The sensation was fantastic, practically consuming. First it was the new condition of his three aspects. Everything about them was dark attribute without even the need to generate the energy. And its pureness… perhaps beyond any source of the exact attribute in Ercas Mir.
‘Maybe only the wraiths of Demirca Ridge can compare?’ Zax speculated as he marveled.
His assessment was not wrong, but also not entirely right. The wraiths were creation of a God manipulating and merging souls and dark attribute energy. No Mortal or Immortal could compare against a God. However, in contrast to Zax, the wraiths were only made by transforming one aspect with dark attribute and they were not sentient. Their actions and behavior were “programed” by God Demirva. They had no comprehension toward their actual might and no way to solidify it further either to a greater level or as a Martial technique.
The instant he managed to compose his urges from keeping to dwell on this intoxicating new feeling, a series of thoughts about what he should do next crossed Zax’s mind.
‘I… won’t be able to unwind until I’ll let something out’. He quickly deliberated. ‘Mister Huland’s request… confronting a fourth level Martial Mortal…’ He did not feel the smile growing larger on his face and his tightening jaw, as the excitement was too short and soon his expression turned apathetic. He remembered his exchange with Gid Chu, the fluctuations of the fourth level Martial Mortals, members of the five powers he encountered. He was suddenly unimpressed by them all!
“In that case…” He finally spoke outloud. Resuming his smile, an ominous light shone in his eyes.
There was so much to do… to explore, too many important things… Zax, however, chose his course of action and everything other than his immediate decision was put aside.
His gaze fell on the western coastline of Selivereb and he turned to a ray of darkness, splitting the sky in its wake.
It was winter season and a late evening hour. The waters of Nidbuk Ocean were cold and churning as waves reached heights of tens of meters.
Under the limited windy clouds and above the ocean a figure appeared so fast, some first and second level Martial Mortal would have thought that it always been there.
“Come on, old pal, I’m here to fulfil one half of the promise I made back then”. Zax said and his voice sounded oddly, as if it was being carried by the wind to a specific direction, an oncoming pair of ears.
“Schree!” Cry resonated for hundreds of kilometers. It was aggravated, enraged. Before its source could be seen, a phenomenon in the sky drew Zax’s attention, only to make him grin.
The clouds, which were already scarce, dispersed completely as a wave of heat and redness discharged from afar and covered the sky with rain of tongues of flames.
They poured on Zax, yet he remained still with his grin. The temperature was scorching, could possible melt the defensive mantle of a fourth level Martial Mortal, yet Zax response was pleasant, as if he was taking a warm shower.
A dejected fiery flare ignited the sky as if the sun descended. A flap of wings and a large shadow gradually emerged from within the brightness.
The Four Wings Stork’s domain was the sky of two of the planet’s oceans, Nidbuk and Seer Don, as well as a portion of Selivereb. And now… not only was his territory was intruded by someone who was not in possession of a Voyage Charm, that person also actually dared to taunt him!
Seeing his adversary approaching, Zax reminisced to their first encounter. At the time, just the distanced gales produced by this wingspan of nearly two hundred meters caused his skin cells to stir with dread. To keep his life he was forced to escape whilst being constantly bombarded with fearsome attacks, which ultimately he paid for greatly. On the other hand, now neither the gales nor flames aroused the slightest sensation, only the intent filled fluctuations that explicitly zeroed in on him managed to stimulate a reaction – sheer excitement.
His clenched fists tightened and his muscles tensed. Strength that was genuine and novel and emerged from himself first, his past Martial accomplishments second, kept rising with no hint of imminent bottleneck. Zax strived to draw his maximum strength before the collision with the Four Wings Stork, as he knew that his conduct goaded the Overlord Deformed Being and it was getting closer with its own demeanor at its Peak.
“HHAAA!” He howled in deep pleasure. It was not meant to boost him in any away. The continuous increase of power in his soul, body and dantian simply felt too good, but he was impatient and wanted to already know what would be his limit. Hence, he gave in to the exhilaration and used a surge of emotions to hasten the newfound power out.
A pulse of darkness dispelled the fieriness from the sky above. The ocean’s waves were cleared as a depression pushed the water down a level in a scope of fifty something kilometers. Far, at the coastline of the western continent, the waves that vanished due to the howl have been found as they gathered to hundreds of meters tall tsunamis that were about to sweep kilometers of land.
Zax lowered his voice and brought down his line of sight from looking up. He reached the Peak of his transformed body, the current Peak of what one step on the unknown path he chose to traverse, at the cost of assured future, bestowed him. Safe to say he did not have an ounce of regret.
Virtually he looked the same as he was when he entered his closed doors training in his regular state. His skin was not black, muscular or any different than before he mustered all of his strength.
Zax smiled ear from ear with teeth he could not help but bare.
‘You see! You see!’ His voice echoed as it was transmitted from his soul, much like any Martial Mortal could do, despite not yet breaking through the third realm with his soul. Unfortunately, there was no one to listen, other than the Four Wings Stork, for he wanted the whole world to hear him. ‘I transcended the Dark Titan Storm form and all attribute physiques that require transformation! This is who I am! This is my base strength! With this I’ll fight you to death!’
