The rainclouds regrouped together at the sky, forming a blackish dome hanging from above.
The loud thunder could be heard billowing from a distance. It began closing in on the area.
The scene looked eerily familiar to the one at Wind Tower earlier. The group of people watched with their mouths agape.
Siao Tieying shook his head and said, "We're so stupid. Chu Li's levitations skills are remarkable. He may not be able to withstand a lightning strike, but he could run away from it!"
Mulin scoffed, "You forgot about the previous enlightened masters. Their levitation skills aren't bad either, but they too could not match the speed of the lightning... When we watched from afar, we get the feeling that the lightning strikes weren't too fast, and felt that he should be able to manage, but that is all just an illusion. Even the fastest enlightened masters could not beat the speed of the thunder! There is no escape!"
"But Chu Li would be able to." Siao Shi replied him, seemingly unconvinced.
Although she did not learn martial arts, but she had seen first-handed how fast Chu Li could be. He could travel miles of distances within seconds, which was truly phenomenal.
"That is because he had a head-start." Mulin scoffed, "He had anticipated it. If he had only made up his mind to escape once the lightning started hitting him, he would have perished already!"
Zhao Qingshan said, "I could see that the lightning was albeit slow. With Chu Li's levitation abilities, he should be able to escape unscathed!"
"He can run, but he can't hide forever." Mulin scoffed, "No matter how good his levitation is, he still needs to stop and take a rest or something. How could he hold on like that forever?"
Zhao Qingshan said, "But Chu Li would not be foolish enough to remain at one place and wait for the lightning to hit him."
"What he is doing is indeed the smartest way. But unfortunately, it wouldn't help much. It is pointless to continue struggling. He will die sooner or later." Mulin shook his head and sighed, "With every strike, the lightning increases in intensity. If he had escaped very early, then the next wave of lightning strikes coming at him would not be the same intensity as the one we had saw earlier!...Knowing Chu Li's ingenuity, he had surely escaped at the very beginning."
Everyone nodded slowly, agreeing with his statement.
"So, this means that Chu Li had escaped to the Hall of Martial Arts, right?" Zhao Qingshan asked in a low tone, "Could there be something inside the Hall of Martial Arts that would help him beat the lightning?"
"That's impossible." Mulin shook his head.
"Let's go over there and see." Siao Qi said.
Chu Li sat cross-legged at the highest floor of the Hall of Martial Arts, his mind still lingering with fear.
Initially, he thought that he could avoid the lightning strike with his heightened senses and levitation skills. But when the thunder started growling, he realized that he had underestimated the lightning's prowess. It was truly an impeccable force.
When he was at the Wind Tower earlier, his intuition told him that he should not attempt to escape, because the action would then summon another wave of more ferocious lightning strikes. He knew that even with the greatest levitation skills, he would not be able to make it through.
When the lightning had started striking, he used his heightened sense of danger to help dodge it. With that he had managed to dodge bolts after bolts of lightning. But towards the end, he realized that he was losing control of the situation. There was no escape, and his last resort was to levitate to the Hall of Martial Arts.
Although he was no physicist, but from the wisdom he garnered from his past life, he knew that metal could conduct electricity.
Both the Hall of Martial Arts and the Tower of Wisdom were completely built out of bronze, thus were suitable candidates as a lightning conductor. He was intrigued to see, whether the thunder above would be able to defy the laws of nature, capable of avoiding the bronze tower and getting to him.
"Ke Cha!" A bolt of lightning shattered the darkness in the sky. It presented as a giant "Z" shape connecting the sky and earth, with one end piercing through a raincloud, the other end piercing at the top of the bronze tower.
For a moment then, the tower looked like it was set ablaze, but the electric current soon dissipated. What followed was a loud clatter of thunderclap.
Upon seeing the unusual changes of the sky, the people from inside the tower had long evacuated the place. They gathered with the numerous Protectors at the training ground, who were at the time busy practicing martial arts. The crowd looked up into the sky.
"What is this?"
"What's going on?" Why did the sunny bright sky suddenly turn into this thunderstorm?"
The people were busy debating, until Master Siao and the few people from Wind Tower had arrived at the scene. At that moment, there had already been several bolts of lightning striking the bronze tower.
The bolts of lightning looked like numerous silver serpents. Their currents flowed down the sides of the tower in a downward direction from the sky, then dissipating when reaching the ground.
The bronze tower suffered blows after blows of lightning, the flashes of electricity kept blinking non-stop. The massive discharge of the current felt like a giant magnet, drawing the people closer to it. Siao Tieying was shocked by the phenomenon, so he hurriedly called out, "Everyone, we should retreat backwards!"
The crowd retreated a few steps away from the tower. The mysterious attraction force had weakened too.
"Ke Cha! Ke Cha!..." The bolt of lightning struck down with increasing speed, becoming more and more focused.
