102 The Threat Of Lust, Calamitous Situation
Jam's reunion with the Sect Head wasn't nearly as heartfelt as the one he had with Latoya outside the academy. Instead of the half-serious half-coy tone Latoya took when scolding Jam, the Sect Head was either not in the mood or too stressed out to play games. Even though Jam stood in attendance less than five minutes after waking up from his breakthrough session, the Sect Head still only gave him a whisper-like "You're late..."
Jam just stayed silent in anticipation of whatever it was that the Sect Head wanted to tell him. He looked at her figure and silently clicked his tongue. She hadn't changed at all in the eight years he was gone. She was still dressed conservatively, she still had the appearance of a ravishing mature woman, the same blond hair and blue eyes pierced through him as if he were a book that could be openly read at any time… Only now, Jam could slowly feel the overwhelming pressure of a Sage near transcendance.
The Sect Head, upon noticing Jam's quiet and attentive behavior, said "Before we talk about the Gathering, why don't you tell me about what happened during those eight years you guys went missing?"
In compliance with the Sect Head, Jam began to narrate his experience since the moment he was dropped off and entered the portal to the Titanic Beast Mountain Range. He talked about the times he spent teleporting around the world as a treasure hunting bandit. He talked about the times where he fought insane battles with people and demons several stages above his own. He talked about the crazy time he had in the Core Nexus and how he was stuck out of time in an unbloomed dimension.
Now, the Core Nexus and World Formation were divine instruments that people in the Mortal Plane could not hope to even know about. The only reason the Saints in the Junkie Village knew about the concept of Core Nexuses was because they had explored one themselves. Thus, when Jam spoke about how he had messed with a Core Nexus the Sect Head had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.
The Sect Head would have liked to know more about this "World Formation" Jam was talking about, but the entire thing was held as an inscription on Jam's body. Since this was a god level artifact, Jam obviously wouldn't expose it as being on his person and without him explicitly activating it, it would remain impossible to detect by the likes of mere Sages. Thus, he kept quiet as to the truth regarding his World Formation and pretended that after using the formation's power, it stayed back in Afrov.
When Jam was through with recounting his experience, eight other people blinked into the meeting room. Jam recognized seven of them as the Heads of the Occupational Divisions within the Academy, while the last one… Jam was sure the last unidentified person was the Head of Body Refining. He could tell from the horrendous amount of energy coursing through the man's body that only someone at the Organ Realm would be able to let their energy rampage so recklessly within their body.
All these newcomers stared at Jam with ambiguous lust. Jam almost felt threatened under their gaze as he almost couldn't tell what they wanted from him. For the next couple hours, Jam was stuck in the room as the various Heads bickered with each other, fighting to get more of Jam's time to prepare him for the Gathering.
Meanwhile, in the complete opposite side of the planet, Alex was just now starting to wake up. When he finally came to his senses, he realized that he was chained down and his cultivation was sealed. The wounds he sustained by protecting his group earlier were for the most part healed, but now he had found himself in a rather grim situation.
He had no idea why he was locked away, as if he were a prisoner, but that question would soon be resolved, as the dungeon like doors isolating his room from the rest of the world opened. Much to Alex's amazement, the person who entered the room was the patriarch to his clan, his uncle Desmond Parker!
If these were normal times, Alex would be happy to see his uncle Desmond, but as he looked at his uncle now… an unsettling feeling started creeping up his spine. His uncle Desmond didn't have a particular expression on his face, he just looked at Alex as if he was air, and made his way closer to him.
All the while, Desmon spoke to Alex, almost cathartically, as if he was releasing something buried deep within his mind after holding it in for a long time. He said "Alex… You really have returned…"
After confirming with eyes that Alex was really back, Desmond stopped looking at him and while Alex couldn't tell, Desmond had disgust written all over his face after turning away from his nephew. Desmond continued "You know Alex… I've always been a good uncle, right?" As he spoke, a white light began shining in his eyes.
Alex didn't answer his question, as the circumstance he was under made him question whether or not his uncle was even on his side. Instead, he asked "Why am I locked up?"
Desmond didn't think much about Alex, thinking he already possessed complete control over the situation, so he said "For your own good, of course." The white light in his eyes compacted to glow even harder as a red dot appeared in the center of Desmond's irises.
"Uncle?" Alex was becoming anxious, as the air in the room was starting to feel heavier, the atmosphere darker…
Desmond eyes' kept burning hotter and hotter with their red glow until they became white-hot. Thereafter, he blinked his eyes and all traces of his unusual behavior vanished. He turned back to face Alex, and a Tier 9 Illusion threatened to consume Alex as it gave him no time to prepare or defend.
The illusion, though invisible had the shape of a soaring dragon turtle as it phased through Alex's corporeal body and entered his soulscape. There, it wreaked havoc across all of Alex's consciousness with the intention to make him a lifeless puppet.
The light in Alex's eyes dimmed down as his soul was being refined down by Desmond's Illusion. Seeing his Illusion work as planned, Desmond felt comfortable enough to curse his nephew out as the last of his consciousness remained. It was the ultimate "fuck you" one could do given their current circumstances.
He said with disdain and hatred seeping through his words "Oh Alex… You coming back has both been a blessing and a curse. You, the family's precious little core disciple… We all though you had gone missing or died on your trip. It really has been a "wonderful" surprise to see you alive and well. Maybe if you had come back earlier things might be different… Nah! What am I thinking?! No they wouldn't! I'd still come out on top and keep my rightful position as the Clan's patriarch!"
