~ Chapter 49: Tears and death (Part 1) ~
The scent of burning flesh and bone was repulsive, but at the very least our Magic Armors were powerful enough to stop the toxins and fumes from entering our lungs. Nanya used that small crystal of hers to capture most of it, but we didn’t had time to wait for the pile to burn away. We placed the crystal on the ceiling and then moved to the steel doors in the back.
No magic enchant or spell could be felt around them. No trap connected the handles, but they were locked with a key. A single ‘gentle’ nudge was all it took to force them open.
With a silent and careful step, we went inside and tried our best to remain quiet and undetected.
“ACHOO!” someone sneezed.
“Bless you.” I told him.
“Thank you…” the man wearing a black robe next to me replied.
I looked at him for a moment, and he looked back at me.
I looked at his enchanted dagger and then at him.
“You were going to stab me with that, weren’t you?” I pointed.
“Uhuh.” he replied with a nod, and I punched him the face.
The man died instantly, having his head literally explode from the force of the impact.
“He wasn’t very bright.” I commented.
“Or stealthy.” noted Shanteya.
“Must have been the new guy.” said Nanya.
“The red shirt maybe?” I asked myself and then shrugged.
We tossed his body in the flaming pile of bodies. Shanteya took the lead to make sure no other ‘skilled assassin’ tried to kill us, but we didn’t encounter any of them.
This place was filled with all sort of black magic artifacts. Many of them pulsed with Magic Energy, while others had a strange pull. Nanya was irritated the moment she saw them. Black magic and Demons weren’t connected at all, the latter actually using Dark Magic, not Black Magic. It was similar, but completely different, after all, in Dark Magic, you used spells and passive skills granted by the Dark Gods, while in Black Magic, you rejected ALL the gods of this world, trying to work with Magic Energy against the laws of this world. Either way, it was clear that we weren’t in a place filled with cultists worshiping an undead warlock’s bunny.
The rooms here had been turned into dark, fiendish laboratories where various experiments took place. In one of them, we saw a bunch of dismembered zombies, in another, we found dissected imps and Minotaurs. The worse of them all was one that held cut up pieces of human bodies, however, we didn’t find a single living soul so far. The question was if these fiends actually had any souls at all left in their bodies.
It would have been something if they actually dissected dead human bodies in order to advance medical knowledge, but the inscriptions and frightening magic coming from various crystals and artifacts told me this wasn’t the case. The creepiest item there, however, was a fan made out of human skin and bones. It also had inscriptions drawn in monster blood on it. What it did wasn’t something I was eager to find out any time too soon.
“What sort of madmen are these people?” asked Ayuseya as she held tight on the hilt of her sword and walked close to us.
“Not the type that like rainbows and ponies, I can assure you of that.” I told her.
“Ponies? Are you talking about those useless, tiny, little horses?” asked Shanteya squinting her eyes.
“Yeah, but if you find a purple talking one with wings, a horn, and a tiara, let me know.” I smirked.
“I do not believe such a fiendish monster could exist.” said the el’doraw a bit worried.
“Yeah… fiendish… it will neigh us to death and cover us in giggles and cute sparkly magic.” I was trying to be sarcastic.
“That really sounds frightening…” said Nanya.
“You are demoness!” I complained.
“I don’t see your point.” she squinted her eyes at me.
“Let’s just drop this…” I sighed.
With each step we took in that horrible place, we felt as if these black mages weren’t afraid of doing anything morally wrong. It was more like they were actually testing those limits to see where exactly human immorality and depravity could take them. Either a madman or an unscrupulous monster could do those things. What else astonished me was the sheer amount of victims who fell in their fiendish grasp.
All of a sudden, the 23 slaves and the horde of zombies from before seemed to account only for a small portion of the dead. It was absolutely horrible. Back in my world, people were going bananas if only 20 or 100 people died, but here, that was an absolutely normal value for DAILY losses under peaceful conditions.
In the past, humans wished for safety and cures, God gave them through the evolution of medicine and technology, so that even those who didn’t believe in Him had them, but then people forgot about those countless wishes and now believe He is dead… just because He doesn’t make them rich over night or cures them miraculously because they don’t want to see a doctor… I thought as I remembered the funny relationship between God and mankind back on Earth.
