Chapter 44: Cemetery of Death
The Cemetery of Death was a legendary, sacred ground for necromancers, and the lofty hope that the band had held upon traveling to the Dark Forest. Han Shuo fully observed his surroundings, connecting it to Fanny’s previous descriptions. He could be certain that this was the legendary Cemetery of Death.
No wonder Han Shuo had vaguely felt something so familiar about this place earlier. This was because Han Shuo also practiced necromancy magic. The strong pulses of death magic in this area, including the smell given off by the illusioned white bones, were all things that Han Shuo were exceedingly familiar with.
He gazed all over his surroundings, taking everything in. Han Shuo frowned as he thought, everyone who has ever seen the Cemetery of Death has ended up dead. Now that I stand here, do I go in or not?
The Cemetery of Death was a place in which mighty necromancers studied necromancy, back when this magic was at its peak. All the necromancers had later died, and the Cemetery of Death had vanished without a trace.
However, since this Cemetery of Death had been a place of research for those necromancers, some secrets of necromancy must surely exist here. This was a huge temptation for a rookie like Han Shuo, someone who had just entered the halls of magic. This forced Han Shuo to seriously consider whether or not to take on this adventure.
After a while, Han Shuo walked towards the direction of the cemetery and set foot into the piles of stark white bones, a firm resolution evident on his face. When he’d taken a few steps forward and set foot into the inner parts of this area, the dark green, round ball hung high in the air suddenly landed back into the jade box, and the green light that bathed the surroundings vanished with a trace.
Han Shuo started as he looked around him, stunned. The outskirts, that his eyes had just passed over, had changed again. It had been restored to the sight that he had first seen when he had arrived. Only the surroundings areas around the cemetery to the ground underneath Han Shuo’s feet were the same scene of death and gloom.
Looking at the round ball in his hand, Han Shuo understood that this ball was a pivotal item to enter the Cemetery of Death. It seemed to be able to open the doors to the cemetery. The entire cemetery was shrouded by a concealing field. No one would be able to detect anything out of the ordinary if they looked in from the outside, nor would this place elicit anyone’s attention.
However, one would be able to reveal the true nature of the Cemetery of Death with this round ball and envelop the entire cemetery under a veil of silence and desolation.
The stark white bones creaked beneath his feet. The sound suddenly broke through the still and lonely air, giving Han Shuo the creeps. It was a good thing that he had just successfully broken through the “solid” realm, giving him some courage from who-knew-where. He actually walked headlong towards the Cemetery of Death without paying heed to anything else.
After a while, he finally stood in front of the cemetery. There was a circular moat in front of the door and inky-black water flowing in it. A bridge made of black lines and white bones hung in abject loneliness over the moat.
Without hesitating, Han Shuo’s hands tightened around the jade box, that held the ball and stepped slightly apprehensively onto the bone bridge, slowly walking towards the doors to the Cemetery of Death. The bridge swayed, throwing his body off balance. He didn’t know what was in the moat below, but a single glance was enough to raise his hair. He somehow felt that whatever was in the still, inky black waters of the moat was highly dangerous.
When Han Shuo walked onto the bridge, the round ball within the jade box started emitting the strange green light again. This seemed to be some miraculous medicine for motion sickness as the wobbly bridge stopped swaying as soon as the green light flashed out. The black lines that had once been large gaps in the bridge immediately solidly bridged the space between the bones.
Han Shuo finally made it to the door. There were skeletons of two enormous evil knights and their steeds in front of the two great, grey doors that were made of unknown material.
Evil knights were dark creatures that possessed extremely strong battle power. Necromancers who weren’t at archmage level shouldn’t even entertain the idea of of summoning evil knights. From the large skeletons of the two evil knights in front of the doors and the shape of their battle steeds, Han Shuo could vaguely tell that these two evil knights were the cream of the crop.
There were complicated and detailed magical patterns on the two grey doors. A round slot was present in the center, where the two doors intersected. The shape of that slot looked like a key that would open the doors.
At this moment, the dark green ball that Han Shuo clutched in his hands suddenly shot out a beam of green light, aiming straight for the round slot in the middle of the doors. Han Shuo’s thoughts raced as he immediately understood what was going on. He raised the jade box without hesitation and brought the ball closer to the slot, slowly inserting it.
In the entire process, Han Shuo took pains to ensure that his hand wouldn’t touch the round ball, because he understood that this ball was no simple object. He wasn’t sure if some undesired changes would occur if skin and flesh touched it, so he therefore avoided touching it with his bare hands as much as possible.
When the ball had been inserted into the slot, a roar sounded out as the doors abruptly opened with a creak. The slot automatically split open with the opening of the doors, and the round ball that had been inserted in it remained in the jade box with no changes.
