Whirr, whirr. Under the soft hum of the magic seal's operation, the USS Owl flew through the thick clouds three miles in the air. It flew toward Delonga at the speed of 300 miles per hour.
Going from the Ferde Wilderness to deep inside the Delonga Kingdom did not take even one hour. Afterwards, the airship slowed down and began searching for the specific location of the Necropolis.
Skinorse's intelligence had mentioned the existence of a necropolis, but the specific location was still unknown. They only knew that it was in central Delonga. As for the information about 30,000 soldiers, he had received it from a prisoner of war. It was a conservative estimate.
The actual situation was unclear.
Looking for places was easy for the Yabba race.
"Activate the Detection Magic Seal...Begin searching for dark waves," airship commander Merlin ordered seriously. He was completely different from the smiley man from before.
Whirr. With a soft hum, a clear apparition appeared in the air of the airship. It recorded the specific details of the ground below the airship. The forest, paths, bridges, villages, passersby, and even their faces could be seen clearly.
Beep, beep, beep. Every two seconds, a blue ripple would scan the image, and every living organism in it would glow.
The average person glowed dimly. According to their different body stats, the glows of different basic elements would appear. Blue, green, white, and other colors were all normal.
After around two minutes, there was suddenly a group of knights with a black halo. There were around 13 of them, all wearing armor. At a glance, they didn't look any different from the average man. However, at closer inspection, one could see that their eyes and skin were dark. Their armor was in the style of the Delonga Kingdom, but the runes on the surface were all dark runes.
"They're Undead Knights. They use a special method to hide their aura and disguise their appearances. This is a battle zone, and they've appeared here...Oh, they're capturing civilians!"
These knights ran directly toward a village. When they arrived, they spread out and blocked all the exits. Then a few walked into the village. After saying something, the near 300 villagers were gathered and forced out from the village by the powerful Undead Knights.
The villagers were of all ages. They didn't know what their fates were, but this didn't stop their fear. Some women cried out, while some youths tried to escape. This was all to no avail. One fleeing young man was grabbed and had his feet and hands cut off. Rather than killing him, the Undead Knight left him howling on the ground.
This terrified all the villagers. They began crying and screaming louder, but no one tried escaping again.
"They'll either be turned into sacrifices or undead soldiers. Should we rescue them?" Merlin asked.
"Of course," Royal Knight Joseph said without hesitation. "We need to capture some Undead Knights to lead the way too."
Princess Milda immediately disagreed. "I think it's best if we don't act. These Undead Knights are psychologically connected to Wavier. If something happens to them, Wavier will know immediately, and our sneak attack will be revealed."
Their plan this time was a raid. The more sudden and speedy it was, the more likely it would be successful.
Joseph opened his mouth to argue, but finally, he sighed and stopped speaking. Rescuing the villagers now would cause them to lose on the big picture. However, watching these villagers fall into the abyss of darkness and despair was against the church.
"No need to worry," Link comforted him. "If we hurry to the Necropolis before them and defeat Wavier, the villagers will be saved."
The churchmen nodded, but their expressions were all heavy.
Then Link said to Merlin, "We must speed up. Wavier's strength is increasing tremendously!"
Merlin nodded and ordered the pilot beside him, "Extend the detection range to 30 miles and use the Fuzzy Detection Spell!"
The image instantly enlarged and stopped showing the specific details. It only showed the general aura current. The auras were all different colors and kept moving, making it look like a weather radar map.
After flying for around 100 miles, Merlin pointed at a large patch of darkness. "Look at this forest. It has five percent higher black aura density than the surroundings. It must mean something!"
With that, he gestured at the pilot. This tiny pilot manipulated the magic seal before him, and the image instantly sharpened, revealing a dense southern forest.
Royal Knight Joseph only took a glance before saying, "This forest is not normal. It's too dark and doesn't have many animals!"
The image continued changing. After a while, Link exclaimed, "Stop! Look at that area!"
The image stopped. It revealed a ball of thick fog that floated above the entire forest. It covered thousands of square miles of land, making it impossible for them to see what was inside.
This was Delonga's Forest of Poisonous Mist. The entire forest was filled with miasma and having fog was pretty normal. However, the image had shown many clusters of fog, and it was abnormally dense. This was beyond the limit of a natural occurrence.
"Can you scan the auras in this area?" Link asked Merlin.
"Of course." Merlin snapped, and the area turned into the aura current map from before.
The weird thing was that there were no abnormal aura waves in this fog area. It seemed to merge perfectly with the rest of the forest.
"No abnormalities," Romilson said.
"No, the biggest abnormality is that there are no abnormalities. We saw that the white fog area is much denser than the surroundings. The surrounding fog areas are filled with thick life toxins. This area is the same, but according to logic, its toxicity should be higher because the fog is thicker. However, it's the exact same right now!"
"Someone has purposely disguised it," Milda caught on.
