Chapter 165:

Reinforcement for the North

Mad God

Back in the wolves' territory, Chono was just finishing his retelling of the meeting. His words fired up the spirit of everyone present in the old church. They were ready to spring into action, especially if the promised help finally arrived. What they did not know was that besides Emi and Poli, who were being introduced again to the rest of the tribe leaders, four new faces also arrived at the door of their village.

"This is the place?" Sezel tilted her head, already used to be called 04. "It's really cold up here…" She groaned, rubbing her arms even though she was wearing a thick and long fur coat.

"Must be… and stop being such a pussy!" Eisen nodded, or as she liked to be called by now, 03. "It's not that bad!" She stretched with a yawn, only wearing a loose tank top and tight leather leggings.

01 and 02 just stood there, not bothering with the two, only watching the cold air escape through their noses. They were wearing black outfits with purple lighting marks on their shoulders, signifying their allegiance.

"Who are you?" Came the question as four young male wolves walked up to them, dressed in reddish fur clothing.

"Aw, how cute…" Eisen sighed. "Look at their ears and tails! I bet if you scratch them at the right spot, they start wagging it like adorable little puppies!"

Her words quickly made the wolves angry and frustrated, taking it as an insult, while Sezel was barely able to hold back her laughter.

"Are you a dog person?" 02 asked, and just as he finished speaking, another wolf arrived at the gates, namely Kago.

"We are not dogs!" The young prodigy snorted while his steps became more powerful as he came before them.

"I am totally one," Eisen replied to 02 without acknowledging Kago's presence. "Aren't they cute? Look at them! Young, healthy boys with fluffy ears and tails… I'd love to take them on walks and give them belly rubs!"

"You insulted us the last time, human!" Kago shouted, losing his patience and jumping at her. But Eisen was way faster. She dodged his arm, grabbing onto it with a swift motion, and threw Kago over her shoulder as the young wolf landed hard on his back, kicking up dust everywhere.

"Good boy~" Eisen giggled, still holding his hand, twisting it backward with his whole body flipped. Then she just sat down on his back, rubbing the base of his ears. Kago froze as he felt completely humiliated… Even more so because his tail was wagging on its own. "See? I told ya~ Ahaha, I love them already!"

"Get off of me!" He roared after he finally regained his composure, starting to trash under her.

"What a wild one! Boy, I'm liking you more and more!" Eisen laughed, letting him go as more steps were heard, rushing towards them. It was Vex who arrived next, leading more veteran wolves, coming quickly to check out the commotion.

"What's the meaning of this?" Vex asked with a cold and powerful voice.

"We came to f-" Eisein tried to speak but couldn't finish as Sezel dragged her back. "What?"

"You had your fun." She shook her head, pressing a lollipop from nowhere right into her mouth, placating her like a child. It clearly worked as she fell silent immediately, starting to suck and lick it, not bothering with any more explanations.

"I am 01. Me and my companions came because of our Master's order." The group's leader said as he stepped forward, cupping his hands. "We are here to help you fight. That is all."

Vex said nothing, just looked over them, but it was hard for him to measure their strengths. He was not really used to humans and could not completely read them yet. He knew that Chono and Luto came back with a human and fox in tow, the same pair as before. There were talks of some alliance forming, but he was not yet informed of the details.

"They are fine." Rufus arrived, just coming out from the meeting, already sensing what was happening at the entrance to their village. "We were already told of your arrival! We thank you in advance for the assistance, helping us against the tigers." He said, bowing slightly.

"No problem. We were getting bored anyway." 02 joked while 03 quickly started to nod, still sucking on her new toy.

"Please. This way!" Rufus smiled a little, trying to be cordial and inviting them inside. As they were about to follow him, Kago suddenly stood before Eisen, huffing loudly.

"We are not done! I'll return the humiliation you made me suffer today!" He said through gritted teeth.

"What a cute little bitch~" Eisen smiled, patting his face, turning Kago's whole body almost completely red. It was a new, amusing color for the others who knew him as an ice-cold warrior.

"I am a male!" He stomped with a voice that almost sounded like barking.

"Not until you beat me!" Eisen grinned before they left, leaving a literally fuming Kago behind.

"He is still young and wild," Rufus said, trying to not anger the help they just managed to get.

"Mmm?" Eisen looked at him with question marks in her eyes. "I know. Don't worry, I know what I'm doing."

"Truly?" Rufus asked back, clearly not taking her seriously. Sezel just shook her own head.

"Weird as it is, and she may have a few screws loose, but she is not stupid." She said in the end, standing next to the grinning wildcard of their group.

"I'd like to ask for a formal meeting with the rest of your leaders." 01 cut in before the topic would be derailed. "We need to be briefed on your situation and how the front line is right now."

"Sure. I already drafted up everything you are going to need to catch up with everything that happened recently. Please follow me." Rufus answered, clearly relieved that at least one of them seemed to be a competent leader. That was enough for him. Their meeting lasted for hours, and when everything was said and done, Rufus looked around the six people who were sent to help them; Emi, Poli, Eisen, Sezel, 01, and finally, 02. "Any questions?" He asked, still not completely sure how six people would be able to turn the tables, but it was something to place his hope in, at least.

"Not much from me. We work best as a pair." Poli answered, standing with Emi. "Send us to the foremost part, and we can stabilize the front line for you. First, we need to gauge their strengths anyway, so it would be best if we could move freely."

