Chapter 71 – Impasse
Ye Wei stood on the edge of the field close to the now sealed exit, and the two effigies next to him raised their arms simultaneously throwing their fists towards him.
Luckily he wasn’t unprepared. He was already in the air before the fists came close to him. He was able to dodge one of them but the second one connected in a flash despite his efforts.
“Ah!” Ye Wei’s left hand was holding the scroll but he didn’t feel the need to tear it. He clenched his right fist and hardened his muscles. His skin glowed with a green tint as he channeled his Qi.
Although Ye Wei was still a four-star Student, his strength and the amount of will-force and Qi he had was what you would find in a six-star Student. The cosmic energy, Myst-level Falling Star cultivation method, and all the pills were the reason he was becoming so exceptional.
‘Let’s try this!’ He thought as he threw his fist towards the brown stone fist coming his way. His strength was no match to the effigy’s which caused his whole arm to become numb from the impact, but he was able to use the recoil to push himself away and dodge the rest of the non-stop assault.
Ye Wei was drenched in sweat just from this brief physical exchange.
‘It’s too dangerous; if I was any slower I would be meat paste by now… I didn’t even have time to tear the scroll!’ He felt lucky that he got away, now that he was a safe distance from these two effigies. He knew how fast they were, and now that he had an idea of what to expect, he started to plan how to deal with them.
‘They are not that strong. Their strength is comparable to a seven-star Student at most. Furthermore, their attacks are unbelievably fast but their movement in general is slow. It must be due to their weight.’ Ye Wei analyzed the effigies’ every move as he danced around dodging them.
Many others started fighting the effigies close to them once they realized they looked scarier than they fought. Bolts of fire, ice and Qi weapons flew all over the field. Seeing how weak the effigies actually were, some of the Warriors who ran in fear started to become themselves again; they stopped fleeing and fought instead.
The effigies were easily stopped and knocked back by the Warriors’ stances.
“They are not that powerful!”
“God, I was so scared!”
The crowd started to calm down as they gain control of the situation.
They were weak in general and the strength of the brown effigies varied from that of a three-star Student to a ten-star Student. What made their attacks lethal was the weight behind them.
As the crowd got used to the effigies’ attack patterns, they became more relaxed, and saw the situation as an opportunity to train themselves. Everyone started attacking the brown stone beings instead of solely defending themselves a minute ago.
Not only did they started attacking the effigies, some of the Warriors actually succeeded in smashing them into pieces. Song Gui, driven by rage was one of the first Warriors to shatter an effigy with his bare hands.
“That is for my friend you killed!” Filled with adrenaline and satisfaction of avenging his fallen comrade, he spat on the pile of rubble and shouted angrily. But he wasn’t done, he wanted to break as many of these damned effigies as possible to ease his pain.
Song Gui turned around to fight another effigy that was armed with a stone sword in each of its hands. As he set his eyes on the next target, a scarlet crystal broke out of the rubble pile and flew towards him like a speeding arrow.
Song Gui could hear a screeching sound and felt an approaching force from behind. The crystal flew too fast for him to react. “Ouch! What was that?!” Shocked by the pain in his spine, he screamed.
Just as the scarlet crystal landed on his spine, it shattered and released a thick cloud of bloodmist.
The bloodmist stuck onto Song Gui’s back and kept growing until eventually it covered his whole body. The bloodmist was sticky and it quickly sunk into his body through the pores on his skin. People stopped attacking the effigies when they saw the engulfing mist appearing from the remains. Once again they didn’t do more than defend themselves as they were afraid to break any more effigies until they found out what effect the mist had on Song Gui.
“Kill! Kill! Kill!” He mumbled.
When all of the bloodmist was absorbed into Song Gui’s body, he completely lost his consciousness and was overcome by bloodlust. His eyes became bloodshot and the veins all over his body bulged. He looked more like a wild beast than a person.
With their primal feather wings, Hong Xun, Lu Chao, and Xue Yao launched themselves into the air and observed Song Gui’s transformation from what they thought to be a safe distance.
“What do you two think?” Hong Xun’s thick black eyebrows furrowed as he witnessed the gruesome transformation of the kind-hearted Warrior. “From what I can tell, the scarlet crystal that made him a monster might be the mythical Blood Devourer crystal…”
“What is that?” Xue Yao asked. Neither her nor Lu Chao could remember that name.
“Blood Devourers are a type of primal stone. The Qi stored within them is purer and thicker than normal primal stones, and its quenching property is superior to most of the pills available nowadays.”
“But there is a drawback. The primal energy from these stones is too strong. It will make the user aggressive and the weak-minded will be consumed by the bloodlust… That’s where the crystal’s name came from.”
The way Song Gui was screaming and twitching sent shivers down Xue Yao’s spine. “Can we help him?”
“I don’t know if there is a way to help him, it’s all up to his will now if he can survive this. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make! Effigies and Blood Devourer crystals don’t they ring any bells? You guys never heard the stories when you were kids?”
It suddenly all came together for Lu Chao and Xue Yao, “Do you mean this labyrinth is related to the Glacial Emperor?!” Lu Chao widened his eyes and exclaimed.
“Are these effigies the ‘Immortal Puppets’?!” Xue Yao started to recall the details of the legend. She realized these were the stone guardians made by the Glacial Emperor to guard his tomb.
“That’s what the duo from Ning City are here for? To explore the Glacial Emperor’s tomb?”
“If the legends are true, the brown ones are not what we should be worried about.” Hong Xun continued, “The silver puppets are far more dangerous, but we should be able to handle them if we all work together. They should be as strong as five-star Warriors, but the gold ones… I don’t know how we can deal with them if they come.”
When they figured out what this labyrinth was, they temporarily put their differences aside so they could travel deeper into the labyrinth. The Glacial Emperor’s treasure was unmeasurable.
“Get away from him!”
“He’s on his own now, we can’t do anything about it!” Hong Xun warned the crowd from above as some of Song Gui’s friends were trying to get close and calm him down.
Not sure how they should deal with the stone puppets, everyone went back to dodging and defending themselves. It was not hard for anyone to dodge at the start, but as more and more of the brown puppets became active, weaker cultivators found themselves surrounded by more than one puppet as fatigue overtook them.
Ye Wei was now surrounded by three brown puppets. It was getting more and more dangerous and keeping a safe distance from them was starting to become a struggle.
He heard a rumbling sound behind him and two more puppets behind him activated as he quickly ran through the gap between them. He now found himself standing in front of Song Gui. He was in dire straights now as he was blocked from all directions with nowhere to escape, and on top of that he was completely alone.