Book 12, The Descent of the Gods – Chapter 26, The Coiling Dragon Ring
The night was as cold as water. A gentle wind blew past, and with it, Linley’s body travelled dozens of kilometers. Although the Dawson Conglomerate’s valley base was thousands of kilometers away from Dragonblood Castle, to the current Linley, that sort of distance was nothing at all.
The wind came to a halt, and Linley’s body reformed and became distinct.
Staring down at the chain of mountains, especially that noticeable gorge, he saw that within the center of the gorge was that important branch of the Dawson Conglomerate’s. Just by relying on his wind sense, Linley was able to discern that there was a huge amount of people within the gorge.
“Are these the slaves that have been shipped here?” Linley laughed coldly.
By now, he already knew that the reason why the Dawson Conglomerate was buying so many slaves was for the sake of that Deity, who was refining souls.
“Although the Coiling Dragon ring is only a damaged soul-protecting Sovereign artifact, at least all I have to do now is protect that hole.” After a day’s worth of cultivation, the ‘patch’ he had used to cover that gap in the scaly, translucent membrane had already became quite firm.
He looked down below, and with a gust of wind, Linley’s entire body merged with the wind and charged downwards.
Within the valley, in an eerie, sinister, punishment chamber.
This punishment chamber’s floor was black with dried blood. A bald man with bared chest was here, a butcher’s blade in his hands. Behind him, there was a crystal ball hanging on the wall. This crystal ball was filled with a dense fog.
A blindfolded and bound slave was pushed into the room by a guard.
“Slash.” The bald man ruthlessly plunged the butcher’s knife into the slave’s heart. “Aaaah!” A hoarse cry sounded out for a moment, then faded away.
Quick, accurate, ruthless!
He killed a slave in an instant. The slave, after having letting out that cry and died, was immediately dragged out by the guard.
The dense fog in the crystal ball rumbled for an instant. Yet another soul had been trapped within!
“Next.” The bald man licked the blood on the butcher’s blade, growing rather excited.
The bald man loved this job. Ever since he had been arranged to carry out this job six years ago, he had fallen in love with the feeling of killing others. In the past six years, even he himself was no longer sure exactly how many people he had killed.
“At least a million.” That was what the bald man guessed.
In the past six years of killing, every day, he killed several hundred people. Sometimes, even as much as a thousand. Over six years, the number of people he had killed was more than a million. Within the valley, there were quite a few people in his line of work. Although the bald man wasn’t sure about the exact figures, he himself knew that there were at least six other butchers.
“The fog in this crystal ball should be dense enough by now.” The bald man turned and glanced at it.
He was already quite experienced. After having killed so many people each day, he knew exactly how dense the fog would have grown. But when he turned, he suddenly discovered…
The crystal ball had become incomparably clear, without a hint of fog within.
“Ah!?” The bald man was so frightened that his forehead and back instantly were covered with sweat. “What’s going on? Why is there nothing? Impossible. Impossible. No one is near here.” The bald man, despite being normally fearless, was now so frightened that he was trembling.
The souls in the crystal ball had all disappeared.
Not just in the bald man’s punishment chamber; all of the souls in all of the punishment chambers had suddenly disappeared as well.
Linley had descended into the valley, and was standing near a large tree.
“This…this…what is this?” Linley was shocked. Through the Coiling Dragon ring, he could clearly sense that within the radius of a kilometer, there were twenty places with a large amount of souls that were clustered together. Right; he sensed it through the Coiling Dragon ring.
“Why are there so many souls here?”
Linley frowned. He understood. These definitely were the result of the machinations of that Deity. Constant killing, constant collection of souls.
“Hrmph. He killed so many people in a single day. After several years, how many have died?” Linley felt shocked just thinking about the numbers involved. “This Deity…what has he resorted to, in order to collect so many souls?”
Linley indeed had no idea. The Grand Warlock hadn’t just sent those nine silver-robed guardians to collect souls; he had also controlled all three of the major trading unions of the Yulan continent, who worked together to constantly deliver slaves to him, slaughtering them and harvesting their souls.
After all, there were many slaves in the Yulan continent.
With the three major trading unions joining forces, it wouldn’t be too hard for them to gather tens of millions of slaves over the course of six years.
“Hey?” Linley suddenly sensed as though the Coiling Dragon ring had a strange power that was binding the souls in those twenty-plus crystal balls. He had a feeling as though with but a thought, he could seize all of those souls and pull them into the Coiling Dragon ring.
Linley gave this a test.
In an instant!
The many souls that had been in the crystal ball all disappeared, reappearing within the Coiling Dragon ring.
“So many souls? There’s more than ten thousand.” The combined number of souls in those twenty crystal balls were indeed more than ten thousand. But these souls were all directly devoured by the Coiling Dragon ring. What astonished Linley the most was…after devouring the souls, the Coiling Dragon ring began to naturally refine them.
The countless souls were being transformed into a large amount of golden fog of energy.
This golden fog of energy, as soon as it interacted with Linley’s spiritual energy, immediately began to naturally be absorbed by Linley’s soul.
“Rumble…” A large amount of golden energy streamed directly through Linley’s spiritual energy into Linley’s soul-world.
“Zassler said that once one reaches a certain level of understanding with regards to souls, one can refine souls and then absorb them to strengthen one’s own soul.” Seeing this, Linley began to understand. “So this Coiling Dragon ring can draw souls and also naturally refine them.”
When those golden fogs of energy drew near to the sword-shaped soul, the sword-shaped soul absorbed these golden fogs as though it were drinking water.
“Indeed…” Linley could sense an extremely comfortable feeling. His soul was slowly growing. Soon, those ten thousand refined souls in the shape of a golden fog had been completely absorbed by Linley’s sword-shaped soul, but the sword-shaped soul only grew slightly larger.
