Chapter 309: Thunder and Rain (Part 3/3)
Luo Nan's bullshitting skills were truly rising as he spoke about frames and gears. By pairing his skills with a bunch of jargon, his effectiveness in scaring people greatly improved as well.
Snake Tongue was a silent for a time. She was probably reassessing Luo Nan's state.
As for Xue Lei, he wasn't quite clear on what was going on, but he let out a breath of relief when he saw the appearance Luo Nan had donned. His entire self relaxed.
"Nanster, you're amazing!"
Most of Xue Lei's thoughts were focused on Luo Nan when the poisonous screens of mist surrounded them. The feeling of apprehension was hard to take, for he couldn't utilize his skills. Now that most of his worries of the future were gone, the pressure moved away from his mind. The energy of his body circulated much more smoothly.
Luo Nan gave Xue Lei a big thumbs up. He wasn't planning on telling him the truth. Losing control of half his body was quite an uncomfortable feeling, but it was worth it if he could liberate Xue Lei's combat power.
It's just that Xue Lei still had some lingering fears. He was worried that the enemy would use some dark methods against them, and he whispered, "Nanster. Let's take the chance. I'll carry you down—"
"No, we're going on the offensive."
Luo Nan's voice was lower and deeper than before, but his will was unwavering. The veins of his forehead faintly throbbed, as the coupling between the heart lantern of the eyes orifice and the Format Pyramid formed the glimmering wind. The glimmering wind brushed across the viewing platform, as well as most of the skyscraper itself. It illuminated every nook and cranny, including the Life Sketches of every living being.
The enormous quantity of information was difficult to process. Luo Nan had to approximately discern the information based on the distance and level of danger. Under the accumulation of information, Luo Nan formed response plans one after another, changing them and refreshing them.
Luo Nan did not lack in ideas. He was lacking in the judgment ability that was formed from the accumulation of experience. In this situation, the principles formed by his predecessors' experience became the number one basis for his decision making. The principles of mentality taught by Crag Burst were the basis of Luo Nan's actions. Luo Nan took his own conviction and schemes, and erected them upon unwavering elements of victory and superiority. These were what forged his steel will.
"We don't have the energy to continue being tangled up with Snake Tongue. Right now, we need to get rid of Black Beetle. Without this starting point, Snake Tongue can only make a move in the mental domain. Victory is ours at that point."
Xue Lei's gaze cut to Black Beetle. He felt that the distance was appropriate. Both advance and retreat was all right. It's just that variables would inevitably occur once combat started.
It was just a moment of hesitation, but the enemy made their move first.
Low syllables came out of Black Beetle's mouth. They sounded like part of a spell chant as well as the hissing of bugs. The two fused together, and the poison screens of mist closed in from all directions. The color of green suddenly deepened as a gurgling sound rang through the air. With the help of Zhang Yingying's intelligence, Luo Nan and Xue Lei realized that Black Beetle was forcing the poison mist to catalyze. It wasn't just neurotoxin now. The poison mist became corrosive, and it came pouncing over.
Snake Tongue probably did this because she felt that the neurotoxin wasn't effective enough, so she switched to a corrosive type to see if it would give more damage.
Luo Nan witnessed this scene and was not really surprised. He didn't cover up his previous speech at all. This was the same as pressuring Snake Tongue into making a move. Luo Nan instantly spoke faster, telling Xue Lei, "I recall you mentioning that you've perfected the Latent Thunder technique?"
Luo Nan didn't wait for Xue Lei to respond. He flipped through the pages of the notebook he always held within his hand until he reached the last page. Here lay the last of the paper men he had made. There was something different about it. Its paper material ignited into a blaze of fire in midair as it pounced into the poison screens that were on the verge of closing in on them.
The special material and special technique formed a special blaze. Its quality was out of the ordinary, but this was an extremely rough method of response from Luo Nan. The corrosive poison mist exploded into flames as they made contact, splashing out large gushes of fire and causing the toxicity to become violently volatile.
