Chapter 114: A Bad Habit
One week ago.
Skull Mountain Pass was an enclosed gap between the cliffs that had only one entrance. There wasn't a single monster living there so it was a perfect location for defense as any attackers will have a disadvantageous position when raiding the place. If only this spot was closer to the main part of the Main Continent, it would be a very good place for building a guild base.
Presently, this spot was taken by groups of bandits. They were the first ones to discover the pass so they could depend on its favorable terrain when defending against raids from other players trying to take this place from them. Furthermore, it was quite well known among veteran players that these groups of bandits were secretly supported by two of the most influential guilds in the game. Although the number of their backers seemed to have been reduced to one lately, they were still feared.
Today, a man in a butler uniform walked slowly and entered the mountain pass. His head moved left and right, looking for any changes to the place since the last time he visited.
"This place has changed a lot. How weird. How come there isn't a single one of the skeletons appearing? Where is Asura? For that guy, even if he was killed, us undead don't take long to revive, isn't that right?"
The man spotted many small characters engraved in areas that were hard to notice. Well, his keen eyes could spot them in no time. He lightly touched one of them and his white glove was burnt. The same character could be seen on his finger.
"Oh? The Holy Seal? No wonder the undead couldn't revive. It seems that these seals are engraved all over the mountain pass."
This man's identity was none other than Sebastian. The Mansion of Secrets was a large mansion so there was a high maintenance cost. Noticing that Sila's wealth decreased, Sebastian decided to travel to Skull Mountain Pass to visit his treasure-collecting old friend who should be living there to borrow money.
It seemed that Sila didn't like the idea of him snatching items from humans. Sebastian couldn't understand why but he still complied. Why could humans hunt monsters but not vice versa? Sebastian really couldn't understand the logic. For him, every life was of the same value regardless of race. There was no difference in hunting monsters or humans in his eyes.
For example, even if his old friend didn't plan to let him borrow the treasures, Sebastian would kill him and take the treasures for himself. This was a normal occurrence for them, the undead.
The same applied in reverse. Although they were friends, if Asura ever wanted something from Sebastian, he would not hesitate to take it by force.
Well, instead of meeting with his old friend, Sebastian came across tons of players camping in the area.
The mountain pass had a terrain advantage and the bandits had a large guild backing them up. So, they didn't think there was a need to be on guard during the day like this.
Sebastian walked past several tents and halted his feet in the middle of the camping zone without anyone stopping him. He bent down, blew away some dust on the ground, and found another identical seal engraved on it.
"Hmmm. The seal is very delicate. The person that did this must be quite talented. Unfortunately, it was me who stumbled upon them. I would have had a difficult time if they were a different type of seal, but for these holy seals, I know an easy method for undoing it. Fufu."
Many players began to spot Sebastian. Actually, for there to be a butler acting suspiciously in the bandit's den, they should have sensed him a lot sooner.
"Oi! Who are you?" One of them shouted loudly and came to Sebastian with four of his friends by his side. The shout focused everyone's attention on Sebastian.
"Me? You don't have to mind me, sirs. I just have some matters to attend to." Sebastian ignored the incoming bandits and continued sweeping the ground to search for more seals. He wanted to know how they were made.
"How can I not mind you, you bastard? Do you know where you are? This place isn't someplace where the likes of you can leisurely walk around. Tell me honestly who you are!!"
"I'm a butler, sir. Anyway, could you please do me a favor and move your foot from that spot? I would like to take a look at that area." Sebastian pointed at the concealed, large seal on the ground where the man was standing.
"I don't give a damn and I won't move. What now, pretty boy? You wanna poke me? Wahaha. Your face is like a woman and you don't have a weapon with you. It seems you are lost. How about this? Obediently crawl under my crotch and I will let you go. Today I'm in a good mood so I will spare your life and feel content with just fooling around with you."
Laughter clamored from his friends in the campsite.
Sebastian's shoulders started to shake. His face was cast downward so noone could see his current expression.
"Stop it~ Don't bully this young man. Look at him~ He is trembling in fear." A friend of the bandit who spoke first tapped on his shoulder.
However, a frown appeared on all of their faces once Sebastian raised his head and his smile was revealed. Rather, it should be said that he was holding back his laughter.
"Fufufu. People in this world are the same no matter what era they are in. Death is standing before them but they are still so clueless."
"What's wrong with you? Are you so afraid that you went crazy?"
Sebastian completely ignored the opposing insults.
Insults, taunts, and disdain only worked on humans. For him, those words contained no value.
"I'm being kind enough. Could you please let me through?" Once the words left Sebastian's mouth, he was surprised at them himself. Usually, he wouldn't give a warning before he acted.
All the players near Sebastian drew their weapons. "No!! What can you do to us?"
Sebastian let out a sigh. "Ah, I expected as much. Well, I can call this self-defense, I think."
Sebastian waved his right hand once, then everyone fell silent. The players near him fell to the ground. Their knees were cut off neatly like paper.