"No problem." Rufus agreed, circling a part on the big map before them. "This part of the woods sees the most battles. It has sharp elevation changes and is filled with different rocky formations, so be careful. They love to ambush from higher places!"

"I can go and scout out their lines." 02 said as he was pointing at the map where the lost villages were marked and crossed out. "We need better information about their back lines."

"We tried multiple times, but no group managed to come back alive." Rufus sighed, shaking his head. "I can't sacrifice more of my people to aid you with that. Sorry."

"No problem." 02 answered. "They are probably used to your tactics, smell, whatever else. We are humans; we bring variables into your war."

"I agree. Hearing the way you fought your battles…" Sezel sighed, leaning forward on the table. "Sorry to say this, but you still fight like beasts."

Rufus said nothing, just listened, and instead of getting angry, he let her continue.

"All of your skirmishes that you told us about follow the same idea; It's how a wolf pack hunts. It may have worked back then, but it is clear that the cats are more advanced in tactics and warfare than you." She said bluntly, looking into Rufus' eyes.

"She is right." 01 followed, affirming her words. "They have mixed units. They are utilizing their different tribes to their fullest and combining their strengths to mitigate their weaknesses. They act like an army. I am impressed!" He said, smiling a little.

"I can't completely argue with what you are saying." Rufus sighed. "Numbers were on our side at first, but they constantly chipped away at it, and soon we were outnumbered."

"Don't worry. We are going to change that!" Eisen laughed. "We are going to go from war of attrition to precision strikes instead. Give me your promising pups, and I'll forge them into a unit that can do wonders!"

"The young ones?" Rufus asked, watching her with a not-so-sure light in his eyes.

"Yeah! They are more flexible than those who are already used to a certain way of fighting! It would be harder to overwrite their instincts." Eisen nodded.

"I can pick out some of our young talents, but… I don't think they are going to listen to you."

"Let it be my problem!" Eisen chuckled.

"Sure…" Rufus sighed, but he was still confused about what she would do with their young warriors.

"Okay! 04 and I are going to inspect the main outposts along the front line!" 01 summarized, "02 goes and does our recon while Elder Poli and Emi are going to be the spearheads."

His respectful tone towards Poli and Emi quickly told Rufus, who was at a higher status in their allies' pecking order. He made a quick mental note as to who to pay special attention to the next time they met.


While they were meeting with the wolves, Ren was standing where she placed down the Soul Tearer formation. It was humming slowly, like the beating of an alien beast's heart. Before each of the lightning columns sat one of her clones on a small mat, supplying them with constant energy, easing the burden on her real body.

"Weird," Ariana said, standing beside her Master, who had just finished placing down her final clone. "I can't feel anything from it."

"Because it's still dormant. Also, try not to feel it out, please; it is especially potent in terms of affecting one's soul! I told you already when coming here! Without knowledge of how to even read it, it could damage you." Ren warned her once again. "My clones will keep an eye on it, and in the meantime, I will start working on making a smaller and simpler version of it."

"How long is it going to take, Master?"

"Don't know. Weeks? Months? Not years." She tilted her head, thinking about it. "At least, against Harimau, I don't need something as powerful as this one. Anyway, this isn't something that can be rushed. Maybe by the time we are ready, you are going to be in the Harmony Realm!"

"R-really?" She blinked her eyes, a bit surprised.

"Yeah. You are close! The time you spend inside the chamber is accelerating your progress. By a lot! Honestly, even I am amazed by its strength and potential. I am debating with myself every night if I should let Sect Head have it or not."

"Why?" She asked back immediately, not expecting something like this from her Master.

"Because I don't know if it would be beneficial for the sect. What do you think, how many such rooms could be built? How do you reward disciples for using them? Let only Core Disciples use it? Or keep it a secret and only let special individuals take advantage of it? Using it once would have such an effect that they would want to use it again, at any cost! I don't know if a young mind could resist such a temptation! Such a quick speed and easy advancement… It is dangerous. I am worried about their mindset being distorted and changed by it." She sighed.

"I… I think I understand what you mean." Ariana nodded, mulling over it a little.

"I don't know yet… maybe I'll just tell Aerthus about it and let him decide. He is still the Sect Head! Whatever decision he makes is the one we shall follow." She stretched, changing the topic, looking into her disciple's eyes. "For now, just focus on cultivating as you are! I want you to reach Harmony soon. You are ready."

"That way, I can be more useful to you!" Ariana smiled eagerly as she bowed.

"No, no, no!" Ren chuckled, gently patting her face and lifting her up from the bow. "I'd be more at ease that you are going to be safe at that level! That is more important."

"I'll be fine, Master!" She whispered, returning the warm smile before blinking her eyes and scratching the side of her face with a shy expression. "Was it a good idea to let Tylvana go without supervising her?"

"I'm not worried at all. You said that she was not lying. That she was honest."

"What if I was wrong, Master? She is stronger than me!"

"You confirmed my own hunch, so that is more than enough for me. Trust your feelings as much as I do! For now, I want to see how they operate, especially without me breathing down their necks. Be it the four idiots or Tylvana. If it is always me who does everything, why do we bother with this at all?" She said as she led Ariana back to Thunder Valley to continue instructing her disciple, getting her ready for the inevitable tribulation that awaited her.