Chapter 6:

Party Crasher

Mad God


At first, there was silence, but soon the whole place was filled with laughter. It seemed Ren didn’t mind it, and they weren’t wrong about that, only Xendar’s face darkened a lot, but Anya just held his hand, squeezing it, signaling her thoughts; just don’t do anything stupid.

“My, my, my!” The Emperor chuckled. “We have a little heroine here, it seems. Filled with fighting spirit, just like your Father, eh?”

“A little pepper.” one of the ministers laughed while most of their sons also looked smilingly at her.

What caught Aerthus’ attention was the silence of her parents. Something started to feel off, and for a second, he looked at Xendar and Anya before his eyes flashed for a brief moment.

“Well, this is nothing more than a little competition so the youngsters can have fun, so why not!” Aerthus said while laughing, but his decision shocked the other parents.

“Your Majesty… I don’t know if this is a good idea.” The Finance Minister said, stepping forward, “She is still just a child, my Son albeit young, he at least started to cultivate. The other children who would participate are even older!”

“Please reconsider, Your Majesty.” The voice belonged to the son of one of the star captains of the City Guard, a young, 20-year-old, handsome man who was the rising star of his generation, reaching two complete refinements of his whole body by now, only after two years of cultivation. “This would be too dangerous.”

“Dangerous?” Xendar snorted suddenly, and people felt that his voice was followed by electricity cackling, “Why? You would try to hurt her?”

“No, no, no! You misunderstood us! But it's still... Sparring? With a child? All my respect is yours, General Xendar, but this is preposterous!” the young man replied.

“What is your name, son?”

“Zern my Lord. Zern Unth.”

“So you are the son of Unth. Good. I’ll remember you.” Xendar nodded, but nobody knew if this spelled good or not for the Unth family, and Zern himself felt a little bit out of air.

“Easy, easy, everyone! I just suggested this for a little bit of fun! What harm could come out of friendly sparring? Let the young Lady participate, take it as a game, just as she said. Let's just have some fun!” Aerthus IX quickly eased everyone’s nerves.

As the Emperor spoke again, nobody dared to raise a protest the second time. Ren was still smiling innocently, slowly hopping up and down next to her parents as if she was getting ready for a boxing match.

“Okay, let’s start then with the little pipsqueak! Are there any volunteers to be her opponent?” Aerthus laughed while Ren hopped onto the quickly cleared floor in front of the Emperor, Empress, and Leinor.

“I’ll do it,” Zern said, stepping forward and bowing toward Aearthus and then toward Xendar. “Don’t worry, General Xendar. I swear on my life that it will be nothing but a play!”

“I’ll hold you to that.” The general replied in a cold voice while Zern only could twitch the corner of his mouth.

“Haahh… Good evening Miss Ren,” he said as he bowed towards her, and Ren copied him immediately.

“To you too! This is going to be my first time. Please be gentle!” Ren grinned while others almost choked on their saliva, and Anya elbowed her husband so hard he nearly keeled over.

“W-why…?” he whispered, trying to keep back his tears.

“...” Anya didn’t say anything, just stood there as if nothing had happened, but Xendar was afraid the real storm would come when they arrived home.

Leinor looked lost and confused since Ren stood out, especially after her words, as he couldn’t tell why the other adults were choking on their breaths. He almost asked his mother about it but knowing her temperament decided the best would be to stay silent, as always. She looked so serious, watching her eyes! He did not find it funny but admirable! Especially the fact that she was able to speak her mind!

“What? Did I say something wrong?” Ren blinked her eyes innocently at the reaction of others who could only shake their heads, sighing at how innocent a child is compared to them. Meanwhile, Ren was secretly laughing as her prankster side was having the time of her life.

“Nothing, Young Miss. How would you like to do this?” Zern cupped his hands.

“Easy. We fight!” Ren laughed as she started jumping up and down.

“Miss, that would… be… inappropriate.”

