“Mm…” Zax moaned in pain, feeling as if his Master stomped his head with one of his tough hooves.
Slowly opening his eyes. “Darkness? Night time?” His internal clock told him otherwise and his vision was blurry so he could not count on it.
He expected it would take an instant for his eyes to adjust, but even after he could see pretty much nothing. It took another instant for him to spot the metallic surface centimeters from his face and even to his sides and probably beneath his back.
“Where am I?” It was all too confusing.
Wherever he was, it felt like a really small and cold chamber, but why was he there?
The attacks from the Horned Eel and Four Wings Stork left remnants that invaded his body and soul even after escaping to the safe shores of Selivereb. Those remnants were comprised from icy attribute energy and fiery attribute energy and where much more difficult to deal with than a regular mist or soul attack.
Protecting the soul was much more critical than healing the body or even postponing its decomposition, besides; it seemed to be the main target of the remnants. As such, Zax was forced to his Inner Panorama, without being able to afford and ounce of concentration on what happens to his body and its surrounding.
Expelling the last remnant and feeling his body completely healed, he was finally able to wake up and after three instants, recall everything that happened before he got to where he currently is.
“What!” The moment he released his Soul Sense Zax was struck dumb, perceiving every detail around, not knowing if he should laugh or cry.
The small chamber he was in, which roughly met his dimensions, was actually a coffin shaped compartment of a fridge, and that fridge was located inside a freaking morgue!
A sixty something old man and a thirty something woman where in the room the fridge was at, currently performing an autopsy on a young female corpse.
Zax was at loss. The duo of forensic doctor and assistant were only first realm cultivators. The old man was in the Mist Master level and the young woman apparently just broke through the Core Breaker level. They seemed like decent people that did not deserve to be frightened to death by a supposedly dead man.
‘I should knock’. He picked his approach to the matter of how to leave this disturbing place.
Making an effort to move his hand above his head inside the small compartment, Zax’s placid temperament abruptly changed and killing intent erupted in his entire person.
He blasted the lid of the compartment with a punch.
“Yaaaahhh!” The female assistant screamed, terrified by the loud sound that interrupted the peacefulness of hers and the old man’s work.
The old man exhibited a more composed reaction, not shouting or jumping like his assistant, though it was quite fortunate that he operated on a dead person, since that cut he mistakenly made, which split the corpse in two, seemed kind of fatal…
“Doctor!” The female assistant shouted and pointed when she tracked the trajectory of the bent lid that was deep embedded in the wall.
Again, the doctor did not react as surprise, but when he saw the same unnerving scene as his assistant, he suddenly felt weak in his knees and his complexion whitened.
A long, muscular, vigorous arm was held out from within the dead’s chamber. At one end of the arm was a clenched, steaming fist. The five fingers opened, grabbed the side of the compartment and pulled.
As the metallic bed rolled out, the being on it was more perceived by their trembling souls than eyes, since its urge to slaughter emanated an unrestrained, stabbing like sensation even the most impervious person could not ignore.
“Shalina!” The old doctor reached to grab his assistant before she fell, as her mind could not hold on to Zax’s imposing manner and she fainted.
“Tsk!” Zax annoyingly viewed the two and seeing that the old doctor was at his limits, he grudgingly restrained some of his killing intent and picked up a white lab coat that was laying down on a chair.
“Tell me”, his voice sounded hoarse yet very much resonating in the old doctor’s sea of consciousness. “Don’t dare to conceal a single thing of what happened to me and my belongings after I drifted to shore!”
“Y- Yo- You are alive!” The old doctor said in shock, but noticing in Zax’s eyes the glint of desire to tear someone apart, he got back to his senses.
“Explain from the beginning, hurry!” Zax barked.
“Two weeks and two days ago, you were found on the central shore. The affluent bathers were very exasperated so the city’s police dumpe- brought you here. There was only the upper half of your body and you drifted from the sea, so it was assumed that you are a cultivator who improperly tried to cross the sea and got punished by the two Overlords”. Still holding his assistant, the old doctor did his best not to stutter and was very much motivated to pay attention to monitor his words by Zax’s intimidating gaze.
‘Two Overlords, the damned eel and nagging bird…’ Zax made a promise to himself to kill the two in revenge and snatch their Pure Cores the day he will have the strength.
As for the way he was handled when they found him, he did not care. The old doctor had yet reached to the crucial info he wanted to know.
“I was here more than two weeks?” He asked as part of a larger question, but also because he was inwardly astonished by how long it took him to recover.
If two weeks and two days passed than this should be the span of time it took him to protect and treat his soul. His body should have healed sooner, though probably required at least a week, due to the devastating power that remained in it post his escape.
“Yes, please don’t get offended. A colleague of mine, who is a researcher of the soul, came to investigate the state of your soul since I could not detect the slightest sign of life from your body, I personally asked him to make sure that there is nothing that can be done for you”.
The old doctor tried to placate Zax and though he did invite over someone he knew to examine Zax’s soul, it was not out of concern, but for his curiosity toward a specimen that managed to stay half intact under the wrath of the two Overlords.
“Then…” Zax stressed each syllable. “Why have I been kept here?” He got closer and closer to figuring the whole picture, whilst testing the old doctor’s sincerity.
