Chapter 78:

Prelude to the Sect’s Opening

Mad God


"Oh? You finished?" Aerthus arrived at the Artifact Hall with a satisfied smile on his face. Xendar was standing inside his own workshop as two swords were floating around him, gently bobbing up and down.

"Yeah." He nodded with a tired expression but an excited smile on his face.

"It is still not near to what Poli can do with his own, but it is a start!" Anya stepped forward, holding a thick book, taking notes of the sword's moving patterns, and walking around her husband, "But working with him was a great help."

"Mm, his weapon is something that formed naturally, so it wouldn't be easy to replicate what he can do with it." Aerthus nodded while Xendar slowly ordered the swords to lie on the table next to him. "How's the performance?"

"Improvements are still necessary." Anya explained, "The durability is low, they are easy to break, and we are working on increasing the percentage of special alloys in the crafting process while lowering the amount of CC used up in the production."

"That way," Xendar continued, "It can still be controlled by the cultivator and infused with his or her energy yet strong enough to withstand another one striking at it. If they clash repeatedly, it breaks against normal swords in a proficient cultivator's hand."

"Still, it is a great success!" Aerthus clapped. "I couldn't bring back the schematics for flying swords, yet here you are, coming up with it by yourself!" laughed happily.

"There are schematics for it?" Xendar asked with a surprised look, yearning to have one in his own hands.

"Yes, but they are well guarded. There is a sect specializing in weapons; all their disciples use their own to fly around, not just swords. But making them is a secret, so I never got the chance to look into it! Still, you are on the right path; you were even quicker than I expected."

"Thank you, Sect Head." Xendar cupped his hands.

"Keep up the good work!" He produced a small bag and put it into his hands. "Your reward." he looked at them while Xendar opened it, and there were a dozen small, yellow pills in it.

"What are these?" Anya picked one out. "They smell sweet."

"It is a new pill that Dermitos and Shaman came up with. It is called the Revitalization Pill. Honestly… I am amazed by that demon's ingenuity."

"What does it do?" Xendar asked while swallowing one down, and soon he felt refreshed; not just the bags under his eyes were gone, but he felt truly rejuvenated, like someone after a long, sound sleep.

"It's still a Tier 1 pill, yet look at you, ready to action once again! The Energy Pills only recover that. Energy. It won't cure mental exhaustion, yet they combined different ingredients and came up with a new one! This also helps with mental exhaustion. We will use it in the Sect while the normal energy pills will be sold to the outside world. Speaking of the outside…." He looked at them, sighing, making them nervous.

"W-what happened?" both asked simultaneously, their stomachs falling as they immediately thought of Ren.

"Your daughter gives me a headache on her first outing…." He moaned, rubbing his forehead.

His answer immediately relaxed the pair, letting out a loud sigh at the same time as they expected that something terrible had happened to their little jewel.

"Her report came in not long ago; luckily, there wasn't anything major. Still making trouble exactly there when I want to rip off the Elroth's? The timing is not the best to go wild and wreck a region's leadership! Anyway, they are on their way back and should arrive soon. They suffered no casualties or serious injuries."

"Don't worry, Sect Head, we will have a talk with her." Anya smiled.

"Yeah, sure." Aerthus shrugged, knowing it would mean nothing. "Concentrate on the swords. It would be great if we could prepare a set of them for the first batch of disciples. Presenting them to the most talented ones would motivate others to work hard!"

"We will try, but no promises, Sect Head!" Xendar nodded.


….
…..

The training field was filled with the sounds of metal hitting against metal, ringing out loudly as Poli swung his sword right against Emi's claws. She parried his strikes, splashing blue, electric sparks everywhere, running rampant, buzzing loudly. The fox girl's hands were transformed, wearing red fur right up to her elbows while her fingers spurted long nails, glittering in the sun's rays.

"You are surprisingly fast!" Poli chuckled, taking a few steps backward, dodging Emi's strikes, then going on the offense, swinging his sword, aiming at her sides, but Emi's foxtail quickly parried his blade, sending a few strands of orange and white fur fluttering in the air.

