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Thread: Earth's Core

  1. #321
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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 42 – One Less Contender





    “Save five hundred and let hundreds of millions die?” Zax’s hand trembled and he strived not to snap.


    “You don’t understand, Zax, and frankly neither do I”. Sheldon groaned. “These are rules of the Immortal world. Only the three Immortals of the Planetary Battalion, Holy Palace and Voltic Star can claim the lives of this planet. They, in a way, own it”.


    Zax dazedly listened to Sheldon. He did not know the rules of the Immortal world and this was a first for him to find out that he was actually someone else… property!


    Sheldon assumed Zax was oblivious to this fact of life that belonged to every living creature in Ercas Mir and New Earth. He divulged it in hope that he will realize the severity of the situation and not refuse him.


    “It’s more complicated than what you might think and it’s pointless to dwell about it before transcending your Evolutionary Ascension. Senior Ohar can guarantee the safety of five hundred of your people because of his prowess. The rules of the Immortal world were legislated by Gods. Some of them Senior Ohar can bend, but to a certain degree”.


    “Then… Then… why the Immortals of the three superpowers worry about other Immortals following them here?” Zax’s mind whirled in search of the answer and before Sheldon could reply he indeed found it. “Because of the Godly Law Template…”


    “It’s a rule changer”. Sheldon concurred. “It’s like a band of thieves breaking into a remote village’s home to steal a precious Pure Core… Will you send your Rising City’s Law Enforcement force to chase them across the planet, post factum? Most probably you won’t, even if they’ll kill the mom, dad, their three children and the dog”.


    Exasperated, Zax snatched several pieces of meat and gobbled them. He then drank his beer, emptying his jug, and gestured for the feline waitress to come back with another.


    “Mm! Mm! Mm! Mm…” His voice sounded muffled as he laughed with lips sealed. “Hahahaha…” He opened for a second handful of the juicy meat, but realized he could not stop laughing. “HAHAHAHA!” His head fell back and he banged the wooden table, breaking it along with the privacy formation.


    “Sir?!” The waitress who returned with a new jug of beer flinched in fear.


    “We don’t want troubles here, sir”. The bartender, a gray skinned beast with an elephant head, who also owned the tavern, quickly pulled away his waitress, worried of what will happen should either of them will interfere.


    Sheldon scrutinized Zax quietly, wait for his outburst to subside.


    Gradually Zax regained his composure. With short bursts of laughter he attracted the new jug of beer from the waitress’s hand to his grip. He drank until, again, he emptied a jug in practically one gulp. A sent the jug back, refilled by a pile of Splinters as compensation for the table, scare and payment for the food and drinks.


    “Where are you going?” Sheldon hurried after him.


    “My family, my friends, my people…” Zax did not turn to look at him. “Can’t the rules change for them?”


    Sheldon was stumped. Should he say that they are not as important as the Godly Law Template? That because of his agreement with General Logan, Senior Ohar already gave his word to the Voltic Star’s Fiend Immortal that he will assist him and due to it cannot concern himself with mortals?


    His silence was all that Zax needed to hear.


    “You are a good, mortal friend”. Zax said, rising to the air and disappearing.





    Kingdom Earth, El-Eden’s Parliament building.


    “New Earth was the safe haven of our two species in the distant past and it can be again!” Zax imposing manner engaged every one of the listeners…


    He assembled them all, those of Kingdom Earth’s high echelon who usually were allocated a place in the seventy eight seats, those sitting in front of them, the Supreme Rulers and those of their caliber; and those who appeared on the side walls’ Screens, the top tribe leaders of Valgarel with one exception… their ruler, His Valor Ozeyn.


    Valgarel did not have anymore a Red Rose Beaks tribe. When Horn Kikon sent his troops away from the planet, among them was Ozeyn and his tribe members.


    It was unknown whether he was compelled to leave or done so willingly. The only thing that was certain was that he did not want to depart alone, not because he somehow managed to convince Horn Kikon to receive his entire tribe, regardless of beast type, but because before leaving he apparently met with several tribe leaders and even Grandmaster Kartion.


    First he swore them for secrecy than asked them to come with him. Two tribe leaders agreed to abandon their tribe with their nearest kin, but the rest, like Grandmaster Kartion, declined.


    “Nothing is decided, yet, I just want to make myself clear of the actions I will take with or without your affirmation!”


    He told them about his conversation with Sheldon, about the situation in the Down Ocean, things that he shared with some of them years back and with others just moments ago.


    Digesting the information was what they needed, but what he had no spare time to give them to do.


    “Like it or not… we are weak, so this is our stance”.


    He was not a politician, not even a leader, just the man in and the strongest of them all.


    ‘Sheldon can be wrong, those five can be wrong’, he thought to himself as he left the agitated crowed for whomever of the Supreme Rulers who would like to pacify the atmosphere. ‘They may descend sooner than expected, but who says it would be the end of us…?’





    ‘She said it? Are you sure?’ Archbishop Silternjan’s brows furrowed as he asked for the third time. ‘Did you reconfirm with the Grand Abode?’


    Like the others, the church kept a small, Child spacecraft in Ercas Mir for those of them who stayed to leave the planet with and communicate with the Grand Abode Mother spacecraft.


    Right now a very ugly countenance manifested on Archbishop Silternjan’s face and the transmission that caused his stomach to convulse still rang in his ears.


    The message was short and indisputable, delivered by Sister Iaura as the herald of The Almighty, it was… “Cease the pursuit for the Godly Law Template and leave Star Ercas Mir!”


    Archbishop Silternjan waited for the confirmation with Cardinal Northstar and three Bishops. He opened his mouth, but there was nothing to say and it would be blasphemy to refuse.


    Nevertheless, his passion for the cultivation path made his pious self uncomfortable. He spent the better years of what his mortal life had on the search for the Godly Law Template, and unlike his colleagues who ruled with him as the leaders of the five powers, it was too late for him to reach the Mortal Enlightenment state any other way.


    ‘Sister Iaura lost consciousness’. The Bishop in the hidden Child spacecraft notified. “They say the Godly Decree exhausted her”.


    ‘Alright, this is the will of The Almighty!’ Archbishop Silternjan acquiesced and to quench his Martial heart, to not blemish devout faith, he added just for himself. ‘May The Almighty accept me’.


    ‘I understand’. On their return flight to the Child spacecraft Cardinal Northstar sent him intimately, as a fellow geezer with the end of his lifespan in sight. ‘But maintain your belief that your efforts were not in vain. The will of The Almighty is for us to leave this Star, however nothing was said of us needing to return to the Holy Palace’.


    His words of encouragement were akin to recipe for speculation. Neverthless, Archbishop Silternjan tacitly accepted them.


    As an Archbishop it was embarrassing for him to need a reminder… that as a man of the church, he knew not to abandon hope!





    “Silternjan and Northstar dropped from the search…” Horn Kikon and General Logan heard from the Lieutenant General in the Blessed Army’s Star Scavenger at the northern part of the Western Continent that Luminous Church’s Child spacecraft took off.


    Having one less contender for the Godly Law Template would have been joyous news, if it was not for his odd departure that confused and slightly upset the two, as well as General Beking and Admiral Hamumni.


    Getting answers was impossible, though, and the Heavy Water Pools’ formation was not going to decipher itself.


    Evidently, the four felt relief when their subordinates informed them that the church’s Child spacecraft exited the exosphere, in addition to wonder about themselves…


    In Archbishop Silternjan’s shoes, would they have gone so compliantly? Or would they have blasted the Down Ocean in an attempt to break the Heavy Water Pools’ formation?





    He watched them run, helping each other climb, setting camp in night, hunting for food, making friends, having enemies, sometimes beating and sometimes killing.


    He crept in the shadows, saw them from afar and invisibly walked among them.


    ‘Despair…’


    It consumed him for a while, a recurring nemesis that tends to never disappear and whenever he returns the stakes of what can be taken away… destroyed, are higher.


    ‘Regardless of how strong we become, we are still prone to the pernicious impediments of life…’


    There was a trace of remorse breezing between black the sky and sea to dark land. It passed through the nothingness, come by near the bright desire, caressed the patiently awaiting and blew to imprint itself on the source.


    Zax exhaled, yet not a particle of air left his mouth, instead, there were dark grains that gave the impression of old wounds, now dispelled.


    The sky, sea and land of his Inner Panorama were satiated.


    The spark of light, sixth bottleneck of insight raveled in its allure.


    His spirit continued to pretend it is weakened, biding its time.


    On his soul another experience was carved, an overcame obstacle.


    A part of him blamed himself for the imminent calamities, but they were, in every event, unpredictable. To avoid them was impossible and to try was to live in the shell.


    ‘As long as I have inspiration, I will never stop struggling’.


    Otherwise, how can he call himself “Unbound”?

  2. #322
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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 43 – Princess Of Veiher





    His gaze converged on the two boys and instantly softened.


    His initial desire was to protect them, the most fragile part of him, but as Zax considered along the way and was more than gratified to learn that he was right; following Niel and Jingrow’s escapades through the High Rankers' Trials alleviated the tension from his heart.


    To pass this year’s High Rankers' Trials the participating mercenaries had to accomplish one of three objectives. The first one was to capture a very elusive two scales Deformed Being. The second was to capture, dead or alive, a fugitive from a preselected list of persons. The third was to traverse one of five preselected paths that stretched across the Western Continent.


    Niel and Jingrow began with the goal in mind to capture the requested Deformed Being.


    The target was a Footloose Squeaker, a Deformed Being the size of an adult man’s hand. It has five thin tails, a chipmunk’s head and a jerboa’s body. Overall it looks like a cute azure little thing.


