Chapter 29: Alive
He felt it traveling, squeezed to his stomach like a giant marble.
There was nothing special for it to give or take.
Zax’s consciousness was declining, soon he will really die. The dark attribute’s essence seemed to not care whether it is in the spatial ring, at the palm of his hand or even inside his body.
His approach was wrong, he slowly figured, but was way too weak to muster another solution to somehow use or ruin what others coveted from him along his life.
A wisp of soul energy, perhaps involuntary perhaps deliberately, escaped from his spherical soul, coursed from his head down.
“No!” His Young Eminence lost all forms of his typical sacrosanct and poise demeanor.
“He ... He ... Consumed the perfect dark attribute’s essence!” Helev Hetra cried in distress.
“Fools! How could you let him?!” Boolian roared and pounced toward Zax’s direction with ill intent, intending to cut him open and retrieve the dark attribute’s essence.
Realizing Boolian’s intention, His Young Eminence shot a furious look at him. “Halt, you imbecile!” He commanded angrily.
“Humph! Regardless of your status in Luminous Church, in this Western Continent, no outsider has the capital to order me”.
Seeing that Sister Beatriz was preoccupied with Rockwell and Riv, Boolian knew that this, most likely, would be his best chance to make a move for the perfect dark attribute’s essence and afterwards expend every available means in his possession to hurriedly evacuate the scene to the troops’ headquarters.
“Are you damned deaf?! Halt your steps, foolish Agama!” Colonel Rijok barked, purple lightening flickered around him and in a split second he overtook Boolian.
“Rijok ... Are you really willing to submit to Luminous Church because they sent an Extreme Expert? Once news of this will arrive to my Violet Scaled Troops and Blessed Army, will you share the consequences of lending a hand to this violation?!”
“Are you so obsessed with obtaining the dark attribute’s essence that you have gone senile?!” Colonel Rijok rebuked and lowered his voice till finally deciding to convey his words via Sublime Soul Sense. ‘An Extreme Expert following and obeying a Core Master, referring to him as “Young Eminence”, should I say more?’
‘Young Eminence... ‘ As a reclusive member in the troops, Boolian paid heed only to information relevant to his duties. Hierarchy and honorific of the other powers did not interest him, especially those as complicated as Blue Sea’s and Luminous Church’s.
‘An “Ascended Elite”, can this you understand?’ Colonel Rijok rephrased. In his heart he too, now, understood why he was ordered by the General to avoid contact with Luminous Church’s group.
‘Future Immortal!’ Boolian’s aura faltered and dispersed, his pink eyes dilating.
Be it in the Blessed Army, the Violet Scaled Troops, Golden Desert Fort, Luminous Church or Blue Sea, “Ascended Elite” was the widely given title to any of those with the clear potential to become Immortals. Their numbers were few, countable on one hand at each of the five powers. Their status, for the likes of Boolian, impossible to measure!
‘Sister Beatriz is one thing, and this youngster she accompanying is another on a whole new scale. It won’t be much if others irritate him, but, Boolian, Helev Hetra, consider the frictions that you might cause among the powers should an incident relating to an Ascended Elite would transpire from your actions’.
‘Boolian’, Helev Hetra joined the conversation. ‘For now, endure’.
Nodding his reptilian head, Boolian slowly floated back with Colonel Rijok and Helev Hetra at his pace.
Were the situation not critical and Sister Beatriz was by his side, His Young Eminence would have certainly settle accounts with Boolian for his gall. Nevertheless, the most important thing right now was the perfect dark attribute’s essence.
Staring at Zax with his mind reeling, His Young Eminence weighed his options with bated breath. ‘He won’t survive, this heathen is soon to suffer a slow, excruciating death, that is certain. However, the dark attribute’s essence ... It’s lost! It’s lost! This ... This malicious BASTARD ruined a Godsend perfect dark attribute’s essence!’
Grinding his teeth, protruding veins on his youthful face, His Young Eminence knew that any interference would risk total destruction of the dark attribute’s essence. If by the end it will maintain ninety percent potency, then it would still be acceptable.
Rapt in nerve wracking waiting, he had not noticed Sister Iaura coming by his side, wishing to solace.
A God composed it from soul fragments and dark attribute, intended for it to be the Core of a wraith’s being, an intangible creature, absent from mist or Qi.
