A moon of cold, pale gray rock, shrouded in thin clouds of mist and dust, hung above the sky of the realm.

In the furthest corners of its dark side, three demons sat in a circle.

Three archdemons.

The first was an extremely muscular and tall demon with a wide open mouth full of sharp teeth. It had dozens of eyes all over its forehead, and a bundle of sharp spikes grew out of its head in the place of hair.

The demon, a scrawny one wrapped in brownish-red bandages. Its two beady eyes were the only part of its body peeking behind them.

The last demon was covered underneath a pitch-black hood, wearing a blank white mask, two perfectly round eye holes the only features on it. There was no light behind those eyeholes.

None whatsoever.

The bandaged demon growled in a low, feral voice, words punctuated with groans and heavy breaths.

“We... Have... A problem.”

The hooded demon responded with a voice that sounded like a sinister whisper.


The demon with spiked hair raised its head and talked in a distinctly male voice with an uncanny undertone that made it feel fake and deceitful.

“What’s the deal? Did you feel something?”

The hooded demon nodded.

“Someone had broken one of the Master's curses.”

The demon with spiked hair groaned and asked.

“That is problematic, but it happens occasionally. Anything special this time?.”

Then the bandaged demon spoke up.

“You… Do not… Get it. It… Wasn’t… Shattered… Or… Annulled. It was… Broken.”

The demon with spiky hair slowly blinked its dozens of eyes.

“Oh, that’s a big problem.”

The hooded demon added.

“It wasn’t one of the gods’ servants.”

“How can you tell?”

“Because of the location. The continent of Xinkummar.”

The bandaged demon nodded.

“Ah… The one… That… Even… The gods…”

“... Abandoned.“


The sun shone high above the ruins of the Zearthorn sect. It was the day after its disbanding and annihilation. Few among the many members of the former sect had dared to step foot into the rubble, but not none. Among the few that scoured the debris was Hunter.

He looked disheveled and distressed. He had been digging through the debris since dawn, and it was already well past noon. He was tired. Not from the labor, of course, the endurance of a bronze path cultivator wasn’t something to scoff at.

All the crying, however, had thoroughly exhausted him.

Hunter’s mother was dead. The person supposed to be his future wife defended his mother’s killer with her life.

And his father had lost his mind and destroyed the entire damn sect.

Hunter was lost. He had never left the sect premises before. To him, the Zearthorn sect was his entire world. Now he needed direction. He needed a path to move down, a goal to aspire to, and a desire to drive his steps and move him forward.

The times of crying have passed for Hunter. It was time to move on.

He removed some debris and found the corner of a red object poking out from beneath the rubble. He pulled it out. It was the hardcover of the death tome, perfectly intact even after the technique his father had used.

There was only one thing he could think of.

It was time to get his revenge.


Kaphor opened his eyes. He was buried beneath the rubble. His left leg, half his jaw, and three fingers on his left hand were gone. Every inch of his skin was lined with shallow cuts, a layer of dried blood coating every inch of his body.

He looked a lot older than he did last night.

Ah… I have not made it to the afterlife yet, it seems.

He chuckled. It was a lethargic and humorless laugh.

His damned spirit power had saved him.

Nobody knew of Kaphor’s third spirit power. It was his greatest secret. If any attack threatened his life, this power burned through his life force to create a barrier. He was thrilled to have this power once.

After all, better alive than dead, no matter the cost, right?

What a stupid fucking decision. Now he wanted to kill himself.

His chances of survival were moderate, but his odds of regaining his former glory were slim. Why bother anyway?

The sect was gone. He had planned for so long to one day take the sect over and become the next sect master. Now it was all gone, crumbled to literal debris his almost-corpse was buried in.

He remembered Neave. That horrid child. The one that had ruined absolutely everything. He felt deep embarrassment at the thought of Neave. After all, that child made him feel deeply afraid.

Unhesitantly, he sacrificed an arm to win the fight.

