Pieces of broken metallic doors were scattered across the ground, dust was flying everywhere, making it hard to breathe. The once quiet hallway now looked like one of his old world war zones. Aleran knew there was no more turning back, not that he would want to turn back, he wanted to escape this place at all cost. Even without knowing exactly where to go after.
He looked at the prisoners and almost immediately he could differentiate three groups. The first, was gathering next to Fedrin. Those who could still cultivate were sitting crossed legged trying to gather as much energy as they could. They knew it would not be enough for a long fight, but they only needed to have an extra boost to run faster. They would try to put as much distance as possible between the guards and them. If they were lucky, the guards would concentrate on others. Those who couldn't cultivate were just standing there waiting for Fedrin, who was also sitting crossed legged to charge out. Although Fedrin could fight even without qi, because his body had been permanently altered by his cultivation, he would still need qi to fight someone above the heaven opening stage.
The second group was almost as big as the first, but they were behaving erratically. Some started running to the other pavilions. Some stayed in their cells even after their doors were broken. The worst of them were already fighting each other. Two men and one woman were trading punches and kicks in a three-way fight that started without logical reason. One prisoner was sticking his fingers into the eyes of a fallen opponent, the fallen victim was screaming at the top of his lungs, but no one was willing to intervene.
At the corner of his eye, Aleran caught sight of a man going for the unconscious Corif. He was about to move when he felt a hand gripping firmly at his shoulder. “ Let it go kid. You are already in deep shit, don't bother about someone you don't even know.”
With guilt vibrating in his voice, Aleran turned to Zarasen. “ Whatever happens to him is my responsibility old man, I can't let him to the mercy of these madmen.”
Reinforcing his grip Zarasen berate him. “If you fight that maniac you may attract the attention of others to fight you, and we don't have the time to enter in that mess.” Zarasen pointed to the prisoners fighting. He was right most of them stayed away from those who were quiet and only fought with those that were as aggressive as them.
“Kid, look around, this whole mayhem is our doing, whatever they do when they are outside is our fault too. Each and every action we make has consequences that escape us. There are some consequences we can control like this one just now, but the questions are simple. Are you willing to pay the price? Are you willing to risk the escape? Is it because you are worried about him or because you want to feel good about your decision and to care for your own ego? “
“You knew the consequences when you agreed to it. Now that they look ugly you want to stop? No, you have to keep going, kid. As long as the escape is not compromised you stick to the plan. It's not pretty nor poetic but that's how you survive.”
Aleran closed his eyes, his mind was a mess. He had the power to stop that man, the guy didn't have energy fluctuations which meant his spirit-veins were probably broken. God knows what that maniac was going to do to the unconscious guard, that thought weighted like a mountain inside Aleran's heart. ‘But Zarasen is right. Maybe it is a way to justify the actions of a coward but I can't do anything to jeopardize my escape. Much less for someone who would probably lock me up if he were awake.’ When he opened his eyes they had a much more resolute look. But for some reason, they looked dimmer.
In the end, Aleran stood there, like the third group of people. They were only three, besides Aleran and Zarasen there was a bulky man with a diamond-shaped jaw. The three were the only ones that were like outsiders, watching as the more organized group gathered strength and the others tore each other apart. They were located near the entrance to the second pavilion far from the chaos. Aleran could see the glow of intelligence in the third man like he had his own plans.
“Bam!” Suddenly the door to the second pavilion was opened and two guards came in. One had a blade drawn and was dripping with blood, while the other had no weapon whatsoever. Clearly, they had run into some of the lunatics that went towards the other pavilions.
The first pavilion became silent. Even the fighting prisoners went still like statues, frozen in their combat poses mid-fight. For a second, guards and prisoners looked at each other.
“Oh no, this can't be happening!” The first to react was a guard. As fast as he came in, the unarmed guard, turn around and run to where he came from.
The other armed guard was a few seconds slower to react and as he was turning around when the hand of Fedrin grabbed the back of his neck. The guard quickly wielded his blade in a backhand grab to stab Fedrin but he only managed to pierce his clothes. “ If it's not an artifact, don't bother using it against me.” Fedrin soft voice was now a whisper of death. He squeezed his hand and the guard died instantly.
From Alerans perspective Fedrin had been sitting near the center of the corridor. But somehow and in a way that escaped Alerans perception, he stood up and appeared instantly behind the guard. What followed was the unpleasant sound of the guard's neck breaking and his body falling like a rag doll.
Aleran had been far away to see the death of the first guard clearly. But with this one, he could see the life leaving his body and thanks to his enhanced senses he could even hear the guard's last agonizing breath. The insipid food he ate before was threatening to reappear again but Aleran forced the vomit to stop in his throat.
