Richard touched the burning wood to the maple amber, which instantly caught fire. One whiff of the smoke and he felt the world starting to spin, his vision turning black and white. The image of a large winged serpent started to appear on the altar.
He immediately stopped breathing in his shock, slowly spreading his mana throughout his body to eliminate the feeling of wrongness. He looked around to find his followers acting strangely as well, clearly trying to recover from the same problem. However, Flowsand and Io seemed to be completely fine.
Flowsand turned back to the scroll in her hands, “Now, present the hearts and blood of the betrayers.”
The troll shaman signalled to his men, and a few berserkers pulled the infected trolls to the altar. He plunged the bone dagger into their chests, digging out the hearts and tossing them into the basin. The flame from the maple amber grew more and more prominent, and by the time the tenth was tossed inside tongues of fire were charging out of the basin ten metres high. Richard noticed these hearts were a strange grey colour, not the normal red.
Every time one of the infected trolls had its heart dug out, the berserkers then threw the creature into the pit. The sharp spikes drew blood from all over the body that was routed along a channel at the bottom into a small hole that absorbed it all. All ten trolls were thus sacrificed to Zuka.
The temperature around the altar dropped greatly, the air freezing over. Richard saw the image of a gigantic serpent through the flames, an invisible will descending upon the shrine. The surge of power was immense, commanding fear and respect.
“Zuka!” Flowsand’s expression warped, her hands gripping tightly onto the Book of Time.
It was at that moment that the doors at the back suddenly opened. The phantom of a troll that was about ten metres tall entered the area, one hand on a spear as he roared in a deafening voice, “WHO IS IT? Who dares summon Zuka? Who has the guts to spoil my plans?!”
This troll was covered from head to toe in armour, a rare sight for his race. His spear was nearly three metres long, the tip terrifyingly jagged. He charged forward, actually slamming his weapon into the back of the image of Zuka. Purplish-black light flickered on the spear, the serpent crying out in pain; no matter how much it struggled, the image gradually grew more translucent. The power of the sacrifice was evidently being absorbed by the spear. The image quickly distorted, and the serpent eventually vanished with a cry.
The troll shaman suddenly charged up to the altar, howling like a lunatic, “WARLORD DRAHKZAN! YOU WERE THE ONE WHO BETRAYED THE MIGHTY ZUKA! YOU WERE THE ONE WHO DESTROYED THE MIGHTY TROLL EMPIRE!”
The phantom on the altar turned its massive head, eyes sweeping across the shrine as though he could not see Richard and the rest. “Who is it?” he shouted impatiently, “Which coward is hiding in the shadows? Come out and face me!”
As if in a trance, the shaman crawled onto the altar and pointed at the phantom that was several times taller than himself, “I am Shaman Janbilar. So you were the traitor, you are the evil spirit!”
“Traitor? No, I did no such thing.” The warlord answered in a surprisingly solemn tone, “I did this to save Zhubvar. The rivers had dried out one by one, my people were suffering. Every day, bodies were taken out of the city. And all this while, the Sacred Spirit that was supposed to be protecting us grew increasingly cruel. He couldn’t find any solution, but kept demanding more sacrifices. So many trolls gave up their hearts and blood, but that was not enough to satisfy his greed. He even wanted his own shamans sacrificed!
“This was no longer the Zuka of the past, misled by blood and power. It was then that I heard the summons of another voice. It came from a will more mighty than Zuka’s telling me of a way to exterminate him. So I gave up my life, and the lives of those loyal to me; all to deal Zuka a fatal blow. It finally rid Zhubvar of the shadow.”
This was a surprisingly solemn piece of history, written down with darkness and blood.
The shaman was stunned for a moment, but then he seemed to realise something. He pointed at the phantom of Drahkzan, “Warlord Drahkzan, you have been bewitched by evil spirits! The mighty Zuka would never abandon us! Look at yourself, you are now an undead spirit! Your actions led to the fall of Zhubvar!”
