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Multitude of hideous, shrilling screams vented from the pit. The wraiths noticed the invaders to their ridge and chamber.
They flew up as the harbinger of death, with their bony fingers stretched toward the frightened experts.
“You shameless thief!” The Silver Skin Gorilla bellowed, no longer holding back, his aura burst as his shot after Zax.
“Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!”
“No, there are too many!”
All kinds of yells resonated as Zax’s pursuers began to flee. Some continued to charge after him, other flew up and out of the pit, and several retracted their steps. Of course, around half of the experts present died instantly after being targeted by the nearest and quickest wraiths.
“No, curse you!”
A human Peak Core Master agitated his mist energy and self destructed, wanting to take others with him.
He was not the only on to let loose. Those who could not escape, self destructed, while those who still had a chance to live, like the Silver Skin Gorilla, cleared their route of escape with beams of mist energy that flattened the ridge for kilometers.
‘Don’t these idiots get that it’s more difficult for wraiths to chase through solid ground?!’ Zax cursed the experts who blasted the ridge.
The earth around him crumbled faster than he could drill.
“Scoundrel human, pray that I won’t be the one to catch you!” The Silver Skin Gorilla roared in so much rage, Zax could actually hear him through all the explosions. Alongside him were two more Martial Mortals and five Peak Core Masters with a flying technique.
Out of the tens of thousands wraiths in the pit, some, hundreds, due to the Silver Skin Gorilla’s clamor, were bound to chase in Zax’s direction. They were on the tail of his pursuers, closer to them than him, thought it still did not make him feel good.
‘They are too fast’, he meant the wraiths. ‘That Silver Skin purposely bombarding the surrounding with mist attacks! Does he want them to catch up?!’
No matter how deep he dug, the Silver Skin Gorilla and the other experts shot beams of mist energy to blow up any opportunity he might have to conceal himself from the range of their Soul Senses and Sublime Soul Senses. Zax knew that if it kept going, he will sooner reach New Earth’s crust than manage to lose them. Moreover, he was aware that the eight were not really crazy, but probably had the confidence, if not the means, to lose the wraiths, for now, at least.
“Fucking pests!” Zax turned around, facing the eight, who were less than two kilometers from him, he controlled his anger and fiendishly smiled. Despite his body consuming vitality in the midst of growing his right arm, his overall condition was at his best, which aroused his fighting spirit. Besides, mayhem was what he asked for.
He kicked the air again and again, Kinetic Force propelling him faster and faster. Zax launched himself head on toward the eight.
“Dare to meet me with frontal attack!” The Silver Skin Gorilla was at the forefront; his green mist energy released strong gusts of howling wind that cleanly sliced through earth and stone.
“Murreta, careful!” One of the Core Masters behind, the bald man, Hereb Lish, yelled. “Your Eperong clan and my father’s Mount Rom mercenary band don’t have enmity between them!” As a Peak Core Master, he could not withstand the Silver Skin Gorilla’s, Murreta, sharp currents of blustery mist energy. Only by the use of his status did he have the capital to partake in the chase with a measure of hope of obtaining the dark attribute’s essence.
“Mount Rom mercenary band”, Murreta granted. “Should have not sent a child!” His green aura erupted, shrouding him with detrimental turbulences. After being played with by a human brat, he did not care about giving face to the absent captain of any mercenary band.
“Murreta…” Hereb Lish muttered through clenched teeth and distanced himself from the crazed ape, attracting a portion of the wraiths after him.
The other four Core Master, three of which were Kirik, Lurvar and Gong Vreil, also stayed away from Murreta’s unbridled force. They all behaved as if prepared to depart should the situation escalate beyond their area of control.
After evading six current of green wind, the seventh struck Zax, pierced his shielding Kinetic Force, cutting his left shoulder. Blood gushed from the wound, but in mere seconds it stopped and started healing.
Ignoring the risk of encountering more currents of green wind, Zax dove forward.
The gap between him and Murreta shortened to less than twenty meters in a blink. Not far behind, the other two Martial Mortals were also about to make a move, as they could not allow the dark attribute’s essence to get into the hands of Murreta. Dealing with a Martial Mortal was many times more problematic than dealing with a bodily cultivator with the strength of Peak Core Master.
“DIE!” Murreta unleashed a supersonic punch that sucked nearly all the air in a radius of two kilometers and compressed a greenish, semitransparent wind pillar.
The hair on Zax’s back stood on end. As far as breathing goes, the suction of air was negligible to him, for a certain period of time, that is. It was the force and speed of the wind pillar that scared him. He sensed that even if he would let it strike him or try to retaliate with his strongest Soar With The Storm, the final result would be the same. Fortunately he never intended to actually fight with Murreta.
“Eh?” As he tried to maneuver himself out of the trajectory of the wind pillar, he found out that there was barely any air to kick with Kinetic Force. Consequently, eighty percent of the kick dispersed and the remaining twenty hardly thrust his large physique away.
“Grr!” He bit in pain as the wind pillar ripped the left side of his waist and continued on, unobstructed.
“Haaaaaa!” Two panicked screams resounded from the mouths of the Six Legged Stallion, Kirik, and another Peak Core Master, human cultivator.
Apparently, the flying techniques they utilized also relied on the density of air. The moment it became scarce, they could not maintain their speed and were caught up by the wraiths at their back.
“No! Not my spirit! Help! Help!” The human cultivator shouted in despair, already out of his mind just by the prospect of having his soul and then spirit being ripped apart.
After the initial scream, Kirik stopped struggling and his body simply fell from the sky, both soulless and spiritless.
Following burrowing ninety meters into the ground, the wind pillar exploded, discharging an outburst of an extraordinary air pressure.
