After saying goodbye to Anet, Zax rushed back to his home.
‘I hope Master and big sis’s Master will understand’. He sighed inwardly.
The way he planned it was to meet his old friends and return to meet Zetsa’s Master. But as things progressed and he learned of Anet’s situation, he made a haste decision to make things right for her, to first purge the bastards that harmed her. This sort of decision was coming from his heart rather than his head. Zax knew that and that it was the same to when he went to solve the matter at Eden Formation.
Considering his previous experience, Zax gathered that what he chose to do can have the same conclusion as his visit to Eden Formation. Even if he will develop a less wrenching method to utilize the Kinetic Force, instead of properly familiarizing with it step by step by exercising and advancing in the bodily maneuvers, there was no guarantee that he would be able to beat a second level Core Master. Furthermore, he was not sure how long Laivien could stretch for him the awaited date of the three years’ time that Zetsa’s Master gave him.
Still, if there was a chance for him to become stronger and unassailable by the powers of the Derneldar family he had to try and grab it.
Luckily, when Zax got home, his parents were out along with Liz and her stroller. Zax was relieved. Though his parents were aware that at some point he would return to the beasts’ territory, just as their eldest daughter does frequently, it was still an internal struggle for them to let him go again and for him to leave them and his baby sister.
Finding pen and paper, Zax left a note for his parents to pass on the Zetsa.
“Mom, dad, Liz,
Sorry for leaving just after getting back… I promise to return soon.
Please tell big sis that I reached a sudden bottleneck and so left to the place where to grapes grow.
Tell big sis that I’ll return on my own after I’ll breakthrough and I apologize (she’ll know for what).
Lastly, ask big sis to keep an eye on Anet and if possible talk to her to understand…
Will return as soon as I can,
Zax attempted to sound subtle as he possibly could. He left a hint for his big sister to figure his whereabouts but counted on her to give him the time he needed to farther his proficiency with the Kinetic Force and instead of following him, to keep an eye on Anet like he asked in the improvised letter.
As he departed, Zax threw the jacket in a dumpster before crossing the boundary between two species that separated cave twenty five and Valgarel. Like he mentioned in the letter, “the place where the grapes grow” was exactly the Savage Caves and Zax destination was the one he had been to not so long ago, the first Savage Cave.
Zax’s purpose of returning to the Savage Cave was the unripe Blood Red Grapes. Since his motive was to improve his control over the Kinetic Force and the body was the aspect which generated the Kinetic Force through kinetic energy… for fast recovery of the staggering amount of energy that the body depleted when kinetic energy was purified and manifested the Kinetic Force, whether by practicing the bodily maneuvers or with Zax’s dangerous method, only the unripe Blood Red Grapes could make do. In addition, the unripe Blood Red Grapes could also accelerate the growth of his left arm.
A day had passed.
While Zax was on his way to the Savage Cave, the school principal of the number one Martial school in El-Eden, did as she promised and arrived to Anet’s home.
“Please, Don Ram”. Per Don’s, the school principal, request, Beka served her and her daughter two cups of tea and left the living room. Though it was her home and Anet was her daughter, as a common citizen of Kingdom Earth, that is, not a cultivator, it was more appropriate of her to leave the two experts alone and even more so, after Don asked her to let her talk with Anet privately for a while.
Nevertheless, to have one of the most renowned people of El-Eden, maybe Kingdom Earth, did make Beka awfully nervous, and she hoped that after their conversation her daughter would finally return to the cheerful girl that she once was, even if the reason for her resent despondency will remain a secret.
Sipping from her small tea cup, Anet quietly waited for Don to speak first.
“Anet”, Don lowered her tea cup and comfortably sat herself on the padding of the armchair. “For several months you neglected your school commitments and stayed at home. Looking at you records, it was odd to see such a drastic change in your temperament toward you studies and cultivation. You should know how strict our school’s rules are… Would you tell me what happened that made you violate them?” She may have sounded rebuking, but Don wanted to state exactly for Anet the current outlook of the school on her situation. That way, if Anet wanted the school’s support, Don’s support, she would need to explain clearly what happened between her and Binjo and not attempt to hide anything out of fear.
For a short time Anet hesitated to reply. Every time she remembered the pain and shame, it felt like remnants of Binjo’s control over her were still in her heart, forming an invisible hand and squeezing it.
“My mother…” Anet spoke faintly.
Don showed her that she understood and nodded her head. “She is in a bedroom; she would not be able to listen”. She confirmed.
As a Core Breaker, Anet’s Soul Sense could not reach far enough to detect her mother’s current whereabouts in the house, and so she was not sure if she could speak. Anet, not matter what, wanted to at least protect her family from the knowledge of what happened to her and the identity of the culprit they could do nothing against.
