Chapter 176: The Danger from Beneath
Translator: TYZ Editor: CakeHermit
The faint sound of a rupture broke the silence in the forest. The soil on the ground flipped open and a fist-sized red-colored ant crawled out, follow by another blood ant. The soil flipped open repeatedly and a constant stream of blood ants began crawling out.
Ants, which built their nests underground, were not devoured by the hanging roots to become ugly tree bulges during the outbreak of the blood tsunami. On the contrary, they became stronger as they gnawed on and ate the underground tree roots. Then the ants started to devour each other, causing their previously huge number to diminish greatly.
The blood ants were the true victors of this devastating massacre. There was a huge difference between their current fighting capabilities and their former fighting capabilities.
Perhaps even the lady in red had not expected that the ordinary-looking ants would be the first to complete their transformation. They had not even been numbered among the blood fiends and blood insects that she had prepared.
The feelers on their heads trembled as they traversed through the forest. Their travelling speed was extremely fast and they maintained an orderly group. A single ant colony was made up of a few hundred ants, resembling an orderly army.
Different ant colonies kept a certain distance between each other. Instead of merging together, the ant colonies were hostile and took precautions against one another.
They crawled out of the forest and the silhouette of Central Pine City appeared before their eyes.
The concentrated aura of the elemental energy being emitted from the city sent a wave of commotion through the blood ant colonies. They were like red-colored tidal waves. They marched towards Central Pine City under the cover of night.
In each colony, the ant that led the rest was the biggest in size. Its body was also a deeper red compared to the others. Its feelers swayed non-stop.
When they were to about to reach Central Pine City, they suddenly stopped and started digging into the ground. They did it easily, as if the soil was as soft as biscuits.
The red-colored tidal wave disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Ai Hui slowly opened his eyes and was greeted by everyone's surprised gazes and gasps.
Luckily... he did not activate the eighth palace...
Everyone heaved a sigh of relief at the same time.
"Is there something on my face?" Ai Hui looked puzzled. "Why are all of you looking at me like that?"
At this point of time, the horizon was speckled with light particles. Dawn was coming.
Just as Shi Xueman was about to inquire about Ai Hui's circumstances, a deafening emergency alarm suddenly resounded throughout the entire city.
Everyone was shocked.
"It's from the east gate!" Duanmu Huanghun cried.
Before anyone could turn towards the east gate, an emergency alarm rang from the west gate as well, followed by emergency alarms from the north gate and south gate.
Everyone looked at each other in dismay. They could see the terror in their eyes. The emergency alarms at all four gates had suddenly sounded at the same time. Did that mean that the city was surrounded by blood fiends?
"Ants! They're coming from beneath the ground!"
"They are digging through the foundation of the city walls!"
"Earth elementalists! Where are the earth elementalists? Faster, stop them! The city stabilizers are being bitten off!"
"Damn it! They can't be stopped! What kind of ants are they?"
Through the message tree, a detailed report from the front lines appeared on Wang Zhen's desk almost immediately.
Wang Zhen's face was pale-white. He had not expected the first wave of blood fiends to come from beneath the ground. The most powerfully defended area of every city was its ground. To prevent the blood fiends from carrying out an underground invasion, incredibly thick city stabilizers had been laid beneath the ground in every city.
The city stabilizers were made of a kind of extremely strong and stable stone. Every piece of city stabilizer was at least nine meters thick and would be placed beneath the city ground without neglecting a single area. The city stabilizers had one more special characteristic; after ten years, the city stabilizers would fuse together, becoming one whole.
It was as if the entire city's underground was covered with an impregnable coating. The city's drainage system was built upon these city stabilizers.
There were very few cities that were invaded by dire beasts from underground.
Wang Zhen had not at all expected that the first wave of attacks would come from beneath the ground. He had not had a lot of manpower or resources to begin with and had used almost all of them on guarding the city walls and defending against aerial attacks.
He was caught unprepared.
Fortunately, he was able to quickly calm himself down. He did not have many earth elementalists with him and not many of them were powerful. Hence, even if he knew that the blood ants would be invading from underground, there was not much he could do about it.
Just like the elementalists that had first discovered the blood ant invasion, the earth elementalists took immediate action, but they simply could not stop the blood ants.
"Announce to the entire city to pay attention to the ground."
Wang Zhen gave the order in a low voice.
"Doing that will make us lose control of the situation!" The dean had heard what was going on and rushed over. His face was pale.
"The situation has never been under our control." Wang Zhen waved his hand.
The dean was speechless.
Elementalists flew through the sky above Central Pine City while repeatedly announcing Wang Zhen's order.
"Beneath the ground?"
Ai Hui looked solemn as an elementalist flew overhead.
"Aren't there city stabilizers beneath the ground?" Jiang Wei's face was filled with incredulity. "Don't tell me the blood ants can even bite through the city stabilizers? Are they even really ants?"
Everyone else's faces paled.
"Everyone, be careful." Ai Hui reminded them.
At that moment, a blood-curdling scream came from the alleyway. Everyone jumped to their feet.
Ai Hui's facial expression changed and he hand-signalled Shi Xueman to retreat. At first, when Shi Xueman saw Ai Hui's hand signal, she was stunned; however, soon after, she floated up into the air and hovered backwards slowly while holding the snow-white spear in her hands. Wisps of mist began to gather around the spear.
Duanmu Huanghun spread his fingers wide as the elemental energy within his body began to charge up.
Sang Zhijun took out her Golden Silk Longbow, looking somewhat anxious.
Jiang Wei had already loaded a heavy arrow onto his huge bow.
