TI Vol 16 Chapter 20-2

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As the group followed Gandalf through the woods,Gandalf said. “The last time Sauron invaded Middle Earth, the half orcs, orcs and Uruk-hai burned down this land. The ents were forced to participate in the war. They have bodies over ten meters tall. Hundreds of ents buried ten thousand orcs under the land. They took root here to put life back to these woods.”

Aragorn said. “If we can get their help…”

“It isn’t possible.” Gandalf shook his head. “The ents favor serenity. They can stay in the earth for ten years at a time. They can converse for days at a time. As long as no one enrages them, they won’t leave the woods. They have strong power but they remained unknown in Middle Earth.”

The group came to the border of the woods. Gandalf whistled piercingly. It was a magic that spread his sound outward.

The rest of the group stopped next to Gandalf. Xuan brought out several fruits then he stared at Gandalf’s staff as he ate. The staff was changed to a one made of white jade. Symbols and strange pictures filled its exterior.

“Xuan…” Zheng leaned against a tree and asked. He was holding the rope of the horse the Rohan riders gave them. The Nightmare walked by him on its own.

Xuan responded but didn’t turn his head. Zheng continued. “Why are you always eating these things? I don’t see you eat that much when we eat together. But you always have fruits or something colorful in hand.”

Xuan, still not turning his head, said. “Thinking consumes more energy than exercise. Having something to eat maintains the brain’s ability at a flexible state. Neos is a representation of this except he’s too extreme. If you have the time to think about these unimportant questions, I would like to ask you a question.”

Zheng became curious. “Oh, you can always ask me. Not like I will hide anything from you.”

“Good. Are you restraining your own power?” He finally turned around to glanced at Zheng, then immediately went back to Gandalf’s staff. “I induced it from things YinKong said. When we went to Resident Evil for the prototype T-virus, she said you killed several hundreds of evolved Lickers. The heart of slayer is good but it isn’t the key point. Hundreds of evolved Lickers aren’t that easy to take down. YinKong said she can only kill one when fighting face to face. So I could induce your strength. It wasn’t possible for you to suffer so little injuries after killing all those evolved Lickers with Explosion and Destruction. I came to the conclusion that something must have happened at the time. Something that YinKong didn’t see. What is it? I am curious what technique or power you are not telling us. It doesn’t suit your personality.

Afterward in this world, your performance against the Ringwraiths and in the Mines of Moria was mediocre. It’s close to your strength previously shown. You may not believe it but you have more potential than Heng. After Resident Evil and even Starship Troopers you were still pretty much the same. Why? There’s only one explanation, you are intentionally controlling how strong you appear.”

Xuan finished the last fruit on hand then turned around to Zheng. “What are you afraid of? Or perhaps what is that power you are afraid of? I can’t give you suggestions on this. You can only rely on yourself to figure it out. However, I want you to know that there’s a limit to how much strategies can accomplish. The limit lies on the difference in strength. When this strength exceeds the amount the strategy tolerates, the strategy becomes a joke. If team Africa can destroy a starship with one punch back in Starship Troopers, not amount of strategy we have would save us.”

Zheng appeared to be hesitating. He tried to speak but held himself back. After struggling, he said in a low voice. “Give me some time. Believe me… I won’t harm my comrades.”

Xuan didn’t continue the topic. He waved his hand then went back to Gandalf’s staff. A bright neigh answered from afar. The seven horses around them looked unease.

“That is one of the Mearas, unless my eyes are cheated by some spell.” Legolas could see a white horse running over from the distance. Its speed was on part with the Nightmare.

When the white close came close, they realized it was huge. It was larger than regular war horses by a quarter, the same size as the Nightmare. The white horse was intelligent. It stopped in front of Gandalf and rubbed him with its head. Gandalf stroke the white hair. “Shadowfax. He’s the lord of all horses, and has been my friend through many dangers. Let us ride to Edoras!”

The group began their journey again to Rohan. The movie characters appeared much happier now. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli had been bearing the pain of the death of a friend and the pain of being defeated. The return of Gandalf gave them a glimpse of hope, especially since Gandalf gained stronger power. It gave them confidence.

The players were stark in contrast. Xuan remained indifferent to everything. Lan was still occasionally glancing at Zheng. ChengXiao was always optimistic as if there were nothing that would trouble him. He kept attempting to talk with Lan and YinKong and laughing all the time.

Heng was working harder than ever since he came to this realm. He kept asking Legolas for the tips on the three arrow Explosive Shot and practiced by shooting at rocks in the distance. He had the highest fighting spirit out of the team.

YinKong and Heng both seemed troubled. They didn’t pay any attention to what the others are talking about.

And so, this group of four movie characters and six players rode for several days through the plain and reached Edoras.

It was a basic city built on a hill. They could induce through the movie characters’ conversations that the people of Rohan used to lead nomadic lives. After they settled down, they retained the habits of a nomad. This was a nation with strong military power built on the back of horses. However, they were inferior to Gondor on construction and things concerning normal living.

The group approached the exterior of the city then followed the wooden walls to the gate. Gandalf and Aragorn gave their names then the small gate opened up. It was only big enough to fit two horses at the same time. The group rode into the city. That frozen statue on a Nightmare immediately received looks and cries from the civilians.

The city though had a low population. The population density seemed scattered when compared to the Shire or the two elven cities they passed by. Gimli couldn’t hold his mouth. “You’ll find more cheer in a graveyard.”

