Chapter 57:

You Need to Change

Mad God


"Do you have any ideas?" Leinor asked while they were lying on the couch in their room at the General's mansion.

It was already nighttime the next day. The room was colored by the orange flame dancing in the fireplace while Leinor gently caressed Ren's stomach as she purred in his lap.

"A few. But I don't want to really flash them out." Ren stretched leisurely.

"Why?"

"I don't want to be called an Elder. It sounds creepy."

"Ahaha, that's your reasoning? Really?" Leinor laughed happily, but it was something he had expected already.

"Not every reason. But most of it comes down to that, yes. Do you think if the Sect accepts disciples, they will listen to someone who looks this young? Not everyone is like Poli or Zern."

"That's just a nuisance for you anyway. Is it because of the others? Namely, my family?" He poked at the side of her sulking face.

"A little. Let them take up those Elder positions; I don't care about it. Look, your family has been in the power business for a long; I never was someone who aspired to be a leader. I like cultivation, that's all. Also, I like teaching it to someone who has a personality I can work with! My dream is to walk as far as I can on the road of cultivation."

"It is a long road."

"It is. That's why you need companions along the road to stay sane." She smiled, looking into his eyes. "If you go alone, it will lead you to a dark place."

"Don't worry, I'll be with you all the way." He ran his fingers through her hair.

"Better be~ Or I'll drag you back from the underworld and beat you up myself!"

"Ahaha~ I believe it if you say that!" Leinor laughed heartily.

"And… you have any ideas?"

"Nope."

"What… that was quick!" Ren chuckled, watching his happy eyes.

"I thought you would come up with something; I would just support that! Easy!"

"Tsk, you lazy bad boy!"

"Busted~"

"I guess it will be a battle if we go with their ideas. Let the soldiers work it out." Ren groaned, fixing her position in his lap.

"I read up about the countries there; the peaceful option is out of the question. The Forefather also knows that, I assume."

"I think he wants to see our way of thinking and not what kind of plan we come up with. If we go with probably one of the upcoming suggestions, knowing my Father, or your Grandfather's style, we will be sent out to conquer the place, which has two difficult parts."

"Two?" Leinor tilted his head.

"First, Rorik, they are our allies. We go and build on their territory a Sect? That they have no control over? We need to appease them somehow so they don't see it as a forceful occupation. But honestly… who cares about it? We won't interfere with anything they do anyway! The second is Qun. Do we kill every one of them? Isn't that a massacre? Then relocating them? Forcefully? Anything we are going to do will result in more problems later on. So we should just leave them to their own devices. Beat them up if they come, but other than that, do nothing. Oh, and I bet you anything, the Kingdom of Ten will show up, which could even result in war! Not that I am against THAT motion, I want to punch that King of theirs in the tip of his penis!"

“Because of… the thing with… you know…" Leinor murmured as this morning, Xendar broke the news to them and Anya about the execution of the family line. She was shocked and heartbroken, but she collected herself quickly, especially because of the still-growing baby in her.

"Yeah. Making my mother cry. He won't get away with it!" Ren scoffed angrily.

"Yeah… I agree… about the kingdoms… honestly, I never thought about this hard…." Leinor murmured.

"That is why I said you are a lazy bad boy. Huh, your brain is occupied by perverted things instead of our task!"

"Not really… okay… a little. It's your fault anyway!" He shrugged.

"Ahaha, that I won't deny!" Ren grinned playfully. "Who knows, with the frequency you think about, you may break through soon; they say it's the source of lifeforce; no wonder your family is such a womanizer!"

"I still won't." He shook his head.

"What keeps you back? I'm surprised; I feel you when you are inside me; you seem ready!"

"It's about the absorption technique. I have a vague idea; I want to balance out the energy giving and taking. The latter is just not ready. I can't control it the way I do the former. Either I drain everything at its fullest strength, or it just trickles slowly like nothing. No in-between. I am trying to figure it out, but without the proper experience, I just can't get the hang of it."

"Hmmm… yeah, that's hard." Ren thought silently for a few seconds. "Maybe the upcoming battles will help you. I'll accompany you closely while you drain the enemies. I'll stop you if you go out of control."

"It's just…."

"Don't worry." She held his head, pressing her forehead to his, rubbing his nose with hers. "I'll be with you! You are afraid you will turn out to be the same as your ancestor. I get it; we all heard the tales of how his powers distorted his mind, leaving a sea of mummies behind his wake, but don't worry. I won't let you go down the wrong path!"

"Thank you…"

"Never say that again!" Ren whispered, kissing his lips. "Between us, there is no place for those words."


