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Hmm? Why was I unconscious?
This place seems new…well…it’s not like this is the first time I’ve found myself in an unfamiliar world.
Ah, I remember now, I activated the nether flames and burned that head imp to death. After that, I fainted from mana exhaustion. That was the story up until now. As for the nether flames…well…I’m not entirely sure either. I only knew that I was really angry and my brain was suddenly flooded with knowledge that I didn’t understand; but seemed strangely correct. Using that knowledge, I conjured the nether flames.
Does this mean I have a hack ability at last? Hmm, well now’s not the time for this. I need to check out my surroundings first.
Judging by the surrounding darkness and the eerily cold air, this should be a cave. As I looked up, I saw a ceiling packed with black soil; yup, it should be a cave. What about my devil subordinates? When I fainted, I was still on the last step before the entrance. Since I’m not dead, I should be inside the tunnel.
Guided by the faint bit of illumination in the cave, I slowly made my way out. The light slowly grew as I continued until finally I exited and saw…woah…an unbelievable sight.
It was an underground world tinted in a mix of black, gray, green and white. Several steps in front of me was a precipice. Several hundred meters below, the terrain formed a giant natural basin. Inside it, were countless piles of devil corpses. The bulk of them were small imp corpses, but there were a lot of large imp corpses as well. They were unceremoniously piled together like a pile of garbage…
Next to the corpses was a large group of devils. Their numbers didn’t reach a thousand with half of them being large imps and the other half being small imps. They were currently feasting on the corpses in front of them without any signs of conflict. Whatever they wanted to eat, they were able to. It was truly a picture of peaceful and harmonious feasting…
…harmoniously feasting on their own kind…
Forget it, it’s not as if this was the first time I’ve seen them do this.
“Oh, Master, you’re awake!” A pleasantly surprised voice echoed from my left. I turned to the source and saw an elated but surprised No.5 leaning against the side of the cave entrance, staring at me, his drool still dangling at the corner of his mouth.
“Oh, isn’t that No.5, what are you doing here?”
“I was watching over Master!” No.5 maintained his comfy position as he said so with a serious expression on his face.
“Oh, thanks a lot…” …what am I going to do with you…
“Ah, Master is too kind.” The clueless No.5 earnestly accepted my “thanks”.
Just as I was starting to get fed up with his thick skin, No.3 walked out of a nearby cave and slapped his head: “Next time, wipe that drool off your mouth before you say that!”
Having beaten the potato, a satisfied looking No.3 turned to me and greeted me humbly in a half kneel position, his head lowered as he said: “Master.”
“Mhm, this is the next level?” No.3 was as reliable as always, unlike certain imps. *cough* No.5 and Nine-finger.
“What’s going on over there?” As I said so, I pointed at the mountain of corpses. “What’s with all those corpse?”
“Master, it’s like this…”
No.3 recounted what happened after I fainted, minus the nonsense.
Recruiting the remaining devils, a geyser of corpses…seems like a lot happened while I was sleeping. And that corpse count…it must’ve at least been several tens of thousands of corpses.
So that’s why that head imp wanted to guard the entrance…I thought he was just the cliched end level boss you see in RPGs. I guess he wasn’t as stupid as I thought. I would’ve guarded the entrance as well if I had known about this.
“Wait…you said those corpse were spit out by the hole?”
Must’ve been quite a unique sight…
In human time, I was out cold for a total of four days. In these four days, my little piggies had been living a carefree life of eating and sleeping and then more eating.
Thanks to this mountain of corpses, half of my small imps had evolved into large imps while my original large imps had received a boost to their strength. As for the souls…since there was no tool to store souls, it was hard to preserve them. It would’ve been alright if it was just two days…but I was out for four…
After that gruelling battle, everyone had received some benefits except for their master, me…
Well, there’s no point throwing a tantrum now.
“Master, you must be hungry right now. I’ll go hunt some souls for you.” The matter of me only consuming souls was known to all my subordinates. He probably thought my long sleep had made me hungry and so offered to hunt for me.
“Oh, what’s there to hunt around here?” Truth be told, I didn’t take too well to this new environment. After spending so much time near the blood sea and breathing in its sulfurous air, suddenly switching to such an eerily cold place made me slightly uncomfortable.
“This is place is full of walking skeletons and animated corpses. Their souls taste bad but are bountiful…”
In short, it’s like a buffet of undead souls. The taste isn’t too great but it’s all you can eat.
“In that case, let’s have a look together.”
I paid One-eye a visit and instructed him to look after the devils. In the meantime, No.3 instructed Big 1 to select 30 imps to accompany us on our hunting trip north. After heading down this direction for 30 minutes, we entered a desolate wasteland. The ground was pitch black and cracks weaved through the entire area due to the sheer dryness of the earth. Judging by this, there hadn’t been any rain here for a long time or perhaps rain didn’t even exist here.
As we continued, a pile of bones not too far into the distance piqued my interest. From the looks of it, it was a complete set of small imp bones. I decided to investigate, but as I got within 10 steps of it, the skeleton started shaking and an upright imp skeleton was soon standing right before me.
An imp’s skull was very different from a human’s, with its widened forehead and enlarged eye sockets, it was more alien than human. As it stood upright, a sinister green flame lit up in its empty eye sockets. It was an undead’s soul fire. This was an important component in controlling their bodies, thus making it a conspicuous weakness.
