A 12 year old middle Fighter.
Bastian breathed in deeply. His chest heaved up and down uncontrollably.
“Y-you said you were a student!” Said Bastian as he pointed at V. He felt deeply wronged by what he was seeing. It wasn’t the fact that she lied about her cultivation, but the fact that she was so overpowered!
Life is so unfair.
Bastian thought to himself, as he realized what he was seeing. It is said that from the age of 10 to the age of 25, is when one experiences their fastest growth in terms of cultivation. This growth peaks at 18 and at 25 it starts to become much slower.
This girl was 6 years away from her peak and 13 years away from slowing down in terms of growth. Yet she was already stronger that more than at least 95% of the people on the continent. How strong would she become later on?
Man what a monster.
Bastian did not realize that she thought the same of him. Not just because of what he had done earlier, but also because it seemed he could tell cultivation levels.
What a true monster.
Both parties thought the same of each other. The girl at least knew the limits of her strength, so she was the more knowledgeable one. She knew that although she was very talented, her abilities paled to Bastian’s potential. The issue was, right then, it was not the time for that.
In the hall, the audience were being entertained. Once the entertainment was over, the duo would be sent to their new masters.
Since V had her cultivation back, she could easily free herself and Bastian. She explained that they should focus on escaping. With her cultivation and skills, no one could stop her, or even catch up. Bastian knew she was right and he nodded. She was about to break his shackles when he moved away.
“What are you doing?” said Bastian.
V thought that was the strangest question she had ever heard.
“Do you want to remain a slave? I have to protect you until you get back to your kingdom. My fate is tied to yours, so I have to escape with you.” said V in an annoyed tone. If there is one thing she hated, it was explaining the obvious.
“Why should we leave? You saw that we had an 80 gold coin value put on us. In such a small city no one could possibly afford that. Now that your cultivation is back, we are pretty much invincible for hundreds of miles. Why leave when there is easy prey for the taking.” Bastian sneered.
V didn’t like the sound of what he had in mind. She tried to explain to him that there were many unknowns, for example, if someone had that much money, odds are they have guards which are up to par. There is a chance that they had an army with them as well.
“Oh please. You are an Inkume. We both know that you’re pretty much invincible in your own stage. There is no one at the Fighter level who can match you, not to mention your monstrous talent.” Said Bastian, confident with her skills.
“How do you know that they don’t have a Teacher or a Scholar?” This is what V was most fearful of. Although she could easily dispatch multiple Fighters and Acolytes with ease, Masters and Scholars were a whole new level,
Specially Scholars. In the lower and middle sub levels warriors had the advantage over mages because mages needed incantations which require time. In that time, they could easily be dispatched by a warrior of similar, or even less cultivation.
Once one become a Scholar, however things change, some of your spells would no longer need incantation. Not to mention the spells are from mana. They usually had more destructive powers than techniques from qi.
“I assure you there are no advanced cultivators amongst our buyers.” Said Bastian with confidence.
V squinted her eyes in suspicion, “How do you know?”
“The same way I could tell that you are a middle Fighter, and judging from the looks of it, you are about to breakthrough to being an advanced Fighter. Man you’re such a freak.”
“Me a freak? Look who’s talking!”
V wanted to retort, but curiosity got the better of her, “How can you tell people’s cultivation level?”
“Do you really think I will tell you that easily?” Bastian snickered.
It probably has something to do with his freakish soul.
V knew best how secretive people could be. She herself being no different. She crossed the arms on her chest and decided to trust his abilities. He had after all, surprised her quite a few times. Perhaps he would do it again, “So you want to steal from our new ‘master’?”
Bastian put on a mysterious smile and rubbed his hands together deviously.
“Not necessarily steal, to be honest, it depends on who our new ‘Master’ really is. Let us just say I guarantee that when we leave this building today, we will be the most powerful people for many miles.”
General Moto and his crew were in their waiting room, when they received shocking news.
“What? The girl escaped?”
“Yes sir.” said one of the auction hall managers while trembling.
“Our guards are not sure what happened, it seems they were knocked out. When they regained consciousness, they checked all of the cells and saw that the girl was gone.”
