The deadlock between Longyu Tian and the five Spirit Saints continued for a brief period of time. For those unaffiliated in the matter, their curious stroll had turned into a matter of total pandemonium if handled poorly. Nonetheless, something had to be done to end this silent predicament.
“Saint of Time, let’s just all go back to ground zero.” A feminine voice came from an unlikely source. The Mercenary Guild’s Spirit Saint, Saint Atossa, floated down from skies like a fairy. Her short chestnut hair made her seem slightly tomboyish in comparison to her soothing tone, and her worn-down robes didn’t resemble that of someone who stood at the top of the world.
“You’re trying to return back with this boy over here, but he’s part of the Himmel Empire, and he is Saint Althea’s Grand-Disciple.”
“I don’t know about those two.” Longyu Tian shrugged her shoulders. “But Shin right here is undisputably someone from my bloodline.”
“Now that’s a problem…” The woman frowned. “Judging from his expression and reactions, the boy doesn’t seem that keen on following you back. Forgot all the politics, don’t you think that forcibly taking someone against his will is in firm violation with the human rights act that was agreed on millennia ago?”
Being one of the few that had no vested interest in Shin, Saint Atossa was able to view the situation with a neutral lens. She could tell that the boy in Longyu Tian’s grasp wasn’t that thrilled about being forced back to the Lantis Republic.
“I think all of you are misunderstanding something…” Fed up by the constant nagging, Longyu Tian’s left hand began to glow. “I don’t need to ask for any of your permissions. I’m just informing you of my decision.”
“I see…” Saint Firebird sighed deeply. He hadn’t expected that the predicament to escalate that quickly, but either way, he couldn’t just let Longyu Tian scoot away with Shin. Ignoring his commitment to Kanari, if Saint Firebird allowed the woman to pull Shin, a prominent member of the Himmel Empire’s procession, away, how would it reflect upon the image of his nation?
“Since words don’t work, perhaps a fist would.” A blazing phantom of a Phoenix graced the skies of Deus Citadel, barring any path of retreat for the Lantis Republic’s Spirit Saint.
“Saint of Time. I suggest you free my Grand-Disciple right this instant.” Likewise, Saint Althea bared her clenched knuckles with a snarl. She may not be as combat capable as the Firebird or Longyu Tian, but she was still a Spirit Saint. Just her added pressure alone was enough to force the Saint of Time to reconsider her actions.
“Looks like we have reached an impasse.” The Saint of Time chuckled. “I have always wondered what it would be like to cross swords with you, Saint Firebird.”
“What a coincidence. I was feeling the same way.”
The atmosphere heavy, tension so thick that one could cut it with a knife. Saint Firebird remained flying in the air with his Phoenix Spirit levitating behind him. Five tremendous solar orbs oscillated around the elderly man as if they were the moons to his planet. On the ground, Saint Althea stood ready to pounce and pinch away Shin from the hands of the obstinate Saint of Time. A holy light permeated through her veins and her skinny body that didn’t seem capable of hurting a fly was now on the verge of erupting with tremendous power.
Just as the three Saints were about to collide, a thunderous shout boomed through the land, and a bolt of lightning flashed down from the skies. In the crater formed by the strike, a towering man separated the two forces with a heavy runic hammer in his hands.
“Where the hell do you think you are?!” The hulk of a man shouted out. “You’re in my house, so you follow my rules! And I prohibit any form of fighting that would destroy my Citadel.”
As anticipated, the Saint of the Blacksmith’s League would never allow a fight between Spirit Saints to occur on his turf, especially on the supremely expensive Deus Citadel. He might be confident about how sturdy his construction was, but there was no guarantee that the fabled flying fortress could withstand the devastation that three Spirit Saints could cause.
“I concur.” The final Spirit Saint that hadn’t said a word since he came finally spoke out. A terrifying glint sparkled out from the man’s scabbard as he unsheathed his sword.
“The Kori Federation has no ball in this fight, but I can’t just stand by as you ruin the Summit. For us… For the Dalgeom Sect… This Summit must be a success. Stay your hand, Saint of Time.”
“… To think that you had even brought out the Samingeom.” Longyu Tian squinted her eyes. She was confident of taking on Saint Firebird and Saint Althea together. After all, her objective was to bring Shin back to Longyu Reef. However, once Saint Geom got into the fray, her confidence plummeted down like a sperm whale’s dive.
If the threat of one of the most offensive Spirit Saints in the world wasn’t enough, Saint Geom had even brought out the Samingeom. The only Immortal-Grade sword that existed in the Kori Federation. With that sword in hand, none of Longyu Tian’s time manoeuvring abilities would work, and the chance of her making out with Shin was virtually zero.
“We can still talk this over, Saint of Time.”
In all honesty, Saint Geom didn’t mind if the saints from the Himmel Empire and the Lantis Republic fought it out. There was only merit to be found if their enemies challenged one another for sovereignty. If that were under ordinary circumstances that are. The most pressing matter in Saint Geom’s mind was the success of the Summit and to avenge his Sect’s fallen, Wangu.
Longyu Tian looked to her right. Saint Althea was ready to jump in at the speed of light to rescue Shin. She looked to the skies. Saint Firebird was burning the heavens. Her front? Saint Thor and Saint Geom had pointed their weapons straight at her gullet. And finally, to her back, Saint Atossa stood with a patient smile.
Recognising her defeat, Longyu Tian groaned. Even the illustrious Saint of Time would have no chance of beating five Spirit Saints all at once.
