CHAPTER 115: DECLARATION
Morning came. The sound of bird chirping enters Arial ears. The cool morning air refreshes the body and energizes the mind.
Arial just finished his training, far away from the tent of those martial art schools. There is a reason why he train far away from the populace.
Arial knows that his aura and internal energy can choke a person of low internal energy to death so, Arial take caution in practicing near the congregation of hundreds of people.
But Arial is not truly worried about that.
After all, everyone here must at least have an expert in internal energy. What Arial is worried about is that anyone knows the level of his internal energy.
If that is to be revealed, surely he has to fend off assassination attempt and that would be troublesome for him.
While Arial does not like to boast, he does not underestimate his own ability either.
From what he could see and understand in terms of internal energy, he doesn’t think there is anyone that has more than him or even the same level as him in this competition. At least in that he has confidence.
In terms of martial skill or more commonly known as external skill, Arial know he is lacking. In swordsmanship he can count himself as on high level but martial skill…he know he is seriously lacking in that area.
So Arial wake up earlier than everybody since he camp far away from the name box. With his speed he reaches the congregation place just in time to see Batrisya took the box and once again fly using the hard surface of the mountain to jump on that mountain to reach the top.
Then Arial and the other wait for Batrisya to return to announce the names and school.
Arial chatted with some of them and he even spotted Chen Yanghua speaking with Shu Ren Gui and Liao Ming speaking with Xiao De with Xiao De shaking his head and rejecting Liao Ming.
There must be something that Xiao De does not want to meddle with. This is what Arial thought.
Arial believe Chen Yanghua and Wang Liao Ming is here in the Meet to meet prospect to help their organization.
Even though Arial is not privy to their secret, he could guess. They must be from the Blood Brotherhood, if not, they are important member or their lodge leader.
And it helps when Arial spymaster give a detailed report of the Blood Brotherhood. In one of the document the name of Chen Yanghua and Wang Liao Ming is prominently displayed.
Arial believe by looking at the way those two people acted around him, they are the aforementioned person.
Arial after all, in a way pave the way for an Eastian rule in Vern. So it could be said that he contributes much to the formation of Northern Chu.
Though now the rift has started.
In an unintentional result of toppling the MontBlanc family the resentment of Eastian rule explode and Arial and his council could see how this would become a racial tension that threaten to send the two forces in the former Empire to flames.
Of course Northern Chu has the support of Aetherland which could stop the Austen family of talented generals to attack the Northern border of Adrian region.
Arial on the other hand who lives near the eastern border is free to pursue everything without worrying too much of the South and East.
As the Duke and Prince of East and South by familial influence, Arial could even be said to be more influential than the King in those vast region.
And in the North, Helia has her cousins, uncles and aunt. Mostly exiled because of their part in the Succession Crisis but that doesn’t mean they do not have influence.
When they return they can still rise again. Even Henry Palais could claim descent from Helia illustrious lineage of Kings and Queens.
This is also the reason why the King tries to create relation with the Vermont’s family by betrothing his son to Arial sister.
Thus, in a way sealing Arial alliance more prominently and more securely. After all, who would war against family?
And the reason why Arial is influential more than any nobles in Aetehrland is because of his marriage with Helia Althea.
Technically Althea is under the Althea family but since by succession laws, the husband receive the wife land, which means, by every right if Arial wished it, he could claim Althea to be his.
But Arial believe in his wife, and he thought that such law is degrading to woman intelligence.
And Arial believe that Helia, even though she is strong, and a very talented swordswoman, Arial believe her talent lies in politics.
Even though she is not fond of the courtly games, it is plain obvious to Arial that Helia is strangely suited to be a politician. This must be because of her upbringing in SeaWorth.
The Blood Brotherhood nowadays is in dire crisis. After all it is harder keeping the throne then to win it.
They must want to find support. Arial know what is happening in Northern Chu and Southern Tai.
One Caelum. One Eastian. The Chu is Eastian descent. The Southern Tai, led by Austen family is Caelum.
But to find support in the martial art meet Arial doubt it will be easy. There are many experts here and that is precisely why it is harder.
Expert rarely cares about the matter of politics. The only one who seems to have any interest in upholding Eastian claim in the ruins of Vern is the Northern Badger.
To Arial this expert is stupid.
There are those who say that spiritual enlightenment is achieved through the denial of worldly pleasure, its wonders and horrors,; to achieve a higher level of training you must deny yourself many things in this world, go and live, sitting cross legged in a mountaintop, concentrating hearing the sound of the wind, the chirping of the birds.
