Chapter 40:

Getting Ready

Mad God


It was noon, yet the Sky was dark. Black clouds blocked the sun as a thunderstorm raged high above, blue and violet lightning flashing constantly. On the ground stood Anya, Dermitos, Carthus, Feynor, Boursat, Leinor and co., and finally, Kang. High up in the Sky, Xendar clashed against his daughter once again, both wielding a lightning spear, and as their weapons met, thunder roared, and lightning flew everywhere.

"Being only a few days since she ascended, she is pretty strong," Carthus commented calmly while his arms were crossed.

"You don't get it, Father." Dermitos said, "How strong were you at her age?" He asked but did not receive any answer. "Exactly… and look at the others. They are also way above any of us at the same age." He smiled, looking at his son, who was watching Ren fight, completely shutting out everything, only concentrating on her. "We can't lose someone like her!" continued, switching to voice projection. "Just look at her influence. A genius like her affects everyone and everything around her. Keeping her close will elevate us and make us stronger. Take her new cultivation method, for example; you saw the results."

"Why are you telling me this… again?" Carthus sent it back.

"Because I know you. Deep down, you are afraid someone will usurp our family. Relax. She is part of our family. Feynor will take my place in a few months, and we will hold a wedding between Leinor and Ren."

"..."

"Haahh…" He just let out a silent sigh as it seemed Carthus didn't wish to continue the discussion right now, ignoring him completely.

Up high, Ren just laughed loudly as she threw out her spear, but Xendar grabbed it with bare hands crushing it into nothing.

"Watch out, Father!"

Her giggle came as she stretched her hands out and formed a giant water ball that, when shot out, flew only a few meters before exploding into tiny droplets that were connected by purple strings of electricity, forming a giant fishnet in the Sky, enveloping Xendar. Even though he could cut it with his own power, it quickly reformed as the droplets reconnected, clearly filled with Ren's energy.

"Not bad!" Xendar smirked, then picked out ordinary coins from his pouch, flipping them with his fingers. A bright light blinded everyone as the first shot out, tearing open the 'net.' Not even Ren could react in time. She felt something pass next to her, hitting a hole in the clouds above and letting in the sunshine for a brief minute.

"YOU IDIOT!" came a screeching voice, and just as Xendar blinked, a petit leg kicked him right in the face, sending him flying downwards, crashing into the ground, splashing mud and earth everywhere.

"Ugh..." almost everyone grimaced as Anya was up there, raging like the storm itself as rain poured down harder than before.

"M-mom, relax; Father wasn't aiming at me!" She tried to calm her down, Ren floating towards her with a smile twitching on her tiny face. "Anyway… what was that?"

"Hmf, that blockhead's spell he came up with a year ago. He shouldn't even use it, fighting against you!" She raged, still fuming as Xendar slowly crawled out from the ground, his face was swelling up like a pumpkin, and he was coughing up a lot of dirt.

"Whaf dif I dfo nowf?" He tried to speak, but his lips were triple their size, as all the water and blood in his body was still boiling and rampaging around because of his wife's powers.

"Don't you dare!" Anya flew down. "Where did you put your brain?! When you start fighting, you are like your daughter! Both of you forget everything and want to go all out, two idiots!"

"H-hey…" Ren murmured, wryly smiling, feeling personally attacked.

"At least we know where Master inherited that trait." Poli mused.

"I heard that!" Ren looked down but just rolled her eyes.

"Ahaha, you always step on your wife's tail!" Dermitos laughed, coming up, and placing a hand on his friend's shoulder, and his face quickly reverted back to normal.

“Brr… thanks… I aimed at- oh… o-okay, s-sorry…” He gulped back his words, seeing Anya's eyes, knowing he could forget about having any fun tonight.

"Was it your previous technique's upgrade?" Ren came up to her father with a curious expression.

"Yup. Let's say I upgraded it! It shoots out coins with an incredible speed and forces instead of attracting lightning."

"I strong, that attack still fast and strong. More strong than Me. I not stop that." Kang said as he came close. He was watched silently by Carthus, yet the giant gorilla ignored him completely.

"I can shoot maybe 5 or 6, at maximum. Not more, and as I launch more, the accuracy, speed, and force fall a lot." Xendar explained, not holding back information from them.

