Unfathomable Senior -
Zhang Jie and her team were standing next to some battlements looking out into the distance. The woman was using a telescope-like treasure that let her see far into the distance. There was a lot of dust getting thrown up as something approached in their direction, after a moment some shadowy outlines could be seen.
“Those look like the beasts in that corridor.”
Zhang Jie said while the monster outlines changed to actual beasts. There was a swarm of centipede monsters coming at them, they were gnashing their jaws with their feelers wiggling. The beasts were running at full speed and would soon arrive close to the wall that the Zhang Clan was occupying. Due to there being two factions in this fortress at the moment, the sides of the fort were divided. The Zhang Clan and the Feng Clan occupied the north and west area along with the two towers that were placed at the north wall. The Huo clan got the south wall towers.
The monsters were only charging at the north wall at the moment, but Zhang Jie didn’t feel threatened as even though there were a lot of those insect monsters coming at them, they were quite weak.
“They are far weaker than the ones we met before… Line up at the battlements, bring out your ranged weapons!”
Zhang Jie shouted to her platoon while other team leaders did the same. The cultivators didn’t only have bows and crossbows that they could use for range attacks. There were various treasures that allowed the cultivators to fire off their Qi that had more penetrative power than your typical arrows.
While the junior cultivators were waiting for the seniors to give them the signal to fire, something strange happened. The ballista that was placed on one of the towers started moving on its own. Zhang Liu jumped back in fright as the siege weapon turned in the direction of the monsters and started firing large bolts. The projectiles were like small logs and the moment they connected with the advancing monsters they blew them to bits.
“This weapon is reacting to the beasts…”
Zhang Jie was there when the ballista was placed on the wall, this made her realize its use. The other siege weapon was further away on the east wall, so only this one was firing. She decided to observe it some more while also giving the order to bombard the beasts with their ranged attacks. Various projectiles rained down on the monsters along with colorful energy-based attacks that some of the cultivators fired off.
The creatures were quite weak, each hit meant a dead monster that vanished into nothingness almost instantly after collapsing to the ground. These creatures were only at the Qi condensation first and second stage, so they were nothing more than target practice for the junior members. One of the senior members would probably be able to decimate these weak monsters on his or her own if they wanted to. For now, they remained vigilant as the beast tide continued and the monsters couldn’t get closer than five hundred meters outside the fortress.
The ballista weapon continued firing, releasing a large bolt every ten or so seconds. Zhang Jie noticed another peculiar thing, the ballista bolts that were next to it started vanishing. The large ammunition evaporated into nothingness after a shot was fired. Soon there was nothing left and the weapon creaked to a stop and remained motionless. This prompted the platoon leader to frown, but she had thought about something and decided to put it up to a test.
“Peng, Hong… there were similar looking bolts in one of the rooms we searched, bring as many as you can carry over here.”
She gave out the order, to the two that weren’t really good at range attacking in the first palace. The macho and fatty nodded and bolted to the storage room where the ammunition was placed in. There was a peculiar thing about these bolts, they couldn’t be placed in storage rings. The two juniors had the largest frames from the team, so they would be able to carry more of those mini log sized bolts.
Peng was carrying a bunch of them, propping them between his forearms and head with his arms raised in the air. Hong did the same, almost tripping on the way back. After the two were back, they just dumped the ammunition in the spot that the previous stash was in. The ballista twitched the moment the items were placed next to it and resumed firing.
Zhang Jie nodded as her theory came out to be true. She instantly assigned the two to restocking the weapon, though with only one of these ballistas on the wall there wasn’t really a shortage of the bolts. The weapon also had a slow firing rate, so one person would probably be enough.
The first monster wave didn’t take long, ending in under an hour after the last arrow impaled a monster in the rocky ground. The robotic voice soon announced that it was over.
“First wave complete…next wave will commence in twelve hours…”
Everyone stopped and looked out into the distance. They could see the monster tracks left by the centipede many small legs along with a lot of arrows loitered around the place. Only the north wall that the Zhang clan was occupying was attacked, but every cultivator in the fortress moved to see what the commotion was about.
Soon some people were dispatched to retrieve all the ammo that could be recycled or used again. Zhang Jie returned to Zhang Zhi to give a report about the self-working weapon and the reload mechanic that it was using. All of the top brass returned to the hologram room, they wondered if there would be some way to place more of those weapons on the walls. There was a tiny problem though, the not so friendly Huo clan was also there. The Zhang clan officers deliberated if they should share their intel with the other clan, but under the order of their patriarch that said to work with the other clans, they gave in.
