- [Vol 5] Chapter 61: Purpose and Direction
- [Vol 5] Chapter 62: Lydia Bastich
- [Vol 5] Chapter 63: Follow Me
- [Vol 5] Chapter 64: Control Destiny
- [Vol 5] Chapter 65: City of Kahn
- [Vol 5] Chapter 66: Rosemary Inn
- [Vol 5] Chapter 67: The First Flame
- [Vol 5] Chapter 68: Orders from the West
- [Vol 5] Chapter 69: Rogue Martial Artist
- Coming Soon
Update on Project Gender Bender
- [Vol 4] Chapter 46: Jurong Family Decision
- [Vol 4] Chapter 47: Envoy
- [Vol 4] Chapter 48: Envoy 2
- [Vol 4] Chapter 49: Battle at the city square 1
- [Vol 4] Chapter 50: Battle at the city square 2
- [Vol 4] Chapter 51: Battle at the city square 3
- [Vol 4] Chapter 52: Battle at the city square 4
- [Vol 4] Chapter 53: Surprising Appearance
- [Vol 4] Chapter 54: Ignorance
- [Vol 4] Chapter 55: Svecko’s Power
- [Vol 4] Chapter 56: New Arrival
- [Vol 4] Chapter 57: Songs of my sword
- [Vol 4] Chapter 58: Enlightenment
- [Vol 4] Chapter 59: Announcement
- [Vol 4] Chapter 60: Descent of the gods
- [Vol 3] Chapter 31: Queen of Mischief
- [Vol 3] Chapter 32: Frustrations
- [Vol 3] Chapter 33: Surprising Reunion
- [Vol 3] Chapter 34: Blue Mist Bandit
- [Vol 3] Chapter 35: Demon Shaped Man
- [Vol 3] Chapter 36: Battle of the Giants
- [Vol 3] Chapter 37: Elements and the Laws
- [Vol 3] Chapter 38: The Darkness
- [Vol 3] Chapter 39: Floating Havanas
- [Vol 3] Chapter 40: Aorah’s Past 1
- [Vol 3] Chapter 41: Aorah’s Past 2
- [Vol 3] Chapter 42: Saint Level Battle 1
- [Vol 3] Chapter 43: Saint Level Battle 2
- [Vol 3] Chapter 44: Mercy
- [Vol 3] Chapter 45: The Return
- [Vol 2] Chapter 16: Assassins
- [Vol 2] Chapter 17: Holding Out
- [Vol 2] Chapter 18: Breakthrough
- [Vol 2] Chapter 19: Young Master Sebastian
- [Vol 2] Chapter 20: Good Friends
- [Vol 2] Chapter 21: Dangers of the Red forest
- [Vol 2] Chapter 22: My Slave
- [Vol 2] Chapter 23: Will you be missed?
- [Vol 2] Chapter 24: Earth Element Technique
- [Vol 2] Chapter 25: Ade Minya
- [Vol 2] Chapter 26: Suppressing the Enemy
- [Vol 2] Chapter 27: Suppressing the Enemy 2
- [Vol 2] Chapter 28: Suppressing the Enemy 3
- [Vol 2] Chapter 29: Dazzling Jewel
- [Vol 2] Chapter 30: New Beginnings
- [Vol 1] Chapter 1: Thanus
- [Vol 1] Chapter 2: Mortal
- [Vol 1] Chapter 3: Graduation
- [Vol 1] Chapter 4: Real Genius
- [Vol 1] Chapter 5: Martial Skill
- [Vol 1] Chapter 6: Demands
- [Vol 1] Chapter 7: Departure
- [Vol 1] Chapter 8: True Monster
- [Vol 1] Chapter 9: Azeya’s Death
- [Vol 1] Chapter 10: Blood Challenge
- [Vol 1] Chapter 11: Origins
- [Vol 1] Chapter 12: Young Master Asyut
- [Vol 1] Chapter 13: Strengthening the Soul
- [Vol 1] Chapter 14: Living Fire Plant
- [Vol 1] Chapter 15: Rat in a Trap
In a big mansion over at the city of Khan, a young man was peacefully sleeping, when a loud commotion suddenly woke him up. “What the hell is going on?” the young man angrily yelled as he rushed out of his lavish room. Outside of his room, stood two maids who bowed respectfully to the young man. “Master, a report just came in. Two warriors were killed within the city.” One of the maids said.
“So what? Why the hell did you disturb my sleep because of this nonsense?” The young man responded in obvious anger.
“Master, sir Bolget and sir Manul were the ones that got killed.” The maid hastily responded.
“What?” The young man uncontrollable asked in shock. “Where is Vice captain Lindel?”
“Master, Vice captain Lindel is waiting outside.”
The young man rushed back into his room to quickly change his attire. If it had been two lower level warriors that had died, it wouldn’t really be much of an issue that he had to intervene, but the current situation was that two elementary level warriors were killed within the city of Kahn. That was an unforgivable crime. That represented a significant drop in the military power of the Khan household. It wasn’t particularly easy to recruit or train elementary energy level experts, and now they had lost two in one night.
“Lindel, what the hell happened?” The young man said as he rushed out of the house. He looked particularly tense as he stared at Lindel waiting for a response.
“Captain Kaylin.” the woman, Lindel, said as she immediately bowed.
“How did Bolget and Manul end up dead?” Kaylin asked again.
“Not sure about the details captain, but Oaklif from the Bastich house reported that he witnessed the entire thing.”
“Where is Oaklif?” Kaylin asked impatiently.
“He is waiting at camp one.”
Kaylin, Lindel and the surrounding guards quickly made their way back to camp one, where Lindel had previously interrogated Oaklif before placing him on arrest. “How could this have happened? How would I be able to explain what had happened here today to the other captains and the Kahn household?” Kaylin thought as he rushed to the camp that Oaklif was currently being held. One of Kaylin’s biggest fears was that the culprits would have escaped from the city without anyone noticing. And if that were to happen, even his position wouldn’t be safe.
“Who the hell are these rogue martial artist the Bastich ***** brought to my city?” Kaylin inwardly cursed. Right now, he was in a terrible mood and also quite nervous. Although he was stronger than Moore, Bolget and Manul, he wasn’t completely confident in his ability to take on the three of them at the same time and come out without any significant injury. “Hmm. He must have used an unknown method to defeat them. Anyone that capable would be well known around the kingdom.”
Not long after they set out, they reached the camp. Oaklif was placed in a room awaiting some interrogation. Oaklif sat on a chair at one corner of a table, with his arms tied up. As Kaylin walked into the room, the atmosphere immediately changed. From his demeanor, it was clear that he was angry and impatient. “How the hell did Bolget and Manul end up dead?” he asked.
“Captain, sir Bolget and Manul were helping me reprehend a criminal of the Bastich household, when they were blindsided by one of the criminals.” Oaklif responded.
“Blindsided you say.” Kaylin said as he slowly walked towards Oaklif. From the look on Kaylin’s face, Oaklif could tell Kaylin wasn’t buying his story. Oaklif’s expression immediately as he tried to get up and explain. Before he could move, Kaylin slammed his palm on the table in front of him, instantly disintegrating the entire table to fine dust. That drove a new found sense of fear in Oaklif’s mind. At this point, Oaklif knew he was walking a fine line between life and death.
“Do you take me for a fool?” Kaylin said as he walked closer towards Oaklif.
“No captain. Let me explain.” Oaklif said before he began narrating the exact account of what had happened from his perspective. Bravery was never one of Oaklif’s qualities, and after Kaylin’s display, Oaklif gave up any sense loyalty. Out of fear for his life Oaklif even narrated the entire story, including his instructions from the crowned prince of the Bastich household.
Moments later, Kaylin left the camp with an even bigger frown on his face. “Damn the Bastich household. What kind problem have they brought to my city?” Kaylin caused as he and a group of warriors rushed to the Rosemary inn. Within a couple of minutes, Kaylin’s group of warriors got to the vicinity of the Rosemary inn. On their way to the inn, Kaylin had been thinking about the entire situation, and from what Oaklif had told him about the youth that was the leader of the group, he wasn’t completely certain in their victory. With more thought on the situation Kaylin decided it was best he approached the situation with some caution.
“Listen up, none of you should enter the inn with me. Wait out here and let me know if you see anything suspicious.” Kaylin said as he walked in. As Kaylin
Over at the northern borders of the southern continent, the fighting had mysteriously stopped. Not even a single northern warrior could be seen within the borders. This mysterious event had sent tremors through the ranks of generals at the northern border. Within one of the camps at the northern border, there was a meeting of the generals of the southern continent army currently ongoing.
“This is an unprecedented event in the history of the four continents. We need stride with caution, or else we might fall into a well planned scheme.” A tall lanky man, who had a general armor on said.
“I disagree, general Lunell.” A short bulky man, said as he got up. “I think the various kingdoms of the north are feeling our overwhelming strength and have finally cowed into hiding.” He said as he took of his helmet, showing his wildly grown beard and disheveled balding hair. “I say we strike now while the cut is still fresh and put an end to all this.” He said ending his statement.
“An unguided response to a situation we do not fully grasp cannot be our immediate course of action. With all due respect general Gardez, what you are suggesting could disable the entire southern continent,” the tall lanky man responded.
More arguments for both side were going on as the generals tried to come to a decision on what to do. Seated quietly at the far end of the conversation was someone that Willard was familiar with. This was lord Jayesh of the Gerret household. He quietly observed the discussion without adding to them. Jayesh was currently preoccupied with thoughts of his own. “What did the metal saint mean by all that? Could that be related to what is happening here at the Northern borders?” He thought before moving his gaze to the tall lanky man who was currently speaking.
“I employ you to be prudent, and not give way to your emotions. Right now, more than ever, we need to be calm and study the situation. It is my recommendation that we send a party to go investigate the situation within the northern states.” The tall lanky man, general Lunell, said.
“I second general Lunell’s suggestion,” Jayesh said as he slowly stood up to address the group. “Now more than ever, we can’t be rash. Never in the recorded history of the northern lands, has there been an event like this. I suggest we approach this with caution.”
The conversation continued for a little bit longer before the generals decided on a course of action. They decided to follow general Lunell’s original suggestion of sending a scouting party into the northern states to verify the state of the region in large. After the meeting came to an end, general Jayesh and Lunell walked to a remote corner of the military camp.
“General Jayesh, from your actions, I can tell you have more information on the matters of the Northern states.” Lunell said with a reserved look. “What i’m more interested in is why you decided not to divulge the information to the other generals.” Jayesh stared at Lunnell with an appreciative smile. He knew the different temperaments of the generals, but he especially appreciated Lunell’s ability to judge situations.
“Incisive as ever Lunell.” Jayesh said with a smile, before staring into the distance. “You are right, I do know a little bit more about the situation, but I don’t know enough to make a statement about it. All I can say is; there is a war coming to the four continents, and the Northern continent are the spark to light that fire.” After hearing Jayesh’s words, Lunell nodded and walked back towards the camp. Lunell was generally acknowledged as the strongest strategist of the southern continent, and as such his ability to understand and accurately judge situations were of the highest order. From their conversation, Lunell could extrapolate the situation involved more than the armies of the continent, it probably involved saints of the four continents.
“For Jayesh to say that much, it means he was probably contacted by that saint and told not to divulge the contents of their meeting. That was probably done so as to not cause any panic. If that’s the case, this is a much more serious issue than I had previously thought.” Lunell said to himself as he walked back to his base.
Over at the Rosemary Inn, darkness was slowly starting to give way to the break of dawn. The warriors from the city Kahn, were standing outside the vicinity of the Inn, as they patiently waited for their orders. Within the Rosemary Inn, Kaylin was patiently sitting in front of the stairs. To anyone watching, his actions might have seemed very strange, but to Kaylin himself, he knew this was the best course of action. After thinking through the situation, Kaylin came to the conclusion that it would be better to not be overly aggressive with this person. He wanted to see the rogue martial artist for himself before deciding on what to do.
