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CHAPTER 231

HOLY GROUNDS

A huge warship ripped through the fabric of space and time, sending ripples out into the sky through its sheer mass. It loomed over the entire enclosure within the island where the ruins rested and beyond, spanning for whole five kilometers in length. Its hull was overlayed with hundreds of shining arrays, alloyed with reinforced steel twice over, making the ship seem more like a fortress rather than means of transportation.

The ship’s deck was stacked with thousands of people at the moment, at its helm a youthful man towering to nearly two and a half meters, muscled even beyond Eggor. His bald head shone against the faint sun, a pair of sunken, green eyes narrowed into slits, staring down below at the small group of what amounted to children in his eyes before smirking.

“Oh how the Heavens favor us,” he spoke out in a hoarse and deep tone. “To think we would encounter eternal cowards right as we entered the dimension.”

“Antone?” Edward mumbled with a frown, taking to the skies with the small group behind him. “What are you doing here?”

“Oh? Is that little Eddy? My, my. This day just keeps getting better.”

“Hello there.” a soft, melodic voice suddenly echoed into the wind, yet within that brief moment, every single soul boarded on top of the ship suddenly froze, their souls shaking from within. Antone’s eyes veered up from Edward, meeting a pair of green eyes and a smiling face of the death itself.

“H-h-h-annah?!!!” he shrieked pitifully, nearly toppling back over. “No!! No, that’s impossible!!!”

“It is nice to see you too, Anny,” Hannah smiled still. “You seem to have developed even more muscles since I last saw you. Maybe, dear, it’s time to stop. You look like a boulder wearing human skin. It’s disgusting. No woman will ever bed you like that. Grow up already.” Lino listened in from down below, nodding his head silently.

“... Lady Hannah,” an elderly voice spoke out from the far end of the ship. “Just because we can, sometimes we shan’t speak certain things.”

“Ah, Rev.” Hannah’s smile crumpled slightly as her eyes found the man in the distance. Not unlike Anton, the man called Rev was a mountain, yet seemed at least a thousand times more imposing than the former. “Haah... and to think today’s battle would be a child’s play. You really do deserve your title, Dream Crusher.”

“What are you doing here, Lady Hannah?” the man called Rev took to the skies slowly and meet Hannah up above the ship. “Your home is on the losing end. Shouldn’t you be helping them?”

“... helping them?” Hannah smiled widely. “If they are so incompetent as to lose to a swath of brainless muscles, then they may as well be written out of reality. I should be asking you that question, Rev. Seeing as you have time to babysit those children, does that mean you’ve finally cured Selena?”

“...!!” Rev’s eyes widened and grew maddened for a moment, his jaw clanking as he tried to hold back. “You’ve yet to learn proper etiquette, Lady Hannah. The difference is... there are no Elders here to protect that filthy tongue of yours.”

“... I did hear that you’ve been bullying my juniors recently,” Hannah wiped the smile off her face, replacing it instead with a frigid indifference. “I suppose I may as well dish out some retribution to honor their souls.” Qi surged like a storm around her, capsizing the ship before Rev quickly used his own Qi to stabilize it.

“Leave none of them alive!!!” Rev roared into the sky before whipping out a massive greatsword and dashing toward Hannah.

The chaos quickly unfurled as hundreds of people began jumping off the ship and charging toward Edward’s small party. The latter quickly ordered a retreat, as they simply stood no chance of direct confrontation against the Aeonians -- the only Body Cultivating Sect of the Seven Holy Grounds.

Retreating and attacking was the tactic both Edward’s group as well as Hannah herself employed. Over the past few weeks that she had spent with Lino, the two had sparred quite often to try and make up for the flaws in their styles. While she was never able to properly stop Lino from approaching her, she knew that Rev was nothing like the former -- especially when it came to the insane Vitality.

Streaking back and leaving the arc of lightning, she repeatedly turned around, shooting one bolt of lightning after another. She was yet unwilling to engage into a full-on battle before creating some distance; she entrusted Lino with Edward and his group, which made the whole ordeal much easier as she could focus entirely on fighting Rev.

