Thanks to his recent breakthrough, Zax’s Soul Sense had attained the qualities of Sublime Soul Sense, which only experts whose souls broke through the third realm possessed. With its aid, he followed the trajectory of the shooting horn up until it entered the Earthly Crater and his Soul Sense rebounded.
His pupils shrank. Before he had the chance to formulate the first thought, to depict the abrupt anxiety in his guts, a tremor originated from the crater. It was not world shaking, but the instant it passed, the gravitational force, which is known for drawing the worldly earthly attribute energy and plunging to the sea those who attempt to traverse by air the range of the spontaneous wall of whirlpools, changed its pull.
A repelling force erupted from the depths, an invisible pillar that thrust from the center of the crater upwards, past any obstacle between it and the last sphere of the planet. The fluctuations it exuded were exceedingly tyrannical, as they spread they pushed away not just substance such as the seawater and its rocky floor down below, but also all types of attribute energy and if Zax was an Immortal, then he also would have sensed the repellent of elemental energies.
A ripple slammed into Zax as the range of the fluctuation continued to expand and his exhausted figure rocketed uncontrollably for several kilometers, like a fly getting hit by a human’s hand.
With an involuntary groan Zax was absorbed by the high tidal waves. The impact with the water was violent, capable of inducing pain even to first level Martial Mortal. After the battle with the Horned Eel, Zax was extremely weakened, but still more able than a fourth level Martial Mortal.
His attention was divided to two things as he circulated his dark attribute energy along with the worldly he drew from the surrounding, to accelerate his recovery.
‘It’s getting farther away!’ The Horned Eel’s carcass was carried by the currents after sinking and at this rate there was the risk of him losing it. Aiming his palm at its general direction, a whip of dark attribute energy extended from Zax’s hand, wrapped around the carcass and latched to it with its Swallowing property.
‘Mm? The oddity in the crater is subsiding…’ The other thing he paid attention to, the Earthly Crater, gave him the impression of a monstrous beast awakening for its slumber after being interrupted by the Horned Eel’s last attack. As the fluctuations grew fiercer and the invisible pillar sprouted higher, he only expected it to get worse. ‘No gravitational force or whirlpools…!’ His heart skipped a beat.
The area was regaining a calm never been seen before. For a period of time that was impossible to determine, it was actually absolutely safe to cross the whirlpools ridden Gentic Belt!
However, this was only a small part of Zax’s surprise. Assuming, that like everything, the focal point of the calm inaugurated from the Earthly Crater, then it was possible that all obstacles lurking in the crater – mainly those known such as the gravitational force, soul attacks and enchantment – have ceased as well.
Without hesitation or a moment of delay, Zax sprung for the Earthly Crater. This prompt action was not due to rashness or a sign of recklessness, in fact, he thought and remained thinking about the risk factors as he approached his destination.
‘The leaders of the powers will surely come, and maybe are already on their way since the conclusion of my fight with the Horned Eel was inevitable. If the secret of the crater is related to that expert, the treasure the five powers try to unearth, than I can’t let this chance slip!’ He weighted the pros and cons. ‘However, I’ve got to hurry! Should they arrive together or even just Kikon or Beking, as I’m right now I’d be at their mercy’.
Seawater gathered from around, after being repelled by the invisible pillar that vanished when it topped at outer space, and swirled back to fill the void with a crushing might that could flatten any living being below the Peak of the Core Master realm. Nevertheless, to Zax the water appeared to stand still…
He dashed from the seventh ring all the way to the first, cautious of unforeseen abnormalities. Nothing occurred, which gave him the confidence to head for the center of the crater after only a fleeting instant of deliberation.
A hole with a circumference of three hundred meter was located past the first ring as the entrance to the crater’s core. A rancid smell came out of it, like that of acute decay. Zax ignored the smell. He scavenged the deceased Overlord’s Pure Core, left the carcass that was too big for his spatial ring outside, and delved in; attempting to gouge the depth and whet is at the bottom, but to no avail.
‘This is not just blackness’. He assessed. ‘For the moment, Soul Sense seems to function in the crater, but not at the perimeter of this hole. Weirder is the scent… first it was horrible, but before I fully disregarded it, it became tolerable and as time trickle… pleasant’. He raised his vigilance, aware that his fondness of smells could not turn perverse unless something external was the cause. ‘Formation?’ He did not reject the idea, despite being unable to detect anything of the sort.
‘Ground’. After descending for less than a minute he found his footing, but in the process he lost his sense of orientation and so could not calculate the hole’s depth.
‘How nice’. A comfortable sensation sprouted from within him. ‘All senses, including Soul Sense, are muffled here; yet, instead of arousing concern it feels wonderful… I dare say it’s like returning to the womb!’ Without him noticing he became muddleheaded with coziness.
A wrinkle he was oblivious to, made his brows crease. In his sea of consciousness, the relieving sensation even reduced the oppressiveness of the Godlily Retribution. His spirit, in its stance toward the sixth bottleneck of insight, shuddered. It grazed its left foot on the earth of the Inner Panorama and marched forward a pace; shortening the distances of twenty nine steps to its goal by one.
