The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 43: The Cellar
The guardsmen quickly surrounded the skeletal mages, preventing them from coming down. However, this didn’t mean that the guardsmen were able to climb up either. Their vantage point gave the mages a clear shot at the guardsmen.
As soon as they discovered that they were sealed in, they began to fire off bone spears in rapid succession as if their mana was endless. Within a short span of time, they were able to fire off 10 bone spears, keeping the guardsmen at bay.
However, this didn’t faze me as I calmly got my subordinates to maintain their positions. Instead, I stood nearby firing off darkness arrows at them. Their alertness surprised me as the mere action of my spell locking onto them seemed to draw the attention of one of the mages. As the mass of darkness energy hurtled towards the mage, it immediately erected a bone wall to shield itself.
As the bone wall rose from the floor of the rooftop, the building itself began to tilt to the side from the additional weight. Its dry aged walls were already on the verge of collapse due to the ravages of time. If the bone wall wasn’t removed soon, the entire rooftop would collapse.
The mage was aware of this fact as well and immediately cancelled his spell. After a slight tremble, the building stabilized once more.
The danger of collapse was averted, but not for long. My eyes lit up upon seeing this as a plan rapidly formulated in my mind.
I had originally planned to have my guardsmen wear out the mages, or perhaps tear down building, but now there was a much easier and safer way to bring them down!
“All of you, retreat further back.” The devils temporarily retreated under the confused gazes of the mages. What they didn’t know was that one of the mages had just dug their own grave for them. As I locked onto an empty spot next to them, I summoned a bone wall!
One, two, three...bone wall after bone wall rose in succession until finally at the third bone wall, the decrepit building started shaking. A moment later, the cracks spread out across the rooftop like a spiderweb before collapsing entirely in a loud burst of dust and mortar.
Due to the sudden collapse of the rooftop, the two mages were unable to react in time and fell along with the rubble, getting buried alive in the process.
After a minute or so, the dust from the collapse settled, and I could finally inspect my handiwork.
As expected, the mages were buried under the rubble with parts of their limbs sticking out from underneath, their condition unknown.
“No.3, Big 4, go take care of them. Also, be careful, they might be faking it.”
With their round shields, sending them was the safest bet. The bone shields of the guardsmen were simply not in the same league as No.3 and Big 4’s shields in terms of defensive power, so sending them instead might cause unnecessary losses.
After all, the cunning of the two mages was demonstrated on multiple occasions. I highly doubt that they would die so easily. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were lying in wait, ready to ambush us.
As later events would show, my suspicions were well founded and my caution well rewarded. Those two mages weren’t dead or incapacitated, they were merely faking their deaths, awaiting the chance to deal us a mortal blow. However, No.3 and Big 4 weren’t just any old imp. They were seasoned veterans.
With my reminder still fresh in their minds, they slowly approached the rubble with their shields raised in front of them and their spiked maces extended.
They had intended to prod the rubble with their maces to check out the situation, but as their maces closed in, a couple of odd-looking globes of green fluid flew out of the rubble and landed onto their raised shields.
*Hisssss* As the green fluid flowed down the shield, a loud hissing sound filled the surroundings followed by an unknown stench wafting about in an ominous cloud of blackish-green smoke.
That fluid...it’s corrosive! Damn it, they even had this up their sleeves…
All this while, I thought they could only cast bone spears, but to think they actually brought out an entirely new spell in such a crucial moment. Furthermore, that spell seems really ominous...that smell and smoke…
“Quick! Toss those shields away! Kill them!”
The sudden turn of events made me panic. I didn’t know if I should get them to prioritise killing the mages first or to protect themselves first.
Devils were known for their vicious and cruel nature, especially these two devils. They were exceptionally cruel, whether it was to their enemies or to themselves.
To them, safety was something you thought about as an afterthought. They brandished their spiked maces and began wildly smashing the pile of rubble, determined not to let the mages release a second volley of spells. Only after confirming their deaths did they finally remember to toss away their shields.
However, it was too late. That green fluid had already penetrated their shields and made contact with the two potatoes’ arms.
Its destructive rampage didn’t slow down either. Upon making contact with them, it rapidly dissolved into their skin and began to corrode their arms. Within a few seconds, the forearms of the two imps fell off because of the corrosive fluid!
However, it wasn’t satisfied with just their forearms, the corrosion continued on its destructive path up their arms, threatening to swallow them whole.
“Chop off those arms! Quick!”
Upon receiving my reminders, the two potatoes finally reacted to their dire situation. They sprinted to a pair of guardsmen and snatched away their boneswords, and without a moment of hesitation, sliced off what was left of their arms!
Ignoring those two bleeding potatoes, my gaze never left their severed arms for a second. The reason? Those arms had completely disappeared except for a inconspicuous puddle of blackish-green fluid…
What the heck, isn’t that spell a little too powerful!? Don’t tell me it’s some three-star magic! If that’s the case, are those two mages three-star as well? That can’t be right. If they were, they should’ve used more magic instead of only using those bone spears, and that strange corrosive magic right at the end.
