ut at least we got that book. Through my transfusion of its telekinetic power to you, you have acquired great power, but you yet to learn to control it."
"I understand, Teacher. I will work harder." Julie nodded in commitment.
"Glad you understand," Old woman stroked Julie’s face in endearment. "I know it’s hard for you. You’re only nineteen, but this responsibility was thrusted upon you…"
"I’ll be okay." Julie tried hard to look nonchalant. "Teacher and the others were the one who were stressed out. All these years you have been fighting Immortal Palace Alliance unbeknownst to normal humans, no one have seen your sacrifices and hard work. In comparison with you, what’s this little stress I’m taking?"
"You don’t know… This was our fight, the clash of our ideology…" The old woman murmured. "It’s late. Time to rest. Remember, when you intercept the Immortal Palace Alliance, you must lead them to somewhere remote, it is impossible to not hurt the normal people around accidentally with the power of your fight. Once a telekinesis elite uses his strongest form, even the elites of normal people will not be able to take it. That is why you have to remember, no matter how strong a normal human is, only talent can withstand talent. Looking for help from friends might just hurt them."
"But my friend said there are Grandmaster of Combat-level fighters amongst the Argentists, maybe…"
"There were already countless of Grandmasters of Combat who lost their lives to the Immortal Palace Alliance."
Julie finally shut up.
"Rest. You are our hope in this battle." The old woman softened her expression and caressed the girl’s hair.
Top floor of Hotel Coconut Tree, Luxury Suite.
Garen stood in the center of the room, his arms raised to shoulder height, resembling a cross. Eyes shut, his breath was slow. Together with his whitish gold skin, he looked like a standard metal statue.
"Come in." He muttered without even opening his eyes.
The door was slowly pushed open and King of Nightmares Stephen sashayed in.
"What is it?"
Closing the door, Stephen sauntered past Garen to the full length windows, pulled the curtains apart and looked downward.
"Southern Sky Holy Fist Gate has news from Palosa, interested?"
"Spill." Garen’s raised palms slowly moved toward each other in front of him, but wind started blowing in the room. The draft licked the thick black curtains, lifting them without stopping.
"Within the Immortal Palace Alliance, they’ve categorized their members to The Founders and The Comers." Stephen sat in a chair he set his eyes upon, "The Comers were members who joined after it’s been founded, like Duskdune Shura and former Weisman Admiral Griffith. The Founders were actually only two people, Flamingo and Sylphalan."
"What’s the difference?"
"A lot." Stephen grinned. "The Founders were said to be active internationally since decades ago. We weren’t even born yet. On the other hand, The Comers members have been changing for years."
"I thought Palosa and Sylphalan were both heavily injured in their fight?" Garen opened his eyes, confused. "I’ve seen Palosa’s power, even though that wasn’t his strongest persona."
"You don’t think his strongest state is his Indifference persona?" Stephen chuckled and shook his head, "His true strongest state has already been defeated in the battle with Sylphalan. The merging of the three personas, that’s his perfect state. Having three personas essentially means having three Palosa sharing one memory, heading toward three different directions in Martial Arts. The Virtue persona fights head-on, Vice persona utilizes tricks and deception, and Indifference persona merges them both. Only when the three meld together that Palosa will be at his strongest state. It was then that he was worthy of the title Holy Fist."
It was Garen’s first time hearing this explanation.
"No wonder. When I fought him, I felt White Bird Holy Fist lacked a sense of majesty."
"Someone senior told me before. In the Azure Continent, there was a yoga master. He witnessed Palosa in his Holy Fist form. According to him, every movement seemed to be made from Secret Technique. His 178 Secret Techniques are actually the special effects of his 178 Fist Techniques in Holy Fist form. Under normal conditions, they could only be activated with Secret Techniques." Stephen told him another secret.
"Every movement seemed to be made of Secret Technique… If that’s the case, what Palosa said…" Shocked, Garen thought about Palosa’s reply before he left.
"Who knew?" Stephen shrugged. "But you’re not bad too. Your title given by the entire Southern Martial Arts community, the next Holy Fist, Holy Mammoth Garen has already spread to the Northern Martial Arts Union."
"You’re pretty in touch with the situation within the Confederation."
"Can’t help it, the nation with the strongest, largest amount of Grandmasters of Combat, which fighter wouldn’t take notice? But my news was from Andrela. Palosa’s Holy Fist form got defeated, but Sylphalan is also in bad shape."
"This is an opportunity." Garen’s brow furrowed.
"Let’s see how this goes. Immortal Palace Alliance is made up of monsters, he might even have healed."
Three days later, the expo started on schedule.
In a massive hall with golden ceiling and black floor tiles.
Black pillars erected on the floor, showcasing the treasures in a transparent glass cube in the center.
In the hall, hundred of black pillars like this held a single item each, with visitors fluttering about.
Garen is in his black suit. He was holding a glass of hot green tea and stood in front of a black pillar at the edge.
His gaze fell on a antique vase in the pillar.
The thin-necked vase was made of white porcelain and decorated with blue patterns. It looked like an enlarged medicine bottle with its ceramic blue willow pattern and pictures of human activities on its large body.
Several other antique lovers were admiring it in awe.
"This is a rare treasure from an ancient country from the East." An old man with a pair of golden glasses was staring at it in amazement. "This is a wine pot from that country. Why do they make a wine pot this pretty? It’s such a waste. I like the tribal utensils from the Fivestar Continent. They are so wild, so mysterious, so much more attractive." A noblewoman sighed from the bottom of her heart.
"The Ancient East does not only have porcelain bottles! There are other antiques full of detailed delicacy, and at the same time survived history. Many pieces have mystery woven into them as well, like that silver plum blossom candle holder over there…" The old man wanted to have the last say.
With hushed voices, both of them started debating. Soon after, other people joined in the debate.
Garen set his ears on the debates quietly. He circled around the hall, noticing that debates were spurring at almost every black pillar.
Some were discussing the authenticity of an item, some were confused about the true worth of a piece, some of them even got ready to buy pieces off of their original owners.
The expo had just started, but it’s already crowded with participation.
Garen didn’t see King of Nightmares and Andrela, they each have their own plans and execution style. The three were together because of a common goal, but the means to their ends took a vastly different approach depending on their personalities.