Chapter 88:

End of a Tribe (End of Book I)

Mad God


On the surface, the integration of the new tribes into Thunder Valley went on without a bump. Surprisingly the owls' group only had two male members who were even smaller in size than their female counterparts. They quickly found their new place between the city's trees, starting to build small houses upon them with the help of chimps who had experience in doing so. The really busy tribe was the moles themselves. As soon as they all arrived, the underground expansion was underway, and it only took a few weeks to dig out a whole underworld below the city. The coming winter was already knocking on the door as the weather got a lot cooler and cloudy, and soon the first snow would fall, painting the forest white for months, slowing everything to almost a halt.


It was a gray, windy day, but it did not matter deep underground. Every mole was working, digging tunnels, wearing their true forms. The biggest of them was around 2 meters tall, with strong, iron-like claws, digging through the hard earth like a hot knife going through butter. They didn't need light as their senses had already adapted to complete darkness as they worked tirelessly.


"How's the tunnel coming along?" Garganel asked, whispering to his people, huddling together in his chambers.


"Everything in order, chief." his second in command answered. "Those left outside arrive near where the escape tunnel will be connected with the outside world."


"What about the second?" He asked, sniffing the air, making sure they were still alone.


"The second tunnel is closing in on the point the… mongoose said we should dig towards." his follower gulped.


"I hope… We can survive this…." he murmured, sighing, trembling, aging almost years before their eyes. "Keep the work up in the rotation. We need to have the escape tunnel first, so when those savages arrive, we can leave, or we will be destroyed by the apes for revenge!"


"Are we doing the… right thing?"


"We are." Garganel answered after a bit of pause, "We do what we must for survival. This was always the case in this forest, and it will never change. No matter what is done. After we leave and I get my son back, we move far away to a new place. Just as we always do."


Outside of the city, farther away, in the thick forest, Uhure and Ohore were sitting on a tree branch in their owl form, watching the ground below them, where a mouth of a tunnel layer, covered with shrubs and foliage, concealing it from most eyes. But not from theirs.


"I stand corrected. They are worse than rats." Ohore yawned.


"You can't change a coward's disposition." Uhure blinked his eyes slowly.


"I agree. Sister… I know we said we were going to work together with them… but being ordered to stand guard here and catch them… we just moved in, and we are already getting used as tools! I don't know if this was really a good idea."


"They did not order us." Uhure said slowly, "They asked us if we were willing… and I accepted. Gaining a strong presence through achievements is the best way when you join a new community. After this, we will have a stronger voice in exchange for a small hunting excursion. What is there not to like about it?" She smiled, shaking her feathers a little, feeling hungry.


"Ahaha… yeah, you are right! That is why you are our leader." Ohore chuckled "Hearing them scurrying underground makes my blood boil. I can't wait to start!"


"Calm down! We are here to keep watch for now! Let the others surround the area and have the owlets experience their first hunt. This is going to be good training for them."


"Okay. Still… what a first assignment, huh?" Ohore tilted her head sideways.


"Nothing big. They will take on the hard part. We have it easy compared to them."


"I am a bit sad to miss their fight. I am curious about their strength."


"Which side?" Uhure asked with a small smile.


"Both." She replied with a playful tone as both of them chuckled simultaneously.


Knowing the upcoming assassination plot, they already contacted Ren and got her instructions, which were pretty simple. They kept an eye on the moles' "secret" exit tunnel, previously found by 02, stationed here for the past two days. In the meantime, the ex-Naulins were hiding inside the city, concealing their auras, while the fairies ensured their scent was not picked up by anybody.


"I'm on my way. If the fight breaks out, keep them there at all costs! Let the others deal with the moles as they see fit. We focus on the main bastards only."


Now 01 and 02 kept vigilance, monitoring the moles under the city without them realizing it, while the rest feigned ignorance and kept to their normal routine. Especially Kang, who did the same, patrolling the exact route at the same time every day.


When the tunnels connected, it was a relief for the moles as they were ready to evacuate at any time and wanted to do so before the mongooses showed up. To their dismay, after only a minute or so, they celebrated their success. Matu stepped out from the newly dug hole, looking at them as his eyes shone brightly in the dark tunnel. He didn't say anything, just oppressed them with his presence, freezing their every movement.