….
…..

"Come, you need some sleep," Xendar whispered, going up to Anya, hugging her from the back as she stood before the painting of her daughter's wedding.

"Mmm, I know. Watching this painting calms me down. Saynur did an amazing job!"

"Yes, he did. He has a talent for it; his skills may be lackluster, but not in painting. It is imbued with a strange energy and relaxes the mind. If he were more talented in cultivation, he might catch the eyes of the others. Maybe his little brother will show some talent too."

"Heh, if he does, one of us should be his teacher."

"Ahaha, maybe. We will see. What do you think about this sect thing?"

"It would be a good idea! I had had enough of this stress of bloodlines, this and that, nobles and titles, and all this nonsense. I just want to leave behind all of it and live like a normal family! Focusing on cultivation doesn't sound so bad; it has no attached baggage."

"I understand. And you are right! Don't worry; I'm not planning on going for any high position; being an Elder is fine. Teaching young, talented boys and girls sound fun. I had enough adventures on the battlefield; this will be my last!"

"Don't say it that way. You could jinx it!" Anya turned around, hugging him with a pout, similar to how Ren does it.

"You are still such a superstitious girl~" Xendar chuckled, "Anya, you should stay home."

"Huh?" She blinked her eyes, surprised, then bit onto her lips, clearly struggling.

"We can't risk it." he placed his hand on her stomach.

"I… understand why you say it. But I won't. I'll follow you; I will stay out if there is a fight and leave it to you until you take care of yourself! But you won't leave me home now!"

"What about Ren?"

"I have no worries for her. Especially because Leinor is with her all the time." Anya giggled happily. "Plus, she is stronger than us!"

"That's why I'm worried. She may get used to it and rush into a big mistake."

"Then we will protect her. As parents should! But first, to be able to do that, we need to take care of ourselves."

"Roger~ Come, it's late… you need to rest." He picked her up like a princess, carrying her to the bed, hugging her until morning to make her dreams pleasant.


….
….

When the next meeting came up, Aerthus curiously listened to what they came up with. The first plan came from Carthus, who promoted annexing the Rorik Kingdom, then continued doing the same with the Qun Kingdom, unifying the two and establishing a new puppet state, the capital being the sect headquarters and making them the outer territory of the Sect.

"They are, either way, still nothing more now than proxies. Under the rule of the Sect, they could double their territory." Carthus finished his idea.

"We would get a big pushback from the royal family, their authority being taken from them; it could even lead to civil unrest. Not to mention the Qun side." Dermitos argued.

"Then execute the royal family on both sides." He replied with a cold tone, his Father.

"That's going too far." Xendar cut in.

"We could also replace them with our people." Carthus thought a little before continuing, "Or execute the current line and replace it with another willing to work under us."

"You sound like your father." Boursat cut in with a calm voice, making Carthus close his eyes before leaning back in his chair, saying nothing else for a few seconds.

"I see." He looked at Boursat. Carthus opened his eyes slowly in the end. "What else do we have?"

"I have nothing. I'm used to commanding soldiers, thieves, and prostitutes." He smiled, making Carthus shake his head with an almost unnoticeable smile. "My methods would only lead to riots. I could spread the idea of a revolution with the masses, but it would take time and destroy our relationship with the ruling family, that is for sure."

"Or we could use diplomacy first." Dermitos said, "Contact the Rorik family, tell them our plans on establishing the Sect on the island and that we wouldn't take part in any of their decisions or wars. They can operate the same way they always did; it's not like they have anything on the island, it's completely void of structures, and they only use it as an excuse to fight their wars. This would even take down the pressure from them, as if the Qun empire wants to go at it, we would be the target, not them."

As the discussion continued, different ideas were thrown out, and other approaches were mixed. Then, Aerthus spoke up, addressing Ren, who looked utterly bored and was playing with her hair, not paying attention at all.

"What do you think?" Aerthus asked with a smile.

"Mmm? Me?" Ren pointed at herself.

"No, your future self from 1000 years from now on." Aerthus chuckled.

"She wouldn't even think about it." she giggled. "A Sect is free from mortal structures, nobles or commoners, ruling family or not, doesn't matter. We are not there to command the masses or direct the course of hundreds of thousands of people who just want to live their lives."

"Your meaning?" Aerthus smiled with a satisfied expression.

"I would just go there, build the Sect, and that's it." Ren shrugged, silencing the others for a brief moment.

"Ahahaha!" Feynor laughed in the end, who was silent until now while the others looked at each other.

