Chapter 107: Into The Dark
Was hoping to have two chapters today but customers kept me at work until only a bit ago T_T.
With a creases on his brow and an unamused expression on his face, Zhang eyed the one hundred Jiangshi chained to the walls of in the far end of the room. He was waiting for more of his men to descend the stairs and use their mirrors to lay these Jiangshi to rest.
“I should prepare just in case something stupid happens…” He thought as he activated the Cape of the Abyss that was draped over his shoulders. From the shadows and dark depth dozens of abyssal beasts spawned ready to obey Zhang’s commands.
The Jiangshi as if sensing something was about to happen began rattling their chains, trying to break free and charge at Zhang. If even half of them managed to break free then they would have more than enough power to rip him limb from limb.
Then with a wave of his hand, thousands of Lightning Eater scaled tipped arrows appeared on the ground. With a thought a purple glow enveloped them and sent them levitating into the air. Moments later the thousands of arrows pierced and danced through the air towards the Jiangshi.
It was dark and not a lot of light was present so Zhang could no target their joints like he had done to the three Jiangshi that they had caught earlier, so instead he opted to just use a large amount of arrows instead. Although he could not truly extinguish them with the arrows, Zhang would be able to damage and incapacitate them. The thousands of arrows whizzed through the air and punctured into their targets with deadly force.
That was when something peculiar occurred, whereas Zhang had planned to have the arrows embed themselves into the Jiangshi to lower their mobility in the case that they were able to break free of their bounds, instead a few of them turned to ashes.
“That shouldn’t have happened.” Zhang mumbled as he was confused at how the arrows were able to extinguish a Jiangshi.
“My lord, I thought you said those things could only be killed by expose to direct sunlight.” The man who had followed Zhang all the way to the bottom of the staircase asked. He had been scared speechless moments before when the Jiangshi tried to break free of their chains and only just now managed to calm himself enough to speak.
“I don’t know…” Zhang replied as he felt a hint of fatigue. Controlling thousands of arrows with essence was not something that one could do often because of the high consumption of essence, even in Zhang’s case. The replenishment rate of the Underworld Heart, although fast was not able to keep up to the consumption rate of manipulating the arrows
With a thought a few torches that Zhang kept floating in the air flew over to where some of the Jiangshi had perished. That was when he noticed something glittering underneath the torch light.
“Fetch.” Zhang said as he looked at an Abyssal Hellhound that he had summoned. Without a moment’s hesitation the Abyssal Hellhound sped through the room with a part of its body transforming into a trial of black smoke and arrived at the object in question and retrieved it, all the while avoiding the Jiangshi who were only embedded with arrows and were not extinguished. With the object in its mouth the Abyssal Hellhound returned to Zhang’s side in a flash. Soon two halves of a black pearl were left in Zhang’s hand.
“These things again, actually this one isn’t identical like the other three that I found. This one as some white dots on its surface.” Zhang said as he examined the pearl fragments. Then with a wave of his hand three pitch black pearls appeared in his other palm.
“I guess these Jiangshi are either defective or have yet to reach perfection like those three.” He thought as he came to a conclusion based on the pearls.
“If my guess is right these pearls were used to create these Jiangshi, so realistically speaking we might be able to use them to raise an army of Jiangshi.” Zhang murmured as a glint appeared in his eyes. If he and Yuying could raise an army of Jiangshi then the conquest of the entire warring states region and perhaps the entire continent would be smooth sailing.
“Let alone those bastards from the Siwang Empire, even if those guys in the eastern empire decided to go against me with an army of Jiangshi, nothing will be able to hinder my plans.”
Zhang thought as he imagined himself leading a vast army of undead and demonic beasts and laying waste to all who stand in his way.
Unlike conventional armies, his army would consist of high level demonic beasts and hundreds of Jiangshi along with hordes of lesser Jiangshi. They would become an unstable force that could wipe out kingdoms overnight. Of course if he did lead an army like that, most likely the populous of the continent would pain him in a dark light. But none of that would matter if he could unify the continent and become its sole ruler, as ambitious as it might sound.
While Zhang was lost in his fantasy a group of a hundred men had descended the stairs and were awaiting his orders. They caught glimpses of the Jiangshi chained to the walls, causing fear to show on their faces but no one dared to leave. The threat in front of them was too large even think about running away.
However, this did not prevent a few of them from wailing out of fear when they flickering torches revealed dozens of Jiangshi that were hidden away in the dark.
“Alright everyone gets in line, shoulder to shoulder.” Zhang ordered as he withdrew a scepter with diamond the size of someone’s fist embedded at its handle from his interspatial ring.
With the diamond in hand he walked up to where a sliver of light had managed to be reflected all the way down to the bottom of the staircase. Cloaking the scepter in essence and plunging it into the stone steps, the diamond embedded in the scepter into the ground. Once the sliver of light struck the diamond, it scattered into dozens of beams of light.
“Use these to extinguish them.” Zhang commanded to his men. Since there were only a few scatter beams of light a small group of Zhang’s man stepped forward and began redirecting the light toward the Jiangshi.
Perhaps it was because the Jiangshi were imperfect, but once the slivers of light shone onto their bodies for a few minutes they bursted into ashes. Zhang had expected it to take at least half an hour due to how little light sunlight was being reflected, but he was not one to complain if the process ended sooner.
