“What do you mean?” Gilbert asked insistently.
“Elizabeth is in Brettel City. I think she can help us!” Han Shuo explained.
Elizabeth, a target on the Church of Light’s hitlist, possessed a most bizarre Body of Divine Favor with the miraculous ability to absorb divine energy from followers of the Church of Light. Han Shuo had a feeling that she might be able to absorb and remove the divine energy contained in the cage. Without the protection of divine energy from the Ice Goddess, Han Shuo had a hundred percent certainty of breaking the Jadefrost Cage.
“She?” Gilbert wasn’t fully convinced. But when he saw Han Shuo’s confidence in the idea, he asked, “Can she be trusted?”
“I’m not too sure either. But there’s no harm trying!” Han Shuo replied.
“You, you are called Bryan, right?” Gilges, the patriarch of dark dragons, raised his head and asked.
“Yep!” Han Shuo replied.
“Thank you for your rescue. My race of dark dragons will engrave your grace in our memory!” Gilges kowtowed at Han Shuo. Then, he raised his head and said, “One of the reasons those of the Shrine of Ice came here, killed my tribesmen, and imprisoned us here was to turn the entire race of dark dragons into their saddle horses. The other was to find out the route to the third layer of the underground world from me!”
The third layer of the underground world!
Han Shuo was startled. Then, with glistering eyes on the patriarch of dark dragons, he asked, “What exactly was the situation?”
Since Gilges took the initiative to divulge the condition at the third layer of the underground world, it seemed that he intended to speak out candidly about the whole sequence of events to Han Shuo, something Han Shuo had not expected.
“Two years ago, when Gilbert returned, I learned from him that you were the owner of the skeletal staff. And from that moment on, I stopped advising Gilbert not to follow by your side. Because, the owner of the skeletal staff surely couldn’t be an enemy to us dark dragons!” the patriarch of dark dragons said in a heavy voice as he looked deeply at Han Shuo.
Han Shuo grew even more bewildered. Gilges seemed to actually understand certain origins of the skeletal staff. He couldn’t help but withdraw the skeletal staff and fiddle with. Looking at the patriarch of dark dragons in an odd manner, Han Shuo asked, “Why do you say so?”
“Because, five thousand years ago, the race of dark dragons had been going to battles under command of the original owner of the skeletal staff. The reason we dark dragons had always lived in the second layer of the underground world, was also because the original owner of the skeletal staff had commanded us to, so as to prevent anyone from intruding into the third layer of the underground world!
“I also heard a little from Gilbert about your encounter with Ancient Lizard King Dagassi. The Ancient Lizard King was his magical pet back then. Dagassi must have told you something, hasn’t he?” Gilges asked.
“Nope, Dagassi hardly discussed his previous affairs. All he told me was that I can find out the truth from the skeletal staff. However, at the moment, I have yet to completely grasp the secrets of the skeletal staff. Therefore, for the time being, I’m unclear as to what actually happened five thousand years ago. If you do happen to know, I hope that you can tell me,” Han Shuo requested as he looked at Gilges, his heart full of doubt.
Gilges shook his head with a bitter smile. The thirst in Han Shuo’s eyes forced him to gather his attention and say, “I have only lived for a little over two thousand years. I only know of these things from ancient records my ancestors left behind. What I know is very, very limited!”
“What exactly do you know?” Han Shuo questioned closely.
Under Han Shuo’s gaze, Gilges contemplated for a while and said, “Five thousand years ago, there was a great war that involved every powerhouse on Profound Continent. It was extremely intense and a great disaster. There seemed to even be experts from other planes of existence involved. The side with which the owner of the skeletal staff and us dark dragons stood likely lost in that great war. Some of the main leaders on our side escaped while some weren’t as lucky. Our side suffered heavy damage. It is said that a few formidable races on our side were forever wiped out from Profound Continent! We dark dragons consider ourselves lucky. Although we’ve been holed up in the second layer of the underground world ever since, at least we weren’t exterminated.”
“I have no idea about the situation of other races, but we dark dragons have, under the instructions of the original owner of the skeletal staff, remained in the second layer of the underground world all this time. Firstly, it was to take shelter from the pursuit of the victors, and secondly, we had to stand guard at the path that connects to the third layer.”
“When the owner of the skeletal staff gave us this command, he also told us that five thousand years from then, some mighty enemy would no doubt come down here. He said that as long as we could survive this calamity, provided that we had hold fast for five thousand years, we can at long last leave the underground world, and we would no longer need to defend it.”
