Following the same route as the week before, Greem set out on his inspection trip.
Greem quickly noticed that things were quite different today.
When he set his foot on the stone paved path, Greem immediately felt things were wrong. Today, the demons were strangely excited and were behaving in unusual ways.
The first stop of his inspection was the grove of Ghost Trees.
Before he even reached the grove, Greem was freaked out by what he saw in front of him.
Hundreds of Scavenger Crows were standing on top of those skinny and wrinkled Ghost Trees, and every single one of them had their beady red eyes focused on Greem. Oddly enough, none of them were making any noise, which was totally different from how they normally behaved.
Honestly, being stared at by a few hundred Scavenger Crows at the same time would make even the bravest Apprentice Adept's spine crawl. But what made Greem feel even more baffled was how quiet they were. If they were behaving normally, the noisy caws of the Scavenger Crows could be heard from a mile away.
Judging from their quiet manner, it looked like they were all anticipating having a big feast.
From the knowledge Greem had in his mind, these Scavenger Crows would only be so quiet and patient when they were waiting for their food. It was said that these birds could follow a dying traveler for days without sleep or rest, just waiting for the moment when the traveler finally fell.
Under the 'welcoming parade' of a few hundred Scavenger Crows, Greem slowly began walking down the stony trail. As he proceeded, he knew that he was completely surrounded by creatures who came with bad intentions.
"Chip. Perform a scan the surrounding area. I want to know what is happening here!" Greem could no longer stand the oppressing atmosphere and whispered an order to the Chip.
*Beep* "Commencing real-time scanning task… establishing dynamic monitoring for surrounding area…" *Beep* … *Beep* … *Beep* … "Source of disturbance is -unknown smell- … Direction: South East… Distance: 500 meters…"
After noting the Chip's report, Greem took a deep breath and tried to smell this 'Unknown Smell'. After a moment, he was able to sense the mild smell of blood mixed with the rotten smell of the fog. No wonder all these demons looked so excited today! If he was able to smell the scent of blood, of course these creatures, who had tens or even hundreds of times more sensitive senses, could smell it!
However, today was not the monthly 'open day', when the tower would purposely lower the swamps defences to entice outsiders to come and 'feed' the 'wildlife'! Could it be someone had really sneaked into this place?
With questions filling his mind, Greem poured an entire bottle of 'Alan Grass' potion into his mouth, pulled up his hood, and started running towards the South East.
An Alan Grass Potion was a special magic potion decocted from Alan Grass. It was able to close every single pore on a human's body, suppressing the drinker's body odors. But it only lasted for 30 minutes.
In the Garden of Whispers.
The garden, which was usually dead silent and completely empty of life, had turned into a terrifying battleground.
As he approached the site, he could hear the horrible screams of Demon Babies and the cries of wandering souls. He also heard loud human voices, cursing with rage and fright. Apparently, this was the source of the pungent smell of blood that had attracted his attention. Using the trees and grass as cover, Greem slowly moved closer to the battlefield. Soon, he found a place with a good view, which allowed him to watch what was happening.
There were two groups fighting at the scene.
The attackers were, of course, the horrible Demon Babies and the other wandering souls who lived here. Then there were 17 mercenaries struggling to hold off the horrifying creatures in front of them.
It seemed to be a group of skillful and experienced mercenaries. They looked strong and vigorous, and were not lacking in physical strength or courage. Also, their equipment was pretty good. They had large thick shields made from solid wood, arm and shoulder guards, and each of them had a bow with them. This made them capable of hunting many of the ordinary demons in this swamp.
But, unfortunately for them, the demons who surrounded them were some of the most frightening creatures within the swamp: Demon Babies.
Demon Baby had no legs, and crawled across the ground with a pair of sharp claws, dragging a long organ, which looked like an umbilical cord, behind them. They were ugly and had twisted bodies, yet looked remarkably similar to human infants. However, their faces were not made of smooth youthful flesh, but of wrinkled dead skin, and their facial features were squeezed together, giving them extremely ugly faces.
Within the knee-deep bushes, these small demons were crawling back and forth, letting out curses and screams that echoed throughout the area. Whenever a baby's cry was heard, it would immediately cause those human mercenaries to yell in fright.
Although these Demon Babies had small bodies, each of them had a Strength of at least 5, which equaled that of your average adult human. Not only that, but they also had a pair of deadly claws. Whenever they leaped forward and struck the large wooden shields, they would leave deep scratch marks behind.
However, their deadliest weapon was their Curse.
When Greem arrived, these Demon Babies were trying to break through the defensive shields with their bodies.
One after the other, the Demon Babies rushed through the bushes, launching themselves into the air and trying to land behind the defensive shields of those mercenaries, but every time, those mercenaries, who were prepared, would knock them back with their arm guards. There was even a Demon Baby who couldn't escape in time, and found themselves nailed to the ground with an arrow.
Although it had its body nailed to the ground, the Demon Baby was still very fierce, crazily digging the dirt with its claws. Then it raised its body and let out an irritating baby cry toward a closest human mercenary.
