Chapter 111: Genius
As Zhang and his people ran through the long corridor while being pursued by the horde of monsters and the lord of the city, their eyes soon saw a beacon of hope and survival. A massive spiraling staircase came to view. Although the forty men stationed to reflect sunlight down from above were no longer there, their mirrors were tied to swords that were stabbed into the cracks on the walls, and a tiny sliver of light managed to make its way down into the darkness.
The Wraith Spiders along with their queen had been the first to arrive and quickly sped up the walls and made their way onto the surface. Not having to use the staircase at all made them ascend at unbelievable speeds, had they been just a bit earlier they would have caught up with Ling and those who had left earlier.
After the spiders emerged from the underground, the rest of the group along with Zhang arrived at the bottom of the staircase.
Looking back at the horde behind him Zhang cursed, “If only I had affinity with earth magic instead of fire magic. Then I’d just collapse the damn corridor on them.”
“But in a bit I’ll turn all of you into ash and dust…” He thought as an evil grin crept onto his face as the staircase came into view.
“Ha give a fool, false hope and he won’t fight back as hard.” New Moon City’s lord laughed as came out of the corridor just a few breaths after Zhang. With a horde of grotesque monsters behind him, the city’s lord stretched out his hand and pressed into the wall on his right and dozens of runes appeared on the wall.
Soon thousands of runes lit up and illuminated the dark underground chamber. These runes could be seen stretching from the bottom of the staircase all the way to the top. Moments later a rumbling sound could be heard as the staircase in front of Zhang began to move.
The stone steps were slowly moving into the walls and with enough time the entire staircase would be gone and so would be the only hope of escaping. Unless one could fly the distance from the bottom of the chamber to the exit was too high.
“Run! Quickly!” Zhang roared. Only a few hundred men and women who weren’t carried off by the Wraith Spider were running up the shrinking stairs alongside Zhang. They were not even half way up yet but the staircase was already half of its original width.
The monster horde had halted its advance and was simply watching Zhang and his men run up the staircase. It was clear that the city lord was certain that Zhang and his men would not make it to the top of the staircase. Thus he stood watching as if he were to watch a play unfold.
“Had this place not been rigged with traps and mechanisms, I’d gladly fight that bastard…” Zhang thought as he shot a glare at New Moon City’s lord.
As the staircase steadily shrank, a crooked smile crept onto the city lord’s face as he watched his prey struggle to escape. Like a lofty king who was on a hunt and was watching lowly animals scamper about until they were too tired to fight back, New Moon City’s lord stood motionless with his vision locked on Zhang.
But as wise men say, an opportunity not taken is an opportunity lost, because the sound of rushing water soon drifted down from the surface and filled everyone’s ears. Moments later as if a dam had burst open, a jet of water shot down from the exit that the staircase led to.
The water pressure was so strong that the stone that surround the exit began to shatter and large chunks of stone were blasted away by the water. Not knowing what was happening Zhang’s new recruits watched in horror as the flood of water gushed down the staircase. In their minds they were believed they were going to be swept away by the water and considering how narrow the corridor below was they would certainly drown.
However, moments before the water slammed into them, it turned and flowed down the side of the stairs. Then much like a snake, the water coiled back up from the side of the staircase and continued flowing down the staircase. By now the water made it impossible for the monster horde to pursue even if they wanted to.
With a glint in his eye, Zhang looked upward at the growing hole in the ceiling that lead outside. Soon enough the hole was five times larger due to the force of the water grinding away at the stone. A goddess then descended atop a column of water and graced Zhang with a lovely smile.
“I’m back!” Ling said with a corky smile on her face as hundreds of glittering droplets of water sprinkled down around her.
“You’re late.” Zhang said with an equally corky grin on his face as he stood looking up at his wife, totally ignoring the fact that the staircase was still shrinking into the wall.
“You seem to be needing some help, my powerful husband.” Ling said with a grin.
“Only because you’re late, my lovely wife.” Zhang replied with a grin.
The people around him looked in disbelief as this couple continued their conversation, ignoring the predicament they were in. Perhaps in the hearts of everyone present, besides Zhang and Ling, they were cursing the fact that these two could not read the current atmosphere and were flirting. But if these two were not doing what they were currently doing then they wouldn’t be themselves.
For, Zhang and his wives are known to drift into a world of their own during times when danger is present. Is they had acted any differently than Zhang and the beauties might as well be someone else.
“Then perhaps I’ll lend you a hand. But like sister Lingqi often says. What do you have to offer for my services?”
“Well I have nothing to offer you my dear, but I do have something to offer to mother in law and father in law.” Zhang said as the staircase continued shrinking and was currently only wide enough for three people to stand side by side. Compared to before when it was wide enough for ten people to stand side by side, the staircase was about to completely shrink into the wall.
“What could you possibly give mother and father?” Ling asked as Zhang’s replied piqued her interest.
“Grandkids.” He said with a proud look on his face.
“Lots of grandkids.” He then added while puffing out his chest proudly.
“If that's all you can offer then I’ll think about lending a helping hand.” Ling said with slightly blushing cheeks. It was not as if she was new to the things that occur in the bed chamber but openly implying such things in front of others still made her a tad embarrassed.
“If elder sis doesn’t want her parents to have grandkids then my father would be glad to take their place. He’d be more than happy to have new grandkids, since newborns are very rare down there.” Yuying’s voice echoed down from the hole in the ceiling.
