Chapter 128:

Black Clouds

Mad God

“Are you serious?” The three Heaven’s Gate disciples looked at Sylvett with dark expressions, not believing their ears.

They thought that giving time to them to come up with the first challenge was a good idea, yet Sylvett immediately proposed one. She stunned not just the trio but her friends too for a moment, except Kirch. He already knew what she was planning.

“What, you have bad hearing or something? I said; let's play hide and seek.” She put her hands on her waist.

“Are you playing with us, woman?” Their leader snorted at her childish idea.

“No, I am not. Easy, 500 meters, in every direction from here! You can hide and we have 15 minutes to find you. If we run out of time, you win. If we find all of you, then it is going to be our turn to hide. You are going to get 15 minutes too to find us.”

“And if we find you?” He asked, unimpressed by her proposal.

“Then we take it as our loss.” Sylvett chuckled. “Don’t worry, you won’t find every one of us.” She replied confidently and seeing the others did not complain behind her, the trio realized she was not joking. “By the way, what are your names? I can call you all kids too! If you all want to stay anonymous that is fine by me.”

“Valkor, Cathka and Zolkar.” Their leader, Valkor, introduced the others next to him, folding his hands. He was clearly not interested in asking back their names.

“Oookay.” Sylvett rolled her eyes, seeing their attitude.

“Not that we are going to remember it anyway.” Kirch whispered softly yet loud enough for them to hear, irritating them even further.

“Enough playing around! Fine! Hide and seek it is!” Valkor shouted, looking down on them with contempt in his eyes.

“Okay! You have 5 minutes to hide! You can also move as we search, I don’t care.” Sylvett sighed as she put up her hands. Just as she said that, the trio has split up, disappearing in the streets.

“Is this really a good idea?” Heldi asked. “How are we going to find them?”

“Easy.” Sylvett laughed, pointing at Ariana.

“You riled them up strongly.” She spoke up. “I memorized the aura that they release when angered. I can track them anywhere! How do you want to do it?” She flashed a small smile as she was asking Sylvett.

“We wait out the remaining minutes so they have to hide and then we start! Just go straight for them and we are going to follow you! Let’s end this quickly!” She laughed loudly, looking really relaxed.

“Oh, I never thought about it that way!” Heldi mused and then her eyes lit up. “Wait, then for the next turn…” She whispered looking at Kirch.

“Yeah…” Kirch groaned. “You don’t need to worry… she deflected any responsibility for our success onto me! Like always.” He clicked his tongue while he rolled his eyes, listening to Sylvett’s confident laugh.

After waiting a little, they just followed Ariana’s “nose”. Concentrating, she could easily pick up on the feelings of the trio as they were basically emitting animosity towards them like a volcano, especially after Sylvett’s mocking words.

“Weird.” Ariana transmitted her voice to the group. “They left in different directions yet they are at the same place.”

“Are you sure?” Sylvett asked, looking at Ariana.

“Yes…” She stopped amongst the crowd, pointing out a flower shop on the busy street before them. “They are in there. I am sure of it, but…”

“I don’t see them.” Heldi said, tiptoeing, looking above the sea of people so she could maybe spot something.

Inside the shop a kind, young woman was tending to her flowers, helped out, by what it seemed as, her brothers. Their hair and eye colors were resembling her auburn, wavy hair and her amber eyes as she was talking with them in a happy mood.

“Their facial features also match the girls…” Sylvett said with a little doubt in her voice now.

“Let me check.” Kirch stepped forward and by the next second he just vanished in the crowd, turning invisible.

As they waited, they saw nobody else inside the shop, no matter how hard they focused and when Kirch returned he was shaking his head.

“Nobody is inside or at the back, just those four. They act like a real family. I don’t know girls! This feels fishy. What should we do?”

“Ariana?” Sylvett turned towards her again.

“I am sure. They are the same guys.” She replied, confident.

“It may be an illusion spell.” Heldi added. “You can easily change your appearance with a few spells! Not to mention, isn’t their bloodline famous for hypnotism and the like?”

“I agree.” Ariana nodded and that was all that Sylvett needed. The next moment she was walking forward, followed by them, arriving at the shop.

