“We must retrieve it, find the intruder!”
After the head priest had been stabbed in the back by an unknown assailant the whole place was in an even bigger uproar. A few deaths had occurred during the obvious diversion but there were still many angry cultists around. They quickly noticed the treasured magical item that adorned their leader’s neck was missing. This was not something that could leave this place, some of their darker secrets were attributed to that item.
“Find this heretic, they could not have gone far!”
This was the truth as Roland had to duck into a nearby building after his trickery was discovered. Time was of the essence, if he couldn’t figure out the inner workings of this strange medallion he would be unable to wake up everyone from their slumber. Without his allies, it would be difficult to escape as the number of cultists was too much for him.
A sound of an explosion entered his ears and was followed by a cry of a cultist. When retreating he had spread all the remaining explosives around this area he was in. It was clear that he didn’t have much time as they were coming this way. Soon they would probably figure out that he was in this house.
Thus he quickly activated his rune smithing skill to access the internal structure of this strange magical device. Luckily for him while the large double helix outside was in possession of a greater rune or above this one wasn’t as intricate.
‘Good, it's just a high-grade common rune, where is the structure that is responsible for communicating with the main relic?’
From his experience, he knew that if he tried to activate this thing with his mana it would go sideways. This had been clearly made with the dark priests in mind and was attuned to their special mana fingerprint. Perhaps it also had a bit of evil god energy mixed into it that would not be possible to recreate by someone not in the cult.
Roland knew all of this as he had already created similar long-ranged tools that worked like remote controls. After some fiddling he had found the correct structure, now he only needed to go around the password that only allowed cultists to use it.
This was a delicate process that normally was not to be rushed. What he needed to do was to alter the structure to fit his mana fingerprint instead. This would cause a large change in the structure that could introduce other mistakes into the runic item. These would need to be altered as well to access the main program inside and finally send a disabling signal to the double helix-shaped device.
‘Wish those guys could be a bit quieter but I think that I don’t have much time left…’
There was an obvious larger concentration of traps around the house he was hiding in. It was a combination of explosive marbles and other small devices. While some of the spells only exploded taking out the feet or whole legs of the cultists, some were more complex.
Right at this moment as Roland was altering the medallion, the cultists were witnessing another mana bolt trap. After getting in range that didn’t require stepping into it, the spell caused the marble to jump upwards. Then instead of a regular explosion, it caused something akin to a shrapnel grenade to go off.
This depending on the opponent would cause less or more damage. Luckily they were humans that had many exposed spots. Without any heavy armor protecting their bodies most of the cultists approaching the building received many deep injuries yet with time they had decided to surround the building he was in.
“I can sense the intruder's presence, he must be in there!”
Soon about twenty cultists were rushing in like madmen towards the house he was hiding in. Even with the many explosives in their way, they couldn’t be stopped. The dark priests used their spells to protect their foot soldiers from the magical attacks which allowed them to burst through the door.
Yet instead of the intruder, they discovered something else. It was an emptied backpack along with some strange metallic contraption. Before they could realize what it was it started giving out a radiant glow which soon blinded everyone there.
It was too late even though the dark priests that were standing in the back created a barrier around their foot soldiers still the ensuing magical explosion was too strong. The entire building was taken out along with all the people that had rushed inside. The ground shook for a moment and alerted everyone to this position.
‘There goes my backpack…’
Roland had quickly tackled down one of the walls while surrounding himself with his own protective barrier. Now he was running for his dear life while still working on the magical item in his hand. His cover was blown and he had gone through all of his explosives.
“There he is brothers!”
The explosion had brought every cult member to this position. His armor that was constantly giving out a runic glow was easily spotted. But this was not the end, he still had a chance as finally, he was able to jerry-rig this medallion while the whole village was after him. The only problem was that due to this hastily put together solution, he needed to make his way back towards the main relic.
It was time to make his last big push so finally, he took his kite shield. While lowering his head behind him he started running. Unbeknownst to his enemies, this protective shield had a handy feature. On the front, there was a small orb, a tiny golem eye that fed information directly into his helmet. This allowed him to sprint toward his destination without the need of peeking his head out.
Even when the bolts, arrows, and skulls made from dark mana flew his way he was able to defend against them. With a protective barrier around his front, he was able to charge through his enemies towards one destination. Yet to the cultist he was only boxing himself in as soon enough they surrounded him around their great relic.
