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Zax was on the verge of retorting against the notion of already joining Sinister Chain when it dawn on him that if former Supreme Ruler Gid Chu Takeda declared so, he probably will not budge for any other demand. Thus, he semi officially became the seventy fifth member of Sinister Chain.
As Zax showed no indication of asking himself, Gid Chu took his silence as the essential attentiveness he would like him to exhibit before bringing up to speed. “Might as well start from the beginning, won’t you mind?” It was a rhetorical question.
Zax preserved his equanimity. Taking a sip from his cup he thought he detected a hint of a nutty flavor. ‘Also earthy…?’ They did not make the bitterness less harsh on his taste buds, but fixating on them enriched the overall experience, perhaps the first step toward acquiring the taste?
“Back then”, Gid Chu opened. “I was serving, together with big brother Ariel and big sister Trey, in the Blessed Army. Big brother Ariel shined the brightest among us three, catching the attention of the high command. His talents were, are legit, so dazzling that me and big sister Trey had to strive with utmost determination just to keep up with the sight of his back. It is fine, though, we would not have attained our accomplishments without him presenting goals to learn from and surpass. Besides, we were wary of the five powers for New Earth. By attracting the limelight to himself alone, he could advance quickly in rank while helping us stay inconspicuous as we probed long enough to formulate an idea of the Blessed Army’s, correspondingly all five powers, intentions”. He snickered and reminisced. “If they came to know of our identities early on, things wouldn’t had been as simple. You see, at its core it was a web of deceit, enlisting to the Blessed Army”.
For the most part Zax’s possessed a solid countenance. On the one side he was listening and on the other, trying impatiently to figure how the man sitting before him now came to be through the narrated history.
“At the time of our enlistment, despite knowing of the world beneath the ground, the five powers’ attitude toward it was very lax, therefore when we joined the Blessed Army, by the time where we originated from was known, certain figures in the army were convinced of our, big brother’s mostly, value and allegiance, which, following by contemplating their intentions, enabled us to uncover a truth or two. These truths were the reason of my discharge, a decision that aroused distrust from those who had opposed big brother’s promotions and were cautious from our countryman’s Martial potential.
”It was not easy, but in the end, in order to leave and be free from the watchful eye of the army, be it in New Earth or Ercas Mir, I was penalized with a great but worth it price”.
“Your mist cultivation?” Zax asked bluntly. Not trying to be impolite, yet not being able to sense an iota of mist energy when he used his Soul Sense before, he was quite curious about the former Supreme Ruler’s cultivation, unless it was concealed extremely well, like his presence. Additionally, Gid Chu’s cordiality simply gave him the impression that he is free to ask anything.
Gid Chu lowered his head to his cup and whether it was a confirmation, he did not say it immediately. “Big brother Ariel remained at stationary position in the army, he was obligated by an oath and frankly it was good for him to stay on this front in the occasion of a storm… Big sister Trey returned to Kingdom Earth as the chief Supreme Ruler. She was still unlisted in the army but with big brother’s support it was agreed to let her manage Kingdom Earth. As for me, after conditioning my soul to the task”, he said as if admitting to Zax’s suspicion and as if it was understandable for him to exchange the mist cultivation he earned by the tutelage of the Blessed Army for freedom and a life as a soul cultivator. “I returned to Ercas Mir and roamed the oceans and continents till eventually establishing my own power, Sinister Chain, which fundamental goal is to eliminate the threat of the five powers”.
Zax withheld his opinion on Gid Chu sacrificing his mist cultivation. Grandmaster Kartion had done the same for a cause that was righteous for him and sometimes another man’s shoes and another stag’s hooves are better left with no wet behind the ears sympathizers. ‘The five powers are a threat?’ He turned to the following matter.
He was aware of their oppressiveness, especially against New Earth’s inhabitants, with their rules and limitations, yet their conduct never really posed a threat, on the contrary, they were open to receive and groom those prospects from New Earth, hence the Martial competition every half a century.
‘It correlates to their findings’. Zax thought, meaning the intentions and truths that were uncovered, probably long before he was born.
“Here we return to the hope big brother Ariel placed on you. At his current position of a Lieutenant General, the second highest rank in the army, and as a fourth level Martial Mortal, along with all the contribution he made over the years and meritorious service, the General of the army is still keeping him, the majority of the army actually, in the dark from a few things I could not discover unless I was discharged.
“Starting with understanding the magnitude of the truths we learned, after Sinister Chain was functioning and we gathered intel from four of the powers (Blue Sea not easy to get to or penetrate as the rest due to its topography) and investigating the roots of the different communities… initially we thought that the tribes and villages who grew up to become the first clans and cities were cells of humans and beasts left behind during the great immigration, but it turned out that we were entirely wrong. By examining the heritage of the human communities, there are no signs of any association to the pre immigration humanity. Furthermore, all documented history indicates that since they, first villages and tribes, were formed, the five powers were already reigning”.
Allowing Zax a moment to digest, Gid Chu took a step back and said. “The truths about the five powers that we thought we so well understood are, one, the five powers emerged thriving right after the catastrophe that drove our ancestors underground, meaning there is a chance they were connected to it”.
‘They weren’t’. Zax said to himself, knowing it was the expert from whom he inherited his Black Core that was the mastermind of what he, too, entitled as “Age of Catastrophe”. Nevertheless, he will not tell it to Gid Chu, not his full truth, anyway, and not before he will have an alternative to mask the details he would rather keep to himself.