Desmond's eyes shifted between hatred and amusement as he looked at Alex and continued "Since the beginning its always been my Parker's family that led the clan and I never planned for that to change… But your dog-shit eating father just had to conceive of a talent like you! Alexander Packer, only 18 years old and you become a Saint Grandmaster, you have a Dao Domain level superpower, and several energies with unlimited potential… Truly a descendant worthy of surpassing the main family and taking over the clan."
Suddenly, all the malice and deathening intent rolling off of Desmond stopped as a smile crept from cheek to cheek. He continued "Who'd have thought that you would go missing right before I found myself this shiny new toy?!" His hands stroked a plain-looking sword. "This Immortal's legacy! With it, I wouldn't have to worry about some punk trying to lay his hands on MY Clan!
Honestly, if you hadn't gone missing and I hadn't gotten my hands on my precious sword, your Parker family might still be around. Maybe if you'd come when you were supposed to, you and your family might have gotten away with separating from my clan." Desmond started to laugh with increasing madness present in his mannerisms as he said "Hahaha… But, that's not what happened now is it?"
Alex's eyes, still in the process of losing their life, let loose a single tear as he could still understand what his uncle was saying. Desmond became unnaturally meek when he spotted Alex's tear, he became even more smug about his speech as he said "Those idiots wouldn't believe your parents. And… and they…. HA! They all came over to MY side after I abandoned all connections with the academy!"
Desmond squatted down right next to Alex who's head had drooped down powerlessly as his soul's connection to his body had been cut off; making him look like a corpse. He lifted Alex's chin up and gave the most heartless grin Alex could imagine before saying "My little puppet~ before you fall into an eternal sleep, you should know of this as you'll certain be of much use to me in the future~"
Desmond conjured an illusion scry with his free hand and showed Alex a picture that would forever haunt him. Alex saw his family… his mother, his father, his cousins, uncles, and aunts; literally everyone. They were all chained in slum-like buildings, their eyes were all drained of their color and they looked almost like him, only they had been converted into soulless puppets to completion; unlike Alex, they were through with their conversion…
Desmond waved the illusion away from his hands and stood back up, he laughed at Alex as he walked away, leaving him with one last sentence "Little puppet, oh, I mean, my dear nephew, I'll be back tomorrow once you've joined their ranks~ Now sit there and cherish these last few moments you're still, you know, yourself~" An odd malicious laughter could be heard slowly fading away as Desmond left Alex's room.
As Alex was left in the room with his soul being refined, minutes turned to hours. But, in the state that Desmond had left Alex, time became meaningless. In Alex's soulscape, what remained of his consciousness couldn't process time moving as it kept losing pieces of itself to the dragon turtle eating away at its essence.
Alex's consciousness kept shivering fiercely as he recalled the images of his family being chained up like slaves. The thought of himself becoming that kind of slave was horrifying, be seeing so many of the people he cared about already reach that state; one where it would be better if they just died…
Alex's soul entered a special state due to the things he had been exposed to. As his soul was stripped away of his his control, its core started becoming exposed as well. And from the center of his soul, an infinitesimally small light of yellow splendor rose from the his soul's ashes. This yellow light appeared after over 99% of Alex's soul was destroyed in the refining process, and even then it only accounted for 0.01% of what remained of his soul.
Even with its pitiful size, the appearance of this yellow light didn't just stop the dragon turtle illusion annihilating itself. It inspired true terror in the illusion, an action theoretically considered impossible, since this was just a Tier 9 Mortal Illusion. But regardless of the fact, the yellow light caused the dragon turtle to freeze before it… consumed it; slowly using its instincts to refine the illusion and repair the rest of Alex's soul.
It wasn't just the emotions Alex experienced that made him enter this state. Seeing his family in their broken state surely helped activate the yellow light in the core of his soul as he took in a myriad of Dao insights through emotional turmoil. But, it was being exposed to Jam's God Souls throwing their tantrum back in the Core Nexus that allowed for his own God Soul to awaken!
Alex couldn't comprehend what was happening to him as he had lost consciousness when his God Soul activated initially and had only regained consciousness after most of the dragon turtle illusion was refined to regenerate his lost soul fragments. When he did come back to his sense his watched with amazement as what remained of the illusion dissipated into a cooling mist which helped his soul become stronger and stronger. In fact, by the time the illusion was completely refined Alex's soul had not only completely recovered. He also felt his soul strength increase to reach the boundary of Saint Lords!
Still, the surprises his own God Soul left for him weren't over and done with! As Alex noticed a shining yellow light start pulsing from his soul and a budding Earth Dao Heart manifested in his soul's core! Within the center of this Dao Heart, the essence of the dragon turtle illusion remained and Alex could use it to his advantage when confronting his uncle in the future!
"Earth Dao Heart..." Alex couldn't believe his eyes even after confirming the matter several times over. What was a Dao Heart? It was only the most concrete proof one had as a right to challenge Immortality. Most Sage God's qualified to call down their own Immortal Tribulations didn't even have the budding Dao Heart Alex currently possessed and with it, the survival rate for any cultivator undergoing said tribulation doubles!
Alex didn't have a god as a teacher like other overpowered teenagers, so he had no idea what kind of boon his "dear" uncle had bestowed upon him; if Alex did, he might even be a bit less disturbed with him. But, there remained one thing he knew for a fact. His uncle, that traitorous scum… Alex would play along as the little slave puppet his uncle though him to be for now, but in due time… Oh there would be hell to pay; not just for almost killing him, but for what he did to the rest of his family.