The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 167: The Door of the Dead (draft)
Even though the medusas were technically rated higher than the lizardmen in terms of combat strength, the end result was that they weren’t even able to apprehend a bunch of stick throwing rats… ‘everything in this world had its own Achilles’ heel I guess’.
“Well what are you all waiting for, ATTACK!” With a wave of my hand, I ordered the remaining 1500 lizardmen to join in the full-scale assault. Having had a few days of worth of pent up rage in her, Manasha was raring to go, which she did so with a furious charge. Behind her, Majosha and her husband, Harlow, exchanged a couple of helpless glances before chasing after her.
However, by the time they reached the battlefield, they found that there was basically nothing left for them to do thanks to Weslin’s splendid performance.
“Numila, watch over these three exits and make sure none of the Abaddon Rodents escape.”
“Don’t worry dearest, this harpy definitely won’t allow any ratmen to escape.”
“If there are too many of them escaping, don’t push yourself too hard either, just do your best.” Due to the lack of progress assaulting this cave, it truly felt like I had a fishbone stuck in my thraot these past few days. Now that we finally found a solution to that problem, it was only to be expected that I would go all-out.
Having finally some form of catharsis for my sullen mood, I said: “Don’t push yourselves too hard, it’s fine if some ratmen escape. Without their nest, it’s only a matter of time before we round them all up anyway.”
“Alright, this harpy will listen to you.”
“Then I’m off.”
“Be careful, dearest.” Numila lovingly planted a wet one on my cheeks.
Slightly moved and slightly exasperated at the same time, I gave her a smile before giving her a peck on her featherless forehead. “Wait for my return.”
“Mhm.” The Numila standing before me right now seemed more like a docile lamb than anything else, gone was the arrogance she showed during my initial encounter.
Truth be told, I had a bad feeling about this nest. Even with our recent successes, I couldn’t help but worry that the nest was hiding something else as well. After all, Violet Snow had been bullying these rats for some time now but they had never once shown any ability to craft spears.
So why did they suddenly possess a long range attack the moment we tried to attack them?
That contrast was kind of like if you attacked what was supposed to be a bunch of cavemen from the stone age but found out that they actually had bronze weapons and wooden armor…‘these rats were supposed to be in the stone age so how did they suddenly advance to the bronze age? That makes no sense!’
I had some of the hellhounds sniff the bone spears just to be sure. Based on what they sniffed out, it definitely was the unique scent of the ratman lingering on those spears.
‘Curious.’ That was one of the reasons why I insisted on waiting for the reinforcements to arrive.
As we navigated through the tunnels, we found countless ratman corpses scattered throughout. Just based on a quick count, there had to have been at least 500 corpses along the path we just walked.
With Weslin acting as our vanguard and clearing the path ahead of us, there was nothing to worry about as we proceeded forward. As long as we continued following the trail of corpses, it would only be a matter of time before we caught up with Weslin.
I had to admit though, the resistance these rodents were putting up was a lot fiercer than I had predicted. Normally, these ratmen were cowardly and avoided death like the plague, yet now these rats were actually engaged in a bitter fight to the death with us. Without any regard for their injuries or lives, they threw themselves at the lizardmen in a frenzied counterattack.
Thankfully, the lizardmen had their sturdy scales to protect them from the ratmen’s attacks. However, the razor sharp teeth of these rodents wasn’t something to be underestimated. Even with their scales, a particularly vicious bite could as just as well reap the life out of their bodies.
That was why I would stumble upon a few injured lizardmen from time to time. They were mostly covered in wounds that weren’t too severe but even so, these wounds were starting to take a toll on their combat ability. In order to avoid any unnecessary losses, I handed them over to the guardsmen and instructed these devils to evacuate the wounded out of the cave where the harpies could take over.
After proceeding forward for another four to five minutes, we finally caught up with Weslin’s vanguard army. As for why it took so long to do so, it was because the Prison of the Dead was a maze to begin with, this nest being dug out of said maze was naturally just as snaking and easy to get lost in.
Right now, Weslin was leading her lizardmen in a charge against the Abaddon Rodents’ defensive formation. Opposite her, the ratmen were furiously tossing their spears as if they had an endless supply of them in hand. Unfortunately for them, the defenses of the lizardmen were simply too strong and no matter how extravagantly they wasted their spears, the most they achieved was cause some minor abrasions.
Of course, it was a different matter entirely when those spears landed in a fatal spot like the eye sockets. However, the throwing skills of these rodents were only a smidge better than the harpies so for them to hit a target the size of a coin was...difficult.
Thus, the lizardmen attack proceeded extremely smoothly. It was basically a bloody and merciless slaughter.
Having been forced to retreat multiple times, the rodents’ morale wasn’t even that high to begin with. The moment they saw us arrive with the main army, they immediately despaired. Soon, there were signs of a massive retreat. Only those who couldn’t escape tried to fight back by biting the lizardmen.
‘This seems a little too easy, so easy it’s almost like taking candy from a rat baby. This just feels a little too smooth, almost unnaturally so.’
“What’s the matter?” Seeing me stop and frown, Violet Snow who had been by my side all this while, lifted her tiny head and asked: “Aren’t you going to advance?”
