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CHAPTER 161

CHAOS AND RUIN (II)

The air was dark and brooding, weighing heavily onto the shoulders of those present. It was a brief flicker of silence, of stillness that very few would get to experience in their lives whereupon the whole of the world shuts down, the nature of time collapses, the space itself freezes in that momentary lull, the breaths of the living grow dampened, and all matter -- dead or alive -- as if unified begets the discontinuation.

Lino had experienced such a feeling a few times over throughout his life, yet it never weighed as heavily as it did at this very moment. He held onto the sword in his hand tightly as droplets of sweat quickly began formulating, his mind forcing him to blink repeatedly. The aura around Erkhaan exploded into a blazing mass, shifting space freely, its indistinguishable colors visible to the naked eye.

On the other hand, Lino held it all in; after all, he was fully a Body Cultivator, while Erkhaan was a mixture of the two. Lino calmed his breathing quickly and forced the Singularity that was seething in his soul to wake from its slumber. Soon enough, a wave upon a wave of Qi stormed every inch of his body causing his muscles and veins to bulge.

The time came immediately after; Erkhaan unleashed a massive force which propelled him forth, crashing into Lino within a blink of an eye. The latter replied instantaneously, rising his sword as to parry the strike. The crash of the two extremes brought about an explosion which resulted in the entire hall scrambling into pieces. The floor was uprooted into huge chunks as the dust blasted out, with numerous columns and pillars supporting the hall collapsing.

The two however completely ignored the destruction of their surroundings; Erkhaan held onto the sword which had clashed against Lino and struck with the other one as he used the momentum to bound Lino from the side. The latter rotated on his pivot foot and raised his leg in a tall arc, crashing it against Erkhaan’s side and blasting him like a cannonball through the hall and into the wall.

At the same time Lino felt a massive singe of pain assail left side of his chest where Erkhaan managed to slice open a massive wound. Lino stilled the breathing through Qi and shoved a mass of amounts of it into his feet whereupon lightning crackled like a woken beast, further demolishing the already collapsed floor.

By the time Erkhaan stabilized his body he sensed a torrent of energy swarm over him, forcing him to cross his swords over his chest and defend against a massive slash. Another burst of energy exploded, completely shattering the outer wall of the hall, exposing the courtyard in front entirely.

Ekrhaan flew in an arc through the sky as his lips curled up in a savage grin which was followed by a maniacal laughter. A pair of bloody wings spurted out of his back as he used them to diminish the momentum, coming to a halt before he let go of both of his swords which then continued to hover next to his body. He then roared toward the sky and raised his arm up whereupon a massive, sphere-shaped clump of liquid blood appeared, wiggling and sizzling repeatedly.

Lino felt immense danger coming from the lump and instantly shoved even more Qi into his feet as he switched to the backhand stance. His body trailed almost at the speed of light and quickly caught up to Erkhaan. The latter smiled once again and brought his arm down. The clump of blood pulsated for a second before thousands of tentacle-shaped, crimsoned arms exploded out, all converging into a wall-thick shield into which Lino crashed.

Erkhaan underestimated the sheer force of Lino’s body and was rather shocked to see cracks immediately spread throughout the shield. His wings fluttered once as he immediately backed off -- just in time as the shield exploded into billions of droplets and fragments. A figure of a haggard-looking beggar stormed through and still pressed on toward Erkhaan.

The latter realized he couldn’t compete in the bodily strength or even speed against the beggar-looking man; his advantages lay in the difference of Realms and the fact that Lino couldn’t externalize his Qi, meaning he couldn’t attack from the range.

Erkhaan’s wings fluttered yet again as he rose up nearly a whole mile into the sky, spreading his arms wide. Shortly after the space around him distorted as the spinning vortexes began appearing one after another. Entirely black in color, it didn’t take long before they started spitting out energy which formed into bolt-like, piercing clumps of Devil Qi that then began slithering down onto the ground like rain.

Lino landed forcibly, creating a mile-wide crater and immediately looked up toward the sky only to see it completely blanketed in black bolts. Startled, he pushed his Singularity once again to release more Qi, shoving it all into the simple-looking sword. The latter hummed in a seemingly melodic tune whereupon the inscriptions running across its surface lit up like stars in the golden resplendence.

Roaring like a maddened beast, Lino’s feet crackled with lightning yet again as a strange, seemingly empty yet boundless streaks of smoke surfaced from his skin, dyeing him in obscurity. He blasted off into the sky, directly into the heart of the rain and began slashing his sword which he still held backhandedly. One slash... two... ten... fifty... a thousand...

