Space seemed to freeze for a moment, but then it seemed like nothing had happened.
The black spider totems began began to dissipate slowly, and Anya’s voice sounded out, “You’ve grown old already”
*Bang!* The black imprints dissolved into light. There were fewer stalks on his back now, and milky white sap flowed out of his injuries.
When the old man raised his head once again, he seemed older; patches of grey had begun to appear on his skin.
“Has this body’s vitality been taxed to its limit?” The old man looked at the spots on his body,and couldn’t help but laugh bitterly his eyes dull and lifeless.
“Time…” the old man said with a long sigh that instantly swept away the rays of light. The cave turned dark once more.
Aaron had returned to his room.
The last rays of twilight revealed a mix of rotting wooden boards and moldy corners. This stinky room was the ‘luxury’ he was awarded sole residence in. This dilapidated room showed how much he was valued.
Yet, at this time, he could not bring himself to care about it. His mind was occupied with his earlier encounter.
Patrol. Detection spell formation. The youth with black eyes… Memories flitted across his mind.
‘I’ve definitely seen him before! But why can’t I remember where?’ he was trying hard to recall. Suddenly, he covered his face and started screaming, veins popping out at his temples. The pain caused him to black out. His screams permeated the room until he returned to his senses a few moments later, finding himself on the ground.
Hot sweat rolled down Aaron’s face as he gasped.
“Again and again! This disease from my adventure in the wastelands is wasting away my spiritual force…”
At that moment, as if unable to withstand his frustration, a piece of the floor rose up. A black gleam immediately caught Aaron’s attention.
“What… is this?” Curiosity piqued, he dug out the black object and placed it on his palm. It was a ring with ancient writings on it, one whose surface was coated in black. Aaron’s heart skipped a beat.
“A ring?” He twisted it around, “It’s still giving off faint energy waves, is it a magic artifact?”
Magical artifacts, regardless of size and grade, will save your life on the battlefield. As his thoughts turned towards that direction, Aaron couldn’t help breathing heavily.
All of a sudden, he felt a surging pain from his hand, a prick which caused him to shout and almost throw the ring to the ground.
“What’s this?” Aaron looked at his forefinger, stunned, as blood dripped onto the ring from the punctured skin. A small thorn could be seen on the edge of the black ring, which was what had hurt him just now.
*Xiu!* The blood drop was immediately absorbed like water on a sponge. The black ring flashed before turning grey. Simultaneously, the energy waves it was previously giving off vanished and the ring seemed to lose all power, now just an ordinary object.
“This… is it the ‘Binding Ceremony?’ in myths” Aaron scratched his head with uncertainty.
Although Aaron did not know much about magic artifacts, he was aware that some high-grade magic artifacts that were extremely rare required a ceremony to bind them to oneself. And the catalyst to begin these ceremonies… was blood!
“Hahaha! Kid, you’re right!” At this moment, a voice sounded in Aaron’s head.
“Who is it? Who’s there?” The sudden voice bewildered Aaron and he began to look around. He could see no one..
“I’m in the palm of your hand!” replied an aged voice.
“You are… the ring?” Aaron’s eyes suddenly widened.
“Mm! Kid, how about we make a deal?” the old man laughed heartily.
“No! I will not make any deals with you, nor will I sell my soul to you!” Aaron said firmly.
Magi were not reclusive people. Aaron had heard stories about ancient beings and exotic creatures that made deals with humans, toying with them and harvesting their spirits.
“Really? You don’t want to restore your aptitude anymore?” The old man’s laugh was sinister.
“Re… Restore my aptitude?” Aaron’s heartbeat quickened.
“I’ve grasped the mysteries of the soul. If your aptitude had been this low originally, it would have been difficult to increase it. But it’s still possible to reverse the effects of the damage to your soul…” the old man explained.
“Who are you exactly? Why would you help me?” Aaron asked, reigning his emotions in.
“I am the ancient legendary Magus, Merlin…… ‘s memory fragment!” the old man paused, causing Aaron to slip.
“Yes. My physical body has long since decayed, but this fragment has remained here, stuck in this ring…” The old man seemed to be reminiscing.
“As for why I’m helping you, I told you before. I want something in return!”
“What do you want?” Although Aaron was desperate for a cure to his problem, he was still alert and vigilant.