“Your patience is admirable!” Willard said as he walked down the final stair, jolting Kaylin from his seat. Kaylin stared at Willard with a weary look on his face. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. At this moment, Kaylin’s mind was in shock, but outwardly, he did not express any of the shock he was experiencing. “How on earth could I not have heard him walk down? And how can he be this young?” Kaylin silently thanked his stars that he had decided to wait for this martial artist, rather than take the aggressive approach.
“How can we help you? I don’t believe you waited this long just to stare at me,” Willard continued.
“I am Kaylin, captain of the city guard. I got a report saying you and your group were responsible for killing two of our warriors, is this true?” Kaylin asked with a stern look? Although Kaylin wasn’t confident in his victory if he solely fought against the person in front of him, he still wouldn’t completely back down. If he was the type to back down from a fight, he would never have gotten to his current position.
“Yes that’s true.” Willard said staring straight at Kaylin. Kaylin in turn frowned as he heard Willard’s response. If it were anyone else, he would have attacked them, but the person in front of him gave him predatorial feeling, one that he hadn’t felt in a while. “Why did you kill them?” Kaylin asked again. Although he knew the details of what had happened, he still needed to get some kind of justification from him.
“They attacked me, so I naturally killed them.” Willard said with the same look on his face.
“It is against the law of this city to kill a warrior of the Khan household. No matter their crimes, it is something that everyone has to be accountable for.”
“Are you willing to come with and make this report to the Khan household?” Kaylin asked. Kaylin knew trying to forcefully bring this rogue martial artist in, would probably not be possible for him. Although the chances of him going peacefully were low, he still wanted to give it a try.
“I am not willing!” Willard directly responded. Kaylin sighed as he slowly reached for the short blade on his waist. “How about this, present this to the Khan household.” Willard said as he reached for an object in his pouch. Kaylin expression gradually changed as he recognized the object. “Summon token!”
As Willard made his way towards where Ahmed and the other fighters were, Moore subconsciously took a couple of steps backward. He stared at Baya, who was currently holding on to his left arm. “What in the world? Don’t tell me another one of them is at the elemental energy level as well.” The man with the scar on his face said as he gripped his whip even more tightly
It was already tough enough, dealing with Ahmed as it was, the addition of another elemental energy expert would be some trouble for them. “Are you having some trouble, Ahmed?” Willard asked in the same usual nonchalant tone. Ahmed’s eyebrow slightly furrowed. He did not want to admit to Willard that he was indeed having some troubles, but the reality of things was that he really couldn’t best the group in front of him.
Oaklif who was in the background amongst some nearby spectators frowned as he saw Lydia walking beside Baya. “Moore, get rid of her quickly.” He yelled. From the current battle that he had witnessed, he could tell that these people were no push over. He also knew that the most important thing at this point was to cut off the biggest loose end in the entire situation, which meant they had to kill Lydia. Even if they couldn’t successfully kill everyone else, they most definitely had to kill Lydia.
Moore who was subconsciously shrinking away, inwardly cursed at Oaklif. “Stupid *******. Why don’t you kill her yourself.” he silently thought to himself. Although he felt this way, he couldn’t express this inner thought or show its existence. Moore braved himself and faced Willard’s group. Almost as if nothing had happened, Willard continued staring at Ahmed. “Master it will take me quite some time to deal with this.” Ahmed honestly responded.
“I see. Well, we need to get some rest soon.” Willard responded moving his gaze to the three people who were in front of Ahmed.
After hearing Willard’s response, the two warriors, from the Kahn household, and Moore were shocked. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing. For someone as strong as Ahmed to call another person his master, was no small thing. Even if Ahmed was a hired hand, it will take much more than just money to make an elemental energy expert to call another his master. So with that thought process, it could be understood as to why the three men were surprised. After some quick thought, a new found sense of fear gripped Moore’s entire existence. Moore fully remembered the warning Anjara had given Oaklif about the group. Moore instantly used all of his might to gather fire elemental energy to his blade. Before anyone else could do a thing, Willard stretched his right hand in their direction, instantaneously causing three distinct earth spike to shoot up from the ground aiming straight at Ahmed’s three opponents.
Moore who had been somewhat in a prepared state immediately swung his blade, which was currently covered in flames, at the protruding earth spike. The collision was loud and also caused a large amount of dust to fill their surrounding. The force of the impact left Moore’s hands numb, and also sent him flying in the opposite direction. The other two weren’t as lucky as Moore as the earth spike stabbed through their body, directly ripping fist sized holes in their body, impaling and effectively executing them on the spot.
The crowd, which included Oaklif, that had been watching from the sides immediately scattered into a frantic craze as started running in multiple directions. Although this scene was strange to Willard, Ahmed, and Baya, the others present knew why that was the case. Willard had just killed warriors from the Kahn household within the city of Kahn. There could be said to be fewer taboo’s committed by any visitor within the city limits.
Willard had a strange expression on his face as he walked towards where Moore had been sent flying towards. A strange light flickered through Willards eyes as he stared at Moore. Ahmed who was closely monitoring the entire situation immediately recognized that look on Willard’s face. He had previously seen those eyes when Willard had pursued him. Ahmed smiled as he watched the entire thing. “That’s the same look this fiend gave me when he pursued me.” Ahmed thought to himself. Ahmed was quite delighted at the prospect of Willard forcing another elemental energy expert to join him. For some strange reason, the idea of it greatly delighted him. But as Willard approached Moore, he turned to stare at Baya before moving his gaze back to Moore. Willard shook his head before adorning a smile. “Since you were able to survive that attack, you can keep your life,” he said before walking back towards the Rosemary Inn.
The expression on Ahmed’s face changed. “How come you let him go and ask me to follow you?” Ahmed silently thought to himself. Although Ahmed felt slightly wronged at the situation, he did not dare express any of that. Baya, on the other hand, was puzzled as to why Willard had stared at him before finally nodding his head. Lydia, on the other hand, was disappointed. She had hoped Willard would kill Moore, but she wasn’t in a position to ask anything of him. She couldn’t afford to antagonize Willard in any form whatsoever.
Over at some remote corner of the Western continent, a man wearing a white outfit was rapidly flying through the skies. His expression was one of anger as he frowned throughout his journey. He passed several terrains with strange and marvelous natural sights. At a certain region riddled with volcanoes of varying sizes, the man flew towards the center of the region, where a giant volcano was passively active, he dropped from the skies and lightly floated on top of the volcano. Little eruptions could be seen as magma bubbled and erupted to the side. After hovering at the top of the volcano for a couple of seconds, the man’s pupils suddenly turned pure white, followed by frost rapidly congealing around the surface of his skin. If Willard was present, he would be able to recognize this man as Svecko.
After his preparations, Svecko dove straight into the volcano. The frost that surrounded his body adequately shielded him from the burning molten magma that covered every inch of the volcano. The deeper Svecko went, the hotter it got, but he was adequately prepared, almost as if he had done it before.
At a certain point within the volcano, the usual sight of magma gave way for a strange cave. Svecko stopped his movement at the outskirts of the cave and stared deeply at the cave. The strange thing about the cave was the fact that it existed within this world of magma. Almost as if there was an invincible force shielding the cave from the magma. Svecko knew that this cave was created by the king of the west, and he knew that this entire region was a seal. Svecko increased the intensity of his gaze as his expression increasingly became even more serious. He nodded his head in dissatisfaction as he slowly sighed. He took some time to adjust his mental state and adequately prepared to enter the cave. More of the frost congealed and covered him, offering even more protection.
“Why must it be him? No good can come from this.” Svecko thought to himself as he sighed deeply.
Svecko took a step, placing him at the entrance of the cave. The first thing that caught Svecko’s gaze, was the sight of a giant tree that looked like it had just been set ablaze within the strange cave. With further inspection, one would realize that the trunk and the roots of the tree weren’t actually burning, just the leaves were on fire. This tree was called the soul lock tree, and this was the second time, Svecko had seen this tree. This tree was specially created by the King of the western continent, the lord of Paisis, and was used to directly trapped the demon of the west.
Although Svecko had seen the tree before, he still wasn’t comfortable with the sight of it. The tree had the unique trait of hypnosis, one that could entrap almost any foe. Apart from hypnosis, it also had the physical trait of malleability, which drastically increased its binding powers. In fact, this tree could be said to exist for one purpose alone, binding a host. Svecko slowly walked towards the tree. The closer he got, the more the features of the tree became more visible.
Usually, saints could see even the most minute of details from a very long distance, but within this cave and in the vicinity of the tree, most saints wouldn’t be able to see over thirty feet. At the center of the tree, one of the protruding branches had a single fruit on it. Svecko reached into a pouch and grabbed a seed. As the seed came out of the pouch, it immediately sprouted to life, growing a small vine-like branch that wrapped around his right palm.
Svecko sighed as he stretched his hand to grab the lone fruit on the tree. As his palm, which was wrapped in the vine-like branch, made contact with the fruit, a sizzling sound came from the fruit. After a couple of seconds, the sizzling sound ended, and the vine on his palm slowly crumbled to dust. Afterwards, the fruit rapidly changed in color from a dull purple to a bright red one. At which point, the fruit finally came off the branch. Svecko gently placed the fruit into the pouch he had gotten the seed from.
One by one, the flames on the tree, which was essentially the Leafs, started going out. After all of the Leafs had gone out, the tree slowly disintegrated, leaving behind a skinny white haired man, who fell to his knees as the tree disappeared into nothingness. The skinny white haired man drudgingly got up. “How long has it been?” The skinny man asked in a husky tone.
Over at the southern continent, within the Blue dragon academy, a young man was leisurely seating beside a tree. The young man was reading a book he held with his right hand while he ate an apple he held with his left hand. From a distance, a young lady was standing in front of the young man. The young lady had a sweet smile as she held her hands behind her back. “What do you say, Mailey, would you be interested in attending the banquet with me?” she said with the same gentle smile.
“Not this time Venice,” Mailey said as he shut the book closed with his right hand.
“Very well. Next time you must come with me.” The young lady, Venice, said in response, before walking away. Although she had just been rejected, she still had a smile. After all, this was Mailey, the number genius of the Blue dragon academy. The fight between Willard and Mailey was like a baptism of sorts to Mailey, as it drastically changed his outlook on the world. Every now and then, Mailey would think back to the event at the Minya household and remembered the first time he had ever been outclassed by someone of his age group, which in turn drove him to practice and cultivate even more rigorously.
When suddenly a loud piercing sound came from the sky, which caused Mailey to move his gaze towards the sky. For some strange reason, he felt slightly nervous, almost as if the sound had something to do with him. Before Mailey could get up or react in any other form, something smashed onto the ground, like a meteor hitting the surface of the earth. Multiple cracks appeared on the surface of the earth, around the region where the strange object had landed. After a couple of seconds, the dust that had covered the area of impact settled. Mailey stared in shock as he noticed a man with red fiery hair staring straight at him. The man took just one step and immediately appeared right in front of Mailey. This man was Ladio, who was tasked by the lord of Paisis to come to the Southern continent.
As Ladio appeared right in front of Mailey, a wooden figurine immediately dashed out of his body. The movement of the figurine was so fast, that it even slightly surprised Ladio. The figurine acted like it was sentient, as it flew straight towards Mailey’s chest, before releasing a bright green glow. By the time the glow died out, Mailey had lost all consciousness as he laid perfectly still in Ladio’s arms. Without wasting another second, Ladio flew out of the school heading back to the Western continent.
Hearing the words of their leader, the Bastich warriors that were surrounding Ahmed, quickly moved towards Lydia and the two other strangers beside her. One of the guards with an unkempt bushy eyebrow walked forward and stared angrily at Lydia. “You are wanted for crimes against the Kahn household. Submit or die before our blades,” he said as he slowly approached them. Although he gave the impression of being confident, in reality, he was far from that. He was in a perpetual state of deep fright, which could be seen as beads of sweat formed on his face. Inwardly he caused at the fact they were fighting people as strong as Ahmed. “Step back Lydia,” Baya said as he moved towards the guards. From the sides of his waist, Baya pulled out his twin daggers.
