Chapter 349: The dignity of the little skeleton in the other dimension
Despite the complete absence of wind, twelve large banner fluttered vigorously in the wind. Baleful aura swirled around, flowing like mercury towards the pit in the middle. Inside the pit, the liquid boiled like fire oil, searing the three evil knights and their mounts and sending smoke billowing into the air.
Han Shuo closed his eyes as he sat, facing three evil knights. His mental strength flowed like an unstoppable river, holding the three evil knights true to their contract. As the mounts of the evil knights were weaker, they gradually lost the strength to continue struggling fruitlessly.
Three enormous bone spurs continued to madly thrust at Han Shuo. A millisecond of relaxation, and the evil knights would ruthlessly exploit the advantage to pierce right through Han Shyo’s head. Han Shuo was fully focused on his task, iron-willed to the end. Inextricable patterns of mental strength weaved into a formless net in the sky, grinding away at the mountain of resistance that was the will of the three evil knights.
The Cemetery of Death wasn’t touched by either the sun or moon, eternally shrouded in faint, dim light. Hence, one could never sense the passage of time. After an indeterminate amount of time, the three bone lances struggling to reach Han Shuo slowly lost their strength. Like the bodies of the evil knights, they listlessly fell back into the pit.
Han Shuo’s whole body looked like it had been carved from stone, not a single sign of life from his cross-legged position. The twelve banners still absorbed ghosts and radiated killing aura that converged on the pit. After what felt like a few days, the bodies of the three evil knights completely dissolved into the liquid, with not a trace left behind.
At long last, Han Shuo moved, a gasp of air escaping his lips as his eyes opened. His voice was haggard with exhaustion, “That was so damn tiring!”. It had only been three evil knights and their mounts, but the process of reforming their bodies had already caused Han Shuo this much trouble. It seemed that Han Shuo’s initial hypotheses were true. It was impossible to use demonic arts to reform every undead creature’s body.
For one, this kind of refining used overly complex and highly precious ingredients. If the countless skeleton warriors and zombie warriors under Han Shuo’s command were to all be refined, even his prodigious savings wouldn’t be enough to support it. Just refining these three evil knights already cost at least a hundred thousand gold. Refining every skeleton warrior and zombie warrior would drive him to bankruptcy and beyond. Even then, he still wouldn’t be done!
Also, refining undead creatures in this manner took too much of his time and energy, with very little benefits to such an enormous undertaking. After all, skeleton warriors and zombie warriors were essentially cannon fodder. Even he rendered them immune to light magic’s corrosive effect, their usage was limited. As such, Han Shuo wasn’t willing to waste mountains of gold on them.
Evil knights were currently the strongest undead creatures that Han Shuo could summon. Even within undead creatures, they were considered high level. They had great utility and flexibility once their fire-breathing steeds could take the field with them. Their monstrous innate strength could be combined with hardy armor to produce a combatant that was tougher than a human knight. Han Shuo had already had to use all of his mental strength to suppress the fierce resistance of three evil knights and their warhorses. While Han Shuo could summon bone demons and old fey zombies, he definitely couldn’t refine three of them at one go. This was because the resistance from the Bone Devils and Old Corpse Demons would definitely be stronger.
Standing up from his cross-legged position, Han Shuo summoned the twelve demon heads from the banners with a thought. Howling, they reluctantly returned into Han Shuo’s body. Since the bodies of the three evil knights were already merged into the pit, Han Shuo didn’t need to suppress the matrix with his magical yuan any longer .
The twelve demon heads had formed when Han Shuo had reached the separate demon stage, using the large baleful aura within the Valley of Sunshine as a catalyst. These twelve demon heads innately contained vicious killing intent, every demon head formed from the last vicious obsession of many hateful souls. It was the best ingredient to refine the “mystical demons” that were one level above the “yin demons”.
Of the three previously refined yin demons, there was currently only usable one left. Han Shuo was convinced that one yin demon was far from adequate to maintain his battlefield advantage. When he’d advanced to the separate demon realm back at the Valley of Sunshine, Han Shuo had deliberately saved the boundless murderous aura, coagulating it into the twelve demon heads. When the ingredients needed to refine mystical demons were gathered, the twelve demon heads would be used as the base ingredient for the mystical demons.
