Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 40
40 Ascending The Pillar
"Bloody Hells, how large is this pillar!" Lineir had been nonstop trying to ascend the base for a month now. Progress however... was slow at best. Lineir doubted that he had even made it more than five percent of the way up the visible portion of the pillar. Why was this? There were several reasons. The first was that the pillar was incomparably huge. It literally stretched past the clouds. However, that wasn't all. If it just went straight up, the journey would be long, but not impossibly so. The problem lay in that the pillar was not a straight climb up! It spiraled around itself as a spring might, ring after great ring, up into the Heavens. Thus the true length one needed to climb was far greater than it would be if the pillar went straight up. Almost triple the distance! This sheer distance would take even strong powers of the land like patriarchs an enormously long amount of time to traverse.
While the distances involved in climbing the pillar were immense, just ascending it was child's play. Since it spiraled around, the top was in fact a wide walkable path so one could walk up it. But throughout this, traps and constructs abounded, and had to be avoided. Sometimes backtracking was necessary as golems and shifting mechanisms, which were far beyond Lineir's power, appeared. Worse still, Lineir had a nagging suspicion that the pillar had not revealed all of its perils yet. There was something off. The atmosphere didn't feel right. It was as if the higher Lineir went, the worse the invisible feeling of dread got.
"Mei do you sense something odd about this pillar? I feel strange, like a great pressure is bearing down on me."
"Don't worry, disciple, the oxygen level is probably decreasing. While it might be uncomfortable, your cultivation is strong enough to withstand worse. Endure!"
However, despite Mei's consolation, Lineir still felt off. This pillar was far too massive and mysterious. Who created such a thing, and why? The gods? Did he dare try to reach the top, even if he could? There were many stories of mortals who had tried to step above to the Heavens. Most had not ended well. At that moment however, a terrifying creature came in to view on the path ahead. Strange whirling noises came as unknown gears grinded underneath a silver metallic skin. It stood only one and a half meters tall, but was incomparably thick with wide limbs a meter around, and a body two meters wide.
"Shoot a golem! The path behind me took me five hours to pass. Mei, I'm going to try to test this one's strength, going back and finding another way around will take too long!" With that, Lineir rushed in with his fists and launched a vicious elbow, all the while keeping a close eye on the golem. He was waiting for it to make a suspicious move. As he approached, the whirring noise grew louder, but the golem simply stood still.
"Perhaps its rusted and cannot move? Everything here seems old. No, I must be cautious, whoever built this had an incredible grasp of the workings of metal. I cannot underestimate this golem." As his elbow had almost reached the skin, he allowed his bone scythes to slide out, a lethal blade suddenly thrusting directly at the golem's silver head.
At the base of the pillar, the leaders of the great sects had all sent out scouts and were currently trying to avoid conflict with each other while securing as much information about the pillar as possible. In the Fiery Haze Sect, A red-yellow clothed scout was reporting back to the Patriarch.
"Patriarch Goldive, the pillar is safe to ascend, there doesn't appear to be any formations or enchantments which prevent entry whatsoever. However, several traps have been discovered, most of which have already been activated. Obviously the other sects have also sent scouts and have triggered some of the traps. However, it is impossible to determine when these traps were triggered. While no major great sects were in the area when the pillar formed, it cannot be guaranteed that some wandering eccentrics or rogue cultivators have not already entered the pillar. It is simply impossible to know. Thus I suggest that we, the Fiery Haze Sect, immediately enter the pillar. This way, we will not be too late to fight for any benefits or treasures which might appear on such a godly site." Done with his report, the scout saluted and stood there awaiting the Patriarch's orders. At the same time, various other great sects were having similar conversations. They answered as Goldive did,
"We ascend the pillar immediately! All sect members, prepare yourselves to contest this site!" The scout saluted again, and made to leave, but Patriarch Goldive stopped him.
"I can see your hesitancy, speak, what is it?"
The scout took a moment before answering.
"It's nothing esteemed Patriarch, it's just, I feel there is something odd about the pillar. When I was on it, I felt a pressure. There were no signs of any formations, or restrictive barriers, but I cannot shake the feeling that a great weight is bearing down upon me. But I'm sure it's just me."
Goldive stared at the scout with a stone face for a bit. Then he ordered him out,
"Yes... no matter what we ascend now!"
Lineir's bone scythe slashed with great depth and speed at the golem's metallic forehead. Perfect timing, the reach, power, and timing were all perfect! However, to Lineir's astonishment, his bone scythe slid along and left but a fragile white scratch in the silvery metal. Whatever it was, it was harder and more smooth than stone. Lineir immediately backed off as the golem began to whir even louder than before and steam began to come out. It started taking slow steps towards him as he retreated.
"Shoot, despite putting most of my force into that, it barely left a scratch. There is no way I can cut through with my bone scythes, and I dare not test my fists against such a hard material. Mei, lend me a hand, please?" Instantly, droplets of black liquid poured from the base of his bone scythes down his forearms and formed the familiar yet still inexplicably strange black sword.
"For your future development, I won't allow this blade's edge to be too keen, disciple. If you cannot cut down this golem with this level of sharpness and your own power, you'll have to turn back." Mei carefully reminded Lineir. It would be bad for him in the future if he simply swung carelessly and recklessly because his blade was sharper than others.
"Understood!" With a roar, Lineir rushed towards the golem which was now going at him faster than before, a slow run with its incredibly thick legs. The arms remained dead at its side, unused for balance as a normal human would.
"HAAAH!" Blade shining down with the weight of darkness, Lineir swung down and smashed at the same spot on the forehead. However, this time the golem reacted quite quickly. Before Lineir got close, it closed an arm over its head and blocked with a half meter wide forearm. The blade slammed down and sunk into metal deeply this time. The sword, though blunted by Mei, was still incomparably sharp and whatever this silvery metal was, it could not match the black blade's bite. However, the forearm was super thick, and despite Lineir swinging at full force, he could barely get the blade an inch into the forehead once he had sliced through the arm. His blade lodged in the golem's forehead, the golem's other arm, which was thicker than his skull, began to swing towards him! If Lineir took a hit from that, he doubted he would escape with his bones intact. Lineir cried out!
From the blade embedded in the forehead of the golem, a raging electric current came, spreading along the entire body. Yellow sparks spread across the metallic surface, and with a great hiss, steam came out as the golem ground to a halt and stopped, Lineir's blade lodged in the surface. The hulking golem's arm stopped but inches away from Lineir and he sighed in relief.
"I'm glad that worked. Or else that golem definitely would have broken a few ribs. This is troubling, this golem is significantly bigger than the one we saw yesterday, it would seem the farther we go up, the bigger and stronger they will get. I was just barely able to beat this one, I had better not fight another one head on. Fortunately, I have the rare element of lightning from you Mei."
"Yes, you are indeed lucky to have this element. Among cultivators it is prized for while difficult to train, if you happen to have the even more rare cultivation techniques for it, it is capable of directly attacking nervous systems and bypassing defenses. That is before it is even cultivated to the ultimate level, where the user can actually slice through anything and everything with concentrated lightning. In this entire plane, none should have access to the kind of instruction I am giving you in this regard, and you should be the only one to pull off this kind of stunt on this golem. Of course, others could just overpower it with pure power, but still, if you play your cards right, for your power level you will be able to defeat opponents such as this even if they have more raw power than you."
Lineir rolled his eyes. While what she had said was true, Mei had a tendency to be immensely smug when her elemental mastery was mentioned. He had long since given up on commentating. Wrenching the sword out of the golem, he began to search around, looking for weak points and anything he could gain from the wreck.
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