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The entrance to the Prison of the Dead laid within the black abyss in the eye socket of the giant skull. It was a relatively large entrance that allowed even the tallest imp among us, No.3, to pass through with ease.
The only problem was that it was too high up in the air and so I had to use my bone walls to create a makeshift stairways for the devils.
With the stairway completed, it was time for us to leave. However, what greeted me as I turned around to give out the order was a bunch of idiots staring blankly at me. Even the female devils were a part of this silly spectacle.
“What’s the matter? Is there something on my body?”
“Not at all. It’s just that Master’s body has gotten even more beautiful.” No. 5 replied in his usual ingratiating tone. “At this rate, no one will be able to resist the charms of Master.”
“Mhm, mhm.” Even my usually serious bodyguards, No.3 and Big 4, wholeheartedly agreed with him.
Nine-finger took it a step further by immediately leaping towards my left leg. “Master, just let me touch you for a while…”
“Bastard!” One-eye swiftly stepped in and halted his advance with a swift kick to his shoulders. “Who gave you permission to approach the Master?”
“Big Brother…I…I…” Having received a withering glare from One-eye, he immediately shut his mouth up, not daring to speak anymore.
“That’s enough! No more arguing!” Their chaotic behaviour had ticked me off once more. I pointed at the entranceway and shouted : “Get in. All of you, get in!”
Having received a stern warning, no one dared to mess around anymore.
I got some of the smarter imps to act as a forward scout into the Prison of the Dead. Once their safety was confirmed, I finally gave out the order to march off.
As One-eye and No.5 led the army through the eye socket, I made use of this time to inspect my powers. Each time I evolved, I would automatically learn some new spells. This evolution was no different either.
Fireball: This is a pretty common spell but it is significantly stronger than my darkness arrows. It cost me 5 units of mana to cast it and it’s also worth noting that this spell can be charged up.
Firewall: Its shape is similar to the bone wall and varied with the amount of mana spent on it. The more mana spent, the stronger than flames and the larger the wall.
Shadow Guardian: Unlike the other two spells, this belonged in the category of innate abilities instead. In order for it work, I have to activate it beforehand. Activating it costs 10 units of mana at which point it will consume 1 unit of mana every 10 seconds.
Its effect was to give my shadow a degree of autonomy. Once activated, my shadow would attack only those with hostile intentions towards me. This included both the living and the dead.
In short, Shadow Guardian allows my shadow to come to life temporarily in order to protect me. Its weakness was that it must maintain a connection with my body. This meant that it couldn’t just leave my side.
The Grimoire of the Dead had its contents updated as well: Summon Wraith, Summon Skeletal Archer and Bone Spear.
As for dark alchemy, there weren’t any changes made to those pages.
An important note has to be made that summoning the undead wasn’t something you could do out of thin air. It requires the correct medium and environment to do so.
For example, Summon Wraith is best used in an area where there has been a lot of deaths like a graveyard. Summon Skeleton is the same as well; a graveyard or a battlefield suited this spell the best.
Furthermore, without the requisite corpse acting as a medium, summoning an undead would require much more mana and even stood the chance of failing.
(Summoning an undead without the required corpse is impossible. When one tried to do so, the spell would open a dimensional link to Gehenna and transfer a corpse from there. As such, the spell then turns into a dimensional spell which requires a tremendous amount of mana.)
Because the devils didn’t know how to draw a bow…wait, that’s not true, it’s not that they didn’t know how to do so, it was simply that I wasn’t able to create a suitable bow for them.
Sigh, those days where we had no ranged capabilities really sucked…thankfully, those days would soon come to an end. With Summon Skeletal Archers, I’ll be able to create an archer squadron which would allow us to initiate the battle with a volley of arrows.
Wraiths were a two-star undead that specialized in unconventional tactics. They didn’t possess much combat strength by themselves but had the distinct advantage of being immune to physical attacks as long as they didn’t initiate an attack themselves.
Of course, this immunity came with a corresponding weakness as well. The world is a fair place after all. Wraiths took twice the amount of damage from magical attacks which means that magical fire attacks inflicted at least three times the amount of damage…
(( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡° ))
To me, this meant that they were more suited to being scouts and assassins.
I attempted to summon one wraith as a test but…what the f**k, it actually ate up 50 units of my mana.
Furthermore, it looked a little ugly…
His face was genderless but given his ugly mug, he was probably a male wraith. My new wraith came dressed in a set of tattered prisoner clothes and even had the skinhead to go with it. As for his body, he had an average build that was neither muscular or slender and was missing the defining feature of a female, boobs…you can basically conclude that he is a male.
Having spent 50 units of mana, I didn’t have much mana left and so I decided to delay summoning any archers. After all, if it failed, I would’ve wasted a ton of mana. Rather than take that risk, it made more sense to focus on the task at hand first.
As I walked around, I monitored the performance of my new subordinate. I first tried to distance myself from him and the result was:
Without any instructions, he would immediately fly back to my side once he found out that I was no longer by his side. Usually, he maintained a two to three meter distance from me.
