< Successor of the Emperor (Part 1) >
The lord had no choice but to bring out the Eight Diagrams. He had also realized that it would be better to retrieve the Heavenly Wind after seeing what had happened in the cave of the Heavenly Power Rock.
Afraid of breaking the promise with the emperor, he worriedly revealed the Eight Diagrams. Although the lord was usually calm and collected, he was having quite a rough day due to various circumstances.
He displayed the Eight Diagrams in the temple garden. The Diagrams was a big picture that contained numerous symbols and letters.
“What’s all this?” Ramphil asked.
“It’s a drawing that detects magical energy in the area.” Zin replied.
“Is that similar to radar?”
Ramphil quickly understood what the drawing was for. The lord positioned it so that the cardinal directions matched the drawing.
“There are many uses, but I’m going to use it now as a compass.”
There were innumerable spells that could be performed using the Eight Diagrams. It wasn’t directly used as part of sorcery, but rather to understand and detect something. Each diagram on the Eight Diagrams displayed the cardinal directions.
As soon as the lord positioned the Eight Diagrams correctly, he cleanly spread it out on the floor. Leona and Ramphil quietly observed from the side.
The Heavenly Power Castle was the home of sorcery. There were few sorcerers who could activate the Eight Diagrams force field perfectly. It was something that could only be done in the Heavenly Power Castle.
The lord sat in the middle of the Eight Diagrams, murmuring. It seemed to be a spell or just some sort of babbling. His voice echoed around the temple.
Suddenly, all the letters except the diagrams disappeared from the drawing and ink slowly smeared the yellow paper.
“The location where the lord is sitting is this castle,” explained Zin.
It was a map that displayed many characters around the castle. The characters indicated many things—such as harm, small luck, conflict, disaster, spell, etc.—and were drawn in different sizes. They represented different activities going on around the castle. For example, the many “harm” characters in the north represented the Group’s territory.
Hostile Reavers occupied the north, so Zin was able to figure out what the characters meant. He planned on using the Eight Diagrams to track the Heavenly Wind, first scanning the drawing and getting a sense of what was happening around the castle.
A particular red character on the southwest corner of the drawing drew his attention. Black characters covered the drawing, so the single red one looked strange.
That character implied that there was something beyond what the drawing could detect. The lord seemed to feel something. He closed his eyes, sweat dripping from his face.
He wondered what the character “great evil”—not “harm” or “disaster”—meant.
I don’t know exactly where she is, but the White Witch is in the southwest.
Although she was very far away from the castle, the ominous energy was powerful enough to be detected by the drawing.
Just like how the White Witch’s location was marked on the drawing, Leona’s was as well, at the center of the drawing. It was a black “evil” character instead of “great evil.” The Eight Diagrams had simply displayed the danger each one posed.
Her power has not fully awakened. That’s probably why.
Leona didn’t know how to handle her power as a witch, so the drawing didn’t warn about her.
Zin believed that Leona not knowing how to interpret the characters on the drawing was a good thing. Her presence was displayed as just a small character. He feared that her presence would be significant due to her innate power.
While there were multiple characters on the Eight Diagrams, Zin focused on the ones around the castle. Confirming the location of the White Witch was just an added bonus, but at the moment, his priority was to determine the location of the Heavenly Wind.
“Heavenly Wind should be displayed as a ‘great charm.’ Please look for it carefully.”
Zin’s void storage was displayed as a “charm” and the Treacherous Spirit was a “disaster.” The Eight Diagrams drawing portrayed the situation around the castle quite accurately. As Zin looked at the tiny characters around the map, he sighed.
“Mmm…I don’t see a “great charm.” Could the successor have moved far away?”
The drawing did not show a “great charm.” That meant they couldn’t use the Eight Diagrams to track the Heavenly Wind. Zin felt helpless.
“So can I assume that each character represents an entity?” Ramphil asked him.
“Yes, that’s correct. It acts as a map from the perspective of the Heavenly Power Castle, showing how each entity could affect it.”
The drawing determined if something would be beneficial or harmful to the castle. Reading the Eight Diagrams provided some useful information.
Ramphil was amazed and continued to look at the drawing.
“Hmm…how are ordinary people and cities displayed?”
“Well, since they have nothing to do with the castle, they will probably be ‘middle’ or ‘peace.’”
The drawing actually did contain quite a few of those characters. They were relatively small compared to other letters. Ramphil looked at the Eight Diagrams and compared it to his map. He figured that he would be able to understand something by comparing the two.
“Interesting. This seems like science, not sorcery.”
