A BASTARD DEMON
Umbra Mountain Range was the largest mountain range in the entirety of the Umbra Kingdom. It spanned roughly 300 kilometers, with its lowest peak reaching staggering 6000 meters and the tallest one reaching incredible 15,000 meters! The mountain range was home to variety of strange beasts, animals, plants, ores and other oddities, and has been used as the training grounds for practically any fighter for many years now. Most of the range has been explored in detail, save for the peaks themselves and the very top of the red zone. Still, no concrete documents have ever been released to the public about the red zone. Only those in the high position of power had knowledge about which types of beasts resided there.
The mountain range itself, if looked from above, would seem like a zig-zag line stretching far off. Some of the six peaks rose straight up like tips of spears, while some were slightly curved. One thing they had in common, though, is that they were all wreathed in eternal fog, and no green life could be seen anywhere near them. In-between the six mountains themselves were numerous valleys, plains, and even two massive lakes, promptly named Western Lake and Central Lake. Much like the mountains themselves, both were host to some strange water creatures which few dared provoke.
Life within the Umbra Kingdom wasn’t that of leisure; for the past two hundred years, the Kingdom has been in constant warfare with neighboring Kingdoms, and there were even internal sparks of strife rearing their faces. However, with the emergence of the Crown Prince Yox, things seemed to have calmed down slightly as he began uniting all major powers in attempt to resist outside invaders. Because of the fact that cultivation techniques weren’t available within Umbra Kingdom – or even known for that matter – overall strength was rather low, and people got stronger by the crudest way possible – training their bodies. However, there were some individuals who had staggering innate talent when it came to communing with Worldly Energy, making it possible for them to even create some basic martial arts themselves. However, within the Umbra Kingdom – and majority of low-tiered Kingdoms, really – cultivation is actually called magic. Such individuals are revered to the point of insanity and all hold staggering positions within their respective Kingdoms.
One of the points of contest between the factions with frictions inside Umbra Kingdom was the Umbra Mountain Range itself. All mountains were sturdy and large, providing numerous open fields for battlefield, and small skirmishes would occur all the time. It was no different today; in-between the Third and Fourth Peaks, somewhere around the center of the mountain range, two figures clad in white were currently in mad retreat, being chased by seven figures donned entirely in black, their faces hidden.
Of the two white-clad figures, one was an elderly man, seemingly in his early sixties, while the other was a young woman, barely twelve by her appearance. Despite their somewhat odd ages, the duo was no slower than the men in pursuit, and despite their slightly tattered appearances, they had no major wounds. The girl’s name was Vyeala Endo, Sacred Child of the Endo Clan, one of the clans within Umbra Kingdom which hid away from the world. The man next to her was her Sacred Protector, and had stayed no further than five meters away from her practically since the day she was born. Despite his age, and his loose robes, he still couldn’t hide his staggeringly muscular body. By the orders of the Clan’s Patriarch, Vyeala was sent out to collect some [Homespring Water] from the Central Lake. It was merely an excuse to send her out to experience some of the world, but things went awry the moment they approached the lake; seven figures suddenly appeared in an ambush and nearly killed them in one swift sweep. However, the two managed to wrestle away from the encirclement which is when the pursuit started. Although the two were safe at the moment, it was clear that the seven men weren’t putting their all into the chase, and it felt as if they were waiting for something.
“Uncle, what now?” Vyeala asked, somewhat nervous. After all, even if she was a Sacred Child, she was still just a twelve-year-old girl who left her Clan for the first time since the day she was born. Her impressions of the outer world had long since collapsed, and she swore she would never leave her Clan again.
“If worst comes to worst,” the old man said solemnly. “I’ll hold them off while you find a place to hide. They’re clearly steering us toward the Fourth Mountain, and it’s possible there’s additional ambush lying there. If that’s truly the case, I’ll burn my life force to hold them back while you run.”
“… is-is there really no other way?” Vyeala said, biting her lip. Even though the man next to her was technically her Sacred Protector who was supposed to give his life for her, she knew him better than she knew her own father. Despite the arrogant disposition she felt inside her heart over her position in the Clan, the old man next to her was someone she truly respected and even loved.
“Aii… let’s just keep running for now…” the old man sighed bitterly. In truth, even if he burned his life force, he knew he wouldn’t be able to hold them back for long. Of the seven men chasing them, five were in Early Core Realm, while the remaining two were in Mid Core Realm, like himself. Whoever set them up clearly wanted them dead.
Meanwhile, roughly ten kilometers away in the direction the two ran, a young boy was currently sitting in front of a bonfire, roasting a freshly caught rabbit while leisurely leaning against the tree, humming a low tune. This boy was no one else but Lino himself. He had arrived at the very bottom of the Fourth Peak yesterday after two weeks of light travel. So far he didn’t meet any other person, and even most animals he saw were usual critters, such as the rabbit he was currently roasting. The smell of freshly fried meet escaped into the air causing him to salivate slightly; after all, most of what Ella prepared were dried rations which were designed with a single thought in mind: never to rot. He decided to keep them safe instead of eating them in case something unexpected happens.
