Xuan’s death was confirmed. While the battle was still going on, the team did heard the notification of deducting one point. Zheng was still fantasizing this was another one of Xuan’s crazy schemes but it was obviously not. Xuan died. And in such a pathetic way of death.
“The wisest still makes a mistake in a thousand contemplations. Or did he become tired of fighting on? Tired of chasing that almost imaginary fourth stage and chose death?” Zheng sat in a lobby. He silently looked at the people in front of him. Xuan’s body was placed in the center.
A whole day passed after the battle against the Uruk-hai army. Gandalf indeed arrived at dawn with two thousand riders. Though what awaited them wasn’t the swarm of Uruk-hai they imagined. People had already begun cleaning up the battlefield. The fortress was covered with the scars of war. However, it was the Uruk-hai corpses on the ground that caught their attention most than anything. That wasn’t the aftermath of a battle. It was the scene of shredded flesh in a slaughterhouse.
Men achieved victory due to Zheng’s terrifying performance. The army cleaned up the battlefield then headed back to Helm’s Deep for rest. Gandalf had a conversation with the rest of the movie characters. They decided to march toward Isengard at dawn of the second day. They had to defeat Saruman when he was at his weakest.
Three before midnight, Zheng woke up. The other four members of team China immediately came to him. Everyone sat there without a word, even ChengXiao. Because Xuan’s body lay in front of them. Their gaze fixed on Zheng silently. He was the only core of the team after Xuan’s death.
Zheng was the heart of team China, connecting the people with differing personalities, values and beliefs. He made these people into a team. There wouldn’t be a team China without him.
Xuan was the brain of the team. He gave everyone the belief of surviving even the most desperate dangers. It wasn’t a trust toward him because his plans schemed both foes and friends. However, his wit was acknowledged by every person. As long as they stood on the same line in battle, they never worried about coming to an unsolvable situation. Unless he died.
Which was what team China were facing right now. They knew team Celestial was in this battle. They knew team East America was stronger than them but they were never overly worried because Xuan was there. His plans would save them from a wipe no matter how far behind they were.
No one expected lose him even before encountering the other two teams. Their most important intellectual support was gone. Their strength made a breakthrough but that wasn’t a guarantee of rivaling the other two teams. What if the other teams had similar amount of strength?
The silence lasted in the room until ChengXiao couldn’t hold it. “Xuan sent HaoTiao and the others off. Did he already know he was going to die back then? There might be a plan that he entrusted to the other group…”
“Fuck!” Zheng was enraged. He lifted ChengXiao and shouted. “Plan? Plan your ass! He’s dead! He’s our comrade. Even though he had always schemed me. Even though I always wanted to know what he was planning. But I treated him as a comrade within my heart! He’s someone I can entrust my back to! What do you think he is? A tool for the survival of team China? Do you believe I will tear you apart?”
ChengXiao stared back without backing a step. He was taller than Zheng to begin with so his presence seemed more intimidating than Zheng. He shouted. “And what was Xuan’s original intention? He wanted for the team to survive, to get stronger. If you used the power of the fourth stage in the beginning, he wouldn’t have died! Come kill me if you or fucking shut up!”
Zheng slowly calmed down. He let go of ChengXiao’s collar then dropped to the chair, looking dejected.
ChengXiao also calmed down. He took several deep breaths. “Do what we ought to do. We still have to live. Didn’t you survive by yourselves when Xuan died before? Fuck, enough with the pointless talks… You should have been the one saying this as the leader!”
Zheng gave a bitterly smile. “You’re right to scold me… It’s not that I didn’t want to use that power but I was scared. You saw that I was slaughtering Uruk-hai in a madness but if you were next to me at the time, I would have done the same to you. I had no conscious of my own at the time. All my body wanted was to kill every living thing beside me or fall when I could no longer sustain the fourth stage. It has immense power, I can tear the Uruk-hai and even the Balrog apart but…”
He paid no attention to everyone’s expression and continued. “Things have come to this point, but we still need to do what we ought to do. We will follow Gandalf to Isengard the next morning. If Xuan had expected his death that early on and designated HaoTian as his successor, we will have to trust him. HaoTian will take his place from now on. According to their plan, they should have taken down Isengard by now. We will meet up with them.”
(A leader’s responsibility is to lead the team and survive. Yet, are you really dead?) Zheng placed his carotid artery. It was cold and had no sign of blood flow. (Then is HaoTian’s ability truly as strong as yours?)
In the woods not far from Isengard. HaoTian’s group hadn’t assaulted Saruman yet. The Nemesis were only just waking up. They created three hundred Nemesis that could all use battle Qi. Fifty of them could use Explosive Shot. The Nemesis were almost four meters in height and thrice the bulk of a normal person. It was almost certain each Nemesis could take on fifty Uruk-hai. The Uruk-hai turned Nemesis were much much stronger than human ones.
Zero stood on an area inside the woods by himself. He pulled out a piece of metallic plate then opened it up. A while later, a voice came out from the plate.
“Zero, tell me what happened at the time and the situation during these two days in detail.” The man’s voice was sent directly into Zero’s mind.
Zero let out a sigh of relief. Xuan gave him the item before the team split up. It was used to communicate over the minds, a more convenient phone.
“Nothing strange happened. We all heard the notification of deducting a point. None of us died so it must have been someone in your group. However, HaoTian didn’t assault Saruman as we had planned. He began capturing Uruk-hai in larger numbers and turned them into Nemesis. He still hasn’t mentioned about the assault today.” Zero said through his mind.
“Is that so? Get it.” The voice continued. “What do you think of HaoTian’s strength?”
“Incredibly strong.” Zero replied without hesitation. “I can’t believe a newbie can be this strong. His psychokinesis is very powerful. Almost nothing within twenty meters can harm him. Though if we are to kill him, he would not be able to defend against the Gauss sniper rifle, WangXia’s bombs, the Valkyrie, or even Kampa’s RPG. However, we need enough distance to use these weapons on him. In a close range fight, we will lose.”
“Oh, then what you have to do is…”
“Kampa, WangXia, and Gando proceed as planned. You have to find a time and leave the group. Head to the capitol of Gondor, Minas Tirith. You will see Zheng fighting another person. And you mission…”
“This is basically the situation we are in. I won’t initiate contact from now on. There’s a time limit to my existence. According to Galadriel, I still have twenty days… Then let’s finish off team Celestial in these twenty days.”
The voice faded. It was Xuan’s voice. Zero closed the metallic plate and put it back in his pocket. He walked toward the outer layer of the woods where HaoTian and the other members of team China were training the three hundred Nemesis.