“I understand, cousin, I won’t let my temper escalate too far, but now that I started talking, I won’t simply let them go!” Razil assured Lizen.
Not saying anything in return, Lizen lowered his hand from Razil’s shoulder to give him the stage yet again.
“You three, who said that you can leave!” Razil turned to Ur, Anet and Fi Han. The two young men reluctantly were being gripped by Anet with the intention to separate from the crowd and go to their seats.
“Everyone, if you want some pacification, surround them until I’ll finish saying my peace. If you’re worried about foul language, I promised my cousin to restrain myself. From here on, I’ll earnestly justify my behavior”. Although still unwilling to change his mannerism, Razil tactfully spoke to sway the crowd in his favor.
“And if we don’t want to listen?” Uri asked after being forced by the crowed to stay.
“You don’t have any choice”. Razil proclaimed.
“Uri, Anet, this people just seek to humiliate us, but they won’t go as far as starting a fight. We should not be so cooperative, let’s see if they are steadfast on raising a commotion”. Fi Han said angrily. As the leader of the Disciplinary Class, he was prone on doing what is right, regardless who wrongs him.
“Humph!” A female member of Lizen’s group snorted at Fi Han. “You want the event’s management to interfere? This east corner of the hall meant for socialization, but there are no rules here stating that we all need to be polite toward each other. On the contrary, a commoner like you would not know, but while our friends fight in the west corner, this side was allocated for the rest of us to verbally demonstrate who has better bearing!”
Although having said it with a mean attitude, the female member of Lizens’ group spoke the truth.
Rarely there would be people like Anet and Fi Han, who were born in the low and middle classes, in event such as the Martial competition.
There were two reasons to explain the girl’s, and most of the crowd’s, attitude and from the very beginning how Uri, Anet and Fi Han were able to accompany Zax and the rest to such a high level event.
First, unlike Molten Core and many other groups and associations, Eden Formation has a majority of students from regular families in its student body; therefore, students from high class families that enrolled to the school often develop a friendly disposition with their classmate whatever their social status is.
Second, the three were able to come mostly due to their positions in school, which entitled them the right to accompany Zax and the rest. Only Anet required a little help from superintendent Ten to be permitted to spectate the competition, but even that was dealt easily, since her position as Don’s Tal and the overall connection of Don to the Dauch family.
“Forget it, let him vent his disgruntlement. Let them all if they want to. We came here to support our friends, not to enter disputes. The fighting stage will ultimately declare the righteous side”.
Uri came from a big merchant family that dealt with the nasty and genial of Kingdom Earth’s high echelon. The general status of his family was that of a high class, but to maintain this status his family depended a lot on the more prominent families that accepted their business.
“Very magnanimous of you to say it, kid”. Razil continuously referred to Uri in derogatory tone, even though their ages were not much apart and their cultivation levels were the same.
“Everyone, I’ll be blunt”, Razil announced, not that he was subtle before, but the crowd listened attentively anyway. “I think that Eden Formation’s representatives are a joke! The school went above and beyond to gather four participants, two are graduates with no achievements to themselves, one is a little girl that attained the title ‘Peak’, and well… I’m willing to admit that has potential, but far from being fit to participate in the competition in her current cultivation level. And last one, supposedly their best one, is another so called ‘Pearl’ that has nothing to his name other than an old rumor about taking down a second rate great family”.
Razil, similarly to a great number of people present, was well informed about the identity of nearly all the participants. Because Eden Formation released a statement couple of years ago about Zax being its first Pearl, anything about his life in Kingdom Earth, other than his mist condition, was uncovered to a certain degree.
“That’s exactly the group that was invited to sit in the adjacent seats to the Supreme Rulers’ platform! On the other hand, participants like our Neyrar Ram of Molten Core, Salin and Silvia, the reputable twins of Crescent Arms, who are real Pearls, and others, were shunned to the sidelines”.
The fundamental reason that Razil, and those who nodded in approval to his words in the crowd, were full of scorn toward the Eden Formation’s group, was the face they lost when superintendent Ten and the elderly female third realm expert obstructed them from getting to the arranged seats, and instead let the less than mediocre Eden Formation’s group have them.
Razil continued. “I will speak now for Neyrar Ram, since I came to support him today. Consequently, if anyone wants to speak for the other participants, be my guest after I’ll finish”. He turned to the crowd before fixating his stare once more at Uri, Anet and Fi Han.
