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Suddenly, a ladder was lowered down by the railings, connecting the airship and the land. Some yellow dust was blown into the air again.
Several people wearing white robes climbed down the ladder. The eye-blinding sunlight illuminated on their bodies.
There were three male wizards and two female wizards. All of them were carrying black leather travel cases.
"The place is deadly silent," a man with short brown hair muttered. He was walking at the front of the crew. The man had a pair of golden glowing eyes and there was a silver metallic glint on his skin.
"The origami girls…" a man with black hair said in a serious tone. He noticed the gray paper girls that were hiding in the shadows. The origami girls were staring at the wizards quietly.
"We need to move, now!" he added. The man looked nervous. "Green, turn right. Hurry!"
"Why? Are you afraid of paper monsters? Come on, Stigma, you’re a Liquid Stage wizard…" Angele noticed those origami girls under the tree as well.
"Well, legends say that the origami girls live in a tree that has a large clock on it. A distorted black shadow will start winding up the clock and the origami girls will leave the tree to hunt any living beings in their range. The only way to get rid of them is to kill the dark shadow hiding under the tree. The origami girls come from nowhere and they’re endless." Stigma had a serious expression on the face. "Didn’t you see that the other creatures choose to stay away from this tree?"
The wizards heard Stigma’s words and reconsidered the situation.
"Let’s leave then."
Angele nodded slightly.
"An altar! Let’s go there!" Hikari pointed at the left side of the tree.
Angele turned to the left and glanced around. He saw a grey stone altar sitting in an empty area quietly.
A cross-shaped yellow rune was floating over the altar. It looked like a yellow bead with four sharp needles. It was crystal clear.
Yellow smokes were rising from the rune constantly.
The five walked to the altar together quickly.
Stigma was checking the origami girls from time to time. He wanted to make sure that they were not moving.
Reyline held his dual scimitars tight in his hands, glancing around and checking the situation. The three male wizards formed a triangle around the two female wizards.
The origami girls stayed patiently under the trees, staring at the wizards curiously. There was nothing on their faces, so Angele was not sure if they were just waiting for the dark shadow to wind up the clock.
The five wizards felt relieved when they arrived at the altar. They sat down around the stone base and started checking their gears.
Angele sighed in relief as he sat down on the stone base of the altar.
According to Stigma, those altars would never be attacked by magical creatures and the runes would regenerate if they were taken away, but no one could explain why.
Stigma sprinkled some green dust over his black dagger as he started talking.
"Get ready everyone. Make sure you can find the needed spell materials if we engage in any battle. The place is dangerous, but first, I need to confirm our current location. I didn’t expect to see the origami girls here."
"How long do you need?" Reyline wondered.
"About 15 minutes."
"I have a bad feeling about this." Reyline knitted his eyebrows. "Something isn’t right about this place. I think we need to leave the area before it gets dark."
"You’re wrong this time. Although the place is dangerous, we need to take our time and find a reference point first before we move. We might get ambushed by some random sc.u.mbags if we accidentally entered their territories." Stigma shook his head.
"What do we do then?" Hikari grabbed Morrisa’s hand and asked in a light tone. "Morrisa is a great healer and she can sense the life energy in the air. She’s not feeling well now which means…"
"Yeah, the life energy in the air is weak. The place makes me sick but I’m not sure if it’s the death energy. It feels like something different," Morrisa explained.
"Let’s move now." Angele made the decision. "We need to get away from those origami girls first and see if the situation changes. Maybe they’re the reason why Morrisa isn’t feeling well."
Reyline, Morrisa, and Hikari nodded, but Stigma still had a different opinion. After having a short conversation with Angele, he decided to follow the group’s decision.
"Alright, let’s move along the airship’s original route. We should be fine." He stood up.
The three male wizards formed a triangle around the two female wizards again and started advancing.
Quickly, the five disappeared over the horizon.
The gentle wind blew over the altar.
The gray stone base suddenly started to decay in the wind.
The crystal rune disappeared, and the stone base of the altar cracked, losing its light.
Several seconds later, the stone altar turned into a tiny pool filled with some black sticky liquid. A rotten smell permeated the air.
