Chapter 686 The Death Scar
Mary's situation was perilous!
She had taken a significant risk to dispose of that elven diviner. This decision had undoubtedly allowed the vampires to shake off the pursuit of the elven army. Unfortunately, it didn't help them get rid of the Third Grade Druid Elder Antoril!
The might of an enraged Third Grade powerhouse was something that the vampires could describe to you in detail with their personal experience.
Mary had as many as twenty-seven vampires with her when she left the previous day. Today, that total had been sharply reduced to a mere sixteen. With that other wave of lightning from the depths of the forest, the number once again fell to thirteen.
Mary stared into the distance and cursed as she saw the green smoke rising from the silent valley in the distance. She could only dive into a gorge within the forest with her remaining subordinates.
This gorge was a seemingly bottomless fissure that led underground. The widest spot in the crack measured one and a half kilometers, while its narrowest location could barely fit a person. The fissure was one kilometer deep and was always filled with a cloud of acrid yellow smoke. It was the thick smell of sulfur.
Below the fissure was a massive underground cavern that connected multiple caves for a total of several hundred hectares. Big caves engulfed smaller caves, and every cave connected to another within the cavern. It was a small underground world of its own.
The things that lived here were odd magical beasts and magical plants that were rarely found on the surface of the earth. Hundreds and thousands of strange species and mysterious creatures even formed a unique ecosystem of their own in this underground world.
The harsh environment beneath the fissure, and the ferocity of the magical beasts here, caused the place to become an infamous land of hazard and death in Garan. Only elves and druids that specifically wanted to hone their abilities would enter this place in an attempt to find rare resources not available elsewhere.
Now the desperate vampires had no choice but to enter this underground world under Mary's lead. It was the only way to avoid that berserk Third Grade druid elder.
Fifteen minutes after Mary and her vampires dove into the fissure, a crackle of thunder burst out in the air. That bearded druid elder, Antoril, appeared from a door of thunderlight, draped in clothes woven from leaves and wearing an eagle helm upon his head.
The thick smell of sulfur caused the druid to frown. The wrinkles on his forehead increased when he looked upon this vast gulf that spanned for fifty kilometers.
The Death Scar; to think it would be the Death Scar!
Elder Antoril let out a soft cry that resembled the call of a small beast. An odd rodent emerged from his leafy clothes and leaped to the ground. The rodent stood upon its hind legs and used its slender snout to sniff its surroundings.
The mouse changed directions several times and finally turned toward the fissure before letting out a sharp call.
Antoril tilted his head and listened for a second before exchanging a few more words with the rat. It was then that he waved his hand and pulled the rat back into his clothes.
With the help of this fantastic Larkrat, he was able to confirm that those vampires had indeed taken refuge underground.
That meant that he would have no choice but to risk venturing into the Death Scar if he wanted to continue his pursuit.
He might be both Third Grade and a child of nature, but he still maintained indescribable respect for the underground world beneath his feet. It didn't matter whether they were powerful magical beasts or unusual magical plants; all living beings inside that world were extraordinarily savage and ferocious.
It was difficult for druids to converse with them, even with their affinity for nature.
There were many times where a druid couldn't get away without a fight, especially when they ran into the more unreasonable creatures.
There once was an elven diviner who had come here to explore. That diviner had said that a mysterious, sinister feeling clung to the air of the place, apart from the heat and sulfur itself. It was almost as if some oddly powerful being of evil hid within the depths of the underground!
For this reason, several elven deities had even specially sent elite squads to uncover its secrets.
Sadly, the three elven powerhouses that traveled together had all died mysteriously within the depths of the fissure. Their ranks had included a Fourth Grade elven messenger, a Third Grade elven messenger, and a Fourth Grade Storm Sword Saint. The reason for their deaths had never been discovered. Even the God of Luck, Visenna, had been unable to divine the truth.
Such a secret was naturally unknown to people outside of the elves. Only the higher-ups had the opportunity to hear of this incident.
As a druid elder, Antoril naturally possessed the power and qualification to know of this matter. That was why the fury and anger in his heart finally erupted as he stood before this infamous and threatening Death Scar.
"Damned evil witches! You could have gone anywhere else, yet you still chose the Death Scar."
Though the Death Scar had an infamous reputation on the surface, its insides were extremely wide and spacious, with plenty of tunnels leading in every direction. The chances of running into danger were still slim as long as he didn't venture too deep underground.
