Settling for now the topic of compensation, Colonel Rijok unfolded his arms and looked to Cattelin. “Apprehend the criminal”.
At last, being given the permission to act as she so much desired, thrilled and gratified, Cattelin strengthened the grip on the shaft of her scythe with one hand and with the other saluted. “Thank you, Colonel Rijok!” An ebullient fiery aura emerged around her like volcanic eruption.
Receiving a slight push from Colonel Rijok’s mantle, Cattelin dashed toward Zax while holding her scythe combatively. “Hahaha”, a vicious laughter rolled out of her throat. “We finally get to meet again, Musclehead, for our initial encounter, I’m going to make you excruciatingly miserable before dealing with the midget!”
An ugly expression was plastered on Zax’s face. He could not come up with any method to escape from this perilous predicament. Moreover, at the speed Cattelin approached him, he had barely time think.
The scythe’s crescent blade slashed downwards and Zax evaded by half a step.
“Hahaha!” Cattelin laughed and swung horizontally.
Having experienced one failure against him, she, of course, was not going to repeat the mistake of underestimating Zax due to his injuries. Conversely, she was certain that a little bit of extra caution than before is all she needs to suppress and torture him slowly.
A series of bombardments at the Mo’s Pyramid formation’s external layers reverberated within, until another, small, section of its base was breached and two figures strode in, while similarly to Helev Hetra, sealing the opening after them.
“Humph!” One of the figures snorted, and the entranced Cattelin with ripping Zax piece by piece, felt every cell in her body shiver before halting in place.
“Presumptuous!” Colonel Rijok rebuked and emitted a countering pressure to liberate Cattelin.
“Hahahaha!” A strong, vigorous voice echoed in jubilation and brimming presence from the second figure. “Great joke, hahahaha! Can there really be someone more presumptuous than the five powers? Hahahaha!”
The two new figures were clad in loose garments, a seemingly middle aged black skinned, black short haired man, and a middle aged olive skinned, brown long haired woman.
“Rockwell… and when I heard the blows on the Mo’s Pyramid formation, I was anticipating that old fogy from the Mercenary Association. Never I would have imagined that your Sinister Chain is so brave, to dispatch two of its members to the gathering spot of four of the five powers!” Helev Hetra said in disdain and a tad of disappointment. Ultimately, facing Colonel Rijok would have been simpler with the aid of the Mercenary Association’s experts.
The black skinned man, Rockwell, smiled. “What, Helev Hetra, you think that my Sinister Chain’s members will fear other experts of the same cultivation level, just because they outnumber us?”
“Sinister Chain, you dare show yourself before me!” Colonel Rijok aura bellowed, the pressure of his aura intensified, brushing off easily that of the Peak first level Martial Mortal olive skinned woman.
“Let me, Riv”. Rockwell told the olive skinned woman, Riv. She understandably complied, withdrawing her green aura, following which, a stout brown, earth hues aura gushed from Rockwell, confront Colonel Rijok’s and actually reached a stalemate with him.
“Nothing less from the undisputed strongest second level Martial Mortal”. Rockwell smilingly said with a minute frown. He was perfectly aware that it looked like they were equally matched only due to the unique traits of his attribute.
“Earthly attribute…” Colonel Rijok mused. “So you are Rockwell of the Vanished Meadow, it appears that the rumors are true and you do possess the rarely seen earthly attribute”. He withdrew his aura.
“Vanished Meadow…” Rockwell hissed, for the first time his pleasant countenance lost all affability. “When you wonder why my Sinister Chain is so opposing to the five powers, remember those two words you just spoke!”
“Enough talk!” Boolian impatiently roared. “The perfect dark attribute’s essence, if the scythe woman cannot force the boy to hand it over, I’ll do it myself!”
Before Zax was able to react, Boolian appeared next to him and swung his tail.
“Still intact!” Boolian could not believe. His aim was Zax’s left arm, to severe it for the spatial ring, where he guessed the dark attribute’s essence was kept.
The force of the blow sent Zax flying uncontrollably. He felt the bones in his arm shattering to thousand fragments, piercing his tendons, muscles and skin. Some of his ribs also broke, yet to a lesser extent and luckily did not harm his internals.
If Boolian put just a bit of effort and did not take Zax’s bodily refinement technique as a mediocre one, safe to say this strike, even though blunt, would have definitely done the job.
“Riv, after me!” Rockwell yelled hurriedly.
“Boolian, adhere to our agreement!” Helev Hetra shouted angrily and tossed Fengar.
She, the Pink Eyes Agama and Colonel Rijok agree to engage only after the perfect dark attribute’s essence would be revealed. Cattelin was supposed to relinquish it right after taking it out of the spatial ring, and let them, Martial Mortals, contend for it.
“Darvajka, protect Cattelin”. Colonel Rijok commanded and also moved.
