Book 8 – Element
Chapter 1 – The Top
Sitting beside a stone table, on top of a small balcony with two pots of green brown plants at its corners as lively decoration, two women tranquilly viewed the vast desert landscape while sipping drinks from plain clay cups.
The larger middle aged woman, sitting on the left of the stone table, had a military haircut and wore military uniforms with folded sleeves. Her dark complexion was brimming with vitality and her black eyes seemed deep as an abyss. Now and then, she stroked her brown short hair, just because she liked the prickly sensation in the palm of her hand.
The shorter young looking maiden, sitting on the right of the stone table, was adorned by an entirely different, more refreshing set of attire. An azure veil concealed the top half of her face, exposing only the edge of her little nose, along with the snowy hue of her impeccable smooth skin. Flowing white hair with blue luster draped over her shoulder, revealing from behind an alluring white nape. Her bare feet leaned tightly on one another and to the side, as if they were not used to ever being apart. From her ankles up to the thin, shining strap around her neck, a light dress in all the colors of the sea flaunted her exquisite figure.
“General Beking!” A stern, disciplinary voice sounded from outside the room connected to the balcony.
The middle aged woman, General Beking of the Golden Desert Fort and its highest authority, rested her clay cup on the stone table. Her serene countenance turned strict. “You may enter, Lieutenant General Hasil”. She spoke in a rather deep voice.
Soon after, the sound of hurried steps crossed the entrance to the room and proceeded straight to the small balcony. A lean army man, not taller than a twelve year old child, appeared and saluted toward General Beking before being giving the signal to stand at ease. As for his attitude for the young maiden, Lieutenant General Hasil’s head was stiff as it can be to avoid the slightest, unintentional glance at her, as if such act without permission it would cost him his eyes.
“Your return is a bit early than anticipated, Hasil, should I assume something unexpected occurred?” General Beking asked, giving the impression that she already guessed the answer.
“Your intuition is sharp as always, General”, Lieutenant General Hasil said respectfully and a tad bitterly. “Actually, if you had not sent me to the Grand Abode, our two factions would have probably learned of this news last”.
“Is that so… Then I gather Rijok failed, am I correct? Answer me in details”. Maybe it was due to General Beking’s guess and maybe not, but after hearing her, the young maiden shifted slightly in her seat as though she suddenly felt uncomfortable.
“Exact Information about what took place is still being compiled, General. What I can tell you is what I found out in the Grand Abode before Archbishop Silternjan asked for my leave”. Lieutenant General Hasil explained before narrating his experience in one breath. “As you know, a while ago a Cardinal, accompanied by two youngsters, a postulant and His Young Eminence Hein Zein Har, descended for the Event in Demirva Ridge. While the Cardinal remained with the Archbishop in the Grand Abode, the Sister who accommodated and took care of the two youngsters at the beginning of their stay, Sister Beatriz, led the two to the ridge. What followed next in the Grand Abode, at nineteen twenty eight, precisely a hour and seventeen minutes ago, the Archbishop’s Sky Splitter aircraft returned with the group of three. His Young Eminence was being supported by Sister Beatriz. From the way he looked, it seemed that he sustained some serious injuries in the ridge, despite the presence of Sister Beatriz. When the Cardinal saw that he was furious, if it was not for the urging of the little postulant and his concern for His Young Eminence’s health, who knows what sort of penance would have been forced upon the Sister”.
“A mere postulant was able to sway a Cardinal’s temperament?” A soft, sweet voice said with a hint of astonishment, as the young maiden spoke for the first time.
“I also find it inconvincible”. General Beking said. “Hasil, are you certain the postulant was a new convert of the Holy Palace and nothing more? Were there any indications of some other status that postulant should had have?”
“I made attempts to investigate, but the hospitality Archbishop Silternjan extended me did not allow me to explore the matter deeply. I reckon that before he attended the Cardinal, Archbishop Silternjan’s demeanor toward the girl was particularly courteous, more so than he had been toward His Young Eminence or the Cardinal himself”.
“Mm…” The young maiden ruminated. “Elder sister Beking, do you possibly have the same idea as me?”
“Hamumni”, General Beking referred to the young maiden as well as turned her head to Lieutenant General Hasil. “That little postulant is probably the direct line progeny of either someone close to His Holiness that was sent to be cultivated in the Holy Palace, or even a new celebrant of The Almighty”.
“If that is the case, General, should we not inform the Planetary Battalion? A new power suddenly siding with Luminous Church might require alterations to the agreement of the General of the Armies, His Holiness and the rest…” Lieutenant General Hasil pointed out.
“Yes, do so after you finish the report. Hamumni, do I have your approval?”
“I concur with whatever elder sister has in mind”.
“Then it’s settled. Finish with explaining the cause of Rijok’s failure and get to it”.
“Yes, General. Actually, about Rijok, what I know is what Sister Beatriz told me. While leading our two brigades, Rijok, the Blessed Army’s and the Violet Scaled Troops’ representatives formed cooperation for finding the sole perfect dark attribute’s essence. They eventually besieged the human mercenary in possession of the perfect dark attribute’s essence, but before obtaining it and before the Luminous Church’s group arrival, Sinister Chain intercepted them. The events that followed are somewhat hard to believe. In his dying moments, the mercenary who had the perfect dark attribute’s essence chose to consume it. However, instead of dying from the unrefined attribute’s essence he actually absorbed it, not only making a breakthrough in his bodily refinement technique to the second realm right after, but also gaining sufficient insights into the dark attribute to easily kill five out of the five powers’ delegates, and withstand and even counter the assaults of Sister Beatriz!”
Hearing what ended up transpiring beneath the noses of them leaders of the five powers; both General Beking and Hamumni exuded menacing fluctuations.
