Chapter 34: Subconscious changes
Han Shuo and the band of twelve walked south for a full eight days. They met increasingly fiercer magical creatures along the way.
Unicorned charging bulls, enormous lizards, magical wolves that could release wind blades, and flying eagles that could spew out frost. They were handled easily at first and increased in difficulty until the band barely handled them by the skin of their teeth. Everyone felt the increasing pressure.
Everyone started off eating the food that they had brought and started cooking the meat from the magical creatures when all their rations had been eaten.
The magical creatures were increasingly violent, but not all of the flesh was edible. The lizard, for instance, had a strange smell that accompanied its flesh that made it hard to swallow.
But the stronger the magical creature was, the more valuable their carcasses, particularly the ones that could cast simple magics. These creatures would have magical cores within their bodies. These cores were very precious and could be sold for varying high prices according to their level.
The band’s haul was uncommon as well. They had obtained four cores from magical creatures over the past couple of days, three from the Windblade Wolf and one from the Frost Eagle.
The cores from magical creatures were divided into six levels. Level 6 cores were the cheapest, while level 1 was the most expensive and basically hard to even catch a glimpse of. These magical cores could be used to create powerful magical weapons and increase a mage’s power. Some special ones could even be used to increase a mage’s mental strength, thus their prices were incredibly high.
The Windblade Wolf’s magical core was ranked at level 5, and could fetch twenty gold at the market, while the Frost Eagle was higher, at level 4, and its market price was 150 gold. Based purely on their haul of magical creature cores, the band had already turned a profit even after subtracting out the fifty golds needed for borrowing the battlesteeds.
Not to mention that apart from their cores, the bodies of these magical creatures were also worth some money. The fur of the Windblade Wolf and the unicorn horn of the charging bull were all valuable items. The value of these items added together had greatly exceeded Fanny and Gene’s original expectations.
“Everyone has improved after a few days of training, and you no longer panic when faced with magical creatures. This is the most important thing in actual battle. On top of that, our luck has been quite good. We have gained much from this time’s outing. We will allocate the profits out to everyone after we return to the Academy and sell these items.” Fanny was in a good mood and she wore a satisfied smile on her face when she spoke softly to the students.
Han Shuo had been coldly observing everything along the way. The unskilled students had gone from panicking when faced with magical creatures to handling them with indifference. Han Shuo had seen it all clearly.
Han Shuo’s five senses were much sharper than anyone else’s due to training his magical yuan. His early warnings had accomplished much in the later days, but no one could understand why Han Shuo had such perceptive senses. Fanny had even thoroughly checked Han Shuo’s body over the past few days, but had turned up empty handed each time.
Fanny was perplexed, but could think of no better way. She could only say that she would employ the school’s magical facilities to give Han Shuo a thorough once over after they’d returned to the Academy. After several days of early warnings and cooking mouthwatering meat, Han Shuo’s status had subconsciously risen a few grades in this time’s outing.
Other than Bach, Bella, and others who continued to be extremely unfriendly towards Han Shuo because of their continued “bad luck” in always getting a piece of disgusting food, the other students no longer ordered Han Shuo around. Some of the students, who were more particular about their food, had even tried becoming more friendly with Han Shuo in hopes of obtaining better food.
“Master Fanny, when can we reach that Cemetery of Death?” Lisa immediately asked after hearing Fanny’s words.
Fanny’s brow creased upon hearing this question and she became silent. She sighed gently after a while. “I’ve only heard that the Cemetery of Death was once discovered in the deep south of the Dark Forest, but I’m not too certain of its exact location. Our main purpose in traveling to the Dark Forest this time was to teach you the correct method of deploying necromancy magic when faced with danger. Based on our current results, you have all reached this standard.
I don’t know the exact whereabouts of the Cemetery of Death. You might have noticed by now that the magical creatures we are facing are becoming stronger and stronger. If it weren’t for the prewarnings that Bryan had been issuing the past couple of days, I think some people would have already gotten injured, but even so, we only made it through by the skin of our teeth when we met that Frost Eagle yesterday. I’m worried that some amongst us will not only be hurt, but some may even die if we continue further. Therefore, I think it’s time that we head back.”