“Let me say it first, our Molten Core school sent three participant to the competition, each of them far more adequate than any of your four. But I won’t waste everyone’s time and only use the most worthy comparison to prove the qualitative difference between our representatives”.
“In your group the ‘Pearl’ and chief representative is but a brat with nothing behind but the backing of his school and that’s it. Even the Dauch family is not genuinely behind him so it won’t seem that the students of your school belonged to them. On the other hand, our Neyrar Ram is an exceptional genius and has the backing of various factions. He is the exalted Tal of the best bodily cultivator in Kingdom Earth, the Zoearth family and our Molten Core school are behind him and most important, even though he doesn’t belong to any great family, his father is one of the founders of the Core Breaker Guild and the recent and last third realm expert of our Kingdom Earth!”
Swallowing his wrath, Zax listened to every word of Razil’s biased comparison. When he reached the end of his sentence, Zax’s pupils contracted and a tempest stirred up in his sea of consciousness.
“Recent and last third realm expert” Razil’s words resounded incessantly in his head.
‘Kingdom Earth has only one more third realm expert?!’
One was Supreme Ruler Ariel, the second was Supreme Ruler Trey, the third was Supreme Ruler Ar Yen and the fourth and the fifth were superintendent Ten and the old woman.
A figure flashed in Zax’s mind. A man with bare upper body and short needle like black hair, at the back of his neck was a tattoo of a spiral cube and wearing black sturdy long pants with six pockets on each side and sleeves that are crammed inside his dark green shoes.
This was the man who came out of the second Savage Cave, the man who consumed the oval shaped treasure with dark attribute and broke through the third realm. He was a human, he should be that Neyrar’s father, and if he is the remaining and sole third realm human expert of Kingdom Earth, then he is the one who led Carl to his death!
“Zax!” Don yelled. Her expression was odious and a layer of azure mist energy was released to protect herself and Susuya while vice principal Mizuri, Jalal and Muri-Mer also defensively discharged their mist energy.
Zax stood in his place, his mind whirling. He did not hear Don and his body exuded churning kinetic energy, embedded with his killing intent.
“Breathe”. A relaxed, elderly voiced reverberated in Zax’s sea of consciousness. He suddenly became aware of his surrounding and pacified the kinetic energy that was exuded beyond his body.
A skinny, almost bony hand was resting on his head. Superintendent Ten was the one who put his mind at ease. Luckily, the mantle he erected before prevent outsiders from noticing Zax’s outburst.
“What happened, Zax?” Seeing how superintendent Ten resumed his passive aloofness, Don was the one who asked.
“I… I…” Zax could not find the words to answer right away. Even with the soothing soul energy superintendent Ten issued in his sea of consciousness, he was still not entirely placid. “What he said to Anet and them, that Neyrar’s father is a third realm expert?”
It was difficult to tell, but Don assumed that Zax was asking. Thus, a bit hesitantly, she replied, not daring to deceive Zax over such matter, yet hoping that the answer will not cause him any doubts about the competition. “Yes, in Kingdom Earth he should be the sixth and last third realm expert”. She affirmed.
Zax did not respond, instead he was contemplating. He reconciled long ago with everything related to Carl’s death. Revenge was not in his mind, back then. The man who came out from the second Savage Cave was not truly at fault for what happened, and besides, he was an opponent that even today Zax could not dream of beating.
But as it so happened, the son of that man participates in the competition. Furthermore, he seems to have a Mor who is not fond of Zax and a group of sycophants that wholeheartedly wish to belittle him.
The muscles all over Zax’s body began to tense. His knuckles issued cracking sounds.
‘Neyrar…’ He was not sure who he was among the participants, but his gaze instinctively skimmed the hall, looking for the handsome man, the one they said to be the best bodily cultivator in Kingdom Earth and Neyrar’s Mor.
He failed to found him. It appeared that superintendent Ten was not the only person to conceal his group for the duration of time before the first round.
‘It’s is fine. There is more than one way to draw a Brown Digger out of his hole’.
Razil was on a roll. The crowd around the Molten Core and Eden Formation groups seemed sympathetic toward his arguments and some people even added to the fire by comparing Zax to the participants they were connected with.
“May everyone please return to your seats. The selection and pairing of participant is done and the first round’s battles are about to commence”. Talhera amplified her voice with mist energy and announced graciously.
Representatives and backers joined with their supporter and headed to their seat, while the fourteen elders, who spread around during the cessation with the teams from their factions, did the same.
