Eyes slowly opening, Zax woke up with a serene light expression. He looked down as he did not hurry to get up from the bed. Anet was still lying comfortably on top of his bare chest.
It was a one room apartment that they bought, and it was more than enough for the two since they rarely spent any private time in it.
As for how they got the money? It was quite simple for Zax to pick up some natural cultivation goods in Valgarel and let Anet do the rest with the connections she acquired in the Student Council Class.
The sleep was not essential, far from it. The two’s higher Martial cultivation could allow them to stay awake and sharp easily over months, especially for Zax, due to his type of cultivation. No, the sleep after was more symbolic for the two, a way to commemorate their alone time as none cultivators, like the loved ones how raised them.
Since his discussion with his Master and Grandmaster Kartion, that is about how Zax was spending his days, investing every moment with his family, friends and above all, Anet.
“You return to school today?” Zax asked as he caressed Anet’s head. From her breath he could tell that she also woke up.
“Mm!” Anet raised her head, her warm cheek rubbing no his chest. “Don Mor permitted me to stay with you most of the time before your departure, so long as I don’t completely neglect my training”.
Mentioning Zax’s leave brought sadness to Anet’s eyes, but it soon disappeared since the matter was already settled.
“Do you want to come with me or go home?” She asked to change the subject in her mind.
“Neither. There is actually something that I planned to do today”. Zax replied.
“Something? Why aren’t you telling me what it is?”
“It’s not worth mentioning”. Zax insisted.
He knew that Anet will not let him off the hook with this excuse, but he preferred to spare her the details, and so he finally got up, leaving her lying on the mattress.
“I’ll make us breakfast. Eggs? Pancakes? Both?” He asked while smiling.
“Whatever”. Anet stretched and closed her eyes again, enjoying the presence of just the two of them in the cramped room.
‘Now then, this day could not have come any sooner’. Zax said to himself after he parted ways with Anet.
He sprinted through the streets and caves, spreading gusts of wind wherever he passes. Today was quite an anticipated day, not particularity for Zax himself, but for someone else he wanted to conclude some unfinished business with.
Kingdom Earth, Tongguo, cave two hundred, the Marzel great family’s estate.
The span of the Marzel family’s private domain encompassed more than two thirds of cave two hundred. The rotunda in the central area belonged to the matriarch and founder of the Marzel family, an Advanced phase third level Core Master, Linda Marzel.
The other, smaller residences were the homes of Linda’s progeny, second to forth generations.
Currently, in one of the mansions belonging to an esteemed third generation member of the Marzel family, in a lavish dining room, a dignified looking man, three beautiful women, five young girls and two young men were sitting around a large table and being served lunch by submissive male and female servants.
“Razil, your cousin, Lizen, let me know that your training is at last getting back on track“. The man at the head of the table said with a deep and satisfied voice. Although he contained his aura, the natural air the man exuded was very profound.
“I’m also feeling improvement, father”. Razil said respectfully, forcing a humble countenance.
“Good. You should follow your elder brother’s and cousin’s example. Don’t let your younger sisters look down on you”. The man said sternly.
“Dear, our son has just got better. Give him some time, don’t be too harsh on him, I’m sure he will not disappoint you”. The women sitting to the left and on the second seat from the man said warmly.
“Ranser, Razil is doing his best. As second sister said, he just needs time”. The woman sitting closest to the man, Razil’s father, Ranser, said, appearing kind.
“Yes, father, big brother Razil is trying his best”.
“Father, don’t be mad at big brother Razil”.
“I admire big brother Razil”.
Several of the young girls commented, as well.
Sitting in his mother’s position but to the right of his father, Razil, yet again, had to force himself, now to smile and show gratitude.
In truth, the only voice Razil wholly trusted that is on his side was his mother’s. As for his younger sisters and first lady… of the five girls, only one who said nothing was his blood sister from both parents, the other four were only half sisters, while the first and third ladies, although they call his mother “second sister”, there was no real blood relation between them and his mother.
These days, Razil knew in secret, nearly all of his sisters and first and third ladies supported his big brother in the battle for his father’s inheritance, which will be given when his father will be welcomed into the family’s inner experts circle. The only two who did not take part in it were his youngest sister and second youngest sister, who was also his blood sister from the same mother, because they were not old enough to understand the familial conflict.
Razil was bitter and engulfed with hatred. Merely a year ago, even though he was the second male child of his father, his future prospects outshined his big brother’s. After the Martial competition, however, that is when things started to slump, and it all were because of him… Zax.
During the competition, after getting to see, time after time, how fearful Zax can be, a seed of fear to his wellbeing was planted in Razil’s heart. Every battle, when Zax beat his opponent in a more grandiose fashion, that seed would have been nurtured further by Razil’s growing trepidation.
Then, arrived the battle that brought down Zax, or rather incapacitated him and took him out from the rest of the competition. Viewing this man looking devil being left with nothing to barely support his stance and then hearing that he forfeited completely from the competition, at the time, washed Razil’s concerns, or at least that was his initial emotional reaction.