After making sure the area would operate without supervision, Han Shuo headed for the specialized area for refining ‘original demons” and “yin demons”. He first summoned the earth elite zombie, commanding it to modify the layout of the yin demon cave, molding it into a cave suitable for cultivation “mystical demons”. When the modifications were complete, Han Shuo took out the ingredients he needed, and placed them in the centers of the formation eyes around the cave.
Once he had completed all the preparations, Han Shuo dismissed the earth elite zombie and placed twelve drops of his own essence blood into the mystical demon cave. The blood essence began to revolve in mid air within the mystical demon cave. The twelve demon heads emerged from Han Shuo’s body at his command, each swallowing a drop of blood essence. As if at some unknown signal, the cave’s enormous energy began to activate. Han Shuo then summoned a few hundred wraiths and tossed in a few spirits from the Demonslayer Edge to act as fodder for the mystical demon’s evolution.
Han Shuo then dug deep into his magical yuan reserves, pouring the remnants into the mystical demon cave to maintain its normal operations. When the twelve demon heads began to howl and rip at the wraiths and spirits in the matrix, the exhausted Han Shuo returned to the center of the Cemetery of Death.
The two matrices had now resumed normal operations. Han Shuo had not only expended a large amount of mental strength, but also used significant amounts of magical yuan and blood essence. This was even more exhausting than when he’d fought against Kosse at Brettel City. At that time, he had the little skeleton, the earth elite zombie, and the fire elite zombie assisting him. But something like this refining process was something only he could handle. As a result, he was bone deep exhausted.
Sitting on the ground in the Cemetery of Death, Han Shuo pondered for a moment and took out the skeletal staff, meticulously examining the tri-colored skeletal staff. He wanted to make use of this interlude to examine the secrets of the skeletal staff.
Calamity Church’s necromancer archmage Wolf as well as Ancient Lizard King Dagassi had seemed to know traces of the skeletal staff’s origin. This skeletal staff, which had transformed from the Eye of Darkness, was the key to opening the Cemetery of Death. It definitely held many hidden secrets.
Han Shuo hadn’t possessed the skeletal staff for a long time. His understanding of the skeletal staff only went as far as seeing that it enhanced his necromancy magic. If not for the necromancer archmage Wolf using the skeletal staff’s power to rejuvenate his life, Han Shuo would perhaps never have guessed that the skeletal staff could have such an effect.
“Skeleton staff, oh skeletal staff. How many secrets are you hiding!” Han Shuo mumbled to himself as he stroked the three colored skulls.
The exhausted Han Shuo fell unconscious. He semi-consciously felt like he’d been shrouded by the thi-colored light from the skeletal staff, spinning him around. Colorful lights streamed quickly past his body. It felt like he was falling from a great height into an endless abyss.
Just when Han Shuo felt nauseous from the dizzy feeling, he suddenly sensed a familiar smell intrude on his consciousness. This smell seemed to come from an area of the abyss he’d fallen into. Han Shuo’s groggy consciousness latched firmly onto the familiar smell, gradually sinking back into unconsciousness.
There was an infinite black void in the distance. The surroundings seemed to have been forever shrouded in torpid grey, and grey and black cloud constantly rolled over the horizon. The whole area was filed with the smell of death, desolation and wilderness.
Swamps and tree husks that were void of branches and leaves dotted the landscape closer to him. A variety of undead creatures stumbled across the wilderness, aimlessly wandering in the desolate space.
There was no cycle of day and night in this desolate place, nor any sense of time. There was only loneliness and despair, deathly stillness and desolation.
For a moment, Han Shuo thought he was still within the Cemetery of Death. It was too similar to the Cemetery of Death’s everlasting dusk. But when a pack of gargoyles soared over his head, followed by a horde of skeletons and zombies on the ground, Han Shuo was suddenly struck by the very real fact it wasn’t indeed the Cemetery of Death.