Within a blink of an eye, he slashed out hundreds of thousands of times, triggering the sword’s second special effect: ‘Baptism’. Coral-colored blasts of flames, golden streaks of holy light and purely white beams of life itself were unleashed in thousands, illuminating the sky yet again in a mystical and beautiful stream of colors.

Two ends met quickly and crashed like two divine beasts, blasting apart space itself. The latter cried out in a ear-piercing screech as the torn bits found it impossible to come back together. Rueful storms were birthed within the clash as winds carrying the air of destruction itself bellowed out into all corners of the small realm. Holes streaking into the limitless void of the universe opened up repeatedly, some occasionally unveiling a flickering light of the distant stars for a moment.

Lino suffered a massive backlash as the energy from the chaotic collision blasted him back into grounds; he was unable to stabilize his body in time and crashed directly into the earth, blasting it open as though it was a mere body of water. The entire cliff upon which the castle loomed collapsed into utter ruin and rubble, with a crater covering the entirety of the realm appearing with Lino at its center.

His entire body was bleeding profusely, hundred of cuts intersecting, his muscles and bones torn and broken. Yet, he merely howled out like a beast before streams of Qi began repairing his broken body. Not even a second later and he arose, his image a pure reflection of death itself, two jet-black eyes seemingly holding the might of the whole universe within them.

His quickly located Erkhaan’s figure which was similarly in a sorry state. Both of his wings were clipped and his clothes were completely ruined, with one of his eyes having been pierced dead. Much like Lino he was bleeding profusely from every corner of his body, yet similarly had insane regenerative abilities thanks to his Vampire bloodline.

He was currently donning a serious expression as he had gravely underestimated the Bringer of Chaos; despite the massive difference in Levels, their Qi reserves seemed to actually be about the same. Naturally, Erkhaan was unaware that Lino had already formed a Singularity, something all other cultivators only did much later on in their path of cultivation.

His white hair fluttered madly within the winding storm, his one remaining eye shining in a brilliant light. There was no coming back, he realized; from now on, it was a battle of life and death and whatever the two held back beforehand would now be unleashed. As such, Erkhaan didn’t hesitate before he suddenly grasped at one of his swords and sliced one of his arms off immediately at the shoulder.

The arm fell off but before it touched the ground it turned into ash that had then turned into a bleak flicker of gray light before vanishing entirely.

“Answer my Call, o’ Great One.” he mumbled faintly into his jaw. “Grant this Servant the might to defend Thine Grandeur!”

The world suddenly rumbled as Lino’s eyes glinted in dangerous color; he looked up only to see a massive, gray pillar of light shuffle through the boundaries of the realm and collapse entirely onto Erkhaan. Lino naturally didn’t think someone had come to give him aid and kill off the man, yet found it impossible to even take a step forward in order to at least attempt to prevent whatever was happening.

The gray pillar’s energy was not something that Lino could comprehend at the moment; he only felt it twice in his Life -- once when he first entered the Realm of the Primal Spirits and the second time when he inherited his first Primal Spirit of Chaos. The aura was ancient, ageless, endless. It seemed as though a mere ounce of it would be enough to collapse the entire world unto itself.

The pillar didn’t last long, at most a few seconds. Yet, as it disappeared, the atmosphere shifted from the previous one. Erkhaan’s one eye turned dimly gray, his entire body billowing out smoke in thick droves which caused space around him to repeatedly distort. Lino felt as though the sense of pressure increased twofold, but he didn’t think Erkhaan himself had grown twice as strong. After all, one’s body could only handle so much -- overexerting it would not lead simply to ‘instability’, but complete disintegration.

There was no doubt however that Erkhaan had grown far stronger. While ignoring the repeated alarms of pain that were screeching at him from all ends, Lino took in a deep breath and lowered his stance, closing his eyes for a moment.

Erkhaan’s pupils constricted as he quickly grasped at one of his swords before streaking forward at his maximum speed; rather, it was better to say that he directly teleported in front of Lino as he had completely ignored the limits of worldly laws. He immediately struck in a narrow arc as his intention was simply to break Lino’s concentration rather than to inflict any damage. The next moment, however, Lino opened his eyes.

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beddedOtaku

Bio: Bad writer, worse painter, terrible singer. Accumulation of all things gone wrong. Rather proud of it, actually.

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