The Record of Unusual Creatures Chapter 366
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Based on the MDT's long range scan, Hao Ren realised that beneath the vortex lay a hole that went far into the ground. This made it very possible for the vortex to be related to the missing s.p.a.ces.h.i.+p. He suspected that the initial "crash" had already destroyed the geological structure of the lake bottom. The s.h.i.+p itself was just acting as a cork to seal the hole that it had created. This was probably why nothing happened until the Kerbalians went underwater to excavate the lost s.h.i.+p. That action of theirs had caused the weakened structure to start unravelling.
The gap did not cave in immediately, so there was probably a thin layer of crust supporting it. Hao Ren then remembered the void they left behind after the s.h.i.+p was teleported away. The subsequent crash of millions of gallons of water alongside the built-up pressure against the lake bed caused the whole place to just cave in.
The crust held out for a day or so, after which it became undone by the immense weight and pressure.
That theory was based on the data shown by the scan. Hao Ren and Vivian were pretty sure that was the case.
"Seems like we need to pick up the pieces." Hao Ren sighed. "Thank goodness no one died, or I'll feel even worse. We can't let Ophra know about this."
Vivian knew Hao Ren was very principled in this area. His sense of responsiblity was strong and he certainly blamed himself for the screw up. Hence, she went to comfort him. "Don't blame everything on yourself. The land's structure was probably already ruined when the s.h.i.+p crashed. Even if we didn't do anything, the appearance of the vortex was just a matter of time. Besides, you can't be leaving the s.h.i.+p there forever, right? What we could have done better was to do a thorough check. If only we had used the MDT to properly scan and survey the place."
Hao Ren nodded and looked enviously at Lily, who was busy making friends with her fellow werewolves. "Sometimes, I really admire her..."
"Well, she's a simple one, ain't she?"
"It's that simple mind of hers that I'm envious of..."
By the time Lily, the simpleton had wandered three whole circles around the camp and gotten to know her kin, Bishop Gelton as well as his Church Knights finally arrived. They were actually not late. In fact, you could say that they were extremely quick. They had left slightly earlier than Marshal Ophra and the Royal Knights, plus they utilised divine spells to increase their speed. Believe it or not, they actually used an hour or so to cover a track that a normal soldier would take half a day to complete. However, Marshal Ophra was another beast altogether and her rapid deployment and marching abilities were almost cheating. By the time they got moving, it did not take long for them to leave the Church Knights in the dust.
Gelton saw that the Royal Knights had already arrived before him, but his frail old face did not seem to bear any surprised expression. In fact, he pretty much expected that the no-nonsense marshal would toss whatever doctrines they had aside under the circ.u.mstances. It was the few regular clergymen who frowned when they found out that the Royal Knights had arrived first. But, they dared not say anything with them still around.
The eagle-eyed Becky spotted the four ascetics among the Church Knights and she happily waved at the them. Big Beardy seemed to have sensed it as he looked up and smiled at Hao Ren as well as the rest.
Gelton quickly looked for the leaders of the survivors and got a run-down of the situation regarding the vortex in the Blood Lake. When he heard that the whole church had sunk, he started coughing. His already frail body appeared strained due to the intense cough. It almost looked like he was going to meet the G.o.ddess any time soon. "Ugh... the whole place sank?!"
"Yes," the tall and lanky clergy spoke. His face was grim.
Gelton's pale face suddenly turned red as he asked, "How about the Divine Sarcophagus?"
"The Divine Sarcophagus is kept under the church and it is within the spell's field. But, even in normal times, it would take at least a quarter of an hour to activate it... As the situation was critical... the Sarcophagus..." The clergy had guilt written all over his face. "Bishop Gelton, we have failed the G.o.ddess. We did not have time to evacuate the Sarcophagus and it went down with the church into the vortex."
Gelton started coughing hard again and Hao Ren really thought the old Bishop would be on his way to meet his maker this time. But after a few pants, he recovered. "G.o.ddess have mercy. This is surely one of her trials and such a momentus undertaking is not something a pair of hands can manage. I'm sure the G.o.ddess will forgive you... but we need to recover the Divine Sarcophagus! If need be, we will go beneath the waters! Magus troops, we shall march towards the vortex!"
