In the shadow of the dragon’s legs was a set of stairs that led underground. At the mouth of the stairs, the robed skeleton patiently awaited my arrival. Upon seeing me, he slightly nodded then proceeded down the stairs in an unsteady fashion.
“Siii…huuu..” With the grimoire resting in arms, I breathed in deeply as I began my trip down the ominous-looking set of stairs.
Surprisingly, the stairs weren’t as dark and dreary as I had initially thought. As I took my first step underground, I was greeted with the sight of fairly lit cavern. The sides of cavern wall was peppered with numerous luminescent stones, lighting the cavern up as they fought against the consuming darkness.
After a minute of walking, I was brought to a giant laboratory. At least, I think it’s a laboratory, I don’t know of any other term that suits this place.
It was a vast room filled with the various prototypes of his experiments; which included weapons. Right in the middle of the room was an operating table made of stone. It was probably used to experiment on undead or devils.
Next to it was a bunch of untouched containers filled with strange objects. These were most likely materials for his experiments. Why? Because the materials within those containers are also what I had used for my own experiments; bones, claws and the like.
The robed skeleton continued to the right as he ventured into the room. The right side of the room was relatively less cluttered. Was that a row of bookshelves? Kind of reminds me of those libraries you saw in university. So the undead read books as well…
Not counting the bookshelves, everything on the right side was alien to me. Behind the row of bookshelves was our destination; a dark hallway.
As we walked down the hallway, I peeked at one of the rooms I happened to pass by. I wish they had medicine for regret…it was a biology laboratory. Within it, were numerous glass containers filled of organs, limbs and even whole corpses. As for where these came from, they were naturally the body parts of devils…
Don’t tell me he’s going to dissect me…s***, I’m going to cry….Is it too late to go home…where’s that medicine for regret…
Having experienced the horrors within one of the rooms, I was in no mood to check out the others that we passed by. With every step I took, my heart pounded furiously as I wondered if the tour guide in front was going to dissect me…best not to think about it…it’s too horrific…
This hair raising stroll finally ended as we entered a luxurious room. The room was at least 100 square meters. Right in the middle of the room was a obsidian-esque crystal. It was roughly the size of a human fist and looked like a perfect gem from a certain game about devils, made by a certain company named after a snowstorm.
Half of this obsidian gem was fused into the ground, and around the exposed half, fine lines drawn with an unknown ink extended outwards in an extremely complicated concentric pattern. It was a magical formation. Just by standing near this formation, I could feel the mana being sucked towards that obsidian gem as if it was a black hole.
“Please give me a moment.” The robed skeleton said as he turned around to face me. He then turned back to the gem and focused on chanting an unknown incantation. It was definitely the devil’s language, but why didn’t I understand it? I’m a devil!
As the incantation droned on, a blackish green aura appeared around his body. In front of me, the magical formation experienced some changes as well. Initially, the outer edges of the magical formation began to pull back. It was as if time was being rewound right before my eyes, as the mysterious lines began retreating along the formation.
As this unusual sight continued for some time, the magical formation continued shrinking until it finally disappeared.
During this period of chanting, I had considered giving the skeleton a good knock on the head, but after careful consideration, I abandoned that idea. No matter what, he was still leagues above me in terms of strength. Given that I still did not know his level, and that he hadn’t shown any ill intent as yet, turning on him wasn’t a good idea. Biding my time is the best option for now.
More importantly, this was his territory; he definitely had some tricks up his sleeves; so resisting was pointless. Caution is my best choice now. After all, an excess of caution never hurt anyone.
As I concluded my harebrained scheming, the robed skeleton had finished his incantation as well. The magical formation was now gone, leaving only the obsidian gem behind. It no longer sucked in mana and merely looked like an ordinary ornamental crystal.
“That is now yours.” He said in a grave tone as he pointed at the obsidian gem.
“…” I have a bad feeling about this…
As I looked at the skeleton’s fleshless but expressive face, a chill ran down my spine and my heart skipped a beat. I sheepishly smiled at him and said: “Err…Can I say no?”
He didn’t answer me but his calm eyes gave me all the answer I needed.
“…all right…I get it…” I said in a resigned voice, as I reached out with trepidation in my heart towards the obsidian crystal. Will it try to absorb me? Or perhaps it might drain me dry of mana…Damn it, all this reluctance is pointless! In the end, I still have to obey that skeleton.
