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In the desolate Gobi Desert, there lay infinite yellow sand and little hills. The weathered, strangely shaped rocks formed a bleak and tragic world.
Behind a rock on a small slope, a middle-aged man and a boy leaned against the rock side-by-side in the shade.
The man was holding a bottle of Remy Martin XO which was half finished. His slovenly face was unshaven while his eyes were half closed. The flush on his face as a result of consuming alcohol made him look like he would faint at any moment, especially when he behaved in a very lazy manner.
"Uncle, what technique did you teach me? Why is it so magical?" the boy asked as he fidgeted with two pebbles. At such a boring place, all he could do to have fun was using small things like this to help his boredom.
The middle-aged man had a hiccup. Using his hoarse voice, he asked, "What is it? How is it magical?"
"After I finished practising this morning, I got stabbed on my leg by someone this morning. However, after cultivating the technique Uncle taught me, my wound has almost fully recovered," the boy said contentedly.
The man laughed as he panted. "You're still far from the level you're heading to. Focus on your training…"
"Uncle, what's this technique named?" the boy asked out of curiosity.
"The name… I don't remember… It's not important, only you and I know how to use it. Call it whatever you want…" the man replied casually.
The boy seemed to have more questions. He continued asking, "Uncle, what will happen if I reach the ninth level that you mentioned? Uncle, what level are you in now?"
The middle-aged man shut his eyes. He looked like he was rather tired. Blurrily, he said, "I don't know as well… I've only managed to reach level seven—The Passing. I have yet to get an insight on level eight 'Life and Death', let alone the last one, level nine 'Rebirth'..."
The boy appeared disappointed. "Uncle, you're only at level seven at such an old age. Then don't I have to wait until I become an old man if I want to get to level nine?"
"Nonsense… This has nothing to do with age. You'll comprehend it if you do. If you don't, it doesn't help even when you grow older…"
"Then how may I comprehend it?" the boy asked.
The man stopped talking. He fell asleep as he snored away.
The boy sighed helplessly before turning his head to face the deserted Gobi Desert. Looking absent-minded, he revealed an expression which didn't match his age at all…
It was unknown when the dismal raindrops started falling from the overcast sky.
In the courtyard, Noriko Okawa looked at Yang Chen whose breath was cut off. Slowly, he withdrew the Mystical Masamura.
Lacking support, Yang Chen's body softly slid off the door frame before lying on the ground while his blood dyed the bricks red.
Having absorbed blood, the dragon carving on the demon's blade turned scarlet as it displayed ferocity. Faintly, it looked like it wanted to get away from the sheath.
A surging killing aura dispersed from the blade, causing the few people around to frown slightly.
"Such a good blade. The legendary cursed blade of bloodlust really exists," the cardinal Bruno said before a weird look appeared in his eyes. "I wonder how this blade would compare to the devil's weapon of heresy—Massacre Blade."
Noriko Okawa didn't answer him. He kept the blade and silently gazed upon Yang Chen who wasn't moving anymore. As the corners of his lips revealed an evil smile, he said, "Even real gods can be slaughtered, let alone a human being who acquired god status through 'god killing'. How ignorant…"
"You can't put it that way. We only managed to defeat him using the radioactive drug we developed wasn't present, paired with Miss Ninetails' superb acting skills and magical mind-reading ability… Oh, of course, we required Leader Okawa's understanding towards god status as well. We had to carefully work together to beat him, so it's actually rather appropriate that he's called a god." Judy's words sounded like a compliment, but her face didn't hold the slightest respect, but contempt instead.
"No matter what, starting from today, Pluto won't appear for the next hundred years. Regarding where he'll be reincarnated to and when he'll awaken again are none of our business. We only have to investigate the specific coordinates of God's Stone now. I definitely won't be difficult to obtain it without his guard," Noriko Okawa said, elated. "Even if he comes to take revenge on us at that time, it's not impossible for us to become gods with God's Stone. If we can't become one, we won't be alive at that time anymore, which means he won't have a place to vent his anger on.
"Leader Okawa's words sound very nice, but who'll be in charge to look for God's Stone, and who will it belong to after it's found?" Judy asked with a smile.
Noriko Okawa said disdainfully, "What is it? Are you people from Blue Storm planning to hold it yourselves? Ignoring the matter of God's Stone, as long as I'm not willing to let you guys leave today, you won't have any chance to live as well."
As soon as he finished speaking, Noriko Okawa's martial arts robe wavered without the help of the wind, while the demon's blade in his hand started vibrating, faintly echoing the sharp sound of metals which sounded like the yells of ghosts and roars of wolves.
