most of my techniques are meticulous and meant for assassination. The next one, however, is my only brute technique, meant for utter destruction. At its peak, I cannot stop the killing intent it is bearing. Therefore, be careful”. Linor spared the two her complimentary words and solely warned.

    SHOOSH!

    She swung her maces, revolving their heads in the air.

    BOOM!

    Linor clapped her hands, the two shaft of the maces stuck to each other, their heads spun without obstructing one another. Booming sounds continued to be heard as a spiral dark black cloud formed above Linor.

    Zax clenched his fists. His light brown eyes glittered with black darkness. “You two, be prepared. My force is nothing but explosive”. He also gave out a warning.

    ‘Fourth step!’

    Skipping the third step and generating a four hundred percent increase of his base strength. That was Zax’s utmost limit and although he could go one or two percent higher, if he will do, the burden on his body will take a tremendous leap!

    In a blink of an eye, the air around Zax began to swirl, bustling with kinetic energy. In Zax’s body, torrents of Kinetic Force occupied every fiber of his being. It was stable, not yet about to explode, not easily agitated like in the past, but in the moment of a strike, a kick, a punch… mountains will split apart and the earth will shatter.

    Zechariah’s scythe completely passed through, swallowed and embedded the diagram to its curved blade, which increased its size by five times and issued sparks and small fiery red embers.

    The dark black cloud above Linor descended, absorbed into her body. Her scarred, white skin darkened in shade and discharged hair thin black electric currents.

    Anyone of the three could sense the other two’s devastating power. They each tacitly agreed since the begging not to expound too much on words. The previous sentences they shared were merely to express their mindfulness recognition of each other.

    BOOM!

    BOOM!

    BOOM!

    An outburst of three participants, acknowledged as three of the four strongest contenders in the Martial competition, as escalated into a battle of giants!



    The eleven elders circling the fighting stage and protecting the crowd of spectators became frantic.

    At the beginning, four of them were enough to block the ricocheting mist energies. After the three participants unleashed their full strength, all of the elven elders were required to act in order to maintain the spherical formation around the fighting stage and protect the crowd, and even together they felt immense pressure. If the three were to directly hit the protective formation they erected around the fighting stage, the elven elders were not certain that they would be able to resist the consolidated force.

    “Monsters! They are MONSTERS!”

    “Block! Release all of your mist energy at once!”

    “DON’T HOLD BACK!”

    “The stage… It’s not holding!”

    BOOM!

    Under the inexorable attacks of Zechariah, Zax and Linor, the first fighting stage finally could not endure and exploded.

    Huge debris, imbued with either Zechariah’s or Linor’s prodigious mist energy, were blown, slamming the eleven elders’ formation.

    The spectators watched from their seats with their mind and body tensed. They saw the pieces of the shattered fighting stage flying toward them, and the weaker, young and inexperienced jumped from their seats with the intention to run. Only when their seniors and the leaders of their groups shouted at them, did they calm down and realize that the elders’ formation blocked the debris.

    By now, Zax’s previous opponents, the two he incapacitated, Elita and Woren, already awakened and along with the badly hurt Hamer and the still fine Silvia, watched the fight with cold sweat running down their backs.

    Before, when they encountered Zax on the stage, they were able to keep up with him for a period of time and only lose after making him spend some effort. Seeing him now, though, or rather the blur they thought was Zax among the three, their hearts thumped like war drums and the expression on their faces was that of absolute submission.

    If any of them, for whatever reason, was not content with losing to Zax before, now they were simply relieved that he went easy on them during the earlier rounds’ fights, Hamer most of all!

    Razil’s body was cramped in his seat, his facial muscles convulsed. He stared at the fighting stage and his mind reeled with trepidation as a grave realization dawned on him. Zax was strong, too strong to not survive a fight with Neyrar. Even if he will lose, he will probably be overall fine. Moreover, considering his level of strength, Razil was smart enough to know that even his great family will disagree to stand for him against Zax if he would decide to beat or even kill him for publicly ridiculing him.

    Four words kept repeating in Razil’s mind. ‘What should I do?! What should I do?! What should I do?! What should I do?!’ For the first time in his life he cursed his unbridled mouth and temper.

    Of all the spectators, there was only one who stood up and seemed unshaken by the rampant forces in the fighting stage.

    Neyrar breathed heavily. His heart was agitated and sorrowful; it wanted to know as it kept wailing… Why was he not chosen to participate in this magnificent battle?!



    The fighting stage was completely ruined. No longer was it in its squared shape of eighty meters length and width. That being said, neither Zechariah, nor Zax, or Linor touched the hall’s floor even once.

    The three fought standing on the debris and regardless of their size. If they needed to be stepped on, then whoever stood on them will stay perfectly balanced.

    The three also carried themselves on the air. Zax more than the other two due to the peculiar usage of kinetic energy and Kinetic Force.

    Zechariah and Linor executed techniques that only enabled them to glide in great speed for a very short time. Flying like Zax would have been too much of a tool for them.

    The swirling heads of Linor’s maces issued thundering sounds as they swung in lightning speed.

    Zax maneuvered his body nimbly and kicked.

    BOOM!

    Kinetic Force and electric dark black mist energy collided.

    Linor last her momentum. Evidently, her power was slightly lower than Zax’s when it came to head to head confrontations.

    Zax’s hand launched in blinding speed, spreading gales in its wake. His five fingers, like the claws of a Silver Horns Dragon, struck Linor’s abdomen.

    BOOM!

    Linor used her mist energy to protect her internals, but the blow was too strong. It sent her flying, coughing blood. Nevertheless, before she even got fifteen meters from Zax, she stabilized herself and landed with poise on of the stage’s broken pieces.

    Just as their confrontation was concluded, Zax sensed deadly mist energy fluctuation. He immediately bent back.

    Zechariah’s scythe slashed diagonally. It missed Zax’s neck, but cut his Eden Formation’s school uniform and pierced his skin, flash and chest bones.

    Indeed, by this phase of the three way battle, the three fought with potent killing intent, if not to truly take their opponents’ lives, then at least to match their resolve, and the wounds each of them sustained was the best kind of evident to that!

    The incandescent tip of the scythe’s curved blade both cut and burnt Zax as if his body was made of tofu.

    Zax gnashed his teeth. Unlike his opponents he did not have mist energy and cannot use Kinetic Force as a constant external shield. He could only resort to halt the scythe and forcing it out by using his Kinetic Force internally to disintegrate the hostile and foreign mist energy. Still, Kinetic Force was more suited for attack than defense and more had to be done for Zax to repel Zechariah.

    “Ah!”

    BOOM!

    Zax threw an upper cut to the scythe’s shaft and the force raised Zechariah from the piece of stage he stood on, pushing him several meters away.

    The wound was deep and the damage far too severe for Zax to think of healing before the battle’s end.

    WHOOSH!

    He retreated for a distant of fifty meters from Zechariah and Linor.

    ‘It won’t do. If they need to pick, they’ll target me than each other’. It became clear as the fight progressed. The fourth step of Kinetic Force amplified Zax’s strength and speed beyond the full extent of Zecharia’s and Linor’s supreme Martial techniques. As a result, the two considered him to be their greatest threat despite his inability to perform long range attacks like them.

    ‘There is no other way… I’ll have to surpass my limits. Otherwise, I won’t last against the two of them!’ Zax decisively made up his mind.

    From his cautionary demeanor, Zecharia and Linor could feel the shift in Zax’s frame of mind. They each solidified the hold and control of their weapons and Martial techniques. In their eyes flashed the same resolute light that they have seen in Zax. They were ashamed for uniting against him, but that was also a sign of their respect and recognition of him as the strongest.



    The eleven elders’ hairs stood on end. Something ominous was birthed within the destroyed area of the three way battle that was encompassed by their protective formation, something that cause them to feel suffocated despite having higher level of cultivation than any of the three.

    The elven said nothing. They poured all of the mist energy to the formation, waiting with great expectation rather than fear, to witness the next move of the monsters of their young generation.



    A dim phantom of a fiery red scythe manifested over Zecharia.

    An arm’s width black electric current emerged from the spinning heads of Linor’s maces.

    “Sun Reaper!”

    SLASH!

    Zecharia swung his scythe, shooting the fiery red phantom toward Zax.

    “Dark Lightning!”

    CHICHICHI!

    Linor’s black electric current moved like a predatory living creature, and Zax was its prey.

    They both felt a sense of importance to declare the names of their attacks.

    The mere fluctuations of the two attacks made the protective formation of the eleven elders shiver and crack.

    Zax could not help his teeth from clattering as a half crazed smile appeared on his face. The two attacks, if he will not succeed to counter, certainly have the power to take his life.

    WHOOSH!

    Zax pounced, not trying to avoid, but to meet the Sun Reaper and Dark Lightning at least ten meters from their masters.

    ‘Fifth step!’

    Six hundred percent increase of his physical base strength, way beyond his limit. A terrific power Zax could only maintain for a brief, internecine moment.

    Zax reached and stopped ten meters from Zechariah and Linor, their attacks less than a meter from him.

    Lowering his legs to a steady stance, bones breaking sound echoed from his body. Placing his arms close to his waist, blood vessels ruptured and his internals gradually began to fail.

    Since the start of the three way battle, not two minutes have passed, since he used the fifth step, not a millisecond gone by.

    Time has stopped as Zax prepared to punch.

    “Ahhh…”

    Hot red steams left his mouth in a long breath, which seemed to be outside the confinements of time.

    He punched, along with declaring the name of his attack.

    “Soar With The Storm!”

  12. #152
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 16 – Unreasonable Request



    “The fifth step of Kinetic Force, Martial son, your body is still not strong enough to handle a successive utilization of it. But it doesn’t mean that you should shy from cultivation it. Train in your mind; let your soul reach perfect familiarity with the fifth step for instantaneous execution. Essentially, it would take a long period of time before you will be capable of using the fifth step as well as the initial steps, but until then, you can cultivate the fifth step as a method of last resort, one attack and a price to change the flow of a battle in your favor”. These were Kartius’s guiding words for Zax with regards to the fifth step of Kinetic Force.



    “Remember, Zax, when you go beyond your limits and manage to stand up again, as a bodily cultivator there is no better form of tempering. And the fifth step of Kinetic Force, your limit, it may force you to utilize a power that you are far from adequate to mess with, but this type of destructiveness is not necessarily bad, if not repeated often”.

    “The overbearing steps of Kinetic Force have the unique capacity to break your body in a cellular level and when the process of healing initiates, absorption of nutritious treasures and the energy of the world will accelerate the cultivation of bodily refinement techniques. In contrast, lower increment will inconsistent with the primary objective of the seven steps of Kinetic Force and their efficiency will be lost”. Grandmaster Kartion expounded.



    Turbulences of Kinetic Force coursed in every fiber of Zax’s body, breaking him as he struggled to withstand the corrosiveness of power far beyond his level of control.

    “Soar With The Storm!”

    Was the name Zax gave to the fraction of an instant he could maintain the fifth step, and his only long range attack.

    The ideal range of Sour With The Storm was ten meters, which is way Zax had to get closer to his two opponents despite the danger of their attacks, since from the eleventh meter onwards, the power of Sour With The Storm will halved for every additional meter.

    At the same time Zax punched, all sounds seemed to vanish inside the area where the fighting stage used to be.

    Even the sounds of his blood vessels exploding and Zechariah’s and Linor’s attacks became dormant.

    A ripple emerged, not from Zax’s fist, but his whole person. It started as a dome and rose forward like a baleful cyclone of invisible, yet unstoppable, power.

    Sun Reaper and Dark Lightning slammed against Zax’s Soar With The Storm.

    BOOM!

    The scythe phantom shattered to tiny fragments and the living lightning collapsed to worm size electric currents that dispersed.

    Zechariah and Linor watched with wide eyes as their strongest attacks could not even pose a minuscule resistant against Zax’s punch. They both raised their arms, mustering all of their reserved mist energy to defend.

    BOOM!

    Like a balloon exploding upon the touch of a needle, Zechariah’s and Linor’s defensive mist energies burst under the pressure of the invisible cyclone.

    Zechariah and Linor were hurled uncontrollably, like broken kites in a thunderstorm.

    BANG!

    BANG!

    As the two struck the eleven elders’ protective formation, clear sounds of detonation rebounded in the hall.

    The protective formation was already slightly cracked from the fluctuation of Zechariah’s and Linor’s attacks, after being hit by their bodies and the force propelling them, it finally crumbled.

    The crowd of spectators was flabbergasted. Most were only able to see the flashy redness and blackness of Sun Reaper and Dark Lightning and then Zechariah and Linor being slammed against the elders’ formation. Only few managed, with great difficulty, to follow the exchange and even less people saw it clearly.

    A green mantle suddenly appeared, replacing the elders’ formation and served as a cushion to catch Zechariah and Linor and gently carry their unconscious bodies down.

    The dust around Zax settled and his body remained in the punching posture; or rather it stayed like that since moving was too painful.

    Blood dripped from Zax’s mouth and the open wounds all over his body.

    “Cough!” Zax attempted to breathe out and release the tension from his entire physique, but he only vomited more mouthfuls of blood.

    “Announce the end to the three way battle, Talhera”. Elijah, still supporting his Tal, told her in a detached tone. Cold light flashed in his eyes as he seized Zax and recalled his last attack.

    Talhera staggered on her feet before composing herself. These three participants, Zechariah, Zax and Linor have left her speechless. Never had she believed that other than her senior Tal, Neyrar, there are monstrous Martial cultivator of the same generation and scale.

    “Winner, Zax Zel”. Talhera declared.