Who did that? Who could, even among the greatest of experts, have such determination? Losing a limb was no joke. Recovering a lost limb was a tremendous challenge.

And that skill… He fought like an expert with hundreds of years of experience—or even thousands. What the hell was that death tome? Could it have indeed been some sacred lost treasure of the gods?

Neave manipulated life force and used true strikes and movement techniques that could teleport him around. Yet, it was clear he was nowhere near the golden path. Kaphor was wondering if he was even on the iron path. The most concerning thing was that he couldn’t tell.

Neave’s presence was nonexistent. The secret behind that alone was worth torturing out of someone.

If he had known what that book was before, he would have unhesitantly risked his life to attempt to touch it.

Could it be possible to somehow steal the benefits of that treasure from Neave?

He chortled at that one. This time he genuinely found the thought funny. It was a ridiculous idea, one born of despair and defeat.

As Kaphor lay among the rubble, it became apparent that he would survive. But should he? He felt the phantom aches of his missing limbs. He felt the rough stone debris rubbing against his raw skin.

Even though his body was alive, his life was over. There was nothing left to live for. He didn’t even desire revenge. He couldn’t bring any hate or rage out of his heart.

His defeat had been overwhelming and thorough. Revenge was impossible.

As the hours passed, Kaphor reached closer and closer to the decision to end it all. Yet, he never quite made that decision.

Was that really what was possible in the foundation realm? Could a mortal child truly gain so much power in a single day?

In the void left behind by all that had been taken from him, this question settled and refused to leave.

Kaphor had been truly narrow-minded. About cultivation. About potential. If that was possible at the foundation realm, then what was possible on the silver path? Kaphor made another decision instead. His arm broke out of the rubble, and he crawled from beneath the debris.

Rather than die as a decrepit cripple, he would at least try to find out.

He would seek the true potential of the path.


Harel searched around in her spirit senses for qi strands. She had received incredible inspiration from witnessing the sect master annihilate the sect. In a single cultivation session, it pushed her growth faster than ever before, even after days of work before the lotus.

But it was a drop in the bucket compared to the inspiration Neave had granted her. She still remembered him grabbing the saber. At first, it was clear that it was far too heavy for him. But when he started swinging it…

The imbalance miraculously transformed from a disadvantage to a strength.

The way he swayed and swung, pierced and thrust, all while maintaining perfect posture on the points of glass shards.

The more she remembered his movements, the more she felt like she had witnessed something beyond.

Something divine.

Like passionate monks praising their god, the weapons lining the chamber begged to be used as tools of war and destruction. It gave her chills just thinking about it.

She grabbed another qi strand and placed it into her core. Then she opened her eyes.

The sect master, or rather, Marven, sat leaning against a tree. He now lacked a lot of the… Civility he once had. He sat like a drunkard, appropriate given the pile of empty bottles next to him.

After he had destroyed the sect, they didn’t discuss what they would do. He had offered to take her to a prominent sect, but she didn’t feel like bringing that up. She’d feel awful leaving him alone like this.

He was an absolute mess. His emotions were like a pendulum as he went from melancholy to manic laughter in a matter of minutes. She tried chatting with him, if anything, to distract him for a few minutes. She racked her mind and came up with a question.

“Sec- I mean, Marven…?”

“You can call me Marv, Harel.”

“Uh, alright. I just wanted to ask you something… Marv.” She felt like she was swallowing worms as she referred to the great sect master as ‘Marv’ but pushed through it for his sake. “What do you think Neave’s cultivation was?”

“I can tell, judging by his physical abilities, that it must have been the foundation realm. But would you believe me if I told you that even I couldn't sense his spirit?”

Harel was shocked, bewildered, even. Neave could hide his cultivation from someone on the platinum path? And the foundation realm? That power level, let alone the foundation realm, should have been impossible on the iron path.

“How is that even possible!?”

Marven laughed so hard he almost cried.

“He did something… Hahaha, he did… He did something so crazy I’m not even sure I believe what I saw. He wrapped his spirit in a thin layer of life force. How is that even possible!?”