Based on that alone, it shows that this wraith possessed at very least, a basic level of intelligence. Interesting…
With One-eye, Nine-finger and No.5 organizing the migration, No.3 and Big 4 were the only named devils accompanying me. As they stood by my side as usual, they would throw a cautionary glance at the wraith from time to time and adopt an alert stance.
Seeing their strange behavior, I decided to find out what was going on.
“What’s the matter?”
“Master…what’s up with this guy?” No.3 pointed at the wraith shadowing me with a confused expression. “Will it attack us?”
“Attack me? No way.” I chuckled. “This guy was summoned by me and while I still don’t know much about him, I’m absolutely sure that he won’t attack me. Oh right, I haven’t given him a name yet.”
The wraith seemed to have taken offense to his pointing and immediately set about getting his revenge. He began to circle around No.3 and would elongate his body into a snake-like form before turning back into his original form. While he did this, he would distort his face into various expressions in what looked like an attempt at scaring No.3.
“Shoo…don’t come near me!” Obviously, he didn’t take too well to the wraith’s actions. To be fair, anyone would be uncomfortable around a creature they didn’t understand and couldn’t counter.
No.3 would constantly try to shoo the bald wraith away as he guarded me; being teased must’ve ruffled his feathers significantly. However, this seemed to have the opposite effect on the wraith as instead of being chased away, he instead closed in further on No.3 and intensified his teasing causing No.3 to fly into a rage.
“Scram, scram!” No.3 frantically waved his long sword around as he tried to hack at the incorporeal wraith. Unfortunately for him, these attacks merely passed through the wraith.
Seems like this guy has a sadistic side to him.
In that case, I’ll just call him Vick. While I haven’t watched a lot of Boonie B**rs, the sight of that potato elegantly eating a bunch of buns for breakfast was really…sigh, how nostalgic. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boonie_Bears)
The Prison of the Dead wasn’t as dark as I had initially expected. While there wasn’t a source of illumination, I was still able to make out my surroundings very clearly as if it was daytime.
In front of us was a single stairway leading down. As this was the only route available, I wasn’t worried about getting lost and casually followed the army of devils in front of me as I hugged the devil egg and my grimoire. Beside me were my two bodyguards, No.3 and Big 4, and the new addition to our party, Vick.
It was a straight stairway that seemed to stretch on endlessly as we continued downwards. Finally after an unknown amount of time, the stairway came to an end and what greeted us was an area made entirely out of bones.
The ground itself was made of a bone-like material. At least that was what I thought it was. The feeling I got when I stepped on it was very similar to the sensation of stepping on bones.
The bone floor was pretty similar to those roads on Earth which were created by road rollers. As for the walls, they were made of bones and created a 20 meter wide hallway.
At the end of this hallway of bones, we came upon a crossroads with a couple of identical bone hallways flanking us. Both of them had a ceiling that was roughly 20 meters above the ground and had completely blocked off any vertical movement. This must be a maze!
As I stood there in a daze, the rest of my subordinates begun streaming in. As they looked at the maze before them, their faces betrayed a variety of emotions.
I led the army forward and at the same time got Vick to try and pass through the walls. Initially, he didn’t understand what I was saying and merely circled around me, causing me no small deal of frustration.
Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. After a few revolutions, Big 4 finally got sick of his circling and tried to explain my intentions to Vick. He walked up to the wall and rammed the wall lightly with his shoulders as if to say “This is what you’re supposed to do.”
Amused by his actions, Vick tried to mimic his actions by ramming into the wall with his shoulders. Unfortunately, this didn’t cause the results I wanted. The bone wall blocked out the wraith’s innate ability to pass through walls.
As I continued my research into the quirks of this place, the last thing I expected was to meet another ghost at the turn of a corner. Due to Vick’s lack of training, he didn’t understand a lot of my instructions and thus couldn’t function as proper scout. As a result, the duty of scouting fell onto One-eye.
It was at this moment that One-eye suddenly shouted: “Master, there are enemies here. Quick, prepare for battle!”
As soon as those words left his mouth, the scouts let out a surprised cry closely followed by Nine-finger’s panicked wailing: “Master, save us quick! These guys are too strong…ahh…spare me…”
*poof poof poof…*
A string of strange sounds echoed in the tunnels. A second later, the pained cries of my devils rang out in the air.
I hugged my two treasures tightly before rushing forward. As I passed the corner, what greeted me was a chaotic mess.
The 60 guardsmen led by One-eye were still able to maintain some semblance of order but the 100 supporting reserves were in complete disarray. Scattered around the floor were several reserves pinned to the floor by bone spears.
All of these spears had been targeted at the fatal spots of the devils such as their hearts, heads, throats etc. As such, most of these pinned devils were dead or at the very least gravely wounded and would die without immediate aid.
Bone Spears! There are skeletal mages here!
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.