Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
A somewhat odorless smell spread through the guest hall when Moore took out the bottle.
Rather than the putrefaction of a corpse, it smelled like something that kept rotting despite being sealed, with the rot festering for a very long as a result. Even if the stench was just a rather meager amount, every mage grimacedsome of them even gagged, their expression terrible.
In truth, a mage was not casual or elegant occupation. Most of the individuals here carry out experiments daily would usually use the innards of magical creatures.
Hence, disintegrating organs should not have appalled these mages so easily. It was the stink itself that seems to bypass the nose and strike the mind and soul, causing everyone in the hall to feel a genuine revolting sensation.
That, was the smell of Chaosthe natural adversary of Order, incompatible with all life birthed from that power.
As every mage looked even sicker by each minute, Moore pocketed the bottle.
“Thanks to Nostradamus, us members of the Third Research Group were spared from the vortex of the Imperial Capital,” he said sternly without a shred of mirth. “We are hence able to continue our studies peacefully, but that does not mean we could be lackadaisical.”
“As you can see, this is our mission nowto provide a solution for this undetermined Chaos plague as soon as possible.”
With those words, the white-haired mage straightened and recalled the scene when he followed Joshua to St. Laurent Cathedral’s underground prison. Led by the patron of this church, Archbishop Artanis, the trio walked past thick layers of divine spell barriers and unlocked the tightly sealed dungeon door.
The moment it was opened, however, a rotting odor that could knock a person unconscious struck. Still, it was nothing for the three weathered men who had walked through seas of gore in a battlefield.
“I probably did not incinerate it cleanly. Looks like those cultists have become a breeding ground for the plague.”
Joshua lifted his brow in disgust, narrowing his eyes as he scanned a corner of the dungeon.
“Now, it’s a nest for Chaos.” He said softly.
“This place needs to be cleansed laterI want it completely purified.” Artanis, too, looked to that particular corner of the wall in disgust. A piece of black mold lay there, slowly spreading itself by leaving little dots in every corner of the dungeon.
It took the old archbishop a lot to stay his hand from cleansing the lot with divine purification. “We don’t have a sample yet, I’ll spare you for now.”
All the while, Moore did not say a thing but he looked visibly gloomier. Since none of them wanted to hang about in such a place, the trio quickened their footsteps and headed deeper into the prison.
Along the way, the pyroxene light that had been shining brilliantly dimmed, no thanks to the layer of mold now covering it. Although the divine spell circle still functioned, it slowed significantly due to the obstruction.
Soon, they arrived at the deepest part of the dungeon, the oval shaped prison hall.
Inhuman shrieks and growls rang from the dark prison; they were shrill and loudnot something made by ordinary existences. Artanis could not help but sigh hearing them, and briskly activated a circle.
In an instant, the positive energy radiance that was rather dull shone brightly across the entire hall.
With the luminosity, Joshua and the rest could see that the cultist members that had been locked up within the cells no longer bore any resemblance to humans. Behind the dual-layer of sealed railings, monsters with contorted bodies and unusual forms screamed in duress under the positive energy.
Each creature had shapes so varying the only similarity they shared was that they did look anything human. These abnormal beings either had swelling in their limbs or cluster of tumors growing rampantly. There were streaks of curious clefts over their body, where concentrated black ooze sprayed out incessantly, spreading more rot and stink.
“These are the source of the plaguecultists from the distant south,” Joshua told the elderly mage. “Their body composition and their black secretion carried the Black Blood Plague I mentioned and could be used as samples.”
Even as the warrior spoke, he was gathering an aura that scorched like the sun on his palm. The atmosphere in the room was twisted by the extreme heat, illuminating his face of distaste as he glared at the prowling beasts.
“The faster we take the samples the faster we could destroy these disgusting things,” he said dispassionately. “Creatures of Chaos are the cornerstone of distortionthe minions of the Evil God of Calamity are exactly that. Leaving them even half a second alive is unbearable.”
“Naturally,” Moore replied crisply. Truthfully, it was the first time he saw such nightmarish and misshapen creatures, every single one of them were more hideous compared to demons of the Abyss.
At the cell in front of the old mage was a lump of meat filled with disorderly tumors and swellings. Each tumor had the large mouth and razor-sharp teeth of eels, spraying thick ooze while squirming and shaking.
Moore swore that he wanted to vomit from pure disgust.
The sampling process was rather simple. Moore just had to collect a piece of the monster’s bodies, seal them within a white crystal bottle and ensure that the cells do not go into necrosis with a spell.
After he collected a sample from each Chaos creature, Joshua and Artanis stayed behind to sterilize every single one of them. Moore, in turn, ensured that he was not infected before hurrying to the guest hall and explain the main objective of this mission.
“This is something truly horrendous and unlike any other infectious diseases, each of you had studied before. All of you must be alert, there must no moment of carelessness when experimenting with them.”
Still, Moore could see that some of the mages were underestimating the pestilence. Therefore, he stressed loudly with a solemn tone none of them had heard before, “If anyone gets infected when we still do have the antidote or the suitable treatment I so swear by my name that I would wipe you out mercilessly.”
Those words were almost a threat. Despite that, the mages were smart enough to understand him.
Though some were strong and capable enough to not mind Moore’s phrasing, they still became alert at such direct cautioning. After all, most of them here in the Third Research Group were Moore’s own students or juniors. The others remaining were partners, but one way or another, all of them quickly decided the things they should be aware of in their experiments and procedures thanks to the old mage’s strong reputation and guidance.
Since Moldavia did not have a comprehensive laboratory they quickly departed to Mount Nissia. Winter Fort Academy was there, and there was one laboratory nearby where they could carry out their examination of the Chaos plague.
Obviously, they would also be part-time teachers at the academy albeit without a salary as they groomed the next generation of spellcasters in Moldavia. Most of them were at least mages of Silver-pinnacle levels and held broad knowledge. Their pedagogy alone were several times more incredible than that of rogue mages; they would solve the temporary shortage of teachers in the academy perfectly.
Indeed, if Joshua had not handled the Chest of Erebus incident or Nostradamus did not exhort them, the fee to employ someone from the Royal Mage Guild could make a noble of the smaller houses feel flesh pains.
And there were more than ten of them here who were taking turns giving lessons.
Since Moore had already greeted Joshua and the others before leaving the dungeon, he decided to quickly lead the others and leave. They had nothing to do here at this cathedral, so they could just quickly depart and begin their work. Moore also already had quite a few plague samples on hand, with some left here at St. Laurent which they could return to collect just in case.
As such, with the black-haired priest Delano leading the war, the mages headed for the Church’s teleportation circle. On the way, they bumped into a holy knight led by Ling and Ying, who seemed to be in a rush.
“Good day, Mr. Roland.”
The young priest stopped and paid his respects to the blond holy knight. “Did the interrogation gone smoothly?”
“Good day, young Delano.”
Initially, Roland’s expression seemed withdrawn and irked. He only forced a smile when Delano saluted him.
“Not really,” he said with a stifled voice. “This batch were just bewitched for a few days. They know nothing and could tell nothingsimple chess pieces sent to confuse us.”
The two shared another few brief exchanges before parting.
It was when they kept trudging on to the portal that Moore realized that the holy knight was heading towards the corridor leading to the dungeon. Then, he slowly remembered who the knight reallywasthe most powerful in a new generation of holy knights loyal to the Church of Seven Gods, a youth who was touching the edge of Supreme-tier even before thirty as well as the godchild of the current Pope, Roland!
Why would he appear here?
Apart from Moore, the other mages also became aware of the fact one after the other. As the holy knight’s silhouette vanished from a corner, the group began to chatter amongst themselves with hushed voices.
“Wait, wasn’t that Roland who just walked by us?”
“Why would he be here? This is the Northern Realmsthere’s an entire continent between here and the Sacred Mountain in the distant sea!”
“Right, and here I was just thinking, why would the Church send a Great Nun of the Glendon Abbey as a representative of their diplomatic envoy instead of their younger generation? I never thought that he would be here in the North, at Moldavia!”
With those words, everyone present paused, frowning as if thinking.
“Perhaps the Imperial Family and the Church has some hidden plans?”
One of the mages voiced his guess with a stifled voice. “The celebrations of First Spring already ended more than two weeks ago. The envoys of other nations had already left, leaving just the Church’s own, who are still in the capital and making the occasional private audience with the Emperor.”
“Now, Roland has appeared here in the North And coincidentally we’re sent here too, to handle the Chaos plague.”
The facts definitely would make anyone’s mind wander. The mages’ expression quickly became graveit now felt that their mission might not just be the simple task of fighting against a plague, there could just be some deeper meaning to it too.