    Many participants chose to go after it, mainly because it seemed like an easy target and the Mercenary Association disclosed its most frequent whereabouts. Subsequently, almost twenty percent of the participants who went after the Footloose Squeaker ended up losing their lives to its lethal speed, which could effortlessly pierce the defensive means of most Core Masters and even some first level Marital Mortals.


    Niel and Jingrow were lucky to be among the eighty percent who escaped with heavy to minor injuries. Afterwards, the twelve and fifteen years old decided to change their pick for the third objective and headed to the closest path to them, at the time, of the given five.


    ‘They will be fine’. Zax decided to withdraw. Besides, he was starting to feel bad for Shadow for tailing him as he also followed the two boys in secrecy.


    ‘Silternjan departure a week ago did not stir trouble, yet’. The church Child spacecraft’s take off was not exactly inconspicuous. ‘Senior Gid thinks it’s an ominous sign and convinced others the same thing, which ultimately is good. The tribe leaders, patriarchs and matriarchs are now working almost enthusiastically to reseal New Earth when the time will come’. He flew to New Earth, contemplating.


    ‘The stride and a half my spirit has left to reach the sixth bottleneck of insight… I need to prepare for it, so if it won’t happen naturally, and it probably won’t because of the lingering Godly Retribution, I’ll be able to force it in a moment of life and death’.





    Valgarel, Grandmaster Kartion’s cave and the Martial family’s home.


    “Master”, Zax found Kartius in the Essence Cave, spending time with Laivien.


    Even after so many years she had yet to give birth, was could still not transform from her her animalistic White Doe form, confined to her pavilion with a big violet stone beside her and in reliance of her caretakers Krikitories.


    “Little Zax!” Pleasantly surprised, Laivien gestured for him with her giant doe head to approach her. “Why is that the only times I see you are when there things to celebrate or when you look melancholy?” She nudged and bit his thick head, unafraid of harming him. She could not even if she wanted to…


    “If I’ll say that I’ll come more often, will you forgive me?” Zax rubbed her muzzle.


    “Will you lie again?” Laivien released him, uninterested in his answer she asked. “What do you need your Master for?”


    “Come here, Martial son”. Kartius instructed in his giant animalistic form of a Black Stag.


    Sitting crossed legged on the ground; Zax pulled his head back to view his Master’s face. “I wish to prepare, but I don’t know how, Master. My mind is settled, my heart is clear and my spirit abiding. It’s only right that I should feel at peace with myself, be in top condition… Yet, perhaps recent event made me overthink the repercussions of failure that I can’t seem to bring myself to decide on my own… or maybe I just need your blessings? I’m not sure, so I came. Please guide me, Master”.


    “Martial son”, Kartius opened after a deep contemplation, his tone suggesting of mixed emotions. “I can’t help you”.


    “You can’t?!” Zax repeated, flabbergasted.


    Kartius shook his head, spreading gales of wind. “You surpassed me, surpassed big brother, His Valor Ozeyn, as well as the heroes of your Kingdom Earth. It’s time for you to recognize it... Your Martial father cannot outthink you, suppress you, fathom your insights…”


    “Master…” Zax uttered in disarray.


    “Big brother…” Laivien saddened.


    “Indeed”, Kartius ignored them. “I’m still your Master. I nurtured you, taught you, reprimanded you… These are my accomplishments that will forever stay true to both you and me, Martial son”.


    Tears streamed in two smooth lines down Zax’s face. His Master’s refusal was also a form of revelation that he received in this, final lesson. “Martial father”. He did as he was told not to since their first meeting and kneeled.


    “Frivolous child”. Kartius, too, shed two trails of tears that made his black fur shine.


    Laivien could not look. She turned her neck and grazed her stomach, tenderly listening to the tiny heartbeat of her and Grandmaster Kartion’s child… a pregnancy that lasted far, far too long for all but herself and loved one to hold on hope for.


    Suddenly a hand gently pressed her abdomen.


    “Zax?” She did not notice his approach.


    “For this child, too!” He murmured in resolution.


    He could not have his Master prepare him. Instead, he found causes to proceed in wishing for others’ future before his own; a simple conclusion to his dithering and an easy solution to his setback, which was good enough to incite his resolve.


    “Where are you going, what are you about to do?!” Sensing the change in his apprentice, Kartius shuddered. His intent oozed determination in potency that made one think, he intends to flip the earth and drain the sea.


    “I won’t do anything”. Zax assured with a calm smile, but his gaze said otherwise.


    “Martial son, Zax!” Kartius rebuked. He did not ask because he will not be of help, but now he got a glimpse to the matter that weighed on his apprentice’s heart. “For what are you preparing?” He yelled to his fading silhouette.


    A voice resounded loud from afar, but in fact only Kartius could hear it.


    “To confront a God”.





    “Archbishop!”


    “Archbishop!”


    “Archbishop!”





    One after the other, priests and nuns greeted with smiles of longing and piety.


    The Child spacecraft navigated through space for eight days before boarding the Grand Abode Mother spacecraft.


    Archbishop Silternjan, Cardinal Northstar and the Bishops who stayed behind with them hastened their steps through the upper corridors of the immense spacecraft.


    Back in Ercas Mir the Grand Abode appeared to be built at the summit of Onzengvas city, yet in reality not only it was the nucleus of The Almighty’s belief on the planet, but also the command center of the Mother spacecraft, while the entire city was the rest of its body!


    “Is she awake? Did she recover?” Archbishop Silternjan inquired Sister Beatriz.


    “She woke up two days ago, but her mental state… Only one of her three personalities is actually awake and it’s the Princess Of Veiher…” Sister Beatriz’s unwavering demeanor faltered in the brief instance she named the third personality.


    “It’s fine”. Archbishop Silternjan unworriedly declared. “Right, Cardinal Northstar?”


    “She is a good girl”. Cardinal Northstar asserted.


    Sister Beatriz sighed inwardly and continued to lead the way.


    The passed gardens, climbed elevators and stairs and stopped in seldom to praise the down and the wary who left their birth planet and struggled to adjust to ungrounded life, without real blue sky.


    They arrived to the entrance of shut chamber with a tall metallic door; there they met a familiar figure…


    “Your Young Eminence?!” Archbishop Silternjan sent the Bishops to their respective posts in the Grand Abode, to take care of the responsibilities he temporarily put off, therefore only he, Cardinal Northstar and Sister Beatriz could see the strange marking on the potential next Holiness.


    Stelero Mars looked miserably beaten. From top to bottom he was scratched, bruised and from some wounds still bleeding.


    “This…” Cardinal Northstar said.


    “Happens whenever I try to see her”. The composed and confident, almost radiant Stelero Mars actually exposed a disheartened countenance that was nothing but unbefitting for someone with the exalted status of an Ascended Elite.


    “Will she do this to us, too?” Cardinal Northstar blubbered in shame, but the others did not blame him. If the “Good girl”, Princess Of Veiher, will decided to rip his face, who will dare stop her?


    “She is quite irked at all of us. Well, you, me and Archbishop Silternjan”. Stelero Mars grudgingly admitted. A white light emerged from beneath his skin and in a blink all wounds and blood marks vanished. Once more, his untainted visage dazzled purity.


    “Sister Beatriz”, Archbishop Silternjan smiled at her. “Please show us inside”.


    “Yes, Archbishop”. Sister Beatriz was a tad reluctant to enter what she deemed no different than the lion's den. She walked forward and placed her palm on the door and a red light underneath it indicated the scanning complete and she may enter.


    BANG!


    Just as the door slid up, a broken piece of porcelain hit the floor and shattered into smaller fragments.


    “Your Highness, please have mercy on this nun who came to visit you”. Sister Beatriz hastily beseeched in a pitiful voice.


    “Cowardly Mars has left? Beatriz, you may enter”. A voice that was similar yet not exactly with the same tune as the other two personalities rang upliftingly.


    Sister Beatriz bowed, stepped in and eyeballed the formerly so loveable girl.


    Her attire was still that of Luminous Church, but its condition…


    Of the silver robe, its lower section and the sliver were mercilessly torn, revealing exquisitely pearly thighs and slender arms, while the metal plate embedded with the words “Luminous Church”, an integral part of the dress code, was dumped on the floor with the imprint of a fist.


    Purple hair cascaded down to her hip and discharged electrical currents.


    She floated in the room, around her more broken glass, wood and torn stuff that used to be expensive furniture.


    In her hands a ball of lightning gathered with domineering fluctuations.


    She gazed at Sister Beatriz and then captured a glimpse of the pristine robes of the two men lingering behind the doorstep.


    Her grin made Sister Beatriz gulp.


    “How come not all guests are coming over?”

  3. #323
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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 44 – They Are Here





    BOOM!


    Archbishop Silternjan saw stars dancing around his head and smelled a burnt scent below his nose.


    BOOM!


    Cardinal Northstar rushed to display a sincere bow, shrewdly evading the charged ball of lightning that flew out of the room and exploded next to Stelero Mars.


    “Exuberant as always, Your Highness”, Cardinal Northstar praised, beads of sweat dripping from the tip of his nose. If he will have to defend himself from another of her outbursts, that would be considered an insult to her royal stature, but if not, he could get seriously hurt like the unfortunate Archbishop Silternjan. Hence, he cleverly chose his words and actions, as well as muttered a silent prayer to The Almighty.


    Sister Iaura, or more specifically, Princess Of Veiher was merely at the Peak of the Core Master realm, but her insights of the electric attribute bordered the Mortal Enlightenment state. Of the three personalities, it was the most seldom for her to gain control of the body. The other two always suppress her for her faith was not with The Almighty, and yet, the result was that she alone, of the three personalities, figured how to activate the functions of her unique constitution, thus being a hairline from comprehending her fifth of the six bottlenecks of insight.


    Archbishop Silternjan coughed and sucked in quickly the blood before it escaped his lips, so as to not show an unsightly conduct in front of the Princess Of Veiher and not to entertain her. He pulled his scorched beard, or what little left of it, trimming it to a pointy goatee.