    Members of the medical team rushed to pick up Zechariah and Linor. Two members hurried to Zax, they saw him still standing and sober that they questioned if the blood covering his person really belonged to him and not his fallen opponents.

    However, as they approached and got to a meter or so from Zax, the two medical team members suddenly grimaced and their complexion became pale as they felt an immense pressure descending from above, as if gravity itself as increased by several folds where Zax stood and about a meter in front of him.

    The effect on gravity was due to the residue Kinetic Force in the air. As a result of the planet’s gravitational force, the residing Kinetic Force was drawn down.

    A soft wind has blown the residing Kinetic Force and the two medical team members heaved in relief. Their cultivation was at the Mist Lord level, but they still could barely stand up. They could only imagine what it is like to suffer the direct attack that caused the gravitational change. Nevertheless, the two had a job to perform, and now that they were able to move freely, they hurried to Zax.

    The moment one of the two placed his hand on Zax’s shoulder, to assess his internal condition, he felt as if he touched smoldering coal. He raised his hand hastily, not that he was hurt by the heat emitted from Zax’s skin, but from feeling an odd sensation under his palm.

    On Zax’s shoulder, a red swelling in the shape of the medical team member’s hand formed and kept augmenting.

    “Cough!”

    Zax was about the groan, but was choked from the blood in his throat. He found solace by the fact that his condition was much better than the last time he used the fifth step, even though he should have waited a bit longer before executing it for his bodily cultivation. Then again, he regretted that in the short window he now has to accelerate his bodily refinement technique, he lacks the medicinal treasures to absorb and can only rely on the energy of the world.

    The two medical team members were about to use a mist technique to carry Zax, but before their golden shrouds were complete, a green mantle appeared out of nowhere, covered Zax and wafted him in the air. As it happened, inside Zax’s sea of consciousness, a soothing green gale drifted, forcing him to a trance state.

    Before the two medical team members reacted, Zax vanished from their and everybody’s eyes.



    Don and the rest from Eden Formation were anxious. They were about to jump from their seat and frantically look for Zax, when a voice echoed in every one of them sea of consciousness. Only then did they calm down.

    “Don, this child cannot be yours! Tell me, to whom he belongs!”

    “Eden Formation’s school principal, the body strength of that chief representative of yours, the dreadful attack he executed, in all of Kingdom Earth only senior Elijah can nurture such bodily cultivator. But your boy cannot be a third Tal of senior Elijah. You must tell us who taught him!”

    “How ferocious! To actually beat both his opponents’ supreme technique in what seemed as a casual manner…”

    “Unfortunately, by his physical condition, it doesn’t look like that young expert Zax will be able to continue his participation in the Martial competition”.

    “Talhera said so in the beginning, to get far in the Martial competition one also require luck. Eden Formation has gotten such a formidable student, to even beat Zechariah and Linor in one move… if he was a member of our Heavenly Temple Martial school, we would not ask for more”.

    Some great figures, familiar with Don, were unable to restrain their desire to find out who created the techniques that embedded so much power in Zax. Some even had speculation that were not said outloud, a few were right on the spot.

    Other great figures discussed the result of the three way battle. They, too, had lust burning inside of them, but even more they felt immense apprehension. Zax came from a mediocre background and risen to prominence time after time. In today Martial competition he proved himself as a force to be reckoned with, even in the eyes of those unobtrusive third level Core Masters among the honorable elders and group leader of the different factions.

    Don dismissed the hubbub, and so did the other members of the Eden Formation’s group.

    Per the orders they received from the voice that echoed in their heads, they got up from the arranged seats and headed to the second elevator at the western side of the hall.



    Zax opened his eyes and a small cry escaped through the slit between his dry lips. All of his body was sore and itching, and from head to toes he could feel that his skin was smeared by a cool ointment before being wrapped like a mummy with white bandages.

    He lay on a bed in a spacious room, with lavish decorations and a wall size window that overlooked cave five hundred and twelve from the peak of the Path Arena.

    Zax was not interested with the view or the room he was in. As for the discomfort of his injuries, broken bones and all… he was used to even worse and more painful wounds that he completely disregarded them.

    “Your pain tolerance is truly remarkable. Can your Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement be responsible for it?” A deep voice that was both amiable and dominant stunned Zax and attracted his attention. Before he heard it he thought that no one but him was in the room.

    On a chair beside the bed he laid on, at a first glance, seemed to sit a scholarly looking man with a long combed red hair and big blue eyes. But then, as the man straightened his back and exposed his pristine demeanor, the humble attire on his person suddenly transformed to a spectacular emerald long robe, and the plain sandals to his feet shone with golden luster.

    The moment Zax saw the man’s face; he recognized him and was downright dumbstruck.

    The man was Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch in all his glory, and he was actually waiting alone by his bed like a worried mother!

    Quickly, probably faster than the gears in his head ever turned, Zax found his bearings, got up from the bed while his body issued weird sounds and displayed a respectable mien.

    “Junior, Zax Zel, greets Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch!”

    “Ariel Dauch receives younger generation, Zax Zel’s salute”. Supreme Ruler Ariel said informally, as if he did not mind the etiquette between senior and junior.

    “Zax”, Supreme Ruler Ariel said as Zax was about to open his mouth. “You went beyond the exaptation of us elders and Supreme Rulers, we really hoped that you will find your match against Zechariah and Linor and lose”. His countenance was calm as calm could be, despite the harsh and even unfair words. At most, there was in them a tint of disappointment.

    “Eh…” Zax really did not know how to respond, was he being praised or rebuked by the strongest human in El-Eden? Should he take it as the greatest honor in his life regardless of the meaning behind it? Hard to say no even if this man, whom millions upon millions worship in Kingdom Earth, will go a step farther and slap him in the face...

    “You don’t understand, but that is well and logical”. Supreme Ruler Ariel said and sunk into preoccupation. The abrupt manner, in which he stopped talking, left Zax wondering if it is now proper to say the words that bothered him.

    “Sir, Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch, where am I? Shouldn’t I be in the hall where the Martial competition is being held?” Zax was previously forced by Supreme Ruler Ariel into a state of trance. It did not influence his sense of time, leaving him able to detect now that less than ten minutes have passed since the end of the three way battle.

    “Those things do not matter anymore, Zax”. Supreme Ruler Ariel raised his hand and waved it apathetically.

    “Supreme Ruler-” Zax was confused and wanted to ask when Supreme Ruler Ariel interrupted him.

    “Zax, you have done well, but I ask of you, forfeit the rest of the Martial competition”.

  13. #153
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 17 – The Different Faces Of Supreme Ruler Ariel



    “Sir… Supreme Ruler…” Zax was stumped and the words to phrase simple sentences got stuck in his throat.

    If not in the beginning, then after the Martial competition started, it turned out to mean quite a great deal for Zax. After being enticed to test his prowess against the other remarkable experts, discovering the grandeur of the top three prizes and the identity of the man responsible for Carl’s death, Zax had enough motivation to pull himself together.

    “You ask me to forfeit the Martial competition?” He asked in a wavering tone, hinting a bit of reluctance, a bit of willingness and a bit of pleading to not force him.

    Supreme Ruler Ariel was placidly seating beside Zax’s bed. He did not oppress him with his area or the demeanor of his unparalleled status; it was partly why Zax was able to talk back instead on instantly agreeing. Supreme Ruler Ariel did not have the mindset of a tyrant. And regardless of the reasons to his request, for him Zax was a promising young generation; a seed of his, his little brother’s and little sister’s nurturing that yielded a one of a kind fruit for their Kingdom Earth. He could take the time to discuss calmly with the child and even test his composure and disposition when in front of his superiors.

    “That is exactly what I’m asking, and hoping that you will comply readily”. With every word coming out of Supreme Ruler Ariel’s mouth, the magnificence of his majestic attire shined less and less, gradually resuming the facade of an ordinary scholar.

    Unknowingly to Zax, Supreme Ruler Ariel’s Sublime Soul Sense permeated into his sea of consciousness and conveyed the false impression of an unassuming man. Supreme Ruler Ariel has done a similar thing back in the hall, when he and the other Supreme Rulers made an appearance. Only, back then, and for the remainder of his stay in the hall, he did retain and produce a small portion of his true aura.

    Zax felt his body growing stiff. His mind portrayed the man before him as a regular person the more they conversed, contrasting and reconstructing his rudimentary notion of Supreme Ruler Ariel. Soon, his reluctance turned in to indignation and dissatisfaction.

    First, he was being colluded by his seniors that were supposed to manage the Martial competition impartially, and now the higher ups personally arrived to straightforwardly ask of him to forfeit?!

    “Sir”, an inner feeling, possibly his intuition, prevented Zax from outright losing all courtesies. “I don’t know why you ask me to forfeit, but if it’s up for me to decide, than I refuse”.

    “Really?“ Supreme Ruler Ariel did not show real concern, but to Zax he seemed to take his reply in discontent and scorn, like a pretentious high class personal who does not know how to take no. “In your condition, do you think that you are capable of continuing to the fifth round?”

    Zax frowned and refrained from replying immediately since the answer was obvious. Those who have reached to the fifth round, whether by luck or ability, should all be experts deserving at least him being in good condition. However, per the consequence of the fifth step of Kinetic Force, his physical performances are at about twenty percent efficiency. Even at his best, if the elders and Supreme Rulers really want him to lose, they might pair him with Neyrar as his next opponent, and Zax was certain that he will not be weaker than Zechariah and Linor.

    Then again, Zax wanted to win the pure Core for Anet and could not bring himself to give it up. The competition had only two more rounds, for an arm he might be able to advance one of them and with a last outburst he can risk a second Soar With The Storm for the chance to beat Neyrar. Of course, this means that he must face Neyrar only in the last round, since after executing a second Soar With The Storm so early he will probably hung between life and death.

    “So you understand”. Supreme Ruler Ariel taunted, to see for how long his title alone can make Zax submit.

    He purposely continued to diminish his image in Zax’s mind. By now he was a feeble looking young noble that emanates a haughty behavior which derived from misguidance… worlds apart from the prestige of a Supreme Ruler.

    “Although you are free to refuse my request, in reality it is me Telling you to forfeit. I will not force you to obey, but whether you will listen or not will distinguish smart decision from a stupid decision”.

    A threat! ‘Was I threatened by Supreme Ruler Ariel?!’ Zax’s complexion turned ashen and his heart was pounding with mixed feelings.

    The illusion in his mind was real as the bed he sat on, the huge wall size window and the decoration in the room. And yet, by now he reached the point that in Supreme Ruler Ariel he saw the shadows of Razil, Binjo and others of their kind. It became hard to listen to his intuition, he could not find inside himself anymore the respect for the, up until moments ago, most esteemed figure any inhabitant of El-Eden worships from birth.

    But even if Supreme Ruler Ariel’s true self was so despicable, he still was a third realm expert and Zax was not an impulsive child. He could preserve when being treated unfairly, badly by someone stronger, just as much as he could remember the grievances, in all of its forms, and repay the debt ten, hundred folds in the future.

    “Sir, Supreme Ruler Ariel”, Zax said as he contained his anger. “I don’t know why I have to be treated this way, but since I am sure I have done nothing wrong, I won’t ask. As for my answer to your request, once more, if senior Supreme Ruler won’t forcefully stop me, I can’t give up on the first prize, pure Core”. Zax tone was steady and direct.

    He was assertive, but in truth he was not as lucid as he thought.

    ‘Good’. Supreme Ruler Ariel assessed. He could tell that Zax’s soul was special, but only after testing him to this point he was able to evaluate its strength.

    To Zax’s response, Supreme Ruler Ariel was satisfied.

    When he requested of him to forfeit with a regal bearing, Zax neither agreed nor declined, but showed well manners and discipline to listen for a reason.

    When he made Zax see him as a regular man, it did not make the talented young generation belittle him, only, some might say, justly affirm his choice.

    As he changed his approach, changed the visage Zax perceived of him and aroused the bitter memories of degenerate individuals that rely on status to do as they pleased, Zax managed his temper, his language may have been emphatic, but he still acknowledged his inferiority, if not to the person and title of Supreme Ruler, then to the strength of a third realm expert.

    ‘Such being the case…’ Supreme Ruler Ariel mused. His Sublime Soul Sense heightened and pressed Zax’s soul like the tip of a needle against the softness of a pillow.

    “Will you not give your ruling sovereign face?!”

    The question bombarded Zax’s sea of consciousness, manifested a tyrannical sense of oppression.

    The internal injuries from the three way battle ached, under the extreme mental pressure, Zax’s neck involuntarily bent down and his body shuddered while issuing crackling sounds.

    Supreme Ruler Ariel’s overbearing presence stirred two sets of memories for Zax to relive, two moments in his life he was truly at the mercy of others.

    The first memory was of Zax encounter with the Martinez family’s founder, Gerardo, back in the Young Mist Users Conference. At the time, if it was not for the intervention of Habul Majid, founder of the high class Majid family, Zax would have died without the slightest chance for meaningful retaliation.

    The second memory was of his and Carl’s meeting with Neyrar’s father. Back then, as Carl was physically crippled, Zax realized with utmost clarity how the fragileness of his life against the simplicity in which Neyrar’s father could kill him and Carl.

    Now, as he once more looked at Supreme Ruler Ariel, despite his inertia, the image Zax perceived of him was not of a person, but a reflection of absolute power and callous intent.

    With such entity there was only one conclusion when being uncooperative, and Zax was perfectly familiar with what it is.

    ‘Give in’. Zax gritted his teeth. Being aware of the full picture, he did not have the luxury to act like a stubborn child and rail, but his heart was still in turmoil over the response he must give.

