Chapter 5: Genius and Stumbling Demon
The altar consecrated the statue of the Lady of Starvation, Camilla.
It was a sickly female statue made of colorful fungi. From afar, it looked like a rotten tumor or something else that made one uncomfortable.
However, if one took a closer look, one could sense a certain sinister beauty in it.
“I lost contact with two pieces of debris in that ruin.”
The demon sitting under the altar and staring at the goddess statue suddenly spoke.
It was a fat monster that resembled a mountain of flesh. It held a rusty dagger in its hand, and its head had twisted horns like dry branches. It was very tall, and it was much taller than ordinary male adults while still sitting. It was deformed, and its entire body was covered in strange sarcomas. Its skin was covered in festering and rotten marks.
“Do you want to take a look”
The person who replied was a man in a gray cloak. He sat on the other side of the altar and held a lead-colored staff.
His figure could be considered muscular, but he looked very thin when compared to the demon beside him.
“Its unnecessary. The best time for the anchoring ceremony is soon upon us. As long as this bodys contract is completely anchored in the depths of your soul, my range of movement wont be limited by this altar. When that happens, whether this place is discovered by the others wont affect our subsequent actions,” the monster with the rusty dagger replied in a dull voice.
“When the time comes, I can even use the people from the town at the foot of the mountain as a sacrifice before I leave.”
“Dont be too ostentatious, Psoriasis,” the gray-robed man warned.
“Even if the churches in Blackwater Province are significantly weaker than the other places in the empire, causing too much commotion will still attract the Seal Temples investigation. When that happens, it will affect our masters plan. Nobody benefits from it.”
“Speaking of ostentatious...”
Perhaps dissatisfied with the other partys attitude, the monster named Psoriasis narrowed its eyes.
“That cant be more ostentatious than selling the ruins map of the Grief Mountains to the Offa University students, right Although the ritual requires fresh sacrifices, arent you afraid that the parents of one of the missing will hire a high-level adventurer team to search the mountains Let me remind you we tricked students from a noble institute of higher learning in the name of archaeology for them to be our sacrifices Or are you still brooding over your expulsion from Offa University back then, David Obis”
The gray-robed man named David Obis only replied emotionlessly to the demons provocation, “Most of the archeology students study healing and Shadowraze spells, which are more compatible with the sacrificial blood you need. Moreover, they are stupider, easier to deceive, and easier to deal with than an adventurer team. Thats all.”
Psoriasis grinned and was about to say something when his expression suddenly changed.
“The barrier I set up outside the Scar of Sorrow has been destroyed”
Davids expression changed slightly.
Psoriasis closed his eyes and sensed it before nodding.
“Thats right. It was cracked from a single point, and its collapsing now.”
“Is the destruction of the barrier coming from that ruin” David asked in a deep voice.
“Yes, but the method the other party used is very primitive. He didnt use a cracking method and instead used pure magical power to destroy it.”
Hearing this, Davids solemn expression eased a little.
Using a mana stream to destroy the barrier meant that the other party was most likely a newbie-either because he didnt know how to conserve his precious mana or because he didnt know how to destroy the barrier.
Was it a lost explorer Or was it another archaeological team that fell for their ruse
However, no matter who it was, he wasnt letting down his guard. He had been preparing for this ceremony for over a year. He couldnt treat any seemingly trivial latent risks carelessly.
“Then, lets not wait for the ceremonys prime time. Lets begin the anchoring. Dont complicate matters.”
Psoriasis nodded its fat head in agreement. Then, it stood up and chanted an obscure Moon Realm incantation.
Power spread as Psoriasis chanted the incantation. The trees around the altar were snapped by an invisible force, scattering broken branches and leaves all over the ground. But if one observed carefully, one would discover that the brightly-colored bacteria on the broken branches and leaves began to spread constantly. Thin strands of bacteria kept extending, and the area around the sickly life became extremely vibrant.
Zhou Mu-who was observing the altar-felt someone tug at him. He turned his head and saw Liliana looking at him with a pale face.
“Lets leave first before they discover us.”
“Why” Zhou Mu asked in confusion.
“I know who that gray-robed person is. Hes not someone I can deal with alone. Lets go down the mountain and get help from the Church.”
“So whos that person”
Zhou Mu was a little intrigued.
