Truthful Transmigration 118

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The man from the Society of Midnight was justifiably upset at John tearing out a piece of his cultivation, but it wasn’t really his to begin with. Personally John didn’t feel he had a right to complain since the man had effectively done the same to Ciaritzal in the past. But whether or not he had a reasonable excuse, the man did have a spear and a significant advantage in cultivation. But John was ready for it, and he knew just how to fight it. Which was why he was currently running away.

He stepped between two members of the Tenebach clan, and the pair closed together behind him. The man chasing him swept his spear, tossing the one on the right off to the side and pressing forward. At the same time, John redirected part of the flow of energy he was in control of through the other, augmenting their strike. It was only enough to force the Consolidated Soul Phase man to block, but that put him another step behind John.

John moved among the various members of the Tenebach clan, creating distance when he needed it, and striking with his throwing daggers. If he could create even small wounds, Clinging Affliction and Bite of the Gorgon would both magnify them. His air energy was mostly dedicated to movement so the other two could focus more on offense. He couldn’t completely let down his guard as there were still enemies around and he wasn’t the only one with throwing daggers either- but keeping his distance allowed him to slowly gain small advantages against the man.

The previous time he’d retrieved a shard of Ciaritzal, John hadn’t been able to stick around to see the long-term results. He’d been busy trying to be alive while he had a large hole in his lung. His current only-slightly-injured state was leagues ahead, thanks to his allies and more prepared state. Thus it was that he was able to see the man’s cultivation unraveling. It wasn’t a complete breakdown of his cultivation, but John was fairly certain he had dropped down a rank. At the very least, he had moved from the end of the rank to the beginning. His cultivation had only been clear to John for a brief moment when he dove into the depths of the man’s dantian, and that hadn’t been John’s focus. 

The rate of the unraveling seemed to be slowing down, so John imagined he would only drop one or two ranks further in total… but that could be years of work in total. No wonder he was so focused on John, which was exactly why John was comfortable running through the ranks of the Tenebach clan with the man chasing him. He was never really focused on anything in his way enough to cut them down with force that would be guaranteed to kill them. Incapacitate them, certainly, and John imagined some people had died… but in a battle with Consolidated Soul Phase cultivators, it was expected that some merely at Soul Expansion would die. 

John didn’t enjoy sacrificing others for himself, but they made the choice- and he did his best to augment the flow of the formation towards them when he could. He was working his way through the battlefield towards a specific spot, keeping the man focused on him and trying to blur the rest. His first thought had been Luctus or Johannes, but if the man made the right choice and joined the fight against them with one of the other Consolidated Souls, it would shift the balance against them.

A few moments later, John found himself up against the wall of a shack where the miners had been living. It was wide enough that he had a long way to go around in either direction, and no time to do either. Even so, he broke to the right. As expected, a spear was thrusting towards him, cutting off his path. The attack wasn’t so committed that it couldn’t redirect with him, either. John gathered as much of the surrounding energy from Tenebach members that he could, his sword sweeping the spear to the side. The moment the man tried to pull it back, his free hand grasped onto it.

Even if he’d been augmented by a properly arranged formation instead of the current chaotically arranged one, John knew he couldn’t win a contest of strength with the man. But he didn’t have to win. He just had to delay him for a moment and make him focus on pulling his spear away.

His plan half worked. Finding that John was gripping onto his spear tightly, he yanked to the right, pulling John along despite his resistance, before suddenly changing directions and slamming him into the wall. Through it, really. If it had been just the side, the structure would have been fairly weak- but he went straight through the corner. He was glad he had a constant amount of his earth energy devoted to defense, but he still had the wind knocked out of him. And despite the fact that he was lying on the floor barely able to move with a spear poised to stab into him, he still considered it a partial success.

Because Renato was behind the man, swinging his heavy stone club towards the man’s head. Even with so much of John’s efforts focused on dulling the man’s senses to only see him, someone of that cultivation wouldn’t completely miss an incoming attack. He tilted his head and body so the blow only came down on his shoulder… which meant that the cracking of the corner of the building, John’s ribs, and his own shoulder happened nearly simultaneously. 

John was a bit disappointed in Renato’s hit. Not because of any fault with his friend, but against a lesser opponent it might have taken the arm off instead of just breaking it, despite the blunt nature of the weapon. But the man’s right arm still hung useless, which afforded John just enough time to roll out of the way when he stabbed with only his left hand towards him. A simultaneous kick towards Renato forced him to take a step back, but failed to cause any real damage. With his energy in disarray and a sudden injury, he wasn’t nearly as effective as he could have been.

It didn’t hurt that the Tenebach clan members and the reinforcements from the Amber Heart were peppering him and the others with attacks, having defeated most of the enemy forces. He could dodge some of them and tough his way through others, but when Renato was joined by his two personal guards and Aydan stepped up from behind, he found himself in a sorry state.