"Arghhh!!" The cries echoed. Immediately, all of the other bandits present stood up.
Sebastian kicked the severed lower legs of the bandits away. The blood sprayed and some of them spilled on the rune.
A white light glowed from the rune once before disappearing. Alongside the faded light, the rune also vanished.
Sebastian smirked. "Although the Holy Runes are powerful, they are tainted easily. Sure enough, dirtying something is always easier than cleaning."
He looked around and found that the bandits were ready to fight him. Some were chanting spells while some were calling for reinforcements by opening their system windows.
"A lot of blood seems to be needed for me to break all the seals. Luckily for me, there are many people present."
Sebastian opened both his palms and the black magic power emitted from them. He quickly cast a spell.
"O, thou poor souls who are lost in the depths of darkness in Tartarus, be sure to cross the river of death and come to this place, be sure to float around aimlessly in the maze with no exit, be sure to lead the lost souls to follow thou, be sure to act as guiding lights for those blinded souls. Soul Labyrinth of Tartarus."
Nothing happened. However, if someone were to look closely, they would notice that all of the Holy Seals within Skull Mountain Pass were giving off a faint light as if they were resisting this certain magic.
"What did that guy just do?!" One man shouted.
"We don't need to care. He is alone but dared to invade us. Ambush him!"
"Oh!!" An instant response echoed and hundreds of arrows were fired at Sebastian. The sword users followed up and prepared to strike. Magic arrows flew. The target of all the attacks was the man in a black butler uniform.
Black magic power was released from Sebastian and materialized into hundreds of scythes, scattering in all directions. Blood splashed all over the place.
Upon coming into contact with blood, the runes gave off a white light which was slightly more faded than before, though they didn't vanish.
One third of all the bandits had died. Although the dead bodies had long disappeared, the dying persons still existed in tiny soul forms, floating in the air like fireflies. As for the blood, it remained on the ground.
The man who seemed to have a higher position than the rest quickly came up with a solution. "Use Returning Scrolls! We will prepare our forces then come back later."
Instantly, all of them took out Returning Scrolls. It was an obvious choice. Almost half of their comrades had died within the blink of an eye. They weren't foolish enough to wait for a death that would be in vain.
Sebastian looked at the seals on the ground and muttered without caring how these players seemed to be ready to leave, "As expected, this much blood is nowhere near enough. Preventing them from escaping was a smart choice."
Every player using a Returning Scroll emitted a white light. However, nothing else happened.
"What is this?" They exclaimed and looked among themselves in dismay.
Sebastian controlled the scythes to rotate around and kill more players.
The same man shouted, giving the order to the remaining bandits, "We will make a run for Colossia City! Follow my lead!" Then, he led the way to the mountain pass' exit.
Sebastian stared at one of the seals while killing people, muttering to himself how much blood would be needed for the seals to become completely broken.
*Pa* The body of the man came to an abrupt stop after colliding with something. The following people couldn't stop their march in time so they slammed into him and fell over in a disorderly manner. One of them touched the air in front of the exit and found that there was an invisible barrier blocking their path.
"Call your friends for help," said Sebastian, who was standing behind them, with a gentle smile on his face.
Actually, even without Sebastian telling them to, they were already busy doing just that.
Soul Labyrinth of Tartarus was a magic domain that created a special domain with a radius of one kilometer that prevented all living beings from exiting, though they could enter it without any problems. The use of Returning Scroll was prevented and even if someone died, their resurrection point would temporarily be the center of the domain. The price that Sebastian had to pay in exchange for this ability was the constant consumption of his magic power. Moreover, he wouldn't gain any experience points nor items from the ones he killed. Furthermore, all the beings who died in this domain wouldn't lose anything. It could be said that it was a domain designed for torturing people.
A week full of joy in Skull Mountain Pass went by with blood and screams. Many people came to help their friends and rumors about a mysterious monster appearing in Skull Mountain Pass started to circulate. Everyone was free to enter but no one was allowed to exit. The messages asking for help were increasing as the days went on.
Today marked the seventh day since Sebastian had entered this place. Now, the scenery in Skull Mountain Pass was too mesmerising. All of the passages and corners were stained with dried blood, and there were ten thousand blueish fireflies floating in the air.
It was finally the day that Sebastian had been waiting for. The last Holy Seal gave off a faint white light for the last time before permanently vanishing.
All of the red blood flew and merged into a large blob floating in the air.
Sebastian wasn't a player so he didn't get to listen to the system alerts but all the players who had died a hundred times without escaping could hear the alerts clearly.
Divine Vehicle's Seals have been broken. Monster Asura, the Red Skull King, Lord Rank, Level 350, has been released from its slumber.
They had no hope to survive against just a single black butler here, and now another Lord Rank monster was going to appear? The remaining survivors retreated until their backs were against a stone cliff, while Sebastian was the only one approaching the massive blob.
The blood compressed before transforming into a red skeleton knight who possessed six arms. It rotated its head around and stopped at the sight of its old friend.