    Though, initially, the choice was handed for him to decide whether to forfeit the Martial competition or not, the manipulations of Supreme Ruler Ariel were so invasive and profound that they eroded all previous notions of their conversation in Zax’s mind, instilling the belief of a pristine first impression along with a demand to give up the competition.

    Supreme Ruler Ariel wanted to test Zax’s composure when a life threatening predicament is imminent. As for what he saw, it was a common reaction, fear, which he could not condemn Zax for, but not entirely what he anticipated. Therefore he waited.

    Among the lavish decoration in the room, one was a charming Bracket clock. As time passed, following Supreme Ruler Ariel’s last words, between each of the Bracket clock’s ticks, eons seemed to elapse for Zax when it only has been seconds.

    ‘I am weak’. Conclusively Zax submitted to the situation. Surprisingly, though, after confessing this to himself he stopped shaking, feeling anger or fear, instead he felt a sort of liberation.

    “I will forfeit the competition”. His eyes stared at the bed sheet rather than the mighty Supreme Ruler Ariel.

    Yes, he will forfeit and he would be fine with it. To preserve it is his only choice, and to refrain from ever letting anyone to force him again… ‘I will strive to excel!’

    Zax’s soul fluctuated. His strong resolution momentarily intercepted the influence of Supreme Ruler Ariel’s Sublime Soul Sense.

    Green light flickered in Supreme Ruler Ariel’s eyes. He withdrew his Sublime Soul Sense and got up with a gratified smile.

    Zax was still submerge with his decision and has only noticed that he no longer feeling oppression and that Supreme Ruler Ariel is standing when a gentle palm touched his bandaged shoulder.

    Nonchalantly looking up, his eyes opened wide as if experiencing a revelation, becoming aware of the varying outlooks he had of Supreme Ruler Ariel without fully knowing why, only that the man now standing beside him is the genuine Supreme Ruler he first saw sitting by the bed.

    “Are you wondering why you are feeling confused?”

    Zax nodded, he felt like he awakened from a dream more than being confused, but overall it was all the same.

    Light shone underneath Supreme Ruler Ariel’s palm. A formation embedded to the bandages wrapping Zax glowed in green light.

    In a speed noticeable to the naked eye of even a regular person, the ointment and bandages were absorbed by Zax’s body, at the same time he felt that every inch of him is burning, yet not to the verge of it being painful.

    “I’m… healing!” Zax was flabbergasted. It was not that he never healed fast from a wound, but from such severe injuries he always need at least couple of days.

    Zax got up from the bed, in the span of one minute his skin reddened, then dried, becoming wrinkled and grey, till eventually it burst into dust and vanished in the air.

    “How can it be?!” Zax examined his arms and bare upper body, clenching his fists and feeling the smoothness of his shimmering skin.

    As for his internal organs and bones… they all gave him an exuberant sensation.

    This was far from recovering and being in perfect shape, this was eliminating hidden impurities from his body, this was overflowing the sixth gate of the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement with energy, this was a breakthrough!

    At that moment, in Zax’s consciousness, beneath his soul, the sixth gate swelled and faded. Next, the seventh gate appeared at the center of Zax’s chest and in but a few breaths black spikes emerged from all over his body, changing the seventh gate’s azure radiance to black.

    As there was finally, only one gate remaining for him to break through the second realm as a bodily cultivator, as his body exploded with new level of strength… Zax, like a giddy child that stopped caring about everything in the world except from his new toy, looked at his hands and marveled outloud.

    “Is this the strength of a third realm…?”

    A general cultivator who train in the Seven Stage Of Bodily Refinement, upon reaching the seventh gate should have the fitness level of a third level Core Master, but Zax, due to the modification of the Black Core, should be even stronger.

    “’Third realm expert’…” Supreme Ruler Ariel suddenly said and drew Zax’s attention. Shaking his head in resignation, he solemnly said. “This term is inappropriate”. He raised his eyes to meet Zax’s, but his expression glanced far and beyond. “You are not yet there, but if you would like, you may refer to us as ‘Martial Mortals’, for above us are ‘Immortals’”.

  14. #154
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 18 – One Set Of Four Rules To The Surface Of The Earth



    “That’s surprising”, Supreme Ruler Ariel began to narrate in a voice only he could hear. “He must have been really close to a breakthrough... But it truly is marvelous and voracious, the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement. I use a little formation to accelerate the healing process and it completely absorbed the herbal ointment and even the bandages… the fibers they were made from were not simple, to say the least, and still nothing remained!”



    Zax clenched his fist in bewilderment. ‘How unexpected, I broke through! This strength…’ Before he completed the sentence, another one appeared. ‘Unbound by the road! Unbound by anyone!’

    VRRUM!

    Kinetic energy exuded from Zax’s body, causing the air to vibrate with an ear piercing sound.

    ‘This strength…’ A belligerent smile bloomed on Zax face. ‘It exceeded by far Master’s predications!’

    At the time, Kartius assured Zax that with the modification of the Black Core on the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement, once reaching the last gate only third realm expert, or Martial Mortals, would be a threat to him. It may sound exaggerated, but put aside the effect of the Black Core, from the Peak of the sixth gate to the Beginner phase of the seventh gate there was a huge boundary. Moreover, since then Zax attainments with kinetic energy and Kinetic Force improved exceptionally.

    Just as an example to make it easy to understand how strong Zax became, if before the breakthrough one execution of Soar With The Strom would have put him out of commission, now, not only did its power increase, but Zax can continue to fight – although a second volley of Soar With The Strom would not be recommended.

    “Eh…? ‘Martial Mortal’? ‘Immortals’?” Approximately five seconds after Supreme Ruler Ariel opened his mouth; Zax awakened from the immersed state of his new strength, just to have a flood of questions surfacing in his mind.

    Unable to entirely calm down, Zax managed to stop exuding kinetic energy and turned to Supreme Ruler Ariel with a serious, a tad frustrated, questioning countenance. “Sir, Supreme Ruler Ariel… why?”

    Only after he finished asking did Zax notice how obscure he sounded. But there was a good reason for it. Although he was curious about the “Martial Mortal”, “Immortals” remark, there were so many more pressing questions he wanted to ask. When he turned to Supreme Ruler Ariel, they all jumbled in his head, wanting to come out and get their answers right away, which is the reason succumbed to the most elementary verbal appeal for enquiring.

    Supreme Ruler Ariel did not reply, he smiled and raised an eyebrow, implying to Zax to gather himself first, there is no need to rush, and there will be answers.

    Of course, Zax could not read that far into Supreme Ruler Ariel’s expression. He did, though, understand that he should compose himself and ask again.

    Closing his eye and breathing out from his nostrils, Zax put to rest the excitement from his breakthrough and the urge to realize everything simultaneously.

    He opened his eyes, finally serene, and politely asked. “Please tell me, sir, why do I need to forfeit to competition? Why you and the elders isolated me? Why did you manipulate my soul? Why did you spend such precious material on me?” Those were the top four questions Zax wanted to get answers for.

    “Mm”, Supreme Ruler Ariel nodded. “I will share with you the answers to these question. Before, however, now that you are sober, I will give you another chance to choose whether to comply with my request and willingly forfeit the competition or not. Regardless of what your choice may be, I promise you there will be no repercussion whatsoever”.

    Zax did not reply instantly. It would be a lie to claim that he was not shocked, since he already said that he will forfeit, but from Supreme Ruler Ariel’s sincere manner he quickly grasped that he was given a genuine last chance.

    For several seconds Zax contemplated over his decision. Eventually he turned to Supreme Ruler Ariel with a thoughtful look in his eyes. “Sir, above anything else, my greatest goal in the Martial competition is the first prize’s pure Core… If I forfeit, what are my chance of getting a pure Core, considering all possibilities?”

    Zax had a desire to test himself against Kingdom Earth’s prodigies and experts of his generation. As for winning or losing against them? It was a whim, in comparison, simply because he was perfectly aware that a loss is the best kind of motivation. That being said, he still preferred to win and from the very beginning intended to give his all in the competition, and his all he certainly gave!

    What Zax cared about was assuring as much as possible Anet’s future Martial path, that she would be able to follow him.

    “A pure Core…” Supreme Ruler Ariel’s tone turned solemn. “There are two methods to obtain, neither, however, is easy. One requires precise timing, the risk is low but the opportunity is quite rare. The other option demands great strength, much more than you currently have, it is not difficult to encounter but the risk… even a Martial Mortal expert will not stride lightly…” Supreme Ruler Ariel relaxed his voice before offering the verdict. “You are young and your Martial potential is extraordinary. The faster you will keep grow stronger, the sooner you will have the chance to tackle the second method. Anything further of the subject, you will know due time”.

    ‘A risk to even Martial Mortal experts… is not necessarily a risk to every cultivator. I’m cultivating the body, the physique, as a result, as higher chances to preserve when sustaining critical injuries. And once I’ll break through the second realm of bodily cultivation…’

    “Very well, sir, Supreme Ruler Ariel, I agree to forfeit the Martial competition”.

    Supreme Ruler Ariel nodded in gratification. “Since you are giving me this face, from now on you may refer to me as ‘Senior Ariel’”.

    “Senior Ariel”. Zax cupped his hands and slightly bowed. With this he knew that a personal relationship between him and Kingdom Earth’s strongest expert has formed.

    “Junior Zax”. Ariel accepted Zax’s gesture. “Here, let us sit and talk”. He directed Zax to join him for the small sitting area of the room, where two chairs and a low round table were situated.

    “I will begin with answering your questions, starting with why I manipulated your soul”. Ariel sat with his hands on his knees and a straight back. Although some may found his posture stiff if imitating, Ariel himself projected a natural disposition.

    Zax attentively listened with no intention to interrupt until this all matter will be clear to him.

    “Junior Zax, you are a clever kid, you already should have noticed that my request was not out of bad intention. I indeed have a reason to exempt you from the Martial competition. Before expounding on that reason, I wanted to test your character, which is why I instilled in your soul provocative stimuli”.

    “Do you want to know my assessment?”

    “Yes”. Zax answered decisively. His worth in senior Ariel’s view, how could he not want to know?

    “Fine, I found you to be too aggressive. Even when submitting, your intent is not hostile, but it makes you emanate an unyielding spirit. To enemies who spare your life it will arouse an uncomfortable feeling, and whatever they will make of it, most occurrences they might change their minds, deciding to kill you just in case. Alone in an unfriendly environment you should learn to better conceal your thoughts and state of mind”. Ariel narrated as an elder imparting from his knowledge to a junior, rather than examiner who discovered faults in his examinee.

    ‘Aggressive…’ Zax sighed in his heart. ‘From growing up in Valgarel, from fighting, killing for survival, killing for revenge… I did become wild in nature. The peacefulness of these recent years, the company of Anet, Liz and everyone else from home, I can say, contributed to a mellow lifestyle that should have moderated my temperament, but according to senior Ariel it wasn’t enough’.

    “I’ll improve myself”. Zax said, thanking Ariel.

    “That should be the resolve. As for the precious materials, they were supplied to your two opponents as well. It is merely that you, bodily cultivators, are practicing techniques which are more suitable to the consumption of most resources”. Ariel explained and moved on.

    “Junior Zax, you say that you felt isolated by your elders, but I gather you specifically refer to the attitude of Elijah, am I correct?”

    Zax did not want to point fingers, but even though it was a unanimous of the elders and Supreme Rulers to select him for the second three way battle, what he actually wished to know was why Elijah particularly treated him with hostility.

    “I thought so”. By reading the change in Zax’s mood, Ariel had understood that he was right. “Junior Zax, the issue of Elijah’s conducts… you should not take to heart. There is nothing that neither you nor I can do about it. But since he cannot contain his feeling, I will illuminate you for his reasons”.

    “Elijah, junior Zax, is one of the rare few men of my generation who are still alive today. When we were young and within the confinements of the first realm of Martial cultivation, there was a time of war between humanity and beasts, a war that you should have learned about in pre Core School”. Ariel stated.

    Zax was aware of the war Ariel mentioned. This was the war the Supreme Rulers themselves brought to an end by making a blood oath for peace with the emissaries of the beasts’ side, before creating Kingdom Earth.

    “In this war against the beasts many humans perished. Elijah both fought and lost many brothers and sisters in arms, including his younger and elder blood brothers. From this loses sprout an undying hatred for beasts. However, for the sake of our peace with today’s Valgarel, Elijah acknowledged the need to manage his feelings. Usually, Elijah does not care about the relationship between individual humans and beasts, but your apprenticeship to Kartion… such cases Elijah, and one or two of the last of our generation, prone to take as an insult to the sacrifices we suffered back then”.

    “Be that as it may, junior Zax, Elijah will not act severely on his feelings. If he will express himself, you have seen and felt it already, at most he will project a mean ambiance, which you should not take to heart, nor make effort to reconcile with an ancient enmity”.

    ‘If that’s how it is…’ Zax was content with not concerning himself about Elijah. If he blames him for something nearly the entirety of New Earth had moved on from, Zax preferred to ignore the old bitter Elijah than deal with him in any sort of way.

    “Now that you understand, we may get to the main subject… why we elders and Supreme Rulers have decided to eliminate you from the continuum of the Martial competition”.

    “In essence, the decision is related to the communal prize of the competition’s top ten places. Junior Zax, whatever I will tell you next is a confidential matter you are forbidden from disclosing with any entity, be it a family member, a companion or even your Master!” Ariel stated explicitly.

    Zax did not oppose Ariel, the sudden heaviness in his tone of voice made it clear that it was not an option.

    “Later, the other nine contestants who ascended to the top ten will also hear it. Now you will be the first to be bestowed the right to traverse beyond the boundaries of New Earth and reenter the world beneath the blue sky!”