Anet released a pent up breath and began to recite word for words, what she told Zax to Don and expanded a little further. “I can’t remember how long he tortured me… only that after he tore the skin on my lower back, his brother decided that it’s enough and took him away. Before they left me, his brother threatened me not to talk to anyone and advised me leave to school, otherwise, I’ll drag my family to an even worse situation and no one would be able to help me…”
Lastly she was willing to reveal the scars on her back, but Don stopped her. Naturally, when Don arrived she used her Soul Sense to survey her students and discovered the long and repugnant scar on her back. Now she knew the source that caused the scar and had no intention to force Anet to show it to her eyes.
Anet hugged herself and cringed. “How… How I could risk my family…? I could not even if someone from school came to talk to me… only he gave me the strength to do so, he and knowing that you might help me, principal Ram”. Trails of tears streamed down her cheeks and Anet forced her voice not to sound sobbing.
Of what she learned from Anet, one thing in particularly made Don’s nerves twitch in anger. ‘No one came to visit her from school?’ It was not possible, she, herself, spoke with the teacher that Mizuri sent to her home. ‘Could it be…?’ There was not even an ounce of doubt of Mizuri’s loyalty, but the teacher’s… That was another matter entirely.
Don got up from the armchair and moved to sit beside Anet on the wide couch. Patting her head, she used her soul energy to comfort Anet. “I understand everything now. Tomorrow come to school regularly. Don’t worry; no one will obstruct you on your way that I promise. When you’ll arrive to school, come to my office. Today I will take care of Binjo Derneldar, tomorrow I will take you as my Tal”.
Cave two. Eden Formation. Principal office, Don’s office.
Don sat on a white chair with a tall backrest. On the other side of her desk, on a little less impressive chair, sat Mizuri.
Frowning, Mizuri turned to Don after hearing the cause of what brought Zax to their school, bent on killing Binjo. “That Derneldar student was given too much liberty”. Remembering his own words to Zax, he felt deep regret. “To harm a fellow student to such severity… As an educator and a guardian I failed”.
“Mizuri, in a hour or so Dureil Derneldar should arrive. While I’ll deal with him, go find and bring to me teacher Slaverin. Also, bring the boy Binjo. Do so after I’ll mention the boy and make sure, when you enter, that teacher Slaverin can’t talk”.
Though she was curious of finding out his real identity and connection to Anet, Don did not probe for details about Zax. It was not because she was considerate toward Zax’s privacy or anything of this sort. She intended to ask Anet about him, but when she arrived to her home and used her Soul Sense, a certain finding partly uncovered who he was.
“What are you planning to say?” Mizuri slightly moved his body, prepared to get up.
“Something that will cause Dureil to be cautious”. Don smiled cunningly.
“Oh… have you decided to sever all ties with the Derneldar family when this case will be over?”
“Not at all, Mizuri, not even if I wanted to I would do that. Put aside the difficulties I will have to deal with by trying to convince the school’s board, have you forgotten what that frightening little boy said? If in a short span of time he will reach my level of strength, as a bodily cultivator, his endurance would be higher than my own. If then the old founder of the Derneldar will hinder his pursuit for revenge and fight him, he will definitely lose, and the Derneldar family’s position as one of the five great families of El-Eden will perish. You see now, Mizuri? It is not that I should sever our ties with the Derneldars, but exploit them as much as I can before their power will greatly diminish and the familial powers begin to shift”.
“That sure sounds convenient, principal Ram, but forgive me, it is simply too ridicules course of action to rely on. You can’t seriously consider what that boy said. Granted, in his generation he is probably among the very few super geniuses that stand at the summit. But for someone so young, scratch that, someone below the age of one hundred to contend against a second level Core Master… that’s unheard of!”
Don’s smile stretched wider and a brilliant azure light shimmered in her eyes. “Tell me, Mizuri, of those super geniuses that you mentioned, how many possess a unique attribute?”
“An attribute?!” Mizuri bewildered. “None, absolutely none!”
What was a “Unique Attribute” to a Martial cultivator? More than validation of cultivation level, it was the most sought after proof of a breakthrough every Core Master strived to achieve, the first fracture in the indissoluble bottleneck of the third realm!
“That boy, at the time, I detect a tiny presence of a dark attribute in his soul. It’s very unlikely that he reached the Core Master realm as a bodily cultivator. Even if he did, he could only be at the beginning to the first level”.
“Mizuri, as much as I would like to just expel the Derneldar student and keep the school’s relations with the Derneldar family as they are, I can’t imagine that a great family will take lightly someone that publicly offends it, much less someone unrelated to any other great family. Among the five great families of El-Eden which isn’t proud? Which will let a matter such as this slide? Even the slightest vulgarity toward the least significant family member will take notice. Killing two family members… I should not have to say anything further”.
“Principal Ram… first there are the twins geniuses of Tongguo and then there is the wild youngster of Shitou and now El-Eden, too, have an unmatched prodigy…” Mizuri sighed. “What about the girl, Anet? Is it really safe to leave her alone?”
“Her…” Don closed her eyes and chuckled. “There is more than one monster by her side”.