The mentioning of the Black Core ensued in no reaction of any sort from the two men, other than the shock still plastered on their faces from Zax’s performance.
Ozeyn, though, displayed confusion as he wondered what the all too powerful Zax wanted from the pair of tribe elder and his apprentice.
“Pretending won’t work”. Zax warned, not caring about the story on how they got and what they know about the Black Core. What he wanted was to receive it and see if both they and Ozeyn could satisfy him with their word of not disclosing its existence to anyone.
The threat worked and a shadow of reluctance passed across the changing mien of the pair. “Valor-” The elder turned to Ozeyn, but before the plea in his tone could merge with the first syllable, his throat contracted by an imposing pressure emanating from Zax.
“Ozeyn”, Zax spoke clearly for both the ruler of beasts and the unwillingness of the pair to be sure to understand. “One of these two is in possession of an item in the shape of a black Earth’s Core. When I’ll leave here today, this Black Core would undeniably be in my hand. The question is… whether I can trust you to keep the knowledge of the Black Core between the three of us, or should I kill you all, just to be safe?”
Quite certain about Zax’s level of power, Ozeyn pondered a little before quickly figuring whom on this planet are capable to challenge his authority. In addition, since Zax made the proclamation about basically owning New Earth and a portion of Ercas Mir, then… if not win, then he at least believed himself able to withstand the united wrath of those handful… In other words, even if he, Ozeyn, or anyone else from his tribe, will tattletale, no one would guarantee their livelihood.
“You have my word as leader of the Red Rose Beaks tribe and a Youyue”. Ozeyn asserted and glanced on the pair. “Elder Naza, Baroet, give him what he wants and swear secrecy in the name of the tribe and your own names so he could go!” It was not a request and far from a typical instruction. The words Ozeyn uttered landed in Naza’s and Baroet’s ears like bombshells, wielded not by his superior cultivation, but the combined majesty of his type and beast and being a member of the same bird species.
There was not room to argue, much less bargain. Naza flipped his hand and from within his spatial ring, which Zax noticed only the Martial Mortals in the tribe possessed, appeared a Black Core.
The moment he laid his eyes on it, Zax felt a strong pulse of attraction from his dantian. His Qi that evolved to liquefied clogged mist as a child, later unclogged at a certain bodily breakthrough as an adult and yet ultimately was substituted by dark attribute energy, now surged in his channels brimming with desire, spawned from the Earth’s Core that absorbed the previous two Black Cores.
Zax, emotionally, snatched the Black Core. So many thoughts flashed in his mind, but he momentarily put them all aside, to gaze at the reticent pair.
“Swear!” Ozeyn barked. He did not waste time waiting for Zax to issue a hostile intent to motivate them. He had no patience for being played with. As for his interest in the odd Earth’s Core, he had never seen it and later would like to have a good discussion with his tribe elder about it.
Naza’s facial features contracted, giving the impression that he is surrendering a piece of himself. It was not tough to imagine that even if he did not know what the Black Core exactly was, he still thought highly of its peculiarity. “I, Naza, third elder of the Red Rose Beaks tribe swear in my name and tribe that I won’t divulge today’s matters and the Black Core to anyone”.
Baroet followed suit immediately after. “I, Baroet, successor and apprentice to third elder Naza and member of the Red Rose Beaks tribe, swear to never speak about today’s events or the Black Core to anyone”.
Zax was contented. He had no doubts about the sincerity of the three, for he grew in Valgarel and knew the enormity of a tribe to a beast, especially for those that were valued in esteemed positions such as elder and successor. Unless they would be betrayed by the tribe, like Grandmaster Kartion was by the Black Horns tribe, they will never commit treason.
He got what he desired and was sure that Ozeyn will not give up the confirmation trip to his Master; hence he had no further reasons to stay. His only words of solace to the pair before leaving were, “this was never yours”.
‘’Senior Gid, where are you? I need to meet you and Second Leader Yurnal!’ Zax transmitted via his communicator.
As he finished his business at the Red Rose Beaks tribe, he asked Anet to stay a little while with the Martial family, explaining that he has to make a short visit to the Leaders of Sinister Chain.
Currently, as he crossed the oceans and was within radius of communication… ‘Don’t worry. We have been waiting for you’. Gid Chu’s sounded solemn, as if he had predictions of what will transpire upon Zax’s arrival.
As he got above the undersea cave in the Seer Don Ocean, Zax plunged into the water and recognized an opening in the concealing formations the sheltered all inhabitants of the cave from the chain’s enemies.
‘Leader, Second Leader, let’s meet outside the residential area’. Zax requested. He landed in a remote meadow like field with a herd of Deformed Beings as cattle, leisurely grazing and napping. His presence did not rattle them, as they were used to the company of beasts and humans.
Seven figures streaked beneath the ceiling of the undersea cave as the welcoming party; Gid Chu, Yurnal and five more members of the chain – of which Zax was mildly familiar with only two, the duel pistols Duthur and formation expert Lenrah.
