“Master is about to evolve, quick get those soul flames over here!”
As always, the most level headed one among my subordinates was No.5. While everyone was overcome by battlelust, it was he who noticed my unusual situation first. Without any hesitation, he immediately ordered the other henchmen to send over the next batch of soul flames.
While all this was happening, I was in an enthralled state and thus couldn’t pay any attention to my surroundings. However, after all this time in hell, consuming souls had become an instinctual ability. Even without my consciousness piloting my body, my mouth knew exactly when to open up in order to absorb the soul flames being offered to me.
As batch after batch were sent into my mouth, a new change began to emerge in my body. The first was my stature became even more slender, giving it the elegant and alluring silhouette of the world’s most beautiful model.
The next change happened atop my forehead. The skin on my forehead began to split open amidst the rapid changes in my body, revealing the signature horn of the devil.
However, it was a single horn unlike the dual horns found in the other head imps. In fact, it’s central positioning and outward growth made it more akin to the horns normally found on unicorns.
While my body didn’t receive any significant boost in strength, my mana did. As my horn sprouted, the mana in me experienced an explosive increase. From the original 50 units of mana I had when I started evolving, it began to rapidly increase: 51,52,55,61…all the way to 80!
As the mana in my body began to stabilize, the changes in my body gradually stopped as well. My second evolution was finally complete!
But just when I thought that things had settled down, the ground began to shake and it wasn’t some minor tremor either. The earth shook as if it was trying to tear itself apart, sending shockwaves throughout the village that not only destabilized us but the undead as well.
It had gotten to the point where some of the skeletons began to shatter under the violent rumblings of the earth. The sounds of knees falling to the ground echoed throughout the battlefield as zombies and devils alike began to fall to the ground.
What’s up with this earthquake? This brother just had a simple evolution, is there a need to create such a grand display for me? It’s a fricking earthquake after all! Not just some random party popper…it is an honest to goodness earthquake.
10 seconds later, the earthquake was still going strong although it began to gradually slow down. However, just as I thought that the earth was finally going to calm down, it sent me another bolt from the blue.
A thunderous crackle raced across the horizon as a colossal wave of energy began emitting from the ground up. The immense shockwaves rolled across the village like an invisible tsunami, knocking aside any large object in its path.
The already dilapidated chapel collapsed under this immense pressure, followed closely by the neighboring houses collapsing in a concentric pattern radiating outwards. Soon, the entire village was covered in what looked like an avalanche of dust.
It was at this moment, that the earth was torn asunder by a rounded, bone-like structure. As the earth and debris were flung into the air, more and more of the mysterious structure revealed itself. It was a giant skull similar to the one I saw on that stone tablet.
Suddenly, the skull abruptly halted its upwards tunnelling at the midpoint of its skull.
It had a 10 meter diameter at its widest point and had an exposed height of 5 meters where only the portions above the base of its nose were visible.
As my eyes drifted upwards along the towering skull, something immediately caught my eye; it had the same horizontal cyclopic eye as that skull on that tablet! Right on its forehead was a hole that resembled an eye socket with a horizontal line drawn across the black abyss within.
The Prison of the Dead?!
That was the first thought that raced across my mind as I recalled the words on that tablet. Wasn’t this the same skull I saw on that tablet?!
A second later, mournful wails began to echo from the black abyss within the skull’s eye sockets. My eyes narrowed as I focused on the bottomless abyss and caught what looked like a single phantasmal human face tunnelling out from the black hole.
Another popped up in the corner of my and then another…and another. The wispy faces multiplied exponentially in a second filling the otherwise black eye holes with a field of wispy white apparitions.
Not only were there humans within the mix, there were devil apparitions as well.
As more ghosts began to emerge, I caught sight of what could only be described as an abomination.
It was a monstrous ghost formed from an amalgamation of several ghosts. Its body sprouted a multitude of heads and hands, each representing its constituent ghost in a ghastly display of unity.
By now, a large mass of ghosts had already exited the skull, and judging from their direction, they seemed to heading towards me!?
