Chapter 98:

Getting Clues

Mad God

When Leinor arrived back at the Capital, Ren was already able to fly beside him, regaining some of her energies.

“Where to?” Leinor asked “To the palace?”

“No.” Ren shook her head, flying forward to where they lived before, landing at the mansion’s front door.

She was about to knock on it when it opened and a smiling Hal stood behind the door.

“Long time no see, Young Lady!” Hal said happily.

“Uncle Hal!” Ren hugged him suddenly, giving out a loud sigh.

“Something… happened?” Hal asked, knowing very well he was right in asking, just by feeling her back, patting her head.

“Let’s talk inside.” Leinor smiled tiredly and when they went in, Hal quickly served up tea to them, sitting down in the living room.

After Leinor and Ren told him everything he leaned back, closing his eyes before speaking.

“Don’t worry Young Lady, everything ought to turn out good! They are blessed by karma and even if hardship comes the Lady is going to come out stronger from it.”

“Thank you, Uncle Hal…” Ren smiled, putting down the teacup. “How’s life been for you?” changed the topic, not wanting to ruin his mood any further.

“Oh, it is relaxing! I was named the Emperor’s Advisor. In all honesty, I do nothing at all, only enjoying my old days!”

“Heh, you are still not that old!”Leinor joked but Hal shook his head.

“I am. I am way past my prime. You know well that I was injured a long time ago and only received 5 lightning bolts in my tribulation. I may live long but my powers are diminishing day by day. I have not been fit for fighting since long ago and I gave up cultivation as I reached the end of my road.”

“Don’t say that, Uncle Hal!” Ren protested, pouting a little.

“It’s the reality, Young Lady! I can no longer advance, so why should I worry? I was stuck for centuries, unable to even advance with outside help! I am fine now, came to terms with it and I enjoy life and being old! I still have at least a century or maybe more, it is not like I am dying!” He laughed loudly. “It’s just that I let life take its course.”

“We will come visiting… more often.” Ren replied with a guilty expression.

“Don’t worry about it Young Lady! You are in your prime time of cultivation, heh, you must do what you need to do, don’t worry about my old bones! It was my pleasure to see you grow up and it is my fondest memory! I often remember the days when I had to clean up after your mess! You were such a naughty kid!” Hal laughed happily.

“Ehehe… well… I can’t argue with that!” Ren said, blushing, feeling already better now, that she visited the man who could be counted as her only grandparent.

“Yeah, me neither.” Leinor added too as most of the things also involved him, dragged along by Ren.

“My advice is, Young Lady, don’t worry, everything will work itself out.” patted her hands, smiling warmly and his words could apply to many things, not just her worry about her mother’s condition and how to tell it to Valen.

“Mm… you are right. Thank you Uncle Hal.”

“Please. No need for thanks between us!”

They stayed for a little more before bidding farewell and Ren hugged him once more, for a long time, before leaving towards the palace. Arriving, the first to meet them was Feynor and after explaining everything once again, they came to the conclusion that Valen should be kept in the dark. At least for now.

“I’ll tell him I’ve been assigned to an important mission with Mom.” Ren explained, now she was already much calmer than on the way back with Leinor.

“No problem, he can stay.” Feynor nodded “The kids are also close, so they are going to be fine, you can leave him here as long as you wish!”

“Thank you...” Ren sighed, feeling relieved a little.

“If you want to thank me, ask my brothers to come home sometimes! They haven't even met with their nephew and niece yet!” He rolled his eyes.

“Eh…” Leinor smacked his lips “Reignar is out, again, who knows where. Lacuss is in the forest, training with his wolf. When they are back I’ll drag them here myself!”

“Good!” Feynor nodded heavily. “I love them as my brothers but they need a good lecture about family matters and they owe my kids 6 years of birthday presents!”

His words made them laugh and Feynor was more relaxed, seeing Ren was also laughing. When the kids arrived, Valen was especially excited, hearing about a “secret mission” his mother and sister is going to take on and he was not even considering for a moment, it would be dangerous.

“Don’t worry Sis! I’ll be good and cause as little trouble as possible!” Valen proclaimed proudly.

“As little? What about not causing any?” Ren knocked on his forehead.

“I can’t do that! Could you?” her brother asked back, with hands on his little hips. He was secretly very happy that he is going to miss his father’s lectures now!

“Touché my little brother, touché! That was a good one!” Ren laughed, pointing a thumbs up to him.

