The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 169: Evil Eye (draft)
Initially, it didn’t take much effort for us to farm these mindless replicating skeletons. However, after another ten minutes or so, the level of the risen skeletons increased once more. We now had to face an unending horde of skeletons consisting mostly of one-stars and a sizeable number of two-stars who formed an elite corp of sorts.
The arrival of these two-stars undoubtedly made our job significantly harder as, unlike their one-star brethren, their direct combat strength wasn’t that inferior though they still weren’t a match for the lizardmen and my guardsmen. However, these skeletons gave off that ominous feeling of being endless which ,I had to say, was a major psychological stress factor.
Just from a quick glance alone, I could see that stress being turned into physical fatigue that, in turn, made some of my troops lose focus as well. Given how they had been fighting at full throttle for over twenty minutes, I couldn’t blame them for tiring out either. Thus, for the first time since this battle started, we were starting to show signs of faltering.
“Why won’t these damned skeletons stay dead…” Exclaimed Weslin, voice exasperated and slightly ragged from the fatigue as well. This four-star lizardwoman was one of the first few to leap into battle and revel in that ensuing carnage. Yet at the same time, that meant she expanded a great deal of stamina and while her four-star status afforded her greater stamina than most, even she was beginning to tire out.
While this amount of fatigue was still manageable for her, the almost sisyphean nature of this battle was beginning to grate on her nerves and threatened to throw her into the depths of despair. What truly concerned her was how long more would this battle last. Did they really have to maintain such a ferocity for the entire day?
On the other hand, Manasha was noticeably more collected in her response. She seemed to have had experience with such battles before judging from how she calmly commanded her medusas. After suppressing the enemy, she had her troops split into two and set up a rotation where one stood guard while the other rested.
‘So she already made the determination that this was going to be a battle of attrition?’
Noticing Weslin’s panicked state, Manasha immediately reminded the lizard: “Keep it together, it’s going to be over soon. Before we entered the cavern, someone activated the defensive magical array of the Door of the Dead. That person must’ve sacrificed a huge amount of souls as well, that’s why the potency of this array seemed to have been magnified several times. After every ten minutes, the undead will advance by a level but under normal circumstances, it should stop at three-stars.”
The two-star skeletons were noticeably stronger than the one-stars but thankfully, they made up less than half of the army, roughly a thousand or so. Yet, those one thousand two-stars were enough to give us a run for our money.
In light of that, our forces had to put forth their best in order to counter the undead. As for me, I decided that it was finally time for me to do so as well.
However, just as I was about to toss my conjured fireball, Weslin inexplicably led her troops in a charge towards the skeleton army. They violently dove into the skeleton horde and scattered their bony foes. All around them, the skeletons that stood in their way basically exploded in a shower of broken bones. Yet, they didn’t stop there. She continued leading her lizards forward as if she was looking for something.
“Weslin? What do you think you are doing? Don’t break away from the main force!” Unfortunately, my commands fell on deaf ears as she continued charging forward without even turning around once. Her reckless charge continued until, finally, they came to a stop in front of the valley of rat corpses that was more a blood pool by now.
Seeing that, I became even more confused. No matter how I racked my brains, I just couldn’t understand her actions. ‘Just what was she up to?’
Then, a mere second later...there was no longer a need for me to rack my brains because she gave me the answer herself. Weslin violently swept aside the skeletons approaching her and with one claw extended forward, reached for one of the rat corpses in the blood pools. Fangs bared for all to see, she viciously bit down… ‘Was she hungry or something?’
It wasn’t just Weslin, the other lizardmen who followed her all charged to the blood pool as well and began wolfing down the corpses. While some wolfed down the corpses at breakneck speeds, some of them just swallowed the corpses whole, bones and all.
‘The way you guys are behaving right now...exactly how many years has it been since you all ate? That can’t be right, can it? As the saying goes, the emperor doesn’t lack hungry soldiers, I know this logic well enough. I fed them well before we assaulted the cave and I even prepared a surplus of meat just in case so I’m absolutely sure that they already had their fill of meat.’
“You potato lizard, if you don’t get back here this instant, I’m never letting you meet Habona ever again in your lifetime!” I snapped, clearly displeased that my previous command was so thoroughly ignored.
Though I’m not sure what this lesbian had in mind when she decided to fall in love with Habona, her love for that shewolf should be genuine. Even though she probably knew that Habona would never love her, she still chose to hold onto this one-sided romance. Against such a lovestricken lizard, the threat of not seeing Habona was definitely a serious one. At least that was what I thought...even after throwing out the name [Habona], Weslin still didn’t react to my words.
‘Don’t tell me that food held a greater position in your heart than Habona? That doesn’t make any sense, it’s too strange. How could Weslin ignore the word Habona like that?!’
“Is there something wrong with her brains?” Asked Violet Snow. Like me, she knew how much Weslin liked Habona as well. The fact that she would ignore the word Habona like that, struck her as strange. There was clearly more to this situation than meets the eye.
“There’s definitely something wrong with her brains and there’s probably some special reason for it.” Even though I still couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Weslin, I wasn’t willing to give up on her either. Her position in my army was a delicate one so whether it was out of principle or out of deference to Westley’s feelings, I couldn’t disregard her safety.
