Chapter 121:

Invitation

Mad God


At first it was complete darkness, then a flash of light… and pain. And more pain. And maybe a little more of it, for good measure. That was what Ren felt when opening her eyes, weakly sitting up on the bed she was laying on. She was in her own bedroom, while from the outside, the autumn sun shone brightly. She raised her hand before her eyes, trying to block the blinding rays.


“Oh…?” She exclaimed as her eyes finally focused, watching the completely covered hands of hers. Checking out the rest of her body, she was dressed up as a mummy.


Lifting the blanket she was wrapped in bandages from top to bottom, only leaving out her eyes, nose and mouth. No other part of her body was visible from under the many wraps around her.


“Welcome back.” Leinor’s voice came, who immediately woke up. He was sitting on a chair, next to her bed. He needed to hold himself back from hugging her as he knew it would be a pretty painful experience for Ren right now.


“I’m back!” She smiled a little, turning towards him. “How long was I out?”


“Only a day.” He took a deep breath. “Sect Head brought you back. He said; you are not in real danger.”


“Yeah, this is just… a flesh wound.” Ren nodded. “I protected my insides and main essences from the blast.” She blinked her eyes slowly. “But still, I am hurting all over!” She chuckled with a tired voice.


“Your skin was burnt completely!” Leinor shook his head, but already calm, seeing Ren being up and about.


“Like when you tried to cook something for dinner the first time?” She joked with him.


“I’m happy to see you are really okay.” He chuckled, shaking his head again. “But…”


“Mmm? What did you do?” She asked, tilting her head.


“Shaman skinned you. He said it would be best to just remove the damaged skin and let you regrow it yourself! That way there won’t be any scars or imperfections left behind.”


“Woah…” Ren whispered with enlarged eyes. “Brutal.” She gulped as she looked at herself once again, seeing some blood soaked spots that were already forming on the bandages.


“So, for now stay put and cultivate!” Leinor ordered. “I’ll change your bandages every 3 hours, apply medicine to it, so it can help you recover faster. It should only take a month.”


“Thanks!” Ren said as she looked at him with a gentle smile, but it was barely noticeable under the sea of white gauzes. “How’s the rest?”


“Kyu groans and moans because her tummy hurts from eating too much spicy food.” Leinor laughed. “Araina is fine, she immediately calmed down when Sect Head said you are not in danger. The other two injured girls are yet to recover their consciousness. They suffered more serious injuries as their cultivation was also harmed. Lucky for them, they got brought back too! They are out of the deep end of it, so they are going to live.”


“At least it wasn’t futile to go there!” Ren sighed. “Even though I cut short Ariana’s first training session…” She grumbled with a somewhat disappointed voice. “Now I just need to regrow my skin, like a snake or something, because it hurts to be THIS naked!”


“You…” Leinor looked at her before he leaned forward, gently placing his hand on her head.


“Glad to see someone retained her humorous side.” Shaman interjected as he came in, holding a foul smelling concoction in his hands.


“Yo!” Ren greeted him happily. “What did you do with my skin? I won’t come across a rug in your home, that looks like me, no? And don’t wear ME as an underwear! I am going to sue you!”


“Hell no!” Shaman protested immediately and loudly. “But if you are able to speak such foul words, here! Eat this instead!” He pressed the bowl into her hands.


“What?!” Ren shivered as the smell of that… soup or whatever it was, made her more sick than the constant pain she felt now.


“Come on,” Leinor nudged her as he took up a spoonful of it. “It’s Shaman’s special medicine. It lets you accelerate your skin’s regeneration.”


“Why can’t you make it into something tasting like… strawberry… or at least grapefruit. This tastes like… moss. Left out in the rain. That you used to scrub between your toes.” She groaned as she gulped it down.


“If you don’t want to suffer like this, then next time cover your outside with energy too! Not just your insides!” Shaman answered, crossing his hands before his chest.


“I only had enough energy left to do that!” Ren answered, shaking her head. “Plus, that old fuck was a sore loser!”