    “Senior Ariel, are you saying… the top ten participants can really leave New Earth?!” Zax was utterly shocked.

    Seeing the blue skies, returning to the world of antiquity times above the ground, that is the dream of every New Earth’s native, be they humans or beasts!

    A spark flashed in Zax’s eyes as he recalled something important.

    “Senior Ariel, when I was nine years of age, your son, Mortimer Dauch, he led an expedition group to above the ground. Is it possible that they have returned and forged for all of us?!”

    It has been a decade since Mortimer’s expedition group has left New Earth, leaving behind great expectations. Although Zax spent most of his time in Valgarel, if the expedition group returned he was bound to hear about it, but till this very day there were no news regarding any of the expedition group’s members.

    Ariel shook his head. “My son and his companions, they won’t be returning in the foreseeable future. Unlike the top ten contestants, there are limitations on the span of time the expedition group can stay above ground”.

    “Limitations? What kind of limitations? Can it possibly be associated to beings that live above the ground?”

    Zax was surprised to know that other than the danger of the world beneath the blue sky there are even rules. This means that there are intelligent creatures above the ground, and if they are able to set limitations that even Supreme Ruler Ariel’s son do not dare to violate, these creature should be terrifyingly strong!

    “Yes”. Ariel said. “The set of rules that we, dwellers of New Earth, must obey were fashioned by the five great powers who dominate our whole planet. When I, my younger Martial sister, Trey, and youngest Martial brother, Gid, left Kingdom Earth after its establishment, the time of our so called ‘disappearance’ we actually went to the world above the ground, seeking to further our Martial path. That is when we learned about the five great powers”.

    “The five great powers are, respectfully, the Golden Desert Fort, the Blessed Army, the Luminous Church, the Violet Scaled Troops and the Blue Sea, and the pathway to the surface of the earth from New Earth leads directly to the mutual zone of the Violet Scaled Troops and the Blessed Army”.

    “I, Trey and Gid joined the Blessed Army soon after we crossed to its territory. As members of the Blessed Army we were enlightened in many ways, which helped us experience a meteoric rise. You can say that our Martial paths have extended beyond recognition. Afterwards we returned to New Earth and completely unified humanity’s territory”.

    “And the Blessed Army, just like that you were allowed to join it? Did its leader know that you came from New Earth?”

    “Of course they knew. The five powers were always aware of the existence of New Earth, but before we three dared to venture outside and exposed our potential they did not have interest in what they deemed ‘lower life forms’. Each of the five powers has numerous experts. Furthermore, the resources above ground are abundant and varied. What we have in New Earth is but a fraction”.

    “So prosperous…!” Zax murmured.

    “More than you can comprehend!” Ariel affirmed.

    “The attention of the other four powers gradually was gravitating toward me, my Martial sister and Martial brother as we participated and perfectly completed higher risk assignments. And at the day I became a Martial Mortal and the General of the Blessed Army conferred me the rank of Lieutenant General, the five powers altogether realized that although the Martial heritage of us, New Earth residents, is short, with proper guidance we have the capacity to become a force to be reckoned with”.

    “None of the five powers agreed to allow the other to monopolize our New Earth society. But they still held a craving for our latent potential. Hence, they formed a set of rules to limit one another as well as attract those with talent and potential”.

    “The rules are as followed: Dwellers of New Earth can only resurface as long as they are below the second realm as mist or bodily cultivators. This first rule is the reasons the members of the expedition group are all first realm experts. Once they can since the bottleneck to the second realm, if they would breakthrough above ground and be discovered by any of the five forces, they will be compelled to join them”.

    “The second rule is directed toward the five forces, forbidding them to influence the governing forces in Kingdom Earth and Valgarel”.

    “The third rule divides us human and beasts. The Golden Desert Fort, the Blessed Army and the Luminous Church can only draw humans, while the Violet Scaled Troops and Blue Sea can only invite beasts”.

    “Lastly, the fourth rule, this one was created to abolish the sense of unfairness from limiting those of us who broke through the second realm of Martial cultivation, the Martial competition. Every half a century a Martial competition will take place in both Kingdom Earth and Valgarel, inviting the cream of the crop of the younger generation to participate, giving the opportunity to those who reached the top ten to join the elite of any of the five forces”.

    “Their elites?” Zax wondered.

    Ariel nodded. “Entering the top ten is just the initial phase of the screening to the elite groups, but yes. The lucky few, who are young enough and would pass all the entrance phases, will receive the nurturing of potential Immortals”.

  15. #155
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 19 – A Resolute Decision



    Hearing about the chance to receive elite’s treatment, the prospect of stretching the Martial path beyond the known horizon, despite not knowing fully what challenges one must go through for these opportunities, moved and excited Zax. Then again, thinking about the current situation has made him feeling perplexed.

    “Senior Ariel, if there is such a good opportunity why you and the group of elders need to stand in my way?”

    Ariel shook his head with a light smile. He suspected that Zax will ask this question. “’Standing in your way’ is not the correct way to put it, and the initiative to remove you from the competition is solely my decision, your elders and Supreme Rulers have nothing to do with it other than following my orders and debating the process”. He halted and met Zax’s eyes. “As for why I came up with this decision, it is because I do not wish for you to be examined for the elite’s group nor join any of the five powers”.

    Ariel was vague with his reply, which startled Zax when he outright confessed, in what felt like a willful attitude, that he deliberately want him to miss the “golden ticket” for a new Martial world.

    Ariel, of course, knew how he sounded and so, without letting Zax the time to assume anything and retort with another question, he proceeded.

    “Junior Zax, everything I shared with you till now, apart from the decision to remove you from the competition, is knowledge that will be imparted to all the top ten contenders. However, to finally know the reason behind my actions, from this point on you should know that I will not allow you to disclose the following content of our conversion to any third company, as I also do not intended to involve even my fellow Supreme Rulers. Do you understand?“

    “I do”. Zax nodded. The immensity of every one of Ariel’s words weighted on Zax in a sense that made him feel slightly wary. What is there that can make the most revered character in Kingdom Earth be so restrictive in his speech that he has to act so secretively when speaking?

    “Good. Take this”. Ariel reached to an inner pocket in his robe. He took out a nail size Blue Stone and passed it to Zax. “Have a look inside after we will finish”. He instructed. “You may find several things, among them the most important is a small scroll. Its content pertain a superficial layout of the world above ground, gathered by expeditions of first realm experts. In the grand scheme of things it will not be much, but it will help you get acquainted and oriented in the approximate terrain to the pathway to New Earth from above the ground. Think of it as a local map, if you want, but be sure to destroy it after memorizing it!”

    Zax palpated the Blue Stone in his hand, feeling glad that regardless of his reasons, Ariel sill intended to let him venture under the blue sky!

    “The purpose of giving you this scroll and the other things inside the Blue Stone, along with the reason that I asked of you to forfeit the competition, is because I have a task that can only be assigned to someone of your credentials”.

    “A task?” Zax asked, wondering what about him could Ariel found apt to his requirements.

    “Aye!” Ariel responded in a resolute tone. “After everything I have said, you should have figured it out by yourself. With accordance to the five powers’ rules, second realm experts and above risk being subjugated by the five powers if leaving New Earth, and for first realm experts it is simply too dangerous to freely explore the outside world. You, however, are an anomaly, a loophole in the five powers’ rules. None of your three aspects has surpassed the boundaries of the first realm, yet your strength is superior to most second realm expert! So long as you will not attract their attention, you will be able to assimilate in the territories of the five powers better than any New Earth’s native”.

    Being reminded of his virtues, it dawned on Zax that Ariel is right. Was he not saying this to himself also a moment ago? If he does not plan to join the five powers, then he will be limited by their rules. But with his strength he will be less confined then a regular first realm expert if he will leave New Earth and there is no major concern about breaking through the second realm of bodily cultivation. He just broke through to the last gate of the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement, the hardest step. If he will go to the five powers’ territory, unless he would find and consume some sort of treasure, according to his estimation it should take him more than a decade, maybe two or three, to break through the second realm with just absorbing the world energy.

    Nonetheless, as idealistic as his condition appeared to be, the entirety of Ariel’s goal as yet to be revealed, which obstructed Zax’s excitement from getting ahead of itself.

    “Sir, senior Ariel, I don’t understand. What exactly are your intentions? Why avoid the five powers? And you said it yourself; you joined the Blessed Army and gained many advantages on the Martial path. You should have vast knowledge on the world under the blue sky, why then can’t you give me a clearer explanation?” Zax raised the Blue Stone between his fingers. “An extensive information about the outside world rather than a superficial one?”

    “I can only give you this much because I am bound by an oath to keep in secret any and all of my gains from joining the Blessed Army. Although I can renounce that oath and not suffer temporarily, the Blessed Army, and any of the five powers for that matter, has tools to detect apostates”.

    “Even in your rank in the Blessed Army this task is still complicated for you to manage… The world above ground should be a lot vaster than New Earth, senior Ariel, should I comply and take on the task, without knowing more I’ll just end up roaming aimlessly”.

    “That is why you were given the Blue Stone. I can’t verbally instruct you, but to ask of you to follow up with what inside the Blue Stone, that is not a difficulty”.

    “Now what is matter is whether you will agree to accept the task on yourself?”

    ‘An unknown task under the blue sky...’ Zax hesitated. “Senior Ariel, there is something that you did not mention that I would like to ask”.

    “Go ahead”.

    “If I’ll New Earth, how often will I be able to return? If it was in New Earth I would not have problems complying to the task, because unlike the world above ground, here I’m free to go to wherever I want and return to my family and loved ones when I see fit”.

    Contrasting his childhood days, today Zax was almost always surrounded by the people he cherished, some of whom he never thought to leave for no matter what reason. And to leave for an indeterminate span of time, he mentally was not prepared. If it was not an issue he would have already closed up and attempted to comprehend the fifth bottleneck of insight.

    Ariel figured the intent behind Zax’s question and for that, too, he was prepared.

    “You cannot let yourself be driven by sentimentality, junior Zax. I, my younger sister and younger brother, in our time, had also to make a sacrifice in order to temper our Martial path. It is inevitable for any cultivator, any person who aspires for the pinnacle in his field and path, to sometimes separate from the mundane for as long as one need for even just one step forward”.

    “Junior Zax, as talented as you are, to reach your current level in merely two decades, it stands to reason that without exposing yourself to the harsh ultimatum of the Martial path, your accomplishment would have been much smaller”.

    Ariel tone was calm, but to Zax it sounded like he was berated for his question. Still, Zax could not ignore the feeling that these words are exactly what needed to hear.

    ‘Senior Ariel is right. I’ve completely forgotten how to be resolute!’

    Zax was aware of what he needed to do to advance his Martial path since his introspection, but at the time that he came out from his short seclusion, the readiness to concentrate exclusively on his cultivation was still absent.

    While Zax was realizing his resolve, Ariel continued saying. “Nevertheless, I will be frank with you and admit that if you will join one of the five powers, you will be entitled to return to New Earth quite often. But if you will accept the task and explore the world above ground as a loose first realm New Earth native, you will most likely only be able to enter the pathway back to New Earth just once. In other words, until you will complete the task or sense the bottleneck to the second realm of bodily cultivation, I cannot permit you to return to New Earth”.

    ‘For how long can I be apart from them?’ Remaining in Zax’s heart were only two figures he was having troubles to letting go in favor of his cultivation and Ariel’s task.

    Anet and little Liz.

    ‘To obtain a pure Core for Anet I must get stronger. Since I haven’t been to everywhere in New Earth, I can’t know for certain, but if senior Ariel was saying the truth, I probably need to head out for the world above ground to find a pure Core anyway. But also leaving little Liz…’

    Zax closed his eyes, clenched his fist and after a long moment exhaled through his nostrils a strong current of air.

    Opening his eyes he decided. ‘I’m sorry, my dear little Liz’. His heart ached, yet with these words reverberating in his sea of consciousness it felt like it was in the right place.

    ‘So much for being a good big brother…’ Zax sighed and glanced over at Ariel. “Sir, senior Ariel, when can I leave New Earth”.

    Seeing that Zax made up his mind and accepted the task, Ariel refrained from commenting words of praise or gratitude.

    “You do not need to be in a hurry. It actually will not be as simple as sending another expedition group or escorting the top ten of the Martial competition, despite you being among them. Your departure must be discreet. The Golden Desert Fort, the Blessed Army and the Luminous Church, although they will not interfere in what goes on in Kingdom Earth, they do have scouts in Kingdom Earth and these scouts were present in the Martial competition. Those scouts have seen you and should have acknowledged your strength and future potential. If you will leave New Earth now, accompanying the top ten or on your own, they will keep prying eyes on your movement. My idea to avoid problems is to inform everyone that your condition after the three way battle is too severe that you not just forfeit to rest of the competition, but also renounce your spot in the top ten”.

    “Won’t the scout of the five powers will get suspicious unless they will see me with their own eyes”.

    “They will not go that far. They have seen your battle and the injuries you sustained. Furthermore, you are a bodily cultivator. Even the five powers are not conversant enough in the field of bodily cultivation to guess your condition. True, they possess more bodily refinement techniques than New Earth, but their qualities are not necessarily better and each one has its own unique effects, which add to the difficulty of assuming the state you should be after the fight. As for treating you to accelerate your recovery, the scouts remain in Kingdom Earth for the duration of the Martial competition. As long as they will not see you, I can report to them that your bodily refinement technique does not assimilate well high quality consumable resources. That way they might even lose a bit interest in you, thinking that you cultivate an insufficient bodily refinement technique”.

    “Then I should stay in this room?”

