Chapter 46:

Unlucky Encounters

Mad God


"I don't know if I like this." Xendar sighed, sitting on his horse as they closed in on the Capital, passing by the surrounding farms.


"It will be fine. She is more nervous than us!" Ren replied, looking back, as, on another horse, Emi was following them, wearing human clothes and a cape, hiding her ears and tail, surrounded by Zern and Poli. She looked relaxed, but Ren felt excitement and fear under her natural mask.


"Why do you think she wanted to come?" Anya asked.


"Probably, she thinks this is a great opportunity to get some information about us and bring it back to her Master. I think this is great; a little culture shock would benefit her. Anyway, the most interesting piece is Niji."


"Yeah, he… can't pass as a human. At all." Xendar looked at him.


"Yup, but I already notified them; it won't be a problem. He won't parade around scaring the residents. He is here as an ambassador for the demon folks." Ren smiled.


"You really want to unify us?" her father smiled, asking his daughter with a warm look.


"Unification? I don't know. It is too far off in the future to be talking about that. It has many difficult aspects, and it would take centuries to pull off. I would be fine with coexisting, without major wars for now."


"You've grown up." He patted her head.


"Of course I did!"


"Good to hear because, after Feynor's coronation, you will be married off a week later." Anya cut in.


"Wha-? Like… what… next week?" Ren blinked her eyes so hard they almost popped out.


"Yeah, it was already announced in the Capital, and the people are getting ready for a double ceremony. First, the new Emperor's celebration, then your marriage. Most of the shops are already selling souvenirs for both events."


"Ah… well… Thanks for at least telling me. Does he know?" She smiled with a twitching mouth.


"Leinor? We don't know. Shouldn't it be Dermitos' job to tell him?" Xendar shrugged his shoulders.


"Do you really think he would remember to do that?" Anya asked with a slanted eye.


"True."


"Ohoho… this is going to be interesting! Mom, Dad, don't tell him! Ahaha, I want to see his face when he realizes it!" Ren laughed, looking back, meeting Leinor's gaze, who was taking up the role of the rear guard.


….

…..


Frenir, just returning from the main gate, excitedly rushed into his brother's shop.


“Saynur, Saynur! I saw them!”


"Saw who?"


"The Fourth Prince! Lady Ren! They came back, and there was Emperor Aerthus X and General Xendar! They looked so cool!"


"Oh? Are they back? Great, We need to get ready!"


"Ready for what?"


"I already bought our stand for the coronation ceremony and the wedding! I'll paint both of them, copy them and sell them to collectors! I already got the permit and the canvases; you will help me mix paint and whatnot!"


"Woah, awesome! I will be able to see them up close! You are the best!" Frenir hugged him.


"Ahaha, you will be working with me, so I don't want to hear any complaints. Got it?"


"Yes! Yes!"


"Good. Now go home; mother needs help with our little brother, and father is working at the market."


"Right away! I'll tell them too that they are back!" Frenir laughed, quickly rushing off while Saynur went to the back, standing in front of an easel with crude paper on it while he held a simple pencil.


"I may be only at the 3rd refinement," He said as he stretched his arms, "But I am the best when it comes to painting."


His hands moved at a speed that left behind afterimages, clearly showcasing his arms were beyond the level of someone at the 3rd refinement. Not long after he started drawing, the perfect picture of Ren's and Leinor's duel in the Emperor's Day final appeared. As the drawing took its form, it was lifelike and almost real, showcasing the event from his own perspective. When finished, he felt exhausted but looked at it with a smile.


"I need to practice some more. When the day comes, I must draw the best pictures of my life!" He smiled, looking at the best quality canvas on the shelves, ready for the big day.


….

…..


"What is it?" Leinor asked as they got off their horses next to the General's mansion. Xendar would host Niji and Emi, in one part keeping an eye on them and, on the other, protecting them from other humans.


"Nothing. I just felt we were being watched." Ren furrowed her eyebrows, looking around.


"Is it those shadow troops that my family has? You told me already they are watching us."


