Book 7: The Summit || Chapter 3: Those Who Are Attending (1)

“Master, where would the Summit be held?” After convincing Shin that he absolutely had to attend the upcoming event, Lady Seph sat the trio down and begun elaborating on the details.

“The Land of Dreams. First, there will be a memorial for those who perished in the Main Hub. All participating members would have to pay their respects during the burial. Of course, if you don’t want to, I won’t force you to return there.” The blonde beauty looked over at Shin and Elrin. Being the first people to witness the bloodshed left behind by the Arachne, Lady Seph was afraid that the duo would have a mental trauma if they were brought back to the Main Hub. It had taken Kanari a great deal of effort to help coax the young boy out of hiding, and she wasn’t willing to let him go through that again.

“Master, I’m fine.” Shin glanced over his shoulder and smiled at the black-haired beauty. “The only thing that I could do is to live with the pain and swear to remain convicted to my cause. If I can’t return to that place, how could I ever hope to fight against the Black Masks?”

“…” Kanari blushed as she heard her speech being regurgitated out of Shin’s mouth. Although it was good advice at the time, hearing it first-hand from another person did make it a little embarrassing.

“Don’t worry, Lady Seph! I can manage!” Likewise, Elrin wasn’t going to let just one setback drag her down.

“That’s good.” Lady Seph smiled. “Once the memorial is over, the Summit will formally begin. Based on early planning, the first week of the Summit would be to discuss the matters regarding the Black Masks. It may be extended if discussions go awry, but that probably won’t happen. During that week, you must make use of the opportunity and befriend those from the Lantis Republic. Preferably those from the Longyu Clan. Do you understand, Shin?”

“Yes!” The black-haired boy immediately acknowledged his master’s words.

“Lady Seph…” Always the sharp whip, Kanari started to pick out the most pressing questions that she had. “What about security? If there are so many important individuals attending, won’t it be a prime target for the Black Masks?”

To kill the body, the most effective method was to aim for the head. If the Black Masks really wanted to destroy the allied forces of the three superpowers, Healer’s Association, Mercenary Guild and the Blacksmith’s League in its crib, the best way was to take out the leaders that were attending the Summit.

“Ah, you don’t have to worry about that.” Lady Seph snickered at Kanari’s comment. “On that day, the Summit would be the safest place on earth. No, perhaps it would be the safest place that had ever existed!”

“Venerate Seraphim? What do you mean?” Principal Erudito questioned.

“Each one of the superpowers will be sending out a Spirit Saint each to protect their members! Not to mention, my master is also coming! Although I can’t confirm this, whispers tell me that both Spirit Saints from the Mercenary Guild and the Blacksmith’s League are also considering to attend. Just imagine, six Spirit Saints gathered at one location! And the best bit of all… The Blacksmith’s League is bringing out Deus Citadel.”

“DEUS CITADEL?!” At that term, everyone in the Principal’s Office cried out with excitement.

If the Celestial River was an Empyrean Wonder that was formed by nature, then Deus Citadel was an Empyrean Wonder made by man. Perhaps the most famous man-made structure that had ever existed, Deus Citadel was the masterpiece of the Blacksmith’s League that took almost a thousand years to blueprint and build.

So what made this structure so honoured and hard to create? It was the only fortress in the world that flew in the sky.

Generations of human ingenuity had paved the way for the formation of the flying fortress. Not only was it the only mobile war acropolis to ever exist, but it also held hundreds of destructive cannons that could incinerate an entire city within a matter of minutes. Protected by the most defensive energy barrier in the world, it would take a Spirit Saint a thousand strikes to break through into the Citadel, and by then, the thousands of defensive mechanisms that were built into the fortress would have honed in on any intruders that dared to step foot into the flying fort.

Lastly, if there were four, potentially six Spirit Saints present during the Summit, it would be indeed the most secure location that had ever existed. Even if the remaining Spirit Saints on the continent used their all to barge into the Summit, they would be wholly annihilated.

Once they heard that the Deus Citadel was the host location, Principal Erudito and Vice-Principal Hirda looked over at the three youths with envy. As scholars, they loved to bear witness to the marvels of the world, and Deus Citadel was undoubtedly at the top of their list. However, the flying structure was rarely seen in public as it was always hidden by the Blacksmith’s League.

