Chapter 222 - Interlude (3)

“Oh, yes, right there!”

Looking at the striped girl, Bord once again wonders why he is even doing this. It had started purely innocent, he swears. Even though he is dense, he’s smart enough to realise that the orange and white beastkin females with black stripes were trying to kill him after they brought out the big guns.

The fat heartcore cultivator is pretty confident in his thick skin, but going to sleep while there are ten massive ballistae aimed at his bed is a bit much. This was a couple of weeks ago, and a lot has changed since then.

The large hairy guy that smells of dragon is gone, for one. The maned muscular beastkin was the only one that actually managed to hit him with enough force to make it tickle. And Bord hasn’t seen the guy for at least a month now.

The restaurant he frequents is also changing, as the building keeps growing, the personnel working there keep switching to fancier and fancier clothes, and the amount of tough guys working there increases by the day. Instead of the posh yet modest restaurant it was in the beginning, it’s now the most impressive and opulent building on its island.

The biggest change is with the way his maidservants treat him, though. No, they aren’t maidservants. Supposedly, they are the most lethal assassins and shadow operatives in all the beastkin kingdoms. Bord finds it rather hard to believe, as not even a single one has managed to give him so much as a bruise or even indigestion. But the proof is right here, squirming beneath his fingers.

The petite beastkin he is fondling with a half-hearted interest has decided to become his personal shadow. She’d told him herself, right after Bord had set all the assassins down and just talked about why he is here and what he does. She told him something about following a honey trap plan, as she must take revenge on the murderer of the previous Tooth no matter what. Bord hadn’t really paid attention to her ramblings, though.

He does remember the surprise he felt when she crawled in his bed a few days later and initiated sex. Bord got into it, before realising that finishing inside of her would probably kill her. He is a solid core body cultivator, after all, and he needs to take care when pissing to not cut through stone with his forceful stream. So now, he has restricted himself to manual labour. At the very least, it’s good practice for his dexterity and fine control. Pinching certain things too soft does nothing, but too hard has her yowling his ears off. A spray of wetness lets him know that he succeeded in calming the annoying stalker down, so Bord decides to get on with his day.

Leaving the still dazed female behind, he waves at the gaggle of highly lethal assassins spying on him. He ignores the fact that every single one of the voyeurs is furiously blushing, and jumps out of the window. He hears the pitter patter of padded feet on smooth stone behind him, and the slight flash of heat hitting his back tells him he hasn’t managed to lose his stalker yet.

Willing himself to be lighter, he soars above the city. Taking In the view for a few moments, he sees a large river delta stretching below him. A collection of densely built islands connected by a weave of bridges, each isle has a distinct style and theme. The royal palace is an island in and of itself, the middlemost piece of land is bordering the sea. His aim is one of the larger central islands, its centre a large paved plaza housing all the best shops and restaurants.

His landing looks like a combination of a furiously jiggling piece of jelly and a slow-motion water balloon falling to the ground. Taking a moment to gird his large loins, and to straighten his shirt, Bord walks into the restaurant. He once again laments that the previously stylish establishment somehow has a totally different vibe than before. Instead of the warm and cosy atmosphere of a welcome home it had before, now it smells of pride and authority. The butlers - now dressed in ornate brocade and lots of gold - still bow and scrape, but Bord smells vain pride emanating from them. Only the cooks, hard working and sweating as ever, still feel the same. Even the bus boy escorting Bord to his elevated table walks with a stick up his ass now.

No longer is he served the moment he arrives. Instead, a large collection of muscular bouncers and mean looking killers stand off to the side, all secretly glaring at him. It’s very obvious that they are all waiting for him to throw a few high-level beasts out of his ring, letting them be cooked. But Bord hasn’t been feeling up to going out hunting lately, so the once massive stock of dead beasts in his ring has run dry.

Bord sits down and waits for food to come. A few minutes later, the chair opposite him bursts into black flames, and a rather peeved beastkin girl appears from the dark fire. Bord ignores the assassin he tried leaving behind and keeps waiting for food.

“Get us some food,” the woman snaps out at the unmoving waiters after another minute of inactivity. The large beastkin standing off to the side all move their hands to their weapons, and the air grows thick.

“There is none for us to prepare, sir. Please, might you have some ingredients at the ready for our cooks?” The head butler’s smile is picture perfect, his lips curved in a geometrically ideal line.

FInding this all to be rather annoying, Bord looks over to the kitchen. The cooks are all looking extremely miserable as they avoid looking at Bord. “Where’s the head chef?”

“He had some disagreements with management and is no longer in our employ. Please rest assured that the rest of our chefs are more than capable of creating food of ever better quality. Provided you can supply us with the stock we lack, of course.”

Bord has stopped listening to the richly dressed fob halfway through his oily speech. Instead, he turns to the small woman sitting opposite him. “Hey, what’s your name?”

Black flames ripple through her short hair as the assassin looks genuinely startled. “I…” she blabs, “I’m Royal Assassin number fifteen.”

