The hour should have been late at night, but not one could visually tell since very few of the caves in Valgarel possessed a copy or similar formation to the Nightly Cover formation of Kingdom Earth.
The debrief and preparations in the blue tower were with accordance to the last scouting report, which meant that the moment all the lines of the formation were ready, the assault will start.
Zax stood at the entrance to the tunnel from the side of Grandmaster Kartion’s cave.
Standing a step inside the tunnel, Grandmaster Kartion, the first line of attack, exuded a domineering air with abundant killing intent. Behind him was the group of experts who attended the debriefing and the Core Master captains of the five tribes. Then, arranged in rows and lines were all the cultivators of the fifth line, from the Core Breaker level and up.
Taking a step forward, a breathtaking scene befell upon the eyes of the hundreds of experts. Grandmaster Kartion proceeded into the tunnel in accelerating strides, ascending in a jump his humanoid form transformed in the blink of an eye to this true, animalistic form.
As his hooves touched the earth, a majestic, seventeen meters tall Brown Stag galloped lightly toward the other end of the tunnel.
Many who have seen the animalistic from of Grandmaster Kartion, the grandiose Brown Stag, were first awestruck, and then cried in exhilaration as the Brown Stag bellowed for war, raised his speed and hunched forward his antlers to impale all who dare stand against him.
Shaking the earth and dashing like a meteor, Grandmaster Kartion exited the tunnel.
Releasing his Sublime Soul Sense, he instantly detected the forces of his enemies.
‘Karns, Kardelion, you waited for me to show myself for so long! Are you now planning to hide behind your worthless underlings?!’ Through his Sublime Soul Sense, Grandmaster Kartion’s voice echoed in the over thousands of enemies’ minds, provoking the two most notorious to reveal themselves.
Two large explosions reverberated in the cave as rays of icy blue and black darkness shot to the air, toward the speeding Brown Stag.
“No more hiding in your shell, Kartion!” The icy blue ray roared.
“You won’t get the time to escape, traitor!” From within the black darkness, a voice roaring a tad louder, threatened.
One ripped through the earth, two descended from the sky, about to collide in a fraction of a second without anyone showing signs of pulling back.
The three strongest beings in this war rammed each other with every ounce of their force.
The ground split into countless fissures, like the design of a spider web, and in a breath it crushed, forming a crater with a surface area of hundreds of meters.
An invisible force traveled through the air, blowing away everything it passes. The shockwave even reached Karns’s and Kardelion’s subordinates, causing all those below the Core Master realm to suffer internally.
“Move!” Merson commanded. An azure, belligerent aura emanated out of him, Kartius, Raroen and Somi as they each transformed into their animalistic form and followed Grandmaster Kartion out after his collision with Karns and Kardelion.
As Zax watched them, still within the safety of Grandmaster Kartion’s cave, he held up his breath tightly. The four were so awe inspiring…
A Thousand Meters Viper, his name alone indicated how immense he was, and a thirteen meters tall Silver Fur Gorilla. The two were Zhihui type beasts – even Somi, despite having a grandson like Simel who was a Silver Skin Gorilla and a Chaoyue type beast – yet both had the radiance of exalted rulers.
From looking at the two, Zax eyes shifted to the second largest of the four, the hundred meters long Silver Horns Dragon and his Martial brother Raroen. Seeing the glow of his aura intensifying by his fighting spirit, in comparison to now, the memories of the first time Zax saw him fight portrayed Raroen almost tenderly.
And then there was the figure of his Master, Kartius. Zax stared at his back, his chest going up and down rapidly as if he shared one pulse with his Master.
The Black Stag, after his breakthrough to the second realm of bodily cultivation, became even mightier in his animalistic form, seventeen meters tall, exactly like Grandmaster Kartion.
The four rushed out of the tunnel in union.
The same time their presence was felt by the enemies in the vicinity of the cave, those from the Beginner phase of the second Core Master’s level and under shivered, and those who were just affected by the shockwave turned even weaker in their knees.
A loud bull cry incited the moral of the enemy’s forces. In ground shaking stomps, fifteen meters tall, three horns bull, the terrifying third level Core Master, Belavin, led a group of four experts to confront Merson’s group. Two of those experts were the Oxen’s tribe second level Core Masters, the other two were actually humans!
Seeing the second realm humans participating in a battle against second realm beasts in Valgarel did not take Merson’s group by surprise. Yes, there is an agreement which forbids second realm experts from assaulting the other species’ second realm experts on their territory, but this agreement has two loopholes. One, only the members of core families or core tribes are protected by this agreement. Second, if a tribe accepts a human into it or a family accepts a beast into it, they are permitted and even obligated to protect their host, regardless of who is the enemy.