The warlord was stunned for a moment, trying his best to recall something. He suddenly cradled his head, muttering in pain, “Where… Where am I? What did I hear? Zhubvar is in ruins? Was I not going to attack the Ashen Plateau to chase those wretched dwarves out of their caves?
“Ah, right. I’m already dead. Why am I here? Wait, I see it! I SEE YOU!”
The phantom’s eyes turned red as he scanned through the shrine once more. Richard and his followers couldn’t help but shiver, as though a bucket of cold water had been poured over their heads.
The troll warlord grew extremely callous, “You are not from my time, why have you interrupted my sleep? Wait, your souls… You are not of our world! I think I understand now, you must be the plunderers and saviours Zuka spoke of. I will not allow it! I will not let you revive him!”
The warlord pointed at Richard’s party, slowly lifting the giant spear in his hands. His movements were very sluggish, as though he was raising something extremely heavy. When the spear was horizontal, a chill ran down Richard’s spine!
The warlord was someone from millennia in the past, and this was only a projection. However, he gave Richard a feeling of immense danger. This could not be ignored— his elven blood ensured that his instincts were very powerful.
Looking at the warlord lifting the spear, the shaman was still in a daze on the altar. “Quick, use the soul jar!” Richard shouted out, “Seal him! He’s an evil spirit!”
It was only then that the shaman came back to his senses. He nimbly flipped off the altar and grabbed the jar, eyes flashing with fanaticism as he shouted at the warlord, “Drahkzan! This is your retribution! Sleep for eternity in the sacred artefact, you traitor!”
“No! That will gave me incomparable strength. I’ll wipe you out easily! Suffer my fury, heathens who disturb my rest!” The spear had already been lifted completely.
“Soul attack!” Io suddenly shouted. The clerics and priests present all knew what to do. Mental fortitude spells and death guards flashed everywhere, every member of the party put under protection. However, none of them knew whether this would be enough to resist the terrifying attack of the warlord.
It was at this moment that the shaman buried the bone dagger into his chest, cutting into his heart. The blade quickly sucked up all his blood, the heart hanging on the end when it was removed. This moment was a display of the vitality of the troll race; even without his heart the shaman started chanting his spell, dark purple tendrils of smoke spewing out of his mouth and twining around the heart. He then placed the dagger in the soul jar and threw it towards the altar.
However, the warlord had already attacked! Hundreds of phantom lances flew out of the spear tip, hitting even the horses in the shrine. Some of the lances even flew out the walls, reaching every corner of Zhubvar. Miserable cries rang out everywhere as every life within the city was attacked without exception.
Many of the trolls quietly collapsed. Even the level 13 berserkers only managed to last for a few moments before falling to the ground. However, the phantom warlord suddenly widened his eyes.
Before him appeared a few unbelievable images. A radiant ball of light appeared over Io’s head, an amber eyeball revealing itself within. The vertical eye fixed onto the spirit lance, stopping it mid-air. Divine power twisted the lance apart, destroying it completely.
“A spirit reinforced by divine power!” Drahkzan exclaimed in shock, “A holy being?”
At that moment, a revolving hourglass suddenly appeared above Flowsand’s head. Pale gold grains of sand flew out from within, covering her body. The spirit lance was completely dispersed before it could even get close to her.
“CHOSEN!” the warlord’s eyes were as wide as saucers by this point. He suddenly turned around, bloodshot eyes fixating on Richard as he howled, “PLUNDERER, SHOW ME THE POWER OF ZUKA’S PROPHECY. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO AGAINST MY SPIRIT LANCE?”
The lance had already disappeared into Richard’s head. His eyes were tightly closed, entire body shaking slightly. A chilling pain that was difficult to endure spread through his soul, affecting all his followers as well. Every follower connected to him tried to strike back, but they had been attacked as well. They could do nothing to help him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA