"I can't believe it," the Emperor said. "I had always thought it was the son that had lived, not the daughter. Not that it matters to me anymore. I never planned on going after you, but if you come to me yourself, I will simply finish the deed from 30 years ago."

"You bastard!" Clara shouted and spikes of shadows grew out from underneath her.

The Emperor, despite his age, nimbly jumped back to avoid the spikes, while sending his own crystalline spikes back at Clara.

Clara pulled up a veil of shadow that devoured all the spikes. She was about to go back to attack the Emperor when she sensed movements from around her. She fell into the shadow beneath her, dodging the attacks that fell on her from all sides at once.

The Emperor's guards had come to his rescue.

The 7 men, all with different Elemental Essence gathered where Clara had disappeared from and looked around.

The Emperor frowned. "You lot, stay behind. You are not her match," he said.

The guards turned back to look at the Emperor in utter disbelief. Each and every single one of them here was a True Essence Soul fighter. So how could the Emperor say that they weren't strong enough?


Fear grew in their heart for a possibility, which the Emperor confirmed when he spoke.

"She's in the Stellar Harmony realm. You guys are absolutely no match," he said.

They were shocked beyond belief as the Stellar Harmony realm was nothing but a tale to most people that they only knew truly existed because the Emperor himself had reached it after hundreds of years of absorbing Essence.

He might have been slow as finding Crystal Essence was damn near impossible in this world, but still, it was far more readily available than when compared to something like the Shadow Essence, which this girl had.

Then… how could this girl have taken it?

"The treasury was missing when we first looted the Grazer family," the Emperor said. "She must've used it all, a great Essence crystal mine's worth of Shadow Essence, all in that little girl."

The Emperor didn't know if he was getting angry or not. He had believed that he had stopped caring about the lost Shadow Essence, but seeing it being all put into one girl, he was quite angry.

He looked around for the girl, but he couldn't see her at all. He closed his eyes and started sensing the world around him to find the girl that couldn't have been far away.

As he was doing that, he sensed something else. Another person with a decent amount of Essence was running away.

He quickly opened his eyes and looked toward the stage when he saw Ning running away.

"Capture him!" he shouted, pointing at Ning. Ning had already made it past the stage, so he could quickly reach the gate if they didn't stop him.

Once he left, it would be complicated.

The 7 guards all turned to go after him at once when suddenly, one of them swung their hammer to the right.

It was a man with Fire Essence that swung the hammer, and the one that was nearly hit was a person with Wind Essence. He had pulled up his sword at the last moment to block the hammer attack and was sent a few steps back, stumbling on the uneven stage.

"What are you doing?" the other men asked, but the man with the hammer struck again.

They dodged easily as the man wasn't very fast, but he seemed relentless. He was attacking them one after another.

"What's going on!" the Emperor shouted. "Go capture h—"

His words stuck to his mouth when he saw the pitch-black eye of his guard who had most certainly been corrupted by Shadow Essence.

The Emperor immediately looked down and stared in horror as the entirety of the stage was in nothing but shadows, and they were all stepping on it.

"Get off the ground!" he shouted, suddenly creating a platform of crystal that pulled him up a few meters from the ground. The crystal wasn't in the shadow that Clara had gone into, so he felt safe.

The guards tried to move as well, but the guard with the hammer continued attacking.

The Emperor moved and threw a blunt crystal at the man with a rapid speed, hitting him on the side of the head. "Create light!" he shouted.

The guard with Light Essence immediately created a brightly glowing light that drove away the shadow that the evening had placed in the arena.

The light even seemed to be so bright that it drove away the shadow that covered the man with the Fire Essence. He looked around, dazed, and his head hurt a little.

It was impossible to tell whether the Emperor's attack had been helpful in him waking or not, but he had so nobody questioned.

With the guard that created the bright light, they all felt safe. With brightness, they thought they sent away the shadow.

Only, they had forgotten that the brighter the light was, the darker the shadow became.

Clara appeared from behind the man that created the light with a black scythe in hand that moved imperceptibly fast the moment she arrived. The other people noticed and tried to attack her, but a veil of shadow appeared in front of them, and from it flew out crystal spikes that she had stolen from the Emperor early in the fight.

When the veil was gone, so was she. In her place was the Emperor, who struck the ground with his crystal sword, barely missing her once again.

"Dammit!" the Emperor shouted. "We need to find her qui—"

His words stuck to his mouth when something glowing appeared next to him.

The ball of bright light disappeared as the man fell to the ground, his head rolling into the ground. In his stead remained an Essence soul, one with bright butterfly winds, two antennas, and sharp claws for hands.

The Emperor looked at it and immediately realized what had happened. One of his men had died, and his Essence Soul had come out.

And it was most definitely going to want to fight them.