“Fine…” The Saint released her hold on Shin, enabling Lady Althea to snatch the boy away with a snap. Since the Saint of Time had taken the first step back, all of the Spirit Saint lowered their weapons and breathed a sigh of relief. At the very least, Pandemonium had been avoided.
“Shin, are you hurt anywhere?”
“No, I’m fine.”
Shin shook his head that the concerned question. His face was beet red with embarrassment. Shin had thought that his innocent trip to the Lantis Republic’s hotel would have led to him meeting one of the Luminaries. Little did he know that his naive mindset would have caused such a major upheaval.
“Yip yip yip!” Now freed from her restraints, Bingbing leapt into Shin’s arms and cried out in remorse. She had one job during the Summit, and she had failed it miserably. Seeing the tearful Kamaitachi, Shin let out a peaceful smile and comforted the snowy white gerbil.
“There, there. It’s not your fault.”
“I know. Don’t worry, I’m fine now.”
While Shin was busy comforting the poor snowy white gerbil, the six Spirit Saints continued their stand-off in an eerie atmosphere. Longyu Tian hasn’t given up on bringing Shin back to the Lantis Republic, and Saint Firebird wasn’t going to budge on his stance.
“Let’s find a place to talk shall we?” Now that the threat of destruction was gone, Saint Thor retracted his electric hammer and decided to play the host as he should.
“No, here is fine.” Longyu Tian snappingly replied. Snapping her fingers one large stone table broke free from the compounds of the hotel lounge and floated into the middle of the courtyard. At the same time, six chairs flew from the top of the building and surrounded all corners of the round table.
“Your control over space is quite the eye-opener.” Saint Atossa whistled. As Spirit Saints, they all had the innate ability to lock down and control space to a certain extent. However, only Longyu Tian could manipulate the world with such laser-like precision.
“…” The Saint of Time didn’t bother to reply. “Let’s just begin the negotiations, shall we?” Taking her seat, Longyu Tian gestured for the other Spirit Saints to follow suit. She wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. Unfortunately for her, the commotion that the Spirit Saints had caused had attracted some annoying flies.
“Saint Thor!!!” The first to land on the scene was the head of the Blacksmith’s League, Ingram. Behind him, the legions of important individuals from each superpower followed closely, with anxious expressions on their face.
“Senior Firebird, what happened?” Prince Koshaku turned to his Empire’s own Spirit Saint for answers. For Saint Firebird to act, there had to be a legitimate reason.
“It’s complicated…” The answer was too long to convey, and thus, Saint Firebird decided to give a non-answer for now. “We might be in for a battle with the Lantis Republic.”
“As I said it’s complicated. For now, you should remain on standby.” He did, however, leave the Royal with an order. “Us saints will handle the matter for now. You should continue the Summit as per usual.”
“… Understood.” While he was sceptical, Prince Koshaku still bowed his head in respect. At the corner of his eye, he could spy an unsuspecting black-haired boy, who seemed to be out of place in a congregation of the world’s top powers.
‘What is that kid doing here?’ Prince Koshaku could vaguely remember Shin from the journey, but his interactions with him were so minimal that the Prince’s memory of him was somewhat hazy.
Furthermore, Prince Koshaku wasn’t the only one who noticed the boy.
“Shin? What’s he doing here?” Jimga from the Dalgeom Sect wondered out loud.
“Don’t know…” Yeunghi replied with a similarly stunned face. “Something’s amiss. How could a Spirit Core boy be caught in the storm between Spirit Saints?”
Jimga and Yeunghi were whispering at a volume akin to that of a gentle breeze in the summer sun. However, the sharp ears of their highest senior managed to pick up their conversation.
“Jimga, Yeunghi… You know of this boy?”
“S-Saint Geom!!!” The two Spirit Emperors straightened their backs like a tree the moment that nostalgic voice entered their ears.
“So… How do you know of this boy?”
“W-We met him during our mission in the Land of Dreams. He was investigating the movement of the Black Masks as well and managed to find their base. He was the one that assisted us in finding the base that the Black Masks had in Mort Bay.”
“Hmmm, how interesting…”
Saint Geom had thought that Shin was wholly unrelated to him, and it was a matter for the Himmel Empire and the Lantis Republic to settle for themselves. Yet, for some odd reason, the red strings of fate had tied Shin and the Dalgeom Sect together. With this, Shin has established a relationship with four out of the six Spirit Saints present.
‘A boy with a fate so thick that it involves four Spirit Saints… Who is he exactly?’ His interest piqued, Saint Geom turned his back to the members of the Kori Federation and took a remaining empty chair.
“Return. There’s no need for you to meddle in the affairs of the Saints.”
“Senior Geom?!” The lead representative from the Kori Federation, Deputy Prime Minister Venus, let out a startled cry. It was uncharacteristic for the Spirit Saint to ignore the pleas of his brethren to tend to the matters of others.
It wasn’t just the Deputy Prime Minister that had her socks blown off, Prince Koshaku, President Ingram, Guild Leader Xerxes, Divine Healer Raphael, and even the hard-headed Zhangyu Yaoguai had been dismissed in a similar fashion. No, Zhangyu Yaoguai wasn’t even spared a second glance by Longyu Tian. The order that he received was plain and simple. Don’t interfere.
With all of the interfering bugs gone, only seven people remained in the empty courtyard of the luxurious hotel. The first-ever assembly of the Saints had formally begun.