"You are going to get your son back after we are done. Meet us at the previously agreed place in two days." He said coldly as he morphed back into their original form, going around them silently, sniffing their bodies before leaving them behind. Their happy expressions were nowhere to be seen, replaced with fear, dread, and desperation.


Two days later, above the ground, it was already night and especially dark as the sky was covered with clouds while the first snowflakes slowly drifted down from above. Kang was standing on the wall built around the city, at the same spot he had done in the previous weeks. From the outside, it seemed he was relaxed and with his guard completely down, but deep inside, he was ready to fight anytime. Especially now because he received a voice transmission from 01.


"There is movement underground; get ready. They are here."


"Don't worry, everyone is at their place. There won't be a problem." 02's voice arrived, reassuring him.


Just after he finished speaking, the earth crumbled close to the wall, and four shadows rushed out, aiming directly at Kang's back. They were quick as a flash, but before the first attack from Matu, who aimed at the back of the neck Kang could land, he twitched his nose, wanting to scream "stop," but it was too late.


A thundering boom resounded in the forest, lighting up the dark night with violet colors, while Kang revealed a savage smile, looking into Matu's glowing eyes. 01 and 02, who were already flying forward, cutting off their retreat, also chuckled as they knew the sound of thunder meant only one thing.


"Yo! So you are the furry bastard I heard about?" came the soft, giggling voice of Ren as a lightning spear blocked Matu's attack and another giant hand, made out of purple electricity, stretched out, grabbing the second fastest mongoose, namely Wanata, squeezing down, making him scream out in a voice none of them ever heard before.


Ren stood in front of them, blocking all of their attacks, keeping a smile while her body was releasing strands of lightning once in a while, sending cracking sounds all over the city, making its name come truly alive.


"Sorry, boy…" Ren whispered with a chilly voice, "You are not welcome here!" when she pushed back on Matu, he was propelled backward with a force he couldn't resist, smashing into the others. "As for you." She turned towards Wanata, still holding him in a sizzling grip, frying his nervous system every second. "You can go to hell." She gripped stronger, exploding its body into hundreds of pieces, tossing out the remaining steaming, bloody chunks like garbage, and turning towards Matu.


"You!" the mongoose gritted his teeth, turning into human form with bloodshot eyes.


"What?" Ren tilted her head. "You were trying to kill my friend here." She smiled, licking her lips. "Don't worry! You are going to follow him soon enough." Ren jumped forward faster than they could keep up, clashing with Matu again.


The only luck the mongoose leader had, was the fact he had enough experience to predict where a strike would land and managed to block Ren's spear strike. It sent sparks everywhere and numbed his arms greatly, but he lived. The most surprising part for him was that his strengthened skin already felt weak, ready to crack and bleed, especially as Ren's attacks repeatedly aimed at the same spot.


"Escape!" Nepi screamed, realizing they were in a bad spot, but they were already surrounded.


01 and 02 locked onto them with their auras while Kang covered himself with his bone armor, jumping in and attacking Hob. The older mongoose could keep up with the fight, countering the giant white gorilla's boxing strikes. He managed to land hits on him, but the hard armor showed no sign of cracking and just released dull sounds every time a hit landed on its surface.


"Matu!" Nepi cried, trying to help him out but as soon as she moved, 01 and 02 summoned their fire affinities simultaneously, surrounding her, exchanging blows in perfect sync.


Since their days of torture, when they got captured and survived Ren's experiments, their minds subconsciously connected, making the two servants fight like one unit, even if they had never realized it yet. They thought their cooperation was just good, not noticing that both affinities established a feedback loop, gaining power and effectiveness exponentially as they worked together. Nepi suddenly found herself in a fire circle, and every time she tried to escape, a flaming fist pushed her back to the starting point.


"This is bad… really bad! Those fucking moles set us up!" Hob groaned as he took the giant, bone-covered fist, holding his arms crossed before his chest while cracking sounds resonated from his body, spurting out a mouthful of blood.


"Who are you… I never heard about a human having this kind of power!" Matu stumbled backward, panting heavily as his skin was already torn and bleeding. Violet sparks were covering his fur, jumping across his wounds, making his muscles squirm and spasm uncontrollably.