“David Obis was once a student of Blackwater Provinces Offa University. At the age of 18, he obtained the title of Lv. 7 in both the Summoning and Shadowraze fields. He was known as the genius at Offa University who had the highest chance of reaching the Master domain or even the Legendary domain in the past 50 years.”
“Is he considered your senior”
Liliana shook her head vigorously.
“He was expelled from the university two years ago on suspicion of studying forbidden spells. Back then, the university contacted the Holy Spirits Church and imprisoned him as a heretical mage. He eventually fought the executors who were deployed to arrest him. Half of the dormitory building was blasted to ruins, and the entire team of elite executors failed to retain him.”
The executors were mage assassins trained by the Holy Spirits Church to deal with mage threats. To be able to fight an entire team of executors and escape, his strength was obvious.
“Its said that the church sent people to search his house afterward. They found a large number of human organs used for primitive rituals in the basement, as well as the bones of many deformed monsters.”
At this point, Liliana was almost begging Zhou Mu.
“Ignoring the Lunar Monster beside him, a heretical mage with at least Lv. 7 strength isnt an existence that we can deal with alone.”
Lilianas tone revealed sincerity, and Zhou Mu fell into thought over her words.
Zhou Mu didnt know what strength Lv. 7 was. Doomsday Watchers never had ratings for mages; it was probably a standard created by someone or an organization in the 1,000 years he was away.
However, the Master and Legendary domains Liliana mentioned were indeed useful as a reference for evaluating a spells strength in-game: Apprentice, Expert, Master, Legend, Divine Realm.
Every spell had a word that indicated its rarity. Although rarity didnt imply greater strength for a game, this was the intention of the games planning team.
Not doing so was a problem for the game mechanics balancing team.
If this was the analysis, the implication of having a chance of reaching Master was that one could use Expert-level spells.
But could this be considered a genius
Therefore, compared to the gray-robed man whom Liliana treated as a formidable enemy, Zhou Mus attention was more focused on the Lunar Monster who was chanting.
From the other partys appearance, he could be considered an old acquaintance.
Zhou Mu had a deep impression of this monster.
He remembered how much of a pain this fellow was the time he raided the Lady of Starvations Moon Realm dungeon, Lake of Entropy.
Stumbling Demon was about Lv. 60-80. Its design completely ignored the might of physical and magical attacks and focused on stacking its HP and HP Regeneration speed.
The source of this content is n/ov//el/bin[./]net'
Of course, if it was only a tank with low attack and high defense; that wasnt the reason Zhou Mu would call it a pain.
The most disgusting thing about the Stumbling Demon was that it would obtain a halo that constantly caused abnormal statuses after being injured. The more HP it lost, the stronger the halos effect.
It wasnt a threat, but it was fully capable of disgusting the player.
Every time he encountered a large-scale encounter, any Stumbling Demon mixed into the enemys lineup as a tank would significantly increase the battles difficulty.
But then again, if it was only summoned alone, the Stumbling Demon would only be a wooden stake used to measure the damage.
A wooden stake used to test the damage dealt was what Zhou Mu needed the most.
With this in mind, he pushed away the tree branches in front of him and walked out.
Behind him, Liliana exclaimed in surprise at his actions. As for the Stumbling Demon and the gray-robed man named David, they looked over at the same time.
The mans sudden actions threw Lilianas mind into chaos. For a moment, she couldnt figure out if she should run or blame the man for his suicidal behavior. However, Zhou Mu turned around and patted her shoulder.
“Dont worry. Didnt I say that we should solve the source of the problem first”
His words reminded Liliana of her archeological team and the people who had risked their lives to cover her escape.
“Oh, I almost forgot.”
As Zhou Mu spoke, he removed an ancient Sunbird pendant from his neck and placed it in Lilianas hand.
“The air here will turn nasty in a while. Put this on.”
Liliana subconsciously took the ancient pendant. The moment it came into contact with her skin, a warm current began to surge through her blood.
An enchanted pendant
However, she had never heard of an enchanted pendant that had such an obvious effect without wearing it.
By the time she came to her senses, the person was about 20 steps away from the altar.
David Obis held his lead-colored staff and stood up. He looked back at Psoriasis, who was about to complete the ritual, and then at the white-haired, silver-eyed man.
“Nice to meet you, unknown magic chanter,” he said very politely.
“Nice to meet you. The genius from that university and the Stumbling Demon behind you.”