At a certain point, under the suffocating pressure that the old man has put him through, Zax found sanctuary in the depths of his consciousness, in his soul. By minimizing the awareness of his soul to the rest of the body, although he was still hurting, Zax was able to subdue a substantial portion of the pain the old man inflected on him.
Something in him that he never could perceive switched and suddenly became a new nature. When it happened the echo, which was a side effect, began to resonate as means of guidance.
Zax heard it before, the voice, but could not figure from where or when and without realizing his vocal cords started to mimic its rhythm in his own voice. Finally he just let it wash him over together with the new sensation. Like a cup that is being filled with water, every pore, every nook and cranny in his body was brimming with unrestrained energy.
The echo stopped abruptly and as Zax gained clarity as to what it was; his body already broke into action.
The old man did not know if to laugh or cry. As if the output of pressure that was equal to the Advance phase of an E level Mist User was some minor nuisance, the boy he firmly educated fended it off and sprang to the air explosively.
Mr. Martinez eyes widened, same were the eyes of Jinka. Apart from the old man, he was at the Beginner phase of a D level Mist User and she was at the Beginner phase of a F level Mist User. Both of them could feel the pressure Zax was in and knew that there is no normal child in all of Kingdom Earth that can withstand it. But when the boy unpredictably acted and let out a murderous intent the two were completely baffled.
A tremendous amount Qi energy, an eruption of Qi steams, burst from Zax’s body. His body was mid air, high enough to be at eye level with the old man. Seeing his face so clearly, although having the picture of Masela Majid in his head for an instant, a turmoil of emotions he could not control made him savage and desiring to kill.
Zax’s structure was struck against the floor like a mad beast, spewing blood. The old man increased the pressure, this time he did not have an indifferent glance and on the contrary, presented an irritated front.
The old man sighed. “I didn’t say it before, but truly… Remarkable!” His sudden praise surprised, more than anyone else, his great great nephew, Mr. Martinez. “A soul attack at your age, in your current level… I was skeptic before, willing to damage your spirit to prevent future misgivings, as farfetched as it may sound”.
The old man looked at Zax tentatively. A coreless child with such a strong soul and who was able to perceive the existence of Qi in his body, even if not in the ideal age… He now recognized the future prospects of that not even ten years old boy, and they frighteningly seemed limitless.
Zax stopped struggling after a few seconds. It was hard to guess which factor was responsible for his breakthrough in the perception of Qi. It could have been many things… An innate talent, the presence of an expert, his big sister, in his life, a secondary effect of his soul training, his proximity to Take while he trained under the guidance of his big sister, could even be the events of one intensive day or maybe all of the above.
Either way, the new domain of pain and ordeals under the old man supplied the definitive stimulation that he needed to achieve a breakthrough. Afterwards, the new found feeling was so invigorating that it swept all reason. A recent memory that he unconsciously summoned put him on his feet and higher and what followed was a condense Qi punch that fell through before it got to its destination.
Now that he returned to the hard stairwell’s floor, engulfed by a veil of nothingness, Zax met the same fate as Turan.
“Em,” the old man directed his voice to Mr. Martinez’s ears only. “The moment I’m gonna strike the decisive blow to end the boy life, take care of the Miss first and then kill the three kids”.
“Great great uncle?” Mr. Martinez winced. He also acknowledged Zax’s potential and understood the importance of eliminating this future threat who might seek revenge on their family. Whether killing the boy or not was not a decision that they could compromise over. Killing the defenseless woman and three children, on the other hand… Looking back at the past seventeen years, since he inherited the position of the head of the family, he could not remember himself committing or initiating such heinous deed toward others whom he or the family had no animosity against.
“Don’t you dare falter!” The old man’s bark reached every corner of the stairwell but no farther. Because of whom was he about to substitute a severe punishment with death? Was it no his great great nephew and his spoiled son who started it all?
Killing a coreless boy… He cursed Zax, too, for revealing his true potential and at the same time felt fortunate for not missing it. The old man cursed himself, too.
Four low class eyewitnesses. The old man could not allow that. Now, he no longer doubted over the existence of an expert behind Zax and was not keen on betting on his and the family’s capabilities with dealing with the mysterious expert who could foster such talent. Therefore, the old man reached the conclusion that no eyewitnesses, not anyone who has the slightest knowledge of what went on between this stairwell’s walls, should be allowed to live.
He will kill Zax, for his own peace and quiet. Em will kill the other four at the same moment. Later he will order Em to use the family’s resources to deal with Turan’s friends, as well, and even the C level Mist User, Core Breaker, Mishe, which served the family for nearly three decades. That was the most potent way to get rid from any loose ends.
Watching the rag like figure of the boy at his feet, the old man decided to at least send him off serenely. He released the pressure and the feeble body beneath him rose somewhat, indicating the expansion of the lungs as the unconscious Zax breathed freely.