General Moto was furious. His fist hit the wall next to him, leaving a very large crack that spread across the entire wall. The manager let out a shriek and knelt down onto the floor. He didn’t know who this man was, but he could tell that he was not one to be messed with.
The General was a unique man. Whenever he got furious, all he would do was show his displeasure through some violent means, like hitting a wall or smashing a table, then he would immediately calm down and start to rationalize. His attendants knew him well, so they kept quiet the whole time.
“What about the boy? Is he alright?” said the General in a quiet tone, one that sent chills down the manager’s spine.
“The boy is perfectly fine sir.” He replied.
“What did the boy see?” The General calmed down and realized that the boy must have seen something. Not to mention that he had taken an oath to the heavens that he would kill himself if he was ever separated from her. If she was really gone, the boy would be dead by now.
This meant that the boy felt that she had not left him.
Did she escape by herself? Or was she helped? Why was the boy left behind? He is far more valuable than her.
The General’s mind was plagued with many questions that needed answering.
The manager hesitated to answer but one sharp glare from the General put an end to that.
“He said he would only tell the person who bought him sir.”
The General raised a brow as a he heard this. He wanted to know what the boy was hiding.
“Alright, bring the boy here.” The General waved his hand and turned to look at the wall he had punched, and put both his hands behind his back. As if nothing was bothering him at all.
Bastian was being guided towards where his new Master was. At that moment, he was walking barefoot and his upper body was exposed. He had ripped his top apart himself before he had been picked up. He had been questioned but he said nothing. His hands and legs were both shackled, to prevent him from misbehaving.
As soon as he entered the General’s private room, all eyes were on him.
Bastian stood there as if nothing of note was happening. The guards who escorted Bastian were asked why he was half naked. They reported what had happened. They were then told to leave the room.
The next part is very crucial, I have to act like a noble. A real noble. To do this I must no longer be Bastian Smith. I must be Sebastian Tirius!
Bastian straightened his posture. His face showed an arrogance that seemed as natural as breathing. In his eyes, all that was before him was beneath him.
The General and his crew were shocked by this sudden change in demeanor. The lifeless, nonchalant boy suddenly gained a certain air about him. The attendants only thought this to be arrogance, but the General knew what this was. This was the bearing of nobility.
“How dare you be arrogant, boy do you know who stands before you? You are in the presence of the great General Moto. Founder and leader of the Flaming Winds Army!”
Everyone in the room expected Bastian’s face to change to either reverence or fear. Yet neither appeared. Only disdain showed itself.
“You insolent brat! I’m going to teach you a lesson.”
One of the attendants was about to slap Bastian when he was held back by the General.
“Stop! Don’t touch him.”
Everyone looked at their leader in surprise. They were curious as to why he didn’t mind the boy’s arrogance. They knew that if there was one thing their leader despised it was arrogance. Yet there, he didn’t mind. In fact, his face was grave. The reason was simple.
His intuition, honed from countless battlefields, told him that if his attendant had touched the boy, he would have lost his arm, or possibly even more. A subtle but very deep killing intent was hovering in the room. It was so subtle that only the General could feel it. This killing intent had sharpened the moment Bastian was about to be touched.
His men were about to question him when Bastian opened his mouth.
“Let’s see what we have here…3 upper Students, 3 lower Fighters, two middle Fighters and” Bastian had been looking at all the men in the room naming their cultivations, until his gaze landed on the General himself, ” an advanced Fighter who is about to become a Teacher. Not bad. Not bad at all.”
Bastian was clapping. That’s right! He was clapping! His shackles suddenly fell down, his arms and legs were completely free. He walked toward the General as he performed his slow clap.
The men were momentarily stunned, this brief time allowed Bastian to arrive near the old man himself. Only the General could see his face. When the men realized that they could only see Bastian’s back, they were enraged.
Bastian himself intended to do this. He activated his tattoo and mouthed the words ‘ If your men touch one hair on my head, then they will all die excruciating deaths.’
Only the General saw the tattoo and his words. His men were about to move to restrain the boy, when the General shouted at the top of his lungs.
