“Dissolute!” An enraged, womanly voice shouted from an unknown place in the room.
A burst of killing intent assaulted Zax as he stood idly in front of the Marzel’s matriarch, followed by the emergence of black silhouette, flinging toward him.
“Fall back, Marita!” Matriarch Linda commanded in a subtle voice that contained an overwhelming spirit to her old age.
The black silhouette froze several meters from Zax, not even earning a jaded look despite the intention to attack him. Unable to contradict the command it was given, the black silhouette flashed and settled beside the Knole settee of matriarch Linda, revealing the appearance of a black skin young woman in her early thirties, impressively in the Advanced phase of the first Core Master level and also possessing hints of dark attribute to her aura.
Martia, the black skin young woman, stared at Zax with malice reflecting from her eyes. For the way he spoke to her Mor, matriarch Linda, even though she was tad apprehensive due to her inability to sense him in the room until he came out from the shadows, she did not mind a difference in strength if it meant cutting his disgusting tongue.
“Here, my fingers are tired, you continue”. Matriarch Linda raised her hands, passing the needles and fabric to Martia and gesturing her to sit down.
Martia, as if she was a child suddenly, yield and devotedly took to the task.
As he watched from the side Zax noted in regard. ‘What a crafty old lady. In the instance she made contact with this woman while giving her the knitting needles, she actually used soul energy to calm and manipulate her behavior nearly the same way senior Ariel deceived me. She must be an expert of the soul, and a dangerous one at that!’
Matriarch Linda put a wrinkled hand on Marita’s knee as she sat by her side. “You must keep working on the ambiance you exude in all situations, Marita; otherwise you might as well exercise in the light”.
As she directed her Tal, matriarch Linda sounded like an amiable grandma, having a pleasant conversation with her granddaughter, while the truth was that she had no need to be strict since every one of her words she curved to her Tal’s soul with her soul sense.
Zax said nothing as he waited for matriarch Linda to finish dealing with her Tal. This show of patience, despite the reason of his arrival, was not attributed to his decision to start mellow this time. No, it was something else that he picked on from the behavior and body language of matriarch Linda, which was also subtly apparent on her Tal, and made him curious.
“Are you, perhaps, an expert in assassination?” Zax asked when matriarch Linda returned her attention to him from the Knole settee.
Zax’s experience with experts of assassination was very meager. Usually he will not be able to tell if his opponent practiced assassination arts, but with matriarch Lida… there was something vague about her that gave him an impression of familiarity.
“Child”, as she responded, a piercing chilliness once more emanated from matriarch Linda’s voice. “Or rather Mr. Intruder, you have keen eyes”.
Hearing her comment, Zax’s vigilance rose. ‘So it’s like that… this old lady is most likely related to Linor… her Mor maybe? Her senior? Coincidentally both of their names start with “Lin”’.
Zax was finally able to put a finger on it. His opponent from the Martial competition and the old woman in front of him felt similar like an old and newer version of the same thing. Moreover, from what he perceived of matriarch Linda, this seemed not be the common case of “old is bad, new is good”. On the contrary, although Linor cannot be considered the orthodox assassin, her proficiency in the movement technique she cultivated is top notch, and yet, from the trivial movements of matriarch Linda while still on the Knole settee, Zax assessed the old lady on a higher level.
Regardless of being a lot stronger than in the battle against Linor and Zechariah, Zax was not stupid enough to underestimate the more exalted matriarch Linda, especially if recalling that previous time he almost died from the mist detonation of a Core Master he could kill in one punch!
“Do you have a name, child?” Matriarch Linda asked with a subtle lack of interest in her tone, having an idea in her mind.
“Zax”. Zax was not worried about matriarch Linda’s retaliation at the aftermath of him getting what he wants. The old lady appeared to have something at stake other than her family…
“Zax Zel…” Matriarch Linda whispered and her deduction did not surprised Zax.
Matters of the family in the world behind the walls of her home, since her husband died, no longer interested matriarch Linda. She let her two sons deal with them and in fact, if it was not for the annual report her sons insisted on informing her about, she might have stopped seeing them completely, or in this particular case, know Zax.
“Tell me, what sort of trouble my family gave you, mighty younger generation?”
“I don’t want to sound petty, but…” Zax knew it would seem like he is overreacting if matriarch Linda will know his reason of arrival, which is why he displayed an equally threatening disposition. “A descended of yours, named ‘Razil’, has berated and cursed someone dear to me in an open forum. When it comes to this person I tend to be very protective”. Zax’s murderess intent swelled. “Looking down on me is negligible, mistreating her however…”
The name “Razil” rang a bell to matriarch Linda. She met the boy maybe twice but remembered him only because her second son mentioned him as a potential rising talent of the family.
“You want me to give you the head of a good seed?” Matriarch Linda asked as if she discussed about the details of another job in her younger years.
“Give? No”. Zax shook his head. “I’m not here to ask you for anything. This is but a courtesy visit so things won’t escalate regardless of my actions”.