The latter, despite knowing Hannah’s intentions, dismissed them as he was more than confident in the victory -- even with even numbers, his Disciples could easily overwhelm the Eternals, to say nothing of the advantage they currently held. He followed Hannah briskly, occasionally dodging or deflecting a bolt of lightning.

Meanwhile, Lino was darting around like a shadow, entirely hidden from all perceptions of those around him. Even if he stood right next to someone, so long as he didn’t say anything or make too sudden of a motion, nobody would be able to discern his presence. He used this to mostly help along the stragglers from Edward’s group who fell short of the pace the latter set.

Although they were well-coordinated, Lino quickly realized that they stood no chance of actually defeating the other side as a small, few hundred of them were up against thousands. He didn’t wish to interfere directly into the battle, though, as that would create far more complications, so he simply resigned to ensuring Edward’s group remained alive until Hannah returned.

He had no doubt about her victory; even if he knew practically nothing about her opponent, he knew her all too well. He had never managed to defeat her during their spars despite the fact that he always managed to come close enough to her to attack. It was also then that he had learned that Hannah was a different sort of a fighter than he was; whereas he was a straightforward duelist who looked to overwhelm and overpower his opponents, she was far more methodical and goal-oriented.

She was rather similar to Lino when he was crafting in groups; completely aware of their surroundings, of every action being taken, of every breath being drawn. She had no blind sides, was practically impossible to ambush, had a huge assortment of displacing arts that bewildered even his senses temporarily, and even her outright firepower was nothing to scoff at as his body had experienced all the pains firsthand.

Hannah was currently fighting the same way Lino imagined she would; although she could permanently keep distance with Rev, she chose against it and instead drew him into her own tempo, occasionally letting him come close enough to her to strike before weaving through the small openings and taking advantage of his own.

Dodging an overhead strike sideways, she charged a sphere of lightning before dashing forth and striking Rev at his side, sending him flying backward like a cannonball as smoke trailed after him. She then immediately coated herself in crimson lightning before streaking through the sky, her speed temporarily increasing hundredfold; she was neither a blur nor a trail nor even a set of afterimages... she effectively became invisible to all and any senses. Gaining quickly on Rev, she spun midair to garner more momentum, her arms extended, the spin creating a helix-like shape before extending up into a spearhead and arcing down, striking Rev who barely managed to lift up the greatsword to defend.

The ensuing explosion splintered the clouds and sent him flying down, all but one of his ribs cracking, his left lung imploding till each one of his breaths resulted in spitting out a mouthful of blood. He revved his Qi immediately, repairing the collapsed meridians and organs as his body suddenly caught ablaze. He managed to spin over and land squarely on his feet, but before being buried into the earth, the soles of his boots spat out tongues of flame, roaring outwardly in a ring-like fashion, consuming all greenery around, before propelling him upward as though he’d sat on top of a geyser.

He slashed the greatsword repeatedly, sending out one blade light after another in a net-like fashion, trying to create an enclosure from which Hannah couldn’t escape. The latter, however, shrugged before suddenly clasping her hands together as a massive rip in space appeared above her, jet-black in make. Startled, Rev tried to forcibly halt his momentum but was unable to do so in time.

A ripping sound of thunder boomed throughout hundreds of miles around as a gigantic, golden, straight-laced bolt inched out of the spatial rip, shredding apart all blade lights into ash before bursting down like a falling star. Rev roared loudly, his muscles tightening as he grasped at the greatsword fiercely, tugging at his Singularity and causing a tidalwave of Qi overwhelm every inch of his body.

The greatsword burst into rippling flames, dancing about freely as he flew directly into the giant, golden bolt’s path, slashing away with his sword. The coral and golden colors meet in the sky as both Hannah and Rev immediately ripped open a mini, quasi-dimension separate from reality to contain their clash. All one could see up in the sky was a bubble-like protrusion, its edges repeatedly edged further out and brought back in as though something was trying to break out of the cocoon.

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A note from beddedOtaku

Sorry for missing yesterday's chapter lads, came with a bad case of flu, decided to cure it by sleeping for 20 hours. Worked, though, so there's that.


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beddedOtaku

Bio: Bad writer, worse painter, terrible singer. Accumulation of all things gone wrong. Rather proud of it, actually.

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