Chapter 2124: Tension
The space-time array went crazy. The unfinished teleport mixed with Noah's tampering made it almost impossible to keep track of the changes in the fabric of reality.
The void, the higher plane, and the separate reality of the Cursed Labyrinth kept replacing themselves as the teleport continued to apply its effects, and Noah was the only force trying to make some sense out of that mess. Moreover, his efforts didn't end there.
Noah felt tired. His mind had approached its limits during the third floor's transformation, and the seabed didn't help his condition. His current situation put his group and him into another danger, and he could only rely on his ethereal blackness to get out of it.
The ethereal blackness sent waves of potential as ambition fueled the aspects of Noah's power needed during the event. He needed his mind, understanding of the space-time array, and dark world to be at their peak to salvage his group and reach the next floor.
Needless to say, his mind wanted to give in. The general tiredness and drawbacks weren't the only issues Noah had to face during the event. His instincts had also started to scream as loudly as possible to highlight the dangerousness of his situation.
The Cursed Labyrinth messed with the very fabric of reality. It was a place that relied on a modified version of the space-time array to exist and remain hidden from Heaven and Earth's gaze. Noah's knowledge in that field couldn't help too much since it mostly came from his studies of the higher plane, but he still did his best to keep everyone safe.
The instability of the teleport put the matter affected by its power in danger. It had more energy than planned since Noah had forced the whole floor to evolve, but it remained unable to bring everyone safely in the higher plane or the void.
Nevertheless, the void and the higher plane had become possible destinations due to the incomplete state of the scarlet sphere. Noah understood how everything should have gone during his struggles to keep the dark world in one piece. In theory, his group would have needed to fight the seabed until the teleport took form and opened a stable passage.
The transformation of the floor had ruined that plan. Noah had been forced to send everyone into the scarlet sphere before it could stabilize, so he had to use his power to compensate for the missing aspects of the teleport and its messy state.
Noah had already gone through the teleport a few times. His mind had the chance to study the force that led his group to the next floors, so his dark matter could create a vague imitation. Yet, he didn't know his destination's exact location, and the answer was hidden in the unstable force around him.
Noah had to divide his attention among different projects. He had to keep the dark world stable to protect his group and the pack. He had to fend off the changes in the space-time array that the Labyrinth's force was trying to apply on his technique, and he even had to study that energy to find the destination hidden in its laws.
Of course, that ended up being too much for Noah. He was strong, and his understanding of those fields was deep. His dark world was also incredible, but he was taking care of too many projects on his own. The number of powerful beings under his protection only made everything more difficult.
Noah felt forced to sacrifice many turtles to relieve some of the pressure on his mind. He made the dark world push away most of the rank 7 specimens, and he moved to the creatures in the eighth rank when he sensed that his control over his technique continued to slip.
The space-time array around Noah never stabilized, but his influence intensified as he emptied the dark world. He became able to move most of his concentration on the teleport after his technique started handling its edges on its own. The black crystal took part of the weight after it understood what to do and allowed him to complete the process.
The areas around the dark world slowly stabilized. An azure sky, random white clouds, and a green prairie slowly materialized as Noah forced the space-time array to follow the Cursed Labyrinth's hidden orders. His control never slipped during the process, and he retrieved his influence only when he confirmed that his group had escaped the danger.
The dark world returned inside the black crystal once everything stabilized. June, the upper tier turtle, and the others found themselves on the fourth floor, but their attention didn't immediately go on their surroundings. Their group had other problems to handle.
The upper tier turtle voiced a deafening hiss that expressed the entirety of its anger. Its bloodthirsty eyes converged on Noah's figure, but the crackling noises coming out of June's body forced it to suppress its desire to charge at him.
The other turtles echoed the angry hiss, but they held themselves back when they felt Fiery Mountain, Old Tyrant, and Gabrielle's auras unfolding in the sky. A battle could explode as soon as someone made a move, and no one wanted that to happen before hearing what their respective leaders had to say.
The dark world didn't hide anyone's senses, so the upper tier turtle had seen Noah throwing away its underlings to increase his influence on the teleport. Its rational side understood that the process had been necessary. Still, its desire to complain and the anger that filled its instincts didn't care about that.
June had understood the nature of the situation right away, and she didn't hesitate to prepare herself for the imminent battle. Part of her even wished that the upper tier turtle would jump at Noah.
Noah was completely unaware that the tension among the group was reaching a critical point. He had predicted something like that to happen, but his condition prevented him from addressing the issue.
His senses weren't dark, but a buzzing noise filled them and made him unable to focus on his surroundings. Noah even failed to inspect his condition in that state. He had pushed his mind too far, so he had to wait for the ethereal blackness to produce more potential and quell the drawbacks.
Luckily for Noah, the sole success in stabilizing the teleport was an incredible achievement that quickened the production of potential. The Cursed Labyrinth was an astounding structure that most likely had solid stage experts behind it. The fact that Noah had been able to tamper with its functions and fix eventual errors spoke for his ability and added value to his feats.
June and the three cultivators weren't alone in their desire to protect Noah. Night, Snore, Duanlong, and the Demonic Sword had left his figure and had taken their place around him. The Cursed Sword was also sending its bloodlust forward, and everyone could sense that something far bigger was ready to come out of his body.
No one dared to make the first move during that tense situation. The upper tier turtle was angry, but it couldn't deny that Noah had saved as many specimens as possible. He also was the very reason behind its own survival, so its instincts slowly calmed down.
The sight of its small pack tried to add fuel to its anger, but the new environment helped suppress those feelings. Only a few rank 8 turtles had survived the culling, but Noah had made sure to save all the specimens in the ninth rank, and they also felt faint happiness rising inside them when they inspected their surroundings.
The long imprisonment had finally ended. The pack had almost forgotten that the world could be far more than a green sea and a purple sky, but memories returned while the turtles inspected the fourth floor.
The area resembled a piece of the Mortal Lands. The sky had no stars, but its azure color was bright, and its clouds sent shadows toward the surface. Soft winds also ran through the area and made the short grass of the prairie move gracefully.
However, the many living beings roaming through the prairie remained the most surprising aspect of the fourth floor. The pack of turtles remained speechless in front of the many magical beasts in the human ranks walking peacefully on the surface and eating its grass.
The higher plane had made that sight almost impossible to experience. Creatures in the human ranks didn't belong in that superior environment, and even the various human organizations had to come up with separate dimensions to groom their weaker descendants.
The reason behind that feature was pretty simple. The radiance of the sky and the general pressure that filled the higher plane due to its valuable material were too heavy for beings in the human ranks. The magical beasts could solve the issue by giving birth to specimens in the heroic ranks, but the cultivators had to rely on safe areas.
Yet, something strange immediately became evident. The pack had lost many members during the teleport, but it still contained many divine specimens. The same went for Noah's group. In theory, their pressure had to kill every magical beast on the surface, but they appeared completely fine.
Author's notes: Another long chapter to fill win-win's requirements. The other two will have normal length, and I didn't forget the missed day.