Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 26
26 Strange Noises
The soft almost crying noise cut out immediately at his touch. Lineir was paralyzed like a tiny mouse was when looking into the eyes of a cat. He kept very still as if Mei could pounce at any time. His hand still on her head, Mei's eyes slowly came up from the ground and stared viciously into his. The intent was clear, and Lineir knew that his end was near.
Mei's small hands were reaching up with alarming speed towards his neck when Lineir's eyes opened and he found himself gagging on lingering stomach acid as his torn body flailed about in the stomach of the False Water Serpent.
"Owwww...I'm alive. There's even light in the belly of the False Water Serpent, what the hell happened!" So saying, he also chuckled, it was a good thing he woke up or he might have died.
"I'm probably the only person ever to be glad to wake up inside the stomach of a water serpent." Painfully, he stood up on the squishy belly tissue.
"This is freaking disgusting!" Lineir complained. He half expected Mei to call him out for complaining, but she was definitely mad at him and his thoughts were the only ones in his head.
"Come on, I was only trying to comfort you, it was an instinct! Mei-Mei you should be glad to have such a caring disciple, don't be angry." It was useless though, all he got was silence. When he examined himself miraculously his burns were almost all healed. He shrugged and made his way to one of the gleaming streams of light in the wall of the stomach. Whatever had happened, it had definitely killed the False Water Serpent, not only was the head ripped clean off, leaving a large gaping hole at the top of the stomach where the neck should be, the whole body had been ripped apart with terrifying slash marks going all the way through the skin which was at least a meter thick. With a shudder, Lineir hopped out of the hole where the neck used to be onto a stony floor. The body of the serpent was too torn up, it could collapse at any moment and he doubted he'd survive that, forbidden techniques or not.
The rocky floors were a soothing cold on his burned feet as they slapped on the hard surface. His clothes had been completely eaten away by acid in some places, it was amazing that he hadn't been digested.
"If my clothes are like this... then how tough is my body to have survived and to have actually healed once the stomach acids had drained out? What happened... I remember a roar... and then getting smacked around. I swore for a moment the red elemental energy was finally fusing. I must have imagined it..." He quickly circulated the energy in his Second Heart and ascertained that indeed, the only energies inside were clearly lightning and darkness.
"Where am I?"
In front of him the setting sun was shining and he realized he was on the precipice of a sheer cliff. The place he had come was a vast cavernous cave high the sky in which the headless body of the False Water Serpent lay, the incoming light illuminating terrifying wounds all along its length. Mei still refused to say anything and Lineir panicked for a moment. The sword! Where was the sword which was Mei's Final Heart. He frantically looked around and finally a familiar irate and tart voice came into his mind,
"Oh, finally looking for me? You won't be able to find me, I already turned back into liquid form and am currently inside your heart again. Until you've properly trained yourself you can keep your hands off of me!" She lapsed back into silence and Lineir sighed.
"This is definitely not my fault! I told you it was a reaction!!"
Stomping his way back to the corpse, he tried to figure out what could have caused all this to happen. The serpent had leapt out of the lake, that much was clear. It was falling after Lineir had entered the belly of the beast, but before it landed, it stopped. Something must have caught it in midair. For something to have caught it however, it must have been massive. Furthermore, it must have been able to fly. Lineir froze,
"Those goats...we never found any tracks. Whatever killed them was either really small... or it killed them from the sky!" He whipped his head from the corpse lying in the cave back outside to the bright sky and scanned the horizon furiously. Whatever had done this could be flying out there right now. Suddenly, a loud noise came from behind the corpse of the False Water Serpent.
Lineir almost jumped off the edge of the cliff before he realized that whatever had done this couldn't possibly fit behind the corpse. The cave was too small.
"There's no way... it's just the wind. I need to find a way out of here before whatever did this comes back for the night!"
The long dragging hiss came again! Lineir became a statue as he listened intently, trying to figure it out.
"Whatever it is can't be that large... there's no room" He started taking small steps, quietly making his way around the corpse. Eventually, he found his way around and saw... Nothing! There was nothing behind the corpse. But where the hell was the sound coming from then?
Lineir paled. The sound had come from behind him. Whirling around, his bone scythes came out to find... just the scaly hide of the dead False Water Serpent, riddled with gaping holes.
"There's nothing here, the False Water Serpent is clearly dead. What is making that noise!" Frustrated, he delivered a thunderous kick to the dead serpent's hide.
"This is your fault!" he shouted aloud.
"Why'd you have to try and eat me huh? I was just trying to hunt a first tier magical beast and you had to go and eat me alive! That hurt!" He slashed the hide with his scythes, but it was to little effect, even dead the scales were hard as rock.
CLANG! The bone blades bounced off, but they made a loud noise. At the same time, the hissing came again only to cut off abruptly.
Lineir unable to tell where the noise was coming from backed up from the corpse and crouched next to the wall, ready for anything. Strange popping noises appeared, and the corpse began to shift and wriggle as if something was inside it.
"Mei, please help me out, I could really use a sword right now!" As Lineir entered legitimate danger, black liquid quickly flowed out in small streams and the sword appeared once again in his hands.
"I hope whatever it is eats you!" No advice came from Mei, though it was clear from her actions that she wasn't angry enough to let him fight weaponless. Lineir however already had his own plan of action. Inching on tip toe, he made his way with utmost care around the corpse. If he could just get to the entrance of the cave, he might be able to climb out! While it was a steep and sheer cliff, with his bone scythes to stab into the rock, let alone Mei's sword, and his increased endurance, he felt with reasonable confidence that he wouldn't fall to his death.
"Even if I fall... it's still better than getting eaten right?"
As he had almost made it past the corpse, he had just reached the gaping hole where the neck had been torn off, the corpse suddenly rippled violently from a great force.
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