With regards to that one-armed golem, I checked it personally and found, to my surprise, a set of golden humanoid bones…so what was I to make of this? Well…the construction of these golems ought to have something to do with undead magic…whether or not the golems made by humans were the same or not, that I didn’t know…for these golems at least, they were made thusly.
Still, these golems weren’t pure undead either. Strictly speaking, they were still magical constructs. One of the largest difference between the two had to be that undead creatures could consume souls to strengthen themselves while golems clearly did not; the golems had to rely on external modifications in order to strengthen themselves. To modify and strengthen these golems however, would require an enormous amount of expenses because of the materials required. In spite of that, golems were still a force to be reckoned with because their insane magical resistance easily covered the cost of modification.
Simply put, undead creatures could strengthen themselves infinitely while the golems had material and physical restrictions to their strengthening. However, there was no such thing as a perfect creature in this world, alive or dead. Compared to magical constructs, the undead had a fatal flaw…their magical resistance; they were terribly afraid of Light and Fire magicks. The undead had basically zero resistance against those two particular branches, sometimes going into the negatives for the undead of the ghostly branch.
Putting that aside for now, there was still the matter of how Sasani met the golem. I had asked him for details regarding this but because he couldn’t speak in the tongue of the devil, he could only rely on Sinmosa acting as a translator.
Back then, while he was out hunting for food, the golem suddenly charged out from a pile of rocks, and started attacking him furiously. Initially, Sasani tried to fight back but he soon discovered it was futile. That was why he ran back to us barking wildly. As facts later proved, he was right in doing so…even the combined might of all of us couldn’t handle that golem.
Thankfully, Nola was there to save us in the nick of time.
Because of her, our speed picked up a lot since most of the golems we met were handled by her. The golems we encountered so far were all riddled with scars and were most likely survivors of some great war. Because they didn’t need to eat or drink, they could sustain themselves just by passively absorbing mana. As long as their body remained intact, they could basically last for an eternity.
One fatal flaw, however, was that they couldn’t perform maintenance on themselves so unless someone repaired them, they would eventually get worn down to nothing.
With that in mind, the true Star Level of those golems we faced so far had to be at least…Six-stars, during their peak of course.
For the most part, the appearance rate of those golems weren’t actually as high we had thought. There was a sizable time gap between each encounter; we would at most meet a couple everyday. With Nola by our side, they weren’t really a problem. What was the real problem, on the other hand, was food…
Because of those golems, this land was basically bereft of living creatures other than us. Although the golems were now in an imperfect state, they were still unbelievably strong. Every one of them had the trait of wanting to attack anything living, as if they were some kind of intruder. From the way they were scattered about, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were placed in such a fashion so as to guard something.
At the very least, I’ve never heard of a country not guarding its capital heavily, whether it was the most advanced tech or the most elite soldiers. With that in mind, our destination should be close now.
Food was still an issue though, no matter how elated I was about the fact that we were nearing our goal. While Purgatory creatures might be a sturdy bunch, being able to travel without food for a few days and all that, what about a week without food then? What about a month?
Normally, our food came from two major sources. First were the lava lakes. From there, we could hunt as many Demon Fire Worms, Flame Devouring Fishes and Dark Flames Snails as we wanted. The other method was to forage for Red Lotuses.
Technically, there was also another method…for example, hunting down Demon Fire Salamanders, Warhorses, etc…well, that was clearly out of the question. The Warhorses were too strong and I couldn’t exactly bring up hunting salamanders in front of Nola either.
For three days in a row, we found no food whatsoever and soon, the food we had prepared ran out as well. Hunger was an inevitable outcome. As time wore on, everyone started to show different levels of hunger-induced weakness. This was especially so for Nola, our main fighting force. She expanded the most energy and thus needed the most food too. In the most recent fight with a golem, this weakness had almost cost her the battle had it not been for Sinmosa, Sasani, Big 4 and No.3 stepping in. Upon discovering her unusual condition, the four of them immediately took up formation and delayed the golem.
“We can’t go on like this, we need to find food…” As she said that, Sinmosa gazed at her suffering child in sorrow and then licked her dull fur. As of right now, Cinderel was lying weakly by her mother’s side, panting heavily and raggedly.
Our lack of food hit her the hardest, seeing as her condition was the worst of us all. That was naturally because of her rather special birth circumstances and defects…
‘What to do now? Should we continue or head back? If I choose to press on, who knows how long more we would have to keep marching before we get out of this god forsaken place. In a sense, the fear of this unknown was the most terrifying thing now. But if we turn back now, we would still have to starve for another three days…no, given how weak we are now, the trip back would take a lot longer…’
Hunger had to be the biggest problem every living creature had to face. Not too long ago, I had faced a similar situation as well during the hunger trial in the Prison of the Dead. Back then, I had no choice but to use the Abaddon Rodents as food…had the trial not ended, I would have even set my eyes on the Dogmen…
‘What about this time? How am I going to solve our hunger problems now?’
I swept my eyes over No.3, Big 4 before finally turning my gaze onto Nola, Sinmosa and Sasani… ‘Do I really have to eat them in order to survive? No! Putting aside the question of whether or not I can even beat them, we’re all companions. How could I just do that because of such a small setback…but that look Sasani is giving me right now…it’s scary…don’t tell me he’s thinking about which amongst us he’s going to eat…’
Realizing this as well, Sinmosa immediately gave her husband a stern glare. Reprimanded, Sasani lowered his head in shame as if he had done something wrong. ‘As expected of a Siscon…he really did fear his little sister…’
To be honest, I couldn’t really blame him for thinking like that either. After all, I had a daughter of my own as well. While she might not have come from my flesh and blood, she was still my little treasure. If I had to sacrifice someone else to save her, I would do so without hesitation.
Sasani must have felt the same way as well. Without any food source, Cinderel would only grow weaker by the day. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she suddenly kicked the bucket.
Thankfully, Sinmosa still had enough sense in her to realize that we had to be united in order to make it past this obstacle. The problem, however, was how were we going to overcome this obstacle?
Having just taken apart one of the golems, I could tell that Nola was truly exhausted now. She casually tossed aside the golem’s head before breaking the rest of its body with a tail swing.
“Master, how about Big 4 and I go search the surroundings for some food?” Although the two of them hadn’t eaten for the past three days as well, their spirits were noticeably higher than mine. As Infant Flame Devils, they were able to withstand such periods of starvation better as they could transform their bodies into flames. Just like their elemental counterparts, they wouldn’t have to rely on meat and blood to sustain themselves in such a form. All they needed was enough elements.
With regards to their dangerous proposal, I planned on rejecting it: “It’s too risky, besides, I don’t think there’s even food to be found anywhere…”
“There is, food that is…” Laying flat on the ground near me, Nola suddenly chimed in but just as she was about to finish speaking, she stopped. From her expression, I could tell that she knew something but was hesitating about whether or not to say it.
Hearing that, I immediately turned towards her with hope in my eyes. Even so, she still hesitated. Finally, after a long pause, she nodded her head solemnly and continued explaining: “I saw several black insects pass by just now. I remember my seniors mentioning…because this area is a no devil’s land, there’s no food here at all, neither are there any treasures. Most fiendish creatures wouldn’t come here at all, let alone make this their resting place. However, a certain race of black insects are an exception to this. They are known as Black Blood Insects…”
According to her, these insects were one of the countless life forms living in Purgatory. They were similar to the ants from Earth except that, on top of their black carapace, they each had a pair of terrifyingly large pincers and a head that was as big as half a matchbox…