Couple of days after the Martial competition, during a meditation session, a sudden menacing shadow appeared in Razil’s sea of consciousness, a terrifying shadow that tears its opponents with brute force!
The seed sprouted.
Since then, Razil’s training declined, regardless what he practiced. He no longer had the privilege to behave vulgarly and domineeringly. His persona reluctantly had to adapt to his diminishing status in his father’s eyes.
Thenceforth, it took almost a year of reflection and guidance from his teachers and Mor for Razil to only recently begin to recover his former bearing, as well as his original cultivation pace.
Razil seethed with anger but did not reveal it. The object of his hatred was, naturally, Zax. He wanted him in pain and dead for the yearlong humiliation he suffered and still. Nonetheless, Razil was not stupid. He saw Zax’s terrifying strength and even if he was injured in the competition, the management would not have let him heal on his own. Against Zax at his best, Razil knew that even the family head, his grandfather, who was actually like him, a second male offspring but of the matriarch, would not want an enmity with such peerless talent.
To relieve his fuming emotions, Razil accepted that it is impossible for him to target Zax directly. No, when the time is right and he will once more be at the front for his father’s inheritance, his targets would be those bastards from Eden Formation, Uri and Fi Han, and that bitch, Anet. Yes, in terms of status and cultivation they are not able to compare, destroying their lives and the lives of their loved ones, while concealing his identity as the person orchestrating their ruin behind the scenes, would be his retribution.
The lunch proceeded as the servants cleared the first course of the meal off the dining room’s table and the second course was ready to be served.
“Hope that Tania wasn’t wrong”. Zax quietly told himself as he measured from afar the Marzel family’s property.
This “Tania” Zax mentioned was a Student Council Class member in Eden Formation and, basically, the know it all of the entire school. She informed Zax of Razil’s day off from Molten Core and the location of his home.
In the Martial competition, Zax planned to sort out Razil for insulting Anet. Unfortunately, an unpredictable turn of events forced him to give up on the idea, temporarily. Today was Zax chance to wrap the unfinished business with Razil in the environment he feels most secure in, and this is his only opportunity before he will leave to Ercas Mir.
Zax could not tell where exactly the home of Razil’s immediate family was. Using Soul Sense to look him up was unfeasible due to the defensive formations high class families placed around their properties. Furthermore, some formations could even react to the probing of a Soul Sense, thus informing the experts who erected them.
‘According to Tania, the formations of the Marzel family would alarm them if I’ll breach their air space. Might as well pass through formally…’
Zax smashed the entrance gate in the wall surrounding the Marzel family’s property. Unlike his visit to the Derneldar family, this time he was not in the mood to completely eradicate whoever in his way, but he also did not care about being polite.
The Mist Masters guards at the gate were startled by the sudden blast. It came out of nowhere without them noticing, which signified that an expert just attacked the entrance to the Marzel family’s property.
“Hurry! Inform the commander!”
The guards were aware that the obscure expert was far above their capacity to handle, so they moved quickly to alert every guards’ post nearby and their Core Master commander.
“Worthily for a great family!” Zax had to confess that the Marzel family sure lived superbly.
The entire property was divided into four regions.
The first was merely part of the entrance, a vast landscape with artificial mountains and lakes with even some tamed wild beasts.
The second region was where the places of residence of the Marzel family fourth generation members were, an extravagant villas, roughly eighty in number.
Next, was the third region and where the third generation Marzels lived. Less than twenty mansions, but each was four to five times larger than any villa in the second region. Unbeknownst to Zax, he skipped the whereabouts of Razil when he proceeded toward his desired destination…
The fourth region accommodated only two small castles, one of which belonged to the head of the family, the other to the overseer of the family, Linda’s eldest son.
In between the four regions, atop an artificial hill, was a tall rotunda, the matriarch secluded home, where only her personal servants were allowed to roam. Even her two sons had limited access to their own mother home, and both accepted that decree with mixed fear and respect for the matriarch’s power.
Zax ignored alarm and guards on duty that were trying to get his position with detective formation in and outside the Marzel’s estate. The true experts of the family were on a standby for the instance he will be found.
Zax was not worried, even if a formation picked up his position, to keep following him his operator would have to be at least a second level Core Master. Besides, if he was scared from the Marzel’s family experts, his destination would not have been the matriarch’s rotunda!
At the center of a web of creeks, which decorate the secular hill at the heart of the Marzel’s estate, a lone rotunda was constructed.
A team of sixteen servants maintained a pristine atmosphere. Two maids were situated at the second floor of the rotunda, waiting on the matriarch’s call.
Sitting on a Knole settee, an elderly woman, looking around the ages sixty five to seventy, was peacefully knitting with eyes half opened. From the elderly woman originated an air of repose that could affect anyone around her.
The two needles hit and the elderly woman’s knitting came to a halt. The leisure air stiffened and sharpness emanated from her eyes.
“An intruder… who are you, child?” The elderly woman voiced frigidly.
A silent figure stepped forward, saying in a whimsy yet domineering tone. “Someone your blood has crossed, and now here to collect my pound of flesh”.