If I dared to disobey him, I would be turned into a pool of blood in an instant!
“Don’t worry, this old one won’t harm you.”
Easy for you to say! Aren’t your actions a little too suspicious!
Even after all that whining, what’s meant to come will come in the end. I closed my eyes and reached out to the crystal with my left arm…
A sudden warmth rushed into my fingertips as the obsidian crystal liquefied and flowed up my hands and onto my body. Wherever it flowed, a warm comforting feeling followed it.
Soon, that obsidian fluid reached the grimoire resting in my embrace and what happened next could only be described as shocking. The obsidian fluid began rapidly expanding turning into a slime-like monster that swallowed the grimoire whole before I could even register the sudden change.
What the heck just happened…Why the f*ck did the crystal turn into a liquid? Why the f*ck did the liquid eat my grimoire? Ahhh!! So many questions!
However as time passed, things didn’t turn out as badly as I had thought. Instead, the string of surprises continued as the now swallowed grimoire left my embrace and began to float in the air. The black fluid turned into numerous arcane lines and began spreading out over the book in an intricate and elegant design.
Amazing, such an amazing world! What just happened? Why does it look like my grimoire had just evolved!? Is it some kind of treasure?!
As I stretched out both of my palms, the Grimoire of the Dead landed onto them of its own accord. The grimoire was back in my control once more. It didn’t fly into the air in some blinding burst of light…neither did it become sentient; thank god.
“This…what just happened? It’s unbelievable, it’s a miracle!”
“The true miracle has yet to come.”
He gestured for me to open the book; which I did so obediently. As I opened it, the first thing that struck me was that its contents had significantly increased! On top of the summoning spells and basic dark alchemy spells, it now had two more spells I could learn!
The first spell was a dark alchemy spell—-Alteration!
Alteration was essentially a spell to strengthen or modify any dark alchemical creations.
In the past, my alchemical spell couldn’t modify or strengthen my creations. If I tried to forcefully strengthen my equipment, the end result would only be a tragedy. Just like in those Eastern MMORPGs, the only outcome awaiting you was your legendary equipment turning into a pile of junk.
Furthermore, repairing any broken weapons was impossible as well. Once it was broken, it was broken forever.
However, with this Alteration spell, I’m now able to modify, repair and strengthen any existing alchemical weapons.
The second spell was an undead magic—Bone Wall.
This was the spell that the robed skeleton used to block our retreat just recently. It was definitely a powerful spell. Just based on the fact that my devils were unable to break through it no matter how hard they tried; showed the immense strength of the wall. Even an hour of non stop attacking would’ve been pointless.
Truth be told, while these two spells were both extremely useful, I was still wary of his intentions. These gifts still weren’t enough to cloud my judgement.
“May I know, what are your intentions?”
There was no point putting off the inevitable so I decided to cut straight to the point.
“Nothing really, I’ve just taken a liking to you.” He avoided my question with a vague reply and proceeded to bring me out of the room. As we walked down the same hallway we took before, he said: “Let’s go, young devil. Next, we can discuss any questions you have regarding dark alchemy.”
Soon, we reached the initial room filled with weapons. As he sauntered about, he casually pointed at a pile of bones and said: “Try creating a weapon.”
“What kind of weapon?”
“What about a broadsword? The ones used by your subordinates.”
I inputted five units worth of mana and one set of bones and began channeling; the bone broadsword quickly took shape.
Once my prided creation, but now merely piece of junk, a toy…looking at this newly forged bone broadsword filled me with a complicated sense of sadness.
The robed skeleton casually picked up one of his own short swords and turned towards me: “Use your broadsword to strike at this old one’s short sword.”
“…sure.” I meekly obeyed his commands. Up until now, I still wasn’t sure of his intentions. What did he intend by making me do this? Was he trying to harm me or help me?
As the two swords clashed, a ringing sound filled the air followed by a whole load of nothing.
“Again.” The robed skeleton inexplicably told me to continue once more. I did as he asked.
Strike after strike filled the otherwise silent room with a clear ringing sound. This continued until finally at the tenth strike; something happened. The short sword finally broke into two halves. As for the broadsword, it was cracked all over and was basically a pile of scrap.
On the surface, it looked like my broadsword was the winner but in actuality, I lost…
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.