    “For the time being, yes. The competition will last for one more day. Ten days later I will guide the top ten contenders with your replacement to leave New Earth. A day later the scouts should leave. Till then you can stay here. I will deal with your companions and send a trustworthy attendant to support your needs. Twelve days from now, you can return to your home or your Master’s cave and in a year I summon you back. That should be enough time for you to prepare and for the aftermath of the Mortal competition to settle down”.

    Finishing explaining, Ariel got up from the chair as Zax remained seated meditating.

    Seeing Ariel about to leave, Zax also got up. With knitted brows he asked. “Senior Ariel, there is one last thing I would like to ask”.

    “What is it?”

    “Why did you not choose Neyrar to fight me in the three way battle?”

    Zax wanted to know why the elders and Supreme Rulers selected Zechariah and Linor to fight him, while giving Neyrar a pass.

    “Because you are strong, junior Zax, but not that strong”. Ariel replied with a little smile.

    “What’s that supposed to mean?” Zax felt a tad uncomfortable by Ariel’s remark.

    “Well… there are more to that than the answer I just gave you. Actually, two reasons. The first is that before you broke through, if Neyrar was to fight in the three way battle instead of Zechariah or Linor, to win, you and the other contestant would have needed to combine forces against him. Even then, the two of you would only have a fifty percent chance of winning and regardless of how the fight would have ended, its results from the fight you already had should not be too different”.

    “Mmm… Senior Ariel, are you saying that in a one versus one I’m weaker than Neyrar?” Hearing the first reason, suddenly that was what bothering Zax.

    “Hahaha! Junior Zax, do you remember your third fight?”

    Zax nodded. It was the fight against Hamer.

    “If back then you were instead to fight against Neyrar alone, you would have been the one plastered on a wall”. Ariel smiled almost mischievously.

    “And now?” Zax did not miss the remainder of his breakthrough.

    “Neyrar is both a mist cultivator and a bodily cultivator. His bodily cultivation is at the Peak of the first realm, where you just entered he last phase of your cultivation technique. Although you have the superiority in the type of technique, Neyrar’s mist cultivation is also not far from the third level of the second realm. Before you broke through there was no chance for you to win against him, now… maybe you two are even”.

    Zax stayed quite after Ariel’s assessment. It was food for thought for him, so much that he barely paid attention to the second reason when Ariel proceeded to saying it.

    “The second reason is more troublesome and not really concerning you, but I think you have to right to hear it anyway. Neyrar is Elijah’s Tal and Elijah is a honorary official of the Golden Desert Fort, moreover, his position in the Golden Desert Fort is a bit special. He did not join it based on his Martial achievements, but his attainment in the creation of the Scarlet Armor bodily refinement technique. Due to his position, he was granted a possibility from the sovereign of the Golden Desert Fort, which he passed on to his Tal, Neyrar. Simply put, if Neyrar will take first place in the Martial competition, he will instantly be accepted to the elite group of the Golden Desert Fort upon recruitment…”

    Near the end Ariel’s voce dimmed. Seeing that Zax stopped caring about the issue of the three way battle, he did not say more, turned and left.

    ‘Unbound by the road! Unbound by anyone!’ The words echoed in Zax’s mind, yet the excited manner in which they resounded before was absent. ‘So long as I keep my head below the ground…’

  16. #156
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 20 – Informing Everyone



    Ten days had passed quickly. During his secluded time in the lavish room, an attendant, sent by Ariel, has visited Zax, but was let off right away. Zax wanted to spend the ten days getting to know his new strength and contemplate how to use his remaining year in New Earth. For that he required privacy and seclusion.

    Ten days later the attendant returned and humbly showed Zax out of the Path Arena from his luxuriant dwelling in its VIP floor.

    Getting home to cave twenty five by a company aircraft of the Path Arena, there were messages from Don and Anet waiting for Zax and kept by his parents.

    Although it was never said outloud, Don’s and Marksim’s goal in recruiting Zax as an Eden Formation’s student and Pearl, from the very beginning, was for him to glorify the school in the great Martial Competition.

    Still in the Martial Competition, when Don heard that Zax relinquished his participation in the competition and even his place in the top ten, she instantly displayed a grave countenance. It was only after she were praised by Supreme Ruler Ariel and paid attention to the veneration of the other people present toward the feats of her student, that she heaved a breath of relief.

    Yes, Zax lost and his place in the competition was annulled, but his might shone bright and the back hair of every men and women, regardless of age, stood on end when he entered and left the fighting stage.

    That being said, the matter of Zax’s task was not disclosed to Don or anyone else.

    Returning to the matter at hand… The message left by Don was quite familiar in its content to a Get Well card, finishing with “Hope to see you back in school, to celebrate your irrefutable performance in the greatest Martial event of Kingdom Earth!”.

    Anet’s message was more emotional. Lost she saw Zax he was heavily wounded and not long after he was taken to be treated, Talhera announced that due to his injuries he will not be able rejoin the competition.

    Of course, when Marco verbally conveyed Anet’s request to let her know that he is okay when he will get back, he held back the flushed cheeks and moist eyes.



    “Are you really fine now?” As a mother, despite how tall and sturdy her son grew to be, Laylen was not convinced when Zax first reassured her.

    “I’m completely fine mom”. Zax held her shoulder and smiled confidently to relieve his mother concern.

    He refrained from going into details over his “miraculous” recovery and breakthrough. It was not a subject that ever interested his parents, and no matter how breathless they will be by knowing his level of strength, they will still prefer for him and their eldest daughter to have a common way of life.

    Of everyone currently at the house, the only one in a different world, virtually five seconds after Zax got home and gave her a warm hug, was little Liz. Laying on the living room’s floor and tilting her legs back and forth, as she drew on the screen of a small tablet, Liz had zero to none care over anything related to the world “Martial”, and if her big brother or big sister were not there to play with or take to Valgarel, in this after kindergarten hour, she will do well to occupy herself without the help of anyone else.

    “Laylen, our boy is fine”. Marco steeled himself for his wife, and because for him it was more easy his eldest daughter’s and son’s choices. “Zax, you should go visit Anet. Call her, see if she is home or in school and go tell her that you are well”.

    “I will, dad”. Zax said. “Mom, dad”, he turned down his voice to a whisper. “Later today I’m leaving to Valgarel. There is an important, non risky, matter that I have to take care of, but I’m not sure when I’ll return”.

    “Your meaning, Zax?” Marco asked, although in his heart, he and Laylen could reluctantly guess what Zax intended.

    “I’m planning to start a long session of closed doors training”. It was not the first time Zax informed his parents before he entered beyond closed doors, this time, however, due to the knowledge that about a year from today he will leave New Earth, it was difficult for him to hide the guilt of departing for a long span of time.

    Marco sighed.

    Laylen contemplated for a moment before taking her son’s hand from her shoulder and holding it. “Go see Anet”.

    They were oblivious to his futuristic plans, so they complied, as they always do.



    Anet was staying at Eden Formation, so when Zax called her, they agreed to meet in a park several blocks from the school. It was Zax’s preference, since he did not want to waste time being congratulated by Don or anyone else in Eden Formation who knows about the Martial Competition, regardless if it is for his victories or simply recuperation.

    “Then I want to go with you!” Anet said stubbornly.

    “To leave New Earth?! You can’t! You absolutely can’t!”

    The two spoke freely since only few elderly people were in the park and Anet also erected a formation around them to restrict the sound of their voices.

    Of their overall conversation, Zax did not divulge the task Ariel gave him or the existence of the five powers, only mentioned that he was offered the possibility to venture outside of New Earth and that it is the communal prize of the Martial competition.

    The details he omitted, Zax done so because his understanding of the five powers, who rule the world above ground, was less than fundamental and his task, with accordance to the impression he received from Ariel, could be a lot more dangerous than a regular expedition.

    “Then what can I do, Zax? If you will enter closed doors training by the time you’ll come out, you might need to leave and it’s frightening me not to know for how long!”

    Initially Anet was exuberant when Zax shortly explained to her about the opportunity citizens of New Earth have to resurface from below the ground and see the blue sky. Now, though, the prospect of Zax leaving, alone, and who knows for how long, was the only thing in her mind, even if she understood that it is not as simple as he made it out to be.

    Zax felt palpitations in his heart. He truly was ashamed of himself for the pain he put his loved, more so when they did not conceal it. He could tell his parents were not content with the up and coming closed door session, he was grateful that little Liz was still too young to comprehend concept of a yearlong separation, he was mournful that once she will look for him he will not be there, especially in this period of her growth and innocent age. When he was at her age, Zetsa never left for such a long time.

    Zax unknowingly imitated his father from a bit earlier today and steeled himself. He did not attempt to justify his decisions; from his point of view they were already made.

    But he loved the tearful young woman who sat next to him on the wooden bench, and he was not cold as those who could see into his selfishness may think, so he did his utmost to comfort her.

    “Anet, it is not a forever departure…” Zax caressed her cheek and raised her head so their eyes could meet. “Please, listen to me… The next breakthroughs of my soul and the fifth bottleneck of insight are imminent. Whether I’ll enter closed doors now or on a later date, it would take just as long for me to finish. The difference is… that I don’t know a lot about the world above ground, so by preparing myself as best as I can before going to experience it, I would be able to faster get familiarize with it, better be capable of handling its hazards, and more assure that I can protect you when the time where you can accompany will come”.

    Anet sniffed. She noticed the lack of a definite day of return; however she knew that Zax, since childhood, strode on paths she can thoughtlessly follow. Her arrival to Valgarel, for example, was due time, not a second before Zax was sure of her safety. Nowadays, because of her level of cultivation, to Grandmaster Kartion’s cave she does not require his supervision.

    In Anet’s heart a small passage was engraved, in essence the words she kept silently were the hope to always walk side by side with Zax, only now there was a small addition, “to walk together above ground, just like in New Earth”.

    It pained Anet, that by recalling this passage she grudgingly gave her consent to Zax.

    Seeing the change in Anet’s countenance, the release of the tension from her facial muscles, feeling how her body stopped being stiff, Zax knew that she will not oppose his decisions anymore.

    “The moment I will exist my closed doors training, I will look for you right away”. He softly pulled her closer to him, to kiss the two salty trails on her cheeks and as they both felt their faces getting warmer, he kissed her lips.



    Zax left Anet with a request, asking her to look after little Liz for him. Since four years ago, this should be the longest session of closed doors training that he will enter. And although Zetsa comes home more often than in the past, Zax feared for an empty space in his little sister’s heart will appear. To prevent such a case from happening, he wanted Anet to replace him.



    Atop the peak of the tallest mountain in a certain cave in Valgarel, stands a marvelous blue tower. In it, several figures sat in a wide circle.

    “A Martial competition with such prizes, a chance to leave New Earth, moreover Valgarel is also involved”.

    Grandmaster Kartion and Kartius, along with all the other members of the household but Laivien, reflected over the amazing revelation Zax just narrated to them.

    Before his seclusion, Zax decided to inform mainly his Master and Grandmaster Kartion of the things he learned from Ariel, but the two, after hearing merely few of his words, have asked him to wait a while and summoned the other members of the household. Since the subject was too inconceivable they said that his Martial brothers and sisters should not be excluded from hearing about it.

    He told everyone everything except from the task he was given and the small Blue Stone that he received from Ariel.

    “A rank above Martial Mortal… Immortals… Master, is it another realm, the fourth one?” Simel asked with deep expression.

    Grandmaster Kartion shook his head in resignation. “I don’t know. In truth, I was not even sure about the title of the third realm before young Zax confirmed couple of things I heard in the past. I can only affirm the credibility of this information. Someone of Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch’s caliber has not reason to play tricks on a junior”.

    “Zax, are you really planning to go above ground?” Zetsa inquired in a serious tone.

    Currently, he is the sole member in the household who did not break through the second realm. According to the rules of the five powers he explained, only first realm cultivators, possibly anyone in the first realm, can leave New Earth to the world above ground. If he truly to do so a year from now, he would be all on his own in a territory he, everyone in the household, knows nothing about.

    As his big sister, Zetsa could not help be feel distressed for her little brother.

    “I do, after I’ll comprehend the fifth bottleneck of insight and my soul will break through to the second realm. The five powers’ rules state that only second realm bodily cultivators and mist cultivators cannot leave New Earth without joining one of them. A first realm bodily cultivator with a second realm soul will not have a problem to travel underneath the blue sky unobstructed by the five powers”.

    Zetsa slightly clenched her teeth. She wanted to retort yet did not have the words. Risks are unavoidable on the Martial path, but when it comes to her little brother… Every step he took toward the Martial path since the days when she trained in her inadequate apartment was a step she induced before him, hence in advance could know that it is not beyond his limits.

    Even when he became Kartius’s apprentice… his advancement was under the direction of someone she trusted her life with.

    Who can she turn to that can assure and make her believe that this next step her beloved little brother intends to take is within his strength to stride?

    “Little brother, tell me, is there a special procedure to join one of the five powers?” Mes suddenly asked. Simultaneously, for one reason or another, his question attracted the attention of everybody else.

    “Beasts can join the Violet Scaled Troops and Blue Sea”. Zax replied and turned to Grandmaster Kartion. “To know more, Grandmaster, you should visit His Valor Ozeyn”.

    “Mes, do you also want to leave New Earth?” Shulip, in her human form, asked the question on everyone’s minds.

    “You should have discussed privately with Master before asking Zax”. Raroen rebuked.

    “I will, big brother Raroen, only If I’ll really feel like see how the world above looks like. And it’s not like I’m abandoning the household if I’ll try to go above ground. This is my home, Master is my father, and the relationship of us all in my heart is thicker than blood. I just want to know out of curiosity…”

    “Enough, Mes”, Grandmaster Kartion cut him near the end of his argument.