“Cool. Fifteen, can you find out where the large guy with the tusks is? He makes the best food.”

“I only serve the Tooth. And you, as his killer-”

“That was a total accident! How could I know that the slimy little guy would die from just defending myself from you guys!”

“-as his killer you are my sole target.”

Bord just sighs and pulls a sceptre from his ring. He is pretty dense, but even he can’t help but learn some common knowledge now and then. “The Tooth holds the sceptre, and the sceptre is held by the Tooth,” he replies in a deadpan, mimicking one of the many common sayings concerning the beastkin rules.

Fifteen freezes, staring wide-eyed at the ornately carved sceptre - a mythical object said to be carved from a dragon’s tooth. “I…”

“You obey the Tooth. I’m the Tooth. Where’s the head chef?”

Fifteen stares at him long and hard. The large amount of rough and armed men have surrounded the sitting duo at this point, and the menace and bloodlust coming from the encircling tough guys is at an eye watering level.

“He’s in the basement.”

Bord smiles. “Please go get him.”

Fifteen looks around, only now seeing the large amount of angry beastkin. She rolls her eyes, and disappears in a black puff of flame.

“What?” Bord asks as a lot of weapons are levelled at him.

The head butler slinks his oily self to the front of the encirclement. “Mister Bord. We are most thankful for your help in the earlier days of this transition. You have been most helpful in these trying times. We could not have weathered the Hour of the Dragon, the Truth Crystal appearing, and the sudden emergence of qi without your generous contributions. However, as we have no longer need of your meagre scraps, we would like to ask you to hand over that spatial ring as you are escorted off the premises.”

Bord frowns. “So, you wanna take over?”

“That is an extremely crude and rough way to put it, but yes. Over half the city is already in our hands, and we would most appreciate it if this transition of power could be handled without violence.” Here the lanky guy’s eyes shift over to the ring adorning Bord’s finger. “But a spatial ring worth a couple of million points is just a prize we cannot leave in unqualified hands.”

Bord sighs deeply. He suddenly understands Teach’s stupidities a little better. You help a few guys out, and all of a sudden, they think their hot shit. “No.”

“I was hoping you’d say that. Men!”

Fifteen appears right on top of the empty table, black flames fading as she holds a beaten up grey skinned person with two long tusks emerging from his face. The few weapons aimed at her melt as soon as they touch the dark fire she wields, the molten metal scalding her furred skin as it burns through her dark wraps. Bord watches the entire show, not even flinching as the most powerful mercenaries of the beastkin capital try to stab him. He then sees someone firing an arrow aimed at the head chef. He then smells Fifteen’s burning fur, and Bord scowls.

Light the colour of dried blood explodes from him. Wherever it touches, even motes of dust are forced towards the ground as gravity pulls them down with intense force. The tips of the weapons bend as the glow overtakes them, suddenly being pulled towards the ground with a hundred times normal gravity. The front of intense heaviness slowly takes over the entire restaurant, forcing everyone to the ground, resulting in broken bones and cut flesh as people are laid flat by sheer force.

Bord stands up, taking extra care to keep the kitchen and Fifteen free from his zone of influence, and walks to the front entrance. Kicking the richly decorated door from its hinges, Bord starts bellowing at the crystal hanging high above. “TEACH! How do I stop this? I don’t wanna kill’m, but I also don’t wanna let them do this stupid shit!”

Staring at the crystal, Bord feels the connection with Database appear. Putting a normal piece of jade to his forehead feels like he has a lake of memories outside his own brain. Staring at the crystal floating above the city feels like a slow trickle of memories instead, and the information that comes through makes him nod. If the bastards inside the restaurant thought it was okay to try to bully and rob him, who had helped them become prominent, Bord doesn’t want to think about how they treat the normal folk. That’s Bord’s official reasoning. He’s really pissed off that the man that has cooked him so many delicious meals got beaten up, but he has enough self-awareness not to think that too loudly.

Holding out his hand, small fragments break off the crystal high above and drop into his palm. Walking into the restaurant, he tosses a fragment into the gut or heart of all the people still pinned down by his gravity field. The butler tries to speak, surely to whine and slime his way out of this, but Bord casually flicks a crystal fragment onto the back of his head. He also sends one flying towards the back office, where a certain beaked and scheming beastkin female jolts at the sudden intrusion of the fragment. The small slivers sink into their skins and move towards the locations of their cores, immediately sucking all Bord’s victims dry of power. Dropping the gravity field, Bord inspects his work. He finds all the mercenaries and restaurant personnel quickly growing weaker as their gut-, heart-, and braincores are sucked dry.

“Come, you can cook at the palace,” Bord states as he lifts the battered head chef form the table, putting him down gently “I’m going to hunt.”

Bord then leaves. The most powerful cultivators and mercenaries in the city all slowly lose their cultivation bases, sucked dry through the small crystals. All the chefs and kitchen aids scurry off and hastily make their way over to the highest built island in the beastkin capital, the castle.