Hazy gloom and dust from the inside drifted out, accompanying the opening of the doors, causing Han Shuo to cough a few times before calming himself down and observing what was inside.
There was a large hall within the Cemetery of Death and six rooms with closed doors around the hall. The entire hall was quite vast and the ceiling was extremely high. It was about the size of a basketball field, and there was a magical matrix in the shape of a large, six-pointed star in the center. It was about 80% to 90% similar to the one that Han Shuo had taken from the Academy to the city of Zajoski, and there were ancient, quaint magical pictures drawn in the center.
Apart from the six-pointed star matrix, the hall was bereft of anything else. There were only a few magical pillars that were supporting the building, and a few broken pieces of bone in the corner.
There was a thick scent of decay in the air and Han Shuo waited for a while at the door, only slowly walking in when he felt that the scent had slowly started dispersing through the open doors.
Apart from the six pointed star matrix, there was only the lofty ceiling within the hall, plus the six room doors that the matrix points were pointing at. He first looked throughout the hall and didn’t come up with anything valuable. Han Shuo then turned his attention to the six rooms with the closed doors.
One, two, three…
Han Shou was still empty handed after he having gone through all six room. From the shape of the six rooms, they were merely six warehouses with nothing inside them now.
He returned to the great hall and started recollecting what Fanny had said last time. Apart from the general outward appearance, Han Shuo gradually remembered that only a small portion of the Cemetery of Death was revealed above ground. Most of it was buried deep underground, and the true secret would surely lie in the depths of the cemetery.
Except, Han Shuo hadn’t seen any tunnels or stairs leading down after he’d gone through the great hall and six rooms. This greatly befuddled him and he sank into deep thought again.
After a while, Han Shuo still felt that the round ball within his hands was the key. He immediately stood up again and circled the hall again, including the six rooms in his inspection.
Finally, Han Shuo discovered another slot in the corner of one of the rooms. He was overjoyed and another set of rumbling sounded out when he inserted the round ball into the slot. A dark tunnel suddenly split open the walls of the room, and rows of six silver sticks, made from strange material that was neither stone or wood, were laid on the first step of the tunnel. There seemed to be connection points on both ends of each stick, as if the six sticks could be assembled.
There was only a thin piece of paper apart from the six sticks. On it, ancient magical symbols were used to write a few hastily scribbled words. Han Shuo took the thin sheet of paper.
When he’d carefully read the magical words, Han Shuo understood that these six sticks could form a diagram with a six-sided star and be used in direct transportation with the magical matrix in the hall. He also clearly understood that if one had insufficient mental strength, one would be unable to venture further into the depths.
Apart from that, Han Shuo was unable to obtain any other useful information from the thin sheet of paper.
Thinking briefly, Han Shuo put away the six magical sticks and creased his brow as he started walking down the tunnel. An invisible field suddenly appeared as green light rippled, abruptly bouncing him off. Han Shuo only felt that his mind hurt abnormally throughout the process, and internally reflected that the words on this thin sheet of paper were true. His mental strength must be too weak and was being prevented from descending any further into the depths of the building.
Cursing lowly, Han Shuo stayed in the room and connected the six magical sticks according to the instructions recorded on the paper and formed a six pointed star on the floor. He then stood in the center of this mini matrix, activated it with his mental strength, and Han Shuo appeared in the large matrix in the center of the hall with a flash of white light.
Repeating the same method, Han Shuo infused the transportation matrix in the hall with his mental strength and returned to the same room after activation, appearing within the small, six pointed matrix
His brow creasing in deep thought, Han Shuo understood that he would be unable to enter the tunnel and explore the Cemetery of Death for the time being. It was a good thing that he had gained the six magical sticks and the round ball that allowed him to conveniently come here no matter where he was. This filled his heart with glee as he’d already started thinking of this place as his secret base.
Since he would be temporarily unable to discover the secrets of this place, Han Shuo had no desire to continue to stay. After thinking for a while, he rolled up the six magical sticks and placed them on his back, put away the piece of paper into his pocket, and walked out of the Cemetery of Death in the same manner of holding the jade box.
When Han Shuo had safely walked out, he looked back and realized that the scene was the same as when he’d walked in. The growth of tall weeds, shrubs, and towering trees remained unchanged. His surroundings were still quietly desolate.
A small, satisfied smile appeared on his face. Han Shuo understood that this time’s outing to the Dark Forest had come to an end here.
He had stumbled upon the legendary Cemetery of Death by pure, dumb luck. The secrets of this cemetery also belonged to him and no one else, including the necromancy students and teachers.