"What?" Ren looked around with a raised eyebrow. "What will they do? Go against us? With Sect Head at the helm? You are joking with me! We go, build up the Sect and start operating. Either way, we won't interfere with their things; we are there to accept disciples and cultivate them. We also want to accept disciples, no? That is the main goal of a Sect, if I am correct! We are not there to expand the borders of the Empire! I guess Sect Head doesn't want to limit the search for talents to only the Empire. Our territory is not the only place we can draw in young prospects. Will any from the Kingdom of Ten come if we stomp down anyone in alliance with them? What about our other allies? What would they think?" She rolled her eyes, annoyed because of her boredom.

"Even if they come, most people from the Kingdom of Ten will be spies," Boursat warned.

"Maybe." Ren nodded. "But we don't need to worry about that yet. You older people still see things from the perspective of an ex-emperor."

"Hah!" Aerthus chuckled, but he let her continue with an encouraging expression.

"Your mentality needs to change. When you are talented or want to learn cultivation and improve yourself, what are your options in the end? Join the Empire or the Kingdom. Even then, to have a chance to reach the Harmony Realm, you will need to sell yourself to one side fully. Look at my Father. He was a General for decades, loyal to the Empire. In return, he was ordered around by the royal family." Her words made both Dermitos and Xendar twitch their mouths while Carthus started to furrow his brows. Only Anya nodded, agreeing, staring at Dermitos, who just mouthed, "Hey, why are you angry with me now?"

"You try to say…?" Boursat asked, lost in thoughts.

"Even if you are as talented as my Father, if he ever showed disloyalty to the Empire, he would be marked as an unstable force or even an enemy. Even if you wouldn't do it…." She said, looking at Dermitos and then directing her gaze to Carthus. "Someone else would."

"True." Carthus acknowledged.

"Father!" Dermitos stood up.

"Relax." Xendar said, "It's fine; that is how Empires work."

"That's true." Ren continued, "And as I heard, the Kingdom is even worse in this aspect. No one is left alive long if they threaten the ruling power of Naulins. But if you want resources and techniques, you need to join one side and rise through the ranks, but you can never aim for the top." she looked into the eyes of the others, revealing a slight smile. "This is why you need to change your mindsets. This is no longer the Empire of yours."

The room fell silent again at her words while Aerthus was looking intently at Ren, patiently waiting for her to continue.

"Just think about it. You are a young cultivator who is talented. Let's say you are 16 and came of age a little earlier than others. By age 18, you are already at the 2nd or 3rd level. You have the talent to reach this, but then what? Most people could only go to the third or fourth level. Let's face it, both the Kingdom and we focus only on a small number of people to raise talents, and those are usually tied to the ruling party in some way or another. The rest have the chance to join the army and rise there. This is the truth. There are not many other venues for cultivators, and they are limited to a certain level. To rise above that needs help and education. Guidance."

"The people under me are a good example." Boursat said, "When Ren needed data, we trained normal people under me. Yes, they are not outstanding talents, but most of them, even those who did not amount to much, at least reached the fourth level by now, and I found some who soared to the sixth. Previously they were happy with raising only to the second. They are in no way comparable to the kind of people we want to recruit to the Sect, but it proves the concept… collect people from everywhere, and you are going to find talents among them and have a force that no empire can go against. If you send someone at level five against someone at the ninth level, he will be pulverized by a few moves."

"This is why a sect is different." Ren smiled. "We will accept anyone. They can rise to the top if they pass the tests and join. If they are so talented, they can be elders, core elders, grand elders, who know, maybe even become the sect leader!"

Her words made Carthus look at Aerthus, but he only saw a smiling ancestor, looking satisfied with what he heard, which made him think again.

"Now think!" Ren continued, "They may send a spy, but so what? The Sect will be their family from then on. They will work for it, and we will work for them. It is a symbiotic relationship. They bring talent; we bring the resources. When they grow up and realize they can go way farther than anywhere else, would they give this up? No. They will fight for it… even die for it." she said confidently. "We just need to show them this is where they belong. Even if the person they send is a spy, we will only receive a free talent gifted to us!" she smiled happily, leaning back, not speaking anymore.

Aerthus suddenly happily clapped and looked around with a wide grin.

"She understands! You need to work more." Aerthus looked at the others. "But I'm not disappointed; I am happy you are open enough for discussion. I know it will be hard to adapt your mindset, but you will realize this is the correct path!" He said slowly, "We will do as she explained. We will go there and start building. We will act according to their reactions; we won't waste words and will show it with our actions. If they come as friends, we will welcome them as such. We will send their heads back home if they come with swords." He stood up. "Get ready! We will go by daybreak, and I'll show you some tricks I picked up from the other side of the world."