“No, it won't! Don’t be a sissy!” came another word from her mouth, rendering everyone speechless, and only one voice echoed through the room.

“Yeaow! My ear…!” Xendar’s yelp echoed out, breaking the silence.

“If you are afraid, then you defend; I attack! Ladies first, no?” Ren said, ignoring the background ‘cheering’ of her parents.

“I… I guess?” Zern blinked his eyes, trying to stop their twitchings, unsure what to make of the situation.

“Great! I’ll come from your left side, be ready, okay? I just need to… prepare first!” she said as she grabbed the skirt of her dress and then pulled hard.

Suddenly everyone quieted down, and even Aerthus stood up, watching seriously as what he saw was not something a five-year-old would be capable of. Ren tore apart her dress so her legs would move more freely and kicked off her little shoes before she exclaimed happily with a grin.

“I'm coming!”

The next second, her bare legs shone in somewhat of a violet haze before she disappeared from her spot, arriving to the left of Zern in a blink of an eye. What Xendar and most people on his level saw was like a slow-motion movie. Ren’s body was in the air, delivering a kick from the left, aiming precisely at Zern’s head, which stood almost thrice the size of hers. Yet the little girl flew through the air as quickly as a crane, wearing an excited grin.

“No way…” The Emperor murmured as his eyes were almost bulging out of his skull.

Zern’s only luck was that he subconsciously reacted to it; thanks for the forewarning from Ren, or he may have been too stunned even to put up any defense. He raised his arm to block with just enough time to meet with the small ankle, going for his head.

The booming sound of the impact shook up the others even though it didn’t carry much force at Ren's current level.

“Achachacha~” Ren moaned after landing and jumping backward, flailing around with her leg, which now sported a big red patch. “Your arm is pretty haaaaard! Ouch… this hurt more than I thought it would; if I didn’t reach the first refinement on them, I would have broken my leg!” she laughed a little, shaking her head. “How many times did you refine your hands?”

“T-two.” Zern stuttered, still not believing what he was seeing, and just looked down at his hand, trembling a little, and it started to swell where he was kicked.

“Whoa, and it’s this hard? Damn, I'll need to work harder. I just started doing my arms!” Ren giggled as she started flailing them again. “Let’s go for another round!” came the angel-like laughing, but for Zern, it was more like the devil's voice.

He couldn’t retaliate, afraid he would hurt her. Before realizing he was in a pickle, Ren was upon him, moving fast as lightning, always kicking out, aiming for vital points on his body, not being afraid to aim at his most vulnerable spot, which made most of the men in the room shiver.

Leinor was mesmerized by what he saw. He couldn’t follow what was happening as he only trained in mind but never tried to cultivate. Or at least when he secretly wanted to meditate, he couldn’t convert any energy into his body even when he felt it surrounding him. But now he was witnessing a girl, two years younger than him whizzing around and making an adult, more importantly, a young captain of the City Guard, focus on defense!

“Beautiful…” he whispered, but nobody heard him as everyone focused on Ren.

“Whew~ Enough!” Ren moaned, landing back at the starting point, tiptoeing from one leg to the other while both of hers started to swell and turn almost purple. “It feels like kicking an iron board over and over again! You win! I can't beat down your defenses yet!”

“Wha-” Zern blinked his eyes while his hands were shaking. Everything was… giving his brain a short circuit, and he felt like he couldn’t formulate a clear thought.

Before anything could come out of his mouth, Ren was already back before her parents as she looked up at them.

“This was fun!” she said with a grin ear to ear, but her legs finally gave out, and she landed on her bottom. “Ouch… ehehe~.”

“Come, come… my poor little angel, does it hurt?” Anya said as she picked her up, placing her hand on her little legs, stroking them with healing water while Ren felt a soothing, cool feeling permeating her skin.

“Nyaaaaah~ This is gooooood~”

“I told you, my affinity is water! At my level, I can project it out for short bursts. When we get home, I'll take care of you, you will be jumping around by tomorrow, so don’t you worry!” she said while showering her with kisses.