"You just never paid attention. Do you think we are weaker than you just because you conquered an old kingdom 2000 years ago? Grow up, demon!" Ren laughed. "So you are a feared general, huh? Now I am disappointed. I am debating letting you go back and tell your leader to drag his sorry kitten ass here so I can kick it so hard it comes out of his mouth! Maybe that could entertain me. You? You are boring me!" Ren yawned loudly, silencing Matu while 01 and 02 just laughed a little as they fought on.


"You underestimate-" Matu gritted his teeth, calming his nerves down and getting ready to fight. Still, Ren flashed again, ignoring him, striking against his chest, going even faster than before.


Soon they saw nothing more than flashes of purple lights and the sound of thunder as Matu was showered with precise spear strikes. Every stab landed on him without fail. No sense of his could keep up with the speed of Ren, who gave her all, continuing to land blow after blow.


"Master is really worked up now!" 02 murmured while 01 jokingly answered as they battled the desperate Nepi who tried to reach Matu.


"Of course… You know how she is! Since Master Leinor developed his new technique, Master was adamant about beating him in close quarters… and her solution was being faster than he could react to! Beat him before he drains you of all energies!" 01 laughed happily


The two's brief exchange made their focus dwindle enough that Nepi could find a spot to break through, shooting out, drawing a flaming trail behind her as her skin and fur caught on an inextinguishable fire.


"Matu!" Nepi screamed loudly, with sorrow and panic in her voice, as she saw Ren's spearheading toward Matu's heart. He was already so wounded, riddled with bloody, tiny holes, bleeding all over, he couldn't keep up with Ren anymore to defend himself. Even worse, Ren's powers invaded his body, interfering with his own movements. Nepi arrived at the last moment, surprising not just Matu but even Ren, who whispered under her breath.


"Poor girl… at least you won't see your love dying before your eyes." Her voice was soft and even carried heartfelt respect, but she did not slow down the stabbing movement as her violet, pure energy spear penetrated Nepi's chest. She grabbed onto it without fear, trying to shove it sideways, finally sparing Matu from a deadly strike, diverting it enough to not hit him.


"Nepi!" Matu groaned, with wide eyes, seeing the speartip appear from the back of her, whizzing past his permanently frozen body.


The young girl tried to turn back and say something, but Ren just exerted force into her spear, frying Nepi's nervous system in a second, sparing her from the pain she felt from the spear inside her chest and from sensing what it was to be cooked alive. Her body quickly slumped down as Ren pulled out the spear but spared no time to rest or give a chance for Matu to recover. Matu was about to run to capitalize on his sister's sacrifice, but the minute hesitation, seeing her death, was enough for Ren.


"We lost… the moment we were sent here…" Matu sighed the mongoose leader, letting his body completely relax as he accepted the incoming spearhead, aiming towards the point between his eyebrows.


"Yeah…" Ren's voice echoed in his head, "Now go. If you hurry, you can catch up to her. Don't let her walk the road of reincarnation all alone." She looked into his eyes, making Matu smile peacefully.


"Thanks…" He whispered, closing his eyes calmly as Ren's weapon pierced his skull, blowing up his head for good.


Seeing them die in quick succession, Hob lost all spirit, falling back, not even trying to dodge Kang, who was in the air on the way down to land on him like a meteor.


"Our tribe is done for… our tribe…." He choked as tears rolled down his face, but the last thing he saw was Kang landing on him, exploding his body as every resistance left it, replaced by sorrow in the last moment of his life.


"Master!" 01 and 02 arrived before Ren, cupping their hands, bowing deeply, a bit afraid they let their opponent slip by.


"Mm. Collect the two's bodies and burn them together." She nodded towards Nepi.


"Don't you want to…" 01 asked but was shot down by Ren quickly.


"No. Let their cores turn to ashes and be one." She said calmly, shaking his hand, dissipating her spear.


"Savior!" Kang arrived, happily hugging Ren after not seeing her for so long "Kids born! Three! Healthy!"


“Ahahaha, good to see you Kang!” Ren grinned, quickly switching moods. "I am happy that you are happy, but you are crushing me!" She laughed as the giant slowly put her down, reigning in his excitement as if he wasn't the target of an assassination just a moment ago.