As for the water, he still had plenty, but decided to head over to the Central Lake which is why he came to this very place in the first place – to replenish it back to full. After all, it was mid-summer, and days were rather dry and hot, causing him to drink far more water than to eat anything. After a few minutes, the rabbit was fully prepared and, holding a knife in one hand, he slashed against the belly of the critter, cutting away big portion of meat which fell into his other hand. He had basically become impervious to normal flames because of his Primal Spirit of Fire, which is why he didn’t even feel any hotness coming from the piece of meat.
He quickly wolfed it down and licked his lips in satisfaction. Just as he was about to slash another layer, his ears perked up and his eyes flashed in cold glint. He quickly extinguished the fire and placed the rabbit into the space within the necklace before burying all signs of ever being here. He nimbly climbed up to a tree and began slowly moving toward the direction of the Central Lake. After infusing with Primal Spirits, his senses had grown exponentially. He sensed strange fluctuations in wind about five kilometers away which is why he immediately decided to hide. After about ten minutes of careful jumping through the trees, he reached the very edge of the forest; before him lay a rather open plain with grass tall enough to reach his breasts. He quickly hid his aura and his breath and stared at the opposite side of the open field where another forest rested. Five minutes or so later, two white-clad figures burst into the opening, and not even a few seconds later, seven black-clad figures burst right after them, in hot pursuit. Lino’s eyes widened slightly; not because of the chase, but because of the fact that these weren’t ordinary people – they were cultivators!! To his knowledge, cultivation was basically extinct within Umbra Kingdom yet, right before his eyes, nine cultivators appeared! All of them were in Core Realm – even the girl who was almost five years younger than him. This shocked him profusely, but he had no time to ponder. Nine people were moving quickly and they’ll reach the forest itself within thirty breaths at most. Lino was presented with three options: first one was to flee and pretend he didn’t see anything. Second is to intercept the elderly man and the young woman, while the third one was to assist them. First one was clearly the safest, but if he pursued safety in life, he would have never left the village.
That left him with the two other options; smarter choice is obviously to intercept the old man and the girl. Even if he could buy a breath of time, the other seven would be able to catch up. However, he quickly realized that the seven black-clad figures weren’t utilizing their maximum speed, and were merely making sure they kept up with the fleeing duo. It didn’t take him long to realize that they probably had more friends waiting along this line of escape, which caused his hairs to rise up a bit. However, before he had a chance to make a decision, a cold wind swept over his back ruthlessly and, as though his body moved on its own, he shifted slightly sideways whereupon a bright flicker of light passed tightly by his ears. He felt a slight prickle come from a slashed wound which immediately let a few drops of blood. He had been spotted! Realizing that he had no other choice, he brandished his resolve and leapt from the tree like a shadow toward the seven black-clad figures.
Lino’s eyes snapped in coldness as he flickered his sword out of its sheet, burning through the air. A slash sent a cold-inducing sound rolling through the air as he slashed through one of the heads as though it were bread. Head suddenly rolled up and the body staggered, plopping over. The suddenness of the action startled everyone present – even the young girl and the old man – but before anyone had even a second to ponder, Lino landed onto the ground and burst sideways, toward his left, where only two figures resided. He spun as to gain the momentum and slashed through the nearest black-clad figure, cutting him in half. Before the last person could even draw his weapon, Lino suddenly flicked his wrist whereupon a cold sound of the sword slashing through the air exploded – alongside the sword itself. Within less than a second, sword reached the figure, aimed directly between his eyes. In them, there was profound shock, fear, confusion, terror, and myriad of other feelings the man would never be able to fully comprehend because at that very moment… sword pierced through his skull and killed him.
In a breath, three black-figures died. Startled girl and the old man paused their running and, with a glint of determination, turned around and ran toward the four remaining figures. They didn’t care who the newcomer was – all that mattered was that he was on their side. Old man knew that there was probably another ambush nearby, and the reason the seven figures suddenly sped up was because they wanted to engage in a brief struggle to cause them to waste their stored Worldly Energy in preparation for the ambush itself. They were definitely no match for the seven of them, but four was a whole different story.
However, before the duo could even come within ten meters of the four remaining figures, the youth who suddenly appeared out of nowhere flickered yet again as he gained burst of his speed, bending his body backward in a crescent shape as he sped through the air. Suddenly, a sword materialized within his right hand and he bent his body forward, causing momentum to stir winds around him in explosive fashion, immediately reaching the nearest man. However, the latter was prepared; his eyes flashing in cold light, he struck out with his own weapon and two collided. Slight shockwave caused grass to stir sideways as Lino was blown backward, rolling backward in the air and landing handily onto his feet, his right arm slightly numb. Hmm… he’s definitely almost Level 40… fuck, I’m so lucky! I nearly lost my life right there!
“Oi, old man, the fuck are you gasping for?!” Lino suddenly yelled at the old man when he saw that the latter was staring at him in shock. “Do you want me to take care of everything?!”
