Mo En’s nest was just as I expected, a cave dug out of the maze’s wall. When I asked him how he managed to do that, he gave me an answer that made me want to bang my head against the wall. Apparently, you had to sacrifice souls to it in order to dig through it…
I remember back when I had just arrived in this maze, I tried every means possible to break through the wall but it ended up failing spectacularly. It was as if I was hitting a 3,000 DEF point wall with a 0 ATK sword.
Using a special ceremony to offer up souls, one was able to dig through the walls. This was crucial to setting up a nest as the maze would spawn undead from time to time which made resting in the open dangerous. Only by hiding inside a cave would the undead not notice your nest.
While this was an effective method to build a nest, not every race or clan knew about this ceremony. Take for example, the Abbadon rodents. Those overgrown rats had no cave to call their own and merely lived in a remote corner of the maze. That exposed location couldn’t be considered a nest at all and was at most a camp of sorts.
The ratmen didn’t feed on souls so why didn’t they offer them up instead? The answer was simple, only the four-stars knew about the ceremony…
That was precisely why races like the harpies were able to construct a giant nest in the wall. It was all thanks to their four-star harpy witch.
Given that, the medusas probably had their own nest as well seeing as they had Manasha and Majosha.
Of course, there were also certain races who didn’t have a nest despite having a four-star in their clan. The demonic werewolves were one such clan. Because of their marauding and nomadic nature, they chose instead to wander through the maze.
At the end of the wall, that wall of text was simply to prove a point: the Prison of the Dead had given birth to a culture of its own. Although this seemed merely like a caveman’s culture to me, who knows what things might look like a thousand years from now.
However, that’s enough useless chatter for now, it’s about time for me to consider our future plans.
“Master.” Just as I was strolling through the maze and watching the guardsmen clear up a bunch of small fries as I mulled over that issue, I was interrupted by No.3’s voice.
“What’s the matter?” With the devil egg in hand, I slowly halted my pacing and looked at No.3.
“One-eye has been acting strangely recently…”
At this very moment, there was only No.3 and Big 4 by my side. These two imps were my elite bodyguards handpicked and groomed by me. During the one month stint in the Western Human Realms, my subordinates had undergone a massive change. Other than that potato, No.5, all my named subordinates had basically evolved into three-stars. With that, even their severed limbs had regrown.
It was an evolution speed that widely exceeded my expectations; although, thinking back on it, they were probably slowed down by my voracious appetite for souls. Furthermore, I had been observing the devils living in Mo En’s nest recently. What I discovered was that, as a whole, they were slightly smarter than my devils…which was to say that, devouring souls actually increased their intelligence!
Then another question arises…why am I still so stupid after consuming so many souls?
Hmph, that’s enough messing around for now.
Regarding this matter of souls boosting one’s intelligence, it wasn’t that strange when one thought about it carefully. Different kinds of food had their own nutritional value. Take for example, if one didn’t eat enough fruits during a sea voyage. They won’t have enough vitamin C to sustain their body and would end up with problems such as internal bleeding or scurvy. Without a balanced diet, one’s body might end up deformed.
Right now, my subordinates were all basically retarded to some extent except for that disappointment of a potato, No.5…no matter how much he ate, he didn’t seem to evolve at all. Although…his intelligence seemed a lot higher than the other devils…so did that mean that…he had been nibbling on my soul rations?
Well, that’s a matter for another day. No.3’s words were clear enough to me, he wanted to say that One-eye was beginning to establish his own little faction. This probably had something to do with my sudden departure; which gave him the opportunity to control some of my devils.
Given that he was the next strongest person after me, this was to be expected, especially given that most of the commanding was done by him as well. In terms of leadership alone, he was a cut above the rest and commanded greater respect.
Prior to joining me, he had his own band of small imps other than Nine-finger; so it didn’t come as a surprise that this former leader would try to create his own faction in my absence.
Strictly speaking, there were six factions in my army now; One-eye and Nine-finger formed one, Baccarel and his demonic half-orcs were another. While the half-orcs were the smallest of the six, their extraordinary combat strength wasn’t one to be overlooked. No.3 and Big 4 formed another faction as my elite bodyguards; these two were in charge of my safety. Mo En, who had just joined us formed another faction.
The last was Violet Snow…mhm, while there was no clear master/servant relationship between us; she basically followed my will most of the time so her hellhounds counted as a faction within my army as well.
As for the other devils I didn’t mention, No.5 was basically of the neutral faction while Big 5, who was the first devil to befriend a hellhound, leaned more towards Violet Snow’s faction.
All these so-called factions were formed organically. As the saying goes: where there are people, there will be a jianghu.
Regarding this problem of factions, it wasn’t something I particularly cared about. As long as they followed my orders and refrain from internal conflict, I couldn’t be bothered to micromanage such affairs.
