The mine tunnel was quiet. Only a few sighing sounds were continuously echoing.
Marvin’s willpower was firm. Every fear check was successfully passed.
This was why he dared to enter the mine.
These huge strange faces were a kind of wild creature, Earth Spirits.
An earth spirit was quite a rare creature. It is said that the spirits of missing miners that died in the mines would turn into earth spirits.
These creatures were in a state that was half-spirit and half-physical. They had a quite strange appearance, but the strangest part was their faces.
Those sighing sounds were actually the noise earth spirits made when they were moving. Each sighing sound carried a weak fear skill.
Cowardly people would immediately be frightened by these.
But it clearly wasn’t the case for Marvin.
Ordinary earth spirits wouldn’t attack humans. They were kindhearted.
But those earth earth spirits seemed to have been corrupted by something. They had become irritable and easily angered and actually attacked Marvin!
Marvin was quite interested in the source of that corruption. Corruption sources were usually created from wizards magic power. Due to magic power leaking, creatures with low intelligence would suffer from the influence of chaos magic and display all kinds of unusual behavior.
And during this era, items crafted by wizards would be quite valuable.
From another point of view, a place with a large group of earth spirits certainly had a treasure.
Marvin would always give his all when looking for treasures!
He took something from his void conch… It was none other than a big firework!
Even if earth spirits weren’t afraid of fire, they were still afraid of strong lights!
Marvin noiselessly took out a flint and lit the firework in an instant!
Even though it was the most simple kind of rough firework made by a countryside smith, it still lit in a split second. However, it was barely able to have half the effects of the flash skill!
Under the strong light, the irritable and angry earth spirits immediately opened their bloody mouths wide open one after the other!
But they didn’t let out any sound, so the people in the camp were still unaware of what was happening in the mine.
Marvin was fine with it.
He stuck the firework stick on the ground and unsheathed his dagger.
The strong light was clearly hindering the earth spirits’ movements.
They advanced while squinting, their movements turning quite clumsy.
As for Marvin, it was time to go all out!
Handling his two common curved daggers in hands as if they were flower, he went back and forth among those strange faces, like a fish in water. His curved daggers kept slashing and soon, nearly 20 earth spirits had been killed by Marvin.
The earth spirit had an average level of 3 but their fighting strength was quite mediocre.
The reason why they had a relatively high level was because of their fear skill. Ordinary people would find it quite difficult to go all out while under fear effects.
At times you would be unable to control your own muscles. Using an extremely accurate attack could often lead to injuries, or worse, death.
But Marvin wasn’t the least bit affected by the fear skills.
This was bullying.
Twenty four earth spirits gave Marvin a total of 609 battle exp. This was quite generous, a lot better than Grave Robber Heiss’ summoned zombies.
But Marvin knew that this way of farming experience wouldn’t work in the long term. Earth spirits, those were quite rare.
Getting rid of a pack of level 3 creatures like that; such situations were quite scarce.
Marvin was already quite satisfied.
Marvin kept going after he finished killing the earth spirits.
He followed the mine tunnel forward.
He found some gnolls bodies on the way.
It seemed these earth spirits had become quite violent. They actually started killing gnolls.
These gnolls should have suffered quite a bit. They had low wisdom, and as such, it was quite easy for them to fall prey to a fear skill.
They had no way to deal with the earth spirits in the darkness of the mine. They could only build their camp away from the mine.
The mine tunnel wasn’t very deep, but it had a lot of side paths. Before the mine was abandoned, there were quite a lot of miners going through them.
At that time, the earth spirits were probably not completely corrupted yet and only harassed the miners without attacking them.
Things were different a few months ago.
Even if he had spent a few month blindly searching back then, he might have not found anything because of the complexity of the mine.
He was skillful.
Earth spirits were usually found near rocky walls. The underground soil would also have some subtle changes from earth spirits passing by.
Originally firm mountain stone would become somewhat soft.
Marvin moved while crouching, trying to follow the soft part of the ground as much as possible.