“Maybe if sister Yuying takes me down there to visit, I’ll be able to find my mother and father and I’m sure they’d be more than happy to meet their grandkids.” Lingqi’s voice soon followed.
“Me too! Me too!” Ai’s voice of course was added to the mix.
“Damn…I took too long...” Ling cursed in her mind.
“Deal! I’ll do it for mother and father.” Ling said as she waved her hand then the water in front of Zhang froze into ice. With another wave of her hand the ice’s smooth surface was reshaped and turned into the shape of a staircase. There was even railing to prevent anyone from slipping on the ice and tumbling down.
“Deal.” Zhang smiled as he watched those in front of him take their first steps onto the ice staircase.
A scowl had appeared on the previously gleeful and mocking face of New Moon City’s lord as he gazed upward at the newly constructed flight of ice stairs. He could be considered lucky because after Ling froze the water and created the staircase, no more water flowed down anymore.
Although it wasn’t much but enough water had gushed down that the water level was high enough to cover his ankles.
“Hmph don’t think that you’re safe just because you have a new flight of stairs…” The city lord muttered in displeasure as his hand reached out once more and pressed onto the wall.
Moments later runes once more covered the walls and soon the wall began morphing and thousands of spikes could be seen protruding from them. Afterward the walls began rotating in a spiral motion, creating what would seem like a meat grinder.
“Sigh, can’t anything be easy these days?” Zhang mumbled with a sigh as he saw the spiral of spikes began expanding and enclosing on the ice staircase.
If the spikes grind against the ice staircase, then more than likely the staircase would shatter and send maybe not Zhang but many of his new subordinates to their deaths. If the fall didn’t kill them then they’d join the horde of monsters below.
Thus many of Zhang’s new subordinates began desperately running up the icy staircase in the hopes of survival. Even with their high cultivation it still took a fairly long time to ascend the staircase. This was because most of the new subordinates were warriors and not mages, had they been mages like wind mages, water mages or earth mages then they would have been able to use the elements to escape. Had they been fire mages like Zhang then escape would have also been fairly simple.
But being warriors, especially ones who did not know how to fully utilize their cultivation, these people were like sitting ducks or sheep waiting to be led to the slaughter. Perhaps if they escape alive and receive training from Zhang, then they would be able to unleash their true potential. But for now they were like unchiseled diamonds just waiting to be cut and polished.
“Tch... “Clicking her tongue and with a wave of her hand, Ling liquefied parts of the staircase and made platforms on the rotating spiked walls.
“Make your way up using the platforms.” She yelled. Since the platforms were covering the spikes and apart of the wall, they could not be shattered. Of course ascending would be a tad more difficult, they did not have to worry about their escape route being shattered.
Although Ling could use the water and carry everyone up, it was not a method that she preferred. Simply said controlling one column of water for herself was fairly hard and if she had to make hundreds of them then that would put too much of a strain on herself. Then there was the option of just collecting everyone in in massive body of water and raise it outside, but that would risk possibly causing some people to drown.
So unless absolutely needed she preferred not to use either method. Also if push comes to shove, she would obviously save her husband and everyone else was on their own.
The lord of New Moon City was no longer simply watching like before, after he had activated the spiked walls, with a motion of his hand the monsters that resembled giant masses of conjoined bodies made their way through the monster horde and began creeping up the walls.
Despite the spiral moving spikes, these monsters were unharmed during their ascent. Slowly they made their way upward, using the spikes as leverage and gripes to propel themselves up. With hundreds of limbs, scaling the spiked wall could be considered child's play for these monstrosities.
“Ling! Use the water to reflect the light down here!” Zhang yelled to his lovely wife.
Mere moments later after a few thoughts, Ling waves her hand and sent a blast of water upward, smashing the ceiling of the room that was atop of the exit.
“Hey! Next time you do something like that give us a heads up!” Lingqi’s voice came echoing down from above. Along with Lingqi’s voice, a large ray of light shone down from above. With the roof of the room above no longer blocking its path, sunlight was able to make its way downward.
Then with another wave of her hand, Ling made hundreds of specks of water float into the ray of light. With the water acting as a reflector, hundreds of dots of light speckled the stone walls.
“Wait a moment…” Ling said as a thought popped into her head. She remembered reading about a lost art where the user manipulated light instead of water, fire, earth and wind. Light magic was a lost magic that not many even know of, had she not stumbled about a small text about it in the Royal Academy’s vast library then perhaps Ling wouldn’t even know of its existence.
But of course the world is filled with many strange types of magic. For instance, Yuying’s black magic that can instantly raise the dead and alter the mind, such arts are completely unimaginable. Although creating undead could be done by people such as New Moon City’s lord, it required vast amounts of sacrifices and time. However, Yuying is able to create lower ranking undead in mere moments, which is unheard of.
Remembering the technique regarding light, Ling tried to imitate it by using the water droplets to redirect the light. The hundreds of water droplets condensed countless rays of light together under Ling’s control.
Soon enough a ray of condensed light, made up of hundreds of redirected rays of light was born. The heat that the ray produced was so intense that part of the stone that it shone on began liquefying. One could imagine how much heat the ray of light contained to turn solid stone into a liquid.
With a glint in her eye and a proud look on her face, Ling began directing the ray of light at the monsters climbed up the walls.
Wherever the ray of light went, death followed as the colossal masses of bodies one by one turned to ashes and made hundreds of black and white pearls turn downward. Not only did the monsters perish, but the ray of light even managed to cut through some of spikes and sent them tumbling down into the abyss.