Phoenix Rising – Chapter 400

Chapter 400

The Reason

Nara Simhara, the War Titan boasting with immense power, entered the tower on the right side of his friend, Dominic. When the Nine Pillars of Power were lining up to enter their respective tower, he immediately wanted to stand next to one the Dragon Titan was going to use. He was instantly worried when he saw Lagron stand next to Lakshman but became relieved when his friend chose to stand next to him to separate the two.

“I don’t need you two starting a fight right now of all times,” was what Dominic seemed to have said to him while eying him with a weary look on his face.

This made Nara chuckled with laughter and clap his friend on the back before he replied, “Alright! Good luck in there!”

With those parting words, he entered into the tower at almost the exact time as everyone else. As soon as he entered, the exit magically closed behind and while he turned around, expecting to see an handle, he was instead faced with a wall.

“Let’s see…”

Nara was very unhappy with the way things were proceeding for them; each of them having to enter their own towers to face whatever enemy that awaited them inside. It was suspicious and with Nara not liking to go with the flow of things prepared for them by their enemy, he pulled back his fist as he readied to punch the wall.

Gathering an immense amount of energy into his fist, he unleashed it forward while shouting, “Tectonic Smash!”

The wind rushed forward from the force unleashed by his fist and the moment it made contact against the wall, a wild wind was released along with shock waves that were sent in all directions. The floor shook violently and he got buffeted by the strong blowing wing that was against him as he expected the wall to shatter. Instead, as the raised dust decreased, the wall was still intact. He did notice a small scratch mark where his fist had made impact against.

Noticing that, he sighed and muttered, “What a wall…! It’s still standing after taking such an attack.”

“Yes. I even wonder what you were thinking when you attacked the wall,” said a voice from behind, making him widen his eyes in shock and whirl around.

There stood a man, who was about as tall as him at about 180 centimetres, and he was smiling serenely at him. Nara immediately narrowed his eyes in shock and seriousness as he wondered how that man had been able to hide his energy signal from him. Up until the point of attacking the wall, Nara had been on high alert and still somehow managed to miss that man.

Seeing him become wary of him, the man’s smile widened and said, “Oh my? Did I catch you by surprise?” Nara opened his mouth to speak, but he was forestalled when the man just continued speaking as if he did not expect any reply as he said, “Of course. I hid my energy signal or power level from you.  Whichever word that makes you understand better, not that they matter since they basically mean the same thing.”

At his own words, he chortled with laughter while Nara was thrown off the loop because he was confused. It was not the words that the man had said that confused him, it was the fact that he could not sense any energy signal from him. The confused escalated as he realised he was unable to grasp the level of strength his enemy had. This made him go on guard immediately as the man continued speaking in a lofty voice.

“It seems like we’ll be in this place for a while, so why don’t we get to know each other?” With a smile on his face, he said in a clear voice, “My name’s Kress. I think it’s suitable to call me the Testament of Greed?”

The title sparked a slight curiosity inside Nara, who raised an eyebrow and muttered, “Greed…”

“What’s your name? Lionheart? Simhagun? Tell me, beast-man.”

Nara hesitated for a moment longer before saying in a firm powerful voice, “Nara. Nara Simhara.”

The moment he let his name known to his enemy, the man known as Kress made a wondrous expression on his face as if he was enthralled by the sounding of his name. Sure enough, the next words he spoke confirmed that as he began speaking that contained a different tone from before.

“Ah~… Wonderful~… So… wonderful~… Such an intense, aggressive and strong name you got! I’m jealous! No! Correction! I’m eager to have a name like yours! Give it to me!” The next moment, he began to say names at random that came to his brain on the spur of the moment.

“Let’s see. Mighty Kress, Greedy Kress, or Strong Hearted Fearsome Greedy Kress the Beast Slayer?”

Nara, staring at the man with a look of disbelief on his face, thought quietly, “Is this guy for real and those names suck!”

At that moment, Kress abruptly came back to reality and faced the War Titan before asking, “Might I get some help from you? After all, your name itself sounds epic! Maybe, you could help give me a better name?”

For a moment, Nara blinked in surprise before he closed his eyes and sighed as he said, “Stop fooling around.”

Those words made the Testament of Greed chuckle as a dark expression as he stared at Nara and asked, “In fact, help me by giving me your powers.”

The next move he made was extend both of his hands out and aim them at Nara before he said “Acception!”

In an instant, Nara felt something strange occurring within him and all around him. The wind started to blow smoothly around him and it gradually increased in speed, causing the smoothness to roughen. He could not understand what the man was doing to him for a moment before coming to the realisation that his energy as being depleted.