“Second, the Generals of Blessed Army and Golden Desert Fort, Horn of the Violet Scaled Troops, Admiral of Blue Sea and Luminous Church’s Archbishop aren’t necessarily the highest authority of the five powers. From conversations we intercepted we know that outside this planet, somewhere in space, are situated absolute powerhouses, Immortals, who transmit orders to the leaders of the five powers here on earth. These are the two truths my big brother and big sister are also aware of and roughly the full extent of their knowledge (big sister Trey know a bit more because her oath to the Blessed Army less restrictive, which makes it safer to share my findings with her then with big brother). One of these truths is in inaccurate, but before I’ll tell you which I’ll sum what we knew of the five powers’ intentions before I left the Blessed Army.
“Today it’s not much of a secret for anyone in the circle of third realm experts, be they five powers’ personal or not. In fact, anyone who can manage to infiltrate there mobile outposts undetected and rummage through the complied data (you do have computer skills, right? High cultivation cannot be relied on for everything), would be able to catch on what the five powers’ ‘purpose’, to be precise, is… excavation”.
“They want the planet’s resources? New Earth’s resources?” Zax creased his brows, listing in his head all the valuables treasures unique to the world beneath the ground. Earth’s Cores and Sun Stones and all sorts of plants and minerals came to mind, yet none his intuition told him was something the five powers should covet. ‘Are they after quantity rather than quality?’ That was one possibility; the other was the remaining items on the list, or more accurately Places. He never been there but got close enough and heard a lot from his Master. ‘The second and fabled third Savage Caves?’
“That is the rough estimation we made at first and most everyone believe”. Gid Chu said in a finalizing tone. His cup emptied, he rested it on the wooden saucer and placed it on the round table. “That is the gist of the accessible information available before Sinister Chain came to be, a raw perception of truths and purpose a great number of experts could tell you and nothing clearer”.
He considered for a fleeting moment to ask Zax what he thinks, but discarded the thought instantly.
“The truths about the five powers are that they are not five but three. Luminous Church is a branch of a religious sect called ‘Holy Palace’. ‘Planetary Battalion’, we speculate, is a vessel capable of traversing space. From there the higher ups of Blue Sea and Golden Desert Fort were sent. And ‘Voltic Star’, a planet we can’t decide if situated at the same Milky Way galaxy, is the home world of Blessed Army’s and Violet Scaled Troops’ high command. They all came here as alien groups of scavengers, not instigators who incited Nature thousands of years ago”. Gid Chu spat the last sentence. “This may sound like a minor illumination of the five powers’ background”. He confessed. “However with it we can eliminate detrimental misconceptions on our enemies. Moreover, it’s not all. It must be the most crucial piece of information we ever obtained… Considering the cost…” He said half to himself half to Zax. ”The reason for the geographical distribution of the planet by the five powers isn’t just territorial division. They are in a dispute, the heads of the three major factions behind them, the Immortal powerhouses. Apparently it wasn’t even them who discovered the planet, but their five subdivisions, the five powers. How? I’m not sure since they were supposedly in space. Yurnal thinks that the planet released fluctuations when the catastrophe occurred and they were sufficiently close to detect them. Be it what happened or not, after discovering the planet they reported it, following by receiving orders with a specific goals, first populating the land (don’t ask, failed to found out why), second excavation. As for their Immortals leaders, the important part, why they aren’t here as well. We were told that they are in a stalemate due to the claim for what they are trying to excavate and that none making a decisive move for the concern that escalation will draw the unwanted attention of other Immortal powerhouses”.
“Told? By whom?” It sounded to Zax like someone or ones from Sinister Chain managed to infiltrate the five powers, get into a position in the know of things. It could not be a native to New Earth; otherwise senior Arial would not have needed him. He also doubted that the higher ups of the five powers were willing to trust those born above the ground, in a world under their supervision. Not to mention the obstructive oaths… ‘What left to weight are the possibilities of traitors in the five powers, or… Did they catch high profile prisoner?!‘
“Vise Admiral”. Gid Chu answered plainly. “Blue Sea’s fourth level Martial Mortal. We captured and interrogated a few years back”.
‘Sinister Chain had the means to capture a fourth level Martial Mortal?!’ Zax could not hide the shock in his eyes, which Gid Chu read with amusement.
Pointing at the Blue Stone in Zax’s possession. “The owner of this thing, Yurnal, he beat her”.
“Yurnal!” At last Zax understood why Zechariah and the rest urged him to not be impulsive with snatching whatever item in the Blue Stone or even breaking its soul imprint.
To intentionally force a fourth level Martial Mortal into submission was much more difficult than killing him or her. When experts on the same level were involved, it required for one of them to have superiority in both cultivation and technique. Yurnal, at the very least, had to be at the Peak of said level while his opponent at the Beginner phase!
“This Yurnal is a Fifth level Martial Mortal?” Zax was ready to stand and leave if that was the case. He preferred to avoid Peak fourth level Martial Mortals, too, but felt more assured escaping from them than fifth level Martial Mortals.
Gid Chu shook his head. “Of course not, do you think fifth level Martial Mortals are that easy to come by?” He raised an eyebrow.
Zax did not answer, just felt relived in his heart.
“He is a second level third realm bodily cultivator, like I am”. Gid Chu smirked.
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