Chapter 43:

Fight to the Death (2)

Mad God


The battle was slowly coming to an end. Lightning boomed as Ren blasted through another baboon leader with her spear while Kang held him down, leaving only one alive as all the others were dealt with. The remaining leader tried to escape, but to no avail, as now even Feynor and Niji were there to surround him. As he felt his end coming closer, the more desperate, he became to escape. It was then that the sky started darkening and Ren looked up with a cold and furious expression.

"Someone is having a breakthrough?" Feynor mused.

"Yes…" Ren murmured, watching the red lightning flash around. "They are in trouble…."

"We go?" Kang asked as the remaining baboon noticed it may be his opportunity to flee if they gave up on him now.

"No. We can't leave any of these monkeys alive." She said, shaking her head, "I trust my family. They will be okay."

"If not?"

"Then…" She looked up at Kang with eyes that made the giant gorilla shiver, "I'll find those who hurt them and refine them into flesh puppets." she snorted while continuing to attack the remaining baboon leader.


….
…..

Emi watched the young man standing before her as the sky rumbled above them. Her eyes were clear yet filled with a wary expression as the smell brought the stench of death with it.

Before Leinor or the others could say anything, Poli raised his sword as the first lightning struck down, striking his blade like a lightning rod. Surprisingly the sword itself didn't break but transmitted everything into his body. Thanks to Ren, he knew what was coming and had already released every excess of energy in his legs as he blasted out with a thundering roar, faster than anybody could expect, even himself.

The skin and clothes on his legs instantly tore apart, blood and pieces of flesh flying everywhere as lightning bolts flashed above the ground where he stepped before crashing into Emi, sending the giant fox flying through multiple trees before stopping.

"Wha-?" Emi whined, coughing up blood, not knowing what even happened, while Poli, who was in a delirious, wild state, tormented by pain, the feeling of numbness and disorientation slashed down, sending the still overwhelming energy swirling inside of him out "Ugh!" She groaned as she narrowly dodged the sword that cuts through the earth itself, leaving almost a 10-meter-deep gush on the ground.

That was when the second lightning bolt struck, right on his head. Poli's eyes were bloodshot as his body started to crack from the abundant energies. Still, he just looked at Emi, raising his sword once again, focusing every energy inside him to be blasted out from his sword, and this time, Emi couldn't dodge.

The attack came too quickly as the red, lightning-filled blade slashed across her from the neck down to her belly, making her whine and scream in a painful, animalistic voice. Her deep, crimson-colored blood splashed everywhere as a nasty, open wound pulsated in her, electricity cracking inside.

"Let's die together… bitch!" Poli groaned, raising his sword again, but he was stuck there like a statue and couldn't move anymore. His body refused to acknowledge his thoughts; he felt imprisoned inside, losing control while the third lightning strike was gathering above them.

Emi didn't hesitate; she rushed out, snatching up the unconscious Rem while releasing a thick, pink smoke from her body before disappearing.

“Fuck… you…” Poli forced the words out of his mouth while his eyes tried to follow her, but he could not move.

Isha and Zern tried to help, but they were still out of breath and energy; only Leinor had recovered enough to move, yet the escaping Emi was too fast for him. He hesitated for a moment before going to Poli instead.

"What are you… doing?" Zern groaned, watching him.

"Poli's affinity is the same as Ren's… I can help." Leinor panted heavily.

"It's insane…." Isha tried to sit up while speaking.

"I can take it!" He arrived at the "frozen" Poli, still raising his sword towards the sky in a slashing motion.

"S-stop… It..s… fine…” Poli groaned, trying to force out his words.

"Shut it. Concentrate on guiding the energy like Ren told you! If you dare to die, she will bring back your soul and plant it in a pig!" He placed both of his hands on his shoulders.

When he did as Leinor told him, he finally felt the rampaging tides inside him, and trying to control it seemed impossible. It was too wild and too much. That was when the feeling of release came over him, and the overflow of energy started to rush out from his body into Leinor, who was absorbing it, replenishing his diminished powers.

Soon the third thunderbolt came down, striking his sword right on the tip. The energy flow was so strong that Poli cried uncontrollably, and the cracks on his hand multiplied before exploding into bloody fragments of bones, chunks of flesh, and bloody mist, right up to the shoulder while his sword fell to the ground.

Leinor used all of his focus on absorbing as much as he could, but he felt overwhelmed, still… it stopped the cracking of Poli's body. Even though he was on the verge of exploding, he somehow managed to avoid it and could regain control of his body's energy flow, reining it slowly but steadily. When the sky cleared, both felt the rampaging energy inside them subsiding. Leinor threw up a lot of blood and chunks of his internal organs before collapsing, like Poli, falling to the ground in sync.