Ahmed who was currently staring at Willard and Baya frowned as he heard Baya’s words. It was as if anything Baya said directly insulted him. At this particular moment, it could be said that he had reached the precipice of his anger. “Not only did you disturb my peace, you stupid **** dared to lump me together with that man.” He said in an uncontrollable fit of anger “I will not rest until I skin you alive.”
Ahmed picked up the two parts that made his spear and quickly coupled them before connecting a metallic chain to it. He rushed towards the leader of the guards, Moore, with the same savage look he had. After his fight with Willard, he quickly learned something valuable, which was not to casually throw his weapon at his opponent. Ahmed thrust his spear in a savage motion aiming directly for the head. He was going for the kill but also wanted to use the opportunity to feel out his current opponent.
Moore defended against the strike with some difficulty as he slided a couple of steps backward. To his surprise, a small crack appeared on his blade. From this exchange, he could tell that Ahmed was definitely physically stronger than he was. And plus the fact that Ahmed had already shown he was in the elemental energy level early. “Very strong. Hurry up and get here Oaklif.” Moore lamented as he composed himself.
Ahmed was lashing out his spear attacks like a viper on the attack. It took quite a bit of effort for Moore to defend the frenzied attacks. Moore was completely shut down with the share ferociousness of those spear attacks. He wasn’t given the slightest bit of an opportunity to counterattack once. “You have some skill,” Ahmed said as he stretched his neck producing a loud cracking sound. “Good. I don’t want you to die easily.”
From the center of Ahmed’s palm that gripped his spear, violet lightning cracked outward, flowing through the metal spear. Some of the lightning randomly congealed to a strange liquid lightning form that fell from the tip of Ahmed’s spear and scattered across the ground. Baya who was some distance from Ahmed had a contemplative look on his face as he stared at Ahmed. “The angrier he gets the more lightning essence he is able to condense and use.” Baya softly said to himself. From watching Ahmed, he had just gained some minor clues on what he could focus on while he trained.
Moore who was at the receiving end of Ahmed’s wrath, grunted as he condensed some flames around his swords. Afterall, Moore himself was at the elemental energy level. He knew Ahmed had finally gotten serious with their battle. The restaurant at this point had been completely emptied. None of the people that worked or earlier dinners were within twenty feet of the inn. The fact that two elemental energy experts were fighting signaled the need to run for their lives.
As Ahmed continued his barrage of attacks, Moore was forced backward, time and time again, directly forcing him out of the restaurant. Ahmed ran towards him, trying to quickly close their distance and continue the assault. Although Ahmed had a clear advantage, he still wasn’t able to truly harm Moore and put him in a dangerous situation. “Is that all you know how to do?” Ahmed angrily yelled, “Since that’s all you know how to do, just stand there and receive my spear.” He continued as he switched from a thrusting motion to a sweeping one applying, even more, force than he applied previously, which knocked Moore a couple more steps backwards.
With a savage look to him, Moore swung both his blades in a direct and emphatic manner, in what was a rare attack coming from him. From both blades, came two streams of fiery red serpents that congealed from the surrounding natural energy and flew directly towards Ahmed. Moore had been biding his time to give Ahmed a surprise attack, and that opportunity came when Ahmed swung his spear in that sweeping motion. Watching the fiery serpent make its way towards him, Ahmed gripped his spear even more tightly, gathering even more lightning elemental energy to the spear, before throwing it towards the incoming fiery serpents. As the spear made contact with the fiery serpents, a loud explosion was seen. Ahmed was able to quickly withdraw his spear, as he yanked the chain that was connected to the spear towards his direction.
Baya on the other hand was having an even more difficult time. Although his opponents were not as strong as Ahmed and Moore, a couple of them were at the tenth level of natural energy just like he was, which proved to be quite the challenge for Baya. It must be noted, that these men were elites from the Bastich household that were stationed at the city of Kahn. As his battle continued, Willard sat on a chair and casually watched. His expression was still the same one of indifference. As the battle played on, Willard’s expression gradually grew more irritated. Baya was rapidly being forced to a position of pure defense. “Why are you holding yourself back Baya?” Willard casually said as he continued watching from his seat.
Lydia who was still in panic at the current events that were playing out, turned to stare at Willard with a look of disbelief. She knew Willard’s personality at this point, but couldn’t help stare in shock at his complete disregard for even Baya’s safety. “The way you fight is quite annoying.” Willard continued. Baya who was in the heat of battle couldn’t even spare a moment to think of a response. “Why don’t you help me out then,” Baya inwardly thought as he focused on defending the swarm of highly trained guards.
At this moment, three men casually walked towards where the fighting was going. “You seem to be having some trouble Moore.” One of the men said as he broke into a soft laughter, which followed the laughter of the man next to him. The introduction of those people temporarily put a pause to the fighting between Ahmed and Moore. The man that had spoken had a slender body structure with a scar across his forehead. “Luckily for you, Oaklif here had asked us for some help.” the man with the scarred forehead said as he looked towards Oaklif who was the third person in their group. Although Moore was glad to be getting some re-enforcement, he did not particularly have a good relationship with the two experts that had come to aid him. Right now, all he could do was awkwardly smile and stare at them. “He is quite strong.” Moore said as he backed out some more. “Probably at the fourth level of elemental energy.”
The three were surprised to hear Moore’s warning. Usually experts at that level of power were famous and illustrious. How was it they had never heard of this short bulky man before? “Interesting! No wonder Oaklif was willing to pay that much to get our help.” The man with the scarred forehead said.
“No no no!” An angry voice came from within the inn. The angry voice was none other than Willard’s, who was angrily instructing Baya. “You should not be waiting for them to strike first. You should be the one attacking.” Willard continued as he casually sat on the chair. The guards that were currently fighting Baya were quite astonished at the current situation. Willard had been seating the entire time complaining about the way Baya fought, without even lifting a single finger to help him out. From their perspective, it was one of the most bizarre thing they had seen. And this wasn’t exclusive to the guards, both Baya and Lydia felt the same exact way.
“How do you not understand this simple concept yet? Feel the various elements surrounding you. Channel it through a medium and release it.” Willard said with an apparent look of frustration.
Over at the corner, where Ahmed was fighting Moore, the two experts that had come to aid Moore, had a look of confusion as they heard Willard’s words. “Let’s quickly finish this and go stop the rest of them.” Moore said with an impatient tone. The three experts began fighting against Ahmed by himself. Although they were not individually stronger than Ahmed, but the addition of two extra elemental energy level experts greatly reduced Ahmed’s advantage. The fighting scale shifted from a one sided battle to one that could not be easily predicted. They were able to successfully defend and counterattack Ahmed, making the fight much more difficult for him.
Finally, Baya gave up all sense of cautiousness. He decided to attack with his all, even though that went against all his experience and fighting style. Baya rushed in with a complete disregard for defence. He passionately attacked one of the guards with his dagger, swinging across the chest of the guard. Unfortunately for Baya another guard used that opportunity to stab at his arm, injuring him in the process. Another guard quickly rushed in to use the current opening to go for the kill.
Suddenly, Willard smiled as he stared at Baya. Willard noticed faint changes in the natural energy surrounding Baya. At that particular moment, it was like time had come to a halt for Baya. He couldn’t help but replay the scene of Ahmed controlling the lightning element in his anger, in his mind. In his moment of peril, Baya seemed to have gotten an epiphany, which caused the stimulation of natural energy around him. “It not anger or emotions. It is your state of mind.” Willard thought to himself. The guards surrounding Baya did not notice anything different, and in fact, no one else but Willard and Baya had noticed anything different. To the guards, the slight increase in temperature they felt, was nothing more than the heat their bodies generated while they fought.
“That’s it, don’t hold back.” Willard silently whispered as he watched the situation play out, as a single flame surreptitiously appeared in the area where the guard, that had been rushing to quickly kill Baya, was in. Although the flame surprised the guard, he notwithstanding was still able to easily bypass the flame and attack Baya. In the moments just before he could strike Baya with his blade, a gravitational force, applying almost ten times his weight, fell on him. This incident was not isolated to the guard that was about to strike Baya, the gravitational force wasn’t discerning, it affected everyone within that general location, including Baya himself.
As waves of the gravitational domain spread around, the fighting outside the restaurant had stopped. Followed by agonizing screams. All parties, except for Ahmed who had experienced such a thing, turned around to and stared in surprise. “What the hell is going on?” Moore asked in a somewhat astonished tone. Although Ahmed, was able to keep himself safe all this while, he was inwardly glad to see Willard had decided to act. His situation was starting to get even more serious. Ahmed couldn’t help but think back to his first encounter with Willard.
After a few seconds, Willard walked out of the inn, followed by Baya who had some flesh wounds and Lydia to his side.
Lydia heard what had happened and quickly rushed to window. Luckily, no one was stationed outside. She left the room through the window and quickly rushed out of the mansion. On her way out, she heard screams coming from the mansion. Hardening her mind, she continued running. Right now she couldn’t afford to intervene as she knew she wasn’t strong enough to be of any help to them. She could only go forward and hope for the best. In reality, she knew hoping was pointless as they would unfailingly be killed.
Within the mansion, Oaklif was quietly sitting while he waited for the warriors and guards to finish searching the house. After a couple of minutes of waiting, the warriors that searched the house came to report back to Oakliff.
“Did you find her?”
“No sir, I think she might have escaped through the window.” One of the warriors responded.
“Interesting. Given her intelligence, she should have figured out what’s going on. She should also know nowhere would be safe for her within this city. Her only option now is to ask those experts for help.”
“Send people to cover every exit from the city. Pay whatever it takes to hire those experts. Moore, lead everyone to the Rosemary Inn. This time around, we must kill that girl and all her associates.”
Over at the Rosemary Inn, Willard was currently sitting on a bed, checking some of the items Sebastian had given him. Ahmed and Baya were having some drinks at the bar within the inn. Due to some strange situation, they were both seating on the same table. Although Ahmed hated Baya and his current situation, he couldn’t do anything while Willard was in the area. He did not know the exact extent of Willard’s power, but from he already knew, he wasn’t willing to test him.
As Ahmed thought about his situation he frowned even more. He was angry and without an avenue to vent his anger. Baya stared at Ahmed for a little bit and guessed what he was thinking. He knew Ahmed hated him to the bones, but couldn’t act on that anger. Baya moved his gaze to a server that walked by. “Another drink” he softly said. The server looked over at Ahmed. “And you sir?” he asked.
Lydia was currently running towards the Rosemary Inn, she was secretly hoping that Baya and Willard decided to stay at that inn. She knew there was a possibility that they would have decided to not stay at that particular inn or decided to just continue their journey altogether. If they left the city, she knew that was it for her. There was no way she would survive, given her current predicament.
Lydia rushed into the Rosemary Inn and stared around the place. She was scanning to see if she could recognize anyone in the group of diners that were scattered around the place. A server walked up to the currently disheveled looking Lydia. “Hi Miss, would you like me to arrange a seat for you?” She asked with an expectant smile on her face. The server could instantly tell that Lydia was of noble standings, because of her outfit and demeanor. The server knew that people like Lydia could easily fork out a couple of silver coins as a tip. An amount that could feed her entire family for a month. Her biggest hope at the moment was to get Lydia a seat and serve her.
Lydia turned to face the server with an urgent look on her face. “Did you see a group 3 men walk in here about two hours ago?” The look on the servers face immediately changed. She wasn’t particularly happy hearing Lydia’s question. If Lydia wasn’t trying to get a meal here, that meant she wouldn’t be making any money from her.
“No miss.” The server quickly responded and immediately turned to leave.
Over at the table were Baya and Ahmed were seated, Ahmed caught a glimpse of Lydia with the server and immediately increased his focus on that area. His actions surprised Baya, who turned to stare at what Ahmed was looking at. To his complete surprise, Lydia was standing there looking anxious. Baya immediately got up and walked towards her.
“Are you okay Miss Lydia?” Baya asked as he approached her.
