Chapter 310: Wheel of Time (Part 1/3)
After killing its previous controller in a single move, the devil ray sank down. Its enormous body was practically touching the surface of the water, but it didn't enter the water. It just flapped its powerful wing-like fins.
In the end, fins weren't wings. The rate at which they moved up and down was very slow, but the air currents pierced through the center of the wave-like section, causing marvelous and powerful effects. The air converged layer upon layer, the density increasing to become a sole source of motive power. This caused the heavy enormous body, which exceeded several tons, to be easily supported up in empty air.
The over-fifteen-meter-wide colossus hovered above the viewing platform. The sight might not be completely spectacular, but it inspired an abundance of horror. The water below was affected by the compressed air. Ripples and waves surged to bubble to the shore of the pool layer by layer.
Tian Si, who had fallen into the water a moment ago, was lifted up by the surging waves. She lay dazed at the edge of the pool. As for the dead Puppeteer, his body was completely drowned within the waves of water. Not a trace could be seen.
"Why go through such detailed work when you can already control Mutants?" At least half of Snake Tongue's attention rested over at Heavenly Ocean Lake because of Puppeteer's death.
The betrayal of the devil ray was within her expectations. Puppeteer, this half-assed puppet master, should die in such a fashion. It just happened sooner rather than later. And the Mutant, who had a strengthened fleshly body, wasn't really a threat to her.
What Snake Tongue truly cared about was the method Luo Nan used to control the devil ray.
She saw the devil ray's performance. Tian Si and Puppeteer had both fallen into the water, but it had sent Tian Si to shore while leaving Puppeteer's corpse to sink into the watery depths. The distinction was quite clear. What was hard to imagine was the fact that the devil ray still complied to its nature in using waves. This was the devil ray's thinking, and it was a very human-like train of thought.
This proved that Luo Nan's control over the devil ray was a surrender rather than a manipulation. Even for puppet masters, this was an extremely high-level skill.
Puppeteer used special techniques to entwine his victims. What did Luo Nan do to overpower Puppeteer's control?
Luo Nan must have started formulating and executing a plan from the moment Puppeteer revealed the devil ray. During this process, whether it was Puppeteer or Snake Tongue, all were completely ignorant of it. Even when the devil ray betrayed Puppeteer, Snake Tongue still wasn't certain of the techniques Luo Nan had employed within.
This skill was completely missing from the intelligence they were given.
Of course, Puppeteer was stunned by Luo Nan's deadly long-range bombardment, causing Puppeteer’s death by the devil ray and leaving Luo Nan open for direct attacks from Snake Tongue. But obviously, Luo Nan wasn't restricted by Snake Tongue at all. What the heck did her wrestle on the mental plane even mean?
"This fellow is like a treasury... no, a weapons depot!"
Snake Tongue was completely unable to guess what this seemingly young, inexperienced, and biased teenager can fish up in the next moment. Formatting Theory and Coupling Theory, were they production lines for mental weapons?
The impact of Puppeteer's immediate death made Snake Tongue clearly think things over much more. So much so that she forgot for a moment that now was not a good time to go pondering things.
She felt a slight jolt, and the location of her soul body was locked upon.
Snake Tongue's mind became a bit heavy, and she saw Luo Nan turn his head to look at her from the edge of the viewing platform. Lightning stained with blood tore from his eye sockets to pierce through space. It was the same move that was employed against Puppeteer.
Snake Tongue had already exposed the location of her soul body for the sake of better realizing a wrestle on the mental plane with Luo Nan. She faced Luo Nan with Black Beetle's ruined body between them. Back then, she was confident that Luo Nan could only struggle in a dirty wrestle on the mental plane. She thought that it would be hard for Luo Nan to bring out long-range attacks. She had no fear, for she was confident. But Puppeteer's death woke her up.
I made a completely wrong judgment!
Snake Tongue knew that it was too late to avoid the attack. She could only rely on her fortifications to withstand it. But then, the tyrannical attack didn't come as predicted. Only a strand of wind came. A ray of light. It was a bit warm, but the wind blew with the heat of the sun, penetrating her thoroughly.
"What the...?" Snake Tongue felt that things were off.
On the mental plane, creeping grass, leaves, and vines noiselessly shook as they intertwined over and over. They formed a special construction that covered most of the viewing platform area. The complicated structure on the surface would make one neglect the roots of the vines. But actually, every coarse vine had a spot in the soil from which to draw life.
Luo Nan had cleared the area early on, knocking out several dozen tourists. Snake Tongue used these people as compost to plant her Nightmare Vine Spell. She used the power of these dozens of people's blood, energies, and souls to weave a net. This became the foundation for her fortifications.
This method was similar to Puppeteer's safety line; it was just more exquisite. Not only could she divert mental attacks, she could also forcefully stimulate everybody's hidden potential and cause the Nightmare Vine to grow wildly. The vines would become resources that Snake Tongue could control—suitable for attacking and defending.
However, Luo Nan's mental attack didn't arrive. What did arrive was merely a slight brush of wind, a glimmer of shining light. It passed through between the gaps in the Nightmare Vine Spell structure, exploiting the weakest and most fatal locations. Not a single hole it didn't pass, and it made Snake Tongue feel that the layers upon layers of fortifications she constructed were already seeped with water….
An ominous dark cloud covered Snake Tongue's mind for the first time.
What Luo Nan chose to do made Snake Tongue much more wary than the methods he employed before. This young man easily disposed of a powerful enemy in retaliation. He should be using the momentum of his victory to persist in seeking a second success. He should be carried by that victorious experience.
But Luo Nan didn't do that! All intelligence showed that this teenager lacked combat experience. But after performing an inconceivable reversal of a situation, the kid used the most correct and the wisest method to see through the trap behind her fortifications.
