Chapter 150:

Collecting (2)

Mad God


Paku was looking up at the night sky, completely bored out of his mind. He was even a bit frustrated that he couldn't follow the rest. It seemed there was going to be an exciting hunt, and he was left out of it. They were gone for a quarter of an hour by now when he noticed the sky started to darken above him. From nowhere, black clouds gathered above the region, obstructing the moonlight.

"Huh… Is it going to rain?" Paku murmured, being in his original demonic form. He was looking upwards, watching the strange colors that were flashing high above him. He had never before seen lightning that was purple in color. "How nice…"

Before he could truly get immersed in the strange phenomena, Meyka rushed out from between the trees.

"Meyka! Is it over already? Did father-" But he could not finish what he wanted to ask as she just shouted at him.

"Run! RUN NOW! Follow me! Don't ask, just follow me!" She screamed. Her voice was laced with such a primal fear that Paku's body immediately obeyed, rushing after her.

"What… happened?!" He asked after minutes of silence, just following the panicking female leopard.

"Dodge!" Meyka's loud shout came from next to him instead of her answer. The still confused Paku was not so lucky this time to heed her warning.

From the left side, Kang appeared, swinging in from one of the thick tree branches, kicking Paku's sides with his two feet. He caught him in mid-air, sending the youngster hurling through the air, hitting multiple trees before he finally landed on the ground. He was out of breath, and with multiple broken ribs, he was struggling to stand back up.

"Aaaargh!" Meyka turned back with a desperate roar, slicing against the giant, white gorilla. Kang just let her front paws strike his bone armor, leaving deep marks but doing no real damage.

"Hmf!" Kang snorted, through his nose, blowing out white air as his red eyes shone through the slits of his bone helmet. He was punching out, pushing the air before his fist so violently that the friction turned his arms orange as if they were coated with fire.

Meyka's main strengths were her flexibility and speed. She was able to dodge the incoming fists as she watched them going through the trees behind her. Anything that was standing in the way splintered like dried twigs while Kang was felling one tree after another. The chips of wood quickly caught on fire while still spinning in the air, igniting the dead wood on the ground. The dry shrubs also quickly caught on fire as their battle was starting a forest fire around them, bathing the region in an ominous red hue.

"Paku! Run!" She shouted, but the young black panther was still struggling to stand up. The whole world was spinning around him, his ears were ringing, and he already puked multiple times, leaving a bloody aftertaste in his mouth.

"You, stay!" Kang shouted, grabbing onto a flaming tree trunk, tearing it out, and swinging it effortlessly. The tree's crown swept away Meyka, who was unable to dodge something big like that. As soon as Kang hit her, the tree cracked apart and exploded into splinters, flying everywhere like sharp needles, piercing through other trees and even Meyka's body. Yet they just bounced off of Kang's armored silhouette.

Meyka was trying to climb out from the branches and leaves, biting onto a stake-like woodchip lodged into the upper part of her front leg. She was struggling to pull it out. As she was whimpering, rain started to pour down from the skies as a thundering menace was getting closer and closer. The sudden flood from the sky quickly put out the fire, producing sizzling noises and covering the area with a white 'fog.'

"No… the demon is here…!" Meyka whimpered, deciding to leave when she finally freed herself. She was not bothering with Paku anymore and just ran for it, trying to use the fog as a cover for her escape.

"I say stay!" Kang grabbed onto her tail, flinging her like a rag doll, trying to smash her to the ground.

Meyka's adrenaline-fueled body, ignoring every pain and injury, twisted in an unnatural way, biting and slashing at Kang's arm with all her might. She was hissing, growling, and meowing like a banshee, doing everything she could just to get away. She even tore off chunks of Kang's armor alongside her own claws, leaving scars on his arms and drawing out his blood. Yet Kang just roared, grabbing onto her with two hands now, pushing Meyka down to the ground. He held her head with two hands as he repeatedly smashed it into the ground until she stopped struggling. Paku, who finally could stand up, his body hurting everywhere, came to a realization of what was going on. Seeing Meyka, who was fighting for her life, doing everything in her power to set herself free, terrified him. Especially watching as she was overpowered by the giant gorilla in the end.

"Leave her alone, or you are going to be in big trouble, my father-" Paku shouted, trying to wobble towards Kang, when a soft voice came from behind him.

"He is already dead. Do not even bother finishing your words, kid."

Ren appeared behind him, coming out from the fog like a ghost. She just grabbed his skin behind his neck, like a mother cat does to her kitten, lifting up Paku and making his body stiffen up in one move.

