Ascending The Heavens Chapter 43: Prison Break

Been busy with life, school, and work T_T will update more once finals week is over.

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“You there! Who are you!? I've never seen the likes of you before!” A thundering voice roared out as Zhang and Wenji stepped foot onto the second floor of the prison tower.

 

After walking up a set of thirty or so steps, Zhang and Wenji found themselves face to face with a husky looking man who had been seated at a long table with his gaze focused on the staircase.

 

“We are no one.” Wenji said in a soft tone as two long silver needle shot out from her sleeve, piercing through the man’s burly beard and his leather armor, and embedding themselves into his heart and throat, ending his life while preventing him to utter his last words. After a slight struggle, the husky man breathed his last breath.

 

“Keep your eyes sharp, there are bound to be more guards stationed on this floor.” Zhang said as he eyed the husky man’s corpse, hoping to find a set of keys that wasn't there.

 

“Let’s quicken our pace a bit. It wouldn't be too good if someone stumbled on the trail of corpses we left behind before we manage to free all of the captives.” Wenji said as she proceeded to retrieve the two silver needles she had used on the husky man, wiping the blood off of them back tucking them back into a leather arm brace covered by similar looking needles.

 

In the short moments that followed after their arrival on the second prison floor and dispatching the husky guard, as Zhang and Wenji speedily crept through the shadows, they stealthily claimed the lives of nine more victims.

 

With a few quick strokes of the sword, a few flying needles and a whole lot of stealth mixed with a hint of creativity, the devious duo swept the second level of the prison clean of everyone who could pose to hinder them.

 

“I must say, the prisoners here are way more proactive the prisoners on the first floor.” Wenji said while making her way to the third floor as the clanking sound of iron chains falling onto the prison floors could be heard.

 

Soon after, as Zhang and Wenji were mid-way through the flight of stairs that led to the third prison floor, a storm of cheers and roars reverberated throughout the prison.

 

“It seems they are heading up to free their soon to be comrades.” Zhang said as the sound of countless footsteps could be heard making their way up toward the third prison floor.

 

“Then shouldn't we just stick around here and let them take over?” Wenji asked while yawning lazily.

 

Unless they have a few elementary realm cultivators up there, if all of the people from the second floor go up there, the guards won't have a chance. Though I think we should still tag along with them even if it is just to observe, in the end, we should still ensure the safety of our workers.” Zhang said as he leaned against a wall while stretching his limbs a bit, waiting for the horde of escaped prisoners to make their way up the spiraling staircase.

 

Thus, moments later Zhang and Wenji joined up with a large group of angry prisoners and resumed their charge toward the third prison floor. Where they were met with the rowdy cheers emanating from dozens rambunctious looking prisoners.

 

Compared to the first floor and most of the second floor, a good half of the prisoners kept on the third floor hadn’t yet been broken and still clung to their dreams of freedom. Dreams of freedom that burned ever so more passionately upon hearing the clamor from the second floor.

 

“Damned swine! If you knew what was good for you, you would have all stayed in your cells! As for you bastards cheering away in the cells, once I rid of these swine, I’ll make your lives a living hell!” A man with a hooked nose leading a group of fifteen guards who were all clad in leather armor and wielding shields and spears roared furiously.

 

“Line up! Form formations! They are frail, weak and without weapons or armor, as long as we keep calm we can kill hundreds of these swine without even sweating!” The with a hooked nose yelled as he and the fifteen guards following him stood side to side while readying their shields and spears.

 

Forming a wall of shields and spears, the prison guards caused a stir of emotions within the hearts of all of the escapees. Dressed in what could only be referred to as rags, without the tiniest bit of protection, the prisoners found themselves a crossroads. Do they fight for freedom or do they flee in the hopes of finding salvation?

 

“Every formation has a weak point to exploit.” Wenji’s voice could be heard as a dozen silver flashes shot through the air, some hitting the iron cell bars and ricocheting in all directions, some flying toward the large shields the prison guards were holding.