“How good?” He asked back with a grin.

“7? Maybe 8 out of 10.”

“Tsk! Still no 9 or 10… your grading is too hard, Sis!”

This made them laugh again as Ren hugged him gently, rubbing his back, making Valen feel really happy. He always admired and loved his sister, happy to have someone who he could count on, whatever happened.

“Try to be a good boy okay? If not, ohohooo… you can expect me to play dress up with you!” She whispered into his ears.

“I will! I will!” He nodded repeatedly, afraid she would keep her word. No, he knew she would.

Ren and Leinor left around midday, taking the Skyshark that he used to get here, traveling back to the Sect. It was already night when they landed, taking it slowly and the first to meet them, getting off the ship was Rem, flying at Ren, hugging her strongly.

“What, were you worried?” Ren chuckled, patting the little head of hers.

“Um!” the little cinnamon roll nodded. “But don’t worry Big Sis! I picked the best herbs for pill making! Everything is fine!”

“I knew I could count on you!” She pinched her cheeks playfully.

Everybody knew in the Sect, if they wished to get the best of the best plants and resources for pill making, they should butter up to the little fairy first. She was in an interesting position as she wasn’t named Elder yet, still being an inner disciple in name, yet everyone acted towards her as if she was part of the leadership in the Alchemy Department. It was not a surprise as wherever she went, in the now giant and extensive garden, the patches she took care of, the herbs grew twice their size and brimmed with energy. Even Dermitos went for her if he was making a new pill or working to achieve a breakthrough in one of his previous pills’ tier level.

“Always! I have little talent… but I can take care of the garden! Um-um!” Rem nodded proudly, fluttering her transparent wings.

“And somehow she can keep out Kyu too! I always wondered how she did it.” Leinor murmured as it was a miracle, known by everyone in the Sect. As to why the glutton never bothered to munch on plants, taken care of by her, it was a mystery. Whenever they asked them, none of them gave a compelling answer, stunning the rest.

“Come on, I want to visit Mom!” Ren looked around with a bit more nervousness in her voice, going to his parent’s home.

When they arrived, inside the house only Xendar was staying, sleeping, sitting on a chair, while Anya was laying on the bed, looking much better now. Her skin was healthy in color, covered in bandages that let out medicinal smell, filling the room with a thick, a bit stinging odor.

“Mm?” Xendar opened his eyes, seeing his daughter and son-in-law arriving. “She is already past the danger.”

“Haah…” Both Ren and Leinor let out a long breath, letting a boulder roll down from their heart.

“She still needs time to rest and Sect Head keeps her in an artificial coma, so her body can regenerate calmly and absorb the healing effects.” He stood up, stretching a little, walking next to his wife, wiping her forehead, changing the towel placed on it into a new one, soaked in a sour smelling, medicinal goo.

“Do we know for how long?” Ren came closer, watching her sleeping mother.

“A month at minimum, half a year at maximum.” Xendar whispered back.

“Tsk…” Leinor clicked his tongue, remaining at the door.

“It was a close call.” Xendar patted Ren’s head, stroking her hair gently “Give it a few hours and she wouldn’t last long enough for you to arrive.”

“Speaking of… what about the man who came to Sect Head and Me?” Ren asked, remembering about Ink.

“He is okay. Need a year or so to recover but won’t have major problems with his health, thanks to Sect Head. He is cared for by Shaman, you can meet him later. I already spoke with him and asked what he wants for a reward but he has not decided yet.”

“I’ll speak with him in the morning, I need to thank him too! Don’t you want to rest, Dad? I can take care of Mom too.”

“No, thank you. I’ll stay here until she wakes up. Sect Head also agreed to it. For the time being, you are going to take over the Artifact Department.”

“Wha-?” She blinked her eyes, stumped. “Why me?”

“Because I said so, and because beside me, you are the most proficient in it!” He knocked on her daughter’s head.

“Ugh… o-okay. Haaah…” Ren sighed again, smiling, rubbing her head.

“Don’t let your bear rampage anymore, you hear? When I’ll be back, I’ll take inventory and if anything is amiss, you are the one responsible for it!” Xendar warned her gently.

“I know, I know! Geez…” She pursed her lips, making Leinor smile that both of them could finally relax. Seeing father and daughter joke like this, it meant everything was okay by now.

