The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 104: Encountering a Wolf Pack
After she applied a round of make-up, Regine had a more mature feel to her thanks to the knife scars she drew on her face. While they were faint, their proximity to her eyes made them especially conspicuous. Furthermore, they had a realness to them that made it seem like they truly belonged there on her face.
With her face disguised, she took out a bottle of eye drops and dripped it into her left eye. A second later, the black in her eyes began to shrink as if it was blind. With that, a perfectly beautiful girl was turned into a scarred one-eyed dragon...even the most astute of people wouldn’t be able to recognize her now…
Strangely, after all that, she decided to put on a silver mask that was similar to my own...I don’t even know what to say about you…
Now that that bit of prep work done, we finally set off on our journey.
Without a word, she hopped onto the driver’s seat and waited patiently for us to enter the carriage. After confirming that we had settled down, she sent the horses galloping with a whip of the reins.
As we sat idly in the speeding carriage, our conversation turned once more to the issue of safety.
Shadowfang wasn’t the most conspicuous of Epic-grade gear, however its sharpness was without a doubt at the level of an epic gear. The four pieces of low-grade defensive gear it sliced through could attest to that fact. (Author’s Note: The chainmails and gauntlets worn by the two brothers)
This was exactly what I feared. Therefore, in order to prevent any chances of it being recognized as an epic gear, I rummaged through the loot found by Ancarin for a replacement weapon.
Of the three high-grade gear kept by Duran, there was a dagger, a straight blade and a mage staff.
The dagger naturally went to the thief Regine, it had a weight reducing effect on her and boosted her speed. Not only did it boost her attributes, it also had a keen enchantment that boosted its own slicing power whenever one attacked, making it the perfect weapon for a thief or assassin.
The mage staff went to Ancarin, our resident mage (apprentice). It had a mana cost reduction effect, reduced the time it took to cast a spell and even had a magical barrier built into it.
That left the enchanted straight blade for me. It was an ornately decorated blade engraved with flaming red runes. Having never learnt to read runes, their meaning escaped me, but thankfully I had Ancarin here with me.
Her one year tutelage under Duran had not been in vain as she recognized the words in an instant. This blade had a fire enchantment on it which activated whenever the wielder channeled his mana (aura) into it. On top of that, a three-star fire spell was also engraved onto it.
This new blade was roughly similar to Shadowfang in appearance. However, where Shadowfang had a slight curve to its blade, this enchanted blade was complete straight. It’s blade was 130 cm long attached to a 33 cm (1 chi) long hilt which allowed it to be wielded in one hand or with two.
With that settled, I reached out for my new weapon. However, just as my hand came into contact with the blade, the previously silent grimoire stirred within my pocket; it probably wanted to be let out.
Come to think of it, didn’t it try to stop me from touching that enchanted ring as well…damn it…
I hastily tossed the blade aside and took out the Grimoire of the Dead. With both my hands wrapped around it, I whispered to the grimoire, not caring if this arrogant little book could understand me or not:
“Stop throwing a fit over this, this is the Western Human Realms not the Prison of the Dead. If some human discovers my treasures or identity, they’ll chase me to the ends of the world for that. Don’t get me into trouble for this.”
While I wasn’t sure if it understood me, I knew for a fact that it had a will of its own. From the way it helped me block an attack multiple times or the way it helped me carry Shadowfang, I could tell that it had a consciousness. If only it wouldn’t steal my food so often…
With that bit of friendly persuasion, the grimoire finally quietened down and went to back to reading Duran’s books. Or should I say, flipping through the books which it did at breakneck speeds. I barely had the time to read through a paragraph before it would flip to the next page. Sometimes I wondered, was it really able to read these books or was it merely fooling around.
Having gotten used to its strangeness, Ancarin went about her business as usual, wiping her new staff with a cloth while admiring it.
This staff had a bit of a story behind it. It not only belonged to Duran but was also his main weapon. During the day of the summoning, that trash was busy ‘having fun’ with Ancarin. As he was about to release his load, the reconnaissance array triggered, forcing him to end his fun prematurely. He immediately dispatched the brothers to the summoning room while he readied himself.
In the heat of the moment, he left his staff behind in the basement. As a three-star occultist, the most he could summon was a three-star devil. With the brothers protecting him, by most accounts he should’ve been able to handle anything that appeared, especially with all his scrolls and rings. Therefore he chose not to return for the staff. After all, with three of them, he should be safe right?
In the end, the staff was found by Ancarin and now belonged to her. While it was not much, it was at least some form of compensation for her.
While it couldn’t make up for the humiliation she had to endure, my stance was the same as always, as long as he was not dead, you could do as you please.
The enchanted straight blade and dagger were both bought from an auction house with each costing about 37,000 gold coins. According to Ancarin, this was slightly on the expensive side. Most high-grade enchanted gear would only cost 10,000-30,000 gold coins in a regular shop.
I secured the blade to my left so that I could draw it easily with my right. As for Shadowfang, it was secured to my back. The two blades combined were a drag to carry around but it wasn’t something I couldn’t get used to. Besides, it was a kind of training in of itself.