Lydia was startled when she first heard her name but later became elated. The server that was attending to her took that opportunity to leave. “No, I am in trouble. And I have nowhere else to go,” she responded staring deeply at Baya. “Can we talk somewhere in private?”
Baya looked around before finally leading Lydia to his room. As Ahmed saw Baya leave with Lydia, a disdainful look appeared on his face. He felt both envy and anger but really couldn’t do a thing about it. As they both got into Baya’s room, Lydia began narrating everything that had happened while they were separated. She told him about her suspicions with the behaviors of the guards down to what Oaklif had done.
“Why are they trying to kill you?” Baya asked the one question that had curiously plagued his mind while he was listening to Lydia’s story. Lydia hesitated for a couple of seconds before showing a serious look on her face.
“I think this is all due to my elder brother.” She said with a scornful look to her.
“My father is currently ill and could pass away at any moment. My brother fears that father could leave the household in my hands.”
Baya had a surprised look on his face. Hearing what Lydia had said, completely surprised him. Why would her father be thinking of leaving the household in Lydia’s hands? This was something that was virtually unheard of. Most house leaders would leave the affairs of the house to a male heir, as they would mostly favor the lineage of the males. Baya composed himself and quickly shed the doubt in his mind.
“You are certain that they would be coming here for you?” Baya asked
“Yes, undoubtedly. They will also be coming with some powerful experts.”
Baya sighed and got up. “Wait here. I need to inform my master about this.” He said as he walked out of the room.
When Baya left, Lydia’s expression changed. “This is my only choice. I would never have thought brother would act so soon. Something serious must have happened while I was away. I currently do not have any backers here. I need their help to safely get back to Oriente city.”
As Baya was about to knock on Willard’s doors, he heard a loud ruckus coming from outside of the Inn. He immediately assumed it was the people from the Bastich household. Baya knocked and patiently waited for Willard. It did not take long before Willard opened the door. Baya hastily explained everything that had happened to Lydia.
“Do as you wish.” Willard softly said as he paused. “I’ll accompany you.”
Baya nodded in acknowledgment of Willard’s words. He was inwardly jubilating at the fact that Willard decided to accompany him. He did not have much faith in dealing with the situation by himself and as such hoped Willard would help out.
A group of warriors barged into the Rosemary Inn. The leader amongst them made a hand gesture instructing the warriors behind him to check the area. The manager of the inn quickly ran out to meet the warriors. From the insignia on their clothing, the manager could tell these were warriors of the Bastich household. “Greetings sir, how can this manager be of help to you?”
The leader stared at the manager in an imposing manner. “I am looking for some criminals and their associate. We are going to search every corner of this inn until we find them.” He said in a very loud tone. His aim was to let everyone know why they were there.
“Sir, can you describe them? We could help you find them faster.” The manager said as he tried to be on the good side of the warriors. These were the warriors of the Bastich household, although their words were not final within this city. They still had enough sway here. Whatever the case might be, he had to make sure everything happened to the liking of these warriors.
“A young lady of noble standings should have come to this inn not too long ago. Tell me where she and everyone she has interacted with are?”
The manager turned to the servers, with an inquisitive look. The server that had interacted with Lydia earlier came forward. “A woman fitting that description came in earlier. She spoke to a man before heading to the living area.” The server said before moving her gaze to a table. A thought instantly filled the mind of the server as she quickly pointed to a table.
“There sir, that man was seen together with the friend of the woman you mentioned earlier.” The server said with a bright look on her face. The table the server had just pointed to was the one currently occupied by Ahmed. As the server finished her comment, a sense of profound anger seemed to infiltrate every cell of Ahmed’s body. First he was forced to follow that unknown youth all around, and next, he was forced to stay beside the man that had killed his beloved younger brother. To top it all off, he was being considered a friend of that same man.
“Hey, you!” The leader of the group yelled as he faced Ahmed. He gestured to the rest of the warriors who immediately started to surround Ahmed.
The entire situation vexed Ahmed to his bones. “Where are your associates and that….” The leader of the group was asking before he was interrupted by Ahmed. “Shut the hell up.” Ahmed angrily yelled as he got up. Little veins appeared on Ahmed’s forehead as he stared at the warriors.
“You low life dare talk to sir Moore like that.” One of the guards that had surrounded Ahmed said as he drew out his sword and lunged in to attack Ahmed. The people that occupied the table close to Ahmed’s rushed out of the way. Not just that table, everyone within the restaurant rushed out, so as not to be casualties of the fight.
Within a split second of attacking Ahmed, a strange purple object had spontaneously appeared in front of the guard that rushed in to attack Ahmed. The guard did not have time to see or react as the object wrapped around his face, effectively blinding him and sweeping him effortlessly to the floor. The whole thing happened way too fast.
The rest of the guards surrounding Ahmed couldn’t help but stare in disbelief as their companion was being electrocuted by Ahmed. To the guard that was slammed to the floor, he had no idea what had happened to him. To the rest, all they saw was Ahmed’s right suddenly appear over their companion’s face. Ahmed’s hand movement was way too fast for anyone below the elemental energy level to see. None of them could react in time to help.
“Elemental energy level,” One of the guards said as a new sense of danger swelled up in him. The rest of the guards took a couple of steps back as they realized the kind of person they were up against.
The leader of the guards frowned as he walked towards Ahmed. “You dare kill a warrior of the Kahn household. Today you shall die.” He inwardly sighed as he stared at Ahmed. “This would be tough facing an Elemental energy expert. Hopefully, Oaklif would get them here shortly.”
Slow but melodic footsteps could be heard as three people walked down the stairs, breaking up the tense atmosphere within the restaurant. The leader of the guards stopped in his movement to stare at the newcomers, before showing a strange frown. He could instantly recognize Lydia amongst these people and immediately got a sense of who they were. What puzzled him the most was the fact that they all seemed relaxed. Usually, most people in their shoes would use this kind of opportunity to escape leaving behind their comrade. But this time around, they were casually walking towards him.
“What are you waiting for? Go get them immediately.” The leader of the guards yelled.
The night passed quietly and relatively peaceful. The next morning, the group continued their journey towards the north. With barely any other distraction, they made their way to their first major city, the city of Kahn. As the group approached the city gates, the old man amongst the people from the Bastich family grew a wide smile. From the events that he had transpired throughout their journey, he never thought she would make it back alive. Seeing the gate to the city of Kahn made him grow wild with joy.
Although the city couldn’t be considered a stronghold of the Bastich family, they still had some influence and prestige there. The Bastich family were in a position of influence among most northern cities. They were a family of weapon smiths, and as such had dealings with most major families in the northern end of the Southern continent and of course the royal family.
As the group approached the city gate, a guard hastily waved them stop. He looked long and hard at Willard, Baya, and Ahmed, ignoring Lydia and her attendants. “Another group of random people!” The guard inwardly sighed. “The toll fee is ten silver pieces!” The guard said casually. At this point in the guard’s life, he had seen all types of people. To him, Willard and his group were rogue martial artists or random people who wanted to make something out of themselves in a big city. Over the course of many years standing guard at the gates, he had become immune to sights like this. The guard did not want to waste time dealing with people like that.
Seeing the expression of the guard made the old man smile even more. Within the forest, he could be considered a nobody, but out here in civilization, he considered himself someone of some noble standing. The old man dropped from his mount and gently walked towards the guard. A facade of a frown could be seen across his face as he slowly got in front of the guard. “What gives you the right to demand a toll fee from the Bastich family?” The old man asked
Inwardly, the old man was currently jubilating. He was finally getting a chance to show the prestige of the Bastich family. “You lot will finally see the world outside of your island!” he thought to himself. As the guard heard what the old man had said, he frowned a little bit. The old man moved his cape revealing the image of a yellow Scorpion, the Bastich family emblem.
As the guard saw that, his frown deepened. He immediately felt regret for his original statement. Although in reality, the guard hadn’t done anything wrong, but when dealing with influential families like the Bastich, there is no right or wrong. He was just a guard and could not take the burden of facing the Bastich family. “My sincerest apologies my lord!” the guard immediately said. “I had no idea you were from the Bastich family.”
“Ignorance isn’t an excuse. You even demanded the young lady of the Bastich house pay a toll fee.” The old man said as his tone took a more irritated form. The guard was secretly cursing at his bad luck. To be fair, it wasn’t the guard’s fault, but the world wasn’t fair. Usually, people of noble standings usually came in carriages that had their family emblem inscribed on the carriage. The guard knew if the old man wanted to take this matter serious then that meant he was done for.
“That’s enough Anjara!” Lydia said as she walked towards the old man. “He made a mistake this time, let’s leave it at that.”
The old man facing the guard shook his head. “You are lucky my lady is kind hearted. You would have spent the rest of your life in a cellar.” The old man, Anjara, had a blissfully smug smile on his face. He slightly turned to look at Willard, who in turn paid no attention, what so ever, to what was happening. The smug smile quickly disappeared from Anjara’s face. “Still feeling like a big shot.Well, it doesn’t matter. Today you will get a taste of what a true big shot looks like.” He silently thought to himself.
Not long after they made their way into Kahn city, Willard stopped and got off his mount. He gave Baya a stare, something that Baya hadn’t seen in a while. This was a stare that meant take care of the inconvenience. Baya in turn smiled and looked the people behind him, before finally stopping at Lydia. “We will be parting ways here. Take care!”
“Thank you for all the kindness,” Lydia responded.
Anjara was shocked to see what was happening. He had thought that after seeing his performance at the gate, Willard and his group will covet some kind of reward. That wasn’t the case right now, Willard had shown a complete lack of interest in them. It was almost like Willard couldn’t wait to get rid of them. For some unknown reason, Anjara felt even angrier that he had been while he was with them. He wanted to say something to them, but controlled his anger and just kept quiet.
Baya and Ahmed quickly caught up to Willard and walked into a nearby inn. Lydia and her group proceeded to head to a mansion owned by the Bastich family. “My lady, can you believe it? We survived that ordeal.” The middle aged woman in their group said with a smile on her face. Lydia turned and looked towards the direction Willard, Baya and Ahmed had walked towards. “Yeah, we were lucky,” Lydia responded.
As they approached the gate leading to the mansion, they could see three people guarding the gate from afar. Anjara was perhaps the most elated one of them all. He quickened his steps and walked faster than usual to the gate. “Open up!” he said excitedly, gaining the attention of the three guards. A look of surprise appeared on guards as the three of them recognized the people heading towards them. Two of the guards awkwardly stared at themselves, they looked a little surprised and somewhat confused. The other guard within their midst seemed oblivious to the actions of the other guards. He opened the gate and welcomed Lydia and her group. The other group joined and welcomed them, before pathing way for them to get into the mansion.
As they got into the mansion, they saw two men seating and leisurely drinking wine. Both men were startled and one of them even spewed the wine in his mouth all over the floor. “Young Miss, Anjara,” one of them said in surprise. “Greetings. How can we be of assistance!” the man that spewed his wine coughed and quickly said. “Get us some food and prepare a bath and some change of clothes,” Anjara quickly responded. Anjara and the other attendants all were in fantastic moods. Lydia left them and made her way to one of the rooms within the mansion.
Something did not sit quite right with Lydia, but she really couldn’t put a finger on it. She pushed the thought to the back of her mind and decided to get cleaned up first and foremost. Anjara who sat at the table gobbled down food and wine like a starving dog. In reality, he couldn’t be blamed. Over the past couple of days, all he had to eat when they were lucky enough to find some, was some wild game they hunted of wild berries they found. Anjara absolutely detested that situation.
That kind of lifestyle reminded him of his childhood, which in turn brought nothing but sorrow and anger to him. He had left that kind of situation behind him when he joined the Bastich family as a servant. It had taken him over thirty years to gain his current status, and this journey brought all of that torment back to him. “Where is Oaklif?” Anjara asked as he chewed the pork in his mouth. “And why hasn’t he made his way back to greet us?” he continued.
