Though mournful for his nephew’s death and resentful toward his killer, Dinar did not let his heart waver. He and the hundreds men and women beside him, who waited together for the threatening Core Masters to arrive, have formulated a plan days ago and by letting them encircle him, Zax was already inside the scope of their formation.
Jumping a step back behind the line of armed Core Breakers after Zax’s response, Dinar bawled. “First step ON!” His commanding family head’s tone resonated and immediately pillars of azure and gold auras were raised from the bodies of every expert between the Mist Lord and Core Master levels.
Zax’s reaction was prompt. The moment he declared his intention, before Dinar made his move, he already kicked off from the crater he created and shot toward the leader of the pack.
Not one, but hundreds. The instant their family head and intruder said their piece, the armed Core Breakers and Mist Masters instigated the formations on their weapons and barrage of Peral metal bullets, which shone with colorful white and silver auras and seemed like dots of light, shot from several directions at Zax.
“Grr!” Zax gnashed his teeth. His mind was in a state of savagery of his own making, but it was also perfectly clear on his surrounding and situation. As he saw the numerous bullets heading toward him, he growled at the nuisance he took them for.
Peral metal bullets? In Kingdom Earth they were only a threat to Mist Users below the Mist Lord level and to regular bodily refiners who cultivate the ultimate bodily refinement technique in Kingdom Earth, the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement, that were below the second gate.
Zax was taught in his pre Core school about the war between Kingdom Earth and the new UGNE and how dangerous the new UGNE’s Peral metal war machines were. But, even the strongest war machine of the new UGNE, the S class weapon Victorious, were unable to harm Supreme Ruler Gid when he was just a Mist Lord.
Granted, today’s weapons might be less robotic, but with the improvements in the field of formations, since the war between Kingdom Earth and the new UGNE, there were fire arms that in the right hands could even pierced through a first level Core Master’s defense. Still… Zax was not even a little bit worried. Even if his cultivation was two gates lower, it would simply be corresponding to a first level Core Master’s body fitness level, and due to his bodily refinement technique he would even be slightly tougher.
“Grr!” To Zax no matter how many bullets were shot at him, they could not hurt him. But being rained by so many bullets impeded his speed and allowed Dinar the time to jump back and initiate the formation they were going to use against him.
“Die!” Zax reached the first line of Core Breakers and with simple motions of swinging his arms began his killing spree.
The eyes of the Core Breakers that saw their comrade being slaughtered so effortlessly, opened wide. Even the Mist Masters and Mist Lords, who watched the devilish figure of Zax ignoring the Peral metal bullets and killing Mist Users one by one by nothing more than a nudge of hand or foot, were brimming with awe and fear. They all though him to be a second level Core Master, an existence they could never dream to match.
“Second step ON!” Dinar bawled again. Just as fast as Zax closed the gap between the first line of Core Breakers and took the first few lives, the group of Core Masters and Mist Lords were ready to execute the second step of the formation.
The azure and golden pillars intertwined and formed a vast screen that surrounded the fight scene. Behind the screen stood the Core Masters and Mist Lords and as the screen closed in on Zax, like a shrinking dome, the line of Mist Masters and Core Breakers threw away their firearms, raised white and silvery pillars and added their strength to the formation.
Zax saw the screen closing in and slammed against it. The power of the formation, however, was too great and slowly pushed Zax back as its size kept getting smaller.
“You think that enough to stop me?!” Zax murmured. He still has not used the Kinetic Force and when he slammed against the formation he already sensed that it is a bit weaker than Don’s defensive formation.
“Ah?” Just when he was about to converge the kinetic energy to Kinetic Force, the formation began to act weirdly. As if a yarn ball, the now azure, golden, white and silvery screen unraveled to countless threads of energy that flew toward Zax and shrouded him, every body’s part separately, like a mummy.
It all happened in the span of one second, and though Zax’s inner mind saw it unfold in a moderate speed, his body still was slow to retaliate.
Shrouded by the threads of the formation, Zax was bound, unable to move a finger or even open his mouth.
“Hahahaha!” Dinar laughed in delight. “Third step ON!” He shouted and every one of the hundreds of expert that were part of the formation swallowed their aura back to their bodies and from their eyes a purple light shone.
Zax felt the threads twisting and sinking to his skin. Without the ability to move his body, he could not maneuver the kinetic energy as he usually does and as a result, he could no longer break the formation like he intended to before with the Kinetic Force.
