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Chapter 23 - 23. Exhaustion



Noah turned to face the spiders coming from his back.

He jumped on them dealing 3 fast slashes.

3 rank 1 spiders fell on the ground cut in half.

His mental energy was aiding at full speed his decision making while he brainstormed about the situation.

'What can I do? That rank 3 beast must have been in hibernation in order to evolve so it can't still control his body properly, that's why I survived so easily its attack but I don't think I can face it even with this.'

Two other strikes were shot out from his figure, a rank 2 spider had its head pierced while the rank 1 was halved.

'There must be another way to the main corridor of the surface, there were other branches that we didn't enter, maybe one of these passages leads to them.'

Once finding that his theory was possible, he didn't waste any time and ran into the leftmost corridor.

Hordes of spiders kept going for him but he would just kill them with the least amount of "Breath" needed.

He was too focused, in this time of life and death his mind steeled like never before.

Even though he went through the treatment twice already, that only required to endure the pain.

This time had to find a way out, kill everything that threatened him and still conserve energy in case the rank 3 appeared.

This pressure made his sea of consciousness as a whole focused only on survival.

The passage had many branches but most of them had a blue light at the bottom of it that Noah linked to the lake, which is to say the rank 3. That's why he never took them.

Sometimes a branch that went upward appeared, Noah would take them and find himself back in some places he already passed, once he even found a corridor that led back directly to where he came from.

The cave was like an underground maze and since there seemed to be no patterns in its passages he could only test all of them from the ones that felt safer to the ones with the blue light at the bottom.

At no point during his exploration spiders stopped from appearing.

Even though most of them were newborns of rank 1 they still required a little bit of "Breath" to be dealt with because their defense was high.

Noah was helpless about the situation and even with his acupoints working at full speed in an environment with a higher concentration of "Breath" the one inside his body kept on diminishing.

He found himself again standing where Balor destroyed the passage.

'I mostly explored every ramification in the other passages. Only one left, if this one ends up as a dead end too, I'll be forced to follow the blue light.'

He went inside the road on the left of the rightmost one.

The passage was large, it could fit 3 grown up men.

Seeing the blue light getting closer Noah was almost ready to turn back but then he saw a cavity entrance to his left that went upward and in his opposite direction.

Noah was overjoyed.


'That must be the one, it's the only road till now that goes straight in that direction!'

He sped right to the entrance but found strange that no spiders appeared since he entered this corridor.

'Did I kill too many of them? Impossible, I mostly killed rank 1 spiders and only about 10 rank 2. I have a bad feeling.'

As if answering his premonition, the wall to his right collapsed and a huge figure came out.

Noah didn't even wait for the figure to be fully visible as he hurriedly turned back to escape.

Yet, the passage behind him was crumbling on itself from all the ruckus the beast created by going through it.

He slowly turned to face the figure that was standing still, blocking the only road left.

The rank 3 ironclad spider was standing of 4 of his legs with half his body raised in the air. The other 4 legs were pointing in the direction of Noah and its pincers kept opening and closing at an uneven rhythm.

It seemed to enjoy the feeling of trapping its prey as it just waited for Noah to act.

'If it's fear you are waiting for you'll be disappointed, the threat of death cannot cause it in me.'

He had already died once and the treatment would force him to see its doorsteps every time, death really had no hold on his emotions.

With his back on the crumbled wall and his front facing the massive beast, only calmness could be found in his mind.

'If I die it's fine, but that doesn't mean that I would just give up.'

He remembered his first lesson with William about impossible situations, yet, even an ant had its right to defy the will of a dragon.

Coldness exuded from his figure like an extension of his state of mind.

'But I'm not an ant and you are not a dragon! I can do this!'

His plan was to go through the spider and run for the upward passage.

He jumped toward the beast dealing the strongest strike possible with his technique.

2 iron legs blocked the blow, while the other 2 shot to Noah.

Red blood flowed as wounds appeared on his body, he managed to avoid a critical hit but the legs still scratched his skin.

He could not pass it. If he defended he would be bounced back on the wall if he deflected the other two legs would be there waiting for him.

Tens of attacks were exchanged between the kid and the monster, but the stamina of the spider was nearly infinite and it kept getting stronger as it got used to its new body.

In contrast, Noah was being covered by wounds and even if not serious ones they would still add up the blood loss as time kept passing.

Plus, "Breath" was growing scarcer in his body and his sabers were losing pieces of their body with every exchange.


'I can't keep up for much longer. Think! Think of every single possibility you have. Think of every experience you had in two lives. There must be something that I can do, I refuse to die here when I barely started my cultivation's journey!'

He kept on blocking and attacking until his face lit up.

'That might actually work.'

The plan was set in his mind as he got ready for his last assault.

He charged straight at the spider and blocked with one saber the incoming leg, he let the other one pierce his left shoulder.

Since he allowed the spider to strike a small window of opportunity opened and he threw his right saber straight at the beast face.

The flying saber could not hurt the spider but was enough to catch him by surprise.

In the few instants the spider used to deflect his saber, Noah freed himself from the leg in his shoulder and got closer to his face, his now free right hand scrammed through the insides of his suit.

When the beast turned back to face Noah he found him standing at one meter of distance holding an unfolded sheet in his hand, pointing it to the spider field of view.

The blue light coming from behind it made clear the figure of a rune written on it.

CRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

A painful scream shot out from the spider, as its first interaction with a Kesier rune hurt its sea of consciousness and stunned him momentarily.

'Now!'

This was the chance Noah betted his left shoulder and right saber for.

He held the remaining saber with both his hands and put all his remaining "Breath" in one last lunge aimed at the beast's head.

The saber pierced with difficulty the spider head and went through it emitting a shrill sound.

After it came out on the other side of the head the blade shattered from the cracks it received in the battle and from the amount of "Breath" it had to withstand.

Noah fell on the ground feeling completely drained.

THUD

A loud sound came right on Noah's side as the spider too fell on the ground.

Its body was not moving anymore, it was dead!

Noah looked at it for a bit for fear that it would stand up but relaxed when he saw no more movements coming from it.

He hugged the sheet that saved his life and closed his eyes overwhelmed by exhaustion.

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