    “Please forgive this old man’s untidy appearance, Your Highness”. He mimicked Cardinal Northstar’s pose, which had yet to lift his head up.


    “Asking for my forgiveness?” The Princess Of Veiher raised her brows and canceled the next purple ball of electric attribute energy. “Does it mean that you care for my opinion, unlike that stubborn cowardly Mars?”


    Outside the room, Stelero Mars’s ears attentively eavesdropped, while a stride past the doorstep, Archbishop Silternjan and Cardinal Northstar’s brows twitched.


    Should they say “Yes”, they would indirectly recognize the degrading epithet the Princess Of Veiher labeled Stelero Mars with, but if they will say “No”, no better fate would await them.


    “Your Highness”, Sister Beatriz intervened and all three men blessed her in their hearts. “Will you please take a stroll with me? A lot of the passengers are still having difficulties adapting to the Grand Abode’s regulations, especially the children. When we departed, your two other personalities served as pillar of support for both the young and the adult. Perhaps Your Highness’s benevolence can also help them?”


    The Princess Of Veiher sneered, but ultimately did not refuse. Not for the fun of it did Cardinal Northstar say she is a good girl.


    “Cowardly Mar, tell these old nasties my opinion that they are too scared to answer whether they care about or not. Maybe their response would anger me more than yours and I’ll start beating them instead”. She landed on the floor and marched out with Sister Beatriz closely following.


    Only when a door shut at the other side of the floor and her footsteps could not be heard, did Archbishop Silternjan and Cardinal Northstar sourly straighten their backs.


    “Your Young Eminence?” Cardinal Northstar searched for him.


    “Come out. The Princess Of Veiher don’t want me in her chambers. I can’t see through most of her techniques and don’t want to discover if she left me a surprise inside. You two should probably not try to venture another step, either. In fact, if I were in your shoes, I would have retracted my exact steps”.


    "Your Young Eminence, would you please elaborate for us the cause of Her Highness's anger?" Archbishop Silternjan requested.


    "She is dissatisfied with His Holiness and our compliance to his directives". Stelero Mars said and without paused proceeded to narrate. "The Almighty had shown his magnanimous to His Holiness, the decree Sister Iaura received was prayed for by him to be given to us, due to the Galactic Communicator's loss".


    "The decree was dictated by His Holiness?!" Archbishop Silternjan and Cardinal Northstar exchanged looks with pale complexion.


    Their failure to apprehend a brewing disaster, Zax, landed the only Galactic Communicator of the church in the hands of Sinister Chain, who then compelled the termination of all communication with the Holy Palace. Because of it, His Holiness was forced to beseech The Almighty to work as the middleman... What description is adequate enough to describe this abhorrent crime?


    "That's what the Princess Of Veiher is claiming. Apart from her, only Sister Iaura personalities can attest for the truth…"


    "Something major is impending". Archbishop Silternjan said out of the blue.


    "I think so, too". Stelero Mars nodded.


    "His Holiness will not condemn us". Cardinal Northstar assessed. "Her Highness should also be able to see this point, as well as understand our obligation to comply. She is not an unreasonable person, so why is she still angry at us?"


    Stelero Mars knit his brows. "Because she is pitying the aboriginal of New Earth and those of Ercas Mir you lot have discarded. Her soft heart formed attachments through Sister Iaura's memories. She doesn't care that the amount of spacecrafts the five powers have cannot hold the capacity of all humans, beasts and Deformed Beings". He turned his back, to leave after her. "To the Princess Of Veiher, the man she values cannot be spineless and in times of need should valiantly confront Immortals as a mortal".


    Archbishop Silternjan and Cardinal Northstar gauged the departing back of the man with the potential to one day become His Holiness. Perhaps due to their age and cultivation level, only their eyes could discern the dejection in the perpetual dignified figure.





    "This and betrayal, what's the difference?! We are abandoning a man we call friend, you call friend, Uncle!" Tied and shackled, Bin Bin fumed.


    With him were Liminton, Vals, Enderta, Zenkai, Benni, Nirik Je, Hason and Shila.


    They came together to Ercas Mir, on a star shaped spacecraft, and per Sheldon's orders, in addition to Senior Ohar's, today was their premature time of departure.


    "Seal his mouth, too". Sheldon told Liminton, intolerantly.


    "Don't listen to him, Liminton!" Bin Bin squirmed, trying to no avail to unleash his power and break free. "What about the women? You said it yourself, the women back home aren't as round at the back and perky at the front-" Infuriated, Liminton grabbed Bin Bin's mouth and shut it with a restrictive formation that prevented all sounds from escaping.


    "It's nonsense! Everything this brat know to say is just pure nonsense!" Liminton protested before Vals, Enderta, Benni and Shila, as if his reputation with the opposite sex and life were intertwined.


    The girls of the group ignored him just as they disregarded ninety percent of Bin Bin's yapping. Not without reason, from their arrival to now, the pair was most often ostracized by their traveling companions.


    "Senior Ohar is on his way, accompanying the forces of the Voltic Star. I'll stay for a little longer. If Zax Zel will change his mind, I'll do everything in my power to aid him". Sheldon promised.


    Bin Bin stopped struggling and the rest also seemed to have their mood lifted. Of his companions, he was the closest to Zax, however over the years the other got to both better know and admire the man from the backwater Plain who exceeded all of them that came from a more prosperous Plains and Stars.


    “Every one of you had obtained his and her fortune in this trip. Before you leave home, Senior Ohar wanted me to emphasize for you to treasure your findings and comprehend from them. In first impression this planet may appear mediocre, but under the surface, literally and figuratively, there is so much more to it that probably only the Gods can appreciate it…”


    “We learned from experience”, Zenkai agreed. “From you as an example, Senior Sheldon, and from Zax Zel”.


    Sheldon nodded. “Soon, we will meet again”. He bid a short farewell and saw them boarding the star shaped spacecraft.


    The spacecraft rose several hundred meters up and spew a beam of fire that within seconds sent it flying beyond the blue sky.


    “It’s a shame…” Sheldon sighed. “If he had ten thousand years to grow, no… a thousand would have suffice, maybe this planet could survive its forthcoming doom. Alas, mortals cannot contend with Immortals…”





    “Elder Master Yurnal! Elder Master Yurnal!” A muscular brown haired, white skinned teen looking woman flew with distress plastered on her face. She smashed through the fortified glass door, smashing its protective formations, scaring other members of the chain as just the gusts of winds she created nearly sliced them to minced meat.


    “Nyul Gel Darg!” A hazel skinned, blue eyed man barked, Second Leader Yurnal, sternly exited the elevator with four other humans and humanoid beasts. “I told you that I’m on my way, why did you have to go and create such a blunder?!”


    “My apologies, Elder Master”, Nyul Gel Darg, the muscular woman, embraced a tablet in her arms. Before she got to explanations, despite her cultivation of the second Martial Mortal level, she felt like unless she will regulate her breathing, her lungs will compress. “It’s not… it’s not a drill! Watch!” She flipped the tablet’s screen and pushed it forward.


    A series of numbers and letters were displayed on the screen with squared window below showing glowing lines.


    “A transmission had been intercepted, several! And were they all sent from outer space on the same frequency as the five powers’!”


    “Did they dare?!” Second Leader Yurnal growled. “Despite our warning they communicated with allies?!”


    “No, there was no prior transmission sent from Earth. It’s those from outside the planet who instigated the communication!”


    “So why did you rave like a lunatic in the Extraterrestrial Surveillance Bureau? If anything happens to the equipment here, you are aware of the consequences!” Second Leader Yurnal relaxed.


    Intercepting a transmission from the void of space on the frequency of the five powers was a common occurrence every three or four years. As long as a response was not made, then all the safety protocols were intact.


    “No, Elder Master!” Nyul Gel Darg griped. “It is a cause for worry! The transmission… it said that they are already in the Milky Way Plain!”

  4. #324
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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 45 – Four Immortals





    Deep in the space of the Milky Way Plain.


    Four silhouettes converged in the four directions of a white dwarf Star.


    “You thought that you could leave me behind?” From the south, a callous voice prevailed over the oppressive fluctuations of the dying Star.


    General of the Armies, the commanding tone of the Planetary Battalion stood with the stature of a dignified idol. He had a humanoid build and was ninety meters tall with four crossed arms and two legs that rooted all they stood above, including the white dwarf’s rotation!


    His skin was like blue diamond and his short, black haircut devoured all lights. There were no pupils within his white sclera, only a stare that consumed all it scrutinized.


    He assumed a coat of silvery, oceanic dyes and boots that were heavier and cruder than they looked.


    His imposing manner was at full display and as a result the space around him distorted as if its nature got possessed by the higher concentration of the worldly icy element.


    “You are here, Nikari Hambji”. An ominous voice from the east of the white dwarf stated as a matter of a fact. “What is there for you to complain about at this critical juncture?”


    It was a woman, also a possessing the title “General of the Armies”, in addition to other monikers such as “Violet Star Commander” and “Fiend Immortal”!


    She, too, was in a humanoid form and human's size, but was certainly not a human!


    Tiny glittering, orange and pink scales covered her from head to toe. She had a mesmerizing countenance, rosy lips, light pink sclera and crimson pupils in every of her three eyes. A long purple hair was flowing behind her back, even when no wind blew, sometimes looking like single thin threads, other time looking like a thick mantle.


    Most of her body was exposed to the harsh environment of the white dwarf, but it left no impression on her what so ever. Her sole attire was a piece of silver gold garment, which covered her chest and loins.


    Around her, the very fabric of the white dwarf's space constantly cracked and amended itself, as the weight of the encompassing worldly earthly element bore on it from every direction with nothing but her mood as the source.