After all, due to the overwhelming price that it took to build the structure, there was no way that the Blacksmith’s League would let anything happen to it. Nonetheless, drastic times calls for drastic measures.

“Six Spirit Saints… Deus Citadel…” Shin was getting dizzy just by thinking about the scale of the Summit. However, Lady Seph wasn’t done surprising her protege just yet…

“The brother of Tenno, Prince Koshaku will be leading the group, as well as heading the negotiations for the Himmel Empire. The Imperial Eunuch Gonggong and Field Marshal Ridan Bitterdawn will be serving as his escorts. Also, some Spirit Emperors are being sent as well. Eru, if you apply now, perhaps you would have a chance of getting in?”

“Please stop jesting, Venerate.” As much as he may be tempted, Principal Erudito had to manage an entire school. Entering the Summit would definitely be an eye-opener, but he had more pressing responsibilities to tend to.

“That’s a shame. I could use more familiar faces, instead of those bastards sent out by the Imperial Courts.” Making a regretful expression, Lady Seph continued to run down the details of the Summit. “For you three, the matters of the leading group don’t matter. Since you’re part of the younger generation, you will be mingling with those in your age group. However, you must be cautious. Even though they’re young, those guys are just like you. Monsters of their generation.”

“…” Shin gulped. Kanari was the most talented cultivator of her generation, securing her position as the top dog to beat. However, that was only limited to the Himmel Empire. The Kori Federation and the Lantis Republic all had their own prodigies. They might not be quite at Kanari’s level, but they were pretty darn close.

Furthermore, Shin would be among the youngest cultivators that would be attending. Against those twenty-five-year-olds who were in the Spirit Spectre realm, he was clearly the inferior party.

“I don’t care what Kanari and Elrin do, but Shin… I need you to keep a low-profile. The only people that you should focus on are the members of the Lantis Republic. Also, Kanari. Do look out for Shin. The person leading the younger generation this time should be the Young Drake Duke.”

“Urgh… I expected as much.” Kanari made a sound that was uncommon for a lady of her status.

The young Drake Duke was… Special.

As an heir to a Duchy that was in no way inferior to Kanari’s Highgarden Duchy, the young Drake Duke was without a doubt one of the most important figures in the Himmel Empire. Going through the same kind of gruelling training that Kanari did, the twenty-five-year-old man had just advanced into the Spirit Spectre realm a few months ago, solidifying his spot as a talent among talents.

A male version of Kanari, that was the description that Shin had given the young Duke. However, compared Kanari, the young Drake Duke had a nine-year head start, allowing him to amass a huge following, especially among the members of the younger generation. In fact, a primary reason why Kanari was so desperate to get Shin on her side was precisely because of how dominant the man’s clout was.

Although Shin was calling the young Drake Duke the male version of Kanari, the truth was quite the opposite. In the eyes of the world, Kanari was the female version of the young Duke. Yes, Kanari was the better cultivator, but when it came to influence or the number of backers that they had, she was far inferior.

“I will need you to get Shin as far away from that deceitful brat. I’m sure he’ll try to poach Shin over with some underhanded tactics.”

“Haha, I concur.” For the first time ever, Kanari and Lady Seph were on the exact same wavelength. “Don’t worry, I won’t let him get anywhere near Shin. If he even tries to touch a single hair on Shin’s body, I’ll turn him into a meat paste with my Lunar Beam.”

“Hoho…” Lady Seph stared at the black-haired beauty with admiration. Now that their interests were aligned, she began to see Kanari in a new light. “That’s good, but your imagination is far too lacking. You should sit him down on a chair of torture and peel off his skin bit by bit. That way he would feel the most pain before his death.”

“A-As expected from the master! I was too short-sighted!”

Bonded by their desire to protect Shin, the two beauties went off on a tangent about how best to punish the young Drake Duke. Not sure if they were joking or not, Shin looked out of the window and blocked out the gruesome sentences that his Master and Kanari were spouting out.