“... What?” She had no idea what the implications of that were.

At all.

After all, she wasn’t a scholar on the matters of cultivation. She was still only thirteen years old.

“Well, for starters, he can manipulate life force. Better than it should be even theoretically possible. Better than I can, at least. He used his life force manipulation to wrap it around his spirit.”

“How does that hide his cultivation rank?”

“Think of it like this. You can’t see through a wall, can you? It’s kind of like that but for spiritual senses.”

Harel still didn’t know how impressive that was, but it must be an incredible feat if Marven spoke of it like that.

“What made you so sure that a demonic spirit didn’t possess Neave?”

“Nothing. I still have no clue what happened to him.”

“Then why did you let him go?”

“Well, if a demonic spirit possesses him, it didn’t hijack his personality. That’s the most I can tell for certain.”

Harel pondered that and nodded. She felt like she had warmed him up enough through small talk to drop a more serious question.

“So, what do we do now?”

Marven again started laughing at that one, and, this time, his laughter fully turned to tears.

“I don’t know… I really don’t know, Harel. I just don’t. I feel so lost, and I have no idea what to do.”

Harel thought for a while, observing the teary-eyed Marven as he protected his masculinity by hiding his tears. Eventually, she decided.

She got on her knees and prostrated herself.

“What are you doing?”

“Disciple Harel greets Master Marven!”

“No, don’t do that. Get up.”

“I refuse!”

“Please, please just get off the ground. I would never let you ruin your future by doing that.”

“You’ve told me you’d ask a selfish request of me when we were on the mountain.” She lifted her head and looked him in the eyes. “I want to ask a selfish request of you in return. Teach me the true swordsmanship of the Zearthorn… No, teach me the ways of your sword…” She paused, then she added.



The aftermath of war had one defining quality few soldiers ever forgot. It stank.

It was hard to answer whether there was much glory in death from battle when one knew that the dead crap themselves. And sometimes urinate as well. Not everyone did. Seasoned soldiers joked about whether someone was a crapper or a pisser while alive. Or both. When they found out they were right, they laughed.

It was easier that way once they inevitably lost someone.

Such were the lives of those who fought in wars against their will. But this coin had a flip side. A very dark flip side indeed.

Those born and raised in demonic sects did not need such coping mechanisms. Demonic cultivators weren’t known for their compassion, whether for the lives of their enemies or their sect members.

Nobody did war quite as passionately as the Crimson Ember sect. They wore their demonic sect status as a badge of honor. Over their relatively long lifespan as a demonic sect, they had become masters at skirting what acceptable behavior for a sect of the empire was. Just because a sect was demonic didn’t mean the Empire immediately annihilated them.

For as long as they keep their behavior within the set rules, nobody would go out of their way against them. There were quite a few sects that wanted to annihilate them all anyway, but it wasn't only a moral question.

It was also a matter of power.

Demonic sects tended to wage war against one another very frequently anyway. Best, let them take each other out. Besides, there were many positives to living in settlements protected by demonic sects.

One was meager crime rates.

Mostly because demonic sects had entire platoons of cultivators dedicated to, let’s say, fighting crime. The younger generations had to practice killing somehow, after all. And demonic sects were quite strict with their criteria of what constituted a crime. For supply reasons.

Another excellent source of killable people was war! After all, it was hard to say war prisoners were people anyway.

Such was the opinion of one man.

After a gruesome battle, he swaggered back to his command tent as if returning from a walk. Judging by the layers of gore and blood on his armor, it was an exciting stroll indeed. He was a handsome blonde man with sharp green eyes. He wore gigantic golden armor with a red cape fluttering behind him. He had an executioner's blade sheathed on his hip. It wasn't made of gold. It was a platinum-rank metal called horginium. Gold was dirt cheap in comparison to this material, especially in the amounts this individual carried on his person.

He stepped into the command tent. There was a heated discussion about the tactics of the ensuing battle, the logistics of looting the enemy bodies and imprisoning and enslaving those that surrendered or were captured. When this man stepped into the command tent, everyone shut up and got up to salute him.


