“It can’t be!” The former, composed and adult like voice of Sister Iaura retorted.
“But it is!” The juvenile voice further repressed the other voice. “He deserves it!”
Sister Iaura’s expression convulsed as the white gleam in her eyes dimmed and a blue hue took its place. She pulled twin black pistols from under her garments, similar in their design to her intricate silver blue pistols, and flung the short barrels, aiming at Zax.
When she got captured, Zax confiscated her spatial ring and failed to find any other spatial object on her person, yet she somehow managed to conceal the pistols and perhaps more stuff.
From the pain, the turn of events that seems like a ploy and her unbridled behavior, Zax became livid. He swung his arm, knocking the pistols from her hands and grabbed her throat in a tight squeeze.
“You…” He could barely speak. Enduring the excruciating pain to his soul and spirit required his full concentration, and that was before thinking about healing to horrible black cracks all over his body. ‘No, this is another of her three personalities! The one I’ve met before…’ Zax realized.
“Unhand me or I really won’t forgive you!” The juvenile Sister Iaura wriggled. “Shameless, ungrateful!”
“It wasn’t you who helped my son”. Zax said hoarsely, pinning Sister Iaura to the ground.
“Who else is there than me?!” Sister Iaura squirmed.
“The other you, with the light attribute energy”.
“His Young Eminence will save me, you’ll see! My attribute is icy, liar!”
‘Is she not aware of her condition?’ Zax frowned. ‘Now is not the time to argue with her. I can’t kill her and currently too weak to channel a soul attack to incapacitate her’.
Physical strength was all that remained and even that had vastly declined due to his injuries. Inhaling, Zax drew on the worldly dark attribute energy and that in every resource in the room, turning much of it to dust. And yet, there was a long way for him to recover.
Utilizing the strength that he gathered in his palm, he strangled Sister Iaura.
She was a Peak Core Master and could sustain without her air for long periods of times. When she needed to breathe but there was no air, she could alternatively absorb the energy of the world, or if her understanding was sufficient, the attribute energy of the world she had affinity to.
To prevent her from struggling, Zax expended the Devour nature of the dark attribute and its three properties to Swallow, Digest, Spread throughout his body Sister Iaura’s energy.
In comparison, Sister Iaura, at least the one in control at the moment, had a shallow understanding of the Cold nature of the icy attribute and its three properties: Heavy, Smooth, Flow, making her resistance futile.
In no time she lost consciousness and, again, protected by light element energy.
‘Niel…’ Zax turned to his son, relieved. Ultimately he got what he wanted and disregarding that manner in which it happened, it is still can be said to have been easily achieved. ‘Maybe it was really a coincidence and the sliver of Godly Retribution just caught a ride with my Inner Panorama’s replica?’ He decided not to wake Niel and began to introspect himself. ‘I did everything I was told. This girl is just a postulant but her status in the Holy Palace is certainly higher than anyone else on this planet, otherwise, Silternjan, Northstar and Stelero Mars could have also suggested a sermon to expel the Godly Retribution. They are incapable of such feat but she can. It’s possible that The Almighty actually care for her… but to a degree, enough to pardon the “accomplice”, but not the main offender?’ For an instant he tried to figure The Almighty’s motive. ‘I can’t discount the possibility that Niel was spared so I won’t do anything substantial to harm her in response’. This was his greatest fear, because if Sister Iaura was not in his possession and he would have made a determined attempt to deal with the Godly Retribution, then Niel might have been dead right now!
With this last thought he proceeded to slowly heal and hope… that no irreversible was done to his spirit and its endeavor for the last bottleneck of insight.
“Why won’t go outside? The others enjoying themselves in the city. I want to enjoy myself with the beautiful women of this city. Only you edgily huffing and puffing. I thought that you hated danger…”
A middle aged, black haired, gray skinned man rested arms stretched sideways on a velvet sofa. In front of him a short haired, tanned youth paced back and forth atop the marble floor of the hall of a room they stayed in.
“Deathly danger, I hate gratuitous danger!” The youth corrected in annoyance. “With reasonable danger I’m completely fine!”
“Here, sir”. A young female secretary brought a tray with glasses and a yellow bottle of some hard drink. “This is the ‘Aureolin Pineapple Nectar’ you drank on your last visit”. She courteously said and placed the tray on the table before the sofa.
“I can pour on my own”. The black haired, gray skinned man grabbed the secretary’s slender forearm and gently pulled. The secretary lost her balance and fell to his lap, startled. “Instead, why won’t you join me as good company until we can get in?” The man’s handsome smile and alluring eyes negated the notion of refusal from the young secretary’s mind and she very meekly nodded.
“L-I-M-I-N-T-O-N!” The youth snapped at the philanderer.
“What, Bin Bin?!” Being interrupted as a bit of fun was finally and literally on his lap, got Liminton to bark back. “It’s not my fault that the church takes precedence in your uncle’s point of view, so what do you want from me?” His outburst scared silly the young secretary. Feeling her shivering, he granted and sent a stream of soul energy to her sea of consciousness.
