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Chapter 3: The Ghost King's Messenger
Atlantis 10:44 PM
I had a very intriguing feeling.
In fact, I can't explain what this feeling is either, but if you ever get the chance to be someone dashing behind a crocodile-version-of-the-Loch-Ness-Monster one day, you'll definitely be able to experience what I'm currently feeling.
It's simply unexplainable.
After the crocodile-version-of-the-sea-monster madly ran like a truck without brakes for a long time, at the corner, it suddenly dropped down in front of our eyes.
That's right, dropped down. With a "hong" mixed with an earthshaking sound effect, it could be seen that the crocodile-version-of-the-sea-monster fell quite miserably. I wonder how it's going to look like after falling down.
"The path ahead is broken!" Gasai was the first to stop, followed by the others stopping one after another. It was only now that I saw that the one who grabbed me to run was called Chifuyu.
Really is a group of non-humans. Not a single one of the people around me was out of breath; you simply can't tell that they were madly dashing for several hundred meters just a moment ago.
You guys are all ghosts!
After the corner, appearing before us was a huge gap in the path. We were completely unable to see the path ahead. And the bottom was like an entire abyss, a piece of pitch-blackness, with icy winds that rolled up from beneath. Within a few seconds, I immediately felt my scalp growing numb and my hair raising on my skin.
"Floating King." Yado stood before the gap in the path, and called toward the bottom. As if responding to his voice, a certain "hong hong" sound once again sounded out from below. Less than a few seconds later, I saw a black thing directly rushing up from the bottom.
I never thought that the crocodile-version-of-the-Loch-Ness-Monster would even possess the skill to climb walls. This is such a rapid evolution!
The second that black thing rushed up, I realized that the thing didn't seem like a sea monster anymore. Instead, it turned into something else, one that was even more inconceivable. It was a weirdo with a youngster's upper half, and a bottom half that was suspected to be a huge black tiger; behind its butt was a long dragon tail.
The main point is, there were still some parts of his body covered with scales.
Aih…logically speaking, shouldn't things from the water clan be fish people, mermaids and the like? How come the middle part of your body is that of a fur-covered tiger?
Violation of nature?
"Yado, there's a passage at the bottom." Calling out his master's name in a very straightforward and natural way, the youngster slightly bent his body as if in greeting. "I can't be sure of it, since I didn't get to fall all the way to the bottom, but I did hear sounds of fighting coming from there."
That sentence of his seemed to be saying that he'd been planning to fall all the way to the bottom, but because he was summoned, he only got to fall halfway down before he had to climb up again.
"Sounds of fighting?" The others had their attention grabbed by these three words.
I knew that everyone's thoughts must be the same. As of now, the only person who we know has entered the bottom is Senior. If there're sounds of fighting below, then there's an eight or nine out of ten chance that it's definitely related to him.
"Yes, there's a fight going on down there, and one of them has the aura of the Ghost Tribe."
I instantly thought of two candidates: one is called Senior, and other is called the face-changing person.
The others exchanged glances.
"Let's go down and take a look. At any rate, we still have those snake worms chasing behind us."
Yido's words were immediately approved by everyone.
Wait a minute!
Then that means that…
Just as I wanted to ask whether we were going to climb down the stairs, in front of us, Gasai directly kicked at the ground. With a "dong" sound, he jumped down without bringing anything along, and disappeared into the dark abyss at once.
I swallowed, and backed away.
This is not a method a person can use to go down, this is not a method a person can use to go down, this is not a method a person can use to go down…
This is not a method a normal human can use at all!
Like frogs jumping into the water, after seeing him go down, Chifuyu, Yido and Leido jumped down one after another. And soon they all disappeared below.
"Yang Yang, you're not following them down?" Yado used a very weird expression to look at me, "Don't worry, the ones who went down first will catch you."
Right now that's not the issue, the problem lies in my psychology being pressured.
Just taking a glance below made me feel that it's a horrifying place where I jump down and then an "ahhhhhhhh" sound would continue echoing for eternity. I kept feeling that as soon as I go down, I would die halfway due to being scared to death.
A normal person wouldn't want to jump, right!?
You abnormal people can't understand the pain in my heart as a normal person.
"Feeling unassured?" Yado helplessly sighed, "Floating King, bring him down." He said this to the water weirdo beside him.
Next, that water weirdo approached me, and the youngster's face enlarged in front of me.
