Arc 2: Artificer’s Dreams
A New Realm
“Alright men, do a final sweep of the area and then move out!”
“Yes Sir” The left overs of the 500 man strong platoon immediately spread outwards towards their assigned sections.
Sergeant Tony Delgado was suited up in the latest of humanities infantry armor, the Falcon Scout Armor III. It was a black skintight suit made of nano-carbon fiber. There was even a motor that amplified their strength by over 20 times.
As he patrolled the remains of the bug nest he kept an eye on his radar and genetic scanner. As he was patrolling he saw something moving out of the corner of his eye. Nothing was on his instruments but that didn’t mean anything. The genetic scanner used DNA to pick up the locations of the bugs. However it was toggled to not pick up Drone Bugs right now. These types of bugs were easily killed so the army left them to the cleanup crews instead of hunting them down.
They had made sure less than 50 of them were on the planet so the colonists weren’t overwhelmed with their numbers. So there was still some of them on the planet.
Thinking along these lines he lifted his Needle Gun and shot out a small burst. With a sinister hiss five, 1 inch long needles shot out of the Needle Gun towards the moving target. The needles sunk into their target and as they did they released a neurotoxin that was lethal to bugs.
As Sergeant Delgado saw the target the needles had hit he winced. “Aw sh*t”. It wasn’t a bug!
As the world crumbled around Chu Shen, Ti Wu released the Void Qi he had been storing in the form of a bubble. The bubble was barely visible, ghostly even. As bits of rock slammed against the bubble it turned into a muddy colored energy before merging with the black colored Qi. As it did the Qi became more and more realistic until it formed a solid black shell.
Inside Chu Shen was staring outside at the world as it changed around him. The earth crumbled into bits of rock. The Pagoda’s all disappeared somewhere as well. The disk of land shrunk until it became no longer flat but rather a mountain floating in the air. Water came out of nowhere, forming a large river that flowed down creating a waterfall that flowed into the void of space.
Appearing on the mountain was a deep tunnel. Eventually the whirlwind of the rocks stopped. If Ti Wu had not been there then he would have indeed been crushed to death. It was almost inconceivable that something like that could happen to a martial artist however these were not ordinary rocks. The Qi inside this space could be considered extremely concentrated. The rocks had been strengthened by this dense Qi until it was even harder than steel.
Master Ti Wu said not a word but manipulated the bubble to float towards the tunnel. The sides of the tunnel was made of rock but somehow was as smooth as glass. Suddenly the tunnel opened up to reveal yet another pagoda.
Outside this pagoda was countless decorations and statues. Bits of metal, plants, jewels, and even various beast cores were used to craft the magnificent sight. Each one was unique and the ingredients were rare. Some Chu Shen had never heard of and others Chu Shen had doubted he could ever see.
He gasped in shock. Whoever had created this world was truly an expert. There was nothing else, not even a sign. He walked into the pagoda. It had three rooms. The rooms were labeled the Formation Room, Treasure Room, and Training Room. Chu Shen tried to enter the Treasure Room but before he even got close, a formless pressure forced him back. If he had truly entered he felt as though he would have been crushed.
The same thing happened when he tried to enter the Training Room. When he tried to enter the Formation Room though nothing happened. Upon entering he saw a huge formation set up. It was vast and so incredibly complex he got a headache just looking at it.
It was surrounded by a translucent barrier, obviously it was protecting the formation. Looking at it Chu Shen had a feeling that it was the formation that kept this place alive. He found a rack of chain bracelets alongside the wall. There was thousands of them. Beside them though was a jade slip. Going over he read it.
It simply said. ‘To those who have arrived at this place be grateful. It is full of surprises and mystery. I created this treasure vault that wanders the realms as an idle past time. It is a collection of all the things I forged on my journey. There is no cultivation methods here, nor martial arts. There is simply wondrous artifacts. If you can pass the test in the Training Room then you may enter the Treasure Room.”
“I know not everyone will be able to pass right away so instead you must adventure outside. Towards this means I have provided the Chains of Transportation. These chains are able to transport you wherever you wish, including across dimensions. All you must do is tap the bracelet on the ground while providing some energy.”
“It will form a unique talisman that when you touch it will transport you there. Be warned though that only ten such talismans can be made, but with how many chains i’ve made I think you can take a couple to counteract that downside. When this place transforms into its pagoda form you will be kicked out.”
“It will transport itself across various places in that dimension for a while before taking itself to another. Once it leaves that dimension the Chains of Transportation will activate and bring anyone wearing it back here automatically so you can’t get lost, unless you take it off. Don’t worry, you can always return if you wish.’
Ti Wu in his ghost form was looking over Chu Shen’s shoulder as he read it. As he did he sighed. It was indeed as that senior had said. The crazy fool had indeed carried out his plan. Well, I can use that seniors craziness to equip Chu Shen with some great gear.
“Okay Chu Shen, grab some of those chain bracelets then let’s get ready to go. Different realms means more opportunities, different people, and even different martial arts!”
“Okay master. I guess I just have to wait until then.” Chu Shen cultivated for an hour before the glowing, pulsing formation suddenly stopped. It let out a bright pulse of light. The ground started to crumble again. A barrier just like the one surrounding the formation kicked up around Chu Shen. It covered him, protecting him from the dense rocks. He floated out of the pagoda. The Pagoda was surrounded by the same barrier but suddenly it disappeared.
Chu Shen gasped in awe while Ti Wu snorted. It was a simple energy manipulation barrier. All it did was make it invisible, it hadn’t disappeared. The pagoda’s formed like last time. Then like last time a black door formed at the entrance. Surprisingly the barrier bubble didn’t float towards the door. It hovered in midair for a while but suddenly a black vortex appeared, sucking up the barrier bubble along with Chu Shen.
He appeared all of a sudden in a strange place. There was lots of rocks and ruins of buildings around. Surprisingly the buildings were made completely out of metal and stone, not wood like the ones he was used to.
Ti Wu said nothing but merely watched. He walked around for a while. Corpses of giant insects almost three times the size of a man were visible everywhere he went. There was extremely little Qi in the corpse and a very small amount in the air.
As he wandered around he suddenly heard a HISS sound. He thought it was one of those insects and started looking around. He suddenly felt something hit him on the left side of his chest and arm. Whatever it was completely penetrated through his body with minimum resistance. Even his hard as metal skin couldn’t stop it, testifying to the power of the weapon.
As he fell to the ground he felt a burning sensation all over his body. It became extremely intense. He screamed for a second before passing out. Before he did the only thing he could think of was, ‘whatever hit me was poisoned.’
Sergeant Delgado ran up to the kid. He was from Asian descent, that much was obvious from the black hair and skintone. He pulled out his injector and shot the kid with the antidote. Pulling off his helmet he listened for a heartbeat. He sighed in relief, there was one.
“Major! I have something to report Sir!”
“What is it Sergeant?”
“Well Sir, I found an Asian kid on the battlefield.”
“I thought the civilians were evacuated? Oh well, just bring him aboard after you finish sweeping your area.”
“Sir it’s not that simple. I mistook him for a drone bug and shot him with three needles Sir.”
“WHAT! That much could kill even you guys! And you all have immunizations for this stuff! Great, if the news gets a hold of this we’ll all be court martialed for sure.”
“He’s still alive Sir, not sure how. What should I do?”
“What should you do? Run as fast as you can and bring him aboard the dropship. Give him some of the antidote as well but hurry up. We might be able to save him”
“Sir yes Sir.” Sergeant Delgado got off the coms with his Major and immediately ran towards the dropship. As he did he started praying. ‘Don’t die on me kid. I’m begging you, don’t die.’