"Prizes?" Zax eyes glittered in anticipation to hear what Gid Chu has to say. How much did he need now a treasure that could quickly enhance his cultivation only the Gods, if they are bored enough to spy on, know.
"Calm down, Zax, while they are beyond anything offered in past Elite Tryouts, do not forget that you go there on the Pretense of just another contender. Your actual purpose there is to bring me what I need from the Grand Abode. If the opportunity arises for you to afterwards obtain either of the prizes, then I'll recommend you do the best to get it".
"Yes". Zax complied. Haggling over what he wanted and what Gid Chu wanted would have brought him nowhere.
"Well, there are two prizes this time that roused even experts of the other four powers". Gid Chu was not convinced by Zax's compliance, yet proceeded to elaborate for he knew the latter will otherwise investigate the matter himself. He wanted his head in the task. "Second place's prize, they called it 'Solar Basil Leaf'. Luminous Church claims that when eating, as is, its solar properties will reform the body into fiery physique, which will make understanding the fiery attribute tens of time easier".
'Fiery physique?' Zax was disheartened. What use it was for him?
"I suspected you will not be interested". Gid Chu smiled.
"Enriching the understanding of an attribute can only help you to reach the fourth or fifth Martial Mortal level. While it's an amazing accomplishment, it is not the crucial component in paving the road to Immortality. The bottlenecks of insight are". What any Martial Mortal needed most after reaching the peak was a stroke of luck by Nature's benevolence.
"The first place's prize…" Gid Chu continued as he, too, was not interested in the Solar Basil Leaf and though it could be of great help to those close to him, there were more important matters to attend. "To be frank, learning on the existence of thing took me by surprise, as well… 'Diluted Element' is the prize shook the foundation of Earth's cultivation world and that caused the leaders of the other four powers to send their finest members, who meet the criterions, to participate in the Elite Tryouts despite never doing so in the past.
"First of all 'Element' or 'Elemental Energy', according to Luminous Church's press release to all noteworthy circles of cultivators, is an elevated state of the worldly attribute energy that only Immortals have hegemony on".
"You mean…" Zax felt a jolt of electricity running down his back. His eyes opened wide and he felt dryness in his mouth.
Gid Chu gravely nodded. "The attributes we, Mortals, pursue are just a portion of something on a much grander scale".
It was a revelation that the other four powers were already aware off, but the rest of the high level experts, inhabiting the plant with no direct relation to the three entities behind the five powers, were completely oblivious to this knowledge.
"Why? Why are they now of all times offering such prizes and information?!" Before even getting to the benefit of the Diluted Element, Zax felt an immense sense of insecurity that he had to relieve by, at the very least, knowing Luminous Church's intentions.
"I… don't know". It was apparent that Gid Chu, too, felt apprehension toward revolutionary advanced concept of energy. He, a reputable expert whose understanding of the lightning attribute was prominent among fourth level Martial Mortals, was reduced to an ignorant runt by one sentence. It will be a lie if he said that his resolve to face the five powers was not shaken in the least, even if for an instant. "Maybe it was the Cardinal's decision to disclose this knowledge to further entice Earth's cultivation world to make it the most excellent Elite Tryouts".
Zax listened in contemplation. He could understand if that was the case. "And the Diluted Element… what is its usage?"
"Diluted Element is said to be a refined, pure elemental energy that all of its properties were eradicated so cultivator of any attribute could use it. Apart from being an extremely consolidated form of energy, vastly superior to any attribute's essence and energy, should you consume it orally and direct it to every fiber of the body and sea of consciousness, you'll experience a fundamental baptism. For a single breath you will gain enlightenment to four or five bottlenecks of insight and the order in which they are aligned to your Martial path. You won't instantly perceive and comprehend any of them, but if Luminous Church's words are true, you will in the future and so are destined to become an Ascended Elite!"
'Ascended Elite… this the most acclaimed status one can hope for! Even the previous owner of the Black Cores said than an Ascended Elite has roughly ten to fifteen percent chance for Evolutionary Ascension!' Zax's heart pounded in his chest. 'I have only one bottleneck to perceive and comprehend, if I'll obtain the Diluted Element…!'
"Listen, Zax!" Gid Chu's severe tone grounded him. "I also feel the enticement. Believe me, if my soul had not broken through to the third realm I would've probably try my luck of getting it regardless of the risk". He sighed. "Some members of the chain had left me no choice but to let them join the tryouts… But you… word from Luminous Church specified that a cultivator can enjoy the benefits of the Diluted Element only once in a life time. Even if you get your hands on it again, it will be of no help to your insights, just compact abundance of energy. Second, it can at maximum enlighten you to five bottlenecks. I'm uncertain about your accomplishments, but after our exchange I'm sure that apart from that kid, Neyrar, no earthling is remotely close as you to be equal or beyond those most talented prospects, Ascended Elite".
