Chapter 101:

Between Girls

Mad God


Inside the workshop of the Artifact Department every door was closed shut and crimson colored flames were dancing inside a reinforced melting pot, lighting up the dark room. It was painting a hellish scene before their eyes, coloring everything in a red and orange hue. Next to the flames stood Isha, wearing only the most necessary clothing, a skin tight top and a similar short as her body was drenched in perspiration from the heat. Her red hair danced behind her wildly while she controlled the raging flames, swirling around a round object that was 10 cm in diameter.


Opposite of her stood Ren, only wearing training shorts and nothing more as she was also sweating heavily, controlling the still forming artifact, gently rotating it inside Isha’s fire. It was glowing hot, softened up enough so Ren could draw small runes on it with a straight, stable line of electricity, extending out from her fingers.


“I’m almost done!” Ren said, licking off sweat from her lips because of the flames that were burning over 1500 celsius. The temperature inside was unbearable even for most disciples.


If a mortal would step inside now, he wouldn’t live long, dying from oxygen deprivation or just simply by burning out his own lungs with one breath. Even others at a lower stage of Body Refinement would feel sick, staying for too long and risk injuries, yet for the two girls, it was only uncomfortable and annoying to sweat so much.


“Good, I’m getting tired of maintaining it for so long!” Isha moaned.


“Thanks, really! I wanted to make it as perfect as it is possible! It is going to be a reward for Ink! For other crafts, I’m going to use the formation inside the workshop, don’t worry!”


“I hope so! If you call me up to forge everything, I’m going to be dead by the end of the day!” she smiled, shaking her head.


By Ren’s instructions, she slowly decreased the intensity of the flames, drawing it back to her body and as the artifact cooled down it revealed that it was a medallion with different runes etched onto it, spelling out “Lightning Order”. When it cooled down and landed in Ren’s palm, it gave out a silvery, metallic luster with a faint, violet hue to it.


“What does it do?” Isha asked, coming closer, holding a cold flask of water, gulping its contents down, presenting another to Ren.


“Two things.” she said as she took it, taking a big gulp. “Ink has to drop a blood onto it to bind it to his aura. If it weakens to a certain degree and he carries it with himself, it is going to activate automatically. It is going to form a protective shield around him with my powers imbued into it. My estimation is, it could block an attack of someone in the Outer Harmony realm and give him a chance to escape but it only lasts for a minute before disintegrating with the medallion itself. Also, it weakens greatly after every attack landing on it. The second function is, if he activates it, it can dish out an attack with 80% of my full powers. It can be activated only once. So it is either for attack or defense. Depends on him.”


“Neat! Are you going to make more?”


“No. It would decrease its value!” Ren shook her head “This is a one time item! My gratitude for saving my mother’s life.” she smiled gently, putting it away.


Isha wanted to speak up when the door opened, letting in cold air, making the two, scantily dressed girls to shiver. The one who walked in was Boursat, looking at them with surprise.


“At least put on some clothes…” he murmured, shaking his head, coming up to Ren, presenting a rolled up parchment to her. “The names you asked for! They made contact with the two and joined up with them.”


“Good, it is best to keep eyes on those women, without their knowledge.”


“Oh?” Isha looked at her “Are we talking about the two prisoners you let go?”


“Yes.” Boursat answered for her “I picked out trustworthy people from our old gang. They reached a high enough level with Ren’s cultivation technique. They are loyal and experienced, with a believable background.”


“Nice!” Isha chuckled, elbowing Ren


“Thanks~ But it is only possible because of Elder Boursat’s help.” she smiled, thanking him.


“No problem! Anyway, I just came to deliver this, I need to be off!” he turned around but Isha grabbed onto his arm.


“Why not have lunch together? Hm?”


“Sorry, but I have some things to do!” he patted her head with a smile “Why not ask Zern, hm?”


“...”


“Haah… you should talk it out!” Boursat shook his head, stroking Isha’s hair like a worried father, before leaving.


“What is this about?” Ren asked as Isha found her standing before her, only a few millimeters away, when she turned around. “Are you two arguing or something?” she raised her eyebrows, keeping her hands on her waist.


“Long story…” Isha groaned, holding her head with frustration.


