Chapter 199 Night of Terror
It was a temporary camp.
The camp was located in the middle of a pile of rocks.
The two to three meter tall rocks were messily stacked upon each other. They may not have look very ordered or well-arranged, but they were able to bring about some sense of security for the campers.
The mist was damp and heavy.
Even though it was already deep into the night, the travellers camping amidst the pile of rocks had not started a campfire to get rid of the moist air. No one was speaking either. Under the black shadows of the towering rocks, a handful of adventurers wrapped their bodies with thick animal furs and cloth, trying hard to fall asleep.
However, the scene they saw during the day Had been too shocking– so shocking that no one in the camp could sleep.
"Sylow, do you think we can return home alive?" The hunter, Poole, lightly jabbed the sides of his companion from the same village and whispered softly.
Sylow was an archer. He was the best archer back in the village they came from.
Sylow turned his body, but didn't answer his companion's question.
However, Poole vaguely realized that his companion was slightly shaking when he touched him earlier. He didn't ask his companion the reason, for at this very moment, his body was also shaking uncontrollably.
That terrifying flame humanoid as large as a demon. That deafening sound of explosion that shook the entire forest. The sea of flames that seemed like they would consume everything. Two lord knights and three mercenaries had so easily died in the sea of flames, becoming yet more souls reaped by the evil adepts.
Each of those characters were likely infinitely stronger than himself!
When he recalled the scene he had seen while crouched on the top of the tree that evening, Poole felt like even his soul was shaking. It was almost as if… almost as if he himself had turned into the knight engulfed by the violent flames, only capable of letting out his life’s last sorrowful cry!
Pressured by the terror in his heart, Poole found the courage to turn around to face a shadow at the other end of the camp and asked softly, "Sir Morse, will we be able to return home alive?"
"Silence! Do you want to draw those adepts over?" The spellbreaker knight Sir Morse, who was hidden by the shadows, scolded softly. But then his tone became gentle, "Don't think too much. Our mission is to investigate the surroundings of Serpentfowl Cliff. Just 1.5 more kilometers tomorrow and we can accomplish our mission. Then you will be able to claim your reward from the base. That's 30 gold sorens! More than enough for you to live comfortably for ten years!"
Perhaps due to the thought of a peaceful life after obtaining the reward, Poole was able to slightly let go of his concerns. He wrapped himself tightly in the thick fur once more, trying to get a little warmer.
Poole had no idea that the earth was starting to rise in a spot at the middle of the base as he was trying to fall asleep. As the earth finally gave way, countless black scorpions surged out, forming into five separate black tides of bug that silently streamed into the surrounding darkness.
After a short moment, Knight Morse's angered roar rang out in the darkness.
"Get up… everyone get up… Evil Bugs is here!"
Following the flash of light from an energy shield’s activation, the flame longsword in his hand was also ignited. The blinding light of the flame instantly illuminated the crude camp. There were five people in the camp. Besides himself, there were two witcher-knights and two mercenary hunters.
Unfortunately, when the flickering light illuminated the camp the only ones that were able to leap out of the furs were himself and a witcher-knight named Gurm. The other three didn't respond at all. Looking from a distance, the only thing they could see were the furs and felts creeping about as the bugs within crawled around.
"Dammit… " Morse cursed angrily, "Get your weapons and prepare for battle."
In truth, there was no need for him to remind him, as Knight Gurm was already swatting away the numerous scorpions on his body, using his resilient will to resist the waves of nausea while drawing out his runic longsword.
These scorpions had repeatedly stung him with their poison stingers once they crawled into his felt, yet oddly enough there was no pain. If he hadn't been alerted by Sir Morse's loud roar, he would’ve probably died silently in his sleep like the other witcher-knight.
The burning flame longsword was vigorously stabbed into the ground, causing a violent flame shockwave to instantly engulf the camp.
Under Knight Morse's powerful explosion, the scorpions that had been frantically scurrying towards them were devoured by the ferocious elementium flames. The ear-piercing cries of the dying bugs could be heard everywhere in the camp.
However, the tunnel that appeared in the middle of the camp suddenly collapsed, spewing forth larger beetles that flowed forth under the illumination of countless tiny flames on the battlefield. They gathered together, forming a terrifying, creeping pile of bugs, slowly rising in height.
Very soon, a human outline made of the terrifying bug swarm appeared in the camp.
The two knights couldn't hide the despair in their eyes when they saw the evil adept's odd method of appearance. It was like the insides of their hearts were soaked in snow and ice- all they felt was cold.
Evil Bugs Acteon had appeared!
In a cave under a cliff, six kilometers northwest.
The bright campfire was still burning strong.
The entrance of the cave was covered with a thick pelt. Moreover, the outside of the cave was covered by dense vegetation. There was no worry that the light of the fire would be seen from outside.
The four people in the camp were sitting around the campfire, silently wiping their weapons and armor, with no intention or desire to have a conversation.
