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IRNDGL - Chapter 76: Good Firewood

Heris pressed his hand against the window, watching the hunters beneath transport corpses hurriedly.

A putrid stench of rotting had taken hold of this cramped space.

Greenish water flowed along the channels at the edges, carrying carcasses of rats, bones, blood, and other indeterminable matter.

Bloodstains and bits of body parts were strewn all over the ground. Hunters were busy going through these, tossing out the rotted bits into the sewers and feeding the bits that were still fresh to the hounds.

The hounds growled and howled as they feasted, creating sickening crunches as they bit through bone.

These hounds that fed on human flesh had blood-colored eyes and rows of jagged teeth with a sticky drool dripping from them continuously. Besides that, the odor from that was absolutely dreadful.

The hunters that still remained here—the ones feeding the hounds—were already no different from beasts at this moment.

Having injected themselves with sordid blood far exceeding the thresholds, they now relied on the methods of Scarlet Cult's black magicians to keep them awake.

Their bodies and minds were already twisted together. Beneath the wrapped bandages were tufts of coarse fur and beastly appendages. Their beast eyes were clouded yellow and their sanity could be lost at any moment.

In a sense, there were no longer any more humans here.

In the incubator above, the originally gem-like Magic Ovum Mirror had already become a crystal flower with a sleek mirrored core. And surrounding the crystal were lumps of swollen flesh that were expanding outwards.

Beneath the incubator was a huge 'altar'. A blood-covered array that burned away life force as fuel was painted on the ground beneath and this was where all the corpses were being handled.

This 'altar' was like a massive bonfire, burning vigorously with humans as fuel...

All till enough energy was provided for the incubation of the Magic Ovum Mirror.

"Soon... Soon..."

Heris muttered obsessively as he gazed at the incubator suspended in midair.

He could already sense the continuous ripples of aether emanating from the Magic Ovum Mirror expanding outwards, colliding with the array all around and converging. The entire space trembled slightly, just like... a heart beating.

"How beautiful. Just a bit longer and 'he' will descend."

Heris glanced upwards and his gaze reflected icy rancor as he stared at the thick cement roof.

Above it was the surface of Norzin.

Those knights of Secret Rite Tower were still pursuing them relentlessly.

Ever since Morphey's death, White Wolf and Scarlet Cult's situation had taken a drastic turn for the worst.

At first, they could rely on their knowledge of Norzin's structure. But following Secret Rite Tower's highly efficient operations, it seemed as though the rug was pulled from under them and they were now in their final struggles.

White Wolf had no choice but to scatter and flee underground like true sewer rats.

However, the situation of White Wolf's hunters was still more optimistic than Scarlet Cult's black magicians.

The group of black magicians weren't truly a cult and merely had a common interest in their 'worship of blood'. However, with Morphey's power and leadership, they hadn't been any different from a cult.

Their nucleus had indeed been Morphey.

And now that Morphey was dead, the most important psychological pillar had instantly crumbled. Such a blow had severely weakened this impressive group of black magicians to the point that they were now inferior to even White Wolf.

"But no matter what it is, these black magicians are indeed really useful fuel..." muttered Heris to himself as he watched a hunter toss a black magician's corpse onto the 'altar'.

Boom! Aether exploded and the array set on the flow emanated a cryptic glow.

As if firewood was added into a bonfire, the formless aether crackled, burning up both 'soul' and flesh of the corpses and turning them into ashes bit by bit.

Lumps of bloody flesh started to grow around the Magic Ovum Mirror above, sticking onto the incubator and climbing upwards.

That crystal flower had started to grow and one of the 'petals' gradually unfurled with a crisp crack.

Heris really wanted to laugh out loud. These black magicians of Scarlet Cult were like a bunch of headless chickens. With a few words, Heris had stirred them up and used them as shields against Secret Rite Tower's manhunt.

They had crumbled instantly.

Fear resulted in the necessity of a new pillar and thus, White Wolf that still seemed to have some leeway in the struggle against Secret Rite Tower had become their last hope.

Unfortunately, they didn't know that this decision had caused them to fall into the hunters' meticulously planned trap.

"The incubation progress has been hastened twofold thanks to all these good quality firewood." 

Black magicians had a close connection to the aether in order to use magic and their bodies were the best aetheric vessels. Thus, they were the next best option in this ritual.

Heris didn't know why this mysterious person with snake-like eyes was helping him.

However, they were clutching at straws and didn't have any other choice.

This ritual was far more effective than them directly employing methods to harness lifeforce. Moreover, their maps of Norzin's layout had also been supplied by this mysterious person.

The mysterious man's words still seemed to ring in Heris' ears. "Burn, burn as much as you like. Fresh blood and vitality are the best nutrients. You will bring them nightmares and pain..."

Thus, Heris set the Scarlet Cult on fire and created panic in Norzin.

But... it still wasn't enough.

"Sir Heris, we have already finished using up the corpses of the black magicians." A subordinate reported. "Do we still continue hunting? There aren't many Scarlet Cult members remaining and they have already fled. It wouldn't be easy to capture them and it might be considered a rather great risk for us."

Scarlet Cult only had that many magicians and in just the span of a few days, they had all become nutrients.

Heris turned around, pressed his hands on the subordinate's shoulders, and said warmly. "No need. In a bit, you all no longer have to remained worried and on the edge."

At this moment, another subordinate walked in abruptly. This was a hunter that had practically fully mutated into a beast. His 2.5-meter-tall frame was covered with fur and he was dragging a corpse which he tossed to the floor.

"Spider... have found us... Our 52nd Avenue... It's not very... far... from here..." The hunter panted.

Spider. That was the new hunter group led by Ji Zhixiu which had splintered off from White Wolf.

Heris replied calmly, "Ji Zhixiu... She's really even more disgusting than those Secret Rite Tower knights. If even 52nd Avenue was discovered, this place is no longer safe.

"Since that's the case... Let them come. It's about time this hideout got destroyed." 

Heris glanced down and stepped on the head of the corpse beneath him. In an instant, he transformed into a massive white wolf standing on its hind legs and laughed maniacally. "It just so happens that these little spiders would make good firewood as well."

BeetleBarker's Notes:

Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing

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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
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Special thanks to Tetra & Aco for editing and pr-ing
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Kofi: https://ko-fi.com/beetlebarker
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/beetlebarker
BeetleBarker's Discord:  https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN
IRNDGL Manhua translation by Zeroscans
Written by Great Calamity Of Fire (万劫火). Translated by BeetleBarker.