"When did you arrive?" Niji came up, who was hiding nearby, ready to act if the others couldn't deal with the enemy.


"Yesterday. I stayed hidden, best not to give away my arrival." Ren chuckled, greeting him and patting his back.


"You grow strong." Kang looked her up and down.


"Really? I don't know. Maybe it's the result of my pent-up frustration!" She laughed, cracking her neck. "But I can't deny fighting against strong people and teaching beginners; these things are constantly helping me correct my own methods!" Ren stretched a little while looking at Niji. "What about our mole problem?"


"The owls should be taking care of that right now."


"Let us go and see!" Ren nodded, flying up, followed by Kang and Niji as 01 and 02 stayed back, still on alert, not letting their attention drop, even when they were burning the remains of Matu and Nepi.


Arriving at the spot where the moles tried to escape, a calm scene greeted Ren and company as 20 or so moles were herded together, sitting on the floor in the dark, while a dozen owls just sat on the trees, watching their every move. No trace could be found of Gargamel or the others who were leading the mole tribe. At least first… Just as Ren arrived, Ohore's stomach moved as she barfed up a round ball, spitting out a mangled fur and bone remains of a mole.


"Sorry." Uhure chuckled, shaking her head.


"I assume it's the leader?" Ren arrived, looking at the scene, frightening the already trembling moles while Uhure floated down, taking human form and standing before Ren. She couldn't help but tilt her head, watching the owl, smirking to be finally not the shortest around.


"Was. And you must be the human I heard about." Uhure said as she looked her up and down as Kang also arrived.


"Yeah, I am." Ren grinned. "Nice job. I thought you would kill them all!"


"We thought you might want to question them or something like that. Torture or, I don't know, human things, you know better!" Ohore shrugged.


"Oh, my, spicy beak you have there!" Ren laughed, "No, I won't do anything to them." she turned towards the moles, who shrank back half to their sizes. "You can all go."


"..." only silence reigned around them while Ren tilted her head, blinking innocently. "Mmm? Shoo. Go! I won't punish everyone for a mistake made by their, mind you, already dead leader! You are free to go."


"B-but…" Ohore blinked her big eyes rapidly, not expecting this.


"Hm? Look at them. They are afraid to fight back! They have more people than you, yet they just sit there. They are cowards; the mongooses probably forced them into it anyway. I get it. I really do! Those who made the decision got their rewards. The rest are off to a new life." She waved her hand, annoyed by the need to repeatedly explain it.


"You heard. Go!" Kang repeated, looking at the moles who knew not what to do. Finally, one of them collected enough strength to speak up.


"Can… can we stay? We-"


"No." Ren's calm answer came immediately, coming closer, looking into his white eyes. "You had your chance. You blew it. If you had come clean immediately and told us about everything, we would've helped you."


"Yes." Niji agreed but at the same time, standing back there with folded arms and cold eyes, his aura told them that he would execute them all on the spot if not for Ren.


"You see, even if we take you back, we couldn't trust you the same anymore. It would breed problems in the long run. So this is it. You can go. Start a new life!" Ren smiled with a friendly expression before turning to the others. "Okay, we are done here! Let's go back and have a chat!" She laughed, patting Uhure's shoulders, who had a strange light in her eyes, looking at Ren, following her with the others in tow back to Thunder Valley. A minute later, only a group of shell-shocked moles had been left behind, and a tunnel which was collapsed by the leaving Kang's resounding stomp.


….

…..


Days after the fight, the two tunnels were destroyed, and made sure that they couldn't be used again. Still, the already dug-out part of the ground was ready to be expanded on and built upon by the rest of Thunder Valley. Ren had a long talk with Uhure that only the two were privy to, and before leaving, she spent some time with Kang, who was adamant about drinking with her. It was to celebrate his tribe's accomplishment, already birthing young gorillas, making him the happiest ape in town. As they also celebrated the inclusion of the owls in their midst, far away, in the north, a giant of a man, with tiger skin covering his body, stood in a cave's entrance, watching the rising sun. His green eyes were emitting a ruthless and savage light while crossing his arms before his naked chest.


"Matu is dead." The Tiger King grumbled in a low, deep, resonating voice as another male appeared from behind him, half of his size but with a well-defined body covered in black fur as his head was that of a panther's.


