In this world, there was no such as equality, the vast majority of humans were born without the ability to cultivate their own Fighter’s Aura, let alone the necessary Elemental Affinity required to be a mage. Compared to that, elemental creatures could be considered the favored children of Mother Nature herself. These creatures possessed an unassailable advantage when it came to their own elemental affinity. Even without studying, they were able to unlock countless spells within their respective elemental affinity. However, there is one thing I wish to make clear right here, right now. There exists a fundamental error in the way people perceive elementals. Elemental cores from Six-stars elementals can impart the necessary talents to unlock Fighter’s Aura in a normal person, thus the vast majority mistakenly assumed that only Six-stars elemental creatures were able to produce elemental cores. This is a common misconception. No matter what level they were, an elemental creature possesses its own core.
An elemental core, as its name suggested, formed the core of any such creature. It is the source of its life force.
Seeing as we do not possess such gifts, it behooves us to steal them instead.
—-From <<Mysteries of the Elements>>
A lot of times, I wondered to myself: why do we struggle? Was it because of a sense of regret, or not wanting to look weak? Honestly, neither of those were true. The real reason was simple: just for the sake of struggling.
Anmi was the perfect example right now. Even though he knew he couldn’t beat us, he chose, time and time again, to attack us, three times in fact with the last ending in…failure.
“That was a spectacular Demon Flame Charge.” Even without her husband helping her up, she managed to climb to her feet before the feline. Still, that didn’t mean she was perfectly fine either. As she struggled to her feet, her limbs trembled ever so slightly till she finally got her footing: “It’s just too bad…I bet that skill of yours is a mimicry of our Raging Flame Charge…it’s just too bad…”
“Too bad about what?” As he laid there in the grass, Anmi coughed up a gout of blood moments after speaking. He tried multiple times to stand up but failed each time.
“Too bad you weren’t able to learn it.” Without any mercy whatsoever, she proceeded to list out the flaws of his skill: “Raging Flame Charge uses the innate explosiveness of the fire element but your Demon Flame Charge uses two elements instead of just pure fire. While it might seem more powerful and more varied in its damage, it actually goes against the explosive essence of the skill itself. More importantly, you weren’t able to balance the two elements. In practise, that shortcoming of yours…resulted in your defeat…did you notice it? When you crashed into me, you weren’t able to exert your full force else I would have lost…”
From her words, I chanced upon a rather interesting piece of news: Anmi secretly learnt the Raging Flame Charge from the hellhounds and even tried to modify it with his own element. Unfortunately, an imitation was just an imitation in the end. For all his efforts, he still couldn’t compare to someone who had undergone the proper training required and only earned himself scorn instead.
“So that’s why…*cough*” Anmi coughed up another gout of blood. After throwing up twice, he finally felt a lot better. “Come then…kill me…I won’t resist…”
“Kill you? Why must we kill you?” I rolled my eyes at Anmi as if I was looking at an idiot.
‘Moron, how many times do I have to repeat myself…’
“We’re here to seek your aid not fight…”
“Aid?” Anmi found himself at a temporary loss as to what to do: “So you weren’t sent here by Sidarth to humiliate me?”
“…why would we humiliate you?”
‘…is it because we look too fierce or is it simply because you have a hole for a brain?’
Sometimes, some matters had to be settled with fists first or the message won’t get across. This time so happened to be one such case. In that sense, using violence wasn’t that bad of an option seeing as words won’t work.
‘No wonder a certain video game waifu assassin always loved to say: “Violence solves everything!”’
The sordid past between Sidarth and Anmi wasn’t an easy one to understand. If one were to believe the words of Anmi, Sidarth’s transgressions spanned as long as the Great Wall itself.
Sidarth was an unreliable dog, that much I knew and experienced first hand. As for what he did to Anmi…that would be a story best left to Anmi to explain.
Anmi used to be a carefree Purgatory Shadowcat. While his territory wasn’t particularly large –it even bordered that of the Hellhounds– he never once resented his situation. Because he had a friendly encounter with a passing hellhound once, his impression of them as a whole was rather positive.
The two races might have warred with each other in the past, the keyphrase being ‘in the past’, there were hardly any clashes between the two ever since they signed that peace deal.
Anmi was a proponent of said peace deal and peace in general, at least that was how he viewed himself. He loved the plants in his territory, the Meowberries in particular were his favorite food. At times, he would snack on the Ashen Fur Mice who frolicked in the tall grass instead. To him, eating Meowberries and mice was a form of leisure, of enjoyment, a true appreciation of life’s pleasures even. Thus, he was very particular about his territory. Whenever he had time on his paws, he would check on his Meowberries and then go hunt some mice once the hunger pangs struck. Naturally, there was also the option of just feasting on said Meowberries.