 

In a flash, four of the ricocheting silver flashes found their way into the necks of four unsuspecting guards while a few other guards screamed out in pain and horror as Wenji’s silver needles pierced through their iron shields, through their arm guards, into their skin and were embedded into their flesh.

 

“Attack!” Zhang roared, signaling all of the escapees to charge forth as the wall of shields and spears were in disarray.

 

Although Zhang and Wenji had planned to simply sit back and let the escapees do all the work, the two of them had basically taken control of the situation, Wenji disrupting the enemy formation while Zhang led a sea of prisoners forward in a daring stampede.

 

“Take their spears and shields! Take their armor! Take their lives!” Zhang commanded as a dozen spears lunged at him and the escapees.

 

Without a hint of fear on his face, Zhang quickly reached out and grabbed one of the incoming spears, and with a strong tug, he was able to make one of the guards fall over, creating, even more, gaps within the enemy formation.

 

Thanks to the disparity in numbers, a numbing fear of Wenji’s sneak attacks, and a hint of Zhang’s powers, although a few of the escapees were injured, the guards were quickly overwhelmed.

 

Had Zhang and Wenji not intervened and the guards remained at full strength with high moral, they would have more than certainly been able to hold out against a group of unarmed, and malnourished escapees, but after losing nearly a third of their comrades in but a flash, and having their moral dwindled, defeat was but inevitable.

 

“Arm yourselves, quickly! Free the other prisoners! We will storm the fourth floor and once everyone has been liberated, we will slaughter our way out of here!” Zhang yelled, taking command of the escapees.

 

Following Zhang’s lead, the escapees rushed to the fourth prison floor where they quickly overwhelmed the guards once again and as a result, their numbers swelled once more to a total of four hundred people.

 

Although there was a total of six hundred prisoners, only half of them had the will to fight, while the others were either too weak or cowardly individuals who could only watch as the brave fight on their behalf.

 

“Young master, you’ve come for us!” A large group of people cried as they surrounded Zhang with tears trailing down their cheeks.

 

“A good leader must take care of his people or else no one would follow him in the end. Also, if you all weren’t working for me and collecting herbs in the mountains, none of you would have been captured anyway. So, in the end, I should take a bit of the blame also.” Zhang said with a bright smile while scratching his head, as the hundred or so workers that were captured earlier in the day looked at him with gazes filled with gratitude.

 

“Alright everyone, you all can have a heartwarming reunion and thank him after we tidy things up here.” Wenji said with a giggle, reminding everyone that they were still currently within enemy territory.

 

Thus, armed with roughly forty spears and swords, shields and armor scavenged off the corpses of the deceased guards, Zhang, Wenji, and four hundred escapees began to navigate through the Mang Clan’s fortress, heading toward the fortress gates.

 

“Kill them! Kill these bastards!” An escapee cried as a group of unsuspecting guards found themselves surrounded.

 

Quickly finishing off one group of guards after the other and scavenging weapons and armor, the escapees swept through the fortress at an unbelievable pace. However just as they began to pick up momentum, the remaining guards within the fortress had caught wind of what was happening and began amassing in front of the fortress armory.

 

“Everyone quickly! Take the gates before the main enemy force arrives!” Zhang said as the group closed in on the fortress gates.

 

Luckily for Zhang and his group of followers, the fortress armory and the main gates were on the opposite ends of the compound, meaning if Zhang acted quickly enough, he would be able to avoid a large confrontation and be able to initiate the second part of his plan much more smoothly.

 

“Release arrows! Shoot down anyone who dares to approach the gate!” A guard atop one of the guard towers yelled, moments before a barrage of arrows swept down from above.

 

Clicking his tongue and pulling Wenji closer to him, Zhang parried three arrows in succession before resuming his charge toward the fortress gates. Although Zhang and Wenji were unscathed, many of the escapees were injured while a few others could be seen laying lifelessly on the ground.

