The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 174: The Disappearing Soul Flames
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Because the bone pillar wasn’t able to move, the rodents were quickly able to leave the danger zone. Yet when were things ever so simple...just as they were all about to make it back, the bone pillar, having realized that it couldn’t catch the rodents, blew up…
It was a bonafide explosion, one that sent a shower of bones into the air. To be exact, it sent a shower of skeletons into the air. Of these skeletons, some had a beastial form while some had a humanoid form, all of them however, looked dangerous. Plus, they turned out to be extremely fast as well.
As the skeletons flew through the air, some of them directly landed on the heads of the rodents and that resulted in a prompt death by bone claw and teeth.
A large number of the fleeing rodents ended up dying to this aerial ambush skill. Furthermore, because these were my fodders to begin with, I didn’t bother training them as a division. Thanks to that, there was hardly any order to their retreat.
Rat squeezed against rat as they hurriedly scampered back to our side. Yet, the more they hurried, the more chaotic things got. The more chaotic things got, the more panicked they became and that ended up causing even more of them to die from the skeletons.
Initially, I had planned to test out the strength of the bone pillar once they retreated but who would’ve thought that it would disassemble itself like that. Worse of all, these skeletons were noticeably stronger than the usual skeletons we encountered in the past. In the meantime, the morale of the rodents had basically crumbled to the point where none of them even considered fighting back.
“Stop them from retreating. I want them to hold off these skeletons right now. If anyone refuses to comply, just kill them!” Now that the battle had gotten so chaotic, I had to cancel all my previous plans so as to prevent the rodents from destroying our formation with their mindless escaping.
“Go, I want you to lead your brethren into battle. Make sure not to show any mercy, just cut down anyone who tries to escape.” I turned to Weslin as I gave out that merciless command.
“Alright.” Realizing that her chance to redeem herself had come, she discreetly threw a glance at the expressionless Habona before turning around to nod at me. Weapons raised, she boldly rushed into the chaotic melee while shouting for her brother, Westley, to send her five hundred or so lizardmen to aid her: “Follow me, kill off all those rodents who try to escape!”
Looking at all the fleeing rodents around her, a burning anger overwhelmed her as she bellowed: “No escaping! You filthy rodents had better turn around and fight or I’ll execute you myself!”
However, with how chaotic this battle was, only a portion of the Abaddon Rodents heard her threat despite her loud voice. Furthermore, not all of them understood the language of the devils as well. Thankfully, I had the foresight to assign her rat translator beforehand just for such situations.
Repeating her threat once more, the rodent translator loudly chittered. Unfortunately, it still seemed like some of them didn’t receive the message or perhaps they simply pretended not to hear it. All these rodents who were dead set on escaping immediately tried to penetrate the defensive line of Weslin’s troops but were easily slaughtered.
Picking one of the rat corpses, she callously tossed it aside and knocked down a couple of fleeing rodents: “Cowards must die, kill!”
As her five hundred lizardmen roared in unison, a cruel smile couldn’t help but grace her lips. A claw swipe later, the brains of one unfortunate rodent ended up splattering against the bony hallway. Right after that, the figure of a rodent could seen flying across the air from her mighty tail swipe. “We don’t need deserters in our army, kill!”
At that, her other brethren rushed into battle as well.
While all that was happening, the hapless rat translator was stunned into silence and momentarily forgot its duty. Seeing that, Weslin threw the rodent a withering glare that almost made its poor rodent heart jump out of its body. Realizing its error, it hurriedly translated that last order.
“All those who wish to live had better turn around and fight!”
Now that the situation had developed to this stage, the fleeing rodents finally understood that running away was nothing but a shortcut to a quick death. At least by attacking the skeletons, they still had a chance at survival.
With no other choice, they could only turn to fight unless they wanted to face the ruthless lizardmen whose viciousness even made me uncomfortable.
However, because there were several thousands of these formidable skeletons ,who honestly looked rather terrifying as well thanks to their strange bony shape, the rodents’ morale was at an all time low. Yet with a supervisor like Weslin, the rats had no choice but bring out their will to fight to the death.
Truly, a textbook implementation of [broken pots and sunken ships]. With no way to retreat, they ended up having to bring forth their best.
Truth be told, I was truly worried that these rodents might end up destroying our formation with their escape. If that were to happen, my main force would be caught in an awkward position as they faced off against the skeletons. Thankfully, I didn’t care all that much about their lives and promptly ordered Weslin to stop them from fleeing.