A black thread appeared before it, dark, hardly a substance. It probed briefly its peripheral zone and then touched it.
Surrounded by a vast gray sea, beneath gray sky and situated at the epicenter of black and flourishing patch of land, a tremor passed through Zax’s soul.
“Graaaahhhhh!” A shrilling, miserable yell suddenly resounded out from his pressed to the ground face.
“Aaaaaaaahhhhh!” It grew louder, painful, everlasting.
Zax’s body, weakened to the point of previously not even having the strength to speak, shook and began to spasm. His legged stretched and stiffened, his teeth biting and cracking. Extending his three limbs, even messed up left arm, and then flipping abruptly, he rolled whilst continuing to shout and spraying blood from his worsening wounds and virtually every pore on his body.
“How terrible!” Holding her hands over her lips, Sister Iaura could not help but pity the agonizing Zax. Taking a step forward, she wanted to put him out of his misery.
“Do not move!” His Young Eminence blocked her with his arm, pushing her back, gently. “The sordid heathen chose to go against The Almighty’s decree”. He said resentfully, rejoicing in the pain and suffering over Zax’s complexion, as The Almighty’s decree was for the perfect dark attribute’s essence to be bestowed to him.
“Poor boy...” From a far, in the midst of escaping and evading Sister Beatriz’s staunch assault, Riv and Rockwell noticed the commotion and uttered.
Boolian’s expression was ugly to behold. “This ... is because of ingesting the unrefined dark attribute’s essence...” The thought of what would have happened to him should he had ripped it out of Zax after it issued this internecine reaction, made him thankful that Colonel Rijok stopped him.
“No”, Colonel Rijok disputed. “He brought upon this wretched death the moment his soul interacted with the unrefined dark attribute’s essence. Otherwise, he could keep it wherever he wanted”.
‘Well, good’. Helev Hetra sent. ‘Better the perfect dark attribute’s essence destroyed than letting it get to the hands of another’s Ascended Elite, at least in this particular case I assume we all agree’.
Slightly nodding, Colonel Rijok added. ‘Though not perfect, Luminous Church will still earn a dark attribute’s essence when the boy will die, but indeed the situation turned out in our favor’.
“Say,” Lurvar said nervously to Gong Vreil. “Your captain ... If I was to give him the dark attribute’s essence and the same thing would have happened to him ... in how much trouble would I have been?” He was oblivious to the fact that the appalling scene before him resulted from a deliberate improper handling of the dark attribute’s essence, only concerned that he could have been blamed for attempting to assassinate the captain of a Geared ranked mercenary band.
“I don’t know...” Gong Vreil blurted. She too did not expect that the wraiths’ dark attribute’s essence can be so malevolent.
‘Good, good, good!’ Hereb Lish repeated in jubilation. ‘If something like this were to happen to father... ‘
“You see, Cattelin, eventually he got what he deserves”. Darvajka tried to sooth her exasperated temper.
“He should suffer more; keep suffering, die, Musclehead bastard!” The chance to be the source of his pain was robbed from her, but seeing his deteriorating state, elated her.
“Aaaaaaaahhhhh!” It could not stop, the inscrutable pain. As if to challenge his endurance it intensified beyond anything he ever experienced and soon his body could not take it anymore.
Internally, the black bulb latched to the wisp of soul and emanated a corrosive aura.
Externally, gradually his muscular physique shrunk and his skin turned gray, rotting, detaching from his person one reeking piece after another.
In his sea of consciousness, Zax’s Inner Panorama was encompassed by pandemonium. His spirit failed to find relief even within the encirclement of the soul.
Something ruptured. A tear formed in his dantian, allowing the corrosive aura entry.
Contrary to popular belief, the vastness of the dantian was proportional to fitness level, rather than mist cultivation. As such, it took a bit of time for the corrosive aura to spread inside Zax’s dantian.
Reaching further, eventually the Black Core was targeted, too, by the corrosive aura.
As it touched the smooth surface of the round Black Core, a repulsive sound echoed throughout the collapsing dantian. As if sentient and responding in retaliation, black mist tentacles came out of the Black Core and unhindered by the corrosive aura, they merged to one, extending toward the dark attribute’s essence!