Oaklif was a Bastich family member that was stationed the city of Kahn. He handled the affairs within the city and held the highest authority there. This was in the absence of the main family lineage of the Bastich. From Anjara’s point of view, Oaklif was a somewhat dependable person. Although he was lazy and indulge in women way too much, he still had some redeeming qualities.
“One of the guards has been tasked with informing the lord of my lady’s arrival.” One of the men responded as he stood to the side.
“That Oaklif is probably at a brothel right now.,” Anjara said as he drank some wine. He was currently feeling tipsy and decided not to ruin his mood with thoughts of Oaklif indulging himself in a brothel.
At the gate leading to the mansion, a chubby man was walking leisurely towards the mansion. Although the man seemed calm he had a frown on his face. The chubby man whispered something to one of the guards who in turn grabbed another guard and followed behind the chubby man.
As the chubby man walked into the mansion, he quickly changed from a frown to a smile. “What brings you here Anjara? Does the lord of the house have an important matter for me?” The chubby man said with a smile.
“Oaklif, nothing like that” Anjara said nodding his head.
“Oh!” Oaklif softly said as he paused. “Then why has my lady graced me with her presence?”
“That is quite a serious matter. We were ambushed by a bandit group on our way back home.” Anjara said with an obviously dejected voice. Just the mere thought of what they had experienced absolutely depressed him.
“How did you and my lady survive?”
“Fortunately, we ran into some experts who had saved four of us just in time.” Anjara paused with a reflective look on his face.
“Speaking of which, those experts are within the city, and they are with the leader of the bandits. We have to pay them a visit and teach that Bandit a lesson.” The moment Anjara mentioned the bandit leader was in the city, the look on Oaklif’s face changed to a frown.
“Indeed, we have to pay them a visit. Where are they staying?” Oaklif asked.
“I saw them walk to the Rosemary Inn. They are probably staying there for the night.”
While conversing, Lydia was getting ready to come join them. She could hear most of the conversation and wanted to chime in some praise of Willard and Baya. Before stepping out of the room she moved her gaze to the window, where she caught a glimpse of some Bastich family warriors walking hastily towards the mansion. Just behind those warriors, she noticed someone dragging the body of the guard that had opened the gate for them.
A look of panic immediately appeared on her face. She wanted to run out and inform Anjara and Oaklif, but decided not to as she realized the entire situation was strange. She quickly locked the door to her room and waited.
“By the way, when you encounter those experts, pay special attention to the youth. He is the strongest one. Do your best to recruit that one. Although I don’t know what level he is in, he shouldn’t be inferior to great warrior Bestille.” Anjara was saying to Oaklif, when the warriors came in.
“I must thank you Anjara! I have some cleaning up to do!” Oaklif said waving his hands to the Warriors.
The Warriors immediately encircled Anjara, who in turn frowned. “What are you doing? Do you..” Before finishing his sentence, one of the warriors lunged at him with a blade stabbing him. “You!” Anjara said as he coughed some blood. At this moment, everything was made clear to him. How and why they were attacked became glaringly obvious. Anjara slumped to the floor dead.
“Go search the house and kill them all,” Oaklif said in a serious tone.
“Those useless bandits couldn’t even handle such an easy task. Make sure no one survives.”
“After this is done, we will get rid of those experts as well.”
The short bulky man hurriedly walked behind Willard. Although the short bulky man was prideful, he still wasn’t willing to die for his pride. He was absolutely sure there was no offending the youth in front of him. Willard gave him a couple of quick instructions, which further confused the short bulky man. “Why would he be interested in all that?” The man thought. Within a couple of minutes, they both arrived at the scene of their earlier exchange. A look of surprise filled everyone’s eyes as they watched both of them walk towards Willard’s mount.
When the short bulky man arrived at the center of all the bandits that were just starting to regain their mobility, he yelled: “Everyone listen up!” He said as he paused for a second. “My lord over there has chosen to take pity on me, Ahmed, and grant me the blessing of being his servant. From today henceforth the Silver tooth bandit will be under the control of Zalik.” He said with a somewhat pained expression on his face.
“Zalik your primary focus from today is building a statue of Thanus and spread the worship of Thanus to everyone that passes through this forest.” As he finished saying all that, everyone gasped in complete shock. No one understood what was happening except for Baya, who was still a little-shocked hearing it. The bandits turned to one another and started whispering. When did their leader become religious? Was the question that they were all discussing.
“Silence!” Ahmed yelled as he turned to viciously stare at the bandits. Zalik walked towards Ahmed and started whispering to him, “Whats going on boss?” he asked
“Zalik listen to me carefully if you want to still be alive. You must never anger that young man right there.” Ahmed said slightly pausing. “From now on you are the new leader of the silver bandit group. Your only true requirement as of now is to build a statue of Thanus. Nothing else!”
Zalik was confused, but from the tone his boss Ahmed had been speaking, he knew it was serious. Zalik could tell that the youth was quite formidable, but he had no idea how terrifying he had been to scare Ahmed to such a state. From his memories of Ahmed, such a thing had never happened in the past. Even when they kidnapped and killed people of noble standings with vast armies in their control.
Zalik turned and bowed towards Willard. Following his suit, the rest of the surviving bandits all bowed, even though they were still confused. Zalik gathered the bandits that were still alive, taking some of the mounts they had originally brought, he led them back to their camp. On the way, not so much as a single sound was made. Ahmed walked towards where he had left his spear and picked it up.
The old man who was still on his knees had a horrible expression. None of what he saw made any sense what so ever to him. “How did all that happen?” He questioned with a look of disbelief. He was completely shocked at the turn of events, and what frightened him the most was how swiftly Willard had settled the entire situation. He was someone that had dealt with a varying number of warriors, mages and a host of other martial artists. None had ever settled a fight with an elemental energy expert as swiftly as Willard had done. And worst of all, he could not sense the slightest bit elemental energy from Willard.
The old man thought about his previous actions towards Willard and immediately felt a sense a danger. At this point, he was seriously rejoicing at the fact that Lyda had stopped him when he almost berated Willard. He couldn’t help but think about what could have happened to him. A cold shiver ran through his body as he took in a huge gulp of saliva. “He must be in the middle stages of the elemental energy level. A true expert.” He thought to himself. “No wonder he seemed so carefree and could employ some as strong as that.”
Apart from the old man, the remaining travelers had the same expression. Even Lydia Bastich had an expression of shock. She couldn’t believe this was the same person she had thought about saving the previous night. Now everything seemed more like a joke. Who was the arrogant one? Who actually needed saving?
Without saying much, Willard got back on his mount and gestured to Baya and Ahmed to come along. Ahmed had a placid look on his face as he quickly got on a mount and followed behind Willard. Ahmed turned to look at Baya who was beside him and frowned deeply. Although he had given up all ideas of fighting Willard, he still hated Baya from the depths of his heart. As a matter of fact, if he had the opportunity to kill both Baya and Willard he would do so.
Luckily enough for Lydia and the rest of her party, they were able to get some mounts from the ones the bandits had left behind. As they rode behind Willard, Baya and Ahmed, the old man to the side of Lydia was in a deep thought. After what he had witnessed, a new idea started brewing in his mind. Although the man was older, he still had endless ambition. He was able to make it this far in his life because of that ambitious nature and drive. Witnessing Willard’s outstanding performances he started thinking of ways to benefit from it. “What a fantastic opportunity,” he said with a smile on his face.
Baya who caught a glimpse of the vicious stare Ahmed had been giving him, remained calm. He thought back to all the actions Willard had taken since he started following him, and was rather confused as to why Willard had not killed him. Although he felt rather certain that Willard had a use for him, he still couldn’t quite figure out how Ahmed would be of any help to Willard.
Over at some corner of the Southern continent, there was a seemingly peaceful waterfall. Hidden behind this waterfall was a well-hidden cave. Within the cave laid the body of a woman surrounded by flashes of green. If Willard was present, he would immediately recognize this woman as Aorah. She laid there unconscious. Surrounding the bed in which she laid were green beads that flashed off and on. The cave wasn’t fancy, it served one purpose, which was seclusion. To the side of the bed was a wooden chair that was currently empty. Although the cave was small, it still gave a warm comfortable feeling.
Moments later, the waterfall that endlessly continued in its motion, hiding the cave in an ever cascading sheet of water suddenly stopped in its movement. For that moment, it seemed like time itself had stopped, giving way to an old who casually floated into the cave holding a black staff and a bag. The moment he landed in the cave, the waterfall continued in its motion. The old man walked towards the bed. He stared at the unconscious Aorah and sighed. He opened the bag he held in his hand, taking out more of the green beads. He replaced the beads with new ones, that glowed even more brightly than the ones that had originally been there.
“Little princess, I have done all I can. The rest is up to you.” He said with a loving look in his eyes.
“Etimoah! I failed you. The little princess is in this state because of my indecision.” After a brief moment of contemplation, the old man sat on the wooden chair and continued staring at Aorah before moving his gaze to the north.
“Something dangerous is brewing,” he said softly. “My hope is that we can avoid all of it.” he finished and stopped thinking about it.
It was dark now, leading Willard and everyone to find a random place in the forest to set up camp. This time around the atmosphere was cold and quiet. No one dared to provoke Willard, as they mostly stayed a distance from him except Baya. From his earlier display, they knew he wasn’t the kind of person to casually annoy. Baya was currently roasting some meat, and like the night before, it was a wild rabbit.
When Baya got done with the meat, he gave some to Willard who casually ate. Baya looked towards Ahmed and was met with more hostility. Clearly, Ahmed still held some animosity towards Baya. Baya knew just because Willard had brought him along did not mean he had forgotten the death of his younger brother. Baya did not feel annoyed or bothered after all Ahmed was a bandit to his core. The preservation of his life was the most import thing to him. Baya looked towards Lydia and her group noticing how quiet they were. He walked towards Lydia and her group and gave them some of the wild rabbits he had roasted.
“Thank you!” Lydia said receiving the food. “Why don’t you eat with us?” She asked with a longing look in her eyes. Baya nodded and sat within their encirclement. Seeing how things were playing out the rest of Lydia’s group loosened up a bit and began to converse with Baya. Baya himself did not talk much, he just listened to the conversation. The old man was the loudest and most conversational. He led the vast majority of the conversation. Baya did not mind the atmosphere, he actually enjoyed it a bit. This was a vast difference from the usual weird things Willard randomly spewed.
Over at Willard’s corner, his eyes were closed as he meditated. Willard entered the strange red energy space within his subconscious. He watched the process of the red cloud gathering and gradually condensing into drops of red fluid like substance. Willard stretched his hand to touch the drop of red fluid that floated in his subconscious. The moment his finger made contact with the fluid, the ring on his finger in the real world glowed brightly. Willard could sense the boundless natural and elemental energy that filled him. “This substance is quite strange. Only when I channel it through a medium before it reacts.” Willard thought before moving his finger away from it.
“Whats even more strange is the ring father gave me. It’s almost as if everything was planned.”
“Well, it doesn’t matter. When I’m strong enough I’ll know the truth behind all this. Whoever thinks they can control my destiny would be disappointed.” Willard said with a bright gleam in his eyes.
After Willard came out of the coma, he had realized some things were rather strange about his path so far. It was almost as if someone had been pulling some strings behind his back since he had been reincarnated to this world. Willard knew trying to solve that mystery will be an effort in futility. The only path left for him was to increase his strength.
After spending some time with Lydia and her group, Baya walked back towards Willard. When Baya got close to him, he sat down and looked at Willard. Willard opened his eyes and smile in a mischievous manner. “What is it?” He directly asked Baya.
“Why did you bring that one with us?” Baya asked as he glanced at Ahmed for a second.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Willard responded before slightly pausing. “Well, it shouldn’t matter. You have been stuck at the 10th level of natural energy for quite some time now. This should be the perfect opportunity for you get past your bottleneck.” He finished before shutting his eyes closed again.
Baya silently thought about what Willard had told him. Although he did not fully understand it, he knew there was some truth to what Willard had said. What he couldn’t understand was how Ahmed was supposed to help him break through his bottleneck. He was currently in the state where one needed inspiration and natural resonance to an element. Baya had an inclination to what element e had the best resonance to, but still had no idea on how to get to the next step.