    “Master”, Mes turned to him with humbleness. “The world above ground is a dream of any human and beast in New Earth. My dream, too! The five powers, if they are unfair to us, native of New Earth, I won’t join them even if it means that I’ll have to spend the rest of my life surround by earth. But if joining the Violet Scaled Troops or Blue Sea can benefit us, I think that we should consider it. You heard younger brother Zax. Even the Supreme Rulers of Kingdom Earth, even our Valgarel, send the young and brightest to join these powers regularly!”

    An outburst of enthusiasm exploded from Mes.

    “Until we will know, in further details, more about the five powers, their intentions, and their treatments of their New Earth’s recruits, there will not be an unequivocal decision or action with regard to these five powers”. Grandmaster Kartion said, aiming his words to everyone, but one person.

    “Zax, your condition allows you what seems to be a rare opportunity, indeed. I will not oppose it if you want to leave New Earth. However, if your Master will say otherwise, that is between you and him”.

    Right after Grandmaster Kartion’s said his piece, all eyes turned to Kartius, most beseeching were Zetsa’s.

    Till now Kartion sat, arms crossed in his humanoid form, his stag head pondering.

    “Go, Martial son, cultivate your soul, comprehend the fifth bottleneck and go to where we dream and currently cannot follow”.

  17. #157
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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 21 – Earth’s Records



    Within a sealed cavern, encompassed by blackness, sitting crossed legs, Zax prepared himself to tackle the fifth bottleneck of insight.

    Smell, touch, taste, sight… These were the four bottlenecks of insight Zax already perceived and proceeded to comprehend.

    Zax was not oblivious. By now he could tell that the bottlenecks of insight have something to do with the five senses.

    The issue was with him unable to figure out if the remaining sense, sense of hearing, which will probably make him conscious to the sound of the world, is this new, fifth, bottleneck he faces or would it rather be the last, sixth, bottleneck.

    Regardless of the sense of hearing being fifth or sixth, there were two other more questions on Zax’s mind.

    If there are only five major senses and each one is being represented by one bottleneck of insight, what would be represented in the remaining bottleneck?

    Also, who dictated, and why, that to traverse the road of Martial cultivation, it is necessary to comprehend bottlenecks that, overall, have a nearly similar effect to regular soul cultivation? One would even debate that cultivating the soul the normal way is much more efficient than dealing with the sixth bottlenecks of insight.

    Sadly, to these questions, not even Zax’s Master and Grandmaster Kartion could answer or be assure that anyone in New Earth knows.

    Comprehending five out of the six bottlenecks of insight is already unheard of, much less six, so even speculating is meaningless!

    Zax heaved a long, cold breath and calmed his nerves. Despite his mental preparations, he was still agitated by the thought of how the fifth bottlenecks of affect him and how long the effect would last.

    ‘It is not good!’ Zax berated himself. ‘With this kind of bearing I can’t face the world above ground’.

    Feeling his pants’ pocket he took out the Blue Stone Ariel handed him.

    ‘Let’s first see what’s inside’.

    Although the cave was utterly dark, Zax’s eyesight as a bodily cultivator was extraordinarily keen. Furthermore, a cultivator’s Soul Sense, at a certain level of the soul, is so perceptive that it can practically read the ink on a the flat surface of a book’s page, and in a higher level can even distinguish intangible shapes who do not possess mist’s or soul’s energy signature, such as holograms.

    Generally only a third level Core Master, or a higher level cultivator, can discern intangible shapes. Zax, due to his unique soul, since his soul reached to the Advanced phase of level B could distinguish intangible shapes.

    Using his soul energy to activate the Blue Stone, a small blue and glowing tower, thirty seven centimeter tall, emerged on Zax’s hand.

    A rolled scroll was the first thing that Zax’s hand picked up from inside the blue tower.

    Putting down the blue tower, Zax broke the red seal and opened wide the scroll, which felt fragile and easy to tear.

    The scroll stretched to a length of roughly two meters and was filled by written content and several drawings.

    ‘Mmm… unexpectedly this scroll has been written by more than one person”. Zax could tell by the various handwritings. “There is no way senior Ariel gave me the original manuscript, but if this is a copy why did he not give me a new one?’ Zax wondered in the split second it took his eyes to land on the computer’s font introduction, and guess the answer on his own.

    “Earth’s Records - the complete addition.

    Copy No. 18/22.

    Notice: The scroll will disintegrate within thirty seconds after the breaking of the seal. In case of remnants, per the decree of three Supreme Rulers, the opener of the scroll must get rid entirely of any remnants and maintain secrecy over the knowledge obtain from the complete addition of Earth’s Records”.

    ‘Thirty seconds before it get destroyed…’ Zax indeed detected a formation embedded to the scroll.

    ‘Should not waste time’.

    Although to experts on Zax’s level thirty seconds might as well be hours, sometime they might encounter something that would made them delve into contemplation that could last for a very long span of time, depends on how profound the matter that got their attention.

    First, Zax covered all the reading material, which started being documented from the instant its primary writer stepped foot beneath the blue sky.

    ‘The rain forests of old South America!’ It was not a significant read, yet, somehow, it aroused inside of Zax a bubbly sense of expectation as his eyes continued to follow word after word.

    “Hahaha! So in the great immigration humanity and beasts found the pathway to New Earth there!” It was common knowledge only to the highest echelon of New Earth, both in Kingdom Earth and Valgarel. Naturally, Zax never heard about it before this moment.

    As enthusiasm kept growing, Zax’s outer voice continuously commented outloud.

    “It really says nothing about the location of the pathway from New Earth to above the ground. I supposed at the day of my departure senior Ariel would reveal it to me. And crossing to the other side I’ll get to the ancient continent South America, which now is referred to by the five powers as ‘Selivereb’, mm… translated to ‘Neutral Landscape’ according to what it says here is the native language of the world above ground or ‘Ercas Mir’…”

    The scroll further explained that although on the surface of the earth, Ercas Mir, the general language being used is different than the one commonly spread in New Earth, in the cities close to the pathway to New Earth, which were visited by a few of the scroll writers, most of the denizens do speak New Earth’s tongue. Supposedly it was introduced by the Blessed Army and the Violet Scaled Troops with benefits to those who master it. To what end and whether the other three powers also publicize the language of New Earth in their territories, the scroll’s writers could not tell.

    It is also been written that due to Selivereb being the land where the pathway to New Earth is located, despite it being in the mutual zone of the Violet Scaled Troops and the Blessed Army, the five powers have agreed to not monopolize the area and each stationed an emissary to oversee the very strict intersection to and from New Earth.

    “What! They shifted that much?!” Zax burst in astonishment, referring to the old world’s seven continents.

    The seven continents, unlike from where humanity and beasts crossed to New Earth, were and are a subject taught in schools.

    Before Earth was called “Ercas Mir”, before humanity and beasts immigrated to New Earth, the world was known to have seven continents.

    In a crude handwriting on the thin scroll, the writer divulged: “My expedition’s companions and I tried to collect as much information about the full layout of Ercas Mir from the villagers of several small villages not far from the pathway home and later from residents of the Blessed Army’s fifth city, Glorious Ground. The villagers were poorly educated of the matter. Luckily some of them did know our language, although they thought that we came from another territory rather than New Earth (It is not certain how much our home is renowned to the surface dwellers), they were actually the ones recommending us to travel to Glorious Ground.

    The differences between villages and cities turned out to be quite similar to the differences between our home’s low and high class caves. In Glorious Ground it was a lot easier to form interaction with the people. Sadly, it was risky approaching to anyone with stature, and the handful of merchants, me and my companions heard about, were impatient to those lacking currency. Therefore, we could only gather information by plunging into casual conversation with our inn keeper.

    What we found about the current layout of the world is that the world is divided into two continents and a chain, in the south part of the globe, of seventy three small islands. The inn keeper showed us a rough map he managed to get his hands on, that when me and my companions matched to the old world map we remembered, made us realize how immensely the world changed in the past five thousand years.

    Forming the larger of the two continents, the Eastern Continent, are the old world’s continents Asia, Africa, Europa and Australia. Forming the second continent, the Western Continent, are the old world’s continents North America and South America. As for the seventh continent, Antarctica, today it is Ercas Mir’s chain of seventy three small islands.

    The inn keeper’s map added that the Blessed Army’s and the Violet Scaled Troops’ dominance is the Western Continent. The Golden Desert Fort’s and Luminous Church’s dominance is the Eastern Continent. And the Blue Sea’s dominance is the seventy three small islands”.

    “Note: The legitimacy of the information collected in Earth’s Records is solely a hundred percent valid to a radius of two hundred and forty kilometers from the pathway to New Earth!”

    Beneath the crude handwriting, printed in bold letters, was another computer’s font annotation.

    “It seems that I can’t rely on everything written here”. Zax’s brows wrinkled.

    As it so happened, perhaps to maintain credibility, other than the crude handwriting’s logs, there was no more information with regards to the world beyond the radius mentioned before.

    Zax’s eyes quickly skimmed the description of the settlement within the two hundred and forty kilometer radius.

    Most of the terrain was described to be within the territory of the Blessed Army; at the very least it was so in this part of the continent.

    In the territory of the Blessed Army, the expedition groups whose logs compiled Earth’s Records, counted seventeen villages and two cities, Glorious Ground and Bare Hands Stronghold.

    The Violet Scaled Troops’ territory, within the two hundred and forty kilometer radius, accommodated only nine small tribes and one beastly clan, Earnest Vendavar.

    It is said in Earth’s Records that although both the beasts’ side of the Violet Scaled Troops and the human’s side of the Blessed Army both have their respected territory, there are still beasts and humans living on both territories. In some places they live in concert, in other places there are tribes of only beasts or villages of only humans. The Earnest Vendavar clan and the two cities all have mixed population.

    A traveler should just take into consideration that the majority of the Violet Scaled Troops’ population is always belongs to beasts, while the majority in the Blessed Army’s territory is forever that of humans.

    “There is nothing about technological advancements or the Martial cultivation level of the tribes, villages, clan and cities recorded in the scroll…” Zax felt a little disappointed. He anticipated learning about the strength of the people and beasts that live above the ground.

    “A warning?” Red letters in a decent handwriting sparked a light of curiosity and venture in Zax’s light brown pupils.

    Till now the recordings in the scroll were mostly plain, not yet the description of the world above ground, Ercas Mir, dangers.

    Zax read ahead with bated breath what the new writer has encountered.

    “Traversing in Selivereb the distance to the closest village from the pathway to and from New Earth is recommended to be done during daylight. In the event of spending a night in the wild it is most important to avoid camps on the ground. Cultivators under the second realm would better try to conceal themselves atop the Titan Kapok Trees and stay alert until after dawn!”

    The writer first instructed the simple guidelines for survival in the wild night of Selivereb and then proceeded to elaborate about the origin of the wild’s dangers.

    “From info acquired by conversations with tribebeasts and villagers, as well as risky encounters my team experienced, there are two types of dangers in Selivereb to the general experts below the Martial Mortal realm.

    The first danger, usually met in the approximate topography of villages and tribes, rarely near the two human cities or beasts’ clan, is that of bandits and hunters groups.

    In most cases, these dreadful men and beasts would have one or two peak existence at the early levels of the second realm who cultivate a moderate, or lower, Martial technique. To the peak existence of New Earth, these men and beasts are not a threat, but as long as the five powers are limiting the passage to Ercas Mir with their rules, expedition groups will constantly be at risk due to bandits and hunters groups.

    The second danger, the one that should be taken to heart and is many times more fearsome than any bandit or hunter, is known as ‘Deformed Beings’, or as the natives of Ercas Mir like to call them… ‘the carrier of Pure Cores’!”

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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 22 – Unheard Of Third Type Breakthrough



    “Deformed Beings! Pure Cores!” Zax exclaimed. ”Senior Ariel mentioned two possible methods to obtain Pure Cores. One that I’m familiar with is scavenging from a cultivator in the midst of a breakthrough to a new realm, which isn’t easy since, to avoid trouble, no expert will advertise his place and time of breakthrough. That should be the first method senior Ariel referred to in his explanation. The second method… could it be the Deformed Beings?”

    Zax quit wondering and lowered his eyes to the introduction of Deformed Beings printed in bold, red letters in the scroll, underneath the writer’s mentioning of the two dangers in Selivereb.

    “The most dangerous creatures loose throughout the surface of earth, the surface of Ercas Mir and in its seas, are none other than the entities named ‘Deformed Beings’.

    In the history of the planet, Deformed Beings first appeared millenniums ago, when Nature’s rules began to change. Deformed Beings were first spawned from the earth itself and forced humanity and beasts to either immigrate below the ground or face genocide.

    At the time of the great immigration data related to Deformed Beings was impossible to be gathered due to the high level of risk. At the time, neither humanity, nor beasts, had practiced Martial cultivation.

    The following is the entire information, gathered and compiled, about Deformed Beasts post the return of humanity to the surface of Ercas Mir, with accordance to the five powers’ rules.

    External features of Deformed Beings: The entire species of Deformed Beings possess two common denominators to their external appearance. Number one, all Deformed Beings, of any size, shape or color, have an armor exoskeleton covering their vary bodies. Number two, as indication to their level of strength, Deformed Beings grow a set of scales, which may appear in all sorts of appearances, at the back of their necks.

    Note: The amount of scales signifies the Martial realm the Deformed Being corresponds to!

    Other than the two common denominators, Deformed Beings, which are not of the same type, may otherwise appear in all kinds of shapes and colors.