“Hahaha, very cunning, very cunning, hahaha…”
Zax’s execution was cut short by a new guest who entered the stairwell in high spirit. The old man stared at the intruder perplexed. Just now, if he proceeded with the killing blow, his intuition told him that he would die next.
Mr. Martinez’s intuition, in comparison to the old man’s, did not was quite as sharp. When he felt his great great uncle’s killing intent, his body charged behind Jinka instantly. He was about to kill her smoothly and then the three kids as his great great uncle instructed him. Regrettably, he was one moment too late and so could not avoid the surge of light gold mist energy, nor block it properly with his dark brown mist energy. Mr. Martinez was thrown back like a bug in a strong wind.
“Habul Majid!” The old man cried, revealing the color of his pure silver aura for the first time, as if it could intimidate the brown bearded man.
“Gerardo, do my eyes deceive me or are you also accepting challengers like the lads on the rings?” Mr. Majid laughed and stroked his long beard.
“Damn you, Habul!” The old man, Gerardo Martinez, his face flushed red yet he managed to swallow his rage. How long has it been since he was last taunted? To guess one would need to count in centuries. “He broke the formation that I set”. Gerardo noticed and actually took it reasonably.
Strictly speaking, it was not because Mr. Majid was two phases above Gerardo Martinez or past the bottleneck of the Mist Lord level that he could easily shatter Gerardo’s formation. That is because formations require more than high Martial level. Theoretically every Mist User can execute any formation in a class corresponding or bellow to his or her level. However, the higher the class of the formation the more versed the Mist User has to be in its complex foundation and structure. To fully grasp the essence of a formation could take between days to hundreds of years, depending on the class of the formation and the Mist User’s aptitude.
Gerardo had beneath average aptitude to study formation, therefore he did not bother learning any C class formations or above, which in this particular case was the reason for as to why Mr. Majid could so effortlessly surpass his formation till it broke.
“Haha… Mr. Majid. I planned to greet you later, how kind of you to greet me first”. Gerardo acted as if he shared a laugh with Mr. Majid.
“Oh, but I’m not here for you, Gerardo. I’m here to gather my daughter’s young friends for the exhibition fights. You and your nephew should also hurry; these fights are really fun to watch”.
Hearing so and realizing that he is about to lose someone who in the future might turn into a terrifying enemy, Gerardo immediately sought to sway Mr. Majid’s, the Beginner phase Mist Lord’s, mind.
“Will money do?” Gerardo pondered. He did not know how deep the relationship between Mr. Majid and Zax and that actually there was not any. He did know of Mr. Majid’s personality so he tried to approach from an angle that will not irritate an expert who thought little of exposing his strength in order to impose his will, nor an angle which will reveal how desperate he was. “Preposterous!” He concluded that it will be inefficient.
“Mr. Majid”, Mr. Martinez stepped forward and bowed. “Will you be gracious and leave the boy in our hands? Of course, please do as you like with the other kids and the Miss”. He did not dare to raise his head, not while his facial expression still showed malice.
“What are you thinking, Em”. Gerardo glared at his great great nephew. “Is the head of our family foolishly trying to deceive a Mist Lord? You should know better, Em, does a beast that hides its fangs considered herbivore?”
“I can take the woman and those kids, but not the boy? How long are you planning to pick on coreless boy, Em Martinez?” Mr. Majid lost any hint of amusement in his tone. “Lift him gently and bring him to my hands”. He ordered.
A furious bright golden aura shot at Mr. Martinez and restricted his every movement, much like how Mishe’s aura locked the two groups of kids in their position. “The boy”. Mr. Majid voiced only these two words and pulled back his aura.
Reluctantly, Mr. Martinez lifted Zax from the floor, but instead of handing him over to Mr. Majid he lingered. “This boy… Why come for him now, Mr. Majid? Were you not aware of his action toward my son or what I did him in return? Is your mind so warped that you enjoy watching children being tortured to the verge of death?” Mr. Martinez could care less that he, too, relished in Zax’s pain. He rationalized his perverseness by following the notion that he had the right to inflict the low class boy who harmed his son a slow death.
“Ugh!” Mr. Martinez’s face turned and blood filled his mouth. He was slapped by his great great uncle and before a drop of blood from the mouthful that he spat could spill on Zax’s forehead, the boy was already exchanging arms from Gerardo to Mr. Majid.
“I’d say that you just salvaged your successor life… Regrettably, that would only be from my hands”. Mr. Majid said to Gerardo incidentally.
“?” Gerardo stared blankly at Mr. Majid, and then a terrible thought came to his head. “The expert behind this boy is Habul Majid!” As the founder of the family, Gerardo knew best its capabilities. He himself was the major force of the family; anything and anyone else were less than secondary. Apart from investing in the family’s younger generation and waiting for the cultivated seeds to sprout, the only possible way for the family to maintain its statues was by hiring experts to its services – as most high class families tended to do.
