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"Fine, activate the circle. I must still prepare for the gravitational magic circle." Henn’s voice ceased at that point. Angele activated the crystal scorpion and sat down at the desk. He looked at the two crescent moons outside the window while asking Zero to complete a few tasks. About half an hour later, he raised his left hand. *CHI* Glowing light of white and red colors flashed on the tip of his middle finger forming two rays of light as it slowly shot into the air and explode into specks of light. *Thud thud*
Someone knocked on the door. Angele turned around quickly. "Come in, please." *Creak* The door was pushed open slowly. Liv noiselessly stood outside the door; Angele’s communication rune was still flickering on her index finger. "You messaged me at the right time." She stared at Angele. "The thing we have talked about several days ago, I have a lead for you." "Please take a seat." Angele had a gentle smile on his face. ********************** Half an hour later, Liv stepped out of Angele’s room. It was late at night. The night breeze kept blowing along the surface of the rippling river; the leaves were dancing in the air. Several hours later, Angele, hooded and cloaked in black, stood on the peak of a small hill beside the mansion. "How long will the illusion magic circle last?" Henn chuckled in response. "What are you worried about? You are proficient at illusionary spells, right? And I designed the magic circle myself. There’s no way Liv can find out the truth." "Good, then. Since I know every shortcut now, I will arrive at the ruins early. However, I need to talk to someone from the Dark Wizard Tower along the way. It will not take too long," Angele replied as if nothing was wrong. "Not a problem. I know that place, it is near our route. Just don’t spend too much time there." Henn was not concerned. "Fine, I will move out now." Angele, nodding, walked down the hill as he vanished into the darkness. Inside the mansion, there was a man who looked exactly like Angele sitting on the bed meditating, and he was surrounded by mysterious energy waves. ********************** Three days later… In the forest, east of Bass River. It was noon, and the sky was covered by thick white clouds. The air was warm and humid. At a narrow path, the ground was covered in dried leaves and grass. Green sprouts were growing out of the yellow mud. The long branches and green leaves covered the sky above the path. The sunlight was having a hard time finding its way down there. The tree trunks on both sides of the road had various strange shapes. Angele had his head covered with his hood as he walked along the left side of the path. He was traveling at full speed, even going nearly as fast as a well-bred horse. He saw a road sign ahead of him upon traveling for more than half an hour. Angele walked to the roadside and wiped the dust off the sign revealing the words written on it. ‘Welcome to the Sherry Forest.’ The characters were written in red and they looked messy. He looked at the road ahead. It almost felt like the entrance of the forest was being surrounded by distorted energy waves. The trunks of the trees had grown in a twisting manner and the thick roots formed a circle in the air. Angele felt a bit dizzy just by looking at all those strange trees. Standing in front of the road sign, he raised his left hand. Around his middle finger was the ring that had been delivered by the golden bird from the Dark Wizard Tower. *CHI* Sheens of blue light shone from the gem, now surrounding Angele’s body. He calmed down and began to move onward once again. Time passed. For another half an hour, Angele continued to wander around the trees. Gradually, the light coming from the ring finally faded away. When he stopped by a gigantic tree root, he realized that it was actually a door formed by the branches. ‘86’ and ‘10’ were engraved on the left and right side of the door, respectively. Angele pushed the door open and stepped inside. He reached the other side of the tree quickly and saw countless head-sized green fruits hanging on the enormous branches. The fruits were covered with white fur and they looked like peaches. Angele started counting the fruits from the left. *KA* He saw the seventh fruit crack open, and it looked like a mouth full of sharp teeth. Translucent sticky liquid leaked out of the mouth and dripped down the surface of the fruit. Strangely, the sticky liquid had an attractive flowery smell. Several seconds later, a face that had only eyes and mouth formed on the front side of the fruit. "Haven’t seen a newbie in a while," it spoke with an androgynous voice. "Are you here for the advanced meditation technique?" Angele nodded slightly. "Yeah, the golden bird informed me of the location." "I’m in charge of handing out the advanced techniques for Elemental Hand… Ha. Anyway, you can call me Mocco. I will also hand out the reward of the missions you completed to you," Mocco explained. "Based on your current level, you may choose two different universal advanced meditation techniques. The first is called ‘Venom Barrier and the second is called ‘Blue Light’. These meditation techniques, however, are incomplete so if you want the complete version, you must first sign a special contract with the organization." "Certainly, I understand." Angele then nodded again. "Besides the meditation technique, I want intel. As a formal member, I believe that’s part of the benefits, right?" "Yeah." Mocco pursed his lips. "Alright, I want to know how to deal with…soul forms after encountering them." Angele went straight to the point. "Ghosts? They are indeed difficult to deal with but there is some related information stored in the Dark Wizard Tower’s library." Mocco wasn’t in the slightest surprised as Angele was not the only one who had asked such question. "What else? I will send your questions back to the headquarters all at once." Angele hesitated for a second before