Almost all activity in the forest halt as Princess Axtalia shouted with her musical voice of her intention to speak with the enemy leader. Such a request is more common on the battlefield than generally recognised, and because communication usually results in less fighting, it is normally something honoured.
However, what happened next was not the scene every person of both sides had pictured in their minds.
A group among the elite imperial troops are standing guard next to the princess when suddenly, they discovered that out of nowhere a boy had somehow appeared too close to her for comfort, and he is already in the middle of executing a powerful downward strike at her person. Their sole mission on this ‘excursion’ is to guard her life, but they were shocked to realise that before his appearance, no one could detect how he managed to come so close.
Lamenting at their carelessness in their hearts, the imperial troops threw themselves between the boy and his target, but when the Swallow came down what struck them were nothing physical. Merely an image created with light by Kairos’ newly learned Mirage steps.
Then, on the other side of the princess, right before her eyes, Kairos’ true self materialised with a flicker, with a speed quicker than anyone could reaction. He had combined the mirage steps with the lightning flicker body and managed to draw away her guards and close the distance in an instant. With them out of the way, he slashes downwards.
As the blade of his Swallow threatened to remove the princess’ head, Syriong who had been hidden nearby all these while, finally, grudgingly, revealed himself. He appeared like a shadow, instantly putting himself between the Swallow and the princess.
Then reaching out with an arm, swift like a viper’s strike, he gripped Kairos’ weapon edge barehanded. The powerful secret art that had been infused with soul force, and used by the boy who has empowered himself with both soul energy and Northern Sword Array was stopped easily.
Suddenly as if he had been waiting for this moment, Jones’ image flickered into existence above them with the same lightning flicker body that he had learned with a single glance. The speed of the skill, even though only at the initial mastery stage, proven itself to be of an unfathomable level of martial arts. For a burst of speed, he was able to reach the level of a triple S ranker and confounded even Syriong.
It is an incredible thing, almost to the point where it is unbelievable, but both Kairos and Jones who had reached the initial mastery understood that it was two things that enabled them to achieve this.
The first, is the art itself, taught to them by a deity, Enki is overwhelming to say the least. A divine realm martial art for certain.
And the second, is because the condition of how well the skill is executed depends on how strong their strength are. Though they are only at the first grade of Titan rank physique, they are comparable to some immortals when it comes to raw muscle strength.
Jones quickly chanted as he fell from above, and he summoned his ultimate attack. The secret art: World Sword.
A large sword made of pure ki, and heavily infused with a third of his soul force, instantly appeared in his hands. With an immense pressure, above should be at his rank, he slashed down at his target.
The force behind Kairos’ secret art had not disappeared from Syriong’s hand, and now another powerful attack is coming down at him. The guardian recognizes the incredulous power behind both secret arts, and judges that either one holds the strength to instantly defeat an Entry grade, double S ranker. With his body’s condition being less than ideal currently, they are not attacks that he could receive lightly.
To prepare for an attack of this strength, Kairos considered 3 major factors to enable their tactic.
Firstly, using the Northern Swords array, they could freely lend their strength to each other, and empower them to attack with the summation of their power, at Mid A rank.
Secondly, Kairos’ secret art has a bafflingly high level, and Jones has already reached the 5th stage of swordsmanship, making their techniques naturally superior and allowed them to challenge even those a full rank above them.
Lastly, their technique: Soul infusion, uses their life force as power, allowing them to fight for roughly 10 minutes at 5 to 6 grades above their ranks. Both Kairos and Jones had decisively lowered that duration so they could infused their soul force into their secret art.
Though this made their situation ever more dangerous, but they hope that this risk they take will eventually lead them out of this dire situation. The only drawback for doing this is that an overuse of soul force is like injuring one’s body, and cannot be recovered quickly even with pills.
Time seemed to halt and only a fleeting thought entered the minds of the guards that could only watch.
“Just how could these two boys, A rank and below, summon attacks of this strength?”
With Kairos’ secret art, the True Annihilation Severing (破天灭世斩), on his right, and the World Sword（界剑）coming down on his head, Syriong roared indignantly. The two boys widened their eyes in surprise, when both techniques broke as Syriong howled, and an immense power rolled outwards.
But Kairos, quickly noticed that Syriong’s arm, that still held his Swallow with a vice-grip, looked extremely odd. He remembered shredding that very limb with his immolation finger previously in the dungeons, yet the Guardian now fearlessly hold his immortal ranked blade.
Shouting internally, he ordered the two dragons within his weapon, “That arm is an artefact! Go dragonlings, absorb it!!”
The small dragons immediately swam over from within his weapon, and they chipped off the treasure that is serving as Syriong’s arm, taking large chunks out of it with their bites as if trying to show how delicious it is. They swam repeatedly to and fro within the weapon, swiftly delivering the new parts they raided to remodel the material of their ‘home’.
One the otherhand, after his technique broke, Jones who is swiftly falling down, drew the immortal blade given by Kairos from his side, and with a fearsome determination, infused another 1/3 of his soul energy into his weapon and shouted with a voice oozing with bloodlust, “Resonate sword!”
All this time, unseen by any of them, Vouno lay hidden from sight, awaiting the right opportune moment.
He watched as Syriong, decisively ignored what is happening to his artificial arm, after feeling the pressure coming from Jones’ blade, and decided not to take a risk by meet the attack directly. In his urgency, the guardian summoned a thin and long sword, fully made of purple crystal, and sent it hurling towards Jones’ sword as his counterattack.
Though he has not yet recovered from his grave injuries a week ago, the power behind the purple sword is at Peak SS rank, and he is confident it would be more than enough. In fact, he is worried that in his urgency, it will kill Jones. He could only hope that the boy, Jones, would somehow survive, since the Emperor Axtaius had ordered that he must not die.