“What the?!” he exclaimed, staring at the man in shock as Kress eyed him with Greedy look on his face.

“That’s it…! Come to me…! Come to daddy…!” the Testament of Greed said in a creepy voice that could have caused anyone listening a bone chilling sensation.

“He’s absorbing my energy, but… how?! How’s he doing it?!” Nara exclaimed in his mind, totally confused and overwhelmed by the sudden predicament he was faced with.

He brought both his hands up and immediately began trying to maintain control over his energy. It worked for a moment before the energy slowly slipped from his grasp like wind that could never be really contained. This entire situation bewildered him to the point that he began panicking, but it was that exact mentality that brought him to a decision.

Glaring at his enemy, he made a fearsome face with the bestial fast of his and roared, “You want my powers?! Fine! Take them! RRRRROOOOOOAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!”

Roaring while surging with intense power, he kicked off the floor and rocketed towards Kress, who widened his eyes in surprise. He did not expect his opponent would be so fast because it literally felt like Nara moved from his original location to where the Testament of Greed was in less than a second.

“Hammer Smash!” Nara roared as he pulled back his fist and unleashed it at Kress.

Widening his eyes further, Kress managed to move out of the way just in time to allow the attack to pass through where his head was a moment earlier. The released force from the unleashed punch sent a shock wave to the front that smashed heavily against the wall that caused the room to shake slightly. The attack did not stop there because Nara moved his body towards the direction his enemy had taken to evade his attack.

For Kress, who had narrowly evaded the punch, could not evade this one as it had come almost as soon as the first attack missed. The punch struck him firmly in the chest, which blasted him to the other side of the room where Kress smashed forcefully against the wall and let out a groan while opening his mouth wide open.

“You think you’re smart to try and steal my energy right from under my nose?! Think again, you freak!” the War Titan yelled, standing at guard while glaring down at his enemy, who was coughing due to the wind knocked out of him.

Taking a moment to recover from being winded, Kress got back to his feet and smiled confidently at his enemy without a shred of nervousness or fear in his eyes. Instead, his behaviour was full of bravado as he started speaking words that thoroughly shocked Nara.

“Seriously! Why are you so serious?!” he exclaimed in annoyance with an arrogant smile on his face, which caused Nara to be taken aback in alarm. “Come on! I wasn’t stealing your powers; I was just accepting what rightfully is mine.”

Somehow, the phrasing of those words left a dark impression on Nara, making him ask, “Yours? What do you mean? This is my power, my energy and my will! Not yours!”

To that, the Testament of Greed laughed darkly and said with a crazy look on his face.

“That’s where you’re wrong~! See! Everything in this world will eventually belong to me. No. Correction. Everything in this world already belongs to me! From your energy, your strength, your speed, your skill and even your name! All. Belong. To. Me! Kress, the Hunter of Life!”

When he said those words, a mysterious expression appeared on his face that Nara found as very unpleasant. It was as if the man was in his own world and dictating his rules onto reality to forcibly take what he beliefs belong to him. Such a mindset suddenly reminded of the strange purple monster that he had come across that managed to use copied skills and techniques.

“Yes…! I want to be as fast as you, I want to be as strong as you and I want to punch as hard as you! Yes! I want it all!”

His suddenly screamed the last words while clenching his fists at the same time. In an instant, he surged with so much power that it caused Nara to widen his eyes in shocked disbelief because it was truly unbelievable. One second, there was no sense of existence as if Kress was a ghost and the next, there was an immense power coming from him. The thing that shocked him more was the fact that the power felt very much like his.

“Yes! All belong to me, and I will obtain them all!” he roared, surging with power while radiating deep violet mixed with red aura that surrounded him.

Nara stood there and disliked to kill because he was always reminded of his clansmen who murdered his parents as sacrificial pawns to appease them for his rampage during his childhood. After being with Dominic, he further strengthened his resolve to not kill and choose to beat up his enemies before sparing them in a show of mercy. Here, however, he realised it was useless because this man was a maniac bent on doing whatever he pleased without care.

At that moment, with a decision made, Nara surged with power while radiating red aura that surrounded him. Taking a fighting stance, he glared fiercely at his enemy and said, “Fine, but I promise that only death awaits at the end!”

Kress cackled with laughter and also took a fighting stance that was almost an exact copy of Nara. The War Titan did not let this affect him, nor the fact that his enemy somehow was able to grasp his fighting stance without even seeing it once. Instead, he focused on what he must do next in order to be victorious in this battle to the death.