“I have time, come, let’s go take a bath at my place and you can tell me everything, while I rub your back!” She grabbed onto her hand, dragging Isha along, almost forgetting to dress up before they left the Artifact Hall. It certainly would have created a juicy topic for the disciples to munch on in the coming months.


By the time noon came, they were at Ren’s home, enjoying the bath in her pretty big, oval-shaped bathtub that could easily accommodate up to three people.


“Come on girl, tell me!” Ren urged her, rubbing her back, massaging Isha’s shoulders.


“Damn… you are good at this…!” she moaned with closed eyes, almost going limp.


“I'm good at interrogating people.”


“I meant the massage.”


“At that too! So?”


“We are having a… break!” Isha sighed softly.


“So you broke up.”


“No, just a break, for now.” she protested.


“Yeah, sure!” Ren rolled her eyes “And here I was, thinking you are going to marry! What happened?”


“...”


“Isha?” Ren leaned closer, speaking softly. “You can tell me, I won’t judge either you or him.”


“I’m just not sure if it’s me or him. It’s… he is too stiff.” Isha said, opening up in the end.


“Even when he shouldn’t be, huh?” Ren joked a little.


“Heh…” Isha chuckled “Yeah… You could say that… and I get it, it is how he was raised. I knew going into this relationship that he is a little more by the books kinda guy than I am. Still, I thought we could work things out! I shape up a little, he loosens a little, you know, and we meet in the middle!”


“I can guess, this did not work out huh?” Ren shook her head while asking.


“At first yes but… for the past two years, I feel like he expects me to be more… robotic? I don’t know how to describe it!”


“Two years… since he got those three as disciples?”


“Yes. I never butted into his methods of teaching them!” she moaned, clearly frustrated. “They are his disciples and they are, as far as I saw, in sync with his methods! It works for them.”


“But?” Ren asked, hugging her from the back, subconsciously massaging her breasts with jealousy in her eyes.


“But he always criticizes me for how I teach the outer disciples!” Isha groaned with clear, pent up frustration that was not leaving her body, no matter the kind of massage Ren was using. “He tries to tell me how to do it and be more strict and keep up the distinct protocols between Elders and Disciples! This is not how I do things!”


“I saw your lectures and how you do it!” Ren nodded “No wonder the Outer Disciples adore you, you're doing great!” encouraged her, hugged her stronger and it looked a little bit funny as Ren was smaller than her yet now she held her like a big sister would, while they were submerged in the water.


“Thanks… I’m not someone who is hung up on honorifics and etiquette. I enjoy being personal with them and my lectures are grounded in reality.” Isha smiled, enjoying herself. “If no backgrounds matter here, why should I treat them differently? Anyway, we argued a ton because of it and finally I had enough!”


“It was you who proposed having a break?” Ren questioned, patting her head now.


“Yes.” she nodded and her voice carried tangible guilt in it.


“I see. Should I talk with him?”


“No!” Isha flinched, “This is our problem, we should deal with it.”


“Okay! But you can talk to me anytime, you know!” Ren pinched her nose playfully.


“Heh, okay, okay, but you have it good, eh?” Isha said, meaning Leinor.


“Of course! I have been raising him since childhood!” she answered proudly, making Isha laugh out loudly.


“I knew it, that little boytoy of yours! I am a bit envious of you two... It seems like I have no luck with these things. If this falls through again, I may give up for now and focus only on cultivating! Honestly, I am starting to feel burned out from… love. Pleasure is enough.”


“That is also a good option, if you feel like that.” Ren said calmly, not judging her. “We have many and long years ahead of us, nothing needs to be forced, it will play out by itself! Trust me!”


“I thought you would take his side.” she said, feeling a bit guilty.


“I’m not taking sides.” Ren shook her head “I want you and him to be happy! If you poison one another’s lives, I would also step in to suggest you two break up. You can stay friends or at least remain civil, but if it goes down the shitter… every time you see each other, it is going to be a battlefield! And that can spiral out of hand, even attach itself onto your disciples! A fracture like that is not something that I want to see in the Sect, especially not this early of its inception. Not to mention… you both are my friends!”


