The first day they arrived to the Rakmon Penitentiary Star, after getting the approval from Chief Inspector Nazalat and Warden Sil Dong, Sergeant Heyxin traveled the planet, surveying the management in the one hundred and eleven mining posts.
Her opinion of what she saw was divided… quite a few times she witnessed Guards’ misconduct toward prisoners, while at other times the prisoners got too much free reign, so long as they meet their quota, which resulted in the strong and high ranked taking their frustration out on the weak and low ranked.
One thing she did not saw and was glad for it, was the presence of children and cultivators below the second realm. The Kon Juya Constabulary relied on the Rakmon Penitentiary Star as a place to incarcerate those it determined too dangerous to keep at any other place. It did not make often transfers, but for the one in a few tens of thousands years it paid with discretion, so long as first realm cultivators and children were delivered to hospitable planets.
Neither Warden Sil Dong nor the Rakmon Penitentiary’s shareholders minded the constabulary’s ultimatum. First realm cultivates cannot survive on the Rakmon Penitentiary Star and the only children that can, are those born with a soul and one other aspect at the second realm to a minority of unique Beings.
Traversing the planet, she arrived to her last destination, the place in which her purpose for staying was sent to, the Seventh Post.
“Sergeant Heyxin, I assume”. A short, black haired human woman, Heavenly Immortal greeted. “I am Head Guard Umber of the Seventh Post”.
“Miss Umber”. Sergeant Heyxin nodded.
”I was notified of your estimate time of arrival, but it took you longer than what I was told. I’m afraid the delicacies I’ve prepared have turned cold”. It was not a show of cordiality, but a blunt invitation to leave.
Like the Head Guards of the other posts, Head Guard Umber the “righteous pricks” of the Kon Juya Constabulary.
“I’m not here for pleasantries”. Sergeant Heyxin coolly dismisses. “Take me to the sector where the batch of one hundred and fifty was assigned to work. I want to observe them”.
“Follow me, then”. Regardless how she felt, Head Guard Umber was obligated by the Deputy Warden to entertain all of Sergeant Heyxin’s requests. More importantly, the latter was a Sacred Immortal and not a prisoner. If she will persist with the discourtesy, Sergeant Heyxin might resort to violence to discipline her.
In Middle Sector No.131 there is a platform with a thirty meters tall pole.
Right now Zax was tied to the pole for all to see, while Guard Chou Ferk sent orders the A and Elite Ranked prisoner to summon every inmate under his sector.
Zechariah, Yimin, Vimov, Nulivs spectated from various location within the crowd.
Sighting Nulivs with Yimin, Vimov breathe a sigh of relief. She was with a kin from the same planet. His line of sight shifted then to Zax, looking at him confused and distressed.
“What the hell happened?” He murmured.
Flying above the pole, Guard Chou Ferk scanned the gathering prisoners like a wolf a herd of sheep, noting each and every one from Zax’s batch.
“This prisoner”, he pointed at Zax, though it was clear. “Committed the crime of murdering a fellow inmate, no less than on his first day in my sector!”
The crowd was dead silent. No one dared to whisper in front Guard Chou Ferk’s current temper.
“To those who joined today, let the punishment that will soon ensue to engrave this to your souls… you are the property of the Rakmon Penitentiary! Those to your right, your left, in front and behind are, too, the property of the Rakmon Penitentiary! By killing a fellow inmate, you steal from the Rakmon Penitentiary! By killing someone from my sector, you implicate me, Guard Chou Ferk!”
Retrieving a red candle from his spatial ring, Guard Chou Ferk placed it atop the pole and lit it.
“I sentence the murder with two punishments. The first, a thousand years of bearing the marks of a thousand Flame Lashes! The second is doubling his weekly quota for a thousand years!”
“Flame Lashes” the mere mentioning of the name caused chill to run down the spine of the old veteran prisoners, and that was before their brained registered the amount of marks and period for the punishment.
Guard Chou Ferk took another object from his spatial ring, a lavish, orange metallic handle.
“Rise!” He called. Swinging his hand up with the handle, as if the candle resonated with it, its small flame crackled and enlarged to several meters tall, forming a thousand thongs.
“Fall!” Guard Chou Ferk swiped and a burning thong bore down on Zax in coordination with his motion.
The thong dispersed upon contact with Zax’s torso, but it left a searing, glowing mark on him.
Despite how much he strained his ears, Guard Chou Ferk did not hear a whimper from Zax, not even a change in his heart’s beating rhythm.
It was unexpected, but not out of the ordinary.
The shackles he placed on Zax were similar to the cuffs he wore in the Lunar Splitter’s incarceration vault. It imposed a reduction on the three aspects, forcefully lowering them to a level of a Beginner first level Core Master, all to augment, for as much as possible, the pain from the lashes.