During the trip, we stuck to the side roads with less traffic in order to minimize any human contact. While it resulted in a lot of detours, it was a safer choice. Whenever we encountered strangers, we would say we were on a training journey and send them off. With it being a training journey and all, I’m sure they’ll understand our curtness.
Before returning to the Western Human Realms, I had dreamt day and night of this place. However, now that I’m actually here, I’m feeling slightly unsettled. That whole running away from home stunt was truly a thoughtless move on my part. Putting aside the other consequences for now, Nicole and Roscar...were probably desperately looking for me.
As an exceptional hunter with excellent tracking skills, Roscar should’ve been able to find my tracks. Unfortunately, I wasn’t alive long enough for him to find me...I wondered if he found my body in the end...would I see my own gravestone when I returned to Chaik Village?
Forget it, it had already been a year of waiting, a few more days wouldn’t hurt anyone. Safety was the most important thing right now.
With that, we continued taking the deserted roads on our trip to Azure. For the next three days, we did not encounter a single human. Instead, due to our proximity to the forest, we ended up getting waylaid by a pack of wolves.
That night, the three of us made camp in a clearing as usual. Due to the carriage being so cluttered, we had no choice but to pitch a tent outside. Having finished her meal first, Ancarin set about pitching the tents while Regine sat there with her mouth wide open, waiting for me to feed her as always.
Unfortunately for me, there was no way for me to reject her…
Halfway through the feeding, the woods echoed with the howls of a wolf. As the thief of our party, she was the most vigilant of us all. With a kick of her feet, she rolled behind a giant rock for cover, her dagger already drawn as she landed.
Ancarin on the other hand didn’t fare that well. The howls startled her timid self, causing her to lose her sense of bearing as she abandoned her half pitched tent and scampered to my side. With her staff tightly clenched to her body, she looked at with me puppy dog eyes as her gaze begged for protection.
The least you could do was wait until the wolves show up before getting scared...don’t you have that high-grade staff and aren’t you a one-star mage yourself...show some backbone girl.
Compared to her, Regine was a lot calmer. As she crouched behind her rock, she kept perfectly still while suppressing her breathing as much as possible. Turning back to Ancarin…..she’s started hyperventilating, her perky breasts that had been fondled multiple times by Duran, rose and fell rapidly with each breath...at least I think he did that.
With every passing second, her breasts rose and fell faster as she clung even tighter to me while shivering uncontrollably. Did she have some sort of coping issue?
With no sign of her calming down anytime soon, I dragged her behind another rock where she could hide. In the gentlest voice I could muster, I tried to soothe her frayed nerves with the usual placating phrases.
Whether it was the words or perhaps my previous show of might that calmed her, I would never know. Either way, she seemed to have taken some solace in my comforting, her heart which had probably jumped out of her body by now, finally returned to its place.
Soon, the sight of over ten wolves crept out from the darkness of the dense foliage. They didn’t reveal themselves out in the open. Instead they hid in the shadows of the trees, their bloodthirsty eyes were the only indication that they were there.
From time to time, they would rear their lupine heads to check in on us, however, they mostly maintained their distance; probably out of fear of the campfire. While it was clear that they were apprehensive about approaching us, they weren’t willing to leave us alone either.
As time passed, their numbers grew to over 50 wolves. Even so, this stalemate continued until a few minutes later; the wolves finally made the first move. They began to disperse themselves, forming a ring around our campsite.
The wolves began to split up into groups of three, closing in on us in an orderly fashion as if they were a platoon of trained soldiers. Was it their numbers that gave them the courage to approach us in spite of the fire?
These wolves weren’t magical beasts and were mostly zero-stars. Six of them were noticeably stronger looking than the others; these were probably the head wolves which should at least be at the level of a one-star.
Looks like this battle can’t be avoided.
Initially, I didn’t want to fight them. After all, I had just gone through a year of non-stop fighting and wasn’t in a hurry to resume that lifestyle. Besides, who knew what other dangers lurked in the consuming darkness of the forest. The last thing I wanted was for the smell of blood to attract other predators to our campsite.
Thus, whether it was out of exhaustion or safety I wanted to avoid this battle, which was why I had intended to use that campfire to deter these wolves. However, who would’ve thought that these wolves would be so adamant about feasting on us.
Hmph, these wolves don’t know who they’re messing with.
After three days of learning on the road, Ancarin was no longer the defenseless slave girl I met in the basement. Thanks to her extraordinary ability to learn, she managed to pick up a fire spell, perfect for roasting these wolves.
Under my direction, she plucked up the courage to begin chanting. As the monotonous chant resounded in the silent night, her staff began to emit an incandescent glow. Three seconds later, with her hands clasped firmly around the pulsating staff, she directed it at an approaching wolf squad and fired off a mini-fireball, 10cm wide.
The globe of fire careened towards the wolves at the speed of a bullet, leaving a fiery trail in its wake as if it was a tracer round. However, just as it was about to impact, the wolf sidestepped it perfectly as if it had predicted her attack all along. The fireball exploded on the ground, harmlessly dissipating into the air without even singing a strand of fur on their backs.
Impossible...aren’t these wild wolves? How were they smart enough to dodge bullets? If they could do so, did that mean that police dogs are actually special forces in disguise?!
Special thanks to Steve Granger!!