The rest of the movie characters sighed. They climbed the stairs to the hall. After notifying the guards of their arrival, a slightly chubby guard in position came out. “I cannot allow you before Théoden king so armed, Gandalf Grayhame. By order of… Gríma Wormtongue.”

Gandalf changed to a gray robe after they came out out the woods. He looked like the Gray Wizard that he was before. With a nod from Gandalf, the rest of the group gave their weapons to the guards. The players handed their elven weapons over. But when the guard asked for the staff, Gandalf responded. “Eh? Oh. No, you would not part an old man from his walking stick?”

He thought for a moment. Another guard pulled his sleeve a bit then he gave Gandalf a knowing look. He walked back into the hall. The group followed.

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14 thoughts on “TI Vol 16 Chapter 20-2” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. can someone give me some refresher what happened during the fight with the lickers in resident evil???all i remembered was he was in some kind of rage mode back then…

    thanks for the chapter….

      1. That RE fight is where it started. That’s where the whole “heart of a slayer” thing first came from, which Xuan answered in the chapter.

        I wonder if the clone already figured it out in his rage-days right after clone-clone-lori got killed… It would help to explain his insane power-up.

    1. Zheng saw them bring in the bodies of a woman and child in Resident Evil, and promised that he would kill them all. When it came time for violence, he slaughtered his way to and occupied a central hall in their headquarters and held it against all comers. By the time he was done, there were hundreds of corpses stacked all over the place, including some of their most powerful creatures.

    2. He basically turned berserked, just like is clone.

      The thing is, after seeing is clone, he is afraid of turning into a coldblooded monster. He isn’t hidding anything, he simply has a “mental lock” that fonction the same way as the genetic constrain in the novel.

      I can’t figure out exactly how the author want to develop the novel at the moment. We already saw them struggle and get wiped the moment Zheng though the team was growing up and it seems to be headed that way again… except for that “mental lock” that has been foreshadowed since the RE submission.

      So, i can’t tell if someone important like Xuan, Lan or Yingkong is gonna get killed for good and he will “break”, unlocking is mental lock and finally stepping into level 4 or it will happen the moment before the team get into a wipe situation and he will save the day.
      If the wipe is happening, Zheng is going to turn into is clone but it’s exactly the thing he is thinking about and don’t want to happen since meeting his clone so…

      There is something else nobody is thinking about, it’s the fact that level 4 can allow you to remould your body however you want. He baited Xuan with the possibility to finaly get emotions, but there is a very good probability of ending up like is clone as a emotioneless devil too.

      1. Whatever the conclusion is, I, for the very least, hope that Zheng will never go: “Oh no! A dire situation from which there is no return! Okay, limiter is officially off! That’s right, I hid my powers all along, but now I go 100%! Hah! Inexplicable 10 times boost in power, because I said sooooo!”

        The issue with moving so much, having so many actions being taken, is that you can never really grasp on the subtleties of the characters. It makes sense in real life too, who can bother to talk about feelings during an ongoing battle? But when Xuan has to point it out in such length that “You can become so much stronger only if you will it”, just makes it seem like the author wants the MC to level up without question. Even back in Resident Evil, I can’t say I had any idea why Zheng should’ve been “so strong” all of a sudden. A heart of a slayer, to me, seems like a sign for his potential to grow in power, not as a burst of infinite power right at that given moment. He doesn’t go super-saiyan.
        I can’t say I fancy this point in the story at all, it’s so hard to grasp how strong Zheng is, especially because he makes very little to no advancements in his Qi control, while team Celestial actually have members who got recruited into a deity-sect, and have layers of training. Zheng feels horribly untrained and ignorant of what his magical powers can do, yet the author throws at us that “Zheng is so strong, that he had to hide his powers, for the fear of becoming a Devil”…

        Long story short, Zheng’s power in this story has been a big source of confusion for me. At one point, he seems super strong, and then he seems incredibly weak or just average. The ongoing cycle between these highs and lows, just make it confusing to follow how we are supposed to even feel about Zheng and the team, especially because we get no internal narrative about how anyone is feeling, and only get the details about their actions (What made Xuan feel like “Zheng is holding back”? I never saw the narrative made it explicit that anyone felt it was suspicious, or that Zheng was about to unleash his power, but he felt reluctant “for some reason”. All we saw were a series of scenes in which stuff happened, and then Xuan just straight out told us: “Nu, you hold back. Stahp.” There’s more telling than showing, to be honest.)

        That’s pretty much it for this rant. Cookie for all those who bothered to read it.

  2. Soo, why haven’t they done the plan they hatched in moria? Clearly, a powered up gandalf is more than capable of unlocking their locked weapons if he could do it even as a grey wizard…

  3. To be honest, I find it progressively more difficult to follow this story. I have no idea why Zheng is either strong or weak anymore, and now the author feels like it’s necessary to have Xuan straight out *tell us* that Zheng can be infinitely more powerful if only he wanted to, for reasons. I felt like there was nothing in the narrative which made me focus on how strange it was that Zheng held back his powers, we are only told that Zheng is holding out, so we can feel it is strange post-facto, in retrospect.
    I’d much rather that the narrative would make us focus on how strange it is that Zheng is having difficulties, and how other characters find it odd that his strength is not on-par. At least that way we can start thinking like the characters do, before they straight out tell us, out of the blue, about how they feel or what is weird about the story.

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