Chapter 176:

Unexpected Messenger

Mad God


It was more than a week after the death of Harimau. The news of his fall shook the fragile empire he built as it quickly started to crumble from top to bottom. In the ensuing chaos, it didn’t take long for the wolves to recapture their lost territories, right up to the Ice Wolves’ old home. From the south, now under the leadership of Sengge and Tylvana, they hurried to take over what was left of Harimau’s failed empire. They were trying to keep the different tribes from descending into a bloody conflict and reform their crumbling kingdom.

“I can’t believe that I’m standing right here.” Kago said while he was looking around, standing at the highest point of his tribe’s home. He was standing beside Eisen, watching the endless ice fields around him.

“Is it weird?” She asked with a small smile.

“Yeah… because believe it or not, I can’t imagine how my people found living here satisfying! I don’t see… anything! Only white, white, and more white!” He chuckled, shaking his head.

“Ahaha, I can agree with you on that! Still, what now? Are you going to resettle here? Start up a family?”

“I don’t think so.” Kago shook his head as an answer. “Especially if we are going to push into their territory!”

“We won’t.” Eisen said immediately with a lecturing voice.

“But!”

“No. We won’t. Don’t even start!” She placed her hand on his head, scratching the base of his ears. “Are you a tiger?”

“Huh? Of course not!” He said right away as he stood straight and proud. “I’m a wolf!”

“Then why are you acting like a pussycat?”

“I… I… am… not…” He murmured, with a sudden, sulking expression.

“Yeah, you are! Stop it! They are defeated, and we don't need to start another conflict! Especially when your people are already waaaay out of breath! Figuratively and literally. So just enjoy the peace and knock up some wolf girls! You could even have a harem!”

“I don’t want a harem…” He protested with a weak voice and a reddened face.

“Fufufu, of course you do~ Every guy does~” She giggled as she pinched into his buttocks, making him cry out a loud yelp while Eisen just laughed. “Come, we still have work to do! Until those generals named Sengge and Tylvana quell down the problems on their side, we can’t let our guards down!”

“Y-yes!” He nodded, hurrying after her, wagging his tail happily.


….
…..

Back at Thunder Valley, deep underground, in a closed-off area, Ren was studying the golem they brought back. It was already disassembled completely. Even her father has come, and together, they have been working on it day and night throughout the past week. They already had a pile of documents, reaching up to the ceiling, stashed at one corner of the workshop.

“Found it!” Xendar said, climbing out of one of the arms and bringing out a circular metal plate with a cracked, demonic core embedded into it. “This was the control panel for the left arm!” He said as he stood up, stretching his tired back, cracking it while giving the plate to his daughter.

“Then we have them all.” She nodded, taking it from him and placing it on a table that now had 9 identical panels.

“You were right; they placed them exactly at the spot where we have our energy points,” Xendar said as he crossed his arms with admiration shining inside his eyes. “Building something like this and making it possible so machines can use spells and weapons… it is a crazy idea!”

“Yeah… and it worked… They infused CC into the metal frame like energy channels in our body. They must have researched how the human body works for who knows how long… dismantling people like machines, on a regular basis.”

“It’s gruesome if you put it that way, Ren.”

“The most gruesome is the sarcophagus.” She continued as she turned towards it. “It is such an insidious device; I dare not question how they came up with it.”

“Place a living being into it so it becomes the source of energy for the golem.” Xendar sighed, shaking his head. “I can’t imagine what that tiger went through while being alive, right until the last drop of his life force was sucked out.”

“Don’t ask Ariana this question. She felt it…” Ren said as she looked up at her father. “She still can’t sleep well.”

“Poor girl…” He murmured but then shook his head, expelling his depressing thoughts. “What about the one extra control panel in the head? The giant one?”

“That…” Ren said, falling silent a little as she crossed her arms. She was watching the golem’s dismantled head that looked like a shiny, metal cylinder. It was just standing at the end of the workshop. “I can’t get it out. It is completely made in a way that is impossible to remove once installed. So we are going to need to destroy it and piece it back together once again when it is finally out. But from what I saw, looking into it… it houses a number of separate, demonic cores and…”

“And?”

“I need to reference it more, but I am sure it is not just for holding cores in place but even souls. It was what controlled the golem. I don’t know how they did it, but…”

“It is cruel. Way too cruel.” Xendar grumbled, clearly angered by the thought. “Nobody deserves to be used like this, especially after death! It should be the end of all and not the start of a never-ending suffering! Keeping them trapped and in such a cruel state is the sign of pure evil.”

“Yes… it is…” Ren murmured while Xendar gently patted her head.

“We don’t need to learn how they did it, Ren. We just need to learn its weaknesses so we can defend ourselves from it and destroy it.”

“Yeah… yeah. You are right.” She nodded, leaning against her father, enjoying his giant hand his, caressing her head. She was closing her eyes with a satisfied smile. “I can guess they used the souls as some kind of operating matrix to control the golem.”

“This is a literal death machine,” Xendar said, watching the disassembled parts that they have been working on until now. “Counting every core it has, it took 21 lives just to make it.”

“And we still don’t know how many they have.” Ren replied. “They clearly have zero regard for their lives, using them as cattle or just… tools. Numbers on a spreadsheet.”

“What are you going to do?” He asked.

