Book 7 – Ercas Mir
Chapter 23 – Time Is Running Out
“Co… Cold… I’m feeling cold, Sister Beatriz”. Sister Iaura uttered, trembling. “This aura… it’s imperious as The Almighty’s”.
“Hush, child”. Sister Beatriz embraced the fearful young lass. “You do not know the things of which your mouth spoke of. The Almighty, God Demirva, tiny us should not attempt to gauge and compare the unfathomable”. The strong and usually unruffled woman said in her all too familiar composed manner, but that was the mere sound of her voice.
The face she turned upwards, for the girl in her bosom to not see, its two peerless eyes flickered anxiously.
“Sister Beatriz, Sister Iaura”, after seconds of silence and unresponsiveness, His Young Eminence opened his mouth and said in a hoarse voice. “Pacify your spirits; it is but a manifestation of God Demirva’s power and incapable of harming us when under the watchful eye of The Almighty”.
It would be a lie to say that he was not apprehensive by the black horizon and its incomprehensible aura. Nevertheless he was The Young Eminence of the Luminous Church. Even if he was younger and weaker than Sister Beatriz, his invocations for The Almighty, be they answered or not, permitted him the most feeble, trifling insight into the impression of Gods.
“A dark attribute’s essence was extracted, at least one, and God Demirva’s attention was provoked. The wraiths whose slumber was interrupted and essence is still intact will soon integrate to a whole existence, same are those still in their slumber. At the time, they will cease assaulting one another and, rejuvenated, blessed, recommence their hostile nature toward all who invade the ridge”.
His Young Eminence’s speech was strenuous, yet said in its entirety. It alleviated Sister Iaura’s depression and fortified Sister Beatriz’s resolution.
“The battle was too far to make it there before it was over. Now there is even Martial Mortal’s fluctuations coming from its direction. A bit earlier I sensed bizarre aura moving rather close to us from the same direction, while seemingly being chased by a small number of auras”. Sister Beatriz narrated.
“His Holiness teaches that The Almighty sometimes tests us with difficulty, but sometime the difficulty is only a veil of misconception that we put ourselves in front of our eyes, typically when the boon is already granted”. Sister Iaura muttered.
His Young Eminence was taken aback by the little remark and finally nodded. “With devotion to The Almighty we shall press forward”.
The members of the five powers and other prominent parties intensely stirred. None knew to interpret it as manifestation of God Demirva’s power like His Young Eminence, but most were informed ahead of times by the higher ups of their respectable groups, of the consequence of such an event.
As such, some decided to accelerate the harvest on their already targeted wraiths, others made the choice to follow the cause for the convergence of so many experts and violent fluctuation that stemmed from the same place, while a few acknowledge their failure and turned to leave the ridge or proceed with the trials, anything but fight with the wraiths.
There was no escape for anyone from God Demirva.
Even below the ground Zax could sense the terrifying change going outside, as if it happened in front of his eyes. He was certain that none cultivators, possibly everyone under the second realm, would be mentally and physically restricted, as if time stood still, for the period of the black sky, and then, after regaining their consciousness, not even be aware of what transpired.
Zax clenched his teeth. ‘Settle down! Fortunately they all stopped chasing’, he cleared the blood stains from his lips and continued to drill deeper diagonally using Kinetic Energy. Currently, he could vaguely discern the location of those chasing him by the vibration in the earth, better than with his Soul Sense. ‘Now, though, it should be about time for them to remember me’. Despite the cessation being short, Zax still felt a bit of a relief. Within solid earth he trusted that even the Sublime Soul Sense of Martial Mortals would not detect him easily. ‘My condition is quite terrible, too many attack struck simultaneously, some penetrated the earth and the outer defensive layer of Kinetic Energy’.
When he made his escape and all the experts desiring the Dark Attribute’s essence followed, a number of long range attacks, probably by the couple of Martial Mortals or the other four experts around his level, managed to hit him. Luckily, Zax was prepared ahead of time, after Gong Vreil nearly rendered him incapacitated, thus succeeded in avoiding damage to his vital organ.
‘Whatever occurred outside, whether it’s the upshot of harvesting the dark attribute’s essence, unlike them, I can’t afford to linger and find out. That’s…!’ Zax stared in shock at his spatial ring, where he placed the dark attribute’s essence.
Its influence waned shortly after it was extracted. About two and half kilometers to his escape, Zax noticed that the white dwarf changed back into a spherical, dark and shining bulb, as if it was sealed yet again and required new refining to unleash its magnificent secrets to higher cultivation’s paths.
‘I can feel it resonating through the spatial ring… is that even possible?’
His knowledge on the making of spatial rings and their limits was only the basics, although it was fair to say that when it comes to God made dark attribute’s essence inside a spatial ring, not many have had the pleasure to share the experience.
‘Crap! If the source to what’s happening above ground is also after the dark attribute’s essence, I definitely won’t be able to secure it!’
Against the power that changed the color of the sky, it would be hard to find an expert whose temperament did not vastly degrade to that of a well disciplined child.
He retrieved the dark bulb. It stayed still at his palm, but it exuded something intangible that could not be perceived by any of his five senses. Only his soul was able to match it to the manifestation of God Demirva’s power, without him being fully confident of it or sure if it always exuded that intangible something. Unless the event outside stimulated it, he most likely never would have known.