“Well… I can’t argue with that.” Shaman shrugged before checking out Ren, making sure that everything was going well. He left while leaving ointment behind for Leinor to apply on his wife’s body.


“After you finished,” He put another spoonful into her mouth, “I’ll change your bandages.”


“Thanks, I already feel itchy at a lot of places!” She squirmed from either the pain or the taste of the foul soup. Still, she was wearing a smile and sounding completely relaxed, brushing off her injuries like nothing.


….

…..


Four days later Ren was already walking outside, wearing her uniform. Under it, she was still bandaged up from head to toe of course.


“Master!” Ariana kneeled before her when they finally met again.


“Woah, woah, what are you kneeling for?” She chuckled, pulling her up.


“I’m just happy that you are fine!”


“I like your new look Master, is this the new fashion trend in the sect?” Lulu giggled, arriving too, followed by Yanda who just elbowed her.


“Yeah, nice, isn’t it?” Ren stretched her arms. “But honestly, I feel like a caterpillar who just cocooned herself!”


“Then are you going to look like Rem, when coming out of it?” Lulu grinned while asking. “With wings and all?”


“Hey, that would be awesome!” She snapped her fingers but that sent a shiver through Ren’s body as she forgot her own condition for a moment. “Ouch.”


“Glad to see you are okay, Master.” Yanda said while cupping his hands.


“Thanks! I’ll record my experience later, so all three of you can read through it from my perspective and gain some understanding of what was happening through the battle! And about my thought process alongside it. It wasn’t an easy fight! Without the support from the Sect, pills and weapons, I’d be the one dead and not him.” She explained with a serious light in her eyes.


“Thank you, Master!” All three of them bowed quickly. Something like this was the privilege of Core Disciples and nobody else had the chance to read the direct experiences of an Elder like this.


“Elder Sister, you really are awesome!” came a loud, young, laughing voice and soon Frenir arrived next to them. He had a wide grin on his face and he almost hugged Ren. She barely managed to step back, dodging his arms.


“Frenir, slow down! I’m in a really sensitive state right now!” She laughed, raising her hands.


“Oh… oh! S-sorry!” He scratched his face with a shy smile.


“Just watch it~” Ren shook her head, stretching out her hand for a gentle fistbump. “You finally came back huh? That was what… a 2 year long trip with Master?”


“For you.” He shook his head Frenir “For me it was… 4 and a half years!”


“Geez…” She looked up and down at him as Frenir looked like a young man in his early twenties. Yet he was, at the same time, way older and younger. A complete, walking paradox. “What, are you ready to step into Outer Harmony already or something?” Ren joked, knowing her junior brother had the biggest advantage above everyone else, time.


“No.” He shook his head with a defeated expression. “Understanding time is… hard. Confusing! I am already lucky to reach Harmony! But Ren, you just killed someone at THAT stage! So awesome! How was it? Was it epic and flashy?! Come on, tell me, tell me!”


“Ahaha, slow down kid! I’ll tell you later! But if you want to know, you can ask her too!” She pointed at Ariana who shook. Frenir looked at her immediately while she quickly cupped her hand to greet him.


“Elder!” She said quickly as Frenir just hugged her tightly, lifting her up from the ground, surprising Ariana completely.


“Call me Elder Brother! That's more like it! I’m still a disciple! I am still learning from my Master even though I got this strong!” He grinned, greeting Yanda and Lulu too. They were already familiar with him and they acted casually with Frenir that few could say. “What a bummer!” Frenir shook his head with a sigh.


“Mmm? What is it?” Ren asked with slanted eyes because she already knew what was coming.


“I wanted to fight you! But now I’ll need to wait…” He moaned like a kid who just learned he was grounded.


“Why are you disappointed? I’ll kick your butt anyway! You just need to wait a month or so for it!” Ren grinned, making the others laugh out at her ‘scolding’ words.


