The fact that the 400 realms were one big experiment, deeply unsettled Mao Lu. He sat there in shocked silence for a bit as he let all this information sink in.
Yet as he thought about the possible implications of this restructuring, he slowly grew distracted.
So much had happened since he had thrown away that silver ring. For the first time since his ability to Sense the Realm had been unblocked, Mao Lu began to focus on his Realm.
And the moment he did, he noticed something strange.
There was this peculiar and stifling energy. The more he paid attention to it the more his skin began to itch and an uncomfortable bubbling pain arose from his body.
It was the same sensation he had experienced when he had encountered Three.
After a few seconds, Mao Lu was certain, a scientist or Creator of the experiment was in his Realm.
Another worrying factor was that Mao Lu couldn’t sense his friends, other than Fang Kai, and Frank Wang, everyone was missing.
And for some unknown reason, Frank was with a group of Mage Hunters. Mao Lu was startled by these developments.
He abruptly stood up, “I’m sorry but I think we should continue this conversation another time. I must deal with something.”
Mao Lu didn’t wait for Obsidian or Argenti to reply before he opened up a doorway and left.
He stepped through it and walked into Realm 145, more specifically he walked into the driveway in front of his Siheyaun home.
Mao Lu had two thoughts upon arrival, firstly “the peculiar energy had gotten stronger”, and secondly “Where is my car?”
He paused for a second and realised that for some strange reason his car was near Bing Bing and Detong’s apartment complex.
Mao Lu closed his eyes and grabbed the time essences in the air, the images around him began to flow in reverse, and he started to see shadows of what had happened earlier.
Some invisible person had walked out of his house, hopped into his car and driven it like a maniac.
For some reason, he couldn’t see this person no matter how hard he tried. However, despite not being able to see them Mao Lu was certain it was Chàng Bo.
“How is he escaping my sight?” he wondered.
Just as he thought that the peculiar energy and painful sensation he’d been sensing sharply increased. He used the essences around him to protect himself and suppress the sensation but he still felt like he was being poked by several pins and needles.
“Gatekeeper Lu, correct?” a robotic and cold voice asked.
Mao Lu turned around and he saw Five and Four.
“And you must be two scientists, what have I done to get such a visit?” He asked calmly, physically he appeared unbothered, but inwardly he was reeling.
He felt as if his insides were rotting, something about these two made him nauseous and dizzy. What was causing this?
The sensation didn’t seem to be from the scientists themselves but rather from something on their body, perhaps an item. Whatever it was, it was annoying.
Five raised an eyebrow and tilted his neck, “It seems you know of us, you shouldn’t be privy to such information.”
“Well, I am privy to that information,” Mao Lu said confidently, “and I want to know why you’re here. I’m sure your presence in my realm is already disturbing the experiment.”
Four smiled weirdly, “It does not matter what he knows, Five you forget the new Director no longer cares about censorship. The rules are changing.”
Her silver oval-shaped eyes glimmered as she addressed Mao Lu, “We are here to hunt. A rat got into the project from the Outside and we need to do an extermination.”
Mao Lu squinted, “What rat?”
“A rat that goes by Chàng Bo” Five said ominously, “Nyx snuck into the project again and gave birth to this Outsider and concealed him in the realms. We only recently discovered this fact and we came to dispose of him. However, he keeps slipping from our grasp.”
“If you tell us where he is we will leave your Realm and we will ensure that you will remain after the restructure.” Four added.
Chàng Bo and Nyx? She was his Mother?
Was that the reason Chàng Bo had had a Gatekeepers key?
So many questions ran through Mao Lu’s head but outwardly he was calm and unbothered.
“What if I refuse to cooperate with you?”
If you refuse to cooperate we will have to get rid of you. Everyone is replaceable, even you Gatekeeper.” Four laughed.
“Well, then it seems we are going to have to fight and I’ll have to force you to leave,” Mao Lu said darkly.
