Chapter 84:

Cats’ Have Nine Lives

Mad God


Nameless's scythe left a dark, black trail behind it as it cut through the trees as if they were made of marshmallows, felling one after another as he relentlessly assaulted the young girl's defenses. It soon became clear he was much more experienced in battle, capitalizing on all of her small mistakes, not giving her even a second to breathe while he dictated the fight's tempo. Soon his scythe made an opening for a fatal strike as Nameless used its sharpened other ends, stabbing through the girl's heart before letting her vomit out a mouthful of blood and falling back lifelessly.

"I told you." He looked down at her before turning to leave.

It was that moment when the chained sword whizzed past him, and only his honed reflexes from hundreds of battles saved his head from being exploded into pieces. Turning back, the girl was standing once again without any injury. The only change was her eyes, which now resembled a cat's.

"Strange." Nameless thought, but he was already attacking again.

As another fight broke out, the result was the same after a long, drawn-out clash of sword and scythe. Now the girl got her head chopped off, landing meters away in the shrubs as her neck spurted dark red blood everywhere before she collapsed.

He stood there, watching the body fall and then convulse a little. He watched on vigilantly for minutes before turning his back again, leaving but only took four or five steps when an attack landed on him, striking at his back, throwing sparks as his armor, strapped to his body, saved his life.

"What…?!" He turned around, clearly stumped, as the girl stood there again, his hands and legs covered in black fur, ending in cat-like paws.

"Tsk... it's hard holding a weapon like this, couldn't strike with enough strength…." She murmured under her breath, frustrated.

"What… are you?"

"Nobody. If you are Nameless, then I am Nobody. It's that simple." She giggled, taking him on again, and now the battle seemed more equal.

The drawn-out duel was something Nameless didn't wish to indulge in and already looked for a way out, but Nobody was trying to be the one to lead the rhythm of their fight. She pushed on relentlessly and adapted to his moves much better than before.

"Tsk…!" Nameless clicked his tongue, biting on it and spurting fresh blood onto his scythe, turning it somewhat slimy, as if it was made out of ink. He bent it around Nobody's weapon, making it stuck in its now tar-like form, going through her forehead, before he pulled it out with her brain still attached to it, solidifying it once again.

This time he didn't hesitate and immediately merged with a nearby tree's shadow, disappearing. Nobody's body flickered a few minutes later, and she stood back up. Now her whole face resembled that of a black cat, with no human features present.

"He escaped…" She meowed, shaking her body as her cat tail wiggled behind her. "He is strong. All of his finishing blows made sure the target was eliminated… tsk-tsk! He cut me down to having only two lives remaining! That decapitation alone took three away…." She rubbed her sore neck.

"I told you he is not easy to deal with." Sentios's voice came as he arrived, landing beside her, patting her head, scratching it behind her cat ears.

"Ahaha, but Master, it was fun to try him out! I learned a lot!"

"You just love to hunt, that's all…." He sighed. "How long will it take to earn those lives you lost back?"

"A few years. Maybe more? Don't worry. I still have two deaths I can spare!"

"You are over-reliant on your gift, my little demon. This is going to be your downfall in the end."

"What good of a gift if you don't use it?" She purred, pressing her head into his palm.

"It would be best if you don't use it this easily. You had to land a perfect strike at him multiple times, yet you missed all of it."

"Uuuu…" She moaned with an embarrassed expression.

"Come, we have to go back. You need time to revert to your human form so you can't show up like this! It's best if nobody knows we are connected." He swept her up before leaving.

While they were flying back, Nameless also appeared in a faraway place by then, emerging in a dark cave, panting for air before sitting down, regulating his breathing.

"The last time I felt this close to losing my life was when Aerthus VII tried to get rid of us." He smiled before getting ready to recover some energy to continue the road back home. "I'll need to open up a case and make a report. An ability like this is dangerous. She was definitely a demon. We'll need to ask the others in the Valley if they know something about a species like this."

He felt like the actions Ren now turned out to be correct as they had a source to look for more information they did not have a source for before. He was already ready to start cataloging the different demon species they knew about and build up plans so if they came across one as enemies, have enough knowledge to deal with them swiftly.


….
…..

The days slowly turned to weeks as the life in the Sect started to pick up, and in the end, almost all of the advanced inner disciples chose to have their cultivation reset by Leinor. It was a hard decision, setting them back to square one, yet they quickly found out it was the best choice for their future prospects. This was especially true for Lulu. Following the new cultivation technique, she saw exceptional progress. When she climbed back to the second stage, after only a week and a half, she realized her affinity manifested way more strongly than expected.