"I'll wait for you guys at the bottom." Completely disregarding the cries coming from my heart, Yado directly jumped down with a "dong" sound.
Please give me a staircase so I could climb down on my own, boss!
"Please don't struggle and move around, or else it would be bad if you fell down halfway."
The water weirdo approached me, step by step, until he forced me into a corner and I couldn't retreat any further.
The second I got ready to turn and run to the side, some kind of huge strength caught my shoulder, lifting me up as my feet left the ground. Before I could even resist, I felt the world turning a big round, and a multicolored picture appeared.
Before that multicolored picture subsided, I felt myself getting thrown, just like free-falling. In that instant, the wind pressure and "hu hu" sounds completely covered my ears, face and body.
Can't you just give me a staircase!?
I'm not even allowed to use one staircase!?
The water weirdo grabbed me, and we rapidly dropped down.
I'll die young.
I really do feel that I might die young.
My scream didn't last for very long, and I kind of forgot just how long we've been falling when we reached the ground. Anyway, by the time I recovered, the water weirdo was already putting me down.
"You see, we were able to reach the bottom very quickly this way." The water weirdo used a you-didn't-have-to-make-such-a-big-fuss-about-it kind of tone to tell me.
That's right, we did reach the bottom very quickly. If we play a few more rounds of this, my life will reach its end very quickly.
It was only after the shock had passed that I slowly calmed down. Then I found out that the bottom was actually pretty similar to above. No matter how I looked at it, it looks like a drainage channel, with little changes.
Those few people who came down before us didn't exactly have the most loyalty as they had already disappeared to who knows where. Good thing I didn't listen to Yado's suggestion just now, and jump down to let them catch me. Otherwise, right now I definitely would've become a pile of mud stuck on the ground, waiting for people to come and shovel me up to be recovered.
Just as I was feeling glad, a very faint sound drifted into my ears.
That's right, just now they seemed to have said that there was something fighting at the bottom.
"The sounds are coming from the left corner up ahead. Yado and the others should have already arrived there, so please start moving as soon as possible too." With a not-so-polite tone, the water weirdo swung his long dragon tail once, then he turned around and walked toward the front. The huge black tiger body seemed to have some kind of indescribable momentum. In short, I subconsciously picked up my pace and closely followed behind his steps that seemed very leisurely but was actually quite fast.
After the corner, those fighting sounds became more distinct.
A huge open space appeared in front of us. It was different from the drainage channel just now. This is an undeveloped place, like a rock cave, and rocks and clods of dirt could be seen everywhere in the surroundings. The entire large-scale underground stone chamber seemed like it was specifically excavated for some purposes, and the construction land felt like it was several hundred ping*, spectacularly extraordinary.
[T/N: Unit of measure for housing and construction land, one ping is about three meters]
The people who were fighting appeared inside.
Standing at the entrance, Yido and the others also looked like they were a little dumbfounded, and didn't move forward for a while.
I suppose they must've had the same guess as me in thinking that one of the people fighting would definitely be Senior. However, seeing the situation in front of us, it's quite clear that we all guessed wrong.
After all, Senior's not someone who would wear flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt to a fight.
Then his very incongruous opponent looked like he was dressed quite normally, but from his neck up, he was clearly not a normal guy. In some ways, these two people fighting each other really gave off a weird sense of fitting together.
"Hey! You're not allowed to hit his head!"
The first one to let out a roar was a certain fairy whose eyes popped out of their sockets. As soon as he saw his beloved five-colored steel brush almost get hit, Leido, who was originally dumbfounded with us, broke the enigmatic silence, and angrily rushed up to fight, but was immediately stopped by his brother from the back.
That's right, the one in front of us, who's been fighting for who knows how long, was the very same five-colored rooster head who we still haven't found traces of yet.
Speaking of which, why would he be underneath the drainage channel?
Aren't fools supposed to like high places?
[T/N: Comes from a Japanese proverb about how fools and smoke rise up to high places (positions, power?) and then get whisked away by the wind]
And who's the one fighting with him?
I don't know if my eyes were having cramps or I really was hallucinating, but I think I see something with a head that was suspected to be closely related to a triangle and a mantis, and a human body, fighting with the five-colored rooster head.
The triangular mantis person seems rather strong, because there were several injuries on the five-colored rooster head in front of us. His beast claws were also speckled with blood stains. If it wasn't for his clothing and his opponent's appearance, in fact, when we first saw the battlefield, all of us would've tensed up, instead of becoming dumbfounded.
