“Tularg”, Zetsa turned to the seated Tularg and awakened him for the absorbed state of mind.
“Big sister Zetsa”, the rest hardly made any difference to his complexion, but inwardly Tularg did feel slightly better. “What have you decided?”
Smirking disdainfully at the encirclement of enemy experts, Zetsa’s gaze shifted to Zax and then to Tularg. “These guys are not stupid, if you managed to sense them, then the Core Masters on their side should have noticed and know now that we are conscious of their presence”. As she spoke, Zetsa unleashed her Soul Sense.
She might not be able to detected every one of their enemies due to lower soul level – unlike Zax’s unique soul, her soul did not transcend beyond its limits – but more than half of the enemies surrounding them were Mist Lord, which Zetsa was nearly at the Peak of that level.
Thus, before she responded, Zetsa perceived her own picture of their predicament.
“It seems that they are working on a formation, but they are advancing slowly to prevent a sudden exchange before the completion of the formation. Since we are not up for a fight, this would be in our favor, though”. Zetsa summed up.
Understanding what she meant, Tularg thought for a second, assessing his condition and spoke. “Big sister Zetsa, if I’ll exhaust all my strength, then I would be able to summon roughly eight percent of my full strength, at most, for four minutes”. He informed Zetsa to not impact her plan.
“Tularg, if I was worried about you, I would have let Zax carry you and we would have ran away with some, but not significant, difficulty”. It sounded like some sort of a joke, which her two companions were not sure how to respond to, but Zetsa was completely serious. “No, how good your condition is will not be a problem. Zax”, she turned to her little brother. “This situation is perfect for a spontaneous lesson about formations”.
“Even though they are closing in on us?” Zax asked in doubt.
Tularg sighed. “Listen to big sister Zetsa, little brother Zax. This is not our first encounter with Master’s enemies and from what I’ve been told, also not yours. Besides, big sister Zetsa’s natural affinity to formations is the greatest in our family, slightly superior to even Master’s. If these guys executed a formation that she could not comprehend to a certain degree, big sister Zetsa would have said so and we would have been long gone”.
“Big sis’s forte is actually with formations…” Zax was murmured. It was the first for him to ever learn his big sister best field of practice.
In the past he never pondered deeply on which path of cultivation his big sister excelled, he simply thought her to be a sort of “Jack of all trades”. As it so happened he was right, but his thinking was too small, confined to cultivation techniques, disregarding utilization techniques like formations, Martial techniques and other stuff that suddenly came to his mind like Martial art, even his own Kinetic Force and hints of many things he could still not fathom.
With just a few casual words, Zax’s vision expended ten folds, as if new bricks were being laid on his Martial path, which he now could walk forward on, farther from his current placement as Martial cultivator.
This moment of insight was both surprising and apparent through the splendor that shone from Zax’s eyes.
“Little brother Zax?”
Zetsa and Tularg were dumbfounded from the dull expression on Zax face, but then they understood and their hearts began to shake in reverence. This facial expression that was most commonly seen when a person was daydreaming could only signify one of two things. The more familiar side of the spectrum, inattention, yet again in repeating words, daydreaming was one. And then there was the rarest side of the spectrum that indeed, could be sought for, yet achieved without any known manner or method. An accidental manifestation of random components, enlightenment was the second.
Zetsa and Tularg could distinguish the latter from the former only when light returned to Zax’s eyes and a profound expression adorned his face.
Zax smiled. From Tularg finished speech to the end of his enlightenment only two to four seconds have passed, but after such a short passage of time, Zax felt a surge of excitement rising up in him. His former way of thinking always put himself primary as a bodily cultivator and everything else, either secondary or unimportant. Even cultivating his soul was only a means to an end for him to eventually continue cultivating the body. Then, however, he reached a point where he had to get stronger and fast and cultivating the body could not do… looking back, it could be said that practicing the bodily maneuvers and trying to perfect the Kinetic Force put Zax on the verge of this enlightenment. Now, he saw it differently. Cultivating the body was his method of refinement to enhance his person. The peculiar case of his clogged Qi channels limited the things that he could do, the method and techniques that he could practice, but did this mean the he receive the short of the stick?
What were his options, how many different crossroads his path can have and where should he look to broaden his horizons were all questions he had yet to find the answers to. But that did not bother him because now he knew, as black round proof started to take shape in his mind, that…
‘There is more‘. He concluded.
“Big sis, Martial brother… big brother Tularg, when can we go?” For an instant Zax forget their current situation and just wanted to meet up with his Master, to tell him about his moment of insight and ask for his advice.
“Hahaha!” Tularg burst in laughter.
“How audacious, little Zi”, Zetsa held a hand against her lips and tried to maintain a solemn facade while also laughing.
“What?” Absorbed in his thoughts, Zax did not notice the two’s astonishment until it changed to pleased laughter.
“Mm…” Zetsa mused. “Nothing, nothing”. She said. The matter of Zax’s enlightenment was not something that she or Tularg wanted to intrude, merely, it was such a treasured event that neither of them had ever experienced, yet both were overly joyed for Zax.
Whether Zax knew what it was that provided him the sudden insight or did not, until he will fully grasp all it had offered him, it would be best to leave it alone. After all, what followed enlightenment was a process.
“Back to what I was saying”, Zetsa waved her hand and affectionately looked at Zax. “The beasts and people encircling us have about one minute to complete their formation. Little Zi, which way do you thing would be best to avoid the formation?” Her temperament toward her little brother clearly improved after his enlightenment. Zetsa was too happy to remain dissatisfied with him and keep call him by his name.