In an instant, before Xue Lei were an acrid odor and the sight of flame. Xue Lei eventually realized Luo Nan's intentions while his scalp was frying. He immediately gritted his teeth as he gave a low shout, collecting the energy of his entire body. Then, his energy exploded in an eruption. The martial artist clothes upon his body rang with crackles, and air blasted away from his body, dispelling the assaulting flames at once.
This move could defend against fire, but not poison. The toxicity was excited in an instant, growing fiercer than before by countless fold. Even Xue Lei felt his limbs go a bit numb. Luckily, the clearsign within his body shone with its illumination. It quickly dispelled and suppressed these negative feelings to the minimum, wiping them clean.
Xue Lei was most concerned about Luo Nan still. He was just about to turn around when he was pushed from behind. "Blitzkrieg go!"
The force wasn't great, but it was expressed in a direct and efficient way, wiping away the distracting thoughts from Xue Lei's mind. Xue Lei growled. He relied on his strong body to break into the region of mist, which was still spraying with flames, battering his way through.
As he saw Xue Lei throw himself ahead, Luo Nan's body subconsciously wanted to slide to the ground. His muddy vision turned even fuzzier. However, there was the glimmering wind formed from the coupling between the Format Pyramid and the heart lantern of the eyes orifice. The wind blew across all orifices, illuminating every part of the body. The feeling of numbness was alleviated substantially, and strands of heat rose up, giving Luo Nan a bit more strength. In the end, Luo Nan leaned steadily against the protective glass, escaping making a fool of himself.
The devious figure hiding deep in the mental plane behind layers and layers of defenses was incapable of seeing through this hole.
Xue Lei's charge was a move that shifted around the roles of aggressor and defender.
Black Beetle had already pressed a certain amount of distance when Xue Lei's sudden assault came. Xue Lei's awesome explosive power made him like a ferocious tiger crossing a river, roaring through. The powerful energy surrounding Xue Lei's body tore the remaining poison screen of mist into shreds.
Black Beetle's control over the poison mist was completely broken, but then his feet swayed as he sidestepped in time, dodging Xue Lei’s frontal charge.
Xue Lei's gaze was vicious as his tall and strong body instantly whirled around like flowing water. He charged with a shoulder and struck with an elbow, drawing out close range strikes which were akin to the howling wind and torrential rain. His tiny range shifted and changed in a manner that was in no way inferior to what Black Beetle could do.
Black Beetle's response was inferior to his response back when he was normal. He avoided the shoulder charge, but was unable to dodge the elbow strike as his body suddenly stiffened. Xue Lei seized this chance. A growl burst from his throat, and he unleashed a fist brimming with power. One fist came after another as he pummeled Black Beetle in the shoulder, neck, and face. At first there was no sound, but after the three punches landed, there suddenly came the explosive sound of thunder. The force pierced through the skin, flesh, skull, and brains. The latent energy exploded in vibrations, and Black Beetle's ugly and deformed skull thudded and exploded apart.
Within the shards of the skull bone, the beetle's body suddenly shriveled. It looked like it was about to explode, but it actually did this to avoid most of the punching pressure. It firmly pulled back downward, following the broken veins in the neck and sinking deep within Black Beetle's ruined body.
The image, the scene, was aberrant and horrifying. But Xue Lei had already entered a combat state. He turned a blind eye to this and drew his energy to let loose another hammer of a punch.
Thunder rang once more, and the neck, shoulders, and chest of Black Beetle's ruined body caved in, becoming seriously deformed. He no longer had the form of a human. If any normal person had such an appearance, they would be 100% dead. However, Xue Lei felt that this wasn't enough. He fixed his gaze upon Black Beetle's ruined body and unleashed another heavy hammer of a blow.
But then Luo Nan's thoughts directly entered Xue Lei's mind. "Retreat!"
