Book 8 – Element
Chapter 23 – Top Twenty
“Death”. When the word finally uttered from Zax’s mouth, it became a dogged echo in the unbending atmosphere Gid Chu laid out. “Recently I detect the recurrence of dark clouds hovering above my head, and you know what, senior Gid? Always, when they come, I feel my familiarity with the concept a little bit growing, and always, when they pass, they are followed by marvelous changes”.
Zax evoked in his mind all of his near death experiences since arriving to Ercas Mir. Not all were remunerative as he recounted them, but those that really pushed him to “the edge of the wooden board”, sooner or later, intentionally or not, ensued indispensable reimbursements for his Martial path.
“I can get along with your plans, but, and forgive this junior for his rudeness, I intend to live a long and prosperous life. So whatever task that requires betting and sacrificing for the ‘greater good’, ‘better future’ or whatever else you have in mind, count me out”. He had enough stupidity to lead him astray and back and it was about time to tune down his recklessness. Taking risks was acceptable, perhaps unavoidable, but unless he is in an impasse, not blindly.
That aside, he already did have irreconcilable enmity with two high command members from the five powers and was with mind to kill members of the Blessed Army for the smallest grievance, should they cross him.
“Let’s hope it won’t come to it”. Gid Chu dissolved the stiffening, malicious atmosphere; only thoughts of the five powers could have breed in him, and smiled. Placing his cup on the saucer, he motioned with his hand and an emerald bottle of wine appeared in his hand, out of his spatial ring. Using his Sublime Soul Sense he telekinetically like retrieved from the kitchen’s cabinet two same looking cups as the coffee cups. “Since all been cleared, all for both of us to reach an understanding, we should drink to our pact”. He removed the cork and poured the red liquid to both cups before serving one to Zax.
“This is Blood Red Grapes wine!” The scent aroused nostalgic memories of his time in the first Savage Cave and the story of how three Supreme Rulers symbolize their brotherhood and sisterhood unification before all of Kingdom Earth.
By Zax’s reaction Gid Chu could guess the latter part of what he was thinking. “You know why we picked Blood Red Grapes? Experts of high class family in our home below the ground consider Blood Red Grapes wine as the best ‘poor man’s wine’ because after fermentation even mid class and low class people who don’t cultivate can drink it, if they can afford it. Like this we could reach the cultivators’ population who often drink it more than any other wine and the non cultivators’ population who break open a bottle only at the most special of occasions”.
Zax accepted his cup and said nothing about Gid Chu’s reasoning. He did not remember anyone in his family ever drinking Blood Red Grapes wine, special occasion or not. Maybe since the time of the Supreme Rulers’ pact to his childhood and today, mid class and low class citizens of Kingdom Earth, at a point, resigned themselves to the more affordable selection…?
Finishing their cups, Gid Chu forced the cork back on the bottle and returned it to his spatial ring. “Our custom is for every cause for celebration we drink one cup”. He did not resume drinking his coffee. Its flavor and the wine’s do not mix well. “You know the truth about the five powers on this planet and the three powers commanding them from space. Do you want to know now their purpose? What takes them so long to excavate?”
Unlike the coffee, Zax’s taste buds were more inclined toward the sweet with sharp spiciness wine, so much that he slightly regretted the one cup rule. “What resources there are in Ercas Mir and New Earth that they are after?”
“Many, yet all they can do without but one, their main goal, the inheritance of a super expert”.
Zax’s heart beat in his chest while his mind reeled by a turmoil startling thoughts. No. He did not consider the nearly at his grasp Legacy Of The One’s Path, left by the expert claimed to be at the pinnacle of Immortality, being the attraction of the apparently alien invaders. How many years passed since the expert was subdued by the Core of the Plain that made this planet? He could not imagine even those unaffected by the flow of time waiting so long. ‘It can’t be, they don’t know about Legacy Of The One’s Path. It was the five powers who discovered the planet, and they are led by Martial Mortals. Worst case scenario the Immortals behind them should only be aware that there is some Immortal’s inheritance on this planet and nothing of its content’.
While every instance of shock that accompanied this lengthy sitting seemed long and laborious, for someone like Zax it was as fleeting as a blink of an eye. Even his physical reactions were gone before a drop of sweat could form on his temples. Nevertheless, he was sitting in front of a no lesser expert, which he only managed to deceive due to his cultivated control over his body.
“A super expert? Another Immortal?” He kept his pretense.
Gid raised his hand for a pause. “The inheritance of an Immortal, that’s all we… she knew. The leaders of the five powers personally examined everything found in the excavations and the Immortal powerhouses will get involve only after the inheritance, or a specific part of it, will be discovered. So we can only assume they are still searching and can just look onto the places they excavate at”.
“Senior Gid, the Immortal’s inheritance, is it possibly that it’s at the Savage Caves?”
