Time passed by. In the blink of an eye, Leylin had tarried beside the large black granite boulder for 5 days.
In those five days, Leylin tried every method he knew on the large black granite boulder. He finally found a few loopholes he could exploit.
Leylin already confirmed that the granite boulder had a spell formation set up within. But it was in a damaged state.
According to the wear and tear, this formation had already been in effect for over a hundred years.
The cause of this extensive damage might very well have had something to do with the huge Mankestre snake's escape earlier.
"Some portion of the magic spell formation has already been damaged by that snake. That's why there are detectable traces leaking out. Without those leaks, even with the A.I. Chip's assistance, finding this place would not have been easy."
Glee spread across Leylin's face.
Due to his experiments these past few days, he managed to assemble a set of spells that gave him a 70- 80% chance of opening the entrance to this experiment lab.
The cyclical timing inherent to this spell formation meant that the damaged parts only appeared at certain times. Leylin needed to wait for this window of opportunity.
The sun gradually set and the surrounding area became shrouded in darkness.
Owing to the death of the huge Mankestre snake, the withering woods would eventually recover its former vitality. Unfortunately, this would require at least a hundred years. Right now, there was only that deathly suffocating silence permeating the withering woods, which would insidously choke anyone who dared enter.
Leylin did not care a whit. Oblivious to the heavy atmosphere, he sought out a level rock and started brewing potions on it.
Moonlight fell. Very soon the woods was enveloped in a layer of silver sheen. The full moon today was exceptionally bright. Curiously, there was a tinge of saffron tinting the moon.
Leylin snapped open the pocket watch he brought with him, "It's almost midnight!"
He rose and sauntered to the side of the large black granite boulder. As moonlight from the full moon shone on the surface of the granite rock, its black stone skin suddenly came off and revealed a network of blood vessels coalescing into a silvery archway. They pulsated continuously as if absorbing the moonlight.
"This is it!" Leylin's eyes flashed. He quickly emptied the contents of the potions he just brewed onto the surface of the granite rock.
* Sssii! * A large amount of white mist rose and corroded the surface of the rock, leaving the network of blood vessels in chaos.
"Karamanda...." Leylin chanted the incantation softly. His voice sounded extremely depressed like the muttering of a jilted woman.
In time with the chanting noises, the silvery network of veins settled and continued to combine, then finally turned into a circular passage.
Seeing this, Leylin was elated. His chanting voice became more frenzied as he repeatedly tossed the few ingredients in his hands into the passageway.
* Bang! * Along with Leylin's final chant, the large black granite boulder completed its shape change. Close to Leylin, the silvery archway earlier disappeared. Instead, the entrance to a dark tunnel materialized.
"A fake passageway actually got conjured!" Leylin shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
At that instant, the eyes of the black raven perched on his shoulders, glinted with human intelligence.
"By harnessing some of this spell's effect, I should be able to use this raven to break into the experiment lab in a short timeframe. Everything it sees would then be relayed into my right eye like a holographic projection!"
As Leylin shut his right eye, the raven cocked its head lightly before giving a cry. Then, it directly flew into the dark tunnel.
Many scenes flashed past Leylin's closed right eye.
He felt like he was flying. The scenery below him were all relayed into his mind's eye.
The passage was extremely short. In moments, the raven reached the other end.
Leylin saw a small-sized villa appear in front of him. Its walls shimmered with spell light.
Green coloured vines crawled and filled the wall. On it were some sort of red-coloured flowers with what looked like bone petals.
"This is...." Astonishment surfaced from the depths of the raven's eyes, "Devil Vines? Bone Eating Flowers? I originally thought they were all extinct, but there are actually some in here!"
On the villa's entrance was a jagged circular hole the size of Leylin's palm. Leylin surmised that this could be the spot the Mankestre snake broke through during its escape--way back when it was but a youngling.
Near the hole, a white skeleton draped in black robes lay on a grey-coloured stone platform!
"According to the way the skeleton is positioned, it was obviously an acolyte like me who accidentally stumbled upon this place. He tried to break into the villa and perished in this sorry state!"
Leylin's steeled his heart. He telepathically maneuvered the raven to alight beside the bones and let the bird pluck on it with its black claws.
A crash resounded, a heap of items fell from the robes.
A book, several yellow parchment paper, a heap of bottles, and a yellow bronze ring tumbled onto the floor. A 'K' symbol was inscribed on it.
"Seems to be some kind of identity verification!" Leylin casually had the bird fiddle with the ring and peep at the book.
After using the raven's feathers to clear the dust, a row of esoteric patterns and cursive handwriting emerged.
"These characters...? They seemed to be in Ancient Terrestrial Elven language! I have seen these before in the library!"
Leylin was stunned. He immediately began to decrypt the words, "Terrestrials... Terrestrial Elves! Alchemist of the Terrestrial Elves, Torozar!"
