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Book 5 – Horns, Chapter 29 – Use Your Head

The diverse extermination of Ginlin’s five escort members was far from being subtle as conventional assassination. For Hagen, Zax and Mes, since neither of the five was their real target, as long as they could eliminate them quickly, being showy was tolerable.

On the other hand, due to the explosive signals and kills, and the radical fluctuations of mist energy, mostly Hagen’s, the reclusive experts who cultivated their souls in the surrounding mountains of the first Savage Cave were awakened in trepidation from their meditative state.

Not just the reclusive experts took note from the one sided massacre. The savages who inhabited this mountain area also discovered the scent of blood, which aroused to a degree their killing intent.

Still, neither the reclusive experts nor the savages, in the end, sought to engage with the guilty three.

The reclusive experts, being… well, sane in mind, knew better than get themselves involve in a brawl between second level Core Masters, much less crazy first level Core Masters who were willing to detonate their mist  energy. Yes, the fluctuations of Mes’s first meal were not discreet. Moreover, if one of the groups had relations with these reclusive experts, they would have most likely looked for them before the fight.

As for the savages… Almost a year ago, when Zax descended the mountains of the first Savage Cave with the, back then, crippled Carl, he slaughtered on his way many of the bird type beasts living on the mountains around the entrance to the second Savage Cave.

Now, the several savages that remained or immigrated to the mountains, although simpletons due to their erratic state of mind, could still sense the terrifying fluctuation of mist energy of experts much stronger than them. Thus, if not mentally, then at least physically those savages felt oppressed and incapable of forcing their bodies to approach the scene of the fight.

Hagen, Zax and Mes regrouped outside of the boundary of the gravitational force, having a clean line of sight of the tunnel’s entrance leading to the second Savage Cave.

“Big sister Hagen, aren’t we going to proceed and wait beside the entrance?” Zax asked. His right hand and feet were a bit bloody, but it did not bother him. All it thought about was the readiness to intercept Ginlin like Hagen instructed.

Hagen, on the other side, still in her animalistic form, had her Hawk’s legs completely red.

Contrary to the two, Mes was cleanly standing in his scaly bodysuit. The wound he received from the second yellow fox he ate was difficult to discern in his human form and was currently healing.

Hagen tilted her hawk physique in refusal. ‘No need. I though it over after spectating your fights. Yours and little brother Mes’s role in the killing is over. The rest is up to me’. Hagen’s words were absolute and detached, hitting Zax and Mes like the ice at the bottom of a cold water bucket.

“Big sister Hagen, you mean the two of us joined you to watch and relay the results of the assassination to Master in case of-”

‘Failure’. Hagen finished the frowning Mes. ‘That’s right. Uncle did not specify your purpose of coming with me because he could not know for certain in what position we would be by this point. I also had some hopes of the two of you at the beginning. Now, however, I’ve changed my mind‘. From watching the two, Hagen realized that she was rushed. Even if they worked in combination with her, Hagen was not confident of all three of them returning home. And so, she resorted to the most probable plan that will give all three of them chance to go back and possibly kill Ginlin.

“But to constantly let our eldest Martial brothers and sister risk themselves…” By Mes’s protestation Zax understood that this was not the first time he accompanied Hagen, Raroen or possibly Simel, only to look from the sidelines.

‘Do you think yourself capable of lending any sort of help against Ginlin?’ Hagen decided to lay the truth before her little Martial brothers.

Mes refrained from answering. It was an undeniable fact that both he and Zax were useless against an opponent at the third level of the Core Master realm.

‘And you, little brother Zax?’ Seeing that Zax did not resign himself to her query, Hagen asked him, too.

“Depends on how weak he would be after exiting the second Savage-”

‘I said it before, when Ginlin will leave the second Savage Cave, the fatigue will weaken his soul and mist energy to about the Beginner phase of the third Core Master’s level. Be that as it may, since his real cultivation level is at the Peak of the Core Master realm, even when worn out, his body fitness level still possesses the toughness of the Peak of the first realm. That is much stronger than your bodily cultivation, even if he doesn’t have the same benefits that are only attainable by cultivation of a true bodily refinement technique’.

‘Furthermore, little brother Zax, you also cannot use mist energy, and so can only rely on soul attacks. But, how much are you convinced in yourself that any of the soul attacks you cultivated can affect a tired Peak Core Master expert?’ Hagen caught to the peculiar palm strike Zax used to transmit the Soul Binding formations to the weaker second level Core Master. When she saw the reaction of his opponent, she understood immediately that her youngest Martial brother has in his arsenal a decent soul attack. Yet, in her opinion it still was not sufficient. ‘And that is if you managed to catch him off guard during his most crucial time!’

Ginlin did not venture to the second Savage Cave for a tour of the vista. He came to collect a fiery attribute liquid to ensure that he will break through the last bottleneck of the Core Master realm. Regardless of how weak he will be when exiting to the first Savage Cave, his state of mind would be in utmost vigilance.