How should I put it, this is really similar to a fight between an alien and a beach tourist.
"Floating King, go and stop them." The abnormally calm Yado held back his restless brother with both hands from behind, and then issued an order to the water weirdo.
"Yes." The water weirdo seemed a bit reluctant to get involved with this supernatural fight, but under the command of his master, the tiger claws still kicked at the ground and quickly sliced through the air, breaking into the fight between the two people.
In that same second, Gasai also swiftly made his move. At the same time that the water weirdo landed, he had already appeared right in front of the five-colored rooster head, with the black iron whip that he'd summoned at some point coiled around his arm like a snake lying in wait.
Obviously caught by surprise, the triangular mantis person had already darted back before the water weirdo could attack him, standing about a few meters away.
The originally heated battle was broken apart, and both sides stared at each other.
"Floating King, please bring Ziray to the side to be healed." With his gaze on the triangular mantis person, Gasai's expression couldn't be seen behind the mask, as he just lightly said this.
The water weirdo nodded, then grabbed the five-colored rooster head, and immediately jumped back in front of us.
It was only when we had a closer look at him that we realized the five-colored rooster head's injuries really were serious, with torn skin and flesh all over his body.
"Damn it, if I used my full strength, then that guy would've been killed in a second!" Being forcibly brought back, the five-colored rooster head's eyes were clearly a murderous red, and he very impulsively wanted to go back and continue fighting with the triangular mantis person.
"Wait, if you don't want to have excessive bleeding, then the first thing you should do is heal." Yido blocked his path, and said with a serious expression, "Your wounds are poisoned. If you continue fighting on, it won't do you any good."
The five-colored rooster head snorted, turned around, and his eyes just so happened to meet mine. "Yang~Why are you here too?" Probably didn't expect me to appear at all, his eyes widened, a little surprised.
I'm really sorry, I shouldn't have been able to appear here.
"I came with senior Gasai and the others. Why are you here?" Basically, I feel that it should be even more impossible for him to appear here than me.
At the side, Yado released his hands, letting Leido go and prepare the supplies for treatment, and then he began examining the injuries on the five-colored rooster head with his older brother.
"Taking a walk!" The five-colored rooster head gave an answer that made one want to smack the back of his head.
"Mister, I heard that the drainage channel floods at night, so how were you able to walk right in here?" I held back my hand that wanted to smack him, and then continued to ask the question in my mind.
"I came in last night, of course. Yesterday I was running around the town, and in the end, who knows which inconsiderate guy opened the drain cover and didn't put it back, causing me to accidentally fall into the drainage channel. After that, I just strolled around in this place, though I didn't expect that I would walk all the way here." Shrugging, completely didn't feel that his walking range was too wide, the five-colored rooster head said, "I haven't eaten anything since last night, I'm starving to death!" He added on a sentence that made me feel that the next thing he would do is take a bite out of someone.
"That…I have some bread here. Do you want to eat a bit…" Taking my bag of bread from this morning's allotment out of my backpack, I handed it to him, and in just a few seconds, my reserve food was lost to a certain wide-open mouth.
"Although it's not enough to even fill the gaps in my teeth, it's still better than nothing." Still not satisfied as he licked his lips, the five-colored rooster head said, with a slightly disappointed tone.
"We also have some food with us. First we'll help you do some temporary healing, and then we'll get them for you later." Yido pulled his beast claw, and on it was a deep wound that was bleeding. "So please cooperate with us during the treatment." Saying that, a faint silvery blue sphere of light appeared above his hand, slowly coming into contact with that wound.
"Okay!" As soon as he heard that there were still food, the five-colored rooster head immediately became well-behaved and didn't move at all.
In fact, as long as there's food, you can be easily bribed, right…
"That's right, what is that thing?" Looking at the triangular mantis person who was still glaring back at Gasai, Leido took out a wooden box, came over to us, and opened it. Inside were all bottles and jars with markings that showed unknown origins. "How come you started fighting with him?"
The five-colored rooster head frowned, "Who knows who he is. This uncle was in the middle of taking a walk when he just jumped out and blocked my way. Since we got on each other's nerves, we just started fighting."
Such a great reason.
"He has the aura of the Ghost Tribe on him." At the side, the water weirdo suddenly spoke up, "Moreover, he has a high rank in the Ghost Tribe."
The Ghost Tribe also has mantis people?