“Okay, the time to gather strength is over. Let's leave.” Fedrin spoke to the other prisoners. He then looked at Aleran and Zarasen. “ It looks that this is where we part ways, I will never be able to thank both of you enough for your help. I hope we meet again, no matter the situation, you will always find a friend in me.”
With that, he turned and enter his cell, followed by most of the prisoners. He went to the wall and stood there with his legs flexed and apart from each other. One of his arms was extended, almost touching the wall while the other was at the height of his waist closed in a fist. He inhaled and suddenly his arms started to glow, it was the glow of qi. His arms started to give cracking noises and they started to look more like boulders than arms, they literally looked like rocks. The walls that were connected to the outside were much thicker than the inner walls so he needed much more strength to open a hole in them.
“That's what a body cultivator can do with qi. The Levian family specializes in defense techniques but their strength is not to be underestimated. Like all body cultivators, they can integrate their images to their bodies changing their properties.” Zarasen explained to Aleran who was looking with all his attention, he had already forgotten of the sickness he felt for the dead guard or the moral issue of rescuing the unconscious jailor.
Breathing out Fedrin punched with a quick movement, unlike what his arm that looked to be made of rocks suggested, the speed was unbelievable. Aleran could not see the punch only the sound was heard It was like when a ball or a fast-moving object passes next to your ear. Only that now, the sound came from a few tens of meters.
“Booom!” The whole building experienced an earthquake and a huge hole was opened in the wall.
"We better prepare too, let's go." Zarasen started walking. Aleran looked behind to see that the previously killed guard was now naked. The man with a diamond-shaped jaw was finishing changing into the guards uniform. As if sensing Aleran's look he stopped changing, he looked up smiled and winked at him. Then he turned around and went towards the second pavilion.
‘That is strange, I had assumed he was going to wait like us to escape, but it seems he has other agenda.' With that thought, he also turned around and followed Zarasen.
Gudrak was currently standing on top of the outer wall near the gates, preparing himself for what was to come. He was clothed in tight-fitting robes and had spiky hair. His eyes were brown and with a frown surrounding them. He looked around at his men, they were standing at a distance from each other, some were equipped with bows, others with blades. But all of them, from time to time sent looks of worry and concern towards his side, but they were mainly questioning looks.
‘Tss’ He could only click his tongue at this. They had never been in the army they were just the most powerful of the silver creek village. In order to keep secrecy most of the personnel of the asylum was from the village nearby. They were generations of guards. They were weak but most of the prisoners came with collars on or especially sealed. So, even with their meager skills, they could handle everything.
But he was different, he had been in the royal army, only for some stupid mistake, he was sent here to oversee this cursed pace. ‘ If this goes wrong then, What is going to become of me?’ This was the lowest he thought he could fall. But if the prisoners escaped…
Now, any person who has commanded men before. No, any person with a head over his shoulders would realize that he had a numerical disadvantage. The best option in this situation would be to send his men inside and take advantage of the relatively narrow hallways and close space to make up for that handicap. Even more, he could send some men to enter by the front door and others to enter from the second pavilion door. Attacking them from both sides with their weapons and equipment would do the job. That was probably the reason why those country bumpkins, that believe themselves smart, were sending him odd glares
Yes, that was the right call if it weren't for a little problem in the form of Fedrin Levian. ‘These idiots had never seen what a body cultivator is capable of.’ He was one of the few at his level that has seen one of the famous body cultivators in action. No matter how many of these weaklings he sent, the only outcome would be them becoming meat paste and decorations to the walls. Facing a body cultivator in a closed space is as good as committing suicide. Even with him there, the result would be the same, only with one extra punching bag. From the moment he realized that the Levian scion had escape he prepared for the worse.
That was why he was waiting for him to come out, and that was why he choose an artifact he was not that familiar with. Unlike his usual short sword, he was now using one of the iconic Sidrin empire weapons, the spiked chain. As the name described it was an artifact in the form of a long chain with spikes at the end, the longitude variated. It had special formations engraved to increase control and to wrap around the user. It was usually harder to control the larger it was. So depending on the ability of the wielder it could be larger or shorter. He could only control one with each arm, of almost 15 feet long. It wasn't much, but he knew every inch mattered.
“Booom!” While his men were scared and confused, Gudrak didn't even blink at the sound. ‘So they are escaping from the side, that's reasonable.' He had already given the orders, they will concentrate on Fedrin and sent only small forces to chase after the others. He had already sent an eagle both to the village and to the east moon province garrison, to ask for more men. He knew that things could go really bad.