Xue Lei didn't even think with this stimulation from Luo Nan. He withdrew his fist, and his body flickered in retreat.
It happened at nearly the same beat. Black Beetle's critically crushed chest suddenly expanded. The force was so much that it looked like it would explode apart entirely. But just when the chest was on the verge of bursting, an invisible force forcefully terminated it. In the end, only the shoulder and neck, which were meat-paste by now, exploded in a mist of blood.
The bloody glow gurgled within the air. The later part of the blood was greater than the prior, spraying toward Xue Lei's head. But Xue Lei launched a fist filled with energy, forcefully shaking the blood apart.
Xue Lei had no intentions of relaxing after escaping from this danger. He suddenly turned to look at Luo Nan, and he saw lightning inexplicably flash within the eye sockets of his best friend.
Before he could understand what happened, Xue Lei heard a shriek of despair.
The ugly green beetle emerged once more from the upper half of the ruined human body. Half of its shell was fused with the damaged blood and flesh. The other half, which included the head, backshell, et cetera, ignited with flames and smoke. The flames flew and curled upward, forming the faint shape of a human struggling in pain.
It was Black Beetle's 'wraith'.
Right then, Black Beetle could be considered awake. His shrieks were filled to the brim with despair and fear; his emotions of fury had sunk from the surface…. Right then, he was in a state that was neither man nor demon, and his emotions were born from this.
"SNAKE TONGUE! SNAKE TONGUE!" All of Black Beetle's vocal organs were obliterated into nothing. His current screams were from the materialization of intense negative thoughts. They were like curses, and also pleas.
"Many thanks for your help."
The voice was extraordinarily gentle and refined. It quietly entered the ear like a breeze. This was the product of using the air currents atop the viewing platform as a musical instrument. The air was seeped with indiscernible telepathy, and thus, sound was produced.
The sound didn't match the person. Who could ever think that this was Snake Tongue?
The gentler Snake Tongue's response was, the more intense Black Beetle's reaction became. The intense emotions caused the flames to become more like a burning man in appearance. But regardless, it was only a plant growing in a flower pot of blood and flesh. No matter how it twisted and struggled, it couldn't leave and it couldn't die. It could only stagger around in its half-ruined body, a scene that caused shivers to run down one's spine.
Snake Tongue didn't feel like chatting leisurely with a fellow whose self-awareness was on the eve of being extinguished. Her tone grew all the more relaxed and gentle. "I truly need to give much thanks to Black Beetle to be able to urge Lord Luo display his expertise, and for giving me the chance to make contact with Lord Luo in this manner."
Xue Lei really didn't quite understand what Snake Tongue was saying, but Snake Tongue had used dark and treacherous methods before, and now she was chatting very openly. When he heard her tone, he instinctively felt that things were far from good. "Nanster?"
Luo Nan leaned against the protective glass. His bloody red eye sockets were locked on to Black Beetle. Some of the stopped blood flowed down once more, dripping down from his chin to his white coat, leaving an eye-catching blotch.
When Black Beetle's body swelled and neared the point of explosion just a moment before, Luo Nan had used his soul strength to forcefully interfere with the gears within, effectively suppressing them.
Otherwise, what would have happened wouldn't be a spray of bloody mist. It would be a meat bomb. Xue Lei might not have been able to take it, and in an environment with rapidly spreading poison, Luo Nan wouldn't be able to take it either.
Luo Nan's technique of interference reached the peak of mastery. He needed to have the visual power to completely see the corporeal and incorporeal of the enemy's foundation. Only then could this be done. However, the dealer that was Snake Tongue had buried a trap here earlier on. Luo Nan's soul strength was locked firmly by her when he seeped it inside, and then began a wrestle of power.
The soul strengths of the two collided head on for the first time, and the situation turned into a dangerous deadlock. If Luo Nan were to cower just a little, the meat bomb would explode.
"Retreat backward!" Luo Nan squeezed out two words between his teeth.
