Chapter 14 — Abyss Demons
Soran swore as he dumped everything in his makeshift sack on the ground and wore the tattered clothing.
As he could not hold all the parts on his body after disarming the traps, he randomly took a set of clothes from the dead adventurers and used it as a makeshift sack. This was a real world, and Soran did not automatically have convenient things like the storage space and multi-dimensional bags in games. Moving while holding a sack was somewhat inconvenient, but it turned out to have saved him from certain death; at least he still had the six-shot crossbow and a set of clothes.
The loot he got from the dead adventurers and ghost was naturally gone.
“Damn… It just had to be Godly Theft!”
Soran was familiar with the effects of the card, as he once witnessed someone activating a Godly Theft card in public, and the results were just as expected—wonderful.
Refusing to admit defeat, he immediately activated the second card right after he was done donning the moldy set of clothes.
After the cards were activated, the magic power in them would disappear, turning the cards into mere artwork. Some rich men collected the cards as a hobby, yet none had managed to get their hands on a complete collection. At that time, there were three sets of cards that were especially popular among the players, namely the Deck of Many Things, the Deck of Arcane Magic, and the Deck of Destiny.
Although they were similar in that they were all relics of the past, the decks had different numbers of cards. The first deck had 108, the second had 72, and the third had 36. Cards from the Deck of Many Things were the easiest to obtain among the three decks, while cards from the Deck of Arcane Magic appeared only in underground ruins. The cards from the Deck of Destiny only began appearing after the deities descended into the mortal realms as Saints, and as far as Soran could remember, only three of the thirty-six had been discovered.
A faint glow appeared from the activated card in his hands after absorbing the drop of blood. The center of the card began to swirl, and a barren land void of any living beings appeared soon after. A man with a crooked back steadily walked through the seemingly endless desert with determination in his footsteps, ignoring the tempest of the sandstorm raging through the area. The man pressed on slowly as he constantly looked into the distance.
A torrent of power surged into Soran’s body. As if his body was being torn apart bit by bit, he writhed on the ground in great pain. After the pain subsided, he was hit by intense fatigue and tiredness like he had just walked tens of thousands of miles without resting. It felt like his body was about to break down but somehow managed to push on thanks to his will to live.
“Deck of Many Things 【The Ascetic】 activated! Awakening the personal ability Perseverance…”
“Constitution has been raised to 18!”
The fatigue in his body did not fade, but Soran could feel that his body had been strengthened drastically. It was as if he had gradually toughened up his body while walking through endless deserts and experiencing terrible blizzards.
An unknown power seemed to be supporting him from behind, allowing him to continue his journey without a destination. As long as he could still walk, he would march onward with unwavering determination until the final moments of his life.
“Perseverance 【Personal Ability】: You have made it through countless tests and trials in your life, turning the mental strength in your mind into physical strength! You will receive a +5 rating of resisting abnormal mental conditions when hit by mind magic.”
Totally worth it.
Soran was pleased and laughed as if the fact that the first card had stripped him of all his belongings was a lie.
There were only a dozen or so cards in the deck that could increase one’s attributes. Apart from the two mysterious Ace cards, the best one which had ever appeared was Champion Knight, which raised the user’s Strength to 20 and Constitution to 18. Ironically, the player who activated that card was a wizard. He went on to become a wizard who was known for close quarters combat and had quite the reputation in the Great Northern Plains for a long while, but in the end he died in the chaotic period and had to start over from scratch.
The fact that attribute points were hard to obtain made a lot of players search for alternatives apart from levelling up. Typical training could not raise the attributes of players who had reached the stage of Legendary Heroes, thus they had to carefully plan how to use their 90 attribute points. The reason why Soran managed to leave a legend of his own (the Brutal Dual-Wielding Rogue) was because he gave up Charisma and raised the other five attributes to above 15. Apart from his mediocre appearance, his other abilities were all excellent.
Basically, all items that could raise one’s attributes were Legendary-grade items and were extremely rare. The items could only increase an attribute to a maximum of 20 though.
“Constitution increased by three points… That’s six levels worth of attribute points!”
Soran thumped his chest with seventy percent of his strength. The fact that his organs did not feel uncomfortable at all meant that his body almost had superhuman toughness, and normal humans who had around 10 Strength could not hurt him even if they punched him with all their might.
All attributes would grant Extraordinary Talents when reaching the benchmark of 25 points, but Constitution was slightly different and would grant the talent Rebirth when reaching 20 points. As a matter of fact, having 25 points in an attribute was almost like reaching a mythical level.
