Chapter 145:

Leaving (2)

Mad God


Before Ren would visit Ariana’s home, she stopped beside Kyu. She was still sitting in the rain, fallen asleep in her demonic form.


“You are completely soaked…” Ren whispered, touching her fur, startling Kyu waking her up immediately.


“M-master!” She blinked her eyes, quickly hugging her close with all her strength, wrapping her giant bear paws around her body, starting to wail loudly.


“Sssh… hey… hey… it’s okay… don’t cry…” Ren snuggled up to her, not minding her wet fur at all, letting Kyu hug her until she calmed down.


“M-master… What… What are we going to do…?” Kyu sniffed, wiping her nose and eyes, shapeshifting back to her human form.


“First, go inside, dry yourself up and nap a little.”


“No!” She protested loudly.


“Why?” Ren asked back, tilting her head, a bit confused.


“Because you will leave me behind!” Kyu answered with a surprisingly acute sense of what would happen if she did just that.


“Look…” Ren sighed loudly, not keeping it a secret. “I’m going to travel to the demon’s territory and not to play around. You wouldn’t be safe beside me.”


“I don’t care! I’m coming! You can’t leave me behind! No!” Kyu protested loudly, crossing her arms.


“Kyu, I’m going to raise my strength the quickest way possible and it isn’t something-”


“No!” She cut in, stomping on the ground, starting to cry once again. “Papa is gone, I… don’t want to lose my mommy… please…”


Her words immediately sent a shiver through Ren’s body, silencing her on the spot. She could do nothing but just watch the crying little girl before her.


“Ssh…” Ren said in the end, hugging her as close as she could. “Okay… okay… you can come. But you must be obedient, okay?”


“Mm… okay…” Kyu nodded, burying her face into her chest.


“Good girl… Come, let’s go in, both of us need a warm bath and you can sleep a little. Don’t worry, I’ll just go speak with my disciples and come back to pick you up.”


“Promise?”


“You have my word for it.” She kissed her forehead then held her hand, leading her home.


By the time she was about to leave to meet Ariana, Kyu had fallen asleep. Opening the door she found Lulu and Yanda there, about to knock on her door. They just came from Ariana and when they noticed that Kyu was not outside anymore, they immediately came up to the house.


“Master!” Both of them said at the same time, cupping their hands.


“Hey…” Ren smiled softly, watching them with warm light in her eyes. “Sorry to make you worry.”


“No, it’s nothing… I mean… damn, that came out wrong.” Lulu grumbled but Ren just shook her head .


“It’s okay. How’s your family?” She asked as she invited them inside.


“Not good.” Lulu sighed. “In the chaos, my father went missing. Grandfather is back home, keeping the Elroth Kingdom together. As much as he can. My brothers arrived in the Empire’s Capital as ambassadors but in reality they are refugees, escaping the coming storm.”


“What are your plans?” Ren asked as she poured out the coffee she just brewed for herself when she was putting Kyu to sleep.


“Nothing much. I’m staying here, I plan on helping out Isha with teaching the disciples for now.” Lulu answered.


“Me too.” Yanda echoed her plans. “I periodically make visits back home, helping father out with keeping the peace in the kingdom. There were already multiple assassination attempts against his life. Luckily, the charms from the Sect worked their wonders.”


“Keep him safe.” Ren nodded, looking into her disciple’s eyes. “And her too.” She smiled, signaling with her eyes at Lulu making her disciples blush like kids. “Ahaha, look at you… acting like teenagers.”


“It’s good to see you laugh, Master.” Yanda cleared his throat. “About the upcoming… funeral.”


“I won’t attend it.” Ren said, closing her eyes as she took a sip from her coffee, placing the two into an awkward silence. “Not for the reason you think.” She continued after a short pause, raising her eyelids. “I won’t be here.”


“Master?” They looked at each other, before speaking up, confused.


“I am leaving tonight. For how long… I don’t know. Can I ask you to look after Toobu and Wyland until I’m back?”


“Of course, Master… um… What about… Ariana?” Lulu asked, trying to figure out her Master’s thoughts.


“Originally I wanted to leave her here but Kyu already successfully changed my plans. If Ariana says the same, I’ll take her with me too. Plus I can already guess her choice.”