What made matters worse was that those skeletons had begun to notice the fact that a small portion of my army had broken off to feast on the blood pool. While they were still brainless as before, they at least had the intelligence to perform the almost instinctual task of picking on the weak.
Soon, the skeletons separated a portion of their troops to surround the feasting lizardmen. Of these, the majority were one-stars while the rest were basically two-stars except for that one three-star thrown into the mix. That’s right, the array was beginning to summon three-stars now.
Unlike their two-star brethren, they were noticeably better equipped both in terms of armor and weapons. Each of them wore a bone jerkin and the majority of them wielded a longsword and shield. There were some that wielded a pair of long spears and some that wielded a long shaft hammer. Fortunately, there were still no signs of them having long range capabilities.
By now, the nearest skeletons had begun to attack the feasting lizardmen but shockingly, they still didn’t proactively attack the skeletons even after receiving their strikes. All they did was hunker down and swat at the offending skeletons should their actions directly interfere with their feasting. From time to time, they would flick their lizard tails at the annoying skeletons in order to shove them aside.
For now, they seemed to be holding up well. However, such a situation wasn’t tenable. While their defenses weren’t low, they weren’t that high that they could allow the skeletons to freely attack them either.
It wasn’t long before the first death appeared. It was a two-star lizardman who died under the spear thrust of a three-star skeleton. ‘Damn it, these skeletons act fast...I need to find out the reason for their feeding frenzy as soon as possible.’
‘It’s not like she was a Mo Xixidi, her desire for food shouldn’t be at that level where even the heavens shook and the earth wept, so why wasn’t she striking back even after the being hit...it’s so unnatural!’
“This situation...I think I’ve seen it before somewhere...” Muttered Manasha. I had to hand it to this medusa sometimes, her abilities were truly astounding. Even in the midst of this heated battle, she still had the presence of mind to observe her surroundings.
The moment she noticed Weslin’s strangeness, her eyebrows jumped as if she just thought of something: “Weslin looks like she is under the control of some mysterious force...control...I’ve got it, it’s an evil eye!”
‘Evil eye? That name seems to ring a bell.’
Before I could recall where I had heard of it before, Manasha suddenly yelled, finger pointing above our heads as she did so: “Quick, look up there! It’s up there!”
‘What’s up there?’ As that thought crossed my mind, I raised my head and received the shock of my life.
Floating right above us was a giant meatball. In the center of that meatball was a giant eyeball that at least took up half of its body...and that meatball was dangling upside down from the ceiling at this very moment…
The meatball was fairly rounded and had several feeler-like appendages that helped secure itself to the bony ceiling. Its giant eyeball was currently focused in the direction of Weslin and as it did so, an indescribably frightening red light flickered in its pupils. It was precisely this light that allowed us to spot this strange ball hanging above us otherwise we would have never been able to notice it thanks to its beige coloring, a color that blended very well with the ceiling.
“That’s an evil eye? Shouldn’t it be a beholder?”
‘Ah! I remember now, aren’t evil eyes those monsters from the legends that can control your mind!? I still remember that time when I employed such a unit in some war chess game, its main skill was to control the opponent’s units and it looked exactly like that meatball dangling above us. However, shouldn’t it be called a beholder?’
“Beholders are the next step in their evolution tree.” Her eyes fell on me as she said that. In the meantime, the snakes atop her hair reared their heads back and took aim. Mouths wide open, they fired their toxic payload at the dangling meatball.
Countless thread-like streams of toxins flew into the air and precisely landed on the evil eye who was still focused on controlling Weslin. As they did so, this cavernous section of the Prison reverberated with the jarring hisses of melting flesh. All around the meatball, we could clearly see a mass of greyish smoke rise from the areas the venom struck.
Having been caught off guard by this attack, its paper thin defenses promptly crumbled and the evil eye immediately lost control of its body after which it fell off the ceiling. However, while a height of 15 meters might seem high, it wasn’t actually so for creatures with a certain degree of power. At most, such a height would only cause some minor bruises.
As it fell, the evil eye hurriedly wrapped its feelers around its meaty body just in time to protect itself from the fall. A second later, it crash landed and like a rubber ball, it actually bounced several times off the ground…
The evil eye’s feelers were probably around one and a half meter long while its ball, in other words its head section, was a meter long in diameter. It had no mouth, ears, nose or facial features to speak of, all it had was a giant eyeball. Truly, a strange looking creature.
However, that wasn’t the only unusual thing about it. As it landed on the ground, its exterior began to change color, taking on a meaty hue at the end of its transformation. At the top of its giant noggin were numerous patches of scorched flesh, those were clearly the handiwork of Manasha’s venom, though their toxicity had basically run out now.
Even so, it wasn’t the sheer power of her venom that shocked me the most, rather, it was the fact that this meatball could disguise itself! Like a chameleon, it was able to change its skin color to suit its surroundings.
‘I don’t remember beholders having such a convenient feature back when I played that game! Weren’t they just supposed to be long ranged units with an innate ability to hypnotize others and float? They also had horrid defenses and speed but that was about all I knew about them from the game.’
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