Book 2, Chapter 55

The Bloodstained Lands

"Although I gave you the duel you wished for, you are still a necromancer…” Zendrall’s expression dimmed at Richard’s initial words, but what followed reignited his hope, “However, I can consider giving you a chance. After all, a level 12 great mage is worthy of respect. But know this: before I make my final decision, you are my captive. I hope that as a necromancer you remain as noble as any other mage. I’m taking a huge risk here, if you try to escape or attack…”

Zendrall didn’t care about the pain all over his body, straightening up as he spoke proudly, “In terms of magic, I am no worse than a great mage. Furthermore, my pride and dignity are even greater than those of mages who have been corrupted by mortal pleasures! I swear in the name of the Lich King, I shall do nothing unbefitting of my status in my captivity. However, I would like to ask why you wish to capture me. If you plan to offer me to any kingdom, then please execute me now. I am not willing to be nailed to a stake and burnt for display!”

Richard rummaged through some information from his memory, speaking calmly, “I suppose I will be heavily rewarded or blessed if I offered a level 12 necromancer to a king or a god.”

Zendrall remained silent for a moment, but then spoke up, “Indeed. At the very least, you can become a titled knight if you offer me to a king or a grand duke. The amount of divine grace you will earn for sacrificing me to a god will be great as well, enough to advance a priest to level 10.”

Richard nodded, but before he could say anything Flowsand chimed in from behind him, “Necromancers would also make a great sacrifice to the Eternal Dragon. Although there isn’t any church here, we can perform the sacrifice through the Book of Time.”

Richard’s gaze at Zendrall immediately changed with Flowsand’s words. The expression on the necromancer’s face clearly wasn’t great either. The cleric’s holy flames had caused such great damage to his undead that he feared her despite her lower level.

Looking over him a few times, Richard shook his head and sighed, “Although I’m reluctant to give up on such a blessing, there is no need to worry. I won’t be offering you to a god or king, for now at least. Our destination in this trip is the Bloodstained Lands, with only robbers, slavers, and barbarians. There is no king there, nor even a grand duke. However, even though the vow to the Lich King proves your sincerity, it is not enough. It is evident that our beliefs are completely different, you need to persuade me to believe in you.”

“Please wait a minute,” Zendrall said with a nod. He went back into the small, run down building, coming out shortly after with an exquisite box that he handed over to Richard.

"This is a magic box made out of a devil’s skull that I prepared for myself. If I can advance to level 16, I am prepared to turn myself into a lich when my life nears its end. This is my future phylactery, a priceless tool for a necromancer.”

Richard nodded, stowing the item away, “Welcome, Zendrall. We now have another member on our team for the journey to the Bloodstained Lands!”

While Zendrall spent time packing his items, Richard stood in front of the broodmother and fed it some magic crystals that it had asked for.

One would truly feel the creature’s formidable size when standing close. When the black shell filled one’s entire vision, they would feel a sense of oppression that made it seem like they were facing a black hole. Even with his connection to it, Richard felt the awe of its form was a little too strong.

He threw the crystals out one by one, and the broodmother devoured them instantly. It stopped after twenty pieces, laying down quietly for a few minutes. Then, there was a sudden crackling sound from within its shell as its conscience flared up once more.

“Master, I now have enough energy to advance to level 2. You need to choose another ability for me to strengthen, either for myself, or for the attack drones.

“There are three options if you wish to strengthen me— speed, defence, or the pace of creation of drones. As for the drones themselves, you can strengthen the raptors further or choose to add one of two new forms.”

Richard’s mind was immediately flooded with information on the two new attack drones. One was a blood-sucking creature that resembled a bat, a fast-moving flighted beast with great perception that could be used to scout ahead. Although these things weren’t strong in combat alone, a swarm of them would grow to be terrifying especially since they could develop toxicity in the future. A single egg from the broodmother could hatch one raptor, but if he wanted these then it could hatch six.

As for the second type of attack drones, they were wind wolves. These creatures looked exactly the same as ordinary wolves, except their claws were extraordinarily large. They were also quite fast, able to move quickly through complicated terrain. For offense, their characteristic ability to shoot wind blades made them special, the effects being the same as the magic spell. The recovery cycle was about the same as a human mage, and they could cast the spell thrice in a day. Overall, they were comparable to level 7 soldiers in terms of comprehensive combat ability.

With a sufficient number of wind wolves guarding it, the broodmother would not have been so badly harassed at the battle by the swamp. The range of the sharp wind blades would have been of great help in a group battle.

After repeated consideration, Richard decided to start off by increasing the broodmother’s agility. Although it was strong in combat, its slow movement had now become its achilles’ heel. He then set aside twenty more crystals for it to eat, allowing it to gain the ability to birth wind wolves.

The basic consideration behind everything had been survival. Wind wolves looked no different from normal demonic wolves, and be it humans, orcs, or barbarians, everyone had a tradition of domesticating them. It wouldn’t be odd for this team to have ten wolves alongside them.

Once Richard’s team set off on their journey once more, the broodmother had finished its transformation. Its carapace had grown openable at the chest, revealing translucent organs that had reduced in weight by a third. The tiny limbs molted off, replaced by new, thicker, and stronger ones. Once the mutation was complete, the broodmother could move at ten kilometres per hour. Even if this was still slow, it was twice of what it could manage before.

The broodmother’s mind grew stronger and clearer with this upgrade, and it contacted Richard once more, “Master, if you find statues or altars of ancestral worship, please bring them to me. I’m in dire need of divine power; if I get enough, I can both accelerate my progress and possibly form my second mind.”

“Second mind?” Richard asked.

“A new consciousness, able to think independently and assist in commanding the attack drones. It will greatly elevate my combat capabilities.”

“Ancestral worship…” Richard noted the request down, immediately thinking back to the statue of Neian back in Forza’s lands. However, the broodmother answered that it could not absorb the divine power of a true god yet, and that such a feat would only be possible after it reached level 7.

The team passed through mountains and forests, but three more wind wolves surrounded them every day. As they reached the borders, Richard decided to have his team speed on as he left the raptors with the broodmother for protection and hunting. The broodmother would slowly move through the area that was abundant with food and without any enemy, replenishing its energy as Richard found a base to set up in.

Ten days later, they finally made their way out into a vast, desolate world.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Mel

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA