Chapter 59: Soul Stairs
Thinking things through, I found myself in more of a bind than I thought could be possible. X's presence was comforting but with so many Soul Formation level puppets standing right outside the barrier, I felt like a mouse being watched by a pack of hungry cats. Not the best feeling in the world.
Still, I gotta admit, there was a sense of security inside this barrier. And where Xi Son tried to force his way through this barrier with might, these puppets didn't even bother, why? Because they knew they couldn't.
I only managed to break the barrier because I cheated, I created several codes to force the defensive measures to guard against my a.s.sault, while working on another inscription behind the barrier's back. This caused the whole thing to become mine, even if I felt that this was only temporary because the barrier never stopped s.h.i.+ning, as it sent commands all over its surface. And then and there I knew that this was not a good sign.
For if the barrier was able to overwrite the commands, I wrote on it then it will no longer be mine to control, and if that happened… perhaps the barrier will allow the hungry cats to enter and I'll be no better than minced meat.
I shook the thought out of my head, thinking about how grim my end would be will not change the fact that I'm pressed for time. X is good and running, he is already flexing his metaphorical muscles, trying out his new body, though there is still a lot of damage on it, damage that I'll only be able to fully repair when I'm out of this d.a.m.ned paG.o.da and back in my manor. But for now, I'll make do with what I have.
Getting out of here is a priority, and now I have a good idea of how to do this.
I grinned as the thought took root in my mind and didn't want to leave, and this idea was a d.a.m.n good one.
I stood up after having finally relieved some of my mental exhaustion. The next undertaking will definitely take a good measure out of my mental health, but it's the only thing I believe that will work.
I pulled my brush and dosed it in what was left of my Drowsy Inkberry ink. Then started splas.h.i.+ng inscriptions on the barrier, adding more complex inscriptions atop simple ones, to do one single thing. I wasn't so arrogant to think I could make this formation into a killing formation and having it kill the puppets for me, that wouldn't work, not with my meager Qi skills, but all I needed to do was add a slight modification to the barrier, something that will not clash against its basic command of protection.
If I were to add an offensive trait to a defensive formation, I'll need a great deal of Qi to supply the barrier, but if I were to slightly modify the terrain the barrier was protecting, then the barrier should theoretically not fight back. While it would have denied anyone else the ability to temper with it, I already held my claim over the barrier and giving it a subtle push to do what it was already doing 'protecting' shouldn't contradict its reason of existence, which is to protect and preserve.
And so, I finished the inscriptions and the barrier shook, as it began morphing, from a single sheet splitting the whole room in two, into a dome, that didn't protect me anymore but encompa.s.sed the puppets.
I just pulled a switcharoo on the puppets, now instead of me being protected by the barrier, they were trapped inside it and I was free to move about. I grinned as my action worked, and to the dumb puppets, they didn't even move, because they were definitely believing that this barrier was created by their master and they had no intention of destroying it, even if it meant that it will allow them to rip me to pieces.
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The dome around them would hold them off indefinitely, or until one of them wisen up and stat going downtown on it.
I climbed up the stairs and instead of finding another room, what I found was a set of stairs that led upwards to the skies… yes, literal sky, there was no ceiling and no end to these stairs in sight, they just rose up indefinitely.
"As you tread the path of cultivation, do know that your soul is part of your power, for it can be a fule to your power as it could also save you from certain death. You may use it to force your enemies to submit and you may even escape using it once your head is no longer attached to your body, and thus possess another body to reforge yours anew, the soul is a powerful weapon and these stairs will help you temper it. Climb until you can climb no more, and that's where you'll be able to challenge your limits and elevate your soul, Trials and Tribulations are the only things that a cultivator can use to become stronger." The Laughing Slaughterer's voice sounded through the room, and for the first time, it wasn't as oppressive.
I took the first step on the staircase, waiting for a sudden pressure to come down against me, only to be surprised that there was no such thing.
I continued with another step, and more, and even more, as I climbed the stairs with ease, there was no pressure until I reached the first three hundred steps, then there was pressure, only this was more like the pressure a helmet would cause upon one's head. Negligible.
I continued walking up, and up, where that slight pressure increased, it never was powerful enough to bring me to my knees, and that was true until I reached the one thousand step. There, my whole being felt like it was about to be ripped out of its place as I huffed, desperately gasping for breath.
I grinned, this is how it's supposed to be, so show me your worst!
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