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458 Heinous Path of Blood

    Five days later.

    Ever since the universal government had fallen apart, and each faction had become an independent power, the shared galaxies had either become immense battlefields, or given up but those who did not possess a high enough share to compete for their egemony.

    In one of the abandoned galaxies, previously owned by a large number of smaller factions, which had now either grown enough in power to conquer bigger territories or were wiped out by the rise in strength of their former competitors, was a small desolate planet called Homia.

    Only inhabited by a few surviving members of its natives, the population of this planet only reached the hundreds, and only with tens of thousands of years they would finally be able to repopulate.

    Unfortunately, to arise from its ashes was not Homia's destiny, as instead of the battles between cultivators that had already destroyed most of it, to bring it to its end, were two men. These two men were the Brutal and the parasitic king, and they were floating outside of the planet's atmosphere, observing the surface with interest.

    "Are you sure they are hiding here? I doubt master will forgive another screw up." Said the parasitic king to the Brutal, with a tone filled with contempt.

    In the past the Brutal would have never allowed anyone to talk to him like this. But now, he was only a slave of the Murderous God, and as such, he had been beaten into a submissive state. The only remaining spark of pride present in the Brutal's mind flared up, and for a moment he thought of fighting the parasitic king, who would have never dared to speak to him like this only two years earlier, but he didn't. He could feel that the parasitic king was different than before.

    "They are somewhere in his planet." he muttered while keeping his head low, and keeping his cards for the fight ahead.

    The parasitic king, former leader of a mid level faction, found indescribable pleasure in provoking those who before, had treated him like he was nothing. But more than that, he was eager to try his new powers. With his lips curved into a smile, the parasitic king opened his arms. Suddenly, the skin that covered his body cracked, and moments later, his body broke apart, and started to grow in size.

    The disgusting rubbery sound of chitin rubbing together, and sight of insect legs moving around sent a shiver down the spine of the Brutal, who could do nothing but observe as the parasitic king turned into a monstrous clump of worms.

    Once it reached the size of an asteroid, from deep within the moving clump of insects, the head of a massive worm emerged, and after opening up and showing its many circles of sharp teeth, plunged into the planet's crust.

    What followed were a few minutes of eerie silence which was soon disturbed by a series of devastating earthquakes, that along with wiping out the remaining survivors of the planet's population, split the various continents into smaller islands. From the many cracks that divided these islands could be seen the king's body, lurking and digging.

    Bit by bit the surface of the planet was chipped away by the parasitic king, leaving the planet's core with less coverage by the minute, until finally, almost directly exposed by the colder temperature of the sidereal space, and constantly stripped away of its heath, the core solidified.

    Chipping away at the planet's mass, the gravity of the planet quickly decreased, ultimately turning from a round mass of dirt, water and stone, to a three-dimensional archipelago of cold and uninhabited rocks. In between these massive rocks, were millions of kilometers of worms and insects which used their sharp teeth to grind the boulders that kept them together.

    This went on for two long hours, when finally, the parasitic king started to lose its patience. "Incompetent idiot!" Said a deep and monstrous voice that came from the depths of the king's main body. However, before the Brutal could respond, the parasitic king lost an immense portion of his body.

    Seemingly unaffected by this amount of damage, the parasitic king retreated outside of the planet, and observed in silence as two figures emerged from in between the islands, and both covered in tattered black robes that hid their appearances, floated out in silence.

    After finding them, the body of the parasitic king quickly shrunk, only stopping once he had turned into a humanoid being covered by a chitin shells built in layers, and a size that reached the twenty meters in height, and the thousands of kilograms in weight.

    "You keep the other one at bay while I capture that kid.. I will come and help you when I am done." He said before shooting through space in the direction of the figure that was holding two single-edged blades.

    The Brutal seemed to be taken aback by the actions of the parasitic king, and raised his arm in an attempt to stop him, but then, he remained quiet. Instead, he turned towards the Swordsman, who had already grabbed his sword, and injected his power into its veins. Then, like tradition in every encounter between two children of Iewah, the two engaged in a violent fight.

    The parasitic king was ecstatic. Not only had the Murderous God taken him in as a follower, took away the stress of leadership from him, and given him a method of cultivation, but had also promised him that if his mission was a success, he would be granted the next step of what was called the 'Heinous Path of Blood', the method of cultivation invented by the murderous god himself, and practiced by his sect in his plane of origin, the Nether dimension.

    In the cultivator that stood in front of him, he saw a way to rise above those whom he had to bow his head to until now, and nothing but success was acceptable.

