The imps retracted their necks in fear as the entire chapel echoed with my angry screams.
However, being angry was fine and all but I still couldn’t throw away the grimoire. Thanks to it blocking that attack down in the tunnel, I managed to avoid certain defeat. Just based on that fact alone, I had no reason to get angry with it.
Besides, it’s not like this was the first time it stole my food.
“No.5, get me a head count.” After handing him his mission, I went to check on No.3 and Big 4. A hundred anxious thoughts filled my mind, as I took those few steps that seemed so close and yet so far. Thankfully, my worries were unfounded as both of them were mostly fine. They weren’t dead but were too injured to get up.
“Master…” No.3 and Big 4 whimpered as they gave me a pitiful look. They probably blamed themselves for not being to able to protect me.
“It’s alright. Everything’s taken care of. Just rest up and get well soon.” With my worries put at ease, I turned around to look for One-eye. He was in the midst of supervising the corpse distribution when I found him. “One-eye, give the two of them some corpses; as much as possible.”
“Yes, Master. I’ll get it done right now.”
One-eye nodded his head before immediately getting his subordinates to move more corpses over to the two of them. Seeing as they were severely injured and missing an arm each, I figured that they wouldn’t be able to feed themselves properly. So I made special arrangements to have two female devils feed them personally.
With that settled, I quickly left the scene. Even after all this time, I still wasn’t used to the sight of devils feeding. Now that Chipped Horn was dead, the tunnel should be safe for exploration. As I headed for the tunnel, I beckoned to One-eye with my hand: “By the way, have you seen Big 1 anywhere? Is the tunnel safe?”
“It’s safe. Master, about Big 1…” His words trailed off ominously as he lowered his head, not daring to look me in the eyes. Only after I pressed him further did he finally continue. He closed his eyes and clenched his jaw as he forced out the following words: “Big 1 is dead…”
“Dead…” Dead…I guess it was to be expected…
Chipped Horn’s strength was something that I had witnessed personally. His ferocity and strength simply wasn’t something one could take to the head and survive…
Another subordinate died protecting me…I knew that this was the land of the dead, the upper floor of the blood sea…that this was the road I had to travel in order to pass through hell…that this wasn’t some game where you could simply reincarnate multiple times by mashing A and B on a ***tendo console…
Ahhh…my brain is getting messed up again…
As those thoughts raced through my mind, I continued down the stairway until finally I came upon the corpse of Big 1.
There was a footprint on his temple…I guess that’s what killed him…
I stared at his corpse silently. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I made up my mind. I clenched down on my teeth as I turned towards One-eye and said coldly: “Get someone to bring the corpse up…give it…let No.3 and Big 4 process it…”
It hurts…it was a decision that I made…but still…my heart hurts so much! I’m such a hypocrite…even though it hurt me so badly…even though he was my benefactor…I still made sure to fully utilize his corpse. I’m probably even more ruthless than Cao Cao…
…my eyes are tearing up…so even devils can cry…
As I continued walking, I suddenly remembered that there was still one more named imp not accounted for, and so I turned to One-eye and asked: “What happened to Nine-finger?”
“He’s fine. He’s just unconscious from Chipped Horn’s initial sneak attack.” After settling the matter of Big 1’s corpse, One-eye’s eyebrows jumped as if he suddenly remembered something. “By the way, Master, there’s something I must report.”
“Regarding that kidnapped large imp…”
Western human realms…the kingdom of Tarnia…
The 13 year old Nicole had already risen to a three-star warrior. For a commoner, this level of talent could only be described as terrifying. Due to the domineering nature of fighter’s aura, the amount of aura a human child could withstand was really low. As such, their cultivation speed would be lowered until they reached around 15 years of age. At which point, their cultivation speed experienced a growth spurt of sorts.
Take Sares for example, he only reached three-star at the age of 14, nearing 15. All this could be attributed to the explosive growth of his cultivation speed.
For Nicole to reach this level at 13, she was truly a genius among geniuses and fully deserved her status as a special student.
Outside of her usual training, she mostly kept a moderate social circle that was neither too large nor too small. A large part of this was due to her special student status which made her one of the elites within the fighter school. Her usual cheerfulness had been replaced by a cold aloofness ever since Mo Ke left home.
She felt that she was the one who caused Mo Ke to run away and had placed all the blame solely on herself. It was this crushing guilt that slowly warped her cheerful personality into the reserved and aloof person she was now.
Ironically, this aloofness combined with her heavenly beauty and status to create an image of a crimson-haired cultivation genius; turning her into the mascot for the fighter school. Calling her an idol wouldn’t be an exaggeration.
As time passed, this fame started attracting both male and female students who admired her, creating the social circle we now see today.
These students were mostly of the same age as her or slightly younger. They were mostly of humble origin, but there were also a few members of some status. Heirs of successful merchant families and even minor nobles.
Initially, she didn’t pay much attention to socializing, and instead focused her attention solely on her cultivation and school work. Her goal then was merely to join a mercenary troop and find Mo Ke as soon as possible. However, after reading Roscar’s letter, she realized how vast the world actually was and how complicated society could be.
