Sometimes, people change at their root on the tiniest confrontation. Sometimes, people lingered on the same spot only because they hadn’t taken that one little step.
Heng took a step forward. When his foot was halfway over the cliff, he took one little step forward. And that brought him back to safety right before he would fall off into the abyss. Which allowed YinKong’s hand to strike him on the back and knocked him several meters away. His head bumped into a set of stairs.
Heng woke up after the hit. Though there was a big swollen bump on his head. He jumped up from the ground then looked around in confusion.
It was the same dark path he was in. Pale white skeletons lay throughout the ground. Around him were people with their eyes closed and shivering. Aragorn was the only exception. His sword glowed in a silver light. His lips were moving as though he was conversing with something.
On the other side, Gimli’s hands were making the motion of pouring wine into his mouth while moving forward. Legolas was making the motion of shooting arrows and running. In front of these two was the cliff.
Heng and YinKong met eyes then charged at the two of them at the same time. They each grabbed a person then threw him backward. Gimli and Legolas went through Heng’s experience. They stood up with a bump on the head.
Legolas said with lingering fear. “That was close. The mental energy of the dead controlled us. They showed us what we want or don’t want to see the most. Then use it to lure you to jump off the cliff.”
Heng and YinKong looked at each other again and asked at the same time. “Where’s ChengXiao?”
Legolas could see further than anyone here due to having the eyes of an elf. He scanned around and found ChengXiao just one step away from the cliff. The man held out his arm with hesitation, but he pulled it back halfway. Then he wanted to take a step forward but retracted his foot. This went on for a few more times until he woke up by himself with a sigh. The others became curious to his experience.
ChengXiao walked over to them. Heng asked. “What did you see? That was weird.”
ChengXiao gave them a long face. “I felt like buried in a land of warmth and tenderness. Beautiful ladies wavered around me. You can’t imagine the exquisite beauties there were. Man, they were infinite times prettier than Ms. China or Ms. Earth. Too bad that I like the babyface loli type more. Let me tell you, Heng…”
YinKong smacked his back with her foot then turned around and walked over to Aragorn.
“Help! Heng! I am going to fall. Hurry, this rock feels loose!”
They all came near Aragorn. The glow from the sword allowed them to see the green ghosts. That was when they realized they walked right through these ghosts. Aragorn didn’t turn around to the group. He said to the spirit in front of him. “I have told you my comrades will pass the trial! Now, give me your answer. Do you still remember your oath? Do you wish for a place of peace? Answer me!”
Aragorn swung his sword. The ghosts lowered their heads with respect as they saw it. He walked to the King of the Dead. The Dead King laughed. His laughter echoed through the hall. There was no word from him. He and his army began to fade with his laughter.
Aragorn became anxious. He yelled. “You have my word! Fight, and I will release you from this living death! What say you?”
Just then, the sounds of rolling rocks emerged. The group was standing by the cliff. Leading to the top from the cliff was a great hall. The doorway to the hall opened with the sound. Thousands of skulls poured down like a wave. By the looks of it, the skulls would bury them down the abyss. Aragorn had no time to question the ghosts further. He gave a yell and began to run.
The group followed right behind Aragorn to the other side of the cave. Yet, a few steps in and the skulls had already drowned their legs. They gave their best to move forward. The skulls were getting more and more. They finally managed to run into a corridor before being buried. Following the corridor ahead, they soon escaped the cave. In front of them was a mountain. They had crossed the mountain.
There were over ten black ships on the river. A city by the shore was burning in fire. A black ship parked by the city. People were carrying goods onto the ship.
Aragorn fell to his knees in despair. He seemed defeated. These black ships were probably forces of Mordor. Mordor’s forces were showing their might while he failed to obtain his support. Such feeling would indeed put anyone into despair.
The three members of team China had no special feeling since they knew followed in the plot. A chilling wind swept by this silence. The Dead King came out from the rocks. His voice sounded hollow. “We fight! The last king of Gondor!”
Aragorn froze in shock until Gimli cried. He pulled himself up using the sword as support. Then he pointed to the black ships on the river. “Our first fight! Annihilate the corsairs!”
The Dead King charged toward the river. His army of ghosts followed after him. Ghosts had no form nor mass and were free from the bound of gravity. They ran down from the mountain. A green color surrounded the black ships.
At the same time, the orc army was near Minas Tirith. The hundred thousand army swept through the outposts in Gondor. When the defeated soldiers made it back to Minas Tirith and delivered the message, Denethor ordered his son, Faramir, to head out with their riders instead of defending inside the walls.
Faramir was Boromir’s younger brother. He lost multiple battles one after another while Boromir was still recuperating in Rohan. Not long ago, he let Frodo’s party went ahead to Mordor, which led to the ring returning to Sauron. He blamed himself for giving the ring back to Sauron.
“It’s sad but we have no control over this army. The one in command of the army is still Denethor.” Zheng said to Gandalf. And to him, the riders of Gondor had much better armors than the riders of Rohan. However, they were miles apart in bravery, training, and other aspects. Losing this group wouldn’t impact the battle by too much.
This group totaled to a thousand. However, they had to charge at an army of a hundred thousand because it was the order of the Steward. They couldn’t not follow the order even if it was a suicide.
Neither Zheng nor Lan attempted to change anything. Gandalf went to see Denethor multiple times. Yet, Denethor had gone mad. He couldn’t listen to anyone’s words.
As it had been expected, three riders managed to come back after an hour. Faramir, who survived in the movie, died. The Mordor army was many times more than was portrayed in the movie after all. His death was determined when the wave of arrows rained down.
Zheng and Gandalf sighed. Lan sent Zheng an image of the scan. The orcs, half-orcs, Uruk-hai, and trolls were not far from Minas Tirith and were approaching the city. They carried sieging weapons, catapults, siege towers, and battering rams, unlike the Uruk-hai of Isengard. This was a fully equipped army.
“The battle begins.”
Zheng could see the army with his eyes now. Looking down from the city, the orcs seemed endless.
“Now we just have to wait for our allies. Wait and see how many groups of allies will come.”