"Exactly because you can't aim it well; you shouldn't use it in a practice fight! Against your daughter!" Anya said, barely remaining civil.

"She is strong! There wouldn't be any problem!" He sighed but just received a pinch at his side "YEAOW! S-Sorry… ouch…”

"How are you feeling?" Dermitos smiled at Ren, who was still full of energy.

"Great! Now I feel like I can call myself a true cultivator! Previously we were just strong fighters! I can feel the flow of energy, my blood, all the muscles in my body, and can control it perfectly, release it how I want, where I want; I have so many ideas for spells!" She said so fast, almost biting on her own tongue with excitement.

"Ahaha! Glad to hear!" He patted her shoulders. "If there is something you need, just ask!"

"Teehee, thanks, Uncle! Oh, yes, yes… I'll write up a reformed version of the previous stage's correct cultivation methods! Now that I can feel everything clearly, I know how to modify and perfect it, I'll send it to you soon, and you can implement it! Thankfully Uncle Boursat brought another pile of books with the results from the training of different affinities! I can cover around 90% now of all known ones, except the rare mutations."

"Don't mention it." Boursat cut in with a sigh, remembering a few years ago he was mopping the floor with them; now he wasn't so sure if he could take on this little imp he called mini-bitch once.

"That's good." Carthus said with a calm and cold expression and then just left, letting the others sigh.

"I'm not liking him…." Isha murmured but just received a light knock on her head from Boursat.

"Leave him be… he grew up differently. Living under Aerthus VII wasn't the best." Dermitos waved his hand. "Anyway, the show is over; let's head back. Oh, Xendar, Anya, can you come with me? We need to talk about something important." He said while smiling.

"What?" Xendar furrowed his brows.

"Your daughter's wedding, blockhead!" Anya said calmly as she followed Dermitos, shutting down any protest from Xendar. Their open remarks made Leinor blush as Ren looked up at him with a grin.


….
…..

Back in the new town that was still under construction, sitting near the lake Ren made when advancing, she explained every little detail of her experience while the others listened attentively to her.

"So, to summarize everything I just told you, the tribulation is nothing more than your body resonating with the energy flow from the Tear in the Sky. As it builds up and reaches the purest form, it resonates with the source, drawing down its purest concentration as a lightning tribulation. The influx of pure energy remolds your own and your energy points. Like the forging of a blade, it strengthens you but also... disharmonizes your body! You must adapt and do it fast before it goes out of control. Harmonizing with it is like learning to walk again in a few seconds. You need to be ready to guide it along the route I taught every one of you and regain control over your new body before it's too late."

"Why were there only three?" Zern asked suddenly.

"There were maybe three, but you also saw how strong and different they were." Poli sighed.

"It's probably because of how we train. Our energy points have been refined since the start, and I felt them resonating strongly, forming their own complete systems while I went through it. Now it's another part of me, like the blood vessels or my nervous system. I can control it fully, hence creating spells. I'll write it out for you so you can study my experience. It will help you get ready for advancement."

"Who do you think is the next to advance?" Leinor asked with a calm expression while Poli became pretty excited.

"You or Zern," Ren answered almost immediately.

"Huh?" blinked Poli, clearly not expecting it.

"After you two comes Isha." She continued and then looked at Poli, who was clearly confused and frustrated. "You are not ready."

"Why?!"

"Because of your sword."

"Eh?" asked not just him but everybody else.

"You use the sword for every move you develop. You rely on it as a conductor of your current spells and power. You saw what happened to my water clone! It was ignored and destroyed. What attracts the tribulation is your own body. Not your tools. You won't be able to use it to advance… and if you try it and it does not work… you will explode before being able to reign in your body."

"..." Poli at first didn't react, then let out a sigh, looking crestfallen "I screwed up…."

"No." Ren smiled, standing up, crouching next to him, and patting his head. "You just have a harder path to travel. You trained your swordsmanship until now. You just need to let it go and strengthen up all the rest of you! After that, it will be a walk in the park."

"Thanks, Master…" He smiled, still a bit disappointed, but not so much anymore.

"What about me?" Isha asked, looking into her eyes.

"If you try to advance now, you will have a regular tribulation with nine bolts. That is my guess after helping my Mother out and helping Feynor a little. You could do it like us, only it needs time. You joined late; you were already advanced when you picked up our method. If you work with it more and slowly convert everything built up inside you in the past decades, you could have the same tribulation as us. Only it would take… decades or more."