S***, we haven’t even taken care of these undeads and yet more show up?! Am I really that unlucky…is it my fate to die once more?
However, just as I was about to give up, the ghosts circled harmlessly around me and flew straight at the undead. What greeted me next was an even more surprising sight, the undead started fleeing from the oncoming ghosts! If it wasn’t for their ghoulish appearance, I would’ve mistaken them for living breathing creatures who knew how to feel fear.
In a short span of time, the undead surrounding us had mostly scattered to the winds. Those who didn’t, were swiftly killed by the ghosts.
Rather than kill, perhaps soul extraction seemed like a more appropriate description for the unusual scene unfolding in front of me.
The ghosts had a strange method of dealing with these undead. They would hover around the target undead for a couple of seconds before reaching into their eye sockets with their incorporeal hands. A second later, they would withdraw their hands with the undead’s soul flames in tow!
However, instead of consuming the extracted soul flames, they merely tossed it aside. The strangeness didn’t end there either; instead of falling to the ground, the soul flames would continue to hover around the ghosts as they continued on to the next undead.
While the majority of the undead chose to flee, some would try to fight back. However, these low level undead were naturally not a match for these ghosts. They only had physical attacks and as such, couldn’t damage the incorporeal bodies of the ghosts.
Unless the ghosts materialized to attack them, their attacks were doomed to pass harmlessly through their wispy targets.
Having seen the futility of their attacks, they attempted to run away but it was too late. In the few seconds it took for them to attack and turn around, the ghosts were able to harvest their soul flames, killing them…
As the hundreds of ghosts plowed through the battlefield, the undead numbers were quickly reduced to nothing. With the village now empty of undead, the ghosts proceeded on to chase down the survivors.
What happened to round two?
“Mas…Master…what should we do now?” No.5 asked me with a silly look on his face. However, this time, he wasn’t alone; I had that same look on my face as well.
“Err…those ghosts shouldn’t be back any time soon. Let’s do a quick head count and see what our losses are.”
After sending off No.5, I immediately rushed to check on Mo Ci. That skull appeared right above the chapel’s cellar, does that mean that Mo Ci…damn it, I hope she didn’t run into them…
Just as this thought crossed my mind, a stammering voice echoed from above me: “Master…save us…”
As I looked up, the sight of the two female attendants popped into view. They were looking down at me from atop the giant skull.
“Are you guys alright?” To think that these two were still alive and even landed up on top of the Prison of the Dead. Was it just sheer luck?
“What about Mo Ci? Did she manage to give birth to the baby?”
“Mo Ci…is dead…”
I immediately ordered my subordinates to help them down from the skull but just as I did so, I suddenly noticed that one of them was hugging a devil egg.
I had originally intended for them to simply jump down while we tried to catch them, after all the skull was only 5 meters tall and this wasn’t enough to kill a large imp. However, after seeing their traumatized expressions and the devil egg, I changed my mind.
Due to the lack of ladders, I ordered them my imps to form a devil stairway. The plan was to get the egg to safety first before helping the two attendants down from the skull. However, I was slightly worried about handing this over to my brutish subordinates and so I decided to call over No.5; the clever scamp was the perfect candidate for this delicate task.
Soon, the football-sized egg was delivered gingerly onto No.5 hands who quickly passed it to my waiting arms.
As I wrapped my arms around it in an embrace, my gaze was immediately drawn to the reddish-black tattoos running across the entirety of the egg in a flowery pattern. I had never seen these patterns before but one thing was certain: this was an egg unlike any other I’ve seen before.
In fact, it was probably of a much higher level than the ones I saw in the Blood Sea. After all, those eggs were a lot smaller than the football-sized egg currently resting in my arms.
Despite its size, the egg didn’t feel heavy in my arms at all. It even had a warm feeling to it that reminded more of a baby than an egg. As for why it was so, I had no idea.
Since there’s no way for me to find out either, I decided to leave the matter of this miraculous egg for another day and instead shifted my attention back to Mo Ci’s situation.
“So tell me, exactly how did she die? And how did the two of you end up atop this giant skull?”
