Chapter 127:

The Third

Mad God


Aerthus and the rest were following Zelig, visiting different parts of the main sect building. It was looking more and more like an academy as they were walking around, with different rooms redesigned into classrooms, cultivation or training rooms and into meditation chambers. They just walked out to the garden and Rudrick was explaining how they are taking in disciples from any and all backgrounds, when Ren’s body shook and with a loud thundering noise she just departed from the group.


“What is the meaning of this!?” Rudrick roared, completely enraged but before he could speak more, Zelig’s aura silenced everyone. He was stepping before his people, clashing against Aerthus’s own. Their invisible battle was tearing up the ground around them, making the buildings shake and rattle.


“What may be the problem, my old friend?” Zelig asked with a calm voice.


“We will see.” Aerthus replied, unfolding his arms and his presence immediately tripled in weight. Even though Zelig was standing up to him equally, the rest behind him felt like a mountain was pressing down onto their shoulders.


“So this is what Perfect Harmony is…?” Rudrick thought to himself, turning much more serious. Even though he was at the 2nd stage of Harmony, the distance between himself and Zelig now became tangible.


….

…..


Yanda was holding Lulu, ignoring the fleeing cultivator. He was concentrating on controlling her blood flow, keeping it inside Lulu’s body.


“Let me.” Frenir appeared beside them, crouching down, placing a pill inside Lulu’s mouth. After that he placed his hand onto her head as her whole body became enveloped in a hazy, creamy like aura, distorting her from view.


“Elder!” Yanda looked up at him with a worrying expression.


“Relax. I am slowing down time for her. Senior Sister is already after the one who attacked you and Elder Leinor is coming here too.”


“This attack-” He said as he looked down at Lulu who had her face obstructed by Frenir’s powers.


“Was not done by Heaven’s Gate.” Frenir answered.


“Why are you so sure about it?” Yanda protested with an angry voice.


“Because why would they start a war when they are not ready yet?” Frenir asked as he looked into Yanda’s eyes. “Think. This was interference from the outside. We should’ve thought about that… We slipped up, we were too focused only on Heaven’s Gate.”


“You’re right.” Leinor arrived quickly. “Sect Head is keeping the rest of their elders at bay for now. Father is also there to back him up.” He spoke as he crouched down, placing his hand inside Frenir’s powers that slowly enveloped him too, syncing him up with Lulu.


“Still…” Yanda murmured, clearly confused and agitated. “The others…” He looked up at Frenir, thinking about the rest of the disciples' safety.


“Relax. They are fine… they are already in a small conflict with Heaven’s Gate disciples. Just as the letter said… That is why we are sure this was not them.” Frenir shook his head, furrowing his brows. “Why provoke one group and why try to kill another? Makes zero sense. A fatal strike would be…” Then he fell silent, realizing something that they overlooked.


When Leinor pulled away his hand, returning to the normal timeflow, he released a long breath.


“She was lucky, the blade missed her heart by a hair. I helped her overcome the danger. You can release her.” Leinor looked at Frenir who pulled back his powers, letting Lulu sit back up. She was a bit dizzy and lost, like awakening from a long dream. Looking down at her body, touching the wound on her chest, it was already looking like a week old scar.


“That was… really weird… It felt like time stopped for me…” She murmured, looking up at her Elders.


“Kinda.” Frenir chuckled. “Still! Take it slowly! With my and Leinor’s powers you should be fine! Plus don’t forget to thank Elder Dermitos for our Sect’s pills! You are already out of danger~” He patted her shoulders as Yanda let out a big sigh, relaxing his body.


“T-thanks…” She nodded, standing up with their help, still dazed and out of place.


“Did you see who it was?” Yanda asked.


“See… what?” Lulu murmured as she thought back for a moment, but then she slowly came to understand the question. She had to shake her head, to jog her thoughts a little. “I think… I saw purple eyes.”


“See?!” Yanda exclaimed as he turned towards Frenir.


“You sure?” Leinor furrowed his brows.