 

“Overtake the gates or it’ll be the end of us! The main enemy force is heading here!” A prisoner at the back of the ground cried as columns consisting of guards could be seen advancing from the rear.

 

“Aid the injured if possible! I will clear the guards defending the gate!” Zhang yelled as he and Wenji doubled their pace, arriving in front of a cluster of roughly ten guards moments later.

 

“I’ll take to the right.” Zhang said as he dashed forward while gripping his sword.

 

“I’ll take to the left.” Wenji said as three long silver needles slid out of her sleeve and into her hand.

 

“As long as we can hold out for a few minutes, the enemy will be sandwiched and victory will be at hand! Do not cower! Defend the gate!” A guard roared while readying his shield and spear.

 

“A regular shield and spear will do you no good in stopping me.” Zhang mumbled as he swung his sword, slicing the enemy spears that were aimed at him in half, before speeding forward, ignoring the now weaponless guards.

 

“Those things won’t work on me either.” Wenji said as three silver flashes launched out from her hand and streaked through the air, embedding themselves into the feet of three guards, inflicting excruciating pain upon them and causing them to drop their shields and spears onto the ground, leaving them open for attack.

 

“Kill them! Kill them!” A swarm of escapees roared with bloodshot eyes as they closed in on the cluster of guards while Zhang and Wenji continued forward, striking down anyone who dares stand in their way.

 

As the duo were now, with the strength they possessed, there wasn’t a single person within the fortress that could even hinder them. Had the duo not wanted to keep their powers hidden, then perhaps all of the members of the Mang Clan within the fortress would have already lost their lives.

 

Hoping to not alert the core realm experts within Twin Blade City, Wenji had to refrain from utilizing her true power and unleashing her aura, as for Zhang, he felt the fewer people that knew about the Heavenly Devouring Technique the better, thus the duo was only employing but a fraction of their true strength.

 

“Stop them! Archers! Fire!” The guards atop the guard tower cried as they saw Zhang and Wenji nearing the gates.

 

“Too late.” Zhang said with a grin as his sword swung downward and sliced a thick wooden bolt that was securing the gate in half.

 

Moments later the sea of escapees arrived and the fortress gates slowly began to creak open.

 

“Freedom!” Someone cried as they caught a glimpse of the outside world for the first time in what seemed to be a lifetime.

 

“For some, freedom, for others, a blazing hell.” Zhang mumbled as ten flickering flames ignited on the tips of his fingers, then with a wave of his hand, the ten flickering flames swirled through the air and in a stroke of beauty, set parts of the Mang Clan’s fortress ablaze.

 

Since the fortress was constructed mostly out of wood, a sea of fire soon swept from one building to the next. In a blink of an eye, a fourth of the fortress was covered in flames. Under normal circumstances, things wouldn't have progressed so quickly, however, that is to say, the flames that Zhang had conjured were not regular flames. Under the power of fire fueled by essence, regular materials stood no chance.

 

Seeing the fortress up in flames, the members of the Mang Clan quickly scrambled as they fled toward the fortress gates, without a large enough water source the thought of subsiding the fiery hell that Zhang had unleashed was but a foolish thought that was quickly abandoned.

 

“Should we close the gate?” Wenji asked as a heartless expression surfaced on her face. Having been hunted for a good portion of her life, when it came to her enemies, it could be said that Wenji did not spear an ounce of mercy.

 

“I guess if one is to cut grass, one should do so by the roots.” Zhang said as he proceeded to walk toward a large tree not too far from the fortress gates. With a single slash of his sword, Zhang cut the large tree down, causing it to crash down in front of the fortress gates, before setting it on fire.

 

“This will do, let’s go.” Zhang said as countless screams and horrifying cries echoed out into the mountains, along with the sound of a ringing bell that reverberated within the air, causing Zhang, Wenji and the escapees to stop in their tracks for a brief moment before resuming their escape.

 

“If I show mercy, in the end, it is only those around me and myself who will be harmed.” Zhang mumbled as he recalled horrors and atrocities many times worse that what had just happened.

 

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