Chapter 1271 End of the Battle
Kanganas had won!
This much was evident from the skeletal dragon’s cry of despair and tragedy before its death.
After being surrounded and beaten down by the outsiders’ entire party, it had been struck a mighty blow from Greem. Even though Nax was far more powerful than the average Fourth Grade–so much so that it approached the realm of a Fifth Grade–it was still not a match for Kanganas. That was especially the case when Kanganas went all out with no regard for the losses he incurred. The swarm of undead the lich unleashed had simply devoured the skeletal dragon.
The liches were infamous monsters among all the monstrosities and terrors of the universe because of their shameless tactic of swarming enemies with their endless horde of undead. In addition, liches were naturally experts at toying with the soul. Death at their hands did not mean the end of suffering.
Quite the opposite. Death at the hands of a lich marked the start of a painful and arduous afterlife!
Liches would never waste the soul or body of their victims. They used every part of their victim to their full potential, turning them into one of their obedient undead servants. Such servants had no expiry date, nor freedom or dignity.
Death at the hands of a lich was an eternal fall of the soul and body into darkness and depravity. The victims of a lich would suffer painfully in endless despair and agony, living an unlife where they were neither dead nor alive!
A lich would never abandon a victim until they had squeezed every last drop of value out of their being.
Meanwhile, Nax, who had turned itself into an undead willingly, was practically a mountainous pile of treasure for a lich. Apart from providing Kanganas with the Fifth Grade Ancient Reliquary of Deep Winter, Nax’s body and soul were also some of the best materials for crafting high-grade undead.
It wasn’t hard to imagine that a powerful skeletal ice dragon would soon appear within Kanganas’ subordinate ranks. With such powerful aid, Kanganas would be able to rise to the levels of the strongest Fourth Grades instantly.
Once he assimilated the Ancient Reliquary, his path to Fifth Grade would be clear of all obstacles!
As Kanganas’ soul aura vanished, the ice palace started trembling violently.
This majestic palace that had been supported by the power of the artifact couldn’t help but start shaking now that it was gone. Large chunks of ice and frost were falling off of the tall ceiling and broad walls. The ice mist in the palace was also not bound by any power now. It slowly started to dissipate.
Finally, after fifteen minutes, the mists parted.
Kanganas walked out of the palace, dressed in rags and covered in wounds.
Even though his body was tattered beyond recognition, and his Spirit was so weak that it was almost tempting to leap on him, Kanganas’ jade-white skull appeared to have a joyous expression on it.
He had undoubtedly obtained unimaginable benefits and profit within the palace. Just the artifact and the skeletal dragon alone were more than what he had expected to obtain on this trip.
The joyful lich formed a stark contrast to the party members waiting outside. Sand King, Tulas, and Sshina’s faces were dark and brooding. It was obvious that they were upset that Greem had been able to suppress them completely and kept them out of the final battle.
They had gone to great lengths by venturing to this dangerous foreign plane and injuring that vicious skeletal dragon. If the party members had killed the dragon together, they would have been able to firmly request for a ‘fair’ share of the dragon’s hoard.
However, now…now that the lich had settled the final battle alone, their share of the profit would be greatly affected.
Because of this, everyone’s gaze towards Greem and Kanganas was resentful and filled with anger.
Kanganas was a sharp and experienced diplomat. He could read everyone’s expressions and immediately stood out to make a stand.
“I have opened the doors to Nax’s treasury! Apart from the reliquary, I only took the portion I was entitled to. The rest of the treasure remains untouched. Go now, and you can split it evenly between yourselves. I suppose that’s your share of the profits on this adventure!”
Sand King and Sshina finally smiled when they heard this. They immediately charged into the crumbling temple as fast as they could. Tulas hesitated for a brief moment, glanced at Greem and Kanganas before hurrying into the palace without another word.
Once everybody had left, Kanganas turned and looked at Greem.
Greem was expressionless and seemed to have no intention of moving to take any of the treasure for himself.
“You are a very odd person!” Kanganas exclaimed. “You are the most mysterious adept I have ever seen, whose thoughts I cannot get a grasp on. Sometimes, I have absolutely no idea what it is that you want.”
Greem did not reply. He simply looked into the depths of the fading mists and frowned. “Why did you trick them into the mists? Are you trying to exterminate them all in one fell swoop?”
