"Are you planning to leave now?"
Artanis stood up. He remained doubtful about the disease that was called 'melanemia'. After all, the unexpected plague was really a little strange. However, his doubts vanished the moment he confronted the man before him.
Joshua was a man who would never lie. He had said many strange things that sounded delusional. But all of his words would be proven to be true in the end. The other old archbishops might want to test and find out the results before they made any assumption. However, only Joshua does not do that.
That was a warrior who deserved to be trusted by everyone.
"It's almost ready. It seems to be in a good shape now."
Joshua also stood up and took a deep breath then pumped his Combat Aura through all of his veins beneath his skin from his heart. A red light radiated around his body. He could feel the power that surged within his body. Then, he looked out the window and asked, "How is Black doing these days? Why haven't I seen it yet?"
"That creature has grown too big now. It can't even get into the city without causing havoc to the streets. So I have asked our people to get Black settled at Winter Fort in Nissia. That place is big enough to accommodate at least one dragon."
Artanis shook his head and felt a little worked up over his emotions, "Black seems to be growing bigger. What have you been feeding it? Oh, yes. I need to bring that thing over to you. If you depart for the Imperial City without it, you will definitely cause a great disturbance in the city when you arrive there."
The old archbishop seemed to have remembered something important. He immediately turned around and walked towards the door. He asked Joshua to wait for him in the room before he headed to the stairs in a hurry.
"Speaking of which, we have not gotten a chance to relax yet."
Looking at the old Archbishop leaving the room, Ling sat next to the warrior as he stretched his back. The black-haired boy sang out his thoughts in a lazy tone. "We're truly busy."
"Think about it, things are just like this"
Ying leaned on the table as she spoke gently, "After battling for so long, I think I really need to tune myself up a little I feel tired to even think about going up against 'Pestilence'."
The expression and manner of the silver-haired girl could only be described with one word and one word only, lethargy.
"Rest assure that it is not our place to handle 'Pestilence'."
Joshua sat in his chair. He found it funny to look at the lazy faces of the young boy and the young girl. Of course the warrior understood that. That was because 'Pestilence' was not an enemy that could be taken down with any sort of physical attack. So, Ying and Ling were not thrilled, nor did they show even the slightest interest to fight against 'Pestilence' as they would not do damage at all against that sort of enemy.
After giving it some thoughts, Joshua reassured both of his weapons, "We'll mostly be handling 'Pestilence' that emerges within our own territory. We will only be able to rely on the power and strength of the Imperial City and the churches to handle a formless enemy like 'Pestilence'. We won't need to line ourselves up to do that sort of job."
The reason behind the breakout of the plague in the previous life was because the Dragon's Calamity had sealed all of the connections between the Sacred Mountain in the distant sea and the outside world. Furthermore, various cults had caused riots in the tide of refugees, which caught the attention of the higher authorities of the Empire in the Far East. Because of that, no one was able to seal the region that was plagued in time, leading to the outbreak of the epidemic across the world. Meanwhile, in this life, the Berserk Dragon Vaccine had been created about one or two years earlier than anticipated. Hence, the people in Mycroft did not have to face that great of a pressure from the Dragon's Calamity. Not to mention that the Holy Mountain did not lose contact with the outside world in this life. Because of all that, the damage and casualties that 'Melanemia' could cause still remained unknown.
Even if it could be, it would not matter at all. His trip over to the Imperial City this time was to completely bury this possibility before it could even get out of hand. Although Joshua did not remember the methods of making the vaccine, he knew the recipe and every single material required to make the vaccine. Back in the previous life, the collecting the ingredients for the special potion was a daily quest that all players could do every single day. Even now, he could still clearly remember all of the required ingredients and how much of each ingredient would be required.
Shortly afterward, Artanis returned to the room.
He was holding a silver pocket watch. The chain that was attached to the watch shimmered with warm metallic light. It looked a little old. The old archbishop handed the pocket watch to Joshua and insisted that he had it. The warrior accepted it without hesitating.
Upon opening it, Joshua found that the inside of the pocket watch was just like any other ordinary pocket watch. The clock hand ticked slowly.
"Just pour some magic energy or Combat Aura and it will start functioning as a shroud that block people from knowing your identity. It will work like a charm."
Artanis continued explaining the function of the watch, "Although it does not change your appearance, ordinary people would momentarily not be able to remember your face under this watch's influence. The presence of resentment and Chaos on your body will be shrouded from everyone else other than yourself. At least then, your presence will not cause any panic."