Such an idyllic lifestyle truly suited a kitty cat like Anmi and it showed as well. He was truly satisfied with this simple life of eating and then sleeping. And yet such peace and harmony became a mere fantasy one fateful day when an unexpected dog invaded his territory…
It was a shameless-to-the-max Cerberus with a body was big as a bull. It was at least ten times the size of Anmi and just by looking at its towering physique, Anmi almost lost his all desire to resist.
Initially, that blasted dog didn’t purposefully appear Anmi but its favorite thing to do was to frolick about in Anmi’s territory, eating all his mature Meowberries and poaching all his Ashen Fur Mice who weren’t fortunate enough to find a hiding spot…truly a nightmare with three heads…
One fine day, a patrolling Anmi discovered that the Meowberries he had specially stashed away were all disappearing. Not only that, the population of Ashen Fur Mice was rapidly decreasing as well…those adorable and oh so tasty little fellows were now too terrified to even leave their mice holes.
In order to uncover the causes for those mysteries, he embarked on what was to be the most calamitous investigation of his feline life.
After three full days of investigating, he finally found the culprit: a Cerberus that was the size of a giant bull…
Upon discovering the culprit, his anger got the better of him and he furiously pounced on the offending Cerberus. A few seconds later, he was sent flying away with a speed even faster than when he attacked. A complete defeat! His face contorted with grief and fury but there was nothing he could do about this either.
Ever since his identity was uncovered, the shameless son of a dog, Sidarth, abandoned all restraint and went into full on freeloader mode, coming over every so often to leech on Anmi’s hard work. Should the poor feline ever try to resist him, Anmi would immediately be sent packing with a punch or a packing. That wasn’t even the worst case scenario as well; at times, Anmi even had to prepare a doggy bag for the shameless Cerberus…
“It’s precisely because you said you came from that blasted old dog that I thought you were here to humiliate me…”
An ‘aha’ moment descended upon Sinmosa as she proceeded to say: “So you’re saying you secretly learnt that skill from my uncle?”
“That’s right…” Anmi lowered his head before proceeding on with an ashen look on his face: “So that old dog is your uncle…does your family know that he’s so shameless?”
‘I think I might have some idea about that…’
“I never thought that my uncle would be such a scoundrel…” Sinmosa then proceeded to apologize: “Even though this won’t really solve your problem, I still feel that I should apologize on my uncle’s behalf, I’m sorry…”
“Woof woof.” Sasani was probably apologizing as well.
“Forget it, even if you two apologize, that uncle of yours won’t change. I don’t think there’s anything I can do if he comes again.”
Seeing that dejected look on his, I suddenly realized the strangeness of this whole situation: “Isn’t there a treaty between the Hellhounds and the Purgatory Shadowcats? For him to bully you so brazenly…even if the Hellhounds know nothing about this, shouldn’t your clan do something about him, or are they really planning to endure his antics? Anmi, don’t tell me you never reported this matter to your clan?”
“…” The moment I said that, his face seemed to seize up as if there was something he couldn’t tell me. “Truth be told, it’s not that I don’t want to report this matter, it’s just…”
He hesitated for a moment before finally saying: “Our clan is in a state of war…”
“War?!” Back when Sinmosa described the surrounding clans in the region, she only mentioned that the Hellhounds neighbored the Purgatory Shadowcats and further east was the territory of the Demonic Fire Sprites.
(TL: Used to be Demonic Fire Elves. The same words are used for elves and sprites in Chinese so I used elves initially.)
The Demonic Fire Sprites were elemental beings like the Fire Elementals and like them, their habitat had to adhere to strict requirements. Given how much terraforming had been done by the Purgatory Shadowcats on their territory, the land was no longer suitable for these sprites to live in. Thus, there was really no reason for them to come to blows either.
In that case, the Demonic Fire Sprites clearly weren’t the ones warring with the cats; the Hellhounds were clearly not the culprits either. On our way here, we saw no signs of war at all so exactly what was going with this war Anmi mentioned? Who were their opponents?
‘Perhaps if we helped them with this war, they might be more receptive to helping us once we showed them results seeing as we would be their benefactors then?’
With that in mind, I anxiously pressed the feline with another question: “Who are your opponents, does your clan need my help?”
“Our opponents are…” The moment that word was mentioned, an undisguisable sense of awkwardness filled the air: “It’s a civil war…