Chapter 295 “Departure”
This novel is translated and hosted on bcatranslation.com
The instant he saw the distorted radiance, the old guard realized he had unwittingly stumbled into an exceedingly perilous situation. On this cold, dark night, an unfathomable and indescribable being had come knocking at his door, and even more dangerously, he had lit a potent incense just minutes earlier to extract secrets from the souls of the two cultists!
The incense was potent enough to create the desired dying illusion in the minds of the deceased and could significantly augment the caster’s range of perception and mental sharpness. This enabled him to successfully discern the breath of the enigmatic demon from the most subtle consciousness fluctuations of the two cultists. However, the side effect was a temporary increase in his spiritual vision, which left him almost defenseless against the reality of the visitor.
The dazzling, twisted starlight swirled wildly outside the door, faintly outlining an enormous, giant-like presence. It seemed like ten thousand roars overlapped into a piercing scream that wreaked havoc in his mind. Each scream appeared to rip his soul apart as the old guard stood there rigidly, witnessing a ray of starlight stretching towards him. The front of the starlight abruptly blossomed as if numerous eyes were shifting within.
Duncan observed the old man holding the shotgun before him and peeked past him.
Inside, he saw the two lifeless bodies.
The cultists had been taken care of – the seemingly frail old man in front of him appeared to possess strength beyond his expectations.
“It seems the trouble has been dealt with, and that’s good,” Duncan smiled, nodding gently. “I wanted to help, concerned that you might be in danger…”
As he spoke, he glanced down at his current state and quickly added, “Ah, I know I look a bit terrifying and highly suspicious right now. The reasons are complex, and the situation was critical, so I had to temporarily use an inferior shell. This body is gradually falling apart, but rest assured, sir, I’m not an evil person…”
Amid the rumbling and buzzing, human speech seemed to blend in. A few intelligible words, combined with an extensive amount of knowledge, flooded all his senses. The old guard faced the starlight giant in an invisible storm, realizing that the other party was attempting to converse with him.
The indescribable visitor on this wintry night appeared to want to convey something to him.
But he couldn’t hear anything clearly.
One thing he knew for certain – he was the guardian of the cemetery.
He could not allow this suspicious entity to remain on this land designated for the deceased to rest.
With tense muscles, he surely but slowly raised his double-barreled shotgun. Then, under immense mental strain and chaotic thought interference, he aimed the gun at the seemingly god-like powerful… “individual.”
“Leave,” he said indistinctly, then raised his voice a little, “Leave! Don’t disturb them!”
Duncan furrowed his brow.
But he soon understood the old guard’s intense reaction at the moment – after all, he didn’t appear to be a benevolent person at all.
Emitting black smoke, with inch-long cracks in his skin, and shedding half a pound of coal ash when laughing, the old man was only pointing his gun at him without immediately firing. This could only mean that there might not be any bullets in the gun…
“It’s time for me to go,” Duncan said, taking a step back without being bothered by the old man’s strong reaction. “I just wanted to assess the situation.”
He sensed that the body’s collapse had reached its limit, and his mind, projected from the Vanished, was gradually detaching from the crumbling vessel.
“My first visit today was rather hectic, with numerous incidents occurring,” he told the elderly caretaker, a faint smile on his lips. “However, our prior conversation was quite enjoyable. I hope we can meet again in a calmer and more stable setting. Farewell.”
As his spirit retreated from the corpse, which had been rapidly deteriorating due to the death of the symbiotic demon, it finally crumbled entirely. Without Duncan’s support, it fell backward and shattered into dry, fragmented charcoal upon impact with the ground.
The immense pressure and deafening noise the old caretaker experienced dissipated following the inexplicable presence’s departure. The twisted starlight before his eyes were now replaced by a constant ringing, accompanied by a feeling of emptiness. Amid the persistent ringing in his ears, he observed the cemetery’s winding path under the gas streetlights’ glow; the overlapping shadows of blinking eyes and whispering foulness now filled his senses.
Shutting his eyes right away, the old gravekeeper silently recited the name of the death god in his mind before opening them again.
The unsettling sight persisted but somewhat improved; at least he could better discern the real world and the corrupted version.
It was the residue of madness, and he knew it. But fortunately, it wasn’t permanent or total insanity. As to how long this effect would last, he didn’t know. In any regard, he shouldn’t stay outside with a deteriorated mental state. Who knows what he would do right now if he encountered another living person.
Whatever needed to be investigated next would have to wait until sunrise.
The old gravekeeper considered for a moment, then turned and returned to the cabin, promptly locking the door and windows while battling the ongoing dizziness and ringing in his ears. Trusting his memory, he located the herbs and sacred oil amidst the chaotic shadows and contorted objects, sprinkling them in the room’s four corners. After completing these tasks, he approached the room’s center, pushed the still-warm corpse off the chair onto the floor, seated himself, donned a death emblem on his chest, grasped the double-barreled shotgun, and silently awaited the next sunrise.
In the captain’s quarters aboard the Vanished, Duncan sighed softly and glanced at the individual beside him.
Ai tilted her head, gazing at Duncan, and suddenly blurted out, “Our warriors are battling the enemy… The odds are stacked against us!”
“Did Alice pick a fight with something again?” Duncan listened to the sounds outside, faintly registering the clangs on the deck and Miss Puppet’s sporadic exclamations. However, these noises had become commonplace on the Vanished, so he didn’t give them much thought, merely shaking his head, “Let her be; she’ll calm down eventually.”
As he spoke, he shifted his somewhat stiff neck and peered out the window.
Sunrise had not yet arrived, and the Boundless Sea remained cloaked in the darkness where Frost lay in that direction.
His hasty journey to the frigid island had been far from smooth. Not only had he failed to find a body suitable for long-term use, but he also couldn’t leave the cemetery in the end.
Nevertheless, despite the obstacles, he had gained something from this endeavor.
Duncan recalled his time in the cemetery, sifting through the information he had collected.
Followers of the Nether Lord, the Annihilation Cult… This was the most significant aspect.
Four cultists, masquerading as priests of the death god during the most stringent curfew hours, attempted to steal a corpse from the cemetery, even risking their lives for it… This was no trivial matter.
It was expected that the events in the cemetery would be noticed by Frost’s authorities and the local church after sunrise, creating a stir among the church’s protectors.
His emergence from the coffin as a “dead man” would naturally pique the local church’s interest as well.
The temporarily inhabited body…
Duncan’s brow furrowed gradually.
This was another vital point.
There was clearly something amiss with that corpse – not just because four Annihilators had risked their lives to steal it in the dead of night, but also due to the peculiar “self-disintegration” phenomenon that had transpired later.
Duncan looked at his own hands, remembering the vivid image of that body’s rapid disintegration.
It wasn’t his first time occupying a body, but it was the first time he had witnessed such an odd disintegration phenomenon – even the heartless sacrifice in Pland’s sewers hadn’t experienced such a bizarre situation, no matter how dreadful its condition!
Simultaneously, Duncan recalled a phrase unintentionally disclosed by one of the cultists: “This body is nearing its limit.”
Those Annihilators apparently knew something; they had anticipated the disintegration phenomenon of that body…
Duncan lifted his hand, slowly stroking his chin.
He also considered another matter as he speculated on the cultists’ motives.
Behind these unusual events… Was there a link to Morris’s “friend who returned from the dead”?