By now, the two attendants had already been rescued and along with them, a shrivelled up corpse was brought before me. This ancient corpse…don’t tell me it’s…
In the face of my cold questioning face, the two attendants began to tremble uncontrollably as they stood there not daring to even move a finger, their eyes reflecting their barely hidden fear.
It was said that some devils were sensitive towards emotional changes and these two were probably a part of these devils. When I had questioned them, they must have sensed that I was ready to punish them. Of course, this was only if they had done something wrong.
“When…when she laid that egg…her body began to lose all signs of life…” The attendant who had handed over the egg replied, her fingers waving about as she drew out the scenario then.
However, her ability to express herself was limited and despite her best attempts at depicting the situation, I garnered nothing useful from it. On the other hand, her words had given me enough clues for me to guess what happened to her.
In the midst of laying that egg, she suddenly ran out of energy. Thankfully, there were still some left over soul flames in the cellar and so they immediately fed them to her. Unfortunately, this still wasn’t enough to ensure the successful delivery of the egg. It had stopped right at the precipice of a successful delivery.
Truth be told, Mo Ci could’ve changed her mind at this point. Unlike humans, devils were able to abort the entire process just by getting someone else to destroy the egg before it left their womb. The nutrients from the broken egg will then flow back into the mother.
While this wouldn’t strengthen her by much, it would at least save her life. However, Mo Ci chose not to do so. Instead of saving her own life, she chose to walk down the suicidal path of laying that egg. The price of her doing so was her life force.
Gradually, as the egg was finally forced out of her womb, she began to shrivel up and turn into the corpse that I saw before me…
As for why those two ended up atop the Prison of the Dead…they had no idea as well. Judging from their recounting, the skull had basically appeared right below them and protected them with a mysterious force as the skull tunnelled upwards.
“No food? Couldn’t you let her eat you?”
By now, One-eye had already finished counting the losses but instead of reporting them to me right away, he confronted them about their failure. His natural-born thuggish nature reared its ugly head once more as just one question from him sent the two cowering in fear on the ground, like sheep to the slaughter.
“That’s enough One-eye. There’s no need to blame them any further. After all, they have no obligation to serve as cattle for her.”
To him, these ordinary devils were nothing more than food but I knew that given the selfish nature of devils, it was impossible to expect them to sacrifice themselves without a good reason.
Even those subordinates who died protecting me, No.1 , No.2 , No.4 and Big 1, had a reason to die for me. As for what that reason is…it’s obvious without me saying.
“This matter is closed for now. By the way, how are our losses?”
“Our losses are heavy this time…the total large imp count has fallen to 347…”
So we’ve finally fallen below the 400 threshold…looks like there’s no more time to waste. Inspecting my new skills can wait for another day, the most pressing issue now is to leave this place.
“I’m not sure if those strange ghosts will return but since the Prison of the Dead has emerged, we might as well make use of this opportunity to leave the Land of the Dead.”
No matter what laid ahead, I must push forward.
“Send the word, gather up immediately.”
The criteria for summoning the Prison of the Dead: (Author’s note)
One: The birth of a new life
( The Land of the Dead was a world filled with death and as such, the birth of a new life was a momentous event for this world. This is why that egg being laid was considered the highest level of offering one could offer to this world.
In Chapter 48, Chipped Horn had specifically said “I want to leave this place so this female devil must survive. As such, it’s time for you to die.” Based on this sentence alone, you can infer that he roughly knew about the method to leave this place. To him, Mo Ci was merely a tool to be sacrificed. )
Two: A devil evolving into four-star. ( The Prison of the Dead will automatically appear before the devil.)
Three: Sacrifice. ( Offer up over a thousand lives in a short amount of time. This doesn’t include the undead.)
The reason for Mo Ci’s difficult delivery:
The reason why she had difficulty delivering the egg was because its level was simply too high for Mo Ci. She was merely a large imp and definitely couldn’t bear the burden of a high level devil being born.
As for why that egg was so high level, it was because Mo Ke had given her too much souls. This caused the egg to naturally evolve while it was still in her womb. This was also why she needed that much food during her pregnancy.