Book 9 – Eruption
Chapter 20 – Payment
Zax pondered on the possibility of trading the Solar Basil Leaf for Yurnal’s Black Core. Regardless of the chain’s Second Leader’s thoughts on the bizarre Earth’s Core and wanting to keep it for his son, without the remaining three, it will only limit his cultivation path. In contrast, the Solar Basil Leaf will reconstruct his physique and improve his affinity, make it tremendously a lot easier to understand the fiery attribute.
“You- You- already used the Diluted Element?”
The shock on Gid Chu’s, Yurnal’s and all the others’ faces was mutual.
“Wasn’t the Diluted Element the treasure made personally by an Immortal?” Someone asked in a deep undertone.
“It is… was. I partook in the trials, under a disguise. I even heard from someone who stayed in the Grand Abode and got to see them up close”.
“How did you waste it? Why did you not consider more fitting candidates?” Yurnal snapped. His bare foot stomped furiously.
“T- The- The most valuable treasure on the planet…” An old man, second level Martial Master, in a golden robe and a long white hair stuttered on his plastic chair beside Gid Chu.
“How could you have succumbed to the enticement of learning your insights? Why must you be so young?! Why can’t you understand that you are still young?!” Nam Ner implored, knowing it is too late.
“Zax…” Gid Chu said in a low voice, struggling to utter the name without venting. The calm and calculated, the peacemaker amiable Leader of the chain… even he knew not how to react. “Explain”. He asked in a tone that was hard to determine whether it was a demand or a plea. “Explain”. He repeated.
In Gid Chu’s mind images of his fight with the lad raced in an unending cycle. It was not the fact that Zax used the Diluted Element without consulting anyone that agitated him, but his belief that with his talent and potential, even if the lad did not already, then sooner than later he would have perceived and comprehended the fifth bottleneck of insight, the limit of the Diluted Element.
“Zax…” Zechariah, on his plastic chair next to his beloved, Linor, quietly said. Perhaps only his companion could interpret the meaning of his solemn gaze.
“That…” Rockwell said and Riv shook her head.
“Was a stupid decision”.
“Humph!” The duel pistols wielding Duthur snorted disdainfully. “See, Lenrah… what have I told you? Do you remember? This pretentious guy, him obtaining the perfect dark attribute’s essence was not luck, but his cunning. If he handed it to Rockwell and Riv back then, instead of using it to boost himself, than maybe our Sinister Chain would have had already an expert on the same caliber as a fifth level Martial Mortal”.
Duthur did not bother to control his voice, as a result, all the members encircling Zax could hear and recalled that before the Event in Demirva Ridge, before certain someone consumed the extremely sought after perfect dark attribute’s essence, the so called “new member” who is actually an outside contractor, was not something more special than the other Core Masters talents in the chain, at most, a tier above prodigies such as Zechariah, Linor, Varinka, Duthur and couple more others.
“No wonder his growth is such exponential”.
“Forget the youngsters; even old ones like us could have had a spike in battle power if we consumed a legendry perfect dark attribute’s essence”.
“Some of us had a slow start on the cultivation path that cost us our youthful looks. Although we can live now for thousands and thousands of years, having to live by looking like an old men and women… with treasures like this kid was fortunate to use, retrieving our youthfulness might not have been impossible”.
“No, it’s still not impossible. The Solar Basil Leaf reconstructs the physique. Even if it is just internally, the energies could still rejuvenate tens for years back”.
Many of the chain’s senior members lamented, daring to do so outloud due to the fact that should they really had the chance; none of them would make a selfish decision.
“Quiet”. Gid Chu requested. “Zax, speak”.
“Senior Gid, if you want the truth, then I’ll admit…” Zax spoke earnestly. If revealing that he comprehended five bottleneck of insight could alleviate his status in the chain, make things easier, including getting the pay he wants, than there was no better time to share it. “Before consuming the Diluted Element I already comprehended five bottlenecks. The reason why I still used it was because it constantly gave my position when Archbishop Silternja chased me”.
“So you got rid of it by consuming it?” Yurnal asked.