“This time, no, you won’t! I came up with something awesome!” Frenir exclaimed proudly, putting his hands on his waist like a prima donna.


“Don’t worry, you are going to have a chance showcasing it.” cut in another voice as Xendar descended from the sky, landing next to them.


“Elder!” Everyone said as they cupped their hands, bowing towards him. Xendar nodded as turned towards her daughter with a gentle smile in his eyes.


“Our Sect got an official invitation.” He continued after a short pause.


“Oh? From where?” Frenir asked, tilting his head.


“From Heaven’s Gate. We are invited to their sect opening ceremony next spring.” Xendar finished.


“Really?” Ren exclaimed, crossing her arms. “Are they going to provoke us into something?”


“Highly possible.” Xendar nodded. “We predict that they are going to challenge us into something like a ‘friendly’ spar or something along that line.”


“Good!” Frenir said as he punched into his own palm. “That would be the best!”


“Honestly? I agree.” Lulu nodded too, followed by Yanda. Only Ariana approached it carefully.


“Wouldn't we be at a disadvantage on their turf?” She spoke up after collecting her strength to voice her concerns.


“That’s the fun part!” Ren grinned. “Do we have a list of who is going to attend?”


“Yes, Sect Head has already decided.” Xendar answered. “Of course he is going to lead our group. He is going to be accompanied by Frenir and you. Next is going to be Dermitos then your disciples, Ren. That means Leinor is also attending and he is going to bring his disciples. Finally, Sect Head decided to include three Inner Disciples, namely Sylvett, Kirch and Heldi”


“Great!” Frenir clapped. “Then I still have around 4 months to perfect everything!”


“For you that means years, no?” Ren chuckled while Frenir just grinned. “Okay, you heard my Father! Now that we have our work cut out for us, it’s time to put in some real work!” She said as she turned towards her disciples. “I may look like a flesh demon right now, but get ready! I am going to work all three of you extra hard for the next few months!”


“So… nothing has changed?” Lulu said, twitching her mouth, making Ren laugh loudly, drawing a smile onto Xendar’s face. Seeing her daughter doing just fine after a dangerous dance with death, he was already relieved that she seemed completely unharmed in the end.


….

…..


Far away, on the shores of the Storm Coast, a young man just finished his own tribulation, enduring nine lightning strikes. He was floating above the ocean, amidst the stormy clouds. His long, silver hair billowed like a cape behind him as he stood there, half naked, enjoying the aftertaste of success and the salty rain on his cheeks. He was Ren’s 4th cousin, Astair. Not far from him stood Sentios. He was floating with crossed arms, watching calmly and without any emotion showing on his face.


“This feels… awesome!” Astair moaned, opening his eyes, flying towards Sentios.


“Congratulations.” He nodded at him.


“Thank you!” Astair smiled with satisfaction. “I think the other favorites of my Grandfather weren’t as fast as me~”


“I don’t know. But it does not matter, we had a lot of things happening in the past years, while you cultivated. I just did not bother you with it.” Sentios explained.


“Oh? Really? Tell me then!” Astair chuckled.


“The forefather of the Kingdom returned and established our own Sect. You are also invited into it as an Elder.”


“Really? Ahaha! Great news after great news!” Astair laughed proudly.


“There is another. There is going to be a gathering held and you are to participate in it.” Sentios said with a cold gaze.


“I guess my role won’t be just to entertain our guests.” He smirked.


“You are right Astair. The Sect Master wants you to challenge their Elders to a… friendly spar. Of course you won’t be the only one doing so.”


“Ohoho~ So our guests are going to be them? Great! I already know who I am going to challenge!”


“Ren?” Sentios asked as he tilted his head.


“No. She can wait! It’s her so-called husband. I am going to crush him before her eyes!”


“Be aware, he is not to be underestimated.” Sentios warned him with a calm voice but he already saw how it just flew over Astair’s head.


“Don’t worry! I have my own tricks up my sleeve!” He chuckled as his violet eyes lit up for a moment, already excited about what was going to come soon.