"Let’s ask the orcs to start digging on the hill tomorrow. I heard they are very skilled. This hill is not huge. We will find the treasure no matter what, even if we have to dig the whole hill flat." Anfey smiled.
"Anfey, I…" Suzanna hesitated a little bit and said, "I have told you that the other half of the treasure map had been robbed. Without the spells on the other half of the map, we may not be able to open the treasure."
"What kind of spells?" Christian asked, worried.
"It’s an ancient rune. I do not understand it," Suzanna answered.
"Ancient rune? Only alchemists like to study it," Christian said.
"Yes, my master told me this treasure was kept by an element lock," Suzanna said.
"Element lock? That does not sound good." Christian could not help smiling bitterly.
"What is an element lock?" Anfey asked.
There were so many things Anfey did not know about, and he humbly asked about them every time when he encountered them; so no one was surprised when he asked about an element lock. Christian whispered to answer Anfey’s question, "It is a way to seal things. Only alchemists can create an element lock. After an element lock is created, it has to be unlocked with correct spells, otherwise the element lock will explode. It would be a huge explosion too. All the elements will be shuffled in chaotic order and turn the air into a vacuum."
"Then we can unlock it in the wrong way on purpose to cause the explosion. As long as we are careful, we would not get hurt. Will the element lock come back after the explosion?" Anfey asked.
"But the treasure would be blow up as well. The power of element locks vary. Usually alchemists will adjust the power of an element lock based on the size of the item they try to seal. The only way to safely acquire the treasure is to find the spells," Christian said.
"So I think we still have to find the treasure first. Don’t worry about other things. Maybe the element lock has already expired and lost its effectiveness." Christian and others looked at each other, and then they all nodded. They knew no one would unlock the element lock without spells, not even archmages. Therefore, their discussion would not help anyway.
"Anfey!" Sante had already landed on the stairs when everyone heard his voice. He did not look too good.
"What happened?" Anfey frowned.
"I have told the orcs exactly what you have told me, but many orcs wanted to leave and did not want to work for us. What should I do?" Sante sighed.
"Didn’t I tell you to kill any orc who wants to leave?" Anfey said.
"Ah, Anfey, there are more than fifty orcs wanting to leave, and a lot of kids and…" Sante said.
"I will go and take a look," Blavi interrupted.
Among Christian and others in the legion, Blavi acted on instinct the most. In modern language, he would be called very "feisty". He cursed at Zeda at Saul’s house, and Zeda almost killed him with a kick. Besides Anfey and Suzanna, he killed the most on their journey to escape.
Personality usually developed little by little. Blavi had always liked to control others’ lives. However, he was nervous and scared at the beginning of their escape, but felt excited now. Blavi had changed. He did not think it was a big deal to kill dozens of orcs. Instead, he was not happy with Sante’s hesitation. Anfey had said clearly that any orc who wanted to leave needed to be killed. If it were him, he would not come back and asked Anfey again. He’d rather kill those orcs immediately when he knew they wanted to leave.
"Be careful." Anfey nodded.
"I will," Blavi answered quietly. He flew with levitation magic to the exit of the cave and sped up.
"Christian, an element lock has magic surges. Can you sense the location of the treasure?" Suzanna asked suddenly.
"I would not sense it, but I can set up a magic array to test it," Christian said.
"Orcs will work during the day. You can set up the magic array at night when the orcs are resting. There are only seven or eight days left before the full moon. We need to hurry," Anfey said.
Christian and others looked at each other, speechless. They had explained to Anfey how horrible the Forest of Death could be. They knew Anfey still wanted to go, otherwise he would not constantly emphasize the full moon. They understood Anfey was trying to prepare them for the trip, but did they have to go?
There was an intense magic surge outside the cave. Obviously, Blavi had started to kill orcs. Judging from the intensity of the magic surge, Blavi did not wait for the orcs to leave the village before starting to kill them. This was a warning for the rest of the orcs.
The look on everyone in the cave had changed, but Anfey looked like nothing had happened. Suzanna looked aloof. Riska was thinking with his head down. Christian looked a little sad. He did not want to see any killing, but he was smart enough to absolutely respect Anfey’s decision. Anfey had not made many mistakes during their escape. To him, it was wise to respect Anfey’s decision.
"Christian, can you take few people with you to pick up Niya and the others," Anfey said slowly.
"Ok," Christian nodded.
* * * *
When Niya and the others reached the tribe of orcs, it was already dark. Orcs had cleaned up the messy tribe when Niya and the others were on the way. They even moved everything in the cave out to clear up the room for them to sleep.
Anfey had thought to have orcs rest in the cave with Niya and the others, which would make it easy to watch over the orcs, but Niya was against it. She hated the look of orcs and their body odor. Anfey asked Niya to rest in the orcs’ only surviving straw house. Niya was against that idea too. To be honest, the straw house smelled even worse than the cave. It was not because orcs did not want to be clean, but they never had the concept of hygiene. Hundreds of orcs lived in a village without any restroom facility. How could it be clean?
Anfey understood Niya’s concern, so he asked Christian to set up a magic array and sent orcs into it. Anfey also asked Blavi, whom orcs hated and were scared of the most, to watch over them at night. If any orc wanted to escape, it would have to take a lot of courage to flee under Balvi’s watch.