The old bishop turned to face Ophra as he spoke, "Marshal, we may have our disagreements, but please forgive me. This is my duty and I hope you will stand together with me on this. In the name of the kingdom and the G.o.ddess, we must recover the sarcophagus!"
"I thought you would still be a stubborn, old coot even at this time." Ophra smiled and pointed at her Royal Knights. "Don't worry, I've brought the best of the best that I have."
Lily was bouncing behind as well. "And, there's us too! We're also professionals!"
Bishop Gelton gave Hao Ren and the rest a surprised look. He was already curious about them when he saw them in the camp. Now that they were volunteering to help, he could not surpress his curiosity any longer and decided to question them. Lily immediately immitated Hao Ren. "Well... because we're true patriots and fervent believers of the G.o.ddess. If you don't believe it, I can cook up another—"
Hao Ren quickly pulled Lily back. "You can just leave that last part out!"
Becky looked really perplexed as she slowly backed away. "Actually... Can I sit this one out?"
It was a reaction totally befitting a normal mercenary. However, Becky was already onboard with Hao Ren and his gang, so most times, she had to act all heroic even if she did not want to.
"All of you have had a hand in ensuring the safe return of the Orb. This is reason enough to trust your sincerity." Gelton demurred as he measured Hao Ren and his merry band before nodding slowly. "This is a dangerous mission, but if you can proof that the G.o.ddess indeed does watch over you and come back safely, the church will reward you greatly."
While the old bishop may be a pious man, he was not oblivious to how the world worked. Most people had their vices and wants, and he knew that. That last bit was simply a bait...
A bait... that got Becky all heroic again...
This time around, Wuyue was not with them, but Gelton and Ophra had with them a couple of aquamancers. After a short time of preparation, they headed towards the Blood Lake.
Gelton and Ophra led the team with about a dozen mages from the Royal Knights as well as the Church Knights in tow. Hao Ren, the four ascetics and the rest followed closely behind. It was Hao Ren's first time seeing Big Beardy since the night before, and he purposedly walked at the back to get some information from the ascetic. "What's the deal with the Divine Sarcophagus?"
Big Beard looked at Hao Ren and there was hesitation in his eyes. However, after considering Hao Ren's origins, he relented and created a noise-cancelling barrier around them. "It's a sacred being under the church."
"A sacred being? What's it for?"
"It's the oldest of the sacred beings." Big Beardy's face was serious. "The Divine Sarcophagus contains the first ever Originator of Life created by the G.o.ddess herself. She spread these Originators throughout the world to use them as a counterbalance and as 'insurance'. In the event that the world comes face-to-face with a calamity, the Originators can maintain the balance and even renew life. There are three Divine Sarcophagi and all of them are within Holetta with Beinz being one of the places.
Hao Ren blinked as he thought about it. And after comparing it with the legends that he knew so far, he asked, "How about the old civilisation? If the Originator was created by the G.o.ddess, doesn't that mean the Sarcophagi were already around during the old civilisation?"
"No, the Originators were created by the G.o.ddess, but the Sarcophagi were only made during the reign of the first pope," Big Beardy said softly. "An Originator is neither a living thing nor a corpse, but it's a special thing that contains the powers of the G.o.ddess. They have been laying underground since the time of the Ancient Magic Civilisation. After the attempted destruction of the balance of the world by those evil mage emperors and the G.o.ddess' subsequent destruction of the world, the Originators surfaced from their underground caverns. They received the word of the G.o.ddess, protecting the surviving innocents and creating new life. They then retreated to the same sacred caverns from whence they came from. A few thousand years later, the first pope received guidance from the G.o.ddess and created the Divine Sacrophagi to replace the ancient seals. He placed the Originators in locations where the G.o.ddess' blessing was the strongest. At the same time, he brought out the holy blood from the caverns, which then became the source of divine magic."
After that, Big Beardy stopped for a while before he looked Hao Ren in the eye. "Oh, I should be forthright with you on this as well; the place that we're going to is the sacred cavern!"
Hao Ren immediately squinted his eyes.
The Record of Unusual Creatures Chapter 366
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The Record of Unusual Creatures Chapter 366 summary
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