He plunged through the trees, breath rasping in his chest, black boots slipping and sliding on the wet earth- the caked mud, porous and seeping him in with every step, drawing him down, and slowing him in every way. Makron stumbled a bit, but managed to pull through. He looked back, and though he saw nothing, he ran even harder.
They’re coming. They’re coming. Damn it! How did they find me?!!
Humming whirled at his sides every now and again. He turned right, the hum resounded from there. So he turned left, and another hum echoed from that direction, warding him away, because it knew he would not run into it at all. Because running into it would surely mean death.
A few days ago, Makron had left Arrodine. He could feel the pull towards it the further he went. It drew at him, and in his moments of a daze, he would find himself walking back. He had tried for two days to go in many directions, but the compulsion was the same. I see why none of the others ever leave… Except for First and Second… I wonder how they do it. Makron never had a need to leave. In fact, because he did not want to get himself involved in politics and its gruesome affair, he stuck himself in Arrodine and barely ever went out to the nearby city of Aros. But Aros was not a place where he could go to now. It would be the first place anyone would look. Furthermore, everyone would know who he was there and what he looked like, even though his frequency to those streets were low. He was a powerful man, if you think of the reputation of the position. And everyone liked knowing who powerful men were.
So, as Makron tried every possible direction, he finally found some directions that affected him less. I don’t know why, but maybe something interferes with it. Only, the power of the oath still managed to overcome him, drawing him back. And then the last direction he tried, which he did not want to, was the Eastern Forest.
The Eastern Forest was considered the edge of humanity. This was at the border of the empire. The empire only stretched this far east because people found The First Master living here. There were no resources the empire’s people could find for miles on end. And so, they were puzzled by The First Master’s actions, and although that was the case, that didn’t stop them from building cities all around. The First Master’s presence was a powerful resource in itself.
Now Makron had to go through the Eastern Forest. But the safest way was through the orchard. That was the only way that had the longest area of being sifted through, as deep as you go through the forest, with a path already made, and methods to deter any ungainly presences. If anyone went without such a path, they would be fighting beasts and demons with a power that could kill someone of Makron’s abilities in seconds.
Now, half a day had passed since he left. And they’ve spotted me.
Makron’s chest burned. He pumped his legs and arms as hard as he could without slipping into the mud, his cloak fluttering in the wind. It was still morning and a mist filled the air. It’s so humid. It must be going to rain again. But that could not help Makron at the moment. He was thinking. What could he do? How could he get rid of this pursuit.
But just as he was kept racking his brain, suddenly a hum whirled a bit back from his right. Taking a glance, there, and standing on a sleek piece of blue metal, curved and slim like that of a loom shuttle, was man in a blood red tunic. The ends of his shirt and pants whipped about as the metal contraption flew with him in the air. Shimmering red and yellow lines pulsed along the metal surface. And two thin, circular rings bobbed below it.
“Ahahaha. Look what we caught, Boro.” The man laughed. He flashed a wide grin towards Makron.
Another whirring hum came from the left. The man wore the same as the other one, but was stouter and travelled on a slightly more broad and less deep metal construct whilst maintaining a similar speed. He was babyfaced, with no hair that could be seen, and even his head was bald with a tiny sheen.
“Yes. Yes. This is good…” The man said in a low voice, and then spoke loudly, obviously directing it at Makron. “You should stop running, dear fellow. We’re obviously not flying as fast as we can. We will definitely catch you, but if you stop now, you can go unharmed. If not, and make us go through much effort, well…” And the man grinned deeply. “Anyway, we come to take you to our master. We’ve heard rumors of your humble magnificence. Hah!” The man laughed.
Master? But Makron payed them no head. He jumped branches, twisted and turned through the trees, and circumvented bushes. They can go faster, but wouldn’t dare. One slip, and they would run right into a tree… Hmph!
The man named Boro saw Makron’s refusal to stop, and he cursed under his breath. He looked towards his plain looking companion, and he too to him. The speed they were travelling was quite fast for someone on foot already. They themselves couldn’t go faster else they would risk too much danger. They may be strong warriors who could use spiritual energy, but if they slammed into something going eighteen miles per hour, they would surely get severely injured.
But that was what begged the question. How was this guy running at eighteen miles per hour? It was impossible, unless… He could use spiritual energy too! And it was in such an unconventional way. It was hard for someone to use it to amplify their body’s physical attributes. Doing so took ten times longer than just building up the energy and using it on objects or directly. Even less to find someone capable of doing it from the border. It was known that most of the experts had gone hundreds of years ago after Arrodine’s First Master disappeared… And then Boro’s mind shuddered. He heard how this guy acted. He came off as an eccentric, but his master did not believe that, thinking him as nothing but an expendable piece on a political field, and so he did not believe it either… But now?.. How powerful could this man be? Can I really catch him?
Suddenly, Boro’s companion grimaced. “I’ve had enough. Master never said he needed him alive. It was just something extra for us. So his corpse should serve purpose.” Leaning down low, the man grabbed a large tube at his feet. He hefted it up, dodging and swerving the trees as they came. The path in front of them was narrow and constantly winding, and it was impossible for them to stay on it, especially since the man in the cloak did not always stay on it himself. He would go through trees and wood, dodging them at every corner before routing back to the path. “He doesn’t want to leave the path. We can get him that way.”
“Wait!” Boro Yelled. “You may end up overdrafting yourself too much.”