“Quite overbearing…” Matriarch Linda frowned for the first time since meeting Zax, not minding speaking her thoughts outloud. “What do you intend to do?”
No matter the talent of her progeny and how much she distanced herself from the family; whoever possessed her and her deceased husband bloodline was forever under her jurisdiction. For any stranger to say otherwise was unacceptable.
“Kill Razil, ruin his cultivation, breaking his limbs… one of three, maybe all. Depends on how I’ll feel when I see him. What is certain, though, is that I will kill everyone who’ll stand in my way”. To Zax, who forged his temperament in Valgarel, all of the things he listed were very much reasonable. It was pointless to hesitate about taking action or considering their severity.
As a retired assassin, matriarch Linda could not refute Zax. She herself has done and seen worse. Then again, this was her home.
“Razil is my great grandchild, if your purpose in seeing me before dealing with him is to show courtesy, then you will have to do so by excluding a harsh punishment”.
There was no doubt in matriarch Linda’s heart that the young man in front of her will not relinquish the thought of penalizing Razil. She also knew that to fend him off will take too much from her and will not stop him from coming again. “Zax Zel” was a name that no one in the highest echelon of Kingdom Earth dares taking lightly, and both of her sons were efficient enough to detail her why.
“The most lenient punishment would be breaking his bones. But if I’ll end things with that, your great family will easily find the resources to heal him or sooth his suffering soon enough for him to still be consumed with anger to learn his lesson. If at that time Razil will not think clearly and do something stupid as retaliation…”
The killing intent Zax projected was not for matriarch Linda to realize what will happen, but what he is willing to do even now, if need be, and not just to Razil. As for worrying about someone else avenging Razil, from his impression of the matriarch, Zax knew that she will not let it happen if they will reach an agreement.
Zax’s fierce killing intent moved matriarch Linda. It was not that she could not handle it, but for someone so young to be so accustomed to slaughtering… With everything she learned from her sons, this young man actually had even more fearsome layers.
“I can guarantee that no one will treat Razil before he will make a complete recovery by himself”. Matriarch Linda offered in resignation.
With regards to what she meant by treating Razil despite him recovered, that is, setting his bones the correct way at the case they will not heal right.
“Matriarch Marzel, I said that I don’t want to be petty and I also don’t want to take things too far. Your words, should I accept them and compromise, will carry a weight far beyond that of Razil”. The atmosphere in the room became colder as Zax emphasized himself. If matriarch Linda did not isolate Martia with a mantle of mist energy she would certainly regained lucidness.
No replay from matriarch Linda, for Zax meant that she and sealed their deal.
Inside a room, underground a large mansion at the third region of the Marzel’s property.
Razil was sitting on a flat boulder. The floor was wet and currents of steams erupted once in a while. This cultivation room was prearranged to meet the conditions of cultivators who cultivated mist refinement technique with relations to the fiery attribute.
Razil did not possess an attribute, but his cultivation technique and the cultivation room would allow him to comfortably integrate with a fiery attribute in the future.
Biting hard, Razil could not sustain anymore and exhaled. His clothes were drenched with sweat and stuck to his body.
Even after mostly getting back to his past self, it was still difficult for him to avoid thinking about all of those he wished to make suffer. Such frame of mind impeded his cultivation from surpassing his eldest brother.
“It will be much easier if I could end all of them right now!” It was a fantastic dream. Shame it was close to impossible for him to make it a reality, at the moment.
A sound of steps, echoing from the wet floor, alarmed Razil. The cultivation room was big and due to the unique steams the visibility in it was bad and Soul Sense was useless.
“Who is that?!” Razil demanded to know as his face flushed with anger. No one was supposed to interrupt him during his training, not even him mother or blood sister. His eldest brother could, but that would be an aimless show of provocation. His father, of course, also could, but he never bothers. As for his Mor, he is a resident of his school and not prone on making home visits without informing in advance.
‘Could it be a stupid maid?’ Razil slapped the boulder in irritation.
It could only be a new maid. Such an occurrence happened several time in the past with new maids as they looked to inform the master of the mansion and his kin about dinner or whatnot.
“Answer me!” Razil waved his arm and a gale of mist energy forced the steams aside.
“So much foul air… Were you foreseeing my visit?”
A voice sounded moment before the steams spread, sending shivers down Razil’s back.
“You!” Razil recognized Zax and looked at him as if he is a nightmare turns to reality.
“You… you… you…!” Razil felt as if he was stared as a prey, about to be ripped apart. “You are not real!” He declined to believe. “This is my home- property of the GREAT MARZEL FAMILY!” He raised his voice to shout so he will not mentally collapse more so than someone will hear and call for help.
“It is”. Zax affirmed.
His unblinking eyes locked on Razil, his voice deep as he spoke, every muscle in his body tightened and his killing intent thickened to the point rendering Razil incapable of performing any sort of further action.
Zax vanished from Razil’s line of sight.
A palm struck Razil’s sternum, his entire skeleton vibrated.