    Types of Deformed Beings: Deformed Beings are similar to the different types of beasts, pre the great immigration. Their intelligence is that of a wild animal, regardless of age or level of strength. There are carnivore as well as herbivores Deformed Beings. Some Deformed Beings, even of different types, live in solidarity, while others’ primal instinct chooses to seclude them from group life.

    Note: In spite of the variety of Deformed Beings across Ercas Mir, the entire species share the same aggressive behavior characteristic toward anyone who is invading their territory, be it a human, beast or other Deformed Being.

    Level of risk hazard: What is most common among Deformed Beings, and the reason and source of what gave them their notorious name, is the undisputable fact that they are incapable of cultivating any of the three aspects. Nevertheless, if Nature have not compensate its crippled creation in a manner which made it so fearsome and monstrous, the great immigration would not have happened and the Martial world would not have labeled Deformed Beings as Nature’s favorite.

    Nature’s favorite, Deformed Beings, are absolved from the burden of Martial cultivation and breaking through bottlenecks. In turn, their physique grows stronger, the valuable energy within their body becomes mightier and their soul turns wilder at the natural course of their growth.

    As for how strong Deformed Beings can become, that is already predetermined at their birth.

    The first Deformed Beings inherited the ability to breed, as humans and beasts do, from the earth of which they were spawned from. Each type of Deformed Beings, at the time, was already destined to reach at adulthood to a predetermined, unsurpassable, level of strength.

    For example: At the vicinity of Selivereb, in a radius of nine kilometers from the pathway to New Earth there is one type of formidable Deformed Being whom no one dare to approach, the Black Chrome Alligator. As hatchlings the Black Chrome Alligators may not pose a threat to anyone, but in one hundred to one hundred and fifty years, when they reach adulthood, and complete the second and last green scale at the back of their neck, their level of strength corresponds to an Advanced phase third level Core Master.

    Note: in Selivereb there seventeen types of Deformed Beings. The Black Chrome Alligator is the most dangerous one among them, both for they live in congregations and have the most superior path of growth, a set of two scales. Outside of Selivereb there are more powerful types of Deformed Beings with sets of three scales and level of strength that can match a fourth level Martial Mortal

    Note2: Most often the strength of a Deformed Being will reach a step from the Peak of the cultivation level it corresponds to at adulthood. Rarely will the strength of a Deformed Being will rival the Peak itself. But at such rare occurrences, the overall explosive force of the Deformed Being will contend fairly with cultivators beyond its congenital limit”.

    “So fierce!” Zax gawked at the scroll.

    After so much reading and learning about Deformed Beings he truly started to develop a sense of vigilance toward these creature he had yet to face, who once frightened humanity and beasts into fleeing the surface of the earth, and now are a force to be reckoned with in Ercas Mir.

    Only when his eyes slid to the last computer printed record regarding Deformed Beings, did he come out of the stupor and finished reading.

    “Uniqueness of Deformed Beings: The specialness of Deformed Beings sprouts from their inborn gift from Nature, the lack of arduous cultivation to gain power. Deformed Beings’ valuable energy that circulate in their dantian and body, is nurtured naturally and eventually, at adulthood, forms the most desirable Pure Core”.

    Thus, stated the last bold, red printed words about Deformed Beings.

    Closing his eyes, Zax’s mind sunk into contemplation.

    ‘A third realm Pure Core… from a Deformed Being… the only possible way to obtain would be by killing three scales adult Deformed Being’. Zax’s mood became gloomy.

    A three scales adult Deformed Being, according to Earth’s Records, it would be the equivalent of a cultivator near the Peak of the Martial Mortal realm!

    ‘Fourth level Martial Mortal…’ Zax did not know what to make of that footnote. He was unfamiliar with the structure of the Martial Mortal realm.

    ‘Keeping in mind that a Deformed Being at adulthood reach a step from the Peak of the Martial realm it’s equivalent to, then the structure of the Martial Mortal realm should either be comprised by five levels or four levels…’ Zax speculated, but without a legit confirmation he was not a hundred percent sure of his hypothesis.

    Looking back at the scroll, the only part still remaining for his eyes to explore was a rough sketch of Ercas Mir’s continents and oceans.

    The oceans of Ercas Mir were not listed in any of the scroll’s records. The sketch also did have their names, but Zax could still see that on the new map of once planet Earth, there were still five oceans encircling the two continents and seventy three small islands of the world.

    The only part on the sketched map really detailed was the lower part of the Western Continent, Selivereb. And there, too, there was not much to note, other than couple of marks that indicated the places probably visited by Kingdom Earth’s expedition groups, such as several of the beast’s tribes, human’s villages, clans and cities.

    Even though the thirty seconds before the scroll self destroyed were almost up, Zax rolled, placed it in front of him and peacefully waited to be certain nothing will remain of it.

    Finally the appointed time arrived and an orange flame burst from the scroll, lightening the cavern and completely eradicating the copy No. 18/22 of Earth’s Records to nothingness.

    Zax surveyed the scorched earth, both with his eyes and Soul Sense. In a mere seconds the orange flame been extinguished and the whole ordeal was over.

    Zax also finished occupying himself with the Blue Stone at his hand.

    “It’s about time”. He told himself outloud and without hesitation proceeded to begin his true aim that brought him to the cavern.

    Closing his eyes and steading his breath, Zax delved into his sea of consciousness, manifesting nakedly atop his Inner Panorama.

    Looking above his head, there was it, the spark of light containing the fifth bottleneck of insight.

    Reaching it, getting closer and closer, four of Zax’s senses slowly turned numb, while the peculiar effect on the one specific sense has started to influence his perception.

    Sound!

    A melodic tune, so pleasant, so vibrant.

    It drowned Zax, immersed him in ethereal serenity.

    The all so familiar, yet always feels as if happens for the very first time, process has fully commenced.

    Blood oozed from Zax’s ears. It began with one drop after six days of nearly unconsciously trying to comprehend the fifth bottleneck of insight and as time continued to move on, as days turned to weeks and weeks to months, the one drop transformed into a scarlet stream. All the while, on Zax steady face was but a smile of utter jubilation.

    BOOM!

    An eruption of wild fluctuations burst from Zax’s sea of consciousness, their origin… Zax’s soul.

    Seven month into comprehending the fifth bottleneck of insight, with the influence of the dark attribute, Zax’s soul at last began to tackle the bottleneck to the second realm!

    Unbeknown to Zax, his soul, which was erected tall and almost lucid at the center of his Inner Panorama, exude every ounce of its energy, filling the sea of consciousness with grayish fug.

    BOOM!

    A pulse reverberated within the grayish fug like a thunder in stormy clouds, yet Zax, immersed in the compression of the fifth bottleneck, was still oblivious to the event unfolding in his sea of consciousness.

    Zax’s soul converted its entire self to soul energy; gradually it broke down, like a crumbling tower of sand.

    When there was not a lot to be left, what remained was a spherical black membrane of black attribute, imprinted by the signature of the dispersed soul, protecting the fragile spirit.

    It should be noted, if Zax was aware of his imminent breakthrough, he would have noticed that the advancement of his soul to the second realm is quite unusual; not exactly like the process his Master described him.

    The variable responsible for the oddity was, precisely, the dark attribute.

    When the soul dispersed to a fug in a cultivator’s sea of consciousness at the time of breaking through the second realm, an attribute less soul will not completely vanish, but will leave some of itself to protect the spirit. That is the first type of soul breaking through the second realm that may occur.

    The second type was what Kartius prepared Zax, yet not exactly happened.

    If an attribute is present inside the soul, the shade of the fug that will encompass the sea of consciousness will be comprised by a mix of white and the attribute’s hue and the protective membrane of the spirit will be half made by the attribute and leftovers of the soul.

    Contrary to Kartius expectations for the second type of breakthrough to occur, it seems that he was wrong.

    While the first part was correct and the shade of the fug in Zax’s sea of consciousness is a mix of white and black, the second part was inaccurate. The membrane was solely made of the dark attribute and all that was left from the soul was an imprint.

    As for the question of which type of breakthrough is the most preferable… honestly, when Zax asked his Master this question, Kartius said that it is not definitive, or rather that he and his big brother, as well as many others, had yet to figure it out, because be it the first type or the second type, after breaking through there are no signs of greater benefits to either type.

    Getting back to the unheard of third type breakthrough…

    The grayish fug swirled and rumbled. It converged around the black membrane, but, as if alive avoided touching it.

    Soon, the space that it consumed inside Zax’s sea of consciousness became smaller and smaller, clearing the expanse to what was to come.

    BANG!

    Sparkling blackness hit the black membrane and smeared it.

    BANG!

    A second sparkling blackness, a second drop of liquid soul energy.

    BANG!

    BANG!

    BANG!



    Much like how mist energy liquefies at the time of the second realm’s breakthrough, consecutively sparkling drops of blackness rained down on the black membrane as the soul reformed around it anew.

    BANG!

    The final drop has fallen.

    At the center of the Inner Panorama, the new soul has taken a new shape of a clear black sphere.



    The bleeding in Zax’s ears had stopped. He opened up his eyes, no longer smiling.

    “It’s over?!” Zax was surprised; he had yet to notice his soul breakthrough. What amazed him that in only been seven month, and despite this short passage of time he thoroughly comprehended the fifth bottleneck of insight!

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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 23 – An Heir For A Legacy



    “Hahaha!” Zax’s voice rolled as he laughed in jubilation. “Sooner than I anticipated. Good, good!” He was pleasantly surprised, since now he would able to spend a while longer in New Earth before leaving for Ercas Mir.

    “Let’s see how my Inner Panorama and soul have changed”. He entered his sea of consciousness to have a look.

    ‘Whoaa! It’s so abundance! So that is the sea of consciousness of a second realm soul!’ Before he even got to his Inner Panorama or soul, Zax was captivated by the transformation of his sea of consciousness.

    The space that had been like an empty shell, occupied by the tiny soul and a patch of Inner Panorama, was now a sea and a sky of grayish colors.

    Zax’s manifested form stood at the edge of his Inner Panorama. His bare legs could feel the sensation of water splashing on them as the sea water gushed. Although it was a cool and harmless feeling, Zax’s hunch told him that despite this sea and sky being his, he should not underestimate them.

    ‘I wonder…’ Zax mused before calming himself completely. As he did, the sea water was subdued into a state of tranquility and the grayish sky also stood still.

    ‘They are affected by my mood’. Zax smiled in satisfaction. Nevertheless, he continued to refrain from stepping into the sea. He somewhat had the impression that regardless of its state, it would not by accommodating as the Inner Panorama.

    Zax turned his attention to his primary objects of interest, first, the Inner Panorama.

    It was a circular field of what looked to be hundreds of thousands of kilometers in parameter. It was grand beyond Zax’s expectations, vastly more than prior to his comprehending of the fifth bottleneck of insight. In the field grew countless blooming black flowers, and they stretched throughout the entirety of the Inner Panorama. What was amazing about these flowers, though, was how they exuded an obscure impression of each and every of the bottlenecks of insight that Zax perceived, and how they seemed to move along his feet as he walked atop the land of the Inner Panorama.

    ‘They look like they reached the peak of their growth. For some reason I feel as if the last bottleneck will not make the flowers metamorphose further’.

    Zax familiarity with the black flowers was short and limited by his capacity to investigate them. However, due to them being part of him, he was able to have this deduction.

    ‘The world energy… I can now better sense it in my Inner Panorama than outside. And it’s converting and circulating much more comfortably in my body’. It was quite a surprise for Zax, which made wonder if he should laugh or cry.

    Before he comprehended the fifth bottleneck, Zax assumed that it would be decades of world energy absorption before it would be enough for his body to break through the second realm. Now, he feels like five years is the longest that he would need, which will slightly be troublesome since soon he will leave to Ercas Mir and the laws there prevent second realm New Earth’s natives from traveling freely.

    ‘I don’t believe that I’ll spend more than two and a half years in Ercas Mir, but I should be careful either way. Senior Ariel and Earth’s Records said nothing about how the five powers enforce their rules’.

    The issue could not be dealt with before he will leave to Ercas Mir, and Zax did not intend to cultivate his body after this session, so he put the matter on hold until his departure and proceeded to examine his soul.

    ‘It certainly changed from the grand shape it had before’.

    The soul was in a spherical form, having a diameter of one hundred and ninety one centimeters, same as Zax’s height.

    ‘Odd, I can finally see it clearly, but…’ Zax was a tad uncomfortable by the change to his soul.

    For the very first time it was perfectly lucid, by just willing it he could submerge inside it to his spirit, or survey the memories imprinted on it. However, there was still something Zax felt amiss. When he raised his hand to touch the soul what he sensed through the palm of his hand was a hard, smooth crust.

    Zax frowned. Just like he could deduce the state of the black flower in full confidence, he could tell that despite his breakthrough to the second realm of the soul, it might became stronger than before, but actually also imperfect.

    ‘It is not right. Did I mess up the breakthro-’

    As he was about to complete the thought, Zax suddenly stiffened. His manifested naked body, which still kept contact with the soul, appeared as if it was in a trance.

    From within the spherical soul, a silhouette reflected in its clear darkness. The silhouette flickered in place several times, and when it settled down, it reached from the other side to the spot in the soul where Zax touched.

     

    In the cavern.

    A tremor passed through Zax’s physical form, his body, causing him to yelp involuntary.

     

    In the dantian.

    The Black Core madly discharged black energy to Zax’s sea of consciousness while shrinking in accelerating rate. In a matter of milliseconds the Black Core lost ten percents of its size, than a quarter, a third… when about half of its original size remained, the shrinking decelerated. Losing fifty five percent, sixty, sixty two percent and finally it stopped at sixty four percent.

