Chapter 558: Glorious Warlord Avatar
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The caravans slowly made their way across the plains. There was a slight upward slope, so they could see the Mara City from where they were.
The merchants jolted in their carriages along their journey. Their faces wore weary but elated smiles.
They had finally reached the outskirts of Mara City. They should be safe for now. Since last night, the merchants had been on their guards, worried that the poisoned Beastmen might ambush them again. They were finally able to loosen up a bit at the sight of Mara City in the distance.
"Brother Link, why haven't you said a word?" Shallie squeezed over to Link's side. She seemed to have put behind her what happened last night.
Link ignored the girl. He stared straight ahead at Mara City and said, "Look, aren't those Beastmen?" Why are there so many of them leaving the city?"
The others had also noticed this peculiar spectacle. "Yes, how strange."
Once outside Mara City, most of the Beastmen stampeded towards the Golden Plains. They all seemed to be in a rush to put the city behind as soon as possible as if something terrifying had scared them out of their wits.
Suddenly, someone shouted, "Look at that Beastman's face!"
The merchants were able to see from their caravans that the Beastman's skin was whiter than the rest, and there was a hint of green on his face. This was one of the symptoms that mercenary leader Milo had exhibited when he was poisoned.
The only difference was that the green on Milo's face was steadily receding. After basking under the glow of the mysterious moonlight and resting for a night, Milo had recovered considerably. He was now able to walk about like before. On the other hand, the Beastmen were stumbling in their steps. It was obvious the poison was spreading deep inside their bodies.
Everyone took another look at the other Beastmen and saw that most of their faces were now becoming greener. There were even some who were sprouting white patches of fur on their bodies.
"Why are they all poisoned?"
"This is horrifying. Are we still going to Mara City?"
"Do you guys think that it's an epidemic?" one of them stammered. They could see that it was utter chaos in the city from where they were. There was no semblance of order in it. What kind of poison was capable of turning an entire city upside down?
This did not seem like a simple case of poisoning, but rather an epidemic.
An epidemic could spread and infect an entire population if one was not careful enough. There had been three instances in recorded human history where a plague had reduced the population of a city to zero. Each time, the death count had numbered in the millions. To generations of humans, an epidemic was this faceless, relentless enemy capable of slaughtering millions with no sympathy for its victims.
"Milo, what should we do?" The chief of the Red Earth Firm looked at Milo. After what had happened last night, everyone in the caravans now held the mercenary leader in high esteem, believing him to be blessed by the gods themselves.
This was the first time Milo had encountered such a phenomenon. However, regardless of whether it was an epidemic or something else, he could tell that this was out of their depth. Their best course of action was to keep themselves far away from the city for now.
"I don't think we should go to Mara City right now. We probably should go round the city... No, there doesn't seem to be any way to go round it. Look at the Beastmen running off in all directions. No one's even trying to quarantine them in the city. This plague, or whatever it is, will spread across the Golden Plains. Chief, I fear you won't be able to do any business here."
"Are you serious?" The chief swallowed. He thought for a moment before making his decision. Given the choice between profit or life, the chief decided to choose life.
"Let's go back. We'll go back to Norton Kingdom," he shouted.
"Chief, we've not even sold a single thing. If we go back now..." someone beside him spoke out. If they were to turn back now, the Red Earth Firm would go bankrupt. Every one of them would be sent home with debt that they would probably not be able to pay off for the rest of their lives.
"Chief, maybe if we go around Mara City..."
"Enough, it's just a little debt. Debt will not kill you as fast as what awaits you in Mara City! Now let's go!" The chief did not budge from his decision.
Milo said, "Let's go back. These spices won't go bad that soon. You'll still be able to make some money by selling them back in Norton Kingdom."
Some of the merchants still seemed to have reservations about this, but the chief's word was law. In the end, the people of Red Earth Firm began turning back towards Norton Kingdom.
However, only half of the caravans belonged to Red Earth Firm. The rest were independent merchants. After thinking it through, some of them followed Red Earth Firm back on the road, while the rest decided to leave the party and head towards Mara City.
The merchant Olan hesitated for a few minutes. Finally, he chose to turn back. He was still in good shape to take his chances with the epidemic, but that would mean risking her daughter's safety. He decided that it was best to bring her back safely to Norton Kingdom.
Suddenly, someone shouted. "Do you see that? Someone's flying!"
Everyone turned around and saw that a black figure was racing through the sky towards Mara City. The figure was actually running rather than flying through the air. Each step propelled the figure across a few hundred feet, which made it seem as if he was really flying.
"How is he able to run so fast?" The figure had already traveled across a few thousand feet. One would have thought that it had teleported across that distance in the blink of an eye. The merchants would not have been able to catch up with its speed if they had not been observing the figure from a far enough distance.