A few minutes later, the attendants were standing outside the room.
They had been kicked out of the room by the General and were under strict orders not to let anyone in. They were baffled.
They were about to protest when they saw their General’s expression. He was clearly very serious. They knew all to well that when their General had that face, it was a matter of life and death.
All they could do was throw one last look at Bastian’s back and leave.
In the room Bastian was having a faceoff with the General.
Once again Bastian had been helped by his tattoo. The General was the leader of an army, and a well-known one at that. So he knew very well the significance of that tattoo.
These days true Mark Bearers were rare. The majority had long since become Custodians. Custodians could not bring out a tattoo like this. The tattoos Custodians had were silver, and they had no suppression effect. This one was properly gold and its suppression effect was in full swing.
To someone of General Moto’s cultivation, this effect was weak. But it served its purpose. To show that before him, was a true Mark Bearer!
Mark Bearers were true monsters. They had appeared from nowhere and caused all sorts of mayhem. They gained incredible gifts from their tattoos, and formed groups with their own kind. Thanks to them, many Kingdoms and Empires were wiped out and new ones had popped up to replace them. People who had no relevance in the past suddenly became relevant.
One thing was well known to all. If possible, one was advised to never make an enemy out of a Mark Bearer
“Why are you in such a…situation?” The old man couldn’t help but ask.
“That, General, I’m afraid, is a matter involving my family, and I’m afraid you are not qualified to hear that,” said Bastian mysteriously.
The General had heard of rumors of some strange traditions that some very powerful noble families had. They would throw their heirs into perilous situations, so they could gain experience and become stronger.
The General assumed it was one of those situations, so he kept his mouth shut. This was way out of his league.
“The reason I am here General is because you have something I want, an army.”
The General had seen this coming, but he was hoping that his gut was wrong. Unfortunately for him, he was not.
It was not strange for the heir in these powerful families to be told to create or form his or her own army without the help of the family. This was a test of leadership, and how resourceful one can be.
The General had hoped that it wouldn’t come to this, but alas, fate would not let his hopes come true.
The General steeled his resolve and looked at Bastian in the eye. “My men and i would rather die than follow a spoilt brat, especially against our will.” The General assumed that he and his men would die after this. These young masters were very prideful. Such situations were common. One normally didn’t have the option to refuse.
Most likely he and his men would die. There were many reasons this would happen. For starters, Bastian had revealed his Mark. Not to mention they had insulted Bastian. There were even cases of powerful nobles wiping out entire cities due to a fit of rage.
Luckily for the General, this wasn’t an ordinary noble. This was Bastian.
Bastian clapped and nodded in approval at the General’s response. The General was surprised.
“Very impressive, a man of honor like you General is one I admire. You can relax, I have no intention of harming either you or your men. Nor do I plan on forcing you to do anything against your will. If you dislike what I’m about to say, you and your men can leave peacefully.”
Powerful men who were honorable and true to their word were hard to find. Especially in such a chaotic region.
I’ve hit the jackpot!
Bastian was very happy.
The General on the other hand, narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
What is this boy up to?
“General do you have enemies?”
The General found this question strange.
What kind of army has no enemies in the Western Deserts?
“I have plenty, “said the General with a frown.
“Excellent!” Bastian beamed in delight. “General, like I said I have no intention of harming you or your men. In fact I’m quite positive I can win your cooperation. Within a day you will give me control of your army, and i will do this with neither money nor influence”
The General was astonished. Things had taken a rather unexpected turn.
What is this kid planning to do?
The General had to admit that the kid was certainly charming. His arrogance had a certain charisma about it.
“Ok boy, how exactly are you going to pull this off?” said the General. He had to admit, he wanted to know what the boy had in mind.
This is it! This is what I’ve been waiting for!
This was when Bastian did the unexpected. He bit his thumb to the point were it started to bleed. Then he raised his hand above his head.
The General knew this pose. His eyes widened in disbelief.
“I Sebastian Tirius, here by solemnly swear an oath to the heavens, that if General Moto gives me control of his army on this day, I will destroy all of the enemies he names within 5 minutes of this oath, within a year.”