"Merlin, can we see through the fog?" Link asked again.
Merlin shrugged. "We can't do that. You must know, we're 18 miles above it. Showing the specific images is already the limit."
"Then we'll have to go down and check personally. The fog is filled with natural toxins, and a mid-level antidote will work. Alright, Merlin, find a place to let us down. You don't need to get too close. Just wait for us outside."
The airship started descending and stopped when it was around 1000 feet high. The cabin door opened and the people started jumping out one-by-one. When the Royal Knights jumped, Link cast a Levitation spell for each of them. Then it was Romilson's turn.
This guy had serious acrophobia. He clutched the door while shaking, too scared to look down.
"Your Highness, Link, you two jump first. I need to prepare myself."
"Coward!" Upset, Milda walked over and kicked him in the butt. Romilson screamed and fell outward.
Link quickly cast the Levitation spell for him. Otherwise, with Romilson's current state, he might become the first Magician to die by falling.
After kicking him, Milda smiled at Link. "He would've prepared for the rest of his life, so someone had to help him."
With that, she jumped out, leaving Link alone.
The two priests were responsible for treatment, so they didn't participate in the battle and stayed in the airship.
At this time, one walked over, handing a palm-sized white carving to Link. "Master Link, this is the carving of Saint Rafael. It is usually placed in the Constance Church of the Hot Spring City and has 200 years of history. Archbishop Teroll asked me to give it to you. It contains Level-9 Holy Power. Take it just in case, but I hope you won't need it."
Link accepted the carving. "I understand. Thank you!"
This meant he had a backup that could save his life. After carefully putting away the carving, Link jumped down too.
In order to keep the airship hidden, everyone landed outside the forest. When Link and the others landed, the airship immediately shot up and returned to the clouds three miles in the air to hide.
"Alright, continue surveying the forest and be prepared to give reinforcements at any time!" Merlin ordered.
On the ground.
Link and the others all landed. Including Nana, there were 14 people, and they quickly gathered.
Link observed the surrounding situation. He saw that there were many huge beech trees that blocked the sunlight. There was a thick layer of fallen leaves on the ground. Marshes and puddles could be seen everywhere, producing clouds of the rotting odor that floated around. The entire forest was dark, damp, and decayed.
"Ah, these damn mosquitos!" Romilson suddenly slapped himself. When he removed his hand, everyone saw that there was the corpse of a huge piebald mosquito on his face. Then a red bump the size of a thumb appeared on his handsome face at a visible speed.
It itched and hurt. Romilson reached out to scratch it, but he didn't dare use too much strength. He almost cried out.
After that, the others were attacked by the insects too. They'd just set off but already became a bit disordered. This was kind of unexpected. Even worse, they were all northerners and had no experience in fighting in a southern forest. They did not prepare enough.
Nana was the most at ease. No insects could bite through her metallic shell. Seeing everyone's miserableness, she found it weird. "Master," she asked Link, "should I put the insects on the list to be cleared out?"
"...No." Link was speechless. Nana was so belligerent that she wouldn't even let the insects go.
A few minutes later, Milda got bitten in the neck. She took out the Elf Nectar and drank it all. Treating bug bites with holy medicine was honestly like using cannons to kill mosquitoes.
After a while, Link suddenly reached out and cast a Whistle. With a thud, a black snake fell out of a pile of leaves. Link walked over and skinned it with practiced ease. Then he took out the gall.
"What's that for?" Romilson asked.
"These snakes usually eat insects and are the insects' natural enemy. The smell of the snake's gallbladder can effectively keep the insects away." As Link spoke, he burst the gallbladder. Using a wind spell, he turned the bile into a cloud of mist and blew it past everyone lightly.
Link had learned this from a biology magazine. It had explained in detail how to survive in the southern forest, and now, the knowledge was finally put to use.
Indeed, they were bitten less after they were shrouded in the black snake's smell. Everyone let out a sigh of relief. Otherwise, they would probably lose their lives during battle if the mosquitoes kept buzzing in their ears.
Later, Royal Knight Joseph led the group in the front. Link was behind him, pointing the way. After around one mile, the fog suddenly grew thicker, and there was an acrid bite to the smell.
"We've reached the miasma area. Everyone, drink the mid-level antidote." Link took out a bottle of green medicine and drank it all. He had gotten this from Grenci, and it was very effective.
Everyone else started drinking too. As the most powerful Warrior, Joseph was still on guard while drinking. He looked in all directions, cautious of everything. Suddenly, a black shadow flashed past the corner of his vision. Surprised, he downed the medicine and unsheathed his crossed sword.
"Be careful. We might've been spotted by the undead!"
At the same time, a message started flashing in Link's vision.
Mission activated: Wavier's Necropolis
Mission step one: Find the specific location of the Necropolis.
Mission reward: Level-8 spell book Essence of the Flame.
Link took a deep breath and accepted it.
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