"Haah, I'm fine with a 'regular' advancement! Hah! Regular, she says!" She laughed loudly. "Boss advanced when he wasn't even at the 9th Body Refinement realm! Do you know how rare having someone on the 9th is?! It's good enough for me!" She was clearly in a good mood, making Ren and Zern smile.

"Anyway, I'm looking forward to your advancement!" Ren grinned as she looked over them. "The advantage of our training will be clear to you after you experience it. Our flow of energy and its gathering is faster and stronger. It's still a feeling, but I think I'm right…." She said as she looked over them, "I will be able to cast more spells than Father with more power behind them; I just need to perfect the basics." She stood before them proudly.

"I still need some practice before attempting it," Leinor and Zern said simultaneously, making the others laugh.

"That's why one of you will be the second after me." Ren grinned happily.


….
…..

"Leader… the Prince, is thinking about advancing." knelt a figure, covered in black, before Nameless, sitting in a meditative pose in a dark cave, who knows where.

"Keep an eye on him at all times."

"Now that the girl has advanced, we may have been detected." The kneeling figure continued.

"Just be extra careful; she knew about us for a long time and is used to our presence; she thinks we are there to protect them or the Prince," he said with a voice that gave off a feeling of wearing a smirk under his faceless mask. "We have been monitoring them for years now."

"Are we sure… about this?"

"It was an order, and that is enough. We follow it. Our oath binds us. Never forget that. We serve the Empire from the shadows. That is our duty!"

"Yes, Leader."

"We clearly feel that wretched power on him even though he masks it. We just need to catch him using it once, then we can execute the order of Emperor Aerthus VIII."

"What about the girl?"

"She has knowledge of it. Needs to be purged."

"Understood."

"Continue monitoring. When you catch him using it, notify me. Until then, I keep an eye on these demons. We can't trust them."

"It shall be done." the figure nodded before disappearing into the shadows.


….
….

"Oh my, this thing stinks!" Ren came into the freshly built, new "laboratory" of Shaman, who was now wearing a full, white trench coat as he was concocting up something foul-smelling.

"Mmm? Of course, it does. Still, it needs some more time to rot perfectly." He nodded as he put a lid on the head-sized cauldron.

"Enjoying the new lab?"

"Yes, finally, I can do real work! But it isn't this why you came, yes?"

"Yeah. I want to visit the orangutans next." Ren held her nose in a pinch.

"What about the baboons?"

"We'll see. We won't take them in if they are overly aggressive or stupid. We don't need to break what we are building here. Some of your children also can be rowdy; thankfully, they are more of pranksters and not bullies."

"Logical. Anyway, that's Niji's and your problem."

"Yeah, he has washed away with work, organizing everything and teaching others. I'm happy he doesn't quit now, realizing how hard of a job it is. Plus, there is Kang, keeping everybody in line with his presence. I think he enjoys it. He sits around all day, eating and watching, while the others cower from his gaze."

"Ahaha, yeah, he can be lazy, but he is a good guy. He is genuinely trustworthy, and you earned his trust."

"Anyway, is anybody you also know in the orangutan camp?"

"Yes. I have an ex there." Shaman answered.

"Wait, what?" Ren stumbled forward, looking at him questioningly.

"An ex." Shaman repeated, "Previous lover. Or whatever you call them."

"Yeah, I got that the first time. Will it be a problem?" She asked with a twitch of her mouth.

"No, I think not. Anyway, I'll tell you where to go, you can go with Kang. It'll help keep up the front with Niji here."

"Why do I get the feeling you don't want to meet with her?"

"Because she is annoying." He rolled his eyes, giving a small parchment to her. "Here, just follow this route, and you will reach them."

"Thanks! I'll tell the others and be on my way tomorrow morning."

"Sure, sure." She said as he was ready to go back, scribbling away, now on a correct notebook, with a real pencil, as he heard Ren's voice from the door.

"Oh yeah, you know… If I successfully persuade them to join us… you will meet with her every day. Bye~" She then just slammed the door as Shaman broke his pencil, pushing it through the notebook and the table.

"FUUUUUUUUCK!" echoed the loud roar throughout the village while Ren just walked away from the stone house with a wide grin on her face.