Magical Arts was the collective term for magical chants and magical formations. A complete magical art must contain both a chant and a formation. If one was missing, it would not be a magical art.
——-From <<The Novice Teaching Materials of the Magic Academy>>
That’s against the rules! Aren’t you supposed to shout [I’ll form the head] before combining!
Cough…that’s not the point right now.
The apparitions squirmed as they continued to merge into each other. The end result was an amalgamation of 14 human faces each with an expression of pain, hatred or anger.
Like a drop of water in the vast ocean, the darkness arrow barely made a dent on the human face it collided with. Under my orders, two large imps swung their bone clubs at the apparition, but both of them passed right through the apparition’s thighs.
I had hoped that their combined form would not be immune to physical attacks, but it seems life was never that easy.
The deformed apparition’s hands had no fingers, but instead had a human head attached to it. It possessed fang-like teeth and its neck replaced the wrists of the apparition. With a fierce swing of its arms, the two heads opened their mouths wide as if they were a pair of vicious pythons and swallowed the heads of the two large imps!
In a mere two seconds, the two headless imps crumpled to the ground, dead.
It was just too strong. Based on its strength, it was probably stronger than the guardian on that last step. If you added in the special characteristics of a vengeful ghost, it could probably reach the level of a three-star. I knew this wasn’t the time to hold back and immediately brought out my strongest skill which was also a deadly counter to the undead.
The fiery whip coiled around the arms of the apparition with its snake-like body and immediately flared up. While the apparition was at a higher level compared to us, it still didn’t dare to touch the whip, as like other undead, it was deathly afraid of flames and radiant light.
The flames began to purify the deformed apparition’s right arm, forcing the abomination to give up its arm in desperation as it slowly sank into the floor.
“…did we win?”
Well, that was unexpectedly easy.
Thankfully, my mana reserves were no longer as tiny as before. Due to all the souls I consumed, my mana had received a substantial boost of 50%, and I could now sustain the whip for two minutes. This was particularly useful now as that deformed ghost had only retreated temporarily. It could still come back. Furthermore, the casting time of this whip was quite long so keeping it out was the safest choice.
“No.3, get that chest.”
While No.3 was slightly dim, he knew that time was of the essence right now. With a leaping step forward, he grabbed the chest and without stopping, retreated. The bone chest was roughly the size of two home PCs which was nothing for No.3 who had a body larger than most large imps.
I really wasn’t sure if that abomination was dead. While the flame whip had an undeniable restraining effect on ghosts, it was pointless if the ghost kept hiding. I just hope it doesn’t pop out at the last second and cause trouble for us.
This hope was soon dashed as we apprehensively approached the second floor. A large imp was suddenly bitten in half by an arm that shot out of the wall. By the time we counterattacked, it was long gone.
We began avoiding the walls since then, but the ghost merely attacked us from below the stairs. That arm rose up once more and bit down on a large imp’s leg and threw him down the floor. With a staggering height of 10 meters, that large imp was definitely dead. Furthermore, it had even collided with a pillar on its way down to the first floor.
“Stay near me!” Avoiding certain areas wasn’t the right strategy. The ghost had the advantage of being able to pass through all physical objects, so no matter where we hid, it would always been able to sneak up on us. If we did not do something soon, we would be all be dead.
As we squeezed together, we cautiously made our way down the stairs. We didn’t dare to rush as we had to look out for the ghost’s attacks. However, squeezing together wasn’t the right strategy either as the ghost merely targeted the large imps on the outside and threw them off.
The flame whip was completely useless against this hidden enemy. Furthermore, as time passed, my mana began to run out as well. To make matters worse, one of the imps started wailing in a loud voice, “It’s over, we need to escape”, causing 4 of remaining normal large imps to run away.
“You must listen to the Master’s orders…”
“Get back here! All of you!”
No matter who it was, whether it was Big 1 or No.3, the deserters ignored them completely. Such was their self-serving nature, no matter who you were, what mattered the most was their own safety.
Truth be told, it wasn’t their fault either. If it was an opponent they could see or touch, they would have definitely fought to the bitter end. After all, the scariest thing in the world was the unknown. Whether it was humans or devils, this was the same.
The one imp that surprised me was Nine-finger, the imp that I had always viewed as being deathly afraid of ghosts and an idiot, actually stayed. I honestly thought he would run away crying.
One of the deserters seemed to have a hole in his head as he inexplicably ran up the stairs instead of down. As he stepped onto the second floor, he collided with a white wall. Soon his tortured howls could be heard as his body was enveloped by the ghost. Countless mouths bit down on him and within a few seconds, he was reduced to scraps.