Without any connections, her search for Mo Ke would only be met with all sorts of troubles and hindrances. And so, she began to prioritize her social life as well. She started by first getting close to her admirers and slowly built upon that. As time passed, her icy heart was thawed, and her usual cheerfulness came back.
As she made her way to the training room, she was greeted by a long green-haired girl dressed in the uniform of the fighter school. It was a white, western ensemble that highlighted her adorable, rounded face. She grabbed Nicole’s hand and excitedly shook them as she said: “Sister Nicole, let’s go on a date together.”
The little girl was only ten years of age and was one of the younger students in the school. She came from an impressive background unlike the majority of Nicole’s admirers. Her father was a successful businessman in the city and highly doted on this adorable daughter of his. It was precisely this doting attitude that allowed her to enter the fighter school.
Her father had originally wanted her to take up the more esteemed position of a mage, but the heavens weren’t kind to her. During her magic examination she was judged as having no talent for magic, and so her father had no choice but to send her to the fighter school.
As they say, when the heavens closes a door, they open another for you. Upon entering the school, she was found to have an above average gift for cultivating fighter aura.
In the face of the girl’s infatuation, she was put in a slightly awkward dilemma. She revealed her signature affable smile and said: “Little Nana, I’m still not done with my daily training…”
“Ah, Little Nana isn’t interested in all that cultivation stuff. Today’s the founding day of our kingdom, it would be a waste to squander such a rare opportunity just to train. Let’s go have some fun.”
“It’s bound to be a lively event today with a ton of people attending, who knows, we might even find your little brother while we’re out and about.”
“…alright then. But first, let me get changed.”
“Nice! That’s great, Sister Nicole is going to play with me! Nana wants to get some crepes, and also a cute doll, oh and I want to watch a play as well…”
Land of the dead…Ancient Dragon Altar…
The robed skeleton was going about with his usual experiments. As his creamy white fingers hugged the test tube in his hands, the liquid inside began swirling of its own accord as if it had a life of its own.
“As expected, compressing several spiritual bodies combines them into a liquid. But it seems to throw their consciousness into chaos resulting in some strange anomalies…perfectly turning spirits corporeal…as expected, it’s not something that can be done in a day or two…”
The skeleton muttered to himself as he placed the test tube back into its rack and plugged it up with a tiny cork shaped bone.
Just as he sealed up the test tube, the liquid in the tube began to swirl around once more. As it sped up, the liquid began to form a tiny human face that plastered itself onto the walls of the test tube. Due to its liquid nature, the face lost all semblance of a human face the moment it splattered itself onto the test tube’s walls.
The human face opened its mouth in a soundless scream as if it was in great pain. Soon after, several other human faces began forming in the neighboring test tubes. Within a second, the test tube was filled to the brim with their faces as their liquid bodies began to smash futilely against the bone cork.
Those disgusting masses of liquid were essentially monsters made up of numerous human faces!
As the robed skeleton monitored these test tubes, he etched out letters in the air with his bony fingers. They were written in the language of the devils and said:
“Unstable form…three-star strength…no consciousness? No, it just doesn’t have anymore emotions…only negative emotions remain…is there no trace of happiness left? Humm, it would be weird if vengeful ghosts had any happiness left in them…what about the tiny bit of happy memories left in them…discarded? No need for happiness? Such decisiveness…”
This went on for another half an hour before the human faces in the test tubes quieted down and changed back into a harmless pool of liquid.
By now, the robed skeleton’s musing had reached a thousand words. As they mysteriously hovered in mid air, they maintained their orderly formation while emitting a faint green glow, their clarity just as strong as when the skeleton started writing.
With a wave of his hand, he summoned a female vengeful ghost from the walls of the laboratory.
The female servant handed him a thick book made out of sheepskin. As he opened it, a dense sea of words entered his vision. He ignored these and instead flipped right to the end of the book. With another wave of his hand, the floating words began to file into neat lines before flying into the book in an orderly fashion as if they were moving into a new home.
From the way they were arranged, it looked like they had originally been written in the book itself!
This miraculous magic had been long lost since ancient times. Nowadays, no one was able to use this ancient magic. Researchers instead used an enchanted quill to record down their findings. The quill would take down whatever the researcher recited.
The advantage of these quills was that they required little mana to operate. One merely had to recharge the quills with mana from time to time. However, a drawback was that the quills recorded everything the researcher said…that’s right, everything. Everything from the actual findings to the random curse words the researcher spouted while the quill was active.
Having finished his experiment, the robed skeleton turned his hollowed out eye sockets to a certain spot in the laboratory and peered intently at it. It was as if he was able to see through all the physical obstacles as he quietly stared into the “distance”. As for what he saw, no one knew.
This continued for a long while before the robed skeleton began muttering to himself once more: “Teacher, junior sister has already chosen the person she wants…as for what’s next, I can only hope that person can bring junior sister out of this place…also, after spending all these years with her, I never realized that she actually likes girls…”