“Did I have a choice? Should I have spilled it somewhere? Throw it away? You can choose to believe me or not, but the instant I shattered its crystal bead container, I had no way of stopping it from get absorbed by my body”. He did not want to say that he kept it in his mouth. “I was in the Down Ocean, as you all should know. Although the Diluted Element did not contribute to my comprehension, it did refueled my body, gave me the energy to make my escape”.
“With the help of three Pure Cores of Deformed Beings not weaker than fourth level Martial Mortals”. Someone from Yurnal’s side reminded, a Peak Core Master short black haired, brown skinned woman, wearing white tank top and blue jeans.
“A choice for Leader and Second Leader which has nothing to do with me”.
“They saved your life when you deviated from Leader’s initial plan!” Nam Ner joined the younger looking woman.
“Leader’s plan was flawed. And if I received the Pure Cores to begin with, maybe I would not have needed to waste the Diluted Element to stay alive, or even need all three Pure Cores”.
“Ingrate!” Nam Ner spat, her eyes turning red, actually changing color, while her bony body grew pale scales. In a short moment she transformed to the low class Shenghuo, Ghastly Red Eyes Snake. “Incompetent those who raised and taught you!” She hissed.
“Nam Ne-” Before Gid Chu could fully pronounce her name; a boom sound from the center of the oval sitting arrangement caught him by surprise.
Zax’s plastic chair was blasted to tiny sharp fragments as he charged at the twenty meters longs snake.
A resonating deep roar emerged from Nam Ner’s lengthy throat. She was an Intermediate third level Martial Mortal, seeing that Zax came at her without executing any particular technique, she was more than willing to meet him in a frontal assault.
Both Gid Chu and Yurnal bellowed, changed into two silhouettes and rematerialized between the pair. The chain’s Leader with his back to Zax, while the Second Leader with his back to Nam Ner, it seemed that their real intention was for Gid Chu to shield Zax from Yurnal and for Yurnal to be Nam Ner’s vanguard.
“Senior Gid”, Zax lividly gritted his teeth as fluctuations of dark attribute energy bustled in the air, an indication of him about to transform to his Dark Titan Storm form. “This review, appraisal or whatever you want to call it, is done!” Killing intent oozed from every word, his countenance ominous.
It was one thing insulting or bullying him to corporate with the chain’s own accords. He could endure and even attempt to manipulate certain parts of the arguments in his favor. However, it was another to tarnish his parents and Master, his big sister and Grandmaster, his extended and Martial families. More so when they were not present and thus lacked the ability to defend themselves, furthermore, when to him, by word or touch, his loved ones were untouchables!
“Second Leader, move!” Nam Ner hissed. “He still dares to talk like this…! If it wasn’t for my sister’s sacrifice, then what task, what accomplishments, what treasures could he had achieved and obtained?! On the expense of whom does think he made his worth?!” As she bellowed, the encompassing members of the church all stepped back, leaving the situation for Leader and Second Leader to handle, not risking deteriorating it no matter with whom they sided in their hearts.
Hearing Nam Ner, Zax involuntarily recalled his conversation with Gid Chu about the member of the chain that infiltrated the Grand Abode and got the primary information about the Galactic Communicator and layout of the church’s most important structure. It eased his temper, but only a little bit.
“Senior Gid, I’ll not kill her, but for dissing my family... There is a limit! If other members will keep thinking that I owe the chain something and they could wantonly berate me, then I either put them in their place with a show of force, or quit entirely!”
“No, Zax! There will be no fighting in the central edifice. Yurnal!”
“Nam Ner, calm down. I won’t have anyone go beyond a spar in the cave. If you want to fight him, a battle that isn’t worthy of your efforts, then you can only do it outside!” Yurnal said outloud while sending through his communicator. ‘Be smart. If neither I nor Leader will get involved, you will lose miserably, so Calm Down, Nam Ner. Leave him to me. As the chain’s Second Leader I can’t challenge him for a fight without an adequate reason. In the end, no harm came to Savir and Yimin due to his conduct at my absence. However, even if Savir forgave him and Leader backing him, between him and I there is still a matter to settle. He is aware of it, too…’ He purposely refrained from elaborating. ‘Trust me, at the right time I’ll also do justice to little Nor Nama’.