White light bloomed above the sky of the Inner Panorama and suddenly Zax had a splitting headache. The bane of the Godlily Retribution relapsed, countless times – by Zax’s measurement – more domineering than before. Its oppressiveness and the sensation that permeated from the hole in the crater clashed and over ninety percent of the white light dimmed while the sensation was expelled.
As the two incomprehensible powers withdrew, Zax’s sea of consciousness regained its calm. Although he was still holding off, with great difficulty, the Godlily Retribution from the sixth bottleneck, at the very least he also regained his lucidness in the hole.
Around and below remained black, but looking up there was a dot of light, the entrance to the hole.
‘For some reason the influence of this place was canceled by the Godlily Retribution…’ Zax could not guess the reason, so he put it aside and searched for what is so special in the Earthly Crater’s core and what exactly here was triggered by the Horned Eel’s attack.
‘It’s just earth’. He frowned after feeling with his hands. Inside the hole, he could only rely on his sense of touch. ‘The horn of the Horned Eel landed in the third ring. It was its strongest attack, yet not much damage was done beyond a partial area in the third ring. Something must have blocked it’. He reminisced the metaphor of the dormant beast. ‘Is it not here anymore? Was the bewitching good sensation residues of its departure?’ He tapped the ground. ‘This depth should already be in New Earth’s domain. Maybe…’
An enthralling idea popped to mind and Zaz started digging enthusiastically.
‘It’s has been thousands of years, yet only one passageway from New Earth to Ercas Mir was ever discovered’.
The network of tunnels and caves that makes New Earth was the product of the Black Cores’ previous owner. Not even fifth level Martial Mortals would not have easy time breaking in and only small substances can hope to leak through the cracks.
Zax carefully utilized dark attribute energy to dig the ground and walls of the hole, waiting for a layer of earth to crumble and reveal, hopefully, new space that no one had ever explored before. In the process he wondered why he had not encountered yet Sun Stones or Earth Cores.
Everything sounded like it being a long a tedious procedure, but to cultivators a second on the clock could stretch for minutes and for true experts, hours.
A stone fractured and Zax abruptly stopped. It was the first that he excavated something other than soil.
It was buried southeast of him in the hole’s wall.
The stream of dark attribute energy he used to dig in another eastern position of him in the wall it something hard.
A sequence of ringing sounds reverberated through all streams of dark attribute energy that bore into the walls and ground of the hole.
‘Eighty one rocks the size of a watermelon, nine of which crumbled to dust when I made contact with them, twenty seven exude soft fluctuations and forty five fending my attribute energy while drawing the worldly dark and earthly attribute energy’. Zax noted. ‘It’s not leading to New Earth. This is somewhere in the gaps of the underground network. The eighty one rocks formed the formation of the Earthly Crater whereas the nine that crumbled and twenty seven with weak fluctuations were those that suffered the brunt of the Horned Eel’s attack’.
Gradually, even if his analysis was incorrect, something valid was still taking shape in his mind.
‘Say that something was here and now it’s gone. The eighty one rocks might have been the sealing formation and the Earthly Crater was a derivative of the worldly attribute energy lure that meant to sustain the seal’.
Zax sighed. ‘Finding the treasure trove but not the treasure sure is vexatious’. He flew out of the hole. ‘From now on the crater will possess seventy to eighty of its earlier effect’. A fleeting thought crossed his mind. ‘I could destroy the formation completely make it so the Gentic Belt will cease to exist permanently’. He let it be just a thought. ‘I know too little about the formation and what might have been in here’. Uninterested in learning the repercussion of senseless destruction he left; not forgetting the Overlord’s carcass.
“Why did you summon me, elder sister Beking?” The young maiden looking, Admiral Hamumni, flew next to the stern looking woman, General Beking. “The apparition emerged from the Earthly Crater. The undulations reached farther than the fluctuations from His battle with the Overlord”. The “His” she mentioned rolled out of her tongue, leaving a bad taste.
“Forget about him”. General Becking instructed. “He indeed managed to surprise me for defeating yet another Overlord, but by doing so he warranted the detestation of the other Overlords, which will make him less trouble for us”. Her tone sounded positive, but no hint of pleasure of satisfaction was visible on her strict mien. “As for why we are not going to the Earthly Crater? My subordinates in Down Ocean met a phenomenon that corresponded to the time of the apparition”.
“A clue or an actual lead?!” Admiral Hamumni exclaimed.
“We’ll know after getting there. If it was a reaction to the apparition, then the same can also happen in the other excavation locations, but if my subordinates are the only ones to encounter a phenomenon, by heading there instead of the crater, this can be considered for us as a great a risk that will arouse the others’ suspicion”.
“So we must-”
“Be quick in getting there and if there really is something directly connected to our purpose here, we’ll have to use Sheldon’s Galactic Communicator to inform the General of the Armies so his prestige will discourage the others from trying to annex our spot”.
Admiral Hamumni clenched her little fists. “They should not dream of snatching what’s already in our hands!” Knowing what they, the five powers, are here for and that her Blue Sea and Golden Desert Fort have gotten closer to obtaining it, she was filled with venomous abhorrence toward those in her and General Beking’s way. “The Godly Law Template shall belong to the General of the Armies!”