    "You subordinates did good by you, Kitanoriya". Paced clapping reverberated from the north.


    As if they were some form of magic, their sound rang in a rhythm of otherworldly jingle. Wherever they passed, the bedlam of the worldly elements was dispelled, with no expectation!


    The perpetrator was a middle aged man of medium human's frame, donning an immaculate white robe, tied by a belt of silver gold fabric. He, in contrast to the former two, looked like a purebred striking human. His skin was pale yet healthy, nothing extraordinary; he had blond short hair and light blue eyes.


    He exhibited serenity that coalesced with the vicinity, however not by force. His element energy was delimited to his physique, but those with keen perception and adequate cultivation could deduce from his previous clapping the undulations of light element energy.


    He was the religious leader of the Holy Palace, His Holiness Morien J Saros.


    "Aye, they did excellent!" General of the Armies Nikari approved. "I wonder, what would have transpired if Morien did not try to pull the wool over us… This helper of yours would have stayed in the shadows until the opportune time and the Godly Law Template was eighty percent more likely to fall to your hands".


    General of the Armies Nikari and His Holiness Morien leaned their heads to the west.


    An aloof, over eight hundred meters' tall figure floated almost outside the domain of the white dwarf. A scrawny red skinned, bald man with black sclera and blue pupils for eyes and an emerald jewel at the center of his brows. He wore an armor of green flames, comprised from the windy element. However, his aura and element energy were withdrawn, so without being familiar with the man, both General of the Armies Nikari and His Holiness Morien knew that they would not have been able to infer his powers.


    "Ohar of Renzine". The two greeted with their trained gazes.


    "General of the Armies Nikari, Your Holiness Morien". Senior Ohar greeted back.


    They, all three Immortals of the south, east and north were Mythical Immortals, but he of the west… he was a Neonate Immortals!


    Nevertheless, Senior Ohar did not let the significant disparity between their Immortal stages influence his notion of the three, much less belittle them.


    The Immortal four ranks do not have phases, so what separates two Immortals of the same stage from one another is solely based on ability.


    The abilities of the three Mythical Immortals, sharing the visage of the dying Star with him, were peerless in their rank, a feat he could not match in his former years and still not achieved in his present.


    "You foiled Morien's plans, I thank you for that". General of the Armies Nikari said.


    "Morien and his God went through great lengths to misdirect us". Violet Star Commander Kitanoriya project a baleful intent that expelled the calm His Holiness Morien spread, back into elemental chaos.


    "Ohar of Renzine is not part of our temporary alliance, yet you still welcomed his assistant, Kitanoriya. And due to his interference, another God got involved in the matter of the Godly Law Template. I already used my Intent to promise The Almighty will not help. Can you say the same in genuine Intent for his God?" His Holiness Morien retorted. "In all fairness, only Nikari deserves to be angry right now…"


    "Then it will be I who determine how we proceed!" General of the Armies Nikari demanded.


    "State your say". Violet Star Commander Kitanoriya permitted while His Holiness Morien tacitly complied and Senior Ohar, as a mere helper, thoughtfully gave no opinion.


    General of the Armies Nikari opened. "Despite the back stabbing, we managed to avoid the snots of the rats in our midst. That leaves us four as the only Immortals in proximity of the Godly Law Template. Ohar has given his word to Kitanoriya, so… Morien, you and I will ally".


    "Might as well". His Holiness Morien smiled and Violet Star Commander Kitanoriya resigned.


    General of the Armies Nikari opened continued. "Ohar, our people in the Core Star aren't responding to our transmission. We used the same and only secure frequency to conversed with them, but I know you also possesses a secure frequency to the Core Star. Can you make a successful dialogue?"


    "Yes. You probably guessed it. I'll verify for you anyway… Your frequency was intercepted. My junior has agreed to transmit their messages, but limited them to one message, each. Obviously he isn't a messenger boy and who will he blame if our frequency was also intercepted?"


    "Swear with your Intent that you will not commune with your people in any manner for Kitanoriya". General of the Armies Nikari.


    "I second this request". His Holiness Morien raised a hand in a more moderate disposition, to deviate Senior Ohar from General of the Armies Nikari's imperious phrasing and tone.


    "Sure". Senior Ohar did not care as he was neither after the Godly Law Template. When his voice came out next it was accompanied by special vibrations. "I will not utilize external help in this endeavor for Kitanoriya, until the new owner of the Godly Law Template will be decided". His voice returned to normal. "Satisfied?"


    "Yes". Both men asserted.


    “Anything else?” Violet Star Commander Kitanoriya growled.


    “No”. General of the Armies Nikari was finally convinced.


    “I have a suggestion”. His Holiness Morien said. “Our people in the Core Star, let’s agree on it right now that we are not allowed to indiscriminately harm each other’s people”.


    “Reasonable”. General of the Armies Nikari concurred.


    “Indiscriminately or otherwise, if one of mine will die, they shall pave the way for all of yours!” Violet Star Commander Kitanoriya warned.


    Horn Kikon and Ozeyn were the rarely seen Youyue type beasts. She knew only the former, but cared deeply for all such beasts. General Logan was a human, but she valued him, nonetheless, as very few humans had gained her attention, not to mention a Mortal. For him to gain her approval as a Brigade General was a testimony to the potential she sees in him.


    “I have a question”. Senior Ohar drew the three’s innermost attention. It was a first he posed interest that could not be settled by the Violet Star Commander Kitanoriya. “What’re your plans for the natives of the Core Star?”


    “If the contest between us will run smoothly, then they can continue to live their lives peacefully”. General of the Armies Nikari nonchalantly said.


    “As long as the Core Star is habitable, it can fetch a good price in the future. The local populace is crucial for us to maintain our ownership”. His Holiness Morien elaborated.


    “It’s a Core Star, the embodiment of an entire Plain. Any harm that will lead to its ruin will also bring about the collapse of the entire Plain. We cannot bear the consequences, or at least be responsible, for this kind of crime”. Violet Star Commander Kitanoriya was, overall, of similar mindset.


    “So you know where to draw the line. Good. I want a portion of the populace”. Senior Ohar assertively asked, not however in the tone of someone who gives an ultimatum, but one it is better to be in good terms with.


    “How many?” General of the Armies Nikari was not enthusiastic, but did not plainly refuse.


    The intelligent natives of a Star were like the stocks of a company. Giving them would basically introduce another holder to the mix, and none of them wanted to lose on their investment. On the other hand, with regards to the Godly Law Template, Senior Ohar only gave his word that he will just personally assist the Violet Star Commander Kitanoriya. He did not say anything about doing something that will sabotage all three of them.


    “New Earth’s aboriginals”. Senior Ohar solemnly said. “If it will make things easier, I can guarantee with Intent that I won’t fancy the Core Star”.


    “Your request is impossible”. His Holiness Morien gave an indisputable response. “You can speak for yourself, but not the aboriginals. Moreover, those of New Earth aren’t ordinary. Their Martial talent is exceptional. If one of them would ever grow to our level, than our three forces’ frivolous conduct today will be our calamity tomorrow”. He opened and spoke with the special vibrations of genuine Intent. “I will not entertain such negligence!”

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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 46 – Untimely Seclusion



    “Your man and his few subordinates are Ercas Mir’s natives whom we sow, so their Martial talent is natural...” The special vibrations and indomitable, Genuine Intent faded from His Holiness Morien’s voice. “They are a unique case, which is why we don’t oppose of you taking them, nor concerned of them ever challenging our claim on the Core Star”.


    Senior Ohar was displeased, but he hid it in his silence.


    “If no one else has something more to add, let the end of this discussion be the launch for the Immortal Decent!” General of the Armies Nikari declared.





    “They are coming! Commence the ‘Return To The Soil’ emergency protocol! Hurry up, inform all New Earth’s holders of communicators across the planet. If they can’t return within forty eight hours, tell them to try and reach the closest evacuation station! Send the coordinates now!” A short, flat chest woman in a black skirt suit, looking to be in her thirties, shot ordered at the men, women from the deck of her upper floor office.


    Seconds earlier…


    Rising City’s External Affairs office. A report had arrived from the Extraterrestrial Surveillance Bureau, signed by Sinister Chain’s Second Leader Yurnal.


    Now…


    The entire personal dropped what they were doing and instead began alert every New Earth’s aboriginal, beneath the blue sky, of an undisclosed emergency that requires them all to come back.


    The emergency transmission used was recorded by the Supreme Rulers, so it would be taken seriously and right after it was sent, information about the evacuation station was delivered.


    ‘Supreme Ruler Ariel, Supreme Ruler Trey, Supreme Ruler Ar Yen, all of you we listening… this is Marge Hale, Director of the Rising City’s External Affairs office. As you must already know, a minute ago Mr. Yurnal announced the discovery of external aliens in the Milky Way Plain. Per the emergency guidelines, I utilized my authority to initiate the Return To The Soil operation!’





    Center of the Western Continent, the Hababi Desert’s Cross Road.


    “Jingrow, Niel!” Shadow dashed into the encampment of the two and their three companions.


    “Who is it?!” A man and a woman, both with half bare, burly built, sprang from their tent holding a World Gathering Bone baton and axe.


    “Homu, Elma, stop!” A boy, not halfway through his teenage years, jumped out of the crevice of a nearby boulder.


    The boy was the twelve years old Niel and his job was to be the lookout in the first night sleep the group had in days in the treacherous Cross Road of the Hababi Desert.


    At the same time, the fifteen years old Jingrow and an elderly hunchbacked woman exited their tents.


    Jingrow was about to inquire Shadow for his presence in the middle of their participation in the High Rankers' Trials, when he noticed the emergency message in his communicator and the words got stuck in his throat.


    “You heard them? Good!” Shadow appeared next to Niel, grabbed him and move to capture Jingrow. “We are returning”.


