Chapter 36: The Battle Commences
The hour should have been late at night, but not one could visually tell since very few of the caves in Valgarel possessed a copy or similar formation to the Nightly Cover formation of Kingdom Earth.
The debrief and preparations in the blue tower were with accordance to the last scouting report, which meant that the moment all the lines of the formation were ready, the assault would start.
Zax stood at the entrance to the tunnel from the side of Grandmaster Kartion's cave.
Standing a step inside the tunnel, Grandmaster Kartion, the first line of attack, exuded a domineering air with abundant killing intent. Behind him was the group of experts who attended the debriefing and the Core Master captains of the five tribes. Then, arranged in rows and lines, were all the cultivators of the fifth line, from the Core Breaker level and up.
Taking a step forward, a breathtaking scene fell upon the eyes of the hundreds of experts. Grandmaster Kartion proceeded into the tunnel in accelerating strides, ascending in a jump his humanoid form transformed in the blink of an eye to this true, animalistic form.
As his hooves touched the earth, a majestic, seventeen meters tall Brown Stag galloped lightly toward the other end of the tunnel.
Many who have seen the animalistic form of Grandmaster Kartion, the grandiose Brown Stag, were at first awestruck, and then cried in exhilaration as the Brown Stag bellowed for war, raised his speed and hunched forward his antlers to impale all who dared stand against him.
Shaking the earth and dashing like a meteor, Grandmaster Kartion exited the tunnel.
Releasing his Sublime Soul Sense, he instantly detected the forces of his enemies.
'Karns, Kardelion, you waited for me to show myself for so long! Are you now planning to hide behind your worthless underlings?!' Through his Sublime Soul Sense, Grandmaster Kartion's voice echoed in the over thousands of enemies' minds, provoking the two most notorious to reveal themselves.
Two large explosions reverberated in the cave as rays of icy blue and black darkness shot to the air, toward the speeding Brown Stag.
"No more hiding in your shell, Kartion!" The icy blue ray roared.
"You won't get the time to escape, traitor!" From within the black darkness, a voice roaring a tad louder, threatened.
One ripped through the earth, two descended from the sky, about to collide in a fraction of a second without anyone showing signs of pulling back.
The three strongest beings in this war rammed each other with every ounce of their force.
The ground split into countless fissures, like the design of a spider web, and in a breath it crushed, forming a crater with a surface area of hundreds of square meters.
An invisible force traveled through the air, blowing away everything it passed. The shockwave even reached Karns's and Kardelion's subordinates, causing all those below the Core Master realm to suffer internally.
"Move!" Merson commanded. An azure, belligerent aura emanated out of Kartius, Raroen, Somi, and Merton himself as they each transformed into their animalistic form and followed Grandmaster Kartion out after his collision with Karns and Kardelion.
As Zax watched them, still within the safety of Grandmaster Kartion's cave, he held in his breath tightly. The four were so awe inspiring...
A Thousand Meters Viper, his name alone indicating how immense he was, and a thirteen meters tall Silver Fur Gorilla. The two were Zhihui type beasts – even Somi, despite having a grandson like Simel who was a Silver Skin Gorilla and a Chaoyue type beast – they both had the radiance of exalted rulers.
From looking at the two, Zax's eyes shifted to the second largest of the four, the hundred meters long Silver Horns Dragon and his Martial brother Raroen. Seeing the glow of his aura intensifying by his fighting spirit, in comparison to now, the memories of the first time Zax saw him fight portrayed Raroen almost tenderly.
And then there was the figure of his Master, Kartius. Zax stared at his back, his chest going up and down rapidly as if he shared one pulse with his Master.
The Black Stag, after his breakthrough to the second realm of bodily cultivation, became even mightier in his animalistic form, seventeen meters tall, exactly like Grandmaster Kartion.
The four rushed out of the tunnel in unison.
The same time their presence was felt by the enemies in the vicinity of the cave, those from the Beginner phase of the second Core Master's level and under, shivered, and those who were just affected by the shockwave turned even weaker in their knees.