“Yeah.” Lulu nodded, rubbing her chest. “Was this also in… that letter?” She smiled with a bit of a tired expression.


“No.” The two elders answered at the same time as they shook their heads. “I’ll escort you two back.” Frenir said, helping Lulu up.


“I’m going to collect my disciples and the rest.” Leinor nodded at them, after making sure Lulu was fine and he disappeared above the houses.


“Here…” Yanda offered his back to Lulu who just chuckled, climbing onto him, letting him piggyback her.


“Thanks…” Lulu whispered with a tired voice. For Yanda it took a few minutes to be healed but under Frenir’s time distortion, the reality was she spent days between life and death. Only Leinor’s rich energy and affinity made sure she survived.


“No, I should be the one to thank you.” Yanda whispered, shaking his head but no answer came as Lulu was already asleep on his back.


….

…..


Ren was floating in the air at the other side of the city. Below her a natural, 80 meters high wall was stretching from north to the south. It separated the land into two terraces. Ren was floating in the air, watching the dozens of differently sized holes on the side of it. The city, being built on these terraces, had two floors of elevation and only a few points of crossings from one to another. Yet there were multiple, differently sized holes along the walls, some leaking water downwards, acting like a natural drainage system, especially when it was raining.


“Bastard.” She looked on with furrowed brows, feeling out some of the man sized holes but got no response from any of them.


She was quick to pick up on the fleeing assailant, even exchanging blows with him, shattering the polearm he wielded. The only problem was, he was familiar with his surroundings and quickly escaped into one of the holes, vanishing before she could lock onto him once more.


“Consider yourself lucky. But next time, I’m going to kill you.” Ren murmured before turning around, heading towards Ariana’s group, making them her priority.


Not long after she left, underground, a few hundred meters away, a figure dressed in rags was moving once again. He was letting out exhausted breaths as he arrived near a hidden cellar. The ground and walls were reinforced with stone as wet drainage was splashing below his feet as he walked forward in the complete darkness. Not long later he stopped before a metal, rusted door, knocking on it twice with a repeating pattern. A few seconds of silence later the lock clicked once and he quickly slipped in, closing it behind him as quietly as possible. He was taking off the hood of his, revealing the face of Seq, the second in command of the Hounds of Ironclaw. Inside the cellar, candles were burning and multiple men were standing beside a table, clearly discussing plans. A map of the Enjin Kingdom was laid out, held down by four daggers at the corners. When he arrived everyone looked at him, especially his father, the leader of the Hounds, Gilgan.


“What were the results?” Gilgan asked, looking at his exhausted son.


“I failed” He shook his head, taking out the purple contacts from his eyes, turning his irises back to their original, golden color. “I was even chased by that twerp.”


“Pack up.” Gilgan commanded immediately. “Burn every evidence, we are moving to the second base.


“I lost her, no need to-” Seq said but Gilgan shot him down.


“No risks are to be taken if we fail. That was the order from the top. We are moving!” Gilgan commanded with a strict voice and soon the whole cellar was stripped clean. Everything that couldn’t be moved had been burnt to ashes while they left through the labyrinth like underground caverns.


Some roads were naturally formed but a lot was reinforced or made completely by human hands, sneaking who knows how long and to where. Through the hundreds of years, the Ironclaw gang which ‘owned’ the lower city, this place became their home turf. They were smuggling goods, slaves and whatever they wished through here, without being ever noticed. It didn’t take long for them to emerge in an abandoned house on the opposite side of the city.


“We should be fine but best if everyone changes their appearance and we split up while leaving the Enjin Kingdom.” Gilgan said, checking out the alleyway from the windows, while the rest covered the hole with floorboards. “If our plan to spark a conflict fails here, we can expect retaliation from both sides. Best to escape before it arrives.” Gilgan smiled with an excited expression. “That is what Boss Neiro said to me and I agree!”


“The boy was completely oblivious to everything… I almost had him. But that damned girl! She was way too fast…” Seq grumbled, disappointed in himself.


