Chapter 29 - Is this... a Tower?
“I don’t know what you mean.” Liu Meng was unnerved by the revelation, refusing to believe what Stargaze was hinting at.
“None of us are without fault. If you thought you could escape the wrath of Heaven’s Laws by completing a high-level domain, then you are much too naive. You still don’t understand the rules enough.” Stargaze looked up again.
“We’ve all made mistakes. But how many deserve to die for their sins? That I cannot say, but there is only one way to kill all those who deserve to die in this prefecture.” Stargaze said calmly.
“You need to kill all of them. This is the punishment for Tianshan.”
“But those who kill the innocent…”
“Then choose one person to carry out these deeds…” Stargaze stood up and strolled away not minding Liu Meng one bit.
‘Choose one to carry out the deeds…’ Liu Meng’s hands shook as she clamped her fingers around her shirt.
This was the choice that the domain had offered: to choose someone to slaughter the entire prefecture, and then to pay the ultimate price for such a horrendous act. Those who survived would be forever ridden with the guilt of having chosen one of their comrades to die.
* * *
In an apocalyptic-looking valley, Li Yiming and his allies were still continuing to struggle to fend off their enemies. Fang Shui’er paused her shooting to look at her glove, which had been ruptured after pulling back the bowstring so often. Her fingers had become numb a long time ago.
“We need to retreat.” Yu Runkai threw another cask of wine, exploding it in midair and clearing out a path for them to reach for their tower.
“The enemy has destroyed a tower.”
Fang Shui’er finally grew anxious as their fourth tower crumbled. Even if they adjusted their tactics accordingly, the onslaught of the monkeys was nearly impossible to stop. Aside from the middle lane which Li Yiming was guarding, they had lost all of their outer towers on the side lanes.
“There’s no way we can hold this.” Yu Runkai looked at the enemy minions. Although their numbers had not changed, the enemy minions were much stronger than before. Even the material from which the dolls were made had gone from simple wood to a metal-like alloy.
“We’ll need to buy more time with the towers in our base.” Fang Shui’er ran back after shooting another volley.
Compared to his friends, Li Yiming was doing rather well for himself. After all, being able to afford the best items did prove to be a significant advantage. Even after the enemy minions gained more power, Li Yiming was still able to fend off wave after wave of enemies.
Li Yiming dove through the enemy minions like a spinning top, rejuvenated by the minions he stroke down every second. He could feel the restoring energy coming from his sword, allowing him to use the vitality of his enemies for himself. As he looked at the monkey, who was still waiting outside of the range of the tower, an idea surfaced in his mind. ‘Shao Xian was right about only the techniques of the monkey being stronger. That means that if I attack aggressively, while I still have an edge with my items, I should…’
The monkey suddenly made a move. It lowered its staff and made ready to strike.
Li Yiming quickly retracted both of his swords, putting them horizontally in front of his chest as he made ready to parry a blow. After carefully estimating the distance, he deliberately stepped right outside of the ranger of his tower’s protection.
The monkey retracted its staff and stood still, and Li Yiming knew right away that something was odd. Suddenly, the whistling of the wind was heard on his left, and Li Yiming, who had been prepared, used his sword to parry the oncoming blow. At the same time, he delivered a thrusting strike with the sword on his right hand.
The feeling of his sword cutting through flesh instead of emitting a puff of smoke confirmed his hit, producing a shower of blood at the tip of his blade.
After fighting the monkeys for so long, Li Yiming had become accustomed to the monkeys’ fighting style. Whenever they stared ahead blankly, it meant that they had activated their cloning technique. This time around, he had the experience to anticipate the monkey’s move and retaliate accordingly.
Landing his first strike gave a much-needed boost to Li Yiming’s confidence. He continued thrusting forward with both of his swords. The monkey had now abandoned his defense and only focused on attacking Li Yiming.
‘We’ll see who can last longer!’ Li Yiming had full confidence that the sword that restored him vitality would allow him to come out on top.
The monkey suddenly emitted a loud shriek and started to spin around. The staff it held quickly gave the impression of having multiplied in numbers as he spun faster and faster.
‘This move again? I can do better!’ Li Yiming clashed with the monkey with his own whirlwind attack.
As Li Yiming’s swords hit the nine spinning monkey clones, his eyes lit up at the monkey’s apparent exhaustion. After Li Yiming’s allies had suffered defeats in the two other lanes, he was now the only hope his team had.
“Have a taste of my staff!”
Just as Li Yiming prepared to deliver a decisive blow after the nine clones vanished, a tenth staff appeared amidst the tornadoes. This one in particular had a different color.
‘Shit, reinforcement!’ Li Yiming rolled to the side and dodged the attack.
The staff missed, hitting the ground with a loud thud. Before Li Yiming could stand up again, another staff was swung at him.
‘Two of them?’ The staff collided with Li Yiming’s crossed swords, cracking the earth under him.
Li Yiming could feel his heart race as he parried the attack. He quickly initiated a counter with his left sword, slicing through his foe and drawing a long line of flood in the air, while suffering a devastating hit on his left arm.
Li Yiming’s arm had been bent unnaturally, and he lost his grip on his sword.
Li Yiming’s injury only made him fiercer. He jumped high into the air and coming down at the first monkey — He refused to go down without taking one with him.
“Lull in the sea!” A scream was heard, and the shadow of a giant staff came down at Li Yiming.
Li Yiming was smashed back into the ground even faster than when he jumped up, creating a giant crater under him.
‘Seriously? Three of them?’ Li Yiming did not anticipate the other monkeys coming to his lane. He was now suffering from intense pain in his chest as a few bones had been broken from the previous hit. He would have, without a doubt, died if he had not parried in time.
Li Yiming had no time to recuperate when another staff came down smashing at him. Li Yiming’s second sword was sent flying as he tried to block. The staff hit him on the right side, knocking him back to his tower and causing the entire structure to shake violently.
Li Yiming could hardly stand up as he looked at the monkey he was originally fighting By now, he knew that it was a hopeless endeavor to try to defend the tower, but he still refused to die without getting at least a kill.
As a fresh wave of enemy minions approached the tower, the crystal lit up again and slowed their advance. At that precise instant, the five monkeys right outside of the tower range suddenly slowed down.
‘They’re coming!’ Li Yiming pushed himself up with his broken arm. His last resort, a dark metallic ball, appeared at the palm of his right hand.
The metallic ball slowly stretched itself as Li Yiming imagined the shape of his sword to the best of his abilities. However, it continued to lengthen itself, going way past the size of a normal sword.
‘Wait, I just want a sword!’ Li Yiming was at a loss, but the metal sphere continued to grow in size uncontrollably until a giant statue took shape.
‘Is this… a tower?’ While Li Yiming was dumbfounded, the monkeys completely disregarded the giant sword and focused on finishing off Li Yiming. Li Yiming tapped on his hourglass right as the monkeys approached him, and an explosion of light covered him in a protective layer of gold once again.
The monkeys, having chosen to attack Li Yiming in the range of his tower, caused the tower to start attacking them. Their plan was a simple one; they would attack Li Yiming together and finish him off before the tower could hurt them.
Although Li Yiming was able to buy himself a little bit of time, it was only going to delay the inevitable. What the monkeys did not anticipate, however, was the emergence of a second tower. Ultimately, the few seconds that Li Yiming had bought himself ended up saving his life, as the two towers were already repelling the monkeys away, bombarding them with deadly firing power.
Just as Li Yiming recovered from his frozen status, he came up with a bold idea.
Li Yiming suddenly ran toward the group of monkey, roaring in pain as he carried the giant tower in his arms.
“Li Yiming has slain the enemy leader.”
Finally, Li Yiming’s efforts yielded fruit, as his initial target crumbled to the ground. The combination of atrocious pain from breaking his arm and ribs and the amount of energy required to maintain and carry the tower had also caused Li Yiming to collapse on the ground, draining him of every bit of strength. He was now completely disoriented and could barely remain conscious.
Li Yiming put away the tower he had and crawled back to his base before the monkeys could block him off again.
“He actually did it?” Yu Runkai frowned. The disappearance of the monkeys could only mean that they all went to gang up on Li Yiming.
“Do you believe me now?” Fang Shui’er said as she shot out an arrow.
Shao Xian, who had just retreated to the base, looked in Li Yiming’s direction, trying to grasp at what had just happened.