"Hmf, I could say the same, but wouldn't you be faster controlling the sword mentally?"

"Yes, but then I would hurt you!"

"Speaking as if you could!"

"I already did once." He grinned, looking at her chest, which was covered with a tight, training outfit, yet her face immediately turned red for some reason, even though she usually wore more revealing clothing.

"Pervert!" She pushed him back, going on the attack, swiping her claws at him with a renewed frenzy.

If Emi struck from the left, Poli took a step to the right, deflecting her attack. His body flashed with lightning, crossing from the right now, making her avoid his strike going left. From the outside, it seemed like they were hand in hand, waltzing at the strange tune of their sparring session. It was as if they were dancing.

As they were fighting on a different field, another match was ongoing between Zern and Reignar, but that was more destructive than the one between Emi and Poli. Zern's whole body was shining with bright, metallic luster while Reignar attacked him, switching between affinities constantly.

At first, he fused wind and fire, creating a flaming tornado, soaking Zern in a fiery storm. Ren's disciple used all his strength to anchor himself down and not be swept up by the wild, burning air. It was that moment when the ground split up below him, making him lose balance, and water arrows flew up from the crack. They rammed into him from below, splattering on his metallic defenses.

"Woah, Young Master, so awesome!" Orsi clapped on the sides, watching their spar play out.

"Tsk…" Zern clicked his tongue. "How did he get this strong in just a few weeks?"

If not for Zern being at the 9th stage of body refinement, close to advancing into a new realm, he would have already been defeated.

"Still not enough…." Reignar whispered, breathing heavily as using all four of his completed seeds at the same time, to this extent, was taking its toll on him. He only rose to the 7th stage, still far from Zern's level. "I need to consolidate another seed soon to make progress." he sighed, pulling back his attacks as their surroundings slowly calmed down.

"Are you done?" Zern asked, finding his footing again, looking at Reignar.

"Yes, thank you for sparring with me. I understand my new strength better," he answered, cupping his hand. "I am out of energy."

"I see." Zern nodded as his body slowly turned back to normal "Then I take my leave. I have my own training routine to continue."

"Sure," Reignar answered as the air between them was still cold. Zern just turned around and left while Orsi ran up to Reignar.

"Um… Young Master, are you okay?" she held up a small towel to wipe his face.

"Thanks," he rubbed her little head while taking it away. "Yeah, it was only a spar! I just exhausted myself. How have you been until I was gone?"

"It was fine… but I missed you, Young Master! And I dislike that person… You should've beat him into the ground!" she hugged his waist, looking up at him happily now that he was back. "It was fun being with Elder Poli, but… sleeping alone was scary!" she rubbed her little face at his stomach. "Let's go back; I'll wash your back, Young Master, and cook something tasty! I learned a lot from Elder Anya!"

"Oh? Really? That sounds fun; I'm looking forward to it! Come, come, let's go and serve your Young Master well~" he held her hand as they walked off. Orsi chatted endlessly while he listened to everything she had to say, not interrupting her.

As everyone was returning home, another girl did the same, only in the territory of the Elroth's. It was Lulu who arrived at his father's palace. When she arrived, she found him laying out everything that happened, complaining for almost an hour on end as Werebor silently listened.

"Are you done?" her father asked after she was finally out of breath.

"I… I am." Lulu fixed her position, sitting before Werebor at his study as the sun was already going down outside, painting the room an orange hue.

"You say it was disciples from the Immortal Wonders Sect who took your slave away?" he smiled faintly.

"Yes, you and grandfather should do something about it, be-"

"We won't."

"But-"

"Do it yourself."

"Excuse me?" she blinked her eyes rapidly, not believing what her father had just said.

"You didn't even read my letter, no? I am sending you exactly there."

“Wha… wait…” Lulu slumped back into her chair, thinking back, looking at her father with questioning eyes.