‘I need to endure!’ He concluded, not wanting to give up the dark attribute’s essence, only as a last resort. Changing direction, Zax got an idea. An electric discharge ensued and the imprint of the trails’ map appeared at the palm of his hand. ‘The dark attribute’s essence is of no good to me, unless it returns to the white dwarf state. To maintain my hold on it and find someone capable of refining it, a leap in my status would be most beneficial’.
He could not think on any other way. Sooner or later he will be caught if all he does is keep running. Even returning to New Earth was too risky; probably more than in Ercas Mir since everything he had to lose was there.
‘Drilling the entire way through the ridge would be cumbersome. I can afford to consume the Kinetic Force, but constantly maintaining it for such purpose requires immense concentration. It will drain my soul energy and can impede the regeneration of my right arm’.
Not everything could be planned out and the solution for some issues, at certain cases, could only be employed on a moment notice.
‘I can only rely on my luck. If no one will catch up to me in two days, I’ll seek a place to take a break’. He compromised with himself. ‘I also need to figure how to compensate Fengar…’
“Sion, something happening to the wraith and dark attribute’s essence!” The black skin Bathar gasped.
“Something happening to the whole world!” A green eyed, brown skin man shouted. Having small brown feathers growing in between the hairs on his head had indicated his identity as a beast in human form.
Sion, the long, black haired man turned his head backward and signs of fatigue were apparent on his face.
Compelled by the chasing Martial Mortal from the Stone Clawed Bear clan, he and his party of seven had to extend the duration of their formation, and as the one at the base position, connecting everyone, he suffered the main brunt of the ramification.
“We have to extract the dark attribute’s essence now!” Sion determined.
He did not know that the integration of the wraith and its core was due to a dark attribute’s essence already being harvested, or that the black sky was also related. His party was one of three sent by the Mercenary Association and they only knew the process of harvesting the dark attribute’s essence, which is why he now followed his intuition.
“How? We need all seven of us to withstand direct contact with the wraith and if we’ll stop that Martial Mortal will catch up to us!” The short Shizu stated.
“Oh, you should not concern yourself with this problem”. A voice reverberated.
Two figures appeared in front of the seven, obstructing their flight.
Something blew up from behind. Before the seven had the chance to inspect the two figures, they felt a conjoint severe pain, their formation collapsed and they plunged from the sky.
A third figure appeared next to the two, presenting an open palm. Not far from behind, the ghastly figure of the wraith hovered a few seconds in the air, with a hole in its head, before swaying and plummeting.
“The integration already began, but I managed to salvage seventy percent of the dark attribute’s essence, Your Young Eminence”. Sister Beatriz offered the dark bulb, which was slightly smaller than Zax’s.
His Young Eminence puckered his brows, but fast changed his countenance and sighed. “May you be blessed, Sister Beatriz, we cannot disparage what The Almighty bestows us, but rejoice, for it is more than we had before”.
“Your Young Eminence is wise”. Sister Iaura clapped and leaned over to see the spectacular gift The Almighty bestowed.
“That dark attribute’s essence belongs to me!” A deep voice roared and a hefty giant white bear with stone claws aroused tempests in his arrival.
His eyes were red and his aura dark. He glanced momentarily at the three. Two Peak second realm and one Martial Mortal whose fluctuations were insipid, at most an Intermediate first level.
He cared for their presences as much as he cared for those he chased and those who followed. Despite being a Beginner first level Martial Mortal, the other was human while he was Zhihui type beast. Besides, there was nothing more important than the dark attribute’s essence.
Following the Stone Clawed Bear clan’s member, more experts arrived on scene; among them blended four Martial Mortals that waited for the opportunity to snatch the dark attribute’s essence inconspicuously.
Sion’s party of seven fell on the summit of a low mountain. They were wounded, though less from crushing on the stony earth and more from the backlash of the formation abruptly being destroyed. They were miserable and cursed in their hearts the three. Their ploy failed and they were powerless to do anything about it.
“What should we do, Sion?” Someone asked.
“Leave and inform the association”, Sion said bitterly.
“Luminous Church? So what! This continent is not in your jurisdiction; hand over the dark attribute’s essence!” The white Stone Clawed Bear demanded and his aura intensified around his claws.
Martial Mortals really had the perquisite to act arrogantly, even toward the five powers. Of course, the prerequisite was that they were not stronger or in their territory.
“Sister Beatriz, can I…?” Sister Iaura pleaded with big, lively eyes.
“No”, His Young Eminence disapproved. “You are still not a match for a Martial Mortal”.
“Yes, Your Young Eminence…” Sister Iaura said disappointedly.
“Your Young Eminence intends to…?” Sister Beatriz seemed to understand His Young Eminence frame of mind.
“I said it before… Wretched are those who affront me!”
Sister Beatriz wanted to tell His Young Eminence to let her handle the Stone Clawed Bear. Nevertheless, aware of how much he repressed himself during their pilgrimage, she refrained from urging him against his will.
She waved her arm, creating a green mantle with a perimeter of hundreds of meters, closing all escape routes.
Having sensed the fluctuations from Sister Beatriz minute movement, the redness in the Stone Clawed Bear’s eyes subsided and his haughty demeanor shuddered.
“Third level Martial Mortal!”