"Thanks, Kang." She walked up to him, still holding the silenced Paku. The youngest one was trying to comprehend what he just heard, paralyzed by the notion of Ren's words.

"Mm." Kang nodded, holding down Meyka. She was completely limp, barely conscious, as she was watching Ren with horror in her eyes. "Why you need cores?" Kang asked with a serious voice. He was not immune to what Ren just did a few minutes ago. He respected Ren immensely for solving his tribe's problem. Since then, he has sworn to himself that he will protect and serve the woman who saved his tribe from extinction. Still… the imagery from before left him with mixed feelings.

"Do you remember the thing under your old home?"

"Yes." He answered, immediately shaking a little and turning dead serious.

"I'm here to kill it once and for all. For that, I need more power. I have a formation to deal with it, but I lack the energy to fuel it by myself."

"You use I. If my core makes it die, use I." Kang said with a softly trembling voice.

"Rejected! Don't even think about it, Kang!" Ren shook her head with a smile. "I won't hurt you or any of my friends and family! My enemies' cores will suffice." She said while her eyes traveled from Kang to Meyka.

“You… won’t get away… with… this…” The leopard groaned, spitting out blood, but Kang just smashed her head into the ground once again, holding her down with all fours.

"I know, I know, someone will come and deal with me, blah, blah blah!" Ren rolled her eyes, throwing down the paralyzed Paku so she could hold Meyka's head with two of her own hands. She just tore her head off from her neck, fishing out her demonic core through the hole under her skull.

After she found it and put it into her pocket, Kang threw the headless body over his shoulder, intending to bring it back. He was not afraid of harvesting everything that was useful from her body. What Ren told him now made his mind exceptionally clear and focused. He was always bothered by what happened in the past, and every day, he warned everybody he came across. Never, ever visit that cursed site, and avoid it at all costs. He hoped for a way to cleanse it once and for all. So, no others suffer as they did. Hearing what she just said, he was standing behind Ren, 100%.

Paku, who was coming back to reality, watching the execution of his aunt and the news of the death of his father… and probably his uncle, it almost made him faint. Instead of that, the remaining dinner traveled up from his stomach, retching and vomiting loudly before he started to cry with a hysterical voice.

"I take core out." Kang said, looking at Paku, watching him as a lump of dead meat already.

"Stay away!" Paku screamed louder than any thundering sounds above them. He was trying to peddle backward, forgetting every injury his body sustained.

"No." Ren raised her hand. "He is still weak; his core is completely useless. These three were so-so. I'd still need around a dozen of the same caliber to make a difference… But it is a start. Anyway, the kid's core is worthless! But he himself can be useful." She walked towards him.

Paku lost every human-like rationality as he was scrambling on all four, trying to escape. Ren mimicked Kang as she grabbed onto his tail, squeezing it hard and pulling Paku close to herself. She made him lay on his back, pushing down the young black panther. "Stop struggling, or I'll take your core out from your brain while you are still alive!" She said menacingly as she leaned forward, making him go limp. "Good boy~ Now listen well and answer my questions with a nod or a shake of your head! Got it?" She asked, and he immediately nodded. "Wonderful! Your peers were mentioning someone stronger is coming. Is it true?"

"Mm." He nodded as soon as she asked the question and even started to speak with a trembling voice. “Tylvana, General Tylvana.”

"Is she strong?" Ren asked, and another immediate answer came.

"Very. Stronger than you."

"Ahaha, we'll see about that! I hope she can put up a fight! It would prove her core's worth. Okay, kid, here is what I'll do!" Ren explained, placing her finger on his nape as Paku felt her fingers go under his skin. It was making him scream in fear as he thought she was going to kill him right there. "I'll place a seal inside your body." Ren continued, unbothered, as her power flew into Paku's spine, traveling all over his body in an instant. "If you attack anyone in the forest, it is going to activate itself and blow your body into pieces. Don't worry; it will disperse in a year or so! Until then, try not to fight, or you go and meet your father in the afterlife. Of course, if that is what you wish to do, go ahead! But I'd prefer it if you went and met up with this general of yours and told her what happened here. My name is Ren, and if she wants answers, she can find me in Thunder Valley." She patted Paku's back as she got off of him, signaling towards Kang. "Let's go."

"Mm." He nodded as Ren disappeared, traveling back to the lemurs' home. Kang took a last look at the motionless Paku before snorting at him, drawing back his bone armor, and going after Ren. Paku simply lay there for the next hours, lying in the heavy rain with lifeless eyes.