Being berated by youth barely older than the kid next to him, old man’s face flushed red for a moment before he coldly snorted, causing a massive axe to appear in his hands. He swung it quickly, stirring winds much more ferocious than what Lino caused. Not to be outdone, the young girl suddenly roared in similar fashion where upon two swords appeared out of nowhere. The strange part was, though, that she wasn’t holding them. They were floating. Above her head. Lino gasped in shock and stared at the phenomenon with the egg-like eyes. Suddenly, the two swords were flung through the air, aimed directly at the remaining two Early Core cultivators.
“Kid, take care of the other Mid Core one!” the old man bellowed as he entangled himself with one of the men.
“Mid what?” Lino asked, somewhat confused. However, he quickly realized something. “You mean the strong one?! Fuck you!! Do you want me to die?!” the old man staggered, nearly coughing up a mouthful of blood, immediately rolling his eyes. Why did you step out if you didn’t want to die?!
“Just hold him for a few breaths!” the old man roared. The young girl got entangled with the remaining two Early Core cultivators, while the remaining Mid Core cultivator stared at Lino with profound hatred. All their plans crumbled because of this bastard. Months of planning, plotting, years of building up nerves of steel to go through with it… all vanished because this bastard who’s apparently afraid of death decided to intervene. He also killed three of their brothers. How could the man not be infuriated?! With bloodshot eyes, he ignored the old man and the young girl and immediately lunged toward Lino who felt his hairs stand up as a sense of deadly crisis rose up inside his heart. Crap!!
However, what happened next caused the entire battlefield to freeze as men and the young girl stared with odd expressions at the youth who appeared out of nowhere. One by one, swords began materializing out of nowhere… and each and every one was thrown at the black-clad man. One…two…five…ten… soon, twenty swords were flung at the man who was already growling in hatred, anger, pain, inching toward the realms of insanity.
“WHO THE HELL FIGHTS LIKE A CHICKEN?!!” the man roared, his voice encapsulating ten thousand feelings inside his heart. “STOP THROWING YOUR FUCKING SWORDS AT ME!! AAARRRH!!!” yet, even as the man roared, more swords were flung at him…thirty…forty… at the forty-sixth sword, the man finally collapsed, dead.
“Heh, mock me now you bastard. Who’s the dead one? Humph.” next, even stranger scene occurred. The youth quickly scurried over to the dead man and began picking up the swords he’s thrown, putting them into a special dimension. After he was done, he looked up and saw that nobody was fighting, and everyone was staring at him with odd eyes.
“Khm…” coughing lightly, looking slightly embarrassed. “It’s… uh, yeah, it’s a sword-style called Ten Thousand Immortals Killed Immediately Sword Style. It’s, uh, yeah, it’s really famous from where I come…”
“….” everyone immediately rolled their eyes at him. Somewhat infuriated, Lino glared at them for a moment before looking at the old man and the girl.
“What?! You want me to kill the remaining three as well?” as though awoken, the old man and the young girl began fighting fiercely yet again. Some few minutes later, during which Lino didn’t even move a finger to help them, the remaining three figures were killed. Panting, both the old man and the young girl seemed exhausted, causing Lino to stare at them in shock. “Aren’t you guys cultivators? Why are you so exhausted like you’ve ran a marathon around the entire mountain range?” the old man and the young girl glared at him for a moment, pulling back the words they both wanted to roar out: You’re the weird one!! Why do you look like you just woke up from a nice nap?! “Aii, it doesn’t matter. Let’s go, let’s go. Stench of blood will attract all sorts of animals. I heard that there was this odd beast called Nightmare Chuckle, who stabs its spear-shaped claws at those and these places, and it’s not a pleasant experience. Let’s go, let’s go.” the old man spat a mouthful of blood while the young girl blushed so hard she looked to be steaming.
However, it was no time for disputes; the duo listened and started moving away. However, when Lino realized that the twos’ idea of ‘moving’ looked more like crawling around like zombies, he rolled his eyes, wrapped his arms around them, and then sped off into distance. The girl screamed, the man roared, yet Lino ignored both of them as he sped off into the distance, toward the Fifth Mountain. Eventually, the duo stopped screaming as they realized they were moving so fast everything around them was turning into a blur. Their jaws agape, it felt as if thunder was booming inside their minds as their entire perception of the world began crumbling. WHO IS THIS GODLIKE BEING?! Then, Lino suddenly stopped as exhaustion overcame him. However, because of the sudden change in force, he was unable to hold the girl and the old man, both of whom were suddenly sent flying through the air, landing roughly twenty meters away, crying out in pain.
“…” Lino looked at their disheveled appearances and coughed awkwardly, feeling somewhat embarrassed. “Uh, you guys… uh, yeah, you guys were so light I forgot I was holding you… he he…”
“AAARRRGH!!!” the two finally realized how the poor man who had swords flung at him for nearly five minutes felt and why he was so reluctant to die. They also realized that this youth before them was no godlike being. He was a demon, through and through. A bastard demon!