They stayed for a few hours, explaining everything to Xendar, be it the battle or what they told Valen and finally Hal’s words. When they left it was past midnight and Ren walked towards the Disciplinary Department.

“Are you going to start right now?” Leinor asked, walking next to her.

“Depending on 01 and 02’s efforts.” Ren nodded as an answer.

“Elders!” The disciples standing guard cupped their hands, letting them in as the department’s main Hall was guarded strictly.

Usually it was because of protocol but now, underground, it really housed people imprisoned in the cells. All the disciples who joined the department, finally could feel that they are not just training but really part of the Disciplinary Department. Inside, Boursat was sitting behind a giant desk, looking rounder than ever before.

“Good you came!” Boursat stood up, seeing Ren and Leinor arrive. “Your servants just finished interrogating the one who calls himself The Blob.” He was putting down his giant mug, filled with wine, wiping his face with his sleeves.

“Uncle Boursat… you got… way too big! We should spar!” Ren gawked as she looked at him, raising her eyebrows.

“No thank you. It took me years to regain the spent energy against you two! I ain’t thinking about wasting it once again!”

“Isn’t it easier to move around when weighing the quarter you do now?” Leinor asked with genuine interest.

“Isn’t it easier to speak when your mistress doesn’t ride you?” Boursat countered.

“Point taken.” He raised his arms, not willing to bicker with him.

“Follow me.” Boursat walked to a door at the back, placing his hand on it and soon it slid upwards, revealing a staircase, leading even deeper downwards, clearly too narrow to him to accompany them, making Leinor chuckle. “Shut it.” He snorted at the little laugh, looking at him but Ren also raised her eyebrows.

“How did that ball of fat get dragged down there?”

“It was hard. But he lived up to his name.” Boursat answered, without batting an eye “We had to break his arms and legs, but the rest of his body was soft enough to just push down. With enough force, we could mush its greasy body down, but it took hours. The disciples who helped, received an extra reward from Elder Carhus for cleaning up afterwards.”

“I bet.” Both Ren and Leinor chuckled, going down, leaving Boursat up there who just sat back at the giant desk, continuing to drink and go through the daily reports arriving in.

The stairs led deep down, into an extended, underground labyrinth that was built by Aerthus, Xendar and Carthus together and would be able to imprison anybody under the Perfect Harmony realm. Arriving to the bottom floor they were in an oval room that had 3 doors, with thick, metal doors, that was laced with CC in a way that they were infused with Leinor’s ability of consuming affinities. Making it even harder to escape.

“Master!” 01 and 02 bowed at the same time, just finished wiping off their hands, looking extremely tired, with heavy black bags under their eyes. Their leather overalls were stained… with unidentifiable bodily fluids.

“Good job, no matter the results!” Ren nodded at them. “You two should go up and rest, I’ll take it over from here.”

“No need, Master!” 01 as 02 spoke up and presented a thick stack of papers to her, wrapped cautiously in leather covers, protecting them from the stains. “Here are all the names, dates and places. We got them all. Every high ranking member of his gang, their hiding places and all of his contacts in the nobles and wealthy people, be it merchants or rogue cultivators! We made sure there is nothing left in his brain!”

“Oh?” Ren took it with a surprised expression and started to flip through “Good! You two are getting better and better!” smiled happily, seeing the hundreds of names. “We are going to go over them and see where this leads us to!” She licked her lips.

“Every one of them?” Leinor asked as he looked over her shoulder, watching the names.

“Yeah. Starting with the nobles!” Ren nodded with a serious expression “Is he still alive?”

“Well…” 02 gulped, looking at 01 before continuing “He… expired.”

“Huh...” Ren raised her eyebrows, opening the door and the stench that escaped into the oval room made even Leinor flinch. What Ren saw inside made her blink her eyes a few times, stunning even her, before closing the door “Who is going to clean this up?” She looked at them with a wry smile.

“Ugh…” The two looked at each other as none of them wanted to go back into the room if possible.

“Relax.” Ren chuckled in the end “Let the other prisoners clean this up! This should break them in enough to interrogate them too, without resorting to… this.”

“Good idea Master!” 01 and 02 nodded happily, feeling spared and rewarded at the same time.

“You're just happy so it doesn’t fall to you!” Ren laughed before giving the stack of papers to Leinor. “Anyway, go up, have a rest! We will go and read through this in the meantime.” patted her hands. “When I am done with it, we set out…” she whispered, already focusing on the names and places in her mind.