These words made me wonder if the reason why I was called or rather sent into this world wasn’t actually to be able to raise the consciousness of these people. Bringing technology wasn’t the solution, however, making people change their mind about how they view it and strive to pursue further knowledge about the universe that surrounded them, that was something I could do.
All of a sudden, the purpose of my Academy changed from a simple idea, to a purpose with which I could help this world. Unfortunately, it increased in difficulty because with my thoughts and moral ideas, I would be practically challenging the reign of kings and tyrants, their religions, and the very world of magic.
Crud… I thought when I measured the immense difficulty of this goal in my mind.
Forget about one Supreme barging in and thrashing the place, now I had to be aware of all sort of mumbo jumbos! Politics, economy, religion, social relationships, inter-species relationships, commodities needed by each species and kingdom, relationship between magic and non-magic users, slavery, racism, xenophobic views, and a whole lot more things became a MUST NEED TO KNOW for me. Even the idea of placing my academy on a patch of land somewhere with the permission of a king became a bad thing. I had to place the academy outside the political reach of any kingdom, but make it accessible to all of them.
If I stay in a kingdom, I will need to play by their rules, but going outside would mean playing by my rules, however, for this I need to be stronger, literally untouchable by them… And… I need to learn more about my own species… Could young Dungeon Cores be thought like children? as I was pondering about these things, my brow was wrinkled and gaze focused on the ground, ignoring everything else around me.
My three women said something about some of the things they saw, but it didn’t register, I was too focus on this thing, on planning what to do about my academy. After all, everything just got whole lot harder. Technically speaking, I could go the simple and non-stressful way and simply ignore the entire ‘help this crappy world’ business, but that didn’t feel right. If I had the knowledge and power to do it, then why not? If the gods of this world didn’t want me to change anything here, then they would have killed me early on or simply removed these memories of a better life. Among all the sentient beings in this world, I was the only one who knew that there was something better than what they had.
“Sigh… this is going to be a nightmare…” I said and rubbed the back of my head.
“What is?” Nanya asked curiously.
“Building my own academy.” I replied calmly.
“It’s not that easy. Even Tuberculus had a tough time obtaining the privileges and land. If it wasn’t for the generosity of an old friend of his and that of the Shoraya king, then Fellyore would have remained a dream.” nodded the demoness.
“Building a school for multiple species is a wonderful dream, but not many agree to it…” said Ayuseya.
“Many are actively working against any communion with other species.” said Shanteya.
I was getting depressed now. Instead of having fun, it would appear that I would be faced with some rather annoying and hard to deal tasks. It made me shiver just thinking about what sort unforgivable requests the kings and nobles of other lands would have. Then again, I was sort of forgetting about how powerful I was when compared even to some of their best troops.
About ten minutes later, we finally reached the end of our path, but what we found there was absolutely sickening. Ten mages wearing hooded black robes were currently in the middle of some sort of ritual. The body of a slave child was on some sort of stone altar, but he was dead, having his organs carved out of him. Blood leaked down the altar and all around I could see the remains of bodies of all types of sentient species. On the floor was a pentagram drawn with black blood, countless tiny runes covered it and shined with a dark-red energy. The walls were written with inscriptions, black magic oozing from every thing in there, causing me to have a strange feeling in my guts as if something was slithering inside. It was disturbing and also repulsive.
These monsters have to die! I growled in my mind.
“Intruders!” screamed one of them when they saw us.
“Take them alive, we need this fresh blood for our next ritual.” said another one, but with a calm tone of voice.
“Yes, High Priest!” they replied and then looked back at us.
Without chanting, black globes of Magic Energy formed in their hands. I had no idea what that was, but I sensed it was dangerous. It sent a chill down my spine, but still… I was far stronger than these guys, so why would I ever fear any of their attacks?
“Don’t let that thing touch you! Some Black Magic spells go right through Magic Armor!” warned Nanya with a growl.
“Why do I have the feeling black magic is not on par with normal magic.” I said and dodged the first two blasts.
