Chapter 341: An ancient magical formation
Celt certainly felt like his luck had run dry lately. Really, it was almost like he was the epitome of bad luck! This trip to the Dark Forest should’ve been a rich experience, fat with loot and rewards. There was no way he would’ve expected to encounter setbacks by the dozen.
To begin, the Dark Mantle had seemingly set their eyes on him the second he’d set foot in the Dark Forest. They stuck to him like a bunch of irritating flies, never leaving him or his group unwatched. When he’d finally managed to loot the den of a golden dragon, an elusive expert had come along to pursue him. That battle had cost him his steed, as well as his ear.
Even that fire grand magus Marceau, who he’d taken great effort to invite, had inexplicably disappeared. Her two disciples wouldn’t stop nattering about her all day either, so that hadn’t helped his mood.
Finally when he’d reached the underground world, Celt had assumed that he could take advantage of his superior forces to easily subdue that creature. Yet once again, he’d encountered a severe setback. Even after three consecutive attempts, they’d failed to occupy the magic crystal mine. Other than three hundred injured men, they’d gained nothing.
In the end, his low numbers had forced him into an alliance with the dark elves that disgusted him so. His pride and arrogance had taken a severe blow in the last few days, and he intended to rectify that shortly. He would vent all his ill humor by seizing the magic crystal mine and thoroughly torturing any lizardmen who dared to block his path.
“Mister Celt, I hope you can appreciate and cherish this opportunity that you’ve been blessed with. It’s not very often we dark elves are willing to work with others.” A refined, elegantly attired male dark elf was speaking to Celt. A natural intricate web of creases and folds decorated his left cheek, and a tuft of a beard grew from his chin. All in all, the effect made him look a bit sinister.
This male dark elf’s outfit was that of a noble, gorgeous and luxurious. A black magic staff was lazily gripped in his left hand as his slow words reached Celt.
Celt’s face clouded over. He ordered the knights to stop when they were about to reach the gourd-shaped mountain guarded by the lizardmen. Turning his head to glance at the elegant male dark elf, he said in a neutral tone, “Distinguished Sir Arlen, you should know that we are acting in mutual benefit this time, and not that I’ve begged you to come with me.”
“Our aim is the magic crystal mine, while you dark elves would be equally happy to see large numbers of the lizardmen eradicated. If that strange creature continues to protect the lizardmen, it won’t be an easy matter for you to occupy their territory. That creature is afraid of flame, so I hope you’ve prepared enough goblin missiles, or we can just turn back right now.”
“Mister Celt, rest assured that the sage dark elves are the true masters of this layer. Those cowardly goblins offer us an astonishing number of missiles in tribute every year. That enormous creature will surely be blasted into smithereens.” The dark elf Dana was as flirtatious as ever, smiling obsequiously at Celt. Her limpid eyes that were capable of drawing people in, were sweeping up and down his body. Celt secretly swallowed a mouthful of drool that was threatening to leak out the side of his mouth. This wanton woman is alluring alright! However, he naturally wouldn’t reveal the unbridled side of him that “gone to war” with a naked Dana in front of his subordinates.
Celt solemnly revealed a charming smile and nodded, “Then I’m relieved. We have gone in thrice and have some understanding of this creature. It seems unable to leave the foot of the gourd mountain. If not, we would have absolutely incurred a much bigger loss in our last three attempts. As the lizardmen are protecting the magic crystal mine, we don’t know whether or not that strange creature has evolved from the lizardmen. It looks like an enormous lizard a thousand times larger than the lizardmen and occupies a large area underneath the gourd mountain. You should be careful when you go in, it’s best to immediately retreat from the gourd mountain if there’s anything you can’t handle.”
“Well then, what are we waiting for? Let’s send those lizardmen to hell!” Dark elf leader Arlen waved the dark magic scepter in hand, gesturing for his dark elves to begin the assault.
Celt hesitated no more upon hearing his words. He nodded to the several knight captains to his rear. He himself drew out a bright sword, but it wasn’t the divine artifact “Starry Sky”. Celt headed straight for the gourd mountain together with the traitor druid Kassel.
“So that fellow is afraid of fire, huh? Celt’s finally provided some useful information!” Han Shuo secretly thought as he eavesdropped through the yin demon.
Han Shuo didn’t immediately rush into the gourd mountain the lizardmen were guarding. Instead, he used the yin demon to determine Celt’s course of action, hiding himself in a dark corner and waiting to take advantage of the ensuing chaos to silently sneak in.