Antoril hesitated for a moment. In the end, he gritted his teeth and stomped his feet before leaping down into that bottomless rift. A nature's mark had been left behind upon the spot where he had just been standing.
The drifting smoke stirred and quickly devoured Antoril's body, causing him to vanish without a trace.
Half a day later, the trees around the fissure swayed as a dozen elven warriors in green armor arrived on the scene. They quickly discovered the nature's mark left near the gorge. After a simple examination of the mark, they split up their forces. One group guarded the mark while the rest split up and headed toward different areas.
Another half a day later, a large group of elves arrived from the central mountains riding flying magical beasts. They set up a basic camp around the nature's mark and sent groups of elves to break into the underground to search for the locations of Elder Antoril and the witches.
This once unpopulated and desolate Death Scar turned lively once more!
Greem and the rest only arrived at that location five days later.
Along the way, the flying ship had to travel by night and make multiple detours to sneak into the vicinity without catching the eyes of the elves spread around the place.
Mary's aura had disappeared around this area.
After hiding his flying ship, Greem led Alice and Witch Uzzah out of the vessel. The three adepts hid in the forest and slowly approached the Death Scar under the guidance of their spells.
The Death Scar spanned several hundreds of kilometers. There was no way the elves could keep a close guard on every single part of the rift. Thus, after finding an unguarded spot, the three of them silently snuck into the fissure.
Unlike what they had expected, the underground world was not a place of death where all life was void.
The dark black soil, twisted plants, and the countless nameless beasts; for some reason, here in the Death Scar, the three of them felt as if they were back in the Black Forest of the World of Adepts.
Crimson Demon Tree, Manhunter Vines, Three-Headed Hulks, Greenfeather Snakes, Twin-headed Lizards, Man-eating Lashers…
The geography of this place and its ecology possessed a surprising similarity to the Black Forest.
Still, the density of magical aura here couldn't compare to the World of Adepts. As a result, the magic-affected plants and beasts here were all comparatively weaker. They were not as ferocious or sinister as the magical creatures and plants of the World of Adepts.
More importantly, the planar consciousness that had been suppressing them all this while weakened the moment they set foot in the caverns. It allowed them better control over their powers.
An interdimensional space?
The feeling that this place gave the three adepts was that of a miniature interdimensional space. Its aura was utterly different from the planar consciousness of Faen. In fact, it was directly contradictory to the natural powers of the forest elves. The common sense surrounding the development of a plane dictated that such an odd interdimensional location should not have been born in a planar space where such powerful deities resided.
If this place hadn't formed naturally, it meant that an extraordinarily powerful source of foreign energy existed within the depths of the fissure. It was the constant corruption of this energy that had allowed the area to escape the grasp of the planar consciousness, turning it into an interdimensional space where the elves didn't dare enter.
The forest elves living upon Faen lacked sufficient knowledge and theory of the planes and were thus incapable of recognizing this place and its true nature. However, Uzzah, Alice, and Greem were all individuals of vast knowledge and experience. They had already picked up on the abnormal structure of the space after mere kilometers of exploring the Death Scar.
They could no longer sense much of the Faen Plane's aura and consciousness here in this underground world. Instead, there was a trace of an extremely thick smell of death.
The further they progressed in the tunnels, the more they could see magical creatures and plants of the death attribute.
Ghost Trees, Withervines, Bloodsucking Vines, Poison Moss, Human-Faced Flowers, Magical Konjacs, Snakehead Fungi, and countless odd undead.
Indeed, this place had become a lost paradise of the undead!
These undead might all have been disguised as magical creatures and plants, but that pungent and assaulting origin of death within them could not escape the senses of the three adepts. Greem and the others detected undeniable signs of artificial modifications on their bodies.
That meant that these undead had not been born of natural causes, but instead were created through the mysterious means of some great existence.
All along the way, these undead had been lunging wildly at Greem and the two witches. They were almost like loyal dogs trying to stop the intruders' progress into the depths of the underground world.
Trying to get past the obstruction of these undead unharmed was merely a dream. The only choice left to them was to fight their way through!
Naturally, Uzzah couldn't be bothered to lift a finger against these beings that were only approximately at First Grade. Meanwhile, Alice had already lost all of her magical powers. Thus, Greem became the only laborer of the group. He could only silently open a road forward.
To avoid the loud explosions of his powerful fire spells from alerting potential enemies, Greem chose to use his most silent and reliable method of murder- the Ring of Fire.