"No. They are only there when we leave the city and Father is away. They wouldn't dare to get close at any other time. This… It was weird. I felt for a moment like… if... someone locked onto us… Anyway, it's probably just my imagination this time." She smiled, jumping off the horse far away from a teahouse's corner. Aerthus, who was sipping a cup of tea, and munching on some cookies, smiled widely.


"Interesting. She has sharp senses, no wonder she could come up with something like this." Aerthus tapped on the notes of Ren, which she had written for the royal family before, about her own cultivation system in the body refining realm. "Her soul must be special. She may have an advantage when she reaches the third step. I can't wait to talk with her and hear what she has to say about my Mentors' teachings!" After gulping down the tea, he looked over at the people inside, smiling as he watched the average men and women living their lives. "If she is as interesting in person as by the words on the streets go, I may make her the Head Apprentice when my Sect is established. Being the next in line for Sect Head at 16… tsk… Even my Mentors would be surprised."


"Can I get you something?" came up to the waitress, a young, brunette girl in her early twenties, holding her tray close to her chest, blushing slightly as she looked at the charming, "young" man.


"It's enough to see such a lovely girl. It is refreshing for both my eyes and for my soul. Hearing such a sweet voice is worth more than any gold coin." Aerthus smiled at her. "But if you must ask, please, bring me another cup of freshly brewed Sencha Green Tea, my love."


"R-r-right away... S-Sir!" the young girl stammered, hurrying off.


"Smooth talker." came a voice as a young man sat down in front of him, wearing a white shirt, loosely buttoned in, and blue trousers, while he leaned back, tying up his blonde hair in a ponytail.


"I just like watching blooming flowers." Aerthus shook his head.


"Then we have something in common. Say… do I know you? You look eerily familiar!"


"I don't know. Maybe we met at some establishment specialized for tasting sweet nectars of love." He joked a little, exchanging a smile with his new guest.


"Geez, how many girls have fallen for that?"


"Lost count."


"Bwahahaha! You are something else! Anyway, do you want to come with me? I can introduce you to some great places! I just got home. I was just about to go on and have some fun, but it is better with a company!" the youngster said excitedly.


"You really have weird tastes. But it is expected from a perverted innovator. They say the border between madness and being a genius is thin." Aerthus shook his head.


"Huh? Can you be a bit more direct? If you have something to say, just say it, no?" He asked, rolling his eyes.


"Sure. I know you exchange energies with the girls and boys you have intercourse with. You establish a perfect energy cycle between you and your partners and use it to strengthen your own. It brings you extreme pleasure and advances your cultivation in the meantime. The biggest advantage is you assimilate part of their affinity, giving you a chance to nurture it yourself." He laid out the young boy's most guarded secret from the blue.


"Who are you…?" He asked, both surprised and afraid now, his lips trembling.


"You are lucky you didn't hurt them in the process, or you would be dead by now, Reignar. At least you are not a scumbag, just a pervert. I know you saw me as someone who didn't cultivate; it is easy to absorb from those who are not using it. Still… you really mistook your playing partner now." Aerthus smiled at the Third Prince, who was now petrified. "I'll be honest, I'm interested in your method, sometime I may go with you on an outing and see how it works and why they call you the Elementalist. How many affinities do you have by now?"


“S…seven…” Reignar gulped, daring not to hold back, afraid his sudden thought was real, who he bumped into.


"Mmm, how many do you have under full control?"


"F-four."


"Interesting." He smiled at him, and Reignar, who felt like he was just pardoned, stood up and hurried out, while the waitress just came back, with a flushed face, pouring out the tea for him, with a fast beating heart. "But quantity is not better than quality. Don't forget that. Now go! We will talk later."


….

…..


"What the hell was that…?" Reignar wiped his forehead, four streets away, still panting from all the running. "Damn… I need a drink!" He looked up at the sign of the bar he stood in front of, walking in.


Just after he took the first step inside, his eyes immediately stuck on an enchanting figure, wearing a red, sleeveless top and short skirt, sitting alone in a booth, twirling her red hair between her fingers.


"Oh my, what does such a lovely rose doing here alone?" He walked up to her immediately.


"Huh? Who the fuck are you?" Isha furrowed her eyebrows as it was her who Reignar tried to pick up, only to almost choke on his saliva.