“That was all that I know. As to what really happened five thousand years ago, why we suffered such a crushing defeat, who the enemy was, what lay in the third layer, I’m clueless!”
Han Shuo fell into a deep contemplation. What was certain was that the original owner of the skeletal staff ought to be out of the leaders on this side five thousand years ago. Otherwise, he couldn’t have left such instructions to the dark dragons. In addition, the original owner of the skeletal staff must have still been alive, otherwise he wouldn’t have had left behind so many preparatory measures.
It was also from that moment that Han Shuo felt that the legends that circulated the outside world probably were nowhere near the truth. According to folklore, the Cemetery of Death was originally created by a group of necromancers, who used the Cemetery of Death for research on the mysterious knowledge about necromancy. For they had committed a gross multitude of outrageously depraved acts, magi of every school of magic united to destroy them, and the Cemetery of Death completely vanished with them.
As a necromancer, Han Shuo had heard much of such folklores. But when extrapolating based on the events in these folk stories, he concluded that they were set less than a millennium before. Now when he heard Gilges mention matters from five thousand years ago, Han Shuo was almost certain that the Cemetery of Death ought to have existed for a longer period.
Suddenly, Han Shuo recalled that Gilges had been alive for over two thousand years, and so he pestered, “You have lived for more than two thousand years. Are you aware of the existence of the Cemetery of Death, and the legends about that place?”
“Of course. I haven’t been completely ignorant of all the events of the outside world for the past two millennia. When it comes to certain major events, I still know a thing or two!” Gilges nodded, and soon continued, “Which legends do you mean, exactly?”
Han Shuo was delighted in his heart. He hastily depicted all the way through every legend the human world perpetuated pertaining to the Cemetery of Death. Then, with his bright eyes on Gilges, he asked, “Are such the facts?”
Shaking his head, Gilges replied, “Thousand of years ago there was indeed a group of necromancers that gathered at the Cemetery of Death. They produced a lot of wicked necromancy magic in their research - also true. And in the end they were hunted to death by every magus of every country, that is also correct. However, they surely did not build the Cemetery of Death. Like you, they possessed the Cemetery of Death, but were not the creators.
Although I don’t have any conclusive evidence, I’ve always believed that the Cemetery of Death was constructed by the original owner of the skeletal staff. And just like our dark dragon race’s constant defense of the tunnel five thousand years, for the original owner of the skeletal staff to have built the Cemetery of Death, there must be some profound meaning to it.”
“Then, do you know about the circumstances of the Calamity Church’s origin? They don’t seem to have appeared too long ago on Profound Continent. Why is it that they consider the Cemetery of Death to be their holy land? How did they know about the three miraculous abilities of the skeletal staff?” Han Shuo was anxious and asked Gilges in a hurried tone.
“I do know some things about the Calamity Church. That folklore you mentioned about the Cemetery of Death, except for the part where those necromancers constructed it, a large part of rest of the stories is true.
“The Calamity Church was actually founded by the same necromancers that formerly possessed the Cemetery of Death. At the time, they created countless terrifying magic in the Cemetery of Death. In particular, the appearance of this ‘Plague’ spell. It caused people in countless cities to turn into undeads.
“Therefore, they became the common enemy of the entire continent, and were finally extirpated by experts of various countries. However, they were very hard to kill. They weren’t totally wiped out under the besiege of every country on the continent. But those few who so luckily survived would never dare to show their faces in public like they used to, and forever live in the dark.
“I have to say, these people indeed were incomparably mighty. Even with the combined effort of the entire continent to destroy them, they weren’t completely eradicated. Those who survived even grew stronger and stronger, while their knowledge in the field of necromancy became more and more refined. They even began to recruit various wicked experts of the Profound Continent.
“That was, until these powerful necromancers attained new heights in their delvings into the field of magic, possessing the capacity of communicating with demons and evil gods. They established the Calamity Church to worship the evil god, accepting more and more evil entities in Profound Continent, and flourished to the point now where even the Church of Light can barely suppress them.
“The Cemetery of Death is their birthplace, and also the place where the first generation of high-level Calamity Church members researched necromancy magic. For them to take the Cemetery of Death as their sacred ground, it’s a matter of course!” Gilges explained continuously as he looked at Han Shuo.
“So that’s how it is!” With Gilges’ narration, Han Shuo finally understood what the Cemetery of Death had to do with the Calamity Church. As it turned out, the Cemetery of Death was basically the laboratory of the evil necromancers that founded the Calamity Church. The founders of the Calamity Church would do research on producing that wicked magic in there. No wonder Wolf always said that Han Shuo was one of theirs.