Chapter 350: Champion of Zarkon
—3 hours earlier—-
“What is up with these weird monsters?”
“Yeah, they are disgusting!”
To chimeras on a scouting mission had encountered several rabbit animals. Their distorted bodies were covered in fleshy growth. If they were not incredibly aggressive, they would have felt bad for the poor things.
One was a man covered in crocodile leather and the lower body of a spider, the other was covered in fish scales and had tentacle arms. To an objective observer it would have been hard to say which side was the monsters, merely judged by appearance.
They felt a little bad for these sick animals, but it was easy for the two chimeras to give them a quick mercy death.
Faithfully the scouts reported the weird encounter on their return to the caravan. With the loss of half the chimeras, they had also lost roughly a third of their fighters. If these poor things had really contracted a terrible disease, they would need to be careful when protecting the weak former slaves.
“You didnt get hurt, right?” Seth asked worriedly.
“Of course not, Boss! Look at us! Wasnt this the reason we were chosen as scouts?”
Crocspider and Fishtopus flexed their bulging muscles covered in hard scale and skin. It was true, these two did not just exceed in strength, but also in defense.
“Do you know something about those things, boss?” Fishtopus asked casually
“Hey, show some respect.” Azul scolded them.
The chimeras had become awfully close with him ever since he accepted their fealty. On the other hand, it wasnt like Seth really minded it. He was a magnanimous own- Boss.
“The Zarkists?” Marcel asked.
“Do we attack them?” the guild leader asked worriedly.
For the general populace of Delta, the Zarkists were like monsters from a horror movie. In an age, where monsters invaded from portals and dungeons, there were such terrifying creatures that lived among them.
They were more terrifying to ordinary people than vampires. It only took a small scratch to become an animalistic monster that only followed its carnal desires. The fear of killing ones loved ones or doing even worse things to them…
Even someone strong like Marcel was wary because the strange infection did not differentiate between weak or strong. Nobody wanted to become something like a Zarkist.
“Dont worry, I will scout them first. You guys wait here.”
Seth could barely contain his smile. Others were afraid of them, Seth loved them. Finding a group of Zarkist would be a great chance to farm a bunch of souls quickly. The blacksmith equipped the Helm of Hades and followed the chimeras directions.
~ Mom, i thought of something.~
Seth stopped for a moment when the Imugi suddenly spoke up. It had been a while since it last spoke to him. He had been too occupied to give the little one as much attention as it needed. Maybe it became an introvert?
“What is it?” Seth asked sweetly.
~ I also want a name. ~
Right, Seth had never thought about giving the Imugi a name. The chubby snake was so much like Puffles that he thought it would also choose its name on its own.
~ Yes, a name! The chimeras all have one!~
“Well, then why dont you choose one?”
~ The chimeras chose them on their own because they have no mom. I have a mom! You are my mom! You should name me. ~ it demanded confidently
Seth could hear the lich chuckling in the back of his mind. Literally, Al was transmitting silent chuckles through telepathy to tease him!
~Yes, mom! ~
“Let me think.” Seth stalled for time.
This was terrible. He was not confident in his naming sense. He much preferred that Puffles gave himself that name instead of Seth giving it a bad one. On one hand, the name needed to be cool but on the other, it couldnt be too edgy that it made people cringe when he called it.
Or maybe he should go with a classic approach?
“H-How about Iggy? Short for Imugi?”
~Hng…~ the snakes pouting was audible, and Seth could easily imagine its dissatisfied expression.
~Pf! HAhah! ~ the lich did not bother to hold back his time.
“How about you give me some more time to choose a good one?”
~… Fine. ~
Saved, for now.
The caravan had left the great plain some time ago and entered a lightly forested area and the foot of a small mountain range. He was currently tracking up the mountain in the direction of a valley.
Seth soon spotted some of the disfigured animals the scouts had talked about. Not just some, the whole forest was full of them. The further he went, the bigger they became. He could barely hold back his smile.
To others, these ugly, slimy little beasts were a nightmare. A horror to terrible to even make a movie about. To Seth, they were really cute! Because each and every one of them was a soul he could collect with ease.
He already had a plan. He would use soul trade with all the corrupted souls he could not use anyway, and depopulate the whole valley in one go. The only reason he didnt do it right away was that he first wanted to get a good idea of the situation.
Although he didnt know when they started infecting other things than humanoids, it had to be a recent change. Otherwise, he would have heard about it before. This meant that somewhere in this place had to be actual Zarkists that infected these animals first.
It was nothing personal, really. It was pure business. The last time he fought the Zarkist most of them had medium-sized souls! Animal souls in big numbers were nice to have, but ordinary animals only had small souls in general.
It was a hassle to fuse them. After getting his hands on several big souls, he had developed a taste for the big and juicy ones. His appreciation for the small souls had slightly lessened.
Seth climbed on a big rock to get a better view of the valley and saw smoke in the distance. When he came closer, he was it was a kind of army camp. When a chaotic mess of humanoids that were wildly fighting, feasting, and fornicating could be called an “army”.
He tried to ignore the stuff that should be banned to the depths of the deep web and scanned the area. The only thing that resembled an actual camp on the clearing were the huge number of campfires and a big luxurious tent, surrounded by a circle of smaller tents.
The blacksmith quickly concluded that the big one had to be the tent of the leader. He started to get excited. Not just because of the bunch of souls. It had been a while since the last time he met the followers of Zarkon and his
Now he could easily see the soul threads that chained their souls to the mortal plane. What got him excited was that all these threads led to this big tent in the center of the clearing. Many met at the smaller tents around it before meeting in the big one in the center.
What did this mean? Seth had not just come across some small leader or priest. This was the champion of Zarkon and most likely a bunch of high-priests. What was the whole clergy of Zarkon doing in the middle of nowhere?
~I never expected for the Princess to be this capable. ~
“What do you mean?”
~ Isnt it obvious? This guy probably fled when he saw that he was losing the fight. ~
“Hmm, isnt that a little farfetched? How would the princess overcome their immortality?”
~ Dont be so conceited! Its not like you are the only person in the world that can deal with souls. ~ the lich scolded.
“Fine, fine. No matter why he is here. Its a windfall! I cant wait to see what soul he drops.”
The champion of a god was no small matter. Seth thought of the self-proclaimed adventurer king. Well, okay, it probably depended on the god and the champion. Someone like the Chosen of Zarkon should be top-tier.
Then again, his soul might be tainted with divine power like those of the priests of the theocracy, which lowered its worth. Still, who wouldnt pick up a bunch of money, just because it was a little dirty, right?
With this thought, he snuck into the camp to get a good look at this super villain before taking his head.
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