“So Grandmaster had this kind of past… As a prisoner of the Black Horns tribe’s two leaders…” Zax said in a sober tone. His gaze was directed forward, confronted with the wild vista of Valgarel, which generally was to his liking, but in this moment, as his eyes gauged the path ahead, his face wore a cold expression.
“I’ve told you about it already. To both of us, since childhood, big brother was a figure of undisputed significance! From being our Master, our bond grew and transformed. Kartion to little sister became a spouse, and to me became a big brother”.
“What I did not mention was that a bit earlier before little sister and big brother confessed their feeling, big brother’s name had already risen to prominence as a genius talent. Knowing that big brother was part of the Black Horns tribe, many came, seeking his teachings, but only two had the capacity to ask for them. Among these two, one, who was the first leader of the Silverhorned tribe, Raroken, sent his youngest son, his sole Chaoyue offspring, to the Black Horns tribe to be admitted as big brother’s apprentice. Naturally, since this being a good opportunity for the Black Horns tribe, Kardelion and Karns happily accepted”.
“Of the three strongest tribes in Valgarel, His Valor Ozeyn is the leader of the number one tribe. The Black Horns tribe always occupied the second place, but after the two leaders of the Silverhorned tribe reached the Core Master realm, it did not take them long to bring the power of their tribe to the same level as the Black Horns tribe“.
“Kardelion and Karns wanted to deepen the relationship of the tribe with the Silverhorned tribe, and so agreed to provide accommodation for the youngest son of Raroken. As for this youngest son, he was, and is, your Martial brother, Raroen”.
Kartius did not give Zax a chance to react. Narrating about how Raroen became Grandmaster Kartion’s apprentice was only to lay the foundation to the story ahead.
Kartius continued with the same breath he said Raroen’s name. “Then, a short time after accepting Martial nephew Raroen, big brother and little sister appealed for Karns to allowed to be together”. Now Kartius loosen his consecutive speech as a baleful shimmer flickered in his eyes.
Zax sensed the split second of killing intent his Master emanated and his face turned serious. It was not because the terror the killing intent contained scared him, but the thought of what happened in the next part of the story, that aroused such animosity in his Master’s heart.
“Regardless of big brother also being a Chaoyue type beast, Karns’s obstinacy and rigid traditional zealotry could not accept a Brown Stag as his daughter spouse. In addition, other than me and Karns, the tribe had another Black Stag, which Karns already favored and groomed to be little sister’s spouse”.
“You can’t imagine big brother reaction after being refused by Karns. Big brother was practically the slave of the Black Horns tribe for close to a century. The time he did not spend instructing me and little sister he mostly used to study the tribe’s cultivation techniques and improve them. As for improving his own cultivation, big brother barely had any time, yet the fact that he did position him as the unrivaled genius cultivator of the tribe. Despite his accomplishments and aptitude for the Martial path, he was constantly being restricted by Kardelion and Karns”.
“Waiting for little sister and big brother outside of Karns’s residence, I was only able to hear the conversation inside. The moment Karns denied big brother’s and little sister’s mutual affection, big brother could not restrain himself and uttered a curse. Karns, in response, decided to punish big brother for his supposed impudence. At the time, due to big brother’s contribution he was allowed to cultivate to the first level of the Core Master realm, Karns, on the other hand, was in the Intermediate phase of the third level. The disparity between the two was too vast. With his upper hand, Karns struck big brother a deadly blow, nearly killing him and then threw him into the tribe’s imprisonment chambers”.
Kartius averted his eyes to Zax and his voice turned aggrieved. “Martial son, the mental shock little sister had to suffer from our own father’s actions… for that alone our household won’t stand to exist in the same world as Karns”. He said and continued mockingly. “Karns and Kardelion thought that they had big brother under their finger, that every bit of his doing did not miss their prying eyes. Little did they know that while helping me and little sister cultivate to the second realm in his steps, big brother developed the initial gates of the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement”.
“To hide his bodily cultivation, big brother only trained each gate in accordance to the fitness level his mist energy already refined his body to. Big brother, when taking Karns’s attack was a first level Core Master, his mist energy naturally refined his body to the Core Breaker level. That being said, as a practitioner of the Seven Stages Of Bodily Refinement, you should already know that the refinement process a bodily refinement technique is far more potent than the refinement process of a breakthrough in mist energy”.
“While big brother was heavily injured from Karns’s blow, and his appearance was wretched, his body’s ability to endure was beyond Karns’s expectations, which made it easy for big brother to execute his revenge”.