“Well… roses have their thorns…”


"What did you say? Fuck off, creep, you dare to ruin my first real date; I'll stick a rose right up your Peehole!"


"..." Reignar gawked, utterly stunned as he realized the feeling coming off from her was dangerous; clearly a high-level cultivator, but he forgot to check because of the shock he was still in from the previous encounter.


"Is he bothering you?" came a male voice from behind Reignar, but before he could turn back, Isha answered.


"Not really. But his face is. He reminds me of how the boytoy looks at Ren. Shoo-shoo, leave!" Reignar said while he took some steps backward with a befuddled expression.


"Here, Honey Beer, just as you like." Zern sat down, walking past Reignar.


"Thanks~ What do you think, after drinking a little and going to the bathhouse? Having some fun, the two of us~?" She giggled as she licked her cherry lips after a sip.


“I’m… fine with… that…” Zern murmured, with a shade of red on his face, prompting a laugh from Isha as they completely ignored Reignar, who was still reeling from what even happened.


"What's up with this city?" Reignar asked when he was back out on the streets, close to crying, as this had never happened before. "I was gone for a few years, and everything is upside down or something?!" he moaned, almost pulling out his hair.


It took him hours to air out his head, roaming around the city, watching the shops and stalls on the market square before going down a street famous for being the shops for women who looked for exquisite, expensive clothing, trying to awe their friends or their significant other. Or just getting ready for a necessary party.


"If the next one is also a no-go, I should try a brothel next; at least I'll know what to expect." He sighed as he saw a young, silver-haired girl standing in front of a shop, looking at the lingerie on the mannequins with a face deep in thought. "What a lovely young flower… what is she doing here?" Reignar thought but going by the previous encounters, he was now more careful, not yet approaching.


"Mmm… I should buy something to surprise LeiLei on the wedding night… maybe the black one… or a pink? Or the red… tsk… I don't know which would excite him more…" the girl murmured. It was Ren, whispering under her breath, deep in thought. "I should have asked Isha to help me out… but let them have their date! Finally, Zern had some backbone asking her out." she giggled happily.


"Marriage? At her age?" Reignar wondered as he decided to probe her with his aura. As a young girl, she shouldn't have any powers, but he wanted to be sure.


As his aura reached her, he felt like slamming into a brick wall while Ren, excited about her upcoming marriage, suddenly felt the probing energies trying to envelop her.


"Huh?" Ren turned her face towards Reignar, immediately recognizing the familiarity between him and Leinor, knowing it must be one of his brothers "Probably the perverted one." She thought as she just let loose of her own aura and focused on Reignar.


“W-w-what is this…?!” Reignar screamed inside as the feeling, washing over him, was like a small fishing boat being lost on the Storm Coast.


He couldn't help himself, taking steps backward, as his face turned almost green, throwing up right there, without any control, close to fainting. Ren giggled playfully before recalling everything, going back into window shopping, and walking away, humming a happy tune. At the same time, Reignar just decided to run away, still feeling like being in the maw of a monster.


"Fuck, fuck, fuck, that must be a demon! A young girl can't be that strong; it must be a demon in human disguise! What the fuck is going on in this city?!" he cried, tears flowing down his cheeks as, at the next turn, he rushed into a hooded figure. Landing on his butt, then looked up as he saw, under the hood, a chimpanzee looking back at him.


"You okay?"


"Demon!" Reignar screamed, trying to gather his strength, only under the influence of Ren's remnant aura; it short-circuited his brain, making him faint with a foaming mouth the next moment.


"Sorry Niji, people would react like-" Leinor's voice came, who was guiding him, showing the city to him. "Third Brother?" he blinked, surprised as he recognized his own blood.


"Oh? Is he your brother? He looked a bit like you, that's true."


"Y-yeah… he is… but he is a… let's just say, a black sheep in the family. Haaahh… he probably is drunk, coming from a brothel or something. Can you help me? Sorry, we need to cut the tour short; let's bring him back to the General's house for now."


"Sure, no problem," Niji said as he helped shoulder the fainted Reignar, returning home and bringing him along.