The bronze tower was shining brightly as a result of the incessant lightning strikes. As a result, its outer layer of rust was peeling bit by bit, sporting a blackish glow as the layer was exposed. It looked like a giant sword pierced to the ground, with electric currents flashing across its surface, just like silver serpents curling onto it.
Siao Qi and Siao Shi both bit down on their lips nervously as they watched the tower. The dazzling electric light shined on their faces brightly.
The sky rumbled on, the lightning focused, the thunder deafening. It was the order of the day. The lightning bolts merged and formed a huge wave of electricity, devouring the Hall of Martial Arts.
The crowd watched with their mouths agape. They were stunned by the scene laid before them. They could not understand why and how it happened.
Besides Siao Tieying, Siao Qi and those from Wind Tower, the rest of the crowd had their heads full of questions. What was the cause of all this chaos? Could it be that an ancient artifact was unearthed? Or was it because the Grand Master of the Yi Public House had broke through the boundaries of an enlightened master?
The crowd was bamboozled. After what seemed like an eternity, the sound of thunderclaps gradually became softer, and the lightning slowed down too. The bronze tower slowly emerged into view from the sea of chaos, it could finally be seen again. But when the crowd looked at it, they realized that there were drastic changes to the tower, not its height, but its diameter. The tower looked like it had shriveled.
The thunderstorm receded, and finally, the lightning stopped.
The ominous rainclouds too had dissipated from the sky.
But there were no signs of delight written on the faces of Siao Tieying and his company. They knew that the dissipation of the thunderstorm could only mean on thing. This time, it looked unlikely that Chu Li had escaped, it could very well be that he had...
"I'll go and look!" Siao Qi dashed across the scene, making her way into the Hall of Martial Arts. She ascended the stairs to the very top floor.
Chu Li was sitting cross-legged on the floor. He flashed a smile at her.
Siao Qi was surprised and stared at him, "You're alright?"
Chu Li smiled as he nodded, "Lucky me. I survived."
Joy was written all over Siao Qi's eyes. But she contained her happiness and asked calmly, "How did you do it?"
Chu Li smiled, "It was the bronze tower who had blocked the lightning for me. It did not manage to reach me."
"Let's go down!" Siao Qi said as she returned him a sweet smile.
She had never smiled that way. Her beautiful smile made the world stop spinning, and the surroundings looked as if they shifted out of focus. In Chu Li's eyes, the sweet smile was all he could see.
"Everyone's worried about you." Siao Qi stared at him, "Especially my second sister!"
"Alright." Chu Li smiled back.
Siao Qi turned around and exited the floor, Chu Li followed behind her.
By that time, Siao Shi and Siao Tieying had already climbed up to the second floor. When they saw Chu Li, Siao Shi's eyes widened, her eyes gleaming with joy.
Siao Tieying exclaimed in surprise, "Wow, Chu Li. That's astounding!"
Chu Li smiled and gave him a fist salute.
Mulin was puzzled when he saw Chu Li, "Young Chu, what a scare! How did you manage to avoid the lightning?"
"The tower protected me." Chu Li smiled.
"The tower?" Mulin creased an eyebrow.
He did not buy his words. But what he had seen earlier was indeed strange, it was as if the lightning was absorbed into the bronze tower and was conducted towards ground. For all it was worth, he could be telling the truth.
But if it was so easy, why did nobody survive previously?
"My second sister awoke from the dead, and Chu Li escaped unharmed too. This is a good cause for celebration!" Siao Tieying grinned as he announced, "Come, head over to my place!"
Chu Li smiled, "Second Lady, do you feel better now?
Siao Shi held back her smile and nodded sheepishly. She did not know what to say.
Mulin explained, "The Eclipse Purloin technique has altered her physicality. Now, she is healthier than ever, so much that she would never fall ill again. Even the Vitality Sealing Finger's curse was removed!"
"Thank God." Chu Li smiled.
The group walked down the stairs together. Just when Chu Li was about to step outside the doorstep, he halted.
Siao Qi was right beside him. She turned and asked, "What's wrong?"
Chu Li creased his eyebrows, "I think I should stay in this tower for the time being."
He sensed a kind of danger outside. It felt like death was waiting for him at the other side of the door.
Siao Shi glanced at him, "Are you hurt?"
Chu Li shook his head, "Master Siao, may I request to stay in here for a few days?"
"Sure, no problem at all." Siao Tieying nodded. Piqued by curiosity, he asked, "But why?"
Chu Li smiled, "My intuition said so."
After he finished speaking, he gingerly stepped out of the doorstep, bracing himself to retreat if necessary. He wanted to see what kind of danger awaits him. But soon as he stepped foot outside, a single bolt of lightning struck down from above. This time, it made no mistake, it struck his body. Chu Li fell instantly.