He raised his hand and dismissed them as he walked over to his table in the corner. He had a report to write. He didn’t even really bother cleaning his armor. There would be another fight in a few hours, so he would get it dirty anyway. After a mere few minutes of writing, a messenger entered the tent. It was a rather young lad. The general smiled in satisfaction as the boy was exactly his type.

As he saluted the general, the messenger shook like a leaf in the wind.

How cute.

“Tell me, boy, have you come bearing news about the enemy?”

“No, sir, I… I have some news for you specifically.”

The general raised an eyebrow at that one.

“And exactly what may the news be, pray tell?”

“The… The Zearthorn sect has been annihilated, and its members have scattered.”

The general dropped his pen. It was the only sound in the room as everybody had gone deathly silent upon hearing the news.


A dignified man sat on a wooden throne in a medium-sized room. The room was built out of beautifully polished and well-worked wood, but the wood was nothing special. He nodded as a man in armor stood before him and read off parchment. It was a report on recent happenings within the empire.

The man sitting on the throne looked middle-aged but highly well-maintained. His hair had speckles of white scattered around the ears, and his bushy beard also shared a few gray hairs.

His face was manly and magnificent, while his body was chiseled in pure muscle. His gray hairs weren't a sign of his age, however. He had gray hair ever since he was a teenager. It made sense that they weren’t a sign of old age. After all…

Diamond rank cultivators did not show signs of old age.

The armored man put his hand over his fist, bowed, and exclaimed.

“That is all, Emperor!”

The man sitting on the throne, or rather, the Emperor of the Yixine Empire, Jeevian Lloude Dust, waved at the man.

“You are dismissed.”

The armored man walked out of the room at a brisk pace.

After being left alone, the emperor got up, scratched his head, and paced around the room.

“...What the fuck?”

He usually tried to keep his dignity even when alone, but he made an exception this one time. He had just received one of the most absurd reports he’d ever heard in his life.

The report about the destruction of the Zearthorn sect made no sense whatsoever. Worst yet, the witness reports were consistent on the most confounding details.

A child that had been a mortal touched some cursed book and slaughtered several elders on the silver path. The child might as well be omnipotent, judging by what the witnesses had said.

Teleportation, master swordsmanship, at least four different true strikes, hell, some even claimed he could manipulate life force! The witnesses were also adamant that the child couldn’t have been further than the first step of the iron path. Yet, they couldn’t tell since he had wholly hidden his cultivation from everyone.

The child had killed an elder on the upper end of the third step of the silver path. That would make it an eight-step difference in power. Nobody had ever defeated someone eight steps above them in direct combat. While this was ridiculous, the witness reports were somewhat consistent on what the child could do.

But no two people agreed on how the sect was destroyed.

Some said the sect master had been possessed, others said he went crazy and declared their sect demonic, yet others claimed he had always been an evil bastard.

A few even claimed that the destruction was a conspiracy by several elders and that the sect master was, in truth, dead, and this was just a cover-up.

“I guess I have no choice.”

He would have to see for himself.


The news of the Zearthorn sect’s destruction spread through the empire like wildfire. As the information traveled further and further, the distortion of truth escalated. Some claimed a ‘God Child’ had descended from the heavens and punished an evil sect.

Others claimed the child was a reincarnated devil. Some even claimed it wasn’t a young boy but a young girl. Some were adamant that it was a humanoid monster or a spirit beast. Many others merely dismissed all the gossip as rumors.

As the consequences of the destruction of the Zearthorn sect rippled through the empire, and even outside it, to Neave, this didn’t matter at all.

He had more pressing matters on hand.

Such as the fact that, at this rate…

He was almost definitely going to die.


Support "The Jester of Apocalypse [BOOK 2 FINISHED]"

About the author

Robert Blaise

Bio: Man do I love recursion. Man do I love recursion. Man do I love recursion. Man do I love...

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