“This is embarrassing.”
Shazan chuckled when he heard Gerald’s words.
“Why you ask?” He grinned. “Your lovely little Maid got this strong in a week. Now you are the one who needs the protection.”
“The World seems far more mysterious than we could have ever imagined…” Amraaz commented and shook his head dejectedly.
The three of them sat in a corner as they let the girls handle things there.
Currently, all of them were fighting against a giant spider.
The creature that they all had dreaded was in such a pitiful state that they sighed again. They felt ridiculously weak when they looked at Ella.
“You can go get some sleep now.” Shazan glanced at Amraaz and said.
“I will.” He nodded but kept sitting there. “A race that is nearly immune to all physical attacks. What would happen to Azeros if we fought such a race?”
His sudden question made both Shazan and Gerlad frown.
“Lady Ella said that the several channels to other Worlds have opened. And they will last for the next 666 years.” He closed his eyes and rested his head back against the wall. “We know the reason why this has happened, but do the other Worlds realize it? Either way, some Worlds will strengthen, and some Worlds will lose even before the test arrives.”
“War is inevitable.” Gerald nodded. “The purpose of this phenomenon is to allow the races to mix, but everyone has their pride. Unless they unify under absolute strength, peace is impossible. Races will eventually mix but through War and Conquest.”
Amraaz nodded to his words and sighed before opening his eyes and watching Ella subjugate the creature.
“She’s an exception. Outliers are everywhere.” Shazan smiled. “There is no life without weaknesses.”
“Any idea what Stage of Amazeros she is in?” Amraaz curiously asked.
“I don’t know.” He shook his head. “But I am sure that she is stronger than the Assimilation Stage of Amazeros.”
He saw a smile appear on Ella’s face just as he said his words. She was listening to everything they were talking about.
Both Gerald and Amraaz sighed again. It was a stage that they knew they could not attain in the present World.
“Do you think we could get stronger if we explored the other Worlds?”
“Not necessarily.” Shazan frowned and said. “All those Worlds that are now assessable are at level one. I doubt that the overall strength of those Worlds would be greater than ours.”
“And let’s not forget that someone from a level two world could also come here now.” Amraaz reminded.
“Why are you worried about that?” Gerald frowned.
“Why are you not worried?”He asked back.
“They would come only if they were chased out of their World.” He said with a pale smile. “But indeed, the chances of that happening are very low. And luckily, for them, it is only one-way. Why would they come to a base-level World, a place where they can’t gain strength and be stuck there for thousands of years?”
“I guess, you’re right.” Amraaz shook his head and got up on his feet. “I will go get some rest and clear up my mind.”
Shazan nodded to him with a light smile.
“He’s an interesting fellow,” Gerald commented after Amraaz left the cave.
“He desires strength, not to rule over others…”
“But just because he wants to be strong.” Gerald nodded and finished his words.
“People like that are equally hard to control.” Shazan chuckled.
“And that was why you did not inform him about our Plans?”
“Mhm.” He nodded. “Let him clear his head first and prepare himself to wait a long time to get stronger. Only then would he be grateful to us with a sober mind.”
Gerald laughed when he heard his words.
The Giant spider fell after losing its legs, and its mouth was impaled shut by Ilsa’s Spear.
Isha stepped forward and struck the Spear she was holding inside a wound that was oozing silver blood. It took her a few tries to finally get the spear half inside the Spider’s head, and that was when it died.
The little Charm Witch happily walked over to him and sat by his side while the rest of the girls prepared themselves and waited for the next Creature.
“Don’t want to continue?” Shazan gently asked.
“Mhm.” Isha nodded. “I will take a break.”
“You don’t have to feel embarrassed about it.” Shazan smiled and said.
She was still not a Zeros. And even if she fought together with all of them, she was not aiding much in the battle. The other girls would make her land the final blow to the creature so she would gain benefits too. She was pretty much being spoon-fed.
“I know.” She answered without any embarrassment. “Ann will soon enter Krytis. I will join them again after getting some rest.”
Shazan snuck his arm behind her, wrapped it on her waist, and pulled her close.
Isha shyly rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes.
“You should get some sleep too. You haven’t slept in the last 55 hours.” Gerald advised.