    As he reached the hundred meters of distance from the lone warrior, the layered body of the parasitic king opened up into thousands of mandibles, revealing a massive mouth where he would trap him, but before he could reach him, the hooded figure let go of his left sword, and grabbed the remaining one with both hands.

    He then raised it up above his head.

    The slashing motion that came after was not at all impressive. In fact, if any master of the art of the sword had seen it, they would claim that it was just the training of a competent fighter, but that was far from the truth. The space sliced by the sword followed the path traveled by the blade, and with a white shine, shot towards the massive body of the parasitic king.

    Unable to avoid it in time, or even pose any form of resistance against it, the body of the parasitic king was cut cleanly into two parts, who parted further away the closer they came, and floated past him.

    What the Brutal had stopped himself from revealing, was the fact that the real problematic one amongst the two was not the Swordsman, whom he had fought hundreds of times in the past, but Jerigh, who in the time between the numerous fights that took place during the last year, had risen to the strength of the two brothers, and learned the sword intent, a power that was believed to be exclusive to the swordsman himself.

    Unfortunately, Jerigh was not the only one that had grown in power, and right after moving past him, the two halves of the parasitic king joined back together. Once whole, the face of the parasitic king disappeared from where it was, and reformed on the back of his head. Similarly, his elbows and knees twisted around, making him look as if he was always facing Jerigh's back.

    Before Jerigh could react, the parasitic king extended his arm, and pointed his palm towards him, and from the middle of it, emerged a column of insects that washed over Jerigh, covering his body completely.

    The excited expression quickly disappeared from the monstrous face of the parasitic king, as he began to feel how every single insect that approached the young man's skin, would be cut into pieces.

    Inside this living hurricane Jerigh focused to maintain his thin barrier of sword intent, while he would only directly slice personally when a particularly big part of the parasitics king's body would approach him.

    This situation went on for what felt like hours, and after so much time wasted in consuming power, and turning it into waves of insects only so that they could be destroyed right after, the parasitic king was running out of patience. To add salt to the injury, was the fact that whenever he could feel himself close enough to get a hold of Jerigh's body, he would always avoid him just in time, no matter how many times, only able to rip his black coat one piece at a time.

    The Murderous God had given him a time limit, which once remembered, quickly turned his impatience into frustration and worry. With this state of mind to poison his mind, he kept on trying and failing, until finally, he noticed how the swordsman and the brutal came to a stalemate, and due to the impact of a particularly powerful exchange, the injured body of the latter was thrown in his direction.

    The parasitic king did not think twice about it, and moved himself to stop the motion of the brutal, but instead of deaden the impact with his body, his arrival was met with the opened mouth present on his chest.

    "WHA-NO!!" Shouted the brutal as the king's lines of teeth moved independently,pulling him deeper into his mouth, crushing his bones, ripping his flesh, and soaking in his blood.

    One of the very few explanations given to him by the Murderous Gods about the Heinous Path of Blood, was that once one would purify their body and begin cultivating it, they would turn every living being around them into their personal cultivation resources. Their blood, flesh, bones, and even spirits, would become something that they could devour, and from which they would be able to draw an immense amount of power.

    Sure enough, after the body of the Brutal was turned into bloody shreds, and swallowed by the parasitic king, an odd form of power began to appear on the latter's body. Blood red in color, and powerful enough to put any individual cultivator in the former universal government into shame. That power, was blood aura.

    While the blood aura was a power that the parasitic king could momentarily use, it was not his own, and instead, like spiritual essence, would need to be absorbed by the cultivator, and turned into a blood child. Only then would the cultivator be able to produce his own blood aura.

    The blood aura that was reinforcing the parasitic king, on the other hand, was quickly dissipating, as he had decided to devour the brutal not because he wanted to use him to cultivate, but to augment his power. As of now, this power was nothing but a taste of something that he could obtain if allowed to cultivate the path created by the Murderous God.

    Exhilarated by this immense strength, the parasitic king turned back into his human form, and suddenly disappeared. When he reappeared, he was floating right behind the swordsman, and inside his area of absolute destruction. However, he was not being injured. With a smile that went from ear to ear, he looked at the skin of his hand as the invisible blades brushed past him, leaving only white marks.

    With a confidence as high as the moon, he turned to look at the Swordsman and reached for him with his arm, but right as he was about to touch his black robe, the latter's sword flashed past his hand, cutting the webbing in between his fingers, and causing him to instinctively retract his hand.

    Enraged by his exaggerated reaction over what was only a small cut, the parasitic king once again reached for the swordsman's body, but this time, he ignored the millions of small cuts, and managed to grab him by the throat. Then, with a power supported by a large portion of the blood aura.. *SNAP*
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