IAT CH4

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Immortal Ascension Tower

Book 1: Reborn

First Arc: The Child And The Dragon

 

Chapter 4 – A Claim For Revenge

Spirit Beasts were actually creatures that could cultivate, so they were in fact really intelligent. Many types of Spirit Beasts existed, such as Humanoid, Monstrous, Evil and Mysterious Beasts. Heavenly Beasts, on the other hand, were Lords above all other Spirit Beasts, with Primordial Beasts being Lords amongst the Heavenly Beasts. In short, it was a pyramid with the Heavenly Beasts on top, and humans at the bottom. The reason for this was that, unlike humans who had no inborn or unique abilities, the bloodlines of Spirit Beasts alone gave them an advantage over humans. With few exceptions, even the weakest Beast would be much stronger than a human. However, the humanoid form was one that had many benefits that beasts that spanned whole mountain ranges had not. For this reason, once a Beast had grown powerful enough it would usually take on a human form and only bring out its true shape in a fight or to posture.

The Ironskin Manrat, named it as such because of its appearance and the durable skin, was amongst the lower tiers of Spirit Beasts. Most did not even possess a cultivation, but their sturdy defense allowed them to take on cultivators that did. As for normal humans… it would be a miracle for even a world-renown swordsman to inflict even a superficial wound. Not that either Cheng Hao or Goldy seemed to care.

“Cheng Hao, you traitorous bastard! Did you bring this beast with you so you could beat me with sheer numbers? I never expected such cowardly actions from you… Indeed I am so powerful you can’t take me on alone, can you? Gahahah!” Goldy chuckled.

Cheng Hao ignored the blabbermouth of a dragon he had for a companion, and nonchalantly threw the cursing golden snake behind him, where it slammed head-first onto a pillar. “Goldy, you should know what to do… ” The youth said that, took out the yellowish crystal marble from his pocket and turned his head towards the snake. “You Bastard Snake, won’t disappoint me will you?”

Having sensed the bloodthirsty aura surrounding the young boy, the snake had felt shivers running down his spine. “Indeed,” it muttered with a slight grin. “The exterior husk may be different, but you really are the same Little Devil I know!” The small dragon nodded and immediately shot forward.

At that Cheng Hao smiled and turned towards the Beast once again, while his bloodthirsty expression turned once again into his ‘I’m just an innocent child, really!’ face. “Sorry, did I make you wait?”

“Did you eat something weird before coming here? You were having pretty bad hallucinations back there…” The monster was still a bit confused and he seemed to feel pity for the child in front of him.

“Nah, I just had to listen to a small golden snake that wouldn’t stop talking for twelve whole hours while running under the fierce sun, passing through never-ending swamps and climbing steep cliffs and mountains…” the small boy whined.

“Woah man, that sucks!” The Ironskin Manrat seemed to feel the pain coming from Cheng Hao as it shrugged its shoulders. “You really want to do this man? You could, like, rest a few more hours if you want? I’m in no hurry.”

Cheng Hao suddenly smiled and waved his arm. The golden marble in his hand seemed to melt as it turned into twelve golden crystal swords, each as tall as a person. Under the shocked eyes of the Manrat, the twelve weapons started hovering behind the smiling child like twelve bloodthirsty flying beasts.

In this world of cultivation, there were many kinds of weapons a person could use. Sword, axes, bows, spear, halberds, mops, tables, defenestration… If you could name it, it was very likely there would be at least one cultivator that based his or her entire cultivation method around it!

However, once one reached a certain level, he would find that simple weapons made out of iron or other simple metal alloys simply weren’t enough! That is why, cultivators created Flying Weapons. Made out of countless precious materials, these weapons were capable of splitting mountains apart with a single slash, as well as bringing out immense power from the cultivator wielding them!

However, Flying Weapons were extremely expensive and rare! The reason was that the materials varied from simple ones such as ores, to Beast Cores, Bones and such! Only experts could afford to gather these materials, and as such the demand was sky high. Of course, some saw this as an opportunity to get rich and thus mass-produced Flying Weapons as a living, but such low-grade flying swords that could normally be bought on the market were hardly any different from simple iron blades enhanced with some kind of floating magic.

Right now, Cheng Hao was using the golden drop of blood as if it were a Flying Sword. As the drop was of extremely high quality, it was way stronger than normal Flying Swords! Most probably, there was not a single Flying Sword in the whole Plane of Existence that could keep up with those twelve golden blades! Unless he entered a higher plane, very few people would be able to overpower him if he had that golden drop of blood at hand! An Ironskin Manrat that had yet to start cultivating? Steamrolling would be too gentle of a term.

“Sorry, but I gotta hurry and leave this place. I wonder, if I do this before that snake comes back, will I get to seal it here?” Cheng Hao stuck out his tongue and winked in Goldy’s general direction. “Hey Goldy, did you hear that? I’ll seal you here if you don’t hurry!”

“I heard youuuuuu! Cheng Hao, you bastard, you dare do what?!?” Goldy’s voice could be heard off in the distance.

Even before a battle, Cheng Hao showed no concern and he calmly kept bickering with his snake companion that was now on the other side of the room doing heaven-knows-what.