A loud bull cry assailed the morale of the enemy's forces. In ground shaking stomps, fifteen meters tall, three horns bull, the terrifying third level Core Master, Belavin, led a group of four experts to confront Merson's group. Two of those experts were the Oxen's tribe second level Core Masters, the other two were actually humans!
Seeing second realm humans participating in a battle against second realm beasts in Valgarel did not take Merson's group by surprise. Yes, there is an agreement that forbids second realm experts from assaulting the other species' second realm experts on their territory, but this agreement has two loopholes. One, only the members of core families or core tribes are protected by this agreement. Second, if a tribe accepts a human into it or a family accepts a beast into it, they are permitted and even obligated to protect their host, regardless of who is the enemy.
In this particular case, Merson's group suspected that the two humans, and the others among the enemy's forces, temporarily joined an enemy's tribe, just so His Valor Ozeyn will not be able to stop them by declaring Grandmaster Kartion's household as an equivalent to a core tribe.
Just as Belavin pounced forward with his three dark blue horns, aligned as if they were three bayonets, another group of experts followed from several hundred meters to his left.
Two, extremely large canines that were second level Core Masters, along with the remaining five second level Core Masters, three yellow foxes, a horse-like beast, a lion-like beast and a furless rat, sprang to meet and counter Merson's group off their right.
Thirteen versus four. The firsts from each side to meet the other were naturally the strongest.
Kartius may have broken to the second realm of bodily cultivation and could enhance his physique a bit further with his mist energy, but he still did not underestimate Belavin.
Belavin, in contrast, did not occupy his thoughts with whom he was fighting. His head heated and his eyes red from rage, whomever the tips of his three horns should meet would discover that behind them he put his full force.
Realizing that the two are about to confront, the experts of both sides distanced themselves from the collision course, each of them doing so as a result of acknowledging the might of the strongest in their side.
The air rippled with uncountable fluctuations as the second huge force of the war erupted.
'Third line, out!' Hagen sent to Tularg, Harhenia, Vinesha, Rarahel and the eleven Core Masters captains of the five tribes.
Following their predecessors, the sixteen transformed to their animalistic forms and crossed the tunnel in a couple of short breaths.
As they came out of the cave, a command was given and the forty-seven first level Core Masters of the enemy's forces also began to move.
Moments later, the first line of defence, Shulip, Ham-Bar and Mes entered the battlefield as well.
"Everybody, prepare for battle!" A bald, middle age man shouted loudly before he transformed into a big Silver Fur Gorilla and steered the three hundred ninety-nine cultivators of the five tribes that were between the Core Breaker and the Mist Lord level, to join the defensive line.
"Little sister..." Simel, in his humanoid form, glanced over at Zetsa and spoke with a resolute tone.
Zetsa nodded to him in response and turned her head to Zax. Closing her eyes, and then opening them after letting out a sigh, she said warmly, "See you later, little Zi".
'Big sis... ' Zax had no time to make a proper sound, only to stare at the backs of his swiftly departing big sister and big brother. Both of them gave Zax the impression that atop their heads legendary stormy clouds were weighing.
Looking at the desolate entrance of the cave, where not long ago hundreds of experts and allies of the household stood and readied themselves together for the fight, Zax felt anxiety pressing in his stomach and an unsavory taste in his mouth.
Taking the first step into the tunnel, there was nothing majestic in the way he walked and no one to cheer from behind. He was at the back, while everyone, allies, friends and family risked themselves on the front.
"Karns, you fiend!" Grandmaster Kartion furiously roared and clashed with his supposed "father in law".
Kinetic Force and mist energy rammed and sent their users startlingly backwards.
Karns was thrust tens of meters while Grandmaster Kartion staggered a few steps.
Wild fluctuation of mist energy descended from above. Grandmaster Kartion barely had time to raise his head, before four hoof-shaped beams of icy blue mist energy hit his head and back.
Kardelion's attack landed perfectly. Its force caused Grandmaster Kartion to sink into the ground.
"Grrr!" Grandmaster Kartion gritted his teeth. Channeling kinetic energy and hastily converting it to Kinetic Force, he countered Kardelion's attack and dispersed the mist energy.
Karns recovered from the clash and dashed toward the moments-ago surpassed Grandmaster Kartion.