“You have nowhere to run heretic, you will tell us how you were able to awaken from the dark dream!”
“Oh, will I now?”
Roland’s back was now facing the large tower that was still active. Even now he could feel the strange waves of energy radiating from it. The cultists seemed to increase in number, some of them were occupying the houses only coming out when an intruder was spotted.
Now the whole village was out for his head, with how many opponents were here even with his armor this would be an uphill battle. But before they could charge toward him he held up the precious item that they wanted.
“You want this?”
The moment the cultists saw the medallion they stopped in their tracks. He knew that they didn’t want this item to be destroyed but they would probably not let him leave with it either. However, this was just another small distraction, while holding it out in front of his body he activated a small spell.
This spell wasn’t meant to damage but blind his opponents as it was just a concentrated flash of bright light. The medallion was just used to get the cultists to focus their eyes on this one spot. Then as the flash of light momentarily disabled their advance he pushed the altered runic item towards the double helix relic. Only when the two objects were touching each other could he deactivate it.
“You will regret that heretic!”
It didn’t take the abyssal cultists long to recover from this little distraction, when they came to their enemy was still there. He had taken up a strange position on the ground with his kite shield’s bottom end touching the ground while he was kneeling down. Soon a large blue barrier of light surrounded his whole body.
The maddened cultists quickly rushed towards the man that was clearly just stalling. Yet the moment they got too close they were repelled by the shield he had produced. Their cursed daggers were bounced back along with their spells that only caused the shield to crack slightly.
‘Was this the right choice? Will they wake up in time before they can get through my shield?’
“Hehehe… take this!”
“Huh? Ey, what are ye doing back there?”
“What the? Where did the tits go? What is this?”
A rather surprised Orson was looking at a dwarf posterior that he was holding with both his hands. The large village girl breasts that he was just playing with turned into his adventurer’s partner's posterior that he was now fondling. Almost instantly he jumped back in horror just to collide with another random body he was on.
“Get off me!”
“Hey who stepped on me?”
“What the hell is this place?”
Soon the voices of many were heard by everyone here. Orson looked down to see that he, along with Darlak, were on top of a pile of people. It was a mix of adventurers and regular passengers that he had gone on a transport mission with.
The last thing that he remembered was him having a nice time with a voluptuous village girl. These people had left a long time ago while he had decided to remain here along with his party members. Both of them had hit it off with the locals and even had planned to be married soon.
“T-there is something wrong here… what are those creatures?”
Senna called out from the side, she was down on the ground and looking into some kind of basin of water. There was a small flight of stairs in the middle of this place that led up to some kind of ritualistic altar. On this altar, the large barbarian woman was sitting with a confused look on her face.
This was not the strange thing as Senna pointed out towards the dark murky water. When he narrowed his eyes to focus he also noticed a large amount of leech-like creatures wiggling around in it. The small tendrils around their bodies were flailing all over the place which made them look quite disgusting.
“Hey, weren’t we in that village… but didn’t you leave?”
Asked Orson while getting off from the pile of people around him. The question was posed to his halfling party member that quickly made her way towards her two companions.
“The village? Yeah, I was about to win ten thousand gold coins from that stingy merchant but then I woke up here…wait did you hear that?”
Everyone’s senses were still a bit groggy after they woke up but soon they heard people shouting. The voices were coming from outside and they only got louder.
“Someone just said, ‘kill the heretic?’ “
Senna’s class allowed her to hear a bit further than everyone in her group. She could clearly tell that there was some kind of commotion outside.
“Something is wrong here… luckily my daggers are still here.”
“Where is my halberd?”
Dalrak replied while looking around, Orson was in the same boat as his two-handed sword remained back at the caravan.
“My sword is missing too…hey, doesn’t that belong to Wayland?”
Orson pointed to the runic staff that was sticking out from the side that was left by Roland as a distraction.
“The hell did all the meat go and what’s with all that shouting?”
Finally, Grisalde shouted out while also standing up from her spot on the platform. She had a good view of the whole room below her. Most of the people from the caravan seemed to be here. There were some that weren’t waking up though and they all occupied the space to the side of the room.
“Was that some type of illusion spell?”