What preposterous idea these people have!
These expert sit high on their safe place, never caring about the world affairs, thinking they are cut from different cloth, from normal people, viewing themselves so high, but I dare say, why dismantle your castle or your home or your stone walls, running away from the world?
Where is the meaning in removing the bricks from the walls one by one? What is the purpose in uprooting the floors and roof?
What is the meaning tearing your home to rubble?
Is there any significance in only allowing yourself a hollow roof and a muddy bed? Why deny your home its structure?
A truly enlightened soul is strong enough to endure, is bright enough to see, to live and shine through, even in a beautiful house, or a large castle with all its pleasure!
There is no need to ransack the home, to smash or shatter it in order to see an inner beauty etched against a distraught surrounding.
A bright and beautiful soul can shine forth even from inside an equally beautiful surrounding.
To Arial these so called experts are cowards. And life makes no room for cowards. Arial learn this from experience. Arial then sense a mass of internal energy is descending.
Then the assembly of people suddenly looks at the top of the hill as they all sense the internal energy being emitted.
Arial also look as Batrisya once again flew down.
With a cough, she begins her greetings. Behind her Three Maidens can be seen with a veil around their lower face, with sultry figures and beautiful eyes, following her closely.
‘Heroes. Heroine. Venerable elders. My teacher and her friend have decided on the matter of the tournament. However, first I need to give some explanation to who come here for the first time. This Heaven Mountain have five peaks, each peak is different than the last.’
Some nodded, mostly elders of the schools. Clearly they have been here before.
‘The Stone Peak, the Water Fall Peak, the Dark Peak the Wind Peak and the Heaven Peak. Each round will be according to these orders. The First round will be fought at Stone Peak. The second round in the Waterfall peak and so on. So now that the explanation has been given, now the name and school of your competitor will be announced. My teacher has chosen these schools with great care.’
Batrisya then bring out something from her sleeve, a parchment of paper. Then she began announcing.
‘Sun Moon Sect, Xiao De’
‘Present’ Xiao De reply and he grins at his fellow disciples.
His junior disciples cheer on him while his Senior all give word of encouragement.
‘Your competitor is the Blinding Sword Sect Louis.’
Blinding Sword sect cheer with greater voice to drown out the cheers of Sun Moon Sect. Louis cupped his hand
‘Please give me guidance, Senior Xiao.’ He said.
It is not strange. After all Xiao De have been roaming the martial art world longer than Louis so it is only natural Louis show a deferent attitude to Xiao De.
But Xiao De did not lower his guard.
‘Do not be modest, Louis. After all who doesn’t know True Blade Louis? Your blade technique is reputed to be very exquisite.’ The Elder of Louise nodded in satisfaction, clearly approving and have quite a good opinion of Xiao De.
Batrisya then continued her announcement.
‘Yilin Temple Sigrid and Taojing Zhu Wu will battle each other.’
Yilin and Taojing both exchange their greeting. Arial is still leaning in one of the tree just looking at their behaviour.
Smile that hide blades, Arial mused.
All this sect all have bloody history with each other. Arial knows that the world of martial art is always bloody almost as bloody as his wars.
And he fought in a lot of war and battle.
‘Two Bladed Aeri and House of Knives Eain’ she announces and this elicits great response from the crowd of the martial artist.
‘Two of the assassination school battling it out’ one of them said.
‘This will be interesting.’ One chimed in, laughing no doubt anticipating the battle.
‘Both are proficient in stealth technique and One Draw Kill.’
It seems this battle is anticipated by the crowd. Arial knows that not all here to participate in the Martial Art meet competition.
Some are from neutral school, neither evil, nor righteous. Just wandering the martial art world, enjoying the battles and the pleasures of fighting and relishing the occasional friends and enemies they make in such world.
Of course hearing this two mysterious schools from the hotter region of the human continent, and both of them are assassination school, of course, such battle is anticipated.
But Arial could not care less. After all, what he cares about is his battle. Why bother with someone else battle?
Then Batrisya announces again
‘Shadow Skulker, Shadow’ and this make Batrisya trying to stop her laugh.
‘It seems the Shadow Skulker sect has a very terrible naming sense’ she said.
The crowd roared with laughter but the people of Shadow Skulker did not even utter a single sound and because of this everyone began quieted down.
Many of the people who laughed, cupped their hand to the elders of the Shadow Skulker sect and said
‘We mean no offense to the Shadow Skulker Sect.’
The man called Shadow just nodded.