They had been tirelessly fighting for the last three days. The creatures kept coming, and the rate rose over the days. People started going into Krytis, and their numbers kept lowering. The burden on remaining forces rose, and since Amraaz, Gerald, Shazan, and Izna were indispensable, their time to rest shortened.
Shazan made all three of them take rest from time to time, but he had not slept.
“I am not tired.” He smiled. “And not even sleepy.”
Gerald glanced at him but did not say anything.
“Well, I am going to go out and get some sleep.” He got up and stretched his limbs. “See you in a few hours.”
Gerald didn’t wait for him to answer and disappeared.
“Master,” Ilsa looked at him. “Are you really not tired?”
“Mhm..” He lowered his head and met her eyes. “I am not tired.” He stole a light kiss off her lips and stroked her back gently.
The little girl blushed and raised her head to seize his lips better. Her sweet breath filled his senses, and he pulled her up in his lap.
The Dimensional Wall rippled, and another giant Spider stepped out of it.
He glanced at it from the corner of his eye and didn’t look at it again. All his attention was on the girl in his arms.
Shazan wrapped her in his aura and blocked off all sounds of battle from reaching her.
He played with her soft lips, and then invaded her mouth, mingling their tongues in their playful battle. He squeezed her against him, sparkingly lust in her heart. She was earnest for his love, and he showered it on her with patience and diligence.
A sudden thought flashed in his mind, and the color of his eyes turned to wine right before he closed them. He saw the world clearer than he did with open eyes. Her strands of life were naked before him. And at the center of her heart, he found her caged aura.
Perhaps it sensed his gaze, and the peaceful Aura suddenly started to tremble.
Isha, in a moment of daze bit on his lip, and the scent and taste of his blood intoxicated her. Her strands of life brightened, shivering in ecstasy. And as soon as her heart absorbed his blood, the Aura that was caged attained its freedom.
Her moan resounded in his ears, and the warmth of her melting body engulfed his sense of touch.
Shazan had a hazy idea of what was going on, and he allowed the things to happen as they pleased.
He was lost in the beauty of life. It was the first time he saw the changes the Stands of Life went through at the awakening. And never before had he seen a phenomenon as beautiful as this.
In his curiosity, he tried to touch those strands with an invisible force that he could sense and control. And when he traced those Strands with his invisible hands, her life shimmered in myriad lights. Her moans brightened, but they were the sounds of her soul.
As beautiful as the phenomenon was, he felt that Isha could not bear it anymore. He stopped tracing her Strands of Life and opened his eyes.
His heart thumped hard when he found her shivering uncontrollably. Her lips were quivering, and her eyes were tightly shut.
A pleased smile curved on his lips as he realized what had happened, and he tightened his arms around her before burying her face in his neck.
“You are beautiful, Isha…” He whispered near her ear and planted a kiss on her head.
Her body had no strength left in her, and she kept trembling in ecstasy for a while before it settled down. And then her Green Aura burst out of her body, announcing its presence.
He felt her warm, soft lips plant light kisses on his neck before she tightly hugged him.
“I love you…” She proclaimed her loved for him.
“And I am falling in love with you…” He mischievously replied.
He could feel the heat rising on her face, her heart dancing in excitement.
When he remembered that there was a battle going on, he looked up to find that it was already over.
All the ladies were looking at them with eyes wide open. They wanted to ask something, but the words just wouldn’t come out.
Their behavior was strange enough to make him feel a little awkward.
He looked down to make sure that their clothes were still on, and they were.
“What is it?” He asked with a frown.
“Master,” Ella narrowed her eyes as she recovered her composure. “What did you just do?”
“What did I do?”
“I smelt your blood, and then you two were suddenly surrounded in a bright red shell of light.” Ella sensed that he was not playing around and explained. “Even I could not see inside of it. And when that shell disappeared,” She pointed at Isha, “She had awakened.”
“She’s already in the Second Realm…” Keira frowned and questioningly looked at them.
Isha separated from his embrace and shot up on her feet. She observed herself, and then her mouth dropped open.
“Seriously?” He shook his head. “You just realized that you have awakened?”
Isha honestly nodded her head and then a bright smile flashed on her lips. She lunged at him and excitedly hugged him.
“Thank you, Master!” And before he could even answer, she ran up to Maira and grabbed her hands. “I have awakened!” She announced to her.