Gerardo felt complete resent toward Mr. Majid. “Is all that has happened has been evaluated in advance to be a test for his disciple?” Gerardo, even though at a lower level as a Mist User than Habul Majid, could not accept such condescending treatment. “Don’t underestimate my family, Mr. Majid”, Gerardo refrained from making these few words sound like a warning, yet said them in a stern voice to emphasize his disposition. “Some of our young ones have an even greater talent than I had at their age. Your disciple is unquestionably exceptional, but unless you plan to disinherit your sons and daughters and instead have this boy as your heir, against my family he will still be a single person”.
“Disciple? Heir?” Mr. Majid raised an eyebrow. “It seems that you misunderstood me… Did I not say that the boy is my daughter’s friend? Yes, a talented little friend, but nothing more than that, Gerardo”.
“Nothing more than a friend to your daughter?” Gerardo was so stunned that he had to repeat. “Than on what grounds can you say that Em’s life is in danger? Mr. Majid, your Martial achievements are superior to mine and for that I lower my grace before you, but that boy that you insist to shield for such a stingy reason… Do you think that I will wait for him to mature if no one backing him?” His inability to act now and Mr. Majid’s overbearing behavior made Gerardo gasp.
“That’s what I’m trying to tell you, hahaha…” Mr. Majid considered Gerardo’s disorientation to be entertaining. “Bring the children Miss, the show has already begun”. He turned to the bit suspicious, more than thankful Jinka and without hesitation she dragged Serah, Dane and Anet back to the fifth floor with a constant eye on Mr. Majid, to make sure he is following with Zax.
“You know from which cave this fellow is from, right?” Mr. Majid turned to leave and asked Gerardo.
“Cave twenty five, it’s under the dominion of El-Eden”.
“Then, have you bothered asking for the boy’s name?”
Gerardo did not ask nor instructed Em to ask for Zax’s name. After learning that cave twenty five had no known experts, he deemed farther investigation as unnecessary. Only after being told so Gerardo figured that if he had asked the boy’s name from the begging he could have acted in a more deliberate manner.
“You were too pompous to care… The boy name is Zax Zel”.
“His last name his “Zel”, it tells me nothing. How his last name can tell me anything about his Mor? Yes, there is no point in hiding it. As talented as the boy is, there is no way that he isn’t cultivated by someone!”
“I didn’t try to hide the identity of his teacher, just wondered if you can make the connection yourself. It seems that the power tussles in Tongguo taking too much of your attention… How about this for a clue “Nineteen years old Mist Master””.
“Nineteen years… You mean to say he is her Tal?!” Recalling a shocking event from not too long ago actually mage Gerardo stumbled backwards.
“Hahaha… Still so blockheaded, Hahaha… Messing around with your kind is indeed more amusing than watching brats fight. Remember her name, Gerardo, she kept a low profile but it can’t be that you’ve forgotten her name”.
Recollecting every detail from the announcement which shook all of Kingdom Earth two years ago, Gerardo closed his black eyes and opened them right after with a glint of disbelief in them.
In the passage of time, experts have learned different techniques to enchant their long term memory. Ultimately, the technique that was picked as the most excellent turned out to be the most basic one. It was an innate ability of the outer and inner mind. Much like their original function, in this instance, early memories were managed by the outer mind and distant memories were managed by the inner mind. To evaluate what can be considered as an early memory or distant memory or how much details each type of memory could supply, was relative to the Mist User’s level. The stronger the soul the more capable the outer and inner mind could be, and if one had to remember a memory that was not located in the outer mind all he or she had to do was easily locate it in the inner mind.
“Zetsa Zel! She is blood relative of the boy…!” Gerardo murmured, but Mr. Majid took it as a question.
“According to my sources she is his big sister”.
“A nineteen years old Mist Master…” Gerardo grabbed his bald chin and surveyed his mind for a way to take control of the situation which continued to aggravate. After thinking on something he raised his head in defiance. “If she had reached the Mist Lord level I’m sure the whole kingdom would have known by now. No, she only made it to the Mist Master level two years ago, even someone like her must be still struggling at the Beginner phase of the Mist Master level, at worst the Intermediate phase. And if so, then what would be the problem? My centuries of accumulated experience can topple her talent!”
“That might be so, but will you dare trying? No one knows her current Martial abilities. Do you think brats like her are the same as you and I? Do you think that if everything about her is quiet at the moment it’s because the Super Experts treat her as irrelevant? That lass is a monster, and monsters should not be shackled”.
“You classify her as a “Monster”? Aren’t you exaggerating right now? Mist Master at the age of nineteen… She is not the first, second, third, nor the youngest! If she is a monster then my family is grooming a herd of monsters!” Gerardo exclaimed defensively.
“Yes, there are monsters everywhere today…” As he said so, Mr. Majid glanced at Zax and left the stairwell. “Even monsters among monsters”.