For a few seconds, the two warriors surged with power while looking towards one another with nothing else happening. They were waiting for something to happen, a trigger to set off that would cause them to begin their clash. The form of the trigger happened to be Kress himself as the Testament of Greed, unwilling to wait patiently, launched himself at Nara with a truly twisted expression on his face.

“You’re mine!” Kress bellowed with a maddening look on his face.

Nara made a fearsome expression on his face and roared like a beast, “Time to die!”

Kicking off the ground, he rocketed towards his enemy at super speed, where they met within seconds. With their next move, the two warriors pulled back their strong arm back and unleashed it at one another. As the two clenched fists struck against one another, a blinding flash of light occurred from the two clashing forces going out of control, causing everything in sight to be blinded as strong blowing winds and shock waves rocked the room as if it was in the middle of a huge storm.

***

“Mmm? That’s interesting. Keyzer is actually pushing back the Dragon Emperor!”

“He’s the Dragon Titan now, and his name is—!”

“I don’t care about his name since he’s going to die soon at the hands of the Testament of Madness!” the Calamity Titan said boastingly with a cheerful smile on his face.

Lakshman, who remained despite seeing Lagron dodging around and evading the attack of the hulking figure of the Testament of Madness, said in a calm voice, “It’s because he’s surprised.”

The Calamity Titan snorted and switched the screen to show the Testament of Hatred, Croto, was screaming before a white wave of light was unleashed from him. Everything got covered in that light and Dominic momentarily got surrounded by a golden light before he was also consumed by it before the screen nothing but white.

“Well, well! Looks like that’s the end of that! The Sword Titan’s obviously down! It’s as expected off a human.”

This time, it was Lakshman’s turn to smile confidently as he recognised the spell Dominic activated by seeing the golden light and said, “Don’t worry. He’s the strongest human alive that’s comparable to the strongest humans in the ancient times.”

As the Calamity Titan snorted, the Phoenix Titan looked keenly at him and asked in a shrewd voice, “I do wonder why this Croto person was crying like a baby despite the wound not being that deep or serious. I mean, I believe I would’ve just let it go as a scratch and continued my battle if it were me.”

His words immediately made the Calamity Titan stiff while seated on his chain and after a moment’s pause, the Calamity Titan replied curtly, “He’s… got issues…”

“Clearly,” replied Lakshman, nodding his head wisely in agreement, deciding he had achieved his retaliation for Lagron from just now.

Feeling a little annoyed, the Calamity Titan switched the view and showed a battle where the two warriors were fighting each other fiercely. It was an incredible scene where the War Titan continuously beat up the Testament of Greed, but the man kept getting back up despite the blood oozing from his nose and wounds. Firing energy blasts against each other, it soon became evident that Krees was matching the War Titan in speed, power and skill.

“Acception…” Lakshman whispered, his eyes narrowing in seriousness as he recognised the technique. “Stupid…”

“Stupid, is it? I believe we both know that it’s strategy to win the battle by any means,” said the Calamity Titan, smiling as he turned to stare coolly at his enemy’s serious look on his face. “I think we both know who’ll win this battle.”

Lakshman continued to look at the display showing Nara pushing more power out as he tried hard to kill him and said, “Maybe… or maybe not. I don’t know the inner depths to the power that single Simhara Beast Clan individual holds. He’s a War Titan after all, so keep your hopes up.”

The Calamity Titan eyed him coldly momentarily before switching the display to another room that showed Sevedant using darkness, lightning and fire magic spells at an opponent who seemed to be repelling all of them. As it turned out, that opponent was none other than the Testament of Loneliness, Ezhno, whose ability allowed its caster to defend themselves up to a certain amount of time against all physical attacks.

The next display to be shown was a fierce battle between the Testament of Fear, Angst, and the Demon Titan, Ash. The two seemed to have created large energy forms that towered over them and did battle for them. It was a fierce battle between the clash of forces caused the room the shake violently from each explosion of magic spell fired at each other.

The one after that showed a battle taking place between the Testament of Jealousy, Cana, and the one facing her was the Storm Titan, Tempest. The woman wielded a whip like object that extended its length and seemed to want to crush its opponent by wrapping its victim. Tempest, on the other hand, was just using an energy form of a lightning blade. For the moment, it was Tempest being tentative in hurting the woman as he continued to dodge the attacks while trying to reason with her.

The same was happening to Azar, who was facing a woman using her staff to protect star like attacks at him. Despite the attacks being fearsome and dangerous, both Elemental Spirits were doing their best to not be hostile or hurt the women they were fighting against.

