Chapter 312: Wheel of Time (Part 3/3)
Snake Tongue never expected that the situation would be reversed in this fashion.
Luo Nan played a hand of beautiful dominoes. They were standing in several dozen lines, and they fell down one by one on the material plane. They affected each other, working with each other. They inconceivably yet logically affected the mental plane, warping the defensive structure of the Nightmare Vine Spell.
The mental attack Snake Tongue was most vigilant of hadn't even appeared on stage yet, and her fortifications that she built with painstaking effort was at near collapse.
Snake Tongue currently stood in the center of her fortifications. Her mind wavered, and she grew fretful. This was more or less caused by the whiplash of her Nightmare Vine Spell. At first, she thought that Luo Nan was going to destroy the foundation of her spell and dig open her fortifications. But after two rounds of whiplashes, she felt that there was something off with the situation.
Under the attack of Luo Nan's infrasonic waves, the Nightmare Vine Spell's course vines didn't wither as expected. Instead, it was as if they had consumed stimulants. They stirred restlessly without end.
Snake Tongue knew of her own matters. She knew the method that she used to erect her fortifications; she had taken some shortcuts. The whiplash formed was truly troublesome, needless to say of its collapse.
Luo Nan's methods and train of thought made her mind be driven by fear.
I can't keep wasting time. The intense thought to retreat surged for the first time in Snake Tongue's mind. But this thought had just barely formed when a strong pressure suddenly erupted. The blood-devouring intent of the Nightmare Vine Spell had found the closest target.
Snake Tongue knew that things weren't good. She immediately started chanting. She would disperse the Nightmare Vine Spell regardless of the consequences. However, the terrible feeling of being seen through by Luo Nan became clear once more. She used her clairvoyance by instinct, and she saw Luo Nan's eyes. Blood and flame interwove within them, yet they were so penetratingly cold that they cut through her heart.
The mental attack came. It was somewhat different than the heavy-hammer-type bombardment that was in the intelligence briefing. Within her chaotic defensive system silently came a sharp blade piercing in. The sole attack stabbed through all her defenses, piercing the weakest area of Snake Tongue's soul body.
This attack didn't directly cause Snake Tongue serious damage, but Snake Tongue had been preparing a spell, and she was interrupted. Her last chance of possibly controlling the Nightmare Vine Spell was severed.
But from Snake Tongue's perspective, the most fatal thing lay in the defensive system of the Nightmare Vine Spell. It now became an invisible cage on the mental plane, trapping her and binding her within. She wouldn't be able to struggle free any time soon at all.
Snake Tongue used all her power to try various methods. This included the interference transformation between the mental and material planes that she dreaded using previously. However, this was totally useless. Instead, with these series of attempts, with her excessive interference with the material plane, her soul body gradually showed itself.
"Nanster, you're playing with something big now…. Huh?"
Xue Lei rubbed his stomach as he walked from behind the enormous back of the devil ray. He made his way around, and he suddenly saw a specter appear in the air ahead. It vaguely looked like a woman, and this specter glowed green within the night. Under careful examination, the glow was coming from a screen that hung to the ground. Half of it covered the back, while half of it covered the weak figure in front.
Such an appearance was akin to a ghost or a spirit. Her expressions were faint and couldn't be seen clearly. It looked like she could scatter into the wind at any time.
But after a few more rounds of careful examination, there appeared to be several dozen strips of smoke surrounding this fragile woman. The strips weaved and twined, tying into each other. They were graceful like feathers, or streamers, yet they were as malevolent as a prison or shackles.
"T-This... is Snake Tongue?"
Xue Lei guessed correctly, but he was still a bit confused. He didn't know why this mysterious and powerful foe had suddenly revealed herself, especially in this form.
Her appearance was absolutely disconnected with the ugly and vile appearance of Black Beetle's ruined body.