“I know…” Maira lightly smiled and hugged her, but as soon as her eyes looked at him, they narrowed.
Watching Isha excitedly talk about it with the girls brought a smile on his lips. But he was in trouble now.
Ilsa marched up to him with heavy steps. He knew she was going to demand something from him as soon as their eyes met.
“Give me your blood.” She grabbed his collar and made him stand up.
Her words baffled him. And as soon as he saw the rest of his women walk up to him as well, he subconsciously tried to escape.
Ella appeared behind him, blocking his path, and Maira covered his right side.
Seeing them blocking all of the routes of escape made his heart sink.
“Are you crazy?” He frowned and asked.
Ella and Maira stayed silent, but Ilsa readily nodded her head.
“Blood!” She drew her hand to him, asking for it.
“What do you need it for?” He glared at her.
“I want to see what Ella said is right or not.”
“And what did she say?” He angrily looked at his little Maid who then lowered her head.
“I told her that its scent is the most heavenly scent I have in my memories. Even in my mother’s memories, I did not find anything as pleasant as it. And for some reason…” Her cheeks reddened. “every time I smell it, I want to taste it. The desire is getting unbearable now.”
“And we want to see if what happened here is in any way related to your Blood.” Maira nodded and added to Ella’s words.
Shazan had never seen Maira act so unreasonably before.
“What has got into you guys?!” He nearly screamed at them but ended up asking with a sigh.
“Just a drop will do. Stop acting like a coward.” Ilsa threateningly asked him.
“You want it?” He palely smiled at them. “Sure. Make me bleed and take it.”
He dropped his defensive stance and looked right in Ilsa’s eyes.
The Princess of Kalstark stepped forward in her rage, but her advancing hand stopped right before it was about to hurt him.
“Why stop now?” He scoffed. “Come… Take the blood.” He presented his hand to her.
“Why do you have to be so unreasonable?” She turned her face away and folded her arms on her chest.
“I am the one being unreasonable?” He looked at the three of them.
“Of course…” Ilsa nodded. “If we asked you what is going on, you would not answer us.” She glared at him. “So we have to resort to this.”
“Alright enough!” Keira admonished the three of them as she walked over.
“Come on!” Ilsa complained to her, but seeing the seriousness in her eyes, she lowered her head.
“This is not the right way to handle things.” Queen Izna sighed and advised them.
It took a few minutes of silence before all three of them had their heads lowered in shame for how they had just behaved. Even Ilsa did not dare to look him in the eyes again.
“Master…” Ella held the hem of her dress and whispered. “I am sorry.” Her misty eyes looked at him apologetically.
Seeing her on the verge of tears softened his heart, and he sighed.
Shazan could not understand how things escalated to this stage. He could not understand why he felt so defensive when they demanded his Blood.
“Even if I give it to you, it won’t provide you with any answers.”
He made a small cut on the tip of his finger, a drop of blood oozed out, and he sent it to Ella.
Watching the drop of blood floating in front of her, she lowered her head and did not dare to take it.
“Take it now. Or do you want to waste it?” He smiled at her.
She raised it on the tip of her finger and took a deep breath, inhaling its scent. They saw her body shiver in excitement just by doing that, and when she put it in her mouth, her eyes closed shut.
All of them saw her cheeks redden, and waited for her to say something. They had to wait a good couple of minutes before she opened her eyes again.
“Found something?” Ilsa urgently asked.
“It is delicious!” Ella nodded to her. “I want more…” She hungrily looked at him as if he was her favorite food.
Ella realized her mistake and lowered her head. But the smile on her lips didn’t disappear.
“I don’t know what it is, but I feel as if all my tiredness has evaporated. And that is strange because I did not feel tired before. But now I feel so refreshed.” She curiously tilted her head as she pondered.
“Did it make you stronger?” Ilsa asked the question that mattered to her.
“No…” Ella simply shook her head. “It doesn’t seem to have that effect.”
“Lucky you… Hmph.” Ilsa looked at him and walked away, over to Isha.
“How did you do it then?” Maira curiously asked him.
Shazan glanced at Isha, and then looked Maira in the eyes.
“I have my secrets.” He smiled at her. “But honestly, I am not clear about how it happened.”