With that, even if it was hard for him, Zax had to admit that against Ginlin he would just stand in Hagen’s way.

Only allowed on

“Then what now?” A little reluctant, Zax asked, dissatisfied from his inability to help just as much as Mes.

Hagen rested her eyes on Zax and Mes. Her gaze was unyielding. From this moment on she prepared herself to the appearance of their real target. ‘Now I’ll quickly narrate for you two what to do when Ginlin will arrive’. Her words were serious and stern, with no room for the two to offer their thoughts, only listen.

‘It doesn’t matter that you can’t see it, but this is an idle opportunity for me and for the household to rid ourselves from a terrible enemy even without your help… Upon his arrival, Ginlin will search for his escort, to find if it’s safe for him to consume the fiery attribute liquid. When he will not find them, or rather discover their remains with his Soul Sense, he will definitely try to consume the fiery attribute liquid as fast as possible. In essence, this will be my chance to strike. However, for you I will not explain in great detail how I will react, the two of you just need to be aware of what to do, correspondingly to the outcome of my initial attack’. Hagen spoke in a hurried tone.

Ginlin could make it back either at any giving moment or spend days in the second Savage Cave. Since she could not be certain, Hagen treated the situation as if Ginlin was just about to exist the tunnel.

‘Obstructing Ginlin from consuming the fiery attribute liquid would be nearly impossible, that is why my intention is to attack the instant he will take the first sip of the fiery attribute liquid’.

“Big sister, are you aiming for that short window…?” Mes asked with an astonished countenance.

‘It is not as you think, Mes!’ Hagen rebuked. ‘What’s matter is if my initial attack will succeed, and you would see me following up with a second attack, be sure that Ginlin will never leave the territory of the Savage Caves’. Before giving either of the two the chance to ask, Hagen continued. ‘If I was to fail, recalled what I told you and flee without worrying about me. Spend a few days in the Savage Cave and return to the household. Little brother Mes, you already know what your duty would be then’.

The two had a hard time leisurely agreeing and in the first couple of seconds after Hagen stopped talking, their disposition kept them held in place.

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“I understand”. Mes, finally, shifted his resolute gaze. Placing a hand on Zax’s shoulder, he turned to leave for a spot father from the entrance to the second Savage Cave, but with a good line of sight, since unlike Zax he did not possess an attribute and could not rely on his Soul Sense in the Savage Cave.

Flipping her wings, Hagen also departed to a mountain’s peak half a kilometer from the entrance to the second Savage Cave.

“Big brother Mes, do you have any idea what big sister Hagen’s plan is?” Zax and Mes located an abandoned nest about two kilometers from the entrance to the second Savage Cave. The two sat on a pile of branches that made up the nest and kept they eyes on the entrance to the second Savage Cave with lower heads.

Mes kept his eyes fixated to the same direction as he answered Zax. “It might not be accurate to bodily cultivation, and since you can’t cultivate mist energy that is why you probably don’t know… The window big sister aiming to strike is the instant Ginlin will initiate his breakthrough. You see, breaking through to a new realm is entirely different than breaking through another level of the same realm. A short explanation to why big sister Hagen aims for the moment of breakthrough is that in the process of breaking through realms, one’s mist energy is completely unusable”.

“The prerequisite of breaking through realms is the purification of mist energy, a natural process that occurs slowly at the peak of a realm. Mist energy coalesce and consolidate a sphere, a Core, in the dantian, and to make the breakthrough, reach a new realm, a cultivator must crack open and shatter the Core“.

‘Such a thing happens when mist cultivators reach the final bottleneck of a realm!’ Zax was stunned. Then, an unprecedented thought flashed in his head. “So if I’ll kill a mist cultivator in the midst of breaking through a new realm, I could collect from his dantian a third realm Earth’s Core?!” He asked with his head hitting up and his body on the verge of shivering from excitement.

If mist energy coalesce and consolidate into a refined Core at the pinnacle of a realm, then does it not mean that at the moment before a mist cultivator shatters this Core, he or she will have inside of them an Earth’s Core perfectly useable, numerous times better than the best D level Earth’s Core?!

Even without looking at him, Mes could guess what went on in his Martial brother’s head.

Because of their irrelevant role in the mission, Mes could not laugh at Zax as he usually does, only release a small chuckle. “Not an ‘Earth’s Core’, a pure Core made out of mist energy. Earth’s Cores are the product of Nature, after all. But you are right. If you can kill the mist cultivator or even just penetrate the dantian at the moment of breaking through a realm, it is possible for you to acquire a treasure no natural Earth’s Core can compete with, something that is not short from the treasures of the second Savage Cave. And if that Core belonged to a mist cultivator who was a nip from the third realm… use your head to imagine”.

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