‘Shadow will fight limitless Blade Sect Hue Xing.’ Batrisya continued
‘Good luck Hue Xing’ one of their disciples said to Hue Xing.
‘Do not worry, I’ll win this.’
‘Ermeishan, Mu Liyun will be competing with Five Fingers Peak, Shun Liang.’
And some whistles when they see Mu Liyun.
‘Who would you think will win between these two righteous sects?’ one asks.
‘I bet on Mu Liyun the White Rose’
‘Then I bet on Shun Liang. Hahaha’ they roared with laughter.
‘Sister Mu, do take it easy.’
‘No, Senior Shun. It is I that need to say those words.’
They look courteous enough. Arial grin. The way they talk to each other it is almost like Arial at his court.
All lying to each other, wearing a mask of civility. Arial know that the Five Finger Peak need to win this to once again make their sect as powerful as before.
For Ermei they may not really care about the prize but to lose? Unlikely! Because Ermeishan have their own reputation to protect.
‘Wuhao, Fang Ling will be competing with Lishan, Bai Daliang.’
Bai Daliang is a well known figure in the martial art world if the rumour are to be believed. But Wuhao is also famous in their own rights.
Their skills are clean, neat and efficient, but to compare it with the school that focuses on internal energy like Nanshan and Linzi of course they could not win.
But underestimating them would surely be a mistake. Their Bone Shattering Palm is reputed to be powerful enough to make the Abbess retreat when she attacks Wuhao headquarters at Wu Peak in Southern Tai.
‘The last one is me right? Do I get an exception?’ The voice said, reverberating around the hills.
The man is Shu Ren Gui of Nanshan Sect. Exception mean when there is an insufficient competitor one will be chosen to be qualified for the next round.
Usually it will be chosen according to the host of the event.
Shu Ren Gui must think he is exempt since all the school names have already been called out but Batrisya shakes her head.
‘No’ she said.
‘No?’ the rest of the crowd who were there is shocked.
‘Is there any other school here?’
‘Did the Dark Night Sect send on of their representatives?’ some said. Everybody is speculating
Then she announces it ‘Shu Ren Gui of Nanshan sect will be competing against’ and she stopped like enjoying the tension while the crowd waits with bated breath.
‘He will be competing with All Conquering Sect, Arial Vermont, more famously known as the dragon’ and with that an explosive atmosphere suddenly erupted among the crowd and the school.
All the leader of the school know who the dragon is, after all they tried to recruit him.
Even Ermeishan, who never recruit men in their midst at least want to make good relation with him, and try to search him.
But when these school found out that Arial the Dragon is a ruler of a region resembling a Kingdom by itself even they lose heart to recruit him.
After all what would they offer him? Gold? No doubt the dragon has enough gold to last him a thousand year.
Protection? With an army as big, as strong, as discipline like the military of Arrandy behind the dragon even if one of the Four immortals decide to attack him, even they would not get off with just a wound.
So, they abandoned the idea.
Not to mention that Arial is rarely involved in the matter of the martial art world but that doesn’t mean he is not famous in the martial art world.
Of course the people who have not seen him during the battle in Linzi Temple would scoff at hearing that all these school is all dying to recruit him.
‘Is that him?’ one of the younger disciples of Sun Moon sect is pointing a finger at a lonesome figure, leaning on a tree.
He wears shabby clothes, with holes in the knees and the shoulders but leaning on the tree, there is some aura of power emanating from him.
‘White hair, dragon design necklace. It’s him alright.’ One said. They all know that the Vermont’s have white hair.
On the crowd are Chen Yanghua and Liao Ming.
‘Lord Arial is entering? I didn’t know he is entering?’ Yanghua said.
‘I told you didn’t I? Training as hard as he did, it is obvious he is entering. The martial art world will see an upheaval for the first time in a long time.’
Liao Ming feels confident of this.
Many do not know Arial like he do. Even though he does not know Arial on a personal level, he knew when he met someone strong.
And Liao Ming have met many powerful people wandering the martial art world but he never see someone with so much power or proficiencies or genius in internal energy cultivation like Arial.
Each school has their own way of cultivating internal energy. What Liao Ming didn’t know, that Arial internal energy technique is the sea from which all martial art evolve, Levitia technique.
It is pure, unobstructed, powerful, all conquering. Liao Ming must admit meeting such a young man with such glorious reputation in politics and warfare is an honour for him.
Shu Ren Gui has heard of Arial the Dragon but he felt no fear or worry.