“No, sir!” The old doctor hurried to point out in order to avoid a misunderstanding. “It was my decision to preserve your body… shortly after you were brought and assumed dead in both body and soul, we tried to find relatives for last arrangements. Regrettably, no one came forward, so I decided to give you a proper burial myself when I’ll be done with my work”. The old doctor wore a gloomy countenance. “It’s all my old brain fault. Recent case of the city’s police required much of my expertise and attention that useless me inadvertently neglected all other responsibilities”.
“Oh…” Zax raised his chin, staring at the old doctor with gravitas. “So I was forgotten”.
“Yes, sir, you were, but definitely no disrespect was intended. On the contrary, it is to my relief that I did not attend you rashly. Who would have thought that you were actually recuperating? Absolutely remarkable, sir, may I say that I’ve never met a more exceptional bodily cultivator in all my years as an examiner!”
The old doctor nudge his poor assistant to wake up, as support for his claims and to not keep offending this white coated menace. However, all is efforts were in vain. Zax’s killing intent was not reducing in potency.
“I understand now”, his tranquil tone made the old doctor heave a deep sigh, “but, something still elude me”. Zax’s following words were like weights on the old doctor’s heart, signifying that the interrogation is not over, yet. “You describe so much care that was given to, so much thoughtfulness for someone anonymous-”
“Sir is a great expert! Though I abandoned my Martial path long ago, I felt obligated to express last respect for a senior Martial cultivator”. The old doctor said, apparently deeply inspired by his own words, to the degree of even interrupting Zax.
“Is that so”, Zax ignored the old doctor’s servility. Lifting his hand up, showing its back to the old doctor, he asked. “Why, then, was my hand severed and spatial rings stolen?!”
Here it was, the cause for his rage. When he raised his hand to knock on the compartment’s lid, he felt odd and instantly discovered two infuriating matters.
By the looseness around two of his fingers, he found out his spatial rings were missing. As for his Blue Stone, he placed it his mouth and locked his jaw when he fled from the two Overlords, since it could not be safeguard in a spatial ring and his clothes were tattered. Although he was not sure if his jaw was pried open or unconsciously unlocked, he could still feel the Blue Stone down his throat.
The second incensing matter was the discovery that the spatial rings were not simply pulled from his fingers, rather, the culprit who took them actually cut off his hand!
“This…” From the moment he saw him stands, alive, the old doctor knew that he would not be able to avoid this question, which is why right from the beginning he meticulously chose his words, so when Zax’s get or do not get the answer, he will perhaps not take his anger on him or his assistant.
“Speak!” Zax barked, getting angrier by the second. His Soul Sense could not locate the spatial rings or his severe hands anywhere in its radius.
“I’ll be killed, my assistant too”.
“Later is better than now!”
The old doctor quickly contemplated which devil he would rather deal with, and indeed the one whose presence was missing was a better trade off. Besides, he might not have a strong cultivation base, but he lived and traversed the Martial path long enough to prepare some contingencies for a rainy day.
“Those… were the Dewgong family’s Gadik’s entourage. The Dewgong family runs the city mayor office; their patriarch is a Martial Mortal and the mayor of Monivore city. It is said that he has connections in the underworld of the Western Continent. Gadik is the second nephew of the Dewgong family patriarch. He handles the crime syndicate in Monivore city. When the police released the report of your case, Gadik personally came to view which item the expert who dodge complete annihilation by the two Overlords. He was delighted when he saw that you haven’t lost your spatial rings and was startled when he could not take them off due to the swelling of your fingers. It was one of his men who, eventually, cut your hands off”. The old doctor concluded.
Zax grimaced. He stored the three extra dark attribute’s essences and mountain of Splinters in the stolen spatial rings. Searching for them was not the problem. From what he detected so far there were only a handful number of structures in Monivore city with formations capable of thwarting his probing.
‘Treasures and fortune like mine won’t be easy to move without anyone noticing. Hopefully Gadik had them hidden in the city’.
The incalculable value of the three dark attribute’s essences was the only thing that could make him feel assured that they are still in the city. Of course, he also wished to retrieve his Splinters. Those things were not just a currency; one could also use them to absorb the world’s energy. Though they could not help with bottlenecks, the amount of Splinters that he had was probably more or less sufficient to help someone cultivate mist energy till the third realm.
‘Combined with dark attribute energy, my Soul Sense can reach a radius of almost twenty kilometers. In this scope there are four places I can’t review, a warehouse, by the look of it the main police station of the city, a hillside villa and an apartment building’.
To erect a formation that can block his Soul Sense, in Zax’s estimation only a Martial Mortal is capable of that, which means that behind each of these four structures there is a Martial Mortal, and who knows how many more structures like these situated in the city?
“Where can I find the Dewgong family and Gadik?”
“Sir, the Dewgong family’s estate is at the center of the city. It’s the only estate there, therefore you cannot miss it. As for Gadik’s whereabouts, please forgive me, this don’t know. His men are sent here on the rare occasion that an expert’s body arrives. Gadik himself comes only in the event when the said expert is suspected of being a deceased Martial Mortal”.
Seeing that the old doctor had nothing more to add, Zax interest in him subsided. Locking in on his first target among the nearby structures, the police station, he suddenly vanished, kindly made his way out through the corridor and door of the small building that served as forensic science lab and temporary city’s morgue.
When his figure disappeared from the old doctor’s eyes, the old man swayed on his feet, before grabbing hold of the table beside him and getting his balance back.
“Luckily…” He said, wiping the sweat from his wrinkled forehead. “Luckily I did not mention by mistake the matter of the crematorium…”