“Nothing. For now.” She sighed with a dejected voice. “Neither I nor the demons have the skill or capacity to sweep through the Wall of the World. It is such a gigantic mountain range it would take centuries, especially if they are dwelling deep underground. I’ll wait and see.”

“They are going to make contact anyway.” Xendar said after thinking it through a little. “The same way they did with the tigers.”

“I’m sure of it. Who knows what kind of resources they have and when they will run out! They are going to come knocking for more. Until then, I’ll make sure everyone is on the same page and keep an eye out for them.”

“You really did unify the demons, huh?” Her father grinned, looking at her with pride in his eyes.

“Not yet. The wolves need rebuilding; only Rumira and Thunder Valley are stable while the new Feline Alliance is still in its early forming days.” Ren answered.

“Did you give them this name, or?” He twitched his mouth while her daughter just smiled.

“There was no opposition on their side at all. Anyway! Tylvana and Sengge are working on reforming their own; as I said, I’ll let them do it themselves; we were not there to conquer. I keep my word.”

As they were talking, Olup suddenly hurried in, dragging his legs as fast as he could.

“What happened?” Ren asked as she walked up to him hurriedly.

“A… a messenger came!” He gasped for air, making the father and daughter duo furrow their brows. “From the ents!”

Ren just crossed her arms, leaning backwards a little, looking up at her father before patting Olup’s shoulder.

“Thank you, Olup. Let’s go and see what they want…” She whispered, walking forward with a stern look.

Up on the surface, a huge crowd gathered around Niji, Kang, Uhure, and Pongo. Especially because when the messenger, a huge falcon, flew down from the sky, now standing before them, reaching 2 meters in height, scared half of the city with its sharp cry. When Shaman saw it arrive, he immediately blew his top off. Luckily, Pongo was there to hold him back, but he still hurled insults at the falcon, time and time again, yet the giant bird refused to even look at him after a first, quick glance. He only spoke once, demanding the leader to step forward, and when Niji did so, he kept ignoring him, asking for the real leader.

“For an overgrown poultry you are pretty ballsy.” Ren’s voice echoed as she arrived, followed by Xendar’s sigh.

“You are not a good diplomat, huh?” Her father whispered quickly.

“If you come as a friend, I’ll treat you as such. If not… That is how I look at things.” Ren replied, scanning the falcon up and down as he did the same.

“So you are the human who we keep hearing about!” The huge bird said, turning towards her, looking down at the way shorter Ren.

“Oh, you heard about me? Strange, I thought you guys were isolating yourselves from the outside world.”

“We always keep in touch with the rest of our brethren.” He answered calmly.

“Brethren, huh? Sorry, some of them got cut down to build this place.” Ren said, looking at some of the wooden houses.

“Hmf. You think you are funny?” The falcon blinked slowly, but it was hard to know if he was angry or not.

“Look, it is a fact. I am funny! You are an overgrown homing pigeon, and trees are rooted in place. Straight facts that you can’t deny, my feathered ‘friend’.” She explained while picking her ears with a bored face. “So? You came flying all the way here to look at my pretty body and gawk in admiration, or do you have something to say?”

“Hmf, humans always thought they were above everybody else.” He shook his head, still maintaining a calm exterior. “We know what you are trying to do, and we are here to allow it on one condition.”

“Whoa, whoa!” Ren laughed. “You are… allowing it?”

“Yes. A unified forest is good; we are allowing it. Only if no humans are involved in it. Every human here must leave the forest and never return.”

“And if not?” Shaman asked, grinding his teeth together, unable to hold back his voice anymore.

“Then we are going to do the same as we did in the Time of Dawn and eradicate the humans’ presence. Along with everyone who is involved with them.” He replied, looking at Shaman with an unblinking eye.

“I see, I see.” Ren chuckled, drawing the falcon’s gaze back to her. “Are you a tree, or are you yourself?” She asked suddenly, even stunning the falcon a little.

“I am me. My kind and the trees were always living in harmony. Only you; The lower life forms need to be regulated as your wanton destruction-”

“What did you just call us?” Ren cut in as she tilted her head. Every other demon’s eyes also turned hostile very, very quickly. “Listen here, my little chicken dinner…” She floated upwards to be on the same eye level as he. “I won’t kill the messenger, that would be a dick move… but be a good pigeon and bring back my words.” She said while lightning flashed between her lips as she spoke. “I’ll come to your little inner forest to talk. Better be willing to meet this small, little, lower lifeform or I’ll burn your fucking nests down and carve out toilet brushes from every tree I come across, and YOUR feathers are going to be bristles. Got it? Better to realize early, 2,000 years ago, you killed humans who were 99% regular people… and I am everything but regular.” Ren said while a spark zapped the falcon, making him fly up with a shock, leaving behind feathers as he escaped.

Looking back, he saw nobody following him, yet his bottom was completely naked, showcasing his pink, still-smoking skin, missing every and all feathers around it. As he left with a loud screech, Shaman burst out laughing, clearly satisfied with the outcome, waving his fist toward the sky.

“Shaman!” Ren said as she watched the bird disappear.

“Yeah?” He asked, wiping the tears off from the edge of his eyes.

“Get ready! You, Me, and Ariana are going to take a walk in the forest.”

“Finally…” He said, curling up his fingers into a fist. “I dreamt of this day for decades…”