At that moment, Wang Xiaoshan could sense the presence of blood ants as well. He really had to give it to Ai Hui. As an earth elementalist, he had not been able to sense anything beneath the ground previously, and yet, Ai Hui had sensed the blood ants.
Lou Lan was the only one who was not nervous. He stood behind Ai Hui, looking somewhat eager to fight. The last time he had fought alongside Ai Hui was during the fight with Zu Yan. Since then, Lou Lan's combat skills had improved greatly!
A red streak shot out of the ground and lunged towards the hovering Shi Xueman with an extremely fast speed.
The prepared Shi Xueman remained calm. The snow-white spear in her hand suddenly struck out.
Driven by an invisible force, the mist surrounding the spear started to whirl around the spear's body at a terrifying speed, resembling a tornado. Accompanied by a vibrating screech, a snow-white spear glint pierced towards the blood ant.
The deafening sound of the collision was so loud that it struck pain into one's eardrums.
The force from the collision passed through the tip of Shi Xueman's spear, causing her to float gracefully into the sky as if there was a steel wire pulling her from behind.
The lightning-fast red streak suddenly came to a stop. The blood ant was frozen in mid-air.
A tinge of happiness flashed in Ai Hui's eyes. He almost yelled, "Nice!" at this scene.
This spear move of Shi Xueman's was indeed beautiful. Her counter-attack had cancelled out the blood ant's lunging attack and successfully froze its body in mid-air, displaying exceptional spear techniques and an excellent control over her strength.
Shi Xueman was truly worthy of her reputation.
Ai Hui was exclaiming in admiration in his heart, but the sword in his hand did not slow down at all.
He heard a snapping sound. Jiang Wei's heavy bow! Suddenly, Ai Hui hit upon an idea and flipped his Dragonspine Inferno around to use the side of its blade as a bat.
Ai Hui accurately smacked the blood ant on its side. At the same time, Jiang Wei's Wolftooth Heavy Arrow whizzed through the air and struck the blood ant from the other side.
The two attacks struck the red ant from opposite directions at the same time, one from the left side and one from the right.
Ai Hui felt an extremely powerful wave of energy surging through his sword and into his hand. His palm became so hot that he could not even hold the sword hilt properly. He did not resist the energy and conveniently used it to propel himself into flight.
The combined attack from the two of them was indeed potent!
Before the blood ant could react, it was hit by the Wolftooth Heavy Arrow and exploded into smithereens.
Everyone heaved a sigh of relief. The battle had gone much smoother than what they had expected. The blood ants were just as powerful as the blood mantis that they had fought last time; however, this time around, everyone's strength had increased significantly and their attacks were much more coordinated.
Ai Hui's facial expression suddenly changed drastically. "Be careful, there're still more!"
Pop, pop, pop!
Streaks of red light shot out from the ground like red-colored arrows.
Everyone's facial expressions changed drastically.
"Lou Lan, protect Fatty!" Ai Hui yelled urgently. His body was fully stretched in mid-air. The Dragonspine Inferno in his hand materialized into a dark shadow that struck an incoming blood ant.
The blood ant flew backwards and slammed heavily into the wall, leaving a fist-sized hole.
The Dragonspine Inferno was brandished gracefully through the air, displaying excellent precision and accuracy.
Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh. The daggers in the Red Dust Sword Box automatically flew out and wound around Ai Hui's body.
Almost everyone was being attacked by blood ants.
Duanmu Huanghun flipped his palms and the glowing green light between his fingers began to bounce actively. Even though he was nervous, he was more cool-headed than he had been during the previous battle. Glowing green flowery patterns started to form and twirl under his feet, followed by green vines which shot out of the patterns.
His attack accurately struck one blood ant.
Another crisp sound came from behind him. A green vine that had just struck a blood ant withdrew back into the glowing patterns.
Duanmu Huanghun was gaining confidence. After activating the sixth palace, the powers of the [Viridescent Flower] indeed rose sharply!
The confident Duanmu Huanghun became increasingly calm. His fingers were spread open, resembling blossoming flowers. Green flowers hovered around his slender figure, displaying an indescribable confidence. He looked like a character that was part of a beautiful painting.
In mid-air, the mist was rising and curling behind Shi Xueman's back. The spear in her hand was like a tornado, sucking in the red ant and completely shredding its red-colored body.
Within the bright snow-white tornado were the sounds of numerous sonic booms.
The red ant exploded into a cloud of blood mist. The tornado disappeared instantly, leaving not the slightest bit of the red ant's remnants.
Jiang Wei, Sang Zhijun, and Wang Xiaoshan formed a triangular formation. They knew their combat skills were limited and could not be compared to the other formidable trio.
Sang Zhijun's Golden Silk Longbow was shooting at an incredibly fast speed. The arrows shot out were getting increasingly quicker. Instead of going for a one-shot-one-kill, she was trying to hit the blood ants with continuous arrows. Shi Xueman's previous attack had given her this inspiration. Even though she did not have Shi Xueman's strength, she could strike the blood ant with continuous arrows to slow it down, creating an opportunity for Jiang Wei to strike.
Every time there was a blood ant which had been slowed down, Jiang Wei's Wolftooth Heavy Arrows would whiz through the air and hit it.
At such a short range, the power of Jiang Wei's heavy arrows was really devastating.
Every shot blew up a blood ant.
Wang Xiaoshan kept channeling his earth elemental energy to pile up the soil beneath the trio. After a while, a rough-looking soil-made target board appeared beneath them.
The situation was extremely chaotic.
Lou Lan, who was guarding Fatty, had been eager to fight for quite a while; however, not a single blood ant had attacked them.
He glanced around with a blank look on his face.
Why aren't the blood ants coming at me?