A smile appeared on Kanganas’ jade-white, crystalline face void of any flesh or blood. His lower jaw moved slightly, “In the past, I would certainly have killed these fools.”
“And now?” Greem smiled as well.
“It’s very different now. I have obtained everything I wanted, and I now have the confidence to take the next step forward. Leave these fools alive, and I may have a chance to use them again in the future!” Having said that, Kanganas’ soulfire swept over Greem’s body. “As for you, sir…the agreement between us still stands. For the next two hundred years from this moment onwards, I am willing to ally myself with you and become a member of your noble clan.”
Even though their words were not law, at their level, every oath they made possessed a strange power of its own that resonated with the planar laws.
Even without any magical contract, the aura of laws filled the air when Kanganas solemnly made his promise. An ancient and profound thread of Fate bound him and Greem together.
Neither of them rejected this thread of Fate. They let it simply enter their bodies and sink into their souls.
Such an oath contract had no actionable clauses of punishment. Rather, any backlash was related entirely to the difference between the two contractors’ Spirit. If Kanganas’ Spirit were utterly superior to Greem’s, nothing would happen to him even if he were to go back on his word.
However, if Greem’s Spirit were far stronger than his, Kanganas would incur tremendous losses by breaking the oath.
No high-grade creature would look lightly upon anything that involved their very soul origin!
Greem and Kanganas were more trusting of each other now that the contract had been established.
Although it wasn’t at the level of unconditional trust, they, at least, no longer needed to be wary of a sudden ambush from each other as the other party members were.
“You’ve helped me tremendously. Take this as a compensation of sorts!” Kanganas lifted his hand and tossed a strange heart the size of a grindstone to Greem.
The mists in the air instantly froze into ice when the heart appeared, clattering to the ground as tiny, little shards. A bone-chilling cold spread in the air, causing the blood of any creature in the vicinity to freeze and their bodies to lock up.
“Nax’s heart!?” Greem gasped in surprise.
The massive heart encased in ice was still beating slightly, containing powerful and plentiful life force. The life aura it radiated was the exact same as Skeletal Dragon Nax.
“Kehkehkehe. Even I didn’t expect that dragon to have clung on to its living body so badly. To think it dug out its heart and sealed it in ice before it converted itself into an undead,” The lich’s jaws clattered as he spoke. “It seems like the dragon intended to find some way to restore its living body after its soul had been modified. But now…kehkehkehe, it belongs only to us!”
Greem weighed the heart in his hands and scanned its life energy with the Chip. He nodded in satisfaction and put the heart away into his Elder’s Ring.
At their level, ordinary equipment was no longer helpful in any manner. Low-grade equipment would barely be able to amplify their powers.
Moreover, powerful law powers would fill their bodies when they engaged in combat. Low-grade equipment would not even be able to bear the intensity of the flames containing law powers, let alone be used to attack the enemy. Inferior equipment would be reduced to ashes the moment Greem used any power at all.
As such, apart from high-grade equipment that matched their grade, using any other equipment would just be a waste.
This ice dragon’s heart was a decent Fourth Grade material no matter how you looked at it. It would certainly make for powerful equipment once it was processed, whether as proper magical equipment or a single-use tool.
Naturally, Greem accepted the lich’s ‘goodwill’ without any hesitation!
“How should we deal with this plane?” Greem lifted his head and looked at Kanganas.
“The ecology and planar environment of this world has been severely distorted by the Ancient Reliquary. It is very difficult to restore it to its former state. You can keep it for yourself if you are interested. I believe those three fellows won’t dare to fight you for it!” Kanganas gave his suggestion.
Having said that, he opened a small interdimensional portal.
Before he departed, he left one last message.
“I will keep my promise! I am returning to the Skeletal Plane to put things in order. It will take me two or three years. Once everything is settled, I will personally pay a visit to you. I will see you then!”
“As will I!”
White light flashed once Kanganas entered the portal, and the rift in space started to mend.
He was carrying such valuable treasure on him. It was only natural that he didn’t dare take his time traveling as he had in coming here. That was why he teleported back instantly, even at the cost of additional resources and energy. He did not want anything unexpected to happen on the journey back.
That alone demonstrated the cautiousness and intelligence of the liches!