Snake Tongue wasn't concerned with what she looked like. Right now, there was absolutely no one in her eyes besides Luo Nan. Her soul-out-of-body was pressured to become visible. From her perspective, the situation had completely collapsed. And all of this was caused by the teenager atop the devil ray's head.
It was impossible for Snake Tongue to accept the process that led to such a result.
Since Luo Nan began to truly display his power and use his techniques, Snake Tongue didn't know half of what he had done. In other words, her confusion had dropped her in such a conclusion.
The most preposterous thing was that she and Luo Nan were still wrestling with their soul strengths. But was there any point to this wrestle? She got the clear feeling that Luo Nan was only using a pinky to hold her in place. He was free to do what he wanted with the rest of his strength, and so this was the result self-realized by Snake Tongue.
It wasn't that she never experienced something like this before; she just never imagined that this would appear because of a teenager…. What was reflected within was no longer strength, but a difference in foresight.
Snake Tongue composed herself a little. She could be said to have suffered a crushing defeat in today's clash of forces. However, it was rather premature for her to consign to hopelessness.
She was someone who had accumulated much experience in the world. She soon adjusted her state of mind. She stopped considering struggling, and she didn't have her figure fade from the material plane. Rather, she took on a can't-be-picky attitude and faced Luo Nan, who towered on top of the devil ray's head, then bowed as a greeting. She did her utmost to maintain a tranquil tone as she admitted,
"Lord Luo is brilliant. I am defeated."
Aside from an ice-cold gaze, Luo Nan didn't give her anything at all.
Snake Tongue stood up straight after performing some salutations. She tilted her head slightly upward to lock with Luo Nan's ice-cold gaze. Her posture was meaningless in her soul body, but it was meant for courtesy and the situation. "Since I've admitted defeat, I won't cause any further troubles for Lord Luo. I hope I can obtain some preferable treatment...."
Luo Nan maintained his silence, but the Nightmare Vine Spell grew more restless on the mental plane. This was the most direct response. On the material plane, visible to the naked eye, the dark smoke outside Snake Tongue's body grew threefold in volume. The power at which they twisted and twined grew more and more apparent.
A shiver ran through Snake Tongue's mind, but she continued trying to use communication to resolve the problem. She threw out a bargaining chip. "Lord Luo, I can order Tank to stop his actions right now!"
"I will kill him."
This was a simple sentence by Luo Nan, but his words had nearly shoved Snake Tongue's words back down her throat. She floundered for a second, before saying, "Lord Luo, please don't be impulsive. I want to save your mother's precious work. That's the most—"
The whistling sound of the wind crushed Snake Tongue's words. The devil ray had begun flapping its wing-like fins with great power. The compressed air rumbled as they flowed, the power astonishing. It soared several meters up in the air, looking as if it would soar through the skies at a moment's notice.
Luo Nan stared at Snake Tongue from his higher position. "You keep on resisting. I've already wasted two minutes with you."
Of course Snake Tongue was resisting. Even though she lost, she had no reason to let Luo Nan go and kill her comrade. Clearly, there was an enormous difference in understanding between the two. It was unavoidable for her thoughts to darken.
Yet she saw Luo Nan close his eyes at this time. His eyelids still trembled. This movement allowed Snake Tongue to confirm something. Luo Nan was certainly extremely exhausted. That's right. How could his body endure executing these terrifying techniques over and over again?
Maybe she should continue to stall for time?
This thought just stirred within her when Luo Nan suddenly opened his eyes. Lightning flared within those bloody sockets. "And... you're continuing to waste time!"
His voice fell, and the Nightmare Vine Spell, which was already accustomed to devouring its master, contracted violently. At the same time, the second mental attack already arrived.
Snake Tongue suffered attacks from two sides. Her specter rippled and contorted. It seemed that she might vanish. She did her best to resist while rousing her glib tongue, doing her best to persuade him.