Xue Lei hesitated a bit, then he moved back.
The sound of Snake Tongue using the wind to speak was like a shadow following a body: It was relentless. It seemed she was in the mood to talk again. "Looking at the results of soul activating the paper men, Lord Luo's interference ability strength far exceeds the scope illustrated by intelligence. Aside from the fact that the intelligence personnel have failed in their duties, this result comes from the coupling of two gears. It must be a method that was comprehended just recently."
Luo Nan responded coldly as he calculated Xue Lei's safety distance, "Correct, but you don't get bonus points."
"But Lord Luo should understand it clearly. The source of your problems don't lie in your interference ability. It lies in the critical imbalance between body and soul. AKA it is the problem of the large disparity between your small gear and your large gear. The more breathtaking your performance is right now, the graver the consequences you bring upon yourself…."
"So you used Black Beetle to manufacture this trap for me?"
Luo Nan knew that Snake Tongue's ultimate goal wasn't to force a deadlock. Even if they were in a deadlock, Snake Tongue still had a soul strength circulation technique that reached near perfection. She increased the pressure bit by bit, forcing Luo Nan to increase his invested soul strength accordingly. They twisted around each other, forming a powerful and incorporeal maelstrom. It was like a close-combat wrestle on the mental plane.
This was precisely Snake Tongue's meticulous plan. She used this method to force Luo Nan into a basic tug-of-war, into a pure wrestle. Her ultimate goal was to avoid the powerful and sharp long-range attacks Luo Nan was capable of.
Now, Snake Tongue had revealed the true location of her soul. She had performed layers upon layers of fortifications, dispelling Luo Nan's explosive power of soul strength. It could be said that she was secure and had nothing to fear.
Luo Nan exhaled. "All right. I need to say something. Your warping of Black Beetle's central gear to force Black Beetle's four gears in mutually affecting each other is absolutely not 'coupling'."
"Of course. This sort of structural relationship is coarse and rudimentary. It has no beauty."
Snake Tongue's gentle voice was like that of a teacher reciting poetry. "The world doesn't follow one's fancies. Nine times out of ten, we ultimately need to use the most realistic of methods to resolve problems. So, I used a low-grade structure to draw over Lord Luo's interference and restrict your soul strength. Next, I will use this ugly wrestle of power to touch upon the limits of your body a bit at a time until your body completely falls apart. Perhaps this method will make it hard for your light of intelligence to remain, but I will be able to obtain something first-rate for my collection—"
"Collect your ancestors!" puffed Xue Lei in fury. He directed a deathly glare toward Black Beetle's wraith and ruined body. Even though he didn't understand the details, he knew the crux lay over there.
He could pulverize whatever hook or trap there was!
Though his body was still moving backward, the degree of his movement turned small. He could launch an opposite attack at any time, at a speed that would surely surprise the opponent.
But Luo Nan called out to him, stopping him once more, "Leister, calm yourself…. It's rare for someone to chat with me."
Luo Nan's body was unable to maintain supporting itself as he spoke. Luo Nan slowly slid to sit on the ground.
Xue Lei turned to look, his face flushing red when he saw Luo Nan's state. He gritted his teeth so hard that they were going to crack, but Luo Nan still gave Xue Lei an appeasing gesture. He wanted Xue Lei to go back.
As Xue Lei was tangled in this conundrum with gritted teeth, Luo Nan slightly tilted his face up high. He faced the location of Snake Tongue's true soul and spoke gently as if he were in a casual chat, "Mrs. Snake Tongue. I must correct you on one of your views. The coupling relationship can be coarse or fine. It can be of high quality or of low quality. But most of all, it can be divided into having it and not having it. If there is coupling, then there is coupling. If there isn't coupling, then there isn't coupling. You can't use coarseness and low quality as an excuse…. Do you agree?"