‘I can still rotate my internals and can use the kinetic energy my blood flow generating…’
As a bodily cultivator and someone who practiced the bodily maneuvers, his control of the body was excellent, to say the least. Though it will be a little weaker at first, but by streaming the kinetic energy back and forth, he could use the constant blood flow and the short shifts of his internals like a swing to intensify the flow of kinetic energy in his body and accumulate enough of it to a strong burst of Kinetic Force.
Previously, when the threads covered every part of his body, Zax eyes were also covered and he could not see anything other than the colorfulness of the threads. But, as the formation sunk inside his body, even through his eyes, his vision was no longer obstructed and he could see the disdainful looks of the experts in front of him, especially Dinar’s.
“My dantian?!” Zax was startled. Even after the threads entered his body he was still bound in place, but after they entered they actually turned into purple membrane and tried to contain his dantian, to cut his connection to it.
“Hahaha! Family head, the bastard can’t move. His body is bound and his mist energy is trapped in his dantian, hahaha! So much for a second level Core Master!” One of the Core Masters in the group laughed.
“Mm!” Dinar nodded. They succeeded, their formation managed to confine Zax completely. Nonetheless, Dinar did not seem full of joy as the other family member who laughed in content was.
Dinar’s eyes surveyed the surrounding. Other than the seemingly young man who was a Core Master at the second level of the realm, there was supposed to be another Core Master, and in case he, too, was of a similar level, his great grandfather, the Derneldar founder, was waiting in ambush.
Seeing that no one is intervening, Dinar said nothing in regards to the supposedly hidden second Core Master, but decided to be cautious.
“Good, good, good”, Dinar stared at the bound Zax and repeated sternly. “The formation took root in his dantian. With this, even a Core Master at the Peak phase of the second level would not be able to free himself”. He informed Zax with the desire to see him falling to despair.
The formation he and the others executed was called the “Hendar’s Binder formation” after the one who created it, Hendar Dauch, Don’s predecessor. He sold the formation’s secrets of execution to the Derneldar’s founder many years ago, when he planned to venture to Valgarel for a breakthrough with a group of several other Core Master at the Peak phase of the first level.
The Hendar’s Binder needed nine Core Master at the Peak phase of the first level to be perfectly executed and then only two to nourish it. Given that Dinar could not pass the requirements with the current level of experts the family had, the founder, being in a higher level of cultivation than in the past and in possession of more than a hundred years of experience since he purchased the formation, suggested a way to modify the formation’s structure to use lower level Mist Users but in much, much greater quantity to execute it.
The new structure of the formation worked, and in its new complete form the Core Breakers, Mist Masters and Mist Lords were enough to nourish it instead of the original two Core Masters at the Peak phase of the first level. The seven Core Masters were free to do as they wanted.
“Ten thousand pieces. Avoid vitals and slice him to ten thousand pieces. Make sure he doesn’t bleed to death, too”. Dinar said to the other six Core Master.
“Buthon”, one of the Core Masters, a guy with ruthless facade, turned to another Core Master, a balding middle age man with a large belly. “Take the first one thousand cuts. See who can cut the son of a bitch faster without killing him”. He said so with a smirk on his face.
“Ah?! Dulsan, I’m a close quarters specialist compared to you. My belly doesn’t mean a thing, if you think that because I’m fat I’m less accurate and thus slower then you are gravely wrong! Both of us are at the same phase as Core Masters”. Buthon, the fat Core Master said as he stroked his stomach.
Other than Dinar, the six other Core Masters did not have close relationships with any of Dureil sons and were still dissatisfied with the little menace, Binjo, which had yet to receive punishment from the family head for the troubles he caused. To the other six Core Masters, Mejar death was a trivial matter. What infuriated them was the blow to the family’s reputation, the general idea that someone dared to be insolent, to threaten a family member and not put the rest of it in his eyes.
Now, the seven biggest figures on scene that belonged to the Derneldar family were the seven Core Masters, and with the opportunity to not just vent their anger but also do so against a superior expert, they all were quite excited.
“How about this, Dulsan, let’s see who’s faster and more precise at the same time. Left side is yours and right size is mine, agree?”
“At the same time, hahaha, I have a better idea to make it more interesting. The one to draw more of his blood without landing a killing blow within one thousand cuts should be the winner. The winner receives the loser’s yearly revenue”. Dulsan revised their bet.
“Fine!” Buthon said and looked at the others. ”You, guys, are witnesses!”
