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An enormous ship sailed across the ocean, its black bottom making it look like a floating castle of steel. Leylin sat in the most luxurious room of the ship, looking at a scroll made of beast skin.
‘It’s already been over 5 months…’ Leylin sighed.
A lot of time had passed since the feast where they had divided Silverymoon’s power. Tiff had followed Leylin’s instructions and married the viscount mistress, forging an identity and becoming a glorious noble. As for their feelings? That merited a chuckle, many noble couples disregarded all that.
Afterwards, Leylin had cleansed and reorganised his own troops. He had hired trusted aides and the elites, leaving the rest for Tiff to settle in his territory. He would give them wealth and land. In the end, he had circled back to finished what he had started.
The northern territories had gradually grown more stable, and the orc empire had been established without incident. Saladin had become the first emperor, which caused a sensation in the World of Gods.
After seeing that there were no benefits left for him to pick up, Leylin happened to receive a letter from his family and chose to return home.
‘If I hadn’t been backed by a Legend, then I would have been completely unable to participate in the inner circle’s feast…’ Leylin sighed, his eyes filled with a thirst for power.
The changes in the northern territory had led to the orcs emerging as the fully deserving winner. The other human gods had also won what they wanted, and Leylin had also arrived in time to ruthlessly cash in on the opportunity. The only losers were Mystra and Silverymoon itself.
However, competition between gods were very slow. The Goddess of the Weave was very powerful, and this recent defeat couldn’t harm her fundamentally. She would be able to lick her wounds in silence and could make her comeback in the future.
However, all of this no longer affected him. Leylin looked outside the translucent closed glass windows at the boundless azure sea. There were even a few white seagulls circling in the distance.
“I’ve gained enough from this trip to the northern lands…’ Leylin silently counted up his profits. In terms of power, he’d received a great deal of material on the arcanists and even raised his power to rank 15!
He was now a rank 15 arcanist-cum-wizard! At his age, it was universally shocking for him to have attained so much in such little time. Even before the dusk of the gods, in the times of Netheril, no genius could be compared to him as he was now.
Moreover, he’d exchanged military merits for Silverymoon’s collection of resources for legendary wizards. It was enough for him to grasp the path of wizards as well.
If his wizard tower on Faulen Island had been completed, Leylin was certain that he would be able to increase his wizard ranking further. It wouldn’t be impossible to become a Legend, although it would need both innate talent and luck.
In actual fact, Leylin had also thought of going to Silverymoon City while he was in the northern territories. When the city walls had fallen he had considered wantonly making a killing, but he had given up on this idea in the end.
Although it was quite possible for him to make a profit, the dangers were similarly extremely high. Having obtained so much already, leylin didn’t intend to take more risks.
‘As for organisations, the northern territories’ Beelzebub worship network has already been subdued. With Tiff a viscount, the territory can be considered a gathering point for the organisations, and more can be done there in the future…’ Leylin stroked his chin, ‘And as for goods, I have legendary red dragon materials, as well as this!’
A bag of holding flashed, and a black scroll of beast skin appeared in Leylin’s hands. It still had traces of dried blood on it. Leylin paid attention to the scroll, growing sombre.
‘Why did Distorted Shadow leave this scroll behind?’ Leylin felt a lingering fear as he thought of the dangerous experience he’d had. Distorted Shadow was an ancient rank 8 Magus who had found his own path, and if his true body had appeared it would have been bad.
As for that pocket dimension, even if it had fallen already the thing left behind would certainly be profoundly interesting.
“The remains of Netheril must still hold some secrets…” Leylin muttered to himself. As he had been tempted into opening it, that pocket dimension had already collapsed. However, Leylin believed the ruins weren’t that simple in layout.
‘And Helen…’ After careful consideration, Leylin had decided not to bring the half-elf arcanist and mid-ranked wizard along. He had left her in Tiff’s territory in the north.
‘The power of the law of distortion…’ The intent Distorted Shadow had left behind had been extremely terrifying. More so was the power of distortion that it wielded, which could affect even time and space. It completely exceeded Leylin’s expectations, which fuelled his interest further. If not for that, he would long since have disposed of something like this beast skin scroll.
No matter what these ancient Magi had prepared for him, wouldn’t it all be useless if he did not take the bait?