Even though it might be wrong, I decided to share my concerns: “Something feels off.”
Manasha who seemed to have no interest in bullying these weaklings, so happened to be my side as well. Hearing my comment, she chimed in, voice slightly curious. “How so?”
“Don’t you feel that everything seems a little too smooth?” I said while pointing at Weslin who was still in midst of slaughtering the rodents.
It wasn’t that I didn’t trust Weslin’s capabilities, it also wasn’t that I was unaware of how the lizardmen countered the rodents, but this was the nest of the Abaddon Rodents after all. These rats were simply too weak to the point where it felt unrealistic. But saying that this was all a set up...somehow, I just couldn’t picture that.
“Not really, the lizardmen are really suited to taking on these rodents.” While Violet Snow didn’t understand my worries, she still patiently explained herself: “Their strongest point is their venom, as long as they are able to get a bite in, those who didn’t have a strong resistance to poison would definitely suffer greatly.”
“However, the lizardmen are different from their usual opponents. They are protected by scales which not only deflected their bone spears, but also deflected their bites somewhat. Furthermore, they have an extremely high resistance to poison so that bit of venom won’t even be able to harm them. It’s only to be expected that the battle has proceeded so smoothly.”
“Don’t overthink this matter. Truth be told, the medusas have an innate resistance to poison as well. If Manasha was more cavalier with her medusas, they would be able to achieve this much as well, albeit with some casualties.”
Hearing that affirmative assessment, Manasha nodded her head as well seeing as she didn’t intend to refute any claims that the medusas were stronger than the lizardmen. “Rats are just rats in the end, don’t treat them as something bigger than they actually are.”
Having been forced to accompany me, Mimiya probably felt frustrated by the lack of freedom. Upon noticing my hesitation, the ever-restrained Mimiya immediately activated her taunting skill with no regards for friendly fire. “All that talk about strangeness, are you sure you aren’t just afraid?” At her side, Vick had an equally taunting look on his face ready to complement her, just as a competent sidekick should.
“Haha, perhaps I was really thinking too much into this.” Ignoring the two potatoes, I banished the doubts in my head and proceeded onwards.
Whether it was the devils, the undead or the other lifeforms in hell, they basically all had one similarity, that was that their intelligence...tended to be a little low. Ever since I reincarnated into the Blood Sea up till now, I hadn’t encountered a truly intelligent opponent and these ratmen clearly weren’t an exception to this. I just couldn’t imagine them digging a hole for me to jump in.
Thus with this arrogant attitude of underestimation, we jumped right into the hole prepared for us…
As Weslin hunted down the fleeing rodents with her troops, she revelled in the euphoria of being invincible. Unknowingly, she had lost her bearing. By the time we realized this, we found ourselves in a giant area which could hold over a thousand people.
In order to dig a cave this large, a nearly endless amount of souls had to be sacrificed.
I could understand how the rodents had an endless supply of spears; they had a habit of piling up the bones of their prey once they were done eating. Thus, it wasn’t at all strange that they could amass such a number of bones for their spear crafting. However, such a vast cave was truly a rare sight in the Prison of the Dead.
‘No...that’s not right, I don’t remember seeing a cave of this size before, even Mo En’s largest space wasn’t this vast.’
Floating around right in front of us was a mass of green fog that was slowly spreading outwards. Peering through the fog, I could vaguely make out a gate over seven meters tall and five meters wide on each side of the gate.
(Author: Double doors are doors that can be opened on both sides, imagine those ancient doors.) (TL: He used the phrase double doors instead of gate, but honestly, it’s just a freaking gate.)
As the green fog continued spreading outwards, it wasn’t long before they occupied slightly less than half of the available space. By now, the fog was spread a lot thinner so I was able to notice the giant pit in front of it that was over 10 meters wide and had an unknown depth. Laying within it were countless rat corpses which got to the point where the bloody red mass was able to fill up the giant pit… ‘How many rats had to die in order to fill that hole?! One thousand? Two, five or perhaps ten thousand?’
They were all thoroughly dead and from the expression some of them had on their faces, they died an excruciatingly painful death.
‘Damn it, what’s going on here? Don’t tell me those rodents were into mass suicides as well...does the Falun Cult have a branch in this world as well?’
‘So who can tell me what’s going on here? Why are all those ratmen dead in that pit?’
“Not good, this is the Door of the Dead…”
Manasha was the first to react to this strange sight, clearly she recognized this place.
Curious, I asked: “What’s the Door of the Dead?”
“The Door of the Dead is what we commonly refer to as the prison exit…” Having recognized the place, she knew there was no time to explain this matter so she turned around and tried to drag us out of this place: “There should still be enough time if we leave now, quick before…”
“This is the prison exit!?”
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine we would gain information on the prison exit under such circumstances. ‘Yet when she said [There should still be enough time if we leave now], did she mean that we are in grave danger now?’
‘No doubt about it, just looking at their deaths, even an idiot wouldn’t think that they killed themselves because they had nothing left to live for. It had to be that someone set this all up while we were busy attacking them. He probably conducted some kind of evil ritual while the rats bought time for him and then had them lure us here with their lives…’
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