Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 41


41 Cheating
When Lineir peered into the gaping rent he had cut into the golem, he saw countless mechanical gears motionlessly stuck together. At the very inside of the forehead there was a glowing circular object.

"Is this, a magical beast core?"

Curious, Lineir reached inside and yanked it out. Smoothly, with very little resistance, a golden gear appeared, similar to what one might find in a clock. The object was unexpectedly heavy and Lineir's hand actually sank a little after hefting it. The size of a plum, it radiated gently looking somewhat like a child's depiction of the sun with a cheerful golden glow.

"Disciple, that is no beast core. Or rather, it's hardly a single one.... What you're holding appears to be a collection of magical cores. That is to say, that core contains several low level cores fused together! While it's unfortunate that your devour ability can only consume living hearts, you can at least cultivate using this core in the traditional way. If you passively absorb energy from this core as you go, you will sharply increase your rate of absorption of elemental energies. I'd rate this core as being on par with a fifth tier magical beast, the energy is that pure!" Mei ecstatically shouted out. Then unbeknownst to Lineir she fell silent, embarrassed and said to herself.

"I can't believe I'm getting excited over a fifth tier core. What a joke, when my body was here, such a core wouldn't even be enough to be jewelry...."

Lineir was happily cultivating away as he walked. It could be said that he really gained from this event. While he could not instantly gain from this strange core as he would if he were to consume living cultivators, just passively training with such a pure core was extremely beneficial. As a matter of fact...

Rumble!

From the sky, arced in a massive bolt of lightning, which blasted Lineir. However, as soon as he had heard the Heaven's thundering, he had immediately dropped down to the ground. Mei instantly summoned the black sword into Lineir's hands,

"You're breaking through, you know what to do!"

Lineir kneeled low and slammed the blade into the ground. Then he covered his head and neck with his arms, the bone scythes snicking out protectively.

BANG!

A metallic reverberating explosion rang out as the lightning forcibly struck the sword, cloudy currents of electricity arcing around, several stray bolts striking his bone scythes which hissed as they resisted the energy. Then it was quiet. Lineir's ringing ears made the quiet feel like silence.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! It worked, Mei-Mei you're a genius!" Lineir began laughing madly. "It's a shame that Nero Sect was already crushed by the pillar, or I could go and crush them myself now!" Mei too was laughing,

"What did I tell you Disciple, am I not amazing? Normally that tribulation lightning would have been a true trial to face, the Heavens do not take kindly to one who uses elemental lightning especially with my technique. To cultivate as a mortal in the weapon of the gods, is truly offensive to the heavens. However, by allowing the heaven defying aura of this sword to emanate for a moment, the tribulation lightning was naturally diverted! It came down seeking a mere Gathering Storm cultivator, but instead sensed a terrifying presence, which can break fate itself. A remnant of Madraeyal! Naturally, which one do you think the tribulation lightning would try to exterminate, a mere fledgeling cultivator, or something touched by The Fatebreaker? Of course it went for the sword, and you only had to deal with some slight shocks!"


Both master and disciple were cackling, and Lineir was actually rolling on the burnt ground. If anyone was there watching, it would have looked utterly ridiculous. However, it was justified. What Lineir had done, was to actually cheat the Heavens. As a practitioner of the lightning element, which was in fact one of the chosen weapons of the gods, tribulation lightning naturally sought to exterminate him. But what he had done could really be said to have cheated the Heavens! He had completely avoided the main blow and simply funneled it to the ground. If the gods were watching, Lineir imagined that even they would be shaking a fist at him right now. At that thought, he stopped rolling around and quickly grabbed Mei's sword.

"Alright, time to go, before the Heaven's notice they missed."

Onwards he went up the pillar. He actually advanced with the golem's core in his mouth, slowly absorbing energy as he walked. This golem's core had really brought him great benefits, allowing him to finally break through realms and enter the next stage of cultivation. If he didn't need the energy so bad, he would have popped out what was left of it and carried it as a good luck charm.

"Alas, being a poor cultivator is truly difficult, I must use every tool available." So saying, he drew out more energy and slowly reduced the size of the core some more. Presently, he stopped as another golem came out.

"Good gods, what the hell were the makers of this place thinking?!?!" Despite perhaps finally breaking past the first five percent of the portion of the pillar under the clouds, Lineir sighed endlessly. The golem in front of him was twice as big as the last, with arms like tree trunks and a body which could not even be entertained as human sized.

"Disciple, I advise you turn around, that thing, no doubt contains a powerful core which would skyrocket the speed of your cultivation. But fighting that thing, the shockwaves from it's stomp alone are probably enough to make the ground rumble. There is no way you're going to be able to penetrate into the thick forehead to deliver a critical strike. Leave!"

Lineir had no objections. Mei was completely correct in her assessment. Even with Mei's help, Lineir had barely managed to cut past the forearms of the last golem into the forehead to unleash his powerful current. It was extremely unlikely that a current delivered to anywhere else would be close enough to the important inner workings to stop the golem as before. Even though he had just broken through to another realm, Lineir had no confidence in beating something with this much armor. He turned around and made to go back, then froze again.

"Mei, are my eye's playing tricks on me, there's another one!" Indeed, in front of Lineir was another golem, which was steadily walking closer to him. This one was a darker color than the first, an obsidian color. It gave off a terrifying feeling, and was slowly walking towards Lineir. He instinctively turned around and faced the first golem which was the same metallic color as the ones before.

