The Record of Unusual Creatures Chapter 280: The Shadowy Divide
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Chapter 280: The Shadowy Divide
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Athens, the world's most well preserved ancient city in existence. Humanity went from hunting to agriculture, and slowly tumbled into the gate of civilisation. When men did not need to worry about food, weather and wild animals, the more intellectual of men started to learn. When men started learning letters and used mystical icons to symbolise their thoughts and marvel of the universe, cities grew and kingdoms flourished.
Those intellectuals who escaped the shackles of basic survival could now focus their sharp minds on more monumental pursuits. Stone upon stone, rock upon rock were put in place, carved and chiselled, forming high walls, arcs, domes and steps as cities rose. They were symbols of humanity's strength, with intricate statues and carvings of various religious connotations decorating them. Humanity had long moved on from building simple shelters. They created awe-inspiring monuments, which rose skywards, quickly becoming remarkable products of this planet.
However, humans were not the sole contributor to the rise of cities on this planet. There was another group of beings living side by side with humans. Despite being driven into the shadows and disappearing from the minds of current generations, they lived and thrived on Earth. Human records may not have included them, but another kind of record would never forget their existence: Cities.
The older the city, the more prominent the trail of these ancient creatures, so much so that the oldest cities became inseparable with the shadowy denizens. Earth was not only the home of humans, creatures of the shadows lorded over this land. While the demon hunters and churches may say otherwise, it was a fact that this planet still had lairs that housed many other unusual creatures. These lairs were built by the supernaturals through blood, sweat and tears. They were not about to give it up so easily.
In the age where lines between mythology and written history were blurred and cross-contaminated, very little unusual creatures lived openly with humans or developed cities alongside them. Most creatures viewed humans as inferiors who were meant to be brutally ruled over. The more benevolent kind that viewed humans as their flocks of sheep were in the minority. These "benevolent" ones were hence viewed as G.o.ds and wors.h.i.+pped. There were plenty of cities built in their wors.h.i.+p and this lasted over several thousand years until humans obtained the aid of the demon hunters, breaking free from this "enclosure-like" existence. With that, part of these cities' original founders were driven into the shadows.
Today, no one would believe that unusual creatures actually lived in those temple ruins a long, long time ago.
Even though things had taken such a turn, these cities were still home to a few supernatural beings . They built them, maintained them and even went to war for them in the past. Despite being driven underground or into the shadows, these unusual creatures never really left town. They simply rebuilt their hearth and fortress in places humans were unable to detect.
A ground of people were slowly approaching an entryway into one such fortress.
After having a good rest in the hotel, Hao Ren and the crew followed Vivian to look for the rumoured supernatural who came from the Mythological Era; a rare acquaintance by Vivian's standards. She was living in one of the oldest areas of the city, and the group had been walking for quite some time ever since they got off their car.
"You sure we're at the right place?" Hao Ren said as the surrounding area looked awfully familiar after the third time around. "If I'm not wrong, this is the third time we've pa.s.sed by this stone wall."
"Yes, it's supposed to be like this—going in circles." Vivian nodded. "Athens is a very special place, many supernatural survivors live here. But, we need to use a special method to find them. The demon hunters were always out looking for blood, and those who did not know how to hide their trails would be dead."
Hao Ren could only nod as he followed Vivian, circling the oldest streets in Athens without knowing that they were getting closer and closer towards the heart of the of Athens' ancient quarter. He occasionally looked around the structures that he pa.s.sed through and could not tell if the structures were ruins or newly built or refurbished buildings. A sense of spatial and chronological dissonance then started to well inside him. He felt like he was going through a reverse slideshow of human history. The further he went, the more ancient the scenery looked.
In the present, there were no true ancient cities on Earth anymore. Even Athens, the cradle of human civilisation was now a modern metropolis. The city looked no different than any other with its busy streets and modern buildings, leaving Lily rather disappointed. But as they left the modern city centre and headed towards the more ancient areas of Athens, they finally saw the old Greek columns and statues—they were not sure if these were originals or replicas. As the items blended into the background of the modern metropolis, the sight invoked a feeling of historical nostalgia.
The further they went into the old quarter of Athens, the heavier the feeling got. Reaching the end, old houses became the mainstay on both sides of the road. Beautiful statues and columns replaced the bright neon lights, traffic lights and any modern signage. As they went further in, with Vivian at the front, Hao Ren finally sensed that something was wrong.
He looked at the buildings next to him. He noticed that the street looked very familiar, and he had pa.s.sed it three times in the last hour. Howeverm upon closer inspection, he realised that the details around the scene before him had changed. The street lights were gone, shop signs were fading and the cement road had changed into a neat, flat stone road. Even the sun, which was previously on the east had moved west.
Lily, who was not the sharpest tool in the shed also sensed that something was up. "Eh? Something's not right. There are very little pedestrians now."
While this was indeed an older part of town, it was definitely not a deserted area. When they first came, the area was filled with locals and tourists but their numbers were much reduced as time went by. It was not obvious, but the numbers became so little that Lily raised the alarm. Hao Ren also felt odd about the weird scene unfolding around time. He noticed that the remaining pedestrians were strange as well: they were almost like walking corpses, but with soul as they trudged along their path. There were no interactions among them at all and no one stopped to do anything. They were almost like props on a stage, just to give the scene some form of normalcy.
"We are reaching the Shadowy Divide. Stay alert from here on." Vivian slowed her steps. "Don't open any doors by the road, and avoid places where the sun doesn't s.h.i.+ne. Do not speak to anyone, and most importantly, don't walk past me. This is the start of a labyrinth, and one wrong step will send you plunging into a trap of the shadowy world."
She even specifically reminded Y'zaks. "You too, big guy. This Shadowy Divide has been built by the strongest of the unusual creatures for thousands of years, even you might fall victim to it."
Y'zaks nodded solemnly while Hao Ren started to get gooseb.u.mps all over him. "F*ck my life... This sounds like a b.l.o.o.d.y horror movie..."
"The surviving unusual creatures are split into two kinds; solo adventurers like me and those who band together. The latter formed alliances and families under these circ.u.mstances, so they would have their own way of doing things." Vivian smiled. "This is one of the few remaining settlements for our kind, and it has been around for thousands of years. Its layers of defences are nothing to scoff at. Even the demon hunters have no way of breaching the place. At least, for now."
The group continued to circle the winding streets. The scenery changed every moment they pa.s.sed through it again. The changes were subtle at first but they slowly got more and more obvious until they arrived at the Shadowy Divide, where all forms of smoke and mirrors were abandoned. Hao Ren noticed that the modern buildings by the streets had completely disappeared and were replaced by stone houses. They were jutting out in weird angles as if the houses themselves were taking a peek at the newcomers. While the buildings had some modern signages on it, they were all faded, almost monochrome. Hao Ren turned towards the entrance and noticed a veil of fog. The entryway had vanished.
They finally arrived in front of a weird looking shop. It was the only "modern looking" building on the street.
A beautiful yet gloomy looking lady clad in black was waiting in front of the door for them. She smiled the moment she saw Vivian. "It has been a while, Your Excellency."
"Your place is sure a difficult one to find, Hesperides," Vivian said as she stepped forward.
The Record of Unusual Creatures Chapter 280: The Shadowy Divide
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The Record of Unusual Creatures Chapter 280: The Shadowy Divide summary
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