Following his mental map, Kairos led the group quickly away from the chaos, and towards a heavily guarded palace door. Although the royal treasury is not listed in the blue print, he could guess by where it is most heavily guarded. They attacked the guards after Vouno froze them with his time-space orb, and easily overpowered those A rankers.
Then charging into the palace, they did a sharp turn and started going upwards through a series of stairs. The route they took are meant for the chambermaids and using it they avoided contact with most of the residents in the place.
Quite a few people in the palace are A rankers, but every one fell victim to the time-space orb and are dead or unconscious before they realised what happened. Along the way, they sent out their soul perception to quickly look for the right location to hide in, since they are running around blind.
Suddenly, two shadows flickered over and landed lightly on Kairos’ shoulder. The beautiful blue and red dragonlings wrapped themselves in circles with their claws gently holding on to his clothes.
They looked up at their owner, and with a resonation between their souls, Kairos understood that the small dragonlings he sent out right after they escaped from the royal dungeon, had discovered a suspicious place.
“This way!” With a cry, he led them to another section of the palace.
Meanwhile, the guards within the building has all gone crazy by now. From their yelling and fighting sounds, they concluded that some of the prisoners held a deep grudge towards the Phrixus family, and they had also intruded the palace following after Kairos’ group.
“Assassins! Assassins!” someone cried out from a distance.
The guys continued running, ignoring the chaos that has spread to this location, then suddenly all of them stopped at the exact same time.
“There” one of them pointed at an empty wall.
“I can feel an odd energy coming out of that place as well” Jones nodded.
“A similar vibe to Jim’s pet bird” Someone noticed, indicating that there might be something beyond the mortal realm behind the wall.
They searched the place thoroughly for a way to enter, until Tommy who ran out of patience, smashed the wall in. A new room was revealed behind the wall, and has a single door which leads deeper within. The door seemed sealed by a similar, albeit smaller version, of the runes used to protect Fritzgen’s treasury.
They paused knowing how difficult it is to break such a complicated lock, and doing it wrongly might set off an alarm that draws attention to them. But before anyone could make a suggestion, Kairos confidently walked forward and gently placed his palm on the engraved runic letters. With a smile, he began sending in a trickle of his soul force that undulated with an odd sequence to unlock the door. It was as if he was writing a passcode by drawing the exit to a maze. However, besides sending his energy in the right direction, he must send it with the correct strength and with the right sequence.
Even if it is a difficult code but somehow, the correct way to unlock suddenly seemed apparent to him. Though the runic letters still looked like glibberish, but when his soul interacted with them, he could somehow tell them apart. In his task, his eyes started glowing dimly gold just like how it is when he creates cultivation techniques for the others, then after 10 minutes of tracing his energy within the protective symbol the door finally swung open.
“We’re in!” He said, as his eyes returned to normal.
The others were shocked for a moment, but thinking about it, if the boy could create something as complicated as cultivation methods and secret arts, then diffusing a runic passcode should not be that difficult in comparison.
“Is that a common occurrence?” Vouno asked the boys, pointing at his son’s eyes. He had never seen them glow like this before.
“It used to be rare, but it’s becoming more and more frequent recently. What’s more, every time it happens, he wouldn’t know. Even now when we are talking next to him, he seemed unable to hear us”
“Hey, son… do you know your eyes are glowing golden?”
“Hmm? Sorry, what are you saying?” Kairos replied his father.
“See? He couldn’t seem to hear us”
“Never mind. Let’s just hurry” though they are still concerned, but they soon gave up and went in. Kairos who seemed none the wiser walked in behind them with a strange look on his face.
They took merely a few steps before they halted. Most of them had sent their soul perception forward to scout the way and they realised that the tunnel opens into a great room filled with guards. As they expected, the royal treasury is heavily protected.
“Those guards don’t seem too strong” They scanned the area and realised only a group of B and A rankers as the last defences to the treasury
“I think, they are meant as a last line of protection. More for the sake of slowing down robbers than to stop them. And I presume that it is not their rank that determined their posting here, but their absolute loyalty” Kairos establishes with a glance and said with a coldness to his voice.
“You’re saying…” Edward asked with a pale white face as he looked at the expression on his friend’s face.
Kairos turned his head and looked directly at Edward, “We should use our full power to swiftly take them all down. Don’t allow them a chance to tell on us, and it’d save us some trouble later on”
The others grimly nodded and prepared to strike.
Edward is still rather uncertain being the pacifist he is, but he already understands that a quick assault like what they are planning requires a resolve to kill. Something that he found himself still lacking. So far, most of the guards has been decisively taken out by Vouno, Kairos and Jones, the others only resorting to incapacitating their targets. This is the first time, for most of them, to take human lives and an instinctual reluctance dulled their blades.
However, it is different for the 3 of them. Vouno had experienced fighting with poachers that wished to make an extra buck even at the expanse at destroying the balance in the forest. Though he never told his son, but he had taken lives before. For an I ranker, that is something extremely rare but it also speaks highly of Vouno’s abilities.
