Chapter 294: Unaware of The Oriole Behind

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A colossal monster of flesh and blood spread out several hundred meters in every direction. The massive eyeball in the center cracked open, revealing the inner sarcomas and the pulsating organs laced with blood vessels.

Between the gaps of putrid flesh, tentacles which resembled white strips of light flailed around, piercing the two helpless human figures and strangling them. Copious amounts of blood were squeezed from them before they were promptly engulfed.

The now slurried human figures were shadow assassin Pasha and druid Wallis.

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They were food to this gigantic monster and had been ‘pinched’ into bizarre shapes as if they were soft bread by this ravenous creature that had no regard for the feelings of its food.

Wallis’ eyes were barely remaining in their sockets, and the end of the golden wolf head staff that he held had been plunged into his chest from the other end. His half-wolf form twisted into a licorice shape, and his spine was completely exposed. The only signs of struggle were the slight incessant twitching of whatever remained of his nerves.

In the face of the juvenile Destructive-rank pseudo-god, Wallis simply had no way of putting up the slightest resistance. Even his transformation attempt was half-complete, cut short with his swift death.

Whitey widened its jaw and gobbled the ‘pigeon’ in a few bites; it was so small it could be barely considered a snack.

In contrast, Pasha, who was stronger, managed to remain conscious. Her eyes were fixated on the monster before her as a mix of dread and anger filled her face.

The disgusting protrusions surrounding her displayed obvious signs of toxin corrosion, puffing out wisps of blue and black smoke. Bits and pieces dissolved into bouts of pus, while multiple tentacles and limbs began breaking off and fell twitching to the ground. The multitude of densely-packed eyes on the detached extremities was blinking relentlessly, producing sharp bursts of “squeaking” noises. It was as if all of them were separate individuals with independent consciousness.

This was the damage caused by Pasha’s attacks; direct proof that this shadow assassin was not to be underestimated.

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Moreover, her modified umbra physique had greatly boosted her vitality, allowing her to remain alive despite her entire body being torn apart.

But unfortunately, this only served to extend her suffering.

Targets of shadow assassins were usually human, hence their methods were often as such.

Had the target of Pasha’s attacks been a powerful human, he or she would have likely been dead.

But alas, to the gigantic juvenile pseudo-god, all that these toxins did was cause some ‘tingling pain’ to its ‘arms.’

Is this the thing that killed Louie?

Pasha struggled helplessly, her vision blurring, and it became extremely difficult for her to breathe. Strength in both her arms were gradually slipping away as absolute despair came over her. She was just unable to fathom this truth.

No. No Way. How could the organization not provide such information to us carrying out this mission when such an entity was this close? The organization is a transcendent one that knows everything, even the truth of the world; how could they possibly not know of the existence of such a powerful and hideous monster?

There must have definitely been a motive if they knew yet refused to reveal it. And that motive was to send us here intentionally to cause tension with the bookstore and lure the monster into showing itself.

Pasha's eyes widened as it all became clear.

With dying breath, she stared beyond the bloody tentacles which were about to ‘finish’ her off. She could make out the humanoid floating in midair, as well as his familiar face.

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It had been this person that had conveyed the task to her, Louie, and Wallis. The very same higher-up that was here to complete the new recruit evaluation.

He wore a cold yet confident expression, eyes focused on the enormous monster, barely batting an eyelid at the struggling organization members in their death throes.

So this is how the final bit of my life is snuffed out, thought Pasha as the corners of her mouth curved ever so slightly to display her abrupt gratification.

This was all part of the organization’s plan; the organization is all-knowing! My death shall be a sharp blade providing my final contribution to the organization! My life has its value!

This is great.

Cleveland showed no interest in the shadow assassin who was smiling despite her imminent death.

They were the products of failed experimentation that were meant to be used like disposable tools.

Who would ever care whether these shadow bugs lived or died?

The only thing he paid attention to right now was the gigantic creature before him. Having sacrificed these two pieces to study the results and closely observe the aftermath, Cleveland’s fascination with the monster only grew stronger.

“Even the combination of toxins created from ‘Voice of Doom’ and ‘Chalice of Blood’ wasn't able to effectively cause any damage. This toxin held by the shadow bug is supposedly more than capable of reducing a high-level Destructive-rank into pus, yet all it did was cause a few tentacles of this dream beast to break off. Its structure is truly incredible!”

There was a crazed look of avarice on Cleveland’s face. If he could analyze the anatomy of this powerful dream beast, he could perhaps develop an even more powerful tool.

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Nobody knew about the might of those toxins better than Cleveland, for he created them after all.

Cleveland, who people knew as ‘Poison Master,’ was both a white magician and scholar. As a white magician, his peak combat ability was only at Pandemonium-rank. But, as a scholar, he might have very well been of Destructive-rank.

The majority of biological and medicinal experiments in the Path of the Flaming Sword were largely overseen by him.

Some of which included the Penumbral Biomodification Experiment which created the shadow bugs, as well as synthesizing ‘Voice of Doom’ and other similar toxins.

And those necessary installations and materials were actually provided by Raziel’s side.

Logically speaking, Cleveland should be under Raziel. But “Guide” Sandalphon was responsible for recruiting new high-ranking members as well as maintaining connections between the other nine ‘angels,’ all of whom had their own subordinates. Many high-ranking executives were accepted by her; they were very close to her as well and would hence willingly follow her dispatch.

Cleveland was one of such.

Originally, the plan was just to retrieve the mysterious notebook that had been smuggled out of the Lower District. This was a relatively easy mission, yet Sandalphon had sent two shadow bugs to escort them.

This was all because the notebook was reportedly connected to the origins of the Path of the Flaming Sword, hence making the organization pay special attention to it.

However, for some unfathomable reason, that mortal visited the ‘bookstore.’

Due to this, the plan had seen an unexpected change, and it became a probing mission.

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Now, Lord Sandalphon had ordered him to collect the results.

“The array that was set up ahead of time works perfectly. Supreme-rank sigils are truly powerful. Looks like this little kitty still doesn’t know that it has stepped into a trap and gotten stuck.”

Cleveland squinted his eyes and observed the dark runic sigils that had been nailed in advance at five corners. The dark violet runes suspended in the air, vaguely forming a cage with a radius of nearly a kilometer.

The unknowing monster was still enjoying its food, oblivious to its impending doom.

Ha, the rumored godly bookstore owner isn’t much at all… In the face of a true Supreme-rank like Lord Sandalphon, this ‘omniscient’ title is just a mere ruse to deceive others.

Cleveland truly thought so, the corners of his lips curling into a snide smile.

Then, he stopped abruptly in his tracks.

Because a streak of moonlight appeared in front of him.

Why is there moonlight here?

This was the last thought Cleveland had as his vision dissolved into nothingness. His raised hands, arms, and lastly, his body—all gradually dissipated into soft moonlight and dissolved in the air.

Within the moonlight, a reserved young girl stared silently at what was left of him, her eyes devoid of any emotion.

[Ability: Source Death]

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