Zax soared so fast, a series of shockwaves were left behind him as his trail. The Four Wings Stork also ascended. They both generated so much strength that should they not concentrate each every assault, the planet would be rendered asunder. Due to the risk and awareness that this battle will demand their all, they selected the battlefield to be in the mesosphere.
For a fifth level Martial Mortal with notable understanding of their attribute, this was the edge of where he or she could make use of the worldly attribute energy. The Four Wings Stork refused to go higher. Meanwhile, Zax felt only a bit of pressure.
‘Can I actually cross farther? Past the exosphere?’ The thought occupied him for a brief second, before his attention was fully aimed at his opponent.
The Four Wings Stork hovered at a not too far distance. Parting its long beak, it initiated the first move.
A scalding torrent of blood red flames shot at Zax.
‘The intensity of these flames…’ Zax gauged and waited for them to arrive. As a contact was about to be made, he raised his arms defensively.
The torrent rammed and shoved Zax across the spherical horizon, like a falling star. He tried to stabilize himself, to reach for a halt and stop the advancement of the torrent, but the weight of the attack was more than he accounted for.
‘But it can’t hurt me’. Zax smirked. The palms of his hands formed two claws. He turned to the offensive, swung and ripped the torrent with barely any effort.
“Schree!” In one flap of wings the Four Wings Stork intended to deliver the second attack. Its beak started shining, its temperature escalated and the color of its flames correspondingly changed: From red to orange, yellow, white, azure and blue. For the breath of a time it took the Four Wings Stork to generate the epitome it grasped of the fiery attribute, the surrounding space quivered as if it was about to collapse. Luckily, the Overlord repressed the fluctuations to its beak before damage could occur.
‘This fire doesn’t surpass my darkness, but by combining it with the energy of the Peak Pure Core of a three scales Overlord and I’ll have to get serious as well!’ The piercing blue beak gave Zax the impression he should not take it head on.
From the previous attack he obtained the assessment of his capabilities against someone equal to a fifth level Martial Mortal, since by the signs of attrition shown on the Four Wings Stork it was evident that the before torrent definitely was not just an attempt to test the air. By resorting to an attack of a vastly superior caliber so early in their fight, Zax figured that the Overlord did not want to prolong the confrontation, most likely because it could not allow itself to use its full strength below the mesosphere and at the mesosphere the difficulty of controlling the worldly fiery attribute energy was too demanding.
The piercing blue beak was a close range attack and Zax was fine with it. Before examining himself he could not develop a proper long distant attack.
‘I’ve got no technique to contend against such attack’. He dashed toward the Four Wings Stork, pulling his right arm back, building the form for a straight punch. ‘Let’s see what this wisp can do!’
His ace in the sleeve, the bit of dark element he comprehended!
The moment he made a connection with it he realized the limitations of its employment. It could not amplify any of his properties, but it could borrow their characteristics. Meaning, it could be a bodily attack, a mist attack and a soul attack, but the moment of Zax decides which and release it, the might it has will not change from whatever it has in the initial state of a mere wisp.
‘A bodily attack!’ Zax selected and began the throwing motion of his fist. He could feel the wisp of dark element energy traveling from his sea of consciousness, down the back of his neck, shoulder and arm… it did not hurt or caused any sort of harm, but it did make him feel like what coursed in him was the detonation of a Peak Martial Mortal and even more terrifying!
‘I can use it as bursts in speed’. He figured as only millimeters separated his clenched fingers and the tip of the blue beak.
“WHAT?!” Zax shouted in utter stupefaction. For a fraction of a second he was sure of it… there was a resistance when both attacks met. Nevertheless, before the first letter of the word “Struggle” could manifest, he felt the motion of his fist keeping going forward, cracking and breaking the blue beak, forcing its energy back and inflating it with it until it exploded. And since the attack involved the head of the Four Wings Stork…
Three scales Deformed Beings have high intelligence and Overlords are smarter just as any human or beast, regardless of cultivation level.
‘It wasn’t supposed to be like this’. It was the last thought in the head of the Four Wings Stork, after the shock, alarm, fear, unwillingness and surrender.
Zax was dragged by the unstoppable motion of his fist until the wisp of dark element energy was exhausted. Although it died out, his comprehension could not disappear and he could always use it to draw more of the worldly dark element energy, at the capacity he could handle, at least. However, for Zax now it did not matter.
He finally halted, several kilometers after the falling carcass of the Four Wings Stork. To his perception, its descent was no different than it being frozen in time, midair, so he did not hurry to retrieve it. No, with his back to the giant carcass Zax hovered, crouched with eyes bulging out, staring at his right hand.
“This… is the power of dark element energy?” He mumbled, dazed. “This is my… strength?” His body shuddered uncontrollably. Something snapped with the dawn of a sudden realization.
“This is it! This is the strength I needed! With this… with this… as long that Immortals aren’t involved, there are no more shackles!”
Without paying heed to the Four Wings Stork’s carcass or carrying of standing by his word of killing it as revenge, Zax rapidly plunged back to the troposphere.
Raising his chest, it felt like his lungs were full of adrenalin rather than air.
“I AM ZAX ZEL! THE FIRST FIFTH LEVEL MARTIAL MORTAL OF NEW EARTH!”