The short bulky man stared at them and felt nothing short of anger. He slowly walked out of the crowd holding a spear slightly taller than he was, with a chain connected to the bottom of the spear. As he walked, steam was dispersing all around him. His forehead was riddled with red veins that popped out. One view of the short man, one could tell he was livid.
The old man that was already on his knees had a horrid expression. He looked at Baya and then turned to look at the young mistress. The old man had dealt with different kinds of people all his life, so he could tell that this short bulky man was at the elemental energy level from the way he was dispersing the steam. He thought back to when he was at Oriente city, and how he had been instructed to go with Lydia on an important family matter. He had felt pride in how much he had accomplished to be sent on such an important mission, but now all he could do was feel regret.
At first, they had journeyed with quite a few martial artist, but to their surprise, they had been ambushed. Luckily some of them had managed to escape. Their luck got even worse when they ran into bandits in the forest. That time only four of them managed to survive thanks to Baya. But now, an elemental energy martial artist is completely enraged and wants to kill them. To him, this was the end.
The old man turned to look at Baya, who had a somewhat solemn expression. “We are finished. He is at the elemental energy level.” He said looking towards Baya. Positioned beside Baya, Willard turned to face the short bulky man. “Scram before you also lose your life,” Willard said in a slightly irritated manner. To Willard, all that was happening was just a waste of his time.
The old man, who was still kneeling, expression immediately changed for the worse. This was the first time anyone had heard Willard’s voice. He had remained silent while everyone interacted with each other earlier. And now, the first time he had spoken, his words were nothing short of condescending. “How can this child be so foolish.” The old man lamented. “Even if we had a small chance of surviving this, with what he just said, we will definitely be killed.” The man was about to yell at Willard but lost all will to even speak. Everyone else all stared at Willard with shocked expressions.
The short bulky man’s left eye bulged a little. He was completely furious at this point. He stared at Willard who had a complete disregard for him and the situation. He gripped his spear tightly and was about to say something before Willard cut him off as he sighed and then jumped off his mount. He walked towards the short man staring straight at him. “What are you waiting for? Scram!” he yelled clearly with an irritated look on his face. His experience so far on this mortal world had given Willard a slight sense of empathy, and his remarks to the short bulky man was Willard’s way of showing mercy. The short man completely lost his patience, he hurled his spear with all the strength he could muster aiming straight for Willard’s head.
As the spear flew, a screeching sound was heard as more steam dispersed. The spear flew through the air in a dominating fashion. Everyone that saw it, except for Baya, assumed that was the end for Willard. As the spear got closer to its target, Willard moved his right hand in a casual manner, almost as if he was about to swat a fly. The short bulky man had a disdainful look on his face. In his view, Willard was a fool that overestimated his own abilities. Even elemental energy experts wouldn’t foolishly attempt to use their bare hands to catch his spear.
Before anyone knew what was happening, Willard had caught the spear with his bare hand. The expression of the onlookers, including the short bulky man, changed as they saw what had just happened. No one could believe what they were seeing, and this was especially true for the short bulky man who threw the spear and the old man who was still on his knees.
“How is this even possible?” The short bulky man questioned for a second before moving that thought to the back of his mind. “So what if you have some ability. Today you will die.” He said as snapped out of his surprise. He yanked the chain that was connected to the spear with all of his strength, aiming to rip Willard’s fingers off. To his surprise, the spear did not move a tiny bit. The short bulky man felt like he had just tried pulling a mountain. His mind was reeling from yet another surprise, as everything had gone against any kind of logic he could think off at the moment. Before he could react, Willard pulled the spear, sending the short bulky man hurling towards him. The man could not even react fast enough to release the chain from his grip as he flew uncontrollably towards Willard.
From the moment he threw the spear to the very point when he was sent flying towards Willard, only a few seconds had gone by. The short bulky man was starting to feel something different from anger, and that was fear. “Who the hell is this person?” He thought as he uncontrollably flew towards Willard. Back when the members had brought the corpse of his younger brother back, they had only mentioned Baya to him, and now to his complete and utter surprise, he was facing something he couldn’t even understand. Now a small sense of regret was festering in his heart.
As the short bulky man was flying towards Willard, he pulled back on the chain using the force to regain his orientation and proceeded to use that opportunity to attack Willard. At this point in time, it was clear to him, that he was in danger and he needed to give it his best if he wanted a chance at survival. Approaching meters away from Willard, he punched with everything he had or at least that was how it seemed to Willard. On the surface of his hands, violet lightning could be seen dancing about. The short bulky man could tell at this point that he wasn’t a fool who overestimated his abilities. If anything, he seemed more like a demon in human form.
A look of intrigue appeared on Willard’s eyes as he noticed the violet lightning. Originally, Willard was planning on using an earth spike to kill this short man but now, he had a different idea. As the short man’s punch made contact with Willard’s palm, a surge of violet lightning gathered in Willard’s palm, before shortly dispersing all around them. The short bulky man had a look of disbelief as he watched how easily Willard had defended his attack. What shocked him the most wasn’t the fact that Willard could defend his attack, it was the fact that Willard had controlled the lightning he cultivated before dispersing it.
The short bulky man took some steps backward as his expression changed to one filled with fear. Beads of sweat dripped from his face as he stared deeply at Willard. All he could feel now was regret. If he had known he would face such a monster, he would never have thought of getting revenge. The short bulky man already lost hope in this fight and as such started piecing together a plan to escape. The expression on the short bulky man strangely changed as he immediately broke into a deep laughter. “So that’s how it is. Hahaha!” He said “Who would have thought? Brothers gather round and attack this man.” He yelled
The surrounding bandits were a little confused, but none the less charged towards Willard. From their perspective, their leader must have a plan and besides, to this very day, there had never been a problem their leader could not solve with his strength. Even when they encountered a renowned figure, their master had been able to battle him to a draw. To be fair, it was virtually impossible to see a bandit at the level of the short bulky man. Anyone at that level would have joined a household or taken an important role in the military.
As the bandits got closer to Willard, the short bulky man immediately turned hills and ran in the opposite direction. Beads of sweat appeared on his face once again as he put all of his efforts into escaping. “What the hell kind of monster did I meet today?” He cursed as he ran. The subordinate bandits all turned to look at their escaping leader. They all had shocked expressions as they had never seen such a thing. Their leader had been the most powerful person they had ever encountered someone capable of fighting imperial warriors.
Slowly the expression of surprise changed to intrigue then finally fear. It seemed like a giant bell just went off in their heads as they realized someone capable of scaring their master in such a fashion wasn’t someone they could possibly dream of fighting against. One by one, all of the bandits ran in a direction as they ran for their lives, none of them wanted to stay to find out what level of power a person capable of scaring off their leader might be in.
“Enough!” Willard yelled as he unleashed a gravitational domain. After his coma, Willard had gained much control of the red energy and was capable of using it with his elemental energy. This gave him better control of the elements and greater overall power in comparison to just using the elemental energy he cultivated from the world. The gravitational energy spread within a second to cover the entirety of the escaping bandits. Within a split second, all of the bandits all dropped to the floor in pain. Their body’s weight multiplied to a level they had never experienced before. Some of them as the density of their bodies could not handle the weight. The ones that survived were completely exhausted as they just laid in place. To people of that level, the chances of running into anyone with a very high elemental energy was very slim. The highest attainment in martial prowess they had ever seen was their master who was on the third level of elemental energy.
Before anyone could even utter a sound, Willard a seemingly disappeared from his position soundlessly. Although he had gone, the bandits were still laying on the ground. Off in the distance, the short muscular man still running away. He turned to look back at the escaping bandits, but to his surprise, he saw and heard no one running. An increased sense of danger filled him as he turned to continue running away. “Thankfully I could use them to distract him.” He thought to himself.
“You sure ran fast,” a cold voice rang out in the ears of the short muscular man, who stared in shock as he noticed Willard appear before him. The short bulky man was about to say something but lost all the will to speak. He thought of running but knew it was pointless. Willard slowly walked towards him, slowly stretching his hand to the man’s neck. Before Willard’s hand could grab his neck, the man dropped to the ground and bowed. “Please honorable one, take me as a servant. No, a slave.” He yelled while he bowed.
“I will do anything, please don’t kill me.” The short bulky man continued.
Willard stared at the bowing figure of the man and shook his head. “If I wanted to kill you, you would already be dead,” he said. Willard had already lost interest in killing the short bulky man after their minor exchange. “Follow me.” The short bulky man raised his head in surprise. He couldn’t quite figure out what was going on in the head of the young monster in front of him. All the same, he did not dare disobey. He did not even entertain the idea of escaping or trying to retaliate.
Over the past couple of years Baya had put a lot of effort into improving his martial prowess, and he had taken this to be an opportunity to show off to Willard how much he had improved. Before he started following Willard, he had been stuck on the 8th level of natural energy, but now he had improved to the very top limits of the 10th level of natural energy. All that was left for him was to find some inspiration to the elements that suited his nature to train in, then he would be able to break into the elemental energy level and start cultivating the element of his choice.
Baya quickly realized that using the movement technique the way he had just done only served to deplete his energy reserves. “How stupid of me,” Baya thought to himself.
“Brothers, although this man is commendable, he is sure to be running out of energy soon. Let’s persevere and kill him. Just imagine what treasures someone like him would be holding.” The man with the large blade said raising the morale of his fellow bandits. Baya had a disgruntled look on his face, as he thought of a possible solution to the problem.
“What am I doing. All I need to do is take down the head, and the rest of the body will fall.” Baya said as he realized his next course of action. It was pointless for him to expend a lot of energy fighting the foot soldiers. For him to truly come out victorious, he would have to truly damage their morale, if not, he would lose the battle of contrition.
Like a deranged dog, Baya charged towards the bandit with the large blade, who had a smile as he noticed Baya coming towards him. The bandit swung his large blade with all the strength he could muster. His plan was to overwhelm Baya with pure brute strength. He knew he wasn’t as fast or as nimble as Baya, so the obvious choice for him was to overpower him. As the blade came crashing down, a sense of great danger-filled Baya to his bones. He halted his currently straight motion moving to the right as he tried to dodge the attack. Baya could quickly tell that he would not be capable of blocking that attack and as such had to evade.
As Baya managed to evade the attack, the blade crashed down on the floor, destroying the area of impact. With that attack, Baya confirmed that the bandit he was currently facing was at least on the 10th level of natural energy. The bandit brutishly swung his blade to the left, continuing his attack in hopes of quickly killing Baya. Luckily enough for Baya, he had been expecting the continuous attack as he evaded them with everything he had.
Over at the edge of the forest where the young lady was currently standing, a look of surprise could be seen on the faces of the onlookers. The old man that had insisted on running away had a look of disbelief. Never in his wildest dream would he have expected the unassuming young man to be able to battle against the bandits. He turned to look at Willard who still was resting behind the tree. He looks carefully at Willard’s outfit, trying to figure out if he was some powerful young master that could hire such a powerful bodyguard.
“He must have hired him by luck. No wonder he is so carefree as to be sleeping in this situation.” The old man thought to himself. When suddenly an idea came to his mind, which in turn caused him to smile.
The young lady still had a worried expression as she watched Baya battle the bandits. For some strange reason, the more Baya was in danger the more worried she felt. And this wasn’t worrying for her own safety, it was for Baya’s safety. “I don’t even know your name. Please stay alive,” she said softly as she continued to watch.
Baya continued to evade the frenzied attack of the bandit with the large blade. He wasn’t the slightest bit negligent in doing that. Sometimes he used the movement technique and countered some attacks putting some pressure on his opponent. “If I had known I would encounter someone as fast and dangerous as this, I would have brought some lackeys with bows and arrows.” the bandit thought, swinging his blade furiously. “On top of that, the way he counters my attack are just too dangerous.”