“You mean to say that there is out there a new noteworthy expert with too many foreboding qualities and a sore spot for the five powers?” General Beking clenched her fist. “A rebel with the making of Ascended Elite?!” The gravity of the news far surpassed the rage she felt for losing talents like Colonel Rijok and Cattelin.
This sort of character, even weak, was still renowned for possessing the potential for reaching Immortality. Unless this individual was part of their power, the future prospects of such a threat would petition a swift elimination right from the budding stages.
“That is so, General. Right now the identity and related information of that mercenary are under investigation and we are waiting for a response from the Mercenary Association”.
“Tell me the instant more is known about that mercenary. If he resurfaces, immediately send one of the three other Lieutenant Generals or go after him yourself. If he is willing to join either Golden Desert Forte or Blue Sea, invite him directly and let bygones be bygones, otherwise... Eliminate on spot!”
“Refrain from mentioning Blue Sea. He is a human cultivator. Before he joins to the Planetary Battalion his knowledge should be limited”. Hamumni added.
“Go!” General Beking gestured with her arm and Lieutenant General Hasil departed without a moment to waste.
“In the end we failed to obtain even one dark attribute’s essence…” General Beking sighed when only Admiral Hamumni could hear her voice.
“Your insights of the Earthly attribute and its worldly energy are already at an extremely profound level. Will you abandon something that you have an affinity and familiarity with for a bet at something uncertain?” Admiral Hamumni shook her head and proceeded to give her own answer. “No. If it would have been nine thousand years ago, then it would have been worth it for us. These days, we can just sit here waiting and hope for a stroke of insight”.
A warm desert breeze blew across the young maiden’s face, raising briefly the azure veil, revealing underneath an eyeless countenance, just a seamless, snowy skin.
Eight muscular legs, four burly arms, seventy two sanguine claws, rows of gigantic, ebony teeth and horns, regal aura.
An over three hundred meters long body of golden scales and silver fur hanged between heaven and earth. Two portions of it, from the shoulder up and from the waist down, looked like those of a predatory, nightmarish beast while the middle, supporting torso was akin to that of a four armed dragon.
“Mom, I’m afraid…”
“Hurry, honey, get inside!”
“Someone, call the police, a Deformed Being, yes! It must be a Deformed Being from another continent!”
“No! It’s not a Deformed Being, it has fur!”
“Who cares? Don’t draw its attention; the Blessed Army will protect us!”
Many of the residents and visitors of the city below screamed, ran, and cried while a minority of the people and beasts, in humanoid and human forms, had their eyes glued in trepidation at the monstrosity above their heads.
An apathetic stroke of tail brought forth powerful winds that swept every nook and cranny of the city.
“Careful, stay away from the windows!”
“Hold onto something!”
“Hide behind the buildings!”
Panic and hysteria ensued as nearly everyone, under the second realm of Martial cultivation, were swept off the ground and thrown by strong gales.
“Sufficed!” An imposing, vibrant voice silenced the pandemonium, returned the piece to the city and when it subsided, people and beasts were beginning to resume their daily life, believing that the glorious ruler of this part of the continent saved them.
“Your attainment with the soul has advanced yet again, Logan”. A rumbling sound, like that of an avalanche, reverberated from the open jaw of the nightmarish beast. “But your concealment skills are still lacking. If Core Masters will try to concentrate their senses just a little, they will catch wisps of my lingering presence”.
“Do you think this is a joke?! I’m hiding you from the eyes of more than eight hundred thousand people, Kikon!” The imposing, vibrant voice berated and a tiny figure, in comparison, of a white skinned, shorthaired blond man, wearing a shining dark blue armor, silvery pants and a long silvery cape to his back appeared in the sky.
The city the two hovered above was “Sonertone”, and was situated at the higher fields of the Western Continent. This time around, it was also the final destination for all those who partook in the High Rankers' trials.
“Respected leaders”. A hoarse, third voice was heard calling in a welcoming manner.
“Sheldon”, the nightmarish beast, Kikon, turned to the elderly bald and bearded man who flew from the top of Sonertone’s tallest skyscraper, heading to meet both him and Logan. “You have much to explain, and dare you words be not soothing to my ears, don’t say that I didn’t warn you!”
“Kikon”, the blond man frowned. “You make a move against one of my cities and your clans will suffer greater consequences!”
“Horn Kikon, General Logan, if you won’t calm down how could I explain you the matter of Demirva Ridge?” Although in front of him were the highest echelon of two of the five powers, Violet Scaled Troops and the Blessed Army. Furthermore, rulers of the Western Continent, the elderly man did not speak in neither servile nor proud tone. From his demeanor, one would assume the old grandpa was not the least bit weaker than these two hegemons of this entire planet.
“Humph!” Horn Kikon snorted, finally quieting.
“For respected leader Horn Kikon, I’ll make it brief. My Mercenary Association compiled all the information about the trial, its applicants and Event in the ridge in these data chips. You will also find date and time for the auction of the dark attribute’s essence acquired by us. If, after surveying the information, you are still not satisfied, this old man will personally entertain all of your demands”.
As each one receiving a chip, it was obvious that Horn Kikon and General Logan were already not pleased with the Mercenary Association’s treatment, but both experts knew… Roughly one thousand years ago, that departing elder who left them back to the top of the Mercenary Association’s headquarters, was not only the lone survivor of the catastrophe of Demirva Ridge, but the first and sole person, at the time, to obtain, refine and consume God made dark attribute’s essence!
With this, he caught the attention of a certain figure that even they have to act humble in its presence. Hence, after a quick inspection of the information in the chips, the two reached the same conclusion as General Beking and Admiral Hamumni.