“That is an extremely illogical conclusion” Five tilted his head more, “You will not win this fight, it is better to cooperate.”
“I am not letting you eliminate my soon to be Fate Companion, and” Mao Lu released Reality Control, space began to tremble and he drew his Quintessence blade, “I think I might win.”
REALM 145: SCANDINAVIA WESTERN WITCHES COVEN
The jade ring fell from Chàng Bo’s finger as he clashed with Lady Winter.
As it clattered onto the ground a shockwave from their battle swept the ring further away.
The moment the jade ring left Chàng Bo’s possession, the space within it turned into a roller coaster. Everything was being flung around.
Bing Bing tried to hold on to a wall or a shelf but she went rolling about, the same could be said for everyone else.
Tanaka screamed as he went spinning in the air, he felt like he was going to be sick. “What’s going on!? I want to get out of here!!!”
The moment Tanaka yelled that he disappeared in a clap of thunder. Bing Bing witnessed this as she was being flung around. She quickly decided to copy Tanaka, and yelled, “Everyone scream, I want to get out of here!”
They shouted in unison “I want to get out of here!”
With a clap of thunder, they fell out of the ring.
“Where the hell are we?” Bing Bing muttered as she looked at the rubble and collapsed walls. There was a cloud of thick dust in the air and she could hear distant screams. “What’s going on?”
“WHAT THE HELL!!!!!” Tanaka shouted. He felt something squishy underneath him. He looked down to see a headless corpse.
As Tanaka freaked out, they all began to see the dead bodies that littered around them. Blood smeared their surroundings like wet paint, and all kinds of dilapidated bodies were on the ground. It was like a scene from hell. They all felt ill as they saw this.
“Eww, what’s going on!?” Bing Bing shrieked.
“I’m going to be sick,” Zhao Detong muttered.
Bei Lao actually threw up.
“What are you people doing here!?” a voice yelled in English. A brunette haired girl wearing a hooded black cape popped out. “Quick you need to run, we need to get out of here!”
Everyone else was clueless but Zhao Detong spoke pretty good English.
“What do you mean, why should we run?”
“Can’t you see!!! If you stay here you die, Chàng Bo is here to enact the Gatekeeper’s anger and he’s going to kill everyone in the Coven. Lady Winter is holding him off but it’s just a matter of time before she goes too, we need to leave now.”
Zhao Detong’s eyes went wide, Chàng Bo had done all this?
“What’s going on, what did she say?” Bing Bing grabbed Detong’s arm.
At that point, a loud “Boom” drowned out his words.
Lady Winter fell through the ceiling. She landed on the floor in front of them with a loud bang.
“Lady Winter!” shouted the Brunette.
Winter’s body was crumpled on the ground, her veins were bulging and black, as she looked at Bing Bing and the others her bloodshot dim gaze was visible.
From the ceiling, Chàng Bo drifted down. Compared to Lady Winter he was noticeably unharmed, there was only some slight wear and tear on his clothes.
“It was amusing while it lasted, but it seems your spell and life force only amounted to so much.” Chàng Bo gloated as he landed next to her.
He was about to finish her off when he noticed Bing Bing, Detong, Tanaka and Bei Lao staring at him.
His face paled, “Why are you outside of the ring?”
At that same time, Mao Lu was still facing Five and Four. They were menacingly glaring at him but then they froze. Mao Lu was momentarily confused by this but then he also sensed it.
Bing Bing, Detong, Bei Lao, and Tanaka had all suddenly appeared at the same place at the same time.
“It seems we no longer need your assistance to locate the Rat” Five smiled sinisterly.
Mao Lu blinked and Five and Four had disappeared.
“Shit!” He yelled. Chàng Bo had to be with his friends.
Back at the Coven, Chàng Bo stared at Bing Bing and the rest in shock. The ring wasn’t on his finger, and they had left its safety. Those Scientists would sniff them out soon.