"It is actually information pertaining to alchemy!"
Leylin was in ecstasy, "It was mentioned in the library's records that the Ancient Terrestrial Elves were renowned for their exquisite alchemy, as well as their enchanting capabilities! If I were to obtain these information, I may begin attempting some of the things recorded in the Lowian Academy Teachings...."
With the A.I. Chip's overpowered calculation abilities, the Lowian Academy Teachings, which Leylin bought earlier, was already completely decrypted. Part of data was about a method for synthesizing a magic artifact.
Of course, it was only a low-grade magic artifact. However, in Leylin's current state, this was a rather huge temptation.
He, alas, spent most of his time on Potioneering and Magic studies, so he had next to no inkling whatsoever concerning Alchemy and Enchantment. Moreover, such high level information was always kept under rigorous control. Regular acolytes did not have the clearance to access them.
Even if Leylin had a way to synthesize a magic artifact, it would still be extremely difficult.
Luckily, with the Alchemy information material here and the simulation capability of his A.I. Chip, Leylin completely believed that he would be able to synthesize this magic artifact once he became a level 3 acolyte.
"Bring this book out!" Leylin was already thinking of retreating.
To him, just knowing that within the granite walls was an abandoned experiment lab with degraded defenses made today's probe an extremely fruitful one. Obtaining advanced information on Alchemy was an unexpected bonus.
The raven grabbed the book with its claws with much effort. As it turned around, it lightly brushed the parchment paper. With a hissing sound, the ancient piece of paper disintegrated
Leylin was stunned, "Has it already eroded to this state?"
* Hehe! Haha! *
Just as Leylin's raven was about to fly off with the book, the surrounding area reverberated with a child's ominous laughter.
"The defence formation activated! Damn it, I only have two more minutes!"
The black raven flapped its wings, preparing to rise and fly away.
*Ka-cha! * The grey coloured platform split open, revealing a huge jaw serrated with razor sharp white teeth.
In one ferocious snap, the raven was torn to pieces.
* Pu! * On the surface of the giant black stone, Leylin crouched down and grabbed at his right eye with his hands.
A wave of searing pain hit him. It felt like someone was digging out his eyeball directly from its socket.
* Huff Huff Huff * panting heavily, Leylin slowly recovered a good while later.
The muscles of his handsome face contorted and red veins could be seen filling the white of his right eye. A blood vessel burst and drops of blood fell to the ground.
"Magic spell backlash!" Leylin sucked in a lungful of cold air and withdrew a red potion from his sack. He unplugged it and began drinking its contents.
Several moments later, Leylin stood up, feeling much better.
"Careless! I never thought that apart from the Devil Vines and Bone Eating Flower, there was even a Gnawing Slate."
Leylin looked at the original position of the tunnel entrance. The surface of the huge black granite boulder remained smooth. The entrance seen earlier seemed to be merely an illusion.
"Devil Vines, Bone Eating Flower, Gnawing Slate, and other mechanisms. I cannot infiltrate in this place right now, what a pity...."
Leylin deduced this from the spells he had in his possession and the ingredients he owned.
"I'm afraid that only after I advance into level 3 acolyte, will I be able to enter this experiment lab!"
Leylin concluded, "Anyway, I now known the true location and its access protocols. Moreover, I have visually confirmed the presence of precious informative material regarding Alchemy inside. So this venture was not a complete waste of effort!"
Right now, the experiment lab was too dangerous for Leylin. He was not someone who got easily dazzled by greed. He decided to leave exploring this place to a later date and returned to the villa to cultivate.
Leylin calmed down as he focused on resting and recuperating from the damage done to him by the spell earlier.
He then went towards the tent area where stowed his things. He then erased all traces and tracks left by his recent activities.
"This defence spell formation has lasted over a hundred years. There were almost no loopholes a random passerby could exploit. I only need to erase my tracks. Adding more defensive measures or illusory spells would be superfluous."
Having finished arranging everything, Leylin took a last glance at the black rock. Then, without the slightest bit of hesitation, he left.
"I have warned them before about the laboratory in the manor, so Anna and the others would not dare enter it. If I can return undetected to my laboratory, I can keep what happened here a secret."
"Concerning Extreme Night City, Jackson only suffered some superficial injuries. He should be mostly have recovered by now after following my treatment. He is most likely pretending to be seriously injured to lure any turncoat and renegade from their snake holes!"
"Whatever the case may be, matters regarding the city lord's castle are not my concern. I need not understand them. When I get the promised Hove Violet Leaves, I will immediately begin brewing the potions needed to breakthrough into level 3."
To Leylin, increasing his own power was all-consuming. Otherworldly influences and the sort were considered a waste of energy. Since he did not care about such things, he was also disinclined to paying attention to these matters.
But if anyone dared to entertain the idea of harming him, he would kill them!
As far as magicians were concerned, eradicating a few worldly powers or factions required almost no effort.
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