Though Luo Nan remained calm when faced with a desperate situation, Snake Tongue didn't have any feelings of admiration. She just smoothed out her plan from start to finish and reconfirmed the strength of her fortifications. Only after she concluded that everything was certain did she quietly laugh.
"The way Lord Luo speaks has a certain arrogance that says, 'Who but myself can do it?' I don't quite understand; are you flaunting that you are the only one who can understand your mother's research area?"
Luo Nan really did carefully consider this before shaking his head. "That's unlikely."
"Then, is Lord Luo deliberately manufacturing a topic of discussion to buy some time? Are you waiting for reinforcements to arrive?"
Luo Nan was stupefied for a moment before saying, "Can't we just discuss things purely for what they are? Coupling isn't a basket that anyone can put on. An excessively broad definition would just lower its value. It's just like your meat bomb, where you've just produced clashes and chaos to stingily construct a new order…. If you still persist in your views, then I will continue believing that you don't understand coupling."
Snake Tongue didn't respond. Over at Heavenly Ocean Lake, Puppeteer was already pushed to his limits. "He's just buying time! A military aircraft is making its way over! I can see its lights!"
Actually, nothing really could be seen down in the pitch-black darkness in the depths of the night sky. But it was after-work rush hour right now. There were many layers of traffic, with the car lights creating a bit of a chaotic view.
Those who had the relevant experience would find it easy to determine that these cars had received some information; the information being to make room for an ad hoc military ship landing.
Snake Tongue was still quite calm. "Doesn't matter. In the current situation, as long as the three major players of Xia City don't rush over, there is no one who can help him escape from my trap."
Puppeteer nearly cursed out. You can come and go as you please with your soul body. I need time to retreat.
He narrowly stuffed the emotions back down to his stomach. He understood that it was impossible for him to play with Snake Tongue to the end. He was determined to withdraw first. He glanced at his gasping 'safety line'; she was useless now. Forget it, I am extremely benevolent. I'll help you this one time!
"You all slowly play. I'm out of here. Mm, before that, I'll need to leave some beautiful memories."
Puppeteer gave Luo Nan and Xue Lei a lustrous laugh, revealing a mouth full of white teeth. Then he used his wristband to contact Tank, who had yet to appear here.
"Hello, Tank. Can you do something that will leave a deep impression? Like setting some fires?"
Luo Nan's hanging eyelids suddenly twitched twice. Xue Lei instantly woke from his stupefaction and glanced back to the jungle of the wetlands in the distance. But it was already dark, he couldn't really see anything.
Even if he could, it was impossible to expect good intentions from this group of people.
Puppeteer continued chatting with Tank, "If time is a bit pressing, just burning the surface is fine. Pay attention to first destroy the fire control system.... Hot damn, that fast? All right, my words are useless. I believe in your expertise."
Xue Lei thought about the misfortune the legendary building was suffering right now, and felt that his hair was about to stand on end. He cursed and yelled, "Snake Tongue! You dare!?"
Puppeteer shrugged. "Forget her."
"This has nothing to do with me." Snake Tongue's voice remained gentle. "However, regret is a hook that is buried within memories. The most touching emotions of the world can be drawn. I don't mind if my collection is smeared with the color of tragedy."
Puppeteer cursed to himself for how pretentious she was being. Behind the diving goggles, his eyes swept to look at Xue Lei, who was on the verge of combusting, as well as... the one sitting on the ground. Luo Nan was expressionless with those bloody red eye sockets.
Tsk, say something!
Are you trying to disgust people acting like this? All right, you've succeeded, we're disgusted.
Puppeteer's smile broadened. "Okay, you all slowly chat then. I'm leaving first. Oh, much thanks to you, Snake Tongue. You've saved me from using my safety line."
He slightly stuck out the thumb of the hand gripping onto Tian Si's neck as he spoke. He used force to stir the girl's lower jaw, forcing her to become somewhat awake. Emotions of fear resurfaced in Tian Si's vacant and dim eyes. Puppeteer laughed in satisfaction and whistled.