….
…..

When they arrived back, the lemurs were quiet and afraid to even look at them. Yet everyone could clearly feel their bodies relax, seeing Ren and Kang arriving instead of another big cat.

"Yey! Another!" Kyu clapped happily, walking before Kang and taking the leopard's body off of him. She was putting Meyka's body next to the rest, already wrapped up, ready to transport. "There are yummy spices back home; let's go! It is going to be very yummy and give your tummy a good feeling!" She laughed happily, making the lemurs gulp with fear.

"Relax." Ren chuckled. "We still need to do some things first!"

“Hauh… oookay…” She nodded while Ariana walked up to her Master, starting to clean down her bloody face.

"Master, you should change your clothes. You smell." She said calmly.

"Ergh… Okay." Ren twitched her mouth, looking down on herself, noticing the gory spectacle. "Well… shit."

"Yes, some new jewelry on you does look and smell like shit," Ariana grumbled, flicking them off of her Master's shoulders.

"Hah… 6 out of 10! You have improved."

"Thanks." Ariana smiled, finishing the cleaning of her Master's face. "There, at least you are presentable now! If you speak to them like this, at least they won't be freaked out. Even I couldn't keep their nerves stable if you stand before them like a butcher."

"Take some rest!" She patted her shoulders, but Ariana just shook her head.

"I'm good, Master."

When Ren walked before the group of lemurs, they quickly huddled together, but Ednai collected all of his courage, walking forward, taking human form, and kneeling before Ren.

"I thank you for coming and saving our tribe, savior…?"

"Ren. My name is Ren."

"Founder Thunder," Kang spoke up, making Ren raise her eyebrows, but then Ednai exclaimed with a surprised voice.

"You are the mysterious founder of Thunder Valley? The Thunder God? I should've known!"

"Woah, woah, slow down a little!" Ren said with surprise, swinging her arms around. "What is going on?" She turned towards Kang with question marks in her eyes.

"There is a legend among tribes. A God came, with Thunder, to bring order, unity, and prosperity. Founder Thunder."

"Er… and you did not stop it from spreading?" She asked, twitching her mouth.

"Why? It's true." Kang replied, crossing his arms. "Tribes believe, join easier. Its good."

“Ugh… whatever…” Ren murmured, rubbing her forehead, trying to not get a headache. "Let's just leave it at that… My name is Ren. Okay? Call me that."

"Thank you, Founder Ren!" He bowed his head again while kneeling before her. "You are really a God! Sweeping away those evil monsters with a thundering roar!"

"Haahh… get up, okay? Stop growling before me; you are making me nervous!" Ren shook her head, helping Ednai stand up, then dusted off his body. "You are a tribe leader, no? Don't go and kneel before everyone this easily!"

"I… I'll try." He nodded with a blushed face.

"Good! Now, you are safe! Well… For now! But you should get ready to move. There is an even stronger enemy coming, so it would be best if you moved your whole tribe to Thunder Valley."

"More… is coming?" He trembled with clear fear appearing inside his eyes, and the words escaping his mouth scared the rest behind him. It made the younglings cry out even though they did not know the words' meaning yet.

"Yeah. So here is what we will do! Kang and Kyu are going to remain here with you for now. Ariana and I are going to visit the rest of the tribes and round everyone up! After that, we all are to travel to Thunder Valley together!"

"We… can?" Ednai asked. He was not even thinking about the chance to move to the famous city in the forest that every demon was talking about in the past decade.

"Yep. But I need your help first!"

"Yes, yes! Of course, Founder Ren!" Ednai nodded his head readily.

"Do you know the way towards the other tribes? I need a guide, and if they see someone local, they won't think I am just another cat in human form, coming to tear them to shreds."

"Of course! I know most of them and where to find them!" He answered.

"Good!" She patted his shoulder, noticing Keely coming forward.

"Can I come too, Founder Ren?" She bowed before her. "I have some old friends in some of the neighboring tribes that I can convince to come with us!"

"Sure." Ren smiled with a friendly nod. "We are going to wait for sunrise; get a little rest until then! Kang and I are going to keep an eye out, so just… sleep. Okay?" she said, and it was at that moment that, finally, a lot of them realized how exhausted they were.

Finally, they could have their first real sleep in years while Ren's group kept watch through the rest of the night. When the sun rose up, they could go and visit every tribe and evacuate them before trouble reared its ugly head once again.