opening his mouth. "I want the entire data you possess on the Axis of Time." "Axis of Time, huh? Now that is a rare request. Information pertaining to that organization is highly confidential. The sundial and the shadow keys made them famous. The organization’s members are all lunatics, as they wanted to commit mass suicide. They barely even communicated with other organizations. Actually, the sundial and the shadow keys are related to the study of soul forms. You need these two items to open the gate to their greatest treasure. Hmm…" Mocco stopped for a second then continued, "I smell something familiar…Do you perhaps have the shadow key with you?" Narrowing his eyes, Angele was about to speak about it but Mocco stopped him. "Do not worry. The gate to the treasure is impossible to find. Wizards have already gone to the ruins and found the treasury using the shadow keys, yet all of them died for some reason. A rank 4 wizard said that the ‘treasure’ was merely a trap set up by the Axis of Time. I’m not interested in your shadow key at all…" Mocco pursed his lips. "Ah, I know why you are asking me about soul forms—the key will attract ghosts." Angele finally heard something he was interested in. "So, how do I deal with it? Throw it away?" "It’s simple if that is the case. I will tell you everything about the key." Mocco cleared his throat and began explaining, "The shadow key helps ghosts preserve their energy. If a ghost tries to enter the owner’s body, their soul will become bound to the key. If the key is taken away, the ghost must find another creature or person to inhabit." "I have heard that the ghost will become linked to the owner’s life." Angele frowned. "You mean the life energy connection? Umm…it rarely happens but it is possible. I have already sent your queries back to the division, and they have just responded." Angele was not sure how Mocco communicated with the organization. "What did they say?" Angele stayed calm but he felt a bit relieved. If the shadow key was not a valuable item, he would not have to hide the truth that there was an old lady living in his body. Dark Wizard Tower had many ways to collect intel and information. He activated the crystal scorpion so that Henn would have no idea what he was saying. Angele wanted to talk to Vivian about the truth, but he was not sure what she would do. It was nearly impossible for Angele to win a fight against her, so he decided to seek help from the Dark Wizard Tower. Elemental Hand was just a weak organization when compared to the Dark Wizard Tower. Angele thought that the Dark Wizard Tower was probably the strongest organization in the whole central continent. Their members, after all, had infiltrated all the major organizations. They were everywhere and their power was incredibly strong. Henn was possibly a legendary wizard, yet even she did not want to become entangled with the Dark Wizard Tower. "Well, the division suggested you do more missions and collect points. You may then opt to hire a professional wizard that is a ‘ghost’ themselves. There are many wizards in soul forms in the headquarters. One of them is a strong wizard that had lost his physical form hundreds of years ago, and if you possess a magic device called ‘Thousand Shadow Orb’, you will be able to expel the ghost from your body with ease." "Thousand Shadow Orb?" Angele repeated the name. "What is this?" "It can help ghosts regain intelligence and become an individual. The magic device can actually be crafted yourself, but you must trade mission points for its recipe." ******************** Angele soon left the forest upon acquiring all the information he wanted. He then began heading toward the ruins once again and he had also picked up the required materials for the Poison Cloud Potion. The amount he obtained was enough for him to be able to concoct ten servings. Mocco told Angele that more materials would be provided upon the failure of the concoction of the potion. However, the mission must be completed within two months. If he failed the potion concoction mission this time, he would no longer be considered a candidate for future missions related to potion concoction. Angele did not worry upon knowing this information, as the intel regarding soul forms and the shadow keys was significantly more important to him. The advanced meditation technique was stored in a red seed, which he kept in his pouch. The ruin was nearby the headquarters of Elemental Hand. Easily and immediately, he returned to the peak of the snowy volcano then entered the ruin. The ruin was empty. Angele stayed outside the unrestricted area and started to draw tiny magic circles in the tunnels according to the plan Henn had told him. Countless red magic circles covered each of the tunnels outside the unrestricted areas. He spent about half a day to finish all the preparations. "Alright, we’re done." Henn sounded excited. Angele slowly lowered his hand from a magic circle on the wall and rubbed his temples. "Those magic circles will disappear upon activation. The only thing it will do is to produce energy waves. Are you sure this will work?" He stared at the black box. "Of course it will. I already told you the mentality frequency. If that b*tch tries to activate the gravitational magic circle, the energy waves from all those magic circles will kill her if she’s unlucky. Ha!" Henn gritted her teeth. "Why did Vivian leave for the war? She has already spent years living in this ruin. I thought she’s no longer interested in the affairs of the outside world." Liv had told him that Vivian had not left the ruin for a long time. "I have no idea. You should ask her yourself." Henn was not interested. "Fine." Angele glanced around. "Alright, we need to leave now." "Find a safe spot and activate the trap when the gravitational magic circle releases its special energy wave." Henn lowered her voice. Angele nodded and left the ruin quickly. He rushed down the snowy volcano and waited patiently within the forest.