The oncoming horrifying killing aura made Judy and the other two members of Blue Storm and the three people from the Vatican to take a few steps back in caution before looking at Noriko Okawa, terrified.
Hannya and Tanuki had witnessed their leader's power before, that belonged to the peak of chinnin, which was said to be one step away from the legendary rank—Tennin, a level beyond the imagination of ordinary people.
Having reached the level of jinnin, the two already had overwhelming power levels. However, the more they trained, the more they felt the huge gap between jinnin and chinnin which was incredibly difficult to conquer.
Ninetails and the short-haired lady from Takamagahara had long retreated to a corner. They looked at the scene like watching a movie as they weren't afraid of Noriko Okawa's killing aura at all.
"Leader, the two of us will be enough to kill them," Hannya said as she bowed.
Noriko Okawa snorted in contempt. "Killing these rubbish won't make any difference. Now that Pluto has died, you two shall head to China again in search of God's Stone after a few days. You have to find it this time."
Noriko Okawa said it in front of Blue Storm, the Vatican and Takamagahara. Evidently, he was showing his domineering attitude. If someone dared to stop him, he wouldn't mind slashing them apart with his demon's blade.
Being looked down upon, Judy and the others got infuriated but didn't dare to voice out. They didn't expect the chinin-level Noriko Okawa to hold such horrifying power. Yamata Sect may not have the most elites, but they were superior in terms of quantity, in addition to the various ninjutsu. They certainly couldn't be easily dealt with.
Now that the biggest obstacle to obtaining God's Stone had died, it became an item of no owner.
Victory would belong to the side with the hardest fists.
With their headquarters in Japan, Yamata Sect was really close to China, earning them a huge advantage, not to mention their huge number of members in addition to Noriko Okawa's depthless ability. All of these couldn't be stopped by these power-users. Evidently, Yamata Sect had the biggest chance of obtaining God's Stone.
To make the situation worse, Noriko Okawa understood the god status and God's Stone the most. After all, when Zero conducted the experiment on God's Stone, he was already a core member in Zero. He knew how God's Stone operated more than anyone else.
However, relative to these worries, Judy and the others were more concerned with their lives. If Noriko Okawa really wanted to kill all of them, it wouldn't be easy for them to escape.
"Leader Okawa, we only came here to help you slay Pluto, not to snatch God's Stone from you. We only fight heresy at the Vatican. Since Pluto's body is destroyed, we shall take our leave now," Bruno said. He saw that the situation turned bad, and decided to escape before thinking about anything else.
However, before he could leave, two ghost-like silhouettes blocked the exit.
Tanuki and Hannya sealed the path from both sides as they held a sharp sword in their hands, appearing ready to strike any time.
"Why do you two have to force us?" Bruno frowned as his nerves tightened, while the two knights beside him got ready to pull their weapons out.
Noriko Okawa snorted in disdain. "Hannya, Tanuki, let them leave."
"Yes!" The two instantly stepped aside.
"Leader Okawa is indeed rational." Bruno's back stopped sweating.
"Rational? It's just that I don't care about the lives of some ants," Noriko Okawa said scornfully. "After I obtain God's Stone and become god, deceitful organizations in the name of God like yours can't even be considered as ants."
"You…" Bruno wanted to rebuke, but immediately realized he was still standing near the cave of a tiger. He knew that it was impossible for him to block the overwhelming killing aura together with the two knights beside.
He required the help of the two strongest teams of crusaders from the Vatican to be able to at least survive. He wasn't confident on defeating Noriko Okawa even using the secret skills of the Vatican.
As he thought, Bruno angrily flung his sleeves before turning around and leaving.
Judy and the other two members of Blue Storm knew that it was dangerous to stay as well. Seeing the 'strategic retreat' of the Vatican, they wanted to quickly leave as well. At least, they could avoid being insulted by Noriko Okawa.
The two groups of people had the same thought, to please the madman Noriko Okawa for now, and gather more forces to go against him. They even managed to plot Pluto's death, why would it be hard to kill him?!
However, at this moment, an eerie and hair-raising sound resounded from behind…
"I haven't said… you guys could leave…"
The six people from the Vatican and Blue Storm violently turned around as their faces went pale instantly!
Even Noriko Okawa got astonished. He took a few steps back and stared at the exit without hesitation.
The two demonic ladies from Takamagahara had their mouths half-opened as well, as if they witnessed something terrifying.
Yang Chen who originally stopped breathing and lay on the ground had somehow recovered his breath. His body quivered like a tree branch trying to resist a heavy load. He stumbled as he pulled himself up from the ground, but soon managed to stand up!