“His attacks has constantly been weakening in power.” Baya thought as he noticed the amount of force coming from the bandit’s attack. “It’s now or never,” Baya said as he made up his mind. This time around, Baya charged straight at the bandit to meet his attack face on. As the blade came swinging down, Baya used his dagger to block his attack. A cracking sound was heard as the impact of the attack had broken some bones and dislocated Baya’s shoulder. The bandit with the large sword had a huge smile on his face. “What a fool. He actually tried to defend against my attack.”
Before the bandit could attack again, Baya swung the dagger in his left hand to the center of the bandits right hand that was currently gripping the large sword. A loud agonizing scream could be heard as bandit took a couple of steps backward staring in shock at the dagger that was firmly embedded in his palm. Before he could utter another sound, Baya had used the movement technique to get within an arm’s length of him. Using his left hand, Baya yanked the dagger from his hand and stabbed straight at the bandit’s neck. The entire thing was done in one swift motion, giving no time for any thought whatsoever. A look of regret could be seen in the bandit’s eyes as he uttered one word before he collapsed, “Brother.”
The rest of the bandits stared in shock as the leader of their party had just fallen. Never would they have thought such an outcome was possible. Ever since the majority of them had joined the bandit groups, their leaders had never fallen in battles and especially the man with the large blade. He was the third in command of the entire group. He was also the younger brother of the current leader of the bandit.
The rest of the bandit stared in horror and stood in place. They wanted to all run away, but the thought of their bandit leader made certain they stood in place. Baya was shocked that the rest of the bandits had not already taken to their heels. Cold sweat dropped from his face as he slowly walked backward. One brave bandit walked towards the corpse of the leader with the large blade and carried him over towards their group.
Baya was shocked as he noticed the bandits leave after they got the corpse. That action slightly surprised him, but he thought nothing of it. He walked back towards the camp and found a tree to rest on. He was currently in a lot of pain, but he knew all of it was of his own choosing. Even though, he still felt a little joy as he stared at the young lady who was at a loss for words.
Before the young lady could even get out of her shock, the old man rushed over to Baya’s side. “Noble sir. Thank you for your help.” the old man said with a slight bow. “Without you here, I am afraid these evil men would have killed all of us including my lady over there.” He said gesturing towards the young lady.
“For that alone, noble sir, our Lord will definitely handsomely reward.” The old man said nodding his head approvingly before he continued. “We are humble escorts of the young mistress of the Bastich household, taking her back to Oriente city. We could never have imagined we would be viciously attacked by those hooligans.”
“Sir can I ask what your noble name is?” the old man asked. Baya stared at the old man, thinking to himself. Although the old man had gone around in a backdoor way, he could instantly tell what the old man was trying to do. As a matter of fact, everyone including Willard knew what the old man was thinking. Baya turned to look at the young mistress of the Bastich household. She walked towards him and gave a slight bow. “Thank you for saving our lives.” She said with an honest expression. “My name is Lydia Bastich, and I would offer you a reward, but unfortunately I do not have anything valuable on me.”
Baya had a good impression of Lydia and decided to break his silence. “I am called Baya.” He responded before going back to tend to his injuries. The old man had a look of disdain on his face. Not only did Baya, whom he had flattered earlier, ignore him, he barely even responded to the young mistress. “If not of our current predicament, why would I reduce myself to even interacting with someone like you. Not to speak of Miss Lydia,” the old man thought as he hid every sign of contempt he felt. “Once we manage to get back to Oriente city, I would show you your place.”
When he was in Oriente city, the old man was in charge of running the main affairs of the Bastich household. While he held that post, he had interacted with numerous elemental energy martial artist, of which some had even tried to curry favor with him. And yet here he was practically on his knees begging someone who wasn’t even on that level. He knew Baya was not at the elemental energy level because of his previous fight. Not a scrap of elemental energy was used during that battle. But as it stood to him, Baya was definitely the strongest person around them.
The rest of the people all bowed and thanked Baya before finding a nearby place to rest for the rest of the night.
Over at some remote corner of the forest, a piercing scream could be heard. Nesting birds in the area were scared away, furiously flapping their wings as they left their nest. “How can this be? Darkar!” A bulky short man screamed as he grabbed the corpse that laid on the floor. Tears flowed from his eyes as he held the corpse. How could he have ever imagined that his beloved younger brother would die on that outing? Ever since they were young, the man had always been with his younger brother. Even after their parents had died when they were very young, they still had each other. But now, his beloved brother had died.
“I swear on my life to get vengeance for this!” The bulky short man said as he grabbed on to the lifeless palm of his younger brother. The entire bandit camp was quiet as no one dared to make a sound as their leader mourned the death of his younger brother.
Later the next morning, everyone woke up early and started preparing to leave. The morning was a little foggy, but it was navigable. The old man had decided to stay with Baya and Willard since they were currently still heading north. Willard prepared his mount and got on it. He gestured to Baya suggesting they start heading out. Baya did the same and got on his mount with little struggle. The old man stared viciously at Willard almost as if he was about to just dive in and bite the life out of him. The old man could ignore the fact that Baya gotten on the mount, since he was already injured and was the strongest one amongst them, but he couldn’t stand Willard’s attitude.
He had read about and seen paintings of all the influential people in the southern continent, and he had never seen any image of this young man. To make matters worse, he also hadn’t seen any emblem belonging to any family whatsoever. Even medium sized families had emblems and prided themselves with it, but not even a scrap of nobility could be seen on Williard. His outfit was nothing special, his attitude was even worse. The old man was certain Willard was some random character that hired Baya with luck.
The old man was about to lose his temper and yell at Willard when the Lydia grabbed his hand and stared at him. “My lady, how can I endure such insult?” the man asked looking just as angry as before. “They saved our lives. Do not offend them.” She said turning to look at Baya.
As they prepared to head out, a loud sound came crashing at their surrounding. “Wait! Where do you think you are about to run off to?” The angry voice said as the surrounding fog gave way to a view of numerous bandits surrounding them. The old man stared in terror and had immediately started regretting staying with Baya. “How can this be?” the old man said. “We are finished!” he continued as he dropped to his knees.
“You killed my beloved younger brother and think you can escape?” the angry voice said again as a short bulky man walked towards them.
Within a private study in the middle of the Gerret household, stood two youths having a cheerful conversation. These youths were Willard and Sebastian. In Sebastian’s view, Willard was the greatest stroke of luck he had ever had. Not only did he help him overcome his issues, he also helped propagate him to his current status.
“Why don’t you stay another week? By then, the construction of the statue you want should be done.” Sebastian said as he tried to persuade Willard to stay longer. Willard kept quiet almost as if he was contemplating something. Sebastian sighed and nodded his head. “Since you would not be staying for that long, why don’t you give me a couple of hours to put together a gift for you.”
“Thank you,” Willard responded with a smile.
Sebastian left the study to immediately get things ready for Willard. Although he wanted to give Willard a lot of things, he knew Willard would prefer to travel light and as such could only take a few things with him.
Willard walked towards the house Nana was staying. As of the moment, his biggest problem was what to do with Nana. On the one hand, he cared deeply for Nana especially since she was the trigger that got him out of his coma. And on the other hand, Nana would eventually become a burden for him. As he got closer to the house, Nana stepped out of her quarter. She was surprised to see Willard but immediately broke into a smile. They both walked towards some direction as they spoke.
“Nana, what do you intend to do?” Willard asked with a serious expression.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Nana asked then smiled. Willard had a complicated expression on his face as he was about to say something before Nana cut him off.
“I’ll stay here and wait for you,” she said with the same smile on her face. Willard was shocked in response to her statement. This was in complete contrast to how Nana had behaved in the past. Willard took a long look at Nana before nodding his head. Willard was about to take another step away when Nana grabbed his hand. “Please be safe and return to Nana,” she said softly, before slowly letting his arm go. WIllard looked at her for a couple of seconds before walking away. He thought about saying something to her, but was in a complete loss for words.He couldn’t quite figure out what he was feeling, but all he knew was that he actually cared for Nana.
Later that day, Willard and Baya set out for the northern borders. Baya stared at the Marquis city, reminiscing on the first time Willard and himself had arrived at the city. They nothing more than inexperience villagers, or at least he was, who were set on taking part in the Blood challenge and then joining a school. Now, they were revered individuals who had left behind a legacy. Baya thought back to what Willard had told him with regards to their home, the Yellow Hew village, and how the village was ravaged by bandits killing and displacing over ninety percent of the villagers. Baya wasn’t too saddened by the news, because none of his family were alive, to begin with. He was orphaned at an early age and had always felt a little distant from the village as a whole, which eventually lead to his interest in leaving the village.
“How time flies.” Baya inwardly thought, as Willard and himself got on their mount and rode away. They both kept quiet for a good while as each individual thought about different things.
Along the way, neither Willard nor Baya really spoke much. They stopped in a remote village to rest for the night, and provide care for their mounts. Nothing particularly interesting occurred in that village as they left early the next morning. Their journey was mostly the same as they stopped at different villages and on rare occasions spent the night in the open forest. On the fifth day of their journey, Willard and Baya encountered a group of travelers who were heading in the same direction.
At first, the travelers seemed to have been on edge when they encountered them, but as time progressed they seemed to be fine. The travelers paid Willard and Baya no attention and kept to themselves, continuing their journey. Most people preferred to keep to themselves when they travel as no one could tell what unforeseen trouble could come your way. Baya caught a sight of a young lady who was in their midst, seating in the carriage. She had a slender body with a beautiful oval shaped face. Her hair was black and short, which added to her looks.
Later that night, Willard and Baya stopped at a remote location in the forest and decided to make camp there for the night. Baya was a skilled hunter, who easily killed some wild rabbit for their dinner. While they watched the rabbit roast in the night fire, Baya turned to look at Willard who was resting his back against a tree and had his eyes closed.
“For one to live, you must steal life itself.” Willard surprisingly said as he opened his eyes. Baya was used to hearing these kinds of things from Willard and as such kept quiet and listened.
“Then how can one claim to be on the right path when we steal the very source of our lives?” He continued as he walked towards the fire and sat closer. Baya tore a piece of the wild rabbit and gave it to him. The rabbit had a flavorful fragrance that filled their surrounding like a wild gourmet dish that had just been prepared. Willard took a bite and savored in the taste before breaking into a gentle laughter.
“There is no such thing as good or bad, righteous or evil. All that truly exist is just a path to life itself, and our journey is ultimately to find the path that leads us to life.” Willard quickly finished eating his piece of the wild rabbit and immediately started meditating. Ever since his coma, Willard spent more of his time on understanding nature around him, rather than cultivating. He had a strange feeling that once he finally understood something essential he would finally break through the restraint he had noticed after he started cultivating the red energy.
While Willard was in the nine heavens, the concept of good and evil did not exist to him, but his experience as a mortal introduced that concept to him. While he was in a coma, he got enlightened to the essence of the world. He realized that the energy of the world had some common relation, but he wasn’t certain on what that was. He knew that there was something fundamental he had been lacking in his life as Thanus, which could be summed up in two words: “Purpose and Direction.”
Purpose in this sense represented a life goal to achieve which transcended the mortal world and the nine heavens, and direction represented a path to achieve that goal. Now that he thought about it, he realized that this was much higher than the petty struggle of the various gods.
Later that night, cries were heard from within the forest. Baya got up looking towards the direction those cries were coming from. “It seems like a bandit group is attacking one of the nearby camps.” he softly said. Willard opened his eyes and looked towards where the cries were coming from. A look of absolute disinterest could be seen in his eyes. “Do whatever you want.” Willard said in response to what Baya said.
Baya sighed and moved his gaze back to the direction of the cries for some seconds before walking towards the fire. Baya added some more wood to the already burning fire and even tossed the greased up wood, which was used as a skewer for the wild rabbit, into the fire. The fire burned more vividly, followed by the scintillating aroma of the roasted wild rabbit. Baya thought about the young lady he saw earlier while they were travelling but quickly moved that thought to the back of his mind. Baya sat back down and rested behind a tree. He closed his eyes as if he was about to fall asleep. Willard looked towards Baya with a little smirk on his face. How could he not know what Baya’s intentions were? His actions with the fire were to give a sharp signal of their location, so as to attract anyone who was currently fleeing.