"Sebastian... did you... release me?" A hoarse voice could be heard.
"Asura, long time no see."
Asura nodded. "Um, very long. I don't even know how much time has passed. This damn seal... made me unable to know the date and time... Thanks."
"No problem, but what happened? How could you be sealed?" asked Sebastian.
Two monsters were having a conversation. The players, whose demise was extended, didn't dare to interrupt.
"Ah... three humans of the dragon race... they wanted my Ruby."
"Only three? Were they that strong?"
The red skull nodded. "One of them wielded a heavy sword, taking the role of the attacker. Another one wore metal arm guards, tanking. And the last one... bombarded me with magic spells. Furthermore, they brought Ramiel, your mortal enemy, with them. He was… the one who sealed me... My entire power was sealed... Even the ability to revive..."
Sebastian pondered the reason why someone would want Asura's Crown Ruby. That thing was too powerful to be left in the hands of humans. It seemed he had to investigate this group. Furthermore, it was troubling that the group had Ramiel, the Lord Rank monster, by their side. It wasn't normal for a monster of such a high rank to serve humans.
"I don't have the Ruby... I'm weak... my underlings are weak as well..."
Sebastian nodded and decided to help. They were old friends, anyway.
All of the souls from the deceased players flew into a stone nearby and dyed it blood red. Sebastian handed it to Asura.
"It won't be as good as the Ruby, but it should suffice. Try to keep collecting souls."
Asura received the stone and placed it on its forehead. Then, the red magic power engulfed him. Although all of its former power had yet to return, as it was now, the normal player wouldn't be its match.
"Thank you... You have changed. If it was you from before, you wouldn't help me... I wonder why?"
Sebastian gently smiled. "Fufu, I have my new master. It seems I have picked up on a bad habit from him."
"Bad but good... It is the first time we can have a proper conversation... We were always busy killing each other."
"Fufufu. It seems so. Anyway, I will visit you again. Hopefully, you can talk properly when your power returns."
Asura nodded. "Good... Bring your new master with you next time... By the way, where is the previous one?"
Sebastian's eyes showed sadness for a brief moment without anyone noticed. "He left the mansion to search for the madam. The reason I follow my new master is to search for him myself."
"What will you do if you find... him?"
"I will stay with my original master. He raised me up from piles of corpses. I will serve him forever."
"What about... your current master? Will you... kill him?"
"That's a good question. Mister Sila is very useful to me and he trusts me very much. I'm certain that, by serving him, I will surely get to meet my original master one day."
"Why...?" asked Asura.
"It is fun serving him. There are many strong opponents for me to fight against. That's not important though. The important part is, he has the master's right arm, though it is not in its completed form. So, until I meet my master, I won't kill him."
Their conversation was replaced with silence. That was it until the silence was broken by the shout of a particular man.
"Where is the mysterious monster?! The White Dragon Thief Gang of Sir Thief555 has come!! Who dares to invade our secret hideout?!" It was a declaration of a man accompanied by a group of players who received an SOS call from the bandits in this place.
There was Thief555, who didn't want to be here but had to come without consent because he didn't want to lose face, standing among the group.
Asura and Sebastian turned their heads to look at the group who recently came but Sebastian didn't seem to care because a brooch on his uniform flashed once. It meant Sila was calling him.
"My new master is calling me... By the way, Asura, do you have some treasure for me to borrow?"
Asura shook his head. "I'm sealed... Nothing left..."
Sebastian nodded. "Thought so. I just hoped that you had hidden some."
"Those three took them all... But I will start collecting them again. Visit me next time."
They were only two monsters in front of the group of player, but Thief555's instincts kicked in and told him that they were dangerous. So, he took two steps back. On the contrary, his underling stepped forward.
"Do you know who this man is? He is Thief555 who has robbed people all over the Main Continent. Scram if you don't want to be killed!"
Thief555 was startled. To even threaten monsters, who did his underling think he was? It was his first time witnessing someone bluffing a monster. Little did he know that this underling of his was getting used to threatening so he developed a habit of throwing a threatening remark in this kind of situation.
"Sebastian... Do you really plan to kill him...?" Asura asked after seeing a glimpse of hesitation in Sebastian's eyes.
Sebastian's eyes became fiercer. A large scythe appeared on his hand and he waved it back without looking. A pool of blood splashed and some of it landed on his cheek.
As for the one who shouted just now, his headless body collapsed to the ground.
"For me, humans are equal. I can kill any of them." As he finished this sentence, the second call from Sila arrived. Sebastian put a smile on his face before darkness engulfed him and teleported him away.
The bandits that had just arrived trembled in fear.
Asura looked at the spot where his old friend had been standing before summoning six swords in its hands. The bloodstone on its forehead flashed an intense light and hundreds of skeletons raised up from the ground, killing players in the area.
"Be careful to not pick up on more bad habits from humans... Sebastian..." Asura muttered.