“Don’t just stand there, go get some meat to eat.” Eating was the fastest way for devils to heal up their wounds. Souls worked as well but they weren’t as effective as pure flesh and blood.
I had instructed the two imps to grab a bite, but instead of doing so they merely looked at each other before walking up to my side. Instead of healing up, they chose to guard me, the same as always, as if they weren’t wounded. Only after my safety was ensured did they finally get some of the guardsmen to bring them some corpses to eat.
Sigh, to think that they remembered to guard me even when they were injured...but the loss of their arms was problematic…their daily functions weren’t impaired but combat would create some problem for them. However, wasn’t I able to reincarnate into a different body? If even that was possible, regrowing a pair of arms should be easy, except I still don’t know how to do so.
These two were extremely loyal to me. Whether it was from an emotional standpoint or from a practical standpoint, I would never abandon them.
“Master, here are the soul flames of the skeletal mages.” One-eye brought the two soul flames to me before respectfully bowing; a strange look apparent on his face. That corrosive magic must’ve scared him quite a bit. If it had been him who got hit, he might’ve been crippled.
At the same time as we destroyed the skeletal mages, the battle on the other side had ended as well. The ordinary undead were naturally not a match for my devil army; all one thousand of them were wiped out; though at great cost.
My devil count was already low at 600 before this battle. After the battle, our numbers had dropped to slightly over 500. If you added in the fact that No.3 and Big 4 had lost an arm each, our combat strength had suffered a significant hit.
Given the vastness of the land of the dead and the frequency at which we encountered enemies, refilling our devil ranks was going to be tough. In the two months we’ve been here, I’ve only encountered two groups of devils. The first was the group with Big 4 and the other was that group of head imps we met half a month ago.
Speaking of those head imps, I wonder how that female devil was doing...after such a long time, they’ve probably eaten her already…
After the battle ended, I brought No.3 and Big 4 to the chapel where we met those head imps. As I stood before the now completely doorless entrance, my head was a whirlpool of emotions. Was it agitation or perhaps just the complex mix of emotions within me? Either way, I was anything but calm.
However, I was not the only one who wasn’t calm. The Grimoire of the Dead was extremely excited at this moment. This mysterious book flew into a particular direction, insistently tugging on the straightened bone chain as if it wanted me to follow it.
As for why a book could do so, I was too lazy to comment upon it and merely followed behind it. Just as we came close to the podium, the book took a sharp turn, leading me to the side of it and into a small room.
The room wasn’t particularly large, coming in at a mere 20 square meters and had the familiar messiness seen throughout the rest of the chapel.
The book brought me to the corner of the room before circling around a particular spot. It bounced up and down as it continued circling, as if to say that something was down here.
Truth be told, I still didn’t know what this book was up to. Is it telling me to break into the floorboards or walls?
Seeing me stand there motionlessly for a long while, the book suddenly flew up and dived down, landing loudly on the floorboard. The resulting impact left me speechless. Did it always have this much strength? Before I could react to this, the book repeated its hammer-like action again, smashing into the floorboard. I finally understood what it wanted. This guy wanted me to break through the floorboard!
“Alright, alright. I get what you’re saying. Don’t do anything silly.” I tugged on the bone chain, pulling it back into my embrace. As I hugged it with one arm, I bent down and swept aside the dust in the air created by the book’s hammering. “Judging from the sound of those two hits, it should be hollow beneath this floorboard.”
If I still didn’t understand that the two spots it smashed created two different sounds, and that this meant that one of them was hollow underneath, then I should just die and spare the world from my stupidity.
Most churches should have a basement, and it seems this chapel did as well. If I’m not wrong, this should be a hidden entrance and there should be a mechanism nearby to open this hidden door.
“No.3 get One-eye and the others to come over, bring the guardsmen too.”
A while later, all of the named imps, including No.5 were gathered in this small room. As for the 40 guardsmen, they were stationed outside the room.
“There’s a basement underneath.” I said as I stomped on the hollow spot. While there was no obvious cracks to indicate a hidden entrance, the sound it produced confirmed it. “I wish to check it out. I want you guys to search the surroundings and see if you can find a lever or some sort of mechanism nearby. If we can’t find it, we might have to resort to brute force.”
“Master, let me try to break it.” Just as I finished saying that, Nine-finger immediately raised his spiked mace and smashed it into the floor.
The thunderous sound of the mace smashing into the floor, irritated me. It reverberated loudly in my ears as Nine-finger continued smashing the floor. Just as I was about to leave due to the noise, Nine-finger shouted in an excited voice: “Master, there it is! The entrance to the cellar has appeared!”
I turned around and looked. There really was a black hole leading into the ground. At the side of this entrance, I noticed those same luminescent stones I saw when I followed that robed skeleton into the caverns.
As expected, who needs a lever when you have a devil. Brute force was the solution to everything.
Special thanks to Steve Granger, Ichitsuzen, and LaRue Martin!!