“Heh, you already took the reins over from Sect Head?” she giggled playfully


“Sometimes I feel like I am! He either is out, training privately with my junior brother or visiting Lady Rumira! It is rare that I found him here. Hell! He never took me on a training trip, ever! Yet he makes me call him Master!”


“Because maybe you don’t need him to oversee you constantly so you don’t make a mistake? And whenever someone presents you a new spell they came up with, you leave a dozen remarks about it? Why would he bother teaching you if you can handle it yourself? Half of the disciples are praying that when they submit a new spell, it wouldn’t be graded by you! The other half comes to me to ask when you are NOT IN so you wouldn’t grade their work!” Isha smirked with a gleeful expression.


“Fuck... Am I that harsh?”


“Yeah! You don’t want to be but when you see something new you can’t help but run your mouth without thinking! Destroying the little self-esteem they have!” she laughed, teasing Ren.


“Damn… Nobody told me that!”


“They don’t dare to! You are the Junior Sect Head, why would they?”


“Huh…” Ren sat up, thinking, scratching her chin.


“What are you thinking about?” Isha turned around, facing her.


“Organizing a competition.”


“No.” she protested.


“A competition where the top 3 gets an artifact from me.”


“No.” she repeated again, louder.


“Yeah, I think that is a good idea… and it would be about new spells, focusing on B-Tier spells!”


“Hey! Listen to me, No! I won’t help you out with that!” Isha grabbed onto her shoulders, shaking her body.


“Huh?” Ren blinked her eyes, tilting her head, returning to reality.


“I know you, it is going to include me! You want to work me to death! Forging that previous medallion was okay, you asked nicely and I agreed to help, but don’t play me like this! I say it now, NO, I won’t help you out with this, I have enough work as it is!” she said, putting down her foot.


“Come on, it is going to be fun! You can help me grade them! I would be the all-serious, evil little bitch who always looks for mistakes and you can play the holy saint, always looking out for them, protecting their fragile egos!” Ren said, grinning.


“Why does it sound so sarcastic, coming from your mouth?”


“Because you refuse to have some fun~” she said, sticking her tongue out.


“Haah… I’ll think about it! Don’t get your hopes up!” Isha said in the end, giving in a little as it truly sounded… fun.


“Ahaha, okay, okay~ But do not think for long!”


….

…..


Not long after Isha left and Ren was about to go and speak with Leinor about her new idea of a competition, Lulu came to visit her.


“Come in!” She invited her inside, serving up some tea.


“I have something important to report, Master!” She spoke up after a short moment of thinking.


“Go on.” Ren nodded calmly, sitting down beside her.


“I took a trip home and my father told me something… important. He said it was a slip of the tongue, but I know him! He did that intentionally so I brought the news back.” Lulu said as she took a sip from the tea before continuing. “You need to tell this to the Sect Head! The Naulin’s Forefather has come forward and they are going to establish a sect! The news is still only known to rulers of the 9 kingdoms, but it is clear as day; They are going to challenge us soon enough!”


“That is truly interesting news!” Ren leaned back, closing her eyes, thinking a little as a smile formed on her lips. “Master expected something like this but not so soon! I’ll notify him, thank you for letting me know.”


“Of course, you are my Master!” she smiled.


“Ahaha, I can see it in your eyes, relax, I’ll reward you with something nice!” Ren chuckled, knowing her well enough.


“Oh, no, I did not do this for a reward Master~”


“Don’t be sassy with me Lulu, I already read you like a book!” her master laughed, standing up and stretching. “Good deeds need to be rewarded! Hmmm… If they start competing with us, it ought to bring conflicts to the surface too. I hope you are ready!” Ren looked at her with a grin.


“No worries Master, I am looking forward to it! As to how that affects my father, it is not my problem!” she rolled her eyes “Let them deal with it!”


“Good~ Here!” Ren tossed a letter to her.


“This is?” Lulu asked, catching it surprisedly.


“The location of Yanda. Go fetch him, tell him to come back!”


“Will do~” she stood up hurriedly, with shining eyes. “Excuse me then, Master~” Lulu bowed, quickly leaving while Ren just looked after her as she simply ran away.


“Still a weird girl… heh! Anyway, let’s go and find LeiLei, I need another pair of hands to help me out!” Ren hummed happily as she also went on her way, her thoughts already back to the new competition she was planning.