‘The Summit… This will be the first major step to defeat the Black Masks.’ All of a sudden a childlike excitement bubbled up to the surface of Shin’s heart as he looked forward to the event that was happening just a few weeks from now…

~~~~

The Lantis Republic. Holy Island of Saints.

Bssshhhh. Bssshhhh. Bssshhhh

The sound of waves flowing up the shoreline that was uncommon for the inland inhabitants of the Capital dominated the atmosphere of the extensive archipelago. Squabbling seagulls flew overhead while hermit crabs dug burrows deep into the sandy coast to evade detection. Draped in a golden shine, the ocean shimmered in glee as it reflected the immense light emitted by the fiery wheel in the sky.

Unlike their two superpower counterparts, the Lantis Republic didn’t share the burdens of staying on the Terre Continent. As children of Water, they were completely content with living their lives surrounded by the ocean. Bearing the mightiest naval force the world has ever seen, the Himmel Empire and Kori Federation wouldn’t even dare to contest with the Lantis Republic for their land.

While the sun was still gleaming at full blast, in a remote part of the archipelago, a mysterious island that was shrouded in a dense fog, was experiencing the summer as if it were winter. The temperature of the place was so cold that a warm breath could instantly create a massive cloud. Yet, in such a cold environment, there were still four individuals who could bask out in the pavilion overseeing the ocean.

“The Summit is before us, and the High Elder Council has requested one of us to attend as an escort.” A muscular man brought up the pressing topic at hand to his brethren. “Now which one of us should go?”

“Is there really a need for a Spirit Saint to attend? It sounds like a pain.” The green-robed woman to his right heaved out a deep sigh. Her eagle-shaped nose and mesmerising eyes made her stand out even amongst the most outstanding individuals. It wasn’t as if she was the most enchanting woman the world had ever seen, but her strange appearance was indeed one that would turn heads.

“Didn’t you hear about how the Black Masks used a World Serpent? I thought that as a member of the Shenshe Clan, you would be the most compelled to go.” The elderly man wearing a black turtle’s shell on his back chided the woman. Her Spirit, the Champion of the Swamp, The Divine King Serpent, was perhaps the top snake-type Spirit that existed. To her, the World Serpent was certainly an opportunity to improve her overall cultivation.

“Hmph, I’ve personally met with all three of the legendary snake beasts. Amphiptere, Basilisk and World Serpent. None of them was even close to reaching the Primordial stage even after thousands of years living on this earth. Even if I did meet the World Serpent once more, the most he could do was provide raw materials for my juniors. He wouldn’t even be able to raise my cultivation by one rank!” The Spirit Saint complained.

At their level, they would have washed their hands off mortal affairs and were wholly focused on becoming the next Spirit Immortal. Each second that they wasted on their juniors was time lost in cultivation. Hence, it was normal for the Shenshe Spirit Saint to feel annoyed about their current predicament.

“Now, now. The Black Masks aren’t just some run-of-the-mill criminal syndicate. Only a Spirit Saint or Primordial Beast would be capable of recruiting four Tier 9 Spirit Beasts.” The muscular man brought the conversation back on track. “We’re just there to act as escorts. We aren’t even supposed to listen in on the meeting.”

“Hah… That rule is quite annoying.” The elderly turtle-backed man sighed. To reign in the power of Spirit Saints, the first ever international convention stated that no Spirit Saints were allowed to take an active role in international politics. For most Spirit Saints, that was a good thing. After all, they were given more time to focus on their own cultivations. However, there were some who quite disliked the rule. For instance, those that had given up on chasing the Immortal Realm and had decided to have more of an impact on the world before they faded into dust.

“I concur… Just treat it as a vacation where you’ll get to catch up with some friends I guess. Althea from the Healer’s Association and Thor from the Blacksmith’s League have confirmed their attendance.” The muscular man scratched his cheek as he tried to convince his brethren. Turning to the sole person that hadn’t opened her mouth yet, the man tilted his head and asked:

“Tian… You have been silent for a while. What are your thoughts?”

The black-haired woman that had her eyes shut the entire time finally twitched. She had been sitting still like a statue as if she was one with nature. Only after hearing her name did she falter as her concentration broke. Her eyelids lifted up, revealing the gleaming golden balls that hid within her face. However, after a brief moment, the golden eyes slowly lost its lustre as it reverted back to its original azure hue.

“You used your future sight?” All three Spirit Saints knew how the black-haired woman’s abilities worked. “What did you see?”

“You three don’t have to argue anymore.” A slovenly voice climbed out of the woman’s mouth as she stood up from her seat.

“I’ll go.”

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