“Hello! Can I help you? We have fresh, beautiful flowers here that can decorate your homes for weeks, filling it with the fresh scent of a flowerfield!” The young woman stepped forward with a kind smile. “I just opened up with my brothers, we have great deals if you buy more than one kind of flower!”

“Sorry to disturb you!” Sylvett cupped her hands. “We are here to bother you about your brothers.”

“Them?” She blinked her eyes, before laughing a little. “Are you one of my brother’s girlfriends~?”

“No.” She shook her head, looking at the triplets who looked almost the same. “Game is up boys.”

“Sorry, but… have we ever met?” One of them tilted his head, asking with a confused voice.

“Yeah, it does not really make sense, lady.” Another of the brothers nodded.

“Heldi.” Ariana whispered, nudging her.

She took out one of her chakrams, throwing it at one of the boys with full force. The poor florist screamed out, thinking one of her brothers is going to be murdered in broad daylight.

“Tsk!” he clicked his tongue as he raised his arms. The illusion was quickly falling apart, revealing Cathka. When the chakram reached his arms, it just passed through him like nothing, dissipating into a puff of smoke.

“Getting closer to them… I am now also sure it is just an illusion spell at work.” Heldi giggled, now much more confident. “Or some kind of artifact, maybe the ring on their fingers?”

“Nice job!” Sylvett patted her shoulder while Ariana and Kirch also nodded with a smile.

“Wh-what… what is going on?” The young florist blinked her trembling eyes, clearly confused, grabbing onto her own head. She was fighting with her memories of her brothers, growing up with her three younger siblings. They were the only family she ever had. They were supporting each other through thick and thin, finally opening their own shop a few weeks ago. The shock was strong and it got more and more painful. Especially as she was watching them change their appearance right before her eyes. Her memories became fuzzy, distorted, getting washed over with different shards of her past where she was really alone, yet she persevered, right until now. Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore and after vomiting a great amount of blood, her eyes rolled backwards, collapsing into one of her stands, crashing it completely.

“Lady!” Heldi stepped forward hurriedly, getting out one of their healing pills, trying to feed it to her. The woman was bleeding from the nose and it was still bubbling up from her throat.

“Don’t!” Ariana intervened. “She is not a cultivator, you could kill her with that!” She said as she crouched down, picking her out from the wrecks, stabilizing her position.

“What did you do to her?” Sylvett asked with a cold voice, watching the trio who looked completely uninterested.

“Why do you care? She is just a weak human of no importance. We lost the first round, let’s get onto the second.” Zolkar answered, patting his sleeves.

“If she is just a human, what are you?” Kirch asked, folding his arms and it was the first time that Heldi and Ariana saw him turning angry, raising his voice.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Valkor tilted his head, looking at him like he just asked the dumbest question in the world. “We are cultivators. We are more than human, more than these… dregs. Or the dumb demons. Both are inferior creatures, while we are at the apex of existence. No wonder most of them are slaves to us.”

“You!” Heldi flared up, stomping on the ground, fuming furiously. Ariana quickly placed her hand onto the woman’s forehead as black, thick smoke gathered around her wrist, seeping into her, alleviating the florist’s mental pain and shock.

“It is going to be alright…” Ariana whispered, letting her power absorb all of the poor woman’s negative feelings, easing her mind. The fake memories that the boys implemented into her were disappearing piece by piece. For her it was like awakening from a nightmare, as they were eaten up by Ariana. “What you did is pure evil.” She stood up, standing next to Heldi, clearly infuriated as black smoke was swirling around her, making everyone feel creeped out.

Even Slyvett gulped for a moment as the aura of Ariana provoked reaction from their minds, regardless of their cultivation levels. It affected their feelings, awoking dread and fear alongside an unexplainable nausea.

“I don’t care about the second round anymore.” Ariana whispered as the black smoke around her started to spread inside the shop, enveloping the room like a creepy and dreadful fog from horror stories.

While Sylvett, Kirch and Heldi just felt some discomfort, nothing else, Valkor, Cathka and Zolkar felt as if their enemy was a beast from the deepest part of the ocean, rising above the black waves to consume everything in its path. What they did not realize was that it was an illusionary image, projected to their minds by Ariana, who used the fainted florist’s negative emotions as fuel, mixing it with her own anger.

