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“Do you really have to? Do you really have to? Please stay, big bro! My birthday… I want to celebrate with you again!” Liz’s big round eyes were moist as she did her best to hold back the tears.
Zax kneeled and took her hand. “I’m sorry, Liz, I have to”. He drew her to his arms. “I’ve obligations”. He hated his choice of words, what was she, then? ‘I’m doing it so one day we’ll be able to be together, wherever, whenever, without a worry in the world. It’s all for the betterment if my loved ones’. He consoled himself. “Look at me”. He pulled her tiny chin up. “Let’s make a promise. There will not be bad news about me, anymore, and I promise to return in a half a year, at the longest”. He exhibited a sincere and confident countenance, but sighed inwardly. Mere six months to an eight years old were the same as two to three years, especially when there is no the lightest of contacts.
“Come to mommy, Liz”. Laylen called her. She, Marco, Zetsa and Anet were standing on the side. Each of them already said their goodbye in the apartment that was Zax’s home.
“Sweetie, hold big sister Anet’s hand”. It took a lot of effort from Anet to remain composed.
Zax watched as Liz grudgingly accepted Anet’s hand and moved to stand next to her. The picture of the two who made him the greatest amount of blame engraved in his head.
He got back up on his feet. His clothes were the same to the common styles of the Eastern Continent. Earthly shades, a tad loose trousers, which edges cling to the leg right above the ankle, and a half a size too big white shirt, which were tacked to the trousers and sleeves were folded.
Zax saw many of the common people wearing this sort of clothes and even the pair he stole was similar. Even passing experts in the Eastern Continent, who did not care for something more durable, often wore the same type of clothes, mostly due to convenient. Lastly, to his feet Zax had regular sandals.
His goal was to look local in the Elite Tryouts, like an expert who came out from seclusion, and thanks to Grandma Shi Oh’s sewing skills, in terms of clothing, he certainly look the part.
Exchanging one last look with his loved ones, Zax exited the apartment, closed the door after him, and vanished.
Eleven months. From the day he returned to today Zax spent eleven months in New Earth. During these months, after the first four that he applied to the initial cultivation of the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique’s first stage, Zax started a training regime of one day at home for every month of training. The only exception in which he stayed for longer than one day were during the birthdays of his immediate family and Anet’s, with Liz’s been the longest. His twenty second birthday, though, he spent training.
With the optimal environment of the second Savage Cave, in eleven months he absorbed the equivalent of one hundred and ten kilos of dark attribute’s essence, and with the dark attribute’s essence fruits he found, as well as those Zetsa and Anet purchased from the Basement Floor, his pond physique had a total of one hundred and thirty three kilos filled into it.
Besides cultivating past the first percent of the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique’s first stage, Zax also mastered the Bone And Muscle Transformation and could now manipulate the shape and size of his body, though his skin and hair were left the same and it still retained the same volume. In addition, he had gone through folder C#100 and all its content about computing, several times.
Of course, not every moment during his fairly secluded training regime was peaceful and quiet...
In the second month of his training, a red dressed, second level Core Master, cougar of a woman entered the second Savage Cave.
By the casual manner in which she came through the tunnel, it appeared that it was not her first visit to the cave, and it was further proven by her astonished reaction to Zax’s presence and the distance he was situated at.
At the time of her arrival, Zax did not turn to see her, nor could use his Soul Sense to survey her. He only heard her footsteps.
Maybe it was her original intention or perhaps she was enticed by how a youngster such as Zax reached, after seven days of tempering the red dressed cougar advanced farther than the judicious distance a second level Core Master could traverse in the second Savage Cave. Consequently, she lost herself to the savage force and with Zax being the only other living creature around, she locked on him as her target.
Normally, no second level Core Master could pose a threat to Zax, regardless of state of mind. It was even more so true in the harsh environment if the second Savage Cave… the red dressed cougar could not be more affected by the savage force than she already was, but the gravitational force was a different matter entirely, which ensured that she will not be able to get to Zax. Nevertheless, for several second, the red dressed, crazed cougar evidentially found a way to instigate an instance of danger to him.
While Zax ignored her, keeping to his cultivation, the red dressed, crazed cougar was pressed to her physical limit by the gravitational force. She howled, gnashed her teeth like a wild beast and bust mist attacks until a loud explosion resonated behind Zax and when he finally turned to look he caught a glimpse of her body disintegrating, for the savagery coupled with the graviton drove her to perform involuntary mist detonation and for a brief instant after the resulting fluctuations sorted a momentarily, minuscule deviation in the cave’s two forces’ range of influence.
Luckily, the deviation did not reach Zax, otherwise, the two hundred and twenty one meters mark that he stayed at would have been the last place he was sane at.
In the fourth and tenth months were three more occasions of experts arriving to the second Savage Cave. In those times, the experienced Zax took ten precautionary steps back from his limit mark and stopped paying attention to the visitors who could not reach him or inspect anything but his back.
Warm rays of light poked through the foliage of the Titan Kapok Trees.
The new group of Curators settled somewhere in the vista, where they could still oversee the passageway to New Earth while release themselves from part of the job’s boredom.
‘Should I use Kinetic Orbs to distract them or…’ Zax did not really have to put the effort of distraction to come out and go unnoticed, but since the slightest mishap could implicate Supreme Ruler Trey, who is responsible to Kingdom Earth, he decided to give a test to the foot technique Linor taught him.
