212 Chapter 209 Corruption And An Imugi
"Stella, I'm glad we got the mech from the gnomes," gushed Joseph as they flew over the ground in the wasteland, eating up the miles.
"Cause it's a man's romance, right?" she guessed with a smile he couldn't see.
"Well, obviously, yes to that, but no, I mean more than that. We're only about a hundred miles in from the border. If we go another 50 at this rate, I'm pretty sure it would be fatal without Chuck. And even if we were using body double and your golem, I'm not sure at another hundred that I would be able to keep the corruption from reaching back to us."
"Is that why we aren't teleporting? So, you can gauge how bad the corruption is getting?"
"No. The dragons are amazing to keep all this safely away from us. Especially, to keep it up for thousands of years. What I mean is that, I'm generating a field to force the corrupted mana away and purify what comes in. If I teleported in, we would be exposed to the corrupted mana before I could force it away again. We would be repeatedly exposed and purifying us will be difficult."
"Joseph, are we in danger?"
"No, not yet, but it's good I don't sleep. We should be good all the way at this rate because of Chuck. If it gets too bad, we will have to go home and work on something to try again. I still have 300 points and I can try talking to Saisho again." He sighed. "But I am really hoping to avoid that."
Stella pointed past his head, so he could see her. "What is that? It has…tentacles?"
"What the…SHAVIST! It's alive, Stella!"
"But how? You just said even you would die out here. And there's another over there."
"I don't know what they are, Stella, and the corrupted mana blocks my magic at this range. It has tentacles, shark skin patches, some plates that look like maybe lizard skin, patches of fur and teeth growing all over its body. The other one is just as messed up, but mutated differently. I think its stomach is hanging from its back. I don't even know how it's alive much less walking around."
"Are they undead? Ghouls?" asked Stella, concern in her voice. She hated fighting the undead.
"No, they're actually alive, but so corrupted I don't know how. It's like the corrupted mana is keeping them alive despite trying to kill them at the same time."
Joseph shrugged after a moment of thought. "Let's start testing."
It started to take on a hideous black color as soon as it hit the corrupted mana, but didn't change fundamentally.
"Probably not long enough in the mana to be affected that strongly," Joseph muttered.
He created a 300-foot-long chain and a 300-foot-long wire. Chuck began dragging them, without really noticing the extra weight. They weren't really slowed down by it, either, but since each link was different, Joseph could observe the differences between the corruption on each link individually and the corruption on the wire that was one solid piece.
"Joseph, is that making any sense to you?" asked Stella, glancing behind them at the strange effects occurring to the links.
"A little. It's giving Joe a couple of ideas, too."
They began cycling the mana another way and a slightly different effect was immediately apparent. The corrupted mana was pushed back significantly farther, as well.
"That seems to have worked. Even I can sense it," said Chuck.
"I think we'll be able to make it to the city now without problems. I intend to keep experimenting though," said Joseph.
(JOSEPH I AM DETECTING A LARGE-SCALE DIVINE INTERVENTION AHEAD OF US.)
'Not back at the city?' he asked confused.
"Joseph!?" cried Stella, looking forward in panic.
"I feel it, Stella. It's…death?"
Ahead of them, in the distance, a large black mass started to rise out of the ground.
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"Is that a dragon?" she asked, even though she knew it wasn't. It had a head similar to one, but the body was long and thin, like a snake.
"Not quite. It has dragon in it, but it's not truly a dragon. Something like an imugi maybe? It's not just corrupted, it's desecrated."
"Joseph," she whispered, as soon as she realized what it was. "This is bad! It's a unicorn slayer!"
"A unicorn slayer. They represented purity in the forest. Just their presence weakened most curses. To kill and eat the flesh of one granted immortality, but it's a cursed existence. Only one unicorn was still alive when I was banished. We kept it safe in our village. If they fed it to that thing in front of us, I don't know if it can be killed."
"Stella, it isn't just that," he said in horror.
"What do you mean? An immortal fake dragon that lives in corrupted mana, is full of curses and can't be killed isn't enough for you?" asked Chuck.
"There isn't any mana around it. It doesn't live in the corrupted mana, it destroys it. The dragon is a magical null. The corrupted mana doesn't bother it at all."
Chuck roared in laughter. "Finally! I get to fight something! You've just been killing the little squirmy things with spells, which I don't mind, they look disgusting, but I want to give this thing a beat down!"
With a shiver, he began to grow larger crystals over his claws, as the thing reared into view.
Shaped like a serpent, it was several hundred feet long. Four tiny legs, almost like a forgotten add-on, dangled with sharp claws, that Joseph doubted could do any damage. The real threat lay in the head, where six eyes peered at them and a mouth easily as wide as the entire head, opened to show an excess of sharp teeth. A snake-like tongue darted out, dark purple in color, almost bleeding to black in the darkening light of the evening.
"It would attack at night," grumbled Stella. She might miss something, though her golems were ready if Chuck happened to need them.