Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 56

56 City By The Sea
Shua Shua Shua!

The once terrifying lines of undead slowly became more horrific, yet pathetic. Their once fearsome howls slowly became gruesome gurgles as the fleshy rotting meat boiled away under flame. As the flames burned ever stronger, the bones were charred and eventually the skeletons tottered and fell, flaming wrecks which had too little mass to support themselves. The bones, unsupported by flesh, and slowly weakening under flame, keeled in on themselves and toppled.

Clack Clack

Waves of undead fell nearly in unison, and at the end, only a few undead which had avoided the flames as well as the great hulking sword skeleton and the mysterious shaman remained, hands outstretched pointing at the men and Lineir. They gradually slowed their charge into a creeping walk, surrounded by the glowing embers of fallen dead. They stared without eyes and mouthed soundless howls without movement, yet every man could hear them mentally. Then they stopped, and knelt. Lineir yelled out and the sergeant quickly followed suit,

"Let's go, I'm unfamiliar with this area, can you lead me sergeant?"

At a brisk pace, but far slower than their all out retreat, they made haste to escape this place. Only when they came to a deep ravine with a wooden bridge did they relax. After crossing, they cut the bridge, and made for the safety of the trees, confident that no matter what restless souls came from behind, they would not be able to follow for some time. The sergeant turned to Lineir and introduced himself,

"My lord, I'm Sergeant Narfiz of Lightholme, can I enquire as to my lord's esteemed name?" He was respectful and courteous, but not overly so, as a man of battle, a debt had been forged when Lineir saved his life, and perhaps even more importantly, all of his men. But in this line of business, such debts came and went everyday. Regardless, he would treat any cultivator with respect, but Lineir had shown power which only the Greater Sects had. Debt or not, giving such high ranking members of society face was common course. Realistically, the Greater Sects couldn't output anywhere near the kind of destruction Lineir had. While the inner sect members, chosen members, and hidden members might have comparable or higher cultivation bases, Lineir's masterful use of dual darkness and lightning was at a fine level which they could not hope to match. Under Mei's tutelege, Lineir was not simply strong... he was... refined. Such is the nature of true power, the largest hunks of iron can not cut nearly so well as a well forged steel blade. Lineir quickly thought of an alias, he preferred not to use his real name, and he also could not use the name Chains, for fear of attracting unwanted attention.

"You may call me Lord Light, Sergeant Narfiz, may I ask where Lightholme is in relation to other places, I have been away from worldly matters for a long time in secluded training, and it is only by chance that I left the wilderness."Lineir desperately wanted to know where he was, of all his questions, this was the most pressing. All his goals revolved around heading back to the area near Dracherus City.

"Ahh my lord, I'm afraid the best I can do is tell you that we are near the ocean, Lightholme is nestled next to the water, and it is through the sea trade which we gain a lot of our revenue, as well as caravans to distribute the goods we get by water inland. There are several cities nearby, but unless you tell me something a bit more specific, that's the best I can do." The sergeant did his best to explain, and Lineir nodded. In reality the rank and file soldiers of cities rarely went far from their places of birth. Indeed, Lineir himself would not have traveled far had it not been for the fact that fate appeared to be broken when it regarded his destiny. He cast about his mind, and inquired carefully of a nearby city. He didn't want anyone to know where he was from, in case he could somehow be linked, even by the smallest of coincidences.

"Tell me, would you happen to know of Adriassa City?" The sergeant's eyes lit up. Lineir had mentioned a city relatively close to his home and Dracherus City to avoid any chance of being discovered.

"My lord, I have indeed heard of Adriassa City, in fact, they are one of our greatest trading partners. There is a caravan which delivers goods there year round. However..." He trailed off until Lineir met his eyes questioningly.

"Well, we've cut off trade with other cities, because of the undead! Of late, Lightholme has been greatly pressed by undead. While the holy order stands firm at the city walls, they refuse to leave to clear out the infestation for fear that any weakening of city defenses would be too dangerous. They'd rather hold tight and hope the infection disappears, or by some chance, someone takes care of the problem. As you've seen, the undead are everywhere around Lightholme, and the holy aura of our city only serves to aggravate them. They are growing more and more bold, and few dare to leave the city walls anymore. We foot soldiers were sent out to try to harvest some wild beasts, but in reality, I fear the higher ups were simply testing to see whether we would come back, six squads have vanished this last month!"

At this moment, Lineir and the squadron came out from the wilderness, upon a small hill, and caught glimpse of a magnificent city in the distance. High domed buildings occasionally crested over expansively thick walls. Various holy crosses were studded on top of several holy structures, smelted from mercurial silver. This was Lightholme, a holy city constructed by the holy order to defend their God's will on earth. Such a city, nestled with the ocean at its back and high walls at its front, was near impossible to breach with an army. The temptation to hide from the undead was clear... with walls so high that giants would trip over them, what incentive was there for them to leave the city? Mei surmised this all to Lineir with a glance, but she worriedly also remarked,

"The ocean is truly a good redoubt to have at your back, but when walls fall, only those with ships will find it a way out. I fear the rest would simply realize they have willingly built their homes inside an unescapable cage..." Lineir's eyes colored red and the crimson words came, as a burning sensation stirred in his shoulders, back, and feet.

The Hells are bound below us onto the earth, our eyes travel up the well of air into the Heavens. But this does not mean that our limit is of earth nor sky. Look beyond the narrow sky above the towering well. From the bottom where you may only see a sliver of freedom you cannot understand, break free of your chains and walk where you may, fly where you will, and live where you want!
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