“You can place weapons on the fortress with this magical treasure?”
The one speaking was Huo Tao, he wondered why the other clan was sharing this information with them. Normally you would hold such information to yourself to gain an edge over your opponent, or at least trade the info for something in return.
“Oh ho ho? Shouldn’t you at least show some gratitude you old fart? We are giving you precious knowledge, how about you kowtow at least five times?”
The one walking was the large amazonian woman by the name Feng Daiyu, she was lazily sitting in one of the chairs with her legs spread apart and a cup with some alcohol in her hand.
“Shut your mouth, you she-devil!”
Huo Tao went red in the face spitting out some profanities at the well-built woman, that just looked amused by the man’s outburst. After a moment she stood up, moving her neck side to side her bones and muscles releasing some cracking noises in the process.
“Ha ha, Want me to give you a spanking like last time? I bet the revered Huo clan would love to see their esteemed elder eating dirt~”
The woman laughed out loud while getting closer and closer.
“You just got in a cheap shot, this time it will be different.”
You could see a large vein expand on Huo Tao’s forehead, his hands showing fists as he waited for the woman to get closer. Soon the two were standing right opposite each other, the woman was taller than the scarred man but he was a lot wider. His frame was muscular and imposing, but the woman didn’t seem frightened at all. She was showing her pearly whites, grinning from one side to the other while the other foundation establishment people around the room got sweaty palms.
The fight was about to commence but soon the woman and man that were staring daggers at each other felt a chill run down their spines. It was like some kind of beast was staring at them, making them unable to move.
The one shouting was Zhang Zhi, after all the training and all the improvements that the Patriarch made in the techniques he was practicing, his battle prowess was second to none amongst these cultivators. The two glanced to the side, the man was giving off an oppressive aura as he was grasping the handle of his sword.
“You might not like it, but we are here together. You heard the strange voice, there will be another wave soon and I bet there will be another after that one.”
He slowly got closer and closer to the two fighting peacocks, he walked between them and then towards the large glowing map in the middle as he got their attention.
“We have to assume that the monsters will get stronger with time. I’m sure you know that our clan previously took part in this expedition right?”
Zhang Zhi turned around to face the two bickering parties, his brows unmoving as he looked at the two.
“We have been here for about two weeks now… but even in the previous expedition, our elder members only started dying after a month or so…you know what this means?”
Huo Tao glanced at the man in front and rubbed his chin.
“You’re saying that they arrived here just as we did… and started faltering after a month’s time?”
The man wanted to blame the failure of the previous expedition on the lack of strength, but the other cultivators had to be at least competent if they managed to get through that dungeon area. That boss monster that they faced wasn’t anything to scoff at. Their clan didn’t really have much information about the secret ground, the sect didn’t give them much and the clans that took part in it previously were mostly gone. The time it took for the people to die didn’t prove much, though it could be an indication of the increasing difficulty of the task.
“What if they left this place and just perished elsewhere?”
“That could be true, but what if they didn’t and the monsters attack just continued? They are weak now, but what if something like that thing appears?”
By that thing, Zhang Zhi meant the boss monster that every clan fought. You could reason that if there were things like that hidden here, they could also appear at this fortress.
“I believe that the key to this is this magical treasure.”
Zhi proclaimed while moving the attention from the people gathered in this room to the large hologram map. He noticed that the points went up by 50 after the beast wave ended and he could demonstrate by placing another ballista on a tower. Tao rubbed his chin even more after witnessing the siege weapon appearing out of thin air.
“If you are willing to cooperate, we will tell you what we know.”
Zhang Zhi spoke, trying to hook the others in.
The Tao members knew well that even if they battled it out, the losses would be immense even if they felt that they would win in the end. It wouldn’t be bad to wait for now and gather more information about this place. They could decide later if they needed to cooperate with the other cultivators, there wasn’t any bad blood yet either.
“We can assist each other for now… but I want some of those weapons on our side!”
Huo Tao proclaimed and got a nod of acceptance from Zhang Zhi, Feng Daiyu just looked at the smaller man and gave him a strange look. The man gulped a bit as he had the impression that he was looking at a beast that saw him as a juicy piece of meat, she even licked her lips. Soon everyone got clued in about the points and re reloading mechanic that the siege weapons had. After some time passed the second wave was upon them, the creatures came from another side of the fortress and had an increased number and strength.
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