Chàng Bo acted quickly, he grabbed Bing Bing’s hand and Detong’s shoulder and pulled Tanaka and Bei Lao into a hug.
In that same instance, that peculiar pressure appeared again. Chàng Bo took the brunt of it and gritted his teeth as he felt his skin begin to bubble.
“What is this!?” Bing Bing screeched.
Four and Five appeared in that instance. From the darkness they emerged, in the shadows they formed like a jigsaw, piece by piece.
“Shhh be quiet” Chàng Bo muttered, “If you don’t you will die.”
Bing Bing silently whimpered at his words.
“They were just here” Four muttered.
“They’re still here, they couldn’t have left that fast. They’re hiding somehow” Five confirmed.
Four walked up to the Brunette Witch and Lady Winter. As they approached, the Brunette began to scream in agony. Lady Winter also groaned and soon both their bodies began to bubble up. A moment later they both exploded into a foam of blood and bodily fluids.
Chàng Bo felt himself shudder, he hadn’t wanted to face Four and Five so soon.
He could take that awful pain of theirs that caused his body to rot, but the same couldn’t be said for Mao Lu’s friends.
The necklace kept them out of sight but they were still there, and it wouldn’t be easy to escape while trying to shield these mortals. And he wasn’t confident in his ability to fight these two.
Five and Four were standing so close that If either of them reached out their hands, just a little, it would all be over.
Just then the space in front of Chàng Bo rippled and a doorway appeared.
He felt his heart thump as he saw Mao Lu step through that doorway.
His brown hair had grown a bit longer, he was wearing a peculiar flowing bodysuit that had runes across it, and in his hand was a golden sword. Around him, a large eel-like essence, as big as a ship swam about. He felt different, more mature but there was still that same old gentle vibe.
Chàng Bo felt his breath stop and a warmth spread across him. All the anger, aggression, frustration and even fear he’d been feeling instantly melted away.
He was shocked by how deeply he felt relief at his presence.
“Didn’t I tell you to fight me!” Mao Lu yelled.
“You are mindlessly interfering Gatekeeper” Five sighed languidly.
“And you aren’t taking me seriously when I tell you that if you don’t leave my realm willingly I will kick you out.” Mao Lu threatened.
Four shook her head with annoyance, “all you have to do is give up the rat.”
Mao Lu swung the Quintessence blade at Four, “and I told you I’m not giving up on Chàng Bo!”
“Foolish!” Four shouted as her arm turned to steel and she parried Mao Lu’s blow. Sparks flew between them.
Four was shocked, “Is that a Quintessence blade?”
Mao Lu smirked as he added more pressure. The sword cut through her arm like a knife through butter.
Horrendous screams flew from Four’s mouth. Her hair abruptly turned to snakes and snapped at Mao Lu, they were so fast that he only barely dodged them.
Just as he avoided them and was about to use his Control ability, he noticed that Five was suddenly behind him. His jaw was wide open and he could see rows upon rows of sharp jagged teeth.
Lu was still dodging the snakes and his momentum was pushing him straight towards Five’s jaw. He quickly tried to make a barrier around himself, but before Five even got close he was stopped.
Chàng Bo had appeared between them, his Quintessence blade was lodged into Five’s throat forcing his jaw open.
“You know,” Chàng Bo said through gritted teeth, “aiming at someone’s back is a pretty dirty way to fight!”
Mao Lu’s eyes widened. Despite the tense situation he felt his heart flutter, he had never been so happy to see someone in his entire life.
“Bo” he whispered.
“Lu” Chàng Bo whispered back, a joyful smile playing on his lips, “It’s been a while.”
“More than a while,” Mao Lu laughed.
“It seems some interesting things have happened to you” Chàng Bo commented, “I like the outfit.”
“I’m sure you’ve had more of an interesting time”
“I’ll tell you all about it after this.” Chàng Bo smirked.