Once the Jiangshi were gone and only a hundred piles of dust were left, Zhang’s abyssal beasts swooped in and gathered all of the black pearls that were dropped and presented them to him.
“I’ll store these away for later.” Zhang thought as he waved his hand and stored away all of the black pearls into his interspatial ring.
“Oh yea, I almost forgot…” Zhang mumble as he waved his hand once more and collected the arrows that he had shot at the Jiangshi earlier and stored them away into his interspatial ring.
“Everyone stay behind me and be careful. We are going to see if there is anything else down here.” Zhang said to his men. The staircase had spiraled down along the wall on one’s right hand, while the wall of Jiangshi was to the left a bit away from the staircase. That being said Zhang did not know how far back the room stretched out in front of him.
“You all can leave the mirrors here; we are too far down here to reflect it much further.” He added as he had his men take up torches instead. Although the new arrivals were going to come along with Zhang, the thirty men who had accompanied him in the beginning would stay where they are just in case something were to happen. Of course they no longer needed to hold up mirrors and were given torches instead. Zhang even left the scepter lodged into the ground just in case they needed to use it, and he was more than confident that no one would dare to steal the scepter despite the large diamond embedded on it.
Once everyone we equipped with a torch and had their weapons drawn, the group began their advance into the unknown. Although Zhang was fearless the men who were not so they huddled up and walked closely beside each other so if anything popped up they could face it together as a group.
The light illuminating from the torches only gave off so much light so everyone was shrouded by a veil of darkness. Thankfully they were walking down a corridor and not wandering through a wide open space or else who knows we might be watching them from the darkness.
Zhang had kept two torches constantly levitating a short distance in front of the group as they continued further but no end was in sight. By now they could no longer see the staircase and have yet to see anything but the stone walls on either side of them.
As they continued on creases appeared on Zhang’s brow. “Blood…” He thought as he saw trails of blood on the ground a bit ahead of where he and his men were. It looked as if someone had been forcefully dragged away as they tried to claw the ground to prevent themselves from being taken.
“What’s a kid doing here?” One of Zhang’s men yelled as the flicker torch light illuminating their path revealed a hundred over figure of a child dressed in rags. With long disorderly hair, sickly pale skin while being draped in dirty rags, this child gave off an eerie aura which struck fear into the hearts of those present.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of it’s just a child.” Another man said trying to assure his comrades that everything was fine. He even worked up the courage to walk toward the child hunched over by the wall. But before he could get far Zhang’s hand reached out and rested down on the man’s shoulder.
“Step back…” Zhang said. It was clear to him something was out of the ordinary because what would a child be doing down here in the darkness.
“We mean you no harm, we are only here to help so walk over slowly.” Zhang said while projecting his voice.
However, the child did not respond to his words and appeared to be preoccupied with something.
“Hey you! Our young master is talking to you!” A largely built man yelled. This man was the type who did not care if it was man, woman, or child, but if it was human then he would treat it the same. No one received special treatment and no one was treated differently.
As if in response to the man’s words, the child’s head slowly lifted up and it began turning back toward where Zhang was standing.
A head of long black hair riddled with balding spots, bloody red eyes, blood stained teeth that resembled the tips of arrows and a blood streaked chin turned back to greet Zhang and his men. The creature that resembled a child was not ignoring Zhang or his men but rather it was busy, busy devouring the severed arm in its grasp. As for where the owner of the severed arm no trace of him or her could be seen besides a trail of blood that led off further into the darkness.
“What the fuck is that thing!?” A few of the men behind Zhang broke out in screams. Had they been replaced with the men who had accompanied Zhang to the Black Wind Province then such a reaction would have no occurred. But considering this was the first time they had witnessed such a sight, Zhang was happy that no one tried to run away or fainted.
“Don’t know what it is but it’s dead.” Zhang said was a spear was withdrawn from his interspatial ring and shot through the air at the monstrosity in front of him. Once he knew it wasn’t human or rather once he determined it was a threat Zhang was decided to slay it.
A blood curdling screech soon reverberated through the ears of those present as the spear pierced through the air and impaled the its target. Although it was just a regular spear that Zhang happened to pick up in one of the many treasuries he raided, the thing packed so much force behind it that after piercing through its target it lodged itself into the ground.
After a few minutes filled with blood curdling screeches the monster that resembled a boy slowly lost power and soon became lifeless. Upon it’s death the monster’s body instantly ignited much like what happens when a Jiangshi or a lesser Jiangshi is exposed to sunlight, moments later all was left was a pile of ash and a glittering black pearl.
“Alright one of you go back and gather more men, also tell the madams about what had happened so far. The rest of us will move on ahead and see if we can find out anything.” Zhang said to his men. But of course everyone wished to be the one picked to go back and request reinforcements. After seeing that monstrosity of a child devouring an arm, none of them wished to continue going forward.
Well after a while the group was finally decided on who to send back and then continued moving forward. By now Zhang had seen enough to have his twin swords made of Mirage Viper fangs, withdrawn from his interspatial ring and hung by his sides. He also had his Sky Piercer halberd out and leaning against his shoulder, one could say that whatever pops up in his path was going to wish it didn’t.
“If a monster shows up I’ll slay it, if a god shows up and stand in my way then someone will learn the meaning of death…” Zhang mumbled as they continued through the dark corridor that led on endlessly.
As they moved further and further into the corridor the group was greeted by a wall of blood red eyes that radiated killing intent.