….
…..

"Ugh…" Leinor woke up feeling sore all over while a terrible headache assaulted his senses, making him squint, raise his hand, and cover his eyes.

"Easy…" Ren's voice came; who was lying beside him, slowly climbed onto his chest, massaging it. "You are still full of the stuff. You glutton!" whispered. "I'm slowly helping your body assimilate it, but you ate so much it's a miracle you didn't burst."

"I feel like shit…."

"Duh! No wonder. But you did well. Both of you are alive!"

"I would've to beat the shit out of him if he dies after all this…."

"Ahaha, it seems I finally rubbed off on you, eh?" Ren giggled, leaning closer and kissing him. "Relax. Try to not think; just lay here! I'll massage you until you feel better. This will be beneficial to you in the long run."

"What about Poli?"

"He is resting in another house; we are back at the village. He regained consciousness before you, and now he is resting too. Even though he lost his sword-wielding arm, he seems to be full of energy. That little prick."

"He is older than you."

"Hmf, I'm his Master, so he is a little prick. Anyway, a genius little prick. Maybe I'll call him Pricky from now on instead of Poli."

"Well, before you or me, he was one of the youngest cultivators."

"Ahaha… yeah, it shows. He did something miraculous."

"Mh? What do you mean?" Leinor opened his eyes.

"You'll see." She smiled, but soon her face turned serious again. "About Rem…."

"She took her."

"I heard it. We need to find her."

"She probably won't hurt her. She assumed we kidnapped her."

"Yes. Isha and Zern told me everything. We will go after her in the morning."

"I'll-"

"No. You stay, same with Poli. All of you stay and have a rest. I'll go with Kang and Niji."

"..."

"LeiLei."

"Okay. I'll stay."

"Good boy." She smiled, leaning in, kissing him with passion, easing his headache.


….
…..

A dark shadow was sitting on a branch, not far away from the village, that was still being cleaned up from the aftermath of the battle. Tired soldiers, chimps, and gorillas were collecting the dead bodies of the baboons, per the order of Shaman, who was bandaged up, leaning on a stick, helping him walk, yet still… full of energy, seeing so many possible sources of demon cores.

"He did use it…." The shadow murmured to himself, remembering, as he observed how Leinor saved Poli, "But it saved a life…" he looked at the village, while his voice was conflicted. "Should I report this…?" he asked himself, doubting the decision of his Master. "I made the oath to serve the Empire," he assured himself, steeling his eyes before disappearing into a cloud of black smoke.

When he materialized once again in the hidden cave of Nameless, he knelt before him.

"What do you have to report?" The leader of his organization asked.

"There was a fight between a high-level demon and the Prince's squad."

"Did they die?"

"No. They came out victorious in the end, but they were injured badly. I spectated the whole battle; there was no sign of the Prince using that power."

"Really…? Give me your element shard you were given." He reached out with one hand.

"..." He didn't understand but couldn't refuse as he produced it for his superior.

"Do you know why you were given this?"

"I don't question the orders I am given."

"Good answer." Nameless smiled under his mask. "This is a Tainted Element Shard."

"Tainted?"

"Yes. To be precise, it was damaged when mined. There are always defective ones once in a while. It's tainted as it absorbs energies from the outside and can't resonate with an untapped body, so it can't be used for ceremonies. Yet… it can record energy flows it comes in contact with." he smiled as he sent his own into the shard, making it react and scan what kind of energies it came into contact with while being in possession of his subordinate

"I see." he nodded, but under his black cloth, he was sweating profusely, expecting Nameless to find out he lied.

Yet when he was holding the shard, it suddenly exploded, sending red lightning all over him, making him cry in pain, being toppled backward like a toy figure.

"Master!"

"I'm… fine!" he gasped, trying to stand up, but his body was numb, still flashing with occasional arcs jumping between his fingers. "It soaked up the residue power of the tribulation… damn… This can't be used as evidence now." he groaned as he produced another shard, tossing it towards him. "Take this new one and follow the surveillance! When he uses that power, and we have evidence, we carry out the order of the Emperor. Without evidence, the current ruler and the Prince's brothers could turn on us… we need a safety net to fall back onto. I won't let our order disappear! We have served since Aerthus V, and the Empire will need us in the future too! If we have proof, the previous Emperor will intervene." Nameless grumbled slowly before sitting down to calm his body and soul. "Leave."

"As you order." he bowed before disappearing, holding the shard close, filled with conflicted emotions as he melted into the darkness.


….
…..