He clearly remembered that he hadn’t summoned these low level undead creatures in the Cemetery of Death. Han Shuo suddenly felt like he was in a dream. Only when he followed this line of thought to its end did he realise he didn’t have a body, existing as just pure awareness. However, as soon as Han Shuo thought about his body, his exhausted mental strength slowly filled the area of his consciousness. A identical copy of his body rapidly coalesced into being.
His left hand touched his right, both hands obviously making contact. However, Han Shuo didn’t feel any contact between his skin; everything felt so strange. But he felt a sense of intimacy towards the surroundings. As for what felt intimate, he couldn’t quite place his finger on it.
The dense horde of undead creatures suddenly charged down from a bare mountain. These undead creatures were arranged neatly in order. Right at the front were skeleton warriors and zombie warriors, behind them were skeleton archers and rows of gargoyles. Even further back were two evil knights.
These undead creatures actually numbered three or four thousand. However, the majority of them were skeleton warriors, zombie warriors and ghouls, only a small portion were hate warriors and evil knights. Charging down from the towering mountain, they flocked towards a steep canyon.
Han Shuo’s body and consciousness slowly floated into the canyon. Only when he reached the canyon did Han Shuo realise that the interior of the canyon was similarly flooded with undead creatures. Right down the center of the canyon was a pitched melee of undead creatures. Claws and teeth were used to their fullest potential as they wrestled and tore at each other, incapable of feeling pain and knowing retreat. It was a magnificent yet chilling scene.
When weak undead creatures such as skeleton warriors and zombie were completely destroyed, those low level souls would immediately disperse. But from hate warriors onwards, their souls wouldn’t immediately disperse upon elimination. The undead creatures around them would fight to claim a part of that soul power, devouring it to strengthen themselves.
From the middle of the struggle rose a five meter tall, enormous mummy lord. Wrapped in strips of corroded white cloth which exuded a deathly aura, he slowly rose from deep within the ground of the canyon. This mummy lord seemed to be the leader of the undead creatures within the canyon. When he rose up from deep within the ground, his whole body unleashed an incomparable storm of death.
When the undead creatures charging down from the mountain came into contact with the death storm, they immediately turned into ashes. The strips of cloth around his body danced like weapons, cutting apart any hostile creature unfortunate enough to be caught in its path. Only an evil knight that descended was able to block the attack with his bone spear, driving his fire-breathing warhorse to retreat to the side.
In the hierarchy of undead creatures, mummy lords ranked higher than evil knights. As such, in skirmishes between undead creatures, a difference in level usually meant a foregone conclusion. Unless there were ten evil knights attacking the mummy lord, this battle had no suspense in its outcome.
End of part one of the chapter.
When the mummy lord emerged from the ground, the surrounding undead creatures that had charged down from the bald mountain were ground to dust by the death storm. More than seven hundred undead creatures turned into ashes in moments.
“The being who’s holing up on high ground, accept this challenge from the mummy lord Pharaoh! That mountain is not a height that can be held by someone as weak as you, so hand over the territory to me!” Mummy lord Pharaoh roared at the towering mountain as a large amount of mental strength swept through the whole area.
“My Lord Majesty, how can you tolerate the transgressions of that lowly mummy?” The evil knight that’d retreated on his fire-breathing warhorse hissed sternly.
The sounds of rocks shifting suddenly sounded from around the canyon. The incomparably familiar wood and fire elite zombie separately rode out on fire-breathing warhorses, dashing in from both sides of the valley.
An enormous shadow dived down from the tops of the mountain, the incredible undead porcupine full of bone spurs. The little skeleton was wielding a bone dagger that had transformed into a spear three meters long. The seven bone spurs stood upright from his spine. His grand aura covered the scene as he landed.
“Humble mummy lord, my territory is not a place where you can just casually trespass. Now, not only do I desire your soul’s dissipation, but from today forth, the north side of the mummy lord’s territory is also under my control.” The little skeleton’s thoughts exploded out like a raging flood, completely disproportionate to its tiny figure high in the sky.