“Pathetic! They’re obviously Elemental Spirits and yet, they try to reason with a being of evil!” Saying so, he turned towards Lakshman asked, “Are the men of the Nine Pillars of Power weak against women enemies?”

The Phoenix Titan chuckled a little and replied, “Kind of, yes. Well, not Lagron. I think you know him as well as me.”

“Hmph!”

Turning back to face the display, he waved his hand once more to change the display to show the battle between the Magic Titan, Amaranda, and the Testament of Humiliation, Lustrous. To his great dislike, this battle also seemed to be almost evenly matched as Lustrous attempted to use his magic to lay his hands on Amaranda while she fended him off skilfully using her magic despite being unable to see.

“Damn…!” the Calamity Titan muttered, which was audible enough for Lakshman to hear, which made him frown.

“Looks like things aren’t going as he thought it might go,” said the voice of Silvera in his mind as she sounded thoroughly pleased.

“Of course. All of them trained these two years continuously rigorously knowing this day would come,” said Tetra’s voice in his mind, which was full of pleasure.

“Lucky?” Silvera asked, realising her husband’s mind was completely elsewhere.

Lakshman did not listen as he was fixedly look at the man whom he had killed in the ancient times and been fighting ever since without knowing about it. That man was his younger brother in his first incarnation as the Phoenix Titan, Asura. After his parents were killed, Asura solely raised his brother while developing his clan’s strength to eventually take on the world for the sole purpose of bringing peace where his brother could live without fighting.

The Phoenix Titan was indeed worried about his allies, but at that moment, all he cared about the brother who seemed to hate him so much. Watching him staring expectantly up at the display of the different battles brought him back the memories of during the time when their clan held sparing matches for training purposes to evaluate the level of the clansmen.

During one such event, Lakshman and Chandra ended up being the leaders of the other team. As such, they became enemies just for training and swore to defeat each other. On that day, Asura secretly made it so that his brother ended up having the strongest in his team and as such, they easily won against his team. He could not forget the look of utter delight on his face upon his victory, which made Asura happy as well as he believed his parents would’ve have approved his actions to keep his brother happy.

The truth was, Chandra did not possess the innate talent or gift for the same kind of power as Asura. So, to not upset him, Asura fought the gods, had them gift the entire Phoenix Clan with powers rivalling the others due to his courage, bravery and drive before finally giving Chandra the power boost he sorely needed.

Thinking about it right then made Lakshman smile sadly as he missed the time he, his brother and his wives spent time together happily in the Phoenix Kingdom. Both his wives, Tetra and Silvera, whose minds were interlinked with his as being Contracted Spirits, read his mind and also felt sad that such truly glorious days were behind them and now they face each other as enemies.

“Lucky…” said Tetra slowly in his mind, her voice filled with sorrow as she sympathised with her husband.

Silvera remained silent for a moment before suddenly transforming into her human form that surprised both her husband and Tetra.

“Silva?” Lakshman asked, finally accustomed to using her nickname after the two-years of separation due to his training.  As she did not turn to face him, he asked her, “Silva, what’re you doing?”

At the same time, the Calamity Titan sensed that her presence and turned to see Silvera standing beside where her husband sat just as Tetra also took her human form. His eyes immediately narrowed laying his eyes on them and did not even show the slightest sign of being surprised at their sudden presence because he could sense them being in their weapon forms.

“Chandra,” began Silvera bravely, which was rewarded with him narrowing his eyes sharply in anger, but he did not retort as she said, “Why do you hate my husband so much? I don’t understand. None of us understand in fact.”

For a moment, the room remained silent as they all stared at one another before he finally replied with, “You… don’t know, do you? Well, it’s obvious since that failure of a living being would ever tell you anything he does.”

“You’re wrong, Chandra!” Tetra said, freely calling him by his name as she realised he only disliked Lakshman using that name. “Lucky, uh…” she paused, realising that the younger brother would not know the current name of her husband, so she reverted to referring to him by his old name, continued by saying, “I mean, Asura’s always been informing us about the goings on with the Phoenix Kingdom and the ambition to unite the world.”

“Unite the world!” the Calamity Titan spat, wearing a look that clearly showed how disgusted he was by those words. “Yes! Unite the world! World domination! These are the ambitions that changed everything between us and clearly made him do something that I’ll never forgive him for!”

With that, he glared fiercely at Lakshman with a menacing look that might have caused anyone else faint at heart. Lakshman, however, looked back with a steady look before he opened his mouth to speak in his defence.

“Chandra, I—.”

“SHUT YOU MOUTH!!!”

