The fiery red and icy blue nitrified and combined into a glow of white.
‘Not good!’ Ginlin’s soul sensed the accumulation of potent mist energy.
The sheer quality of the mist energy indicated that the mist refinement technique Hagen cultivated was several times better than his. With the mist refinement technique Ginlin cultivated, to match the destructiveness of the coming attack he had to reach the Advanced phase of the third Core Master’s level.
The spinning hawk shaped comet rained down faster than Ginlin could bring his body to avoid it. The beak of the hawk, like a rifle’s bullet, mercilessly hit the yellow fox’s six tails that sprang forward to accept and defend from the piercing attack.
“Hahaha, a third realm Core!” For the first time in his life a sense of greed overwhelmed Zax. Furthermore, the third realm Core belonged to an enemy. There were not any compassion or remorse thoughts. Only strong desire!
Watching Hagen flying toward the immobile Ginlin, carrying an attack that could topple mountains, Zax felt like it was his time to move.
“Don’t try to stop me, big brother Mes”. His voiced echoed from far away by the time he mentioned Mes’ name.
Mes, in his animalistic form, from the tension of Hagen forthcoming collision with Ginlin, became unresponsive. When he noticed that Zax was gone and heard his name resonating in his hears, the shockwave from the collision already reached the distant nest he and Zax settled in, and blasted it along with countless rocks and other nests in the mountain area.
“Eh?! You ssstupid brat!”
The rumbling shook the mountain on which Hagen and Ginlin fought, and quakes spread through the ground in a radius of almost five kilometers for a full minute, before the earth started to settle and the cloud of dust at the epicenter of the collision showed signs of dispersing.
Within the very same minute…
In the midst of the uproar Zax darted, undisturbed by the instability of the earth or the fluctuations in the air.
Zax was a bodily cultivator, he practiced the bodily maneuvers, his balance and reflexes were topnotch, capable of putting even a third realm mist cultivator to shame.
Upfront, roughly eight hundred meters head and the distant growing shorter, was an immense cloud of dust and terrifying winds that almost carried Zax off the ground a few times.
The field of battle stretched beyond the area of the gravitational force.
Unleashing his Soul Sense far and wide, Zax immediately figured out the positions of the two, Hagen and Ginlin, inside the hovering dust cloud. However, while his Soul Sense spread and encompassed them, Hagen and Ginlin, with souls no weaker and even stronger than Zax’s, also felt the foreign Soul Sense.
From his Soul Sense Zax perceived the two inside a forty something deep crater at the base of the mountain. After the collision they enter a provisional cessation, ninety meters from each other.
Hagen had a broken wind and a fissure across her beak. Ginlin, on the other hand, was in a much poorer state. Five of his tails were nowhere to be seen. The sixth tail was bent unnaturally and lost a lot of its magnificent fur. And worst of all, from an egg size hole between Ginlin’s left eye and his forehead poured endless amount of blood. Needless to say, the look on Ginlin’s face was ashen as well as very ugly.
A second after Zax comprehended the picture his Soul Sense perceived, he sensed the retaliation of Ginlin’s soul energy, and then his dejected yellow fox figure vanished.
‘Where-’ The thought was deafened by an impending sound…
“RaaaAOOH!” A huge maw with abnormally sharp teeth reached from within the dust cloud, so close to his face it got in a single breath that Zax could perfectly smell the blood covered fangs.
When Ginlin felt Zax’s Soul Sense, he instantly activated his own Soul Sense to get a better understanding of the sudden invader. Ginlin did not have a human in his escort, therefore he assessed that Zax was not a bored reclusive expert but an ally of the “Wretched bird”. But what made this human confidant that he can interfere in the fight. From what his Soul Sense perceived in the short moment Ginlin used it to discern to owner of the invasive Soul Sense, he found that the human of but a youngling with not mist cultivation, but disbelievingly an oddly body strength. With regards to Zax’s soul, Ginlin discerned that the human boy was inferior to him and logically not a threat, but from his abrupt, daring appearance, he suspected the human boy possessed some concealed means. Thus, before his Soul Sense could get to Zax’s sea of consciousness, he turned his broken remaining tail to Hagen and pounced to finish the threat sooner than letting it materialize.
The sense of danger from the practically half dead yellow fox dazed Zax. What he felt was no longer a simple killing intent, but the presence of the grim reaper, lifting his scythe from underneath his neck!
At this moment Zax could not remember if he ever has been so close to death door. Raising his arms to abstract the yellow fox’s maw from closing over his head, he felt the sharp teeth bite through his skin, then flesh, lastly bone.