"What about the rest?" his warrior asked, bowing his black head.


"Don't care. I only made a blood contract with him. Now that he is dead, their tribe has lost its usefulness. Send out the order, herd them up and make them ready for transport. The dwarfs are always ready to accept new resources. If any of his group returns, don't need to inform me, just do with them as you do with the rest."


"Yes, my King." He nodded respectfully. "About the-"


"Don't bring up the foxes. That bitch is strong! Next time I'll rape her for good, and then she will see the correct way forward. Focus on the dogs now. Let's leave the south alone because we can't afford to open a second front. Even if we give them decades, they can't muster enough strength in time. Let them live in their dream world for a little bit more! First, we beat the dogs, and then we will have enough resources to unite the rest."


"Yes." He bowed again before leaving to carry out his lord's orders, as the small mongoose tribe did not know their leaders and strongest protectors were dead. The grim reaper's scythe was already in a swinging motion to claim their lives as they were led to their new "home."


On the other side of the forest, Rumira was reading a letter from Emi as she was relaxing in her hot spring, chuckling at the words of her young maid.


"Oh, you little girl… you don't even realize how happy you sound in your letters! I hope you can spend really good years in your new home… I wish you could find love and get free from my influence." Rumira whispered, stroking the letter. "It would be best if you wrote me a letter asking me to forgive you for leaving me for a man! Ahaha… oh how I wish~" she chuckled, remembering the times when she was weaker and younger, just like Emi, as her eyes wandered towards the table where the jades twinkled, given to her by Aerthus. After thinking for a long minute, she suddenly stood up from the water, got out, walked over with a still-wet body, picked up one, watched it, and after a deep breath, sent her energy into it, transmitting her words thousand of kilometers away…


….

…..


Sentios was sitting on a horse, traveling through a giant steppe, riding towards the most eastern part of the Kingdom, as his thoughts were weighing down greatly on him. Not long before, he got a message that he needed to travel far away and pick up Astair and guide him for the coming years, as it seemed something had happened that excited the King. He suddenly appointed his young descendant as a potential candidate for his heir. As shocking as it was, it wasn't something that entailed that he would be succeeding him… Many other similar people, even hundreds of years old, were waiting to be King. Just never realized it, as the King was still in his prime, ready to rule for another century or more.


As he left to complete his mission, he brought his only trusted friend and partner along, as Nobody sat on his shoulder in a small, black cat's form. She was enjoying the scenery and galloping, meowing happily, looking just like a real cat, missing any human resemblance and aura.


"I hope you won't get used to this! You may spend years in this form but don't forget how to turn back to human, okay?"


"Meow~ Don't worry, I'm not stupid~" She laughed, transmitting her voice into his mind. "I never journeyed this far before; this will be fun!"


"Yeah… I also hope so."


….

…..


Inside the Sect Ren, after arriving back, the first thing she did was challenge Leinor once again. Only, now in their bedroom. It was deep into the night as Leinor panted for air, leaning on his back while Ren sat above him with a grin and her hair sticking to her glowing, wet body.


"I give up…" Leinor moaned, asking for mercy with his eyes.


“Ahaha, nooooo~ I still want more~”


"Please… I am dry… like the endless dunes of the Western Desert… spare me!"


"Naaah, you must have some backup; you are still conscious!" Ren giggled, drumming with her fingers on his chest.


"You are killing me…." He groaned, yet started to slowly move again. "How long do you plan on keeping this up?"


"Fufufu, dunno~ Finally, I found a way to beat you! And honestly… mother is already expecting! I am thinking about following her example!" She whispered, taking over the lead, dictating the tempo again as she felt her words woke up Leinor completely.


"You mean…"


"Yep~ And as I feel… you are also ready to try for it~" Ren giggled.


"Of course!" Leinor nodded rapidly, full of energy once again.


"You know it is going to be hard…." She leaned forward, kissing him. "It may take years of trying!"


"Time is what we have most."


"Fufufu… true, true~ Now… what about being a desert?"


"Hey… even desert has a rainy day once a year!" Leinor chuckled, grabbing onto her waist and starting to fight back, while Ren just laughed as another battle began between the sheets.