After all he is the disciple of Northern Badger but he greets Arial all the same as martial art world manner dictate.
He cupped his hand and he said
‘Greeting, Arial. My name is Shu Ren Gui. My teacher is Northern Badger and I belong to the Nanshan School.’
He said but there is a hint of arrogance in his tone, one that Arial caught. He is underestimating Arial martial technique this is no doubt.
After all if Ren Gui teacher is not afraid to even offend Kings why should he be afraid of a mere duke?
‘Oh, I’m LORD Arial.’ He said curtly.
In a way hearing this Shu Ren Gui said in a tone so arrogantly made Arial in a way wanted to show off. It is unlike his personality but he is easily annoyed after he returns from the Dark Lands.
‘HAHAHA’ the crowd laughed. It almost seem like Arial is insulting Shu Ren Gui by not giving proper introduction.
But of course Arial doesn’t know. It’s not like he is raised among martial artist nor have martial artist friend.
Well he has Liao Bao. But Liao Bao would never dare instruct his lord on anything. After all their position in the politic and in the Continent is different.
But of course in the martial art world, Liao Bao is known as Thunder Step, a very renown martial artist, while Arial is just a famous lord and known as to cause a scene in Linzi temple.
To the crowd, Ren Gui as Northern Badger disciple would definitely win.
While Arial action in Linzi temple is fearless, defying one of the immortals right at her face is considered noteworthy, they still don’t know his technique.
And All Conquering Sect, no one ever heard of it. Shu Ren Gui is flushed in the face but he still tries to be calm.
‘Junior Brother Arial’ Ren Gui said because clearly Arial is new to the martial art world scene
‘Where is your teacher?’
‘Teacher? What teacher?’
‘Or maybe head Sect?’
‘You know, the people that established All Conquering Sect?’ The Abbes of Ermeishan help seeing Arial is clueless.
‘Oh. I am the Head Sect’ he said and his word shocked the people.
‘Yes, I created the school.’
‘You are jesting right?’
‘Why would I?’ He said confidently only making the crowd become more shocked while Batrisya is looking at this scene with glee.
It is true what Thunder Step and Veiled little Devil said about him. A little peculiar in his way
To all the crowd this something impossible. 19 years old and a head of a sect.
‘How many is the member of your school?’ One asks.
One man slapped his hand on his head.
‘Is he crazy?’
‘HAHAHAHA’ the other laughed out loud.
‘Hey, young kid. Measure your own ability before saying that. How strong do you think you are?’
‘HAHAHA, creating a Sect? Head Sect! HAHAHA. Do you think we are toddlers? HAHAHA’ the other laughed again.
Ren Gui and the Abbess laughed
‘Are you playing with me? Is this your idea of a joke?’ Ren Gui said.
Arial don’t like to be laughed. After all, no one dare laugh at him. So clearly Ren Gui has touch a nerve.
‘ARE YOU DEAF? RETARDED?’ Arial said anger in his heart, his heart is in turmoil. He wanted to take Ren Gui and the people that laughed at him by the neck and crushed all of them.
‘Didn’t she just announce it? It is my school.’
‘That could not be done, child,’ the Abbess said smiling a comforting smile. More like a mocking smile. Arial began to become hot headed.
‘Hah!’ Arial rebutted.
‘Can’t be done? I just did it. And, old woman I’m not your child so don’t smile like that. It’s nauseating!’ The Abbess is shocked and her face change colour.
To be insulted by someone clearly her junior and so harshly in front of the crowd and among her peers, the Abbess also become angry and embarrassed.
‘And I’m not your Junior Brother either, so stop it with that creepy introduction. I make a declaration right here right now. MY NAME IS ARIAL THE DRAGON AND I’M GOING TO WIN THIS COMPETITION’ and he grin.
Then he looks at Batrisya, ignoring the look that the Abbess giving her and the way the crowd look at him.
‘Tomorrow will be the day of the battle right?’
‘In that peak right?’ Arial point his finger on the top peak, taller than the hill, Batrisya is standing on. She nodded again
‘Fine,’ he said and he jumped to the ledges and run upwards as he leaves the crowd in awe. His word then reverberates in the expanse of the green space,
‘I WILL WAIT FOR YOU REN GUI. LET SEE WHETHER THE SCHOOL YOU LAUGHED AT, IS WEAK OR NOT TOMORROW!’
And Ren Gui is slightly shocked. To do this kind of voice amplifying technique someone have to have a great internal energy.
Batrisya grins and she said to herself. This will be interesting