“You are less than humans. You don’t know how one struggles at the bottom just to carve out a life for herself…” Ariana whispered, walking closer to them. “Yet you toy with her like a puppet on strings? You deserve torment because death would be a mercyful alternative for someone like you.” She spoke calmly, with her fists trembling beside her body.

The first to finally get a grip on his emotions was Valkor, circulating his energies and when he did so, Ariana’s group finally could pick up on their real strength. All three were at the 5th stage of the body refinement realm.

“Attacking us because of a mere whore off of the streets?! You got some nerves!” Valkor spoke out with a voice that was still a bit shaky but it was becoming firmer at the end of his sentence. His purple eyes were glowing with a purple hue while speaking. He was fighting back against Ariana’s powers, dispersing the dreadful feelings inside him while his brothers followed suit, regaining control over their own minds.

“Well, I was looking forward to seeing their faces when they couldn't find Kirch… oh well! A brawl sounds good too!” Sylvett snorted as her body turned completely golden.

“You can still see their faces beaten into a pulp.” Kirch commented, going invisible next to her as Heldi just nodded, speaking up with an angry voice

“I think it is going to be even better!”

Finally the first attack came from Ariana, as a tentacle-like strain formed from the black fog, snaking around Cathka’s hands. It was enough of a distraction, making him divert his gaze. Just as he turned his head, he flinched backwards strongly as an invisible fist landed square on his chin.

“Nice!” Sylvett rushed forward, meeting Valkor’s fist with hers, releasing a loud ringing sound of a bell. It immediately blasted out the store’s windows, scaring everyone outside, making the people run and find shelter, fearing for their lives.

Zolkar was shaking, fighting off Ariana’s power’s effects. She was still influencing his thoughts, making it hard for him to dodge the multiple chakrams aiming at him. Whenever he blocked one it just disappeared, turning out to be an illusion, wasting his efforts and he couldn’t focus to sense which was the real one.

“You don’t even have a weapon!” Zolkar spat with scorn in the end but just as he said it, a real chakram struck him between the legs, making him scream out in a voice that nobody knew people could make.

“Ruthless.” Sylvett whispered, while she heard Kirch's voice echo next to her.

“The shy ones are always the most frightening when angry…”

As they were trashing the store, alongside the three brothers, Ariana stood back, protecting the unconscious woman. She was having second thoughts of her rashness but the emotions she absorbed a moment ago were completely overwhelming her rational thinking. Before it could really escalate further, they heard a loud thundering boom in the distance. That wasn’t rare for people living here but for the disciples of the Immortal Wonders Sect, it was a clear signal.

“Something happened!” Ariana shouted as she snapped out of her thoughts, recognizing her Master’s signature power.

All of them immediately retreated back to her and the three boys were panting heavily. The strength Sylvett’s group showcased was way above theirs. A minute or so and they would have been pummeled into the ground... and it was a hard pill to swallow. As they were in a standoff, seconds later a flash traveled across the sky once again as Ren showed up in the shop. She was visibly in a really bad mood at the moment.

“Master.” Ariana bowed while the others also cupped their hands.

“Go outside.” She ordered with a clear, authoritative voice, making them gulp and go a shade paler as they followed her order. “You.” Ren looked into the trio’s eyes as her pupils lit up for a second. “Clean up the mess you made here.”

“You are not our Elder.” Valkor said after collecting every bit of strength he had inside.

“No I am not. But I can make your life miserable nonetheless.” Ren said calmly before walking out and scooping up the rest with her powers, flying off.

In the air Ariana, playing with her fingers, spoke up with a lowered head and shaking voice.

“It was my fault, Master, the others just got swept up in it.”

“You did nothing wrong. It’s not about that. You should’ve trashed them so hard I can’t recognize their bodies as human beings.” Ren shook her head. “Lulu was injured.”

“Senior Sister?” Ariana gasped as the others also blinked their eyes, completely surprised.

“Yes. It was almost fatal. It was an assassination attempt no matter how we look at it. We are converging with Sect Head now, to assess the situation. You are forbidden from wandering off anymore.”

“Is she… is she alright?” Ariana gulped, worried, as it never occurred to her something like this could happen.

“Yes. But I am fuming inside. At least Eisen and Kitten are caught onto some trails! If they find the one who I was chasing previously…” She murmured, finally falling silent as the disciples realised the situation was spiralling out of control slowly but surely.