But it was inevitable to have to walk around.
Joshua poured some of his Combat Aura into the pocket watch immediately to activate its effect. A wave of magic energy instantly shrouded the entire body of the warrior. Instantly, Ying, Ling and Artanis felt as if Joshua had vanished from the room. It felt bizarre as Joshua was just standing right before them. But their brains were telling them otherwise.
That illusion happened only for a moment. After a while, everything went back to normal. However, the strong presence of the warrior was much weaker than before. It was as if Joshua had turned from a brilliant sun to an ordinary man with a tall and strong body.
[Misty Pocket Watch]
[Superior Magic Item]
[Effect: Substantially reduce the holder's presence, shield the holder against inferior probing spells.]
Who could have recalled the person that walked by in the middle of a shroudy street?]
After witnessing the reaction of everyone in the room, Joshua nodded with satisfaction, "Thank you for the effort to get me this, Archbishop Artanis. This fits me well."
"This is something that I have used for a long time. During my earlier days when I was traveling across the entire Empire, I specially had this item crafted in order to avoid conflicts that might find their ways to me in certain sensitive regions across the continent."
The old archbishop smiled and fondly looked at the silver pocket watch that Joshua was holding as he recalled some good old days he had with that pocket watch. It felt like the old man was letting go one of his precious pieces. "It's been more than 30 years. I can't believe it still works so fine. The last time I brought it out with me was the time I went out to the streets to have a drink with old man Fang."
The room became quiet instantly when the name of the previous butler of the Radcliffe family was spoken. Artanis had also noticed that. He quickly laughed at himself and said, "I'm old. An old man can really easily drown himself in past memories. Please forgive me."
"The past memories should be revisited. It's healthy to walk down the memory lanes sometimes."
After keeping the silver pocket watch into his own pocket, Joshua shrugged as he was also reminded of some fond memories from the past. Then he whispered to himself softly, "That's right. The dedication of the Radcliffe family for over 400 years has come to an end. The Chaos in the Karlis World has completely vanished. Everything has come to pass now."
Perhaps it was the suitable time to visit the family graveyard back in Dark Forest Fortress now.
It is time to tell those souls who had passed away, tell them that their obedience had been answered.
Everyone in Moldavia was ready to depart for their destination.
Imperial City, the Royal Mage Guild of the Empire, in the second largest laboratory lab.
In the middle of the great hall that was filled with silence, where the walls and floor gleamed with chilly lights, a huge square-shaped crystal dome that was a few meters high stood. A bizarrely gray shroud gathered in the center of the crystal.
That shroud had shielded all sights. Even the ten positively-charged magic circles that were emitting positive energy could not purify that shroud to reveal what was shrouded within it.
The shroud originated from an unknown source. Its density seemed to be increasing by the second. The shroud would have gone black if not for the purifying light from the magic circles.
Standing around the crystal were seven monks in white robes with powerful magic powers. They observed the behavior in the crystal as they discussed it with each other in soft voices.
"Ordinary positive energy and holy light cannot purify it completely. We can only go as far as sustaining the shroud that was released from the 'Chest of Erebus'."
An old mage spoke out with a deep voice as he looked at the other mages with a serious face, "We have only ten days left before the three months period given by the Emperor is up. If we can't remove the shroud to see what lies within, the Empire will have to fulfill its promise to hand it over to the imbeciles that look down upon people back in the headquarter of the Eastern Mage Headquarters, Skypiercing White Tower."
"By then, the Emperor will surely be enraged. The guild's funding will definitely be reduced. And we will be treated like garbage, hung on the pillars of shame."
"But we have not even scratched through its surface!"
Another middle-aged mage, who seemed troubled, furrowed his brows as he spoke out with a louder voice, "What lies within this shroud is total chaos. Whichever methods we use to uncover what lies within, it will all be in vain. We have used the white crystals to isolate the shroud yet, we are not even close to getting a breakthrough. So all of the talks about getting into the core of the 'Chest of Erebus' are just pointless!"
The other mages also started to express their frustrations. Even though all of them were prideful mages, they started to question their own intelligence after being clueless for over two months on the research on the Chest of Erebus'. In fact, there were almost twenty mages on this research in the beginning. Only seven of them remained in the project after two months of fruitless research.
The Chest of Erebus. Everyone quietly repeated that name in their hearts. The old mage's expression was turning sourer.
That bizarre item came from the underground of the Orc Palace that belonged to the orc race which was annihilated in the earlier days.