“There will be no after, Chàng Bo. This will be your extermination” Five said.
Five’s teeth began to rotate like turning blades.
Chàng Bo quickly retreated, if he kept holding its jaw open his arms would be shredded.
At the same time, Mao Lu jumped away from Four and stood back to back with Chàng Bo.
He quickly glanced around, “Where are Detong and the others?” Mao Lu asked with concern.
“Safe, I gave them something that can conceal them and told them to run.”
Mao Lu felt relieved and then his eyes widened. “You have the same blade as me, how?”
Chàng Bo grinned, “I could ask you the same question but I think we better talk later.”
“Agreed” Mao Lu nodded as he glared at Four.
Chàng Bo glared at Five.
They charged, Reality Control swished its wide tail and sent Four hurtling away.
Chàng Bo didn’t have it so easy. Being able to block Five before seemed only possible because he had the element of surprise. As he swung his Quintessence blade at Five every move was easily evaded. The scientist was annoyingly fast, and he made Chàng Bo feel like he was moving in slow motion.
Bo used his skill supernova and channelled the volatile sword energy into his blade and sliced the air around Five. A blast of raw Celestial Essence was propelled at Five from all corners.
Chàng Bo expected him to get hit, but the unexpected happened instead. Five stopped the blast in mid-air. Bo felt a disconnection as his control over the celestial essence suddenly disappeared, he could only watch with horror as he saw his supernova blast come flying back to him like a boomerang.
Supernova hit him dead on. The blast sent him hurtling through the air, he thought he was going to spiral out of control but suddenly Mao Lu was next to him and had stopped his motion.
Supernova dissipated as Reality Control ate the essence.
“You can’t fight these people using essence like you normally do.” Mao Lu explained.
While Chàng Bo had been exchanging blows with Five, Mao Lu had been battling with Four.
The hand he had chopped off had regrown in seconds. After that, she had become exceedingly fast. So fast that Mao Lu had become startled, every time she tried to grab him he’d only barely evaded her.
He also noticed that while they fought, none of his techniques that used essence worked on her. The only thing that did serious damage was his Quintessence blade.
Four was similar to those creatures that had attacked the Flame Star Fortress.
Every time he was able to nick her or cut her skin, he noticed a slight glitch, like pixels on her before she healed.
That had confirmed the theory in Mao Lu’s head.
“What do you mean I can’t fight them with essence?” Chàng Bo questioned, “If so how do I fight them?”
“Essence doesn’t work on them and I think I know why. They’re not really here. These are just avatars. Their real bodies are outside in the Real realm. That’s why the essences avoid them and they can reject it.
The essence is in everything living and it allows everything to exist. All living things should be susceptible to essence nothing is an exception. Yet they are ignoring it, no, in fact, the essence isn’t reacting to them because they’re not really here, they’re like physical 4d projections.”
“They’re pretty lethal projections” Chàng Bo frowned, “But how did he throw my spell back at me?” he asked as he composed himself and pointed his blade at Five who watched them with an eerily amused expression.
“I don’t know, it must be some kind of trick, but I know for certain that our Quintessence blades can hurt them. They can’t resist the power in these blades. And,” Mao Lu smirked, “I have a plan, a plan that will get rid of them. You just need to back me up while I’m doing this spell.”
Bo gave a wry smile, “I’ll always have your back” he said as he chopped off one of Four’s snakeheads that came flying at Mao Lu.
Mao Lu blushed a bit before he nodded.
He then closed his eyes.
Five and Four weren’t in their real bodies but in some type of Avatars that could both ignore the physical world and its essence and control it. Mao Lu theorised that they were similar to irregularities, they weren’t meant to exist in this world. They were a disturbance in the Realm.
He was hoping that he could expel them the same way he could expel an irregularity. And Mao Lu was 90 percent sure of this.