“Then what about us?” Isha’s voice came in as she stepped into the house, followed by Zern and a panting Poli, who just arrived back to the Sect. He was rushing over since he received the news.


“Master, take me with you!” Poli kneeled in front of her as soon as he stepped into the room with a trembling hand. “I should’ve been here…”


“You…” Ren smiled with a genuinely happy expression as Zern and Isha also kneeled down before her. “You already have your own lives!” Ren tried to help them up but they wouldn’t budge.


“We-” Poli wanted to speak but Ren silenced him with a tap on his head.


“Isha, you can’t just abandon the disciples here! They are depending on your lessons! Same to you Zern, especially when you have three direct disciples who need constant supervision!”


“I don’t have any disciples! I can follow you Master!” Poli protested.


“No, you have a wife.” She looked into his eyes.


“We… are still not there…” Poli murmured with a blushed look and a silly smile.


“Then work on it! Look… if you want to help me then stay at the fox village.” Ren sighed, leaning back on her chair.


“You mean…?” Poli asked, raising his head.


“I’ll need their help. Also…” She looked at the rest. “You should teach the disciples well. Their lives are going to get harder and filled with dangerous battles in the upcoming future! If you want to help me, then make sure they don’t lose anybody important to them. Okay?”


“We won’t let it happen.” Everyone answer in the room at the same time.


“Then I’m relieved! I’m going to visit Ariana now and after that I am leaving the Sect for a few years. You may not be able to reach me but if you want, you are most likely going to find me at Thunder Valley.” She said, standing up, fixing her clothing that was a normal, everyday, white dress, not her usual sect uniform.


“When are you coming back?” Zern asked, watching Ren going towards the main door, opening it, letting the scent of rain inside the house.


“I don’t know. Tomorrow Sect Head is probably going to name Frenir to be my replacement as Junior Sect Head. As soon as he exits his secluded cultivation. Then he is going to announce that I am retreating for an indefinite time.” Ren smiled, looking at the still pouring rain through the open door. “It would be best if the outside world only knows I am out of the picture for now. Let the public speculate. So don’t spread where I am! Not even to the disciples. Let rumors float and spread, but don’t acknowledge or deny anything.”


“Master…?” Everyone looked puzzled why she was saying this but Ren just chuckled before disappearing into the rain, leaving behind only one more sentence that sent shivers through their bodies


“When I’m back, it is going to rain just like this… but it is going to be red.”


….

…..


Ariana was about to go out and check on her Master when her body gently shook. She quickly rushed to the front door, throwing it wide open.


“Master!” She was almost tearing it out from its sockets, jumping onto Ren, hugging her as strong as she could.


“I am amazed that you picked up my presence.” She looked at her, running her fingers through her hair, straightening it out, chuckling softly at Ariana’s reaction.


“I… could feel your… thoughts.” She whispered with a small unease but Ren said nothing. “Master…”


“Yes?”


“N-nothing.” She said in the end, releasing Ren, shaking her head, gulping back her words and thoughts. “I am ready. I already packed up my things!”


“Oh? You knew I was leaving?”


“As I said. I felt your thoughts, Master.”


“Heh… there is no secret before you, huh? Okay! I came to tell you this but as it seems you already knew, go to my house! I’ll say goodbye to my parents and Valen, then we are leaving.” She placed her hand onto Ariana’s shoulder patting it before leaving.


By the time night had come and the rain also stopped, Ren was already flying high, above the clouds, showered with silvery light from the twin moons. She was going towards the territory of the demons, bringing Kyu and Ariana along, not knowing when they would return. Back in the Sect, Wyland was getting ready and just about to leave the house, when Toobu walked out from his room, yawning. He just woke up from the little sleep he forced himself into an hour before.


“Where are you going?” He asked, rubbing his eyes.


“A-artifact H-hall… t-to f-finish M-master R-ren’s w-work.” He said calmly, with resolution in his voice.


“That won’t be easy.” He said as only a heads up, not trying to discourage his disciple brother. He was even glad, seeing him wanting to do something besides eating.