'I'm already beyond, at least one of them'. Zax remarked, refraining from speak outloud since by what Rockwell told him, Gid Chu should have knew already that he nearly killed one of Luminous Church's Ascended Elites. Another reason he kept to himself was his lack of certainty concerning the level of strength of other Ascended Elites the five powers must have in their ranks. 'It can't help my insights', he thought disappointedly. 'I can only hope that if I'll get it, it will hold as a substitute to the dark attribute's essence I'm in dire need for'.
"So please realize why I want you to concentrate on the task, even if it means losing in the tryouts". Gid Chu finished.
"Alright. I'll prioritize the task. What is it that you want me to steal from the Grand Abode and how do you plan for me to do it, given that it is the living place of Archbishop Silternjan?"
"What I want is a piece of tech, here". He sent Zax's communicator a data file. "Memorize the content and erase it".
Zax opened the file, inside were detailed description of the Grand Abode's interior and its layout, the device Gid Chu wanted and its location.
The device was made of unidentified silver metal, one that cannot be found on the planet. It was the size of a suitcase, rectangle in shape with formation engraving atop it.
"This?! You want me to steal their means of communication with the Holy Palace?! To what end?"
"This communicator device is one of a kind. Each of the five powers possess one as the sole direct line to either the Holy Palace, Planetary Battalion or Voltic Star. Several years back a member of the chain sacrificed herself for this information. In addition, she found the method of activation of the Galactic Communicators from an operator of the device she kidnaped and interrogated after infiltrating the Grand Abode. A month ago Yarnus's operation against Blue Sea's Deep Sea Navy did not turn out successful. As you know, due to Admiral Hamumni's absence, he and accompanying members of the chain intended to make an assault; their mission was to grab Blue Sea's communicator while your task was the backup plan".
"I thought they are just going to strike Blue Sea when they are weak…"
"That's how it was supposed to look. We can't alert the five powers to our goal until accomplishing it. Yarnus failed, now it's your responsibility".
"But what will you do with it? Intercept their messages? Can't they have another sent from the Holy Palace?"
"No, no, no". Gid Chu shook his head, answering for all three questions. "As part of their agreement, the three powerhouses behind the five powers commune with their forces on the same frequency. Personal messages are dealt in a different fashion, but similarly transmitted on the very same frequency. I want to exploit their use of same frequency to create a pulse that will disrupt the connection with the three Immortal powerhouses and sabotage the other four Galactic Communicators. We know how, if you wonder, and by this explanation it's obvious why interception is off the table. As for them receiving more communicators or even us angering the Immortal powerhouses… they are so stringent in their communication to avoid other Immortals finding our planet that they also rely on their communicators to navigate through space between their bases. With no feedback from Earth, they'll be stranded in space".
"In other words, we'll escape the clutches of the Immortal powerhouses!" Zax exclaimed. "And they really won't be able to locate our planet again?"
"Not unless the same thing that resulted in the great immigration will occur or they'll order their armadas to search for us – they have our approximate coordinates. By resorting to the second solution, however, other Immortals will be able to follow their movement to eventually also detect our planet. I gather the three Immortal powerhouses will prefer to sit back for a few hundred, maybe even additional thousand years, giving time for the five powers to finish the excavation and then come here in person to snatch what they are after".
"So we, at best, will have a thousand years before suffering the wroth of the Immortal powerhouses". Zax said placidly. Another thing he chose to keep for himself was the conceited belief that a thousand years are more than enough, in his opinion, to perceive and comprehend the sixth bottleneck of insight and have his Evolutionary Ascension.
"In a thousand years if the five powers really won't finish the excavation, then in hindsight we should not have followed through with this plan. On the other hand, if they'll finish the excavation earlier then it's a little more time for us to nurture an Immortal backer".
'So ultimately you put our fate in a miraculous breakthrough…' Zax discovered that he cannot blame Gid Chu, and he had no question to add about the communicator itself. "How do you intend for me to move freely within the Grand Abode?"
"The hundred top contenders in the Elite Tryouts will pay their respect to the Holy Palace's His Holiness Immortal. Per the rules of the Grand Abode, before paying their respect they will have each to cleanse their body and soul inside a special room. The optimal time to make you move will be in the window between the cleansing and paying your respect. If you make it to the top ten, though, you might be presented with a better opportunity".
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