“Earthly Crater, Down Ocean, Demirva Ridge, Northern Trident Peaks, third Savage Cave… these are the most probable places where the inheritance might be located. But at the same time, these places are the most dangerous on Earth”. After exhibiting full transparency, even as his mood became pleasant again, Gid Chu chose to refer to the planet as it was for their ancestors and not by the name the five powers gave it. “Some are occupied by Overlord Deformed Beings and the rest are a basin of natural disasters. The leaders of the five powers are careful and patient with those places; however they clearly evaluated each of their steps. The expeditions they send, particularly to Down Ocean, may progress slowly but they got a steady pace”.
And that was it, the truths and purpose of the five powers, which his senior Ariel wanted him to find out in his stead.
“What can I do?” At last, Zax sought a new goal to pursue, an active role against the threat behind the five powers.
“A butt load of things, depending on your skills”. Gid Chu’s meaning was obvious.
“Take me where it won’t be a problem for me to go all out”. He pulled himself up. “Senior Gid, please don’t mind this junior’s recurring rudeness, but I would like to test how I fare compared to fourth level Martial Mortal or someone as strong, also, see what good is the third best bodily refinement technique”.
Gid Chu stood up. “In his animalistic form, although I cultivated to his level, Yurnal is a bit stronger than me. Regrettably, as wonderful as Infinite Transformations Altering Body is, I was iota from recovering my dantian after reaching the third realm. Perhaps only at its later levels or next stage of Immortality I will be able to use mist again”.
An invisible force opened the door to the cottage. “Might as well test your speed first”.
The two of them vanished without creating the slightest undulation in the air.
Zax followed Gid Chu’s back as the gap between them gradually, very slowly, was expanding. Running alongside his before arriving to their destination seemed unattainable. Of course, should he utilize dark attribute energy he will overtake him easily, especially after his earning in the Earthly Crater, but all Gid Chu used was his physical traits, so how could he resort to any other means?
They ran south east for an hour and a half, crossing deserts, then forests and great rivers before reaching to a halt in an opened barren land that stretched to a length shy from a thousand kilometers.
Zax glance at Gid Chu who kept his back to him while above them stars were brilliantly shining.
“Here is an example to the black heart of the five powers’ Luminous Church. Do you want to guess the name of this place?” Seeing as he was not answering, Gid Chu said it himself. “’Rockwell’. Sounds familiar, the man you know also by this name thought you were listening when that woman, Beatriz, demeaned him and his kin for their belief”.
Zax had a vague memory of this incident in Demirva Ridge. It happened right before Rockwell apologized for deciding to abandon him and escape with Riv. He did not blame them, nor was he much lucid to put feelings into it, at the time.
“This land of Rockwell is bordering the outskirts of Luminous Church’s territory, Onzengvas, where it is forbidden to worship Gods other than their own The Almighty. Those who lived here in the past were groups of immigrants wanting to leave the harsh desert conditions of the center of the continent. The beasts and humans who chose to settle here done so to hide the fact that they could not abandon their faiths and were still practicing their varying religious ritualism. Of course, the fanatics of the Luminous Church were aware of the polytheism evolving in the periphery of their territory, but when it began they were preoccupied with other matters to deal with it. Hence in the span of hundreds of years Rockwell was the only place in Onzengvas where more Gods than one existed”.
Gid Chu turned and gestured at the soil. “One day. One day was all it took for hundreds of thousands to perish as tribute, not for a group of Gods, just one”. Purple electric attribute fluctuations amassed in the air and crackle sounds ensued. “Here is a fine place for battle and war. Peace is not what the dead of this land want”.
“I realized on the way, even if my refinement technique is better, the disparity still too big, yet I insist. Let me first see how far I can get relying entirely on physical strength and bodily competence”.
“You underestimate Infinite Transformations Altering Body. Even if we had the same bodily cultivation you would still by a fledgling with over the head aspirations”. He dispersed the electric attribute fluctuations and entered a stance with straight back, left foot front, right foot pointing right and both hands down, front and back, with open palms upwards.
In contrast, Zax simply raised his fists like a boxer. The bodily maneuvers he was developing with his insight to the dark attribute were his Martial art. However, he will not be able to employ their full extant without also stirring the dark attribute worldly energy.
Zax threw a left hook, but his hand was not clenched into a fist, rather, it was more familiar to a beast’s paw with fingers as claws.
Gusts wind blades formed merely from physical strength. They were not driven by windy attribute, nor were they the essence of the attack. The palm and claw hook were.
Gid Chu countered with his left hand. Knocking Zax’s hook from below, he actually absorbed the kinetic forces in the collision and flicked a back hand strike to his forehead.
With his left hand shoved up, Zax reached with his right hand, another open palm, to meet the back of Gid Chu’s left hand.
Zax felt every bone in his right hand shakes, on the verge of breaking to thousands and thousands of pieces.
“You can decently channel kinetic energy. Furthermore, I borrowed the strength of your strike. You might say that as far as physical durability goes, yours is at the top twenty in all of Earth”.