"Alright kiddo, by the looks of it, things are going to get tricky now. The golems here, are far tougher, and they appear to be following specific routes rather than just standing around. That obsidian colored one behind you gives me a bad feeling. Besides, you'd be going backwards anyways, your best choice is to fight the one in front of you. I don't know how to beat it, but maybe you can find a way past."

Lineir looked over his shoulder, terrified that any second now, the obsidian one would come close enough to sense him and would lock its arms by its sides and start running at him. He hesitantly took a step forward, then after steeling himself, launched himself at the silver colored golem in front. As he neared, the golem snapped up, its eyeless metal face staring directly at him. It reached out a hand which could encircle Lineir's entire body and Lineir stamped the ground, shifting his trajectory around the fist.

"FAST! This one is way faster than the first, even though it's so much bigger!" Spinning around, Lineir didn't even try to cut the arm with his bone scythes, he tried to run past the golem. Instantly the golem hopped at an insane speed for its size and Lineir found his way blocked again.

"Damnit, I can't get around, its simply too big, I have to fight." He looked at the refractive shiny black surface of Mei's sword to see behind him without actually turning. The obsidian golem behind him was mindlessly trudging in another direction. Lineir sighed,

"At least I won't have to fight two of these things... damnit!"

WRRRRAAAANG

The golem took another swing shaking the air. This one was simply too fast and aggressive, not only was it bigger, it was in essence, smarter than the last.

"There's no way to get past, and taking it out with one hit is not an option. There's no way out unless..."

As it swung at him again, Lineir just barely dodged by a hair's breath. As he spun by, he lashed out viciously with his sword, and summoned the power of the Gathering Storm Stage for the first time.

"Surge!"

From his sword, which was just whispering along the hard thick arm, a monstrous electric current came and dancing sparks ran along the arm. The golem tried to pull back its arm, but could only stiffly hold it by its side as it hung there, stunned.

"Success, I might not be able to get it in one shot, but I can at least take it apart one piece at a time!"

Before the golem could swing again Lineir had danced by and slashed the other arm.

"Surge!" Now the golem was simply an armless thing with no defenses. It still mindlessly blocked Lineir's way, but as he ran up and launched a two handed penetrating stab like a miner might use a pickaxe at its head, the golem simply whirred and did nothing. The sword pierced into the silvery defenseless forehead, and Lineir finally attempted to directly confront the strength of the metal. Summoning the weight of darkness, Lineir plunged the sword deep inside, and panting unleashed the current directly into the center of the head,

"Surge!!"

The golem stopped all movement, slowly tipping over.

"Awesome! The power of the Gathering Storm Stage is amazing. I feel like I can fly, my body is completely under my control. I could even take down this monstrous golem given enough time!" With a furtive glance around, Lineir began the difficult process of widening the penetrating wound he had made to get to the core inside. Whatever was inside must surely be of great value to power something so large. After several minutes of work, the core was revealed and removed.

"Disciple, you've hit the jackpot. This core is equal to a sixth tier core! If you could devour this directly, you'd advance to the middle of the Gathering Storm Stage right now! Hurry up and finish absorbing that fifth tier golem core in your mouth, this candy is much sweeter!" Naturally, Lineir should finish the lower tier core first. Higher tier cores were incredibly valuable, but their value was in the purity. Lower tier cores were less useful the higher up in cultivation you were as they weren't pure enough for cultivators at that point. Thus you needed to benefit from them as much as possible in the beginning if you did not have access to many top grade cores. To absorb a higher tier core before a lower tier was simply wasteful at this level.

"Master, this is amazing, I've benefited so much from this tower, even if the gods themselves placed heavenly treasures at the top, if this pillar were to disappear into thin air right now, I would still be satisfied with my gains."

Down below however, the greater sects were singing a different tune then Lineir. They had just entered the pillar and were battling it out madly with hundreds of golems!

"Patriarch Goldive, there's too many, we have to retreat, they just keep coming!" Frantically, various elders urged him to call back the sect. Patriarch Goldive was striking the golems viciously, blasting them apart with his Three Flames Fists, but for every one he killed there were two more to take the first's place, and they were getting bigger!

"I don't understand, why are there so many, this pillar is guarded so heavily! We must fight on though, we absolutely cannot allow any of the other great sects a chance to profit form this place, I am sure there are absolutely heavenly treasures at the top!"

On and on they slaughtered, but they made no progress, the number of golems was seemingly endless. The other great sects were having the same thing happen to them elsewhere on the vast pillar. Simply put, it was a massacre! While they slew hundreds of golems, countless core disciples died, and even the Patriarchs were growing tired. The number of golems was just too many!

But why the descrepency? Lineir managed to ascend without nearly so much trouble? Unknown to both Lineir and the great sects, taking a group into this pillar was almost impossible! Firstly, taking a large group would naturally attract more attention. More traps would be triggered, and large groups would run into more golems. Neither Lineir nor the great sects knew that killing the golems in fact, attracted more golems! By slaughtering so many, the greater sects were only sealing their own fate! But why was Lineir able to kill two without being swarmed with golems? The answer lay in his method! By stunning the golems and destroying their inner mechanisms with electricity, he inadvertently avoided the natural alert mechanism which triggered when a golem was destroyed. Thus he continued relatively unmolested!

Patriarch Goldive had had enough. He had lost several strong disciples, they had been pulled down by several golems at once, and sheer numbers were slowly whittling down his sect.

"Enough! I will continue forward with the ten main elders of the sect alone! Everyone else, retreat from the pillar!" Running forward, the elders and Patriarch blew past the golems with superior speed.

"I don't care who or what stands in my way, the one who stands on top of this Sky Pillar will be me!"
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