Xendar was watching them, smiling proudly while looking at the others with a provocative eye before he caught himself and bowed to the Emperor.

“I beg for your forgiveness, Your Majesty. She is still a child; please don’t be offended by her actions.”

“Yeah, s-sure.” he nodded reflexively but suddenly shook his head. “Explain yourself, XenXen! What the FUCK was that?!”

“Ugh…” Xendar moaned as he knew his old friend had shed entirely any pretense of a decent emperor now, not following the protocols. “Please don’t blame this on me, too…” he murmured, looking back at his wife. “Don’t call me that… it gives me the creeps.”

“I gave you that name after you lost your bet to me, so don’t give me that face, you idiot! Now E-X-P-L-A-I-N.”

“Um… well. She’s good.”

“No shit!” Aerthus roared, then looked around everyone. “Out! The banquet is over! XenXen, you stay! Everyone else, leave!”

It was such an order, uttered with the force of his cultivation, that everyone felt their ears were ringing. Anya looked worriedly at her husband, but he just shook his head. After she took a look at Aerthus IX, throwing daggers at him from her eyes, she left with Ren.

It took only a few minutes, and only Aerthus IX and Xendar were in the room, looking at each other.

“They are going to be afraid of me after the order to leave and speculate what I'll plan on doing.” Aerthus said, now much more calmly, “But the rumors will spread about her. I’ll keep it that way—rumors only. I won't deny it. Also, I won't say it's true. That's the best I can do for you.”

“Thank you.”

“Fuck maaaan… you had a genius of a daughter, eh?” The Emperor laughed, patting Xendar’s shoulder. “Whew, I’m glad I arranged that marriage!”

“Fuck you!”

“You misspoke! It’s “Thank You” that you wanted to say, Xendar! That's going to be an extra layer of protection for her. What’s with the sour face? Can’t you deny it, huh? Ahahaha! Damn!”

“Mmm...mmhm… mmm…” he murmured something under his breath

“Yeah, yeah, whatever! I’ll need to urge my son more! You know your girl just ruined my big reveal?”

“What reveal?”

“Leinor’s, to be exact. He is the most talented out of my sons; he just has... well... zero confidence. He is still off a little, true, but he already senses energy when meditating; he just can’t get it right yet. Maybe two years from now! But damn, little Ren is already ahead of him and by a lot! Fuck!”

“Well, she is my daughter!”

“Yeah, yeah, what do you say? You stay for the night, let the others speculate what's happening, and we drink like in the old days?”

“I need to speak to-”

“By the way, what do you think Anya will say when you get home? Your little girl has the same mouth as you, huh?”

“FUCK. Yeah, drinking sounds good! Can you send a message to Anya?”

“Sure.” The Emperor grinned, and soon the two men disappeared from the palace

….

…..

It was early morning when Ren felt her bed shaking and woke up to the rumbling outside. At first, she thought a storm was brewing, but soon she heard her mother’s voice.

“COME BACK HERE IF YOU ARE A MAN!”

“I’m sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!” Xendar pleaded, but soon another loud rumble echoed through the mansion, blowing a giant hole into its wall while a figure flew out, rolling on the ground, through the garden, and a shadow followed him closely.

Ren immediately rushed out, watching them excitedly as this was the first time she had witnessed a fight at such a level.

Her mother’s body shimmered in a bluish haze while her silver hair flowed behind her like a raging river. Anya’s fighting style was smooth, and her punches and kicks flowed continuously and harmoniously without pause. Every attack carried the momentum and aura of an unstoppable force of nature, blowing up dirt from the ground as she missed her dodging husband.

Xendar was also covered in a violet haze, and sparks flew off his feet every time he made a movement, followed by rumbling sounds. Still, he never retaliated against Anya’s attack, only defended. Ren soon noticed that when her mother got in some punches, both bodies ceased emitting any aura for a split second before resuming their fight.