Gritting his own teeth, Zax silently admitted to himself that he really underestimated Ginlin’s might, even in his beat up state. Somehow, three words flashed inside Zax’s mind, ‘Third realm Core’, and he got back to his senses just about as his arms got stuck inside Ginlin’s mouth. But to Zax’s astonishment, despite the superiority in body fitness level, Ginlin’s fangs were incapable of completely tearing off his arms.
The reason, actually, was known to Zax, but only one part of it. To fend from Ginlin’s bite, as the yellow fox’s teeth reached his bones, Zax instinctively summoned kinetic energy and converged it to small ripples of Kinetic Force. Those ripples prevented Ginlin from locking his teeth and ripping Zax’s arms. As for why Zax did not blast Ginlin’s head off with a burst of Kinetic Force? That was because he felt the toughness of Ginlin’s fangs and in his plight he was more likely to blast his arms instead. At best, he could kicked Ginlin’s lower jaw with Kinetic Force, but even if he will manage to break it, the kick would first assist Ginlin’s teeth to dismember his arms.
The part Zax was not aware of, or to be precise, did not take into consideration, was the method of which Ginlin’s body attained its fitness level. Like nearly any mist cultivator, Ginlin’s body was tempered by the natural cycle that occurs when breaking through a new level in mist cultivation, and then allowing the newly refined mist energy to nurture every cell in the body. That method of bodily refinement, however, was akin to the lowest, basically useless, bodily refinement technique. Zax, conversely, cultivated the best bodily refinement technique in New Earth that then even got improved further, thanks to the Black Core. Yes, Ginlin’s body fitness level was higher than Zax’s, but the quality between their standards for the same level was worlds apart!
Returning to the scene of the fight…
“Scree!” Hagen was not slow to react to Zax’s arrival, either. Then again, her flying speed was severely impacted by her broken wing. By the time she got to Zax, Ginlin was holding his arms with his teeth, savoring the taste of human blood and swinging him like a dog’s toy.
The strong flapping of her wings blew a portion of the dust cloud away. Hagen double pupils concentrated on the yellow fox, rather than her dumb Martial brother. Raising her legs, her hawk’s talons, as if ready to snatch a prey, shimmered in an intense white light while exuding both extreme heat and cold.
The long talons stabbed deep into the side of Ginlin’s torso, but the yellow fox did not issue a tiny cry of pain.
Growing madder, while not lessening his bite, Ginlin flexibly swiped his left paw, with his fiery red claws sliced through Hagen’s breast and with greater power, forced his claw to cut until reaching his opponent’s heart.
It all happened too fast for Zax to clearly see. Like all he witnessed were two blurs – one yellow, the other white and silvery – until his eyes adjusted and he saw Hagen and Ginlin, both suffering from fatal wounds, both unbendingly trying to land the killing blow, both not willing to give up.
‘Big sister Hagen is in a deadlock with Ginlin’.
Hagen could crush and tear a chunk from Ginlin at any moment, but she insisted to reach deeper with her talons before clenching. Ginlin’s flexible leg was also in a position to cause further harm to Hagen, but not a fatal blow that will determined the fight. In his position, however, he held a higher chance to claw at Hagen’s heart before she could bring him an instant death.
From the massive loss of blood, some of the fortitude in Ginlin’s eyes began to dim. The prolong battle was not in his favor, especially if Hagen will suddenly decide not to risk it and rip a chunk meat and bones before backing away. Ginlin could release Zax from his jaw and turn to bite Hagen, yet his instinct made him feel something about the human boy that caused him to be vigilant of him.
‘I have to compose myself!’ Zax reprimanded himself. To transmit one of the Soul Binding formations in his sea of consciousness, he had to stabilize himself, in addition to stop concentrating on creating the ripples of Kinetic Force.
A huge yellow paw slammed Zax’s left shoulder.
Ginlin managed to break the shoulder. Zax groaned and lost control on the Kinetic Force in his left arm.
The right side of Ginlin’s jaw slowly sank to Zax’s bone. After the span of one breath, from his left elbow and down, Zax lost his arm.
‘CONCANTRATE!’ Zax bewailed. One arm was totally acceptable, for all Zax cared, Ginlin could rip all is limbs if it would help him to transmit the Soul Binding formations.
Finishing one arm, Ginlin indeed increased the pressure in the right side of his jaw, but now that Zax did not need to channel Kinetic Force in two arms, he, too, increased the output of ripples to the point of almost pushing Ginlin’s teeth out of his flesh.