The dark orbs went through any object, but when they touched the flesh of a being, they exploded violently. That was what happened to some body parts behind me. Seeing that, I understood why I was feeling that strange chill. If their attacks could really pass through Magic Armor like Nanya warned, than those attacks were downright dangerous for any flesh and blood organism.
“What manner of magic is this?” asked Ayuseya surprised.
The men grinned seeing our surprised face.
“Emperor Rank Black magic.” growled Nanya as she launched herself towards the first one.
The man thought he was faster than her, but thanks to my boost, she reached him in the blink of an eye and then punched him in the guts. His Magic Armor shattered, and his body was sent into the ceiling, causing a large crack there. The man died instantly and fell on the ground, but just when she thought she had won, magic formed around his body and the man got up as a zombie. It happened so fast, she could hardly believe it, after all… zombies usually take days, maybe even weeks to form, but this guy turned the very moment his heart stopped beating.
“That can’t be right… Cells don’t die that fast!” I said.
“Feel the power of our Black Lord!” shouted the zombie as he sent bolts of black lightning at her.
“Tch!” Nanya clicked her tongue and jumped back, avoiding the attack at the last moment.
“[Fireball]!” shouted Ayuseya as she released an attack at the group.
Three of them jumped forward and extended their arms at her, swallowing the magic itself. In my eyes, this was simply an astounding feat! How could these men be so powerful when we were far beyond the level of a Supreme?
In that moment one of them rushed over and attacked with his daggers. I didn’t let him touch me. Sidestepping, I then used my whole strength to punch him in the back. His Magic Armor couldn’t handle the shock and shattered immediately, but my power was greater than that and the moment my fist touched his body, his flesh simply exploded from the sheer power behind it. My punch could create craters in the ground, so normally, a human’s body touched by it without the protection of a Magic Armor would simply burst.
Witnessing the sudden death of their friends, their attacks were all pointed at me. I dodged and Shanteya rushed to them. With her dagger, she stabbed the first in the heart, the next in the temple, and the last one in the back of his head. It was three second attack, in which she basically attacked the first one from the front, then turning around, she removed the blade from his chest and while turning stabbed it in the head of the second. Moving behind her second victim, she pulled the dagger out of his head and then, with a flowing attack, impaled it in the back of the head of the third. Thus, they were dead before any of them could do anything. Unfortunately, Shanteya couldn’t attack the others because they aimed a few of those black spheres at her, forcing her to retreat.
Normally, their Magic Armors should have shattered, however, the enchant I placed on her weapon allowed it to slip past most of it and reach the soft flesh behind it. Just as it happened to the first one, though, these guys woke up as zombies as well, but one slash of Ayuseya’s sword cut their heads in half, then the second one turned them into a pile of scrapped meat.
Only five remained, and we had no losses or heavy injuries on our side. Actually, they didn’t even scratch our Magic Armors.
“Blasted fools! Kill them!” shouted the High Priest as he began to channel his Magic Energy into a new spell.
All and all, these guys were pretty good, but judging from the impact with the one I just killed, they were probably somewhere between Superior Emperor Rank and Lower, maybe Mid Godlike Rank. Nonetheless, a party of Godlike Adventurers would have certainly suffered heavily at their hands. One or two deaths could be considered even acceptable, however, we weren’t a party of Godlike Adventurers.
“ARRGH!” one of them suddenly slashed his wrists and began to chant something.
“Stop him!” I pointed.
Shanteya immediately obeyed my command and moved towards him, her dagger was swift and her movements more agile than theirs. In the blink of an eye, she stood in front of him, and the dagger pierced the man’s heart, however, he didn’t died.
With a wide grin on his face, the man’s spell continued, and Shanteya jumped back. A powerful wave of Magic Energy surged from his body as he underwent some strange transformation. A tail appeared behind him; fur grew on his arms and face; long and sharp claws formed at the end of his enlarged fingers; sharp, black teeth sprouted from his jaws; his ears turned long and pointy, while a dark fire consumed his back; and once the process was over, a strange black fog surrounded him, eating away the surrounding Magic Energy.
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