Before people went outside a certain young woman brought up this possibility. The other adventurers looked at each other and soon began making their way outside. There they witnessed a shocking turn of events. A large group of hooded individuals were gathered around someone, they couldn’t make it out from this spot but the person was clearly getting attacked.
“This doesn’t look good… all of us might have been affected by some spell caster's spell, everyone get your weapons, expect those robed people to be our enemies!”
The guard captain was amongst the ones that had woken up as well. He was quick to assess the situation and finally everyone that could fight made their way outside. While they were leaving the people that had gone through the ritual remained asleep. Some of the non-combatants remained back to look over them.
Walking them up proved impossible even when they were dragged from the pile outside and fed various potions they were not waking up. That is besides one person, a certain woman's hand started quivering. After more time had passed her body started to rise which caused the remaining people to back away.
Roland found himself being assaulted from all sides. Thanks to his mana reserves the shield was quite sturdy but it would not last him forever. He had made a gamble by activating the medallion to free everyone from the relic’s effect.
If this didn’t work out his only way out would be to rush towards the cultists himself. While he was strong there were too many targets even for him to handle. The moment of surprise was over and his enemies had their own mages as well. Normal spells would be probably protected against which would put him at a disadvantage.
But he didn’t worry as while turtled up behind his shield he was checking his runic radar. There he noticed something important, the dots that represented the other adventurers started moving. He had been successful with his plan and they had awoken from their slumber.
‘I need to time it right…’
Thus he continued to wait, only when his allies had finally rushed outside to see what was happening would he have a chance to get to a safer location.
“Hey, who are these cloaked people? Are they from some kind of evil cult?”
The voices of the guards and adventurers started becoming clearer as some of them that still had their weapons appeared behind the large gathering of cultists. Luckily they didn’t bother to strip them of their belongings as they were probably planning to send them on their way after inserting those parasites into them.
This was his chance, for a moment his enemies let up with their charge to look behind them. With the pressure lessened he could charge towards the wagons where most of the armaments were still at.
The runes on his armor glew brightly while being mostly concentrated on his legs. With a quick increase in his agility, he finally moved his shield up and charged for the most obvious blind spot in their formation. With enemies coming from behind them the cultists started to become disorganized.
With a lot of resistance, Roland burst forth with all his might. On his way, many robed members bounced off his mana-covered body. The opponents were large in number but they certainly lacked skill in combat. Their equipment was also light which allowed him to bully his way through.
“Hey, you’re going to need this.”
The first thing he did when appearing at the cart he previously occupied was to grab the large axe. Even without it Grisalde was already knocking out smaller cultists with her bare fists. She had quite a surprised look on her face when her weapon landed right next to her following Roland’s throw.
“Kill the heretics, leave no one alive, they have seen too much!”
Replied the large woman while decapitating one of the cultists after regaining her weapon. While the abyssal cult members shouted out in a frenzied state they were quite an unorganized fighting force. This could be only attributed to their unwavering belief in the relic that could disable everyone. They did not have the right weapons to go against seasoned adventurers and guards. The daggers they used could not stand against the long spears and blades they were up against.
A battle between the two parties erupted which the higher-level adventurers were winning. With Roland’s help, they were slowly driving the enemies into a defensive battle. The few dark priests surrounded themselves with the lower leveled cult acolytes but even the meat shields were running out and if this continued they would surely lose.
“Brothers and sisters, we must not let them escape, for the dark lord!”
Then as the battle was almost over, the cult members did something that no one expected. Each and every one of them gripped their dagger tightly and plunged it deeply towards their hearts.
“What are these crazy bastards doing?”
Called out one of the adventurers while backing away. It looked as if the enemy group was committing suicide to evade being captured for questioning. Yet there was something strange about this as the two dark priests that had survived continued to chant something.
Yet they soon delivered the killing blows to themselves to follow suit. A large pile of dead-robed figures was now drenched in black blood that sunk into the land beneath. Victory seemed assured however before anyone could check a strange occurrence took place.
The pile of corpses started being surrounded by some kind of dark mist. This mist started quickly eating away at the dead flesh which turned gelatinous. The dead cultist turned into some kind of pitch dark blob of mutilated flesh.
“What the hell is that?”
Roland called out while quickly shooting out a beam of concentrated heated energy towards this mass of dark flesh. Though even when the spell cleanly connected the metamorphosis continued to progress until a truly terrifying creature was before them all.
Abyssal Abomination L ???