In this particular case, Merson’s group suspected that the two humans, and the others among the enemy’s forces, temporarily joined an enemy’s tribe, just so His Valor Ozeyn will not be able to stop them by declaring Grandmaster Kartion’s household as an equivalent to a core tribe.
Just as Belavin pounced forward with his three dark blue horns, aligned as if they were three bayonets, another group of experts followed from several hundred meters to his left.
Two, extremely large canines that were second level Core Masters, along with the remaining five second level Core Masters, three yellow foxes, a horse like beast, a lion like beast and a furless rat, sprung to meet and counter Merson’s group of their right.
Thirteen versus four, the firsts from each side to meet the other were naturally the strongest.
Kartius may have broken to the second realm of bodily cultivation and could enhance his physique a bit further with his mist energy, but he still did not underestimate Belavin.
Belavin, in contrast, did not occupy his thought with whom he is fighting. His head heated and his eyes red from rage. Whoever the tips of his three horns will meet, will discover that behind them he put his full force.
Realizing that the two are about to confront, the experts of both sides distanced themselves from the collision course, each of them done so as a result of acknowledging the might of the strongest in their side.
The air rippled with uncountable fluctuations as the second huge force of the war erupted.
‘Third line, out!’ Hagen sent to Tularg, Harhenia, Vinesha, Rarahel and the eleven Core Masters captains of the five tribes.
Following their predecessors, the sixteen transformed to their animalistic forms and crossed the tunnel in a couple of short breaths.
As they came out of the cave, a command was given and the forty seven first level Core Masters of the enemy’s forces, also began to move.
Moments later, the first line of defence, Shulip, Ham-Bar and Mes entered the battlefield as well.
“Everybody, prepare for battle!” A bald, middle age man shouted loudly before he transformed to a big Silver Fur Gorilla and steered the three hundred and ninety nine cultivators of the five tribes that are between the Core Breaker and the Mist Lord level, to join the defensive line.
“Little sister…” Simel, in his humanoid form, glanced over at Zetsa and said with a resolute tone.
Zetsa nodded to him in response and turned her head to Zax. Closing her eyes, and then opening them after letting out a sigh, she said warmly. “See you later, little Zi”.
‘Big sis…’ Zax had no time to make a proper sound, only to stare at the backs of his swiftly departing big sister and big brother. Both of them gave Zax the impression that atop their heads legendary stormy clouds were weighing.
Looking at the desolate entrance of the cave, where not long ago hundreds of experts and allies of the household stood and readied themselves together for the fight, Zax felt anxiety pressing in his stomach and an unsavory taste in his mouth.
Taking the first step into the tunnel, there was nothing majestic in the way he walked and no one to cheer from behind. He was at the back, while everyone, allies, friends and family risked themselves on the front.
“Karns, you fiend!” Grandmaster Kartion furiously roared and clashed with his supposedly “father in law”.
Kinetic Force and mist energy rammed and sent their users startlingly backwards.
Karns was thrust tens of meters while Grandmaster Kartion staggered a few steps.
Wild fluctuation of mist energy descended from above. Grandmaster Kartion barely had time to raise his head, before four hooves shaped beams of icy blue mist energy hit his head and back.
Kardelion’s attack landed perfectly. Its force caused Grandmaster Kartion to sink into the ground.
“Grrr!” Grandmaster Kartion gritted his teeth. Channeling kinetic energy and hastily converging it to Kinetic Force, he countered Kardelion’s attack and dispersed the mist energy.
Karns recovered from the clash and dashed toward the moment ago surpassed Grandmaster Kartion.
Dark, baleful aura emerged as mist energy concentrated in his antlers.
Karns’s antlers pierced a few millimeters into Grandmaster Kartion’s erect chest and stopped. A tremendous forced prevented them from reaching deeper.
Ignoring the pain, Grandmaster Kartion lowered his head and butted Karns.
It was a direct hit that had Karns utilizing all of his accumulated mist energy to withstand.
Grandmaster Kartion raised his head, prepared to hit Karns once more.
“Get lost!” Icy blue mist energy slammed Grandmaster Kartion from his side, breaking his balance, and then…
Following his long range mist attack, Kardelion struck and sent Grandmaster Kartion rolling.
Taking deep breaths, vigilance returned to Karns’s eyes. With Kardelion by his side, the two stared at the rising Grandmaster Kartion. A look of incredulity plastered on their animalistic stag faces.