After killing that devil, it proceeded to attack our back. This was the first time I’ve seen it since my flame whip injured it. The arm which I had burnt with my whip had already recovered and was just slightly shrunken.
As it floated towards us, I immediately lashed out with my flame whip. Having tasted its fiery sting once, it knew not to mess with this whip and immediately retreated. Within a blink of an eye, it tunnelled into the stairs.
S***, it ran away.
“The rest of you stay close to me, don’t stray too far away from me. Call out if you see anything weird.” As my flame whip lashed once more, chasing away the apparition, I turned to them and shouted: “Move!”
Thanks to the flame whip, the abomination did not dare to approach me and we managed to rush down the stairs. The tortured cries of the deserters rang out through the air as we quickly ran towards the exit on the first floor. As the last of the unnamed imps died, we finally stepped out of the tower.
We sprinted for several tens of meters upon exiting the tower before finally stopping. Nine-finger was thoroughly exhausted by now, he panted furiously as he doubled over. My flame whip had already disappeared due to the lack of mana. At my side, No.3 stood silently with the bone chest in his arms. He was completely out of breath as well. Beside him, Big 1 was signalling to the distant One-eye to come over. Even if they couldn’t help, they could still be fodder. We just needed more people here.
As we gradually distanced ourselves from the tower ruins, the deformed ghost stood quietly at the entrance, staring at us. Its eyes full of emotions I couldn’t understand. Hatred, resentment, fear, envy, pleading? There were even more that I did not understand.
The both of us continued this staring contest for another few seconds before the apparition suddenly trembled, separating into 12 ordinary-sized female maid ghosts. When they had combined, they had 14 ghosts. Did this mean that those two disappeared as I burnt that arm?
When we entered, we had 14 devils and now we only had me, No.3, Big 1 and Nine-finger. How should I even describe this exploration…well, I guess we should first have a look in this bone chest.
“No.3, give me that bone chest.”
“Yes.” No.3 gently laid the bone chest down onto the floor in front of me while the other devils, including One-eye, formed a circle around me and the chest. Well, they seemed to be pretty interested. I guess we can have a look together.
Ah, opening chests…Brings me back to the times when I played World of Peacecraft. I used to love playing a thief; no matter what chests I encountered while grinding mobs, I could always unlock them. Such convenience.
It’s been a long time since I opened a chest. Should I go wash my hands first? Forget it, there’s no water here. Plus, my hands are pretty clean. As I looked at the red skinned but surprisingly feminine pair of hands, I felt too tired to tsukkomi.
Sigh, what should I do about this body of mine…forget it, it’s time to open the chest.
The bone chest was locked but it was merely a latch that kept it. In a short moment, we managed to open it. There was no blinding light that spewed forth or some ominous change in the weather though. There was merely a book quietly lying inside.
It was a book made from a bunch of white bones and was 15 cm thick, 25 cm long and 20 cm wide.
There was no name on its front cover and as I flipped to the first page, the words that greeted me were written in the language of the devils. The introductory paragraph stated that this was a magical tool used to learn Undead Magic. As I continued to flip through, I saw sections describing magical arts to summon zombies and skeletons. Further on, I found pages about dark alchemy such as using bones to construct basic weaponry. As I tried to turn another page, my head was suddenly struck with a splitting headache as if my psyche was spent and was on the verge of collapsing.
This book is scary!
Shouldn’t this book be at the level of a divine tool?! Like those rocks…
According to the book, mana did not possess any innate elemental attribute. As for why some people were better at certain elements…it was because of their own elemental affinity. Some people were closer to the fire element, and thus the fire elements responded better to their commands. This applied to all elements in general.
Which meant that as long as you had a magical art and the required mana, magic was possible. The difference caused by elemental affinity had to do with the time required to cast and the amount of mana required. For example, a person with high water affinity would be able to cast three water bullets with the amount of mana used by a person who had poor affinity to cast one.
Now’s the time to test my affinity for undead magic. I followed the magical art described on the book and began my first summoning. After ten seconds, I finally finished summoning my first undead. It was a ragged looking skeleton with several defects in its bone structure. As for the mana spent, it was two times that of the darkness arrow…as for that skeleton…it was reduced to a pile of bones by the curious Nine-finger who decided to poke it!
&*^@! It’s so weak! If this was Earth, I would bring you along to fake an accident. With that body of yours, one touch is enough! (TL: Faking an accident by bumping into person, car, bike etc. and then asking for compensation. In some cases, there will be an accomplice to accuse the victim of this scam. )
After spending twice the amount of time and mana, I summoned a skeleton that was weaker than a goblin…failure, such a failure!
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.