"Awawawa, Miss, you are injured! Awawawa!" came the panicky voice of Rem, flying erratically over the panting Emi, who was back in her human-like form, leaning against a giant oak tree. Her breathing was erratic, and she was clearly on the verge of dying. A deep gush was oozing blood from top to bottom across her chest, disfiguring her body.

"At.. least… you are… safe…” Emi murmured with unfocused eyes.

"I don't remember what happened… but worry not! My friends will come and help you, I'm sure! I'll get some flowers; we must stop the bleeding first!" Rem flew off and soon returned with different colored petals in her hands. "Awawa, don't sleep Miss! It's dangerous!" she flew up to her with a worried face, trying to wake up the fainted Emi, to no avail. "Get yourself together, Rem!" she slapped her puffy cheeks. "You are the little sister of Ren; you can do this!"

Soon the plump little fairy was chewing up the flowers before applying them to the nasty wound, releasing reddish dust from her wings, slowly helping it close and form a long scar along her body.

"Good, it's helping! I'll need more, don't die, Miss! I'll bring more! And water! Yes, yes! Everything will be alright!" she said, but she mostly tried to encourage herself as she flew off again.


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When daybreak came, Ren, with Niji, Feynor, and Kang, was already on her way, trying to get on the trail of Emi, catching up, and rescuing Rem. Leinor only woke up long after they were gone as he walked out of the house, still feeling sore all over his body. The bright sunlight hurt his eyes as he tried to adjust to it.

"Yo, Leinor!" Zern came up. "You up? I was going to visit Poli; you coming?"

"Yeah, that was my plan. Is he… fine?"

"You mean about his hand being gone?" he asked back.

"Yes."

"You'll see!" he smiled, surprising him.

"Ren said something similar."

"She's right." Isha came up, holding a basket full of freshly caught fish. "Come, we have grilled fish for breakfast!"

When Isha pushed in the door of the house where Poli was staying, a sword light flashed before her, almost cutting the basket she held in half.

"You prick!" she screamed, kicking out, but Poli just dodged with ease, laughing loudly.

"Sorry, sorry, I was training!" he grinned happily as he stood still while his sword was floating around him.

"He really came up with something ridiculous…." Leinor murmured as he watched the floating weapon.

"Cool, eh?" Poli stood proudly. "It was an equivalent exchange if you ask me! I feel the sword is part of my body and can control it with my thoughts. I don't even need a hand to grab it!"

"How far do you have control over it?" Leinor asked, just as excited as Ren could be.

"Around 100 meters?" Poli tilted his head as Zern helped Isha get ready for breakfast. "I need to test more; if I train hard, I think I could get out more of it!"

"Still, that's awesome…."

"Isn't it?" He laughed happily before patting Leinor's shoulder with his remaining hand. "I owe you my life. Thanks!"

"Don't. We are family! No need for this between us." He grasped his hand as both grinned at each other like brothers.

"Still!" Poli laughed happily. "I'll buy you a beer when we go home!"

"And what about us?" Isha cut in.

"Okay, okay, for you two too! When Master brings back Rem, she gets a fruit wine from me too!"

"I don't know about that; you saw how high she got. I don't think she can handle anything that is not water." Isha smiled, but clearly, she was uneasy about Rem.

"Don't worry. She will be fine. Master is on her way!" Poli patted his chest, full of energy.

"Yeah." all three of them nodded before concentrating on making breakfast and easing their worries.


….
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"This way…" Niji murmured as he crouched on the ground, touching the dried blood on the fallen leaves.

"I just hope she is alive when we get there," Ren said.

"You do what?" Kang asked calmly.

"If she is fine, I'll beat her up until she can't recognize herself in a mirror. If she is injured, I'll heal her, then beat her into a pulp."

"Killing her would be… bad." Feynor added with concern, "She must be influential judging by her powers… and if she is this strong, it would be hard to beat her if she has recovered."

"Hard? No, no, no… It would be fun. She owes one of her hands because my disciple is missing his! The minimum is that I'll rip it off and spank her with it!" She snorted with evident anger in her voice.

"Relax, Ren…" Niji sighed. "The foxes are one of the main tribes here."

"How high are they in the pecking order?" She asked after a big breath.

"Top 3, at least! They have a leader, a white fox, who was the first of theirs to evolve. She is rarely seen, but her presence alone can kill others! She is someone even the treants wouldn't mess with if not necessary."

"Fuck her… and all of her tribe!" Ren spat, her blood boiling. "Sending out such a naive girl to make a big mess out of nothing! Great leader, my smooth butt farts out more logical thoughts!" She rolled her eyes, still furious over what had happened. Feynor just smiled, shaking his head at her words. "Let's go; we need to catch up with that girl!" Ren sighed, shaking her small head as they rushed out again, following the bloody trail Emi had left behind.