Fifteen spends a few minutes cleaning herself after discovering she peed a little in sheer terror. Never would she have thought the fat kit to have such power, the pure ripples of aura emanating from him terrifying to the extreme. She then hesitates for a bit, obviously unable to decide between telling all her sisters of the sceptre’s location or following Bord. The fact that its held by the very person they are all oathbound to kill puts a rather complex twist on the good news, and makes her decide to postpone sharing her findings. Bord has nearly left the city by the time she regains her wits. She sniffs the air a few times before speeding off after him, black flames trailing in her wake.

In the meantime, Bord is rushing towards the mountains. The planes around the delta are all relatively safe, not a single dangerous animal even daring to come near anymore. The mountains still hold a large variety of wildlife, so Bord leisurely bounces towards them as he skips across the grasslands. His piggy eyes spot his target after reaching the foothills, a large collection of fat birds just waiting to be eaten. The fact that the entire flock has a wind affinity has allowed them to stay out of his clutches so far.

No longer, he swears to himself while licking his lips. His mood was already pretty bad. Fifteen barely managed to make him feel anything, despite how enthusiastically she goes at it each morning. Her weak noodle arms and slender hands don’t have the strength to make him feel that much. Added to that, his favourite restaurant somehow transformed into some form of weird mafia club and tried to rob him. And his favourite chef got beat up.

Channelling all that frustration into speeding towards the birds nesting on the cliffs high above, he tries to move as silently as possible while approaching them. Of all the skills he has, stealth is not one, and the birds notice him well in advance. They take flight as he reaches halfway up the mountain, and Bord can feel their mana affinity qi speeding them upwards. Out of breath, he powers on, hoping for the animals to foolishly let themselves come into range of his gravity manipulations.

He looks on in a rather confused manner as a large flock of them starts diving, speeding towards the ground behind him. Bord stops, torn between looking if they have eggs in their nests or trying to catch the birds dive bombing the lower foothills.

Then Bord sees a particularly large one snatch at a shadow, tearing the silently flailing form of Fifteen free. Looking on with open mouth, he sees the cute beastkin girl be carried off, her shadow flames unable to travel into the galeforce coming from the large bird’s wings. She finally starts screaming when the bird lets go, only to catch her mid-swoop, sharp talons now piercing into her torso instead of her legs. He can’t be sure, but his extremely sensitive ears catch fragments of shouts that sound like his name.

Bord suddenly thinks that he has been thinking too much. He’s been secretly worried about entering the Foundation realm, as he and Angeta are the only ones that haven’t crossed that threshold yet. He’s been thinking too much about how to handle the Royal assassins, as their attacks get more and more powerfully by the day. He’s been pondering why the dragon - Keeneff, if he recalls correctly - suddenly left. He’s been worrying about the position of power the restaurant he frequents has been getting, and whether or not waiters and busboys are the correct persons to wield such power.

Bord realises that he doesn’t want to think that much. He just wants things, and he doesn’t want certain other things.

For a start, Bord wants Fifteen to be right next to him again. Not really for any particular reason, though. No, he just feels like that would be nice at the moment. Her screaming up there, high in the air, is not something he wants. Then, all of those birds should also come down. What comes after that, and how to handle the new power vacuum in the beastkin capital? Who cares, that will come later, and will probably sort itself out.

The air grows thick as Bord gathers his power. What he wants to have, he shall have. What he doesn’t want, shall not be near him.

The smaller birds are the first victims. Like rocks, they fall from the sky the moment their pitiable qi reserves are overcome by Bord’s sheer stupid, pigheaded force of will. The large one squawks angrily as its kin turn into red paste one by one, far below. Then Bord’s anger reached it too, and its fall is as inevitable as the sunrise and the rotating of the planet.

Fifteen lands softly and gently, the air around her dense while she feels as light as a feather. Gritting her teeth, she uses small black flames to burn the deep talon wounds close, but then Bord is there and he is stuffing a piece of powerful sugar in her mouth. Her eyes grow wide at the taste of the qi infused candy, and she looks on with wide eyes as Bord calls every single bird towards himself. Chewing slowly, she follows him as he gathers the broken carcasses, their feathers exploding from the birds as Bord plays around with his deep red foundational aura.

Then Bord sees the red smears and mourns for the loss of the meat. He then once again thinks he overthinks and holding out his hand, he wills only the tasty meat to come to him. The shining mass of pink that results from his expression of Will doesn’t look appetising, but he is sure it can be cooked into something delicious. He then looks at his furry companion and recalls an old goal he has lost sight of. “I’m going to beat up that bunny.”

“You’re going after the Royal Guards next? Those long-eared trollops never leave their barracks unless they’re ordered to. They’re probably still there.”

Bord ignores the assassins with dual affinities as he starts jogging back to the beastkin capital. He aims to have a large meal and a nice nap before paying Teach’s pet a visit, after all.

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