He killed two more groups earth spirits on the way, getting another 377 battle exp before finally finding the source of the corruption.
There was a cavern in the depths of the mine.
There was a plant with long vines in the cavern, every vine having long barbs.
Marvin focused on these vines.
‘Where are those things coming from?’
The poison developed by this kind of [Highly Poisonous Plant] had quite strong toxicity. Yet this thing wouldn’t affect the earth spirits.
‘Did I go astray?’ Marvin thought.
But Marvin would not just sit and watch after finding it. It was his territory after all.
Highly poisonous plants wouldn’t grow without foundation. If he gave this vine plant time to mature, it might grow into a very frightening type of plant monster.
Even though plant monsters were born unable to move, they had an amazingly high constitution. Especially after advancing, they would even become resistant to fire.
‘As far as I know, only a few wizards would have this kind of highly poisonous plant. It was used for experiments.’
‘Also, the Shepherds…’
‘Could it be that group of vicious people keeping an eye on White River Valley?’
Marvin was suspicious but still didn’t hesitate and lit a fire on the ground.
Even if a highly poisonous plant was quite dangerous, that was after growing up.
It only had small vines right now and it wasn’t enough to pose a problem.
A large fire burned it cleanly.
Actually this vine poison was very difficult to deal with, he could dip daggers or his curved daggers in the poison.
But Marvin had no trained apothecary by his side, nor was he carrying any powerful appraising item. He would be done for if he accidentally got poisoned.
The mine was already filled with smoke after he was done with the fire. Marvin covered his nose with his hand and searched.
Because of his mindset of not letting anything slip by, he swept thoroughly.
But he hadn’t expected to find a treasure chest under the ashes of the highly poisonous plant.
And on top of that, the chest had no lock!
‘Turns out the true source of the corruption is here!’ Marvin suddenly realized.
There were a lot of things in the treasure chest along with the main culprit behind the earth spirits’ arousal.
That was a tilted bottle whose liquid had a strange smell.
Marvin lightly smelled it and immediately began to choke!
‘Very strong acidic smell!’
‘This is magical acid!’
[Magicalized Acid] was like the [Highly Poisonous Plant]; they were both things belonging to the Shepherds, who used those things to spread evil across Feinan Continent.
Magicalized Acid was highly volatile. It spread in the air and the gas infected the low intelligence earth spirits.
But from the way this bottle was tilted, it seemed like it wasn’t overturned on purpose.
Marvin mumbled and looked through the ashes once again. Sure enough, he found pieces of bone in the ashes.
These pieces of bone were already quite difficult to recognize since they were burnt in the fire. It seemed to be from a kind of tall humanoid lifeform.
‘Did a Shepherd really come to White River Valley? Why did he die here?’
Marvin found answers to his doubts one by one.
‘That shepherd should have died due to not being careful when handling the highly poisonous plant and magicalized acid.‘
‘Seems like this guy wanted to put these things in the treasure chest and then bury it… But before he managed to do that, he died.’
This shepherd’s rank shouldn’t be very high. He might have died from a serious injury after being chased.
The question was, why did he come to this mine!?
Even Marvin with his huge amount of experience wasn’t able to answer to find the answer to this question for the time being.
He put the shepherd’s body aside for the moment and covered the bottle in the chest to stop the magicalized acid from corrupting the mine’s creatures.
Thus, the earth spirits would go back to normal.
There were still two more things in the chest. A green jade dagger and a thick envelope.
Marvin glanced at the dagger and immediately was attracted to it.
This dagger’s original master didn’t seem to have used the [Obscure] skill on it, so Marvin only needed a simple [Inspect] to be able to look at the dagger’s attributes.
[Kingfisher Jade Dagger +1]
(T/N: Kingfisher Jade is a particular kind of jade. Jade is actually split into two kinds. Nephrite and Jadeite. Nephrite being less transparent (in general) and Jadeite being able to reach some pretty amazing green color with imperial jade and kingfisher jade. The first one being extremely close to emerald while the second is just a bit less transparent.)