They were very fortunate to have reached this hidden cave before sundown under the hunter’s lead. This was why they were able to set up a camp with a fire to drive away the moist air of the forest. Otherwise, had they camped out in the open, they would never dare to start a fire.
In Greenland Forest, where it there were leaves and bushes for miles, even a little firelight within the darkness could clearly be seen from ten kilometers away. Even though there were no longer any beasts or magical creatures in this piece of woods, there were still the evil adepts who were far scarier than any wild beast.
In two days time, this four-man squad had only managed to progress no more than fifteen kilometers, and already they had been attacked fifteen times by voodoo beasts.
These voodoo beasts roamed the forest in packs. The moment they sensed any humans nearby, they would charge forth fearlessly like a bunch of mad hounds. They could be plague hounds, or mad bulls, or poison dart frogs… of course, they also met an odd creature created by combining winged dragons and human lancers.
Not a single one of these odd creatures were normal. They either brought terrifying plagues or viruses or were bloody and disgusting creatures that were clearly the amalgamation of several wild beasts!
It was thanks to the spellbreaker knight's powerful mid-ranged flame blade that they were able to fight their way here.
Very fortunately, even though they were attacked by hordes of voodoo beasts, they had yet to meet those evil adepts!
The southern region of the Greenland Forest was mountainous, while its forest stretched for countless miles. Once one entered the dense woods, it would be hard to tell if anyone was near, even if they were only a hundred meters apart. Thus, it was virtually impossible to totally stop the progress of the knight squad with only a dozen adepts spread out in this large area.
It wasn’t particularly unusual that they were able to reach here without meeting any adepts.
However, back in the evening, they had witnessed a battle far away from the top of a hill that caused the squad to become deathly silent. A group that was not much weaker than theirs had been exterminated under the assault of the Flame Demon!
Deep in their hearts, the knights were extremely upset with their superiors’ decision to send them on a suicide mission to investigate the forest. However, after a little thinking, it was a reasonable choice. With such a vast forest before them, the 2000-man witcher-knight army could only roam about aimlessly if they didn't have a specific target.
When that happened, even the massive amount of supplies required to sustain 2000 men was sufficient to cause the army to collapse, before they could even find the enemy and wage war on them!
Thus, even though there were witcher-knights painfully dying in the depths of the woods every day, the army’s higher-ups insisted on the plan of having investigation squads search the forest.
After paying the price of two dozen spellbreaker knights’ lives, and over fifty witcher-knights, they had finally completed the search of the outer area of the forest. The adepts' defensive line was slowly shrinking. Perhaps in another three to four days, they would be able to completely comb this vast forest of hundreds of kilometers and find the den the enemies were hiding in.
Then, it would be the wonderful time to rouse their army and exterminate the evil adepts' den in one fell swoop!
But while the idea was wonderful, having it come to fruition required even more work and sacrifice. As for whether they would be able to live to see that wonderful moment, the two spellbreaker knights in the stone cave had no idea.
However, just as everyone was gazing into the fire in a daze, an odd knocking sound rang out from the entrance of the cave.
"Clang. Clang. Clang.… anybody here?"
"Who is it?" A hunter replied in shock. Then he realized he was in the middle of nowhere. Where would a door have come from? Where would a visitor have come from?
"A lonely traveler! If you have no qualms, I'll be coming in!" The voice from outside sounded really weird. It was stiff and hoarse, completely unlike any human's voice.
"Since you have made it here, then come in if you will! No need for any theatrics outside!" The spellbreaker knight Entos slowly got up, light radiating from his energy shield and his flame longsword.
All of a sudden, he turned to look at his companion, who was sitting beside him, in surprise.
Heim, who was also a spellbreaker knight, was sitting on the ground, but veins were bulging on his forehead, his head was flushed, and his teeth were grinding together so hard they were letting out a screeching sound.
"What's happened to you?" Entos asked loudly.
"I'm… falling… under… someone's… control," A simple sentence, but Knight Heim had to pause between each and every word. After he said that, even his eyes started to become red.
Knight Entos immediately activated the flame longsword in his hand. The elementium flame that suddenly erupted instantly illuminated the entire cave, as well as Knight Heim.
The first thing he saw was several semi-translucent threads floating behind Knight Heim, who was sitting on a felt. All the threads had dug into his body, while the other ends silently extended to the top of the cave.
"Dammit, it's Marionette!" Knight Entos roared in anger, and a flame blade slashed through the air, slicing through those seven or eight odd threads.
With the help of his companion, Knight Heim was finally able to break free from the control of the threads. Quickly, he jumped onto his feet and shouted, "Everyone get ready. It's the evil adept Marionette…"
Yet just as he was shouting, the two mercenaries who were also sitting beside the fire stood up clumsily. An odd grin appeared on their faces before they leapt towards the knights, weapons in hand.