Chapter 1343 1343. Swarm
The map purchased before entering the Pyramid described the first three layers in great detail. It showed every hidden door, pa.s.sage, and shortcut that Noah could take to reach his targets faster.
The many defenses in front of the sealed areas also had detailed explanations. Noah could read the types of protection in front of each room and understand where his abilities could s.h.i.+ne.
Noah intended to use the advantages given by his hybrid status, but he couldn't feel sure about his success even then. The defenses in the Pyramid worried him. They weren't protections that gaseous stage cultivators should face without a team.
Noah followed the map while he inspected the area. The Pyramid contained countless rank 8 materials in its structure. Their disposition and the inscriptions that linked them made the whole place an item capable of surpa.s.sing the eighth rank. It was a masterpiece that only a few existences in history could build.
The structure was devoid of dust, and Noah couldn't see a single crack on the corridors' dark-yellow bricks. The Pyramid appeared immune to the pa.s.sage of time.
Every corner had symbols carved on its walls. Noah didn't know what language that was, but the aura that it radiated made him understand its meaning. Those signs told the number of the layer.
'There have been cases of cultivators entering the wrong trap doors and ending in the sixth layer,' Noah thought as he recalled some of Chief Etta's words. 'They have managed to avoid its defenses and come back due to these symbols. Why did the creator crave them? Are they only for style?'
The Pyramid contained many unanswered questions, mainly because no one had managed to conquer it yet. Even the Balrow family was still struggling against the defenses in the upper layers.
The structure resembled an inheritance due to some of its features. The numbers on the walls and the weaker defenses on the lower layers made the experts believe that the creator wanted to reward eventual explorers.
Yet, the defenses' dangerousness and the Pyramid's merciless layout made most believe that the creator was simply a s.a.d.i.s.tic existence that wanted to lure cultivators inside the vault.
It was strange, and Noah could see those opposite features as he walked through the dark corridors. They came from the same creator, but they seemed to carry different intentions.
'I'm still too weak to worry about the mindset of the powerful G.o.ds,' Noah sighed as he put those thoughts in the back of his mind. 'Less curiosity, more loot.'
The map was clear about the path that he had to take. Noah pressed his hand on specific bricks to move them and open secret pa.s.sages that led to deeper parts of the first layer. Every floor had different areas that featured harsher defenses depending on their secrecy.
The past waves of explorers had already cleared the accessible areas, so Noah could only aim to unlock the most difficult ones in the first layer. The defenses even had a ranking that followed the labels given to cultivators. Even peak gaseous stage experts couldn't overcome the harshest one.
Yet, Noah could see how the creator had only expected humans to enter the Pyramid. The defenses were impossible to overcome for cultivators on the gaseous stage, but a hybrid had a shot at them.
Noah knocked three times on a tile, and a secret pa.s.sage opened. Stairs went down and then back up to lead him in a deeper area of the first layer. He turned right, left, and left again until the corridors opened into a large door.
That was the access to one of the most dangerous areas of the first layer. The defenses would activate as soon as Noah took a step forward. A few tiles would move to release a swarm of minute metal puppets.
According to the reports, the puppets could disrupt the "Breath" inside the matter destroy any material. Even defensive items in the liquid stage crumbled against the swarm.
That protection had killed countless cultivators already, but their sacrifice had allowed the Balrow family to understand that only spells could help in that place.
The minute puppets weren't able to destroy the "Breath" if cultivators continued to fill it with individualities. Still, the intensity of the laws inside the energy had to match a liquid stage expert's power level to survive the swarm.
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Attacking was also useless. Even solid stage cultivators couldn't destroy those puppets.
Noah didn't need more time. Those instants were enough to run through Snore and reach the other side of the corridor.
Three seconds were nothing for existences who had lived for more than a millennium, but Noah felt as if an eternity had pa.s.sed when he took that single step.
The buzzing sound became more intense as he leaped through Snore's body to reach its opening mouth. Trails of puppets pierced the dark world, the defensive layers around the Snake, and its body while he was still mid-air.
Flies reached Noah's left shoulder while he was landing on the other side of the corridor. A sharp pain spread from that spot, but Noah couldn't stop himself anymore.
Snore's mouth transformed into a wave of dense gas that exploded outward. The detonation bought Noah the fraction of an instant that he needed to step on the entrance and shot in the next area.
Noah slid on the polished floor of the sealed area before cras.h.i.+ng on the opposite wall. The bricks didn't budge during the impact, so he could stop the momentum acc.u.mulated in that reckless leap.
The dark matter in the corridor dispersed, and the flies retreated inside the closing tiles. Noah had defeated that protection. He had reached the place that entire groups of gaseous stage cultivators had failed to touch.
'My defenses when I use all my techniques should almost reach the liquid stage,' Noah thought as he inspected his shoulder. 'Most of the merit in this success goes to the density of the dark matter.'
The swarm had almost ripped off the entire arm during that short contact. The puppets were as threatening as the reports said. They weren't beings that gaseous stage cultivators could face.
Noah turned to inspect the room at that point, and his eyes widened when he saw a pile of Soul Stones ama.s.sed in a corner. The exploration of the Pyramid had already paid his initial expenses back!
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