“Trogor, what happened?” A hunchbacked, elderly man in Blessed Army uniform approached and enquired a longed, platinum hair middle aged man with black and slimy skin who wore silver robe with white patterns.
“Cindar old man, have a look yourself”. The black slimy skin Trogor said as his eyes kept examining the scene two kilometers away.
The hunchbacked Cindar raise a thin brow and followed Trogor’s line of sight. “Oh… the Black Chrome Alligators fighting again for supremacy”.
On a riverbed not too far three Black Chrome Alligators fought, creating mayhem around them.
“The two adolescents will lose. Though they are near adulthood and possess the strength of Advanced third level Core Master, the River’s King can match a Peak Core Master and has far more battle experience”. Cindar noted.
Trogor nodded. A smile creeped to his face and he glanced at the old man. “Aren’t you going to interfere? Even if they are not any weaker than you, I’m sure you have a method or two to scare them away”.
“Humph!” Cindar snorted. “Why should I? Because that Pinkmoss village is on their path? Trogor, you know our human’s saying ‘there are plenty fish in the sea’? Well, we say it in reference to how many we are. One village, a few thousand people… sooner or later others will come to replace them”.
“Tsk! Tsk! That’s sound almost as cruel as our sea can be”. Trogor shook his head and laughed. “Rae! Liam!” He shouted. “A village is about to be destroyed and old Cindar says it’s fine with him. Will you, two human, also abandon it?” He took joy in jeering his fellow human Curators.
“I shouldn’t have come”. Upon hearing the mocker in Trogor’s voice, Cindar clenched his fists and bitterly said to himself.
A strong gust of wind blew, forcing the exalted Curators to avert their eyes.
“Who?” Cindar cried in alarm.
“A Martial Mortal?” Trogor called in surprise as it was the only thing that came to his mind.
They skimmed the surrounding. If a Martial Mortal really appeared and does not belong to one of the five powers, they are obligate to warn him should he or her intend to enter the passageway.
“He left”. Cindar said, relieved.
“Yes”. Trogor let out a pent up breath.
“Eh!” The two simultaneously uttered.
“The Black Chrome Alligators…” Trogor said.
“Are dead…” Cindar finished.
Zax flew in high speed, expecting to see the boundary of the Western Continent, where the Seer Don Ocean as at its shores.
‘Scum!’ He cursed the two emotionless Curators. ‘They have the means but don’t want to waste them. That village had eighteen hundred people!’
The three Black Chrome Alligators’ brawl could not escape his detection, neither the detached Cindar and Trogor and the Pinkmoss village.
The children by themselves were more than enough reason for him to act, yet Cindar excused his lack of action by saying that overall there are too many?
Zax was pissed. In the past there was one member of the Blessed Army he was bent on killing one day, while whoever else were out of spite. Now he found a second member of the Blessed Army he really wants to kill, yet again, by the circumstances, he still cannot.
Powerless to act freely on his whim, Zax sighed. ‘They didn’t see me and from the direction I sent the wind spiraling, they should assume that I flew from the west’. The passageway was located east to the two and the commotion.
Zax took a short break from his journey as early as he got to the third ring in the crater.
‘Thirty seven times faster! My absorption rate is thirty times faster!’ He was so excited that he unintentionally caused the worldly dark attribute energy to rumble.
“Shit, retreat! The gravitational force attraction suddenly got stronger!”
“Dammit, is it the Overlord?!”
Numerous voices cried in indignation, humans, beasts and even roaring aquatic Deformed Beings.
‘Crap! I must leave before that eel will realize that I’m the source of the shift in the gravitational force!’ Before he could get an idea of how fast would be his absorption rate in the succeeding rings and the center of the crater, Zax scrammed, onwards to the Western Continent.
Only out of the water, on the other side of the of the whirlpools’ wall, did he feel safe again. ‘Thirty seven times, that nearly four times the absorption speed at my current limit in the second Savage Cave!’ With was a source of happiness, but not even close to Zax’s goal. Forty times his regular absorption rate will still take him hundreds of years before he could fully cultivate the first stage. ‘Right now there are only three half decent ways to increase my strength fast’. Since cultivating the Three Stages Of Hyper Physique depended on his abilities, he did not matter whether the Horned Eel prevent the crossing to the second ring or not. ‘Number one, with the least risk, trying to buy the amount of dark attribute’s essence I’m in need for. Maybe different qualities of attribute’s essence will also compensate on the ludicrous amount’. As for capital, stealing from the five powers’ bases or from those related to them was not beneath him. ‘Number two would be gathering the remaining Black Cores. Number three; rely on Luminous Church to be generous in the Elite Tryouts before imposing their oaths’.
‘Senior Gid’, Zax transmitted via his communicator when the temporarily humble dwelling of the former Supreme Ruler was in view.
‘Zax, you remembered to return?’ From within his house, Gid Chu swept the vicinity with his Sublime Soul Sense, discovering that was almost at his doorstep.
“Senior Gid”, Zax landed in front of the cottage, meeting Gid Chu face to face.
Now that they were familiar with each other, Gid Chu allowed a hint of dissatisfaction to be visible on his face. “You really pushed it to the last minute, brat, there is less than a month for the preliminaries to end”. He gestured to Zax to follow him inside.
“Don’t worry, senior Gid, you said that as long as I put a sufficient show, they will let me pass, right?”
“Yes”, despite admitting to saying that, Gid Chu grimaced. “However, that was before they announced the prizes…”
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