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There was neither a horrible monster nor sages lunging out to attack them. But something more dangerous was inside.
Rune circle was in the ceremonial hall. It glowed, and symbols of mystery floated slowly on the ground and in the air. The enormous energy that these symbols contained looked as if it was going to burst out at any time. In the core of the rune circle where power was the most focused was a black sword. Suspended in the air, the black sword was made of a material that was as dark as the universe itself and inlaid with star-like light spots.
The rune circle was what made the black sword float. The sword looked like a crack that could lead to the dark universe. A few meters above the sword, a huge dark energy ma.s.s was developing and growing, and as black as ink. Its shape was like black water with ripples on the surface. At more than ten meters wide, it was still growing. This liquid-like thing was continually twisting and changing shape. When it surged, it beat like a heart, as though something horrible was about to break out. It pulsated forcefully...
"MDT, contact the battleship. We may need some technical support."
"Nolan is connected. We will transfer her into this dimension through hypers.p.a.ce displacement, but this may lead to instability in Coldpath."
"We are already in front of the most unstable thing in the world. Bring Nolan in now!"
"s.p.a.ce-time displacement in progress. Battleship will arrive in five minutes," the MDT said. It was glowing in blue light, with symbols and lines racing on its casing. "But the main cannon of the battleship is not suitable for this job. Attacking hastily would cause the balance to collapse and the energy in this hall to leak out."
"But we need the power of the Petrachelys at least. Whether it is the shield of the battleship or the destructive weapon, it is still stronger than what we have at hand," Hao Ren said quickly. While he was talking, the magic reaction was still going on in the ceremonial hall. Everyone was feeling a stinging sensation spreading on the skin. Hao Ren looked carefully; sparks were dancing in between his hair on his skin. At the same time, he began to hear cluttered noise. Even if he covered his ears, he could still hear it like it was playing directly in the head. "Everyone put on your life-support collar! The electromagnetic and radiative barriers could alleviate the impact of the energy field!" Hao Ren said.
They scrambled to put on the life-support collar. Joining Hao Ren in challenging various extreme environments, the life-support collar had become something that everyone in the family carried about every day—except Claude, White Flame and Teuton. Hao Ren quickly reached into his dimensional pocket and took out the spare collars and snapped them around their necks.
The life-support collar was not a specialized gear to block out mental interference, but its protective function against strong electromagnetic and radiation energies in the universe had a specific mental shielding effect. In fact, the power in the hall was not a real spiritual attack. It was just a powerful energy field, which could influence the mind of people within its sphere of influence. With the protection of the life-support collar, their hallucinations quickly faded.
White Flame spontaneously touched the collar, which Hao Ren buckled on her neck before she could ask. But she knew that this metal hoop helped her block out the terrifying energy in the hall. The female demon hunter looked at the black sword floating not far away, terrified. "What the h.e.l.l is that?" she asked.
"Weapon. The worst weapon, one that is the most difficult to deal with in the universe!" Hao Ren said quickly as he let the MDT capture the energy readings in the surroundings. "I was hoping to recover this terrible thing in its most stable condition, your sages have not only activated it, but they have also extracted energy from it! They have no f*cking idea what they're dealing with!" Hao Ren snapped.
A popping noise was heard suddenly.
A disturbing bust of sound was heard in the dark energy ma.s.s floating over the black sword. Purple-black electric light leaked out of the energy ma.s.s and bounced around in the air. As if gravity had been switched off, all metal items in the hall began to float before. Things were pulled by some invisible forces and drifting toward the energy ma.s.s. Metal-made ritual articles, enchanted swords, silver utensils, and candlesticks hovered in mid-air and dissolved into powder before ruthlessly swallowed by the energy ma.s.s. Though these ritual articles might possess immense powers and the enchanted swords might have been used to defeat the G.o.ds like Odin and Zeus thousands of years ago during the Twilight of the G.o.ds, in the face of this energy ma.s.s, they were just as fragile as gla.s.s.
In between the dark energy and the black sword, the outlines of a shadow was already visible.
"It's speeding up!" the MDT yelled. "I have detected a catalytic reaction. There is something that we might have brought in catalyzing the charging process!"
"Something's stimulating the sword?" Hao Ren was shocked. "Find the source quickly!"
The MDT quickly a.n.a.lyzed all the data it could collect. Dazzling data and symbols flashed around it before it flew up to Vivian. "Vivian is the catalyst!"
All eyes were on Vivian, who was visibly shocked and taking a moment to process what the MDT said. "The mission of this sword was to kill G.o.d," Vivian said suddenly.
Before her voice trailed off, she had disintegrated into a swarm of bats and rushed out of the hall like a whirlwind.
Hao Ren looked down at his right hand immediately. "Does the divine blood in my body have the same effect?" he asked.
The MDT quickly rea.n.a.lyzed the data, and then it said, "The reaction has returned to normal. The divine blood in your body doesn't seem to be enough to activate the sword. The black sword only responds to the more primordial blood that Vivian carries. But the ongoing reaction is irreversible; the balance will be broken in thirty minutes."
Vivian's voice was heard on the radio. "I'm in the pa.s.sage outside the hall. How is the situation there?" she asked.
"The good news is that it has stabilized again. The bad news is that we only have 30 minutes to stop this thing from blowing up the Netherrealm Clock Tower."
"Correction; it will blow up the entire Coldpath." The MDT cut in and projected a set of holograms that showed the diagram of Netherrealm Clock Tower and various suspended temples in Coldpath. A huge energy field was forming around these structures and pulsating in a certain frequency like a heartbeat. "I need to make a correction: the dark thing in the air is not coming from the sword of deicide; the sages didn't extract anything from the sword."
"If it's not the energy of the sword, then what it is?" Hao Ren was dumbfounded.
"The dark ma.s.s gets its energy from the Netherrealm Clock Tower itself—the mysterious power that Claude mentioned earlier," the MDT said. "But it has been polluted. The sword of the deicide is the source of the pollution, which has now spread throughout the entire dimension. This sword is a 'viral carrier.' It has not only eroded the mind of the demon hunters but also polluted the ancient energy system of Coldpath."
When the MDT finished, Y'zaks frowned. "Lanina just sent in a message; the frontline soldiers have reported that the energy nodes that have been blown up are lighting up again. The runestones in the nodes must have been destroyed, but their energy cores suddenly reactivate."
Teuton was still somewhat confused, but he knew very well about the energy nodes. "The runestone was just something we set up later, but those energy nodes can run by themselves. It was just that they had not been activated for the past few thousand years, we had to use external power to fire them up."
"That is to say," Hao Ren looked at the sword of the deicide, "all the relics of Coldpath awaken because of this sword."
Cold sweat was trickling down Lily's forehead. "And they were polluted as soon as they woke up. No wonder the temple of the G.o.ddess of Creation could be broken into by a bunch of mortals!" she said.
White Flame's eyes were darting around the ceremonial hall. She still remained calm despite the crisis. "Where are the sages?" she asked.