“My Lord Majesty, you must unite and rule the darkness.” The evil knight that’d previously spoken dismounted, going down on one knee in front of the gallant figure of the little skeleton flying high above the battlefield. His face was filled with solemn worship.
This was the first time the mummy lord Pharaoh had set eyes on the rumoured superb mutated skeleton. The aura exploding from the little skeleton’s figure instantly terrified Pharaoh. There was also the flaming fire elite zombie, seemingly tossing two fireballs from hand to hand while sitting on the back of the warhorse. The scorchingly high temperature caused the cold loving mummy lord Pharaoh to feel extremely uncomfortable.
Pharaoh suddenly felt like he’d fallen for a trap this time. He’d survived in this world for an extremely long time now, he wasn’t like the typical trudging undead creatures around. He’d long since gained true intelligence.
That bad feeling he had solidified his decision to leave, and he attempted to return underground. However, the previously soft earth had suddenly become as hard as diamonds. Just as the mummy lord Pharaoh started to panic, the simple-minded earth elite zombie slowly emerged from the earth. Grinning at Pharaoh, it naively said, “You can’t escape, right?”
The previously awe-inspiring mummy lord Pharaoh suddenly realised all his escape paths had been cut off. He howled furiously, “Despicable being, you are too sinister!”
The little skeleton didn’t respond. The undead creature beneath him suddenly dove at Pharaoh. The little skeleton lifted the three meter long bone spear, the baleful aura in the surroundings surging into the bone spear. The bone spear absorbed a large amount of deathly aura, becoming as heavy as a mountain. As it pierced towards Pharaoh, the mummy lord threw back his head in a roar of defiance.
The strips of cloth on Pharaoh’s body danced as it crushed everyone within its range. But when the little skeleton’s bone spear descended, it tore straight through the strips wrapped around his body, piercing through to his chest in one strike, pinning him to the ground.
“Submit, or die!” The little skeleton coldy shouted as his huge aura fiercely bombarded every inch of the mummy lord pinned by the bone spear.
Unable to struggle loose, Pharaoh yielded to the little skeleton’s viciousness after a mournful howl. He docilely bent his head to the little skeleton and said, “I, mummy lord Pharaoh, submit to My Lord.”
The little skeleton wasn’t in a hurry to remove the bone spear from the mummy lord’s body. He drew a contract mark in the dusky air with his free left hand, making the mummy lord hand over some of his soul to brand the contract. Only then did he remove the bone spear without concern for the mummy lord’s pain, turning around and saying, “Return to the mountain!”
The mummy lord didn’t have any chance to resist now that the one-sided master and servant contract was formed. He struggled to his feet, lumbering off with slow steps behind the earth and wood elite zombies, his goal clearly the towering mountain.
Han Shuo had seen everything clearly and was filled with surprise. He finally knew where he was at this time. This was the other dimension in which the undead creatures lived.
Han Shuo never would have imagined that the little skeleton and earth zombie would actually have an enormous troop in the other dimension. It even looked like they were getting on rather well. No wonder the earth elite zombie had asked to return last time if there wasn’t anything for him. Looking at this battle, it seemed that the little skeleton had brought along the earth, wood and fire elite zombies, and was conducting a mighty invasion in the other dimension.
A high level undead creature like the mummy lord could only be summoned by a necromancer archmage, similar to the bone demons. Yet the little skeleton had handled the mummy lord with a single strike. This fully proved that the little skeleton’s level was higher than the mummy lord. This was something that Han Shuo never would have thought of.
When the mummy lord was subdued by the little skeleton, Han Shuo suddenly panicked. He suddenly remembered that he didn’t know how to return to the Profound Continent. There weren’t any people or things that Han Shuo was familiar with in this eternally desolate and still space.
If he could only remain in this foreign netherworld in his consciousness, it would be complete torture to Han Shuo. At present, even his body was formed by his consciousness, so not only could Han Shuo not control anything, he couldn’t cast any magic either. This was an extremely unfavourable situation for Han Shuo.