“Move! To the east wall!!” With that, he moved with his men.
When he got to the broken wall location, Fedrin was already halfway between the building and the outer wall. “ Oh no, not tonight motherfucker.” He whipped with the chain from up to down, forcing Fedrin to stop to avoid the attack. The ground cracked and a deep crevice was formed.
Fedrin stopped and looked frowning at the man that was coming from his right. Gudrak stopped and said retracting his chains. “You didn't expect me to have artifacts on me?”
“Hm” Fedrin only snorted and charged in his direction.
‘Tss. He won't allow me to gain time.’ Gudrak was trying to wait for his men to come, after all, he was the fastest of them. Unlike the lunatics escaping that were avoiding their fight, his men were going to help him.
He threw his left chain in a straight line trying to impale the charging Fedrin, who dogged towards the left as to not get attacked by the right chain. Gudrak spun from right to left and whipped with his right chain sideways. Fedrin jumped forwards trying to avoid and get closer to Gudrak at the same time, but Gudrak kept putting distance between the two.
The battle transformed into a sort of dance with Fedrin dodging in circles and Gudrak retreating constantly. They looked like a moon orbiting a planet in fast motion, only that the moon would constantly change its orbit.
With a decisive look, Fedin raised his arm, which now looked like an arm made of pure rock and let the chain wrapped around it. The spikes thrust almost reached the bone, but Fedrin didn't even flinch. He also ignored the other chain that was coming for his legs.
Gudrak was sent flying towards Fedrin instantly. But just before the pull, he had managed to land a blow to his leg with his left chain, which worked like a saw leaving a deep gush on him. A piece of white bone was even visible between the flying blood. Having moved the qi to his arms his legs were unprotected. Well, unprotected was a relative term considering that a normal cultivator would have had his leg completely shattered. But he couldn't be too happy he was flying directly to a rocky punch from that monster. If he took that punch directly…. he didn't want to think about it. Immediately, he retracted the spikes on the right chain that was wrapped around Fedrin's arm and ordered the artifact to roll around his arm in concentric circles, like a shield. In an instant, the shield was half-formed, though it wasn't complete it was at least some form of protection. That was the versatility of an artifact and what's more, the iconic weapon of a whole empire.
Baaam craaack…. ahhggg!! The force of the punch deformed the shield made of chains and soon cracking noises were heard together with the grunt of pain coming from Gudrak. Unlike Fedrin who didn't even snort at his wounds, he could not help but let his pain show.
Immediately after he was launched like a cannonball towards the wall. Now he wiped his left chain to the ground managing to anchor himself and stop his collision.
Fedrin was not going to let this chance go. While Gudrak was looking at his injuries he used his uninjured leg to propel himself and give the finishing punch.
Woosh! The sound of an arrow coming directly at him makes Fedrin react. Though the arrow could not pierce his flesh, this one was aimed at his eye with uncanny precision. He had to dodge and that second of distraction was enough for Gudrak to react, whipping the chain and retreating.
Gudrak looked at his right arm, it was hanging uselessly, with the right chain bearly holding together. It looked like a small breeze could destroy it. It was, after all, an artifact of the lowest grade. But that was not everything, the punch was so strong that went through his shield and the arm, to break two of his right ribs. One had even pierced through the skin, it looked really gruesome.
Gudrak looked at Fedrin and sighed. The freak was already healing, his right arm was less injured than his leg but the bone of his leg has already regrown the part he destroyed. Like all at the qi circulation, he could rapidly move qi towards one part of his body be it to strengthening it or to heal faster. But the rate at which Fedrin was healing was clearly a few notches above the norm. Fedrin had obviously put a priority on his leg, but still, his regeneration speed was absurd. He had underestimated his strength. Although he had seen other body cultivators fight he had never fought one. And this guy in front was clearly among the best of body cultivators. He thought that with the artifact, and the fact that Fedrin was clearly not in his best condition after the years of confinement, he would have a chance. But reality has proved him wrong.
Luckily his men arrived just in time. For all that they were country-bumpkins, they were experts of archery. Though most of them earned their living in the asylum there was a strong hunting tradition in the silver creek village. They used the strength and sharper senses they had from cultivating, to better their aim and to see farther than normal archers. And though the Levian scion could very possibly have the mastery to harden his eyes, this would let him blind to other attacks.
With this extra support, Gudrak started spinning his left chain. While Fedrin, now with his leg healed, started giving short but fast jumps circling him. Gudrak knew he had to make this battle as long as possible. Fedrin was not one hundred percent charged with inner qi, so he had to make him stay away and spend energy. But at the same time, he had to stop him from turning around and jump the wall. It was a tricky situation.