“Jokes aside…” Cheng Hao sighed and finally turned towards the Ironskin Manrat before speaking yet again, his thin lips arranged into an apologetic smile. “Thanks for your offer buddy, but I REALLY can’t stay here. Since there is no other way, I’ll have to dirty my hands this time. Do not worry, you’ll at least die a peaceful death…

Slowly, an eyelid began to lower until Cheng Hao had closed his right eye and widened his left! Visions of mountains of corpses as tall as the skies and of a golden sun shining down eerily from above appeared deep in his left pupil. The corpses were bleeding profusely, so much so that a blood ocean had already formed on top of the soil, leaving only the mountains of dead bodies acting as a few small islands here and there… The golden sun was in no way warm. Instead, it was cold to the extreme, and everything its rays fell upon began to lose its color. As everything slowly turned monochrome, the essence of the blood and the bodies on the ground began to flow towards the golden ball…

The previously cheerful and happy expression on the child’s face also turned scary, as his mouth had arranged into a fiendish grin. Massive waves of killing intent started emanating from his whole body, so much so that it was neigh tangible and even the air had begun to tremble. His hair started fluttering and, before the evil beast could even register anything, it had already almost passed out from the fear on the spot: what it was seeing wasn’t a young boy anymore, but a giant made of black and crimson smoke, the facial features all distorting and disappearing until all that was left was a fiery grin and a single, grim eye glowing in the darkness… The illusion grew big, bigger and even bigger, until it occupied the Spirit Beast’s whole field of vision. The Ironskin Manrat’s legs went limp and it fell on his knees, tears of blue blood streaking down its cheeks and its pair of small eyes as wide as tennis balls.

Cheng Hao opened his right eye and the illusion in his left pupil disappeared. Cheng Hao’s pair of eyes returned to their childish appearance and the waves of killing intent also started to subside. The eight-year-old child sighed as he approached the shocked evil beast. He lifted his hand and one of the twelve hovering swords flew into his palm: from its previous shape resembling a longsword, it began to twist and change as the blade enlarged and it turned into something more similar to a butcher knife than an actual sword.

It was breathtakingly beautiful butcher knife, with exquisite engravings of lotuses and flowers on both the handle and the blade.

The child played with the butcher knife, the weapon in his hands seemed to slowly turn into a disc as the boy made it twirl around his index and thumb. First, the motion was slow and a bit awkward, but with time it got faster and faster, to the point the blade jumped from his right hand to the left, behind his back, and then around his forearm. Cheng Hao played with the extremely sharp butcher knife with expertise, as if the him who could barely twirl it a few times and the him now were two completely different people! Light danced on the edge of the blade as he kept rotating the blade even faster. When it reached the point where there was no more knife but only a spinning golden disc, Cheng Hao finally threw the blade in the air.

“I hope you enjoy your staying in the underworld! That place truly is a… well, a living hell!” It was unknown whether it was because of fear or due to the terrible pun, but at that moment, the Manrat’s seven orifices started bleeding even though the poor beast had already passed out.

Cheng Hao bent his knees, caught the blade from midair and… Swish! Cheng Hao suddenly disappeared! He reappeared ten steps behind the Manrat, the golden butcher knife in his hand shining eerily as a single drop of blue liquid fell from the blade’s tip. Cheng Hao straightened his back as his long, black hair fluttered behind him, turned around and bowed his head slightly, “Thanks for your hard work!” The eleven swords hovering behind him melted as they fused with the one in his hand. Under Cheng Hao’s command, the blade consequently turned into a beautiful lotus hairpin. He used the hairpin to tie the loose hair into a long ponytail and, examining his looks with a mirror, he nodded satisfied. The child stepped forward and, humming and happy tune, headed towards what seemed to be the exit. As he walked, Cheng Hao closely observed the floor and with an approving gaze he looked at the golden snake that had just reappeared on his shoulder. “You really dismantled them all! You actually did your job for once!” The boy chuckled.

The tiny dragon couldn’t help but push his small chest out: what the snake had been doing up until now was none other than dismantling the traps that had been set on the route leading to the exit! With the death of the Manrat, the hexagram at the end of the trap-filled passageway had also lit up in a similar manner to the teleportation hexagram from before. “Mph, how could puny traps like these possibly inconvenience a powerful and handsome Primordial Beast like me?” Having said that, the snake turned his head to look at the situation behind the young boy. When he did, his expression darkened. “Cheng Hao, you bastard, did you really have to mess up this room so badly to slay a Humanoid Beast that had yet to cultivate? You madman!”

Hearing that, Cheng Hao shrugged his shoulders and smiled dismissively. “It’s gonna reset anyway, what’s wrong with it? I also had to check whether I was too out of practice… there’s a fellow up there that has been waiting for a whole thousand years to die under my hand, I can’t possibly show myself as rusty now, can I?” With that, Cheng Hao walked towards the Teleportation Hexagram in front of him. The teleportation seal whirred and the child disappeared in a flash of golden light, reappearing elsewhere.

As soon as the golden glow subsided, a loud “Slash!” sounded out within the room! A deep crevice marked its way on the wall behind the collapsed Spirit Beast, as if it had been carved by an unknown force! If one were to examine a bit more closely, one would find the gashes spelled out a few words…

“A thousand years wasted!”

“A thousand years stolen away!”

“A thousand years I will pay back!”

“You’d better have prepared your sorry ass, because I, your grandfather, is back for your long awaited smacking, Tian!”

Finally, the Ironskin Manrat’s head slid off its neck and fell on the ground. As if that was the switch to a chain reaction, the pillars holding up the roof all crumbled and the roof fell until, finally, the room collapsed completely…

 

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