This was something hard to explain using experience or even intuition. It's actually on the same level of certainty and naturalness as writing the correct test answer.
Snake Tongue knew that if the wind, the light, continued to permeate, then her foundation would be completely peeled clean. This was undoubtedly Luo Nan's mental attack, and it would completely tear apart her defenses.
What should I do?
Over a hundred thoughts flowed through her mind, but all were useless, because she couldn't see through Luo Nan anymore!
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
A sound was coming from Luo Nan's wristband. The control center of Gear had issued a warning remotely when Gear's fire control system had lost connection.
Tank's destruction still continued. It was just a matter of time with the fire.
Luo Nan's face was as dark as water. Snake Tongue could feel the mania within the soul strength that was casted over. A dense and cold killing intent shown through the glimmering wind. Luo Nan held nothing back.
But the permeating power wasn't affected. Luo Nan just shifted his gaze away to turn toward the space above the Heavenly Ocean Lake and point directly at the devil ray hovering in the air above the water.
Then came the sound of surging water, and the hovering height of the devil ray increased. the long wing-like fins flapped a bit, and it flew away from the space above the Heavenly Ocean Lake. It pressed to the edge of the viewing platform.
In this instant, the devil ray brought Luo Nan, Black Beetle's ruined body, and Snake Tongue's soul body under the shadow of its flat expanse.
Before Snake Tongue could realize what was going on, the devil ray's wing-like fins struck out, and Black Beetle's ruined body ahead was like a basketball exploding. His entire body shriveled as he was thrown nearly thirty meters away. He didn't stop until he collided with a decorative statue on the viewing platform.
The explosive attack was of pure force. It didn't knock Black Beetle off balance—it simply pulverized him. Snake Tongue's heart was uneasy, so she didn't react in time. The meat bomb couldn't even explode before it was disposed of. At least 80% of the bones were reduced to smithereens, and the body was like a punctured sack of water. Blood continued to gush out.
With a broken foundation, Black Beetle's wraith was like a candle flame within the wind. It flared twice before completely going out. Snake Tongue didn't even have the time to groan.
This attack was likely the expression of venting some feelings.
Then what did this mean?
Controlling the devil ray. Killing Puppeteer. And eliminating Black Beetle. At the same time, he grasped dominance in offense and defense on the mental plane. Today atop the viewing platform, Luo Nan was the master. Whatever he did was correct.
Snake Tongue lost a bargaining chip with the elimination of the meat bomb. The situation turned for the worse for her.
Looking at the so-called wrestle of soul strength right now, Snake Tongue felt that this was a self-directed, self-acted, and narcissistic comedy show by Luo Nan. The comedy was insurmountable. Even now, she didn't understand how Luo Nan was able to divvy out a portion of his strength to control the devil ray, kill Puppeteer, and come at her with a killer attack in the blink of an eye.
It can't be that Luo Nan's soul strength was infinite without bounds, right? His body…. How can his body endure it?
To the side, the devil ray's body was excessively large. It was hard for it to control its balance in the air. It had just slapped the meat bomb away, and now the tip of its other fin struck the protective glass at the edge of the viewing platform without a hint of caution. It directly broke open a huge hole.
Shards went flying everywhere, some falling atop Luo Nan's and Xue Lei's heads.
Xue Lei raised his head to look at the ferocious bloody mouth cavities on the belly of the devil ray and was a bit stunned. The belly looked like it shrunk a bit; the devil ray was certainly keyed up. However, Xue Lei didn't understand how the situation reached this stage.
"Give me a hand, Leister." Luo Nan supported himself against the protective glass as he slowly stood up, but his legs were still weak.
Xue Lei was unable to think too much. He rushed to seized Luo Nan by the arm. Only then did he grimace. "This... you did all this?"
"Relax, it's quite obedient."
It was just as Luo Nan said. The devil ray behaved in very docile manner, as if it had regained traces of its nature before mutating. The tiny caved in part of its stomach possessed an invisible magnetic field, counteracting most of gravity. The compressed air that flowed around its wing-like fins stirred up faint ripples and waves, fine-tuning the balance of the devil ray based on its posture. The skill of low-altitude floating showed here.
The devil ray dropped straight down until it was only fifteen centimeters above the ground. It acted as a first-class step, but it was just a bit too wide.
Its enormous body seemed to ripple endlessly, but not even a hair of it touched the ground. It just sprinkled water droplets onto the floor tiles of the platform.
Luo Nan sized the devil ray up in silence. He felt the obedience and fear coming from the leviathan.
On a plane untouchable to the vast majority of people, the high-imitation version of the Human-Faced Arachnid had already assimilated most of its body into the devil ray. Incorporeal spider threads bore through the body, penetrating and winding around practically every vital organ of the devil ray. The devil ray was now a temporary host for the parasitic Human-Faced Arachnid.
If the situation was just this, the devil ray would still have some leeway to struggle. Its problem was, on a marvelous plane, within the star river landscape of Luo Nan's mental clairvoyance, dark chains invaded and locked the Life Sketch of the devil ray. Every one of its stars was punctured, weaving a three-dimensional drawing more abstract than before.
Within the deep vibrato of chains, the devil ray no longer had way of freedom from inside to out. It could only bow its head.
Luo Nan reached out with a hand, touching the side of its fins, which were making wave-like movements. The outside was covered in a layer of sticky liquid, making Luo Nan's hand cold and slick. However, the strength was considerable. Luo Nan's palm was numb from the shock.
"You're…. Nanster, don't!"
Xue Lei suddenly realized what Luo Nan wanted to do, but he had just opened his mouth when Luo Nan stepped on without speaking a word. The current devil ray was like a magic rug from folklore. It awaited its master for boarding.