The cry was sharp and ear-splitting, but while it was just an unpleasant noise for other people, but when the cry hit the mercenary who was standing closest to it, it instantly struck him with the frightening 'Curse'.
The muscular mercenary suddenly threw away his shield and placed both of his hands tightly against his ear, screaming out, "Help me! … I can't see anything! …"
Right after he screamed, tears of blood spilled from his tightly closed eyes, terrifying the rest of the mercenaries.
Before anyone could do anything, another two Demon Babies dashed out from the bushes, ferocious smiles on their ugly faces. They opened up their mouths and screamed at the mercenary who had been previously struck by 'Blind'.
Blind + Insanity + Confuse!
Even an official Apprentice Adept would have a hard time in defending against a Demon Baby's curse, let alone these mercenaries, who were only ordinary humans. Before his fellow mercenaries could knock him out, this mercenary crazily pushed away everything around him and rushed out of the defensive formation.
"No! … Bazar, come back!…"
A middle-aged man, who looked like the leader of the group, immediately shouted from within the formation. But it was too late.
If someone could have looked down from above, he would have seen some crazy movements within the bushes around this team of mercenaries, as many fast moving grass lines shot toward the mercenary who was fleeing in confusion.
"Bazar!" A bold looking man threw away his own shield, grabbed an ax, and started charging out to rescue his friend. However, he was forcefully pulled back by his leader.
"Don't go, Tark! It is too late now…" The leader grabbed the bold looking man's arm while gazing helplessly after the departing man.
As if proving his words, Bazar, who was running amok, got pushed down by a swarm of Demon Babies. His pain filled and shrill screaming only lasted for a few more seconds before coming to a complete stop. Then all that could be heard was the noise of those Demon Babies tearing into his flesh and munching on his bones.
Although it was half covered by the knee-deep bushes, no mercenary could stand to witness the scene of those Demon Babies feasting on their friend. Just by looking at the constant moving dried grass and listening to the terrifying and eerie noises, it was still enough for them to envision the extremely dreadful scene that must be happening in those bushes. Therefore, their long-standing determination and morale began to fall.
Suddenly, a human head sized fireball shot out from the center of the mercenaries, creating a long trail of dark smoke. It fell right into the center of the area where those Demon Babies were happily feasting.
In next second, together with a deafening explosion, the terrifying Fire Elementium expanded and turning everything in an area of ten meters into a raging sea of flames.
With just this one single strike, more than twenty Demon Babies were killed. Fourteen of them, who were at the center of the explosion, had been turned into ashes in an instant. Those who at the edges of the explosion were all injured by the raging flames. For a moment, the shrill cries of Demon Babies reverberated through the skies!
A Fire Spell?!
Greem, who was watching from the dark, was startled for a moment. He quickly looked around, soon finding three suspicious targets, who were standing in the center of the mercenaries. There were all dressed relatively similarly to himself.
Their black cloaks and hoods completely covered their bodies so that not even an inch of their skin was exposed, but, judging from the size of their bodies, he supposed that they were two men and a girl.
Three Apprentice Adepts who had left their nest for experience?
As he couldn't directly see them, there was no way for Greem to obtain the specific attributes of these people. Hence, he didn't dare act recklessly. He quietly took out his Magical Talisman and reported what was happening here to the Adept Tower.
During this period of time, the Demon Babies, who had suffered great losses, actually called upon all the wandering souls to aid them.
As these wandering souls were capable of living among other demons, of course they were not low-ranked creatures, like those zombies or skeletons, but, rather, were actually a conscious body that was formed from strong resentment and evil intentions. Although they had human forms, they didn't have physical bodies, and their innate ability to freely shift between the ethereal and the physical allowed them to ignore most physical attacks and defenses.
Their bodies looked like blurry shadows. Comparatively, their heads were much clearer, and they had facial features similar to that of a human. They had a pair of arms with sharp claws, yet where their legs should be was just a vague shadow. If looking from afar, it was like their legs had merged into the air.
When this group of wandering souls dashed out from the woods, the entire place was immediately filled with the eerie cries of ghosts, which could make one's soul shiver. The temperature also significantly dropped.
When attacked by this, seemingly endless, group of frightening wandering souls, the mercenaries defensive formation immediately collapsed.
The wandering souls, who had shifted their bodies into their ethereal forms jumped into the group of men without fear, as they could totally ignore the weapons and shield held by those mercenaries. With their icy cold ghost claws, these wandering souls were busy leaving deadly scratch marks on their target's bodies. There were even some wandering souls squeezed themselves into the bodies of the mercenaries, taking control over their bodies and launching attacks against the other mercenaries.
Now that a breach had been created by the wander souls, the evil Demon Babies, again, joined the battle, using their horrifying curses to destroy the wills of these mercenaries. After that, they dragged the cursed bodies into bushes and started feasting on them.
The scene had become even more chaotic and bloody.