The crowd encircling Anet and the rest dispersed.
“Are you fine?” Jalal and Muri-Mer hurriedly inquired upon meeting up with the three.
“Yeah, they just spat nonsense, that’s all”. Fi Han said first in a nonchalant way.
Anet and Uri also acted as if nothing big happened, even if their friends noticed and maybe heard the commotion. They insisted on acting apathetically, since there were bound to be more breaks between rounds, for participants to rest or discuss the next fight with their backers, and they did not want to concern their friends.
“You!” Zax, however, ignored their act. He loudly shouted at Razil, Lizen and the others of their group that just joined with a few people, one of which was a short middle age man that shared pleasantries with Don in the previous lounge.
Now Zax suspected that this man is the principal of Molten Core, the other old man is the vice principal and the two young men and woman beside them are their school’s representatives.
Putting aside which of the two men is Neyrar, Zax walked to Razil, attracting the looks of those in his group and those passing them on their way to the seats.
“What do you want?” Razil asked indifferently, only by the time his words left his mouth did he recognize Zax and frowned.
“Your mouth was quite vile when you spoke to my friends. Also, you forced them to listen to your garbage. Come with me to apologize”. Although sounding composed, Zax was on an edge. Still, the true meaning behind his words to Razil was not to say sorry, but accept the thread to salvation he offered him. If he will refuse, then Zax would feel fully content to even kill him.
“Young man”, the short Molten Core principal said to Zax, his countenance was peaceful, but his words came out sharp.
“Don’t interfere, old man”. Zax ordered him in response. “Come or don’t come?” He asked Razil as if it was that simple for him to choose.
Molten Core’s school principal was about to say something, but closed his mouth when he saw that his students were about to respond. He decided to not hastily take part in juniors’ matter.
“You are that trash ‘Pearl’, get the hell from our sight!” A man in the latter half of his twenties, who came to spectate his schoolmates fight, and still had Razil’s words resonating in his head, step forward and barked at Zax.
Without looking, Zax casually threw his hand in the air, landing a vicious slap to the late twenty something man.
The man was in the Beginner phase of the Mist Lord level. Receiving a slap from Zax, even if there was not force behind it, caused his whole physique to spin and blood with broken teeth come from his mouth.
“There is no need to make a scene”. Zax said before the others reacted. “All of you, stay quiet”. He kept his composed demeanor and returned to Razil. “Well?”
Seeing words escalate to violence, the Molten Core’s principal got furious at Zax. The other students were also fuming from anger and helping their friends. At the same time, Don brought the Eden Formation group over, yet refrained from being rush with Zax. His outburst let her know that unless someone who actually can put him down interferes, noting will sway him.
“You… You are a participant and you raise your hand on a spectator, moreover, someone not from your school!” Razil yelled at Zax.
“Is that a refusal?” Zax ignored his retort and asked.
“Don’t be excessive. Words are words and actions are actions. If you have a problem with my cousin-”
A second slap landed beautifully on Lizen’s right cheek and despite having a higher cultivation than the previous man, the results of blood puking and shattered teeth were the same.
Molten Core group of fourteen people was completely stunned from Zax domineering behavior and the spectators in the group, apart from the principal and vice principal, started to harbor fear for this violent man.
“The judge is calling, everyone is here, apologize”. Zax said one last time.
Razil felt at loss. His complexion was flustered. Even his cousin was humiliated, and his status was higher than his. The school principal and vice principal still remained silence, presumably because of the other school’s principal and vice principal. The only ones that were left with the ability to help were the three school’s representative, but for two successive strikes they did nothing.
Razil gnashed his teeth. He felt that if he will obey Zax it will be worse than being slap, and the possibility of his ego suffering almost made the thought of future pain in his cheek negligible.
Zax swung his arm, still not carrying in force, but this time it was clenched to a fist.
His fist failed to meet Razil’s face. An extremely handsome man, half a head shorter than Zax, with long flowing black hair and green eyes appeared before him and grabbed his fist midway.
Razil’s eyes opened wide and his voice did not conceal his feelings of relief.
“Begone!” A charming sound came from the handsome man’s mouth.
Zax sensed a great force shoving him back without exhibiting effort and making him retreat several steps.
The Eden Formation group was taken aback, seeing to strongest among them being pushed back.
The Molten Core group was feeling exhilaration, seeing their hero overpowering the enemy.
Zax prevented his facial muscles from displaying a gratified smile.
‘Long hair is the Brown Digger’.