After Enki’s sealed space had collapsed, the team found themselves in the middle of the forest surrounded by soldiers swarming everywhere.
Besides being encircled, in their immediate vicinity, there is a large group of Imperial troops led by their princess who is chasing after them. Unlike the guards at the palace, all these soldiers are vastly superior, being the elites among 10,000 imperial troops.
Most of them are Peak A cultivators, and as the top platoon among their unit, even their equipment several tiers higher. From head to toe, they are dressed completely with Titan ranked armour and weapons, and a tenth of them even held special artefacts.
Their escape quickly turned into a crawl as the soldiers rushed at them, trying to cut them down. But with Jones and Kairos already low on energy, the guys lost their two most powerful attackers.
The situation fell into the hands of his 4 brothers and Vouno. They clashed fiercely with the soldiers, but every impact only drove them backwards.
“Edward, aim at the princess” Kairos advised.
The archer would need two shots to take down a Mid A ranker and 4 for a peak, making it too slow for him to pick off their foes when they are so heavily outnumbered. A dangerous shot is quickly fired at high speed flew towards Axtalia, making the two heirs by her side jump immediately to defend her.
Seeing the shot had been easily blocked exacted another ‘tch’ from Kairos, but the sneak attack had successfully made many of the guards uneasy, and they chose to stay closer to her, giving them a little chance to breathe in return.
“You impudent knaves… You dare raise a hand against our princess? You need to learn your place!” Vengre from the Green Dog clan barked, then with speed so quick that it leaves afterimages in his wake, he charged towards them. The other heir, Greendre of the Lion’s Mane family, not wanting to be left behind and also vying for attention from the princess, followed along shortly behind.
Meanwhile, a young commander of the imperial troops shouted, “Blade sea stance!” and the well-trained troops immediately spaced themselves out with their weapons drawn.
Accordingly to their strategy, the 4 friends and Vouno was about to rush towards the soldiers as Kairos turned on his heels to meet the blades of Vengre and Greendre, but Jones quickly halted them with hasty words, “Kairos, we’ll take the soldiers instead. Guys, leave the retreat to us.”
“But…” Jim was about to complain that the two of them had barely any energy left but before he could finish, Jones has already dashed into the enemy ranks.
Kairos thought for a moment then said, “Continue firing at her Edward”, then he jumped right in after Jones.
The two ran into the formation that the soldiers set up, and no matter who they attacked, or where they retreated to, they face countless blades from the ‘Blade sea stance’.
With the archer’s continual aim for the princess, he successfully made her guards busy blocking his tricky shots instead of chasing after them. Edward had hoped that some of the soldiers would fail to handle his arrows and sacrifice themselves for their princess, but he was ultimately disappointed, simply because of how skilful they are.
Tommy and Alan, on the other hand, each picked a fight with one of the heirs, and with the support of Vouno’s Ki absorption abilities and Jim’s incredible speed they managed to fight the two to a standstill.
“This can’t be possible?” Vengre shouted as his sword smashed against Tommy’s fist. But instead of wounding the boy’s hand, a metallic sound reverberated and he felt some of his own impacts bounced back.
Within the troops, the two heirs are special existences. They had inherited high-level techniques from their clan and family, and multiple top-level artefacts. Yet they realised that they did not have many advantages against the kids. It couldn’t be helped that Vengre whined consistently since he crossed ‘blades’ with Tommy.
“Shut up and fight, you’re ruining my combat with your mouth” Tommy shouted. He was right in the midst of studying the formless style: impact nullifying stance, while testing out the limits of his newly upgraded glove, but this young heir seemed more interested in chat than battle.
Vengre wanted to rebuke this plebeian in front of him immediately, but a sudden flicker of shadow at the corner of his eyes made him hastily turn and defend himself.
It wasn’t a moment too soon, as Jim’s figure appeared next to him and he attacked fiercely with the dagger arts of his family. He had rapidly closed the distance without any movement techniques and shot out 5 throwing knives, each infused with a bit of his Ki. No matter if the weapon strikes the target’s Ki barrier or flesh, the Ki Jim left in the blades will cling to its landing spot and rampage.
The two, with Peak B rank abilities after soul infusion, caused the Peak A ranker so much trouble that he wanted to cry there is foul play involved.
At the same time near them, Greendre continually beat up Alan who was forced to repeatedly defend himself. His tonfas enabled him the ability to guard from all sides, even if every impact made him feel like dying.
Fortunately, all of them except Vouno has learned the nullifying technique. Without such a protective martial arts, and their soul perception’s ability to quickly identify their enemies’ movements, it would be a joke for any person 1 entire rank lower to think he could survive for more than a few seconds.
In addition to this, both Tommy and Alan has been using their storm palm’s technique during the fight. The ability to estimate the static electricity within Vengre and Greendre’s body, helped them to guess their opponents’ next move.
Oftentimes, the two heirs would have a frown on their face as they puzzled how their foes seemed to be waiting for their attacks. Even before they executed it.