Milo saw it, and the expression on his face changed instantly. "Not good, that's definitely a master. We'd better hurry. Something big's about to go down!"
At that moment, no one hesitated. Everyone began turning their horse carriages around and hurriedly headed back towards Norton Kingdom.
In the chaos, a girl's voice rang out. "Where's brother Link?"
No one answered her. Everyone was busy running for their lives. Her voice was immediately drowned out in the din.
The carriages' wheels began clattering across the ground as the merchants desperately tried to put some distance between them and Mara City. In another corner, Link, who had cast an Invisibility spell on himself, walked in the opposite direction towards Mara City, unnoticed by anyone else.
Link was now able to exhibit perfect control of his Realm Essence. He had completely retracted his aura. With the aid of an Invisibility spell, he had blended perfectly into his surroundings.
He recognized the figure which had raced across the sky. It was the newly promoted Beastman King, Avatar. Link did not expect that he would come all the way here, but Link had also sensed other auras beside Avatar's.
After receiving his Realm Essence, not only was Link able to refine the control of his own power, but he had also become even more sensitive to the auras of others in comparison to other Legendary masters.
One might liken Link's current senses to a puddle of clear water. A drop of ink would make more of a difference in it than a puddle of muddy water.
He could feel a total of six different Legendary auras up ahead. He even recognized four of them, with whom Link had come into contact before.
"Katyusha, Ariel, Elovan, Milose, a demon, a Beastman, and the Beastman King Avatar. That's seven Legendary masters. There's gonna be quite a party in Mara City."
Link did not feel confident about facing all of them head-on. One slight misstep would mean certain death and the decimation of his very soul.
I'll need to keep myself well hidden. Watching the seven of them fight it out from the sidelines seemed like an excellent idea.
He wanted to know why these many Legendary master had come together in the Beastmen's city.
Avatar had reached the outer wall of the city. He stood on the wall and saw that different areas of the city had descended into different degrees of chaos.
There were sounds of crying and roaring all over the city. Avatar saw these strange things running amok in certain parts of the city. Their bodies were green, and covered in white blemishes. Green pus flowed out from them as well. They were rampaging throughout the city, biting and clawing wildly at anyone they saw.
Avatar frowned at this spectacle of madness. Without further delay, he leaped off from the wall and headed towards Mara City's ancestral altar.
The altar was where the shamans lived. He needed to find a way to stop the epidemic. Otherwise, Mara City and the entire Golden Plains would soon turn into an uninhabitable wasteland.
On his way, Avatar saw countless atrocities being committed by the people in the city. He had seen a father, who was on the brink of death, suddenly sitting upright and biting into his daughter's neck beside him. There was a mother who had swallowed her infant child whole. Even the soldiers were not immune to the madness. They had slaughtered everyone in their paths as green pus flowed profusely from their pores.
Order had completely collapsed in Mara City. The city itself had become a literal hell on earth.
Avatar began to grow anxious. Anger burned even more fiercely in him as he saw more atrocities being committed along the way. The bloodlust in his eyes intensified.
Whoever the culprit was, he would find them and then tear them to shreds. Avatar would then cook their remains and gobble them all up. This way, they would be digested slowly in his stomach and excreted from his body like the filth they were.
Ten seconds later, he reached the ancestral altar, but what he saw there caused him to lose all hope.
In the altar, an old shaman covered in white spots was feasting on the meat of a younger shaman. The latter was also infected, but he still retained his senses. The young shaman was trying to break free from his aggressor, but it was useless. The other shamans had collapsed on the ground, their faces a sickly green like the rest of the infected.
The ancestral altar was done for.
"How can this be? How can this be?" muttered Avatar despairingly outside the altar.
Just then, a female voice came from behind him. "Oh, how unfortunate, Avatar, that such a tragedy has happened to your city!"
It was Katyusha.
Avatar turned around without warning and pulled out his obsidian sword from his back in a fluid motion.
"Is this your doing?" Avatar glared at Katyusha, his eyes now flashing dangerously. A target that he could channel all his anger and bloodlust into had finally appeared before him.
Battle aura flowed off him in waves. Parts of the ancestral altar began to crumble under the weight of such power.
Katyusha did not expect such a decisive reaction from Avatar. She could not help but take a step back from the sudden rush of power from Avatar's body.
Without giving Katyusha time to react, Avatar leaped mightily forward. He then swung his sword, directing all his power and bloodlust with the ferocity of a thunderstorm at the Naga.
Katyusha was shocked. Her opponent had moved too swiftly. She could not use her Spear of Victory's Thorn of Fate in time.
Though the Spear of Victory was a formidable weapon, its wielder was no match for the Beastman King's lightning speed.
In the face of such an attack, she felt as if she was out in the middle of a stormy sea and a huge wave would break her pitiful raft into pieces at any time.
She had no idea just how terrifying the Beastman King really was.
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