‘The ancient Distorted Shadow… Even in the Magus World, there exist very few records of him. It is only known that he is not a native of the Magus World, but a formidable power from another world. No one has ever seen his true body,’ Leylin thought of the research that his main body had seen, ‘As for his path, clearly the law of distortion is his main one. It has the power to melt time and space, and even has illusory abilities.
‘Is it inevitable that the path of a rank 9 Magi must touch upon laws dealing with space-time?’ Leylin’s eyes flashed as he rose to his feet, moving in front of the desk beside him.
The mahogany desk was mottled with black dots and marks, as well as numerous nicks. The debris on top of it had already been cleared and the desk was clean, leaving behind only a distorted pentagram array.
He put the beast skin scroll into the center of the array and his eyes seemed to glow blue.
“A.I. Chip! Pay attention to scanning and record all the information down,” Leylin commanded.
[Beep! Mission established, initiating scan of experimental data.] The A.I. Chip loyally executed Leylin’s commands.
‘The World of Gods rejected the laws of the Magi. Because of this, Distorted Shadow couldn’t use his full power. The risk of contamination should be low…’
“Seawater, salt, petals, dragonblood stones, feces of a nightmare bat…” Leylin threw everything into the corners of the pentagram, occasionally spitting out incantations.
‘The power of the bat and the dragon’s blood, adding in the blessings of the petals…’ It had to be said that even though it was an improved version, his spell models were filled with the style of a Magus. If other wizards saw this, perhaps they would be scared to death by this strange ritual.
Leylin finally snatched up a pinch of green sand and sprinkled it down lightly.
*Bang!* The grains of sand spontaneously burst into green flames in mid-air, and rained into the pentagram array. Little by little, the flames wrapped the beast hide scroll into itself.
‘In the name of the devouring serpent, reveal the truth within the illusion…’
*Zzz! Zzz!* The scroll seemed to melt into the green flames, and the bloodstains on it grew even brighter and more real. Drops of beautiful blood began to drip down, bringing with them the power of distortion.
[Warning! Warning! The power of another world’s laws has been detected, reaching the limit of the World of Gods’ suppression.] At this moment, the A.I. Chip also issued a new red warning.
‘Wait!’ Leylin’s face was flushed. He suddenly made up his mind and plunged his finger into the array.
A warm feeling spread into him the moment his finger touched the red bloodstain. Afterwards, Leylin saw his hand grow endlessly old and rot. The skin grew wrinkled, yellowed and even rotted black. The ageing process spread unceasingly, extending from his fingertips to his shoulder, his chest, then his entire body.
*Zzz!* The skin was followed by his flesh and bone, the red and white wasting away under the force of time. Time seemed to speed up in the region, and the world seemed to transform. In the blink of an eye, several thousand years had passed.
‘I am the Distorted Shadow! Your devouring serpent shall feed my heart!’ In the end, all that was left of Leylin was a pair of eyeballs. It was at this moment that he finally saw a formless mass spreading everywhere. This was Distorted Shadow who lacked a true body.
[Beep! Energy has been exhausted from law probe, process automatically terminated!]
‘Mm?’ Leylin looked at his hand. His white fingers were bright and clean and filled with the vitality of youth. There was not the slightest trace of age and decay. Nothing in the room had changed, as if everything that had transpired had only been an illusion.
The pentagram array’s green flames had already burnt themselves up, and the bloodstained scroll rested nicely in the centre of the array. However, the dragonblood stone and other items had already disappeared without a trace.
“The belongings of ancient Magi are very dangerous. As expected, it’s strange enough to be terrifying…” Leylin muttered, “Did I immediately get cursed after I opened it? Did Distorted Shadow use this method to resurrect himself? Or did he make other arrangements…”
After pondering the matter for a long time and meticulously examining the A.I. Chip’s records, Leylin sealed the scroll and put it away. At the very least, it had the traces of a rank 8 Magus’ craftsmanship and his power of laws, so it was a great inspiration to him now.
‘No matter what, I’ll still continue to walk down my own path. Growing stronger is always the right thing to do,’ Leylin’s goal had always been extremely steady, and did not change under any circumstances.
‘There’s still some time left before I reach the outer seas of the Dambrath Kingdom, which is just enough for me to completely read through the arcanist materials. I can record all the arcanist spell models as well…’ Leylin tidied up the desk and sunk deeply into his thoughts once again.
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