Edward on the other side continued shooting arrows after arrows. After about every 3rd shot he fires, he will aim an arrow at the princess. Forcing the soldiers to be too busy to quickly overwhelm them. Moreover, all of his attacks are exceptionally tricky. The archer had discovered that just like he could control his soul perception to observe whichever area he wanted, he could also control – though only barely – the soul force he infused into his arrows.
He suspects, because after he had infused soul energy into his missiles, he had to severe the connection, that it caused him to be barely able to control the directions. With a flash of inspiration, he loaded the next arrow, infusing it with a larger pool of soul force, and then instead of completely severing the link, he left a thin strand of the energy binding it to himself.
Then, because he is confident that this attack would succeed, he used his shortened incantation for his secret art: I call upon the true name of destruction. Enyo!! Deliver my rage!
His fingers trail off the beast tendon he uses as a bowstring, and let loose a single arrow that whistled in the wind.
The projectile curved through the air at high speed, and the guards immediately shoved themselves in front of the young princess Axtalia once again. But instead of flying right towards her, it curved even more heavily than ever before and flew in a u-turn right back towards the archer himself.
Those that saw this unnatural shot gaped in silence, and when they finally realised the true target, it is already too late.
Annoyed by his foes’ crafty yet effective combat styles, Vengre began to focus on the slower Tommy. He had increased the force behind each of his sword slashes, and at the point of contact, he would unleash the powerful lightning runes on his blade sending a powerful spark that would jump at his target.
This is his favourite method of suppressing a victim. When the spark touches the person, it paralyses and would create a gap between the defences, allowing him an easy victory. He had used it time and time again, and it never failed him. But this time, for reasons unknown to him, it did not stun his opponent as it should. Each of the lightning strikes would mysteriously disappear just before touching Tommy. Though he at first suspected that his opponent has a treasure that nullifies electricity, when he used martial techniques of other elements, the same thing happened.
This is of course not due to any artefact but solely because of Vouno’s ability that absorbed, rather than nullify, the Ki attacks. Kairos’ father had once again hidden his aura and lay unseen in wait. Amid the chaos of battles waged everywhere, no one even noticed him.
His skills as a ranger gave him the experience to use of the forest as cover. It is a requirement, not only to hide from the poachers that he faces in his usual job but also to prevent disturbing the wildlife with his presence. A ranger’s job is to protect the forest, both from intruders and to maintain a balance in the ecosystem, and sometimes, it requires him to hunt down particularly vicious beasts. Beasts that have superior senses than cultivators.
As an I ranker in the past, he couldn’t fight such monsters head-on and had numerous times hid himself until he found the opportunity to bring his target down in a single stroke. Thus, when he learned his cultivation method from his son and realised that he could absorb energy from different sources, including other people, he was fascinated if it could help him in his job.
After days of research, he found a way to reabsorb his own aura and conceal his presence. The aura that all cultivators naturally radiates. And with this ability, if someone couldn’t see him, it would be near impossible to tell even if he is right next to them.
The frustrated Vengre summoned more power, and his outrage soon proves too much for both Tommy and Jim to handle. No matter what, a whole rank of difference is difficult for them to breach.
The young heir’s level of martial arts is at a degree incomparable to the boys. Not only that, Jim and Tommy who are less talented than Jones, had not yet learned the movement techniques that Enki imparted them.
Vengre, with brute force, broke Tommy’s guard with his hilt, he viciously smashed his elbow into the boy’s solar plexus forcing the air out of him and stunning him. Then with a Ki-clad sword, he strikes downwards, fully intending to hack Tommy into two.
But at this moment, he heard a faint whisper of the wind behind him. His instincts, like roaring tides, thundered in his mind. Telling him to dodge, or die. He dodged.
Unable to overcome this unreasonable fear that suddenly struck him, and with a quick, acrobatic dive, he flew towards his side.
Then, Vengre, turned his head to take a look at what caused the hairs on his neck to stand.
Instead of viewing an attack from where he originally was, he found the tip of an arrow right before his eyes.
His training kicked in to save him before his mind even reacted. Mustering the full speed of an elite Peak A ranker, Vengre, a veteran of the Imperial troops, expertly lifted his blade to deflect this ghostly attack that could home in on him.
His prediction failed.
The arrow, at the very last second, dipped unnaturally and pierced into his hauberk.
It unleashed a powerful explosion of energy, right at his torso and blasted him across the forest.
His body flew like a dart, smashing through rows of soldiers until he finally landed right beside the princess.
It was a bloody mess; however, it wasn’t the gore but the shock that exacted a scream from Princess Axtalia.
Vengre, protected by his body-protection talisman, did not instantly die from Edward’s arrows. The shot had at most incapacitated him, and with time and a good doctor, he would recover.
Still, the princess, after recovering from her shock, felt annoyed by Vengre’s incompetency.
She went towards him with an unladylike hysteria and proceeded to stomp on his face with her pin-shaped heels.
One of her stamps went into his eye and punctured it, causing the young heir to wake with a great roar of pain before fainted again.
The princess, having exhausted herself after a while, kicked his head one last time. Seemingly pleased at his screaming and suffering, she returned her attention to the beautiful fight before her.
So far none of the boys had fallen, but their escape has also been deterred.