Once this was extinguished, the undead would experience true death. If the soul’s container was destroyed before the soul was extinguished, it would merely fly away to look for another container.
In a sense, they could revive themselves infinitely; though it was more akin to swapping bodies. Kinda like a Gun*am pilot switching Gun*ams.
“No.3 distract him for a while, I want to test out my magic.”
“Yes, master.” No.3 immediately stood in front me, shielding me with his towering body.
No.3 charged right at the skeleton and let forth a deafening howl that almost scattered its bones as it retreated backwards from the shockwave.
Its casting time was now shortened to 4 seconds and with the time bought by No.3’s stunning howl, I managed to fire off an arrow at the skeleton.
The skeleton crumbled into a pile of bones as its skull was knocked several meters away by the darkness arrow.
Big 1 immediately rushed to the skull to harvest the soul and reverently presented it to me: “Master, please help yourself.”
The soul flame twisted about as it laid on his palm. With just one look, it was obvious this was different from the souls I’ve eaten before. It’s taste…wasn’t that great. It had a deathly feel to it that reminded me of decaying corpses. However, the nourishment it provided was significantly better than what I was used to. Compared to a small imp’s soul, it provided an additional 50% boost in nourishment.
“What’s the combat strength of such a skeleton?”
“Equivalent to a small imp.” No.3 replied with an expected answer.
“Let’s continue. We will wander around this area for a while, my magic test isn’t over yet.”
As we wandered around, we encountered several small imp skeletons which were swiftly taken care of by No.3 and the others. Finally after 20 minutes, we met our first large imp skeleton.
Judging from its appearance, it was definitely made up of a large imp’s skeleton. As for its strength, my darkness arrow was no longer able to kill it in one shot. The most it could do was blow off a limb. This was due to the inherent hardness of its skull being stronger than the other bones. In order to destroy its skull, I would require at least three arrows.
Judging by my arrow’s consumption, my mana pool could definitely sustain ten consecutive shots. As for nether flames…unfortunately, I couldn’t use it.
I had a feeling that this flame required emotions as a medium in order to materialize. An example would be anger. Hmm, what other techniques did I have…oh, there’s still the flame whip.
I clapped my hands together, and as I did so, a bundle of flames wrapped around my right arm. Seeing this, I separated my hands. Simultaneously, a stream of flames formed in between my hands and took the shape of a whip.
The whip was around five meters in length and gave off a scorching feeling as I waved it around. Mhm, not a bad skill.
But a whip…aren’t those usually used by women…
Forget it, only a ⑨.idiot would care about minor details like these. (TL: Some Chinese joke about someone who can only count up to 9.)
This new map was pretty cold especially for me. Being a picky eater that didn’t want to eat meat, my physical body was weaker than most large imps. In this regard, the flame whip had another unexpected benefit. Due to its heat, it functioned as a heat source. As long as I kept it out, even if it wasn’t in the midst of a battle, I could keep myself warm.
In front of me was an ancient battlefield scattered with the bones of its participants; along with some weapons. Furthermore, the winds blowing from that area seemed to be much colder than the winds from the other areas.
At first I thought it was merely my imagination, but quickly changed my mind once Big 1 reported that he felt this strangeness too. As I was planning to leave this eerie place, the sounds of bones clattering around echoed in the previously silent battlefield. During the next 10 seconds, undead could be seen rising one by one throughout the battlefield. Some of them were devils in life while some were human. Human?
I was familiar with human skeletons from surfing the net in my previous life. Based on those images, these skeletons fit a human’s perfectly. Adding to the credibility of this theory was the fact that they wore armor such as leather vests or plate mails. They also carried weapons commonly used by humans; such as shields, swords, hatchets and spears.
There were quite of skeletons about. I roughly estimated their numbers to be over a hundred, with over 60 of them wearing equipment. I fired my arrow at one of the helmet wearing skeletons. Based on this test, the effects were pretty good. The arrows shattered the helmet along with the skull underneath and instantly extinguished the soul flame within.
From this result, these armored skeletons were at the level of a small imp. With their weapons added into the mix, they were slightly stronger than your average small imp.
“Destroy them.” I gave this order without batting an eyebrow. Having tested my arrow, I had no further use for these undead.
The 30 large imps on our side were more than a match for these skeletons. With their bone clubs and them being a full tier ahead of the skeletons, the battle was swiftly concluded within a minute.
After the battle, No.3 stood by my side as a bodyguard; as Big 1 harvested the souls.
However, before the souls were done being harvested, the ground quaked, and a withered hand shot out of the ground; vigorously trying to pull itself out. A short while later, a shriveled corpse broke through the dried ground in a flurry of soil and dust. A zombie! While its form was slightly different, I was still able to recognize what it was. This uninvited guest was a large imp zombie!
Like the first signs of spring after winter, zombie after zombie could be seen digging their way out of the ground around the battlefield. Some of these were devil zombies while some were armored human zombies. The devil zombies all had a towering stature which exuded an aura of immense strength. As for the human zombies, they surprised me more as they seemed to know how to use their weapons.
There were about 50 of these zombies in total. While their actions were sluggish, they weren’t the slow zombies you saw in movies; they were faster than your average civilian!
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.