And die they did. Thanks to the formidable offensive power of the skeletons, the hides of those rodents basically stood no chance against their bony claws and teeth. While all that was happening, I took the opportunity to observe the situation. The first thing I was able to confirm was that my previous concerns about an “undead virus” didn’t come true. Even after being clawed by the rodents, they merely bled and didn’t turn into undead after dying.
Given that revelation, all the intelligence that had to be gathered, had been gathered. Continuing to expend their lives would no longer reap any benefits. Thus, it was time for them to dispatch the reinforcements.
“One-eye, I want you to reinforce those rodents with your troops. Make sure not to break formation because of those rodents.”
‘That’s right, those skeletons weren’t a concern but rather what concerned me was that these rodents might end up selling out their comrades in order to live.’
Nine-finger scratched his bald head and with a dumb look on his face, asked: “Boss, what if they don’t listen to us?”
“Then kill them.”
It was time for my devil army to make its appearance. After all those days of tireless crafting to equip them and after all that rigorous training, it was time for their impressive power to burst forth.
Just as they entered battle, my well-crafted weapons immediately showed off their worth. Heavy shields raised, the bony claws of the skeletons barely left a scratch on their enamel exterior. Barely a second later, my razor sharp Mo sabres stabbed out from absolute safety and easily destroyed the first wave of undead.
With the front temporarily clear, the shield wall parted and my new troops, the Lucerne devils, rushed forth. Armed with hammer mounted polearms, they basically swept through all that stood before them thanks to the sheer power of these squarish warhammers that exceeded even my expectations. Just from one swing alone, the sea of skeletons became noticeably sparser and these losses only grew by the second.
Thus, 3500 devils easily cleaned up the rest of the skeletons and finished their mission with greater efficiency than expected.
Thanks to the reinforcements I sent out, the Abaddon Rodents didn’t experience a second routing and that meant that Nine-finger didn’t have a chance to smash these rodents either. Clearly, these rodents enjoyed fighting a winning war as well.
“Sweep through the battlefield and make sure not to leave out any spoils of war.” Now that the battle was over, One-eye led the soul collection himself.
It had to be said that this battle came as a huge surprise for us. Thanks to that, my first batch of rat fodder ended up shrinking by over a thousand. Some of these were caused by the skeletons while some were caused by my forces. As for the devils, their losses were surprisingly low, coming in at merely 17. In large part these results were thanks to my amazing heavy shields which forced the skeletons to climb over the shield wall in order to attack the devils. Naturally, my Mo sabres wouldn’t allow that to happen…
In other words, my grandmaster level weapons were the reason for our overwhelming victory.
Given that our main fighting force didn’t experience much losses, this was almost a perfect victory for us. However, that sense of elation didn’t last long as One-eye promptly brought back a terrible piece of news.
“Master, we only managed to harvest one thousand souls...”
‘A thousand?! That doesn’t add up at all! Those rodents were all living creatures so they should drop souls upon death. Just based on their losses alone, we should have collected one thousands. While that was accounted for, what about the soul flames dropped by the undead? There’s no way they didn’t possess a soul flame or else they wouldn’t be able to move at all so why was there only one thousand souls!?”
‘Did someone siphon away the souls? Was it One-eye? No, that can’t be right either, there’s no way he could’ve consumed so many souls in such a short time like the Grimoire and I. So, did the souls merely disappeared without a reason?’
Without a doubt, this was an issue that had to be solved immediately or it would impact our future survival. With that in mind, I tried to solve this mystery by placing a soul flame on the floor and observing it. My intention was to see if there was any difference between the soul flames we harvested here and those from the Prison.
However, just based on appearance alone, I discovered nothing.
And yet the unexpected happened right after. Right before my unblinking eyes, that lone soul flame actually disappeared after several minutes! ‘No, it didn’t exactly disappear, it was absorbed into the ground...sh*t, don’t tell me this place has the ability to reabsorb souls?!’
I had to say, that was a truly troublesome revelation for us. Because of our massive 30 000 strong army, our supplies were low to begin with. Originally, my plan was to fuel my battles with battles but who would’ve thought that we would be immediately stumped by such an unexplainable phenomenon…
‘You’re a maze aren’t you, not some kind of Pixiu, let’s get your identity straight for a moment!’ (Author: Creature from ancient legends that were known for consuming the treasures of the world. They were a legendary black hole where whatever went in, never came out…)
Based on that short experiment just now, I had basically come to the conclusion that the ground absorbed soul flames. However, it took some time in order to do so. Thus, as long as we harvested it quickly enough, we would be fine. If we failed to do so, our already tight supplies would become even tighter.
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