    His actions were so abrupt and his cultivation level suppressing the others by a great margin that none were able to react.


    “Wait, Shadow!” Niel resisted so he will halt.


    The long black haired, gorgeous man turned to boy. Niel, getting a second to explain, looked away from Shadow to spend it on his and Jingrow’s companions.


    “Homu, Elma, Mardala, we need to go back to New Earth. The three of you should come with us. We would not had been told to return and Shadow would have definitely not shown himself if something serious wasn’t about to happen”. Niel pled for the sake of the most reliable friendships he and Jingrow made since the beginning of the trials.


    “Come with us to New Earth, you will be safe there”. Jingrow urged the confused three. “If anywhere else was safe, then we wouldn’t have received this sort of emergency transmission”.


    “Finished talking?” Shadow barked at the two boys and turned to their three companions, which he learned a lot about during the period he followed them. “You are all Core Master. I’ll give you five seconds to think if you whether trust and come with us or not. Five…”


    It was a short count, but plenty of time for Core Masters to do important thinking.


    “To heck with it! My old bones resonates well with Jing and Niel, I’ll come along. But boys, I have no relations in New Earth or Rising City, so you better handle bureaucratic crap for me!”


    Before Shadow got to “Four”, Mardala pointed a scrawny finger and expressed her willingness to join.


    She came from the Blue Sea’s former dominance, the seventy three small islands called “Zenvir ice lands”. She had already lived a bit over fourteen hundred years out of the fifteen hundred Core Masters possess. She never had loved ones and all those she could recall from her generation were either dead or broke ties with her hundreds of years ago. She participated in the High Rankers' Trials to inspire a breakthrough to the Martial Mortal realm before the imminent end of her lifespan, but was willing to trade the settings for a chance at enlightenment at the place that could foster young geniuses like Jingrow and Niel.


    Homu and Elma, on the other hand, were hesitant. They came from the same village in the Eastern Continent, where they grew up together and eventually partnered with each other both romantically and as cultivators. They, unlike Mardala, had family and friends, albeit, not a lot since their village was small, with population of less than two hundred souls.


    “Three, two…” Shadow counted.


    Homu and Elma debated the pros and cons mentally, by a soul technique that required physical contact and a certain manipulation method of soul energy.


    “We would like to come, too”. They spoke in sync due to their soul technique.


    They were still unsure about the decision, but Shadow’s display helped them to at least make a choice…


    If something that could alarm an expert of his caliber, who no one in their village can match, is really approaching, then what would be the point of proceeding with the trials or returning home?


    Maybe, if they did not have each other to consider, they could have accepted a shared fate with their kin. But they did have one another and a future in the making…





    ‘Extend the timeline by additional twenty four hours’. Supreme Ruler Ariel sent Marge Hale.


    After receiving all the date from the Extraterrestrial Surveillance Bureau, the Department Of Space did the math and conclude that even if the three superpowers spacecrafts are a thousand times faster than the Star Scavenger – an exaggerated evaluation to keep it safe – then from where the transmission was sent to Ercas Mir their estimated arrival time would should be in the range of months.


    The reason why Supreme Ruler Ariel permitted an extension of a single day was the problems that had yet been solved in the issue of sealing the pathway to New Earth.


    The pathway and the networks of underground caves and tunnels and a whole were constructed from a portion of Gogenta’s body. Sealing the only path out was simple, any sealing formation would do, but to make it a coherent part of the network, essential resources were needed in bulks as well as a practicable formation that could hold everything together.


    Supreme Ruler Ariel wanted everyone inside New Earth as soon as possible, since the seal was meant to be put into work the instant it proved functional and nobody knew for how long.


    ‘Did you get a hold of him?’ Leaning on a reclining chair and rubbing his throbbing temples, he sent from his usually unattended office in El-Eden’s Parliament building.


    ‘No’. A feminine voice replied. Anet bit her lower lips in frustration and glared at the boulder obstructing the entrance to Zax’s favorite cavern for closed door sessions. ‘He used his dark element energy to block outside’s interference and turned off his communicator’.


    Mist energy and with traces of fiery attribute energy circled her as she gathered a decent amount to blast another “Knock”.


    BOOM!


    The bombardment shook the cave and scared the beasts living in it, yet it could not even scratch the cavern or the boulder.


    Anet contained the fluctuations from spreading and fumed.


    “The world, Zax! Our home and son are about to face the calamity you always were worried about! Why did you shut yourself so tightly, right before this perilous time befell us?!”


    She banged her fists on the boulder and felt her mist energy draining. She drew back, wanting to say significantly more, but not to a rock.


    ‘I can’t, Senior Ariel’, she believed that Zax would not have been so irresponsible if he was not struck by a sudden enlightenment that was too crucial to lose. ‘I’ll go meet his Martial father. Before entering closed doors he must have said something to him’.





    Zax was far from having enlightenment. What he was in the midst of doing was undergoing preparations to comprehend the sixth bottleneck of insight while under the pressure of the Godly Retribution… a venture he invested most of him than in the subsequent training to any enlightenment he ever obtained.


    Atop the black land of his Inner Panorama, his psyche manifested a naked physique and through its eyes Zax gauged in concentration his spirit, spark of light and the hidden whereabouts of the Godly Retribution.


    His awareness could fill every nook and cranny in his sea of consciousness, but he wanted a small scope to better focus as he surveys his options.


    For what he strived to achieve the word “Careful” did not begin to cover it.


    ‘More than one pace in succession is too risky. I’ll have to divide it. For now, finding the safest way to complete the half step is my best bet’.


    There was so much to think about for seemingly so little to do.


    Zax reviewed the scenarios he thought about. The majority ended with the Godly Retribution destroying his sea of consciousness.


    ‘Even for half a step, I cannot make it without a sacrifice…’ He was fine with the realization.


    ‘Right now my spirit is feigning injury, anyway. I need to exploit the complacency of the Godly Retribution to let assume any advancement is actually a setback. But if I select this method, to what extant do I need to harm myself for the lie? ’

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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 47 – Addressing The Populace





    Zax not only thought about how to deceive the Godly Retribution, he also deliberated on how sentient it is.


    ‘Can The Almighty invest wholehearted attention to all Godly Retributions?’


    His first deliberation was that he cannot possibly be the only person The Almighty smote with Godly Retribution. Although assuming the worse can help anticipate the unknown, in this case where Zax has to injure himself to a minimal degree, it will only thwart the purpose of his seclusion.


    ‘Iaura could not communicate with the Godly Retribution; she had to pray to The Almighty. And when The Almighty’s presence manifested in Niel’s soul in the form of a hand, it treated the portion of Godly Retribution as a tool that requires direct manipulation for each use…’


    By now he gathered that the main purpose of his Godly Retribution is to obstruct his cultivation path, for it smote him after he evoked The Almighty’s name in an oath for violence toward the Luminous Church’s believers.


    ‘It’s not after my bodily refinement or my soul cultivation. Its sole aim is to prevent me from comprehending the sixth bottleneck and it reacts to closest I get to the last spark of light’.


    This gave him an idea for how to take the last step, but that was another ordeal for after he will accomplish the half pace before it.


    ‘Comparing it to a sophisticated Artificial Intelligent, I’ll have to experiment to find the loophole in its code’. His expertise in coding was either very basic or very specific.


    The analogy was so it will be easier for him to contemplate about, since in contrast to Godhood he was still a brat from the mundane.


    Thus, Zax began to test the responses of the Godly Retribution, to look for its bottom line and how can he skim over just a half pace past it.





    New Earth, El-Eden’s cave fourteen, the Historic Centre Of New Earth.


    Inside a hall with hundreds of seats, cameras and Screens Supreme Ruler Ar Yen stood on a podium with a microphone’s light indicating that it is “On”.


    Behind him was a small stage with thirty something distinguished figures, including current and former Supreme Rulers, prominent leaders of allied organizations to New Earth, as well as leaders of local organizations. In addition to them were beasts representing Valgarel and humans apart from the Supreme Rulers in exalted government position in Kingdom Earth.


    “We are sealed”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen, presenting himself in an official attire of dark blue suit, rather than his infamous training garments, broke the silence with the statement that everyone was expecting for.


    The people and beast in human form sitting in front of him were patriarchs, matriarchs and tribe leaders in no meaningful administrative position, but in terms of cultivation level, some of them were not inferior to those who sat behind him.


    As for the faces on the Screens, they belonged to those who could not leave their posts somewhere in New Earth, while the cameras broadcasted the assembly to anywhere with a Screen in New Earth.


    “Forty one days after the Return To The Soil protocol was initiated, the formation seal to the pathway that connects New Earth to Ercas Mir had been completed”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen was most was most suitable part of the orator. He spoke in a steady tone, brimming with dominance, confidence and innate awe.


    His rise for prominence was certain from birth and his aptitude had testified for it from young age.


    The sealing of New Earth was akin to making the blue sky an improbable dream again. The citizens of Kingdom Earth and the beasts of Valgarel, who for thousands of years were buried underground, just a short while ago, had this dream turn a reality and now it was taken with many not yet receiving a taste of it.


    To disappoint the masses in such extremity needed someone with steeled heart and indisputable social standing. Any of the three Supreme Rulers could have done it, but Supreme Ruler Ar Yen volunteered for the job because unlike his predecessor, other Supreme Rulers, the veterans who survived the old wars of humanity and one particular member of the younger generation, he had never bared the communal emotional spectrum of his people.


    “This by no means a permanent lockdown. In last the forty days, for safe execution of the recalling operations that brought back every citizen of New Earth and Valgarel, along many of our outside friends, from Ercas Mir, we divulge only bits and pieces of the cause for this situation. What you already know is that the past rulers of Ercas Mir, the so called ‘five powers’, are actually just branches of much larger entities that are, in this very moment, on their way to this planet. What we kept quiet about, until we were convinced in our ability to ensure the secure containment of New Earth, until now… is that leading those entities are cultivators of magnitude that had never appeared before on this planet, experts who transcended the known mortal realms to Immortality!”