    But it was only a cessation.

    The remaining thirty six percent of the Black Core, when there was no trace in the dantian to the dark energy that flowed to the sea of consciousness, shattered into countless fragments and was consumed by the other Earth Core in Zax’s dantian.

    The other Earth’s Core was the one Zax found in the Great Earth’s Core Pursuit nine years ago. At the time it turned black when the Black Core entered his body, now, after seizing the shreds of the Black Core, it double in size.

     

    In the sea of consciousness.

    The silhouette inside the spherical soul retreated as a wave of black energy rushed into the sea of consciousness.

    For a fleeting instant Zax regained his bearing, but then the black energy started to spread in the grayish sky above him, comprising a series of images and sounds that recaptured Zax.

    ‘Listen’,

    The voice was poised and dignified. It did not attempt to be loud, yet it rang in Zax’s ears like the ring of a great bell, compelling him to abide.

    As for Zax’s thought with regards to the sudden voice, he had none, due to the simple command to simply perk his ears and listen.

    ‘I was at the pinnacle of Martial cultivation and a step beyond it, too…’

    The first image elucidated.

    Innumerable celestial objects, in the midst of an immeasurable formation, encompassed by an endless and cold space. Watching by, as the grand event of the creation of a new planet in unfolding, was a mass of black mist.

    ‘The *****’, the word was indistinct. ‘Has chosen a Core for itself and invested its deep insights in the formation it erected to construct it’. The voice explained.

    Years pass, millions… billions… The wait was long, but the mass of black mist was patient.

    ‘The energy, the insights, the investment of an entire *****, I had to have or else I would have been stranded at the Peak, forever unable to ascend!’ The voice lamented. ‘My path was too hard…’

    The celestial objects have taken a spherical shape, a ball of earth and fire, which, at last, triggered a reaction from the mass of black mist.

    It swirled and compressed a huge shadow that radiated dark attribute like a miniature black sun. The shadow descended and breached the ball of earth and fire to its depth. There it settled down.

    ‘It was finally time. For as long as it would be needed, I was prepared. This opportunity… I was not the only one aiming for it; there were others who followed after me, afraid that I would massacre them if they will challenge my claim for the Core’. The voice snorted in despises. ‘Only one could comprehend the insights of the *****, I was bent on it being I!’

    Another image. The passage of time, the evolution of a planet continuing.

    ‘I noticed when others left. This attempt was far from easy and wreathed in danger. Imprudence could result in a range of various consequences, most the strongest of them could not shoulder, and from a few even I should have been careful!’

    First life was the next image, jumping to large sea creatures and then to first to walk the earth.

    ‘It was not right. It should not have occurred due to our aggressive foreign invasion, yet the evolution of life happened, and I was awakened at its late phases, when it already was abundant and I was the sole one comprehending!’

    Large beasts, no! Dinosaurs!

    ‘All of the others have left in resignation. They were too weak and accepted the fact. But I… I was deeply engaged with what the ***** has left in the Core it created that I have not noticed when it began to consume me for its development!’

    Life thriving. The world is dominated by reptilian giants.

    ‘It was not good! I was too careless and the ***** too cunning!’

    ‘My grandeur was being exhausted for the sake of this planet; it was being drained for a long, long time without me being aware!’

    ‘I was mad with frustration! Unwillingness! I fought as my consciousness was becoming feeble by the day!’

    ‘O Earth, O Earth, how long, how many?

    Set me free, O Earth, O Earth, Let nothing remain.

    Others came and gone, O Earth, why me?

    O Earth, cast me away, cast me away’

    ‘I begged for it to kill me and be done with it, for at least that way there was still a chance for rebirth, but the Earth did not respond to pleas’.

    BOOM!

    A new image. Earth’s crust bursting. The land, the sea, the sky… they were all set aflame.

    ‘At the moment of acceptance I was consumed by an urge for vengeance before my doom’.

    ‘The ***** constructed a planet around for its Core. I will reshape this planet for my legacy. And what is to come when it will be completed, that would be an heir for the mightiest legacy since the beginning of this revolution!’

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    Book 6 – Legacy

    Chapter 24 – Two Subjects, One Mutation, Consequences



    The voice was angry, then bitter, following with being resentful and finally determined.

    ‘I put my plan into motion, commencing with eradicating the little lizards whose evolution feasted on my energy’.

    A series of images took shape in front of Zax’s eyes, the destructive end of the Prehistoric age, a number of Ice Ages, the dawn of the Homo sapiens.

    ‘Using myself as the mold, I urged the creation of intelligent beings that could shoulder the legacy’.

    Time sped up; images of the Homo sapiens turn into the modern man have appeared.

    ‘I was running out of time by this point. My consciousness was slipping away more frequently, each time I regained my awareness too much have changed, but the progress I was waiting for was still remote. The new species, humanity and beasts, had too dull of a perception to take up cultivation of the three aspects, they were ineligible for the legacy’.

    The peak of humanity, the Information Age. Humanity evolved a lot faster than beasts and was taking more and more steps into space.

    ‘Desperate measures for desperate times. My death of body and dispersion of spirit was imminent to occur before either species would be ready, another method had to be formulated before that!’

    Earth splitting and rays of dark light erupted, approximately 5794 years ago. Black mist filled the earth, adding layer upon layer of new crust on it. New beings emerged, birthed, from the ground, the like of which neither humanity nor beast have ever seen before.

    ‘The Age of Catastrophe, I knew that is I bring for them, a threat of extinction. But it was necessary for further evolution, to which I left two roads for humanity and beasts. The first was to conquer the Earth from the new emerging Deformed Beings and discover from them the secret of Pure Core. The second, to immigrate to the sanctuary I constructed below the ground and take the time they need to slowly grow up from there’.

    In a period of several years, groups of humanity and beasts kept converging in one location, “South America” back then, “Selivereb” today. Some arrived to discuss the prospect of immigration into the network of tunnels and giant caves, some still hoped to debate the reuse of nuclear weapons against the terrorizing odd beings. Finally humanity divided to a small group that has decided to stay and fight and another group, the majority of humanity world’s population who followed the beasts to below the ground.

    ‘Those who stayed behind were ignorant and brought their own annihilation. The rest proceeded toward the direction I desired they will go. I closed my eyes, at the moment of death I split a fragment of my empty soul, a clone, to administer the enchanting of humanity’s and beasts’ aptitude till a capable heir for the legacy would be found’.

    The images stopped, a flood of information entered Zax’s sea of consciousness.

    ‘My clone cannot communicate; only follow the instruction I left for it. Hence, this would be my final word to the potential heir’.

    ‘Frankly, if I could trade your life for my own, I would have done so in a heartbeat… but these are not the words I hope to end with, so listen carefully. Humanity or Beast, whoever you may be, in you, in all of you, there is my hereditary legacy. It may not equal the mightiest legacy I carried with me and left for the chosen heir, but nonetheless, it is a wealth of the Pinnacle of the Immortal path!‘

    The voice dimmed to complete silence.

    Zax’s gradually regained his composure and control of himself.

    He remembered everything, and knitted his brows as he felt a headache from the information flood entangled at every corner of his sea of consciousness.

    Without thinking, Zax sat on the Inner Panorama and began to make sense of the information the Black Core’s owner delivered him.

    ‘Legacy… Legacy… Legacy…’ Zax repeated on and on, struggling to uncover what the expert had meant.

    He could feel a sense of great importance tied to the hereditary legacy the expert mentioned, something very personal, yet not just for him.

    He skimmed and rearranged the information flood in his sea of consciousness. There was not a lot to begin with, but it all was too confusing to effectively deduce in its mess of a state.

    Five days later.

    ‘It’s finally organized fully!’

    It was grueling. If had to make sense of this information before he broke through, Zax suspected that it would have taken him couple of months, at the earliest. The complexity its owner encrypted it demanded an extremely adapt soul, and Zax, Even after he broke through, it was still not enough and he was only able to divide what to what and simplified part of it.

    ‘Only two subjects... the shortest one is related to the expert’s legacy and I nearly figured out all of it. In comparison, the other subject is about the mightiest legacy, and apart from the little of it that I understood, it seems that it would take me to break through the second realm of bodily cultivation to be eligible for further decryption’.

    The mightiest legacy subject was like a locked door and a window to see what is on the other side beside it. The problem was that the glass of the window was bent; therefore all the shapes behind it looked distorted. To open the door, the owner of the expert left a brief description of what Zax may find on the other side and two instructions, with the crucial one crossing the threshold to the second realm of bodily cultivation.

    Since it was unknown to Zax when he will break through, he concentrated on the first subject, before occupying himself with what little he has of the other subject.

    ‘Incredible!’ Zax exclaimed as he revised the information.

    Questions humanity and beasts never even knew to ask, he obtained their answers!

    The expert, whoever he may be, a godly creature, Zax was nearly certain that he was. He not only forced the evolution of humanity and beasts, but also passed his own knowledge to the two species with them being oblivious of the matter.

    It started from creating a close environment, abundant with Sun Stones that constantly emit a salubrious radiation. Then Earth’s Cores emerged, first in the beasts’ territory, since their evolution was faster. By the time Earth’s Core began to copiously appear in humanity’s territory, a deal was already struck with the beasts and scavenging Earth’s Cores in Kingdom Earth became illegal.

    Sun Stones are one thing, but Earth’s Cores were the grand surprise that astonished Zax.

    From the information he understood, the Earth’s Cores of New Earth and Ercas Mir are actually semi pure Cores that are the output of the strong Core at the center of the planet.

    And not only planets’ Core can produce such things as semi pure Core. Generally, a Martial Immortal will be able to generate additional Cores and the pureness of his or her own Core will determined if the new Cores would be Pure or embedded, to a degree, with an attribute.

    After nurturing on the expert’s energy, the Core of the planet thrived with vigor and naturally started to spawn deposits of what humanity and beasts refer to as “Earth’s Cores“.

    Inside the environment the expert created, his clone had the power to control the output of Earth’s Cores and modify them further with accordance to the orders it was given, and here lay the part that Zax had hard time to believe, and a little to be content with.

    The expert’s clone hastened the search of an heir for the mightiest legacy by creating one. How was it done? Precisely through the Earth’s Cores humanity and beasts were, and still are, so eager to embed to their bodies.

    The modification in the Earth’s Cores initiated, in a process that has been taking place for almost two millenniums, genetic mutations that can affect one or more of the three aspects of some humans and beasts in order to increase their compatibility and potential in various fields that meet the preconditions of the mightiest legacy.

    These mutations are one of the two major causes of why every few decades a new generation that outshines the old one is born in New Earth. Moreover, due to the effects of the mutations, although Zax did not guess so far, humans and beasts of New Earth are so attractive to the five power of Ercas Mir.

    Zax was a bit hesitant with the thought of interfering with the natural course of humans’ evolution. Affecting through Sun Stone, that he could stomach, humanity discovered this issue on its own, anyway. But deceiving and making all the humans and beasts unaware of an additional effect in Earth’s Cores, one that should normally not even exist... It particularly did not sit well with Zax since he realized that he, his big sister, probably, Laivien and more... are the result of the expert’s clone’s experiment!

    ‘Then again…’ Zax could not help but sigh. ‘I finally gained clarity for what makes my soul so unique”.

    Ultimately the experiments could not be considered malevolent; they did not harm anyone and were for the benefit of the two species. It was only the invasive method the clone used that gave them a distasteful impression.

    ‘This matter, on the other hand…’ Zax referred to the second major cause.

    The clone did not only modify Earth’s Core to mutate the three aspects, but also imbedded them with fragments of the expert’s knowledge that assimilated in several humans and beasts through Earth’s Cores or blood relations, that is, hereditary from a parent to a child – if the parent could not resolve the knowledge before a certain activity and other variables of the sort.

    Learning this has shaken Zax even more than the prospect of being a science experiment. In New Earth there are a lot of Martial techniques and cultivation techniques of various grades, to think that there is a high chance that the best of them do not actually belonged to their creators, that their hard work inventing these techniques is nothing but meaningless and it is all just a matter of chance for them to unbeknownst possess the expert’s knowledge fragment to act as their blueprint.

    Thinking about it from the perspective of an ancient expert, like the one who started the chain reaction that led to the current times in New Earth, one would not need to put up an effort in order to see how high the probability that all of the best Martial techniques and cultivation techniques in New Earth are, in all likelihood, related to the expert’ knowledge fragments. After all, is it really that easy, coming up with this grade of techniques, in less than two millenniums?

    Zax was conflicted. If debated with himself whether to reveal what he learned about the Earth’s Cores mutation to his Master, to spare the burden of things better kept a mystery, he really struggled to convince himself that he should not hide the matter of the expert’s knowledge fragments.

    To great experts who cultivated spectacular Martial techniques like Grandmaster Kartion, Elijah, Supreme Ruler Ariel and more… all the pride that they held and hold for their invention, if the truth will come out, will convert into disgrace.

    Yes, regardless of being guided by the expert’s knowledge fragments, they did work themselves into physical and emotional fatigue for these marvelous techniques. But would it matter to them if they will know the truth? Will they recognize the fact that now anyone could accomplish their feats and that it would be improper to see themselves as the expert’s puppets?

    ‘I can’t keep this to myself’. Zax knew that it would be morally wrong and, in a way, a sign of disrespect to not tell his Master, at least. ‘Alone I cannot make a decision in the matter and be fine with it. I will seek Master advice’. He chose.

    Zax composed himself. He learned some amazing things from the short subject that would take him time to completely digest. Till then, he decided to examine what little he granted from the heavily encrypted, second subject.

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