The companion sneered. “Killing this punk won’t be that hard. So what if he built the spiritual energy in his body? How long would that have taken him? He would not be able to last a few hits with this!” And as he said that, green particles drew from the air, and the man’s body glowed. The glow seemed stronger from himself, and only a small amount coming from the surroundings. Vasts amount of energy was pumped into the tubular contraption in his hand, spinning at the long needle like spikes that protruded in its interior, like liquid, but the man did nothing as it finally fueled with energy. He just waited, following Makron at his heels.
Makron kept running. He used vasts amount of his spiritual energy reserve keeping his pace.
It was at the point where he was not sure if he could keep it up. But… Makron looked back, confirming the emblem stitched into their sleeves. These two were not from Arrodine or Aros. Which meant that his oath would not restrict him from killing them without an official order. If he had been attacked before, he would be able to defend himself, and even, kill the person who attacked him. Of course without divulging that he could use spiritual energy. But now that he ‘abandoned’ his position, he doubted he would be given such freedom by his oath. Although, he still a Functionary, as he could feel the bond pulsing within his chest, his heart had left. He no longer saw himself as a servant, as a piece for a figure he never met, disappearing like nothing. How could father serve such a place? Makron had not been sure how the oath would affect him in a case where it was Arrodine following him, and did not plan to test it anytime soon. Who knows what First Master was capable of? But these two weren’t from Arrodine. Although, he didn’t recognize the emblem in itself, he knew it wasn’t from here.
Makron had left the path from the entrance of the Eastern Forest. He had quickly gone through the orchard and passed the wooden cabin. It was only when he was a few miles away, the bond not fully constricting him even though he was so far out, did he run into those two. The moment they saw him, they hunted him down. It was as if they were lying in wait. And if not, how did they know he was at the party a few days ago?
Suddenly, the energy in the area moved. It swept towards the men behind him. Makron glanced back.
“This B****!” He cursed. He couldn’t help himself. And that was because, aiming right at his back was a giant tubular construct. Inside of it large energy waves pulsed out. If that thing hits me… I’m dead! But wait…
For the man to use that object, it meant he wasn’t a body cultivator. All of Arrodine’s Upper Functionaries, and those of the fourth level who were being prepped in case they needed to step into a vacant place, were body cultivators. That was what was ordained by The First Master. And everyone stuck to it, regardless if it was the most difficult cultivation art that not many adopted. It was their law. And Makron was the weakest in terms of strength compared to any of them. Even those who were in a lower position than him. When he was first chosen, he was chosen because he was the only one who was ready and capable at the moment to take over. But now, after decades, there had been quite a few newcomers in the fourth rank with some capability. And they were all vying for his position!
But those two… They’re not body cultivators. And the oath won’t stop me. So…
Makron brought out his toolkit. He took out a thin, triple threaded wound metal wire. Pushing vasts amount of his leftover spiritual energy into it, he prepared himself. Those two weren’t body cultivators. He would leverage that. He may be the weekest in Arrodine, but against those who wouldn’t know about his capabilities, they wouldn’t be prepared for him.
And then the red-dressed man fired.
A giant roar thundered, breaking through the air as a giant ball of green flame roared, speeding towards Makron. But before that moment, Makron had sensed the fluctuation in the air, and so thrusted out the wire. It wrapped itself around the trunk of a tree ahead of himself. And as he pulled, he pumped more energy in it, highlight the friction on the wire. The wire latched and pulled him, winding him around the tree, changing his direction, and flinging him right back at the two!
Markon was like a needle, his two feet aiming right at the man with the tube. The action was so fast, so forceful, that the man only saw Makron disappear before a black blur came at him from his left.
The red-dressed man few back, slamming into a tree. His head split open, and blood spewed from his mouth, tumbling into the dirt, dead.
Far away, the green fire crashed into the trunk of a tree, blowing half of it to splinters, only to dissipate quickly. He couldn’t materialize the energy. It only looked like a flame, but it was really just vast amount of energy. If he was capable of materializing it, the entire tree would be in flames, and even the nearby forest perhaps… Which means he wasn’t strong to begin with…. Which means the other guy shouldn’t be either.
Boro stopped a few meters away. The man he chased was fast for him too. As he looked at the bloody mess of his companion, sweat began to drip down his back. That could have easily been him. But more so, the man in the cloak landed as if nothing happened. Master never told me about this. He only said that the man should be heading this way! He never said anything about this!
The force that hit his companion would have been equivalent to the force that reacted against the cloaked individual. That was basic physics. And since they were both speeding towards each other, the effects would practically be near double than that if his companion had just slammed into a stationary tree. Which means the cloaked figure felt that too. But even if he used spiritual energy to placate the effects he should at least be injured… Just how powerful is this man?!
It was then that the cloaked pulled up his hood. It had fallen back when in the action. Boro didn’t see a face, only seeing the dark, brushed back hair before.
And then the figure turned to him.
Boro couldn’t help but lean back in fear.
I can’t fight him. I’m not his match!
Thinking this, Boro steered his personal flying ship around and flew, bringing it high above the trees. The contraption shuddered. The higher he went, the more energy he had to put in it. And at that high, the drain was so massive he was going to run empty in moments, but… he did not care.. He needed to be gone, and gone quickly. Speeding through the air, Boro left, not even turning his head back.
Author’s Note: Wow. So it’s been a long while since I posted a chapter of this series. I didn’t know anyone really enjoyed this one. I post frequently based on reviews and follows. If you enjoyed it, please support us! Or be a patron. Link is on my site. That way I can release chapters more frequently.