A boom sounded in the Heavenly Ocean Lake. The devil ray smacked the water's surface in agitation. Its enormous mouth split open as it saw the human figure above it. It drooled with desire.
Puppeteer chuckled, then deliberately raised his voice. "This is your bonus. Drag her down to the bottom and slowly enjoy her. Don't rush things too much. Let the people on the various floors see. And give our Mr. Luo adequate time to think; which one should he save first? His mother's work? Or his lover's life? ...Or maybe he won't be able to save either?"
His gaze pointed toward Luo Nan to lock with those blood-red eye sockets. He maintained his grin as he released his fingers, letting Tian Si fall down.
The water rumbled as the devil ray flapped its fins. It flew straight up, and its large mouth opened to reveal fine teeth. It faced to meet the human.
It was in this instant that Puppeteer saw blood overflow from Luo Nan's eye sockets. The flow of blood continued to engrave marks upon Luo Nan's face, and Puppeteer's heart was incomparably satisfied. He used two fingers that had been burdened with carrying food to gesture across his forehead, delivering his farewells.
"Till next time!"
Puppeteer made a light jump, heading toward the dome. Just as he was about to leap over the steel frame, the muffled sound of something falling into the water resonated. The clear difference in sound made his heart skip a beat. He instinctively shifted his gaze to look down, and he saw the devil ray unfurl its long wing-like fins, which were over fifteen meters wide. It looked like an enormous and aberrant bat as it soared to reach beneath his feet.
The heck did it fly so high for…. Oh, hold on, what was with the water sound?
Great waves were billowing out within the Heavenly Ocean Lake. Puppeteer's gaze deviated, and he saw a velvet skirt, which was puffed up a bit due to being soaked with water, move to and fro atop the water.
"Get away!" Snake Tongue exploded with an unprecedented warning, causing Puppeteer to burst out with a cold shiver. However, this didn't obstruct his instincts, which he had tempered over the years, from leading him and forcing him to shift his position.
And at practically the same time, a different heavy shout exploded directly on the mental plane.
Puppeteer knew that he absolutely couldn't be distracted, but the cold sharp shout cut through to the depths of his soul, pressing Puppeteer to turn his head to lock gazes with the blood-filled eyes far in the distance.
Lightning tore through the turbid blood, causing Luo Nan's eyes to dazzle with brilliance.
Puppeteer instinctively squinted his eyes, even though he was wearing diving goggles. It was truly as if he were looking at a spear of lightning radiating within the night sky, and the spear came stabbing at his chest.
At this moment, whatever instincts, whatever training he had, were turned to ash under the soul-rending attack.
Puppeteer's body froze in an absolutely abnormal manner. The Mutant devil ray had an enormous body, and the power at which it flew was extremely quick and ferocious. Even though Puppeteer had shifted a few feet, the distance he had moved wasn't enough. It was far from enough!
Blood sprayed in a bout of rain as the corner teeth of the devil ray hooked on to Puppeteer's right arm. This was the same arm that had gripped Tian Si by the neck, and it separated from the body in an instant.
Then came the strike from its wing-like fins. The hidden and mutated barbs directly pierced Puppeteer's chest and the ribs on his two sides. They stabbed evenly inside.
The sharp pain woke him a little. With his life in danger, he pushed with his feet. This produced quite a bit of force, for he flew off to the side in retreat. But the whip-like tail that was over fifteen meters long of the devil ray lashed out with a buzz, bringing a sound akin to chains rattling.
The heavy attack struck Puppeteer dead in the face. His diving goggles split apart to reveal eyes nearly bulging out of their sockets, as well as emotions of incredulity. All of these disintegrated in the blink of an eye under the powerful explosive force. All that was left was a human body without a head, and that body fell into the Heavenly Ocean Lake.
A few bloody waves rippled out, before soon diluting into nothing.