Nine Paths Of Asura Chapter 57

57 Slumbering City
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The fiery itch did not subside for several breaths, and Lineir sighed as a strange feeling of nostalgia crept up inside him. The city by the sea, Lightholme, was so beautiful surrounded by the shady blues of the water, but as the crimson red welled up inside his eyes, violent and horrid purples, violets, and maroons welled up. The world seemed to be enshrouded in the murderous aura of slaughter and death to come and to be. Mei whispered in his mind and Lineir gave a start as he was pulled out of the bloody world of slaughter,

"Kiddo, it looks like having some real battle experience with your new techniques is paying off. Your cultivation base is showing signs of not only stabilizing, but coalescing another level, your Second Heart is certainly soon to break through to the next stage soon. Keep it up!" She said. Lineir, now feeling thoroughly heated up after the Path's of Asura's words, asked the sergeant to enter the city.

"Bring me into Lightholme Sergeant Narfiz."

Deep in the city, far in the center of an architectural wonder, there is a great domed building, in the middle of which lies an eye, an oculus, through which light gathers and illuminates a wondrous scene. The sleeping angel of Lightholme. In a room which spiraled about endlessly in airy white marble, a magnificent white figure lay suspended yet stable in the air. Feathered wings were surrounded in chains which bound it into the ceiling and twisting banisters, yet the opulent white room was not prison for this being. It had a greatness which made one think that it was simply sleeping. Not chained, not restrained, but supported by the world as it slumbered peacefully. Something which is not to be disturbed, on and on the great white angel slept. Alone and uncaring, basking in the radiance of its own peace. Suddenly, a raging black portal whirled into existence at the entrance to the room. The angel, without opening its eyes, lifted its head imperceptibly to meet this portal.

"Laightner, are you still sleeping? My patience is growing thin, the pact is to be enforced, and the price must be paid, but my forces will reach your city soon. Wake up and renounce your ownership, and I will let your people escape this city before my forces come. If you do not acquiesce here, I'm afraid there will be no other chance." A dark haired raven-winged angel stepped out of the black portal and addressed the sleeping one in chains. Other than lifting its head a crack, the sleeping angel in chains did not reply.

"Fine, I have no wish to sow more karma against me with needless slaughter, the Heaven's are always watching, but no one will argue against me if I take what is mine by might here today. It is only right, as justified by Heaven's ways. My forces are on the move, the people of this city will soon find that they are not protected under your radiant light... but damned under your pathetic reluctance to leave. Sleep on foolish angel of old!"

The dark haired raven-winged angel stepped back, backwards into the portal, never turning around, his eyes were fixed on the still slumbering brilliant figure in chains ahead. After the portal whirled to a close, sucked into its own blackness, the sleeping angel's lips curled up and out. A gentle smile, the smile of a grandfather, a mother, a father, and a son, flitted across its face. Whispering with its eyes closed, it seemed to say in its sleep,

"Oh this darkness I see, what a black heart you have. But fear not children of mine, the phoenix answers my call from far away, and deep below, the other comes. Lightholme will not dim before the last night, for there are no shadows permitted in my city." Peacefully, the angel stopped stirring, and fell back into an endless slumber.

Lineir wandered around the city, awestruck by its construction. The buildings were all constructed in a circular manner, seeming to spiral around in an infinite pattern like gears in some heavenly clock. No shadows cept those cast by people existed, the buildings were all brightly lit with lanterns below every crack. His eyes were sucked into each deep fold, and then swirled into another one, as the buildings seemed to meld into each other, this whole city seemed to be without end. Finally, after a long while of staring around, the squad captain laughed and invited Lineir to stay the night,

"Haha, my lord, don't worry, everyone has this reaction on their first visit to Lightholme. But may I ask, do you want to spend the night with us? I'm sure we can ask for one of the officer's quarters to be prepared for you, Lightholme has many such open offices of late..." He trailed off darkly, but smiled, it would unsightly and a loss of face to show despair in front of such an esteemed guest.

"No need Sergeant."

Lineir thought about it for a minute, and then declined. While he hated to spend money, he was now a fairly wealthy person, the numerous spacial objects on him contained wealth which meant staying at an inn was the least of his problems. Plus, he preferred not to associate with the city authorities just yet, his past experiences left him with a deeply ingrained caution against the ruling class and nobility.

"Well, if that's it then milord, I can only say thank you, and that you are always welcome with my squadron, I hope we meet again!" Trudging off, the sergeant and his weary soldiers saluted and then headed off to the barracks.

Lineir quietly explored the city, keeping his head low. After his time spent on the Pillar, he had no idea what his reputation was like, it was altogether possible that while he didn't think he had been noticed, someone had seen him sneaking by after that great battle with the golems. If that was true, then awkward questions might be asked, and the fact that he had survived without the backing of any great Sect would naturally beg the question... how? People's curiosity and greed knew no bounds, and he had no such desire to answer any of those questions. Thus he kept a low profile and made out like any other traveler, concealing the fact that he contained many treasures and cores which would make king's drool and sect Patriarch's eyes grow round with desire.

"Kiddo, there's something off about this city, I'm sensing a great presence deep inside that building over there, look how it towers over all the rest." Lineir felt his eyes pulled by an uncontrollable urge come to a rest on a dome which was as perfect as it was huge. Such quality, its roundness must have been painstakingly planned and carved by the greatest of sculptors of an age.

"Whoever's inside... is powerful, far more powerful than this sleepy little city would suggest. Do not aggravate this presence, I suspect it is the true ruling force in this city, the holy radiance which is irritating the undead we saw is only so strong as it is because of this presence." Suddenly, a deep sonorous horn blew, and bells resounded across the entire city. Men began to squawk, and Lineir saw the sergeant and his squadron suddenly running back, away from the inner city barracks, towards the walls. He called out,

"Sergeant, what's happening?" The sergeant smiled grimly and stated,

"I'm glad you're here milord, while I can't ask you to help, it's comforting to have an expert at our side in these dark times. These horns signal that our city is under attack, but to be by so many... I know of only one situation where that might happen. When the city is under siege by innumerable enemy forces! With our backs to the water, and our walls so high, we have held off countless enemy assaults before. However, there is only one group of enemies big enough to siege us right now in this area... the undead. We are under siege from the undead!" He began to run to the wall again.

"Come with us if you want to see, we're heading to the walls now! Don't worry, while the city might look sleepy, we will wake for this threat. The Holy Order's Paladins cannot ignore this threat at our door now, they will be forced to take action. Our city is the most holy city imaginable, our priests and paladins have trained since birth to fight the dark. For the undead to attack us... is either incredibly foolish... or ambitious. Come on and see what we're up against!"

Almost everyone was fleeing in the opposite direction, so for a while the flow was against them. However, as a military party, the crowd made way, children carrying precious toys, parents carrying them, and making haste to flee to the other side of the city. There, they would be farthest from the walls, and possibly have the hope of escaping by water. Of course... most didn't own boats. They could only hope to find a ride with someone else or wait out the siege.

Mei quietly whispered as they fought against the tide,

"Kiddo... you know how I said this place was a cage? Look at them go... However..."

"Master, I think you were right, there's no way out, most of these poor citizens don't own boats, and have no sailing experience. They are trapped inside a cage which they thought was simply a home."

"That's what I thought kiddo... but that presence I sensed... powerful, far too powerful, the holy aura was evidence of Heaven's interest. Perhaps this city is in fact not a cage which is designed to keep things out... but in fact a cage to keep someone inside..."
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