The moment Lakshman called him out by his name, the Calamity Titan jumped to his feet and let out a deafening yell that startled both women in the room. Lakshman looked up at him with a hurt look on his face as he saw his reincarnated younger brother pointed a finger dangerously at him with a fearsome look on his face.

“Don’t… you… ever… call me… by that name…! You’ve lost… the privilege to call me that! In fact, you two also fall into that category because you tried to ambush me and kill me!”

While he continued to glare at his reincarnated older brother, Silvera asked imploringly, “No, Chandra! We never did such a thing!”

Tetra, who became serious at such an accusation, said in a firm voice, “Stop that, Chandra. We did no such thing against you. As I recall, we called you out behind the back of our husband to ask you what happened and why you’re fighting your brother using demonic powers.”

“Yes! I remember it clearly as if it was only yesterday!” the Calamity Titan stated, eyeing her with a disgruntled look on his face. “I came like promised and so did the nine of you without my brother’s knowledge. Everything was fine until…” as he spoke, his eyes sharpened as he continued to say, “you attacked me! Ambushed me with the intent to kill me!”

“No, Chandra! We did no such thing!” Tetra replied, shocked at how different the event was remembered.

“Lies! All of you! Lies! Saying what you want, trying to act friendly and nice upfront, but are fiendish and calculative behind our backs! Yes! I finally saw the truth that day when you ambushed me and attempted to take my life! That’s why… With no choice left… I killed you!”

A heavy atmosphere fell on them when he said those words and silence flowed for several seconds before he spoke again in an aggravated voice, saying, “And then I got killed by him and from there the reincarnation cycle began with each time we killed each other despite him seemingly forgetting all about me!”

A look of despair fell over Lakshman’s face as he recalled the heart tearing moment when he blasted a hole in the body of his brother. As he was about to die, he had given in to his anger by the deaths of his wives, causing him to wipe his younger brother out with a destruction wave. After that, having lost the only family left in that world, he fell to his knees and cried out loud to his heart’s content with the only witness being Lagron himself as the sky became murky black and rain showered down on them.

“You killed my wives… and I got swallowed up by my anger…” he said slowly, not making eye contact with anyone.

Those words sparked a mirthless hatred to surge from within the Calamity Titan as he glowered down at his reincarnated older brother and said spitefully, “Oh! I see how it is! You say it’s okay to do what you did because you got angry at me killing your wives who tried to ambush you! Then, tell me, is it fair that I killed your wives despite the fact that I trusted them even after what you did to me?!”

“What I did to you…?” Lakshman asked, finally looking up to look at him with a face full of puzzlement.

“Chandra… Asura raised you,” said Tetra, trying to speak softly to reach out to him, which made the Calamity Titan flinch. “After your parents died, he raised you all by himself and also maintained strong control over your clan. He did many great things like beseeching the gods to bestow powers upon all of you, especially you with almost the same powers as he had himself.”

“Argh!” the Calamity Titan said in frustration, pacing around his chair for a moment before turning back to face them with a dissatisfied look on his face. “Look! I know what you’re trying to get at. Yes. He did raise me, and while I certainly felt jealousy of him, I truly respected him and that’s why I left the kingdom with my wife to life a separate life so that we don’t end up on a power struggle.”

“Chandra—!” Lakshman began.

In that instance, the Calamity Titan surged with wild power as his rage almost reached its limit as he aimed a hand at them and bellowed, “IF YOU SAY THAT NAME ONE MORE TIME, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’LL DO NEXT!”

Silvera and Tetra were alarmed by the sudden surge of wild power that caused wild winds to pick and blow everywhere as well as shockwaves that buffeted them. Lakshman, on the other hand, solidified his mind and spoke again in a questioning voice.

“Calamity Titan… Please tell me… What did I do for you to be so angry at me?”

The Calamity Titan gritted his teeth in anger as he tried hard to control his anger towards him. Lakshman knew that his reincarnated younger brother could attack them at any second due to the amount of hatred he seemed to possess for him. Even so, he waited patiently for him to eventually calm down, but he continued to glare at him.

“You… As I thought, you don’t remember or perhaps, conveniently forgot since it suited your interests.” As Lakshman blinked with an astonished look on his face, the Calamity Titan spoke again, and his voice shaking a little as he said, “You… did something… unforgivable… Something that I could never… could never… forgive you for….! The reason I joined the demons… The main reason I killed your wives… is because… you… you…!”

As the suspense was reaching its highest point, he dropped a bomb on them by pointing his hand at Lakshman and exclaiming, “You murdered my wife!”

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