“The last time they fought so hard was when your father got drunk after he knew she got pregnant. He was out partying for two days.”

“Hahaha… Mom never told me this, Uncle Hal!”

“Of course not. But as you can see, neither of them wants to hurt the other. It's just...”

“I know, I know, don’t worry! It’s just Mom. She was worried sick the whole night. She almost stormed the palace because Father wasn’t coming home.”

“Wait, he didn’t send a message?” Xendar said as their conversation was easily overheard by the two.

“What message?” Anya scoffed.

“That prick! Yeaow!!!!” Xendar screamed as Anya got hold of him, and soon both of them were wrestling on the ground. Finally, when they stopped, Anya got to be on top. She was out of breath, and their clothes were messy and dirty. Anya’s eyes were filled with tears.

“I thought something happened!” she sniffed a little.

“No… nothing, he said he would send a message… it's just….”

“I was so worried!” his wife moaned slowly as she started to sob.

“Don’t cry, don’t cry… it was my fault, hundred percent! Sssh… don’t cry. I'm sorry!” Xendar said, hugging his wife, trying to soothe her, kissing her face all over, and soon Anya took over, kissing his lips passionately.

“Don’t do this again!” she whispered while she lay on his chest, still sobbing a little

“I won’t. Come, you need a bath.” Xendar said as he stood up, holding his wife like a princess, soon disappearing from the garden.

“Well, maybe I'll have a sibling soon?” Ren giggled, and Hal could only shake his head while he escorted the little Miss back to the mansion.

….

…..

“Are you sure this was the correct decision, Your Majesty?” a man asked, dressed in tight black clothes that covered all parts of his body. Only his silver-colored eyes were visible, which radiated cold, murderous energy. He was kneeling before Aerthus in his bedroom while the morning sun shone in, giving a holy aura to the Emperor, who was sitting on his sofa before the window.

“Yes, Nameless. Why kill geniuses? Why weaken our Empire? I don’t see the logic in that.”

“One mountain can’t contain two tigers.”

“Bullshit!” Aerthus roared, standing up before the kneeling man, “People like this will strengthen us! If you start eliminating every prodigy who isn’t your own blood, you will soon be left with mediocre talent and silk pants. Worse, every talented individual will try to hide or defect to our enemies, bolstering their strength and weakening us! Your logic is flawed!”

“But…”

“He is right.” came a third voice, and Nameless shivered while Aerthus IX kneeled as a middle-aged man appeared in the room. He was eighty percent similar to Aerthus IX; only his hair was shorter.

“Father.”

“Good. You did well, Dermitos. I received your message and relayed it to the Forefather, and he immediately made the same decision as you.”

“Really?” Dermitos asked with a glint in his eyes.

“Yes. The Forefather said the Empire is just the first step, and he will soon be back from his journey and start on the next phase.”

“Next phase?” Nameless and Dermitos asked at the same time.

“Building a Sect.” Aerthus VIII, the previous emperor, smiled, and his smile became wider as he saw the confusion on his son’s face. “You will know more about it, don’t worry. Anyway, the Forefather will be back in the next 20 years or so. So until then, keep up the good work. I’m proud of you!”

“Thank you, father!” Dermitos said before his father, who soon disappeared.

“We will not have this discussion again, Nameless.”

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Don’t stop the rumors but make sure no official statement endorses it. Keep what happened vaguely. Let the people believe what they want. If they start questioning us, deflect it or play it down.”

“As you command.”

“Good. Now go!” Before he finished, Nameless had already disappeared from the room. Only his aura stayed there, lingering in the air. “Oh boy… I already feel a headache coming.” The Emperor sighed. “Well, what must come will come—no reason to mull over something trivial. Yeah, let's visit my harem first. That will clear my mind!” he said laughingly as he left the chamber, humming a happy song as if nothing had happened.