Jones’ willingness to shed blood is even more understandable, being subject to torture for two whole months, he no longer felt feeble at striking down his foes. To be able to keep his own heart intact has already been a commendable feat.
Kairos, on the other hand, felt surprised at his own lack of emotions in reaping a person’s life. He swiftly concluded that it is derived from how he had always fought with everything on the line, being given little to no choice in those matters he faced in the past. By the time that he needs to act decisively to take a life, he already no longer feels any ‘unnecessary’ emotions.
A glint of death shone from their weapons as the 3 of them readied themselves to take out their enemies. Their aura razor sharp and deathly cold as they stared forward at the guards that had not yet spotted them. Following suit, the rest steeled their hearts and prepared their weapons.
Since the archer found himself unable to initiate, Vouno who was not as expert with his bow decided to charge in first with only a single dagger. The others following shortly behind. With their current abilities, they could easily deal with B and A rankers, and in the chaotic melee that ensued, they quickly make short work of their foes. Even without martial arts, they had been able to take advantage of their always-impressive soul perception to determine their foes’ intentions before their actions. Now with the formless art, coupled with storm’s palm, runic and seal weapons, the artefacts that each of them took from Fritzgen’s treasury and their own contract beasts that could make sudden attacks, they found these guards are actually too weak to be their opponents.
The fighting dies down after merely 5 minutes in a one-sided massacre, yet in the now quiet room, the sound of metal against metal continued to ring out making everyone looked around.
In a corner of the room, they discovered Vouno desperately pinned down by a single B ranker, and doing everything he could to save his own hind. Even with the 5 powerful artefacts on his person, he is completely overwhelmed with cuts all over his body and his hair raffled chaotically.
Vouno had charged into battle activating his time-space orb, and quickly finished off his initial targets, but before he could move on to the next person this new foe surprised him. He was immediately trapped in a high-paced battle, and quickly found that he simply had no time to activate his time-space orb again.
He had been battling this person ever since and it’s fortunate that his wind orb’s blessing is still granting him greater alacrity than usual or else he might have already fell from the might of this unrelenting guard.
The boys forget, since Vouno had been so overwhelming against his previous foes that two months ago, this man was merely an I ranker. Even now, after improving so much, his actual cultivation is not high.
Another slice cut a bloody line across his chest, making the others take in the fact that this is someone Vouno could not handle. They rush towards him, crossing the distance quickly, however, it is obvious that they are still too far away. The B ranked guard noticed that reinforcements are coming, and his comrades already fallen. In his urge to die together with his opponent, the B ranker decided to unleash his strongest attack. A secret art handed down in each generation of his family which manifest water around an opponent’s head and then crush it with an intense pressure.
A water sphere appeared around Vouno’s head as intended, but instead of what he expected to occur next, man simply lapped up all the water with a slurp and shocked the guard. It was merely a single moment of stillness, but it allowed the others to reach in time and cut him down.
“Father, why didn’t you use any of those martial arts you had in store?” Kairos asked with the anxiousness slowly receding from his voice.
“No time to do so. He just kept on attacking me without using any big Ki moves, and I could barely fend him off even with soul force infusion and the wind orb’s aid”
“I…I guess you better tell us what rank you are at right now”
Vouno coughed embarrassedly, knowing that he had jeopardized everyone’s safety including his own by keeping information like this hidden, merely for the sake of entertainment. Then he said shyly, “Umm.. I’m at Entry E right now. Peak F, two weeks ago at Vox Shalua and Entry F when we first set out”
They nodded their heads, this speed of cultivation is actually a little slow considering the power of the Origin’s cultivation method they are using and having so much cultivation pills. But they realised that Vouno’s cultivating talents is still much better than Kairos’.
Having taken down all the guards, they quickly break through the last gate to the treasury, and entered a beautiful room. It isn’t a large room, but it has plenty of time-space rings or pouches placed on beautifully decorated pedestals and each of those storage items are filled to the brim with valuables and priceless artefacts collected by the Phrixus family over the years.
There is one special object that is placed on a stand instead of within a storage bag. A beautiful crystal horn of a ram that sparkled with an enchanted silvery glow.
It is this item that made them feel that otherworldly sensation, alike to Jim’s phoenix. When they looked at the object carefully, they realised that the stand is merely a decoration, and the item is actually floating.
This is the famous national treasure of the Silent Lambs Empire, the greatest artefact within their kingdom and a true immortal grade treasure serving as the Phrixus’ secret weapon and trump card.
If not because of the chaos all around, it would be unthinkable that anyone could easily get to this place deep within the palace itself. And now they have a chance to retrieve all this.
Jones gave a wide grin and reached his hand out towards the crystal horn, then suddenly Kairos’ figure flickered in front of him and stopped his hand.
“Don’t touch it” He warned.