“Okay”, a Core Master with groomed red mustache agreed first. “Lu Gan, Del, Han Pei, should we also bet which of them will win?”
Two out of the three were interested. Of all the Core Masters, Dinar remained the only one who no one dared bother with the bet.
“At three”, Dulsan said. His and Buthon’s azure aura emanated with intense light. To lose the yearly revenue they earned as members of the main branch, none of them was willing. ‘One. Two. Three!”
They, at the same time, moved their legs in a manner that if Zetsa saw, she would recognize as the movement technique Mejar used to escape her. The difference was in the level of proficiency. Mejar, compared to Dulsan and Buthon, was not half as fast even without the gap in cultivation.
The two were even faster than the bullets that were shot off at Zax.
‘A little bit more, a little bit more!’ Zax issued the kinetic energy across his body and directed it to the palms of his hands after another cycle. ‘Going after my dantian…’ Zax sneered, wondering how they would react when he will break the formations with pure physical strength.
As the two approached him, Zax saw them executing close range Martial techniques. Using, yet again, the same technique, the two’s mist energy formed four azure blades in total that radiated sharp auras.
‘Avoid and strike!’ Zax felt the accumulation of kinetic energy growing, almost enough to converge to Kinetic Force. His plot was to break the formation, escape the two’s attacks and target first the fat Core Master, which his Soul Sense detected as slightly slower.
‘What?!’ Zax exclaimed inwardly, feeling a sudden explosion echoing from his dantian.
The membrane that contained his dantian cracked.
‘What’s going on?!’ Zax was confused. Something in his dantian tried to break the formation. ‘The Black Core!’ He realized in bewilderment. What other than that could do what it wants in his dantian?
“Arh!” All the Core Breakers screamed in agony.
“What’s that?” Dinar and the four Core Master turned their heads in puzzlement.
All those who nourished the Hendar’s Binder formation suffered a backlash due to the membrane cracking. The Core Breakers felt a pain akin to mist channels tearing, the Mist Masters grunted as they felt their bones breaking and the Mist Lord, for now, only grimaced.
Everything happened at the same time. While the membrane was cracking, Dinar and his group noticing the strange expressions on the other Mist Users and the two, Dulsan and Buthon, were closing the distance between them and Zax, the Black Core released a vast black stream of energy.
The membrane shattered. Being the last form of the Hendar Binder formation, it carried all the responsibilities of subduing the target.
‘Hahahaha! You are good to me even now!’ After practicing the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement and being exposed to the benefits of bodily refinement techniques in comparison to mist refinement techniques, Zax stopped resenting the Black Core. Seeing that it still helps him, the instant his body was no longer bound he evilly smirked.
He still did not use the kinetic energy that he finished streaming to his hands.
Seeing the sudden smile on his face, both Dulsan and Buthon replaced their confident expressions with utter disbelief.
To their knowledge, once confined by the Hendar Binder formation a person cannot even bat an eyelash.
‘The new structure didn’t hold?!’ The same thought crossed their heads. If so, they were too close to avoid collision with Zax and their burst of power was near impossible to maneuver to other direction.
Neither of them cared for the bet or the family head’s command anymore. The formation clearly surpassed the intruder for a short while and there was the chance that they will manage to get to him before his prowess returns.
Four azure blades neared Zax’s head and neck.
“Ha!” Zax shouted. With the ability to move, he could utilize kinetic energy without playing around. Welcoming his freedom along with the two Derneldar Core Masters, Zax kicked off the ground with a blast of Kinetic Force. His body shot forward, evading the four blades, he raised his hands, throwing to palms to Dulsan’s and Buthon’s chests.
The two did not bother to defend themselves from the start. There was no use and now it was too late.
Dulsan and Buthon were merely Beginner phase first level Core Masters. Their body fitness level was exactly three levels below the Core Master’s realm, in Beginner phase the Core Breaker level. In addition, none of the two used his mist energy to defend.
Zax’s palms hit their chest and two explosions echoed simultaneously.
Most of the Core Breakers lost their consciousness after the membrane shattered. The other experts, though, were in a state of stupefaction.
Blood and small meaty pieces were gruesomely splattered on the ground, Dulsan and Buthon lay dead with two huge holes in their chest area and barely any skin to hold them up.
“Too much?” Zax looked at the two with an indifferent gaze and casually pondered. To kill them he only needed to pierce their vitals or cut off their heads with his basic strength. But, he already summoned the kinetic energy and converged it to Kinetic Force… Who could blame him that it happened to be overkill?