She was occupying a small part of the training field, trying out the basic movesets, recorded in the Sect's technique, about concentrating and releasing their own powers through their energy points. After going through the same movements repeatedly, hundreds of times a day, finally, when she threw out a punch, her fist lit up with blinding light, sending out a needle-like ray. It was weak and only flew for a few meters before dissipating, yet it was something she watched with an excited expression.

"Ahahaha~ This is awesome! Give me a few years, and not even father will be able to order me around!"

"Rebellious, aren't we?" Ren arrived with a playful grin, and Lulu turned towards her with a smile, cupping her hands.

"Elder."

"Oh? Surprising. No grudges from before?"

"I am now part of the Sect. Rules must be followed." She replied with a respectful voice.

"Mmmm… I see. You have an interesting mindset."

"I would lie if I said I didn't have any grudge from before, but I know when to leave them behind. Also, it does not matter now. This is a new start." Lulu said honestly, looking into her eyes fearlessly.

"It is. I would be pleased if you really thought this way! As I saw, you are making great progress. You learn quickly." Ren looked at her fists.

"As I previously refined my body once to the fourth stage, it is not as hard as I expected to do so again. The only difficult part was the energy points, but it had clear instructions on how to do it. It even had tips for different affinities on how to go about circulating the energies inside us. Even for me."

"Yeah, a lot of obscure affinities were Sect Head's addition. Keep up the work, and soon you will find yourself making your own movesets! I have a heads up for you as being the first to form visible results amongst the newcomers. You can also spread it to them if you want."

"I am all ears, Elder Ren!" She smiled happily, cupping her hands once again.

"If you develop a technique, work it out well and submit it to me," Ren said straightforwardly.

"For corrections?"

"For that too." She nodded as a grin crept up to her face. "Also, every new technique gets recorded, points given and classified by the Elders, and stored in the Sect's library for future generations. The one who developed a skill that is accepted by the Elders has rewards given to him or her. Also, if the skill is borrowed from the library in the future, part of its price goes to the creator." Ren smiled, patting her shoulder before leaving.

Lulu took a long time to regain her composure as her mind was already filled with multiple scenarios of future possibilities.

"Well, father…" Lulu sighed, looking up to the sky. "This time, you were right in making me join something!"


….
…..

"Master." 01 and 02 arrived at the residence of Ren, kneeling before her as she was sitting in her small garden, meditating cross-legged. "We took the trip to Thunder Valley as you instructed. Everything is progressing smoothly. Niji says he is ready to contact the other smaller tribes and try to establish some working relationships."

"Great! The Sect Head wishes to make a unified region there. It would be best if we could use it as a training field for the future disciples."

"Wouldn't that hurt our relations with them?" 01 raised his head.

"Why do you think there were hordes of beasts flooding downwards, going back centuries? They overpopulate easily, and keeping the beast-like demons in check is in their own interest too. What about the second task I gave you?"

"We found a few clues about the whereabouts of those mongooses you said to keep an eye out for, yet we couldn't find their lair." 02 explained.

"So they are still here and did not leave. I guessed so much. Go back, keep a low profile and try to find their whereabouts. We need to deal with them before they become a bigger problem. Who knows what plans they are hatching right now. If you find their whereabouts, message me!" She flipped a communication jade to them, "I'll come personally and deal with them, do not engage by yourself!"

"Understood." the duo answered at the same time.

Not long after they were gone, Leinor walked in, sitting beside her.

"How's training?" He asked, watching his wife's face.

"Still walking in circles. Making me reaaaal dizzy.." Ren smiled. "The second level of harmony won't come easily. I still need a lot of time to survey the world and learn how to become part of it. You?"

"Not even considered advancing or anything like that." Leinor laughed. "I am happy discovering what I can do now, so I still have a long way to go!"

"That's good. No rush. We have all the time in the world." Ren leaned against him with a happy smile.

"Yet here you are, looking to advance. What, are you threatened by Frenir?" He teased her.

"If he turns out to be a prodigy, that's good! I won't cry if my position gets stripped of me and taken over by him."

"Really?"

"Yeah, why?" She looked up at him. "Titles given by others mean nothing to me. My main goal is still the same, walking my own road at my own pace, going as far as possible. I'll continue going forward anyway. Having this position and benefits only helps me travel faster. That's all."

"Heh, others wouldn't believe you~."

"I only need you to believe in me." Ren kissed his cheeks. "I am satisfied being accompanied by you. Everything else is just a bonus."

"You… when you say things like this, I'll feel like a little boy once again…." Leinor chuckled, hugging her closely.

"Fufufu, really now? I feel otherwise down here~ You have grown nicely~" Ren giggled, pressing against him, pushing Leinor down onto the soft grass, enjoying the setting sun and his warmth.