Zax diverted the vitality from his right arm to his waist. The gap between him and Murreta reduced to five meters, pushing almost to zero the success chance of his plan.
“Mm?” Upon feeling the rapidly expanding range of the fearful air pressure, Zax was ecstatic. “Hahahaha”. He laughed manically, partly from the daunting risk level of his plan that is still executable, partly from anticipation to the reaction of the six.
Murreta’s stretched fist was a meter away. Zax bent forward, repositioning himself. On his own he could not avoid Murreta anyway.
The air pressure arrived faster than the incoming fist. Feeling it slamming his feet, fracturing the bones in his legs, Zax decisively kicked the air with an intensity of Kinetic Force that was only slightly short to Soar With The Storm’s.
Unconcerned of the air pressure, Murreta punched with all his might as green, windy mist energy wrapped his fist. “What?!” An astonished looked replaced his vicious mug as before he made contact with the target, Zax vanished from his sight.
Due to the scarce amount of air at his front, there was neither sound nor much drag and due to the strong push he received at his back, there was barely a visible silhouette for even Martial Mortal such as Murreta to perceive with his eyes.
The great speed caused everything to his sides to become indistinct. Zax zoomed past the other two Martial Mortals and three Core Masters, straight toward the cluster of wraiths that was after them.
He could not stop now even if he wanted to. Retrieving the thin box of Linder Seeds he got from Xinia, he opened its lid with his finger and without delay poured all its content to his mouth.
‘Hopefully it will be the right amount’. He told himself and locked his jaw. He had to be in physical contact with the Linder Seeds to extract their dark attribute’s essence and for his plan to not fail, he could not afford the spare time of picking them one by one.
The eerie wraiths ahead were like a black wave that will soon devour him.
Extracting several Linder Seeds at a time, a tube liker barrier was swiftly constructed around Zax’s soul. Getting thicker with each extra layer, the originally see through barrier turned into solid black and severed the connection of Zax’s soul with the rest of his body.
“Is he trying to commit suicide?!” Gong Vreil gawked as her Soul Sense detected Zax’s trajectory.
“Gutless human, want to take the dark attribute’s essence with you to the grave!” Murreta shouted.
“Murreta, you oaf, if it wasn’t for the impact of your Wind Blast, he would not have managed to gain so much speed”. One of the Martial Mortals, an old woman in a long flowery robe, said in frustration.
Murreta snorted in response.
Zax was swallowed by the wave of wraiths, passing through their bodies, numerous soul attacks slashed his sea of consciousness, fracturing and breaking layer after layer of the Linder Seed’s barrier.
Whenever his soul resumed connection with his body and saw that he is still within the black wave, he extracted the dark attribute’s essence of another batch of Linder Seeds from his mouth.
In practice, the plan was only couple seconds long and had one aim, to pass the wave of wraiths. To Zax’s soul, though, the rigorous execution made it feel like hours gone by.
Finally he shuttled to the other side of the wave, somewhat still dull he crushed on the ground. The barrier around his soul was three layers thick and his soul could barely make out his condition. Realizing that he is out of the cluster of wraith, he broke two layers of the barrier and got up with excruciating headache. In his mouth still remained two Linder Seed of high potency.
He got up and breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that the wraiths, after all the effort they invested in striking him, proceeded as coherent whole at the same direction of Murreta and the rest.
Before he could relax, Zax heard the shrilling voices of further wraiths. The pit had tens of thousands wraith, and the group of experts that initially perused him, naturally could not attract all of them.
Approximately, four thousand wraiths spread all over the vicinity, some in groups, others alone.
‘Should go back to digging’.
Just as the thought crossed his mind, a green wind pillar flew above his head, burrowed into the ground five kilometers from him and exploded.
“No place to run, human! NO PLACE TO RUN!” Murreta’s voice reverberated from within the wave of wraith.
Zax turned his head in shock and saw the six flying in spherical formation, encompassed by black hue that the wave of wraiths could not penetrate.
“Hurry, Lady Zhuah, Murreta, Kitobara, finish the formation, I can’t suppot…” Hereb Lish urged the three Martial Mortals. He, Gong Vreil and Lurvar, the Cyan Macaw, shared the same spent mien.
“Just follow my lead, everyone!” Kitobara, who was a Chaoyue type beast like Murreta, a Three Tails Fennec, had the highest attainment in formations among the six.
“Hahaha, good, Kitobara, I cannot wait to catch the brat!” Murreta laughed.
Although they were a kilometer far from him, Zax was able to hear their every word.
Something in the manner at which they conducted themselves alerted him more than the distanced wraiths.
He channeled Kinetic Force and drilled down.
“Same trick will not work twice!” Lurvar shouted.
The sphere around the six emanated a blinding black flash.
Four meters deep, Zax collided with a smooth and impenetrable surface.
He punched and kicked but it did not budge.
Something heavy hit the ground, it split open and Zax was forced to come out.
“You, scoundrel, made us waste our means of escape to erect this Mo’s Pyramid formation and survive the wave of wraiths”. Hereb Lish said angrily. He and the other five descended with their eyes fixed on Zax.
The Mo’s Pyramid formation’s base had a width and length of a kilometer and a half and its highest was seven hundred and fifty meter. Inside it were only Zax and the six.
The blood in Zax’s veins boiled. ‘I can’t break it’. His muscles tensed and his left hand trembled. ‘I…’ His pupils narrowed and entire body issued strong killing intent. ‘Must fight!’ He was determined, even in this hopeless situation.
“This time”, Murreta, too, stopped smiling. “There won’t be negotiations”.
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