    Supreme Ruler Ar Yen decided against skimming on the details or be soft in the manner in which he presented them. He wanted that even the non cultivators who had not thought about Earth’s Cores since their Great Earth’s Core Pursuit to fully realize the implications of the state of affairs.


    “However, I tell you don’t falter in the face of this adversary! They are ancient experts with the benefit of time over us, but they will not determine our faith nor should you worry that this is their target in coming here”.


    Supreme Ruler Ar Yen pointed straight armed up.


    “What they want is there, above us, outside of New Earth. What it is we only have a vague idea”.


    It was a necessary lie.


    Zax never shared the existence of the Godly Law Template; he could not if he wanted to avoid arousing suspicion, to a mishap that will alert the five powers to occur.


    What Supreme Ruler Ar Yen, and the thirty odd influential behind him, were under the impression for was, merely, that the five powers were excavating for something that now may be submerged in the Down Ocean.


    “The presumed location is the Down Ocean; where couple of years ago we learned that its inhabitants are passive Beings called ‘Spirits’.


    “We aspire for the Immortal entities to get what they want and leave us in discretion, as they always treated us. The measures we took for lockdown are only to safeguard New Earth and its citizens from unexpected fallout”.


    Supreme Ruler Ar Yen listened to his communicator as he proceeded to explain the lockdown regulations, near future’s predictions and the assimilation process of the Ercas Mir’s immigrants, which involved the cooperation of the New Earth’s populations.


    Every minute he received reports of crowd’s reaction from all over New Earth and especially Kingdom Earth. With the information he revised accordingly the content of his speech or the manner in which he presented it, but ultimately the key issues remained the same.


    He got down from the podium after an hour of ceaseless heartening. Following him were Supreme Rulers Ariel and Trey, representatives from Valgarel and the various organizations that wanted to thank the citizens of New Earth for welcoming them.


    After the last person said his peace, Supreme Ruler Ar Yen resumed his post on the podium, where he then took answers from the guests in the seats before him; those appeared on the Screens and from the regular citizens of Kingdom Earth who met with camera crews that were sent to crowded locations.


    Four hours and fifty minutes after it began, the conference ended.


    Supreme Ruler Ar Yen left to a luxury vehicle that waited him at the Historic Centre Of New Earth’s parking lot.


    The moment he got inside, he removed his tie, unbuttoned his shirt to air himself and took the ice cold bottle from the man who already waited for him in the backseat.


    The engine gave a silent roar and the vehicle, instead of going on its wheels, started flying.


    “So…?” Supreme Ruler Ar Yen asked the man after taking a sip and placing the bottle in the seat’s holder.


    “They are no longer on this planet”.


    “I figured. I’m’ asking what are you doing here? You were pretty persistent in joining them”.


    “Four of the five leaders are on the planet; I can still hitch a ride with one of them”.


    “Can you really go with any of them? Well, even if you can, the pathway is sealed and it won’t open just for you”.


    “I’ll cross that bridge when I’ll get to it”.


    “This’s a whole lot of self assurance, but sure, why not, believe in yourself”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen chuckled. “Until then, why have you contacted me? Isn’t your relationship with aunt Trey the best?”


    “With who my relationship is good has nothing to do with who is the appropriate person to hear what I want to say”.


    “And you chose me because?”


    “You are young, young and in the greatest position of political power. I think that it would be more convenient to sway you to my side than the others”.


    “I’ll be honest with you”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen picked up the bottle for another sip. “I’m intrigued. However, depending on what you will say, this can very well turn from small talk between fellow acquaintances to something that can involve life and death…” His aura was subtle and his face smiling kindly, but the glint in his eyes implied differently.


    “I can accept it”. The man said insipidly.


    “Then please, Senior Elijah, tell me what’s on your mind”.

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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 48 – Elijah’s Plan





    “So you are looking to die”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen confirmed after hearing Elijah.


    “Alone”, Elijah said nonchalantly. “I might get in trouble, but with your help I have a chance”.


    “Hahaha, I have absolutely zero intention to entertain this delusion of grandeur”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen bluntly remarked.


    “Even if it will provide you a way out of New Earth’s predicament?” Elijah enticed, which got Supreme Ruler Ar Yen to fell silent and reluctantly listen to him expound. “General Beking, Logan, Kikon and Hamumni don’t have my New Earth’s connections, so they are unaware that reinforcement is underway. If they knew, I guarantee they will throw caution to the wind and do whatever is necessary to find the thing they are looking for so they won’t missed out on the reward”.


    “Do you dare threaten to notify them?” Supreme Ruler Ar Yen frowned and hinted that the wrong answer would cease the tranquil conversation in favor of a bloody altercation.


    “Ar Yen”, Elijah called him somberly. “Put your temper to rest! I sought you because I believe you are the most fit to recognize the same final outcome as I foresee. Now that reinforcement from the Planetary Battalion, Voltic Star and Holy Palace is arriving, there could be only one of two scenarios for New Earth and guess what? One is bad while the other is worse and the line that separates them is as fine as a hairsbreadth!”


    “Your selling points are two predications? Say that I’m prepared to collaborate with you; you will have to do better to convince me that one of your predications is sure to happen. Put concrete fact on the table and remember that as of now you aren’t even able to leave New Earth!”


    “My proofs aren’t something I can display. They are knowledge I gathered on the five powers and General Beking indirectly corroborated for me”. Elijah sent a transmission to Supreme Ruler Ar Yen’s communicator, of a series of recorded conversations and documents.


    “You can listen, but I’ll tell you anyway… The scenario that will only be bad for you, relates to Zax Zel. Since his ascent, the five powers are dissatisfied with New Earth. Apart from searching for a treasure, they were tasked with establishing order for the three powers behind them. Zax Zel’s meddling allowed them to see how frail their control in New Earth was, for its Supreme Rulers, high echelon and Valgarel’s tribe leaders were swept by one ‘aboriginal’… With reinforcement to aid them, they will definitely restore their control on New Earth and as for Zax Zel, either they will kill him or force him to join them”.


    As Elijah explained, Supreme Ruler Ar Yen browsed through the recordings and number of files that were compiled to fortify the first of the two predations.


    His heart clenched from the great probability of it turning to a reality. His throat dried up, but unknowingly he already took enough sips to finish his beverage. He opened the mini fridge for another bottle.


    “You won’t find evidence to the worse scenario. I did not bother to amass any. The current situation, to those who aren’t blind, is plenty of proof!” Elijah testified. “The location of the anticipated treasure is believed to be the Down Ocean. The Down Ocean is the home of Spirits, Beings that are comparable to Immortals. As far as I know, General Beking and Hamumni hadn’t got the chance to report the existence of Spirits, and if they haven’t done it, I can be ninety percent certain the others also had not reported. That being said, the three superpowers waited thousands of years to send forces to this planet. When the opportunity will present itself, which apparently it did, they won’t short staff. Immortal of varying ranks will come, and if those Immortals will deem the Spirit as time consuming obstacle, then the ensuing battle will devastate this planet and all life on it, if not utterly shattering it!”


    Third level Martial Mortal can reshape the earth with a flip of their hand. Fourth level Martial Mortals have the power to sink continents. Fifth level Martial Mortals are Worlds Enders.


    Elijah and Supreme Ruler Ar Yen were both under the same belief that a war among Immortals don’t need to happen on the planet to bring it to complete ruin.


    “Even if the Spirit will remain docile, don’t forget that the three superpowers are not allies. They are contenders vying for the same prize. When it will appear before them, do you think they will parley or fight?” Elijah barrage of words left no room for Supreme Ruler Ar Yen to argue.


    Sealing New Earth was not the solution for these problems, the fallout that may befall Ercas Mir. It was just the only thing they could do.


    “What do you propose? What’s within your power to do that if I’ll comply with you, I’ll be reassured that New Earth and its citizens would be kept from harm’s way?” Supreme Ruler Ar Yen concealed his agitation.


    “My proposal is to make the Planetary Battalion, Voltic Star and Holy Palace improve their evaluation of New Earth. From the Martial competitions and Elite Tryouts of the past, quite a few geniuses were smuggled out to join them. It says a lot about their appraisal of us, if they were willing to go through the trouble, even though there are other Immortals snooping on their actions.


    “To convince them that we are even better than they previously assumed would be tough, but with your help, I’ll be able to do it”.


    “How?”


    Elijah complexion turned rosy, which to a bystander would look like an added charm, but to Supreme Ruler Ar Yen he just became a more frightening opponent.


    “With my Scarlet Armor”. Elijah relaxed and his flawless skin regained its white tone. “A while back I discovered something… the formulation of my Scarlet Armor is missing vital components to advance further from its Fourth Inflammation, a stage that corresponds to the fourth Marital Mortal level”.


    “And to get those said components, which by my understanding you only hypothesis others have, you are okay with instigating internal war among us”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen stated.


    “Better infighting than fighting with Immortals”. Elijah scorned. “My way sounds selfish, but it’s the least injudicious”.


    “I’m not questioning your patriotism, just your self confidence”.


    Elijah ignored him. “Despite what the likes of Ozeyn say, Yurnal and Kartion are beasts, yet they came up with the first and second best bodily refinement techniques. You know my past… contrary to it, I approached Yurnal several decades ago, when my suspicion for my Scarlet Armor started to arise. He had no intentions of having an exchange with someone who aligned himself with one of the five powers. To Kartion, because of his strife with the Black Horns tribe and how guarded Ozeyn was of him, I could not access until his Martial nephew, Zax Zel, surpassed the ruler of the beasts. However, by then Zax Zel’s relationship with the five powers was notoriously bad. He and I never had a good exchange, also. Hence, I doubted he would support his Grandmaster sitting with me”.