“Revenge?!” Zax ears perked and his eyes suddenly had a strange, puckish shine.
Till now he mostly heard of how Grandmaster Kartion was mistreated for something that was not his fault, nor was a bad thing. He felt disdain toward the two leaders of the Black Horns tribe and their system of hierarchy. It actually aroused old memories of his, when Serah’s mother, Jinka Lova, took him, Serah, Anet and Dane to the Young Mist Users Conference, where he had a bad encounter with the people of the Martinez family, who confidently threatened and wanted to kill him just because of their higher social class.
A story about an underdog who was ready to bite back… this kind of stories brought a thrill to Zax’s heart.
Kartius restrained his sneer. “Underestimate once big brother and you will pay a hefty price. For a regular first level Core Master, the wounds Karns inflicted on big brother should have taken about three months to heal. Therefore, when he imprisoned big brother, Karns stationed only two first level Core Master guards at the entrance to the imprisonment chamber, so neither I nor little sister or Raroen will be able to help him. At most, I and Raroen were allowed to visit big brother for a short amount of time, while little sister was forbade from seeing him at all. Nevertheless, as things were arranged by Karns to obstruct me as much as possible from supporting big brother and little sister, seeing big brother was more than sufficient to execute an escape plan”.
“In on the plan were only I, big brother and little sister’s closest maidservant. Raroen was but a child, back then, big brother and I knew that if we’ll involve him, best case scenario his tribe will reprimand him while trying to repair the damage he caused by helping the Black Horns tribe catch us. Worst case scenario, which made us completely reluctance to risk involving Raroen, was the chance that he would get caught. If that were to happen, Karns and Kardelion could have used him as leverage to maneuver Raroken to do their bidding, while upholding some kind pretense to avoid releasing Raroen”.
“Then how did you proceed?” Zax asked eager to find out.
“We waited for the natural course of things to happen. When Raroen informed his father, on his own occurred, that his training has been halted because big brother was imprisoned, Raroken got angered at Karns and Kardelion for impeding his son cultivation. In but a few days the, Raroken came to sort out why his most gifted son has to suffer the backlash of Karns’s dispute with big brother. The day of his arrival was the execution day of big brother’s plan”.
“While Karns and Kardelion hosted a welcoming banquet for Raroken, an expert of their caliber, my duty was to wait for little sister to follow her maidservant to a predetermined spot in the tribe’s Ember Gardens, a place in the tribe only the tribe’s leaders, elders and their second and third generations are allowed to enter. Of course, being with little sister, the maidservant was no obstructed by the Ember Gardens’ guards”.
“As I was waiting for the two, big brother commenced his part of the plan. From wounds that should have taken several months to heal, big brother mostly recuperated in the couple of days it took Raroken to arrive. Being a Chaoyue type beast and having a similar cultivation level as the two guards outside the chamber he was in, big brother was supposed to dispatch the two and meet up with me, little sister and her maidservant and together seek asylum under His Valor Ozeyn”. After speaking, Kartius heaved a long sigh.
“Even from me and little sister big brother managed to conceal the vastness of the malice he nurtured in his heart toward Karns and Kardelion… When he escaped, he targeted one of the two most precious treasures of the Black Horns tribe, which was kept in Karns’s residence, the violet stone you trained with for the past month in little sister’s valley”.
Hearing the mentioning of the violet stone, Zax’s eyes widened. ‘One of the two most precious treasures…?’ He knew firsthand how amazing the violet stone is, but to such degree…
“Hundreds of years ago, Karns found the violet stone at the entrance to the second Savage Cave. With the help of the violet stone, he could keep up with the cultivation speed of Zhihui type beasts. In many internal events of the tribe, the first place contestant was, more than half the times, offered the option to receive a training session with the violet stone. For such a rare opportunity, even outsiders entreat Karns and Kardelion for the permission to take part in the tribe’s events”.
“This unique treasure, which Karns held dear to his heart, when Raroken came and indirectly played a part in big brother’s ploy, for big brother this was the perfect moment to almost unhindered make Karns pay.”
“Big brother lived in Karns’s residence for nearly a century. Not only did he know where Karns hid the violet stone, he also knew how many guards protected it and their level of cultivation. Four Beginner phase second level Core Master, three of which were Shenghuo type beasts. Against a surprise assault from big brother, they did not have a chance”.
“After grabbing the violet stone, big brother met with the three of us and by the time Karns and Kardelion heard of our escape, we already were in the private territory of His Valor Ozeyn’s tribe, the Red Rose Beaks tribe”.