“I-i c-can d-do i-it.” Wylandsaid before he left, with unshakable determination to complete the teleportation circle, before Ren could come back. He made the decision that moment that it would be formations that he would now drown himself in and not food. Toobu watched him disappear in the night and thought to himself that it would be best to go back to meditating, submerging himself in cultivation, to distract his mind. He was about to turn around when, from the corner of his eyes, he saw a female figure, standing at the edge of the fence that was surrounding his home.


“Qeena?” He turned towards her and after saying her name she walked closer, now wearing the Immortal Wonders Sect’s uniform.


“Sorry.” She said, slowly lowering her head, feeling immensely guilty about what happened. She felt that she was the trigger to everything and it was her defection from Heaven’s Gate that caused the death of Leinor.


“Don’t. That would tarnish our Sect’s name, if you feel sorry for wanting to be free and live your own life! My Master’s death has nothing to do with you! You were right to not wanting to be a sacrificial slave!” He patted her back.


“...”


“Are you hungry? Come in, I’ll make something for you! Honestly speaking, I can’t sleep or meditate correctly yet. Maybe some friendly chit-chat would clear my mind.”


“Sure…” She nodded, following him inside, closing the door behind them as in the coming days it would become a repeating occurrence for the two.


….

…..


Somewhere, far away and deep underground, in a hidden room, lit up by smokeless, brightly burning torches, Rudrick was sitting half-naked and cross legged. He had a giant, unsightly wound on the right side of his chest, which was forming concentric circles on his skin. Even though he seemed fine, inside of his body, there were residues of many, small red sparks fluctuating, originating from Ren’s tribulation. He had to suppress them with his own powers constantly or they would wreak havoc in his body.


“Damned bitch…” He groaned, opening his eyes, taking a deep breath as he was boiling inside, yet he was unable to release it. The powers he collected through the long years were damaged, suppressed, used to try and purge the tribulation out of his body. It was clearly going to take years to do so.


“It was a half-success.” Neiro came into the room as he was the leader of the Ironclaws. Closing the door behind him he just threw himself down onto a giant pile of soft cushions with a wine bottle in his hands. “We are being named as the number one enemy! We just need to use your people’s eyes and force some influential people into our ranks! Or just smear them by working with us! Let the flames go bigger and bigger as they become paranoid and start killing ceaselessly! That is going to drive more and more people to us.”


“We are going to do just that. Did you contact King Takaya?” Rudrick asked.


“Not yet. I am sure he is under strict surveillance but his cover is good. Nobody would imagine that he is working with us.” Neiro smiled as he was long friends with the Enjin’s King. Not to mention that after Zelig barged into his territory with the establishment of Heaven’s Gate, Takaya was actively ready to do anything to oppose him. “So I did not want to blow his cover by going to him.”


“I am sure that Zelig keeps him under close watch, no doubt! That was a good decision you just made. The problem is me, being exposed. I can’t go back and show my face so easily and we have lost our best source for information this way! But it does not matter. I have a lot of people planted to help me, if things get worse. Either way, Heaven’s Gate will be mine. I’ll get back my Kingdom then the whole Empire will be mine and this whole continent will… be… mine.” He smiled as his aura fluctuated a little, making Neiro cough up a little blood by feeling it.


“What about your puppy on the loose?” Neiro asked, wiping his mouth, referring to Sentios.


“Did he escape?” Rudrick asked back.


“No, he is back in Heaven’s Gate. The shackle in his mind is still there, he knows you are alive. He wouldn’t dare to escape… but he must have told a lot of things to Zelig.”


“He can not. I made sure of that.” Rudrick shook his head. “He stayed because he wanted to feed information to his brother. He wants to play the role of a double agent or something idiotic! The sad, little stupid puppy… Let him be, it is not a problem! He is going to have his use in the future. Let him do his own thing and we will use him dealing with both factions. You can take over everything, do as you see fit! I need to recuperate and gain back my strength. You know… sometimes disaster brings opportunity.” He murmured as he looked at his wound, gently rubbing it. “Who knows, maybe when I come out, not even that old fart can stop me!” Rudrick chuckled menacingly, turning his rage into motivation, feeling that he could even gain from his predicament.