Book 5 – Horns
Chapter 37 – Decisive Decision
The first realm line of defense could only rely on their defensive formation to block the enemy’s force, much like the cluster of first level Core Masters, Hagen and her group dealt with.
The only one with high spirit on the battlefield was none other than Ilen-Tar. The leader of the Furless Rat tribe, in his skinny, old and fragile human form, was confident in his ability to preserve through the war due to three things, his high cultivation level, the fact, which he believed, that the enemy knew about the bloodline formation at his disposal and the vast experience he gained from many tribal wars over the centuries.
Zax could not understand what his big sister and Simel were trying to execute. It was obvious that it was some sort of formation, but what kind of formation would make it possible for them to turn the war to the household’s favor?
“Traitor, this attack of mine will put an end to the desecration that you have been for my Black Horns tribe!” Karns concentrated black mist energy in his forelegs and descended, papering to stomp Grandmaster Kartion with a full blown attack.
At the same time, Kardelion, who occupied Grandmaster Kartion, retreated while forming a sphere of icy mist energy, a long range attack, outside of his mouth.
At the moment, Karns’s assault was far more threatening than Kardelion’s and avoiding it in the short time Grandmaster Kartion had seemed impossible.
Grandmaster Kartion swayed his neck, kinetic energy coursed through his antlers. The air around the antlers began to undulate and Karns’s forelegs were one last millimeter from hitting them.
A breaking sound echoed. Large pieces of the formerly resplendent set of antlers Grandmaster Kartion had deformed after partly falling apart.
Blood dripped from Grandmaster Kartion’s head and his vision became blurry as well as covered by a red curtain.
“Kartion, your death today will put to rest an over century old mistake!” Kardelion shouted.
An intensely freezing, frontal beam of mist energy hit Grandmaster Kartion, lifting his body from the ground and sending him hundreds of meters backwards.
The cold attack, however, was a blessing in disguise. Were it not for its sharp coldness, Grandmaster Kartion’s mind would have still been muddled, providing Karns and Kardelion an opportunity to follow up with another attack while his body was weakened.
With a clear mind, Grandmaster Kartion kicked the air, Kinetic Force shooting him up brilliantly, like the most magnificent bird type beast.
The closest to him was Karn who, like most Chaoyue type beast with their strong physique, prided himself in close quarters combat.
Karns, on the other hand, was reluctant to meet Grandmaster Kartion in another confrontation so fast and after the damage he received a moment ago from the explosive Kinetic Force.
On the outside, his forelegs may have looked fine, but their bones were shattered and if it was not for him circulating his mist energy, blood would have probably already burst from his forelegs and mouth.
Hence, Karns fell back as an icy blue beam of light passed right next to him, shooting yet again from Kardelion’s mouth, to obstruct Grandmaster Kartion fast approach.
Ilen-Tar spectated over Hagen, somewhat detecting an odd behavior. His right eye twitched in discomfort. ‘The battlefield is drenched with their blood, but neither side is that much injured…’
He watched as Hagen time and time again tried to break the protected mantle of the first realm experts.
‘Another stream of blood is coming out of her beak; did she suffer that much from the mild countering force of the formation?’
Glancing over the entire battlefield, Ilen-Tar became more and more restless. ‘Not good, something is not good. I may have to distance myself from the stronger experts of their side, but Karns and Kardelion will not take it kindly if I’ll leave the cave or hide behind the lines if thing would go sour’.
Surveying the position of the enemies, their course of advancement and tactical deployment of each line in their formation, after locating Zetsa and Simel, Ilen-Tar clenched his boney hands under the long sleeves of his robe. ‘These two intending on erecting a formation of some sort… Could it be?!’ His old eyes contracted in shook for a brief instant and then resumed their passive expression. ‘If it is blood related than it make sense, but the cost and concoction of different beasts’ blood… are they insane?’
Musing for one long moment, Ilen-Tar released the tightness of his fists. ‘I’m willing to bet that as of now I’m already within the area of effect of their formation’. His facial muscles held back the urge to grimace. ’Alerting Karns and Kardelion might draw in troubles early than expected, and If I want to avoid their wrath after this is over, there is no alternative, I must stay and certainly act at some point. However, not every maneuver carries an unacceptable risk. If I’ll mobilize the first realm troops along with my army as a meat shield and make some threatening gestures, I should be able to get far from danger, possibly even interrupt the establishment of the formation’.