Zax calculated for a single breath of time before opening his mouth to answer. “In this case… big sis said that we should act as baits instead of fighting back. Let’s just wait for the completion of the formation to reach its pinnacle and exist the encirclement before it will be finished”. Zax answered.
It was a short answer due to their limited amount of time before the fifty three would complete the formation. The full answer Zax had in mind was… To utterly break the formations, the best way is to interrupt the one who act as the core of the formations. The result, in this case, would be similar to Zax’s fight against Eden Formation’s Disciplinary Class. On the other hand, although most affective, utterly breaking the formation is also to most risky move since by aiming to break the core, one basically have to challenge to most formidable enemy in a situation when time is of the essence.
If the goal is to avoid the formation and to fight back, then the second option Zax thought of was to exist the scope of the formation by hastily trampling the weakest link in the formation, the weakest enemy that is part of the formation. This event would be partly similar to Zax’s fight against the canines. At this point after breaching the formations, one would just need to be careful and not let his enemies encircle him again.
Lastly, there is Zax answer to Zetsa. When aiming to run away, regardless of what reason, it is best to let those who raise the formation reach to point of no return, the short window when not completing the formation can result in a backlash. By then, if one manages to escape the scope of the formation, he or she will gain an advantage, where they could either land a critical blow to the enemy or escape before the enemy will have time to react.
Of course, there was also the solution of breaking the formation after it had been complete. This case is the other part of Zax’s fight against the canines. This case is also practically a bet that after the last scolding Zetsa gave Zax, he would not hurry to take.
“Good”. Zetsa agreed with Zax. “Really good”.
Next to her Tularg also nodded affirmatively.
“Okay, we should start move”. Zetsa said. “Little Zi, by going with your solution, it doesn’t matter through which expert we try to break through”, she led Zax and Tularg across the mountain wall and into one of the burrows. “But you can still better your chances when taking the environment into account”.
Her dark golden aura emerged and illuminated the pathway inside the burrow, which was about two three meters tall and two meters wide. Deeper in the burrow there were groups of fury beasts that retreated into many other pathways when they felt Zetsa’s imposing aura. In truth, those beasts were only capable to advance a step or half a step before the three passed them, but fear still lingered in their hearts, therefore, they kept withdrawing from any pathway that was remotely close to that of the three.
“These guys encircled the mountain along with us in an attempt so we won’t discover them. Inside the mountain, though, their Soul Sense will have hard time detecting us through the stone”. Zetsa said with a smile. “We, on the contrary, can more easily perceive the burrows and pathways when within the mountain. Little Zi, the beasts who live in this mountain are called Pawed Woodpeckers, these beasts build their nests beneath the base of secluded mountains. The farther nests are usually tens of meters from the mountain base and not so deep underneath the ground. If we’ll reach these nests before they’ll complete the formation we’ll be in the clear”.
“Don’t they also know about the Pawed Woodpeckers’ nests?” Zax asked.
“They should know if they waited in this cave for a group of Master’s apprentices, us”. Tularg answered.
“But we did not give them any indication that we know that they are following us until after they started executing the formation and we kept stand idly even after. Now it is too late for them to stop us. Whoever will be faster will win”. Zetsa continued to explain. “Also, if we’ll make it to the outer layer of nests, gaining distance and escaping would be as simple as digging up a few meters”.
‘Digging up?’ Though both Zax and Tularg. That would be a good example of what needed to be done if they were Pawed Woodpeckers. ‘Burst through!’ The two could not agree on nothing else. They were not just trying to escape, but lure their enemies to a trap.
It goes without saying that the experts on the other side figured the three’s idea to escape the scope of the formations through the Pawed Woodpeckers’ nests, and a few regretted the decision to proceed with extreme caution for the sake of completing the formation.
Zax, Zetsa and Tularg did not pay heed to the frightened Pawed Woodpeckers and found themselves in the inner nests seconds before the completion of the formation. With this, they no longer had to be concerned with the formation’s effect and only had to get to the outer nests to leave the encirclement.
Zax blasted the ceiling of the outer nest they were in and the three emerged from beneath the ground roughly sixty meters from several of their pursuers. Among them two were in the Core Master realm.
Killing them would have been simple, but the formation was already complete and the three did not really escape in the ideal nick of time to play around.
There were three Mist Lords with the Core Masters and a group of five more three hundred meters left and right.
The transparent orange half dome that was the formation, reach third of the mountain’s height but had a much larger span. When the five saw Zax, Zetsa and Tularg, they sent word to their companions and began to deactivate the formation.
The fifty three only need seconds to cancel the formations. If Tularg was in perfect shape, Zetsa would have waited with just giving notion that they are planning to escape to make sure that the fifty three would assume that they are slow and would follow without suspicions.
Unfortunately, Tularg was not in perfect condition, hence, she did not take to risk and ordered him and Zax to immediately escape.
“Faster! Faster! Faster!”
“We got to catch them!”
Calls of urgency resonated as the peak experts among the fifty three orders around.
“We escaped and they are on our tail, big sis, what now?” Zax Sensed with his Soul Sense the fifty three assemble in batches and running after them. He was not one bit pressured by the threat of so many experts. After seeing the maximum height of their formations he learned the limit of what a group of this number and level of experts could achieve, and if a next time will occur and he would be alone, he could effortlessly escape by using the Kinetic Force to soar.
“Little Zi, including this one, there are still two caves before Master’s. Eldest Martial brother or eldest Martial sister should be guarding not far from the tunnel to Master’s cave. Go ahead of us and give whoever is there a call”. Zetsa said with a smile of anticipation.