Zax crushed down after slamming into the Mo’s Pyramid formation’s barrier. His vision out of focus, he crawled on his feet and chin as his left arm dangled without an ounce of strength in it. Bearing Boolian’s tail whip drained him from the last bit of vitality he got from Murreta’s pills.
When the five experts of the third realm accelerated toward him, his mind was only able to register a fleeting instant of colorful illuminations.
‘Am… I… about to… die?’ Even when said inwardly, he felt too tired to sentence his words.
‘Wake up, boy!’ A domineering voice rang in Zax’s sea of consciousness.
Zax’s eyes snapped open as he abruptly felt every fiber in his being resonating in response to the imposing manner of the voice.
His pupils, as if not his own, were moving in search of something, attracted to the back a shape that suddenly appeared before him.
“Rockwell, you dare face us, three second level Martial Mortals, with a first level woman?!” Helev Hetra chided.
The fastest to reach Zax were actually Rockwell and Riv, but what surprised Helev Hetra, Boolian and Colonel Rijok, was that instead of trying to take the spatial ring from Zax, the two actually turned around to face them with their back to the actual target.
“Helev Hetra, do you remember why the members of Sinister Chain place much importance to always and only travel in pairs?” Rockwell snickered as he saw realization within the eyes of the three opposing Martial Mortals.
Brown and green shades mixed together as Rockwell’s and Riv’s mist energies rose and merged. Rather than the dull muddy green expected to appear, the combination of the hues brought forth a vibrant, invisible, mighty aura that encompassed both experts.
“Companion’s Links formation!” Colonel Rijok grouched as if encountering the only thing that could allow Rockwell, an Advanced second level Core Master, to match and even surpass him.
“Hahahaha! Exactly!” Rockwell leaned his head back and laugh and Riv, who stood centimeters to his left, did the same, even having the same expression and spoke at the same time!
‘Boy, answer me without delay, the perfect dark attribute’s essence is really on your person?!’ Rockwell’s voice resounded in Zax’s mind.
‘Dark attribute’s essence…’ Zax’s consciousness, little by little, stabilized.
‘Yes! If you’re willing to offer it to my Sinister Chain I’ll help you escape and even recuperate!’
‘Escape?!’ The notion sounded like something so out of reach that he almost wholeheartedly accepted as infeasible.
‘Dammit, brat, give me a straight answer, already! Four out of the five powers are out to get you. If you want, I can also arrange a test for you to join my Sinister Chain. Also, don’t think that I need your permission to take your spatial ring or even disintegrate your body until I’ll find the dark attribute’s essence. Seeing your potential and the fact that we have common enemies, take it as my magnanimous offer to your pitiful state’.
‘O… kay’. Zax hesitated for a moment, before shutting his eyes, aggrieved that in the end he could not keep the dark attribute’s essence.
‘Hahahaha! Good choice!’ Rockwell said happily and shifted his attention back to Helev Hetra, Boolian and Colonel Rijok, with which he and Riv were at a deadlock.
Moving in union, Rockwell and Riv clenched their right fist and punched forward. Invisible force shuttled through the air, causing it to vibrate, and split to three beams that targeted the three enemy’s experts.
Helev Hetra extended her arms, floating in front of her palms were seven pebbles, World Gathering Bone, that erected around her a net shaped cocoon defensive formation.
Being hit by the beam, her formation absorbed roughly eighty percent of the impact while the rest pushed her hundred meters or so back, with slight pain in her arms.
Boolian spewed an unending current of flames at the incoming beam.
The beam penetrated two thirds into the current of flames before exploding and the recoil pushed Boolian forty meters before his claws grabbed hold of the ground.
Colonel Rijok’s weapon was a war hammer. Swinging it with both arms, the flat and shiny surface of the war hammer clashed with the beam.
Grating sounds ensued.
“Haaa!” Colonel Rijok roared, his purple aura expanded, electric mist energy swirled around him and infused with the war hammer.
The two forces climaxed and burst simultaneously.
Colonel Rijok fell back nine meters before reaching to a halt. “Companion’s Links formation…” He said through gritted teeth, though in his heart he could not help but be at awe of it.
Rockwell and Riv sluggishly retracted their right arms, mutually turned to Zax and raised their left hands in a seizing motion.
Zax, mostly numb from his injuries, but could still make up the sensation of the invisible power that manifested and embraced him.
”Sorry, everyone, we’ll now take our leave”. Sweeping their three opponents with taunting expressions, Rockwell and Riv said together.
“Stop them!” Colonel Rijok shouted at Helev Hetra and Boolian after the duo overtook him with Zax.
“How?!” Helev Hetra yelled. The Companion’s Links formation may have forced the two to act as one in every sense of the word, but in return its invisible energy fortified their defense and multiplied their strength and speed several folds!
“Stepping on the pride of four out of the five powers, isn’t this a day worth commemorating, hahahaha!” Rockwell and Riv were elated.
A green, marble size ball of energy shot out of nowhere, piercing the invisible energy of the Companion’s Link formation and passing through the gap between Rockwell and Riv. It happened so fast, the two were caught with their guard down. Falling on one knee, they grabbed their stomach and vomited two mouthful of blood, each.