Feeling a sort of elation after deciding on the best course of action, Ilen-Tar unstrapped his robe, unwilling to ruin it when transforming and handed it to a bald young woman who stood beside him. ‘Whatever their formation may be, even if they’ll manage to erect it, it should only supply a timely advantage. Karns, Kardelion, I’ll stop it only if nothing will present too much danger, otherwise, accept that in war, one must struggle a little in order to win’.
‘Everyone, Ilen-Tar started moving, and he is leading his furless rats!’ Hagen’s double pupils hawk eyes shone with a hint of killing intent when she saw Ilen-Tar transforming into a three meters tall furless rat and directing his nearly five thousand beast kin, who ranged between the Core Breaker and the Mist Lord level.
“Hagen, our first realm forces would not be able to stop them…” a captain of the Reptilian tribe said frantically.
‘If I’ll leave here to block Ilen-Tar, these first level Core Masters will lower their protective formation and will use the chance of my absence to confront you’. Hagen sent in return. ‘Go, all of you, along with little brother Mes’s group, help our first realm forces, but stay on your guard. Even if Ilen-Tar won’t personally attack, he is very cunning. It’s possible that he only wants to avoid me or uncle Kartius’s group or that he already noticed and realized the true essence of little sister Zetsa’s and little brother Simel’s formation and wish to stop them’.
“Take care, Big sister Hagen!” Tularg was the first to respond in a resolute tone.
“Big sister Hagen, retreat if you can’t handle them alone. We can still hold them long enough for big sister Zetsa and big brother Simel to finish the formation, if we will converge”. Rarahel said flusteredly and then followed Tularg and the others.
‘Ilen-Tar mustn’t be allowed to be left supervised. But before they will finish their formation I cannot act, nor can our side erect any defensive formation. Hurry up, you two!’ Hagen lamented
“Big brother Tularg, what’s happening?” Mes asked when he saw Tularg and the others breaking their line.
“Ilen-Tar is leading the first realm experts. We need no hold them back until big brother Simel and big sister Zetsa finish their job…” Tularg gave Mes and the rest of his line a concise answer.
“A third level Core Master!” Ham-Bar bear like face became solemn.
“If he’ll attack, big sister Hagen will intervene”. Tularg hastily said and took upon himself to further command his Martial brothers and sisters and allies. “Don’t think about it too much, all the Core Master, spread and support the defensive line of the first realm experts!”
By the time the order came, Ilen-Tar already began to shift the movement of his side’s first realm experts. To be quick and brutal, he sent word to the two thousand first realm experts that were gathered from the tribes allied with Karns and Kardelion to flank the enemy from where they already have been situated, positioned on the left of the battlefield, while he lead his close to five thousand beast kin from the right.
The collision between the two sides was akin to one side being the large tidal waves of a roaring sea, while the other being a cluster of resilient rocks.
Tularg ordered to endure, Ilen-Tar ordered to push and the war proceeded.
With the additional support of the Core Masters experts, the first realm expert under Tularg felt a sense of relief despite the disparity in numbers.
Ilen-Tar frowned, he was not ready yet to personally join the fight, but his forces were being held back and the advancement of the Core Masters utilizing the protective formation, under Hagen’s constant assaults, was taking too long.
‘That little bird will breach the formation before it would be in a position to do me any good. If it will come to this, I would have to rearrange my plan…’ Ilen-Tar carefully assessed the progression of his army to the spot, which in his estimation, would be out of the range of Simel’s and Zetsa’s formation. ‘Better avoid the unexpected. Those two might complete the formation by the time the Core Masters line will be properly positioned’.
As he saw it, if Hagen will cause the Core Masters to lower their formation, they will immediately disperse to fight the weaker enemy’s lines. At such an occurrence, he, as the sole expert above the second level of the Core Master realm who had yet to find an opponent, will have to deal with Hagen before she will exterminate the Core Masters line. Since Ilen-Tar did not have confidence facing against Hagen, he chose to accelerate toward his goal.
“Where is he?!” Tularg’s eyes flashed in apprehension. A moment ago his gaze was fixated on Ilen-Tar and now he is gone. “This fluctuation!” His jaguar turned toward the northwest side of their defensive line. What he sense emanating from there gave his nine meters long doted body the chills. It was the fluctuation of at least seventeen Mist Masters, in the midst of agitating their mist energy for a devastating mist detonation.
