Due to their time constraint, all five members of team China, Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Theoden, and the remaining riders from their guerilla warfare tactic headed out.
The marshals who returned with Gandalf were initially worried about this group leaving because their king was part of the operation and their enemy was a white wizard. The marshals wanted to accompany the group. However, Theoden was a determined warrior himself. He refused them then the group left immediately afterward. Furthermore, the existence of Zheng in this group would grant them safety. They only had to look out for hidden enemies.
On the way, they encountered multiple waves of Uruk-hai who ran away during that battle. The Uruk-hai were a race famous for their brutality after all. The deserters were aggressive despite the loss they suffered. Seeing as Zheng’s group had few in number, any wave of Uruk-hai totaling more than five hundred attempted to attack them. There were a few smart ones that ran upon noticing Zheng in the group. The image he carved into them was terrifying. The slower thinking ones didn’t become aware of the situation and charged at the group as they roared. Zheng then slaughtered them.
He swung the blood off Tiger’s Soul and said, in a slightly helpless tone. “This is the reason I didn’t want to enter the fourth stage of the unlocked mode. The enhancement from the fourth stage isn’t temporary. It actually alters DNA. Every time I exit the unlocked mode, part of the DNA that altered in the process never change back. It happens every time and my strength grows with each change… Uh, to give an analogy, this is like the monster with the golden mask. Only that he could alter his DNA at will. That would be mid-fourth stage and he had no limit to his alterations. Which broke the balance of his DNA and overloaded his body. So he died consuming himself at the fight.”
The other members were shocked. Heng asked. “So, you are going to grow stronger with each time you enter the fourth stage? How strong can you get? Like during last night?”
“Perhaps even stronger.” Zheng replied. “But at the same time… it alters my consciousness. Whenever I see Uruk-hai now, I can’t contain the intent to kill them and the desire to kill every last one of them.”
The others frowned since it was Zheng who said these words. It might be insulting but Zheng was a nice guy type of person to them. He wasn’t too soft hearted but he was peaceful when treating normal people who had no malicious intent. They had never seen him so cold blooded. The influence from the fourth stage was huge.
Since the group left, team China naturally wouldn’t leave Xuan’s body in Helm’s Deep. They all wanted to bury his body back in the real world. There was no time to cremate the body so the plan was to carry him on a horse then put him into the storage bag once they meet Zero.
Little did they know that Gandalf had a bag similar to their storage bag. It up opened to a piece of linen. The linen covered Xuan’s body then shrunk to a small bag. When Gandalf was putting it back into his pocket, Legolas asked to safekeep it instead with the reason that magic using might destroy the bag in the upcoming battle against Saruman.
The group march toward Isengard with nothing holding back their pace anymore. All the Uruk-hai they encountered on the way were slain. Each person had two horses to rotate through. The Nightmare didn’t need to rest. And so, it took them less than three days to reach Isengard. They passed over a few hills and a forest. Orthanc finally came in sight. It was a man built tower hundreds of meters tall. At the foot of the tower was a land of water and mud. The water and mud splashed the exterior of the tower. It seemed that the Ents had paved their way through.
They followed the road ahead. A few minutes later, they saw a Hobbit enjoying beer and taking a smoke. As the group approached, the Hobbit yelled and greeted them.
There were many holes under the water so they had to walk slowly. One misstep and they would fall into one of the holes.
Merry said loudly as they came near. “Haha. Welcome to Isengard.” He pointed to the tower behind.
Gimli, sitting behind Legolas, yelled back. “Hey, you little bastard. We were fighting with our lives in Helm’s Deep and you are enjoying food here… and a smoke! How terrible of you!”
Merry laughed. “These are my spoils. Spoils the Ents rewarded me for fighting alongside them. Oh Gimli, the beer is delicious.”
Gimli swallowed. Gandalf said. “Hobbit, where are the Ents who defeated the Isengard army? Why are you the only one here?”
Merry replied. “Can’t help it. They said I am a burden to carry along. So, they left me here to wait for you and the people of Rohan. Why else would they give me so much of the spoils? I would have starved to death without them.”
Gandalf continued to ask. “Where are them?”
“To Minas Tirith.” Merry slowly said. “Neos convinced the Ents to head to Minas Tirith with them. The Ents move slow so they didn’t wait for you. You just have to hurry and catch up to them. They went east along the woods and said we would meet in Minas Tirith.”
Gandalf was rather surprised. Few people knew about the personality of the Ents. The Ents normally wouldn’t even bother to speak and not to mention participating in a war. A meeting with them meant several days of time. Somehow, someone managed to convince them to help the human kingdom. It was as rare as the sun rising from the west. Neos had his ways.
Now wasn’t the time to discuss further. The White Wizard was still nearby. Gandalf rode the horse forward. The others met eyes and followed him to the tower.
Dead corpses were floating throughout the road. Countless Uruk-hai were killed and drowned in the battle. Saruman’s army was gone. He was the only one left.
Zheng had ChengXiao take Merry on the horse. He asked. “Is Saruman still alive? Did any battle happen before you come?”
Merry shook his head. “No. We attacked Saruman in surprise. He didn’t discover us approaching. He attempted to use magic on us but the Ents used a magic that linked their power to the woods. The green lights blocked off Saruman’s magic.”
(No battle took place before? Did something happen… to Zero’s party? Doesn’t seem like it. We haven’t received another notification of death. Was it some other trouble they got into? Or is HaoTian acting mysterious like Xuan always did? Is he scheming something?) Zheng pondered to himself. He followed Gandalf to the tower.
Everyone reached the foot of the tower. Gandalf said. “Saruman. You have been defeated. Come out and see me!” His voice started in normal volume then a second later, the volume grew so loud that even someone up on the tower could hear.
Saruman showed himself on the balcony after a few seconds. He laughed with a hint of insanity. The wizard had lost himself. “Gandalf. You lost. It’s you who lost. Do you really believe I will lose? Haha. The Dark Lord has returned! The One Ring returned to its owner. Humans have no power of rivaling Sauron. We won. We won!.”
Saruman roared. He raised a black and red crystal ball on his hand. A scene faded onto the crystal. A pair of flaming eyes formed a humanoid figure in armor. The image zoomed in the figure’s finger. It was wearing a golden ring… the One Ring!