Abiding Yurnal’s persuasion, Nam Ner slid back and returned to her human form, dressed in an attire of white scales in place of her torn black robe.
“You will not fight an unharmed person, Zax, will you?” Gid Chu prodded at his ego as a fellow cultivator.
The dark attribute energy fluctuations waned. “Don’t presume to know what I will or will not do, senior Gid”. Zax was not in the mood for cordiality, but he also retained a measure of sensibility. Putting aside that he preferred to maintain friendly relations with some members of the chain, particularly those he was familiar with and thought well of. “To not get caught by Archbishop Silternja I performed a technique that damaged my cultivation, caused me a huge loss. If you told me about the Pure Cores from the start, senior Gid, than my remuneration would not have been as high…”
“So that is the case…”
Much like Zax could understand Nam Ner, several members of the chain could finally understand his behavior throughout the review.
The stronger a cultivator was the more difficult it was to compensate for losses in cultivation, and when the word “damage” was embroiled, the cost for recovery was much, much higher.
Although saying that he bore “damage” was not the most sincere way to put it, Zax nevertheless used the word to create a sympathetic atmosphere.
“You can take the Solar Basil Leaf, but for it and my payment I want dark attribute’s essence, God made, one from what you got in Demirva Ridge”. He never doubted Rockwell’s and Riv’s gains. “Other than that, I want ten thousand kilogram of regular dark attribute’s essence. If you can manage decent quality, then I’ll take less”. As much as he wanted Yurnal’s Black Core, even if he managed to trade for it, he was not certain if and how much it will increase his strength.
“Inacceptable!” Yurnal denied instantaneously. “The God made dark attribute’s essence is too much. Two thousand kilogram of regular dark attribute’s essence and four thousand kilogram of any other attribute’s essence”.
“Senior Gid?” Zax postponed his response.
“Second Leader is correct. We can’t afford to trade the God made dark attribute’s essence”.
“Then there is no trade. Pay me the two thousand kilogram of regular dark attribute’s essence for completing the task and compensating for my losses and we are straight”.
“After everything you still intend to be obstinate?!” Yurnal scolded.
“Be reasonable, Zax”, Gid Chu said in a mellowed approach. “The Solar Basil Leaf will not do you any good. Will you toss your exceedingly high attainments in the dark attribute for a restart in the fiery attribute?”
“No, I won’t use it myself. I’ll gift it to someone close to me”. Zax nonchalantly declared. He knew the chain will not dare go after whoever he will give the Solar Basil Leaf for fear of making an enemy out of him.
“This is one of the most precious treasures on the planet and you mean to give it to a family member? A friend?” Yurnal asked. “Tell me, who do you know that is more suitable for the Solar Basil Leaf than the prospects of my chain? The Solar Basil Leaf should be given only to someone who has the potential to further tip the scale against the five powers!”
“Remember what we talked about, Zax… we might have managed to sever the connection between the five powers and the Immortal powerhouses commanding them, but we are still living on borrowed time. The Solar Basil Leaf can be considered as another contingency…”
“Then agree to my terms of exchange, senior Gid, Second Leader. I absorbed a God made dark attribute’s essence, a perfect one, at that, I don’t believe anything lesser will be equal to the Solar Basil Leaf. As for the regular dark attribute’s essence, you can give it to me in increments of two thousand kilogram a year for the next five years”.
There was a long silence. Zax patiently waited as Gid Chu and Yurnal stopped negotiating with him and debated their reply confidentially via their communicators, along few more members, in a closed conversation.
The onlooker members of the chain, who did not partake in the conversation, kept standing silent, as well. Among them, some, those who coveted the Solar Basil Leaf and had a chance of getting it, hoped for Leader, Second Leader and the others to agree for Zax’s terms. Others, those who already cultivated arduously to convince their leaders that they should get one of the chain’s two God made dark attribute’s essences, did not want to see their chances dropping by fifty percent.
“We decided”. Gid Chu opened. “The regular dark attribute’s essence will be divided to ten portions of a thousand kilogram, each, that you will receive yearly and completely within the following decade. You can also have the God made dark attribute’s essence”.