Chapter 95: Bloody Forest 3
With the grotesque looking demonic tree in front of him, Zhang gripped his swords ever tightly and readied to obtain the treasure he wanted. But the more he looked at the tree the more he realized something. A sudden thought sprang into his mind as he gazed at the twitching bodies impaled by the demonic tree’s limbs.
“I’m so stupid… Had I gone directly to the tree and cut it to pieces then I would most likely have been able to save more people and ensure the safety of everyone back at camp much sooner…” Zhang thought as he face palmed himself.
“However what’s done is done, instead of dwelling on them I must do what I can now.” He thought a few moments later as he steeled himself to end the abomination in front of him.
This time the roots shooting toward Zhang were many times faster than their predecessors. From this alone, Zhang was able to tell that these were the true roots of the demonic tree. Unlike the roots that had simply been taking control by the demonic tree, these roots were a part of it and were many times tougher and faster.
Zhang’s Dragon Talon throwing knives levitated besides him as his chained daggers were coiled around his arms while his Mirage Viper Swords were held tightly in his hands. One could say that Zhang was armed to the teeth, but there was still a possibility of failure when facing an abomination that uses people as it’s nutrients.
“Perhaps I’ll turn you into a chair, or a stool, or better yet toothpicks.” Zhang said jokingly toward the demonic tree. But of course it’s not like the tree was able to comment on his remark since it did not have any way to communicate with other sentient beings.
Soon after Zhang launched himself from the ground and began taking long strides, in but a moment he closed in on the abomination of a tree with swords raised. Sensing Zhang’s approach the bark on the demonic tree began to wrinkle and part, until a large red eye was in plain view. Not only did this happen to the main tree but dozens of trees that looked entirely normal soon had blood red eyes on them too. The limbs on all of these trees began to move about and interlock with each other creating a web of branches and leaves.
A wall of branches separated and prevented Zhang from attacking the demonic tree. “You think simple branches can stop me?” Zhang roared as he swung one of his swords downward, aiming to slash through the wall of branches. However, swords were never meant be used against things such as tree limbs so despite being razor sharp, Zhang’s sword was caught in the branch due to its sticky sap.
Realizing his blunder Zhang abandoned his sword stuck in the tree branch and stabbed his other sword into the ground. An instant later his trusty halberd appeared and slid right into his grasp. Now with a weapon fitting the occasion, Zhang began mincing the wall of branches to pieces.
Although he did not always strike a limb connected to the demonic tree, Zhang was able to cut down a few, causing reddish blood like goo to spew onto the ground. Of course a deafening and blood curdling screech would follow every time a limb connected to the demonic tree was severed. With each swing of Zhang’s halberd dozens of branches were limbs fell to the ground only to be replaced by dozens more.
“Damn is there no end to these things?” Zhang cursed as he continued swinging. If one truly thought about it a tree could possibly have hundreds of limbs and hundreds of roots, and here Zhang was facing a forest in battle.
However, he was not alone, with the ability to conjure monsters from the depth of darkness, Zhang was soon surrounded by dozens of Abyssal Demonic Beasts. Despite not possessing high combat ability in a situation such as this, these Abyssal Beasts could serve as shields for Zhang.
Soon enough the demonic tree began hurriedly corpses and those on the brink of death at Zhang. While he would skillfully avoid the corpses, Zhang went out of his way to catch the people who were still a hair's breadth from death. But this would term out disastrous for our hero.
“I’ve caught you and everything will be fine.” Zhang said as he caught a woman in her late twenties in his hand and reassured her. Hope filled the eyes of this women who had none just a few moments ago. This woman had been in front of death’s door not too long ago and the gaping hole in her abdomen from when the demonic tree was sapping her of her nutrients served as a grim reminder.
Sadly, heaven often plays tricks on the hopeful. In Zhang’s embrace the women’s body began to bulge and her once slender self-bloated into something unrecognizable.
“Thank you…” The women said as she worked loose from Zhang’s hold and rolled onto the ground. Once she was atop the cold hard earth the women’s bloated body finally gave out and exploded.
“Damn it!” Zhang yelled out as he saw what was happening. But seeing that there was nothing he could do, Zhang quickly jumped back a few times to create some distance between him and the explosion. But of course his retreat was not left without opposition, dozens of branches and roots shot forth at Zhang who was in mid jump. That was when one of the chained daggers shot from Zhang’s hand and lodged itself into a tree, once the dagger was secure Zhang shortened the chain it was attached to and pulled himself to safety.
“The demonic tree must have done something to her…” Zhang said with a hint of rage in his voice. He had been so close to saving this woman and yet so far from it. The mere fact that he was played by a tree irked Zhang to no end. After the women, Zhang did not catch anyone else because the outcome would be the same as before.
“The sooner I put an end to this the better. A moment of my hesitation had caused the suffering of so many…” Zhang muttered in a pained voice. Although no one could blame him for the choices that he made tonight, Zhang found that he could not forgive his own indecisiveness. He had always been somewhat softhearted and could never make a swift decision when lives are at stake, especially those of the common folk. But after tonight that will become a problem of the past.
With his rage now boiling, Zhang began cutting away at his foe ever more vigorously. In the time that it would take him to perform ten strikes a few moments ago, he would now perform fifteen strikes.
“This damn tree can only have so many limbs for me to cut…” Zhang thought as he continued adding to his pile of lumber on the ground. But contrary to Zhang’s thought, the demonic tree had enough limbs for him to cut for days and that was not counting the limbs of the trees under its control.