The Redbud Knights and the dark elf invaders advanced openly towards the gourd mountain, accompanied by Celt’s long and loud howl. Arlen stood forth as their obvious leader as even matriarch Dana, who’d attempted to take advantage of Han Shuo last time, followed Arlen’s lead.
Arlen led several several bow or staff wielding dark elves to stroll leisurely up to the gourd mountain. He watched the lizardmen, running out of their caves after receiving the alarm, and spoke with a voice dripping with disdain, “You base and vulgar lizardmen! You have neither the qualification nor the rights to enjoy this fertile land. I will give you a one last chance. As long as you get the hell out of Paparlia, we noble dark elves will let you go.”
Each race had its own unique language in the vast underground world. However, they still used the common human language when conversing, as the human language was concise and simple. Moreover, after so many years of development, human civilization was undoubtedly the leader of the entire Continent.
Many lizardmen walked out of the mountain caves. They stared in anger at Arlen and his lackeys touting their own nobility. A lizardman with a relatively coarse big tail pointed a weapon that looked like a cross between a knife and a fork at the extravagantly clothed Arlen. He shouted shrilly in the common tongue, “Despicable, greedy dark elves, this land is protected by the guardian god of our race! No one can even dreaming of intruding! If you dark elves dare to wage a war with our true god, we will fight this bloody battle with you till the end! Our true god shall destroy you despicable, dirty offenders!”
“Hmph, just an enormous lizard; how did it become your true god?” Arlen snorted dismissively, creating an odd hand seal in front of his chest. He spoke with a somewhat pious expression, “We are blessed with the protection of Goddess Rose, and will sweep out all the races in this layer. The dark elves shall unify all the great races in the world, and no one can stop this!”
“How dare you greedy dark elves look down on our mighty true god!! You will pay the price!” The lizardman’s shrill voice became even sharper. He raised his tail high as he bellowed, snapping it in the air like an enormous whip.
The lizardmen possessed strong, fleshy bodies with incredible raw battle strength. However, they were unable to grasp the profundities of magic, so their culture was far more crude and vulgar compared to the illustrious history of the dark elves.
The dark elves proclaimed themselves the most ancient and noble race of the underground world. They considered the lizardmen as wild beasts that only knew to use physical strength. With their magic at the forefront of every assault, the dark elves often won the battles against the lizardmen, forcing them to scatter across the underground world in a desperate attempt to survive over the years.
However, every race of high intelligence had a common problem – civil war. From the self-styled most ancient dark elf race to the human race, they all suffered from this strange disease. Different dark elf tribes constantly fought among each other in immense battles. If it wasn’t for an inability for them to unite, they could have long since conquered this layer of the underground world.
Although the lizardmen couldn’t compare to the dark elves in terms of overall fighting capability as they didn’t know how to use magic, they possessed amazing unity. They had survived by virtue of this unity as well as physical combat effectiveness for the longest time. This was why they hadn’t been conquered by dark elves up until now.
When the lizardman cracked his tail in midair, his brethren flung out numerous crude spears, heading straight for the boasting Arlen.
The spears did appear quite simple to Han Shuo. They were essentially only sharpened, durable wooden sticks. This greatly limited their lethality.
In sharp contrast to the lizardmen, the dark elves obviously knew how to utilize sharp weapons. Not only were their bows and swords abnormally sharp, but they were also engraved with intricate patterns. Their weapons did indeed far surpass those of the so-called savage lizardmen in terms of practicality and aesthetics.
The two young archers behind Arlen twanged their bows, shattering the oncoming spears in midair.
Completely unruffled, Arlen looked coldly at the lizardmen and mocked, “Lowly lizardmen who don’t know their place! All your race knows is brute strength. The likes of you can only serve as our domestic animals!”
Celt could not be any less interested in the bickering between the dark elves and the lizardmen. As the leader of the Redbud Knights, he held the title of marquis in the Brut Empire. He’d lost all patience by now as he interrupted Arlen’s speech, speaking to Kassel, “We’re familiar with the inside, lead the way.”
Kassel nodded. He understood that as a traitor to the druids, joining the Redbud Knights meant absolute devotion to the leader. Kassel charged forward as soon as Celt finished speaking, his body shifting into the form of an enormous eagle in mid-air.