Not long ago, the Empire sent their full force to completely annihilate the root of their problems that existed for over hundreds of years. They had infiltrated into the northwest Tartaros Highlands where the orcs were. The fire burned everything to ashes including the Orc Palace. After the war, during the post-war excavations, a knight found a well-hidden underground tunnel in the center of the ruins of Orc Palace.
The length of that tunnel remained undetermined. It was strangely curvy as it led straight down into the ground. During the expedition, the expedition team uncovered many strange and bizarre paintings on the walls on of the tunnel. The paintings were completely different from the totem style commonly used by the orcs. It seemed to belong to another civilization.
After having the mages to go with the army to examine the paintings, they had discovered that the paintings were not the style of the centaurs that were wiped out by the orcs in earlier times. Instead, the paintings were from a new race that had never revealed themselves on the surface of the entire continent.
In just matter of days, all of the mages in the world who were interested in studying ancient civilizations came to the ruins of the Orc Palace. Of course, the members ofSkypiercing White Tower, the Council of Seven and other powerful parties were involved as well. Even the Empire had to give them credit for it because of their reputations.
With the support of many expedition operations, they were able to immediately begin with their exploration. They were well prepared as they went along the tunnel for more kilometers downwards into the tunnel. After a long time, the mages finally reached the end of that tunnela huge underground cavern.
The interior of the dark cavern was filled with a decaying and disgusting stench. Through various exploratory means and spells, the mages discovered that they were standing in the middle of bones that had long decayed and were fossilized. Everyone agreed that there was a race of some kind. And that the place could be a Sacrificial Ground for that particular race that remained unidentified.
After carefully studying the bones, the mages had also found that these bones belonged to a brand new species.
After roughly reconstructing the bones in their original form through their magic spells, it was found that the newly-discovered species can be divided into two major categories. Some of them were tall and could reach up to about three meters tall. The other category seemed to be extremely rare. Their physiques looked tougher than the other one. They had two heads and seemed to be naturally born with the abilities to cast spells.
The two-headed ones were obviously the superiors of their own race, perhaps above the ones with one head, controlling them as the higher power in the race. Most of the corpses and bones were one-headed. So they were obviously being treated as the sacrifice for their bizarre rituals.
At the same time in the center of the cavern was a stone altar floating in the air. A black chest that seemed to be showered with blood laid there quietly.
That was known as the 'Chest of Erebus'.
Initially, the Chest of Erebus did not behave strangely. Everything was fine until one of the mages injured himself as a few drops of his blood accidentally splattered on the chest. Strange things started happening as the Chest of Erebus absorbed the fresh drops of blood and begun releasing some kind of shroud. The shroud was strongly corrosive and it also confused people. Whether it was magic energy or Combat Aura, nothing was able to penetrate the shroud. The shroud had killed dozens of lives back in the cavern. It also almost closed off the exit of the cave. The mages that were there used all sorts of methods in an attempt to stop the shroud from spreading. However, their efforts were useless. In the end, they were forced to seal the shroud and the chest together in a crystal barrier. Then, they swiftly sent it back to the Imperial City.
During that process, mages who hailed from Skypiercing Tower had shown great efforts on aiding the Empire. Due to the geographical reasons, the first chance of commencing research upon the Chest of Erebus was given to the Empire. If the Empire could not find anything, then the Skypiercing White Tower would claim the chest for research purposes. The black chest was named [Erebus] because it released black shroud that kills.
As an ancient ancestor, who sacrificed the power of the whole family, both the Empire and the White Tower believed that there was a deep mystery in the ambiguity of Erebus. If that mystery could be resolved, an empire would be able to enhance its own strength. The impenetrable shroud could prove to be extremely valuable in the arts of infiltration and concealment.
"Perhaps we seek the man who inherited the Kaos family. Brandon Kaos. That man possesses the greatest purification power," said a mage. He had been wanting to voice his opinions a long time ago but did not due to some reasons. However, now that their deadline was approaching fast, the mage had to say it. "I know, you all are not in good terms with Nostradamus, and you all have your prejudices towards his student as well. But, now is not the time for that."
" You're right."
After taking a deep breath, the old mage, who seemed to be enraged by the name 'Nostradamus' quickly regained his composure. "My personal dignity is not worth the dignity of the entire Royal Mage Guild of the Empire."
He paused for a brief moment before he whispered with a gentle and yet embarrassed tone, "Summon him."