But even such a small amount of souls already made Linley feel much more comfortable.
“This Coiling Dragon ring…” Linley was utterly astonished.
Refining souls was an extremely complicated process. Only a very few Demigods were capable of doing it, and even the majority of full Gods were not capable of it either. It required a person had a thorough understanding of the nature of souls. Even the Grand Warlock had to be extremely careful when refining them.
“This ability makes the ring more suited to its reputation as being a Sovereign artifact, albeit damaged.” Linley had a hint of a smile on his face.
He took a closer look at the ring. He sensed that this Coiling Dragon ring was only capable of absorbing those souls that were not protected by their bodies. If a person was alive, his soul would be very hard to capture. But the binding power the crystal balls held over the souls was clearly inferior to the seizing power of the Coiling Dragon ring.
The seizing ability was superior to the binding power, and so the souls in the crystal balls had been seized.
“The radius is just a kilometer or so. Outside of a kilometer, I wouldn’t be able to sense anything.” Linley discovered that only when he flew down into the valley and reached a distance of a kilometer away had he been able to sense those collected souls.
Taking a deep breath, he calmed himself.
“Time to spread my spiritual energy to find that Deity. I have to kill him in as short a time as possible.” With a flip of his hand, Linley retrieved Bloodviolet. Linley knew very well that once his spiritual energy discovered his opponent, his opponent would also realize he was here.
He had to attack in the shortest possible timeframe, not giving the opponent any time to prepare.
“Time to begin.”
Linley’s gaze turned sharp.
Within that gloomy, secret room.
The Grand Warlock, shrouded in his black robe, was staring intently at eight crystal balls he had retrieved from his interspatial ring. Including the one in front of him, there were nine crystal balls in total. These nine crystal balls all held foggy energy within them along with that golden liquid.
The Grand Warlock stretched out his two empty hands, and the nine crystal balls instantly began to float in front of the Grand Warlock.
The golden liquid in eight of the crystal balls immediately flew out, flowing towards that most important, central crystal ball. The golden liquid was emitting that misty, foggy aura, causing the entire room to be filled with a large amount of mist. The mist was all the essence of many souls.
If an ordinary person was here, if he just took a deep breath, he would probably accidentally breathe in two or three soul essences.
The eight streams of golden liquid flew through the air. While making their way to the ninth crystal ball, they most likely released over a hundred soul essences as foggy mist. But the Grand Warlock didn’t care about losing this small amount of soul essence, because it was the golden liquid which mattered.
Finally, all the gold liquid coalesced within the ninth crystal ball.
“Haha…” The Grand Warlock let out a hoarse, unpleasant laugh. “Three days. In just three more days, these twenty million soul essences will form into yet another Gold Soul-Pearl.” The Grand Warlock was extremely delighted. How could he have encountered such a wonderful environment in the Gebados Planar Prison?
In the Gebados Planar Prison, his level of power could only be considered average.
Two Gold Soul-Pearls represented forty million souls!
In the past six years, through the three major trading unions and the nine silver-robed guardians, the Grand Warlock had gone all out to gather souls. Actually, it was still the three major trading unions that contributed the most. The three trading unions were deeply rooted in the Yulan continent, and they had people secretly situated in every single city.
After six years, including all the slaves they bought from slave traders, it wasn’t an impossible task for them to gather forty million souls.
“Refining is hard, and absorbing them is slow as well. Most likely, it will take several months before I’ll be able to finish absorbing this Gold Soul-Pearl.” The Grand Warlock let out a sigh, but his words held a hidden meaning within. A single Gold Soul-Pearl would not only allow him to heal his soul completely, it would also allow his soul to grow several times more powerful.
If he had to rely just on training, who knows how many tens of thousands of years it would take to accomplish this.
“Huh? Someone’s here!” The Grand Warlock’s glowing green eyes suddenly looked upwards. He could clearly sense a surge of spiritual energy suddenly sweep past him. “A Deity.”
“Not Muba.” From the spiritual energy, the Grand Warlock was immediately able to tell that this wasn’t someone he was familiar with. “Which Deity is it?” The Grand Warlock, while pondering, drew out a black sickle with his right hand while grabbing the crystal with twenty million souls, preparing to store it into his interspatial ring.
“What?!” The Grand Warlock’s face instantly changed, his eyes filled with shock.
Previously, within the crystal, there had been twenty million soul essences in the form of a golden liquid, but in the blink of an eye, the crystal suddenly became empty. The entire crystal ball was now so clear and pure!
“Where are the soul essences? Impossible, impossible!” The Grand Warlock felt this was simply too bizarre.
Although he had already finished refining one Gold Soul-Pearl, the soul essences that had suddenly disappeared had come from over twenty million souls he had spent countless amounts of time gathering and refining for several years. How could it be that in the blink of an eye, they all disappeared?
Before he was able to figure it out, he heard a humming sword song.
The humming sword song was quite pleasant to hear. Upon hearing it, the Grand Warlock felt very comfortable, but almost instantly, the Grand Warlock, so skilled in analyzing souls, instantly understood: “What a powerful soul-type attack.”
The Grand Warlock paid no further attention to the sudden disappearance of those twenty million souls. He had to face the opponent!
With the humming sword song, a devilish violet light suddenly descended. Wherever the violet light flashed by, space itself was ripped open…the violet light carried with it a terrifying aura, causing the Grand Warlock to feel stunned. Without hesitating at all, he immediately chose to retreat. “Who is it? Could it be the War God of the O’Brien Empire?”
Although this was what he was guessing, while retreating, the Grand Warlock began to emanate a wave of gray fog which poured towards Linley.