“Zax, you…” Gid Chu stared at him, conflicted. He and every member of the chain heard his deafening announcement to the world, while Huland attested for the truth.
Yurnal stood a step behind Gid Chu with the rest. No expression that told of his thoughts was visible on him.
Lenrah, Duthur, the humanoid green shelled furry limbs beast, a long black haired middle aged woman and another beast in human form with horizontal pupils, as diverse and domineering group as they were they scrutinized Zax with a mixture of emotions from apprehension to admiration.
“Leave”. Zax ordered the five. He was a tad irritated that Gid Chu and Yurnal brought them. Although he was not explicit in as asking for privacy, he told Gid Chu that he want to meet him and Yurnal, not mentioning others.
Some of the five were not satisfied with being dismissed, but they were clever enough to hold their tongues and turn to Gid Chu and Yurnal.
“Leave”. Still, without a hint of sentiment, Yurnal spoke. For him to abide Zax took the five by surprise. It was him who led four out of them and one followed Gid Chu.
“Later there will be an assembly of the chain’s members. There we will discuss everything”. Gid Chu decided on the spot.
Though some were reluctant, the five left tacitly.
“You wanted us to meet alon-” Before Yurnal could finish, a black blur flashed before his eyes.
Zax hand stretched forward, presenting the Black Core he took from Naza. “An elder of the Red Rose Beaks tribe had it up until half an hour ago. Now I have it and both him, a little fellow and Ozeyn swore to keep quiet about it”. He picked his words carefully, to underline the meaning behind them.
If the appearance of the Black Core did not stun Gid Chu and Yurnal, then having heard that Zax actually got “His Valor Ozeyn” to submit definitely did.
“A second one!” Yurnal shuddered, at last opening up, yet fast descending to deep contemplation.
“There are four and this is the third to enter my possession”. Zax clarified, breaking his concentration, yet reaching to a halt mid speech as a sudden notion surfaced in his head…
“These Black Cores… What are they truly, Zax?” Gid Chu asked with a frown.
“Forgive me, senior Gid, but it is of no reason for you to know”. Zax replied without sparing a glance. “I imagine you are aware of the perquisites? Have you confessed it to senior Gid as the catalyst that inspired you to develop Infinite Transformations Altering Body?” He continued to ask Yurnal, only to be met with silence. “Give me the last Black Core. Without the other three it’d be useless to you and Yimin”.
Yurnal clenched his fists. “Will you take it by force and intimidate me to comply to vows and pledges like you did His Valor Ozeyn, now that you miraculously achieved the Peak of the Martial cultivation on this Earth?!“
“I’ve been entwined with the Black Cores for the better and longer part of my life. From the very first to the ultimate goal of gathering them all, my life was reshaped onto a path I cannot sidetrack, nor wants to”. Zax shook his head; sneering at whatever defiance Yurnal will insist to put on.
He preferred to avoid the use of force, as was suggested in retort. Here was not his chosen domain, so he had no need to go as far as imposing. Moreover, Sinister Chain was his ally. Therefore, he let certain words and mannerism slide, but not actions!
Baleful fluctuations were exuded from Yurnal’s body as his mist energy surged, aura was about to erupt and entire physique change to his animalistic form.
Zax pressed down and an invisible pressure flattened Yurnal on the ground, confining his every movement of body and mist.
“Zax!” Gid Chu snapped, jumping between him and Yurnal, he was cautiously composed to not use any form of opposition that might be interpreted as violent. “This behavior… are you still our kin?!” He supported Yurnal back to his feet as Zax withdrew the pressure.
“You don’t understand”, Zax growled. “The fact that you dare throw this question at me, proves that Yurnal hasn’t told you everything, and the fewer the people knowing the better, right, Second Leader?”
Considering his level of cultivation and conduct when the Black Core is concerned, Zax was convinced that Yurnal already accepted the messages left by the expert, former owner of Legacy Of The One’s Path, to his potential heir. How he managed to eject it or how many unknown variables there are to his experience with the Black Core still eluded him.
“Gid Chu, depart”. Yurnal demanded.
“To leave you alo-”
“We will not fight!”
“…Fine. Keep this secret between the two of you. Zax, I hope that your breakthrough is a blessing for our kin”. Gid Chu sighed. He once guarded Zax from a confrontation with Yurnal and today the tables have turned, while his guard remained up. “Our enemy remains the same”. He made sure they remembered and left.
“Well…?” Zax asked after seeing Gid Chu’s silhouette vanish.
“Legacy Of The One’s Path…” Yurnal muttered. “The unparalleled mist refinement technique”. His inner struggles grew apparent on his face and body language, but slowly they subsided and calm, which no one, perhaps not even his dear wife, Savir, had witnessed on his mien, had appeared. “It can be yours…”