“From now on, the guardsmen will be commanded by you, Big 4 and no one else. As for One-eye, I’ll arrange for him to take command of the shieldbearers and the Mo Sabrewielders.” I turned my expressionless face towards him, and amidst his averting gaze, said: “Among all my subordinates, you’ve been with me the longest. You are the person I trust the most so I hope that you won’t disappoint me.”
“I’ll forever be loyal to the Master!” As proof of his loyalty, No.3 half-kneeled and bowed to me.
“Master, don’t forget about me, I’ll forever be loyal to you as well!” Big 4 immediately chimed in and knelt as a way of cementing his existence.
“Mhm, I know you two won’t betray me. As long you two are by my side, I have the confidence to proceed boldly.” Ever since these two joined me, they had always placed my safety above everything; their loyalty towards me was something that had been proved long ago.
However, my eyelids seemed to be twitching a lot lately as if my instincts were trying to tell me something was wrong but I just couldn’t see where. Either way, it felt like something was up but what am I missing here?
Mo En’s nest had now turned into my territory. However, the job of managing it was still handled by Mo En and the others. Leaving behind Mo En, Julia and Xixidi, I brought Mimiya and my other subordinates along with me as I continued recruiting allies.
Our first stop was to visit Habona and her demonic werewolves.
Back then, I had left Habona with a squad of my skeleton archers and that bald apparition Vick, who basically spent his days bullying the skeleton archers who I ordered not to move at all.
When I came upon a row of motionless skeletons, I found a certain wretched looking apparition floating around the vicinity…Vick, this fellow had been having the time of his life weaving in and out of the archers’ bodies while letting out a silly laugh from time to time…that image he painted was…truly idiotic.
The first reaction Habona had when we arrived was: “You’ve killed a werewolf?”
“Mhm, a primal werewolf.” Werewolves were a tight knit bunch and placed the lives of their comrades over their own. That matter of me killing Dawson…I don’t know how she found out about it but this couldn’t have been a good thing…
“I bet the other party attacked first.”
“Mhm, he was a bandit, and he tried to steal Shadowfang.”
“Good job killing him.” She coldly threw out those words of praise.
This…actually seemed like a reasonable response.
Shadowfang was, after all, a weapon left to her by their mother. Since she gave it to me, that meant it was now mine; so what was that man trying to pull by attempting to steal it?
Besides, our first meeting wasn’t exactly a peaceful one either. At that time, Habona chose to let us off in the end; seeing as they were the ones who attacked first and she was in a hurry to save Harlow. Not to mention that she thought I was connected to Mo En at that time. Just from that alone, one could tell that Habona was actually a reasonable werewolf…probably.
“Was the human world fun?”
“Not at all.” My face slackened into a sullen expression full of resignation. Not being able to find Nicole made it a complete failure.
But then, why was she asking whether my trip was fun or not, that wasn’t like her at all.
“Do you still wish to break through the exit?”
“Yes!” I immediately answered without any hesitation. “Truth be told, this is the exact reason why I’m here today. I was planning to discuss this matter with your grandfather. That…about Mo En, he became my subordinate.”
“…” Hearing that, her face immediately cramped up: “That joke wasn’t funny at all.”
“It’s true.” I sighed and sheepishly grinned. “Honestly, it still feels like a dream to me.”
“…unbelievable.” She didn’t say anything more.
I pointed at the little devil frolicking around Violet Snow: “This is Mimiya, Mo En’s granddaughter, if you don’t believe me, you can ask her yourself.”
“You’re good.” This time, it was genuine praise.
I just hope your grandfather’s offer still stands. That 10,000 devil army wasn’t looking that far off anymore.
It wasn’t long before the old werewolf made his appearance. Harlow still wasn’t anywhere to be seen meaning he was probably with the medusas.
After a short discussion with the old werewolf, he expressed his willingness to consider working with us even without the 10,000 devils. He was initially just as shocked as Habona about Mo En’s subjugation, but it was also this piece of news that finally put him at ease about cooperating with us.
Without a doubt, this was a good thing for me. As a sign of goodwill, I also expressed my willingness to craft more weapons for the werewolves seeing as he had not so subtly hinted his interest in them. During a casual chat with the old werewolf, he had brought up multiple times that the shields I crafted for them were rather effective in reducing casualties amongst their hunting teams.
With that, our discussion ended with both sides walking away with a satisfactory outcome.
Next stop, the medusas…
This time we had Habona as our guide to lead us to the medusas. She was planning to visit her brother and sister-in-law beforehand, so she might as well make use of this opportunity to bring us along.
The trip ended up taking only two days since the two clans weren’t that far apart to begin with. As expected, the medusas had their own nest that was guarded by a large number of medusas patrolling around. Seeing us, the medusas immediately entered an alert state.
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