To beat such a foe, brute force was not an answer but ingenuity and magic was key as Zhang would soon find out.
“This isn’t working… Lightning probably won’t have too much of an effect, while the amount of black fire I can produce is limited…” Zhang thought while continuing his attempt of slaying the demonic tree. That was when the lightbulb in Zhang’s head lit up.
Zhang jumped into the air as two of the Dragon Talon throwing knives slide under his foot and levitated him into the air. Then from Zhang’s interspatial ring, thousands of arrows made from Lightning Eater scales appeared. Although controlling them all would take a massive amount of essence, Zhang was barely able to manage the consumption thanks to the endless stream of energy from the Underworld Heart.
Unfortunately, the Underworld Hearts essence accumulation rate could not match the consumption rate of the black flame or else Zhang would be able to use it at all times.
As sweat dripped from his brow Zhang looked down at the forest below him, from which hundreds of tree branches and roots shot up toward the sky. But they Zhang was simply too high up so they were not able to reach him.
Moments later the thousands of arrows under Zhang’s control began their descent. With a motion of his finger the arrows shot forth at high speeds and could most likely devastate whatever appeared in their paths.
The wall of branches and leaves proved futile as each arrow chipped off a small piece of wood when they passed. But the arrowheads were to small and individually only did a little damage. However, this is where their numbers came into to play, together the thousands of arrows gouged out huge chunks of the wall made by the demonic tree. From the hole that was left by the arrows, Zhang could see the demonic tree’s blood red eye.
“Once more!” Zhang yelled as he gestured for the arrows to ascend back into the sky. Although some of the arrows were damaged beyond use when they impacted the tree limbs a majority of them were in pristine condition. Not long after the arrows flew back into the sky and swirled around Zhang, they descended once more.
“I’ll call it, “Catastrophe's Descent.” Zhang said as he continued directing the arrows downward. Had his opponent been humans instead of trees then they could possibly have been wiped out by now.
Of course the more powerful and destructive a technique is, the more taxing it is to use. Levitating thousands of arrows with essence alone could in itself be considered the act of a madman, due to how much essence it would require. But to direct the arrows on a guided path over and over again was something unimaginable.
Zhang continued using the Catastrophe's Descent over and over until an entire part of the forest was turned into a barren wasteland of broken trees and unturned dirt. The top of the demonic tree was now laying on the ground in shattered pieces while a stomp was left where it had stood. Zhang had made sure that the roots of the tree stayed untouched because of the possibility of destroying the Eternity Fruits that grew down there.
Almost as if he was falling from the sky Zhang descended onto the ground. To be honest Zhang was indeed falling from the sky before he was able to stop his fall and lightly land. Controlling the arrows for so long had sapped him of unbelievable amounts of essence.
With a wave of his hand Zhang’s twin swords flew back into his grasp and disappeared into his interspatial ring. Then he began walking toward the stump where the demonic tree had been.
“It should be over now…” Zhang muttered as he looked around at the destruction that he had caused. It would be amazing if the demonic tree could survive such destruction.
Arriving at the place where his prize was buried, Zhang plunged his halberd at the place where tree stump in front of him connected with the earth. Then with all of his remaining strength Zhang began uprooting the stomp.
Soon after eight odd looking objects came into view. Looking as if they were made of crystals these objects were shaped like fist sized peaches.
“Maybe these things are what the myth about the peaches of longevity originated from.” Zhang laughed as he tore the Eternity fruits from the roots of the dead demonic tree. Although Zhang very much wanted to try and eat one of these fruits he felt it would be idiotic to do so without knowing it’s affects.
“Perhaps I’ll find someone to test one of these one and then after I know it’s safe I and my lovely wives will have our share.” Zhang thought as a devious smile appeared on his face.
“But then again I might end up wasting a treasure…” Zhang muttered as his smile turned into a frown.
“I’ll just let Lingqi inspect it for poison and then try my luck with it. Shouldn’t be too dangerous as long as I have this thing inside me.” Zhang then though as his hand was touching a part of his armor that was directly over where his heart should be. Sometimes taking a risk ends in rewards.
With his prize safely in his interspatial ring Zhang headed back toward the camp. Zhang arrived at the camp to find everyone perfectly safe, mainly because of how strong his wives are. The four beauties had been able to work together flawlessly and managed to fight back the onslaught of tree roots.
From the many knocked down trees and the cracks on the ground one could tell how hard fought that battle had been.
“Zhang your back!” Old man Jin Zhuan said with joy.
“Yes I’m back senior, I hope everyone is fine.” Zhang said as he greeted Jin Zhuan.
“No everyone is perfectly fine.” Jin Zhuan said before Zhang headed off to his four wives.
“Who wants a reward for a job well done?” Zhang said jokingly as he approached the four beauties.
“If I get to pick a reward I’ll pick to have ownership of you darling.” Lingqi said happily.
“Owning brother hmmm.” Ai said as if lost in thought.
“How about this instead?” Zhang said as he grabbed Lingqi’s hand and pulled her into him. An instant later he planted a kiss on soft lips.
Moments later the other three of his wives received the same reward.
“How was that a reward? It’s something that we usually get for free.” Ai complained.
“Who says it was a reward for you four?” Zhang laughed. In the end it was more of a reward for him then for the four beauties. In fact, he had that in mind the entire time. Of course this wasn’t the last reward because the night was still long from over and many things could be done before the sun rose. Thus another battle began, a battle much more epic than the one with the demonic tree. Being newlyweds and all such things should be expected.
So finally the battle in the blood forest comes to a fitting end.