The students were a bit dumbfounded by Fanny’s words, while Gene nodded and spoke, “Indeed. We’re just out here for training. The location of the Cemetery of Death is uncertain, and we don’t even know if it truly exists. It’s normal for us not to find it. Everyone had personally experienced the situation yesterday. If we continue south, I feel that everyone’s lives will be in danger. This time’s outing has already reaped rich rewards, so there is no need for taking further risks.”
The two teachers had thus spoken. A few of the more cowardly students thought back to the events of the past two days and all nodded their heads in agreement. “Alright, then let’s go back to the Academy. The dangers are becoming worse.”
“Bach, you coward. How else can rewards be gained if not through risk. If it weren’t for yesterday’s danger, how could we have gotten that Frost Eagle’s core? We should continue further south, perhaps we’d obtain even more valuable items. This way, the other majors won’t look down on our necromancy major when we go back to the Academy.” Lisa glared at Bach with a contemptuous look, and tilted her head back with sarcasm. She then cast a glance at Han Shuo, who was cooking meat on the side with an indifferent expression. “Bryan, wouldn’t you agree?”
Ordinarily, no one paid any attention to Han Shuo, but after his performance over the past couple of days, incredibly enough, the students all stared at Han Shuo after Lisa had spoken. Even Fanny and Gene were the same, as if Han Shuo’s decision was quite important.
Han Shuo was involuntarily speechless. He paused, and then smiled honestly. “Taking risks is a given. People haven’t been hurt yet. Why don’t we continue? Who knows, maybe we’ll gain even more rewards!
Fanny gazed at Han Shuo strangely, grew quiet for a moment, and then surprisingly nodded her head. “Alright, since this is the case, then let’s continue until someone is hurt. Once that happens, we’ll return on our original path.”
“Come, come everyone, it’s time to eat.” Han Shuo laughed lightly and called out. Fanny and Lisa then hurtled forward merrily, dropping their manners as they accepted the two largest pieces of meat that Han Shuo handed over.
In the deep of the night, the cool moonlight spilled over the Dark Forest. A few students were already fast asleep in a few crude tents, while some others struggled against their sleepiness and took up the grave task of standing guard.
Han Shuo slipped away soundlessly by himself, slowly moving away from the students’ tents and creeped through the shadows of the towering trees.
Han Shuo’s not terribly strong body could be seen through the cracks between the shadows of the the trees. He was as fast and agile as a cheetah, abruptly changing direction with ease as he wove through the trees. He had traveled far away from Fanny and co’s tents in the blink of an eye and continued south.
After a while, Han Shuo’s body suddenly stopped as he spread his two palms upwards and chanted the words to summon a skeletal warrior. “Souls of the fallen soldiers, heed the dark herald’s call and reveal your existence!”
A skinny, inky-black little skeleton wielding a bone dagger abruptly materialized as soon as the incantation was complete. The little skeleton’s body was even more dense and darker than before, completely becoming one with the color of the night. It was like an elf of the darkness.
The little skeleton continuously sprang off its feet to follow Han Shuo’s high speed dash, but its bones no longer creaked with sound. The seven bone spurs flapped on its back, allowing the little skeleton to speed through the air, like it was hang gliding, as it wove through the forest side by side with Han Shuo.
Two Windblade Wolves suddenly appeared in front of the man and skeleton duo. The two Windblade Wolves were devouring the carcass of a magical creature in the shape of a wild pig. One of them seemed to feel the disturbance in the air as its sharp ears suddenly stood up and its green eyes darted to and fro.
A bone dagger shimmering with a cold, sharp light materialized out of the night. The bone dagger carved a marvelous curve through the thin air and suddenly stabbed towards the wolf, that had been on high alert.
At the same time, a nimble figure suddenly rushed out from the trees of the Dark Forest and made for the other Windblade Wolf. A faint, purple light suddenly flashed in the darkened sky, appearing all the more beautiful and fey.
Two ghastly wails sounded out from the two Windblade Wolves. The bloodthirsty wolves had all been killed before they had a chance to react. One wolf’s skull was cleaved straight through with the bone dagger, and the other fell stiffly to the ground with frosty breaths coming out of its mouth.
“Heh heh, another two level five cores!” Han Shuo talked to himself in satisfaction as he withdrew his hand.
On the other side, the little skeleton had already started dressing the valuable Windblade Wolf skin with its bone dagger. Judging from its practiced movement, this wasn’t the first time that it had done so.