“HAH… I’ve been waiting for this!” Vouno suddenly cried out from somewhere nearby. He had completely concealed his presence that even Kairos’ group could not detect with soul perception, much less Syriong.
He easily neutralised the guardian’s attack by absorbing it, laughed loudly along the way, and then disappeared into hiding once again.
Jones blade found itself unmet by any obstacle and slashed downward like a flash. The instant the cold metal touches Syriong, it pulsated at high speed, like an echo of multiple blades and ripped apart his Ki barrier.
The protection soon disappeared. As his edge touched flesh, the guardian’s body suddenly turn into a pile of mud that fell in a heap, before reappearing on a tree branch at a distant away from them.
He stared at them hatefully. His arm has been chewed half way through by Kairos’ weapon, his torso with uncountable numbers of thin red lines create from Jones’ slash, and his technique once again stolen by Vouno.
With his health being less than desirable, he finally decided to retreat for the moment.
He had searched from the ones that took his arm persistently, but when the isolate space they were hiding in started cracking, he disappeared. His initial plan of revenge was tp appear at a favourable time so he might slay them with ease. However, Kairos saw through that and forced his hand by attacking the princess, and now, his hope of vengeance had gone down the drain.
“The next time we meet, will be your last” He said with deathly intonation and disappeared. The shame that he had felt today is worse than he ever had in his life. He had fled in front of a group of soldiers, and the princess herself, against two 13 year olds.
With the guardian’s exit, Kairos found his weapon freed once again, and immediately he slashed with high speed at the princess who was still in her daze. Her guards who could not enter the battle due to Syriong’s powerful aura, could only watch in fear as he tried to cut her down.
The powerful battle in front of her had brought the princess into a trance, but the threat on her life brought her back and she swiftly threw up a talisman to protect herself.
The barrier she summoned broke under the strength of his attack, but she only skidded backwards unharmed.
“Tch” Kairos frowned when his attack failed.
The guards, taking this moment, immediately rushed at him, and attempted to surround him. In return, Kairos charged right at the princess, seemingly with fearless abandon.
The soldiers nervously gathered in front of her. They had seen how strong the two boys were, and chased away Syriong. They did not know that the Guardian of the Realm was within their ranks, and when he appeared, they felt a powerful sense of confidence.
They saw the guardian as a war god, someone who would be able to turn around even the most devastating battle. But in just a short moment of exchanging attacks with two kids, he retreated.
They held up their weapons worriedly, not knowing how powerful this young boy actually is, but after waiting for a few moments they belatedly noticed that Kairos had actually went back to his team’s side.
This martial arts Kairos used, is the one that Enki taught, to back away while looking as though he had ran forward. Because of how it looked, he had given this art the name ‘Ice walk’.
“Huh? How is he there?” The imperial troops that were preparing to fend off another tremendous blow from the boy looked about confusedly.
Jones who also retreated and joined him by his side, dismissed his soul infusion and whispered, “I’ve used two thirds of what energy I had. At most I have 3 more minutes of soul infusion”
“I’ve used a little more than a third, at most I have 6 minutes” Kairos replied softly.
“I’ve used nothing, and actually managed to absorb a yummy skill. I think it’s around double S ranking? HAHA” his father added on, earning the whites of their eyes.
All of them are cultivators, but they felt that some have really unfair perimeters. Jones who wanted to point this out, wisely closed his mouth after remembering his own unfair constitution.
“It’s better if we create a chance to escape now that Syriong is gone. While we are cutting a path out of the forest, we’ll leave the princess to Edward. The soldiers will be busy defending her instead of chasing us” Their leader made an instant retreat order from this forest that is crawling with soldiers.
But before they could execute their plans, a voice in the direction of the imperial troops suddenly addressed them, “I’ve been watching you guys for a while, but your vulgar behaviour towards our angel, Princess Axtalia, has irked me beyond tolerance”
One of the soldiers next to the princess took off his helmet, and let his long blonde hair flow out. His feature, though common, had an air of nobility about him.
Then he said with a confident smile, “I am, Greendre, heir to the Lion’s mane family. The 3rd largest noble house of Silent Lambs Empire. Prepare to pay for your transgressions, you knaves!”
He took out a bejewelled sword, and pointed at Kairos, looking much like a hero, cut out from a picture book. He is one of the few soldiers that are not only talented but also has a powerful background. It needn’t be said that wherever he goes, he was treated with awe and respect.
However, unlike the effect he thought he would cause, Kairos’ team simply ignored him and continued to whisper in discussion of their escape plans.
At this unflattering response, an angry vein popped out on his forehead. But before he could take action, another voice, familiar to him, cut him off.
“How impudent. You are only the heir, 5th in line, to your family. It is not your place to speak yet” Another soldier that had been sticking close to the princess removed his helmet and threw it to the ground. Once again, the man has long flowing hair in the same blonde color that was let loose by removing the head protector.
“I am Vengre. First heir to the Green Dog Clan. One of the greatest clan in Silent Lambs Empire, and 4th in rank in Saint Empire!” He declared with a loud voice.
This time, the announcement garnered some interest from the group. However, it was in a direction he did not expect.
“The Green Dog clan…? Didn’t they bid for your sword, Kairos?” Jones asked with a laugh.
“Oh, I remember they couldn’t afford to buy it in the end. It was the Dark Sword clan that won the bid in the end isn’t it?” Alan, their vice-captain, had been keeping tracking of things and they did not doubt his information.
“Okay, you two dumb and dumber rich heirs, thanks for the interval you bought us but we have no time to talk about the weather with you. We’re leaving now. Goodbye” Having concluded their plans, Kairos turned and escaped, and his friends followed after him at top speed towards the edge of the forest.
Vengre and Greendre could only look with mouths agape and faces red with embarrassment.