“Shulip!” Tularg roared. Azure mist energy burst from his animalistic body and enchanted every part of with explosive strength.
Shulip was supporting the northwest line, and although her cultivation level was at the Advanced phase of the Mist Lord level and her body fitness level already at the Peak of the fourth gate of the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement, even she could not withstand the blast of seventeen Mist Master detonating their mist energy.
Thus, with the notion that his youngest Martial sister is at risk, Tularg went mad.
Shulip was a Lakes Griffon, in her animalistic form her size was even a tad larger than Tularg’s and many of the first realm experts she was currently facing.
‘The furless rats changing their assault…’ Something seemed strange to her, then she sensed the aura of a seventeen furless rats in the Mist Master level flatter and their mist energy moving weirdly. ‘Mist detonation!’ She deduced right away, but still had hard time believing.
Her line was composed for several hundred experts, while the enemy at the front had over a thousand. If a mist detonation will be carried out, than although her line will fall, the enemy will lose five times or more the amount of experts. Now, realizing that it is not one Mist User that was sent to commit a suicide attack but seventeen, the complexion of Shulip’s dark blue feathers turned paled.
A familiar voice suddenly called from behind. Shulip turned her griffon head, only to see Tularg rushing to her direction.
‘Big brother Tularg…’ Shulip saw the madness in his eyes and guessed what infuriated him. Also, unlike Hagen she could not transmit her voice and with her delicate vocal cords, in the hubbub of war, would have needed to amplify her voice to be able to respond to Tularg. ‘You can’t, even if you’ll stop the blast, you’ll be thoroughly exhausted and become their target’.
It was obvious to Shulip what would be the consequence of seventeen mist detonations and how weak Tularg would be after obstructing the radius of the blast from spreading. Afterwards, even if mostly unharmed, her line will still fall and not only a Core Master like her big brother Tularg would be instantly targeted, but her Master’s plan will also be put at a great risk.
Shulip’s dark golden aura wavered, but it was not a sign of submission, but a testament to herself that she will not let her big brother die, will not let her Master’s plan fail and endanger the safety of the household.
She turned toward the enemy’s forced, the direction of the incoming seventeen mist detonations and agitated the mist in her own dantian.
The fluctuations of eighteen approaching mist detonations have startled the whole battlefield and the numerous battles became sluggish for a fragment of second as the many experts tried to locate and understand what is going on.
However, from all the experts on the battlefield who could block, in one fashion or another, the explosion, only two were close enough to react, Ilen-Tar and Tularg.
Tularg sensed the fluctuations of Shulip’s mist energy growing aggressive and unstable, per her decision to make a sacrifice and counter the enemy, all because Ilen-Tar sudden disappearance that was followed by this predicament.
As a bodily cultivator, Tularg knew that Shuilp had the capabilities to direct the blast of her mist detonation, but her body fitness level was insufficient to prevent from the explosion to eventually destroy her body along with her soul and spirit.
“Stupid little girl, DON’T YOU DARE!” Tularg pounced forward with his hind legs, his aura erupted in fiery red and icy blue as in his mist channels his liquefied mist energy burnt like lave and froze like ice.
Breaking sounds manifested as Tularg’s body could not handle the outburst of mist energy and tearing sounds followed suit as his muscles stretched beyond their limit and tore.
Before Shulip could react to his raging shout, Tularg was already beside her, bleeding from his eyes, nose, ears and mouth.
Tularg sent Shulip flying hundreds of meters back. With the same, almost viscous, strike her channeled his mist energy to her dantian and forcefully subsided the mist energy inside before sealing it.
Getting her out of his way, Tularg roared and crossed to the enemy’s line. Finding Ilen-Tar with his bloodthirsty gaze, he saw him hiding quite close to the seventeen furless rats about to explode, seemingly carefree due to his power of the third level of the Core Master realm, which was enough to defend himself.
Tularg channeled all his mist energy to his dantian and agitated it in a speed far surpassing the seventeen furless rats.
Targeting Ilen-Tar, the seventeen and as many other furless rats as possible, last thing Tularg saw before detonating his mist energy was Ilen-Tar incredulous, frightened mien.