Fissures started to appear on the Mo’s Pyramid formation from the direction the green ball of energy was shot.
Yet again, anther hole was made as a small section of the formation collapsed.
”Amazing, Sister Beatriz, you are amazing!” A cheerful, lovely voice called excitedly. “All these experts had to work together each time to make an opening in this pyramid formation and you only used one punch!”
“Companion’s Links formation… is that really one of the top six formations you mentioned, Sister Beatriz?” Another voice, aloof and standoffish, asked in an unconvinced tone.
“Your Young Eminence, the peculiarity of the Companion’s Links formation is really extraordinary. Although it is not the best one, for someone of This place to invent it is remarkable beyond compare!”
“Mm… I suppose”.
Three silhouettes crossed the opening in the Mo’s Pyramid formation, flying leisurely. Behind them a star shaped aircraft sealed the breach in the formation.
Seeing this new, and hopefully last, batch of arrivals, the faces of Rockwell and Riv, Colonel Rijok, Boolian and Helev Hetra sank. They were all able to sense in the brief instant Sister Beatriz attacked her cultivation level.
‘Advanced third level Martial Mortal!’
The mere concept caused them to involuntary stagger half a step back.
“Luminous Church’s Sister Beatriz!” Colonel Rijok creased his brows.
Floating at the forefront, His Young Eminence gave a side glance to Sister Beatriz. “It seems the other four did not take seriously the Event. Tell me, is there anyone worth noting?”
“Certainly, Your Young Eminence. First, the person over there”, Sister Beatriz flown to his side with Sister Iaura and gestured at Colonel Rijok. “Golden Desert Fort’s Colonel Rijok, reputed as the strongest second level Martial Mortal in Ercas Mir”. Next, she turned a disdainful look to Rockwell. “Affiliated with Sinister Chain, Ercas Mir’s most notorious criminal organization, a heathen known by the moniker ‘Rockwell’”.
“Rockwell, what kind of nickname is that?” Sister Iaura asked curiously, while staring at Rockwell and Riv getting up, mending their formation and preparing for battle.
“Rockwell was once a sinful place that our Luminous Church cleansed from all the vile and the wicked”. For the first time, Sister Beatriz speech grew harsh while speaking to Sister Iaura. “Regrettably, a few heathens escaped, blind to the grace of joining with The Almighty. This ‘Rockwell’ is one of them”.
Nodding, His Young Eminence’s eyes scrutinized Colonel Rijok and Rockwell before shifting to the barely standing on his knees, haggard looking Zax.
“Sister Beatriz, may I trouble you to deal with the heathen first”.
“Not at all”. Sister Beatriz coldly complied and like a soft breeze building up to a terrifying tornedo, green aura and mist energy emerged from her body.
‘Boy, my apologies’. Three words of forgiveness were the most Rockwell could spare.
“Riv, I’m sorry for dragging you into this”.
“Rockwell…” Riv uttered faintly, yet because of their connection through the formation, even if he could not hear her, his lips and voice mutually said, not neglecting the hint of tenderness.
“Don’t discouraged, Riv, preventing us from running away, I want to see her having the ability!” Rockwell snarled.
Holding hands, the invisible aura around them lashed aggressively.
They flew toward the breach they made and sealed, where the Mo’s Pyramid formation was unstable, as a result.
Standing far on the sidelines, along with Darvajka and Cattelin, Murreta and the rest were quaking in trepidation. So many super powers!
Thing escalated in the most horrible way virtually absurdly!
Initially came Colonel Rijok’s group of second level Martial Mortals, then a pair from none other than the worst criminal organization whose unique formation appeared to be unbeatable, lastly, a lofty youngster, accompanied by a naïve lass and an Advanced third level Martial Mortal protector!
“Perfect dark attribute’s essence, at the hands of the likes of you would truly go to waste”. His Young Eminence descended and walked one step at a time toward Zax. “As payment for safekeeping it, I shell deliver you quickly to The Almighty, misguided heathen”.
As death approached, Zax put all of his weight on his bended knees.
‘They left, and now someone new wants to kill me, want to take the dark attribute’s essence’. His heart was reluctant, but his mind gradually succumbed. ‘No!’ A surge of hatred augmented from his heart and flooded the sea of consciousness. ‘I won’t allow you to kill and rob me, your way… I won’t make it easy!’
A string of soul energy reached the spatial ring on his messed up left hand. With but a thought, the dark attribute’s essence in its unrefined state of a black bulb appeared at the palm of his hand and rolled to the ground.
Seeing the dark attribute’s essence suddenly there for the taking, His Young Eminence, Colonel Rijok, Helev Hetra, Boolian and even the small Core Masters not too far way, all but one girl, were staring with covetous eyes.
Before anyone could express any sort of following reaction, a wavering upper body fell face forward, concealing the invaluable fist size treasure.
Zax swallowed it.