Enough that John focused on picking himself up and sorting out his ribs rather than pushing to rejoin the battle immediately. He was glad he did, because he got to watch Renato fight. John was aware that he himself had accomplished some pretty crazy things during his time in this world, but Renato’s attacks still impressed him. There was a certain expertise behind them that had developed significantly from when they had first fought, and John wondered if he could currently match him. It looked like he had been holding back in recent spars.

The first Consolidated Soul opponent to fall was the one the Head of the Order of the Amber Heart was fighting. Johannes wielded his bare fists like heavy maces, slamming them into the sword-whip user repeatedly. The weapon itself had been torn asunder some time before, and while the man had backup weapons he didn’t have any backup bones, and he was quickly running out of non-broken varieties.

After his fall, the others realized they would have to retreat. However, they were hemmed in by the reinforcements- and the realization came too late. They had miscalculated the forces that would be present, from the number of people John brought with him to Luctus’ presence and status as a Consolidated Soul Phase cultivator. They might have dealt with either him or Johannes, but the combined forces of the Tenebach Clan and the Amber Heart were too much. The local earth cultivators that were posing as the miners weren’t sufficient to make up the difference by a long shot.

Johannes went from defeating his opponent to helping Renato crush his. With only Soul Expansion Phase cultivators, they were at more risk of death even if they outnumbered the man. But the addition of Johannes to the fight tipped it from a slowly gathering victory to a landslide, with the man’s legs being swept out from under him- only to be broken a moment later by heavy stomps. His arm followed immediately, but the kick to his head was much more gentle. It left it relatively intact… and much more capable of being interrogated later.

As Johannes started charging towards the final Consolidated Soul Phase enemy, the man wielding daggers, his mere presence provided enough distraction for Luctus to land a decisive blow, half impaling the man. 

With the major players defeated, the rest either quickly surrendered or died, if they hadn’t already. John smiled. It was good to see a plan come together. It wasn’t all his plan, but he’d been a key player in the setup. Bait that was strong enough to spring the trap and to survive the initial contact. But if there really was spirit darkness in this mine in any significant quantities, he could be more than that soon. He only needed to advance a couple more ranks before he could step into the Consolidated Soul Phase. Of course, stepping into the next Phase was bound to be anything but trivial.


With everyone dead or captured, the time came to bind wounds and search for information, in that order. John was quite glad that broken ribs were easier to fix in this world. All he had to do was use some spiritual energy and he could piece them back together, good as new. Well, still looking far too much like a thousand piece puzzle, but in a state where they could begin healing at least. Moving around was painful, but knowing that everything was in the right spot really made him feel better about the whole thing. All he had to do was coax it to heal, and he’d be better in a week or two instead of months like the process would normally take. 

As for the information, obviously it was clear that the Society of Midnight was involved. The questions were if there really was any significant quantity of spirit darkness, who the local earth cultivators were, and if this could all be tied to Bashkim. A single forged letter wouldn’t necessarily be enough, so searching through pockets and storage bags was high on the list.

As expected, most people had nothing of interest- but the few storage bags were property of the Consolidated Soul Phase members of the Society of Midnight. Obviously they had not fully considered the possibility of losing, because they had a few letters that hadn’t been destroyed. Whether or not they could be used to fully wipe out Bashkim was another question. Sadly they didn’t openly discuss murder or anything of the sort, but secretly working with agents from another country was looked down upon.

Funnily enough, the Diamond Trading Company might not have cared if he worked with them openly- but the rest of the Stone Conglomerate would have been less receptive to those from the Darklands. As all countries with old borders, conflicts had been regular throughout history. Even if most of the resources each side would covet were within their borders, neither side was exclusively earth or darkness element, nor were their cultivators. 

As for the mines, it appeared they had been emptied long before. Yet there was still a nugget of truth to the deceptive letter, because an enterprising soul had gone into the old abandoned mine and uncovered some deeper ‘veins’ of spirit darkness that had built up in the empty area. They weren’t terribly rich, but it was worth the effort to retrieve them. As for the local earth cultivators, they couldn’t protest the Tenebach clan taking over- as they had been part of the ambush against them. They weren’t a large sect, so the offer of the job by the Society of Midnight and Bashkim had been too much to pass up. 

John was glad that some things were resolved, and perhaps they might even complete the take down of Bashkim- but the Society of Midnight had more irons in the fire. Even if they couldn’t act freely in the Stone Conglomerate, they had considerable strength to make use of. The Tenebach clan would need more than just Luctus to hold them up, and John intended to be one of the next Consolidated Soul Phase cultivators to do so.

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