    “Coercing them to pass on their formulations to you, the way you suggested, will make them eternal enemies of you and all who support you. Those by your side with even have Zax Zel as an enemy”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen sulked, but inwardly he pondered the perspective of each side and by whom it would be more correct for him to stand.


    “Yurnal is the problem. His formulation was always the fastest and at his current level, only fifth level Martial Mortals can overwhelm him. Because of him, only drastic measures are available”.


    The luxury vehicle was slowing to decent and a voice over the intercom announced that they have arrived to Supreme Ruler Ar Yen’s home in Shitou.


    “In all of the archives of the Golden Desert Fort, there is not one worthwhile bodily refinement technique that can complement the worldly attributes, much less lead to Evolutionary Ascension. There are barely any that can enhance the physique to a third level Martial Mortal. Both Yurnal and mine techniques had reached a level slightly above the fourth Martial Mortal level, while the best foundation of a bodily refinement technique belongs to Kartion’s. Combining our three techniques together and offering the final product or even just a rough sketch of it, to any of the superpowers would ensure the survival of New Earth.


    “My technique reached its limit in the Fourth Inflammation. As for the fifth… it’s an end to the Martial path. Yurnal and Kartion, if not already, then given time they will encounter the same dead end. Regrettably, time is not something New Earth has to spare and I can’t slowly work to make them see eye to eye as me”.


    “Sir?” The pilot\ driver used the intercom again. He knew about the second passenger, but usually the Supreme Ruler would invite his guests to his house after a ride, rather than stay in the vehicle without instructions.


    “Wait”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen ordered and turned to Elijah. “You don’t even let me talk this over with them…”


    “They are conservative in their way and don’t have trust in the five powers or the superpowers behind them. If they will get the impression that refusal is unacceptable, it will make them apprehensive”. Elijah reasoned.


    “But if you will kidnap their loved ones, no matter what sort of favorable result your ambitions will have, the final outcome would still be a life and death enmity with Yurnal and Kartion”.


    “At the aftermath, I and those who will assist me can simply go to one of the superpowers. They are better cultivation grounds and a horizon that is by far higher than this planet. Yurnal and Kartion, Zax Zel, too, will never catch up to us, even if they will do the implausible and became the first aboriginal Immortals of this planet”.


    “You thought about everything”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen scoffed.


    “I had to. I really want my home and people safe”. Elijah said genuinely. “In the past I could place my faith on my dear Supreme Rulers. Times, however, call for innovation”.


    “So you make it seem…” Supreme Ruler Ar Yen said his final words, not wondering anymore about how Elijah will manage to leave New Earth in the end.


    He himself will unseal the pathway.

  8. #328
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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 49 – For What And Whom





    Elijah already had an inclination of the roles how his, Yurnal and Kartion’s bodily refinement techniques would play in the making of the ultimate bodily refinement technique.


    The Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement and he believed its subsequent refinement technique, focus on the vitality of the bodily cultivator. In general, all bodily refinement techniques enhance the vitality of their users; it was the core of their strength. But the emphasis in Kartion’s technique, perhaps because of his deep desire to heal his dantian, resulted in bodily refinement techniques with reservoirs of vitality behind the capacity of maybe all the refinement techniques in Ercas Mir put together.


    Infinite Transformations Altering Body, like the name suggests, is all about making the body comfortable with the path of a bodily cultivator, whether in the refinement process or application of the physique. Its greatest advantage is its adaptability to the changes the body experience during refinement. It is the best vessel to hold the immense vitality of bodily cultivators and it also answers the most common side effect of bodily refinement... the alteration in size. Infinite Transformations Altering Body can sustain the ideal shape of the user, regardless of the amount of vitality. Instead, by maintaining a concentrated form with a copious vitality, the body can use the excess of energy to repel impurities to an even higher extent.


    Scarlet Armor and its attention on blood is the pulse, the heart that can take vitality and generate the fuel to run the ultimate physique. Elijah was most versed in this part and required little contemplation to assume why and how it can fit.





    "These unripe Blood Red Grape are too bland, Yimin". A blond haired young girl with freckles complained while grudgingly gobbling the fruit with the apple like texture.


    "Enough, Balki". A shaped, blue eyed youth with indistinct animalistic feature scolded. "Take example from Nyan, Buggens and Lim. They, too, don't like the flavor of the unripe Blood Red Grape, but they keep their opinions to themselves because they know the fruits are necessary to sustain the physiques in the harsh environment of the first Savage Cave!"


    The group of youngsters was none other than Yurnal's youngest apprentices and son.


    Baby Yimin grew up to have a striking resemblance to his father's human form and his personality was frightfully the same. He was the oldest in the group, despite looking like one of them, in his early twenties.


    Being bored from the confinement to New Earth, the five receive permission from Yurnal to venture into the Savage Caves. Yimin was a third level Core Master whose slow cultivation resulted from his stubbornness to comprehend all six bottlenecks of insight and the fact that his main route was bodily refinement. The two girls and boy, Nyan, Buggens and Lim, were Mist Masters in terms of mist cultivation and in the middle of the first realm in their Master's refinement technique. Balki, the youngest, was just a Core Breaker, yet also in the middle of the first realm as a bodily cultivator.


    This was the second week of the group in the first Savage Cave and the grove they accommodated was a quarter of the way past the entrance.


    "Fine… I'll give you the next ripe grape I'll find". Yimin succumbed to Balki's sulking expression.


    "Hehehe!" Balki hid her smiling face.


    "Big brother Yimin, you are too lenient on little sister Balki. Just because she can cry on command, doesn't mean she is that sensitive". The bald youth, Lim, said. He had scaly skin and cracked lips as if he had severe dehydration, when actually he was an aquatic beast that, oddly enough, its human form had the highest need for water.


    "Dried Shrimped, you slander me again!" Balki pouted. "We'll see which little sister services you a cup of water next time you'll forget yourself for too long in human form!"


    "Little sister", the long black haired Buggens come to placate. "Master wants us to eventually survive in the Savage Cave with our own power. Big brother Lim worried that if you'll seek big brother Yimin for every inconvenience, you will impede your own development".


    "That's not right". Balki protested. "Big brother Yimin is the eldest here, he just being nice to his youngest Martial sister!"


    "Here is where you are wrong". Buggens shook her head. "Big brother Yimin is being, like big brother Lim said, lenient and not nice to you. Do you want to know why?" She gave her a subtle hint to accept what she says, rather than question, otherwise she might get hurt.


    "Why?" Balki ignored the hint.


    Yimin sighed.


    "Because he doesn't believe in you". Buggens bluntly said. "If he thought that you have the facility to endure the first Savage Cave with your current mentality, he would have been just as strict with you as he is with the rest of us, staying an aloof bystander observer, instead of 'caring big brother'".


    "Is it true?!" Balki glared at Yimin, this time with real tears. "Do you real think I'm helpless". She felt more hurt that he did not believe in her.


    "Your body and mist cultivation is sufficient, but your soul is inexperienced. Due to the advanced preparations, you all did well when we entered the cave. But afterwards, when the protective formations Master placed in your sea of consciousness waned, you were the only one who constantly sought my assistance against the savage force". Since Balki found out the truth, Yimin stated with a straight face, deciding for her sake to stop being lenient.


    Balki was at a loss for words when the figure she admired the most faced her without a trace of sympathy.


    She was merely eleven years old that a chance encounter eight years back made her catch the attention of her now Master, Yurnal.


    Gradually, her dejected expression became sullen. The many things she wanted to say in self defense refused to leave her mouth, so in moment of desperation and great will to prove them all wrong, she herself left in a run.


    “Oh, you three are a bunch of meanies. Two senior brothers and sister ganging up on little Balki like that…” The short black haired Nyan jeered. “Big brother Yimin, you can’t just watch her from afar. A maiden’s heart is most fragile when she first falls in love. You must go after Balki”.


    “Is that really a thing?” Lim, as a beast, thought that love should be straightforward.


    “Go train”. Nyan shot him a stare and shifted her gaze back to Yimin. “If you won’t listen to me, you might lose more of your mother’s human side”.


    The mentioning of his mother, Savir, ticked off Yimin. He realized a long time ago that as he follows his father’s teachings, he becomes less and less like his kind and gentle mother. To him, the child of a beast and a human, both sides were an integral part of and allowing one eclipse the other was nothing short of being unfilial toward his mother.


    He went after Balki.





    “You still haven’t captured him?” A figure garbed in state of the art camouflage uniforms entered the grove and stoop next to another figure in similar attire.


    “I don’t want to harm these lads. They are part of New Earth’s future. I used a soul technique to stir a small quarrel among them. Now Yimin has gone after one of his younger sister apprentices. How it went in your part?” Supreme Ruler Ar Yen asked Elijah.


    “That Yurnal is overly vigilant since New Earth got sealed. He sent a slippery third level Martial Mortal to guard him, one that practiced the Infinite Transformations Altering Body to minor accomplishment and was proficient in obscuring himself”.


    “You did not kill him”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen phrased the question as a statement.


    “No. Just the fact that he was taken down left too many clues. I tied him up. We’ll take him with us and in the appointed meeting with Yurnal we can return him in an attempt to prove our good faith”.


    Supreme Ruler Ar Yen was relieved. “Let’s go”. He uttered promptly to the lead to Yimin.





    “I’m not coming back! I can conquer this stupid Savage cave and kick the lot of you out of it!” Balki continued to ran from Yimin, yet whenever the gap and between them got too long and shrouded by the dense vegetation, she looked back and scanned with concerned eyes until she found him.


    She got over her fear from the mad beasts and humans, who got consumed by the savage force, and merrily extended her alone time with Yimin.