Since the three started fighting, the durability and vigor of Grandmaster Kartion, time after time, never ceased to amaze them.
As third realm mist cultivators their mist energy tempered their bodies, allowed them to reach the second realm of bodily cultivation. In a sense, that meant that their physique was vigor at the same fitness level as Grandmaster Kartion’s. Nevertheless, by using a bodily cultivation technique to temper his body, Grandmaster Kartion’s physique was many times superior to the two’s.
And then there was the weird force Grandmaster Kartion constantly channeled and used the counter, defend and attack. Just now, that weird force was the reason Karns could not shove his antlers deeper.
Facing such an adversary, the two were utterly vexed. If it was just one faculty, either the superior body or the weird force, the two then would not have cared. With just one, any one of them could have beaten Grandmaster Kartion, but by having the two and furthermore combining them… Even though Kardelion and Karns had the enhancement of their third realm mist energy, the battle still turned into war of attrition.
Blood splattered to every direction around Kartius and Belavin. The two were in a standstill while the supreme expert of each of their sides entangled from a distance with claws, fangs, fists and hooves.
Raroen, as a third level Core Master and a Chaoyue type beast, actually confronted six of the enemy’s twelve second level Core Masters, while Somi and Merson, by coordinating with each other, fought with the other six.
Facing the three elders of the Yellowtailed tribe, the rat of the Furless Rat tribe and the two humans, Raroen voice rolled has he growled and opened his gigantic jaw and released a white, corrosive breath.
The three yellow foxes avoided the breath that emanated both head and cold. The two humans were even more vigilant and stayed away. The furless rat, however… The breath was actually aimed at him, and before he could utter a cry of pain, he was bathed by breath and turned to white ash.
The three foxes pounced and clawed Raroen’s long, draconic body. Their attacks smashingly and successively landed on the same spot, tearing the tough scales and flash, causing blood to spray for several seconds from Raroen’s abdomen, before his body squirmed and closed the wound.
Taking advantage of Raroen short predicament, the two humans, a man and a woman, executed every ounce of mist energy to approach Raroen fast. Taking a jump as if soaring, the two held different size of stone blade knives in their hands. Inserting their mist energy to the knives and waving their stone blade, the two cut deeply through Raroen’s scales, even more so than the damage of the three foxes’ combined effort.
Raroen issued a painful cry. The ground soaked his blood as if the was rain, but at least one was down.
Somi and Merson were in a numerical disadvantage. They both suffered many wounds and blood ceaselessly poured from between and underneath their fur and scales.
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The six second level Core Masters that they fought, though, were not that much better off, either. In terms of cultivation, Somi and Merson were equal and a phase or two higher than their opponents. In terms of coordination, Somi and Merson were longtime friends that battled many times together for the sake of their tribes and the amount of experience and level of familiarity they had with each other, far outstripped their opponent’s.
Of the six second level Core Masters, the lion type beast and one of the canines were badly injured, while the other four considerably cautious.
“Scree!” Hagen spread her wings and flashed past the army of first level Core Masters. Watching disdainfully from the air, she searched for an opening.
The accursed forty seven first level Core Masters, after losing eight at the first clash of powers, clustered together and actually erected a protective formation. The formation was quite basic, a united orange mantle with light offensive capabilities, to which they poured every bit of their mist energy and used to move toward Grandmaster Kartion’s cave one step at a time.
Hagen and her group tried many forms of attack to break the formation, but it was fueled by too many same level second realm cultivators, which was optimally for its foundation.
Hagen’s talons shimmered in white light and slashed against the orange mantle. Four long tears were formed on the mantle, but quickly mended, causing Hagen to frown.
Encircling the mantle, Hagen reduced her speed not far from the location Ilen-Tar comfortably commanded the furless rats of his tribe.
Avoiding Ilen-Tar’s gaze, Hagen coughed and a stream of blood came pouring from her beak.
Not far behind the defensive line of the first realm experts.
Simel and Zetsa stood next to each other. Fiery red and icy blue aura encompassed the two of them. Mist energy was flowing around them. Their hands were moving, forming numerous shapes.
As Zetsa proceeded with the same action, Simel halted and opened the canteen in his hands, which contained the fiery attribute liquid Ginlin gathered.
Cutting his finger, Simel let his blood drip on the ground. After several drops fell he spilled the fiery attribute liquid and resumed the previous shapes forming action.
Besides Simel, Zetsa’s eyes shifted for a split second, admiring the concentrated fiery attribute in the liquid. However, noting the slow pace it was absorbed to the ground her gaze turned compacted and a concerned thought surfaced in her mind.
‘Not enough blood…’