Ginlin felt his teeth hurting from the repealing force. He became even more cautious from Zax since the repealing force was not created from mist energy or muscle’s strength. Being a mist cultivator, he was not able to recognize the converged kinetic energy, Kinetic Force.
‘Now!’ The yellow paw that hit his shoulder slid back to the ground to steady its owner. Feeling his body lighter and his right arm a little bit freer in Ginlin’s mouth, Zax fixated his center of gravity, grabbed Ginlin’s tongue and streamed through soul energy all the Soul Binding formations in his sea of consciousness.
Ginlin gave Zax a contemptuous, calm look. The human boy dared to send him, a Peak Core Master, a soul attack? Right when he intended to channel a bit of his soul energy to deflect the attack and use the opportunity of contact with Zax’s soul energy to retaliate, his eyes widened in shock. Over twenty emerald weird shapes confronted and then extinguish his defensive layer of soul energy. When those emerald shapes met his offensive soul attack, it, too, could not stand to block all of them.
A sense of dread infested Ginlin’s soul along with the influx of eleven emerald shapes that made it through past his defense and attack.
Ginlin frantically tried to resist the eleven Soul Binding formations, which circled his soul and then split to seven hundred and eighty one smaller shapes, but his efforts were fruitless.
Seeing the expressionless Ginlin and no longer feeling the force of the bite, Zax hurriedly shouted. “His head! Big sis Hagen, CRUSH HIS HEAD!” He did not know for how much time can the Soul Binding formation incapacitate Ginlin and like with the second level Core Master he killed, did not plan to wait and see.
At first, Hagen was unruly, barely paying attention to Zax, other than making sure that he is still alive.
Suddenly feeling the weight of Ginlin’s paw on her breast becoming lighter, she woke up from the madness of the bloodthirstiness and realized that her dumb Martial brother done something to Ginlin.
Showing trust in Zax and not holding back, Hagen released her hold on Ginlin’s torso, flapped her winged and ferociously grabbed hold of Ginlin’s yellow fox head with her shimmering talons.
Utilizing all of her mist energy and strength of her talons…
Hagen crushed Ginlin’s head.
The yellow fox’s body swayed and fell on the ground. Its head now looked like a pile of bone, brain matter and yellow fur. The only intact part was the long jaw that had Zax’s right arm in it.
Following the body of the dead Ginlin, Hagen also fell to the ground. Conserving energy, she returned to her humanoid form.
Zax, too, mimicked the two. His bottom hit the ground with a gentle, almost comedic, sound.
The adrenalin rush subdued the pain in his shoulder and torn elbow. “Ahhhh…!” He let out a long breath and lay on his back. He barely extracted himself physically, but due to his amputated arm, most of his vitality was expended on stopping the bleeding and starting to recuperate.
‘Zax!’ A voice reverberated in his sea of consciousness. The voice was, naturally, Hagen’s.
Turning his head, Zax’s stare met Hagen furious eyes. “We- We killed Ginlin!” Knowing that meaning of her gaze, Zax tried to alleviate the coming scolding.
‘With broken wing, Zax! If Ginlin did not waver from his injuries, he would have killed you before I got to him!’ Hagen actually directed her killing intent toward Zax. If she had the strength, for defying her, if not killing Zax, than she would have beaten him black and blue.
For the fact that it was only a matter of time for Hagen to regain her strength, and from the scary feeling she made him feel, Zax refrained from uttering an additional single word.
‘When we will return and my strength will return to me, I will personally deal with your defiance! Yours also, Mes!’
The minute passed, the dust cloud dispersed and from the wrecked environment, a man wearing purple, scaly bodysuit walked over.
Knowing Hagen’s temperament, Mes obeyed her command and waited from afar for the battle to reach its conclusion. Why was Hagen angry with him? Obviously, for allowing Zax intervene with the fight. Was it fair that Mes was to be punished because of Zax action? No, but as Hagen saw it he was Zax’s elder brother, and if they will go into detail, it was Mes who, unintentionally or not, enticed Zax with the third realm Core. Besides, when Hagen emitted her reprimanding killing intent, Mes hid slyly, thinking to come out after she will calm down. For that behavior Hagen decided to show him the consequence of avoiding his responsibilities.
Looking at Zax, with one arm broking and half missing and the other heavily hurt, Mes cursed the little brat in his heart for being able to see through his fake apologetic countenance.
‘Hmph!’ Mes sneered in his heart. ‘You caused both of us troubles for a third realm Core… Fine, let’s see you make use of it!’