Chapter 20: Joining Sinister Chain?
“You are not my Tal or apprentice, so ‘Senior Gid’ or my whole name ‘Gid Chu’ is acceptable. This is how big brother Ariel told you to refer to him, might as well do the same with me”. Former Supreme Ruler Gid Chu Takeda exuded no air of haughtiness as one who grew up learning about the feats and temperament of his or her exalted founder would expect. In fact, he also did not have an iota of a cultivator’s air to him, just the impression of a middle aged man at his early forties who still retained some of his youthful features.
‘Supreme Ruler Gid Chu Takeda!’ Even if his life was on the line and he had to scream every name that he could scrap from his mind, Zax would have never assumed that the leader of Sinister Chain is actually former Supreme Ruler Gid Chu Takeda. His mood suddenly turned foul and he glared at Zechariah and Linor, his eyes demanding: ‘Could you not have freaking told me?!’
The duo averted their gazes, truthfully were kind of anticipating his shock, more so because in the short span of time that passed since their first and last meeting he managed to surpass all their rigorous cultivating by an outrages margin.
As for their initial response to former Supreme Ruler Gid Chu Takeda ... they pretty much reacted the same way. Linor’s composed and cool demeanor faltered and her mouth opened wide enough to fit a bundle of Earth’s Cores while the mannered Zechariah nearly shit himself shouting “Founder? You are alive!” Apparently it is some sort of well kept secret in the family...
“Varinka, Havreim, Linor, Zechariah, return to the hotel”. Gid Chu dismissed them and then gestured for Zax to enter the courtyard and inside the cottage.
“Elder Master-” Varinka opened.
“Leave”, he interrupted her attempt to sway him otherwise. “Your duties are unattended”. Gid Chu reminded, calm and patient, sending them off like a father rather than teacher or superior.
“Elder Master, everything Rockwell and Riv said is true”. Giant Havreim said.
“Of course it is”. Gid Chu nodded and with that stopped paying attention to his four apprentices. “Let’s get inside”. He turned to Zax. “Currently everyone is out, so we can have peace and quiet while enlightening each other. There is good coffee, too”.
The cottage was spacious, consisted of a large room, right after the entrance, that most of its space was overtaken by the living room and the rest, the northwest corner, was the open kitchen. Two bathrooms, a laundry room, a storage room and four bedrooms were evenly divided beyond the east and west hallways.
“You wonder why I picked this place to stay in?” Gid Chu read Zax’s inquisitive expression. “It’s not our headquarters, far from it. Take it as a temporary resident randomly chosen”.
“Senior Gid”, the many things Zax wanted to ask him about amounted to too much that his pick of residency was barely at the bottom of the list. “Why did Senior Ariel say nothing about you here, moreover being the leader of the five powers’ number one opposing organization?”
“Would you like to join Sinister Chain?” Gid Chu asked in return, “I mean, it was not why big brother Ariel sent you up here, if it was he could let big sister Trey handle your affairs, making sure you understand, but the five powers think now that you are dead and we already met. Ultimately we share the same goal, the betterment of our fellow New Earth’s citizens. Why not work together, then?” He pulled a chair for Zax to sit on by the round table at the back of the living room and turned to the kitchen, where he used a grinder to grind dark brown, slightly reddish, coffee beans he took from a jar that sat on the countertop.
Zax smelled the rich aroma of the ground coffee. He was not a fan of the bitter beverage, never got the chance to drink enough to get accustomed to the flavor, but he appreciated the scent.
He realized that Gid Chu was serious with his offer and addressed him on equal footing, his pick, perhaps because Zax was not his apprentices and he acknowledged his accomplishments in Demirve Ridge, not to mention his level of strength from recounts of Rockwell, Riv and Linor.
Thinking about the pair and remembering that he still possess inside his Blue Stone the hexagonal token with two letters printed on it in Netherling, “S.C” Rockwell gave him following the invitation to join Sinister Chain, Zax also recalled the same reckonings he made back then for either becoming part of a criminal organization or a Geared mercenary band.
“I’m not good with taking orders”. He wanted to negotiate his terms of service. Requests were one thing and being constantly told what to do was another, against the nature he fostered growing up around more beasts than humans.
Gid Chu washed and wiped two small cups. “And working in a group? Have you ever been part of a group working for mutual purpose?” He causally inquired.
“I can work with other. I did”.
“Then you always were the leader, remarkable”.
Zax frowned. Was he being mocked?
Following the silence of a lack of response, Gid Chu glanced at him while pouring the steaming dark liquid to both cups. “Being a loner is fine and dandy, but then what does it has to do with your disposition toward orders?” He carried the cups, each on a small wooden saucer, served Zax his and sat down. “There is no contract to sign or an oath you have to make. Heck! Looking at you, I cannot even buy you with our resources. That is, besides the thing you took, or rather its content...”
“You know?” Zax was surprised. Not that Gid Chu was informed of the Blue Stone he stole, but what inside of it and its usage. He thought it belonged to the so called “Second Master”.
“Hahaha”, Gid Chu laughed, choosing not to elaborate, and returned to the original subject. “Would you mind if I’ll tell you in the form of an order to save a life?”
“Of course not”, or more accurately he would not care, since if the subject was someone who did not deserve to die and was nearby, then he would have helped regardless what others told him and in what manner.
“What about taking a life to save a life?”
For now he decided not to force the issue of the Blue Stone, partly at the chance Gid Chu would forward it toward the absent Second Master. “You won’t have to tell. I don’t particularly like seeing innocents suffer and don’t overthink killing evildoers”. In his book, the innocents were mostly non cultivators hoping for peaceful life, a concept he unconsciously associated with his parents, extended family and friends.
“Lastly, should I order you to search for a name, follow the person, acquire the information and clean all evidence that you were ever present, all for the sake of New Earth, humans and beasts alike, would you refuse it?”