What he said was partly true. He knew that happened was because of his Blood. But he was not clear how his Blood could have done that. And he was still not sure how he felt drawn to lead that procedure. All he remembered was kissing her, and suddenly there was an urge to use his powers to witness her Strands of Life.
Shazan was curious how he could still see her, everything of her, even with his eyes closed. It was the first time it had happened. He had even more questions than they had, and he had no answers to them.
“Okay…” Maira did not persist and walked over to Isha to ask her for the answers.
“Master!” Ella hugged his waist and innocently looked up. “Are you mad at me?” She asked worriedly.
He wanted to shake his head, but he leaned in and planted a kiss on her head.
“Be more responsible.” He pinched her waist and said.
“Okay…” She giggled happily and placed a kiss on his cheek before joining the rest of the ladies.
“Isha,” He called out to her.
The little girl ran over to him as soon as a creature stepped out of the wall. It wasn’t a big one, and so only Ann, Maira, Ilsa, and Ella decided to take on that Scorpion.
“Yes, Master?” She asked with a smile.
“Fight me.” He smiled at her and rushed a hundred feet away from the spot. “Try to fuse your Aura in your fists and kicks first.”
Isha understood that he was going to help her gain control over her Aura, and so she initiated her attack.
Shazan did not dodge her attacks but blocked her with his hands and legs.
“Not enough strength…”
“Do not waste so much time at gathering Aura…”
“That would tickle…”
“Harmony is important. Feel it…”
“Good strength, but too slow…”
“Be fast, and be precise…”
He kept instructing her for hours, and only after she fell on her knees, totally spent, he stopped.
Isha’s control over her Aura improved drastically. It was surprising, but since her Aura was calm from the beginning, it helped her tame it with ease. It was only training for the basics, but that was enough for the moment.
She needed to train for months before using her Bloodline Power at will. She could not use her Shadow Bindings yet, and she could not form proper shields and weapons of Aura, but as long as she fought with the rest of them, she would not need them.
The awakening gave her more power, stamina, speed, mental strength, and a better recovery rate. And that was enough to assist the other girls in the battles.
By the time they finished their training, Ann had left the cave to get some rest. She had successfully entered Krytis to step into the Sixth Realm of the Initial Phase of Amazeros.
Keira and Izna were dealing with a little spider by themselves, and Maira, Ilsa, and Ella bullied the other one.
But complications were inevitable.
A giant Ant stepped out of the Wall and observed the fighting happening in front of it.
“Leave that to me, and try to draw them away from here.” He excitedly smiled and charged at the Ant.
He grabbed a sword and infused it with his Violet Aura, before jumping up in the air and presenting himself as an easy target to the Ant. But the Creature remained passive and did not shoot Acid at him.
His sword crashed on its head, sparks flew, but only a light scratch was left. He targeted the weaknesses of the creature, pushing it to defend itself, and finally, the Ant had enough.
It drilled his sting right in the ground, unleashing waves of quakes all around. The girls that were fighting against the Spider stumbled, and to their horror, they discovered that the Spiders did not seem to be affected by those quakes, they retained their balance and kept attacking.
He was not worried about them as Ella was watching over them. He kept fighting with the Ant, attacked it from all sides, faster than it could react.
Shazan was feeling depressed now. The Ant was refusing to use its Acid, and if it wouldn’t use it, he had no way of harming it significantly.
At last, he gained the opportunity. He was coming right at it from above when it shot the ball of acid at him. And he exploded the Aura under his feet to evade it at the last second. It did not touch him, but still, the clothes on that side burnt, and the skin was scorched, that’s how close it had been.
Without wasting the chance, and the time, he cut one of the Antenna, and the Creature was stunned. He cut off the other Antenna as well, and then he leisurely walked on top of it and stuck his sword at the joint that connected its head to the back. The damage was fatal, but not enough. The stun wore off, and a painful shrill resounded in the cave.
The ant wanted to roll over to get him off it, but he managed to land the final blow, ending its life.
He glanced over to the place where the Antennas had dropped, but they were not there.
“Wow!” Isha loudly exclaimed.
He turned to look at the group of girls, and for some reason, he felt depressed.
They were all surrounding Ella as she molded the metal into a hammer-axe.
No one was paying attention to him…
♛ Author’s Note:
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