The fact that that sorcery could act as a technological radar amazed him.
“Extreme opposites have something in common.”
Ramphil was mesmerized and couldn’t take his eyes off of the drawing. Then he spotted something unusual.
“Something’s not right,” he said.
“The Eight Diagrams map is displaying areas that cover Manchuria in the south and Russia’s Belogorsk in the north. This region is quite large.”
He had cross-referenced the two maps by comparing the Eight Diagrams to his map and checking the coordinates of different cities.
The Eight Diagrams covered an area that was slightly larger than the Heilongjiang area. It was impossible for a radar map to cover such wide area with detail.
“All the characters related to the terrain. There are characters that mark the ruins where people live. Even Harbin, the city that we just visited, is displayed over here.”
“Sure, that makes sense.”
The Harbin Wargrave fortress was marked with a big “neutral.” Areas where the Reavers could be living had “harm” characters.
The spot that Ramphil thought was strange was northeast of Yichun city.
“If I remember correctly, this used to be Russia’s Birobidzhan. It’s not a big city, but there are plenty of ruins where people could live. However, as you can see, the map doesn’t display a character there.”
Just like he said, there was no letter in that area. Zin nodded, also thinking that to be strange.
“I don’t know enough about sorcery,” Ramphil began, “but perhaps a skilled sorcerer can hide himself from this map.”
Although it was a guess, he was pretty accurate with his analysis.
“Mmm…It’s very possible that he could have settled in a place where the power can’t be detected.”
“The undetectable place is a good place to search. You keep wise company, master hunter.”
The lord slowly nodded. Birobidzhan was not large, but it was large enough for several small Points. The Points could have been raided, but if that was the case, then the Eight Diagrams would have detected death and spirits.
However, there was nothing displayed in Birobidzhan.
It seemed like a hole in the map.
“It’s not too far away and will be worth traveling there.”
Zin accepted Ramphil’s analysis. There was no sign of a “great charm” on the Eight Diagrams, and he didn’t have any better options.
“Well, if we don’t find anything, we can think the trip as a hike or something.”
The team would have to start the exorcism if they couldn’t find the Heavenly Wind. They had time to spare while the lord prepared the ceremony.
“The lord will begin praying for the ceremony and we will head to Birobidzhan.”
As soon as they had arrived at the Heavenly Power Castle, they had more things to do. When the lord stood up from the Eight Diagrams, the numerous characters returned to their original positions in the drawing. It appeared as if keeping the Eight Diagrams active required energy since the lord looked exhausted.
Leona asked an important question. “So how are we going down?”
She was terrified at the idea of climbing down the cliff.
“Yes,” Zin answered. “We’re going to do what you think we’re going to do.”
They had to climb down where they had climbed up. What else were they going to do?
The team spent a night at the castle. It was dark at night because there were no blue chips and no way to get them. There were also no guards since the threat of invasion was nonexistent. The castle was a different environment compared to the wilderness.
“This tastes bland.”
Leona didn’t hate the food, but she shook her head as she ate it.
“You have been eating salty C-rations this entire time. It’s natural for you to find this unsalted food bland.”
Leona had been eating salty and sweet food for some time, so she thought that the castle’s food was just okay. However, she didn’t leave any food on her plate.
“This place isn’t too bad.”
After finishing the meal, she looked around the calm castle. She liked the abundant life in the fortress, but she also liked the leisurely life at the Heavenly Power Castle. It seemed like the people would welcome her settling down there.
She cast Zin a brief look.
“Well, I am just saying that this place looks nice,” she said. “I’m not saying I want to settle here!”
“I didn’t say anything.”
Ramphil became interested in sorcery. After checking in at his room, he observed many items and devices related to it, but he was not able to figure out to use them.
The team enjoyed a break for one night. They could gain the power of the seal if they retrieved the Heavenly Wind. Even if they couldn’t get the charm, they could get the seal by performing the exorcism to drive away the Treacherous Spirit.
Therefore, there was no reason for them to be nervous. The only thing they needed to look out for was the Group of Reavers. They also didn’t know if the emperor’s successor was either dangerous or an idiot. In fact, there were quite a few “harm” characters around the castle.
Zin knew that it was better to expect the worst on any given task. Nothing could be resolved easily and taking things lightly was dangerous. He had a feeling that the upcoming trip would not be easy.
“I guess not all devil hunters are like you, mister,” Leona remarked.
“Of course not.”
People and things changed over time. Devils disappeared and a long time passed since their disappearance. It would be strange for things to remain the same. Zin also thought that it would be strange for people not to change when their circumstances had.