“Do not agonize over it! We are going to have ample chances in the future.” Gilgan patted his shoulders. “If nothing else, it is going to be a great announcement for the world.” He grinned with a vicious smile.


“For what?” Seq blinked his eyes, confused a little.


“Boss decided we are going to be the third Sect in the world.” whispered “Empire? Kingdom? Full of bullshit, both of them! These sects are just a different outlet for their elites! They are playing board games, nothing else! While here we are, caught in the crossfire! Just look at how they took our city from us! So, we are going to flip the table on them! We are going after them from the shadows and we are going to make them fear the name… Ironclaw!” Gilgan said as he looked at the others who were already fired up. “Soon those who have had enough, are going to join our ranks and we will wash the world in flames so it can be reborn anew!”


..A little earlier..

…..


Ariana and the rest were enjoying the walk around the city, not straying too far from the main market square. Even Kirch was a bit more social, holding a bag, full of fried snacks that everyone was picking from.


“I’m starting to like the food… like, really liking it!” Sylvett laughed, taking out another bite sized snack, almost right from Kirch’s fingers.


“I can see that… at least leave me some?” He grumbled, making the others chuckle.


Ariana just wanted to speak up when she shook, stopping in her place completely.


“What is it?” Heldi asked, surprised, watching her brows dance above her eyes.


“I feel animosity.” Ariana answered, looking at them. “It’s aiming at us.”


“Huh? Trouble?” Sylvett chuckled. “Took them long enough!” She stretched after throwing another bite into her mouth, munching on it.


“Heh, look at them, enjoying peasant food with such glee…” Echoed a voice, not far from them.


“Leave them be. You saw their looks, they are probably dizzy from walking on paved roads instead of mud.” Responded another, laughing voice.


Turning towards them, they saw three, white haired and violet eyed young boys, sitting at a cafe, drinking tea, watching them pass by. Every one of them wore the same white outfit, clearly telling them that they were part of Heaven’s Gate.


“Oh, look!” Sylvett chuckled, licking her fingers then patting her hands, turning towards Heldi. “Walking-talking aneurysms! What a nasty creatures they are! Didn’t know they were native to here!”


“Ugh…” Kirch moaned as he held his head, while Heldi just smiled weirdly, not knowing how to react.


“Don’t worry Heldi.” Ariana patted her shoulders. “If you don’t listen to them, you won’t be infected. Just ignore it or they may cause some in your brain!” She said in a calming yet loud tone, stunning Heldi. Sylvett just laughed out at her words, while holding her thumbs up.


Even though Ariana was inclined to avoid trouble or confrontation, she clearly felt their opponents won't let it go, no matter what. If trouble can’t be avoided, going by her Master’s teachings, it was time to confront it and squash it with force.


“What did you just say?” All three of them stood up at the same time.


“See how fast they are filled with blood?” Sylvett said, looking at their heads turning bright red from rage. “Oh my, we should tell it to their elders, they need medical help!”


“I hope it is not contagious…” Heldi murmured, finally joining in on it too.


“Finished?” The three boys stepped forward, looking to be in their late teens or early twenties.


“Maybe.” Sylvett answered. “What? You want to fight?”


“Fight?” Their leader and spokesperson shook his head. “No. We are not barbarians like you, peasants. But a challenge… that can be arranged. Of course if you are not afraid of losing.”


“We?” Sylvett smiled, looking at Ariana who just nodded. “Nope, we are not.”


“Good.” The white haired cultivator nodded. “We can have a best of three rounds competition. Seeing the potential of you plebeians, we are even giving you the chance to name the way we are going to compete in the first round~” He grinned with a provoking smile.


“Oh really…?” Sylvett asked as she crossed her arms. “I don’t want to hear cries after you lose!”


“Me neither.” came the swift answer as the air around them were spewing sparks everywhere while Kirch just sighed, throwing the last bite of snack into his mouth.


“I should’ve stayed in my room…”