The Redbud Knights abandoned their horses and followed Kassel to charge towards the gourd mountain caves. When he saw his men already deployed, Celt turned to dark Arlen with some displeasure, “Distinguished Sir Arlen, shouldn’t you be taking action already?”
“I don’t need you to remind me.” Arlen didn’t put on a good face either for humans. Although he admitted that humans was more advanced than the dark elves in some areas, humans were still known for being despicable and shameless. Their notorious reputation in the underground world was more infamous than even the batmen.
“Let’s move!” Dana smiled charmingly as she gave the order to her lackeys. The branch of dark elves answering to her rushed out ahead, aiming fine arrows straight at the lizardmen.
Just as Dana’s elves took action, the numerous dark elves behind her divided into teams and charged the gourd mountain. A part of them stayed behind with Arlen.
Frowning as he watched at the conflict break out, Arlen felt something was amiss. He spoke to Celt nearby, “As long as that damned creature appears, our goblin missiles will end its life along with the gourd mountain.”
“I hope so!” Celt didn’t respond much to Arlen’s egoism. He too looked down on the lizardmen just as Arlen did, and included the dark elves in this disdain as well.
In the human world aboveground, be it the dark elves or the forest elves, they were all enslaved objects. Human claimed themselves to be the center of all things, raising the dark elves as domesticated help. Aristocrats such as Celt even had one or two young and beautiful dark elves serving at them at home.
The vigorous lizardmen immediately retreated back to their caves just as the Redbud Knights and the dark elves mounted their assault. Several dark elves carried enormous bundles on the backs. Han Shuo surmised that those must be the goblin missiles he’d seen before.
Looking at their postures, it seemed that they intended to throw those massive bombs directly inside the gourd mountain, trying to blow up that enormous creature along with all of the lizardmen in one go.
Han Shuo’s spirit could sense the seething anger of the creature inside. He knew it wouldn’t be able to worry about too many things at once, so he once again summoned the earth elite zombie and commanded it to sneak into the gourd mountain.
The earth elite zombie sank into the ground, and was no longer obstructed and chased back by that strange force this time. As there was a very high number of Redbud Knights and dark elves inside the gourd mountain, it was impossible for the strange, powerful creature to sense and scan every single one.
In addition, its rage had reached the peak and finally boiled over. The piercing sound of its howling cry rumbled out from the depths of the mountain. The whole gourd mountain seemed to shake beneath its howl. Han Shuo was worried that the thin bottom of the mountain would not be able to support the upper part of the mountain and crumble away.
Han Shuo attached the only yin demon he had to the earth elite zombie. He could see the situation underground through the earth elite zombie’s vision, but since it had yet to reach the main combat area, the zombie couldn’t send any useful information. Han Shuo could only place his attention on the Redbud Knights and dark elves alliance.
In Han Shuo’s view, the strength of the Redbud Knights far exceeded that of the dark elves, be it their equipment or individual power. They wore bulky armor, yet their speed still outstripped the sparsely dressed dark elves even without the support of the horses.
The knights all possessed cold and confident looks, having been through various battles. Their bodies were that of true warriors, sturdy with restrained viciousness. Each knight formed either triangle or diamond shaped formations as they charged, complementing their comrades while helping themselves run swiftly. This helped them avoid ambushes from the sides and the rear.
The arrogant dark elves fell far behind in this aspect. They still messily charged forward like a swarm of bees, their tactics unchanged in the last thousand years. The dark elves had resided in the underground world for who knew how long, yet had never fought hand in hand in proper formations like the humans, let alone coordinating skillfully with each other.
As Han Shuo observed the battle, he suddenly saw a scene on his mind. He immediately understood that the earth elite zombie had cleared all the underground obstacles and had reached that powerful creature’s location beneath the gourd mountain.
The earth elite zombie was showing Han Shuo his line of sight from beneath the enormous creature. The first thing it conveyed was a huge, ancient octagonal magical formation up above. A much smaller, also octagonal array lay in each corner of the formation. Each small array was filled with magic elements.
A ten meter long, enormous reddish brown tail was in the center of the formation. The tail itself was like a small hill entrenched in the formation. Circles of colorful lightning shot out of the formation, as if restricting it, whenever it struggled.
“Can it be that the huge creature is being sealed beneath this gourd-shaped mountain by this formation? If the goblin missiles destroy this mountain, won’t the imprisoning formation be broken?” Han Shuo’s heart spasmed with shock as he thought worriedly.