The secretary’s eyes became cloudy for a second and then clear again. “Eh? Sir! I- I- have to return to my post”. She jumped on her high heels and hassled to her desk, sole desk in the entire hall, next to a pair of four meters tall ebony doors.
“Seriously, Bin Bin, what do you want? You could have gone to the Holy Palace, but you chose to purposely lose. We had been to every ‘reasonably risky’ place afterwards, which improved our abilities. What remain are the places that are too dangerous for those below the fifth Martial Mortal level and a handful more you said you don’t want to go to. If you are fed up, then let us return home. Your uncle will contact your parents, we can inform them and I’ll be free to my devices”. Liminton lecherously eyed the confused secretary.
“I want to go to New Earth!” Bin Bin blurted. “Not Rising City, but the underground world beneath it”. He emphasized.
“Going there is impossible”. Liminton rebuffed without even much of a look. “That man, Zax Zel, might be a traveling acquaintance of ours, but back then, five years ago he already personally denied and your uncle’s letter. Even those friends of his from the records, what were their names… Fengar and Vouvik, right. From what your uncle said, those close friends of his were too were not allowed to pass through the underground pathway”.
“Don’t tell me what I already know. The old envoy said that we should explore that place and it would be fine”.
“Well, he isn’t here and your uncle cannot take liberally to decide or do on the business of someone who reached the Mortal Enlightenment state. How about this, if you’ll agree to forget about New Earth, I’ll compromise and chaperon you for an additional fifty years“.
“Humph, if you are gonna be a bother like you are right now, I’ll rather be alone”. Bin Bin snorted.
Liminton shrugged. “As if you could”.
A momentarily silence ruled the hall, before being broken by Liminton.
“We don’t have much time here, anyway. So why not, spend it as you see fit. The things you will miss and earn are yours to bear”.
At the other side of the tall ebony doors an office room was situated. Large, glimmering tiles adorned the floor; at one corner near the balcony were seating accommodations for guests. A handcrafted desk with a matching set of three padded seats positioned at the center of one end of the room, opposite to the balcony.
The top figure in the Mercenary Association, Sheldon, hosted a man, seemingly just as old and another top figure, Archbishop Silternjan.
The two stood side by side, overlooking the bustling city of steampunk charm well below a one way mirror window.
“You contacted me”. Sheldon said, smilingly.
“You contacted me first”.
“Save of Cardinal Northstar, I contacted all of you. Logan was the first to respond, after finding something he wanted from me. You are the second”.
“So Logan reached you… Is it possible for you to disclose the subject of your discussion?”
Sheldon shook his head. “I’m afraid it’s personal”.
“Is that so… then let this conversation also be personal”.
“Since you’ve asked”. Sheldon complied. “The matter of your visit?” He inquired.
“Sister Iaura had been taken by Zax Zel”. Archbishop Silternjan said straightforwardly. “His son somehow been inflicted by his Godly Retribution and so he blames me. He kidnaped Sister Iaura, expecting us to exchange for her with a solution to his predicament”.
“No. The Immortals of the church can give it a try. The young postulant herself has some chance”.
“Then tell him to ask her”.
“I wager she already offered and performed the act”.
“So what’s the issue? Did she fail or succeed?” Sheldon glanced with a hint of curiosity.
“She cannot yet solve the Will of God. Succeeded or not, The Almighty will enact a greater punishment. If she did succeed, Zax Zel will not release before analyzing the condition of his son. Best case scenario, nothing untoward will substitute the Godly Retribution and Sister Iaura will regain her freedom. Any other scenario would result in the church still having a problem”.
“I cannot negotiate with Zax Zel on this incident. Beside, would your church really want me involved?”
“I am the Archbishop of the church on this Star”. Archbishop Silternjan proclaimed ardently. “If I utilize the name of the church, know that I am its consent!”
Sheldon kept staring at the stream of people, especially scrutinizing the mercenaries that came and left. “So, what do you want me to do and what do you offer in exchange?”
Archbishop Silternjan relaxed, but only partly as he still had in mind General Logan’s visit. “I want you to have Senior Ohar bring some sense to Zax Zel. It should not be as costly as a favor and to cut the price further you can function as the middleman“.
“Mobilizing Senior Ohar’s word is still not cheap”. Sheldon sighed. “It will push me below the poverty line…”
“I will reimburse you with five days”.
“Six and sixteen hours and sixteen minutes. And if His Holiness won’t obtain the Godly Law Template?”
“Is that what you are plotting with Logan?” Archbishop Silternjan interjected, yet did not expect an answer. He knew that divulging his meeting with General Logan was merely Sheldon scheming and that by not fervently pursuing the subject he can tangle a bit with the bait and escape the hook before being pierced.
“We can talk about it in length-”
“I don’t have the time”. Archbishop Silternjan dodged.
Slightly disappointment, Sheldon coughed and asked. “About His Holiness failing…?”
“I’ll owe you a favor“.
“To accomplish anything?”
“Then, Silternjan my friend, we have a deal”. Sheldon concluded, accompanying Archbishop Silternjan to the doors, but when they opened he exited alongside a young priest.
Bidding the young priest farewell, Sheldon turned to the guests who waited outside. “Bin Bin, Liminton, you may come in now”.