Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 54


54 Field Of 100 Steps
On another world, somewhere far, far, away two men fought a private battle unwatched by mortal eyes.

"You... how can you be? Are you one of the elder gods? This power cannot be wielded by those chained with mortality!" A shout rang out from a man whose clothes were in tatters, floating in the air. He looked as one might after shivering in the path of a hurricane, battered, soaked in not water but blood, and desolate. He was awed by a power which he could not comprehend.

The other man, immovable, standing atop a mountain peak, spoke for the first time,

"An elder god? You insult me, an old god, let alone the elder gods could not rend Heaven and Earth to nothingness. I am not so weak." This immovable man raised his blade and closed his eyes. A terrifying feeling flowed up from the battered man's insides. It was as if the very fabric of reality was moving, his guts squirmed as gravity had begun to rise up and rebel against the chains of its nature.

"You should leave. This place is already empty. Those who will die, will die. I do not desire to kill one who follows the old rules of battle. You have honor, if you flee now, you will survive this ending." So saying, he raised the blade ever higher, and the feeling of impending doom came ever stronger. The defeated man felt his guts trying to escape from his body. However, he did not move.

"I will not move. I will witness this ending. For so long I have wandered, cultivated, and reached for the pinnacle. But having seen you now, I have no desire to fight anymore, I wish only to experience this power one last time. This power which I will never achieve. Let me die having known it with my own body!" The battered man raised his sword as well, leveling it with the immovable man's, a shivering sliver of steel against a blade which held the impending doom of Fate itself.

"I hope you do not mind if I test your strike with one of my own!" He shouted out and slashed forward, visible whirling ripples slicing through the air.

The immovable man opened his eyes slightly and sighed,

"You know, I was once mortal too. This height, this pinnacle, you were not so deep in the abyss as to never climb out and reach it. But if dying here is your wish, then I can only grant it."

He closed his eyes again, unwilling to watch the destruction of another world, and lowered his blade. It seemed to fall neither fast nor slow, but when it did, stopping at the mountain peak below, a horrendous crackling came as the world was torn asunder. As if a divine bolt of frozen lightning, the sword's passage blasted the clouds apart, first splitting them in two, then casting the split halves into ever smaller pieces which were further blasted away in writhing circles. The land below was shattered and became a chasm which traversed the entire world. From inside, molten fire glowed before being sloshed aside as the hideous blow rent deeper into the planet. The other battered man's attack hadn't even given the slightest pause to this terrifying blow, and he had simply vanished, gone with the shifting clouds, ash on the wind.


SHUA!

Finally, the Heaven's aura tried to fill in from above, to fill the sundered land and to hold together the falling planet, but upon seeing the divine Qi fall, the immovable man simply snorted and whipped his sword around to slice the air behind him. A dark translucent tear appeared into which he stepped and disappeared. As the tear closed, the Heaven's aura failed to close the mortal wound and the planet imploded from existence. With one blow... it was simply gone, and not even the Heaven's intervention could stop it.

Lineir bounded through the treetops with a speed which would make monkey's wide eyed. His agility was seemingly limitless, and with his vastly enhanced senses, it was a simply matter to weave between branches. At the speed he was going, few things should be able to see him, let alone catch him as the dense cover of the leaves would keep him sheltered. He couldn't shake a nagging feeling of dread however... This unease kept pace with him as he went, and he constantly looked over his shoulder to see nothing but dark spots in the trees.

"It's nothing..." Everytime, there was nothing there, but his instincts kept screaming, and his undead heart, began to pound faster and faster. This feeling, was simply fear. Something inside of him told him that he was being followed, and as time went on, the feeling only got worse and worse.

"Kiddo, what's got you so spooked, calm down, you're wasting energy going to fast. Pace yourself." Mei admonished Lineir, the wasting of energy always got on her nerves. Lineir could only slow down and apologize, though he continued to glance over his shoulders,

"Sorry Mei-Mei, I've just got this feeling, I think you can tell, my heart just won't stop beating." At this, Mei laughed and joked,

"Oh, should I stop it then?" For a second, Lineir's heart stuttered, and he stumbled. He yelped angrily, but smiled, he felt marginally better now,

"When do you think we'll get out of this jungle master?" Lineir had been traversing the treetops nonstop for hours now, his cultivation allowed him this, but it was still a little tiring, especially with the mental strain of looking over his shoulder all the time.

"I'm not sure, you may not remember, but when that dragonkin was flying us onto the cliff, we had a pretty good view of the size of this wilderness. As far as I could tell, this wilderness keeps going quite a ways, we're really in the middle of nowhere." Mei remarked. Suddenly, screams filled the air, and the howling rasp of the ungrateful dead tore at Lineir's ears.

"HOLD DAMNIT HOLD! These things will follow us forever, we're too tired to make it to the city, we have to hold here!" A deep but panicked voice sounded.

Lineir stopped as he alighted on a branch and observed a peculiar situation ahead. A strange three way standoff came to view. In front of him, was a ragged line of tottering undead soldiers, all howling and running forward. Further ahead, to the left of these undead, was a squadron of human soldiers, the sergeant was desperately yelling at them to hold their ground, though shaking hands and legs betrayed their desire to flee. To the right, was a group of magical beasts, which were slowly backing away as well. Between the humans and the beasts were several bodies, evidently they had been fighting, when the undead had appeared. Now... the humans and beasts were frozen as the undead fearlessly encroached.

"Raaaawr..." With a soft growl, the leader of the magical beasts, turned and fled, the rest following as well.

The humans however, tired and battered without the toughness and endurance of the magical beasts, could only sit tight. Should they try to run, in the jungle, the undead which did not know how to be tired, would surely catch up. They had to make a last stand here. As the men tightened their hold on their shields and swords, and were readying themselves to receive the unholy enemies, a shadow flickered from behind.

Flicker

It danced between the undead, weaving in and out so fast that the undead could only snarl in confusion. Streaks of lightning Qi flowed around, and a crackling web formed. This shadow was Lineir, and he was engaging in an elaborate waltz amongst the undead. Fortunately, these undead were definitely a grade lower, smaller, slower, and weaker, than the ones he had encountered earlier, deeper in the forest. They were unable to track his blindingly fast movements, and as he flitted from one to another, they would often swing at empty air, or hit each other. Finally, Lineir deemed he had hit enough. The soldiers in front, had frozen as the undead mob had suddenly caved in on itself, its advance halting as individual undead appeared to turn and fight amongst themselves.

"This should do it."

Each of his attacks from earlier had been a miniature version of the Reverse Lightning Slash. Now... the charges were set and it was time to detonate! The dancing web of lightning swirled around brightly atop the mob of undead.

"Storm! Lightning Rebound, Field of 100 Steps!"

CHIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A massive metallic nose rang out as lightning seemed to strike everywhere at once. The undead were blasted to pieces and cooked as the glowing web folded in on itself, convulsed, and then exploded!

In the aftermath of the devastation, Lineir walked out and strode in front of the dumbfounded sergeant and the squad of soldiers. They gaped, and then began to cheer. However, Lineir leaped over them and began to run.

"Come on, before more come!"
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