"If they took your toy, good! Go get it back yourself! He should also be someone who joins up with the Sect! Especially if they went this far for someone like a hybrid. We have an ongoing deal with them, and we won't let it fall through just because of your temper tantrum."

"Dad!"

"Enough! You have talent but squander it time and time again, you say you are developing, but you just play around all the time to spite me! You are acting like a little child wanting to be spanked!" he shouted, slamming on the table. "You got your toy stolen by a stronger kid on the playground, and now you come crying to me? Where is your defiant attitude now? The "I won't do what you tell me to," something goes wrong, and you come back crying to me? Grow up, Lulu!" scolded her, making Lulu's face turn deep red as her hands grabbed onto her chair armrest, almost breaking it off.

"..." She tried to say something but the words were stuck in her mouth as Werebor stood up and walked to the window, lighting a cigar.

"The chaos generated up there will be resolved; I'll send the two brothers of yours there to clean up your mess, as always. You must prepare, attend the Sect's opening, and get in. At least it will showcase their capability of ruling and quick thinking, and it's a good competition for those two! Got it?"

"Y...Yes."

"Good. You can then work on getting that boy back, but listen well. While inside the Sect, never forget where you are from! Try to get your hands on different things and send them back. You will spend a long time there so don't disappoint us, right? Work hard and achieve results that make us stronger! If you get yourself expelled somehow…." He turned to look at her with a cold expression. "You don't need to come back home. You will be exiled from the family. Engrave it in your mind, Lulu! You only got one last shot. Don't screw it up."

His words almost froze Lulu, not believing what she was hearing, but the tone of Werebor was something she had only heard twice in her life, and she knew… he wasn't playing around.

On the other side of the Shert River, another family meeting was taking place as Isvar and Yanda were having dinner in the palace, only the two of them.

"Are you going to take part in the ceremony?" Isvar asked.

"Yes, Father. I am planning to do so when they announce it! I wish to join them; I feel… it would finally be a place to call home."

"I… I'm sorry…." He lowered his head.

"No, don't say that!" Yanda smiled. "As a ruler, you are bound by rules to not let our home fall into chaos. I understand, Father, and I am at peace with it. I love you, Father."

His words made Isvar choke, holding back tears, revealing a rare smile, and looking up at his son.

"Your mother would be proud of you!" he gulped, managing to say it without choking on his own words.

"Thank you…" Yanda returned his smile. "I'll make you proud too; I'll learn what it means to be… me. One day, I'll be strong and famous, so much so you can proudly name me as your son in public."

"I am already proud of you, son!"

"Do we have any news of my saviors?" Yanda asked, curious and excited.

"Not much; we have no contact with the other side, but don't worry! By your description, they are a group that could only be countered by those who lead the big territories! They won't have much trouble traversing the land."

"You are right. I'm just excited to meet them once again! I'm… looking forward to joining them!"

“Ahaha, me too, son, me too!” Isvar laughed, clearly happy to have his son back, and that their relationship seemed to be better than ever. "You've grown up…" he murmured, making Yanda smile again.

"You were right, Father. Experience is what makes a man."

"Ah… I said that?"

"Yup." he chuckled. "You did! I always remembered it."

"How embarrassing…" both of them laughed at the same time.

As the night fell, Ren's group returned to the Sect simultaneously as Leinor and Carthus did. After being apart for weeks, it was an eventful night for not just the two but also the rest of the group, especially for Shaman. When Kyu landed and saw the Pill Hall's garden, filled with never-before-seen, smelled… and eaten herbs, she had a delightful dinner, to the dismay of Shaman.

"What an interesting little fellow." Aerthus chuckled, watching Shaman trying to get Kyu out of the garden. Still, the furball just rolled around, sometimes an arm appearing from that fluffy deathball form of her, grabbing onto a flower, pulling it out by the roots, munching on it as she rolled forward. "Only a few months left… heh… I look forward to seeing what other talents will arrive at my little Opening Ceremony…" he chuckled before disappearing from the scene.