In the center of the dark pool, a pale face of a woman with long hair illuminated on the surface of the water. The woman opened her dry grey lips but did not say a word.
An origami girl fluttered her wings and slowly stopped by the edge of the pool. She turned her paper head around and stared at the direction that the five wizards were heading to silently.
Five white robes were advancing slowly on the endless plains.
There were several red and black birds flying around right above the endless plain. The birds had red eyeb.a.l.l.s and they looked like mutated vultures.
Angele noticed several vultures standing on the branches of dead trees staring at them. The noise coming out of their beak was making him anxious.
Reyline raised his head and looked at the vultures that were flying in the sky. He connected the handles of his scimitars, turning them into a longbow.
Stigma eyed Reyline and put his right hand on the man’s longbow.
Reyline slowly lowered the longbow as Stigma shook his head.
Angele was checking the surroundings constantly as he walked. There were blue light dots flashing in front of his eyes.
‘How’s the task?’ he questioned.
‘Scanning completed. Checking the unusual forcefield… No results. Please leave the area immediately.’ Angele was disappointed at Zero’s response.
He moved his right hand to the handle of the cursed scimitar. Some green energy flow climbed up his arm right away.
‘Check my body condition.’ Angele ordered. He collected all the blue dust left by the storm spirits after the fight and consumed most of it in several days. The blue dust was necessary for the life energy conversion process.
The extraction of the life essence from the storm spirits was slow. He had asked more than ten times as the team advanced. By then, the task was finally finished.
‘Life essence from the storm spirits successfully absorbed. Attributes increased. Checking…’
‘Angele Rio. Strength, 15. Agility, 13.4. Stamina, 17. Mentality, 55.3. Mana, 54. Buffed by the cursed scimitar.’
He was surprised by the result. He hadn’t expected for the life essence of the storm spirit to be so effective.
‘Remove the buff and check my condition again.’
‘Checking…Angele Rio. Strength, 6.2. Agility, 6.7. Stamina, 10.2. Mentality, 53.4. Mana, 50.1.’
‘Incredible…The numbers are unbelievable.’ Angele was satisfied with the result. The power made him feel more confident about himself.
With the buff, his Stamina had reached 17 units and he did not even need to apply any healing gel to his wound. It would take about half a minute for the wound to stop bleeding and he only needed to rest for several days to fully recover. A strike that could kill an average wizard would only injure him slightly.
The increase in Strength was also helpful. Angele was certain that he could easily trade hits with a mutated magical beast with such power.
Most importantly at this rate, his mentality would reach the requirement for the Crystal stage soon. Angele’s Mentality was increased by about ten units during the trip.
He heard Morrisa saying something and stopped interacting with Zero.
"I feel much better now. The thing that made me sick is gone I think. It must be the origami girls."
"Sounds great. Those origami girls are controlled by some mysterious power. We’re lucky that they didn’t go after us. Well, we’re getting close to the Abyss Canyon." Stigma pointed forward.
There was a cliff in front of the five wizards and the warm wind was blowing over their faces.
They walked to the cliff and put down the travel cases.
Angele looked down and saw a terrifyingly deep creva.s.se. It was dark and quiet.
The cliff on the other side was more 1,000 meters away. The pine tree on that cliff looked like a dark green dot.
"Wait, let me check if there’s any trap," Angele said loudly.
"Sure." Stigma and the rest of the team stepped aside.
Angele stood by the edge of the cliff and crouched. He grabbed some mud and threw it into the creva.s.se.
The mud was scattered by the wind like a yellow ribbon and disappeared into the air.
"Hibis…Listen…Suffer…Wind…Dream…" Angele invoked an incantation and pointed forward with his right hand’s index finger.
A weak green string that looked like a beansprout emerged out of the tip of Angele’s finger, flying to the other side of the creva.s.se. The string was not affected by the strong wind at all.
"It’s a modified spell great at detecting energy movements. The green string can disguise itself as a live human being," he explained as he controlled the flying string.
"Much better than my wind elemental potion. You finished casting the spell in seconds." Hikari nodded slightly.
They watched the green string flying in the air quietly.
Several minutes later, the string arrived at the cliff on the other side.
Suddenly, a distorted shadow flashed in the air and swallowed the green string.