“Help someone help us!” an old masculine voice rang out. He was currently in the company of three other people who were all heading towards Willard and Baya’s location. Baya got back up and looked towards their direction. He noticed the young woman he had seen earlier amongst the people who were currently running towards them. As the old man approached them, he quickly sized both Baya, who was currently standing in front of him, and Willard, who was quietly resting behind a tree. The old man noticed neither Baya nor Willard had any weapons that he could see. After pausing for a few seconds, the old man began running pass Baya and Willard. In his view, those two young men would not be able to help them. Two of the three people, a middle-aged man and woman, that were with him began following the old man’s lead when all of a sudden they realized the young woman just stood there staring at Baya.
“My lady what are you doing? We have to leave this place immediately.” The old man said urging the young lady to come along with them. The other two seemed to agree with the old man and turned to urge the young lady as well. “There are bandits up ahead of us. You and your friend need to leave this place.” She said feeling a little guilty at the moment. Baya smiled in response and looked towards the direction of the bandits that were now making their way towards them. “Thanks for the warning,” Baya said as he walked forward heading towards the incoming bandit. The young woman was startled by Baya’s actions and was about to say something, but for some strange reason, she decided to just stand and watch him.
“My lady we need to leave. If we are lucky this fellow might buy some more time.” The old man among them said as he tried pulling the young lady to flee from the place. The young lady resisted and vehemently decided to watch and see what happens. She decided that if things were not going to well she would do her best to bring the young man who was still resting behind the tree.
Willard who seemed to be asleep had his palm firmly placed on the forest soil. Due to his attainment with the earth element, he was able to use the undulation of the earth’s vibration to monitor his surrounding. Although he seemed carefree, he was still paying attention to the entire situation.
As the Bandits approached their location, they noticed a young man standing, almost as if he was waiting for them. The first to arrive amongst the bandits had his reservations and decided to wait a few more seconds for the rest of his gang to get to his location. Within a few more seconds, more members of the bandit group arrived. “What do we have here brothers? A noble knight.” One of the bandit members said as he broke into a huge laughter, which caused the rest of the bandit members to laugh with him. “Brothers let’s show this brave knight what happens in our forest.” The man said as he charged towards Baya.
The man had a large blade which he immediately swung straight at Baya. Ever since Baya’s trip to the Red forest, he had been steadily improving his martial prowess. To top it all off, he had mastered the movement technique Willard had gifted him. Using the movement technique, Baya evaded the impending attack and shot past the man that wielded the large blade. Baya’s target were the other supporting bandits. The first person he shot towards was caught completely off guard. Almost without realizing it, Baya’s Dagger had sunk into his skull. Baya moved to the next closest bandit and barely exchanged two attacks with another man before slicing his neck open.
The other bandits watched in shock as they Baya swiftly killed two people. An impending sense of danger rose up in the hearts of remaining bandits. Although they had the advantage in numbers, Baya was like a plague that had just been realized. One after the other, Baya stabbed and slashed the bandits around him. Within the span of five minutes, Baya had killed over ten people. Baya was slowly losing his breath as he realized something important. These bandits were just too numerous. Although he had killed ten people it did not really affect the overall number of bandits.
Willard got up from the bed and walked towards the small window at the center of the room. He stood there staring at warriors, who wore the Gerret insignia, and maids who went about their day. His mind was currently filled with questions. He couldn’t quite figure out how he survived and how the entire Gerret household wasn’t purged out of existence. “This shouldn’t be right. That saint should have killed me. Something big must have happened.”
While thinking about all that, the door to the room cracked open breaking Willard out of his train of thoughts. He turned to see the surprised look on the maid that had just walked in. The maid quickly greeted him and ran straight to the main mansion.
In this past couple of months, Sebastian’s popularity and prestige had reached a very high level. He had taken more formal responsibility for running the affairs of the Gerret household. On this day, he was currently going through some books and making some scribbles in another. A maid rushed into the study, breaking Sebastian’s concentration. “Master, he is up.” She said breathing heavily.
“Who is up?” He asked somewhat confused.
“Sir Willard, he is up.” she responded once again.
The look on Sebastian’s face changed as he left the study in a hurry. Over the past couple of months, Sebastian had experienced one the greatest levels of respect from every single person within the city including his father, and he knew all of that was due to the efforts of Willard. Unfortunately, Willard had ended up fighting against a saint and was left in a near death state. In actuality, all of the health experts had warned everyone to not have any high expectation for Willard’s recovery.
As Sebastian rushed out of the main mansion, the words the maid said to him kept reverberating in his mind. As Sebastian got closer to the quarters that housed Willard, he saw a familiar figure surrounded by various people. The strange thing was that this figure seemed perfectly groomed and healthy. Almost as if he had never been in a coma in the first place. “Willard!” Sebastian said as he approached.
Sebastian had been in a state of mild depression after the battle with the Minya forces. This wasn’t entirely because his friend was in a coma, but rather it was a combination of various things. It must be noted, that Willard had fought with a famous saint at the 3rd level, while he was still in the elemental energy level. In the history of the four continents, there had never been such a character to exist. Who wouldn’t be in a depression when such a talent was in a coma, with the odds against them. Now that Willard was up, Sebastian couldn’t help but think of the future. Having someone as talent as Willard on his side was his greatest fortune. If such a character were to break into the ranks of saints, who would dare go against such a foe. Thinking about all this made Sebastian break into an even bigger smile.
Within the Western continent.
A middle aged man with brown curly hair was slowly walking towards mansion secluded in the snowy plains. As the man walked across the snow, a strange scene was unfolding. The snow seemed to mysterious move away from the man. Even the snow that laid still on the floor all made way for the man to walk pass them. As the man got to the gate of the mansion, he stopped and looked directly up into the sky.
“Hurry up and come in.” A voice said, while the man with the curly brown hair smiled and disappeared from the gate. Within a room inside of the mansion, the curly brown haired man appeared beside another man who had strange look to him. If Willard had been there, he would have recognized this man as Svecko.
“What do you want?” Svecko coldly asked.
“The Lord of Paisis has requested your presence.”
Svecko got up and immediately disappeared. “Why are you in such a bad mood?” the brown curly haired man said as he disappeared from the room. They both soared high up in the sky flying towards the direction of the Lord of Paisis. “Why is the Lord requesting my presence Ladio?” Svecko asked him somewhat impatiently. “To be honest, I have no idea. My guess is just as good as yours,” Ladio said in response. Svecko stared at him for a couple of seconds before moving his gaze elsewhere.
Ever since Svecko had gotten back from the battle at Marquis city, he had been in a foul mood. His anger was mainly due to the fact that the Lord of Paisis had chosen to ignore the threat the southern continent represented. Although Svecko had an unyielding fate in the strength of the Lord of Paisis, he was someone that was extremely prudent. He preferred to eliminate threats while they were still in their infancy and eliminate any source of potential trouble. Memories of his time in the southern continent were like sharp knives stabbing at his chest.
Back at the Marquis household, Nana was currently chatting with Willard. Although Willard still had his usual cold demeanor, her mood had greatly brightened up as she was still able to chat with him. After their conversation, Willard went on a walk around the gardens. After his near death experience, Willard had developed a more reflective personality. For some strange reason, whenever he walked around the gardens, he became more attuned with the natural energy and that strange energy he was cultivating. The elements seem to become more discernible as he could clearly feel their forms. While he walked, he remembered something, in particular, Sebastian had told him, which was Sir Bryant’s invitation to the northern border. “What did he mean, by that? How would the northern borders be of any use to me?” While contemplating the message, he caught sight of Baya walking towards him.
“Master Willard,” Baya said as he bowed to greet Willard.
Willard nodded in response to his greetings. They began conversing about some subjects of cultivation, in which Willard enlightened Baya on his confusions, when suddenly Baya asked a question he had been meaning to ask for some time now,”Were you able to use that fire plant root that I brought for you?” Willard frowned and thought back to his time with Auora, and was about to respond when a thought suddenly came to his mind, followed by a strange sigh. “I need to go do something right now. We’ll talk about this another time.” He said walking off and heading in some direction without waiting for Baya to respond. Baya stared with a look of confusion. This was the second time he had asked Willard this question and for some strange reason, Willard had diverted the question. The first time, Willard had strangely brushed it away and this time, Baya could tell that Willard was intentionally not talking about it.
Svecko and Lado arrived at a remote corner of the Western continent. There was a single wooden tent that gave off a naturally soothing aura. Surrounding the wooden house were different types of plants growing in a natural form. As arrived they dropped down from the sky and walked towards the house and stood outside the house and bowed. Ladio looked at the plants with a little dread. He could feel the majestic energy the plants were emitting. The door opened up giving way to an old man who strolled out with a smile on his face. The man held some gardening tools and walked towards a vine like plant. The old man was carefully attending to the plant with the same smile.
“Svecko, Ladio. Come closer.” The man said.
“What do you see when you look at this plant?” He asked. Svecko and Ladio thought for some seconds before Svecko said, ” Your highness. What I see is the unity of the boundless elements.”
“How about you Ladio?” the old man asked.
“Your highness, all I see is a plant. Nothing more,” Ladio responded. Hearing Ladio’s response the old man broke into a hearty laughter. “Honest and direct,” he said while he continued tending to the plant. Both Svecko and Ladio had nothing but reverence for this old man. They stood silently and watched as the old man trimmed the plant.
“A huge change is coming to these lands.” The old man softly said as he stared towards the north. “One that could potentially lead to the end of the age of saints.” Both Svecko and Ladio were deeply shocked as they heard those words.
“Svecko go and unseal that person, and tell him his king has demanded his presence.” As Svecko heard what the old man said, a look of dread appeared on his face. “Your highness. Do we really need that man?” The old man sighed and nodded in response.
Many years ago, there was a saint that held the title of the number one saint within the Western continent. His fame was widely spread across all the continents. He was known simply as the demon saint. The demon saint completely terrorized the western continent, in his wake was nothing but share slaughter. It took the intervention of one man to stand in his way and seal the demon saint. That man was the old man in the garden. That revelation had shocked the entire world. Before his intervention, no one had ever seen or heard of this man. After he suppressed the demon knight, he became the king of saints of the western continent. The presence of this king assured that none of the other continents would think of invading the western continent.
“Ladio, go to the southern continent and bring me this child.” The old man said as he pressed his right hand on the ground. Suddenly a plant sprouted and slowly formed the shape of a person. The details of the person increasingly got defined before the wooden figure flew to Ladio. The wooden figure gave off an aura of boundless nature, one that was similar to the old man, but much weaker. If Willard had been present, he would have recognized the image of the wooden person, who was none other than Mailey, the genius he had fought from the blue dragon academy during the banquet at the Minya household. Both Svecko and Ladio gave a deep bow before they flew off.
Within the Northern continent, something quite unusual was occurring.
Thunder was rumbling as a divine will suddenly appear out of nowhere. This divine will was the will of a god. It flew across the northern continent and finally descended at the location of a mountain where a woman sat in a meditative posture as she cultivated. The woman suddenly opened her eyes, she stared at the divine will that hovering around her. Without any hesitation, she reached out with her right hand to grab that will. It only took a couple of minutes for the will to fully assimilate with her. “My Lord, thy will shall be fulfilled. I will exterminate the seed of Thanus.”
Strange scenes similar to this were happening all across the northern continent. Some were occurring across the other lands, but a majority of the descent of the will of gods came to the northern continent. Within a cave, at the center of the northern continent, an old man completely covered in the soil like he was dead, suddenly broke through the soil that covered him. A strange smile emanated from his face as he stared at the will that hovered directly above him. The will slowly descend to the old man and entered his body. After a couple of mins, the old man smiled and said, “Thy will shall be fulfilled. I will exterminate the seed of Thanus.”
The old man got up and stretched his body. With every movement he made, his vitality seemed to shoot up as he appeared younger and younger by the second. “Great changes are coming to these lands. It’s time for the northern continent to unify these lands once again.”