He thought of the incantation “Fkeur Hudbhac, Fkeur summmhe,Fkeur hmmm sundrum, Fkeur Hudbhac.”
All the essences turned to him, all of existence was paying attention to his every word.
This was different from last time, it was immensely easier, probably due to his now deeper understanding of the essence and his new ability to control reality.
While Mao Lu chanted, both Four and Five were ganging up on Chàng Bo.
Since he wasn’t fast enough to strike them, Chàng Bo was putting all his energy into defence. He parried all of their blows and blocked any attempt they made to come closer to himself or Mao Lu.
“You should give up,” said Four.
“You should be tired,” said Five.
“While you tire we only grow faster,” They said in unison.
Five’s neck suddenly shot towards him, his jagged teeth coming out, rotating like electric blades, at the same time Four was rushing at him with her claws and snake-like hair.
They were so fast that Chàng Bo couldn’t see their movements. He used his skill celestial dance and pushed it to the limit. He did his best to block Five in time but Four’s claws still dug into his back.
Chàng Bo screamed as he felt her claws slice through his organs and spine.
He pushed forward and used the Quintessence blade to rip apart Five’s jaw, he then rotated the blade to cut Five’s neck open before he spun around and sliced off Four’s hand.
In the same instance, he also retreated backwards in a hurry.
He spat out blood and yelled, “SHIT!”
“Alert, Alert, Alert,” the system said.
“Health has dropped dangerously low 20/100”
At that point, both Four and Five were laughing as they swaggered up to him. The pressuring energy they emitted had intensified and Chàng Bo could hear his wound bubbling and sizzling as it began to rot under their pressure.
He resisted and tried to heal himself but his health was only dropping.
Four and Five were laughing but then they strangely stopped.
“Seal!” Mao Lu announced.
Both the Scientists were shocked. Their bodies couldn’t move. Even their mouths had been clamped shut.
“I have control over Reality, I am control,” Mao Lu said as his eyes glowed iridescently, “You might be able to avoid the essence but you cannot avoid me.”
Four and Five’s eyes became wide, this shouldn’t be possible. No matter how powerful the Gatekeeper they shouldn’t be able to do this to them, yet Mao Lu was doing it.
They tried to struggle but they were helpless to prevent Mao Lu’s power washing over them. Their bodies began to fold like paper cranes and collapsed into the size of a small dot as a barrier sealed them.
“EXPEL!!!!” Mao Lu shouted. Blood dripped from his nose as he felt the overwhelming power at his fingertips.
The universe began to creak, thunder began to boom and lightning streaked the sky.
The scientists were hoisted up and soon they were being forced out. They were thrown higher and higher until they reached the border of his realm and Mao Lu smirked to himself as he mercilessly flung them outside of it.
The sound of them being expelled was like a volcano erupting. The universe shook for several seconds and the sky howled.
“It worked!” He laughed, “I did it!” He smiled at Chàng Bo who was slowly rising to his feet.
“I saw, you were amazing.” Chàng Bo smiled back before his knees gave in.
Mao Lu caught him before he fell and pulled him into a loving embrace.
“Let me heal you” Mao Lu mumbled as he stroked Chàng Bo’s back.
In a blink of an eye, Chàng Bo’s wounds had disappeared, Time had brought his body back to its earlier healthy state.
Mao Lu chuckled as he gazed into Chàng Bo’s starlit blue eyes, “I’m pretty amazing, right?”
“You are incredible,” Chàng Bo laughed.
They both stared at each other for a bit and at the same time they said, “I have so much to tell you!”
Upon hearing both of their voices echo out, they couldn’t help but laugh.
Around them, the thunder began to calm and rain began to fall on them through the gaping hole in the roof.
They both had so much to say to each other, so much to tell, but this wasn’t the time for words.
Simultaneously they moved closer to each other. Their noses rubbed against the other playfully, and then they kissed under the cold rain. They held onto each other and they felt their hearts sing as they embraced…