Looking at the little skeleton fly towards the towering bald mountain, Han Shuo repeatedly screamed mentally in an attempt to contact the little skeleton. In the midst of that, a sharp pain suddenly spread across Han Shuo’s whole body. This kind of agony was unbearable even to Han Shuo’s tough nerves. As a result, his consciousness gradually dissipated.
The little skeleton, who was travelling towards the towering mountain with the elite zombies, suddenly paused, looking towards the area where Han Shuo’s consciousness vanished. He suddenly turned the flying undead creature and flew towards the area where Han Shuo’s consciousness had just been. The purple demon eye sparkled, filled with uncertainty.
The earth, wood and fire elite zombies all spurred their fire-breathing warhorses to pass through the ranks of the undead army to stand next to the little skeleton. The earth elite zombie asked innocently, “What’s wrong?”
“Father was here.” The little skeleton, who only had two holes for a nose, moved with a crunching noise and responded to the three special undead creatures.
“How can Father be here, this is our world!” The earth zombie looked naively at the little skeleton, trying to understand.
“I don’t know, but I just felt the connection between Father and myself. He was just here!” The little skeleton swung the three meter bone lance in his hand, the tip of the bone lance stopping at the area where Han Shuo’s consciousness previously stayed, saying, “Right here, if you sniff carefully, you can still smell Father’s scent.”
With this sentence from the little skeleton, the three undead creatures all drew close to the area. Among them, the wood and fire elite zombie shook their heads, having yet to fully develop their own consciousness. They currently could only rely on the little skeleton to think. Only the earth zombie deeply breathed in a few breaths of air, as if really smelling Han Shuo’s scent. It replied while shaking its head, “Yes. Father has truly been here!”
“Let’s return to the mountain, Father has already left. We still need to take over Pharaoh’s territories later.” said the little skeleton, and then spurred the undead creature into the sky, howling as he made his way to the towering mountain.
Han Shuo shot to his feet as if his head had been struck by lightning. When he landed on the ground, he was covered in a cold sweat, his heart still palpitating with fear.
The skeletal staff that was in his hand fell to the ground at this moment. It rattled as it bounced on the smooth hard ground of the Cemetery of Death. There weren’t any changes to the skeletal staff that was now quietly lying on the ground. However, Han Shuo knew that the skeletal staff had just brought him to another place.
Travelling to the desolate and still dimension had given Han Shuo a scare. What Han Shuo was afraid of wasn’t the existence of and war in the other dimension. Instead, he was scared that he couldn’t return to the Profound Continent. He had existed only as a consciousness in that paradise for necromancy, but his body had remained on the Profound Continent.
The effect on a necromancer like Han Shuo was obvious, he was unable to use much of his power there. If he was stuck eternally in that area, facing desolate and deathly undead creatures for the rest of his life would be akin to torture to Han Shuo.
Being used to the riotous colors of this world, Han Shuo couldn’t easily adapt to the monochromatic other dimension. Besides, this world still had Han Shuo’s close friends, who were made of flesh and blood like Han Shuo, unlike the creatures in the other dimension.
“That was close, this skeletal staff is really odd, luckily it finally sent me back. If not, my life would have been destroyed.” Han Shuo spoke to himself for a while. Only then did he look at the skeletal staff again. His mind was thinking furiously as to how he had passed through the various layered planes, with his consciousness landing in that space.
Unfortunately, even after pondering for a long while, Han Shuo still didn’t know how he’d done so. Shaking his head, Han Shuo didn’t carry on thinking about this question. He instead recalled the little skeleton’s amazing performance in that space. Han Shuo wanted to immediately use the skeletal staff to summon the little skeleton over, but had a lingering fear of the skeletal staff’s previous changes. He temporarily gave up on the thought of immediately summoning the little skeleton.
“Who knew the little skeleton was actually so well established. He looks even more awesome than me in the Profound Continent! When did this fellow become so formidable, eh?” Han Shuo couldn’t resist sighing. When he remembered the scene where the little skeleton had landed, and the looks of fear from a few of the low level creatures, he finally understood what was going on.