The problem of a shortage of food made Anfey’s head hurt. Anfey had thought they would have more food after they took over the orc tribe. He did not expect the orcs’ food to be so different than theirs. Orcs cut off ever-green trees with flowers and ground them into powder. They mixed the powder with some water and baked it under the sun. That was their bread.
Anfey tasted a little bit of the bread. To be honest, it was not horrible. It had a little bit of a bitter taste, but the texture was horrible. The orcs’ bread was so tough that it could be used as weapons, to use Anfey’s own words. When the bread was bitten into smaller pieces in the mouth, Anfey felt they were like small stones. He could not swallow them.
Orcs like to cut the magic beasts’ stomachs open and take out their organs. Then they cut the magic beasts up, left them in a big pot and cooked them into a soup dish. Without mentioning their cooking skills, the pots had already shocked everyone. The whole orc tribe only had three pots, and one of three orc chiefs in charge of each. When orcs showed Anfey where the pot was, Anfey stared at the pot in amazement, and his jaw dropped.
Orcs did not have the habit of washing pots. When they were kicked out of the human world, they had to try to just survive in the forest. Therefore, some good habits they had developed in the human world had gradually disappeared.
When Anfey was approaching the pot, he heard a huge humming sound and saw a cloud of smog rising in the air. There were millions of half-finger sized dark blue flies covered under the cloud of smog. A little bit of soup was left in the pot and a layer of flies were floating on it. There were bumps on the side of the pot, which must have been left by different magic beasts. A nasty smell rushed into Anfey’s nose. Luckily, Anfey kept his legs steady, otherwise he would have fallen by the wave of smell.
Anfey held his breath, turned around and walked away. If they were out of food, he would eat this kind of food. He still had other options, so he did not mention eating this kind of food, and he did not even want to look at it again.
Anfey was wondering how these orcs could have javelin throws, leather armor, and short-shaft sticks with wolf fangs when they were so short of basic items. He felt he should look for some clues from Hui Wei. He was not worried about this problem yet, since he had control of Hui Wei. Anfey had to pressure him to make him tell how to set up an Antimagic Terra first.
The second day, the orcs started to work on the heavy construction. Anfey kept his word and paid the orcs in gold coins at the end of day, which bolstered the orcs’ morale. Orcs did not need to go out and hunt, since there were many mages in Anfey’s legion who could hunt with magic. It was self-evident which was more efficient: hunting with magic or with spears. When several mages went out together, they always could bring back some junior magic beasts. Four days later, the magic array that Christian set up finally sensed some weak magic surges. This discovery was helpful in deciding the correct direction of their digging, instead of digging everywhere.
Anfey made a conservative estimate that they would need only two more days to find treasure. It was wise to estimate conservatively since thinking the worst could prepare him for surprises later on.
The second day at noon, a few orcs fell into an ancient tunnel when they were digging into the hill. The tunnel was slanted downwards so those few orcs rolled down the tunnel and dizzily fell on a pile. They tried to look around with the very weak element light. They were so shocked that they froze into statues.
They worked so hard to earn a gold coin a day. It had already made them quite happy. Right now they had gold coins everywhere at their feet, and countless jewelry shone under the dim element light.
Besides gold coins and jewelry, heavy armor and weapons piled up in the front and both sides of the cave wall. It was hard to see the texture of the weapons, since dirt had covered the whole stone chamber over time.
There was a silver box floating in the air. If these orcs had better eyes, they could tell it was not silver, but a rare mithril. Mithril was so rare that a palm size amount would make anyone wealthy.
A black arc and quiver and a 6-foot long giant axe were hung in the front of the cave wall, but the orcs’ eyes were fixed on the gold coins under their feet. They stared at the gold coins. Without knowing who started or whether they all started at the same time, the orcs started to pick gold coins up and put as many of them in their pockets as they could.
That day Riska was watching over the orcs. It was not long before Riska noticed something unusual. Anfey, Christian, and Suzanna all came over shortly. They passed the long alley and landed in the stone chamber. The orcs in the stone chamber did not notice their presence and kept putting gold coins in their pockets. What they did was stupid since it was easy to tell what had happened. They all looked like they were pregnant.
"Put the gold coins down and get out!" Anfey said flatly.
The orcs just noticed Anfey and the others with him. Their bodies were frigid for a second, and then they turned around to look at Anfey with fury in their eyes. The gold coins had made them even less intelligent. They did stupid things that even junior magic beasts would not do.
Suzanna snorted heavily. She and Shally had tried so hard to search for this treasure. Today they finally found it. How could she allow these orcs to take any of it?
"Suzanna!" Anfey called her name quietly and then turned to thoe orcs. "Didn’t you hear me? Put the gold coins down and get out!"
The orcs shook a little bit out of fear. They just realized the huge difference in power between them. If Anfey’s legion were composed of regular people, they would have torn them up. The people in front of the orcs had killed soldiers in their tribe, captured their leader, and had power hundreds of times stronger than theirs. They hesitated a little bit and unwillingly tossed the gold coins on the floor. Every orc could be considered smart since they each kept a few coins in their pockets.
"These bastards!" Christian cursed after the orcs climbed back to the alley. This time even the generous Christian thought orcs were too much.
"Don’t worry about them. Let’s take a look at what we got today." Anfey smiled.
They all looked at the box in the air. This was the difference in perspective. Anfey and the others did not even care about the gold coins and jewelry at all.