The personal ability Perseverance was a pretty common one though, with lots of players awakening the ability as they stayed alive in tough terrains. Soran first obtained the ability in the Elemental Plane of Fire, where he almost got roasted alive. Apart from Perseverance, he also got the ability Fire Resistance (Weak) as he almost fell into lava. Soran was so badly injured that he was almost unrecognizable and had no choice but to spend a large sum and hire a Legendary Priest to cast Advanced Recovery on him.
“Alright, last one.”
After receiving something good from the second card, Soran had expectations for the final one as well. It would be great if he could get another card which raised his attributes, making his stats better than he once had in the game. Well, those cards were rare, so it might be hard to get one. At least his current Charisma was 16, unlike his previous avatar, which had a disgusting look due to having low Charisma; it was so low that even goblins did not bother themselves with him, and he was denied access to the Land of Elves every time he applied through official channels. Those goddamn elves valued looks and appearances highly just because they looked good themselves…
Anyway, there was no reason to hold back when he had already activated two cards. With a bit of unrest and anxiety in his mind, Soran activated the final card with a drop of his blood.
The card instantly gave off a blood-red glow!
Soran’s expression crumbled as he tossed the card away as though it was burning his hands.
It was a Summon card.
The Deck of Many Things always produced unpredictable results. Some might receive strength and power, while others might get treasures and riches, but that was not all. There were Summon cards which, as implied by the name, summoned creatures and may even harm the summoner. The color of the glow reflected the origin of the summoned creature—a white, holy glow meant it was from the Heavenly Realm and a rainbow hue meant it was from one of the elemental planes, while blood red meant it was either from Hell or the Abyss.
Soran’s card was summoning a creature from Hell!
A mysterious whirlpool appeared in the center of the card. The animated scenery showed bursts of sulphurous lava and icy blizzards before it finally ended as it focused on an evil and hideous face.
“A snake demon!”
The card morphed into a dark red portal.
When Soran saw the hideous face on the card, he already knew his next enemy was a snake demon and tried to recall his memories for information about the monster.
Snake Demon 【Abyss Demon】 (Grade 3)
Challenge Rating: Level 6 (Monster Level: 12), has spell-like abilities
Highest and Lowest Attributes: 21 and 10 (Total Attribute Points: 85-95)
Specialty: Dual-Wielding, Multi-Strike
Snake demons would grow extra pairs of arms as they grew stronger, and every extra pair raised the challenge rating by 5 and monster level by 6. This meant that a four-armed snake demon had a challenge rating of 11 and monster level of 18, while a six-armed snake demon was rated as 16 with a level of 24. There were snake demons with eight arms as well, but those were already legendary creatures, and their appearance often implied that a Demon Lord was about to show up.
There’s no way I can win if I fight it head on! Soran thought.
He was a Level 3 rogue, while the snake demon was Level 12—a large difference of 9 levels. The challenge rating of Level 6 meant that a group of at least five well-equipped adventurers would have a fifty percent chance of defeating the demon. Even though it was the weakest type among all snake demons, it was not something Soran could handle alone at this stage.
Snake demons were Rare-grade creatures as well. After taking the difference in levels into consideration, the snake demon’s HP was most likely three times more than Soran’s. It was simply impossible to defeat it in a head-on battle.
Several ideas flashed through Soran’s mind.
Without wasting a single second, Soran dived toward the ground and picked up the six-shot crossbow just as the portal stabilized and began teleporting the demon into the chamber. He aimed the weapon at the portal and pulled the trigger.
The snake demon materialized from the portal the next instant.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh!
A painful shriek resounded throughout the chamber.
The snake demon that appeared was over 2.4 meters tall and weighed over 600 pounds. Just as it appeared from the portal, six crossbow bolts punctured through its scales and embedded themselves into the demon’s chest. The sudden attack enraged the multi-handed demon as it swung its arms crazily without even locating the enemy.
The twenty-centimeter-thick stone desk was cleanly sliced into two halves. Realizing that staying any longer was a bad idea, Soran quickly dropped the modified crossbow and dashed for the exit. He was out of options; he could not fight without any weapons, and he would not be able to come out victorious even if he had any, as the demon had managed to withstand the six powerful bolts. Judging from its strength, he would definitely be sliced into two halves if hit.
The snake demon immediately gave chase to the escaping rogue.
Most Abyss demons were chaotic and evil creatures that thirsted for blood, violence, and slaughtering. They could not be bothered with peaceful negotiations with humans.
Once they were summoned, the summoner had only two options.
Enslave them or prepare for death.
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