"Lord Luo, I admit that I'll receive heavy injuries if you continue clinging to this course of action. But like you said, the direct abrasion and contention of your large and small gears will make you have no future to speak of! Formatting Theory. Coupling. How can you validate these elite theories in this case?"
Luo Nan heard everything and subconsciously loosened a grip on a head-fin of the devil ray. He caressed his own cheek; it was a bit numb. He used a bit more strength, and there was the horrible feeling of laceration.
But what did this matter?
"If my mother had compromised for the sake of her life, then I wouldn't exist on this earth. If I make a compromise over my mother's word with you despicable bastards, there will still be stains left even if Gear is preserved... and it leaves you free to come any time for a second try!"
Luo Nan's voice went low and husky. He was practically speaking to himself. These were his thoughts, his ideas. He really didn't know what was right or wrong, but today, his emotions, his wisdom, his blood, and his energy all resonated together to obtain this answer. There was no glossing over this.
Snake Tongue didn't even have the time to be angry when she was called a 'despicable bastard'. She saw the devil ray rush straight up, and the countless vines shed continuously under the noiseless roar.
There weren't any material sound waves, but a vibration burst out on the mental plane, like that of a sword cutting through several hundred bow strings of a dragon net. Snap snap snap snap. The beat exploded continuously in the depths of her mind. Her manifested ghostly body soared up into the air, not of her volition.
Gales raged. The sky and the earth spun. The net that was the Nightmare Vine Spell wrapped her up to drift within the night's wind. She was like a bound bird or beast that a hunter carried back after a successful expedition.
The series of disgraces darkened Snake Tongue's thoughts even further. The poisonous hate seared her heart, and she yelled sharply, addressing Luo Nan by name for the first time, "Luo Nan. You better not have regrets!"
What answered her were the sonic claps of the devil ray's wing-like fins producing wind.
The devil ray flew out of the viewing platform in an instant, entering the vast and empty skies a kilometer in altitude. Luo Nan was situated atop the devil ray's head, and he looked down.
The heart lantern illuminated from above, shining upon everything. Whatever darkness, jungle, building there were, they were unable to be sheltered. No object existed in Luo Nan's eyes besides a fine gear embedded within the depths of the boundless jungle. It shown clearly.
This was the first time Luo Nan used coupling and the heart lantern for clairvoyance for this long. It was a marvelous sensation, like the bubbling water of a spring that gushed out from underground.
Was it the heart lantern shining upon Gear, or had Gear's divine light entered his heart?
It must be the latter. It was the purest light within the darkness, a pupil that circulated with ripples of life. Over there, the pupil billowed, flickered, revolved, and pulled the long river of time. It took the vestiges of the ancient past and manifested them to the present, transforming into indescribable emotions as it silently gazed at him.
A completely irrational thought plucked at his heartstrings. Luo Nan was a bit dazed, but soon he strove to open his eyes. He wanted to engrave this pupil into the bottom of his heart.
But the gleaming mutual shining of light only lasted an instant, and the dirty colors churned back up within the pure luster. Thick smoke and flame unbridledly smeared it, causing wanton destruction.
It was as if Luo Nan had been punched hard in the chest. A flame scorched all the way into his eyes, and the poisonous smoke it brought was poured into his heart and lungs. The scene was instantly transformed into that of fire.
"It's burning…." The flames boiled within his organs. The most ridiculous bit of hope he had in his heart became part of the poisonous smoke.
Luo Nan subconsciously tightened his grip on the thick head-fins of the devil ray. The pain of his burning heart and scorching lungs and his fury exploded upward. They split his throat as he screamed in agony.
The devil ray below his feet felt the emotions of its controller. Its body was already enormous, but it suddenly expanded by a factor. Its enormous mouth and the eight mouth slits on its cheeks opened up. The drive of the powerful pressure of sound produced sound waves in a frequency that was far below the limits of what a human could hear. The sound waves fused with Luo Nan's violent emotions, and as one, they pierced through the air.