    “This girl…” Yimin looked fondly at her back and thought that if it would lighten her mood, he can entertain a while longer. ”Eh?”


    Suddenly his keen instincts were aroused by a sense of grave danger, but before he could scratch the surface of those feelings, his vision turned dark and he lost consciousness.


    Supreme Ruler Ar Yen appeared beside him and caught Yimin before he crashed to the ground. He then employed the same soul technique from before to stimulate Balki to return to her fellow apprentices, which deterring nearby savages.


    “There is no use for regret at this stage”. Elijah joined him.


    “I’m not regretting”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen retorted, but it was impossible for him to completely conceal from Elijah that he is on the edge. “I just thought that after this ordeal I probably won’t be acknowledged of a Supreme Ruler ever again. My reign would be short and remembered-“


    “As the most heroic!” Elijah interrupted. “The youngest and only Supreme Ruler who burdened himself with the scorn of his people, just so he could confront Immortals and prevail, for his country and the ungrateful!”

  9. #329
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    Book 10 – Immortal


    Chapter 50 – Coercing Yurnal





    “Who then left, never to be seen again…” Supreme Ruler Ar Yen listlessly continued Elijah and proceeded to lift Yimin on his shoulder, inquiring. “Now for the other one or do you want to deal with Yurnal and Kartion separately?”


    “Kartion is too weak to pose a threat in a united front with Yurnal, however, we aren’t baiting for a fight. It’d be easier to convince one and then have him assist us convincing the other”.


    “Understood. Let’s pick up Yimin’s bodyguard and go”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen said committedly.


    The hardest part in the plan was about to unfold and he needed his mental fortitude to be in peak performance.





    A brown skinned, short haired middle aged woman and a tall, blue eyed hazel skinned middle aged man walked hand in hand, chatting and laughing among the wild vegetation.


    Yurnal gently gestured and the wind he generated extended a clearing to his and Savir’s path.


    Since the pathway to Ercas Mir was sealed and everything official was settled, the pair decided to alleviate they daily boredom by traveling across New Earth. Scouring Valgarel was their first goal, for this was Yurnal’s birthplace.


    “Here used to live the Longed Legged Moose tribe. They were Shenghuo type beasts like me. When I was young and unable to transform to my human form, I was chased one day by human cultivators as sport. The Longed Legged Moose’s tribe leader, a Mist Master at the time, noticed the commotion and saved my life by choosing to interfere. Afterwards, I stayed in the tribe for two to three years before leaving in pursuit of my Martial path”. Yurnal narrated in a reminisce tone.


    “If possible, I would have wanted to pay my respect to the kind tribe leader”. Savir crouched beside a pile of broken wooden beams that was overtaken by the shrubbery, grief in her eyes.


    “It’s the way of Valgarel. The beasts here don’t have a common nemesis, such as the Deformed Beings of Ercas Mir, that compel them to harmonize with each other. As a result, Tribal skirmishes are frequent occurrence”.


    “Do you know who eradicated the Longed Legged Moose tribe?” Savir solemnly asked.


    Yurnal shook his head. “I never thought of taking revenge so I never inquired”.


    “Aren’t you angry?” Savir probed. She took his hand and they walked through the wreckage of the tribe.


    “If for tribes to exterminate tribes is a crime, then the Longed Legged Moose tribe had its fair share of expansions at the expense of other tribes. So they were willing to live by this practice, they should have been willing to die by it”.


    “You are too cold”. Savir rebuked. “I saw how the sadness in your wrinkles, stop acting tough in front of me!”


    Yurnal smiled. “It’s not act. But I’ll tell you this, if the Kingdom Earth’s humans were responsible for the Longed Legged Moose tribe’s demise, then I’d have sought revenge”.


    “I’m a human!” Savir reminded.


    “The first one on my list that I came to like”. Yurnal pinched her cheek, kissed her forehead and then her lips.


    ‘What’s this?!’ Yurnal’s eyes suddenly snapped opened with a fierce glint, while still kissing Savir. He hurriedly calmed down, to not distress her, and opened the transmission his communicator just received from a secure channel.


    ‘Yimin is in the former abode of the Red Rose Beaks tribe. Come pick him up, alone’. He read.


    ‘Who can it be?!’ His mind whirled by a multitude of thoughts that he was half a second late to feel the absence of Savir’s lips.


    “Yurnal?” Savir felt a slight change in his mood.


    “I have to go”. Yurnal’s brain strained in an effort not to lie or babble something that will worry Savir. “I received a transmission of an acquaintance in need of help. I’m not certain about the details. Will you be mad…”


    “Of course not. A friend needs you! We both know you don’t have many, so you must take care of the few you can bear that coarse mug of yours!” Savir teased.


    “I’ll accompany you back home first”.


    “Well of course, I’m your wife!” She laughed.





    ‘I sent Mernug with Yimin. A third level Martial mortal, even one with outstanding understanding of the worldly attribute, would not defeat Mernug before he could report me. The kidnaper has to be a fourth level Martial Mortal and someone who can get secure channels for communication…’


    He promptly compiled a list of suspects. Those who fit the description were very few in number, but at the same time their identities were awfully alarming.


    Right now New Earth had around twenty to twenty five fourth level Martial Mortal experts and one fifth level Martial Mortal, Supreme Ruler Ariel Dauch. Any of them could subdue Mernug before he could message him, if they surprised him. Assuming Mernug was caught unprepared, the list could only be minimized by counting those with reach to the communicators’ secure channels.


    ‘But why would any of them want to lure me and in to what?!’


    The technology needed to create secure channels for communicators on the level that he was contacted with had high requirements. Of the possible twenty five, less than ten could get their hands on it.


    The Supreme Rulers, Gid Chu, Huland, two of the organization leaders who immigrated from Ercas Mir and Yurnal’s eldest apprentice.


    ‘It can’t be any of them… there is a shadow of a person I’m still missing’. He brooded over, yet no other face resurfaced and in the end he also decided not to dwell on it. ‘Regardless who it is, I must save Yimin’.


    The unification of two species, beasts and humans, for the birth of a joint progeny was extremely strenuous. In New Earth, Yimin was the sole being with a human mother and a beast father and to Yurnal and Savir he was the only child they perhaps will ever have.





    WHOOSH!


    Yurnal flickered and landed on the crown of a red leaves tree, atop one of the mountains in the former cave of the Red Rose Beaks tribe. He still maintained a human form. Although beasts were at their strongest in their animalistic form, he, as the creator and participant of Infinite Transformations Altering Body, had no limitations to his power, no matter how he looked before battle.


    A few hundred meters ahead, on the crown of a different atop a different mountain, stood a figure in camouflage uniforms concealing everything but its so familiar eyes.


    “We all thought you left the planet with the forces of the Golden Desert Fort, Elijah”. Yurnal squinted.


    Elijah removed the head cover of the uniforms. “Forgive me; I had no intentions of hiding my identity to you”.


    “You are the one in the shadow…” Yurnal remarked, his mind connecting the dots. “Who did you convince?”


    A ripple of mild fluctuation was carried from the north. In an almost identical background a third figure showed up, removing the head cover from its face. “Me”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen confessed. At the base of his mountain, two men lay on the ground, Yimin and Mernug.


    ‘They aren’t hurt’. Yurnal’s Sublime Soul Sense scanned the two, before raising his gaze. “Gid’s heir…”


    “Greeting, Senior Yurnal”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen cupped his hands.


    “You actually have the audacity to display your respect!” Yurnal snorted, shifting his attention back to Elijah. “Do you force my hand?” He asked, having in mind the reason for their scheme.


    “Initially, you did not receive my invitation because of my position in the five powers. I was dejected, but ultimately accepted your stance. At the present the five powers are gone, yet I selected to be here. Would it be fine, now, for us to sit and have a mutual exchange?” Elijah was not servile or conceited. He mentioned the past as something already behind them and asked in a direct manner whether they can move forward.


    “My reason was not only your affiliation to the five powers”. Yurnal said earnestly. “So long as my Infinite Transformations Altering Body can mature on its own, I’m not interested in implicating it by mucking my view with others. In other words, Now is not the time for me to seek a mutual exchange”.


    “Now, however, is the time for me”. Elijah said with regret. “So will you?” It was not a request, but not a threat, either, at least not until he will say it, again, directly.


    “My son and apprentice?”


    “No harm will come to them. In fact, even if you will refuse, I won’t touch a hair on their heads”. Supreme Ruler Ar Yen assured.


    “If you are removing your edge, why should I agree, then?” Yurnal frowned.


    “Because I can’t speak for him…” Supreme Ruler Ar Yen pointed at Elijah, who insisted on silently waiting for Yurnal’s reply.


    “You obviously now that my son is worth to me more than my technique”. Yurnal gave his answer. “What will happen to us after you’ll get my insights?”


    “I’m also in need of Kartion’s insights… Until I’ll receive his, you can temporarily draw back and take my word that your son will be okay or you can swear on an Oath Parchment, not to act upon nothing that transpired today. Which do you prefer?”


    “Ar Yen”, Yurnal glared at him. “If my son and apprentice will not return sound and safe, I swear! I’ll slaughter your entire Takeda family and even old patriarch, should he dare obstruct me!”


    Supreme Ruler Ar Yen felt his body turning limp from the acute hostility Yurnal, the third strongest cultivator in New Earth, projected. For a fleeting instant he wanted to take back everything, but then he steeled his heart.


    Yurnal chose the first option for the sole purpose of executing revenge in the future. Both men knew it, but they were ready to affront the entire populace of New Earth, much less one person. Tying his tongue was only a short term measure to but time.


    “Senior Yurnal”, Supreme Ruler Ar Yen pleaded as Yurnal traversed slowly toward Elijah’s mountain. “If you please listen to Senior Elijah’s reasoning-”


    “Not interested”.

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