The second thong struck, yet Zax remained impassive while Guard Chou Ferk patient.
Thong after thong landed on Zax with a snapping screech. Gradually, his body accumulated so many burn marks, not one unharmed spot was visible on it.
As for Zax… he was muddled from the pain. Because of the shackles his physical threshold was crumbling and he could not isolate his awareness in his soul. Nevertheless, even after tens and hundreds of lashes his mental fortitude, or rather the magnitude of the grievance in his heart, not once wavered.
“Poah!” A mouthful of black blood gushed from damaged internals, the most reaction he had given thus far.
Guard Chou Ferk gritted his teeth. Never before did a prisoner made him lose so much face.
Typically, even the toughest nut will crack around the seventieth lashing, plea for forgiveness or lose sanity.
But not Zax!
‘How is it possible?!’ Guard Chou Ferk whipped two, four, ten, twenty thongs simultaneously of the most concentrated fiery attribute energy the candle possessed. Together it was the combine might of the six hundred and seventh to six hundred and twenty seventh thongs, which to begin with were meant to be delivered separately.
“WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!” Guard Chou Ferk roared.
The impact was over the limit… Zax legs and right arm exploded, his left arm dangled still shackled and his chest down to his waist split opened.
“You are killing him, Sir!” Unable to watch and do nothing, Zechariah shouted.
He received Yimin’s message and hoped the old man was Zax, since from his perspective only a cultivator of the most acclaimed bodily refinement technique can somehow still manage to recover from such injuries.
“Sir, who will pay the double quota if he dies?!” Yimin hastily reminded.
“Guard Chou Ferk!” Veins popped on Vimov’s head. “Please let me receive the rest of the lashes!”
“I’m willing to replace him, Guard Chou Ferk!” Another voice yelled, a black skinned woman. She and Zax did not know each other, but she also was part of the Ercas Mir and New Earth’s survivors and like Vimov she developed a new sentiment for their last kin.
“Guard Chou Ferk!”
“Guard Chou Ferk!”
Voice after voice belonging to the other survivors volunteered to take up Zax’s place, a total of fifty three beasts and humans among the hundred and forty nine spectating survivors.
“SHUT THE F*** UP, YOU VERMIN!” Guard Chou Ferk erupted with his fifth level Martial Mortal aura. “WHO ARE YOU TO QUESTION MY AUTHORITY?!”
Three successive thongs struck Zax. At this point, he was no longer coughing blood. It sprouted from his throat and stomach.
“You said you won’t die”.
Suddenly a weak, tardy voice sounded, as all other voices fell due to Guard Chou Ferk’s outburst.
The voice reached Zax’s ears and echoed in his dormant sea of consciousness.
“I… won’t”. Zax, in his wretched state, hoarsely uttered a first response sine the punishment commenced.
He heard them all, Zechariah, Yimin, Vimov, Guard Chou Ferk and the rest, yet apart from Guard Chou Ferk who sought to vent more than to be answered, the others spoke for him, not to him.
Only Nulivs, the poor lass, looked past his condition, to challenge his retort…
“What did you say?!” Guard Chou Ferk glared at Zax.
A cold rush spread from his dantian.
He repeated through the slit in his lethargic self.
“Really…” Guard Chou Ferk hissed.
“Chou Ferk, release the shackles and proceed with the punishment!” Yet another new voice, deafening and domineering, sounded.
“Head Guard!” Guard Chou Ferk’s countenance blenched and without delay removed the shackles.
Head Guard Umber’s awe inspiring Immortal aura projected overhead the prisoners like a comet, so bright and immersing all mortals were subservient it.
Unshackled yet fixed to the pole by its formation, Zax felt his strength returning and his body promptly growing new limbs, healing from its injuries. However, the marks from the thongs still littered his body and the pain still seared in his skin, flesh and bones.
“Remarkable!” Sergeant Heyxin praised.
It was actually she who told Head Guard Umber to intervene. She remembered Zax and the memories she saw during his investigation. Considering the involvement of two Gods in the concealment of the Infernal Immortal, she could not assert it was not him, but until she was certain he had her pity.
Zax’s recovery capabilities were truly a cause for envy. A bodily refinement technique that can heal so fast just in the second and originated from a remote mortal Plain was unheard of!
“I did not die”. Zax raised his head. Locating Nulivs, he calmly stated.
Guard Chou Ferk resumed the lashes.
Seven hundredth, eight hundredth…
Although he regained his power, the accumulated pain meant to torment regardless and still Zax did not let out a peep.
“Stop!” Even Head Guard Umber had to admit that Zax’s endurance was daunting. “The method he refined his body probably was most excruciating”. She pointed at the hundred or so thongs waiting to mark him and their color flickered, changing from red to blue. “Whip his soul”.