I looked at that triangular head, and suddenly thought of a certain book that I read before, which said that there's something called the Fly King within the Devil's subordinates. It can't be that there's a Mantis King within the Ghost Tribe too?
"That seems to be…the Ghost King's messenger."
Chifuyu, who almost never spoke, abruptly threw out this sentence. We immediately turned around to look at him. "Not long ago, someone sent a report to the Guild, about a similar Ghost King's messenger who's been appearing in various places."
I was listening when a strange conclusion suddenly arose in my mind.
It can't be that the face-changing person had originally looked like this too, but since he was aware that he looked too supernatural, he went around using other people's faces.
Nn, that's very possible.
"You're the one who came to probe the hostel last night."
While a noisy uproar was going on at our side, senior Gasai's clear voice drifted over, and our side immediately quieted down. "The feeling, aura, and body shape are all the same. What is your goal in probing the hostel?"
The triangular mantis person's yellow eyes looked at him for a while, and snorted. "So there were only a few people inside…I've been tricked." His voice was sort of hoarse. It felt like an elderly person's voice but not quite like it either.
Gasai narrowed his eyes, and once again sized up the triangular mantis person in front of him. "An insect head with a human body. I've only heard of one person among the Ghost King's subordinates with such an appearance. One of the seven masters of Ghost King Jing Lothian, Insect Bone."
In fact, I feel like the name Mantis King would be more suitable for him, because he doesn't look like an "Insect Bone" at all, and more like a mantis person who had his body connected wrongly.
After hearing senior Gasai's affirmative tone, the triangular mantis person suddenly laughed coldly. "Little child, your knowledge isn't bad. Who taught you this?"
"Partner." Senior Gasai stood straight, with an imposing manner that wasn't in any way inferior to his.
Yellow eyes abruptly swept over to our side, and for a second, all the hair on me suddenly stood up on end. That pair of eyes gave one a strange sense of stickiness, making me feel uncomfortable from the bottom of my heart, as if I was covered by something greasy.
"Which one is your partner?" The triangular mantis person let out a strange cold laugh. If it's possible, I really do hope that he would shut up, and not laugh, because that sound really gives one goosebumps.
A subtle sound could be heard. The black iron whip's body was hanging down, the preparation before the attack. "Mind your own business." Gasai's tone gradually grew cold.
"Ji ji ji…First I'll kill that guy who knows too much, then kill you, and finally, I'll kill everyone who saw me." Yellow eyes rapidly turned, persistently revolving around us.
Basically, you're just going to kill all of us, so why do you have to be so insistent about the order!
"I'll send you to hell before you can even touch the others." With a clang, the iron whip seemed to have a life of its own as it suddenly shook and flew toward the opponent ahead. Just as senior Gasai's voice fell, the battle against the triangular mantis person had also officially begun.
Not slower than Gasai, the triangular mantis person stretched out his arm at the same time the iron whip was about to hit him. When it struck him, a heavy sound was made, as if it had collided with a hard metal object, followed by the entire huge rock cave echoing with the heavy sound.
"Little child, did your partner also teach you to be impatient?" The completely unaffected triangular mantis person used an annoying tone to issue a "hei hei" laughter. "No matter if it's you or those few little children on the other side, none of you are my opponents, so how about just coming at me together to save some time?"
A tone that absolutely looked down on others.
Even if it's me, I also wanted to blow off his hateful mantis head with one shot.
Right now I finally know why the five-colored rooster head said that he got on his nerves, because he really is a mantis that only knows how to get on people's nerves.
"My partner only said, if you see something repulsive, just annihilate it first."
I heard a certain statement that was very similar to the five-colored rooster head's.
Leaving these words, Gasai turned his wrist, and the black whip that was originally blocked by the triangular mantis person suddenly sprang up. The long whip drew out a black light before our eyes, and then with a circular motion, it heavily struck the back of the triangular mantis person's head.
I saw a somewhat greenish-white thing spurting out from the back of his head.
As if he couldn't sense pain, the triangular mantis person's expression didn't even change. He simply reached out a hand slowly and touched the back of his head; the wound that still had the unknown liquid flowing out immediately healed. Then his originally turbid yellow eyes were gradually dyed a blackish-yellow color, revealing a slightly green light.
"You've made me angry."but I think I see something with a head that was suspected to be closely related to a triangle and a mantis, and a human body, fighting with the five-colored rooster head.