“Don’t worry, you’re someone destined for death. How much can I really ask of you? I’m not a devil that is here to collect your soul!”
Merlin chuckled, “I need you to gather my remaining fragments! And in return, not only will I cure your disease, I’ll even pass on a complete high-grade meditation technique to you and help you advance to become an official Magus…”
“High-grade meditation technique, an official Magus!” Aaron was delighted, but this was immediately followed by piercing agony. Originally, he had hopes of achieving all these, but now….
“Your remaining fragments? What do you mean?”
“I’d originally made many magic equipments into which I’d placed fragments of my spirit. I’d been expecting big misfortune, and prepared them to tide it over. You need to help me find the remaining fragments of my spirit…”
“Every artifact you find will be of great help to us!” Merlin reassured Aaron upon noticing his hesitation. “Besides, the current you is too weak to help me, so I’ll also help you increase your strength as much as possible!”
“What are you trying to do? Do you intend to resurrect yourself?” Aaron guessed.
“Hehe… The rules of Death aren’t something a trifling Magus like me can interfere with. I’m only a remnant filled with unfulfilled desires, and I’m unwilling to remain cooped up in a ring forever. I need your help to find my remaining fragments. Do this one thing for me, and we will be even. I swear on my own spirit!”
“You don’t need to swear, I will help you!” Aaron fiercely said.
“You’re right! What have you to gain from fooling a dead man like me? For that woman to abandon me for her own pleasure, I will not stand for it!” Aaron said with red eyes.
“Haha! Alright, even if I’m a mere fragment, I still possess a huge amount of knowledge. All you need is that to become Twilight Zone’s premier genius! Then, you can easily rise above the others once again!” Magus Merlin laughed heartily in Aaron’s head.
“Then, let’s summon the Trial’s Eye and sign a contract?” The fury on Aaron’s face disappeared, and he calmly stated this condition.
“Of course!” the old man said after a brief period of silence.
Aaron’s eyes flashed and he immediately summoned the Trial’s Eye hologram as a witness.
“Under the witness of the Trial’s Eye….”
In the room, the voices of two people swearing an oath could be heard.
On the other side, Leylin who was in the laboratory laughed, looked at his own body bound by Trial’s Eye and held a pitcher with the solution of a Nefarious Filthbird’s feathers.
That thing was sent on purpose by the ring.
Merlin was just a limited AI, but it could fool the inexperienced Aaron. Furthermore, at critical moments, Leylin could control him from afar.
All in all, this was just a counterfeit of a certain ring and grandfather.
“With what I’ve given you, how will you affect the wind and waves of Twilight Zone? I’m looking forward to it!” Leylin chuckled, and an intense light flashed in his eyes.
As a nervous atmosphere permeated Dolon City, all the commoners were evacuated. Within days, many darkness creatures surrounded it, and among them could be seen the faint silhouettes of people.
“Sir Leylin! Sir Fendix has invited you to the City Wall!” A middle aged man wearing golden armor respectfully informed Leylin.
This middle aged man was Duke Fendix, the commander of the army. The Fendix Family had consecrated numerous official Magi, many of whom were famous. Furthermore, this included two of Fendix’s own descendants.
But in front of Leylin, they were required to lower their heads like a commoner in the presence of a noble.
“Got it!” Leylin said as he slowly closed the big book in his hand and arrived at the City Wall.
Because this was the first attack, not only were there numerous soldiers and generals, but Magi were also present to watch.
“Sir Leylin!” Fendix greeted Leylin, floating in mid-air.
Leylin laughed as he flew up to join him. The two looked at a black line at the difference that was rushing at them like a tide.
“Magnificent, is it not?” The beginning stages of the war would be fought by cannon fodder. These creatures did not possess much strength, and Fendix’s expression did not even change.
“Magnificent indeed!” Leylin could not help but say lightly as he looked beyond the wall. There were hundreds of thousands of darkness creatures down below.
He had not expected so many darkness creatures to be here. And this number was only that of those in the area. The total number of darkness creatures in all the armies was definitely astronomical.
“Darkness creatures, human beings, and the other species; this land cannot support all of us. Thus, every once in a while, all these races go to war…..” a female rank 2 Magus said softly at the side.
“Among all the races, war and alliance both have occurred countless times since long ago……”
“This war will have no winners and losers. Only after all groups have used up nearly all their resources, supplies and soldiers, only then, can the war end…..”