Chapter 500: The Dugons
Angor followed the same path as before to get back so that he could move at full speed without worrying about obstacles. It didn’t take long for them to reach the landing spot of the trench where Angor came from.
He couldn’t tell the condition of the water current while he was in his soul form, so he could only rely on Keely to alert him.
“The water is fine now but…” Keely checked on Luna; it was still shivering in her arms. “Luna’s not right. The monster probably hasn’t given up yet.”
Angor immediately began moving farther. The trench would grow narrower ahead of them, which meant the octopus couldn’t keep up.
Using Keely’s light to see the way, Angor kept flying for about an hour. The width of the path was smaller than a hundred meters now while the flat ground was replaced by a slope that led upward, which meant the end of the trench was near.
“We should be safe now. There’s no way that monster will get inside. And Luna told me we’ve lost it.”
Angor released both bodies before he returned to his own body.
Keely noticed how Angor gained so much speed while away from his body. However, she didn’t ask since it was probably something private.
The first thing Angor felt after returning to the body was the world spinning.
Next, his eyes rolled back as he went out cold.
“The seer does not question your past, while the altar shall remain on its mast. Use Meraid’s Sword to sever the previous, thus gaining your way to the land of demise.”
Angor heard someone talking beside his ears in a trance. When he managed to open his eyes, he saw a pair of feet in red dance shoes moving around him while accompanied by dim, orange light.
The air smelled pretty good. It reminded him of the perfume he sensed in Sunders’ study, which could physically calm one’s spirit.
He tried to inhale again and quickly realized something was off.
Air? Isn’t this the bottom of the sea?
He sat up and quickly looked around, only to find that he had been lying inside a stone house. The bed under him was made out of corals.
The environment was dry but with sufficient oxygen for them to breathe normally.
Keely’s favorite oil lamp was placed on the wall. It was the thing that released that pleasant smell.
“You’re awake?” Keely showed up at a door to the side of the room. “How do you feel?”
Angor checked her a little and noticed that her expression didn’t look so cold in the cozy light.
“I’m okay…” He rubbed his temples and made sure his vitals had stabilized. “Thank you.”
“Just repaying the favor,” Keely said as she moved to retrieve her lamp. “I looked at your body just now. You drank too much witch stew. All the energy it provided has nowhere to go since you can’t use any bloodline ability, so it just knocked you out instead.”
Keely kept explaining with mixed emotions, “Your body condition is… terrible. Even those without a bloodline will not go down so easily just by drinking that stuff.”
Angor already guessed the reason of his condition. He scratched his head and chuckled to himself. “Well, intense schedule. Can’t find time to strengthen my muscles.”
Keely didn’t comment. She knew Angor must have been spending a lot of time studying alchemy. It was already very impressive that he kept himself safe in the garden until now.
It seemed Angor really needed basic training that encompassed both physical strength and common knowledge.
“Try to do something once we’re out,” Keely said and left through the door.
Of course, it wasn’t hard for Angor to find or buy a bloodline to use. He didn’t because Sunders told him to wait and find a bloodline from a nightmare creature.
And as an “academism”, he usually avoided solving problems with his fists. Therefore, he never planned to bulk up too much.
But what happened earlier convinced him to try something later.
A level-2 apprentice might have to deal with a lot of trouble in various situations. He would become the laughing stock of people if they were to hear about how he passed out by drinking the otherwise harmless witch stew.
He shook his head and followed Keely into the other room. The girl was thinking about something while looking at a painting on the wall.
“Is this the Toad Skin’s fortress?” Angor asked when he saw Keely reading the strange characters.
“Well, when you slept, I dragged you for a while and reached a…” She took some time to find the right word. “A watchtower? Yeah, should be something like that.”
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Such structures were used to keep watch of the surroundings. So what to watch? The strange reptile or the giant octopus?
Compared to these questions, Angor was more concerned about something else. “How long was I out?”
“A little less than 10 hours?”
It didn’t sound like he was out for a long time, but Angor believed he wasted too much time because something told him that the “real sacrifice” would happen soon.
If they failed to find a way out before then…
He decided to get to work and ignore all other matters. “Is there anything related to an exit written here?”
“I… think so.” Keely proceeded to recite what she had learned by using the universal language, “‘The seer does not question your past, while the altar shall remain on its mast. Use Meraid’s Sword to sever the previous, thus gaining your way to the land of demise.’
“I think that ‘land of demise’ is what we’re looking for. But we need a Meraid’s Sword for it. Whatever is that?”
Angor also fell into his train of thought. There should be a correct answer to every puzzle. So we probably can find this sword in this sea… Or is it an actual sword of something symbolic?
He thought about the first building he found, where there were more characters compared to this watchtower. “Here, I have more of these messages. Can you tell something from them?”
He created the arts he saw inside the fortress, including all pictures and every single character, in great detail.
Keely was a little surprised by the illusion in front of her. She then carefully read through the pictures while applying a spell on her eyes.
A moment later, her magic subsided. She looked more tired than before, but her joyful expression suggested she learned something useful.
“There’s something about the Meraid’s Sword. It’s not a sword, but a certain scale growing on something called the ‘Duon’, the ancestor of Dugons.”
“Dugons? Duon?” Angor thought it was some kind of tongue twisters.
“A Dugon is that Toad Skin thing you mentioned, while a Duon is this,” Keely said and pointed at the mermaids in the pictures. “This ‘uglier mermaid’ is supposed to be something called the Duons, and the Dugons worshiped them.”
“You mean the Duons were what the Toad Skins looked like before?”
Keely nodded, which made Angor really confused.
He thought the “mermaids” described by the paintings were abstract beings created out of religion, and he didn’t expect them to be the ACTUAL ancestors of Toad Skins, or in this case, the Dugons.
But at least the Duons looked like something humanoid, while their children are disasters! Who gave birth to them and how?
Keely translated the rest of what she saw in Angor’s illusion.
The characters below most of the painting were introductions that described the daily lives of Dugons, while the last few pictures were more important.
“The Altar of Demise is the final land of all Dugons. Many Duon clerics awaited there, served by their Dugon followers. You need the Meraid’s Sword to guide us there, where they prayed to their Gods.” Following her explanation, Keely slowly pointed to the last picture that showed an altar built somewhere bright.
“Gods? What Gods?” Clearly, the Duons were no Gods to the Dugons. It seemed yet another entity was brought up.
“It didn’t say.” Keely shook her head.
“But check this out,” she said as she pointed to one of the paintings in the middle. The painting showed a number of clouds covering up the Dugons, and the tides of the sea could be seen below them.
“This one is something related to ‘travel’. I think the Dugons are not natives to this place. Someone brought them here. The water in this painting must be referring to the Sea of Purification.”
Angor nodded. “You mean, people from Floating Mech City transferred an entire species here, while the ‘Gods’ they followed are actually… someone from the city?”
If what Keely assumed was true, then the Altar of Demise would be their final destination.
Angor didn’t care why the city did such a thing inside the purification garden. Finding the altar was more important.
But where was the “Meraid’s Sword”?